4/26/15

The race for the presidential elections of 2016 is on.

Few preliminary comments:
“It is the economy stupid.” This famous statement by James Carville in the 1992 elections cycle was one of the secrets of Bill Clinton’s success.

It is NOT true anymore. Not because the economy is not in shambles—it is, it requires much more serious overhaul than the one in 1992—but it is the fact that the world has become so unstable that it eclipses the economy. As I predicted rightly before the 2014 mid-term, national security issues have catapulted to become the top concern of people, and I predict that world events will get worse, ensuring that national security issues will stay the top issue for the 2016 elections.

The Media
The fault lines have not changed. The vast majority of media outlets are leaning Democratic and are not even trying to hide it. Fox News, which is the most objective TV news outlet, is strengthening its Republican bias. WSJ remains the only serious outlet that is objective in spite of its clear conservative notions. CNN has become the laughing stock of TV news outlets. They are both extremely biased and, at the same time, hypocritical about it. Slimy. Even MSNBC covered the latest Clinton scandal extensively as did NYT and others. But CNN? Hardly. You really had to suffer their disgusting, saturation coverage of the conspiracy of white police killing black victims for 55 minutes to hear maybe 30 seconds about the existence of the new scandal. Although CNN has higher ratings than MSNBC, I predict that they will lose viewers in this cycle and will continue their inexorable decline. Given that CNN is the network that invented the 24-hour news cycle and was the synonym of NEWS for many years, it is such a disappointment.

Democrats
I wrote about Hillary Clinton in a separate blog. I can only repeat what I said there in one line and that is how disappointing it is that the Democrats have no other viable contender. In 2008, after 8 years of Bush, the Republicans fielded McCain, Huckabee, Romney, and Giuliani, each of them a major personality that could have been the President and actually done a better job than Obama. Democrats, after 8 years of Obama, can field Clinton and? Biden? Warren, O’Malley, Web? It is a sign of the stagnation and calcification of the party. The existence of thought-police that prevent anyone who thinks differently from the extreme left that took control of the party from having his/her views heard; this from the party of “equal opportunities” classic liberalism (ostensibly).

To a large extent I believe that is due to president Obama, whose ferocity, lack of decorum, hostility to anyone who dares oppose him (see poor Senator Menendez/General Petraeus and others), and single purpose the-end-justifies-the-means approach to everything damaged anyone who could have been an independent personality in the party. I believe that the fate of the Democratic Party is tied to these elections. If they have a great success and Clinton becomes the President and they regain control of the Senate, the deterioration of the party will continue and it will become more and more dogmatic, socialistic, isolationists, curtailing free speech, and indeed, less and less democratic. If they only win one of the two prizes (White House or Senate), things will continue to simmer but no breakthrough one way or another. It is only if they suffer a massive defeat and surrender both the White House and Congress to Republicans that maybe the party will regain its vitality; throw out the far left, dogmatic forces; and will become again a real alternative.

USA
After 8 years of a terrible administration on the heels of a serious crisis, the US is at a tipping point. Replace the phrase “Democratic Party” with the term “USA” in the section above and you have it all. The fate of the US, the fate of its standing in the world, the fate of the world as a prosperous democratic “renaissance” world in the 21st century is tied to a decisive win by the Republicans. Except, that even if the Republicans do gain control of the both the White House and maintain control of Congress, it is not clear that they will succeed in bringing back the USA of the 20th century—that world power that made the world so much a better place. Note that even the Reagan effect lasted only 25 years. For this one to last 100 years, to bring back the Pax Americana for the 21st century, we need a leader who is not an evolutionist like Reagan, but a revolutionist. We need a revolution now.

Republican Contenders
While I applaud the diversity and wide selection presented by the multitude of candidates, there are way too many. I am not sure how one restricts the debates to the serious contenders only, but if the party will not find the way to do that it will lose a very important opportunity for the serious candidates to really show who they are and what their views are. In that regard I am really disappointed that some of the serious candidates, especially the Governors, do not do their homework before they start on the campaign track. Senators have a policy advantage as they are steeped in policy details so they understand the vast spectrum of the issues. Governors have the track record of DOING things as opposed to talking about them BUT they are more limited as, by definition of their job, they are focused on domestic issues and know very little on foreign affairs. So? If you want to be the President of the USA, make the effort to learn about these issues and form an OPINION on them BEFORE you start campaigning, right? Not doing so results in bland responses to serious questions that, at best, leave serious people puzzled and quickly turn into flops that need to be explained later.

In particular, I want to highlight my disappointment with Scott Walker. He really should have bothered to do more homework on a number of issues before he started. He had (and still has) such a great track record on many things, but the arrogance that is showing from his lack of preparation is a huge disappointment to me, and a warning sign. Generally, I would have thought that ALL Republican candidates should have been better prepared—especially on such difficult but LESS important issues (in today’s world) of the social code of our society; abortion, gay marriage, immigration, etc. Rand Paul deserves a strong positive mention here on the way he handled the abortion issue by turning the table on Democrats and asking them when it is wrong to kill a baby who is still in the womb. But, other than that one clever way of handling the thorny issue of abortion, it would have been nice to see all the contenders shaping a message on these difficult social issues that is on the one hand strong enough for their Republican voters and on the other hand not completely open to derision from droves of young voters who, being young, have not yet learned to accept nuances on things like abortion and gay marriage.

Specifically:

  • Rand Paul: I guess he is probably better than Hillary Clinton, but that is the only good thing I can say about him. He is not a nice person; he resorts to lying barefaced on matters such as foreign affairs to justify his ludicrous positions. McCain put it best, he is the worst candidate the Republican Party has on the most important issue—national security.
  • Scott Walker: Disappointing, as I mentioned. I had such high hopes and his lack of preparedness disappoints me, a lot.
  • Governor John Kasich: Has not declared yet, and is the only one who really has not even started campaigning but, actually, I think is someone who has a very strong chance. His record is good. Not as revolutionary as I would have liked but, to be fair, partially because some of his more important initiatives were turned back by voters. It remains to be seen what is he standing for.
  • Chris Christie: As someone who had to, and still does, fight weight issues all my life every day, every hour (and extremely successfully I may add!), I cannot support someone who does not have the self-discipline to control his own urges. That may sound petty, but if you cannot control yourself, how will you be to control the world as a President???
  • Bush, Huckabee, and few others: They are the candidates of the past. They should let go gracefully. Although Reagan was of a similar age when he got elected we need a revolution not an evolution.
  • Carly Fiorina: I’ve always liked Mrs. Fiorina. I was always of the view that she was a victim of the real war on women 10 years ago when she was fired as CEO of HP by a cabal of old white men who did both Fiorina and HP a gross injustice. I have great regarded for her but I somehow do not see her as a Presidential candidate just yet. Even her health scare of five years ago puts a little—small but some—shadow on her just in case, God forbid, the cancer comes back. I do think that she will make a great Vice Presidential candidate though.
  • Marco Rubio: I always thought that Rubio is a great candidate. I strongly suggested in one of my then blogs for Romney to take Rubio as his VP candidate. He does lack executive experience and that bothers me somewhat, but on balance I think he is the best of the bunch. As a Senator he seems to have tried to be active and, sometimes, to compromise (immigration), which you always need to be able to do. It seems that before he announced he put his head down and make a serious effort to LEARN the issues and, therefore, comes off as the most ready of all contenders on all issues. He is the most engaging, he is young but has shown the capacity to learn. You see, experience is not simply about a number of years. It is about your intelligence and ability to draw the RIGHT conclusions from those years of experience and LEARN mostly from your mistakes.

Finally, here is my dream team for this very early stage: Rubio/Fiorina.

I admit that this can change based on performances in debates etc. but I have a very strong feeling about this duo.