Running for the Republicans

So yesterday I posited the idea of running for the Democrats as a non-Democrat, and not in the Bernie Sanders kind of why.  I can’t say I’d do the same for the Republicans, at least not at this time.  The first reason is that the Democratic party has, at least locally, accepted the notion that they are a party in disarray.  They know this.  Second, I can get behind a lot of their social programs without accepting their economic ones.  The Republican party?  Yeah, not so much, and it might be because I came from them originally.  I’ve found I disagree with many of their social stances, and I’m opposed to their attempts to push the Christian religion as the basis for our government and policy decisions.  On paper, I agree with many of their stated goals, at least as far as limited government and fiscal spending go, but in reality I have found that they have no desire to actually abide by those ideals.  It’s not a sales thing, or a presentation of the platform, it’s that in many ways, they are actively working against their stated principles.  To me that’s a longer row to hoe.  I also think that, as a party, they are still unaware of just how broken they are – Even as they laud their victories in the last election, they fail to see that many of those victories were on the back of Trump’s platform, which ironically, was similar to President Obama’s.  Change.  The people aren’t happy with the status quo and they’re looking for options.

I don’t think politics will ever change, but it could be an interesting political landscape in the next few years.

What are we fighting for?

Editor’s Note:  I wrote this back about 3 months or so, ago.  I was going to add a paragraph or two about my Dad, which I might do as an extended piece, but I thought I would get it posted now, as it has spent far too much time on my “To Do” list.



As the debate about health care continues, with President Trump and many of his supporters leading the way to repeal the ACA despite the lack of a real plan of action to replace or repair what is left, I find myself considering what it is we hope to accomplish with our country, our government.  What do we consider important at the national level, as a nation?  To what use do we put that blunt instrument that is our federal government?  That our government has grown large and unwieldy, straining under its own massive weight is no surprise to us.  We know it is fat, and growing larger.  We know that is too large, too heavy to support.  The Fed has grown in size and weight, but accomplishes less and less despite its increase in size and resources.  Both corporations and private citizens have attached themselves to that bloated mass, feeding off its excess like a tick to a mangy dog.  And those very fat, very happy ticks, they don’t want anything to change with their host.  No, even if the overall health and state of the union should falter, do not change anything lest their meal ticket become endangered.

This piece isn’t an analysis of the government, however.  It isn’t here to discuss the wasted resources and corporate whore mongering that goes on in our nation’s capital.  This essay is here to ask a basic question of ourselves.  What is it do we want our government to do for us?  What freedom and pursuit of happiness are we defending with our military?  What justice do we purport to provide to those of our nation that are too broke to pursue our self-evident truths?  In a nation as rich as ours, in a land as large as ours, truly our government should be responsible for very few things at the Federal level.  It is rarely the best tool for the job.  Help keep the common law consistent.  Help keep our perspective on infrastructure.  Facilitate communication among the States and their people as a whole, these things a Federal Government can do.  I would suggest to you that central to all of these things is the People.  Whatsoever our government does, it should be in the most benefit to her people, to the support of the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness.  But what good is life, if we cannot enjoy it?  What good is liberty, if we cannot live it.  How can we have happiness if we are not healthy enough to pursue it?  People are the life’s blood of this country, the means be which everything is accomplished.  If our People are not healthy, how can our nation succeed?  We can educate ourselves, feed ourselves, defend ourselves- but only if we are healthy enough to do so.  In the past, collectively we have agreed that things like education, warfare, defense and trade are things we should spend our wealth on.  They are things that we considered integral to our nation, enough so to put into the Federal Government’s hands.  Why then, do we not consider our health such an asset, one worthy of our collective effort?  What else is worth fighting for if we don’t have our health?


A take on the healthcare plan

Economix had a fun tear down of the current plan put forth by the President and the GOP to replace the current ACA.  The author’s politics run counter to Trump’s and the far right, but he does a pretty good job of keeping it real from an economic standpoint.  He also points out that one of the big issues of repealing the ACA is how much of it was based on Republican ideas.  If you’re protesting your own ideas, your alternative options tend be even more limited and extreme.

One of the things he briefly touches on, but doesn’t really address, is that success is sometimes measured by how we failed less than previously.  Specifically I am speaking about the rise of costs and premiums, which continued to rise at rapid rates during the ACA, with many traditionally conservative states seeing the largest increases.  The success is that some of the increases were less than the increases seeing prior to the ACA.  That kind of measuring for success works in the short term, but if you’re measuring against a flood, either do something different or build a boat…
Another thing the author glosses over is the use of subsidies.  Although he points out that the Feds will subsidize the premium for the States, which he uses as an argument for why some states should have adopted the ACA, he ignores their premise for why they might have rejected it in the first place – It doesn’t matter whether the Federal government or the State government subsidizes the premium, it’s still a redistribution of wealth.  If you’re opposing the ACA, or any similar plan, because of your opposition to Taxation, any argument involving subsidies is going to fall flat.

Take the analysis for what it is, a visual breakdown of the shortcomings of the current and proposed plans, as well as a bit of insight as to why things might not be working as they could.  It’s a fun read and he lists his references, so if you disagree with a particular point, you can at least see what he based his argument on.

Super Tuesday

Well, that was interesting! I think it pretty much lined up as anticipated.  There weren’t any major surprises that I can think of, unless you’re a Republican that thinks the Donald is going down in the third round.

Bernie continues to show up against Hilary, but unless something radical occurs, will continue to lose in a 2-1 fashion.  I think the biggest thing here would be that Hilary and company should take a closer look at what their constituency likes about Bernie.  Voters and Democrats should be looking closer at the workings of the DNC and the delegate system- they aren’t looking out for our best interests.

The GOP is pretty much still in denial.  They are starting to take Trump seriously, launching more concerted attacks, but it’s pretty pathetic.  Mitt Romney’s comments rang especially hollow to me, and apparently had little effect on anything.  Taken together, it’s pretty clear that the GOP remains out of touch with a formidable portion of the voting public, and it’s pretty apparent they still do not recognize this fact.  Politics is not known for its deep introspective approach, in my opinion I’m pretty Hollywood is about the only entity less self-aware than the DC Pageantry that we have now.  It will be interesting to see how the American People and the GOP rearrange themselves after this election, and will any of it bleed over to the DNC, who could use a re-evaluation of their own.

Ah, Iowa.

Interesting night.  Trump lost, which I expected.  He reacted pretty much like I expected, too.  I think he’s probably jumped the shark at this point, but we will see.

Bernie put in a much stronger showing than I anticipated.  I was not paying close attention, but from what I recall, polls had him down a significant margin going into Iowa.  Clearly that was not the case.  This is a good thing, I think.  Bernie would not be the worst thing that could happen during this election cycle, I’m pretty definite that the worst would be Trump.  Unlike his competition, though, Bernie is long on ideas but short on details.  His ideas could be very disruptive to certain aspects of the American economy, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Single payer health care and free college could have tremendous benefits, but those are very entrenched entities that enjoy a lot of Federal money.  And the university system especially, won’t like the idea that they can no longer hold their students hostage to unforgivable debt for a significant portion of their lives.  As I said, disruptive, but somebody has to pay the bill and taxing the wealthy should never be the only answer.  Give me concrete details.

I don’t think Hilary anticipated feeling the Bern quite like she did.  I do not like Hilary, but I do not think she is incompetent.  She’s intelligent, fiercely competitive and politically dangerous.  On the world stage I believe she would more than capable, but she would not be liked like her husband was.  Bill was a shark wearing a smile and a clown nose, Hillary doesn’t bother with the nose.  That lack of affable charm may hurt her chances more than I anticipated.  At this point I still think she will take the nomination.

Rand Paul has dropped out.  I didn’t think he would do as poorly as he did, to be honest.  I was pretty hard on him.  As somebody who tried to position himself as a reformer, an alternative to a GOP that had lost their way, I found him too much the politician.  I do not believe that you can preach reform while operating on politics as usual.  Perhaps if he had gone Bernie’s route and tried to be more disruptive in his campaign he might have found a purchase, possibly even upsetting Trump.  Now we will not have the chance to find out.  I could see him being tapped for a possible Vice Presidency, though.  Him or Paul Ryan…

The Donald

I’m glad he’s running.  There, I said it.  Anyone that knows me will probably raise an eyebrow, or two, depending on whether they can do that Spock thing, or not, but hear me out.  We’ve been stuck in a political rut for quite awhile.  We have a basic two party system that hasn’t fundamentally changed in quite some time.  It’s been 20+ years since the last independent made much of a splash at the national level.  I miss that guy, big ears and all.  Similar to now, it’s a big personality guy who has enough money that he doesn’t have to beg for it in order to run a campaign.  Similar to now, you have a GOP that’s used to running on rails, same party platform, same old message.  Then, as now, you have a guy who says he doesn’t want to do things like they’ve always been done.  And, unlike Ralph Nader, or the Tea Party, he’s got enough personality and visibility to capture the attention of the mainstream.  And that’s where the easy similarities end.

You see, unlike the amicable Texan, I can’t stand Trump.   He’s not making noise for change, he’s making noise to make change- as in dollar bills.  It’s profitable to have media attention and Congressional connections.  As the saying goes, if you can’t beat him, join him, and you can bet that in the hearts of many GOP leaders, there’s a plan to make nice with Trump if he comes out on top.  Trump will be smiling like the cat who ate the canary.  But that’s not why I’m glad he’s running.  No, what I like about Trump running is this- He’s holding up a mirror for all of us to look into. Admittedly, it’s a bit hard since Trump’s head-and that hair!- is in the way, but there’s still plenty of room to see our reflection, and it isn’t pretty.  A guy who has little understanding of government administration, foreign policy and relations and no political experience, is leading the polls in the GOP race right now.  He has no problem being sexist, racist or fascist and a surprising amount of people don’t mind it, either.  He’s different than the others on the right.  Sure he’s conceited, a liar and a misogynist, but I said he was different.  He’s also brash, outspoken, and about as non-traditionally conservative as his opponents are run of the mill.  He’s everything they’re not, even if what he is, is poison.  And many of us like it.

So there’s that mirror again, and we’re staring into, seeing the Donald stare back.  How far have we fallen away from our leadership when we start to accept any port in the storm?  How badly has the GOP bungled things that their conservative members identify with the Tea Party and the more moderate members are eyeballing Trump with more than a little interest?  When the main point among the GOP candidates running for President as that they’re not Obama, there might be a serious identity crisis going on.  If the only way you can define yourself is by what you’re not, then how do you expect to lead and exhort others?  Now that the mirror is up and we’re seeing our fears, our frustrations, and all those little ugly bits being reflected, it may be a good time for some housecleaning and accounting – politically and spiritually speaking.

On a lighter note, do you know how you can tell the difference between a pinko commie socialist liberal in Congress and a Republican?  What they spend our money on.