Wednesday November 25 , 2015
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Taking a Stand

Yesterday, I publicly endorsed Rick Santorum for President of the United States.  Anytime a "public" figure endorses a candidate, that person opens him- or herself up to criticism and second-guessing.  I have already had friend and nonfriends alike let me know their feelings, but I made my decision to endorse because of my conscience.  I think it important to let people know how one feels about certain topics, particularly when those topics are of interest to many.  Senator Santorum may not win the nomination, but he comes closest to meeting the criteria I outlined for our next leader.  Regardless of the outcome, he would be far superior to the person who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right now.

Last week, I posted my assessment of the Sioux City debate on here and on my facebook page.  The rage of Ron Paul backers has been palpable, though I do not clearly understand why.  I think his ideas on fiscal matters are nearly the same as mine.  However, his worldview and his notions on foreign policy leave me cold.  I made that assessment because I know a little bit about foreign affairs and his views are not coincident with mine in any way.

I do not mind aggressive disagreement, but those who post should have the decency to at least keep ad hominem attacks out of the dialogue.  They should also have the courage to at least some identifying data on their facebook pages.  Also, there is clearly an orchestrated effort to find then attack those who disagree with Dr. Paul.  The idea that I would get facebook posts from people all over the country tells me that talk show hosts are identified, placed under electronic surveillance, then aggressively confronted when anything is posted that runs contrary to their views.  These are the tactics of the left, not the right, in this country, so one has to wonder exactly what the dominant demographic might be for those who ascribe to Dr. Pauls views.

As best I can tell, most of the people who are support Congressman Paul are male, white, under 35, little education beyond high school, marginally employed and feeling put upon by a government they think has failed them.  On this final point, i quite agree.  To me, there seems to be little difference between these young people and those who are part of the #occupy movement.  The demographic is the same, and it seems many of the grievances are similar.  At the base seems to be a virulent anti-war mentality that fits nicely into the Paul worldview.

As the presidential race proceeds, we should remind ourselves from time to time who is backing whom.  The supporter may say as much about the candidate as it might about the positions the candidate takes.  I find it fascinating and will continue to enjoy the lively exchanges I have had over the past few days.  Know one thing, however.  No amount of threatening, bullying, insulting or spamming is going to suppress my continuing expression of opinion.


What a Night

I can say without qualification that last night's Republican Presidentail debate in the Sioux City Convention Center was one of the greatest happenings with which I have been associated.  Char and I enjoyed great seats, so we got to see all the movers and shakers up close and personal.  Lots of interesting dynamics in the crowd but the real show was on stage, of course.

Three candidates did very well, three did great and one disqualified himself from serious consideration as a person in whom we might trust the security of this nation.  More on that later.

Huntsman, Bachmann and Perry did very well.  This was perhaps the best performance we have seen from either Bachmann or Perry.  Both were sharp, articulate and had some topics upon which they were able to distinguish themselves from the others.  Good for them.  Gingrich, Romney and Santorum were absolutely marvelous.  Newt had to withstand a withering cross-fire during the first 45 minutes of the event, but withstand he did.  Romney showed a lot of leadership last night be taking the high ground and reminding everyone that the real purpose of running for president was the defeat of Barack Hussein Obama.  Santorum, when he got the chance to speak, was as confident, relaxed and as focused as I have ever seen him.  "This guy could be president" is what I heard a lot as we worked our way out of the event.  Good for all of them.

The one person who did severe damage to his campaign was Ron Paul.  I suspect that among his rabid followers, he will see even greater strength, but this man's world view is dangerous to this nation and the world.  No one could come to the conclusions he has about the security of this nation rationally or with any thought.  His positions on national security are reckless, uninformed and more compatible with a world one might have found 100 years ago.  His ever-increasingly bizarre pronouncements denying world events would be entertaining if he were not running for President.  As a candidate, he scares me to death.

I made some pretty strong statments on the radio this morning about Dr. Paul, and as expected, I have started to receive attacks that are typical of the run of the mill Paul supporter.  Screaming at the top of your lungs does not make someone right, just hoarse.  Ron Paul may well represent his constituents in Texas well, but one must energize the political process to assure he does no harm as president.


The Debate Tonight

The eyes of America and the world will be on Fox News and Sioux City, IA, tonight.  This is a big deal for our region and community as we hope those who are objectively viewing the Presidential Debate at our convention center will sense the passion and intensity of voters in Iowa and the Plains.  The ground is still shifting here with about 10% still undecided and fully a third "leaning" one way or another but not commited to anyone.  Next week, a lot of that is going to change, but we may not know until January 3 how things might shake out.  Rather than the conventional wisdom that Iowa launches campaigns, we will likely see as many as five candidates do well enough to keep in the fray for at least the next two primaries.  This is all good.

I have begun to settle on someone, though I am not quite ready to announce who that might be.  However, I can tell you who I will not be supporting.  That list seems to get a little longer each week.  Let me be clear, though, that whoever gets the nomination will have this pitbull of a campaigner doing all I can to help out.

I will not be able to support Jon Huntsman in the caucus.  He has not been to Iowa to campaign and he worked for Obama.  Both of those are reasons to drop him off my list.  I will not support Mitt Romney in the caucus.  He is too comfortable with big government.  I will not support Rick Perry in the caucus.  He may be a good governor in Texas, but he cannot deliver on some of the comments he is making in his ads.  A governor cannot create a path to citizenship, and the President cannot cut Congressional pay, limit the time Congress meets or repeal the healthcare bill without Congress offering him a bill that allows that.

There is one candidate that I think makes me uneasy, and that is Ron Paul.  I honestly believe that Congressman Paul's foreign policy and national defense positions are dangerous and, in the long run, will make America less secure.  I worry this because my children are in the military and I worry a Commander in Chief who thinks as Paul does would embolden our enemies.  We would have to fight too many battles on our own turf.  Congress Paul's approach would erode our strategic depth, thus allowing our enemies to get much closer to the nation before they strike.

Another factor that concerns me about Congressman Paul is his desire to do away with the Federal Reserve system.  As flawed as this system may be, a national banking system and an independent agency to monitor our financial system is necessary in today's economy.  I have not heard any solutions out of Congressman Paul that make any sense economically.  Ron Paul is not a conservative by any stretch, so I cannot support him at all in the caucus process.

The two most conservative candidates in the field are Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.  The smartest candidate is Newt Gingrich.  I am a conservative before I am a republican.

Keep in mind that all the people on the stage tonight would be far better than the person currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District.  For that, we can be eternally grateful.  More later in the next few days.


Anonymous Conservatives

We are rapidly approaching the Iowa Caucuses and the race is starting to crystalize around three or four candidates that are to be taken very seriously.  Iowa will contribute to, but will not pick, who the next candidate will be for the Republican Party.  The field is strong and as usual the main stream media is doing all it can to pidgeon hole candidates and then villify them so that the rest of the unconscious world will get the impression that Republicans are the racist, homophobic, uncaring and dumb people they portray.  Of course, the Main Stream Media is exactly wrong about most Republicans.  We can deal with the media and the polemic slinging ideologues on the left.  Because those elements are predictable, we can manage.  What has me upset, however, are the groups and individuals in Iowa who attack Republican candidates anonymously.  If you are going to write a letter about someone who is running for president, at least have the courage to do so in the open.  Anonymous letters indicate a lack of conviction, and more telling, a lack of integrity and courage.  Hard to take these kinds of things seriously.

From where most of these attacks have eminated seems to be the religious right in Iowa.  These individuals and groups, focused heavily on social issues, have attacked candidates--and those who might support them--with a viciousness that belies their supposed Christianity.  How can people who adhere to a religion based on love and forgiveness be so hateful in their attacks?  How is it that people who are supposed to be living a life that should serve as an example to others behave in such a way that no parent would look to that behavior as a model for any child being raised in a Christian home?

Politics is a dirty business anymore, and things don't get any easier when people are attacked anonymously.  Herman Cain was brought down by anonymous sources, which is bad enough.  Now, in Iowa, we have people who do not have the courage to enter the fray publicly piling disdain on people who have clearly changed their lives and are living better lives--more Christian lives than those who attack them.  If one is going to say something bad about a candidate, have the courage to say in public and to their faces. 


Finishing the Term

In a couple of weeks, we will be able to put another semester on the shelf.  Like most terms in which I have taught, I have learned a great deal.  I had to teach a math class this term, and I have not taught math in a long time.  As the term went on, though, I get better and the students seemed to do better, as well.  Funny how that works.  To finally get success, one must be flexible enough to make changes and adjustments that will accommodate as many students as possible without losing track of the fact the course is necessarily difficult.  Above all, one must not lower standards and one must constantly seek excellence is all that is done--by the professor, the students and the college.

There are many parallels when one examines a presidential administration.  In my lifetime, I have been able to watch a host of presidents come into office, adjust to changing circumstances, and in most cases, were reasonably successful because they never lost sight of the high standards Americans expect from our leaders.  Similarly, in my lifetime, I have witnessed two administrations that have revealed fatal weaknesses in that they could not adjust, would not adjust, would not recognize the exceptionality of America and subsequently left the nation in much worse condition than existed when they came to power.  Those administrations are eerily similar in personality and outcomes.  Carter and Obama will forever be linked as abject, total failures.

Carter was an intelligent man.  He was reported to have had the highest IQ of any president to ever hold the office.  Unfortunately, he was a terrible administrator.  He surrounded himself with horribly inept people and was so sure he was right about things that he would not heed any advice from anyone.  As the country slipped further and further into recession, he blamed the American people for the malaise in which we found ourselves.  He, of course, never took responsibility for any of the trouble we were having.  He still has not acknowledge his problems today.

Barack Obama is evern worse, if that is possible.  He is not very intelligent.  He is narcissistic and arrogant.  He is operating in a fantasy world of his own making.  He has surrounded himself with people as dumb and ideological as he is.  He cannot help himself and thus he cannot help us.  Hopefully, we can get rid of him in 2013.

Remember that it took us nearly 10 years to recover fully from Carter.  It may take a generation to fix what Obama has done to us.  In order to fix things, however, we must have the will to get things back to a more traditional founding.  Let's hope we can find the will to do so. 


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