Donald Trump continues to hold a lead in the Republican primary race, and although it is very early to put much credibility into those polls, I have seen some troubling things from The Donald. His rhetoric, while unrefined and brusque, resonates with a certain audience. Both Donald Trump, and Barack Obama, are ideologues – despite claiming to share different visions – they share many other similarities.
Both men seek issues that infuriate their bases, Obama with healthcare and class differences, and Trump with immigration and the country’s international slipping as a world power. Both men can rely on a rabid response when mentioning these things, and both know how their supporters will respond to any criticism of either man’s stance. The president, currying favor, says forget the rules, forget Constitutional checks and balances – I will do it myself. There is no stopping my attempts to help people. Trump says walls and free trade will be his methods – all to protect the American workers. This is Marketing 101 – 20th century despots and dictators all did this to great effect. Identify a problem, and set yourself up as the sole bastion against that threat. “Only I, with your support, can protect you, Americans,” the politician promises.
Having not been victimized enough once (whether actual or perceived), the aggrieved are again made victims by slick talk. While it may feel reassuring that, for once, someone has your back, there is a tacit belief that the “victims” cannot save themselves. This may lead to a perpetual system of victimization, saving, failure of saviors, and re-victimization all over again. With different causes, and different promises – all ending in the same manner. While it is great for politicians, it is a hellish quagmire for the populace that they suppose to lead.
Both men sell their solutions as being beneficial-only. The cost to the victims? Negligible when considering the worst case scenario (and, it is always a worst case scenario that we face) . Unintended consequences are merely unforeseen and unfortunate results. The Affordable Care Act came with higher costs to consumers, who Obama promised cuts in their premiums, and to access to care, due to doctors refusing to treat Medicare patients, and due to early retiring doctors. If Trump were to engage in a massive immigrant deportation project (attempting to force 11 million illegal immigrants to return to their homeland) – where would the funding for that originate? Which agencies would be tasked with conducting such a huge operation? It is not hard to imagine an over-budget scheme that deports illegal immigrants, only to see them return before any completed walls rise on the southern borders.
Both men seek to surround themselves with loyal lieutenants, willing to both support their man, or fall onto a sword for them, if necessary. Obama’s stalling and faulting supporters have names like: Jarrett, Holder, and Clinton. Trump’s while lesser known, have been with him for decades as he has built his empire. Might they stay within that business sphere, or can we expect to see them rewarded by a Trump presidency? (Bloomberg had a great report on Trump, and how his loyal associates have been long-time business associates and underlings) While such loyalty is admirable, the Obama administration reminds us how much associates can cover and stall for their boss.
Both men talk tough when it comes to their plans – Obama’s talk, when followed by action, promised to be short-sighted and very expensive. Trump’s tough talk sounds very similar, and his temperament can be expected to lead him to take actions, whether he has Constitutional support or not. Both men set themselves up as speakers for the masses, and for certain aggrieved classes. We have seen more than six years of results from Obama – do we really want to risk another decade of it, because it is “our guy”?
I had not intended to write another post, surely not another so soon, about Rick Santorum, and I felt as though I covered my concerns about him in a previous post. It turns out, over the span of the last week or so, he has done things that again made my ears perk up, and forced me to do research, confirming that I had heard the things I had actually heard. Again, my worries seem to have been proven true, and the things I thought (and hoped) had to be media stretching the truth, were confirmed…
Most Recent Missteps
On a recent Sunday morning media shows, gearing up for a double primary today, in Michigan and Arizona, Rick Santorum knew he had to try to rebound from his poor performance in the last debate in Arizona. If I were him, I think I would have stressed the reasons I was the fitter candidate, and why my decision-making skills were the best among the candidates. However, Santorum seems to have given his opponents on the right and the left plenty to think about. In a time when people balked at the notion that the President has given an order to American religious groups, that they must provide contraceptives to employees, Rick Santorum said President Kennedy’s remarks about the separation of church and state made him “want to throw-up”. My main concern is that if a leader can give a directive from a secular stance, to religious groups (and we all think that is an overreach), then why would it be better that a religious-oriented leader give a directive to secular groups? This seems to be what Santorum is endorsing when he rejects Kennedy’s assurances to Baptist leaders in the 1960 election. While I would not go as far as Chris Matthews, and call Santorum a “theocrat,” I do worry that either playing to more religious voters, or dragging this election to a more social-issue oriented election, is tantamount to throwing away the biggest electoral-weapon the GOP has – the ECONOMY! They should be taking the economy, and how Obama has thrown away money, time after time, and ride that horse to death. Rely on winning back the Senate, and making it more conservative, to then legislate more socially conservative issues to send to the Republican president.
The second concern that I have with recent Santorum remarks, is that he was against the open-primary system. While he was in Minnesota, he criticized permitting Democrats to vote in open, Republican, primaries. The CNN article below, mentions that there was a good chance his criticism was a result of Mitt Romney’s winning the New Hampshire primary. Santorum went so far as to suggest that anyone voting against their party affiliation, should just go ahead and switch parties.
“We want the activists of the party, the people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party to have a say in who our nominee is as opposed to a bunch of people who don’t even identify themselves as Republicans picking our nominee,” Santorum told voters on the call held January 29. “I don’t like that. I believe that states should only allow Republicans to vote in Republican primaries.” (via CNN)
Once he began to show some life in a close Michigan race, and various liberal sources began to throw around the idea of a leftwing version of Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos,” he suddenly changed his attitude. He then began to support robo-calls to try to get all the support from whatever places that he could – even those Democrats that he crititized in Minnesota. This is unfortunate, and it puts me in mind of the “Father of Flip-Flopping,” John Kerry. (Now do not send me comments – I am NOT calling Rick Santorum, John Kerry – but Kerry is so inextricably bound to the “flip-flop,” whenever I see it, I think of him, so sue me…) What I am suggesting is that it is possible that other voters make the same connection, and it turns them completely off.
I fear that losing Arizona and Michigan on the 28th may force Santorum into a more desperate position, and I wonder what different issues he may begin to adopt and endorse, to try to salvage his campaign. While I do hope he stays active in the race (no matter the outcome), and afterward keeps conservative social issues in the news, I do not think that now is the time for doing so.