Monday night was one of those amazing times when there was nothing but political events to watch unfold. From the Democratic battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton or the Republican brawl for votes there was no way not to have computers and televisions on while getting as many parts of the continuing story coming in as possible. And this was just the first state to create election year frenzy!
This morning I was very taken by two of the newspapers that are published in New York City as they give Donald Trump all the respect he deserves. I am delighted the voters of Iowa proved that retail politics is indeed the way things need to be done, and also as we mine into the data today it will also most likely be shown that the anti-women language and low-brow and mean-spirited nature of the man is not a sale-maker. Therefore let us not only rejoice in the actions of the voters in Iowa regarding Trump but also smirk heartily over the headlines in these papers.
I have watched politics for decades and never have I heard of such a crazy move as that which has taken place tonight in the Ben Carson campaign.
While credible candidates are flying the red-eye special to New Hampshire to launch a frantic week of speeches and stumping for votes Carson is heading home to get a change of clothes. His campaign announced that he will leave Iowa and head to Florida to get some clean clothes.
More likely after the drubbing this limp-brained candidate made in Iowa he is taking his stained undies back for a wash and bleaching. There is no plausible path for him to have anything short of a political implosion in New Hampshire should be stay in the race. His lack of foreign policy expertise and his shortage of common sense about domestic policy makes him great fodder for the late night shows, but a poor choice for even the most lame-brained conservative.
It is time for Carson to strap his cart to another money making horse–the American public is not interested in paying him for elective office.
I have long thought evangelicals are easily bought and maneuvered by the Republican Party. That is not to say anything about their issues, just that they are easy to twist about politically—and the GOP has done that over and over. But never before in the decades of my watching politics unfold have I witnessed such an easy score—if what we are hearing at the start of the caucuses—come true with Trump who is so not a Bible-thumper. He will have these people speaking in tongues before this ends. Most folks at least get a kiss….
I wanted my readers to be reminded–though it is a few days past the anniversary–of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.
On January 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. That day was one we all recall where we were, and what we did. At the radio station where I was working, WDOR, it was a non-stop days of news and information that included what I think was the best speech ever given by President Ronald Reagan. There was not a dry eye at the station that evening as he delivered his text.
On board the shuttle was physicist Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African American to enter space. But first, he was a kid with big dreams in Lake City, South Carolina. I want my readers to watch this and take it to heart. I also want to thank Solly for alerting me to this video.
This weekend I received the last email from an organization that I have followed and been a part of for a very long time.
Within living memory, gay people in America were a despised, oppressed minority. Same-sex couples’ love was scorned, summarily rejected by enormous swaths of the country, feared, deemed “immoral” and “pathological,” and made illegal. The notion of same-sex couples lawfully marrying was unthinkable – and early pioneers who bravely stepped forward to claim the freedom to marry were met with derision and venom.
From the dawn of the modern LGBT movement, in the immediate aftermath of Stonewall in 1969, same-sex couples in several states filed legal challenges seeking the freedom to marry. Courts of Appeals in Washington and Kentucky dismissed cases, with the Kentucky judge writing, “What they propose is not a marriage.” In Colorado an American was forced to choose between his country and the love of his life, an Australian man, when their legal request for a spousal visa was denied by the Immigration & Naturalization Service which literally wrote, on government letterhead: “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.” And in 1972, a Minnesota couple took their attempt to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which summarily turned down the case “for want of a substantial federal question.”
Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has been talking about an idea that he considers one of merit. Rubio thinks it a wise idea to support a constitutional convention aimed at limiting the powers of the federal government.
Make no mistake about it–opening the U.S. Constitution–for an update after 229 years with amendments–would be a most dangerous idea. While this idea is certainly not a new one it is clear to the sober-minded what could happen if such a plan were ever to actually take place.
The so-called Convention of States relies on Article V of the Constitution, which requires two-thirds of the states to approve resolutions seeking a convention. Those who harbor such sentiments say they are pushing for legislation in 34 states this year, including such presidential battleground states as Iowa and South Carolina.
Rubio has not been shy about his desire for such a move, but we need to be mindful he is also pursuing any issue that will allow him leverage in his race for the party nomination.
The Florida senator said, “One of the things I’m going to do on my first day is office is I will put the prestige and power of the presidency behind a constitutional convention of the states. You know why? Because that is the only way that we are ever going to get term limits on members of Congress or the judiciary and that is the only way we are ever going to get a balanced-budget amendment.”
Some history on this matter might be in considered–and given the lack of civics mindedness in the nation–perhaps a whole college course should be in order. It might be noted that one of areas of history that commands a fair amount of my bookshelves deals with this time period. So with that a bit of background.
The Founders who drafted the Constitution were a most serious and deliberative gathering of men. They were well read, educated. It is not too far a reach to call them erudite. They were most private in their work and never once leaked any information to the public prior to the conclusion of the final document. It has been noted that once a member simply took some notes to his supper table at a public place and was severely admonished for such an action. Given the tech world we live in, the harsh array of special interest money, the highly pitched nature of our populace, and the very targeted partisan reasons for calling such a convention are just a few reasons as to why this idea is wrong.
It might also be noted many historians, (and I call out James MacGregor Burns in The Vineyard of Liberty as just one of the fantastic writers on this topic), have written much regarding how the original framers met to revamp the Articles of Confederation. Historical evidence proves that the more able men at that time knew there was no way to worm around the Articles and a whole new approach to government would need to be established.
In others words one could make a convincing argument that the Founders were indeed part of a ‘run-a-convention’. I would certainly echo the need at that time for the understanding about a strong central government being required to create and maintain a nation. But there is no group of people from the current political environment who I would want opening and revising our constitution. No group of people today rises to the level of competence and deep regard for the well-being of the nation as those men did in 1787. There is no way to make sure that a second ‘run-a-way’ convention did not occur. No one can say with certainty the Koch brothers would not attempt a political coup of words.
The Founders were not saints. Far from it. They were as shrill and deceitful in some cases, and caring and promising in others as the current lot of shakers and movers in our political class. But they were working under the unknown promise at that time of whether a nation could be created and if then if they had the reasoning to make one endure if it were given a chance. These were men of high ideals who thought and read and pondered.
When John Adams left from Braintree, Massachusetts for the meeting that would result in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, as noted by David McCullough in John Adams, the future president packed a book by Cicero. To read for pleasure and knowledge. This type of reading was considered essential if one was to truly contemplate the issue of the ages with other learned men.
That snippet demonstrates the quality of the men who fashioned our beginnings. We simply do not have enough people of that gravity and sense of high purpose that should be allowed to re-open our Constitution.
Rubio has every right to latch himself to any conservative branch he can in order to elevate his candidacy. But he can not–must not–drag the nation apart or in pieces to get his prize. This idea of a new convention has been around for a long time but has always been soundly rejected.
May that forever be the case.
It is now Caucus Day and within just a few hours from this posting the doors in Iowa will open and the voters will start to have their say. There is no shortage of great articles and commentary from the pundits, such as this snippet from Stuart Rothenberg.
Why are these older candidates showing strength now? The survey data don’t give us a clear, definitive answer, but they suggest at least some preliminary, very tentative conclusions.
Sanders’ emphasis on fairness and equality resonates with idealists on the left, particularly the young, who feel left out and powerless, as well as those progressives looking to blame someone or something (banks, corporations and the wealthy) for their condition. And the Vermont Democrat is seen as honest and caring. Apparently to younger voters, those attributes are more important than his age.
Clinton’s appeal is more traditional. She is a liberal and a woman, but one who understands the system and can make it work. She has experience, which seems a more valuable attribute to older voters than to the young, who are looking for a messiah to follow.
O’Malley, on the other hand, has never looked like the genuine article. He comes off as the creation of a consulting team – or possibly his own political calculation of how he should appear to contrast himself with Clinton. His words are progressive, certainly, but he seems to be trying way too hard. His age contrast with Clinton and Sanders apparently is not enough to attract much support.
On the GOP side, Trump’s appeal is that of a strongman. He is the guy who can deal with every challenge, solve every problem and answer every question. Just have faith in him. Some voters like that, and in Trump they have a leader – even if the wealthy businessman rarely talks specifics.
While Cruz’s appeal is ideological and Rubio’s is more about the combination of ideology, pragmatism and electability, Trump’s is purely personal. Just ask him. We will see if, over the long run, that personal appeal is enough to get him the GOP nomination.