Monday, September 26, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
EXPERIENCE DOESN’T MEAN COMPETENCE!
by Steve Fair
The first presidential debate was held on Monday. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off at Hofstra University with NBC anchor Lester Holt as moderator. The debate was divided into six 15-minute segments on three topics; Achieving Prosperity, The Direction of America, Securing America. Each candidate got two minutes to respond to each question. Here are my observations:
First, Holt was not a neutral moderator. At times, Lester was helping Hillary. He questioned Trump on his answers and at times argued with him. He never did that to Clinton. Trump wisely didn’t call out Holt because it would have looked like whining, but facts are facts; Holt is clearly a liberal who supports Hillary. The media’s support of the liberal agenda is well known, but it is irritating when they present themselves as neutral.
Second, Clinton didn’t perform badly at the debate. While she had a ‘blinking eye’ attack during one of Trump’s responses, overall she didn’t look like she was sick. She generally addressed the questions and was clear on her agenda; tax the rich, redistribution of wealth, take away private gun ownership, and neuter law enforcement. Even if you disagreed with Clinton’s answers, there was little doubt where she stood on the issues.
Third, Trump could have done better. That’s not to say he did poorly- he didn’t- but he should have taken the opportunity to attack her more on the Email scandal. Hillary has said she had no idea about modern computer technology and yet she claimed she would protect America from cyber-attacks. Trump gave her a pass. He also could have attacked her on Benghazi and it never came up. He never mentioned the Clinton foundation. It appeared he had a case of the sniffles and that was ironic since he has talked about Hillary’s coughing so much. He didn’t hit it out of the park, but he didn’t strike out either.
Fourth, once again race came up in a debate. Hillary tried to paint Trump as a racist, but fact is she has referred to African-American youth as ‘superpredators.’ Trump has made major gains with minorities because he has correctly pointed out the Democrat Party has done nothing for minorities. “They simply tell them all these great things they are going to do, but never do anything except see you in four years,” Trump said.
Fifth, Trump was gracious and didn’t attack her on a personal level. Clinton was nasty toward Donald, calling him a racist and a sexist. Trump said he thought about coming back at her, but chose not to when he looked and saw Chelsea in the audience. Hillary’s strategy to attack Trump on how he treats women is a risky one. Bill Clinton has been accused of sexual assault and has many mistresses in his background. Many believe that Hillary not only knew about Bill’s wandering eye, but approved of the serial philandering.
Trump actually did well in pointing out the NAFTA treaty has resulted in unfair trade practices with Mexico. He correctly pointed out that politicians most often fail to deliver on promises. He scored a body blow when he said that Clinton’s poor judgment is one of the reasons ISIS exists. He said she didn’t have the temperate or stimuli to be the POTUS. “She has experience, but its bad experience,” Trump concluded.
With a little more preparation, Trump could have mopped the floor with Clinton at the debate. He can ill afford to miss opportunities when he can speak directly to millions of voters and contrast himself with Clinton. She was clearly more prepared. Trump was like a poorly prepared superior football team that escapes with a win with a last minute field goal over a lesser opponent. Not many ‘swing’ voters were moved one way or the other. Trump must do better if he expects to win.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
PRESIDENTIAL RACE TIGHTENING UP!
by Steve Fair
The first of three presidential debates is on Monday the 26th at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. All three debates will run from 8-9:30 Central time. They will have one or two moderators, who will select all questions, which are not supposed to be known by either candidate prior to the debate. The second debate will be in St. Louis at Washington University on October 9th, and the final one will be in Las Vegas at UNLV on October 19th. The Vice Presidential debate will be on October 4th at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate the first debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper the second, and ABC’s Martha Raddatz and Fox News Sunday host Christ Wallace the final one. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson will not be on stage at the first debate because he failed to maintain a 15% polling average. He has vowed to work to be included at the second debate. There are rumors he and his running mate may drop out because they fear their presence might be hurting Clinton more than Trump. CNN commentator Carl Bernstein said on "Reliable Sources" that his sources indicate Weld is "thinking about dropping out of this race if it looks like he and Johnson might get Trump elected." Here is what Trump needs to do in the first debate:
First, he must convince voters he is presidential timber. He can’t just insult and entertain. He must convince and captivate. His recent public statements have shown the Donald more disciplined and more presidential, a definite improvement over his previous Don Rickles style of public speaking. One of his strengths is his ability to shrug off criticism publicly. Most candidates try to smile or be gracious when an opponent attacks their position on the issue at a debate. Not Trump. He makes faces and often upstages their attack with his body language. His response is one of relativity; it is equal to or greater than his attacker. He doesn’t play by traditional debate rules. His ‘in your face’ message and approach worked well in the primaries and it resonates with angry frustrated Americans. Clinton, on the other hand, did not do well in the Democrat debates. Sanders fired up the crowd and her delivery was flat and mundane. Second, he must convince voters he can do what he is promising to do. Trump has promised to build a wall on the southern border. While the POTUS has power, he can’t do that without the cooperation of Congress, the leadership in the states involved and of course Mexico. Public pressure can certainly move all of those involved, particularly the politicos, but Trump needs to provide details on how he will accomplish these claims. He has claimed he will put Americans back to work again by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. How will he do that? He needs to present a clear concise plan of how he will ‘make America great again.’ Third, he must convince voters he is the better choice of the two. Clinton has a lot of experience, but her track record of accomplishment has been spotty at best. Her political ideology is closer to President Obama than President Clinton. Bill Clinton, with all of his moral flaws, was a pragmatic elected official. He worked across the aisle and was the last president to balance the federal budget. In his last term, he governed more conservative than some Republicans. That will not be case with Hillary. She favors gun control, abortion on demand, same sex marriage and liberal social programs. She has stated she will appoint Justices on the Supreme Court with those same views.
Trump must convince Americans he isn’t just a ‘flash in the pan,’ who won the GOP nomination because voters are mad. He must convince the masses he is the real deal. He needs to act more like Ronald Reagan than Ronald McDonald.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
BASKET OF DEPLORABLES?
by Steve Fair
On Friday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a fundraiser: "To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it." Clinton made the comments before introducing Barbra Streisand at an LGBT fundraiser in downtown New York. where it was estimated Clinton raised over $6 million dollars. On Saturday, she apologized for the comment saying she regretted saying that ‘half’ of Trump’s supporters were deplorable. “That was wrong,” Clinton said.
Trump came out quickly and condemned Clinton’s remarks stating that while Clinton’s supporters might never vote for him, he ‘respected’ them. He said Clinton’s remarks showed a ‘shameful level of disrespect' for millions of hard working Americans. Even liberal news outlets said Clinton’s comments were inappropriate, which is probably what prompted her to apologize.
Webster defines deplorable as: a person or object deserving of strong condemnation, shockingly bad in quality. People or objects that are deplorable are not worthy of consideration. If someone looks at someone else as deplorable, they are not likely to work with them, communicate with them, interact with them or respect them. Evidently in Clinton’s world, anyone who honestly disagrees with her position on same sex marriage, abortion, and gun rights is deplorable. Clinton’s comments reveal how all too many political types- Ds and Rs- view anyone who doesn’t support their campaign; they are misguided deplorable people whose views and opinions must be ignored for the furtherance of their agenda. America has become a very politically polarized country. Elected officials, at all levels, brag about ignoring those who supported their opponent, even if they are a constituent. That is deplorable! When a person is elected to a position, they should equally represent every constituent, regardless of whether that person voted for them or not. They may not agree with the position of everyone they represent, but they should be respectful and recognize the American form of government allows for the right to disagree. You have to at least appreciate the honesty in Clinton’s remarks. She truly will not represent those who agree with Trump on the issues.
Last week, I spoke to a civic club about the presidential race. During the Q&A session, I was asked how America got in the current situation; out of control government spending, growing government, and elected officials- on both sides of the aisle- ignoring the citizens? The short answer is because less than 5% of Americans are paying attention to their government. The vast majority of voters base their voting decision on the propaganda sent out by candidates, not on the issues. The best candidate doesn’t always win- the best organized or best marketer wins. The amount of money in politics has grown exponentially in the past twenty years. A candidate could run for Congress and mount a competitive campaign for $200,000 in 1996, but now it costs millions. A huge industry of political consulting has exploded in growth in recent years. Their goal is to tell the voter what they want to hear so the voter will pull the lever for their client. Until the general population takes equity in their government, we can expect more of the same.Being an informed voter takes work. It means showing up at political Party meetings and listening to elected officials explain their votes and holding them accountable. If a person does that, you could risk being branded a deplorable person. Change will only happen when the average citizen truly comes to the point they believe that getting involved in their government is important to them and is critical for their kids and grandkids future. Has that time come for you?
Monday, September 5, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
VOTE SMART- VET CANDIDATES!
by Steve Fair
Let the sprint begin! Most voters don’t really start paying attention to the November election until after Labor Day. In the next 60 days, the intensity level will increase in politics- candidates and campaigns will become more visible, and mailboxes will start to fill up with campaign material. Just some suggestions when vetting candidates:
First, all candidates tell you their strengths, but not their weaknesses. You will see words like experience, leadership, character, integrity, honesty, reliability, and accessibility on campaign literature. The one attribute most candidates’ check at the door is humility. Being honest, reliable, and having experience are important, but knowledge of the duties of the position, the issues, and why they are running for office are far more important than positive attributes. Most voters are fed up with their government. A recent NY Times poll found that over 50% of Americans are disappointed with their elected officials. In a self-governed system of government, we only have ourselves to blame. Until voters vet their candidates, the blame lies with the voters. Unfortunately, the most qualified person frequently doesn’t win- it’s the candidate with the best marketing plan, but until the general population gets engaged in their government- and stays engaged- we can expect more of the same. Buy a bigger mailbox.
Second, ask candidates tough questions and hold them accountable. No matter what some elected officials believe, the position they hold belongs to the public- it is not theirs. They are public servants- they work for the people. Any candidate or elected official unwilling to answer a tough question or who lacks the temperament to handle criticism is unfit for office. Candidates and elected officials shouldn’t publically spar with constituents. They should be respectful and be willing to justify their position on an issue. To do otherwise defines them as unfit. As Harry Truman said, “If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”
Third, a candidate’s worldview will guide their decision making process. A worldview comprises one's collection of presuppositions, convictions and values from which a person tries to understand and make sense out of the world and life. A worldview is how a candidate consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything they believe and by which they will interpret and judge reality. How a candidate views the fundamental nature of man is critical. If they believe that man, by nature, is born with an inherent sin nature, they will govern differently than someone who believes man is born with a spark of divinity. If an elected official presupposes that truth is not absolute, but relative, they will make decisions far different from those with a definitive truth worldview.
Candidates spend their money and resources to ‘define’ themselves in the voter’s mind. It’s the meticulous, thorough voter’s job to cut through the fluff and determine how a candidate will perform as an elected official. Will they govern consistent with your values? Can they handle pressure? Do they have a proper temperament? Can they handle criticism? Do they believe that truth is absolute? What guides their decision making process? Don’t vote solely on personality or likeability. Vote Smart- vet the candidates.
Candidates and elected officials come and go, but our government goes on. One of the most disappointing things is when former elected officials ‘drop out’ when they leave office. That simply sends the message that it was all about them and not about the cause. As Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”