Monday, October 10, 2016


Weekly Opinion Editorial
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by Steve Fair

    The second presidential debate was held Sunday in St. Louis.  With the backdrop of the mass distribution of a 2005 tape of Trump making lewd and vulgar comments about women and the Donald holding a news conference immediately before the debate featuring three women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault, the stage was set for a lively town hall event.  Trump, like him or not, doesn’t fold under pressure.  From the beginning, he was on the attack and didn’t back down.    Many of the questions were ‘character’ questions and it was laughable to hear Clinton present herself as being ‘morally superior’ to Trump.  Clinton attacked him on his temperament and discipline, but even his harshest critics have to admit Trump stood his ground.  If you peel back the sideshow banter and the emotion driven questions, there actually were some questions posed that revealed striking differences in policy between the two.   Let’s look at those in order of importance:
     First, a lady named Beth Miller asked the candidates what type of judge they would appoint to the Supreme Court.  Clinton said she would appoint judges who ‘really understand how the world works.’  She mentioned voting rights, Roe vs. Wade, same sex marriage, and campaign finance reform as issues where she said the current court had ‘went in the wrong direction.’  Clinton never mentioned the Constitution.  Trump said he would appoint judges who are in the vein of Justice Scalia.  He said they would have to respect the Constitution and specifically mentioned protection of the second amendment.   This question revealed the difference on what the two candidates believe is the function of the SCOTUS.  Clinton believes the Constitution is not to be interpreted from a literal viewpoint.  Trump believes, like Scalia, the founding document is the basis of our rule of law and the job of the SCOTUS is to interpret each case based on a literal view.  This was the most striking difference of the night between the two candidates.
     Second, there were several questions on the Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care.  Clinton said she would fix it by saving what works and tweaking what doesn’t.  Trump said he would repeal it.  Clinton’s solution to fix Obama Care would require more investment of taxpayer money/more government.  Trump favors a market driven health care system/less government.  Vastly different approach in policy.
     Third, there was a lengthy debate on the Syrian civil war.  Clinton wrongly stated she wasn’t the SOS when President Obama made his ‘line in the sand’ speech regarding Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s aggression.  The fact is, Clinton was still in the position six months after the speech.  Clinton maintains the Russians are keeping Assad in power and the US should work with our allies on the ground to get Assad out of power.  Trump said that Assad and Russia were fighting ISIS and that Clinton had no idea who the rebels are.  The fact is US backed fighters are fighting US backed fighters in Syrian.  The foreign policy of the Obama administration is a joke.  Trump, who disagreed with his running mate’s call for military action against Assad, was right- Hillary Clinton has been on the wrong side of foreign policy for thirty years.  One of the most pressing issues the new POTUS will face will be the Syrian war.  The two candidates approach to the situation greatly differ.
     Fourth, a man named Ken Bone, in a bright red sweater, who has become an Internet sensation, asked about America’s energy policy.  Clinton said she was for all types of energy, saying that natural gas could be a bridge to renewable energy.  She accused China of illegally importing steel to the US and Trump buying it to build his buildings.  She said that climate change was a real problem.   Her solutions were more regulations and more government.   Trump said the EPA was killed the energy sector and the Obama administration’s policies had hurt the coal industry.  Their approach to US energy policy would be different- Trump would be more market driven, Clinton favors more regulations and government mandates..
      There were questions about using religion as criteria for immigration policy, taxing the wealthy, Clinton’s ‘deplorable’ comment, Trump’s 2am Miss Universe tweet, race relations, and Clinton’s Wall Street speeches.  Trump brought up Clinton’s E-mail scandal and chastised the moderators for not doing so, which had the pair sheepishly hanging their heads.  This certainly wasn’t a conventional debate, but it did reveal clear differences between the candidates in the direction they want America to go. Yogi Berra famously said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  In a month, voters decide which fork to take

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