Monday, November 28, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
Our System of Government Worked!
by Steve Fair
In a Washington Post op/ed Mehdi Hasan declared the American political system ‘broken.’(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2016/11/25/the-american-political-system-is-broken/?utm_term=.2aa47fea2014) Hasan is a British journalist and author who works for Al Jazeera, a media network owned by the government of Qatar. Al Jazeera is perceived to have mainly Islamist perspectives in their reporting, promoting the Muslim Brotherhood and having an anti-Western slant. While Hasan’s opinion should be dismissed as irrelevant and nonsensical, much of what he addresses is the same rhetoric being pushed by Democrat leaders.
Hasan’s cites several reasons America’s system of government is broke- chief among them the ’archaic U.S. electoral college.’ He points out that Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton and that just isn’t fair. In the Brit’s mind, the person who wins the popular vote should be president. Would liberals be as outraged if the reverse was true? Certainly not and everyone knows that. Just like every sore loser in a competitive contest, the rules were unfair (even though you knew the rules going in), the refs were bias, the other team cheated etc.,etc.,etc. It’s never about your bad performance or the good performance of your opponent. If you didn't win, you had to be cheated!
Hasan also cites the amount of money in American’s political system as one of the reasons the system is broke. Welcome to a capitalist society, Mehdi. In America, if someone wants to spend their entire fortune pushing their ideology (George Soros, Charles Koch), they have the right to do so. It’s the job of the educated voter to discern where candidates are getting their funding. Follow the money! There is too much money in politics because not enough people are paying attention to politics. Big donors are buying races and politicians, but the answer isn’t taking away the right of the big donor to be engaged- the answer is to get the average citizen constantly engaged in the process.
Hasan says that America has less voter turnout than other developed countries. That is often true and the primary reason is that people don’t believe their vote makes a difference. They see inconsistency between what a candidate promises and what they actually do in office. If citizens would educate themselves on the issues and would ‘do politics’ more than every two years, it would dilute the influences of special interest in our government
Hasan says Republicans try to suppress the minority vote and gerrymander districts to their benefit. Republicans do support having voters provide a photo ID to vote in an election. That seems to be reasonable and logical. Only those that plan to cheat would oppose that. You can’t cash a check without ID, so why should you be allowed to cast a vote without ID? That is not suppressing the vote- that is simply insuring those who vote are who they say they are. As to gerrymandering, it has been around as long as government and the GOP don’t have a monopoly on it. I ran for Oklahoma State Senate in 2000 against a Democrat incumbent and lost. In 2001, when re-redistricting for State Senate districts took place, the Democrat leadership drew me out of the district. The incumbent, who was termed out and couldn’t run again, gleefully declared my political future was dead. I didn’t complain or call foul because I understood that elections have consequences and the Party in power gets to draw district lines. Is that unfair to the citizens? Perhaps, but that is all the more reason for citizens to stay engaged.
Is our system of government broken? Donald Trump’s victory over establishment candidates actually proves just the opposite. When an ‘outsider’ can run and win over career politicians who are better funded and more politically astute, it means our system of self-government is working, not broken. When unemployed and underemployed Americans turn out in record numbers to vote for a political outsider, it proves the people are sick of their dysfunctional, disconnected government.
What is broken is the hearts of the liberal socialists in America. They lost an election they believe they shouldn’t have, but instead of laying the blame where it belongs; at the feet of Hillary Clinton, they blame the system. The system, while not perfect, worked.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
TRUMP’S APPOINTEES QUALIFIED!
by Steve Fair
President-elect Trump has started to fill key cabinet and White House positions. Thus far, he has designated Alabama US Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Lt. General Mike Flynn as National Security Advisor(which does not require Senate confirmation), and Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. Those come on the heels of his appointing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus White House Chief of Staff, and Steve Bannon, his campaign manager, to be his chief strategist and senior counselor in the White House.
When Trump announced his picks, he was immediately criticized by the right and left. The left leaning New York Times called his picks, “embarrassing” and Republicans on the right said the picks are too ‘establishment.’ Just who are these people and are they qualified for the position? Here is a quick bio on each of the appointments thus far:
First, Senator Jeff Sessions, Attorney General-designate: He is an Eagle Scout, a former U.S. Attorney and Alabama Attorney General. Sessions, 69, was elected to the United States Senate in 1996, where he is considered to be most of the most conservative members in the chamber. Sessions is a fierce advocate for securing America’s borders and opposes illegal immigration. He has three children and six grandchildren and lives in Mobile, Alabama.
Second, Lt. General Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor: He is a Rhode Island native and a registered Democrat. He retired from the Army in 2014, after 33 years of service. At the time Flynn was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He says he was forced out because he wouldn’t stop criticizing the Obama administration’s laissez-faire policy toward Islamic terrorism. Flynn, 57, wrote a book saying he believes the United States is more at threat now from Islamic terrorism than prior to the 9/11 attacks. He has been widely criticized for making a speech in Russia where Vladimir Putin was in attendance and Flynn was seated at his table. He has expressed conflicting positions on abortion. He is married to his high school sweetheart.
Third, Congressman Mike Pompeo, CIA Director- designate: Pompeo, 52, graduated first in his class from West Point and then went to Harvard and got his law degree. He was editor of the Law Review at Harvard. He served in the military five years. He started and sold an aerospace company and was President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company, prior to being elected to Congress. Pompeo is considered to be one of the most conservative members of the House. He is pro-life, strong on the second amendment and opposes the Affordable Care Act. He and his wife have one child.
Fourth, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff: Priebus, 44, has served as Chair of the RNC since January 2011. He went to the University of Wisconsin for his undergraduate and the University of Miami for his law degree. Priebus served as the Chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party and General Counsel for the Republican National Committee prior to being elected Chair of the RNC. He is strongly pro-life. He and his wife, Sally, have two children. Priebus is Greek Orthodox.
Fifth, Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist: Bannon served as CEO of the Trump campaign. He got his undergrad from Virginia Tech, his MBA from Harvard, and a Masters in National Security from Georgetown. Bannon, 63, served in the Navy for seven years, and then went into investment banking, where he was quite successful. He negotiated a piece of the Seinfield series as part of his commission- not bad. He also was a producer in Hollywood. Bannon, who is divorced, has been married three times and has three children.
Trump’s appointees are more than qualified. They have the education and experience to do the job assigned. Critics of the appointments should understand one simple fact; Trump won the election and elections have consequences. Just as the country moved to the left when Obama was elected in 2008, it will likely lurch a little to the right under Trump. Trump’s first hurdle in governing will be getting his appointments confirmed. Will the Senate GOP caucus hold and approve? We shall see.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
TRUMP ELECTED IN UPSET!
by Steve Fair
Donald Trump is President-elect. Winning five states that Romney lost in 2012, Trump finished with 307 electoral votes (270 are needed to win) to Hillary Clinton’s 228. It appears that Clinton may win the popular vote, but that is not definite until all the votes are counted (that takes a couple of weeks). If that happens, this will be the second time in modern history and the fifth time in American history where the president won the majority of the electoral vote, but lost the popular vote. It happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. In the last three, the Republican candidate won the presidency with less popular vote than the Democrat, but a majority of the electoral vote. Immediately Democrats and some misguided Republicans called for the abolishment of the Electoral College. Expect the issue to come up again in the Oklahoma legislature by some clueless lawmaker who slept through civics class and doesn’t understand the genius of the Electoral College. Let’s turn to how Trump won.
First, he tapped into the disgust and anger the American people have with the political class. He won five states that Republicans haven’t won in 20 plus years. He understood what James Carville famously said in 1992; “it’s the economy stupid.” Trump was elected by people who have been affected by the expansion of regulations on business and industry. They are either unemployed or under-employed. Manufacturing has fled the upper Midwest, with Detroit losing nearly one third of their population in just the last decade. Normally, the union vote overwhelmingly goes to the Democrat, but not this year. Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing back to America resonated with the blue collar union members and Hillary was viewed as continuing Obama’s policies, which have decimated Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio jobs. Clinton should have listened to the Ragin Cajun(Carville).
Second, Trump made the election about two things: Clinton’s lack of trust and Obama’s failed policies. Clinton had a major creditability gap and even her supporters admit she had trust issues with voters. Trump promised during the campaign he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the email scandal and Benghazi. Most likely, he will have to follow through, but I seriously doubt Hillary will serve time. Trump also did a masterful job of pointing out the failure of Obama’s policies. The timing of the announcement of 40% plus price increases in premiums didn’t hurt too much either. Obama’s war on coal and other fossil fuel has cost Americans money and jobs. His foreign policy (or lack thereof) have cost American lives.
Third, he got his vote out. By relying on the Republican National Committee’s ground troops, Trump was able to concentrate his campaign’s efforts on big rallies and inspiring people to get involved in the political process that had never darkened the door of a voting booth. That was why the pollsters got it wrong; they were not talking to the previously unengaged voter. Trump’s supporters were people who were on the voter rolls, but seldom if ever voted. Obama tapped into that same mentality in 2008. Trump’s campaign had energy, a necessary component in most successful campaigns. Conversely, Clinton didn’t inspire her supporters and it is apparent some stayed home and didn’t vote at all.
Fourth, Trump sold his message that he is the outsider. That is an undisputed fact- Trump is not a politico. The last time American elected a non-political type to the presidency was in 1952- 64 years ago- when Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower won in a landslide over Illinois U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson. Unlike Trump, Eisenhower was known to Americans because of his leadership in the military. Trump was known as a reality television star, but he convinced Americans to try something different than the political class to lead the country.
Is America a center right country? A center left? The political junkies, on both sides, will ‘spin’ the election results to support their pre-determined conclusion, but the fact is that America is a polarized, divided country. Trump won’t unite the country and if he rolls back some of Obama’s giveaway policies, there will be weeping and wailing, especially from those who are on the government dole. America is far from being great again, but perhaps there is hope if Trump keeps his campaign promises.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Weekly Opinion Editorial
And the Winner is…..
by Steve Fair
Due to printing deadlines, this column is being written before the general election results are known. As you read this, more than likely, America chose a new president and thousands more elected officials yesterday, but be not dismayed- God has this.
Like every election cycle, when it is over, the political analysis begins. Political consultants and Party leaders start pouring over voter data analyzing trends, turnout, demographics, and dozens of other factors. That information will be used to affect future campaign strategy. Political operatives enjoy the post mortem as much as a campaign. Some observations about the 2016 election cycle:
Neither of the two candidates for POTUS- Clinton or Trump- were without flaws. None of us are. Every human is born with an inherent sin nature- we got it from Adam. Any righteousness we have has to come from Christ after we are regenerated. In the case of Clinton and Trump, neither appears to manifest the ‘fruit of the spirit’ that Paul says believers produce after regeneration so in spite of what some well meaning Christian politicos want to believe, the next four years will likely not produce a spiritual revival in America spurred by the moral example in the White House. The best Christians can hope for is a president who will allow the pure gospel to be preached without restriction in our country. If that happens, God will take care of the rest.
Whoever won yesterday inherited a total mess- record unemployment, skyrocketing healthcare costs, mounting national debt, and disunity. In spite of what they said on the campaign trail, neither Trump nor Clinton can fix it without the cooperation and help of Congress and the American people. Our system of government is one of checks and balances. The executive branch can propose legislation, but Congress deposes it. Time will tell if the new POTUS will be part of the solution or the problem.
2016 has been the most polarizing campaign cycle in modern history. Insults and personal attacks happen in every cycle, but the incredible number hurled this year boggles the mind. Donald Trump deserves his share of credit for that, but while the Donald was always on the attack, he was also the most attacked candidate in modern history. The Democrats, the media and even his own Party joined arms against the political outsider, attacking his message and his delivery. To his credit, instead of backing down, he doubled down. Because of that, Trump likely has changed political campaign strategy forever. When something works, others emulate it. Trump’s true ‘straight talk’ approach to politics has appeal to the average Joe. In coming elections, expect candidates, at all levels, to begin to be embolden and candid with voters. That is a positive development in politics. Americans are tired of politicians who tip toe around tough questions and issues and try to tell voters what they want to hear. Trump’s style, while at times offensive and crude, has a candor and boldness that is refreshing.
This was also a campaign with ‘precedents.’ Never has the FBI announced two weeks before the general election they were investigating a presidential candidate. Most would have said that a candidate under federal investigation wouldn’t have chance to win, but the FBI pulled yet another surprise- another unprecedented action. On Sunday, FBI Director Comey sent a letter to Congress ‘clearing’ Secretary Clinton of wrong doing in the email scandal. Never in its history has the FBI so quickly ‘cleared’ a target in an investigation. Normal FBI investigation is methodical, slow, through, and is never rushed. The agency is routinely criticized for their lack of speed in investigations. Both of these actions by the FBI were unprecedented.
The fact is no matter who won the election yesterday, they are not the true winner. If you believe the bible, it is clear who controls this old world- a holy, sovereign God. Nothing happens that He doesn’t have a hand in. Daniel wrote that He sets up and brings down kings(and presidents). That can be frustrating for politicos. They like to think they control their own destiny and arrogantly point to their hard work and superior campaigning skills when they win. While its obvious that God uses human instrumentality to accomplish His will, rest assured He is going to come out on top.