Focus Groups Demonstrate Lack Of Understanding Of Government: A Danger To America’s Future

Various cable news channels have been organizing focus groups, usually consisting of 12-15 people in places such as Iowa and New Hampshire, the locales of the first caucus and primary in February 2016.

There is no claim that these focus groups are truly representative of how the mass citizenry feels, anymore than all of the many public opinion polls.

What does come out of these focus groups, however, is a general feeling of disgust with government; failure to understand how government works; and a desire to “throw the rascals out”, and replace them with people who have zero experience in running a government that is responsible to its citizenry.

In no other profession or field of work do we have people wanting totally inexperienced individuals to take over as total “rookies”, and gamble that they will know what they are doing, and adapt to the realities of domestic and foreign affairs.

This is an indication of the total lack of knowledge, experience, and reality of what it is to run a government that serves 320 million people, which is a very complex undertaking.

There is the myth, widespread and dangerous, that government can be run as a business; that one can be ignorant of the facts and the history of our country and other nations; and somehow those who come in to power without background can “wing” it through every issue and crisis that arises.

This is very dangerous, and the ignorance and over simplification of government and its responsibilities by a large number of the population is alarming.

We may not like to understand the truth that government must tax; that there is no “free ride”; that when one earns more income, he or she has a responsibility to pay more taxes; that government cannot always do what the people want, as often, they have no clue as to the complexities of domestic and foreign policy; that tough decisions must be made; and that experience and knowledge really do matter.

Instead, we have those who could be called demagogues, who appeal to the fears and insecurities of a population which too often thinks that these people with no experience and no understanding can create magic and solve all issues, but life is not that easy and simplified.

To believe that Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Dr. Benjamin Carson are qualified to lead our country means that those who promote this are totally deluded and living in a parallel universe.

The Age Issue In The Presidential Campaign

This blogger has discussed before the reality that we are likely to have the oldest President in American history being elected in the Presidential Election of 2016.

Only Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower were past 70 when President, with Ike only three months beyond 70 when he finished his time in the White House, while Reagan was just weeks short of 70 when elected, and almost 78 when he left office after two terms.  Of course, Reagan showed signs of mental decline in his second term, as his son Ron Jr testifies to, and there were many hints that there was concern of his staff and his wife about his ability to deal with the responsibilities, and efforts to “protect” and “shelter” him.

The point is that there is no question that anyone beyond the age of 70 is more likely to have a health crisis, such as a heart attack, a stroke, Alzheimer’s, or cancer, than someone under the age of 70.

Yes, we live in a time when many people continue to work full time, including Supreme Court Justices, US Senators and Congressmen, corporate leaders, media figures, actors and musicians, and average Americans.

And yes, many “senior citizens” work part time, some because they need to in an economic sense, and others because they wish to keep active and engaged.

No one is saying that people over 70 should be “farmed out to pasture”!  But the pressures of the Presidency are greater than any other job, and affect all of us in the country, unlike any other job.  And that makes it ever more important that the best possible Vice Presidential candidates are chosen, and that he or she be substantially younger than an elderly President, since the odds of a Presidential succession during a term of office is far greater statistically.

Also, we have not had a Presidential succession in 41 years since Richard Nixon resigned, and 52 years since a President died in office (John F. Kennedy), so we are fighting against the tides of history, and more so with a President over 70!

Marco Rubio On Barack Obama: Rubio Needs A Reality Check!

Marco Rubio said yesterday that it is NOT the lack of experience of Barack Obama that is at issue.

Rather, it is Obama’s viewpoints and policies.

So Marco Rubio thinks providing health care for all Americans is a bad idea, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks we cannot and should not do anything legislatively to deal with gun violence, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks it was a good thing to shut down the government, and create constant crises over the budget and debt limit, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks women have abortions for “fun” and “profit”, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks it is bad to have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks having an opening to Cuba is bad, even though Ronald Reagan dealt with the “evil empire”, the Soviet Union, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks dealing with Iran in any form is wrong, and it is better to go to war against Iran without first trying diplomatic methods to gain our goals, as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter,  and Ronald Reagan believed with China  and the Soviet Union, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks working toward dialogue with both Cuba and Iran is wrong, but Richard Nixon established diplomatic openings to China and Bill Clinton to Vietnam, the latter a generation after we lost 58,000 military personnel, heh?

These are just eight areas where Marco Rubio thinks Barack Obama is wrong, but reality is that Barack Obama is correct, and it is Marco Rubio who is out of touch with reality and has a need to broaden his horizons and understanding of what is really important in domestic and foreign policy!


The Dire Need For A Change In The Presidential Succession Act Of 1947

In 1947, the new Republican controlled 80th Congress, the first Congress to have both houses being Republican controlled since 1928, acted in revenge against the memory of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt by changing the Presidential Succession Act of 1886.

That law in 1886 made the succession to the Presidency to be the cabinet officers after the Vice President, including in order, the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Interior. The original law in 1792 made the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House next in line before the cabinet members, and after the Vice President.

This was changed to the present situation in 1947, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and then the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would succeed after the Vice President and before the cabinet officers.

This has  led to people in the line of succession who, much of the time, have been the opposition party to the President, as in 1947-1949 under President Harry Truman; 1955-1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; 1969-1974 under President Richard Nixon; 1974-1977 under President Gerald Ford; 1981-1987 in the House under President Ronald Reagan; 1987-1989 under President Ronald Reagan; 1989-1993 under President George H. W. Bush; 1995-2001 under President Bill Clinton; 2001-2003 in the Senate under President George W. Bush; 2007-2009 under President George W. Bush; and 2011-2017 under President Barack Obama.

This is not proper, to have the opposition party have the potential to take over the Presidency through having a Speaker of the House and/or a President Pro Tempore of the Senate of their party, rather than having the continuity of the administration though the cabinet members chosen by the President.

So 44 years between 1947 and 2017, out of a total number of 70 years, or just about two thirds of the time, the opposition party has been two heartbeats away from the Presidency, undermining continuity of government.

Also, just because someone is Speaker of the House (elected by one Congressional district) or President Pro Tempore of the Senate ( an often very old person in that position, elected from one state, who has longevity of service) does not make such a person qualified to be President, as much as a Secretary of State, Treasury, etc does!

So while it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, there really is a need to change the Presidential Succession Act back to the one passed and in effect from 1886-1947!

Once Donald Trump Starts To Lose In Actual Caucuses And Primaries, He Will Withdraw From Presidential Race

It is now clear that Donald Trump has been involved in a “lark”, regarding his Republican Presidential candidacy.

He has now told John Harwood of CNBC that once he starts to do poorly, he will get out of the race and go back to doing his business ventures, as he is not interested in losing causes.

It is clear that had public opinion polls NOT shown him to be leading, he would be out of the race already, and one has to wonder about the validity of these polls that keep on putting Trump, and fellow non government contenders Carly Fiorina and Dr. Benjamin Carson having a total of more than 50 percent combined.

Do Republican voters, even if disgusted with Congressional Republicans, and the Republican officeholder Presidential field, really want a”rookie” to run our government and deal with the world? Do they really want someone who is not used to negotiating with others, and just wants to be in charge to dictate, as is the case with Trump and Fiorina, to be their President?  The more one analyzes the situation, it is impossible to believe that any of the three “non officeholders” are going to survive the entire caucus-primary process and win enough popular support to have a majority of the delegates.

They are all protest votes, and none of the three have any real substance to their candidacies, and are just good at being a place to let steam off about the frustration felt by voters. This seems more of an opportunity to demonstrate disgust, but it is not a practical answer to put a non officeholder into the most complex and difficult job in the world!

Trump is going to discover that he cannot win the nomination, and has very high negative numbers, and that the polls are misleading.  So one can be assured that he will NOT be the GOP nominee for President of the United States!  Neither will Fiorina nor Carson prove able to withstand the pressures of the race and become the nominee.

What it will come down to, ultimately, is that one of the following three will be the Republican nominee, with the possibility that two of them will make up the Republican Presidential ticket: Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio.

The best bet is still a Kasich-Rubio ticket, but a possible backup of a Bush-Kasich ticket!

House Speaker Becomes A Race: Kevin McCarthy, Jason Chaffetz, Or Daniel Webster? YES, Daniel Webster (Not The Famous One)!

There is now developing a real race for who should be Speaker of the House, in the wake of the resignation of John Boehner.  It will make us miss Boehner, for all of the faults and shortcomings he possesses!

Present House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has flubbed badly in his comment on the House Benghazi Committee investigating the attack in Libya which led to the death of the ambassador and three others on September 11. 2011.  That committee has been in business longer than any special committee in the history of the United States, and is seen as a purely partisan venture. McCarthy made it clear that the committee was formed to weaken  Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, and now has tried to backtrack that statement, infuriating Jason Chaffetz of Utah, head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has decided to challenge McCarthy for the Speakership.

McCarthy comes across as incompetent and a poor candidate to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and his inability to use good judgment on what to say publicly, plus his lack of experience (only nine years), lack of accomplishments, and his use of words such as “Hungria” for the nation “Hungary”. and making up a new word for Hillary Clinton (untrustable) instead of “untrustworthy”, raises intelligent people’s eyes.

But Chaffetz himself, while better spoken, has only seven years in the House, two fewer than McCarthy, and he was a former Democrat, who actually campaigned for Democrat Michael Dukakis for President in 1988, before meeting former President Ronald Reagan in 1990, seemingly transforming his  life.

To top it off, Florida Congressman Daniel Webster from central Florida, a distant relation of the famous Massachusetts Senator of the same name before the Civil War, but no match for his ancestor, is also in the race, and is seen as a Tea Party candidate for the Speakership.

This whole embarrassment of the battle between McCarthy, Chaffetz, and Webster makes clear that the nation is in trouble, having to look at any of these three men as being two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it will make us wish John Boehner had not resigned.

And the job to make the House Republicans be united and responsible, with the Tea Party element of 40 or so members the balancing act, means tough times ahead for the GOP, and gives a glimmer of hope that the Democrats might, maybe, be able to squeak out a majority of seats in the 2016 elections, but considered highly unlikely!

Kevin McCarthy, Incompetent And Unqualified, Soon To Be Two Heartbeats From The Presidency!

There have been many complaints over the past five years about Speaker of the House John Boehner, from the far right, and from the left, but at least we knew that Boehner had 20-25 years experience and was at least, basically, competent.

Now, with Boehner’s resignation, we are soon to be stuck with California Congressman Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker, a man who admits that the Benghazi, Libya hearings were simply designed to weaken Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton, and that the doctored Planned Parenthood videos are a ploy to help promote the anti abortion movement, and uses a word that does not exist, that Hillary Clinton is “untrustable”! He also called the nation of Hungary “Hungria”!

McCarthy is seen as better than Tea Party rivals, who would love to take over the Speakership, but McCarthy, with the least experience in Congress of any Speaker in more than a century, a total of only nine years and no special accomplishments and only two bills passed (both perfunctory), is someone to be concerned about as being only two heartbeats away from the Presidency!

Kevin McCarthy can be compared to former Vice President Dan Quayle in his looks and lack of any sign of intellect, and also to Sarah Palin, who also was good looking but lacking the brain power to be close to the Presidency!

What is it about the GOP that they find “good looking” men and women, who have no brains or intellect, and are a sign of the worst among us, putting the nation into danger by being so close to the Presidency, as Quayle was for 4 years; as Palin could have been for eight years: and as McCarthy now seems to be for at least the next 14 months, if not more?

America deserves much better than this!

Jimmy Carter Reaches 91 Years Of Age: A Day To Celebrate!

Former President Jimmy Carter has reached today the age of 91, a day to celebrate this great human being and statesman!

Carter becomes the fourth President to reach the age of 91, joining the President before him, Gerald Ford, and the two Presidents after his time in office, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush!

Carter has become much more respected and admired, as he has set a record every day for the longest retirement of any President in American history, soon to be 35 years on January 20, 2016.

Many will call Carter a weak President, the worst President of modern times, but that is all right wing propaganda, and that of people who do not know of Jimmy Carter’s achievements in office, which are just starting to be appreciated.

By living so long and now battling against what is said to be terminal cancer, Carter adds to his stature as a statesman and a courageous battler against great odds.

Let us hope that he defies the odds and lives two and a half or more years, so that he can break the age longevity record of Gerald Ford, who outlived Ronald Reagan by 45 days.

New Revelation About Richard Nixon, Watergate, And Resignation!

The historian Douglas Brinkley has just published a new book, “The Nixon Tapes, 1973”, which reveal the details of the Watergate White House tapes, now all released after 40 years.

The point that is most noticeable is that Richard Nixon considered resigning, and said so to his White House Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, on May 25, 1973, almost 15 months before he actually resigned on August 9, 1974.

Had he done that, Vice President Spiro Agnew would have become President, just months before the revelation that he had engaged in illegal activities, including accepting cash bribes as Vice President.  That revelation in October 1973 led to his resignation, and his replacement by Gerald Ford, under the 25th Amendment, a very lucky break for the nation!

So history would have been transformed, with Nixon quitting, and possibly revelation of President Agnew as deserving of removal from office as well!

So Gerald Ford was a blessing, and Nixon’s thoughts of resigning but not doing so, transformed American history!

Joe Biden Is Most Popular Of All Presidential Candidates In Public Opinion Polls, So Advice To Joe Biden: “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”!

Vice President Joe Biden is still wrestling with the issue of whether he should enter the Democratic Presidential nomination battle for 2016.

While he is still mourning his son, Beau Biden’s, death, and mulling whether he should try for the Presidency for a third time, public opinion polls show that he is the most popular and trusted of all Presidential possibilities, and would defeat Republicans Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio in a one on one race.

Joe Biden is admired and loved by millions, and if he entered the race, while his record is not as liberal as Bernie Sanders, Biden would actually threaten Hillary Clinton’s support among minorities, particularly African Americans, in the crucial primary state of South Carolina and elsewhere.

Joe Biden is very personable, very charming very authentic, and is seen by many as the true heir of Barack Obama, and while the President is not likely to take sides publicly between Joe and Hillary, it seems clear that he prefers Joe as his successor.

The question remains if Joe will run, but with his son’s last words asking him to run; plus the public opinion polls being so positive; and with the old saying that applies: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” being appropriately applied, it makes sense that Biden try for the White House, his last chance.

Sure, he could lose, but if he does not run, he will, probably, regret it forever afterwards, that he had a chance, and let it escape.  Life does not guarantee success, but even if he lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, he would know that he had engaged in the “good fight”, and that would be better than to give up the chance to be our 45th President, with a record of more experience than ANY President in history–44 years of service to his nation in government!