Friday, December 18, 2015

Electoral Circuses

Christie's Folly

There's a certain sadness in watching the current circuses endemic to the U.S. electoral process—the whole mess, not just the ridiculous “debates,” which are not debates but just extensions of campaigns, with the networks turning them into profit. Ten people jawing at each other while moderators throw out gotcha questions and bask in the update of their resumes might be good entertainment for some but not me.

I check in for a few minutes (the preview debates are better) and then read or hear about them, admittedly from biased souls who make their living being biased souls spewing their conclusions as to the readiness (or the opposite) of the candidates for public office. The flamboyance factor plays well now, though facts often get in the way. Those lacking flamboyance (most of them) wax eloquent and serious but are so disagreed on solutions that one wonders if the nation will remain as leaderless as it is now...if that could be possible.

The process stinks. The primary campaign period should last no more than two months at most, with the final campaign for top spot confined to six weeks. The nation should not be put through two years of often acrimonious name-calling and opinions formed as responses to polls while candidates already holding office neglect their sworn duties for most of that period. Before the day of state-of-the-art communications time was needed. Now, the opposite is true, but with candidates in living-rooms ad nauseam anyway.

The many republican candidates are using the debates as 15-minutes-of-fame stuff, acting juvenile at best, as idiots at worst. N.J. Governor Christie said the other night that the U.S. should declare a no-fly zone over Syria, tell the Russians its location (Syria that hard to find?) and then shoot down any Russian plane therein. That's idiocy enhanced by a total lack of military knowledge, and other candidates have said the same thing.

What pilot knows his EXACT location when he's traveling at better than 600 mph? By the time he looks at his GPS coordinate, he's not there any longer. Christie's cockamamie remark points to the glaring weakness among all the candidates, to wit, no military experience, just like Obama, who nevertheless is smart enough not to put U.S. troops in significant numbers into a Vietnam situation, fighting not to win but to “contain.” Ohio Governor Kasich reckoned that the U.S. (surely not he) should punch Putin in the nose—playground mentality on parade. Egad!

What these wannabes fail to understand (except for Rand Paul and maybe Trump) is that the U.S. is not running the ISIS operation anymore, if it ever was. The Russians and Iranians have taken it over and Obama is a bystander. Putin knows about Afghanistan vs. the Soviets of the 1980s and if he wants to renew that debacle, let him have at it. Ayatollah Khameini is determined that Shiites kill as many Sunnis as possible, so let him have at it. Why pour U.S. bodies and treasure into that hopeless morass?

On the other side stands Sanders, Clinton and O'Malley, the first mentioned a self-confirmed, hard-core socialist whose greatest ambition is to confiscate 90% of the income of the wealthiest and give it to the rest, not bypassing that sacred middle class, presumably, that everyone keeps whining about. Clinton's greatest claim to fame (or infamy) is that she's the highest profile liar to crop up in American politics in decades. O'Malley is a bystander in it for the ride. None of them would know the difference between a salute and an obscene gesture.

Candidates keep insisting that the downfall of ISIS will protect the U.S. and therefore must be done, on the ground if nobody else offers. This is nonsense. Every agency from the FBI to the CIA to all the Homeland Security gangs are responsible for that job whether ISIS lives or dies or, most likely, re-starts if necessary in Libya. The key currently is absolutely barring entry into the U.S. of anyone from the Middle East or North Africa or who has traveled there recently. That's also a way of saying no Muslims, whose religion demands the deaths of infidels like American citizens.

One wonders if the nation can survive its electoral process, not to mention the results of such a flawed mishmash of lunacy.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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