Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A rant about the election...

I'm kind of getting sick of how this election is playing out. It seems lately that there has been nothing but a negative stream of articles and posts about how Donald Trump is the devil and how he's the next Hitler an all that nonsense. That would have been inevitable no matter who the GOP front runner was, but what is annoying me is that nobody else is getting pounded on the same issues. I don't really have a problem with people vetting the candidates, indeed, it's a good thing. But right now only one candidate is getting vetted. I'm just going to point out what some of the problems I have with the other candidates in the race. I'm going to do all four non-Trump candidates, and for fairness sake, I will include Trump as well. 

Keep in mind this is more of a rant then an actual argument. I won't pretend that my objections are universal ones, but I really do think that we need to do a better job with vetting the other presidential candidates. This is my take on it, having followed the election closely since last summer.

John Kasich:
Sure, he's a "nice guy", but I think he is going to get us all killed. Kasich is a neocon who seems to think that Russia is the biggest threat. To the point where he actually implied that he would shoot down Russian planes if they violated a proposed no-fly zone in Syria. That is just insane to me because that kind of situation could start World War III, a war that I probably wouldn't survive. He also wants to arm Ukrainians to fight the Russians and their rebel allies as well. Again, this could start World War III.

So no, I don't think Kasich is a "nice guy". Nice guys don't get us into wars with Russia for dubious reasons. Overthrowing the Syrian government or making sure the Ukrainians hold on to their breakaway provinces is not worth fighting Russia. Almost nothing is worth that. And that's a huge downside to Kasich that nobody is talking about. 

Also, I think that Kasich's motives for staying into the race are not good. He's up to something and I think there are two scenarios that could be playing out, both of which rub me the wrong way. First, he could be angling for Trump's VP slot. It's unlikely given how different they are on policy, but given that he is hitting Ted Cruz and ignoring Trump, it's possible. He hasn't attacked Trump all that much, and by staying in the race he is hurting Ted Cruz. Though I would rather have Trump win then Cruz, I also think that it should be up to the voters to decide who the candidate should be. And with Kasich in the race, the voters have to put up with a false candidate that has no chance of winning, even in a brokered convention.

That's the other possibility and if you have been reading my election posts at all lately, you know that  I hate the idea of a brokered convention. If Kasich isn't aiming for Trump's VP slot, and I don't think he is, then the only thing he is in the race for is to prevent anyone from winning the primary elections outright. That's dirty pool as far as I am concerned and neither scenario shows me that Kasich actually cares about democracy at all. 

Bernie Sanders:
Guy's a communist. Sure. he's better then Clinton, but his whole platform is basically steal from the rich to give to the poor. As a student of history I have seen how that works out and it isn't good. I'd rather not just punish everyone who is rich just to give it to people who don't deserve it. That doesn't mean that rich people are all good, but to listen to Sanders you would think that they are all sacrificing babies to Moloch or something. I could never vote for someone as far to the left as Sanders. 

And I really don't think free college is a good thing. Indeed, too many people go to college right now. They never tell you about it but so many people drop out of college, and not just because they can't afford it. There are a lot of people that just aren't smart enough to go to college. I saw plenty of them when I was in school, and a lot of them ended up dropping out. If we let everyone get into college for free, then everyone is going to go and a lot of those people are just not going to be able to hack it. So that either means that we chop the standards up so bad that only the very worst of the worst can't pass, so a college degree is useless, or we fail at educating millions of people and waste billions of dollars that would be better spent elsewhere.

Bernie Sanders is also an one trick pony. All he talks about is income disparity, as if that is the only problem that is happening right now. Though I didn't watch as many Democratic debates compared to the GOP ones, I did watch a few of them and whenever the topic of foreign policy came up he just seemed lost. When a question about Afghanistan came up, Sanders seemed like he didn't remember that we were still involved in a war there. And that is not the only time I noticed when Sanders seemed lost, he just doesn't seem to understand foreign policy at all. When he does speak about it, it's mostly like his response to the ISIS attack in Brussels yesterday. "We need more tolerance and understanding to the people trying to kill us". Give me a break! 

Ted Cruz:
This is a tough one because I actually agree with Ted Cruz on policy more then anyone else. But where I disagree I really disagree. He's a strong Evangelical, and I am... well... not. He's very passionate about abortion, an issue I don't care about at all, and he was involved in the plot to shut down the government, which backfired horribly. He's so extreme on those issues that I can't see him working with the Democrats at all on anything. Though I am no fan of the Democrats, we at least need to be able to work with them.

But that would be easy enough to overlook if he wasn't just so sleazy. I still haven't forgiven him for what he did to Ben Carson in Iowa. His people told Carson's supporters that he was dropping out and that they should vote for Cruz instead. That cost Carson a ton of votes and may have given Cruz the election. And this isn't the only sleazy thing he has done. From robocalls claiming Trump had dropped out and a voter scorecard sheet that looked more like an attempt at intimidation, Cruz has done some seriously shady crap in this campaign. 

And I really don't like how he, the former maverick anti-establishment hero, is cozening up to the #nevertrump crowd. I mean he was just endorsed by Jeb "everything that's wrong the the GOP" Bush for crying out loud! It makes me think that he will give in to the establishment on issues like immigration and foreign policy, which would otherwise be a strength for him. 

Hillary Clinton:
Here's the short list:
-The entire Libyan war
-Her push to attack Syria (which Obama, to his credit, turned down)
-The e-mail scandal
-Her opposition to gun rights
-Everything I said about Kasich causing World War III, only without the guns that Kasich would let us keep to fight off the mutants in the nuclear wasteland afterwards
-Bill Clinton is at the very least a sexual harasser and is a likely rapist too, and Hillary Clinton has supported and enabled him for years. 

I could go on and on with Hillary, but right now nobody is attacking her for her various ethical issues. She's legitimately a bad person, even ignoring the policy issues I have with her. There is no way that she should even be allowed to be president. 

Donald Trump:
I'm going to utterly ignore all the usual criticisms because none of them matter to me. At all. But I will say that I do have some serious policy differences with Trump. First of all, he is totally wrong on the NSA issue. I am extremely uncomfortable with the government spying on me. Trump will probably use these powers to spy on suspected terrorists, but what about the person after Trump? It wouldn't be that hard for the next President after him to abuse the power. For example, targeting Trump's own supporters for "radical" beliefs, such as gun ownership or disliking Barack Obama... 

I'm also somewhat concerned that he could change his mind on certain issues. He has done it before. Though I think he is smart enough to not betray his current beliefs about, for example, gun rights, what would happen if he ends up a lame duck like Barack Obama? If he changes his mind then and starts to move to the center on that issue, then I'm screwed out of my rights. I don't think he will, but I think I trust Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and John Kasich a bit more when it comes to not flip flopping. Of course compared to Clinton, Trump's a bastion of consistency...

I also don't think all of his policy goals would actually work. The great wall of Trump is a good shovel ready jobs program and a gigantic middle finger to the rest of the world, which makes it worth doing in my opinion, but on the other hand, it won't stop all illegal immigration. Remember, a lot of people here illegally are people who had their visas run out while they are already in the country! And it does nothing to protect our northern border with Canada or our various ports of entry. 

Same thing with torture. I don't think it is morally wrong to torture someone if the stakes are high enough. I just don't think it works all that well. It's not a great way to gather intelligence and if it doesn't work, given how unpopular it is, we shouldn't really do it. 

Well, that's my rant. It's not as thought out as some of my other posts but I was just frustrated this morning because people are treating Donald Trump as the second coming of Hitler when the truth is that none of the candidates are all that good. In my humble opinion, Trumps the best of a bad bunch, which isn't saying much. I'll probably hold my nose and vote for him, but my discomfort with him isn't for the reasons the media is pushing. 

Of course there is never a perfect candidate. Back when my favorite candidate was still running, Rand Paul, I could have probably wrote a bullet point list where I disagreed with him as well. It's just frustrating to me that only Donald Trump is getting vetted right now. Sure, he deserves to be and there is a ton to discuss with him. I'm just afraid that everyone is so focused on him that they won't realize the downsides of the other candidates. 

I would recommend to everyone that they take a critical look at the candidates they are supporting. The Trump people are excused since the media is going 24/7 on his flaws, real and perceived, but right now everyone else needs to take a look at their candidates as well. I don't expect people to agree with me on my criticisms, obviously, but if you look at your candidates positions and histories, and watch how they act, then you may find something you don't like. The media is supposed to do that job for you but right now they are only doing it for one candidate... 

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