CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

Newsmakers

ARCHIVE - FEBRUARY 2016

Issues, News & Views

Who will be the
2016 candidates
for President of
the United States?


Republicans


DONALD TRUMP??

Donald Trump has come out
of nowhere and stolen the
show. He seems to have
captured the zeitgeist, the
spirit of the times. Can it last?



Who, from among this
strong, diverse field , will
emerge victorious to return
the GOP to the White
House?

COMPETITORS
With the inept Obama
Administration in its final
days, one would have
expected that experienced
governors with a record
of accomplishment would
dominate the Race 2 Replace
but outsiders and novices
Trump, Carson and Fiorina
are in the hunt! Seasoned
executives for sure, but
not the ones the beltway
had in mind!


Democrats


BERNIE SANDERS??

The creaky, rusty Clinton
machine grinds slowly
onward, wayward, relying
solely on muscle memory
for movement. Will
Democrats suddenly rise
from their slumber to the
realization she cannot win a
General Election?



Is Hillary a foregone
conclusion, or will
someone else swoop in and
steal the show?


COMPETITORS
Folks on the right can barely
contain their joy at the
prospect of a Clinton
candidacy. Shouldn't that
give pause to the Democrats?
Biden and Warren are both
better candidates and better
Democrats than Clinton, but
aren't even in the race. And
then there are O'Malley and
Sanders, again, both better
Democrats and better
candidates. Yet the Dems
seem intent on following
Clinton in a lemming-like
charge over the cliff.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN CARSON - "C'mon, Man!"

2016/02/05 - Suppose you were running for President - where would you spend the night of the Iowa caucuses? The answer is pretty simple: either you have already given up on Iowa and you're in New Hampshire preparing for the following morning's pancake breakfast in Conway; or you'll be flying the red eye from your "victory party" to get to New Hampshire in time for tomorrow morning's pancake breakfast in Dublin.

And then there's Ben Carson. He announced that he was going to Florida, he was packing his bags.

Packing? Florida?

And that set off a chain reaction. CNN put out the story, and the Cruz campaign dutifully did what they're supposed to do when your closest competitor announces they're closing shop: you go after their customers - hard.

Except it turns out Carson wasn't actually quitting - he was literally going to Florida, to literally repack his literal suitcase. Literally.

This begs a lot of questions about the Carson campaign. If you want to skip #2 New Hampshire, shouldn't your next stop be #3 South Carolina? Where's the sense of urgency? Why Florida? Are you even serious? Florida?

And to pack a suitcase? Would that be the best use of your time? One would have thought a uniquely skilled neurosurgeon would have a better sense of time management - doesn't he have staff / a spouse / adult children who can do that for him? Anyone can pack a suitcase; only Ben Carson is Ben Carson. And for that matter, is Florida the best place to scoop provisions for surviving a New Hampshire February?

Naturally Carson's incomprehensible decisions and perplexing messaging led to confusion, that the Carson campaign was winding down. So, to get himself off the hook, he is blaming George W. Bush. Well, actually, no, he is blaming Ted Cruz. Yes, seriously, according to Carson, this imagined victimhood of his is all Ted Cruz' fault.

Carson has subsequently attacked Cruz, accusing him of dirty tricks, rather than taking personal responsibility for creating a muddled mess in the first place. Obviously the Buck doesn't stop with Ben.

Carson demanded an apology from Cruz, who graciously obliged when none was due, but the supposedly Christian Carson has shown no inclination to forgive. Instead Carson has continued defaming Cruz. Bad on Ben.

In reality, it is Carson who owes an apology, quite a few in fact...

First, Carson owes multiple apologies to his supporters for running a lousy campaign; for failing to display skills necessary to be President; for a foolish decision to go to Florida; for poor time management by failing to delegate packing a suitcase; and confusing messaging about plans and strategies.

Second, Carson owes an apology to Cruz for continuing his personal and mean-spirited attacks even after receiving a public (and unnecessary) apology from Cruz.

Third, Carson owes an apology to his supporters for implying they are so gullible.

Think of it in terms of a multiple choice: Suppose you are a supporter of "X" and an operative of "Y" tells you that X has dropped out because of some scandal. Your reaction is...
• a) Tell him he's full of it;
• b) Seek verification from X people such as friends, campaign staff;
• c) Look it up on your smart phone - you do have a smartphone, don't you?
• d) All of the above; or
• e) Vote for Y.
The first three answers are tolerable but the correct answer is the fourth; the last answer is obviously the wrong one. Yet picking answer e) is exactly the stupidity Carson is accusing his followers of. Time for an apology, Ben.

Even worse, in the end Carson out-performed his polling so it is not clear that the confusion Carson caused ultimately had any impact at all. So what is he even complaining about? Is he even the slightest bit ready for what the Democrats are waiting to unload on him?

We had at times been intrigued by Carson's candidacy. But this episode calls into question his basic political intincts, and his ability to withstand adversity in a non-clinical environment without getting flustered. Also, it casts him as self-absorbed, petty and petulent. And worst of all, we observe the emergence of that divisive destructive victimhood mentality.

And then there's the manipulative Donald Trump. Trump has taken the opportunity to launch unfounded hostile attacks (of course) on his closest rival Cruz, and pick sides with poor Carson, who apparently can't fight his own battles, in order to mop up what's left of Carson's dwindling support.

Meanwhile the seemingly unserious Carson putters about in Florida packing suitcases...




Analysis


February 16, 2016 - Today marks the 212th anniversary of United States Navy Lt. Stephen Decatur Jr.'s valorous raid on the captured USS Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor.

No less an authority than the British naval hero Horatio Nelson called it the "most daring act of the age."

Our Continental Navy was disbanded after the Revolutionary War. But in 1794 Congress found it necessary to recreate the Navy - because of Islamic terrorism!

Islamic terrorism is nothing new. The United States of America has been victimized by the terror that is Islam for as long as there has been a United States of America, because Islam is a religion of terror.




February 13, 2016 - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, a month short of his 80th birthday.

Appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan, Justice Scalia was a truly great American, a hero to those of us who believe in the Constitution.

Scalia's passing is nothing short of a national disaster.


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