My Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Race
The 2016 Candidates (and my sound bites)
Note: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are discussed in Part 3
Mike Huckabee – I just don’t want an evangelical (sorry guys) in the White House and no entertainers. (Yes, Ronald Reagan was an entertainer but went on to be the governor of California and wasn’t an entertainer for a very long time) Huckabee is a likeable guy, he’s clever, was an OK governor and pretty plain spoken but is really an evangelical preacher. His life appears to be one of moral absolutes. Sorry, I don’t like to be preached to and our country doesn’t need this either. He has a nice little TV show but doesn’t have the gravitas to be a president for eight years, even four. I think perhaps he would bring too much folksiness and (perhaps) religion into our government. He is successful right now doing his thing. He doesn’t need to be President. He can keep being a talking head or TV host. He’s good at that. He entertains me but I don’t want to be entertained.
Ted Cruz is pretty much too religious for me as well. It seems awhile back he held a huge religious event in Texas but forgot to invite anyone except evangelicals; no Jews, no Catholics, no Protestants, and no Baptists, no atheists, no agnostics, nobody else. I’m not religious but this seems totally out of character for a Christian. Isn’t he supposed to be all-inclusive? He failed, in my mind. Why would a senator have this kind of event anyway? It appears that he puts religion ahead of his job as a U.S. Senator. What the hell?
He’s a very smart guy apparently but I can’t agree with his positions on much. I think he over-promises on nearly every issue that comes up. For example, he contends that he would cancel Obamacare on his first day in office. That’s ridiculous. We’ve tried that. Furthermore, I wouldn’t trust him on any single issue that had anything to do with science or medicine or technology or national defense or business. He doesn’t have the background and is probably incapable of appointing someone who doesn’t think like he does. Sorry Ted. I’ll vote for you if I must, to keep someone else out of office.
Carly Fiorina – I’m a product of the high-tech business environment, having spent my entire career there. I’ve worked for startup, medium-sized and large tech-based businesses, mostly in defense. We always viewed Hewlett-Packard as the best of the best in my business. They were the gold standard. I still remember Bill Hewlett and David Packard. I think Fiorina is smart, articulate, a student of current events and on top of most issues. Of course, her competitors will continue to come up with crap on her.
Do I think she was fired from HP because she was incompetent? No, I don’t. In my career, I saw a lot of sales people and company officials and CEOs fired because they didn’t go along with the board of directors. If sales go down, fire the sales manager. If a merger goes bad, fire the CEO. I don’t think she purchased Compaq all by herself. That was a board decision. She didn’t lay off thousands of people all on her own. That was a board of director’s decision as well or enormous pressure to cut costs at any cost. If the Compaq acquisition was a failure, so were dozens of other similar acquisitions and startups by dozens of other companies. These were heady and turbulent days in the tech and computer industry. Almost nobody was right. I remember at about the same period when the RadioShack TRS-80 was considered a top notch computer and serious pundits said that when all other computer companies fell by the wayside, RadioShack would still be standing. They were all so wrong, it’s unbelievable. RadioShack was out of the computer business very quickly and is rapidly dumping stores as I write this, laying off a bunch of workers.
Carly worked her way up to the top, not because she was timid or incompetent. I don’t disregard a candidate just because he or she was chewed out by the board of directors. I actually feel honored that I was chewed out unmercifully one time by my CEO in the corporate board room with a dozen people watching. My program was losing money. In my case, I was eventually vindicated but the company could have fired me on the spot. Sorry folks, I feel better about Carly Fiorina than most of the other candidates. I worked in her industry and it was a good industry. She doesn’t have the name recognition that some of the other candidates have but that doesn’t deter me. She can think, one of the qualities I like.
Jeb Bush – I could see myself voting for Jeb Bush…..except that the overwhelming anger and insane, vicious hatred for his brother ensures that he won’t be elected. I like some of Jeb’s positions but I can’t back someone who will almost totally, certainly lose. I have to have at least some hope. Too bad for Jeb. If I had to place Jeb Bush in the list of nearly 20 current presidential candidates (both parties), I would probably put him in about fourth or fifth place today. He wouldn’t bounce off the walls (or promise to) on issues like many other candidates. His attraction is that he is sort of a moderate. But, we’re still a year away. Hate George W. Bush all you want but at least he had more charisma than Jeb. It didn’t help him in the end. Maybe we don’t want charisma in a president.
Donald Trump – As a likely voter, I have been saying that there is some truth in what he says. But, after all, most candidates do have some truth in what they espouse. I don’t like the way Trump behaves, even though he’s a businessman. I tend to lean toward business people as opposed to politicians. But I just can’t see him as a president. Trump has charisma. He isn’t stupid but he’s childish and can actually be boring. Would he act this way as our president? I suspect he would, at least on domestic issues. He seems to be popular, but that’s likely because of two things: 1) He bashes the political machine that runs the government and 2) the average IQ of America is 100. He sees no middle ground in anything, as far as I can tell. I don’t believe he actually thinks that much. He has his tried and true attitudes and behaviors. Hell, if I said the things he says, people would abandon my candidacy immediately. He may have invented (or re-invented) the sound bite. His promises are over the top, intended to sway superficially knowledgeable people. (also called low information voters)
His tax plan is interesting and would (wonderfully) lay off thousands of IRS employees, but he wouldn’t be able to get it passed. Everybody promises to reform the tax code. Come on, there are organizations in government that are so entrenched, they are untouchable. Already, no one can be laid off or fired. The president and the Department of Justice are protecting the IRS, for example. The IRS is like the government of a small country. You can’t lay off a government. I can’t do anything about the IRS. Remember, during the Vietnam War, when someone said that it would be cheaper to give every North Vietnamese $5000 and a new Chevrolet? I think we should lay off every IRS employee and give them the choice of a moderate pension for life or a chance to be rehired after an interview. It would be cheaper and we could maybe get rid of undesirables and drones.
However, if Trump were president and had to decide on an important issue related to science, technology, software, weaponry, geography, medicine, mental health, psychology, or any other technical field, I think he would likely make the wrong decision. Obama would take years to decide (based on the legacy he wants) and Trump would take a whole minute. That’s the impression he gives. Not everything can be determined on the basis of money. (It’s very close though) I won’t vote for Donald Trump unless I have to.
Ben Carson – It’s hard not to like Ben Carson. Sure, he’s soft spoken, but he seems to have good instincts. I think he is a thoughtful person……he had to be as a neurosurgeon. He has an impressive resume. He was raised by a single mother, like many blacks, but he rose above all his disadvantages. He met the challenges. He reads a lot. I like that. He appears to meet my criteria for understanding science and he’s only made a few miss-steps as far as I’m concerned. I like him but I don’t think he’s going to make it. He’s quite religious but seems to keep this part under control. If Carson wants to bring back school prayer, so what? It doesn’t bother me. Make the prayers short though. By the way, why doesn’t Carson talk about shifting some U.S. taxes from production to consumption (VAT)? This could free up small businesses and create jobs.
Scott Walker – As I write this, he has dropped out of the race. I think he did a good thing for his state but he doesn’t have the depth to be a president.
Rick Perry – As I write this, Perry has dropped out of the race. He has some good qualities but his time has passed.
John Kasich – I just don’t know enough about him. He seems likeable enough and has said some reasonably sensible things, but I’m just waiting for him to drop out of the race.
Chris Christie – I like him. Too bad he’s from New Jersey. He’s outspoken and you sort of have to listen to him. In the most recent GOP debate, he was one of the first candidates who commented on the tone of the questions. I suppose he’s not presidential but maybe that’s what we need. I like that he reformed some of the pension and health benefit programs in his state. He has (I haven’t fact-checked this) reduced state government payroll by several thousand. I suppose many people probably want to impeach him for that. It seems he modified the teacher tenure in New Jersey. It’s not automatic anymore, which I think is a good thing. I don’t really like his stance on guns. How come so many people in New Jersey need automatic weapons? In our lifetime, the government is not going to take everybody’s guns away. There are just too many guns. I don’t mind that people own them. Just don’t get all excited about guns being taken away. It’s not going to happen and there are better things to worry about.
Aside from this, in our country’s history, most presidents have been state governors. Not too many senators have been elected. There has to be a reason for that. A governor is a lot closer to his constituents than the president of the United States or Senators. A governor has to be more responsive to issues than the president and I think Christie has done that. Let’s see how he performs over the next few months.
Marco Rubio – I can’t imagine why this guy is constantly under attack. I think he is smart, articulate and knowledgeable enough to be a president. I also think the people he would surround himself with as president would likely be reasonable as well and not so hard over to one side, as so many are in government. I don’t think Rubio would try to fool the electorate like other presidents. He seems to be a straight shooter. His ideas on immigration are not perfect but show me someone who has a perfect plan. I could see myself voting for Rubio but I don’t like his website because it’s mostly videos of his speeches. We voters don’t have time to go through all those.
Sidebar: Isn’t it incredible that EVERYONE in the current administration and ALL the people who voted them in are 100% behind and in full agreement with EVERY SINGLE position their party desires? No compromise, no reaching across the aisle, no bending, no anything? They just agree and don’t think about it (It was in 1965 that the term “group think” was coined, to define this).
Rubio appears to be knowledgeable about foreign affairs and has shown up very well in the debates, for what that’s worth. His stance on illegal immigration is a little suspect but at least he wants to get rid of sanctuary cities. I don’t understand why we have federal immigration laws but almost anyone can flout them, ignore them or demand that they be repealed. How can our U.S. government not be responsive to their own laws? As a citizen, can I be selective about the laws I comply with and those I don’t?
Sidebar: I more or less think that illegal aliens should retain their second class status. They can continue to work here, I suppose, but I can’t provide them a path to citizenship. Illegal aliens are typically not the “best and brightest.” I don’t think there is any argument that says they are. They shouldn’t be able to vote, serve on juries or hold elective office. They shouldn’t be able to demand (and receive) benefits offered to citizens. Examples: in-state tuition and total welfare benefits. I understand the world has changed but surely not that much. Maybe they can have these after living here for 20 years. I can’t forgive and forget how most of them came into this country, even if they limped here with the best of intentions. My wife is a naturalized citizen. She met all the requirements. The current crop of illegal aliens doesn’t meet any of the requirements for living in the U.S. and enjoying the benefits enjoyed by citizens. We should change the name from illegal aliens to probationary citizens. If I had to choose, however, I would welcome illegal Mexican and Latin American immigrants as opposed to the flood of Islamic immigrants that is sweeping through Europe. Their culture is far too alien.
Rand Paul – He’s too hard over on libertarian views. He’s a nice, smart guy but we’re not set up for him. The time for a libertarian in office was years ago. We’re just too partisan now and firmly entrenched in a two party system. That probably won’t change anytime soon. I do listen to him however. If a serious third-party were to form, I would look at them very seriously, if I’m still even interested in the year 2020. Sorry Rand.
Rick Santorum – Santorum should have dropped out of the race by now. I don’t really like him that much anyway. Sorry, Rick and everybody who supports him.
Bobby Jindal – He has a few good thoughts but not enough. Take care of your state, Bobby. Maybe he could run again in 2024. I’m not going to analyze him. Sorry, Bobby and everybody who supports him.
George Pataki – He has a few good thoughts but not enough. I’m not going to analyze him. I can’t do everybody. Sorry, George and everybody who supports him.
End of Part 2
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are discussed in Part 3