Fairfax Press Fail: Donald Trump Is Not Like Germans, Nazis

AN EXTRAORDINARILY GROTESQUE attempt by the Fairfax press to liken Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to World War I-era Germans and to Nazis should be sneeringly dismissed; Trump is many things, and some conservatives view his right wing populism with contempt. Even so, Trump’s pitch is grounded in a revolt against the US liberal Left. Fellow travellers in Australia — and at Fairfax — would do well to heed the warning signs.

To date, as readers know, I have declined to comment on the early stages of the 2016 US presidential race being played out ahead of the primary season that kicks off early next year; for one thing, this point in the US political cycle is little more substantial than the silly season now descending on our own polity; for another, and with an eye to the farce that played out on the Republican side four years ago, I’m reticent about declaring anybody to be a frontrunner: last time, just about every starting candidate in the field had their five minutes at the top of the pack before sinking into obscurity, withdrawal and/or disgrace.

However, the likelihood that property and media billionaire Donald Trump will emerge as the GOP nominee for next year’s presidential election — and, potentially, as President of the United States — is growing, and it seems no matter what he says (and no matter what his opponents, both within the Republican Party and elsewhere, throw at him), his popularity among likely voters is proving far deeper and more durable than 2012 flameouts such as Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and the candidate I originally supported, former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

With that in mind, I note the shrill and increasingly panicked denunciations Trump is eliciting from an alarmed liberal* press across America and, indeed, around the world; and it is on account of a particularly insidious piece by Martin Flanagan in The Age today that I find myself commenting on the Republican presidential primary season rather earlier than I had intended.

It seems to be a stock tactic these days, of left wing political parties across the world, to accuse conservative contenders of being likely to start wars; in the US, eventual 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney was pilloried for remarks that bluntly stated Russia was America’s greatest strategic and military threat, and subjected to a diatribe that boiled down to World War III and Armageddon being a mere vote for Romney away; I don’t believe for a minute that Romney would have initiated military conflict with Russia, but subsequent events have shown that his judgement of the threat posed by Russia under Vladimir Putin was deadly accurate.

Similar sentiments were articulated about John McCain in 2008; closer to home, of course, Kevin Rudd baselessly proclaimed in 2013 that an Abbott government would result in a war between Australia and Indonesia (it didn’t).

In this vein, the attempt to liken Trump to Kaiser Wilhelm II — the German ruler who presided over his country’s disastrous military confrontation with Allied forces, at the cost of millions of German and Allied lives — and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party is grotesque, and an unforgivable transgression of the bounds of fair comment by a supposedly professional Australian journalist.

It isn’t hard to ascertain the reason for the latest wave of anti-Trump hysteria among the global left wing commentariat: his recent edict that all immigration to the USA by Muslims would cease if he were elected President in November; the Left has become complacent in lecturing and prescribing social positions aimed at destroying the values and foundations of Western liberal civilisation, and accustomed to having its brilliant pronouncements accepted and implemented, verbatim, as the creeping slither of hard state socialism continues its odious infiltration and undermining of the free world.

Any concerted resistance the Left faces must, it follows, be slapped down at almost any cost, and the more damage it inflicts on its enemies in the process, the better.

But the problem is that all too often, the Left overreaches, and when it does — far from contriving to destroy the opponents of its ugly world view — its ridiculous and sometimes downright dangerous utterances are most damaging to itself.

So it is beginning to prove in the case of Donald Trump.

Likening Trump to the figures responsible for initiating the two most destructive and catastrophic conflagrations in human history should and will backfire, and I would be interested to know whether Flanagan — in compiling his silly and offensive piece — was egged on or otherwise provided with fodder by his counterparts in the USA.

There seems to be a chain of inferences and insinuations that are not explicitly spelt out in Flanagan’s piece, which I gather the reader is intended to play “connect the dots” with, and to heed the dog whistle it constitutes. The concept of Social Democrats as the enemy. Talk of the Kaiser becoming a rabid anti-Semite. The introduction of the Kaiser’s war of “Slavdom against Germandom” as a casual method of accusing Trump of racism. The focus on Hitler and on Fascism as the endpoint of this progression, with the clear implication Trump might as well have a swastika tattooed to his forehead.

There is also the small matter of Trump’s ancestry — his great-grandparents were German immigrants to the USA — that Flanagan doesn’t bother to mention (or if he did, would in likelihood simply present as further “proof” of his case against Trump); this is just too subtle an omission to allow to go unnoticed, and illustrates one of the great hypocrisies of the Left: its enemies are to be excoriated for lumping all Muslims into the category of “terrorists,” for example. But as Trump is of German descent, he is basically a German, and therefore as bad as Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler. The fallacious logic and cavalier malice in such blatant double standards are breathtaking.

(Flanagan even sneaks in mention of the Left’s favourite Australian hate figure, Tony Abbott, baselessly and perhaps libellously — in the context of the tone of his article — calling him “another World War I figure” and suggesting he would send soldiers to pointless slaughter just for the hell of it. It is beneath despicable).

Flanagan equates the Kaiser’s “scorn for democracy” with “the way Trump scorns political correctness as an impediment to clear thinking and immediate solutions:” this facile statement is based on a false premise, for Trump — far from attempting to circumvent the ballot box — is seeking to win the potential votes of hundreds of millions of registered voters; the Kaiser Wilhelm II was a hereditary monarch. The real meat in the assertion is that Trump is an enemy of political correctness (read: the prescriptive state socialism of the hard Left) who must be smashed by the clenched fist of the global Left.

Frankly, anyone who stands against such insidious and doctrinaire positions is to be lauded; it remains to be seen whether Trump is electable, but at the very minimum no-one can accuse him of pliability where the anti-Western forces of the leftist junta are concerned, and for that much at least, he warrants a hearing.

It is true that Trump, as voting in the first state primaries draws near, has said things that are outrageous, provocative, and designed to maximise the publicity he attracts, but rather than dismiss him as a lunatic (as the Left is wont to do) a more considered view than idiot-simple rants of the kind Flanagan has engaged in today suggests a shrewd, calculated and intelligent pitch — highly organised and professional, even — that has identified a coalition of voters the Trump camp believes can propel it into the White House, and upon which it has been singularly focused.

Equating him to the historical enemies of the West who systematically raped, gassed and slaughtered millions of innocents is not only offensive, but likelier than not to drive even more American voters into Trump’s embrace. Then again, I did make the point that the Left’s approach to what it believes is the enemy — its own enemies — is more often than not counterproductive, and I daresay Flanagan is simply following the trend.

I’m in two minds about the suitability of Donald Trump as President of the United States — part of me thinks he’d be brilliant, and part of me thinks he’d be bloody awful — but his business nous, his connections, and his undeniable patriotism mark him at the very least as someone with some of the tools required to discharge the post if successful. With 11 months until the votes are counted, there remains plenty of time to ascertain what defects might accompany those virtues, and how deleterious they might prove if Trump is elected: if, that is, he manages to secure the Republican nomination in the first place.

I do, however, think the prospect Trump will prevail is growing more probable, and especially if the Democratic nominee, as expected, is Hillary Clinton: one is the champion of just about everything the liberal Left stands for, and the other the polar opposite of it. Right now, if pressed to pick the winner between the two, I’d expect Trump to defeat Hillary.

With growing evidence in most Western countries that people at large are tiring of being told what to say, what to think, what to do and who to unquestioningly defer to, a candidate like Trump comes to this contest with a rich seam of public anger to tap into.

Former President Richard Nixon used to speak of the “silent majority” in America — it’s also a phrase I have used from time to time in tearing into the same insidious claptrap the Left propagates here in Australia — and it is this constituency of ordinary Americans, disaffected and shunned by the Left’s mission to turn the world into some open-border, wealth redistributing, thought-dictated and tightly controlled illiberal ecosystem that Trump is trying to harness.

Whether the Left likes it or not (and irrespective of who is right and who is wrong) people, broadly, are fed up with attempts to legislate their thought, speech and behaviour out of existence.

They are fed up with having pre-determined positions on issues imposed on them as “fact” — irrespective of the moral, ethical, legal or actual veracity of those positions — and then abused and publicly humiliated as “deniers, “skeptics,” “flat-Earthers,” and other accusations of heresy to paint them as ignorant reprobates and figures of ridicule.

They are fed up with being told their countries are international embarrassments and moral abominations by the Left when its own agenda is to destroy forever the fabric and values that underpins those countries in the first place.

They are fed up with governments that make little secret of their prioritisation of third world countries and sometimes murderous despots over the people who already live in their countries, and their welfare: the first responsibility of any elected government is to its own people, not to someone else, and the will in democratic countries to ensure that responsibility is honoured is growing stronger.

And ordinary people are fed up with a narrow band of chattering elites, drunk on Chardonnay and shaking their fingers at anyone or anything that moves in a contrary direction, telling them that their views, aspirations, and even their existence is meaningless compared to the “superior” agenda they seek to enforce.

America might or might not elect Donald Trump as its 45th President.

Whether it does or not, the popular uprising that buoys Trump’s current public standing is unlikely to be an isolated phenomenon. The “silent majority” — in the US, in the UK, here in Australia and elsewhere — is fed up with the drivel the Left is trying to impose on the free world.

If nothing else, Trump’s rise serves potent notice on the Left that its time is passing, and passing fast; all over the world, those who either seek to spread the Left’s agenda directly or who cheer it on from the sidelines — in a stupid opinion piece in the Fairfax press, for example — would do well to heed the warning signs currently emanating from the Republican nominating contest.

When the “silent majority” turns, its strike will be savage and swift; and the moral poseurs of today will become society’s pariahs tomorrow unless they abandon their seditious subterranean campaign to destroy it.

That is what Trump really represents, and it is why the likes of Flanagan and his brethren across the world are jumping all over him. Their panic is real, and their need urgent. They can hardly say they haven’t been warned.

 

*I use the word “liberal” today, of course, in its classic left-of-centre context, as it applies in US political discourse, and which has nothing to do with our own Liberal Party here in Australia.

 

POTUS 2016: The Bush-Clinton Showdown Is Coming

UNBELIEVABLY, it’s less than two years until Americans elect a President to replace Barack Obama; pundits have long salivated over a contest between Republican Jeb Bush — former Governor of Florida, son of former President George H. W. Bush and brother of George W. Bush — and former Senator Hillary Clinton. This column has already expressed preliminary support for Bush — if he runs. That prospect appears to be drawing closer to reality.

It is — by my standards — a very quick post from me this morning, and in truth, really just to share some material with readers.

It beggars belief to consider that it’s now more than two years since we sat glued to FOX coverage of the US 2012 presidential election, when former Republican strategist Karl Rove insisted GOP candidate Mitt Romney could still be elected even as the decisive swing state of Ohio declared for Barack Obama — sealing his historic, and in retrospect completely unjustified, re-election.

I wanted to post this morning to share a couple of articles being carried in the Fairfax press today; after all, with the recent US mid-term elections that saw Republicans sweep control of Congress (and making Obama a lame duck in every sense for the final years of his stint in the White House) attention in the States will now increasingly turn to who follows him into office, and a crowded field of potential Republican candidates appears to be taking shape more quickly than the number of names suggest.

In truth — barring some miracle of judgement on the part of the Democratic Party — the GOP contest is really to work out who takes on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

My motivation to briefly publish comment on this today stems from a report that Jeb Bush — sometimes referred to as “the competent Bush” — appears to be shifting decisively toward commencing a full-blown run for the Republican nomination; common sense and consideration dictates that were he to do so he would automatically assume frontrunner status, and in the interests of expediency I’m not going to canvass his prospects today either for or agin, other than to reiterate the early support for a Bush candidacy I have previously indicated.

After all, this post is really only to introduce the issue to our conversation, having occupied our consideration literally once or twice in the past couple of years. There will be ample time to talk this through in coming months.

And in any case, this piece gives cursory consideration to the pros and cons of any Bush run that I don’t have any quarrel with.

Rather, a second article (and companion to the first in today’s Fairfax papers) that purports to list out GOP presidential contenders may be of more early interest to readers as a possible guide to who might stand as VP on any ticket headed by Bush.

I tend to think that Bush’s frontrunner status is likely to be enhanced by the considerable experience (and success) he has already recorded as Governor of Florida, as well as the obvious positives he brings in appealing to the Republican base.

And this rules out a lot of the neophytes on the second list, although some of those names come into the mix as a vice-presidential consideration.

Either way, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is likely to fare very badly in the upcoming Republican primary season, credited as he is with swinging last-minute votes behind Obama in 2012 with his glowing praise of the President’s response to Hurricane Sandy, and the subsequent scandals of governance he has faced in his own state.

Obviously, today’s piece is meant as an early talking point: and to provide my own input into this, an early musing over who might be selected as Bush’s running mate if he runs and prevails as the Republican to face off against Clinton.

I tend to think, despite the conservative nature of his Governorship in Florida, that any running mate is likely to be someone to the Right of the Republican Party — partly to offset some of Bush’s perceived drawbacks to the conservative wing of the party, and partly as a sop to it.

And it is likely to be, like Bush, someone who brings “experience” to the table: again, someone like Clinton, with the experience and political muscle she would bring to the Democratic nomination, is unlikely to be beaten by a slate of novices.

The obvious name is Paul Ryan, who stood in second spot on the GOP ticket to Romney two years ago, although whether he would do so again is a point of conjecture.

The names I would single out (at a very, very early stage in the process) are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who aside from hailing from the Right would balance a Bush ticket geographically, and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who would provide accommodation (and perhaps perspective) for the Tea Party contingent within the GOP.

In any case, and as I said at the outset, this piece this morning is really only to get the 2016 election into the mix of our discussions. I am certain it will come around again in more detail soon enough: and possibly as soon as the Christmas break, given the odd timing US elections often seem to follow.

I will be back this evening with something a little more topical, and focused on affairs closer to home.

 

Another Bush As President Of The United States In 2016?

GEORGE W. BUSH resurfaced this week, in the time-honoured tradition of former US Presidents opening presidential libraries; he has advocated younger brother Jeb running for the US presidency in 2016. Could this most successful of political dynasties produce another American President?

Controversy is never far away these days when it comes to discussing the Bush family; like the Kennedys and the Rockefellers and the Roosevelts, it has been among the most prominent clans in American political life for generations, having produced Senators, state Governors, and two Presidents, and whose members have also filled a myriad of other roles in circles of American governance.

Much of this controversy stems from the Presidency of George W. Bush, which divides and polarises opinion both at home and around the world. Was this the Presidency that saw America reclaim its position in the world, and begin the painful process of migrating the US to the realities of the 21st century?

Or was it the defective and misspent opportunity presided over by a village idiot and manipulated by “evil” Dick Cheney, which heightened the risk of worldwide war and sent the USA down the path of economic ruin?

I suspect final judgements on these issues will take many years to crystallise — history often does. But Bush has reignited a discussion that has simmered since his second term began in 2005: should younger brother (and former Governor of Florida) Jeb Bush run for the Presidency in 2016?

Three years out, my sense is that he should; the Republican Party will need a nationally recognised candidate with a proven record in public office if it is to stand any chance of reclaiming the White House when Barack Obama leaves office in early 2017.

This is an area in which Republicans have fared poorly since the departure of Ronald Reagan from the Presidency in 1989; his successor, former President George H. W. Bush, could well be viewed as lucky.

In 1988, he followed the most popular President in recent times into the White House four years after the most spectacular presidential election win in US history, and at a time in which the boom of the 1980s had yet to fully burst and when the USA was riding high on confidence.

His defeat in 1992 by Bill Clinton was a salutary lesson in the mechanics of modern election techniques — and in the importance of honesty, having promised that Americans could “read my lips: no new taxes” and then proceeded to introduce precisely those.

Bob Dole in 1996 was hamstrung by the fact he was too old (at 73) and on account of being widely regarded in America as too divisive; John McCain in 2008 was also seen as too old (72), swimming against the tide of the economic disaster now known as the Global Financial Crisis, attributed rightly or wrongly to the policies of the outgoing Bush administration.

And Mitt Romney last year was simply the wrong candidate: decent and articulate, he looked like a President, but was too similar to many Republican-inclined voters to the Democratic Party to offer any real alternative to the incumbent Obama.

Ironically, and on paper, George W. was an impressively-credentialled candidate; twice elected as Governor of Texas, he was telegenic and popular, although his folksy style (and capacity to mangle words) made him a figure of fun and derision in many quarters.

I think that had Newt Gingrich — former Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1990s — won the nomination to stand against Obama last year, he probably would have won; but hypotheticals are just that, and it brings us back to the question of whether Jeb Bush should run in 2016.

Whoever does stand for the Republican Party is likely to face off against former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; the merits of another Clinton as President are as dubious to me as those of another Bush are to those on the political Left.

But the fact of the matter is that Republicans are going to need to select a candidate capable of beating the high-profile, well-resourced Clinton, who boasts a formidable campaign weapon in the form of her husband, teflon-coated ex-President Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton, whose popularity remains vast despite his various failures and foibles in office.

Viewed this way, the GOP has surprisingly few options, despite the score of names that make up the likely field of starters — even this far out from the election.

Romney has already said he will not run again, and in any case would face the same question of his age (69 in 2016) as did Dole and McCain; Gingrich, 72 in a few years’ time, has probably missed on his first and best opportunity in failing to clinch the Republican nomination last time.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum — nominally having put in a strong showing in the GOP primaries against Gingrich and Romney — will likely run again, and at 58 when the contest occurs is certainly the right age.

Yet his brand of conservatism is too doctrinaire and rigid to appeal to the majority of swinging voters in America’s political centre, and what might play well with the Republican Right is probably a recipe for disaster at a general election.

And the raft of past and present Republican state Governors that is habitually trotted out — most notably at present, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — comprises a group of individuals with, mostly, little profile beyond the boundaries of their own states, and little public support in the context of the US Presidency.

Christie is different, in that he has willingly grabbed the opportunity as Governor for media exposure on a national basis whenever it has arisen, most notably during the Hurricane Sandy disaster in the dying days of the 2012 campaign.

But Christie — a veritable mountain of a man — faces ongoing concerns that his weight poses a grave danger of him dying in office as it is, let alone within four years of any presidential win in 2016.

And he isn’t likely to make it that far in any case, with a large contingent of Republicans residually livid with him for fulsomely endorsing Obama’s handling of the Sandy disaster, and to many minds (including my own) effectively terminating Romney’s campaign for the Presidency from within, one week from polling day, by doing so.

It is inconceivable the same Republicans would tolerate his candidacy.

This brings us back to Jeb Bush, and to my mind he’s the GOP’s best bet by a mile.

He declined to enter the fray for the Republican nomination in 2012; possibly a wise decision, given the circus the primary contests degenerated into and given Obama was always likely to be re-elected once Christie effectively intervened in his favour.

His background in politics is exemplary; after several years in that state’s Congress, he became Florida’s Governor in 1999 in a state that had not elected a Republican between 1877 and 1967, and over which Republican Governors had presided for just 17 of the 145 years to that point.

Jeb Bush ticks a lot of the boxes that many of his Republican contemporaries don’t, or can’t; an orthodox conservative politician, he nonetheless boasts relationships with, and support from, Hispanic and Asian Americans that would be critical in any Presidential bid.

(Romney, for example, won 81% of the Presidential votes cast by white Americans, and still lost to Obama).

And Spanish-speaking Bush, married to a Mexican and espousing innovative and practical ideas about how to solve the USA’s illegal immigration crisis, offers his party the means with which to reach out to and embrace minority communities in America that the likes of Romney and Santorum could only dream of.

Critics will point to the facts of the Florida controversy in the 2000 election that saw his older brother become President and, cruelly, even the fact he is a member of the Bush family at all.

I think the idea of Jeb Bush as President of the United States is not only interesting, it’s probably the best option for his country after Obama leaves office, and especially in light of some of the openly socialist and ideologically driven left-wing measures introduced by the present administration that will need to be wound back.

Of his intentions regarding 2016, Bush simply says that he will make a decision in at least a year from now, in time for the endless drudgery of fundraising and planning that is part of a Presidential run in the US to commence, should he opt to throw his hat in the ring.

In the view of this column, that’s a year for his contemporaries in the GOP to get to work on him, and to convince him to run.

Obama Wins. But At What Cost?

In a disturbing result bearing ominous portents for the economic, social and military stability of the United States — and, to an extent, the rest of the Western world — President Barack Obama has been re-elected by the narrowest of margins. His new four-year term promises to be a rough ride.

Is this a legitimate win by Obama? Of course it is; he won the popular vote, the votes in most of the so-called “swing states,” and he won the electoral college.

There is a saying in Australia that Australians get the governments they deserve; I’d imagine many Americans would be saying the same thing right about now. But enough of them voted for Obama to re-elect him and so, for the next four years, the rest of them are stuck with him.

Aren’t we all?

The Red And The Blue, whilst heartily disappointed that Obama remains as President, nevertheless wishes to extend congratulations to him on his election win today; at the very minimum, we can at least say it is the last time such pleasantries will be required.

Because whilst Obama is a good and decent man, his ideas leave everything to be desired, and with the mess the United States is in at present it is to be hoped the honourable gentleman deploys a rather different approach to the next four years to the last four.

This election really mattered; the US economy is in the toilet, for starters.

For all the talk of auto industry bailouts in Ohio, the wider economic problem persists: stubbornly high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, negligible domestic consumer confidence, the obscene practice of printing dollars to artificially deflate the US economy, and federal debt running at 107% of GDP.

In turn — to a country like Australia — these measures translate to an overvalued currency that hurts Australian businesses (whilst nonetheless failing to effect the intended correction in the US), softening export markets, sagging inbound tourism numbers, and an increased cost of capital for businesses and banks operating in this country. Just to name a few of the ill-effects of President Obama.

Are there other partners of the US on whom this administration has not adversely impacted? I doubt it.

It is true that Obama inherited an economy from George W. Bush in a disparate state, partly on account of the so-called GFC, which in turn was partly the result of poor prudential regulation in the USA by administrations of both political stripes stretching over decades.

In short, after four years, Obama should have made a difference.

The fact that his administration has failed to do so has nothing to do with George W. Bush, or the Republican Party, or the GFC.

But it has much to do with the fact Obama isn’t a leader’s bootlace: even in the first part of his term, with control of Congress, he enacted nothing which has proven to be of economic benefit in the latter.

Rather, it has been more important to play games, blame Republicans, reject negotiated outcomes and consensus measures, and engage in the rhetoric of utopian left-wing social nirvana.

The rhetoric, mind; aside from the detested so-called Obamacare package, Obama has achieved little in terms of meaningful outcomes.

This is an administration that has failed to pass a budget in almost four years; never mind the fact the US Constitution says it will be done once per year.

This is an administration under whose watch government debt has ballooned to US$16 trillion, or 107% of GDP.

This is an administration which has overlooked its traditional allies in favour of currying sympathy with the regimes of murderous despots in the hope appeasement will simply make them disappear from the radar.

And this is an administration which has actively hacked away at the US defence capability and the budget that underpins it, and this includes the strategic forces — at a time when emerging and resurgent rivals in China and Russia are expanding or modernising their capabilities, and at a time when the US and its allies face unprecedented security threats from a range of malevolent entities across the world.

And the snub of Israel — and, by extension, of the Jewish people generally — is despicable.

Yet this has been the face of government in the US for four years, and so it will be for another four.

We believe that Mitt Romney was a flawed yet worthy candidate; whether he was or not, however, is immaterial, on one consideration: after the past four years, anyone could have done better than Obama has.

And so the buck stops with Obama — again.

We hope that in the coming four years, Obama embraces the spirit of bipartisanship, because if he doesn’t, nothing will get done in Washington.

Unlike other democracies, Obama does not have the option of early elections to fall back on.

And in any case, an insistence on his way or the highway — when the US really isn’t in good shape anyway — simply won’t cut it.

Obama might be President, but he also has a responsibility to uphold his country’s constitution, and to govern for all of its citizens — not simply a select few.

And if that means working with his enemies in Congress, so be it: the buck stops with Obama.

It is to be hoped that the left-wing social agenda is to be put aside in deference to four years of grinding, orthodox, dour government delivering services, policy outcomes and tangible results.

And it needs to be pointed out that the black and Latino and other communities which have voted for Mr Obama — and which experience disproportionately extreme levels of poverty and unemployment compared to the national average — now have Obama and his Democratic Party to blame for their continuing plight, and not the white establishment historically held out as responsible for their misfortune.

For if Obama is their “saviour” then save them he must — and to fail them is to commit a flagrant moral breach of trust with those who have entrusted him with helping them to improve their lot as citizens of the American republic.

Mitt Romney — accepting his party’s nomination for the Presidency back in September, pointed out that

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans…and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

For everybody’s sake, Obama would be well advised to forget about this ridiculous and undeliverable mantra of contemporary socialist posturing, and get on with helping the families of his countrymen.

There are plenty of inherent risks in the continuation of this Presidency. None of us really wants to see them played out. But unless he changes tack now, Obama is doomed to fail. The consequences could be disastrous.

So much for a triumph.

Secretly, perhaps Obama wishes this was the election he might have lost.

Congratulations again, Mr President.

US Election: Mitt Romney For President Of The United States

Counting will shortly commence in the United States to determine whether Barack Obama will be re-elected, or whether Mitt Romney will become the 45th President of the United States. And whilst The Red And The Blue endorses the Republican Romney, we also believe he is likely to be elected.

Had Hillary Clinton edged out Barack Obama in the knife-edged contest for the Democratic nomination to contest the presidency in 2008 — and gone on to preside over the same administration Obama has — this column believes that Clinton would, today, be staring down the barrel of a 50-state landslide defeat at the hands of Romney.

The fact today’s election is competitive at all has everything to do with the “star quality,” or the “magic,” of Barack Obama, and little to do with the record of his administration.

Obama — elected four years ago, in the depths of the worst recession to hit the US since the 1930s — has been a serial underperformer, and a disappointment; overall unemployment figures in the US are only fractionally lower than they were in 2008, and only then because millions of Americans have given up looking for work.

The once-mighty American economy is growing at a snail’s pace; and US prestige abroad, on Obama’s watch, is undergoing its most serious decline since that country’s humiliation in the fiasco of its Vietnam war effort.

US debt has increased by 60% in four years, to US$16 trillion, at the same time as Obama has been preoccupied with “Obamacare” and other grand gestures of the socialist Left, whose bona fides as ideals are beyond reproach, but which lack utterly any meaningful or practical import when implemented as actual measures.

And Obama has been a risk to international relations and to world stability; his persistent snub to Israel — whilst courting the fundamentalist regimes in its backyard — are a good example. His apparent determination to resume the policy of “splendid isolation” practised by the USA prior to the second world war is another.

There is also ample evidence that Obama has refused — or is simply unable — to work with a hostile Congress to achieve meaningful legislative outcomes, or at least since his Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives two years ago.

Yet there is little — if any — evidence that Clinton would have done any better; indeed, with what Obama lacks in terms of a slate of real achievement to point to, he at least resonates on a personal level with ordinary Americans.

The abrasive Clinton — whilst highly respected for her abilities, and rightly so — can’t even claim that, and as a standard-bearer the same left-wing agenda as Obama, it is fair to say that a Clinton presidency over the past four years would have been an unmitigated disaster.

That said, Republican challenger Mitt Romney arrives at today’s moment of reckoning as something of an enigma in spite of the campaign, and as something of an unknown despite his record as a former Governor of Massachusetts.

On one level, Romney (or any other Republican challenger) should, by rights, arrive at the 2012 election with little if any entitlement to expect to win, given the mess the USA was in at the conclusion of the Presidency of George W. Bush four years ago.

Then again, the Republican message that the four years Obama has had is long enough to expect to see results is actually absolutely correct.

As I said at the outset, the fact today’s election is competitive at all has everything to do with Barack Obama personally, and were it a simple referendum on the results or otherwise of his administration, the Republicans would be in line to romp home.

Simply stated, the election is more about the two candidates; even many on the Left — in the US, here in Australia and elsewhere in the world — concede, to varying degrees, that Obama’s administration has underperformed.

Readers will know that this column originally backed former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich to contest this election against Obama, and whilst we believe Mitt Romney has fought the best campaign possible by a Republican candidate, his candidacy will be one of many subjects covered in a post-mortem review should Obama be re-elected today, especially if by a narrow margin.

Yet in endorsing Romney in a straight contest with Obama, it is his policy focuses on families, business and reordering US military priorities, backed by his expertise in business and his success as a Republican governor in Democratic-controlled Massachusetts, that we believe deserving of support from the US public.

And in regard to Barack Obama, we would make the simple observation that “social agendas” are well and good, but with the country teetering on the brink of bankruptcy — with government debt running at 107% of GDP, in large part the result of his own Presidency — “social agendas” are simply not the priority the Left, the world over, present them to be.

Little has been made during this campaign of Romney’s religious status as the first Mormon to contest the US presidency, and rightly so; we believe this to be irrelevant.

Similarly, and in spite of the best efforts of the likes of businessman Donald Trump, the so-called birther conspiracy surrounding Barack Obama has been the non-event it should be.

We endorse Mitt Romney to be elected today as the 45th President of the United States, and expect that he will be, although we agree with the conventional wisdom that the contest, as it plays out with actual votes rather than opinion poll results and whichever way resolved, will be exceedingly close.

Polls close progressively during the day, commencing on the east coast and including states such as New York at 7pm ET (10am AEDT), with results coming through over the ensuing hours.

We look forward to following the count as the day unfolds, and will comment again once the overall results become known and the outcome of the contest becomes clear.

Blast From The Past: Old-Fashioned Rhetoric, Or Simple Common Sense?

Late last night, with a little time to myself, I found myself watching clips of Ronald Reagan speeches; I thought that if we were all to take off our partisan and opinionated hats and have a look at these closely, there’s a story there — one which reflects on all of us pretty poorly.

Readers know that I have been following the US election closely; I also think most of you know that articles at The Red And The Blue have been very sparse owing to the disproportionate amount of time I have spent these past few months on a major project I’ve been working on with my media hat on. Often, it’s only after midnight that I get a little (if any) time to post, and whilst that will resolve fairly soon, it’s odd what turns up in the wee small hours.

I found some old clips of Ronald Reagan speaking last night, and have posted one here that I encourage everyone to watch. It’s only a few minutes long, and it will make sense of the comments I wish to make.

Just for a little perspective: the speech was given in 1964, two years before Reagan became Governor of California, and 16 years before he won the US Presidency; Reagan was speaking in support of that year’s Republican candidate for the Presidency, Barry Goldwater, who of course suffered one of the heaviest defeats of a Republican candidate in US history at the hands of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.

It was the height of the Cold War, and two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962; and whilst the issues of the day were, in many ways, far more serious than what passes for retail politics today, there was still room for sloganeering.

Reagan makes a reference to “(knowing) in their hearts…” which is a direct lift from Goldwater’s election slogan, “In your heart, you know he’s right,” and which in turn was parodied by the Democrats to deadly effect — motivated by the Democratic position that Goldwater’s policies on the Soviet Union would ignite a nuclear war — as “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

(But I digress…)

The reason I wanted to post this, having spent my short stipend of time last night looking for clips on YouTube of news digests from the USA covering the past few days of campaigning, is that it occurs to me that Reagan (and some of his contemporaries) exercised professional political communication as an art, not the degraded brawling drudge that the grind of politics has become today.

Reagan — the “Gipper,” the Great Communicator — was a masterful politician, with a skill for mass political communication as simple as it was devastating.

Have a listen again to the clip I’ve posted. These are complex (and to some extent, dangerous) ideas from a complex and enigmatic figure in Reagan, communicated in stark simplicity yet to great effect, and with the brutal import of the full weight of the message he seeks to convey present in every sentence.

It really doesn’t matter whether you stand on the left or right of the political spectrum (a divide broadly between Liberals and Conservatives/Democrats and Republicans in the US, and between Labor and Liberal in Australia); it isn’t even necessary to particularly like Ronald Reagan, or other politicians of his generation across the Western world.

The point is that our own politicians are shameful by comparison. Go back over the speech. Can anyone seriously imagine Julia Gillard droning boringly on, with her nasal twang and that frightful accent, and covering the issues Reagan speaks about with even a modicum of the effectiveness of the Reagan speech? Or Tony Abbott, aaah-ing and halting and smirking his way through a speech on the same terms?

More to the point, would anyone pay much attention to either of them in such a circumstance?

It’s little wonder that politics and politicians are sometimes held in such low regard these days for a range of reasons, but watching this old clip last night, it hit me right between the eyes that the most basic problem — at the most fundamental of levels — is that our politicians don’t speak to people.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? At least it sounds like a silly thing to say until you realise it’s actually true.

Politics is many things; the art of the possible, governed by the numbers, the way to change the world, or whatever other prism through which you care to look at it.

But politicians in Australia — on both sides of politics, at all levels of government, and across the country — are all guilty of transmogrifying into regurgitators of scripted remarks for television airtime opportunities rather than being the communicative link between the people and their governments that they should be.

The most imbecilic and moronic manifestation of this in recent years was that stupid “Moving Forward” line Gillard used during the last election campaign, even in sentences and contexts in which it was totally inappropriate.

Not to be outdone, however, Abbott scores a close second with some of his more shrill pronouncements on the carbon tax.

I’d like to hear what people think — if, after another involuntary hiatus in posting articles my readers are still here, that is! Seriously, though — I could have picked a clip from one of a dozen leaders from the 1960s instead of the one from Reagan; even our own Bob Menzies, or Britain’s Harold Wilson, are contemporaries of Reagan who  exemplify the point I’m making.

And in singling Australian politicians out — and some of them must rank among the worst in the democratic world in terms of communication skills — my point is borne out by the contrastingly reasoned, reasonable and authentic campaigns being conducted by Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for the US Presidency at present, weighed against what will almost certainly be a further onslaught of verbal diarrhoea from our own politicians in the run-up to next year’s federal election.

Would you pay more attention to politicians if they actually spoke to their audience — even if you disagreed with their message — instead of spouting slickly packaged spin lines?

Or when it comes to politics and politicians, is it literally a case of a pox upon both their houses for you…and best left at that?

 

US Election: Picking A President, And Said Better Than I Could

As readers know, The Red And The Blue is keeping an eye on the election campaign underway in America for the Presidency; today I share from a newspaper in Orlando, Florida, that sums up my thoughts beautifully, warts and all — endorsements, reservations, approval and misgivings.

I saw the piece reproduced below early yesterday morning, and simply had to share this; readers are aware that whilst I endorse Mitt Romney to defeat US President Barack Obama, that position comes with extensive qualifications attached to it (in short, Newt Gingrich would have been a better conservative option).

I have been trying to attach this article with a screen shot but am not across the technological know-how (any helpful suggestions from fellow bloggers?) And so I have simply reproduced the text instead in order to share it. (Americanisms, grammar faults etc are left exactly as they appear in the article; I have however removed a number of hyperlinks for the purposes of this blog post).

The one qualification I make on the editorial piece below is that whilst I agree with the Sentinel that Obama is not “a business-hating socialist,” I certainly think he is a socialist, no less.

(For those who wish to do so, the original page from the Orlando Sentinel can be viewed here.)

Our pick for president: Romney

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters during a campaign rally on October 11, 2012 in Asheville, North Carolina.

Two days after his lackluster first debate performance, President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes got a timely boost. The government’s monthly jobless report for September showed the nation’s unemployment rate fell below 8 percent for the first time since he took office.

If that were the only metric that mattered, the president might credibly argue that the U.S. economy was finally on the right track. Unfortunately for him, and for the American people, he can’t.

Economic growth, three years into the recovery, is anemic. Family incomes are down, poverty is up. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, highlighted these and other hard truths in this week’s second debate.

Even the September jobless numbers deserve an asterisk, because more than 4 million Americans have given up looking for work since January 2009.

And while the nation’s economy is still sputtering nearly four years after Obama took office, the federal government is more than $5 trillion deeper in debt. It just racked up its fourth straight 13-figure shortfall.

We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.

Obama’s defenders would argue that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and would have made more progress if not for obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But Democrats held strong majorities in the House and Senate during his first two years.

Other presidents have succeeded even with the other party controlling Capitol Hill. Democrat Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom and balanced the budget working with Republicans. Leaders find a way.

With Obama in charge, the federal government came perilously close to a default last year. Now it’s lurching toward another crisis with the impending arrival of massive tax hikes and spending cuts on Jan. 1.

The next president is likely to be dealing with a Congress where at least one, if not both, chambers are controlled by Republicans. It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years.

Two years ago, a bipartisan panel the president appointed recommended a 10-year, $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. Rather than embrace it and sell it to the American people, Obama took his own, less ambitious plan to Congress, where it was largely ignored by both parties.

Now the president and his supporters are attacking Romney because his long-term budget blueprint calls for money-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, three of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. Obama would be more credible in critiquing the proposal if he had a serious alternative for bringing entitlement spending under control. He doesn’t.

Romney is not our ideal candidate for president. We’ve been turned off by his appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists. Like most presidential hopefuls, including Obama four years ago, Romney faces a steep learning curve on foreign policy.

But the core of Romney’s campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government’s balance sheet are imperative — now, not four years in the future.

Romney has a strong record of leadership to run on. He built a successful business. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature to close a $3billion budget deficit without borrowing or raising taxes, and pass the health plan that became a national model.

This is Romney’s time to lead, again. If he doesn’t produce results — even with a hostile Senate — we’ll be ready in 2016 to get behind someone else who will.

We reject the innuendo that some critics have heaped on the president. We don’t think he’s a business-hating socialist. We don’t think he’s intent on weakening the American military. We don’t think he’s unpatriotic. And, no, we don’t think he was born outside the United States.

But after reflecting on his four years in the White House, we also don’t think that he’s the best qualified candidate in this race.

We endorse Mitt Romney for president.

Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel