My Next Commuter Car

The Cocoa Elephant’s new daily driver.

With all this political stuff flying back and forth it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of great things going on in the world. While some people may rail against the 1% as if they stole their lunch money, I admire the 1% because they employ thousands and create a tremendous amount of economic activity.

I also have a high appreciation for Ferrari and what the brand stands for. Although I will likely never own one, I’m glad that there are companies out there that pushes the envelope of design and passion. It’s rolling art, auditory pleasure and practical.

Practical?

Yup. Ferrari today introduced a new vehicle called the GTC4Lusso that seats four, is four wheel drive (actually all wheel drive), and a decent trunk space. All fronted of course with a powerful V12 engine and cosseted in high grade leather, carbon fiber, or whatever animal skin trips your trigger.

I’m not ready to take on a mortgage to buy a Ferrari but the increase in heart rate and joy when one passes by is enough for me.

The Cocoa Elephant can dream can’t he?

Advertisements

Trump IS the Third Party

What pundits and voters are starting to realize is that Trump is the third party right now. 20,000 Democratic voters in MA just left their ranks to register as GOP for Trump. Trump is doing what no GOP candidate has done since Reagan – attract broad crossover votes.

Trump is doing what the other GOP candidates haven’t figured out yet – you have to play hardball to win against the Democrats. Second, Trump established his brand as brash and imperfect so that when something negative comes out, it doesn’t affect his brand. But the other candidates set themselves up as morally superior, kinder, gentler, etc. – the moment they go negative or something comes out about them, their brand takes a big hit.

The fact that many in the “establishment” in DC hate Trump and would float another candidate or even support Hillary in the general election just shows you how far they are from the rank and file voter.

I’m not voting for Trump. In fact, I’m not voting for anyone. I’m just analyzing the race.

But it’s clear that Trump’s phenomenon has as much to do where the electorate is at as is the candidate himself. A fact that seems to be lost on the politically elite class.

The Propensity for Purity

While many conservative voters are energized about the 2016 election, judging from Twitter activity and online discussions, there is a growing problem amongst the digerati. This problem is a demand amongst conservatives for political purity on an issue or set of issues that s/he subscribes to. You can see this especially in the comments section of any article mentioning any political person or issue.

These current voters seem to have forgotten the Reagan principle that if a candidate agrees with 80% of your position, you should be able to vote for that candidate. No one candidate can reflect all of your values nor should you assume that all of your values are correct. Abstaining from voting for a candidate because s/he only agrees with you 80% means that 100% of your values will not be presented if your side fails to win. That’s a terrible loss to live with.

So while we can armchair jockey back-and-forth about who your favorite candidate is, just remember come Election Day it’s better to get 80% of your values sworn into office than none at all.

Restless GOP

Rand Paul has probably stirred some of the biggest debates over any candidate that has thrown their hat (or likely will) into the Presidential contender ring. One of the reasons why is that he seems to be the anti-GOP GOP which dips into some of the Democrat strongholds.

For one, Paul has been spending time in town halls and gatherings listening to minorities (really listening) and talking about issues that are important to them. Issues such as the non-criminalization of pot possession or allowing certain ex-prisoners to be able to vote again. The fact that he listens rather than lectures has caught the attention of some in the black community and has them thinking.

Recent polls have suggested that more blacks identify as conservative in the worldview than ever before (by double digits nonetheless) are showing cracks in the monolithic black vote. It could also have something to do with the fact that a lot of black people think that the Democratic Party has taken them for granted. Whatever it is, winning the support of even a small percentage of black votes increases his chance of winning (if he can survive the primaries).

Another plank in Rand’s platform is taking a more hands off approach in foreign affairs. While this gives traditional conservative voters pause because of their view of the United States on the world stage, Rand does have an important point; when we have removed dictatorial secular regimes they have been replaced with religious extremism which are even worse. ISIS is a prime example of that.

On the other hand, he is willing to name the enemy – that being Islamic extremism which is more than what our current President can say. That kind of clarity helps leaders to make better decisions when in office rather than trying to force world events through a certain political lens. For sure, the current approach to see everything through political lens has not worked. In fact, it’s made things worse (“it was a anti-Muslim video, cough, cough) and made those who would kill us feel emboldened and make us appear weak.

Interestingly enough, many of Rand’s position are quite conservative, even on the social issues. But what makes him attractive to the younger set is that instead of campaigning on all these social issues, he talks about liberty and freedom in ways that attract the young. I believe he also supports medical marijuana probably helps too.

So while Rand Paul might be the white male grand satan of liberalism on paper, he certainly doesn’t come across that way in person. He appears to be more thoughtful rather than simply righteous. Intelligent without being smarmy. Approachable rather than distant. Practical rather than ultra political.

So I give him some props but it’s going to be a long road particularly with the GOP bench being a lot deeper this time around.

Rand Paul and Voter ID

Image

I met Rand Paul on a flight from Nashville to D.C. 

Conservatives are great with military strategy but suck at political strategy. The issue of voter ID for me has become akin to the the Bush vs. Gore case back in 2,000 where a lot of Democrats are still sour over that and believe that Bush stole the election. The reality is that even the most liberal estimates of possible voter fraud would not overcome the margin of victory in the last two Presidential elections. Obama ran the table when it came to electoral votes.

I believe that the use of photo ID would improve the integrity of elections at a local and national level. I also believe that the bar against using photo ID for voting is way too low – most poor and older people have a form of photo ID, whether it is for driving, obtaining a library card or signing up for some form of entitlement. The number of poor, black people who don’t have an ID is probably extremely low and states can implement measures to help those few who don’t.

Texas, a state that has many people in rural areas who should have photo ID problems had no systemic problems in their last election even though voter ID was required. There were a couple of issues but the election officials worked with those affected to ensure that they were able to vote and no legitimate person was denied the ability to vote.

Unfortunately, for many black people, the issue of voter ID brings up a lot of emotions from memories of voter suppression in the past. Rand Paul has been working hard to broaden the GOP base because he believes, and rightly so, that the GOP has real solutions that can lift many black people out of poverty and into the middle class. But there are decades of mistrust between the black community and the GOP and you cannot erase that when one of your party’s priority issue is something that reinforces that mistrust.

So rather than lead with an issue that has not affected the last two national elections, Rand starts with issues that gets the black community listening and possibly more support from the minority community. 

Rand is also correct that it is a state’s rights issue because each state is charged with holding elections and choosing electors who go to Washington to vote for their state. That is a Constitutional issue, the Federal government cannot mandate it. The government could issue a photo ID Social Security Card that could be used for identification at a voting booth. And if Rand does win, his DOJ pick would be able to side with the states trying to implement voter ID laws before the Supreme Court.

I’m personally all for photo ID to ensure election integrity. But I would rather deal with it after the next Presidential election rather than make it a deal-breaker for the next GOP candidate. If the GOP can broaden its base and win the trust of many, it will be much easier to sit down and have a conversation about election integrity especially when you have proved that you are interested in helping their voting bloc get out of poverty and succeed.

 

 

 

What Did You Know and When Did You Know It?

Image

Part of what annoys me about some media liberals is that they have a problem with timelines and the truth. For instance, many Americans supported Cliven Bundy over the BLM land grab and felt that the federal government was encroaching on too many private citizens and what should be a states issue. However, when Cliven went off the reservation with some very clumsily worded opinions that and very bad comparisons, both conservatives and liberals alike denounced them. However, liberals have continued to try to tie conservatives to Cliven Bundy that it was his racism that brought people together.

Nothing could be further from the truth. When conservatives found out, they distanced themselves from those remarks. When we found out the truth of something, we acted accordingly.

On the other hand, do you remember candidate Barack Obama who attended Reverend Wright’s church for 25 years and sat under all kinds of black racist garbage being spewed from the pulpit? He did nothing until it became public and then he had to distance himself.

Or consider Benghazi where Susan Rice and Barack Obama continually spun this tale of a anti-Muslim video causing spontaneous attacks when they knew right from the beginning that it was not from the video. And all the testimony and evidence points to a White House coverup. What did you know and when did you know it?

The same goes for Obamacare where our President criss crossed the country telling everyone that costs were going to go down and that you could keep your plan and your doctors. Now we find out that they knew well in advance that none of these things were going to be true which explains why President Obama delayed so many parts of the mandate so often. What did you know and when did you know it?

So our President, rather than change course when he discovers the truth of something as we would expect any reasonable person, he instead spins, obfuscates, pivots, covers up, obstructs, and tries to hide behind the shield of the Office. But you can only keep spinning the plates on a spindle for so long and now the plates are crashing down all around the President. These cover ups are far worse than what former President Nixon did that made him shut the lights off early on his presidency and leave behind the Watergate legacy.

What did you know and when did you know it?

 

Did the US Cause 9/11?

Just a quick post on this because I know there are those who feel that US presence in Muslim countries and some of our foreign wars has caused the rise of terrorism. This in effect makes the radical elements of Islam out to be victims rather than terrorist aggressors. This view dominates our current White House and foreign policy. They do not view this is a religious war.

Unfortunately for the US, the evidence is clear that the radical elements is Islam do not view themselves as victims but as fighters attempting to create a world caliphate that is ruled by Islam. We know this because the Muslim Brotherhood has published books that outline their goals and they have been found in the possession of terrorist groups and individuals. 

This is the reason why appeasement, apologies, and self-disarmament will not weaken the terrorist resolve – it will strengthen them. Even if the United States pulled out of the middle east entirely it represents too big a target for radical Islam to ignore to restore a global caliphate. Even the city of New York is dismantling their terrorist monitoring program thinking that it creates hostility towards Muslims.

For the terrorists, it’s a holy war and until we understand it as such, we will continue to stumble, fumble, and bumble our way around the Middle East until they catch us off guard with another devastating attack.