Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dear John, Rudeness Is A Weak Man’s Imitation Of Strength

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16th of this year I was skeptical of the real estate mogul and remain so to this day.  A month later, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced his intention to seek the office of the presidency.  I listened closely to what he had to say; with 16 other candidates vying for my vote I was willing to hear him out.

His performances in the three previous GOP presidential debates have been hackneyed and unremarkable.  The Fox Business debate was clearly when Kasich, who is desperate to break out of his low polling numbers, elected to interrupt ad nauseum his opponents and pick fights with them.

Kasich is soft on immigration and bank bailouts.  Voters of all stripes are alarmed about an immigration system that is critically in need of real enforcement and sweeping reform.  The debate on Tuesday exposed just how out of step his “compassionate conservatism” is with the rest of the GOP field.

Maria Bartiromo, Fox Business moderator, asked a question that lit up fireworks in the debate: “Mr. Trump, a federal appeals court just dealt a blow to the Obama administration’s plan to prevent the deportation of 5 million people living in this country illegally. The White House is appealing to the Supreme Court.  At the heart of this issue is the effect that illegal immigrants are having on our economy, what will you do about it?”

Kasich’s response to Trump's proposal to build a massive wall along the US-Mexico border and deport more than 11 million illegal aliens was boorish and wrong-headed.
“Well, look, in 1986 Ronald Reagan basically said the people who were here, if they were law-abiding, could stay. But, what didn’t happen is we didn’t build the walls effectively and we didn’t control the border. We need to. We need to control our border just like people have to control who goes in and out of their house.” 
“But if people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children.”
“So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law-abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back.” 
“But for the 11 million people, come on, folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It’s a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense.”
Whether we use the words “undocumented immigrants”, a term favored by our betters or the more accurate descriptor “illegal aliens”, these people are in our country in violation of our laws.  Subsequently they are illegal and not “law-abiding” as Kasich insists.

When Gerard Baker, another Fox Business moderator, tried to move the conversation to the topic of reducing benefits for the elderly, it was Ted Cruz who made a powerful statement on the impact that illegals are having on our economy:
“I want to go back to the discussion we had a minute ago because, you know, what was said was right. The democrats are laughing—because if Republicans join Democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose.”
“And, you know, I understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn’t often see it as an economic issue. But, I can tell you for millions of Americans at home watching this, it is a very personal economic issue. And, I will say the politics of it will be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande, or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press. Then, we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation. And, I will say for those of us who believe people ‘ought to come to this country legally, and we should enforce the law, we’re tired of being told its anti-immigrant. It’s offensive.”
“I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba to seek the American dream. And, we can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law—and I would note, try going illegally to another country. Try going to China, or Japan. Try going to Mexico. See what they do. Every sovereign nation secures its borders, and it is not compassionate to say we’re not going to enforce the laws...”
One of the issues that gave rise to the grassroots movement known as the Tea Party was the bank bailout fiasco.  Gerard Baker asked the candidates the following question:

Hillary Clinton recently said that if we had another financial crisis like the one in 2008, she wouldn’t bail out the banks. Would you?

Governor Bush responded, followed by Dr. Ben Carson and Senator Marco Rubio.  This was the moment Governor Kasich decided to be preachy about Wall Street.

NOTE:  International Business Times published a detailed report of Kasich’s ties to Lehman Brothers saying, “Kasich received big Lehman paychecks as the bank’s mortgage-backed securities decimated the investments intended to support” his state’s retired workers and today, “is getting financial support” for his presidential campaign “from donors he worked with during his time at Lehman.”  According to the same report, he was a longtime ally of the financial industry during his 18 years in Congress and voted for legislation that would eliminate regulations on banks like Lehman.  Kasich sponsored a bill to allow Social Security money to be invested in financial firms—including Lehman—that stood to make hundreds of billions in profits had it passed.

Neil Cavuto, the principle moderator for the debate, expounded on Baker’s question exploring the following scenario:

“Senator Cruz — and I will get to you (addressing a petulant Kasich)—but, Senator Cruz, on that theme, Facebook data shows that over the last month alone, nearly 1 million people—nearly 1 million—have been concerned about reining in Wall Street, apparently believing that some have not been punished enough. So, as an accomplished litigator yourself and a former solicitor general, would you go after the very people who believe and fear that Wall Street has ignored, in other words, the crooks that Bernie Sanders say have gotten away with a financial murder?”
CRUZ:  Absolutely yes. You know, I have spent much of my adult life enforcing the law and defending the Constitution. And the problem that underlies all of this is the cronyism and corruption of Washington. 
You know, the opening question Gerry asked, would you bail out the big banks again? Nobody gave you an answer to that. I’ll give you an answer. Absolutely not.  And what we have right now is we have Washington—as government gets bigger and bigger, you know, the biggest lie in all of Washington and in all of politics is that Republicans are the party of the rich. The truth is, the rich do great with big government. They get in bed with big government. The big banks get bigger and bigger and bigger under Dodd-Frank and community banks are going out of business. And, by the way, the consequence of that is small businesses can’t get business loans, and it is that fundamental corruption that is why six of the 10 wealthiest counties in America are in and around Washington, D.C. 
And let me give you a contrast to Washington cronyism. Some weeks ago, a woman named Sabina Loving testified at a hearing that I chaired in the Senate. Sabina Loving is an African-American single mom who started a tax preparation business in the south side of Chicago. She found a store front, she wanted to have her own business. She started a business. 
But then the IRS promulgated new regulations targeting tax preparers. They did it under a more than 100-year-old statute called the Dead Horse Act. Now, this statute and the IRS in classic Washington crony fashion had exemptions for lawyers and big fancy accountants, but Sabina had to pay $1,000 an employee. It would have driven her out of business, and Ms. Loving sued the IRS. She took the Obama IRS to court, and she won, and they struck down the rule for picking the big guys over the little guys. 
CAVUTO:  Senator, I really want to be clear here. Are you saying, sir, that if Bank of America were on the brink, you would let it fail? 
CRUZ:  Yes. Now, let’s be clear, there is a role for the Federal Reserve—what the Fed is doing now is it is a series of philosopher-kings trying to guess what’s happening with the economy. You look at the Fed, one of the reasons we had the financial crash is throughout the 2000s, we had loose money, we had an asset bubble, it drove up the price of real estate, drove up the price of commodities, and then in the third quarter of 2008, the Fed tightened the money and crashed those asset prices, which caused a cascading collapse. That’s why I am supporting getting back to rules-based monetary system not with a bunch of philosopher-kings deciding, but tied... 
CAVUTO:  Sir, I understand that. I just want to be clear, if you don’t mind, that millions of depositors would be on the line with that decision. And I just want to be clear. If it were to happen again, for whatever the reason, you would let it go, you would let a Bank of America go? 
CRUZ:  So let me be clear. I would not bail them out, but instead of adjusting monetary policy according to whims and getting it wrong over and over again and causing booms and busts, what the Fed should be doing is, number one, keeping our money tied to a stable level of gold, and, number two, serving as a lender of last resort. 
That’s what central banks do. So if you have a run on the bank, the Fed can serve as a lender of last resort, but it’s not a bailout. It is a loan at higher interest rates. That’s how central banks have worked. 
And I’ll point out—look, we had a gold standard under Bretton Woods, we had it for about 170 years of our nation’s history, and enjoyed booming economic growth and lower inflation than we have had with the Fed now. 
We need to get back to sound money, which helps, in particular, working men and women. What Washington does—the people who are doing well in the Obama economy are those with power and influence in the Obama government. 
Kasich babbled a while in response to what Cruz had just said and was summarily dismissed by Bartiromo who tried to turn to Rubio but was interrupted yet again by the Ohio governor.

CRUZ:  So, Governor Kasich, why would you then bail out rich Wall Street banks, but not Main street, not Mom and Pop, not Sabina Loving? 
KASICH:  I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. 
CRUZ:  But you just said an executive... 
KASICH:  No. No, I didn’t say that. 
CRUZ:  ...knows to step in and bail out a bank. 
KASICH:  They were—they were talking about what you would do with depositors. Would you let these banks shut down?  My argument is, going forward, the banks have to reserve the capital, so that the people who own the capital start pressuring the banks to not take these risky approaches, Ted. 
CRUZ:  So you said you’d abandon philosophy and abandon principle...what would you do if the bank was failing? 
KASICH:  I would not let the people who put their money in there all go down. 
CRUZ:  So you—you would bail them out. 
KASICH:  As an executive, I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it versus those people, or the hard-working folks who put their money in those institutions...(booing from the audience finally interrupted the interrupter) let me — no, no. Let me say another thing. Here’s what I mean by that. Here’s what I mean by that.  When you are faced in the last financial crisis, with banks going under and people who put their life savings in there, you got to deal with it. You can’t turn a blind eye to it.
Kasich’s attempt to be the progressive conscience of the Republican Party has produced an angry backlash and he damn well deserves it.  Jonah Goldberg’s comments at National Review reflect my own.

“He’s done. He came across angry, condescending and unprincipled. By the end of the debate he came across as the drunk, obnoxious uncle everyone wishes hadn’t accepted the invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.”

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