Friday, April 08, 2016

The View from Here

Speaker Paul Ryan seen here with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Looks like the inevitability of a Trump Presidency, is not so inevitable anymore. Finally, his rhetoric is catching up with him. Once favored in the Wisconsin Primary, he got trounced last week. Cruz beat him by a substantial margin.

What this seems to indicate is that Donald Trump will not get the necessary number of delegates during the primaries to assure him the nomination. But neither will Kasich or Cruz. It is therefore quite likely that we are going to have a contested convention. Once all the delegates vote on the first ballot, they are free to vote for anyone they choose on a second ballot.

The question is, who are they going to choose? If they don’t choose Trump, the Republicans in the primary that voted for him will feel cheated. Especially if he just fell short. Choosing Cruz would at least satisfy Cruz supporters. The problem with Cruz is that his is not very likable. Senator Lindsay Graham has joked about this saying the following: 
"If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," 
But he supports him nonetheless because his core principles are conservative and in any case would make a better President than either Clinton or Sanders.  If you are a Conservative Republican, this makes sense.

However, if he is so hated, why not hope for an entirely different candidate? One that is liked? Graham answered along the following lines. Since such a candidate did not run in the primaries and had no public support, it would be unfair for the candidates that  did run and got support. So that in a contested convention, the candidate should be chosen from among those that ran in the primaries. Otherwise all those who voted in the primaries will be upset that their wishes have been totally ignored. And might just sit out the election - giving the Democrats a victory.

I think Senator Graham’s perception is wrong. It is my firm belief that there are candidates that would have gotten support had they run by people that voted for those that did run. They just voted for who they could. Had Paul Ryan run for example, he may havegotten more votes than any of the others that ran. Of course we will never know that since it didn’t happen. The point, however, is that it is not unreasonable to assume that someone like Paul Ryan  would in the end have tremendous appeal to all Repubilcan voters.

This is the man they should choose at the convention. He said he is not interested. But I am virtually certain he can be convinced to change his mind. He has everything a candidate needs to win an election. He’s smart, knowledgeable, principled, and well respected in congress on both sides of the political aisle. Even President Obama respects and likes him - even while acknowledging strong political disagreement.

Ryan knows when… and how to compromise. And as a popular President he will have a congress that will be ripe for doing that. Most importantly, I believe that he will beat the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. His negatives are pretty low. Clinton’s are pretty high. I no longer believe she is unbeatable – if the Republicans make the right choice. This assumes that Donald Trump wouldn’t run as a 3rd party candidate. That will assure a Clinton victory. One can hope.

Here is my current assessment of the field in both parties.

As I have said in the past, Israel is very high on my agenda as to who I would support. If that were the only issue, Cruz would be a no brainer. His support for Israel is about as strong as it gets. And if both houses of congress remain Republican, Israel’s Prime Minister would enjoy the the kind support it hasn’t had in years. It would in my view be unprecedented!

But Israel is not my only issue. I don’t think it’s wise elect a President that is hated by virtually the entire legislative branch!

Clinton would just continue the approach of the current administration if she is elected. Which isn’t terrible… but isn’t great either. And her domestic policies would be more or less the same as they are now. Her values are about as liberal as they can get. I can’t imagine what a Supreme court will look like after her choices are confirmed. (Something Congress should think about with Merrick Garland – who is far less liberal than who Clinton might choose if she wins the election.)

Even though he is Jewish, Sanders is about as pro Israel as Noam Chomsky, another Jew whose criticism of Israel sounds like it comes from Hamas. And besides his lukewarm (at best) support of Israel - his socialist policies would drag this country’s economy down the same drain as the many European economies… most of which cannot financially support all of their entitlement programs they have. Programs that Sanders has promised to implement. Congress may not let him do it. But why would I want someone leading this country that tries?

Trump - aside from being an international embarrassment - has no clue about far too many issues upon which he pontificates. His promises are probably less likely to be implemented than Sanders promises.

Kasich is an unknown entity and has no charisma. I have no clue what his policies would be with respect to Israel – or much else for that matter. And although he has said polls show he would beat Clinton, I have my doubts about that.

That leaves Ryan. His policies with respect to Israel were clearly demonstrated this week during his visit to Israel. His leadership ability has been endorsed by his peers, who picked him as Speaker of the House. He is young and charismatic. He has the kind of family values that the majority of Americans support. I just hope he is the choice of the Republican convention delegates (after the first round of voting) and that he can be convinced to run.