Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Take: Political Winners and Losers

The excitement of the Iowa Caucus is almost over and attention has turned to New Hampshire. 

I have decided that politicians can redefine words to suit their individual needs. Such would be the case for Clinton and Rubio who both claimed victories as a result of the Caucus.

I was impressed with Clinton declaring victory, albeit by a mere .3 percentage points in a marred process that featured multiple coin tosses. Did I mention that no one received 50 percent of the votes cast and there were multiple coin flips involved?

On the Republican side, a letter to the editor of the New York Times by Richard Nussbaum sums up the situation fairly succinctly. Mr. Nussbaum writes:

It really doesn’t matter that Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night. What matters is that the majority of Republican voters in Iowa threw their support to one of two candidates whose main campaign themes are meanspiritedness and bigotry.
Though this week’s talk will be all about Mr. Trump’s loss, it should really be about America’s loss, and about confronting head on the racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia — not to mention callous indifference to poverty and suffering — that have become the calling cards of these politicians, and that are sadly embraced (or, at the very least, overlooked) by far too many Americans.
The comments above are precisely what has been bothering me about the campaigns thus far. The bashing has got to stop! We need leaders who can work with opposition and can build-up rather than tear down. We have had too much tearing-down in our political system lately and that is why it appears that almost nothing gets done in Washington.

A bigger problem is that the top vote getters in each party, with the exception of Trump, are all senators or previous senators. Former senators have generally poor track record as presidents. I have found the list here. I exclude some of the original Founding Fathers from the statement because the initial cadre of senators was clearly composed of the leaders of the government. Also note, Warren G. Harding became a senator (and a good one) after his Presidency. We can argue about a few of the exceptions.

Conversely, former governors comprise some of our most revered Presidents. The list is here.  Governors actually have experience building coalitions to get things done while, in my opinion, Senators frequently are single issue people who can play well with others in the sand box. 

My Take is that the Iowa Caucus pointed out that the current front runners for the office to President of the United States are flawed. We the People need to do a better job finding and supporting candidates who are more focused on running the country rather than bashing the other candidates.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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