Diary

Alleged GOP Heresies from the First Debate

According to one online Leftist website, eleven alleged heresies were committed by Republican candidates in the first debate.  Let’s see what they are, why they are alleged heresies and parse out some truths.

1. The Iraq War was a mistake:  This is based primarily on Jeb Bush’s earlier floundering on the issue.  During the debate, he said: “Knowing what we know now, with faulty intelligence, and not having security being the first priority when we invaded, it was a mistake.  I wouldn’t have gone in.”  Well, duh!  Why it took him over a month to state the obvious should be justification alone to discount him as the eventual nominee.  If your last name is Bush, you should have expected such a question, if not from Megyn Kelly then from some other news person.  But, as a reminder, the intelligence failure was not solely attributable to the United States.  Other countries including Great Britain, France and Germany had come to the same conclusions.  Obviously Hussein had WMD since he used them on his own people at one time.  And Donald Rumsfeld’s execution of the aftermath of the war left much to be desired.  As Commander-in-Chief, of course this made Bush look bad.  But, instead of worrying about history, the bigger and more important question is what we do now given Iraq’s tenuous situation and the rise of ISIS.

2. We created ISIS.  This was directed at [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] who had to backtrack somewhat on his original statement.  Actually, “we” do have some culpability in creating ISIS, but the “we” falls squarely on the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton.  When Bush left office, despite Obama opposing it, the surge was largely succeeding.  Iraq fell apart afterwards because of Obama’s failures.  His failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement- because his overriding goal was to simply get out to satisfy a campaign promise- is the biggest factor in the formation of ISIS.

3. We couldn’t sustain international sanctions on Iran.  The article juxtaposes statements by Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina.  Walker argued that we should have increased sanctions before negotiating in order to strengthen our bargaining position.  Fiorina noted that China and Russia were violating the sanctions and they would have never strengthened them.  We will never know.  Unfortunately, the deal brokered by Kerry simply delayed the inevitable while Iran gets billions in sanctions lifted.  The Obama administration is naive to believe they will use this money to better the lives of their citizens.  And once sanctions are lifted, it will now be almost impossible to reinstitute them.  Also, the world’s financial system is heavily reliant on the US and that could have been used as leverage against recalcitrant “allies” unwilling to strengthen sanctions.  But, it is all moot now.

4. You can’t cut the deficit without cutting entitlements.  This stems from the Christie-Huckabee exchange.  It is also not a “heresy” since most conservatives I know have consistently argued that entitlements need reform and cuts.  Christie was correct to note Huckabee’s window dressing “cut Congress’ pension” suggestion- a miniscule part of the entitlement problem.  And it cannot be resolved simply by reducing fraud, waste and abuse.  Those are just words that sound good despite the well-publicized examples.

5. People need social security.  Again, I know of no conservative who believes we should totally trash social security.  However, social security has strayed far from its intended purposes of keeping the elderly out of poverty upon retirement and it has not kept up with demographic reality.  When social security came into being, there were 16 workers for every beneficiary.  Today, there are two workers.  Roosevelt himself said the program would be but one aspect of retirement security with personal savings and pensions being the others.  People need social security, but social security needs serious reform.

6. Payroll taxes are unfair.  This is based on Huckabee’s apparent desire to establish a “consumption tax” which would hit higher earners who profit from capital gains and dividends.  Unfortunately, when you think you are solving a problem in one place, you create two in another.  How about allowing wage earners paying payroll taxes the option of diverting at least some of those withholdings to a personal retirement account?  Why not let the lower earners become members of the exclusive investing class?

7. Welfare is an economic opportunity problem, not a cultural problem.  This is based on comments by Santorum and Pataki- hardly major voices in the debate.  But, it is not only an economic opportunity problem, it is also a cultural one.  All one has to do is analyze the utter failure of the War on Poverty and the culture of dependency it has nurtured.  Virtually every reform instituted during the Clinton administration has been undone by Obama.  Is there any wonder that more people today are more reliant on government assistance and the poverty rate has increased under Obama?  The non-cultural platitudes are nice and politically correct, but false.

8. Illegal immigrants are good people.  Unless you are Donald Trump, no one really believes there are hordes of rapists, murderers and burglars crossing the border with impunity.  But because the southern border is so porous and because Obama has essentially opened the doors wider through DACA, the simple laws of probability dictate that among “the good people” will be murderers, rapists and burglars…and drug dealers…and violent gangs… and a whole assortment of other nefarious people.  This is a major misunderstanding with the Left: they portray control of the border as an act of racism.

9. Medicaid helps people regain their productivity.  This is directly related to John Kasich’s use of Medicaid expansion funds to treat the incarcerated mentally ill and drug users.  As an almost parenthetical afterthought, he stated that it prevents the working poor from using more costly emergency room services.  If that alone is what Kasich did with the money, there could be some justification, but Medicaid being used for incarcerated mentally ill patients getting medication and drug rehabilitation services was never the intention of Medicaid.  Wrapping oneself in the cloak of Christ and being your brother’s keeper is fine on the personal level, but Kasich’s program is expected to cost Ohio taxpayers $4 billion in the next five years as more and more doctors in Ohio have stopped taking Medicaid patients.  If Kasich wants to help the mentally ill and drug abuser in Ohio, use Ohio money, not mine.

10. Single-payer health care would be more efficient.  This derives from Trump’s assertion that it works in Canada and Scotland.  That is little consolation to the average Canadian or Scotsman placed on a waiting list for cataract removal or a knee replacement.  Its not even consolation for pregnant Canadian women who regularly cross the border to give birth in American hospitals.  Ironically, single payer health care would be more efficient and better than Obamacare, but that is not saying much.  Puhleaaassse… let’s not focus on Donald Trump’s musings on health care.  I’ve had Trump purchased insurance- Obamacare is better!

11. Human activity is causing climate change.  Quoting [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] on this issue is like quoting Donald Trump on single payer health care.  Graham said he would focus on solutions, not the science.  Fiorina later followed up with a speech and op-ed piece.  They are basically asserting that climate change exists, but should we risk hurting a fragile, recovering economy for minimal gain?  Graham is one of those Senators who professes an “all of the above” strategy when it comes to energy, but votes to subsidize certain segments of the energy sector.  I am all for ending subsidies and credits to oil companies IF we end them to solar, wind, and ethanol concerns.