Thursday, April 28, 2016

California here we come

Just when everyone thought we had heard the last of Carly, Ted decides to cast her as his running mate.  I suppose after his failed attempt to ally with Kasich to thwart Trump in Tuesday's primaries, this was as good as any attempt to deflect attention away from his abysmal showing.  I'm not sure what good it does picking a VP at this stage of the game, when he has no mathematical chance of winning the nomination on the first ballot, even if he were to score big in California, which seems to be his motivating reason for picking Carly to run with him.

As you might recall, Carly is a California native who unsuccessfully ran against Barbara Boxer for the US Senate seat in 2010.  She was also the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, who was fired in 2005 after running the company into the ground.  Nevertheless, she seemed to tickle conservatives' fancy in the early going of this election cycle, much the way Michelle Bachman did in 2012.

Her social and political views aren't quite as far out in right field as Bachman, but she has the "street creds" to endear her to social conservatives, notably her stance on planned parenthood and abortion.   Despite getting "punked" on the hoax PP video that was widely distributed on conservative blogs, she stuck to her guns in saying that PP was "trafficking body parts," as did Ted for that matter.  She is kind of an "anti-woman" woman candidate, a younger version of Phyllis Schlafly, who lent her endorsement to the Donald.

The problem now is that Trump has such a big head of steam coming out of the Northeast that it will take a major derailment to stop his train heading into Cleveland for the GOP convention in July.  He nearly has 1000 delegates, and polls show him ahead in California by 17 points.  I'm not convinced Carly is going to help Ted make up that huge difference.  A win in California would pretty much seal the deal for Trump on the first ballot.  We will only be left to guess who the Donald will put forward as his Vice-President.

Meanwhile, the Donald has been trying to stake out a foreign policy doctrine, which he has entitled "America First."  Not very original but sufficiently vague as to allow persons to read into it what they will.  However, a few concerns have been raised over his dismissal of the nuclear weapons agreement we have with Japan and South Korea.  He feels these countries are rich enough to buy or develop their own nuclear arsenal and that they should fend for themselves against China and North Korea.  I suppose there is little fear Japan would rebuild an imperial dynasty, but this agreement serves both our interests in many ways, and it is not like Japan doesn't pay for our "protection."

Trump wants to see a world where the United States is no longer the chief police officer, basically leaving countries to their own military means.  One can see Vladimir Putin salivating at all the opportunities here, especially if a Trump administration were to forego its commitments to Eastern Europe.  China would also find itself in a better position to bully its neighboring smaller states.

The irony of this is that many conservatives have accused Obama of taking a back seat when it comes to American foreign policy, as was the case in Libya.  The Obama administration essentially let France and Great Britain call the shots that led to the downfall of Gaddafi with no plan in place to fill the power vacuum left behind.  As a result, we found ourselves confronted with Benghazi, which the Republicans have tried to wrap like an albatross around Hillary Clinton's neck.

Most Republicans demand a bolder approach.  They no longer seem afraid to put troops on the ground wherever they might be needed to defend American interests.  But, Donald appears to only want to do so if someone pays for it, essentially a "guns for hire" approach, like a modern day version of the Pinkerton gang.

It's not like he has put much thought into it, like he has anything else in his campaign.  Trump has been effectively able to seize on the conservative electorate's imagination by giving his voice of authority to the same sentiments found on conservative blogs.  Ted Cruz has tried to do the same, but his voice doesn't carry the same weight.

One can only imagine the sharp barbs Trump will have for Ted and Carly in the weeks ahead.  I'm sure he will craft a clever nickname for Carly, who he has already berated any number of times for her looks.  She is pleased as punch to be back in the game after being given up for dead, so it probably doesn't matter what he calls her.  We'll see June 7 whether Ted's bold choice proves to be a game changer.

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