The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense

“…I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.… It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Obama’s Re-Election Victory Assured By Donald Trump, Ron Paul, And Jeb Bush

Here’s the Nonsense:  People are so unhappy with Obama that there’s no way he’ll get re-elected.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  Don’t ever doubt the ability of the Republicans to shoot themselves in the foot, and with recent events it’s virtually assured.

Barack Obama may not need to put forth much effort to get re-elected if his competitors keep up their current actions. Three people, any or all of which could throw this race to Obama, should be watched.  Keep your eyes on Donald Trump, Ron Paul, and Jeb Bush.  Here’s why:

Donald Trump, as you all know by now, switched his party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated just before Christmas.  He says he’s fed up with the way the Republicans are handling things.  His past talk of a possible presidential run, even as an independent, may be more possible than ever.  An independent run by Trump, or anyone who could garner enough votes to have an impact, would make Obama a shoe-in for re-election.

Ron Paul, even though he clearly understands the gravity of the nation’s economic problems and that they are a result of out of control spending, doesn’t offer a platform acceptable to enough voters to get him elected.  Voters are taken aback at such things as his foreign policy views.  Dick Morris was quoted on this weekend saying, “Ron Paul remains terrifying. He is really the ultimate liberal in the race. He wants to legalize drugs, repeal the Patriot Act, slash our military spending, pull out of Afghanistan, and remove all limits on abortion. On these issues, he’s way, way to the left of Obama. What makes him a conservative is hard to tell. But, whatever he is, he would be a disaster as the Republican candidate. His bland assertion in the last debate, that 'anyone' will beat Obama is both self-serving and inaccurate. He wouldn’t. Anyone who votes for Paul and is not brought up short by his denuding us in our defenses against terrorism and his passivity in the face of Iranian nuclear weapons, has to realize that nominating him is tantamount to re-electing Obama."  And even if Paul doesn’t get the GOP nomination, there’s a distinct possibility that he may run as an independent which would still result in Obama’s re-election.

If Donald Trump and/or Ron Paul make an independent run for the presidency they would not win, but they would have enough of a following to take votes from the GOP nominee so that Obama is assured a victory.  This will be history repeating itself and we’ll watch another Ross Perot vs. George H. W. Bush type of disaster that got Bill Clinton elected with less than the majority of votes in 1992.  

But if that isn’t enough to cause you concern, some are suggesting Governor Jeb Bush might be a late entry to the race.  Recently Governor Bush wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that was excellent.  Many have raised the question of whether he was testing the waters to decide if he should enter the 2012 presidential race.  And while the piece he wrote would pass muster with many, if not most conservatives, he still has the Bush name to live down.

George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush are both moderates, as proven by each of their records.  Add to that the fact that Obama’s administration has been running against George W. Bush since their campaign of 2008.  They’ve succeeded in getting many of the uninformed  voters to buy into the idea that the problems this nation is facing are entirely because of him.  (We all know they won’t accept responsibility for taking a bad situation and making it far, far worse.)  Even if Jeb Bush is shown to be a true conservative, unlike his father and brother, it is far too soon to try to make his mark in national politics.  With the country feeling the effects of an economy still struggling from a recession started under his brother’s presidency, Jeb Bush could be the reincarnation of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan combined and there is still no way he could live down his family’s presidential legacy at this time in history.  Whether he could at some point in years to come is a separate discussion, but the timing would be very bad to try it now.

So we have Trump and Paul who would split the vote if they ran as independent candidates and thereby assure Obama’s successful re-election.  And we have Bush and Paul (if he actually won the GOP nomination instead of running as an independent) who would drive voters to Obama and also assure an Obama re-election victory.  The efforts of these men can best be spent supporting whoever the GOP nominee is and thereby create a solid voting block to stand against Obama’s re-election chances.

Whether any or all of these men will do something to damage Republican chances at a victory remains to be seen.  And we cannot control what they choose to do.  However, American voters have a way to win regardless of who wins the presidency in 2012, even if it’s Barack Obama.

It is critically important that the conservative base of the GOP work extremely hard to get solid candidates elected in the House and Senate to take control of them.  The United States government was set up by the founders of this nation to have a check and balance system.  That system has faltered because we’ve allowed the wrong people to get control of it.  But if the right people are elected to control those bodies of our government, then they can keep the president, whoever that may be, in check and keep our government on the right track.  It’s called a check-and-balance system and it’s time we got it working for us again.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Mitt “Obama-Lite” Romney Is Not The Best Choice To Win Against Obama

Here’s the Nonsense:  Mitt Romney is the best candidate to beat President Obama in the next election because there is such a stark contrast between them.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  Mitt Romney may have it all over President Obama when it comes to successful business experience.  But there’s a reason he’s known as Obama-lite that should make voters take pause before they choose him as the GOP nominee.

Before he was elected, didn’t Barack Obama claim that his administration would be transparent beyond what we’d seen from other presidents?  But since taking office we’ve seen no such thing.  Even the press, the very people who supported him and covered for him with softball questions, lies, and false accusations against his competitors, have complained that this administration is too secretive.  In fact, wasn’t it this administration that gave themselves an award for transparency but kept the ceremony closed?

Now it’s time for another election and here come the GOP candidates.  The establishment Republicans are pushing Mitt Romney as the answer to everything.  Supposedly he is the only one who can win against Obama.  I’ve heard politicians and pundits on the right make these claims.  (Ironically, the Democrats and the media say the same thing… that should give anyone with half an ounce of sense some pause.)  Any other candidate that gets to the top of the polls to challenge Romney is attacked viciously, often with no real logic and only impassioned emotional pleas.

There is this mindset among the establishment Republicans that follows one of two paths:  
  1. Either they say that Romney is really a closet conservative who has just been fooling everyone for years by claiming  he’s a moderate.  That, they say, has allowed him to get elected as a Republican in the blue state of Massachusetts even though he's a true conservative.  
  2. Or they say that Romney is the only one who can win because he’s a moderate and moderate voters will insist on someone who is close to Obama on the issues to beat him. 

The fact is that if he’s a closet conservative and has just been claiming to be a moderate until now then I have to ask why anyone would vote for such a dishonest person?  If he couldn’t be honest about who he is and he was deceptive just to win an election, then why should we believe that he’s not being deceptive now?

On the other hand, if he’s in the center and close to Obama on the issues, then why would someone choose something so close to what we already have as president right now? Polls say the American electorate are fed up with the way this country is headed and they want change.  Why would they vote for a change from one thing to something that’s close to what they already have?  Why wouldn’t it be the most opportune time for someone with dramatically different positions on the issues?  I spent much of my life in business and the easiest sale to make to anyone was when they were fed up with a competitor who offered something dramatically different than what I offered and they wanted out.  If what I offered was close to what someone who had disappointed them had given them, then it was very hard to get them to change.  There’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be the same when voters are choosing a new president.

But let’s look at a couple of examples starting with the one I brought up at the beginning of this post.

President Obama claimed he’d have a very transparent administration and yet he has had just the opposite.  And this doesn’t sit well with the American people.  We are a country that is supposed have elected officials who are accountable to the public, yet we get secrecy instead.  While Mitt Romney has not made such claims for what his administration would do if elected to the presidency, we can simply look at what he did as governor of Massachusetts and get a good idea what he’d be like.

In a recent story in the Washington Post we learned that Romney’s staff spent big dollars making sure that records of his administration as governor were removed.  It was reported that he spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor in 2007.  While it was legal, they said this was unprecedented in state history.  The Washington Post went on to say that 11 of Romney’s aides “bought the hard drives from their state-issued computers for themselves.”  The governor’s staff also had emails and other electronic communications wiped from state servers, according to the report.

So here we have another politician keeping things secret from the public.  Sure, it might be legal, but it doesn’t make it right.  Ethics are above laws.  Ethics demand a higher standard than laws do.  What is ethically right is more important than what is legally right.

Keeping secrets sounds a lot like the kind of thing we’re seeing from the current administration.  But if that’s not enough let me leave you with a couple of other thoughts about Romney’s similarity to Obama so you can see that choosing Romney as the nominee would make it very easy for Obama to win the election. 

You’ve heard it said over and over again that Romney would have to live down Romneycare because it was the blueprint for Obamacare.  Romney has tried to dodge the question by saying that it’s okay for a state to make that decision and force their citizens to purchase health insurance, but it’s not okay for the federal government to do it.  That argument doesn’t work.  Even if it should be a state’s issue, the fact that he’d support the idea that ANY level of government, local, state, or federal, could force citizens to purchase anything is a scary thought.  It doesn’t take much to extrapolate an idea from one level of government to another.  His stand needs to be that it was a mistake and should not have been done at any level.  American citizens should not be told by government to purchase anything, no matter what level of government is making the demand.

The fact that Romney supports the idea that it’s okay for the states to do it is very weak, but weakness is what you should expect from a moderate.  And when you add to that the fact that 3 of his advisors went to the Obama White House on 12 different occasions to help them in their development and implementation plans for Obamacare, that seals the deal for me that he’s just dancing on the question to get around it and get elected.  He is doing nothing different than Obama would do if he were cornered on an issue.

And one last thing.  Have you noticed that Romney refuses to admit it was a mistake?  Someone who cannot admit that they were wrong has an ego driving their narcissism that is very reminiscent of our current president.  And the ego we currently have in the White House has gotten us into such a mess that we can’t afford four more years of this nonsense.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting Gingrich To Take Personal Fidelity Pledge Is Ridiculous

Here’s the Nonsense:  If we just get a politician to sign a pledge then we can be sure where they stand.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  Politicians sign things, make promises, and do everything they can to get us to believe them.  But the fact is that those promises can be broken just like any other.  The real way to determine how serious someone is about change in their life is to see if their actions have changed over an extended period of time.

Newt Gingrich is getting hammered by foes and “friends” alike because of his marital infidelity in the past.  And he should be held accountable for those mistakes.  But an Iowa conservative group getting him to sign a pledge to marital fidelity really means nothing when you get right down to it.  If a person will break the vow they made before God to their spouse then signing something for someone else is useless.

The fact is that the only way to tell if Newt is serious about change in his life is to watch and see what he’s done.  He’s had many years to prove whether he’s serious about it.  He has made numerous changes in his life.  He says he’s become religious and joined the Catholic Church where he has sought God’s forgiveness for his past failures.  He’s been open to questions and criticism about his failures.  He’s shown many years of faithfulness to his current wife. 

If we’re going to judge him based on something, we’d be far better off looking at his track record since he’s made these changes in his life rather than to have him sign a piece of paper today.

Certainly it’s fine to have someone sign something, but to use it to judge them instead of the evidence of their life is ridiculous.  No one is perfect.  We all fail.  The issue isn’t whether someone failed.  It’s what they did after that failure that matters.  From all we can see, Mr. Gingrich has been a solid and faithful husband and family man since then.  Now we have to decide if we’re going to believe it.

And before you make a final decision about whether to believe him, ask yourself if you’ve ever done something wrong.  Have you ever lied?  Have you ever been dishonest about something?  If your answer is no, then you’re lying right now. 

Since you lied have you changed your behavior?  Let’s assume that 17 years ago you lied about something.  Once you’d apologized for it and sought forgiveness, would you expect to have that held against you forever?  Would you think it is right that almost two decades later you were still being judged by a mistake you made, especially when you had worked hard to change that behavior? 

That’s what people are expecting of Newt Gingrich.  I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.  All evidence that we can see tells us he is a changed man.  The evidence tells us he deserves to put the past behind him.

Does that mean he deserves your support for his candidacy?  No.  That’s a separate discussion.  But the decision about supporting his candidacy should not be clouded by old mistakes that he’s shown evidence of correcting in his life.  The decision whether to support him should be based on his position on the issues, his success at supporting conservative causes, and his ability to lead. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Fire Is Out, But They’re Still Determined To Burn Newt Gingrich

Here’s the Nonsense:  Newt Gingrich can’t possibly sustain the scrutiny and criticism about his past.  That will surely be his undoing.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  Newt Gingrich is maintaining his lead in the polls, in spite of all the problems from his past that everyone keeps resurrecting.  He might have found success through an age old formula that makes those criticisms run off him like water off a duck’s back. 

The fire has long been out.  The ashes are no longer smoldering and the smoke is gone.  The fire fighters have long since gone back to the firehouse.  They've probably even given the fire dog, Spot, a bone.  But somehow the media and establishment Republicans are screaming “fire” when it comes to Newt Gingrich’s past mistakes of many years ago.

With all the talk of Newt’s candidacy being short-lived, he sure is hanging on to the lead in the polls.  Even when the media decided to strike at the core conservative value of marital fidelity in Saturday night’s debate, Newt walked through it like a soldier with a map to the minefield that was laid for him. Nothing brought up again about his past seems to be of concern to American voters.

Of all the GOP candidates, only Newt that we know of has had failure in this area of his life.  Yet he still came through the scrutiny with flying colors.  The audacity and hypocrisy that a “journalist” like George Stephanopoulos would even allow himself to be the one to raise such questions is remarkable.  After all, Mr. Stephanopoulos was working for Bill Clinton during the very time efforts were being made to diffuse the impact of the sexual escapades of which President Clinton was accused.  But somehow in today’s media the only standards that exist are double standards.

When questions of the trustworthiness of a candidate who has been guilty of marital infidelity were raised at the debate, every candidate there, except Newt, was able to say that they are still married to their first spouse and all claimed faithfulness in those relationships.  The finger was pointed directly at Newt for his infidelity in the past.  Now let me say here that NO ONE is tougher on the issue of infidelity than I am.  Ask anyone who knows me very well and they will tell you that I accept no excuse to justify infidelity.  I believe that if a person cannot be trusted in the most sacred commitment they make in their life, their marital vows, then they cannot be trusted in anything else.  Very simply, if you’ll cheat on the most important promise you ever make, then there is no reason you wouldn’t cheat on something of lesser importance.  HOWEVER, I also believe that people make mistakes.  I believe that if they admit their guilt, truly seek forgiveness from God for their actions, and work hard to live a redeemed life, then over time, they can prove themselves trustworthy again.  Without this hope of redemption we might as well all give up in life.

So Saturday night at the debate when the hypocrites media asked whether a person guilty of infidelity could be trusted to be president, it was no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that Newt owned up to his faults.  He openly admitted he’d made mistakes and then went on to say that he’d sought forgiveness from God.  If you’ve been paying attention to this campaign for any period of time you already know that he’s addressed this more than once.  He’s been an open book and without any defensiveness he’s welcomed questions about his past.  He’s even put a page on his website to deal with questions about his past and openly offered for anyone who didn’t find answers to questions they had about his past to contact his campaign.  By doing so he is finding out most Americans are willing to move on.  That is exactly what I predicted would happen in an earlier post I wrote a few weeks ago.

Now I doubt Newt has ever read my blog and even if he had, I doubt he’d care what I have to say.  But for those of you paying attention to my commentary, you will note that I had said that I believed that if Newt were to continue being open about his past and the forgiveness he’s sought, that the American people would be willing to move on.  It is old news for Newt.  People have brought up the issues of his past many times in years gone by.  And the American people are tired of it.  Newt just reinforces their desire to move on by doing the right thing and turning his life around.  He has over a decade in a good marriage with Callista to back up his claims that he’s changed.  Those are the things that are making Newt succeed in spite of the continued resurrection of old issues. 

You’ve heard it said that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  It seems that the media and establishment GOP can’t find any smoke but they’re determined to find fire anyway.  But the media doesn’t want to forget it.  The establishment GOP doesn’t want to forget it.  They all want Mitt Romney as the GOP candidate.  And the Democrats do, too, in addition to probably wanting some payback for the huge success Newt had in Congress promoting conservative causes.  He may not be the most conservative of candidates, but he has a record promoting many conservative causes successfully.

So, when the debate rolled around Saturday night and the media decided to try to raise issues to undermine Newt’s candidacy he stuck to his plan to be open and honest.  The result was that it worked.  The American people showed no interest in it.  They showed support for his admission of fault and effort to turn his life around, much to the bewilderment of the media (and the establishment GOP, too, I’m sure).

His continued strong showing in this debate along with his willingness to show strength of conviction and stand alone against the onslaught about his comment regarding the Palestinians and Israel were reinforced by the support the audience and American public are showing for him on those issues.  Even when other GOP candidates were wanting to maintain political correctness about such a hot button issue as the Middle East, Newt didn’t back down.  He stood his ground, spoke historical truth and showed support for one of America’s most loyal and important allies.  And the real irony was as the debate about that particular issue raged on, the audience supported Newt with applause and cheers.  He stood his ground seemingly alone in that auditorium and when it looked like no one would agree with him the crowd backed him.

Now whether you like Newt or not doesn’t matter.  That openness to criticism and judgment was Newt showing one of the characteristic traits of a leader.  And that willingness to stand alone against the pressure of political correctness and support Israel is another sign of a leader.

There are still some positions I do not agree with Newt Gingrich on, but just those two characteristics he showed Saturday night said a lot to me about his ability to lead.  I realize that I’m not going to find the perfect candidate.  But I do know that sometimes people who've learned from their mistakes have learned wisdom that others who only have knowledge can't even understand.  Wisdom comes from experience, not knowledge or intellect.  Most people, even those with great knowledge and great intellect do not have wisdom.  Our leadership in Washington has proved that for many decades.  And wisdom is the stuff that solves the toughest problems in life. 

Newt Gingrich is far from the perfect candidate.  I haven't fully gotten behind anyone yet.  In fact, I'm still open to the "right" conservative candidate if he or she rises up.  But if I am to do proper due diligence in considering candidates, then I have to admit that Newt is doing a lot of things that should be serious food for thought for those seeking a candidate who can best lead our nation out of the mess we’re in.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Democrats, With The Help Of The GOP, Are Setting Up The Perfect Plot For Obama’s Re-Election

Here’s the Nonsense:  Everyone from the Media to the Democrats to the establishment Republicans are screaming that Mitt Romney will be the hardest GOP candidate for Obama to beat so the GOP should be smart and make sure that he is the nominee.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  When someone who is not on my side gives me advice I find the best reaction is to ignore that advice.

Maybe it’s me, but I don’t tend to believe it when people that I know are not on my side are telling me what to do.  I have found that they are usually trying to get me to do something by telling me to do just the opposite.  And for some reason I can’t understand why it would be any different in the GOP presidential primary race.

Every time you turn around the media, the Democrats, and even the establishment Republicans are attacking any and all candidates except Mitt Romney.  Sure, the Democrats and the media have made a few scant attempts at criticism of Romney, but anyone with the slightest intellect would do that to make it look legitimate that he’s a threat as a nominee.  They don’t want to look too obvious. 

Whether it’s the media, the White House, the DNC, Democrat political leaders, or the establishment Republicans who keep telling us the same message.  They all want us to believe that no one can challenge Obama the way Romney can.  Then they go and attack all the other GOP candidates.

If the media and Democrats really believed these other candidates were so easy to beat, why wouldn’t they keep their mouths shut and let one of them get the nomination?  Why would they want to tip anyone off to make sure they end up facing the most difficult foe to beat?

And let’s take it a step further.  The Democrats have staked out their place as anti-Wall Street.  They have supported and praised the Occupy Protesters.  They have worked hard (and I guarantee you they plan to work even harder before this election is over) to demonize Wall Street just like they demonized the insurance industry for the last election to get voters all worked up against them and gain support for Obamacare.  They are doing the same thing with Wall Street.  And which candidate for the GOP nomination more represents Wall Street than any other?  That’s right, it’s Mitt Romney.  They are setting up a perfect plan and the Republicans are foolish to buy it.

The establishment Republicans want Romney as the nominee, so their efforts to undermine the other candidates make sense.  They have this ridiculous notion that a Romney candidacy will work best because he’s the most moderate.  For some reason they think that even though that didn’t work so well for Bob Dole, George H. W. Bush’s second term, and John McCain that somehow it will work this time.  Amazing when you continually hear the voters crying out for another Reagan to come along and yet the establishment Republicans want to push the very thing that Reagan was opposed to in the Republican Party. 

And if the media, the Democrats, and the establishment Republicans aren’t enough, there are the Ron Paul supporters who are so sold out to his cause that they actually believe if one of the other GOP candidates was elected it would make no difference than re-electing President Obama.

While Ron Paul has some wonderful ideas about domestic policy and cutting spending, his views on foreign affairs and national security fly in the face of most voters, especially the Tea Party.  Gallup shows him only having a 7% support from Tea Party members.  He has no statistical chance of getting elected.  Yet many of his supporters are foolish enough to say that they will vote for Ron Paul or no one at all.

I have 3 questions to those who say they’ll stay home and not vote if Ron Paul is not the nominee (or any other candidate that you may prefer over who ends up with the GOP nomination):

  1. Do you really think we have another 4 years to survive if we don’t get someone else elected instead of President Obama?
  2. Would you prefer another 4 years of President Obama over any of the GOP candidates? 
  3. Even if you believe that some of the GOP candidates aren’t great, wouldn’t replacing Obama buy time to work on getting other candidates into the process in the future while slowing down the destruction of America over which President Obama is presiding?  

I think the old adage that you should vote your heart in the primaries but vote your head in the election makes a lot of sense.  Saying anything else is, frankly, acting like little children who say if you don’t play their way they’re taking their toys and going home.  Well, I’ve got news for you.  If we don’t get someone else elected to the White House in 2012, you probably won’t have a home where you can take those toys!

So do we believe the media, Democrats, and establishment Republicans in their false presentations that Romney will be the hardest to beat?  Are we going to let the media and Democrats set us up to have the candidate they want and that's being set up for failure?  Are Ron Paul’s supporters going to join us if he doesn’t get the nomination and help defeat President Obama?  Or are we going to fall for the Democrats and media plot and choose the nominee they see as easiest to demonize and defeat to assure the re-election of President Obama?