In the South Carolina GOP debate, candidates talked about the need for covert operations in Iran and criticized Obama on the lack of such operations. At issue is not whether there should be such operations. What is at issue is that the candidates do not know what they are talking about. Precisely because such operations are covert, none of the candidates know whether they exist or not. As far as the debate is concerned, all their talk is just that, hot empty air.
Now Newt Gingrich, riding on a wave of don’t-want-Romney-and-cooling-on-Cain, is taking the matter further. Of course, he still doesn’t know what is going on. Now he advocates taking out Iran’s scientists and hitting Iran’s oil and gasoline infrastructure.
Talk like that may solidify his new approval rating, though that is doubtful. What we have to realize is what some of the consequences are, especially of hitting oil production. For someone who wants to be president of this country, Gingrich is showing an amazing lack of awareness. Which is more likely? Will such action bring about a regime change, or will it cause gas prices in the country to sky rocket and send our economy tumbling into a recession far deeper than the one we are crawling out of? The regime change is unlikely to change, done the Gingrich way, but irresponsible action will certainly bring about the other consequence.
In a recent survey, people were asked who among recent presidents they would most trust to fix the American economy. The two leading answers were Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. FDR makes sense as he was the president who brought the country out of the Depression, but perhaps he was not â€œrecentâ€ enough, because most of the respondents opted for Reagan.
Reagan inherited a relatively small deficit (compared to more recent deficits) when he took over from Jimmy Carter. In fact, in his campaign he hammered Carter over it. Instead of fixing the deficit, however, the Reagan administration blew it out, and it stayed out of control until it was reigned in under the Clinton administration. Then under George W. Bush it blew out again, and it is now no longer economically viable to bring it under control until the economy improves considerably.
Be that as it may, this does not negate the idea that Reagan might be the one to do something here. But today, despite the reverence the conservatives hold for him, Reagan would not even win his party’s nomination. This is why: Towards the end of his administration, there was a realization that a fix was needed, and Reagan took the hard choice and began raising taxes. These days, the GOP is so blindly obsessed about taxes that anyone suggesting taxes is automatically out, not matter how reasonable and economically sensible such a move might be. And that must include Ronald Reagan.
As the sexual harassment accusations continue, Herman Cain and his camp continue to deny the allegations as â€œbaselessâ€ and â€œbogusâ€ and to brand his accusers as liars. At his press conference on November 8, 2011, he claimed that the â€œDemocratic machineâ€ is out to get him. This is a change of direction; originally, Cain blamed the Perry organization for raising the issue of sexual harassment.
It is not easy to believe that these accusations are the machinations of the Democratic party. That party is focused on Romney getting the nomination. It would be very much to the Democrats’ advantage to have Cain run for president. He is inexperienced, he will appeal less to the swinging center because he is more conservative than Romney, and being black, he will turn off some of the Republican vote.
Actually, Cain’s troubles will have little effect on his race for the GOP nomination. Conservatives are quite prepared to put the accusations down to the â€œliberalsâ€ and the â€œliberal media.” For a precedent, we have only to look to the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, the most unqualified appointee in modern times. The accusations of sexual harassment against him only strengthened the Republican resolve to appoint him. (See my post â€œVirginia Doubtsâ€, dated October 10, 2010.)
What this means is that Cain can still win the Republican nomination, but it is even more clear now that he cannot win the presidency.
When Sarah Palin announced that she was not running for the Republican presidential nomination, she said she thought she would be more of an influence from outside the race. This, however, has not proven to be true. Once she dropped out, media interest shifted away from her, and without the media attention that she has been able to garner in the past, she is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
Look at the field. Romney is a virtual liberal pretending he’s conservative. Perry keeps faltering. Cain is about to head south. Palin’s main rival, Michelle Bachmann, is losing her former supporters, as they realize that she is in it for herself rather than for the greater cause. So the time ripe for Sarah Palin to come back in and revitalize the conservative movement.
The Feds have been cracking down on California’s medical marijuana dispensaries to stop a national marijuana trade by people with criminal backgrounds. Naturally, marijuana users are up in arms about what they see as an incursion into their â€rightâ€ to have access to the drug. While federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, conflict with state law is not the issue here. It is the corruption of the industry by criminal elements.
When voters approved the medical marijuana proposition, there was no guide as to how the drug would be distributed. Medical marijuana should have only been available through pharmacies, just like other prescription medications. There are no shops set up to distribute other specific prescribed meds. Likewise, there should not be any for medical marijuana. It is this failure in the original proposition that has brought about the current problem.
Significantly, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte acknowledged that in Sacramento recently. He said, â€œWhile California law permits collective cultivation of marijuana in limited circumstances, it does not allow commercial distribution through the store-front model we see across California.â€ The state can still remedy the problem and require that medical marijuana be sold only through pharmacies.