Friday, August 28, 2015

Donald Trump As Teddy Roosevelt?

'Just bully for me, thank you!'
'Bully for me! Bully for you, Donald!'
There has been all kinds of speculation about Donald Trump since he announced his run for the Republican nomination for President on June 16.

Has it been that long? It seems like only yesterday he said John McCain was 'not a war hero'; called Megyn Kelly a 'bimbo' and tangled with Jorge Ramos of Univision.

Maybe it is because he says all the same things every day it seems. Just a continual loop of sound bites and video.

Many pundits in Washington have predicted his political death 10 times already. George Will is biting through his upper set of teeth as he gnashes them contemplating the 'end of conservatism' as we know it today.

Whatever it really means, that is. We have heard at least 10 different descriptions of it over the years ranging from social conservatism to tax conservatism to libertarian conservatism to whatever-the-heck-you-wanna-call-it conservatism.

It seems to us that Donald Trump has tapped into the large taproot of disgust and revulsion that has been building against both established parties for about a decade that now manifests itself in the large percentage of people who are officially registered as 'Independents' or 'Unaffiliated'.

Every time we talk to such a group, they say the same thing over and over and over and over again:

'We hate the Democrats. We hate the Republicans. The Democrats spend too much money and like too much regulation and taxation of the private sector. The Republicans like to spend too much time worrying about what people are doing in their bedrooms.

They fight and they fight and they bitch and they bitch and they never get anything done for the overall good of the country. They are too concerned about their party and careers and staying in office way too long.

We are socially moderate-to-libertarian and fiscal conservatives.' 

Period. Next question.

In North Carolina, such officially registered Independent/Unaffiliateds accounts for close to 32% of the registered vote nowadays. That is a huge chunk of the electorate that neither side really knows how to speak to.

Along comes Donald Trump. He goes from nothing to 10% in GOP primary polls to 15% to 20% to 25% and now is over 32% in many state polls across the nation. Every time he does or says something that the 'experts' say will 'kill his campaign', he goes up another 5% points overnight it seems.

We have been trying to figure out who in American history he most resembles the most. We think you have to go all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt to get some inkling of why Donald Trump appears to have hit such a sweet spot with so many people today.

Both were (are) very wealthy sons of very wealthy people to begin with. Sons of privilege you might call them both.

Let's face it: It is easier to get to home base from third base if you are already born on it. After a while, after you have achieved great financial success, it starts to appear to you as if you have hit a grand slam home run to get to home base instead of acknowledging that you probably had a pretty good headstart in life over 99.9999% of every other human being who has ever been born on this planet.

Donald Trump acknowledges all this. So did Teddy Roosevelt.

'I am rich. I admit it.' they say. 'But what I want to do as President of the United States of America  is help everyone in America get rich! Especially the hard-working middle class!'

And therein lies the secret of the allure of both of them it seems. The average middle-class worker sees and hears a rich guy such as Donald Trump say such things and what they are really hearing is this:

'I wanna help YOU make more money and get a better job and take care of your family and pay your bills!'

That is a hard thing not to like. Especially after 6 years of stagnation and frustration in the job market and economy.

There is a strong line of populism in both TR's rhetoric and Trump's stream-of-consciousness thinking and talking out loud.

Both are, at their core, 'showmen' of the first order. Teddy Roosevelt used to go on big safari hunts in Africa and bring back enough dead big-game animals to fill a zoo.

At least Donald Trump just likes to open up casinos, fancy hotels and run Miss America Pageants. And tell people 'You're fired!' on 'The Apprentice'.

Teddy Roosevelt loved the crowds and loved to deliver fiery speeches to large crowds to inspire them to follow the Greatness of America dreams.

So does Donald Trump. Except he seems to be doing it right off the top of his head. At least Teddy Roosevelt was a learned scholar and author and historian of the first order; his speeches were probably a bit more nuanced than Mr. Trump's.

But not much.

Both had/have third-party aspirations. When Teddy Roosevelt wanted to run again after he retired from the White House voluntarily after 2 terms (remember there was no 22nd Amendment preventing long-term presidencies until 1947 after FDR's 4 elections), mainly because he missed the action so much, and he wasn't the Republican nominee, he invented a new political party, the Bull Moose Party, and ran under that banner. Bully for him!

We'll see if Donald Trump remains in the Republican camp if he does not wind up being the nominee. He can sign all the pledges others want him to but in the end, the only thing that would prevent him from running as a third-party candidate in all the 2016 primaries would be lack of ballot access due to lack of organization beforehand.

Both are New Yorkers. Or rather 'New Yawkers'.

There is something unique about a true New Yawker speaking in short sentences in simple words that everyone can understand. The Brooklyn in him is distinctively assertive and directive:

'We are gonna make America great again!'
'We are gonna build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it! Trust me!'
'We are going to knock ISIS out and take back their oil fields!'

You just get the feeling that he, like Teddy Roosevelt before him, means what he says and says what he means. Come hell or high water, he is issuing leadership language whether you like it or agree with it or not.

At the same time, it covers a lot of territory and gives comfort to a lot of people who need and want hope after a long period of disillusionment with the current White House and the Members of the US House and Senate.

The economy has not boomed over the past 6 years under President Barack Obama. Health care premiums have not gone down $2500 per year for every family under Obamacare. ISIS is running rampant over the entire Middle East it seems and jobs keep going to Mexico and China and Asia and not to the rural areas of North Carolina or wheatfields of Kansas or drought-stricken regions of central California.

Let's face it: Americans really DO want to believe we live in the greatest country on earth! That is why we are Americans!

They are tired of the worldwide apology tours of President Obama over the past six years. They are tired of negotiating with our enemies such as Iran which shows absolutely zero predisposition to changing their ways on the world stage now they are within grasp of building nuclear weapons. They are tired of not seeing the American economy explode with an over-abundance of new jobs ever year, especially the young graduates of our nation's best universities.

So Donald Trump comes along with a very simple cap that reads in bold letters: 'MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!'

And they are buying what he is selling. Whether everyone agrees with what he says or how he says it or not.

On top of all that, both TR and Trump were/are willing to take on the Kings and Barons of Wall Street. Teddy Roosevelt went after them on a trust-busting binge at the beginning of the 20th century. Donald Trump has clearly stated that he wants to raise taxes on Wall Street investment bankers who have large amounts of carried interest on investments that get taxed at a far lower rate than ordinary income would be taxed.

'They're my friends! I know them like a book! They laugh at how little they pay in taxes! Trust me, I know whudda I'm talkin' about!'

The little guy and the average middle-income wage-earner sees and hears a very rich guy like Donald Trump or Teddy Roosevelt going after the big guys on Wall Street, especially after so many of them re-made their fortunes on the back of those same taxpayers when we bailed them all out in 2009 after they helped burn down the financial system of America, and they say to themselves:

'That is a guy speaking the truth! I might not agree with him on everything....but I agree that he is a leader and we desperately need a strong leader now to lead us out of this mess we are now in in America!'

Even evangelicals in Iowa are supporting Donald Trump! They hear him say 'I have never asked God for forgiveness on anything I can remember cause I can't remember doing anything wrong' which is completely contrary to the notion of original sin and fallen creatures...and they say, 'Well, that is good enough for me!'

On women's issues, he has been very specific on maintaining women's health funding through Planned Parenthood even while saying he thinks the abortion delivery side of Planned Parenthood should be shut down due to the recent revelations regarding the horrendous sale of fetal organs...and both sides seem to be saying: 'I can live with that!'

It really is like watching the Hale-Bopp Comet come out of nowhere and streak across the evening sky this summer, isn't it? 

Or maybe that is just Donald Trump's hair?

* Read 'Theodore Rex' by Edmund Morris and see if you don't agree that many of the same similarities between the eccentric and bombastic behavior of Teddy Roosevelt and Donald Trump 100 years later. Maybe we are due for another 'showman' like TR

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Friday, August 21, 2015

First Things First

Federal Budget Breakdown 2015

Amidst all of the hype and hubbub of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton's emails, we thought it was a good time to bring everyone back to 'First Principles', particularly for you young people of this country.

You have 40-70 years, assuming you are blessed with good health and long-life, to live in America, if you so choose, and the decisions you make in the 2016 election are very important to you.

You are either going to vote for candidates who support policies that will lead to millions of great new jobs for you and your friends.

Or you won't.

You are either going to vote for candidates who support freedom and security for America for the rest of your life.

Or you are not.

You are going to vote for candidates who can read, write, add and subtract and understand budgets.

Or you are not.

All these decisions are up to you.

But first you need to know some facts.

The first pie chart above is the breakdown of the federal budget in FY2015 today. Take a look at it. Study it. Burn it into your memory banks for all future political discussions you may have.

The second pie chart (below) is from FY 1984, the last year of President Reagan's first term in the White House and the year we ran for Congress, primarily because we were 'terrified' of the massive budget deficits back then that were leading to the 'exploding' national debt at the same time.

The budget deficit in 1984 was $183 billion. The national debt was $1.3 trillion. The entire federal budget was $852 billion.

The budget deficit in 2015 is about $500 billion. Almost 2/3rds what the ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET WAS IN 1984!

The budget deficit for most of President Obama's 6 years in the White House was over $1 trillion PER. YEAR! Far more than the entire annual federal budgets under President Ronald Reagan in his first 4 years in office.

The overall national debt today is over $18 trillion heading towards $19 trillion. Net national debt (debt held by the public and not intra-governmental borrowing) is $13.4 trillion. The federal budget today is just under $4 trillion.

You will notice the share of the federal budget now dedicated to defense/homeland security is now 16.2%. In 1984, defense alone accounted for 32% of the federal budget. There was no 'Homeland Security' until post-9/11.

What has happened since 1984 is that the federal entitlement programs have not been reformed or reduced in any appreciable manner, way, shape or form. Federal health programs, mainly Medicare and Medicaid, accounted for just 10% of the federal budget in 1984. Social Security accounted for 23%.

Today, federal health programs, Medicare and Medicaid, now account for 28% of the federal budget, not 10% as in 1984. Social Security is only up to 25% of the federal budget.

The programs that have been crushed by this growth in Medicare and Medicaid have been the rest of the federal budget, the so-called 'discretionary programs' that cover the programs many of you want to see continue. Transportation, education, energy, environmental protection, name it, it is probably in the discretionary part of the budget.

The size of the defense budget has relatively been 'crushed' as well in terms of its percentage share of the overall budget. Defense is now about 50% as large as it was in 1984 in relative terms of share of the federal budget.

Close to 70% of the federal budget in 2015 is made up of entitlements, defense and interest on the national debt, all somewhat considered as the 'mandatory' part of the budget today. We need a strong defense today, perhaps more than at any time in the last quarter century. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest have to be paid regardless of any other considerations.

You have a lot at stake in the 2016 elections, don't let anyone try to fool you that you don't.

Perhaps the most important things the next President can and should do for you and your generation, and America in general, is arrest the overall rate of growth in federal spending; hold it to about 3% annual increases for the length of a presidential term or two, reform entitlements; instigate a massive economic growth surge that will generate enough revenue to not only balance the budget while holding spending down to 3% annual increases and then start paying down this enormous national debt before it is too late.

You just have to pick the 'right' candidates, especially for President, who can help make your life better for the rest of your natural-born days here in Planet Earth.

As long as you live in America that is.

Good luck!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What If It Is Donald Trump Vs. Bernie Sanders for POTUS 2016?

'You don't know nuttin' about
creating jobs, Bernie!'
'You're a mean one, Mr. Trump! Your heart's
a dead tomato with moldy purple spots!

Many people will leave the country. If either one of them wins the White House.

Or at least say they will. Stars such as Alec Baldwin and Kayne West 'promised' to leave this country if George W. Bush 43 was elected, but they didn't.

It is too great of a country to leave. Otherwise we wouldn't have this problem of illegal immigrants who are literally 'dying' to get into the United States of America.

Let's say lightning strikes twice and the Democrats nominate Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and the Republicans nominate New York business magnate Donald Trump as their respective nominees to run for President in the November election of 2016 next year.

We still find it hard to believe we can even write those words in a sentence together but let's assume their leads in the various polls holds up for the next year come hell or high water.

What would that election be like?

For one thing, it should be the most clear decision America has ever made. Bernie Sanders is an avowed out-and-out socialist and he is proud to admit it and campaign on that platform.

Donald Trump is an avowed capitalist who has made it big in American business and world-wide to be honest. Did you know he was 'rich'? He will tell you so if you listen for about 2 minutes to any speech or interview he will give.

There hasn't been that much of a distinction and clear difference of political philosophy among two final candidates for President in America's history that we can recollect.

During his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, President Barack Obama shied away from fully admitting his desire to make America more like the socialized nations of Europe and to diminish the wealth of wealthy Americans by redistributing it by whatever means necessary to all other Americans.

Based on what he has done since being in office, he is not much different from Bernie Sanders truth be told. He just didn't admit it in public for fear of not getting elected.

George W. Bush campaigned as a supporter of freedom and capitalism under the guise of 'compassionate conservatism'. Apparently, since the federal government continued to grow under his watch and budget tools such as PAYGO were jettisoned early in his first administration, while he did cut taxes that Obama later made permanent, President Bush was not as bothered by the specter of Big Government as many conservatives were and are even more so today after 8 years of high-octane BIG GOVERNMENT under President Obama.

There would be no such blurred lines between Bernie and The Donald.

Let's take a look at what this really means for America, especially the young people now in the workforce who have never known a time when the economy boomed along at 4-5%+ growth per year and created millions of jobs to soak up their talents right out of college at good salaries and benefits:

Socialism has been defined as a system of government where 'a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.'

What does that mean in practice really? Don't we already have some form of democratic republicanism in the United States where we have many things that can be considered 'socialist' in nature, especially on the 'regulated by the community' side of things?

The military defense system of this country can be considered 'socialism' under the above definition, can't it? We the People 'Own' and 'Govern' the Military, thank God, don't we? Other countries go through political turmoil and botched elections and some junta or military dictator rises up to stage a coup and then take over the country, usually not for great results for the citizens of that country short or long-term.

We collectively 'own' and 'govern' the interstate highway system, for another example. We own and govern the following through our elected Congress and Senate and President, don't we?:
  1. Medical science and research through the NIH
  2. Environmental protection through the EPA
  3. National park lands through the Department of the Interior
As our nation has grown and modernized over the years, especially after the creation of the New Deal under FDR to alleviate the crushing blows of the Great Depression in the 1930's, America has progressed from the cowboys of the wild west mentality towards government ('Every man on his own; head 'em up, move 'em on out!') to providing the basic necessities of civilization in the 20th and now the 21st century such as safe working conditions, child labor laws, social safety nets (more on this later) and clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.

We might want to start calling the American System something different than a pure 'capitalist' country from now on. Maybe it should be called 'capitalsocialism' or 'social democratic republicanism' or anything other than 'pure free capitalism'.

Because 'pure capitalism' really does not exist in America today anywhere but the black markets and the drug trade when you really think about it. (although they use our roads to deliver their goods without paying for them through income taxes. They do pay excise taxes on fuel to support road maintenance and construction at least)

The question it seems to us is this: 'To what degree MORE do you want to see America go in terms of adopting more socialist government programs like Europe?'

If you like what President Obama has done, Bernie Sanders is your man to pick up that baton and keep running clockwise to the left for the next 4-8 years. He wants a single-payor national health insurance plan; massive new taxes on the wealthy to redistribute to the common folk; big hikes in the minimum wage, expansive new programs for welfare, environmental protection and public housing....if it involves the federal government, Bernie Sanders is for it.

And he wants to be at the helm of that ship steering it clearly and solidly tacking to the left on every single public policy issue facing America.

The one thing you will never hear from 'President Bernie Sanders'? 'Let's let the free market find the answer'

The problem we have had with people who like government so much is that they take a less than positive view of how the government they want is financed in the first place. Paying for government doesn't come out of thin air, does it? (maybe in the case of the Fed making up currency to expand their balance sheet it does, but that can't last forever, can it?)

A solid government relies on a sound, growing economy where people have the ability to pay taxes to support the government in the first place. No workers, no income; no income, no income tax to pay the government to run the programs you may want to see happen. It is as simple as that.

The one thing you WILL hear from 'President Donald Trump' is the opposite. "Let the free market work!' you'll hear him say.

A lot. Like every day. Like every minute of every day. As long as a microphone is hot and near 'President Trump', you will hear him extol the virtues of private enterprise and capitalism.

'After all, it worked for me!' he seems to always be saying. 'It will work for you! Just let it happen! Trust me!'

We have enough empirical proof to know that pure unadulterated free market capitalism without restraint doesn't always turn out too well. Just take the 2008 Wall Street Meltdown for example. The investment bankers up there took your private money in the banks or other investment vehicles and made wild bets on derivatives and real estate without a whole lot of due diligence and restraint; lost it all and then had the gall to run to Washington to ask you as taxpayers to bail them out to restore their wealth first....oh, and then get the financial system going again.

So we 'get' the need for some government oversight and regulation in many things.

But the operative word there is 'some'. Not 100% in totality. Not federal bureaucrats sticking their nose into every aspect of every person's business every day.

We think 'President Trump' would know how to fling open the doors of free enterprise and capitalism and rejuvenate the now-dormant entrepreneurial spirit that is nascent in millions of Americans who want to create a better life for themselves and their families.

Much of it would be to repeal many of the burdensome laws that have been passed since 2008, under the tail-end of the Bush Administration but accelerated as if on steroids under President Obama for the last 6 years now. Dodd-Frank, executive orders, Obamacare...these are just a few of the big ticket items the next President can push for to free up the private sector to expand and take more risks and, in the process, hire millions of new workers to meet the demand.

We would like to see the next President and Congress do something more to roll back the tide of socialism, even just a little bit. It would even have the added benefit of providing the chance for hundreds of millions of Americans to build up significant retirement nest eggs instead of relying on the paltry, truly minimum wage-level pension they are going to get under the current Social Security system.

Adopt a transition period to private individual retirement accounts funded by your own payroll tax contribution for Social Security.

We have written about this many times before but this approach would take out the 'socialism' part of 'Social Security' at least where every cent of a person's Social Security payment is transferred to them during their retirement years from some working person's payroll taxes at the time. Not from one dime they have contributed to the fictitious 'trust fund' which was named that only to confuse and obfuscate the fact that it really is a socialistic transfer ow wealth from the young to the old. 

It would be replaced by a private investment account, just like the one you may have now with your employer or own on your own through an IRA or SEPP retirement investment vehicle. Call it the 'Capital Security System' if you want to distinguish it from your grandpa's old SS check.

But that would be a monumental shift back towards individual responsibility and self-reliance on the part of the American people if they really do want to go back to 'capitalism' and not keep slouching towards European socialism.

It is your choice in varying degrees with any candidate. It would just be so clear between Bernie and The Donald. How much fun would those debates be? 

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Explaining The Donald Trump Phenomenon, Sorta

Trying to explain why certain presidential candidates catch lightning in a bottle and ride that bolt of energy all the way to the White House is like trying to explain lightning in the first place.

'It just happens' seems to be the best way to explain it.

Donald Trump is confounding the experts in Washington as well as the commentators in the news media and many cognoscenti around the country.

He shouldn't be.  We have seen this lightning strike before.

'When?' you might ask.

2008 when Barack Obama was elected President.

Based on his electrifying performance at the 2004 Democratic National Convention where he said: "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America'*, a little-known-til-then-somewhat-obscure state senator from Chicago, Illinois rode that momentum all the way to the White House 4 years later.

If that wasn't 'confounding', then nothing in American political history has been 'confounding'.

What about other 'phenomenons' who made unlikely campaigns all the way to the White House?

Jimmy Carter rode the wave of discontent and disgust over Watergate and the subsequent Nixon pardon by President Ford and inflation and stagflation that was hitting the country right to the White House from little ole Plains, Georgia in 1976.

Only to be ridden out of town on a rail by Ronald Reagan in 1980, a former B-grade actor who delivered a great speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention in support of soon-to-be-blasted -out-of-the-water presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

Great speeches still work in the 21st century. You want to make it to the White House; deliver a great speech at a national convention and see what happens.

What about others who rode great marketing and organized campaigns to the White House? Remember the 'Old Rail-Splitter' 'Honest Abe' Lincoln? He was a failed candidate in many ways and viewed as a country hick in many quarters incapable of any intellectual brilliance due to his lack of a college education of much of a schooled education at all.

He may have been the epitome of the story Democrat National Chairman Robert Strauss used to refer to when he said the 'American people want to vote for a man who was born in the log cabin that he built himself'.

We know it can't be true. Yet we still want to believe it so we project that super-human image onto the person running for President we think has the best chance to prove it can be done.

Other 'phenomenons' come and go like the Hale-Bopp Comet. They shine brightly for awhile and then either fade off deep into the universe or they flame out and crash to earth with a thud.

Like Vermont Governor Howard Dean, for a good recent example. He won the Iowa caucuses in 2004 and then gave the most famous state geography lesson in American history but ended it with a weird 'yee-ahh' cowboy yell that ended his presidential aspirations right then and there.

Just like giving a great speech can lead the way to the White House, saying something really stupid can make you an asterisk in the history books in less than a minute.

Or less than 6 seconds. Just ask George Allen of Virginia who was leading all Republican contenders in 2008 until he chose to call someone who was following him for the opposition 'macaca'...and that was all she wrote for 'President' George Allen.

What does any of this have to do with The Donald leading in all the Republican polls right now 6 months out from those Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, South Carolina primary and now, all of a sudden, the critically important North Carolina primary that will take place on the Super Tuesday Primary, March 1, 2016?

Donald Trump might be riding a wave to the White House just like Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan before him. Or he may say something really stupid and become an asterisk in the history books just like Howard Dean and George Allen before him.

What is going on?

Presidential politics is sort of like a psychological Rorschach test for the entire nation at the same time:

We vote for the one person upon whom we have projected our collective hopes and dreams and cast away our fears in the hope that a majority of people in the states that get this candidate to 270+ electoral votes do the same.

It almost doesn't matter what the 'truth' is about a presidential candidate. Most people had no idea that Barack Obama had such an aggressive progressive socialist agenda coupled with such a recessive foreign policy when they voted for him in 2008 and even again in 2012.

Now we know. So does Israel and the rest of the world in the aftermath of this Iran Deal. If it works, and Iran is docile forever, it will be viewed as a great step forward. If it doesn't, it is a disaster about to happen.

The majority of voters in 2008 and 2012 'projected' their hopes and dreams upon this attractive and eloquent young African-American that he would be able to bring this nation together, not further apart, especially on the race issue; restore the economy to rapid growth and creation of jobs' and keep us safe against the threat of terrorism.

We'll leave it up to you to determine whether you think those 'projections' have been fulfilled.

The same thing is happening with Donald Trump right now for millions of Americans.

Millions of Americans are fed up with the lack of progress in restoring the American economy to its full potential where it can create tens of millions of new jobs in a presidential term. Millions of Americans are completely fed up with the lack of progress at securing the southern border and dealing with illegal immigration in a rational, coherent manner. Millions of Americans are fed up with the fear that ISIS and Al Qaeda are running through the Middle East as if they are running through a field of daisies and they are soon going to be running through America with similar ease.

Into that breach steps The Donald, Mr. Donald Trump himself.

Political pundits dismissed him as a showman. The Huffington Post said they would not cover his candidacy on the front page but rather on the entertainment page. (Bet they will change soon)

True-blue believers on the Democrat side call him names beyond even what Mr. Trump has been accused of saying towards John McCain and Rosie O'Donnell even.

And still he rides on, now close to 30% in many recent polls.

What is he doing to achieve such heights?

He is saying and doing things that the normal everyday person can see and hear and say to himself/herself: 'I get it. He is saying and doing the things I wish I could get done as President'.

Projection of our collective hopes and dreams. That is what we do when we vote for a President.

Donald Trump may crash and burn to the ground just as Howard Dean and George Allen did before him. There will be others.

As long as Donald Trump is viewed by folks fed up with the excesses of the Obama Administration in terms of their over-reach on taxes, Obamacare, regulations, executive orders, cover-ups, scandals, and now Hillary's emails which are just another extension of the Obama White House, he will continue to garner political support.

His message is simple: Build the wall between Texas and Mexico. Create jobs by the millions. Make America Great Again.

People respond to that brevity and hope.

Don't underestimate him. Remember America likes to elect showmen as well as statesmen. We like to be entertained by our Presidents as much as we want them to lead us to success.

*Interesting to read in retrospect Barack Obama's 2004 speech:

"Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

"Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America.
"There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.

"The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

"We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states.

"There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."

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