I'm a Republican and I Need a Mechanic. Who Should I Choose?

Let’s play I’m a Republican and I need a…

This won't be cheap...
This won’t be cheap…

I’m a Republican and I need my car fixed. I could go to a guy who isn’t a mechanic but says he can fix anything, a guy who says he’s a mechanic but hasn’t fixed anything, or a guy who has been a successful mechanic for over 25 years.
Who should I pick?
Lately, I think most Republicans would pick the overly confident non-mechanic or the guy who is a mechanic but hasn’t fixed many, if any, cars.
Or I’m a Republican and I need major surgery. I could select a guy who isn’t a surgeon but says he can cure anything, a guy who says he’s a surgeon but once closed down the operating room, or a surgeon who has been doing surgery well for over 25 years.
Who should I pick?
Lots of Republicans are saying we don’t like the mechanics and surgeons we have now. GOP voters are turning to those who have little or no experience, instead of finding a well qualified and experienced mechanic or surgeon. They seem to be willing to roll the dice with someone who unrealistically thinks he can fix anything (Trump) or someone who hasn’t fixed anything much (Cruz)  instead of the person who has a record of fixing things (Kasich). This doesn’t seem like a strategy for long term success.

Ted Cruz Misleads on Climate Science

A video going around Facebook again (first posted back in September 2015) shows Ted Cruz answering an impatient questioner on climate science. Cruz displayed a calm demeanor but he played loose with the facts. The questioner asked Cruz if he denies climate change. Watch:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/WOrmMq5IC-s[/youtube]
Unfortunately the questioner got in his own way at first. However, once Cruz got to answer, he claimed three things.

  1. Thirty to forty years ago, there was a group of liberals and scientists who claimed the world was getting cooler. The consensus was that the Earth was cooling and required massive government intervention to stop it.
  2. Then when the data disproved global cooling, the same scientists started to claim the Earth was warming.
  3. According to the satellite data, the Earth has warmed over the past 18 years. Because of that, the preferred term now for those who urge massive government control is “climate change.”

There is irony in Cruz lamenting liberals who he claims have the same answer to every problem because Cruz rarely varies in his analysis of national issues. Nearly every problem comes down to the liberals in Washington who want to exercise over the people.
Cruz is wrong on each point and like his Super PAC president David Barton, constructs a false narrative which he uses to deflect attention away from inconvenient facts.
First, there was no consensus that the Earth was cooling complete with liberals calling for government control of U.S. citizens. A review of scientific papers published in the 1970s on climate found that only seven articles from 1965-1979 proposed “global cooling” as a theory. Forty-four articles supported the idea of a warming planet during that same period.
Second, Cruz said the scientists went to the “global warming” next when global cooling didn’t work out. Third, Cruz said the data shows no warming over the past 18 years. However, he refers to satellite data for his conclusion. Surface and ocean temperature warming are much more accurate indicators of what is happening on the surface of the Earth. Generally, satellite data records conditions in orbit and must go through conversions to approximate surface temperatures. Cruz apparently relies on satellite data because they support his views. The earth has been warming and the last couple of months have been the hottest on record.
This is a very brief narrative from Cruz but in just a couple of minutes, he made everyone who heard him less knowledgeable about climate change. He is wrong about some “global cooling consensus.” He is wrong about the reason climate scientists began warning about global warming and he is wrong about the direction of the temperature over the past 18 years. He sounds smooth and smart but is way off the mark.
Because accuracy regarding the climate is a critical scientific issue going forward, Cruz’s stance is one of the reasons I think he is not ready to be president. I outlined the remaining reasons yesterday.
 
*I want to thank Christian scientists John Abraham, Katherine Hayhoe, and Erik Anderson for helping me locate and understand data for this post.

Why I Won't Vote for Ted Cruz – #NeverCruz

Cruz Cruz BartonIn this crazy GOP primary season, I have come out frequently for John Kasich although I could have lived with Marco Rubio as well. Given the available choices, a Kasich/Rubio ticket would be a pretty formidable duo to face either Clinton or Sanders in November.
For me, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are non-starters. In this post, I want to outline why I can’t vote for Ted Cruz.
Cruz promises to deport 12 million illegal immigrants
Not only does Cruz hold a morally reprehensible policy in my view, but he toughened his position to pander to the pro-Trump crowd. In February, Cruz told Bill O’Reilly that he would deport all undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. However, in January, he said he wouldn’t send immigration authorities to homes to round them up. Furthermore, he made a point to say that those he evicts won’t be allowed to try for legal entry later as favored by Trump.
Watch Cruz on the O’Reilly Factor:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDFmpTbTPpc[/youtube]
In practice, I believe the forced eviction of 12 million people would be a humanitarian disaster, comparable to the forced migration of Native Americans during the Trail of Tears between 1830 and 1850. It is conceivable that some will resist deportation setting up possible violent stand-offs with authorities. Many have children who were born here. I can imagine children left behind in makeshift arrangement with many tragic stories. I can also imagine myself taking some kind of action to protest mass deportation; I certainly won’t vote to make it more likely to happen.
In addition to the logistical and moral problems, it would be quite costly, Forbes Magazine estimated that the deportation of approximately 12 million people would cost $114 billion. More recently, a Wall Street Journal analysis pegged the cost at around $400 billion, In addition, the hit to the GDP would be about $1 trillion.
I have to believe that Cruz is aware of the costs but is making the pledge to deport anyway for political reasons. This leads me to my next problem with Cruz
Cruz surrounds himself with people who have a problem with truth
David Barton and Glenn Beck immediately leap to mind. Barton was one of those who anointed Cruz in 2013 and Glenn Beck has been Cruz’s surrogate in the media and on the campaign trail since Beck endorsed Cruz during the Iowa primaries. Space doesn’t permit an examination of Barton’s historical and current misadventures but you can read about them here.
At Cruz’s rallies in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, Beck floated several fraudulent stories about George Washington (see here, here, and here). Beck issued a statement admitting the deception to Huffington Post, but he blamed HuffPo for his mistakes on his own website and never apologized or admitted the truth to Cruz’s supporters.
Barton and Beck aren’t peripheral figures in the Cruz universe. Barton heads one of Cruz’s Super PACs and Beck has become a spokesman for Cruz. Along with foreign policy advisor and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, Beck and Barton as close advisors call into question Cruz’s judgment. An administration full of these appointments is unthinkable.
Despite Cruz’s religious tones, I don’t trust him – In part because of his advisors, I don’t trust Cruz. Their claim that Cruz is God’s candidate is icing on the distrust cake. His father, his wifeDavid Barton and Glenn Beck have all expressed in one way or another that Cruz is divinely anointed to be president. In Israel’s history, God intervened and chose kings. However, America is not Israel and those who claim to know God’s will on this matter immediately arouse my suspicion.
I became more keenly aware of how little I trust Cruz when he recently said in a town hall meeting that one should be skeptical of a candidate who claims God’s favor. He was essentially holding himself up for scrutiny since he is the only candidate with that platform in this campaign.
Cruz has not spoken much about how his belief in special knowledge would inform his policy decisions. There is no religious test to become president but since Cruz has previously gotten direction through interpreting “words” given to his wife, I want to know if he will continue getting directions on big decisions in this manner as president.
To me, how he makes decisions is important because Cruz’s willingness to compromise (something he hasn’t shown much willingness to do) might be hindered by a believe that his position is God’s position. One of his advisors, David Barton, believes man’s law cannot contradict God’s law. He also believes the Bible speaks authoritatively on public policy. It is a fair question to ask: Will Cruz run the country as a pastor or politician? Given his rhetoric and advisors, I can’t support a candidate who thinks his positions are gospel rather than the offerings of a fallible man who is open to give and take.
Cruz dismisses climate change as religion
He has made several false statements about climate change science, including that the Earth has not warmed over the last 18 years (it has) and that there was a scientific consensus about “global cooling” in the 70s (not true). He seems to be on the same page as that great climate scientist David Barton.
He does with climate science what Barton and Beck do with history and social science. While some might feel that a candidate’s position on this topic shouldn’t disqualify, I believe Cruz’s approach signals how he would approach other similar issues. Instead of approaching climate change objectively, he views the topic through his religion. He views climate science as an ideology to be defeated. In other words, to me, it looks like his religious views compromise his ability to be objective about the science — not a quality that inspires trust and confidence.
Cruz’s behavior toward Arab Christians
For the American Conservative, Rod Dreher wrote about a Cruz appearance before an Arab Christian audience where Cruz walked off in the middle of his speech. Dreher wrote:

Personally, I strongly believe in the US-Israel alliance. But it is not unlimited and unconditional, and you have to be out of your mind to expect Arab Christians to share the views of American Christian Zionists on the Israel issue. The idea that Ted Cruz would take the opportunity of these Arab Christians meeting in Washington to raise awareness of the genocide being perpetrated on their people — sorry, our people, the Arab Christian people — tells me everything I need to know about his sorry character. Whenever people talk about what a sleazebag Donald Trump is, I find myself nodding along in agreement, but then I remember that Ted Cruz did this to some of the most desperate people in the world. His own people! Christian people!

Cruz’s promise to carpet bomb ISIS is reckless
Cruz promised on more than one occasion to carpet bomb ISIS. Either he doesn’t know what carpet bombing is or he intends to target civilians. Either possibility is a serious problem. I also think his uninformed tough talk does little to build alliances in the Muslim world just when we need them the most. This problem is probably the result of my next serious concern.
Cruz would have to learn on the job
The Republicans rightly criticized Barack Obama’s lack of experience in 2008. Cruz is open to the same concern. When Barack Obama left the Senate in November 2008, he had served just shy of four years. If Cruz wins the presidency, he will have served the same amount of time in the Senate. Most of what Cruz talks about is theoretical since he has no strong record of legislative accomplishment. Shutting down the government and alienating most GOP colleagues doesn’t seem like a solid foundation for the kind of wise, experienced leadership one hopes for in a president. As is true of Trump, Cruz would not be ready to be president on day one.
I could go on and I might add to the list. Generally, Cruz is to the right of Ronald Reagan while he claims to be a Reagan Republican. I would not trust or feel safe with Cruz as president. I do not believe a mass deportation is moral and I don’t believe the economy would survive it. Imagining his advisors as administration officials is frightening. There is no reason to expect that the partisan divide in D.C. would do anything but expand. Cruz has been unable to forge a working relationship with his own party, let along the political opposition. He seems to put his religious ideology ahead of sound science and political compromise.
Besides all of these considerations, Cruz consistently loses to Hillary Clinton in polls asking about voter preference in the general election. It should not be hard to see why Cruz’s positions won’t be attractive in the general election.
For all of these reasons, I simply can’t vote for Ted Cruz in PA’s primary or in November.

Ted Cruz Says Politicians Should Not Wear Their Faith on Their Sleeve

My head exploded when I heard this:

Ted Cruz sounded critical of politicians who say God told them to run. Oh my.
He needs to have a conversation and at least his father, wife, David Barton and Glenn Beck. Just days ago, Beck told Utah that Cruz had been anointed by God to be president.
What Cruz said was fine but there is no evidence that any of his closest advisors and supporters think so.

David Barton and Tithing: I Wonder What's On Ted Cruz's Odometer?

On his Foundations of Freedom program, president of one of Ted Cruz’s Super PACs David Barton told Glenn Beck that God will bless you if you tithe, including — as an illustration — the provision of a car that run for 200,000 miles. He seems to have a similar view of the subject as does Gateway Church pastor Robert Morris and Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael. Watch this clip provided by Right Wing Watch:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJddWVhOqoQ[/youtube]
I would like one of the Cruz inner circle to explain how Ted Cruz can hope to be blessed when he has admitted that he doesn’t tithe. The elder Cruz and Barton earnestly teach tithing as a prerequisite to being blessed. Since Cruz hasn’t (doesn’t?) tithed, how can Beck and Barton claim Cruz is the man God sent to be president?

Glenn Beck Says God Divinely Anointed Ted Cruz to be President

Glenn Beck counters Baylor history professor Thomas Kidd for saying Cruz hasn’t been divinely anointed. With the #wifewars2016 and National Enquirer and all, this has to be one of the strangest presidential races ever.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYb-S_KNelM[/youtube]
John Kasich, anyone?
 

Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Guidelines Target Gays and Miss the Mark

Awhile back, Ted Cruz formed a committee to advise him on religious liberty issues. However, looking at their initial recommendations released yesterday, it appears the committee had a dual role — religious liberty and discrimination against GLBT folk.  Here is the press release from the Cruz campaign:
cruz logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Alice Stewart, (202) 365-5654
News Release Catherine Frazier, (512) 751-5984
March 24, 2016
 Cruz Welcomes Initial Religious Liberty Recommendations from Advisory Council  
Cruz: “As We Celebrate Spiritual Freedom During Easter, We Remember that Religious Liberty is the First American Freedom”
HOUSTON, Texas – Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz today received initial recommendations from his Religious Liberty Advisory Council, formed last month to advise his campaign and future administration on policies to defend religious liberty domestically and internationally.
“During this Holy Week, as Christians prepare to celebrate spiritual freedom in Christ, we remember also that religious liberty is the first American freedom,” said Cruz. “I thank this learned and committed group of leaders for their wise recommendations, and as president I will be proud to work with them to protect our religious liberty. Defending religious liberty has been a lifelong passion, and I’ve been blessed to help win national victories, preserving the Texas Ten Commandments monument, the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial.”
The recommendations comprise 15 initial actions, both legislative and executive, to emphasize and bolster the freedom of religion in the United States. Included are the following proposals:

  • Issue an executive order preventing the federal government from discriminating against Americans who believe that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman.
  • Reinstate thorough and protective conscience rights protections in federal healthcare programs.
  • Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to exempt all employers who object for moral and religious reasons from any contraception mandate.
  • Update and revise military regulations to reflect a robust constitutional understanding of the first amendment rights of military personnel, particularly chaplains.
  • Pass the First Amendment Defense Act “to prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage.”
  • Direct the IRS to publicly clarify the generous rights of non-profits and religious leaders to engage in political speech without compromising their tax-exempt status.
  • Rescind executive orders which limit the government from partnering with faith-based non-profit organizations.
  • Order the Department of Education to issue guidelines which accurately address the rights of students, teachers, and other school personnel to live out their faith in a school setting.

“Our constitutional liberties should not be subject to the whims of the current administration,” Cruz continued. “Whether Hobby Lobby or the Little Sisters of the Poor, people of faith should not be made to bow down at the altar of political correctness. As president, I have pledged on my first day in office to rescind every single one of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions, and to direct every federal agency to respect and protect the religious liberty of every American.”
Yesterday, oral arguments were presented before the Supreme Court in the religious liberty case Zubik vs. Burwell, which includes the appeals of Little Sisters of the Poor and Priests for Life for their right to serve the needy without suffering conscience violations from government. As Cruz has often said, “Mr. President, if you’re litigating against nuns, you’re probably doing something wrong.”
More than 46,000 Americans have joined the campaign’s Faith and Religious Liberty coalition.
###

The 15 initial actions provide a few more specifics. These two seem to have nothing to do with religious liberty and everything to do with discriminating against gays.

Rescind Executive Order 13672, which had (without adequate religious exemptions) required certain federal contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In the alternative, create significantly larger and robust exemptions for religious organizations and businesses falling under the authority of Executive Order 13672.
 
Direct all federal agencies to stop interpreting “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and/or“gender identity” where the term “sex” refers to a protected class in federal law. Prioritize this effort at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Education,Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It is hard to imagine how requiring government contractors to be fair to gays infringes on anyone’s religious liberty. Contractors should not be allowed to fire a gay person simply for being gay. Cruz and company have singled out gays as the only group who can be discriminated against under these recommendations.
These recommendations are inconsistent with Ronald Reagan’s beliefs about discrimination and gays. Reagan opposed job discrimination against gays and as California governor opposed a ballot initiative which would have forbid gays from becoming teachers.
I generally favor an expanded ability of healthcare providers to decline to participate in procedures which violate their conscience.
An interesting effect of some of these planks, if implemented in an unbiased manner, is that all adherents of all religions would be freer to proselytize on the job or in the military. Chaplains have been limited from proselytizing by military guidelines. Christian chaplains have complained that they can’t share the Gospel. However, these guidelines also keep non-Christian chaplains from trying to convert Christians. Cruz’s team would open things up for lots of efforts to convert soldiers to various faiths. Personally, I prefer restrictions on workplace “soul winning” as helping to prevent religious coercion from superiors.
On the whole these guidelines target gays and would create more opportunities for religious coercion on the job.
 

If Trump is Responsible for His Rallies, Then Shouldn't Cruz Be Responsible for His Advisors?

Donald Trump has taken righteous heat for the violence at his rallies. Telling his violent supporters that he will pay their legal bills is outrageous. Predicting riots if he isn’t nominated is likely to be taken as a coded message by his supporters. Trump tells his crowds that protesters are bad people and get what they deserve. He does bear some responsibility for his rallies and the general decline in discourse during the 2016 campaign. Some evangelical leaders are pretty upset about it (see the video of Al Mohler and John MacArthur below).
Earlier today a reader sent a link to Steve Deace’s public Facebook page where he carries on the low level of discourse. Given Ted Cruz’s embrace and praise of Deace and Deace’s representation of Cruz, does Cruz have any responsibility to disavow comments like this? Just one will illustrate:
Deace Buttermilk
It was Cruz’s surrogate Glenn Beck who called John Kasich “delusional” and a “son of a bitch” recently because Kasich wouldn’t bow out of the race with not a peep from Cruz.*
My point is not that name calling and crude humor doesn’t happen in politics or any other domain as far as that goes (cue Mark Driscoll’s William Wallace III). However, if blame is going to be assigned for the crude rhetoric in the campaign, then let’s cast a wider net. Furthermore, I can understand the passions which give rise to these outbursts. For myself, I am beyond angry at the choices in front of me and specifically worried that my party might actually nominate someone who wants to commit the nation to mass deportation of 12 million illegal immigrants. However, if I ever resort to sexual innuendo and crass name calling, please readers call me out on it.
Mohler and MacArthur on the campaign.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4UnERAWW60[/youtube]
I want to hasten to add that my objection to Trump and Cruz isn’t primarily a moralistic one. I do object to the gutter politics and rhetoric but the larger problem is their approach to the presidency and policies. They promise things that are never going to happen and act as if we don’t have a legislative branch. I am not sure their followers understand how a bill becomes law. Trump seems like he can wave a wand and it will happen and Cruz has not displayed the skills for compromise, and in fact seems to hold such skills in disdain.
 
*Although not the subject of this post, I also think Cruz has responsibility to correct the errors of those who speak on his behalf at his rallies such as Glenn Beck. Beck’s misrepresentation of history in his stories about George Washington should have resulted in a public acknowledgement and apology from Beck and Cruz.  Beck stopped telling that particular false story only after Huffington Post called him out.

Is John Kasich Now the Anti-Establishment Candidate?

Today Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz. No doubt he did it in a misguided effort to stop Trump. However, if one believes the polls, GOP leaders have picked the wrong candidate to win in November.
John Kasich consistently beats Clinton in the polls, including the most recent three polls.
kasichpolls2
On average, Kasich leads Clinton by over 5 points. Cruz on the other hand consistently loses to Clinton in a head to head match up.
cruzvclinton2
Now that the establishment is moving toward Cruz, Kasich has become the anti-establishment candidate. I plan to vote for him in the PA primary and hope he stays in the race despite the calls from his opponents to exit. Cruz and Trump are equally flawed candidates and Kasich should stay in to make that clear.
Given their lateness, the endorsements aren’t coming to Cruz because he is a great option. The fear is that Trump will get enough delegates to win. However, if Cruz enters the convention with a large number of delegates and prime endorsements, he will have legitimate reason to claim he can unite the party. To me, it seems unlikely he could ever do it.
Kasich, on the other hand, is conservative enough to appeal to all but the fringe (who now like Cruz) but, as the polls show, can attract enough independents and democrats to win. Some large delegate rich states are out there. If the GOP leaders were principled and smart, they would unite behind Kasich and help him win enough delegates to make sure Trump doesn’t win. By backing Cruz, they may also get to a second ballot at the convention but with an emboldened Cruz who will be a hard sell to the American people.
For me, Cruz is not only unelectable, he is unacceptable. His position on immigration, his unrealistic promises, his lack of experience, and his shady advisors make him a non-starter. If Cruz or Trump are nominated by the GOP, this Republican will vote third party or write someone in come November.

Ted Cruz Surrogate Glenn Beck Says John Kasich is Delusional and a Son of a Bitch

ted cruz
source: tedcruz.org

Ted Cruz likes to say that he doesn’t get down in the gutter and engage in name calling with his political opponents. Although Cruz has had his moments, he apparently is content to let his surrogates speak evil of opponents. Glenn Beck has opened numerous rallies for Cruz with lengthy speeches to warm up the crowd and spoken on behalf of Beck on news programs. Cruz has had much good to say about his front man Beck.
Today on his talk show, Beck said that John Kasich was delusional for thinking he could surge in the remaining primaries adding that Kasich was a “son of a bitch” because “the republic is at stake.”  Watch (from Right Wing Watch):
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZb-C39U0BE[/youtube]
Cruz has never apologized to his Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada audiences for the deceptive talks delivered by Glenn Beck on the subject of George Washington. Beck misled thousands with his copy of Don Quixote by telling them that the book was the same copy George Washington purchased on the day Washington signed the Constitution. He also misrepresented George Washington’s diary entry for September 17, 1787, the day he signed the Constitution. I can only assume Cruz doesn’t care what Beck says.