Tag Archives: balanced federal budget

Who’s done most to earn presidency?


Now that the debate over which presidential candidates are “qualified” to assume the office if they get elected is more or less over, let’s turn to actual accomplishment.

Part of the qualification argument ought to include who among the five individuals running for the office have done something worthy of consideration. Do they have sufficient executive experience? Have they accomplished anything of substance legislatively? Does business experience matter?

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first.

The business experience is helpful in a limited way. Yep, that notion zeroes in on Donald J. Trump. However, as I’ve noted before — although not recently — government is not intended to be run “like a business.” Trump seems to equate everything to “cutting deals.” Treaty negotiation? “I’ll make the best deals imaginable,” he says. Working with Congress? Same thing. Trade agreements? “We’re losing everywhere; we won’t when I’m president,” he boasts.

Knock it off, Trump! You cannot do these things in a vacuum.

He’s got zero government experience. To borrow a phrase: Trump is a loser.

Government executive experience matters much more. Of the remaining candidates, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton qualify. I’d rate Kasich’s years as governor over Clinton’s as secretary of state. Kasich has had to manage a budget, deal with legislators, fight with constituents — sometimes all at once.

Clinton has managed a huge federal agency. She flew more miles to more countries than any previous secretary of state; I’m unsure where here successor, John Kerry, stands in that regard. She has sought to negotiate disputes between nations and, yes, has been caught up in controversy. But her time at State matters … a lot!

Legislative accomplishment?

Here’s where it’s kind of a runaway.

Clinton, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Bernie Sanders of Vermont all have congressional experience. None of them can boast of an accomplishment that measures up to Kasich’s time in the U.S. House of Reps.

I’m trying to figure out which major piece of legislation has any the names of Clinton, Cruz or Sanders. Cruz’s major “accomplishment” was to mount that idiotic filibuster in an effort to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. Sanders and Clinton can’t even “brag” about something so ridiculous.

Kasich, though, served as chairman of the House Budget Committee that played a major role in achieving a balanced federal budget in the 1990s. That is no small feat, given the toxic political climate at the time. The House was run by Republicans; the president, Bill Clinton, is a Democrat. The White House and Capitol Hill had different notions on how to achieve a balanced budget. They found common ground.

There, my friends, is where one candidate’s record shines.

Is it enough for Republicans to nominate him? Probably not. They’re going to haggle at their convention over whether to nominate two patently frightening “outsiders,” one of whom is the real thing (Trump), the other of whom (Cruz) keeps trashing the legislative body where he’s served since January 2013.

Sure, each of these people is technically “qualified” constitutionally to run for the office. And yes, that includes the Canadian-born-to-an-American-mother Cruz.

I still rate Clinton’s combined government experience — and I include her policy-making influence during her eight years as the nation’s first lady — as giving her a slight edge in the overall presidential qualification contest.

If only the Republican delegates this summer would come to their senses and deliver their party’s nomination to the remaining candidate, Gov. Kasich, who actually has something to show for his lengthy public service record. Then we could have a serious debate this fall on who to select as the nation’s next president.

If only …


Gov. Kasich bombs again

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28:  Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The man who has emerged as my favorite Republican presidential candidate continues to struggle.

He cannot get traction among a GOP primary electorate that favors bloody, red meat over cool collegiality.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich reportedly was the biggest loser at the fourth Republican debate, according to Politico. This hurts my heart. Honestly, it does.

Kasich is the one Republican candidate who can stake a unique claim to fame among the current crop of GOP candidates. He is the only one of the bunch who has demonstrated an ability to work with Democrats to craft a policy that is good for the nation.

When did he do that? He did when he chaired the U.S. House Budget Committee in the late 1990s and worked hand in hand with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton to balance the federal budget.

Gingrich, of course, is a fellow Republican. Clinton was that dreaded Democrat in the White House. Kasich showed an ability to hammer together a budget that met everyone’s expectations by providing a balance that eventually worked its way into a substantial surplus by the time President Clinton left office in January 2001.

That doesn’t sell, though, in today’s political climate. GOP primary voters aren’t interested in working with the other side. They have been infiltrated by the TEA Party faction, the folks who think government is evil and who see any effort to use government as a tool to push policy forward as an ideological capitulation.

Kasich won’t buy into the Donald Trump notion of deporting every one of the 11 million illegal immigrants. That, too, has produced scorn among the right wing of his party.

Good grief! The man knows how government works. He has executive experience now as well, running a state government in a large and diverse state such as Ohio.

Is it too late for my favorite Republican to catch fire? Technically, probably not. However, the pundits are saying that the game might be up for the likes of Kasich and other so-called “establishment Republicans” seeking to make a dent in the armor that’s protecting the outsiders — Trump and Ben Carson, to be specific.

Trump keeps pounding on that insane idea of rounding up every illegal immigrant and sending them back to their home countries. How he intends to do that, well … that’s to be determined later — if ever!

And Carson? Someone will have to explain to me how his training as a brain surgeon has prepared him in any way for the complexities of becoming head of state and government of the world’s most powerful nation.

For that matter, Trump’s career as a real estate mogul and reality TV star leaves him equally unprepared.

Meanwhile, candidates like Kasich — with actual government experience — continue to languish, flail and flounder.

Oh … my.