Why We Shouldn’t #BringBackObama

Guess who’s back boys and girls! I know it’s been a while since my last official blog post. I’m sure you all followed the podcast and know my feelings about the election. I’ve been on a sabbatical since then trying to really process everything and see what a Trump presidency would look like. However, I’m not back to discuss President Trump. Instead I’m here to look at the latest trending hashtag to grace social media, and that’s #BringBackObama.

It’s no secret that I was an ardent supporter of the former president. I firmly believe that he did the best job that he could in the situation that he was in. However, something about this hashtag really irks me. It isn’t necessarily anything against 44, but against the Democratic Party in general.

You see, there’s one thing that Democrats are synonymous with, and that’s looking forward. They are always looking to the future and pushing the boundaries on innovation and improvement. They’ve been successful largely thanks to this modus operandi. But there’s currently a power vacuum at the top of the party and that’s caused the party to lose direction. There’s no clear path forward and that’s what has brought about this hashtag. People aren’t longing for President Obama to be back in office. They’re reminiscing back to a time when there was leadership and direction within the party.

It isn’t just the hashtag that shows the party has lost its way. Currently, all you see is how the Mueller investigation is going to finally sink President Trump! Wasn’t the Comey testimony supposed to do that? And even if it does, what’s next? How to you deal with President Pence? Do you think it’s going to matter for two seconds to diehard Trump supporters?

During President Obama’s time in office, Democrats lost over 900 governmental seats, including 10 governships and both chambers of Congress. Democrats have lost every special election for Trump’s cabinet selections. They’ve lost the Supreme Court. This is the weakest the party has been in 60 years. How are you going to address that? Who cares about James Comey’s testimony or Robert Mueller’s investigation? Why not worry about how you’re going to make gains in 2018? I’m not saying those other things aren’t important, or that the Trump administration shouldn’t have their powers delimited. But what I am saying, is there should be a counterbalance between two objectives. But until the party gets a leader and a vision, that scale is tipped to the side of obstructionism.

President Obama had eight years in office. He accomplished quite a bit in that time. However, our constitution plainly lays out the rules of presidential succession. It’s always fun to remember the past; but it should never inhibit one from constantly looking forward. The Democrats must move forward if they want to have any meaningful gains in our governing institutions. But first, they must find their leader…and that leader is no longer Barack Obama.

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1st Presidential Debate Review

The first presidential debate is over and it lived up to the hype. Before delving into the issues, were the candidates trying to confuse everyone? Hillary comes out in an all-red pant suit and Donald Trump comes out wearing a blue tie. Then Donald Trump apparently forgets what to call Hillary? “…Secretary…Clinton? Is that okay? I want you to be happy with me.” So Trump is wanting credit for calling her Secretary Clinton? What was he planning to call her?

As far as the debate goes, the best part of the debate is the change in the rules to actually allow candidates to go back and forth, debating with one another personally. This really gave the candidates a chance to debate the issues…and gave Donald Trump an opportunity to utilize his debate strategy.

Rather than trying to give a detailed explanation of his views and plans, Trump’s clear plan was to yell, interrupt, and try to get Hillary Clinton to break away from her talking points. In that sense, he was successful. Hillary came out solid, delivering crisp, well-rehearsed responses. Then the Donald began interrupting her. She began stopping her responses to respond to his comments. He also did an outstanding job of placing the blame for every problem on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He even—somehow—blamed Hillary for us spending $6 trillion on wars in the Middle East. How did Hillary and Lester Holt just let that one go by without a single response? Hillary joked that by the end of the night she felt like she would probably be blamed for every problem we’ve had in the world and Trump chimed in “why not?”

One of the most heated topics was when discussing race relations. Trump talked about ways to improve race relations and ways to stop the deaths in inner-city communities like Chicago and called for a possible implementation of stop and frisk, which was first used in New York City. When both Lester Holt and Hillary Clinton mention that stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional, Trump told them both they were wrong. I’m sure he would tell the fact checkers they were wrong, and would tell the judge who ruled it unconstitutional wrong as well.

When discussing free trade, Donald Trump talked about bringing manufacturing jobs back but when pressed about how we would bring them back he couldn’t answer. That’s mainly because the manufacturing jobs that have gone overseas where workers can work for pennies on the dollar can’t be brought back. Rather than trying to bring back those jobs, we should be investing in new types of jobs, like clean energy. Hillary Clinton made it a point to call for investments to be made in clean energy while Trump argued that we can’t afford to make those investments with our current debt.

Hillary, for the most part, did a good job at staying on message and getting Donald Trump to take the bait on several issues, like support for the war in Iraq. She also pressed Donald on not releasing his tax returns and argued that he’s hiding something and it could be that he isn’t paying any taxes at all. She talks about how him not paying taxes means no money for troops, for healthcare, or for veterans. Trump took the bait about not paying taxes and simply responded with “that makes me a smart man” about not paying taxes. A little later when Trump said that our debt was squandered, Hillary said if people like him would pay taxes they’d have money and Trump again chimed in “that’d be squandered too.” It’s like he’s basically conceding to the fact. Finally, Hillary delivered the line of the night when Trump made fun of her preparing for the debate: “I think Donald Trump just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I’ve prepared to be president.”

Clinton clearly looked calm, calculated, and prepared while Trump came off as rattled. I didn’t expect Trump to do very well with this debate but I’m a little surprised at how poorly he actually did. Regardless, I can’t wait for round two.

Podcast – Do Hillary’s Scandals Matter?

This week’s podcast is a rather controversial one. We take a look at Hillary’s scandals and discuss whether they matter. Head over to Alabama Liberal and listen or subscribe on iTunes. 

In this episode, we put Hillary on trial for her various “crimes” and see just how much people really care about Benghazi, “emailgate,” and Hillary’s failure to tip a waitress at brunch. We ponder just what exactly Republicans are hoping to find in Hillary’s emails—like a torrid affair with Joe Biden—and if people really care about the “tragedy” of Benghazi then why did “13 Hours” flop at the box office? Plus, burning questions: is Edward Snowden just a fame whore? Could a man have sat through 11 hours of talking to Trey Gowdy, the anti-Atticus Finch? Is the media’s trying to look unbiased actually creating a bias? Will we see Hillary on the next season of Orange is the New Black? Is Trump a pawn of the Russian mob? And why do spam comments about Hillary appear in articles that have nothing to do with her? Listen in…

Podcast – But Seriously, Can Trump Win?

Episode 30! This is an episode that a lot of people should be interested in. Can Trump actually win? We’ll tell you! Head over to Alabama Liberal by clicking here, OR go listen on iTunes, and while you’re there subscribe to our podcast! Read the full description below.

Trying to cut through all the noise we look at the biggest question in the three months between now and election day: “but seriously, does Donald Trump have a shot in hell at becoming President?” We break down where Trump’s support (or lack of) is coming from, why some people associate his name with success, the Trump “brand” that has evolved from 80’s excess to presidential candidate, and why lack of business support may be the biggest setback for any Republican presidential candidate, especially the curious case of why other old white male billionaires aren’t getting behind him. We also look at the only three ways Trump could pull off an upset, and–spoiler alert–none of them are positive things for America…

Interview With U.S. Senate Candidate Ron Crumpton

Recently I had the opportunity to interview U.S. Senate candidate Ron Crumpton about his upcoming election. Mr. Crumpton is challenging the incumbent Senator Richard Shelby this November. Shelby has been in the U.S. Senate for what feels like an eternity and it’s time for a fresh face to represent Alabama up in Washington. From what I have learned about him, I am beyond excited about the possibility of Ron Crumpton being the person to bring about that change.

Thanks for being here today. I know you are a busy man so I’ll keep this short. First off, what made you get involved in politics and why do you want to be in the U.S. Senate?

I was just tired of seeing people who do not represent my values walk into federal office unopposed year after year. We need a senator that will represent the interest Alabamians. Senator Shelby has not done that. We live in a state where 45% of single parents are living in poverty, 390,000 children are receiving food stamps, and we rank 49th in education, but Shelby doesn’t sponsor any legislation aimed at reducing poverty or improving education. 

If you look at his sponsored legislation, you will find out two things. 

First, he sponsors the fewest number of bills of any senator in Washington. He co-sponsors the fewest number of bills and he has the fewest co-sponsors for his bills.  

Second, the legislation he does sponsor is designed to make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. He sponsors legislation that would remove regulations on the Wall Street Banks and put our economy at risk, and he sponsors a flat tax that would reduce the tax burden on the rich by balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class. 

If our next senator does anything aimed at helping the people of Alabama, it will be more than Senator Shelby has done.

Everything you’ve said about Shelby is spot on. But at the same time, he is one of the longest serving members of the U.S. State Senate and this is a solidly red state. He joined the upper chamber in 1987 at the same time as John McCain and Harry Reid. My question to you is, how do you take on someone that is so well-established in the Washington machine in a state that is as red as Alabama?

Well, we don’t feel that is an advantage. He hasn’t had a real challenge since he beat Jeremiah Denton for the seat in 1986. Therefore, he has a long questionable record that he has not had to answer for. It gives us a lot of ammunition.

Agreed. Let’s look at you now. Some people may not be familiar with you yet, but as the election gets closer I’m sure they are starting to do some research. When they do, they’ll see that on your website you lay out your plans and positions on a large swath of issues. If you’re elected, what is the first issue that you are taking on?

Education is the silver bullet in America. The starting point for everything that we as Alabamians want to see for our state and our nation is in the education of our children.

My first bill would be aimed at equality in education.

Many students in Alabama and across the nation go to school in buildings that are falling apart, yet state and local expenditures on school construction are deteriorating, and federal school construction has fallen to $10 billion per year. That is about half the amount spent before the recession, which was not enough to fix the problem.

According to many experts, it will cost tax payers $300 billion just to bring our schools up to an acceptable level. That does not include the new facilities that will be necessary to meet the needs of our growing school age population. 

My first bill would generate $65 billion per year, for the next ten years, to repair our current schools and build new schools before falling back to $30 billion a year for maintenance and to provide for future growth. 

The word technology is defined as the machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge, especially in industry. The purpose of our schools is to teach our children to be successful in the future, but it is very hard to train our children in the technology of the future, using the technology of the past. 

Students are working on computers that in many cases are more than 10 years old, and there are too many schools that do not have effective wireless access. 

How many American businesses could effectively operate in the modern era without computers and wireless internet access? Can our children learn the mastery of the most simple business tools without access and training? Can our children be as successful without these skills?

The answer is no, and that is why my first bill would also call for an investment of $25 billion a year over the next 10 years, before falling to $15 billion to maintain that new technology and purchase of additional technology as our school age population expands. 

As an educator myself, this is personally what I am most excited about with your candidacy. I’ve worked in an under-funded school and I can tell you, those kids are at a big disadvantage compared to others and that is no fault of their own. Another big issue that is plaguing Washington is a lack of working across the aisle. What issues do you think you can work on to get bipartisan support on?

The secret to that is in the hands of the American people. We have to stop voting against our own best interests. If someone is running as an obstructionist, like Richard Shelby, they are probably not the solution. 

We need Senators that can reach across the aisle. I have always shown that I am willing to work with anyone on an issue to issue basis, provided that we agree on the issue. I may be fighting them on one issue while working with them on another, and that is the way it should be. We need Senators that fight for or against issues, and not against individuals or the opposing party. 

To wrap up, I’ll let you sell yourself to our readers. What message do you want to leave with them who may be considering voting for you?

People just need to look at what each candidate plans to do. Dick Shelby has no plan to improve the lives of the people of Alabama. 

Instead he seeks to initiate a flat tax, which would mean a huge tax break for the uber rich while raising taxes on everyone else; and he seeks to remove regulations placed on the big banks, which were put in place to protect the economy after the banking disaster.

My plan for the economy will repair, replace, and expand our schools, roads, bridges, and airports, lift millions out of poverty, reduce costs to the justice system, end too big to fail, make college more affordable, end tax-breaks for sending jobs overseas, rebuild our social safety net, create 2.1 million jobs and provide an average tax break of $300 to more than 78 million American families. 

Even though Alabama is one of the poorest states in the country, Dick Shelby does not sponsor any legislation aimed at reducing poverty or improving education. 

It is time for the people of Alabama to have a choice. It is time for new leadership, new direction and new results in Washington DC, and that is why I am running for the United States Senate. 

Thanks for reading everyone. If you’re interested in learning more about Mr. Crumpton then you can visit his website here, or his Facebook page here. If possible, make sure you make a donation as well. Remember, that while it is certainly important to help keep a Democrat in the White House, it is probably even more important to win back a majority in the Senate! Let’s make sure that we get one step closer by electing Ron Crumpton this November! 

Who Will be the Next Member of the Presidents Club?

One of my favorite books I’ve ever read is The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.  I promise I am not making any money from them…although I’ll gladly accept some if they want to donate. Anyways, if you haven’t read it, it talks about the relationships between former presidents and sitting presidents. It’s a fantastic book that I highly recommend everyone picking it up and giving it a read. It gives a LOT of really great stories that you can share with your friends if you want to sound smart.

One of my favorite stories from the book deals with Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. After Clinton won the 1992 election, and just before taking office, he met with former president Ronald Reagan. They talked for a while and Clinton asked him if he had any advice for him. One piece of advice…learn to salute better. They then stood and Reagan taught him how to properly salute. After their meeting, Reagan gave Clinton a bag of red, white, and blue jelly beans which Clinton never ate and kept in his office during his entire 8 years as president.

In 2000, when President Bush was elected, he held a similar meeting with Bill Clinton and he asked Clinton how he became such a good speaker—something Bill was not the best at early in his career. Just as Reagan taught Clinton how to salute, Clinton began to teach Bush the tips and tricks of giving a good speech.

Another interesting story was with President Hoover’s relationships with his successors. After the stock market crashed and the Great Depression hit, Hoover was soundly defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hoover’s name became a laughing stock (you’ve all heard the stories about Hoovervilles and Hoover-blankets). FDR wanted nothing to do with Hoover and ultimately ignored him for the most part. When Roosevelt died and Truman assumed the presidency, he turned to Hoover and asked for his help with the post-WWII mission of food distribution in Europe. Hoover’s expertise in overseeing this mission helped to save millions of lives and somewhat rebuild his legacy, although it’s still something that is overlooked today.

These are just a few of the stories in the book. I could give plenty more but you get the gist. I told you these for a very specific reason. During his speech at the convention this week, President Obama made an excellent point about being prepared for the presidency. To paraphrase, he said that until you’ve actually sat in that chair, you can never truly know what to expect. I’m sure it can be a pretty daunting feeling to know that you are now responsible for an entire country. There’s almost no one that knows that feeling. The only people that know are your predecessors…those who have also sat where you are sitting. So for many incoming presidents, they lean on these former presidents regardless of party affiliation. Truman was a Democrat, and used a Republican in Hoover for one of his most important tasks. Clinton had a very close relationship with two Republicans in Reagan and Nixon. George W. Bush relied on help from a Democrat in Clinton and the two formed a very close friendship. They worked together on relief efforts in Haiti when they were both out of office.

So regardless of party affiliation, being a part of the president’s club is a very unique opportunity. And that brings us to this year’s election. If there is anyone that knows the type of person that should sit in the Oval Office, it is these men. We currently have five living presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. This week, we heard from three of them at the DNC: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. They all came out in strong support for Hillary Clinton. Yes, I know these were all Democrats and most will probably just say they were fulfilling their party duty, but is that the case? The two ex-presidents who have been relatively silent on the race has been the two ex-Republican presidents. Both men skipped the RNC when Donald Trump was being nominated. But why?

Many will say that they are mad because Trump made fun of Jeb, but I can’t really see them being that spiteful. After all, they understand politics and how it gets ugly occasionally. In a recent meeting with some of his former staffers, George W. Bush claimed that he was afraid that he would be the last Republican president. I wouldn’t exactly call that a glaring endorsement for the Trump campaign. But EVEN IF the two are angry at Trump over his comments about Jeb, what about at least support from former Republican Presidential nominees? John McCain? Nope. No endorsement and he skipped the RNC. Mitt Romney? Absolutely not. He has been a huge critic of Trump’s and even called for a third party candidate to run against him to ensure he didn’t win. The only living Republican presidential nominee to come out in support of Trump was Bob Dole.

On the flip side, I mentioned the three ex-Democratic presidents all speaking at the convention (Carter through video because of his health issues). But also former Democratic nominees? Dukakis was there and spoke. Al Gore tweeted and said he hated to miss the convention but wanted everyone to know his support of her. John Kerry is the sitting Secretary of Defense and did not speak at the convention and is the only living Democratic presidential nominee that did not offer at least a statement during this week (that I have seen). He did issue an endorsement for her after she clinched enough delegates to win the nomination a few months ago.

So maybe this is all partisan…maybe it’s a bit of irony; who knows. What is clear is that Donald Trump has really isolated himself from a lot of people. If the current members of the President’s Club were excited about Donald Trump becoming the next member, you’d think they would come out and support him. Instead, they are remaining silent. And as the saying goes: something silence speaks volumes.

Democratic Convention Recap – Day 4

The Democratic National Convention is finally over and what an event. From the starting point with Bernie or Bust diehards interrupting the opening prayer to Hillary officially accepting the nomination and the party uniting behind her. It’s been a pretty interesting ride that had plenty of highs and lows. But all in all, I think Democrats will walk away happy with the convention and excited about the case they made for Hillary Clinton.

Tonight had a huge focus on America’s heroes. This was obvious from the families of fallen police officers, killed in the line of duty coming out to call on America to support our troops, to those soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. There was a group of military generals who came out in support of Hillary and provided a strong advocacy for her as a strong Commander-in-Chief.

The Muslim parents of an American Muslim soldier who died saving the lives of his brothers in arms gave a blistering attack on Donald Trump. He asked Donald Trump if he had ever read the Constitution and then pulled a copy out of his pocket and said he would give Trump his copy. Then he asked if Trump had ever been to Arlington cemetery. “Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

In one of the most surprising moments of the night, two lifelong Republican supporters spoke at the Democratic National Convention. One worked in the Reagan White House and issued a blistering attack on Trump. The other, a female Republican who said she is supporting Hillary and is encouraging other Republican women to do the same. I think this is a HUGE voting block that Hillary can steal away, especially looking at Trump’s dismal popularity with female voters.

After a performance by Katy Perry, Chelsea Clinton came out to introduce her mom and did her best attempt at it. If you’ve ever studied the Clintons, you know Chelsea hates being in the spotlight and did everything she could to avoid it while she was the first daughter. She also has stayed out of the news. She couldn’t help but be front and center tonight to introduce her mom on such a historic occasion. During her speech, Chelsea talked memories of her childhood with her mother and how she was always there for her. She talked about how when Hillary would have to travel for work, she would leave her notes for each day that she was gone.

Then it was finally time. A video-montage highlighting Hillary’s career played with none other than Morgan Freeman narrating.  After the video she came out to deliver her acceptance speech. I’ll be completely honest with you; I wasn’t expecting anything great because that isn’t who Hillary is. I’ve said before she’s a policy wonk who isn’t very vibrant and exciting. She’s certainly no Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. So my expectations were pretty low…but she shocked me. She gave a really good speech. She praised the work that Bernie Sanders did in his campaign and urged his voters to keep up the fight and help her force change. She praised the job that President Obama has done during his presidency. But most importantly, she laid out her vision for America. She talked about the things that were most important to her and that she wanted to see changed. She also talked about the stark differences between herself and Donald Trump. She talked about her plan for things and how Donald Trump doesn’t have any plans. She delivered a powerful line: “A man that you can bait with a tweet can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons.”

Being in Philadelphia, she paid homage to the founding of this country, talking about how our founders had differences but ultimately came together. She said they worked together and reached a compromise to succeed, tying into her ‘better together’ theme. This was another outreach to the Sanders supporters as well as disgruntled Republicans. As I mentioned earlier, there were lifelong Republican voters who came out in support of Hillary tonight so that is a target she’s going for. She also talked about her history of working across the aisle and working together to get things accomplished.

Regardless of party or your feelings for Hillary Clinton, everyone reading this blog can say that you’ve witnessed history. For the first time in this country’s history, a female has accepted the nomination of a major political party. She has laid the foundation for your daughters and granddaughters in the future.