The Wisdom of the Deal

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Back in December, on this blog , I came out strongly for Ted Cruz as my choice for the next resident at 1600 Pensylvania Ave. I’m not backing away from that position, but there are now new revelations that about his management style and his professional relationships that may be making many voters question the effectiveness of his presidency, should he be nominated and then elected.

No, I’m not buying anything negative that the mainstream media has to say about Ted Cruz nor do I believe most things that Donald Trump now has to say about Ted Cruz, especially his judgement that Cruz is “a nasty person.” Trump may, in fact, think he’s making a valid point when he implies that a politician, especially a president, has to make deals and you have to get along with those you work with. In fact, Trump is illustrating the difference between operating as a business man responsible for the bottom line of a company and operating as the nation’s chief-executive who has a direct responsibility for the physical, mental and financial well-being of the many millions of Americans who are his constituents and, at the same time, a responsibility to uphold his oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

If that is your sworn oath, there is not a lot of room for making deals and there is a great need to be very vigilant about who you are dealing with and what results a deal may bring about; there is also an absolute requirement that any deal made will preserve the United States Constitution.

Back in Kindergarten you get graded on your ability to “play well with others” (at least I was, way back then). Whoever created that learning milestone had an amazing amount of foresight into what makes a successfully “socialized” child who may grow up to be a successfully socialized adult. In that wonderful lesson, however, lies a fallacy. As an adult you also have a responsibility to make judgements about your actions and not assume that everyone in your “school yard” has a benevolent objective to their actions.

In the case of Ted Cruz,it appears that he is one of the “adults” in Congress and, as a discriminating adult, he is right not to “play well” with politicians who hold positions that go against his firmly-held beliefs or well-considered judgements. The question is: will the majority of American’s see Ted Cruz’  unwillingness to embrace the political establishment as the asset it is or will they just believe what they read in the newspapers.

Gun Control Or Public Safety?

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To start, let me say that I am, for the most part at least, a strong Conservative. That is to say, I believe in small, limited government, a strong military, secure borders, and free enterprise with only the most necessary restrictions on business. I also believe in legal gun ownership.

Some people believe it should be everyone’s unrestricted RIGHT to own and even openly carry a handgun on their hip. Here in Texas, as in many other states, we have that right, but there are some commonsense restrictions such as having a clean criminal record and not having a diagnosed mental disorder that would make us a danger to others. There are very few responsible American citizens who object to those restrictions.

Yesterday, President Obama announced 10 steps he will take, through executive actions, to enforce those commonsense restrictions and help prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who ‘should not own guns.’

Immediately Republicans in general and Conservatives in particular began sounding alarms and the right-wing media began throwing around the term “gun control’ in the headlines. They are calling the president’s proposals illegal and un-Constitutional; Marco Rubio is quoted as saying  the President is “waging war” on the Constitution and Ted Cruz is promising that if he wins the presidency, these and other Obama executive actions will all be repealed.

All that is for the courts to decide and while the kinds of actions Obama proposed may fall under the very broadest definition of “gun control” they are, more importantly, clearly needed Public Safety measures.

The dirty little secret that the people who are screaming “gun control” are not being very vocal about is the fact that IF THEY had stopped playing politics long enough to create some clean, commonsense legislation that had eliminated some of the public safety threats caused by guns being in the wrong hands; what is about to happen via executive actions would not have been necessary.

A prime example is closing the gun show ‘loopholes’. What, I ask, is worse: causing some minor inconvenience for people who want guns for personal protection or sport, or selling a gun to someone who will have no second thoughts about using it to commit a crime or to someone who is incapable of distinguishing legal behavior from illegal behavior?

Conservative lawmakers are screaming about the 2nd Amendment being violated. Here’s what the 2nd Amendment says: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In other words, it does not address the problems that are caused by ‘guns in the wrong hands’ so regulations about gun sales, which were proposed yesterday, can hardly be considered a violation of the amendment.

It’s true that nothing being proposed for executive actions would have likely stopped the vast majority of mass shootings we hear about so often but you can be sure that they will make it harder for people who should not have guns to legally own guns, and that will certainly save some lives.

On Monday night the President Tweeted the accusation that the “gun lobby” may be holding Congress hostage, not a comforting thought, but perhaps a very realistic one, considering that Washington is chock full of politicians who care more about funding their next campaign than they do about their constituents’ safety. 

All this is not to say that President Obama is not incompetent or that he does not have a deep dislike for what is traditionally American or that he has not proposed many dangerous, reckless and frankly stupid things in the past. He has always impressed me as someone with an Anti-American agenda, but on this one issue I personally can’t fault his actions.

I want everyone to own and even, if they want, carry a gun — everyone except, that is, the people who are a danger to me and you and our families.