Time to Govern

This 64th day of the presidency of Donald Trump was not a good day for the President nor for Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan. The two top Republicans in the nation saw their first major piece of legislation never make it to the floor of the House for a vote.

The American Health Care Act, which aimed to fulfill a campaign promise of Republicans since 2010, or repealing the Affordable Care Act was swept into the corner like unwelcome dust.

This legislation was not one which I could support. As I noted in Kernels From the Cornfield on Wednesday: 

With the House of Representatives set to vote on the American Health Care Act today or tonight, I have to say, like with the Affordable Care Act, I am not in favor of this new legislation to repeal the ACA.

This bill also is not beneficial to people like me and the American people in general, in my opinion.

However, the drama which played out this week gave light to a situation that could impede the ability of the President and the Congress to actually govern for the next two to four years.

The Freedom Caucus, made up of the ultra-conservative members of the GOP, many who were elected as a revolt to the ACA back in 2010, were elected to be the cabal of no to block Democratic President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress.

Their job was to be the voice of opposition to all things coming from the White House. Most of these members of the House have never been in a position to vote for legislation backed by a Republican in the White House.

Their mindset is to automatically be against anything proposed and backed by the Oval Office. This was on full display this week as members of the Freedom Caucus were brought in and out of the White House to cajole with the President and House leadership.

The ultra-conservatives demanded and received. Yet, it was never enough. There was always a new demand.

At last the President and Ryan said, “Enough. Let’s vote.”

Pushing only brought more opposition.

In the meantime while trying to coddle the ultra-conservatives, the Republicans were losing the moderates in states where the very control of the House hinged.

The moderates were feeling maligned about Medicaid and the loss of the Essential Health Benefits. Two items necessary for their re-election in 2018 and keeping the GOP in charge of the lower chamber of Congress.

The Freedom Caucus did not care. It was all or nothing and once they had it all, they wanted more. It is time to learn to govern.

Freedom Caucus, you are no longer the opposition, but the part of the party in power that must show the American people you understand that sometimes to get – you have to give.

It is called being a responsible government.

From the Cornfield, sadly I do not know if these 30-40 members of Congress will be able to wrap their heads around the concept.

Compromise is how you govern.

Saying only “No” makes you “Do Nothing.”

Final Debate Another Draw

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As I sit here this rainy morning in the Cornfield parsing through the stalks, the shucks and husks on harvested fields, I reflect on last night’s third and final Presidential Debate.

Did either Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton add to their total of votes to be cast for them to be President of the United States?

I do not believe so.

Did either solidify their base?

Yes, both did.

Were the 8-10% of undecided voters swayed one way or the other?

Not really.

To me that looks like for the third time in a row, the debate outcome was a draw.

Yes, I know the pundits and the CNN/ORC poll (which is skewed Democratic) gave the win to Clinton. Based on performance, I can see this. But I look at whether minds were changed – not how the candidate met the norms of debate.

I also realize that focus groups of undecided voters seemed to buck the pundits and favor Trump. In the CNN group, 10 undecided said they were more likely to vote for Trump versus half that number, five, who said Clinton was more to their liking.

But the proof as they say is in the pudding. That taste will not come until November 8.

The change in the polls since the last debate has not been because of how Clinton or Trump did in facing off, but rather events that have occurred in between debates – the emails being published by Wikileaks, the Access Hollywood video, the women accusers.

Then there is what is making headlines this morning.

It is not that the candidates actually were substantive for a change talking the issues. Rather the conversation is that Trump did not say he will accept the result of the election.

Social media is going off over Trump calling Clinton a “nasty woman.” Social media is also ablaze and incensed over the term, “bad hombres.”

From the Cornfield, Americans last chance to see the two major presidential wannabes go head-to-head, toe-to-toe and neither side won the voters that matter – undecideds.

Second Debate Another Draw

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That was some debate last night between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Though, I must admit, as the night wore on, it became rather boring.

The highlight of the night for me was the very end. No, not because it was over, but the final question and the responses from the two presidential wannabes.

The question was to name one thing that each found admirable in the other.

Clinton commended Trump on his children. She noted she may disagree with almost everything Trump says and stands for, but that his children and how they are spoke well for Trump as their father.

For Trump, it was the fact that Clinton never backs down. Trump said she was a fighter that kept going rather than backing down even though he disagrees with much of what she is fighting for.

This to me was the best part of the entire second Presidential Debate.

Yet, when all was said and done, to me this second debate was another draw between the two candidates.

Both Clinton and Trump said what they needed to say to keep their supporters. But neither of the two said anything to pull more voters into their tent.

This last month of the election cycle is still open to a win or draw when the votes are cast on November 8.

The CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers scored a win for Clinton. The network admitted as it does each time that the poll is skewed in favor of the Democratic nominee.

Watching the entire debate, what I found interesting is that though it was a town hall format, the audience participation was minimal. There was also little to no interaction by the presidential office seekers with the people who asked questions.

Trump stopped the defection following his lewd and lascivious remarks revealed over the weekend.

Clinton stood her ground and did not allow women who accused her husband, former President Bill, of sexual assault seated in the audience to rattle her.

Both candidates said the words that rang true to their supporters.

Both stumbled over chinks in their armor.

Clinton had trouble answering accusations on use of a private email server and revelations of a public and private view.

Trump had trouble in his apology for his remarks bragging about sexual assaults on women.

Yet when all was said and done, both candidates were standing at the end of the night with their base in tact.

From the Cornfield, Trump did better this time around. Clinton was so-so, but solid.

At the end of the night, no significant change in who is voting for whom.

The undecided remain undecided.

Wannabes Punch, Weave, Jab

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Things are getting serious in the Republican fight for the nomination to represent the party this fall in the presidential election.

Last night during the debate hosted by CNN at the University of Houston in Texas, there were more fireworks than a Fourth of July extravaganza. From the get-go Marco Rubio came out swinging. Ted Cruz joined in the fun from time to time as Donald Trump was pummeled by the junior Senator from Florida.

Standing on the outside of the ring were John Kasich and Ben Carson. Kasich appealed like a mother trying to break up her sons in a death match to be civil, calm down and play nice. Carson begged for someone, anyone to attack him so he too could brag of battle scars. The moderators were left bound and gagged on the sidelines as Rubio and Trump traded barbs, sometimes seeming to hit below the belt.

Looking for a chance to throw a sucker punch here and there, Cruz looked like the kid running around the schoolyard fighers waiting for a chance to throw a hit or two.

The money bags, the Establishment snobs, were oohing and aahing wondering where was this Rubio for the past nine months.

Cruz may have won one caucus by a hair while Rubio has came second twice with no wins, it is Rubio today who is getting all the buzz. Cruz’s sure win in Texas on Tuesday has been overshadowed by his fellow classmate.

But has Rubio come alive too late?

Mitt Romney, screaming at his television screen, managed to slip in some jabs of his own while Trump and Rubio went toe-to-toe.

It is obvious the Establishment is getting even more nervous that Trump is indeed reshaping the Republican Party in his own image.

But there are cracks in the ice.

Today former presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took his place in Trump’s corner. A Congressman came out as a Trump supporter telling CNN that 15-20 other Representatives told him yesterday they too were ready to back Trump.

Is it too late?

Is my analysis of An American Revolution on the money?

Is the Grand Ole Party become the Great New Party?

From the Cornfield, unless Rubio can score a win or two come Tuesday and his own state of Florida a couple of weeks later, his shedding of the robot suit and shaking the tree may be in vain.

Cruz may take Texas, but like the defenders of the Alamo who lost to the overpowering force of Santa Anna, he may find himself overrun by the armies of Trump and Rubio.

Sorry, Governor and Doc, looks like you both will end up being mere footnotes in the annals of history of Election 2016.

Bare Knuckles Brawl

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Last night’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina broke out into a bare knuckles brawl as Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz took off the gloves. John Kasich and Ben Carson stayed out side the cage, yet both scored points with a more gentle approach.

From the get-go, it was obvious that most of the candidates were out for blood and would give no quarter.

Where the Democrats have devolved into a three-person race with President Barack Obama being very much a part of the debate on stage between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Republicans have turned into an eight-person race where former President George W. Bush is in the fray.

While neither President was physically in the room, both Presidents were very much impacting the discussion.

In a surprise, Rubio came out in defense of GW and backing his chief rival, Jeb, on the issue in a free-for-all with The Donald. The audience, packed by the South Carolina State Party with Establishment types, booed over and over at Trump especially when he slammed GW.

Jeb disinvited The Donald to a Monday rally where former First Lady Barbara Bush (the nation’s Grandma) would be in attendance. Jeb said he was “sick and tired” of The Donald blasting his family.

Liar, liar – over and over Marco, like a Chihuahua, nipped at Ted’s heels. Ted did not lay down, but punched back at The Donald and Marco. The Donald could not decide who was the biggest prevaricator in the room – Ted or Jeb.

Kasich called for a time-out which went ignored.

The Doctor got more questions and speaking time than in previous debates.

One point where all the candidates agreed was that the choice of who should filled the vacancy caused by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court should be put off until a new person takes over the Oval Office.

Who won and who lost?

Each of the candidates scored points. Each won in their own lane.

How that will translate come the South Carolina primary and the Nevada caucus is anyone’s guess in this atypical and strange, topsy-turvy election cycle.

Likewise each of the wannabes lost in that most likely none expanded their appeal much beyond the base already supporting each one.

Clear losers were the moderators of the event put on by CBS. It was clear that the moderators were not in control as the candidates continuously talked over each other, interrupted each other, demanded to interject and respond.

The moderators caved.

From the Cornfield, there will be another debate on February 25 after the primary and caucus. Whether the field will narrow after those votes is up in the air.

Before the votes are cast Republicans will get one more chance to talk to the voters of South Carolina as CNN hosts three candidates on Wednesday in a town hall and the remaining three in a town hall on Thursday.

No-Show Wins

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Republican contenders for the presidency met in a debate in Des Moines, Iowa last night to make their last major televised pitch before Iowans go to caucus on Monday.

But it was not the seven on the stage who were the star of the show.

The one contender who won the debate was the one who was three miles down the road doing his own thing – Donald Trump. His name, however, did come up 13 times during last night’s main event.

The big loser may have been Ted Cruz, who could not seem to get it together. He tried his knack for telling jokes and cracking humor, but most were lame or fell on an unappreciative audience.

Time and again he was slapped down by both Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Cruz was not used to be the center of attention.

Paul and Jeb Bush had their appearances and debate night yet. Still there was no wow moment to move the needle. Rubio was in full command many times. He made a direct appeal to Evangelicals which was a slap to Cruz’s face.

However, Rubio got a bit of come-uppance from his former mentor, Bush, on the immigration issue.

John Kasich and Chris Christie appeared as themselves in last night’s ongoing GOP saga.

Unfortunately, Dr. Ben Carson seemed to be the wilting wall flower. Not that it was entirely his fault. The moderators gave him less than half the time allotted to Rubio and Cruz. Polls say that around 40% of Iowa voters have yet to make up their mind even though they must go and caucus in three days.

Last night, if they were able to stay awake and were not watching the Trump fund raiser for veterans, would have seen and heard a much more substantial debate on the issues from the seven on the stage.

But though deeper and meatier on policy than past debates, it is doubtful anyone of the seven or the four who debated earlier (Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore – yes, Gilmore) made much of an impact or swayed anyone closer to a decision.

From the Cornfield, on Monday we will find who truly won the debate.

Kids Revolt Against Fox, Media

cornfieldlogoThe undercard Republican debate among presidential contenders as only begun. Yet, already one thing is clear – “We’re not gonna take it!” – is the consensus among those at the kids’ table.

Immediately all of those competing in this first round event struck out at the moderators (read Fox) and the rest of the media of trying to influence and drive the discussion.

The candidates made clear they were not going to allow it and would only talk issues, not each other nor Donald Trump, the GOP front runner skipping the main debate at 9 p.m.

The moderators shut down quickly. Even Jim Gilmore was on stage with Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Gilmore has not been seen since the very first debate.

Gilmore admitted it was a strategic choice of us not to campaign in Iowa. Gilmore instead said he is focused on beginning his run in earnest in New Hampshire.

From the Cornfield, based just on the beginning of this first debate, I would say that in the Fox News/Donald Trump war, Trump has already won.

Audience reaction to the kids revolt against Fox and the media in general proved that. This election cycle is breaking all the rules and upsetting the balance of power.

Sorry Fox – you ain’t the Republican darling and powerhouse you once were.

Shameful Veterans’ Abuse

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Let’s call it what it is – veterans’ abuse.

While coming to the aid of veterans and wounded warriors is a commendable action, when it is done as a side thought or as a way to counter another event all in the name of political expediency, it is nothing short of abusing the service and the loss our military members have suffered. It is an assault to our former service warriors dignity and actions to protect our freedoms.

First it was Donald Trump in a row with Fox News who decided to hold a counter-event to the Republican presidential debate tonight. He said it would be fund raiser for veterans and wounded warriors.

The motivation and purpose, however, was not to benefit those who have put their lives on the line, but rather the purpose and motivation was to show the uppity news network, that he, Donald Trump, was more of a media star than Fox’s news anchors.

What crassness!

What despicable action to abuse our veterans for political gain and to prove who has the bigger set!

Now piling on is both Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. Both are playing the same gain for the purpose of scoring political points.

Cruz offering to donate $1 million to vets if Trump debates him one on one.

Fiorina offering $2 million to vets for Trump to show up tonight at the debate.

Just donate the money and forget the “what’s in it for me” attitude!

From the Cornfield, I deplore the motives of all three of these Republican presidential candidates. In my book, this selfish reaction should be a disqualifier.

Saying this, I am going to be even more in a quandary of whom to support if any of the three become the GOP nominee depending on who is the Democratic nominee.

Dems Debate: Obama’s 3rd Term

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Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley (yes, he is still running) met in Charleston, South Carolina Sunday night in a forum hosted by NBC, Facebook and the Congressional Black Caucus.

What became apparent almost immediately is that front runner Clinton was determined to preside over what Republicans have long-feared – a third term for President Barack Obama.

Over and over again, Clinton touted the successes and legacy of the President who must leave the White House next year. Time and again she spoke of expanding and building on what Obama has started.

Whether talking healthcare, gun control or the war on drugs and changing the legal system which seems weighted against African Americans, Clinton referred to the President.

Sanders got the most speaking time, but it was the President who clearly was the top subject of the night.

O’Malley tried to get a word in here and there, but was mostly a cricket chirping in the distance.

When Clinton was not singing Obama’s praises, she was doing her best to blast Sanders and his positions – especially on gun rights.

Sanders most of the time deftly swatted away the attacks returning to his main theme – the economy and reining in Wall Street. Sanders also scored points when hitting Clinton on her ties with Goldman-Sachs and other Wall Street bankers.

Nationwide polls may be saying that Americans are wanting change and think the country is headed the wrong direction, Clinton kept making the case for continuity and staying the course. Sanders kept calling for expanding and going even farther down the current path.

Are Democrats paying attention to the mood of the electorate? In this, the fourth and final debate before voters vote, Sanders clearly won.

Clinton lost.

O’Malley showed.

From the Cornfield, history may very well remain in tact if Democrats continue down this path.

That history is that the party in power almost always loses the White House after two terms.

The pendulum swings the opposite direction.

Dems Face-Off Tonight

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The three candidates seeking to be the Democratic presidential nominee will face-off in Charleston, South Carolina tonight on NBC at 9 p.m.

But will anyone be watching?

This is only the fourth debate compared to six for the Republicans. There will be no more meetings before Iowa and New Hampshire voters cast ballots.

Martin O’Malley barely made it onto the stage with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Why O’Malley keeps on is a mystery to almost everyone, but O’Malley.

Never a fan of Democratic Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I listened as she spoke today to CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter trying to defend the decision to limit the number of debates and when the debates occur.

Her reasoning did not match the reality as I see it. Both Sanders and O’Malley have been pushing more debates. Clinton has been tepid.

There have been accusations that the Democratic Central Committee has been staving off the requests to benefit Clinton getting the nomination.

Wasserman Schultz said today that she did not want to pull the candidates off the campaign trail even though the candidates, except Clinton, have been begging her to do just that so their message can get in front of more voters.

Tonight’s debate, on a Sunday, will go head-to-head with football – a ratings loser for sure. It also happens to be a three-day weekend with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday tomorrow – again dissipating the viewership.

I am wondering whether to tune in to the debate or stay to my normal Sunday viewing of Madame Secretary, The Good Wife and Cyber CSI. Stelter brought up these shows and football in asking why the committee chose tonight to debate.

Wasserman Schultz kept talking about the “record numbers” who have tuned in to watch the debates, which pale compared to the Republican viewer numbers.

Her argument does not ring true.

So will anyone be watching?

From the Cornfield, if the purpose is to get the message out before the voters, I believe, the Democratic National Committee is failing miserably.