The presidential campaign on the right has become more of a circus of sideshows — producing a series of histrionic displays that detest a number of policies enacted from the white house by a dually, and majorly elected black president. The fact that he is a democrat has very little bearing on the presidential race at all. The front runners as well as a few of the more well-known of candidates have shown very little tact for debate and have provided scant to none credibility — in terms of viable resolutions — in actually demonstrating presidential and global leadership on behalf of the United States.
Fueled by media sensationalism the candidates continue to take the sort of intelligence required to hold such high office for granted. Just to name a few, and in the order of who is leading in the nationwide opinion polling for the republican party 2016 campaign (as of July 27, 2016) is Donald Trump (21.7%), Jeb Bush (14.1%), Scott Walker (11%), Marco Rubio (6%), Ben Carson (5.8%), Rand Paul (5.3%), and Ted Cruz (5.0%). I have to stop at seven because it gets more and more absurd after this. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this.
The shenanigans of Donald Trump cannot be trumped by any of his party peers and so he stands alone atop the heap, for now, but for quite some time I might add. But I want to focus on intelligence for now and not just the lack thereof, and so I will come back to Trump later on in this piece.
In a series of trickled down reports from media outlets the president has remarked about the dearth of “robust debates” that the “American people deserve” in a democracy that is widely upheld and watched in the modern world. While in Ethiopia the president cited many of the candidates for the first time since the campaign prematurely started. The New York Times reported earlier today on the president’s critique.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Obama on Monday lashed out at Republican presidential candidates for making what he called “ridiculous” claims about his policies and “outrageous attacks” that crossed the line of political decorum.
At a news conference while visiting this African country, Mr. Obama defended the international nuclear agreement he and other world leaders reached with Iran and he bristled at the assertion by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas that the president’s policy would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”
Mr. Obama said such comments demonstrated a lack of seriousness on the part of those seeking to succeed him and reflected an anything-goes political culture that rewards incendiary rhetoric over sober deliberation. Asked specifically about Mr. Huckabee’s remarks, Mr. Obama linked them to those of other Republican presidential candidates, including the businessman Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ve had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate. We’ve had a sitting senator, who also happens to be running for president, suggest that I’m the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican Party.”
Let’s start with Senator Cruz (of Texas, mind you!!) whose comments seem like a cry for attention as he sits behind Ben Carson, a figure that is rarely as mentioned in the media, and who holds no political office, nor experience.
The Senator’s educational background is quite lettered having graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Public Policy, and magnum cum laude from Harvard Law School with a J.D. The Ivy League stamps appear worthless when one of many of dumb remarks uttered were that “the Obama administration will become the leading financier of terrorism against America in the world.”
Let’s think about that for a moment. The frozen assets of Iran essentially belong to the Iranian people because they procured them. If not for the Iran government’s persistent threats, covert military actions, and sponsorship of terrorism in the Middle East region for derelict use, they are entitled to such funds. The United States does not finance Iran. The Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew has reiterated this to Congress many times over.
“Let’s be clear what those assets are,” Lew told members of the Foreign Relations Committee. “It’s not money we are giving to Iran. It’s Iran money that sits in other countries that was locked up because of international nuclear sanctions that were designed to bring them to the table to negotiate a nuclear agreement.”
“We think it’s about $50 billion” he continued. “There’s at least $500 billion of domestic demand. They can’t possibly scratch the surface of that need.”
The U.S. in fact has already released billions of dollars to Iran, such as the nearly $3 billion released last summer as a show of good faith during the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. However, according to the Congressional Research Service, there is still a substantial amount of money, real estate and other property being held.
The Treasury Department claims the economic sanctions have cost Iran more than $160 billion since 2012 in oil revenue alone. Iran’s oil exports were cut by 60 percent and have been held at those reduced levels for the past two years. Moreover, Iran’s designated banks, along with its central bank, were cut off from the world. Since 2012, Iran’s currency, the rial, has declined more than 50 percent. And its inflation rate has reached as high as 40 percent — one of the highest levels in the world.
“We have maintained this pressure throughout the last 18 months of negotiation,” Lew said. “During the negotiation period alone, our oil sanctions deprived Iran of $70 billion in oil revenue. And Iran’s total trade with the rest of the world remained virtually flat.”
So is Ted Cruz really that daft or does he think his constituents are? I would have to say it is an equal serving of both. Just excusing him as a politician would also be insulting our intelligence as we are suppose to choose competent individuals seeking any office with confidence that they can exemplify a degree of intellectual awareness, intellectual integrity, and confidence in reason, on our behalf. I have never seen any of these traits from Senator Cruz. Ever.
Critical thinking involves developing and having valuable intellectual traits. These traits appear to be in short supply among our politicians. It appears that most Americans keep falling for the perception of a leader which one can easily pretend to be and offer no substance, therefore misrepresent us all.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee…SMH…even as an ordained minister of faith with theological pedagogy, you fail to show any intellectual humility, intellectual empathy, nor fair-mindedness. You sir are in no position to dismiss the critique of the president and Julie Pace should correct her interpretation of the reporting from the AP post haste. Huckabee’s failure at critical thinking cannot be seen as a valid response to the president. The “chosen” is no more important nor special than their neighbors in the region. The world does not revolve around the axis of Israel.
Huckabee and his flock have devolved into mental tribalism. Tribalism is what started all the major wars you can think of and the former governor sees this a solution to the world’s problem. Violence begets violence and this has made so clear in the bible as to make this argument redundant. The Gospel of Matthew quotes Jesus as saying to Peter… “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Matthew 26:52, King James Version).
The bar of intellectual traits that the president has displayed throughout his presidency is remarkable. Obama has shown the tenacity and restraint of a true critical thinker. I hope that we are able as a country to deliver on that new standard again. I find this president to be a true intellectual without bias. I stress intellect throughout this article to highlight what true intellect entails.
Being an intellectual is about thinking for yourself, not second-guessing who might pass judgement on you. Professional training in academic life involves learning where the research frontier lies and how to push it forward — not how to challenge the field inside the frontier. Consequently, most academics carry on producing more sophisticated versions of the kind of research they were taught. Solutions to problems of significant intellectual and social import can be easily ignored simply because they do not conform to what academics have been trained and rewarded to see.
Many budding and seasoned politicians looking to ice the cake with a run at the presidency are not only self-serving but lack the kind of awareness and sacrifice we desire in a candidate. We kind of take what we get in America in terms of leadership and not demand more from our leaders. That goes for our business leaders as well.
As for Trump. I really have no more words. There is no Horatio Alger story here, but it is being posited against the the middle and poorer classes and sold as a bag of rocks to the American people. I suggest you ask for a refund if you bought into this and demand more for your tax dollars.