First, let me set the table: I don't know, or care at this point, who will ultimately be the Republican Presidential Candidate this Fall. I am writing this commentary because this is the time for all of us to start the process of elimination. So don't get me wrong, I am not recommending anyone yet.
Having said that, I do get upset when in the course of the discussions, candidates are excoriated because of what they say, not whether what they said was right or wrong, but because of how they said it.
The future of our country is too important to be marginalized by such misdirected PC hostility.
I hope, and I think I am correct, when I say the majority of voters do see through the smoke and mirrors many in the mainstream media produce to get attention for themselves, and to attempt to influence the debate.
This weekend, the news was filled with attacks on Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump over their remarks on the Iran Nuclear deal and Immigration, respectively. In both cases, the verbal assaults never once focused on the accuracy or efficacy of the comments, only on their 'insensitivity' or 'inflammatory' nature.
Let's start with Trump. He had the gall to suggest that were he elected, he would build the 'best border wall ever built,' and make the Mexican Government pay for it. Pundits accuse him of bombast, egoism, hatred, and of milking middle-class anger for his own aggrandizement. Pretty much the same thing they say in slightly different ways about all Republicans.
He said that the Mexican Government was sending us 'their rapists and murders,' and that by allowing this they were undermining the sovereignty and efficacy of our country. This was reported as 'bigoted hatred of immigrants and all Latinos.'
How wrong are these popular characterizations? Well, the case could easily be made that everything Trump said is true. On the other hand, what the press said was grossly overstated. Trump never belittled 'immigration' or 'immigrants.' What he railed against is the apparent institutional disregard for US illegal immigration policy by the Mexican Government, and the latent disinterest by the US administration in stopping it.
The irrefutable fact is that an unusually high percentage of the illegal immigrants from Mexico (and those from South American countries that pass through Mexico) are committing heinous crimes in our country with impunity.
Regarding the remarks by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.
The last time the world did not take seriously threats against the Jewish people, just before World War II, this ended up in the murder of six million Jews… For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to ‘destroy,’ ‘annihilate,’ and ‘wipe Israel off the map’ with a ‘big Holocaust'...What’s ‘unacceptable’ is a mushroom cloud over Israel,” he added. “If we don’t take seriously the threats of Iran, then God help us all.”
Is there one word of this statement that isn't 100% accurate? But that is not the subject of the 'outrage' that characterized the reaction to his comments. Even the President, who has a knack for personalizing every criticism of his policies, reacted with anger.
From Ethiopia, the President said: “we just don’t fling out ad hominem attacks like that.”
Mr. President, your comments are an ad hominem attack on Mr. Huckabee. You are suggesting that his personal shortcomings affect his judgement and analysis. You do not deny their accuracy, only the honor of the person who delivered them.
So the President diverts the discussion from one that describes the intent, actions and political ambitions of the Iranian regime to one about his personal policies. Yes, this is about his Iranian deal, but as a part of the decades long War on Islamic Extremism, Huckabee is noting that there is historic experience that all nations and politicians should learn from.
Iran is, without any doubt the leading state sponsor of terror. They have repeatedly stated as policy their advocacy of genocide. They use their oil money to fund assassinations, they arrest and torture Americans and Christians and Jews with impunity. All of this by an administration that is a religious dictatorship that maintains its power through intimidation, murder, and religious indoctrination. They have never demonstrated any semblance of trustworthiness, so why should anyone expect that all of that is going to change just because Barack Obama wants it to?
All of this is a lesson in the practice of argumentation: when you can't deny or counter your opponents charges, you change the discussion to one about the person making the charges. Challenge their intent, their character, their ambition and their sources, but do not challenge their specifics.
These daily news flashes and rhetorical combat will continue for months, as will the discussion of many important challenges our World is facing. I can only hope that, in the end, Americans will sort through the flack sent up to distract them from the incredibly scary and important issues of National and World security. God knows, I can only hope that despite all the stupid emotional, PC and social diversions that clutter our educational systems, most young people still understand the difference between Right and Wrong.