You call that “Vetting”?

Vetting? Oh really?

Vetting candidates properly and honestly is important for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, said obvious reasons are often set aside in favor of petty agendas. Those agendas include reporters and opinion leaders who are out to make a name for themselves, have an ideological or emotional ax to grind, or  have convinced themselves that they are so smart, that they see their job as trying to pick the Republican nominee for us.

What is often left unspoken is the most pervasive media bias of all, the spinning of anything and everything possible to create hype and conflict. Newt Gingrich understands this. This is how he handled such nonsense:

What is rarely talked about is the most effective media bias of all – “controversialization”. When creating personal animus, hype, conflict and gossip are taken to such an extreme it accomplishes the goals of those with the petty agendas listed above.

Controversialization is not just good for ratings, helps reporters make a name for themselves and the rest of it, but as a weapon of political bias it has no equal. When one is asked about every comment someone accuses them of making years ago, every woman (or man) one has been with, asked to answer about every talking head or some other person who said this or that about you, and every piece of gossip that appears on page six, it effectively prevents one from getting their message out. It also instills an attitude in low information voters that said person has no substance and is just “too scandalized” to be “electable.”

What was done to Sarah Palin is perhaps the greatest example of controversialization in modern times. The media obsessed with rumors that Sarah Palin’s fifth child was not actually hers, but rather her daughter’s in a secret pregnancy. Dozens of false accusations such as that Palin tried to ban books, the Palin’s are getting divorced, she snorted cocaine, and had sex with NBA stars.  All false. There are scores of made up quotes such as Sarah Palin saying that she could see Russia from her house. The New York Times invented quotes and falsely attributed them to Sarah Palin’s friends and associates.

As a mom myself, I will never forget the dozens of hit pieces, as well as Democrat Party elites, saying that Palin should just stay at home and take care of her kids. Of course when Geraldine Ferraao ran for Vice-President she had young children, but the elite media heaped on the praise, after all she is a Democrat.

Sarah Palin's legs
Sarah Palin’s legs

Who can forget this picture of Sarah Palin which went viral in the elite media.

Sarah Palin is far from the only person to be targeted for controversialization. John McCain, who has a long political history to legitimately critique, was, on the day after he secured victory in the Republican Primary, accused of having an affair with Vicky Iseman, a lobbyist. After the election and the damage was done and shortly before Iseman’s defamation lawsuit was to go to trial, the New York Times agreed to publish that “The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust”. The New York Times told the court that since Vicky Iseman was a lobbyist she was a public figure and thus “fair game.”

When controversializaation happens, you know just who it is the establishment fears:

Controversialization, as described by veteran reporter Sharyl Attkisson, is deliberately orchestrated. The “JournoList” scandal shows just how true this is. Elite media reporters were coordinating their attacks and hit pieces on Republicans with each other on a secret internet message board.

What Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace did to Donald Trump is the first primary debate was textbook controversialization. Most every question asked of him was about some personal attack, some rumor, something he said or did as a showman on his TV show etc. Fox actively planned zingers they would use against Trump. If they could make him angry enough they had planned to have security forcibly remove him from the stage.

Megyn Kelley and Chris Wallace used 32 minutes of the debate speaking, with most of it attacking Trump, while Ted Cruz, who has raised more hard money than anyone, was ignored for 44 minutes and cut off when he tried to answer a foreign policy question. Ben Carson was never allowed to answer the immigration question. Rand Paul was effectively shut out having the least speaking time of all.

Megyn Kelly offered up the same defense that every reporter uses when called out actively trying to controversialize someone, “we were vetting him.” Really? Why were the other candidates not “vetted” with every rumor and partial quote found on the internet? Kelley said that the Democrats will make these same attacks on Trump so she was doing us a favor. Let the Democrats do that. In a GOP primary debate Republican voters want to see where people stand on policy and issues. We didn’t get it. Fox turned the debate into a spectacle.

So here at Red White and Lori I pulled my production team together and decided to give a brief vetting of the top eight candidates ourselves featuring a short description of the positives and negatives of each candidate. Let us be clear that the negatives are in no way to be intended as personal attacks, but rather the truth as we can best determine it today.

We might as well start with Donald Trump:

PROS: He is a doer and not a talker. His business success speaks for itself and he promoted women executives long before it was PC to do so. Trump has authored several books on business and negotiation. The Art of the Deal is perhaps the most read business book of all time.

Trump’s unorthodox communications style may be his biggest liability, but it is also his biggest asset. We have elected the smoothest talker in the room and gotten what to show for it? Politicians just plain lie to us. Trump supporters believe that in spite of his shortcomings he will actually try to do what he says. They believe that Trump will play smash-mouth politics to bend an uncooperative establishment leadership and bureaucracy to his will.

On policy Trump is in line with grassroots activists. His Policy Paper on Immigration Reform, designed to put Americans back to work first, made the cronies and Bushies lose it. Trump hits the H1b immigration visa issue hard. While half of our tech graduates do not find work, half of our tech jobs are going to foreigners with H1b visas.

Trump is right on that our foreign policy has not been thoughtful, militant Islam essentially is the terrorist problem, he has made veterans care and cronyism top issues. Trump opposes Common Core, ObamaCare, etc.  While Trump started off with high negatives in the polls, he is moving those numbers towards the positive.

Trump says that he will go after those out to destroy Christianity.

CONS: Trump lacks communications discipline. While he has been tightening up on the knee jerk responses, he is a few stupid remarks away from sinking his own campaign.

Trump has given donations to Democrats including Hillary Clinton in the past, but considering that someone with business interests like Trump’s in New York of all places, he has a point as to what they would do to his business interests if he didn’t contribute.

Trump has always been fiscally conservative and has consistently spoken out on about jobs, bad trade deals and debt, but on other issues in years past, albeit before he started looking at them closely as a man who may run for office, it seems he went along with the elite media narrative. For example, in the 90’s Trump was for some leftist gun control policy, single payer health care, and was pro-abortion. Trump changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent in 1999, became a Democrat in 2001 and back to Republican in 2009.

NOTE: The issue of agreeing with leftist narratives in years past is a problem for almost any “outsider” candidate and it certainly is for establishment candidates who all the sudden get conservative during primary season. While looking for consistency is helpful, keep in mind that Ronald Reagan was a former FDR Democrat, David Horowitz is a former communist, Andrew Breitbart, Evan Sayet, Ron Silver, David Mamet are all former liberals.

Senator Ted Cruz:

PROS: Ted Cruz is a very capable communicator and debater and near the equal of Newt Gingrich. He gets the bogus elite media narratives and is skilled at fighting them. His work as a lawyer in the Texas Solictor General’s office is a credit to the profession. Ted Cruz has consistently worked to keep his campaign promises which has put him at odds with the Republican leadership time and time again. Having enough of the lies and doublespeak, Cruz called out the corrupt Republican and Democrat leadership on the Senate floor and called out their corruption in his new book A Time for Truth. In short, the establishment fears him.

Cruz has, in a very public way, fought hard against ObamaCare, border security, Common Core, and the corruption of what he calls the “Washington Cartel” long before it was cool to do so. The elite media and the Washington Cartel have their hands full trying to destroy Donald Trump, if they manage to do so, be sure that Ted Cruz will be their next target.

For those voters who value consistency, no one is more consistent in his conservative views and actions than Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz has shown himself to be a capable grass roots fund raiser and has out-raised the field in direct small donations.

CONS: Unfortunately, Cruz is dead wrong on the H1b visa issue. Our tech employment has been decimated by this policy.

While some may see this is a plus, the leadership of both political parties do not like Ted Cruz to put it mildly as he has called out their lies and the corrupt ways the donor class has rigged the system. The negative is that in a general election vs Hillary at least a portion of the Republican leadership will work to get Hillary elected just to stop Ted Cruz.

Dr. Ben Carson:

PROS: Dr. Carson is a world famous brain surgeon and author who has a charitable organization that helps poor children get quality education. Carson is a capable communicator with a knack for using political jokes to advance his narrative. Carson, in a series of high profile speeches, has simply decimated the record of Obama’s presidency. One of these speeches was at the National Prayer Breakfast with President Obama sitting just a few feet away. Carson is a doer whose record of accomplishment since childhood is too lengthy to explore here.

Carson opposes Common Core, has been very forceful on what a disaster ObamaCare has been for our country and has a plan to fix healthcare coverage.

Dr. Carson understands how the left uses false narratives and ridicule as political tools, he is well versed on Saul Alinsky tactics and how the progressive mind works. Carson, much like Newt Gingrich, understands that the left must be fought institutionally and that conventional wisdom must be turned against leftism.

CONS: Dr. Carson, like other political newcomers has been challenged in his political birthing by speaking on some issues before he was up to speed on them. In 2013 Carson told Glenn Beck that “people had no reason to own semi-automatic weapons in large cities.” After studying the issue, Carson admitted that he was incorrect and has since spoken very well at the NRA Convention. To be fair, Carson has been on a homework binge. He will have to be up on things if he wants to succeed.

Some are sure to find this troubling, Carson has said that vaccines take precedence over parental and religious rights.

Senator Marco Rubio:

PROS: When it comes to smooth and soaring inspirational rhetoric Marco Rubio has no equal. Rubio is so smooth at dealing with objections and hitting back at criticism, he could insult you and have you walk away smiling. He is the personification of communications discipline. Much like Ted Cruz, no Democrat wants to square off with Rubio in a debate. Rubio’s Senate race against establishment lackey Charlie Crist in Florida was a textbook example of how to wage an effective conservative insurgent campaign.

Rubio enjoys a Conservative Review score of 80%. He opposes Common Core and ObamaCare. He is generally consistent with many grass roots concerns.

CONS: Rubio is not as consistent as Ted Cruz who enjoys a Conservative Review rating of 96%. We say this because when someone is as talented as Marco Rubio, it makes you want to see him do well, and as a result one is tempted to give him more slack and be more forgiving when compared with someone less talented.

Rubio has real problems with his immigration policy as his view changes and changes and changes. When Rubio ran for Senate he promised to demand border security first, and then work to have a plan to deal with the 12-30 million illegal immigrants in the country. When he got to the Senate he did the opposite.

The “Gang of Eight” immigration bill was an amnesty bill that kicked border security down the road. When called on the shortcomings of this legislation Rubio lied about what was in the contents of the bill. I do not say that as a personal attack, but the facts are that what Rubio claimed the Gang of 8 bill did was not reflected in the text of the bill. To make matters worse, he misrepresented the bill to Mark Levin which did not go over well. As a result his approval ratings dropped.

Rubio said that the Gang of Eight fiasco was a learning experience for him and rest assured that he now understands that the American people want to see border security first because of all of the broken promises of the past. Unfortunately in interviews in Spanish he says something different.

Governor Scott Walker: 

PROS: Scott Walker is a solid communicator. He comes across as the competent middle class “every man” which has a strong appeal. Scott Walker became the Governor of Wisconsin after decades of arch-leftist Democrat control. Wisconsin was a disaster, was rife with cronyism, debt and jobs crisis and a public education system that was fiscally unsustainable.

Walker took Wisconsin’s cronyism bull by the horns and broke the stranglehold that the state government employee unions had on state government. The result was mass organized union protests, violence, and a recall election that Walker won. Governor Walker deserves credit for standing his ground and keeping his cool through great adversity.

Walker has passed several budget reforms that help fight cronyism and begin a path to fiscal responsibility, but turning around such a bloated, lumbering progressive beast will take more than two terms. The far left hates Scott Walker with a passion and revels in lying about almost everything he does, which is sure to be an asset with conservative voters.

CONS: Wisconsin has had poor jobs growth for years and Walker has not had much luck in solving the problem. Donald Trump has criticized Walker for this. And while Walker certainly promised too much it will take more than two terms as a Governor in the Obama economy for the private sector to have confidence that Wisconsin will not go back to commerce crushing leftism.

On immigration Walker was once a supporter of amnesty, but recently said that he agrees with the policy recommendation plan released by Donald Trump. It is no secret that Walker has been forming up his immigration position since he announced his candidacy. Being from Wisconsin the impact of immigration both illegal and legal has not been a pressing issue. Walker’s stance on illegal immigration continues to change.

Common Core is where Scott Walker is in trouble with the grass roots. In 2011 he was all for it. In his budget he called for the creation of a testing regime that was in line with Common Core.  In 2012 Walker applied for and received millions in federal “Race To the Top” funds for Wisconsin. “Race To the Top”is the federal program that bribes states into adopting Common Core, not to mention the donations from large education companies. Later, when the results of Common Core in other states showed to be as ineffective as it is politically charged and expensive, bills were offered in the state legislature to repeal them. Walker did nothing.

In 2014 when Walker decided to run for President and Common Core became a big issue, he called for the state legislature to repeal it, although he did not call on the State Superintendent to revoke the Common Core testing. In his recent budget Walker repeals Common Core, but as education grassroots leaders like Kirsten Lombard have so ably pointed out, the repeal has too many loopholes and amounts to a repeal in name only. Primary season shifting? You decide.

Senator Rand Paul: 

PROS: Dr. Rand Paul is the political outsider with a famous father. Like so many outsiders he started out green, but still very much his father’s son. When running for office he was very much the ideologue his father is, but to the Senator’s credit, a term actually in office has opened his eyes to condemning militant Islam for what it is, moving away from his previous critical view of Israel and having a much more realistic view of foreign policy. While normally inconsistent views would go into the ‘CONS’ category, it seems that Rand Paul’s foreign policy views have moved from in some cases wrong to much better. To his credit, Rand Paul has taken a lead in criticizing the Obama Administration for their indifference to the mass slaughter of Christians in the Middle-East.

Senator Paul has been great at standing up against idiotic bureaucracy, budget issues such as the debt, presidential power grabs and illegal domestic spying. Paul has taken a leadership position on criminal justice reform and has made minority outreach a top priority. Senator Paul stridently opposes Obamacare and Common Core. His views are in line with grassroots voters on most issues. Even those conservatives who do not support him for president love having him the the Senate.

Rand Paul says that he favors vaccinations strongly, but understands that sometimes they do make people sick, so he favors parental choice and points out that this is what our policy has always been.

CONS:  Senator Paul is a bit academic and monotone, but he still manages to be an effective communicator. He has a history of getting a bit rattled in some hostile interviews, but to his credit he calls out ‘BS’ form clearly biased and dishonest reporters. There are national security conservatives who remain convinced that he is a clone of his father and will be hostile to Israel and make excuses for militant Islam. His statements on national security from early in his career are sure to be used against him in ads.

Carly Fiorina: 

PROS: Former Hewlett Packard (HP) CEO Carly Fiorina has been making quite a splash in the campaign. Some pundits are referring to her as “Carly the Communicator” as her ability to take down leftist talking points and dishonest journalists is a sight to see. Carly is the quintessential example of how a conservative should handle liberal lies and combative journalists. Carly is assertive and prepared for every dirty trick. Any Democrat who chooses to debate her is likely to find themselves rhetorically gutted. If Carly is not the nominee she will be near the top of any Vice Presidential list as the role of the VP is often one of attack dog. No one does this better than Carly Fiorina.

Conservatives should watch every video with Carly on YouTube they can.

As former CEO of one of the largest companies in the world Carly has worldly experience. She has also served in top advisory positions for government agencies including the CIA.

Carly criticized Ben Carson and Chris Christie’s stance that vaccinations should be mandatory. Carly took the position that vaccines do not trump parental rights or religious liberty.

Carly has taken a very Ted Cruz like approach to her presidential campaign saying that government, as well as programs and bureaucracies, have become captured by lobbyists and corporate interests. Big government works for the rich and well connected at the expense of regular people she says.

CONS: The problem is that while Carly is awesome at talking, she has lost in previous attempts at running for office, but in the name of fairness she was running in California.

Carly also has problems with being consistent, but in a way that gives cause for concern because previously her positions looked like attempts to ingratiate herself with the establishment. Just two years ago Carly trashed Ted Cruzin his attempts to defund ObamaCare. She said that Cruz wasn’t going to win and that she felt sorry for House Speaker John Boehner. She blamed Cruz for the government shutdown. Cruz’s filibuster speeches reached millions of people while generating great press for conservative positions. The public relations value of being the underdog fighting Obamacare was priceless and elevated Cruz’s popularity while reminding the country what a mess Obamacare has become.

When Carly ran for Senate in 2010 she supported Common Core and it’s federal bribe program to adopt it called “race to the top.” She also praised the No Child Left Behind Act which is yet another huge federal dictate to local education. Now she opposes all of it stridently.

My concern with Carly is that she was all “establishment” when she worked for John McCain in 2008 and when she ran for Senate in 2010. When she realized that she wasn’t going to get establishment support running for President she suddenly started talking like Ted Cruz. Where was this Carly before? We sure could have used her. When Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Mike Lee and others were fighting in the trenches with us Carly wasn’t helping.

Carly helped the CIA and the NSA build their surveillance infrastructure and when asked about her views on illegal domestic surveillance she avoids taking a stand. She talks tough on immigration, but supported the Dream Act in 2010 which had an amnesty provision. As CEO of HP, her company abused the H1b visa program to replace American workers with foreigners. Carly now says that she opposes the H1b program because “it has changed.”

When asked about her performance at HP Carly says that she had tough challenges to face such as the tech bubble burst in 2000 as well as 9/11. She doubled the size of the company by buying Compaq, her biggest competitor, but in doing so profits were down, the stock tanked and HP’s debt went way up. There were also massive layoffs. The company grew but so did debt and joblessness, just like our current government.

Governor Jeb Bush: 

PROS: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush enjoys a good governing record for the two terms he served. On his watch job growth and economic growth in Florida exceeded the national average.  The state’s rainy day fund increased  from $1.3 to $9.8 billion. Jeb privatized several state services and trimmed the state government workforce by 13,000. He used his line item veto 2,500 times to help trim state spending.  The state’s bond rating went up to AAA.

Jeb scrapped the state vehicle inspection regime, ended affirmative action in state hiring, broadened state school choice programs and vouchers, resisted the influence of government unions, cut taxes, passed “stand your ground” legislation and has an A+ rating from the NRA.

Jeb enjoys a respectable B rating from the CATO Institute for his performance as governor.

Jeb is a capable fund raiser having raised $115 million in combined hard and Super PAC funds in a whirlwind fund raising tour.

CONS: What prevented CATO from awarding Jeb an A rating? Jeb’s second term as governor, as he was not facing re-election, he allowed state spending to skyrocket, increasing 57 percent, much of it in his second term, while population growth was only 16 percent. Bush also takes credit for cutting taxes by $19 billion, but this number is deceptive as it includes federal tax cuts which impacted Florida signed into law by his brother President George W. Bush.

After Jeb left office it seems that he cashed in and abandoned much of the conservatism that served him well as governor.

As a board member for Tenet Healthcare his company trumpeted ObamaCare as a boon to profits and aggressively encouraged Americans to sign up for it.

Jeb once was a champion of school choice and vouchers, now promotes Common Core which is the darling of the Education Cartel. Jeb uses the same clever and wildly deceptive talking points that common core defenders typically engage in to defend a program that is indefensible on the merits.  Bush promoted Common Core as a director of Bloomberg Philantropies. It should also be noted that Bloomberg Philanthropies was a big donor to Planned Parenthood. Jeb Bush’s own foundation takes millions from Common Core groups, some of which get federal tax dollars, and education companies that profit from Common Core. Just how thick is that particular web? I suggest everyone read Michelle Malkin’s piece on Jeb Bush’s Foundation dollars HERE.

Jeb, as Chairman of the National Constitution Center gave Hillary an award (video here) for her exemplary public service, on the eve of the Benghazi massacre where our Ambassador, staff and former Navy Seals were killed. Hillary, as Secretary of State, hired elements of a Jihadist group to do security for our facility while repeatedly denying the Ambassador’s requests for adequate security. Hillary and the Obama Administration have been caught lying about Benghazi ever since.

Jeb has been raising huge sums of money from Wall Street and K-Street interests. Most of the money raised has come from Manhattan. Typically, being able to raise funds is considered an asset in a general election. Grassroots voters across the political spectrum believe influence peddling and corruption have reached crisis levels, so raking money in from big money interests, and $100,000 per plate dinners might lead one to ask just who Jeb is representing if it isn’t you and me. My concern is that when someone pays you millions of dollars before most any new campaign promise is made, it seems to be a donation to preserve the status-quo.

On immigration Bush is an amnesty guy.

Rush Limbaugh said that Jeb is running in hoping to choke the influence of tea-party conservatives out of the Republican Party. Can Jeb win the general election without support of the grass roots? Will millions of conservative voters who have no confidence in the nominee sit out 2016 just as they did with Mitt Romney in 2012?

The Wrap Up

If your favorite candidate isn’t here what can we say other than sorry. If we covered all 17 candidates this would be the piece that never ends. Research for this piece was difficult. Why? Because wading through the shear amounts of dishonest political press is daunting. For every source that tells the truth as best they can there are others who post half truths and lies to say or imply the opposite. There are lies and spin created to affirm every preference or bias imaginable. So much so that unless some serious homework is done, most voters will have little opportunity to discern truth for themselves.

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