Politics Explained: The Vice Presidential Debate

After a widely proclaimed debate win by Governor Romney last Wednesday, the country now turns to the Vice Presidential candidates to see if Ryan will do to Biden what Romney did to Obama.

Politics Explained: Joe Biden and Paul Ryan go head to head at VP Vice Presidential Debate

The Contenders for VP: Paul Ryan and Joe Biden

In the days leading up to this next debate – as you will notice before every major debate – the parties start praising their opponents. To Democrats this week, Ryan is the brilliant congressional economist who will be able to present a lot of convincing information. To Republicans this week, Biden is the smooth, cool, experienced politician who has been preparing for this moment for a long time. But why do this? Why talk up your opponent? Wouldn’t it be more effective to try and lower his self-esteem (as undignified as that may seem)?

This is because, both sides are trying to lower expectations. By doing so, it won’t be as bad if their guy goes down in flames. What would the conversation in politics this past week have been like if everyone was saying that Romney had no chance and that Obama was going to shine? We would be talking an awful lot about how that didn’t happen and how Obama wasn’t the man we thought he was. Instead, because of this rhetoric that he is out of practice, we just look and say, “well, I guess you’re right.” So each side is going to try and raise expectations of their opponents with the theory that, the more you lift the up, the farther and harder they’ll fall.

Politics Explained: Paul Ryan Political Cartoon

The Democrat view of Paul Ryan

But do you think that anyone actually believes the rhetoric? Of course not. Republicans have been salivating at this opportunity for Ryan to take on Biden since Romney first accidentally introduced Paul Ryan as the “future President of the United States,” at his announcement in Virginia. On the same token, Democrats are just dying to see what Joe “Cool” Biden will be able to do with this young radical from Wisconsin.

So what’s it going to be? How is this debate really going to look?

To start, I first recognize just how difficult it is to predict debate outcomes. A week ago, no one would have expected Romney to come away with the biggest debate win in modern US history. That being said, we can look at the contenders and see what they’re up against.

Let’s start with Paul Ryan: He’s smart – brilliant in fact. He was chosen by Romney not for political purposes, but because he is a man who could be president on day one and really is qualified. He was on the House budget committee and was a main author of the House budget which has come to be labeled by the left as “radical.” He’s been apart of many debates on that very budget, and it will most certainly be apart of the debate on Thursday.

Now Joe Biden: He’s experienced. This man has been in Congress for many years. He’s known for being smooth with his words and quick on his feet – even if that means a gaffe every once in a while. But even think about those gaffes. The man is so likable that he has always bounced back from those awkward moments looking as cool, calm, and collected as ever. He has experience in the Vice Presidency.

No matter what they may be saying this week, Republicans see Biden as a bumbling fool, and Democrats see Ryan as a radical rightest whose heart is three sizes too small.

Politics Explained: Ryan and Biden go head to head at (VP) Vice Presidential Debate

Ryan and Biden: Different messages with different strengths

This won’t be an easy win for anyone. Ryan is going to come strong, with lots of numbers and data. Biden will have already seen those numbers and be prepared with rebuttle. He’s going to use his past presidential debate experience to distract from the evidence presented by Ryan and deflect to the idea that Ryan is heartless. Ryan is going to get ticked off at this. And this is the point that will make and break the debate.

If Ryan can keep his cool and keep the debate focused on substance like Romney did last week, then you will hear MSNBC making more excuses for why Biden didn’t do all that great. But if Biden is successful in pushing Ryan’s buttons and gets him to lose his cool and lash out, then Romney will have some catch up to do in the next debates.

As much as either side would like to believe on the inside, this debate is not going to be as easily won for them as they thought.

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Politics Explained: In Defense of Democrats saying “NO” to God

At this weeks Democratic National Convention, there was an unexpected hiccup in the adoption of the party platform which outlines the beliefs and goals of the party. In the drafting process, the only mention of the word “God” was removed from the party platform. Republicans latched on to this, knowing that their party, as well as a considerable chunk of Democrats have a strong belief in God and dislike removing Him from the public square. In an attempt to calm the angry masses, the Democratic Party decided to sneak in an amendment to their platform, not only adding “God” back into the platform, but also stating that it is their belief that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel. What happened when they brought it to an official vote was completely unexpected, go ahead and watch keeping in mind that this was live and on National Television.

Poor Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles didn’t quite no what to do. He was expecting to get up, pass the amendment, and sit down. I mean who’s going to argue with the party leaders? Well, lots of people it turns out.

People are surprised by this for a couple of reasons. 1) Because people three times clearly voted against the recognition of God and Jerusalem and 2) because the party accepted this as an official vote when it was not really clear if two thirds of the people were truly in favor.

Politics Explained: Peter Denies Christ three times, like democrats

Peter Denies Christ Three Times

Republicans have latched onto this as a denial of God by Democrats. The only thing that would have made this more perfect for them is if the cock crowed after the third denial. But I think the Republicans are being a little unfair with their criticism. People were not booing God. The Democrat Delegation was booing the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is something that Republicans are very adamant about as a means of supporting the Jews in Israel. The Palestinians in Israel, however, see Tel Aviv as the capital. By accepting Jerusalem as the capital is to remove legitamacy to the Palestinians which is not very popular among the Muslim and Arab world. You’ll notice that in the clip, they keep panning the camera to a man and woman who have a sign that reads, “Arab Americans for Obama.” After that, I wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed home this election.

But the point I’m trying to make is that the democrats were not denying God. Sure there may have been a few adamant Atheists in the crowd who really were upset about that, but I think that was the exception not the rule. I think that people were more upset that the party folded to pressures concerning the Jerusalem issue since many Democrats have a legitimate argument about the US giving too much credit to the Jews who they feel are oppressing the Palestinians in Israel.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Ignores People

Mayor Villaraigosa Ignores People

The real atrocity of the night was the manner in which it was all decided. Did you hear 2/3s of the people say “aye,”? I know I didn’t. But Mayor Villaraigosa knew that they needed to pass it, so without really having any way to know how many were for or against, he just pushed it through saying it passed. That’s when even more boos came. Again, not against God, but because he ignored the voice of the people.

Politics Explained: Romney and Obama’s Convention Speeches Compared

The national party conventions are the most prime opportunity for a candidate to make his/her case for the presidency. The national news networks are finally all tuned in and giving their undivided attention. For the first time, they have a national audience, and they, the candidates, get to set the agenda. This moment was very important for both the President and Governor Romney but for different reasons.

Politics explained: Romney vs. Obama

Different Conventions, Different Speeches, Similar Goals

President Obama needed to stand up and convince America that he deserves four more years. He needed to explain why his leadership, that we’ve all seen, will be good for another term and then go on to explain what he’d do with it.

Governor Romney on the other hand had the task of explaining why he, the man without four years of presidential experience, would be that much better than the current option. He needed to lay out his plan for America’s future and show that America is not currently on the right course.

We’ll start with looking at Romney’s speech since he gave his first, and part of Obama’s speech was in response to Romney’s.

In the most basic terms, Romney’s speech was a success. Something that I’ve been noticing about Romney recently is that he is making his case for the presidency by acting presidential. After being introduced, Romney walked in from the back of the hall. To many observers, it was very akin to the way in which the president enters the House of Representatives, from the back, just before delivering the State of the Union address. There was a lot of hand shaking, hugs to friends, and one slightly awkward moment when Romney had to ask a lady not to touch his face because he was afraid of her ruining his stage make-up (before you laugh about him wearing make up, remember it was stage make up that helped JFK win in the presidential debates against Nixon. The debates were televised for the first time, and Nixon refused to put on make up…JFK looked better).

Politics Explained: Romney at Convention

Romney delivering speech to RNC

Then once behind the podium, he spoke to his purpose. Remember, that purpose was to make his case for the presidency. He started by first making the case that people should be considering a change in leadership. He asked the country to really ask themselves, “are you better than you were 4 years ago?” He supplied evidence to the fact that they weren’t. After getting people to consider new leadership, he explained what that meant. He laid out a five point plan to economic and job recovery which included energy independence by 2020 and stronger trade relations abroad. He ended by expressing his love for America, and all that politician fluff.

Exactly one week later, Obama spoke to his party. His entrance was a lot different, instead of coming from the back of a well lit room, he came from back stage of a dark room under a spotlight to the tune of a Coldplay song. The Obama people are really good at theatrical drama and evoking the most emotional response from their audience. This is no exception.

Politics Explained: Obama at convention applauding supporters

Obama applauds supporters

The speech itself, again, should have been aimed at laying out his plan for his next term as a way of convincing people that he deserves more time. He started with an acknowledgement of the historic nature of this election. He then went on to attack the speeches given by the republicans, throwing in the word God at every opportunity, just in case people still remembered how the DNC almost removed all instances of God from their party platform. He then laid out a long list of democratic party principles. He said that they could add thousands of jobs in multiple areas, and the only thing that he needs in order to do that is our help.

So what do we learn from this? Well, we just get confirmation of what we already know. This is a fundamental difference, in my opinion, between the Romney campaign and Obama campaign. Romney speaks to the country as a whole and offers a plan to help the whole; Obama seeks to divide and conquer.

Romney Speaks to the NAACP

Romney Speaks to the NAACP

Another great example of Romney doing well what he did at the convention was during his speech to the NAACP. There is an organization which is made up almost entirely of Obama supporters, but Romney went to them anyway. He realized that if he is going to be President of the United States then he will be president of all Americans, not just Republicans. He went into that meeting with the NAACP, and gave a very similar speech to those he gives all over the country. He was even booed at one point for saying some unpopular things. But the thing is, Romney will not pander. He will not change his message because of the color of people’s skin or their social standing. He is to be a president of all Americans.

Politics explained: Obama campaigns with strategy of divide and conquer

Obama seeks to divide and conquer

But Obama knows that in a system of winner take all, he doesn’t need all of America to agree with him, heck he doesn’t even need half of America to agree with him. He just needs more people to agree with him than with Romney. And so how does he do it?  Obama’s strategy has been to divide the people then gather up enough groups to secure his victory and save the needy and oppressed, as he feels that he is doing. This is seen in his divisive rhetoric against the business class of the country. He rallies the poor and middle class around the idea that the rich Americans don’t really care about the country or people who are under them. He attacks the successful for the purpose of gaining the support of those who want a share of their profits.

That’s what he did at the convention. If you listen, you’ll hear that he was speaking directly to his base. He was preaching to the choir to get them to sing louder. This wasn’t a speech for the undecided voter, like Romney’s was. If it was, he would have given more concrete ideas, and not abstract hopes and dreams for the future.

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Ann Romney Shows It’s OK to be Rich

Politics Explained: Ann Romney, Mrs. America

Mrs. America herself, Ann Romney

Ann Romney has been widely praised for her address at the recent Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. There have been posters, T-Shirts, even purses with her picture and the caption, “Mrs. America.” This hype is produced by Republicans who are excited to vote for her husband and make her the First Lady. However, I’ve been following this election close enough to know exactly what the opposition was thinking. For those liberals who were watching, many probably sat there and thought, “Don’t patronize me and talk like you understand me. How could someone in a fancy silk blouse that is worth a months pay check really care about me?” (people actually were making similar comments about the blouse on youtube).

The thing is, Ann Romney is not a middle class housewife…She’s a filthy rich housewife, and they’re not trying to fool anyone. The Romney’s don’t try to pretend like they are underprivileged. They don’t stretch the truth to make them seem like they’ve gone through more financial struggles than they have, like the opposing candidate has done (read about that here). They are honest with their circumstances past and present.

There has been a lot of encouragement for Romney to be forthright about his wealth. In all reality he has nothing to hide. Though his Father was a wealthy business man and governor, Romney did not get his wealth from his Dad. Instead, he took his inheritance and gave it all to charity. He didn’t need it because he was making it on his own.

But my point here is not to tell you about how the Romney’s know what it’s like to be poor and start their own business in order to possibly make ends meet. My point here is to say that it’s OK to be rich.

Because of Mitt’s financial success, he and his dear wife Ann are in a special position to help lift and inspire others, in this case, the American people and they are living up to that opportunity. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that Governor Romney has likely read multiple times. It reads, “And before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18-19). I’m confident Mr. Romney has read that because he and his wife live it.

Politics Explained: Mitt and Ann Romney prove it's OK to be rich

Mitt and Ann as our advocates

Mitt and Ann Romney have dedicated their lives to helping others. Over 16% of his 2011 income was given to charities or other charitable organizations. Mitt and Ann are now advocates for those who wish the same success that they’ve seen in life.

When Ann Romney gets up to that large podium in Tampa, FL and says, “I’ve been around the country and heard your stories and feel your pain,” she is not being condescending, she is being sincere. She and her husband are advocates for all those who are struggling.

But they don’t understand my struggles, you may say. They don’t know what it’s like to be unemployed for 8 months or struggle from pay check to pay check…But let’s think about that. Does it really matter? First off, the Romneys have likely experienced more hardships than you are aware. Secondly, it doesn’t matter that they haven’t personally experienced every trial that every American now faces. Because the Romney’s and I share this belief that there is only One who could ever do that.

The fact of the matter is, the most important fact is that the Romneys care. The most important thing they could do to connect with the middle and lower classes is not to personally walk in their shoes, but to have an open mind and heart when hearing personal stories. I challenge all who read to find evidence pointing to the fact that Romney does not care about the success of all Americans from every walk of life. You just won’t find anything. You may find some fact that has been twisted by the Obama campaign that leads the misinformed to believe that the Romneys are heartless, but deep within that very fact will be the fact that the reason the Romneys have done what they have is because they love American and believe in its future. Mitt Romney’s entire campaign has been about believing in America and getting America back to work again. He has the skills and experiences necessary to get the job done. More importantly, he has the sincere desire to do so.

Politics Explained: Mitt and Ann Romney care about America

Mitt and Ann care about America

So next time you see Mrs. Romney wearing a fancy piece of Jewelry, or hear Gov. Romney refer to just how many cars he owns, don’t think that equates with not caring about the millions of Americans struggling under this economy. Because frankly, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Politics Explained: Romney/Ryan depicted as Mormon missionaries, political cartoon

Politics Explained: Romney and Ryan portrayed as Mormon Missionaries in political cartoon

Romney and Ryan portrayed as Mormon missionaries

You may have seen this before. This is not the first time that the media has poked at Romney because of his religion, but this is the first time that someone else has been roped into it.

My general reaction is, I would wish people would have the decency to not poke fun at religious beliefs, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t surprise me that they do.

Recently, I’ve spent some time going through political cartoons, trying to find ones worthy of passing along on this blog’s Facebook page. I’ve noticed that most political cartoons go for shock value. They want it to be something that people will talk about and share with the hopes that as it is passed around, people will come to agree with the message that is. This is no different, and obviously it worked as I am here talking about it.

However, just because people are talking about it, does not justify being insensitive to a person’s religion. However, what can you do in such a situation? Kick and scream and demand that it be rescinded? Nothing will come of it. All we can do is take the time to spread the truth.

The thing is, yes, Romney and Ryan do have some proselytizing to do, not for any religion, but for free market capitalism. And yes they are going to save the rich, but like most political cartoons, this fall short in its analysis. Not only are they going to save the rich, but they’re also going to save the poor and middle class. Unlike the left, Romney and Ryan want all Americans to succeed. They don’t have the mentality that “if everyone can’t be successful, then no one can,” like the Obama administration is perpetuating.

If they want to make fun of religion like kids in high school, let them. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about these little side distractions; it’s about getting America working again, and Romney and Ryan are the best companionship to make it happen.

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Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan as VP says about Mitt Romney

I woke up very excited as I got a notification from my “Romney VP” smartphone app, telling me that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate. The thing is, this pick explains much and speaks volumes to the character and future presidency of Mitt Romney, and they’re only good things.

Politics Explained: The Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan VP Pick

Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan says about Mitt Romney

Before we can understand too much about what this says about Mitt, we need some background on the pick himself, namely Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is an ideological leader of congressional republicans. As a member of the budget committee, he has presented bold and innovative ideas for balancing the budget and reigning in out-of-control government spending – ideas that I will be discussing in future posts. The most important thing to note, is that Paul Ryan is no passive voice in the government. Obama knows who this guy is and knows that he’s a threat.

So what does this say about Romney. It says for one that he’s serious. If you have ever heard someone say, “Romney just does things to get elected,” this should support the opposite. If Romney was worried solely about being elected, he  would have picked Condi Rice, an African-American woman. Or he would have picked Marco Rubio, a Latino from Florida. Or he would have picked someone with a more bland political record, someone who won’t draw much fire from the liberal media like Ryan already is. But no, he picks Ryan. And why? Because being elected for Romney is merely a means to an end. For Romney, the end result is putting America back on track. The goal is to make America unquestionably prosperous again.

Some critics are saying that this pick is political suicide and that it draws attention away from Obama’s first term. Nothing could be more wrong, and in fact, the reality is quite the opposite. This pick by Romney shines a bright spotlight on the failed policies of the last 4 years and will bring the economic issues that face our country to the forefront of public debate instead of having them swept aside by distractions from the Obama people.

This is also a testimonial to the fact that Romney has the great ability to surround himself with the best people. At Bain Capital, Romney built his company by surrounding himself with the best and brightest in the field, and it worked. He has shown how he can do that in his political career as well. He made his decision, not based on demographics or polls, but on merit. He found the brightest, most articulate and talented person who understands almost better than anyone else, just where this country is headed economically, and he put him on the team. Imagine what this will mean for the future White House Staff and Presidential cabinet? This means that he won’t look at these decisions with a political lens  trying to decide which appointment will make him most popular. He will judge people according to the content of their character and their merits instead of any other test.

Selecting Paul Ryan as VP was Romney’s first major presidential decision, and he passed with flying colors. We can expect more of this great leadership and decision making from Governor Romney if we elect him as President come November.

Politics Explained: America's comeback dream team

Politics Explained: Paul Ryan truly makes this a winning ticket for America

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Politics Explained: The Batman Theater Shooting in Colorado

As you woke up this morning, the first thing you likely heard when you turned on the news was that there was a shooting in a pleasant, unsuspecting town in Colorado during a viewing of the highly anticipated new Batman movie. Being in Moscow, Russia, I was awake as the story broke, and have been following the developments closely. I have made some interesting observations which I would like to share.

Politics Explained: Batman Colorado Theater shooting

Politics Explained: Scene of the Crime

It was so sad to me how quickly this became a political issue. To quote someone who left a comment on the New York Times article on the issue, “this is not a time for politics, it is a time for mourning.” With that statement, I couldn’t agree more. What happened last night was horrible. We should be sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of the 12 dead and 50+ wounded (not to mention the rest of the audience which has been psychologically assaulted), instead of throwing around accusations with incomplete knowledge. To be quite honest with you, I’m going to have a tough time fully enjoying the movie, knowing that is exactly what these defenseless victims were trying to do at the moment of their untimely demise.

Gun control advocates jumped all over the issue from the very start. I believe that the gun control debate is one that should be brought up, and I will be writing about that later, but I think that there is something much deeper in the heart of the issue.

Politics Explained: Batman Theater Shooting in Colorado

Not so fast, Mr. Media

We can argue gun laws all day (and I have a feeling there will come a day when we will), but you have to ask yourself, how could a person do this in the first place. There are those who suggest that it is because the 24 year old shooter possibly listened to Rush Limbaugh who has been attacking this movie as being liberal propaganda. The thing is, there is no evidence yet speaking to the shooter’s motives. Anti-Rush Limbaugh people just think, guy had gun, republicans like guns, republicans listen to Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh hates Batman, therefore, this is Rush Limbaugh’s fault. I think that is completely ridiculous, but at the very least, we are getting away from the “he had a gun, therefore he wanted to use it” argument. The thing is, there is nothing we can definitively say until a full investigation has gone into this shooter’s background.

Politics Explained: Think of the children

Think of the Children

No matter what is found in the investigation, no matter what comes of the renewed gun control debate, one thing is certain, we need to better educate our children. We need to do better at teaching kids that violence is never the answer. I want to underline the fact that the primary place this education should be happening is in the home. Parents have a responsibility to raise their kids right. Unfortunately, not every kid has good parents, which is why we need to be providing this sort of education in the schools.

No matter how strict gun control laws become, guns will never disappear from our country, and this propensity for violence in our culture will not immediately vanish. Let’s take this moment to not only mourn for those who so tragically lost their lives in Colorado and think of the children.

I would like to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment on, and be sure to LIKE, this blog’s Facebook page. You can find it by clicking here. You can also follow me on Twitter (@PPLvI ) by clicking here.