Squandering a Better Choice.

One of the ways I determine the acceptability of a political candidates is whether I would attend a dinner at which they were guests – whether it was my dinner party or one to which we had both been invited. The flip side of that is whether I would decline such a dinner invitation because of who else was included. In my life I have shared meals with President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). I would attend again any chance I had to join Mr. Bush and I wouldn’t walk across the street to meet Mr. McCain. Early on I applied that standard to former Vice-President Huber Humphrey (D) when he exited his limousine across the street as I was exiting the law school at the University of Montana – no one else around but Mr. Humphrey and his security detail. I looked, saw who it was and went on my way – the other way.

At this moment, there are three people with whom I would gladly share a meal – as opposed to the current administration and most members of Congress that would require me to decline. But enough of that. The political halls of Washington, DC, are lined with people who, absent politics would be unemployable, broke and/or in prison. But there are indeed politicians with whom I would look forward to meeting and conversing. At this point in time, my top three would be former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R), former Governor and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R-SC), and former Member of Congress and current FOXNews commentator Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN).

Mike Pompeo. Mr. Pompeo is a boot strapper.* He was born to a middle class family in California’s Orange County. In high school he played basketball and demonstrated academic skills sufficient to warrant appointment to the United States Military Academy where he graduate first in his class. He served in the Army for several years and after completing his service obligation, moved on to Harvard Law School where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review** and the Harvard Law Journal. After graduating he practiced law for a spell, started an aerospace company and served in Congress. Thereafter he became head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and then Secretary of State. That is a pretty broad stroke of success at every level – academic, military service, entrepreneurial, and diplomatic. At each stage of his adult life we see that what preceded enhanced his next assignment. Academic success demonstrated intelligence and a willingness to do the hard work of learning, Law school taught him the means to divide complicated problems into their solvable parts. Military success taught him that the world is a dangerous place and that tyrannical regimes (e.g.. Russia, China and Iran) are threats not only to their own people but to the world generally. His service as a member of Congress taught him the nuances of politics and allowed him to maximize his efforts at the CIA and State.

It was during his service at the CIA and State that he polished the principle of “diplomacy with steady pressure.” And is that principle that served former President Donald Trump that halted the ambitions of Iran to become the dominant force in the Middle East, Russia’s ambitions to re-establish the old Soviet Union, and China’s goal to become the dominant force in Eastern Asia and replace the United States as the world’s premier economic power. Diplomacy is a process by which collegial nations settle their disputes. Absent that collegiality, the application of economic and military force is necessary to effect appropriate responses from belligerent nations. Empty threats (Mr. Biden) and impetuous moves (Mr. Trump) are the exact opposites of diplomacy with steady pressure. The world would be better served with Mr. Pompeo as the head of the world’s greatest super power. And even more importantly, he would be and excellent dinner guest with an unquenchable body of observations and knowledge.

Nikki Haley. Ms. Haley, like Mr. Pompeo has that well rounded wealth of experience that qualifies one to serve as the nation’s chief executive. She is a successful entrepreneur, a former legislator, a two-term governor of South Carolina and extraordinary diplomat as evidenced by her service as Ambassador to the United Nations under Mr. Trump. It is this latter service that drew my attention and my previous endorsements of her presidential candidacy. In particular it was her actions and advocacy in the United Nations regarding Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the responses to Iran and Syrian strong man Bashar al-Assad. The best summary of her actions can be found in Wikipedia***:

In 2017, Haley declared to the U.N. Security Council that sanctions against Russia for its Crimean conflict would not be lifted until Russia returned control over the region to Ukraine. Later that year, Haley said the U.S. would retain ‘strong and tough’ sanctions against Russia due to its actions in Ukraine.

On March 30, 2017, Haley stated that the U.S. would no longer focus on forcing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to leave power. This was a policy shift from former president Barack Obama’s initial stance on Assad. On April 5, speaking to the U.N. Security Council a day after the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, Haley said Russia, Assad, and Iran ‘have no interest in peace’ and attacks similar to this would continue occurring should nothing be done in response. A day later the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles toward the Shayrat Air Base in Syria. Haley called the strike a “very measured step” and warned that the U.S. was prepared “to do more” despite wishing it would not be required.

On April 12, after Russia blocked a draft resolution meant to condemn the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, Haley criticized Russia, saying, ‘We need to see Russia choose to side with the civilized world over an Assad government that brutally terrorizes its own people.’ On June 28, while appearing before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Haley credited Trump’s warning to Syria with stopping another chemical attack: ‘I can tell you due to the president’s actions, we did not see an incident.’”

Ms. Haley has been an unwavering supporter of Israel and has rightfully tagged Hamas as author of all of the misery in Gaza caused by their ongoing terrorist rocket attacks and then their fatal mistake on October 7 with the massacre of innocent Israeli citizens. Unlike Mr. Biden, Ms. Haley has not engaged in second guessing the Israelis in the conduct of their defense of Israel or their defeat of Hamas.

Ms. Haley has been a thoughtful voice on an unending succession of domestic and diplomatic issues. Even when I disagree with her position – such as a national ban on abortions after a certain period of pregnancy – I find myself nodding in appreciation of not only her rationale but her understanding of the secondary effects.****

And here I tread lightly because I am not a woman nor do I believe that their attitudes ae reserved to women or, more importantly, unappreciated by men. I have been married for nearly fifty-two years and I see in Ms. Haley the same tender resolve that I see in my wife. Ms. Haley does not deserve to be President because she is a woman. Rather she deserves to President because of what she has demonstrated in times of confrontation and crises.

And like Mr. Pompeo she would be an excellent dinner guest because of what she has accomplished and her impeccable process to opinions and actions.

Harold Ford, Jr. Mr. Ford is more difficult to write about. He does not have a pedigree filled with successes in academia, the military, private industry or even politics even though he served for five terms as a Democrat member of Congress from Tennessee. In reality my pick of him as a person interesting enough to be a dinner guest stems from his time as a political commentator on FOXNews – primarily as a rotating member of The Five. He now occupies the “Democrat” chair that was once occupied by Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera. Until recently Mr. Ford shared that chair with a political commentator Jessica Tarlov. Ms. Tarlov, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Rivera demonstrated their lack of any level of independence by simply reiterating the “talking points” issued daily by the Democrat National Party. In contrast Mr. Ford has demonstrated his own thoughtful opinions about difficult issues. He has refused to be drawn into the type of personal attacks highlighted by his predecessors and often shared by other members of The Five.

So thoughtful, considerate and practical is Mr. Ford that he would not only make an ideal dinner guest but he would serve admirably as a counterpoint to the excess of the woke mob currently running the Democrat Party into the ground. (Whenever I listen to Mr. Ford I am reminded of my food friend in Montana who served as a Democrat legislator and godfather to our daughter. I’ve noted before that in response to my question about how he and I – a conservative – could agree on so many issues and yet he remained a Democrat. His answer was timeless: “There are more poor people than there are rich and if we do not protect and care for the poor they will rise up and take away all that the rich have.” ) We continue to fail in that regard and the Democrats more than the Republican because they have promised so much and delivered so little.

Republicans and Democrats agree that the current Vice-President, Kalamata Harris is a disaster. In three years she has learned nothing about the issues of the day allowing us to conclude that she is either so dumb that she cannot understand complex issues or so lazy that she will not take the time to learn despite having unlimited access to all the resources of the federal government. In either instance she operates as a millstone around Mr. Biden’s neck. Mr. Biden’s failing cognitive skills as well as health scream that he will not make it through a second term and that we would be stuck with Ms. Harris as his constitutional successor.

So bad and dangerous is the likely ascendancy of Ms. Harris that the far left Washington Post has opined:

The Democratic Party’s indulgence of identity politics has proved successful in building a diverse organization, but its strategy of courting (and pandering to) minority voters is the road to ruin.

* * *

The Kamala conundrum comes down to this: She was picked because she was Black and female, a combo tantamount to job security. Now that she has become a burden to the Democratic ticket, Biden can’t fire her. He can’t risk alienating his base. Full stop. The seriousness of this situation can’t be overstated. Biden’s diminishing faculties, notwithstanding his relatively successful State of the Union address, and his increasing physical frailty are concerning.”

And after noting Ms. Harris’ continuing descending poll numbers the editorial concluded:

There’s no reason to think her ranking would spike were she suddenly promoted to the Oval Office. Instead, most signs point to disaster. This is why I propose with all due respect that Harris step away from the ticket.”

The Washington Post’s opinion is neither new or unique. It reflects the view of the overwhelming majority of Americans. This will be a tight presidential race that may be decided by America’s fear of Ms. Harris as President of the United States. Should Mr. Biden find the courage to do what is in the best interest of himself and his country, we would all be well served should he nominate Mr. Harold Ford Jr as his vice-presidential candidate. Working class Democrats who have been long ignored by party progressives and independent voters would be reassured about the quality of the person succeeding to the presidency should Mr. Biden succumb to health and cognitive maladies. And Mr. Ford would prove to be a better chief executive than either of his successors.

Oh, and by the way, should I be so fortunate to have Mr. Ford as a dinner guest I would make sure that my friend John is able to attend also.

The world is filled with people of skill and thoughtfulness. These are only three and each would serve us better as President of the United States than the current crop of likely nominees.

Pray for our country and its future.


*For those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools, a boot trapper is a person who makes it on his/her own – one who relies on his/her own talents plus hard work and courage.

** Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review was a position thaat was reserved for the top academic performers – that is until former President Barack Obama became its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) appointee and never published a single article in the Law Review.

***Wikipedia is an open-source publication so it is impossible to determine who authored the comments on Ms. Haley but they are close enough to my own observations for me to accept their reliability.

**** I have stated my opposition to taxpayer funded abortion on demand at any time. My principle disagreements with Ms. Haley’s proposal is that abortion is not a constitutional issue and that it is inappropriate for Congress to legislate on it. Issues such as abortion, lacking any constitutional relevance, are reserved to the states and/or their citizens.