Marc Platt's Politics: I'm a Lefty

Aug. 12, 2015

Candidates Scorecard: Where Did They Come From?

By Marc Platt

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard. We hear their stories with the spin they choose to tell that story with. The facts may tell a different story and this is your chance to know at least some of the facts before it starts getting really crazy in the presidential campaign season.

Where did the 21 originally-announced candidates come from? What is their background? Some come from privilege, some come from humble beginnings. Let’s take a quick look at where these women and men started from in life.

Former Secretary of State (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton grew up as a conservative Republican in a household that advocated political activism. In 1960, it was a very young Hillary Rodham who idolized her conservative Republican father Hugh Rodham (a textile magnate), helping him canvas the south side of Chicago during the very close Richard Nixon-JFK presidential election. She had a teenage crush on Richard Nixon and was devastated when he lost that very close election to John F. Kennedy. That was Hillary’s first taste of big time presidential politics. Four years later Hillary was back at it  campaigning for Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, the uber-right wing Republican conservative running for President against incumbent LBJ. Rodham and his daughter were heavily involved in the Goldwater campaign in 1964. Hillary was a “Goldwater Girl,” and wore an outfit along with other young enthusiastic female supporters. Fast forward to 2015 and the former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State is seeking the DEMOCRATIC presidential nomination for the United States as a candidate herself.

Businessman (R) Donald J. Trump is certainly an enigma in this 2016 presidential cycle. Trump comes from a background of great privilege. His Scottish mother Mary Anne and New York real estate magnate Fred Trump raised their five children in New York. He attended the best schools ending up at Wharton’s business school, after two years at Fordham. His business background has made him a billionaire many times over. Trump has gained and lost billions in his decades-long career and become a celebrity with countless television appearances and his own NBC “Apprentice” series. Politically-speaking Trump has aligned himself with both liberal and conservative stances on many issues throughout the years, contributing to Democrats and Republicans in the process.

Former Florida Governor (R) John Ellis (Jeb) Bush certainly comes from a privileged background, his father George H.W. Bush being a Texas oilman and himself the son of a U.S. Senator (Prescott Bush, Connecticut), U.S. Congressman, Director of C.I.A., U.S. Vice President and U.S. President (#41). His brother George W. Bush was the 43rd U.S. President. Jeb Bush decided to attend the University of Texas at Austin, instead of Yale University like his father and brother. Jeb Bush served two full terms as Governor of Florida and as a Wall Street executive before deciding to run for U.S. President himself for the 2016 election cycle.

U.S. Vermont Senator (I) Bernie Sanders’ father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, who lost members of his family in the Holocaust. His mother was from working-class Jews in New York. He was a high school star athlete who attended Brooklyn College and then the University of Chicago where he earned a BA degree in political science. Bernie Sanders was heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and worked various jobs after moving to Vermont. His involvement in politics began in Vermont where he eventually won four two-year terms as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Bernie Sanders has served in the United States Senate since 2007 as an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, after serving as a United States Congressman for 16 years.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO(R) Carly Fiorina  dropped out of UCLA Law School in 1976 and took a job at a real estate firm called Marcus & Millichap and worked her way up the ladder to become a broker. Fiorina left that company in 1980 to become a management trainee at AT&T, later rising through the ranks to become a senior vice president overseeing the company's hardware and systems division. She later became the first woman to head a Fortune 20 as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

U.S. Florida Senator (R) Marco Rubio was born in Florida  to Cuban immigrants who left Cuba in 1956 before the rise of Fidel Castro. Rubio had to fend off political flak for giving the impression that his parents fled the Castro regime in 1959. These charges came after he won his successful senatorial seat in the 2010 election cycle. It is true that Rubio came from a working-class background who lived paycheck to paycheck and that he also paid off his $100,000 in student loans, which are a big part of his political narrative. Rubio served as Florida’s Speaker of the House in the state house.

U.S. Texas Senator(R) Ted Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada in 1970 to an upper-middle class father who was Cuban-born and a mother of Irish & Italian descent. His parents owned a seismic-data processing firm in the oil drilling business in Canada. He was given a top-rate education graduating cum laude from Princeton University, as well as getting his law degree from Harvard University. Cruz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and went on to clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Whether people agree or disagree with Ted Cruz politically, it would be hard to argue his legal credentials, which are similar to the man currently residing in the White House.

New Jersey Governor (R) Chris Christie is of German, Irish and Scottish descent. His parents are Sondra and his certified public accountant father Wilbur. Chris started his political ascent early in life at Livingston High School where he was voted class president. His democratic-leaning mother actually encouraged her son to volunteer in the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Tom Kean, being inspired after he heard Kean speak at his high school. This would become a huge turning point for Chris Christie who would go on to Seton Hall Law School and into the New Jersey legal community and the statewide politics in New Jersey. He later was appointed U.S. Attorney by George W. Bush in December, 2001.

Former Maryland Governor (D) Martin O’Malley served both as Democratic mayor of Baltimore and Maryland Governor. His father was a fighter pilot in World War II and witnessed the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima in 1945, before going on to serve as a criminal defense lawyer and later United States Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Martin O’Malley attended the Catholic University of America as an undergrad before moving on to the University of Maryland’s School of Law and passing the bar in 1982.

Former Arkansas Governor (R) Mike Huckabee has been a pastor and Arkansas governor, as well as Fox News TV host who started his rise from a working-class background that has served his religiously-based evangelical style. Huckabee’s father Dorsey and mother Mae were both conservative Southern Democrats at a time in Arkansas when civil rights was opposed by Southern Democrats in America. Mike Huckabee at age 21 was a staff member for televangelist James Robison, which spurred him on to getting his own congregation in 1980. He worked his way up the political ladder through entrepreneurial ventures as a TV station owner and then later in Arkansas politics serving first as Lt. Governor and then Arkansas Governor.

Ohio Governor (R) John Kasich’s father (a Czech) was a mailman and his mother was of Croatian descent. His humble beginnings have paved the way for a career both as a public servant and in the private sector. Young Kasich was savvy enough to earn a meeting with President Nixon in 1970 after writing Nixon a letter of admiration when he was a freshman at Ohio State University.  He earned his political science degree and slowly worked his way into position after position in Ohio state politics. In 1982, after a career in state politics, he easily defeated an incumbent congressman and began his national political career and is currently serving his second term as Governor of Ohio.

Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator (R) Rick Santorum was born to an immigrant Italian father Aldo who came to America at the age of 7 to go on and become an accomplished clinical psychologist working in the military field. His mother an administrative nurse Catherine was also of Italian/Irish descent. His family lived in an apartment provided by the Veterans Administration. Santorum attended Penn State University. After college Santorum started volunteering for Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz and worked his way through the political landscape of that state before becoming a U.S. Congressman and later U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Santorum finished second to Mitt Romney in the GOP 2012 cycle winning 11 states in the primaries.

(R)  Dr. Ben Carson has never run for political office before entering the GOP race for President of the United States. The famed neurosurgeon began life in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Sonya and Solomon Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist minister. Carson came from an upper middle-class background that afforded him opportunities in life such as attending Yale as a psychology undergrad, the University of Michigan medical school and Johns Hopkins Hospital where he completed his residency in neurosurgery.

Kentucky U.S. Senator (R) Dr. Rand Paul (ophthalmologist) is the son of former Texas U.S. Congressman Ron Paul and his mother Carol, who raised Rand and his five siblings in Midland, Texas. His father Ron is also a physician. Rand Paul was given a lot of advantages early in life and followed his Libertarian-leaning father into politics and became a Tea Party darling in his adopted state of Kentucky, where he ascended through Kentucky’s conservative political machinery, taking time off to help his father’s presidential campaign in 2008 and 2012. He was elected to the U.S. Senate himself in 2010. It is the only elective office he has held.

Louisiana Governor (R) Bobby Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Amar and Raj Jindal, immigrants from Malerkotla, Punjab, India. He was raised Hindu, but converted to Catholicism and maneuvered his way through Louisiana politics after becoming a Political Science Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in England. President George W. Bush appointed Jindal to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation in March, 2001. He left that post in 2003 to run for Louisiana Governor and won that election and has been in that post ever since.

Former Texas Governor(R) Rick Perry (a former Democrat)is a fifth-generation Texan whose parents were cotton farmers. His father Joe was a Democrat and also happened to be a long-time Haskell County commissioner and also a member of the school board. Rick Perry attended Texas A&M University and worked various jobs before enlisting in the Air Force in 1974. After his three years in the Air Force, he moved back home to help his father on the cotton farm. He served in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1989, Perry switched parties joining a political alliance with Karl Rove, who would also go on to guide George W. Bush’s career and the rest is history. He served as Bush’s Lt. Governor in Texas before his 14 years as Texas Governor.

Former Rhode Island Governor (D) Lincoln Chafee also used to be a Republican career politician before leaving the GOP. Chafeecomes from a privileged political background himself, having several descendants (father John Chafee, great uncles Henry Lippitt and Charles Warren Lippett) also having served as Rhode Island governors. Another Great Uncle Henry Frederick Lippitt was a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, as did Lincoln’s father John, who also served as a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island. Lincoln Chafee began his own political career first as a Republican delegate from Rhode Island and later was mayor of Warwick Rhode Island, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island and finally served as an Independent Governor of Rhode Island from 2011-2015. He is seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.

Former New York Governor (R) George Pataki is the oldest entrant at 70 years old into the GOP field. Pataki is of Hungarian descent and his father was a mail carrier. George worked very hard as a young man and eventually made his way to Yale Law School with George W. Bush during the mid-1960s. He went on to practice law and maneuver his way through New York state politics, serving as Mayor of Peekskill, New York state assembly, New York Senate and finally as two-term Governor of New York.

Former Virginia Governor (R) Jim Gilmore was a very late entrant into the Republican field. The former Virginia governor, Virginia Attorney General and former Republican Party Chairman was born in Virginia to a church secretary mother Margaret and James, a grocery store meat cutter. Gilmore made his way to the national stage by way of the military, enlisting and then entering law school at the University of Virginia in the mid-1970’s.

Former Virginia U.S. Senator (D) Jim Webb used to be a Republican and served as United States Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan and later as a Republican-elected U.S. Senator from Virginia. He grew up in a military family residing in many locations, his father having flown in World War II and later being a highly-respected military career lifer. After attending more than 12 schools because of his family moving a lot, he ended up at USC Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, which started him on a course for his own military career. He was wounded in Vietnam and later (2005) married his third wife, a Vietnamese refugee Hong Lee.

It is so early in the process and there will be many defections and a few possible additions to the field of candidates.

Aug. 4, 2015

By Marc Platt

If you go on Donald Trump's website, you will not be able to find any real policy positions or even suggestions of governing and policy positions.

We know what The Donald doesn't like...At least for NOW.

He has flip-flopped on issues like Universal Health Care and used to be Pro-Choice. Those are certainly NOT conservative political viewpoints that will get Republican base primary voters to pull the voting lever in Trump's direction if he were to revert to those previous views.

The Donald used to say things like "We need to take care of everyone" when it came to health care. Now he says Obamacare "Is the worst thing." Maybe this is not quite as bad as Dr. Ben Carson's "The worst thing since slavery" remarks from last year, but certainly a 2015 reboot for the republican base.

What exactly does Donald Trump have to offer the United States?

Remember when Republicans used to complain about President Obama taking care of welfare recipients with "FREE STUFF?" That free stuff are the entitlement programs that have helped a great many in our country for decades.

I really am having a hard time figuring out what The Donald will actually offer. Free Puppies? When he starts getting pressed for details, it will get very interesting to hear his ideas about how to actually govern.

To say "I make things" and "I hire people" and "You're fired" can only take you so far in this process. Donald J Trump can stay on the world stage for a little while longer and then he will have to make a decision to jump off this crazy clown car circus and go back to being not "Candidate Donald Trump," but rather "Celebrity Donald Trump," the best job he has ever had.



Jul. 28, 2015

Commentary by
Marc Platt

It is apparent that the crazy GOP Presidential race has taken most of the focus away from the peeps in charge of the store right now. The Donald dominates the Internet, TV and all other relevant sources of information.

It is also becoming apparent to me that President Obama, Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must have some sort of arrangement to govern the United States. It is the only thing that makes sense seeing how the congress moves along on a crisis-to-crisis basis right now.

President Obama has actually governed MORE effectively since the GOP took over both the House and the Senate in the last midterm elections.

The Republican caucus has gone mashugana (crazy) with several U.S. GOP Senators running for President in 2016. Those senators continually make moves that cry out for attention to even have a place in the Presidential Debates.

To watch Texas Senator Ted Cruz get on the U.S. Senate floor and call his own majority leader a liar. Cruz has few if any friends in the U.S. Senate. He is beholden to his grassroots organizations who fuel his presidential bid.

Rand Paul uses a chainsaw on the tax code, Lindsay Graham detroys his flip phone after Trump gives out his cell phone number, Rubio calls Obama "Classless." These are men who were sent to Washington D.C. to get stuff done.

The way I see my scenario playing out would have to be an Oval Office meeting between President Obama, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell...

(What WOULD a private conversation look like between the three leaders?)

Here is that possible conversation:

The Prez: "Mitch, John...I have to govern and you guys can't control your people. Go ahead and blast me, make me the devil...I will just do what I have to do to get stuff done...Guys, please try not to screw things up too badly and we can get through this."

Boehner: "I'll do my best Mr. President" (Really thinking 'When Hell Freezes Over')

McConnell: "We'll do our best" (Really Thinking 'I hate this arrogant $%&#@')

The Prez: "Go ahead and make a few more Obamacare repeal votes...That will make your base feel better." (Really Thinking 'I wanna play some golf today')

Boehner & McConnell: (Laughs)

I have no idea if that scenario is how this came down, but I really think it did in some way. The United States government is actually getting stuff done and functioning with all this dysfunctional stuff going on. 

The Iran deal will go through in an equally dysfunctional way with President Obama vetoeing what the Senate and the congress will send back to him after they go through their partisan dealings to vote it down, knowing full well it will be enacted and it is a very important deal for the safety and security of the middle east.

The men and women running for the presidency will do what they do to try and get as much traction. Donald Trump will continue to shake up the entire political system without spending much of his own money in the process.

Ohio John Kasich will make a rapid rise in the GOP hunt for the highest office BECAUSE he really is a serious candidate and maybe the best the Republicans really will have to offer. 

It will be fun to watch, but remember in January 2017, Barack Obama will have to hand the keys to The White House to somebody capable of getting stuff done. That truly is a serious thing that we should all take seriously, right?


Jul. 22, 2015

Dear Mr. Trump:

I've gotta hand it to you. You have (in a great way) made a mockery of the United States presidential electoral process.

Just look how much money Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee have been raising when you can get way more bang for the paltry amount you have been spending to suck out all the oxygen in the room.

I sit back here and laugh at how easily you can manipulate the media and the Republican Primary voters by calling Rick Perry and Lindsay Graham names. By belittling all of the candidates, you have clearly demonstrated that money can't really buy love in American Politics, but a little name calling goes a long way.

You know, just like I know, you will never be President of these United States, but you are making a point that clearly needs to be made. Our process stinks and everyone who buys into this "Citizens United" age, is going down a path that will lead to an open election process that will see the rise of third parties that may have a real impact in future election cycles.

You are George Wallace-by-way-of-Ross Perot all wrapped up in one Reality Show-in-real-time package.

You, Donald Trump are brilliant in a PT Barnum kind of way that paves the way for a Morton Downey Republican free-for-all that our country so craves.

On a day when the most-qualified GOP candidate entered the race (Ohio Governor John Kasich), you gave out Lindsay Graham's cell phone number and completely overshadowed his entry into the race. 

Every day it is a new outrageous remark.

I completely understand Huffington Post limiting your coverage to "Entertainment" coverage next to stories about the Kardashians, but I feel that they are missing the big picture. The entire electoral process is a joke you get.

It has been fun to watch. I will certainly enjoy watching you on the debate stage for a few of these spectacles. I will be sorry to watch you leave the Republican stage, but would certainly enjoy watching you make a third party run and deliver Hillary Clinton the election much like Mr. Perot did in 1992 and 1996.

Donald J. Trump, you have certainly made your point.


A Grateful Nation


Jul. 17, 2015

"Why Jeb Loves The Donald"
By Marc Platt

I purposely waited to write anything about the "Candidacy" of Billionaire/Real Estate/Reality Show Host Donald J. Trump to get an accurate assessment of what it all means. 

It means we are headed for a Clinton-Bush general election in November of 2016. That is something I first wrote about in March, 2013 when I wrote my "Why Jeb Bush Will Not Be The Guy" blog piece. I still believe he will not be the guy, because Hillary will likely be the woman who wins the big prize at the end.

Donald Trump is a "Player" in the GOP mess that this Presidential season has become. The more attention Trump gets, the less everyone else gets. This is killing hopes of candidates like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Huckabee, Cruz, Carson and everyone else who lacks the funds Jeb Bush has been amassing.

The more The Donald calls Jeb "Stupid," the more people focus on Jeb and Donald. Everyone else gets short shrift.

Here is why The Donald WON'T be the guy...His negatives are terrible, which means serious voters would never vote for a guy who acts like a circus clown. I truly believe he has struck a nerve in the "Archie Bunker" wing of the GOP and could continue to thrive in the national polls, but that means nothing to Democrats and Independents who KNOW what has been going on in the country. 

There are millions of people who are HAPPY with Obamacare and many other issues like LGBT, Minimum Wage Increases and the current administration's handling of a dicey foreign threat like ISIS. Those people pretty much keep to themselves and the media rarely promotes what THEIR thinking is on Trump, Bush, Cruz, Clinton, Bernie, etc..

Donald Trump is on to something with his "Nixonian Silent majority" rhetoric, but he has been touting the WRONG "Silent Majority." The real "Silent Majority" swept Obama into office twice and stayed away during both midterm cycles. The real "Silent Majority" works hard and is made up of women, asians, African Americans and other ethnic groups that will come out when it really counts.

Donald Trump is really proving that there are two completely different campaign seasons. This is the "Summer Preview" season when we get to watch the TV Pilot starring Donald Trump. It will be fun to watch him completely embarrass himself and his fellow GOP candidates in some of the debates.

Jeb Bush will likely be the last man standing and then he will get to face the only woman standing.

If I were former-Governor Jeb Bush, I would highly recommend putting South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on the ticket. She is the polar opposite of Sarah Palin. She speaks well and is a real politician who can make those around her believers. She would actually be a stronger presidential candidate than any current ones running.

When Donal Trump drops out, he will have damaged everyone else to the point of no return, even with Jeb Bush and all his money in the mix.