Spare some change?

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spare some change(Sorry for the skipped day. All I will say is that I’d rather have been blogging. Believe me.)

Okay ladies and gents, boys and girls, pets and farm animals, let’s talk change!

Everybody wants change (except when they don’t) and this election is all about change, even if it’s change for change’s sake.

Please remember, eight years ago, everyone wanted change.

It’s the most common refrain after eight years of a particular presidency (and sometimes only four) that people are tired of things “not going their way” and want someone new up top. I mean, Mr. Trump could hardly do worse, right?

Let’s assume for a moment that the President actually makes that big a difference (as opposed to Congress) and take a look at the candidates. And add a little sprinkle of recent history, just for kicks!

Jobs

Donald Trump tells you two things: the current president is a disaster and that he would “be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

Bold words, but he is a man of bold claims. But he’s not just talking empty air, he’s actually created those tens of thousands of jobs he’s repeatedly mentioned.

In fact, estimates of jobs created  (in America) that can be attributed to  Mr. Trump’s decisions range from 34,000 to 67,000 over the course of his operations. That’s serious employment.

Unfortunately, manufacturing jobs, those he decries most that are lost due to free trade, don’t show any creation from Mr. Trump because, well, all his manufactured products are made outside our borders.

Until his campaign for presidency, that is. Now you can get Made in USA hats with the famous slogan on them. That’s the only Trump-related product produced in America.

As for the disaster President, according to most statistical analyses, since he took office in January of 2009, he has created 9.3 million jobs. Not quite the definition of “disaster”.

To be fair, President Obama hasn’t created any manufacturing jobs either. In fact, he’s lost almost 100,000 manufacturing jobs since he’s been in office. No wonder the manufacturing sector is unhappy with him.

Caveat: In 2000, America had 17.3 million manufacturing jobs and when President Obama took office that number was already down to 12.4 million. So, some might say that he’s done a good job stemming losses of 5 million in the 9 years preceding him to only 100,000 during his term.

But wait, I hear you cry, President Obama never created a single one of those jobs, that was the American economy and business owners like Mr. Trump.

Cute, but you can’t really have it both ways. You don’t get to blame the President for every perceived wrong in the economy and the world without also giving him the credit for things that have gone right.

Foreign Policy

The comparison between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton/President Obama would be clearer if Mr. Trump had well-defined plans of action, but we should still be able to see what change could look like.

First, there’s no denying the mess the Middle East has become under the interventionist policies under President Obama and Secretary Clinton. There is no pass on that, even if some of the sanctimonious attitudes sound much better with the benefit of hindsight.

Because of that, there is now work to be done in the Middle East that is required to safeguard our own homeland, if not the world.

From an international perspective, Mr. Trump is adamant that America First means shoring up our borders and “fixing” our own house, not meddling in other nations’ business.

He wants no free trade unless it is absolutely fair to the USA (though he has not defined what that term means). He is not interested in regime change in foreign nations and believes the rest of the world should be able to defend itself.

He has backed away from unilateral support for any country but Israel, basing his future support of our age-old alliances like NATO to be determined by how much each country ponies up.

He doesn’t list an actual plan to defeat ISIS, other than saying he knows more about them than the generals. The only solid piece of foreign policy related to ISIS is his statement that he would destroy the oil fields, which he says are funding their terrorist operations.

Let’s be very clear here, Mr. Trump is a wildly successful businessman, in both real estate and reality television. How any of that qualifies him to successfully prosecute military action against terrorists is befuddling. I wouldn’t call Lebron James to fix my sink, I wouldn’t ask Stephen Hawking to do my taxes, so why would I ask a real estate businessman to “fix” my country?

President Obama has a measured and, frankly, ineffective campaign against ISIS. There are many “victories” but nothing that seems to be getting any closer to defeating them.

Hillary Clinton is more hawkish than either person, with aggressive plans laid out on her website that detail more active involvement by the US military and the inclusion of Muslim fighters who oppose ISIS as much as Americans.

That’s a critical difference, to be sure. There is little likelihood that now, after all his anti-Muslim rhetoric, Mr. Trump is going to get any cooperation from the Muslim world in the fight against global terror. Additionally, his disparaging remarks about NATO and some of its members is also expected to chill relations. Less support means more American money and hardware will be needed to complete Mr. Trump’s vow of defeating ISIS.

Fortunately, he still has his good opinion of and from Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a man every other civilized nation and member of America’s military and government condemn as a threat.

Honesty

This is his big one. The straight-talking, shoot from the hip guy versus the ultimate politician.

Hillary Clinton has been terrible with either speaking the truth or just not speaking at all. As recently as this past weekend, she responded to an interview question about the FBI director’s comments about her email server with a flat-out lie. It’s absolutely her weakest position and certainly a reason over 2/3 of people asked say they don’t trust her.

Amazingly, with such an overwhelming negative albatross hanging around her head, Mr. Trump is not able to ratchet up greater momentum, primarily because he has his own issues with truth.

The problem with shooting from the hip is that it doesn’t leave time to see if you’re aiming at the right target. During the course of his rise to the nomination, Mr. Trump has played his own game of fast and loose with the truth.

Instead of using out-and-out lies, he uses thinly veiled innuendo and slurs. Pick one from the list: John McCain, Ted Cruz’s father and wife, Judge Curiel, Khizr Khan, and, of course, President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

It is not acceptable to make things up simply because you are trying to beat someone in whatever you are doing; even less so when it’s a race to be the leader of the free world.

Mr. Trump has also been the unfortunate possessor of some bad facts, which often times cause him to have to backtrack, explain himself again or use that never tired chestnut, blame the “liberal” media.

There’s actually nothing surprising or particularly damning in Mr. Trump’s actions, it’s standard fare in politics. It’s only noteworthy because of Mr. Trump’s constant assertion that he is different from any other politician. You be the judge.

Summary

There are a lot of reasons to want change and each person’s personal situation will have them lean one way or another. The words “status quo”, meaning everything staying the same, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Donald Trump is a successful businessman with a genius for media engagement. He has driven the campaign for this year’s election in many unnecessary directions, but also many important ones. That is laudable.

It’s also not necessarily a validation of competency to run the most powerful nation in the world in some of the most perilous times ever experienced.

Remember, change can also be for the worse.

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