The primary election process is the greatest cancer on our political landscape. They have become a moral issue, driving politicians to make choices based on survival instead of reasonable policy and personal conviction. Primaries have driven moderate thinking out of the mainstream, and created an environment where compromise is the new four letter word. Primaries are the breeding ground for ideologues who pander relentlessly to the small selection of voters showing up to the preliminary polls. The primary system trades strong candidates for weak ones, swaps reasonability with extremism, and switches compatibility for hostility.
Although both parties are faced with the primary gauntlet, the Republican Party seems to be disproportionately impacted. Over the last two elections Republicans have given up potential control of the Senate, two presidencies, and the potential ousting of Majority Leader Harry Reid due to Tea Party meddling. There have been five different Senate seats that have either flipped or maintained Democrat control due to weaker Republican candidates beating stronger, more electable, Republican candidates in the primaries. For example, in the race for the presidency, both McCain and Romney had to move away from their moderate rhetoric seeking party election, which crippled their electability in the general election. Romney specifically moved from a being a “compromising moderate” to "severely conservative".
The Media National Journal has tracked conservative and liberal members across parties for several decades. In 1982 the Senate had significant overlap in their political leaning. The eleventh most liberal member of the chamber was a Republican, Lowell Weicker. The thirty-first most conservative member of the chamber was a Democrat, Edward Zorinsky. In between these two men fell fifty-eight Democrats and Republicans, each committed to their party and to their constituents. The House of Representatives shared a very similar markup, with over 60% of the members falling between the most conservative Democrat and the most liberal Republican. It was under this environment that President Reagan found significant compromise with Speaker Tip O’Neill passing tax laws and social reform.
Today there is significant polarization in political representation which accentuates gridlock and divides government. Political representatives know that any give and take will be fodder for the next primary, and grounds for unemployment. One idea to cure Washington’s curious dysfunctional behavior is opening up primary elections to independents. We should also consider California’s primary system where the top two vote-getters run against each other in the general election. Whatever the solution, we voters need to line up at the polls in the summer like we do in the fall. We need to elect candidates that will be reasonable and thoughtful government representatives, beholden only to those that elected them, rather than a proscribed ideology.
When Barack Obama was re-elected to the presidency last November, House Speaker John Boehner observed, "the American people have spoken. They have re-elected President Obama. And they have again elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives." Republican House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that the voters, "have simply given [Obama] more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control." President Obama was re-elected with nearly 5 million more votes than Mitt Romney. Democrats deepened their grip on the Senate by capturing two additional seats. Democrats also gained 8 seats in the House, but were far from recapturing it.Read more
I am not a Republican.
I believe in marriage between a man and a woman. I am a gun owner. I am a senior manager in the middle of corporate America. I detested the Occupy Wall Street movement. I believe unions stifle business growth and drive productivity out of the marketplace. My car is powered by a gas guzzling V-8 engine and I do not cringe every time I fill up the tank. I have read Atlas Shrugged. I liked it so much I read it again. I am a staunch and practicing Mormon. I believe in conservative fiscal policy and am very worried about the near $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities this country faces in the next 75 years. I am a big fan of Reagan. I don’t believe CEOs are paid too much money. I am pro-life.
I am still not a Republican.
I have been called many names by my Republican friends and twitter followers. Socialist. Communist. Liar. Ideologue. Big government. I am none of these. The uses of such phrases do not make me upset because it helps identify a more disparaging element; the Republican Party has lost their identity and justify their positions with disingenuous arguments and logical fallacies. That’s not to say that Democrats are innocent in this regard; it’s just the tolerance for differentiated thinking is so far rooted out of the mainstream GOP. Republicans try to use the same type of litmus behavior to identify Democrats, which is challenging given the diversity of the party. Even worse, there are high levels of justification for twisting facts, leveraging blatant dishonesty, and unethical practices with the belief that the end justifies the means.
Let me provide an example. Currently there are several court cases being pushed through the justice branch of government involving ID cards to stop voter fraud. This sounds reasonable on the surface. However, when you dive into the drivers and sponsors of the legislation you realize the extensive partisan backing and maligning of facts. There have only been 2,068 reported cases in which 10 have been found guilty of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. Yes, you read that correctly, 10. Yet the Republican Party has sponsored a dynamic effort to pass voter laws which by all accounts make it tougher for the poor, students, and minorities to vote; all key demographics of the Democratic Party. Faced with questions around the ethics of their actions a typical response includes, “well, these are only the cases we know of…Who knows how many there actually are.” Uh huh, Right.
Let me provide another example. I watched the vast majority of the Republican National Convention this past week. Although I fully intended to hear weak arguments and faulty logic (I expect the same thing next week at the DNC), I was leveled by the blatant disregard for statements that even remotely looked anything factual. It became so bad that even Fox News wrote an article calling Paul Ryan out for his deceptive spin. Mr. Ryan blamed President Obama’s policies for closing an auto factory that was actually closed under Bush. He blamed President Obama for not implementing the same Simpson-Bowles budget recommendations that he led the charge to kill. He called out President Obama for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that were also built into his budget. He also charged President Obama for our credit rating drop which was due to congressional Republicans using the debt limit as a bargaining chip.
This type of dishonest debate has emerged as the center piece of almost all of my interactions with the right. I have a family member that rails on the parasitic nature of the poor, yet their life was extended through the saving grace of Medicare curing 10 years of unchecked cancer at a ridiculous cost to taxpayers. I know of several Republican Congressmen who blasted the pet projects of President Obama’s stimulus package, yet showed up at the ribbon cuttings to take full credit. Almost every Republican I have spoken with derides socialism yet supports the military, the biggest socialist program in the US. These same individuals also drive on public roads, send their children to public schools, visit national parks, and support the police and fire departments. The mind-numbing-repetitive-labeling of any opposing idea as liberal or socialist completely disregards the meanings of the word and enshrines the speaker in a cloud of ignorance.
Republicans attack welfare for the poor but support bailouts for the rich. They sit on the pedestal of pro-life which diminishes once the embryo takes their first breath. They hide behind a shield of fiscal conservatism but have no idea what is driving the federal budget. They also live in Utopian world of problem solving. Yes I agree, cutting off welfare might entice the poor to work, but it will also drive up crime and promote Darwinism consequences. This type of theoretical thinking is why I do not support Ron Paul – I love his ideas – but his concepts are too drastic to be reasonable.
What annoys me most about the Republican rhetoric is the demonizing (not the opposition) of President Obama. The right’s frustration with President Obama has little to do with what he has not done, but more with what he has. In 2008 President Obama campaigned on single payer healthcare reform, student loan reform, housing reform, stimulus spending, and reduction in the annual deficit. He did not follow through on a secret agenda after election but passed the exact legislation campaigned on. Where President Obama fell short had more to his compromising spirit than his polarizing agenda. He passed healthcare reform, but instead of single payer, he contracted private insurance companies similar to Romneycare. He did not cut the deficit in half because he extended the Bush tax cuts, a broken campaign promise. Instead of trillion dollars of stimulus spending he scaled back the package to include $300 billion of tax cuts. Each of these changes favored the right, but you would never know by their posturing.
Now I am sure several Republicans will read my arguments and cry foul; that I am engaging in the exact same stereotyping I am calling out. Fair enough. However, the levels are not even in the same ballpark. The last two years of congressional leadership is an embarrassment to American politics. The House floor has voted 31 times to repeal Obamacare knowing the bill would never leave the chamber. The Senate has filibustered even the most contrite votes including lower court judge appointments. Yet this is an unethical strategic advantage for the Republicans. Republicans hide behind the smaller-government-works-better mantra driven by legislative inefficiencies that they create.
It’s not that I am fundamentally opposed to the ideas shared by Republicans; it’s more that I am opposed to the way they share. Even within party, dissension from core platforms brands the iconic label of RINO (Republican In Name Only) which is the scarlet “A” of the Republican party. Such weeding out of centrist ideas fundamentally shifts the political balance and swings the pendulum too far to the right. This type of political rhetoric will continue to cost the Republicans seats in Congress, much like the last election (NV and DE). Of course any opposition to Republican ideas always results in the same typical hyperbole -- liberal, socialist, or even a liar -- which I never take personally.
Just don’t call me a Republican.
With November right around the corner our country is bracing for a barrage of political attacks, skewed data, and faulty logic. It is our job as citizens to vet these political distortions and hold our politicians accountable. Forwarding emails, trolling on Facebook, or posting links from partisan blogs does little to support positions and creates a wider divide. Taking a “good versus evil” stance is unproductive and should remain clear of our civil debates.
How did we get here?
I am often asked how we arrived to such a polarizing environment dripping with angry partisan rhetoric. My response? Look in the mirror. We have stopped holding our streams of information accountable. We respond to 30 second sound bites. We repeat talking points instead of questioning them. Our media is selling propaganda rather than vetting it. We now view compromise as political weakness, and “flip-flopping” as a sign of indecision instead of solution building.
With that being said, it’s hard to walk away from Newt Giengrich’s “Contract with America” as a contributing driver of a political downward spiral. During the 1980’s, Ronald Reagan did a remarkable job uniting our country through compromise and leadership. Watching 49 states unite in the 1984 election was magical. This Reagan compromising spirit Newt perceived as weakness and drove the creation of the “Contract with America”. Newt sold the public on a political agenda in 1994 leading to a remarkable 54 seat swing and Republican control of the house. Newt then tried to ram legislation through the floor within the first 100 days knowing the Senate would object, creating wide distrust between the parties. Newt’s rhetoric was so polarizing it led to a government shutdown and eventual loss of the Republican House, and the ripples continue to grow.
What can I do to stop the partisanship?
Turn off the tube. If your main source of news comes from a 24 hour news cycle which uses irrational conclusions and skewed data to fill their time void, your reasoning skills are declining. Take a quick gut check – Do you think Fox News is fair and balanced? Do you view CNN or MSNBC as fact based reporting? Answering yes to either of these questions indicates an addiction to a mind numbing drug called repetition.
Use the shock test. If you read an email or watch an ad and become “shocked”, take a step back and do some basic fact checking. It’s amazing what you might learn when challenging a statement you badly want to believe. No, Obama is not a communist. No, Romney does not want to fire half of America. No, illegal immigration is not causing bankruptcy. No, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. No, the NRA does not want anarchy. No, Liberals do not hate America (my favorite). And Yes, Republicans do care about the poor. If what you are reading does not sound right, chances are it’s not. A great piece of advice is to vet all of your email forwards through sites like Snopes, Politifact, or Factcheck which have spent considerable resources documenting data based claims (or lack of). I have little tolerance for friends and family who send me blatantly obvious pieces of political fabrications. I have been known to “reply to all” with the fact checking information (this usually gets me removed from their lists).
Stop being a troll! If you use blanket statements while confronting differences of opinion, you're probably trolling. Trolls talk in emotional charged opinionated responses. Trolls also use labels to degrade differences of opinions. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t automatically make them a (fill in the blank). Terms like RINO, liberal, and conservative are all trolling labels. Instead of calling President Obama a socialist for Obamacare, why not discuss points of the law you disagree with. Since Trolls do not bother with data or use fact based dialogue they are tough to pin down and add little value to conversations.
Ask questions! There will be times when we engage in a heated political discussion. When debating from absolute positions we become more polarizing and miss persuasive opportunities which can flip opposing arguments. Recently I started a conversation with a government employee who hated socialism. After a series of questions about his stated position it was clear the conundrum he was engaged in. The most persuasive individuals help others reach a conclusion through logic and reasoning primarily driven through questioning. Nobody likes to be told why they are wrong.
My final thought is making sure we always respect those we love. Politics is not worth sacrificing friendships for. I have made it a point to move political conversations to mediums that do not interfere with relationships. I have not forwarded a political email in several years, I do not post politics on my Facebook page, and I do not start political conversations (but always happy to engage once started). To some this might seem timid or cowardly, to me its common respect. Election cycles happen every other year, but families are forever.
“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” - E. M. Forster
Throughout the GOP primaries Newt Gingrich has mentioned the name of Reagan 3.2 times per debate. He continues to invoke his name trying to piggyback on his popularity and drive association with The Gipper. The other candidates have not exhausted this approach to the level of the previous Speaker, which is ironic given Mr. Gingrich constantly disagreed with President Reagan’s politics. To Mr. Gingrich I say, you are no Reagan...and for that matter, Reagan was no Reagan.
The conservative movement holds up President Reagan as a beacon of light, an example to all Republicans. The Tea Party themselves use Reagan's name as a synonym for deity. Certain forgotten (or ignored) facts about our 40th president make this name jockeying borderline laughable. Reagan was not a small government Republican, nor would he be a friend to the Tea Party today. Reagan’s mix of compromise on positions and issues changed with experience, and would drive today’s Republican Party crazy. Many have forgotten that Reagan began his political career as a liberal Democrat. His conversion to the conservative movement came upon marrying his second wife, Nancy, and through the presidencies of Eisenhower, Nixon, and influence of Goldwater. Although Reagan campaigned on conservative principles, he did raise taxes both as Governor and President to balance the budget. Adjusted for inflation those tax increases were the largest the country had ever seen.
Reagan’s social platforms would disqualify him from today's Republican Party. Ronald Reagan was borderline religious and there is very little record of him attending church before, during, or after his presidency. Reagan saw the Christian faith as a buffer to communism and used religion as a weapon. One of the first bills Reagan signed as Governor of California was the “Therapeutic Abortion Act” which led to two million abortions in the state. Reagan signed the first “no fault” divorce legislation and is still the only divorced President that has led this nation. Reagan was also vocal in opposing a California initiative that would have banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools. Reagan signed an amnesty bill that provided citizenship to three million illegal immigrants understanding the labor impact to our Nation’s economy. It is difficult to believe that Reagan would be supportive of building walls around our borders, while working to tear down walls in Eastern Europe.
To be fair, Reagan campaigned on values aligning with the conservative movement including smaller government, strong defense, less welfare, lower taxes, and less government in people’s personal lives (Patriot Act would have been DOA). On several of these principles he was true to his core. Unions weakened under Reagan, taxes were lowered, and defense spending flourished. Perhaps the most notable anti-Union action came with the firing of 12,000 governmental air traffic controllers who went on strike, which empowered the private sector to overcome their fear of unions. Many have called Reagan an economic mind, but there is no substantial evidence to back such a claim. His embracing of supply-side economics demonstrates his weakness in this area and the real economic genius of the period was Paul Volcker (today, Mr. Volcker serves on President Obama’s economic policy board, and has been written off by the same conservatives who embraced his policies in the 1980’s). Reagan did understand the conceptual idea of the Laffer Curve which drove Reagan’s desire to lower taxes. Reagan also froze the minimum wage, a move that is supported by free market theory.
Reagan’s popularity was based on the same reason Newt Gingrich loathed the man, his ability to compromise and to respect his political opponents. It is not a secret that President Reagan’s biggest political opponent was Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil. Nor was it a secret that when working hours were over the President would have opposing Democrats over for a beer. One time after a feud President Reagan called O’Neil up for a truce in which the Speaker replied, “Old buddy, that's politics--after 6 o'clock we can be friends; but before 6, its politics.” O’Neil passed Reagan’s tax cuts and Reagan signed O’Neil’s social programs. Although partisanship was starting to build in Washington it was Newt’s frustration with the compromising hand of Reagan that led him to construct “The New Deal”. Newt was no Reagan Republican, opposing President Clinton at every turn, even to the point of shutting down government. The rise of extreme partisanship was beginning and Newt was the architect. Reagan’s reelection was a monstrous landslide in 1984, and his popularity was driven through his ability to unite both parties.
Reagan’s management of the cold war is also a stark difference to how Newt and Republicans think today. At the near conclusion of the Cold War President Reagan met with Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of communist Russia. This infuriated Newt and others from Reagan’s own party. Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to disarm and worked together to remove nuclear arsenal across the globe. Reagan and Gorbachev surprised both of their countries with the agreement and compromise was the pinnacle of Reagan’s success. Given the tone and rhetoric from the right today, it is safe to say Reagan would have been portrayed as weak and an enemy to the United States.
For Newt and other Republicans who use Reagan’s name as a political weapon I would say, stop. Reagan would not be your friend today. The Republican Party would not embrace his compromising spirit, economic and tax policy, and perceived weak positions on social issues. In the 2008 primaries, Obama and Clinton argued about who could come to the middle. Today, the Republican Party members are arguing about who can move furthest to the right. There is little question which of these positions Reagan would support.
(This week marks President Reagan’s 101st birthday).
There is a fundamental problem with being a Democrat. The problem is quite simple, yet complex in an ironic sort of way. The issue is Democrats' inability to discuss positions in short, mind-numbing, explanations. There are two main reasons why Democrats struggle with delivering a clear, concise message:
- Democratic ideas are more complex and difficult to deliver in one line statements.
- Democrats, as a party, are splintered into several groups made up of various demographics.
Democrats have a fundamental problem of controlling the message. There is a saying which sums up debate in politics, “If you are explaining, you’re losing.” Republicans understand this concept and have perfected it in all aspects of conversation. Here are some uniformed Republican responses:
-How would you strengthen the economy? Cut taxes so employers have more money to hire.
-Talk about your stance on government? Inefficient and should be cut.
-How would you improve education? Remove teachers unions and develop charter schools.
Right wing talking points are precise and effective. Republicans believe government is the problem, so obstructionism is an effective part of the strategy, and help reinforce the right’s platform of smaller government. Republicans have a better chance of taking House and Senate seats the lower the approval rating is because “government does not work”.
Democrats have a much different perspective. Government has the ability to solve many of our Nations’ problems, so explaining the role of government in any conversation becomes difficult. For example, Obamacare has critical pieces of legislation that protect consumers and lower costs of prescription drugs. However, discussing a Democrat’s perspective of healthcare legislation takes several minutes as one tries to identify the issues, and then explain the solution.
If there is one fundamental problem President Obama has encountered, it is controlling the message. Today, very few citizens can recite what the stimulus package or President Obama’s education legislation accomplished for this nation. These types of programs cannot be explained in short 45 second sound bites which allow the opposing view to crowd out the rationale. President Bush was the opposite. Most of his policies were highly problematic for the country, but the messaging was so effective it won him reelection in 2004.
The second problem surrounding discussion is the demographics of the Democratic Party. Democrats as a whole have varying views on key social issues and platforms. Ask ten different Democrats a question, and you will potentially hear ten different responses. Some might argue this demonstrates how disorganized the party is. Democrats would argue this is what makes the party great. Politics is not about perfect alignment, it’s about constructive discussion that resolves in a unified solution. The founders of this nation were splintered in discussing the role of government, but they were passionate about compromising which led to a collective decision. Democrats won in 2008 largely because moderates flocked away from the rigorous views of the right and were welcomed with open arms by the left. You could be pro-life and be Democrat (Harry Reid is). You could support corporations and be a Democrat. You could be a fiscal conservative and be a Democrat.
Regardless of these varying degrees of opinions on key Democrat platforms, government has the capacity to solve many of our Nations’ problems. This is the only unformed principle fully supported by all party members.
Democrats need to understand these two principles when sharing their ideas in conversations. Although the immediate and easy response is to leverage anti-Republicans slander in debates, Democrats have the data and vision to be leaders of solutions and change, not part of the cynical problem and robust pessimism. Republicans use short, concise talking points to paint problems black and white in one quick stroke. Democrats should take the lead in fostering debate and discussion, understanding that internal differences place the party in the best position to represent the majority.
(Written responding to a friend asking about the party I support)
The fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats is one: the role that government plays. All the social wedge issues? Just talk.
I believe the government has the ability to solve many of our problems, and I also believe that Democrats over the last 100 years have been more consistent, more fiscally conservative (save FDR), and more in line with principles that I believe.
On the surface the parties do not represent what is core about each group. For example, on the Democrat's side you look at Occupy Wall Street, a sliver of what is representative of Democrats, and paint the whole party in a similar manner. What is interesting about the OWS movement, is the wealthy blue states pay for all the social programs of the red states. Also, of the richest 20 individuals in the US, 12 vote Democrat which is again inconsistent with the OWS sliver.
Let me give you another example to why I side with Democrats over Republicans; the only true conservative in the Republican primaries is Ron Paul. He is small government. He is, by definition, a true conservative. An actual conservative should embrace this guy like their own mother, but they don't. Why? The Republican party has an identity problem. They do not understand the definition of conservatism and wrap themselves in issues like gay marriage and abortion which has as much to do with conservatism as Chuck Norris does to baseball. Republicans vote socially, and instead of wedge issue legislation their leaders grow government, give disproportionate tax decreases which shifts tax burden, and funnel more money into the military and subsidies for industries that fund their elections. Jon Stewart said it best ... "Republicans are for limited government...limited to the stuff they want to do."
Economic policy is another example as to why I side with Democrats. Every single candidate on both sides of the aisle are Keynesian except one (RP). One of the fundamental beliefs of Keynesian is the idea that you can deficit spend (ie use government -- a core Democratic principle) to overcome recession and economic busts. Although Republicans like to pretend they are fiscally conservative, I struggle to find a concrete example of when they demonstrated this principle.
The most popular Republican president in the last 100 years was Reagan. People label Reagan as a true conservative, but he was far from it. He presided over two substantial tax increases because governmental spending was out of control, provided amnesty to three million illegals, had a very liberal foreign policy (which I like), and expanded government spending by 60%. Reagan was respected for the bipartisan deals he made, never went to church, and was very silent about his pro-life stance. Reagan would be crucified by the Tea Party, but today he is shrouded as a true conservative. Why? The Republican party has become the voice of the extreme, forgetting their core beliefs. Compromise is an ugly word and moderates, the same people that gave Reagan an astounding 49 state win in 1984, have switched sides, effectively giving Obama a landslide victory in 2008.
Democrats also have an identity problem but this is due to the wide umbrella the party casts on smaller groups. This is the reason Democrats have 20 million more registered voters than Republicans. I can be a pro-life, anti-gay marriage Democrat and be completely supported by my party. Could you be pro-choice, pro gay-marriage Republican and say the same? Democrats are more accepting of differentiated opinions and positions. There are examples of moderate Democrats, but after the 2010 elections, I struggle to think of any moderate Republicans.
Your question is a good one, and I am answering it because I know its sincere. You look at me and wonder why I support the party I do. I look at you and ask the same question.
Have you ever come across someone who vehemently supports the criminalization of most or all forms of abortion? Chances are that person opposed with equal fervor President Obama's health care reform bill and most, if not all forms of public assistance to those in need. It is also quite likely that that person supported the Iraq War, which we waged on a nation that had never attacked us and was not a significant threat to us. That person probably also whole-heartedly embraces the death penalty the way it is applied today in our criminal justice system. I find it incredibly disturbing when so many conservatives claim that they value the sanctity of life, yet show no concern for the living.Read more
Each election year, the Church predictably issues statements affirming its political neutrality, which I find both refreshing and reassuring amid all of the mingling of scripture with the philosophies of men that we see in many churches. A few decades ago, during a presidential election season, President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency stated the following at a BYU commencement address:
You young people are leaving your university at the time in which our nation is engaged in an abrasive and increasingly strident process of electing a president. I wonder if you would permit me, one who has managed to survive a number of these events, to pass on to you a few words of counsel.
First I would like you to be reassured that the leaders of both major political parties in this land are men of integrity and unquestioned patriotism. Beware of those who feel obliged to prove their own patriotism by calling into question the loyalty of others. Be skeptical of those who attempt to demonstrate their love of country by demeaning its institutions. Know that men of both major political parties who bear the nation’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches are men of unquestioned loyalty and we should stand by and support them, and this refers not only to one party but to all. Strive to develop a maturity of mind and emotion and a depth of spirit which enables you to differ with others on matters of politics without calling into question the integrity of those with whom you differ. Allow within the bounds of your definition of religious orthodoxy variation of political belief. Do not have the temerity to dogmatize on issues where the Lord has seen fit to be silent. (emphasis added)Read more
President Barack Obama visited Osawatomie, Kansas last week to speak about the danger of the growing economic inequality in America and the threat this currently poses to the middle class and our country as a whole. I thought this was the most important speech of his Presidency thus far because it clearly illustrated the monumental challenges we face in dealing with a weak economy, high unemployment, and an eroding middle class. He emphatically connected the success of the middle class with the success of America and described how investments in education, infrastructure, and science and technology along with tax and financial industry reform are critical to our economic recovery. The speech was 55 minutes long, so I highlighted what I thought were his key points:Read more