"Trump is too extreme" the narrative goes. "He's alienating the moderate, unaffiliated voters." That's a valid concern, particularly come re-election season, but it's just possible that a majority of all voters are actually ready for a serious president to take the reins firmly in hand and steer toward something "Great Again." Even if he does so with more than the usual amount of chutzpah.
And it doesn't hurt that the president's political opponents, democrats and the media [see how I didn't call them "enemies?"] are just as extreme as he is, if not more so. And they are vulnerable to the same sort of centrist backlash. IBD:
These polls show something else that should worry Democrats: Their antics are appealing only to their hard-core base, but are turning off political independents. On Trump's travel ban, for example, 54% of independents approve of his executive order, according to the Morning Consult poll. The IBD/TIPP poll found that 55% of independents back his refugee pause.
Among independents, 62% say they're not confident that the media will cover Trump fairly in the IBD/TIPP poll, and fewer than 19% describe the news media as truthful in the Emerson poll.
What's more, 59% of independents - and 57% of those who are ideologically moderate - say Democrats should find ways to work with Trump rather than try to obstruct him, the Morning Consult poll found. The only group that strongly supports the "resist" tactics are liberals.
The referenced line starts around the 7-minute mark, but I found this entire 2012 RNC Convention speech to be quite interesting and foreshadowing of this election just passed. Try the whole eleven minutes and see if you agree.
Imagine that a vandal breaks into your home while you're away. You are alerted to his presence by an intrusion alarm, and the intruder knows it, but it will take you more than two months to get back home. And again, the intruder knows it. Just think of the vindictive damage he could do - for whatever his reasons - before you arrive to secure the situation.
That is the scenario that comes to mind when I read Kim Strassel's expose on President Lame Duck Obama.
But perhaps nothing has more underlined the Obama arrogance than his final flurry of midnight regulations. With each new proposed rule or executive order, Mr. Obama is spitefully mocking the nation that just told him "enough."
The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.
The HuffPo headline reads "Pantsuit Nation Is A Sham." But, well, I'll let the reader decide:
Basically, it seems to me -- unless she gives me any reason to think otherwise, which I doubt she will -- that Libby Chamberlain is interested in making a quick buck off of other people's trauma, hurt, pain, and confusion. She has turned Pantsuit Nation from a space of solidarity into an exploitative business model which replicates the same oppressive structures that supported the election of Donald Trump in the first place. If her intention was always to privatize and monetize PSN and its stories, thereby recreating the same neoliberal systems the group claims to fight against, she is a liar too. It was never stated at its inception that Chamberlain would ever aim to profit off of other people's stories, and the fact that she even wants to says a lot about her character.
The business model, as near as I can understand from the short column, is:
Old joke: Brakes fail on a car coming down a perilous mountain. Car is full of engineers, so each uses his/her ability to save the car: thermo, aero, mechanical... When they arrive safely at the bottom, the software engineer breaks his silence and says "let's roll it back up the hill and try it again with higher air pressure!"
I'm a software guy. And we do get the luxury of changing initial premises and re-running things, hundreds of times if necessary.
Reading scores of "Why Clinton Lost" and "Why Trump Won" articles, I notice an important omission. Had Sec. Clinton listened to me and chosen Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as her VP, they would be measuring curtains and picking cabinet officers today.
Senator Kaine was the worst VP pick at least since Thomas Eagleton. He brings the swing state of Virginia, okay, and might assuage some #berniebros. But he was just one more old, White, oleaginous career politician with whiffs of scandal -- something of a Hillary-Lite. Gov. Pence, conversely, was a great compliment to Trump: serious, equanimous, and well schooled in legislative process. And yet not enough of an insider to undercut the brand.
Now, our Democratic Guv is not totally beloved 'round these parts (even though he provided a thoughtful blurb for my book), but he would have been a great asset to the campaign. Firstly, he would not have performed sooooo incredibly miserably in the debate. They say VP debates don't count, but they might want to reassess after this year.
Secondly, he has a gift for straddling party divides. He's a Geologist by training and careful to preserve the energy sector that is important to his state and its tax base. And yet, he manages without completely aggravating the greens. He could have wowed the progressives with the horrid "achievements" made in the Democrat years, but still provided enough of a moderate face to keep some of the Wisconsin/Pennsylvania/Michigan Democrats in line.
Can't control Director Comey or Putin -- but she could have picked a better VP and won.
Among Hillary's greatest problems wasn't that she was a liar, but that she was so bad at it. When Bill lied, it was like watching a jazz impresario scat. You could pull him off an intern, slap him in the face with a half-frozen flounder, and he could, without missing a beat, plausibly explain that he was just a gentleman trying to help push the young lady over a fence.
But when Hillary lied, which was often, it was like watching a member of the Politburo explain to a hungry mob of peasants that food-production targets exceeded expectations. Hillary never seemed to fully grasp that Bill's lying skills did not become community property when they got married along with his collection of back issues of Juggs and that shoe box full of used pregnancy tests. There was music to Bill's lying while Hillary deceived the way Helen Keller played the piano.
Here's what happened. Do we have racists and sexists in this country? We do. On the other hand, I think what happened is Trump touched a nerve on the part of millions of people that media doesn't often talk about. And that is, you’ve got a middle class for the last 40 years that has been shrinking. You've got people working two or three jobs. You've got a single mom who can't afford $12,000 a year for child care. You've got a worker who's seen his job go to China. You've got a parent who’s wondering how in God's name when I make $40,000 a year am I going to be able to send my kid to college. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - VT)
Hypothetical much? It's crazy to ask, but I suspect that there is a great chance Sen. Sanders would have beaten Donald Trump. Wargaming the states, he would have ruined Trump's audacious flipping of the Democratic Rust-Belt States ("Umm, jk, we like to call ourselves 'Oxidized-Americans'"). If one thing is certain it's that I'm a pointy-headed elite who does not understand the working class Pennsylvania voter. But I cannot see Trump's taking Michigan and Wisconsin and I see Pennsylvania and Iowa in great jeopardy.
Perhaps some of the purple states ("Indigo-Americans, jk") would be turned off. Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado might come out of the blue column. Certainly, I think he's have made it much closer race.
Dodging six bullets is what I call a pretty good game of Russian roulette.
T. J. Brown at FEE points out six bullets the nation dodged by not electing Sec. Clinton.
Anyway, while Trump's impending reign isn’t anything to be ecstatic over, a relief of what America avoided in a Clinton presidency is definitely warranted. So let's take a moment to examine some avoided disasters that likely would've happened had Hillary Clinton won.
Brown captured my sentiments well. I get very nervous when I see stories that China might ban iPhone sales, I am not sure about Steve Bannon's role. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that detractors will not, but Breitbart did not comport itself well through the election cycle.
Yet I must share the overwhelming joy I felt on election night as I felt the momentum going his way. Brown is right for six out of six.
UPDATE II: I meant it; I will give Steve Bannon benefit of doubt. Those who have attacked him are untrustworthy. In that spirit, though, I clicked on a link defending him:
All we have learned from the sewage-storm directed at Bannon is that the Establishment plays dirty and that the formerly Republican #NeverTrumpers aren't just misguided ideologues, but also yellow-bellied, gutter-crawling, backstabbing, bushwacking liars. Hell hath no fury like a self-designated elite scorned. All the existential rage of the defeated and humiliated elite is now focused against the architect of Trump's victory, the media genius who won the battle with less than a fifth of the financial resources at Hillary Clinton's disposal.
Okay then, your local elite signing out! Glad the healing has begun.
The problem is not that Clinton lost this battle. The problem is that no one had any idea that the loss was coming. Or that the loss was possible. Or even where the battle would be fought. Clinton, her team, the vast media apparatus that had grown up around it--all were soaking in the same cesspool of self-deceit. The election has shown them all for what they are: an insular network of operators and opinion-makers charmed by their own cleverness and enthralled with their own moral certitude, more comfortable exchanging clever quips and flattering platitudes than confronting the world outside of their carefully constructed echo-chamber.
I hate to excerpt because I cannot decide where to begin or end, but give this a little taste:
Amid all this walks in a woman who embodies it all, Davos Man in the flesh, avatar of establishment orthodoxy. She is the author of one war, supporter of two others; devoted to the poor of other nations but aloof to the poor of her own; friend of the banks, paid by Wall Street when not in government service, and financed by it when on the campaign trail; undeserving darling of a slavish media, uncrowned queen of a slavish party, beloved by all the institutions Americans have grown to distrust and hate; unable to keep rules she demands of her subordinates, and excused for failings that would crush the careers of the less connected. Onto this stage walks this ghoul, and you expected America to be excited about voting for her.
Polls open in Colorado in less than 15 hours and, perhaps more importantly, close in less than 27 hours. "Our long national nightmare is almost over" someone once said, and it feels like it applies again in this event. It's almost over except for the lawsuits and recounts and more lawsuits.
I predicted last week that Trump will win with over 300 electoral votes. I can't prove it of course, and I'm a partisan, but there's my marker.
For those who are convinced the Colorado is in the bank for Hillary due to the lateness of the Comey letter versus the start of early voting, here is some counter factual.
As of this morning, November 7, 645,020 registered Democrats have voted in Colorado.
In the same report, 652,380 registered Republicans have also submitted their ballots.
This is a net 7,360 advantage for Mr. Trump, if one assumes that D's and R's vote in equal proportion for their party nominee. That is consistent with the IBD national poll, but Colorado voters are, as they say, "weird."
The big wildcard is the unaffiliateds. a whopping half a million, 527,706, have voted early.
In every poll I've seen Trump leads Clinton with the uncommitted crowd.
The news of last Friday's FBI decision, and the coverage of it over the weekend, struck me as the same kind of bombshell real-time news phenomenon as O.J. Simpson fleeing police in a white Ford Bronco. So naturally I wanted to read the Wayne Allen Root article by the same name - Hillary and the White Ford Bronco.
At any minute I expect to hear that every national TV news network is hosting live coverage of a police car chase. It will feature Hillary riding in the back seat of a white Ford Bronco, driven by Huma, headed for the Mexican border, with hundreds of FBI vans and police cars chasing behind. And of course Democrats lining the streets to catch the last glimpse of their former presidential nominee.
Hillary has had quite a series of October surprises. Just one would be enough to drive anyone into doing something strange. But Hillary has already suffered two devastating October surprises.
And rumor has it there’s another on the way.
But the real legacy of the Clintons, Hillary and William Jefferson, is far grander than a mere flouting of federal law regarding classified information.
What this new FBI investigation is not about is taking bribes (disguised as donations) at the Clinton Foundation from countries that fund ISIS. Wikileaks proves Hillary knew that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were funding ISIS, but took their money anyway.
What this investigation is not about is taking $1 million from Qatar to celebrate Bill Clinton’s birthday. What did that country expect in return? What did the Clintons promise?
What this investigation is not about is Hillary taking $12 million from the King of Morocco, who are our own government considers corrupt, while Secretary of State. What did the King expect? What did the Clintons promise?
What this investigation is not about is the crime of treason for running an organized criminal enterprise called the Clinton Foundation built around “pay for play” while Hillary was Secretary of State.
What this investigation is not about is running a charity scam called the Clinton Foundation that rarely pays out anything to charity and uses the billions it receives in "donations" to fund a billionaire’s lifestyle for the Clintons.
What this investigation is not about is funneling almost $700,000 in what looks like bribes (disguised as "donations") through Clinton’s best friend Terry McAuliffe to the Democratic politician wife of the FBI agent overseeing Hillary’s investigation.
It will take a while for wounds to heal. My hero has been awfully loose with principle (though never principal) in this turbulent election cycle. But, if the FBI and James Comey get a "Do-Over," I suppose the spirit of redemption will prevail.
Kudlow pens a home-run column on the reopening of the investigation and Churchill's appendix.
As I pondered this on Friday afternoon, I had a faint recollection of Winston Churchill describing a tough loss in an MP election. Hat tip to Susan Varga, who located this Churchill gem: "In a twinkling of an eye, I found myself without an office, without a seat, without a party, and without an appendix." Churchill had his appendix taken out during that election, which took place in 1922.
So let's see here. Anthony Weiner lost his office and his seat. And while I don't know about his appendix, he did lose his marriage for referring to matters below the waist.
And Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's aide and Weiner's soon to be ex-wife, may well lose her seat and her office, although I couldn't find any information about her appendix, despite a long Google search.
On the other hand, the FBI's bombshell that it is reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server may well cause the Democratic presidential candidate to lose her office, her seat and her party. As to the condition of her appendix, we'll just have to guess, since no one knows the state of her deteriorating health.
Poetry. Hat-tip Blog friend Sugarchuck on Facebook.
Here on "Occupy Democrats" [fourth comment] we believe in giving equal time to both sides. Never Trumper Jonah Goldberg had his say below. As a Never Hillaryer ? I now give you Trump's Gettysburg speech, made yesterday. After a 10-minute intro by America's Governor, once a jk fave, Trump's remarks begin at 10:00. If you click play, however, you will start at what I feel is the meat of the speech where he discusses the raison d'etre of the "establishment," how it uses corruption to cling to power, and his proposal to change Washington and restore economic power to the voters, not the special interests. Enjoy!
I look forward to happier days and feel a little bad just delivering an argument (which includes but is not limited to ad hominem) from the King of the Never Trumpers.
But I cannot disagree with anything said here. We've covered most, but the ~9:40 part contradicts even the anti-Political Correctness and adds to the discussion. He will use it to suit himself, but "he's against being held accountable for political correctness."
This might be the last one of the campaign, but it certainly encapsulates what I believe.
A friend of mine insisted to me the other day that if the NeverTrumpers, women, and Republican friendly independents rallied to Trump he'd be in the lead. That's true. It’s also true that between me and Charles Koch, our combined assets are in excess of $40 billion. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Again, the October Surprises this year all confirm your impressions.
I mean, who would have thought -- except everybody -- that Sec. Clinton is a craven and rapacious political opportunist with no core principles? Gambling? At Rick's?
What does Hillary Clinton really believe? Does she have strong beliefs about anything? A new raft of emails from the Clinton camp give us reason to doubt.
The documents show the Clinton advisors carefully and meticulously messaging the Clinton position on a wide range of issues--on everything from the Keystone pipeline to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). As they emailed back and forth, the advisors carefully weighed the costs and benefits (in terms of votes, campaign contributions and favorable or unfavorable publicity) of nuanced positions.
On a great many issues, Clinton has changed her positon--including gay marriage, the TPPA and the pipeline--over the nine-year period covered by the emails. The Clinton advisors anguish over how to position theses changes without appearing to be "cynically" chasing votes or giving the appearance of "putting a finger to the wind."
But there appears to be no email exchange where anyone discusses what Clinton actually believes about any issue at all.
Hillary brought up "toddlers" a few more times, because little children are mostly adorable and no one wants to see them shot. -- David Harsanyi (all hail)
Pretty good debate last night. I loathe Mr. Trump's positions on immigration and trade, but seriously did consider voting for him in a lesser-of-two-very-evil-evils capacity.
Sec. Clinton's answer on DC v Heller sent me into apoplectic rage. Dick Heller was a licensed Police Officer and, one suspects, potty trained. He carried a firearm in Federal Buildings as part of his employment but was denied private ownership in his sketchy DC neighborhood. His obvious competence and the District's absence of State law made him an ideal plaintiff.
Sec. Clinton's continual musings of toddlers was disingenuous to the extreme -- even by Clinton standards.
We haven't argued about this in a while. Largely, I believe, because Trump's positions were just populist slogans with little in the way of detail behind them. Two co-authors, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, change that with an RCP piece called "The Trump Trade Doctrine: A Path to Growth & Budget Balance." You might have noticed that it doesn't say, "and more American jobs." But that's because the jobs are a consequence, not a protectionist windfall.
Budget-deficit hawks often insist that the only way to balance the Federal budget is to raise taxes or cut spending. The far smarter path to balance the budget is simply to grow our economy faster.
No argument here, right? This is supply-side 101 and, in my mind at least, is a fantastic open to the article. I think I'm gonna like these guys.
You will notice we have not mentioned tariffs. They will be used if necessary against mercantilist cheating, but only in a very precise and defensive way.
Ultimately, our view is that doing nothing about unfair trade practices is the most hazardous course of action - and the results of this hazard are lived out every day by millions of displaced American workers and deteriorating communities. We simply cannot trade on their one-sided terms; they are just too destructive to the U.S. growth process.
I encourage the wonks to read the whole thing, and I expect there are elements you will be critical of (i.e. sell commodities to foreign companies to offset the deficit of buying their value-added goods) but on the whole it does look a lot more like fair trade than no trade.
Well the race is on and here comes Trump in the back stretch...
Anyone who follows election news has the impression that Hillary leads in all the polls, some of them by double-digits, and has a commanding lead in the electoral college count (based on state-by-state polling.) Furthermore, Trump is "an idiot" and "self-destructing" and Republican office holders are "abandoning him in droves."
Investor's Business Daily IBD/TIPP Poll shows that Trump trailed Clinton until they tied in September, and Trump has been pulling ahead ever since.
I found some of the internals rather revealing. Specifically:
In the "Household Description" crosstab Trump and Clinton are roughly tied among Middle and Upper/Upper Middle class households, while Trump has a 5-point lead with Working class households and a whopping 16-point lead with Lower class households.
Trump leads with Parents (14 points) while Hillary leads with Non-Parents (4 points).
Perhaps the most telling of all, however, falls in the "Zeitgeist" category. That is, "Who do you think is most likely to win?"
Overall it's 50% for Clinton, 20% for Trump and 19% for "too close to call."
78% of Democrats predict Hillary wins.
44% of Republicans say it's too close to call.*
And more Independents expect Trump to win than Clinton - 44% vs 29%.
* The Republican totals are suspect, since they also list 82% believe Trump will win. That plus the 44 percent saying it's too close and the 6 percent who expect a President Hillary adds up to 132 percent. If only one of these numbers is in error, my money is on the 82%. Not that many Republicans I know are so sanguine.
I will be kind and share the only paragraph from Jonah's G-File moderately kind to the Republican nominee:
I honestly can't get my head around the fact that Hillary Clinton's closing "argument" in this election is sexual harassment. Bill Clinton's lifelong enabler has managed to turn this topic into a deadly weapon against a Republican nominee. This is like Godzilla turning public safety into a winning issue in the Tokyo mayoral race.
I flirted with a Trump vote out of my sagacious Blog Brother's counsel and an overwhelming desire to see Sec. Clinton denied her ambition. Gollum losing the ring would pale in comparison.
Alas it is not to be. Shikha Dalmia hammers the final coffin nails. She is less than impressed with the argument that Supreme Court picks are a good reason to vote for Trump.
Trump would be FDR on steroids. He savaged Judge Gonzalo Curiel's "Mexican" heritage because the judge didn't dismiss the case against Trump University. If something as low stakes as this can set Trump off, imagine what he'll do if the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to a signature issue of his presidency? A Trump presidency is likely to be a rolling wave of one manufactured constitutional crisis after another.
More importantly, she nails (same metaphor different usage) my institutional concerns:
It is because a Trump presidency will have a transformative effect on the GOP itself. Indeed, by the time he's done, the GOP will have little use for originalism or limited government. Whatever the external threat a Clinton presidency represents to these ideas, the internal threat that Trump poses is far greater.
If Donald Trump could make the case for Donald Trump half as well as Mike Pence makes the case for Donald Trump, the New York businessman would be well on his way to the White House. That's our conclusion from Tuesday's vice presidential debate, in which the Indiana Governor made the sustained case against the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama status quo in Washington that Mr. Trump should have made last week.
My first thought last night was that President Obama and Sec. Clinton obviously had a side bet" "Betcha can't find a creepier running mate that VP Joe Biden!" Pay up, Barack!
I have always liked Pence. He wears his religious on his sleeve too much to be my dream candidate, but he is the real deal -- A Republican right out of central casting. Great demeanor. I thought he killed last night and that his opponent was the squirreliest (with apologies to squirrels), most oleaginous little bastard since Sen. John Edwards.
Does it push me to Trump? Kelleyanne Conway was brilliant telling reporters that "this proves he will hire the best talent." Or does it just increase the ache for a real candidate?
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty questions the Democrats' devotion to attack.
Do you think there are many Americans out there, watching a vice-presidential debate, who haven't heard the criticisms against Trump? Do you think that Trump's supporters are backing him because they think he's polite? Do you think the race is close because Hillary and the Democrats haven’t attacked Trump enough, or do you think it's because not enough Americans think she’ll actually improve their lives in any meaningful ways?
Agreed -- there are serious diminishing returns to personal attacks.
UPDATE II: All Hail!
We found Pence to be more impressive than any candidate who ran for president this year, in either party. The comparison may be unfair: Pence never had to debate Trump, and the multicandidate primary debate format tends to make everyone look small. But we saw a bit of Reagan in Pence, the white hair notwithstanding. With his calm demeanor and soothingly authoritative voice, he came across as serious and mature. -- James Taranto
I suggested in a comment on some blog somewhere that Donald Trump lacked work ethic. I received very responsible pushback: Trump is not some basement dwelling ne'er do well and his campaign has been incredibly active and vigorous.
Undaunted, however, I suggested that he enjoys the rallies and media jousting. He does not enjoy debate prep, or get-out-the-vote minutia, so he doesn't do them. "He likes to play gigs but not practice scales" I tried to say.
But Jim Geraghty reminds us of this admission of weakness from an ally:
Consider George H. Ross, Mr. Trump's real-estate lawyer for 30 years, who describes himself as the businessman's "closest advisor." In Mr. Ross's 2006 how-to manual, "Trump-Style Negotiation: Powerful Strategies and Tactics for Mastering Every Deal," he observes: "To my knowledge, Donald Trump has no negotiating weaknesses except maybe the fact that he doesn't like to discuss minor details. He lacks the patience to work on unimportant paperwork, because he likes to focus on the big picture as a more productive usage of his time."
Mr. Ross admires Mr. Trump, but he thinks this indifference is a fairly lethal weakness. Bad negotiators share an "inability to focus on the details," he explains elsewhere in the book. "Trust me when I say the devil is in the details." Then he adds: "You want to be the expert on the topic under negotiation" (his italics). Mr. Ross even advises readers who wind up across the negotiating table with "someone who thinks like Donald Trump" to offer to bore his subordinate with the minutiae. "This gives you complete control over the documentation process and who will make the day-to-day decisions. You have uncovered the real deal maker for your transaction--and it's not the boss."
Apprentice fans may know Ross as "the bald older gentleman with glasses who sat next to Trump on The Apprentice." I just watched the episodes with Penn Jillette and don't remember much. But I think he has explained Trump's debate performance. And one weakness that I share with Mister Trump.
All those sophisticated advisors are not really getting through. Mary Anastasia O'Grady at the WSJ is -- like me -- pretty concerned about Donald Trump's Nafta demagoguery.
Mr. Trump is so reckless on trade that he makes Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, who wrote the book on Big Labor protectionism, seem sane. At least she acknowledged in the debate the importance of opening new markets abroad. "We are 5% of the world’s population. We have to trade with the other 95%," she said.
Unfortunately neither of the candidates is good on this critical issue but the Republicans advising Mr. Trump should know better. His attempt to slam Nafta by pointing to a 16% value-added tax that Mexican importers pay, for example, is misleading. This tax applies to transactions on both foreign and domestic-made goods, like the New York sales tax. It doesn't discriminate against imports, and the importer recovers it by charging it to the customer. That's Econ 101.
I know, I've said this before. But a key add is the edge in competitiveness from a Nafta supply chain.
Mr. Trump gave a quick nod to one genuine U.S. disadvantage during the debate when he talked about cutting U.S. corporate tax rates to spur investment at home. But his main message was that under Nafta Mexico is "stealing" U.S. jobs.
In fact, an interconnected North American economy has made U.S. manufacturing globally competitive. U.S. companies source components from Mexico and Canada and add value in innovation, design and marketing. The final outputs are among the most high-quality, low-price products in the world.
That, and low-cost fracking energy is makin' America pretty great.
This claim is untrue. Nothing at all in economic theory says that it's abnormal for a country to run trade deficits for over a decade, or even for over a century. Nothing in economic theory implies that years, decades, or even centuries of unbroken annual trade deficits are evidence of 'unfair' trade practices by foreigners or of self-destructive economic policies at home.
If investment opportunities available in the United States this year are especially attractive relative to opportunities elsewhere, the U.S. will run a trade deficit this year as global investors use some of their dollars, not to buy American exports but, instead, to invest in America. If next year the U.S. economy again offers especially attractive investment opportunities, America will run a trade deficit again next year. Ditto for two years from now if the relative attractiveness of American investment opportunities continues for that year. For an innovation-filled economy, such as that of the U.S., in a world in which the size of the capital stock can grow, there is no natural limit to the number of attractive investment opportunities that arise each year. Nor is there a natural limit to the number of consecutive years that a country can, or will, continue to remain a disproportionately attractive destination for investment funds. -- Don Boudreax
ThreeSourcers are well familiar with my reminders that the presidential election is about who is in the candidate's potential administration, more than who sits in the big chair of the Oval Office. And my equally frequent reminders that Trump's economic team is lead by Kudlow, Moore and Laffer.
Today I found another big clue as to who will play roles in other aspects of the Trump Administration, as well as - perish the thought - the Clinton II Administration. This Politico article about the differing approach of the two transition teams reveals that Chris Christie leads the transition team and Forrest Lucas, of Lucas Oil fame, is a leading contender for Interior Secretary in a Trump cabinet. Meanwhile, Hillary's White House would consist of a rogue's gallery of progressive statists, drawing heavily from the Center for American Progress and even a specific ally of "Fauxchahantas" herself.
Almost as interesting as who Trump is considering is who he is not -
Despite the Trump transition's efforts to reach out to key Republicans, some former administration officials are still waiting by the phone.
"There are lot of W people who are looking forward to working in another Republican administration," said Republican strategist Ronald Langston, referring to his former colleagues in the George W. Bush administration, where he worked in the Commerce Department and helped with Bush's much-lauded outgoing transition effort. Langston keeps track of a broad network of former appointees from both Bush presidencies in person and over social media, "and I know they haven't been contacted."
The piece makes no mention of the Gary (another "Aleppo moment") Johnson transition team - for an obvious reason. Equally obvious is that the US federal government will be in the hands of one or the other of these two teams next January.
With Colorado now at "Trump +0.5" in the RCP polling average as of 9/25 (likely, among other state races changed as well) Trump's path is becoming less perilous. A change as simple as flipping Florida puts him in the Oval Office.
Blog brother jk's analysis [fifth comment] may be more accurate than he imagines.
The first 30 minutes were focused and Trump was in great command.
It is difficult to imagine that a lot of "undecideds" tolerated much more, so Mister Trump may have won the debate by winning the first half hour.
Newt Gingrich sez:
Secretary Clinton is also a Yale-educated lawyer. She combines Ivy League polish and arrogance with verbal smoothness and four decades of political speak.
Trump is a blunt, let's-make-a-deal, let's-get-the-building-built, let's-sell-our-product businessman.
The first debate showcased a blunt, plain spoken businessman and a polished professional politician.
Of course the Intellectual Yet Idiot insiders would pick Hillary. They share her passion for words without meaning, analysis without facts, and promises without performance. They are more than for her. They are her.
In fact, it is worth looking at a list of online polls to understand the gap between the elites and the vast majority of Americans. This list is long because I want to show you how willfully out of touch and dishonest the Intellectual Yet Idiot class is:
Time: Trump 55 Clinton 45
Fortune: Trump 53, Clinton 47
N.J.com (New Jersey): Trump 57.5, Clinton 37.78
CNBC: Trump 68, Clinton 32
WCPO Cincinnati: Trump 57, Clinton 37
Variety: Trump 58.12, Clinton 41.88
Slate: Trump 55.18, Clinton 44.82
WKRN Nashville: Trump 64.58, Clinton 35.42
Las Vegas Sun: Trump 82, Clinton 18
Fox5 San Diego: Trump 61.45, Clinton 33.69
San Diego Tribune: Trump 65, Clinton 35
If you go to the Daily Mail, you can see that the list goes on and on.
Clinton won a handful of liberal sites with liberal audiences but she lost virtually everywhere else.
This isn't the only such analysis, including Scott Adams saying that Clinton won the debate while at the same time, Trump won the election.
UPDATE: Add New York Post's respected Michael Goodwin to this list:
In a change election where both candidates have historically high negative ratings, many voters could make their choice for secondary reasons.
Voting against the other candidate is the most likely option, while voting against the media as a proxy for voting against the establishment is emerging as another.
In that case, the news media could be more than part of the story. They could be the story.
The other is from former State Senator Shawn Mitchell, one of the best Facebook follows out ther:
Strongest lingering perception of last night is how many blown opportunities, with just a modicum of preparation, Trump, could have blown Hillary off the stage.
"Did you just say you're very concerned about cyber security? And you won't let foreign nations go after our sensitive intelligence? Really? Do you think we all slept through the last year? Have you no shame?"
"Did you really just blame the 2008 crash on free markets and deficits from tax cuts? That's not serious. The 08 crash was financial, driven by bad government policy pressuring banks to make bad loans that people couldn't repay. And then government agencies Fanny and Fred bought those loans and bundled them up like dynamite and held them till they blew up. That wasn't free markets. That wasn't Bush's fault. That was your husband's fault for pushing banks to make bad home loans. The crash had nothing to do with deficit spending, or your administration's much bigger deficits would have incinerated America long ago."
"You think the economy's not working? And inequality and lack of opportunity are big problems? Well whose fault is that? Who do you think has been in charge for 8 years? I know your boss has been on the golf course,but did you support his policies or not? Did you give him input about your big ideas to reform the economy? "
And on and on all night. She led with her jaw a dozen times and he was too busy talking about himself and all his properties and what a great, fantastic businessman he is, and how Sean Hannity will vouch for him that he really, really wasn't for the Iraq war. Sean, Sean, wherfore art though?
Among the disturbing -- and I'll confess there's a lot of disturbing on both sides -- things about Mr. Trump is a questionable work ethic. His business success does not necessarily disprove this.
A political revolution is an inspiring, yet disorienting, thing to live through. It is a powerful force that creates all sort of unpredictable events, like a former Republican POTUS planning to vote for a Democrat successor, rather than the nominee of his own party, or yours truly quoting Piers Morgan:
Hillary Clinton, as she normally does, tried to be all calm and collected.
This is not a war against Islam, she insisted. We can't blame all Muslims for what's happened, she declared.
She's right, it's not and we can't.
But what neither she nor Obama offers the American people is any kind of plan to combat such attacks.
They talk of how awful it all is, but studiously avoid advocating any real action for fear of upsetting or offending people.
The President doesn't even like using the phrase 'Islamic terrorism', which is utterly absurd given that's plainly what it is.
In the face of such apparently weak, insipid, mealy-mouthed and frankly meaningless rhetoric, it's hardly surprising that Trump emerges as a non-PC, no-nonsense voice of reason to many Americans.
His anger is THEIR anger.
I've been down to places like Florida and Texas recently and heard with my own ears many people ranting about the abject failure of their government to tackle ISIS.
In Trump, they see someone at least prepared to say the unsayable, even if it ruffles a few feathers.
Just another reactionary loon, that Piers Morgan. As is anyone who would conclude, or even suggest, that Trump has become "a non-PC, no-nonsense voice of reason to many Americans."
Here again we see the difference between the US and France. Through our history, for the most part, the American elite has been willing to accede to reasonable demands, if only to stave off revolution. In other words, the system can work.
Jackson ran for president again in 1828; it was the "revolt of the rustics" - a peaceful revolt. The campaign was bitter: It's fair to say that the Eastern elite of that era were as horrified by Jackson as the Eastern elite of our time are horrified by Trump. Indeed, hard as it might be to believe, the elite were more appalled by the insurgent Jackson back then; in the widely circulated coffin handbills, he was accused of everything from adultery to mass murder to cannibalism.
Yet despite all this establishment vitriol, Jackson won in a landslide, and the first political era of America, a time of aristocratic leadership, was ended. Indeed, in many ways, our modern political system - that is, two-party politics, with the winner needing the mass-mobilization of the electorate to win - originates from 1828.
And though the first aristocratic era of America came to an end, a second aristocratic era - that is, two-party politics - ultimately rose to replace it. Now, Trump has executed an unlikely hostile takeover of one of the two parties, and the aristocrats are nervous.
In yesterday's 'Les Deplorables' post the "soundtrack" I linked was one I chose. I hadn't read far enough into the article (the second sentence, as it turned out) to learn that it was the same song the Trump campaign selected.
He took the stage, introduced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the 'Les Mis' anthem 'Do You Hear the People Sing' blasted through loudspeakers.
The article includes a brief video of the introduction, but it only captures the end of the intro and the beginning of the speech. I am so moved by the synergy of the spectacle I am left only to attempt a recreation of it myself.
This moment is reminiscent of Barack Obama's "Hope" poster, created by a supporter and then going viral. The 'Les Deplorables' imagery was created by pro-Trump blogger Keln, whose blog post on its creation and adoption features a commenter writing, "You are a genius......the trump movement has its logo."
And here is a nice version created around the video game 'Assassin's Creed.'
Some see the rebellion being against "the rich." It wasn't. It was against the aristocrats. More specifically, the monarchists.
The June Rebellion or the Paris Uprising of 1832 (French: Insurrection républicaine ŕ Paris en juin 1832), was an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans on 5 and 6 June 1832.
Long live liberty.
Long live republicanism.
Long live the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.
And like Trump and his "Deplorables" the June Rebellion was largely a movement of the working class:
Subsequent identification of rebels revealed that most (66%) were working-class, a high proportion being construction workers. Most others (34%) were shopkeepers or clerks.
I hope you all are on the MoveOn.org mailing list. But just in case:
Dear MoveOn member,
Five weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was up by 8 points. Now, the race is tied, according to today's The New York Times.
And if that's not enough to worry you, consider that during this time period, Clinton has been outspending Trump on TV ads by a margin of 10-to-1.
This election is going down to the wire, folks. And like all close elections, it will be decided on the ground by volunteers going door to door getting out the vote.
My friends at MoveOn were a crucial part of President Obamas legendary get-out-the-vote successes in 2008 and 2012. And they're hiring 100 organizers to mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers to do it again to beat Trump in 2016. Will you chip in $2.70 now?
It is a curious discontinuity that the Republican nominee whom party loyalists deride as "not a conservative" or "without guiding principles" is, at the same time, portrayed by the domininat media as an agent of the "alt-right" and as extreme an ideologue as has been seen in presidential politics in our lifetimes. All while the Democratic nominee campaigns on more and bigger leftist government programs than were proposed or delivered by the two-term predecessor from her own party. Which of them then is really the "extremist" and which the centrist or "mainstream" candidate? Conrad Black concludes:
Both nominees did the necessary to keep their parties out of their own end zones, but to capture the center that always decides American elections, Mr. Trump has only to modulate the polemics, not really change course. Mr. Clinton has to walk backwards on her hands toward the center while dragging a cartload of ethical and legal baggage and ardently praying for a Trump relapse into reactionary gaucheries -- exacting acrobatics, even for a lady in a neon pantsuit.
Black then proceeds to paint the Clinton campaign as Humpty Dumpty, which all the left's horses and men can't put back together again.
Mr. Trump has no further need of the tactics the Democrats assumed would drive the moderate majority into their arms.
There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton yet realizes that she can't rely on her opponent to discharge a verbal blunderbuss into his own cloven feet. Her vast train of bearers and beaters and cheerleaders and silent helpers, Bushies, Cruzites, the Sanders Left, the Hollywood claque, the largely leprous press corps, President Obama (in one of the most hilariously cynical professions of affectionate continuity in American political history) - all have only eight weeks to escape oblivion. It certainly could happen, but it is not now likely.
Not me though. I know better. There's no such thing as someone who calls himself Republican, works as a campaign professional on behalf of Republican candidates, but who actually prefers when Democrats are elected if the Republican alternative doesn't have truly Democratic tendencies at heart.
"I've heard a lot of conservatives voicing frustration, like, 'How fucking hard is this, Hillary?'" said Ben Howe, a conservative ad-maker and an outspoken Trump detractor. "That's the only reason I'm panicked these days … I'm losing faith in Hillary's ability to win this easy-ass election."
Many more quotes along these lines here, mostly unattributed.
But if Mrs. Clinton has pneumonia, her touching that little girl outside daughter Chelsea's apartment building was the act of a sociopath. It reminded us of "The Dead Zone," the 1983 film in which (spoiler alert) an ambitious politician played by Christopher Walken uses a baby as a human shield to deter an assassin. Though Mrs. Clinton was attempting to shield herself only from exposure of the truth that she was sick. -- James Taranto
These are our choices in this presidential election cycle. I have attempted to explain why I think that a Trump presidency is not only better than a Clinton II presidency, but better than any of the other GOP nominees would have been. It has to do with what the Republican party has largely become - self-censoring, self-neutering leftist enablers.
Today, my spirit is buoyed by this explanation of the "interesting times" in which we live. Wherein the geopolitical embodiment of Gulliver must decide whether to accede to the bonds of the world's Lilliputians or, conversely, to stand on his two feet and keep living free. And among the Lilliputians are both Democrats and Republicans.
But for the [Republicans], this priestly grace comes at the direct expense of their worldly interests. Do they honestly believe that the right enterprise zone or charter school policy will arouse 50.01% of our newer voters to finally reveal their "natural conservatism" at the ballot box? It hasn't happened anywhere yet and shows no signs that it ever will. But that doesn't stop the Republican refrain: more, more, more! No matter how many elections they lose, how many districts tip forever blue, how rarely (if ever) their immigrant vote cracks 40%, the answer is always the same. Just like Angela Merkel after yet another rape, shooting, bombing, or machete attack. More, more, more!
This is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.
Yes, Trump is worse than imperfect. So what? We can lament until we choke the lack of a great statesman to address the fundamental issues of our time - or, more importantly, to connect them. Since Pat Buchanan's three failures, occasionally a candidate arose who saw one piece: Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration. Yet, among recent political figures - great statesmen, dangerous demagogues, and mewling gnats alike - only Trump-the-alleged-buffoon not merely saw all three and their essential connectivity, but was able to win on them. The alleged buffoon is thus more prudent - more practically wise - than all of our wise-and-good who so bitterly oppose him. This should embarrass them. That their failures instead embolden them is only further proof of their foolishness and hubris.
Which they self-laud as "consistency" - adherence to "conservative principle," defined by the 1980 campaign and the household gods of reigning conservative think-tanks. A higher consistency in the service of the national interest apparently eludes them.
You know where I stand: The "alleged-buffoon" is the most American candidate any of us saw or heard or read this cycle. Is not national interest - national survival - more important than the vanity of our deeply-held, yet fully unrealized and popularly ignored, "principles?"
Yet we may also reasonably ask: What explains the Pollyanna-ish declinism of so many others? That is, the stance that Things-Are-Really-Bad–But-Not-So-Bad-that-We-Have-to-Consider-Anything-Really-Different! The obvious answer is that they don't really believe the first half of that formulation. If so, like Chicken Little, they should stick a sock in it.
The good professor believes that the Democratic alternative - Hillary and the record of President Obama - is so bad that "almost any Republican could take at least 45 percent of the vote, regardless of the shortcomings of the candidate or campaign." But, he says, Donald may be the "almost."
So is character really fate? Or is there any chance that the outer Trump's business savvy and heralded self-interest might half tame his inner Trump to avoid subterranean mines, to keep him on message, and to relax and ride the wave of the disastrous daily news fare to the White House?
If there is, it will be largely because in summer 2016 enough voters see the current reality of polished lying and corruption in the White House and at the head of the Democratic ticket as more dangerous than the potential of a crude counterpart on the 2017 horizon.
I suppose some may dismiss his perspective since he doesn't even bother to mention that "there are other candidates in the race." Perhaps that's because, for every practical purpose, there aren't.
While Trump's belligerent mercantilism gathers support among voters and elected Republicans, it's easy for committed free traders to find themselves in support of Hillary Clinton. To be sure, Clinton has offered her own condemnations of trade and globalization, but beside Trump's near-total ignorance of the economics and institutions of trade, her stances seem more like typical campaign rhetoric. For fans of free trade and globalization, Clinton is a much more appealing candidate simply by not being horrible.-- -- Bill Watson @ Reason
This is what became obvious, probably fatally so: Mr. Trump is not going to get serious about running for president. He does not have a second act, there are no hidden depths, there will be no "pivot." It is not that he is willful or stubborn, though he may be, it's that he doesn't have the skill set needed now--discretion, carefulness, generosity, judgment. There's a clueless quality about him. It's not that he doesn't get advice; it's that he can't hear advice, can't process it or turn it into action.
"He'll reach out, he'll start to listen. He'll change, soften." No, he won't. Nor will he start to understand that his blunders are a form of shown disrespect for his own supporters. They put themselves on the line for him, many at some cost. What he's giving them in return is a strange, bush-league, pull-it-out-of-your-ear, always-indulge-your-emotions campaign. They deserve better.
And while Mr. Trump was doing this, Mrs. Clinton was again lying about her emails, reminding us there's crazy there, too. She insisted to Chris Wallace that FBI director James Comey endorsed her sincerity and veracity. No he didn't, and everyone knows he didn't. She'd have spent the past week defending her claims if it weren't for Mr. Trump's tireless attempts to kill Mr. Trump.
The last paragraph is a particular frustration. Obamacare is spitting up blood this morning, Sec. Clinton scored a four-pinocchio and a pants on fire rating from left-of-center fact checkers. Yet we are talking about the Khans and crying babies. President George W. Bush was rumoured to say "can't anybody play this game?" when his fellow Republicans were bad at politics. I think that thought daily.
If I really wanted him to win, I would be despondent.
Because without help from others, they can't achieve their goals. Worse yet - they vilify those who can achieve their goals individually, whether it be from superior talent and ambition or merely, different goals. But when one's goal is turning history's greatest republic into a socialist democracy, that's a goal for an "us" rather than a "me."
Slate's William Saletan has drilled down on this distinction - I vs. we; Trump vs. Clinton - and finds Hillary's "togetherness" more to his liking:
The "we" approach suits Clinton's personality. It reflects what she learned from her mother's childhood - that "no one gets through life alone" - and the philosophy of good works Clinton was taught in church. It echoes the message of her book, It Takes a Village, and her collaborations with Republicans on legislation to promote adoption and health insurance. Clinton wants global progress toward controlling climate change. No leader can do that alone.
The "I" approach, conversely, captures what's wrong with Trump. He's a natural antagonist, picking fights with Sen. John McCain, Gov. John Kasich, Megyn Kelly, and others who don't please him. He uses race, ethnicity, and religion to smear people who get in his way. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Trump ditched investors and contractors to whom he owed money. "Donald Trump has a passion," Kaine observed in his speech to the Democratic convention on Wednesday. "It's himself."
“We” is also the word that socialists use to justify all manner of abuses, principally against earners and producers. It is the way they promote their ideal – equality – at the expense of the American ideal – liberty.
But readers of Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem’ know that nothing happens without the individual. And one individual meets other individuals. They cooperate. They trade. They fall in love. They say “I love you” not “we love the unspecified.” They enter into trade agreements. And when those agreements are no longer beneficial to them, they are free to withdraw from them and enter new ones. Who ever said NAFTA must be immortal?
I agree with Saleton that “The fundamental choice in this election is between Trump’s “I” and Hillary’s “We.” Saletan says “She’s with us.” Trump says, “I am your voice.” He chooses her, and I choose to have a leader speak for me, not tell me what’s best for me. “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
Because he captures what I thought. I did not see a lot of the DNC Convention, but I saw Sec. Clinton's speech. And, pacé Harsanyi, I was shocked how the GOP handed them optimism and patriotism on a silver platter.
The Democrats put on a pretty solid convention, with memorable moments from both big names and average citizens. There were cops, moms, soldiers, and business people praising traditional American institutions like they’re rock-ribbed Republicans. But think about this: At a convention where an old-school socialist was celebrated in nearly every speech, the hard-left ideas of the Progressive Movement were wrapped in Reaganesque rhetorical flourishes and sold as American idealism. Don’t get me wrong, these people can still fearmonger with the best of them on guns, global warming, etc. -- but Trump's austere worldview and pessimism gave Democrats ownership of ideas about exceptionalism, meritocracy, and national optimism..
Barack Obama was a blank slate for most Americans, so his status as the first black nominee and president was inextricably part of his identity. Hillary Clinton is a known quantity. She's Nixon in a pantsuit. She’s been a tedious, grating, cynical, corrupt presence in our lives for nearly three decades.-- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
And a man -- if I may continue teh blog tit-for-tat -- still very much not on the Trump Train.
Who'd've feared that constituency? Mary Anastasia O'Grady suggests Donald Trump.
Beating Nafta like a piñata worked in the Republican primary. But it is likely to hurt Mr. Trump and GOP candidates further down the ticket in the general election. Mexico is, after all, the U.S.’s third-largest trading partner and second-largest export market.
Mr. Trump's trade tirades undermine his credibility with voters who know better. And that's a lot of voters. Americans from every walk of life are beneficiaries of U.S. global trade.
Indiana, the home of GOP vice-presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence, exported some $4.8 billion of goods to Mexico in 2015, making it the state's second-largest export market. That included $1.5 billion in transportation equipment, $1.4 billion in machinery and $88 million in corn-fructose products. More than 120,000 Hoosier jobs depend on trade with Mexico.
I find his comments on China just as disturbing. But there is some ambiguity about China. They are lax with intellectual property and autocratic -- a reasonable person might ask if they are perhaps currency manipulators or perhaps wish to extend the DH to the National League.
I disagree but that is at least getting into the arcane. "Fair trade!' "Level playing field!' "Guys with funky hair dating really hot chicks!" they say, and who can argue? But Nafta gives up the game. Nafta has been a gift to the world and it is demagoguery to suggest otherwise.
I'm so perplexed by my relative willingness to rally on the "Trump Train" and so many of my friends and relatives unwillingness, I went back to the Political Coordinates Test for possible clues.
I don't know where Donald Trump would fall on the Political Coordinates graph but I would expect it to be "right-liberal." Not as right, and perhaps more liberal, than the ThreeSourcers in that quadrant, but this is admittedly a guess. Interestingly, Trump is positioning as the "law and order candidate." That is a strongly communitarian sentiment, but I doubt that is what turns off jk or dagny, or cements his appeal to jg's dad. It does appeal to moi, jg, however, despite my scoring as a "liberal" and not a communitarian.
I'll not overreach here and attempt too many conclusions. I just thought this line of examination might help explain some things. But I need some help getting there.
UPDATE (jk): I thought I'd try taking the test as I understand Donald Trump's positions.(It might be expanded into some original reporting with snippets of speeches or policy positions to back it up.) But the first question made me laugh so hard, I'm not certain I can continue:
Democrat pollster Doug Schoen on Trump's nomination speech:
I don't believe that the pundits necessarily will give this speech high marks and in my own terms, Trump did not do anything that he has not done before on the campaign trail. But what he did do is present a vision of America, a path forward, and a vision of leadership that is very, very different than what the country has had for the last eight years.
No, not a dark and authoritarian direction. A safe and secure and prosperous one. A different course than the one Hillary and her former boss have steered for nigh on eight years.
But she’s got another challenge, and one that is perhaps larger than what she expected. She needs to address the issues of law and order, safety, and security, as well as terrorism, in the way that Trump presented them given the challenges that we are all facing as Americans.
The other challenge Secretary Clinton will have is to make the case for globalism and for our role in the world.
Trump explicitly and clearly ruled it out.
He said that we need to put America first and put America before our role in the world. This goes against the credo and the values of American culture and foreign policy. But at a time when wages are stagnated, jobs are disappearing, and people are increasingly at risk and facing threats both at home and abroad, it may well be enough to turn an election that was beginning to appear issueless into the most profound, prominent, and I dare say, nation determinative contest in recent memory.
And what is really wrong with putting America's oxygen mask on first, before setting out to rescue the world from its problems?
To be fair, I have frequently chastised Reason magazine for "doth protesting too much" at Republican nominees. I feel liberty would have been better served had Gov. Romney or even Sen. McCain beaten our current president. I don't expect them to get into line, but I've thought them too harsh.
This is a new year, baby. This is a new era. Peter Suderman nails my thoughts:
Trump's entire speech was packed with threats and power grabs, details be damned. It was a speech about how government should be made bigger and stronger and given more authority over every part of American life, and government, in most cases, simply meant Donald Trump himself. It was an argument for unlimited government under a single man, for rule by Trump's whim. He sounded less like he was running for president and more like he was campaigning to be an American despot.
Dark days. Hat-tip to his lovely bride, Megan McArdle on Facebook
I keep asking Trump detractors, "What is so bad about him that you would not do everything in your power to defeat Hillary?" The common theme is his character - rude and crude, sexist, speaks without thinking, etc.
In a column for which I otherwise have no use, Robert J. Samuelson is more specific in his criticism. And in that criticism I am prone to criticize the critic.
Trump's serious deficiencies are of character, not intellect. He is a salesman whose favorite product is himself. His moral code is defined by what works. What works to build his popularity is legitimate, even if it's untrue, tasteless, personally cruel or inconsistent with what he's said before. What doesn't work is useless, even if it involves incontrovertible truths, important policies or common courtesies.
If his moral code really is "defined by what works" then he is a realist. Meaning, he does not seek to evade reality, he embraces it. Samuelson sees this as a fault, but the stated reasons are "even if it's untrue, tasteless, personally cruel or inconsistent with what he's said before." Let's examine these individually:
Untrue - How can something work if it is untrue? I think he means lying to achieve an end (c.f. Hillary Clinton) but epistemologically speaking, "true" equates with "works" so I can only conclude that Samuelson is referring to subjective truth, i.e. partisan opinion.
Tasteless - Another subjective measure. For context I will quote from the beginning of retired General Michael T. Flynn's speech at the Convention last night: "My message is simple - WAKE UP, AMERICA!" Taste is for tea parties, not life and death struggles with mortal enemies, which is where America finds herself today on many fronts.
Personally Cruel - It is true that Carly Fiorina does not possess the same universal beauty as, say, Melania Trump. And highlighting that fact was unnecessarily, and personally, cruel. He has done this a few times, but always retreated - a sign of self-awareness that most detractors don't acknowledge. Nevertheless, 'tis true... Donald Trump has feet of clay.
Inconsistent with what he's said before - Which is a character flaw because "everyone knows" that changing one's mind is the kiss of death for a professional politician. (Marco Rubio, call your office.) Donald Trump is not a professional politician, nor an ideologue. He's a patriot. He loves his country. He says and does what he thinks will work to make his country as prosperous, as free, as respected and as safe as it has been at better times in our great nation's history. If something doesn't work the way he expects, only a fool would stick with it.
Then there are Samuelson's critiques of "what doesn't work." Yes, what doesn't work is useless. I agree. If they really were "incontrovertible truths" then they would work so, again, incontrovertible only subjectively, in the opinion of Samuelson and his fellow relativists. Important policies? Important to whom. For what. At what cost. Common courtesies? A replacement term for the now discredited self-censorship of "Political Correctness."
I submit that Trump is not a man of poor character or a populist weathervane. Instead he is an experimentalist. He tests ideas in practice and can afford to lose the investment he makes in ideas that fail. It has worked for him in business, so now he's trying it in politics. And if his approach proves to be a spectacular failure, it will be no greater defeat than that of Messr's McCain and Romney before him. In contrast to those men though, his movement of supporters believe, at least Trump will give every effort and not neuter or censor himself in the contest - in the name of "good taste."
So go ahead, Donny, swear a little. I'm with the lot who have had it up to here with the bullshit we've seen for the last 30 years. And even Samuelson admits, Trump's deficiencies are not of intellect.
My impression of Mr. Kudlow has always been that he is a man of the eastern metropolises - a polite way of calling him erudite, elitist, and dismissive of "cowboy" wisdom. That's not the way his editorial reads to me today.
So when Donald Trump made it clear that this, in fact, "is war," deserving of a declaration of war, he distinguished himself. No one else has done it. Not Congress. Not Obama. Certainly not Clinton.
Jobs Hawk, Prosperity Hawk and Pence Hawk-
In Indiana, which has been hard hit by manufacturing losses, job declines and shrinking wages, Governor Pence combined tax cuts with spending restraint to spur the Hoosier economy. In this important respect he would be an excellent spokesman within the industrial Rust Belt, which includes Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These states have all suffered similarly, but they're states where polling suggests Trump could carry the day in November. Pence helps get him there.
Contributing to GOP unity, Pence is a churchgoing evangelical family man. He believes that "the sanctity of human life is the central axiom of Western civilization." In this respect he will be an important bridge to social conservatives. And he might just soften the opposition of the Never Trump movement.
And finally, if not "Trump Hawk," most definitely Trump-Pence Hawk-
So this was a week where we learned a Trump-Pence ticket will seek to declare and wage war to destroy ISIS. We learned that the GOP ticket is pro-growth, ready for tax cuts and deregulation. And we learned that the ticket will be allied with traditional and social conservatives. With these credentials, Trump-Pence is in position to carry states in November that no Republican has won in decades.
It was also a week where Clinton's polls were like stocks looking for a bottom. Trump-Pence is a winner for the GOP.
SC - The Supreme Court must have Originalist judges
TC - Tax Cuts to near Reagan levels
All well and good, I suppose, as far as it goes. Too bad the man is such a vulgar, bigoted, male-chauvinist, ignorant bully who has, at various times in his pre-political life, taken positions on issues that offend our principles. Guess our country would be better off with career-politician Hillary, who has consistently been a corrupt, statist redistributionist and foreign policy surrender monkey. Because, Principles!
A couple of lads from Alabama, whose mug-shots do little to dispel stereotypes of my Father's birthplace, were -- it seems -- extremely careless with their campfire. And this being Colorado in July:
We must someday open the topic of mens rea. Harvey Silverglate and I are quite concerned that we now commit "Three Felonies a Day" [Review Corner], not only without criminal intent, but without knowledge. Gibson guitars had no criminal intent in importing half-finished fretboards from India, yet they faced the cold steel of the Fish & Game SWAT Team (I wince every time I type that). Because they violated "The Lacy Act."
Stossel and Reason have shown numerous egregious examples. One guy goes to prison for importing lobsters in plastic instead of cardboard. Prison -- for something he had done as a business for may years. The answer is mens rea reform: no jail for some stupid law you had no idea existed.
Yet, there must be exceptions. The two lads from Alabama are in the clink. They face not only my specious ridicule, but severe charges -- especially if life is lost in the blaze. I'm not sure I agree with that. I'd offer them mens non rea leniency.
But they were "Extremely Careless." And even the bad kids in the back know where I am heading. Sec. Clinton was negligent in an area that was her job to understand. I don't know about the Alabama Arson Squad, but her malfeasance included the desire to shield or conceal public information.
Lock up the stupid campers if you must, but not if Sec. Clinton skates.
"There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton," President Obama declared this week. Take that Jefferson! Sit your mansplaining ass down, Ike ! Hillary's here.
There's a reason she wears those smocks that make her look like the United Federation of Planets' ambassador to Rigel 7: She's just light years ahead of the rest of us. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Most distressing is what this episode augurs for another Clinton Administration. Mrs. Clinton deliberately sought to evade the Federal Records Act, recklessly flouted laws on handling classified information, spent a year lying about it, and will now have escaped accountability. This will confirm the Clinton family habit, learned so painfully in the 1990s, that they can get away with anything if they deny it long enough and are protected by a friendly media and political class. -- WSJ Ed Page
Yesterday the Times reported that "Democrats close to Mrs. Clinton say [that if elected] she may decide to retain Ms. Lynch, the nation's first black woman to be attorney general, who took office in April 2015." Some might call that a conflict of interest, but in Clintonworld it's known as "a win-win."
The Clinton malfeasance described in Kim Strassel's column comes in waves. You just start to recover from one, and then in comes another. Most are truly evil. Yet, the difference between tke first President Clinton and the second is that #45 lies when she doesn't have to.
After her moneybags friend was removed from the International Security Advisory Board, where "Mr. Fernando had no background that would have qualified him to sit on the ISAB," she spiked his appointment, then amusingly airbrushed it away:
Meantime, we have yet more evidence of a politicized State Department flacking for Hillary’s misdeeds. It continues to stonewall demands for documents. It issued a statement after the Citizens United emails came out, defending the Fernando appointment on grounds that the ISAB's charter calls for "a balance of backgrounds and points of view"--thereby giving the Clinton campaign cover.
News organizations have also noted that Mr. Fernando is missing from the State Department website listing former ISAB members. So the department has also scrubbed the national record of actual facts. Much as it deliberately cut a portion from the video of an uncomfortable press briefing, or as the administration attempted to censor the transcript of the Orlando shooter's 911 call.
Next week, on 60 Minutes, I'm expecting "ISAB? There's no organization by that name..."
Whereas Trump early on talked up "jobs, jobs, jobs" - with specifics on where they're coming from, from broad tax cuts to unleashing the US energy industry.
And, yes, cutting better trade deals - something that Clinton joins the NeverTrumpers in painting as an unthinkable nightmare.
Sorry, does nobody recall how President Bill Clinton renegotiated a major trade treaty?
Bubba took office in 1993 with NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, already a done deal. But Democratic special interests - unions, the green lobby - didn't like it, so he made more concessions to Mexico and Canada in order get major "labor and environmental side accords" added on.
Trump can similarly open up President Obama's Trans-Pacific trade deal - this time dumping items that Obama inserted to please his favored special interests in order to get a deal that's better for American workers and businesses.
There's no reason Trump can't (eventually) do the same on NAFTA and other standing deals. And none of it risks a trade war.
How much good it'll do, I can't say - I put more faith in the rest of his pro-growth program, particularly the energy policies.
But tens of millions of voters see trade as a huge issue, one where the establishment has ignored their perfectly valid concerns for a generation - when it hasn't smugly dismissed them as ignorant.
Yes, Trump can get harsh when he's talking trade (and other issues). But how else does he show he means it?
Mitt Romney made tough noises on trade with China (and on immigration, too). Nobody believed him, because he was so plainly a guy who would wilt under establishment pressure.
Fine, I wince at some point whenever I watch Trump. But I've been wincing at every Republican nominee since Reagan; every one of them still got my vote.
And if you look at Trump's actual program, he's not even close to being off the GOP reservation - he's just opened the door to Americans who've quite rightly been feeling left out.
Trump is not the intellectual's intellectual, but he is a born leader who can rally a movement to go in approximately the right direction, rather than precisely the wrong way in which his alternative will steer the country.
In our present climate, it is customary for cosmopolitan sorts to accuse anybody who dissents from the European project of being an unreconstructed "nationalist." Insofar as this describes the dissenters' desire to return power to their own parliament and to ensure that their vote matters as much as it should, it is an accurate term. Outside of that, however, it is a slur, and a damnable one at that. George Orwell contended that the difference between patriotism and nationalism was that patriotism involved "devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people," while nationalism "is inseparable from the desire for power." By this definition at least, Britain's decision to extricate itself from the EU was patriotic, not nationalistic. Indeed, if there is any group within the debate that seeks to impose "a particular way of life . . . on other people," it is the one that wants ever-closer integration into Europe, and, eventually, a federal super-state.
The Christian Right may not be totally down with homos, and Trump may say things that hurt our delicate feelings, but they aren't going to kill us or put us in camps. Only Islam would do that -- the same Islam that, bizarrely, now stands at the top of the left's hierarchy of victimhood.
And the leading spokesperson for that leftist hierarchy, seeking to grab the baton from a gasping President Obama, is Hillary:
Let’s be clear: Islam isn't our enemy. Hateful rhetoric against Muslims isn't just wrong—it plays into terrorists' hands. #GOPdebate
For many weeks during the primary I defended Donald Trump's (choose one: lame-brained, idiotic, myopic, stupid, or maybe just misunderstood, distorted, poorly explained) statements because a) I respected the passion and sincerity of the blue-collar movement that propelled him and b) I believed I could see a respectable (read: rational self-interest) point of view in most everything he said. I have largely been quiet since he achieved presumptive nominee status. "My blog brothers are tired of my excuse-making" thought I.
This morning I read Steven Moore's "The Stupid Party Keeps Getting Stupider." It explains exactly why I believe Republican "thought" leaders - Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush - the crowd we, or at least I, hoped to see defeated and discredited and lose in the primary - which they were, and did - have been backing the bus over their standard bearer at every opportunity. Why? Because, as Moore opens, "The Republican braintrust knows only how to appease the left."
They seemed to be saying: see how racially progressive I am. I just denounced Donald Trump. He's the Republican racist, not me. That's statesmanship for you.
Question: Does anyone believe this strategy will bring a stampede of black and Latino voters into the party? Do they think this will get the media off their back?
All of this is self-defeating on a thousand levels. First, don't these lame-brained Republicans get it that they hang together or they hang separately? Tearing down Trump will mean thousands of political casualties down ticket. Democrats do get this.
Second, since when do we judge our candidates based on the left's warped criteria? Republicans seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome of seeking the affection of their captors.
And this is I think the single biggest reason for the Trump phenomenon. American voters, be they Republicans, Democrats, or unaffiliateds, are sick and tired of watching politicians from both parties slavishly serve the politically correct version of racial ettiquette. Trump talks about race in a way that no other politician does - the same way that most voters talk about it, or at least think about it. Without varnish. Without blinders. Recognizing that it is used as a political tool to disadvantage whites so that others can be "lifted up" but - hasn't anybody noticed - there is no lifting up!
Moore offers a playbook for Republicans to blitz up the middle to the goal line:
Instead, why don't Republicans ever try to seize the offensive on the race card? Want to divide and conquer the left? Take a school choice agenda into the inner city and tell poor minority parents that the GOP is offering their kids better schools? Promise to bring safety, jobs, and development to their neighborhoods. Promise to stop putting young inner city blacks in jail for drug use.
The greatest victims of Barack Obama's littany of economic failures have been blacks and Hispanics. Obama's no racist, but the impact of his policies is. Does it really matter that he means well?"
Apparently it does, if your name is Romney, McConnell or Paul.
You're going to want snacks for this. Ten minutes and change of a roomful of lefty MSNBC pundits (Chuck Todd has the token right-wing position as nearly as i can tell...) in absolute sorrow that they cannot find a grain of probity on the beach of Clinton statements.
But a new report by State's inspector general makes clear that within two years, Clinton's bad decision had turned into something far worse: a threat to national security, one that she repeatedly ignored despite multiple warnings.
Warning No. 1: The report, released last week, reveals that in January 2011, hackers were attacking her private server. Twice, the Hillary and Bill Clinton staffer responsible for maintaining the server had to shut it off to protect data held by America's top diplomat and the former president. The staffer notified State Department officials of the attempted hack, and Clinton’s top aides there emailed each other to say that "sensitive" matters should not be discussed with Clinton over email.
I heard this defense elsewhere: "they turned it off." So no data breach happened. Yeah, I'm sure they recognized the problem and shut down the server before anything bad happened. The IT guy's nickname is "Nanosecond-Ned" for his aplomb with a power switch. Harrumph.
"If political candidates were beer brands" I wrote when Donald still had primary opponents, Donald Trump would be Budweiser.
Unsurprisingly, I'm not the only one who thinks those two brash personalities are a match made in marketing heaven.
From May 23 through the presidential election, Budweiser beer will bear a different name. Eager to do its bit to make America great again, the brewer will replace the name "Budweiser" with "America" on its twelve-ounce bottles and cans.
George Will is quick to note the irony-
Nothing says "It's morning in an America that is back and standing tall" quite like beer cans festooned with Americana by Anheuser-Busch InBev, a firm based in Leuven, Belgium, and run by a Brazilian. The beer brands most familiar to Americans - Budweiser, Miller, Coors - are foreign-owned.
To which I reply, HUZZAH! From Levi's jeans to Air Jordan shoes, the world's consumers have long flocked to American goods. It's only natural that the world's industrialists also flock to ownership of American corporations. (I wonder if the Belgian Donald Trump lectures that Belgian companies should not have large portions of their workforce in exotic overseas lands like U.S.A.?) And it's also fully American, in the truest free-market capitalist, err, trade tested betterment sense of what Americanism really is, that the Busch family would grow the value of a brand and then sell it for an obscene amount of money to whomever in the world valued it the highest.
Will sneers, "Not cheerful" at Bud's brash marketing image. He misses the point. Being an American is about success. There are many words to describe events like the industrial revolution, D-Day, the moon landing and reconstruction of the World Trade Center. "Cheerful" is way down the list.
"America - King of Beers." King of industry. King of you-name-it.
I saw several pretty strong headlines yesterday about the IG report for Sec. Clinton's email server. Even CNN used strong words. Reading through them, I was not at all certain that there was anything "devastating."
The IG--who had better hire a food-taster--also found that Mrs. Clinton neither sought nor received permission for her private communications. The former Secretary also understood the security risks this posed because she was warned several times.
In March 2011 the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security sent Mrs. Clinton a memorandum that warned of a "dramatic increase" in attempts by "cyber actors to compromise the private home e-mail accounts of senior Department officials," with an eye toward "technical surveillance and possible blackmail."
Following that memo, security staff twice briefed Mrs. Clinton's immediate staff on this threat. A June 2011 cable, sent over Mrs. Clinton's name to all diplomatic and consular posts, warned of this new threat to home accounts, as well as the news that Google had reported cyber attacks on the Gmail accounts of U.S. government employees. Mrs. Clinton and her staff ignored her own warnings.
One official suggested State set up a stand-alone computer for Mrs. Clinton in her office to check the Internet and private email. That never happened. A different official suggested she have two mobile devices--one for personal use and one with a "State Department email account" that would "be subject to [Freedom of Information Act] requests." Her team said no.
As for Mrs. Clinton's claim that her private account was secure, the report cites several instances of techies shutting down her server due to hacking concerns. "Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information," says the report. But the IG says it found "no evidence" that Mrs. Clinton or her staff filed such reports.
After that, they stop being so nice.
UPDATE: Right wing nutjobs at the NYTimes pile on: "Voters just don’t trust her."
UPDATE II: (QOTD candidate): "It can charitably be termed scathing, and it leaves no doubt that Team Clinton has lied flagrantly to the public about EmailGate for more than a year." -- John R. Schindler @ Observer
Pick your metaphor: The Iran-Iraq War, the South Park school mascot contest, Hobson's choice, a Cowboys-Patriots game. In a scenario with no good choices, how fair is it to denounce somebody for making a different calculation for what's less bad? -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
I don't know these guys and hope a Eugene Volukh or Ilya Somin (picks two and three in a Kranz Administration) will help me out. But my first glance sees authoritarianism.
The list is notable, Vladeck said, in part because there are no surprises. "I would not have been surprised to see this exact list from almost any of the other Republican candidates," he said. "These people tend to be more into strict interpretation of the Constitution who are more skeptical of unenumerated rights like privacy and who are more likely to side with conservative social movements
At the risk of cherry-picking, the WSJ posts the list, and I looked first for our illustrious Centennial Stater. I feel this is representative:
In 2012, Judge [Allison] Eid wrote the majority opinion ruling that the University of Colorado's policy to ban students from carrying handguns on campus was unlawful. She also wrote a decision last year that said companies in Colorado, which has decriminalized most marijuana use, can fire employees for using marijuana outside of work because the activity still violates federal law.
Now, a bunt can bring home a run, and all my critiques could be leveled against Justice Scalia, peace be ever upon his holy name. Trump is looking for Scalias and not Thomases, he asked Heritage and not Cato for guidance. Got it, but of course Sec. Clinton is beating the gender studies department for a list of Sotomayors.
These are dark days. But my hope for the grand slam has passed.
Blog brothers are advised to attempt Second Amendment arguments to persuade.
I wrote last week about optimism and silver linings and today, reading Charles Blow tell it in the NYT, I'm positively giddy about nominee Trump.
It is hard to know where the hard bottom is beneath this morass of lies and bile. He has changed the very definition of acceptability as well as the expectations of the honor of one's words. He has exalted the art of deceit to a new political normalcy.
This has made him nearly impervious to even the cleverest takedowns, and trust me, many have tried, comparing him to everyone from P. T. Barnum to Hitler.
But none of these comparisons are likely to shift public opinion. Some people will continue to see him, rightly, as an imminent danger to this nation and the world, and others will continue to see him as a salvation from it.
So you see, dear friends, the Republicans have found their Bill Clinton! Read the rest and you'll see what I mean. Blow sounds just like the right-wing pundits did during the Clinton Administration... and beyond, up until today.
Supporting Trump is a Hail Mary pass of a hail-the-demagogue assemblage. Trump's triumph as the presumptive Republican Party nominee is not necessarily a sign of his strategic genius as much as it's a sign of some people's mental, psychological and spiritual deficiencies.
It's hard to use the truth as an instrument of enlightenment on people who prefer to luxuriate in a lie.
Again, he wasn't my choice. But I will support him. Republicans were convinced that an Obama presidency would destroy the republic. He's done great harm, but the world still seems to realize that America is owned and operated by - Americans. The anti-Americanism of our president and his administrative branch notwithstanding. President Trump could certainly do no worse. (But President Clinton 45 could.) Trump wants to "make America great again." He may fail, but it's an admirable goal, especially in contrast to "make the Clintons rich and powerful again."
Since the Indiana primary, I have been squinting my eyes in search of silver linings in the dark cloud of Trump. I think I see faint outlines, and have attempted to sow optimism both on these pages [3rd and 4th comments] and privately.
One of those faint outlines is fairly well drawn out by Washington Times' Charles Hurt. It is not fair to cherry pick but I think his close is most enticing:
Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.
But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.
By Charles Hurt - - Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Unruly voters have elected an opportunistic showman as their presidential nominee. They were aided by infiltrators in the primary who were not even Republicans.
The nominee, Donald Trump, is a reality star billionaire real estate developer who has a history of vacillating political allegiances. He even made campaign donations to the most evil countess of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, who is designed to be her party’s nominee against Mr. Trump.
Into the breach steps Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, the highest elected Republican in the land. He declares he is not ready — in good conscience — to support his own party’s nominee for president because Mr. Trump has not demonstrated he is a good and principled conservative.
And, once again, the Washington political punditry begins another wildly premature funeral dirge for Mr. Trump’s campaign, the Republican Party’s hold on power in Washington.
Meanwhile, loyal and thoughtful conservative voters who do not care for Mr. Trump’s bombast and harbor justifiable concerns about his devotion to Republican “principles” are despondent.
There goes the White House, they say, the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court. And, with socialist Democrats running amok, there goes the republic and the world’s greatest beacon of hope and freedom.
Or, perhaps we are seeing something entirely different. Maybe this is a rekindling of the finest dreams envisioned by our founders.
In a time of great economic distress with high unemployment and a sluggish economy, a non-ideological businessman is pitted for the presidency against an insufferable and strictly partisan hack who has been an integral cog in the broken political system for three decades.
The businessman will win. And the party hag will be sent off to a long-needed retirement of bitterness and scorn.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans will keep the House and — if they don’t screw it up — keep the Senate.
Yet, with the Supreme Court in the balance, these Republicans in Congress will maintain a skeptical eye down Pennsylvania Avenue at their new leader. They will question his motives and pick apart his proposals.
When his proposals wobble too far from the conservatism they are now vowing to protect, lawmakers can reign him in. If he nominates someone to the Supreme Court who is not worthy to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, they can reject the nominee.
And the voters will reward them for it! The democratic republic our founders envisioned will be restored!
For too long, both parties have fallen into the deep rut of partisan blindness. On both sides of the aisle, party politics comes before American interests at every turn.
Story Continues →
Continued from page 1
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have unilaterally surrendered vast amounts of power to the presidency. Congress — the first branch of government closest to the will of the people — as been neutered.
Former President George W. Bush had his Republicans in Congress and President Obama has his Democrats. As a result, Americans have been saddled with a vast expansion of the federal government into every aspect of our personal lives. The debt burden is, literally, unfathomable.
Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.
But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.
If anything, the hypocritical boycotting of Trump by the Ryans, Bushes, and Roves enhances Trump's crossover appeal with independents and working-class Dems. The more that he is hated down at the GOP yacht club, the more he appears as a regular guy in the eyes of voters. Meanwhile, the Tea Party Republicans interpret the boycotting as a sign that Trump is too politically incorrect for the effete GOP elite and cleave to him even more tightly.
In the end, such resistance may prove a political boon to Trump and complicate Hillary's customary anti-Republican demagoguery.
Donald Trump's plan to get tough with China, Japan and Mexico could cost the average U.S. household more than $6,000 a year if carried to its logical extreme, with the burden falling hardest on households with the lowest income, according to a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research group.
"We find that a Trump tariff proposal against all countries would cost U.S. consumers $459 billion annually and $2.29 trillion over five years," David Tuerck and Paul Bachman, a pair of economists at Suffolk University in Boston, write in the report. "Our analysis finds that the Trump tariffs would manifest themselves as a 30.5 percent increase in the price of competing domestic producer goods and therefore, as a cut in real wages."
I must confess to joining Jonah Goldberg in pride at National Review's staunch refusal to pull a Jindal and support Trump. Jim Geraghty [subscribe]:
Sure, a Trump victory would leave Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the entire Democratic party in utter despair -- and if you're a conservative, that thought probably makes you smile!
The problem is that I don't want a less leftist version of Obama's executive-order-prone, Congress-ignoring, government-expanding, tax-hiking, IRS-abusing presidency. I want limited government, smaller and less expensive government, more individual liberty, and a strict adherence to the limits on government power enshrined in the Constitution. I want Rick Perry's vision of a Washington D.C. that is less and less relevant to the lives of average Americans. Ultimately, I want politics to reverse the intense entanglement with pop culture that started with MTV's "Rock the Vote" in 1992 and go back to being the land of the nerds and policy wonks -- leaving governing to the people who actually care about the issues at hand. Make Politics Boring Again!
When asked to explain that how businesses could get a tax increase and reduction, he said that businesses "might have to pay a little bit more than my proposal, not more than they pay now." His campaign didn't respond to a request for further clarification. -- WSJ (News Page)
It's no surprise Donald Trump in his New York victory speech about the "corrupt" Republican Party called Sen. Sanders a fellow "outsider." The two great disrupters are remarkably similar, a kind of Tweedledon and Tweedleburn on trade and a "system" that's "broken" and "failing" their supporters. -- Dan Henniger WSJ Ed Page
Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, not highly regarded by Three Sourcers, made news again last week, albeit under the radar of the "Great Rocky Mountain Delegate Heist for #NeverTrump." What went unmentioned in reports of Darryl Glenn's upset thumping of Tim Neville was that Neville was strongly promoted by Brown's RMGO group. Another Colorado lightning rod, former congressman Tom Tancredo, says the defeat marks the "end of an era" in Colorado politics.
But Brown has chosen to fight against the Convention of States. And in doing so, he has tipped his hand as to where he really stands on our rights. In fighting against the Convention of States Project, a campaign he wages in hysterical emails full of misinformation and straw men arguments, he has raked in millions in donations, especially to NAGR: $12.5 million in 2014 (the most recent information available), and $16.5 million in 2013.
Worse, Brown has threatened to primary any legislator who supports a resolution applying for a Convention for Proposing Amendments. But it is precisely this kind of arrogance, this deal-making, this pressuring in order to advance his own agenda for his organization – in other words, this cronyism – that the voters are overwhelmingly rejecting this cycle. He asked for this with his actions, and he got it.
Those legislators and candidates in Brown's camp would do well to note the toxicity that extended to Neville and how the voters made their distaste for Brown and RMGO plain by rejecting his candidate. If they wish to remain in office, they should consider distancing themselves from him and his insider politics.
Three days ago, Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard, endorsed Ted Cruz for president. Craig gives an issue by issue summary of the many ways Ted Cruz stands alone in this political contest, and all of them boil down to his recognition of individual rights and holding ideas as absolutes. Read it in full here, if you like. He cites many of the quotes I've heard Cruz state over the months of this primary campaign. He also cites several of the times that Cruz has quoted the seminal work of Ayn Rand - 'Atlas Shrugged.' One of these was when I first became a stalwart fan of the first-term Senator from Texas. Namely, in a 2013 Senate floor speech urging the defunding of Obamacare:
Cruz also read the passage in which Dagny Taggart poses the question, "What is morality?" - and receives the answer, "Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price." After pausing to let that sink in, Cruz said:
That's counsel that the United States Senate should listen to. That's counsel that I would encourage every Democratic senator who feels the urge of party loyalty to [listen to] . . . I would encourage my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle: As difficult as it is to cross one's Party leaders, I say, with perhaps a little familiarity of the consequences of so doing, that it's survivable - and that ultimately it is liberating.
Imagine a politician who recognizes the difference between right and wrong, or even acknowledges that the distinction exists. Imagine a politician willing to defend the good at any cost. Imagine the benefit that could abound to all honest and self-respecting people.
Imagine the possibility of a U.S. president speaking from the Oval Office, "I'd like to share a few excerpts from one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand . . ." and encouraging Americans, "go tomorrow, buy Atlas Shrugged, and read it."
That is the implication made by this Denver Post story covering the Republican Women of Weld senate candidates forum in Fort Lupton Wednesday night (attended by dagny and me.) "Peg Littleton says God causes earthquakes, not fracking" blares the sub head.
"I say, 'Drill, baby, drill,' " said Littleton, an El Paso County Commissioner and member of Colorado's homeland security and hazards advisory committee.
Later, she took a step further as she attacked scientific reports showing links between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and earthquakes, suggesting God is the reason they occur.
"There have been earthquakes long before we ever did fracking," she said. "Let's be honest. You know God is kind of in control of those. And not by us drilling down in the ground and doing the fracking."
The implication is clear, and is reflected in comments on the story - that Republicans in general, or at least these seven candidates at the forum, or at least this Sarah Palin wannabe, are anti-science religious nut jobs.
Well what do the "scientific reports" say? That small earthquakes can indeed be induced by high-volume wastewater disposal into wells drilled specifically for that purpose. It is not caused by fracking. So Littleton's claim that the earthquakes are not caused by fracking is accurate.
And who is surprised by that finding? Fracking is done all over the country, and earthquake activity is localized in this area of Oklahoma within 30 kilometers of water disposal wells.
If we were so unfortunate that we had to rely on the Denver Post for all of our information about the world I could only exclaim, God help us.
That's the name given to the political endorsement "game" that is a major part of electoral politics. Aaron Bycoffe at fivethirtyeight blog has a weighting formula that gives ten points to an endorsement by a governor, five from a senator, and one from a lowly congresscritter. Using these point values, Hillary Clinton is swamping Bernie by a score of 489 to 7. No surprise there. The surprise is on the GOP side, where "frontrunner" Trump has less than half the points of Cruz, and a mere 4 points more than John (who's he) Kasich.
(click to enlarge)
In the book "The Party Decides" (2008), the most comprehensive study of the invisible primary, the political scientists Marty Cohen, David Karol, Hans Noel and John Zaller evaluated data on endorsements made in presidential nomination contests between 1980 and 2004 and found that "early endorsements in the invisible primary are the most important cause of candidate success in the state primaries and caucuses."
Another interesting observation - in the GOP half of the chart above, at this point in the campaign, "invisible primary frontrunner" Ted Cruz has almost the same number of points (91) as did Ronald Reagan when he led the endorsements race, late and grudgingly, in the 1980 primary campaign (96.)
Way past quota on "All Hail Tarantos" this week, but he noticed an item I noticed.
On my Facebook feed, it was a triumphant boast: "Gary Johnson Now in Double Digits!" I almost blogged that his amazing 11% seemed a bit short of a majority in the maths systems I was taught. James is a bit more blunt:
This is a shock: Johnson only gets 11% against such weak opposition? He should just drop out.
I had been thinking more than usual about possibly pulling the lever for Governor Johnson and I will not rule it out. But it remains unlikely. Yes, perhaps it sends a message of sorts to the GOP, but The LP is not the answer and I'd hate to provide any encouragement.
Seriously Big-Ellers, this is your golden year -- yet your most promising candidate polls less than a tenth of Trump's and Clinton's combined disapproval ratings. You don't have to be Nate Silver to find some answers in those numbers.
In a very smart piece for The Federalist (someday, we will discuss what gives with that site's mixing clickbait crazy-stupid memes with crazy-smart commentary) Tom Nichols discusses the unthinkable. Sec. Clinton over Donald Trump.
The jewel is replacing "The Buckley Rule" with "The Hamilton Rule."
In other words: Better to lose to a true enemy whose policies you can fight and repudiate, rather than to a false friend whose schemes will drag you down with him. This is a painful choice, but it also embraces realism while protecting the possibility of recovery in the future. The need to live to fight another day is why conservatives should adopt a Hamilton Rule if, God forbid, the choice comes down to Hillary and Trump.
Sad to say, I think I am in. In a Trump-Sanders, I would likely leave it blank and vote down-ticket, but looking at China's jitters, plus the Hamilton Rule I think I would pull the lever for Madame Secretary.
Out whole nation has basically become Louisiana (without the fine food and coffee) and we adopt their battle cry: "Vote for the Crook, It's Important!"
Thirteen hours ago, jk Tweeted "Sanders tops Clinton in a national poll for the first time." Hillary must be having Deja vu. It's 2008 all over again, as the man with a plan overtakes the stalwart Machiavellian who has seen her "turn" come and go more than once already.
Barack Obama's plan was "Hope and Change." What kind of change didn't matter, because it was hopeful - says so right there on the label. Bernie Sanders' plan is more concrete - fairness.
Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it's not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.
Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.
Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers.
Those are not the words of Bernie Sanders, but they do address the perception that our economic system is rigged to benefit the already successful, at the expense of those on the bottom who are trying to get ahead. Many, but not all, will be surprised by who wrote those words, given the scorn heaped upon him by the left. None other than the - evil - Charles G. Koch. Brother of David. Together, the "Koch Brothers" although there are four all together. What does Charles want? Sounds a lot like what our parents used to describe as "the American Dream."
It is results, not intentions, that matter. History has proven that a bigger, more controlling, more complex and costlier federal government leaves the disadvantaged less likely to improve their lives.
When it comes to electing our next president, we should reward those candidates, Democrat or Republican, most committed to the principles of a free society. Those principles start with the right to live your life as you see fit as long as you don't infringe on the ability of others to do the same. They include equality before the law, free speech and free markets and treating people with dignity, respect and tolerance.
It's not just Democrats who are rallying around Bernie's "fairness" message. A February 18 Quinnipiac poll has every Republican except Trump beating Hillary head-to-head, but those very same candidates all losing to Sanders by four to ten points each. One of the Republicans had better start emphasizing this part of his campaign - if any of them has it as part of his campaign - perhaps after the savagery of the GOP primary has concluded, if there is to be a Republican successor to President Obama. Or, Hillary may still manage to gerrymander her way to the nomination and we can endure politics as usual and still have our Republican Supreme Court justice picker - but not the real "hope and change" that America needs and deserves.
"Hey Washington: You shut the hell up. We'll save America."
Are we ready to take Trump seriously yet? We'd better be, because he is being thrust upon us by the Republican electorate. A plurality of that group is so completely and totally fed up with big government cronyism - the "Washington cabal" if you will - that it is willing to throw a grenade into the administrative branch in the form of a walking-talking comb over who "must be telling us the truth because who in his right mind would say those things unless he believed them?"
But that is only half of today's political story. The other half is that a plurality of the group called Democrats feels the same way. Except it is completely and totally fed up with big bank and big government cronyism, and the "inequality" that they are somehow responsible for.
And he may not be able to win a national election, but we are seeing an electorate so starved for an honest and trustworthy politician that they will make allowances for ideologies that they may not have considered before.
The most important result from New Hampshire's "first in the nation" primary election is not the attributes of the two candidates who won, but the attributes of all of the other candidates, who didn't.
Jonah Goldberg suggests that this year is exposing the party apparatuses as "paper tigers." He asked his old boss, Ben Wattenberg, if he was afraid to buck the Democratic Party and heard this post's title: "What Democratic party? The Democratic party is a dozen people with fax machines."
Ben's point was that the image of the Democratic party as some formidable organization with legions of political henchmen and bosses capable of imposing their will on the rank-and-file was a leftover from a bygone era.
I think about my conversations with Ben a lot these days. Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, who isn't even a member of the Democratic party, is the runaway favorite of the party's liberal base. Donald Trump, an ideologically unmoored billionaire who has changed his party registration five times since 1987 and donated substantial sums to Democrats, has been the Republican front-runner since this summer.
I had attributed the decline of party power to campaign finance reform. With party money limited, 527s and SuperPACs become more significant. Goldberg says this is self-inflicted. Smoke filled rooms and patronage schemes were replaced by democracy and suddenly the Party lost control. I think you can dd the two together, and I don't know who sheds too many tears that the Tweeds, Pendergasts, and the like do not pick nominees any more.
But ThreeSourcers know the dangers of too much democracy better than most. This year I am longing for a bunch of cigar-chompers to give me a candidate.
Last week, we had some good-natured persiflage about the geographical spread of leftism eastward from Boulder. Last night's election results are in, and it's over. My home state is lost, and my home state would be required for a realistic chance to spread liberty through the democratic process.
I'll give a brief explanation of these issues for our non Centennial State readers. They truly have national implications in both philosophy and tactics.
The big one was the recall of the "reform board" in Jefferson County. This screengrab captures it completely:
Caption: Union stooges rejoice at another generation of lost children.
Three board members chose to buck the Teachers' Unions and the State's Educational-Financial complex. They increased teachers' pay but instituted merit pay. They challenged the AP History curriculum and even the governing board admitted they were right and instituted changes. They built a new school without debt.
Now these folks are not polished politicians. They made a bucket of enemies in the media, academia, and investment banking community (a new school without bonds? Hey, my kids have to eat Chateaubriand too!). Facing hostile questioning, they made some unforced errors. But these three are exhibit A: proving that citizens can get involved and make a difference. Hahahahahaha! I just slay myself -- no, the Unions got them recalled, almost 2-1.
JeffCo is the "swing" county of our swing state. It has long been said that as JeffCo's suburban moms go, so goes the nation. Well, the nation is going down the tubes. No chance that Colorado will send a GOP senator or any GOP electors in 2016. No chance that the GOP will move toward more liberty positions to attract Mountain Libertarians to capture our ten votes.
Lowell George sang about "weed, whites and wine." The second and more expected loss was about "weed, TABOR, and schools." You have to almost tip your hats at the opposition for this setup.
Colorado's TAxpayer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) is the most magnificent piece of legislation since the Tenth Amendment: government revenues cannot grow faster than population and inflation. If they collect a windfall or seek to outspend, they must ask the voters for approval.
Well, they got a windfall with marijuana tax revenue: a bong-water-firehose of money right into the capitol. TABOR dictates that they have to ask the voters whether they may keep it. So they position it, not as a general rebate, but a rebate to the sellers and tax holiday for users, versus . . . . wait for it . . . more money for schools! Truly South Park worthy, we were asked whether money should go to schools or dope dealers. My side lost.
It's over. Life in a dying empire can be pretty good for a while.
I have listened to what seems like an hour of the Benghazi hearing, and all of y'all who were expecting Sec. Clinton to break down in tears will be sadly disappointed. She is very good in this is forum and her inquisitors are not. The Republicans seem to be overreaching.
I'm the last to say this is not important; it clearly is and there are many questions to be answered. But the politics ain't there. They are throwing the kitchen sink at her and she comes off as measured and professional.
Thanks to our pal, Rep. McCarthy (WTF - CA), the entire thing is badly besmirched. And the Republican questioners are playing to form.
Thus speaks Senator Jeff Sessions (Awake, AL) and Dave Brat (Giant Killer, VA), in a powerful letter published in Roll Call, titled: Memo to GOP: Curb Immigration or Quit
America is about to break every known immigration record. And yet you are unlikely to hear a word about it. This is not immigration reform. This is the dissolution of the nation state, of the principle that a government exists to serve its own people.
This is the tide that started with Kennedy's bill in 1965, and wildly supported by today's progressives (esp. FB and Google billionaires), who never much cared for the idea of a nation state (at least, ours).
According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1945 to 1970 — as the foreign-born population fell — the bottom 90 percent of wage earners saw an 82.5 percent increase in their wages. During this time, millions of prior immigrants were able to climb out of the tenements and into the middle class. ... Congressional Research Service reports that during the 43 years between 1970 and 2013 — when the foreign-born population grew 325 percent — incomes for the bottom 90 percent of earners fell nearly 8 percent.
I have been seeing these stories, but only in the conservative press.
What is missing from this conversation is a sense of moderation, of limits and of compassion for struggling [citizen] families. It is not caring, but callous, to bring in so many workers that there are not enough jobs for them or those already living here. It is not mainstream, but extreme, to continue surging immigration beyond all historical precedent. And it is not rational, but radical, to refuse to recognize limits.
The fundamental choice is to have a generous welfare state OR open borders. The status quo of "compassion" is that there are no limits, cue Sen. Sanders (FUBAR, VT). I'm less leery of the large numbers of non-english speakers and other non-assimilation statistics, and more worried, that the rush for compassion or cheap labor tramples those who built this country:
After nearly half a century of massive immigration it is time to turn our attention to our own residents.
Vice President Joe Biden, who may hop into the race, is 72. Biden has a compelling personal story, but he also is gaffe-prone and must carry the baggage of an administration that has many voters clamoring for change.
I cannot disagree with a word of Jonah Goldberg's G-File today. And while I am rather cheery. Mister G is morose.
We have not, for awhile, talked much about the next President of America if it is not VP Joe Biden, Mister Donald Trump. I stopped talking about him figuring that he would fizzle out. If he did not -- a rare but non-zero possibility -- then I would just give up on electoral politics for all time and hope this great nation remains resilient.
Jonah's ready to say goodbye to The Conservative Movement if it abandons principles in favor of celebrity. So am I but it is not my livelihood. It is to be posted to the website tomorrow, but let's get to some excerpts:
The Bonfire of Principles
If I sound dismayed, it's only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because "Trump fights!"
How many Republicans have been deemed unfit for the Oval Office because of comparatively minor character flaws or ideological shortcomings? Rick Perry in 2012 saw his candidacy implode when he couldn't remember the third item on his checklist of agencies he'd close down. Well, even in that "oops" moment, Rick Perry comes off as Lincolnesque compared with Donald Trump.
This is my problem. I thought we were the party of ideas and principles and Trump has neither. He truly is Bill O'Reilly but O'Reilly has better hair.
I had been looking forward to the primaries and the debates. We as a nation were going to discuss the proper role of government for the first time in 100 years. Govs. Christie and Bush may make their case for compassionate conservatism. Sens. Paul and Cruz can espouse libertarian ideas, Sen. Graham's muscularism, Sen. Santorum and Gov Huckabee's traditional values . . . bring it baby, we are going to argue and decide.
I understand the Noltean compulsion to celebrate anyone who doesn't take crap from the mainstream media. But when Newt Gingrich brilliantly eviscerated the press in 2012, there was a serious ideological worldview behind it. Trump's assaults on the press have only one standard: whether the journalist in question is favorable to Trump or not. If a journalist praises him, that journalist is "terrific." If the journalist is critical of Trump he is a "loser" (or, in my case, a loser who can't buy pants). Not surprisingly, Hugh Hewitt is now "third rate" because he made Trump look bad. I'm no fan of Arianna Huffington or Gail Collins, but calling them "dogs" because they criticized you is not a serious ideological or intellectual retort. (It's not even clever.) I think Trump did insinuate that Megyn Kelly was menstruating during the debate. He denies it. Fine. But what in the world about his past would lead someone to give him the benefit of the doubt? This is the same man who said, "You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass."
I have been concerned that the GOP may soon go so anti-immigration that I will not be able to stick around. It's a winning issue and the Democrats are going all in on the other side (I think Martin O'Malley might recommend sending armed troops down to Mexico to drag unwilling emigrants into Arizona where we'll build a new wall to keep them in).
Likewise the Planned Parenthood videos will inspire the pro Life wing. I'll "Stand with Rand" to defund the horrid publicly funded lobby organization that is Planned Parenthood. But that wing is not dormant (nor should they be -- I understand the timbre of their argument even though I do not subscribe), and success will breed enthusiasm.
I wonder who will join Gov. Christie in promising to shut down Colorado's (blindingly positive) experiment in drug freedom? That will be very popular at the SW Weld County GOP breakfast. They think Amendment 64 is an abomination and I'd surmise the GOP caucus goers in Iowa and primary voters in South Carolina agree.
I'm a pragmatic, half-a-loaf guy. But I can see these three falling against me and my not having a home in the party. If we get that and Trump . . .
Adam Smith reminds:
If a nation could not prosper without the enjoyment of perfect liberty and perfect justice, there is not in the world a nation which could ever have prospered.
I have not seen the emails the inspectors general sent to the FBI, but I have seen the Clinton emails, which are now in the public domain. They show Clinton sending or receiving emails to and from her confidante Sid Blumenthal and one of her State Department colleagues using her husband's foundation's server, and not a secure government server. These emails address the location of French jets approaching Libya, the location of no-fly zones over Libya and the location of Stevens in Libya. It is inconceivable that an American secretary of state failed to protect and secure this information.
But it is not inconceivable that she would lie about it.
She gave a powerful speech at the RR library last week, and she'll be able to dish it out to the Dowager Empress with both her pump-shod shoes (can we have a category for First Pit Bull?).
On my first day in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls. The first will be to my friend Bibi Netanyahu. I will reassure him that the United States will always stand with the State of Israel. My second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. He might not take the call, but he will get the message
She speaks powerfully about "America" but it so-so on the liberty front, IIRC. Discuss?
I hate to risk opening a new front in l'Affaire Trump. But from a pure political-game-theory perspective, I have been bucking conventional wisdom sub rosa -- and am now ready to come out.
I do not accept that a third party run from Trump would guarantee a Democrat victory. In fact, depending on the final tickets, the difference could be minimal-to-perhaps positive. There will be no shortage of disaffected Democrats if Sec. Clinton, Sen. Warren or Sen. Sanders leads the ticket. Perhaps a Sec. Jon Kerry, VP Joe Biden, or Gov. Hickenlooper (dammit, the country needs him!) could hold the Scots-Irish-Straight-White-Guy-Working-class vote. But if they nominate a commie or affirmative action candidate, Trump might look pretty good to that segment.
I don't know if it is backup or not, but Paul Gigot ends the Potomac Watch podcast [mp3] with a good story of then Sen. Al Gore's (No Controlling Authority - TN) misjudging Ross Perot's effect. No guarantee what it would do -- and it certainly depends on the other nominees.
If Hillary Clinton weren't inevitable, one might begin to wonder if she's really going to be the next president. A new Quinnipiac poll finds Mrs. Clinton "in trouble" in three swing states: Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. In each of them, she trails all three of the top candidates for the Republican nomination.
In Colorado, Mrs. Clinton trails Jeb Bush 41% to 36%, Scott Walker 47% to 38% and Marco Rubio 46% to 38%
History is full of failed men who mistook flattery for insight.
Better to play a Cincinnatus who won't relinquish his plow -- or in this case, his line of cologne.
In his announcement speech -- the brevity and discipline of which were impressive only by the standards of Fidel Castro or Joe Biden -- Trump shouted his certainty that Mexico is sending rapists and other criminals to America, but he could only "assume" (sotto voce) that "some" of those Mexicans are good people. -- Jonah Goldberg
Possible sub-head: 'The modern reprise of Don Quixote.'
Since the wee hours of the TEA Party movement I've been pleading for elected representatives to call shenanigans on the Washington "establishment" that fleeces the citizenry while telling us "we're looking out for you." My representative, Congressman Ken Buck (A Republic - CO) is proving to be such a man.
While he angered my fellow liberty and conservative activists by not walking the plank in a futile effort to oust Speaker Boehner (Washington D.C. - OH) he proved his constitutional bona fides by being one of only 34 courageous Republicans to vote NO on the TPA bill, aka "Obamatrade." And now he is fundraising on it.
Bully, Congressman! I'm in. Don't tell dagny but I put my money where my blogging is.
Join me by visiting Ken's donate page. He suggested $25, which sounded fair to a tightwad like me.
From the "courageous Republicans" link above:
"Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today," Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. "Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow's defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude."
The final and best word about l-affaire Caitlyn Jennercomes from -- wait a minute, I thought for a second you said Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) [sic] says Caitlyn Jenner is welcome in the Republican Party.
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" that aired Sunday, the presidential candidate commented on Jenner, formerly Bruce, who recently made her debut after completing a gender transition.
"If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I'm into addition. I haven't walked into her shoes. I don't have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope she has found peace," Graham said.
I know you've seen this, but we cannot let it pass un-ridiculed.
Former Governor Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) announced his intention to seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He then spoke about his priorities as president should he be elected, focusing primarily on his foreign policy goals.
First, the D should be replaced by a '?,' '*' for MS-DOS users, or '%' for SQL. Second, we must pause to appreciate his bold suggestion: "let's join the world and go metric!"
Read about it in his new book "The Audacity of Grams!"
Jim Geraghty [subscribe] suggests no, it is not "the system."
Over at the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof rushes to blame the country as a whole for the Clintons' actions: "The problem is not precisely the Clintons. It's our entire disgraceful money-based political system . . . Most politicians are good people. Then they discover that money is the only fuel that makes the system work and sometimes step into the bog themselves."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Bill and Hillary weren't hitting the $700,000-per-speech-in-Nigeria circuit because they want to self-finance her campaign -- at least, as far as we know. Bill and Hillary don't want that money as "fuel to make the system work." (Jeff Jacoby calculates that the Clintons' average speaking fee is nearly five times what the median U.S. household earns per year.) They want their $30 million per year for themselves -- although we know they don't spend it on private jets, because the Clinton Foundation already pays for all of their travel expenses.
A major change from the America of a generation ago is that people who run official nonprofits like charities expect to be compensated on a scale comparable to corporate CEOs.
If you suggest vastly reducing the financial power of government so that fewer dollars find their best use on K Street -- sign me up for your team. But the hand wringing of the Kristof set is tiresome. They push relentlessly to give government more and more control -- then they decry the "corporate interest in politics!"
This, however, is at least a new twist: not blaming the Clintons because the system is so corrupt. That is rich.
The Democrats who want to win the White House are not, it seems, Ready for Hillary. Not seven years ago, and not today.
Once a self-described "vociferous" Clinton supporter--he went door-to-door in New Hampshire with Bill in '92--he chose Obama in early '07 despite his historical ties with the Clintons. "It's more than charisma; it's more than the ability to emote; it's the ability to speak to 25,000 people and have every one of them feel you're speaking to them. Clinton had it, Bush had it, Obama had it, Reagan had it. Joe Biden has it--he can bring people to tears. She ain't got it."
Reading stories like this makes me feel a bit sorry for her - until I see her picture or hear her laugh. Then I return to my usual perspective.
Back in the day, [Sid] Blumenthal was a respected (read: well-connected and establishment) journalist attached to outlets such as The New Republic, where he got his start. Despite a twee exterior and generally prissy demeanor that made Tony Randall seem like the Brawny Paper Towel pitchman in comparison, Blumenthal's nastiness and willingness to fling shit like a howler monkey in heat earned him the sobriquet "Sid Vicious," because, well, you know there's really not much difference between a New Republic and New Yorker kind of guy and the junk-addicted, homicidal bassist for the Sex Pistols, amirite. -- Nick Gillespie
Honorable mention (same piece):
As The New York Times reports, Blumenthal remained a trusted adviser to Clinton when she was secretary of state, despite not really knowing what the hell he was talking about.
Penn Jillette watches the candidates' announcement videos so you don't have to:
Mike Huckabee: He has the best name. It's abbreviated "Huck" and that brings to mind one of my favorite books and it rhymes with my favorite word. He plays bass, he's pretty funny and he lost a lot of weight -- what's not to like? Everything else. Also not one word about ideas of government.
Senator Sanders brings a wealth of ideas from the 19th century including voting rights for women, a graduated income tax, and free public schools. He also favors the prohibition of alcohol, an end to paper money, and diapers on horses. -- Don Surber
Looks like we'll still have Governor Huckabee to kick around in 2016. Good for blog fodder I s'pose.
But in a battle of wits with The Club for Growth, I cannot help but feel the Gov. has brought a knife to a gun fight.
If, as many suspect him to, Mike Huckabee announces a presidential bid in Hope, Arkansas, on May 5, he'll enter the race with some unique advantages. But he'll also be burdened by a furious rivalry with a conservative activist group likely to have a budget of tens of millions of dollars, a group he's compared to "suicide bombers" and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan.
Democratic and Republican legislators are drafting a measure to create a presidential primary in Colorado, The Denver Post has learned, a significant shift in one of the last dozen or so states that operates on a caucus system.
Most of the legislation's details are still being negotiated, but the tentative plan would put the primary in a prominent spot on the 2016 calendar and make the swing state a top prize in the nominating process.
My chief objection would be if it binds all of Colorado's delegates to vote for the primary winner. I suppose that would be alright if they were only bound on the first ballot but really, at this point, what difference does it make if most of the other states already have primaries instead of caucuses anyway? Our form of government is becoming more democratic, and less republican, and nobody really even notices.
The [Clinton, Wolfram and Hart] foundation and its list of donors have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Republican critics say the foundation makes Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, vulnerable to undue influence. Her campaign team calls these claims "absurd conspiracy theories."
Yessir, my Facebook is filled with absurd conspiracy theories. But none of them to date have caused me to re-file five years' tax returns.
(Reuters) -- Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.
I'd provide another link, but those are the first two paragraphs of the same story. I'm sure we could just look at the server and clear this all up in no time. Oh, wait...
A look at Marco Rubio's platform as a Florida senator shows that he is very active in immigration reform, health reform, education, and government reform. Rubio's [sic] has also claimed to not be against state acceptance of gay marriage and state-funded abortions for women. Rubio does not agree with federal funding of most programs, which may cause hesitation to some. Overall, there are many areas on his platform that could make Marco Rubio a minority vote competitor for Hillary Clinton.
And those priorities also appeal well to young voters, along with unaffiliateds. I can see the general election ads now: "It's your choice, America: Old and busted, or new hotness?"
James Taranto picks up something I had missed. When Sec. Clinton joins her Democratic compatriots in blasting Citizens United v. FEC, there's a hidden gem -- an easter egg in software parlance -- the trial was about financing a movie critical of her!
Now, in a bitter foretaste of life in "a President Hillary Clinton world," Mrs. Clinton is urging an amendment to the Constitution to do away with the right to criticize her.
But Mrs. Clinton did not reply to the letter. And when the State Department answered in March 2013, nearly two months after she left office, it ignored the question and provided no response.
The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials' use of personal email.
"Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?" Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. "If so, please identify the account used."
Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, "Does the agency require employees to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they have turned over any communications involving official business that they have sent or received using nonofficial accounts?"
Sec. Clinton, at $300,000 per speech, makes half the average CEO's annual income in an hour. And the WSJ Ed Page reckons "more than 13,000 times the earnings of the typical worker."
Still, somebody has got to fight for the folks.
Mrs. Clinton said in her Sunday campaign video that the "deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top," and she would know based on her taste for amenities and expenses along with her speaking fees. "She insists on staying in the ‘presidential suite" of luxury hotels that she chooses anywhere in the world, including Las Vegas," the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote last August. "She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation--only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do."
There's one more way she and husband Bill have stacked the deck in their favor. The average worker--if she could even dream of pulling down $200,000 for an hour of work--would pay taxes on this income; Mrs. Clinton often doesn't.
By routing speaking fees through their family’s foundation, the Clintons ensure that the money won't be taxed before it is directed to support foundation travel, meals and promotional events, among other things. The highly compensated political influence peddlers at the top of the untaxed sector of the U.S. economy have found their champion.
"Hillary Clinton, who has embarked on a roughly 1,000 mile road trip after formally announcing her presidential bid on Sunday, was spotted at a Chipotle in Maumee, Ohio [Monday] afternoon," according to a Democratic Party press release prepared by employees of ABC News. -- James Taranto
And the Internet Segue Machine® is bangin' on all eight!
Democracy? Gun Rights? Sec. Clinton for President? Reason is on it.
June 2014: "I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation," Clinton says while promoting her memoir on CNN. "We cannot let a minority of people--and that's what it is, it is a minority of people--hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people." She says she favors "background checks that work" and twice refers erroneously to mass shooters with "automatic" weapons.
We cannot let a few escaped agricultural partners terrorize the effective enforcement of the Runaway Slave Act...
"Nobody stays in the gulch by denying reality, Dagny..." (I did get called "Randian" last week.)
My favorite part of Rand's Objectivism is its stern adherence to Aristotelian realty. John Allison [Review Corner] parleyed that into a successful management career and I find it philosophically endearing.
So I must caution my GOP friends to avoid pretending that the world is how you wish it were and not as it is. Sec. Clinton's announcement video is awesome. It shows what we are up against and poses the questions we must answer.
I see hundreds of comments about how childish this is, and even the serious folks at National Review dismiss it as a flopped announcement.
All the people who hate it are already not going to vote for Sec. Clinton. What it does do is move the conversation to the gauzy diaphanous vagaries at which she excels. Let the Republican try to bring voters down to the wonky weeds -- she's grandma and apple pie. You may not like her, but the Republican will be scary. Sec. Clinton -- in this video -- is not scary.
She "cares about people like you." And that is the poll group that put her old boss over the top in 2012.
Dismiss her at your peril.
* when I was a kid, floccinaucinihilipilification was in the Guinness World Record book as longest English word. Looks like it is down to #8, but it means "to estimate as worthless" or "deem as trivial." At your peril, friends.
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty toes the NR line (toady!), calling the announcement a "belly flop" and "a huge #FAIL." But I don't think we see the bigger picture to differently:
The good news is that she's not going to be a good candidate. The bad news is it's not clear she needs to be one in order to win.
"Some people say" it is sexist to refer to the front running Democratic presidential candidate as "Hillary" despite this being her given and legal name. As I understand it, we are to call her "Mrs. Clinton" though I'm not sure how that is less "sexist." Shouldn't it be "Ms. Rodham?"
Perhaps the best thing is for her to campaign under a pen name? Much the way Joanne Rowling is world renowned as J.K. Rowling, the Democratic presidential aspirant formerly known as Hillary could instead seek to become: President H.D.R.Clinton. Certainly nothing sexist there.
"I'm Ready for H.D.R. Clinton!"
UPDATE (jk here, sorry to crash, but I needed a comment with an image):
Absolutely! You'd never refer to a male candidate by his first name! Oh, wait...
If the House panel investigating Benghazi really wants to get a look at Hillary Clinton's emails, perhaps it should subpoena the Chinese military. Beijing--which may have hacked the private server she used to send official email as Secretary of State--is likely to be more cooperative than are Mrs. Clinton and her stonewall specialists now reprising their roles from the 1990s. -- WSJ Ed Page
Senator John McCain (Brave War Hero but Philosophical mushhead - AZ) id deciding whether to seek re-election. He emails that he is taking the decision seriously and will not run unless he knows he has the tools and support to win.
Just hours remain until the end of the quarter and I need to know you stand with me.
We are still $25,687 short of our fundraising goals. Will you please reaffirm your support by making a generous contribution of $25, $50, or even $100 to help me lay the early groundwork for a successful defense in the quickly approaching primary season?
The WSJ Ed Page has not yet grasped the certainty of Gov. Mark Dayton's (D - Target) being the 2016 Democratic nominee.
Mr. Obama has paved the way for Hillary's coronation. By making her Secretary of State, he gave her foreign-policy credentials.
But his main contribution has been governing to the left and thus helping to wipe out the next generation of Democrats. The historic midterm routs of 2010 and 2014 eliminated the younger politicians in state houses and on Capitol Hill who would typically be drawing national media attention in the seventh year of a Presidency. Nearly all of the big swing states, like Florida and Michigan, have GOP Governors.
The most consequential Democratic Governor, California's Jerry Brown, will be 77 years old in April. He ran for President against Bill Clinton in 1992. The Democratic leaders in Congress are all ancient mariners who have hung onto power even after losing their majorities. There are no 40-something Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill comparable to Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio.
Nobody bit on Gov. Dayton -- I can take it. The WSJ is wrong, however -- Governor Hickenlooper (D - Urban CO) is comparable to Sen. Rubio. I'm rather surprised to hear his name so infrequently.
This is getting good. VRWC, for you young'uns, is the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, the creation of a pink-pantsuited First Lady to explain those who were starting rumors of her husband's infidelities. Those rumors, of course, turned out to be entirely true.
I remember I sent away to Brent Bozell for a free "Proud member of the VRWC" bumper sticker.
But I never imagined it would include the NYTimes's Frank Bruni.
She was on the spit Tuesday because she placed herself there.
But the real problem with the news conference wasn't anything specific that she said or didn't say, any particular tone of voice or set of her shoulders that she aced or bungled.
It was what kept coming to mind as she stood before the cameras once again, under fire once again, aggrieved once again by Americans' refusal to see and simply trust how well intentioned and virtuous and good for the country she is:
I thought perhaps I'd eaten some bad clams, but it seems Peter Suderman (Suderman, Computer-man as Kennedy calls him, or "Hubby Dearest" as he's known to Megan McArdle) also heard Lanny Davis assure FOX News viewers that "you cannot delete from a hard drive."
For example, Lanny Davis, a crisis communications guru long favored by dictators and Democrats, including and especially the Clintons, rose to her defense over the weekend on Fox News Sunday opposite host Chris Wallace. In the process, Davis managed to demonstrate that he is willing to exaggerate on Clinton's behalf, and also that he does not understand how email works.
For one thing, Davis rejected the idea that the emails could have been deleted. "Last time I looked you cannot delete on a hard drive," he told Fox News host Chris Wallace, according to RealClearPolitics.
Perhaps he should look again before he next appears on national television to discuss the matter because that's, well, not true. Yes, permanently deleting data from a hard drive--including email--is usually harder than just pressing the delete button once, but it can definitely be done on most any system. Indeed, even if a hard drive were somehow set to prohibit deletion, hard drives can crash or disappear. Backups can fail to backup. There is no natural law that requires the permanent conservation of email.
Don't know if you saw Taranto yesterday, but under-discussed is that she turned the emails over as hardcopies: 50,000 pages of printouts.
That might delight tree-farmer and Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell, but I am guessing prosecuters would enjoy having headers and, yes, some hard drives to do a little forensics on.
Maybe I'm showing my age, but I remember President Nixon offering hardcopy transcripts instead of tape.
Peggy Noonan joins Kim Strassel in taking some whacks at Sec Clinton, reminding me of a great book she wrote. Has it really been 16 years?
Sixteen years ago, when she was first running for the Senate, I wrote a book called "The Case Against Hillary Clinton." I waded through it all--cattle futures, Travelgate, the lost Rose law firm records, women slimed as bimbos, foreign campaign cash, the stealth and secrecy that marked the creation of the health-care plan, Monica, the vast right-wing conspiracy. As I researched I remembered why, four years into the Clinton administration, the New York Times columnist William Safire called Hillary "a congenital liar . . . compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit."
The Clinton camp has spent this week explaining that none of this was untoward, that no laws were broken, and that she's being transparent.
Were you just awakening from a 40-year coma and still a bit fuzzy, this might strike you as remotely plausible. For everyone else who has lived through the Bill and Hill years, this email caper is pure Clinton. -- Kimberly Strassel WSJ Ed Page
Honorable mention (same article): "The Clintons thrive in gray areas."
You read it here first. JK called it when no one else saw it.
The Republican nominee will be ThreeSources' favorite, Gov. Scott Walker (Unionbuster - WI). Because we always get our preferred candidates, right?
The Democratic Nominee will not be Eric Hoteham Sec. Clinton. She is more evitable than in 2008. A dark horse will be needed to save the race . . . and that dark horse will be . . .
But First a word about "Uncle Billy's Beard and Body wash." Why have two bottles cluttering up your shower when Uncle Billy's provides moisturized skin and a bouncy, voluminous beard in one, manly bottle? Now in Lumberjack scent, or original pine.
The Democratic nominee will be Minnesota Governor and Target bazillionaire, Mark Dayton.
A month after Mr. Walker's inauguration in January 2011, he catapulted himself to the front ranks of national conservative leaders with attacks on the collective bargaining rights of Civil Service unions and sharp reductions in taxes and spending. Once Mr. Dayton teamed up with a Democratic Legislature in 2012, Minnesota adopted some of the most progressive policies in the country.
Minnesota raised taxes by $2.1 billion, the largest increase in recent state history. Democrats introduced the fourth highest income tax bracket in the country and targeted the top 1 percent of earners to pay 62 percent of the new taxes, according to the Department of Revenue.
Thus the NYTimes article quoted above -- and a thousand internet memes were born.
Have you seen them? Walker cut, Dayton raised -- and Minnesota has performed better. And -- dontcha know -- the states are both populated by hardy white folks who can mange bitter winters and eat lots of unusual Scandinavian meat and fish products. It's practically the same place except for college sports.
I have not yet dove into the underlying data, but it seems compelling at first glace.
But we will have a year and a half to discuss it.
UPDATE: FEE debunks a corollary post (that somebody sent me) comparing Dayton to predecessor Gov. Pawlenty (Charisma - MN). I'd say it is still notakedown, and they could point to increasing employment through tax hikes, minimum wage increases and higher regulation.
I'm not issuing my endorsement anytime soon, and neither is Noah Millman over at TAC, but he puts up a solid argument in the unfortunately titled "I Killed Latin: You?"
Scott Walker picked a high-profile battle over a core issue that both the establishment and more insurgent types care about -- the status and position of public sector unions. His opponents rose to the challenge, and threw everything they had into the battle to defeat him -- to the point of trying to get him recalled before the next scheduled election. The showdown went down in a purple-to-blue state. And Walker won, unequivocally.
This should warm some hearts here:
Jindal and Perry can point to very conservative things they did as governors -- but Louisiana and Texas are very conservative states. Could they do the same in Washington? Ted Cruz can tout his purism -- but he's accomplished literally less than nothing, with his antics having demonstrably backfired in multiple instances.
Certainly that Walker is taking Flak means he's over the target.
The WSJ Ed Page slams Sen. Rand Paul (R - Jenny McCarthy) in VaccineGate®
He pitched all this as an "obvious" question of "freedom": "The state doesn't own your children. The parents own the children." Oh, my.
I stand foursquare with Gigot Pharmaceuticals in support of all the current vaccines. But I stand with Senator Paul in defense of "our inalienable right to property in our own persons" and would extend that to minor children.
Circumspection of state power is always a good idea; I do not find these positions irreconcilable.
Yes, let's discard the Junk Science Lancet study that Measles vaccine causes autism. But what about when President Hillary Clinton wants us all inoculated against Tea Party membership? And one of her donors comes up with a shot (or sizable and rough coated suppository)?
I'll call anybody an idiot for not vaccinating their kids, but I am not marching up the Capitol steps to demand enforcement.
A Politico article blasts former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. I know -- stop the presses! What are the odds? Alert Taranto's "Bottom Story of the Day" department.
I clicked on "Jeb Put Me Through Hell" to laugh at an unseemly Politico hack attack from some third grade classmate of the Governor who traded a peanut butter sandwich for applesauce or something...
Yet that is not it. The author is Michael Shiavo. I bet most ThreeSourcers remember the name and the story. It is the day I left the conservatives and joined the libertarians.
But it never would have become what it became if not for the dogged intervention of the governor of Florida at the time, the second son of the 41st president, the younger brother of the 43rd, the man who sits near the top of the extended early list of likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates. On sustained, concentrated display, seen in thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of emails he sent, was Jeb the converted Catholic, Jeb the pro-life conservative, Jeb the hands-on workaholic, Jeb the all-hours emailer--confident, competitive, powerful, obstinate Jeb. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it's the Jebbest thing Jeb's ever done.
Curiously and morbidly, my wife had a life-threatening medical event several weeks after, and our conversations about Terri and Michael Sciavo left me knowing her exact stance. But before that case -- most notably the Supreme Court visit, I was a Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, John Kasich conservative Republican.
But this is one more reminder (an d I am willing to discount it for its source) that the Establishment GOP does not want government out of your life. Weave this with his indefatigable support for Common Core and let us say the Gov is not my choice in 2016.
Yes, I missed the confluence of my two favorite topics: politics and junk science. The Internet Segue Machine™ surely requires an overhaul. Brother nb surprised me with his QOTD yesterday, causing me to ask that internet-question: "Is This a Thing?"
Vaccines are the media's new "Birth Control Pills" question for the GOP -- injecting an out-of-nowhere wedge issue question into the debate just because it hurts the GOP.
Almost all GOP politicians are pro-vaccination, of course -- but a distressing number of GOP voters are against it, making this a politically difficult question.
Note that the media could drop any number of such wedge issue questions on Democrats -- do you favor the making taxpayers pay for voluntary sex-reassignment surgery -- but they don't because they're Democrats themselves and want to hide such wedge issues, not expose them.
Clearly, the nation will turn to the strict scientific rationality of Sec Hillary Clinton in 2016. I laugh to keep from crying.
UPDATE: The Facebook group Friends of Best of the Web is generally a very un-libertarian bunch, but a fellow member hits it out of the park:
If an private individual or group of its own volition elects to prohibit un-vaccinated people from entering its presence, the police power is appropriately deployed to enforce that prohibition. But to have the state mandate a segregation between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals is an unjust overreach.
We Will Have Gov. Huckabee to Kick Around Some More!
Today's guest quotidian huck-a-whack comes from Jim Geraghty [subscribe]:
But [Governor Huckabee]'s got a sharp elbow, particularly when it comes to late-campaign tactics. A lot of Republicans could say, "I disagree with the Club for Growth in some areas"; it's another thing to call them "the Club for Greed." He'll announce that he won't run negative ads, and then, during a press conference, show reporters the negative ad he decided not to run -- knowing that the press will effectively transmit the message for free. He’s willing to campaign on his faith -- particularly in Iowa -- in ways others might find shameless. He'll stretch the truth when an exaggeration helps him. His opponents will underestimate him and his amiable style right up until the moment he metaphorically kicks them in the crotch.
This may take him far, or it may not. If it doesn't, there’s a good chance Fox News or some other network will need a host for weekend slot in 2017.
To be fair, the same Morning Jolt opens by giving the Gov. (Bass - AR) props for leaving his cushy job to get "in the arena." But I'm not going to call this an endorsement, per se.
Like his famous brother, Gov. Jeb Bush (Establishment - FL) is a uniter not a divider. My libertarian friends, my conservative friends, and my progressive friends are all equally aghast at his announced candidacy. He's not doing much for "libertario delenda est;" just the announcement has caused several FB friends to renounce their GOP membership.
Um, anybody can run, people. The WSJ Ed Page -- admittedly not a firebrand, Tea Party insurgency -- has been a bit dismayed at the opposition. Let's give each a serious look and feel free to patch lacunae.
1. His last name. This is enough for the Reason folks: charges of dynasty and why we chose to fight the Brits in the first place. I see where they come from but get an affirmative-action queasiness -- really he cannot be President because of his last name? That seems unenlightened and contra-Reason.
2. Immigration. Clint Bolick has a guest editorial in the WSJ today about the co-author of "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution" that reminds me that the Governor is the best candidate I am going to see on the topic in 2016. Others will be forced to pander; Jeb's views have been published in hardcover.
3. Common Core. Here this love letter will trail off. I could support a candidate with whom I disagree (Duh). But Jeb's attraction to Common Core reminds me that -- like other Bushes -- he lacks a principled foundational belief in limited government. Brother George said "when people are hurting, government has to step in." I forgave him for a lot of other things, but...
When I make the libertario delenda est pitch, my interlocutors rightfully ask for some results, some sign that the curves slope in the right direction, and that the party is moving to limit government and not repeat the DeLay-Hastart-Bush years. I cannot make that case with the former Governor of Florida.
So, 1.55 out of three cheers (his detractors forget he was successful both at tax cutting and as an advocate for school choice). It is time to move on and show that we are moving on. But let's get real, people, he is not the devil. Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rick Santorum are the devils.
[Sen. Elizabeth] Warren's accusation of the "system" being "rigged" against the average person is repeated with a staccato and cadence worthy of Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie "Rain Man." -- William Jacobson
I guess I opened the season around ThreeSources with remarks highly critical of Sen. Ted Cruz (All Around Good Guy - TX). But as my father used to say "hell, we can't dance."
Cruz stoked the fire of populist rage with parliamentary tricks to document just how opposed he is to "amnesty." Senator Rand Paul (jk crush - KY), conversely, leads by explaining how a less popular position is better.
Paul criticized the trade and travel embargo on Cuba as ineffective, separating himself from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who have criticized Obama and backed the embargo.
All four men are considered likely contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
"In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea," Paul told Tom Roten of WVHU radio in West Virginia, The Associated Press reports.
My last comment on the Ted Cruz "hate-fest" entry featured an excerpt suggesting that the negativity surrounding the Senator is a result of the media filter. Here he is without that filter, talking about the vote in question.
Jeb - "I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."
He would enter the 2016 race as a top-tier GOP candidate with a perhaps unparalleled fundraising apparatus -- but also with views in support of comprehensive immigration reform and the Common Core educational standards that are deeply out of step with much of the party base.
Instead of modifying his positions, however, Bush has indicated that he will work to persuade fellow Republicans to come around on these hot-button issues.
I'm home today with a case of the mutant flu so I got to watch extended coverage of this on Fox News Channel. Nicole Petalides described the morning DOW rally as a "Bush Bounce" on the news that the Wall Street favorite was announcing for President. "Rilly" thought I? Not the rebound in oil prices? Okay, you're the expert. By the closing bell, however, all of the markets closed down slightly despite a 350 point DOW swing. So much for the "bounce." Now, what about the Bush?
I found myself eerily taken with the news. Here is a temperate man with good hair and fluency in the Spanish tongue. His electability is almost unquestioned (except by dagny who said America won't elect another Bush) but The Independents' Kennedy, for one, offered [on #Outnumbered] an easy solution to that minor handicap: "I believe he is going to change his last name to Reagan. Then he won't have to convince people he is the next Reagan, he can just say, 'I'm Jeb Reagan." As the linked article says, "Jeb Bush served two terms in Tallahassee between 1999 and 2007, during which he developed a deeply conservative record on a wide range of issues." And I've always regarded him higher than his little brother George. I believe he could be a far different President than his brother or father were. So I asked dagny, "Other than perceptions of electability, what issues hurt Jeb with the conservative, or TEA Party, or Liberty wing of the GOP? The pull quote names two of them - immigration and Common Core. I think I could live with his position on immigration. Common Core, however, belies a willingness to concentrate more power in Washington. NOOOOOOO! Has the establishment learned nothing? Maybe, and maybe not. The good thing is, we're about to find out.
Hat-tip blog friend Sugarchuck on Facebook, who adds "What really cracked me up was the guy putting on his boots and swinging his hammer to bust that darned ol' glass ceiling. Guess the little lady just needed some menfolk around to help her out. "
The senator has no clue where jobs come from and doesn't pretend to. She's a collection of categories, not a thoughtfully realized human being - a (pseudo) Native-American, feminist, populist, Harvard law professor. She no more knows where jobs come from than first-graders know where babies come from. She only knows that they exist and that something icky happened to make it so.
You guessed it - not Hillary, Elizabeth. But the article, the latest from the "Stimulus That!" blog of Communities Digital News contributor and economics professor Jim Picht, is more than just a single entertaining quote. It goes on to explain how Democrats and Republicans conspire to distract the electorate with one issue while a more important one goes unnoticed:
There are other things more important to making the job-creating activity profitable than the corporate tax rate. The regulatory environment is probably the most important of those. New York is less likely to attract new businesses and new jobs by cutting business taxes than it is by making it easier to start or expand a business, easier to hire new employees if there's a chance of a bigger profit, and not making it hard to get rid of those employees if the hoped-for profit doesn't materialize.
There is a great deal that our elected officials could do to make America a more vibrant business environment and American job markets more robust. The first step is honesty: Recognize where jobs come from, and where they don't. Businesses aren't the grit in our economic engine; they are the engine.
Taxes are the shibboleth that political parties and members of Congress use to identify enemies and avoid doing anything useful. It is impossible to be pro-consumer and pro-worker without being pro-business, yet Hillary wants to beat the horse of tax rates. Republicans are happy to go along. [Italics in original]
UPDATE: great comment on this from former state rep Shawn Mitchell on Facebook. Reproduced with permission:
That is not econ 101, it's lefty econ 101. It's not demand that created jobs. Demand reflects people who are hungry or cold or unsheltered. But their wants do nothing to fill themselves. It's a supplier's insight to spot current demand or having a vision of *possible* demand, and then risk, investment, work and offering and seeing it through that creates the value and the attendant jobs.
All the demand in the world will not plant the crops that feed the hungry, sew the clothes the cover naked, or build the computers that efficiently manage information. Ultimately, of course, demand is necessary for any product or service to succeed in the marketplace, but demand isn't sufficient and in itself, it's futile. It doesn't create the product or the jobs necessary to make and market the product.
A farmer needs see enough mouths and market, and then needs to bust his hump through the seasons to supply. A homebuilder has to see residents and potential move ins, and then risk or recruit the investment capital to hire the workers to build the homes. Demand does squat except offer opportunity to risk takers with drive and vision.
And that's just current demand. Sometimes visionaries *create* demand. What demand was there for Henry Ford's model A? What demand was there for photocopiers? For yellow stickit notes? For apple Coumputers? For cell phones? For smart phones. Entrepeneurs envisoned new things and new ways and with great commitment and risk created the products that the public truned out to want. Demand created nothing. Vision, risk, and work created the products and the jobs.
"Sen. Rand Paul tells POLITICO that the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 could capture one-third or more of the African-American vote by pushing criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment."
When pressed on his ambitious goal, Paul upped the ante: "I don't want to limit it to that. I don't want to say there's only a third open. … The reason I use the number 'a third,' is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential."
"As I travel and I go and meet with African-American leaders -- they may not be ready to embrace a Republican yet," Paul added. "But they say that they're very happy that we're competing for their vote. And they often tell me, 'You know what? I haven't seen my Democrat representative in a while.'"
It's remarkable how much better folks think of you when you TALK to them. And for this particular demographic, Republican candidates don't even need to learn Spanish.
[I posted roughly 60,000 words yesterday on the Facebook version of the inequality post. Good clean fun, but my typing fingers are sore. Ergo, a quick thought post]
My man, Senator Rand Paul will be undone by events in 2016. We should have eschewed Senator Obama's naiveté in 2008. I remember fright around a dinner table when I visited blog friend sc that year. "You may not be interested in War Mister Trotsky..."
After six years of American disinterest in world leadership, polls show interest in it reviving. Senator Paul is tacking to catch favorable winds, but that makes him look phony to doves and distrustful to hawks. We need his Constitutionalism, but his foreign policy will not fly in a messy 2016. C'est le guerre.
Events overseas present Mr. Obama not only with policy challenges, but also with an opportunity to re-energize his depleted presidency. They also have implications for Republicans. As recently as last November, 52% of Republicans said that the U.S. does too much abroad; only 18% thought we do too little. But their sentiments have shifted dramatically. Now, the share of Republicans who think we do too little abroad has surged by 28 points, to 46%, while the share of those who think we do too much has fallen by 15 points, to 37%.
If the Democratic meme of "income inequality" were applied to medicine, this is how it would work:
Supposed you break your arm and take it to a doctor for fixing. Using "inequality" logic, the doctor would first provide aspirin for "immediate relief." Then the doctor would go to the next patient and break his arm. Nothing would be fixed, but everyone would be equal.
Using free market logic, the arm would be set and immobilized until it healed. This solution would be neither pain-free nor immediate, but would eventually result in having two good arms.
Hillary Clinton will be speaking at the 1STBANK Center next week in Broomfield, Colorado. But it appears event organizers are having a hard time selling out: tickets to the event have been put on sale, and are now selling for 66 percent cheaper than the original sale price.
The State Department under Hillary Clinton fought hard against placing the al Qaeda-linked militant group Boko Haram on its official list of foreign terrorist organizations for two years. And now, lawmakers and former U.S. officials are saying that the decision may have hampered the American government's ability to confront the Nigerian group that shocked the world by abducting hundreds of innocent girls.
In the past week, Clinton, who made protecting women and girls a key pillar of her tenure at the State Department, has been a vocal advocate for the 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, the loosely organized group of militants terrorizing northern Nigeria. Her May 4 tweet about the girls, using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, was cited across the media and widely credited for raising awareness of their plight.
Now, anybody can make a mistake, but . . .
What Clinton didn't mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen.
Never criticize a Secretary of State until you've flown a million miles in her pantsuit.
The Journal also quotes former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle saying "there's a fatigue and a physical demand that [Sec. Hillary Clinton] has to consider. She's much older than she was 20 years ago, when her husband first started, so there are a lot of personal considerations to take into account." -- WSJ
Perhaps blog brother jg is right and I am wrong. Just this one time. In this one instance.
My outrage over the GWB lane closures (think of the chillllldren!!!) I confess, is borne of naiveté. Fancy me of all people underestimating the frequency and severity of government's purposefully punishing the citizenry.
I accept misfeasance but rarely malfeasance. That makes me a hopeless naif.
President Obama seeks to take federally funded food out of the mouths of poor rural youth. Insty notes the reflections of Bridgeghazi and links to this Bridget Johnson piece.
The program dates back to a 2000 bill, which was extended in July 2012 for that fiscal year. The $323 million in funds were doled out to 41 states by the USDA in January 2013. But two months later, after sequestration went into effect, the Obama administration announced it wanted $17.9 million back -- prompting bipartisan backlash from governors and congressional representatives of the affected states.
"The Obama administration appeared intent on making this sequester as painful and visible as possible, and this was another example. Instead of working with Congress to make responsible cuts and reforms, the administration took the political opportunity to go after funds used to pay teachers and police salaries," [Chairman Doc] Hastings said at a hearing on the report today.
Rule #1 in software development is "nothing is easy." Rule #1 in libertarianism is "the State is not your friend." Fancy my forgetting that.
During her 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton's aides kept a meticulous "political hit list" containing the names of members of Congress who had "burned her" by endorsing Barack Obama, an upcoming book on Clinton's political "rebirth" reveals.
"We wanted to have a record of who endorsed us and who didn't and of those who endorsed us, who went the extra mile and who was just kind of there," a member of Clinton's 2008 campaign team told Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, the authors of "HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton," in an excerpt published by Politico. "And of those who didn’t endorse us, those who understandably didn't endorse us because they are [Congressional Black Caucus] members or Illinois members. And then, of course, those who endorsed him but really should have been with her."
On the other, how much harm could this sweet old lady do?
Chris Christie's apology was awesome on stilts. Republicans keep waiting for "another Reagan." I do not think I have seen as clear an advocate for either party since #40.
He was forthright. The Obamas and Clintons of the world open a speech with "I take full responsibility" and then speak for 40 minutes about how it really wasn't their fault. The big man took his medicine.
One cannot help but gag at the coverage. I quoted a @willcollier tweet: "I'm not much of a Christie fan, but you'd think by the press coverage today that the city of Chicago had never existed." It led the local prettyboy-perkygirl teevee news last night and this morning. The governor of New Jersey! What am I to Hecuba? They asked political experts for comment. I bet they gave zero coverage to THE PRESIDENT'S scandals.
I know that is what my blog brother was trying to tell me below. I am still fine with being a whole lot better than they are. But the reason I wanted Governor Christie was his skill at pushing back and not necessarily accepting the narrative. A lot of folks cheered at Speaker Gingrich when he would snark back at a debate questioner. Christie gives you the same with more skill and a better philosophical underpinning.
Color me very impressed at the response.
UPDATE: Reading this it sounds like I am more forgiving than I may be. I'd say he saved his right to compete yesterday and reminded me what I liked. OTOH, Jim Geraghty nails it:
But . . . we're left with a guy who had not one bad apple, but several, doing terrible things -- that they must have believed served Christie's purposes, or else they're psychotic saboteurs -- and Christie being oblivious to it all. Christie may not be the villain here, but he's not the hero -- and every once in a while on Thursday, he seemed a little too focused upon his victimization by his staff. No, the real victims are those Fort Lee commuters and the kids stuck on school buses.
The greatest scandal name of all time. I howled when I heard Kennedy say it on FBN's The Independents. When I looked on twitter to see if was catching on, I saw this bit of truth:
"@danielradosh: #bridgeghazi may be the coinage to finally get us past the -gate suffix. It's been 40 years people! Evolve the lingo!"
As ThreeSources's chief Christie cheerleader, I better issue some mea culpas. Insty finds this stirring defense in a comment thread:
"For pettiness, I believe this bridge fiasco is more on a par with the shutdown of federal parks during the government shutdown than the IRS abuses. The IRS abuses appear to be intimidation for election purposes. The park blockades appeared to be pettiness to prove a point. The bridge fiasco also appears to be pettiness to prove a point."
Like Reagan's proverbial child on Christmas morn, I am looking for the pony in this manure pile. But "Obama did the same thing with a bigger body count" strikes me as a low bar. As I like to complain about the President: he either knew about it which makes him a corrupt liar, or he did not which makes him an incompetent boob. I'm not going to spend a lot of time arguing which is worse.
I did not abandon the big Garden State Guv when he sucked up to the President to ensure disaster funding after Sandy. I rolled my eyes at his eastern, elitist acceptance of restrictions on gun rights. I winced but did not shut the door when he attacked Senator Rand Paul.
"We'll have a campaign in 2016," said jk. "We'll see who has the best ideas and best chance to propagate them." I was in the Rand Camp but ready to listen.
But this is a very big deal and I am abandoning -- with heartfelt sadness -- a politician I have long admired.
Which do you prefer? The kind of ruthless, Nixonian maniac who's willing to screw enormous numbers of people to get revenge on someone he perceives as disloyal? Or the kind of ruthless, Nixonian maniac who builds a machine that can do that without getting him personally involved?
Too strong, perhaps, but I did wonder if Hillary knew the young woman who escorted Bill to the Mayor Comrade Citizen DeBlasio inauguration Wednesday. Is this really her? Wow, that President HRC thingy may have taken a small step in the wrong direction.
SIDE NOTE: It is not true that all the bad presidents are known by their initials. It is only true that all Presidents known by their initials are bad. It is a common error in logic.
Roger Simon has an interesting piece today: "The Principal Enemy." About -- whom else -- Secretary Hillary Clinton.
I don't know that I am comfortable referring to political opponents as "enemies" but Simon's call is to reject internecine squabbles to focus on the horror of Ms. Clinton's winning in 2016. One segment of it truly struck me:
Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the "gains" of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy -- Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing -- and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats.
Let's put Hillary == China in the same box as "Principal Enemy," but the legislative point is brilliant and worthy of attention. President Kennedy was also good at getting elected, even bringing in a rival who could steal the votes of electoral-rich Texas. But Kennedy was not a skilled legislator and his agenda stalled despite his personal popularity.
When LBJ ascended, he considered it his duty to pursue the JFK* agenda. Robert Caro describes how he used his mastery to pass almost the entire agenda intact. Simon is dead right that a Clinton term would solidify the progressive steps which President Obama cannot. She would "fix" ObamaCare into a more popular, defensible, and permanent entitlement.
*JFK is the least bad of the "initials" Presidents but I am comfortable keeping him on the list.
As a registered Democrat, I am praying for a credible presidential candidate to emerge from the younger tier of politicians in their late 40s. A governor with executive experience would be ideal. It's time to put my baby-boom generation out to pasture! We've had our day and managed to muck up a hell of a lot. It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton (born the same year as me) is our party’s best chance. She has more sooty baggage than a 90-car freight train. And what exactly has she ever accomplished -- beyond bullishly covering for her philandering husband? She’s certainly busy, busy and ever on the move -- with the tunnel-vision workaholism of someone trying to blot out uncomfortable private thoughts.
I for one think it was a very big deal that our ambassador was murdered in Benghazi. In saying "I take responsibility" for it as secretary of state, Hillary should have resigned immediately. The weak response by the Obama administration to that tragedy has given a huge opening to Republicans in the next presidential election. The impression has been amply given that Benghazi was treated as a public relations matter to massage rather than as the major and outrageous attack on the U.S. that it was.
Throughout history, ambassadors have always been symbolic incarnations of the sovereignty of their nations and the dignity of their leaders. It’s even a key motif in "King Lear." As far as I’m concerned, Hillary disqualified herself for the presidency in that fist-pounding moment at a congressional hearing when she said, "What difference does it make what we knew and when we knew it, Senator?" Democrats have got to shake off the Clinton albatross and find new blood. The escalating instability not just in Egypt but throughout the Mideast is very ominous. There is a clash of cultures brewing in the world that may take a century or more to resolve -- and there is no guarantee that the secular West will win.
Peggy Noonan weighs in on the Rand Paul - Chris Christie contretemps and wins back a couple of her erstwhile best fans. THE WSJ Ed Page has jumped rather solidly on Christie's side. There are exceptions, but they both had a front row seat for 9/11 and have long favored muscular policy abroad and order at home.
Noonan provides her trademark thoughtfulness in Why Christie is Wrong.
So Christie is wrong that concerns and reservations about surveillance are the province of intellectuals and theorists--they're not. He's wrong that their concerns are merely abstract--they're concrete. Americans don't want to be listened in to, and they don't want their emails read by strangers, especially the government. His stand isn't even politically shrewd--it needlessly offends sincere skeptics and isn't the position of the majority of his party, I suppose with the exception of big ticket donors in Aspen.
And Christie's argument wasn’t even... an argument. It was a manipulation. If you don't see it his way you don’t know what 9/11 was--you weren't there, you don't know how people suffered. If you don't see it his way you don't care about the feelings of the widows and orphans.
It seems to me telling that he either doesn't have a logical argument or doesn't think he has to make it.
Stinging by its truthfulness. (H/T: one of the other "erstwhilers:" blog friend sc by email.)
Yes, I am adding a "2016" category. Dammit Jim, I 'm a pundit not a chronographer!
I break with my Tea Party Brethren and Sisteren in that I am game to give Gov. Chris Christie (R - NJ, spilling into parts of PA and NY) a serious listen should he enter the arena in 2016. Sucking up to the President in an Emergency is on any Governor's To-do list. The timing was unfortunate, but...
But, as Larry Kudlow reminds, he is a pro-growth conservative who gets 70% in the über-blue Garden State. And he gives passionate, clear, and eloquent voice to principles of freedom. I'm not his for the asking, but I certainly have not ruled out supporting him.
Daniel Foster pens a nice column on the different considerations in replacing Senator Frank Lautenberg (D - NJ - RIP).
Whom Christie selects to take Lautenberg's seat in the interim will both affect and be affected by these considerations. Does he go with a placeholder with no intention to run to retain the seat? Does he pick a serious contender who can at least mount a credible challenge to Booker, and hope to boost that contender's chances with his own coattails? Does he appoint a Democrat, with an eye on conceding the Senate race to boost his own bipartisan credentials for 2013 (and 2016)?
Foster enumerates and handicaps the choices. Game on!