Friday, January 29, 2016

Wow, I think JEB actually won the debate

Last night's debate was probably the weakest so far this year, no terribly memorable lines and no critical exchanges.  I guess having a fascist blowhard does make things more entertaining.  Anyway, here are my thoughts on how each of them did.

JEB:  He sounded the most Presidential out of all of them and importantly was able to put Marco Rubio in his place on immigration with a very quick retort, something he hasn't been unable to do in previous debates.  I don't know how much this will help him in Iowa, but this could help him get to #2 in New Hampshire, which would keep his campaign alive.

Rand Paul:  I thought he did particularly well, though some of that may be a psychological reaction to his cheering section in the hall.  Anyway, he made his case well and wasn't as annoying as usual.

Ted Cruz:  I thought the opening joke about Trump where he made a group insult to the people on the stage was great but then when he was fighting with the Fox moderators, it fell flat.  He needs to be the happy warrior not the angry one.  I think though he saved his performance with his answer on ethanol near the end which was probably the best answer I've heard on the issue from anyone.

Chris Christie:  I thought he had an okay debate though I was getting sick of him saying how Senators don't know how to run anything.  We get it.  Move on.  Also, when asked about "bridgegate" he said that three investigations proved that "I knew nothing".  Not exactly the best or most reassuring line to come out of a politicians mouth.  Given his weight, he could definitely fit into Sergeant Schultz's uniform and will be an easy Photoshop target.

Marco Rubio:  He was talking so fast in parts I thought he might have had either too much coffee or too many amphetamines.  Then he lost an exchange with JEB.  JEB! Certainly didn't have his mojo last night.  And I think he was overdoing the Jesus thing just like how he was previously overdoing the water jokes.

John Kasich:  Why is he still there?  It seems like his biggest resume item is that he helped balance the budget a generation ago.

Ben Carson:  He is now such an embarrassment.  You could tell he had trouble remembering the lines from the Constitution he was saying and was usually just talking nonsense.  I'm starting to question his medical credentials.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The GOPe is really not thinking it through with their swing to Trump

I swear that GOP establishment has had a brain tumor for breakfast (stole that line from "Heathers") and has for the last few weeks.  I understand why they hate Cruz, basically, he doesn't like them and won't give them jobs in the White House even if he wins.  So based on their calculus, if he loses they lose and if he wins, they lose.  So in opposing Cruz they are operating in their own self-interest albeit the self-interest of people who have no true guiding principles but their self-interest nonetheless.

What I don't get though is why they are piling in with Trump (Dole, Grassley etc.) and against Cruz right before the Iowa caucuses. In my honest opinion as an armchair quarterback and political junkie with no actual political experience, I think that Cruz is stoppable after Iowa but Trump simply isn't.  So let's say Cruz wins in Iowa, the Trump bubble might finally pop and one of the "establishment" candidates might finally get some oxygen for their campaign.  Then the establishment can start their "kill Cruz" campaign and pile into JEB, Christie, Rubio or Kasich, whoever is looking strongest.  They can also pressure the others to drop out so it becomes a one on one contest which would even the playing field a little.  And while the initial calendar does favor Cruz with so many red states voting initially, we are talking a delegate battle and there is a way to stop him from amassing the necessary delegates prior to the convention.  The chance isn't anywhere near 100% but there is a chance to stop him.

Now what if Trump wins Iowa?  Then he gets a momentum boost in NH and then that boost helps him pretty much run the table in most states and then we are stuck with Donald Trump as the nominee.  I realize many in the establishment would prefer Trump to Cruz but wouldn't they rather have Rubio or Christie instead?

What they should be doing is piling onto Trump right now, letting everyone know all of the horrible comments he has made over the years to really chip away at any evangelicals who are behind him now.  Then once his bubble is popped (hopefully), THEN they should turn on Cruz to try to get one of their own elected.  Seriously, are these people complete morons?

Review of "13 Hours"

PolitiJim has convinced me to write a review of "13 Hours", which I saw just before the massive snowstorm hit my area this weekend.  I'm generally a fan of war/action movies such as "We Were Soldiers" and "Black Hawk Down" so I walked into "13 Hours" expecting something of about the same quality, especially given it's a Michael Bay movie who has made out a career out of military related action scenes in movies such as "Transformers" and even "Pearl Harbor" (the attack scene in that one was done really well).

I have to say, I was slightly disappointed.  I'm not saying it isn't a good movie, because it is, I think my expectations were too high.  Also, at 2 hours and 24 minutes, it was slow in parts and well, boring.  While the length may have been due to a desire to tell the whole story, I think it's also a function of people not being able to say "no" to Michael Bay at this point in his career.  If he wants a scene or sequence in the movie, he gets it.  I think another reason why this movie didn't blow me away is the budget of $50 million, which is paltry for an action movie.  Just for reference, Black Hawk Down cost $92 million to make and that was 15 years ago!  So I think that meant that they had to skimp on some "shock and awe" special effects sequences.

Okay, enough of the complaints and onto what I actually liked about the movie.  It did show the dedication of a group of contractors who really didn't have to do what they did and who definitely did not get the recognition they deserved by our armed forces because they were technically non-military.  It showed them as ordinary family men who were sacrificing a lot to be in a God-forsaken part of the world.  It also made it very clear that hours and hours went by and nobody anywhere lifted a finger to help them.  Given the extensive air support that was used in the "Black Hawk Down" incident 20 years earlier, it's just unfathomable that no help could come to a group of soldiers, diplomats and spies just south of Europe.  It also made clear that we really got ZERO benefit from being in Libya at all.  Will pro-Hillary folks walk out of this movie hating her for what she did?  I doubt it.  They will probably blame the military higher ups for not doing anything as there was really almost no mention of the civilians above them. 

Anyway, I'd say it was a decent movie but it had some flaws and I probably won't be watching it much again.  However, I would support it to be required viewing for any politician talking about nation-building in Syria or whatever POS place (I'm looking at you Rubio).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tina Fey Nails Sarah Palin on SNL

I'm not a huge Tina Fey fan but I have to admit she really nailed her impersonation of Sarah Palin endorsing the Trumpster:


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump

I know some, especially Trumpkins and some media-types, view this as a negative for Cruz but if you actually watch the speech, Sarah Palin sounds like that drunk scary/crazy older woman who would hit on your at a hotel bar.  And during parts of the speech, Trump looks like he wishes he were someplace else.  On the positive side for him, he did find someone who makes his speeches sound downright coherent!  She has fallen far from that 2008 GOP Convention speech but she didn't write that one and I think she might have written this one on cocktail napkins or something:


ARG: Kasich could win New Hampshire

A post-debate poll by ARG shows Kasich as #2 in New Hampshire and statistically tied with Trump among those who will "definitely" vote.

This is a bit of a weird poll as Kasich didn't exactly shine at the debate and ARG only gets a "C-" from polling guru Nate Silver. However, if true, a Kasich victory could be the death knell for Rubio as if Kasich wins he will have a bit of that "winner" aura around him and has a much better electability argument than Rubio.   He's a popular, successful centrist Governor from a battleground state.  And Rubio, is, well, polling #4 in Florida at this point.  At the very least this would seriously wound Rubio and would keep the "moderate" lane kind of crowded.

However, just to reiterate, this is a weird poll.  Nobody thought Kasich did particularly well in the South Carolina debate and it's not like he is putting in any more time in New Hampshire than other moderates.  If anyone would be surging, it should be Christie, who has put an incredible amount of time in New Hampshire and has debated well. Just look at the numbers from the candidate tracker Union Leader:

-- Jeb Bush -- 41
-- Ben Carson -- 13
-- Chris Christie -- 61
-- Ted Cruz -- 18
-- Carly Fiorina -- 49
-- Jim Gilmore -- 21
-- Mike Huckabee -- 2
-- John Kasich -- 51
-- Rand Paul -- 28
-- Marco Rubio -- 18
-- Rick Santorum -- 7
-- Donald Trump -- 20

Anyway, we'll see what happens.  If we are seeing a Kasich surge, it is coming at the right time.

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Thoughts on the South Carolina Debate

Cruz really had a great debate and clearly won (don't believe me, just check the Frank Luntz Focus Group which nearly unanimously went with Cruz).  He was able to land hits on Trump by simply quoting Trump leaving the Donald doing nothing but quoting poll numbers and liberal law professors.  Anyway, here are my thoughts candidate by candidate:

Cruz:  It's so nice to have an intelligent candidate who does his homework, thinks things through and knows what he is talking about.  I've been sick of having to make excuses for the GOP candidates for the last 28 years.  Even many Rubio supporters that I follow were just in awe of his performance.  His one bad move was the New York values comment.  We all know what he meant and he is right but it did leave the opening for Trump to mention 9/11.  As Trump already had used the 9/11 comment previously to defend New York values, Cruz should have dropped it during the debate as the Trump response was obvious.

Trump:  Other than the exchange with Cruz, Trump actually did pretty well especially when asked about the Haley "anger" comments.  It was basically a "you're god damned right I'm angry" sort of response.  He also got the better of Cruz on the New York values comment at least among the press and New Yorkers who are probably not his core constituency anyway.

Rubio:  He had some good moments and landed some nice punches on Hillary but otherwise it was a rather forgettable debate for him.  Christie also destroyed Rubio after Rubio said Christie shared many policies with Obama (which is true but Christie did a great job in responding).

Christie:  He is becoming a candidate who you want to see go after Hillary in a debate.  Cruz would probably be best but Christie is kind of turning into a Trump with some government experience and logic.

JEB:  Actually had some nice moments, I'm warming up to him a bit.

Kasich:  He can make himself sound conservative but then you remember that he supported Obamacare and so is full of crap.

Friday, December 18, 2015

I really don't understand Marco Rubio's strategy

Seriously, I just don't get the Rubio campaign strategy for really two main reasons:

1.  He is not running a traditional campaign.  He claims that TV ads will get him better reach than physical campaigning but reach is not the same thing as connection.  You don't really connect with voters with a 30 second ad.  They know you are running and a little bit about what you stand for but if they have been watching the debates, they already know that.  Meeting in person is how you actually build a connection with someone.  That way they can say "hey, he looks like a great guy" or "hey, he is just like me".  It's sort of like the argument with regards to working remotely.  Yes, in many ways it is more efficient and offers employers the flexibility to hire people from different locations and gives employees the flexibility they need if they don't want to move or want to spend more time with their family instead of commuting.  However, working remotely very clearly keep you from building the connection with your co-workers that working in the office gives you.  I think Rubio is making a big mistake by almost literally phoning in him campaign.

2.  He is attacking Cruz and not JEB, Christie or Kasich.  It just doesn't make sense.  He is not going to peel away Cruz voters to himself, they will probably go to another non-establishment candidate like a Trump.  Rubio is just not viewed as conservative enough by Cruz's core conservative support.  Also, Cruz is uniting the conservative cause behind him, with no challengers from the right.  This allows him to focus on Rubio or whoever he thinks is the strongest establishment politician (in a gunfight, always go after the best shot first).  Rubio though is competing for the same candidates with JEB, Christie or Kasich, he needs one or two of them to drop out for him to win an early primary.  He should be focusing on knocking one of them out instead of trying to get that 1% of Cruz voters to switch to him.  And if one of them wins New Hampshire you'll see a lot of Rubio support evaporate and go to the winning establishment type (partly because Rubio never really campaigned, per #1).  And honestly, the ONLY reason to vote for Rubio is his supposed electability.  What happens with that thesis if he doesn't actually win anything?

I think Rubio will run a much better campaign next time (hopefully after a two term Cruz administration) but I really think he is messing this one up and time is running out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thoughts on last night's CNN debate

I just finished watching the whole debate online (it was past my bed time last night).  As a Ted Cruz supporter, of course I thought he won.  He did a great job taking on Rubio and sounded sincere and tough.  He also very successfully avoided fighting Trump.  Anyway, here are my candidate by candidate thoughts in order of how well I think they did:

Cruz:  He came across as strong, smart and sincere.  Very Presidential.  Also, by going against the neocon establishment that dominates the GOP he is one of the few candidates that people can sincerely say will not be another George W Bush with regards to foreign policy.

Christie:  Did a really great job reminding people that he is a top shelf candidate.  He speaks well and in a way that ordinary voters understand.   I don't think he can win the nomination though.  If he wins NH he will be this year's Santorum or Huckabee.  He doesn't have the organization to capitalize on a NH win and we have a red state heavy calendar through March.  And based on his contribution breakdown through September, he has almost no grassroots support.

Trump:  I do not really like Trump but he had a great debate especially the moment when he seemed to very sincerely promise to not run as a third party candidate and talked about how much he respected the party.  It was nice to see him classy, for once.  This could get him a bump in the polls.

Paul:  He really did have a good debate, especially when he was tag teaming with Cruz against Rubio (it would be hard for Paul to go against Cruz because they agree on so much including the gold standard for heaven's sake).  He also didn't say anything crazy, which is always a plus.

JEB:  I think he was strong this debate and if he was as good as he was last night 6 months ago, he would probably be much closer to being a front runner.  Unfortunately, first impressions are hard to change and he will never shake the "low energy" thing.

Rubio:  Once again he sounds very educated on foreign policy.  But I thought he looked desperate.  I think he must be getting a lot of pressure from donors (why aren't you winning these debates?  why aren't you campaigning more?  why are you wasting so much money on TV ads).  I also think he is generally lazy.  Not campaigning much and relying on 30 second TV ads? When has that ever worked?  I think he is like Obama, thinking his oratory will win the day for him.  But Obama was smart enough to know that he needs a good ground game. 

Fiorina:  I felt she was barely in this debate but when she was, she was on.  I loved her list of generals she would bring back even though it probably wasn't 100% accurate.  I would love her as Secretary of State.

Carson:  I could tell he studied for the debate but unfortunately it was too obvious that he studied so his answers just didn't flow.  He looked like he was in front of his class reciting a poem from memory or something.

Kasich:  What a schmuck.  At one point he said we need to go into Syria like we did into the gulf war.  Really? Send hundreds of thousands of Americans to a country where we have no interests?  Why the f*ck should we do that?  And who is going to pay for that huge expense?  I do want him to stay in the race though just to screw Rubio in NH.





Sunday, November 22, 2015

I really don't get why people think Trump is electable

This is from the latest ABC News/Washington Post national poll:

Seriously, do 38% of GOP voters have brain tumors?  How can they view Trump as the one with the best chance of winning?  He knows almost nothing about the issues and offends great swaths of the population. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Do we really want to get bogged down in another Middle Eastern country?

I just don't get it, what's the rush to have America send ground troops into Syria?  It used to just be kooks like Lindsey Graham and John McCain who wanted that sort of thing but now we have JEB getting in on the action (I don't know why imitating Lindsey Graham is supposed to improve his poll standing).  Given that France is all in a huff after the attacks on Paris, why do we let them spend their treasure and risk the lives of their citizens instead of involving ourselves?  They have 219 combat aircraft and 406 tanks, that seems adequate to take on ISIS.  And if not, they can spend more on the military.  Enough of the US being the world's policeman.  Look if we wanted to level Raqqa, the capital of the Caliphate, I wouldn't really mind.  We can probably do it in a short amount of time.  What I am against is another one of these open ended quagmires when we have bigger fish to fry, like Iran and China.  We have a limited amount of treasure and a world that is going straight to hell, so we really need to make choices.  Budget cuts have made it so we can't run two wars concurrently, so let's pick very, very carefully.

And screw JEB.  Just what we need, another Bush doing a horrible job in managing a middle eastern war.