Sunday, May 15, 2016

There is no choice but to support Trump

The mean girls in the #NeverTrump movement want to shame people into not supporting Trump, saying things like "well then you can't call yourself a conservative".  But what other choice do we have?  I'm fully aware that Trump isn't that conservative and that he is embarrassing (the latest fake spokesman thing surely isn't helping my view of him) but there are just no viable options other than voting for him. Let's go down the last, shall we?:

An independent conservative candidate:  There has been talk of getting someone like Ben Sasse, John Kasich or even Mitt Romney to run as an independent.  This is such a pipedream.  Just the whole process of getting on the ballot is quite daunting and may torpedo this selection before we even get to November.  The Texas deadline was May 9th so that state already is completely off the table and more will be too, especially the candidate is someone like Ben Sasse, who is not well known nationally.   Plus, the most this candidate is likely to get is 10-20% of the vote.  26% of the population is Republican (vs. 29% being Democrat and around 42% Independent) so even if 40% of Republicans bail on the party, we are talking about 10% of the general electorate.  Maybe add in some upset Independents and Democrats and maybe you can get to 20%, maybe.  And to get those votes, this candidate has to be very centrist politically with only marginally conservative beliefs.  But then what have you achieved?  That's probably not enough to win any states as Perot got 19% in 1992 and had zero electoral votes. You'll just have torpedoed the Republican candidate and creating massive animosity among GOP voters. 

Vote Libertarian:  I'm a libertarian and I can tell you this is a complete non-starter.  Big "L" Libertarians are nuts.  You think Rand or Ron Paul is out there?  Try hanging out at a Libertarian convention.  They are not for the mass market in any way shape or form.  Gary Johnson thinks that Jewish bakers should be forced by the government to bake swastika cakes for Nazi customers (which by the way isn't very libertarian.  For the real libertarian view, read this) and Austin Petersen, who is actively courting Ted Cruz supporters, thinks we should go back to the circa 1800 policy of using privateers for our military operations (Petersen also doesn't have as much in common with conservatives as he is saying he does).  Gary Johnson got about 1% of the vote in 2012 in an election between Obama and Mitt Romney, where lots of conservatives stayed home.  Why would he or the 35 year old Petersen do much better?  Could they get to 3%?  Sure.  But who cares?

Stay Home:  One of the #NeverTrumpers said that he wants to stay home so that he can tell his kids he stood by his #NeverTrump pledge.  The are two problems with this, first, they probably aren't going to care.  Second, if they do care they might ask why you didn't take a stand against Hillary.  Hillary is a corrupt (90% of donations to the Clinton Foundation don't go to charity!) horrible person who will continue the destruction of the United States from within.  All those horrible Obama policies will be continued (did you see the latest?  Apparently you should call convicted criminals "justice involved individuals".  1984 here we come!).  Trump is probably lying about the wall and lots of other things he said he will do, but even if there is just a 10% chance that he is a real conservative, isn't that better than doing something to help someone who has a 0% chance of being a conservative?  This is a woman who lied to the families of the Benghazi victims, telling them it was the fault of the guy who made a YouTube video instead of blaming the terrorists themselves (the guy who made the video was sent to jail and now lives in a homeless shelter). 

Yes Donald Trump is quite far from perfect.  But he really is the only choice we have.  What exactly is the downside?  If he loses, the aura of "winning" will be gone and he won't be a problem in 2020.  If he wins, even in a worse case scenario he will still be more conservative than Hillary.  And there is a good chance he will be more of a doctrinaire Republican than people think (I'm pretty sure his advisors will be Republicans).  People worry about him being erratic but the more erratic he is, the less he can achieve thanks to our system of checks and balances.  He will have to be consistent and someone other politicians can depend upon in order to get their support to get any legislation through.  I think the worst case scenario for the 2016 election would be that Trump loses thanks to his chances being sabotaged due to the actions of other Republicans.  This will make him and his voters bitter enough that he will run again in 2020 and this time really wage war on conservatives, which would cost us more than another election.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

This could be our 1976, not our 1980

I just finished reading Craig Shirley's book about the 1976 election, it's definitely worth the read (and I'm certain plenty of people in both the Cruz and Trump campaigns are reading it now). I don't want to be viewed as being negative on Ted Cruz's chances because I'm not, but I will have to say I am worried about them.  Indiana and California hold the key.  I think if he can win Indiana and then have a few good showings, he can then do well enough to keep Trump from 1,237 or even 1,200 (I think that will be important for the same reason as products are priced at 9.99.  Framing matters).  But he got killed in New York.  Crushed.  I mean really worse than I could have imagined given he was a weak third to a candidate with no money, Kasich.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about the possibility that Ted Cruz will lose.  But even if he does, that doesn't mean we've lost forever.  Just as 1976 wasn't the end of Reagan, 2016 won't be the end of Ted Cruz.

1976 was a year when Reagan was running as an outsider versus an incumbent Republican President.  Just think about that for a moment.  Think about the balls it took to commit yourself to do that and to go against the Republican Party itself, all in the name of freedom.  People who you would never think would go against Reagan, like Dick Cheney or the Mississippi delegation, ended up working for the other side (along with the people you would expect, like that rat bastard Jim Baker).  Reagan was as anathema to the establishment as Ted Cruz is today.  The arguments were also the same.  The Republican Party is dead unless it changes and moves to the left (conservatives actually had to fight to get a pro-life plank in the platform!!!).  Conservatives are just a bunch of yahoos who can't put one foot in front of the other and are unelectable as general election candidates.

Anyway, in the end, Reagan lost, it was close, but he lost.  He lost for a couple of reasons, first, there were definitely some early blunders (like leaving NH early which caused him to have a narrow loss which snowballed into lots of lost momentum) and some missed opportunities by not campaigning in states where he could have won delegates.  Second and I think most important, there wasn't any grand unifying idea to get behind.  His platform boiled down to, I'm a real conservative and Kissinger's foreign policy is too soft on the Soviet Union.  That's great and I would be behind that but it was missing something, that economic message to get people going.  It was between 1976 and 1980 that he, with the help of Art Laffer and Jack Kemp, came up with the idea behind the Reagan tax cuts, which was something that people could really rally behind.  So between that and also not making the same mistakes as he did in 1976, he won the Presidency handily in 1980.

I think that if Ted Cruz loses now, he will just come back stronger in 2020.  First, he will have formed relationships in all 50 states with people that he probably didn't have relationships with before (though he has had an amazing organization for a first timer.  Seriously).  He will have four years to build on them and solidify a 2020 run.  And I think he will be running on a better message.  I feel like he wasn't talking about the right things at the beginning of this run.  He was running as a social conservative to target the evangelicals and also just kept talking about immigration.  Yes a lot of people care about social issues and immigration but they are not the top issues for the masses, the economy is, as evidenced by the fact that a thrice married, illegal immigrant employer was able to win many of the voters Cruz was targeting.  I think between March 1st and March 15th, he started to change his message.  He became more inclusive (e.g. instead of talking about how he will ban most abortions he started talking about letting voters in the states decide, a much softer position).  And he started repeatedly talking about Jobs, Freedom and Security.  This is probably how he should have been running from the beginning.  His schtick still needs some refinement and maybe a little more focus but he is getting there.  By 2020, he should be a much better candidate.

And in 2020, there won't be a Trump, at least not like 2016 Trump.  If Trump wins, he will  probably be a disaster as President, embarrassing himself and our country while betraying conservatives at the same time.  He probably won't even build a wall.  Most of those evangelical and conservative voters who voted for him en masse in the South will feel betrayed and will come home and Cruz would have a good shot at ousting him.

If Trump loses in the general, that "winning" persona will be gone and the fever dream for so many will finally break.  All the talk of mass crossover voting in the general won't buttress another run by him (my guess he won't run again anyway if he loses now) as it will all have been exposed as a sham.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nobody is afraid of America anymore

A Russian/Soviet warplane repeatedly flew within 30 feet of a US destroyer today, simulating an attack.  Here is a photo:


They must think we are complete pussies.  We should have shot that schmuck down.  I bet they wouldn't try to intimidate us like that then.

Update:  Apparently the same thing happened to the same ship last year in the Black Sea.  This is what happens when you don't push back on a bully the first time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yup, Trump is a National Socialist

Last night's CNN Town Hall made one thing perfectly clear, Trump is a fan of big government.  When asked about the top 3 functions of the federal government he said they are security, education and healthcare. Soon afterwards he also included housing.  Can you think of a less conservative answer than that?  Why should the federal government be involved in education, healthcare or housing at all?  Later on he backtracked to say he wants things to go to the states but his knee jerk reaction was to answer the question pretty much in the same way that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would.   Earlier in the day he even attacked Scott Walker for not raising taxes in Wisconsin. It seems that on a lot of issues there is little to no difference between himself and the socialists in the race.  And given that he is also very clearly a nationalist, he is effectively a national socialist.  #NeverTrump is looking better all the time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Is that Donald Trump I saw in Game of Thrones?

Hilarious:

If Trump keeps talking like this #NeverTrump is doomed

A very nice speech from Donald Trump. He sounds a lot more reasonable than usual and I think is starting to focus on the general election and unifying the party. He even had lots of nice things to say about Ted Cruz.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mark my words, if given the opportunity, Rubio will betray the #NeverTrump folks and that movement will melt away

The #NeverTrump hashtag has become very popular, especially with the conservative cool kids but I believe it has probably already reached its high water mark or will soon.  It's March 1st today and as someone who has usually picked the most conservative candidate in previous Presidential contests, I'm very familiar to losing and the emotions that go with it. Last go around, on April 25, 2012, I wrote "Screw the GOP, they don't seem to want my vote anyway" in which I quit the GOP and endorsed Gary Johnson.  Let's just say that way of thinking didn't survive to November and by then I was very pro-Mitt Romney (at least in a race vs. Obama).  Once the heat of the moment passes, you think about things in a more practical way like "do I really want the Democrats in office for another four years" and suddenly you don't hate the target of your hatred so much anymore.  So this natural progression is probably enough to doom #NeverTrump anyway but there is another reason why I think it is doomed.  Marco Rubio.

I know Marco Rubio has been attacking Trump on a very personal basis in the last week but at some point he is going to realize that he isn't going to win the nomination and if Trump is the one winning, he will go begging to the Trumpster to be his VP no matter what he says.  Why would he do this?  Because he has no other choice.  He already said he won't be running for re-election to the Senate and probably wouldn't win if he did (he only has 31% of the Florida electorate viewing him favorably according to PPP Polling).  Those numbers also indicate that he probably couldn't be elected Governor in 2018 either.  So if he wants to stay in elected politics, being Trump's VP will be his best option (and Trump will love to have Rubio crawl back to him begging).

It just seems so inevitable that he will betray #NeverTrump just like he betrayed all those voters who went with him because he claimed to be anti-amnesty.  And once he does so, all the establishment opposition to Trump will melt away as how can they go against their golden boy Rubio, the man next in line to be President?  Sure, there will be some refuseniks but it will probably be about the same number of people who didn't vote for Mitt either.

Friday, February 26, 2016

I know this isn't the conventional wisdom, but Trump won last night

I know the media narrative is that Trump lost the debate and that Rubio clocked him, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The way you get at a candidate in a debate is by providing new information about them that people didn't know like when Christie illuminated how rehearsed Rubio is.  What did we learn about Trump that was new? There were 3 big attacks against Trump, that he employs illegal immigrants, that he doesn't know policy specifics and that there might be something in his tax returns.  I don't know how any of this surprises anybody.  Let's go down the list shall we?

First, that Trump employs illegal immigrants.  Rubio said to Google "Polish workers".  You find out that 35 years ago, one of Trump's contractors hired undocumented Polish workers in a building demolition.  The union sued because they felt they were cheated out of money since the Polish workers were non-Union and Trump eventually had to settle for some amount which may be at most $1 million.  Rubio mentioned the $1 million number as if that is a lot, but maybe he should rewatch Austin Powers, a million dollars isn't a lot of money these days.  For a billionaire, it's the equivalent of $100 for normal people.  Sure, you'd rather have that $100 but you'll survive.  How is this going to take Trump down? 

Rubio also said Trump was the only person who hired illegal immigrants.  Trump had a great retort that quickly shut that down by saying that he was the only person on that stage that has hired anybody.  Rubio had no real response to that because he's a looter who lives off of taxpayer dollars while Trump has employed tens of thousands of people.  And for the sake of argument, let's say this illegal immigrant hiring attack sticks, all it proves is that Trump likes to make money and so if he can hire someone for less for the same job as someone else, he will.  He's a businessman, I think we've known that.

Second, Trump doesn't know policy details.  Yup.  That's pretty obvious as he never has given very good details.  So when Trump kept repeating "lines around the states" with regards to healthcare reform, he sounded like he is not on top of things but nobody really cares.  Rubio seems to think we are trying to elect the best politician or policy wonk to be President.  No, people are looking for a leader.  Also, in terms of Trump's healthcare reform plan to allow competition across state lines, it's a good idea and if he repeals Obamacare and only replaces it with interstate competition, I and lots of conservatives will be very happy as we want it repealed and not necessarily replaced with anything. 

Third, there is something in the tax returns.  What do you think you'll find there?  A donation to the Nazi Party?  He is probably taking full advantage of the tax code to lower his taxes and probably has a low effective tax rate.  Wouldn't you expect that from someone who probably pays quite a lot of money to accountants?  

Ask yourself, considering Trump was able to win pro-military, pro-Bush South Carolina after blaming W for 9/11 and saying he should be impeached for lying about Iraq.  If that didn't take him down, how will anything that was said last night?

While the attacks on Trump were ineffective, he continued with his message that he will bring jobs back to America and was the only person on that stage who did so, which is why he won.  Not one person had a specific plan that anyone could wrap their arms around (the most they seem to ever say is that their tax plans will create jobs and leave it at that), instead they nitpick each others records, as if anyone cares outside of political junkie circles.  Do they not see the hundred or so polls which show that the economy and jobs are the most important issues for Americans?  What's wrong with them that they don't focus on those issues?  Many Americans are working crap service jobs with low pay and almost no benefits instead of working at skilled positions in the industrial sector.  Trump is saying he will reverse the flow of jobs out of this country by renegotiating the horrible trade deals that put us into this position in the first place and if he has to bully Mexico, he will bully Mexico.  He will use the full power of the United States to operate on behalf of the citizens of the United States and voters are confident that he will be successful in making their lives better.  Nobody else comes close to Trump in terms of focusing on improving the lives of ordinary Americans.

Monday, February 22, 2016

There is no realistic way for Rubio to get greater than 50% of the delegates

I know people keep saying that we've only had 3 states vote and so there is plenty of time for the race to turn around for Rubio, who has yet to win a single state, especially now that he is getting establishment support.  I really don't think so, the math is just very daunting.  You just have to realize that by the end of March 15th, 59.9% of the delegates will have been allocated.  Is there any scenario here where Rubio does well and gets large amounts of delegates when there will be four major candidates competing, Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich (who says he is in the race at least until after the OH primary on March 15)?

Let's assume that Rubio runs the table after March 15th, taking every single state, including Trump's home state of NY and other northeastern liberal states where Trump should do well like NJ and CT (note, that in the latest MA poll, Trump is winning by 34 points, with 50% of the vote).  Well, that's still 40% of the delegates, he also needs to get 245 more delegates before the end of March 15th in order to get to the magic 1,237 delegate number.  Even getting to 245 (about 16.5% of the total) will be extremely tough.  Most states are deep red states where Trump and Cruz should finish 1 or 2.  Other states, like Massachusetts are very liberal and would likely go heavily towards Trump.  Heck at this point it's not even clear Rubio is going to carry Florida on the 15th.  While 245 delegates out of 1,480 doesn't sound like a lot, you have to understand that so far he has 10 out of 103, so less than 10% of the total allocated.

Regardless on whether than 245 is doable, we have to understand that there is zero chance of him running the table at the end.  If you just eliminate NY, NJ and CT, which I believe are core Trump states, that takes 174 delegates off the table and makes him now get 419 by the end of March 15th or 28% of the total up to that point.  I really don't see how he could possibly get that much in a 4 way race with lots of Trump and Cruz friendly states in the mix.  Plus, winning with 419 still requires him to win in places like PA and WV (105 delegates total), which are heavily blue-collar and very Trump oriented.  It also requires him to win Cruz friendly states like SD, MT and NE (92 total).

Note that Nate Silver estimates that Rubio will need to have 632 delegates through March 15th with is 43% of the total while in a 4 way race where states are apportioned proportionally.  Again, I just don't see any realistic way that this could happen.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

How exactly is Rubio going to make this an American Century?

Rubio likes to have memorized speeches and taglines like saying he wants this to be a "new American century".  How exactly does he propose to do that?  By wasting our treasure on foreign adventures where we have no actual interest?  Why were we in Libya?  Why are we supposed to go to Syria again?  He seems to want boots on the ground everywhere so that we can waste billions and billions more.  Sounds like another road to ruin.

And you know his comprehensive immigration reform will never include a wall along our southern border, that means the invasion of the United States by people who don't share our values will continue.  We are being invaded by people from cruel, horrible countries and while I know most of the immigrants are good people, they can't help but bring some of that horribleness with them.  Respect for our civil rights will continue to go right out the window as these people vote for candidates that are more and more socialist.  Sanders is a kooky old professor and in many ways is considered a gentle socialist, but what happens when we go down the spectrum to Chavez?  We need to stop this invasion now, before it is too late. 

Rubio will leave the country more broke and with an even worse illegal immigration problem than before as his amnesty will be like a chow bell ringing across the Americas and beyond.  The Roman Empire accelerated its fall by letting hordes of non-Romans cross its borders as they fled the Huns.  These people change the character of the Roman Empire and eventually decided they wanted to take it over.  We can't afford to let Rubio be President and do the same thing to us.

Why I might prefer Trump to Rubio

No, I didn't have a brain tumor for breakfast, it's just last night's loss in South Carolina had me thinking, if Ted Cruz doesn't do well on Super Tuesday, I might have to make a choice.  For if Cruz isn't able to get a heap of delegates and state wins in the SEC primary, what exactly will be his path to victory?  He has focused his campaign on social issues and immigration which I've said time and time again is a mistake.  People care about the economy, people care about jobs and he should have focused on those issues.  Instead, Trump did and many of the people Cruz was targeting went to Trump instead.  Cruz can still turn it around but, in the case that he doesn't, I'm going to have to make a choice between two candidates I really hate, Trump and Rubio.  And despite all the bad things I have said about Trump, I might actually prefer him to Rubio.

Now I know, Rubio's voting record is only a little less conservative than Ted Cruz's so how does it make sense that I choose someone like Trump over someone who is technically more conservative than Jesse Helms?  Because I don't trust Rubio's record.  I think many of his votes he just went along with the conservative crowd because he needed to have a conservative record for the election and he didn't particularly care about the issue.  When you look at the issues he does care about, foreign policy/national security, and immigration, there is a lot I really don't like.

On national security, he has thrown in with John McCain and Lindsey Graham, with no civil liberty that isn't worth stomping on and no dictator that is not worth overthrowing.  He was in favor of overthrowing Qaddafi, when we had zero national interest for doing so, and he is currently for putting boots on the ground in Syria, again, where we have zero national interest.  His foreign policy adventurism will be expensive and is something we can't afford.  Try balancing the budget when you are throwing money at the military AND are sending troops everywhere.

On immigration, he obviously threw in with the Democrats in trying to legalize millions of illegal aliens while only paying lip service to border security.  His list of wrongdoing here is pretty extensive so if you want a complete rundown, check out what the conservative legend Phyllis Schlafly has to say about it (seriously there just is so much, from broken promises to defeating amendments that would have not allowed legal status for gang members).  And obviously, we all know, if Rubio is President the wall will NEVER EVER be built and the invasion along our southern border will continue.

I have this feeling that in many ways a Rubio administration will be a lot like a third term for George W.  We will see a lot of military adventurism, spending controls will go out the window and none of the changes that need to be made, will be made. 

And this is why I think I might prefer Trump.  Now, I'm not kidding myself, in many ways he is a Democrat, but I think he will shake things up for the better in certain key areas.  First, he believes in a wall along our southern border, which is something we desperately need.  Second, he will try to get jobs back into this country by dialing back some of the free trade agreements that have completely gutted our manufacturing base.  We don't make anything anymore.  Instead of having lots of skilled labor, we have lots of burger flippers and customer service reps.  Our country and our economy are dying.  Third, he is a businessman who is used to seeing profits (I know he had four bankrupt companies but he has been more profitable than unprofitable) and so the fact that we keep running up yuge deficits will be a problem for him.  Fourth, as he said in last night's SC victory speech, he will be appointing businesspeople for government posts instead of just "political hacks".  That is something we desperately need as it is the only way we will get real change.  Finally, he is very clearly not a military adventurist.  Now I don't want to get into an argument of if he opposed the Iraq war or not, it's clear he didn't until after but I don't think it would have been his decision to go in if he were President back then.  It's one thing to support something that your President has decided on, it's another to come up with the idea in the first place.

And if you haven't noticed, Trump is the one reassembling the Reagan coalition.  He has conservatives, moderates, independents and democrats backing him.  Even the Teamsters are considering a general election endorsement of him (the last time they did endorse a Republican for President was Reagan).  Rubio doesn't have a chance of doing that as he just doesn't have a connection with the white working class.

2016 is a very important election and may be one of the last chances we have to elect someone who can actually make a difference.  Rubio, he won't be making a difference.  It will be just the same old disappointing Republican administration.  With Trump, he will shake things up and at least in a few areas, it will be for the better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trump's huge support among the white working class is because they have been suppressd by the GOPe for almost 30 years.

Trump's disastrous candidacy (disastrous for the GOP and conservatism) is all the fault of the GOP establishment, pure and simple.  The last Republican nominee who actually seemed to give a crap about the white working class was Ronald Reagan (who even got the endorsement of the Teamsters twice!) but once the blue-blooded country club Republican George H.W. became President, the white working class within the GOP was ignored or outright suppressed. 

Their core beliefs were constantly denigrated and they were called all sorts of names, bigot or racist being the worst.  They were sick of minorities getting preferential treatment in hiring and college admissions.  They were sick of losing their jobs to off-the-book illegal immigrants who can always work for less as there are no taxes associated with hiring them.  They were sick of their factories shutting down so that employers could make a killing having their products made by people working at slave wages.  They were sick of billions in foreign aid would go to those very same countries (e.g. the $50 billion bailout package given to Mexico just one year after NAFTA went into force).

These white working class Americans found a champion in Patrick Buchanan, who could speak their language as he cared about what they cared about and, importantly, understood them thanks to his own blue collar roots. Unfortunately, instead of making substantive responses to Buchanan and the Buchanan Brigades,  the establishment carpet bombed them with ad hominem attacks.  They essentially tried to shame this large part of the electorate to death.  It worked for a while, even as there were fewer and fewer manufacturing jobs and these white working class Americans stood a better chance of finding a job at a Chick-fil-a rather than actually building something.  W didn't speak for them as he was just a born-again blue blood.  McCain was focused almost exclusively on foreign policy and campaign finance reform and Mitt had laid off scores of workers while at Bain.

The GOP establishment liked focusing on "small business owners", but there are comparatively few of them and many of the working class knew the GOP only mentioned them in arguments that attempted to lower tax rates on the rich, people they really don't give a crap about.  Notice how every election year every GOP candidate has to come out with a tax plan even though taxes are low on the list of what the white working class cares about.  No, they don't want to pay 50% of their pay in taxes but they generally aren't with effective tax rates that are often under 10% for people in their income range.  They care about jobs and what the GOP will do about it.  And they don't want to hear how changes in regulations etc. will eventually bring jobs back.  These people are living paycheck to paycheck and need relief NOW!  If the establishment hadn't been ignoring and suppressing these people for the last 30 years, maybe they would have more cushion so they could be more patient.  But the cushion is gone and the patience is gone. 

They are with Trump because he is a man of action and believe that if he comes to power he might actually force factories to come back to their area so they can have real jobs again.  He will shut off the tidal wave of off-the-book labor that is constantly streaming over the border, costing them jobs.  He is not a conservative ideologue like Buchanan but at this point they are too desperate to care. 

So now the GOP faces complete and utter disaster.  I have no doubt that  Trump can win the general, that's not why I think it will be a disaster.  He'll be a disaster because the vast majority of his beliefs are non-conservative and will lead many Republicans to question what's the point of voting Republican if this is what we get?  What the point if the best we can do is nominate a national socialist to face off with an international socialist? 

Actions have consequences and the GOP establishment calling their own voters bigots, racists and isolationists is having some very negative repercussions both for the party and the nation as a whole.

Let's all pray that Ted Cruz can pull it off on Saturday, he might be our last hope.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Thoughts on the South Carolina Debate

I just finished watching the debate (I was only able to watch part of it last night) and I have to say that probably nobody actually won it.  In a normal election Trump would have blown himself up by blaming 9/11 on a Republican President who had just entered office, by defending Planned Parenthood and eminent domain abuse, but this isn't a normal election and most of his supporters are too stupid, ignorant and enamored by his celebrity to support someone else.  Anyway, here is how I think each candidate did.

Cruz:  I think he had a good debate, he had Rubio and Trump calling him a liar but much of that was due to minor campaign issues like the Carson thing and push-polling.  In my experience, whining over campaign actions doesn't usually accomplish much.  Cruz's answers tended to be thoughtful and he came across as someone who knew what he was talking about and believed in conservative values.

Rubio:  The media, especially Fox, is talking about how he had "his best debate yet".  I don't know about that.  I've seen a lot of debates and I'd say this one was par for the course for him.  Some nice rehearsed speeches but nothing to make you think he is ready for the office of President of the United States. 

JEB:  I hate to say this (because I don't want another Bush) but he keeps getting better.  He comes across as very reasonable, thoughtful and dare I say, Presidential.  I think I might actually prefer to have him as President over Marco Rubio.  This election might be getting to me but I am warming to him.

Kasich:  You can just see him allying with Democrats in Congress along with RINO Republicans to get things passed.  Enough said.

Trump:  Did he even say one conservative thing the entire debate?  He certainly said many liberal things like the blaming of W and the defending of Planned Parenthood

Carson:  He just needs to quit already.  He has no path to victory unless someone kills all the other candidates.  He isn't ready and his answers in debates are just such meaningless crap.  I'm waiting for him to say "can't we all just get along?"

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: