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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Guess what? Mexico has a strict illegal immigration policy

People just love trying to paint anybody who is anti-illegal immigration as racist and anti-latino.  Well I guess then that Mexico is one giant anti-latino country.  This is an older article from Michelle Malkin but still true today:

  • The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?
  • If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome. Neither are those who show “contempt against national sovereignty or security.” They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam, and prove they can provide their own health care.
  • Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years’ imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country (see, for example, President Obama’s illegal-alien aunt — a fugitive from deportation for eight years who is awaiting a second decision on her previously rejected asylum claim).
  • Law-enforcement officials at all levels — by national mandate — must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal-alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration-enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens’ arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.
  • Ready to show your papers? Mexico’s National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens’ identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Israel has until the end of the year to bomb Iran, after which it may be too late

Looks like the S-300 missiles will be delivered by the Russians soon.  Once they become operational, it will be much harder for Israel to launch an airstrike.:

Iran will receive the bulk of the S-300 air defence missile systems it ordered from Russia by the end of the year, Tehran's defence minister has said.

"We signed a contract with Russia. It is being done. We will acquire a large portion of the systems by the end of this year," Hossein Dehghan told state television late Tuesday.

He said Iranian troops were being trained in Russia to operate the surface-to-air missile systems.

This week, the state-run Russian Technologies corporation (Rostec) announced the signing of a delivery contract in Tehran for S-300 missiles.

Thoughts on the Fox Business GOP Debate

I just finished watching the whole thing and I think objectively Ted Cruz is the winner (though I won't blame you for not believing me as I run a Jews for Ted Cruz blog).  So was Fox Business, which ran a much more respectful debate than CNBC (I liked Neil Cavuto's dig at CNBC at the end).  Anyway, here are my candidate by candidate thoughts:

Ted Cruz - As I mentioned, he was the winner.  He clearly had a good handle on all the issues and is a principled conservative.  I like that he took over the gold issue which should take some votes from Rand Paul (Ted Cruz is basically running as a non-kooky Rand Paul who doesn't have extreme views on foreign policy).  He also was able to hit Marco Rubio on sugar subsidies without actually mentioning his name.  And finally, by mentioning JFK as being a President from the past that has had great economic policies, he makes himself look less like an extremist and should help start the flow of moderates and independents to him (though obviously he has a lot more work to do).  When was the last time the Democrats have mentioned a Republican President from the last 60 years that they have liked?

Marco Rubio - He was very knowledgeable on foreign policy and I liked his comment about us needing more welders than philosophers (though I think he should instead say we need more welders than burger flippers as the move from manufacturing to service jobs is what has destroyed the working class of this country). But I think Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were able to make Marco Rubio sound less conservative that I think he would like.  That said, he probably will be taking votes from Kasich and JEB after this debate so will probably have an increase in the polls.

Carly Fiorina - She really is an American version of Margaret Thatcher.  I just really wish she had some sort of ground game so other than getting periodic boosts from polls, I just don't think she will be able to go very far.  I have to say though she would make a wonderful Secretary of State!

Rand Paul - His best debate so far.  He was able to make substantive attacks on Rubio which made Rubio sound like just another politician who likes handouts.  Of course though, his night wasn't perfect as he confused Iraq with Syria repeatedly in an extended answer.  Maybe he will get a bump or maybe the gold bugs behind him will defect to Ted Cruz who has a better chance and doesn't sound as kooky.

JEB -  Much better delivery than normal.  He sounded experienced and reasonable. He pretty much screwed himself though by not shaking Marco Rubio's hand during the break as that is really the only thing people are talking about in relation to his performance.  I do want him to drop out but I like him in the race as he is splitting the moderate/establishment vote.  If we have more moderates than conservatives running, it increases the chance that a real conservative will win the nomination.  That is probably the only way Reagan was able to triumph in 1980.

Donald Trump - His schtick is getting a little long in the tooth and he looked like an idiot in talking about TPP and China for so long only to get corrected by Rand Paul that China isn't a party to that treaty.  But I did like that he said that any of the candidates' tax plans would be better than what he has now as he finally sounded like more of a team player and less of a narcissist.

Ben Carson - Started out really strong with his comments on his past and the minimum wage.  Really good stuff that would have broad appeal.  But then I started to lose the ability to follow his responses.  He's a smarter Herman Cain but still is a Herman Cain.

John Kasich - As someone else mentioned, he is Jon Huntsman with a social disorder.  His angry interruptions were just too much.  Also, his attempt to sound reasonable and practical in his policy proposals was torpedoed by his talk about picking which depositors get their money back from a bank failure (first, we have FDIC insuring deposits so I dont even know the point of his argument and then to say that the government should decide which individual depositors should be bailed out was nonsensical and asking for trouble).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

JEB's SuperPAC is going to attack Rubio from the left on abortion and Iran, are they out of their minds?

In the New York Times there is a story of how JEB's cronies in one of his affiliated SuperPACs are going to buy ads attacking Rubio from the left:

Right to Rise held focus groups in New Hampshire shortly after the Oct. 28 Republican debate, in which, among other things, the participants were quizzed about Mr. Rubio’s missed votes on two Republican priorities: cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which carries out abortions, and blocking President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. The responses suggested that both could provide potent lines of attack.

In an attempt to blunt Mr. Rubio’s appeal and showcase a potential vulnerability against the Democratic nominee in the general election, Mr. Murphy recently showed some Republicans a video portraying Mr. Rubio as too extreme on abortion. A longtime opponent of abortion rights, Mr. Rubio said in a debate in August that he had “never advocated” laws that would allow abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

Mr. Murphy has privately said to several people that Right to Rise would be ready to devote up to $20 million to fighting Mr. Rubio, according to several people told of the conversations. Asked about the figure, Mr. Murphy declined to comment.
They are going to spend $20m making the same arguments that Democrats are going to make against Rubio, is that really a way to win a Republican primary?  And does JEB want to be associated with an attack on Rubio's position on the Iran treaty?  Arguably the worst agreement this country has ever signed?

This won't help JEB, it will absolutely DOOM him.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The more people learn about JEB the less they like him

From the latest McClatchy-Marist poll:

Yup, Jeb can fix it, he's fixed his campaign real good.

The IRS is facilitating identity theft

This is just unbelievable.  The IRS has a policy of not telling taxpayers that someone else is using their social security number as a way to protect illegal aliens.  They even say that the social securities are not stolen, but are "borrowed".  We need to take back our country already:

Recent evidence of the administration’s fealty to these principles comes from two sources. The investigative unit of the Indianapolis NBC affiliate (suggested motto: “Doing the job national media won’t do”) reports that “the IRS is a knowing accomplice to millions of cases of identity theft while keeping victims in the dark.” Here’s their summary:

Findings of the 13 Investigates report include:

  • The IRS accepts millions of tax returns – and issues tax refunds – even when taxpayer documents show clear warning signs of identity theft
  • Confidential IRS policies instruct IRS employees not to tell taxpayers when someone else uses their social security number to earn income 
  • The IRS allows illegal immigrants to “borrow” social security numbers that do not legally belong to them 
  • The IRS is discontinuing a program to notify taxpayers when their social security number is used by someone else to gain employment

My favorite part is that even though the IRS knows someone is using your social security number illegally, they still go after you for under-reporting your income due to the W-2's with the stolen numbers.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Ted Cruz for President

I've been wrestling with whom to support for a while now.  I really liked Carly Fiorina after the first two debates but I really don't have confidence that she has a ground game in Iowa and New Hampshire to do much in those states and hence the election.  I hope whoever wins makes her our Secretary of State.

I was really gravitating towards Rubio but something about him doesn't sit right and it's not the immigration thing.  I don't demand 100% adherence to what I believe in and everyone gets a mulligan.  I just can't call someone with a 93% lifetime rating from the Club for Growth a RINO.  I think if elected, he would be the most conservative/libertarian President we have had for a long time, probably since Calvin Coolidge.  Probably.  Which comes to the reason I just can't bring myself to back him.  I don't see how someone can "accidentally" charge $16,000 of personal expenses onto a Republican Party credit card.  I can see handing someone the wrong card once or twice but this was done a great many times and obviously with the knowledge he shouldn't be doing it.  I guess he felt he "deserved" it, and I have a problem with people who think they are entitled to things that aren't theirs.

Another reason I don't trust Rubio is that he seems to be in the pocket of Norman Braman, a Florida billionaire, who is really enmeshed in Rubio's life and personal finances.  I'm sick of the corruption in Washington, DC and I don't really feel like sending another corrupt politician there.

Which brings me to Ted Cruz.  There is no other politician that comes closer to my political views than Ted Cruz, I've said that repeatedly.  I was always concerned that after all the battles on the Senate floor and government shutdowns, he was just too hated to be President.  I'm not so sure.  According to the latest Quinnipiac national poll, 33% of registered voters say they never even heard of him.  This means that he gets a chance to introduce himself to a vast swath of the electorate and if he continues with how he was going at the last debate, more and more people will like him.  He's even one of the few Republicans with positive net favorability among registered voters.  I also think that his bombthrowing at the Republican establishment will appeal to independents as they won't think that he is beholden to the same old crooks.  I also think he needs to do more interviews like the one with Jake Tapper where he seemed very genuine when he talked about his half-sister, who died of a drug overdose:

Less anger and more empathy will probably go a long way for Ted Cruz and get a true conservative/libertarian into the White House.

Finally, I think that this country is crumbling around us and we need someone who will do radical things in office to right the ship, because radical things are necessary.  Ted Cruz is one of the few candidates who won't be a business-as-usual Republican (Rand Paul also is in this category but he is too whacky and isolationist to even have a chance at election). 

So I will keep my fingers crossed for Ted Cruz, the primary calendar seems to be stacked in his favor and he could have quite a bit of momentum after the March 1 primaries in the South.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sorry 538, Blue State GOP Voters Don't Choose Our Candidate

David Wasserman at 538 had an interesting article on how blue state Republican voters are essentially over-represented in GOP convention delegate counts.  The reason is that many states allocate based on congressional district so that whether you have a lot of Republican voters or a little, your district will be getting the same number of delegates.  The thinking goes that the reason we end up with Presidential candidates who are to the left of the rest of the party and especially the Congressional delegation is because of this over-representation.

While the fact that blue state GOP voters are over-represented seems like it is most definitely true, that doesn't mean that they have an outsized impact on the result of the nomination process.  It would be true if we had a national primary with every state going to the polls at once, but we don't we have that, we have a sequential process.  Because of that, there is a certain amount of path dependence.  In other words, sure you might be the perfect candidate for delegate heavy NY and CA, but if you don't survive the few few primaries and caucuses, you'll never get there and those voters will never get to even get to choose to vote for you.  I know because I live in blue NJ and there isn't even a competitive race once it gets to me.

Most nominating contests are decided before April and sometimes much earlier (note that by this point 1,539 out of the 2,472 [or 62%] delegates would be chosen), so I decided to use only the contests from February and March to see how many delegates come from red states and how many from blue. In this case, I defined a red state as one that went to Romney in 2012 and a blue one was one that went to Obama.  What I got was that 586 out of the 1,539 delegates come from blue states and 953 delegates come from red states.  So by April 1, only 38% of the delegates will have come from blue states.

But even that analysis is probably overstating blue state influence mainly because many states aren't blue or red but are purple swing states.  You just can't equate Iowa, where Obama won with 52% of the vote, to New York, where he won with 63%.  So for any state where either Obama or Romney won it with 52% or less of the vote, I dubbed to be a purple state.  In that analysis, 289 of the delegates chosen before April are from blue states, 369 are from purple and 881 are from red states.  So blue state GOP voters are only 18.8% of that total.  And importantly, none of the states with contests in the month of February, IA, NH, SC and NV are blue and it will be almost impossible for any candidate who can't win in those states to make it to states like New York and California.  And it doesn't get any easier after that really.  There will be 624 delegates chosen on March 1, 479 of which will be from deep red states such as Texas and Alabama.  Only 96 delegates on that date will be in blue states like Massachusetts and Vermont.  Unless a blue state wunderkind can win in IA or NH, they will face a very hard slog through the end of March.


Here is a handy dandy chart with cumulative delegate counts by red state vs. blue vs. purple

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wow, people really hate JEB

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, not only is JEB only getting 4% support but he is heavily underwater in terms of net favorability:

And compare that to the last Quinnipiac poll in September:

JEB went from -7 to -33 in the same month making him much more hated than even Mr. Polarization himself, Donald Trump.    Even among just Republicans he went from a respectable +35 to -3.  Looks like the more people get to know him, the less they like him!  Seriously, he needs to drop out, even he said that he has better things to do.

I also think it is interesting that Ted Cruz is now above water among registered voters, going from -10 to +3.  Maybe he does have a chance?  I certainly would prefer him to Rubio, I keep wanting to like Rubio but then I found out something about him I don't like making me think he is just another sloppy politician (unlike Cruz who is just incredibly high quality).

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

McJobs are hazardous to your health

According to recent research, while mortality is decreasing across western countries and also within US hispanics, middle aged whites (aged 45-54) have actually seen a rise in mortality in terms of deaths per 100,000 people.

What's causing it?  Poisonings, suicides and chronic liver diseases (some due to excessive drinking).

The worst part is, this increase in mortality is concentrated mainly in those who have a high school diploma or less (who make up 37% of the population), those with bachelor degrees have seen a decrease in mortality.

I don't know if it is coincidental, but white mortality started increasing around the same time that white median household income peaked.

I think the move away from good, stable manufacturing jobs to unstable, low-paying service jobs is likely one reason for this.  Maybe instead of asking for opinions on fantasy football, moderators in future debates can ask candidates how they will reverse this trend?  So far, only Donald Trump is addressing it.

At this point in the 2012 Iowa Caucus polls, Cain was leading in Iowa and Santorum was at 3.5%

It really is important to have some perspective, it's anyone's game in Iowa as the chart below shows.  Santorum was barely even a blip on November 3, 2011. 

Note, that Jindal and Huckabee are currently at 6% in Iowa in the latest PPP poll and both have high favorability (both are at 60% favorable with ~20% unfavorable, about where Cruz and Rubio are at)   Imagine the utter mayhem that would result if one of them wins?  It can happen.  Note that Jindal and Huckabee have been coming to Iowa A LOT:

Monday, November 2, 2015

I love the recent pro-Empire Star Wars revisionism from conservatives

When I was a kid, it was all so simple, the rebels were good and the Empire was evil.  Why?  How could anything called the Dark Side be good?  Although for all we know that was probably just good marketing by the Jedi, like how the pro-choice people like calling the other side anti-choice or believe they want to wage a war on women.  Anyway, I started rooting against the Old Republic in those horrible prequel movies, not because the movies were bad but because it was clear that there wasn't really anything good about the Old Republic at all.  Day to day operations were run by bureaucrats with the leaders deeply influenced by an insular religious sect that liked pulling the strings behind closed doors.  And as many people mentioned, if the Old Republic was so peaceful, why did they wage war on the separatists?  They sounded like they just wanted a low regulation, free trade oriented group of systems to be a part of.

So I'm really enjoying the pro-Empire stuff filtering through conservative writers.  It started a decade ago in The Weekly Standard with "The Case for Empire" and has hit hyper drive (sorry, had to) with the Force Awakens coming soon (already have tickets!!!).  A few days ago, there was an actual defense of the destruction of Alderaan, comparing it to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

So, Alderaan was a legitimate military target. Was the level of force used against it justified? It’s a tricky question, but it seems the least bad of all the alternatives. Consider another option the Empire could have taken: invading Alderaan, removing its leaders and installing a pro-Empire regime. However, putting boots on the ground in this manner would likely have destabilized not only the planet but also the entire region, creating a breeding ground for religious terrorists and draining blood and treasure for decades. It’s not hard to imagine a Jedi State of the Alderaan System (JSAS, for short, though they’d likely prefer the simpler Jedi State (JS)) arising from the ashes of some ill-conceived invasion and occupation.


The destruction of Alderaan, then, is more analogous to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki than it is to a “genocide.”* Yes, it was horrible, and yes, it would be nice if it didn’t happen. But it was an attack on a legitimate military target and defensible under Just War Theory, an attack intended to save lives by deterring other major powers from beginning conflicts of their own. The Imperial Grand Moff Tarkin is no worse than Democratic President Harry S. Truman — and no one worth listening to considers Truman to be a monster.

Then in the Free Beacon, the writer who defended the obliteration of Alderaan laments the Nazi like qualities of the pasty rebels, with the picture below being the cherry on top:

Cruz Surging in Iowa

Ted Cruz seems to be surging in Iowa, according to the latest PPP poll.  He does have a very strong organization there so it's not that much of a shock.  Also, like Carson, he has that evangelical fervor, but unlike Carson, he actually knows what he is talking about.  Rubio may be more electable, but I think Cruz is just a higher quality candidate in terms of thinking things through (though I'm not really a fan of his tax plan) while still holding on to ideals.  Anyway, what I thought was most interesting from the PPP poll was the fact that Cruz is getting 34% of Tea Party support and Marco Rubio is getting 1%:

Isn't Rubio supposed to be a candidate who unites the establishment and grassroots because of his nearly flawless conservative/libertarian record in Congress (he has a 93% lifetime score from Club for Growth and 98% from the ACU) and the fact that he was a Tea Party candidate against Charlie Crist in 2010?  For jeebus sake, Jeb Bush gets more Tea Party support in this poll than he is getting.  It might just be statistical randomness but it's still quite amazing. 

Seriously both the Cruz and Rubio tax plans suck

Honestly, I don't usually care about candidate tax plans as I feel they are put together for the sake of being put together.  Also, other than corporate tax reform, I don't put tax reform high on my list of priorities.  The only issue I have with the individual tax system is that so many people end up not paying anything at all so then they don't care how much money we spend because they aren't paying for any of it, but "tax the lower 50%" is hardly a winning slogan.

So then why am I slamming the Cruz and Rubio tax plans?  Am I just being a RINO stooge with a secret allegiance to JEB?  Well in the case of Cruz, it's because I think it will eventually be a disaster which will lead to much higher taxation.  When viewed separately, I actually like aspects of his plan.  I like his flat tax which still allows a home interest deduction, as I don't think a flat tax without a home interest deduction is viable.  Also, contrary to what many people say, the home interest deduction is not just a subsidy for the middle class as it was always a feature of the income tax, even when only the wealthiest paid it.  I also like the idea of the fair tax as it incentivizes savings instead of consumption.

However, we know what would happen when you put both together, both tax rates can now be manipulated by Congress and we could end with high rates for both, just like Europe.  That would make any sort of comfortable lifestyle out of reach for many Americans, other than the very rich.  I would rather Cruz had come in with just a fair tax proposal as that would be one that would make much more sense and have the added benefit of getting the IRS completely out of people's lives.

I also think the Rubio plan doesn't make much sense either as it seems to help the poor and the rich but not the middle class so much as you can see by this chart.

In fact you are going to see some members of the middle class see their taxes go up under his plan.  Right now the 35% tax bracket doesn't start until you hit $411,500 for both single and joint filers filers.  Under the Rubio plan, it starts at $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for joint filers.  So there will be people in the middle class completely screwed by this plan and those are the people who are usually screwed by government.  We need to unscrew them, not screw them more. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thoughts post-CNBC Debate

I finally got a chance to watch the debate yesterday and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Yes, the CNBC moderators were awful and basically a bunch of liberal a$$holes (seriously Harwood reminded me of a high school teacher who was an obtuse, anal prick that hated you for being smarter than him), the candidates themselves seemed so much better than in previous outings.  They realize that time is running out and so they all brought their A game (or as A as they could).  I think Rubio and Cruz really dazzled and clearly won the debates, with Rubio probably gaining many of JEB's supporters.  Anyway, here are my candidate-by-candidate comments

Marco Rubio - He really came prepared, he knew what he would be attacked with and had answered prepared.  I loved that he had examples of Democratic Senators who missed votes when the panel attacked him and then had McCain in his back pocket for when JEB tried to wallow in there.  He spoke really well, could make witty comments on the fly and didn't make any stupid water comments.

Ted Cruz- He did an amazing job.  Even though he is of about the same age as Rubio, he just seems more mature for some reason.  I loved his attack on the panel for asking idiotic questions.  I also had the feeling that he is trying to get Rand Paul's supporters for when he drops out, which is inevitable at this point.  Note that he mentioned that he co-sponsored Rand Paul's Audit the Fed bill, says he wants a currency backed by gold ("ideally") and even referenced Colorado brownies.  Gold bugs and hippies/college students make up probably 90% of Rand Paul's support at this point.

Donald Trump - One thing the CNBC debate proved is that he isn't a buffoon, he is a smart guy who learns from his mistakes.  He came across as quite a bit more Presidential this time around, which is a major improvement.  I think he is in it to win it.

Ben Carson - Just so out of his element.  I now he is a brilliant surgeon and everything but he really did come across as not being able to do simple math.  The segments on his tax plan were downright painful.

Carly Fiorina - I think that with everyone else stepping up their game while she was always at the top of hers, her relative strength has diminished.  She is a great speaker who, like Rubio, handles herself excellently on the fly (when they asked her about Tom Perkins' comments, her answer was  short, quick and completely ended any chance for a follow up).  With Rubio and Cruz shining so brightly right now, I don't know if there is a path to victory for her anymore.

Chris Christie - He really had a great night, I just wish he were a conservative.  He was smart, witty and made a lot of sense when he talked.  But he is still the a$$hole who hugged Obama and probably helped cost Romney the election.

John Kasich - I know people kept commenting that he was yelling too much but I thought he generally came across well, like when he was commenting on how most of the other candidates' plans were just pure fantasy.  Most of the others just don't know what it takes to make massive overhauls of the Federal government and you have to admit, Kasich is really the only one on that stage who does.

Mike Huckabee - Every time the camera went to him, I thought, "oh yeah, I forgot he was still running."  I did though love his answer when the panel tried to get him to attack Trump, he pointed out that Trump would be better than any Democrat.  Which is true.

JEB - Boy he really sucked.  He kind of came across as the Republican Al Gore, just so uncomfortable in his own skin that he will be taking alpha male lessons from Naomi Wolf.  Plus, he really should have thought through his suggestion that Marco Rubio should resign his seat.  We have four sitting Senators running for the nomination and I'm sure they have all missed votes, should they all resign?  It makes no friggin sense.  Just give up already and endorse Marco.

Rand Paul - He actually did pretty well, focusing on his most Republican friendly positions.  He also looked happier than he has at one of these debates.  Too bad its too late.  It's definitely time for him to drop out and endorse Cruz.

So those are my thoughts.  At this point I am having an internal debate on whether to support Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.  Marco Rubio seems conservative enough and has broader appeal but I agree with Ted Cruz on well, just about everything. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yes folks, Donald Trump can win the nomination

Like many armchair quarterbacks, I have been completely dismissive of Trump and his chances to get nominated.  Almost every time I would look at a poll I would just gloss over his and Ben Carson's numbers to look at who was leading the candidates who I thought had a real chance at the nomination.  I'm starting to change my mind on that.  First, he really gave a good interview to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

I felt most of his answers were reasonable and had a common sense quality.  When asked about eminent domain he gave a great answer that will almost immediately shut up his critics on the right who are yelling "Kelo!" at him.  He said the Keystone Pipeline, which has become such a conservative cause, couldn't be built without eminent domain.  That answer is simply a great way to get someone on the right stammering and shows that maybe he does hire smart people (I doubt he came up with that himself).  He also talked about all of our lost jobs and the fact that we are defending other countries while they are raping us blind.  I can't really argue with that one and as poll after poll has indicated, people care most about economic issues and jobs.  Trump is clearly learning and is improving himself before our eyes and I think if he continues as common sense Trump instead of bombastic insulting Trump, he will get some of those who said they would never vote for him (myself included) to vote for him.

And although we have more than 3 months to go, I think his poll numbers do mean something.  I know that many Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina voters have yet to make up their mind and the thinking is that Trump can lose support quickly, a Monmouth poll of New Hampshire primary voters shows that he has some of the most solid support of any candidate (the establishment candidates actually have the most squishy support).

Only Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have numbers that are higher but the fact that Trump is able to have such a firm commitment from his supporters while also being the leader (unlike Cruz and Paul who are far from leading and are essentially niche candidates as of today) bodes well for his chances.  As does the fact that he leads in Iowa as well. 

Now imagine what happens if he wins Iowa AND New Hampshire?  Success in the nomination process is very path dependent and just one result in an early state can significantly shift momentum.  Take a look at the national polling chart from 2012:

Santorum was just a blip on the screen and Newt was in a dead heat with Romney until Iowa, and then boom!  Santorum  gained massive momentum and Newt crashed.  Then with the South Carolina primary you saw Newt once again climb in the polls until his loss in Florida.  If Trump is able to win the first two, I think it will be hard to reverse his momentum and keep him from winning it all unless he completely screws up the ground game in the March 1 primary states (but then again he would have the wind at his back from previous victories and has a fanatical following so that might not matter as much).

And if you don't believe me, believe Pat Buchanan.  You don't have to agree with him to respect him as an astute political observer.  And he thinks Trump has a very solid chance of taking it. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Winter on Fire

So I watched the Netflix documentary Winter on Fire which is about the Ukrainian uprising against their Putin-allied government last year.  There is some seriously intense footage, some of the best I've ever seen in a documentary.  Also, I found it very interesting how little the opposition politicians had to do with the protests, the documentary makes them look like idiot stooges who are completely clueless.  Here is a trailer, if you have Netflix, be sure to watch it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When will the friggin idiotic out of touch schmuck candidates (who are not Trump) start talking about fixing our broken friggin economy

As you can tell, I might be losing it a little.  The latest CNN polls in Nevada and South Carolina really pissed me off as I want Trump to just go away already and not even be close to having a legitimate shot of being the nominee much less President.

First, take a look at this chart from the Nevada poll about who GOP voters think will do best on economic issues:

And it's Trump by a huge landslide.  67% is so high that even people that HATE him with a passion and would never vote for him think that he is better than all the other candidates.  That is pretty pathetic.  And guess what, what issue is most important for voters?  Why it's the economy.

This is not just a Nevada problem but I've seen it in other polls.  Similar results came out of the South Carolina poll which also showed that Trump is leading.  Here are the results to the question about who will best handle the economy from the SC poll:

Again, this number is so high that people who HATE Trump still feel he is best for the economy.  And now here is the ranking of what issues are most important to the voters in SC:

I really, really don't like Trump but you have to hand it to him, he knows what the people want to hear.  They want to hear about how people are going to fix the economy and he actually does talk about it and in a way that resonates.  People want manufacturing jobs to come back to this country and he basically says he will strong arm corporations to make them come back instead of shipping jobs off to Mexico.  What do we hear from the others?  Well, the guy right behind Trump keeps making stupid remarks about not wanting Muslims to be President and how Jews could have stopped the holocaust if there was less gun control.  Who the f*ck cares???  This guy is supposed to be a genius?

And then the other people are just always so vague and never hit the nail on the head.  Even my favorite, Carly Fiorina, tends to talk about foreign policy, abortion and "challenging the status quo".  Give me a f*cking break, that is not moving the needle as you can see by the fact that her poll numbers have stagnated, if not fallen.  She's a goddamn high-level businessperson, one who was in charge of a multinational corporation that operates in just about every country including some we aren't supposed to be in.  Why isn't she being specific like Trump about how she will get jobs back.  She's smarter than him and has more appropriate experience for this (Trump's idea of job creation is to hire a bunch of illegals to build buildings for him).  If I hear about her challenging the status quo again, I will hurl.

And the others, enough with the f*cking tax plans, regulation cuts, Obamacare, talks of ISIS, Iran, illegal immigration and abortion.  Certain special interest groups (and political junkies like me) care about what you say about these issues but do you think someone who works at Target does?  Or someone who just lost their job because of Target or Ford or whoever?  Of course, you will need elements of tax and regulation reform to help fix the economy but you just can't lead with that.  That is about as sexy as Hillary Clinton in a mumu.

Seriously, I think Trump just read one of Pat Buchanan's books and decided to just say what he was saying in a more entertaining way and it's working wonderfully.  He is mopping the floor with all those with better brains, better temperaments and better resumes for public office.  It's like everyone else is an automaton who was programmed with a certain schpeel and they will just keep spouting it until they run out of money and drop out.  Cruz will change Washington and the GOP.  Rubio will give grand speeches about his humble upringing and foreign policy.  Fiorina will talk about challenging the status quo.  Rand Paul will talk about pot, isolationism and prison sentences.  Jeb will say I am not my brother but I'm a Bush so I have the money and connections so na na na na na na.  etc.etc..

And one last thing before I close my somewhat incoherent rant.  When I say talk about the broken economy, I don't mean talking about how bad it is, WE ALL KNOW HOW BAD IT IS.  Solutions people, with actual details.  Not white papers that have been so focus grouped that all you have are broad generalities (like Scott Walker's).

Seriously, if you guys (and gal) don't get your sh*t together on this one and Trump ends up as our nominee then you all seriously suck.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Carly Fiorina is the only outsider on the Koch Brothers' short list

Some very good news for Carly, she really needs the Koch Brothers to have a chance.  Of course she doesn't actually have the Koch Brothers now, she just has a chance of getting them:

Carly Fiorina has officially made the short-list of 2016 favorites of the Koch Brothers' powerful political network, solidifying her standing in the Republican fundraising race.

The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce -- which funds the sprawling constellation of conservative groups -- confirmed Wednesday it is now blessing Fiorina as one of its five candidates. It previously also backed Scott Walker before he dropped out last month.

"Governor Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are leading a thoughtful and substantive discussion on the issues and we look forward to hearing more about their vision for the country," said James Davis, a Freedom Partners spokesman.

I know there are some weirdos and Trump supporters (but I repeat myself), who view the Koch's as part of the establishment and/or RINO's.  Speaking as a former Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow (this was an amazing internship program for conservative/libertarian college students) and former Cato Institute employee (Cato is a leading free market think tank that the Koch's helped start in the 1970's and which they are still heavily involved with), I can say they are true believers.  They are the Ted Cruz of donors.  I know Jeb Bush is on their shortlist but my guess is that is a hedge in case he wins thanks to all the establishment support.  The Koch's are independent of the RNC but I don't think they would sit out 2016, even if a squishy moderate is nominated.

Anyway I am keeping my fingers crossed the the Koch Brothers and someone like Sheldon Adelson choose Carly.  She really needs the help, both financially and on the ground.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Donald Trump is Actually Your Drunk Neighbor

Friggin hilarious (h/t Powerline):

Ted Cruz Does a Great Job Cross-Examining the Sierra Club

They really don't like answering simple questions do they?:

The Coming Cruz Catharsis?

I've said before that of all the candidates running, Ted Cruz is the closest to me in terms of what I believe, pretty close to 100%.  I just never supported him because I didn't think he could win the nomination nor the Presidency.  I really think we need to win in 2016 and some valiant charge straight up the hill in the name of conservatism isn't something that I think we should be doing (he's essentially a smarter pro-Israel version Pat Buchanan).  But there were a couple of articles which just came out that he might at least have a good chance to win the nomination at least.  First from Eliana Johnson at National Review:

With strong support in Iowa and South Carolina, Cruz has a path through the early states; both his campaign and his super PAC are flush with cash; and he’s a skilled politician who doesn’t slip up much on the campaign trail or in debates. But unlike Cruz himself, his strategy is not head-turning but simple, steady, even creeping.

“He’s not readily considered a first-tier candidate, but if you look at the critical ways to evaluate whether a candidate is strong or not, he should be a first-tier candidate,” says GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak.

By all accounts, Cruz is positioned to succeed in Iowa, which has been friendly to conservative candidates in years past. The Real Clear Politics polling average has him tied for third place with Carly Fiorina, and he has a solid ground game in place. “Our trajectory has been slow and steady upward,” says Bryan English, Cruz’s political director in the state. “I’ve just been kind of curious, okay, when are people going to start paying attention to what we’re doing and that we’re positioned to do very well in Iowa.”

With strong support in Iowa and South Carolina, Cruz has a path through the early states; both his campaign and his super PAC are flush with cash; and he’s a skilled politician who doesn’t slip up much on the campaign trail or in debates. But unlike Cruz himself, his strategy is not head-turning but simple, steady, even creeping. “He’s not readily considered a first-tier candidate, but if you look at the critical ways to evaluate whether a candidate is strong or not, he should be a first-tier candidate,” says GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. By all accounts, Cruz is positioned to succeed in Iowa, which has been friendly to conservative candidates in years past. The Real Clear Politics polling average has him tied for third place with Carly Fiorina, and he has a solid ground game in place. “Our trajectory has been slow and steady upward,” says Bryan English, Cruz’s political director in the state. “I’ve just been kind of curious, okay, when are people going to start paying attention to what we’re doing and that we’re positioned to do very well in Iowa.”

And then this from the dreaded New York Times:

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas got an early start to the 2016 presidential campaign in March by being the first of what would become a vast field to announce his candidacy. Now, he has turned that starting advantage into a sprawling ground game.

For every county in the first four voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the Cruz campaign has locked down county chairs in charge of not just lending their names to the campaign, but of spearheading outreach and organizing efforts.

“The only way we will turn our country around is through a grass-roots uprising of the American people, and I’m grateful for the many courageous conservatives in the early states who have stepped forward to lead that grass-roots movement,” Mr. Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday.

Just as Romney had been working for years on his 2012 race, it sounds like Cruz has been doing the same with his 2016 race, so this should be fun to watch. If he wins Iowa he will probably knock at least half the field out of the race. But honestly, it would take a lot for me to get behind him. A Cruz Presidency would be a dream but unfortunately dreams aren't reality and he needs to make huge inroads with minorities, women and independents to win and I don't think he is the guy to do that. But then again, it's not like I am a power broker so maybe I should just say screw it and go for the guy I believe in?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Citizen Carly

Watch this fascinating documentary on Carly Fiorina. There are lots of interview and testimonials which really tell you in great detail about what happened to Carly at HP and beyond:

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why are libertarians supporting Trump?

I've found it quite weird that there are a lot of libertarian types who seem to be pro-Trump, who is probably the most authoritarian candidate by far.  Whether it is his proposal to forcibly evict 11 million people from their homes or replace Obamacare with Obamacare, Trump's solutions to problems is always some sort of government program and often involves force.  Anyway, my former colleague at Cato (a long long long time ago), Jerry Taylor, has a great answer:

The secret of Trump’s appeal to Paul’s base is that a large segment of the “Ron Paul Revolution” leavened its libertarianism with a pony keg of crazy. Birthers, 9/11 Truthers, a wide assortment of conspiracy theorists (many of whom believe the Federal Reserve to be a modern manifestation of the Illuminati), and naked racists rivaled the number of reasonably sober libertarian-ish voters among the faithful. Trump won their hearts by throwing even more crazy into the mix and stirring up a white, working class populism last given political life by George Wallace. Paul let these voters down because he was disinclined to offer the distasteful dog whistles that his father traded for extremist support, much less the louder, baser appeals that are Trump’s stock-in-trade.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A reminder of why establishment politicians have an advantage

Politico has a very interesting story about what's going on in Illinois, which is a great reminder of how much work and organization you need to become President and why the establishment candidates have such an advantage.  There are a lot of state and local politicians that you need the help of and you don't just magically get delegates or ballot access.  This is how JEB could still be our nominee, due to pure arcane procedures that only career politicians can be a master of:

IL GOP PARTY CHAIR HAS NO TRUMP CONTACTS: Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider, who is remaining neutral, tells POLITICO that while potential delegates for Bush, Kasich and Rubio have called the state’s GOP HQ raising their hands for those campaigns. “I can’t tell you we know right now, who to contact if someone wants to be a Trump delegate … I’m not sure the Trump campaign understands the complexity of having delegates in every congressional district.” Petitions start circulating Oct. 3 and candidates have until January to get them in.

Mitt Romney “basically sealed the nomination in Illinois last time,” Brady, then GOP chair, contends. Rick Santorum, who was leading polls at the time, didn’t make it on the ballot in more conservative Illinois districts that would have supported him, Brady says.

‘REAL CONTENDERS’ UP AND RUNNING: In some states, getting on the ballot is a breeze. “Not in Illinois -- probably because somebody is making money off the petition printing contract,” Brady said. “It is a brutal process here. Anybody who’s a real contender has to have an operation up and running now.”

Netanyahu's Powerful Moment at the UN Speech

Watch Netanyahu glare at the UN for celebrating the Iran deal.  Really, wow:

You can watch the entire thing below:

No, Donald Trump isn't going to Win Wisoconsin

With his usual over the top brash style, Trump is bragging about how he is on top of the latest poll in Wisconsin.  But is he really?  Are the polls actually showing that he would win the primary on April 5th?  Most of the candidates included in the poll will have dropped out by then (my guess is Trump will be one of them and I think he should take Dan Henninger's advice and drop out now while he is ahead) so it's important to look at both first and second choices.  Yes, Trump is leading in terms of number of people who say he is their first choice, but almost nobody views him as their second choice.  His base is pretty much his ceiling.

Based on this poll I think it is far more likely for Rubio or Fiorina (if she is able to fundraise and build an organization in the next 3 months) to win the state than Trump (I don't think Carson has staying power either).

Fiorina on how she would deal with Putin

Check out Fiorina's comments from last night's Hannity.  She really continues to be impressive, no wonder she is beating Rubio in Florida in the latest poll there:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Glenn Beck gushes over Carly Fiorina on his Radio Show post-interview

Last night, an hour long interview of Carly Fiorina by Glenn Beck aired on The Blaze, I thought she really knocked it out of the park.  She did so well that Glenn Beck was positively gushing about her on his radio program despite being a Ted Cruz guy.  That does mean a lot to me given that he is such a true believer and doesn't take crap from anyone.  You can hear his comments starting around the 1:02:00 mark.  She's the real deal folks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why was Trump so successful? Because he started out rich

One of the main reasons that a lot of the Trumpitistas support him is because he is "such a good businessman".  A lot of these people seem to think he came out of nowhere and built this vast empire.  Now I'm not arguing he is a horrible businessman but he had started with quite a leg up.  He inherited $40 million from his father in 1974.  Now remember this is not $40 million in 2015 dollars this is in 1974 dollars which are worth a whole lot more.  Adjusting for CPI, his $40 million is worth $190 million in 2015 dollars.  He essentially started out about as rich as Mitt Romney without lifting a damn finger.  And let's not forget the power of compound interest, he has had 41 years since his inheritance to become a billionaire.  According to Bloomberg, he is worth $2.9 billion today, so he increased his real net worth by 15.3 times over those years.  Doing that math that means that he has had a 6.9% real annual return  for the last 41 years, which of course includes his probably lavish expenses.  Look, that certainly isn't bad and has made him a billionaire but when you do the math out, does that really sounds that fantastic considering he lived through the 80's and 90's booms and was a real estate giant during the biggest real estate bubble in history in one of the most booming cities in the country?

Former Lucent Execs calls Carly Critics "Dead Wrong"

There is a pretty great piece in Fortune from someone who used to work with Carly:

I first met Carly Fiorina when we were both working at AT&T. I began reporting directly to her in 1991, when she was heading up of worldwide strategy and I held a similar role for the company’s European division. That arrangement lasted until 1993—though we continued to work together on and off until she left Lucent in 1999.

I’m here to tell you that Fiorina’s detractors, including Donald Trump, couldn’t be more wrong in their assessment of her leadership. Fiorina was bright, insightful, and dedicated to growing our company and developing relationships with employees and customers. There is a reason she rose from a secretary to a CEO – Fiorina is the real deal.


Fiorina, as the head of North American sales, knew that Network Solutions needed to immediately solve this problem. She found that Network Solutions’ competitors were responsive to customer needs, while our engineers and developers were not. Then, in true Fiorina fashion, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work.

As a non-Network Systems insider, she immediately met with fierce resistance to the changes she proposed. The issue was complicated by a leadership team that was entrenched in its ways and unfriendly to “outsiders”—even when they were from within AT&T.

Fiorina realized the crux of the issue was R&D funding. After a major campaign, she was able to convince some of the higher-ups to move funding into the Sales Organization. Then she created a unit within Sales that controlled the funding and acted as a liaison between Product Units and Sales, determining which products to fund and develop.

Fiorina called this concept Customer Architecture. It completely revolutionized Network Systems, pulling a stodgy, lagging company into the 21st Century. Network Systems once again became competitive—and it was this customer architecture that eventually turned Network Systems into Lucent Technologies.

We at AT&T saw this pattern time and time again: When Fiorina put her mind to something, she accomplished it. She was relentless, and through persistence, perseverance, and personality she gradually won people over. In the end, her changes were made and all those working within Network Systems benefited. Fiorina’s genius was recognizing the problem, analyzing the situation, developing a solution and implementing the fix. And those of us lucky enough to work with her reaped the rewards of her leadership.

NBC/WSJ Poll: Over half of GOP primary voters can't see themselves supporting Trump

Carson, Fiorina and Rubio seem to be the only GOP candidates in the race without low ceilings, according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll (note I just have the top ranked candidates here in terms of "yes, could see self supporting" if you want to see the entire list, see page 14-15):

Monday, September 28, 2015

In one answer Trump goes from saying we need to end ISIS forcefully to saying we shouldn't do anything and let our enemies deal with it

Does Trump actually listen to a thing that Trump says?  More from his 60 Minutes interview:

Scott Pelley: We're at war with ISIS as we sit here. How do you end it?

Donald Trump: I would end ISIS forcefully. I think ISIS, what they did, was unbelievable what they did with James Foley and the cutting off of heads of everybody I mean these people are totally a disaster. Now, let me just say this, ISIS in Syria, Assad in Syria, Assad and ISIS are mortal enemies. We go in to fight ISIS. Why aren't we letting ISIS go and fight Assad and then we pick up the remnants? Why are we doing this? We're fighting ISIS and Assad has to be saying to himself, "They have the nicest or dumbest people that I've ever imagined."

Scott Pelley: Let me get this right, so we lay off ISIS for now?

Donald Trump: Excuse me, let --

Scott Pelley: Lay off in Syria, let them destroy Assad. And then we go in behind that?

Donald Trump: --that's what I would say. Yes, that's what I would say.


Donald Trump: If you look at Syria. Russia wants to get rid of ISIS. We want to get rid of ISIS. Maybe let Russia do it. Let 'em get rid of ISIS. What the hell do we care?

So he starts off by saying he would end ISIS forcefully because they are so unbelievably evil and then right after he argues that we essentially shouldn't do anything and let Assad/Iran/Hezbollah/Russia deal with them.  I guess he can never be attacked for flip flopping as he has come for and against attacking ISIS in the same answer!

It's as if the interview asked "what do you think we should do on ISIS"  and Trump answered "yes".  Of course his Trumpitista's will say his answer is brilliant and oh he is so smart. 

Donald Trump proposes a massive increase in Medicaid

Trump was just on 60 minutes last night and he was asked what kind of Republican he is, he said he is a "very good Republican", yet he also makes statements like this:

Donald Trump: Obamacare's going to be repealed and replaced. Obamacare is a disaster if you look at what's going on with premiums where they're up 40, 50, 55 percent.
Scott Pelley: How do you fix it?

Donald Trump: There's many different ways, by the way. Everybody's got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, "No, no, the lower 25 percent that can't afford private. But--"

Scott Pelley: Universal health care.

Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now.

Scott Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of. How? How?

Donald Trump: They're going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably--

Scott Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it?

Donald Trump: --the government's gonna pay for it. But we're going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it's going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.

So the government is going to pay for people's insurance if they can't afford it and everybody is going to be covered.  Isn't that pretty much the same as having an individual mandate with a massive increase in Medicaid to pay for those who can't afford a private plan?  How is this much different than Obamacare?  I think Trump is pitching Obamacare to replace Obamacare, which will probably be called Trumpcare.  Is that the change we are looking for?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Some interesting information from the CNN/WMUR poll in NH

The latest CNN/WMUR poll asks a lot of the usual questions, but also asks some questions that aren't frequently asked.  One is which candidate would you never vote for under any circumstance.  So I took that data and subtracted it from the data on which candidate is your first choice.  I figure you want to be as positive as possible in this as having a lot of haters creates a low ceiling.  So let's see what we have:

So as you can see, Fiorina is actually doing pretty well, she has the second largest percentage of voters who say she is their first choice but then only 1% would never ever vote for her.  Rubio is also doing well as he is #3 in the poll and has nobody who says they would never vote for him (he really is in that magical place where the conservative activists like the Club for Growth can be firmly behind him but then also not scare the establishment).  Of course Trump is in the lead in both categories, leaving him with minimal net support.  JEB is really not doing well as he is firmly in the negative camp.  I think if the race ends up boiling down to Fiorina vs. Rubio vs. Kasich, we will have a pretty interesting primary season and the story will move on from Trump insults.

What about Carson you ask?  Doesn't he have high net favorables all across the country?  He is really not someone I want representing me or the Republican Party.  Tell me again why a Muslim can't be President?  Is he saying there are NO good Muslims out there at all?  Look, I am not a fan of radical Islam and am worried about the Muslim Brotherhood in this country but as the song Ebony and Ivory goes, there is good and bad in everyone.  He also claimed Satan influenced Darwin's theory of evolution.  Really?  Give me a break.  We can't have someone who says such things as the standard bearer of our party. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Uh-oh, a video was unearthed of Carly Fiorina supporting the individual mandate in 2013

Well this is disappointing.  She was asked on Crossfire during a debate with Ralph Nader what she thought about the individual mandate and the ban on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, she responded that she supports both.  You can watch the video of that segment here (it's not embeddable) and a highly edited version below.

And here is another part of the same show where she talks about how inefficient government is.

None of this is a real deal killer for Fiorina as she doesn't support Obamacare or single payor, she supports an individual mandate where people can buy high deductible insurance, something Obamacare doesn't do.  What it does say is that she is a smaller, better government Republican rather than a small government Republican.  One of the hints that she was the former rather than the later was her answer to a question on libertarianism from Glenn Beck:

GLENN: Well, I think Libertarianism — other than being strong on individual rights and small government is really defined by the person. So how would you define Libertarianism, and do you have any of that in you?

CARLY: I certainly believe that this nation became the greatest on the face of the earth and in all of human history because our founders had basic confidence and trust in each individual and their potential, their God-given gift, and their ability to live lives of dignity, purpose, and meaning, with responsibility. I mean, that’s the foundation of this nation. And so, to me, that is the core of who we are. Because this is the only nation on the face of the earth, and truly in all of human history, that was founded on this basic belief in the capacity for life of dignity and purpose and meaning on the part of an individual.

That’s pretty profound. And it’s incredibly important. I also think that there are things that we know work better. You know, we know that children grow up stronger if they have a loving mother and father. We know that communities are stronger when people have a stake in their community. We know that two of the most telling signs of someone’s future success in life are whether they finish high school and whether they wait until they get married to bear a child. So those are issues perhaps of culture or lifestyle that I think also impact our ability to build strong communities. 

Her answer is just not the way I would expect someone who is a true believer in small government would answer it.  Here is how Reagan answered it (though it wasn't from Glenn Beck):

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path. 

Carly doesn't ever really mention the freedom of the individual or liberty or any of that stuff, instead she seems to take things from a very utilitarian perspective in that she will do what she thinks will work best.  If she thinks it requires government action, she'll do it. I still think she is to the right of folks like Mitt Romney but I might just have to go with Marco Rubio.  I'm not done with her yet but I'm definitely concerned as I don't believe government should be able to force you to spend money on something you might never need.  I also don't think the government should force insurance companies to cover people they don't want to cover.  It's like forcing State Farm to insure the house of someone who has had 7 houses burn down.  How can you force the insurance company to take the risk?

A great takedown of Trump by Charles Cooke

I bet this was really fun to write:

In the last month alone, Trump has threatened to sue a small-time T-shirt maker whose products bear critical slogans (“Donald Is Dumb,” “Stop Trump,” and “America Is Already Great”); he has attempted to begin legal proceedings against the Club for Growth on the grounds that it has had the temerity to oppose him and his policies (this, Trump says, is “defamation” — a stunted and preposterous piece of legal analysis that lends some credibility to the messages on the aforementioned t-shirts); and he has expressed a desire to use the federal government to censor unpliable journalists for the high crime of being amusing on television. That neither lawsuit has a shot in hell — and, indeed, that the FCC doesn’t actually have any jurisdiction over cable news — does not seem to matter much. What matters is that Donald Trump feels hurt, and that he doesn’t like it one bit.
That it might be unwise to give nuclear weapons to a man who routinely seeks revenge against even the most modest of quibblers seems not to have occurred to the 25 percent or so of the Republican primary voters who are at present sitting on Trump’s bandwagon. For the rest of us, though, I shall make the point clear: This is not a person who should be given access to a military — or even, for that matter, to a modest bully pulpit. Among the media figures that Trump has thus far called upon to be fired are Lowry (for suggesting that Carly cut him down to size in the testicles department), Jonah Goldberg (for proposing that he “behaves like a “14-year-old girl”), Stephen Hayes (for noting correctly that he is not a conservative), George Will (for arguing that he is a fraud), Charles Krauthammer (for discussing his unpopularity), Chuck Todd (for implying that he isn’t a serious person), Megyn Kelly (for . . . asking questions), and Hugh Hewitt (for the same offense). When maligned, Abraham Lincoln picked up his pen or arranged a debate. Donald Trump takes immediately to Twitter and shouts, “take him off the air!”

Why does Trump behave this way? Because he’s a preposterous little trust-fund wuss, that’s why. As was illustrated once again last night, the man is not really a “fighter” or an “alpha male” or an iron-cored “enemy of political correctness.” He’s a thin-skinned performance artist whose peculiar shtick falls to pieces the moment someone useful elects to return a punch. Look through Trump’s recent Twitter contributions and you will see a wounded man who is always a few harsh phrases and a modicum of bad publicity away from curling up in an oversized sweater and listening to “Everybody Hurts” on repeat.

South Park Takes on Trump

I haven't watched the show in years but this is hilarious:

Trump is our Hillary in terms of Honesty and Trustworthiness

From the latest Quinnipiac, it's pretty clear that people view Trump as honest and trustworthy as Hillary, which is not a good place for him to be:

They are also both underwater among registered voters in terms of net favorability:

It seems to me that Trump is only able to hold his own against Hillary in head to head matchups not because he is so good but because she is so bad.  He gets crushed though by Biden by a whopping 11 points in this poll and even loses to Sanders by 5 points.  We need to make sure we nominate someone with positive net favorables to even have a chance.

Lowry: Carly Fiorina Cut Trumps Balls Off With the Precision of a Surgeon

Just a must see segment from last night's Kelly File. Needless to say, Trump went Beserk after this:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My thoughts on the Republican field

I thought I'd go candidate by candidate on the current Republican field just to give my thoughts and who I think actually has a chance.  It's becoming clear to me that the race is really between Rubio, Fiorina and maybe Trump, JEB and Cruz though really it will depend on who gets out when and where do those supporters go.  We first need to weed out the non-Trump non-Carson candidates so that we can stop those two and then we need conservatives to coalesce around a non-JEB non-Christie candidate.  Anyhoo, here is what I think though I have a tendency to be completely wrong as I was a Phil Gramm, Steve Forbes, Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich supporter in the past.

Carly Fiorina - As I currently have a Carly banner on my blog it is no surprise that I will have positive things to say.  I think she sounds more Presidential than anyone else in the field.  I've listened to her speak dozens of times and she really does have a very dynamic and interesting style.  When she speaks, she cuts to the chase and it simply is difficult to get bored.  I think her communication skills are on par with Clinton and Reagan and could really convince non-Republicans to vote GOP.  My one complaint is that she doesn't talk about how she will make the economy better, how is she going to improve the environment for businesses and jobs.  I know given her experience with CIA that she is more comfortable talking about foreign policy but Trump can't be the only one talking about bringing manufacturing jobs to the US. Hopefully she will get there. The really big unknowns are her finances and her organization.  Campaigns are not one-woman deals, you need organizations behind you to get out your voters especially in caucus states.  Does she have that organization?  How much progress has she made in building one?  I really have no idea.  My sense is that her campaign has been underfunded up until a week or so ago so it is possible improving poll numbers may not, in the end, lead to real votes, especially in a place like Iowa.

Marco Rubio - I'm really warming up to Rubio.  I've forgiven him for the immigration thing as he is pretty right on in terms of all other issues and has a great voting record.  Plus he is young, eloquent and is someone who can get crossover votes.  He is also about 30 years younger than all the Democratic candidates for President.  My only reservation is that he never really ran anything in his life and I do honestly get annoyed every time he makes a water joke, we get it, you are embracing drinking water during the SOTU response.  Please.  Stop.

Ted Cruz-  Is it just me or does he seem more likeable?  He seems less used-car salesmany than he used to for me but I still don't think he has a chance.  I know he thinks he can get a lot of the Trump supporters when Trump blows up but I'm not so sure.  Cruz is still viewed as extreme by much of the nation and frankly much of the party.  He'll always have my respect for speaking for almost an entire day, still being lucid and even asking for more time but I don't think this is his cycle.

JEB - As he is now polling at #3 in his home state of Florida, I have to wonder why is he still here?  Parental pressure?  I really hope he drops out, otherwise he splits the anti-Trump anti-Carson vote and might kill the candidacies of people who might actually has a chance.  Republicans don't particularly like JEB and guess what, the rest of the country doesn't either.  The problem is he probably has so much money behind him that he can stay around for a long time. 

Donald Trump - I think Trump fever is breaking.  Someone as abrasive as him eventually starts wearing on people no matter how much they like his spunk.  Plus, if you watch his speeches he says the same thing over and over again with no detail.  The only reason to watch him really is to see if he insults anyone and that gets boring.  Finally, if you want someone with spunk, why wouldn't people go with Carly?  She has spunk, discipline and details.  Trump only has spunk.

Ben Carson - I like him as a person, really I do, but some of his views are weird/wrong.  He doesn't think a Muslim should be President?  I really can't think of one that I would vote for today but what if a small government Muslim who is tough on Iran and ISIS comes around.  If there can be Muslim members of Likud in Israel, there can be Muslim believers in small government.  And I would vote for one of them in a heartbeat.  He has also said that he believes Satan encouraged Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.  Give me a friggin break.  He is so not electable.

John Kasich - I could be wrong about his chances, he might be able to get some of the moderate vote and do well but he is really to the left on Iran and I think he can be erratic at debates.

Chris Christie - No matter what his poll numbers are, he is still a jerk.  I also think it was really telling that during the second debate he lambasted Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina for talking about their private sector records.  It seemed to me as if he was looking down on people who didn't spend their lives working in government.  You never heard him attacking Walker or Kasich for talking about their records as Governors.  He is way too left for me and for the party.

Rand Paul - I'm a libertarian but I really find him grating.  Not like his father mind you who never hesitated to air some weird conspiracy theory but grating nonetheless.  He keeps talking about issues that only libertarians really care about instead of issues like the economy which everyone cares about.  He's also lost the plot on foreign policy.

Mike Huckabee - Is it just me or has he ballooned since quitting Fox?  I think he is regretting it now (think of all those lost millions).  Carson seems to be getting a lot of the evangelical vote which essentially leaves Huckabee without much of a constituency.  He needs Carson to blow up fast just to get some oxygen.

Bobby Jindal - I always liked him but he isn't polling well in his home state and Ill never forget his botched SOTU response.  I think he is a great manager but not a great candidate.

Rick Santorum - I think if he had any blue collar appeal, Trump probably stole it.  And to get evangelicals he first needs Carson and then Huckabee to quit.  He is doing so bad that he is polling at 1% in Iowa, a state he won last time.  But who knows, he can be like a bad rash that never goes away.

Lindsey Graham - He was really funny at the last happy hour debate and if the primetime debate was more lackluster, he probably would have received more press for his performance.  But running on sending troops to Syria?  I think he would get more support by campaigning on just nuking them.

George Pataki - Look, he seems like an able guy but I don't know why he is running.  Does he even believe he has a chance?  Did he ever?

Jim Gilmore - Who?  Exactly.