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Thursday, September 03, 2015

Cruising the Web

Josh Kraushaar has a perceptive column arguing that Jeb Bush is making a mistake by making the campaign about him versus Trump when his real opponents are Kasich and Rubio.
A slow-and-steady dis­cip­lined strategy from Bush­world has morph­ed in­to anxi­ety over Trump’s stay­ing power. And it’s all be­ing done in the name of a stra­tegic mis­take: Bush’s biggest mis­cal­cu­la­tion is that Trump is his biggest rival; the as­sump­tion that he’s best-po­si­tioned to be the fi­nal Re­pub­lic­an stand­ing against the busi­ness­man. The real­ity is that the es­tab­lish­ment lane that Bush wanted to claim for him­self is get­ting aw­fully crowded, and the former Flor­ida gov­ernor is hardly as­sured of a spot in the GOP fi­nals. And by get­ting dis­trac­ted by the ele­phant in the room—against his own cam­paign’s ori­gin­al con­sid­er­a­tions—Bush risks be­com­ing an early cas­u­alty to a Trump cam­paign that, like a good real­ity show, needs en­emies for its polit­ic­al oxy­gen.
What’s iron­ic is that Bush’s “lose the primary to win the gen­er­al” strategy has been co-op­ted by his es­tab­lish­ment-ori­ented Re­pub­lic­an rivals, while Bush has been re­luct­antly drawn in­to the fray with Trump. Trump has mostly ig­nored Sen. Marco Ru­bio of Flor­ida, whose cam­paign is con­tent to stay on the side­lines un­scathed, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is quickly gain­ing mo­mentum in New Hamp­shire and is rack­ing up the type of es­tab­lish­ment en­dorse­ments that once seemed like good bets to be in Bush’s corner....

Most cam­paigns have cal­cu­lated that go­ing after Trump at this stage is a no-win pro­pos­i­tion. As the George Bern­ard Shaw aph­or­ism goes, “Nev­er wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” The can­did­ates that have taken on Trump—from Rick Perry to Lind­sey Gra­ham to Rand Paul—have seen their stand­ing col­lapse. But someone has to fire the first shot. The fear from GOP strategists is that the first ser­i­ous can­did­ate to blast Trump will be like a kami­kaze pi­lot, tak­ing out the en­emy but crash­ing his cam­paign while do­ing it. That’s why Bush’s at­tacks against Trump have been so tame and are un­likely to be ac­com­pan­ied by any ag­gress­ive ad blitz against the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man. But in its place, he hardly has a bet­ter situ­ation—wimpy re­sponses to Trump’s taunts, while get­ting dis­trac­ted from the main task at hand. It would’ve been smarter for Bush to ig­nore Trump, and start throw­ing red meat at Hil­lary Clin­ton to prove his ag­gress­ive­ness.
Other candidates might be quite happy for Bush to take Trump on. It distracts Trump from attacking them and they can just continue doing their thing and hope that Bush will either damage Trump or vice versa or that they'll both injure the other. Any outcome would benefit the other candidates. That's why, as a general rule, it doesn't pay off to aim attacks at another candidate in such a crowded field. Even if your shots hit their target, the beneficiaries will be those people standing on the sidelines.

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So now the Democratic senators have done what we all knew they would do - back Obama's awful cave-in to Iran. As the WSJ writes, they now own whatever the ayatollahs do in the future.
So the deal will proceed, and Democrats had better hope it succeeds because they are taking responsibility for Iran’s compliance and imperial ambitions. Politically speaking, they now own the Ayatollahs.

The Democratic co-owners include Vice President Joe Biden, presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and nearly every member of the Congressional leadership. While New York Senator Chuck Schumer came out early against the deal, he has done nothing publicly to rally opponents. His silence suggests he has long known Mr. Obama would have enough votes to prevail.

Democrats will reinforce their ownership if they now use a Senate filibuster to block a vote on the motion of disapproval. More than 50 Senators are expected to oppose the deal, and a large bipartisan majority will oppose it in the House. Yet the White House is pushing for 41 Senate Democrats to enforce a filibuster, so that a bipartisan motion of disapproval dies in the Senate and Mr. Obama wouldn’t have to veto.

But what a spectacle that would be—the President’s party using a procedural dodge to avoid voting on the merits of so consequential a deal. Previous arms-control pacts of this magnitude were submitted as treaties requiring two-thirds approval by the Senate. Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats maneuvered the Iran deal as an “executive agreement,” so he is able to commit America to trusting the Ayatollahs with the support of a mere partisan minority. At least ObamaCare had a partisan majority.

As with ObamaCare, the polls now show more than half of the public is opposed to the Iran deal—despite Mr. Obama’s vigorous promotion and a cheerleading media. Also like ObamaCare, the President is assuring Democrats that public support will improve once the pact goes into effect.

But this makes Democrats hostage to Iran’s behavior. This means hostage to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who recently said that “even after this deal our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change.”

It means hostage to Mohammad Yazdi, head of Iran’s powerful Assembly of Experts, who declared this week that “we should not change our foreign policy of opposition to America, our number one enemy, whose crimes are uncountable.” Ayatollah Yazdi will play a large role in selecting Ayatollah Khamenei’s successor.

And it means hostage to Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which will receive billions of dollars in cash once sanctions are lifted. Mr. Soleimani is likely to deploy that cash to fund terrorism and proxies fighting in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza. Democrats will have essentially voted to finance Iran’s combination of Persian imperialism and Shiite messianism....

Meantime, Democrats will also have to worry how Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt respond to Iran becoming a nuclear-threshold state. Democrats are accountable if a nuclear arms race breaks out in the Middle East.

***
The Iran deal is one of those watershed foreign-policy moments when history will remember where politicians stood. Mr. Obama has said as much by conceding that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, “it’s my name on this.” By forming a partisan phalanx to let Mr. Obama overcome bipartisan opposition, Democrats have also put their names on it.
What a legacy Obama has forced on his party - a failed $800 billion stimulus, Obamacare, and now Iran.

David French gives his explanation of why Carly Fiorina is rising in the polls. She can talk about policy and show she's tough at the same time.
If there is an outsider capable of bringing her “A game” to every debate, it’s Fiorina.

It’s also critical to note that Fiorina has separated herself from the political pack not so much by trashing fellow Republicans (although she has attacked Trump) but by proving to be most effective both at attacking Hillary Clinton and countering the television Left. Fiorina’s interviews are making the rounds in conservative circles. There’s Fiorina vs. Matthews on Hillary and Benghazi, Fiorina vs. Couric on climate change, and Fiorina vs. Whoopi Goldberg on life. In each instance, Fiorina went into the liberal lion’s den and triumphed, convincingly.

Conservatives long for a fighter. We also long for a communicator, a person who can articulate conservative views and values in the same way that we see them — as uplifting our nation, our fellow citizens, and ourselves. Over time, Fiorina could well combine Trump’s core virtue — defiance in the face of the Left and of the Republican establishment — with the persuasive skills of the best political communicators. And she should be able to do so over the long haul of a campaign — speech after speech, debate after debate.

By no means is she a favorite yet for the nomination, but she’s now part of the conversation. Her unique skills will probably mean that when the dust settles, the secretary-turned-CEO will have won the outsider battle. She can topple Trump and Carson. The question is: Can she topple the political pros?
I've noticed before that she has the ability to wrap her discussion of policy in an explanation that includes conservative principles. It always surprises me how many so-called conservatives can't enunciate the foundation for conservative principles and then connect them to the policies. Instead they often sound like they're reciting slogans that they've been fed, but don't really understand or believe. Mitt Romney had that problem. We need someone who can communicate why conservative ideas are better. Marco Rubio does this and Carly can also. We'll see how well the other guys can measure up.

It is so unusual for someone not to be sycophantic to Hillary that Politico actually makes a story about the one person who says no to Hillary.
The thousands of now-public emails from Hillary Clinton’s years as secretary of state reveal dozens of staffers and supporters eager to please and praise her, and one person who’s willing to say no.

Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s 50-year-old former chief of staff at the State Department and a family attorney dating back to the early '90s, stands out for her uniquely unvarnished communications with the boss.
She can be brusque, sometimes responding to Clinton’s questions with a simple “y,” as if she is too busy to finish typing the three-letter word.

She’s not always available, often unable to immediately take a call or email from Clinton on the weekend because she is at physical therapy, or getting home from the pool, or participating in an Easter egg hunt with her family.
And she can be irreverent, joking to Clinton in a 2009 email about Clinton's dancing skills, “you shake your tail feathers, girl.”

When kudos are traded between Clinton and Mills, it’s more often Clinton who is complimenting her aide than the other way around. What is most striking about Mills’ correspondence compared with anything else found in Clinton’s inbox is that she appears to treat Clinton like an equal — which appears to be a rarity in Clinton's world. That posture stands in great contrast to the sycophantic praise, or deferential pose, that many of her staff and outside allies used when communicating with Clinton.
It might actually be an interesting exercise if we could get similar emails from all the candidates just to see how their staff addresses them. I'd like to see the person who is most welcoming of criticism and counter-arguments from his/her staff. And whenever there is a taint of sycophancy, we should take another more critical look at that candidate's leadership style. Of course, the other candidates haven't skirted the law to such a degree that their emails become public.

If you want a sense of how the kissing up the Clinton looked, check out this email from her pal Sid the Squid as he tells her that his first thought was that Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar for "Hurt Locker" over "Avatar" as a replay of the 2008 election but this time the "tough woman" got to win. Gag. Anyone who has such a flunky brown-nosing her like that should automatically be disqualified.

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Oh, by the way. Just in case you were buying any particle of Hillary's defense that she wasn't aware of anything in her correspondence that was classified, here is the proof of how ridiculous that is.
Tony Blair knew about Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail account before the American people did — and his off-the-grid e-mail exchanges with Clinton are another sledgehammer to the already crumbling edifice of excuses offered in defense of her homebrew server.

Among the thousands of Clinton e-mails released by the State Department last night were direct exchanges with foreign dignitaries such as former prime minister (and then special envoy for the Middle East Quartet) Blair and internal exchanges between State Department officials about those conversations. The conversations cover a wide range of world hot spots, including the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iran, Sudan, and Haiti. Many of them — nearly 200 in total to date — have now been classified by the State Department as “foreign government information” and redacted or withheld from release. The very nature of the communications in those e-mails established that they contained classified information from their inception. Mrs. Clinton’s defense that she did not know of the existence of such information on her server at the time is laughable....

Blair e-mailed Clinton again the next day, copying Sullivan, Clinton’s aide, apparently on a private e-mail account of his own. The entirety of that e-mail has been redacted from public disclosure as part of the FOIA release. Why? Because it has now been acknowledged as classified information and formally marked “Confidential” by State Department reviewers. The markings that accompany the redactions (which took place just this week as part of the release) explain that the redacted portion is classified under parts 1.4(B) and 1.4(D) of President Obama’s Executive Order 13526. Thus, it falls within the categories of information classified as “foreign government information” — 1.4(B) — and information relating to “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources” — 1.4(D).

Those markings are relevant because they blow up the Clinton campaign’s insistence that Mrs. Clinton and her colleagues did not know that the information at issue was classified at the time. Clinton is, of course, correct that the e-mails were not formally marked classified at the time they were exchanged, but that is only the result of a failure by Mrs. Clinton and her staff to mark them and handle them through the proper channels used for such foreign communications. The information contained in the e-mails was plainly classified at the time they were sent and received — by order of the president.

Executive Order 13526, issued by President Obama at the beginning of his term, addresses the classification and handling of national-security information. It provides that “foreign government information” — which includes “information provided to the United States Government by a foreign government or governments, an international organization of governments, or any element thereof, with the expectation that the information, the source of the information, or both, are to be held in confidence” — must be treated as classified. The president made a determination in the Executive Order that disclosure of these confidential foreign communications “is presumed to cause damage to the national security.”

Apparently, Hillary paid to try to make sure that her identity as owning the server would remain private. And there were other problems that made the server susceptible to problems.
That Hillary Clinton shared a server with the Clinton Foundation and the offices of her husband and daughter raises further concerns about the illegality of her private email use, since other Clinton-World employees not affiliated with the State Department certainly had physical access to her server and the classified information on it.

Hillary’s private server also used the McAfee-owned MXLogic spam-filtering software, which is susceptible to a security breach and which made the information on her server accessible to McAfee employees during the numerous intervals in which her emails were passed through the MXLogic system.

The server was prone to crashes.

Hillary Clinton’s private email server went down in February 2010, and the State Department IT team didn’t even know that she was using a private email address, indicating that Clinton Foundation staff was working on her server as opposed to the agency’s IT professionals.

This is scary. How many are not getting caught?
Five men have been arrested as they attempted to cross the Bulgarian-Macedonian border with decapitation videos and Islamic State propaganda on their phones. The terrorist suspects had been posing as refugees.

Bulgarian authorities near the Gyueshevo border checkpoint detained the five men, aged between 20 and 24, late on Wednesday, Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA TV reported.

The men were stopped by a border guard, who they attempted to bribe with a “wad of dollars.” However, they were searched and Islamic State propaganda, specific Jihadists prayers and decapitation videos were found on their phones.

If the public doesn't care about the tens of thousands of people killed by ISIS and other conflicts in the Middle East, will they care about historic sites?
Satellite imagery released by the United Nations on Monday has confirmed that the Islamic State destroyed one of the most important ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra over the weekend.

The destruction of the 1st-century Temple of Bel appears to be part of a broader campaign by the group against not just Palmyra but a variety of ancient sites -- a campaign that appears to be motivated by both ideology and greed. Worse still, the Islamic State is only one part of a wider situation in Syria and Iraq where a number of important historical areas are considered at risk.

The situation is stark. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) lists 10 world heritage sites in Syria and Iraq. Of those 10, it says nine are currently in danger – and not just because of Islamic State vandalism.

The left is still making unreasoning attacks on Clarence Thomas. He really flips them out.
Black lives matter — unless, apparently, you’re Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The left is renewing its venomous, racist attacks on Thomas in the aftermath of his dissent in the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in favor of gay marriage.
Actor George Takei smeared Thomas as a “clown in blackface.” The Huffington Post called his dissent “beyond ridiculous” and tarred him as a hypocrite for opposing a court-created “right” to gay marriage:
“Clarence Thomas is married to a white woman — something that would be illegal today, if it weren’t for the Supreme Court’s historic Loving v. Virginia ruling.” As if his personal life is fair game.
Last Friday, in another low blow, New York Times reporter Adam Liptak portrayed Thomas as a lightweight whose opinions are cut-and-paste jobs from briefs submitted to the court.
But in truth, all the justices refer liberally to briefs. Thomas borrows about 11.3 percent of his judicial prose from briefs, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor lifts 11 percent and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 10.5 percent. It’s not “cribbing” or plagiarism, as Liptak’s hatchet job implies, but simply the way decisions are written.
In fact, Thomas appears to be the most productive justice, having written 37 opinions this past term, more than any other justice. That fact’s enough to dispense with New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin’s bogus claim that Thomas has “checked out” and “is simply not doing his job.”

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Hillary and Joe Biden apparently bonded when she was in the Cabinet. So the question is if Biden can overcome his innate reluctance to bash her. He would be jumping in the race solely because he doesn't think she should be president. Otherwise, he would have decided to run earlier. So he would have to attack her. Is he up for that on top of all the difficulties he would face gearing up to run?
The golden era of the Hillary Clinton-Joe Biden relationship lasted four years — as long as they had Barack Obama to gossip, kibbitz and complain about.
During his first term, the two developed a kinship — cultivated during weekly breakfast meetings in Biden’s cozy parlor — that hadn’t existed before (and hasn't since). For both, the experience kindled an abiding sense of affection, and not a little ambivalence.
Clinton got an up-close earful of the maddening duality of Biden — the motor-mouth powered by a high-octane brain. Biden was charmed by Clinton’s candor out of the spotlight, but he felt she viewed running for president as a “burden,” according to people briefed on their interactions.
Those perceptions, especially on the Biden side, will weigh on the 72-year-old vice president’s decision whether to run in 2016 or retire.
“He really likes her personally, but there’s been always an undercurrent of resentment,” a former top adviser to Obama, who worked closely with both, told POLITICO. “I think there’s always been an element of — and Biden is by no means the only one who has felt this — ‘why does she feel entitled to [run] and I can’t?’ I imagine that’s playing a big part in his deliberations right now.”

There isn’t really a word in the political lexicon that captures the multilayered, 25-year relationship. Clinton and Biden aren’t enemies, but they’re not quite close friends. They aren’t back-stabbing frenemies, or even proper rivals — yet. “Frivals” seems closest to the mark.
It's an interesting article about their relationship and it seems to be coming from the Biden camp much more so than from the Clinton camp. Maybe they've all received the world to shut up about him in case anything they said would sway him one way or another about running.

Frank Bruni thinks that the idea that Joe Biden could be a winning candidate is a delusion.
Some Democratic leaders and operatives would desperately like an alternative — an alternative, that is, with better general-election prospects than a 73-year-old socialist with little support from minorities. Martin O’Malley hasn’t come through: He might as well be an apparition for all the impact he’s made. Someone else is needed. Cue the Biden talk.

We journalists eagerly amplify it, because nothing improves a narrative like the addition of an especially colorful character. We disingenuously pretend that his favorability ratings and other flattering poll results have the same meaning as corresponding numbers for Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

They don’t, because he’s a hypothetical candidate and they’re actual ones, and it’s the difference between a courtship in its dawn and a marriage in its dusk. Once someone has really moved into the house and is leaving dirty dishes in the sink, the electricity dims and everything droops.

Even while drooping, Clinton holds onto a great deal of support, and she stands on the very territory that Biden, to get the nomination, would need.

“He’s neither to the left of her, where the energy of the party is, nor is he newer than her,” one Democratic strategist said. “He personifies neither progressivity nor change. And you need to have one of the two — preferably, both — to win.”

Clinton’s familiarity is mitigated by the possibility that she’d make history: the first woman in the White House. Biden has nothing like that going for him.

He’s a profoundly awkward fit for this strange political moment, this season of outsiders and insurgents.

Voters are sour on career politicians, and Biden’s career in politics spans about 45 uninterrupted years.

Voters are anti-Washington in particular, and more than 42 of those years have been spent in the national’s capital, as a senator from Delaware and then as the vice president.

Aspects of his legislative record are more troubling for him now than ever before. As Nicholas Fandos noted in a recent story in The Times, Biden pushed for, and later crowed about, tough-on-crime legislation in the 1980s and 1990s that preceded the mass incarceration of today. That would be a wedge between him and the Democratic Party’s black voters especially.

And as Steve Eder noted in another recent story in The Times, Biden was, of necessity, an ambassador for the financial services industry in Delaware. That hardly positions him to win the favor of liberal Democrats who yearn for a crackdown on Wall Street.

Researchers at the Heritage Foundation find that having right-to-work laws does not mean that employees have lower wages contrary to what a liberal think tank found.
Private sector wages are not reduced in right-to-work states as union advocates have argued, according to a new report released Tuesday by The Heritage Foundation.

James Sherk, a research fellow in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation and the author of the study, cited an Economic Policy Institute paper that claimed right-to-work laws reduce wages by 3 percent.

Sherk found the conclusions “fundamentally flawed” because the study only partially accounted for the cost of living differences across states. He said this is a problem because companies in states with higher costs of living pay their employees higher wages to account for steeper expenses.

Every state with compelled union membership and Virginia, a right-to-work state, has living costs above the national average, which is how EPI arrived to its finding that right-to-work states have lower wages.

Once cost of living was accounted for in the Heritage study, Sherk said EPI’s results “disappeared” and right-to-work laws had no effect on private sector wages.

Sherk’s study did find government employees make about 5 percent less in right-to-work states, but he attributed this to government unions’ ability to affect wages by electing “political allies” who will give them “favorable contracts.”

“All of these arguments of right-to-work wages really evaporate when you look under the hood of all these studies,” Sherk said.
Including cost of living in assessing wages is such an elementary requirement for a serious study that it is quite remarkable that a study would not fully account for it in their study. A cynical person would suspect that it was done deliberately to skew results.

Kevin Williamson has a great column looking at what happens after certain feel-good policies are enacted. Good intentions are not enough to counteract the laws of economics.
News item: There is a new cholesterol-control drug on the market, Repatha, which is enormously beneficial to people who suffer serious side effects from the statins commonly used to control cholesterol or who derive no benefit from statins. Some 17 million Britons are potential beneficiaries of the drug, but they will not be able to use it, because the United Kingdom’s version of Sarah Palin’s death panel — which bears the pleasingly Orwellian name NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence — says it is too expensive. The United Kingdom’s single-payer health-care system is effectively a monopoly, and not an especially effective one: Cardiovascular-disease mortality rates in the United Kingdom are nearly 40 percent higher than in the United States. That’s not nice. And it isn’t what was supposed to happen.

News item: Between raising its in-house minimum wage to $9 an hour and increasing its spending on training, Walmart took on an extra $1 billion in expenses and subsequently failed to meet its earnings expectations. As the back-to-school rush gives way to the buildup to Christmas, Walmart employees around the country are seeing their hours trimmed as the company tries to recoup some of the losses it imposed on itself. Employees say they are being sent home early from their shifts or told to take extra-long unpaid lunch breaks, and they say that individual stores have been ordered to cuts hundreds or even thousands of man-hours. That’s not what was supposed to happen.
The examples could go on for pages. But do such lessons in reality alter what liberals will advocate for? No. For them good intentions are enough. Results are not necessary. So the policy's opponents are reduced to arguing about what a proposed policy will result in and its proponents just argue back that anyone who would oppose such an idea hates the poor, women, minorities, or the environment.
Politicians tell us what a policy is supposed to do, what it is intended to do, and they ask to be judged by their intentions. The so-called Affordable Care Act, we were assured, was intended to make health insurance a better value and to make health-care institutions give their customers better service at better prices. Never mind the unspoken premise that is the law’s foundation — “We can radically increase demand for health-care services while reducing costs and improving quality because politicians are magic!” — and its inescapable contradictions. “We meant well,” they say, and that is supposed to be enough.

It isn’t.

#share#It falls largely to persnickety, unpleasant eat-your-spinach types, and to certain happy souls blessedly liberated from the romance of politics by events and experience, to document that what is supposed to happen and what happens are not the same thing. Britons and Canadians and Americans can go on all they like about their “right” to health care, but calling something a right does not make it any less scarce (indeed, it is absolutely meaningless to proclaim a “right” to any scarce good), and whether you choose an anything-goes free market or an Anglo-Soviet single-payer monopoly model, there is going to be rationing, normally through the instrument of price. The only question is whether you get to make that decision for yourself or whether an Orwellian NICE guy makes it for you. You can raise wages at Walmart in the na├»ve expectation that there will be no consequences — in much the same way that all manner of bad decisions begin with the exhortation, “Here, hold my beer.” But there will be consequences. You can loot California until the only people comfortable living there are too rich to care or too poor to care, but the people between those limits have cars, and they know where the local U-Haul office is.

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Matt Lewis takes a look at what is making Ben Carson so successful.
Ben Carson is the rarest of political candidates: One who actually learns from his mistakes.

Most candidates don’t just fail to improve on the trail — many actually regress. Upon declaring for political office, laments conservative leader Morton Blackwell, “Every candidate promptly loses about 30 I.Q points.”

Not so with Carson, who has only upped his game....

Most people are susceptible to the temptation of eschewing the hard work of improving — especially when hurling red meat garners results and ink.

If politicians are known to have egos, then one might expect a world-class surgeon (a profession that lends itself to developing a “god complex”!) to have a huge one. But a willingness to learn is a sign of humility, and Dr. Carson is showing signs he is introspective and self-critical.

Rather than blame the “lamestream” media for hyping his gaffes (and reveling in the attention and praise his controversial comments garnered on the Right), he has set about minimizing his mistakes. “I’ve learned how to phrase things in a way that people can actually hear what I’m saying,” Carson recently told Howard Kurtz. “If you use certain words, it can be the most wonderful thing, they won’t hear it.”

Howard Kurtz is also writing about Carson's rise and theorizes that Carson has been able to fly beneath the media's radar because they just didn't take him seriously as a candidate. So that has given him an opportunity to make his mistakes and learn from them.
Carson has gotten 1/1000th of the attention lavished on Donald Trump, but here he is in a Des Moines Register poll, tied with him for first in Iowa, 23 percent each. He’s also second to The Donald in South Carolina.

The retired neurosurgeon is quietly riding the wave of anger at professional politicians, and he is temperamentally Trump’s opposite, soft-spoken and self-effacing. Carson has a quiet charisma, and while he is not miles deep on some issues, that seems to matter less this year.

But let me venture a prediction. Since journalists haven’t viewed the doctor as a serious threat for the Republican nomination, Carson hasn’t gotten much tough media scrutiny. That is about to change.

Take the recent disclosure that Carson was engaged in fetal tissue research in 1992. He has an explanation as to why that is different than what Planned Parenthood does in helping harvest organs for sale, which he has criticized. The story was a bit of a blip, quickly vanishing from the radar. Had Carson been treated as a front-runner, it would have been chewed over for days.

At the same time, Carson has greatly improved as a candidate. In his early months on the trail, he kept making rookie media mistakes, which made me initially think he was not ready for prime time.

There was the time he likened ObamaCare to slavery. There was the time he told Chris Cuomo that being gay was a choice because some men go to prison and come out gay—comments for which Carson later apologized. But those gaffes have faded.
Of course, if he did become the candidate, we can expect to see those remarks resurrected and played ad nauseam.

Mediate ponders what Donald Trump will do if Carson continues to rise and match or surpass Trump in polls. Will he attack him? That's been Trump's style to this point. So how would he bash someone who seems so decent and gentlemanly?
Technically, Trump already has attacked Carson, and in a way that serves as a guideline for future attacks. In November, Trump tweeted “Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!”

A few weeks ago, Trump was asked about that tweet, and he did not back down....

The idea there is that a black candidate’s appeal is too narrow to secure a win in a general election, and in Trump’s case, certainly not after the feel-good “disaster” that was the Obama presidency. Clinton took a lot of guff over this, but if delivered properly, Donald Trump doesn’t have to worry about Republican voters seeing through the ruse. Trump can frame it as “real talk” about the need for a nominee with broad appeal, appeal that Trump has demonstrated a knack for attracting among Republicans.

“Ben Carson is a wonderful guy,” Trump can say, “and it’s a shame, but thanks to President Obama, there won’t be another black president for generations.”

There are also ample substantive grounds on which Trump can attack Carson without ever having to get to his left on the social issues that make Carson so appealing to evangelicals. Like the many liberals who are afraid to attack Ben Carson, Trump can begin by complimenting Carson’s “inspirational” story and medical brilliance, but then pivot to his lack of leadership experience. “He’s a wonderful guy, but we’re not fixing brains here, we’re getting killed by China. We’re not separating Siamese twins, we’re separating Mexico from Texas with a beautiful wall!”

A less likely but characteristically bold strategy would be for Trump to chalk Carson’s success up to political correctness. “With all due respect, because he’s a wonderful guy, people who support Ben Carson are doing it so PC liberals can’t call them racist,” that tweet will read.

However he does it, Trump will need to go after Ben Carson in fairly short order...
Actually, Trump has already chosen his line of attack.
But despite the rising threat of Carson in Iowa, Trump has not yet attacked the world-renowned neurosurgeon. Asked by TheDC whether being a doctor provides the necessary experience to be president, Trump said while Carson is “a wonderful guy,” he thinks it would be “very tough” for someone who spent his life as a surgeon to handle the job.

“I think it’s a very difficult situation that he’d be placed in,” Trump elaborated. “He’s really a friend of mine, I just think it’s a very difficult situation that he puts himself into, to have a doctor who wasn’t creating jobs and would have a nurse or maybe two nurses. It’s such a different world. I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs over the years.”
Paul Mirengoff ridicules this line of criticism.
This criticism is inane. Donald Trump created jobs by running businesses that hired people. This is not something that a sitting U.S. president is permitted to do. Moreover, conservatives hope that the next president will eliminate jobs in the bureaucracy he controls, not create new ones.

To the extent that the U.S. president creates jobs, he does so through pro-growth economic policies. That’s how Ronald Reagan did it.

Speaking of Reagan, how many jobs did he create before he became president? Few, if any, as an actor. Not many, I suspect (Steve can correct me if I’m wrong), as governor of California. Shortly after taking office, Reagan froze hiring by the state government.

Carson is at least as capable as Trump of identifying and pushing for economic policies that will spur job growth. But neither has experience in this realm.

Given the way Trump touts his business success as his overriding qualification for the presidency, it was only a matter of time until someone asked him whether billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is more qualified. This is the reductio ad absurdum of Trump’s calling card.

But when the Daily Caller put this question to Trump, he didn’t take it that way. Instead, he argued that he’s more prosperous than Zuckerberg:
“That’s different,” Trump replied. “Honestly, I don’t think I’d swap assets, to be honest with you. I’ve seen that stuff go up and down. I have very, very solid stuff. To me, I love real estate because you can feel it. A lot of people, they’ll make five hundred million dollars by doing some new computer game, but I don’t consider that — I consider that sort of different. I consider that paper.”

“I did it in real estate,” he explained, “and as real estate goes, this is about as high as you go.”
I don't know the statistics, but wouldn't Mitt Romney have created more jobs than Trump? Or at least in the ballpark. Would that make Romney a better candidate than Trump?

Bernard Goldberg warns of the danger to Republicans of purists who vow that they will stay home if one of the candidates they dislike - take your pick from Bush, Kasich, Graham, Christie, Rubio - gets the nomination. That's just what many conservatives said in 2008 and 2012. How's that working out for them?
These purists have told me that there’s little or no difference between a moderate Republican and a liberal Democrat. They’re delusional, of course, blinded by their hard-right ideology, but that’s what they believe nonetheless. And depending on who the GOP nominee is, they could represent big trouble for the party.

Finally, consider this: In the last six presidential elections, 18 states have voted for the Democratic candidate every time, totaling 242 electoral votes — just 28 short of victory. That means Democrats are about 90 percent of the way to winning the White House even before the actual voting begins.

Of course, anything can happen. Technically, history tells us only about the past. But it’s often a good indicator of what lies ahead.

So if Republicans hope to win in 2016, they will have to unite and support the GOP candidate whoever he or she is. Republicans, who today are vowing to never support Donald Trump, will have to reconsider, should he win the nomination. And the conservative purists, who swear they will never vote for a moderate, will have to abandon their ideological purity — or abandon all hope of a GOP victory.

This won’t be easy. But it’s the only thing certain in this summer of uncertainty.

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1 comment:

Gahrie said...

And the conservative purists, who swear they will never vote for a moderate, will have to abandon their ideological purity — or abandon all hope of a GOP victory.


Why is it always the Conservatives who have to bite the bullet? We've been doing that ever since Reagan. How about the moderates abandon their "ideological purity" and help us elect a Conservative for a change?