I thought Trump had his best night. He toned down his shtick and his answer to Ted Cruz on New York values, while a repeat of what he'd already said, was well done. The whole idea of attacking him because he is from New York is just really lame. There are so very many other reasons to attack him. And if Cruz didn't like his New York values before, why was he sucking up to him for the past six months? Trump's answer to Nikki Haley's accusation of being angry is also well crafted. Cruz basically did well except for that interchange with Trump until the end when Marco Rubio unloaded with his 11 criticisms of Cruz's record and policy proposals. Cruz counted the criticisms, but didn't really refute them. He responded that half of them were false. Well, that implies that half of them are true. Christie did his shtick, but I'm rather tired of his constantly playing his "I'm an executive and Cruz and Rubio are senators so don't listen to them when they argue about substantive questions such as Cruz's tax proposal. He also outright lied about supporting Sonia Sotomayor and urging the Senate to confirm her. Marco Rubio was fired up. He was so passionate in each one of his answers that #AngryRubio became a new hashtag on Twitter which is rather funny considering that Trump is supposed to be the angry guy. I guess that Rubio is trying to channel some of that passion. I thought he had very good answers and was smart to turn every question into an opportunity to criticize Obama and Hillary. However, his weakness on immigration just won't go away. Trying to pretend that he changed his policies simply because we now fear terrorists coming into this country in the past two years as if we didn't fear that before 2013 just won't fly. However, I think he did enough to ace out Christie, Kasich, and Bush as his main competitors.
Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if the debate didn't move the numbers that much. Things might narrow more between Trump and Cruz and I can see Rubio moving up a bit, but still being a distant third. I don't know that Christie did enough to move into the top spot in the not-Cruz/Trump lane.
Here are some other opinions of the debate.
Jonathan Last thought Trump was "low energy" and Rubio was strong.
Chris Christie missed an opportunity to close on Rubio. Rubio's short-term strategy is simple: Beat Christie, Bush, and Kasich in New Hampshire and then consolidate their supporters as they become non-viable in the aftermath. Christie has to beat Rubio in New Hampshire—full stop—in order to continue. He's living in New Hampshire and playing very well there to his strengths as retail politician. He's been creeping up on him in the polls. If Christie had come out tonight and bloodied Rubio, he could have put the Florida senator in a very precarious spot.
Instead, Rubio went on the offensive with Christie; Christie's answers were less than compelling; and Rubio never looked back. This wasn't Christie's last chance—there are still two debates before New Hampshire votes. But there's not a ton of time, either.
On the other side, you had Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, clashing over whether or not Cruz is eligible to be president. In this contest, Trump's past violations of conservative orthodoxy—gun rights, eminent domain—matter so little that no one even bothers bringing them up. Instead, Trump was able to force a confrontation over a (very questionable) interpretation of Constitutional eligibility. The entire affair underscores the extent to which Trump is operating under a different set of physical laws....
A final note on Trump: Tonight's debate showcased a new side of Trump. We'll call it Low-Energy Trump, but the truth is, he was calm and (relatively) serious. He looked like an entrenched front-runner with a secured base who is pivoting to talk to undecided voters. His best moment of the night—maybe in any debate so far—was actually a counterpunch, when he went sentimental and low-key responding to Cruz's not-at-all clumsy "New York values" jab. This was a pitch Trump hasn't shown before. And it suggests that he's still improving as a candidate.
John Podhoretz thinks that Rubio did enough to make it a three-man race with Cruz and Trump, but that "Trump ate everybody's lunch" simply by giving his foggy "word salad" answers that just don't make sense but sound authoritative.
When the debate passed its second hour and kept going, Rubio seized center stage. With his amazing fluidity, he delivered a series of jabs at what he called Cruz’s inconsistent conservatism — 11 in all, by Cruz’s startled count at the end of it.
That was crucial, but not because Rubio scored blows that would slow Cruz’s rise in Iowa. Rubio’s only shot going forward is to consolidate the primary vote that won’t go for Cruz or Trump.
He may have gone some way to concentrating the attention of those voters Thursday night.
Rich Lowry says that both Cruz and Trump have become more plausible as nominees.
Even when Cruz was running rings around him on eligibility, Trump was fun and roguishly frank about how he is hitting Cruz because he is rising in the polls. It’s hard to exaggerate how good Trump’s New York answer was: No politician in either party could do it better. It speaks to a native political skill that is very impressive. Just imagine if Trump knew something, or actually was prepared. His closing was also notable and showed real range — he slowed down and spoke more quietly about the humiliation of the detention of our sailors, and it was very effective.
Trump remains a big, dominant figure, and is only getting better, with only a couple of weeks to go until actual voting.
I thought Rubio was good, if a little uneven. His team clearly wants him to sound harsher and more emphatic. It mostly worked for him, but also felt a little unnatural at times, and he has to be careful about not giving himself an authenticity problem. He didn’t seem comfortable with his attack on Christie, and the governor shut him down later saying Rubio “blew it” when the senator ignored a question about entitlements to instead hit Cruz on his VAT plan.
Rubio was better than Christie, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush, but not as good as Cruz and Trump, which reflects his current position in the race.
Jonah Goldberg doesn't think anything will change from the debate though several of the candidates had very good debates.
It was Donald Trump’s best debate, though his China tariff answer was a hot mess and Cruz had the better of him on the birther nonsense. But it was also Ted Cruz’s best debate, even though Marco Rubio’s jabs left a lot of marks, and Cruz lost on the New York values exchange (and given that the media is so New York obsessed, that will get outsized coverage tomorrow). It was Marco Rubio’s best debate, but he sounded too desperate at times. Substantively, it was Jeb’s best debate, but it may just be too late. Also, his body language is still poor. It was Christie’s second-best debate. I can’t remember if it was Kasich’s best, but he did a very good job of not being filled with anger like last time. Ben Carson seemed like he was resigned to the fact it’s all pretty much over.
Jim Geraghty agrees that Trump did very well countering Cruz's New York values jab, but that Cruz won the Canadian birther argument and made it clear that Trump was just going there because of poll numbers. Rubio probably didn't do enough to counter the fact that he supported and pushed for a bill on immigration that the GOP electorate detests.
Chris Christie is still a natural on television, but he showed some irritating slipperiness. He shouted to President Obama “we’re gonna kick your rear end out of the White House!” . . . to a president who’s term-limited. (Where was this intense desire to evict Obama in, say, October 2012, when Christie was praising Obama’s work in the hurricane response?) Christie also said he had never donated to Planned Parenthood, and either he’s lying now or he was lying back in 1994 when he said he did make personal donations to the group.
Jeb Bush had some better moments tonight, including making some good points about how Trump’s keep-all-the-Muslims-out plan will alienate Muslim allies and people whose help we need in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and other jihadists. It’s hard to see how anything that happened tonight really changes his standing, though.
Ben Carson . . . just hasn’t done the homework on the two biggest topics in the debate, national security and economics. Too often, he relied on non-answers like, “What we need to do is get a group of experts together . . .” He’s a nice, bright man, who really seemed to need a question on stereotactic craniotomy to get rolling.
John Kasich remains a really annoying, preachy, malfunctioning automaton who serves as the natural bathroom break opportunity for those committed to watching the whole debate.
Michael Barone thinks that both Trump and Cruz got a little dinged up in their exchanges over New York and Cruz's eligibility, but it won't matter much in the end. So the real fight was over that third place pole position. Barone basically agrees with what I thought about Rubio and Christie.
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This whole New York values insult is so very annoying. Maybe it poll-tested well in the push-polling that Cruz was conducting in Iowa, but I don't like tarring a whole region as being somehow less than the rest of the country. I didn't like it when Obama was denigrating those areas where people cling to their guns and religion or when liberals trash the South. The attack forces Kevin Williamson to defend Trump against Cruz.
National Review is based in New York. Norman Podhoretz is a New Yorker. The New Criterion is in New York. Irving Kristol was a New Yorker. Milton Friedman was a New Yorker. Hell, Ayn Rand became a New Yorker as soon as she could. William F. Buckley Jr. was a man of the Upper East Side.Jim Dwyer writes in the NYT
America wouldn’t be America without New York, or without New Yorkers.
A great deal of wonderful, fruitful, productive, creative things happen in America’s cities. Being the party that urinates on them from a great height is not terribly bright.
During the debate, Mr. Cruz offered his tidy summary of how 8.4 million people view the world: “Everyone understands that values in New York City are socially liberal, or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, focused around money and the media.”
Funny he should mention a focus on money.
Mr. Cruz presents us with the familiar spectacle of a politician denouncing New York while simultaneously collecting bags of money there to pay for campaigns.
He is being backed by Robert Mercer, a computer scientist and hedge fund chieftain. In April, Mr. Mercer threw $11 million into the kitty for the Cruz campaign. Mr. Cruz is widely, openly, deeply disliked by other elected officials in his own party, but the Mercer money worked like the slippers on Cinderella’s gnarly feet.
Now Mr. Cruz is thought to be jostling with Mr. Trump for the same swath of voters, and until the “New York values” crack, the two had been publicly civil when speaking of each other.
Perhaps it goes without saying that Mr. Mercer, the foundational supporter of Mr. Cruz, lives in New York.
Scott McKay of The American Spectator, however, thinks that Cruz might have glommed onto something with this line of attack.
We know that Cruz did message-testing in Iowa on the “New York values” narrative, and for him to push it in the debate with Trump standing next to him is a good indication that the test was successful. Furthermore, other than New Hampshire the early primary states are almost uniformly places where not only do most voters know exactly what “New York values” means but aren’t exactly fans of them. Even in New Hampshire, there are lots of natives who decry the presence of “Massholes,” Bostonians who fled the big city to the Granite State but took with them all their politics and socially liberal attitudes, and Cruz’s gambit could register with them as a result. As Cruz isn’t expected to win in New Hampshire, the anti-“Masshole” crowd could be enough to give him a small boost and perhaps a stronger-than-expected finish.I just think it is going to be very annoying if we spend the next week discussing "New York values."
And while Trump might well have handled the exchange, if you game out the aftermath Cruz could well have found gold. What is Bill de Blasio, the obnoxious leftist mayor of that city, going to say in response to Cruz? What is Hillary Clinton going to say? Al Sharpton? And when they pop off against Cruz, will that put Trump on their side? What fresh news story will emerge from New York City to offer Cruz a “See, I told you so” moment later in the campaign?
Cruz is likely laying in wait for Clinton to defend New York City in tone-deaf fashion, so he can bring up the bizarre fact that Trump bought her as a party favor for his wedding. He can then suggest that there are lots of rich people in his hometown of Houston who would never have thought to buy her for that party, and the same is true in Iowa, South Carolina, the SEC primary states, and so forth.
Timothy Carney really has Obama's number when he observes that Obama has been interested in two things: winning elections and trash talking. And now there are no more elections.
In his final year in office, President Obama is letting his personality shine: The cockiness he has sometimes cloaked and the jibes he has withheld — he's letting them all out. Obama has long kept his quick and sharp wit sheathed, but now that he doesn't care whose feelings he hurts, he is brandishing it happily....Really? That is what counts in his mind as great rhetoric? Can you imagine if President Bush or Reagan had talked that way about their opponents? Obama's arrogance helps to explain his inability to bring other people along on political deal-making. Making fun of others isn't going to lead them to want to compromise with him. And, as Carney points, Obama's campaigning skills are really rather limited.
In private, Obama has always been a trash-talker. In the first week of the Obama administration, when House Minority Leader Eric Cantor presented some budget ideas, Obama waved them away, explaining "Elections have consequences. And, Eric, I won."
When Sen. John McCain, in a 2010 health-care reform summit, asked Obama about the sweetheart deals for the special interests. He referred to Obamacare's "Louisiana Purchase," giving special treatment to the home state of endangered Sen. Mary Landrieu. He pointed out that the drug lobby "got an $80 billion deal and in return for which they ran $150 million worth of ads in favor of 'health reform,'" adding "Their over $2-million-a-year lobbyist was here at the White House," writing the law.
Obama, in his response, didn't address the special favors or the backroom deals his White House cut with the drug lobby. Instead, he proverbially pointed at the scoreboard, telling McCain: "we're not campaigning anymore. The election is over."
Obama's taunts work with their intended audience. Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, for instance, declared the "just ask Osama,' and "I won both of em" lines to be two of Obama's greatest rhetorical moments of Lowery's two years at the Post.
Obama also couldn't get other people elected. He couldn't save Ted Kennedy's seat in early 2010 or Pelosi's majority that fall. Not only did Democrats lose both chambers of Congress, they fell from controlling 27 state legislatures in 2009 to controlling only 11 in 2016 — from 26 governors to 18.
It turns out President Obama's political skills boil down to one thing: getting people to vote for him.
If trash-talking and winning votes go together, get ready for President Trump.
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If Sarah Palin had said this, it would be a joke for years. But it was Nancy Pelosi so only Republicans will notice. Nancy Pelosi, when asked about the the sailors taken by the Iranians, said that she has “been to Bahrain and looked right across the Persian Gulf to Iran. Everything is very close.” Actually, the distance from Bahrain to Iran across the Persian Gulf is about 150 miles. Jim Geraghty comments,
Seth Mandel observes Pelosi actually says the things that Sarah Palin–haters think the former Alaska governor said.
One poll in 2008 indicated that 86 percent of self-identified Obama voters believed Palin had said, “I can see Russia from my house!” That line, of course, was uttered by Tina Fey impersonating her; Palin accurately said, “you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
Nancy Pelosi has a long history of saying stupid or inaccurate statements: “Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package 500 million Americans lose their jobs.” “The CIA misleads us all the time.” “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” “[Obamacare] will create 4 million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” “The road to Damascus is the road to peace” in her meeting with Bashir Assad.
Yet the notion that Pelosi is an ill-informed, hyperbolic, oblivious rambling loon is held almost exclusively on the right. This undoubtedly reflects a media that simply doesn’t find Pelosi’s cuckoo statements revealing or all that newsworthy, while every Palin utterance is seized upon as further evidence of her stupidity. It’s infuriating for Republicans, but probably helps the party on some level. With no consequence for saying dumb things, Pelosi has no incentive to be more accurate or coherent.
Oh, and elsewhere in that CNN interview, Pelosi referred to the Iran deal as a “treaty” – even though the White House insisted it didn’t need ratification from the Senate because it wasn’t a treaty.
This is what happened when one of the young women sexually assaulted in Cologne on New Year's Eve told her story on German TV and said that her attackers were Arabic and "southern looking" with "darker skin." Since then she has been harassed
online with a video accusing her of making up what happened as part of anti-Muslim propaganda.
In a follow-up interview with SWR Fernsehen, Selina describes what happened to her after the interview aired. Someone posted a video containing a portion of her interview and suggesting all of the reports blaming Muslims for the Cologne sexual assaults were propaganda. Titles appear in the video which say, “Strange that Selina 1 day after this horror (3 days before this interview) on Insta still was happy.”Imagine how scary it must be for a young woman to feel that she's been targeted in a posting that is being viewed by radical Muslims accusing her of racism.
That’s apparently a reference to her Instagram account which the video creator found along with her Facebook page. The video not only suggests Selina is wrong about who attacked her but includes images of her full name and where she works from her Facebook page.
The video went viral and was viewed nearly a quarter of a million times. Selina eventually saw it on the Facebook page of an Islamic preacher who has been described as radical in the German media. She tells SWR Fernsehen she became frightened, wondering, “What if someone sees who believes it or has a radical background?” She began getting threatening calls at work and people were attacking her on Facebook as a racist and a right-winger.
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HEre are two contradictory stories. Byron York talks to some Iowans who braved extremely cold weather to come out for a Trump rally. His conclusion is that people who are willing to do that will also be willing to come out to caucus. So those people who are comforting themselves with the thought that a lot of Trump supporters in Iowa have never caucused before and so won't end up coming out on February 1.
A lot of commentators have described Iowans like them as so loosely connected to politics that they are unlikely to trouble themselves to leave home on what is sure to be a cold night to spend an hour at a caucus. There's certainly been a lot of wishful commentary to that effect.However, the NYT reports that the Trump campaign is just not very organized in Iowa.
Maybe they won't show up there. On the other hand, when the Trump rally began, the temperature in Clear Lake was zero degrees and falling — pretty cold even for the area. People waited outside in line for quite a while to see Trump — everyone had to go through the Secret Service security checkpoint. By the time the event was over, it was dark outside, windy and -2 degrees, headed still lower.
If they'll come out in those conditions to see Trump, they might just come out for the caucuses.
Mr. Trump, who Iowa polls show is neckandneck with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, may well win the caucuses, now less than three weeks away. But if he does, it will probably be in spite of his organizing team, which after months of scattershot efforts led by a paid staff of more than a dozen people, still seems amateurish and halting, committing basic organizing errors.Really? I thought Trump's big selling point is how he would solve problems when he becomes president by putting the best people in charge. He never has to tell us any specifics because it's just going to be great and his people will be great. So why isn't he better organized in such a key state?
Paul David Miller is an evangelist and he explains why he is turned off by Ted Cruz and is supporting Marco Rubio instead. He dislikes the way that Ted Cruz has been playing Christian identity politics.
Cruz takes this faulty political theology onto the grand stage of history. Like most Republicans, he rightly describes the United States as an exceptional country. But in his view, American exceptionalism is a function of her exceptional relationship with God. “From the dawn of this country, at every stage America has enjoyed God’s providential blessing,” he said.As a Jew who is not religious, I always feel rather uncomfortable with politicians who use their faith to talk about politics. I want politicians who will protect religious freedom for all people. I sympathize with those who feel that the Obama administration has impinged on their religious freedom. But that is not because of Christianity, but because I still marvel that our country was founded to respect religious liberty for all. I've studied too much history not to appreciate how rare such freedom has been in human history.
America is exceptional, but not because of any special access she enjoys to God. The United States had a highly unique origin in the acts of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, and its national identity is uniquely rooted in ideas of equality and liberty, rather than race, class, or language, as had been the case for most European countries at the time.
But America is not the special vehicle of God’s purposes in the world. Some conservatives love to quote Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” The nation whose God is the Lord is the Christian Church, not the United States. The church, not the United States, is the vehicle of God’s purposes in the world. To believe otherwise is to confuse the nation with the church, the spiritual with the temporal. That sort of confusion can justify all sorts of dangerous messianic political movements.
Meanwhile, Jon Ward of Yahoo Politics also comments on the different appeal to evangelical voters that Cruz and Rubio have.
But if you want to know whether an evangelical Christian — in Iowa or beyond — is supporting Cruz or Rubio, ask them one simple question: Is America a Christian nation? Most Cruz supporters would answer yes unequivocally. But if they pause before answering, it probably doesn’t matter what they say after that. You’ve more than likely found a Rubio voter.Cruz appeals to the sorts of evangelicals who were fired up by Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. They're older and worried about the state of religion in today's America. They understand and appreciate Cruz's direct appeals to their faith. He speaks their language. However, other evangelicals don't like the way Cruz seems to link religious revival with his campaign as if such a revival could come from any politician. But younger evangelicals are less likely to show up at the polls.
Here’s the rub: the kind of evangelical who pauses when asked the “Christian nation” question – the Rubio type – is most likely to be under 45 and less politically active than the Cruz evangelical. These younger evangelicals are also less numerous in Iowa, an agricultural state that loses large numbers of college graduates each year and ranks in the top five of states with the most senior citizens.
Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review, a site led by Mark Levin and Michelle Malkin, argues that Donald Trump hasn't really been vetted on his positions.
You might be thinking, well, of course Trump has been vetted. After all, he has consumed the national discussion for the past seven months. But much of that national discussion was focused on the cult of personality—both from those who love him and those who hate him. But as it relates to the critical issues facing our country—sovereignty, security, society, our backwards system of governance, free markets—where is he coming from and where is he headed? Given his solid front-runner status these should be the most important questions at this point.
Where is Donald Trump on religious liberty and the role of the courts in social transformation? Does he really think they are the final law of the land when it comes to the most fundamental private property and religious liberty issues of our time? Evidently, he thinks the courts have the power to randomly rule on Cruz’s eligibility to run for president.
Will Donald Trump indeed repeal all of Obamacare? To this day, in his own words, he seems to back socialized healthcare and praises the systems in place in Canada and Scotland.
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Katherine Timpf watched Hillary being interviewed by Amanda de Cadenent on Lifetime and was distinctly nauseated. Timpf's summary of this fatuous interview is quite amusing.
Oh, and of course, seeing as women-basher Hillary has somehow managed to brand herself as a “feminist,” de Cadenet also asked her about the “defining moment” that made her decide to be an “advocate” for women.Perhaps this sort of treacle will appeal to many women, but I would like to think that most women want more than such cloying, substance-free nonsense.
Hillary answered that when she was a “girl growing up” she was “told by boys in the neighborhood that [she] couldn’t play with them because [she] was a girl.”
“I had the experience early on that there were attitudes that people had that really separated boys from girls and in effect discriminated against girls,” she said.
Whoa! The little boys she grew up with wanted to play with other little boys instead of girls when they were children? How traumatic – and to think that she probably grew up believing that this devastating experience was a normal one!
Oh wait. It is. Everyone thinks the opposite sex has cooties when they’re younger. The “boys rule and girls drool” slash “girls rule and boys drool” phase is not discrimination, but rather a normal stage of human development that Hillary should probably chill out about.
After the one-on-one portion of the interview was over, de Cadenet brought in a panel of “YouTube stars” to join in on the party: Chriselle Lim (some lady who talks about fashion,) Maya Washington (who also goes by the nickname “Shameless Maya,”) and GloZell Green (yes, as in the lady who swam in a bathtub full of Froot Loops and interviewed President Obama — because swimming in a bathtub full of Froot Loops is now a credential that makes you worthy of being considered a trusted political figure because we are doomed.)
Matt Lewis wonders if conservative talk radio hosts were using Donald Trump as a stalking horse for Ted Cruz, but now it might be too late.
They created a monster. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. (No more mixed metaphors, I promise!) Then, an interesting thing started happening. A couple weeks after Benson wrote his piece, the “talk radio” wing of the GOP—having spent months propping up Donald Trump—finally began dinging him.Lewis thinks that talk radio bears some responsibility for Trump's rise.
This (not coincidentally) coincided with Ted Cruz‘s rise in the Iowa polls, and with Trump’s decision to start criticizing Cruz. Rush Limbaugh, for example, said Trump’s initial criticism of Cruz raised “some red flags” for him.
It should be noted that Cruz, himself, essentially adopted this same strategy. Until Trump questioned his status as a natural born citizen, Cruz went to great lengths to avoid saying anything remotely negative about The Donald.
It’s very clear to me that a lot of the folks in the populist entertainment wing of the GOP abdicated any responsibility in policing the Right, and instead empowered Donald Trump—all the while, misguidedly assuming he would fade away.
I’m not sure why they did this. But, I think, there are two possible scenarios:
1. They always thought they could use Donald Trump as a sort of stalking horse for Ted Cruz. The entertainment wing wanted to keep him around in order to test boundaries, expand the Overton Window, and generally provide cover for Cruz—who would eventually emerge as a more palatable (in contrast to Trump) compromise candidate.
2. The talk radio wing did not initially realize Ted Cruz could win. As such, they were willing to tolerate Donald Trump’s demagogic rhetoric in exchange for his work creating chaos, taking down the establishment, and tackling political correctness. It was only after they realized that Ted Cruz had a legitimate shot at the nomination that they decided to voice concern over the fact that Donald Trump (gasp!) wasn’t really a conservative.
Neither theory paints these influentials in a particularly favorable light.
The lesson here, I think, is that influence comes with responsibility. The notion that you can play a sort of strategic chess match and control the outcome of an election is both dubious and conceited. It would be truly ironic if conservative talk radio’s acquiescence led to the defeat of Cruz—and the nomination of a liberal named Donald Trump.