Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cruising the Web

I spent a lot of the weekend reading all the obituaries and memories that people have written about Justice Scalia and have come to admire him even more than I already did. Gosh, we're going to miss him. Even some of his ideological opponents have come forth to praise him and his influence on the Supreme Court. He was brilliant, principled, eloquent, good-humored, and witty. Even when he was in the minority, he influenced the Court's approach to cases. Observers of the Court sometimes marvel at the close friendship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. I find the fact of their enduring friendship despite their ideological and judicial battles a wonderful thing. Here is what she said on his death about their friendship and how he made her a better judge.
“Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: ‘We are different, we are one,’ different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve. From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots—the ‘applesauce’ and ‘argle bargle’—and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion. He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh. The press referred to his ‘energetic fervor,’ ‘astringent intellect,’ ‘peppery prose,’ ‘acumen,’ and ‘affability,’ all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader’s grasp.

Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance. He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.”

Liberal legal analyst Mark Joseph Stern writes at Slate to explain why even liberals may come to appreciate Scalia.
But to call him nothing more than a “conservative” would be to overlook the remarkable nuance and complexity of his jurisprudence. Scalia cast a decisive vote in the most important free speech case of the 1980s, Texas v. Johnson, which held that flag burning qualified as constitutionally protected expression. He wrote the landmark majority opinion in 2011’s Brown v. EMA, a double victory for First Amendment advocates that protected both depictions of violence and minors’ rights. And he dissented in Maryland v. King, arguing that the Fourth Amendment forbids law enforcement from collecting DNA from arrestees. (His fierce dissent sounds like it could have sprung from the pen of Edward Snowden.)

Despite his King vote, Scalia was widely viewed by many Americans as a harshly law-and-order justice. Again, that label is simply inaccurate. In many contexts, Scalia was extraordinarily protective of Americans’ right to privacy—though he himself would never use that term. He wrote the majority opinion in Kyllo v. United States, a 5-4 ruling that barred police from peeping into a home with a thermal-imaging device. He also wrote the majority opinion in Florida v. Jardines (another 5-4 decision), barring police from entering private property with a drug-sniffing dog without a warrant. Time and time again, he cast votes to protect drivers from intrusive car searches by law enforcement. Just last term, he sided against the police in a landmark ruling that restored constitutional rights to motorists illegally detained by cops.

And then there’s his view of the Confrontation Clause, which guarantees every criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” The Framers of the Constitution intended the clause to forbid hearsay in the courtroom, allowing every defendant to cross-examine, under oath, those who offer testimonial evidence against him. Before Scalia joined the court, this crucial safeguard against faulty trial testimony had been reduced to a constitutional vestigial limb. As a justice, Scalia embarked on an astonishing and almost entirely successful crusade to restore the clause’s place in the pantheon of civil liberties. In a series of landmark rulings—many authored by Scalia himself—he endeavored to halt the trend of prosecutors introducing dubious hearsay evidence against defendants. This crusade often aligned the justice with unexpected allies, such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg (with whom he was great friends) and Sonia Sotomayor (with whom he was not). And just last term, Scalia took on his frequent ideological bedmate, Justice Samuel Alito, when he sensed Alito “shoveling … fresh dirt” on the newly restored right. The Confrontation Clause was Scalia’s fight; if he had to vote with Sotomayor or against Alito to reach the right result, so be it. (links to cases in the original)
It seems that Antonin Scalia is undergoing that strange transformation that happens to dead Republicans who suddenly receive strange new respect from the same liberals who demonized them while they were alive.

If you want to get a sense of Justice Scalia's personality, read this New York Magazine interview from 2013.

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The Democrats' expressed horror of the Republicans' position to refuse to confirm whomever Obama might nominate is so funny. As if they would act any differently if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died in February 2008 when they controlled the Senate.

Republicans can say that they're following the recommendation of Senator Chuck Schumer from 2007 when there was the fear that George W. Bush might get to make a third appointment to the Supreme Court.
(Link via Jim Geraghty and Gary Gross in The Examiner)
Geraghty turns the speech around so that Republicans can use it today.
We should not confirm any Obama nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances. They must prove by actions not words that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not . . .

This is just a prologue considering the constitutional harm and dramatic departures that are in store if those few are joined by one more ideological ally. We have to, in my judgment, stick by the precepts that I’ve elaborated. I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining Sotomayor and Kagan on the court.
Geraghty points out that the audience received this pledge with strong enthusiasm.
Watch the video; the audience at the American Constitutional Society gave it roaring applause at the end. No one booed. No one shouted this was an assault on the Constitution and rule of law. No one tore their hair out claiming that this was an obstinate ideological litmus test, and that it represented an assault on an independent judiciary.

So we’ve already established that in the minds of the American legal community, it is perfectly legitimate and fair for an opposition party to refuse to confirm a president’s nominees to the Supreme Court unless the nominee meets that opposition party’s definition of “mainstream.”

Goose, meet gander.
Notice that Schumer was saying this when Bush still had 18 months to go in his term. And remember that Obama voted to filibuster Samuel Alito. It's all where a politician stands that determines their positions on this nomination fight. They might cloak it in ideological rhetoric, but we all know the score.

As Jonah Goldberg writes, a Republican block of an Obama nomination is just chickens coming home to roost in the very comfortable penthouse that the Democrats were the first to build.
What she [Ruth Marcus warning Republicans against blocking a nomiantion] leaves out is the simple, glaring, fact that the tables are turning on Democrats who’ve been playing outrageous games with appointment process for a quarter century. When Robert Bork was defenestrated by Joe Biden, despite having said he would have no choice but to vote for someone so well-qualified, he was setting the tables for payback. When Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the nuclear option (on lower court appointments) he was warned that this would come back to haunt him. When Democrats disgustingly blocked Miguel Estrada from the bench solely because he was a Hispanic, they set the table to be turned. When Barack Obama voted to filibuster Alito, he set the table to be turned.

Cry me no tears now that Republicans are finally putting their shoulders to the table....

The division of blame for the ugliness of these fights is not equal. Yes there’s hypocrisy on all sides of the aisle as the tables spin around and around. But philosophically this is a world liberals created. They have invested in the courts power the framers never intended. Their doctrine of the living Constitution has given, in theory, an open-ended warrant for courts to do whatever they want. People lament the rush of money into politics, but that money is made necessary by a government that has evermore control over the economy and peoples’ lives. Similarly, when we turned justices into monarchs, we increased the incentives for people to care much more than they should. If Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution held sway in the land, the Court and the government would have much less power over our lives. And that, more than anything else, explains why the left hated him so much.

Melinda Henneberger writes at Roll Call that one important effect of Scalia's passing is that it will make Republican voters a lot more serious about their vote. And that means bypassing Trump's appeal.
Conservatives now have yet another reason to revere Antonin Scalia: In death, he just may keep Donald Trump from becoming the GOP nominee.

In every presidential election I can remember, both major parties have issued two warnings: This is the most important election of our lifetime. And it will decide the balance of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

Now, that last part is finally, irrefutably true. And are Republicans really going to trust a guy who was pro-choice until a minute ago to appoint Scalia’s successor? Will they pick someone who still speaks highly of Planned Parenthood to replace the justice who called a buffer zone outside clinics “merely the latest of many aggressively pro-abortion novelties announced by the court in recent years”? Scalia himself might dismiss that possibility as “pure applesauce.”

In such a closely divided country, Republicans know they can’t win without the social conservatives who have for months been Trump’s fiercest critics on the right.
Jonah Goldberg agrees,
This is – and should be – a precarious moment for Donald Trump, who has given every indication that he is not only ignorant of constitutional issues but largely uninterested in them (save the natural-born citizen and eminent domain clauses). For people who think this election is worth a gamble on an f-you to the establishment, this vacancy heightens the stakes.

David Bernstein uncovers a resolution that the Democrat-controlled Senate passed in August 1960 when Eisenhower was president.
anks to a Volokh Conspiracy commenter, I discovered that in August 1960, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a resolution, S.RES. 334, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that the president should not make recess appointments to the Supreme Court, except to prevent or end a breakdown in the administration of the Court’s business.” Each of President Eisenhower’s Supreme Court appointments had initially been a recess appointment who was later confirmed by the Senate, and the Democrats were apparently concerned that Ike would try to fill any last-minute vacancy that might arise with a recess appointment. Not surprisingly, the Republicans objected, insisting that the Court should have a full complement of Justices at all times. Of course, the partisan arguments will be exactly the opposite this time.
So Supreme Court nominations becoming political footballs is not new to this age. And this resolution is rather ironic considering that Eisenhower's two nominees to the Court, Earl Warren and William Brennan both turned out to be leaders of the liberal wing of the Court.

David French makes another point
about the importance of opposing Obama's nomination. Since the Bork nomination, the Republicans have been, as Obama might put it, bringing a knife to a gun fight.
The second lesson, however, is perhaps more important — a successful nomination fight can have generational consequences. Progressives play the long game, and by defeating Bork they transformed the Supreme Court far beyond the considerable impact of Bork’s replacement, Anthony Kennedy. Bork’s defeat has haunted Republican presidential candidates ever since, leading them to nominate “stealth nominees” (Justice David Souter, for example) or to sideline the best-qualified conservatives in favor of those who they believe can survive the inevitable Democratic onslaught. In a nutshell this is why Republican presidents have enjoyed far less success in influencing the philosophical direction of the court than their Democratic counterparts.

It is still remarkable that the Senate confirmed Justice Ginsburg – a woman every bit as liberal as Bork was conservative — by a pathetic, “we surrender” margin of 96-3. Indeed, Republican resistance to the “living Constitution” can be summed up in four vote totals: 96-3 (Ginsburg), 87-9 (Breyer), 68-31 (Sotomayor), and 63-37 (Kagan). While Republicans have learned to roll over more respectably (their token resistance at least looks better on paper), they have yet to put Democratic presidents in the same predicament Republican presidents have been in since 1987.

Successful nomination fights don’t just stop one justice, they can alter every nomination battle to come. Conservatives know this well. It’s time to make the Left walk a mile in our shoes.

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As the WSJ explains, the important issues that could be changed by allowing Obama to place another justice on the Supreme Court are numerous and important.
The stakes are simply too great with the High Court now split 4-4 on so many legal issues. The most important aren’t even the social issues like abortion and gay marriage that preoccupy the media. Roe v. Wade isn’t going to be overturned by replacing Justice Scalia, so the disputes would be over laws that regulate abortion in late term or to protect the health of the mother. Same-sex marriage won’t be overturned either.

The more consequential cases are over the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers that President Obama has so abused to serve his political goals. Take the First and Second Amendments. The Friedrichs case on coerced union dues that the Court is scheduled to rule on this year is probably now a 4-4 tie. That would let stand the mistaken Ninth Circuit ruling that denies workers their right not to support political causes they oppose. The Little Sisters of the Poor are also now likely to lose their religious-liberty challenge to ObamaCare’s coerced subsidies for abortion.

A new 5-4 liberal majority would also take aim at the conservative precedents of recent years. These include the 5-4 rulings upholding individual gun rights in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who read her Heller dissent from the bench, gave a speech saying she expected that a future Court would overturn Heller.

Also in peril would be Citizens United and other rulings that struck down limits on financing political campaigns. The lawyer for the Obama Administration said during oral argument for Citizens United that even books could be banned as an independent campaign expenditure. Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton say they want to rewrite the First Amendment to limit campaign donations, and it would take a brave liberal to buck that pressure.

Justice Scalia’s death also means the Court lacks the votes to correct Mr. Obama’s illegal expansions of executive power. These include the House challenge to his rewriting of ObamaCare and the Texas case against his unilateral legalization of four million illegal immigrants. If the Court ties 4-4 on immigration, as it probably will, the Fifth Circuit’s stay on Mr. Obama’s order will continue until the courts rule on the merits. But a 5-4 liberal majority is all but certain to uphold anything a Democratic President does on so political a subject.
These cases are all in danger because the liberal bloc on the Court always votes together an these big issues. Republican appointees on the Court might show some variance, but not the liberals.

This is how far social justice warriors are going in their battle against those accused of sexual assault on college campuses. At the University of Tennessee they want to make sure that the accused are denied any due process protections.
One of the triumphs of the English common law system, heavily reflected in the U.S,. Constitution, is the protections it grants to people who are accused of wrongdoing.

In the college campus setting, those protections have largely been nullified for students accused of sexual misconduct because of federal pressure in the past few years.

But not in Tennessee, whose public universities have retained an administrative hearing process that’s closer in substance to a criminal court than the one-sided, opaque process – sometimes led from start to finish by a single person – that is frequently criticized in lawsuits filed by accused students against their schools.

A group of six rape accusers at the University of Tennessee is trying to force the school to ditch the foundations of American justice, suing the school for – gasp – providing basic fairness to accused students.
The want to deny the accused the right to an attorney or to cross examine their accusers and to hold the hearing in front of an administrative law judge. How ironic that is those on the left, who usually trumpet the rights of accused criminals, who are the ones to want to deny rights to these young men. And in the UT case, the accused are mostly black young men. The ironies abound. But at the core are young men whose whole futures lie in the balance and who deserve all the protections that Americans have treasured since the founding of the country.


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Nate Silver attempts to explain why young people like Bernie Sanders. One reason is that they have very little understanding of what socialism is and what its effects have been. They're young enough not to be able to remember the Cold War and those ideological arguments.
f you’re older than me [38 years old], you may have even more acutely negative associations with “socialism” and may see it as a step on the road to communism. If you’re a few years younger than me, however, you may instead associate “socialism” with the social democracies of Northern Europe, which have high taxes and large welfare states. Sweden may not be your cup of tea, but it isn’t scary in the way the USSR was to people a generation ago.

Indeed, views of socialism are highly correlated with a voter’s age. According to a May 2015 YouGov poll, conducted just before Sanders launched his campaign, a plurality of voters aged 18 to 29 had a favorable view of socialism. But among voters 65 and older, just 15 percent viewed socialism favorably, to 70 percent unfavorably.
This is my experience teaching. I've heard so many times from students that "socialism has never been tried" and that they find the basic ideas appealing. They usually have no problem with advocating higher taxation rates on the wealthy to fund programs to help various groups. Promises of free tuition are very appealing to the teen-agers I teach who are contemplating the financial limitations on their collegiate aspirations. The one argument that always works with them, however, is when I suggest that, following their logic, perhaps I should take some points away from those who earned high grades and spread them around to those who didn't do well. Their eyes will grow wide and they'll say that that is completely unfair and a totally different concept. They worked hard for those grades and why would they work hard if they couldn't keep their grades? And when I reply that people work hard for the money they earn and wouldn't they stop working as hard if they couldn't keep what they earn, they all freeze and that about ends the discussion. I usually try to keep my own ideology out of discussion, but I hate to let their ill-informed opinions win out without any rebuttal offered.

Holman Jenkins explains Bernie Sanders' socialism and how he promises more and more government spending and entitlements despite the fact that we are going broke funding the entitlements we already have.
Mr. Sanders, far from being a radical departure, is merely a perfection of what Democrats have offered since the Clinton era, namely denial.

Ignore the problem. If forced to acknowledge it, insist there’s no problem because the rich will pay. In the meantime, savage every reform proposal as an attack on “unmet needs.” Collect the political rents from serving as defender of every spending interest in our overcommitted republic.

When pressed, even Bernie admits that some additional, unspecified “political revolution” would be necessary before his socialist plans became actionable in America. Meanwhile, what would a President Bernie do in office? You already have the answer.

With the latest report of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, the programs’ unfunded liabilities, in present value terms, are $60 trillion. The worker-to-retiree ratio, which was 5.0 when Medicare was created in the mid-1960s, today is 2.5, and headed for less than 2.0 after 2030. Left out of this calculation, of course, is the growing rank of non-retired entitlement recipients whom taxpayers must also support.

You don’t hear about any of this from Democrats. One reason is that Bill Clinton, the most active, ubiquitous of our ex-presidents, has utterly dropped the subject in return for his party’s indulgence of his fundraising that knows no limits, and no concern about propriety or conflicts of interest.

You don’t hear much about it from Republicans either. The Bill Clinton years may leave much to be criticized, but when both parties acknowledged a reality, there was at least a chance of doing something about it. That ended in 2000, when fully one-fifth of Al Gore’s convention delegates were public-sector union representatives, placed there to quash any mention of entitlement reform in the Democratic platform.

And that suits a lot of Democrats just fine, including Bernie, who, for all his exotic pretenses, is just another machine Democrat.

Byron York points out how weak Jeb Bush's response was to Donald Trump's criticism of George W. Bush's leadership after 9/11. Bush just spluttered about how he was sick of Trump's attacks on his family.
Some of that is simply non-sequitur — one man says the war was a mistake, and the other answers that his mother is a great woman. But Bush's words, more than anything, showed that he is unable to separate momentous national events, or at least this particular momentous national event, from his own familial bonds.
As York points out, Jeb is demonstrating less thoughtfulness about the war in Iraq than his brother has. The pain that veterans and their families feel over the war in Iraq is something that any president must feel deeply about. Jeb has to realize that it'a about more than whether someone attacks or defends his family.

And now Trump is trying to say that he never said that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. Typical dishonesty. This is what he said during the debate.
“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right? They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.”
And then he totally denied what everyone heard him say.
On Sunday, Chuck Todd pressed Trump on Meet the Press about his statement that the Bush administration “lied,” that “They said there were weapons of mass destruction” … and “they knew they were none.” And with a straight face, Trump said: “I didn’t call him a liar. … I said maybe there were lies. … Was it a lie, I don’t know if it’s a lie, who knows?”
As Bernard Goldberg asks, is that the straight-talking honesty that his supporters admire? Trump likes to call Cruz a liar, but Trump is much more egregiously dishonest.

As Fred Barnes points out, Trump's accusation against George W. Bush was part of a rather incoherent answer to a question as to whether he agrees with something he said previously that Bush should have been impeached.
Trump rarely answers questions. In fact, it sometimes appears that he doesn't understand what's being asked, then wanders off in a unguided way. For instance, he was asked if he still thinks George W. Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq, as he once told Nancy Pelosi. That prompted him to echo the political left's claim that Bush lied about nuclear weapons in Saddam Hussein's arsenal. He ignored the matter of impeachment

Trump's charge isn't true. But in the same response he said, "I get along with everybody" – which isn't true either. And along the way, he attacked Jeb Bush over his position on the Iraq war. If there was a path through all this Trump garble, it wasn't a straight one.
Trump apparently comes from the Michael Moor end of the spectrum. And this is the guy whose answer about how eh could work with Congress was that he's the best at sitting down at a table and working with others. Yeah, sure.

And is this any surprise after Trump went full Moveon.org in his accusations against George W. Bush?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is being praised by Code Pink, a group working to end U.S. wars and militarism that has protested the Iraq War.

Trump garnered support from the organization during the GOP debate Saturday night when he called the Iraq War a mistake and accused the George W. Bush administration of lying before the invasion.
Great, the leading GOP candidate is a Code Pink guy.

And much as Trump likes to brag that he opposed the Iraq war before it began, no one can find any evidence of his doing so. His excuse is that people just didn't write down what he said back then. Oh come one. He's been showing up in journalists' stories since the 1980s. If a prominent businessman like Trump had spoken up against the war back in 2003, in the midst of heated debates over going to war, it would have made the news. James Fallows writes that he was researching an article back in 2002 over who opposed the war and he compiled a lengthy list of who had spoken out against the war.
I have no recollection, and can find no record, of Donald Trump saying anything whatsoever in public about invading Iraq before the war began.

To say this again: I’m as likely to have noticed Trump’s public opposition to the war, had it existed, as anyone you’ll find. And I am not aware of his having said anything, nor has anyone provided any evidence that he did so. I believe he is completely making this up.
Opposing the war after it had begun and started going badly in 2004 is quite different from Trump's claims that he opposed it before it even began. But hey, Trump has mastered the tactic of just straightforwardly denying the truth and claiming something totally different and his supporters don't seem to understand the difference or care.

However, back in 2000, Buzzfeed has found out what he said about Iraq in a book he wrote, The America We Deserve.
Consider Iraq. After each pounding from U.S . warplanes, Iraq has dusted itself off and gone right back to work developing a nuclear arsenal. Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq’s crash program to become a nuclear power. They’ve got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers—more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They’ve got enriched uranium. All they need is the material for nuclear fission to complete the job, and, according to the Rumsfeld report, we don’t even know for sure if they’ve laid their hands on that yet. That’s what our last aerial assault on Iraq in 1999 was about. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t let UN weapons inspectors examine certain sites where that material might be stored. The result when our bombing was over? We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.
So it seems that he supported attacking Iraq in 2000, but only turned against doing so when the war started going badly.

I don't think that George W. Bush's campaigning in South Carolina will do that much to support Jeb. Did anyone think he didn't support his brother? All he is at this point is a draw for people to come out for a Jeb rally and gain Jeb some PR in South Carolina. Byron York didn't get the sense from the rally featuring George W. Bush that the crowd was really for Jeb. They like W, but that doesn't transfer to his brother, rather like how Bill Clinton's popularity doesn't automatically transfer to his wife. And from the clips I saw on the news from the rally in South Carolina, I was struck at how much better W is at campaigning with a folksy, likable demeanor than Jeb is. Jeb might have been the smarter, more policy-oriented brother, but W has the people skills. They seem a reverse of the normal personality characteristics associated with birth order.


Marine veteran Aaron MacLean explains
why veterans should not trust Donald Trump.
Before vets succumb to Trump's blandishments, though, we need to realize that his promises are as self-interested as those from any other politician— and, if possible, even less genuine. Consider that as recently as 2004, before he felt a need for their votes, Trump was pursuing his own private jihad against veterans in New York City who had the temerity to operate as street vendors on Fifth Avenue — which is to say, in front of Trump Tower.

New York had long offered licenses for veterans to ply this sort of trade. But Trump, as the New York Daily News reported, found the veterans unsightly. "Whether they are veterans or not, they should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street," he wrote to Michael Bloomberg, mayor at the time. "The image of New York City will suffer. .  .  . I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late." Fifth Avenue was too important and prestigious a spot — the kind of place a billionaire might live! — for vets to try to earn a (legal and honest) living.

This attempt to clear the veterans off his street was not a one-off affair. In 1991, Trump sent a similar letter to an influential member of the New York State Assembly, asking, "Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world's finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?" So, for well over a decade, Trump's position on lending a helping hand to veterans was that it was fine, so long as it didn't offend his eyes or hurt his bottom line.

What a difference a run for the presidency can make! To Chuck Todd, earlier this campaign season, Trump lamented the condition of all the wounded vets he sees in New York City: "And they're walking all over the streets of New York, all over the streets of every city, without arms, without legs and worse than that. And I would take care of them. They paid a big price." How would he take care of them? Famously, by taking ISIS's oil and giving them the proceeds: "It's okay. We're going to circle [Iraq]. We're going to circle. We're going to have so much money, and what I would do with the money that we make, which would be tremendous, I would take care of the soldiers that were killed, the families of the soldiers that were killed, the soldiers, the wounded warriors that are — see, I love them."

If Trump were serious about wooing veterans, you might think he would have the grace to propose a scheme that might actually come to pass. The notion that Trump could actually send the U.S. military to Iraq to seize the oil there, then give the money to wounded warriors, is about as ridiculous as the notion that Trump's love for veterans is anything other than a convenient and very recent affectation.


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Ah, perhaps this is another reason explaining Joe Scarborough's animus against Marco Rubio.
Last November, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough sat on stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York and recounted the various times he had given Donald Trump political advice.

"I've actually called him up and said, 'Donald, listen, you need to speak in complete sentences at debates," Scarborough said. "After the second debate ... I walked into his office, I said, 'Donald, do you know how to read? ... I said, 'You should read before a debate! ... Read a paragraph on Syria, read a paragraph on education reform!'"
The anecdotes, which were meant as a testament to Trump's off-the-cuff political savvy, drew laughter from the audience. But today, at NBCUniversal's headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center, Scarborough's relationship with the Republican presidential frontrunner has become a subject of frustration among staff, and an increasingly problematic issue for the network's top brass.

In background discussions, NBC News and MSNBC journalists, reporters and staffers said there was widespread discomfort at the network over Scarborough's friendship with Trump and his increasingly favorable coverage of the candidate.
"People don't like that Joe is promoting Trump," one MSNBC insider said. Others described Scarborough's admiration for Trump as "over the top" and "unseemly."

....Both Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski are close friends with Trump and members of his family. Scarborough, a former four-term congressman from Florida's 1st district, has often stayed at Trump's Mar-A-Lago Club, in Palm Beach, Florida, with his family and was there during the week between Christmas and New Year's, two sources at the hotel during that time said.

On the night of the New Hampshire primary, Scarborough and Brzezinski visited Trump's hotel room for what MSNBC described as background discussions with the candidate's senior staff and a conversation with Trump that "lasted less than five minutes."

In recent weeks, Scarborough has spoken about Trump in increasingly glowing terms, praising him as "a masterful politician" and defending him against his political opponents and media critics. The Washington Post has noted that Trump has received "a tremendous degree of warmth from the show," and that his appearances on the show, in person and over the phone, often feel like "a cozy social club."
Of course, I bet that MSNBC wouldn't mind if one of its anchors had such a relationship with a Democrat or even hugged the Democratic candidates after participating in a debate forum with them.

Just what will save the Democrats. According to what he said in Munich last week, John Kerry is mulling over running for president.

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This is avery powerful statement by Marco Rubio on how he can appeal to minorities and what sorts of policies he believes in that will help them. It's a heartfelt statement and the policies he talks about are ones that any conservative can endorse. Few Republicans can talk this way - maybe Jack Kemp, Paul Ryan, and Tim Scott. I don't know how canned an answer this is, but why should that matter if it's what he believes.
Now compare that answer to the shrill demagoguing from Hillary Clinton.

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Noemie Emery laughs at liberals who are bemoaning that the gender card hasn't worked for Hillary. When she campaigned with female senators, no one seemed to be impressed. Andrea Mitchell found a way to blame that lack of excitement on gender bias.
"She has lost the base," NBC News' Andrea Mitchell reported. "She's lost the women … So to try to attract the young women … she brings in women senators, who by definition are part of the establishment," few of whom are attractive to any one, and all of whom aren't very young. "You have to be an older woman to become a senator, because the deck is so stacked against you," as Mitchell explained.
As Emery points out, Republicans haven't suffered from that same bias.
Strangely enough, the deck doesn't seem stacked against the Republicans, who elected four of their six female senators in the most recent three cycles, while the fourteen Democrats tend to be older and longer in provenance, some going back 24 years to the "Year of the Woman" itself. In 2008, Republican women were few and were boring, Democrats loomed as the party of women, and Hillary reigned as their queen.

But in 2010, the liberal essayist Hanna Rosin had started to note that the Tea Party movement was breeding a new type of female contender, who shunned all appeals to race and/or gender, and ran on a note of reform. In 2010 they scored with Senator Kelly Ayotte and Governors Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley (then a 38-year-old-daughter of Indian immigrants). In 2014 they added Joni Ernst, 44, an Iraq war veteran; Martha McSally, a retired colonel in the United States Air Force; Mia Love, a black Mormon from Utah; and Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age 29.
And amazingly, these women could get elected based on their positions and personalities, rather than their gender. Hillary doesn't seem to have that sort of appeal.

I guess liberal dog whistles aren't working for Hillary, so she's barking instead. Maybe that will wake them up.

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