Friday, February 05, 2016

Cruising the Web

Charles Krauthammer derides the idea that some candidates are "establishment" and that Trump represents the anti-establishment.
The threat to the GOP posed by the Trump insurgency is not that he’s anti-establishment. It’s that he’s not conservative. Trump winning the nomination would convulse the Republican Party, fracture the conservative movement and undermine the GOP’s identity and role as the country’s conservative party.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging the so-called establishment. Parties, like other institutions, can grow fat and soft and corrupt. If by establishment you mean the careerists, the lobbyists and the sold-out cynics, a good poke, even a major purge, is well-deserved.

That’s not the problem with Trump. The problem is his, shall we say, eclectic populism. Cruz may be anti-establishment but he’s a principled conservative, while Trump has no coherent political philosophy, no core beliefs, at all. Trump offers barstool eruptions and whatever contradictory “idea” pops into his head at the time, such as “humane” mass deportation, followed by mass amnesty when the immigrants are returned to the United States.
Now that Trump and Cruz are taking each other on, we can see that there are clear political differences on policy and affect between them. And Cruz's victory in Iowa over Trump is a victory of conservatism over populism.

Rush Limbaugh continues
his defense of Marco Rubio as a true conservative despite people's concerns about Rubio as the supposed "establishment" favorite.
Rubio is somebody whose life story and ideology are much closer to Reagan than, say, a Mitt Romney or a McCain or take your pick of whoever, Bob Dole, the establishment people happen to love. And I know that a lot of people are very nervous about Marco Rubio because of the Gang of Eight and Rubio's out there saying (paraphrasing), "I don't think we have enough support in our party alone to get elected president. We're gonna have to branch out." Some people look at Rubio as an interventionist in foreign policy, which, to them, means globalist.

I understand the fears people have of Rubio. And I understand the conservative contrasts that can be made between Rubio and Cruz. There's no question that you can make that contrast, that one, Cruz is top to bottom, checkmark after checkmark after checkmark no doubt is Ted Cruz a conservative. I understand Rubio's given people reason to be less confident, Gang of Eight bill alone, the argument over whether or not he does favor ultimately, at the end of everything, amnesty. I understand all of that.
Limbaugh goes on to assert that he's in opposition to the GOP establishment, but he doesn't include Rubio in that category. Limbaugh adds together the votes of Cruz, Rubio, and Carson it demonstrates that over 60% of Iowans voted for conservative ideals. And he refutes the idea that the true establishment candidates are the governors, not Rubio.
By that I mean the RNC, the GOP, the elites, inside-the-Beltway cadre, whatever. If they had their druthers, it would be Jeb, and then after that it would be Christie, and after that it would be... I mean, some of them might even want to glom onto Kasich. But Rubio is the last chance they got to have a horse in the game. I don't know if Rubio wants to take it and run with it as that, but I'm just talking about in a vacuum. Vacuums don't exist. But Rubio just, as he stands and is. I listened to his speech after the Iowa caucus.

I did not hear somebody embarrassed of or afraid of conservatism, conservative ideology. I heard somebody, on the contrary, who understands it, who can articulate it cheerfully, happily, confidently. The idea to peg this guy as an establishment type, knowing what that really means, is just something that doesn't compute with me.
Limbaugh says that he doesn't want to "throw people out" for once issue like immigration and then goes on to recount a conversation that he had with Rubio on Monday morning in which Rubio told him how frustrated he is in the Senate and that is why he is leaving it.
Not word-for-word, but thematically I've heard the same thing, how frustrating it is that the only thing anybody in the Senate cares about from morning to night is reelection and maintaining their position. He said, "I'm not staying there. I'm out. If I don't win the presidency, I'm going to the private sector. Not politics. I don't want to stay in the Senate 30 years. I don't want to have to stay there that long to acquire any power. The place is just not built for somebody that wants to move as quickly as I do." It's what he told me.

Now, there isn't an establishment person in the world that wants out of it. There isn't an establishment power broker that wants out. The reason for their existence is to be in the club and to climb the ladder of success in the club and to be anointed by your betters and elders in the club and be given a hand up. And Cruz has told me the same thing. Cruz has talked about it publicly. Cruz took it public with his direct criticism of McConnell and the claim that McConnell lied to his face about a number of things. They can't get anything done there.

They can't get anything done there as conservatives because the place doesn't have very many. But besides that, it doesn't have an agenda anyway, other than self-preservation. So they said. Both of them have said this to me, and they're not the only ones. I've heard it from members of Congress. The Republican freshman class of 1994? Those are the people that made me an honorary member. Within, what was it, four terms, they were all gone? They were all dynamic private sector successes, and they showed up with fire in the belly and they were gonna reform the place --and after two terms, they got out.
Limbaugh comes as close as he does as endorsing Rubio because he thinks Rubio is a true conservative who can unite the various constituencies of the Republican Party. He still likes Cruz, but the fact that he has now devoted two days defending Rubio shows that he's on the conservative train and would support any candidate whom he regards as a "legitimate, full-throated conservative." And Limbaugh has finally realized that Trump is not a conservative. And Rubio is reaping the benefits. And, of course, his Super PAC has rushed to put out an online ad highlighting Rush's praise. We'll see how long it takes to get a shorter version on TV.

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Now that Trump is campaigning in New Hampshire as if he's all in and doing five events a day instead of just one, he's letting it all hang out. CBS highlights how expletive-filled his rants are in his speeches. The crowd apparently loved it because throwing in a few expletives shows he's really, really strong. Instead of saying anything the least specific about what he'll do to contend with China or ISIS, he just lets a few swear words rip and that should be enough. It rather reminds me of some teenagers I hear speak who substitute expletives for content. And that sounds a bit like Donald Trump.

Guy Benson and Byron York highlight the CEO wisdom that Trump has brought to his campaign.
He's always promising us that he'll put the best people in charge and solve the nation's problems and he doesn't need to know what he'll do to address problems because all he needs to do is pick the best people and put them in charge. But, as Politico reports, Trump ignored the advice that his advisers gave him and refused to put the money in necessary to establish a ground game in Iowa. He didn't put the money in early enough to buy a data program to use analytics target voters. But apparently Trump didn't even know what that term meant. Benson writes,
That sounds an awful lot like a clueless rookie pol stubbornly ignoring good advice from allies, while his under-equipped staff assured him that everything was copacetic -- and he blithely went along. Or at least that's what he's claiming now. Once his "whatever, I'm famous!" approach blew up in his face, he started blaming unnamed "people" (the very best!) for failing him, while tossing out ludicrous, unsubstantiated allegations of "fraud," and threatening to sue.

Mark Steyn has long thought that corruption would be a major theme of this election. And the results from the Democrats in Iowa continue the taint that has stuck to their party throughout Obama's administration.
Unfortunately, the system that produces the candidate is itself a sewer. Sixteen years after the chad-diviners of Florida we now have the coin-flippers of Iowa. The Des Moines Register, which endorsed Hillary Clinton pre-caucus, is post-caucus calling for a "complete audit" of the vote to establish whether she actually won it - as the maniacal cackler has been going around bragging about ever since.

I would say it is almost certain that she did not win it. But whether anyone can know for sure is more doubtful. The Democrats run their end of the Iowa caucus as a folksier version of the union block vote in the old British Labour Party. No actual vote tallies are released, just the numbers of SDEs - or "state delegate equivalents". Whatever that means it doesn't mean delegates to the summer convention. It's just some term of art the Iowa Dems use as a substitute for actual votes of actual citizens. On Monday night it was reported that SDE-wise Bernie Sanders had won 695 and Hillary 693. Which sounds like Bernie won.

But SDEs are themselves calculated via a larger number of county delegates, of whom six were decided by a coin flip, all of which Hillary won. So the net result is that Hillary beat Bernie by four SDEs.

If Iowa were one of those banana republics in which the president-for-life has been prevailed upon to hold an election and Jimmy Carter and a bunch of UN observers had flown in to certify it, none of the above would pass muster. But in the Democrat Party it does....

But Democrats are used to that smell. Whether Bernie's social justice youth corps is willing to put up with it is another matter.

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President Obama went to a mosque that has been investigated for terrorism and lectured Americans on tolerance. Wasn't there a more moderate mosque, one that has spoken out forcefully against Islamic terrorism that they could have chosen? David Harsanyi points out the fallacies in the President's words.
Acceptance of outsiders is an American virtue, yes. Do we have to embrace all ideas, as well? Obama has conflated tolerance of individuals and groups with tolerance of a select belief system — one that he demands be immune from criticism.

We certainly don’t want people attacking peaceful Muslims, but it’s irresponsible and intellectually obtuse to act as if the pervasive violence, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, tyranny, anti-Semitism, bigotry against Christians, etc. that exists in large parts of Islamic society abroad has absolutely nothing to do with faith.

Yesterday, Obama spoke about the evils of Islamophobia to a group that featured women covered, subordinated, and segregated from men. I’m happy he’s open-minded about that sort of thing. Americans are free to practice their faith in any way they choose. But I’m not sure why all of us should feel obligated to celebrate this kind of narrow-mindedness as well. You will remember how offended liberals get when presidential candidates visit Bob Jones University or Mormons fund campaigns they find objectionable. Why is this different?

We don’t need the president gratuitously attacking an entire religion. But most liberals, as you know, won’t even allow that terrorism and extremism have something to do with Islam. Obama hits this note quite often, but this week John Kerry, the Imam of Beacon Hill, said this about ISIS: “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

Kerry has no more theological authority to brand someone an apostate of Islam than King Salman of Saudi Arabia has to consecrate the Eucharist. Not even moderate Sunni clerics make this claim. Yet, over and over, leftists try and detach the branches of Islam they dislike from the trunk so they can call you a bigot for attacking their idealized conception of Islam.

Yesterday, the president explained that an “attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.” Christian communities, often older than Islam itself, have been decimated by Islamic groups and left unprotected by moderate Muslim governments for decades. These attacks are aimed Christians. We have done nothing to help them. It is then completely rational for Christians to be apprehensive about Islam. We can see Europe’s assimilation problems — which the Muslim community here has largely avoided — and wonder how this theology and culture will adapt to secularism. It’s not narrow-minded to do so. It would be reckless not to.

“We have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion,” claimed a president who believes forcing nuns (and everyone) to buy birth control comports with American values. There is no law in this country that inhibits the freedom of Muslim Americans to practice their religion freely. Not one.

I’m unsure if the president understands that hearing things you don’t like does not constitute an attack on freedom. People say ugly things all the time. No crime is acceptable, but Muslims have experienced far fewer hate crimes than blacks, Jews, or gays. Any way you want to parse the numbers there is no epidemic of Islamophobia.

But Obama likes to create the impression that some great injustice is occurring here.
I was also struck at the hypocrisy of the President to celebrate a mosque that segregates women and demonizes gays while his party goes ape when someone like Brendan Eich contributes to Prop 8 in California. How come the same logic doesn't apply?

Now they're telling us not to have any faith in New Hampshire's polls. They might be just as misleading as the Iowa polls turned out to be.
Pollsters and other observers surveyed by POLITICO this week pointed to a number of reasons why New Hampshire is such a uniquely difficult state to poll. Chief among them: The volatility in the electorate that persists right up until voting begins.

“People are moving around from candidate to candidate,” said Dante Scala, an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire and author of a book on the state’s first-in-the-nation primary. “I think if you called the same person in two successive nights, you might get two different answers of who they like.”

....“It comes very soon after Iowa, which is a major news event,” warned Steve Koczela, the president of the MassINC Polling Group, which polls the state for WBUR-FM, the Boston-area NPR affiliate. “Any time you do a poll right after a major news event, you can expect changes. And the New Hampshire primary comes right during those changes.”

That leaves those polling New Hampshire with a limited window. They want to measure changes since Iowa, but the news organizations that commission those polls don’t necessarily want to wait until the last minute. (Besides, some pollsters believe releasing horse-race polls on Election Day is an unethical practice that could unfairly influence results.)
And then there are the problems with independents who can vote in either primary. Who knows if they'll be more excited about voting for Bernie Sanders or come to vote in the GOP mash-up.
Smith, however, insists Koczela and others are making too much of the independent factor. “Most of them are partisans,” he said. “They vote consistently partisan – and vote consistently in their party’s primary.”

Another complication: The sheer number of polls and calls from campaigns in the state has left voters dreading the ringing of their telephones.

“People in New Hampshire are inundated with calls and information and requests on their time,” said UMass-Lowell pollster Joshua Dyck. “It’s not only pollsters calling voters, it’s also campaigns calling voters.”

Yet there are also ways in which polling New Hampshire is an easier endeavor than Iowa. Pollsters cited the extremely high turnout rates for presidential primaries in New Hampshire, which can draw more than half the eligible voters. (In Iowa, on the other hand, fewer than one-in-five active voters participated in Monday’s caucuses.)

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Jonah Goldberg warns Republicans from throwing around the "Republican Obama" label at Marco Rubio as if it's the worst thing that can be said.
Which brings us back to this whole “Republican Obama” thing. For Scarborough, not to mention Jeb Bush and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the charge that Rubio is a Republican Obama is meant to be a scathing indictment of Rubio’s inexperience. But that may not be the way everyone hears it. They might hear: “He’s a Republican who can win.”

Moreover, while conservatives have rightly faulted President Obama for not being up to the job, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, that indictment isn’t the one most on the right focus on. Rather, conservatives have been told, with good reason, that Obama has been a hugely effective progressive ideologue.

While Obama has been something of a disaster for the Democratic party in terms of congressional and state offices, he still got Obamacare. He also helped steer same-sex marriage to a victory at the Supreme Court, a court where his two ideologically left-wing appointees sit. His EPA helped kill the coal industry while he’s poured billions in subsidies into wind and solar boondoggles.

No Republican wants to emulate Obama’s many failures, but few wouldn’t love to emulate his successes – in a conservative way.

The point is, it depends what you mean by a Republican Obama. For instance, when Cruz was elected to the Senate, many conservatives hoped – and many liberals feared – that he would be a Republican Obama.

My National Review colleague Jay Nordlinger wrote back in 2009, before Cruz was elected, “Is he our Obama – a Republican Obama? Well, he is far less slippery than our new president. But there are similarities – especially where communications skills are concerned.”

Every candidate’s record is fair game. But by their very nature, arguments about a politician’s record are arguments about the past. Rubio and Cruz – or as I like to call them, Los Hermanos Cubanos – can frame their candidacies on the future. In a year when a majority of Americans – and a super-majority of Republicans – think the country is on the wrong track, that’s an advantage.

As Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen wrote last year, “Those who dismiss Cruz as a ‘Republican Obama’ should not forget what we call Obama today: Mr. President.”

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Marco Rubio's opponents are attacking him as a lightweight who has accomplished nothing. Christie loves to bring up that he's a governor so he's had to make tough decisions unlike senators do. Byron York examines the question to try to figure out whose accomplishments are bigger. Much has been made of Rick Santorum going on Morning Joe to be grilled by Joe Scarborough (who seems to detest Rubio) and not being able to answer a question on Rubio's accomplishments. Rubio himself rolls out a response mentioning how he helped shepherd a bill to limit eminent domain abuse in Florida and has pushed for VA reform and killing the Obamacare bailout of insurance companies as well as voting more sanctions on Hezbollah and working for a bill to address human trafficking. Somehow, the Gang of Eight bill doesn't make it into his list. That continues to be a problem for him, but it's not clear that Jeb Bush, Christie, or Kasich have different approaches to immigration. As York points out, Cruz also has a short list of accomplishments.
Cruz has faced these questions before. Last year, Fox's Megyn Kelly asked him, "What have you actually accomplished?" and Cruz said his main achievement was keeping President Obama from implementing some of his agenda. "What we've accomplished over and over again, in many instances, is stopping bad things from happening," Cruz said, pointing to Obama's unsuccessful effort to tighten gun controls. (By the way, Kelly wasn't satisfied with Cruz's answer, telling him, "When you're the leader, when you're the president ... you just can't be somebody who stops things, you actually have to be somebody who gets things through.")
He should probably add in the cases he argued successfully before the Supreme Court.
epublican governors tend to have more substantive accomplishments they can point to; it's just the nature of heading the executive branch versus being part of the legislature. But the GOP governor with the biggest and most recent accomplishment, Scott Walker, has long exited the race. The others — Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich — are scrambling to get a foothold. As this New Hampshire week goes on, the candidates will continue to take aim at each others' accomplishments. But there's not a lot to go on.
Of course, the governors would like everyone to notice the comparisons between Obama, a backbencher of a junior senator with Cruz and Rubio. But sometimes the question is not what they have accomplished, but what they want to accomplish.

Hint to young women - don't go to the Carnival in Cologne. A female journalist was actually groped while she was broadcasting live. So think of what is happening for those for whom attacks will not be captured on video.
A report released by Cologne police on Friday morning said that there had been 18 sexual assaults, up to and including rape, in the city on the first night of carnival.

Police said they had arrested 181 people over the course of the night, stepping in early to nip confrontations in the bud.

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1 comment:

Tregonsee said...

Back in the Gang of Eight days, Rubio got caught doing the "Arafat." He said one thing in English, secure borders before legalization, and another thing in Spanish, legalize everybody here and then secure the borders. When caught he denied it, then claimed is was just a misunderstanding. As the very proud son of a naturalized parent, this is about as close as I get to being a one issue voter. Movement conservatives have this quaint idea that character matters.