Monday, February 08, 2016

Cruising the Web

How ironic that the candidate who burst on the scene and climbed in the polls based on his ability to communicate should have gotten tripped up in a debate and communicate so badly that his response instantly became a derisive meme. I don't know how much it will hurt Rubio, but it can't be good for him that the political conversation a couple days before the New Hampshire vote was about his speaking glitch, a glitch that seemed to confirm the criticisms that all his opponents have been making about him. Perhaps he'll be saved by the fact that most people will be more focused on the Super Bowl than the debate. But I bet everyone will have heard about it. I actually don't think that the point Rubio was making was a bad one. I think he's right that the problem with Obama was not that he was inexperienced, but what he sought to achieve and mostly accomplished. Rubio's problem was that he didn't seem prepared to say anything once he had made that original point. He needed another argument, but didn't have one. He actually did well for the rest of the debate. We'll see how it all plays out on Tuesday. Either that glitch moment will be remembered like Rick Perry's "Oops" moment that killed a promising campaign or it will be forgotten if Rubio does well despite it. Though it will dog him as long as he's in the campaign.

Jim Geraghty explains
why Rubio's glitch may not be as bad as so many in the media are saying.
The gaffe is going to hurt him because it’s so unexpected, in an area perceived to be Rubio’s strength. Since I first interviewed him in August 2009, Rubio came across as prepared, smooth, cool under fire, a natural communicator. Rubio seemed to panic, and most of us thought he was the kind of candidate who didn’t panic anymore.

Keep in mind, one of the reasons you’re hearing so much about Rubio’s bobble last night is because an enormous number of people are invested in that narrative: all of Rubio’s rivals, particularly Trump, Christie, Cruz and Bush; television producers who want good video and drama and are eager to see a new storyline (“Can Rubio Come Back?”); Rubio campaign correspondents tired of hearing the same speech from Rubio at every stop; and Democrats and the liberal media (I repeat myself) who are eager to defuse a candidate who could be seriously threatening to them in general election.

Still, what’s at the heart of the critique? That Rubio rehearses his answers? It’s campaigning malpractice not to do that. That Rubio often answers in 25-seconds? That’s usually how much time he has in these debates. That Rubio often repeats his lines? Hey, did you know Chris Christie used to be a prosecutor? That John Kasich’s dad was a mailman? That Donald Trump thinks this country never wins anymore? All of these candidates repeat their lines. Most Americans don’t watch a lot of politics; every appearance is an introduction to voters.

Is the critique that Rubio’s not smart, he’s just good at memorizing his lines? Eh, probably not, Christie’s own statement was, “I like Marco Rubio, he’s a smart person and good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States.” (The guy elected to statewide office in 2009 is knocking the guy elected to statewide office in 2010.)

Rubio can and probably will undo the damage by being himself. If you’re accused of only having 25-second answers, sit down for interviews and give lengthy, detailed answers. When challenged on not having done much in the Senate, Rubio has to emphasize his work to eliminate the risk corridors in Obamacare. (Our Yuval Levin: “Rubio was without question the first and most significant congressional voice on this subject, and if he hadn’t done the work he did, the risk-corridor neutralization provision would not have been in last year’s (or this year’s) budget bill.”) When he’s accused of never running anything, Rubio should talk about running Florida’s House and passing the largest tax cut in Florida’s history (at least to that point), reforms to the state insurance market and (ahem) new restrictions on eminent domain.

Rubio can overcome this; the problem is that he had been closing on Trump in New Hampshire and now anything but a distant second seems hard to picture. That makes South Carolina, traditionally one of the king-makers on the GOP primary schedule, much more important for Rubio.
Perhaps he can recover, but the question is why he didn't talk about those things on Saturday night. Maybe he should hire Jim Geraghty as an adviser.

I also suspect that Christie's dogged, and even mean-spirited, attacks on Rubio won't end up helping Christie. He just came off ugly. And then he repeated himself over and over again. Anyone who has watched any of these debates has heard Christie making fun of Cruz and Rubio for being senators and talking about all the tough decisions and leadership he has shown as a governor. And he must have mentioned at least four times just during this last debate his experience as a U.S. Attorney. And he spent last week repeating that Rubio is the Boy in the Bubble over and over and over. So it's not like he isn't scripted.

A lot of Republicans still haven't forgiven Christie for his enthusiastic embrace of Obama during Hurricane Sandy right before the 2012 election, but he lost me a bit earlier when he spoke at the Republican convention. Everyone expected a red-meat sort of speech, but he chose otherwise. Instead, he barely mentioned Romney and talked all about himself and what he did in New Jersey. His purpose there was to help the Republican ticket, but he made it all about himself. Saturday night, I just wanted to quote Christie back at him to "Sit down and shut up."

So I think that the candidates who benefited from Christie's attack on Rubio will be Kasich and Cruz. Maybe Bush who had the best moment of his entire campaign. I suspect that they'll all be bunched up close for second place. I can see Trump sinking since his attack on the audience for being full of donors was so lame and just one more example that he gets whiney whenever he faces opposition.

Governor Kasich remains high in the polls for New Hampshire. And his campaign is triumphantly leaking that their internal polls show that he is surging and Rubio is sinking. I guess that is what happens when a candidate like Kasich camps out in the state. While I liked Kasich back in the 1990s, I find his attitude now so smugly self-congratulatory and annoying. I thought this comment he made in response to Trump's dropping the F-bomb was actually more off-putting than Trump's vulgarity.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich lashed out at Trump's dirty language, as well, saying on Friday that someone running to become the president should not carry themselves that way.
"I mean, you're the president of the United States. You're the father of America. Act like it," Kasich said.
This is, apparently, a popular image with Kasich. He regards himself as the "father of Ohio."
asich said he had learned to be more like the father of his state. It was a telling analogy; Gingrich had suggested to me that having raised twin daughters (they’re now 15) had mellowed Kasich considerably over the years, as fatherhood often does.

“My wife told me that one time,” Kasich said. “She said, ‘You’re the father of Ohio. Would you act like it?’”
Ugh! I don't want any politician who regards his role to be the "father" of a state or the country. That is literally too paternalistic a view. It betrays how Kasich is not a true conservative. We should not be looking for any leader who wants to serve in loco parentis for the country. The fact that Kasich seems to sincerely believe that that is his role and that would be the role of a president is quite a disturbing insight into Kasich's view of the role of government. It also helps to explain his view of Obamacare which he is now lying to voters to say that he "rejected" it for his state. Bre Payton explains.
In a new ad, Ohio Gov. John Kasich claims he “rejected Obamacare,” a claim that is absolutely false.

This is the same governor who in 2013 unilaterally imposed Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Ohio and bypassed the Republican-controlled legislature to do so. Yet today he is attempting to pull the wool over New Hampshire voters by telling them he opposed Obamacare....

Kasich has repeatedly tried to claim the Medicaid expansion was an entirely separate deal from Obamacare, when in fact it is the backbone of controversial healthcare law.

His decision to expand Medicaid has resulted in a huge uptick of Obamacare enrollees, which Ohio taxpayers are now on the hook to pay for. To put it another way,“Kasich’s decision to opt in to Medicaid expansion is responsible for 76 percent of Ohio’s Obamacare enrollment.”

So his claim of “rejecting Obamacare” is a flat-out lie, which isn’t all that out of the ordinary, as politicians often tell falsehoods and half-baked truths to sell themselves as candidates. But what is truly surprising is how shameless Kasich is about it.
And, as Payton points out, that isn't the only outright lie that Kasich is telling voters.
This isn’t the only whopper he’s told while on the campaign trail in the Granite State, either. During an event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Kasich took a swipe at opponent Ted Cruz by telling attendees that Kasich doesn’t like to invoke God while campaigning.

“I don’t go out and try to win a vote using God,” he said. “I think that cheapens God.”

Remember, this is same man who has repeatedly used God as his reason for expanding Medicaid and invoked St. Peter during a legislative debate to justify his actions: “Now, when you die and get to the meeting with Saint Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.”

Jason Hart, a friend and former colleague of mine, obsessively catalogues Kasich’s numerous hypocrisies, and has outlined all the times Kasich has cited Matthew 25 as justification for his decision to expand Medicaid.
I guess Kasich appeals to the independents who can vote in the GOP primary in New Hampshire. Among my circle of friends, the only ones who like Kasich are Democrats. And perhaps he appeals to more moderate Republicans and those who think he would make it more possible to win Ohio. I just find him quite sanctimonious and unappealing. He wears thin very quickly.

So I'm anticipating a couple of dismal days in both sports and politics. First, the Panthers lost. I wasn't terribly emotionally invested in them since I'm basically a Patriots fan. And it's nice for Peyton Manning to go out on top. I like it when "old" guys do well. But living in North Carolina, it has been hard not to get caught up in the Panthers excitement. Our professional sports teams don't often generate that excitement. And then I'm very nervous about Duke playing Louisville tonight. And then tomorrow, I'm afraid that several candidates I don't like will do well in New Hampshire and we'll not be any closer to shutting down the Trump show. Oh, well. Maybe I'll just have to read books instead.

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It's amazing how feminists care so much about showing respect for women except when their ideology gets in the way. Legal Insurrection catches Gloria Steinem's view of women voting for Bernie Sanders.
In an interview with Bill Maher, Steinem—a purported feminist and icon among some on the feminist left—has found a new and exciting way to diminish women who don’t think as she does: she explains that the support of young women for Bernie is actually rooted in their desire to attract boys.

She argues that Bernie’s female supporters are boy crazy and appears to be doing so as a means of demeaning these women. They’re just silly little girls who aren’t clever enough to understand politics and are only interested in his candidacy because “that’s where the boys are.” Clearly, if they had more sense, they’d support Hillary as she does.
Wow. I guess women don't have their own minds if they don't support a liberal women. Madeleine Albright chimes in with her contempt for women who aren't supporting Hillary.
At a rally before a few hundred people on Saturday, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright suggested that women who vote for Bernie Sanders are buying a one-way ticket to “a special place in Hell."

"There are some that are out there that don't understand the importance of why young women have to support Hillary Clinton," Albright said as she stood next to Hillary Clinton inside the gymnasium of Rundlett Middle School. "The story is not over. They are going to want to push us back. Appointments to the Supreme Court make all the difference."

"We tell our story about how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women don't think you have to—it's been done. It's not done," Albright continued. "And you have to help Hillary Clinton—[she] will always be there for you. And just remember, there's a special place in Hell for women who don't help each other."
Of course, Albright didn't feel that way when it was women making allegations of sexual assault and misbehavior against Bill Clinton. That's totally different, of course. And Hillary thinks that any objection to Albright's words is just "people getting offended about everything these days." That from the woman who accused Bernie Sanders of sexism because he said that "all the shouting in the world is not going to" keep "guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns." Apparently, using the word "shout" is a secret slap at Hillary for being a woman. And she thinks people are being excessively politically correct. Please.

Liberals always seem to think that people's racial or gender identity should determine their political ideology. Think of all the ugliness directed against Clarence Thomas because he dares to be a conservative. And now we're seeing the same sort of ideological bigotry against Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for being Republicans of Hispanic origin.

Tom Knighton of Same Page Nation
has a wonderful take-down of an opinion column by Roberto Suro in the New York Times which purports to show that Cruz and Rubio aren't really Latino. Suro asks why people haven't been celebrating that two Latino candidates did so well in Iowa.
The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.

Neither of these candidates claims to speak for the Hispanic population or derive a crucial portion of their support from Hispanics, and neither bases much of his political identity on being a Latino. To varying degrees they oppose legalization for unauthorized immigrants, a policy that is central to most organized Latino political interests and that is supported by a great majority of Latino elected officials and Latino voters.
You got that. There are political positions that a Hispanic politician should espouse. And if they don't, they are violating the expected norms. And liberals get to determine what those norms must be. Knighton writes,
This is the problem with American politics today. There’s a belief that identity should trump conscience. A belief in identity purity, that if you do not agree with particular policies, you’re effectively thrown out of whatever group. A woman who opposes whatever feminists want isn’t a real woman. A black man opposed to affirmative action isn’t really black either.

And Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio aren’t really Latino because they don’t support amnesty....

Isn’t stuff like that how we ended up with Jim Crow laws?

Of course, Cruz’s and Rubio’s parents immigrated in compliance with U.S. law. There is no betrayal at work here for expecting others to do the same. But that doesn’t matter. Support for anything other than amnesty is allegedly anti-immigrant or something.
Jazz Shaw adds,
This is the ironic – and perpetually insulting – reverse of the “fears” many Democrats had about Barack Obama during both elections. Would he be the President of all Americans or just black Americans? He was continually referred to as brave when he decided to talk about racial issues, but his own party always seemed to fear that his race also hindered him in being effective on that front. But when the conversation swings over to Republicans it’s simply a betrayal to not base your entire candidacy on your ethnic heritage.
He goes on to list female Republican women or Senator Tim Scott whose achievements get ignored by the media because they're not Democrats.

Wouldn't true respect for women, blacks, and Hispanics be to respect them enough to allow them to have their own opinions just as white voters do instead of trying to keep them confined to the "liberal plantation"?

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This is the real sign that Democrats are worried about running against Marco Rubio. They're already trying to convince the public that they could easily defeat him. The plan is to portray him as too conservative on social issues and untrustworthy on immigration. In fact, it sounds a lot like what Bush, Kasich, and Cruz are saying about Rubio now. It's rather ironic that both sides are attacking him for the same things.

But Rubio has a good answer for the attacks on his abortion position when CNN's reporter debates him on the issue.

Jim Swift catches Hillary Clinton's new campaign promise. She will take a firm stand against "bad things." Good to know.

The NY Times looks at how the Department of Veterans Affairs were able to hide their treatment of veterans for so very long despite complaints that at least 40 veterans had died while waiting for appointments. It turns out that it's Bernie Sanders' fault.
Despite mounting evidence of trouble at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Senator Bernie Sanders, then the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, initially regarded the complaints as overblown, and as a play by conservatives to weaken one of the country’s largest social welfare institutions.

“There is, right now, as we speak, a concerted effort to undermine the V.A.,” Mr. Sanders said two weeks after the story was picked up by national news organizations. “You have folks out there now — Koch brothers and others — who want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely.”
Well, of course. It was the Koch brothers' fault. Wouldn't that be your first guess if you heard reports of malfeasance at the VA?

The NYT continues to lay out Sanders' lack of action in a story that could be regarded as an in-kind contribution to the Clinton campaign.
Mr. Sanders’s chairmanship of the committee, his most notable leadership post in the Senate, has become a go-to credential in his upstart quest to win the Democratic nomination for president. He routinely boasts of praise from the largest veterans organizations, who lauded his fight to expand benefits. And he frequently speaks of how he helped devise the wait time fix and was able to “crack the gridlock” of Washington, as one of his campaign mailers put it.

But a review of his record in the job also shows that in a moment of crisis, his deep-seated faith in the fundamental goodness of government blinded him, at least at first, to a dangerous breakdown in the one corner of it he was supposed to police. Despite inspector general reports dating back a decade that documented a growing problem with wait times, Mr. Sanders, who had served on the committee for six years before he became its head, was quick to defend the agency and slow to aggressively question V.A. officials and demand accountability.

His major objective as chairman was to expand the menu of veterans benefits. It was an ambitious goal, and as with his proposals today for free public college and universal health care, many viewed it as unrealistic. The cost was so high that even Republicans who normally favor more aid for veterans blanched at the dollars involved — while fearing that more offerings would cause even longer waits at the overburdened V.A.

“His ideological perspective blurred his ability to recognize the operational reality of what was happening at the V.A.,” said Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “The reality was that he was one of the last people to publicly recognize the gravity of the situation.”
Although the article does contain some praise for Sanders' concern for veterans and his sincere desire to help them, how soon before Hillary starts using this article in attack ads? And John McCain is right in there doing his mischievous best to help Bernie over Clinton.
Mr. McCain and Mr. Miller, in a call with reporters last fall, said Mr. Sanders had a stronger record on veterans than his rival, Hillary Clinton. “Bernie Sanders worked very hard when he was chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee,” Mr. McCain said. “He and I had many disagreements, but we were able to come together, finally, after very spirited discussions.”
Just as McCain was happy to voice his concern over whether Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen, he seems happy to boost Sanders against Clinton. Just doing his bit for 2016"s "operation chaos."

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This is certainly true. Jack Shafer writes at Politico that it's time for the media to stop treating Chelsea Clinton with kid gloves. It might have been appropriate when she was a kid in the White House. but she's 35 years old. She's been an overpaid member of the media and worked at a hedge fund. She's in charger of her parents' foundation. She's a surrogate for her mother. She shouldn't be cushioned from answering questions from the press.

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This is how absurd political correctness works on college campuses these days.
In just the latest instance of taxpayer-funded censorship, students in one University of Florida course have been banned from using words such as “husband,” “wife,” “mom,” or dad” in the classroom and risk losing points off their grade if they don’t comply.

In the syllabus for her “Creativity In Context” class — a required course for any student pursuing a minor in Innovation — UF professor Jennifer Lee informs students of her four paragraph long classroom “communications policy” that she says will enforce “ethical conduct” in the classroom.

“The following policies and guidelines will be followed in this course,” the policy begins, followed by a bullet point instructing students to “Use inclusive language.” The policy mandates that students “[s]peak in a way that does not make assumptions about others based on “norms”, stereotypes, or one’s own identity or experience.”

The syllabus explains that this means replacing the words “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” with the more inclusive “partner” or “significant other.” The rule applies to conversations about married couples too: saying “husband” or “wife” is forbidden. Even the words “mom” and “dad” have a more “inclusive” alternative — students are told to use the word ‘family” instead.
Do Florida legislators know that they're funding a teacher who penalizes for using such terribly ugly words as “husband,” “wife,” “mom,” or dad”? Does the administration at the university approve a professor penalizing students for not obeying her linguistic ideology?

In an effort to supply evidence for those who believes that feminists are humorless hags, NARAL spent the Super Bowl tweeting about how sexist some of the ads were. They really hated that ad with Kevin Hart as a protective father following his daughter on her date. That's the patriarchy denying his daughter her own autonomy or something. And William Dafoe turning into Marilyn Monroe after eating a Snickers was transphobic. Really. And they absolutely hated the Doritos ad with the fetus. Can't have anything "humanizing" a fetus.

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In his great urge to tell us all how bigoted we are against Muslims, President Obama implicitly compared Chicagoans to Nazis. It's a strange juxtaposition of stories that he chose to tell at the National Prayer Breakfast.

I don't get the whole Super Bowl Babies celebration. How many children want to think about what their parents were doing on the day they were conceived? Why would so many parents have told their children that they were Super Bowl Babies so that there would be enough to be in the NFL ad? And is the message to viewers that, when the game is over, they should all go out and conceive? It's just bizarre.

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