Monday, April 25, 2016

Cruising the Web

Mark Landler writes in the NYT to explore Hillary Clinton's history as a foreign policy hawk.
She had backed Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recommendation to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, before endorsing a fallback proposal of 30,000 (Obama went along with that, though he stipulated that the soldiers would begin to pull out again in July 2011, which she viewed as problematic). She supported the Pentagon’s plan to leave behind a residual force of 10,000 to 20,000 American troops in Iraq (Obama balked at this, largely because of his inability to win legal protections from the Iraqis, a failure that was to haunt him when the Islamic State overran much of the country). And she pressed for the United States to funnel arms to the rebels in Syria’s civil war (an idea Obama initially rebuffed before later, halfheartedly, coming around to it).

That fundamental tension between Clinton and the president would continue to be a defining feature of her four-year tenure as secretary of state. In the administration’s first high-level meeting on Russia in February 2009, aides to Obama proposed that the United States make some symbolic concessions to Russia as a gesture of its good will in resetting the relationship. Clinton, the last to speak, brusquely rejected the idea, saying, “I’m not giving up anything for nothing.” Her hardheadedness made an impression on Robert Gates, the defense secretary and George W. Bush holdover who was wary of a changed Russia. He decided there and then that she was someone he could do business with.
In fact, she's more hawkish than either Trump or Cruz. Their rhetoric on Islamic terrorism might be harsher than anything she would ever say, but she's more likely to recommend military action to solve foreign policy problems. Do all the Democrats voting for her know this history?

Hillary is starting to contemplate vice presidential running mates. Should she pick a white guy from a key state or go for a minority?
Among the names under discussion by Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Clinton and campaign advisers: Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, former governors from the key state of Virginia; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who represents both a more liberal wing of the party and a swing state; former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, a prominent African-American Democrat; and Thomas E. Perez, President Obama’s labor secretary and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer.
Or maybe go full-on with an all-female ticket and pick Elizabeth Warren to appease the leftist wing of her party. I think she should balance her ticket by picking someone who ticks off the boxes that Hillary can't check off. She should pick someone who is likable and has a reputation for honesty. That would be true balance.

As Matthew Continetti argues, white lies matter.
Over the course of three decades in public life Hillary Clinton has misspoken and misled the public and mismanaged herself and her team to such a degree that voters cannot help noticing. Yes, many of her falsehoods are white lies. But white lies accumulate. They matter. Not only do they harm the truth. They are turning Clinton into one of the least popular candidates in history.

Since 1998 Clinton has blamed her poor reputation on the vast right-wing conspiracy. Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, the health-care disaster — it was all the fault of the Republicans. What’s forgotten is that Clinton has been lying in the service of her ambitions — most notably by protecting her husband from the truth of his infidelities — since long before Bill ran for president. Nor can she blame conservatives for her failure to win the Democratic nomination eight years ago. Hillary can’t help being secretive and deceptive. It’s her nature.

Think of the transcripts of the speeches she gave to Wall Street audiences. Bernie Sanders would like Clinton to release them. She refuses. Why? “When everybody agrees to do that, I will as well, because I think it’s important we all abide by the same standards.” What baloney. Democratic primary voters see the obvious: Hillary is hiding behind a standard she invented.

What the other candidates have said to bankers isn’t the issue. No one expects Donald Trump to have been anything other than fulsome in his praise of Wall Street. He probably spoke mainly about himself anyway. What Sanders wants to know is if Clinton said one thing to the financial-services industry and another to the public. Fair question. Especially considering the lady we’re talking about.

It’s also a question that Clinton could settle rather easily in her favor. Other than the most committed of Bernie Bros, does anyone really think Clinton offered to sell her soul to Lloyd Blankfein, at least on stage? The transcripts won’t contain bombshells but platitudes — thank you so much for having me, it’s great to be here, Bill and I really appreciate the socially conscious investment and work you’re doing for young people around the world, diversity, inclusion, hot sauce, Chelsea built a clinic in Haiti, climate change, I’m a grandma, blah, blah, blah. You won’t be shocked by what she said. You’ll be bored.

As things look now, with the Republicans self-destructing, it seems more likely than not that Hillary will win and maybe even pull in enough Democrats to take the Senate. But that doesn't mean that they will go along with whatever Hillary wants.
But those Democrats will know they owe their success not to the head of their ticket, but to the head of the other ticket. They won’t owe Clinton—and they will be keenly aware of the leftward surge of opinion inside their party that made Clinton’s nomination so arduous and protracted. Hillary Clinton has had to veer left on trade, crime, immigration, energy, charter schools, and tax increases to appease her party activist base. Won’t new Democratic senators feel they have to do the same? Won’t many want to? If Ted Strickland replaces Rob Portman in Ohio, if Russ Feingold defeats Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, if Mark Kirk and Kelly Ayotte and Pat Toomey go down—the emerging Senate will ratify Clinton’s tactical maneuvers in the campaign. And what if the House is lost to the GOP, too? That’s less likely, but not unimaginable.

We could see the election of a Congress defined by and frightened of the Democratic activist left, in tandem with a Democratic president who has already demonstrated that she does not lead her party and will instead be led by it.
And Senate Democrats will also be aware that they will be facing a very different environment in 2018 when there will be 25 Democratic seats (including Maine's Angus King and Vermont's Bernie Sanders) up for reelection and Republicans defending only eight. Democratic senators up for reelection in North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri, Montana, and Indiana might be wary about going as far to the left as Hillary has gone in her campaign this year.

Kimberley Strassel writes about how Hillary Clinton has become reduced to running against the presidency of her husband while pretending not to do so.
A few months in politics feels like ages, but it wasn’t so long ago that the knock on Hillary Clinton’s campaign was that it was content free. She spent months on the road, “listening,” refusing to state her views. The cipher expected coronation, and was intent on preserving maximum flexibility for the general election. Mr. Sanders blew up that strategy.

As he surged, Hillary had to do far more than come clean. She had to abandon every winning, centrist, New Democrat position that had defined the Clinton years. Bill Clinton left office with the highest approval rating of any president since World War II. Mrs. Clinton has spent the past six months in essence saying that everything he did was weak, phony or wrong.

Bill’s was the party of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Hillary’s is the party that opposes even a Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by the union-rolled Obama administration. Mrs. Clinton protests that she still supports trade but objects to the specifics of TPP. Does anyone envision a new President Clinton recrafting the deal?

Bill’s was the party that increased permits for oil and gas drilling by more than 50%—even as it hailed the Kyoto Protocol. Hillary’s is the party that now opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, opposes offshore drilling, and even opposes one of the country’s greatest economic engines—fracking. “By the time we get through all of my conditions,” she promised in March, “I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.” Climate isn’t simply the left’s new religion, but core unfinished business for the White House, and Mrs. Clinton would make it a hallmark of her presidency.

Hillary Clinton has no time for Bill’s old plans for Social Security reform; she’d expand the program to provide bigger payouts to women and widows. She’s over his $5.15 federal minimum wage and in a bidding war with Mr. Sanders that begins, but doesn’t end, at $15 an hour. She’s for debt-free college, mandatory family leave, and $1 trillion in new spending for infrastructure, education and solar panels. The era of big government is so back. Bill Clinton might charge political manslaughter, at the hands of his wife, at the direction of Mr. Sanders.

Michael Goodwin details the sleaze that is the Mayor de Blasio administration. A recent report by the state Board of Elections has accused him of "willful and flagrant" violations of campaign-finance laws. But that was just a start.
And that gets to the heart of de Blasio’s vulnerability. His 2014 Senate effort wasn’t unique. It is just one example of how he has done business since the day he won the election in 2013.

Think of it as de Blasio’s Big Idea. While denouncing income inequality, he was determined to harvest big bucks from unions and private firms that had business before the city, and then to use that money to carry out his “progressive agenda.”

He raised as much as $40 million and deposited it in various slush funds he formed, including the Campaign for One New York, which he started before he even took the oath of office.

The money would be managed by a small team of insiders. Some were on the city payroll, but most were in favored law firms, public relations and consultant shops. In effect, de Blasio outsourced a permanent political operation to be the vanguard of his administration.

The money would come from real-estate developers, yellow-taxi medallion owners, teachers unions and anybody else willing to play ball in hopes the mayor would ­return the favors.

Oh, and one more thing: de Blasio would do much of the fund-raising himself, meeting with donors in large groups or ­one-on-one.

That is exactly the pattern he used in trying to help Democrats take back the state Senate in 2014. “The entire fund-raising and campaign operation was run from City Hall by de Blasio staff in coordination with unions and Campaign for One New York officers and political consultants,” wrote Risa Sugarman, chief enforcement officer of the state Board of Elections.

She reports that some of the big checks that found their way into small upstate county political committees contained the words “donation per Mayor.”

Even before her findings were released, there were reports of new subpoenas being issued and a grand jury-hearing testimony. That suggests that the probes are well beyond the preliminary stage and that prosecutors are confident crimes have been committed.

It is almost impossible to believe that de Blasio will emerge unscathed. Though he is notoriously uninterested in policy ­details, he has been fully engaged in politics and all the deals and transactions.

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How lovely, Social Justice Warriors are finding out that what goes around comes around.Students occupied a room outside the Chancellor of UC Davis's office for 36 days. Now those students are being accused of creating a "hostile climate" that made other students not feel safe.
By the time they left 36 days later, a petition that now bears roughly 100 signatures of UC Davis students and staff were demanding that they prematurely end their occupation, criticizing their tactics, and alleging a number of grave transgressions: The signatories accused the student activists of sexism, racism, bullying, abuse, and harassment, complaining that many who used the administration building “no longer feel safe.” The student activists say that those charges are unfair.

The conflict illustrates a pattern that campus observers are likely see more and more in coming years: Insofar as progressives succeed in remaking campuses into places unusually sensitive to psychological harms, where transgressing against “safe spaces” is both easy to do and verboten, confrontational activism will no longer be viable.

Too many people feel upset by it.
These activists will come to find that they have created rules that will be used against them. Soon no one will be able to say anything without being challenged by someone else.

As John Hawkins writes, America has some very predatory victims.
We’ve even gotten to the point where college students have started believing that they’re such fragile little flowers that they can’t possibly be expected to even listen to an alternative viewpoint inside their precious little “safe spaces.” Yet, on the rare occasions when a conservative speaker is allowed on campus, many of those same fragile little flowers go to the speech just so they can scream, throw food and try to shut the whole event down. Yet, we’re supposed to feel sorry for poor offended college students who act like spoiled brats instead of a speaker who has to put up with their obnoxious behavior.

This is what diversity quotas have led to. Forget talent.
One in six of all on-screen BBC roles must go to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or disabled people by 2020, the corporation's new diversity targets state.

In a bid to deter criticism that it has been failing to reflect its audience, the BBC has pledged that LGBT and disabled people will each make up eight per cent of all on-air and on-screen roles....

Fifty per cent of all on-screen and broadcasting roles will go to women, who already make up 48.5 per cent of the BBC's total workforce.

However, the BBC will still be able to commission shows where the main roles are more likely to be male-dominated.
They even have someone whose job title is "head of diversity, inclusion and succession."

I wonder if this means that they will have to question job applicants about their sexual orientation. How else will they know if they have fulfilled their quota? It used to be that people's orientation would be their own private business, but now it seems that the BBC is instituting a policy of "Must ask, must tell."

And you know who was unfair to women? Shakespeare, that's who.
Shakespeare may have been widely championed as a visionary, but this description can’t be applied to his record on gender equality. On average men are given 81% of speeches, while 17% go to women and the rest are made up of unknowns or mixed groups, according to Open Source Shakespeare. Women tend to come off worst in his tragedies: Timon of Athens features just nine speeches by women, compared with 725 by men. And yet the population of Shakespeare’s England was roughly 53.5% male and 46.5% female.
If only Shakespeare had known about the BBC quota.

Debra Saunders ponders how touchy society has become. Liberals seem to delight in taking umbrage as this whole incident with ESPN firing Curt Schilling for tweeting out commentary on allowing transgenders into bathrooms of their choice.
From all appearances, ESPN fired Schilling for unapologetic opposition to laws that end bathroom gender barriers -- a mainstream position two years ago.

What happened to shrugging at an opinion with which you disagree and leaving it at that? That notion is history, as communications executives seem to have convinced themselves that they are not censoring dissenting opinions but rather protecting the innocent from crude speech.

Twitter took that phony stance, too, when it announced a "Trust and Safety Council" in February. "Twitter stands for freedom of expression, speaking truth to power, and empowering dialogue. That starts with safety," CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted. Lo and behold, the social network muzzled conservatives such as anti-feminist Robert Stacy McCain, who didn't hurt anyone.

Mayhap the folks at ESPN and Twitter believe that conservatives are mean whereas liberals are not. Sarah Palin's email inbox probably says otherwise. I would say the real difference between the right and the left is that folks on the left believe they have a right to be shielded from unwelcome opinions. Ergo, they demand safe spaces at universities to coddle students who say that certain opinions "trigger" fear. While conservatives have had their eyes opened on that score, corporate America -- in this case, ESPN and Twitter -- has taken on the job of shielding liberals from pointed critics.

David Harsanyi explains
how Democrats have distorted language in order to make their ideological points.
Democrats have long deployed “loophole” as a means of implying that gun laws were being broken. Basically, all of life is a giant loophole until Democrats come up with a way to regulate or tax it. In its economic usage, “loophole”— probably more of a dysphemism—creates the false impression that people are getting away with breaking the law or doing something unethical. It’s a way to skip the entire debate portion of the conversation and get right to the accusation.

So when Clinton promises to close the loophole of corporate inversion, which she does all the time, what she means to say is that Democrats disapprove of this completely legal thing that corporations do to shield their money from the highest corporate tax rate in the OECD. Loopholes are like “giveaways;” monies which DC has yet to double and triple tax.
Basically, "loophole" means something perfectly legal that Democrats dislike. Harsanyi points out that the media facilitate the Democratic deception by using "loophole" in the same way. They certainly wouldn't do that for Republicans.
If Ted Cruz began calling taxes “theft,” would the Associated Press follow?
The concepts of "access" and "ban" are other examples of Democratic legerdelangue.
Democrats can create entire issues out of corrupting words. Take “access”— formerly meaning “having the ability to approach, enter, or use.” In today’s liberal parlance, when the state doesn’t give you something for free, it’s taking something from you. It’s denying you access. When there’s a lack of “access” to birth control, it doesn’t, as the dictionary might lead you to believe, mean that Walgreens and CVS have been dissuaded from selling condoms or that someone is bolting the door when women attempt to purchase birth control at the local pharmacy. It means that government has not made condoms “free” for anyone who desires them.

To oppose the latter—whatever you make of the position—is not tantamount to a “ban” or “outlawing.” Yet Hillary has accused Cruz of attempting to “ban” contraception—not once, but five times in his political career. This goes on all the time. Yet, by any definition of the word, neither Cruz nor any Republican in office today has ever tried to ban—prohibit, forbid, proscribe, disallow—contraception or even infringe on the right to access it. This is a fairy tale with a thriving political fan fiction community.

Voters who pay only marginal attention to political debates (most) are probably left with some vague notion that men are working to “deny women” access to birth control. It would be understandably disconcerting if this were true. A War on Women loses a bit of its bark when it’s The War on Having the Taxpayers Pay For Everyone’s Pill.
George Orwell recognized this tendency to distort meaning in order to push an ideological argument decades ago. Sadly, this leftist tradition continues.

Amazingly, Vox has published an essay by Emmett Rensin about "the smug style in American liberalism." It reads like something we might read in National Review or Commentary Magazine, not a liberal site like Vox.
There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what's good for them.

In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.
He traces the origins of this style back to the move of white working class voters from the Democratic Party to the GOP.
The consequence was a shift in liberalism's intellectual center of gravity. A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional.
We saw this when Democrats asked "What's the matter with Kansas?" I remember a teacher at my school saying after the 2004 election that he had told his students that it was such a shame that so many people had voted against their own interests. When I challenged him how he could be sure that he knew what was in the best interests of so many voters, he just replied smugly that he knew. He just knew what people whom he didn't know should be voting on. I really like just about all my colleagues, but this guy's arrogance really irritated me and seemed so typical of the sort of smugness that Rensin is describing. His arrogance came back to bite him because, apparently, so many parents complained about his focus on politics in the classroom that he was not invited back the next year. Good riddance. If only university presidents had the same policy about professors who ignored content in order to proselytize their political ideology. Read the rest of Rensin's essay. It is truly well done, even with some of the liberal points he makes about how the poor have been ignored in this country. But it is all the more remarkable for where it was published.

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So what is the Obama administration trying to hide?
Being the “most transparent administration” in history apparently doesn’t mean complying with a congressional subpoena to find out why more than half of the ObamaCare co-ops have failed.

That’s what the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is learning, at least. It has subpoenaed information relating to the 23 nonprofit co-op insurance companies that ObamaCare established with $2.5 billion in government loans.

The co-ops were supposed to provide price competition against commercial insurers, but last year many pushed for and got huge, double-digit rate hikes. Even so, more than half of the 23 set up have failed already, and it’s likely that eight more will collapse this year.

Given that taxpayers are on the hook for billions in loans that might never get repaid, it is only fitting that Congress should find out what went wrong and why.

But instead of providing answers, the Obama administration is stonewalling.

Ramesh Ponnuru explains how meaningless Obama's officious threat to Britain that they would go to the "back of the queue" for getting a trade deal if they vote to exit the EU.
This is an empty threat. While the European economy is bigger than the British one, it may be easier to restore the trade relations we already have with Britain than to improve the ones we have with the EU. And there is no good reason we cannot pursue both courses simultaneously, and both will be in our interest. President Obama is warning that Britain will be hurting its own interests by leaving the EU, and part of his case is that it will jeopardize the friendly trade relations Britain has with the U.S. But trade between the U.S. and Britain is mutually beneficial–that’s why it happens–and so a disruption in those trade relations will hurt us too. Which is why it will be very much in our interest to resume them. The alternative would be, in effect, to levy trade sanctions against Britain out of spite over its decision, and even at a cost to ourselves.

Obama’s argument will have its intended effect on British voters only to the extent that they let fear overcome clear thinking.
The WSJ also explains that Obama's threat to Britain is less a threat than Obama's policy preference.
The problem—apart from the blunt political threat to a stalwart ally—is that Mr. Obama is stating his policy choice, not what is inevitable. The U.S. is negotiating a trade deal with the EU, but the talks haven’t been going well in part because of the demands of the EU’s multiple special interests and French economic nationalism. The talks might extend into the next U.S. Administration, and they could fail.

The next American President would be wise to begin a trade negotiation with a Tory Britain that is outside the EU—for the deal’s own economic benefits but also to improve U.S.-U.K. ties and provide leverage with the EU to ease the regulatory burdens it wants to impose as part of a trade deal. Our advice to British voters is to ignore Mr. Obama, who is a short timer, and vote in June based on what would make Britain stronger and more prosperous.

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We seem to be enduring whiplash as we get promises of a New Donald Trump from his new campaign aide, Paul Manafort, and then we see the New, New Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump was going to be all about message discipline, unity, and dignity. The evidence for this new narrative was Trump’s short victory speech on Tuesday night, when he referred to Ted Cruz as “Senator Cruz” rather than “Lyin’ Ted.”

Mr. Trump’s extreme makeover lasted less than 24 hours.

In speeches yesterday, in city after city, Trump referred to “Lyin’ Ted” around a dozen times. He was back to being the Old Trump.

Memo to the political class and wishful thinkers everywhere: the Old Trump is the True Trump. For more than 10 months during this presidential campaign, and long before it, we’ve seen how Trump conducts himself — the venom, the erratic statements, the staggering ignorance, the obsessive attacks, the crudity and vulgarity, the creepy references to his daughter, the narcissism and emotional imbalance. He is who he is.

I understand the campaign has an interest in camouflaging that; in keeping Mr. Trump on a leash, in a box, under control, pretending that deep down he’s a philosopher king rather than a reality television performer who makes the Kardashians look classy.

It won’t work; and more to the point, it shouldn’t work. The American people need to know the real temperament — the man in full — who would be president. Because it is Donald Trump, not a Manafort-concocted image of Trump, who would be sitting in behind the Oval Office and in the Situation Room. Who would be making decisions on war and peace? Who would be submitting actual budgets and policy proposals? Who would be speaking for America and presenting America to the world?

So my view is, don’t try to pretty up Donald Trump. Let us see him in all his ugliness, so we can then decide whether this is the person we want to be commander in chief and the moral conscience of America.
I love this argument - don't worry about how crude Donald Trump has been in the past year. That's all pretend. That's the Phony Donald Trump. He's just been "projecting an image." The Real Donald Trump is a gentlemanly, presidential guy who's just been putting on a fake persona to appeal to the rubes in the GOP primaries. Remember when the argument was that we should support Donald Trump because he "tells it like it is." Well, only when he's faking it, that is.

If you're holding your breath waiting for Trump to be more presidential, you're probably already dead. In fact, he's already refuting Manafort's words. Apparently, Trump didn't get the memo.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump told his supporters he doesn’t plan to start “toning it down” as the race for the White House nears the Republican National Convention this July.

“You know, being presidential’s easy — much easier than what I have to do,” Trump said at a campaign rally Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn. “Here, I have to rant and rave. I have to keep people going. Otherwise you’re going to fall asleep on me, right?”
That message contradicts the one Trump’s chief strategist, Paul Manafort, told top Republican officials on Thursday.

“The part that he’s been playing is now evolving into the part that you’ve been expecting,” Manafort told Republican National Committee members at the party’s spring meeting in Hollywood, Fla.

Trump appears to be pushing back.

“If I acted presidential, I can guarantee you this morning I wouldn’t be here,” Trump said earlier Saturday in Waterbury, Conn.

“I sort of don’t like toning it down,” Trump added. “Isn’t it nice that I’m not one of these teleprompter guys?”
Well, alright then. If ranting is harder than being presidential, does that mean ranting doesn't come naturally to him? I'm so confused.

Judson Phillips warns conservatives who support Trump that they've been punked. Of course, Trump was never a conservative, but he had watched enough TV and listened to enough talk radio to fake it. But it was always a temporary disguise. We saw it when he said in the debates that he admired Canada and Britain's health care policies or when he was incoherent on abortion because he had no idea what to say to appeal to conservatives just as he doesn't know a Bible verse to say he likes when asked.

He doesn't even know his own policy recommendations.
Donald Trump was asked this week, “Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?" He replied, "I do. I do—including myself. I do."

Yet Trump's own tax plan would cut the highest marginal federal income-tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. Based on scoring by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Trump's plan would raise after-tax incomes for the top 1 percent by 27 percent—more than for any other income group. His plan would also increase the national debt by more than $10 trillion (again, according to the Tax Foundation, even after taking into account the increased economic growth the plan would spur). To put that into perspective, that's more than the national debt has risen so far under Obama. (It has risen $8.6 trillion under this most profligate of presidents.)

How does this tax plan square with Trump's newly professed support for "raising taxes on the wealthy"?

This is similar to Trump's rampant inconsistency on Obamacare. Trump says he's for repealing Obamacare, but he's not for cutting Medicaid—which, thanks to the efforts of those like John Kasich, accounts for most of Obamacare's coverage increases. Likewise, Trump opposes repealing Obamacare's preexisting-conditions mandate, which is perhaps the main reason why Obamacare is sending premiums through the roof.

In other words, Trump wants to (quote, unquote) "repeal Obamacare" while mostly keeping its government-centric coverage expansion and government-driven price spikes. How does that constitute repeal?

Americans deserve a better tax plan and a better Obamacare alternative—and a candidate who knows what he's proposing.
If he's as smart as he keeps telling us he is, wouldn't he be able to read his own policy proposals and remember them? Apparently not.

And if you don't like one of Trump's policy pronouncements, just wait a bit; he'll come up with something different.
Donald Trump has gone from saying he would eliminate the U.S. national debt "over a period of eight years" with the help of renegotiated trade deals to saying he would pay off a percentage of it in a decade with the help of debt refinancing and take a "not so ... aggressive" approach.

Trump explained the change of direction, which comes in the span of just a few weeks, to Fortune magazine. In the interview released Thursday, Trump said he never vowed to rid the country of its debt in 10 years; he told the Washington Post in a sit-down published April 2 that it would take him eight.(links in original)
So not only will he change his position' he'll lie about doing it.

Jonah Goldberg explains why he will never support Trump. And he has some observations about the arguments being made to persuade people that supporting Trump is what we should be doing.
By the way, I am constantly amazed at how many people get really angry at anyone who says Trump’s voters are wrong. Yeah, I get it. They’re angry. Blah blah blah.

But let me ask you something: How many times have you been justifiably angry in your own life yet still let your anger lead you to a bad decision?

More important, nowhere in democratic theory is there support for the idea that voters have to be right just because there are large numbers of them. By that logic, I shouldn’t be “allowed” to say Obama’s voters were wrong, either. Socialism sucks, and that won’t change if a majority of Americans elect Bernie Sanders.

Democracy says we must abide democratic choices, it does not say they are dispositive of fundamental questions. Indeed, the reason we have a Bill of Rights is that the founders recognized that voters could be very, very, very wrong. If you don’t believe me, Google the phrase “tyranny of the majority.”

It seems pretty obvious to me that the rage I hear from Trump supporters when I say they’re wrong stems from a kind of insecurity or resentment. Simply put, they want to be validated. It’s an awfully similar response to what we hear constantly on college campuses from the delicate little flowers who say they don’t want debate, they want empowerment. It turns out that many of the mental habits we mock and ridicule on the left have ample purchase on the right as well.

The Cruz and Kasich campaigns have teamed up to try to block Trump by agreeing to split up the remaining states.
Within minutes of each other, the pair issued statements late Sunday saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his efforts to Oregon and New Mexico. The strategy -- something the two campaigns have been working on for weeks -- is aimed at blocking Trump from gaining the 1,237 delegates necessary to claim to GOP nomination this summer.
It's about time that they realize that that is their best chance of stopping Trump from getting to 1237. Expect more spluttering from Trump about rigging the election.

Meanwhile, the Cruz campaign is going to try and make Cruz seem more likable to voters. They have a tough row to hoe. A lot of people have formed an opinion of Cruz, and it is not a favorable one.
Cruz's presidential campaign is embarking on a concerted effort to highlight a more affable version of the fiery Texas Republican. He's started working the late night talk show circuit, a new forum for the senator, and his wife, Heidi, has also been appearing more often on national TV to present him as a likable figure.

Cruz's two young daughters, who have already provided occasional comic relief to their dad's campaign, will be joining the senator on the road frequently. And his team is looking for more opportunities to put Cruz in fun, laid-back settings, like when he joined kids for a matzo-making lesson in New York.

"It's important for us to show him in more of a lighthearted venue," said Alice Stewart, Cruz's communications director. She conceded that voters want more than just a candidate they agree with on policy, adding, "It's not a secret that voters will vote for someone they like."

The lengths Cruz has to go in boosting his standing with voters were starkly evident in a focus group of Republican women this week in Pittsburgh. When the women were asked what they knew about Cruz, several described him as "untrustworthy" or a "liar." GOP front-runner Donald Trump has spent weeks assailing Cruz as "Lyin' Ted."

And when focus group participants were asked what animal best described Cruz, some said a "mosquito" or a "hornet."
Ouch. It reminds me of all the times we're assured that, in private, Hillary Clinton is a charming, funny, natural woman.

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So Planned Parenthood was indeed selling body parts. And that's illegal. But the Democrats want to do everything possible to block further investigation. And the media don't care all that much. Instead, we have to have endless discussions about bathroom policy, an issue I can't bring myself to care all that much about. Mollie Hemingway has the details of what the House investigation and hearings on the market for fetal body parts have uncovered.

California cities are already pleading with the state government to give them waivers to get out of instituting a higher minimum wage. Hmmm. I thought Californians didn't believe that a higher minimum wage would affect employment.