WASHINGTON — As Hillary Clinton moves toward the Democratic presidential nomination, she faces legal hurdles from her use of a private computer server as secretary of state that could jar her campaign’s momentum in the months ahead.
Foremost among a half-dozen inquiries and legal proceedings into whether classified information was sent through Mrs. Clinton’s server is an investigation by the F.B.I., whose agents, according to one law enforcement official, could seek to question Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides and possibly the candidate herself within weeks.
It is commonplace for the F.B.I. to try to interview key figures before closing an investigation, and doing so is not an indication the bureau thinks a person broke the law. Although defense lawyers often discourage their clients from giving such interviews, Democrats fear the refusal of Mrs. Clinton or her top aides to cooperate would be ready ammunition for Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner….(read more)
This week begins act two. Our guest star is the terrific Hannah Dunne. I think doing this show is the most fun I’ve ever had.
I’d like to also thank everyone in the rest of the world for supporting the show. The show is selling well in England, France, Germany, Denmark, Australia, India, Israel and more. I wish I had the resources to create a subtitled version of the show in every language but it’s already a challenge to shoot the show and get it up on the site so quickly every week.
Also, as the show is not being advertised and promoted anywhere, please share it with your friends and people you think would like it. Please don’t show it to anyone you think would hate it. Although I do believe a show needs to be hated. It’s part of the life of any show to have some people who devote energy to ripping it apart. It’s healthy. Anyway it continues to be very interesting to watch a show spread and grow strictly on word of mouth. And you are the mouths. I mean your mouths are the mouths that… Make words. So please… Word… About it. The show.
To other mouths. I mean don’t talk into people’s mouths though.
Okay. I’m going back to bed. My kids don’t get here for another hour.
P.S. Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.
And I’m not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren’t enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a while. But it only works if the conservatives put up a good candidate. A good smart conservative to face the liberal candidate so they can have a good argument and the country can decide which way to go this time.
Trump is not that. He’s an insane bigot. He is dangerous.
He already said he would expand libel laws to sue anyone who “writes a negative hit piece” about him. He says “I would open up the libel laws so we can sue them and win lots of money. Not like now. These guys are totally protected.” He said that. He has promised to decimate the first amendment. (If you think he’s going to keep the second amendment intact you’re delusional.) And he said that Paul Ryan, speaker of the house will “pay” for criticizing him. So I’m saying this now because if he gets in there we won’t be able to criticize him anymore.
Please pick someone else. Like John Kasich. I mean that guy seems okay. I don’t like any of them myself but if you’re that kind of voter please go for a guy like that. It feels like between him and either democrat we’d have a decent choice. It feels like a healthier choice. We shouldn’t have to vote for someone because they’re not a shocking cunt billionaire liar.
We should choose based on what direction the country should go.
I get that all these people sound like bullshit soft criminal opportunists. The whole game feels rigged and it’s not going anywhere but down anymore. I feel that way sometimes.
And that voting for Trump is a way of saying “fuck it. Fuck them all”. I really get it. It’s a version of national Suicide. Or it’s like a big hit off of a crack pipe. Somehow we can’t help it. Or we know that if we vote for Trump our phones will be a reliable source of dopamine for the next four years. I mean I can’t wait to read about Trump every day. It’s a rush. But you have to know this is not healthy.
If you are a true conservative. Don’t vote for Trump. He is not one of you. He is one of him. Everything you have heard him say that you liked, if you look hard enough you will see that he one day said the exact opposite. He is playing you. Read the rest of this entry »
Even before investigators determined that a Christmas Day fire at a southwest Houston mosque was set deliberately, Muslims in the Houston area were on edge.
Recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., were followed by threats to area Muslims on social media and elsewhere. Now, in the aftermath of the arson at the mosque, local Muslim leaders and public officials are organizing a meeting to try to calm fears and ease tensions.
M.J. Khan, the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, said he understands the community’s growing anxiety.
“Families and children come, and we do take precautions to make sure people are protected and feel safe,” said Khan, whose organization operates the mosque. Still, he added, “These are places of worship, and we cannot make them fortresses.”
The fire broke out at around 2:45 p.m. on Christmas Day at the small mosque inside the Savoy Plaza strip center, near Wilcrest Drive and Bellfort Avenue. About 80 firefighters helped extinguish the blaze, which significantly damaged the worship hall.
Given the fire, the Muslim community’s concerns are certainly newsworthy. I have no problem with the story angle or the report’s above-the-fold placement.
But here’s the problem with this 1,300-word piece (roughly twice as long as a typical daily newspaper story): It attacks the issue with a giant ax when what’s really needed is a surgical knife.
What I mean: On a story such as this, journalists need to take extra care to be precise, to report what they know — and no more. Readers deserve hard facts, not squishy generalizations.
Instead, the Chronicle makes the sweeping statement up high that “threats to area Muslims on social media and elsewhere” followed the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. OK, what threats? (Insert crickets.)
The newspaper never provides any evidence of actual threats, such as police reports. The story does provide this brief note:
Waqar Mehmood was browsing his Sugar Land neighborhood’s social media page when he saw posts from a neighbor calling for the community to cleanse itself of Muslims using pig’s blood.Read the rest of this entry »
Photo of the 2,242 page omnibus and tax deal. Voting could happen as soon as Thursday night.
Jeffrey H. Anderson With a deadline looming, congressional leaders unveiled “sweeping” tax and spending legislation late last night. The result makes one wonder whether congressional Republicans negotiate directly with President Obama on these deals, or whether they just send corporate lobbyists to do so, thereby cutting out the middle man.
“The deal would adopt environmental and renewable measures that Democrats want. These include extending wind and solar tax credits, reauthorizing a conservation fund for three years and excluding any measures that block major administration environmental regulations.”
The Wall Street Journalreports, “The agreement…is expected to suspend for two years a tax on medical devices and delay for two years the scheduled 2018 start of the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer health plans.” Each of these “fixes” to Obamacare will make deep-pocketed groups that much less interested in full repeal in 2017, while the suspension of the Cadillac tax will also make it that much harder to pass the conservative alternative needed to make full repeal a reality. The delay of that tax is also a big win for labor unions.
“Lawmakers and aides said the spending bill doesn’t include any restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S.”
But that’s just the beginning.
The new Office takes the work out of working together.
Take a look at the new Office.
Spent last night cutting through 2,000 pages of words, words, words – @RepWalterJones
The Journal also reports that “the deal would adopt environmental and renewable measures that Democrats want. These include extending wind and solar tax credits, reauthorizing a conservation fund for three years and excluding any measures that block major administration environmental regulations.”
And that’s not all: “Lawmakers and aides said the spending bill doesn’t include any restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S.” (It does, however, reportedly “limit certain travel privileges granted to citizens of 38 friendly foreign countries that are allowed to enter the U.S. without obtaining a visa.”) Read the rest of this entry »
By the Numbers is an honest and open discussion, hosted by Raheel Raza president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, about Muslim opinions and demographics. This is about the acceptance that radical Islam is a bigger problem than most politically correct governments and individuals are ready to admit. Is ISIS, the Islamic State, trying to penetrate the US with the refugee influx, are Muslims radicalised in US soil, are organizations such as CAIR who purport represent American Muslims accepting and liberal or radicalised with links to terror organizations.
Chris Stirewalt reports: Just how much is the news media shaping the GOP primary race? In the past three days, Donald Trump’s name has been mentioned 25 times more than the rest of the Republican field combined.
The data gurus at The New Analytics Company measure “scrub” television, radio, print, internet and social media for mentions of the 2016 candidates to produce scores for each candidate that we bring you each week in The Edge.
But given this week’s absolute media meltdown over Donald Trump’s plan to refuse entry to the United States any Muslim from any country, there’s really no comparison.
So here’s a slightly different, ahem, angle on The Edge: On Monday, the day before he proposed the religious test for entry, there were 19,355 unique mentions of Trump across all media in the U.S. Way more than his rivals, but within a measurable range.
His average for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was 64,638 mentions, a 234 percent increase in the size of his already huge media footprint. The combined score of every other candidate combined added up to the paltry average of 2,566 mentions over the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
We’re now in month eight or so of Trumpmania. He has a core of support, and the media can’t get enough of him. The effect he has on people is fascinating. But it’s also remarkably annoying. Every casual utterance by Trump leads the news cycle until the subsequent outrage. And everyone flips out. Trump flips out. His fans flip out. His enemies flip out. The media flip out.
It’s enough to make you hate everyone. In fact, it does make me hate everyone. That probably includes you. Here’s a list of everyone in the Trump saga who is awful….(read more)
Donald Trump Fans
…I know many of the people who say they’re voting for Trump are probably just normal people who don’t pay a ton of attention to politics and think he’s an entertaining fellow who is funny and candid. It’s not entirely surprising that a man who has been a household name for decades would enjoy the support he has. I’m a political junkie, and once a week I have to think really hard about who all the candidates running for president even are. And another portion of his voters are probably people who are just sick to death of Washington, D.C., even if they’re not particularly ideological.
A Twitter user who goes by the name Political Math said of these people, and please excuse his French, “The world makes a lot of sense when you realize that the #1 priority of Trump supporters is to tell you to go [expletive deleted] yourself.” He added, “And I don’t mean this as a slur: Trump supporters are really just *more* sick of bull[deleted] out of DC than they care about Trump.”
I also hate the Republican Party and think it deserves to die in a fire.
Listen, I also hate the Republican Party and think it deserves to die in a fire (for reasons discussed here). This is a political party that has squandered majorities, favored the elite donor class over the base, and not only failed to thwart the creation and expansion of the administrative state, but in fact enabled it. It has shown disdain for conservative principles and people, even as it relied on them for victory. I’m sick of it, too.
So I get wanting to send a message. (And if you don’t get it, I commend this interview by Urbanophile’s Aaron Renn of his father, who is a Trump supporter.)
But don’t pretend that Trump has ideas, much less ideas that are good. Yes, he fights! Oh how he fights. And after years of Republican candidates sputtering and cowering in the face of stupid progressive questioning, that is an enjoyable thing to see. Although, it must be said that for someone who fights he sure does whine a hell of a lot. Just in the time I’ve written this, I’ve seen him whine about a half dozen different people. Trump’s support is based on his toughness. So why do he and his supporters cry like little babies anytime someone critiques him even slightly? I don’t get it.
Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS
In any case, there are real problems in this country and in this world, and don’t confuse message-sending support for Trump with actual support for Trump. And consider that you hate the Republican Party because of how poorly it has performed in service of the causes you care about; ask yourself whether the solution you’ve found yourself embracing is actually an improvement. Yes, it’s cathartic and you are scaring the hell out of the rest of the country, including those portions that have treated you with contempt for many years. But, again, there are serious governance issues that require a serious person who actually knows what in the hell he or she is doing. Get it together, you know?
Donald Trump Haters
OK, you people really annoy me. Ace of Spades put it well when he said you are like a divorced man who is obsessed with his ex-wife. He thinks everything she does is awful, and he can’t stop talking about her to other people to try to get them to agree. Yes, Trump is crazy and awful. Granted. But screaming about it constantly makes you seem crazy, too. Meghan Keane Graham once wrote anessay about how a crazy man on the subway picked a fight with her. After a few stops, she realized that nobody on the subway car had witnessed the original altercation and that meant that nobody on the subway knew that he was crazy and she was not. It was even odds, at that point, which one was crazy. Maybe both were. That’s what you people remind me of all the time.
He could win the primaries but would get creamed in the presidential election.
Karl Rove writes: Donald Trump’s call on Monday for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” is unlikely to blow up his campaign. No matter how outrageous his statement seems to most Americans, his supporters apparently eat up stuff like that.
“His antics—calling his GOP competitors ‘losers’ and ‘clowns,’ insulting Sen. John McCain for having been captured in Vietnam, mocking a reporter with a disability, crudely attacking Fox News’s Megyn Kelly—have made it difficult for him to grow his base.”
Forty-six percent of Mr. Trump’s backers say that their minds are made up and won’t change before the primaries, according to a Dec. 2 Quinnipiac poll. Only 33% of Ted Cruz’s supporters, and 23% of Marco Rubio’s, say that they are sure of their choice.
“The picture for the general election is even bleaker. The Donald’s favorability rating in the Quinnipiac survey was the worst of the 12 Democratic and Republican candidates tested.”
Apparently no matter what Mr. Trump does, he continues to poll generally in the mid- to high-20s, with an occasional survey putting him in the 30s. In mid-August he dipped to 22% in the Real Clear Politics average, but he hasn’t fallen below that mark since. This high floor, however, is matched by a low ceiling.
His antics—calling his GOP competitors “losers” and “clowns,” insulting Sen. John McCain for having been captured in Vietnam, mocking a reporter with a disability, crudely attacking Fox News’sMegyn Kelly—have made it difficult for him to grow his base. Almost as many Republicans (26%) told Quinnipiac that they will “definitely not support” him in the primaries as said they back him (27%).
“All these numbers combine to make Mr. Trump the weakest Republican tested by Quinnipiac in head-to-head matchups against Mrs. Clinton.”
The picture for the general election is even bleaker. The Donald’s favorability rating in the Quinnipiac survey was the worst of the 12 Democratic and Republican candidates tested: 35% favorable to 57% unfavorable. That was lower even than Mrs. Clinton’s 44% to 51%. Dig into the demographic breakdowns and Mr. Trump’s numbers look abysmal. Sixty percent of independents dislike him, along with 69% of voters aged 18-34, 84% of Latinos and 87% of blacks.
He and Mrs. Clinton were the only two of six candidates to be upside down on Quinnipiac’s question about honesty. The pair were nearly tied: 35% found the real estate mogul trustworthy and 59% did not; 36% trusted the former secretary of state and 60% didn’t. A Nov. 22 Fox News poll showed similar results. Mr. Trump was seen as honest and trustworthy by 41% of voters, and not by 55%. Mrs. Clinton’s numbers were marginally worse, at 38% honest, and 58% not. Read the rest of this entry »
“It needs to be stated that bias against any faith is wrong and very much in opposition to American values. But the problem here is, as Marco Rubio aptly pointed out yesterday, that there is no evidence of widespread discrimination against Muslims. “
Like the recent debate about welcoming Syrian refugees, the question of discrimination against American Muslims is being set up by liberals as not merely a question of right and wrong but of how best to counter ISIS’s claims that a clash of civilizations is taking place as well as how to undermine the terror group’s recruiting effort. Yet as much as the entire discussion seems like either an intellectual dead end or a trap for conservatives, the effort to transform fears about terrorism into a debate about Islamophobia is actually one worth discussing. Far from merely a diversion, the push to change the narrative about Paris and San Bernardino from one of Islamist hate to victimization of Muslims is key to understanding everything that is wrong with the administration’s failure to address the threat from ISIS.
“Throughout the last decade, and most spectacularly during the debate about an ultimately stillborn plan to build a mosque/Muslim community center at the site of one of the buildings destroyed during the attack on the World Trade Center, discussion of this mythical backlash got relentless play in the media.”
The president’s point is that anything that might alienate Muslims either abroad or at home is a gift to ISIS. The president argued after the Paris attacks that what happened there couldn’t happen here because — in contrast to the experience in Europe — of America’s acceptance of religious minorities. But now he takes the position that an overreaction to San Bernardino will provide ISIS with ammunition and allow it to argue that the West really is at war against all Muslims. That’s a pitch that will presumably help persuade more people to join their cause.
“That was partly the result of successful campaigns by groups that are largely sympathetic to Islamist beliefs like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was founded as a political front for an effort to fundraise for Hamas terrorists to promote this cause. But liberal media outlets also embraced this theme.”
Moreover, even before San Bernardino, much of the mainstream media took it as a given that the debate about Syrian refugees proved a backlash against Muslims was under way. Americans were being judged as guilty until proven innocent of the charge of Islamophobia with the stakes in the battle being nothing less than the defense of basic American values.
It needs to be stated that bias against any faith is wrong and very much in opposition to American values. But the problem here is, as Marco Rubio aptly pointed out yesterday, that there is no evidence of widespread discrimination against Muslims. Indeed, even if we were only to focus on Donald Trump’s comments about monitoring mosques or profiling, it’s clear that what is being discussed even by someone who is less than precise in his rhetoric or his focus, are efforts to monitor Islamists fomenting terror, not an attempt to make Muslims second-class citizens. Trump is being accused of wanting to give Muslims the same blatantly illegal and unjust treatment Franklin Roosevelt meted out to Japanese-Americans during World War II. But nobody, not even Trump (who outrageously suggested today banning Muslim immigration of any kind) or Ben Carson (who has also crossed the line of decency with some unconstitutional suggestions), is suggesting anything even remotely comparable.
What is most discouraging about this discussion is that it is nothing new. Every since the 9/11 attacks we have been told that Muslims were undergoing some sort of terrible backlash as the result of those crimes. Yet, as Rubio rightly points out, there has never been any statistical proof that Muslims have undergone the kind of hardships that are being alleged. To the contrary, since 2001 FBI hate crime statistics have consistently shown that Muslims suffer far less from religion-based attacks than Jews. Read the rest of this entry »
Peggy Noonan writes: What gets you about what happened in San Bernardino is the shattering sameness of it. Once and not so long ago such atrocities, whatever their cause, whether the work of schizophrenics or jihadists, constituted a signal and exceptional moment. Now they’re more like this week’s shooting. We are not becoming blasé but increasingly inured. And, of course, armed up.
“This managed to enrage the progressive left. You can take your prayers and stuff ’em. The answer and the only answer to this tragedy is gun control, and if you’re not for it you’re not allowed to be part of the conversation.”
You can see a coarsening in how we respond and react on social media. No one feels ashamed to exploit the tragedy for political purposes even while it is happening.
“All this immediately won a name: ‘prayer shaming.'”
We are all free to say what we think, and must be, for without this freedom we will no longer be America. More on that below. But you always hope what is said will be constructive, helpful, maybe even at some point heartening. You have a responsibility as an adult to do your best in this area.
“Wow. You might think he was aiming this at President Obama, who when he was a popular president with an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate did not prioritize gun control.”
But as soon as the story broke Wednesday afternoon, and while it was still going on, there were accusations and bitter words flung all over the Internet. The weirdest argument came almost immediately. A person named Chris Murphy, who is a U.S. senator representing Connecticut, sent out what struck me as the most manipulative message of recent political history.
“But it was clearly aimed at all those Republicans and religious people who were praying, saying they were praying, and implicitly asking you to pray, rather than doing what they should do, which is supporting the senator’s cause.”
The background is that Republican presidential contestants responded online to the shootings with the only helpful thing you can say—or do, frankly, from faraway—when a story like this occurs. “Praying for the victims, their families & the San Bernardino first responders,” said Jeb Bush. Mike Huckabee said he was “praying.” John Kasich: “My thoughts & prayers go out to those impacted.”
This managed to enrage the progressive left. You can take your prayers and stuff ’em. The answer and the only answer to this tragedy is gun control, and if you’re not for it you’re not allowed to be part of the conversation. “Please shut up and slink away,” tweeted a reporter. Another: “Your thoughts and prayers don’t mean a damn thing.” A reporter at the Huffington Post damned public officials’ “useless thoughts and prayers.” Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos: “How many dead people did those thoughts and prayers bring back to the life?”
Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist noted that all these denunciations were literally coming in while victims of the shooting were sending out requests for prayer.
Journalists, bloggers, contrarians and citizens jumped into the fray. Then the U.S. senator, Chris Murphy, came forward rather menacingly. “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing—again.” Read the rest of this entry »
Your State Department funds are being well invested in one-way tickets for Syrian refugees to New Orleans, Louisiana.
“As with former immigration crises and federal relocation policy, Louisiana has been kept in the dark about those seeking refuge in the state and it is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement.”
After the chaos of October’s CNBC debate, the newly culled Republican field met last night in Milwaukee to focus on ideas. But were the Fox Business moderators able to get straight answers from the candidates on important issues?
Reason TV sucked out the hot air and drilled down to the substance. Watch the video above for The 3 Best and Worst Moments of the GOP Debate.
Third Best Moment: America Shouldn’t Police the World
Rand Paul finally came out of his debate hibernation to cast a shadow on the GOP’s war hawk faction. The Kentucky senator countered Marco Rubio’s assertions that he is a “committed isolationist” by pointing out that it’s not very conservative to increase government spending on the military, as Rubio wants. True isolationism, according to the Senator, comes from the other candidates’ threats to cut off dialogue with Russia, Iran, or other perceived enemies, a step that Reagan did not take even during the height of the Cold War.
Third Worst Moment: More Bombs and Boots
Aside from Donald Trump, who paid lip service to limited foreign intervention mostly to needle Jeb Bush, the rest of the field launched a barrage of promises to keep the bombs flowing and the boots grounded, no matter the lives lost or the money spent. From creating no-fly zones in Iraq and Syria to arming every militia from Kurdistan to Ukraine, the ideas on parade offered no respite from the arrogance and fear tactics of the past two administrations.
Second Best Moment: Fewer, Simpler Taxes
The Republicans presented plans that generally simplify the tax code and reduce rates. While the extent and nature of the proposals varied, the candidates focused on the way the current complexity of the code favors wealthy, politically connected organizations—which are uniquely able to hire the army of lawyers necessary to wade through it all, and to lobby Congress to insert favorable provisions.
Second Worst Moment: Immigrants Are Taking Our Jobs
Unfortunately, that bit of sanity was balanced out by a fresh round of crazy about immigrants. After Donald Trump’s usual wall schtick, Ted Cruz described immigration as an “economic calamity” for Americans, despite the evidence that immigration increases the standard of living for all. He even suggested that journalists don’t cover this calamity because they don’t face job insecurity or competition from foreign workers.
Best Moment: Big Government Creates Crony Capitalism
The best moment of the night came with the Republicans’ forceful arguments against crony capitalism and the growth in government that fuels it. Citing everything from Obamacare to Solyndra, the candidates pitched an end to government that picks winners and losers, systemically hurting the poor and the vulnerable while helping the rich and the well-connected.
Worst Moment: Leadership Means Abandoning All Reason
Finally, batting cleanup with the worst facepalm of the debate was Ohio governor John Kasich, whose vision of presidential leadership is to abandon all principle and reason during times of crisis. In response to everything from water crises to bank failures, Kasich believes that it is the job of the executive to do something in the heat of the moment, before rational reflection and the better part of human nature emerge to spoil the party. According to Kasich, “Philosophy doesn’t work when you run something.”
Go to https://reason.com/reasontv/2015/11/1… for links, downloadable versions, and more. And don’t forget to subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube channel for notifications when new material goes live.
No matter how hard Jeb tries he cannot distance himself from the name and legacy.
Edward Luce writes: Jeb’ll fix it” is the latest mantra of Jeb Bush’s flailing campaign. Whatever problem America faces, Florida’s former governor has the nous to solve it. Alas, Jeb’s reinvention as a regular Joe with a toilet plunger is unlikely to fix his own campaign. Just one in 25 Republican votersnow support him. Big donors are looking elsewhere. At some point, there will be autopsies. Proximate causes will leap out (his awkwardness on the stump would rank highly). Yet it is increasingly clear that his campaign was doomed before it began. No matter how hard Jeb tries to distance himself from the Bush name, it cannot match how far he needs to go.
Jeb’s quandary has been brought into sharp relief by Jon Meacham’s biography of his father, George Herbert Walker Bush. Destiny and Power is a fitting title for a patrician who took America’s reins just as it was sealing its cold war victory. Ask almost any student of diplomacy — American or foreign — and they agree that Bush 41’s presidency is underrated. The Soviet collapse could have turned nasty. Bush senior guided a peaceful lifting of the Iron Curtain and spurned the unanimous advice of aides to appear on the Berlin Wall as it was collapsing. He did not want to dance on the grave of Russia’s empire. Nor did he wish to hijack Germany’s moment. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Ben Carson Political Ad Rap’ Ben Carson Political Ad Rap Video to African Americans Ben Carson 2016 Presidential Campaign Ad Ben Carson Political Ad Rap Video to African Americans VIDEO Ben Carson 2016 Presidential Campaign Ad.
Nick Gass reports: Trump and Carson continue to lead the GOP field.
Jeb Bush’s support among Republicans nationally has plummeted to the low single digits in the latest Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday, as the former Florida governor’s campaign seeks to hit refresh with its “Jeb Can Fix It” tour.
Donald Trump and Ben Carson, meanwhile, continued to lead the field, with Carson outperforming Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general-election matchup.
In the latest poll, conducted after last week’s third GOP debate in which Bush delivered a mediocre performance, just 4 percent of Republican and independent Republican-leaning voters said they would support Bush in their state’s primary. In the September survey, Bush earned 10 percent, trailing Trump, Carson and Carly Fiorina. And in terms of favorability, no one polled lower than Bush, at a net-negative of 33 points. Just 25 percent of all registered voters surveyed said they had a positive opinion of him, while 58 percent said they had a negative one.
For its part, the Bush campaign has tried to manage expectations among the media.
“FYI political press corps. Jeb’s going to have a few weeks of bad polls,” campaign communications director Tim Miller tweeted Monday. “Comebacks take time, we recognize and are prepared for that.”
Trump earned 24 percent from Republican voters this time, while Carson moved into a virtual tie at 23 percent. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio jumped into third place with 14 percent, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 13 percent. Other candidates took in 3 percent or less support, with 9 percent undecided.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, billionaire Charles Koch went after Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for his nonstop and occasionally personal attacks on him and his brother.
“I’m kind of like Martin Luther when he was on trial, and he said, ‘Here I stand. I can do no other.’ I mean, I dedicated my life to this,” Koch said. “The ideas we’ve been talking about transformed my life, and so it’s my mission. I feel a moral obligation to help other people learn these and transform their lives.”
“It’s frightening for the future of the country to have these public officials try to hurt and destroy private citizens who oppose what they’re doing rather than have a conversation and maybe find, as we’ve done with the White House, find areas where we can work together on things we agree to make the country better instead of this vitriol and these dishonest attacks.”
“Last week was a debacle and we’re adding Sean, an experienced federal election attorney, to this team because of what happened. He has significant political relationships and will be a huge asset as we seek the best possible format for the candidates. He is going to take the leading role for the debates moving forward.”
— Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist and spokesman
Priebus has elevated Sean Cairncross, the chief operating officer of the RNC and its former chief counsel, to be the GOP’s new lead debate negotiator and organizer.
The move effectively gives the debate responsibilities currently held by Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist and spokesman, to Cairncross. Spicer, a confidant of Priebus, will remain in his role but will work in a supplementary position when it comes to arranging the debates.
Priebus’s decision, which was detailed in an e-mail that the RNC sent to campaigns Sunday before a private summit of aides to 2016 candidates, was shared by a Republican presidential campaign aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the document. That gathering was held at a hotel in the Washington suburbs and attended by advisers to several campaigns. Read the rest of this entry »
“And conservative women from Sarah Palin to Michele Bachmann to Carly Fiorina are long used to this. It will not stop me. It will not scare me and maybe, the ladies of ‘The View,’ if I come back on again, let’s see if they have the guts to say that to my face.”
The rise comes as some policymakers continue to criticize a perceived income disparity between middle class and wealthy Americans. President Barack Obama has been outspoken on income inequality during his time in office, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made reducing the wealth gap a centerpiece of his presidential campaign….(read more)
BEN CARSON IS RIGHT: YES, JEWS SHOULD HAVE HAD GUNS IN THE HOLOCAUST
Anyone who would deny such people guns because ‘it wouldn’t have mattered anyway’ ought to be cut off from the class of decent human beings.
Ben Shapiro writes: On Thursday, Republican 2016 presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson stated on CNN that the Holocaust would have been less likely had Jews been armed.
In his new book, A More Perfect Union, Carson contends, “Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.” He defended that argument on national television, explaining, “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed. I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first.”
“The Nazi genocide against Jews relied on two factors: a population that, understandably, believed no sane or rational force on the planet, let alone the highly civilized Germans, would systematically murder civilians for no discernable purpose; and disarming that population before they could recognize the truth. Gun control had a long history in Germany long before the Holocaust.”
The media cynically objected to Carson’s language. Good Morning America labeled Carson’s comments “bizarre.” Politico accused Carson of “linking Hitler to gun control” – a ridiculous notion, given that Hitler is the one who linked Hitler with gun control.
“Just because the Nazis shot those who tried to resist them with armed force does not mean that Jews should not have had the ability to fight the Nazis.It is difficult to think of a more evil argument than the argument that you will undoubtedly be killed whether or not you have a gun, so we might as well remove your ability to defend your life.”
The media quickly ran to its leftist allies in the Anti-Defamation League, a longtime opponent of gun rights. “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate,” National Director Jonathan Greenblatt told Yahoo! News. “The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”
“Defending your own life is a basic human right. Jews are human beings, even if the media would hope to treat them as less than that. Ask any Holocaust survivor whether they would, in retrospect, have preferred to have a gun rather than being forced at gunpoint onto a train and then into Auschwitz, separated from their soon-to-be-gassed families, and then forced into starvation for years.”
Well, of course the “small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews” wouldn’t have prevented the Holocaust. That was the entire goal of prohibiting Jews from owning firearms over the course of years….
…In 1933, upon Hitler’s assumption of power, “non-Nazis throughout Germany were disarmed as ‘Communists,’” according to legal scholar Stephen Halbrook; simultaneously, Nazis were armed. The Nazis banned ownership of any “military” firearms by non-Nazi civilians, but naturally put special emphasis on seizing any guns from Jews. Handgun importation was banned.
“The argument against Carson has serious real-world consequences that extend beyond the argument against domestic gun seizures.”
Finally, in 1938, the Nazis enacted the Weapons Law, which banned weapons ownership without a license, just like the 1928 law; the law itself did not explicitly deny licenses to Jews. But the law did ban Jews from firearms businesses, and further required full government-available records of all gun sales. After Kristallnacht, the Nazis utilized the law to ban guns from all Jews after utilizing the media to blame “armed Jews” for unrest…
…German Jewish leadership said that any failure to comply would only drive more brutality. This strategy, needless to say, led to catastrophe.
Nonetheless, the media continue to lay out arguments that Carson was wrong, and that presumably, the Jews should have avoided guns even as the Germans came for their children. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Dinan reports: Ben Carson is hoping to awaken black voters to his campaign with a message of economic empowerment, saying the black community has been done a disservice by heeding political power overtures from Democrats.
“The Democrat Party, of course, is the party of the KKK. Of Jim Crow laws. And perhaps just as bad right now, of servitude. ‘Now you do this, and we’ll take care of you, pat you on the head, take care of all your needs.’ Which keeps people believing that’s what they actually need.”
Speaking to a small group of black leaders and activists last week, the retired neurosurgeon, who is surging in polling in the Republican presidential race, said he believes black Americans bring more power through the size of their bank account than by putting their “fist in the air.”
Mr. Carson said he generally shies away from focusing on race: “I say that’s because I’m a neurosurgeon, because everyone’s brain looks the same and it works the same way.”
But he said black voters should step beyond their allegiance to the Democratic Party.
“The Democrat Party, of course, is the party of the KKK. Of Jim Crow laws. And perhaps just as bad right now, of servitude. ‘Now you do this, and we’ll take care of you, pat you on the head, take care of all your needs.’ Which keeps people believing that’s what they actually need,” Mr. Carson told the small group.
Mr. Carson said he is an admirer of the late A.G. Gaston, a businessman in Birmingham, Alabama, who made millions of dollars that he used to help fund the civil rights movement. Gaston said his influence stemmed from his economic power. Read the rest of this entry »
Washington Post Confirms Hillary Clinton’s role as the source of false rumors that President Obama is a ‘practicing Muslim who was not born in a America’.
John Nolte reports: New analysis from the Washington Post removes any doubt that the anti-Obama Birther movement was started in 2007 and 2008 by Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and her Democrat supporters.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, other left-wing media outlets, like Politico and the Guardian, had already traced the Birther movement back to Democrats and Ms. Clinton. Using his wayback machine on Wednesday, the Post’s David Weigel took an in-depth look at the origins of the false rumors that President Obama is a practicing Muslim who was not born in a America. Weigel’s reporting contains the final pieces of a very disturbing puzzle.
What Weigel found and re-reported was astounding, details many of us had forgotten or never heard of, including a 2007 bombshell memo from the Clinton campaign’s chief strategist.
What the left-wing Weigel left out of his reporting was even more astounding, including a documented confrontation between Clinton and Obama over the Birther issue, and video of Hillary herself stoking doubt about Obama’s Christian faith.
Because the Washington Post’s primary job is to protect Democrats, Weigel’s headline and conclusion are an objective lie. Despite the fact that what he uncovered (and chose to not cover) points directly to Ms. Clinton and her campaign, Weigel concludes she had nothing to do with the Birther movement.
Naturally, Weigel’s own facts support the exact opposite conclusion.
His research, however, is all that matters.
Defcon 4: Mark Penn’s March 2007 Strategy Memo
Everything began in March of 2007 when Hillary’s chief strategist Mark Penn wrote a now-infamous campaign memo laying out his overall plan to win the election.
Weigel sums up the Birther elements of Penn’s memo as a nothingburger; indeed, according to Weigel, the memo actually proves that the Clinton campaign wanted nothing to do with Birtherism: “But Penn wrote that as a warning, not a strategy,” Weigel writes.
While most of Weigel’s lies in his defense of Clinton are of omission and deflection, the wrist-flicking of Penn’s memo is pure audacity.
Because this is important, I’m not asking anyone to believe my interpretation of the memo. You can read the memo for yourself here. Below are two mainstream media sources. [emphasis added] As you’ll see, the idea that the memo was a warning against “othering” Obama is preposterous:
[Penn] wrote, “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.” Penn proposed targeting Obama’s “lack of American roots.”
The idea of going after Obama’s otherness dates back to the last presidential election—and to Democrats. … Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, recognized this potential vulnerability in Obama and sought to exploit it. … Penn wrote: … “[H]is roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values.”
Penn also suggested how the campaign might take advantage of this. “Every speech should contain the line that you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century,” he advised Clinton. “And talk about the basic bargain as about [sic] the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child, and that drive you today.” He went on: “Let’s explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t … Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds [of campaign events].”
Bloomberg adds: “Penn was not a birther.”
His memo didn’t raise the issue of Obama’s citizenship. Furthermore, he was acutely aware of the political danger that a Democrat would court by going after Obama in this way, even subliminally: “We are never going to say anything about his background,” he wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
Gavin McInnes writes: Westerners used to just barge into countries, take them over, and make them better. Before the British invaded, India was just a really hot homeless shelter. The U.K. left in 1947 after trying to sort out India’s Muslim problem and the infrastructure they built immediately began to crumble. The same happened to Haiti after 1804 and Jamaica after 1962. It was obvious the West was the best. Today, however, when foreigners fly planes into our skyscrapers and rape our children, we apologize. What the fuck happened?
“When this first happened, I assumed Obama was duped. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think he cares if the clock looks like a bomb. He saw #IStandWithAhmed trending and decided he’d like to be part of it. It’s like black people still wearing T-shirts that say ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot.’ They don’t care about the truth. They just like the story.”
I remember on September 12th, 2001, in NYC’s Union Square there were people holding signs that said “Justice Not Revenge.” The first instinct for much of the country seemed to be avoiding Islamophobia. To this day we have a crippling fear of it. Islamophobiaphobia is so severe, any Muslim circus clown can send his kid to school with a fake bomb and instead of charging the father with child endangerment, we invite the boy to the White House.
When this first happened, I assumed Obama was duped. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think he cares if the clock looks like a bomb. He saw #IStandWithAhmed trending and decided he’d like to be part of it. It’s like black people still wearing T-shirts that say “Hands Up Don’t Shoot.” They don’t care about the truth. They just like the story.
In case you’re not familiar with the story (it’s already dying on the vine), Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed is a Muslim prankster and publicity hound who is constantly harping about Islamophobia. His daughter was suspended for making bomb threats at school. His brother started a company last year called Twin Towers Corporation. He has made very public campaigns about running for president of Sudan even though it’s a dictatorship.
“When the police arrived, Ahmed was so elusive they were forced to detain him. The crime they were accusing him of was creating a fake bomb to cause a disturbance. This is a misdemeanor, and I haven’t seen any evidence he’s innocent. Despite the case being a no-brainer, the entire country screamed ISLAMOPHOBIA and lay prostrate before the Mohamed family.”
He drove to Florida after Pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn the Koran and represented the book as its lawyer (he failed—the Koran burned). The guy is a complete idiot who debates like a teenager lying to his dad. A week and a half ago, Mohamed’s son Ahmed brought a clock to school that had been torn out of its case and put in a new case in such a way, it resembled a bomb. The first teacher he showed it to told him to put it away. Then, in English class, he either plugged it in or affixed a battery so the alarm would go off.
“I think this kid’s father used his own son as a ploy to garner sympathy for Islam. This is an old trick in the Muslim world. They constantly use children as soldiers to detect mines or simply take bullets. They know it kills us to kill kids and they prey on our morality. Ahmed’s school is trying to tell the world that they are innocent, but El-Hassan refuses to release the records.”
It did and the teacher did what she was supposed to. When the police arrived, Ahmed was so elusive they were forced to detain him. The crime they were accusing him of was creating a fake bomb to cause a disturbance. This is a misdemeanor, and I haven’t seen any evidence he’s innocent. Despite the case being a no-brainer, the entire country screamed ISLAMOPHOBIA and lay prostrate before the Mohamed family. Read the rest of this entry »
“Were they booing Trump for calling Rubio a clown or were they booing Rubio for being a clown?” I put the same question to MSNBC reporter Benjy Sarlin, who’s at the Values Voter Summit today. He thought they were booing Trump. So did conservative reporter Byron York of the Examiner. Sarlin makes a fair point: Watch the clip below and you’ll find only tepid applause for Trump’s big attack line on Rubio, his role in the Gang of Eight. You’d expect more from the crowd for that if the room was anti-Rubio. Rubio also seemed to get a nice ovation when he walked out for his own speech at the VVS this morning, which is no surprise. Apart from Ben Carson, no Republican candidate has as consistently high a favorable rating as he does. He’s well liked, even if he’s the first choice of only a small number of Republicans (so far).
Interestingly, Trump himself didn’t claim afterward that they were booing Rubio rather than him. He denied altogether that there were any boos because of course he did.…(read more)
“I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without.”
‘When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,’ the Roman Catholic pontiff said. ‘We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.’
“Francis told lawmakers that the ‘Golden Rule … reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.'”
Speaking in English – a language he has learned only recently – Francis also dropped coded messages to conservatives about gay marriage and abortion, and made an impassioned plea for a left-leaning approach to capital punishment in an unprecedented visit to Capitol Hill by a sitting Pope.
‘I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without,’ Francis told a packed House chamber filled with legislators, Supreme Court justices and multiple presidential candidates.
Pope Francis on Thursday morning became the first-ever pontiff to address the US Congress
Francis took the opportunity to lecture lawmakers on a variety of topics ranging from social to environmental issues. Known as a forceful advocate, he did not disappoint
Francis about to be introduced at the door to the House chamber
Francis’s address was heard by an audience of several hundred, including lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and presidential candidates
“Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.”
And without mentioning abortion by name – or the name of the embattled domestic Planned Parenthood organization – Francis told lawmakers that the ‘Golden Rule … reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.’
Francis spoke calmly but emphatically, never raising his voice as presidents often do in their State of the Union addresses to joint congressional sessions.
In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.
He was greeted by polite applause at certain points – particularly when he began reciting the Golden Rule but was interrupted before he could finish – ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you.’
Also, notably, applause broke out after these words: ‘The Golden Rule reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of development.’
But the applause was never raucous, a sign that members heeded party leaders’ directive not to applaud effusively or ‘glad-handle’ Francis if they got close to him.
Behind him on the raised speaker’s dais, close watchers got a different show during the speech, as both Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner – both well-known emotional men – proved to be almost as watchable.
“Francis’s speech was sprinkled with references to American history, as the pontiff repeatedly referenced and occasionally quoted from President Abraham Lincoln, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Catholic Worker Movement founder Dorothy Day and Cistercerian monk Thomas Merton.”
Throughout the speech, Biden gravely nodded his head and looked down as if in serious thought. But Boehner appeared to tear up at several points, and was openly crying later on the Speaker’s Balcony after the address.
Francis’s speech was sprinkled with references to American history, as the pontiff repeatedly referenced and occasionally quoted from President Abraham Lincoln, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Catholic Worker Movement founder Dorothy Day and Cistercerian monk Thomas Merton.
The pontiff made clear his firmness on the sanctity of human life, not only the veiled reference to abortion but also his opposition to the death penalty.
Francis and House Speaker John Boehner meet for the first time near the House of Representatives chamber
Biden, a Roman Catholic who co-presided over the Joint Session of Congress as the constitutionally appointed president of the U.S. Senate, caused a stir this week by declaring that he believes life begins at conception.
But it’s Francis’ comments about immigrants that will be most sharply felt as the U.S. deals with the twin crises of Syrian refugees and an immigrant invasion from Mexico and Central America, both of which the Obama administration has taken steps to pacify by loosening America’s borders as a show of compassion. Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman writes: For millions of Americans, Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency absolved the United States of myriad sins. His rise to the presidency was a redemption tale for an America that had lost its way in the immediate post-9/11 years.
“As the winter of the Obama presidency approaches, it seems beyond dispute that this presidency has robbed Americans of what remaining faith they had in the value of collective action.”
Obama’s promise was to be a transformative figure, his supporters averred. He would reverse a suspiciously colonialist Bush-era foreign policy, deliver the country into a post-racial period, and restore America’s faith in the power of collectivism and the righteous efficacy of government. As the winter of the Obama presidency approaches, it seems beyond dispute that this presidency has robbed Americans of what remaining faith they had in the value of collective action. The power of massive governmental programs to effect positive change is, at best, dubious. The tragedy of it all is that cynicism has replaced shock when the latest scandalous revelations hit the newsstands. That’s dangerous. The expectation of corruption is a condition that saps a nation’s faith in the virtue of self-governance. It is this kind of contempt for public institutions that leads republics to ruin.
Barack Obama’s administration is scandal-plagued. In its twilight years, this White House has subordinated accountability and the preservation of faith in public sector competence to exculpation from the political press.
“The power of massive governmental programs to effect positive change is, at best, dubious. The tragedy of it all is that cynicism has replaced shock when the latest scandalous revelations hit the newsstands. That’s dangerous. The expectation of corruption is a condition that saps a nation’s faith in the virtue of self-governance. It is this kind of contempt for public institutions that leads republics to ruin.”
The in-party spent the better part of the three years that followed the deadly assault on diplomatic and CIA compounds in Benghazi by framing the investigation into it as a manifestation of Republicans’ pathological hatred for the president. That is an impression which remains cemented in the minds of
many average voters who have not closely followed a congressional investigation into that affair – an investigation that exposed the scandalous details regarding how Hillary Clinton and her cadre of privileged aides comported themselves at the State Department. Those Americans who do not see the investigation as a partisan witch-hunt are apt to view it as an indictment of the political culture in Washington that afforded Clinton the leeway to flaunt the law and jeopardize American national security in order to preserve her sense of “convenience.”
The Obama-era has made it difficult to recall that it was once the left that prided itself for serving as sentinels standing guard against abuses by powerful government agencies. “Artful” Nixonian abuses of the IRS in order to intimidate and tarnish the reputations of political opponents were once a Republican phenomenon. Today, yet another simmering scandal involving the misuse of the IRS has ensnared Democrats. As such, it is dismissed as a non-issue by the left and partisans in the press. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen K. Bannon & Ezra Dulis write: Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report sent a message Sunday morning excoriating Pope Francis during his trip to Cuba, depicting the head of the Catholic Church alongside Raul Castro and suggesting Francis would rather ignore the plight of political dissidents than endanger his warm welcome from the Castro regime.
A prayer for those locked up in cruel Cuba this morning for dissent, as pope basks in glow of adulation from masses.. pic.twitter.com/H3y78zonDA
Activists have criticized the Pope for failing to plan any meetings with Cuban political dissidents during his visit to the Communist Caribbean nation–while the government flagrantly and contemporaneously persecutes its Catholics. Just last week, the government violently arrested more than 50 protesters, mostly women, after attending Sunday mass….(read more)
“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
Fiorina might have trouble finding this video to show to Clinton. No video has surfaced showing the scene Fiorina describes taking place inside a Planned Parenthood facility.
But the third episode of secretly taped videos by the Center for Medical Progress includes a disturbing interview with a technician at a biotechnology company that had partnered with Planned Parenthood affiliates in California to purchase aborted fetus parts.
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway has done the yeoman’s work of dismantling these dishonest and dissembling attacks. Here’s the rub:
As for Fiorina’s quote, she is likely referring to the entirety of the 10 videos, including the seventh video released by the Center for Medical Progress. Watch the full video for yourself. It does, in fact, show a fully formed fetus, heart beating and legs kicking. And it shows this while Holly O’Donnell, a former organ harvester who worked for StemExpress at a Planned Parenthood affiliate, graphically discuss the harvesting of a brain from a baby whose heart was beating.
Barton Swaim writes: every political commentator in America has now written at least one piece attempting to explain the mystery of Donald Trump’s appeal. Most have dealt with the man’s demeanor, his talent for attracting media coverage and his disdain for party and intellectual elites. Some of these I find cogent.
The thing I find most distinctive about Trump, though — and perhaps it’s at least a component of his success so far — is the structure of his language.
Everybody senses that Trump doesn’t speak like other politicians. But how is his speech different, exactly? Is it just the swagger, the dismissive tone and clipped accent? Maybe in part. Trump does seem emotionally engaged in a way none of his competitors do; he is perpetually annoyed — exasperated that things aren’t as they should be — but somehow also good-humored about it. (Chris Christie and John Kasich seem perpetually annoyed, too, but there is nothing funny or cheerful about their versions.)
To get at what makes Trump’s language different, take a look at the shape of his sentences. They don’t work the way modern political rhetoric does — they work the way punchlines work: short (sometimes very short) with the most important words at the end.
“Some of his answers last only a few seconds, some are slightly longer, but almost all consist of simple sentences, grammatically and conceptually, and most of them withhold their most important word or phrase until the very end.”
That’s rare among modern politicians, and not simply because they lack Trump’s showmanship or comedic gifts. It’s rare because most successful modern politicians are habitually careful with their language. They are keenly aware of the ways in which any word they speak may be interpreted or misinterpreted by journalists and partisan groups and constituencies and demographic groups.
“Trump’s sentences end with a pop, and he seems to know instinctively where to put the emphasis in each one.“
And so in important situations — situations in which they know a lot depends on what they say or don’t say — their language takes on (at least) two peculiar characteristics. First, their syntax tends to abstraction. They speak less about particular things and people — bills, countries, identifiable officials — and more about “legislation” and “the international community” and “officials” and “industry” and “Washington” and “government.”
Second, their sentences take on a higher number of subordinate clauses and qualifying phrases — “over the last several years,” “in general,” “in effect,” “what people are telling me,” and so on. This is the kind of language you use when you’re aware that your words might be misinterpreted or used against you.
“Politicians are frequently too careful with their language, and this conscientiousness can begin to sound like deceit or cowardice. When they rely too heavily on abstractions, when they avoid concrete nouns, when all their statements seem always hedged by qualifying phrases, they sound like politicians, in the worst sense of the word.”
When used well, it conveys competence and assures listeners that the speaker thinks coherent thoughts and holds reasonable positions. It suggests that the speaker cares about the truth of his claims. But politicians are frequently too careful with their language, and this conscientiousness can begin to sound like deceit or cowardice. When they rely too heavily on abstractions, when they avoid concrete nouns, when all their statements seem always hedged by qualifying phrases, they sound like politicians, in the worst sense of the word. To my ear, anyway, Hillary Clinton sounds this way almost all the time. Read the rest of this entry »