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OH YES HE DID: Obama Used Fusion GPS Investigate Mitt Romney 

  • A new book claims former President Barack Obama hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Romney
  • Obama used law firm Perkins Coie to hide payment to Fusion GPS
  • The Clinton campaign would later do the same thing to investigate Trump

Chuck Ross reports: The Barack Obama presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to dig up dirt on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a book released on Tuesday.

The Obama campaign hid its payments to Fusion GPS through its law firm, Perkins Coie. The arrangement is similar to the one that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee used to pay Fusion for its investigation of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

Dossier ‘coincidences’ pile up

That contract led to the creation of the infamous Steele dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.

“In 2012, Fusion GPS was hired to do opposition research on Mitt Romney for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign,” reads “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and Donald Trump’s Election.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Eight Years of Obama’s Weakness Toward Russia

Andrew Kugle writes: During eight years of former President Barack Obama’s weakness towards Russia, the country invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, propped up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and interfered in the 2016 election.

At the beginning of his administration, Obama and his administration were eager to “reset” the United State’s relationship with Russia. The reset began with the infamous photo of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presenting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red “reset” button in 2009. One of Obama’s first foreign policy decisions was to scrap missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic, which prompted celebration in Moscow.

In addition to scrapping missile defense, Obama announced in 2010 a historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty with Russia. The agreement was supposed to reduce the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia by a third. Over the course of the Obama administration, the Washington Free Beacon reported numerous violations of the START treaty by Russia as early as 2012.

Obama was caught on a hot mic in 2012 telling then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to give him “space” and that he would have more “flexibility” on missile defense after being reelected. Read the rest of this entry »


Newt Gingrich: I ‘Made a Big Boo-Boo’

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 reports: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday issued an effective public apology for suggesting earlier in the week that President-elect Donald Trump is past the phrase “drain the swamp,” a reference to stamping out Washington, D.C., corruption and influence-peddling.

“I want all of you to know: I goofed. Draining the swamp is in. The alligators should be worried, and you’ll hear me write more about alligators and the swamp.”

“I want to report that I made a big boo-boo,” Mr. Gingrich said in a video posted to his Facebook page.

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“I talked this morning with President-elect Donald Trump, and he reminded me: He likes draining the swamp,” Mr. Gingrich said. “I mischaracterized it the other day. He intends to drain the swamp.”

“He even describes it as DTS,” Mr. Gingrich said. Read the rest of this entry »


EMOPALOOZA 2.0: Electoral College

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The Founding Fathers got it right, and California is proof.

Consider this: Hillary Clinton’s 2.3-million-popular-vote plurality over Trump depends on the votes in a single state.

 writes: Shocked and appalled by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, some supporters of Hillary Clinton have turned to minimizing and even delegitimizing Trump’s election. In an era of severe political polarization, in an election with two candidates seen from the outset in highly unfavorable terms, after the most brutal campaign in modern history, and with an outcome that astonished just about everyone, these reactions are understandable, but wrong.

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Many diehard Clinton supporters cannot bring themselves to believe their candidate could lose to Donald Trump. They think: How could such a crude and inept con man be elected president? Even after it has happened, it is unthinkable, a nightmare. So, the election must not have been fair.

[MORE: Lobbied, pressured, even threatened: What life has been like for Electoral College voters]

Those on the fringe raise the specter of diabolical Russians hacking away at our democracy. More grounded Clintonians have less malevolent bogeymen — our Founding Fathers. As they see it, the election’s outcome should be blamed on a dysfunctional and archaic electoral-vote system. Hillary won the national popular vote. She should be president. It is as simple as that. The Electoral College should go the way of Trump University.

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They are right about one thing: Clinton did win the popular vote, by some 2.8 million votes, as the most recent data show.

Yet Clinton has only 232 electoral votes (in 20 states plus Washington, D.C.) to Trump’s 306 (in 30 states plus one from Maine), making him the president-elect. So Trump’s election without a popular-vote plurality is regarded as an 51obn4k-t2l-_sl250_injustice. Some Democrats claim a moral victory as victims of an electoral-vote system that once again horribly “misfired.” Their claim, however, neglects two facts.

[Order James E. Campbell’s book “Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America” from Amazon.com]

First, had the election been conducted with rules awarding the presidency to the popular-vote winner, the candidates and many voters quite probably would have acted very differently, and the popular vote might not have been the same. Trump and Clinton would have campaigned in the “safe” states. Potential voters in those states would have felt more pressure to turn out and to vote for “the lesser of two evils” and not to waste their votes on third-party candidates. Some additional Clinton voters would probably have shown up, but gains on the Trump side would probably have been larger as more reluctant Republicans would have been pushed to return to the fold, particularly in big blue states like California, New York and Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »


Mainstream Media’s Top 10 #FakeNews Stories

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The mainstream media is the biggest purveyor of fake news.

debra-heine-sized-50x50xfDebra Heine writes: You gotta love our liberal media. Their entire modus operandi for at least the past two decades has been to shamelessly disseminate false left-wing narratives to the masses in their ongoing effort to discredit conservatism and further a progressive agenda. It’s what they do.

But since the election of Donald Trump, they have been obsessed with a new pet narrative: that a so-called “fake news” epidemic is occurring on the right.

This is partly because, I’m convinced, they resent the fact that some people on the alt-right are making inroads on their turf. But the “fake news” excuse also functions as a soothing balm for their wounded egos after their devastating 2016 election losses. It helps them deal with the uncomfortable fact that the electorate just rejected the hell out of the candidates for whom they blatantly shilled.

This happens every time the mainstream media’s favored party suffes a massive defeat at the polls, by the way. In 1994, they blamed their losses on the “angry white male.” After the 2010 “shellacking,” they attributed it to a menacing “climate of hate,”as personified by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

And now we are asked to believe that fringe conspiracy theories like “PizzaGate” swung the 2016 election for Donald Trump. That may make the left feel better about losing, but their pathetic “fake news” narrative is a conspiracy theory in and of itself.

[Read the full list here, at PJ Media]

PizzaGate refers to a spectacular conspiracy theory surrounding Comet Ping Pong, a Baltimore pizza parlor that some internet sleuths claim is at the center of an international child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton and the Podesta brothers. This month, a man with an assault rifle walked into Comet Ping Pong to “self-investigate,” and reportedly fired the rifle at least once inside the restaurant. Luckily, no one was injured.

If only one could say the same about the countless left-wing fake news narratives that have been pushed by the MSM over the years.

For example, the PizzaGate conspiracy theory festered online only in places like 4Chan, Infowars, and Reddit.

But the “hands up, don’t shoot” conspiracy theory — which suggested a racist white cop shot an unarmed black teenager for no reason at all in Ferguson, Missouri — was propagated all over the mainstream news: CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and others. It even was heavily spread by elected members of the Democratic Party.

That fake news led to riots, and it’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that the ensuing murdered policemen were the result of some bad actors feeling justified in retaliating.

Here is a list of ten memorable fake news stories from the mainstream media.

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1. RatherGate:

In an effort to influence the 2004 presidential election, Dan Rather used fake documents to claim that George W. Bush served dishonorably during his time in the Air National Guard:

CBS did its own investigation in the matter, and determined there were several serious breaches of handling this story, among them failure to identify the sources of the documents properly; failure to document the chain of custody of the documents; failure to establish the credibility of the documents.Those that tendered their resignations on request were: Senior Vice President Betsy West, the supervisor of primetime programs for CBS News; Josh Howard, the executive producer of Wednesday’s version of 60 Minutes; Mary Murphy, senior broadcast producer and Howard’s deputy. Mary Mapes, the actual producer of the Killian documents story, was terminated, in part for calling a senior official in John Kerry’s presidential campaign (Joe Lockhart) and offering to put him in touch with Burkett. The CBS panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.”

Unbowed and still convinced of the document’s authenticity, Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former corporate parent, Viacom on September 19, 2007, claiming he was made a “scapegoat”. A day later, Mapes wrote a column in the Huffington Post, claiming that far-right blogs have “pronounced themselves experts on document analysis, and began attacking the form and font in the memos. They screamed objections that ultimately proved to have no basis in fact … They dominated the discussion by churning out gigabytes of mind-numbing internet dissertations about the typeface in the memos, focusing on the curl at the end of the “a,” the dip on the top of the “t,” the spacing, the superscript, which typewriters were used in the military in 1972. It was a deceptive approach, and it worked”.

[Read the full list here, at PJ Media]

In a clear contradiction of her rant, Mapes did in fact have prior knowledge of Bush’s guard service in her hands but chose to ignore it. In a press release on January 10, 2005, Accuracy in Media reported that the internal investigation conducted by CBS into the “Rathergate” matter revealed that Mapes had documented information on hand which detailed Bush’s attempt to volunteer for duty as a fighter pilot in Vietnam but was denied by his superiors at the time due to his inexperience. Accuracy in Media Editor Cliff Kincaid explained:

“Mapes, who was very close to Rather and enjoyed his confidence, had the evidence exonerating Bush of this malicious charge. The report shows that there were multiple credible sources to prove that Bush did not try to avoid Vietnam by going into the National Guard and that he was in fact willing to go to Vietnam as a pilot. However, CBS News deliberately kept this information from its viewers and conveyed an opposite impression because Rather, Mapes & Company were trying to depict Bush as a coward who, as Commander-in-Chief, was sending American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq.”

The truth is that Bush, the alleged slacker, had volunteered to go to Vietnam while in the Texas Air National Guard, but was he was turned down because he didn’t have enough flight hours to qualify.

And Mary Mapes knew it.

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2. The Tucson Massacre Was Inspired by a “Climate of Hate” 

On January 8, 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a Safeway parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the head, and eighteen others. Six people died, including a federal judge, one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers, and a nine-year-old girl. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND Oct 24, 2016: Washington Post

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…We’re also moving Utah — yes, Utah! — from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” as independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native and Mormon, continues to show considerable polling resiliency in the Beehive State. Count us as skeptical that Clinton can win in such a Republican state. But McMullin is taking lots of Republican voters away from Trump, and it’s not out of the question that the third party candidate could win the state’s six electoral votes.

And, finally — and much to our amazement — we are adding Texas to our list of competitive states, rating it as “lean Republican.” The last three polls taken in the state have shown Trump ahead by three points (twice) and four points; the Real Clear Politics polling average in the state puts Trump up 4.6 points. It speaks to how badly Trump is performing even in longtime Republican strongholds that the debate going forward won’t be whether Texas should stay on the list of competitive races but whether it should move to “toss-up.”

Those changes tilt the electoral map — and math — even more heavily toward Clinton. Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore! Read the rest of this entry »


The Very Best of Hands

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The Very Best of Hands

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Petraeus for Secretary of State ‘Would Be a Spectacular Choice’ 

“I think there has been a furious counter attack by loyalists who are with Trump from the beginning when it was rather unfashionable, and Romney, of course, was the lead attacker, lead critic of Trump in the late primaries and general election. So, I understand why they feel there is a matter of loyalty.”

David Petraeus resigns from CIA

“You know, Trump is going to have to choose. If it’s loyalty, he is not going to choose Mitt Romney. If it’s choosing who would be the best man for the job, I think probably if you had an independent panel, they might, you know, marginally prefer a Mitt Romney, simply because he has less baggage than Giuliani. And Trump himself has said: He looks the part. I mean, he look like he was born to be a secretary of state. I don’t know whether that means he would be a good one or not.”

Saying that he had shown "extremely poor judgment," CIA Director David Petraeus, seen in this 2010 file photo, a retired general popular on both sides of aisle, resigned Friday, November 9. 2012 after admitting to having an extra-marital affair. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

“But I do think we should keep our eye on a third possibility that would resolve the issue by not resolving it, and that would be David Petraeus, who to the world represents America at its strongest and most decisive. He is the guy who saved the Iraq War, and is a man who has written and thought deeply about the new kind of warfare that we are involved in. And that, I think, would be a spectacular choice.”

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Do You Understand the Electoral College?

Do you understand what the Electoral College is? Or how it works? Or why America uses it to elect its presidents instead of just using a straight popular vote? Author, lawyer and Electoral College expert Tara Ross does, and she explains that to understand the Electoral College is to understand American democracy.

Read the rest of this entry »


NYT: David Plouffe’s Election Mea Culpa

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I ran Obama’s 2008 campaign. Should I have known better this time?

David Plouffe writes: Like many people around the world, I expected a comfortable Hillary Clinton victory on Tuesday. But I’m not a random pundit when it comes to understanding presidential races and the electorate — I managed one Obama presidential campaign and oversaw another from the White House. So of all the forecasts that got it wrong, my prediction that Mrs. Clinton was a 100 percent favorite was a glaring miss.

“It’s a reminder that presidential campaigns are driven in large part by personality, not party. Ronald Reagan, President Obama and now Mr. Trump all were able to create electoral coalitions unique to them.”

My confidence was not partisan spin. It was based on public data, voting history and some sense of the Clinton campaign’s own models. I played with various state scenarios, and even in the most generous outcomes, could not get Donald J. Trump to 270 electoral votes.

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“It really was a change election. The voters were serious about that. And there was only one change candidate.”

But he ended up winning 306 electoral votes and, most important, did it by breaking into the Upper Midwest, leaving the blue Big Ten firewall in ruins.

What happened? We will know much more when all the data is in and we can see exactly who voted. But based on what we know, it was a combination of several factors that led to this stunning upset.

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DEMOCRATIC TURNOUT WAS VERY WEAK Overall turnout was as well, as Donald J. Trump received fewer votes in winning than Mitt Romney did when he lost decisively in 2012.

“What happened? We will know much more when all the data is in and we can see exactly who voted. But based on what we know, it was a combination of several factors that led to this stunning upset.”

Still, the nagging worry about a lack of broad-based enthusiasm for Mrs. Clinton, which I noted often as someone familiar with the Obama coalition, proved to be justified. She had passionate supporters and volunteers, for sure. But for sporadic and potential first-time voters, the spark was not there.

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[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]

In Detroit, Mrs. Clinton received roughly 70,000 votes fewer than Mr. Obama did in 2012; she lost Michigan by just 12,000 votes. In Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, she received roughly 40,000 votes fewer than Mr. Obama did, and she lost the state by just 27,000. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, turnout in majority African-American precincts was down 11 percent from four years ago.

It’s a reminder that presidential campaigns are driven in large part by personality, not party. Ronald Reagan, President Obama and now Mr. Trump all were able to create electoral coalitions unique to them. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Why Voter Fraud is a Massive Problem

Democrats like to pretend voter fraud isn’t a problem — but it is. This video proves it.

Early Voting Starts In Florida


The Quotable Clint Eastwood: ‘We’re Really in a Pussy Generation’

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ESQ: Your characters have become touchstones in the culture, whether it’s Reagan invoking “Make my day” or now Trump … I swear he’s even practiced your scowl.

“…when I did Gran Torino, even my associate said, ‘This is a really good script, but it’s politically incorrect.’ And I said, ‘Good. Let me read it tonight.’ The next morning, I came in and I threw it on his desk and I said, ‘We’re starting this immediately.'”

CE: Maybe. But he’s onto something, because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist. And then when I did Gran Torino, even my associate said, “This is a really good script, but it’s politically incorrect.” And I said, “Good. Let me read it tonight.” The next morning, I came in and I threw it on his desk and I said, “We’re starting this immediately.”

“I haven’t talked to Trump. I haven’t talked to anybody….He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides. But everybody—the press and everybody’s going, ‘Oh, well, that’s racist,’ and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.”

ESQ: What is the “pussy generation”?

CE: All these people that say, “Oh, you can’t do that, and you can’t do this, and you can’t say that.” I guess it’s just the times.

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ESQ: What do you think Trump is onto?

CE: What Trump is onto is he’s just saying what’s on his mind. And sometimes it’s not so good. And sometimes it’s … I mean, I can understand where he’s coming from, but I don’t always agree with it.

ESQ: So you’re not endorsing him? Read the rest of this entry »


Philadelphia Gun Range Owner And Activist Say ‘Black Guns Matter’

“No one can deny, with the things that have happened over the last few weeks, we’re being murdered by law enforcement — and in our own community — at alarming rates,” said Maj Toure.

There was one shooting every six hours on average last year in Philadelphia. In the past 10 years, more than 14,500 shootings occurred, with at least 2,600 killed by guns — many of whom were black residents.negores-guns-book

“What I can say to the American people from whatever background you are, is exercise your Second Amendment rights. Be open-minded, be objective and learn.”

— Maj Toure

While some see the numbers as a reason to increase gun control, others see things differently.

Yuri Zalzman of North Philadelphia’s The Gun Range and Maj Toure of the activist group Black Guns Matter have come together to try to find solutions.

[Read the full story here, at Here & Now]

Both teach inner-city residents how to properly handle firearms and believe the effort to reduce the number of guns in the city would mean residents would be less safe.

[Check out Nicholas Johnson’s book “Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms” at Amazon]

[Also see – [VIDEO] How the Civil Rights Movement Changed Black Gun Culture]

Here & Now’s Robin Young visited The Gun Range and spoke with Zalzman and Toure about their efforts.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights hang on the wall of The Gun Range in North Philadelphia. (Dean Russell/Here & Now)

The Constitution and Bill of Rights hang on the wall of The Gun Range in North Philadelphia. (Dean Russell/Here & Now)

Interview Highlights: Maj Toure & Yuri Zalzman

On individuals and gun ownership

Maj Toure: “For one they should choose to exercise anything that will defend themselves. If someone has a firearm and you don’t, you lose. That’s it. No different than if someone has a knife and you don’t have the means to defend yourself, you lose.

So I think that the community that I’m from, I think that information is deliberately kept away. It’s made to seem that if you have a firearm you’re either law enforcement or you must be the bad guy. No one can deny, with the things that have happened over the last few weeks, we’re being murdered by law enforcement — and in our own community — at alarming rates.”

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On police in Dallas being suspicious of black men who were carrying rifles

Toure: “That’s the police officers’ and law enforcement’s responsibility to balance that out. Because there’s one or two or a few bad apples, I wouldn’t say throw the whole bunch out. You cannot group and have a monolithic statement or blanket solution for everyone when people don’t fall in alignment with that particular… I don’t even think it’s even a level of confusion. That’s law enforcement’s responsibility to be better trained and execute their duties in a much more productive way.”

On how Dallas police had to control the situation with the shooterYuri Zalzman: “What we’re talking about is one additional, very unfortunate tragic event. We don’t normally have these situations I think that the discussion should not take place on the fringes, no more than it is pleasant to have a conversation with somebody whose thoughts are at the extremes one way or the other. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Facebook Workers: ‘We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News’

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“I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.”

Michael Nunez reports: Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.

“It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is. Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”

Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some casesFormer Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending. I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”

[Read the full story here, at gizmodo.com]

These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site. As we reported last week, curators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment.

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said. Read the rest of this entry »


Ignorant Thug Digs Deeper Hole

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Steven Shepard writes: Donald Trump wasn’t wildly popular to begin with. And now he’s becoming even more disliked among American voters, creating a significant threat to his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination.

“If Trump misses the threshold to win the nomination outright in bound delegates, it will be more difficult to persuade unbound delegates to put him over the top if they see him as a general election disaster-in-the-making due to his high unfavorability ratings among all voters.”

Trump is, by far, the GOP delegate leader — and the only candidate with a realistic shot at winning a majority of delegates before the July convention. But at the same time, nearly two-thirds of Americans view Trump unfavorably — and his image rating has declined since Republican voting began in February.

The danger for Trump is two-fold: His declining popularity is taking a toll on his standing in the 17 states that will hold primaries between now and the end of the process in early June. Losing some of these states — or even winning fewer delegates in proportional states — makes it more difficult for Trump to secure a pre-convention majority of 1,237 delegates.

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That’s where Trump’s horrific poll numbers could haunt him again: If Trump misses the threshold to win the nomination outright in bound delegates, it will be more difficult to persuade unbound delegates to put him over the top if they see him as a general election disaster-in-the-making due to his high unfavorability ratings among all voters.

How bad are Trump’s image ratings? The HuffPost Pollster average of recent national polls puts Trump’s favorability at only 31 percent, while 63 percent view him unfavorably.

That’s a notable decline from late January, on the eve of the first votes in the GOP nominating process, when Trump’s average favorability rating was 37 percent, with 57 percent viewing him unfavorably. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Is the Democrats’ Dream Nominee 

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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.

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“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 PANTSUIT-REPORTputting 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’s Megyn 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%).

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“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.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

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 »


Putin Humiliates The New York Times

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Source: @pwafork – Twitter


Pulp Fiction: ‘Mitt Romney Should Save the Republican Party and Join the 2016 Race’

ROMNEY-CAMP

michaelbd_bw_circle_308Michael Brenden Dougherty writes: “Mitt wants to run. He never stopped wanting to run,” an anonymous senior adviser of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign recently told New York magazine. Other members of Romneyworld have denied the former governor is interested in another campaign. But at this stage in the 2016 race, Mitt Romney should start preparing to get back in the arena.

Romney should be ready to enter the field to save his party from an awful reckoning between its leadership and its base, a reckoning that has been brought on by Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump has proven that the “strongest GOP primary field in 30 years” is no such thing, creating an opening for the winner of the last primary. If Romney should win the primary, it would be an incredible political comeback. It would also be a gift to his party, forcing on the GOP the reality of a new and stable settlement between its factions.

Romney, if he can secure the nomination, has a much better shot in 2016 than he did in 2012. He would be running against Obama’s third term, with the torch passed to a much less talented and more scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »


The ’80s Called and…


[VIDEO] POW! Mitt Romney Knocks Down Evander Holyfield In Charity Boxing Match


‘Float Like a Bee, Sting Like a Butterfly’: Mitt Romney Lasts Two Rounds with Evander Holyfield in Charity Boxing Match

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SALT LAKE CITY –  Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and five-time heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield squared off in the ring Friday at a charity fight night event in Salt Lake City.

Romney, 68, and Holyfield, 52, sparred, if you could call it that, for just two short rounds before Romney ran away from the boxer and threw in the towel, giving up a round early in the lighthearted fight that came amid several other fights by professional boxers and an auction.

“You know what? You float like a bee and sting like a butterfly.”

The two barely threw any punches and largely just danced around, occasionally lightly jabbing each other in the midsection in what was much more of a comedic event than an actual bout.

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[VANILLA IN MANILLA! The Match-Up You’ve Been Waiting for: Evander Holyfield vs. Mitt Romney Charity Boxing Event May 15th]

The black-tie affair raised money for the Utah-based organization CharityVision, which helps doctors in developing countries perform surgeries to restore vision in people with curable blindness.

Romney’s son Josh Romney, who lives in Utah, serves as a volunteer president for CharityVision. Read the rest of this entry »


VANILLA IN MANILA: Mitt Romney and Evander Holyfield Stare Down During Weigh-In Before their Charity Boxing Match

Former Massachusetts Governor and two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield stare down during their weigh-in before their boxing match in Holladay, Utah May 14, 2015. The two will box on Friday to benefit the medical charity CharityVision. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Former Massachusetts Governor and two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield stare down during their weigh-in before their boxing match in Holladay, Utah May 14, 2015. The two will box on Friday to benefit the medical charity CharityVision.

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 Yahoo News.


[VIDEO] THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Surprised ‘Turns Out We Are Not Producing As Many Small Businesses As We Used To’

At The CornerJoel Gehrke writes:

Hillary Clinton admitted today that she was “surprised” to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct.

“I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it. Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”

— Hillary Clinton, in New Hampshire

Clinton noted that small business creation has “stalled out,” to her chagrin. “I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it,” she said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”PANTSUIT-REPORT

“Small businesses lack the confidence they need to expand and hire new workers, and the President’s looming tax hikes are threatening to destroy another 700,000 jobs.”

— Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul

The struggles of small businesses during President Obama’s administration are hardly a new subject on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney raised the issue throughout the 2012 presidential election.

”At every turn, Hillary Clinton has supported top-down Washington-driven policies that have stacked the deck against small businesses. Hillary Clinton can’t possibly be a champion for everyday Americans when she doesn’t understand their most basic economic concerns and was ‘surprised’ to learn that small businesses are struggling.”

— Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus

“Small businesses lack the confidence they need to expand and hire new workers, and the President’s looming tax hikes are threatening to destroy another 700,000 jobs,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in September of 2012, for instance. Read the rest of this entry »


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Watch Hillary Clinton Nod and Sip Water While Maintaining Eye Contact with an Everyday Iowa Voter

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 writes: Journeyman presidential candidate Hillary Clinton interacted with some everyday Iowa students in a garage on Tuesday, and taught all of us a lesson in the art of relatable politicking.

[Stay tuned for regular updates to THE PANTSUIT REPORT]

On several occasions during the roundtable event, Clinton revealed herself as a true “triple threat” by demonstrating an array of crucial skills that, when deployed correctly, can make even the most out-of-touch politicians appear somewhat human.

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  1. Eye Contact — One of the easiest ways to make an everyday person feel that you really care about what they are saying, even if you are secretly counting the seconds until you can return to the plush leather “safe space” in your luxury van. This iPANTSUIT-REPORTs particularly useful for a extremely wealthy person who is forced to interact with a commoner on the commoner’s home turf.
  1. Head Nod — A critical tool of everyday human interaction, especially when paired with meaningful eye contact. It makes the commoner feel as though you agree with them, and can empathize with their everyday concerns even if you can’t. Keep in mind that most people who have never met a sultan, much less shared a Gulfstream jet with one, usually don’t have anything interesting to say, and certainly won’t be able to write a six-figure check to your Super PAC. Alas, they are still allowed to vote.
  1. Hydration — The human body needs water, but simply taking a sip every now and then won’t increase your favorability rating. Everybody drinks; that’s boring. Some may argue that hydrating while engaged in nodding eye contact is just showing off. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Mitt Romney on Bambi/Bibi Blowup: ‘Hell Hath No Fury Like Obama Scorned’

At The Corner, Brendan Bordelon writes:

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a simple explanation for the ongoing friction between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister obama-incandescentBenjamin Netanyahu: “Hell hath no fury like Obama scorned.”

“Well there’s a lot going on here. I think the first thing that comes to mind is, hell hath no fury like Obama scorned.”

After Obama again ribbed Bibi over his comments on Palestinian statehood during a joint press conference with the Afghani president on Tuesday, Romney spoke with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto about the continuing spat between the American and Israeli leaders.

Romney added that part of the friction stems from a deeper source.

“What this is really about is Iran. And I think that the White House is trying to minimize Bibi Netanyahu and minimize Israel’s concerns at the the same time they’re trying to push through an agreement with Iran.”

(read more)

National Review


VANILLA IN MANILLA! The Match-Up You’ve Been Waiting for: Evander Holyfield vs. Mitt Romney Charity Boxing Event May 15th

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Mitt Romney said that he would pass on running in 2016 because, while he thought he could win, he’d be too battered by the process. So instead, he’ll box Evander Holyfield.

We are not making this up.

The Salt Lake Tribune broke news of the bout Monday. It’s a charity event, to be held May 15 near Salt Lake City, with proceeds going to Charity Vision. The Romneys have been active with the group for some time; last year, Mitt and his family traveled to Peru to help diagnose and treat eye problems. Read the rest of this entry »


Chris Cillizza: The Hillary Clinton Email Story Just Keeps Getting Worse for Her

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Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail address that she used while secretary of state reinforces everything people don’t like about her, argues The Post’s Chris Cillizza, and is very dangerous to her presidential ambitions

Chris Cillizza writes: Hard on the heels of the New York Times scoop Monday night that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email account to conduct business as Secretary of State comes this report Wednesday morning by the Associated Press:

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton’s secretive email practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free email services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

Uh oh.

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There’s any number of problematic phrases in those two paragraphs but two stand out: 1)”impressive control over limiting access to her message archives” and 2) “secretive email practices as far more hillary-eyessophisticated than some politicians.”

“This wasn’t some garden variety home email system; it was “sophisticated” in ways that went well beyond what candidates like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin — both of whom used private email accounts to do official business — put in place.”

Let’s take them one by one.

The first phrase speaks to the suspicion that has long hung around the Clintons that they are always working the angles, stretching the limits of how business can be conducted for their own benefit.  It seemed clear that Clinton went out of her way to avoid the federal disclosure requirements related to email by never even setting up an official account. That she took it another step and created a “homebrew” email system that would given her “impressive control over limiting access” is stunning — at least to me — given that she (or someone close to her) had to have a sense that this would not look good if it ever came out.

“That level of sophistication speaks to the fact that this was not thrown together at the last minute; instead it was a planned manuever to give the Clintons more control over their electronic correspondence.”

Yes, her allies have maintained that she turned over more than 55,000 pages of emails from her time as Secretary of State. But, the decisions over which emails to turn over were made by Clinton and/or her staff. That’s not exactly the height of transparency for someone who is the de facto Democratic presidential nominee in 2016. Read the rest of this entry »


Byron York: Why are Americans Confused About Obama’s Religion?

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In 1985, Barack Obama had just arrived in Chicago for his new job as a community organizer when he headed to Smitty’s Barbershop, a tiny storefront on the South Side. As Smitty cut his hair, Obama listened to the men in the shop talk politics and racial grievance. When the barber finished, he handed Obama a mirror and said, “Haircuts ten dollars. What’s your name, anyway?”

“Barack.”

“Barack, huh,” Smitty responded. “You a Muslim?”

“Grandfather was,” Obama said, according to his memoir Dreams From My Father.

Smitty’s question, which Obama didn’t exactly answer, prefigured a controversy that continues to this day…

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Byron Yorkyork writes: Fresh from a controversy over his views on evolution, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is now involved in a controversy over his views, or lack of them, on President Obama’s religion. On Saturday, two Washington Post reporters asked Walker, in the nation’s capital for a governor’s meeting, whether Obama is a Christian. Walker said he didn’t know.

Informed by the reporters that Obama is in fact a Christian, Walker replied, “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” protesting that the president’s religion is not a topic of great interest to voters. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue,” Walker told the Post.

“In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.”

Nevertheless, the story created at least a minor explosion in the political press, and Democrats quickly used it to attack a Republican who has recently risen to the top tier of the GOP 2016 presidential field.

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But when it comes to confusion, or wrong information, about Obama’s religion, Scott Walker is far from alone. Polls have long shown many Americans know little about the president’s faith.

“One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian.”

In June, 2012, Gallup asked, “Do you happen to know the religious faith of Barack Obama?” Forty-four percent said they did not know, while 36 percent said he is a Christian, 11 percent said he is a Muslim, and eight percent said he has no religion. The “don’t know” group included 36 percent of Democrats. (A larger number of Republicans, 47 percent, said they didn’t know Obama’s religion, as did 46 percent of independents.)

“By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well.”

In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.

obama-religion

One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian. By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well. “Even among Democrats, fewer than half (46 percent) now identify his religion as Christian, down from 55 percent last year,” Pew wrote in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: NBC’s Puffed Up Anchor Brian Williamson: ‘He Couldn’t Stop Himself’

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Surrounded by fans and protected from criticism, it’s no wonder Brian Williams became a serial fabulist

Jonah Goldberggoldberg_square writes: By now everyone knows about his transgressions. If even only some of the reports are true, Brian Williams is a serial embellisher, a self-aggrandizing fabulist.

No doubt everyone knows somebody like this, and if you don’t it’s probably because you’re that guy. But Williams’ case is special. This isn’t some sad Willy Loman at the end of the bar who needs to invent impressive stories about himself. If anything, he needed to not tell such stories, given that he reportedly makes more than $10 million a year to be a trusted name in news.

Yet he couldn’t stop himself.

“To walk down a street with an anchor is to be stunned both by how many people recognize them and how many viewers call out to them about specific stories. There’s a respectful familiarity different from the awe displayed to Hollywood celebrities. The anchor is treated as the citizen’s trusted guide to the news. As a result, they can feel expected to dominate discussions, to tell war stories, to play God.”

— Ken Auletta, The New Yorker’s media critic

I have no doubt that’s true. But I am also certain that Williams is hearing only from the people who see him as their trusted guide to the news, and that can be very deceptive.

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

If Kathy Griffin is the quintessential D-list celebrity, then I’m probably somewhere south of Z. But I do get recognized at airports and restaurants from time to time, mostly because of my stints on Fox News. A couple dozen times a year, someone will come up and compliment me. (Or, they’ll compliment The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, thinking I’m him.)

But you know what virtually never happens? Someone coming up to me to tell me how much they hated my column, my comments, my book, my face, or my existence. Read the rest of this entry »


Why the GOP Should Emulate John F. Kennedy in the 2016 White House Race

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It’s time for the Republican Party to nominate a JFK-style conservative for president

 writes; The most influential figure in the Republican presidential contest just may be a Democrat who died more than 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy.

When Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer recently predicted Marco Rubio as the eventual 2016 winner, Krauthammer praised the senator from Florida with a label encapsulating political vigor, pro-growth ideas, and a robust foreign policy of peace through strength: “Kennedyesque.”

The former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, another Republican with eyes on the White House, is, as Kennedy was, a Catholic from a wealthy and politically active family with bases in both New England and Florida. Jeb Bush even wrote a book, Profiles in Character, with a title that is a conscious imitation of JFK’s Profiles in Courage. Bush and Kennedy also both wrote books extolling immigration; Bush’s was Immigration Wars, Kennedy’s was A Nation of Immigrants.

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And don’t forget Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas. Cruz’s Senate Web site hosts a video featuring Fox News’s Neil Cavuto and a historic clip from Kennedy under the headline “The Success of President John F. Kennedy’s Tax Cut.” On the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, Cruz published a 41DahbPmqzL._SL250_remarkable piece in National Review Online crediting Kennedy with laying the foundation for Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and Cold War victory.

[‘s book “JFK, Conservative” is available at Amazon]

At a forum last month with Jonathan Karl of ABC News that was sponsored by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Senator Cruz placed Kennedy with Reagan and Calvin Coolidge in the pantheon of conservative tax-cutters: “Every single time in our history that we have simplified taxes, reduced the burden, reduced the compliance cost, simplified regulation …. We’ve seen an economic boom, we’ve seen people climb out of poverty into prosperity. That was true in the 1920s, it was true in the 1960s, it was true in the 1980s.”

When another Republican presidential candidate, retired neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson, spoke to me about his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said he would have responded instead to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with “a Kennedy-esque moment,” launching a “national project” to become petroleum independent. Read the rest of this entry »


Twilight of the Romney Dream

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The exit of Romney from the campaign most immediately helps those viewed as part of the party’s establishment wing, including Bush, Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a three-week flirtation with a new campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney announced Friday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told supporters on a conference call.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

The exit of Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, comes after several of his former major donors and a veteran staffer in the early voting state of Iowa defected to support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

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Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would have served as Romney’s most likely rivals for the support of the Republican Party’s establishment-minded voters.

In his call with supporters, Romney appeared to take a swipe at Bush, saying it was time for fresh leadership within the GOP.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” Romney said. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

Romney pauses as he addresses supporters during his election night rally. Mary Altaffer / AP

Romney pauses as he addresses supporters during his election night rally. Mary Altaffer / AP

The former governor of Massachusetts, who is 67, had jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he surprised a small group of former donors at a meeting in New York by telling them he was eyeing a third run for the White House. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Will Go Down as America’s Gorbachev

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Like Gorbachev, Obama will be esteemed in certain quarters a generation from now, but probably more by foreigners than fellow citizens, and more by his country’s enemies than its friends.

Christopher Caldwell Democrats nominated Barack Obama in 2008 to extract America from George W. Bush’s Iraq misadventure and to spread more fairly the proceeds of a quarter-century-old boom for which they credited Bill Clinton. The Election Eve collapse of Lehman Brothers changed things. It showed that there had been no boom at all, only a multitrillion-dollar real-estate debauch that Clinton’s and Bush’s affordable-housing mandates had set in motion. It also showed how fast historians’ likely rankings of presidents can shift: Clinton went from above average to below average, Bush from low to rock bottom.

“Obama’s legacy is one of means, not ends. He has laid the groundwork for a political order less answerable to voters.” 

Obama may wind up the most consequential of the three baby-boom presidents. He expanded certain Bush ­policies — Detroit bailouts, internet surveillance, drone strikes — and cleaned up after others. We will not know for years whether Obama’s big deficits risked a future depression to avoid a present one, or whether the respite he offered from “humanitarian invasions” made the country safer. Right now, both look like significant achievements.

Yet there is a reason the president’s approval ratings have fallen, in much of the country, to Nixonian lows. Even his best-functioning policies have come at a steep price in damaged institutions, leaving the country less united, less democratic, and less free.

“For a generation, there has been too much private wealth in politics; Obama’s innovation has been to bring private wealth into government.”

Health-care reform and gay marriage are often spoken of as the core of Obama’s legacy. That is a mistake. Policies are not always legacies, even if they endure, and there is reason to believe these will not. The more people learn about Obamacare, the less they like it — its popularity is still falling, to a record low of 37 percent in November. Thirty states have voted to ban gay marriage, and almost everywhere it survives by judicial diktat.

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The decline of great powers

These are, however, typical Obama achievements. They are triumphs of tactics, not consensus-building. Obamacare involved quid pro quos (the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” etc.) that passed into Capitol Hill lore, accounting and parliamentary tricks to render the bill unfilibusterable, and a pure party-line vote in the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »


John Ellis Bush, 2016 GOP Frontrunner

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Bush’s 10-point lead marks the first time any prospective candidate has reached a lead beyond a poll’s margin of error in the past two years

Washington (CNN) — Jeb Bush is the clear Republican presidential frontrunner, surging to the front of the potential GOP pack following his announcement that he’s “actively exploring” a bid, a new CNN/ORC poll found.

He takes nearly one-quarter — 23% — of Republicans surveyed in the new nationwide poll, putting him 10 points ahead of his closest competitor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who tallied 13%.

Physician Ben Carson comes in third, with 7% support, and Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are both tied for fourth with 6%.

That marks a drop in support for all but Christie and Bush from the last CNN/ORC survey of the field, conducted in November. That poll showed Bush in the lead, but only taking 14% of the vote, while Carson came in second with 11% and Christie tied Rep. Paul Ryan for fourth with 9% support.

Bush’s 10-point lead is a milestone for the potential GOP field — it marks the first time any prospective candidate has reached a lead beyond a poll’s margin of error in the past two years. Read the rest of this entry »


We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

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Former Florida Governor to Launch Political-Action Committee in January

Jeb Bush, the son and brother of past presidents, kick-started the 2016 presidential race Tuesday by announcing plans to “actively explore” a presidential campaign, an unexpectedly early declaration that ramps up pressure on potential rivals and reshuffles the policy debate.

The move by the 61-year-old former Florida governor essentially marks the beginning of the presidential sweepstakes. With a national profile, access to big donors and iconic status in the nation’s largest swing state, Mr. Bush ’s move puts instant pressure on a sprawling field of as many as two dozen other Republicans weighing 2016 bids.

His online announcement amounts to a pre-emptive strike against efforts by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and allies of the 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney , to lock in major donors or at least keep them on the sidelines.

Mr. Bush’s step toward a campaign also threatens to undermine the aspirations of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio , his onetime protégé, who shares the same home state and an overlapping political network there.

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“I think Jeb is trying to clear the field,” said Bobbie Kilberg, a prominent Republican donor who worked in the White House for Mr. Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush. “He’s now gotten out ahead of everyone else, and I think this may force other candidates to move earlier than they had wanted to.”

Mr. Bush’s potential candidacy also has implications for the expected Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His younger GOP rivals could try to make the case for going in a different direction by lumping Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton together as tired figures from the past. That argument, however, would lose its potency in a general election match-up between Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] George Will: GOP May Get a Surprise from Democrats’ Get-Out-the-Vote Effort

editor-commen-deskBefore we dismiss Will’s warning, let’s recall that during the last election cycle, while many influential conservative talking heads were forecasting a Mitt Romney victory, George Will submitted an early prediction that Obama would win. His contrary analysis was met with a collective groan. Karl Rove (who would have a legendary election-night meltdown) and Dick Morris (Morris’ Fox broadcast career effectively ended in the wake of his laughable Mitt Romney landslide claims) were in full triumphalist mode. Will’s unpopular early forecast, siding with Democrat polling predictions, that Barack Obama’s campaign organization would prevail and hand the GOP a loss, was regarded by Romney supporters as treasonous. And by many others (myself included) as a valid warning, but prematurely defeatist.

“This big-name list of losers should be tattooed on the sweaty palms of every GOP operative drawing a paycheck, and haunt the fever dreams of every conservative talking head in the green room.”

Will wasn’t just playing Johnny Raincloud. He was just among the few with his reading glasses on straight that week. Untainted by wishful thinking, Will called it correctly. But even his resolve didn’t last. Sadly, George Will caught the fever, and as election night drew closer, he, too, predicted a Romney landslide.

Blood on the playbook: whether the pundits are right or wrong, the banks still cash their checks

Blood on the playbook: whether the pundits are right or wrong, the banks still cash their checks

[Romney Landslide: Here Are the Biggest Names Predicting It & How It Will Happen]

That’s a Nov. 4th, 2012 list of the men who walked the plank, and made the wrongest election prediction in modern history. Conservative enthusiasts in need of a cold shower should revisit this list. In fact, this big-name list of losers should be tattooed on the sweaty palms of every GOP operative drawing a paycheck, and haunt the fever dreams of every conservative talking head in the green room.

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Perhaps hardened by that defeat, Will would prefer to be less vulnerable this time around. Similarly, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume was on a panel yesterday bitterly mocking the GOP’s misreading of the” voter enthusiasm gap” as a reliable election predictor. Hume sarcastically observed that a depressed, demoralized, unenthusiastic vote counts just as much as an enthusiastic vote. He’s right. The key thing is the actual voting. The GOP’s challenge to the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote supremacy is in the spotlight. And the GOP’s catch-up efforts remain unproven.

Then there’s the wild card. Though neither Will or Hume mentioned this — but we’ve reported on it here — that doesn’t even account for opponent advantages gained in close races by voter fraud.

So let’s update those sports metaphors: If the GOP doesn’t succeed in taking the Senate, it may not be only because of an inadequate “ground game”, or because the GOP “fumbled the ball”. It will also be because they aren’t employing special teams (legitimate vote boosting efforts, locally-organized vote fraud schemes, take your pick) and because election referees aren’t empowered to do their job. When no penalties are called on an opponent’s violations, it’s harder to win. Points won and lost in these hidden margins aren’t officially measured, but can change the outcome of the game. And can produce — or contribute to — some unhappy surprises.

“At this point in the campaign, they’ve saturated people with broadcast ads, so the utility of the last political dollar is pretty small. The return on ‘Get out the vote’ may be much larger, and we may get a surprise this year.”

From last night’s item at The Corner:

Republicans are too focused on how much money is being spent on ad buys in the final weeks of the election cycle, warned George Will. Instead, they should be wary of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts, which upended Republicans in the 2012 elections, he said on Tuesday’s Special Report. Read the rest of this entry »


Selfish Conservatives: 19 of the 20 Most Charitable States Voted for Romney


[VIDEO] REWIND: Biden Attacks Ryan by Asking if He Wants to Bomb Syria

“Now, every time the governor is asked about this, he doesn’t say any, he say, he goes up with a whole lot of verbiage, but when he gets pressed, he says, no, he would not do anything different then we are doing now. Are they proposing putting American troops on the ground, putting American aircraft in their airspace? Is that what they’re proposing? If they do, they should speak up and say so. But that’s not what they’re saying” 

Brietbart.com


Michael Barone: How the GOP Got This Way

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editor-commen-deskThis article is an example of why Michael Barone is considered indispensable among political reporters and media wonks. Even for the blog surfers and unreformed political news junkies like the rest of us, he’s the guy to read this election year. It’s a long one, worth investing time in. In a sweeping but brisk history of a half-century of party evolution, Barone summarizes both Republican and Democratic party transformations over the years. Read a sample below, for more, read it all here.

For the Washington ExaminerMichael Barone writes: America’s two great political parties are constantly transforming themselves, sometimes in small increments, sometimes in sudden lurches. They respond to cues sent to them by voters — which can range from attaboy! to fuhggedaboutit — and to the initiatives of party leaders, especially presidents.

Paul's amendment would ban laws that don’t apply equally to citizens and government. | AP Photo

“When you have a rush of hundreds of thousands of previously uninvolved people into electoral politics, you get a certain number of wackos, weirdos and witches. But you also get many new people who turn out to be serious citizens with exceptional political skills.”

But when the other party has held the White House for an extended period, the transformation process can be stormy and chaotic. Which is a pretty apt description of the Republican Party over the past few years. Its two living ex-presidents, the George Bushes, withdrew from active politics immediately after leaving the White House, and its two most recent nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, say they are not running for president again, although they do weigh in on issues. There is no obvious heir apparent and there are many politicians who may seek the 2016 presidential nomination. More than usual, the opposition party is up for grabs.

“Mainstream media will inevitably emphasize the discontentment in the Republican Party that originated in the second Bush term and flashed into prominence soon after Obama took office. It will tend to ignore the discontentment in the Democratic Party that are raging with increasing intensity.”

As the cartoon images of elephant and donkey suggest, our two parties are different kinds of animals. Republicans have generally been more cohesive, with a core made up of politicians and voters who see themselves, and are seen by others,

DonkeyHotey / Foter / CC BY

as typical Americans — white Northern Protestants in the 19th century, married white Christians today. But those groups, by themselves, have never been a majority of the nation. The Democratic Party has been made up of disparate groups of people regarded, by themselves and others, as outsiders in some way — Southern whites and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century, blacks and gentry liberals today. Our electoral system motivates both to amass coalitions larger than 50 percent of voters. Democrats tend to do so by adding additional disparate groups. Republicans tend to do so by coming up with appeals that unite their base and erode Democrats’ support from others. Read the rest of this entry »


Prophet? Or Just Read a Book or Two

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It isn’t so much that former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was a prophet. Just that he had read a book or two.

From last week’s Hot Air, Noah Rothman writes:

…In 2012, Romney called it “troubling” and “alarming” that Barack Obama had essentially appeased the Russian bear by offering concessions like the withdrawal of interceptor missile and radar installations in Eastern Europe without reciprocity from Moscow. He said that Russia’s actions have made that nation “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”

This prompted a flood of scorn and mockery from a raft of self-assured critics. But by 2014, after Russia had frustrated America’s ambition to contain the Syrian civil war, invaded neighboring Ukraine, and unilaterally annexed a portion of that nation’s territory into Russia proper, nearly all of Romney’s self-respecting critics were forced to concede that he had a point. Read the rest of this entry »