Kentucky senator explains controversial proposed legislation that would subject Federal Reserve‘s monetary policy powers to outside scrutiny as it gets new life under a new administration – and may stand its best chance at becoming law.
Noonan: ‘Jumping on anyone who publicly expressed a religious feeling after the San Bernardino massacre. Where are we heading?’Posted: December 4, 2015
The San Bernardino massacre and “prayer shaming.”
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 »
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.
“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 »
“Is one of the goals for you … to spur more actual debating?” CNN’s Brian Stelter asked debate moderator Jake Tapper a few days before the event. Stelter pointed to a moment in the August Fox News debate in which two candidates, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, had an extended and heated — and illuminating — exchange with each other.*
“That was my favorite moment from the debate,” Tapper said. “Let’s have as many of those as possible. So, yes, what the team and I have been doing is trying to craft questions that, in most cases, pit candidates against the other, specific candidates on the stage, on issues where they disagree, whether it’s policy or politics or leadership. Let’s actually have them discuss and debate.”
“I don’t think this is a debate where you’ll have candidates attack each other; we’ve not seen this on the campaign trail. Bernie Sanders has been very clear. He’s not going to go after Hillary Clinton by name. He’s not going to criticize her. And I see no reason that Hillary Clinton would do that with any of the candidates.”
— Anderson Cooper
That was then. Now, another CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper, will be moderating a debate, this time among Democrats, and he says there will be none of that raucous “actual debating” this time around.
Leave the slugfest to the Republicans. The Democratic debate will be a serious discussion of the issues. Read the rest of this entry »
The More You Politicize Guns, The Weaker Your Case Becomes.
David Harsanyi writes: After the horrific mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, President Obama made an impassioned case that gun violence is “something we should politicize”—and why should this be any different:
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
Everything in that statement is wrong. What happened in Oregon is tragic, and the nation should comfort families and look for reasonable and practical ways to stem violence, but there is only one murderer. Now, if government somehow bolstered, endorsed, or “allowed” the actions of Chris Harper-Mercer—as they might, say, the death of 10,000-plus viable babies each year or the civilian deaths that occur during an American drone action—a person could plausibly argue that we are collectively answerable as a nation.
“For the liberal, every societal problem has a state-issued remedy waiting to be administered over the objections of a reactionary Republican. But just because you have a tremendous amount of emotion and frustration built up around a certain cause doesn’t make your favored legislation any more practical, effective or realistic.”
Then again, when the president asserts Americans are collectively answerable, what he really suggests—according to his own broader argument—is that conservatives who’ve blocked his gun-control legislation are wholly responsible. The problem with that contention, outside of the obvious fact that Republicans never condone the use of guns for illegal violence (in fact, these rampages hurt their cause more than anything) is that Democrats haven’t offered a single bill or idea (short of confiscation) that would impede any of the mass shootings, or overall gun violence. This is not a political choice, because it’s likely there is no available political answer.
For the liberal, every societal problem has a state-issued remedy waiting to be administered over the objections of a reactionary Republican. But just because you have a tremendous amount of emotion and frustration built up around a certain cause doesn’t make your favored legislation any more practical, effective or realistic. It doesn’t change the fact that owning a gun is a civil right, that the preponderance of owners are not criminals, or that there are 300 million guns out there.
And if it’s a political argument you’re offering—and when hasn’t it been?—you’ll need more than the vacuousness of the “this is bad and so we have to do something.” That’s because anti-gun types are never able to answer a simple question: what law would you pass that could stop these shootings?
“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)
Source: Hot Air, YouTube
DRUDGE Readers Completely Misunderstood Poll Question ‘Who Won 2nd GOP Debate?’, Answered ‘Who Is Your Favorite Candidate?’Posted: September 16, 2015
It’s not just what Trump says; it’s how he says it.
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 »
The stage is set for the CNN Reagan Library Debate next week in California, with Carly Fiorina joining 10 other leading Republican presidential candidates at 8 p.m. ET. (Photo: CNN)
…The candidates scheduled to face off Wednesday at the Reagan Presidential Library include former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. She didn’t qualify for the first debate, but a polling bump and a big lobbying push persuaded CNN to broaden its participation criteria.
Other participants include businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich….(more)
Source: Q13 FOX News
“To be honest, I’m just violently mad, and Trump’s done a great job of pointing me in the direction of things to wreck—although, if things change and I end up mercilessly ripping into Trump instead of rabidly backing him, that would be just fine too.”
WASHINGTON—Saying they simply needed something to direct their anger toward, the nation’s frenzied Donald Trump supporters admitted Thursday that, if circumstances were different, they would be just as happy tearing the Republican frontrunner to pieces.
“You’ve got to hand it to the guy for helping me channel my all-consuming rage about my own lot in life into ruthless attacks on immigrant families, women, and the other presidential candidates. But really, there’s no reason I couldn’t unleash that vicious energy on Trump himself.”
“To be honest, I’m just violently mad, and Trump’s done a great job of pointing me in the direction of things to wreck—although, if things change and I end up mercilessly ripping into Trump instead of rabidly backing him, that would be just fine too,” said Nashua, NH resident Jeff Waldman, echoing the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters nationwide…(read more)
Source: America’s Finest News Source
39.4 percent of Trump’s Social Audience is Eligible to Vote.
Abigail Tracy writes: Despite the fact that earlier this week presidential hopeful Donald Trump made his way to the top of the extensive GOP field in an Iowa poll as the first choice of 22 percent of those surveyed, a study of Trump’s social media audience found that the polarizing businessman’s position might be weaker than polls indicate.
The study, conducted by audience analytics company Macromeasures, found that Trump trails his GOP rivals in a handful of crucial metrics in terms of his social media following. Macromeasures compared Trump’s social audience to those of Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina.
The most glaring discovery was that of Trump’s audience, a mere 39.4 percent were actually eligible to vote—the lowest of any GOP candidate analyzed. To put this in perspective, 95.7 percent of Fiorina’s audience could cast a ballot. On top of that, Trump only received 0.9 percent of social media activity (defined by hashtag use) coming out of the key, early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to Macromeasures’ findings. Read the rest of this entry »
Mollie Hemingway writes: The first GOP 2016 presidential debate was substantive, fast-paced, informative and fun, of all things. A big reason for the fun was that TV celebrity and businessman Donald Trump was on stage. He brought his normal Trump persona to the stage and was brash and occasionally funny. He started off strong, in his own way. But he followed up these flashes with some amazingly tone-deaf, illogical, stupid and bizarre statements. Here are 10 of the worst.
1) Didn’t rule out a third-party run
Bret Baier asked the candidates, “Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?”
Donald Trump was the only person to raise his hand. Baier noted that experts say a third-party run from a prominent candidate would kill the GOP’s chances of winning the election.
Trump made it clear that if the GOP wouldn’t nominate him, he was strongly considering a third-party run. “If I’m the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But — and I am discussing it with everybody, but I’m, you know, talking about a lot of leverage.”
2) Refused to support eventual GOP nominee unless it was himself
He also said, with what would become a pattern of semi-illiterate syntax, “I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it’s not me, the person that wins, if I do win, and I’m leading by quite a bit, that’s what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge.”
3) Said he loves the single payer healthcare system
The latest target is Uber, the app-based ride-sharing service that since its launch in San Francisco just five years ago has expanded to more than 300 cities across the globe.
The latest target is Uber, the app-based ride-sharing service that since its launch in San Francisco just five years ago has expanded to more than 300 cities across the globe. Here in New York, Uber is now locked in combat with the city’s progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio. In a Sunday op-ed for the Daily News, Mr. de Blasio said he aims to freeze Uber’s expansion until his regulators can figure out how best to block any attempts to “skirt vital protections and oversight.”
“It is not surprising there is growing opposition to the Mayor’s bill because try as they might, Mayor de Blasio can’t pretend protecting taxi owners is progressive.”
— Uber spokesperson
Ross Barkan writes:
“It is not surprising there is growing opposition to the Mayor’s bill because try as they might, Mayor de Blasio can’t pretend protecting taxi owners is progressive,” said the spokesperson. “The odds have been stacked against us by rushing the bill through the council, but it’s getting harder and harder for the Mayor to explain why he’s against creating 10,000 jobs and protecting reliable rides in communities outside Manhattan.” …(more)
The mayor’s call to arms comes only days after Hillary Clinton used her big speech on economics to sound a similarly dismal note. Though she didn’t mention Uber by name, the Democratic Party’s leading contender for the 2016 presidential nomination fretted that while the “gig economy” may be “exciting” and “unleashing innovation,” “it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”
Hard questions that Mrs. Clinton no doubt intends the government to answer, even if those answers end up making Uber and others like it less exciting and less innovative.
Republican presidential candidates are having fun with all this. Marco Rubio, who last year sided with Uber over regulators in Miami, accused Mrs. Clinton of trying to “regulate 21st-century industries with 20th-century ideas.” Jeb Bush pointedly traveled by Uber for his visit to Thumbtack, a Silicon Valley startup. Meanwhile, Rand Paul says he would like our government to adopt the Uber model—more information and customer ratings—while Ted Cruz says his campaign will be as disruptive of politics-as-usual as Uber is of old business models. Read the rest of this entry »
‘The First Rule of Economic Fight Club is…’ Stephen Moore, Paul Krugman Meet for ‘Economic Fight Club’ at Freedom FestPosted: July 10, 2015
I was fortunate to catch the majority of this debate live, via Periscope, watching it live on my phone’s screen (mostly just listening to the audio) and I agree with this description: “All in all this was a very interesting discussion. Of course I was not convinced by anything Krugman had to say but I did think it was a good-faith conversation on a variety of topics.” I’ve not found the video online yet, but stay tuned, when we find it, we’ll post it. In the meantime, enjoy a sample of this account by PJ Tatler‘s Liz Sheld,
“I have to give some props to Krugman for showing up, as he had to know this was going to be a tough crowd. And this panel was one of the best I’ve seen at a conference — it was thoughtful and did not get hostile at all, while both Moore and Krugman addressed each other’s points.”
Liz Sheld writes:
One of the big spectacles at Freedom Fest was the showdown between Stephen Moore and Paul Krugman that took place this morning. Moore founded the Club for Growth and was formerly on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. The former chief economist at the Heritage Foundation was billed as the “supply-sider.” On the other side of the debate was Krugman – New York Times columnist, professor of economics at Princeton, and Nobel prize winner. He was billed as the “Keynesian.”
The topic was “What happened to the American Dream?” or “How can we best restore the American Dream?”
“I wish we had more of this and less grandstanding at our center-right conclaves.”
I have to give some props to Krugman for showing up, as he had to know this was going to be a tough crowd. And this panel was one of the best I’ve seen at a conference — it was thoughtful and did not get hostile at all, while both Moore and Krugman addressed each other’s points. I wish we had more of this and less grandstanding at our center-right conclaves.
Since this was an hour-long debate, I’ll sum up some of the most interesting exchanges between the two economists. It didn’t take long before each was urging the moderator to pull up one of their charts. Charts really add some gravitas to the discussion. As they say on the streets, sh!t got real when the charts started coming out.
Moore pointed out that everything done by the Obama administration has thwarted recovery from the economic disaster of 2007-8. But to be fair, he included Bush along with examples of Obama’s mistakes: cash for clunkers, stimulus, bailouts, and tax increases, for starters. He said that Reagan also inherited a bad economy but did the right things for a much faster turnaround. Moore said that we have 8 million fewer jobs under Obama than we would have had if Obama had taken Reagan-esque action.
Read the rest of this entry »
You won’t read much about it in the Beltway press corps, but a behind-the-scenes effort is under way to lobby the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department to stifle free political speech the way the Internal Revenue Service did in 2012. Don’t be surprised if the subpoenas hit Republican candidates at crucial political moments.
“Justice’s involvement elbows in on the regulatory province of the FEC, an agency explicitly designed with a 3-3 partisan split to prevent it from being co-opted by one party. And that’s the point. Democracy 21 says it is lobbying Justice because the FEC has become ‘dysfunctional.'”
In late May the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 asked the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Right to Rise Super PAC for violating campaign-finance law. According to the letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “If Bush is raising and spending money as a candidate, he is a candidate under the law, whether or not he declares himself to be one.”
“We don’t recall any such cry when the FEC dismissed a similar complaint against the Ready for Hillary PAC regarding an email sent by the independent group to a list-serve provided by Friends of Hillary.”
The theory behind this accusation is campaign “coordination,” the new favorite tool of the anti-speech political left. Earlier this year the Justice Department invited such complaints with a public statement that it would “aggressively pursue coordination offenses at every appropriate opportunity.”
Under federal law, illegal coordination occurs if a campaign expenditure (say, a TV ad) mentions a candidate by name in the 120 days before a presidential primary, or if it advocates for a candidate and if the candidate and Super PAC have coordinated the content of the ad.
“The liberal accusers say Mr. Bush is over the line because the law defines political contributions and expenditures as money spent ‘for the purpose of influencing an election.'”
The liberals claim that a Super PAC raising and spending money in favor of a Bush candidacy should be treated as coordinated expenditures, making them de facto contributions to his campaign. Candidate is the operative word here, a designation that has always been applied to those who announce they are running for public office.
“The problem with that argument is that in Buckley v. Valeo the Supreme Court ruled that the ‘purpose of influencing’ language was unconstitutionally vague unless it refers to advertising that calls for the election or defeat of a candidate.”
Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer says Mr. Bush should be considered a candidate who is illegally coordinating because if you asked “100 ordinary Americans” if he is a candidate, they will say yes. What a bracing legal standard. What would the same 100 Americans have said about Hillary Clinton in 2013, or Ted Cruz in high school? Where is the limiting principle?
Under actual law, a politician becomes a candidate for federal office when he declares he is, and when he has raised or spent more than $5,000 on the candidacy. Read the rest of this entry »
Byron York writes: Through all of Hillary Clinton’s recent troubles — emails, foundation, Benghazi — Democrats have taken comfort in their all-but-assured nominee’s formidable lead over top Republicans in head-to-head matchups. Now that lead is shrinking, and the Democratic comfort level is falling along with it.
“I am definitely skeptical that Clinton was ever really up by 15 points like some of the early polls were showing.”
— PPP director Tom Jensen
But it’s possible Clinton’s big lead was never as big as Democrats thought. Yes, some of the margins looked enormous:
* An ABC News poll in March showed Clinton up by 15 points ver Rubio, 14 points over Walker, and 13 points over Bush.
* A CNN poll in April showed Clinton up by 22 points over Walker, 19 points over Paul, 14 points over Rubio, and 17 points over Bush
Big margins. But at the same time, at least one other poll — by Public Policy Polling, the Democratic polling firm — showed Clinton with much more modest leads over her GOP rivals. A PPP survey in late February showed Clinton with an eight-point lead over Walker, a seven-point lead over Rubio, a seven-point lead over Paul, and a 10-point lead over Bush.
A PPP poll at the end of March showed Clinton with a four-point lead over Walker, a four-point lead over Paul, a three-point lead over Rubio, and a six-point lead over Bush — at a time the other polls showed Clinton far ahead of those rivals. Read the rest of this entry »
Watch what happens if Hillary Clinton falls behind in the polls
Fred Barnes writes: When a CNN poll last week showed Hillary Clinton leading Rand Paul by a single percentage point (48-47) and only three points ahead of Marco Rubio (49-46) and Scott
Walker (49-46), it was mildly shocking. In April, her lead over the three Republican presidential candidates had been in double digits: Paul (58-39), Rubio (55-41), and Walker (59-37).
But wait. If the next CNN survey shows Clinton actuallybehind one or two or three of the GOP candidates, it won’t be just shocking. It will send Democrats into a near-panic over the possibility of losing the White House in 2016, even with their preferred candidate, Clinton, as nominee.
“Stonewalls can work, but not forever and not in the midst of a presidential campaign. A minimal requirement of candidates is that they converse with the press. It looks bad when they don’t. It looks like they’re hiding something.”
Such a poll result isn’t far-fetched as we watch Clinton’s campaign deteriorate. True, head-to-head matchups this early in the presidential cycle are almost never predictive. But in this case, it’s the psychological impact that matters.
That Clinton’s candidacy is in trouble is indisputable. She’s not threatened with losing the Democratic nomination—at least not yet. She has the well-financed Clinton machine and a national network of supporters on which she can rely. The campaigns of her Democratic opponents are small and weak in comparison.
But the rationale for her bid for the presidency, the strategy of her campaign, and the tactics she’s adopted—all have failed to stop her steady decline. The expectation of Clinton’s glide
into the White House in 2016 is gone.
“What is the rationale for her candidacy? President Obama had a big one in 2008. He would reform Washington, end polarization, promote bipartisanship, and bring about change. As a campaign message, it was appealing. As we now know, his real intentions were different.”
In place of a rationale, there’s an assumption that her prominence, her résumé, and the likelihood of her becoming the first woman president would make her a uniquely appealing candidate. They haven’t. She’s a terrible candidate. She has not only failed to attract big crowds. She’s having trouble raising big money from those described by Politico as “rich liberals.”
“But Obama had a rationale for seeking the presidency. Clinton doesn’t.”
The old adage that opposites attract may apply in her marriage. Bill Clinton is charming, has wonderful political instincts, is a compelling speaker, and has a common touch. She lacks all four. Also, Bill is dynamic. She is lifeless as a candidate. Read the rest of this entry »
The final vote divided Senate Republicans, with 23 voting ‘yes’ and 30 voting ‘no,’ and senators seeking re-election in 2016 split on the issue
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress approved sweeping changes Tuesday to surveillance laws enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks, eliminating the National Security Agency’s disputed bulk phone-records collection program and replacing it with a more restrictive measure to keep the records in phone companies’ hands.
“This is a step in the wrong direction…does not enhance the privacy protections of American citizens. And it surely undermines American security by taking one more tool form our warfighters at exactly the wrong time.”
— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Two days after Congress let the phone-records and several other anti-terror programs expire, the Senate’s 67-32 vote sent the legislation to President Barack Obama, who said he would sign it promptly.
“This legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs,” Obama said in a statement. The bill signing could happen late Tuesday or early Wednesday, but officials said it could take at least several days to restart the collection.
The legislation will revive most of the programs the Senate had allowed to lapse in a dizzying collision of presidential politics and national security policy. But the authorization will undergo major changes, the legacy of agency contractor Edward Snowden‘s explosive revelations two years ago about domestic spying by the government.
“I applaud the Senate for renewing our nation’s foreign intelligence capabilities, and I’m pleased this measure will now head to the president’s desk for his signature.”
— House Speaker John Boehner
In an unusual shifting of alliances, the legislation passed with the support of Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but over the strong opposition of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell failed to persuade the Senate to extend the current law unchanged, and came up short in a last-ditch effort Tuesday to amend the House version, as nearly a dozen of his own Republicans abandoned him in a series of votes.
“This is a step in the wrong direction,” a frustrated McConnell said on the Senate floor ahead of the Senate’s final vote to approve the House version, dubbed the USA Freedom Act. He said the legislation “does not enhance the privacy protections of American citizens. And it surely undermines American security by taking one more tool form our warfighters at exactly the wrong time.”
“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
— George Orwell
The legislation remakes the most controversial aspect of the USA Patriot Act — the once-secret bulk collection program that allows the National Security Agency to sweep up Americans’ phone records and comb through them for ties to international terrorists. Over six months the NSA would lose the power to collect and store those records, but the government still could gain court orders to obtain data connected to specific numbers from the phone companies, which typically store them for 18 months.
It would also continue other post-9/11 surveillance provisions that lapsed Sunday night, and which are considered more effective than the phone-data collection program. These include the FBI’s authority to gather business records in terrorism and espionage investigations and to more easily eavesdrop on suspects who are discarding cellphones to avoid surveillance.
In order to restart collection of phone records, the Justice Department will need to obtain a new order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Read the rest of this entry »
Key Patriot Act provisions will expire at midnight
In addition to the bulk phone collections provision, the two lesser-known Patriot Act provisions that also lapse at midnight were one, so far unused, to helps track “lone wolf” terrorism suspects unconnected to a foreign power; the second allows the government to eavesdrop on suspects who continually discard their cellphones.
The Senate failed Sunday to strike a deal to extend the NSA’s phone surveillance program before the midnight deadline.
Members of the GOP-controlled chamber returned Sunday to Capitol Hill in a last-ditch effort to extend the National Security Agency’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk to search for terror connections and to authorize two other programs under the post-9/11 Patriot Act.
“Heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who is engaged in dangerous activity, but we didn’t do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.”
— President Obama
The Senate attempted to either pass a House bill that would have altered the collections of the so-called phone call metadata or simply extend the program.
The 100-member chamber passed the first of two procedure hurdles, known as cloture, to proceed with the House bill. The vote was 77 to 17.
“The sky is not going to fall.”
— Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union executive director
But no final action was expected before Sunday’s midnight deadline after Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul served notice that he would assert his prerogatives under Senate rules to delay a final vote for several days.
“The people who argue that the world will come to an end and we will be over by jihadists (by not passing the bill) are using fear,” Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said on the Senate floor.
Still, the program is all but certain to be revived in a matter of days, although it also looks certain to be completely overhauled under the House-passed legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reluctantly blessed in an about-face Sunday evening.
With most senators opposed to extending current law unchanged, even for a short time, McConnell said the House bill was the only option left other than letting the program die off entirely. The Kentucky Republican preferred extending the current law. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING NEWS – The Republican-led Senate blocked a House bill early Saturday that would have ended the National Security Agency’s bulk of collection on domestic phone records.
The vote was 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. It leaves the fate of the key provisions in the Patriot Act in doubt with a June 1 deadline less than two weeks away.
The Senate also failed to advance a two-month extension of NSA programs as well. The vote also needed 60 votes to get to the Senate floor. The vote was defeated 54-45…(read more)
“Cruz’s haul is eye-popping, one that instantly raises the stakes in the Republican fundraising contest.”
The PAC is led by prominent Democrats including President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina. Read the rest of this entry »
The Kentucky Republican’s speech, which began at 1:18 p.m., is not technically holding up any legislation because the Senate is actually currently debating a trade bill, but Mr. Paul said his move was a filibuster nonetheless, as he vowed to hold the floor until he couldn’t go any longer.
“It’s time to end the NSA spying,” his official Twitter account said in a post at 1:36 p.m., as he was on the floor.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 15, 2015
Hillary Clinton is the favorite U.S. presidential candidate among millionaire voters and would win a head-to-head contest with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, according to the third CNBC Millionaire Survey conducted in March that was released today.
“Of course, support from millionaires may be more of a liability than strength in the current age of populist politics. Hillary has said she wants to “topple” the wealthiest Americans and has attacked CEO pay.”
The survey, which polls 750 Americans with a net worth of $1 million or more, found that 53 percent of millionaires would vote for the Democratic ex-Secretary of State, compared with 47 percent for the GOP presidential hopeful, in a hypothetical general-election match-up. Clinton had the support of 91 percent of Democratic millionaires, 13 percent of Republican millionaires and 57 percent of Independent millionaires. (Tweet this)
When asked about the broader field of candidates, Clinton got the most support, with 36 percent of millionaires. Jeb Bush came in second with 20 percent, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 8 percent, and Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) with 7 percent.
“Being seen as the favorite candidate of millionaires could clash with her efforts on the campaign trail to be seen as the advocate of the working class and poor.”
Read MoreThese are the real masters of the election domains
Within the broader field, Republican candidates received a total of 49 percent of the vote, suggesting that the race could tighten as Republicans coalesce around a single candidate.
Clinton had the most support among younger millionaires, with 70 percent of millionaires age 48 or younger backing Clinton in a head-to-head race with Jeb Bush. Among millionaires age 70 or older, Jeb Bush wins with 57 percent of the vote.
The poll revealed that females show more support for Hillary Clinton, while males show more support for Jeb Bush. Clinton wins 51 percent of male millionaires and 58 percent of female millionaires. Bush wins 49 percent of male millionaires and 42 percent of female millionaires. Read the rest of this entry »
From our mailbox: Today, the National Review Institute, National Review‘s sister organization, opens it’s biennial Ideas Summit in Washington, D.C.
Special segments of the Summit will be LIVE streamed on the Corner for free — watch Rich Lowry and Jeb Bush, Jim Geraghty and Marco Rubio, John Fund and Carly Fiorina, and Heather Higgins and Bobby Jindal discuss why the future is conservative, and more!
First live stream starts today at 4:25 p.m. EST with Jeb Bush. Don’t miss it!
Full schedule is below. Click on the event to watch.
Thursday, April 30
[VIDEO] THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Surprised ‘Turns Out We Are Not Producing As Many Small Businesses As We Used To’Posted: April 20, 2015
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.”
“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 »
It’s On: ‘Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich’Posted: April 19, 2015
‘Clinton Cash’ Questions Foreign Donations to Foundation
Amy Chozick reports: The book does not hit shelves until May 5, but already the Republican Rand Paul has called its findings “big news” that will “shock people” and make voters “question” the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer — a 186-page investigation of donations made to the Clinton Foundation by foreign entities — is proving the most anticipated and feared book of a presidential cycle still in its infancy.
[Order Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” from Amazon.com]
The book, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.
“There is a robust market for books critical of the Clintons. The thinly sourced ‘Blood Feud,’ by Mr. Klein, at one point overtook Mrs. Clinton’s memoir ‘Hard Choices’ on the best-seller list.”
“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Mr. Schweizer writes.
“But whether Mr. Schweizer’s book can deliver the same sales is not clear. He writes mainly in the voice of a neutral journalist and meticulously documents his sources, including tax records and government documents, while leaving little doubt about his view of the Clintons.”
His examples include a free-trade agreement in Colombia that benefited a major foundation donor’s natural resource investments in the South American nation, development projects in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake in 2010, and more than $1 million in payments to Mr. Clinton by a Canadian bank and major shareholder in the Keystone XL oil pipeline around the time the project was being debated in the State Department.
In the long lead up to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign announcement, aides proved adept in swatting down critical books as conservative propaganda, including Edward Klein’s “Blood Feud,” about tensions between the Clintons and the Obamas, and Daniel Halper’s “Clinton Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine.”
But “Clinton Cash” is potentially more unsettling, both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book. Read the rest of this entry »
THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Watch Hillary Clinton Nod and Sip Water While Maintaining Eye Contact with an Everyday Iowa VoterPosted: April 15, 2015
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.
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.
- 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 is particularly useful for a extremely wealthy person who is forced to interact with a commoner on the commoner’s home turf.
- 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.
- 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 »
From The Corner:
“This goes back not just to Clinton in ’92 or Obama in ’08; this is to Kennedy in 1960.”
Krauthammer observed on Monday evening, following Rubio’s speech in Miami. “Remember, in his inaugural address he said the torch has been passed to a new generation…
“Basically he’s saying, ‘Do you want old or do you want new?’ And he’s also implying, versus Jeb Bush, ‘Do you want privileged or unprivileged?’ And, ‘I’m the one.’ I mean that’s his attractiveness.”
“His issue is, he’s unknown,” said Krauthammer, “but that gives him a very high upside…(read more)
Breitbart EXCLUSIVE: South Carolina Democrats Fail to Support Wasserman Schultz in Undermining Rand Paul
MOUNT PLEASANT, South Carolina — Matthew Boyle reports: The Democratic Party of the State of South Carolina failed in an attempt to bracket a speech here by newly announced presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), calling a “press conference” that only one reporter—this one—showed up to.
It’s a shocking embarrassment given the fact the national Democrats had been promoting the event as a prebuttal to Paul’s big speech here, his first since announcing earlier this week he’s running for president of the United States.
“State Democrats here actually undercut the stance Debbie Wasserman Schultz has taken on abortion in response to a line of questioning Paul trapped her into after mainstream media reporters attempted to trip him up on the subject.”
In doing so, the state Democrats here actually undercut the stance Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has taken on abortion in response to a line of questioning Paul trapped her into after mainstream media reporters attempted to trip him up on the subject. In fact, two high-ranking South Carolina Democrats—the vice chairwoman of the state party and the chairman of the Charleston city Democratic Party—went on record to defend aborting babies who weigh 7 pounds, which is in many cases mere days or weeks from birth.
“More reporters were in attendance than the legitimate number of Democratic candidates in South Carolina.”
“More reporters were in attendance than the legitimate number of Democratic candidates in South Carolina,” South Carolina GOP chairman Matt Moore said in an email to Breitbart News after the event, poking fun at the Democratic Party failures in his state. “Their bench is currently thinner than the Atlanta Braves’. If they were handing out speaking fees, Hillary might have attended.”
“Their bench is currently thinner than the Atlanta Braves’. If they were handing out speaking fees, Hillary might have attended.”
— South Carolina GOP chairman Matt Moore
Paul had been scheduled to roll out his South Carolina presidential campaign at the U.S.S. Yorktown later in the day—which he did, with reporters from outlets ranging from Breitbart News, the New York Times, Bloomberg Politics, to television networks and more present, along with hundreds of supporters including high-profile lawmakers.
“It’s a shocking embarrassment given the fact the national Democrats had been promoting the event as a prebuttal to Paul’s big speech here, his first since announcing earlier this week he’s running for president of the United States.”
But the night before Paul’s speech, national Democrats—in conjunction with the South Carolina Democratic Party—called for a press conference in the Commodore Room at the Charleston Harbor Resort to bracket Paul’s speech with negative criticisms about him from the left. Usually, such matters will garner at least a little bit of press.
“In advance of Rand Paul’s official campaign launch in South Carolina on Thursday, South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison and leaders from around the lowcountry will hold a press conference at the Charleston Harbor Resort at Patriots Point to discuss the damaging impact a Rand Paul presidency would have on young people, women, the middle class, and families across the Palmetto state,” the release sent out on Wednesday evening by national Democrats with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) read. “The state leaders will highlight the fact that no matter how desperately Rand Paul tries to rewrite his record, it’s impossible for him to hide from his reckless and outdated views during his launch in Mt Pleasant, or at any other point during the campaign.”
“Several minutes later, at this point well after the start time for the press conference, Harrison—the South Carolina Democratic Chairman—said they were waiting for a few other reporters to show up.”
After RSVP’ing and checking in with plans to show up, this reporter made his way to the event to see what the local Democrats had to say and maybe ask a question or two. Arriving around 10:15 a.m., this reporter was the first—and eventually would be the only—person to show up from the entire media, and the only person to show up who wasn’t there as part of the official Democratic Party delegation despite the fact that several reporters were in South Carolina from national media outlets. The rest of the five or six people at the event were Democratic Party activists, including Chairman Harrison. Two college students, who were aligned with the College Democrats and were supposed to speak if there was a press conference, walked in and sat down in the chairs. Read the rest of this entry »