Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crusin’ Ted Cruz

Cruz                                                      Dracula
“I just don’t like the guy.”

--former President George W. Bush

It’s remarkable to have Bush 43 in his retirement attacking a fellow Republican and Texan, but Bush knows he’s hardly alone.

Ted Cruz is called the “most hated man in Washington.” Democrats hate him for his policies, but the reputation also stems from Republican animosity.  Cruz has made a name for himself by trying--and over Obamacare succeeding for a few days in October 2013--to close down the government rather than raise the debt ceiling, bust the budget, fund Obamacare, or pay for Planned Parenthood.

Republicans agree with Cruz on most issues, but pragmatists know shutting down government confirms a public image of the GOP as extremists who would defund popular government programs such as social security and medicare just to get their way.

Cruz doesn’t seem to care. He called his leader in the Senate, fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, “a liar.” His profile blossomed as a result of his many battles. Cruz was Trump before there was Trump.

So what are Cruz’s chances of winning the GOP nomination? Good, I would say. Cruz is young, 44, with superb credentials. While at Princeton, Cruz won the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship, and that same year, was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year, as well as half the Team of the Year.

Cruz and his Princeton debate partner then represented Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, making it to the semi-finals. Famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant." After law school, Cruz clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist--the plumb of plumb clerkships. Even an Obama couldn’t match these credentials.

Cruz is Hispanic, a plus, and an evangelical Christian, a GOP plus. Cruz’s wife is a Goldman Sachs partner who took leave to help his campaign. He objectively has an impressive campaign organization geared not only to do well in the four early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) but pointed especially at March 1st's mostly Southern “Super Tuesday." Cruz could be #1 after “Super Tuesday” primaries or caucuses in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

Already, Cruz is the top Republican in one of the most important measurements of strength: “Cash on Hand.”

The ranking (in $ millions) is:
1 Hillary Clinton $33.0
2 Bernie Sanders 27.1
3 Ted Cruz 13.8
4 Ben Carson 11.3
5 Marco Rubio 11.0

Among Republicans, Cruz trails only Bush in “Money Raised,” (in $ millions including PACs as well as individually):
1 Jeb Bush $133.3
2 Hillary Clinton 97.7
3 Ted Cruz 64.9
4 Marco Rubio 47.7
5 Bernie Sanders 41.5
6 Ben Carson 31.6

Of course, Trump is self-financed, and may well obliterate all these figures with his own funds. Trump and Ben Carson are Cruz’s main rivals along with Marco Rubio. Carly Fiorina has faded, and right now, Jeb Bush seems to be self-destructing. Cruz is currently #5 in the national polls, #4 in Iowa and South Carolina (he would like to beat #3 Rubio in both), and way down in New Hampshire, but with a good organization.  

Comment: I support Rubio, who would do better against Hillary than Cruz. Rubio is a smooth, skilled talker, and better looking than Cruz, who looks like a vampire (see Halloween frights, above).

Rubio speaks better Spanish than Cruz and his wife, unlike Cruz’s, is Hispanic (Colombian). Rubio, also a Tea Party conservative, is a practicing Catholic who sends his three children to parochial schools. If Trump and Carson fade, it may very well come down to handsome, poised Marco v. brilliant, well-organized Ted Cruz.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Clinton Lies, the Sun Rises, Clinton Also Lies

So the Benghazi hearings, mama media says, showed Clinton besting her GOP interrogators? From mother, you expected otherwise?

As we stated after the October 13 Democratic debate, that party’s primary is over. The result left media no choice: fall in line behind progressives’ one-candidate, 2016 march to the White House.

Conservative Robert Tracinski, in the “Federalist,” underlines our conclusion, writing that last week’s Benghazi hearing
is being hailed by the mainstream media as a triumph for Hillary Clinton. But then again, what choice do they have? If she is the inevitable Democratic nominee, then it’s TINA time: There Is No Alternative. So they had their narrative planned in advance.
“They had their narrative planned in advance.”

The media claimed the Benghazi hearings produced no “smoking gun.” Wrong. There were three. It’s just that “TINA” media chose to ignore all three. As Tracinski added, Clinton:
knew all along that the attack on the U.S. consulate [sic] in Benghazi was a terrorist attack by an al Qaeda affiliate, not a spontaneous demonstration about a YouTube video. Three e-mails [“smoking guns”--GF] unveiled by the Benghazi investigation — one to her daughter and two [documenting] conversations with the leaders of Libya and Egypt — show that she knew and acknowledged the truth in private while at the same time she was telling a different story to the American people.
We knew from the beginning that Clinton had lied about al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists attacking our Benghazi post and killing our ambassador and three other Americans on the 9/11 anniversary date of al Qaeda’s greatest triumph. We also knew progressives couldn’t afford the truth in the midst of a 2012 election fought under the line that Democrats had al Qaeda “on the run.”

Clinton lied. We couldn’t prove it. Now three email “smoking guns” do.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Democratic “Debate” Love Fest

You can’t beat somebody with nobody. Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. That’s clear for anybody who sat through Tuesday’s first Democratic Party debate. By vanquishing all challengers on the stage, Clinton made it next to impossible for Vice President Joe Biden to enter the race.

Democrats are worried, very worried, about the consequences they will face if they lose the 2016 presidential election. Much of the media attention to Clinton’s problems with her private email server related to a desire to get her out of the race if she looked likely to lose to a Republican next November. But the media can’t take Clinton down when there is no viable alternative within the party. That leaves the media with no choice but to join Clinton’s camp, and bury scandal associated with her campaign. It’s  “every hand on deck, gotta beat the GOP” time.

Bernie Sanders is one of those Democratic deck hands. I now see, probably long after others figured it out, that Sanders really is in the race with no expectation of winning, but to use his skills to push the party toward democratic socialism. His idea-driven agenda won’t go over with the party if he is seen as wounding the likely nominee, even--maybe especially--if his effort draws the more credible Biden into the race, something that was a real possibility before the debate.

So Sanders, in the debate's key moment, told us all “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails. . . Enough of the emails!” Result: Clinton wins the nomination, Sanders remains her principal opponent pushing the party leftward, Biden stays out.

I earlier said that Republicans should hope Clinton wins the nomination, because she is too flawed to be elected president. I didn’t count on her sewing up the nomination 13 months before the election. Unless the FBI indicts her, Clinton will now have the entire progressive structure working for her to beat the Republican nominee, much as happened in 2012 when the liberal coalition pulled President Barack Obama through under adverse economic circumstances.

Here's the consolation for Biden: if Clinton is indicted, he is the one best positioned to take her place.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Rubio Threat: NYT tells progressives, “Take heart.”

Marco Rubio isn’t yet ready to storm past Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and Bush. To progressives, Rubio's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination possess major weaknesses--Trump the male juvenile; Carson the “in over his head” right-wing Christian; Fiorina, the corporate “Fail-orina;” Bush, the name.  These four give Democrats hope that even a highly-flawed Hillary Clinton might actually beat the GOP nominee.

But Rubio, still trailing Trump, Carson, Fiorina and only slightly ahead of the better-financed Bush, is rising.  And Rubio may be the biggest threat of all.

Political bias is so obvious at the New York Times (NYT).  Like the Soviet-era Communist newspaper Pravda, the NYT writes for a chosen elite. The NYT's progressive audience is big and powerful enough the newspaper need not cater to anyone else.

NYT readers want a Democrat in the White House after 2016, and the NYT will further that goal. NYT leaks about Hillary Clinton’s email server seem odd on their face, but the leaks help nudge the party toward a substitute, should Hillary falter.

Obama faced a serious re-election challenge in 2012, when America's economy was still in bad shape.  Obama won by savaging GOP opponent Mitt Romney, with the help of the NYT and other progressive media.

That 2012 Obama winning strategy is on the front burner for 2016.  Make the GOP nominee's shortcomings the election issue. And right now, that demands focus on Rubio, whom NYT reporter Nate Cohn, in a warning to his progressive readership, writes has benefited from a change in the “political landscape surrounding his candidacy” that couldn’t be “much more in his favor over the last six months.”

But Cohn also reassures his readers that
Rubio’s problems run deeper than the factional politics of a severely divided party. Perhaps his vaunted communication skills haven’t turned into big polling gains because his personal traits — he’s a young, Catholic, Latino lawyer from Miami — don’t help him resonate among old, evangelical, white, less-educated and rural voters. His youthful appearance may not help assuage concerns about his preparedness for the presidency.
Beyond his limited experience in national politics, he has big vulnerabilities on his failed immigration reform effort and his ties to a billionaire benefactor.
The NYT tried to soften up Rubio’s run earlier this year, before the Trump phenomenon unfolded. Now that Trump is fading slightly, we see NYT attention swinging back to Rubio, the once and future threat.