Category Archive 'Republicans'
02 Mar 2016

We Are Screwed

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Detail, John Melhuish Strudwick, A Golden Thread, 1885, Tate Gallery.

This ought to be a locked-in-concrete, dead-certain Republican year. America has a two party system, and Americans have an instinctive habit of giving both sides a turn at the presidency. Unless the incumbent walks on water like Ronald Reagan, after 8 years, the American public is hankering for a change and typically turns the ball over to the other team.

Beyond that, running against Hillary is a lot like running against the mean old woman of every Blues song, who moreover seems likely any day to be indicted.

But, along comes Trumplestiltskin.

In Scenario 1, Trump wins nearly all the rest of the primaries. The GOP caves and gives him the rest of the votes he needs for the nomination, and then the Party splits. Movement conservatives, the people who nominated Barry Goldwater and elected Ronald Reagan, and the intellectuals (very possibly including the Neocons), conceivably including socially-moderate, but snobbish, Country Club Republicans take a hike. In significant sectors of the Party, voting for The Donald is just infra dig, and some contend that even Hillary would make a more responsible first magistrate. Trump loses, Hillary becomes President.

Scenario 2, Trump has a ceiling, getting a plurality of delegates on the first ballot, but no majority. Conservatives and GOP Establishmentarians will die in the last ditch before nominating Donald. The knives come out. Trump delegates are pulled away on subsequent ballots, and a brokered convention nominates Cruz or Rubio. Donald J. Trump is no sportsman. He immediately forms a Third Party, and in the election proceeds to pull all the numbskulls and Reagan democrats away from the GOP candidate. Hillary becomes President.

There is no scenario 3.

The Trumpkins are going to say: This isn’t fair. We’re having a Revolution, and the rest of you are supposed to get on board. Donald Trump is our only hope of Change. Change you can believe in. And the rest of us, the sane people, are going to make little circle next to our temples with our index fingers at the idea of turning all the power of the Presidency over to a totally-unprincipled, egomanaical airhead with the morals and manners of the most spoiled rich kid in the entire country. Some of us actually know what happened when they made Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, nicknamed “Caligula” (“Little Boots”) by the Army, Emperor. It was not pretty.

29 Oct 2015

My Favorite Moment in Last Night’s GOP Debate

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Hat tip to Stephen Green.

06 Sep 2015

Congress Can Kill Obama’s Iran Deal (But It Won’t)

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Andrew McCarthy, in NR, explains that, not only can the Republican majority in Congress stop Barack Obama’s Iran Treaty, on the basis of the terms of last April’s Constitution-reversing Corker Bill, Congress is obliged to.

While maddening, the Corker bill is not an abject congressional surrender to Obama and Tehran. It is a conditional surrender. It would grant Obama grudging congressional endorsement of the deal in the absence of a now unattainable veto-proof resolution of disapproval, but only if Obama fulfills certain basic terms. Obama has not complied with the most basic one: the mandate that he provide the complete Iran deal for Congress’s consideration. Therefore, notwithstanding Washington’s frenzied assumption that the 60-day period for a congressional vote is winding down, the clock has never actually started to run. Congress’s obligations under Corker have never been triggered; the Corker process is moot. …

The Corker legislation — formally known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 — is crystal clear. In its very first section, the act requires the president to transmit to Congress “the agreement. . . . including all related materials and annexes.” It is too late to do that now: the act dictates that it was to have been done “not later than five days after reaching the agreement” — meaning July 19, since the agreement was finalized on July 14. Underscoring the mandate that all relevant understandings in the Iran deal — including, of course, the essential understandings — must be provided to lawmakers, the act explicitly spells out a definition of the “Agreement” in subsection (h)(1). Under it, this is what the administration was required to give Congress over six weeks ago in order to trigger the afore-described Corker review process:

    The term ‘agreement’ means an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran . . . regardless of the form it takes, . . . including any joint comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials related thereto, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.

The act could not be more emphatic: To get the advantage of the favorable Corker formula that allows him to lift the anti-nuclear sanctions with only one-third congressional support, the president was required to supply Congress with every scintilla of information regarding verification. …

It is not enough to say that Congress has no obligation to proceed with the Corker review process. It would, under the act, be impermissible for Congress to do so.

Read the whole thing.

Of course, the sad reality is the Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are conscious that democrats are wilier and more determined than they are, and have, in everything, the backing of the national media. They have a majority of both houses of Congress and polls show that two thirds of the public opposes the Iran Deal, and they still won’t fight.

06 Aug 2015

First Republican Debate Transcript

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The Daily Caller obtained an advance transcript of tonight’s first Republican debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

Moderator: Welcome to the first Republican presidential debate. Assembled on stage are the top 10 candidates according to the average of the last five national polls. Let me quickly explain the format. For the first half of the debate, we will direct all questions toward Donald Trump. For the second half of the debate, we will ask the other candidates to respond to what Donald Trump said. Mr. Trump will, of course, be permitted to critique both your answers and you personally. So let’s begin. Mr. Trump, your opening statement please.

Donald Trump: Thank you for having me tonight. Look, I’m not a debater, I’m a doer. So this is an unusual setting for me — and, by the way, not just unusual because I’ve never really debated before. It’s also unusual because I’ve just never been in a room with so many losers before. I’m a really rich guy — I mean, much richer than most people know. Like over $10 billion rich. Maybe over $100 billion. And I’m not even saying this to brag. I’m just saying I don’t usually deal with so many losers. I mean, look at these guys. Just look at them. [Begins pointing at each candidate, one-by one] Looooser. Looooser. Looooser. Looooser. Ted Cruz is only a semi-loser because he said some nice things about me. Looooser. Loooser. Loooser. And looooser. All total losers. Trump’s a winner. I can make American great again.

Moderator: That concludes our opening statements.

Read the whole thing.

02 Jun 2015

Not Running

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29 May 2015

2016 GOP Candidates



16 Jul 2014

Good Political Ad

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Somebody on Facebook also posted this political ad, ran last time around by Republican Roger Williams, who ran for the Texas 25th District Congressional seat and won.

13 Jun 2014

Cantor’s Replacement

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy

When the vote occurs on June 19th to pick Eric Cantor’s replacement as House Majority Leader, it looks like the winner is going to be Rep. Kevin McCarthy, current Republican Chief Whip, who represents California’s 23rd Congressional District, centered around Bakersfield. No one else is currently running.



The Financial Times describes McCarthy as a pro-business moderate with strong ties to the GOP establishment.

Kevin McCarthy, a senior California Republican close to the party’s establishment, has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Eric Cantor as House majority leader, damping business concerns that next week’s big shake-up on Capitol Hill will bring more power to the Tea Party. …

Mr McCarthy would be elevated to the role from his current post of majority whip, bringing a measure of continuity and steadiness to the job that will be of comfort to corporate America, which counted Mr Cantor as one of its biggest allies in Washington.
“The last thing [business people] want is a conservative firebrand in the majority leader’s office giving speaker Boehner headaches in maintaining order”

For instance, Mr McCarthy, along with other California Republicans, is a supporter of immigration reform – a top business priority – in defiance of the Tea Party base. Although his ties to corporate America are less tight than Mr Cantor’s, he still rakes in large contributions from business. In fact, the securities and investment sector was the biggest donor to Mr McCarthy, contributing $355,989 to his campaign this election cycle, even though he does not face a challenger this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The real estate sector came in second, followed by the insurance industry.

Of his top individual corporate donors, Goldman Sachs came in first, while Hewlett-Packard and Blue Cross/Blue Shield were in the top five. Bank of America and Google were in the top 10.

“[Mr McCarthy] is a known quantity to the Street,” says Corey Boles, a US policy analyst at the Eurasia Group. “The last thing they want is a conservative firebrand in the majority leader’s office giving speaker Boehner headaches in maintaining order,” he adds.


HuffPo took a look at him, and basically concluded that he is a bland professional pol, basically all about “empty ambition.”

And, since he represents a farming district with constituents totally dependent on immigrant labor, he is softer on illegal immigration than Eric Cantor.

So much for the strategic genius of our movement’s great minds, Richard Viguerie, Mark Levin, Micky Kaus, and Laura Ingraham.


Ann Coulter (no fan of Amnesty herself) warns about investing in “Tea Party” rebellions against establishment Republicans which so frequently wind up electing democrats in the end.

In fact… the tea party had nothing to do with Brat’s victory. Only the small, local tea party groups stand for anything anymore, but they’re as different from the media-recognized “tea party” as lay Catholics are from the Catholic bishops.

National tea party groups did not contribute dime one to Brat. Not Freedom Works, not Club for Growth, not the Tea Party Express, not Tea Party Patriots. They were too busy denouncing Sen. Mitch McConnell — who has consistently voted against amnesty.

As I have been warning you, the big, national tea party groups are mostly shysters and con-men raising money for their own self-aggrandizement. (Today, they’re blast-faxing “media availability” notices to television networks claiming credit for Brat’s victory.)

The Tea Party Express, for example, “represents” the views of ordinary Americans by supporting Chamber of Commerce demands for cheap labor through amnesty.

As Eric Hoffer said, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

Nonetheless, the claim that Brat’s victory was a win for the tea party is everywhere — pushed with suspicious insistence by people who do not usually wish the Republican Party well. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz, for example, said: “Tonight’s result in Virginia settles the debate once and for all — the tea party has taken control of the Republican Party. Period.”

11 Jun 2014

Crossover-Voting Democrats, Not the Tea Party, Beat Eric Cantor

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How did Cantor actually lose?

Andrew Sullivan’s gloating readers are this morning offering some clues.

Reader 1:

I live in the 7th District in Virginia, and I am a Democrat who voted for David Brat in the open primary. There has been a whisper campaign going on among the Democrats in the district for the last few weeks and it resulted in many Democrats coming out to vote for Brat. We felt especially encouraged after the 7th District committee nominated Jack Trammell to be the Democratic candidate for the seat last Sunday. We now feel we at least have a fair chance at winning it. (By the way, Jack Trammell is a professor at the same small college as Brat, Randolph-Macon.)

Reader 2:

Here’s a theory to support your reader who, though a Democrat, voted for Brat: in 2012, roughly 47,000 people voted in the 7th District Republican primary. This time, roughly 65,000. Now let’s assume that of those 18,000 new voters, 16,000 were Democrats voting to axe Cantor, then rework the numbers if they hadn’t voted: Cantor would then have had around 29,000+ votes, and Brat would have had around 20,000+. Which would have worked out to approximately 59% for Cantor, which is where he was at in 2012 and much closer to his internal polling showing him with a lead of 34% among likely REPUBLICAN voters.

I’m thinking time will show that Democrats in his district were fed up with him, and decided to do something about it.


Cantor should just run, and win, as an independent in November, rather than giving up. What would a left-wing democrat (sandbagged in a primary by the opposition party) do?

And Virginia should get rid on non-party-registration and open primaries.


CORRECTION: Damn! Cantor actually cannot run as an independent. Commenter JKB points out that Virginia not only has open primaries, it has a “sore-loser” law preventing candidates defeated in a primary from entering the race as independents.


According to the Code of Virginia’s section on candidates and elections (24.2-520), candidates filing for a primary must sign a statement agreeing that if they lose, their names cannot be printed on ballots for the general election. Meaning, if a candidate in the Republican primary for the 5th District loses on June 8, he or she cannot run as a third-party candidate in November.

The deadline for filing as an independent, however, is June 8 at 7 p.m. – the same time the primary polls close.

17 May 2014

Idaho Governor’s Race Debate

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The New York Daily News explains why we all wish that we lived in Idaho.

If only all election debates were like this!

Long-shot candidates at the Republican primary husting for the Idaho governor’s race made for hilarious viewing Wednesday with their bizarre takes on life.

The politically incorrect leader of a biker gang, Harley Brown, claimed his fellow riders were “cop magnets, like a Playboy bunny in a mini-skirt gets hit on all the time.”

Meanwhile, second wannabe guv Walt Bayes insisted the Bible foretold nuclear accidents and urged every citizen to take potassium iodide tablets to protect their thyroid glands.

The unpredictability of what the duo, who’ve both qualified for the May 20 primary, would say saw the contest was broadcast by Idaho Public Television on a 30-second delay.

Representing the mainstream was incumbent Gov. Butch Otter and state Sen. Russ Fulche.

“I don’t like political correctness. Can I say this? It sucks! It’s bondage,” Brown, who had a cigar firmly placed into his shirt pocket the whole time, told the cameras.

“I’m going for the vote of the real people out there, not these bondage-type who don’t have a clue about picking up strangers at night and hauling them God-knows-where,” he added.

After claiming he had “a Master’s in raisin’ hell,” he told viewers his plan to seize power.

“You bind those evil spirits behind the feds with the blood of Jesus, the name of Jesus, the power of entombment of the Holy Spirit, the power of agreement, the word of God. Take air superiority, and then roll in with your tanks on the ground, like … lawsuits. Blitzkrieg!”

20 Oct 2013

The Republican Defeat

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Tyler Cowan‘s evil twin Tyrone thinks that Republicans didn’t do so badly as the popular narrative maintains.

Tyrone: I read what a strategic disaster the fracas has been for the Republican Party and for the Tea Party movement in particular, but I don’t see it. Where I grew up, this counts as a successful stare-down. Most of the time, the pit bull does not in fact lunge for your throat, but it is hardly a mistake for him to snarl, even if that raises his borrowing rates.
Look where we stand. In real terms government spending has been falling. Sequestration appears to be permanent, or it will be negotiated away by Republicans in return for preferred changes in tax and spending policy. Leading Democratic intellectuals are talking about future fiscal bargains with no new taxes. The American public polls as increasingly conservative.

With this sequence of events, combined with 2011, the Republicans convinced some of their opponents that they are crazy and irresponsible, without actually being crazy (though they were irresponsible, but that is the whole point). I peaked once into Tyler’s Twitter feed, and I found several accomplished Democratic economists — yes brilliant economists, as all economists are — suggesting that any day now markets are going to notice the truly crazy character of the Republican House and price that into interest rates and stocks. Oh what a tale! (A more accurate reading of the more radical Republicans would in fact be more cynical and ordinary than most of the pablum served up by their critics.) Imagine that you control only the House and can manage to convince your opponents that you are stronger and more dedicated to your cause than in fact you are. Only the truly strong and dedicated can pull such a caper off!

Someday, if the Democrats wanted to raise the exemption level for the payroll tax, and pull in a lot of new revenue, what kind of opposition could they expect? Probably they will shy away from that battle altogether, for fear of another Ted Cruz filibuster.
Yes, Virginia (literally), protecting the brand does sometimes mean going down with the ship. …

Even if most Americans do not agree, it is now considered common to believe and to argue publicly that Obamacare represents the end of freedom in our time. If Obamacare turns out to fail in the eyes of the public, that condemnatory view is being held in the back of people’s minds, whether they admit it or not, whether they agree or not. They will start to agree more and more, the less generous their Medicare benefits look as time passes. The future counterrevolution in redistribution is going to have to come from somewhere and it is a major victory to cement the word “Obamacare” as a hypostatized “thingie” in people’s minds, for future reference.

The Republican tactics understand the importance of skewed pay-offs. In an age of political gridlock, the goal is not to maximize the expected value of your image, any more than you would do the same on a date. Rather the goal is to maximize the chances of moving your agenda forward, conditional on the existence of world-states where that might be possible. The harder it is to pull off change, the stupider your strategy will look in most world-states, but hey that is the price of admission to this game. Capital is to be periodically run down, and if in politics, as in management more generally, if you always look good you are doing something badly wrong.

Another fallacy is that no DC crisis would have focused more attention on the failings of the Obamacare exchanges in a useful manner. People, that is small potatoes. No one is going to repeal or even modify ACA because of a few weeks’ bad publicity at the opening. (Recall the Medicare prescription drug bill, which took weeks to get off the ground but now is beloved and is part of the permanent furniture of the universe, like Supersymmetry or quantum gravity.) If Obamacare is really going to do poorly, it is better if we build up high or least modest expectations for it. Imagine the Christmas present of learning you don’t really have insurance coverage after all. Or the New Year’s resolution that after you have been billed three times for the same policy, you vow to pay for only one of them and live with the bad credit rating until it gets straightened out. How about extreme adverse selection into the exchanges, resulting in 50-100% premium hikes in the first year of operations? (The lower premia are now, the better! Bread, peace, land! Ach du grüne Neune!) That’s what will get further traction for the Tea Party on Obamacare, not a bunch of bad reviews on opening day, as if the policy were no more than a mid-tier Jennifer Aniston movie (I can no longer refer to Sandra Bullock in this context), to be swatted down by mild tut-tuts of disapproval and inconvenience.

The very best victories are often described as ignominious retreats.

18 Oct 2013

Jacksonian America Revolting Against a New Elite

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William Galston
, in the Wall Street Journal, sees the recent shutdown struggle as evidence of a crucial internal struggle for the soul of the Republican Party.

More than a decade ago, before the post-9/11 national fervor set in, Walter Russell Mead published an insightful essay on the persistent “Jacksonian tradition” in American society. Jacksonians, he argued, embrace a distinctive code, whose key tenets include self-reliance, individualism, loyalty and courage.

Jacksonians care as passionately about the Second Amendment as Jeffersonians do about the First. They are suspicious of federal power, skeptical about do-gooding at home and abroad; they oppose federal taxes but favor benefits such as Social Security and Medicare that they regard as earned. Jacksonians are anti-elitist; they believe that the political and moral instincts of ordinary people are usually wiser than those of the experts and that, as Mr. Mead wrote, “while problems are complicated, solutions are simple.”

That is why the Jacksonian hero defies the experts and entrenched elites and “dares to say what the people feel” without caring in the least what the liberal media will say about him. (Think Ted Cruz. )

The tea party is Jacksonian America, aroused, angry and above all fearful, in full revolt against a new elite—backed by the new American demography—that threatens its interests and scorns its values. …

Supporters of the tea party… see President Obama as anti-Christian, and the president’s expansive use of executive authority evokes charges of “tyranny.” Mr. Obama, they believe, is pursuing a conscious strategy of building political support by increasing Americans’ dependence on government. A vast expansion of food stamps and disability programs and the push for immigration reform are key steps down that road.

But ObamaCare is the tipping point, the tea party believes. Unless the law is defunded, the land of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility will be gone forever, and the new America, dominated by dependent minorities who assert their “rights” without accepting their responsibilities, will have no place for people like them.

For the tea party, ObamaCare is much more than a policy dispute; it is an existential struggle. …

Many tea-party supporters are small businessmen who see taxes and regulations as direct threats to their livelihood. Unlike establishment Republicans who see potential gains from government programs such as infrastructure funding, these tea partiers regard most government spending as a deadweight loss. Because many of them run low-wage businesses on narrow margins, they believe that they have no choice but to fight measures, such as ObamaCare, that reduce their flexibility and raise their costs—measures to which large corporations with deeper pockets can adjust.

It’s no coincidence that the strengthening influence of the tea party is driving a wedge between corporate America and the Republican Party. It’s hard to see how the U.S. can govern itself unless corporate America pushes the Republican establishment to fight back against the tea party—or switches sides.

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