Saturday, February 13, 2016

Obama's appointment to replace Justice Scalia MUST be "borked!"

In 1987, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, the Court's "swing vote," died. President Reagan appointed the highly qualified and highly regarded Solicitor General of the United States, Robert Bork (left), to succeed him.

Nobody questioned General Bork's qualifications. Nevertheless, led by Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden, the Democratic Senate rejected his appointment on the simple ground that he was a conservative. Although Republican control of the Senate soon made it impossible for them to it again, they repeated on several subsequent l occasions the desirability of "borking" Republican appointees to the Court.

The tragic death of the great Antonin Scalia today set up a situation in which it is absolutely vital that the Republican majority in the current Senate do some "borking" of its own.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Justice Scalia's successor should be appointed by the next president. But President Obama says that he will appoint Justice Scalia's successor.

Well, he can appoint somebody. But unless the Democrats win in November, or unless McConnell and the Republican majority in the Senate are every bit as worthless as the Far Right has been saying right along,  whoever Mr. Scalia appoints will not be Justice Scalia's successor.

The future of the Supreme Court and of issues ranging from abortion to marriage redefinition rests upon who appoints the next justice. And I am absolutely certain that any Republican senator who votes to confirm whoever Mr. Obama appoints will be looking for a job after the next primary.

If ever an appointment needed to be "borked," it's this one. And it will be. The Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, and the party's rank-and-file will quite rightly not tolerate a failure of Senate Republicans to reject anyone Mr. Obama appoints.

Nor should they.  As readers of this blog know, I am no fan of Ted Cruz and the obstructionist crowd. I understand as they apparently do not that compromise far from being a dirty word is the lifeblood of any democracy. The American people are quite right to be disgusted by all the partisan bickering on Capitol Hill.

But this is a special case. Barack Obama simply cannot be allowed to appoint Antonin Scalia's successor.  It's unthinkable. Too much is at stake.

I certainly hope that Mitch McConnell, the GOP leadership in the Senate, and the members of the Senate Republican caucus understand that it's literally as much as their political lives are worth to vote to confirm whomever Mr. Obama appoints.

Photo by Rocklin Lyons

Good night for Marco and Jeb. Bad night for Il Duce and Cruz. Wash for Kasich. Bye-bye, Ben.

I think Donald Trump went to a level of nut job we haven't seen before...If anybody thinks this man is going to be President of the United States, he's on something.

--Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on tonight's debate in South Carolina

Seems to me that Il Duce had his worst night. Kasich did OK; Marco and Bush did well. Cruz? Not so much. And I think tonight we said  goodbye to Ben Carson, I think.

So we'll see whether the people of South Carolina are really the fools the polls say they are. And lets' hope they remember what Il Duce had to say about George W. Bush and Planned Parenthood tonight.

He played his usual game of overtalking everybody and shouting them down, taking their time as well as his own and attacking them when they tried to hold him accountable. And, of course, his favorite tactic: changing the subject whenever confronted with a question he doesn't want to answer.

The guy is just so damned transparent. But like Europe in the '30's, we have a lot of folks who can't see what they don't want to see. There are plenty of folks who are looking for somebody to express their anger and tell them what to think. Their minds won't change tonight; you can't be reasoned out of what you were never reasoned into.

I think Jeb, Marco, and Kasich all showed that they are grownups any of whom we could be comfortable with having in the Oval Office, Cruz and Trump demonstrated why no reasonable and thinking person could react to the prospect of their being there with anything but horror and revulsion. We'll see what the polls say in the next day or two. But the crazy things he said about Dubya and actually praising Planned Parenthood certainly ought to hurt him. Of course, nothing he does or says, no matter how stupid or crazy, seems to hurt him.

I suppose we can hope that maybe some of those who have hitherto been Trump Chumps have finally realized that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes even though thus far they've seemed to be pretty blind. It was lots of fun watching Jeb and Cruz succeeding in getting under Duce's thin skin. They're crazy if they all don't spend the whole next debate doing that. Trump's skin is notoriously thin, and it's the surest way to expose him for the unpresidential phony he is.

While I wish Jeb well in principle, the problem is that he did so well that we might not end up getting down to one "establishment lane" candidate as quickly as we need to. And we need to. If we don't get down to a single candidate to oppose Trump and Cruz and consolidate all those centrist votes soon, Trump will have the nomination locked up before we do.

Now Trump is talking about God and saying that you have to tell the truth. He, who 1 John 1:8:10 notwithstanding, claiming to be a Christian who doesn't repent because he never has anything to repent for.

It should be noted, btw, that Cruz confronted Duce with something he denied having said by promising to put videos of him saying them on his websites tomorrow. And then, when Cruz did the same thing, Rubio promised to put a similar video of Cruz saying it on his website.

My prediction is that both will post those videos, which will prove their points beyond doubt- and that Cruz's video won't matter a bit to anybody who hasn't seen through Il Duce by this time.

Bottom line: (quite literally): Trump and Cruz stumbled, Bush and Rubio are back, Kasich was a wash, and Ben Carson didn't say very much in what is probably his farewell performance.

We've lost a valiant defender of the Constitution. Rest in peace, Justice Scalia.

Words mean things.

That's a simple enough concept, but it's under attack from all directions these days. I remember in seminary learning about how since societies and thought-worlds change, the words of the Bible should not be taken for what they say, but..... well, when all the gobbledygook was done, the bottom line is that they could be twisted to mean just about anything you wanted them to, anything that fits the agenda you were trying to advance.

It's a tough line to walk. Societies do change. Ancient (or even old) documents really were written by people who thought differently than we do. Even words themselves change their meanings (the introduction to the RSV is an enlightening document not only for "KJV Only" people but for anybody). In fairness, we walk a thin line between scholarly assessment of the nature of the change and honestly translating the thoughts in old or foreign documents into the way we would express the thought or concept in modern English on one hand and "spinning" and distorting it to fit our own contemporary agendas. Honest efforts to walk that line do not necessarily meet with success. We all view the world subjectively, through the prism of our own experiences and philosophies. And then, there's that factor which Christian theologians describe by the term "original sin." There's a large measure of dishonesty- including dishonesty to the self- in even the most honest man or woman. We may not be aware of our own intellectual dishonesty. We may not even be honest with ourselves about it.

It's a legitimate dilemma, even if it's often used as an excuse- even without meaning to or realizing that that is what one is doing- to distort a text rather than elucidate it. Walking that line is difficult. The U.S. Supreme Court (and, in fact, courts all over the democratic world) have tried to walk it and often failed.

In this country that legitimate dilemma has given rise to the pernicious concept of a "living Constitution" whose basic concepts, and not merely the words and thoughts used to describe them, evolve with time. Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges are just two examples of landmark decisions in which the pressures of contemporary culture and the personal philosophies and prejudices of a majority of the Supreme Court have resulted in decisions which cannot by any objective and rational process be understood to be justified by the text of the Constitution. And just as back in seminary "the Gospel" became a term emptied of any inherent meaning and transformed into a buzz word useful for negating what the words of the text actually said, so the concept of "the living Constitution" has been used as a means of setting aside the natural meaning of the words and amending it by judicial fiat, without going through the process for amendment specified by the Constitution.

Justice Antonin Scalia was a valiant defender of the Constitution against such torture. His advocacy of "originalism" or "original intent-" the notion that the words of the Constitution should be read to mean what its writers intended them to mean and understood them to mean-" is really just intellectual honesty. Without dismissing the real job of applying those meanings to the modern world, it might not be going to far to say that Justice Scalia was one of the most powerful defenders that much-besieged and mangled document has ever had.

Below is an interview this great and brilliant man had done by Charlie Rose. In that interview, as in his "Dead Constitution tours" around the nation explaining and defending originalism, Justice Scalia tried to convince us that words really did mean things, that we really were meant to have a government of laws rather than of men and women, and that judges ought to use their brains as well as their hearts.

One of the reasons the upcoming presidential election is so important is that we'll be losing several Supreme Court justices to retirement or, sadly, death in the next four years. We had expected Justice Scalia to be one of them, but not so soon. Whoever appoints the new justices will set the tone of the Court for a generation. Our Constitution depends on this election. It will determine whether we are governed by it, or by the personal beliefs and whims of those who comprise the Supreme Court. It will determine whether such Supreme Court decisions as Roe and Obergefell can be reopened and assessed more rationally, or whether they will be engraved in stone for all time.

I hope that Sen. McConnell and the Republican leadership of the Senate ensure that no replacement for Justice Scalia is confirmed until after the inauguration of the new president next January. This is one case in which I approve of strident partisanship and "obstructionism." The stakes are too high to allow President Obama to distort the court's future by replacing one of the Constitution's most valiant defenders with another justice who will undermine it.

But all of that is for another day. Today is a day to mourn a great man, and to thank God that he was given to us.

Here's that Charlie Rose interview:

Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Friday, February 12, 2016

How a Trump victory in South Carolina might set the stage for his ultimate defeat

Comparatively little (like, nothing) has been written about the fact that if you combine the votes of the "Establishment lane" candidates the way the hard-core votes are concentrated behind Ted Cruz and whatever sad adjective describes the Trump voters are concentrated behind Il Duce, that theoretical centrist fusion candidate would have handily won both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.The ascendancy of Cruz and even Trump is in no small measure due to the fact that the mainstream Republicans have been divided among five candidates.

Christie and Fiorina are out now. Marco Rubio's bad performance at the New Hampshire debate six days ago allowed Jeb Bush to finish ahead of him. Bush doesn't figure to show up among the leaders in any future primary. And neither does John Kasich, whose surprise second place finish was the story in New Hampshire. Both were one-shot performances based on unique circumstances.

Given a performance in the next debate more similar to his previous performances than to the one Saturday night, the South Carolina primary should mark the beginning of Rubio's drive to equality among the front-runners with Trump and Cruz. He doesn't have to win in South Carolina. All he has to do is finish third, with Bush and Kasich bringing up the rear.

Well-known conservative commentator Bill Kristol reports that a "reputable pollster" he knows well and who is not working for any campaign reports the following result from his organization's polling in South Carolina, whose primary will be held on February 20:

Trump 32%
Cruz 26%
Rubio 20%
Bush 10%
Carson 7%
Kasich 2%

The consensus of the South Carolina polls shows a much closer race between Rubio and Bush though only the Augusta Chronicle Poll isn't contaminated by results predating not only New Hampshire but even Iowa. The Chronicle poll shows these results:

Trump 36%
Cruz 20%
Rubio 15%
Bush 11%
Kasich 9%
Carson 5%

That result would probably allow Bush and Kasich to hang on for a while- a good thing for Trump and Cruz, but a very bad thing for everybody else. In that case, Nevada on February 23 and even Super Tuesday on March 1 might be needed to eliminate Bush and Kasich.

As difficult a reality as this is for sensible Republicans (or Americans) to face, if by the morning of March 2 we still have more than one of Rubio, Bush and Kasich still in the race and not in the process of contemplating a relatively early withdrawal, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will probably be the Republican nominee. If the former, rational Republicans will have to begin the process of deciding between running a center-right third party candidate, staying home on election day, or (shudder!) voting for Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democrats nominate. Some might actually vote for Trump. Probably more would hold their noses and vote for Trump than would hold their noses and vote for Hillary, but not enough more that Trump (thank God!) would have any real chance of being elected. As Lindsey Graham said of such a matchup, "Dishonest beats crazy."

If the later most (though by no means all) of the centrists would probably vote without enthusiasm for Cruz, whose supporters glory in his identity as the poster child of the very "principled" partisan obstructionism which has held the popularity of Congress under 20% it seems from time immemorial. Cruz, too, would go down to devastating defeat. You don't win by nominating a candidate who is not only the symbol of the very thing the voters are angry about but brags about it.

Although only by one point over Cruz, in South Carolina as elsewhere Rubio leads the candidates among voters' second choices.

That sounds to me like the results, with some variations, we're likely to see from any representative primary or caucus from here on out featuring the same candidates. The thing is, this may well be the last such primary or caucus. If this poll is accurate, Rubio will clearly have established himself (so to speak) as the centrist candidate the entire rational block of Republican voters will soon be rallying behind.

Bush might well withdraw after such a result although it's possible that he'll hang on until the Nevada caucuses three days later, where he figures to do no better. Kasich might hang on until Nevada too, but he doesn't figure to improve on those numbers either.

I have no idea why Ben Carson is still in the race even now.

If Bush and Kasich both have the common sense- and decency- to see the handwriting on the wall and drop out after Nevada- and there would be no rational reason for them to hang on- Marco Rubio will go into the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1 as the single candidate of Republican centrists. He will basically be able to compete from there on out on equal terms with Trump and Cruz. Trump will no longer seem inevitable, Cruz will no longer be the natural magnet for ideological conservatives, and people will be left to consider the last three serious candidates for the Republican nomination not as symbols or as conveyors of messages, but as potential presidents. And I don't see how any reasonable person could look at Trump, Cruz, and Rubio without seeing Rubio is the only one of the three whose occupancy of the White House would be anything other than frightening- and, in fact, the only one of the three with a ghost of a chance of winning in November.

If I'm right, Super Tuesday on March 1 will be the beginning of the real battle for the Republican nomination. The three candidates I expect to survive are closely clumped together in delegates right now; it would be an even battle on a level playing field from Super Tuesday until the convention.

And I expect Rubio to win it.

There are only two ways I can see him failing. The first would be another gaffe- for example, another bungled debate. That would be a disaster for the party and the country. Bush might serve as a rallying point for moderates if Rubio were to be the one to fall by the wayside. Kasich has unfortunately chosen to run far enough to the left of the field that he wouldn't be a viable alternative though he could hand the nomination to Trump or Cruz by staying in the race and taking votes away from Bush or Rubio. But neither would be as strong a contender in the final drive to the convention as Rubio would be and while Kasich might do well in November he could never seriously challenge for the nomination. Bush would have a slightly better shot at the nomination, but his last name and his demonstrably ineffective style as a candidate would badly handicap him against the Democrat.

The other- and more likely, unfortunately- would be for either Bush or Kasich to do what Ben Carson is doing now: to stick around, out of pride or loyalty to his supporters or for any other reason, past the point where his candidacy is viable and continue to drain votes away from Rubio while Trump and Cruz retain their present strength. That would be a heavy burden to bear before history, and I hope that neither of those good men would make that mistake.

In any case, hang on to your hats, people. More than usual rests on these next several weeks. They may well determine whether or not conservatives get one last chance to fix the Supreme Court before its radicalization becomes permanent and whether the country will have to suffer through the ravages of another four years of rule from the far left masquerading as the center.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

'There's nothing conservative about Donald Trump"

This new ad is being run in South Carolina by the Club for Growth.

Trump is using his voters. He's playing them for chumps- and even has the chutzpah  to openly say that they would support him if he publically committed murder on the streets of Manhattan.

He's pretending to be something he's not, By telling people what they want to hear he's concealing his real and lifelong political philosophy, which is the exact opposite of what people think they're supporting by voting for him.

Worse, he's taking advantage of people's frustration and anger when he, in fact, is the perfect example of what they're angry about.

If anything wakes up the folks who are being played for chumps by Donald Trump, this ought to:

"There's nothing conservative about proposing the largest tax hike in history. There's nothing conservative about supporting socialized single-payer health care. There's nothing conservative about abusing eminent domain for personal gain.

"There's nothing conservative about four bankruptcies. There's nothing conservative about giving money to the Clintons. There's nothing conservative about Donald Trump."

It's about time somebody pointed out the obvious! Sadly, though, from the comments on YouTube it appears that his supporters prefer to remain deluded by this phony.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Obama of York

I've always gotten a kick out of Steve Martin's "Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber." Practicing a kind of barbaric analog of medicine, old Theodoric would employ every silly and superstitious treatment imaginable, to no avail.

But then, an inspiration would hit him. Maybe disease wasn't caused by evil spirits, but by little plants and animals that somehow got into our systems and secreted poison. Maybe draining the blood from an already sick person wasn't the best idea. Maybe he should wash his hands before operating. Maybe the scientific method might reveal better treatments for the ills from which his patients suffered than folklore and superstition. Maybe....


Consider Barack Obama's abuse of executive authority, outstripping everything he used to criticize George W. Bush for doing. Consider his blatant disregard of the Constitution and his willingness to ignore all law and precedent to impose his will upon the nation. Consider his trampling underfoot of the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances the Founders wrote into our Constitution. Consider the precedent. And then consider Donald Trump, the would-be American Mussolini, behaving the same way.

Frightens you, doesn't it?

So maybe it might be a good idea not to set the precedent. Maybe it would be a good idea for Mr. Obams to be satisfied with being the president and let Congress be Congress. Maybe it would be a good idea for him to stay within the bounds the Constitution sets for the President of the United States. Maybe....


Photo by DonkeyHotey

They're BA-ack!

Back when Stephen Harper's Conservatives first defeated Jean Chretien's Liberals in Canada, I blogged that "Canada is our friend again." Under Chretien and his Liberal predecessor, Paul Martin, we sometimes had cause to wonder.

Now the Liberals are back under Justin Trudeau, and once again the matter is becoming murky. Apparently back when the Liberals in opposition Trudeau made a comment about Harper wanted to "whip out his CF-18s" in order to deal with ISIS. Well, now that he's prime minister, Trudeau is withdrawing Canada's CF-18s from the fight.

He's not completely withdrawing Canada from participation. He's just making it a point to do something unpopular with Canadians generally for arcane reasons of his own. Unfortunately, given American experience with Liberal prime ministers in the past (and the kind of snark one encounters from a particular Left-leaning segment of the Canadian population toward anything American), it's hard not to wonder whether at least part of his motivation isn't just to annoy the evil, crude nation to his South.

I liked it better when we could be sure that Canada was our friend.

HT: Real Clear World

Photo by DonkeyHotey

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Donald Trump and the decline of American civilization

Here is an absolutely wonderful article on the collapse of American civilization- and parenthetically, its relationship to one of its most crude and obnoxious manifestations: the Donald Trump phenomenon.

The dumbing down of America has been going on for years. Even trivial things- like our celebrating the turn of the Millenium a year early (as if we counted, "0,1,2,3,4,5...") have pointed to the malignant spreading of unprecedented ignorance among us. We no longer know how to think rationally. Which in one way is probably just as well: we don't know enough about most things to do a reasonable job of thinking anyway.

We've forgotten our values and called it "tolerance" and "open-mindedness." We celebrate our mindlessness as a triumph of the heart. We not only are no longer embarrassed by the shame of others, but we have lost our own shame.

And now comes a rude, immature bully of a man posing as a Christian (but one who, despite being and admitted serial adulterer, has no need of repentance because he never does anything wrong) and treating others with a degree of incivility and rudeness we would not tolerate from our own children, and we look to him as some sort of a messiah. He promises to make us great again- though he can't tell us how beyond making grandiose promises the "how" of which he also keeps a secret. He refuses to be accountable to anybody or anything- including the past we have forgotten. How else could we be fooled by the promise of such a man to restore us to a greatness whose very nature we have forgotten?

Donald Trump is no mere Huey Long or George Wallace. He is not a rallying symbol for the discontented margins of society. The New Hampshire primary proved that. He is, as I've said before, the American Mussolini- an arrogant, swaggering, overgrow child on an ego trip a sizable fraction of the American people is lost enough to look to as a parental figure.

I continue to refuse to believe that he will be the Republican candidate for president, or would have any chance of election were he actually to become the nominee. I refuse to believe that the bulk of Republicans or of Americans generally could be that gullible, that pathetic, that much the opposite of the very greatness to which Trump promises to restore us. But even if he loses every single primary from here on out and is forced from the race, he is still an ominous figure.

He's ominous because he's a voice and a symbol for everything that's killing America.

Photo: DonkeyHotey

Just wondering...

Ben Carson is still in the race.


After getting 9.3% in Iowa and 2.3% in New Hampshire, it's not as if his candidacy was going anywhere but downhill from ground level. And I doubt that contributors are exactly breaking down his door.

This isn't brain surgery.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

Final New Hampshire GOP results

1 .Trump 35.3%  10 delegates
2. Kasich 15.8%  4 delegates
3. Cruz  11.7%   3 delegates
4. Bush  11.0%  3 delegates
5. Rubio  10.6%  3 delegates
6. Christie   7.4%  0 delegates*
7. Fiorina   4.1%  0 delegates*
8. Carson   2.3%  0 delegates
9. Paul   0.7%  0 delegates*
10. Huckabee   0.1%  0 delegates*
11. Santorum   0.1%  0 delegates*

*Withdrawn or plans to withdraw
Source: Google

Carly drops out

Despite vowing last night to "keep going," Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has ended her campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

Fiorina, who finished seventh in yesterday's New Hampshire primary with only 4.1% of the vote, vowed to keep speaking out on behalf of the things she believes in.

She enjoyed a brief moment of celebrity- and momentum- when she became one of the few to respond effectively to Donald Trump's boorishness and bullying. She also attracted attention when she accurately described a rarely-seen video of the abuse of an aborted fetus which the media confused with a different video in which a former employee of a Planned Parenthood vendor merely described something similar. Few if any of the media sources which attacked her have recanted the attacks or even acknowledged their mistake.

But in the end, Trump had his revenge. The circus created by his candidacy so completely obscured substantive discussion of policies and more worthy candidacies that she proved simply "the flavor of the month."

I hope she stays in politics. Unlike Trump, she is somebody who really does "tell it like it is."

Same holds for New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie, despite his chaos-inducing attacks on Marco Rubio last Saturday night. Gov. Christie, once the favorite for the GOP nomination before subordinates abused their power (apparently without his knowledge) to exact political revenge on an opponent by shutting down an expressway.

Christie finished sixth in New Hampshire, and will shortly acknowledge his own withdrawal from the race.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

With 88% reporting... and holding....

Trump (won) 35.1%
Kasich (second) 15.9%
Cruz 11.5%
Bush 11.1%
Rubio 10.6%
Christie 7.5%
Fiorina 4.2%
Carson 2.3%
Paul 0.6%
Huckabee 0.1%
Santorum 0.1%

Source: Google

For some reason, the returns have been stuck at 88% of the votes counted for quite a while, and I think it may be time to call it a night and see what the morning may bring.

Marco Rubio has gained slightly on Jeb Bush. He's now one-half of a percentage point behind him; Bush, in turn, is one-half of one percentage point behind Ted Cruz for third place.

Rubio said in his concession speech tonight that his disappointing showing in New Hampshire was his fault rather than that of his supporters, the result of his poor performance during Saturday night's debate. "That will never happen again," he vowed.

One thing is sure: all eyes will be on him during the first debate in South Carolina.

There still is a slight chance that there might be a change in position among Cruz, Bush and Rubio- they're all bunched within less than one percent of the vote- but it seems unlikely. Il Duce has won; Kasich has finished second, and we'll see about the rest.

And as you probably heard, Bernie Sanders has crushed Hillary over on the Democratic side. I understand that Vermin Supreme has also conceded.

Drat. And here I wasted all that time trying to figure out what to name that pony...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

With 80% of the vote in...

Trump (won) 34.5%
Kasich (second) 16.4%
Cruz 11.5%
Bush 11.2%
Rubio 10.5%
Christie 7.6%
Fiorina 4.2%
Carson 2.3%
Paul 0.7%
Huckabee 0.1%
Gilmore 0.1%
Santorum 0.1%

Source: Google

New Hampshire has 23 delegates. At this point, Trump has won 10 of them, Kasich three, and Cruz and Bush each two.

Cruz, Bush and Rubio continue to be bunched up, but don't seem to show much evidence of movement. I'd love to see one of the other two finish ahead of Ted, but if it were to be Bush it would through the whole battle to represent the Center into chaos and end up helping the two unelectables.

Fox News is reporting that Chris Christie will indeed be "making a decision" about the status of his candidacy tomorrow. Hard to see how Fiorina or Carson can hope to go anywhere after tonight, either.

Marco Rubio on Twitter:

.@marcorubio: "It is not your fault. It is mine. I did not do well Saturday night and that will never happen again."

WIth 67% of the vote in....

Trump (won) 34.3%
Kasich (second) 16.3%
Cruz 11.6%
Bush 11.2%
Rubio 10.5%
Christie 7.7%
Fiorina 4.3%
Carson 2.3%
Paul 0.7%
Huckabee 0.1%
Gilmore 0.1%
Santorum 0.1%
Source: Google

I don't see how Kasich can be a credible challenger for the nomination

A little past halfway through the counting in New Hampshire.

As expected, Il Duce has won big. But as expected, he was outvoted by the centrist candidates.

The trouble is that there are five of them.

John Kasich is the governor of a large state which the GOP must carry in order to win a presidential election. He is popular and on any showing has done a good job. Moreover, he's a smart cookie who I've had my eye on as a potential president for an awfully long time.

He decided to run to the left of the pack this year. Despite a reasonably conservative record, he seems to have made his peace with marriage redefinition (which he opposed before Obergefell) and doesn't talk much about abortion. Essentially he hasn't so much changed his position on controversial social issues as run away from them.

I can see not making these issues the centerpiece of your campaign, especially if you have an eye on the Fall election. But I find the degree to which he's simply abandoned them distasteful. I had a high enough opinion of John Kasich that my first instinct was to support him from the start. But he's made that impossible.

Now, I don't know how he's going to be able to appeal to the social conservatives he would need to win going forward. I can't see him doing well in South Carolina. We'll see about Super Tuesday. But I suspect that he's a one-shot wonder and that New Hampshire will be the high watermark of his campaign,

Jeb Bush looks to be on a pace to finish ahead of Marco Rubio and might still catch Ted Cruz for third place. Who'da thunk it? I suspect Chris Christie- having torpedoed the moderate wing's best shot at rallying around an early consensus candidate when he savaged Rubio in last Saturday night's debate- is finished. I expect him to drop out in the next few days.

Rubio is hurt, but he's a long way from dead. With Kasich not being viable in the long run, the centrist wing of the party will now have to choose between Rubio and Bush. Jeb has an albatross around his neck in his last name. He also hasn't exactly inspired great enthusiasm among the rank-and-file nationally. But he's hanging around. And the Center had jolly well better rally behind either him or Rubio in the coming weeks, or it's going to be a long election year for all of us.

Marco had better give the performance of his life in the next debate. Of the two, he's the more electable- and I still think he has a better chance of rallying the forces of reason against Il Duce and Cruz.

With 51% reporting...

Trump (won) 33.7%
Kasich (second) 16.3%
Cruz 11.6%
Bush 11.3%
Rubio 10.5%
Christie 7.9%
Fiorina 4.4%
Carson 2.3%
Paul 0.7%
Huckabee 0.1%
Santorum 0.1%
Gilmore 0.1%
Source: Google

With 33% reporting...

Trump (won) 33.9%
Kasich 15.6%
Cruz 11.8%
Bush 11.5%
Rubio 10.3%
Christie 8.2%
Fiorina 4.4%
Carson 2.2%
Paul 0.7%
Huckabee 0.1%
Santorum 0.1%
Gilmore 0.1%

Source: Google

NOTE: CNN and Fox News have declared Trump the winner and Kasich the second-place finisher.

With 26% reporting...

Trump (won) 33.8%
Kasich 15.5%
Bush 11.6%
Cruz 11.5%
Rubio 10.5%
Christie 8.3%
Fiorina 4.4%
Carson 2.3%
Paul 0.7%
Santorum 0.1%
Huckabee 0.1%

Source: Google

With 22% reporting....

X-Trump 34.6%
Kasich 15.9%
Cruz 11.6%
Bush 11.5%
Rubio 9.9%
Christie 7.4%
Fiorina 4.4%
Carson 2.4%
Paul 0.7%
Huckabee 0.1%
Santorum 0.1%
Gilmore 0.1%

Source: Google

WIth 14% reporting...

Trump 33.9%
Kasich  16.3%
Bush 11.9%
Cruz 11.1%
Rubio  9.8%
Christie  7.9%
Fiorina  4.4%
Carson  2.2%
Paul  0.7%
Huckabee  0.1%
Santorum  0.1%
Gilmore  0.1%

Source: Google

My bad- those numbers were only among INDEPENDENTS!

I misread that report from New Hampshire.

Exit polls show that Trump and Kasich got 21% each and Rubio and Bush got 13% each of the INDEPENDENT vote, not the total.

My bad.

The last New Hampshire poll

That said, the final ARG poll in New Hampshire shows Trump 33, Kasich 17, Rubio 14, Cruz 10, Bush 9, Christie 8, Fiorina 3, Carson 1. The margin of error is five points.

Which means that the only certainty tonight is that Il Duce will win. Almost anything could happen in the really significant area, the centrist lane. If things were to turn out exactly the way the poll predicts, it would be fine for Marco; as long as he finishes ahead of Bush and Christie he remains the favorite to emerge as the candidate of the sane wing of the party. Finishing ahead of Cruz would be a bonus.

But I expect some departures from the race tonight, or tomorrow. Barring a huge surprise, there doesn't seem to be much point of either Fiorina or Carson going on, and unless they manage a fairly solid showing Bush and Christie will have to start thinking of folding their tents. Bush is the stronger of the two long term; Christie, like Kasich, will probably have his best showing in New Hampshire, and things will go downhill from there.

Bush could probably survive the scenario the poll portrays, finishing a relatively solid fifth only a point behind Cruz. But he'd be on life support. I'm not sure Christie will still be in the race tomorrow.

As we head for South Carolina and ultimately Super Tuesday on March 1, Trump will obviously bear watching. So, too, will the respective placings of Cruz and Rubio- and, of course, how quickly Bush, Christie, and to a lesser extent Kasich get out of the race. One thing is certain: the so-called "establishment" wing of the party has to settle on its candidate before Trump builds up so much momentum that he can't be stopped.

I still don't believe that the rank-and-file of the Republican party nationally are such idiots that they would pick Il Duce as their nominee. If they do, I'm not sure the GOP will be worth salvaging. Certainly its brand will be damaged for the foreseeable future, and belonging to it would thereafter be an embarrassment for anybody with both intelligence and self-respect.

And things are far from hopeless. All things being equal, if only one "establishment lane" candidate was in the race in New Hampshire and he got all the votes of the other "establishment candidates," he'd beat Trump by 11 points.

That can happen down the road- but not until the centrist vote stops being split five ways.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Why the polls are wrong so much

As we all await the results from New Hampshire tonight here's an interesting article by George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures on why polls don't seem to accurately predict elections anymore.

Also, why Donald Trump and Democrats don't get to claim that somebody must have cheated just because the results of the election doesn't match the result of the polls.

This actually makes sense. We live in a much, much different world from the one we lived in when the classic polling models were developed, and it's only logical that they wouldn't work as well now as they used to.

I'll have this article in mind as I watch the returns tonight. Of course, the only New Hampshire poll I've seen that contains results from after Saturday's debate also contained results from before it, which could further louse things up.

It's too bad the Literary Digest isn't around anymore (that's a history geek joke).

HT: Real Clear World

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tim Goeglein on the March for Life

Here's an interview on the March for Life and related matters with Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family, a former assistant to the second President Bush and a member of Immanuel in Alexandria, Virginia, to which I belonged when I lived in the D.C. area.

On the eve of New Hampshire

One one hand, these results should be taken with a least half a grain of salt, since half of the polling was done before Saturday night's debate. On the other hand, they should be taken with only half a grain, because half of the polling was done after the debate.

But in any case, an ARG poll released today shows Marco Rubio and John Kasich in a tie for second place in tomorrow's New Hampshire primary, 14 points behind Il Duce but six points ahead of Cruz, seven ahead of Bush, and 10 ahead of Christie.

Tomorrow night will be interesting. If Rubio finishes second despite the media's decree that he hurt himself in the debate Saturday night, it will be hard for Bush and Christie to remain in the race- and hard not to see Rubio emerging as the clear alternative to Trump and Cruz.

As long as he finishes ahead of Bush and Christie (Kasich, who doesn't figure to do all that well anywhere else, is a special case), he still will be in the best position to emerge as the sane alternative to those two certain losers.

Only if Bush and/or Christie finishes ahead of Rubio- and it figures to be Bush, if it's either one- will Rubio be seriously hurt. But he'll have to do a lot better in the next debate.

Finishing ahead of Cruz would obviously put him in a better position going forward, and take some of the luster off Cruz's victory in Iowa without diminishing the impact of his own strong showing. But finishing behind him by a respectable margin would still leave him as the obvious sane alternative to Trump and Cruz, pending South Carolina.

Super Tuesday, March 1, should give us a very clear picture of where the GOP race will go from here on out, and specifically it will probably tell us whether the cracks in Trump's image of invincibility which appeared in Iowa and in his diminishing edge in the national polls are going to seal or widen.

Trump will win tomorrow, possibly by as much as two-to-one over whoever finishes second. But not until Super Tuesday will his numbers really be significant.

HT: Real Clear Politics

I'll say this very slowly...

Doritos had an ad during the Super Bowl that has the pro-aborts in a snit.

It humorously portrayed an unborn child as having a personality.

I don't think anybody really thinks that fetuses crave Doritos. That is not the problem. Nor was the ad in any sense political. Doritos was simply hawking their produced by means of a cute and clever ad. They were not trying to make any sort of an argument about abortion or anything else.

So what is the issue? Why are pro-abortion folks in such high dudgeon over this ad? Well, it seems that, in the bizarre world of the Left, the ad is an affront because it "humanizes the fetus."

Here is the ad:

Ok. I'll say this very slowly.

When a man and a woman cooperate in order to reproduce, very quickly cell-division and the expression of genetic potential begins. This is a process which does not stop until death. The process has a name. It's called "life."

Yes, folks. While some arbitrarily decide that life doesn't really begin until Little Blobby is implanted in the wall of the uterus, by any generally accepted description of life in any other context it begins at conception. If you want to make special rules for this one situation in order to help your argument and   insist that it has to be implanted in the wall of the uterus to be "alive," the point is not worth a lengthy argument for most purposes, because that happens so quickly.

But here's the thing. Call it a "fetus" if you want. Go ahead. I won't insist on "baby;"fetus" is, after all,   the correct medical term, at least after implantation. And if you want to argue that "baby" is emotionally loaded, fine, I won't insist on it.

But that fetus- that living fetus- is not a kangaroo fetus. It is not a wombat fetus. It is not a meerkat fetus. it is a human fetus. Human. Get it? Once cannot "humanize the fetus," because on any showing the fetus is, in fact, by its very definition already human. That's a given. A human fetus cannot be anything other than human. And as we've already seen, it's a human who is alive. Thus, by definition, abortion is the taking of a human life.

The pro-aborts can't deal with that because it destroys their entire argument. It prohibits euphemisms like "termination of pregnancy" and "product of conception." It even defeats the rhetorical purpose of being technically correct and refusing to use the word "baby" to describe a fetus or a blastocyst. This is, without any possible question, a being. It exists.

It is a living being, certainly after implantation by any definition of "life." And it is, without any possibility of rational contradiction, human. Put those words together, and you have "living human being." And that's the thing the pro-aborts want so desperately not to acknowledge, The issue under debate is whether or not the lives of all living human beings are sacred, and ought to be protected by the law, or whether there are exceptions- living human beings who have no inherent right to live.

The entire Leftist body of argument is nothing more or less than a desperate attempt to avoid acknowledging the actual question under debate. That is why they are reduced to complaining that the Doritos ad "humanizes" what is by any definition already human. If they concede that they are conceding that they are really arguing that some living human beings are disposable and  can and even should be killed at the convenience of others who differ from them only in that the degree of the process of genetic expression is further along.

That is the question at issue in the abortion debate, which would end rather quickly if the pro-aborts were honest about what they are saying.

The issue is not whether the fetus is human. It is. That is a matter of unchallengeable scientific fact. The issue is not whether the fetus is alive. That, too, is a matter of unchallengeable scientific fact. And by any definition applied to any other organism, it's true even before implantation. The question is not whether the fetus is a living human being. That is beyond honest and rational challenge. Certainly it cannot be a question of whether the fetus- or blastocyst, or whatever- exists.

The question is whether there is "life unworthy of life;" whether some human lives are worth more than others. And once that particular line- the line which the pro-aborts admit that they've crossed only at the price of losing the debate among decent people- there is no going back.

Once it is admitted that there are any human lives that are not sacred, the only question is what other human lives shouldn't be regarded as sacred, either. It is no longer axiomatic that decent human beings cherish all human life. Perhaps the elderly are next. Or the mentally challenged. Or you. It all becomes subjective- and whether it is permissible for the matter of which human lives we value and which we do not should be allowed to be subjective is what the abortion debate is all about.

What the pro-aborts are upset about is that the Doritos ad- even without meaning to-   confronts us with that fact.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


I know I'm a Rubio partisan, but isn't this criticism just a little bit lame?

I mean, admittedly Marco didn't get the best of this exchange. But c'mon! Rubio thinks that Obama is deliberately trying to change America into something it's not. Christie thinks he's just incompetent. Fair enough. But is it really that important to pick different words to say the same thing, even in a debate? Anyway, I think Rubio is right about that.

John Kasich may or may not have done himself some good tonight in New Hampshire. But this line certainly won't do him any good anywhere else. John, I've always liked you a lot- enough that if you hadn't decided to run away from your positions on abortion and marriage redefinition you would undoubtedly have had me in your corner from Day One. But you just keep disappointing me.

And Duce.... you've used eminent domain to swindle people out of their property literally all over the planet. Yeah, so many of the people in the audience who booed you were donors to other candidates. Hello! Maybe that's because you're such a creep!

I guess we'll see what the damage is on Tuesday. But right now I have the feeling that the big winners tonight were Il Duce and the Democrats.

Oh, well. Marco had some of the best lines of the night- aimed at the Democrats rather than at his fellow members of the circular firing squad. We'll see what the people of New Hampshire have to say Tuesday night. But I have a funny feeling that Il Duce will be the winner, both short-term and maybe long-term.

Hope I'm wrong.

HT: Drudge

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The debate was a debacle

Not a good night for America. But a good night for the Democrats.

Marco didn't do well. People did like his repeated zingers at POTUS, but the exchange with Christie hurt. Of course, he was naturally going to be the target tonight given his momentum from Iowa.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, and other prominent Democrats have openly expressed their relief at Marco's bad showing, which says a great deal- but probably won't be noticed tonight.

I did love Marco's statement on the Democrats' abortion extremism, which I noticed that several other candidates picked up on.

Il Duce was, unfortunately, effective. His crazy claim that somehow Cruz got Carson's votes in Iowa didn't hurt him as much as it should have. He continues to tap dance with enough skill that his fundamental ignorance about the issues isn't laid bare.

The governors all did well. Kasich and Christie did better than Bush. But the sane wing of the party has to settle on a candidate if the Republicans aren't going to go down to defeat with Trump or Cruz.
And Christie and Kasich won't do all that well in subsequent, more conservative states.

Selective perception

Republicans in lily-white Iowa not only made a Latino the winner of their presidential caucuses last week, but picked another Latino third.

Between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Latinos received 51% of the vote from all those racist, Latino-hating white Republicans.

Not a peep out of the liberal media about this, of course. Just as Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell and Condi Rice didn't count as Republican appointees because any African-American who is a Republican supposedly can't be a "real "African-American, so a Latin Republican can't be a "real" Latino.

There is lots and lots wrong with identity politics when it's practiced by politicians. But when it's practiced by the media, the result is simply bad journalism.

The Republican presidential nominee will probably be a Latino (I still can't believe that Republicans nationally will be stupid enough to fall for Trump, and there are signs in the polls that they are waking up from the Trump delusion). But somehow I sincerely doubt that the media will herald the election of either Cruz or Rubio (well, of Rubio; Cruz has no chance of being actually elected) as "historic" in the same way they heralded Barack Obamas election.

Just as they wouldn't have thought it nearly as historic if Colin Powell or Condi Rice had been the frist African-American president. Being Republicans, they wouldn't have counted.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Daleiden and the CMP are subjects of a Federal gag order

A Federal judge has issued an injunction against the distribution of David Daleiden's videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted baby parts.

Deleiden is the subject of an indictment in the matter thought by some to have been politically motivated. A Planned Parenthood board member works as a prosecutor in the office of the Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, which convened the grand jury. Anderson's office claims that the prosecutor in question was not involved in the investigation.

Daleiden and The Center for Medical Progress, which he founded, are also the subjects of a lawsuit in the matter. The injunction remains in force until all litigation in the matter has been concluded, both in the criminal and civil cases.

Questions have also been raised about the decision of the same grand jury to clear Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing in the matter.

Given the circumstances, the injunction is understandable. It's too early to be seeing a conspiracy against the First Amendment in defense of Planned Parenthood. But this case, in all its details, bears very, very close monitoring. Indictment- and especially indictment under suspicion of political motivation- is hardly conviction. And non-prosecution under the same circumstances is hardly exhoneration.

HT: Drudge

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Brits wise up about the EU

So what do the EU, Donald Trump, and political correctness have in common?

All three are threats to the values of liberal democracy to which the Anglo-Saxon world remains at least in theory committed.

Many in the United Kingdom are coming to the realization that democratic values are not treasured in the EU, giving rise to a growning sentiment in support of the UK leaving it. The contempt of Trump and his authoritarian supporters for the Bill of Rights is manifest. I've blogged many times about the diminution of free speech in Canada, England, Australia and elsewhere by "hate-speech" laws. The same forces are at work in America today.

As I blogged yesterday, national Republican polls are suggestion a chink in Trump's armor. I don't know that the threat to free speech which is threatening us even in the States is showing any symptoms of being rolled back in the countries which supposedly share our values. But at least the British seem to be recognizing the threat from the EU.

Rubio passes Cruz in New Hampshire; Cruz says something incoherent about electability; Rubio beats Trump nationally 53%-40%

Marco Rubio has passed Ted Cruz and moved in to second place in the New Hampshire Republican primary race, according to a new CNN/WMUR poll.

Rubio trails front-runner Donald Trump by eleven points, with 18% to Trump's 29%. Cruz has 13%.

Meanwhile, the unelectable Cruz- the poster child for gridlock and exemplar of the kind of partisan obstructionism that has made Congress so unpopular with the American people- is calling Sen. Rubio the media's "chosen one," and questioning the notion that Rubio is more electable than he is, arguing somewhat illogically that since John McCain and Mitt Romney were thought to be more electable than others, but lost, they couldn't really have been more electable than others, and Rubio isn't;   or that electability shouldn't matter, or something. His logic is a little hard to follow.

All of the "Establishment" candidates- Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich- seem to be gaining strength as they challenge Rubio for the role of the Center Right challenger to the far Right Cruz and the enigmatic Trump.

Meanwhile, the National Review has noticed that Rubio and Cruz are each only four points behind Trump nationally- and head-to-head, Rubio beats Trump nationally by 13 points!

HT: Drudge

Photo By Michael Vadon via

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Poll: Cruz, Rubio in near tie with Trump nationally

According to a PPP survey, Donald Trump now leads both Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio among Republicans nationally by only four percent each.

Even before New Hampshire, we appear to have the nomination narrowed down to three candidates, of whom only two deserve be taken seriously.

While I have yet to see a corresponding shrinkage of Il Duce's enormous lead in New Hampshire, this would appear to add evidence to the hypothesis that Republicans nationwide are through expressing their anger and are settling down to the process of choosing a presidential nominee.

The sooner tha pathological phenomenon of Donald Trump disappears, the better. Even as it is, the arrogant argument by authoritarian Trumpies that it is somehow illegitimate to criticize Il Duce because so many Republicans support him is now as factually inaccurate as it is un-American and stupid.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Rush Limbaugh states the obvious...

... and I share this just for the benefit of those who might for some bizarre reason have any doubts about it.

You don't have to choose between you convictions and winning.