Tag: Jeb Bush

More Election Results

So, we had some more voting last night.

In Nevada, Clinton barely edged Bernie Sanders in a state she once led by forty points. Naturally, this was spun by the pro-Hillary media as a huge victory for her. And naturally, they mindlessly repeated baseless claims that Sanders supporters were chanting, “English only!” at Spanish speakers.

The latter is good illustration of why the likelihood of another Clinton presidency makes me ill. When Bill was President, this stuff went on all the time. They were constantly sliming their opponents: making hay out of Alma Powell’s depression, spreading false rumors about Newt Gingrich divorcing his wife while she was in a hospital bed, leaking info from Linda Tripp’s confidential FBI file. Just this month we’ve seen baseless accusations of racism and sexism, wild inaccurate claims about “Bernie Bros”, their allies claiming Sanders wasn’t involved in the Civil Rights movement and now this. And all eagerly lapped up by the media.

This is what the Clintons do. This is who they are. And with Hillary in charge, it will be worse than it was under Bill. Is this what you really want, Democrats? Apparently it is.

On the Republican side, Trump won South Carolina with about a third of the vote, with Rubio and Cruz finishing in a virtual tie for second. Afterward, Jeb dropped out, giving a classy speech that was a reminder that the Bush Family, whatever their political failings, are basically decent people. Carson and Kasich seem ready to stay in, but neither really has a chance. It’s not even clear that Kasich can take his home state, let alone anywhere else.

Last night was a big problem for Ted Cruz, who had hope of winning South Carolina as the evangelical vote coalesced behind him. It didn’t and it isn’t. A lot of evangelicals voted for the twice-divorced social liberal. And Trump maintains leads in the southern states that Cruz is hoping to win, with the exception of Texas.

Rubio has a path to the nomination. He’s done well in urban areas, is getting endorsements and is trying to broaden his appeal. But Cruz is a problem. Without the evangelicals solidly behind him, he doesn’t really have a path to the nomination but he’s not going to drop out either. So unless they both start polling better than Trump, this means Trump could keep winning primary after primary with a third of the vote and eventually take the nomination with about two-thirds of the party uncertain whether they’ll vote for him.

(It’s clear that Trump now sees Rubio as the bigger threat. This morning, he was questioning Rubio’s citizenship based on … his being Latino, I guess.)

In short, while the field is narrowing, we’ve taken another step toward a calamitous Trump-Clinton showdown.

Yeah, the worst of all possible worlds. It’s February 21 and I already hate this year.

Where I Am Right Now, February Version

So we had two more debates over the weekend. I won’t go blow-by-blow through them. Trump continued to be obnoxious. Bush punched back. Rubio and Cruz sparred, occasionally in Spanish. Kasich tried to set himself up as the adult in the room (not always successfully). Instead of going through that, I thought I’d lay out what my current impression is of the candidates and the order in which I would vote for them. I’ve put all the candidates in the list except for Ben Carson. The reason I’ve left Carson out is because I’m not sure what I make of him and I don’t think he’ll be in this much longer. The others should last at least through Super Tuesday.

So here’s my current preference for presidential candidates. Keep in mind that these rankings are fluid and could change significantly as the race progresses.


First Debate

Surprise! I actually watched (most of) tonight’s debate, around tucking kids into bed. I must say that Fox News did a good job moderating, going after the candidates in a way that the MSM has completely failed to go after Clinton. Megyn Kelly, in particular, asked some tough questions. This is a good thing for the GOP because it will help separate the contenders from the pretenders.

My quick take:

Marcio Rubio did very well (despite the tough abortion question). He was relaxed, genial and had a grasp on the struggles of the middle class. I think — or maybe hope is the right word — that he has put himself back into the conversation.

I was unimpressed by Bush. No one laid a glove on him but he didn’t really make the case to me that he should be the front-runner. To be honest, I was kind of reminded of Romney in 2012. It seemed like Bush just didn’t want to get bloodied while the other candidates took each other out. “Last man standing” worked for Romney, but it may not be enough this time.

I was surprisingly unimpressed by Walker. He didn’t do badly but he didn’t jump out at me either and I’m having trouble, 15 minutes after the debate ended, remembering anything significant he said. This is part of Walker’s style, though.

I have really soured on Mike Huckabee. He’s big government in every way — a massive social conservative and opposed to any meaningful budget cuts. He’s also a supporter of the Fair Tax gimmick, which I oppose.

I liked Ben Carson a lot, not necessarily as a candidate but as a person. Of all the candidates, he seemed the most likable and the least politicized and the most unaffected by the spotlight. But he also didn’t show any credibility on policy and seemed to disappear at times. He would definitely win the “who would you like to have a beer with” competition (Rand would call for straight whiskey). His line about how we are our minds and not our skin was moving.

John Kasich made the case that he belong in the race, giving a great answer on gay marriage and highlighting his solid experience. I expect him to stay in this for a while.

I was once very high on Chris Christie, but I don’t think he brings anything unique to the table (other than flogging his 9/11 experience, which is not as impressive as he thinks). And his record in New Jersey is poor.

Rand Paul didn’t impress me that much either, I must say. I like Paul in the mix and I like him in the Senate. I think his chances of winning the nomination are basically zero.

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump had some one liners but neither seemed to make any real statement that they should be President.

I didn’t see the “kids table” debate earlier in the day but I’m told that the only candidate who did well was Fiorina. I’m not surprised. She’s very smart and savvy and she’s the only one that I think has a chance of getting back onto the big stage. I think there’s a very good chance she will be the Vice Presidential nominee.

So, right now, my impression of the candidates is:

Front-runners: Bush, Walker, Trump
Back in the Coversation: Rubio, Kasich
Call it a Night, Fellas: Christie, Cruz, Paul, Carson, Huckabee


The Fix Is In

Just in case you were wondering … yes, both of our parties are bought and paid for by the same people:

For some wealthy donors, it doesn’t matter who takes the White House in 2016—as long as the president’s name is Clinton or Bush.

More than 60 ultra-rich Americans have contributed to both Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s federal campaigns, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by Vocativ and The Daily Beast. Seventeen of those contributors have gone one step further and opened their wallets to fund both Bush’s and Clinton’s 2016 ambitions.

After all, why support just Hillary Clinton or just Jeb Bush when you can hedge your bets and donate to both? This seems to be the thinking of a group of powerful men and women—racetrack owners, bankers, media barons, chicken magnates, hedge funders (and their spouses). Some of them have net worths that can eclipse the GDPs of small countries.

The amounts we’re talking about are small by rich people standards — a few thousand dollars. But the principle is crystal clear: they want “in” no matter who wins.

This is something a lot of people — particularly those of a lefty persuasion — fail to understand. For the monied interests who control the political process, elections aren’t about philosophy or politics or policy. They’re not about abortion or the deficit or healthcare or war. They’re about pull. They’re about influence. The big donors don’t care who is elected as long as they have their ear. Sometimes it’s not even just about influence; often it’s about keeping the government from screwing you over after the election (this is how companies that wanted to stay out of politics — like eBay and Microsoft and Apple — ended up dragged into it). Think about what will happen to these guys if Clinton wins and they haven’t given her money.

Want to stop this? Stop making our government so powerful. Stop making it so that donations to Presidential campaigns can buy ten figure returns. Or prevent ten figure losses. Until that changes, the rich will continue to find ways to buy politicians of every stripe.

(Ironically, two of the few rich politicos who actually care about policy are the Koch Brothers, who mostly support Republicans but have also thrown their support behind gay marriage, criminal justice reform, social justice causes and personal liberty. But the irrational hatred of the Koch’s is so intense that labor unions stopped donating to the United Negro College Fund because the Koch’s gave the UNCF a ton of money.)

There’s something else though; something that’s been bubbling away in my mind for a while. Right now, Donald Trump is the front-runner among Republicans. There are many, like me, who dismissed him as the flavor of the month — a temporary enthusiasm for whatever is new on the menu. But I don’t think that’s it. There are many Democrats who claim that Trump’s popularity is because the Republicans are a bunch of evil racists and Trump is an evil racist and therefore that’s why he’s popular. I don’t think that’s it either. Peter Suderman, among others, made the argument that Trump is appealing to people precisely because he’s uninterested in policy and is acting like a YouTube comments section. That might be part of it, but I don’t think that’s the main reason for Trump’s popularity.

No, this is the reason Donald Trump is surging at the polls. Because many people … Republicans, Democrats or independents … feel like the system is rigged. Especially with a Clinton-Bush showdown looming, they feel like the system is run by monied insiders deciding which particular group of oligarchs is going to rule.

Think about what happened in the financial crisis. Millions of people saw their savings vanish. Millions lost their homes. Millions lost their jobs. But the fat cats on Wall Street? They got a bailout. They got to walk away with their seven figure golden parachutes and zero criminal charges. And that all happened under one of the most liberal Administrations in history. And the two politicians who did the most to ensure we had a financial apocalypse? They wrote the financial reform bill. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were neck deep in the financial industry so naturally Obama picked them to fix it.


People feel the game is rigged. They feel like Washington isn’t listening to them. And they perceive — rightly or wrongly — that Trump is not for sale because he’s funding his own campaign. They perceive — rightly or wrong — that he’s going to change things and shake up Washington.

A couple of weeks ago, I thought Trump’s McCain gaffe would finish him. I was wrong. Angering the establishment wing of the GOP like that just made him more popular because it played into the idea that Trump doesn’t give a shit what the crusty moneybags think.

I like the sentiment. But much like the Ron Paul campaigns of previous Presidential seasons, I just think it’s being poured into the wrong vessel. I don’t think a President Trump would shake things up. He’s an insider too. And a number of his ideas are either unconstitutional or dangerous. I don’t think he’s serious about changing Washington.

But then again, I don’t think any of them are. And maybe it will take a Trump — like it once took a Perot — to scare out politicians into doing their damned jobs.

The Field Closes

The first Republican presidential debate is set for Thursday. I will probably not be able to watch or will watch on a delay (my wife is working late that night, so I have the Betas). But the most significant thing is that Fox has narrowed the 17 — I shit you not — 17 candidates down to 10 so that they will all fit on stage. Those 10 are Donald Trump (currently leading the field), Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich.

That means that seven candidates are out. And I have to say that it’s like those seven are finished. Not because they aren’t in the debate but because they are currently polling so low, it’s unlikely they can bring themselves back into the picture barring an amazing debate performance, which they won’t get a chance at. Those seven are Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

And that’s a pity. Trump isn’t going away any time soon, but his negatives are sky high (which you would expect, given that his campaign has zero policy proposals. In mock polling, he loses to Bernie Sanders by twenty points. In taking over the stage, he’s bumping Perry — who is likely doomed from his 2012 gaffe but actually strikes me as a reasonable candidate. He’s also bumping Santorum, who is intensely disliked in some quarters but is one of the few candidates to grasp the pinch many middle class people are feeling. The rest are mainly vanity candidates although Fiorina has some charisma.

Looking at the ten remaining, I’m not terribly high on anyone in the current field. I’ve warmed up to Rubio lately but I think this race is going to quickly narrow to Walker vs. Bush. And if Trumpism spooks enough of the GOP establishment, they will go to Bush, barring some catastrophic gaffe.

So, right now, I’m thinking we’re seeing a 2016 showdown of Bush v. Clinton. Didn’t we already do this?