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It’s established fact that Hillary isn’t good in settings where real people ask her important questions. That was determined last year during her God-awful book tour collapsed in infamy. That collapse guaranteed that Hillary wouldn’t wage a real campaign if she didn’t have to. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprise by this article:

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Here’s how Hillary Clinton campaigned for president this week: She took a private 15-minute tour of a bike shop that had closed for her visit. She spoke to four small business owners chosen by her staff in front of an audience of 20, also chosen by her staff. She answered a few questions from the media following weeks of silence. And after a little more than an hour, Clinton was off, whisked away by aides and Secret Service agents, into a minivan and on to the next event.

Members of the public who wanted to go inside the building to support her, oppose her or merely ask a question of her were left outside on an unseasonably cool Iowa day. Most didn’t bother showing up.

Rest assured of this: Hillary will lose Iowa if she doesn’t campaign amongst real people that are allowed to ask real questions. What’s most important is that she’ll deserve that thumping if she continues campaigning inside the bunker. Anyone who isn’t interested in representing all of America shouldn’t be the next president.

“I am troubled that so far in this caucus cycle she hasn’t had any public town halls,” said Chris Schwartz, a liberal activist from Waterloo, as he stood outside the bike store hoping to talk to Clinton about trade. “If she had a public town hall then we wouldn’t be out here. We would much rather be in there engaging with her.”

Let’s be blunt. This cycle, Hillary’s highest priority has been to minimize her chances of making a gaffe. That’s been an obvious decision on Hillary’s part. The problem with doing that is that she isn’t giving undecided voters a chance to get to like her.

That’s plain foolish.

Hillary can’t win this election with just a base vote, especially when a significant part of the Democrats’ base, young people, are disinterested at best. When Obama brought young people out in droves in 2008, they thought he was hip, he was cool, he had a cult following. Remember this?

Young people came out in droves in 2008 because Barack Obama captured their imagination. Hillary isn’t getting their attention in 2016. The Obama coalition isn’t dead but it’s dying a slow, painful death right in front of our eyes.

If Republicans nominate either Scott Walker or Marco Rubio, they’ll defeat Hillary with votes to spare. Walker and Rubio are fantastic in that they attract young people and they’re people with fresh ideas. Hillary’s freshness ran out circa the time of her talking about the “vast right wing conspiracy.” That’s back when I was young.

According to Quinnipiac’s latest polling, Scott Walker’s lead in Iowa appears to be solidifying:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the top dog with a big early lead in the Iowa Republican Caucus, with a four-way scramble for second place and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in seventh place with 5 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This table shows the state of the race:

It’s clear that Scott Walker is the frontrunner in Iowa. It’s equally clear that Iowans don’t like Jeb much. I wrote about that in this article back in early February. Nothing’s changed that’s helped Jeb since then. It’s likely that Jeb’s campaign has written Iowa off while emphasizing winning New Hampshire or South Carolina.

Last month’s announcements by Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz have lifted their support, with Sen. Rubio jumping from 4% to 13% and Sen. Cruz jumping from 5% to 12%. Sen. Paul, who also announced last month, stays stuck at 12%, just like he was at 12% in February’s polling.

Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants have a 69 – 9 percent favorable opinion of Rubio, the best score in the GOP field. The Florida senator’s positions on the issues are “about right,” 65 percent say, also the best in the field.

Walker gets a 59 – 11 percent favorability rating, with 62 percent of caucus participants saying his positions on issues are “about right.” Scores for other leading Republican candidates are:
Negative 39 – 45 percent favorability rating for Bush, and 36 percent saying he’s about right on issues, while 45 percent say he’s not conservative enough;
53 – 9 percent favorable for Carson, and 56 percent saying he’s about right on the issues;
Negative 32 – 56 percent favorable for Christie, and 52 percent saying he’s not conservative enough on issues;
59 – 19 percent favorable for Cruz, and 58 percent saying he’s about right;
64 – 27 percent favorable for Huckabee, and 59 percent about right on the issues;
59 – 23 percent favorable for Paul, and 51 percent saying he’s about right.

Looking at Walker, likely Republican Caucus participants say 69-11 percent that he is honest and trustworthy; 72-10 percent that he has strong leadership qualities and 72-11 percent that he cares about their needs and problems.

What that information tells me is that the activists generally think highly of this group of candidates. The only exceptions to that apparently are Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

Conventional wisdom said that the first polls from Iowa didn’t mean much, that it was early, etc. As we’re inching closer to the first debates, it’s clear that those first polls were fairly accurate.

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It isn’t surprising that AFSCME is singing Gov. Dayton’s praises. It’s as surprising as finding out that the Clinton Foundation isn’t a charity.

Facing a deep natural recession and a $6 billion budget deficit, Minnesotans voted in progressive Gov. Mark Dayton, who ran on a tax-the-rich platform that included investment in people and infrastructure.

Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent to pay for his plan. And soon he and legislators passed laws that expanded unionization, froze college tuition, increased the minimum wage, required equal pay for women, legalized same-sex marriage, eased voter restrictions, boosted primary education spending and established all-day kindergarten.

AFSCME is right. Minnesota’s economy took right off after they legalized same-sex marriage and required equal pay for women. It’s established fact that entrepreneurs insisted that they wouldn’t hire another worker until government implemented those policies.

Legalizing same-sex marriage and requiring equal pay for women had as much to do with Minnesota’s economic growth as raising taxes on small businesses.

In Minnesota, Dayton turned that $6 billion budget deficit into a more than $2 billion surplus in just one term. Minnesota added 172,000 jobs and its 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

Let’s compare that with this information:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

First, creating 172,000 jobs vs. creating 135,000 jobs is good news for the additional 37,000 people. Still, that isn’t a huge difference. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s LFPR is impressive:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national LFPR is currently 62.7%. If that was the same as it was when President Obama was inaugurated, the national unemployment rate would be over 9%.

Wisconsin’s economy is creating jobs while cutting deeply into Wisconsin’s long-term unemployment rate. Minnesota should be that lucky.

Democrats have tried criticizing Scott Walker’s economic policies as a way to argue he’s unqualified to be president. This WSJ op-ed offers some statistics that prove Scott Walker’s more than qualified:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

In other words, it’s pretty obvious that Gov. Walker’s policies have Wisconsin heading in the right direction. Those aren’t the only statistics that show his policies are working. Here’s more:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national workforce participation rate is significantly worse:

Since February 2011, the national labor-force participation rate has dropped to 62.7%, from 64.2%.

The national unemployment rate has dropped because people quit looking for work. If the current LFPR was the same as it was when President Obama took office, unemployment would be 9%. Conversely, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped because Gov. Walker’s policies are eating into long-term unemployment.

Another thing that has to be factored into this equation is the fact that Act 10 has shrunk school districts’ expenses to the point that they’re hiring additional teachers and giving other teachers raises. That means Wisconsin is feeling the recovery. That isn’t happening nationally.

Jazz Shaw’s post about the ‘scandal’ that’s finally going to take Scott Walker down is wonderfully sarcastic. Jazz quotes from a NY Daily News ‘investigative’ report:

Owe, no!

2016 hopeful Scott Walker has tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, owing money to a list of banks and stores including Sears and Barclays, a new report alleges.

The Wisconsin conservative Republican governor owes between $10,000 and $100,000 to credit card companies, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday, which cited Walker’s latest state financial disclosure forms, filed in January.

Here’s part of Jazz’s commentary:

There you have it. Walker carries a balance on his Sears card. We don’t know how much it is… it could be $10K or $50k. But this is a verified, real reporter documented, printed on fishwrap fact, people! Why he might not have paid off the card entirely is pointed out by the Daily Beast, as Jacobson found. He has two kids in college, his parents live with him and he has a mortgage on his house. His net worth is the lowest of any candidate, coming in at a whopping $72.5K.

Wait a minute… I thought evil, rich Republicans were the problem because of income inequality and the inability to relate to real Americans with modest incomes and debt. Wouldn’t this actually make him a good candidate? Apparently not. It just means he’s not a fiscal conservative. And by that measure, there’s probably only about 40,000 fiscal conservatives in the entire country.

Knowing Jazz a little bit, I know he’d appreciate highlighting, sarcastically, the fact that Hillary is the champion of working people because she’s a Democrat. It doesn’t matter that Hillary’s spent time in a $1.7 million mansion in Chappaqua, NY when she wasn’t spending time in a $2.85 million mansion in Georgetown, DC.

The D behind her name is what matters. A woman who hasn’t driven a car since the George H.W. Bush administration and who lives in mansions and whose family net worth is well north of $100,000,000 is down for the struggle.

Meanwhile, a Republican who drives a motorcycle, has a mortgage and shops at Kohl’s is a mean-spirited, possibly evil person. Seriously, this type of article shouldn’t be considered reporting. It’s the progressive left’s attempt to smear a good man for not following the Democrats’ playbook to a T.

Old-fashioned liberals aren’t welcome within the Democratic Party because the Totalitarian Left has run them out of the party.

A.B. Stoddard’s article needs lots of refinements. Here’s how it starts:

Four months into the 2016 presidential campaign, Jeb Bush has all the money and none of the mojo.

Despite the financial juggernaut the former Florida governor has built — Bush said this week he had raised more than anyone else has at this point in a presidential campaign in history — he is failing to excite crowds, dominate polls or scare away competitors.

Bush comes in second or third in most polls, and when he has ranked first it hasn’t been by much. There is considerable enthusiasm for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as well as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who many had believed would forgo the race if Bush were to make a White House bid. Bush has doubled down on his positions on education and immigration that are unpopular with conservatives, and as each young Republican contender labels Hillary Clinton “old news,” it only makes Bush seem more stale.

Here’s how it closes:

If Bush can attract unconventional support, he could defy the expectations for an establishment front-runner. And though many Republicans are swooning for Rubio, the widespread hesitation over electing another young, handsome, history-making first-term senator who listens to rap music and has a beautiful family still makes Bush the safer bet.

Bush can win the nomination just by surviving. Just ask Romney.

That’s pretty pathetic thinking. Romney survived because his competition wasn’t competitive. Jeb’s competition isn’t just competitive. There’s a question lingering about how competitive Jeb is. There’s no question about whether Jeb’s got the fundraising network. There’s tons of doubt whether he can win over conservative voters.

One of the rare things that Vice President Biden got right was when he said that “a leader without any followers is just a guy out for a walk.” I wouldn’t say that Jeb doesn’t have any followers. I won’t hesitate, though, is saying that his support is tepid considering how much money he’s raised and his name recognition advantage. He should be blowing his competition out of the water. The fact that he isn’t speaks volumes.

I wrote this article back at the start of February. It’s as pertinent today as it was then:

It wasn’t good news for Jeb Bush, though. Gov. Bush is the top choice of just 9% of caucus-goers in Iowa. He’s the second choice of just 6% of caucus-goers, giving Gov. Bush just 15% combined.

Then there’s this:

The best +/- rating in the GOP field is Scott Walker’s +48, followed by Rand Paul’s +39, followed by Rick Perry’s, Mike Huckabee’s and Ben Carson’s +38. By comparison, Jeb Bush’s +/- rating is +3 (46% favorable, 43% unfavorable.).

Bush can’t win the nomination by surviving because Walker and Rubio aren’t trendy flavor-of-the-month types. They have legitimate staying power because they’re appealing candidates.

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When I first read David French’s article, my first reaction was that John T. Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, should be disbarred, then tried and convicted, then thrown into prison for a very long time. Chisholm is a progressive political hack with a mission to destroy the conservative movement in Wisconsin:

Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking. She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.

She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door. “I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic. “I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”

She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee. “I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.”

Last night, Megyn Kelly interviewed David French. Here’s the video of the interview:

Here’s the most chilling exchange of the interview:

MEGYN: Who was the judge that signed off on these subpoenas?
DAVID FRENCH: The judge’s name is Barbara Kluka, I believe is how you pronounce her name. She signed off on hundreds of pages of subpoenas in literally one afternoon of work. It was a rubberstamp process. It was not true judicial oversight and the result has been catastrophic to citizens’ rights.

French’s statement might be the understatement of the year. The things that are alleged, if they’re proven in a court of law, should be grounds for termination of the police officers and the disbarment of the judge and the district attorney.

The policeman (policemen?) who ordered Ms. Archer that she couldn’t speak with a lawyer and that she couldn’t speak about the police officers’ actions violated Ms. Archer’s constitutional right to an attorney. Saying that she couldn’t speak about the raid essentially amounts to putting a gag order on Ms. Archer. I’m no lawyer but aren’t gag orders meant to preserve the right to a fair trial?

In this instance, the purpose of the gag order was to protect these thugs’ secrecy. The only people that benefited were the thugs with badges.

This isn’t just about prosecutorial or judicial misconduct. It’s about how the Democratic Party weaponized the district attorney’s office and the Milwaukee police force to intimidate conservatives from speaking about the issues that matter most to them. That’s the heart of the First Amendment’s protections.

Finally, this is the face of pure evil. These Democrats should be destroyed politically. They should all spend years in prison doing hard time. Silencing people who just wanted to support a political issue is despicable.

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This weekend, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), visited New Hampshire again. Thus far, Gov. Walker’s message is resonating:

Attendees at a New Hampshire Republican Leadership Summit on Friday offered plenty of reasons why Gov. Scott Walker sits atop a burgeoning field of potential 2016 GOP nominees in the latest Granite State polls.

But some cautioned that while Walker may check many of the right boxes, he is still a largely unknown quantity, and as voters get to know him better they may have concerns about his shifting positions on various issues, his lack of foreign policy experience or the divisive nature of his politics.

When you’re the frontrunner, it’s inevitable that people will criticize you. That’s already happening:

“There’s a lot of goodwill,” said Vernon Robinson, the director of a super PAC supporting retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson for president and a featured speaker at the event Friday. “Folks don’t know a lot about Scott Walker other than he beat the unions. As the vetting process goes forward, the good governor may have peaked too soon.”

That’s certainly mild criticism, far milder than Hillary and the DNC will throw at him if he’s the nominee. This mild criticism, though, tells me more about Dr. Carson’s team than anything else.

Criticizing a candidate in a crowded field often isn’t effective. Even if the criticism hurts the target, what often happens is that it hurts the candidate that did the criticizing. In the early stages of a presidential campaign, it’s best to just build your team while building enthusiasm and momentum.

Compare the Carson campaign’s criticism with this response:

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for Walker’s political nonprofit group Our American Revival, declined to comment on polls. She said Walker would continue to talk to Americans about the principles he has promoted in Wisconsin and how he was able to win three times in four years.

That’s pitch perfect. It says that they won’t get drawn into silly tit-for-tat spats. Further, it emphatically states that Gov. Walker will take the high road by talking about his successes in Wisconsin.

That’s a smart approach. Gov. Walker has a lengthy list of accomplishments as the conservative governor of a blue state. Reminding people that your message and your conservative policies have won people over in Wisconsin is a great reminder to people that conservatism is a winning message.

No post is complete without Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s feeble attempt to criticize a Republican:

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz called Walker “one of the most divisive leaders in recent memory.” “The more voters get a close look at what Scott Walker’s actual policies are, the more they will be repelled,” she said.

That’s hilarious, especially coming from the woman that told Megyn Kelly that late term abortions are a private matter between a woman and her doctor. Rep. Wasserman-Schultz’s position isn’t just held by a minority of people. It’s a position that great liberals like the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said was “too close to infanticide.”

If Ms. Wasserman-Schultz wants to promote a procedure that’s “too close to infanticide,” that’s her right. It’s just a foolish decision that a vast majority of women disagree with.

There are at least a dozen lifetimes between now and the first-in-the-nation primary, which means there isn’t a true frontrunner at this point. Still, if you’re Gov. Walker, you’d have to be pleased with the rollout thus far.

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This article includes one of the strangest quotes I’ve seen. Check this out:

Former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, who also worked with both men and now backs Bush, made a similar point. “There were always projects that were important to Marco’s constituents,” he said. “And they always ended up in the budget.”

Rep. Planas just accused Sen. Rubio of — gasp! — representing his constituents. Apparently, that’s a mortal sin with Rep. Planas. That’s weird thinking for normal people because most people think a politician actually representing them is a positive.

Jeb’s unleashed his supporters to criticize Sen. Rubio:

Rubio’s team declined to respond to those statements and hasn’t cast Bush or other rivals in a negative light.

Yet a prominent Rubio supporter, billionaire businessman Norman Braman, has been less diplomatic. “We have to look for the future,” Braman told CNN this past week in a round of interviews. “We have to go beyond the Bushes. We have to go beyond the Clintons.” He added: “We’re not a country that believes in dynasties.”

Repeating a campaign theme isn’t going negative. It’s a substantive point. Jeb’s supporters didn’t take that path. Jeb’s surrogates attacked Sen. Rubio in a personal, semi-substantive way.

This shouldn’t be taken as me saying I’m supporting Sen. Rubio. I’m personally supporting Scott Walker. It’s just me saying I wish Jeb’s surrogates would be more substantive. Still, it’s helpful since it’s a safe bet that Hillary’s campaign will be rude to whomever the Republicans pick as their nominee.

It was inevitable that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would weigh in on Marco Rubio’s presidential announcement. Here’s what she said:

Hours before his rally, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, criticized Rubio as just another establishment Republican with no new ideas. “He’s a follower, peddling the same tired Republican playbook,” she told reporters. “Marco Rubio has pandered to the Republican base throughout his whole career.”

You’d think that Democrats could find a more skilled leader of the DNC. Apparently, their bench for presidential candidates isn’t the only thin bench they’ve got. Apparently, their bench for DNC chairs is thin, too.

One thing that’s clear is that the DNC chair, like their presidential-nominee-in-waiting, isn’t particularly wedded to the truth. Saying that Sen. Rubio “has pandered to the Republican base” is a bit melodramatic. If Wasserman-Schultz wanted to be accurate, she could’ve said that Sen. Rubio holds views that many Republicans hold. That won’t work, though, if the goal is to vilify Sen. Rubio and turn him into a living, breathing Frankenstein.

As for Rubio’s beliefs, here’s what he rattled off as his agenda if he’s elected:

Now, the time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American Century.

If we reform our tax code, reduce regulations, control spending, modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace Obamacare, the American people will create millions of better-paying modern jobs.

If we create a 21st century system of higher education that provides working Americans the chance to acquire the skills they need, that no longer graduates students with mountains of debt and degrees that do not lead to jobs, and that graduates more students from high school ready to work, then our people will be prepared to seize their opportunities in the new economy.

If we remember that family, not government, is the most important institution in society, that all life deserves protection, and that all parents deserve to choose the education that’s right for their children, then we will have a strong people and a strong nation.

And if America accepts the mantle of global leadership, by abandoning this administration’s dangerous concessions to Iran, and its hostility to Israel; by reversing the hollowing out of our military; by giving our men and women in uniform the resources, care and gratitude they deserve; by no longer being passive in the face of Chinese and Russian aggression; and by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world; then our nation will be safer, the world more stable, and our people more prosperous.

That’s a lengthy, substantive agenda, one that will appeal to voters. If that agenda gets signed into law, job creation will accelerate, wages will rise and the economy will consistently grow at a 3.5% rate. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if it exceeded that.

This isn’t just Sen. Rubio’s agenda, either. Gov. Walker lists these things as priorities, too.