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The legitimate question that the conservative blogosphere and the Twitterverse is asking is whether Trump will be hurt by skipping the GOP debate on Fox. While that’s a totally legitimate question, it isn’t the right question this time. The right question is why we’re putting up with this adolescent’s snotty attitude. Why would anyone think that Mr. Trump would listen to anyone? Further, how is Mr. Trump different on health care than the narcissist currently living in the White House?

It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t a conservative. At this point, that isn’t debatable so let’s move past that. I wrote this article Tuesday afternoon to highlight Mr. Trump’s recent statement to CBS News that he favors universal health care and that “the government” would pay for it. Here is Mr. Trump’s statement on why he won’t participate in Thursday night’s debate:

That’s his official statement. Here’s why he jumped ship:

  1. Mr. Trump isn’t a good debater. He’s much better on the stump when he can talk about how great he is or the YUGE leads he has in the latest gazillion polls.
  2. Mr. Trump will be pursued by the other networks.
  3. Mr. Trump prefers playing the victim card rather than answering tough questions.

The truth is that Mr. Trump’s temperament disqualifies him from getting serious consideration to be the next president of the United States. Frankly, it isn’t a stretch to watch Mr. Trump’s behavior and question whether he’s mentally stable enough to handle the pressures of being the leader of the free world.

Personally, the question for me isn’t whether his supporters will continue supporting him. My question is whether Mr. Trump’s supporters are as unstable as he is. At this point, I’m betting that the answer to that question is yes. They are as nutty as Mr. Trump is.

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If ever someone should tread lightly when it comes to criticizing corruption, it’s Hillary Clinton. Gabby Morrongiello’s article highlights some tweets that Hillary is going to regret. During the debate, Hillary’s staff tweeted a quote from Hillary about corruption. During the debate, Hillary said “There should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too big to jail.”

The Twitterverse response wasn’t what Mrs. Clinton’s staffers were expecting. One tweet said “@HillaryClinton That includes you, Hillary.” Another tweet said “Does this include yourself? #possibleindictment” Still another said “‘No individual too big to jail’ – I can’t believe she just tweeted that with a straight face”

To that last tweet, this person must be young. When it comes to chutzpah, Hillary’s got more chutzpah than Mr. Trump’s got mean-spirited quips. Hillary’s tweet originated from a belief that the American people are either stupid, forgetful or both. When she was squashing bimbo eruptions during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, she could get away with statements like that. That doesn’t work because the universe has changed by orders of magnitude.

In 1992, the media universe essentially consisted of CNN (which was then nicknamed the Clinton New Network by Rush Limbaugh), NBC, ABC and CBS, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Talk radio was just getting started. Al Gore was just inventing the internet. Social media didn’t exist.

Chris Cillizza’s article certainly isn’t the type of review she was hoping for. Cillizza’s article put Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley in the debate’s winner category. It put Mrs. Clinton into the loser category.

Cillizza highlighted the fact that Sen. Sanders “got tripped up a few times during the debate on his voting record — especially on guns” before noting that “he was the prime mover in virtually every discussion from Wall Street reform to health care to climate change. He was on offense, accusing rival Hillary Clinton of half-measures and political caution at a moment when boldness is required.”

Of O’Malley, Cillizza wrote that Gov. O’Malley started the debate by whining about being ignored but then he “turned the corner on getting ignored and by the end of the debate was downright likable.” It’s nice that O’Malley came across as likable but it’s utterly irrelevant. He’s a total non-factor in the Democratic presidential nomination fight. That fight is between Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Sanders.

Here’s what Cillizza wrote about Mrs. Clinton:

So, why is she in the loser column? Because she did nothing in the debate to slow the momentum that Sanders is building in Iowa and New Hampshire. Aside from guns, where Clinton scored a clean win against Sanders, she was unable to effectively cast him as a pie-in-the-sky idealist and herself as the only person who could truly fight and win on for Democratic priorities. Time and again, she was boxed into defending a status quo that the American public, Democrats and Republicans alike, is dissatisfied with.

Simply put, Hillary is out of step with voters. At a time when the American people want to grab politicians by the short and curlies, she’s preaching the virtues of staying the course and continuity. This, of course, puts a smile on President Obama’s face but it isn’t what the American people want.

One of the disputable truths about politics is that politicians, generally speaking, aren’t leaders. They’re mostly followers. Bill Clinton had a vision for America, a destination he wanted to take people to. Hillary Clinton struggles with “the vision thing.” She’s mostly a check-the-right-boxes candidate. Environmental activists want this. Promise them what they want. Unions want unswerving loyalty. Hillary’s response is ‘you’ve got it.’ At no point does Mrs. Clinton tell people how all these separate promises create a vision that unifies the nation.

In fact, the only candidate with that type of vision in either party is Sen. Rubio. That’s why lots of Democratic strategists have said — off the record, of course — that Sen. Rubio frightens them the most.

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The editors of the Mesabi Daily News didn’t pull their punches with Al Franken in this editorial. First, a little background is in order. After the terrorists murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, MDN sent emails to Sen. Franken, Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Nolan.

Apparently, Sen. Franken’s letter was the only letter that caught their attention. That’s because Sen. Franken said “As the FBI and other law enforcement officials continue to investigate a crime where 14 innocent people lost their lives only days ago, there are still a lot of questions that need answers. There are now reports that one of the suspects pledged allegiance to ISIS, and I believe that this, and all other investigative leads, must be vigorously and fully pursued.”

The editors didn’t treat Sen. Franken gently, saying “Suspects? They were mass murderers who died in a shootout with law enforcement; and they had a pipe bomb factory in their garage. Crime? This was no Bonnie and Clyde bank robbery couple. Franken’s response was so off base from the question, that another email was sent to his staff providing an opportunity to give a direct answer or at least call it terrorism.”

Sen. Franken’s response is predictable. He’s trying to spin things so people won’t notice that President Obama’s policies failed to protect those employees from ISIS-inspired terrorists. You remember ISIS, right? They’re the JV team. Wait. That’s so 2014. They’re “contained.” That won’t work. That’s too Novemberish. They’re the terrorists that didn’t pose an “imminent threat” to the homeland.

Seriously, as upset as the editors have a right to be about Sen. Franken’s response, it’s important to maintain perspective. Sen. Franken is just the politician who’s getting sent out to spin a mess. It’s President Obama that created the mess by pretending that ISIS wasn’t really a threat. The question now is whether ISIS will carry out another successful attack or not.

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Josh Kraushaar’s article highlights a subject Democrats would rather forget. At minimum, they wish national security would just go away.

Kraushaar hit it right when he wrote “The signs of a pres­id­ent in deni­al over the threat of ter­ror­ism keep pil­ing up. Obama be­latedly ad­dressed the pub­lic’s fears in his Oval Of­fice ad­dress on Sunday even­ing, but he offered no new policies to deal with crisis. That it took four days for the pres­id­ent to un­equi­voc­ally call the San Bern­ardino at­tacks “ter­ror­ism” un­der­scored how his own in­stincts are at odds with the Amer­ic­an pub­lic’s.”

Kraushaar is right when he opines “The de­cision to give a na­tion­ally tele­vised speech without out­lining a change of course sug­ges­ted that ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials were wor­ried about de­clin­ing poll numbers and that he was try­ing to lim­it the polit­ic­al dam­age.” President Obama’s highest priorities since taking office have been to transform America to fit his rigid ideology and to worry first about the political impact of his policies rather than the impact his policies have on individuals’ and families’ lives.

That’s a major reason why Americans don’t trust President Obama’s national security policies. Another reason why people don’t trust President Obama’s national security policies is because he seems indifferent to national security most of the time. He’s shown more emotion fighting Republicans than he’s shown fighting ISIS. Still another reason why people don’t trust President Obama’s national security policies is because, in Kraushaar’s words, “the pres­id­ent’s as­sur­ances are be­ing con­tra­dicted by events around him.”

Mouthing the same BS is getting old. The people get the impression that President Obama’s lines remain the same, irrespective of what’s happening. If a terrorist gets captures, President Obama is likely to say “our home­land has nev­er been more pro­tec­ted by more ef­fect­ive in­tel­li­gence and law-en­force­ment pro­fes­sion­als at every level than they are now.” The truth is that President Obama said that hours after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Hillary Clinton insists that the United States must up their game to defeat ISIS. That’s true in one extent. Hours before the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama insisted that ISIS was contained. Hours before the San Bernardino terrorist attack, President Obama insisted that ISIS didn’t pose a threat to the United States.

Considering how frequently his administration hasn’t caught terrorists before they hit, there’s plenty of room for improvement from this administration.

It isn’t fair, though, to say that the Obama administration isn’t the only group of Democrats that need to pull their head out of their butts. It’s certainly fair to tell Hillary that she’s been almost as worthless at fighting terrorism as President Obama has been. Hillary’s statement that Muslims “have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism” is frighteningly stupid. That’s one of the dumbest statements I’ve heard a politician make.

Hillary said “What happened in San Bernardino was a terror attack. No one is arguing that.” Except Democrat senators like Feinstein and Boxer from California, Murphy and Whitehouse from Connecticut and Schumer from New York. They’re the ones who introduced a gun control bill before law enforcement determined what had happened in San Bernardino.

Hillary herself brought up the issue of gun control in the minutes after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Mrs. Clinton didn’t ponder the possibility that terrorists had attacked. Instead, Mrs. Clinton played the role of lead ideologue instead of finding a solution to this crisis.

As long as Mrs. Clinton, President Obama and the Democrats put a higher priority on playing politics than they put on fighting terrorism with all of the weapons in the United States’ arsenal, they’ll rightly be seen as being part of the problem, not part of the solution.

President Obama has the opportunity of starting fresh with the right strategy of defeating ISIS when he addresses the nation tonight from the Oval Office. It’s a shame he won’t use that opportunity to make America safe again.

Chris Murphy is a Democratic senator from Connecticut and, as near as I can tell, a staunch advocate for censorship and a hater of religion. He can afford to be. He’s from Connecticut, which isn’t known for its deep religious roots.

Peggy Noonan is a former speechwriter for the greatest president of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan. She’s a gifted wordsmith and a lady of stature and dignity. Even when I disagree with her, which is occasionally, I still have immense respect for her. That’s because, at heart, she’s constantly cheering to see America at its best. She isn’t an ideologue. Instead, she’s a patriot. That’s why I couldn’t resist reading Ms. Noonan’s column about the fragile state of the First Amendment.

She noted that Sen. Murphy injected invective into the conversation about San Bernardino while it was happening, saying “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing—again.” Then Ms. Noonan made the observation that there’s “a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Twenty years ago, that statement would’ve been laughed at. Today, thoughtful people furrow their brow and worry that Ms. Noonan is right. Then Ms. Noonan offered this insight into winning debates:

If you really are for some new gun-control measure, if you are serious about it, you just might wait a while, until the blood has cooled, for instance, and then try to win people over to see it your way. You might offer information, argument, points of persuasion. Successful politics involves pulling people together. You don’t use a tragedy to shame and silence those who don’t see it your way; that only hardens sides.

I won’t assume that Sen. Murphy is interested in winning a debate. (Ms. Noonan didn’t either.) It’s quite possible that Sen. Murphy only wants to speak up and be heard.

Now that the blood has started cooling, it’d be easy to criticize Sen. Murphy. I won’t do that, though. I’ll just add some information and, hopefully, a little insight into this nightmare. First, the information flooding in is that this wasn’t a criminal action as much as it was a terrorist attack. Though President Obama and the FBI have tap-danced around that possibility, the truth is that that proverbial train left the station when the FBI found literally thousands of rounds of ammunition, a bomb-making factory in the Farooks’ apartment and an assortment of pipe bombs and IED in the Farooks’ SUV.

The insight I have for Sen. Murphy is to start talking about how President Obama, the FBI and our other intelligence agencies can connect the terrorist network dots faster. They clearly were caught flat-footed on San Bernardino. Couple that with their unwillingness to call it what it obviously is and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

This post is meant as a bit of a thank you to Ms. Noonan for writing something insightful on the subject of winning debate. Here’s hoping for more sanity to break out shortly.

After the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, some thoughtful people from both parties but led by Republicans, proposed pausing the importation of Syrian refugees. They suggested that because the vetting process of Syrian refugees isn’t reliable. That isn’t just Republicans’ opinion. It’s an opinion they share with James Comey, the director of the FBI. During testimony to Congress, he said that vetting Syrian refugees was all but impossible.

After that, President Obama announced that he wouldn’t pause the program, saying that not accepting these refugees was un-American. It isn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton is repeating President Obama’s line. In an interview with MPR’s Kerri Miller, Gov. Dayton said “the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have an extensive vetting process in place.”

According to Director Comey, that’s misinformation. In his testimony, Director Comey said that the databases they need to vet people either doesn’t exist or is highly unreliable. DHS and the State Department can say whatever they want but it doesn’t mean anything if the vetting infrastructure doesn’t exist or isn’t reliable.

Gov. Dayton later said “I think there should be an enhanced level of vetting and security for Syrian refugees or others that come from places which have been sources of terrorism” before saying “having been on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security, there’s far more that’s actually undertaken.”

Has Sen. Dayton gotten briefed lately on the state of identification databases in Syria lately? If he hasn’t, how would he know that the vetting infrastructure is reliable? Is he just trusting President Obama? If that’s the case, would he trust a Republican president the same way in the same circumstances?

Finally, Gov. Dayton said “People who are fleeing terrorism in other countries, people with families with children in their arms — to tell them they can’t come into this country and have a future is just un-American.” Let’s explain this to Gov. Dayton through this picture:

I’d love to see whether Gov. Dayton would accept that taste-testing challenge.

When then-Candidate Obama ran for office in 2008, he sounded an optimistic tone, constantly talking about “hope and change.” A month into President Obama’s administration, President Obama’s governing motto morphed into “We won.” President Obama killed bipartisanship a month into his administration. It’s been downhill since. Salena Zito’s latest column highlights President Obama’s boorish behavior last week in the aftermath of ISIS’s terrorist attacks on Paris.

Ms. Zito noted that the definition of leadership “is guidance, direction, inspiration, motivation. And, at a moment when our nation felt most vulnerable and needed reassurance that the man in control was looking out for our welfare, we found ourselves irrevocably disappointed. Americans wanted sober, serious and authoritative. What they got was prickly and tone deaf.” President Hope and Change hasn’t listened to We The People since the passing of his failed stimulus bill. We saw the last of President Hope and Change about 3 years before the end of his first term.

Pressured by reporters about his strategy for fighting ISIS, his ill-tempered response offered no direct answer. Instead, he sharply rebuked his critics before doubling down on his tepid, ever-changing policy for taking on the terror group.

President Obama is too narcissistic to admit that he’s gotten virtually every major foreign policy wrong. It isn’t just that others might’ve done details differently. It’s that they wouldn’t have been foolish enough to offer Russia a reset button or negotiate with Iran, the biggest state sponsor of terror. They definitely wouldn’t have held a Rose Garden press conference to announce that he’d traded 5 top terrorist generals for an American deserter.

Ms. Zito got the ending right:

The majority of Ameri­cans are not behind Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, according to Bloomberg and NBC News polls conducted last week. The fear felt by Americans crosses both parties, and it is not unreasonable. In such a time of crisis or doubt, a president’s purpose is to calm our fears, not to put on a professorial hat and declare, “I am right and you are wrong.”

The fact is, Obama will never change; anytime he is backed into a corner, he not only puts on that professor’s hat but he also blames whatever problem exists on Congress and, inevitably, divides the country still further.

That is not leadership — but it sure is politics.

President Obama failed Leadership 101 in college. That’s why he’s spent the last 7 years as the Divider-in-chief.

Quinnipiac’s latest swing-state polling shows Hillary getting crushed by pretty much every top GOP presidential candidate. Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said “As winter moves into the Rockies, Coloradans say the Democratic front-runner would get bruised and beaten by all the top GOP opponents, and absolutely crushed by Sen. Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson,” adding that a “chilly if not frigid reception for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her second quest for the White House.”

The terrible news for Hillary is that “Colorado voters back any leading Republican contender over Clinton by wide margins.” Rubio leads Clinton 52–36 percent. Carson leads Clinton 52–38 percent. Cruz tops Clinton 51–38 percent. Trump beats Clinton 48–37 percent.

In other bad news for Hillary, “Clinton has the lowest favorability rating of any top candidate in Colorado, a negative 33–61 percent.” The news for Trump is better but Trump “gets a negative 34–58 percent favorability rating.”

Other important findings:

  1. Rubio has the best score for honesty, 58–28 percent, with Sanders at 56–30 percent, Carson at 57–33 percent and Cruz at 50–35 percent.
  2. Carson has the lowest grades for having strong leadership qualities, a divided 45-44 percent, with Sanders at 45–43 percent. Trump leads on leadership, with 58–39 percent, followed by Rubio at 56–30 percent, Cruz at 52–35 percent and Clinton at 51–47 percent.

It’s time people started noticing that Hillary isn’t a top tier candidate like her husband was. She’s just the least objectionable option that the Democrats have this cycle. Voters don’t trust Mrs. Clinton. Voters don’t like her, either. If Mrs. Clinton can’t be competitive in Colorado, which Democrats worked hard for a decade to turn blue, then she’s in serious trouble in the general election.