Archive for the ‘Debates’ Category
The other night at NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum, Hillary Clinton potentially offered a glimpse of her debate performances. She potentially offered that glimpse by twisting herself into a pretzel. HRC is prone to that because she’s caught in an impossible situation. She’s caught in an impossible situation because she’s gotten caught lying about sending and receiving classified emails on her private email server.
The impossible situation started with a question that went like this “As a naval officer, I held a top secret, sensitive compartmentalized information clearance and that provided me access to materials and information that was highly sensitive to our war-fighting capabilities. Had I communicated this information not following prescribed protocols, I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself who were and are trusted with America’s most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security?”
Predictably, Mrs. Clinton started her oratorical gyrations, saying “Well I appreciate your concern and also your experience, but let me try to make the distinctions that I think are important for me to answer your question. First, as I said to Matt, you know and I know, classified material is designated. … And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people in our government to send information that was not marked, there were no headers, there was no statement top secret, secret, or confidential. I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously.”
Mrs. Clinton should consider herself fortunate because she lied with that reply. Classified material is supposed to be protected whether it’s got the markings on it or not. Also, we know from Jim Comey’s testimony that there were emails on Hillary’s server that contained classified material. It’s possible that Mrs. Clinton occasionally used “a wholly separate system” to communicate classified materials but she certainly didn’t use that separate system consistently, much less all the time.
Because she’s caught in that impossible position of defending the indefensible, there’s a high probability that she’ll corkscrew herself into the ground in the debates. Those are the types of replies that might create an election-shifting moment.
Saying that the questions asked at the St. Cloud Area Joint Cities Forum had a leftward tilt to them is understatement. For instance, the first question was “While the legislature accomplished its most basic responsibility of passing a state budget, the last biennium, it does seem that the last 2 years are marked with significant disappointment, including the failure to pass a Tax Bill, no major bonding bill, and continued impasse over transportation. What do you think needs to happen at the legislature to make sure that these other important pieces of legislation get passed?”
If that question sounded like it was written by Rep. Thissen or Gov. Dayton, raise your hands. If you think that question was written by Rep. Thissen, you earned bonus points. He’s specialized in criticizing everything that Speaker Daudt did the past 2 years. That’s because he didn’t like getting cut out of the budget negotiations in 2015. He didn’t like it that Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk put the budget together in an afternoon.
The truth is that the past 2 years produced a bipartisan budget that should’ve gotten signed during the regular session. The only reason why the Tax Bill didn’t get signed into law was because our spoiled rich brat governor vetoed the bill in his attempt to get funding for a SWLRT project that has no chance of happening before the end of the first term of Minnesota’s next governor. The problem with the Tax Bill wasn’t with the legislature. That fault is exclusively with Gov. Dayton, aka Gov. Temper Tantrum.
Here’s another question:
Q3: Local government aid continues to be an important program for restraining property taxes and providing services to residents and businesses at a reasonable cost. For 2017, the LGA formula distributes approximately 66% of all LGA funds to greater Minnesota vs. 34% to the metro area. The LGA appropriations to cities across the state is still $45.5 million less than it was in 2002. Do you support the current LGA formula and would you support an increase in LGA to get back to the 2002 level?
I reject the premise that LGA is “an important program for restraining property taxes.” There’s no proof of that. Why should I accept that premise? The truth is that it’s more likely to increase spending on foolish projects in the Twin Cities than it is to stabilize property taxes.
The truth is that property taxes have increased significantly since the DFL legislature increased LGA and Gov. Dayton signed those increases into law. Here are all 8 questions from the forum:
This month-old article takes on additional importance in light of the new Wikileaks-DNC scandal. The thought that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC has to fight a class action lawsuit is terrible news for Hillary.
According to the article, attorney Jared Beck said “‘The first is a claim for fraud—against the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz—based on the revelations from the recent Guccifer 2.0 documents purportedly taken from the DNC’s own computer network.’ The Guccifer 2.0 documents include internal memos in which the DNC broke legally binding neutrality agreements in the Democratic primaries by strategizing to make Hillary Clinton the nominee before a single vote was cast.”
Think of this as the anything-but-democratic Democratic Party. As I wrote in this post, the more fitting word to describe the DNC is oligarchy. The definition of oligarchy is “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.”
I’m not a legal eagle but this doesn’t sound good for the DNC:
The third claim alleges the DNC and Wasserman Schultz participated in deceptive conduct in claiming the DNC was neutral during the Democratic primaries, when there is overwhelming evidence suggesting favoritism of Clinton from the beginning.
These 19,000 documents make it difficult for the DNC to testify under oath in court that the DNC was neutral. Not only are the documents proof that the DNC wasn’t impartial but it’s proof that they put this plan in motion with the intent of tipping the race to Hillary. This won’t help DWS either:
This isn’t going away any time soon, though CNN and MSNBC are doing their best to minimize its impact.
For years, Iron Range DFLers have fought the environmental activist wing of the DFL over mining. Simply put, the environmental activist wing has pretty much cleaned the Iron Range’s clock on mining issues, at least at state conventions. This year wasn’t any different in that the Iron Range is still treated like second-class citizens by the environmental activists. It’s gotten so bad that defeating an anti-mining resolution is cause for celebration within the Iron Range community.
The Mesabi Daily News editorial notes “Iron Range DFLers and some of their union allies fought a good and successful fight on Saturday to block Resolution 54 that was a flat-out repudiation of mining in Minnesota. We applaud the work of Range legislators, local government and mining industry officials, and building trades representatives statewide who always have our backs. They all did a great job to beat back this resolution — at least for now.”
Preventing bad things from happening is sometimes a victory. Still, it isn’t a victory that improves the Iron Range economy. The Mesabi Daily News gets that:
But to have to keep waging this battle against strident and narrow-minded opponents of mining is simply outrageous. These are the same people who love their cell phones, computers, so-called green energy windmills that kill more birds than do hunters, vehicles with catalytic converters and medical devices that may someday make their lives bearable or perhaps even keep them alive.
Yet when you point out to them that the reason they have these everyday conveniences, and, in some cases luxuries, is because of copper, nickel, and precious metals that will be mined on the Range, they pretend you’re invisible. And then when you add that if mined in China or Russia or in some other countries so blessed to have these minerals, the work will be done by child labor or workers making dirt-poor wages, they get a glazed-over look.
The newspaper then notes something truly monumental:
This is what Range legislators are up against each and every day in St. Paul within their own political party. This is no longer the party of Hubert Humphrey — a giant of a man who fought for workers throughout the state, including on the Iron Range.
He was a man who understood the importance of mining and agriculture to the state and the DFL Party. And he applied common sense to mining and farm issues. Farmers and others who are in agriculture-related business are now also often under fire by DFL extreme environmental activists who lob salvo after political salvo at the Iron Range and its mining interests and workers.
At the 2014 DFL State Convention in Duluth, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin fought hard to prevent a resolution from being debated. That resolution would’ve said that “The DFL supports mining.” It was considered too controversial.
Imagine how this would fly in today’s DFL:
He’d be run out of today’s DFL.
It’s long past time for the Range to flip. The environmental activist wing of the DFL isn’t changing anytime soon. They are who they are, which is a collection of ideologically blinded idiots who won’t listen to logic. Expecting the environmental activist wing of the DFL to change is like hoping Donald Trump will suddenly not be the thin-skinned jerk that he is. The environmental activist wing of the DFL will change the day I see Lucifer handing out skates.
Jonah Goldberg’s article highlights the transition that’s happening within the Republican nominating race. Goldberg rightly highlights the fact that candidates are starting to use reality TV tactics against the reality TV star. Goldberg also highlights the fact that Mr. Trump doesn’t like it when the tactics that he’s used against his opponents are used against him.
When Mr. Goldberg wrote about shows like Survivor, The Bachelor and The Apprentice, he said that “in many of these shows, the game is played the same way: Groups form alliances. Sometimes these alliances are formal, often they are tacit and voluntary — but they are all temporary.” Then he said “Trump has been playing the game all along, and now that he’s ahead, he doesn’t think anyone should be allowed to change their tactics to beat him.”
It isn’t surprising that Mr. Trump doesn’t like having his tactics turned against him. That’s because Mr. Trump doesn’t like losing. That’s tough. It isn’t required that he like having the tables turned on himself.
The race has hit a potential tipping point. If Trump wins Ohio and Florida, he’ll be the GOP nominee. After last night’s debate, it isn’t as likely to go Trump as it was the night of Super Tuesday. That’s partially because John Kasich had a solid performance, partially because Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz beat up on Trump last night.
Further complicating matters is the #NeverTrump movement on Twitter. It would be deliciously ironic if Twitter took down the Twitter gutter snipe. In state after state, politicians and conservative activists are putting together a movement that’s opposing Mr. Trump. They’re saying that they’ll never vote for Trump, even if he’s the GOP nominee. That gives activists in the upcoming states a base of support to vote for the Republican not named Trump with the most support in that state.
In Florida, that means the #NeverTrump forces should rally to Sen. Rubio. In Ohio, they should support John Kasich. The first goal of the movement is to deny Trump a first ballot victory at the Republican National Convention. The next goal is to pick a candidate that Republicans can unite around.
Trump’s supporters won’t like it if he’s denied the nomination but that’s tough. At this point, we should admit that the GOP won’t be a portrait in family harmony. The good news is that they don’t need to be. The GOP won’t be running against a juggernaut. They’ll be running against Hillary Clinton, who is a mediocre candidate.
I won’t predict that #NeverTrump will tip the nomination in the direction of Cruz, Kasich or Rubio. I will say, however, that it isn’t the longshot that Charles Krauthammer and Laura Ingraham think it is. It doesn’t help Trump that he’s constantly changing positions on important policies. In this instance, he changed his position on H-1B visas twice in a night:
I could write a lengthy article filled with multiple attacks that Sen. Rubio hit Mr. Trump with but I won’t do that here. I did that in this article. I could write about Sen. Rubio hitting Trump with a health care haymaker. I won’t do that because that’s what this article is about. (I am tempted, though, because Sen. Rubio hit Trump so hard on Trump’s answer so hard Trump’s great grandkids will be born with a concussion.)
I could provide links to the various articles out there that talk about how Rubio and Cruz tag-teamed Trump, after which Trump whined that he got too many questions from the moderators. (Yes, that really happened.) Instead of doing those things, I’ll just post this picture because it says it all:
That picture shoots Trump’s criticism that Rubio was sweating all to hell:
“It looked like he just came out of a swimming pool. He was soaking wet,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “He’s a meltdown guy. I mean I look at him, he’s just pouring sweat. … We need somebody that doesn’t sweat.”
Trump would be fun to play poker against. He’s got tons of tells. One thing that’s clear after tonight is that he gets rattled when people question his understanding of issues. The minute that Rubio and Cruz ripped on him, he became unhinged. He started making wild accusations. When the camera panned out, Trump’s posture was terrible, what with his jaw jutting out, his nose in the air.
While Rubio and Cruz both had strong nights, Rubio’s performance was the strongest. He taunted Trump and laughed while he watched Trump disintegrate. At one point, Trump looked like a patient who hadn’t taken his medication for a few days.
The important thing for Cruz and Rubio to do is to keep taunting Trump. Questioning his policies clearly got under Mr. Trump’s skin, too. It exposed him as an empty suit, something that hadn’t been done to this extent prior to last night’s debate.
One other thing that I’ll talk about is Trump’s insistence that he’s pro-Israel. Here’s what Trump said and Sen. Rubio’s response:
TRUMP: I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying, “I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage.” But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.
RUBIO: I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible.
And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.
Apparently, Trump hasn’t figured it out that the Palestinians are terrorists yet. That’s stunning. Not taking sides between Israel and the Palestinians is taking the terrorists’ side.
Finally, Rubio made this great point:
A couple points, number one, I do think it’s amazing that on this stage tonight there are two descendants of Cuban origin, and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democratic party.
Technorati: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Opposition Research, Donald Trump, Trump Towers, Illegal Immigration, Obamacare, Israel, Republicans, Election 2016
This morning, Byron York tweeted that Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz were fighting each other and that this fight was happening in The Donald’s shadow. That statement would’ve been true a month ago. It was still true 2 weeks ago. It isn’t true anymore.
During Thursday night’s debate, Sen. Rubio emerged from Trump’s shadow, thanks in part to Trump’s decision to skip the debate because he was too petulant to tolerate being asked questions by Megyn Kelly. (I suspect he didn’t appear because he didn’t want to give Ms. Kelly the opportunity to prove she’s a great journalist. If Megyn asked him some tough, fair questions, then he couldn’t credibly tell his sycophants on Twitter that she’s a terrible journalist anymore.)
During the debate, GOP activists learned nothing negative about Sen. Rubio. They were reminded that he was part of the Gang of Eight bill, which everyone knew. Admittedly, Sen. Rubio took a couple hits. Still, Cruz came out of that exchange the worse for wear because Sen. Paul, Sen. Rubio and Ms. Kelly exposed Sen. Cruz as a fraud on being the only flawless politician on immigration. They proved that he played games in an attempt to have it both ways.
The thing that lifted Sen. Rubio out of Mr. Trump’s shadow, though, was his turning his fire outward towards Mrs. Clinton with laser-like precision. He especially hit her hard when he ridiculed her for saying she’d appoint President Obama to the Supreme Court. Sen. Rubio hit Hillary hard when he said she was disqualified for lying to the families of the men who died in Benghazi.
The thing that capped Sen. Rubio’s coming out party was his appeals to lead America into a new “American Century.” That’s something his opponents on stage haven’t talked about. That’s something that Mr. Trump has only paid lip service to. Make America Great is Trump’s slogan but his stump speeches are mostly him praising himself and reciting his big leads in polls. Nobody in their right mind thinks that Trump has a clue about implementing public policies that will get America’s economy humming again. Mr. Trump had a casino go bankrupt while the economy was going well. Think about that. Bankrupting a casino takes some doing. The deck is stacked against the players.
Despite the inherent advantage of being the house, Mr. Trump’s casino went bankrupt. We’re now supposed to trust him in getting the U.S. economy going? That’s rich. Sen. Rubio has outline a series of reforms that will help the private sector turn the economy around.
Tim Carney’s article is worthwhile reading. People ready to anoint Trump the winner in Iowa should consider this:
TRUMP’S LEAD IS VULNERABLE TO TURNOUT WEAKNESS
Trump’s lead is five points in this survey, that’s smaller than other recent surveys. It is widely assumed Ted Cruz will have a strong turnout operation (which is more crucial in caucus states than in primary states), and that Donald Trump will have a weak one. If these assumptions are true, that five point lead should be considered a tie — especially given the 4.4 percent margin of error in the poll.
The other thing that can’t be ignored is the fact that there’s lots of people who are still persuadable:
Trump supporters and Cruz supporters are less persuadable, more committed than average voters — 71 percent and 62 percent respectively, say their mind is made up.
If these figures are accurate, that means 8% of Trump’s supporters are persuadable. It also means that 9% of Sen. Cruz’s supporters are persuadable. (It doesn’t say what percentage of Rubio supporters are persuadable so I can’t make that calculation.) Carney puts things this way:
RUBIO HAS THE MOST UPSIDE POTENTIAL
Rubio wins on the second-choice contest, with 20 percent to Cruz’s 17 percent (Trump is in 4th place with 7 percent).
This is anyone’s race, with Trump and Cruz having the advantage going into the last full day of campaigning.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has more egg on her face now that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have agreed to do 4 more debates. Though the details of the agreement are still being worked out, what’s clear is that Ms. Wasserman-Schultz’s iron-fisted statement that there would be 6 debates was thrown under the proverbial bus. This just additional proof that Ms. Wasserman-Schultz has lost control of the party she supposedly leads.
When the article starts by saying “If the Democratic National Committee were to sanction a Democratic debate on Feb. 4 in New Hampshire, it would likely do so without being co-sponsored by the state’s largest newspaper, three sources familiar with the plans have confirmed,” that’s stating the DNC has essentially lost control. Ms. Wasserman-Schultz’s past statements can now be hung around her neck. She fought for keeping a lid on the debates.
Now that Hillary’s in trouble, Hillary wants additional debates. Sen. Sanders agreed but only if it was expanded to multiple debates. Mrs. Clinton wanted a single debate right before the New Hampshire Primary. Here’s a hint for Hillary. Additional debates might help in the short-term but they won’t help save her from the fact that she’s a terrible candidate.
In the days leading into the Iowa Caucuses, though, Sen. Cruz has taken to telling fanciful things that don’t have anything to do with the truth.
In Ringsted, IA, Sen. Cruz told people “If you look, in particular, at President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, Marco Rubio’s gone on Univision and said, ‘No, no, no. I wouldn’t rescind amnesty.’” That isn’t spin. That’s an outright lie that Sen. Cruz should apologize for telling. Further, Sen. Cruz might be a world-class debater but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a dictionary. Sen. Cruz needs a dictionary because he apparently doesn’t know (perhaps he doesn’t care?) about the definition of amnesty. The definition of amnesty is a “general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction; Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole; or a forgetting or overlooking of any past offense.”
I know Sen. Cruz enjoys employing inflammatory, misleading, rhetoric in making his case. Unfortunately, his fidelity to the truth isn’t a high priority. He’s got a history of insisting that he’s the purest of the pure, the noblest of the noble, the man who stops one step short of being able to walk on water.
Bill O’Reilly interviewed Sen. Rubio last night. Here’s what Sen. Rubio supports:
- Building the 700-mile wall on the US-Mexican border
- Implement E-Verify and build the wall before any discussion about what to do with illegal aliens already here
- Hire 20,000 new border agents
- anyone with a criminal background are deported.
Sen. Rubio hasn’t denied being part of the Gang of Eight legislation. His argument has always been that Sen. Cruz has said he’d support legalization.
Sen. Cruz is likely resorting to this heated rhetoric because Sen. Rubio is gaining momentum in Iowa.
Reuters’ debate analysis sounds either like a paid Trump ad or it was written by an alien from another solar system. Their article starts by saying “Even in boycotting a debate with his Republican rivals, front-runner Donald Trump managed to upstage the event on Thursday with a typical dramatic flourish.”
My initial response is “Seriously”? Wow. It gets worse from there, with Reuters’ team of reporters throwing accuracy to the wind when they wrote “Instead of attending a seventh debate, the former reality TV star held a competing event across town that he said raised $6 million for U.S. military veterans. In doing so, he cast a shadow over his rivals, who frequently tossed barbs his way.”
I watched the debate. The candidates didn’t frequently toss barbs his direction. There were a half dozen mentions of him. That’s hardly frequent in a 2-hour debate. The accurate adjective in this instance is sparse, not frequent.
Further, Trump’s absence made for the best, most substantive debate of the cycle. Sen. Cruz summed it up best when responding to Megyn Kelly’s question about the “elephant that’s not in the room” when he said “Let me say, I’m a maniac, and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon. Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way,” he finished to laughter.”
Otherwise, Mr. Trump was an afterthought at best. This statement is just wrong:
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas and Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, the two top challengers to Trump in Iowa, engaged in squabbles over immigration and national security and did not appear to threaten Trump’s lead. He holds the edge over Cruz in polls of Iowa Republicans.
The polls actually show Trump and Cruz virtually tied. The Monmouth University poll that shows Trump with a 7-point lead is based on a turnout model that’s more fantasy than scientific. Further, let’s stipulate that Trump’s most loyal supporters aren’t going anywhere. They simply aren’t. The latest Quinnipiac poll, though, shows 39% of Republican caucusgoers might still change their minds. They aren’t likely to break in Trump’s direction.
Reuters needs to discipline these reporters because their reporting is woefully inaccurate.