- Saturday Caucus Results: Cruzing to Victory? (Updated Periodically)
- Does Hillary Clinton Stand for Anything?
- Does Donald Trump Stand for Anything?
- A word from Edmund Burke
- Live from Omaha, it’s Bill Clinton
|Saturday Caucus Results: Cruzing to Victory? (Updated Periodically)
Posted: 05 Mar 2016 01:16 PM PST
The caucuses have concluded in Kansas (2 pm local time) and the votes are starting to come in. Cruz has an early large lead, and given his campaign’s emphasis on organizing in caucus states I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win big there.
There’s one report in Twitter that someone has called it for Cruz already, but I can’t seem to confirm this elsewhere. Here’s one local news link that supposedly will update the Kansas numbers.
|Does Hillary Clinton Stand for Anything?
Posted: 05 Mar 2016 10:05 AM PST
Well if John can ask about Trump, why not ask the same question about Hillary. And the answer is: Yes—she believes in advancing Hillary Clinton. I’m sure deep down inside she’s still the Alinsky-loving leftist she was as a college student, but like her priapic husband she cares most about her own power and status, which means she’ll “triangulate” any way she has to in order to maintain political support and popularity. (Unlike Obama, who is willing to risk being unpopular to advance his cause.) A few leftists understand this, as someone named Russ Belville explains at the Puffington Host.
After listing 25 supposedly Republican positions that Hillary has backed, Belville says:
Why would we vote for Hillary Clinton, the Rockefeller Republican who exemplifies every one of those 25 statements?
If Donald Trump wins the presidency over Hillary Clinton, it’s not the fault of people like me who won’t vote for Republicans. It’s the fault of the Democratic Party for nominating a Republican. For me, the horror of a four-year Trump term is less frightening than cementing in the Far Right / Center Right corporate duopoly in American politics created since Hillary’s husband sold out Democratic principles on welfare, crime, race, labor, trade, drugs, and media. . .
But since Bill Clinton came up with his “Third Way”, our politics have become the party of Wall Street and Tech vs. the party of Wall Street and Oil. Bill Clinton’s “the end of big government as we know it” and “3 strikes and you’re out” policies drove a stake through any semblance of the Democratic Party representing the needs of the poor and voiceless. . .
Hillary Clinton is to the right of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, for gawdsakes!
To the extent that there is some truth to this hall-of-mirrors account of the world, it does mean that Hillary and Trump could run from the opposite side of each other. Trump could point out to union households and minorities that it was Clintons who supported NAFTA, de-regulating banks, cutting welfare, cutting the capital gains tax, making Fannie Mae a hotbed of cronyism, tough sentencing laws that hurt minorities, etc. Hillary presents a target rich environment for a demagogue like Trump. (And that’s before he gets started on putting Bill-the-Rapist back in charge of White House interns.)
Belville thinks it would be better to elect Trump instead, because Elizabeth Warren!
Remember the tale of frogs in the pot of water? You turn the heat up slowly and they’ll boil to death, but put them in an already boiling pot and they’ll hop out. Donald Trump is the boiling pot and Hillary Clinton is the slow heat. A President Trump in 2016 equals a President Warren in 2020. A President Clinton in 2016 equals a re-elected Clinton in 2020 and the next milquetoast Obama-like speechifier in 2024 who abandons all his talk the minute he’s inaugurated…
I’m sure there’s a 12-step program we can find for Mr. Belville, but for the moment this is fun to contemplate. It’s not just the Right that is having a nervous breakdown at the moment.
|Does Donald Trump Stand for Anything?
Posted: 05 Mar 2016 07:16 AM PST
As a candidate, Donald Trump is much like the Barack Obama of 2008. He has never held office, and thus has no record. He is free to spin out opinions and policies without the constraint of ever having had to make decisions. At the same time, like Obama, Trump is prone to airy generalizations and confusing formulations. To put it more bluntly, half the time it is a struggle to figure out what he is trying to say. This allows viewers to project upon Trump whatever views they themselves hold, just as they did with Obama.
There is, however, one topic on which Trump’s fans were convinced that he held firm views: immigration. This was always an illusion. Few Trump supporters ever read the section on immigration on Trump’s web site and noted that he was actually quite squishy. He wanted to deport millions of Mexican citizens, and then let almost all of them back in. Huh? And, while Trump loved to talk about illegal immigration, he rarely said much about the far larger problems associated with our system of legal immigration.
Given all of that, it shouldn’t have been a shock when Trump flip-flopped on what was supposedly his signature issue. But to many, it was. Byron York charts Trump’s whiplash-inducing 180 on H-1B visas:
[P]eople who follow immigration closely were stunned Thursday night when Trump, at the Fox News debate here in Detroit, announced that he has changed his position on one key element of the immigration debate — the use of H-1B visas to bring skilled foreign workers into the United States.
In the distant past — say, yesterday — Trump focused on abuses in the system, in which some big companies have been caught using H-1Bs to bring in foreign workers, force American employees to train their own replacements, and then pay the foreign worker less than the American had made — all to do mostly routine jobs in the tech industry. …
In Detroit, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly pointed out that Trump’s campaign website has a strong statement against increasing the number of H-1Bs, saying it would “decimate American workers,” and yet in one debate Trump spoke favorably of the program. “So, which is it?” Kelly asked.
“I’m changing,” Trump said. “I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in. But, and we do need in Silicon Valley, we absolutely have to have.”
“So you are abandoning the position on your website?” asked Kelly.
“I’m changing it,” Trump said, “and I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.”
If Donald Trump doesn’t stand for opposition to unchecked immigration, legal and illegal, does he stand for anything? I don’t think so. I think it has become clear, if it hasn’t been all along, that his appeal is of the same mindless sort that we associate with Latin American dictators: “He’s tough, dammit!” Yeah, well, those guys may be tough–on their political opponents, anyway–but that sort of toughness doesn’t avail when the inflation rate gets to around 700%.
I am not suggesting that Trump would try to seize dictatorial power if he were elected. He wouldn’t. At worst, he would issue unconstitutional orders, like Obama. (The difference is that Obama knows when he is acting illegally, while Trump, who thinks judges sign “bills,” would more likely do it out of ignorance.) The point is that the impulse known as Trumpism is essentially the same as that which has given rise to long cycles of failed dictators in much of Latin America. It is a sign, in other words, of a democracy that is much degraded from what the United States has traditionally enjoyed.
|A word from Edmund Burke
Posted: 05 Mar 2016 05:22 AM PST
In the spirit of Steve Hayward’s occasional blasts from the past, I offer these words that have been going around in my head over the past week:
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
From Edmund Burke’s Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (May 1791).
|Live from Omaha, it’s Bill Clinton
Posted: 05 Mar 2016 04:05 AM PST
The Clinton death march back to the White House continues. Appearing in advance of the Nebraska caucuses today, Bill Clinton campaigned yesterday on behalf of Madam Hillary in Omaha and Lincoln. The Clinton death march back to the White House continues. The Omaha World-Herald reports here. Clinton also campaigned in Lincoln. The Lincoln Journal Star report is here. Omaha attorney David Begley reports from Omaha below. I have taken the liberty of adding a brief editorial note:
Nebraska must matter if former President Bill Clinton made a last-minute appearance in Omaha yesterday. Senator Bernie Sanders appeared in Lincoln on Thursday and drew a crowd of 2,500. The amount of Sanders’ support in Nebraska is not apparent other than the fact that the head of the anti-Keystone XL group Bold Nebraska endorsed Bernie.
The event was held at a music venue in the now revitalized and hip Benson neighborhood. To give readers some context, Benson is one-half mile from Warren Buffett’s grade school, on the same street I lived for a decade. It is also just up the street from where Justice Thomas married my law school classmate Ginni Lamp.
This was my second time around seeing him in person. My general impression this time was that he presents himself as a genial, very thin, grey-haired grandfather who just happens to be the impeached former president and current leader of a corrupt global foundation. He gave the crowd some personal details. He first met Hillary Rodham 45 years ago this month. She also twice (!) rejected his marriage proposal. Think about how different history would be if he had not proposed a third time.
I saw Bill Clinton before the Iowa caucuses and my report is here. His pitch to Nebraska voters was that his wife is “a change maker” who gets things done. Hillary also “sees everyone” and she will put “everyone in the picture.” We need to work together, as John Kasich says.
He discussed domestic agenda items. Free college. Refinanced student debt. Big infrastructure spending which now apparently includes all new water pipes across the country, given the avoidable errors in Flint, Michigan. Dodd-Frank is a great piece of reform legislation other than the fact that community banks should not now be subject to it and non-bank financials are currently exempt. Hedge funds would be regulated in a Hillary Clinton administration but I imagine her son-in-law’s hedge fund would be exempt.
In Madam Hillary’s regime companies that leave the United States for corporate tax inversions would be subject to an exit tax, but wouldn’t it be smarter to reduce all corporate taxes so companies wouldn’t want to leave in the first place?
Climate change was identified as the way “we can all make a fortune.” By this he apparently meant the tax subsidies to his soon to be rich friends who supply the infrastructure of the renewables industry. In an odd note, the wind and solar installations will be placed on Indian reservations. There must be some kind of deal going on there.
Clinton conceded that the electorate was angry. But it is not Obama’s fault! According to Bill it takes a least ten years to recover from the recession we had. With Madam Hillary in charge, incomes will go up and all dreams will come true.
The only mention of foreign policy was that there was apparently some kind of agreement wherein it was decided that there would be no future big land wars in the Middle East and that our only method in attacking our enemies would be via special forces in conjunction with the vaunted armies of our Middle East allies.
The crowd was enthusiastic but not like the rowdy GOP crowd in Detroit on Thursday. When the former president gave an impassioned plea of “we can do this,” it flopped.
His only reference to the GOP debate was that it reached “new heights of whatever.”
SCOTT adds this editorial note to Dave’s report: Did Clinton mention his own support for repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act during his presidency? I don’t think he did. Did he mention his own support for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, exempting credit-default swaps from regulation? I don’t think he did. Did he mention his administration’s use of the Community Reinvestment Act to pressure banks to make bad loans? I don’t think he did. Did he mention his effort to reduce mortgage lending standards through HUD’s 1994 National Homeownership Strategy, published at his request? I don’t think he did. To the extent history conflicts with current Democratic Party talking points and articles of faith, history is not his bag. He won’t stop thinking about the future.