Things That Make You Go Hmmm

The Cruz-Carson dust up is still causing controversy. Don’t miss the last line of this story.

From Breitbart:

A lot has been made about a CNN report that claimed Dr. Ben Carson was going to suspend his campaign immediately following the Iowa caucuses, one that was pushed by the Ted Cruz team.

Both Cruz and Carson talked about the ordeal in length at the eighth GOP debate.

Now it’s being said that Cruz asked Carson for a private meeting during a break in the action to discuss the situation in further detail.

“He said he’s sorry that this happened and he wants to sit down and talk,” Carson said in an interview with The Washington Post. “He wants to discuss the whole thing and clear the air.”

The retired neurosurgeon said he mostly listened when his Republican rival approached him on stage but did agree to hear Cruz out in the coming days. They did not set a date.

“To be determined,” Carson said when asked where they may meet. “Doesn’t matter.”

I’m sure the two men will be discussing the CNN story, but what else could they possibly talk about?

Interesting.

Something to keep in mind: all of Carson’s paid Super PAC staffers in New Hampshire quit his campaign and joined up with Cruz.

Really!

Who Won the Debate?

How important are these debates that are held on a Saturday night? Probably not very. Die hard sports fans are watching their teams and people are going out. And it was too long. Three hours? The attention span of even the most absorbed of us begins to lessen after an hour and a half. Plus, we’ve had so many of them it’s painful to have to watch another. The Super Bowl is tomorrow and that will be the topic for most Americans today and tomorrow.

Perhaps the people of New Hampshire are listening, but most may just take the word of the Sunday show hosts and vote accordingly.

I always feel it is better to go to the source and judge yourself than to rely on pundits.

Writing that probably disqualifies the impressions I am about to share, but here goes.
We had to put up with 15 minutes of chit chat before the debate with the likes of Bill Cristol (ugh), Matthew Dowd (whaat?), Cokie Roberts (hasn’t her expiration date been hit years ago?), Donna Brazile (why?), George Stephanapoulus (Clinton’s pal) and Jonathan Karl (hmm).

What was the matter with ABC? The candidates were announced, but evidently couldn’t hear their names. They didn’t do it alphabetically, so what gives? It left Dr. Carson standing there, waiting to be called. Trump was called, but stood by Carson, which was a decent thing to do. He got more face time that way, too. They almost skipped John Kasich. ABC are you that unprofessional or totally skewed?

The first hour set the tone. The first question was asked of Trump, concerning presidential temperament. Trump managed to be calm and deliver all his talking points – that he brought up immigration, the Chinese and that he had good relationships with people he deals with.

Cruz got the same question and he went off on a tangent. Trump nailed him for not answering the question. Cruz kept tapping on his desk which was an annoying habit. He still didn’t have an answer.

Then moderator David Muir queried Carson about the Iowa shenanigans regarding the caucuses and the Cruz people broadcasting that Carson was out. He finessed it, first by referencing his name not being called out on stage a few minutes before, then referenced Ronald Reagan and his 11th commandment Thou Shalt Not Attack Other Republicans. He looked classy.
Cruz got asked about it and apologized. He threw the blame on CNN being the one to announce that Carson was quitting. Carson disputed that, saying there was only one minute’s difference in CNN’s announcement and the Cruz tweet to precinct captains. Cruz was not believable. Some say it threw him off his game and he never recovered.

Then Muir asked Rubio what his accomplishments have been, since new endorser Rick Santorum had been unable to name some – twice. Amazingly Rubio launched into this tirade against Obama wanting to transform the U.S. He had obviously rehearsed this answer, but it was a poor one. Chris Christie called him on it and shot him down. That’s the difference between governors and senators, he said. Rubio hadn’t had to make tough decisions. It’s not leadership, it’s truancy, Christie said, zinging him well.

Rubio then attacked Christie, saying New Jersey’s debt had led to downgrades for the state and returned to bashing Obama. Rubio looked abashed. It wasn’t a good night for him. He looked particularly young and inexperienced.

Jeb Bush got a few questions, but he looked like Mr. Super Establishment Guy. Trump reinforced that with this exchange:

It was an important moment. Quite a few have commented on it, reflecting this sentiment from facebook, “most importantly he (Trump) did point out something that a lot of people watching at home didn’t know – these debate audiences are most often filled with donors, lobbyists, special interest groups, RNC-approved tickets are given out, etc. I recall someone asking me why a Jeb Bush polling in single digits seems to always have so many supporters at these debates. Now you know. Trump actually tried to get tix for some of his regular folks supporters and the RNC told him no.

It’s been that way for years and has always p*ssed me off. The RNC should give up a 100 tix or so in a lottery style for local voters in the location the debate is taking place. It won’t do that though for fear it can’t control the tone of the debate audience.”

Agreed.

I wonder why we are doing this again. Have any of their views changed since the first debate? Do they have anything to add? You can’t do it in a one minute reply. Better to look at their websites.

Supporters will find something good about their candidate no matter what they said or the pundits say. However, it was pretty clear Rubio looked green and Christie may have helped himself. He came on strong as did Trump. Cruz and Carson didn’t distinguish themselves, although had Carson been given more questions, he might have done better.

Tuesday the people of New Hampshire will vote and we may have a clearer view then of the state of the race, particularly since Iowa does it caucus thing and that was subject to some oddities.

Debate Tonight

Even though the RNC told us it would cut back on debates this presidential cycle, they keep rolling on. No one know if they matter or if they only serve to batter our candidates and provide ammunition for the Democrat opponent. I believe the latter.

So we’ll have another one tonight on ABC.

There have been interesting developments since the last one, which, incidentally, Fox News crowed about but which was down 50% from their first one.

Donald Trump will be there tonight, and he should have ample ammunition with which to attack his rivals. Cruz should get hit big time for his underhanded dirty tricks at the precincts. Perhaps both Trump and Dr. Carson will get mileage out of it.

Cruz will probably say he didn’t know anything about it. The gullible will believe that. Of course he knew! He probably planned it as he is not a stupid man. Plus, he had to win Iowa or he would erode his support.

Rubio will come in for some beatings, too. Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, who helped him get elected to his Florida senatorial seat, has publicly flayed him. She told World Net Daily: “Once he got elected, he betrayed us all. He said he was against amnesty and against the establishment. And once he got in, right away, he became an agent of the establishment. And now, of course, he’s big for amnesty and letting all the illegal immigrants in. He betrayed us a number of times on that issue.”

Schlafly said she was startled at the magnitude of Rubio’s “betrayal” on amnesty.

“It was so public.”

Rand Paul has unloaded on him and Rick Santorum, who bowed out of the race has endorsed him. However, he didn’t do the Florida senator any good by appearing twice on TV unable to list a single accomplishment Rubio has had in the Senate.

I might question Cruz on the same topic.

Sorry, Mario, but like Schlafly, many of us don’t have selective amnesia.

Chris Christie has gone a bridge too far with his latest remarks, threatening New Hampshire. The Washington Times reports: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a stark warning here Friday, telling New Hampshire voters that their beloved first-in-the-nation primary status will be in jeopardy if they make the wrong choices in Tuesday’s contest.

“Mr. Christie has invested more time in New Hampshire than most of his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, but he is running near the back of the pack in polls — stoking speculation that his campaign would be derailed by a poor showing here.

“’I will tell you this, if you reward people who don’t spend time here, no one is going to spend any time here, and the first-in-the-nation primary could be at risk,’ Mr. Christie said. ‘I am telling you right now.'”

Is he making them an offer they can’t refuse? I doubt that will go over well.

Jeb Bush has faded in the debates when Donald Trump was present. He’s recently been reduced to dragging his 90 year old mama on the campaign trail. He’s also been using brother W in his efforts. Probably a mistake, as that just reinforces the public’s problem with dynastic government.

Reports say Trump has been preparing for this debate more than the others. That could be a good or bad thing. He needs to let his inner Trump prevail as that is what people most respond to.

I ignore Kasich and Fiorina, who just never caught on. They will probably equip themselves well, unless Kasich brings up his populist post man padre topic.

We’ll see.

For all of us the best thing is to watch the debate ourselves and turn off all the commentary. Not a one of them knows the outcome and each one has a candidate to promote. It’s just a big waste of time.

Alarming News from Europe

Remember how President Obama wants to increase the amount of Syrian refugees coming into our country? And yesterday, Drudge headlined that our southern border agents have been told to turn a blind eye to people hopping the border.

Funny, it hasn’t worked out so well in Europe, particularly Germany where Angela Merkel has taken Obama’s tactic of opening Germany to refugees.

From Jim Hoft at Gatewaypundit:

Thousands of Europeans have left home to join the Caliphate over the past two years.

European police officials were told in September there were around 50,000 Europeans fighting with ISIS.

An ISIS operative in November revealed the terror group had successfully smuggled thousands of covert jihadists into Europe.

The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had been smuggled into western nations.

Today the German spy agency BfV admitted ISIS has sent fighters into Europe disguised as refugees.
Reuters reported:

Islamic State militants have slipped into Europe disguised as refugees, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) said on Friday, a day after security forces thwarted a potential IS attack in Berlin.

Hans-Georg Maassen said the terrorist attacks in Paris last November had shown that Islamic State was deliberately planting terrorists among the refugees flowing into Europe.

“Then we have repeatedly seen that terrorists … have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing,” Maassen told ZDF television.

A Personal Look at the Donald

Elaine Ervin
Elaine Ervin

Elaine Ervin has experienced what it means to come in contact with Donald J. Trump.

The Trump supporter told a personal story last night at the Midtown Republican Club meeting that told a lot about what the real tycoon is like.

“When my husband was retiring from the military we decided to celebrate. We went to the Taj Mahal and had seen Donald Trump. We had a special deal on a room for $66 a night. When we got there we were told “our suite wasn’t ready yet.” The Ervins thought that was odd, but their luggage was taken up to the room. “We walked into our room and it was a luxury suite! It was beautiful, big and every button you pushed, something happened. We were told it was a suite to say ‘thank you for serving in the military.'”

“Now that was in 1995,” she continued, “long before he ran for president he believed in helping veterans.” She sent him a thank you note and recently, when she met him again on the campaign trail, told him about this. “I told him he probably didn’t read my thank you note,” Elaine continued, “so I thanked him again. He said, ‘I should have done more.'”

Mrs. Ervin said “He’s the best person to have as a friend and the best father.” She says his daughter, Ivanka, tells the story of her struggle with some math she was having. “She walked into his office, and even though he was busy with others, Trump put them on hold, saying ‘I have to help my daughter.’ “This is the kind of person he is.”

Of course, she has other, substantive reasons to support Trump.

“Donald Trump is the only person with a big enough mind to turn this country around. We have to have someone to balance the budget and get us out of debt.

“He’s strong against ISIS. That makes me very happy as a retired military wife. I’ve seen too many give their lives. Right now we’re not doing anything that protects Americans. There’s no one running who cares as much as he does.

“Trump is as strong on the second amendment. Right now he can’t carry because he has Secret Service protection. I know he hates that. He likes to go hunting with Eric and Donald Jr.”

Ervin said that Friday, February 5, the state director for the Trump campaign will be at the Butcher Shop at 11 to stump for Trump. It is open to any interested party.

How Cruz Won

Something was gnawing on me about Ted Cruz ever since he announced he was running for president. There was a lingering unease for me about him. The other day I ran across a bit of information that was the “ah hah” moment. Someone mentioned that Cruz originally had wanted to be an actor.

Bingo! That was it for me. He has never seemed completely himself when on the stage. That, and the Elmer Gantry/Jim and Tammy Faye preacher vibe I get when watching him.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up around preachers that I don’t feel comfortable with the lifting up and Bible verses spouted easily by anyone. I prefer a more private method of communing with God.

Anyhow, that just goes to show that Cruz accomplished a lot with this persona. That he’s not really that way surfaced in some dirty tricks to obtain that victory he did.

Thegatewaypundit.com said

Disgusting.
The Cruz camp is slandering Donald Trump tonight at the GOP caucuses.

The Cruz precinct captain Tim Osborne smeared Trump tonight in Des Moines saying Trump was for abortion and amnesty just six months ago.
Six months ago Donald Trump was already running for president.
And he’s reading his talking points.

It looks like the Cruz folks will stop at nothing.
Sad.

Fortune adds that

The Carson camp claimed Cruz’s team spread false rumors at caucus sites that Carson had dropped out.

Ben Carson was incensed as the results of Monday night’s Iowa caucuses rolled in, accusing the winner of spreading falsehoods about him at caucus sites.

Carson’s team claimed that Cruz’s campaign deliberately sent emails to supporters to spread false rumors at caucus sites that Carson had dropped out, so his supporters would caucus for other candidates.

“That is really quite a dirty trick,” Carson said speaking to reporters at the end of the evening. “That’s the very kind of thing that irritated me enough to get into this quagmire.”

“To have campaigns come out and send emails to their caucus speakers suggesting that Dr. Carson was doing anything but moving forward after tonight is the lowest of low in American politics,” said Carson campaign manager Ed Brookover.

And from Talking Points Memo:

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin wondered Monday if Rep. Steve King (R-IA) had been “huffing ethanol” when he said Donald Trump bought Palin’s endorsement.

King, who’s endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), suggested earlier Monday on MNSBC that Palin had been bought off, saying that Trump had wooed her with “assets” and “resources.”

Palin responded to the charge while introducing Trump at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“It’s dirty business but why would a conservative guy want to say something that he knows isn’t true?” Palin asked the crowd. “Maybe he’s forgotten some of his heart in the heartland. Maybe he’s been hanging out in a corn field too long huffing ethanol.”

This was a must win for Cruz. Looks like he did everything possible to ensure it, along with sending out scare letters to his caucus leaders giving them an F for not showing up. He also invoked “the body of Christ” in talking to his supporters, as if he is the only way to ensure Christianity and that he has the backing of Jesus.

He’s now opened the door to a lot of ammunition coming his way.

Revolting

Why are so many experts confused?

The popularity of Trump is so much more than one candidate. If it were, it would be as if the whole 60s revolution only meant people really liked Eugene McCarthy, he lost and they went about their business.

No. It was way beyond that and so is this. There is a cry for change in this country and it will not be denied, no matter how much Fox News, National Review, the RNC or talk radio, with the exception of Rush Limbaugh, try to explain and brush it away.

People are mad and upset. People on our side of the political spectrum feel had and as a result, they’ve had it.

Of all people, Tucker Carlson grasped this and expressed it well in this recent article in Politico.

He Exists Because You Failed

American presidential elections usually amount to a series of overcorrections: Clinton begat Bush, who produced Obama, whose lax border policies fueled the rise of Trump. In the case of Trump, though, the GOP shares the blame, and not just because his fellow Republicans misdirected their ad buys or waited so long to criticize him. Trump is in part a reaction to the intellectual corruption of the Republican Party. That ought to be obvious to his critics, yet somehow it isn’t.

Consider the conservative nonprofit establishment, which seems to employ most right-of-center adults in Washington. Over the past 40 years, how much donated money have all those think tanks and foundations consumed? Billions, certainly. (Someone better at math and less prone to melancholy should probably figure out the precise number.) Has America become more conservative over that same period? Come on. Most of that cash went to self-perpetuation: Salaries, bonuses, retirement funds, medical, dental, lunches, car services, leases on high-end office space, retreats in Mexico, more fundraising. Unless you were the direct beneficiary of any of that, you’d have to consider it wasted.

Pretty embarrassing. And yet they’re not embarrassed. Many of those same overpaid, underperforming tax-exempt sinecure-holders are now demanding that Trump be stopped. Why? Because, as his critics have noted in a rising chorus of hysteria, Trump represents “an existential threat to conservatism.”

Let that sink in. Conservative voters are being scolded for supporting a candidate they consider conservative because it would be bad for conservatism? And by the way, the people doing the scolding? They’re the ones who’ve been advocating for open borders, and nation-building in countries whose populations hate us, and trade deals that eliminated jobs while enriching their donors, all while implicitly mocking the base for its worries about abortion and gay marriage and the pace of demographic change. Now they’re telling their voters to shut up and obey, and if they don’t, they’re liberal.

It turns out the GOP wasn’t simply out of touch with its voters; the party had no idea who its voters were or what they believed. For decades, party leaders and intellectuals imagined that most Republicans were broadly libertarian on economics and basically neoconservative on foreign policy. That may sound absurd now, after Trump has attacked nearly the entire Republican catechism (he savaged the Iraq War and hedge fund managers in the same debate) and been greatly rewarded for it, but that was the assumption the GOP brain trust operated under. They had no way of knowing otherwise. The only Republicans they talked to read the Wall Street Journal too.

On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.

Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals — these are the ravings of a Nazi? This is the “ghost of George Wallace” that a Politico piece described last August? A lot of Republican leaders think so. No wonder their voters are rebelling.

Truth Is Not Only A Defense, It’s Thrilling

When was the last time you stopped yourself from saying something you believed to be true for fear of being punished or criticized for saying it? If you live in America, it probably hasn’t been long. That’s not just a talking point about political correctness. It’s the central problem with our national conversation, the main reason our debates are so stilted and useless. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t have the words to describe it. You can’t even think about it clearly.

This depressing fact made Trump’s political career. In a country where almost everyone in public life lies reflexively, it’s thrilling to hear someone say what he really thinks, even if you believe he’s wrong. It’s especially exciting when you suspect he’s right.

A temporary ban on Muslim immigration? That sounds a little extreme (meaning nobody else has said it recently in public). But is it? Millions of Muslims have moved to Western Europe over the past 50 years, and a sizable number of them still haven’t assimilated. Instead, they remain hostile and sometimes dangerous to the cultures that welcomed them. By any measure, that experiment has failed. What’s our strategy for not repeating it here, especially after San Bernardino — attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere? Invoke American exceptionalism and hope for the best? Before Trump, that was the plan.

Republican primary voters should be forgiven for wondering who exactly is on the reckless side of this debate. At the very least, Trump seems like he wants to protect the country.

Evangelicals understand this better than most. You read surveys that indicate the majority of Christian conservatives support Trump, and then you see the video: Trump on stage with pastors, looking pained as they pray over him, misidentifying key books in the New Testament, and in general doing a ludicrous imitation of a faithful Christian, the least holy roller ever. You wonder as you watch this: How could they be that dumb? He’s so obviously faking it.

They know that already. I doubt there are many Christian voters who think Trump could recite the Nicene Creed, or even identify it. Evangelicals have given up trying to elect one of their own. What they’re looking for is a bodyguard, someone to shield them from mounting (and real) threats to their freedom of speech and worship. Trump fits that role nicely, better in fact than many church-going Republicans. For eight years, there was a born-again in the White House. How’d that work out for Christians, here and in Iraq?

Carlson has nailed it.

We’ve had enough of Frank Luntz and his focus groups who always get it wrong in elections and who seemed skewed to some candidate. Had enough of Glenn Beck’s tears, self righteousness and warnings about imminent financial collapse. Had enough of senators like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz who since their elections have accomplished nothing in the way of legislation, with their only contributions being long speeches on the floor. Had enough of elitists like Rich Lowry, Charles Krauthammer and Bill Cristol who pushed us to losers McCain and Romney, but, too, have contributed nothing to increasing conservatism.

Haven’t you had enough of Fox News pimping certain candidates and then telling us how successful their network is by having their show hosts and reporters trumpet ratings without any real data to show it? Had enough of Dana Perino who can sit on The Five and tell us what’s wrong with everybody, but when she was Bush’s press secretary let Democrats roll over herself and Bush at any opportunity?

Had enough of giving money to the RNC only to be pestered by mail, phone and email for more money? How has voting Republican advanced us and even given the smallest challenge to Obama?

Some of us sense this anger, which is more than just anger at Obama. Trump has pointed out the hypocrisy of the GOP, the bias of news networks, the impotence of our elected leaders and the refusal to keep to our traditional American values.

There’s a lot more to say about this, which will be addressed shortly.