Our National Train Wreck

January 7, 2021

So, what the hell happened yesterday?

On the day Congress was to certify the Electoral College vote and confirm Joe Biden’s win, President Trump held a large rally for his supporters, denouncing what he called a “stolen election” and telling his followers “we will never accept” that.

And then Hell happened.

Hundreds of the rally attenders stormed the Joint Session, Capitol police were overwhelmed, assembled legislators had to shelter in place, Vice President Pence had to be whisked away by security, shots were fired, and a woman, one of the rioters, was killed by Capitol police. You can find various accounts on the Web

Let’s be clear: this was a national disgrace. It was a shameful, humiliating, disgusting, horrifying, and outrageous catastrophe for the American polity.

And President Donald Trump bears blame. A heaping helping of it. Indeed, the lion’s share.

He had every right to pursue legal action to prove his claim the election had been stolen, but he couldn’t prove it. He couldn’t even show any strong evidence. Once the Supreme Court refused to hear his last challenges and the states certified the election results in December, he should have had the grace to concede. He could have complained for the rest of his life – a lot of people would have believed him – rested on the laurels of some genuine accomplishments, and had the most influence of any former president since Teddy Roosevelt.

But, no.

Instead, seemingly driven by a desperate need to be seen at all costs as a winner, he kept yelling about a stolen election. He kept egging his followers on with wild claim after wild claim, and he helped cost the Republicans their Senate majority by convincing enough Georgia voters that their vote would never count, anyway, so why vote?

And, finally, intentionally or not, Donald Trump incited a riot at the Capitol Building of the United States.

To be honest, I was surprised this morning to wake up and see he was still president. I had expected him to be impeached and removed today (he deserves it) or neutered via the 25th Amendment (he deserves that, too), but, not yet. It makes me wonder if someone or “someones” had a talk with him and said “Sit here and be quiet for the next two weeks, if you want to avoid any further humiliation. We’ll run things, you just sign where you’re told.” Allahpundit at Hot Air reports that Pence was running the security operation at the Capitol last night and talking with the Secretary of Defense. Trump… wasn’t.

I guess we’ll find out, eventually.

A little digression for my own history (from a distance) with Trump. Go back through the archives and you’ll see that I was adamantly “never Trump” in 2015 and 2016. But, after his administration had been in office for a while, my opinion softened. He was doing some good things, and the outrageous attempts to cripple his administration and drive him from office made me more and more sympathetic toward him. Borrowing from Ben Shapiro, I decided to call “balls and strikes,” criticizing Trump where needed, praising him where warranted.

By 2020, I had become a Trump voter, based on the belief that, for all his deep personal flaws, what he was offering was a lot better than what Biden and the Democrats promised to do. I still think that was the right choice.

But yesterday he showed I was also right when, in 2016, I said he had the instincts of a caudillo, a populist demagogue. He’d largely kept those instincts in check over his administration, but, in recent weeks, he increasingly gave in to them, his followers listened, and we suffered through the worst incident at the Capitol since Senator Sumner was nearly beaten to death.

So it looks like I was right both times. Lucky me.

But what comes next?

Whether he’s removed now or serves out the last few days of his term, Trump is done. And there is no chance of him being re-nominated in 2024. The man who desperately wanted to be a winner will now go down as a loser, held in contempt by many of the people whom he once led.

The political ambitions of some are done, too, senators and representatives who enabled Trump’s demagoguery. Some were even fundraising during the riot. Seriously??

The policy damage from this will likely be immense, too, for conservatives and Republicans.. and America. For the foreseeable future, progressives will denounce and smear any opposition to even their worst ideas (and they have many) as “Trumpism.”

Thanks, Mr. President.

But what of the future? It’s beyond a doubt that faith in our electoral process is badly tattered. In that sense, what happened yesterday was a visible symptom of a problem that’s been building for years, something Democrats and the Left have played their own large role in. Last night online I was accused of “Trumpism” for stating that, but I stand by it. I think a sober look at our recent history shows that, placing the desire for power ahead of everything else and justifying the breaking of almost any political norm to gain power, they helped destroy that faith. Like I said, Trump should be removed from office for what happened yesterday, but the Democrats have shit on their shoes, too.

But that’s a post for another day.

For the future, I think the Jonathan Turley’s suggestion for a national electoral commission to look into the 2020 election – a real commission, not the “lay no blame” commissions Washington uses to bury a problem – is not just good, but must be done. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (R) has introduced legislation for what sounds like something along those lines. If we’re to restore faith in self-governance, then an honest, transparent, and unsparing examination of what happened has to take place.

There also has to be a hard look at how these yahoos were able to take over the Capitol. What happened yesterday was also a huge failure in security planning and preparation. Heads need to roll.

In the meantime, maybe America should just have a Snickers.

PS: I forgot to add, regarding the national commission, that I do think there was serious cheating in the election, just not enough to change the results. Part of that “unsparing examination” will have to be a look at how various measures pushed by Democrats to loosen election security made such fraud as occurred easier to accomplish.


2020 election: rebutting “things that make you go hmmm…”

December 3, 2020

Last week I wrote a post about oddities surrounding the 2020 presidential race that left me wondering if the election had been indeed stolen. I linked to an article in The Spectator from a pollster who look at several elements in support of the case that something was rotten here.

To say out-loud that you find the results of the 2020 presidential election odd is to invite derision. You must be a crank or a conspiracy theorist. Mark me down as a crank, then. I am a pollster and I find this election to be deeply puzzling. I also think that the Trump campaign is still well within its rights to contest the tabulations. Something very strange happened in America’s democracy in the early hours of Wednesday November 4 and the days that followed. It’s reasonable for a lot of Americans to want to find out exactly what.

At the time I had hoped someone would examine Mr. Basham’s contentions point-by-point to either support or refute them. Finally, someone has.

Writing today at the Darwin Catholic blog, “Darwin” has a long essay on the Spectator article and finds it wanting. The short version is that Mr. Basham’s assertions are facile and just wrong. Here’s one example, first quoting Mr. Basham’s piece:

Trump’s vote increased so much because, according to exit polls, he performed far better with many key demographic groups. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for him. He did extraordinarily well with rural male working-class whites.

Trump grew his support among black voters by 50 percent over 2016. Nationally, Joe Biden’s black support fell well below 90 percent, the level below which Democratic presidential candidates usually lose.

Then rebutting it:

This conflates something that is true with something that isn’t.

It’s true that Trump improved his performance with black voters, but even with that improvement Trump only got the support of 12% of black voters (19% of black men and 9% of black women). It’s also true that Trump won white working class voters by a large margin — he beat Biden by 35% among white voters with no college degree. But in a sign of trouble for Trump, that was a decline in his core constituency from 2016 when he beat Clinton by 37% among whites with no college degree. Also a significant problem for Trump is that fact that while he won college educated white men by 14% in 2016 he only won that demographic by 3% in 2020, while Biden won among white college educated women by 9% which was actually an increase over Clinton’s win among the demographic of 7%.

So yes, Trump got lots of votes from working class whites, and he increased his support among blacks and Hispanics, but if we look at all the demographics we see a picture of Trump as a candidate who lost more support than he gained in terms of percentages of voters, even though partisanship drove record turnout numbers and thus a record number of ballots cast for both candidates.

There’s more like this, and I recommend you read the whole thing. I still think there was significant fraud in places, but not enough to swing the election. Darwin’s piece reinforces that belief.

On the other hand, I have not changed my belief that Nancy Pelosi and her allies exploited the pandemic to press for voting changes that would make it easier for their side to cheat …er… “win,” as Kim Strassel relates, even if they didn’t swing this particular race. We still need to institute serious reforms in our electoral systems.


2020 election: Things That Make You Go “Hmmm…”

November 29, 2020

To put it mildly, I’ve been skeptical of the idea that the 2020 election was stolen for Joe Biden. Yes, there was a fair amount of corruption (looking at you, Philly and Detroit) and incompetence (really, Georgia?), but the idea that some grand fraud could move enough votes over several states to rig the election just seemed unbelievable.

Even if the President believed it.

But, there are things that make you wonder. Writing in The Spectator, pollster Patrick Basham describes himself as puzzled:

First, consider some facts. President Trump received more votes than any previous incumbent seeking reelection. He got 11 million more votes than in 2016, the third largest rise in support ever for an incumbent. By way of comparison, President Obama was comfortably reelected in 2012 with 3.5 million fewer votes than he received in 2008.

Trump’s vote increased so much because, according to exit polls, he performed far better with many key demographic groups. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for him. He did extraordinarily well with rural male working-class whites.

He earned the highest share of all minority votes for a Republican since 1960. Trump grew his support among black voters by 50 percent over 2016. Nationally, Joe Biden’s black support fell well below 90 percent, the level below which Democratic presidential candidates usually lose.

Trump increased his share of the national Hispanic vote to 35 percent. With 60 percent or less of the national Hispanic vote, it is arithmetically impossible for a Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Bellwether states swung further in Trump’s direction than in 2016. Florida, Ohio and Iowa each defied America’s media polls with huge wins for Trump. Since 1852, only Richard Nixon has lost the electoral college after winning this trio, and that 1960 defeat to John F. Kennedy is still the subject of great suspicion.

In addition to his general misgivings, he lists nine specific points. Here are two:

1. Late on election night, with Trump comfortably ahead, many swing states stopped counting ballots. In most cases, observers were removed from the counting facilities. Counting generally continued without the observers

2. Statistically abnormal vote counts were the new normal when counting resumed. They were unusually large in size (hundreds of thousands) and had an unusually high (90 percent and above) Biden-to-Trump ratio

I’ll admit, put all these together and it does look suspicious. It’s like a bank robbery: if you see security footage of guys coming into a bank and spray-painting the cameras so you can’t see anything else, you can still make reasonable inferences when, the next day, the money you thought was there is now gone.

But inference is not proof. This was a passionate election, with, if I recall right, the largest percentage turnout since 1900. Trump is a polarizing figure, and it’s not a stretch for me to think two things can be true at once: that voters chose to maintain the Republicans in the states and increase their numbers in the House, while at the same time enough of those same voters rejected Trump personally and voted to replace him. I’ve remarked several times that, regardless of the success and popularity of many of his policies (Operation Warp Speed, for example, the quest to find a vaccine for the Wuhan virus, is an undoubted success), his behavior, his inability to rise to the role of Chief of State during the pandemic, not just Chief Executive, hurt his campaign.

When many in the nation wanted that Chief of State, that “national reassurer,” if you will, Trump couldn’t do it, and I think that cost him a lot of votes. He needed to do that to beat the headwinds of an insanely hostile and dishonest media, but failed.

And to be fair, Mr. Basham is not exactly disinterested. He has written for the UK’s Daily Express predicting a Trump landslide. Thus, he has an arguable interest in self-justification. And there are questions about his claims to academic qualification. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the suspicious activity he cites are not still signs of a stolen election, nor that he’s wrong or disingenuous here. It does mean we should be wary, however.

Still, take a look also at this article from Kim Strassel about Nancy Pelosi’s biggest priority when she returned as Speaker in 2019: not healthcare, not the Green New Deal, but changing the electoral system:

House Resolution 1 is the designation for the first bill unveiled in any new Congress. It’s designed to highlight the majority party’s top priority. In early 2017, the Republican-led House gave the title to Donald Trump’s tax reform. When Mrs. Pelosi retook the speaker’s gavel in 2019, her party had just campaigned on a slew of urgent Democratic priorities: health care, climate change, immigration, student debt. None of these rose to the honor of H.R. 1.

Instead, Mrs. Pelosi unveiled a 600-plus page bill devoted to “election reform.” Some of the legislation was aimed at weaponizing campaign-finance law, giving Democrats more power to control political speech and to intimidate opponents. But the bill was equally focused on empowering the federal government to dictate how states conduct elections—with new rules designed to water down ballot integrity and to corral huge new tranches of Democratic voters.

She then lists the provisions of the bill:

The bill would require states to offer early voting. They also would have to allow Election Day and online voter registration, diluting the accuracy of voting rolls. H.R. 1 would make states register voters automatically from government databases, including federal welfare recipients. Colleges and universities were designated as voter-registration hubs, and 16-year-olds would be registered to vote two years in advance. The bill would require “no fault” absentee ballots, allowing anyone to vote by mail, for any reason. It envisioned prepaid postage for federal absentee ballots. It would cripple most state voter-ID laws. It left in place the “ballot harvesting” rules that let paid activists canvass neighborhoods to hoover up absentee votes.

The bill didn’t become law (thank you, Mitch McConnell), but Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats, following the infamous advice of Rahm Emanuel –“Never let a crisis go to waste”– used the pandemic to ram many of these measures through the courts and at the state level, the latter often via “emergency” decrees by Democrat governors, such as California’s Gavin Newsom, grossly abusing their emergency powers to rewrite their states’ laws.

As Strassel writes, these measures didn’t create cheating, they just potentially facilitated it. To use the bank analogy above, Pelosi the bank manager unlocked the doors and then went home, confident she’d get her cut.

So, did Joe Biden win the presidency through cheating? I still doubt it, but now less so.

But, even if he did, what can be done? The Trump campaign’s efforts have been weak and repeatedly thrown out of court. As National Review’s Andy McCarthy has written, the remedies they’re seeking (such as tossing out the votes and having legislatures name electors) are way out scale with any evidence of harm they’ve been able to produce.

But it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It’s like the provision in Scottish law, “not proven.” In other words, “we can’t prove you did it, but we know you did it, so don’t do it again!”

It may be that, barring shocking revelations in the next few weeks that change the national mood, the best solution remaining, assuming corruption, is sunshine and reform: research proving the election was stolen that in turn leads to reforms to secure the integrity of future elections. These would include voter ID, strict limitations on mail-in ballots, and an end to vote-harvesting.

For now, however, I’m left thinking “hmmm…”


If Your TDS Lasts Longer Than Four Years, Call Your Psychiatrist

November 12, 2020

He broke them.

I’ve often said there is plenty to criticize President Trump for, but his opponents ninety-nine percent of the time avoid these real criticisms and go “straight to Hitler.” This morning’s case in point is a tweet from Robert Reich, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration.

Also a certified hysteric:

This is either ignorance, which I doubt in Reich’s case, or a casual mendacity that shows his contempt for his readers.

Trump the “closest to a dicator” we’ve ever come? Let’s see, did he…

Why, no. Those were presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Barack Obama. Each used his powers far more dictatorially than Trump ever has. In FDR’s case, it was arguably the worst civil rights atrocity since slavery, all done on the order of one man. I’m sure we can find other examples.

Now, I’m not saying that any of those men was an actual “dictator;” that would be Reichian hyperbole. But to say Trump has done anything like this let alone being the closest we’ve come to a dictator is not just risible, it’s contemptible.

Which seems to be Professor Reich’s métier these days.

Postscript: In case someone argues that Trump was dictatorial, too, let’s look at three things often cited.

  • Children in cages. A policy pursuant in compliance with court orders regarding the children of illegal border-crossers, hardly the actions of a dictator. Also, begun under the Obama administration.
  • “The press is the enemy of the people!” Yep, a stupid, stupid thing to say. But what actions were taken to punish those enemies? Unlike the journalists spied on by the Obama administration, the Trump administration did nothing. Surely Jim Acosta would be in jail by now, if it had.
  • Immigration enforcement and ICE raids. Again, done under authority of existing law and often targeted at criminals who were a danger to the communities they were hiding in.

Not the actions of a dictator.


Is Trump Right about America Being the “Highest Taxed Nation”?

October 11, 2017

Many of Trump’s policy proposals are good ones, such as lowering the corporate tax rate. Trouble is, with his lack of self-control, he is his own worst enemy.

International Liberty

In my ideal world, we’re having a substantive debate about corporate tax policy, double taxation, marginal tax rates, and fundamental tax reform (plus spending restraint so big tax cuts are feasible).

Sadly, we don’t live in my ideal world (other than my Georgia Bulldogs being undefeated). So instead of a serious discussion about things that matter, there’s a big fight in Washington about the meaning of Donald Trump’s words.

Politico has a report on this silly controversy. Here are some of highlights.

“We are the highest taxed nation in the world,” President Donald Trump has repeated over and over again. …He said it at a White House event last Friday. He’s tweeted it, repeated it in television interviews and declared it at countless rallies. It is his go-to talking point, his favorite line… It is also false — something fact checkers have been pointing out since…

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Putin, Trump, and False Moral Equivalence

February 6, 2017

Regardless of what the President says, there is no moral equivalence between the US and Putin’s Russia.

International Liberty

Back in the 1980s, I would get very agitated when folks made excuses for brutal communist regimes by asserting that the United States also did bad things. This “moral equivalence” argument is now being recycled by Donald Trump, who basically excuses Putin’s brutality because America supposedly isn’t in any position to throw stones.

Here’s the interview, set to start at the point where Trump discusses Putin.

This is wrong. Absurdly wrong.

Though let’s start by acknowledging that the United States is far from perfect. Our history includes black eyes such as slavery, mistreatment of native populations, incomplete legal rights for women, internment of Japanese-Americans, Jim Crow laws, persecution of gays, and other sins.

Even today, we have plenty of bad policies that restrict human liberty, often exacerbated by examples of thuggish actions by government.

But, at the risk of sounding jingoistic and patriotic, the United States began with a…

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Why Trump is being inaugurated today

January 20, 2017

Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

“Thanks, Lefties. You helped make me a winner.”

Found this on Facebook. I’d say it’s nearly perfect:

how-trump-happened

 

And if that doesn’t get the point across, here’s an F-bomb laden tirade from a UK Lefty:

The Left isn’t the sole reason Trump won, of course. Something this extraordinary has many causes. But their sanctimonious jackassery was a huge part of it.

The next four years are on you, Social Justice Warriors of America. Own it, and enjoy.


The recent election and being accountable

November 13, 2016

Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

“Okay, Fahrquar, say the words!”

Before I write anything else, I have to say one thing: I was wrong.

When I wrote after the Indiana primary, where Donald Trump de facto secured the Republican nomination:

When Trump gets swamped in November; when Obamacare becomes irreversible; when the Senate flips back to the Democrats; when even the House is lost; when Hillary gets away with her felonies; when all the gains we made in state legislatures and governorships are pissed away; when the economy still stinks; when the IRS goes back to abusing people whose opinions it doesn’t like; when the state grows and grows and grows and our rights shrink ever further and the world becomes ever more dangerous, well, that’s the choice you made.

I, along with so many others, got it all wrong. In fact, about the only people to forecast the election correctly were the Trump team itself, and a few perceptive journalists who saw the growing populist wave for what it was. My friend Salena Zito was one of the latter. You should really read her articles — she knows her stuff.

So, too, did Donald Trump, who spotted and gambled on a popular discontent with the governing class that most everyone else underestimated, and won.

So, just as I demand accountability in others, I expect it of myself. I freely admit I was wrong about Trump’s chances and the outcome of the election.

Does this mean I’ve become a Trump fan or supporter? No. I stand by my criticisms of him, whom I consider unqualified for the job, and his supporters, who’ve made an extremely risky bet with the nation’s future at stake. Were the election to be replayed, I would still oppose him and I would still vote for almost anyone but.

But, the election is over, and Trump has won in a legitimate, fair election. In a constitutional republic, that means we accept the results and give Trump and his team their chance to prove themselves. That’s what I intend to do: skeptical as I am, I will give President Trump the benefit of the doubt and a chance to prove me wrong, just as I did with President Obama.

And I hope he does just that. The passions of politics aside, the responsibilities of he presidency are so great, and the state of the world so parlous, only a fool would do otherwise.

I may have been wrong, but I am no fool. I hope President Trump succeeds and turns out to be a fine Chief Executive.

One thing has struck me in the days since the election: just how calm and accepting I and other “Never Trumpers” have been about the results. (Unlike the juvenile, thuggish Left.) I think it’s due to a couple of things:

First, relief that the Republicans retained the Senate and House with minimal losses, while expanding their hold over governorships and state legislatures. This bodes well for getting needed reforms done, and spares the nation of the horror of New York Senator Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader. It also gives me hope that the Supreme Court won’t swing in a more progressive, anti-Constitutional direction. Fingers crossed.

But, what gave me joy the day after was not Trump’s election, but the crushing defeat of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton crime family. To see “Lady Macbeth” denied that prize for which she’d sacrificed almost everything, including her professed feminist principles… Well, I’ll admit something else: I laughed out loud. Literally. That her and her clan of grifters and corruptionists and all their progressive hangers-on were left crying through the egg on their faces was a joy I’ll savor for a long time.

Whatever else comes of the election of Donald Trump, the banishment of Hillary and Bill Clinton from our political life can only be a good thing.

So, what comes in the future? Watching and waiting. I’ll support Trump when I think he’s right and I’ll oppose him when I think he’s wrong. I won’t rush to rejoin the Republican Party, because I don’t like the populist direction it’s gone in. But I will be willing to ally with them for the right causes. And I hope Congress will take this opportunity to reassert its role as a co-equal branch of government, checking the Executive when needed. Passing the REINS act to check the out of control regulatory state would be a great start.

But, for now, congratulations President-elect Trump, and best of luck to you in your administration.

The nation needs it.


The Sociopath: Ben Howe’s documentary on Donald Trump. You need to watch this.

November 4, 2016

For those who haven’t voted yet, but who are leaning Trump and may still be open to argument. I’ll let the video and its “About” text speak for itself:

He’s been called an impostor, a fraud, a fake. A charlatan. His own ghostwriter for the book “The Art of the Deal” called him a sociopath. There are many words that describe Donald Trump, and there are just as many words that don’t describe him: Conservative. Decent. Serious. Presidential.

Donald Trump has spearheaded one of the most divisive campaigns in modern politics and, in the eyes of many in his own party, is unfit to hold the highest office in the land.

But when the dust settles, whether he wins or loses, how will his campaign for the presidency be remembered? As an insurgency? Is it the story of someone “who fights” taking on power while taking power? Or will it be a hostile takeover from an invader that played out on national television as sane people watched and despaired? Will Trump be remember as the head of a movement, or the head of a snake? Or even as the snake-oil salesman and crony who hoodwinked millions?

And what of those who resisted? History will remember the resistance, but it remains to be seen if that will be positively or negatively.

But perhaps most importantly of all, will the people who support him ever get a clear picture of who he REALLY is?

“The Sociopath”, a film by Ben Howe, will show you not only who this man is, but more importantly, how he got to where he is, who supported him in doing so, and what it could mean for the future of the nation if he is elected.

I remain #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary.

via Andrea Ruth on Facebook


Assessing Trump’s Acceptance Speech at the GOP Convention: Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

July 22, 2016

I’m not a fan of Trump (to say the least), but the sloppy work, bias, and outright dishonesty of “fact checkers” is something we shouldn’t tolerate.

International Liberty

Since I’m not a fan of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, I think that puts me in a good position to fairly assess whether the candidates are being dishonest.

And since several media outlets just produced their “fact-checks” on Donald Trump’s acceptance speech to the Republican convention, this is a perfect opportunity to see not only whether Trump was being dishonest but also whether media fact-checking is honest.

Here’s some of the “fact-checking” from NBC., with each indented example being followed by my two cents.

TRUMP CLAIM: Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58 percent of African-American youth are now not employed. Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago.

THE FACTS: Yes, 38 percent of African American children are living in poverty, according to Census data. But…

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Did Aliens’ “Private Hudson” foreshadow the Republican Party of 2016?

July 11, 2016

"We nominated Trump? What are we gonna do now, huh?"

“We’re gonna nominate Trump? What are we gonna do now, huh?”

Bill Paxton’s “Private Hudson” is a fan-favorite character in 1986’s “Aliens,” an overall great movie. But was he also an omen for the Republican Party’s fate thirty years later?

Don’t look at me like that, I think I’m on to something here. Consider:

The Republicans started the presidential cycle full of confidence and hope. They had many good, respected candidates. The current administration was unpopular, its policies moreso, and the Democrats’ leading candidate to succeed the president was awful. The Republicans had every reason to be confident. To act like “badasses”, even. Just like Hudson:

 

But things went downhill from there. An alien monster invaded the primary, and one promising candidate after another failed and dropped out until, on the night of the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz and John Kasich ended their campaigns, leaving the field to Trump. The race was seemingly over. Amidst the flaming wreckage of the party’s once-soaring hopes, it was “game over.”

Just as Private Hudson foretold:

I wonder if Trumpkins “mostly come out at night”?

Still, some fight on against Trumpery under the banner of “Never Trump,” refusing to give in and promising a fight to the death at the convention.

Did Private Hudson prophesy their fate, too?

Who needs the Oracle of Delphi when we have Private Hudson? smiley can't look

PS: Yeah, I’m “never Trump,” but the thought of this comparison got me laughing so hard last night, I had to share. Smiley Laughing Maniacal Clown


Election 2016: She may have a point

June 5, 2016

Although some wags on Twitter pointed out that Joker was a genuine genius, as opposed to a mere mentally-unstable blowhard, I still think there’s something to this:

"If the makeup fits..."

“If the makeup fits…”

via @tarheelkrystle on Twitter


California Primary: my last ballot as a Republican, and the cowardice of state Democrats

May 22, 2016

"I get to vote twice? Gee, thanks, pal!"

Thrilled to vote against Trump

Well, that’s that. I’ve just filled in my mail-in ballot and cast my last vote as a Republican, the party I’ve identified with for 45 years. Like I said before, I refuse to be part of a party that nominates an anti-constitutional authoritarian populist demagogue. (1)

Instead I cast my vote for president for… (drumroll) …John Kasich. Not that I would ever vote for him normally (I still think he’s a sanctimonious ass), but what little polling there was for California showed he had the best chance of beating Trump in my congressional district. So, strategic voting it was. Go, Kasich.

"This is my happy face"

“This is my happy face”

 

That aside, there were a few other elections of note. In the race to be among the top two finishers and thus earn a spot in the general election for the federal Senate, we had 34 (!) candidates to choose from. (2) Since there was no way I was voting for Attorney General Kamala Harris or bigoted dimwit Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and most of the other candidates I’d never heard of, I cast my ballot for Thomas Del Beccaro, a former state chair of (what’s left of) the Republican Party in California. Who knows, with so many Democrats splitting the vote, he just might sneak into the top two.

For the House and  State Assembly races, I voted for the Republican as the only other choice besides the (statist, progressive) Democrat incumbents. Not that the Rs have any chance: there are so few in these districts, I think they can be counted on two hands with fingers left over.

Judicial races are always frustrating: few candidates even have web sites, and I never see them campaigning, so I know next to nothing about them when election day rolls around. My default is to vote for the incumbent or, if there is none, to prefer a prosecutor.

There was only one proposition on the ballot: a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to suspend members without pay. I voted for it. However, this is also where the “cowardice of state Democrats” part comes in.

This proposition should have been named the “Senator Leland Yee” bill in honor of the Democrat state senator indicted for arms-trafficking. In addition, that same year, another Democrat state senator was convicted of voter fraud and perjury, while a third Democrat was indicted for bribery. 2014 was a banner year for California Democrats.

Funny thing, though. They weren’t expelled from the Senate, even though that body had plenary power and every reason to do so. Why, you may ask? Because expulsion meant special elections to fill those seats and, with all the negative publicity for Democrats these scandals and the expulsions would bring, there would have been a decent chance of Republicans capturing one or more. This, in turn, would have made it harder for Democrats to regain the filibuster-proof two-thirds majority in the state senate (they have that easily in the Assembly) that would enable them to tax-and-spend even more wildly than they do now. So, no expulsions, and the corrupt Democrat senators kept their seats until one finally resigned. (3)

However, to make themselves look good, Senate Democrats under then-Senate President Steinberg proposed this amendment to allow suspension without pay. That’ll show those crooks! This proves California Democrats are tough on political corruption!

Even though they refused to expel three corrupt Democrat senators… smiley well I'm waiting

Cowards.

Still, the bill is worthwhile on its own merits, so I voted for it. Ballot marked, envelope signed and sealed, ready to mail.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to change my registration to “decline to state.”

 

Footnote:
(1) And those are Trump’s good points.
(2) And you thought the Republican presidential primary was overcrowded…
(3) Senator Calderon (D), indicted for bribery, took a “leave of absence” and was term-limited out at the next election. Senator Yee was suspended with pay until replaced in the next election. Only Senator Wright had the decency to resign.


Worst. Election. Ever.

May 5, 2016

satire head desk

Yuval Levin provides yet another example of why:

For many years now, it has been the practice of the intelligence community to start providing classified intelligence briefings to the presidential nominees of the two major parties (those who aren’t incumbents, who get them anyway) soon after the party conventions. This year, that will mean giving these very sensitive briefings to a woman who is clearly guilty of gross failures to protect classified information and a man who seems less trustworthy and disciplined about what he allows out of his mouth than almost everyone in America. Just a snapshot of this less than glorious election year.

I’m going to wake up and realize this was all a bad dream, right?

Right??


I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

May 3, 2016

First, a video I think fitting to the occasion:

Such is my mood.

Tonight, Donald Trump won convincingly in the Indiana primary, and Ted Cruz ended his race shortly thereafter. Thus, the last conservative candidate and potentially competent president left the field. All we’re left with is a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, between an incompetent leftist who should be in prison and an incompetent would-be caudillo who is America’s answer to Hugo Chavez. And the latter is now the face and voice of the ostensibly *conservative* party.

With that, I am no longer a Republican, for I cannot be part of any organization or faction lead by a corrupt, emotionally unstable statist and narcissist who makes Barack Obama look like Solon.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

You know what amazes me? This election season. It began with such hope: an administration with unpopular policies; a corrupt, unlikable, and incompetent probable Democratic nominee; and a large Republican field offering many excellent choices. If any election was a shoo-in for Republicans and conservatives, it was this one.

And it all crashed and burned like the Hindenburg.

And you know who is responsible for this? No, not Donald Trump. He had every right to run and make his case to the public. Nor is the Republican Party ultimately to blame, though they helped create the conditions that drove alienated voters to Trump. The large field of candidates wasn’t responsible, because people could still have made a choice to coalesce around someone other than Trump. But, they didn’t. The media? Please. They whored themselves for Trump, certainly, but, again, the media doesn’t have mind-control rays to make voters vote a certain way. The final choice still stays with the true sovereign in the country: the voter.

And that is who is truly responsible and to blame for the rise of Donald J. Trump and the likely electoral disaster the Republican Party and conservative movement face in November, as well as the harm the nation will suffer under a Clinton presidency: the Republican primary voter.

Yeah, it’s your fault.

When Trump gets swamped in November; when Obamacare becomes irreversible; when the Senate flips back to the Democrats; when even the House is lost; when Hillary gets away with her felonies; when all the gains we made in state legislatures and governorships are pissed away; when the economy still stinks; when the IRS goes back to abusing people whose opinions it doesn’t like; when the state grows and grows and grows and our rights shrink ever further and the world becomes ever more dangerous, well, that’s the choice you made.

It’s all on you, the voter.

You maniacs. You blew it up.

On the verge of the easiest win we’ve ever had and a chance to make historic improvements in this country and undo the damage of the last 16 years, you decided that now was the perfect time to have a tantrum and break it all. Consider these six names:

  • Perry
  • Walker
  • Jindal
  • Rubio
  • Cruz
  • Paul

All of them were there for your choosing. Any one of them would likely have made a good president, maybe even great, and certainly better than Barack Obama has been, Hillary Clinton will be, and Donald Trump could be only in his dreams.

But, instead, you chose the guy who pandered to your justified anger. The con-artist who told you he knew how to make you great again, even though his policy prescriptions were so incoherent that even a resident of Wonderland would be confused.

The duty of a citizen is more than the act of voting and chanting “USA! USA! USA!” at sporting events.

The duty of a citizen is to use his or her vote wisely, with reason and thought toward what is best for the Republic, with sound judgment of the candidate’s character, and not to give it to a sideshow barker selling “Dr. Feelgood’s Miracle Cure.” There is no way a reasonable, sober, intellectually honest and responsible citizen could look at Donald Trump and think him in any way qualified to be president.

But then there’s you.

You had a duty, Trump voters, and you failed in it. You tossed away the heritage the Founders left us to swoon over a new Juan Peron.

You blew it up.


Shamefully exploiting an atrocity, Donald Trump displays his megalomania

March 27, 2016

Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

The only man to solve the problem of jihad?

Today is Easter, one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar. It was marred by news of a massacre in Pakistan when a Muslim suicide bomber attacked a park that was a favorite for local Christians and killed scores of women and children:

A suicide bomber killed at least 65 people, mostly women and children, at a park in Lahore on Sunday in an attack claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction which said it had targeted Christians.

More than 300 other people were wounded, officials said.

The explosion occurred in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park close to children’s swings. The park is a popular site for members of Lahore’s Christian community, many of whom had gone there to celebrate the Easter weekend holiday.

Witnesses said they saw body parts strewn across the parking lot once the dust had settled after the blast.

These women and children were targeted because of their religion by someone who believed he was acting in accord with his religion in furtherance of a 1,400-year old war of domination. It is a war that has cost thousands of lives here in America. One would expect anyone running to be our Chief of State and Commander in Chief would at least have the decency to express sympathy with the victims.

That “anyone,” however, does not include Donald Trump, who tweeted the following:

I alone can solve.” That, ladies and gentlemen, is called “megalomania,” and that came straight from Trump’s verified account. No need to analyze all the ways it’s wrong. Res ipsa loquitur — the thing speaks for itself.

How any rational American  considering the candidates can look at that and think Trump is in any imaginable way qualified to be president and fit to command the most powerful armed forces the world has ever seen is beyond me. He makes Hillary Clinton look positively statesmanlike, while Barack Obama is a picture of humility and self-awareness by comparison.

He doesn’t need to be sent to the White House. He should be sent to the madhouse.

PS: In case Trump comes to his senses and deletes that tweet, here’s a capture:

Trump Pakistan megalomania

 

I’d say “unbelievable,” but these days that’s all too believable. And appalling.


(Video) I’m angry, so I’m voting for Donald Trump!

March 21, 2016

No, not me, silly. The great Andrew Klavan:

It’s parody, of course (1), but Andrew captures well the irrational spirit of most arguments I hear from Trump supporters about why their guy is great: they’re angry, they want to stick it to the GOP “establishment” (2), he’ll make America “great” again (whatever that vague expression means), and they’re angry. Point out the truth about Trump’s record, how it clearly shows he’s unfit to be president, and you’re greeted with non sequiturs, irrelevancies, and anger.

Anger is not a winning voting strategy. Don’t vote angry. Use your reason and vote for the best and only conservative left in the race.

Footnote:
(1) In fact, I think he was as Cruz supporter from the start, but don’t quote me on that.
(2) A word that’s been so widely and sloppily applied it almost lacks meaning these days.


I hope @JimGeraghty will forgive me, but you need to read this. #NeverTrump

March 16, 2016

Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

Anyone but.

As penance, I suggest –nay, I implore you!– to subscribe to his Morning Jolt newsletter.

And it’s from this morning’s edition that I copiously excerpt the following, which anyone who seriously thinks Trump is a reasonable choice or that he has a chance of beating Hillary in November needs to read:

All the polling indicates Rubio would have crushed Hillary Clinton in a general election. Cruz looks like he’s got a shot — not a great shot, but a shot. Donald Trump’s general-election numbers are sinking like a stone. (If you can stand him, John Kasich matches up quite well.)

Trump’s fans walk around with great confidence about his general election strengths for which there is no real evidence. They’re convinced he will win over traditional blue-collar Democrats. So far, he doesn’t. They’re convinced he will win over African Americans. Polling in February puts his support among African Americans between 4 and 10 percent. (Romney won 6 percent.) They’re convinced he’ll win a lot more Latinos than everyone thinks. (He’s currently at less than half Mitt Romney’s level of support.) They’re convinced he’ll win Democratic states like New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. (He trails by 18 to 23 points in those states in the most recent polls.)

Trump fans gleefully point to his 7.5 million votes in the primary so far, and forget that the universe of voters in the general election will be on a completely different scale — probably 130 million voters. (Mitt Romney won 10 million primary votes.)

When you mention Trump’s awful head-to-head polling with Hillary Clinton, you hear a lot of references to Ronald Reagan’s trailing Jimmy Carter in March 1980. Ronald Reagan never had the unfavorable numbers Trump has now.

When everybody says, “Oh, the pundits and the elected officials and the other campaigns didn’t see the GOP grassroots embrace of Trump coming . . .” well, yeah; the pundits and the elected officials and the other campaigns thought better of the GOP grassroots.

 

People who support Trump like to say that not backing him guarantees a Hillary Clinton presidency. To the contrary, nominating The Donald almost certainly guarantees a crushing Republican defeat.

But there is still time to derail the “Trump train.”

Trump plays to fear, resentment, and anger. Instead of channeling it in a positive direction, he brings out the worst in people. He is a con artist who poisons everything he touches.

Ask yourselves, what evidence, what smidgen of a hint of proof, is there that Donald Trump would make a good president, or even a mediocre one? You think Trump will “hire good people” and take their advice? When has he in his colossal egotism ever shown that he listens to anyone but yes-men?

Electing Hillary Clinton would be a disaster, but choosing Donald Trump would be a catastrophe — first for conservatism, then for the nation if he’s elected.

We have a good choice. Take a deep breath, let go of your anger, and make it.


#NoTrump Thought for the Day

March 6, 2016

Choices Trump or Hillary

 

That’s pretty much how I feel about the prospect of having those two as the nominees in November.

via… someone on Facebook


Trump to #FatJudas: “Thank you for your soul, now go home.”

February 29, 2016

Oh, man, this is sweet. One of the great disappointments in recent days was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie turning his coat and endorsing Juan Domingo Peron… er… Donald Trump, a move clearly timed to distract from the beating Trump had taken at the Houston debate the night before.

Now, I’ve never been great Chris Christie fan, but I have had some modicum of respect for the man, given that he’s a reasonably successful Republican governor in a Deep Blue state. I disagreed with him a lot on policy –especially on Second Amendment rights– but I could also acknowledge his accomplishments.

That respect is now dead. Not only did a man sworn to support the Constitution of the United States endorse another man running openly as a tyrant, but to do so Christie had to jettison every single thing he said in criticism of Trump just weeks before, while he was still an active candidate. The self-serving hypocrisy is enormous, perhaps even more so than the Governor’s belt size.

And thus, to see him sent away like a potboy from his master’s table after introducing him at a rally in Tennessee was delicious. Watch, and enjoy:

In case you didn’t quite get that, Christie warmly introduces Trump, and then The Donald, (perhaps) not realizing the mic was so close and still open, says:

“Get in the plane and go home. It’s over there. Go home.”

And like a good little servant, Christie obeyed.

Hope it was worth it to you, Governor, because your political career is dead.

Now go home.

PS: Oh, yeah. About “#FatJudas.” That was the Twitter hashtag that sprang up after Christie endorsed Trump. Perfect.