December 1, 2015

Open Thread: Tuesday, Dec 1

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Tuesday.

This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


November 30, 2015

Kasich Ad: “Is He Worthy?”

  3:39 pm

John Kasich continues to spend out his campaign’s hard money on Donald Trump attack ads:


Christie Wins the “Plummer Primary” in New Hampshire

  1:57 pm

Postive news begets positive news for Chris Christie: this morning, Renee and Dan Plummer, key activists in New Hampshire, endorsed him.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie collected an endorsement from two influential New Hampshire activists on Monday: Renee and Dan Plummer.

The backing of the husband-and-wife team is highly coveted as a result of their ability to network with the state’s GOP grassroots activists and key individuals.

“I have to say watching the debates I thought Governor Christie was brilliant,” said Renee Plummer, as she stood next to Christie and his wife, Mary Pat. “The last debate when he went from the one debate to another debate, I would’ve been screaming. He said ‘just give me a place and let me speak’ and he didn’t do anything except that. All he wanted to do is talk to the American people, which I just love.”

Plummer also lauded Christie’s work with veterans in New Jersey and for discussing drug addiction.

As Politico noted back in March, “To win New Hampshire, you have to win Renee Plummer.” Nearly all of the candidates were actively competing for the Plummers’ endorsement. Before choosing Chris Christie, the power couple met privately with Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, John Kasich, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and even Scott Walker before he dropped out. Obviously, this is another damaging blow to Bush and Trump, both of whom are competing hard in New Hampshire, as well as a blow to the second- and third-tier candidates who are trying desperately to pick up momentum any way they can at this point.

Chris Christie seems to be solidifying a resurgence narrative in New Hampshire, and now has a reason to stay in the race until February 9.


Cruz Ad: Bridenstine Endorsement

  9:58 am

Cruz has a new ad filmed with Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) discussing his support of Cruz.


Rep. Issa (CA-49) Endorses Rubio

  9:55 am

Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49), known for his active role as former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has endorsed Marco Rubio. Here’s more from Politico:

Rep. Darrell Issa threw his support behind Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, hailing his fellow lawmaker as someone who has “been fighting the same fights” on the campaign trail as he has done in Congress.

“Marco Rubio really is an exciting candidate, and I’m pleased to be able to endorse him and to work for him for the presidency,” the California Republican and former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in an interview with “Fox and Friends.”

Rubio has been “fighting for a lot of things I believe in,” Issa said, “and look, he’s not afraid to engage on the hottest subjects.”

It’s a good get for Rubio as Issa has had a lot of support among conservative circles for his active role in investigating various matters as Chair of the House Oversight Committee.


Open Thread: Monday, Nov 30

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Monday.

Night time on the City of New Orleans, changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee; halfway home we’ll be there by morning, through the Mississippi darkness rolling down to the sea.

This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


November 29, 2015

New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses Chris Christie

  7:00 am

In a huge get for Governor Christie, the New Hampshire Union Leader has endorsed him for president:

Our choice is Gov. Chris Christie. As a U.S. attorney and then a big-state governor, he is the one candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately needs.

Chris Christie is a solid, pro-life conservative who has managed to govern in liberal New Jersey, face down the big public unions, and win a second term. Gov. Christie can work across the aisle, but he won’t get rolled by the bureaucrats. We don’t need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience.

Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn’t shy about it.

The editorial board took a swipe at Rubio and Cruz, saying, “We don’t need another fast-talking, well-meaning freshman U.S. senator trying to run the government. We are still seeing the disastrous effects of the last such choice.” And then they walloped Donald Trump with this: “Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it’s important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about.”

Of course, the candidates who did not receive this endorsement will downplay its significance — and they do have something of a legitimate argument. The past list of endorsees doesn’t necessarily bode well for Christie’s political future:

  • 2012 – Newt Gingrich
  • 2008 – John McCain
  • 2000 – Steve Forbes
  • 1996 – Pat Buchanan
  • 1992 – Pat Buchanan
  • 1988 – Pete du Pont

You’ll see a lot of this list circulating around the interwebs in the coming days, used as evidence that the UL endorsement in meaningless. After all, with the exception of John McCain, none of those candidates went on to become the GOP nominee, and only two of them (McCain and Buchanan ’96) even ended up winning New Hampshire. But there are two problems with this oversimplified analyis.

First, this list that’s flying around misses the Union Leader’s endorsement from 1980 – which happened to go to Ronald Reagan. Reagan, of course, went on to win not only New Hampshire but also the nomination and the presidency. Adding Reagan to the list raises the percentage of Union Leader-endorsed candidates who won New Hampshire to 43% (3/7), which actually isn’t too shoddy, given the newspapers’ penchant for picking underdogs.

Secondly, even if candidates don’t end up winning the New Hampshire primary, the Union Leader endorsement is a massive boost to candidates’ campaigns. In fact, Nate Silver broke down the numbers and showed that, on average, the Union Leader endorsement is worth an 11-point boost in the state. The smallest bump was Steve Forbes in 2000, who received a 5% lift; the largest boost went to McCain in 2008, who got a massive 21% bounce.

So yes, this endorsement does mean something. The Union Leader is run by Joseph McQuaid, who once famously declared, “We don’t just endorse once. We endorse every damn day.” The Union Leader has the highest circulation of any paper in New Hampshire, and they will now front page positive stories about Christie and attack his opponents relentlessly. Christie is currently at seventh place in the Granite State – but if he were to receive the average 11-point boost he would be squarely in second.

Which brings us back to those other candidates – you know, the ones who all sought this endorsement and are acting like it’s no big deal now. The endorsement of Christie is some of the worst news some of the other candidates could have received. Specifically, this endorsement was a huge blow to Kasich (who, rumor has it, is already planning to drop out anyway) and Bush, both of whom were fighting Christie for the same establishment voters and money men. It is also a blow to Donald Trump, who tried hard to secure the endorsement for himself. It’s easy to see why, with the history of UL endorsements including candidates like Buchanan and Forbes. The Union Leader seems to have a soft spot for vocal outsiders and businessmen, so Trump seemed to think he had a shot. By endorsing one of his rivals, and then attacking him in the editorial itself, the Union Leader has offered a rebuke to Trump that every New Hampshire voter will see and hear about.

Chris Christie’s campaign was on life support the last couple of weeks. There were even solid rumors that he was preparing to drop out. He wasn’t getting the money he thought he would, his poll numbers stunk, and he just could not gain any traction. At the very least, this endorsement breaks the self-perpetuating negative news cycle for Christie. At best, it may just propel him into the top tier – or eventually even the lead – in New Hampshire.


Open Thread: Sunday, Nov 29

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Sunday.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.

This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.


November 28, 2015

No, Trump is Not Receiving the Endorsement of 100 African American Pastors

  9:48 am

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the news and seen the posters: on Monday, 100 African American pastors will be endorsing Donald Trump at a press conference following a private meeting.

The only problem? It’s not true.

Oh, Donald Trump says it’s true. His campaign says it’s true. And those flyers the campaign designed says it’s true.

But the pastors who are listed as attendees and endorsers disagree:

Bishop Clarence McClendon, a Los Angeles-based minister who was invited to the Monday meeting with clergy, posted to Facebook after the Trump campaign announced the coming endorsements.

“I am not officially endorsing ANY candidate and when I do you will NOT need to hear it from pulpitting courtjesters who suffer from intellectual and spiritual myopia,” he wrote.

Bishop Corletta Vaughn, the Senior Pastor of the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Faith in Detroit, posted a message on Facebook after she said her inbox was “blowing up with inquiries” after her name was included on a list of pastors meeting Trump.

“Let me be clear,” she wrote. “I was invited to attend a gathering of clergy to listen to Mr. Trump on Monday November 30. I respectively (sic.) declined as I do not support nor will endorse Donald Trump.”

“I was asked 2 meet with Mr Trump too but I refused because until he learns how to respect people you can’t represent me thru my endorsement,” Bishop Paul Morton, a prominent pastor in Atlanta tweeted on Friday.

So apparently, Donald Trump’s campaign sent invitations to 100 African American pastors to meet with him on Monday. Then, regardless of whether or not the pastors said they were coming, Trump’s campaign threw their names on a list and said not only were they meeting with Trump, they would endorse him as well! This brazen dishonesty is astounding in degree. Now we learn that not only will Trump not receive their endorsements, many of them aren’t even coming to the meeting at all.

So how many of the 100 pastors are actually going to endorse Donald Trump?

In fact, of the pastors scheduled to meet with Trump earlier in the day, so far only one, Pastor Darrell Scott, has said he will attend the press conference to endorse Trump.

I am just shocked – shocked! – that Donald Trump would blatantly lie for his own gain. But what will he do on Monday when only one person shows up to the meeting that he said would have hundreds?

I have no idea why black pastors would have any problem with Donald Trump, either…

The Trump camp’s own announcement that 100 black ministers will endorse Trump has been greeted in the black faith community with a combination of confusion and anger, particularly after a week in which Trump has mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability, suggested that a black protester who was kicked and punched at a Trump rally in Alabama “deserved it,” and when Trump himself has suggested Muslims be surveilled at certain mosques.

Rev. Jamal Bryant, a prominent AME pastor based in Baltimore… said he had spoken with a number of the pastors attending the Monday meeting who were taken aback by the Trump announcement about the endorsements. “I don’t know what policy these pastors could mobilize around. I can’t find a strand of any policy he has that the larger black community would be respond to.”

Confusion. Anger. Taken aback. Instead of the 100 endorsements Trump promised, that is how the African American faith community is actually responding instead.

Perhaps Trump will stand up to the podium on Monday and explain, in his ever-so-eloquent way, why the lack of support he is receiving is actually the pastors’ fault. How they’re just yooge losers for not endorsing his racist, misogynistic, and fascist-leaning policies. And then he’ll tell us that he’s going to win “the blacks” anyway.

That’s how the Donald Trump realty distortion field seems to work.


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