Democrats believe that because the Republican Party is the party of old white people who are declining as a percentage of the electorate the future is theirs. This suggests that we will reach a point, and may already be there, when it will be impossible to elect a Republican President. The biggest gains will be among Hispanic voters, who have displaced blacks as the largest racial minority in the country. But other ethnic minorities are also gaining, such as Asians, gays, secular whites, government employees, Greens, and too many others to mention.
In this scenario, it really doesn’t matter what’s happening now because tomorrow the Left will rule. This is a subset of the mindset on the Left that has been with us ever since Karl Marx adopted the Hegelian dialectic, which asserted that the thesis/antithesis/synthesis process dictates that a form of communism is inevitable. And that seemed to be true. In the 50s, 60s, and even into the 70s it was true that no country that had ever become ruled by Communists had ever reverted back to a pre-Communist form of government. So, since countries occasionally went Communist, and since they never became unCommunist, the world would be run totally by Communists. Many conservatives believed that as well. William F. Buckley, Jr., said that the mission of conservatives was to “stand athwart the tide of history and yell Stop!”
And then, in the late 80’s, it stopped. Communism collapsed.
In the Democrat version of dialectical materialism blacks, Hispanics, youth, Asians, gays, etc., will always vote for Democrats. And as those groups increasingly become a majority it’s all she wrote for The Grand Old Party. But if that were true, wouldn’t it be happening already? Whites have been a declining percentage of the electorate throughout the lives of everyone alive today. But what we are actually seeing is something far different:
Since Obama took office, Republicans have gained 13 United States Senators, 12 Governors, 69 members of the House of Representatives, and 905 State Legislators, giving the GOP total control of redistricting in most of the country through at least the 2020 process, as well as Congress. As Chris Cillizza observes in The Washington Post:
*” With Matt Bevin’s win in Kentucky on Tuesday night, Republicans now hold 32 of the nation’s governorships — 64 percent of all the governors mansions in the country. (One race, in Louisiana, won’t be decided until next month. Democrats believe they have a good chance of winning that race against now-Sen. David Vitter.)
* Democrats’ failure to take over the Virginia state Senate means that Republicans still hold total control of 30 of the country’s 50 state legislatures (60 percent) and have total or split control of 38 of the 50 (76 percent.)”
There are only seven states in the nation in which Democrats have full control, meaning that they have the Governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. It used to be more, but liberal policies have failed at the statewide level even as Obama has failed at the federal level. As a defense mechanism against economic ruin, states like Massachusetts, Illinois, and Maryland elected Republican Governors in 2014 to stop the madness.
Democrats are controlled by rich, white, old ladies; Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and numerous others. They set the agenda along the lines of whatever they happen to be thinking at the moment and expect blacks, Hispanics, what is left of the labor movement, and the other parts of their coalition to carry out their orders.
So if they think everyone should be paid $15 an hour, regardless of whether a given employee is contributing $15 an hour to the profitability of the employer or not, and it must be enforced in all circumstances. This leads to all those small businesses going out of business in Seattle, where $15 an hour is law, the results of which are that ballot initiatives to adopt it elsewhere failed this week. It really doesn’t matter what they think, but whatever it is must be mandatory.
Every survey of blacks and Hispanics have shown them to be more conservative on social issues, and more interested in upward mobility, than Democrats as a whole. And they can least afford, as groups, to pay the costs of the failed economic policies of Democrats. Since Obama came into office the private disposable income per capita in America has gone down thousands of dollars. It’s gone down more for the middle class, but the poor, which have been rising as a percentage of the population, can least afford ANY decline in income. The failure of the Obama Administration to improve, or even maintain, the living standards and quality of life for most of the individual voters who comprise its coalition indicates that the said coalition won’t hold together.
All that is needed to win the Presidency is a candidate who can compellingly sell the country on a truly conservative version of hope and change. This will realign politics in the country and win the future for the Republican Party.
Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke have just published a major biography of an iconic conservative figure entitled Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America.
Normally, I would pass on reviewing such a book because, in full disclosure, one of the authors is a good friend and my long-time editor at The Weekly Standard (where I have contributed articles since 1997). Jack Kemp was also a friend and policy mentor to me in the 1980s and 1990s.
The book, however, is so timely and I have enough first-hand knowledge of part of the time frame of this book that I am going to write about it anyway. My readers can assess any bias I might display, but I think I can make some fair, and hopefully useful, comments about both Kemp the person and the book itself.
I did not know Jack Kemp in his early years as a famous football quarterback, nor during his first years in Congress, but I did meet him in the early 1980s when he was already a conservative figure in Washington, DC.
As Barnes and Kondracke’s account relates, Kemp inspired the formation of the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS) group in the Republican house caucus. It was through one of the leaders of that group, then-Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber, that I met the congressman from Buffalo, New York. Other members of COS included Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott and Bob Walker. Kemp was inspiring statesman of COS and close to all its members. Then-Congressman Dick Cheney also remained formally outside the group, but allied with its objectives and members.
I had originally been from Erie, PA. Its congressional district was very much like Kemp’s blue collar Buffalo district. (For thisreason, Kemp was more sympathetic to Tom Ridge, then Erie’s congressman, than were most of the more hard-line conservatives of COS.)
I was, at that time, transitioning from my boyhood liberalism to a more centrist and non-partisan domestic political view, and despite my undergraduate days at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, my economic views were more academic and theoretical than informed by the real world. I was fortunate, then, to befriend Kemp, and I spent several hours during his visits to Minnesota and my visits to Washington learning from him about the notion of supply-side economics in his unique and socially compassionate context. This was especially refreshing to me who had previously assumed that conservatives were somehow opposed to civil rights and indifferent to the poor.
Kemp had been a professional football quarterback with the Buffalo Bills, and understood from daily experience on the field how misguided racial prejudice was. He represented a blue collar urban district, and he understood first-hand the concerns and views of working men and women.
The juxtaposition of conservatism, compassion and pragmatic economics was something new to me, and Kemp’s enthusiasm and intelligence on these matters was not only appealing but inspiring. This “supply-side economics” was to become, as Barnes and Kondracke recount it, Jack Kemp’s lasting legacy in public life.
More liberal readers will now, I know, roll their eyes at the mention of “supply-side economics,” having listened to and read the propaganda from liberal economists that this policy does not work, and has not ever worked. One of the premiums of this biography is that its authors show incorrect this view is.
I might interject here what I have always understood (thanks to Kemp) about the “supply-side” notion. Its critics say that tax cuts, one of its main principles, do not work. But they leave out the other and necessary part of a successful “supply-side” equation, that is, the necessity for decreased public spending to accompany the tax cuts. Although Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush did cut taxes, they also did not always cut federal spending. Their policies did ultimately produce positive economic results, but were constrained by sometime increased public spending (demanded by liberal congressional Democrats). President Kennedy, a Democrat, also cut taxes in 1962 with a positive ensuing result, as did President Clinton at the end of his term (by adopting many of the supply-side policies of Speaker Newt Gingrich and his caucus). Kennedy, in particular, was by today’s standards a foreign policy hawk and an economic conservative, but most Democrats, in their myth-making about him, want to forget this.
Barnes and Kondracke’s book is much more than account ofeconomic theories. It offers detailed and very fair accounts, carefully researched, of the key period from the early 1970s through the 1990s when conservative economics (also espoused by Ronald Reagan) changed the U.S. political environment.Kemp was a overly-trusting generalist, an instinctive “quarterback” on and off the field, and he made mistakes, especially in later years when served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and later in 1996 when he was the GOP nominee for vice president on the ticket with Bob Dole.
In 1990, soon after President George H.W. Bush appointed him to his cabinet as HUD secretary, I co-founded a non-partisan, non-profit foundation to present national symposia to discuss public policy issues. It was determined that the first symposium would be about low-income housing, something I and my co-founder had some experience with in the national “new town” movement in Minnesota. We asked Kemp to be our keynote speaker, and we invited numerous local and national liberal low-income housing experts and advocates to participate in a a dialogue with him. Kemp showed up with several of his top HUD staff, and earnestly tried to talk about his HUD plans. The truth be told, most of of those who did not share his political views ignored or rebuffed his efforts for a genuine and sympathetic dialogue. It was a lesson for me, who had previously leaned center left, of the closed mind of many liberal activists. It was also symptomatic of the many obstacles that were put in Kemp’s way during his stewardship at HUD where many of its own entrenched employees refused to consider innovation an reform.
After HUD, Kemp co-founded the respected conservative think tank Empower America and continued to try to influence policy and politics. As with his earlier life, I had little contact with Kemp in those final years, but I trust that Barnes and Kondracke have given as fair account of them as they did of Kemp’s major period in public life when I knew him.
Jack Kemp was a warm but sometimes discrete figure, stubborn,self-involved but also selfless, complicated, optimistic, unwilling to attack his opponents, idealistic, and someone who conducted his public life outside ideological stereotypes and political cliches. He was Lincolnesque in his views about civil rights, and a leading figure in the development of pragmatic free market economics.
He ran for president and vice president, but did not win higher elective office than congressman. He held few titles, but his influence went beyond his own time, as Barnes and Kondracke point out, to our own time and probably beyond. This is a valuable and informative book.
Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
Ben Carson’s rise in the GOP Primary has been nothing short of amazing. Carson, a quiet and humble “anti-Trump” candidate, with no political experience, somehow found his way into the top-tier of the heavily populated GOP primary. I have asked supporters of Carson to tell me WHY they support him. I have never received a decent answer, but from the bits and pieces I get I have put together a small picture of their reasons.
First, and maybe most important, is the very fact that he has no political experience. To me, this is the biggest turn-off of a Carson run. But for those who claim they are just fed up with “Washington” and dealing with the same “Old white men the GOP always run with”, Ben Carson fits the type of person they want to vote for. Clearly this group is rather large given Trump, Carson, and Fiorina currently make up a huge majority of the electorate.
The Carson supporters I know personally also like that their candidate holds to the same ideologies that they do. They tell me he is a social conservative, a Christian, for small government, etc. He is essentially as well spoken as Mike Huckabee, as socially conservative as Ted Cruz, and as popular as Marco Rubio without the political baggage of any of them.
But wait. What do they actually know about Ben Carson? Clearly not much. The top-tier candidates have no reason to attack Carson, because they know he cannot hang around for the next six months. His favorables are out of this world because the people who have given him a near cult following do not actually know much about him. So let me enlighten those of you who think you know Ben Carson.
Ben Carson, like Donald Trump, President Obama, and probably 95% of people in politics, claims to be a Christian. In my circle (being a Huckabee supporter you can likely guess what that means), that is a big deal. Recently though, Carson made it clear that he is a devout Seventh Day Adventist.
Now I could spend the next four thousand words on the detailed doctrine of the Adventists. We could discuss the governing body of this group and that they have stated the only true Christians are SDA. We could go over details of soul sleep, investigative judgment, the office of the papacy being considered the antichrist, the writings of Ellen G. White being inspired by God, the lack of an eternal soul, and much more. And if we went through each point, those of you who do claim to be Christians, would have a great number of issues with the doctrine practiced by the SDAs.
From my conversations with people, Carson’s religion isn’t actually known. “Oh, he is a good Christian candidate”, I hear over and over. When asked what he believes, they have no idea. Without diving in to doctrine, let me tell you this: No true Christian believes any book or writing outside of the Bible is inspired by God. The writings of Ellen G. White are no more inspired by God than those of Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, or Muhammad. “The Great Controversy” is as important in the SDA church as the Book of Mormon is in the Mormon church. Neither are inspired by God and both are heresy.
And for anyone who needed to be told, the office of the papacy is not the anti-Christ. As soon as Ben Carson is forced to answer the question “Are devout Catholics Christian”, he will show his true colors and negate his popular opinion with a large block of voters.
“Well I’m voting for Ben Carson because he is one of the strongest pro-life candidates we have”. Really? While I do believe Ben Carson is pro-life, I am unsure if he always has been or how closely he holds those beliefs. In the Fox News debate, Carson stated that “life begins when the heart starts beating”. This is in discrepancy of science, and especially of other candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz who believe life begins at conception. Once his social conservative base spoke up, he clarified his stance to match those around him. In his past he has been accused (and he has not disputed) the fact that he referred patients to doctors that would provide abortion because he wanted them “to have all of the facts”. As a doctor, perhaps this was his duty. As a pro-life, socially conservative “Christian”, one could argue he had a greater duty to protect life.
While many of you may not be a part of the homeschooling movement in America or may know if it but not know much about it, I am both a part of it and learning more about it regularly. And for some odd reason, Ben Carson has a cult following among home schooling moms; at least for now. They invite him to speak at their conferences and applaud him as some type of home school champion, and yet no one asks him the tough questions.
Some of the strongest beliefs of home schooling families are completely against Ben Carson’s stances. Many home schooling families believe that the state should have no right to demand they inject carcinogens and other toxic material into a child. Ben Carson, however, is 100% in support of full vaccination. I do not know how this is not a huge sticking point for those who have chosen not to be a part of state-run schools.
And what about issues that have nothing to do with social conservatism? Readers at Race are heavily educated and understand the benefits of fiscal conservatism and holding true to the standards of the Constitution. Ben Carson cannot say the same.
On the issue of second amendment rights, Carson states that, “It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.” Well, Mr. Carson, the founding fathers didn’t say that because you lived in a city you couldn’t own a gun and only those out hunting in the forests really needed one. The risk of someone else stealing my gun should not eliminate my right to own it.
And what about getting rid of the disaster that is Obamacare? Carson has some ideas; ideas that happen to be to the left of Obama. In his article titled, “Ben Carson: Counterfeit Conservatism”, Rocco Lecente states, “Carson calls health insurance “an ideal place for the intervention of government regulators”, and calls on the government to establish “standardized, regulated profit margins” for all health insurance providers. He responds to his would be critics by asking if his plan is “as radical as allowing a company to increase its profits by denying care to sick individuals?”, a line of logic no different in principle than the one given for Obamacare.”
One thing we do not need is even MORE government control over our healthcare. Carson goes on to state that we should “remove from the insurance companies the responsibility for catastrophic health-care coverage, making it a government responsibility.” Make government MORE responsible for healthcare? No thank you. When the Government is responsible for catastrophic healthcare coverage, they get to decide who gets covered and who does not. We are back into health (aka death) panels.
While we can all disagree with the actions of Westboro Baptist, Carson has gone as far as to say that they should not have the right of free speech because it is infringing on someone else’s right to assembly. His views of the first amendment are such that who knows who he will trample on to protect the “rights” of another.
These are just a few of the myriad of issues I have with Ben Carson, and as they become more and more publicized, it will spell the downfall of just another “wannabe”. To those who still support Carson: Ben Carson is not a conservative. He is not the leader we need. And he is not even who you thought he was. Move on.
I’m not a big fan of Walker, or Carly for that matter. But Trump keeps attacking Republicans in the race with the cumulative effect of seriously damaging the party. Without exception he’s been attacking the best and the brightest and his statements about them have been, to put it charitably, mostly false.
“Wisconsin’s doing terribly…First of all it’s in turmoil. The roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them. They’re borrowing money like crazy. They projected a $1 Billion surplus and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion deficit.”
Let’s evaluate that paragraph. It was said with bluster, as if it was the biggest hellhole in the country, so one would think it must be true, right? Not so much.
If Wisconsin was really in turmoil, would the state have elected Walker three times in the last 4 years? Do they really like to be in turmoil up in Wisconsin? His statement about the roads being a disaster would imply that people can’t drive to work and back, so how could it be that Wisconsin has added more than 100,000 new jobs since Scott has been in office? Do companies create new jobs if people can’t get to them?
If the state was “borrowing money like crazy,” it would have been a violation of the state’s law that every two-year budget has to be balanced. So, no, the state hasn’t been borrowing money, and isn’t allowed to. If you look at it, not only has the budget been balanced throughout his tenure, in 2014 revenues were coming in way above projections and he passed more tax cuts to return the excess money back to the people.
I say “more” tax cuts, because already he’s reduced taxes in the state by more than $2 billion.
So where did Trump pull out that $2.2 billion deficit statistic from? Besides from the obvious, of course. It’s a projection from Walker’s own Wisconsin Department of Administration for the 2015 to 2017 budget period. It’s been revised downward since it was made because it’s being dealt with. By law, Scott will have to make it balance by the end of the two-year period and there’s every reason to believe he will do so. He’s promised to, he has to, and he’s always balanced every previous budget, whether as Governor of the state, or as County executive of Milwaukee County.
With apologies to Martha, Walker has been a very good Governor by any objective standard. In addition to cutting taxes a lot, he’s also cut lots of bureaucratic red tape, has an NRA 100% rating by doing such things as making concealed carry and the castle doctrine happen, helping to get voter ID requirements passed into law, and requiring an economic impact analysis for each and every new regulation. More important than any of these things, he’s faced down government employee unions and eliminated their stranglehold on the future of the state, and signed Right To Work into law for good measure.
Of course, Trump hasn’t simply maligned and lied about Walker. And, of course, this is only one of many defamatory statements he’s made about the good Governor. It pales in comparison to some of what he’s said about Jeb, a man he very recently said he could see himself supporting in the general election. Don’t look for consistency from Donald. You won’t find it. Unless it’s inconsistency that you’re seeking.
In future posts we will expose his verbal abuse of other candidates as well. And, of course, he spouts this garbage faster than it can be countered, so there’s no way to keep up. But one post per victim should suffice to learn what needs to be learned about Trump’s credibility, or unbelievable lack thereof.
As for comments, have at it.
“The Republican party is not going to win this election unless it persuades the electorate that its primary principles of low marginal tax rates, lighter regulation, free trade, and a sound dollar are the best path to growth. Call it free market capitalism. Call it supply side. Call it entrepreneurship. Call it take home pay. But the endgame is growth and prosperity.”
The fact is that 2% secular stagnation won’t get us out of our problems, or even keep us from going under. We already spend literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year just paying interest on our national debt. I’m sure the Chinese, Japanese, Saudis, and others who own much of that debt appreciate the extra income that gives them every year, but it’s not doing anything for US. And when interest rates go up to anything approaching historical interest rate levels it will cause a massive crisis in our economy, one that we’re not likely to come out of in good shape. $19 Trillion is a lot of money to owe.
But if we can move up to 4% GDP growth we can solve lots of problems, including balancing the budget within a few years. It will have to be conflated with cutting spending, of course, but we have some candidates who have that as one of their major objectives.
The Club For Growth PAC has announced it will act as a bundler for 5 Republican candidates who will grow the economy if nominated and elected. It will accept donations for Jeb, Scott, Ted, Rand, and Marco.
Club For Growth spokesman Doug Sachtleben said that donors will specify who they want their money to go to, with the money signaling that the donor supports the candidate’s “pro-growth polices.” Note that the CFG was instrumental in getting Rand, Marco, and Ted elected. The club wants its donors “to send a strong message about economic freedom as a central issue in the 2016 race.”
Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers and their vast network of major donors are similarly focusing on 5 main candidates: Scott, Jeb, Marco, Ted, and Rand. In addition to these, they also invited Carly to attend its major conference, held in Southern California recently, to appear before 450 people in its network who had already donated at least $100,000 each.
As for the Koch’s themselves, they have set aside $300 Million to be spent on electoral politics in 2016, and have said that these are the 5 who will benefit. This out of the $900 Million they will spend on total political activity in the cycle.
The only way out of our massive societal problems is through. The country needs to significantly increase its capital stock and it can’t do that by inefficient and wasteful government expropriating trillions of dollars every year from people who are relatively efficient and productive.
The good news is that we have at least five candidates who want to reverse the flow and grow us out of our problems, and have been hand picked by very successful and intelligent human beings with the same aim.
Question: Who do you think can do it best? Extra credit for saying why.
Yesterday we established that the Fair Tax advocated by Mike Huckabee would prohibit all Income Taxes forevermore. Also gone would be Payroll taxes and taxes on capital gains, and all other federal taxes, be they corporate, self-employment, gift and estate, or alternative minimum. Gone would be personal tax forms and filling, payroll withholding, personal or business income tax record keeping, and taxes on social security or pensions. All to be replaced by a national, one-time tax on first time purchases. There would be no taxes on buying used cars or homes, e.g.
And gone forever would be the IRS.
Today we will look at how this makes America great again.
In the comments we took up the fact that imported goods would no longer receive preferential treatment over domestically produced goods at the check out counter. Economists estimate that embedded taxes, on average, constitute 22% of the cost, and price, of goods produced in our country. Under the Fair Tax, our exported goods, then, would be 22% cheaper on average. But prices of imported goods would have the cost of embedded taxes from their country of origin built into them, and then, when people buy them here, they would also pay the national sales tax on them.
The net result is that we would export a lot more, and one of every 6 workers in America are already involved in the export industry. Concomitantly, we would import a lot less. That would do a lot more than just give us a positive balance of payments for the first time in any of our lifetimes. It would bring a lot more capital into the country, stimulating accelerated economic growth, and it would create a lot, and by that I mean millions, of additional jobs.
This principle extends to companies from other nations who manufacture here. There wouldn’t be any embedded taxes in the cost of what they make in the United States, and if they then exported from their factories and plants in the states, those trade advantages would accrue to them as well.
Former Secretary of The Treasury John Snow called The Fair Tax “the biggest magnet for capital and jobs in history.” Enact The Fair Tax and companies will rush to our shores to build manufacturing facilities so that they, too, can sell into a global economy with no tax component in their price.
I became interested in The Fair Tax quite a few years ago when I was watching C-Span and saw a group of 3 economists testifying on it. One of them was from Stanford and he said that the major negative of The Fair Tax is that if we adopt it, within 4 or 5 years we won’t be able to find enough workers to fill all the jobs it will create.
In fact, there are economists who have closely examined the proposed tax system who estimate that we could double the size of our economy in less than 15 years.
The Fair Tax will make America great again.
Although I see myself as socially conservative in terms of how I live my life, I’m well aware that those who are active on the SoCon wing of the Republican Party (and certainly the SoCons of the R4 community) do not see me as ‘one of us’. Which is a long way of getting around to this: I’m a little surprised this hasn’t been posted here yet, but I’ll bet you didn’t expect me to be the one who posted it.
“Of course he’s not a conservative.” – Andrew Breitbart on Donald Trump
There is something very wrong at Breitbart News. The organization founded by the late Andrew Breitbart has morphed from a conservative voice standing up to liberal orthodoxy in the mainstream media to an anti-immigration smear machine hell-bent on the personal destruction of anyone who attempts to fix the problem of illegal immigration in a comprehensive way. Distortions, lies, and overt racism is the new modus operandi of Breitbart’s crusade, and support for the newly christened anti-immigrant poster boy, Donald J. Trump, is the new cornerstone of Breitbart’s brand of conservatism. The organization’s new direction has been spearheaded by Matthew Boyle, a right-wing activist who masquerades as an investigative journalist. The writer has made a career out of shameless propaganda, personal attacks, questionable integrity, and outright lies and distortions. If you are unfamiliar with Boyle’s work, here is a quick reminder:
These incidents are coupled with a career of bizarre inaccuracies, like claiming New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s poll numbers are tanking (they’re not) or that former Gov. Mitt Romney failed to defeat the “weakest incumbent in history” (Obama wasn’t). Whether these incidents are simply sloppy journalism, failed reading comprehension of basic polling data, wishful thinking, or a sign of some greater personal issue is not for me to say. However, these incidents of distortion and factual inaccuracy pale in comparison to Boyle’s latest crusade: the smearing of Cuban American Sen. Marco Rubio.
Boyle’s Twitter feed is a dizzying collection of Rubio attacks, mixed with dutiful promotions for anti-immigrant author Anne Coulter and support for the 2016 candidacy of liberal billionaire Donald Trump. There are dozens and dozens of attacks on the Florida senator since his announcement in April, far and away the most frequent of Boyle’s targets. Coincidently, Rubio is the only Hispanic candidate in the race who supports immigration reform. There are occasional immigration criticisms of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, but the attacks on other white candidates combined come nowhere close to the number fired at Rubio. The level of invective and hostility is also quite different towards Rubio compared to the tenor of criticism used for his white opponents.
Mr. Boyle’s latest report on the first-generation American from Florida is op-ed unsubtly disguised as journalism. Covering Rubio’s speech in Las Vegas, he twists and distorts the facts of the event, painting a picture that resembles nothing comparable to reality. Boyle declares that Rubio “offered no policy specifics whatsoever” in his biographical speech, ignoring the irony that the journo-activist’s preferred candidate (Trump) has offered no policy specifics in any speech, on any webpage, or in any campaign press release. He suggests Rubio “ducked, dodged, weaved” his way through his remarks; a patently false and dishonest take on Rubio’s standard, eloquent recitation of his family history and personal beliefs. Boyle’s distortion of Rubio’s presentation was only made more clear at the very end of his tirade, when he sullenly admitted the crowd cheered for Sen. Rubio. You would think if his remarks were filled with ducking, dodging, and weaving that the ardently conservative audience would have rained boos down upon the nation’s most prominent Hispanic elected official. Perhaps the booing was only occurring inside of Boyle’s Trump-infected mind.
This shoddy journalism could be dismissed if it were the only occurrence of distortions by Mr. Boyle at Sen. Rubio’s expense, but sadly it is the norm. A thorough reading of Breitbart’s archive will reveal the 44-year-old Latino as the most frequent Republican target of the organization’s attack pieces, from Mr. Boyle and several of his colleagues. Boyle even went so far as to blame Rubio for an amendment to the Gang of Eight bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), despite not supporting the amendment himself. The story is highlighted with a photo of Juan-Francisco Lopez Sanchez, who admitted to shooting Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. The prominent placement of a photo of a Latino felon in a story falsely attacking a Latino politician landed with all of the subtly of the Willie Horton ad campaign.
The litany of attacks sent Sen. Rubio’s way by Mr. Boyle and Breitbart News has been at the very least dishonest, and has struck many as overtly racist. Of course, there is no way to know what is in Mr. Boyle’s heart, and we can only make judgements based on his pattern of coverage and treatment of the various candidates in the race. I imagine Breitbart News would deny any racial motivation for Mr. Boyle’s repeated attacks on Sen. Rubio. They would almost certainly claim that the criticism comes from the senator’s straying from conservative orthodoxy and not his ethnicity. Unfortunately for Mr. Boyle, this is something we can easily fact-check. If this is the standard of reporting at Breitbart News, then surely that pattern of coverage would be found for other members of the 2016 field. However, a similar record of holding other candidates accountable for their more liberal positions seems to be missing from the Breitbart archives, particularly regarding the candidacy of Donald Trump.
The real estate mogul and former reality show star has had a long, scattered, and inconsistent public record on his political leanings. The occurrences of his straying from conservatism are so numerous that perhaps the Breitbart staff found it too challenging to catalog, so I’ve done my best to lend a hand. Some of Trump’s stated positions and political activities are as follows:
There are other areas of concern, such as the use of illegal immigrant labor on many of his construction projects, the catastrophic bankruptcies of several of his casinos, and his scandalized personal life, including public attacks on his two ex-wives and disturbing comments about his physical attraction to his daughter, Ivanka.
Trump’s left-wing positions and sordid private life are coupled with the racist and nonsensical policies he’s now advocating for. Among his irrational declarations is his promise to force the Mexican government to finance the construction of a massive, impenetrable wall across the Southern border, with no realistic plan to achieve such a outrageous goal. Trump insists that he will defeat ISIS by being “so hard on them they won’t be able to come to the table” despite lacking any comprehensive military strategy or even a team of competent military and foreign policy advisors. He claims that his ability to negotiate contracts for beauty pageants and golf courses (deals that are collapsing all around him) will somehow enable him to combat China’s cheating on trade. Despite any experience or qualifications, despite policy specifics of any kind, despite any history of conservatism or personal integrity, and despite a private life devoid of any moral compass or common decency, the left-wing billionaire has earned the loyalty and support of the inheritors of Andrew Breitbart’s name.
Earlier this year, Mr. Boyle engaged in an angry Twitter dispute with respected conservative lawyer and talk show host Hugh Hewitt. As is typical of Boyle during these Twitter spats, he avoided facts and centered his argument on ad hominem attacks. Hewitt, famous for his well-reasoned opinions and congenial style, was stunned that his late friend, Andrew Breitbart, would have has such a person writing under his banner. Boyle angrily protested, claiming “Andrew and I were very close. Believe me, I know what he wanted.” Apparently, Mr. Boyle has chosen to exclude Andrew Breitbart’s loud denunciation of Donald Trump’s false conservatism from his memory, an exclusion that is tarnishing Breitbart’s legacy and ruining his good name.
The headline you never thought you’d live to see: “Bob Dole returns to save Kansas for Jittery GOP.”
During a favorable Republican election cycle, the party needs to recruit a 91 year old political has-been, whose 1996 presidential run remains the symbol of haplessness, in order to save an incumbent Republican from losing – in a state that hasn’t sent a non-Republican to the Senate since 1932.
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is a symbol of much of what is wrong with American politics – and the GOP in particular. The 78 year old senator has been in Congress since 1981. He may be a fine man, but is really, really, past his prime in office. Roberts’s interest in campaigning and legislating has waned, and he’s reeling from reports that he doesn’t even own a home in the state he represents.
Now that Democrat Chad Taylor withdrew from the race and his name is tentatively off the ballot, we have a real race. Three fresh polls – PPP, Fox News and Rasmussen – show independent Greg Orman, who will likely caucus with Democrats, with a respectable lead in a one-on-one matchup with Roberts.
Roberts may very well still get reelected. Republicans and their allies will bombard the state, and Orman’s image is set to get tarnished. The state will potentially revert to its conservative bona fides and refuse to help tip the national balance in Democrats’ favor. PPP found that Kansas voters favor GOP control of the Senate by a 10% margin.
However, even in the best case scenario for Republicans, the party will have squandered precious resources in a state that should have been in their pocket – and voters will be unhappy with their GOP senator for the next six years. Per PPP, Roberts’s approval/disapproval rating is a disastrous 29%/46% – with no more than a 43% approval among Kansas Republicans.
Why is the GOP in this position?
Because the only person ready to wage a serious primary challenge against Roberts was Milton Wolf, an amateur candidate who managed to turn many people off, particularly following his x-ray scandal. The feeble 7% margin with which Roberts defeated Wolf leaves little room for doubt that a more qualified, agreeable primary challenger would likely have defeated Roberts in the primary and kept the seat in GOP hands without any headaches.
Ditto for Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran – 76 years old and in Congress since 1972 – who cannot even count on half of his party’s voters in his state to approve of his job performance or commit to vote for him in November, and whose effectiveness over the next six years is in serious question.
Once again, it’s obvious that a strong mainstream Republican would likely have easily defeated Cochran in the primary. Cochran was barely able to defeat the erratic Chris McDaniel, whose past statements are an oppo researcher’s dream, even after the infamous nursing home photo scandal was added to the mix.
Unlike Roberts, Cochran appears to be safe in November, but the question still begs: Is this the best Republicans can do as they seek to attract and energize voters?
Herein lay the uncomfortable facts behind the GOP’s intractable establishment vs. Tea Party battle: Establishment politicians are so bent on protecting the status quo that they’ll virtually never work to unseat a weak incumbent or “heir apparent” in their party. For the most part, the only ones with the desire and chutzpa to do so are weak and/or loony candidates.
Hence, the establishment believes that Tea Party supporters and candidates are often unqualified and/or radical. And Tea Party supporters and many grassroots voters believe that the establishment is too weak, self-serving, and unwilling to move past the vanilla status quo.
Both are right.
Certainly, some level of loyalty to incumbents and others who’ve “earned their turn” is just. No party can thrive when its elected officials are thrown under the bus simply for being imperfect or because someone a tad more attractive came along. But it’s about time to lower the “it’s time to go” bar from the age old live boy/dead girl level. If you’re clearly out of touch and can’t get the approval of half your party’s voters in your state, perhaps we can all agree that you’re the wrong candidate.
Republicans champion the free market. If the GOP would eliminate the stigma and party pressure for credible mainstream Republican candidates looking to challenge incumbents and heir apparents – voters can have a real choice and make wiser decisions.
There are some Tea Party attributes that the GOP establishment is wise not to adopt. But the struggling party would do well to adopt some of the movement’s chutzpa.
-Simon Blum is a freelance writer and journalist specializing in political analysis and communication. You can follow Simon on Twitter @sbpundit.
I noted a few months ago that it appeared that the Republican Party and its grass roots were indicating they wanted to win the 2014 national midterm elections decisively with their best candidates for competitive U.S. house and senate seats.
Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina reinforces my initial observations. Most notably, North Carolina state house Speaker Thom Tillis won enough votes to become the GOP nominee without going to a runoff. Tillis had been opposed in the primary by two so-called Tea Party protest candidates, and as they have done in recent elections, Democratic Party strategists spent money against him hoping it would elect one of the protest candidates (who would of course be easier to beat in November). Democrats did this successfully in races in 2010 and 2012, most notably in Missouri where they spent more than $1 million to defeat a strong GOP senate candidate, The result was a weak and gaffe-prone Republican senate nominee who lost in November to an otherwise vulnerable Democratic incumbent.
(There has been, incidentally, little media discussion of the political ethics of one party interfering and intruding in the candidate selection process of the other party. This has been particularly true of the biased so-called “mainstream” media, which in fact have mostly cheered this practice on, resulting in the success of their preferred candidates. After two cycles of this, however, the Republican electorate has evidently caught on to the mischief, as North Carolina and other primaries have demonstrated. Led by Harry Reid in competitive senate races, the practice continues, but it is now likely to turn out to be mostly a waste of campaign dollars that might be more needed in November. Doing this is not illegal, of course, but it might be interesting to see how loudly Democrats and their media friends complain if Republican strategists resorted to the same practice in future elections.)
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who led the fight to block Mr. Tillis’s primary win in North Carolina by campaigning for an obviously flawed Tea Party candidate, then did the right thing by immediately and strongly endorsing Tillis on primary night. Mr. Paul, who is emerging as a serious contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, hopefully learned an important lesson from this experience, especially as he has been reaching out beyond his libertarian base to gain support for 2016. As Governor Chris Christie learned in 2012 when he “embraced” Barack Obama in the closing days of that campaign, a certain party loyalty is necessary if one expects then to obtain party support for oneself. (It will be interesting to observe how Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, another GOP protest figure with national ambitions, will conduct himself during the rest of the 2014 campaign.)
As I have pointed out repeatedly, the Tea Party movement was born as a legitimate economic protest by conservative voters, most of whom were Republicans, but also included many disaffected independents and some centrist Democrats. As their numbers grew, and their success, social issue factions began to dominate, especially in candidate selection, and the “Tea Party” brand began to acquire a negative image in Republican Party circles that were trying to win elections. Most of the grass roots Tea Party members by 2014 seem to have now rejoined the party, but some social issue partisans remain to create intraparty challenges.
More contests with intraparty challenges lie ahead, most notably in Georgia, Kentucky, Alaska and Iowa. In these races so far, the strongest GOP candidates appear to be ahead, although surprises can yet happen. On the Democratic side, the left wing of the party appears to be stirring, especially against the prospects of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee in 2016, but so far Democrats are not indulging in intraparty fights against their own U.S. house and senate candidates. Democrats, to their advantage, avoided these squabbles in 2010 and 2012, and reaped rewards for their self-discipline.
Public opposition to Obamacare remains the largest issue of 2014 so far, but other issues are emerging, including President Obama’s stubborn refusal to permit the construction of the Keystone pipeline to please a few rich supporters (but not his union friends), and some pocketbook issues such as a sluggish economy and raising the minimum wage.
Although foreign policy issues very rarely affect midterm elections, the constant headlines featuring Russian aggressiveness in Ukraine, Chinese aggressiveness in Asia, North Korean provocations, and bestial murder and kidnapping by warlords in Africa, to name only the most prominent, could have an affect on voters, especially if they want to protest Mr. Obama’s foreign policy.
The curious advice by administration supporters and some Democratic strategists for candidates to “double down” by supporting unpopular and controversial Obama policies so far does not seem to be working for most of these vulnerable Democratic candidates. Those who early on have tried to separate themselves from Washington, DC seem to be having the most success. In the U.S. senate, now controlled by the Democrats, majority leader Harry Reid is becoming more and more erratic in his speeches and public comments, and thus further enabling the 2014 election to be nationalized, something which in this cycle clearly helps the Republicans.
With six months to go, and a potential electoral catastrophe for the Democrats approaching, it would seem only a matter of time before Mr. Reid, Mrs, Pelosi and other liberal hardliners are superseded or abandoned by cooler heads in their party who still want to win.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.