Josh Kraushaar in The National Journal:
“Nearly every fundamental measure—with the notable exception of the country’s demographic shifts—favors the Republicans in 2016. The public overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction (23/69, a historic low in Bloomberg’s national poll). President Obama’s job-approval rating has been consistently underwater, with the opposition intensely rejecting his policies. Any economic growth has been uneven, with more Americans pessimistic than optimistic about the future. The public’s natural desire for change after eight years of Democrats in the White House benefits the opposition. Meanwhile, the party’s likely standard-bearer has been saddled with weak favorability ratings of her own, with her email scandal dragging down her trustworthiness in the minds of voters. This is not the environment in which the party in power typically prevails.”
This would all seem so obvious as to not bear repeating, except that the media consensus is that Dems will win in 2016. Nate Silver’s 538, the betting markets, the remains of the MSM, and, of course, the Left-wing journals are unanimous in thinking that Republicans are self-destructing and generally falling apart at the seams. How many mentions of “the Republican clown car” have there been? To exacerbate the situation, these outlets have trumpeted Trump at every opportunity, and have monotonously made fun of Ben Carson, while ignoring the candidates with rock-solid chief executive experience and very real foreign policy chops.
The fact is that according to a rich electoral history in democracies throughout the world, any time a multi-term incumbent steps down, his party’s would-be successor has a less than 20% chance of winning. It seems that the need for a change is built into human psychology, something that Obama was actually right about in 2008. Conflate that need with further evidence that this is especially true if the incumbent stepping down has an approval rating of less than 50%, as Obama’s has been consistently since 2013.
Then along comes ISIS, who has actually caught the attention of the slumbering American electorate. Kraushaar points to a poll that shows that 60% of American voters want The United States to send in ground troops to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That is shocking since Obama was elected not that many years ago to get us out of the Middle East and never risk American lives again.
The public seems to have picked up on the absurdity of sending in 50 members of the Special Forces, and in spending more than $50 Million finding, equipping, and training four Syrian soldiers willing to fight. Add them together and the U.S. effort to bring down ISIS in Syria consists of 54 men on the ground. This, when a solid majority of Americans thinks we are at war with ISIS. While there is much evidence that Islamic terrorists are at war with US, there is very little that we are at war with THEM. The polling evidence is that Democrats are not part of the majority on the issue, but that evidence also shows that they are relatively unenthusiastic about voting, period. With their top two candidates being Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, of course, how could they be?
“The Democrats’ hopes of holding the White House rest on: a) remobilizing the Obama coalition of millennials, single women, and nonwhite voters; and b) hoping that Republicans nominate someone outside the mainstream, like Donald Trump. In short: If the Republican Party doesn’t split in two—which is a distinct possibility if Trump is either nominated or runs as a third-party candidate—Republicans have a clear advantage.”
That’s a very big “if.” Had Trump not shown up, the upcoming election would be all but in the bag, but with him it’s not. When plans were made not many days ago to raise funds on a significant scale to bring The Donald down, he lapsed into the time-honored tradition of whining: “That wasn’t in the deal!” In other words, he thinks that the Republican Party as a whole has to play nice with him or he will run on a third party ticket. He might. It was always clear that he probably wouldn’t keep his word when he signed a pledge saying he wouldn’t run if he lost the nomination.
The problem is that polls show that Hillary has at least 40% against any Republican in a general election contest, so Trump running 3rd Party would only need something like 15% to ensure a Hillary victory. One poll showed that him leading a 3rd Party effort would only take two percent from Hillary’s total, with the rest coming from Republicans.
But, barring that, we should win.
This is the Open Thread for Saturday.
Boyhood, like measles, is one of those complaints which a man should catch young and have done with, for when it comes in middle life it is apt to be serious.
This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.
In January of 2015, Steve King helped organize the GOP kick-off event of the season with the Iowa Freedom Summit. It gave potential GOP candidates a stage to make their voice heard in the first in the nation State of Iowa. This event was simply a microcosm of the role that Steve King can have in Iowa. He represents the views of many conservative Iowans in the GOP party and any candidate would be excited to get the endorsement of the Congressman.
Heading into the day the rumors were swirling about who he would endorse. The safe money was on Ted Cruz. The outspoken Texas Senator has been polling well in Iowa and has the experience King likes while not being so tied to Washington that he is toxic.
King spoke about what was needed in a candidate. It was what we all heard before with the addition that the candidate needs to be able “to inspire the Christian Conservatives”. King said the candidate has taken on the DC elites and that God will use him to “restore the soul of America”.
Other names that were floated included Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and even Rick Santorum.
In the end King did announce his support for Ted Cruz. So what does this mean for the Cruz campaign?
The biggest gains for Cruz come in the form of boots on the ground and likely financial support. King has a big enough pull in Iowa that voters often wait for his stamp of approval on a candidate before making a decision themselves. Cruz should see an influx of people ready to not only vote for him, but get others to do the same.
Financially speaking, this could really impact the number of donors that begin to give. To this point in the race, voters have held onto funds, waiting for the right person to support. With King’s go ahead, Cruz could easily be the benefactor of those donations.
Cruz is one of only two candidates polling in double digits in Iowa that has ANY political experience. He is outspoken on numerous issues and presents actual solutions. While I see him as more of a very good used car salesman, Representative King clearly feels he is the best choice for the GOP party. And in the end, I would agree that we could do a whole heck of a lot worse.
Donald Trump has officially lost it, folks. No, I mean for real this time – in what is being heralded all across the media as an utter meltdown, Trump went crazy tonight in Fort Dodge, Iowa:
He said he would “bomb the s—” out of areas controlled by the Islamic State that are rich with oil and claimed to know more about the terrorist group than U.S. military generals. He ranted about how everyone else is wrong on illegal immigration and how even the “geniuses at Harvard” have now backed his way of thinking. He accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of playing the “woman’s card,” and said Marco Rubio is “weak like a baby.” He signed a book for an audience member and then threw it off the stage. He forgot to take questions like he promised. And he spent more than 10 minutes angrily attacking his chief rival, Ben Carson, at one point calling him “pathological, damaged.”
Gone was the candidate’s recent bout of composure and control on the campaign trail. As Trump ranted on and on, campaign staffers with microphones who were supposed to take questions from the audience instead took a seat, trying to cheer their boss here and there. The audience laughed at times and clapped for many of Trump’s sharp insults. But an hour and 20 minutes into the speech, people who were standing on risers on the stage behind Trump sat down. The applause came less often and less loud. As Trump skewered Carson in deeply personal language, a sense of discomfort settled on the crowd of roughly 1,500. Several people shook their heads or whispered to their neighbors.
What in the… but wait! There’s more! He went after Ben Carson again, and in the process created the greatest Trump GIF to date:
Trump said he doesn’t believe Carson is telling the truth and questioned how a belt buckle could stop a blade. He stepped away from the podium and acted out how he imagined such an attack would happen, with his own belt buckle flopping around. He asked if anyone in the audience had a knife to try out his theory.
After getting his hands off his pants and getting back behind the podium, Trump again compared Ben Carson to a child molester and called the voters stupid again, just for good measure:
“If you’re a child molester — a sick puppy — a child molester, there’s no cure for that,” Trump said. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure. They can’t stop you. Pathological? There’s no cure.”
And yet Carson is doing well in the polls, Trump said in disbelief.
“How stupid are the people of Iowa?” Trump said. “How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”
As the speech wound down, Trump chased a rabbit trail of a thought that indicated his mental state:
He would be a unifier, he said, a winner. Then he wondered aloud if he should just move to Iowa and buy a farm.
Yes… a farm. That’s it. That sounds lovely.
Seriously. It’s like Donald Trump is trying to torpedo his own campaign now, like it’s become some sick joke to see just how insane he can be and have people still support him. This has now entered the realm of the utterly bizarre.
In the Fox Business Channel debate someone said that everyone on the stage has a tax plan, and they’re all a lot better than the current plan. This is true even if they’re all different, and Marco’s plan, mostly written by Mike Lee, is no exception.
Instead of the unwieldy current system with all of its different rates, in Marco’s plan there are only two: a 35% top bracket and a 15% bracket for most taxpayers; but of course it will be zero for some. The 35% number will kick in at $150,000 for a family of two, but most people will definitely see a reduced tax burden under this arrangement, and John Harwood in the CNBC was very wrong, as usual, in asserting that wealthy taxpayers would benefit more than the working class. The top rate is currently 39.8%, and dropping it down to 35% makes it lower, although most deductions are eliminated, so this isn’t a make the wealthy wealthier plan. In fact, the Christie and Bush top rates are each 28%, so Harwood was out to lunch.
The plan taxes a lot of income that now falls in the 25% bracket at 15%, the rate that 80% or more of all taxpayers will pay. Also, the plan will eliminate the Capital Gains tax, taxes on dividends and estates, and the alternative minimum tax. Another nice feature is that interest will no longer be taxable. All this leads to the question of how the plan will impact deficits. The Tax Foundation estimates the plan would reduce federal revenues by Four Trillion dollars over the course of the next decade. Team Rubio’s answer: increase growth and spending restraint. In other words, score it dynamically and cut spending growth and it can increase federal revenues inside of 10 years. Not to worry about that $4 Trillion. And the plan will grow the economy. All businesses will be taxed at a predictable and competitive 25%.
And it allows businesses to write off investment expenses immediately, which will incentivize a lot of business development that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. Another thrust of the measure is that it will herald a transition to a territorial taxation system, so that income earned abroad, that has been taxed abroad, can be repatriated without being taxed all over again. Most of the developed world utilizes a territorial system, and adopting this approach is necessary to even up the playing field. There is an estimated $2 1/2 Trillion dollars parked overseas by American companies who can’t bring it to our shores without that money getting taxed yet again, and taxed outrageously. Bring it home and most of it will go to work creating jobs in The United States and spurring business activity, and if there’s no tax penalty for bringing it home, and the tax code makes the economy more vibrant, it WILL come home.
A critical second part of the plan is to make families stronger: It does away with the marriage penalty, so that a couple filing jointly will not pay more in taxes than they would if not married and file separately. And it expands the child tax credit by adding $2500 per child to it, and applies it against payroll taxes as well as to income taxes. This will help turn around the trend toward an ever smaller numbers of families. Raising children is expensive, and expensive largely because of government policy. Marco’s plan will incentivize young families to have children. The nation won’t be able to sustain it’s spending on entitlements if the population as a whole keeps getting older.
Right now the nation is headed toward demographic oblivion. The magic number if a country is going to maintain its population at current levels is 2.1 live births per fertile female. If a nation produces more children than this the population will grow. Right now we’re at 1.9 and headed toward extinction. And if an economy is going to be vibrant, the ratio of those in their working years to those not working needs to be increasing, especially if it is to continue to fund a generous level of entitlements. Ours is declining, with more people out of the labor force than at any time since Carter Recession in the 1970s.
Marco’s site sums up the rationale thus:
“America’s outdated tax code was designed by leaders of the past for the economy of the past. Unfortunately, the status quo is too complex, hurts families and job creators, and holds back our nation’s potential to compete around the globe. Marco believes that to meet the potential of the New American Economy, we need less government, not more. If we reform the tax code in the right way, and couple it with innovative policy solutions, we can grow our economy while encouraging work, saving, investment, and stronger families.”
No longer the prohibitive favorite, Jeb Bush is down to 4% in a couple of polls. In the RCP averages he’s in fifth place in Iowa, fifth place in New Hampshire, and fifth place nationally. Many want him out of the race, especially including several here.
Byron York, writing in The Washington Examiner has a different take:
“Yet there is a not-crazy scenario in which Bush could rise again, not to dominate the race but to be in the running when the four candidates ahead of him self-destruct, kill each other, or run out of gas.”
The day after the last debate, in which he was only asked three questions, one of which asked him condescendingly why his poll numbers were down, and another asked him about Fantasy Football, and then there was his losing exchange with Marco Rubio, and none of which asked him anything about what he wanted to do for the country, Team Jeb conducted a focus group in New Hampshire. It revealed five rays of hope:
“1) A large majority of group members were undecided and felt no rush to decide anything…
2) After all that has happened, the New Hampshire voters still had a positive, or mostly positive, impression of Bush…
3) They like Donald Trump, think he’s fun, but are concerned about giving Trump the vast powers of the presidency.
4) They love Ben Carson as a non-politician with a gentle bedside manner, but are a little discomfited by his offbeat views on a number of topics.
5) They see Marco Rubio as a perfect vice president and wonder if he is too young, and has too few accomplishments, for the top job.”
It concluded that voters are informed, but not close to making up their minds yet. They consider Bush to be rather dull, but see him as smart and very qualified. To have a shot, Jeb will have to start doing better in debates. He doesn’t need to win them, but he needs to be solid and presidential.
The first essential key before Jeb can win is for candidates ahead of him to implode. Not much of a game plan in and of itself, yet plausible: For example, does Donald Trump have what it takes to go through a very long and hard fought campaign? If he does, one down. If he doesn’t it’s very possible that he can be brought down. He certainly has weaknesses beyond age and lack of stamina, and Jeb isn’t the only candidate who wants to rise above him. And if ever there was a candidate vulnerable to a monumental gaffe, it’s Donald.
What about Ben Carson? How soft is his support? More than 80% of his supporters say they might wind up voting for someone else. And very few people have absolutely made up their mind at this point. Why might they wind up choosing another? Ben says some spooky stuff from time to time, and a lot of that stuff is on record. It’s also possible that his lack of verbal agility, as witness his seeming inability to explain his own tax plan to Chris Wallace, could hurt his campaign before actual voting begins.
Finally, is it possible that Rubio and Ted Cruz will go to war with each other? If Trump and Carson start falling by the wayside, and Jeb and others remain relatively harmless, Marco and Ted will have to go to the mattresses. Marco would like to stay above the fray and obey Reagan’s 11th Commandment, but Cruz hasn’t evidenced any such scruples. As he goes after Marco, Rubio will counter-punch, and that is likely to escalate things.
The Bush campaign sees longevity as the secret to winning the nomination. No other campaign is fully financed through March with money in the bank to go the distance. If the others stumble, Jeb will be in position to take advantage. Traditionally, these kinds of openings occur and it’s very unlikely, even in an unlikely year, for this Primary to turn out any differently. If it does, York thinks people will look at the alternatives, and many will be willing to take a second look.
Jeb winning is NOT a prediction. The odds are long. But it IS, in Byron’s words, “a not crazy scenario in which Bush could rise again.” And it constitutes a valid reason to stay in.
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.
In Kentucky, Sam Youngman in The Lexington Herald Leader:
“It would be an understatement to call Tuesday a good night for Republicans — it might well have been the end of the Democratic Party in a state where it dominated for so long.
This was a massacre from top to bottom, with Alison Lundergan Grimes and Andy Beshear the only people left standing with Ds behind their names.
Not only did a big red Republican wave sweep Matt Bevin into the governor’s mansion, it took out perhaps the Kentucky Democratic Party’s biggest rising star in Adam Edelen.”
Adam Edelen was the man Democrats wanted to run against Rand Paul during his reelection bid, but a funny thing happened to the “rising star” on the way to Washington, D.C., he got swamped in a tsunami. Democrats went into yesterday holding the Governorship and five of the six statewide offices, but they lost both the Governorship and most of the statewide offices.
A couple of important points: while it’s not surprising that Matt Bevin, the Republican nominee, became the new Governor, the margin was striking. Every poll showed Democrat Jack Conway ahead, and he lost by 9 points. Polls can be wrong and frequently are, but THAT wrong? The other is that Bevin was outspent $8, 750,000 to $5, 500,000. And Democrats used that money to go hard-negative to paint Bevin as an extremist. He lost, after all, to Mitch McConnell by 25 points in the primary a couple of years ago, and Matt barely won the nomination this year to run for the office. The extremism smear is a long-time tactic the Left has used against the GOP, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore.
Bevin’s number one issue was his desire to make Kentucky a Right To Work state. Whether he can accomplish that is doubtful in the short term. There are 28 state legislative bodies in the 14 states in the South and the Kentucky House of Representatives is the only one held by Democrats. Still, they don’t hold it by much of a margin, and Kentucky is one of the dwindling number of states where it’s still possible to find Democrats in office who aren’t liberals. So maybe.
His other issues were mostly social issues, including promises to de-fund Planned Parenthood and defend Kim Davis, who very recently has switched parties. Davis: “I will be forever thankful that he (Bevin) came to visit me while I was in jail.” Turning out evangelicals was part of the strategy and it worked.
So while the big news of the night was that Republicans picked up another Governor, which gives them 32 now to the Democrat’s 17, they also held onto the Governorship of Mississippi by a very large margin. And of the 122 members of the state’s House of Representatives, the number of Republicans in the chamber went from 67 to 73, nearing a super majority–something they really don’t need in the state. Republicans even toppled the House Minority Leader.
In Virginia, where Republicans had a very narrow majority in the State Senate, Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe was on a mission to regain control of the chamber. But after a hard fought battle, every single Republican state senator won.
Elsewhere, Ohio rejected marijuana legalization by a 2-1 margin. In San Francisco, Ross Mirkarimi, the Sheriff who defended the city’s sanctuary city policy went down to defeat. Houston’s equal rights ordinance, designed to protect the rights of gays and other groups, failed by a wide margin. In fact, just about the only good news for Democrats anywhere was their winning of three more seats in the state legislature in New Jersey. There they accused Republicans of associating with Chris Christie.
“Not only has Obama destroyed the Democratic Party in Kentucky, he’s destroyed the bench. The bench was supposed to rise up and run for office–that’s gone.”
The first tangible fruit of Marco Rubio’s victory in his tet a tet with Jeb in Wednesday’s debate came yesterday. In the long raging battle with Jeb Bush and Chris Christie for the affections and endorsement of Paul Singer, Singer came out for Marco. Worth $2.1 Billion, the Wall Street Investor raised millions for Mitt Romney last time out. This is particularly significant because the Rubio campaign has been, frankly, lousy at raising money. If this turns out to be a signal, it could lead to other major donors declaring for Marco’s campaign. Singer sent a letter to dozens of them saying that Marco’s the only candidate who can “navigate this complex primary process.” In a New York Times article by Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore:
Mr. Singer, who gave more money to Republican candidates and causes last year than any donor in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is courted by Republicans both for the depth of his own pockets and for his wide network of other conservative givers. He is known for his caution and careful vetting of candidates and, while passionately pro-Israel and a supporter of same-sex marriage, he is generally viewed as a donor who does not believe in litmus tests.
The endorsement was precipitated by Wednesday’s debate in which Jeb went after Marco on his dereliction of duty in the Senate. He has the highest absentee rate of all 100 members of the chamber, and had that distinction before he started his campaign. Jeb, who included a prospective bill to dock the pay of any member of Congress for every day they didn’t show up to work as part of his economic package last Spring, suggested that since Senators only work about three days a week, surely Marco could show up that often and still have time to campaign for higher office. The audience started to applaud and Marco immediately jumped in and cut it off with a prepared counter attack that proved devastating, particularly since the moderators didn’t allow Jeb a response. Bush came out of the exchange looking deflated.
I agree the attack was a bad strategy.
Didn’t work, did it? Except that the next day Marco canceled campaign appearances to cast a vote in the Senate. Erin Burnett led with a story asking whether Marco’s absenteeism would negatively affect his campaign. And Rubio pledged that he would take part in the effort in the Senate to repeal the budget resolution, aka Boehner’s last stand. As a result of the debate he will spend a lot more time in Washington doing his job.
But nonetheless, it was a Godsend for Marco and hurt Jeb. Not only did it damage his status with many in the media, including our own Matt Coulter, putting Bush on a dropout watch. And it had the effect of altering the balance of power, hurting Jeb with his own donors and long-time supporters. Once again, from the article:
Mr. Bush’s stilted debate performances have set off a new round of jockeying as Mr. Rubio’s supporters seek to lure some Bush backers to their camp. Several people involved in Mr. Rubio’s fund-raising said they had been fielding calls from Bush donors since Wednesday’s debate, suggesting they were rethinking their decision.
“I don’t know if you’ll get a tsunami of people immediately, because these are good people, and they are loyal,” said Jonathan Burkan, a New York financial executive who is supporting Mr. Rubio. “But you’ll get some people.”
The immediate question, besides whether the defections of Bush donors is significant, is whether this leads to Rubio scoring endorsements from billionaires like the Koch Brothers and/or Sheldon Adelson. At the moment Jeb’s financial support from Florida remains solid, but his campaign fears for the continued generosity of major fundraisers elsewhere.
The big money has been a massive advantage for the Bush campaign from the beginning, but if Marco winds up with something close to financial parity or better, it’s a new ballgame. And he owes it all to his readiness to step on an applause line.
The one thing I liked about the debate was an emerging sense of camaraderie. Huck very movingly waxed eloquent about the noble intentions to be the President America needs in a time of desperate crisis. Marco reiterated that the Party had 10 excellent quality candidates, and that the Democrats can’t find even one. Christie and Cruz decried the moderators for their divisiveness, and even Trump desisted from attacking the field, except for railing against Super PACs and John Kasich. It’s hard to go cold turkey.
In the midst of this fellowship, It was clearly a mistake by Jeb to go after Rubio, although I can’t believe that the moderators let Marco get away with that answer, in effect saying that he had no obligation to the taxpayers to do his job. It was done half heartedly and Marco, far from being rattled, responded with aplomb. One suspects he had anticipated the criticism and was clearly prepared to deflect the attack.
So where does that leave us?
My take about the current situation is that Marco will be much elevated as a result of the debate, although it was clearly won by Cruz and Christie. The other major takeaway is that I believe Trump and Carson both hurt themselves by providing less substance, both on issues and rhetorically, than the others on the stage.
Whither Jeb? I don’t know, but he didn’t do nearly as badly as this thread, or some of the commenters suggested. I would even denounce the eulogies except that I saw some defeatism in his demeanor in much of the debate. It’s like a spark went out.
What I do know is that if Jeb has it in him to rally and fight from this point, and I don’t know for sure that he does, then he has the right stuff for the office. John McCain found himself at a far lower point than this in late 1997 and made a comeback that won New Hampshire against great odds, and was able to parlay that into the nomination.
He was so broke that he had to stay at the homes of his few supporters in New Hampshire, and bum rides from them to events. He flew coach when it was absolutely necessary to travel. He ate fast food. Instead of being accompanied by an entourage, he carried a suitcase with him. His triumph was an exercise in sheer will.
By contrast, Jeb has a Super PAC with well over a hundred million dollars in it with the best operatives in the business running it. He has more than $10 Million hard money in his personal campaign. He has a strategy that is very well developed, and has far more endorsers than anyone else. He has 20 very-high-production value ads in the tank that haven’t aired. And he has, easily, the best policy prescriptions for the future of the country that have been proposed.
Historians have noted that had the people of Constantinople had half the fight in them as the Carthaginians had in the Third Punic War in a far more desperate situation, the Eastern Holy Roman Empire wouldn’t have fallen in 1453.
And, if Jeb can find a tenth as much fight in him as McCain showed he will be a force. If he doesn’t, it’s time to move on to Marco.