Trump and Cruz

Here’s the link to my AT piece:

Cruz is going to fight to stop funding Planned Parenthood.  McConnell will fund it in order to avoid a shutdown.  I think this is significant because it intersects the real work of legislating with the politics of the campaign.  If Trump doesn’t support what Cruz is doing he’s acquiescing to the McConnell Doctrine, which no good populist can do.

What I’d really like to see is someone confronting McConnell with the implications of his own Doctrine.  For if Congress surrenders the power of the purse, it is a hollow shell of an institution.

Now that I think about it, Trump’s strategy comes into focus.  He’ll oppose “shutting down the government” but will demand that Congress slash spending before approving a debt limit increase.  It’s almost like he’s thought this all through, which is a little scary.

Trump may actually know what he’s doing.  Which means he may be one of the last men standing when the field winnows.  It used to be the perceived wisdom that it would all boil down to a one on one between a “moderate” like Bush and a Tea Party type like Cruz.  But Bush doesn’t look like he’ll make the cut, and Trump is hogging all the Tea Party support.  If you take Bush out of the picture, which you should, it looks like Walker, Rubio or Kasich would be the choices of the “establishment”, with Cruz and Trump competing to be the Tea Party insurgent.

We’ll have to wait six months to see.

Political malpractice

Jeb! is losing it.  No one saw Trump coming, and with his arrival the Jeb! game plan lies in tatters.  He doesn’t have a Plan B, and is making stupid mistakes.  First he calls out Asians on anchor babies, and now he’s touting an endorsement by disgraced  and defeated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  The defeat of Cantor may have been the high water mark of the Tea Party insurgency, and Jeb! is telling every Tea Party member or sympathizer that they’re a bunch of idiots.  Way to go, Jeb!  Insult a third, maybe a half, of Republican primary voters, and have every serious political observer wonder if you’ve lost your mind.

The reason this is troubling is that it demonstrates the disdain the Jeb! crowd feels for the ignorant hoi polloi in flyover country.  Eric and the Bush family are probably good buddies.  Eric is one of the “right people”, who understands how things really work, not some right wing zealot.  Jeb! and Eric are doubtless very comfortable with one another’s company.  They’re practical and reasonable men of the world, who know that in the end, it always gets down to money.  They deserve each other.

I’d hoped the Article V push for a Balanced Budget Amendment would become relevant in the Republican nomination contest, but it won’t happen for a while.  It could still be a topic in a debate, but that doesn’t seem likely.  Maybe the way it comes up is like this:  Kasich does well enough in New Hampshire to make it into March.  He hangs on until March 8th, when he gets a boost out of the Ohio primary.  At that point the Article V BBA gets real, and relevant.  Wisconsin will have been #28.  If things go well, Wyoming (adjourns on March 3rd) is #29, Virginia and West Virginia are #29 and #30 (adjourn March 5th), Idaho is #31 (adjourns March 17th) and Oklahoma is #32 (assuming we get it done early in the session, which adjourns May 25th).

If Kasich’s still on his feet, and we’ve got 32 states, he can start pounding it.  Politically, it is, quite simply, beautiful.  I just can’t imagine a more perfect issue to campaign on in Republican primaries.  Arizona’s primary is set for March 22nd.  Kasich could win Arizona on this issue, if it’s gotten traction.  Depending on where he’s at, it could be a much needed boost.

All idle speculation, I know.  But at this point, and for the foreseeable future, anything could happen.

Bush needs to come to California and get Schwarzenegger’s endorsement, and then sic him on Trump.

Arnold vs. the Donald.  Bread and circuses.


I wrote yesterday that the whole premise of the Bush candidacy  —  he loves Mexicans, they love him  — doesn’t add up. politically.  So this morning David Byler and the esteemed Sean Trende put a piece out on Real Clear Politics that says essentially the same thing.  Here’s the link:

Hispanics are not the key to 2016.  If blacks revert to their pre-Obama levels of turnout, a small increase in the working class white vote in Middle America would be enough for a win.  Right now a lot of these folks are supporting Trump.  They aren’t Bush types.  What will appeal to them is one of their own.

Like, maybe, a mailman’s son from McKee’s Rock, Pennsylvania.

Momma told me not to run

You should have listened to your mother, Jeb!  The contrast between your embarrassing performance at the border with the Donald’s evisceration of Jorge Ramos is truly humiliating.  A week kneed flop sweat choke versus a masterful display of political balls.

Jeb! decided he needed to prove his political manhood by taking on Trump, and is getting his ass handed to him.  If this keeps up Jeb! will be out of the race after New Hampshire.  Mother knows best, Jeb!  You’re a Bush, you should know that.

Every new poll reaffirming Trump’s dominance is a repudiation of Jeb!, because the Donald is his antithesis.  What was supposed to set Jeb! apart from the field was his appeal to Hispanics.  The Deep Thinkers in the Beltway convinced themselves that Hispanics are now the key voting bloc in Presidential politics, and that Jeb! was the man to get those votes.  He married a Mexican girl, is fluent in Spanish, and has deep family connections to Mexico’s ruling elite.  Jeb! loves Mexicans!   They’ll love him!  When they cross the border it’s an act of love.  It’s love everywhere you look.  It all made so much sense.  It was all such complete hogwash.

This election will be won or lost in Middle America, in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania.  The key demographic in these states is the white working class, not Hispanics.  A whole lot of these swing voters are completely pissed off at illegal immigration, and will take Trump over Bush in a heartbeat.

Yesterday Trump got around to the question I’ve wanted to ask since Kate Steinle was murdered in San Francisco:  When her killer snuck into this country, was that an act of love?

I’ve rarely seen a finer performance than Trump taking down the Univision reporter.  All it lacked was a memorable one liner, like, oh, I don’t know, “Mr.Green, I paid for that microphone!”  I’ve got a name for the reality show we watch every day  — As the World Turns.  Trump’s the top bill, and he did an award winner yesterday.  Give the man his due.

It’s funny how sometimes one fairly obscure person can have a huge impact.  Right now that person is Jill Biden, Joe’s wife.  It’s her call.  He wants to do it, Obama wants him to do it, but he must have her blessing.  It’s asking a lot of this woman.  She raised Beau as her own, since he was just a very little boy, and his death had to be devastating.  She really doesn’t want to do anything but grieve and stay close to her remaining family.  If Joe runs, she knows what she’s in for, and she knows what Joe will have to go through as well.  I hate to say this, but she would be a big asset in the campaign.  Everyone who is aware of what she just went through is going to be totally sympathetic.  I don’t know anything about Jill Biden, but I know the type.  She loves Joe, and she’ll do it for him.

As Biden ascends, Hillary descends.  We’ll see if a reverse bandwagon kicks in.  It could all fall apart pretty quickly.  Hillary’s not inevitable, but she’s still the favorite.  When she loses even that, and it could happen overnight, the long knives come out.  People have held grudges against the Clintons for years, but have been afraid to act for fear of reprisal.  But if there is no prospect of either of them ever holding public office, and power, again, it’s time to settle up.

When no one’s afraid of the big bad wolf, she’s in danger.