Here the link to my AT piece:
My editor, J. R. Dunn, was kind enough to make some minor changes. The unedited version is at the bottom.
Naturally I’m getting my ass handed to me in the comments. These people are motivated primarily by rage at illegal immigration. I’m with them. The message of Donald Trump is, Secure the border. Don’t try to secure it. Don’t pretend. Cut off illegal immigration, end sanctuary policies, deport criminals and crack down on employers who hire illegals. That’s for starters. I hope Kasich and Rubio get the message. If they don’t, Cruz can beat them on this one issue. He’s a fool to be talking about shutting down the government, but he’s channeling a lot of righteous indignation on illegals. Kasich and Rubio have to convince people they’re for real on this issue. Don’t just speak about it, speak with some passion. When Trump falls Cruz will be poised to pick up this flag and run with it. He’s the natural beneficiary of the rage vote. He’s the only other candidate the Tribe of Trump has any attraction to. Depending on the timing, he could be at the top of the polls when the Donald leaves the stage.
I don’t care much for Parson Cruz, and I have doubts about his effectiveness as President. But I think he could win the general. He’s a lot smarter than Walker or Bush. Hillary/Sanders/Biden will be an extraordinarily weak opponent, running for a third term on behalf of a discredited President, and a tired agenda. I don’t think people will ever warm up to Cruz, but we really didn’t like Nixon either.
He’s too hawkish for me, but then so is Rubio. Foreign affairs is always an electoral wild card. We’re being pushed by a powerful political tide, but earthquakes can stem a tide, and something overseas could pop out of nowhere. If it happens at the last minute, whether it’s an orchestrated October Surprise or not, all bets are off. There’s always personal scandal, like Bush 2’s DWI. The thing is, with the Clintons, they’ll just make something up, and most of the media will tag along. That’s their game plan. Hillary and the resuscitation of her image are a lost cause. You win by destroying your opponent.
Yesterday afternoon’s email drop is the latest sign that Obama and the Queen have decided that Hillary is expendable. Someone in the State Department, at someone’s bidding, decided to go back and look again for Hillary emails, and lo and behold. I stuck in a thumb, I pulled out a plumb. I get the feeling that Hillary’s health is rapidly deteriorating. She may not be physically capable of continuing her campaign.
That’s another wild card: health. Or, God forbid, a crazy person doing something awful. A lot of things could happen. But here’s the point. Something has to happen. The narrative of this campaign is a story we want told. Something has to change the story line, or we win in a cake walk.
The Church Lady’s out with another column urging the Republicans rid themselves of Trump and everything he’s associated with. I went back and checked, and sure enough, in 1974 Will was saying Ronald Reagan should go form a third party and take the riff raff with him — it would cleanse the party. 41 years later, and the Church Lady is singing the same hymn. Go play with your baseball, George.
And then there’s the Hammer, with the Wisdom of the Semites. I actually like Krauthammer, and listen carefully when he speaks. He’s a full bore patriot and a good man. But I do believe he sometimes conflates the best interest of Israel with that of the U.S., and they’re not always the same. And he is not, to put it gently, a man of the people.
As Louis Mayer said, anybody who goes to a psychiatrist is crazy.
“Don Juan of Florida and the Old Pro” by Fritz Pettyjohn
An analysis of the Republican nomination contest
The spotlight is a solvent, and under its glare the muddled water of the Republican nomination fight becomes clear. Even now, we can state with some assurance that only two of the candidates remain viable, while the rest are residue.
The three media candidates, Trump, Fiorina and Carson, were never really in it. In 2016, the most auspicious political year for Republicans since 1920, the Party will not nominate a candidate who has never won public office. The tweet campaigns of these candidates is just one sign of their triviality. They are personality and protest candidates, with no record in office, and no hope of winning. The nomination will not be awarded to a rookie without a track record in office.
The serious candidates are Christie, Cruz, Bush 3, Kasich and Rubio. Christie’s going nowhere, and neither is Jeb! Bush 3 has the money to hang around for a while, but he does not have the gravitas, the vision, and the political skill to win this nomination. He has, at last, owned up that he is a Bush, and this admission he will fade into oblivion. There is a substantial majority within the Republican Party who are adamantly opposed to another Bush, and they’re not going to change their mind.
With their debate performances, Cruz and Rubio have competed for the insurgent, Tea Party, hard right wing of the party, and Rubio has won a decisive victory. It isn’t close. He is, quite simply, far more appealing than the stiff and robotic Texan, who can’t help but look and sound like a fancy lawyer arguing before an appellate court. Aside from his marvelous speaking skills, Rubio has the persona of a Latino Reagan. The more people see of him, the more they like him, especially women.
The final round between Rubio and Kasich will decide the nomination. It is a contest between a show horse and a work horse. Kasich cannot compare to Rubio in God given political talent, but can compete on his record. All but an insignificant fraction of voters have any idea of what Kasich has accomplished, and they will be impressed when they are made aware of it.
In the Democratic landslide of 1982, with Reagan at the nadir of his popularity and 11% unemployment, Kasich, then just 31, was the only Republican in the country to knock off an incumbent Democrat Congressman. He’d met Reagan at the ’76 Convention, and ran as an unapologetic Reagan man. He remained a Reagan man in his entire eighteen years in Congress.
The federal budget, and deficits, were a very serious concern in the 80’s and 90’s, and, even though in the Minority, Kasich rolled up his sleeves and went to work. With a small cadre of staff and colleagues he produced alternative budgets to the Democratic majority. At first they received little attention, but over time the ideas he was promoting gradually became the position of the House Minority. When they achieved majority status in 1994, and he was promoted over more senior colleagues to the Chairmanship of the Budget Committee, his work was the basis of the balanced budgets which were passed in the late 90’s. Even with a Democrat in the White House, Kasich and the Republicans accomplished the unheard of. The federal government spent less than it took in.
His service on the Armed Services Committee gave him the background in military and foreign affairs every commander in chief should have. He waged war on Pentagon waste, but never wavered in his commitment to the Reagan expansion of the military which brought the Soviets to their knees.
After a quixotic run for the Presidency in 2000, Kasich returned to Ohio, with his second wife and two their young daughters. He joined Lehman Brothers, where he immersed himself in the world of finance and commerce. Elected Governor in 2010, he turned the state around, erasing massive deficits, cutting taxes, and promoting private sector growth. He was reelected in a landslide in this critical swing state, a state that no Republican can win the presidency without. He accepted the “free” federal Medicaid money because he believed doing so was in the best interest of the people he represented. That’s what politicians do. His knowledge of the Ohio state budget allowed him to take this action in a clear conscience. Ohio will, in the future, pay for this program without federal help. That’s what he, as Governor, believed was consistent with Ohio values. Reagan made similar decisions when he was Governor of California. Other states, with other values, have rejected the Medicaid expansion. That’s what federalism is all about. As President, he will not impose his values on the country. As an ardent federalist, he will leave such decisions to the States, and the people.
Barring a black swan, a Republican will win the Presidency next year. Who can envy the winner, with such an enormous task ahead of them? It’s a very big and complicated job. Turning this country around will take a skilled politician at the very top of his game.
Experience would help.
Fritz Pettyjohn is a former member of the Alaska Legislature and a Co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force. He blogs at ReaganProject.com