Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The smarter, more prinicipled members of the establishment prefer Ted Cruz over Donald Trump

Here is an interesting article which shows that some of the establishment/neocons who I've actually always respected (even if I don't agree with them on everything) are looking at Cruz:

“I would not hesitate to back Cruz as the nominee,” Abrams — who not long ago told National Review that Cruz’s use of the word neocon invoked “warmongering Jewish advisers” — told BuzzFeed News. “If it’s a two man race, it’s really extraordinary to see Republican office holders in some cases or former office holders saying they don’t like Cruz or they would go for Trump, who is from my perspective not a Republican, not a conservative, has no policy views on anything that you can actually describe or get a handle on.”

In an interview on his campaign bus in Iowa last week, Cruz told BuzzFeed News that, despite his jabs at neocons, he has “good relations with a great many foreign policy thinkers.” Cruz has in the past cited Abrams along with former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and former CIA director James Woolsey as trusted foreign policy experts.


There are three reasons why Cruz is attracting some soft support from neoconservatives. To start, it’s Cruz’s pedigree. With degrees from Harvard and Princeton, some think he can’t possibly be serious about some of his more extreme statements. (During his first campaign, he launched a scathing attack on the Council on Foreign Relations as a “pit of vipers,” neglecting to note that his wife had been an active member of the group.)

“What gives people pause is the credentials. That is, wait a minute, this guy went to Princeton and Harvard Law School and you have Alan Dershowitz saying he’s one of the most brilliant students I ever had in 30 years at Harvard Law School, and you’re telling me he sees the world the way Donald Trump does? Is that really credible?” Abrams asked rhetorically.


“I‘ve seen people turn out to be somewhat different as president than they said they were going to be when they were running,” said Kristol. “Not because they misled anyone, just because when you’re president things look a little different from when you’re giving speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire and so forth.”

“I think at the end of the day a Ted Cruz administration would follow a foreign policy that I would be pretty happy with,” Kristol said. “I’m more relaxed about Cruz than some of my neoconservative friends.”

Their words represent a real change for a group that has long felt particular warmth for the campaign of Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

“A couple months ago, establishment Republicans were confidently saying, ‘No way will we ever support Cruz,’” said a foreign policy-focused conservative operative familiar with the establishment Republican donor and activist world. “But now that they’re confronted with reality that Trump could actually be the nominee, suddenly Ted Cruz doesn’t look so bad by comparison.”

Dana Loesch Endorses Ted Cruz

Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council Endorses Ted Cruz

Monday, January 25, 2016

The GOPe is really not thinking it through with their swing to Trump

I swear that GOP establishment has had a brain tumor for breakfast (stole that line from "Heathers") and has for the last few weeks.  I understand why they hate Cruz, basically, he doesn't like them and won't give them jobs in the White House even if he wins.  So based on their calculus, if he loses they lose and if he wins, they lose.  So in opposing Cruz they are operating in their own self-interest albeit the self-interest of people who have no true guiding principles but their self-interest nonetheless. 

What I don't get though is why they are piling in with Trump (Dole, Grassley etc.) and against Cruz right before the Iowa caucuses. In my honest opinion as an armchair quarterback and political junkie with no actual political experience, I think that Cruz is stoppable after Iowa but Trump simply isn't.  So let's say Cruz wins in Iowa, the Trump bubble might finally pop and one of the "establishment" candidates might finally get some oxygen for their campaign.  Then the establishment can start their "kill Cruz" campaign and pile into JEB, Christie, Rubio or Kasich, whoever is looking strongest.  They can also pressure the others to drop out so it becomes a one on one contest which would even the playing field a little.  And while the initial calendar does favor Cruz with so many red states voting initially, we are talking a delegate battle and there is a way to stop him from amassing the necessary delegates prior to the convention.  The chance isn't anywhere near 100% but there is a chance to stop him.

Now what if Trump wins Iowa?  Then he gets a momentum boost in NH and then that boost helps him pretty much run the table in most states and then we are stuck with Donald Trump as the nominee.  I realize many in the establishment would prefer Trump to Cruz but wouldn't they rather have Rubio or Christie instead?

What they should be doing is piling onto Trump right now, letting everyone know all of the horrible comments he has made over the years to really chip away at any evangelicals who are behind him now.  Then once his bubble is popped (hopefully), THEN they should turn on Cruz to try to get one of their own elected.  Seriously, are these people complete morons?

Trump Supports Partial-Birth Abortions

Seriously, what kind of man doesn't support a partial-birth abortion ban, probably the type who has had to have many women have abortions:

Get ready for a wild ride for the next 7 days in Iowa

Here is why you shouldn't pay too much attention to Iowa polls and a lot can change in just 7 days.  In 2008, looking at the polls you would think Obama's support was crumbling and in 2012 you would have thought Santorum was an afterthought.  The Washington Post tweeted these handy dandy charts:

Rick Perry Endorses Ted Cruz!

I've always liked Rick Perry, I never supported him for President because he was the sort of Republican I'd constantly have to make excuses for (unlike Ted Cruz).  But I am very happy that he has endorsed Ted Cruz and also had some very nice things to say about the Senator:

After Perry dropped out of the primary, Cruz's campaign immediately began courting his donors and supporters in Texas, while Cruz reached out to the former governor and asked to get together -- a gesture Perry says he appreciated given how little down time candidates get off the trail. When they met, Perry said, Cruz struck him as someone who deep down is likely “shy,” and “one of the best listeners I’ve ever dealt with in the political realm.” It was in stark contrast to more negative perceptions he had held about Cruz, driven by "media narrative" and "through the optics of a campaign."

“I really didn’t want to talk about policy, I didn’t want to talk politics, I didn’t want to talk philosophy,” he said of their meeting last month. “I wanted to talk about him, who he was, see if I could get a handle on Ted Cruz the man, not Cruz the caricature I’d seen through the political lens. What I found was a very different person than what I had been led to believe.”

Watch the endorsement below:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Establishment May be Abandoning Rubio

I remember not too long ago that people were saying that Rubio was a shoe-in for the moderate lane and he would eventually win the nomination because he would be able to garner both conservative and moderate/establishment support.  Well, that hasn't been happening and the establishment seems to be worried and are thinking the choice my come down to Trump vs. Cruz.  For example, Bob Dole has stopped taken Viagra for long enough to chime in and promote Trump over Cruz as the establishment.  So what happened with Rubio?  Well, he's turned out to be a lazy campaigner and his dazzline speaking abilities at the debates haven't been enough to wow people, possibly because of the fact that he keeps promoting W's foreign policy which everyone who is not a neocon is sick of.  And look at the latest CNN/WMUR Poll:

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul have all gained since the last poll was taken while Rubio has lost 4% putting him in a tie for fourth place with JEB.  If Rubio comes in behind JEB, it might be lights out for Rubio.  If he is supposed to be so great and electable how is it that he is losing to JEB in a moderate state?  I think the establishment types have become frustrated with the lazy Rubio and don't think he is ready for the big leagues.  Maybe in another 4-8 years but not now.  And surprisingly they are going for Trump, the least Republican guy in the field.  Let that sink in, they have a choice between a guy who represents Republican values to his core (Cruz) and a guy who really has no values and they choose the guy who has no values, because they think that is more electable.

Great Cruz Commander Ad with Phil Robertson

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump

I know some, especially Trumpkins and some media-types, view this as a negative for Cruz but if you actually watch the speech, Sarah Palin sounds like that drunk scary/crazy older woman who would hit on your at a hotel bar.  And during parts of the speech, Trump looks like he wishes he were someplace else.  On the positive side for him, he did find someone who makes his speeches sound downright coherent!  She has fallen far from that 2008 GOP Convention speech but she didn't write that one and I think she might have written this one on cocktail napkins or something:

Watch Ted Cruz's late night town hall

This is must-see TV.  He tells a great story of how he stood up to George W and the UN in a Supreme Court case and won:

Listen to Ted Cruz on the Kuhner Report

ARG: Kasich could win New Hampshire

A post-debate poll by ARG shows Kasich as #2 in New Hampshire and statistically tied with Trump among those who will "definitely" vote.

This is a bit of a weird poll as Kasich didn't exactly shine at the debate and ARG only gets a "C-" from polling guru Nate Silver. However, if true, a Kasich victory could be the death knell for Rubio as if Kasich wins he will have a bit of that "winner" aura around him and has a much better electability argument than Rubio.   He's a popular, successful centrist Governor from a battleground state.  And Rubio, is, well, polling #4 in Florida at this point.  At the very least this would seriously wound Rubio and would keep the "moderate" lane kind of crowded.

However, just to reiterate, this is a weird poll.  Nobody thought Kasich did particularly well in the South Carolina debate and it's not like he is putting in any more time in New Hampshire than other moderates.  If anyone would be surging, it should be Christie, who has put an incredible amount of time in New Hampshire and has debated well. Just look at the numbers from the candidate tracker Union Leader:

-- Jeb Bush -- 41
-- Ben Carson -- 13
-- Chris Christie -- 61
-- Ted Cruz -- 18
-- Carly Fiorina -- 49
-- Jim Gilmore -- 21
-- Mike Huckabee -- 2
-- John Kasich -- 51
-- Rand Paul -- 28
-- Marco Rubio -- 18
-- Rick Santorum -- 7
-- Donald Trump -- 20

Anyway, we'll see what happens.  If we are seeing a Kasich surge, it is coming at the right time.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ted Cruz on Fox News Sunday

A good interview but he does seem to have too obvious a disdain for the media.  I don't think he should say things differently just say them in a more genial way:

Ted Cruz's Great Apology to New York

I wish he had done that in the debate:

Ted Cruz Talks to the Frank Luntz Focus Group

A pretty interesting interaction.  It was pretty interesting to hear what they thought about Congress:

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Thoughts on the South Carolina Debate

Cruz really had a great debate and clearly won (don't believe me, just check the Frank Luntz Focus Group which nearly unanimously went with Cruz).  He was able to land hits on Trump by simply quoting Trump leaving the Donald doing nothing but quoting poll numbers and liberal law professors.  Anyway, here are my thoughts candidate by candidate:

Cruz:  It's so nice to have an intelligent candidate who does his homework, thinks things through and knows what he is talking about.  I've been sick of having to make excuses for the GOP candidates for the last 28 years.  Even many Rubio supporters that I follow were just in awe of his performance.  His one bad move was the New York values comment.  We all know what he meant and he is right but it did leave the opening for Trump to mention 9/11.  As Trump already had used the 9/11 comment previously to defend New York values, Cruz should have dropped it during the debate as the Trump response was obvious.

Trump:  Other than the exchange with Cruz, Trump actually did pretty well especially when asked about the Haley "anger" comments.  It was basically a "you're god damned right I'm angry" sort of response.  He also got the better of Cruz on the New York values comment at least among the press and New Yorkers who are probably not his core constituency anyway.

Rubio:  He had some good moments and landed some nice punches on Hillary but otherwise it was a rather forgettable debate for him.  Christie also destroyed Rubio after Rubio said Christie shared many policies with Obama (which is true but Christie did a great job in responding). 

Christie:  He is becoming a candidate who you want to see go after Hillary in a debate.  Cruz would probably be best but Christie is kind of turning into a Trump with some government experience and logic.

JEB:  Actually had some nice moments, I'm warming up to him a bit. 

Kasich:  He can make himself sound conservative but then you remember that he supported Obamacare and so is full of crap.

Ted Cruz on Neil Cavuto Post-Debate

I live in the NYC area and Cruz is right

I think it's pretty obvious that when Ted Cruz was referring to "New York values" he was not referring to 9/11 just as Republicans in the 80's and 90's who referred to San Francisco Democrats or San Francisco values weren't condemning the actions of San Franciscans during earthquakes or the San Francisco Fire.  New York stands for corruption, failing schools (for the poor, the rich have great schools to send their kids to), greed, extreme income inequality, socialism (the current Mayor was a Sandinista supporter!) and complete intolerance of anyone who doesn't agree with them politically (I know as I have a Ted Cruz phone cover and a Ted Cruz magnet on my car).  So enough with the bull crap. 

Luntz Focus Group: Cruz Overwhelming Winner of the Debate

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Seriously, is this the best they can do?

Cruz must have a squeaky clean past if the best that his opponents can do is come up with some legislative maneuvering around the Gang of 8 bill and his natural born citizen status.  On the Gang of 8 bill they first were trying to smear him as pro-amnesty because of an amendment that he proposed which closed the pathway to citizenship, as if he supported amnesty, just not citizenship.  Now they have even gone through 1,000 pages of transcripts of a 5 day markup of a bill to show that he differed on a few points with the anti-immigrant Jeff Sessions.  This is just so lame.  First, as the anti-immigrant folks are firmly behind Cruz, nobody is going to really doubt his bona fide's on this issue.  Second, the criticisms are so nitpicky that no ordinary person will have the attention span long enough to be reached by the criticism.  It's a total waste of time.  And no matter how much they try to smear Cruz with this, he is stronger on immigration than just about every other candidate on that stage.  You really think people will say "Oh, Cruz is weak on immigration, I'm going to vote for Rubio".  Give me a break.

On the natural born citizen issue, it is just lame.  Luckily, the leftist media has actually served a purpose for once by branding birtherism as crazy (though they did it to defend Obama).  And no matter what, Cruz is a natural born citizen.  He is a US citizen and never had to be "naturalized", hence he is a natural born citizen.  It's pretty clear. And don't take my word for it, take the word of two former Solicitor Generals in the Harvard Law Review:

No doubt informed by this longstanding tradition, just three years after the drafting of the Constitution, the First Congress established that children born abroad to U.S. citizens were U.S. citizens at birth, and explicitly recognized that such children were “natural born Citizens.” The Naturalization Act of 1790 provided that “the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States . . . .”

The actions and understandings of the First Congress are particularly persuasive because so many of the Framers of the Constitution were also members of the First Congress. That is particularly true in this instance, as eight of the eleven members of the committee that proposed the natural born eligibility requirement to the Convention served in the First Congress and none objected to a definition of “natural born Citizen” that included persons born abroad to citizen parents.

The proviso in the Naturalization Act of 1790 underscores that while the concept of “natural born Citizen” has remained constant and plainly includes someone who is a citizen from birth by descent without the need to undergo naturalization proceedings, the details of which individuals born abroad to a citizen parent qualify as citizens from birth have changed. The pre-Revolution British statutes sometimes focused on paternity such that only children of citizen fathers were granted citizenship at birth.

The Naturalization Act of 1790 expanded the class of citizens at birth to include children born abroad of citizen mothers as long as the father had at least been resident in the United States at some point. But Congress eliminated that differential treatment of citizen mothers and fathers before any of the potential candidates in the current presidential election were born. Thus, in the relevant time period, and subject to certain residency requirements, children born abroad of a citizen parent were citizens from the moment of birth, and thus are “natural born Citizens.”

While the field of candidates for the next presidential election is still taking shape, at least one potential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, was born in a Canadian hospital to a U.S. citizen mother. Despite the happenstance of a birth across the border, there is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a “natural born Citizen” within the meaning of the Constitution. Indeed, because his father had also been resident in the United States, Senator Cruz would have been a “natural born Citizen” even under the Naturalization Act of 1790.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Find out what one embedded reporter learned about Ted Cruz after following him across the country

Read this great piece which basically says that Ted Cruz is a much better retail campaigner than people have previously thought.  The 7 things she learned are:

1.  Cruz sticks to the script
2.  His rallies have gotten bigger and flashier
3.  The rallies are packed with people of all ages
4.  He uses his theater background to his benefit
5.  He's funny
6.  He's a mingler
7.  He loves data

Read the whole thing as it does provide a great inside look at what is happening on the ground at these things.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

JEB and Rubio have both spent an order of magnitude more on TV ads than Cruz. How's that working out?

It really is amazing how much money has been wasted on TV ads already and the primaries are still a month away!  JEB and Rubio especially don't seem to be getting much bang for their buck according to NBC:

One of Ted Cruz's fiercest critics just joined his campaign

Mike Huckabee's Communication Director, Alice Stewart, who has a long history of attacks on Ted Cruz, just joined the Cruz campaign as spokeswoman and senior adviser.  I think people with brains can tell which way the wind is blowing.  Read the whole article about what happened and the history behind it at the National Review:

Ted Cruz’s campaign Monday announced the hiring of Alice Stewart, who until recently served as Mike Huckabee’s communications director, as Cruz’s spokesperson and senior adviser. The move is notable for several reasons. First, it’s a high-profile changing of teams less than one month before Iowa’s February 1 caucuses. It’s also a real boost to Cruz’s operation in that state and beyond; Stewart knows Iowa well, having worked for the past two caucus winners, Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012.

But most interesting about the hire is Stewart’s history of antagonizing her new boss. She hails from a close-knit Huckabee braintrust that loathes Cruz and has angrily affixed to him the labels of phony, opportunist and hypocrite — an effort that Stewart helped lead until three weeks ago, when she departed Huckabee’s team under cloudy circumstances, ultimately due to concerns with the direction of the campaign.

Since the start of the 2016 cycle, Stewart has earned a reputation among campaign insiders — reporters, party officials, rival strategists — as one of Cruz’s fiercest critics. Perhaps her most public attack came in late 2014, as both Cruz and Huckabee were preparing to launch their campaigns, and I was writing a story with my National Journal colleague Shane Goldmacher about their apparent “collision course” to win evangelical voters. When I called Stewart for the story, she bludgeoned Cruz — on the record.

So much for the idea that Cruz would only win red states in the primaries. He would win California

Conventional wisdom seems to be that Ted Cruz will do best in the primaries in the deep red states where he appeals to the die-hard Republicans.  Well California is one of the bluest of the blue and Ted Cruz is leading there according to a recent Field poll.  And if you add both the first and second choices, Ted Cruz has a commanding lead over Donald Trump:

If Ted Cruz is able to replicate this in other blue states, this primary process could end up being much shorter than anyone anticipates.

Listen to Ted Cruz on the Glenn Beck Program Today

Check out Ted Cruz's Brilliant New Ad on Immigration

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Rubio: I'm okay with the US spying on Israel

So much for supporting the Jewish state.  See this story from Breitbart:

Rubio and his ally Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)discussed the matter privately in a room away from reporters early Wednesday morning at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel in Pella, Iowa. The two men talked before they set out on a three-stop Iowa campaign tour to showcase Gowdy’s endorsement of Rubio.

This reporter heard the conversation while picking up a laptop computer and other materials left in a back room, away from where reporters were eating breakfast. Rubio, Gowdy, a couple of campaign staffers, and a Secret Service agent were the only ones present in the back room.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the NSA monitored Netanyahu’s conversations, including conversations with U.S. legislators

“We spy on everyone,” Rubio told Gowdy, defending the practice of spying on a U.S. ally. “That’s the nature of intelligence.”

“It’s more complicated than the [WSJ] story makes it seem,” Rubio added.

Gowdy responded that people are upset because the U.S. decided to stop spying on leaders of Germany and some other nations, but still spies on Israel.

So much for Nevada being Rubio's "firewall"

There has been talk about Nevada being Rubio's firewall, with the campaign pouring resources into that state so that they could get an early caucus/primary victory.  Personally, I think it is an idiotic strategy because Nevada comes after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.  If he loses all three of those states, you really think anyone will care if he wins Nevada?  It won't exactly cause a wave of momentum for Rubio to suddenly do well in the SEC primary.  Regardless, according to Gravis this firewall strategy doesn't seem to be working: