Half The Story

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Google “Trump salary” and you’ll see endless articles claiming Trump is waiving the $400,000 annual salary as President.  No, he’s volunteering to become A Dollar A Year Man.  That’s an important distinction, as it evokes historical parallels to great men who sacrificed to save the nation in time of peril.

 Of course, no journalist knows that.  Or if they did, they certainly can’t admit it, because that would mean Trump is a statesman and a patriot; we can’t have that.

 Joe Doakes

As Glenn Reynolds puts it, “if you remember that they’re Democrat operatives with bylines, it all makes sense”>

 

Unsung

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It occurs to me that I haven’t heard Larry Jacobs opine about Kellyanne Conway, the woman who ran Donald Trump’s stunningly successful Presidential campaign.  Why not? 

 It’s not as if she had such a great candidate that the campaign was a walk in the park.  Trump isn’t George Washington, someone the whole public would love to proclaim King.  I’m absolutely confident that no other candidate could have beaten Hillary.  The other Republicans all were hiring the same strategy consultants, making the same media buys, hitting up the same super PAC fundraisers.  They even shop at the same tailors: I never saw so many identical outfits as when the twelve dwarfs were in those early debates.  Somehow, she pulled her guy to the top of that heap.

 And did it practically free.  She convinced the media to give Trump a zillion dollars of free publicity, thinking they were killing his campaign by reporting on his outrageous promise to “Build the Wall” when in fact, he was using them to reach out to Joe Six-Pack who heard the slogan and thought “Damned straight and about time!”  Talk about your all-time classic backfires . . . that’s a brilliant tactic nobody else could have gotten away with.

 Kellyanne Conway ought to be on the cover of every political magazine, the talk of every political news program and the subject of every Poli Sci class on every campus.  She ran an insurgent campaign on a shoestring and beat the best political consultants and candidate in the nation.  And did it with a unruly novice as the candidate!  And won walking away, an Electoral College landslide. Why isn’t she getting more praise?

 She’s either the single luckiest woman in the world or the smartest, I’m not sure which and I don’t care.  I’m just grateful to her for preventing The Lizard Queen from ascending to the Rose Garden Throne.  In the first week alone, she saved me $1,000 that I was planning to spend on ammunition before Hillary banned it.  Her guy hasn’t even taken office and already, my life is richer.  

 Joe Doakes

Same same.

Open Letter To The House And Senate MNGOP Caucuses

To:  House GOP Caucus, Senate GOP Caucus
From:  Mitch Berg, ornery peasant
Re:  Focus

Dear Cauci,

Congrats on taking the majority.  I’m truly overjoyed.

Now, let’s get real.

Focus:  Ever watched someone doing karate?  When they do a strike, they focus all their energy, from their waist on down through their hands, into their knuckle.  One or two of them.  Because that’s how you inflict as much force as possible on your target – focusing the energy.

We’ll come back to that.

Focus Some More:  When the Allies landed in Normandy in 1944, it took eight or so weeks of brutal fighting to break through the German defenses.

And when the Allies forced that breakthrough, did they then pause, and redirect to the invasion of Denmark?

No!   They focused on driving to Berlin, and destroying any enemy that got in their way!

They focused on the mission at hand!

No.  Really Focus:  You have the majority in both chambers of the Legislature (if only by a vote in the Senate).

You got it for three reasons:

  1. The Dems brought us MNSure, and you were able to tie it around their necks
  2. The economy in greater Minnesota isn’t nearly as spiffy as it is in the Metro
  3. Just like nationwide – the metro “elites” are utterly disconnected with the experience of Greater Minnesota.

That is why you have the majority.  Not to protect marriage.  Not to argue about who goes in what bathrooms.

Heathcare.   Economy.   Elites.  

No more.  No less.

I Said Focus, MKay?:  It was six short years ago that voters last gave you both chambers of the Legislature.  Even with a DFL ideologue for a governor, it was a golden opportunity.   You were given that majority because:

  1. Obama overreached – on healthcare
  2. The economy in Greater Minnesota sucked!
  3. The DFL had made a hash out of the budget.

What did you – or at least the previous leadership – do?

Well, good work on the budget, to be honest.  But that wonky triumph was overshadowed by the national, media-stoked furor over the Gay Marriage issue.  The legislature bet a ton of political capital…

on an issue that had nothing to do with you getting your majority.

Nothing!

If you’re a North Dakota or Montana Republican, with a near-permanent majority and an opposition Democrat party that barely qualifies as a party at all, you can spend political capital on anything you want, and there’ll be no consequences.   It might even work (long enough to get struck down by the Supreme Court, anyway).

But not in Minnesota, the purplest of purple states.

Focus Focus Focus Focus Focus!:  This is not North Dakota.  Perhaps if you hold your majorities long enough to bring a quarter century of unbridled prosperity to Minnesota and we might become so lucky.  But we’re nowhere close to that yet.

You were elected by a fickle electorate over…what?

Let’s run the list again:

  1. MNSure
  2. The economy in greater MN
  3. Our idiot elites

You have political capital – a mandate, indeed.

And like the Allies after D-Day, you need to focus that capital on beating the enemy in front of us; MNSure, taxes, regulations, mining-phobia.

And like Bruce Lee, you need to focus that energy straight to the metaphorical knuckle, as narrowly and overwhelmingly as you can to win on the issues we, the voters, sent you there to win!

For The Love Of God, Focus!:  I’ve heard talk of legislators discussing floating some legislation:

  • Rest Rooms:  Don’t be idiots.  We already have laws making mischief in bathrooms illegal. And all it’s gonna take is one angry father or grandfather at some Target somewhere to make that issue pretty well self-enforcing.  It’s a private property issue,   And it’s a distraction.   Deal with the restrooms when the majority is rock solid safe.
  • Abortion:  It’s an important thing.  I get it.  It’s also not why you were sent to Saint Paul.  Not this time.  If you win long and big enough, you’ll get your chance.  This is not that chance.   Do not screw this up.  
  • Other social issues:  Stop.  Just stop.  Now.  Seriously. 

GOP legislators:  today, you control the agenda in Saint Paul.  It gives you a huge opportunity.  With the opportunity comes risk; if you take the GOP majority off beam, and bog the party down in a fight that has nothing to do with why you have the majority, fighting a veto you can’t win over an issue that does nothing but focus all of the Big Democrat Money, all their bottomless funding and masses of drooling droogs, over something that the voters that sent you to Saint Paul don’t care about nearly as much as healthcare and the economy, you will deserve to lose again in 2016.  

Focus.

Focus.

Focus focus focus.

Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.

No.  More than that.  Focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus.

No.  More than that.

Sing along with me:  Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.  Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.  Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.

Win the war we sent you there to win.

Oh – and focus.

No.  More than that.

Spoils

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“Hello, Congressman Never-Trump?  Yeah, hi, this is PRESIDENT Trump.  What’s all that wailing in the background?  Oh, you were just about to call to congratulate me?  Yeah, that’s great.  Listen, I’m gonna need some money to build the wall with Mexico.  About those appropriations in your district . . . be a shame if anything happened to them, like maybe a line-item veto.  Oh, I can?  Great, I’m glad to have your support.  That’s fine, talk to you soon.  Get some rest, you sound a little down.  Bye now!”

 Joe Doakes

We shall truly see.

Just You Wait…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Paul Ryan has become an Establishment Republican.  He’s not going to help Trump win.  He thinks that’s the smart play but I wonder if his voters will mind that he’s back-stabbing the Republican candidate? They’re already booing him in his home state.

 Trump isn’t the one who killed the GOP.  He’s just the one who walked up to it and poked it with a stick to be sure it’s dead.

 Last time, the base turned out nice, polite Tea Partiers who left the lawn cleaner than when they arrived.  This time, we picked Trump who is loud and vulgar but at least knows the greatest threat facing America is not global warming.  If the Democrats, the media and the Establishment GOP conspire to keep him out of the White House, just wait to see who comes next.

Joe Doakes

The anticipation is killing me.

Report Card

Frank Drake is running and extremely aggressive, and fairly tart, campaign against Keith Ellison in the fifth Congressional District.

Will it work? I saw the 1980 Olympic hockey team; I do believe in miracles. I’m a Republican in the inner city, so I have to.


Anyway – Drake provides a list of Keith Ellison’s “accomplishments” in office:

Top Keith Ellison accomplishments:

1) I promise to end these wars, and not start any new wars.

2) Minneapolis is now a UN sanctuary city funded by Minnesotans.

3) I can show up anywhere, and I’m the story.

4) The DNC was impartial. That’s why “Keith’s for Hillary” now.

5) Who’s this Frank Drake dude anyway?

6) Community Action of Minneapolis was a great front and money laundering operation until it was seized by the Government for fraud. Bill Davis remains a trusted advisor. President Obama will pardon him before leaving office.

7) Marijuana remains a Class 1 Narcotic, just like Heroin.

8) Keith Ellison was never involved, in any way, with the overthrow of Syria or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

9) Unemployment is low, especially in our urban centers. That 4.5% Unemployment Rate is true, despite 1/3 of all Americans not working. Over 94,000,000 Americans don’t work.

10) Our Government is in the business of War. Private prisons are a growth industry.

11) My ideas are proven in Venezuela and many controlled economies.

Keith Ellison’s ideas resonate like a frying pan dropped from a five-story building hitting the pavement.

Drake has a way with words that we could use a lot more of an inner-city Republican politics.

Counterpunch This

To:  Donald Trump
From:  Mitch Berg, Ornery Peasant
Re:   Doyyy

Mr. Trump,

I started disliking your public persona thirty years ago.   While I’m told you are a perfectly fine human being in person, your public persona – the garish extravagant gaudiness, the constant noise – was always off-putting. Still is.

Now, this time a year ago I was a Scott Walker supporter.  And I still am.  If there were a way to get him into the race (and lamentably, there is not), Shrillary would get pounded like a piece of cheap steak.

But that’s neither here nor there.  Because here we are.

Anyway – I’m not one of the #NeverTrump crowd, if only because crowds annoy me.  The idea of Hillary Clinton nominating SCOTUS justices should terrify everyone who cares about the Bill of Rights.   And the Libertarian ticket isn’t an option (forget about the Greens).

So I don’t like your persona – but I don’t vote for personas.  I don’t like what your campaign has done to the GOP, but then the GOP has been frustrating lately, too.  And I don’t like the way you’re running this campaign, but then it’s your campaign, not mine.

But this?  This is just plain stupid.

You’ll help NATO countries if they’ve “paid their way?”

What’s this tell you?

The NATO members in the most immediate danger from Russia – the Poles and Estonians – are taking their defense pretty seriously.  Latvia and Lithuania are coming around (both have increased their spending in 2016 – Latvia’s spending is actually up 50% in the past two years).

And can you think of four nations that have “spent” more freedom in the past 30 years that those four?  Not just in terms of budget, but in terms of actually resisting tyranny?

No, I don’t imagine you can.

Think about it, Mr. Trump.

That is all.

Berg’s 11th Law Is Also Inerrant And Immutable

The Strib endorses John Howe for the CD2 congressional seat currently held by John Kline.

Nothing against Howe, who was a capable legislator and an estimable mayor of Red Wing – but this endorsement is a classic example of Berg’s 11th Law:

Berg’s Eleventh Law of Inverse Viability: The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.

Jason Lewis is the endorsed candidate, with immense name recognition and a record as the father of modern Minnesota conservatism.  Darlene Miller is John Kline’s preferred candidate.  The fourth, the putative Trump-supporting candidate Hey Look At Meeeee, along with Howe, rounds out the field.

I’ll be interviewing Jason Lewis this coming Saturday on the NARN, by the way.

Cruz Control

A long-time friend of the blog writes:

In Trump, we have many things- a candidate who is a master at marketing, a candidate who thinks he is in a popularity contest, a candidate who believes that the country is his personal reality show.

Among the speeches during the last 3 days, most haven’t really had a clear message for what the Republican is, just that it isn’t Hillary’s party. My own cynicism rears when that is the main message, especially with a party that nominates a Presidential candidate who admits to donating to the Clintons.

All duly acknowledged.

So, with my own feelings of dislike for Trump, I really want to high five Ted Cruz for his speech. It took skill to do that. Bravery. A true leader who is more concerned about doing what is right rather than what is popular. 

Of course, I’m not gullible enough to believe that Trump had no idea that Cruz would do this. As I said earlier, this is his reality show. Now, the focus is off of Melania’s speech. The focus is off of Pence, who may not draw in the ratings that Trump is looking for. No, with the conflict that Cruz brought, ratings for tonight’s episode will possibly be even higher. 

To me, Trump’s convention is not offering anything serious, anything that demonstrates an understanding of the needs of the country. It is only giving me further proof of the narcissism of this man. Regardless of the outcome of the election this year, it is going to be a long 4 years.

All of that could be exactly right.  And I could be overthinking (or over-crediting the thinking of others).

But hear me out.

What was conservatives’ biggest beef in 2008 and 2012?  That their champions, such as they were, bowed out and faded away in a lavender cloud of conciliation.  They went on to stay home in droves in November.

Trump faces the same problem in spades; grass-roots movement conservative Republicans and conservatives staying home in November.

But what if Trump were to give those conservatives a figurehead who wasn’t going to shake hands and congratulate Trump on a job well done?  Who would spend the next four years – and especially the next three months – keeping the bloody shirt flying?

It won’t hurt Trump – nobody whom Ted Cruz could influence is going to vote for Hillary.

But it could – perhaps – help Trump down the ticket, in the conservative places where Trump needs every possible vote to turn out, to try to keep control of the Senate in friendlier hands this fall.

Crazy?  Or Crazy like a WWF marketer?

We’ll see.

Pick Your Poison

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

C.S. Lewis’ famous quote:

 “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

 Seems appropriate for this election: Trump versus Hillary. 

 Joe Doakes

Although Sanders probably most perfectly fits the definition of “moral busybody”, as opposed to “self-aggrandizing megalomaniac” or “political robber-baroness”.

NARN-day I’ve Got Friday On My Mind

Tonight, we’ll be doing a special edition of the NARN, live from the GOP State Convention in Duluth, from 6-8PM!

Who will be on the show?  What’ll we be talking about?  We’ll be talking a fair amount about the goings-on at the GOP State Central Committee – and of course, the Judicial Elections Commission.

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

While In Duluth Tomorrow

I’ll be broadcasting live from the GOP State Convention on Friday from 6-8PM, and again on Saturday fro 1-3PM.

I’m neither a delegate nor a member of the State Central Committee, so I won’t be voting on anything

But I will be doing my level best to help any group that seeks to limit the power of the Judicial Elections Commission.  Perhaps not end the JEC, per se – but in exchange for leaving the JEC alive, I want the heads of those responsible for the Michelle MacDonald debacle displayed on pikes outside the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

Rhetorically speaking, of course.

Speaking of Michelle MacDonald:  she’s running for the Supreme Court again.  That’s certainly her right; hopefully the convention chair won’t make the same mistake that happened in 2014.

Speaking of MacDonald – her followers are making the technically true but contextually laughable assertion that MacDonald got a higher percentage of the vote than any other GOP candidate in 2014.   Which is true…

…and also deeply misleading – and I can not wait for the first MacDonald supporter to try to bring that up on the air.

MacDonald got 46% and change, it’s true – running mostly against the GOP, and little or not at all against David Lillehaug (who ran, effectively, no campaign at all).  As I pointed out after the last election, all contested judicial elections get an average of 35-40% – it’s an outlet for people’s obstinacy, apparently (I always, always vote for challengers, whether I know or care about them or not, and I can not be the only one).

So MacDonald got about 4% more than “background noise”.  And while I have no empirical evidence for this, I’m going to speculate with confidence that had she not been running against Darth Lillehaug – one of the most anti-gun politicians (excuse me, “jurists”) in the business, she’d have come in in the thirties without a whole lot of shooters voting against Lillehaug and not for MacDonald.

So while my actual means for dealing with the JEC and MacDonald are limited, I’m going to use what I can to encourage those who can do something about it to seriously punish the JEC, and send MacDonald back to famlaw.

Speaking of family?  Read this time-line of MacDonald’s most famous case.  I have no idea if MacDonald was involved in any wrongdoing – specifically, the systematic alienation of a custodial father’s children against him – but as a matter of principle, everyone who interferes with another parent’s access to their kids should rot in hell.

Death Is Easy: Survival Is Hard

Walter Hudson says if there’s to be a civil war in the GOP, let’s fight it to win:

hat said, the risk of a general election loss was first assumed by embracing Trump to this point. As our nominee, Trump will decimate what remains of our credibility. Our candidates up and down the ticket will be saddled with his horrendous personal behavior and called upon to answer for his irresponsible rhetoric. Efforts at developing new constituencies and expanding the base to suit rapidly shifting demographics will wither and die. Trump will further homogenize and calcify a party which needs now more than at any other time in its history to diversify and grow.

The only way to mitigate the damage Trump will cause, and repair the damage already done, will be for Republicans to oppose him as Republicans. We have to lay claim to our party and reject him as its standard bearer. We have to present a contrast, from within the party, to his vile persona and unprincipled authoritarian agenda. That means stepping outside our comfort zone, defying conventional expectations, and ruffling more than a few feathers.

The whole thing is worth a read.

As far as I’m concerned?

I grew up reading stories like “Endurance” (30 guys surviving on an ice floe for over a year, before rowing lifeboats across the subarctic South Atlantic to safety), and “Escape from Sobibor” (people escaping an extermination camp and surviving in the woods until liberation came) and “Rickenbacker” (surviving on a raft in the Pacific for three weeks) and “Alive” (people surviving in the Andes after a plane crash). Non-fiction, by the way.
Those are the stories I’ve kept in my mind as I’ve gone through some of my life’s own travails (and I’ve had some doozies – but nothing like the above. Which is, of course, the point).

The Trump “Crisis” and the battle for the soul of the GOP? Pffft. Bring it.
I’m not going to theatrically pack up and leave the GOP. Partly because I (and many people much better than I) have worked too hard to bring the MNGOP a long way from where it was a generation ago. Don’t believe me? Check out Arne Carlson’s and Dave Jennings’s budget numbers, and then let’s talk. It’s not changed enough, fast enough, but it’s changed.

And partly because I did it once. I left the GOP in disgust in 1994, and went to the Libertarians. The Libertarian Party is a clown car. It will never get anyone elected to office. It *can* never get anyone elected – because it is a glorified frat party that exists mostly to purity-test each other to a fine sheen. They can’t even run a state convention, much less a government (and they’ll say “that’s the point!”, and they’ll be correct, but not the way they think they are). And libertarianism is a lovely philosophy, which at its logical conclusion depends on a complete suspension (or ignorance) of human nature. It’s no less a fantasy world than “democratic socialism” is. I’ll write in my dog before I vote for a Libertarian.

Anyway – I’m coming around to Walter’s point of view. Give it a read.

The Vandal

Like a lot of people last fall, I figured that the Donald Trump candidacy was nothing but a marketing ploy to buff up the power and prestige of the Trump brand.

Trump’s surge over the winter – intended or inadvertent – pushed that narrative to the back of the stove for a few months.

But how comes some intimations that perhaps Trump really doesn’t actually want the presidency, and is working on his exit strategy:

Over the course of the last week, Trump has made headlines and drawn attention by doing and saying things that are completely contrary to what anyone would consider sane.

Trump’s conversation with Chris Matthews on MSNBC …he told Matthews that women who seek abortion should be punished…women are the largest demographic in this country. There is no path to nomination without their support. Why would anyone alienate them?

…[later that week] Trump told the audience that the Geneva Conventions hinder our efforts…“The problem,” Trump said, “is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight. We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads. I think we’ve got to make some changes.” …Trump also said he would not be opposed to using nuclear weapons in the Middle East or in Europe, during the above-mentioned interview with Chris Matthews.

It does seem odd that Trump – not being an idiot – said such idiotic things.  I think it’s entirely plausible Trump wants to avoid Jesse Ventura’s fate, actually having to run a government.

Which is fine and dandy – but galling for those of us who have been fighting to advance the conservative brand and rehabilitate the GOP.

Last September, the GOP had one of the most stellar line-ups of candidates in history.  Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and on and on and on.

But for six months, Trump sucked all the air out of the room, eating up any chance for an accomplished but regional figure like a Walker or a Jindal to break out of the pack.

And if Trump does eventually bow out, or lose at the convention, that will be his greatest disservice.  Not that I don’t think Ted Cruz will be an excellent candidate – he will – but how much better a race would this have been had it been six months of grappling among serious and sincere candidates rather than the Vince McMahon stunt we’ve just spent six months watching?

 

Trumpeloven

The Republicans of the Upper Midwest have made their distaste for Trump pretty obvious.  The Donald lost Minnesota and Iowa bright and early, and went on to tank in Wisconsin and, over the weekend, North Dakota.

I won’t say I predicted it in as many words – but this bit summarizes what I’d hoped and believed; Trump’s braggadocio doesn’t resonate with quiet, modest, stoic, passive aggressive Minnesotans.

Most of us have heard of “Minnesota Nice” — the friendly, reserved, play-by-the-rules behavior favored by that state’s residents. But Wisconsin has a similar Scandinavian (though more German) culture, as do North and South Dakota. When the Upper Midwest of Europe relocated to the Upper Midwest of the United States, they brought their politeness, understatement, and emotional restraint with them.

All of these characteristics are diametrically opposed to the Trump ethos of baseless braggadocio, histrionic complaint, and conflict as first resort. Critics of Minnesota Nice cast it as barely masked passive-aggressiveness, but active-aggressiveness is considered not only unseemly, but unmanly.

Scandis find virtue in stoicism. When you’re shoveling a sidewalk buried in three feet of snow, your neighbor doesn’t want to hear your complaints — especially since she’s 68, has a bum leg, and cleared her driveway before the sun rose. Just do what needs to be done, and would it kill you to put a smile on your face?

Invoking “Minnesota Nice” is lazy – but it’s not wrong, either.

I Have A Theory. Which Is Mine.

Bear with me, here.

So how does the GOP save the party, the conservative movement, the country, and perhaps Western Civilization itself – from the Dems, from Trump, and even from themselves?

I’ve got an idea.

Assumptions:  Trump is going to get slaughtered by Hillary – but he’ll drawn a lot of “disenfranchised”, PC-weary voters from both parties; Dems who’d never dream of voting for Cruz, but find Hillary warmed-over and underwhelming.

So Here’s The Plan:  Here’s how it works:

  1. The GOP should “steal” the nomination from Trump.  And they shouldn’t be even a little bit subtle about it; they should make it big, arrogant and blatant.  They should poke the bear’s gargantuan ego with big nasty sticks – the better to inflame The Donald.    They should do it, and do a big, ugly, arrogant end-zone happy dance when they do.
  2. The Donald, his ego suitably affronted, will launch a “Great” third party bid – The Trump Party”, most likely.  It’ll be the best ever; Trump will bring more money to the table than Croesus himself.  By the time he’s done, nobody will care about “that loser” Cruz or “that witch” Hillary.
  3. Of course, they will.  The three parties will split the vote such that nobody gets 270 electoral votes.    Oh, it’ll be close – but let’s look at the Electoral College under my scenario:

3PartyElectoralCollege

Lets assume Hillary takes Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – none of which I consider givens, but lets be, ahem, conservative here.

Hillary comes up one electoral vote short.  Cruz, 24 shy of a win.  Trump, 247 light.

And then what?

Here’s What:  According to the Constitution, if there is no winner in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives chooses the President.

Disclaimers:  I’m not going to bet money on any of this.  Also, I’m being tongue-in-cheek as can be (which, I’m going to guess, completely escapes any left-leaning commenters and bloggers who read this.  In fact, just watch; that, I’d bet money on) .

“We Want Change!”

Barack Obama got swept into office on a wave of people seeking “hope” and demanding “change”.

Few could articulate the change they were hoping for – or, rather, there were tens of millions of different changes being hoped for – but by jinky, they were gonna get it.

It’s hardly arguable that most of the changes were bad; more Americans have healthcare than before, but they can afford it less.

And against that, the accusation is that the GOP did nothing – which is, of course, the impetus for much of Donald Trump’s popularity.

As Kevin Williamson points out, it’s not true – but you need to have an attention span to see it (emphasis added)

Having been elevated in the 2010 elections and fortified in subsequent elections, congressional Republicans have made a little bit of progress on the deficit, which was reduced from 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010 to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2015. In 2007, before the credit crisis and the subsequent recession, it had been about 1.1 percent of GDP — too high for the liking of many deficit hawks, but arguably manageable.

Arguably manageable – and at least moving in the right direction.

Another way to look at the spending problem is deficit compared to revenue, i.e., how much we’re borrowing to finance spending vs. how much we’re taking in. This gives you an idea of what the “stretch” is, what we’d need to cover in additional taxes or reduce through spending cuts to bring expenditures in line with income. In 2010, the deficit was 60 percent of revenue ($1.29 trillion deficit vs. $2.16 trillion revenue), whereas in 2015 the deficit was 13 percent of revenue ($439 billion deficit vs. $3.25 trillion revenue).

The moral of the story?

For those of you who habitually ask what it is that congressional Republicans have accomplished, that’s it: Despite having Barack Obama in the White House and a public that clamored for more benefits and lower taxes, the deficit has been reduced substantially in absolute terms, relative to GDP, relative to the federal budget, and relative to revenue, since the height of Democratic power under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate.

A triumvirate that, Williamson points out, Trump funded.

Could and should the GOP majorities have done more?  Perhaps.   Changing the course of government is slow, unless  you control the entire shootin’ match (like Obama did from ’09 through ’10).  That’s intentional; there was a time when conservatives, if nobody else, knew that government was supposed to be slow.

(Which is the biggest reason Obama’s overreaches on immigration, among other topics, are so very dangerous).

 

Stork King

There’s an old parable; I want to say it’s Russian, since it sounds like it’s part of the Russian character.  I don’t know.

But it’s a good parable.  There once was a swamp full of frogs.  The frogs in a swamp were happy; plenty of slime to jump through, plenty of bugs to eat.

But something was missing.  So they asked “why can’t we have a king?”

And presently, a king was sent to them; a stork.

Storks, of course, eat frogs.

The moral:  be careful what you wish for.

Along those lines, a longtime friend of the blog writes:

I have a friend here at work who for years has said our problem is that we elect politicians. Well, now he belly-aches because he thinks a Trump presidency is a bad idea. Unless there is a serious change, soon, he’s going to get exactly what he said he wanted, originally — in nominee-form, anyway.

 

Jesse Ventura II

I like to think that’s why Minnesota bucked the Trump wave last night; we’ve been through this before.

Caucusians

I’m going to the caucuses tonight.

Who am I going to caucus for?  Well, not Trump.   I think he’s an epic fraud who will betray the conservatives who’ve lined up behind him.  He’s like an executive brand David Souter, via Vince McMahon.

And I won’t be caucusing for Kasich – who I think is a solid VP candidate – or Carson, who I believe is way out of his depth, and who needs to run for Mayor of Detroit, where he’ll do a lot more good than he’s doing now.

My short list – Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal – are both obviously out of the picture.   So it’s down to Cruz or Rubio for me.

Who’s it gonna be?

Not sure.  Partly because I am, genuinely, not sure.  And partly because the vitriol inside the party has gotten so very, very mindless and pointless.  Dennis Prager writes about  it – and it’s something every Republican, and especially every conservative, should read before they go to the caucuses:

So this is where we stand today: Many anti-Rubio Republicans regard Rubio as a traitor on the immigration issue and therefore have contempt for his supporters. Many anti-Cruz Republicans regard Cruz as an extremist conservative who is, moreover, a misanthrope, and therefore have contempt for his supporters. And many anti-Trump Republicans – perhaps most – regard Trump as a dangerous fraud, and therefore view his supporters with contempt.

Needless to say, with these attitudes, there is little chance any Republican can win.

So, then, despite eight years of failure under a Democratic president, and with Hillary Clinton — widely regarded as a completely untrustworthy woman who has put pursuit of money and power above the interests of her country — as the Democratic candidate, Republicans will still lose. And Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves.

One observation I made of Ron Paul supporters in 2008 and 2012 – that they seemed to be personality cultists, who believed not only was Paul the only valid choice, but that any other choice was no better in any way than a Democrat, or nobody at all – has metastasized across much of the GOP body politic this cycle.

And so while the “passion index” favors the GOP by landslide proportions – it is, at this point, almost entirely aimed at other Republicans, rather than at the doddering would-be Hugo Chavez or cynical, calculating would-be Eva Peron who, some need to be reminded, actually would be worse for the country than Rubio, Cruz or even Trump.

So if Trump wins the nomination?  I’ll vote for him – not because I think he’ll be a good president, not because I think he’s going to hold to his promises (not even on immigration), and not even because I think he, himself, will nominate better SCOTUS justices than Hillary.  I’ll do it because he’ll have to run to the legislative majority to get anything done – and if we don’t have a GOP Senate or House, we’re truly screwed.  And if Trump doesn’t win convincingly, then the coat-tail effect will tend to increase the power of the worthless whackdoodle Democrats.

And that is the only reason.

So I’ll be going to caucuses tonight.  Hope to see you there.

Tremors And Trash

Republican Chad Anderson upsets the DFL – ahd “Democratic Socialist” trash collection –  in a special election, flipping Ann Lenczewsi’s seat in a district only marginally less DFL-secure than any other in the first tier of burbs:

With all the precincts tallied in the special election to replace Lenczewski, Anderson netted 51 percent to DFL Bloomington City Council member Andrew Carlson’s 49 percent.

The win gives Republicans, who are already in the House majority, an extra legislative vote this year and a key boost of confidence before November’s election, when the entire Legislature is up for election.

Both House Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor campaign arms spent thousands of dollars on ads targeting the Bloomington area, an unusual step in special elections. About 5,000 voters turned out Tuesday.

Losing Lenczewski’s seat has to have people at the DFL’s office on Plato Boulevard changing their underwear today.   It’s not quite like flipping a seat in Minneapolis – but it’s not that far from it, either.

Andrew Carlson – the DFL contender, and an incumbent Bloomington City Council member – was instrumental in jamming down Cuban-style socialized trash collection in Bloomington last year.

UPDATE:  What could be better than flipping a DFL sinecure?  Doing it while spending 1/4 as much as the Democrat did.

More on that tomorrow.

A High Floor And A Low Ceiling

Rand Paul has been on my short list for a long time.

And like the rest of my presidential short list as of four months ago – Walker and Jindal – Paul is out.  Apparently my short list is a kiss of death.

Anyway…:

Paul had become an increasingly marginal figure in the still-sprawling GOP field. He finished fifth in Iowa, with less than 5 percent of the vote, but is projected to do much worse in next week’s New Hampshire primary, with recent polls showing him in ninth place.

The Kentucky senator was facing a dismal money situation, and ended the fourth quarter with $1.3 million in the bank for his presidential campaign. He raised roughly $2.1 million in the quarter, while spending $2.9 million. His super PACs ended the year with a little more than $4 million in cash on hand.

He’s off to focus on his Senate re-election bid.

My two cents?  Paul had two major handicaps:

  1. He had the above-mentioned “high floor and low ceiling”; a fair number of people, many inherited from his father’s campaigns, others from the Tea Party, who supported him.  But their idea of ‘working for a candidate” seemed to involve mostly vigorous tweeting and taking online polls (which Paul, like his father, routinely swept).
  2. His followers shared many of his father’s followers’ worst traits; an almost personality-cultish focus on the candidate rather than the issues, and in all too many cases an entitled arrogance about their candidate’s superiority.   If I had a nickel for every Rand supporter I see online this morning claiming that “the electorate is just too stupid for us”, I could buy that Les Paul I’ve been eyeing.

Anyway – it’s a crummy world, where Rand Paul is out but Rick Santorum is still in.

What If?

On the weekend before the official kickoff of the GOP nomination season, Donald Trump would seem to have the momentum.  Now, both of “my guys” for this race – Walker and Jindal – are long gone, so my short list is (in very rough order) Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Christie.

Trump’s ascendancy has, of course, brought out the usual jeremiads about the oncoming implosion of the GOP (to which cooler and more historically-grounded heads reply “What?  Again?  This happens every eight years or so“).

But I keep getting asked – what if Trump is, at the end of the day, the nominee?

Simple.  I’ll hold my nose and vote for Trump.

It’s not just because I regard third-party candidacies as irrelevant exercises in personal philosophical navel-gazing – that’s between you and your conscience, and is none of my business.

And it’s not that I’m a “my party, right or wrong” guy; I’m a Tea Party Conservative who votes GOP because it is, to evoke Buckley, the most conservative party that can win.  And if Trump, heaven forefend, is the most conservative person on the ballot who can win next November, then I’ll vote for him.

But Trump promises to be a rerun of the Jesse Ventura years, only coast-to-coast.   So why bother?

Three reasons:  Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Scalia – one of the better conservative minds in the history of the court – lamentably can’t last forever.  Having Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders nominate his “replacement” – or that of Kennedy, the most powerful “Moderate” in the history of the universe – would turn the SCOTUS bright blue for decades to come.  Kiss any chance of rolling back Obamacare, getting control of immigration or voting or the borders, or the Second Amendment, goodbye right now.

And by the opposite token, if Kennedy retires, or Ginsburg gets called by her overlords back to her mothership, during a GOP administration, there’s at least a chance of getting a much better, more conservative justice on the bench.  And don’t be caterwauling at me about what disappointments Roberts and Souter turned out to be as conservatives; without a GOP president and GOP Senate, “eventual disappointment” is the best you can hope for.

Remember – Trump may well nominate a complete idiot.  But the Senate has to confirm them.  And if both a hypothetical President Trump and a GOP Senate are idiots, then we’re screwed – but those are both “maybes”; you can bet a hypothetical President Sanders will nominate Saul Alinksky, and Clinton’s nominees will make Sonia Sotomayor look like John Marshall.

So yeah.  I’ll hold my nose and vote Trump.

And then set to work on fixing the rot that led us to this point.