We’ve been hearing about all these different paths to the GOP nomination but as we look at the polls and the landscape other than Ted Cruz who has sewed up the conservative path and Donald Trump who holds the outside path there is only one other path that is left to people like Bush & Kasich.

That’s the convention path.

The MSM & the GOP establishment want Jeb Bush, they need Jeb Bush, without Jeb Bush you don’t get the amnesty that big money people want, without Jeb Bush you don’t get the common core that big money people like, without Jeb you don’t salvage obamacare (and don’t think for one second that obamacare will be repealed under Bush or Kasich).

And of course the left wants Jeb Bush because they think he can be beaten.

There seems to be one problem with this idea, no matter how much MSNBC, CNN et/al push the idea of Jeb, the voters don’t seem to be on board.

So that being the case why do I think that Jeb Bush will be staying in the race to the end?

Because his lane isn’t the establishment lane, it’s the convention lane.

It’s the idea that no candidate will have enough delegates to win the nomination s the fight will go to the convention in Cleveland.

Now this isn’t going to be easy, the RNC has designed the primary system to prevent this but if the MSM is willing to continue to promote Jeb Bush, and if the donors are willing to keep him funded Jeb Bush can still be there come convention time and if Trump or Cruz fail to manage a first ballot victory count on the party to do all it can to promote Jeb or someone like him as the GOP alternative.

I can’t think of anything that would alienate the voters more, it’s a stupid, self destructive move that only an idiotic organization with a death wish would pursue.

Uh Oh.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – When news broke this past Thursday that John Bel Edwards had halted all payments to the enormously popular TOPS college scholarship program, you could feel the panic and desperation throughout the state.  Thursday afternoon, February 11, word came down about the program via NOLA:

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ budget chief, Jay Dardenne, said the state will have to leave TOPS approximately $28 million short of what it would take to fully fund the program through the end of the semester. He said all public universities will be informed that they would not receive all their TOPS payment this spring.

Dardenne added that TOPS could only be fully funded this year if the Legislature agreed to raise taxes a lot — over a half a billion dollars — in the next couple of months. Even then, the Edwards administration would likely prioritize filling a shortfall in the Medicaid program before the college scholarship program would receive the money it needs.

The TOPS program began in 1989 and, in brief, it pays college tuition to in-state universities for Louisiana students who score a certain percentage on the ACT and who maintain a certain GPA. The intent was to keep our kids here in the state. Through the years the requirements have been tweaked with the GPA requirement now at 2.5 and the ACT score now at 20.  You can read more specifics here.

Now, there are a couple of things to look at in those two paragraphs from NOLA: first, Dardenne said basically that those students already enrolled in the spring semester are on the hook for the balance of the tuition they had been told would be paid through their scholarship. Literally what he said was that the colleges would “absorb” the cost of the unpaid balance.  Recall that higher education throughout the state has already been decimated by Bobby Jindal and there is no room to “absorb” anything. Students across the state went to bed Thursday night anticipating bills for the balances to hit their mailboxes any moment.

The second thing to note from that NOLA quote is that Dardenne indicated that even if the money to fund TOPS was found, it would instead go toward funding Medicaid rather than satisfying the promised TOPS debt.

Further: Just a week before the TOPS blackmail, Edwards called for an emergency special session to deal with the state’s budget shortfall and noted that a plethora of tax increases are on the table, to include:

Income tax hikes

Cigarette tax hikes

Sales tax hikes on leased property and some services

Business utility tax hikes

Alcohol tax hikes

Taxes on AirBnB and anyone else who rents out a spare room

Taxes on the oil and gas industry

In essence, what John Bel Edwards has done is use emotional blackmail on the students and families of this state for the purpose of raising taxes on everything he possibly can. Families went to sleep Thursday night in serious distress over the financial future of their child’s college education. It’s not that these people don’t want to get student loans or work their way through college – most would have been more than willing to do so, but the TOPS program had been promised to them and they scheduled every high school course with the understanding of what was required of them to earn this scholarship.  For the governor to threaten to pull the rug out from under their feet is unconscionable.

And so, the next day, word comes down that miraculously money has been found to fund TOPS through the rest of this spring semester, but next year? Not so much.  Considerations to continue the program suggest a required ACT score of 28 to earn the scholarship and cutting the funding from $250 million to $60 million – about 80% of the current scholarships would be eliminated.

As if emotional blackmail of our students wasn’t enough, Governor Edwards addressed the state on television to explain the crisis and his actions and he said that student athletes are also in danger.

Yes, he poked the sacred cow of LSU football.

He really went there.

As I mentioned earlier, if the legislature fails to act and we are forced to proceed with these cuts, the LSU Ag Center and parish extension offices in every parish, and Pennington Biomedical Research Center will close by April 1st and the LSU main campus in Baton Rouge will run out of money after April 30th, as will the Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and LSU Eunice. There is no money left for payroll after those dates. The Southern University System, and University of Louisiana System, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System are in the same boat: without legislators approving new revenue this special session, some campuses will be forced to declare financial bankruptcy, which would include massive layoffs and the cancellation of classes.

If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate and student athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester. That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.

The text of the speech can be found here.

You can only imagine the hysteria that caused. It seemed for a few moments there that we would totally implode. Never mind the kids’ scholarships!  Never mind the cuts to the New Opportunity Waiver program which helps families with developmentally disabled children, we can’t survive without football!

At the very least this damages recruiting efforts.  Who would want to sign with a university that may not have a program?

Edwards pushed every single button he could to incite fear and panic throughout the state.  Yes, it’s a real problem. We are broke.  But on the same day he also eliminated the work requirement from food stamps. Previously, recipients had to work twenty hours a week or be enrolled in a federally approved job training program.  Not anymore.

And so it didn’t take long for the recall talk to start.

There is a Facebook group, Recall John Bel Edwards, which currently has about 5,500 members. There is a Change.org petition to recall the governor established solely for the purpose of monitoring numbers and interest in a formal recall; this petition has over 14,000 signatures so far.  Over a million voters would have to sign a formal recall petition.

The bottom line is that the state is now in panic mode. Edwards said in his speech that these cuts “are not scare tactics. This is reality…” but people are scared.  Everywhere I’ve been over the past few days, you hear subdued and worried conversations about the cuts. People are angry that entitlement programs are being expanded while education is being cut.  People are angry at the emotional blackmail that if we don’t pressure our representatives to vote for the new taxes, everything will be cut. People are angry that there’s no talk of the billions in state contracts that will remain untouched.

State Treasurer John Kennedy gave the Republican response after Governor Edwards’s speech and he declared that we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. He rightly pointed out that these tax increases will wreck our fragile economy. Kennedy said he has sent over 400 ideas to the governor’s office to cut spending rather than raise taxes. In his speech, he listed six of those, which included auditing Medicaid fraud which currently exists to the tune of about $900 million dollars. He also suggested revising Medicaid so that patients stop going to the emergency room for things like acne or to see if they need glasses, or other such minor concerns that could be better handled in a doctor’s office. Kennedy also suggested cutting the statutory dedications and the 19,000 consultants currently on our payroll. He noted also that 22% of the managers in government manage only one person.

While everyone acknowledges that Jindal’s smoke and mirrors method of balancing the budget got us into this mess, nobody is willing to concede that sacrificing higher education and blackmailing our students and student athletes is a good plan. Neither is taxing everything. Republicans are going to be more willing to work with Edwards if he will at least consider cutting some of the entitlements and slashing some of the excessive spending in government.

These are dark days in Louisiana.  The special session convened yesterday and we are waiting with high anxiety to see the outcome.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Screwtape: It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally

CS Lewis, the Screwtape letters, Letter #1

It’s not often that I disagree with Ace of Spades who is one of the brightest bloggers in the barn but when I saw this piece at his site concerning Donald Trump’s claim titled:

The Ego Has Landed: Why Trump Damaged Himself Tonight

my thought was that Ace is not only wrong, but spectacularly wrong.

This is not to say Ace’s reasoning is off, it’s actually very good and is post is worth reading in full.

Trump specifically and completely contradicted a belief that 75-80% of Republicans have about Bush — that he was a fundamentally decent man, perhaps overwhelmed by a very difficult period, who made an erroneous decision based on incomplete information — and instead offered a new belief, that Bush deliberately lied about Iraq’s WMD’s, a position that 75-80% of Republicans have long not only rejected but have been actively hostile towards.

With no better reason to adopt this new claim other than that Donald Trump said it.

I doubt very much people will be willing to make this leap with Trump. Gathering political support is all about getting a buy-in of belief at a price that people are willing to pay (usually, a low price– that’s why politicians strain to parrot back to you things you already believe).

I think Trump, who has been a past-master at getting people to buy-in to a very low-cost premise — “Let’s Make America Great Again” — just made a very high cost premise central to buying into him.

and his closing line is devastating:

With just a few poorly chosen angry words, Trump declared a lot of allegiance to the enemy tribe, and essentially said “I’m not like you.”

Unfortunately Ace is missing or overlooking two things in his argument.

#1 Donald Trump primary draw isn’t to the avg primary voter.

This is an argument I’ve been making since day one when I declared his announcement speech a Triumph at a time when most others considered it a joke not knowing that the joke was on them. Trump’s target audience is not the GOP faithful niche, the larger people who follow politics niche or the people who watch the cable news niche or even the larger people who watch nightly news niche.

His group is the larger, people who watch Donald Trump on TV niche and said niche consists of plenty of people who either share said belief about Bush or having heard the left’s background “Bush lied people died” BS will not question it.

The people who pay attention have always been outnumbered by those who do not and if even a fraction of said people turn out they will overwhelm the folks Ace of Spades is referring to.

#2 It doesn’t take into account human nature

The ability to admit one is wrong is one of the most difficult things in the world to do (why do you think the sacrament of confession is generally done behind a screen) but it’s even harder to admit someone who you have been hitting or arguing with on the said subject is right.  This is human nature and has been true since the first days of the written word.

If admitting one is wrong is hard in private, how much harder is it for a person to make such an admission in an age of instant communication when there are dozens of people reinforcing the wrong idea on social media from Twitter to facebook and more important when those same people are ready to tear a person apart for daring the stray from the reservation?

To come out and say:  “This is wrong” in such a situation requires a thick skin and actual courage.

I suspect that given the number of years past since the invasion of Iraq and the general disdain for the GOP establishment that Jeb Bush represents, many people who might otherwise object to Trump’s errors concerning WMD and attacks on GW Bush find an excuse to rationalize it, explain it away as “Trump being Trump” and let themselves be persuaded that this is simply a blip, one of those contradictions in belief that Screwtape told us about that is just not worth getting fired up about, particularly not in public.

Particularly if it means being on the losing side.

The fight against human nature is one that humanity has fought forever but the truth is winning that fight is the exception, rather than the rule and it will take more than one rant from a series of rants to overcome it.

It’s possible that I”m wrong here but given what we’ve seen over the last six months I see no reason to believe that I am.


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