Normally I would have gone in sequence with a post on day 2 of the Amplify Choice event but something happened at Red State Yesterday that deserves some attention.

Red State has had some interesting speakers and interesting topics, right now as I’m typing there is a great panel on Corporate welfare that really hit the spot on the issue.

But in terms of national and media interest the story they want to talk about is Donald Trump.

We have seen expressions of both support and opposition to Donald Trump by speakers here and from the people I’ve interviewed here have varied their opinion on the subject but yesterday the gathering took an interesting turn.

Due to health issues Governor Greg Abbott of Texas who was scheduled to speak just before lunch 11:30 Am till Noon Denver time was unable to come. Leon Wolf of RedState took the stage and made that announcement to the disappointment of the audience.

But to the surprise of everyone, rather than breaking for lunch early or putting together an impromptu panel, he decided to open up the floor to any attendee to give them feedback on what has happened so far or any subject they wished.

Given the current media line on the GOP vs Trump this in effect invited people to address the elephant in the room and immediately he was asked about reconciling the need to stop Hillary with his unwillingness to support Trump.

Leon didn’t dodge, he explained that in his opinion while Trump had a higher ceiling than clinton in terms of being a quality president, he believes Trump has a lower floor, that being said he said that he respect people (like myself) who decided in the end to go with Donald Trump and urge others to do so.

He noted that there were a lot of people on both sides of this issue here complementing both those in their “Make America Great Again” stuff and those opposed, he also expressed his appreciation that everyone has been polite and respectful to everyone else here.

In the end he suggested to the audience to give your vote to someone who has earned it.

There were were a few more question both along those lines and others but for my money that moment was special, not because of what he said, if you read this blog you know I disagree with him on the question of Trump, but because the folks at Red State were daring enough brave enough and respectful enough to their audience who had paid money to come here, to put themselves out there not knowing how it was going to turn out.

As I’m finishing this post Carly Fiorina is on stage giving a killer speech with lines such as “We are living in a season of House of Cards.” (referring to the Clinton scandals) “It is not feminism to trade on your husbands name and fame… it is opportunism not feminism” on Hillary Clinton riding on Bill’s coattails and protecting him from the consequences of his actions and “Mrs. Clinton I’m a #feminist & I’m not voting for you” on Clinton’s statements that feminists are for her and “Power concentrated is power abused” on what the Constitution and the founders vision of it is all about. It’s been a great speech and continues to be so

But for my money, that speech pales before the moment when the guys at Redstate showing their integrity faced their audience during a polarizing time when they didn’t have to.


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If anyone tells you that they know what’s going to happen today in NH they are full of it.

However while the actual results of the evening are totally up in the air, the MSM memes for today are completely predictable.

DONALD TRUMP:


If Donald wins this by more than 10 pts

MSM will start talking inevitably and declare that only the #2 finisher (unless it’s Ted Cruz) has a prayer to stop him and the talk will be if the establishment decides to go all in.

If Donald trump wins by less that 10 pts (my best guess)

MSM meme will be Trump is vulnerable and MSM will extol the virtues of any 2nd or 3rd place finisher not named Ted Cruz as the alternative to Trump.

If Trump loses to any person not named Ted Cruz.

Said person will be lionized and the Trump campaign declared a paper tiger, they will really cheer if it’s a Bush or Kasich.

If Trump loses to Ted Cruz

Mass Seppuku among members of the MSM and the Party will go all out to push whoever is 2nd.

TED CRUZ

See above if he wins

If Cruz finishes in 2nd or 3rd.

Media will pretend he doesn’t exist and will push the other 2nd or 3rd place finisher , if he gets 3rd by less that 2 pts they’ll push the 4th place person as advancing too.

If Cruz finishes 4th or below , even by one vote

MSM will treat him as a one trick pony and pretend his national campaign is doomed.

 

MARCO RUBIO

If Rubio finishes 2nd or 3rd

He will  be pushed as he alternative to Donald Trump unless a governor finishes 2nd then Rubio will be hit as a guy on the decline.

If Rubio finishes 5th or below

He will be written off by the MSM

 

JEB BUSH, JOHN KASICH, CHRIS CHRISTIE (who can tell the difference anymore?)

 

If any one of them finish in 2nd -4th

Said candidate will be dubbed the “Winner” of NH Establishment primary which will be treated as more important than actually winning..  If more than 1 finishes in the top 4 both will be cheered.

If the finish is 2nd place said candidate will be treated  as if they actual won NH even if they are 20+ pts behind the winner.

Any finish by a gov below 4th and said candidate will be told it’s time to go.

Note Jeb Bush will be treated as if he finished one level ahead of whatever spot he finishes at.

BEN CARSON

Unless he finishes 4th or above he will be totally ignored except to blame Ted Cruz for said finish.

MSM will do their best to keep Carson in the race in the hope that he will hurt Ted Cruz in the south.

 

CARLY FIORINA

Unless she finishes top 4 MSM will say it’s time to go.  If she finishes top 4 with Cruz and Rubio may become de facto Establishment alternative

 

JIM GILMORE

If he finishes about any other candidate it will be treated as  a victory.  If he does not then he’ll tweet out that he’s now in the top 5-8 depending on how many candidates drop out.

MY PREDICTION:  The only candidate that drops out post NH is Chris Christie unless Kasich finishes 6th then he’ll consider it.

 

The Democrats:

BERNIE SANDERS

If Sanders wins by less that 15 points.

MSM will treat result as a great Clinton Comeback and Bill will talk about Hillary as the 2nd coming of the comeback kid.  If it’s single digits it will be considered the Clinton miracle.

If Sanders wins by 15+

Bloomberg is in, Biden is maybe in and Hillary & Bill launch an all out campaign to destroy him that will make the attacks at Ken Starr look like nothing.

 

HILLARY CLINTON

If somehow Hillary Clinton wins

It’s all over for Bernie & the FBI investigation

 

The chances of Hillary being indicted are directly related to how well she does.

My best guess (Bernie by 12)

 

All of this is fun but remember this above all:

 

The actual results are secondary to the the meme the MSM wants to push, those have already been determined.  The only question is will the results allow those memes to be credible.

**************

Today my plan had been to take a day off of work, head to NH, visit some polling places and finish at the Ted Cruz event in Hollis.

Instead I’m in bed, unable to stand for more than a few minutes with my head spinning and unable to hold down even dry cereal.

The irony is that these symptoms which are considered normal in the aftermath aftermath of my illness could go on for months and continue to cost me days of work that I can’t afford to miss.

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When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force

Newton’s 1st law of Motion

Lyndon Johnson’s loss had been due a political fluke. He had been beaten not by his opponent’s friends but by his opponent’s foes. 

Lyndon Johnson the Path to Power

A few days ago I saw a piece concerning Iowa that crunched the numbers in Iowa that suggest Donald Trump is going to have more trouble than he thinks in Iowa.

Really, so in order to justify Trump’s lead, somehow 50,000 more caucus attendees will have to show up and vote for Trump than have ever shown up before. Trump has 12 paid staffers in Iowa, led by Tana Goetz, a 48-year-old former runner up on “The Apprentice.” Wow, what raw horsepower.

He contrasts that to Ted Cruz:

Cruz has over 1,000 precinct chairs, a 240-plus person leadership team and over 5,000 volunteers in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties (all of which Cruz has pledged to visit before the caucuses, and it looks like he’ll make it happen). They’re led by seasoned professionals such as Jake Dagel, who was field director for Turning Point USA.

It’s a devastating  analysis but it overlooks one very important thing, and that’s strategic voting

While the GOP doesn’t have the same process as the dems who can, if the supporters of a candidate can’t get enough people to go with them to advance go with another candidate, it’s going to be very apparent very early if an attendee’s candidate has a shot in their district.

When that happens then it will be time for voters to decide:  “Do I stick with my guy or do I think strategically?”

Think if you are a Jeb Bush, or a Chris Christie, or a John Kasich guy.  Your man isn’t going to win Iowa, you likely won’t even finish in the top 3.  What is your game plan to win the nomination?

If you’re Jeb Bush guy, you need to be the last non-Trump man standing.  So you have to stop Ted Cruz.

If you’re Chris Christie or John Kasich you have to finish in the top 3 in NH, you aren’t likely to stop Donald Trump there so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

You’re Carly Fiorina, Trump is a perfect foil for your campaign, Ted Cruz is not so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

and it’s not just establishment types thinking this;

You’re a Mike Huckabee or a Rick Santorum supporter, your only prayer (assuming you have one) is to cancel out the one guy who has taken the votes you won with in 2008  & 2012 so that you can win in the south so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

You are Ben Carson voter, you know your man who has the potential to attract voters in the south who might normally not vote in a GOP primary but you have to get to those primaries with a campaign still alive so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

Your Rand Paul voter, you can’t allow libertarians to be looking for another principled alternative so you have to stop Ted Cruz.

The only candidate with a disincentive to this is Marco Rubio, the NYT not withstanding he needs to keep his guys in line to keep himself viable, a fight between him and Cruz diminishes his rivals and increases him, he needs is folks to boost his numbers at all costs.

Now you might say:  “But Datechguy Iowa is a big conservative state what makes you think there are enough establishment votes to save Iowa for Trump”

My answer.  Mitt lost Iowa by only 8 votes and those Mitt guys are all in for Bush  stopping Cruz.

Bottom line, with the exception of Marco Rubio every single other candidate has an incentive to stop Ted Cruz from winning Iowa, even if it gives the win to Trump.

Trump doesn’t need 50,000 extra voters to show up at the caucus to win, he simply needs enough voters to put the other candidates voters in a spot where they have a pragmatic choice between helping Trump win or helping letting Cruz win.

That is Donald Trump’s secret weapon and don’t think for one moment he doesn’t know it.

P.S.  You’ll not that I didn’t include Jim Gilmore with all due respect for the former gov of VA why would I?

****************************************************************************

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

the 603 alliance had their caucus today at the Hopkinton State Fair grounds in Contoocook NH. The idea was to get conservatives in NH to unite behind a single candidate via a caucus.

Ted Cruz has won, Ben Carson came in 2nd Carly Fiorina 3rd. Donald Trump failed to make the first cut not managing 25 votes, Jeb bush didn’t manage a single vote.

Under the rules if the winner of the 603 alliance caucus drops out of the presidential race the people pledge to support the 2nd place finisher and so forth.

Expect updates

Update 1

I arrived at the event at 10:30 AM one hour before registration was to end. The person directing me to park commented on the number of people who had showed up and expressed worry about finding places for all of them.

Any voter who was in line at 11:30 would be checked in as long as they met the following requirements

1. They were a Registered republican voter in NH.

2. They were a registered unenrolled NH voter who pledged that they had not taken a democrat ballot

3. They had a photo ID.

Ted Cruz showed up in person to greet people before the start of the event

It was very apparent that his people were there in force and read and raring to go. Ben Carson’s people were also well represented:

603 stills 1 006

I hand counted 718 people. at my arrival and it was very clear that some candidates took this very seriously and others did not.

and the vote would come down to who bothered to show

Under the rules of the Caucus any candidate who failed to get at least 25 votes in the first round would be eliminated. From the looks of things early it seemed it would be a Cruz vs Carson race

Ted Cruz showed up in person to make his case, speakers showed up to speak for Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Carly fiorina. Oddly enough while Rand Paul had two events in the area his people did not show up for the caucus.

Expect another update

Final update:

Here are some random images from the event

Here are the speeches from the event for the various candidates & their reps before the vote:

Ted cruz spoke in person:

However there were representatives for other candidates Marco Rubio:

Ben Carson:

But the most eloquent speech for a candidate not there came from Rep Baldarsio for Donald Trump:

Based on this speech representative Baldarsio’s candidate deserved a better fate after the first round of Voting Donald Trump was eliminated for not drawing the 25 votes necessary to advance.

But even so Trump did infinitely better than Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore combined who despite a ton of time spent in the state by some and millions in superpac money belonging to others didn’t garner a single vote between them

In addition to trump Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and John Kasich all failed to get 25 votes (but at least weren’t shut out like Bush Christie & co.

Trump had not missed the first cut by much and once he was out the other candidates scrambled for his votes. When the 2nd round was done however Fiorina had not been able to catch up with Carson and was out. It was down to Cruz and Carson but while the absent Carson had made a decent showing Cruz’s crew was just too large:

When it was all over I talked to Diane Vitter of the 603 alliance:

I think several candidates made a big mistake not showing up. Rand Paul was less than a mile from the location in the very same town. Lindsey Graham has spent the last week in the state, and the fact that Kasich managed to get votes when Bush was not.

As for the candidates there, if I was Carly Fiorina I’d make a big fuss about advancing when Trump did not, and if I was Ben Carson I’d point to a 2nd place showing while being on a book tour.

And Ted Cruz, well that’s tomorrow’s lead post.

Final update, some stills:

****************************************************************************

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

DSC01862

By Timothy Imholt PhD

Carly Fiorina recently had a chance to put all the republican candidates on the defensive and missed it. She struck out.

How did this happen?

I was recently in the audience at an event hosted by Scott Brown with Carly Fiorina addressing a crowd of a few hundred individuals, some supporters, as well as some potential supporters, all hoping to be able to see her talk and perhaps ask a question or two of their own.

One of the hardest, so far undDSC01864iscussed problems, the next President will face is what to do about Social Security. I know the old joke, give it to old people. Ok, yes, let’s do that. Here is the problem. There never has been a social security trust fund. That thing is a myth.

The way the system works is that today’s retirees are paid by today’s workers. I do not begrudge people this program, as they paid into it when they worked. So please don’t say I’m against it. I think it is there, it exists, and as such we need to pay attention to the thing to make sure it is functional.

Here is the issue. The deductions coming off of every working American’s check going into the program fall around 10% short of what is currently being paid out. That is as of late 2015. That number, according to CBO projections, only gets worse every year from this point forward into the foreseeable future.

She got the question from an elderly gentleman who was concerned that the check may get cut, stop coming, or annual increases could become a thing of the past.

Admittedly this is a very hard problem to solve, but Carly had no idea what to do. It was like she didn’t see this one coming, although it has been in the news for a long time.

Her answer (I will paraphrase) rambled around and become a political non-answer. It was also strange to listen to it at something called the DSC01857No B.S. Backyard BBQ, but we will let that go.

She started by saying that American’s by a large margin now think that the Federal Government is corrupt. That percentage is so large she said that we can’t even start to dig into that problem until American’s faith is repaired.

Hey Carly, how about fixing problems as a way to restore that faith…just a thought.

Second, she said that she would sit down with American’s of all ages to see what they want and expect out of that program.

Ok, sure, that’s a nice way of saying something people want to hear while you figure out where to go next.

The final part of this answer was that there are a lot of proposed solutions out there about the Social Security shortfall filling these huge binders. She said that after restoring American’s faith in government, and asking them how much they want to get paid from the Social Security program (ok those were my words, she said ask American’s what they want out of the program, which in my mind amounts to how much do you expect to get paid.) Then she will sit down and figure out which of those plans best solves the problems.

Hey Carly, if those plans worked, and Congress would pass them, they would be in place. Also, ask Mitt Romney how well comments about binders full of something goes over with the voting public.

The remainder of this answer was some mention of zero based budgeting (which I think is a good idea). However, diving into a talk about the main governmental budget when talking about Social Security also seems like a bit of a ramble, but we shall leave that alone.

The only conclusion I can draw from these rambling answer is that Carly has no idea what to do about the shortfall in this program or any other for that matter. She couldn’t bring herself to say we need to cut this, or cut some other program and beef this one up. The only other option is raising taxes or the retirement age. But she avoided saying anything bad opting for a rambling non-answer.

Now, I will be the first to admit that a fix to this particular problem is not easy or painless. Mentioning that the fix will cause pain to voters will not make her popular so perhaps it was best to dodge the question I would have preferred someone who used to be a CEO to put it on the line. Say we have four potential things (maybe there are more these are just examples):

  • raise the retirement age
  • increase SSN taxes
  • means testing for payees
  • raise the retirement age

Let her, or any other candidate, come out and say some combination of those things will have to happen and then let the other primary candidates answer the “hey Carly Fiorina said” question from the press. Instead a golden opportunity was missed and we are still not talking about one of the larger problems facing the aging population.

Hey Carly (and everyone else in the field on both sides of the political spectrum), leaders have to face uncomfortable questions. Be a leader, get a plan on this subject, put it out and make it part of the discussion. Americans like leaders. The way you answered this question did not say much in my mind to your leadership skills when it comes to the difficult to cope with solutions. Not all answers will be popular if you are a good leader, that is just part of the deal. All candidates must understand that situation, and you as well as most of the others, so far are avoiding the toughest ones.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The latest CNN poll reveals nothing more than that Election 2016 is still anyone’s game; well, almost anyone.  I think Kasich, Santorum, and Jindal can hang it up and start vying for positions in a future Republican administration.

Following the CNN debate Carly Fiorina’s numbers have surged and Trump has stumbled a bit.  Carson has also dropped while Rubio has advanced.

This debate was the first one I’ve watched this season.  I wanted to watch to see what I’m missing about Trump – everyone is so thrilled that he is saying things nobody else will say, they’re ready to elect him, it seems.  I remain unconvinced.

Trump does indeed say the most outrageous things.  Several times during this debate my jaw simply dropped in stunned silence that such utterings could come from a supposedly serious presidential contender.  On the subject of whether or not vaccines cause autism, a claim now debunked by science, Trump holds fast:

I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Because you take a baby in — and I’ve seen it — and I’ve seen it, and I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over a two or three year period of time.

Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me.

Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.

It’s as if the child simply caught a permanent case of flu or something.  Based on nothing whatsoever, Trump concludes that this child “now is autistic” because of “the vaccine.”  Based on what?  A fever?  It’s simply an irresponsible and outrageous claim without real evidence behind it and one that strikes fear in the hearts of parents.  Shame on him.

On the subject of war with Afghanistan, I think Dr. Ben Carson really hurt himself when he indicated that the “bully pulpit” would have been his first choice rather that war after 9/11:

I said, you can do the same kind of thing. Declare that within five to 10 years we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.

There are smart ways to do things and there are muscular ways to do things. And sometimes you have to look at both of those to come up with the right solution.

This puts him straight in the camp with Ron Paul, I think, and while I think Ben Carson is a brilliant and gentle man, he cannot lead this country at this time with this philosophy.  It is naïve at best.

Peggy Noonan’s analysis of this debate was as spot on as any I’ve seen and her remarks on Carly Fiorina perfectly summarize her performance:

Ms. Fiorina has broken through again. This was the debate in which she became an acknowledged heavyweight. She is prepared, has a highly organized mind, and remains collected under the lights in a way that allows her to be what she is, knowledgeable and eloquent. She was brilliant on Planned Parenthood, direct on Mr. Trump and bankruptcy—at this point she’s using him as a foil. Her closing remarks on Lady Liberty and Lady Justice were so strong, the man sitting next to me insisted she must have known the question was coming. She can, however, be too stern. There’s nothing wrong with putting a woman on the currency; it does not erase anyone’s history.

That being said, (and I’m sure I’m about to infuriate a lot of people) I think Carly will most likely end up in the VP slot – and she would be superb there.

As for Rubio, I think he is statesmanlike, knowledgeable, and strong, but too many people simply don’t trust him anymore. I don’t know if he can overcome that.  He will carry that Gang of Eight vote with him like an albatross, yet this is what he says today:

So I’ve seen every aspect of it, and I can tell you America doesn’t have one immigration problem, it has three.

First, despite the fact that we are the most generous country in the history of the world in allowing people to come here legally, we have people still coming illegally.

Second, we have a legal immigration system that no longer works. It primary is built on the basis of whether you have a relative living here instead of merit.

And third, we have 11 million or 12 million people, many of whom have been here for longer than a decade who are already here illegally.

And we must deal with all three of these problems. We cannot deal with all three of these problems in one massive piece of legislation. I learned that. We tried it that way.

Here’s the way forward: First, we must — we must secure our border, the physical border, with — with a wall, absolutely. But we also need to have an entry/exit tracking system. 40 percent of the people who come here illegally come legally, and then they overstay the visa. We also need a mandatory e-verify system.

After we’ve done that, step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here.

As strong as he is on so many other issues, Rubio may never get past immigration; voters have long memories and much mistrust these days.

In the end, I think the CNN poll shows more than anything else that we still have a long way to go and we can anticipate many more changes to come.  Once the undercard starts filtering out and those votes swing hither and yon, as will the money, things will change as well.

I have a friend who swears that Trump is going to pull out of this and swing his support, and votes, to Ted Cruz.  I’m not seeing that at all, but there you go.  I do believe, at least, that Trump never really intended to be this far ahead when he got in this and is as surprised as anyone that he’s still in the lead.  But, he’s faltering now, I think. His biggest line is always a blustery roll about how successful he’s been and not much substance after that.

It’s a long way to 2016 and will certainly be an entertaining ride.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

As I’ve been writing a lot about the Kim Davis situation I was very interested in how it would come up in the Presidential debate on Wednesday, however the subject didn’t so much point out the differences in the GOP position as it pointed out the seemingly contrary positions of both media and the selective enforcement of federal law and selective interpretation of the constitution depending on who it involves.

First lets look at the Kim Davis exchange:

Jake Tapper: I want to turn back to Governor Huckabee. Governor Huckabee, last week, you held a rally for a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as I don’t need to tell you. You’ve called what happened to Kim Davis, that clerk, “an example of the criminalization of Christianity.” There are several people on the stage who disagree with you. Governor Bush, for example, says that that clerk is sworn to uphold the law. Is Governor Bush on the wrong side of the criminalization of Christianity?

Gov Mike Huckabee: No, I don’t think he’s on the wrong side of such an issue. Jeb is a friend. I’m not up here to fight with Jeb or to fight with anybody else. But I am here to fight for somebody who is a county clerk elected under the Kentucky constitution that 75 percent of the people of that state had voted for that said that marriage was between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage. It’s a decision that the other justices in dissent said they didn’t have and there wasn’t a constitutional shred of capacity for them to do it. I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics. The courts cannot legislate. That’s what Roberts said. But heck, it’s what we learned in civics. The courts can’t make a law. They can interpret one. They can review one. They can’t implement it. They can’t force it. But here’s what happened: Because the courts just decided that something was going to be and people relinquished it and the other two branches of government sat by silently — I thought we had three branches of government, they were all equal to each other, we have separation of powers, and we have checks and balances. If the court can just make a decision and we just all surrender to it, we have what Jefferson said was judicial tyranny. The reason that this is a real issue that we need to think about

Jake Tapper:Thank you, Governor.

Gov Mike Huckabee: No, no. Let me finish this one thought, Jake. I haven’t gotten that much time, so I’m going to take just what little I can here. We made accommodation to the Fort Hood shooter to let him grow a beard. We made accommodations to the detainees at Gitmo — I’ve been to Gitmo, and I’ve seen the accommodations that we made to the Muslim detainees who killed Americans. You’re telling me that you cannot make an accommodation for an elected Democrat county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky? What else is it other than the criminalization of her faith and the exaltation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Fort Hood shooter or a detainee at Gitmo?

Jake Tapper:  Well, I’m not telling you that, Governor. But Governor Bush is, because he — because he disagrees. He thinks that Kim Davis swore to uphold the law. You disagree? You’re not — you don’t…

Gov Jeb Bush: I don’t think — you’re not stating my views right.

Jake Tapper: OK. Please do.

Gov Jeb Bush: I think there needs to be accommodation for someone acting on faith. Religious conscience is — is — is a first freedom. It’s — it’s a powerful part of our — of our Bill of Rights. And, in a big, tolerant country, we should respect the rule of law, allow people in — in — in this country — I’m a — I was opposed to the decision, but we — you can’t just say, “well, they — gays can’t get married now.” But this woman, there should be some accommodation for her conscience, just as there should be for people that are florists that don’t want to participate in weddings, or bakers. A great country like us should find a way to have accommodations for people so that we can solve the problem in the right way. This should be solved at the local level…

Jake Tapper: You did…

Gov Jeb Bush: And so we do agree, Mike.

Gov Chris Christie: I was —

Jake Tapper: Governor, you said, quote, “she is sworn to uphold the law.”

Gov Chris Christie: She is, and so if she, based on conscience, can’t sign that — that marriage license, then there should be someone in her office to be able to do it, and if the law needs to be changed in the state of Kentucky, which is what she’s advocating, it should be changed.

Ok so we have a question of “she’s sworn to uphold the law” and “there needs to be an accommodation based on faith” presumably based on the 1st amendment but oddly enough when Mr. Tapper asked this question on federal drug laws

Jake Tapper: Senator Paul, Governor Christie recently said, quote, “if you’re getting high in Colorado today,” where marijuana has been legalized, “enjoy it until January 2017, because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana.” Will you?

The arguments on enforcement suddenly changed.  While Senator Paul invoked the 10th amendment suggesting the feds had crossed into a state issue. During his answer he mentioned a person on stage who used pot at one time. It turned out to be Jeb who had this to say. (all emphasis mine)

Gov Jeb Bush: So, 40 years ago, I smoked marijuana, and I admit it. I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did. That’s true. And here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. We have — we have a serious epidemic of drugs that goes way beyond marijuana. What goes on in Colorado, as far as I’m concerned, that should be a state decision. But if you look at the problem of drugs in this — in this society today, it’s a serious problem. Rand, you know this because you’re campaigning in New Hampshire like all of us, and you see the epidemic of heroin, the overdoses of heroin that’s taking place. People’s families are — are being torn apart. It is appropriate for the government to play a consistent role to be able to provide more treatment, more prevention — we’re the state that has the most drug courts across every circuit in — in — in Florida, there are drug courts to give people a second chance. That’s the best way to do this.

Hold on a second. The laws concerning drugs are Federal laws, laws actually passed by the congress and signed by the president as opposed to the reinterpretation of a constitutional amendment.  How is it that Kim Davis a county clerk is “sworn to uphold the law” but public servants in the state of Colorado who are not claiming this has anything to do with religion, are not?

As the exchange continued. It got worse, after Jeb bush was pressed by Sen Paul on medical marijuana: again emphasis mine

Sen Rand Paul: Well, you vote — you oppose medical marijuana…

Gov Jeb Bush: Here’s the deal. No, I did not oppose when the legislature passed the bill to deal with that very issue. That’s the way to solve this problem. Medical marijuana on the ballot was opened up, there was a huge loophole, it was the first step to getting to a (inaudible) place. And as a citizen of Florida, I voted no.

So Jeb Bush believes Kim Davis “Is sworn to uphold the law” but didn’t oppose the state legislature in Florida passing a bill directly contradicting established federal law and apparently he’s not alone here.  (again emphasis mine)

Gov Chris Christie: And Senator Paul knows that that’s simply not the truth. In New Jersey, we have medical marijuana laws, which I supported and implemented. This is not medical marijuana. There’s goes as much — a further step beyond. This is recreational use of marijuana. This is much different. And so, while he would like to use a sympathetic story to back up his point, it doesn’t work. I’m not against medical marijuana. We do it in New Jersey. But I’m against the recreational use against marijuana. If he wants to change the federal law, get Congress to pass the law to change it, and get a president to sign it.

So Christie, like Bush is willing to support and implement laws that contradict existing federal law, laws that he is sworn to uphold, and is willing to do this without claiming a religious or constitutional reason.  It sounds to me like “being sworn to uphold the law” apparently doesn’t apply if the law is supported by yuppies on the left or the MSM who are both widely in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

 

Now let’s take a look at another subject. The Question of the 14th amendment and birthright citizenship came up, Mr. Trump (backed up by Senator Rand Paul) said scholars said no but when asked by Jake Tapper, Carly Fiorina (after making a great point concerning the Democrat’ desire to have this as an issue & not solve the problem said this: again emphasis mine

Carly Fiorina: …the truth is, you can’t just wave your hands and say “the 14th Amendment is gonna go away.” It will take an extremely arduous vote in Congress, followed by two-thirds of the states, and if that doesn’t work to amend the constitution, then it is a long, arduous process in court. And meanwhile, what will continue to go on is what has gone on for 25 years. With all due respect, Mr. Trump, we’ve been talking about illegal immigration for 25 years. San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. There are 300 of them. And meanwhile, what has happened? Nothing. The border remains insecure. The legal immigration system remains broken. Look, we know what it takes to secure a border. We’ve heard a lot of great ideas here. Money, manpower, technology…

So Mrs. Fiorina says that “you can’t just wave your hands and say “the 14th Amendment is going to go away, and an awful lot of media pundits and people like Jeb Bush are with her on this. But lets take a look at the text of it The 14th Amendment specifically section 1 which states:

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Nowhere in that entire section do you see the words “Gay Marriage” ( in fact you will not find the words “marriage” anywhere in the US Constitution)

Yet five members of the Supreme Court found a right to gay marriage that every other justice who ever served on the Supreme Court did not, one that overrode every single state constitution that said otherwise.

So my question is this? If justices can magically reinterpret the 14th Amendment to find a right to Gay Marriage in a document that doesn’t mention marriage, and the media claims it is legit how is it that one can’t interpret that same 14th amendment to say it doesn’t grant citizenship to people born here if their parents came illegally not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”.

Bottom line, apparently some in the GOP believe, with the media that when it comes to Kim Davis, the 14th Amendment is flexible and the enforcement of federal law is not, but some of those same people believe with the media, that when it comes to birthright citizenship and federal drug laws. The 14th Amendment is rigid and the enforcement of federal law is flexible.

Funny isn’t it?

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Alas when will the Media ever understand the recipe for disaster:

Start with Carly Fiorina the GOP woman they pushed to get in the main debate at a time when Hillary Clinton Popularity is dropping like a rock.

ADD: The highest ratings for any program in the history of CNN

Mix in: The media lionizing her performance (it was very good I placed her a close 3rd)

Bake in : Her challenging this giant audience watching to view the planned parenthood videos that the MSM have totally ignore.

Yield: Millions of people discovering a story only because they heard it from a person the media have been celebrating.

Serve: The media’s reputation on a platter as suddenly they have to spin a story they ignored to people whose first exposure to it was Fiorina and whose likely second was from seeing the videos of people casually either dissecting or talking about dissecting babies and crushing their skulls to harvest parts for money.

The irony is by ignoring the story they allow it to get out without their trademark spin.

God works in mysterious ways, if more of the MSM believed in him perhaps they would have known that.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

OK I’ve had a few hours to sleep on it and here are my debate takeaways.

Winner:  Main Debate Rand Paul:  Despite not having much time in the early rounds won two segments.  Made strong cases for everything he believed and sold his positions well.  Accomplished everything he needed to do, the only question is do people agree with those positions.

Winner: First Debate Lindsey Graham:  Memorable lines , humor and again made the case first for a ground war against isis, the single most important issue for the future of the country and for pressing the Obama administration in the senate.

Graham will get a small bump because he’s polling so low with Paul it’s harder because he’s making cases for things that many in the base disagree with.

Five interesting points.  

My two “winners”  are both people I disagree with.

Not only were there no bad debate performances in either debate but there was an awful lot of substance in them (particularly in debate 1)

The debate was specifically designed to promote confrontation .  It did and the candidates made the most of them.  I’m sure to the ratings delight of CNN

While it was a very long night for the Candidates it was even longer for the moderators who did an excellent job.

There wasn’t a person on either stage (even the ones I disagree with) that didn’t make themselves more credible it was like a convention of British Sea Captains from the Napoleonic Wars

 

Let’s go through the candidates starting with debate 2 in sort of the order of how they did.

Marco Rubio:  2nd place  Did exactly what he had to do, got noticed, had memorable moments and made excellent cases over an over.  Gave donors a reason to stay.

Carly Fiorina:  Completely justified her promotion to the main debate stage in a situation where he needed to do so.  Strong answers, and played to the MSM expectations and brought up the Planned Parenthood videos which will play very strongly to the base.

Chris Christie:  Reminded every conservative in the country why he was so popular before and used his time wisely.

Mike Huckabee:  Every chance he got she knocked it out of the part and really did a great job on the Kim Davis question noting the accommodations for Islamic Terrorists vs a Christian Clerk.

Jeb Bush:  A slow start but showed energy and reassured the donor class that was worried with a friendly establishment audience.

Donald Trump:  Target #1 of everyone there.  Brought up two excellent points (having to be friends with everyone in business and the threat of North Korea) that had previously been ignored.  Proved he could take a punch which is an important quality in a front runner.

Ted Cruz:  Like Huckabee took good advantage of every chance he had to talk, if he had been given the chance to make his climate change response might have been able to win.

Scott Walker:  May have saved his campaign by coming back strong

Ben Carson:  Gave good answers but criticized for being low key.  But that’s how he is.

John Kasich:  The least memorable performance of the night, yet still a good one, seemed kind of a poor man’s Lindsey Graham.

Debate 1:

Rick Santorum:  A very strong performance, made the best case for a min wage hike (I disagree there) that I’ve heard so far.

Bobby Jindal:  Really strong appeal to the base, very energetic again did the job he needed to do getting noticed.

George Pataki:  Had the single best hit on Hillary in either debate noting that she was a Senator from NY the target of terror attacks and still did what she did.

Short Term:  Tactical results:

Who was helped the most last night?  Carly Fiorina, she realized right away what the pundits were looking for & gave it to them.  Lots of credibility.

Who was hurt the most last night?  Ben Carson, the media has spun this as a defeat even though he is presenting himself the same as he always was.  The media template is to give Carly the push at his expense.

Long Term Strategic results:

Who was helped the most long term?  Donald Trump:  Not only did he dominate time and prove he could take every punch thrown at him but because nobody did bad enough to be eliminated that guarantees the vote will remain divided.  The longer that’s true the bigger advantage he has.

Who was hurt the most last night?  John Kasich:  Not because he did bad, he didn’t but because Jeb Bush did better and he is the establishment Bush fallback position.

A much longer post is coming about:

The flexible 14th amendment Kim Davis  Birthright citizenship

Ironic moment of the night:  Jeb Bush hits Kim Davis for not obeying nonexistent federal law while insisting he would not hit Colorado for ignoring explicit federal drug laws.

Most significant post debate moment:  Frank Luntz group, nobody in the group said Ted Cruz won but every single person in the group was impressed by him.  Continues to play the long game.

Am I the only one who noticed….The post debate interview with Donald Trump where he talks about getting to know his opponents.  I think it was rather revealing & will affect the way he counterpunchers in the future.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Like Pete, I’m old Enough to Remember when Pundits were Expected to Support the GOP Candidates. I also agree with Pete in

Now granted Pataki is polling only slightly better than I am but when it comes down to it If I’m Donald Trump I’m dancing in the streets over it and if I’m the tea party I’m grinning like a cat.

I’ll take it one further: Any GOP presidential candidate who spends time talking about Trump rather than highlighting his/her position on the issues is wasting precious time and is a fool.

Carly Fiorina manages to turn the tables on Trump while turning the spotlight on herself. Even the WaPo, not exactly an arm of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (a term popularized by Hillary Clinton back during her bimbo eruption-fighting-days), declares that her ad “is the best one of the 2016 campaign so far.” In case you haven’t seen the Fiorina ad I’m talking about, here it is.

Trump had asked, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president!?” The Fiorina campaign’s answer was a most resounding “YES.”

1. The ad starts with Fiorina’s triumphant voice saying, “Ladies, look at this face,” immediately addressing its target audience.

2. The faces of the women in the ad are the faces of women you know – daughters, friends, coworkers, moms – as Fiorina defines “the face of leadership in our party, the party of women’s suffrage,” establishing the Republican party’s historical pro-women stance.

3. The ad gets a dig at the Dems and Hillary, “We are not a special interest group, we are the majority of the nation.”

4. While she speaks without notes or teleprompter to the National Federation of Republican Women in Arizona, Fiorina, who looks fit, trim and up for the challenge, ends with, “This is the face of a sixty-one year old woman, I am proud of it, every year and every wrinkle.” As the WaPo said,

a message that not only could none of her male opponents deliver but also one with reach well beyond just the Republican base.

The ad success in positioning Fiorina as a strong adversary who, while addressing an insult, wastes no time and scores a point or two against the Dems.

And Trump’s name did not cross her lips once.

May that be a lesson to the other Republican candidates.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.