Many things about the presidency of Donald Trump defy the normal conventional wisdom concerning elected officials and politics. His relationship with the media, his public tweets, his extensive business dealings all over the world and of course his dynamic personality are all things that can and have thrown professional prognosticator for a loop when deciding exactly where he stands or what direction he will go on an issue.

A great practical example of this dynamic is the issue of online gambling.

To both the causal gambler who occasionally enjoys the occasional casino visit or likes a hand of online blackjack or the serious player who hopes to hone his poker skills online to become the next Scott Blumstein, the administration’s decision on online gambling might be of casual interest.

But for a professional pundit, congress watcher or lobbyist knowing where an administration is going directly affects their livelihood.

This would be an easier call in the old days with a regular pol.  In a normal situation one would expect that a pol who had heavy backing from supporters like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate would reflexively oppose online gambling in deference to such a big donor who has made restricting it his cause with some success. Likewise as the winds of opinion begin to shift on sports betting you would expect to see a politician’s ear very close to the shifting ground to keep the various sports leagues, a large potential source of campaign revenue happy.

In such a situation the professional pundit, congress watcher, much like an experienced gambler, could confidently predict the chances of any such legislation passing and a lobbyist for either side of these issues would be able to inform their clients where an if their efforts should be concentrated to make their goals.

In a Trump administration it’s a little more tricky.

First of all there is President Trump’s own vast wealth and name recognition. The combination of millions of his own dollars available to invest in his campaign with a name and a persona that was already well known to the public not only is his dependency on individual big donors considerably smaller, but his relationships with such men, as they previously existed, means he approaches them as an equal rather than a supplicant. Furthermore he won his first election despite being outspent both in the primaries and in the general election

Second of all there is his own history and experience with the gaming industry. Starting with no experience but understanding that a casino with a hotel can produce more profit than even the grandest lodgings without one, he studied the industry when he was ready dived in making a name for himself in the industry even being named to the World Gaming Congress Hall of Fame. This gives him a perspective on the issue that most pols would not have.

Finally added to this is the politics of the matter, according to a recent Washington Post report two allies that President Trump has clashed with in his first six months have made contrary moves. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reexamine the rulings authorizing online gaming while Governor Christie on behalf of his state which has benefited from such gaming publicly urging the president to avoid such a ban. (It certainly doesn’t hurt the timing of Christie’s argument that Poker’s newest champion World Champion Scott Blumstein credits his experience in online casinos for his victory.)

For us amateurs this uncertainly of the President’s position is a source of mild amusement no different than playing a few dollars on the slots of an online casino, a bit of fun, maybe some profit but not life and death.

But for the political class seeking power and lobbyists with millions at stake for themselves and their clients, the inability to predict with certainty where President Trump stands on online gambling or any issue is a spin of the wheel that they wish they could avoid and is one of the reasons why they long for the days of business as usual.

One other point concerning Thursday’s debate.

It’s fair to say there were several solid blows landed on Donald Trump.  Ted landed a few  but Marco Rubio clamped onto Donald Leg and like a hungry Dog simply didn’t let go.  He did this at a Debate that got record ratings and followed up the next day making fun of Trump because the one thing the Donald can’t abide is ridicule.

So if you are Donald Trump and the media is now talking about Rubio’s insults and laughing about it, how do you change the subject?

Like this:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey endorsed Donald J. Trump on Friday, a major turn in a wild race and one that gives the New York businessman a significant boost as he heads into the pivotal “Super Tuesday” contests.

Mr. Christie was a candidate for president himself until he came in sixth place in New Hampshire’s primary. Seeing his political career facing an abrupt conclusion after his failed presidential campaign, he expressed his anger Friday at Senator Marco Rubio, whom he was said to be upset with, blaming the “super PAC” backing the Florida senator for halting his momentum in New Hampshire with a string of slash-and-burn ads.

Suddenly every cable TV network was carrying Chris Christie endorsing Trump

and returning to repeat the one thing he had success at: beating up on Marco Rubio.

Now while Allahpundit saw this coming weeks ago and notes this is the path to something more AG perhaps?

But if you want to understand why this was done at this time, Ann Althouse nails it

That vastly overshadows Marco Rubio’s bad comedy routine this morning

and I suspect Christie’s ability to swing at the media as a Trump surrogate will be even more valuable in a general election, presuming Trump closes the deal

But no matter how you slice it, Trump knows how to play the media like a fiddle. Now if that’s still the case when they are playing video of him contradicting himself a few weeks apart on a daily basis (and I guarantee you that will happen if he’s the nominee) that’s a different story.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

Final Update:  The more I think about it the more I’m thinking Fox accomplished exactly what they were looking for.  More on Saturday morning.

I’m offended by the “Donald Trump going after women BS” by Megan Kelly and Donna Brazile. We are constantly told by women that they are strong, assertive who are equals to men, but if they are treated the same why a man is suddenly its offensive. Either you are tough enough to take the hits or you are the weaker sex who need to be protected from offensive speech, pick one.

I agree with Elizabeth Price Foley at Instapundit:

GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE LOSER? FOX NEWS: I was particularly disappointed with the ridiculous “gotcha!” questions posed by Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace. Can Fox News please focus on the issues and not try to play favorites?

1st Place Donald Trump: By Default proved he belonged there won’t lose support among the new crowd that tuned in that aren’t political animals.
2nd place Rand Paul: Did everything he needed to do, was both memorable and substantive
3rd Place Ben Carson Didn’t get many chances but handled them the best
4th Chris Christie Got noticed make his points and reminded those who had gone Bush why they supported him before
5th Rubio Lots of solid answers
6th Huckabee, had memorable lines but was lost every exchange with another customer.
7th Cruz Almost perfect but seemed to be constantly ignored by the panel
8th Walker Good lines but never jumped out.
9th Kasich Played to the crowd but too long on a lot of answers
10th Bush Almost didn’t notice he was there. That’s bad news for the big donors.

My rankings I think there was only one so so performance (Bush) , Kasich got a lot of love from the home crowd but wasn’t impressive, Walker was fine but not overly impressive , Cruz was very good but got very little time, Huckabee had memorable lines but not as hot, Rubio was very good, Chris Christie did very well , Ben Carson didn’t get many chances to speak but clearly hit nerves, Rand Paul managed to be both combative and substantive and Trump proved he belonged on the stage.

11:03 Trump closes with his standard the US is not what is should be, we have to make our country great again.

11:02 Bush speaking (he was left alone for 30 min) fair close stumbled a bit like his brother at the end.

11:00 Ted Cruz, day 1 give a laundry list of what he would do strong but Ben Carson trumps him with the half a brain line. Huckabee: Hits Hillary Clinton when everyone thought he was talking Trump, Scott Walker: Talks record and recalls, the “and we won”

10:58 Paul give a first rate close, notes he leads Clinton in five states Obama won, Rubio talks about his history,

10:56 Closing Kasich goes over his record, pretty good response, Pretty good answer by Christie about his record

10:55 Carson Asked about race relation: Give his pat neurosurgeon answer I operate on the part that makes a person what they are crowd loves it.

10:54 Rubio asked about God & va: Rubio says God has blessed us we must help our vets only one fired

10:51 Kasish asked the God question, long winded answer, Walker invokes his past and the protests against him

Last round Closing question first: Have they received word from God: I get God daily from Scripture God speaks through the bible talks about his father’s conversion. You shall know them by their fruits. Knocking it out of the park

Good round for everyone but I think Paul’s answer was the best for him

10:45 Christie invited to hit Paul, instead agrees with Carson about Military, agrees that we can’t be funding our enemies, but says Israel needs to fund.

10:44: Why did you change your budget to allow aid to Israel: At least I have a budget, Israel is a friend, We shouldn’t borrow money from China to send it to anyone. We can’t give away money we don’t have. We don’t project power from bankruptcy court.

10:42 Huck asked about Transgender troops: Huckabee: The purpose of the Military is to kill people and break things. We’ve forgotten why we have a military. it’s not a social lab.

10:41 Walker on confronting Russia if they go after Baltic states: “Russia & China know more about Hillary’s emails than we do ”

10:40 would you have struck Syria?: Talks about an army that’s not ready while our enemies grow strong & our friends don’t trust us. I’d shore up the military first.

10:36 They are back breaking news about the Iranian General, goes to Trump again: Trump talks about Iran and discusses Iran deal as garbage. If Iran was a stock you should buy it. The Russian cyber attack brought up, FINALLY asked cruz something. Have they declared Cyberwar: Cruz: Of course they have goes through the list of the enemies gains.

Rubio & Paul did best that round, it’ been an hour since they said a word to Ted Cruz WTF?

10:33 Paul asked about protecting religion: Says I don’t want the government going after they guns or my religion.

10:31: Kasich asked the “what if your child is gay” to Kasich: he plays the unconditional love card and brags about going to a gay wedding. Kelly should be ashamed of herself for that question.

10:28: Bush asked about trump: Thinks he’s divisive but we need to win. Trump says when it comes to the world we have no time for tone we have to get the job done.

10:26 Trump asked about his changes: tell story about a person not aborted that made a different, invokes Ronald Reagan best you can do there.

10:25: Rubio asked about life of the mother exception claims, denies supporting exception

10:23 Bush asked about Planned Parenthood asked about the Bloomberg board that funded it: Bush claimed he joined for education, notes his pro-life record. “I didn’t know but it doesn’t matter. That’s an ad against him”

Every candidate helped themselves that last round, perhaps Carson & Christie the most

10:15 Quotes first debate asks on Iran deal: Asks Walker on Day 1 tear up deal. Walker invokes the Iranian hostage crisis, stronger sanctions and then convince allies to do the same. Paul on the deal. I oppose the iranian deal, he didn’t negotiate from strength. I don’t mind negotiation but must go from strength, no release of sanctions until proof of compliance: Huckabee: Trust but Verify Trust Iran vilify us. Notes the death to america & Israel stuff, Three great answer there.

10:13 Great answer on economy by Rubio

10:10 Trump asked about 4 bankruptcies: Doesn’t apologize for using bankruptcy laws to his advantage for the four times in 100’s of deals. Point to the money he made. Chris Wallace presses, Trump points out he got out of Atlantic City before it went bust.

10:07 Christie & Huckabee on entitlement reform asked if Huckabee is lying: Huckabee is not lying he’s just wrong, Gives specific answer on retirement reform, good answer. Huckabee noting that it’s not the people’s who had their own money taken that it’s screwed up. It’s wrong to do so. Christie It’s already happened we have to fix it as it is.

10:05 Bush notes Clinton wont’ even comment on Keystone, Walker defends his record on jobs notes three elections

10:01 If Hillary is nominee: Carson suggest Hillary will NOT win. She is the epidemy of the secular progressive movement, counts on the fact that people are uninformed

On twitter Carson being attacked mercilessly for mentioning God by the left.

After 2nd Break Trump still ahead, but Cruz, Paul & Walker did well.

9:55: Rubio asked on Common Core: Dept of Ed won’t stop with a suggestion it will become a mandate.

9:53 Bush asked about Common core: Spins Fed government should be involved in standards. Points to his voucher plans.

9:51: Huckabee asked about government size: talks flat tax, Carson talks flat tax and tithing

9:49 Walker’s “everything hillary clinton touches” line was classic

9:46 asked Trump about single payer: Note get rid of the artificial lines. Paul hits him again., Trump asked about donations to dems: “When I give they help”

9:44 Hey they finally got back to Ben Carson asked about waterboarding: He jokes about being ignored: What we do is our business and I’m not going to broadcast it and I don’t believe in fighting a politically correct war.

9:43: To Bush: asked about the War and his hedging on it: It was wrong but they didn’t die in vain. Points out to Obama leaving causing the problem & the rise of ISIS.

9:42: How can you defeat ISIS in 90 days to Cruz: Cruz says our policy should be “If you join ISIS you are signing your death warrant.” Cruz contrasts Obama on Christians vs Islam

9:40 Doesn’t Ben Carson get to be questioned anymore?

9:37 Christie invited to hit Paul on terrorism. He does big time. Paul “I want to support the 4th amendment.”, “Christie says it’s hot air”. Paul says get a warrant “you want to give him (obama) a big hug go ahead again.”

9:35 Ted Cruz will you support Kate’s Law?: I filed that law leadership blocked it. “It’s not a question of stupidity they don’t want to enforce the law.”

9:34 To Paul: Why in the last two years have you changed your position. “I changed because I listed to the American people.”

9:32 Rubio asked about Trump too: People feel like we are being taken advantage of. Talks about the legal people.

9:31: Back asking Kasich is Trump is right: “Trump is hitting a nerve”, he’s got his solution we’ve got ours, lists accomplishments.

9:28: No clear leader but Trump finished strong & is the pol leader so wins by default

9:25 Trump asked to answer Bush directly on the immigration debate: “If it weren’t for me Chris you wouldn’t even be talking about it.” “Reporters are a dishonest lot.” Wallace challenges his evidence, Trump says Border Patrol people tell him this.

9:24 Bush on Immigration Do you stand by the “It’s an act of love” statement. Yes but we have to secure border. Unimpressive answer.

9:22 Megan Kelly asks Kasich about taking Obamacare money to expand medicare: Ignores the cost question and points to other types of savings.

9:20 Why is GOP at fault on foreign policy to Paul: Points out that ISIS rides around in US Humvees, I have been fighting us from arming their friends.

9:18: Huckabee asked if he is too radical: Invoke the constitution to protect the 5th amendment & 14th amendment to protect children from abortion vs a new amendment.

9:17 Would you really let a mother die to Scott Walker: Deflects the question points to his strong pro-life position.

9:15 To Christie, NJ Sucks why should we vote for you: “Christie You should have seen it before I got there.” Talks about cuts

9:15: Ted cruz asked if he’s too divisive? “The American people are looking for someone to speak the truth.”

9:13 Temperment question vs women. Points toward Trumps twitter account. We have no time for political correctness talks strength. throws a punch at Megan Kelly.

9:11 Jeb Bush asked about dynastic stuff. talks about his record, talks reserves they call me Veto Corleone.

9:09 Marco Rubio: If this is a resume contest Hillary Clinton will be the president

9:07: First question goes to Carson, do you know enough about what’s going on. (Same question that I asked him in NH two months ago) Disputes it, experience comes from a lot of arenas. “America became a great nation not because it was flooded with politicians ”

9:05 Boy Rand Paul didn’t waste time he’s hedging his bets attack. Didn’t phase Trump.

9:04 Raise you hand if you won’t pledge to support the GOP candidate or run 3rd party Only Trump does.

9:02 Everyone is being introduced again home field advantage Kasich

8:57 For God’s sake stop the pre-talk and let them start, they are the actual stars not the moderators

8:56 The candidates take the stage

8:53 Not really interested in the pre-debate panel

Hey there are people there this time

Ok time for Debate 2, my debate 1 commentary is here

Well we gave everyone a week or two to rest on it and now we come to the nitty Gritty the final round of the GOP poison poll.

In the penultimate round Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Santorum & Gov George Pataki all managed to get themselves removed from the vote with between 1% – 3% of the poison vote.  This leaves five candidate left and a single vote for each person who will choose the one candidate that is so horrible that you would stay home and let Hillary or Bernie Sanders into the White House.

I’m going to let this poll run till the very end of the month to give everyone plenty of time to think about it.

Today on WCRN the big discussion is scripted candidates

Sherman maintains that both the GOP and Hillary are scripted, Hank the host claims there is a difference.

This is how unscripted Hillary is:

Campaign staff DROVE ‘ordinary’ Iowans to Hillary’s first campaign stop – including health care ‘lobbyist in training’ who was an Obama campaign intern and Biden chauffeur

And he wasn’t the only one:

The other two “regular Americans” who sat at Hillary’s coffee shop table were also deeply involved in party politics.

They have been identified as Carter Bell, the president of the University of Iowa’s College Democrats, and Planned Parenthood employee Sara Sedlacek.

It has been discovered that the visit was pre-arranged and planned by Clinton campaign staffer Troy Price, the recently resigned executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Mr. Bird says that he was not aware that his visit would be with Hillary Clinton herself, but he confirmed that it was all arranged by Price.

she is so scripted that even when the MSM tries to pretend she is unscripted they say this:

what’s most concerning about her opening video is not its soupiness but its manufactured-by-committee tone. It’s all too clear she’s acting at being down-to-earth rather than truly inhabiting her chosen role. Unscripted Hillary still feels scripted.

This is how scripted Ted Cruz is

This is how scripted Rand Paul is

This is how scripted Chris Christie is

This is how scripted Mike Huckabee is

This is how scripted Carly fiorina is

And this is how scripted Bobby Jindal & John Bolton are.

When I can approach Hillary Clinton and ask her what I wish, when she gets mobbed like Ted Cruz is here

and peppered with hostile questions then you can tell me she is just as scripted as the GOP.

Till then please don’t insult my intelligence by making such a claim.

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

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by   Jim Laurence

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