Guns. Supreme Court. Abortion. Immigration. Those were the first four topics in the first three questions from Wednesday night’s debate (2nd Amendment and the Supreme Court were squeezed into the first question). On these issues, which are arguably the four most divisive between the two candidates, Donald Trump was composed, informed, and surprisingly eloquent. He was able to portray his thoughts intelligently without sounding too rehearsed. With Chris Wallace at the helm asking questions about issues, the first 30 minutes of this debate were the best 30 minutes Trump has had in any debate, including the primaries.

He exuded the presence of a President more than he’s ever done in his life.

It went downhill from there, though not as badly as it will be portrayed. Mainstream media will condemn him for declaring that he won’t necessarily accept the results of the election. I’ll cover that more shortly, but let’s look at his other mistakes:

  • When she called him a puppet, his inner middle-schooler said, “No, you’re the puppet.” It’s already a viral Vine with hundreds of thousands of loops and rapidly rising.
  • When asked about entitlements, he talked about improving the economy and jobs which absolutely won’t fix entitlements without a major overhaul.
  • Lastly, he called her a nasty woman. She is, but that’s not going to help him score points with women, especially after drawing chuckles from the audience when he said nobody has more respect for women than he does.

There were other little mistakes, but all in all this was his best, most error-free debate. It also showed something to the conservatives in the #NeverTrump crowd: he might not be as far from their perspectives as they’ve been led to believe. His grasp of Heller far exceeded hers (no, Heller was not about toddlers, Hillary). His attack on partial birth abortion was spot-on and Hillary botched her response. Then, his vow and reiteration of appointing conservative pro-life Supreme Court justices was reassuring.

In those first 30 minutes, the all-important undecided Republicans and conservatives were given everything they would need to lean in his direction. Now, we’ll get to see the media playing up his unwillingness to definitively state that he’d accept the results of the election.

It will be an ineffective attack. To understand why, we have to look at the psychological effects that his stance will have on each type of voter.

Those firmly in the Clinton camp will take those words and move their chances of voting for him from 0% to -1%. Nothing lost there.

For those firmly in Trump’s camp, they’ll be cheering him on. Darn tootin’ they won’t accept the results if Trump doesn’t. It’s war!

Undecided Republicans will be a little affected by the notion, but the reiteration that election fraud is real combined with not accepting the results will push more towards him than away.

Undecided Democrats and Independents – here’s where it gets a little weird. Most of them won’t care enough to be swayed by the notion, but some will unconsciously lean towards him as a result. Why? Because it reinforces their feelings that the system is broken, that he’ll fight the system, and that they don’t want added chaos. Whether they realize it or not, the more that the media covers it, the more the undecided Democrats and Independents will consider Trump. Those who are undecided on the left are undecided because they really don’t like Hillary.  If they liked her, they’d already be supporting her. The fact that they’re considering Trump means that his defiance to the system and antagonism of Clinton will be a plus.

Does this mean Trump will win? Unlike many self-proclaimed pundits, I don’t see this election as one that can be determined until election day. Nate Silver puts Trump’s chances below 20%. I tend to see it as still a tossup because 2016 is insane but more importantly because Trump is outperforming her on the issues. Tonight, it wasn’t even close. The only times Clinton sounded half-decent at all was when she was attacking Trump and/or pandering to women and minorities. On the actual issues, she sounded like a 3rd semester political science major with average grades and a crush on her professor. Trump sounded like he knew the issues.

Every pundit will have an opinion based upon their own biases and their news agency’s preferences. Some will highlight the move Donald Trump made to threaten Hillary Clinton directly. What they probably won’t mention is that from a purely strategic perspective, his charge that as President he would appoint a special prosecutor to “look into” Clinton’s “situation” was absolutely brilliant.

A large percentage of American voters generally do not like nor trust Hillary Clinton. The same could be said about Trump, but there’s a difference. They don’t like Trump for his personality, privilege, and/or policies. They don’t like Hillary because she should almost certainly be in jail. For three decades, she has evaded the law. The accusations against her are numerous and many of them are extremely serious even if you discount conspiracy theories about her alleged “hits” on political liabilities. She has been demonstrated to be a liar and a cheat, but it’s worse. She’s gotten away with things that others could not and that makes her scorned even by people who want to vote for her.

Undecided voters now have something to weigh against Trump’s damaging recordings from last week. Do they want to harm Trump for his misogyny or do they want to empower him to take out Clinton? Whether undecided voters realize it or not, the notion of seeing someone in power held accountable is extremely appealing to them from a psychological perspective. They don’t like it when the powerful get special treatment. They don’t like it when the powerful get away with things that average Americans could not.

By itself, his call for a special prosecutor was a strong statement, but it was his mic drop moment a couple of minutes later that really punctuated it in the minds of undecided voters:

 

It won’t matter who pundits say “won” this debate. In reality, it was a debacle from start to finish thanks to poor moderators and mostly terrible questions. Nevertheless, the winner when it comes to putting sway on undecided voters was, through the subtle effects of his promise, Donald Trump.


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So I watched the debate, and it was terrible. Seriously. I was hoping to watch Trump completely obliterate Hillary, and yet all I saw was a lot of interrupting. As my three year old would say, it was a lot of “Blah Blah Blah.”

But maybe that was the point?

Oddly enough, my wife, who is very anti-Trump and leaning towards simply writing in a candidate, talked to me last night about voting for Trump. She said she fears Hillary and what she would do to the Supreme Court much more than anything Trump has done. She’s also not a fan of Hillary’s foreign policy, which unlike Trump we’ve had a chance to see first hand.

She’s not the only one. More than a few people have come out to me and said they will likely vote Trump because they are legitimately scared of Hillary. They think Trump will moderate his views over time, but that Hillary will simply do whatever she wants.

So it made me wonder: did Trump throw the debate to make people scared? He’s not stupid, and he certainly did well in previous debates. He has plenty of Hillary zingers.

I personally think he did, and did it to scare his base. He’s trying to ruffle the anti-Trumpers, who despite hating him will look at a future with Hillary and be 10 times as scared. I’m betting his debate performance improves such that the last debate is a doozy for Clinton…if she doesn’t fall over from a coughing fit before then.


This post solely represents the view of the author and does not represent the official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other branch of the US government. All I ask is you get out and vote for someone, because not voting is really un-American.


If you liked this, you might like reading my blog, and maybe even buy my Kids Book on the Navy.

trump-for-america-bw-and-color

By John Ruberry

“I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star!”
Peter O’Toole’s Alan Swann character in My Favorite Year.

A couple of writers I usually agree with, the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass and Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, the latter unsuccessfully  ran for Congress six years ago in the Illinois district where I live, are predicting a Hillary Clinton win in Monday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Kass and Pollak acknowledge Clinton’s extensive debate skills, she was a victorious US Senate candidate in 2000 and 2006 and Clinton came very close to winning the Democratic nomination in 2008. The latter contest had numerous debates, including some one-on-one contests between Hillary and Barack Obama. Donald Trump has never participated in a one-on-one debate.

But Americans have heard this song before. While Kass acknowledges the 1960 John F. Kennedy–Richard M. Nixon debates set the standard for future matchups being about style over substance; Nixon was the more experienced debater, but Kennedy, still the most telegenic president in American history, emerged the victor. Nixon won the substance battle–the comparatively few radio listeners to the debate agreed–but the Age of Television began over a decade earlier.

joel-pollak-marathon-pundit
Blogger Ruberry with Joel Pollak in 2012

And what is largely overlooked from the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, which coincidentally was held 56 years to the day ahead of Monday’s faceoff, is that Nixon had some minor health issues on debate day–a knee injury suffered on the campaign trail and a subsequent infection earlier that month led to the Republican being hospitalized. Then Nixon contracted the flu. His rotten luck continued when the GOPer banged that same knee on a car door as he was entering the debate studio. Even in black-and-white, Kennedy looked tan and fit during that first debate, although his bronze skin tone, rare among those of Irish descent, was probably because he was suffering from Addison’s disease. Nixon looked pale. He was sweating, and it appeared that he needed a shave.

The better debater–and ironically the healthier man, lost the initial and of course most important of the 1960 debates. Nixon had to wait eight more years to win the presidency.

Trump, at age 70, is the Energizer bunny of the 2016 presidential campaign. The brash teetotaler clearly has the stamina to last 90 minutes standing on the debate stage.  But three times this month Clinton, age 68, had public bouts of unhealthiness that were captured on video–a four-minute long coughing fit, a collapse as her legs uncontrollably wobbled, and a Marty Feldman-wild eyes moment.

Can Clinton endure 90 minutes on her feet with no commercial breaks? Or bathroom or coughing breaks? While waiting for an opposing quarterback to throw an interception is generally not the best tactic of a successful NFL game plan, it certainly works well for the opponents of the Chicago Bears since Jay Cutler became their QB.

As for the Age of Television, and its cousin internet video, Trump is the master here. The billionaire real estate businessman hosted his popular Apprentice franchise for 11 years on NBC. Clinton, after nearly 40 years in public life, even on her increasingly few good days, still seems uncomfortable in front of TV cameras. Just as Nixon was, ironically. I mean this as a compliment: Trump is not a politician, he’s a TV star.  A skilled negotiator, Trump knows that if you get inside an opponents head, you’ve hobbled that person. Can Clinton debate the Trump on stage and the one in her head simultaneously?

Yes, Hillary can talk about details of police better than Trump. Will that matter?

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Sure Trump can blow it for himself by meandering into an insult rant during the debate, or worse, he could offer a cruel quip if (or when?) Clinton shows another sign of ill health, which would probably result in voters sympathizing with the Democratic nominee.

Moving beyond Kennedy-Nixon, in 1980, Ronald Reagan–an actor by the way–appeared far more presidential than the policy wonk incumbent, Jimmy Carter. In 2000,  Al Gore’s imperiousness mixed with too much wonkishness gave voters the impression that he had been running for president since 1969.

Come to think of it, Hillary Clinton has been positioning herself for a presidential run since then too. You could not say that about George W. Bush in 2000. And of course you can’t say that about Donald Trump either.

Not that Trump is dumb, he isn’t. But people don’t like smartass know-it-alls.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Let me introduce you to Ann Wofford she is the GOP candidate running in the Massachusetts 3rd District for congress

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching her debate incumbent Niki Tsongas in Devens Ma. and if you following my livetweet of the debate you would realize she is something special.

Tsongas is a practiced debater and a well spoken woman but Wofford not only answered questions directly but her plain-spoken opponent was not only more than a match for her but bluntly spoke truths that would make any Conservatives’ heart go pitter patter on comprehensive healthcare

On Obama

and Big government

Those three quotes: The Federal government is not here to save us, Nobody believes this president anymore and “Congress has shown it can’t to comprehensive anything” would all be best sellers at any GOP event nationwide and are sentiments that a majority of the country might support.

And when Niki Tsongas pushed a minimum wage increase as a panacea for women in distress & the middle class in distress Wofford bluntly answered “We live in two different worlds.” that pretty much sums up conservatives vs liberals on real life. I summed up the debate here

And livetweeted throughout the event. I didn’t shoot much video other than the closing statements

but the Lowell Sun site has video available. but that not what struck me about this debate.

as I mentioned when summing up this is the first time I’ve gone to a Tsongas debate and didn’t see a line of Niki Tsongas yard signs lining the road that you take to the debate, in fact if I didn’t know which road to take or have printed directions a person driving through the main road through Devens who have absolutely no idea this event was going on.

I submit and suggest this was deliberate, Tsongas is a good candidate but Wofford is an impressive woman and the last thing you want if you are an incumbent of the Gilligan party in one of the most depressed districts in a state is to highlight an opponent that simply radiates competence.

But that point raises another. It’s one week before election day. Why am I only now discovering this about Ann Wofford?

The district is considered relatively competitive, and Tsongas has several times barely cleared 50 percent against relatively unknown and outspent GOP opponents. There have even been competitive primaries for the chance to face her.

But this time, nobody stepped up—which is why, Wofford tells me, she decided to do it herself. “I just feel that is outrageous,” for the incumbent to go unchallenged, she says. “I do not feel that I am represented by my current congressperson, and I refuse to be told you have no choice.”

In a year when competence is the #1 issue, in an era where the left is constantly pushing the “anti-woman gop” lie don’t you think that a highly competent, poised woman who can go toe to toe with a long-term incumbent might be someone you want to push?  Particularly when you’ve only got three contested congressional seats in the state:

Wofford, a chemical engineer with 17 years in the private sector, was raised in Western Massachusetts and now lives in Haverhill with her husband and two daughters. She emphasizes fiscal responsibility, concerns about the Affordable Care Act (her husband works in New Hampshire, where just one provider participates in the health insurance exchange), and securing the borders against illegal immigrants. Her rhetoric, while not rabid by any means, is a bit too Tea Party-tinged for most of the state, but will resonate with a lot of people in that district.

So will her demands for more transparency in the federal government, and her charge of “dysfunction” in Washington politics. “It’s a separate world, where they help each other,” while the middle class stagnates, she says.

So you’ve got an intelligent, well educated and successful woman running in a competitive district and the party is doing squat to push her?  Excuse me?

If I was the in charge of pushing the GOP in the state neither I nor any of my surrogates would be making a media appearance without mentioning Ann Wofford. If I had a visiting out-of-state party member visiting I’d have Ann on stage to meet them. The moment any person from either the left or the press (but I repeat myself) breathed the words “War on Woman” I’d be throwing Ann Wofford in their faces.

At the very least, Wofford stands as a welcome female face for a Massachusetts Republican Party sorely lacking them. Good luck trying to remember the last Republican woman nominee, let alone winner, for Congress or U.S. Senate in the Bay State.

On the national level I understand the party not putting a lot of resources into Massachusetts because, well it’s Massachusetts one of only 4 states that Obama is not upside down but that doesn’t excuse people at the state level not getting the word out. Other than Mary Lotz, Frank Ardinger and Richard Shufford I haven’t even heard a person mention her name. let alone tweet it.

After all how are you going to get the national party to kick in to turn things around if you don’t even let them see when you have a diamond in the rough?

I admit that this is my first piece on Wofford this cycle & I should have gotten to her sooner but despite what some might think I’m not paid to promote the GOP (although hits to DaTipJar are happily accepted) and there are people in the party who are, hell I’m not even a republican.

Anyway her web site is here. She deserves your support and attention because this is a woman to watch even if you have to figure out to watch her on your own.

Update: Via the Lowell Sun & Fitchburg Sentinel the full debate video

I’d be tweeting this out all over if I was the GOP

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Looking at the media reaction to the debate particularly from our friends in MSNBC perfectly illustrates the difference between Strategy and Tactics that I discussed in one of my premium commentaries.

The left seems unanimous that Obama won this debate decisively, they point to the “women” questions. They point to Candy Crowley’s “tackle” of Mitt Romney. They point to polls at both CBS that had Obama winning by 8 and CNN that had Obama up by 7.

Unfortunately Barack Obama and the left are looking tactically and not strategically, they are subjecting Barack Obama to as George Bush called it: The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.

Two weeks ago Barack Obama turned in comparatively one of the worst debate performances since Admiral Stockdale. The media and the left has been in panic ever since. They weren’t worried about Obama losing the debate, they were worried about Obama drooling all over himself, as I tweeted last night:

If you grade Barack Obama on the Denver Scale he got an A+, in reality this debate was about even, I gave Romney a 2 pt win but I have no problem with someone who gives Obama that same margin, but the goal here isn’t to be given the a nod on point, the goal is to win the election.  In the Frank Luntz focus group out in Nevada, a swing state it was DEVASTATING.

Note the only defenders of Obama were all “Romney is after our ladyparts”.

On MSNBC while the entire table was ABSOLUTELY positive Obama won, the verdict of actual voters of the focus group was quite different.

and when Chris Matthews threw a loaded question attempting to push the women in the panel away from Romney, he failed.

I don’t have the CNN panel video but they also split on where they were voting.

That’s the bottom line, it doesn’t matter what people think about winning the debate it’s who they will vote for as John King on CNN said:

“Yankee fans agree the Tigers won last night but they’re not voting for Detroit”

Romney is ahead if Obama doesn’t move those voters he is toast.  I’ll give Chris Barron the last word:

This race is over, start practicing saying: President Romney

Update: I suspect if the president did as well as MSNBC thinks there would not be a legion of idiots publicly vowing to kill Mitt Romney

Funny how the MSM doesn’t find this a story, isn’t it?

Update 2: the Evil Blogger Lady gets it.

Today at Concord Carlisle HS Jon Golnik and Nikki Tsongas had the first of four debates on a cold rainy day while the NE Patriots were destroying the Buffalo Bills:

I arrived in the rain

People signed in up front with an area for press I was one of only three people were listed.

There was not a big crowd to start

With the combo of a football game and a rainy sunday a large crowd was unlikely. I stated interviewing people

The debate was only scheduled for an hour, after opening statements from Niki Tsongas

and Jon Golnik

The debate started with an odd format, the moderator posed a general subject with several questions and the candidates picked and choose and then answered

I found it weird way of doing this, it made for less direct contrast

Basically allowing each candidate to go where they wanted

regardless of what the other said

When the final question of that segment was completed

Questions from the audience were asked

They were selected by the moderators

I thought this was also a bad choice

It left the decision of what was acceptable to the people running the debate

I found this was to the advantage of the incumbent both in the choice of questions and the format

When the questions were done closing statements were given, both my Rep Tsongas

And Mr. Golnik

and I spoke to both of them after the debate, only briefly to Rep Tsongas

and slightly longer for Mr. Golnik

While not agreeing with the political sentiment of Mary Ann

I do think Rep Tsongas came out ahead, the format helped her a bit, the one question where Mr. Golnik was delayed due to notes looked poor, he landed a few shots but not effectively enough as a person who is behind in a district that favors the left. Of course there are three more debates and this one was lightly covered so there is plenty of time to change the path. Meanwhile both sides held signs outside

and awaited the next clash, you can see the full gallery below the jump
Continue reading “Jon Golnik & Niki Tsongas Debate #1 Concord Carlisle HS”

You might remember the story of Dan Savage savaging the bible at a High School speech, students walks out and Savage mocked the. Brian Brown at the time issued a challenge:

Let me lay down a public challenge to Dan Savage right here and now: You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I’m here, you name the time and the place and let’s see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back. It’s easy to make high-school girls cry by picking on them. Let’s pick on someone our own size!

The date was Aug 15th the place was Dan Savage’s house and the time was after dinner with a NYT reporter (who by his own description was constantly drinking) as moderator. I guess when Brian Brown says any place any time he MEANS it.

How did it go? Well here is what the reporter Mark Oppenheimer, got from the two sides:

Several days later, I asked Mr. Savage, Mr. Miller and Mr. Brown how they thought the debate had gone. (DJ, Mr. Savage and Mr. Miller’s 14-year-old son, ate with us but left before the debate, so I didn’t bother him with questions.)

Mr. Miller pronounced the entire night a waste of time. “Brian’s heartless readings of the Bible, then his turns to ‘natural law’ when the Bible fails, don’t hide his bigotry and cruelty,” Mr. Miller wrote in an e-mail. “In the end, that’s what he is. Cruel.”

I spoke with Mr. Brown by phone, and he seemed to agree that the setting had made little difference. “There’s this myth that folks like me, we don’t know any gay people, and if we just met them, we would change our views,” he said. “But the notion that if you have us into your house, that all that faith and reason that we have on our side, we will chuck it out and change our views — that’s not the real world.”

As for Mr. Savage, he felt that being on his home turf had actually worked against him. “Playing host put me in this position of treating Brian Brown like a guest,” he said. “It was better in theory than in practice — it put me at a disadvantage during the debate, as the undertow of playing host resulted in my being more solicitous and considerate than I should’ve been. If I had it to do over again, I think I’d go with a hall.”

Mr. Millers answer seems to show an ignorance of historical Catholic thought, Considering Mr. Savage’s choice of location his complaint is a tad empty but I suggest you listen to the debate in full and make up your own mind.

I suspect it will be quite a revelation to many young people who are assured by the MSM that there is no possible rational argument against Gay Marriage.

As for me I’d be happy to see these debates on every college campus around the nation. For centuries scripture has been attacked and for centuries the finest minds in Christendom have defended it successfully.

Debate and reason are the friends of truth and thus the friends of scripture. Bring it on!

Update: I just watched the debate which after the moderator had a few became 2 on 1. I am shocked that so many on the pro-gay marriage side linked it as Mr. Savage was pretty much owned by Brown.

Guess who’s too busy for the next presidential debate:

GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney will skip a March 1 debate in Atlanta sponsored by CNN and the Georgia Republican Party, CBS News/National Journal has learned.

“With eight other states voting on March 6th, we will be campaigning in other parts of the country and unable to schedule the CNN Georgia debate,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “We have participated in 20 debates, including 8 from CNN.”

On a tactical level it makes sense, use Newt and Paul attack Santorum and not be associated with “negative” campaigning.

On a strategic level it is a cataclysmic blunder. It creates the image of Romney as afraid and/or desperate.

Let me give Mitt Romney the advice I once gave to Herman Cain: HIRE JIMMIE BISE. At least you will have one adviser who knows how this stuff looks to real people.

Meanwhile while Romney ducks Santorum engages:

Rick’s not afraid to go 12 min with Hotair. If I’m the Romney Camp, i’d be very afraid

Update:
Apparently Santorum is now skipping the debate as well, the question is, did he decline before or after Romney? If before the Romney critique can be justly applied, if after then it’s a smart counter to keep from attack but it gives Newt an opening and that might also not be a good move.

update 2: It’s the same story updated to reflect Santorum too, that suggest that the Santorum decision came after the Romney one

“They are creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door. Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.
Screwtape Letter 6

I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand!
Lucy Van Pelt

If you’ve been following the coverage of last night’s debate you;ve seen the left beating their breasts on the cruelty of the tea party republicans based on a Wolf Blitzer’s hypothetical question concerning a sick person who didn’t buy health insurance.



Talking Points memo
and Morning Joe have both run with the clip contrasting the callous tea party people with their own love of humanity. Joe Scarborough and Mika made it a point to be shocked and disgusted the crowd’s reaction while scoffing at Congressman Paul’s assertion that community not government would take care of this imaginary person.

Strangely enough in all their self righteous bleating, they managed to ignore a more direct question concerning life and death posed by an Afghan Immigrant named Sahar Hekmati:

“As the next president of the United States, what will you do to secure safety and protection for the women and children of Afghanistan from the radicals?”

The murder and oppression of Afghan women is well documented.

Not a hypothetical person

This magazine cover made the Morning Joe crew very uncomfortable at the time, but the memories of that day somehow didn’t bubble up today, they were too concerned with hypothetical sick people than a reality in opposition to their Afghanistan position

This is not unusual for the left, we hear people with armed bodyguards decrying guns, we have people bemoaning their low tax rates as their company dodges taxes, we are scolded on global warming by people with giant carbon footprints.

The reaction today of our media betters and the left horribly shocked at the fate of a non existent person while holding a more nuanced position on the fate of Afghan women like Aisha speaks volumes.

After all to the left, beliefs speak louder than actions.