The full folly of Donald Trump’s decision to skip the GOP debate is being proven tonight.

Tonight has been the worst possible result for him, the GOP debate has been full of substance, strong answers and serious discussion, with plenty of quotable moments that have nothing to do with Donald Trump.

That’s bad enough, but what’s worse for Donald Trump are two things:

If you are running as a strong man you can’t be afraid of a woman like Megyn Kelly (particularly if you will likely be facing Hillary Clinton in a general election)

If you are painting yourself as the indispensable man the last thing you want to prove is that this is wrong.

There will be a lot of short term spin on this.  Perhaps his attempt to play prevent might even help him win Iowa but in the long term this is going to hurt Donald Trump badly.

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

At Politico, Shane Goldmatcher writes that there is a new target in tomorrow night’s debate:

Hollow or not, Donald Trump’s threat to boycott the final GOP forum before Iowa votes has complicated Ted Cruz’s game plan, forcing the Texan to prepare for two different debates — one in which he tangles directly with the front-runner and another that sets up the senator as the largest target on stage.

Given recent speeches by leading establishment GOP leaders (and an outlier poll that suggest Jeb’s all out assault on Marco Rubio might be pulling dividends in NH).

This sets up a chance for an all out assaults on Ted Cruz by the GOP to the benefit of Donald Trump which given their hatred of Cruz makes a lot of sense.

Since the party has designed its early primary structure/rues to favor an early leader in the belief that said leader would be a Jeb Bush or if you’re a really radical member of the GOP establishment John Kasich they recognize that if Donald Trump early lead is the polls is correct he’s going to be hard to stop, so the GOP has pragmatically decided they’d might as well get in line now.

Furthermore win or lose Trump has the dynamic that Mike Bloomberg had in NY. A lot of left leaning activists etc were VERY careful going up against him as mayor because they knew eventually he would be out of office and they would be coming hat in hand for money. A lot of people in the party know they will be wanting some of that Trump money later and don’t want to do anything that will cut them off from that source. (In fact we see this dynamic in the “please show up” BS coming from Fox).

And of course as I said the day after Mr. Trump announced, if you’re a GOP office holder and potential candidate do you really want to swing at a counterpuncher with a billion dollars and a long memory?

One might think that Trump’s debate move is strategic (it is). One might think it’s a long term mistake (it also is) but one can’t deny that the one thing he has done is read the GOP establishment like a book and used both the “rules” and their nature to his advantage, forcing the GOP to go along.

However the party is forgetting the price on the other side of this choice but that’s a later post.

Just saw his on twitter:

Now there are logical strategic reasons for Donald Trump to skip the last debate.

He is far ahead of the polls and avoiding the last debate makes it unlikely that he will make a mistake that could imperil that lead.

By skipping the Debate he is able to hold potential ratings hostage and gives cnn & MSNBC a chance to run the Donald Trump event as counterprogramming as a shove to Fox.

By giving Ted Cruz the center stage he makes him the visible target for other members of the GOP to attack rather than him.

Al of these things add up the Prevent Defense

However in the end this is really STUPID.

1. If the debate draws strong ratings, Trump undercuts himself.

2. By making Ted Cruz the alpha male on the stage he allows him to show as a leader

3. The unwillingness to face Megyn Kelly undercuts the whole “Strong leader” image

But the most devastating take away is this:

Donald Trump has been playing the Alpha Male but the reality is that his events are low risk and well controlled. He doesn’t take a lot of questions from people, he holds his press conferences BEFORE events so that press that wants to follow up on what he says had to wait the next day.

In the last debate Donald Trump and Ted Cruz went head to head, Trump landed a good rhetorical blow on NY values, but Cruz landed plenty as well.

Most importantly unlike every single other person who has taken a Donald Trump punch, Ted Cruz rather than moderating came back countering strong, with ad after ad hitting Trump’s using his own words.

Not ten days ago I was calling Donald Trump vs Ted Cruz Ali Frazer but after this move the best description will have to be Leonard Duran 2 which ended like this:

If I’m Ted Cruz I’ve got a web ad with the clips of people talking about the great Trump/Cruz fight then ending with the Leonard / Duran clip and #NoMás

Closing Thought: Donald Trump has run a nearly flawless campaign to this point.  He remains my 3rd Choice (although Rubio is knocking).  That being said I can’t think of a bigger mistake he can make at a more critical time, but in the end Trump is no fool. If he has made this decision it suggests he’s a lot more worried about Iowa than he’s let on.

Update: Tweeted by a trump supporter defending his decision to not show

The Irony here is amazing.

Meanwhile Ted Cruz has challenged him to a one on one debate with no Megyn Kelly around.

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Blogger with National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg at CPAC in 2011
Blogger with National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg at CPAC in 2011

By John Ruberry

Even if you are on the east coast and buried under two feet of snow, you probably heard that the conservative magazine founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, National Review, just published a special edition titled Against Trump. The editors of the magazine–I am a longtime subscriber by the way–call the billionaire a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist.”

It reviews inconsistencies with Donald J. Trump’s immigration policy–or is it policies?–as well as on international affairs and economics, and it rightly throws a penalty flag at the businessman’s promise that he will deport 11 million illegal aliens. That’s logistically impossible. Yet NR rightly credits Trump’s decision to bring the illegal immigration issue to the forefront of the political discussion, something that the Republican, and yes, the conservative establishment has only paid lip service to, and even then only close to Election Day.

Trump is scolded by the National Review editors for often saying whatever pops into his head. But they fail to realize that part of Trump’s appeal is that what comes out of his mouth isn’t processed and varnished by conservative “experts” such as the writers of the National Review. Sure, NR writers as far as I know don’t work on campaigns much, if at all, but the people they interact with on a regular basis, whether in Washington or New York, often do. Trump has proven that he can succeed without those experts–some of those people I know–and these so-called sages don’t have to be consulted and that means they won’t be paid. I call this group Club Conservative. Typically its members are graduates of elite private colleges, they’ve interned for Republican members of Congress, and they have relatives who are part of the Washington power nexus. The Donald’s base of support is nothing like that.

In the op-ed, the Manhattan-based editors even make a quip about Trump sharing “funky outer-borough accents” with socialist Bernie Sanders.

Trump is a threat to the very existence to Club Conservative, whose income always spikes in even-numbered years (of course that means election years).

As for Trump’s shoot-from-the-lip campaign style, he should be thanked by every American conservative, for well, being himself. Trump proved that a Republican can say something the media elites judge as outrageous–such as remarking about John McCain, “I like people that weren’t captured”–and then ignoring and even mocking calls for an apology.

Trump proved that the mainstream media is a paper tiger. And Trump continues being Trump–with that same media along for the ride essentially financing his campaign.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Is Trump a conservative? We’ll see. With the Democrats as the secular-progressive party, the GOP has become the de facto party of faith. And believers are always seeking converts. Why the fight?

For certain Trump is an American patriot who deeply loves his country; he’s troubled by the wrong turn it has taken under President Obama. And Trump deserves at least a little benefit-of-the-doubt from National Review and Club Conservative because of his patriotism.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

Originally posted at my old blog on April 12, 2008 in the months before another presidential election. Some editing and added text.

Background.

Note: I may have already re-posted this rant here at Da Tech Guy Blog. But as I watch how “conservative” fans—note the noun–of Donald Trump react to criticism of him and his past, I felt the need to post it again. Many fans like the fact that Mr. Trump speaks without fear or apology and, I agree that this is an admirable trait. But if we conservatives are supposed to vote for a person because of his conservative-sounding words and are to discount the past words and deeds which contradict that person’s present words, then fans of Barack Obama—who believed his words and ignored his past–are owed an apology.

On principle.

All too often these days, when the average person talks about principles, what they’re really talking about are their personal commodities—exchangeable for fiat and other currencies and available only to the select. Oh sure, this merchandise is labeled as “principle” but the definition of the word has become mutable–Truth become the Lie.

pawn
Expendible

Thus does the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” become “do unto others as your preconceived notions would have you believe that others will do unto you.” Or does the Rule come with a codicil: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you—but only if you believe that others follow this rule.”  (The most common, of course, is: “do unto others before they do/as they have already done to you,” but at least those who abide by this perversion of the Rule have the courtesy to drop all pretense.)

Of course the Golden Rule has constraints—like all rules which exist in the realm of human imperfection. It cannot and, sometimes, should not be followed 100% of the time. There are exceptions to every single rule under the sun. But if the Rule is to be thrown out of the window every single time it gets a little difficult to follow it, then why bother to even pretend to follow it? (And, please people, on those occasions when you’re not living up to your stated principles, you could at least acknowledge that you’re falling short instead of childishly pointing at the other guy and say “well he’s not following the Rule either.”)

If your “principles” are always for sale, then call them something else, because, in spite of the Theory of Relative Definitions for Words Which Have Fixed Meanings in the Real World, they are not principles.

Call them The Family Jewels and sell them on eBay. You might fetch a high price for them.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

This morning while figuring out what I want to say today I read two posts that clicked in my mind exactly how to explain the GOP establishment.

One of them was at Instapundit and linked to a piece by Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight on Donald Trump & Polls titled One less reason to be skeptical of Trump.

He listed reasons to be skeptical of Trump success and added one that was not data driven saying he expected the GOP Establishment to do all it could to stop him:

But so far, the party isn’t doing much to stop Trump. Instead, it’s making such an effort against Cruz. Consider:

  • The governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, said he wanted Cruz defeated.
  • Bob Dole warned of “cataclysmic” losses if Cruz was the nominee, and said Trump would fare better.
  • Mitch McConnell and other Republicans senators have been decidedly unhelpful to Cruz when discussing his constitutional eligibility to be president.
  • An anti-Cruz PAC has formed, with plans to run advertisements in Iowa. (By contrast, no PAC advertising has run against Trump so far in January.)

You can find lots of other examples like these. It’s the type of coordinated, multifront action that seems right out of the “The Party Decides.” If, like me, you expected something like this to happen to Trump instead of Cruz, you have to revisit your assumptions. Thus, I’m now much less skeptical of Trump’s chances of becoming the nominee.

Now let’s look at Pastor George Kelly’s of my magnificent seven’s piece Is he or She a Conservative.  It’s the piece that precedes the one you’re reading now on this blog and notes the records of four candidates Rubio, Cruz, Trump and Carson. It’s Rubio & Cruz that I am thinking of here.

  • Senator Marco Rubio possesses a lifetime (ACU) score of 98%. One would venture to say that Mr. Rubio’s impeccable conservative credentials should be beyond dispute.

Alas, this is not the case.

Senator Rubio committed for many Immigration Hawks the unpardonable sin by supporting the GANG of 8’s Immigration Reform measures.  For this he has obtained the wrath of Boarder Security Conservatives.

Nevertheless, Mr. Rubio has been in the Senate for four (4) years and his voting record and public service testify that he is a True Conservative.

State Representative Marco Rubio was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives when he mounted a race for the US Senate and ran against former Republican Governor Charlie Crist.

Mr. Rubio ran as a Tea Party Conservative; this writer is shocked and somewhat baffled over how anyone could call Marco Rubio “an establishment Republican.”

I’ve actually wondered that myself, I think what’s cost Rubio has been his attempts to spin what he did (or rather the spin of some of his supporters) instead of just saying.  Boy I tanked that didn’t I?  Pastor Kelly continues with Ted Cruz (who I’ve endorsed)

  • A look at Senator Ted Cruz of Texas’s (ACU) scores is equally impressive: Senator Cruz has a lifetime rating of 100%!  This is an astounding voting percentage (two years of Senatorial service).

Mr. Cruz is an intellectual wonder who graduated with distinction from both Princeton and Harvard Law School.

A similarity of both Senators reminds Conservatives of how far they have come since President Obama became President:  Both of these Senators are products of “The Tea Party Movement”; and both men ran against the Republican establishment.

A brief look at the two young Senators (Rubio & Cruz) is a testimony to the Intellectual and Political transformation that has affected our nation since William F. Buckley, Jr. founded “National Review” in 1955.

As the old song states, “You’ve come a Long Way Baby!”

Both Misters Rubio and Cruz are certifiably “CONSERVATIVE!

Now lets consider one other thing.  As Mr. Silver the party establishment is going all out to destroy Ted Cruz in Iowa.  At the same time the big money superpac for THE establishment candidate Jeb Bush who is floundering in both Iowa and NH and currently running 4th in his home state of Florida has been on an advertising blitz in NH going all out attacking not Donald Trump the leader, not Ted Cruz, not John Kasich who is supported by the Sununu family one traditional Bush family allies but Marco Rubio.

This tells me one of two things.

The Establishment GOP is still looking to nominate Bush and the plan is to take out both Cruz and Rubio early so that Jeb can be the only candidate standing as an alternative to Trump, the they can go all in against him.  Cruz gets the big guns attention because of his huge hard money advantage and incredible existing grass roots ground game in half the primary states already  & Rubio is left to Jeb’s moneybags on the theory that without a strong Iowa/NH showing he’ll can’t sustain his campaign long enough to make it to florida or be a threat afterwards leaving it Jeb vs Trump once again with the full might of the GOP ready to fight on Jeb’s side.

Under no circumstances can a conservative with the voting record of either Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz be allowed to be president.  Forget that both would be the first Hispanic to lead a major party ticket, forget Rubio’s gang of eight stuff.  We can’t take the chance that a tea party candidate be the head of the party particularly ones so solidly opposed to abortion.

Given the inability of anyone to land a punch on Trump (although Cruz’s latest ad is devastating) It’s possible that #1 is only Jeb plan.  After all the GOP establishment might be pragmatically thinking that they can’t stop Trump and the time to join is now while they can get something for it rather than later when it means nothing and his cooperation with their priorities will carry a higher price.

But given what I’ve seen of the GOP establishment in Washington , Massachusetts and particularly NH I think #2 is a pretty safe bet.

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That’s gotta be worth skipping one starbucks coffee a month.

National Review’s editorial board has not only come out Against Trump; they are dedicating an entire issue of their magazine to the subject.

When I first saw the article, I thought of listing their reasons for this post, but as it turns out, T. Elliot Gaiserbeat me to it, so I’ll enumerate his list,

Here are the five ways the editors note he will not advance the conservative cause:

1. Immigration: Trump is for backdoor amnesty.
2. Foreign Policy: Trump is a flip-flopping victim of flattery.
3. Poll-obsession: Trump has his finger in the wind, swaying with the polls.
4. Limited Government: Trump has no commitment to shrinking the state.
5. Experience: He has none in government and wasn’t even that great a businessman.

My reason is that I see no commitment from Donald Trump to understand and uphold the Constitution, but I urge you to read NRO’s forum of conservatives on why they are against Trump.

Sure as rain (as the Engllish say), Trump tweeted his ire. Kevin Williamson struck right back,

More interesting was the Republican National Committee’s reaction:

Whether the RNC

probably felt it had to act because of the in-house editorial announcing NR’s opposition to Donald Trump rather than the collection of individual essays, and the NBC fight may have something to do with that, too. The CNBC debate showed an almost explicit contempt for the GOP candidates on the stage, especially Trump, which is why Reince Priebus cut them out of the remaining debates this cycle. He needed to show voters that he means to protect Republicans from media bias. Having done that, how could the RNC not follow through when one of the other debate partners explicitly and institutionally declares itself opposed to one of the party’s frontrunners?

or the Washington Cabal felt it necessary to protect the candidate who’s (heading the polls and monopolizing media attention) most likely to protect their established status – and possibly be flattered into submission – remains for you to decide.

Either way, it was a brilliant move by NRO.

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

As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.

Sen Trent Lott (R-MS) 2010 on Tea Party members

Yesterday I noted that one of the biggest benefactors of Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump was Tina Fey.

And commented that Palin’s endorsement helped reassure Tea Party members concerning the Donald.

Palin’s pro-life credentials are impeccable, her reputation as a conservative is strong on all of the issues that matter to a lot of conservatives Palin has walked the walk.

The fact that she is willing to put that behind Trump is going to reassure a lot of people who were not quite sold.  It gives Donald Trump the thing he needed the most.

Because the Tea Party voter has been taken for a ride more than once so there is nothing that helps Donald Trump (and hurts Ted Cruz) more than an endorsement that allays those fears.

Well to paraphrase a bit of scripture, the endorsement giveth, and the endorsement taketh away:

Bob Dole, the former Kansas senator and 1996 Republican presidential nominee, has never been fond of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. But in an interview Wednesday, Mr. Dole said that the party would suffer “cataclysmic” and “wholesale losses” if Mr. Cruz were the nominee, and that Donald J. Trump would fare better.

Because nothing elicits trust from the Tea Party than the ultimate symbol of the establishment GOP, a man who is actually a Jeb Bush chair attacking Ted Cruz and pushing Donald Trump

“I question his allegiance to the party,” Mr. Dole said of Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” Instead, Mr. Cruz uses the word “conservative,” Mr. Dole said, before offering up a different word for Mr. Cruz: “extremist.”

Mind you this is the same guy who didn’t have an issue with the allegiance to the party of other senators as Stacy McCain once put it:

It’s not just that I remember all the recent backstabbing and sellouts by Mitch McConnell and his GOP Senate cronies, but I also remember the history of Republican Senate majorities under such paragons of conservative leadership as Bob Dole and Trent Lott. I remember how GOP leaders begged and groveled in their vain attempts to retain the “party loyalty” of such stalwarts of Republican principle as Jim Jeffords and Arlen Specter. And then I think one more time about that Mississippi primary, you see, and the way all these things keep adding up in my mind . . .

I don’t remember Dole questioning the loyalty of either Jeffords or Specter, do you.  Meanwhile Dole suggested an alternative to Ted Cruz.  Who was it?  Jeb Bush who he endorsed?  John Kasich whose backing by the NH GOP establishment seems to be finally paying off?  Marco Rubio or Chris Christie?

Nope

But Mr. Dole, 92, said he thought Mr. Trump could “probably work with Congress, because he’s, you know, he’s got the right personality and he’s kind of a deal-maker.”

The remarks by Mr. Dole reflect wider unease with Mr. Cruz among members of the Republican establishment, but few leading members of the party have been as candid and cutting.

Oddly Enough Senator Dole is making the same case that I did concerning Donald Trump vs Cruz back in October when nobody was making that argument:

If Ted Cruz is in the White House, the excuses for not defunding Obamacare, for not defunding Planned Parenthood and for defunding the Import Export bank suddenly disappear. The GOP establishment which doesn’t mind show votes against such items will find themselves facing the disagreeable prospect of these things actually happening….

…If Ted Cruz is willing to take on practically his entire caucus as the junior senator against a powerful Senate leader how much more willing will he be willing to do so with the bully pulpit & the power that comes with it in his hands?…

…Now contrast that worry with what the Establishment will had to deal with in a Trump administration. Picture a group of people appointed by a pragmatic deal maker and picture the establishment and even the left having to deal with Trump and his appointees, many of whom will be self-made and have absolutely no loyalty to the conservative electorate that said establishment loathes so much.

Then finally consider Trump himself, he prides himself as being person who is a great negotiator and dealmaker. The problem with a dealmaker is the key question: “What do you give up to make the deal?”

If you are an Establishment republican or even a democrat that question will console you.

Meanwhile Senator Dole’s interview also provides a line so comical that I suggest you put down any drink you might be holding before you read it:

“Cruz is in the Senate, so maybe he’s part of the establishment. You know, I’ve never really known what the establishment was.”

As the senator is unsure what the “GOP Establishment” means Allow me to remind the Senator.

The establishment were the people who happily took the committee chairs when conservatives showed up to give the GOP majorities in 1994, 2010 and 2014 but were damned if they were going to let the voters who gave them those chairs tell the what to do.  They were the guys who condemned the porkbustersPorkbusters movement (remember them) when they called on the GOP to control spending when they were in charge:

I’ll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina. We in Mississippi have not asked for more than we deserve.

but became born again deficit hawks once their chairs were lost:

The establishment GOP was determined that these “porkbusters” had to be stopped…and then in 2006 they lost the congress.

Suddenly John Boehner was speaking against spending

What’s the word for that?  UNEXPECTEDLY

Like the term “NY Values” the voters know what the term “Establishment GOP” means  and Ted Cruz isn’t it, as I put it years ago:

Power is congress is based on the ability to grant favors. The reasons millions of dollars are spent on lobbyists is because the votes on the house & senate floor, the spending on the White House can make or break a business and pay rewards many times what the cost of their investment is.

It’s one thing for the Establishment to get Tea Party votes in a special election but it’s another thing if they actually manage to change the culture of Washington, suddenly the revolving door from congress to wealth closes and that they can’t abide

and a Guy like Ted Cruz who isn’t even willing to pander in Iowa on Ethanol is a threat to their entire way of life:

What’s the point of a chairmanship if you don’t have the power of the purse?

And it’s not just their fortune, there are the hangers-on, the campaign groups, the consultants, the writers a whole group of people who feed off of them. Do you think they will jump off the gravy train willingly?

That why the Establishment walks a fine line, they will campaign for tea party votes when it costs them little.  They will even give lip service to their candidates, but the moment that comfortable life is threatened they will happily join with the left and media to destroy them.

After all even a ranking member of the minority has influence enough to gain power & wealth for friends.

As AllahPundit puts it Dole & others in the GOP establishment, you know those pols that Mr. Trump has bragged about buying in the past, figure, rightly or wrongly, that with Trump they can make a deal to keep their gravy train rolling.

In fairness to Dole, what he says about Trump being more willing to play ball with the Republican Congress is almost certainly true. That’s the real reason to fear Trump as president if you’re a conservative — not that he’s going to do something nutty but that, in order to fill his ideological void, he’s going to get rolled by Beltway Republicans. Trump will be a softer touch for centrist GOPers like Dole as president, especially given his centrist inclinations, and Dole not only knows it, he prefers him because of it.

Senator Dole’s interview signals several things:

It’s a signal to the Tea Party that the establishment thinks Ted Cruz would finally end their gravy train and must be stopped at all costs.

It’s a signal that if the establishment wants to make a deal with Trump later to keep the good times rolling they had better get on board with him now when it would still mean something.

But most of all the Dole interview signals this:  Senator Dole & the GOP establishment aren’t afraid that if Ted Cruz, a young dynamic candidate who would be the first Hispanic to head a major party ticket,  is nominated the GOP would lose to Hillary Clinton and the democrats…

… they’re afraid he would win.

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

Back in 2008, I was yet another crestfallen blogger at the RNC convention, which started as a wake (a hurricane watch was issued for post-Katrina New Orleans), was dismally disorganized at least when it came to the bloggers and the media (bloggers in a separate building, TV in one place, radio in the foyer, freelancers anywhere they could find a spot), and had the most lackluster presidential candidate the Republican machine could muster.

Sarah Palin walked in, and lit up the place.

Not that it lasted.

Over the years, I stopped paying attention to Sarah Palin, She made $12million bucks from her book deal, had a reality TV show that I never watched, and became a media person who carefully burnished an image of kingmaker with great political capital.

The kingmaker image was as staged as most reality TV: Judson Phillips looks at her record and finds that

Even in 2014, her record wasn’t much better.  Many of those races that were won, Palin’s endorsement came at a point where the race wasn’t in doubt. For example, she endorsed Dave Brat and contributed to his campaign, the day AFTER he beat Eric Cantor.

It had been several years since I listened to Palin give a speech until last night, and she was jarring.

First, what was with the jacket? Sequins, bugles, flapping around?

Then was her voice. Why the screeching?

And what’s the “dill”? You mean, the “deal”?

There’s the content of her speech:  Somebody threw in every cliche ever spoken by American politicians (and a few populists from elsewhere) and came up with some disjointed jumble she couldn’t keep straight.

Trump and Palin threw the media a yuuuge distraction from Hillary’s egregious security breaches, at exactly the right time. The media are going to lap it up for months.

Some conservatives are aghast: Kevin McCullough has eight questions for Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, and Sarah Palin,

So Ann, Sarah and Phyllis answer me these questions:

  1. Are you no longer pro-life?
  2. How can you support a candidate whose record on it is so spotty?
  3. Are you aware that the Donald was against a single payer health care system before he was for it?
  4. Do you honestly think Mr. Trump understands t Constitution?
  5. Do you just enjoy the rush it gives you for a man of that power to use you for his purposes?
  6. Do you honestly believe he will administrate the nation in the exact same fashion he has campaigned in?
  7. What about his formerly massive financial support to the Clintons?
  8. Is there anything related to his ability to flip-flop that bothers you-you ladies of unswerving devotion?

I’m not asking any of these questions as snark. Im genuine. Genuinely baffled at the lack of scruples you are showing in lending your voices to a man who has trouble explaining his way out of a paper bag.

I look for a simpler answer: branding.

Charles C. Cooke finds the endorsement inevitable:

That Palin and Trump are together at last is no accident of ideology or timing; rather, it is the inevitable and rational confluence of two ghastly cults of personality — a fat-cutting, cash-saving merger that will serve to increase overall market share. Under their own steam, both figures have convinced a significant portion of the American population that their personal advancement is the key to the country’s success.

You, Kevin and I may be asking questions, but Palin and Trump are all about the brand: Their individual brands. They each realize it.

It’s time we realize it, too.

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

Sarah Palin: What if I was to choose Donald Trump as my running mate?

Jerry Seinfeld: Sarah you’re teasing us, that’s not nice

SNL 40th anniversary show 2015

Yesterday while I was visiting the doctor, dropping off a note to my work to say I’d miss the rest of the week and becoming better acquainted with my pillow Sarah Palin took a lot of people by surprise and endorsed Donald Trump for President.

While I would have thought my guy Ted Cruz would have been a better fit for her, particularly since like Palin Ted Cruz continued to fight the fights that others shied away from,  I’m presuming that Trump’s reputation as a man of action who gets things done was the determining factor.

The significance of this endorsement can’t be overstated for several reasons.

Spending Political Capital

Sarah Palin is the perfect political capitalist, she has taken her political capital, invested it in the candidates of her choice and come out with even more. No amount of political snark or clever Conan skits will change that.

Sarah Palin Political Venture Capitalist  8/1/2012

One of the most important things about political capital is knowing when to spend it and when not to.  For example Sarah Palin was willing to spend political capital in the 2012 Texas Senate primary which got Ted Cruz to a runoff and eventually to the US Senate against a candidate backed the governor and a lot of the Texas establishment.  (Cruz would win by 13 points in a race that was described as “tight”) Contrariwise Curtis Bostic in the SC-1 special election waited in vain for a Palin endorsement vs Mark Sanford and would eventually lose that primary by 13 points.  As I said at the time:

The essence of a smart political operator is to know when to spend said capital and when not to, when the expenditure will lead to success and when it is in vain. When such a move can lead to victory or when a defeat will be costly for the entire cause.

That she didn’t endorse in a state where she has endorsed before speaks volumes about this primary and none of it is good.

That Palin was willing to go all in for Donald Trump tells me she thinks this political investment will pay off.

Timing

R. E. Lee:  And then AP Hill Came Up

Repeated quote in Civil War dispatches concerning battles when Hill arrived in the nick of time

This has not been a good week for Donald Trump.

Ted Cruz had run circles around him on the Birther Issue but had very effectively turned what was a winning debate moment for Trump, (NY Values) into a negative.  Cruz had managed to do what Perry, Bush, Paul and Graham could not, counter Trump effectively.  It was so bad that Trump found himself booed by activists which is not something he is used to.

Talk radio hosts had either advised him against his attacks on Cruz or directly hit him for these attacks.  It was a moment of crisis, one of the first moments of crisis for the campaign.

Then comes the Sarah Palin endorsement and the narrative changes

Now the topic becomes how Trump got this key endorsement over Cruz.  How THE favorite of the Tea Party, the person who has been personally responsible for the election of multiple members of congress, the woman who was practically the only person (other than Rush Limbaugh) willing to fight the fight against Obama when everyone else was running for the hills has decided that Donald Trump is the best choice for the White House.

Sarah Palin rode over the hill just in time, just like the US Cavalry in a motion picture.

Reassuring Conservatives:

Trust but verify

Ronald Reagan

Back on Sept 9th I asked this question on the blog of Donald Trump:

There are several strong conservatives you have records fighting for Conservative causes, both political, fiscal & social and wear the scars from doing so such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker and Rand Paul.  What is the incentive for a conservative supporter of one of these candidates to vote for you and how will you prove that once you’ve “made the deal” to be president your conservative argument will still remain and you won’t, for example, appoint Supreme Court Justices who support Roe v Wade?

It plays on a point that I made before concerning Trump vs Cruz:

Picture a group of people appointed by a pragmatic deal maker and picture the establishment and even the left having to deal with Trump and his appointees, many of whom will be self-made and have absolutely no loyalty to the conservative electorate that said establishment loathes so much.

Then finally consider Trump himself, he prides himself as being person who is a great negotiator and dealmaker. The problem with a dealmaker is the key question: “What do you give up to make the deal?”

If you are an Establishment republican or even a democrat that question will console you, but as a social conservative it does not.

These worries are not unfounded, and given Trump past public statements concerning issues from Life to single payer, statements which Ted Cruz has taken full advantage of, are reasonable concerns.  As a republican senator once said to a former democrat named Wilkie who was the party’s standard bearer in 1940:

“Well Wendell you know back home in Indiana it’s all right if the town whore joins the church but they don’t ask her to lead the choir on the first night.”

I’m sure there is more than one GOP voter who likes how Trump has frustrated the media and has spoken truths aloud that our “betters” have previously forbidden us who have held back from supporting him because of this.

Sarah Palin solves this problem.

Palin’s pro-life credentials are impeccable, her reputation as a conservative is strong on all of the issues that matter to a lot of conservatives Palin has walked the walk.

The fact that she is willing to put that behind Trump is going to reassure a lot of people who were not quite sold.  It gives Donald Trump the thing he needed the most.

These are the three big takeaways from the Palin endorsement.  Here is one thing NOT to take away from it.

Palin’s endorsement is NOT an attack on Ted Cruz

Look I am not saying anything at all negative about Ted Williams.  The further we go into the analysis of the batting statistics, the closer we come to being forced to accept the conclusion that Williams, not Babe Ruth, was the greatest hitter who ever lived.  I think he was the second greatest left fielder who ever lived.  That’s not criticism.

Bill James:  The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract 1985

When I endorsed Ted Cruz on Sept 30th I pointed out that this was not a critique of candidates like Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal who I liked very much:

Like Bill James picking Stan Musial over Ted Williams as the greatest left fielder of all time, my choice is not a critique of either Gov Jindal or Senator Santorum.  If for any reason Senator Cruz leaves the race before either of them I will be honored to give public support to either one of them (and will continue to say good things about them on this site and on twitter).  But the time has come to make a choice.

To say that The Godfather is a better movie than Casablanca is not to say that Casablanca is a bad movie.  To say you like the Red Sox more than the Patriots is not to say that you don’t like the Patriots, To say that Tom Brady is a better quarterback than Peyton Manning is not to suggest Manning is a bad QB, to say that you like a steak dinner over chicken that doesn’t mean you don’t like chicken.

Sarah Palin did not say anything bad about Ted Cruz, she didn’t say that she regretted supporting him in the past, nor has she critiqued what he has done in the least.  What she said that given the choice of the 11 remaining GOP candidates her pick is Donald Trump.

Any attempt to spin that as “Ted Cruz sucks” is not only disingenuous, but is dishonest.

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