By John Ruberry

Roseanne cast pre-revival via Wikipedia

Last week after two decades in rerun stasis the sitcom Roseanne returned to ABC with massive ratings, even higher than its final episode of its first run in 1997.

Formerly a liberal, the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, declared that she was a supporter of Donald Trump two years ago. While Trump isn’t explicitly mentioned in the debut reboot episode, her character, Roseanne Conner, ends a family prayer, one that began by asking her pussy-hat donned leftist sister (Laurie Metcalf) if she preferred to “take a knee,” Colin Kaerpenick-style, with a bang: “Most of all, Lord, thank you for making American great again!”

The Conners live somewhere in northern Illinois in the fictional town of Lanford. Yes, my state voted for Hillary Clinton, but stick with me for a bit. One of the appeals of the old and new Roseanne is that it focuses on the struggles of a blue collar family headed by two overweight parents, Roseanne and Dan Conner (John Goodman), whose bulkiness refreshingly is not a target of unvarying jabs. They are regular folks trying to get by. During the television interregnum the Conners came close to losing their home to foreclosure. In the 1980s these type of families were Reagan Democrats. But since the first run of Roseanne, the Democrats have pivoted to the left, and in the last few years, to the far left. For evidence, look at the rise of Bernie Sanders, the only out-of-the-closet socialist in the US Senate.

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party,” Ronald Reagan, who was born and reared in northern Illinois, notoriously remarked, “the party left me.”

The 21st century Democrats–the secular progressives–also left the Conners. This TV family represents the base of the new Republican Party.

Where the Conners live in Illinois was always a bit murky, originally it was Fulton County, a rural county south of Peoria. Yes, the old and new Roseanne, as the old vaudeville expression went, “plays in Peoria.” In 1988, when the show hit the airwaves, Michael Dukakis prevailed over George H.W. Bush in Fulton County, beginning a seven-election presidential winning streak for the Democrats there.

Ronald Reagan Trail north of Peoria

But in 2016 Donald Trump won Fulton by 15 percentage points while four years earlier Barack Obama prevailed by over twenty points. And for the GOP there plenty of room for growth in the Fulton counties of America. In southern Illinois lies Wayne County, where Trump bested Clinton by over 70 points.

Call that the Roseanne vote.

And even in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, there is hope for the Republican Party.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Trump lawn signBy John Ruberry

The mainstream media, which of course is no fan of the Republican Party and its nominee Donald Trump, in what must have been an act of collusion, almost immediately dismissed what I thought was an A- acceptance address as a “dark speech.”

Oh, why just an A- from me? I thought Trump’s speech as a bit long, and that he should have used the safety part of the speech at 11:00PM Eastern/10:00PM Central when non-politicized viewers, many of whom only vote in presidential year elections, would be tuning in searching for the local evening news.

Trump did something in last week’s speech that the MSM, and many Republicans, including this one, have been calling on the GOP to do for decades: make an appeal to urban voters.

Democrats run nearly all of America’s largest cities. Some, such as Detroit and Chicago, haven’t had Republican mayors in the lifetimes of most of the people reading this post. However, the turnaround of one city, New York, was achieved only because of the doggedness of one determined man, Republican Rudy Giuliani, who was the mayor of America’s largest city from 1994-2001. NYC was viewed as ungovernable prior to the arrival of the “Mayor of America” at Gracie Mansion.

Burned out Detroit
Southwest Detroit

Maybe only New Yorkers understand. Manhattanite Trump does.

From his acceptance speech:

This administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them at every level.

When I am president, I will work to ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally.

Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child America?

Brilliant stuff.

Rand Paul, who like his father is generally the Republican that leftist media know-it-alls hate the least, received wide-spread praise for making a campaign stop on Chicago’s South Side last year. But such plaudits were easy because Paul was not the Republican nominee and Trump is. It’s circle-the-wagons time for the dishonest media, because the general election is now only a few months away.

Burned-out three story frame
Chicago’s South Side

Despite Trump’s reach-out to urban voters, he will not win a majority of the black vote. He won’t receive even fifteen percent of it. Trump will not win Illinois or Maryland’s electoral votes. But Trump spoke like a leader, not a candidate, as he accepted the Republican nomination for president.

The GOP political newcomer may be able to peel off enough black votes to become the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan since 1988.

I believe, maybe it’s just a hope of mine, that a majority of Americans are looking for a leader, not a partisan hack to steer us through troubled times.

As for the cities, we’ve tried it the Democratic Party way for over fifty years. Detroit is an urban ruin. Chicago and Baltimore are headed that way.

Trump wants to heal the rot.

And Trump, yes, really wants to Make America Great Again. All of it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. He regularly ventures into inner-city Chicago for blogging material and has traveled to Detroit.

Tampico IL Reagan Mural
Reagan mural in Tampico, Illinois

By John Ruberry

Nancy Reagan died this morning at her home in Los Angeles. The former First Lady, who had been ailing in recent years, was 94.

Ronald Reagan in the last year of his presidency said this about his wife:

What do you say about someone who gives your life meaning? What do you say about someone who’s always there with support and understanding, someone who makes sacrifices so that your life will be easier and more successful? Well, what you say is that you love that person and treasure her.

Ronald’s movie career was on its downslide when he met aspiring actress Nancy Davis– who like “Dutch” was a native of northern Illinois–in his role as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild.

What if they had met earlier? “If Nancy Davis had met Ronald Reagan earlier in his movie career, he would have gotten an Oscar — she would have insisted on it,” says Myra Gutin, a First Lady historian.

While First Lady Nancy spearheaded the “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse, brought much-needed attention to the AIDS epidemic, and brought style and grace back to the White House.

President Reagan, despite his long career and a politician, was an intensely private man. But the Gipper opened up to Nancy.

After his narrow defeat in the 1976 battle for the Republican nomination with President Gerald Ford, Reagan wanted to quit politics. But it was Nancy who spurred him on. And it was Mrs. Reagan who insisted to her beloved “Ronnie” that he fire John Sears, the manager of his 1980 presidential campaign, and White House chief-of-staff Don Regan, both of whom were operating beyond the boundaries of their jobs.

Without a doubt were it not for Nancy there would not have been a President Ronald Reagan.

Rest in peace.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Rauner

By John Ruberry

Pity the Land of Lincoln–four of its last eight elected governors have been convicted of federal crimes–one of them, Rod Blagojevich, is still in prison. He’s inmate 40892-424. Blago’s successor and two-time running mate, fellow Chicago Democrat Pat Quinn, is running for a second full term.

The Republican nominee is Bruce Rauner, a multi-millionaire venture capitalist who survived a surprisingly tough primary battle last week over state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who is best known outside of Illinois for his appearance in a 2007 Barack Obama campaign commercial.

Running against “corrupt union bosses” has been a theme of Rauner’s campaign. Public-sector unions have destroyed Illinois, which once enjoyed a rare American economic trifecta–it was an industrial, financial, and agricultural powerhouse. The Prairie State now suffers from America’s second highest unemployment rate, nearly $6 billion in unpaid bills, and over $100 billion in public employee pension debt.

Quinn’s “temporary” 67 percent income tax hike was supposed to fix all three problems–but it failed, failed, failed.

Since he has no record to run on, Quinn unleashed an Obama-style class warfare attack on Rauner immediately after the primary, focusing on the GOPer’s muddled stance on raising the state’s minimum wage and businessman’s immense wealth. Last week in a rare press conference, state House Speaker and party boss Michael Madigan, yet another Chicago Democrat, proposed a millionaire income tax.

Four years ago, off-topic attacks on the anti-abortion stance of his Republican opponent Bill Brady served Quinn well, he eked out a win over the downstate state senator who ran a sloppy campaign and who was largely AWOL in the key battlefield in all Illinois elections–Chicago’s suburbs.  Rauner is pro-choice and a moderate on gay issues.

And this year’s Republican nominee lives in the suburbs and as he proved in the primary election, Rauner won’t let attacks on him go answered–and he’s willing to spend his own money to do so.

Cutting taxes and attacking what former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg identified as the toxic “labor-electoral complex” will be the heart of the Rauner general election campaign.

AFSCME anti-Quinn poster
AFSCME anti-Quinn poster

What will Big Labor do? Line up behind Quinn? The surprising answer is ‘maybe.’ Quinn can count on the support of trade unions such as the United Auto Workers, but the public-sector unions, who contributed over $5 million to his campaign for the 2010 race, might ignore Quinn this time. Government unions donated over $1 million to the Dillard campaign, and the public-sector unions are angry with Quinn for signing a pension fix bill late last year, one that Rauner says does not go far enough. Those unions are suing Quinn to have the new pension funding law overturned– they claim it is unconstitutional.

But the public-sector unions will probably continue to run anti-Rauner ads. The Illinois Freedom PAC, largely funded by government labor groups, spent over $3 million on ads attacking Rauner during the run-up to the primary. Democratic crossover votes for Dillard almost succeeded in Big Labor’s goal of stopping Rauner.

In November Quinn faces the threat of Democratic crossover votes ending his political career. Newton N. Minow, John F. Kennedy’s FCC chairman who famously dubbed television “a vast wasteland,” quoted his old boss when declaring his support for Rauner on Thursday, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

Illinois’ 2014 gubernatorial race: it will be one for the ages.

John Ruberry blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I’m not sure what to think.  My opinion of the Paul family is mostly shaped by Ron Paul.  You remember him right?  Older gentlemen, never met a government agency he liked, has a bunch of college-age follower-droids, ran for president several times.  Ron Paul is for many the only introduction into libertarianism they have had.  Having been “schooled” time and time again by Ron Paul followers who seem to all use the same pre-determined arguments (like zombies repeating what they were taught at the mother ship) against everyone and anyone who may even slightly disagree with them (like calling them “statists” and no different than President Obama), I’d grown weary of the libertarian movement.

Taking a look at the “liberty” platform, they definitely have some solid core beliefs.  Government should be smaller, much smaller. Civil liberties good, government intrusion bad.  Good stuff.

Then they go off the deep end.  They want to legalize all drugs, end the Federal Reserve (I’m sorry everyone, I agree it needs more review like regular audits, but you can’t just “End the Fed”), legalize prostitution, and legalize same-sex marriage.

Libertarians are natural allies to Conservatives on issues related to the size and scope of government (though I’m not sure both groups agree on the degree of that scope).  However, I cannot nor will I ever support legalizing heroine and prostitution.

But, given the mammoth size of our government, it seems that coming together on our shared fiscal concerns should be paramount.  However, I’ve never met a Ron Paul supporter who is able to have a meaningful conversation about areas of relative agreement between conservatives and libertarians.  As soon as I say something like, “are you sure we should end ALL foreign aid?  What about for war-torn countries or for Israel?  Maybe we should just reduce the amount we dole out and ensure our aid only goes to allies?”  The Ron Paul supporter will respond by flying off the deep end and telling me that I am in bed with the Left and that my ideas would lead to the end of America as we know it.

After having several interactions at various events during the last few years (and lots of arguing on Facebook), I came to the conclusion that whatever the Ron Paul supporters are selling, I don’t want it.  They are a badly-behaved bunch who lose the opportunity for persuasion by choosing to engage in disrespectful behavior with an all-or-nothing mentality that only allows for their version of libertarian purism.

So, you can imagine my surprise over the last several months as I’ve watch Sen. Rand Paul.  I fully expected Senator Paul to behave in office like his dad did (don’t get me wrong, I think that Ron Paul is a good man, but he was not an effective legislature).  I’ve gone from being pleasantly surprised at Senator Paul to now finding myself cheering for him and hoping that he is real thing (and this is not just a  show).  Consider the evidence:

Rand’s filibuster- Let’s face it, that was the best television we’ve seen in a long time.  It also demonstrated, however, the commitment of Senator Paul to issues he deems of vital importance.  He had a point to make and he made it.  He is a leader.

Rand’s stance on drugs – Rand has often discussed the overcriminalization of drug offenders.  He is not trying to legalize drugs, but to have a more reasonable approach to the so-called Drug War (are we still doing that?).  In other words, he has found a position that appeals to someone like me, a staunch conservative, and that may actually get some traction.  And he has a point.  Someone caught with drugs at a very young age can be in jail for decades based on our zero-tolerance policy.  I’m not sure I agree there should be no jail for drug offenses, but a policy that considers the nature of the crime and the individual involved is one worth considering.

Rand’s visit to Howard University – Senator Paul had the guts to visit Howard University.  He got both cheers and jeers from media onlookers and blogger-pundits.  However, it certainly was a gutsy move, especially considering the fact that he spent time after his speech in a Q+A session.  He didn’t ace every question, but assumedly he learned from his experience and will be even better the next time.

Rand’s recent letter on immigration – Okay, if you are like me, you are wondering what has taken over Senator Rubio.  He is peddling his immigration bill on all sorts of conservative talk shows.  He is gutsy, for sure.  To actually have an on-air interview with Mark Levin on an issue Levin disagrees with is, well, nearly suicidal.  But, trying to push the bill through without reasonable debate is naturally causing concern by many.  (Also, whining that not allowing illegals amnesty is like slavery crosses the line).   Senator Paul, in light of the tragic events of last week in Boston, has asked for more reflection on the immigration bill.  He sent a letter to Sen. Reid asking that the legislation be examined with analysis on the bombings and determine what immigration failures may have taken place.  Smart move by Sen. Paul.  He is absolutely correct.

Rand’s commitment to life – This got little attention, but a few weeks ago, Senator Paul introduced the “Life at Conception Act.”  He knows a bill like this will never even see the light of day, unfortunately, but it is good to know where he stands.  He had a fiasco recently on CNN when asked about abortion.  He said there are “thousands of exceptions” to his pro-life stance.  He later backtracked and confirmed he is truly pro-life.  I’m going to choose to believe he misspoke on TV trying to find ways to find common ground with the host vs. not actually being pro-life.  He’ll need to work on the message.  But, I’m grateful to see him introduce the “Life at Conception Act” legislation if for no other reason than it demonstrates where he stands.  Also, it ticked off liberals (and you gotta love that).

My point in all of this is Rand Paul is doing a good job of positioning himself close enough to libertarians to pick up some of their vote, but far enough away so as to remain credible with conservatives.  He certainly is not concerned about getting moderates.  That is fine with me.  So, when he runs for President (that’s right, I said “when” and not “if.”  Let’s not fool ourselves.  He is not just considering a run, he is doing everything he can to prepare for a run), I think he may be a viable option.

However, I would advise him to not use his dad as a debate coach.

Lisa @ AmericaisConservative.org