Economic Debate: Kasich, Rubio, Bush Up — But Trump’s Protectionism is the Real Downer

 

DebateWith a record 24 million people watching the GOP debate, you’d think there would have been a lot more time spent on the most important issue of the day: the economy. Look at any poll. Jobs and the economy are always at the top of the list. But there was barely a mention of this on Thursday night.

The Republican party is not going to win this election unless it persuades the electorate that its primary principles of low marginal tax rates, lighter regulation, free trade, and a sound dollar are the best path to growth. Call it free-market capitalism. Call it supply-side. Call it entrepreneurship. Call it take-home pay. But the endgame is growth and prosperity.

So let’s make this very simple. Like almost every election in American history, 2016 is going to be about growth versus redistribution, private-sector markets and competition versus government planning, and a hard reliable dollar versus a protectionist collapse of the greenback.

Back in 2012, the GOP never made the optimistic growth case. As fine a man as he is, Mitt Romney played the pessimist, telling us daily what’s wrong with America and its economy. And Barack Obama was the optimist, telling us that things weren’t great but they were improving.

Voters chose the optimist. They always do. Bill Clinton. Ronald Reagan. John F. Kennedy. FDR.

Yet as small as the economic segment was in the Cleveland debate, I think three people came out on top of it: John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush. And one individual went in the wrong direction: Donald Trump.

Kasich offered few specifics. But he absolutely launched on effective riffs for growth and optimism.

“Economic growth is the key,” said Kasich. “Economic growth is the key to everything. And we must reach out to people in the shadows. America is a miracle country, and we have to restore the sense that the miracle will apply to you.”

Kasich argued for “growth, growth, growth,” with lower tax rates and a balanced budget. He basically adopted the JFK-Reagan-Jack Kemp mantra that a rising tide lifts all boats.

Jeb Bush was more programmatic. He stuck to his 4 percent growth target and emphasized that 2 percent secular stagnation is not acceptable. He wants lower tax rates, fewer regulations, unleashed energy, school choice, and Obamacare repeal. And he asserted at least twice that effective immigration reform is an economic-growth driver.

Marco Rubio also argued for Obamacare’s repeal and school choice, and mentioned limited regulatory budgeting and overturning Dodd-Frank. Interestingly, he was specific on taxes. He argued for a 25 percent corporate tax rate for small and big businesses. This looks like a positive change. Previously he had a 35 percent top personal tax rate, which would be the small-business pass-through rate. If he’s lowering that to 25 percent, a good thing, it may mean he’s cutting way back on his $1.6 trillion child-tax-credit proposal, which has been panned by supply-siders as anathema to true tax reform without any growth impact. We’ll see if that reading is correct.

Governor Chris Christie also wants to lower tax rates, but his Social Security plan would reduce benefits and turn the system into a means-tested entitlement. Respectfully, I don’t buy it. Anyway, if the economy grew at 3.5 percent over the long run — the American tradition — Social Security would be in fine shape.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson seemed to promote a 10 percent flat tax, but offered no details, and Mike Huckabee stuck with his fair tax, which is well intentioned but unworkable. Rand Paul’s promising flat tax never came up.

And no one talked about the dollar and monetary policy, which are incredibly important. A collapsing dollar value such as occurred in the 1970s and 2000s will doom the economy. But a reliably hard dollar not only keeps inflation low, it gives America a leg up in the global race for capital.

And then there’s Donald Trump. As I wrote a week ago, his 2011 book highlighted supply-side policies such as slashing personal tax rates and abolishing the corporate tax. There was no mention of these in the debate. Instead, Trump continued to rail against China and Mexico and generally the rest of the world.

This has protectionism written all over it. Mexico is our second-leading export market. China is our second-biggest trading partner. A 35 percent tariff, which Trump has hinted at in the past, would be a gigantic tax hike, setting off a global trade war and doing incalculable damage to our economy. We don’t need another Smoot-Hawley. Trump should have been asked about this by the debate moderators. Unfortunately, the subject of trade never came up.

Economic growth and optimism are the keys to victory. But until Republicans spell out specifics on taxes, trade, and money, they won’t close the deal.

 

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  1. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Yeah, but it’s a primary debate, not the general. You’re correct, this is an important topic, but the candidate has to first convince his base that he or she is in our corner and shares something like our general worldview. I think that most primary voters assume that our candidate will be a lower taxing, smaller government kind of person. We like to hear HOW the government will get smaller, mostly because this is where we’ve been burned in the past. Very few voters understand much about economic regulation or the finer points of financial policy.

    Then again, what do I know? I cannot understand this Trump thing, and it seems unreasonable to imagine it’s all hilarious democrats or 15 year old pranksters answering “trump” amid a gale of giggles…

    • #1
  2. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    They very definitely was a hint of protectionism at the tail end of one of Trump’s later answers, but it seems to have gone largely unremarked.

    • #2
  3. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Agree with you Larry, on Rubio and Kasich.

    But Bush? — not up!

    Art historian and cultural critic Camille Paglia, who understands media imaging, reviewed the debate performances for the Hollywood Reporter.

    On Bush: “Is there a blander, more boring personality in American politics? … Why the heck the major media hails him as the GOP frontrunner is beyond comprehension — excepte that big money has been showering down on him like powdered sugar on a donut. Why do Jeb’s smiles remind me of a dimply grandmother? He could and should have been a high school principal.”

    To me he comes off like Rudy Vallee. Not someone you want to see on TV every night.

    The sooner Jeb drops out, the sooner we won’t need a meat cleaver like Trump to chop the Republican establishment down to size.

    • #3
  4. Mike Hubbard Member
    Mike Hubbard
    @MikeHubbard

    . Voters chose the optimist. They always do. Bill Clinton. Ronald Reagan. John F. Kennedy. FDR.

    Which is why Hubert Humphrey, the happy warrior, beat Richard Nixon, the prince of darkness . . .

    • #4
  5. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Jim Kearney:

    The sooner Jeb drops out, the sooner we won’t need a meat cleaver like Trump to chop the Republican establishment down to size.

    I appreciate this take on things. I am actually encouraged that this go around we have so many centrist/statist candidates – Bush, Trump, Santorum, Kasich, Huckabee. For once, the leftward arm of the Republican party will also be splitting its vote.

    • #5
  6. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Super Nurse:

    Jim Kearney:

    The sooner Jeb drops out, the sooner we won’t need a meat cleaver like Trump to chop the Republican establishment down to size.

    … I am actually encouraged that this go around we have so many centrist/statist candidates – Bush, Trump, Santorum, Kasich, Huckabee. For once, the leftward arm of the Republican party will also be splitting its vote.

    So I was led to believe that Bush was a centrist candidate – in the traditional Bush mode (probably more H.W than W), until Jeb defended his conservatism in the debate.  Then I have been hearing other folks, notably one of Mssrs. Long/Robinson in their podcast, who asserted forcefully that Jeb had one of the most conservative governorships ever.  Defunded Planned Parenthood years ago, had 1st, 2nd and 3rd state-wide voucher programs ever in any state of the union, cut taxes over and over again, etc.  His support for Common Core and some kind of immigration reform seems to trouble conservatives.  If CC was just a way to set standards, which may be necessary to hold public schools accountable, this may not be too bad, especially if school vouchers are omnipresent.

    Can somebody educate me why Mr. Bush gets the rap of not being conservative – if his record as governor is as strongly conservative as folks say? (Yes, giving Hillary Clinton an award, and I don’t really care what for, is pretty damning, but is there something else I need to know about?)

    • #6
  7. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I thought Bush did much better than the reviews.  I guess people only look at style for points, but I thought Bush had real substance, and he focused on pro-growth.  He spoke on the issues like a president.  I disagree on Kasich.  Between the lines of his statements I heard a Bob Dole emphasis on budget focus rather than a pro-growth message.

    • #7
  8. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Manny:I thought Bush did much better than the reviews. I guess people only look at style for points, but I thought Bush had real substance, and he focused on pro-growth. He spoke on the issues like a president. I disagree on Kasich. Between the lines of his statements I heard a Bob Dole emphasis on budget focus rather than a pro-growth message.

    I also thought Bush did well, though I didn’t tune in for his supposed weaker moments.  Those parts I saw led me to believe he won the debate.  The reviews to the contrary leave me perplexed.

    • #8
  9. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Manfred Arcane:

    Can somebody educate me why Mr. Bush gets the rap of not being conservative – if his record as governor is as strongly conservative as folks say? (Yes, giving Hillary Clinton an award, and I don’t really care what for, is pretty damning, but is there something else I need to know about?)

    There are a substantial number of people who have persuaded themselves of two things.  (1) The Bush family are a bunch of RHINOs and (2) another Bush represents a dynasty in the American presidency.  The first one is just flat out wrong.  The second is unfair to Jeb and also wrong.  No one, and I mean no one, is supporting Jeb because he’s a Bush.  They are supporting him based on his strong Florida record.

    • #9
  10. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Manfred Arcane:

    Manny:I thought Bush did much better than the reviews. I guess people only look at style for points, but I thought Bush had real substance, and he focused on pro-growth. He spoke on the issues like a president. I disagree on Kasich. Between the lines of his statements I heard a Bob Dole emphasis on budget focus rather than a pro-growth message.

    I also thought Bush did well, though I didn’t tune in for his supposed weaker moments. Those parts I saw led me to believe he won the debate. The reviews to the contrary leave me perplexed.

    And I may add, it was his style that impressed me.  He seems much more natural in the moment, as though he was the adult and the others but newbies.  Rubio said some great things, but the words came out rushed, his cadence was off a bit.  Everyone else seemed to stumble on occasion.  The instance when some reviewers think Bush stumbled, defending his involvement with Bloomberg’s organization, was not a fail in my book.  He was quite convincing to me that that was simply a gotcha issue, that he was as pro-life as anyone on the stage, and his record was unassailable on that score.  So I guess tastes really vary when it comes to assigning style points…

    • #10
  11. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Manfred Arcane:

    Manny:I thought Bush did much better than the reviews. I guess people only look at style for points, but I thought Bush had real substance, and he focused on pro-growth. He spoke on the issues like a president. I disagree on Kasich. Between the lines of his statements I heard a Bob Dole emphasis on budget focus rather than a pro-growth message.

    I also thought Bush did well, though I didn’t tune in for his supposed weaker moments. Those parts I saw led me to believe he won the debate. The reviews to the contrary leave me perplexed.

    I’m not sure what weaker moments people are referring to.  What I saw was a guy who defended his his record, defended his two controversial issues, and put forth in the limited time space a pro-growth message.

    I don’t know who to assign a win to the debate.  I thought Rubio did well, but I didn’t think he was the top debater.  I thought both Christie and Huckabee came across very well.  Cruz too.  I thought Rand Paul looked like a college professor rather than presidential, but he did get his points across.  Trump to me was the big loser.  I also thought that Scott Walker did poorly, reinforcing the criticism of his inexperience on the national stage.

    • #11
  12. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Manny:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Manny:…

    I also thought Bush did well, though I didn’t tune in for his supposed weaker moments. Those parts I saw led me to believe he won the debate. The reviews to the contrary leave me perplexed.

    I’m not sure what weaker moments people are referring to. What I saw was a guy who defended his his record, defended his two controversial issues, and put forth in the limited time space a pro-growth message.

    I don’t know who to assign a win to the debate. I thought Rubio did well, but I didn’t think he was the top debater. I thought both Christie and Huckabee came across very well. Cruz too. I thought Rand Paul looked like a college professor rather than presidential, but he did get his points across. Trump to me was the big loser. I also thought that Scott Walker did poorly, reinforcing the criticism of his inexperience on the national stage.

    If you permit me to comment on a debate I only saw parts of, I agree with much of what you say, …but…

    Christie had a bad moment with his comeback to Paul and his defense of his record in New Jersey (he might be right that he inherited a mess, and, hence evaluation of his record needs proper calibration, but he could have conveyed that better), Huckabee’s tax plan was not well presented and he came off more as a preacher type than presidential material.

    • #12
  13. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Larry Kudlow:DebateWith a record 24 million people watching the GOP debate, you’d think there would have been a lot more time spent on the most important issue of the day: the economy. Look at any poll. Jobs and the economy are always at the top of the list. But there was barely a mention of this on Thursday night.

    The Republican party is not going to win this election unless it persuades the electorate that its primary principles of low marginal tax rates, lighter regulation, free trade, and a sound dollar are the best path to growth. Call it free-market capitalism. Call it supply-side. Call it entrepreneurship. Call it take-home pay. But the endgame is growth and prosperity.

    So let’s make this very simple. Like almost every election in American history, 2016 is going to be about growth versus redistribution, private-sector markets and competition versus government planning, and a hard reliable dollar versus a protectionist collapse of the greenback

    So let me make this simple, why haven’t you, Mr Kudlow, ever set down a concrete program that you think the Republican candidates should get behind?  You have the know-how to set the course for the debates going forward by advancing “the Kudlow” plan, by which every candidate can be measured (“Candidate X, do you fully support ‘the Kudlow Economic Plan for Growth’?  If not, how would you modify that approach?  Please explain.)

    • #13
  14. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Jeb Bush may hit some of the right buttons on tax issues and government spending, but his tone and family background cast him as the wrong person to present these issues to voters. His personality, such as it is, reminds me of the wealthy eccentric John D. Hackensacker III in Preston Sturges’ The Palm Beach Story, a prissy scion who makes extravagant gestures while writing every minor expense in a notebook.

    In today’s media politics, “what’s your policy on short and long-term capital gains tax rates?” is less relevant to voter acceptance than “who’s your daddy?” Mitt Romney lost because the wealthy investment banker son of a former Michigan Governor was perceived as not caring about “people like me.”

    Jeb Bush’s father was a one term President who broke a tax pledge. Marco Rubio’s dad poured drinks and collected tips in convention hotels. John Kasich’s dad was a letter carrier. So while Kasich seems willing to compromise on some entitlement benefits, he’s not doing so out of a sense of noblesse oblige, and we know he won’t let the federal budget get out of hand because (a) he’s already balanced it, and (b) he knows what government workers actually need to get by, and how much inefficiency can be eliminated.

    The Bush clan famously caved on congressional spending in both its administrations. Jeb’s positions on immigration and education have a paternalistic quality, the entitled being generous with our money and our border. Rubio’s comes from growing up in a striving family with strong anti-collectivist passion.

    • #14
  15. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    With a flat tax or a fair tax, you don’t need to know “all the details”  If a candidate takes on the impossible task of digging into and reforming the unknowable impossibly complex and corrupt existing tax code we must know the details, which is of course also impossible.  I don’t trust any effort to “reform” the tax code.  The effort will be a giant log roll the outcome of which we will know after it passes and we get our first chance to pay taxes.   We’ve reached the point where we must toss the code and build something entirely new.  (the same is true of the regulatory code) The existing tax code cannot be fixed.   A new Treasury Department must design it, a new President must send it to the House, then sell it as a simple idea that can be defended against all the piranhas.  The thing can only be sold as an idea.  “Reform” is not an idea.  A flat tax is an idea, the fair tax is an idea.  A combination of the two (but as a uniform VAT as in New Zealand) is an idea.   New leadership cannot defeat k street  without the club of a simple idea that gores all oxen but is lower and uniform, and most importantly makes sense to voters, but it has to also be good tax policy.

    • #15
  16. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    And speaking of protectionism, it is the one thing that defends progressive government from reality and assures our future as a third world economy.  But, what the heck, these things take time and I’ll be dead and maybe my kids as well.

    • #16
  17. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Larry Kudlow:

    The Republican party is not going to win this election unless it persuades the electorate that its primary principles of low marginal tax rates, lighter regulation, free trade, and a sound dollar are the best path to growth.

    The voting public doesn’t give a damn about such things. The GOP trumpets those points every single election, and the electorate just doesn’t care. They may vaguely agree with them (and many don’t), but making THAT stuff the focus of the POTUS campaign isn’t going to get us squat.

    • #17
  18. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Douglas: the best path to growth

    Do they care about this?

    • #18
  19. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Interesting point:

    Manfred Arcane: If CC was just a way to set standards, which may be necessary to hold public schools accountable, this may not be too bad, especially if school vouchers are omnipresent.

    Are you saying that CC is a critical component in school voucher programs…in a checks and balances kind of way, that the CC is the standard which any school must uphold?

    The problem with CC at the federal level is, well…it’s federal.

    • #19
  20. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Manny: Trump to me was the big loser.

    ha ha. that’s funny, “You are the biggest loser.”

    Wait, was this his show?

    • #20
  21. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Manfred Arcane:

    Douglas: the best path to growth

    Do they care about this?

    Average voters? Not one whit.

    • #21
  22. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Douglas:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Douglas: the best path to growth

    Do they care about this?

    Average voters? Not one whit.

    That’s hard for me to believe.  What then do you understand to be their, say top three concerns?

    • #22
  23. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Manfred Arcane:

    Super Nurse:

    Can somebody educate me why Mr. Bush gets the rap of not being conservative – if his record as governor is as strongly conservative as folks say? (Yes, giving Hillary Clinton an award, and I don’t really care what for, is pretty damning, but is there something else I need to know about?)

    I think that he gets this rap quite honestly and mostly on his own through defense of common core and with his “compassionate conservative” sounding comments on illegal immigration, which serve to paint anyone who believes in rule of law as a heartless jerk. It is certainly reminiscent of GHWB, and we learned then that compassion apparently = expensive and expansive government. I do not trust him to act in any other way. His time as FL governor was a long time ago, and he seems to have evolved. Career politicians seem to think that the solution to every problem is a new program, law, regulation, or some intervention. It’s the old “if you’re a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail” thing. I hope some of our non-career politicians will get a chance, but NOT TRUMP.

    • #23
  24. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Manfred Arcane:

    Douglas:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Douglas: the best path to growth

    Do they care about this?

    Average voters? Not one whit.

    That’s hard for me to believe. What then do you understand to be their, say top three concerns?

    You’re reading “jobs, the economy” into “the best path to growth” which I do not think is typical of voters. I’d bet that if you asked random people what “path to growth” means, few would attach this to their typical understanding of the economy. I think most voters, when they say “jobs/economy” really mean MY job, and MY PERSONAL economy. The two things are vastly different, and (IMO) not incorrectly so. I’m more worried about my own checking account that Uncle Sam’s.

    • #24
  25. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Manny:

    Manfred Arcane:

    There are a substantial number of people who have persuaded themselves of two things. (1) The Bush family are a bunch of RHINOs and (2) another Bush represents a dynasty in the American presidency. The first one is just flat out wrong. The second is unfair to Jeb and also wrong. No one, and I mean no one, is supporting Jeb because he’s a Bush. They are supporting him based on his strong Florida record.

    1) If the last Bush presidency did not convince you at the very least that our Republican president was willing to expand government at break neck speed to gain leverage on foreign policy, you were asleep or do not share my definition of small government.

    2) How is this unfair to Jeb, other than his surname (which opened many a door for him through his life) acting as a detriment this one time? It is not wrong for voters to consider whether his actual bonafides outweigh the risks and appearance of a dynastic presidency! It also neutralizes a great argument we SHOULD use against Clinton in the general. Unilateral disarmament is not a conservative/republican value, although I could understand why you would think so.

    Bush and Trump, IMO, both benefit from name recognition almost exclusively. I have not meet or spoken with one enthusiastic supporter of either. It makes me suspect that the low information people answering the polls are just picking a name that sounds good. Oh, and bankers.

    • #25
  26. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Douglas:

    Larry Kudlow:

    The Republican party is not going to win this election unless it persuades the electorate that its primary principles of low marginal tax rates, lighter regulation, free trade, and a sound dollar are the best path to growth.

    The voting public doesn’t give a damn about such things. The GOP trumpets those points every single election, and the electorate just doesn’t care. They may vaguely agree with them (and many don’t), but making THAT stuff the focus of the POTUS campaign isn’t going to get us squat.

    Good point!! We have to convince them that these things will lead to their own PERSONAL prosperity. That’s been the missing link for a long time. These ideas are great on paper, and people with the interest and capacity to understand them can be persuaded. Average people are not interested in financial policy, or politics for that matter. What will they get out of it?

    It’s why wall street cannot convince main street that massive increases in immigration will be good for them. Because it’s both counterintuitive and they may actually (dependent on personal circumstances) be correct that it will depress their own wages and/or cost their job!

    • #26
  27. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Manny:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Manny:I thought Bush did much better than the reviews. I guess people only look at style for points, but I thought Bush had real substance, and he focused on pro-growth. He spoke on the issues like a president. I disagree on Kasich. Between the lines of his statements I heard a Bob Dole emphasis on budget focus rather than a pro-growth message.

    I also thought Bush did well, though I didn’t tune in for his supposed weaker moments.

    I’m not sure what weaker moments people are referring to. What I saw was a guy who defended his his record, defended his two controversial issues, and put forth in the limited time space a pro-growth message.

    I don’t know who to assign a win to the debate. I thought Rubio did well, but I didn’t think he was the top debater. I thought both Christie and Huckabee came across very well. Cruz too. I thought Rand Paul looked like a college professor rather than presidential, but he did get his points across. Trump to me was the big loser. I also thought that Scott Walker did poorly, reinforcing the criticism of his inexperience on the national stage.

    I think Walker did great on message, but agree- terrible on presentation, although he grew on me through the debate. He’s not easy on the eyes, for sure.

    • #27
  28. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Super Nurse: …I have not meet or spoken with one enthusiastic supporter of either. I…

    Feelings shouldn’t trump (ok, I am sorry for that one) facts.  Here is what WSJ says about Jeb’s Florida helmsmanship (it was somewhat conservative):

    Mr. Bush championed tax cuts, privatized state jobs, fought for school vouchers, won power over the judiciary and labored to prolong the life of a brain-damaged woman, Terry Schiavo.

    Well before earmarks became a dirty word in Washington, he campaigned against such pet projects in Tallahassee, promising to veto spending items not approved by his administration. He wound up vetoing some $2 billion in spending over eight years.

    “Honestly I don’t think I ever came across one person who told me he wasn’t being conservative enough,” said Al Cardenas, who was chairman of the Florida Republican Party during the Bush gubernatorial years

    Over his tenure, Mr. Bush cut taxes by some $19 billion, much of it benefiting businesses and investors, such as the repeal of a tax on investments. He created the first school-voucher program in the country, allowing students in failing schools to use public money for private-school tuition, a program later struck down by the state Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Another program, also being challenged in court, gives companies a tax credit if they donate for private school scholarships.

    Mr. Bush also sparked protests with his One Florida program, which aimed to end affirmative action preferences for minorities in universities and state contracting.”…

    • #28
  29. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Manfred Arcane:

    Super Nurse: …I have not meet or spoken with one enthusiastic supporter of either. I…

    Feelings shouldn’t trump (ok, I am sorry for that one) facts.

    I do get the difference between feelings and facts. He has made statements about CC and immigration that are not reassuring about his leadership. Experience is also not feelings. Experience in my adult life with Bushes in the presidency has not been pleasant for conservatives. Another fact is that we as a country of over 300 million have already elected two Bushes as president. Three presidents from the same family requires a sort of demigod status, IMO. (note my understanding that this is not a fact.)

    It is unsurprising that WSJ would celebrate Bush. He is clearly connected to financial interests who depend on government to treat them favorably by regulating in a way that stifles competition.

    For the record, he did many commendable things as FL governor, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best qualified man for the job. There are other commendable governors on both stages, with equally compelling and more contemporary records. He gets a LARGE handicap for the above stated reasons, and because the deluge of money into his campaign coffers makes me suspect that he is for sale.

    • #29
  30. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Super Nurse:

    You’re reading “jobs, the economy” into “the best path to growth” which I do not think is typical of voters. I’d bet that if you asked random people what “path to growth” means, few would attach this to their typical understanding of the economy. I think most voters, when they say “jobs/economy” really mean MY job, and MY PERSONAL economy. The two things are vastly different, and (IMO) not incorrectly so. I’m more worried about my own checking account that Uncle Sam’s.

    You pretty much nailed the essence of what I was gonna say. Top three concerns of voters? “Me, Me, and Me”. This is why Democrats win so often. “Vote for us, and we’ll give you *insert bribe here*”. Almost everyone says the government is too big in abstract, but when the rubber hits the road, and real cuts have to be made, Americans are all “Take HIS stuff but don’t dare touch MINE”.

    Kudlow is arguing for a big picture campaign for voters that really don’t care about big pictures. They look at their bank balance and how big their house is. And they notice that too often, guys screaming “growth, low marginal taxes, investment” yadda yadda are making big bank from Wall Street and they aren’t, while Democrats are going “Look, we’ll make sure YOUR bank balance is bigger. We’ll do it by taking from Mr. Wall Street”. THAT is hard to beat.

    • #30

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