The State of the Race

 

Debate2This won’t be another debate recap post. An army of pundits (Please note: Worst. Army. Ever.) has already dissected last night’s proceedings and the emerging consensus seems about right to me: Carly Fiorina dominated, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie both had some pretty good moments, and Donald Trump’s pilot light kept shutting off. Everyone else was basically treading water. In the undercard debate, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham both looked serviceable, but c’mon — it’s not that big of a deal to win the NIT.

So let’s play the story forward: after last night, what dynamics play out over the six weeks until the next GOP debate takes place in Boulder, Colorado? (Seriously, RNC? Boulder? Was George Soros’ penthouse booked that night?) Here are some of the trends I’ll be watching for:

Carly in the Crosshairs

Last night, the country learned what those of us who’ve been watching this race closely discovered months ago: Carly Fiorina can stick a knife between your ribs and get you to thank her for it. Her exchange with Donald Trump over the infamous “Look at that face” comment marked the first instance in this cycle of someone coming out of a scrum with The Donald an unambiguous winner. Not only did she manage the magnificent trick of appearing simultaneously dignified and condescending, she actually made Trump look like a beta as he uncomfortably walked back his criticisms. I’m not going to lie: I enjoyed seeing the inspiration for the “cuckservative” epithet get horsewhipped by a girl.

All things considered, last night was a huge triumph for Carly (some especially insightful wags may have seen this coming), but it’s going to bring her a host of new challenges (this is what political philosophers refer to as the “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” Principle).

Now that she’s a serious contender in this race, the scrutiny of her tenure at Hewlett-Packard and the concerns over her lack of electoral experience are going to become much more pronounced. Carly’s succeeded thus far by taking a very clear, poised message to progressively bigger stages. Now we get to see what happens when the process becomes interactive and she has to thrust and parry with the other campaigns. Based on last night, she’ll probably be up to that challenge, but having your breakout moment four-and-a-half months prior to voters going to the polls gives your opponents plenty of time to probe you for weaknesses.

Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

I think a lot of people would have lost money (I know I would have) on the proposition that Rick Perry would be out of this race before the second debate. I expect we’ll see more before the third, especially with the talk that we may have already had our last undercard forum.

Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit. Jim Gilmore didn’t even cross the polling threshold for the kids’ table last night. There’s a non-negligible chance that more people are backing me for president than him (Senik 2016: “Padlocking Buildings Throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area”). Save yourself some dignity, Jim, and take up gardening.

The same likely goes for last night’s entire undercard cast. If you didn’t have a breakout moment early, as Carly did, it’s probably over. Bobby Jindal needs to start working on his vision for the Department of Health and Human Services. Lindsey Graham has a kid in Dallas to drone. Rick Santorum isn’t a viable presidential candidate in any field that doesn’t include Mitt Romney and at least one pizza salesman. And George Pataki likely doesn’t have the support of a majority of voters in his own home.

Look, you’ve had your fun. You got a trip to Southern California to offset having to shoot your way out of Cleveland last month. But it’s time to go home.

The Lifeboat Caucus

Among the top-tier here’s who should be nervous right now: Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, and, believe it or not, Scott Walker.

Paul needed this election to be held in 2014, before we all remembered that national security is a thing that presidents actually do. In the ISIS-Ayatollah-Putin era, a guy whose foreign policy arguments tend to be prefaced with “Look, I’m not an actual isolationist” isn’t going to be many peoples’ first pick.

Huckabee doesn’t have much of a lane. The success he had in 2008 was largely fueled by social conservatives but, like Santorum, he’s boxed out with that demographic this time around by the likes of Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. Mike is a very genial guy who’s spent the last few years being extremely well-paid to be a very genial guy. Don’t upset that apple cart. Stick with the job that bankrolls your ability to build monstrosities like this on the Florida coast.

Because he’s been so marginalized over the last few years, a lot of people have forgotten just how good Chris Christie is in front of a camera. (Our own Rob Long recently referred to the YouTube videos of Christie’s New Jersey smackdowns as “Chris Christie porn,” which has to be the most disgusting combination of three words imaginable in the English language). Last night provided a few reminders of those talents. But the cash value of that skill set? Probably nil. Christie, charming as he can be, just represents too much of a compromise for too many voters. And when there are 16 candidates to choose from, you can afford to be picky. Add him to the long list of Republicans who missed their one serious shot at the presidency in 2012.

As for Walker, his decline has to rank right up there with the Trump boomlet as one of the biggest surprises of this cycle. Yes, he’s been getting back to basics lately with some serious policy ideas, but the damage may have already been done. The core problem is that Walker has spent the past few months chasing the news cycle and trying to be wherever he thought the conservative base wanted him, which has undercut his core value proposition: that he’s a guy who fights on principle and focuses on the big issues. And it doesn’t help matters any that his modus operandi at the debates seems to be to give as brief an answer as possible and hope that the moderators will move on. Mr. “Unintimidated” seems to be playing scared. I don’t expect his campaign to pick up any steam until they can get over that contradiction.

The Contenders

A quick rundown of the guys who are still in this:

—   I’ll be honest: Ted Cruz’s appeal is lost on me. And that’s saying something, because I don’t have much in the way of policy differences with him. I’m just inherently nervous about any candidate whose cadence makes me think I’m about to get ripped off on a trim package. Cruz seems to have settled on a strategy of drafting off of Trump right now. Maybe that works, maybe it doesn’t. But I’m always skeptical of campaigns where the strategy largely centers around a series of contingencies breaking in just the right way.

—   We can agree on this much: Ben Carson wins Mr. Congeniality. And my guess is that’s what his supporters are rewarding him for night now. Carson has all the hallmarks of an October front-runner: someone everyone likes when nothing’s on the line. I don’t want Ben Carson to be president. I want Ben Carson to sit down with the country every night over a cup of tea and tell us how his day went. We’ll see how many people come to the same conclusion as this campaign rolls on.

—   Every debate brings with it a stream of press accolades for John Kasich. I don’t get it. Kasich strikes me as a less self-important Jon Huntsman: a guy whose primary constituency is the media because his primary sensibility is a slight sense of guilt at being a Republican. This feels like it blows up on the runway.

—   I continue to believe that we’re underestimating how big of a sinkhole the Jeb Bush campaign is. Jeb has been running this campaign, officially or otherwise, for the better part of a year now. Last night is the first time I can remember him getting a genuine applause line — and it was for his brother. The Bush campaign looks increasingly like the Clinton effort: one that’s stumbling because it assumed that supply creates its own demand.

—  To hear Team Jeb! tell it, they’re taking the slow and steady approach. Well … one out of two ain’t bad. Marco Rubio, however, may actually be executing that strategy to perfection. Rubio is well-liked, always impressive at these debates, scratches a key demographic itch for the party, and has a wide range of Republicans who are willing to give him a look. That’s a pretty good hand to play. And while he hasn’t had any huge moments yet, he’s consistently good, the cumulative value of which shouldn’t be underestimated. Based on the number of erstwhile Rubio-Fiorina supporters who I’m now hearing say that they may have gotten the ticket upside down, however, he’s going to have to step it up a notch or risk taking the lead in the vice presidential sweepstakes.

— As we watched the first debate here at Ricochet last month, a lot of people thought that the hostile questioning of Donald Trump would be his undoing. I never bought that. Did they make him look like a buffoon? Yes. But, people … buffoon is the brand.

Last night, however, may have actually changed something, because Trump committed the cardinal sin of an entertainer: he was boring. The bull got into the china shop … and proceeded to take a nap. Trump seems to have begun thinking that to be president he may actually have to act like a presidential candidate — which undercuts everything that makes him compelling/repellent.

I said a few months ago that I thought the eventual undoing of the Trump campaign would be when the novelty started to wear off. We’re not there yet. We may not even be close. But last night was the first time it felt like we could at least be seeing the beginning of the end.

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  1. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    rico:

    George Savage: Levin’s point: Christie, Fiorina and others correctly joined in criticizing Boehner and McConnell for failing to do much of anything in Congress to oppose President Obama’s agenda, but where were they in 2013 when Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were trying to stop Obamacare?

    The shutdown strategy was controversial, even among conservatives. Fiorina didn’t support it, but she actively spoke out against Obamacare.

    George Savage: but she last ran for office as a quintessential moderate California Republican. There is also her tumultuous tenure at HP to consider.

    How else could one have a chance at winning statewide office in California? Her HP tenure will be attacked, and she will have to defend it. So far, there doesn’t seem to be much ‘there’ there, but I’ll admit that it is a wildcard.

    True in every particular, Rico.

    Time to grab the popcorn and settle in.

    • #31
  2. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Carly Fiorina is very impressive and could be the leader we want and need. Her  achilles heel is her tenure as CEO at HP. It’s impressive that she attained the stature to be named CEO, but her performance at HP was not impressive. Ironically, I think the management style that failed at HP could be well suited for managing the Federal Bureaucracy.

    Marco Rubio can be impressive, but suffers the same deficiency Mark Wilson identified about Troy’s candidacy -wet behind the ears. Rubio lacks stature, he just hasn’t gotten there yet. Not the he can’t get there, but until he does he lacks an  important leadership component necessary to lead the country.

    • #32
  3. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    I think Troy has it about spot on (and nice job calling Fiorina’s response on the drug issue last night).  The great news is that we have time.  It’s 4 months before any actual delegates are chosen, and by then we should be down to 6 or 7 candidates.

    Carly had the best comment about what we can expect going forward; over time, and under pressure, a candidate’s character is revealed.  I’ve had my day of irrational exuberance over Carly, and look forward to see what the next month reveals about all of them.  The good news for Carly, even though she isn’t a politician, she did run statewide in California.  It may not be the voracious predator that the national media is, but California media isn’t exactly gentle to anyone with an (R) after their name.

    After the inevitable “Carly fired me & my family is destitute” stories come out, it will simply be up to her and the others to reveal themselves, on policy and character, on ability and composure, to the electorate.  Maybe since the Dems debate next, the remaining Republicans will choose to focus more of their ammunition on Clinton, et al.

    Patience really is a virtue.  Let’s enjoy the ride!

    P.S.  Trump’s handling of that anti-Muslim question in NH was revealing, in what he didn’t say in response.

    • #33
  4. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    Petty Boozswha: How about a picture of chez Senik?

    fortress-of-solitude-superman

    Now that you’re in the South, I see you’ve adopted one of it’s most important traditions. Putting covers over everything in the parlor, to be removed only during “special occasions” – pretty much weddings and funerals.

    • #34
  5. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    The proof of how well Carly did last night was the programing CNN devoted to destroying her tonight.  They brought in some “experts” from the NYTs of course to say how very, very, very, naughty she was as CEO of HP.  It worked for Boxer.

    The good news for many of you might be that as I was desperate to make sense of the Trump run, I talked myself in to almost supporting him.  And the debate completely changed my mind.

    Seeing the quality of candidates, they are just better than the last two cycles… and I liked Mitt a lot, they are better than him, just about all of them.

    Anyway seeing Trump compared to them… why would I support Trump?  He’s nothing!

    In fact, isn’t one of his selling points that he directly participated in the graft and corruption?  Of course his spin is that he is the only honest one… but he admits to buying political favors with his donations.  That is exactly what we all hate about politics!!! Whether you are the buyer or the seller, it’s the same graft!

    And it also makes Trump the biggest insider in the race.  He helped corrupt our government, now wants rewarded for it by being President?  Why? To cut out the middle man?

    I think many will abandon Trump now, the mania has past.

    • #35
  6. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I like Carly —  while my first two choices ( Perry and Walker )  are done and close to it,  Carly is great.    However — no one ( other than Sash)   points out she lost a Big Senate Race in California.   Granted — it was California.   But Wilson and Reagan managed to win in California.    Swartzeliberal did also.   Has been done in California with a R label.    Keeps weighing on my mind.

    • #36
  7. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Doctor Robert: Do you remember about a month ago when Walker and Perry both made big policy announcements on the same day?  I don’t either, but they did.

    Did you also notice that none of those big policy announcements came up in the debates?

    I realize that the general election is inevitably shallow. But conservatives should perhaps be troubled that our method of picking a nominee seems to be equally so.

    • #37
  8. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    E. Kent Golding:I like Carly — while my first two choices ( Perry and Walker ) are done and close to it, Carly is great. However — no one ( other than Sash) points out she lost a Big Senate Race in California. Granted — it was California. But Wilson and Reagan managed to win in California. Swartzeliberal did also. Has been done in California with a R label. Keeps weighing on my mind.

    California is a very different place politically than when Wilson & Reagan won there.  Ahhhhnold won simply because of his celebrity & Grey Davis was such an incompetent they actually recalled him.  In a lot of ways, I think that failed Senate run was a necessary predicate to this endeavor.

    • #38
  9. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Z in MT: I think a lot of us are surprised by Walker’s ho-hum performance in the debates

    Really?  Ho-hum is what he has.  I thought ho-hum was his appeal.  I didn’t get it myself but I thought others liked him for being the anti-president – boring but effective.

    • #39
  10. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    These are all gut reactions, with no real data or analytical content, but it’s interesting that most of us here share them.   My difference is only with those who think Trump is actually serving a useful purpose by highlighting issues.  I know of no issue he has highlighted.  Even immigration has been around a long time and and at the top of most candidates’ agenda and some actually get it right.  What Trump does is give us insight into a possible future of progressivism.  One doesn’t have to be anti american, anti market and anti military to be a progressive,especially after suffering a president who epitomizes these derangements.  This kind of progressivism is a cold war hang over.   Indeed one can be chauvinistically militaristically nationalistic.   We used to call that approach fascism.  I find Trump scary because of what he represents.  What happens if the Democrats learn this lesson?  We get the nanny state, the welfare state, the regulatory state and the military industrial state.  

    • #40
  11. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    A Kasich/Rubio ticket is the winner. You get Florida, Ohio, a better showing with hispanics and a guy who actually worked with Reagan. No-brainer imo.

    • #41
  12. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    George Savage:I agree with Troy’s analysis, but I also found myself nodding along with Mark Levin tonight. Levin’s point: Christie, Fiorina and others correctly joined in criticizing Boehner and McConnell for failing to do much of anything in Congress to oppose President Obama’s agenda, but where were they in 2013 when Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were trying to stop Obamacare?

    Fiorina gave an impressive performance last night as an articulate, full-spectrum conservative, but she last ran for office as a quintessential moderate California Republican. There is also her tumultuous tenure at HP to consider.

    Rubio has impressive gifts and tea party bona fides, but jumped aboard the amnesty-first-security-never Gang of Eight bill, providing conservative cover for Chuck Schumer. Not exactly reassuring.

    Christie sounded great–a full-throated conservative. Too bad about the contrary record in New Jersey.

    In short, I’m going to take my time and watch events unfold.

    Where did this myth that Rubio has some kind of tacit Tea Party support originate? Maybe in Florida, but elsewhere I am not sure he would be allowed in the library conference room to address the crowd.

    His tax plan, recent budget proposal, and heaven knows the gang of 8 debacle were all contrary to any Tea Party principles I’ve read or supported.

    Rubio is a very bright articulate guy, but he is the reformicon (2016 compassionate conservative, how’d that work) poster man.

    • #42
  13. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Kasich is Iran’s dream ticket for building their stock pile of nuclear weapons. They can’t do any better with Hillary.

    Greenpeace has nothing to dislike about Kasich.

    • #43
  14. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Gary McVey:…but if you don’t love Cruz, he comes across as Eddie Haskell crossed with Al Gore.

    Bingo! Thanks, Gary!

    • #44
  15. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    The “shut down strategy” ?   This is McConnell’s et al, including Kasich’s term for preemptive surrender.  Cruz offered negotiating leverage and they tossed it away because they feared him more than they care about any issue or some other unfathomable reason for not confronting Obama on anything.  They’re cowardice, or whatever it is, gave us Trump.

    • #45
  16. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Casey:

    Z in MT: I think a lot of us are surprised by Walker’s ho-hum performance in the debates

    Really? Ho-hum is what he has. I thought ho-hum was his appeal. I didn’t get it myself but I thought others liked him for being the anti-president – boring but effective.

    Exactly.  If competence were the only factor to consider, Walker would be leading the polls.

    • #46
  17. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Marion Evans:A Kasich/Rubio ticket is the winner. You get Florida, Ohio, a better showing with hispanics and a guy who actually worked with Reagan. No-brainer imo.

    You may be right – from a geographical strategy POV.  But I simply do not get Kasich’s appeal at all.

    • #47
  18. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Songwriter:

    Marion Evans:A Kasich/Rubio ticket is the winner. You get Florida, Ohio, a better showing with hispanics and a guy who actually worked with Reagan. No-brainer imo.

    You may be right – from a geographical strategy POV. But I simply do not get Kasich’s appeal at all.

    His appeal is… wait for it… that he is a career politician. The others are all “when I get to the White House, I will do this, I will do that…” No you won’t because you are not a dictator. You need to work with Congress etc. Kasich has that experience as an executive. Walker too but not as much.

    • #48
  19. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans
    • #49
  20. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    John Penfold: These are all gut reactions, with no real data or analytical content, but it’s interesting that most of us here share them.   My difference is only with those who think Trump is actually serving a useful purpose by highlighting issues.  I know of no issue he has highlighted.  Even immigration has been around a long time and and at the top of most candidates’ agenda and some actually get it right.  What Trump does is give us insight into a possible future of progressivism.  One doesn’t have to be anti american, anti market and anti military to be a progressive,especially after suffering a president who epitomizes these derangements.  This kind of progressivism is a cold war hang over.   Indeed one can be chauvinistically militaristically nationalistic.   We used to call that approach fascism.  I find Trump scary because of what he represents.  What happens if the Democrats learn this lesson?  We get the nanny state, the welfare state, the regulatory state and the military industrial state.

    Exactly.  Jim Geraghty made an interesting observation about Trump in an article titled The Words Trump Doesn’t Use.

    • #50
  21. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    So, it’s been over 36 hours since the CNN Presidential Debate and the two front runners, Trump and Carson, have garnered all of 0% in the Ricochet poll tally…this despite the fact that there are a handful of very vocal Trump supporters on this site.

    Should we infer from this that if Trump drops out of the race and is not the nominee that his more ardent supporters will stay home and not vote in the general election?

    • #51
  22. Mr. Dart Inactive
    Mr. Dart
    @MrDart

    If the Republican Party is desperate to get Trump’s poll numbers down they should beg their friend Jeb Bush to end his own campaign.  Absent the $100M+ inevitable one the rest of the field beyond Trump would get another look.  (If Judge Smails quits Bushwood Country Club some of the crowd hanging around Al Czervik drifts away to play golf… or drink.)

    Meanwhile, 22 to 24 Million people are watching the TV show.  None of the contenders  can buy that kind of exposure.

    • #52
  23. Acook Coolidge
    Acook
    @Acook

    #36 E Kent
    Long time ago on a planet far, far away.

    • #53
  24. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I have comments about Fiorina and Kasich.

    Fiorina: I keep coming back to the basic fact that she has no experience in elective office.  Zero.  Zip.  I readily admit that she’s been an impressive candidate over the past few months.  In part, this is because she has nothing else to do.

    Christie, Jindal, Kasich, and Walker have states to run.  Cruz, Graham, Rand, and Rubio have their Senate work.

    When have we elected a President with no prior experience in elective office?  Eisenhower, Grant, and Zachary Taylor come to mind.  I can understand an exception for a victorious commanding general.  Running HP doesn’t cut it for me.

    Kasich: I haven’t followed his career closely since the 1990s, but wasn’t he chairman of the Budget Committee in the Gingrich years?  He was a major player in huge GOP victories — welfare reform and a balanced budget.  Based on a quick review, his record in Ohio seems pretty good to me.

    The consensus here at Ricochet seems to be that Kasich is a RINO squish, and I’m not convinced.  I think that he deserves a more serious look.

    • #54
  25. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Arizona Patriot:…

    The consensus here at Ricochet seems to be that Kasich is a RINO squish, and I’m not convinced. I think that he deserves a more serious look.

    Iran and Greenpeace agree!

    • #55
  26. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Arizona Patriot:I have comments about Fiorina and Kasich.

    Christie, Jindal, Kasich, and Walker have states to run. Cruz, Graham, Rand, and Rubio have their Senate work.

    When have we elected a President with no prior experience in elective office? Eisenhower, Grant, and Zachary Taylor come to mind. I can understand an exception for a victorious commanding general. Running HP doesn’t cut it for me.

    The consensus here at Ricochet seems to be that Kasich is a RINO squish, and I’m not convinced. I think that he deserves a more serious look.

    Kasich needs to be schooled on the Iran deal. His response shows that he’s pretty clueless on the sham of how inspections are to be conducted. Rubio gets it. Christie gets it. Fiorina gets it. Huckabee gets it. Kasich, Paul and Trump not so much (yes, Trump says it was a lousy deal…and says he could have done much better but in usual Trump fashion offers no specifics).

    But that’s not the only problem I have with Kasich. His stance on Obamacare is weak. His willingness to support federal programs and grow the central government based on humanitarian/Christian reasons or overtly appealing to Christian guilt is a non-starter. I have no problem if he wants to endorse any number of private Christian charities that help the poor, oppressed, or abused – but stop continuing to use the federal government to become a greater nanny state than it already is. Enough already.

    • #56
  27. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Brian Watt:But that’s [the Iran deal] not the only problem I have with Kasich. His stance on Obamacare is weak. His willingness to support federal programs and grow the central government based on humanitarian/Christian reasons or overtly appealing to Christian guilt is a non-starter. I have no problem if he wants to endorse any number of private Christian charities that help the poor, oppressed, or abused – but stop continuing to use the federal government to become a greater nanny state than it already is. Enough already.

    My impression is that he’s a solid conservative, but not a firebrand.  He doesn’t advocate cutting welfare programs to zero.  He advocates trimming them, and has a proven record of doing so.

    On the expansion of federal programs, are you thinking of anything other than Obamacare?  Obamacare put GOP governors in a bind — either collaborate, or reject the program and lose out on a bunch of federal money that would provide healthcare for people in their states.  I don’t think that there was an obvious right answer in these circumstances.

    It also appears that Kasich has balanced the budget and cut taxes in Ohio.

    • #57
  28. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Kasich was not a solid conservative even when he was in congress. The fact that he is ok with the Iran deal should be a flashing red light regarding his comprehension skills and judgement. How much more defective could Kasich be?

    • #58
  29. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Arizona Patriot: The consensus here at Ricochet seems to be that Kasich is a RINO squish, and I’m not convinced. I think that he deserves a more serious look.

    I thought he looked good on paper, too. I was a fan of his when he led on the budget back in the day. I want to like him. But after listening to his debate performance, it became clear that he’s a terrible fit for what needs to be done in DC.

    • #59
  30. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Arizona Patriot:

    Brian Watt:But that’s [the Iran deal] not the only problem I have with Kasich. His stance on Obamacare is weak. His willingness to support federal programs and grow the central government based on humanitarian/Christian reasons or overtly appealing to Christian guilt is a non-starter. I have no problem if he wants to endorse any number of private Christian charities that help the poor, oppressed, or abused – but stop continuing to use the federal government to become a greater nanny state than it already is. Enough already.

    My impression is that he’s a solid conservative, but not a firebrand. He doesn’t advocate cutting welfare programs to zero. He advocates trimming them, and has a proven record of doing so.

    On the expansion of federal programs, are you thinking of anything other than Obamacare? Obamacare put GOP governors in a bind — either collaborate, or reject the program and lose out on a bunch of federal money that would provide healthcare for people in their states. I don’t think that there was an obvious right answer in these circumstances.

    It also appears that Kasich has balanced the budget and cut taxes in Ohio.

    This:

    Gov. Kasich said he recently told a state legislator, “I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do too. I also happen to know that you’re a person of faith.”

    “Now, when you die and get to the, get to the, uh, to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor,” Kasich said. “Better have a good answer.”

    Is coerced support via taxation for the federal government programs meant to be the conduit for entry into heaven? If this is the logic to be applied then what other programs can be justified using this Christian fear tactic? Continued punitive regulatory expansion of the EPA for presumed better stewardship of the planet because anthropogenic global warming is somehow real? Continued expansion of the Department of Education? Continued expansion of Obamacare? Sorry, but I find this sort of thinking disturbing in that it opens the door for any number of programs that could prey on Christians’ fear or guilt. I don’t need the next president to continue to attempt to guilt me into support for expanded government programs. This is a bleeding heart Leftist tactic. No thanks.

    • #60
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