Obama Scolds Journalist for Committing Journalism


There was a bizarre event at the President’s press conference Wednesday, one rarely seen in the past six-plus years. A member of the White House press corps asked Obama a difficult question. Major Garrett of CBS News cast a skeptical eye on the administration’s “historic” deal with the genocidal Iranian regime.


GOP Bracketology — July Version


Tournament-BracketNow that Scott Walker’s in the race, with John Kasich on tap for next week, the GOP’s 2016 field soon will total 16 presidential candidates. We can rank them, 1-16. Or go by tiers. Or pick names out of a hat. My choice: divide the field into four brackets, four candidates apiece, which I’ve done in this column over at Forbes.com.

Bracket One — The Non-Conformists

1. Donald Trump

How Small Do You Want Your Government?


Reflecting upon our debates – or, at least, disagreements – about WHINOS vs RINOS, I began to wonder if there was a difference in assessment of the relative merits of a GOP presidency vs a Hillary/Warren/Sanders (HWS) presidency. We probably all agree that anyone is better than HWS, in at least the short term. But how much better?

If you think things are bad, but not too bad, and in many important areas trending well, then the difference is pretty big. If you think things are really, really bad indeed, then the difference is pretty small. The first camp wants the immature bomb-throwers to shut up and let the adults win the election. The second camp thinks the important thing is to wake the sheeple, and if this election is lost it is a small price to pay for the longer term objective of saving the republic (if that is still possible).

Politics is the Art of the Impossible


shutterstock_111393362It is a well-worn trope of the left — from the mere ‘liberals’ to the looniest of the loony left — that politics should not be the art of the possible, but rather the art of making the impossible possible. No less a deep thinker than Hillary said “The challenge is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”

Who can doubt that the left has been spectacularly successful at this? To take only the last few years, compulsory state adoption of SSM, ObamaCare, and executive amnesty have accomplished what was routinely declared impossible within the lifetime of this website.

More insidiously, the very institutions of society have been co-opted to continually redefine the possible ever-leftward. The Fourth Estate, the universities (and education as a whole), the entertainment industry, charity, and organized religion all hew to the line that — whatever the problem is — more government is the answer. And now science as been dragooned to the statist cause: if there is no actual crisis, we’ll invent one.

What Do Trump Enthusiasts Expect?


Can anyone here imagitrump-splitne a scenario in which Donald Trump is elected President of the United States in 2016? Show me how it works, in the real world. Under what conditions could Trump secure the GOP nomination? Having secured it, under what conditions could he win 270 electoral votes? Can anyone imagine him winning as an independent?

Would you agree with me that it’s a highly unlikely scenario?

Pull No Foreign Policy Punches in 2016


As_Between_Friends_(Punch_magazine,_13_December_1911,_detail)Conservatives have reason to be optimistic about 2016. The ample supply of viable Republican candidates seems to grow every week, and should they (or at least the more comb-over adorned among them) keep the internecine squabbling short of apoplectic levels, the Republican nominee will enter the general election with the chance to put a fresh face on American leadership.

Opposing them is a Clinton campaign of the mind that generating no news is better than being held to account for anything uttered in the buildup to the primaries. Despite her perfunctory tour of the nation, the USS Hilldog rests in stagnant waters. The most prominent media it can expect for the near future will be the State Department’s monthly email dumps. These should fasten even more barnacles to She-Who-is-Inevitable.

Let us assume that Clinton is in fact just that, at least for the Democratic nomination. She will sell voters the following: inequality rhetoric, a hard-line on immigration, and defense of the Affordable Care Act. In short, she will present herself as their heir to Barack Obama’s coalition, using all the best practices in consultant-based identity politics, and like her predecessor, hers will be a domestic agenda.

Ben Carson Is Not Interested in Politics


Ben CarsonBen Carson is not interested in politics. “People ask me,” he says to the assembled crowd at a town hall meeting in Barrington, New Hampshire, “what made you interested in politics after such a wonderful career in medicine?” He pauses slightly. “I’m not interested in politics; I’m interested in saving this country.”

His career in medicine has shown him that health is the most valuable thing we have. If you give someone the choice, “you can have a hundred million dollars, but be a quadriplegic, or you can have perfect health and no money, I think the choice is pretty obvious.” That’s why Carson speaks out against Obamacare. America is an incredible nation, founded by incredible people, to be of the people, for the people, by the people. Government is intended only to facilitate our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Carson says. Obamacare reverses that by making government the giver of things. If we accept the government’s ruling the most important thing we have — health — then we’ll accept anything.

There’s hope, though, he says. He has a soft voice and his eyes are half-closed as he stands calmly in front of us. One senses that his would be the temperament you want in a surgeon. “Thomas Jefferson predicted this,” he says quietly. “He was a great man. He said eventually the people would become less vigilant and the government would expand to control everything we did. But just before that, people would wake up and take back control. I hope that this is that time. If this is not that, then it’s over.”

Member Post


I saw Dr. Benjamin Carson at a rare lunchtime occurrence of the Politics And Eggs series.  (Usually they are breakfasts.)  This time it was at the Bedford Village Inn. He gave a somewhat rambling but otherwise engaging talk.  He began by discussing some of his surgical experiences, trying to relate them to problems our country is facing. […]

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CPPR 490: Standing Up for Barbara Bush’s Organelles


Barbara-BushIn the last ten days, we learned Lindsey Graham is a teenage girl, the Donald thinks rapists should buy us a fence, Mike Huckabee is tapped in to the D.C. pagan scene, Rand Paul is running for sheriff of Pitkin County, Ben Carson just wants to go home, and you never, ever pick “dare” around Chris Christie.  Never.

But what does it all mean?  Let’s find out together. If you need a refresher on where we’ve been, CPPR 500 can be found here. This week’s presidential power rankings …

21. Governor George Pataki

Carly Fiorina in New Hampshire


Carly FiorinaCarly Fiorina has faith in people. Everyone has God-given gifts, she tells those of us gathered at Turbocam’s manufacturing plant in Barrington, New Hampshire. That means everyone in the world has potential. “So why is our nation better?” Here you have a right to fulfill your potential. That right comes from God. She notes that she started her career as a secretary, answering the phones and typing memos. Only in this nation, she says, could she go from being a secretary to the CEO of a major corporation.

She thanks Turbocam for hosting us and for giving her a tour of their facility. Before Fiorina spoke, a representative of the company addressed the crowd briefly (they are a “a global turbomachinery development and manufacturing company that specializes in 5-axis machining of flowpath components”). Turbocam is proud to help the community. “Say we have a product that costs 90 cents to build, and we sell it for $1,” he says. “We’ll give 1 or 2 cents to charity, say to build a new park. But that’s not the only way we improve the community. Of the 90 cents it cost to build that product, 50 cents went to salary. And our employers then spend that in the community.” Their website also highlights the efforts of the company’s founder and CEO, Marian Noronha, to end slavery in Nepal.

Fiorina notes that Turbocam, like HP, started out as a small business. “We’re at a point where the things in this country that give us the opportunity to fulfill our potential are being crushed by government,” she says. “We are destroying more business than we are creating.” And it’s not big businesses that are being destroyed, she says. Big businesses can afford to do business with big government. “That’s called crony capitalism.” There are more than 70,000 pages in the tax code, she says. Small business owners tell her they’re filing their taxes late because they can’t understand the rules, and sometimes their accountants can’t understand the rules. At the same time, the IRS has announced they won’t be answering everyone’s questions because they “don’t have enough money.” Have you ever noticed, she says, that government always needs more money? Why is that? The TSA has a 95 percent failure rate. They want more money. The VA is unable to serve all our veterans. They want more money.

Will the Sixties Live on in 2016?


1968-McCarthySome of what’s been in the news lately shows that the turbulent decade that was the 1960s still has an effect on us — and may yet impact the 2016 election. Which prompted me to post this column over at Forbes.com. Here’s what got my attention;

1) The reported death of Burt Shavitz. You may not know the man, buy you’re probably familiar with his product: Burt’s Bees. Mr. Shavitz was a lot of things to a lot of people — former photojournalist in the 1960s, a guy who found a way to convert bee’s wax into personal-care products (lip balm, soap, deodorant, etc.). The best word to describe him just might be — ok, I’m going to say it: a hippie. As the company he co-founded posted on its website: “We remember him as a bearded, free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers and his land. Above all, he taught us to never lose sight of our relationship with nature.” Right on!

2) The Grateful Dead playing its last show in Chicago this past weekend — a “long, strange trip” that began in San Francisco some 50 years ago and earned the band international acclaim and a cult-like following of “Deadheads.” As The Chicago Sun-Times duly noted: “A whiff of sadness mingled with the odors of marijuana, patchouli and sweat Friday, as thousands of “Deadheads” — many without tickets — gathered for the “Fare Thee Well” tour.” Far out!

When Smart People Do Stupid Things


shutterstock_280247936Thursday afternoon, the Governor of Wisconsin filed paperwork to run for President of the United States. Thursday night – late Thursday night — Wisconsin’s top Republicans inserted a political mass suicide pact into the final draft of the state budget. As the Joint Finance Committee met for the last time before sending the budget to the full legislature, someone slipped a provision into the last final draft that would drastically restrict the state’s open-records law. All drafts, notes, intra-governmental communications (basically everything before the final version of a bill) could be kept confidential, and legislators would have vast privileges to refuse to make their communications public. There actually seems to be a real case for tightening the law, but this was sheer madness with a whiff of Shakespearean tragedy.

If you were trying to look as though you had something to hide, this is what you would do.

The Right and Left exploded in fury and joined in an uncomfortably weird but determined alliance. Democratic legislators denounced the open-records provision and conservative organizations cheered them on. After four years wandering in Wisconsin’s political wilderness, Democrats found themselves perched on the moral high ground and making the most of it.Republicans ran away from it as fast as they could — including some who’d voted for it in committee. Yesterday afternoon, less than 48 hours after it was first introduced, Governor Walker’s office put out a statement from the state’s top political leaders saying the provisions would be removed from the budget.

4 on the Floor for the Fourth


150701120633-calvin-coolidge-nationals-exlarge-169Quietly (which seems appropriate), it’s been a good year for Calvin Coolidge. America’s 30th President is this year’s choice as the White House Historical Association’s annual Christmas ornament. And tonight he gets to take what may or may not be a victory lap when an oversized Coolidge mascot competes at the Washington Nationals’ “running of the presidents” — a fourth-inning dash around the ballpark also featuring the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft (if the mascots are done to scale, getting stuck behind Taft would seem like a ticket to defeat).

About Coolidge: he’s also the only American president born on America’s birthday (in 1872, in Vermont’s Plymouth Notch). Which prompted me to write this column for Forbes.com about four aspects of the 4th of July that pertain to Republican presidential hopefuls and and the coming election:

1) Coolidge. In this remarkably bunched-together field of Republicans, which candidate(s) comes closest to “Silent Cal” as an espouser of tax cuts, deregulation, and limited government? Remember, it’s not just Ronald Reagan who championed conservative beliefs in a 20th Century White House. Here’s a Coolidge address to Congress, from December 1923 (his first year in office), to get you thinking . . .

Conservative Mike Flynn Takes on the Establishment


Mike FlynnRemember Aaron Schock? Killer abs, big “Downton Abbey” fan, resigned in disgrace? On Tuesday, voters in Illinois’s 18th District will decide which nominee should finish the remainder of Schock’s term and perhaps represent them going further.

Out of the goodness of their hearts, Republican leadership wanted to make the choice for Illinois voters. They anointed Darin LaHood, current state senator and son of CD18’s former representative, Ray LaHood. Most recently, dad flaunted his conservative cred by serving as President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation and demanding Congress spend, spend, spend on an endless list of pet projects. LaHood Sr. now works as a lobbyist, of course, so it’s understandable that Speaker Boehner, et al., want his son to be another cog in the profitable Beltway machine.

But another Republican lives in the LaHood Family heirloom, a sprawling Central Illinois district that includes Peoria, Springfield, and Quincy. Mike Flynn is a smart, passionate conservative who decided to challenge the well connected scion and present a choice for his fellow small-government Republicans.

Christie Almighty?


ChristieNow that he’s formally a candidate for president, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the race to a decidedly mixed reception. Some are calling it an ego run. Others would have you believe he’s the king of the GOP long-shots (talk about a backhanded compliment). Still others said Dr. Jekyll showed up to announce; how long before Mr. Hyde makes an appearance? Not a compliment whatsoever. Here’s my take on Christie’s entry. Longer post short:

1) It’s a test of what I like to call the George Costanza theory of recent presidential elections — George deciding, in a Seinfeld episode, that doing the opposite of what his instincts told him was the only way to get women, get a job, and get respect. Translated to elections: Bill Clinton was the opposite of George H.W. Bush (distinguished WWII veteran versus Vietnam draft evader). George W. Bush offered a moral fiber that Clinton lacked. And Barack Obama’s rhetorical skills are a far cry from the younger Bush’s interpretation of the English language. The far opposite of Obama in this Republican field? Try a guy who’s abrasive, blunt, confrontational, probably can’t sing, and hasn’t fit in a 42-long suit in years.

Vox Indicts Jeb Bush for Manslaughter


imageJeb Bush has few defenders on the right. Both his family name and a number of ill-advised statements have left him on the outs with much of the Republican base. His defeat in the primaries will be lamented by few outside of a fairly small donor class in the GOP. As eager as I am to see his campaign left in smoking ruins, there are limits to the bounds of legitimate criticism.

As you may have guessed, the left’s best and brightest at Vox know no such boundaries. The world’s foremost explainers of things that require little-to-no explanation have published a piece by one Dylan Matthews that essentially accuses Jeb Bush of manslaughter because he doesn’t give enough money to charity. No, really.

Jeb Bush could be saving dozens of lives every year

Happy Dependence Day


const4In what may well become history’s greatest example of missing the forest for the trees, we Americans have been so busy arguing about current political events and issues — the Supreme Court’s decisions on Obamacare and same-sex marriage, the ongoing negotiations about global trade and Iran’s nuclear program, immigration, taxes, gun ownership, and the Confederate flag — we haven’t noticed that our country has just had a revolution.

If you’re reading this essay, it’s very likely that your side lost.

The key to understanding what’s happened to us lies in grasping that a revolution occurs when a country changes not merely its laws or its leaders, but its operating system.