Donald Trump Visits Laredo, Texas


Earlier today, Donald Trump visited my birthplace of Laredo, Texas, a city which was founded by my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Tomás Sánchez de la Barrera y Garza in 1755.   Here is a video of Trump’s press conference in Laredo:

Attending John Kasich’s New Hampshire Town Hall

John Kasich speaks in a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, NH

John Kasich speaks in a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, NH

John Kasich is in Wolfeboro, N.H., for a town hall meeting at the Brewster Academy boat house overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. “Isn’t this beautiful?” He asks. “We love you,” says an older woman sitting in the front row. “Thank you,” says Kasich. “It’s always good to have your aunt in the crowd,” he jokes.

Let Chaos Reign!


The_Melee,_Eglinton_TournamentWhy have “controlled” debates at all? Curt Anderson, in today’s WSJ, suggests that we just let the candidates debate each other whenever and wherever they like.

The Republican Party should be looking forward instead of backward—and seeking every opportunity to feature its roster of excellent candidates, rather than trying to find ways to constrict the field. The voters will do that, as is their prerogative. The simple truth is that competitive primaries usually make a party stronger, not weaker.

He continues:

Happy Rick Day!


Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 9.27.32 AMIn the world of presidential politics, today is clearly the day of guys named Rick. To start with, Ricochet’s own Rick Wilson published a piece in Politico detailing why “Trump Voters Are Hillary’s New Best Friends.” The article lit up social media and included the likes of Jon Gabriel posting pictures of nuclear explosions. The whole thing is worth reading, but I found his fourth point to be the most persuasive:

4. You don’t care about his record. It’s an ideological train-wreck of epic proportions if you care about any conservative values. He’s been pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax hikes, pro-single-payer and is a past master of crony capitalism, to say nothing of his political and financial support for the Clintons and Barack Obama. It’s a mess. You’d never give any other candidate the benefit of the doubt on such a wide portfolio of positions that have changed 180 degrees and back again so many times. And yet, I imagine you can drill into Marco Rubio’s or Jeb Bush’s or even Scott Walker’s record for some sign of apostasy that you can never, ever, ever forgive.

Above and beyond anything else, Trump’s lack of conservatism — irrespective of his current bombast — should be the focus of Republican and conservative primary voters. If there is an actual RINO in this race, it is Trump. If we want someone who represents us, our party, and our ideals we must look elsewhere. Sure, he says a few things we may agree with, and he may say them in a way that gets our blood flowing and puts us in a fighting mood, but consider whether or not he believes what he says enough to lead the party into the fray. Judging by the convoluted smorgasbord of positions he’s held, the politicians and causes he’s given money and lip-service to in the past, Trump is not a fit head for this body politic. We are being conned by a reality television celebrity. Think about that while you read the way Wilson put it:

How to Beat Hillary in Three Steps


shutterstock_10315753Mitch McConnell gets the credit for being the first to invoke the gender card against Hilary Clinton. That means that the pundits have started talking about what it will mean in the coming election for Hillary Clinton, and The Washington Post‘s Plum Line has a better-than-average summation.

The first item of concern to Republicans is the historic symbolism of the possibility of the first female president. Of course, the logical response to that is to refer to the less-than-stellar results we received by making history with Obama. Hillary’s people will be hoping for that response, because it will lead to the inevitable question: Why do we need a woman president… other than to make history?

Hillary’s campaign is hoping to bring up what they consider women’s issues, which Plum Line’s Paul Waldman correctly lists as abortion, equal pay, paid sick leave, and child care. Normally, these have been disastrous issues for Republicans to navigate, mostly because the standard argument against government intervention in employment issues is a non-starter. Sure, it resonates with a base that prizes free markets or at least some level of governmental deregulation, but it doesn’t fly with people who are more concerned with how they will pay for day-care. Hillary is targeting women voters, and this is why she could win.

What Should We Say to Democratic Congressmen about Iran?


demophoneCongress will have a recess period before it votes on the Vienna Agreement with Iran via the Corker bill. Anyone who has both Republican senators and a Republican representative will almost certainly have no need to convince them to vote against the agreement.

All the action is, therefore, with the Democrats. It was Milton Friedman who said that the secret of good government is “making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.” That is precisely the task at hand over the next seven weeks.

I’m a spectator because I live in a state with two Republican senators and my representative is a member of the Republican leadership. No need to worry about how they will vote!

A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Miracle of America — a Review


TCI don’t read a lot of political autobiographies. Indeed, this may have been the first one. And I’m not sure why I decided to do so. Perhaps because Cruz has seemed something of an enigma: a hyper-ambitious, self-promoting appellate lawyer with all the right enemies; an ideologue from his teens who went through the Ivies and the Bush campaign but seems to say the right things; a sophisticated and subtle questioner prone to simplistic statements; a far-right, wacko-bird, bomb-thrower who writes bipartisan legislation that gets signed into law. What does Ted Cruz really believe in – apart from Ted Cruz?

Enough Lectures Please


Republican Presidential Hopefuls Meet With Potential Iowa VotersIt is in no way pleasant to register a disagreement with those I hold in high esteem, least of all those whose wonderful minds and spirit I have admired for many years. Nevertheless, intellectual honesty and critical vigor reminds us that there are times when distinctions must be drawn or, as H.L. Mencken observed, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” Though I hasten to add, given a recently discovered constitutional right not to be offended, that I am employing Mr. Mencken’s quote metaphorically.

Nevertheless, the sheer magnitude and groaning weight of condescension and scorn being piled on the shoulders of anyone with the effrontery to point out that Donald Trump has actually made some legitimate points is becoming increasingly difficult to take politely. Mona Charen, whose work I’ve enjoyed since Crossfire and Capital Gang days, registered her incredulity on the Trump phenomena with a recent article that began: “President Obama seems on the verge of the most abject diplomatic capitulation in American history — to Iran, our bitterest enemy — and Republicans are arguing about Donald Trump?”

To which I would reply: “Republican leaders from Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, are engaged in the most abject and total political capitulation in American history — to a president who is presiding over the liquidation of American Constitutional order; who ignores, alters, or invents laws at whim; and who arms mortal enemies while emasculating American defenses and antagonizing allies — and the GOP is getting the vapors over Donald Trump?”

A Two-Step Process to Slow the Trump Juggernaut


shutterstock_196597007 (1)Yesterday, Jon raised the issue of how Republican candidates should deal with Donald Trump’s presence in the presidential race. That happens to also have been the topic of my weekly column in the Orange County Register. My diagnosis:

That Trump’s candidacy is getting some traction is partially the fault of his GOP rivals. In recent years, many mainstream Republicans have abandoned any criticism of illegal immigration because of fears that they will be branded racists. But, as the recent murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle – in the sanctuary city of San Francisco – by an illegal immigrant demonstrates, falling silent on these problems doesn’t make them go away. How many innocent lives, exactly, ought to be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness?

That timidity among Republican candidates has left the field wide open for people like Trump. It’s a similar dynamic to the one in Europe, where elite aversion to talking about real problems related to immigration works to the benefit of the overtly nationalistic, fascist parties that are the only ones even willing to broach the topic. Crazy doesn’t beat sane. But it does beat silent.

The Heart of Trump


Trump CarI’ve resisted writing about the Donald. The sheer absurdity of the man seems to make commentary pointless. Even Jonah Goldberg, who mixed it up with Trump last week over “pants-gate“, has a sort of weary regret in dealing with his badly coiffed arch-nemesis. The absurdity is heightened when you consider the quality of the Republican field in 2016. The GOP has some remarkable bench strength, a sharp contrast to the warmed-over leftovers being passed off by the Democrats.

Compare 2016 with any election cycle in recent memory and you’re spoiled for choice: Jindal, Walker, Perry, Rubio, Cruz and Bush are all very plausible candidates for the presidency. You may have your favorite — I have a certain fondness for Senator Rubio — but each are basically conservatives candidates that the party can rally around. Jeb Bush does have the establishment smell about him, to say nothing of that family name, but see him in a clear and unobstructed light and yes, he would make a decent Commander-in-Chief.

Now enter the Trump. Granted he has put immigration on the table, divorced of even a hint of political correctness, but there are ways of raising awkward subjects without being excessively offensive. We understand that cousin Fred has a drinking problem; throwing it out there in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner between the turkey and coleslaw isn’t really going to help matters. If Trump doesn’t get bored with pretending to run for President – I give it until September – then the Dems are going to have an awesome gaffe reel to play against the eventual Republican nominee next summer.

Carly for the Win


Here’s the thing about politicians who try to be funny: It’s generally better not to do it at all than to do it badly. The one thing that’s worse than a stiff is a guy awkwardly fumbling his way towards an underwhelming punchline. Now, there are occasional exceptions. Ted Cruz’s recent attempts at Simpsons impersonations for BuzzFeed were dad-after-four-beers bad, but they at least proved that Cruz, who’s burdened by the male equivalent of a syndrome that can’t be described under Ricochet’s Code of Conduct, is capable of lightening up. But Senator Cruz ought to be taking lessons from Carly Fiorina. Check out her effort at BuzzFeed:

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

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.