My Attempt to Explain “The Establishment”


It’s a word that gets thrown around with more frequency than anyone would really care to know. For some it means, “Those who will not commit political suicide,” while for others it means, “Those who have no spine.” But despite being near useless in explaining who is at the top of the Republican Party, the word “establishment” does have a meaning, and it does have members. The power of the establishment is debatable. On one hand, the performance of the national party inside Washington DC is more than capable of being orchestrated by these select few. After all, what good is having a leadership apparatus if it cannot exert some form of influence within its own sphere. However, on the other hand, it’s powerless to influence individuals like you or me to do anything when it comes to campaigns, including vote, if you do not succumb to their efforts. I will explain this.

First, the political establishment is made up of the folks one might expect. These would be the people in high positions of power in the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the leadership positions in the House and Senate. So yes, Reince Priebus and Sharon Day, the second in command at the RNC, would fit this description. We all know about Priebus, but who is Sharon Day? Day is someone described by the Florida paper The Sun-Sentinel as an “uber [sic] Republican.” She hails from Florida, obviously, and was elected to the number-two spot in 2011. She stays behind the scenes mostly, speaking to dedicated GOP crowds during elections, and trying to wash the smears of “War on Women” off of the GOP. Since she is from Florida, it is hard to imagine that she has not had close contact to folks like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, but that is pure conjecture and not enough to go on to claim that she is secretly a leftist, as many wish to paint the Establishment as being.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cheer Marco Rubio for defending his description of Hillary Clinton as lying about Benghazi and eviscerating Charlie Rose’s efforts to defend her.  They’re also worried that Pres. Obama is still not serious about wiping out ISIS with his very limited deployment of special forces to Syria.  And they react to the women of “The View” referring to Carly Fiorina’s smile as “demented” and a “Halloween mask.”

The Hearings that Were More Important than Benghazi


Writing in The American Interest, Eliot A. Cohen notes to his chagrin that Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the committee investigating Benghazi eclipsed everything else in the news that day. This is unfortunate, he notes, because on the same day, he took part in another hearing, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Capital Hill.

“Vanity aside,” he remarks, “I wish that my hearing had received a bit more attention.” My vanity isn’t at issue here, but I too wish that his hearing had received more attention.

Rubio/Fiorina: Does it Matter Who Leads the Ticket?


Fiorina-RubioMany said during the debate last night that they would love to see a Rubio/Fiorina ticket or a Fiorina/Rubio ticket, and they didn’t care how the ticket was ordered. Does it matter who leads the ticket? I believe it does. The best order for that ticket would be Rubio/Fiorina for the following reasons:

  1. Fiorina would be much more effective attacking Hillary from the VP slot. Doing so from the top of the ticket would risk making her look mean and unpresidential to all those mushy independents out there — the people that want everyone to play nice. Nobody is too concerned if the #2 person on the ticket goes into attack mode. Besides, I think Carly would be more effective attacking Hillary, and that would allow Rubio to play the forward-looking optimist. Although it would be fun to see Carly debate Hillary, we saw last night that Marco could easily handle her.
  2. Fiorina’s CEO experience would make a fat target for the Dems, who would accuse her of being a heartless Richie Rita laying off thousands of common folk while wiping her feet on the poor. They did it effectively to Romney and they can do it to Fiorina. Those attacks fall flat against a VP candidate.
  3. I believe the Dems will have a very hard time mounting a successful smear campaign against Rubio. The stuff they’ve tried so far via their media organs has been very weak tea. Barring some hideous unknown scandal, they won’t be able to lay a glove on the young, handsome, Hispanic, middle-class Senator.
  4. Fiorina is not much younger than Hillary. Nominate her and you lose the youth advantage Rubio brings. It would be harder for Carly to appeal to the kids.
  5. The Dems would attack Fiorina’s complete lack of political experience. I know it doesn’t matter to some people, but it will matter to a lot independents. Attacking Rubio’s short career in the Senate doesn’t really fly given the current occupant of the White House.

I love Carly and would love to see her on the ticket, but I really think she would be better in the number-two slot. No matter who gets the nomination, they could do much worse than Carly. If she won’t take the job, give it to Susanna Martinez. We need a woman on the ticket to balance Hillary who, despite my doubts, says she’s a woman.

By most accounts, the third GOP debate was a circus which strangely pitted the Republican candidates banding together to fend off their foes–not the Democrats, but rather their moderators from CNBC.

To shed light on the proceedings–if there was any of political value–we turn to a fine panel. In studio, Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky of American Thinker, Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics and Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Jonathan Last and Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad to see a unified GOP conference as Paul Ryan is elected speaker and are optimistic in his potential as speaker.  They also hammer CNBC for its horrible management of Wednesday’s GOP debate and loved the rebuke from Ted Cruz.  Jim calls out Ben Carson for lying about his connection to Mannetech.  And, of course, we have a blimp reference.

How Many More Debates?


Last night’s debate was refreshing in that it brought out some fight in the candidates. Unfortunately, the fight was born of necessity thanks to another biased, unprofessional performance from the moderators.

Republicans have endured three of these debacles so far, but the only unifying issue is that, in each case, the moderators tried to make themselves the story. Fox News — a supposed bastion of objective media — showed its sensational circus act and it has been downhill since then. Meanwhile, on the Democrat’s talking point presentation programs debates, we get to see how who can promise the most benefits and who the moderators will most want to get selfies with. To make matters worse, the Democrats have five more opportunities to roll out their agenda and polish Hillary’s crown, while we’ve got seven more of these fiascos scheduled.

My Big Worry About This Election Cycle


The world, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is right now extremely unstable. I worry that we’re sleepwalking toward a catastrophic war that no one (save ISIS, perhaps) wants. I worry that the 2007 crisis did vast harm to our sense of national competence, optimism,  and unity. I worry that the loss of two major wars has precipitated in us a loss of confidence in our geopolitical competence; that we no longer believe America fit to lead the world. Rapid technological change has created a social revolution that no one asked for, making many of us obsolete on the job market. It has fractured the media environment, too, leading to polarization, to the glorification of those who express the loudest opinion, rather than an appreciation of those who quietly learn and consider the facts. I worry this has given rise to a style of political expression that’s increasingly rude, shrill, and hostile to other Americans. I doubt that Americans have been so deeply divided since the antebellum period.

I’m concerned that people on our side, that is to say, people who see a Leviathan state crushing the very qualities that made America a global superpower and a model of freedom the world around — to wit, a limited, small and responsive government; a constitution based on the principle of a balance of power; the rule of law; a spirit of innovation; all in the context of free-market capitalism — have made us frantic at the prospect that we’re losing not only the greatest country in the history of human endeavor, but our country, the only one we’ve got.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review applaud House Republicans for pursuing impeachment charges against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  They also scold House Republicans for contributing to the resurrection of the Export-Import Bank.  And they have no patience for the campaigns griping about their green rooms prior to the presidential debate at Colorado University.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review give credit to MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski for calling Hillary Clinton “pathetic” for playing the gender card against Bernie Sanders.  They also question the choice of liberal John Harwood to moderate Wednesday’s GOP debate on CNBC.  And they shake their heads as MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry tells her guests to be wary of using the term “hard worker” because she somehow connects it to slavery and single moms.

It’s no secret that Russia is and has always been a propaganda state. Their efforts to control information and influence public opinion at home and abroad are are aggressive and extensive. But Putin’s Russia has a greater goal: to control the internet–the greatest tool in bringing about a total surveillance state.

But there’s another side to Big Comrade. It’s a legion of brilliant programmers and hackers who serve as a counterbalance to Putin’s goal of totalitarianism. It’s an epic struggle waged not with guns and bombs, but with mouse clicks and websites, disinformation, misinformation and leaks.

The Purity-for-Profit GOP Leading a Reign of Error


Marie Antoinette's execution in 1793 at the Place de la Révolution.The French Revolution began with disaffected aristocrats wanting to reform their stodgy, inflexible political system. If only King Louis XVI would accept a more liberal Constitutional Monarchy, France could enter into a bright new future.

Once the revolution was underway, a group of the bourgeoisie decided these modest goals weren’t progressive enough, so they formed the Jacobin Club to steer the reforms further to the Left.

When the king was deposed, a group of Jacobins decided the club itself wasn’t progressive enough. They brought in the lower classes and formed the Montagnards to steer the movement even further to the Left.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review highlight the important messages for young men to grow up and embrace responsibility in Jim’s new book, “Heavy Lifting.”  They also sigh as the Justice Department, to the surprise of no one, refuses to prosecute Lois Lerner over the IRS targeting of conservative groups.  And they marvel at just how terrible Jeb Bush has been at running for president.

The NRA Is Doomed. Long Live the NRA.



The National Rifle Association is too rural and too radical to continue. The NRA will soon cease to be relevant in local and national politics as its members age and the political zeitgeist swings in favor of voters who support gun control and restrictions on the Second Amendment. The science is settled on this, it’s inevitable, it’s going to happen.

I’m not quoting this month’s story by Adam Winkler in the Washington Post, rather, I’m quoting a 1996 story in Rolling Stone. The “experts” in the halls of Washington and academia were wrong about the NRA 20 years ago, and they’re wrong about it today as well.

What a week it’s been in the political world. Hillary Clinton was back on the Hill again testifying about Benghazi. U.S. troops engaged in the Middle East. Assad visited Putin in Moscow. Putin’s troops continued their assault on ISIS. A wave of terror and retaliation once again grips Israel. Joe Biden dropped out of the race for the American presidency. And there was much more.

To help us make sense of all of this we turned to Art Cyr of Carthage College, Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post, Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard, and Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner. What a week it was, and what happened will surely lead to more reasons for ongoing discussion.

This morning Paul, Scott, and John got together for Episode 28 of the Power Line Show. They were joined by law professor David Bernstein to talk about his new book Lawless: The Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

This is a can’t-miss conversation and a must-read book. For the rest of the show, the PL crew talked about Hillary Clinton’s committee appearance yesterday: How did she do? What did we learn that we didn’t already know? How is her testimony being spun? What will the fallout be, down the road? And is there any chance that she will be indicted? It is a lively, fast-paced show.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review applaud the Republicans on the Benghazi committee for revealing key facts, including that Hillary knew right away that the video had nothing to do with the attack.  They also scold some GOP members for using the hearing as a soapbox.  And they slam Democrats for doing nothing but ripping Republicans and sucking up to Hillary.

12 Times the GOP Establishment Kicked the Conservative Base in the Teeth


1. The 2014 Mississippi Senate Primary: In order to stop Tea Party Conservative Chris McDaniel from unseating Thad Cochrane, a superannuated Washington lover of pork spending (who didn’t even want to run for re-election), the GOP establishment ran a ruthless campaign of attacks and dirty tricks, and when those failed, they openly courted Democrat voters to cross over into a Republican primary. (The GOP-E also intervened in Kentucky and Kansas to protect moderate establishment Republicans from conservative opponents.)

2. Funding Obamacare and Executive Amnesty: In 2015, the GOP Congress voted to fully fund Obamacare and Obama’s Executive Amnesty, despite campaigning in 2014 on a promise to defund both. Defunding them against an entrenched Democrat administration was always unlikely. However, the GOP-E went beyond failure by attacking conservative Congressmen and Senators who fought to defund them as extremists who were siding with terrorists.