Tag: Mike Huckabee

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In my bubble, today is #CelebrationWednesday. Perhaps I should call it #ReliefWednesday instead. Regardless, it is the day to celebrate the end of emails begging for dollars under the insidious guise of #GivingTuesday. The paint is wearing off my keyboard’s “delete” button. And it is essentially my fault. Not because I’m the one pounding the […]

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I’ve been annoyed at people here responding to Trump criticism with some variation of “I suppose you prefer Jeb! then”, especially since Jeb! has been hovering at 1% in Ricochet polling for a while.  Well the pre-caucus poll has been up for a few days, and officially zero Ricochet members have clicked the radio button […]

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Time to Thin the GOP Herd

 

shutterstock_119196472At last, Lindsey Graham did the right thing. After months of increasingly irrelevant undercard debates and poll numbers in the naughts, South Carolina’s littlest senator suspended his campaign. He joins far more promising ex-candidates Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal who were unable to capitalize on today’s frustrated electorate.

Reviewing the polling this weekend, it’s past time for several others to follow their lead. Trump is still leading most surveys, Cruz has surged into prominence, and then there’s the amorphous lump of everybody else. Said amorphous lump represents a powerful constituency, as it holds a third of GOP primary voters. But divided among several candidates, these voters will lose out unless several of their current choices step aside.

Let’s face facts, George Pataki: You are not going to be the GOP candidate. The same goes for Rand Paul, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. You cast your lines, but the fish ain’t biting. It’s time for you to “spend more time with your family,” just in time for Christmas.

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So, Jeb! is going to turn everything around by swooping in on the lastest internet craze. He would “step up” and kill Baby Hitler! (Beware, this is a link to the Huffington Post.) If people see that Jeb! is tough on infant Nazis and is up on what was hot on social media weeks ago, surely […]

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The Classicist Podcast, with Victor Davis Hanson: “2016 and the Race for the White House”

 

In the newest installment of The Classicist podcast, VDH takes us on a tour of the 2016 presidential race: How should we interpret Scott Walker’s departure? How plausible is a presidential candidate without electoral experience? What’s Victor’s cryptic message for Mike Huckabee? And why does Hillary Clinton have the Sage of the Central Valley quoting Nine Inch Nails lyrics? All that, plus perhaps the first in-depth analysis of the Jim Webb campaign that you’ve heard this cycle, can be heard below or when you subscribe to The Classicist via iTunes.

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

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You may have seen Mike Huckabee’s interview at Breitbart where he, let’s say, took issue with the President’s Iranian arms deal: “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the […]

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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

The Failed Presidential Candidate Employment Agency

 

shutterstock_245961226June having dawned, we’re beginning to get a decent sense of what the (enormous) GOP presidential field is going to look like. By my tally, we’re probably going to end up with approximately 15 relatively prominent candidates. That’s four sitting governors — Christie, Kasich, Jindal, and Walker; four former governors — Bush, Huckabee, Pataki, and Perry; four sitting senators — Cruz, Graham, Paul, and Rubio; Santorum, the lone former senator; and the two who’ve never held elected office, Carson and Fiorina. I know everyone’s focused on how you get all these people onto one stage, but I’ve been thinking about another dynamic: there are 14 people in that group who aren’t going to be the Republican nominee. What do they do next? Here are my thoughts for each of these candidates should they fail to win the big prize. Add yours in the comments.

Bush — Make gobs of money? True, there’ll be an open Senate seat in Florida next year with Rubio choosing not to run again, but most former executives don’t relish time in the legislative branch — and it’s not clear how much cachet Bush still has in the state given that he’ll have been out of office for a decade at that point (especially with Florida’s high population turnover). Given his record as governor, Bush probably would’ve been at the top of any Republican president’s list for Secretary of Education — but, given how closely identified with Common Core he’s become, I doubt that’s necessarily true anymore.

Carson — Even in these early days, it’s become clear that Ben Carson probably should not be in this race. His penchant for gaffes and his ability to get tripped up by even rudimentary policy questions likely augurs a campaign that will end in embarrassment — which is a real shame, because Carson is immensely accomplished and has lived a great American life…just not one that needs to culminate in a presidential bid. Given his rise from childhood poverty in Detroit to the commanding heights of the medical field, he provides an incredible example for young African-American men throughout the country. If he placed his focus there — perhaps starting an organization that was a more conservative equivalent of Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program — he could do an immense amount of good.

Sorting the Republicans’ 2016 Kingdom

 

29pataki-sub-2-superjumboThe GOP presidential field continues to swell like Elvis’ waistline in the 1970s. Former New York Governor George Pataki jumped into the fray on Thursday, a day after former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 contender Rick Santorum made his intentions known.

Does either candidate stand a chance of making it all the way to the nomination?

Don’t bet on it. Pataki is the longest of long shots – he cut crime rates and taxes during three terms as head of the Empire State, but he’s also a Roosevelt Republican and social liberal. Santorum was the surprise winner in Iowa the last time caucus-goers voted. But this time around, it’s a far more crowded field.

Of Men and Mars and Maine — and Mainstream Media

 

20veeck_1A special thanks to the good folks at nationalpastime.com for unearthing this tidbit: on yesterday’s date in 1959, Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck arranged for four midgets, all dressed up as space aliens, to be helicoptered onto the playing field at Comiskey Park — the joke being that they’d arrived from another planet to help the ChiSox’s vertically-challenged double-play tandem of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio. Actually, the joke was on baseball that year: the “Go-Go Sox” made it to the World Series, air-raid sirens and all.

It’s the same Bill Veeck who gave baseball its first exploding scoreboard and fans a chance to manage a game — and, while running the Cleveland Indians, integrated the American League.

Speaking of alien life, there’s the question of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and his presence in the Democratic field — namely, is he the victim of a biased media that gives his candidacy the same odds as life on Mars?

Are Republicans Going to Abandon Entitlement Reform?

 

042015cbo

A few quick facts on entitlement spending: (a) CBO projects federal spending on Medicare and Social Security over the next 25 years will rise by roughly 3 percentage points of GDP,  to 11% from 8%; (b) an aging US population will be the prime driver of that projected higher spending; (c) a middle-class, one-earner couple retiring in 2030 will receive $1.3 million in lifetime Medicare and Social Security benefits having paid in just under $500,000.

To me, these numbers argue pretty strong in favor of reforming entitlements to spend less than projected and weight that future spending more toward lower-income Americans. Now, I have been worried that Republicans are backing way from reforming Medicare and Social Security in favor of cutting Medicaid and various income support programs. The former would be classified as “earned benefits” or as the WSJ’s Homan Jenkins has put it,  “… middle-class rewards for a life of hard work and tax-paying, against Mr. Obama’s vast expansion of the means-tested welfare state for working-age Americans. ”

The GOP’s Fight Club

 

621_356_fight_club1Sometimes, late-night television writers have to scrounge for material. Other times, comedy falls right in their laps. For example: news reports that a 68-year-old Mitt Romney plans to climb into the ring with former boxing champ Evander Holyfield.

It’s part of a May 15 card in Salt Lake City. And before you think Romney’s lost his mind (or suffered damage from too many political campaigns), rest assured that (a) his heart’s in the right place (it’s a fundraising event for Charity Vision, a humanitarian organization founded by retired Salt Lake physician Bill Jackson) and (b) the former GOP nominee hasn’t lost his sense of humor (“It will either be a very short fight, or I will be knocked unconscious,” he told reporters. “It won’t be much of a fight. We’ll both suit up and get in the ring and spar around a little bit.”).

We’ll see how Romney’s boxing skills measure up with those of another Utah legend: Donny Osmond.

Andy Ferguson Narrows the Field

 

In all the hoo-hah about them over the last 10 or so days, one of the things I found most annoying was that Brian Williams and Jon Stewart kept being described as journalists. Performers, yes, but journalists? Either of them? Not even close.

That was my reaction, anyway, but then I got to wondering: Does journalism, real journalism, even exist anymore? Original research and reporting, good, accessible writing, all presented with freshness and energy and intelligence? Is it still around? Or has journalism become so debased that we might as well concede the collapse of another corner of what used to be called Western Civilization and go ahead and grant that, by current standards, Williams and Stewart really sort of were journalists?

What’s the Conservative Sleeper Issue of 2016?—Troy Senik

 

I may have mentioned this before here on the site — I was recently reminded that I’ve been hanging around these parts for nearly three and a half years, matching herpes for both persistence and intrusiveness —but I’ve never forgotten a piece of trivia Ed Gillespie (then Counselor to President Bush) shared with a group of us speechwriters during the 2008 campaign: the single biggest fundraising issue for the RNC during that cycle — the one that could inevitably galvanize conservative checkbooks — was the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Despite the fact that it was virtually unknown to the press and the wider GOP establishment, the underlying issue of surrendering a chunk of national sovereignty lit a fire under the base. It’s forgotten now, but Mike Huckabee’s emphasis on the issue during the pre-primary period was one of the factors that shifted his campaign into high-gear. There was a limit, of course, to how far Huckabee could ride that one issue, but let us not forget that the feelings stirred up during that campaign would ultimately block the treaty’s adoption four years later.