Tag: Rand Paul

The Saddest Ad of 2016 (So Far)


Sen. Rand Paul entered the GOP Primary with high hopes. He was the candidate who could represent the rising libertarian-ish wing of the party; those people skeptical of government in taxes and spending, but also in foreign intervention and the excesses of our criminal justice system. He would attract the sizable remnant of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, but wouldn’t be saddled with dad’s kooky baggage.

Rand would appeal to the budget-cutters in the Tea Party as well as the young, disaffected, and apolitical. He would even reach out to inner city communities and minorities who had long been written off by the GOP establishment as unreachable.

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A former State/Defense Dept. official who was responsible for sending military aid–equipment that was selected more for the congressional district it was produced in than for in-country conditions–to U.S. allies in the Middle East recaps the past five years. He concludes,  Upon my return to the states, I was dejected, and my desire to continue […]

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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.

Lindsey Graham’s Out


News broke sometime this morning: Lindsey Graham’s suspending his campaign.

Really, I’m ready for more candidates to start dropping out. After several debates, I think we’re pretty familiar with most of the candidates. Time for the field to narrow so the top few can get more airtime. Notable exception: Rand Paul. I’d like him to stay in it, not because he’s gonna get close to winning, but because he holds positions significantly different than the other candidates, and I think that the intra-party debate helps us, in the long run.

The Debate That Was


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TDS-Logo-BLast night, CNN hosted the fifth Republican primary debate, held at Las Vegas’s lovely Venetian hotel and casino. There were, of course, two debates. But the one that people were interested in was the prime-time debate. Unfortunately for everyone involved (especially anyone who had to write about it after), the undercard debate didn’t finish until 8:12 pm ET and the primetime debate, scheduled for 8:30, didn’t start until later. The first candidate didn’t speak until 8:42. (Not that we were tapping our foot with annoyance or anything.)

What We Know So Far about the GOP Presidential Tax Plans


Bobby JindalThe Tax Foundation analysis of Bobby Jindal’s tax plan:

  • Governor Jindal’s tax plan would substantially lower individual income taxes, eliminate the corporate income tax, and repeal a number of complex features in the current tax code.
  • Governor Jindal’s plan would cut taxes by $11.3 trillion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up reducing tax revenues by $9 trillion over the next decade when accounting for economic growth from increases in the supply of labor and capital.

So let’s summarize the four plans examined by the Tax Foundation model:

  • The Jeb Bush plan would lose $1.6 trillion over a decade (with economic feedback),  lead to a 10% higher GDP over the long-term, and boost income in the bottom fifth by 10%, the middle fifth by 13%,the top fifth by 10%, and the top one percent by 16%.
  • The Marco Rubio plan tax plan would lose $1.7 trillion over a decade (with economic feedback), lead to a 15% higher GDP over the long run, and boost income in the the bottom fifth by 40%, the middle fifth by 16%,the top fifth by 18%, and the top one percent by 28%.
  • The Donald Trump plan would lose $10 trillion over a decade (with economic feedback), lead to an 11% higher GDP over the long term, and boost income in the the bottom fifth by 11%, the middle fifth by 19%,the top fifth by 21%, and the top one percent by 27%.
  • The Rand Paul plan would lose $1 trillion over a decade (with economic feedback, lead to a 9% higher GDP over the long term, and boost average incomes by 16%.
  • The Jindal plan would lose $10 trillion over a decade with economic feedback, lead to a 14% higher GDP over the long run, would boost income in the the bottom fifth by 8%, the middle fifth by 15%,the top fifth by 22%, and the top one percent by 26%.

One important caveat (other than the vagaries of dynamic scoring) is that the TF model does not factor the “fiscal costs of higher interest payments, as well as the macroeconomic effects of the spending reductions needed to bring the budget into balance.” Let me also add that one other thing the TF model shows is that personal income tax cuts tend to have the biggest revenue loss and the least GDP bang for the trillion bucks.

The Mean Streets of Mackinac Island


mackThere are 492 stories on the naked island. This is one of them.

A political consultant — John Yob’s his name — was out tomcatting at a Mackinac Island watering hole Thursday night. One drink became three, three drinks turned to 10, and by 2 a.m. he was feeling every drop of his Oberon Ale. Yob had a mouth full of cotton and a belly full of regret. Little did he know, the night was just getting started.

Most people think of Mackinac Island as a family place. A dot of green in a great lake of blue topped with B&B’s, fudge shops, and horse-drawn carriages. But there’s another side to Ol’ Mac. A darker side.

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

Dear Republican Candidates: Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat


gladiator-are-you-not-entertainedWith the notable exception of Carly Fiorina, all of the non-Trump candidates have been — how to put this politely? — soporific this past month. Doubtless, many of them have been simply waiting for the Trump thing to burn itself out, and have busied themselves with fundraising, flesh-pressing, policy paper issuing, and hoping that something about an email server will wake Americans up from a quarter century of toleration for the the Clintons’ lawlessness. But — however smart that strategy might have seemed a few weeks ago — it isn’t working. Trump is bigger than ever, and no one is paying attention to any of you, largely because you’ve done so little that’s attention-worthy.

As a conservative, I like my politics boring: The less that’s going on in publicly-owned mansions and domed capitols, the more space there is for important things to happen in business, religion, science, and civil society in general. I don’t — or at least shouldn’t — want politics to be any more entertaining than necessary, but this has been too little of a bad thing. We’ve an important election coming up, with a surplus of important issues and interesting candidates with some very different takes on them. And what are they doing? Trying to lay low and wait for things to blow over. On this point if no other, the Trumpsters have my full sympathy.

So here’s my general suggestion: The Republican candidates — all of them, including Trump — need to find some way to constructively tap into the frustration so many people are feeling and turn it into something constructive. Get some attention. Have some fun. Mix it up. Go rogue. Give people reason to think there’s cause for excitement on our side.

Whose Policy Statements Surprised You the Most in the Debate? For Me, Paul.


rand-paulAnd it wasn’t close. Most candidates put forward the same policies that they had before. Some policy positions I didn’t know before (Gilmore and Pataki, in particular), but didn’t surprise me because I didn’t care. Some expanded their previous positions; Walker’s commitment to supporting our allies as a route to renewed American leadership and global prosperity stood out. I think that the second most surprising new position came from Huckabee, though, when he claimed that he would kick transgendered soldiers out of the military on fiscal grounds. That’s pretty dumb; training up a new soldier is massively more expensive than medical treatment. Still, the only news there was that he had an innumerate reason for a belief that one would have imagined he held. In general, the questions seemed to elicit previously elaborated positions for the edification of the American public, rather than new positions for the nerds. As a nerd, what did I miss?

I include my submission, which is somewhat lengthy, below. Paul had two changes from the policies he outlines in his second book and that I recall from CPAC and the news, and I include Paul being the lead opponent of government healthcare for reasons I note below. It’s hard to tell how much is demagoguery, and how much is an actually new position, so I thought it would be interesting to hear from people who follow Paul more closely than I do. Does really he oppose my wife coming to America? Is his foreign policy really becoming more hardline recently? I disagree with him on most foreign policy issues (trade, ISIS, etc.), but I really vehemently disagree with anyone who suggests that Mrs. Of England ought not to be in my arms.

Change 1: We should not sell arms to Iraq

Run For The White House: A Guide To The Lesser Candidates


Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 4.31.22 PMFor every Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Bernie Sanders, there’s a Robby Wells, Doug Shreffler, John Blythe, and Morrison Bonpasse. Below is a guide to some of the lesser-known candidates angling for the Most Unwanted Job In America.

Brad Winslow is IN!The only Democrat of Orange County, California, Brad Winslow’s platform is a call to arms on behalf of a 28th amendment to the Constitution that would give “Congress and the President a uniform set of goals that they must work on together” and “establishes a set of basic behavior guidelines for the relationship between these two branches.”

Get excited, America!

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We’ve all had to fill out job applications or sort through job applications with a question about “Weaknesses”. And we know that most everyone is tempted to write “I’m too much of a perfectionist” or “I need to delegate better as I tend to take on the whole workload myself and do it more competently […]

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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

Dictator for a Week


Cincinnatus: Everybody’s favorite dictator. By the way, you also have to wear a toga for a week.

Let’s imagine that — a few years from now — the Ricochetti have mobilized a majority of American citizens who understand that the country is in serious trouble and have little trust in politicians to fix it. The result is the “Cincinnatus Amendment,” giving one citizen – elected by a supermajority of states or the popular vote – extraordinary power for exactly one week in order to restore Constitutional governance. This temporary dictator would control the executive branch and also have the legislative power of Congress. He is not, however, allowed to change the Constitution, remove federal judges, or change the current membership of Congress or Presidency, whose office holders will return to power next week.

Guilt by Association


The New York Times commits drive-by journalism against three Republican presidential contenders:

The leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.

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.