Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Yes, we’ve got a long way to go yet in the 2016 Presidential race, but here’s where it all stands right now, according to AAH.

(Each image in this article is linked to its original publication. Click on the image to get another perspective)

Donald Trump arrives to his Comedy Central Roast in New York, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Donald Trump arrives to his Comedy Central Roast in New York, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

What most of us wrestle with, and what most of us don’t realize, is that we live between intellectual judgment and emotion. We too frequently blur the lines separating them, and often the result is we make decisions based on how we feel rather than what we think. I believe this is largely what happened in electing Barak Obama twice. I suspect that this same phenomenon is propelling Donald Trump this early in the pre-primary season. And he is striking a chord that none of the other GOP candidates are striking. For the long-term, I don’t think the others really need to . . . yet. But it has long been a theme in American presidential politics that we have looked for the greater intangibles – those that appeal to our first impressions, our gut. We do look for that person who can speak to the highest ideals; down in the weeds policy specifics do not always reign supreme. Certainly not early on.

At this very early point in the presidential campaign, it’s all about passion.

It has been said of John F. Kennedy that for his lack of executive experience, he very rapidly and confidently grew in to his role as the most powerful, influential – and inspiring – leader in the world.

As for experience and so-called qualifications, there was little-to-no, really, in hard and long –fought, long and indisputably established accomplishment demonstrated by either Obama or Kennedy, and granted, Obama brought with and in himself additional unique aspects to-date not experienced in the American political scene. It was Robert Kennedy that said almost exactly 40 years to the day before, that a black man would be elected to the White House. Clearly, it was perfecting timing for Barak Obama. And to go up against the Old White-haired White Guy and then the Stiff Rich White Guy, all the more perfect.

But today there is another force at work – one which seems to be swinging from the far opposite side; one of plain, straight talk and of a directness not experienced in our present political and cultural climate, but one which appears to be welling from deep ground waters of discontent and disillusionment. It’s a backlash. It’s passion. It is raw, deliberate and unapologetic, uncensored passion coming from Donald Trump, and it seems it is what many Americans have been thinking and feeling for some time.

The tricky thing about emotions is that they subside. They are a transitory thing, often excited by particular and short-lived events. Not always, certainly, but commonly. With 14 months to go before the general election, and even only 5 months to go before the first primary, much will change. At a minimum, Trump is laying the groundwork for the eventual Republican nominee, regardless who it turns out to be.

So, in the meantime, here’s AAHs 14 months-out analysis of where it all stands. Call it prophecy, call it heresy, call it ill-informed. Call it prescient or call it foolishness. Call it biased. But just remember: I told you so.

Hillary Clinton

– – –

The Democrats

Hillary Clinton will not be the Democrat nominee, and the GOP will win the White House.

The one act that will become, over all else, Obama’s most memorable act and ultimately his legacy – his final and most significant act – will be the pardon of Hillary Clinton. She will go the way of other tragic politicians, and as it goes, it will get ugly and fascinating. Think of just two of too many examples: Dan Rostenkowski and James Traficant; think of too many Illinois governors – except she will not serve time in prison. She will be pardoned after indictment, and she will quietly, defiantly go home and back to her speaking tour where she will explain it all to the true believers, and she’ll make her gazillions on the speaking circuit and she’ll be fine. Nixon recovered to the extent he did, and at least in some circles, he became the Elder Statesman. She will refind and rebuild her way. But she will not be President and she will never hold public office again.


Bernie Sanders. We’re not ready for socialism in the White House. Plain and simple. Not even his True Believers. Ultimately, he is fringe and his to-the-end supporters are fringe and there are not enough of them. He will syphon off some number, and that’s about it. He’ll get to make his statement, then he’ll go back to Capitol Hill, or maybe home. He gets 100 points for being up front and proud of what he believes, but he loses 100 points for being a socialist and another 100 points for being crazy-wrong. Bottom line? Not on this continent, Bub.

Joe Biden, paraphrased (but not much)


“. . .Get a shotgun and shoot it off the balcony. . .” Sorta like Saddam Hussein used to do.

“You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. . . I’m not joking.”

“This is a Big F******* Deal. . .” – TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. Oops. Hot mike.

“Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president . . .”

“. . .They gonna putch’all back in chains. . .”

And those are just the ones that occur to me and that I could find this instant. There are, thankfully, many, many more. Bottom line on the possibility that Joe Biden takes Hillary’s place and seeks the nomination? OMG, I hope so.
Want more? Check them out right here.

The rest of the Dems


Sadly, Jim Webb is not getting any traction. He should have all the traction. If I were to choose to vote for a Democrat and I did not have Evan Bayh or Sam Nunn or Harold Ford, Jr. in the mix, I would choose Jim Webb. Maybe Martin O’Malley. But somehow, the Dems apparently are happier with the old and tired, white-haired, troubled and controversial; the familiar Let’s-go-back-20 years-and-do-it all-again-program. Wow. Really?

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses members of the Maryland House of Delegates on the first day of the 2013 legislative session in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Standing behind O'Malley is House Speaker Michael Busch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley addresses members of the Maryland House of Delegates on the first day of the 2013 legislative session in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Standing behind O’Malley is House Speaker Michael Busch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The truth is, far and away, Webb should be the Democrat’s number one choice. He would give any one of the GOP candidates a serious run for their money. I am truly mystified on this one. Except I really do know why: He’s too moderate.

Well, and we all know, and as the electorate taught the Repubs in 2008 and 2012, you get what you pay for. For 2016, I’ll give the Dems a hint: You’re not paying for very much at this point, and it appears you’re not willing to pay much next year. Could change, but I doubt it.

O’Malley ought to be in a close second to Webb. I don’t even want to talk about Chaffee and Warren. And there’s no need. As it stands, I cannot say that the Democrats are serious about winning.

Al Gore or anyone else? No.

The blaring, glaring question is obvious: Is this really the best you’ve got?

– – –

The Republicans – The New Team of Rivals

(Thank you, Doris Kearns-Goodwin)

In short, I am biased heavily. I am deeply impressed with the size and depth of the field to-date. Having said that:

UNITED STATES - MARCH 16:  Dr. Ben Carson during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

UNITED STATES – MARCH 16: Dr. Ben Carson during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Dr. Ben Carson. As wonderful and as capable as Dr. Carson is, he will not be president. Not for lack of all the most important things; this is strictly and only because of his lack of forceful, bold personality. For better or worse, and probably worse, we vote very much on gut and first impression. We live and decide by it. I hope he is selected for a cabinet position.

Donald Trump is generating passion far and above anyone else. He is striking an emotional and volatile chord in a huge number of Americans. He is redefining Presidential Politics… at least for this cycle. But 14 months is a long time in this business, and the pundits all say he will not go far. But seeing is believing, and there is no question he is developing, refining with each day that passes. It appears he intends to stay. I am not holding my breath, but I am not breathing easy, either.


Jeb Bush, qualified or not, big money support or not, is disappointing many straight down the middle Republicans. But he is likely to demonstrate staying power over the longer run. Still, warranted or not, he is, just by virtue of his name, of the Old Guard, and similar to Clinton, his name reaches too far back in history, a perspective widely held, justified or not. Some will say this is unfair, and perhaps it is. But if elected can he do it well? Of course. It just may not matter. (Reference again James Webb.)

For these and everyone else, suppose the true test were to be a combination of executive experience, the ultimate intangible measure, exhibited in strength of character and personality, the mysterious aura of one who is Presidential (we just know it when we see it); and hard qualifications such as a degree in law or economics or business, or significant experience as a legislator or a business person or both. Who can do it, and do it to the satisfaction of the majority of the country?


Walker: Possibly-Yes. There is more to life (and performance) than holding a degree. While he’s proven he can achieve respectable success in the midst of significant opposition, high taxes in Wisconsin will be a source of difficulty when the going gets rough.

Christie: Maybe-to-Doubtful, because 1) while he is presently eclipsed by Donald Trump in his ability to be overly blunt, he runs the risk of personality backfire, and 2) though not legitimate, the bridge so-called scandal and high New Jersey taxes may dog him as it will for Walker as low-hanging fruit for the Dems and his rivals.


Pataki, Huckabee and Kasich: Yes, each highly capable and accomplished. But in the end, they will be the last three standing Old White Guys in the room. And according to the Obama election rules, this alone will usher them out.

Paul: No – too quirky, too Libertarian, too much like his Old Man. Too many button-down collars, too. Only a straight collar is presidential. He should know this but apparently doesn’t.

Gilmore, Santorum, Graham: No. And for the longer list of possibles. . . yes, the list is even longer than any of us could have imagined. . . Check it out here.

Fiorina: Yes. No worries about her, no other comments required; full confidence. Just can’t wait to hear her clean up in the CNN debates… if she is given the chance she clearly deserves. Dying to see her head-to-head with Hillary. Still, for some set of poor reasons, the GOP electorate will likely not choose her. Too bad.


Perry: Yes. Yet one more highly experienced governor from Texas – hard to beat, and the only candidate with military experience (and a fighter pilot to boot), still a big plus in my book. But somehow, he does not stir the hearts of voters broadly, and already his funding is flagging. To continue to harken back to his moment of forgetfulness four years ago or to critique his glasses are illegitimate, but effective nevertheless. He will leave early.

Jindal: Yes, and another very well-experienced governor. But just as the appalling and wrong-headed discrimination and suspicion against Romney factored because he is a Mormon, too many will silently and irrationally be racist against him as an Indian. They won’t say it, but they’ll do it.

Cruz: Yes, maybe. He has a fair chance at the nomination. If he gets it, he will bloom as a firebrand for conservatism. But by some segment of his personality, he will exude an ever-so slight level of negativism, different than Trump, and it will become a point of criticism. Ultimately, he will have to convince us of and demonstrate his ability to bring the country together, something he has had difficulty with in the Senate. This problem in particular and by comparison, Marco Rubio does not have.


Rubio: Yes. Ultimately, if the Primaries show that Trump will not continue as a Republican and he does not run on as an Independent or Trumpian (reference Bill O’Reilly), which is as of yet a real threat to the GOP, Marco Rubio has “all that”: The ability, the personality, the character, the vigor, energy, and vision of youth, and the positive manner, among other less tangible measures, but those which are real to voters. He has all that Obama (and Kennedy) brought into the Oval Office with respect to experience in the Senate, and he has an impressive sense of pace and timing. He will be seen more and more as the clear stand out with the poise and demeanor of a President, even-keeled and yet exuding the passion and producing the stirring rhetoric American voters are seeking.

And finally, all the more to his credit, whether or not one agrees with him, he had deeply developed policy positions that he comfortably and convincingly articulates. He is prepared. He will “come into his own” more and more and forcefully through the Primaries.

Bottom Line: We predict Marco Rubio to be the GOP nominee and to win the White House. The only remaining question will be – Will he form a New Team of Rivals in a similar way to Lincoln? We shall see.

Geo Will Predicts


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By Hugh Hewitt

This article is posted in its original form at Hugh Hewitt’s website and is reprinted with permission.

– – –

Congratulations to Mitt Romney for having conducted a disciplined and idealistic campaign of great consequence for the country, even if he did not prevail. He is such a good and generous man that the defeat is very hard on all of the people that saw in him a combination of talents that the country desperately needed. Nature intervened after he had successfully overcome all the powers of incumbency, but he and his team –and especially his remarkable and wonderful family– sacrificed so much and worked so hard that is very difficult not to feel disillusioned with a country so unwilling to confront its deep problems and trust a virtuous man to lead it.

President Obama’s speech tonight was gracious and optimistic, and we have to hope he does move to the center because as Congressman John Campbell said on the program tonight, the GOP is not going to accept a slow move towards socialism. The president won re-election, but not a mandate. Not even close. This wasn’t 1984 much less 1964 or 1936. The GOP owes Mitt Romney and the all of his supporters the continued control of the House, and for that we should be very grateful.

I suspect the bruising political battles of the past four years will continue unabated because the country did not choose one course or the other, and the president’s re-election was so remarkably narrow and built on such a precariously empty agenda and so many tricks and sleights of hand that it is hard to imagine what he will want other than comprehensive immigration reform, which of course will do nothing to address the fiscal woes engulfing us. The rot of Obamacare will spread, and the regulatory maximalists will press forward with their ruinous agendas, and the House will not be in a position to stop the unelected rule-makers anymore than the president can force through his devastating tax agenda. We have a stalemate at hand, but what will be necessary is for the GOP to set its sights immediately on 2014 and recruit candidates for the Senate with the capacity to negotiate a fully partisan MSM. One weak link much less two or three can and do cripple entire elections. Whomever replaces Senator Cornyn at the head of the NRSC will have to start tomorrow to think through this challenge because we have to get the Senate in 26 months.

Ideas will matter more than ever, and their effective presentation even more so. The bad news is that Paul Ryan remains in the House. The good news is that he remains in the House, and that the rising generation of governors remains incredibly talented and innovative and they add Mike Pence to their number. I hope that Reince Preibus can be persuaded to stay at the RNC and improve on the very good machine he helped Mitt Romney build. It will be easier on the GOP the next time as the Democrats must suffer through their own succession battle as did the GOP in 2008, and they will have to do so as the economy grows even more stagnant.

Will stagflation come? Almost certainly yes, and the brutal reality of the fiscal hole the president dug will descend, and rather quickly. Will healthcare rationing arrive in the form of the IPAB? Yes, and seniors and their families will be shocked by the consequences. Will there be a crisis of confidence in our debt, and another panic? I hope not but rational people have to assume so.

My biggest worry is four more years of starving our military, and here the House must simply say no, even if it forces the showdown that the GOP strove so hard to avoid for fear that it would wreck their political chances. It is the Speaker’s and Leader McConnell’s first duty to make sure the military gets what it must have.

Pray for the president and the Congress and yes, with special zeal, for the health of the Supreme Court. We are in uncharted waters, but the Framers were geniuses, and we will see if that wisdom surpassed even what we had previously appreciated.

– – –

Click here or on the image above to learn more about Hugh Hewitt. You may also click here to read Hugh’s bio and about our other Contributing Writers on Ask A Hoosier, and you are interested in contributing, please check it out.

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President Bush Sr. went into office in 1988 with vast experience as a naval officer (and fighter pilot), businessman and government leader. He had already served as Vice President and led the CIA among other achievements. He continued to be known as one of the most devoted and loyal public servants in our nation’s memory.

To his detriment early on, he infamously promised he would introduce no new taxes on the American people. This curse stuck with him, perhaps the only real memorable misstep he made. But as President he assembled and led a world-wide coalition against a common evil, successfully worked within the parameters given him by the United Nations (he did not go beyond the mandate) and achieved their and our common goal – he won a war, and liberated a country. Then during his reelection bid in 1992 didn’t know the price of a gallon of milk… and was fired.

By incredible, stark contrast President Obama came into office with no substantial experience; many would say no measurable experience or know-how – no track record to speak of, no demonstrated, documented achievements worthy of the history of our nation’s Chief Executive or Commander-in-Chief.

Virtually his first act as President was to return to the British government the bust of Winston Churchill – a gift from the people of the United Kingdom – perhaps a long-awaited slight in retribution for African colonization (What else could it be? We are yet sorely in want of another more understandable and palatable explanation).

As new president he actually bowed down to foreign heads of state in humility and deference; and contrary to CNN News’ disingenuous and intellectually dishonest analysis of a statement made during the final presidential debate he did effectively, by words, tone, impression and intent apologize to the world for the United States’ poor international behavior and reputation. He has repeatedly trampled on the US Constitution (example, compelling formerly free citizens to purchase a so-called free market product or service against their will). He has demonstrated no defensible understanding or appreciation for the free market (as a candidate for president he stated one can actually make too much money and has demonstrated a rejection of our present law by lying about so-called unfairness in individual American citizen’s tax filings as opposed to properly addressing the US tax code); claimed his math skills are limited to 7th grade-level and thus (understandably) has raised the national debt beyond $16 trillion and has expended his entire four-year term without passing a budget for our nation.

He has tolerated, nay, supported abject incompetence and perhaps criminal negligence by, if not criminal collusion with his Attorney General; has kept company with a known terrorist and with Marxists and socialists; he was mentored and taught for many of his most formative years by a pastor who has clearly described himself through his own words and attitude a racist and apparent America-hater, through his policies has violated basic religious freedoms – imposing an unconstitutional law directly against the fundamental beliefs and practices of religious institutions; and most recently tragically abdicated his solemn duty to protect his own – our Ambassador to Libya; and now as it turns out, has either demonstrated gross incompetence and deadly misjudgment or an intentional cover-up of known facts, all the while self-righteously declaring he would do whatever necessary to protect our diplomats. He boldly and defiantly declared himself to be ultimately responsible for what happened in Libya, all the while passing the buck to the DoS, DoD, and the Intelligence Community.

Myopic this view may be. This writer prefers to consider it focused by single-minded certainty.

While numerous other significant evidences against Barack Obama stand witness against him as president, it may be well summed up as the conservative commentator, author and law professor, Hugh Hewitt has described: He’s simply in over his head.

If President Bush Sr. was held to account as he was in 1992, how much more then should Barack Obama be removed from the Office of the President? Will we not fire him as well?

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As the saying goes, “Iron sharpens iron.”

But I am not so convinced it’s iron on my end; perhaps cast iron, maybe pot metal.

I have a good friend who challenges me intellectually and politically on regular occasion (albeit at a distance; he there, I here, a thousand miles apart – it’s only in writing that we joust), and I think he is made of some sturdy stuff. So in response to a predictable and friendly debate we have recently waged over the present political season, I find myself again, wanting for deeper intellect, better quality analysis, and weightier argument; those virtues I worry that I do not conjur quite enough of to successfully engage in high-minded and well-grounded political discussion. I owe a bit of thanks to my good friend, John (Thank you, John.)

I think anyone who has traveled the globe by motorcycle, and in the process has out run Alaskan grizzlies, sunlight, and the Russian police, is probably well-adjusted and well-practiced in his survival skills, response times and intellectual headlocks. This is John. (And just about the time I think I may have to ask him to forgive any slight embellishment, I’m not so sure there’s anything embellished at all.)

– – –

In this final and intense stretch of the Presidential campaign, with the Obama-Romney debates looming, I want to challenge readers to challenge themselves. The vast majority of voters have made up their minds and there is, with rare occasion, little chance of persuading one from Left to Right or Right to Left. It’s the Undecideds and the Independents and those on the Fringe who are still holding out to be convinced.

Still, I think that it is possible that if given enough of the best rationale; the best-broadest and most persuasive points to ponder, there may be those who can be influenced to change their minds.

– – –

So in the meantime, while I regroup and research and reform my own defensible argument, I want to pass along the argument of someone much wiser than myself. Actually 100 arguments.

If you’re willing to be challenged, if you’re willing to challenge and test yourself; if you’re yet open to another possibility, I offer the following from one of my favorites – Hugh Hewitt:
100 Reasons To Vote For Mitt Romney Or Against Barack Obama

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Should – or can – the eventual GOP presidential nominee build his prospective cabinet from the field of one-time-hopefuls?

(It’s going to be Mitt Romney…)

At least in theory, if it was this group of capable candidates that rose to the top; those that are the best among us; it would seem to follow they are the most able. Could they be the best choices from which to build an administration?

Lincoln knew it was much more complicated than that. His was a complex calculation that considered not only ability and experience, but also of management of – some would say the manipulation or quelching of – prospective competition and active rivalry. It can be argued that by building the cabinet he did, he effectively eliminated the opportunity for those who believed they were better suited to the Presidency to subvert, oppose, or circumvent his agenda, and in the process he harnessed an incredibly capable – and as it played out, a most loyal if not entirely cohesive team.

We’re also hoping to see a present-day analysis from one of our favorite authors, Doris Kearns Goodwin.

So, our AAH-Best-Long-Published-Book-Recommendation-for-Spring-2012 is Team of Rivals. Check out a New York Times review here.

Romney photo courtesy REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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