Sarah Lee

Recent Posts From Sarah Lee

Who deserves Trump?

There are over 100 delegates up for grabs today, as voting in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii begins. And, as is his way, Trump has been adamant the only state that matters is Michigan (plot twist: he’s polling far ahead in that state). Of course, this is nothing more than his preference for used-car-salesman tactics. “Everyone knows that the hottest, best-selling, sexiest car on the road — the one that’ll have all the ladies begging for a ride — is the Mitsubishi Lancer*. Cruz and Rubio don’t know that and are trying to sell you a Mercedes or an Audi. Losers. They should drop out.”

And people are showing up to the lot and driving away in the Lancer. No one could have predicted the voting public’s desire for a not-terribly-attractive, less-than-reliable new car that looks a lot like a 70s model and probably runs like it, too.

And yet, as the pundits have been (sometimes gleefully) reporting (job security and all that), the GOP race, if Rubio and Cruz (I don’t like to talk about Kasich) stay in the race and keep racking up delegates, could go to a brokered convention. And all those Lancer drivers are going to be SO MAD the GOP will fracture and split and the fabric of the party will never survive the tear.

In short, the pundits are sure there’s a civil war coming within the ranks of the GOP. And, frankly, there may well be. I say: let it come. But let me tell you why…

“So it may be conservatism’s lot to return to the wilderness” ~ Noah Rothman

Expect the conversation regarding who is truly conservative to heat up in the coming weeks. Noah Rothman has a fantastic piece at Commentary about Trump and his brand of “conservatism” and how, while conservatives have been here before, there is reason for concern but not despair:

It’s easy for Republicans who know quite well that Trump is not conservative, and barely even pretends to be one, to indulge despair. That’s a bit self-indulgent. Conservatism has known the wilderness before. While there have been popular conservatives, conservatism properly understood is not popular. The vehicle through which conservatives achieve political power – the Republican Party — may be well and truly euthanized in the event of a Trump nomination, but the ideology to which its most effective politicians adhere will not be so easily put down.

Trump supporters have been vocal (not unfairly) that the GOP — specifically their unwillingness to work for the good of the people, to listen to the demands of the voter, to fulfill the promises they made to their constituencies once elected — gave rise to Donald Trump. The irony is that the riseof Donald Trump may be what returns conservatism — if not the Republican party — back to its roots.

Marco Rubio, for his part, has received endorsements over the last few days that will highlight the other side of the debate, namely: does being a Republican automatically make you a member of the establishment?

Republicans Should Check and Balance Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee

Against all wisdom and common sense, I engaged in a debate online about Senate Republicans potentially filibustering or blocking President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee-to-be to replace Justice Antonin Scalia following the justice’s untimely passing this weekend. Truly, I don’t recommend it. It was not only as futile as all online arguments are (no one is ever convinced of any opinion except the one they went in with. It’s almost exclusively a forum to rant), but it was disturbing in a way that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the blatant, admitted, and poisonous hypocrisy some on the left have in matters of politics.

The vacancy left by the great Scalia (who, as an aside, my opponent in the online “debate” was convinced was a biased right-winger and was petulantly annoyed when I shared this article and told him to educate himself) will be hard to fill simply because the man who created it with his death was so great. That is nearly universally accepted.

But what Democrats seem to want to do is forget the concept of advice and consent (the constitutional provision that gives the Senate the authority to accept or disdain a presidential appointment), even as their own recent history shows their willingness to use it with careless abandon.


The polls opened in New Hampshire at midnight, and early results are favoring Bernie Sanders and John Kasich. That’s not really unexpected.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie relentlessly went after a stunned Marco Rubio at the last GOP debate — and in the days following — to prove the younger Senator is inexperienced and not ready to be president. That’s not really unexpected either.

Jeb Bush seems to be upping his profile a bit and gaining some word-of-mouth ground (thanks in part to Christie’s attack on Rubio), while Ted Cruz is being forced to answer for some questionable campaign decisions that have people wondering if they can trust him. Politicians making use of another politician’s crisis and behaving in a possibly sketchy way? Definitely not unexpected.

This, however, is:

Latest GOP Debate — Rubio Rising

fox news focus group marco rubio

It would appear that there are a great many outlets who really, REALLY, want Donald Trump to have succeeded in “winning” last night’s GOP debate without having actually been there.

Vox Vox-splained it this way:

My colleagues are saying Donald Trump won the debate, because in his absence the rest of the Republican candidates cut each other down. But Trump won the debate in another way: His absence from the debate appears to have hurt viewership, as he predicted.

Early numbers suggest that between 11 million and 13 million viewers watched the Fox News debate, which is about half of the audience Trump drew to the first Fox News debate in August, when the event drew a record-breaking 23 million viewers. (We’ll have more precise numbers later in the day.)

(My suggestion is to keep an eye out for those more precise numbers.)

And while CNN Money has to begrudgingly admit that Fox had better ratings than the rival cable stations showing Trump’s event, that means nothing:

So Thursday’s debate was bigger — but not by much. The other five GOP debates of the cycle have had household ratings ranging from 8.9 to 15.9.

That’s why Trump can claim victory. (His campaign had no immediate comment about the ratings on Friday.)

Actual viewership numbers will be available later in the day on Friday. Fox News likely had 11 million to 13 million viewers for the debate.

But one thing is ultimately unknowable: How many more viewers would have watched if Trump had been center stage?

National Review Takes a Risk and Conservatives Rejoice (Whether They Know it Now or Not)

Late yesterday evening, The National Review, that outlet of conservatism founded by one of the giants of the ideology, William F. Buckley, stood athwart history and yelled “Stop!”

At Donald Trump.

Gathering a respectable cadre of conservative voices — from the hinterlands of the once proud Tea Party to the deep middle of the establishment — these writers and thinkers banded together to offer a few paragraphs each on the danger of Trump as a charlatan, or a know-nothing, or a bully, or a creep, or simply a blowhard.

Rather than try to deconstruct what they said and find a cohesive theme beyond simply that Trump is no conservative and to allow him to top the ticket would be disastrous for the GOP and likely hand Hillary the presidency, I’ll simply encourage you to take the time to read each opinion and think about it.

For me, the issue regarding Trump is a very simple one. He has no principles. He is the consummate businessman and is therefore willing to negotiate his core beliefs to close the deal. Perhaps some may see this as a quality they admire. But the truth is that is exactly what we’ve had in office these last eight years and we are worse off for it. And it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump — a man who has given a great deal of lip-service and financial support to those who have ascended on the progressive left — should resemble them.

Which Candidates are Rising After South Carolina Debate?

Everyone has their opinion of the new ladscape after last night’s GOP debate in Charleston. Is Trump still dominant? Did he and Ted Cruz break up? How much will the “New York values” moment hurt the Texas Senator? Will Marco’s new found passion ignite a fire for him in the hearts of voters? Did he expose Cruz as a master flip-flopper and cynical politician? Is Jeb actually the adult on the stage pulling the puppet strings (I’ll be honest: that last one seems plausible to me)? Just why in the world weren’t Fiorina and Paul — despite being low in the polls, which is the metric for qualification — on that main stage (although Paul’s boycott of the undercard debate led to a boost in attention for him on social media, a situation better for him as an also-ran as anything else would be)?

Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has a quick roundup that covers the bases beyond the usual “Yeah, but who won?!” claptrap. She seems to have drawn a similar conclusion to just about every other wise pundit who keeps a weather eye on these things: the field has narrowed to 3 — Trump, Cruz, Rubio. (Although her piece has some other interesting points and is worth the read in full).

I’ll add only three things…

Oregon and Civil Disobedience

Been trying for the last several days to make heads or tails of the Oregon civil disobedience case where two ranchers did their best to set controlled fires but were pinched by the government, served a little time, had their case revisisted by a pretty questionable federal prosecutor, and were sent back to jail. And then some social justice activists — and that is what the Bundys are — got involved and took over a federal building while bearing arms and disgruntled (self?) righteousness.

There are all kinds of opinions, some, like, saying there’s a justifiable reason the ranchers occupied the federal building, others, like The Cato Institute, pointing out the bad actors on all sides.

But I, personally, finally got a handle on what I think about after seeing this piece from Patterico’s Pontifications, sepcifically this passage, and the graphic at the top of the page (see above):

Everything takes place in the context of the Fish and Wildlife Service buying up all the land around the Hammond ranch for a wildlife refuge. Apparently owning half the land in the West was not good enough for the feds; they had to have more and more and more and more. Then, the feds allegedly took many seemingly retaliatory actions against the Hammonds after they refused to sell. Then, we come to the arson fires, which as presented on the Internet is a hodgepodge of one-sided accounts.

2015 Predictions Mostly True — With Some Surprises

Some had hoped Zuckerberg’s generosity would be the story of the year. They were disappointed.


As 2015 comes to a close and we begin the start of a new election year — and, fingers crossed, a new trajectory for the country away from hyper-focus on social issues and more of a balanced approached toward leadership — it’s interesting to look back and see if what the pundits predicted about the last year came true, and what they may have missed.

The Washington Examiner, back in January, laid out a list of five stories they thought would top the news cycle for the year, leading with the horse race for the GOP nomination. They also wondered if anyone would challenge Hillary Clinton, and if the economy would be the primary policy issue for office seekers.

While their musings on what Obama’s next move would be fell flat — turns out he really isn’t all that much a man of action — they certainly got the GOP presidential race right because who in their right mind could have predicted the ascendency of Donald Trump (and, hopefully, his slow fade to black as more and more people get wise to his brand of beat-you-over-the-head-with-your-basest-desires brand of advertising)?

Climate Change Consensus and the First Amendment

Following the COP21 Paris Climate Conference last week, wherein, as Rich Lowery writes, an agreement was reached on the agreement — and not much else — I was reminded of a speech by author Michael Crichton (you may know him as the writer of Jurassic Park, but he was also a graduate of medical school and a rather accomplished researcher, so he was arguably a legitimate scientist in his own right) gave on the danger of “consensus” scientific inquiry and results. That is to say, believing something is true because everyone says it is. Crichton is much more eloquent in his speech, remarkably given at CalTech way back in 2003 and titled “Aliens Cause Global Warming”:

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

Sarah Lee


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