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…

Dogs, Vomit, Andrew Jackson, and Donald J. Trump

Originally published at The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons. ~ Ed.


As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Gee, the hair looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Like the dog returning to its vomit, America’s returned to its dangerous flirtation with populism. How’d Andrew Jackson work out for America? Sure, Jackson threw a totally bitchin’ inaugural party, but his style of populism was a dangerous, embarrassing blot on American history, not least of which because he was the founder of the modern Democratic Party.

GOP in Chaos? Have you seen the Democrats lately?

One of the media and their Democratic allies’ favorite narratives is the ubiquitous GOP civil war. Every election, every intra-party disagreement, every primary, it’s all they can talk about.

Republicans are in chaos because there isn’t a consensus House Speaker choice. They’re in chaos because there isn’t a consensus presidential nominee. They’re in chaos because there are significant policy disagreements within the ranks. (So weird that “liberals” expect conformity and unanimity…) You’d think the leftist media’s ideological (and, really, partisan) survival would depend on painting the other side as dysfunctional. There are even entire sections devoted to it at PoliticoSalon, and Huffington Post. But every year of the “GOP civil war”, Republicans control more state legislatures and pickup more House and Senate seats. And have you seen the Democrats lately?

Democrat “economic wedge issue” playbook failed in 2014, but they’ll probably re-hash it in 2016 anyway.

Hillary Clinton 2016

After suffering a historic beating at the polls in 2014, many leading Democrats now say a big reason for their losses is that they failed to drive home with voters a message of economic populism; namely, income inequality, wage stagnation, and the need to raise the minimum wage. They say they are determined to fix that failure in their quest to win back seats from Republicans in 2016.

Democrats, fleeing from Obama’s myriad failures and seeking wedge issues with which to win close races, actually did implement quite a bit of economic populism in the months leading up to the midterms; it just didn’t resonate with voters. As for why it did not resonate, it might be that after six years of Obamanomics – from the “stimulus” package that actually increased unemployment by more than 2%, Son of Stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, Summer of Recovery, Summer of Recovery 2, Summers of Recovery 3 and 4, and so on and so forth - voters simply no long gave Obama and the Democrats credibility on economic matters.

And with good reason. The issue of raising the minimum wage polls well, but in actuality has little bearing on the lives of most voters. The reality is that, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this year, only 2.8% of the U.S. labor force earns at or below minimum wage. Of that 2.8%, many workers, such as restaurant servers, make much higher than that due to tips, which reduces the number of Americans actually earning minimum wage to just 1.1%. Of those earning minimum wage, roughly half are workers between the age of 16 and 24 years, and most of these are students working part-time.

Hillary Clinton’s potential soon-to-be campaign team wants to “punish” conservative voters

Hillary Clinton

Liberals have long thought of politics as a zero-sum game, where the winners revel in the spoils of victory while punishing the losers. Furthermore, liberals have long equated political activism with violence. Radical liberal groups — particularly environmentalists and so-called ‘animal rights’ activists — use violence and force to advance their cause. Domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground bombed buildings to achieve political success.

So it’s no surprise that potential Hillary 2016 staffers would use words like “punish” when referring to political opponents in private email exchanges.

A source leaked private emails of Democrat activists to ABC News earlier this week, pulling back the curtain on a listserv that reaches more than 150 activists. Well-known Democratic activists Robby Mook and Marlon Marshall use the listserv — titled “Mook Mafia” — to have an ongoing discussion about politics, campaigns, and 2016. Think of the liberal journalist listserve “JournoList,” only with activists instead of reporters.

From the ABC News exclusive:

Obama is pointing his finger in the wrong direction: He’s now blaming Americans’ rejection of his awful agenda on Democrats

Filed under “this is so sad, it’s funny,” it seems Barack Obama has finally lost his golden touch when it comes to campaigning. Sure, he’s still feeding the liberals pablum, and getting dollars.

However, when it gets down to the point where he’s starting to insult the intelligences of the people that supposedly support him, it’s only a matter of time before the donation well will run dry. He’ll always be able to get money from the masochistic liberals that will take anything, including abuse, as long as they’re getting attention from Obama. As for everyone else? This isn’t a good position to be in heading into a mid-term.

It will be very bad for Democrats in November if enough Republicans manage to first pay attention to this nonsensical line Obama is delivering, and second, bother to use it as a roadmap on the campaign trail. T. Beckett Adams did a very good job of reporting precisely what Obama has been saying to the people that were foolish enough to spend thousands of dollars to hear him insult them.

Yes, it was a lot more of the blame game, but now instead of just blaming Bush and Republicans, Obama has taken to blaming Democrats.

“And so the midterms come around, and lo and behold we’re surprised when John Boehner is the Speaker of the House. Say, well, how did that happen?” the president said. “What happened to [Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.]? What happened was you all didn’t work. That’s what happened.”

Democrats only care about dying veterans when their jobs are in danger

Eric Shinseki

**After this story was written news broke that Eric Shinseki officially resigned today as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and that wait times at VA facilities may be related to employee bonuses. No word yet as to what an official investigation into the matter may look like, but Congress has called for an inquiry.

In yet another entry in the annals of weird and conflicting policy ideas from the Democrat side of the aisle, Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki is taking a beating from left-leaning politicians looking to hang onto their seats on the Hill in the wake of the abhorrent stories of veterans dying and committing suicide while awaiting treatment in VA facilities around the country.

There really is no excuse for what’s been going on because we’re not talking about annoying bureaucratic realities where you don’t get a tax return in a timely fashion. People who served their country were treated as secondary to a system that clearly couldn’t handle the demand.

But hiding that inefficiency came first in the form of secret waiting lists, while treatment of veterans took a back seat. And Shinseki is no doubt responsible for his agency’s negligence. But the calls for his head, as CNN points out, may be more about political savvy than concern for ailing vets.

Thos calls began after a damning VA Inspector General’s report indicating that “1,700 military veterans waiting to see a doctor were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a wait list at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix.” But, also as CNN points out perhaps a bit more cynically, those on the Hill lighting torches have something in common:

Majority of Americans Say Federal Taxes Are Just Too High

Americans are scrambling to have their taxes prepared by the end of the day to satisfy Uncle Sam’s thirst for their hard-earned money. Their lack of enthusiasm could have something to do with the fact that over half of the population claims taxes are just too high.

According to Gallup, 42 percent of Americans still say that they are paying enough, or “about right,” while 52 percent say that the taxes they are paying are too high. About two years ago, 46 percent of Americans said taxes were too high, indicating that there has been an increase in the number of people feeling they are simply paying too much.

Gallop found that the view that taxes are fair is more popular among Democrats, whereas Republicans tend to see their tax burden as not fair. According to the latest poll, 54 percent of Americans still regard the income tax as fair. However, this view is becoming less popular over time. According to Gallup, it hasn’t been this low since 2001.

Among Republicans, 57 percent say taxes are too high and 49 percent say what they pay is not fair. Among Democrats, 55 percent say they pay about right, and 69 percent say that what they pay is fair.

Among Independents, the numbers indicate that the difference between those who think their taxes are fair and those who think taxes are not fair is of 7 percent. Slightly more Independents (51%) say the federal income tax they have to pay is fair against 44 percent that say the taxes they pay are not fair.

Liberals Frothing at the Mouth over McCutcheon Ruling

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” — William F. Buckley Jr.

For the second time in four years, liberals all over America are once again in the throes of apoplectic rage at the Supreme Court over a decision expanding free speech rights.

On January 21, 2010, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that the First Amendment protections of free speech prohibit the government from restricting political donations by corporations (and labor unions, but you never hear the left complaining about that).

This ruling became a rallying cry for the left, who decry the corrupting influence of money on our political process. Eight days after the decision, Barack Obama stood before the assembled members of the House and Senate, as well as the justices of the Supreme Court, and railed against the immorality and danger of the decision.

Quoth Emperor Barack, “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections…I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.”

Freedom…It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

Last week, the Democrats held their Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton, where Emperor Obama, Slayer of Insurance Companies, Defender of the Poor (and making more every day), the Duke of Deficits, addressed his faithful assembled minions, dispensing tidbits of propaganda like an imperial Pez dispenser, reeling them in with promises of endless supplies of government candy, assuring them it is oh so good for them.

Obama declared that “[a]s Democrats, we’ve let the other side define the word ‘freedom’ for too long…freedom for ordinary Americans to honestly pursue their dreams, that’s what we believe.” He went on to define freedom as the power of government to protect you from any adverse circumstance that may arise in your life, and as the ability for government to provide for your health care, your retirement, food, housing, and so on and so forth.

To quote the inimitable Inigo Montoya, the glorious Spaniard from one of my all time favorite movies, The Princess Bride…Mr. Obama, “You keep using that word [freedom]…I do not think it means what you think it means!’” What Obama is describing is not freedom; it is lifelong dependency on the gargantuan Nanny State, with promises of cradle-to-grave nurturing no matter how irresponsible the decisions you make in your life. Of course, the only way for government to protect you from your own mistakes is by forcing others to pay the price for you. Every action has a consequence, and just because you don’t suffer does not mean that someone does not suffer. Someone has to pay the piper. There is no free lunch.

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