Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This One Sounds Broken



Welp. Rubio is on repeat again. Sure, you can make all the jokes you want about whether his campaign has tried switching him off and on again to see if the problem clears up, or checking all his plugs, but to be honest, when they started to see the condensation forming on the outside and kept pouring water in, they should have known they had a coolant failure.

The Trump Brand Means "Class"!



When Trump pretends that he thinks the statement is just "terrible"--I'm not actually buying it. That thudding sound you hear is the lowering of the discourse.

As an editorial note, I'm more alarmed at the waterboarding boosterism than the word "pussy".

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Marco Rubio Did not Have a Good Debate



NJ Governor Chris Christie seems to have uncovered a bit of a flaw in Sen. Rubio's wiring, in that, when the bubble is pried off, his exposed speech chip helplessly bleats the same oddly useless scripted line,
“Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country."
I'm not sure how this line is even supposed to be effective. He's not really running against President Obama, who can't run for another term. He seems to be crediting Obama with the competence to "know what he's doing", and acknowledges that the president's intent was change with respect to foreign policy, which is what the man ran on in 2008. But it's a complete non sequitur in response to claims that Rubio himself is a shallow, scripted, callow man-boy with limited experience.  It actually proved Christie's point.

This is the sort of thing that makes me not too terribly concerned with Rubio becoming the eventual GOP nominee if the shambles that would be Trump in the general election doesn't shake out. It is true that Rubio comes off as photogenic and personable compared to Trump and Cruz. (Even if Rubio's hairstyle of late seems to be saying "Combover here and spray that to my face!") But he falls back on cautious scriptedness because, well, he isn't up to doing otherwise.

Chrtistie treated him like a dollar store chew toy. And he's gonna do what in a debate with Hillary Clinton?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Difference a Caucus Makes

You know, the best thing that happened in Iowa was Ted Cruz winning the caucus. First of all, that made Donald Trump a loser, because no one remembers second place (except we will, for the moment, just fondly look on Trump as "Number Two"). But besides that, it's a good story: a lot of people mention that Cruz's campaign simply had a better ground game--true. Donald Trump claimed that he never even heard of a "ground game". (So much to learn! Also about internal polling versus media polling. Also about knowing which things to blow off, which to take seriously.)

But the interesting thing is that part of Cruz's last-minute poll-defying support came at the expense of Ben Carson. Cruz campaign workers spread a message that Carson was likely to drop out, possibly spurring some Carson supporters to throw in with Cruz to avoid throwing their efforts away on a candidate who wasn't in it for the long haul. What's fascinating to me about this is that there was something a little odd about the claim the Carson was going to Florida to get "fresh clothes". (Is one to believe there is no dry cleaning to be had in Iowa?) And that campaign is, well, same as it ever was. But still, that sort of thing is just further evidence (some might suppose) of Ted Cruz's bottomless skullduggery.

The second best thing is that the results finally persuaded Huckabee, Santorum, and Rand Paul to just stop. Huckabee, instead of doing anything to raise his profile during the course of the campaign, really hit some distasteful notes, and Rand Paul certainly has reasons to concentrate on his Senate re-election campaign. Former PA senator Santorum, is typical bumbling fashion, not only dropped out but threw his endorsement to third place finisher Marco Rubio--for reasons he struggled to explain. (Let me help the gentleman from PA--he can't support the libertine Trump, and no one likes Cruz. But the truth of the matter is, the pretend-moderate character Rubio is just as huge a smarmy social conservative as Santorum. Twinsies!)

The third best thing is Rubio may well be getting a bump from a strong third-place showing in Iowa, and while I don't love Rubio, man, he sure does irritate me less than Cruz and Trump!

On the Democratic side, we bid farewell to Martin O'Malley, who for some reason just never took off. There doesn't even seem to be one specific thing about him that was objectionable. He just didn't take off. The finish between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was as good as a tie in my opinion. Meh. Social media is showing me that there are some people with deep "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party" feelings about the two-person contest. I'm not one of those people. I'm sort of a knee-jerk pragmatist: I'll take better over worse.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ted Cruz Sure Has a Way About Him, Huh?



I'm going to try, just for a moment, to not be a cranky-ass liberal blogger, and just note that campaigning is tough business for adults, but for a kid who just about understands what's going on, it is exhausting, and maybe she just wasn't into performing for the cameras at the moment and otherwise has no issues with Papa Cruz. But then again, she's already been used in a campaign ad and gotten 1) side-swiped by a mean-spirited cartoon because of it and 2) used again to fundraise because of said mean-spirited cartoon. None of that sounds like she has any reason to enjoy this process.

TBogg notes that Cruz' interpersonal awkwardness is the opposite of fun for the whole family. I can only shake my head. A picture is worth a thousand words, but who is to say the words are true? And yet, when he's making little kids cry, or sending out fraudulent mailers, or when he lies about not being insured when he has no solutions for the actual uninsured,  it becomes easy to wonder how anyone does like him. And yet, he is not without his endorsements--from people like Tony Perkins, Mike Bickle, Troy Newman, and 'em.

Still and all, this clip of his kid flicking him away is probably terribly unfair to point to as proof that Cruz is creepy or anything. Kids gonna kid, right?  And yet I find I do not care.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Trump Fatigue

Many apologies to my regular readers for my temporary absence from blogging, but I have been mentally laid up with a tremendous case of Trump Fatigue. The recent episode of Donald Trump vs the Media, pitting His Nibs against Fox News (and particularly Megan Kelly) was just a stunt too far for me to go on trying to write about this as politics, and it isn't even exactly media criticism--the only way to discuss this is as a television review for a reality show.

I had long wondered what debates mean to people who don't follow policy minutia. I no longer do. They are a talent contest for political spokesmodels. Who delivered cleverer lines? Who looked poised? Did one candidate or the other seem nervous or badly prepared for some ambush question? It's superficial--and backing out of the tiresome thing makes sense for a frontrunner who considers himself far enough in the lead to get no benefit out of it whatsoever--and already anticipates he won't get slammed for it. So Trump created his own counter-event. It even drew two of the undercard debate performers, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, who seek attention like blind snakes seeking warmth. Did they realize they were practically signaling an endorsement? (Who knows what people with this little likelihood of winning the nomination, who still claim to be in the running, actually are aware of?)

Without Trump, the debate went on, arguably with more discussion of the issues. Sen. Ted Cruz took his shots at the absent frontrunner--but it looks like none of the other stiffs on the stage felt like that was their cue to take advantage of the opportunity to bury Trump while he was offstage. I found it a source of disappointment, but not surprise. They could have said he "cut and run" and challenged his seriousness, but no. Jeb Bush tussled with Marco Rubio. Rubio tussled with Cruz. Boring.

So Trump gambled that he wouldn't get painted as unserious for ditching the debate to have a rally for disabled vets--and was proven absolutely right. He flatfooted the competition, who simply did not know how to respond. And he won the media cycle, because once again, he was all the news could talk about.

I don't know when everyone else will be as exhausted by this sort of thing as I am, but I feel like the media should catch on that they are being played for publicity, and maybe his nasty little habit of turning on journalists who displease him only stops when they do what his GOP rivals refused to.



Monday, January 25, 2016

That Didn't Go as Planned, Did it?

So, imagine you'd been working for eight years of your young life on a project to bring down a major reproductive health care nonprofit on the basis of some highly-edited, surreptitiously-filmed videos that purport to show some illegal activity, and then when you finally deploy that hard work--gosh darn it all, it's like you're the bad guy?

Well, I guess that must be where David Daleiden is sitting with his bad self, because a grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood decided to indict the Center for Medical Progress activist and his associate, Sandra Merritt, for tampering with government evidence, and, ironically, attempting to purchase human organs. (Purchasing human organs is not legal. Donating fetal tissue is. After eight years working on this thing, the legal distinction should not have escaped the anti-choice activists' attention--but of course, their purpose was always to blur that line.) Daleiden could quite possibly see prison time.

Numerous states have now investigated Planned Parenthood and cleared them of any wrongdoing. These false videos have basically revealed, not that Planned Parenthood is a bad organization, but that there is something deceitful and low about the anti-choice movement. They could not limit the rights of people to exercise their own reproductive health choices with the truth, so they resorted to falsehoods.

That certainly did not go as planned for them.