The Spectacle Blog

Huckabee Continues to Dodge on Entitlement Reform

By on 7.21.15 | 1:24PM

Yet again, as a guest with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was asked about reforming Social Security in order to help it avoid insolvency. And yet again, he used a straw man argument to dodge the question.

Huckabee said that he is not interested in changing the Social Security system because "I don't think you can tell somebody who's worked for 51 years and had their check taken out involuntarily that 'Oh by the way, we lied to you, we stole from you, and we're going to stick it to you one more time.' I just think that's not something you push on people who have worked a lifetime and you blame them for government screwing up."

Huckabee's argument is a straw man designed to let him avoid a difficult discussion.

Nobody is proposing changing terms of Social Security for those in or even near retirement.

To say that he's against changing the deal for someone "who's worked for 51 years" is meaningless. Nobody is for that.

And we don't need to change the deal for those in or near retirement to help this federal Ponzi scheme survive at least another generation or two.

Kasich’s Fiscal Record

By on 7.21.15 | 1:03PM

John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, makes his presidential announcement today. He becomes the 16th person to join the Republican field and the 8th current or former governor.

Kasich is a fiscal policy expert. He has made a federal Balanced Budget Amendment a key talking point in his speeches and appearances so far, and was known for being a budget cutter while in Congress. His record in Ohio tells a very different story. Spending has risen rapidly  during Kasich’s tenure in Columbus.

Data from the National Association of State Budget Officers illustrates the rapid growth general fund spending. From fiscal year 2012, Kasich’s first full fiscal year, to fiscal year 2015, general fund spending increased in Ohio by 18 percent. Nationally, state general fund spending increased by 12 percent during that period. Kasich’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 increased spending further. It included a year-over-year increase of 11 percent. The average governor proposed a spending increase of 3 percent from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016.

John Kasich Jumps In

By on 7.21.15 | 12:38PM

On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced that he's running for president.

In July 2015, it's a bit strange to say he's a little late to the race but that's the case. It's not going to be easy for him to make the top ten to be on the stage during the first debate -- which takes place in his state. And while he has $12 million raised so far, that puts him behind many of the other candidates and with only a tenth of Jeb Bush's war chest. But longshots have won in the past (not least our current president) and Kasich should, on paper, not be among the longest of longshots.

Let's start with the elephant in the room: Many conservatives won't forgive John Kasich for being among the handful of Republican governors who went along with Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. Kasich is also a moderate on immigration and has told social issues conservatives to "get over it" when it comes to campaigning against same-sex marriage.

But this is a guy deserving of serious consideration.

Lindsey Graham to Donald Trump: Stop Being a Jackass; UPDATED: Trump Releases Graham’s Cell Number

By on 7.21.15 | 11:29AM

UPDATE: So that happened:

Needless to say, please don't call it.

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Perhaps the best part of the "Donald Flub" from over the weekend, is that it's drawn out a number of pots who should not be calling the kettle a "jackass." 

The latest Republican Presidential candidate to wade into the debate over Trump's commentary on John McCain's military service is Lindsey Graham, who cautioned the current Republican frontrunner that he's starting to sound like like the rear end of a donkey. He would know, I suppose, since Lindsey Graham is, well, the king of...you know.

After Trump undermined the military service of Graham's longtime colleague Sen. John McCain, Graham had a clear message for his GOP rival.

"I don't care if he drops out. Stay in the race, just stop being a jackass," Graham said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

Thoughts on John Kasich’s Entry Into the 2016 GOP Race

By on 7.21.15 | 11:13AM

Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich will formally announce his entry into the 2016 GOP race for the White House.

Earlier this month, I saw Kasich take center seat on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier. For someone who spent a good part of a decade on TV at FNC, he looked awkward and ill at ease. Kasich was also on the defensive, especially when Jonah Goldberg asked him about the expansion of Medicaid under the auspices of Obamacare. He made a rather peculiar explanation that he accepted the money so he wouldn’t have to keep the mentally ill in prison. Kasich then said, “Now, maybe some people want to lock up the mentally ill in prison. Maybe some people want to throw away the drug addicted.” To his credit, Baier interjected, “You’re making a leap from someone opposing Medicaid expansion to that person wanting to jail Medicaid...” but then Kasich cut him off and resumed his demagoguery.

Second Planned Parenthood Video: We Won’t Accept Bargain Basement Prices for Our Baby Parts

By on 7.21.15 | 10:57AM

There's a rule in crisis communications that says you should never fully acknowledge, apologize or excuse behavior you've kept secret until you're sure your opponent has revealed everything they have on you. After all, if you configure your response too early, subsequent revelations are likely to undercut your carefully concocted excuses, sending them crashing to the floor, and destroying your credibility. 

Cuban Embassy Opens in DC

By on 7.21.15 | 10:42AM

 As of midnight, the Cuban flag now hangs in the State Department to mark the reestablishment of political ties between Cuba and the U.S. As reported by AP and ABC news:

The United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations Monday after more than five decades of frosty relations rooted in the Cold War.

 The new era began with little fanfare when an agreement between the two nations to resume normal ties on July 20 came into force just after midnight Sunday and the diplomatic missions of each country were upgraded from interests sections to embassies. When clocks struck 12:00 in Washington and Havana, they tolled a knell for policy approaches spawned and hardened over the five decades since President John F. Kennedy first tangled with youthful revolutionary Fidel Castro over Soviet expansion in the Americas.

‘Too Big Too Fail’ Needs Competition

By on 7.21.15 | 4:00AM

Progressives cheered Hillary Clinton last week when she said policy makers need to “go beyond Dodd-Frank.” She didn’t rule out repeal of some sections, but most took it to mean preserve virtually all of the law—which turns five on July 21—plus expand government intervention further into banking.

But that praise was short-lived when Clinton’s economic adviser Alan Blinder told Reuters, “You’re not going to see Glass-Steagall” reinstated in her administration. The New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act separated commercial and investment banking until it was partially repealed by the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, which passed Congress overwhelmingly in 1999 and was signed into law by Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton.

Paul and Cruz’s Call for Increased Immigration Scrutiny in Muslim Countries Would Not Have Stopped the Chattanooga Shootings

By on 7.20.15 | 1:40PM

In the wake of last week’s shooting at two separate military facilities in Chattanooga that claimed the lives of four Marines and one Navy sailor, GOP presidential candidates Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have called for greater scrutiny on people entering America from Muslim countries.

During an interview with Breitbart News last week following a campaign rally in Houston, Paul stated, “I’m for increasing scrutiny on people who come on student visas from the 25 countries that have significant jihadism. Also, any kind of permanent visas or green cards, we need to be very careful. I don’t think we’re being careful enough with who we let in."

Paul went on to say that he would see if Congress would reinstate NSEERS (National Security Entry Exit Registration System), which was in place during the Bush administration. It required males over the age of 16 from designated Muslim countries either entering or residing in the United States to be subject to being photographed, fingerprinted, and interrogated by the INS.

After Chattanooga Shooting, Obama Hits Links, NYC

By on 7.20.15 | 1:17PM

Last Thursday, four Marines and a US Navy Petty Officer were murdered in a shocking attack of domestic terrorism, when a gunman opened fire first on a military recruitment center and then at a military base, where he was shot dead in a firefight with police. Authorities have released the name of the shooter, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, but have yet to formally determine a motive. They are focusing on Abdulazeez's diary, a text message he sent to a friend before he began his shooting spree, and a trip that Abdulazeez took to Jordan last year, as well as Abdulazeez's history with depression and alleged physical abuse

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