The Spectacle Blog

How David Brooks Created Donald Trump

By on 2.12.16 | 12:51AM

The ugliness of this year’s presidential race makes the New York Times’ resident erstwhile conservative David Brooks wistful for Barack Obama. The irony is that David Brooks, Barack Obama, and their respective tribes bear much of the responsibility for the rise of Donald Trump.

“I miss Barack Obama,” Brooks laments, because “over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board.” Brooks cites Hillary Clinton’s emails and some other stuff, but everyone knows he’s talking about The Donald. “Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply. The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free.” By the time he’s done, Brooks upgrades Obama’s integrity to “superior.”

We all have difficulty seeing our blind spots. That’s why we call them what we call them. But Brooks’ obliviousness here is awe-inspiring.

PBS Wisconsin Democrat Debate Post-Mortem

By on 2.11.16 | 11:27PM

I have just finished watching the Democrat debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that aired on PBS from Milwaukee and here are my observations.

I think Hillary and Bernie were fairly evenly matched up during the domestic portion of the debate. Both were pandering the black vote equally. Hillary got big cheers when she thrashed Wisconsin Governor and former GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker. Bernie stood his ground when Hillary criticized his opposition to comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 by stating the Southern Poverty Law Center, AFL-CIO and LULAC also opposed the bill. Hillary weakly rejoindered it was Ted Kennedy's bill. Bernie also put Hillary on the defensive once again when it came to her campaign contributions from wealthy donors. 

Mark Levin Rehired — Until 2025!

By on 2.11.16 | 9:11PM

Who says merit doesn’t out? Take a look at this headline and part of a press release from Westwood One:

Westwood One Announces Lifetime Extension for “The Mark Levin Show”

Popular Show Hosted by Mark Levin Renewed Through 2025

NEW YORK, NY, February 11, 2016—Westwood One announces that Mark Levin will continue his eponymous talk show for many years to come, as The Mark Levin Show has now been extended through 2025. Levin, one of the most important, popular, and trusted voices in radio, is always at the top of the political conversation. Indeed, his name has been invoked by candidates throughout the presidential primary process during the debates and at campaign rallies.

The Mark Levin Show — which not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution — continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show, including

John Lewis Disses Bernie Sanders’ Civil Rights Record

By on 2.11.16 | 3:38PM

Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis doesn't think much of Bernie Sanders.

After the Congressional Black Caucus' PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton, a reporter tried to ask Lewis about Bernie's civil rights activity, but the veteran Congressman wasn't having any of it:

Well, to be very frank, I'm going to cut you off, but I never saw him, I never met him. I'm a chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and directed their voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.

Obama is the Meanest, Most Polarizing Figure in American Politics

By on 2.11.16 | 9:59AM

In a speech before the Illinois General Assembly, marking the 9th anniversary of the launch of his presidential campaign, President Obama decried the meaness and polarization in American politics:

It’s been noted, often by pundits, that the tone of our politics hasn’t gotten better since I was inaugurated. In fact, it’s gotten worse. That there’s still this yawning gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics, which is why in my final State of the Union address and in the one before that, I had to acknowledge that one of my few regrets is my inability to reduce the polarization and meanness in our politics.

True to form, Obama detaches himself from the meaness and polarization as if he has no part in it. The fact is that President Obama has set the tone for American politics over the last decade and he is the meanest, most polarizing figure of them all.

Memo to Bernie: It Isn’t The Economy That’s Rigged

By on 2.10.16 | 11:30PM

Earlier today, Emily explained how Hillary Clinton leaves New Hampshire with more delegates than Bernie Sanders despite losing by more than 20% of the vote.

Bernie is fond of saying how the economy is rigged. Well, it isn't the economy that's rigged. It's the Democratic Party that's rigged.

Should Bernie win most of the primaries and caucuses, but Hillary ends up with most of the delegates anyway, Bernie and his supporters will soon learn their party is Democratic in name only.

Carly Fiorina is The Greatest Mystery of the 2016 GOP Race

By on 2.10.16 | 3:51PM

After getting only 4% of the vote in New Hampshire last night, Carly Fiorina has bowed out of the 2016 GOP race.

The failure of her campaign is the greatest mystery of the entire presidential race. A strong showing at the GOP undercard debate last August in Cleveland propelled her to main debate stage the following month where she served Donald Trump a cold dish after he had disparaged her appearance in an interview.

For a couple of weeks, Fiorina enjoyed a bounce but it be short-lived. She did get some increased scrutiny about her time at Hewlett Packard. But if her tenure at HP was in fact fatal to her campaign then what of Trump's four Chapter 11 bankruptcies? Or is it that Republicans still aren't ready for a female presidential candidate? The possibility cannot be discounted.

Putting gender aside, Fiorina is clear, concise and rational. But that's evidently not what Republican voters want this year.

Thoughts on Bernie Sanders Kissing Al Sharpton’s Ring

By on 2.10.16 | 2:42PM

Hours after his triumph in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders flew to NYC to have breakfast with Al Sharpton at Sylvia's in Harlem.

Politics, particuarly presidential politics, compels candidates to make nice with unsavory people. Sharpton is a particularly unsavory character who ought to have been shunned out of polite society decades ago. But the Democratic Party is such that any Democrat who wants to be President must have Reverend Al's blessings. And Bernie Sanders needs the African-American vote in South Carolina and elsewhere south of the Mason-Dixon. So what choice does he have?

Yet with all that, one would think that Sharpton's anti-Semitism would give pause to someone of even nominal Jewish identity. I can think of no public figure that has done more damage to relations between African-Americans and Jews (outside of Louis Farrakhan) than Sharpton.

Bernie Sanders Wins New Hampshire, but Hillary Clinton Gets All the Delegates

By on 2.10.16 | 2:19PM

Last night seemed like a runaway success for "outsider" candidate Bernie Sanders. He beat Hillary Clinton by a solid twenty points, in every single demographic. He made it next to impossible for Hillary Clinton to say that she's won the "hearts" or "minds" of New Englanders, and while he's definitely had home court advantage, he performed better than even he could have reasonably expected.

But while Bernie may have earned all the accolades, Hillary Clinton - not Bernie Sanders - will come away with most of New Hampshire's delegates

And you thought politics was fair? Shame on you.

Though Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary in a landslide over Hillary Clinton, he will likely receive fewer delegates than she will.

Sanders won 60 percent of the vote, but thanks to the Democratic Party’s nominating system, he leaves the Granite State with at least 13 delegates while she leaves with at least 15 delegates.

Christie Expected to Drop Out of GOP Race

By on 2.10.16 | 1:05PM

Chris Christie might have landed the knockout blow to Marco Rubio's presidential aspirations. But he will not have his hand raised in victory.

After a sixth place finish in New Hampshire behind Rubio and no spot on the debate stage on Saturday in South Carolina, Christie has cancelled all scheduled campaign events in the Palmetto state and has returned to New Jersey where he is widely expected to formally end his presidential campaign today.

Christie sealed his fate with Republicans the moment he embraced President Obama during Hurricane Sandy. His attacks on Obama during the debate made Republican voters doubt he was so blunt with the President in the days leading up the 2012 election.

I don't think Bridgegate was as much of a factor. There is no evidence to suggest that Christie had any involvement there. But he did hire the staff people involved and that does reflect on his judgment thereby giving Republican voters at least a reasonable doubt.