What is the point of the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary?
Usually the answer to that goes something like this: Starting the process of campaigning in small states like Iowa and New Hampshire subjects would-be presidents to voters’ up-close-and-personal scrutiny. A significant percentage of voters get to meet, question, and carefully assess the candidates.
Donald Trump’s victory makes a mockery of this conceit. It turns out that you don’t need to do many town halls and retail stops shaking hands at small restaurants: As long as your competition is divided enough, you can win New Hampshire with celebrity-level earned media and demagogic speeches to arena-sized audiences.
This piece will borrow liberally from a pair of previous occupants of this space, in which (1) it was prophesied that Hillary Clinton will not ultimately be that party’s nominee and (2) Mike Bloomberg will be allowed to ride in and purchase that party lock, stock and barrel.
Now that those prophecies no longer reside deep in left field, that is.
The top three finishers in the Iowa Republican Caucuses told us a lot about themselves in the speeches they gave after the results came in.
Donald Trump’s words following his defeat, while uncharacteristically gracious, were remarkable for their brevity. As much as Trump proclaimed that he loved the people of the Hawkeye state so much that he wanted to buy a farm there, he looked like he couldn’t wait to get the hell out as fast as he could and never set foot in Iowa ever again.
By contrast, Ted Cruz didn’t want the night to end. And who could blame him? But 32 minutes into his victory sermon even Fox News decided it had enough and mercifully cut away to Bernie Sanders’ remarks. While Sanders might stand in solidarity with the Cuban government, it is Cruz that shares more in common with Fidel Castro when it comes to lengthy speeches.
Some on the political right are floating a new “supply-side” idea for reducing carbon dioxide emissions without creating more market distortions: clean tax cuts. Proponents of the cuts want to reduce or end all taxes on investments in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In theory, tax cuts on so-called “clean” technologies should dramatically increase investments in these industries, because investors would not have to pay taxes on the profits. Because taxes would still be paid by companies using fossil fuels to produce electricity or churn out popular products not as energy-efficient as alternative models in their class, stock prices would fall and investment in them would wane. Proponents have described it as “an all carrot, no-stick” approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Politicians pander. It’s what they do. But Christians seem especially susceptible to those claiming to be their spiritual brethren. It would be better if people of faith focused on candidates’ practical ability to perform the duties of what remains a secular office.
With the Iowa caucuses drawing near, it seems like every Republican tramping through the snow claims to be a Bible-believing, God-fearing, Jesus-loving Christian. Some trot out their parents; others offer personal conversion stories. Some defend persecuted Christians; others explain their policies in Biblical terms. A gaggle of church leaders promote their favorite presidential wannabe.
It’s a fruitless exercise. The Israelites were told to select men who “fear God,” (Exodus 18:21), but theirs was an explicit community of faith. Governance of a secular republic with an increasingly diverse and unchurched population is very different.
Des Moines Register, January 25
Tonight in Des Moines, one week before the Iowa Caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party and Drake University will co-host a CNN Town Hall. The three participants are perennial presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, straight man Martin O’Malley, and life-long Marxist Bernie Sanders.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire said Democrats are honored to showcase “our fantastic candidates.” McGuire sharply rebuked Ted Cruz for being a Republican and praised “New York values.” McGuire also noted that Iowa Democrats, according to this newspaper’s poll, feel the number one issue in the state is the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards. McGuire expressed hope that CNN panelists tonight would not be diverted toward “phony issues” like the slow economic recovery over the last seven years or the resurgence of Iran amidst the meltdown in the Middle East.
I didn’t even know it was a problem, but it appears that some of the politically correct people Down Under have found a way to stop Santa Clauses from making hookers feel bad.
According to a spokesperson for Westoff, a recruiting and training company that has supplied thousands of Santas across Australia for over four decades, their new guys in red and white are being told to “lower their tone of voice” and say “Ha, ha, ha” instead of “Ho, ho, ho.”
Similarly getting herself stuck in the middle of another effort to scrub a holiday into political correctness, Jessica, a 16-year-old sophomore at a private high school in Seattle, said on the Dori Monson Show on KIRO radio that she volunteered a week before spring break to do a week-long community service project in a third grade class at a local public school.
My wise and well-read sister, Joan Turrentine’s recent comment to me produced an “aha” moment regarding Donald Trump’s extraordinary popularity. Joan was observing the way the media — particularly as they critique the presidential debates — influence what the public thinks about the candidates, deciding which ones to focus on, which issues are top priority, and which candidate is a “winner.” She summarized her thoughts by quoting Alexander Pope: “Expert criticism, once destined to teach that which is to be admired — the poet’s art — now presumes to be master.”
Indeed, there are many parallels between the literary critics and their skirmishes in Pope’s day with what passes for political commentary and analysis today. Whether it is poets or politicians, wit and creativity are always at war with conventional wisdom, with the latter’s champions demanding surrender to and conformity with its logic and assessments.
Marco Rubio . is one of the more articulate and consistent conservatives in American public life today. He’s shown a deep understanding of the security threats facing America and our options for dealing with them. He understands how wealth is created and what the government should be doing, and more importantly, not doing, to make the economy vigorous again. He is a friend of personal and economic freedom, and understands the connection between the two. He sees through the climate change humbug, and similar left political hustles.