Political Hay

Political Hay

The Donald’s Log Cabin

By 6.23.15

In announcing his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump used his patented carnival barker’s routine. After that he took off for New Hampshire to actually campaign. 

At his first stop he drew a good-sized crowed. After his pitch, reporters asked some of those attending what they thought of Trump as a candidate. One man told an interviewer, “He says it like it is. I like the fact he started at the bottom and built his success himself.”

The legendary rags-to-riches story? Not exactly. Donald Trump was the son of Fred Trump, a well-established and wealthy real estate developer in New York City. His company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, specialized in middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Unglamorous, but it filled a need.

Political Hay

Jeb Bush’s Education Problem

By 6.18.15

Have you read the new book by ex-Bush 41 White House Chief of Staff John Sununu? Title: The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush. 

Mr. Sununu has done a good deed here, both to the always decent president he served and perhaps most importantly for the historical record. Although in the latter case the book may prove to be a problem for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as he pursues his Dad’s — and his brother’s — old job.

The other night Jeb Bush sat down for one of those hour-long candidate interviews that Sean Hannity has been doing on his Fox show. Asked Hannity of Bush: “Would you eliminate any government departments? Education? Commerce?” Bush replied:

Political Hay

Rep. Chaffetz, How Could You?

By 6.17.15

Old-style “bricks-and-mortar” retailers and a few brand-name dot-coms, instead of cost-conscious Internet consumers, seem to have the most influence with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), sponsor of a bill introduced this week, the “Remote Transactions Parity Act.” The provocative legislation would largely end the tax-free status of much of the commerce done online, something we have managed to avoid since the mid-1990s debut of the commercial Internet.

The bill is being condemned by a coalition of free-market groups—including R Street, Americans for Tax Reform, Freedom Works, Heritage Action for America, and the Heartland Institute—in an open letter to Rep. Chaffetz, released yesterday.

But the National Retail Federation (NRF), the lobbyist for the country’s leading retailers, could not be more pleased.

Political Hay

Donald Trump and the American Dream

By 6.16.15

Donald Trump will be announcing for president today, according to a source close to the Trump camp.

Apparently, the conventional wisdom that Trump was just making presidential noises because he always does turned out to be…well….flat wrong.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Trump has released papers showing his net worth to be $9 billion. A release that is being made in anticipation of his announcement today. Apparently the conventional wisdom over the years that had people either insisting he wasn’t really a billionaire at all (as did a New York Times “business reporter” who quoted anonymous sources insisting Trump was “not remotely close to being a billionaire”) or worth a paltry $4.1 billion (as Forbes magazine does this minute) were…well…flat wrong.

Political Hay

Five Reasons Why Republicans Won’t Nominate Jeb Bush

By 6.15.15

Today marks the entry of Jeb Bush into the 2016 Republican presidential race. Although the former Florida governor has instant name recognition and vast resources, they will not be enough for Republicans to pick him as their nominee for the White House. I believe this to be so for the following five reasons.

1. Illegal Immigration is Act of Love

At a town hall meeting in April 2014, Bush told Shannon Beam of the Fox News Channel the following about illegal immigration, “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.”

Suffice it to say there many conservatives who do not view illegal immigration as an act of love nor an act of commitment to one’s family. No doubt there are many conservatives who would like to see border crossing from Mexico to the United States be treated as a felony under the law.

Political Hay

The Democrats’ Nominee Will Be…

By 6.12.15

Two weeks ago in this space I proffered the notion that Hillary Clinton’s inevitability as the Democrats’ nominee is a tenuous one, and since then little has come to speed up the Hillary Express.

There was last week’s straw poll of Wisconsin Democrats in which Hillary reeled in just 49 percent of the vote while the socialist senator Bernie Sanders, he of “fantasy rape” pseudo-literary fame (not to mention his status as a despoiler of folk music), came in closely behind at 41 percent.

Political Hay

Lindsey Graham: Socialist Ratcheteer

By 6.11.15

It all began so innocently.

Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and newly minted if long-shot 2016 presidential candidate, sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd for an interview. Riding along in the back seat of (presumably) an SUV, the two discuss Graham’s presidential ambition. Todd poses a question wondering about what Graham thinks of the country’s current state of polarization. In a bit of a windy answer Graham blames talk radio, cable TV, and money. Then he tosses the kind of political flare that rarely gets tossed in today’s carefully restrained and tailored-for-public-consumption politics. 

To illustrate his point, Graham conjures a scene of modern media covering the Constitutional Convention in 1787 Philadelphia, replete with satellite trucks surrounding Independence Hall and Ben Franklin exiting the building only to be besieged by Fox’s Sean Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Translation: the two hosts are polarizing.

Political Hay

Hillary Plays the Race Card

By 6.9.15

Well, that didn’t take long.

Here we are barely at the half-way mark of the year before the presidential election — and right on cue Hillary Clinton is out there playing the race card, this time using the vehicle of voter ID cards. Ah yes. Nothing like using racism to stir the liberal base.

In last year’s election cycle Americans had to wait until the closing days of the campaign before Democrats running for office in states like Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, and North Carolina began the usual left-wing race baiting. The Wall Street Journal noted this here-we-go-again tactic in an October 26, 2014 editorial titled: “The 2014 Race Card: Democratic appeals to racial division are worse than ever.”

True. And that’s saying something. Also, noted the WSJ: “Black voter turnout exceeded white turnout in states like Georgia and Indiana after voter ID laws passed.”

Political Hay

Here Comes St. George

By 6.5.15

It started with the schools.

Four years ago, a group of concerned parents and advocates for improved public education in a middle-class suburb southeast of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, began lobbying for the creation of an independent school district to break away from the city’s wasteful and poorly performing public system. The East Baton Rouge Parish public schools spend some $12,200 per student per year, according to the Louisiana Department of Education, which is considerably above the national average of just over $10,000 per year, and yet the district ranks 55th of 71 school districts in academic performance. That, in a state languishing in the bottom five nationally, would seem to be the cause of mass outrage throughout the parish — and in fact it has served as the impetus for the incorporations of two suburbs in the northern part of East Baton Rouge. Those two cities, Zachary and Central, now boast public schools rated in the top five of the state’s districts and are thriving little communities with rising populations and property values.

Political Hay

Martin O’Malley: The Great Deceiver

By 6.2.15

Martin O’Malley wants to be president. He wants the job so badly he’s apparently perfectly willing to re-write history. To just refuse to tell the truth. 

In his announcement speech for president the other day, O’Malley, the man who governed both Baltimore and then Maryland for years, stood in front of the cameras and practiced the political game of — there’s no other way to say it — lying by omission. Said the would-be president:

We have work to do.

Our economic and political system is upside down and backwards and it is time to turn it around.

What happened to our economy — what happened to the American Dream — did not happen by chance.

Nor was it merely the result of global forces somehow beyond our control.

Powerful, wealthy special interests here at home have used our government to create — in our own country — an economy that is leaving a majority of our people behind.

An economy that has so concentrated wealth in the hands of the very few that it has taken opportunity from the homes of the many.

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