Political Hay

Political Hay

The Problem for Folks Like Us

By 5.18.15

I heard it first at the barber shop. Then at the airport. And then from callers to a radio show. Folks like us seem to think we have a problem.

They think that we have too many candidates, and that the candidates will spend too much money tearing one another down, and that the process may produce, after a burst of fratricidal campaign spots, a mortally damaged nominee. This concern is unlike us. Folks like us tend to encourage dissent and welcome debate; we are the permanent insurgency and we thrive on the hurly-burly of controversy. But now that we’re up against the glacial advance of Clinton Inc., these folks seem to be saying, maybe we should skinny down a bit, husband our resources, and begin to look for the high ground of party unity.

I hear these folks. But they’re wrong, or at least prematurely wrong.

Political Hay

A List of Islamophobes for Dean Obeidallah

By 5.14.15

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Pamela Geller’s “Draw the Prophet Mohammed” contest, comedian Dean Obeidallah, a left-leaning comedian (but I repeat myself) who is also a Muslim has decided he will use his radio show to have a “Draw an Islamophobe” contest. Obeidallah writes a column over there at the Daily Beast and, albeit in typical left-handed fashion, has nonetheless stood up to defend Geller's right to free speech. While he titled the piece“Muslims Defend Pam Geller’s Right to Hate,”defend her right to free speech he did, writing:

Political Hay

Rand Paul Is Not Neutral on Anything

By 5.13.15

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants to be “a different kind of Republican.” And he is. His campaign is joining San Francisco’s sharing economy by renting shared space. That should appeal to young voters. On Saturday, from the South of Market incubator StartupHouse, the GOP presidential hopeful proclaimed, “What we want is a government that leaves us alone.”

The event was not a fundraiser. It was something almost unheard of — free. And it featured a Q&A moderated by a member of the media, reporter Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle. Local GOP political consultant Matt Shupe, 30, told me that it was the first time since he entered politics that a GOP presidential hopeful had set up shop in San Francisco. “When you have San Francisco progressives shaking Google buses and trying to get rid of Uber and Airbnb,” Shupe added, that spells opportunity for Republicans.

Political Hay

Seven Lessons the Left Will Never Learn

By 5.12.15

Democrats and other lefties can’t govern, and after 100 years of the Progressive experiment in action from Baltimore to Havana to Ho Chi Minh City to Beijing, we now know why.

The weekend’s results in the British elections stand as a perfect example of the comfortable, committed Western Left in ruins. On this side of the pond, the Left presides over unmitigated decline — increasingly dangerous foreign challenges, a domestic economy with 93 million out of work and seven consecutive years in which more American businesses have shut their doors than have opened. Poll after poll shows Washington lacks the consent of the governed — a bad sign considering the recent string of electoral upsets showing actual elections a lot less friendly to the Left than pre-election polls.

So why is it that the parties of the Western Left struggle? Why does it seem that their efforts at governance, enabled mostly by a combination of favorable demographics and a public willing to give them a try after conservative parties run out of political gas, nearly always end in failure?

The answer can be found in seven lessons the Left steadfastly refuses to learn.

Political Hay

Downright Dull Democrats

By 5.7.15

When ordinary voters think about Hillary Clinton — which I hope they do very little since life is short — some may think “secretary of state,” some may think “scandals” or “Benghazi,” and some may think of the double-edged sword that is her famous husband.

But for me, and I suspect for an increasing number of Americans, the gut reaction to Hillary is boredom.

Just as you can imagine a teenager writing down random combinations of “Chevy,” “road,” “union,” “girl,” “town,” and “engine,” interspersed with assorted first person pronouns and single-syllable verbs to create a convincing Bruce Springsteen song, it wouldn’t be hard to teach your eighth grader to write a plausible Clinton response to any question she’ll be asked or to draft believable Clinton talking points on any issue of policy or politics.

Her words would include “everyday,” “ordinary,” “living wage,” “equality,” “Republicans,” “tax breaks,” and “regardless of who you love.”


Political Hay

With Conservatives Like These…

By 5.5.15

Much of the discussion about Jeb Bush nowadays — on paper, over the air, and down to various watering holes at happy hour — seems to be a search for a tell-all label. Is he a conservative? Is he a moderate? Is he a liberal? The answer to every one of these questions is yes. He’s all of the above. But this doesn’t tell you much. With Jeb, who hopes to be Bush III, those wishing to take his political measure need to drill deeper into specifics than with most candidates.

Before conservative audiences, Bush, and those whooping him up, can justifiably point to Bush’s two terms as Florida’s governor where he cut taxes, cut the number of state employees, reined in affirmative action in state matters, and pushed for more accountability in the state’s bloated education industry. Then and now he’s been consistently pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. He says he admires Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and considers Antonin Scalia the most interesting of the court’s opinion writers.

Political Hay

Could Alberta Vote Socialist?

By 5.4.15

For eighty years, Alberta has been Canada’s most conservative province. It was in 1935, three decades after attaining its provincial status, that Albertans elected the Social Credit Party to power under the leadership of the populist Evangelical preacher “Bible” Bill Aberhart. He advocated that Alberta establish its own currency in the form of $25 monthly “social credits” to promote greater consumption during the Great Depression. Although this pledge would never materialize, the Social Credit Party would remain in power for 36 years, mostly under the conservative leadership of Ernest Manning (whose son Preston would lead Canada’s Reform Party during the late 1980s and most of the 1990s).

Political Hay

Money In Politics? No Problem.

By 5.4.15

There will be no problem with money in politics this year. Such problems arise only when Republicans have more money than Democrats.

Hillary Clinton has let it get about that she will be spending $2.5 billion this time. If that number is even roughly accurate, it means that she will spend far more than all of her Republican opponents combined.

Hillary will portray the $2.5 billion as (a) a way to get her message out, (b) a way to make the process more inclusive and (c) a way to fight back against the scourges of Wichita, the Koch brothers. Somebody, somewhere will buy her story.

You could say that if the Koch brothers didn’t exist the Democrats would have to invent them. You could say that, but you would be wrong. The Democrats did invent the Koch brothers. Over the past six years, the Koch fundraising circle, as estimable as it is, has never been even remotely competitive with the Obama money machine. Over the next two, it won’t be even remotely competitive with the Clinton machine. The Koch brothers, alas, rarely dominate elections. They just play political villains on TV.

Political Hay

Donald Trump Slams Government By Race

By 4.30.15

Wow. The Washington Post now reports this headline on the riot surrounding the death of Freddie Gray:

Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘banging against the walls’ during ride

The Post’s major story says a “prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray ‘banging against the walls’ of the vehicle and believed that he ‘was intentionally trying to injure himself….’” 

In other words? The Post is implying a black man in a majority-ruled black city where some 40 percent of the cops are African Americans was deliberately trying to injure himself. The effect of which would be to make it look like he was abused by the police of a black-run city. If the Post is correct? Nothing race-centric there. Wow again.

Political Hay

Hillary’s Appearance Is Fair Game

By 4.29.15

At the White House Correspondents’ dinner, Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong asked all media attendees to raise their hands and pledge that they would “solemnly swear not to talk about Hillary’s appearance because that is not journalism.” It was a joke but also something more.

It was part of a growing multitude of demands made by Hillary supporters of what is and what is not appropriate to say about their chosen candidate. It also supported the notion that Hillary’s greatest obstacle is that infamous “glass ceiling” of gender bias that has denied a woman the ultimate seat of power in the White House.

Strong’s chastisement was, of course, met with loud and prolonged cheers. Media members and their celebrity guests, the two most appearance-obsessed demographics in the United States (something a follow-up joke by Strong alluded to), cheered the sentiment. The audience consensus was clear — Hillary’s personal appearance was off limits because any such observations were proof of sexist, patriarchal bias.