Patterico's Pontifications


Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:34 pm

Front and center: the Court. It’s Cruz’s chance to whack Donald Trump across the head with a shovel and start digging his grave with it (that’s metaphorical, Charles Johnson!).

We have dinner reservations, so let me know how it went.

Justice Scalia Dies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:25 pm

Horrible news. What a great man.

P.S. Zero chance Obama gets a nominee confirmed. None.


Ted Cruz: Two New Ads, One Doesn’t Seem To Add Up

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:02 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Ted Cruz campaign has released a terrifically blistering ad mocking Hillary Clinton and her “server problem”.

The ad is a spoof on “Office Space”. It won’t matter if you haven’t seen the film because there’s no mistaking the the message of “Damn, it’s good to be a Clinton”:

The campaign also released another ad on Thursday, attacking Marco Rubio for being just another pretty face:

The campaign pulled the ad after it was discovered that a female actress appearing in it had also starred in adult films:

The woman, Amy Lindsay, as first reported by BuzzFeed, has appeared in multiple movies with titles like “Carnal Wishes,” “Insatiable Desires” and “Private Sex Club.” Ms. Lindsay told BuzzFeed that she was a Christian conservative and a Republican, deciding between supporting Mr. Cruz or Donald J. Trump.

Okay, so first off, if she is a practicing, not-in-name-only Christian, would she really be doing adult films? Or has she left that part of her acting life behind? And, if she were still an adult film actress, what on earth would compel her to be in a Ted Cruz ad? Surely, if she really were a supporter of the very conservative Cruz, she wouldn’t want to risk jeopardizing the candidate in a place like South Carolina where his strongest support comes from Christian conservatives. But if she weren’t a Cruz supporter and supported another candidate who views Cruz as a serious threat, whether in the primaries or general election, there might be a good reason for an adult film actress to appear in the ad.

A representative from the Cruz campaign released this statement:

“The actress responded to an open casting call,” said Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the Cruz campaign. “She passed her audition and got the job. Unfortunately, she was not vetted by the casting company. Had the campaign known of her full filmography, we obviously would not have let her appear in the ad. The campaign is taking the ad down and will replace it with a different commercial.”

A woman applied for a job and was selected to do the job because she was the best candidate? Sounds good. But because of her employment history, the ad was pulled? I can’t agree with this decision. If there were accusations of Cruz being linked to a porn actress (which of course, there would be), it would have been an opportunity for the very clever Cruz campaign to push back by reminding voters that Americans being hired to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage is an essential part of Conservatism and a big part of what Cruz wants to do for America: grow job creation and employment for any willing American, while working toward a goal of undoing the dismal unemployment rates under Obama. Because an employed America is a successful America. Isn’t this something we want to encourage?

Further, does the campaign risk an accusation of sexism by pulling the ad because of one woman’s work history? A woman who auditioned for a job and got it, beating out the competition fairly and squarely. Could the decision to pull the ad be a lost opportunity to reach the more moderate-libertarian voters still looking for a candidate?

The actress apparently thought the campaign knew about her previous work:

Though Lindsay initially told BuzzFeed News that the person at the campaign who hired her “absolutely knew everything that I had done,” she later called back to say that she realized that was not the case.

“I have clearly talked to the filmmakers and stuff and just to be clear, I assumed that they knew, but none of the filmmakers or the casting director knew about my complete filmography in the past that you’re talking about, so I was wrong in that statement,” Lindsay said, saying that she had assumed that an old friend of hers from an acting class who was present when she was hired was aware of her film history.

As it now stands, Lindsay has tweeted her disappointment in the campaign’s decision to pull the ad:

Extremely disappointed the #TedCruz campaign pulled the national television spot I had a role in… #moretocome #myvotecounts
8:23 PM – 11 Feb 2016

Of course given that the ad was part of a six-figure buy in South Carolina, the state’s Christian conservative voters may not have taken too kindly to having an adult film star appear in their candidate’s ad. Maybe the campaign has an accurate reading of the voters in the state. But would Cruz have lost voters because of the ad? If so, then that would have spoken far more about the kind of people in South Carolina rather than the candidate Ted Cruz.


Stop Applying a Different Standard to Donald Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

Journalists do not hold Donald Trump to the same standard as other candidates. When he makes grand, sweeping, and ridiculously unsupportable statements, they let it go — apparently thinking that the silly nature of the statements is self-evident. Maybe they are — to educated, intelligent, and informed people. But those aren’t the people still making up their minds about who should be President.

This idea that we apply a different standard to Trump is likely to be a running theme here. Today, let me start the discussion by showing you this video:

“Nobody knows banking better than I do.” “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.” “Nobody knows health care better than Donald Trump.” “I think I know more about foreign policy than anybody running.” Etc. etc. etc.

All but about two of you think these statements are obvious piffle. Why bother demonstrating they’re false, when anyone can see that right off the bat? you think.

That’s a mistake.

If another candidate made any of these statements, journalists would call them on it, and hard. You know more about foreign policy . . . than anyone running? Then answer this specific question, and that one. For example: you can’t name terrorists who are well known to thousands of counterterror experts, sir — and to several of the other candidates on the stage. It’s not a gotcha question if you said you know more than anybody else.

Trump said in The Art of the Deal that he uses “truthful hyperbole” — calling it “an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.” Except the “truthful” part is a lie. Hyperbole is a hyperbole. Exaggeration is exaggeration. It’s why Trump claims, over and over, that he is worth more than $10 billion when he clearly isn’t. John Fund:

Trump became president of his father’s real-estate organization in 1974. His share of his father’s empire as one of five siblings was $40 million. As the National Journal has pointed out, If someone were to invest $40 million in a S&P 500 index in 1974, reinvest all dividends, and have to pay capital gains he’d wind up with about $3.4 billion in 2015. Trump claims to be worth over $10 billion but has admitted in a 2007 deposition he frequently exaggerates his wealth. Bloomberg currently puts it at $2.9 billion, while Forbes puts it at $4 billion. So Trump’s actual wealth probably is about as much as he would have accumulated if he had taken his dad’s money and put it into an index fund.

Trump isn’t a successful businessman. He’s a rich kid who got a bunch of money from Daddy. He could have done nothing at all — no “deals,” no bankruptcies, no nothing — and gotten as much money or more as he has today.

Yet he lies about it. He continually claims to be worth over $10 billion, and nobody ever squarely calls him on it. They would, if he were anyone else. Again: I think they assume people know better. But people don’t.

The Trump phenomenon would be over tomorrow if, in a debate, moderators spent 30 minutes asking each candidate how they would do any number of things, and then pointed out each time the candidate failed to say how they would do it. Trump never says how he would do anything. But journalists let it go. I think they’re scared to attack him because of the jihad he would unleash, as he did with Megyn Kelly.

Candidates can’t it around and wait for journalists to do this. They have to attack Trump themselves. But the candidates (with the exception of Ted Cruz, who is attacking Trump these days) do the same as the journalists. They attack each other and sit around assuming Trump is going to blow himself up. Not happening. I think they’re scared to attack him too. Except for Cruz.

Nate Silver says:

The “one weird trick” is to treat him as the front-runner and attack him.

The attacks work, when you actually bother to try them — because the truth hurts Trump. He is all about making vague promises to chump suckers. He is a liar. He exaggerates habitually.

Any other candidate who did this would be savaged. It’s time to start savaging Donald Trump.


Hillary Clinton’s Problem With Women Voters

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Poor Hillary Clinton. Not only did she get clobbered in New Hampshire by the Sexist Socialist, she also lost every demographic group other than the 65+ crowd and those making over $200,000.

Perhaps her landslide loss this week speaks to voters being weary of her never-ending presence on the national stage and being tired of her yelling at them. Certainly their increasing distrust of her greatly factored into the outcome. Considering everything from Benghazi, to her email scandal, to an FBI investigation, well, any of these would cause a rational person to harbor grave doubts and misgivings about her judgement and trustworthiness.

And then there is her hypocrisy. Consider her close ties to Wall Street. She earned big Wall Street money giving big speeches. Speeches, by the way, whose content she would rather you didn’t know. And no wonder. Pandering is always fraught with danger. You pander to a special interest group one day, the next day you are excoriating them before voters for their mere existence. It’s quite a juggling act, and one that will cost dearly if you are exposed.

Clearly there are a number of reasons why she lost so badly.

I’m guessing that most shocking, and frankly, embarrassing to her is that the iconic feminist of all feminists lost the vote of women.

If you’re the self-proclaimed savior of women who claims to have spent an entire lifetime championing women’s rights and are running on a campaign platform of the same, to lose the vote of your people has to be the biggest blow of all.

But when one considers Hillary’s inability on the campaign trail to successfully address accusations about smearing women who accused her husband of sexual abuse and rape, and enabling his bad behavior toward women, one is not convinced that she has ever been a friend to women.

Further, it’s not wise to try to guilt women into voting for you. While women may like to play the guilt trip on their kids, and even their husbands, they don’t like it being played on them. So trotting out Madeline Albright to threaten women with going to hell if they didn’t vote for Hillary was bound to backfire.

To make matters worse, when Gloria Steinem steps in and makes a profoundly sexist accusation and blames young women’s hormones for not supporting Hillary, it shouldn’t be surprising that those young women get righteously pissed off about being treated in such a condescending manner.

Simply put, Hillary Clinton cannot win by simultaneously campaigning on a platform of feminism and women’s rights, and at the same time, insult the intelligence of the very women she hopes to convince.

With that, Carly Fiorina, who ended her campaign for the presidency yesterday, keeps it simple, because it is:

To young girls and women across the country, I say: do not let others define you. Do not listen to anyone who says you have to vote a certain way or for a certain candidate because you’re a woman. That is not feminism. Feminism doesn’t shut down conversations or threaten women. It is not about ideology. It is not a weapon to wield against your political opponent. A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses and uses all her God-given gifts. And always remember that a leader is not born, but made. Choose leadership.

This is a woman I can respect.


Political News: Buying Loyalty; Ted Cruz Best “If Conservatism Is Your Bag”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

Jeb Bush yesterday explained that he rooted for the Broncos because Peyton Manning gave him a check:

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he supported the Denver Broncos over the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl because he got a campaign contribution from Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

Bush, the former governor of Florida, explained his pick Wednesday during a campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

“I know that y’all probably maybe had some leanings toward Carolina,” Bush told the crowd. “I was for Denver, not because of the Broncos, but because Peyton Manning wrote me a check.”

. . . .

Federal campaign finance records show Bush received a $2,700 contribution from Manning last August.


Everything is for sale: big, huge, small, or even petty.

In other political news, Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that Ted Cruz is the clear choice . . . “[i]f conservatism is your bag.” If your “bag” is someone who is proud to speak in public in a manner you wouldn’t want your children to hear, and pledges to throw out or keep out all the dark-skinned people . . . then you might be a Donald Trump fan. But don’t worry:

Hey, by the way, someone found the audio of Mark Levin citing this Web site for the proposition that Ted Cruz was talking about a wall years before Trump announced his candidacy. I figured I’d embed it for posterity:

Patter-ICK-o. Um, Pat-TERR-ico.

I think Levin remembers me, since he launched a series of Facebook tirades against me a few years ago after I called him out on something or another. But hey. He’s fighting the good fight now, and it’s good to get the message out, whether it be through Mark LEV-in or whatever his name is, or anyone else. Joking aside, bygones are bygones. Levin is fighting the good fight.

That is, if conservatism — and people who don’t sell favors and their very loyalty — is your bag.


New Ads From Trump And Cruz

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Donald Trump, during a speech in South Carolina, said this:

“Common Core we’re gonna keep.”

Which is confusing, because last night while giving his victory speech in New Hampshire, he said this:

We’re getting rid of Common Core. We’re going to educate our children…

(at the 10:15 mark)

Trump defenders are saying that he just misspoke and that there was more to the speech than just the sound bite. I tend to agree with Amanda Carpenter:


Trump will say whatever the moment calls for. Which leads me to Ted Cruz’s new campaign ad which is aimed at Trump, the action figure who pretends to be a Republican:

I don’t think it’s as good as his previous ads, but it clearly makes the point that Trump is the Great Pretender who speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Which is funny because that is essentially the gist of Trump’s new ad aimed at Cruz in “What Kind of Man”. In this ad, Cruz is portrayed as the “worst kind of Washington insider”:

Of course it matters not a whit to loyal Trump supporters that the accusations brought forth in this ad have been handily debunked or explained.


FURTHER THOUGHTS BY PATTERICO: Trump very likely had a brain fart there, enabled by the fact that he doesn’t even know what Common Core is. But here’s the real problem: Trump tried to cover it up by claiming he was talking about Jeb Bush’s policy:

That is a lie and Trump is a liar. The Right Scoop has the full context of his remarks and he was in no way, shape or form talking about Jeb Bush at that moment.

I had at least one person I usually like getting upset with me and calling me a “horse’s ass” on Twitter for pointing this out.

(It’s OK, I’m a big boy, I can take it.) But when Trump lies, we have to call him on it. We can’t keep holding him to a different standard than others because we think he’s a buffoon. I plan to flesh this argument out in the future, but I’m sticking a flag in the ground here for now.

Last Night

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

As Allahpundit noted on Twitter, nationalism and socialism won last night.

What could possibly go wrong?

When Government Writes the Copy of “Journalists”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am

J.K. Trotter at Gawker (I know) continues to show how flacks to Hillary Clinton were able to dictate to big-name journalists exactly how they would write their stories.

The latest reveal deals with Marc Ambinder, then of The Atlantic, who wrote Clinton spokeshole Phillippe Reines to ask for a copy of Hillary Clinton’s upcoming speech. Reines told Ambinder he could provide a copy on two conditions, to which Ambinder replied “ok.” Reines then wrote:

From: [Philippe Reines]
Sent: Wednesday, July 15 2009 10:06 AM
To: Ambinder, Marc
Subject: Re: Do you have a copy of HRC’s speech to share?

3 [conditions] actually

1) You in your own voice describe them as “muscular”

2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from Holbrooke to Mitchell to Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something

3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!

Ambinder replied: “got it” — and like a dutiful little scribe, he complied with every request:

When you think of President Obama’s foreign policy, think of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That’s the message behind a muscular speech that Clinton is set to deliver today to the Council on Foreign Relations. The staging gives a clue to its purpose: seated in front of Clinton, subordinate to Clinton, in the first row, will be three potentially rival power centers: envoys Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, and National Security Council senior director Dennis Ross.

Ambinder has taken a lot of criticism for this, and deservedly so. But lost in the shuffle has been Mike Allen of Politico. There are no emails showing a similar demand being made of Allen. But check out the opening of Allen’s piece about the same speech:

In a muscular first major address as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton warns adversaries on Wednesday that they “should never see America’s willingness to talk as a sign of weakness to be exploited.”

The seating! Don’t forget the seating, Mike!

A look at the CFR’s guest seating chart shows that arrayed in the front row will be top members of her team — the envoys she has called her “force multipliers”: Richard Holbrooke, George Mitchell, Dennis Ross, Philip Goldberg and Stephen Bosworth.

We told you to say “a look at the CFR’s guest seating plan,” Mike, not “chart.” It’s a minor quibble. Otherwise, we’re pleased. Holbrooke, Mitchell, Ross. You even got the order right, Mike! Well done!

On Friday, Trotter explained how Reines had once secretly ghostwritten an item on Allen’s blog. In November, Trotter showed that Allen promised positive coverage to Chelsea Clinton and promised to provide his interview questions in advance. “No one besides me would ask her a question, and you and I would agree on them precisely in advance.” The “no surprises” promise he made to Chelsea was common practice for Allen in dealing with Democrats, emails obtained by Trotter have revealed. So the chances that Reines dictated Allen’s coverage of Clinton’s speech are approximately yes it happened . . . give or take.

The fact that these guys still work and don’t get disciplined in any way tells you all you need to know.

Excellent work by Trotter.


New Hampshire Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:15 pm

Bernie and Trump win. Battle for second among Republicans, with Kasich and Bush currently outpacing Cruz and Rubio.

What a stupid state.

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