Patterico's Pontifications


Rubio Also Does “Shaming” Mailer in Iowa

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:48 pm

In my opinion Cruz’s (discussed by JVW here) was worse — as it named neighbors and arguably implied (to stupid voters) that there was some kind of “violation” involved in their failure to vote. That said, the Rubio mailer retains many of the objectionable tactics of Cruz’s.

“Ve KNOW vedder you hav been votink!” Check.

“Your NEIGHbors are votink! Vy aren’t YOU!” Check.

“You hav a votink SCORE und ve KNOW it!” Check.

It’s different when Rubio does it, though, on account of how he’s good-looking and everything.


Iowa Spin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:33 pm

So much of the way people interpret election results is media-driven babble about “expectations” and similar nonsense.

I would offer the following differing perspective.

Trump vs. Trump In Luxury Presidential Debate (With Added Ted Cruz Ad)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is pretty funny. Of course, Trump supporters are going to think otherwise.

Ted Cruz, whose campaign has been shown to have the most effective and persuasive political ads of this campaign season, has released yet another hard-hitting ad which shows Trump as a crony in bed with politicians, including liberal Democrats. The ad smartly uses Trump’s own words against him:


Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll: Still Trump

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:44 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Des Moines Register released polling results of a selection of likely Republican caucusgoers:

Trump stands at 28 percent, while rival Ted Cruz has slid to 23 percent. But there’s still a strong case for Cruz in this race — he’s more popular and respected than Trump, the final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll shows.

“The drill-down shows, if anything, stronger alignment with Cruz than Trump, except for the horse race,” said J. Ann Selzer, the pollster for the Iowa Poll.


According to those polled, this is where Trump is vulnerable:

It bothers 60 percent of likely caucusgoers that Trump supports using government powers to seize property. It bothers 56 percent that he supported abortion rights in the past and would not have banned late-term abortions.

As for Cruz, those polled didn’t like that he borrowed $1 million dollars and forgot to disclose it, as well as not supporting Renewable Fuel Standards.

The good news for Cruz is that he is the go-to guy for Trump, Rubio, and Carson supporters who may change their minds, and that’s not an insignificant number of voters:

…71 percent of Trump’s supporters say they’re certain they’ll vote for him, compared to just 29 percent who may yet switch, the Iowa Poll found. Among Rubio’s supporters, 47 percent were committed while 53 percent said they may switch to another candidate.

The poll also found that Cruz is the clear second choice of Rubio voters, by a two-to-one margin.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Cruz camp is putting a lot of money into negative ads airing this weekend which will focus primarily on Rubio’s support of amnesty.

And there is this:

GOP caucusgoers are more comfortable with Cruz winning the nomination, becoming president and representing the United States to the world than they are with Trump.

If the race eventually comes down to two Republicans, 53 percent say they would prefer Cruz as the nominee, not Trump. Just 35 percent would choose Trump in a one-on-one contest with Cruz.

In light of Trump and Cruz still holding first and second spot, the Des Moines Register amusingly describes the mounting concerns of the GOP establishment:

Mainstream Republicans, faced with seeing governors Jeb Bush and Chris Christie stalling and the grim reality looming of a victory by a smash-mouth game show host or an ultra-conservative obstructionist, have gravitated toward Marco Rubio.



Ugh, Ted Cruz. Why?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:40 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Via Powerline by way of the The Independent Journal comes a discomforting story about a tactic the Cruz campaign in Iowa is using to drive up caucus turnout. Marked with notifications such as “VOTING VIOLATION,” “ELECTION ALERT,” and “PUBLIC RECORD,” the Cruz campaign has sent a targeted mailer to certain registered voters informing them of their “voter record” as determined by their past participation and rated by letter grade, as well as the record of their neighbors. The mailer contains what might be construed as a vague threat:

You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.

Similar mailers have been seen in past elections, with political parties and advocacy groups of all ideologies making use of the tactic. The Cruz campaign defended their use of this sort of campaign mailer by noting that Republican Joni Ernst had employed it to great effect in her successful 2014 Senate campaign.

I understand that a strong showing in the awful and grossly over-influential Iowa Caucus is a key signifier of the seriousness of a campaign and their ability to put together a solid field organization, but the Menckenian side of me is disgusted at the use of thinly-veiled scare tactics to motivate inconsistent voters, no matter what side of the political divide they may fall on. Using the prominent heading of “VOTING VIOLATION” is way beyond what ought to be acceptable to those who chafe at the ever-encroaching commercial and political intrusiveness driven by the tracking of every move that we make. Paul Mirengoff explains it pretty succinctly:

The Cruz campaign boasts about being into “Big Data” and says that it classifies potential voters by personality type. The Cruz campaign’s assessment of the personality type of the “very narrow” group that received this mailing must not be flattering. “Submissive to authority,” “Easily bullied” or maybe “Not too bright” come to mind.

I very much doubt that this mailing was suggested by the candidate himself, nor do I even suspect he was made aware of it. But to the degree that the campaign is a reflection of the candidate then Ted Cruz, who otherwise is an excellent choice to reverse the Obamian Descent into Mediocrity, needs to stop trying to scare the low-information voters to the polls.

[note: post-publication edit of poor grammar.]


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I heard about this last night. I’m not happy about it and I bet Ted Cruz isn’t either. Primarily I am annoyed by the tactic which strikes me as overbearing and thuggish. Moreover, I am a huge fan of low voter turnout — and I can’t imagine why someone in Cruz’s position would want to get more unmotivated voters to the polls. Because unmotivated voters tend to be low-information voters. Meaning Trump voters. The whole thing is a complete mystery to me.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: Ted Cruz has defended the tactic:

Speaking to reporters on Saturday evening in Sioux City, Mr. Cruz said he would “apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.”

Well, I still don’t like it.

That said, if I were in Iowa, I would still vote for Ted Cruz without reservation. Apparently, he is not perfect. I think I already knew that. He’s still miles better than Trump and (in my estimation) better than Rubio.


This Is Unacceptable

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:08 pm

[guest post by JVW]

I am willing to deal with the fact that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are younger than I am, but I can’t have a President who uses emojis in his email messages.

Rubio solicitation

I mean what is that supposed to be — a voting booth or something? John Adams silently weeps.



GOP Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

“Who’s going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys? Who’s gonna watch a debate between Rubio, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz? Who cares?”

Well, Chris Matthews, in spite of your ugly bigoted sputterings, a lot of us will be watching the Fox News debate tonight because we care about this election and the state of our nation. (It’s not surprising that Mr. Bigot loves him the party running only white candidates…)

Missing in action, of course, will be the leading candidate, Donald Trump. Instead of being at the debate, he will be using our veterans hosting a fundraising event at Drake University in Des Moines to benefit veterans. Reports say that CNN and MSNBC will be covering the event.

Today I heard several commentators predict it will get bloody tonight with Cruz getting hammered from all sides. He has the most to lose, Rubio has the most to gain. Does the pack go after Trump or do they ignore him and actually focus on the issues at hand? And perhaps more importantly, does Fox News, and particularly Megyn Kelly, let them? And how about Trump, does he start to fall after this or does he hold fast to his lead?

It’s anybody’s guess at this point.

Live coverage of the debate here.


Debate Absence Illustrates Trump’s Erratic and Unpredictable Character

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

Byron York, no Ted Cruz fanatic he, writes:

James and Brooks Schooley are raising a young family in this tiny Iowa community. They support Ted Cruz and brought their kids to an old church near the Bloomfield town square to hear the candidate, along with Iowa Rep. Steve King and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Schooleys like Cruz’s faith and his fealty to the Constitution. But their choice is also shaped by their wariness of the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

“He’s not principled,” James Schooley told me, referring to Trump. “He just goes by emotion.”

“I feel like he doesn’t stick to the Constitution the way Ted Cruz would,” added Brooks. “Once you go away from that, then where’s your standard? I mean, you can do anything.”

Before Brooks finished, the Schooleys’ 10 year-old son, until then silently enduring his parents’ conversation with a visiting journalist, chimed in. “He can’t control his anger,” the boy said of Trump in a chirpy voice.

I’m pretty sure “erratic” is a word you will hear tonight from Ted Cruz. “Unpredictable” will be another.

A couple of hours earlier, at a Cruz stop 25 miles away in Centerville, Jeff and Jessica Lenik offered the adult version of a 10 year-old’s assessment of Trump. They like Cruz for his values and positions — faith, Second Amendment, national defense — and they worry about Trump’s temperament.

“He’s too much of a wild card,” Jessica Lenik said of Trump. “I understand his anger, and I get that, and I understand the people behind him. But I think he’s too much of a wild card, and without any background in the political arena, that really scares me. Too much of a hothead, I think.”

Before Cruz spoke, another Cruz supporter, a woman who didn’t want to give her name, worried that Trump just seems a little risky. “I haven’t heard anything that makes me truly feel safe with him,” she said of the New York businessman.

The hot-headed attitude clouds Trump’s judgment when he is making “deals,” as Timothy O’Brien explains in this piece.

But a well-documented and widely reported trail of bad deals litters Trump’s career as a real estate developer and gambling mogul. (Disclosure: I wrote a book about the Republican candidate, “TrumpNation,” for which he sued me in 2006 because, among other things, it questioned the size of his fortune; the suit was later dismissed.)

O’Brien documents a deal that could have validated Trump’s false boasts in 2004 of being the “largest real estate developer in New York.”

With the property, financing and plans in place, a large part of what Trump needed to do to make Television City a reality was to bring together different stakeholders: locals (like the late actor Paul Newman) who wanted parks and a less imposing development, and a mayor, Ed Koch, who had his own outsize personality and who was trying to balance the city’s redevelopment with the needs of the area’s longtime residents.

Had Trump appeased these interests, he might have made the project a reality. Instead, the author of “The Art of the Deal” quickly became entangled in an epic, only-in-New-York round of public fisticuffs with Koch in the spring and summer of 1987. The brawl devolved into name-calling — and ultimately helped doom a deal that could have had vastly different results if Trump chose different tactics.

O’Brien’s piece is worth reading in its entirety. But one prominent example was his reaction to Ed Koch when Koch refused to give Trump an abatement:

Trump doubled down, holding his own press conference and calling on Koch to resign. The battle played out in a carnivalesque stream on TV and on the front pages and gossip columns of newspapers.

Koch said Trump was “squealing like a stuck pig.” Trump said Koch’s New York had become a “cesspool of corruption and incompetence.” Koch said Trump was a “piggy, piggy, piggy.”

Trump said the mayor had “no talent and only moderate intelligence” and should be impeached. “Ed Koch would do everybody a huge favor if he would get out of office and they started all over again,” he noted. “It’s bedlam in the city.”

He showed strength! He didn’t back down! Nobody took advantage of him! Instead, he insulted Koch repeatedly.

Did it work? No. Trump failed with the project and lost big on a deal that should have been a great financial success.

Erratic. Unpredictable. And a failure.

That’s Donald Trump.


Trump Donated Squat to Veterans

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

Donald “Duck the Debate” Trump is supposedly doing a fundraiser for veterans tomorrow, when he should be on a debate stage getting his ass kicked by Ted Cruz. Quite obviously, though, he is using the vets as a shield. Case in point: he has never bothered to donate much of anything to veterans before:

Donald Trump says he’s skipping the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night because he’s upset with Fox News and debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Trump will instead hold a “special event to benefit veterans organizations” in Iowa, according to a campaign press release. But the event could come off as a cheap political stunt exploiting veterans, especially because the Donald J Trump Foundation has been far from generous to veterans organizations over the years.

As Emily Canal of Forbes reported in October: “The Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated $5.5 million to 298 charities between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year available), according to the non-profit’s 990 tax forms from those years. Of that, only $57,000 has been donated to seven organizations that directly benefit military veterans or their families, Forbes found. Wounded Warriors was not among the organizations Trump’s foundation gave to in that time period.”

Some veterans say that the billionaire has been AWOL when it comes to helping veterans. “Donald Trump is not a leader in veterans’ philanthropy, unless he’s donated a lot of money that nobody knows about,” Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the New York Times in July. “We were founded in New York. We are headquartered in New York. I’ve been here 10 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever even seen Donald Trump.”

Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.”

Meanwhile, Harry Reid accidentally let it temporarily slip that he loves him some Donald Trump:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backpedaled Wednesday after joking that, among the current Republican presidential field, he’s considering backing Donald Trump for the nomination.

“Look, we’ve gotten along fine,” the Democratic leader told reporters. “With that bunch of people running, I’m kind of pulling for him.”

Reid made the remark after the GOP front-runner touted his ability to work with top Democrats in Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader.
Asked about Trump’s statement, Reid added, “Oh, I remember the good old days when he did a fundraiser or two for me.”

Reid quickly walked back his comments, apologizing for joking about supporting Trump — whom he called a “hateful demagogue who will do immeasurable damage to our country.”

WHA-WHA-WHA-WHAT’S THAT? People were paying attention?! No, no no no no, Trump and Democrats would not get along AT ALL! Harrumph harrumph!

Anyway, I really thought Trump would attend the debate. I repeat my prediction that this cements his loss in Iowa.

If he really sticks with it. I’m not sure I will believe it until I see it.

Amherst Crybullies Scalp Lord Jeffery

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In another update of the never-ending annals of lunacy, Amherst College announced yesterday that it will immediately cease using the Lord Jeffery mascot that has represented the school for roughly a century. The announcement came via a tediously long missive issued by the Board of Trustees, who cast the final vote to condemn Lord Jeff, and signed by the board’s chairman. Let me try to provide some snippets, starting with the statement’s first paragraphs:

During the past several months President Biddy Martin and the members of the board of trustees have had scores (all right, hundreds) of communications from alumni, students, and others about the matter of Lord Jeffery Amherst. The communications reflect and embody many points of view. A lot of them begin with something like the following: “I know there are far more important issues facing the College, but….”

And I agree—with the first part of the sentence and also with the “but.” The controversy over the mascot may seem small in itself and yet in many minds it’s symbolic of larger issues. The controversy is bound up with feelings about matters as specific and recent as the protests at the College last fall and as broad and old as the College’s mission and values. It’s bound up with personal memories and personal experience. [. . .]”

From there it lapses into a disquisition on the history of the college, its vision of itself as a special place (which colleges, pray tell, think of themselves as merely ordinary?), and the inevitably of conflicts among a large and diverse group of students and alumni before finally coming around to the hosannas to diversity that are de rigueur in the modern higher education complex:

The history of Amherst has a clear direction: it is toward ever-greater range and inclusion—regardless of any student’s means—and toward making that range and inclusion work as an educational and social reality. We started out as an institution to prepare indigent youths for the ministry, then broadened out into a liberal-arts institution that prepared students for every walk of life. We were a local institution that became a regional institution and then a national and global one. We were all male and then became coeducational. We were predominantly white and now have a student body in which four students out of ten identify themselves as persons of color. [. . .]

Now we are at 2016. Amherst is one of a handful of institutions at the forefront of an enterprise that is both urgent and overdue: making the finest liberal-arts education available to the kind of diverse population this country actually has, and doing so in a residential setting that functions as a true community.[ . . .] But the task is not easy, nor should we expect it to be.

And then we come to the issue of the mascot, Lord Jeffery, named for Jeffery Amherst, First Baron of Montreal, who in 1760 defeated the French in Quebec and drove them from Canada, who almost replaced General William Howe as commander of British forces in America during the Revolutionary War, and who was called upon to put down the Gordon Riots when British Catholics were targeted by anti-papists in 1780. The bucolic college town of Amherst, Massachusetts was named for Lord Amherst in 1759, one year before he became Governor-General of Canada, though the college (chartered in 1821) was named for the town itself.

Amherst, who had fought against the Six Nations tribes in the Great Lakes region, had at one point in the 1760s suggested delivering smallpox-infected blankets to the tribes as a way of spreading the disease among the tribes, and a few historians have presented evidence that the plan may have been carried out to some effect. From the relatively security of a quarter-millineum later, we are now free to excoriate Amherst and declare him persona non grata. From the letter:

Lord Jeff was adopted unofficially by students as a mascot roughly a century ago. The College itself has never officially adopted Lord Jeff as a mascot—or adopted anyone or anything else as a mascot, for that matter. [. . .] Thinking about [the smallpox blanket suggestion] leads immediately into gnarly debates about how we understand history, about the very nature of war, about the weight we give to words and actions, and about who has standing to render moral judgments.

If you’re guessing that they will decide that today’s Social Justice Warriors have standing to render these moral judgements, you would be correct.

. . . What is beyond dispute is that the symbolic figure of Lord Jeff has become a source of division among us today. In part the division reflects the impressively broad constituency that is the College and the alumni body. Almost all students (85 percent) and faculty, and more than half of the 6,000 alumni who voted in a recent ballot (52 percent), have an unfavorable view of Lord Jeff as a College symbol. About 38 percent of voting alumni have a favorable view.

That a majority of the voting alumni have an unfavorable view is telling, though earlier in the letter the total living alumni of the college are pegged at 23,000, so there are 17,000 of them who presumably aren’t bothered enough by the mascot to make the effort to cast a vote against it. They do not say how many total undergraduates bothered to vote, but is it so hard to believe that the voting would skew heavily towards those who want to see the mascot go? At this point, the board’s letter actually brings up the most salient argument for making the change:

So Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot—which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify—is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community.

And so, Lord Jeff is consigned to the ash heap of history, though the board makes it clear that they have no interest in trying to police continued informal use of the mascot by students and alumni (at least for the time being, that is):

Lord Jeff as a mascot may be unofficial, but the College, when its own resources are involved, can decide not to employ this reference in its official communications, its messaging, and its symbolism (including in the name of the [Lord Jeffery] Inn, the only place on the campus where the Lord Jeffery name officially appears). The Board of Trustees supports such an approach, and it will be College policy. The Inn’s new name will reflect its deep connections with Amherst College and the town of Amherst. Beyond that, people will do as they will: the College has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period. We hope and anticipate that understanding and respect will run in all directions.

On the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a horrible decision. The mascot was never officially adopted by the college, so this is probably not on the order of the bitterness felt by some Dartmouth alums when the college dropped their Indians mascot, nor is it too similar to the issue faced by the University of North Dakota when the NCAA bullied them into changing from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks. But the problem, as we continually have seen, is that today’s crybullies refuse to take “yes” for an answer. The left is very good at playing the long game; what they don’t get today they simply come back for tomorrow. How long before the very name of the town of Amherst and the college named for it are called into question? Just as today’s obsession with microaggressions and safe spaces began with yesterday’s demands for punitive speech codes, what is going to happen when we start insisting upon judging historical figures from the Eighteenth Century by the standards of the Twenty-first? If you don’t think this is likely, note that the crybully left has been agitating for the University of Massachusetts to change its mascot from the Minutemen for nearly 20 years now. One of these days some foolish chancellor is going to enlist in the crusade.


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