Patterico's Pontifications


Trump: A Fraudster, An Authoritarian, a Liar, and a Despot in Waiting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:42 pm

A few links about the looming disaster for our Republic that is Donald Trump:

Michael Isikoff:

Here’s a part of the political calendar that nobody in the Republican Party seems to have noticed: This spring, just as the GOP nomination battle enters its final phase, frontrunner Donald Trump could be forced to take time out for some unwanted personal business: He’s due to take the witness stand in a federal courtroom in San Diego, where he is being accused of running a financial fraud.

In court filings last Friday, lawyers for both sides in a long-running civil lawsuit over the now defunct Trump University named Trump on their witness lists. That makes it all but certain that the reality-show star and international businessman will be forced to be grilled under oath over allegations in the lawsuit that he engaged in deceptive trade practices and scammed thousands of students who enrolled in his “university” courses in response to promises he would make them rich in the real estate market.

Read it all. Or, if you’re a Donald Trump fan, ignore it all.

Walter Shapiro:

Candidate Trump represents something that goes far beyond pedestrian fears of damage to the Republican brand or the loss of Senate and House seats. He is the embodiment of the authoritarian temptation that has imperiled liberty since the days of the Roman Republic.

At every stage of the campaign, he has thumbed his nose at democratic norms. Start with his admiration for Vladimir Putin. Instead of position papers, Trump offers the voters fact-free assertions about the Mexicans paying for a wall and the Chinese knuckling to his superior negotiating ability.

Never in modern history has a serious presidential candidate displayed such contempt for responsibilities that come with the Oval Office and custody of the nuclear codes.

His ignorance of the nuclear triad and his claim that he gets his foreign policy expertise from watching TV talk shows symbolizes something larger — an ego that makes Napoleon seem self-effacing.

Equally alarming is the brazenness of Trump’s lies. He insists that he never called for a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports — and still clings to that denial even after the New York Times released a tape of him saying just that.

A liar? Who cares?

And, in a piece that Trump-haters like me find delicious from beginning to end, Matt Walsh:

Dear Donald Trump Fan,

I’m going to tell you the truth, friend.

You say you want the truth. You say you want someone who speaks boldly and brashly and bluntly and “tells it like it is” and so on. According to exit polls in South Carolina, voters who want a president who “tells it like it is” are an essential demographic for Trump, just as they’re an essential demographic for Judge Judy and Dr. Phil. You say you want abrupt and matter-of-fact honesty, and you want it so much, you’ll make a man president for it regardless of whether he defies every principle and value you claim to hold.

Personally, I think you’re lying, and I’m going to test my theory.

. . . .

By your logic, then, you should be filled with an immense and irresistible affection for me when I call Donald Trump a crooked, underhanded con artist and you a reckless, ignorant dupe. You should fall madly in love with me when I accuse Donald Trump of being a spoiled, overgrown brat and you of being a cultish groupie enamored with fame. You should well up with pride and salute me as I mention that Donald Trump is a stuffed, soiled diaper sagging in the pants of American politics and you’re the poor, pitiful sap trying to elect it president. You don’t have to agree, but man, isn’t it refreshing that I’m willing to tell you what’s on my mind?

. . . .

I’m just telling it like it is here, friend. I’m telling you what’s on my mind. I’m being completely and painfully honest with you. I don’t believe your anger. I think you want a spectacle, not a solution. A celebrity, not a statesman. A circus performer, not a leader. I think you want to be entertained. I think you’re not taking this seriously enough. I think you’re intellectually lazy so you’ve accepted authoritarianism as a stand-in for strength. I think you’re following the trend of the day. I think you’re wrapped up in media hype.

In other words, I think your anger, if it exists, is misplaced. You should be angry at yourself, because if this country falls finally and irrevocably into despotism, it’ll be your fault. You’ll have chosen it. You’ll have elected it and applauded it. That, my friend, is what makes me angry.

Me too. I have been saying this for a while.

I don’t expect to change any hearts of minds with this. I’m saying, as clearly as I possibly can: America, you’re fucking this up. Do not tell me I didn’t tell you so. I did. Quite clearly.

Justin Amash Endorses Ted Cruz

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

Regular Patterico readers know my admiration for Congressman Justin Amash, a principled libertarian conservative who explains his votes on Facebook and adheres to the Constitution in every decision he makes. It is pleasing to me, then, that Amash — a former Rand Paul supporter — published a post today titled Why I Trust Ted Cruz:

[W]e owe it to our beliefs to find constitutional conservative political allies who not only respect our philosophy but also fight for our views to be heard.

We have found such an ally in Senator Ted Cruz.

Ted is not a libertarian and doesn’t claim to be. But he is a principled defender of the Constitution, a brilliant strategist and debater who can defeat the Democratic nominee in the general election, and the only remaining candidate I trust to take on what he correctly calls the Washington Cartel.

The recent passing of Justice Antonin Scalia reminds us of the importance of electing a president committed to nominating justices to the Supreme Court who will uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Because the Court has not lost a conservative in many years, this selection may become the most influential act of the next president. Replacing Justice Scalia with a poorly chosen justice could alter our country’s identity on critical issues such as education, health care, criminal justice, privacy, and even the very meaning of the Constitution.

In this regard, history has given us a uniquely qualified candidate—Ted Cruz served as a Supreme Court clerk (an extraordinarily selective job held each year by fewer than 40 lawyers who work directly with the justices to shape the Court’s opinions) and has the rare distinction of having argued many cases before the Supreme Court. The importance of these credentials cannot be overstated in the current context.

But the Supreme Court is not the only thing at stake. Our entire constitutional system is under threat.

An effective president for the people is going to face massive fights with the lobbyist class and Washington elites. It is not enough for a president to have smart advisers and well-rehearsed lines. Whether or not we agree on every issue, libertarian and conservative Republicans must choose a president who has the courage to stand up for the American people in the face of relentless attacks. Ted has shown that he is a true leader who can defend the principles of our constitutional republic, takes libertarian ideas seriously (even when he disagrees), and will not back down from the battles that must be fought.

Since Ted arrived in the Senate, he has stood shoulder to shoulder with the House Freedom Caucus, of which I am a member. Ted has consistently led the fight in the Senate against the Washington Cartel’s trillion-dollar omnibus spending bills. And while his Senate colleague Marco Rubio pays lip service to inclusivity while actually advocating unwelcoming and unpopular GOP positions from past decades, Ted Cruz recognizes that we grow the Republican Party by embracing new approaches that genuinely reflect our support for limited, constitutional government.

Take, for instance, Ted’s opposition to cronyism and corporate welfare. Unlike his competitors, Ted understands that when we allow the government to pick winners and losers, the American people lose. He isn’t afraid to challenge the rampant corruption in Washington, and he isn’t afraid to champion economic freedom. Ted won the Iowa caucuses with a principled stand against subsidies, even though pundits warned that no one could win the state without pandering to the ethanol lobby.

My faith in Justin Amash continues. Kudos to him for this great piece.

Nevada Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:14 pm

Trump will win. Another pointless battle for second between Cruz and Rubio.

UPDATE: Reports from Twitter describe utter chaos.


Cruz Told the Truth: Rubio Could Have Done More to Defund Planned Parenthood

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

This is another post debunking a Rubio fan-boi’s list of so-called “blatant lies” by Ted Cruz — “lies” that turn out to be true on closer inspection. Today’s “lie” that isn’t a lie illustrates something important about Ted Cruz’s character. Namely, he seeks accountability, and wants to eliminate show votes that make Senators look like they’re against things like funding Planned Parenthood, without expending any real capital to defeat them. Here is the alleged “lie” by Cruz:

6) Cruz claimed that Rubio did not want to use Congress’s “constitutional authority to defund Planned Parenthood,” thereby trying to suggest Rubio was weak on the issue.

In reality, Rubio has actually voted for and supported spending bills that defunded Planned Parenthood and standalone bills that defunded the organization. This was such a blatantly dishonest attack that the most prominent pro-life organization in the country, the National Right to Life, actually called out Cruz for his “inaccurate and misleading” attacks:

“Marco Rubio voted to defund Planned Parenthood before Ted Cruz ever got to the U.S. Senate. Since Ted Cruz joined the U.S. Senate, both he and Sen. Rubio have voted the same on every roll call that National Right to Life regards as pertinent to defunding Planned Parenthood”

This defense ignores the evidence that Rubio could have done much more. The Hill reports: “Rubio refused to back Cruz’s plan to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding during budget deliberations last year.” That, of course, is a tendentious and in fact ridiculous way of phrasing Cruz’s plan. The notion that Barack Obama would veto a spending bill that funded every aspect of government, but declined to give money to a private organization that conducts abortions and sells baby parts, is preposterous. And if that actually happened, the people of America would rise up against Obama.

But the truth is that, while such actions are fully within Congress’s authority, folks like Rubio are too a skeered to exercise their constitutional authority, lest the media portray them (as the Hill did in the link above) as wild-eyed maniacs looking to shut down the governments!!!!1!11!!! And so we got stories like this one from Politico (cached link; no links for bullies):

Rubio avoids Cruz’s Planned Parenthood-shutdown push

Many of the Republican candidates on the debate stage Wednesday night joined in a full-throated endorsement of Ted Cruz’s damn-the-torpedoes strategy to defund Planned Parenthood, even if it means shutting down the federal government.

But two candidates who’ll soon be casting votes on the matter were noticeably silent: Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

“I think they’re just seeing the results of the last time we tried that,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party’s nominee in 2008, said of a strategy similar to what Republicans tried with defunding Obamacare in 2013. “Last time was a disaster.

The issue was the difference between show votes and real votes. Exposing that difference is something Cruz has repeatedly done in his time in the Senate. The Senate has a way of conducting business where the vote that will actually determine whether something happens is procedural. Then, after voting the way leadership wants them to vote on procedure, a Senator is generally given a show vote that makes them look like they are against something that they could have stopped but didn’t. Politico explained the showdown that was coming, and the political difficulties inherent in that showdown for Rubio:

If the Senate takes up a spending bill this month that defunds Planned Parenthood as GOP leaders now plan, the three senators will go likely go on record in favor of it. Paul has held several Planned Parenthood events on the Capitol grounds and Rubio has unequivocally said he wants to gut the organization’s federal backing.

But there likely will be subsequent votes, right before the deadline, that will actually decide whether a shutdown happens. How Rubio and Paul vote then, and what they say in the lead-up to it, could make all the difference in whether or how they’d be associated with a federal closure that’s sure to play better with conservative activists than general election voters.

Rubio and Paul have kept their distance from Cruz so far. Even though both Rubio and Paul have typically opposed short-term spending bills in the past that funded Planned Parenthood, both men have refused to sign a letter from Cruz to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowing to oppose any spending bill that funds the organization.

Last September, Mitch McConnell used his leadership prerogatives to try to shut down Cruz’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood — and to shield Senators from accountability for their vote to allow the “clean” bill to go forward:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)97% is excoriating the Republican leadership in the House and Senate for failing to “lift a finger to defend life” by eliminating taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Cruz’s speech on the Senate floor comes as the lawmakers voted, 77-19, to advance a bill to authorize government spending that includes funding for Planned Parenthood.

The 2016 Republican contender attempted to submit an amendment that would “restrict the use of Federal funds for Planned Parenthood Federation of America” as well as those to “implement the nuclear agreement with Iran or for assessed contributions to the United Nations until the President submits the agreement and all related materials to Congress.”

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)44%, however, “filled the tree” of amendments on this bill to fund the government, preventing any other senators from offering amendments to change the measure, a tactic used on numerous occasions by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)2% when he was the Majority Leader. The strategy would prevent any amendments to bills and keep Reid’s Democrat members from having to be on record for difficult votes.

Cruz’s motion on Monday night was to “table” the “filled amendment tree,” to set it aside in order to make room for his amendment that would both defund Planned Parenthood as well as the Iran deal.

Though normally the Senate would take a recorded vote on such a question, in this case McConnell prevented Cruz from getting enough senators to “second” his request and call for a recorded vote to set aside the amendment tree and make room for Cruz’s amendment. This tactic sets up a proxy vote in that anyone not seconding Cruz’s request is saying he or she does not want a recorded vote on the question of defunding Planned Parenthood and the Iran deal.

With no recorded vote, a voice vote was taken on the issue, and any senators who voiced “no” were also essentially voting against defunding Planned Parenthood and the Iran deal.

So how did Rubio deal with this difficult situation? Roll Call reported that Rubio managed to avoid voting on this:

Among [Senators voting against a “clean” contining resolution] them were presidential candidates Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, while Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina did not vote.

Rubio could have full-throatedly supported Cruz at every step of the way, saying: “If Barack Obama wants to shut down this government because of his need to fund Planned Parenthood, an organization that sells baby parts, let him. I support Ted Cruz’s efforts on this issue 100%.”

Rubio didn’t say that. Instead, he skipped town when the rubber met the road.

Cruz is not a “liar” for pointing this out.

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