Harsh Reality

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Waiting for the media to ask Democrats to denounce each other.

When does the media ever go to Democrat candidates and ask them if they denounce or support something another Democrat did or said?

Has any member of the media ever stuck a microphone in Bernie Sanders' face and asked him if he supported Hillary's handling of Benghazi?

Has any member of the media ever cornered Martin O'Malley and asked him to denounce Hillary's use of private email servers in her house for all of her government business during her entire tenure at the State Department?

Has any reporter ever asked Hillary to denounce any of Joe Biden's gaffes?

But this is an every day game that the media plays on Republican candidates. Constantly asking them if they support or denounce another GOP candidate's comment, action, viewpoint, etc.

I'm not even a Republican and it's so biased and juvenile that I can't believe it keeps working.

Somehow, the spines of the Republican establishment are getting even weaker.

There's no question that the Fox News crew moderating the first GOP presidential debate on Thursday night came out with guns blazing looking to cut Donald Trump down to size. Megan Kelly was especially obnoxious. But part of that should be expected with Trump being the clear frontrunner in every poll in a huge field of candidates. And part of that might be the theatrics that the news business is looking for these days. Like lighting a match and throwing it into a barrel of fireworks to see how big a show develops.

I'm not a Trump fan, but he's putting on a clinic in one area that every other candidate should be taking note of.

He refuses to be bullied.

It really is that simple.

Sure he's brash. Yes, he looks like a game show host. He absolutely is rude, sometimes crude and has a past with all kinds of zigs and zags as to what party he's a member of, what he supports, etc.

I don't see any way he gets the Republican nomination. But I never imagined we'd have a president like what we have now doing to America what Obama is doing, either. And two months ago I never imagined Trump would be anywhere in the top half of the GOP field ever. Much less leading every poll. So, who's to say?

But EVERY candidate in every party should take note of what's fueling his polling numbers. The more he refuses to back down, and the more he refuses to let his detractors tell him what he's going to say and what he's not allowed to say, the higher his poll numbers go.

Americans are starving for a leader with a backbone. Even if he occasionally makes everyone cringe, there's the confidence that we won't have to suffer any more of this "leading from behind" nonsense. Which could also be called Pajama Boy Diplomacy. And, for whatever embarrassing gaffes, there's no question that America will be his top priority. A welcome change from eight years of trying to get the rest of the world to like us by being submissive. Nobody would even suggest that Trump would be submissive to other world leaders.

He's been attacked by self-proclaimed hispanic representatives, he's had heads of media and corporate America ban him from their networks and their stores, he's had the establishment screaming foul over his John McCain remark, he served Megyn Kelly her medicine right back to her and seemed to enjoy her righteous indignation and nasty faces (like one of those stately old ladies in the Marx Brothers or Three Stooges movies who clutched her chest and gasped "Well! I never!" when she was offended by how uncouth someone was in her royal presence), and then made a comment that maybe Kelly was all riled up at him because she was on her period. This last bit of silliness got him banned from the Red State event.

But he refuses to back down. At every turn the GOP establishment and their shills in the "conservative media" proclaim his candidacy to be over. And yet, he polls even higher. Someone keeps forgetting to tell the voters.

Not mentioned most places, though, is that this business of being banned from the Red State thing is a troubling shift in a so-called conservative forum. The idea that a comment, idea or point of view is so bad that its speaker must be demonized and shut down and cast out of the presence of those with a pure and "correct" point of view is the trail that our marxist friends on the liberal side of the aisle have been blazing for decades. It's called political correctness.

Political correctness is basically being offended on behalf of someone else. You may not be an American Indian, but you're a politically correct person if you get the vapors and are are all offended on behalf of Indians over team mascots that some other white person tells you Indians don't like. You might not be gay yourself, but it shows what a politically correct person you are to be outraged on behalf of gays at a pizza place that doesn't want to make a pizza for a gay wedding. You might not be John McCain, or even a former POW. You might not have ever served in the military at all. But you get to turn up your nose, be a mini-hero and denounce Donald Trump as unacceptable for shooting back at McCain for shooting at Trump's supporters. In this case, you might not be Megan Kelly (you might not even be a woman), but you're a certified member of the Cool Kids Club to be outraged at Donald Trump on her behalf for quipping that her bitchiness to him during the debate was due to menstrual problems.

Donald Trump is smashing through all the faux outrage and just keeps pushing forward.

And people are loving it.

How many people paid any attention to Red State's event? Nobody.

How many people watched the first debate where Donald Trump was ground zero for the bombs from the moderators and other candidates and fired back at every one of them? 24 million.

The GOP establishment thinks that it's slowly isolating Donald Trump. But, at the moment, it appears that they are actually isolating themselves. Like the infamous scene in Old School when Will Farrell takes off streaking into town and doesn't realize until later that nobody is following him.

Trump may implode at some point. But Red State is going down a path they may regret. If they're going to play the politically correct game where everything every person says is scrutinized, judged and viewed through the who's-offended microscope and then demonized and banned, then they are no different than the perpetually offended liberals the GOP is supposed to be running against and showing to GOP voters that they're irrelevant in the republican primary process.

Just like the mainstream media shilling for the Democrat party has led to their irrelevance, the conservative media's shilling for the Republican establishment might be its undoing.


Friday, August 7, 2015

First GOP Debate Wrap-up

Some notes on the 1st Presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season:

Fox News moderators prepared for the debate by painting a target on Donald Trump's chest.

Donald Trump (Let me repeat that: "Donald Trump"?!?!?) emerged from this debate even stronger than he was going in. I stand by my prediction that he's a novelty candidate. But he keeps surprising me. I wake up every morning expecting his candidacy to have crashed and burned, but he's making everyone else look foolish with some remarkable instincts for the plainspoken, straightforward, take-me-or-leave-me-but-get-out-of-my-way style that is confounding one political professional after another. I'm still waiting for it to crash, but I think the entire world is seeing how he's been a business leader in the toughest business climate on earth for so many years.

(Side note: When I write that he's "showing everyone in the world", I mean that literally. Anytime lately that I've spoken with people from other nations and the topic of politics comes up, the first thing they mention is Donald Trump. People know him from TV and generally seem to think of him as a cartoonish, ridiculous caricature of everything American. Rich, pompous, loud, confident. But they're all amused that someone like that could be taken seriously by anyone. And nobody outside America seems to know who any of the other GOP candidates are.)

Rand Paul seemed caught flat-footed by Trump just like the entire political establishment. I don't think Paul lost any points, voters or credibility. I don't know that he gained any. But he did fine. He just tangled with a guy who's not giving any ground and isn't afraid to be rude. Paul came out of the exchange as good as anyone in the Paul camp could've hoped for.

Ted Cruz did a good job of directing his fire at the Republican establishment. He seems to be one of the few candidates who clearly sees that the GOP base is craving leadership instead of the usual inside-the-beltway business-as-usual crowd that Donald Trump is being fueled by. I don't think Cruz got any short term points out of this debate. But he didn't lose any. And, I believe, he set himself up for the long term as the logical option for Trump supporters once (if?) The Donald crashes. Cruz did okay.

Dr. Ben Carson was a surprise. I keep waiting for him to step in something major and to officially become that historical footnote that most novelty candidates become. But he's consistently well-spoken, intelligent, likable and has stayed out of major controversy. His previous comments on gays and 2nd Amendment issues may come back to cause him some difficulties the further into the race he gets, but I thought he did an outstanding job of being smart, humble and keeping focus on Hillary and Democrats. He also delivered the 2nd best line of the entire debate with his description of Hillary and her supporters. Outstanding job, overall.

Scott Walker did an excellent job of steering clear of the chaos and looking presidential. He was one of the big winners for the evening by addressing Obama and Hillary's disastrous foreign policy and taking on the GOP establishment. This was - very quietly - a good night for Scott Walker.

Jeb Bush appeared to be on the defensive all night. I'm not sure how much his being featured on the top headline on Drudge earlier in the day in the Politico article calling Trump names to GOP donors had anything to do with his behavior. But, to me, he seemed like a political candidate desperate to get people to like him. It wasn't a disastrous debate for him, but it confirmed to a lot of voters that he's the "insider" guy that all the party elite want to get the nomination and he's trying to find something to get the base to go along with him, too. Bush might eventually be the nominee, but it will only be for the same reason as Romney. He's got a huge war chest, the backing of the blue-blood establishment and he's probably a savvy enough politician to just stay in the race long enough to be the last guy left. But he's not exciting to anybody. And he didn't do anything but confirm what everyone thought.

I keep being surprised at what a great speaker Mike Huckabee is. I've said that I think his best chance to be President has passed. But he's got a decent base of support and he speaks well. He's clearly the conscience of the party, but I believe that his supporters have more viable candidates in Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. Huckabee did a fine job, but I would say he just held serve with pretty much what everyone thought they'd hear from him.

Marco Rubio & Chris Chrsitie both showed that they are the #2 and #3 establishment picks. They mostly stayed out of trouble. Christie did a nice job of getting fired up defending his dumpster fire of a state, but he didn't come off as unhinged. Rubio sounded like a plastic candidate defending his inexperience. Ultimately, I thought both candidates were defensive. Neither one gained anything from this debate except experience in a presidential debate.

John Kasich did a nice job, but he's no factor and didn't do anything to justify his inclusion on the stage in place of Rick Perry or Carly Fiorina. Which is not fair to Kasich, but Perry should've been in the top 10 and Fiorina's stock is rising fast. Especially after her performance in the "other guys" debate before the big show. And Kasich seemed to be trying to stake out a Chris Christie-like liberal-lite position. Maybe like he's sucking up to the establishment? Sucking up to the media?

Conclusion for the night?

Winners:

1. Trump was unexpectedly dominant, if not particularly eloquent. He was especially surprising considering the brutal targeting by the moderators. He was clearly the big winner of this debate.

2. Dr. Carson scored points, came across as honest and appeared to be a genuine outsider to the process and maybe not in over his head as far as casual observers had believed. His stock rose considerably. We'll see if that translates into points in the polls and eventually at the ballot box.

3. Scott Walker was a big winner, too, by ignoring the chaos and staying focused on the concerns of the Republican base and looking presidential doing it. Scott Walker might now have the best long-term prospects for the GOP nomination.

Losers:

1. Jeb Bush was defensive and didn't give anyone anything to be excited about.

2. John Kasich didn't give anyone a reason that he should be included in the conversation with all the other candidates on stage. He might get a bump from the media for his liberal tone, but I expect him to fade now.