Fine, I Am Just Going to Outright Schill For 30 Seconds


 We'll see in the next few contests who does better, Cruz or Rubio. But no one calls a serious pro-life, pro-religious liberty "tax payer superhero" an "establishment squish" on my watch.

Watch this. Listen to the beginning, where Rubio appeals to the principles of the Declaration and talks to "real" people who are struggling financially and worried about raising their kids. Listen to his good natured humor.

Listen to what he says about immigration and about national defense. At least watch the last few minutes, beginning around minute 30, where he talks about his family's experience and what it will take to unite the country --where he talks about "if you come to heckle me, I'm cutting your taxes too" and where he says he will never divide Americans against each other deliberately -- and yet at the same time, no Pollyanna, he admits that we'll have some issues we need to fight out.

Just really listen and see what you think.

Rubio Is A Real Conservative

A friend makes an interesting point on his Facebook page regarding the Cruz campaign:
Cruz has a chance to TKO Trump and knock out the Bush-Kasich-Christie establishment candidates by focusing his attacks on all of them, making this a race where the party is guaranteed one of two real conservatives as the nominee, himself or Rubio.
Or, Cruz can join the establishment in its all-out assault on Rubio. This will revive Trump's campaign by keeping Trump's numbers up and giving him a big win in New Hampshire. It will also bring one of those establishment governors as a fourth viable candidate in South Carolina and beyond.
One choice is good for the party and the country, and if Cruz believes in his organization it still gives him a chance to win as the front runner and Trump killer.
The other choice risks ruin for the party by taking his foot off the throat of the Trump and establishment campaigns and making it possible for one or two nonconservatives to win the nomination.
What's the right thing for Cruz to do?

If you think the right thing for the country is for YOU to be President, you have to play hardball against your strongest perceived threat. So I raise this point not to knock Cruz for being somehow immoral if he attacks Rubio. That's fair game in politics. I raise it only to show that Cruz' behavior belies his claim to be always working from pristine principle (as opposed to everyone else) and because my "injustice" and "false" hackles go up when I see Rubio dismissed as the "establishment" candidate, when in fact he was a Tea Party candidate, not supposed to have won, and he has been a rock-solid conservative, more effective in actually moving the ball forward than Ted Cruz.  Here are two links you can follow to other links to amply demonstrate this point.

Here's an Atlantic  "expose" of Rubio's "feigned" moderation that makes the point anyone interested in liberty and  small government ought to be paying attention to: not who can say the loudest, boldest conservative things, but who can persuade voters and move the ball down the field? 
Rubio has mastered the same technique Barack Obama used so effectively when he was seeking the presidency. When faced with a controversial issue, he doffs his cap to the other side, pleads for civility and respect, insists that it’s a hard call—and then comes out exactly where you’d expect him to come out. On social issues, Rubio is as predictably conservative as Obama is predictably liberal. What they share is their moderate-sounding rhetorical style.

The real establishment candidate, Jeb Bush, is spending all his time and money attacking Rubio viciously (including, I believe, though cannot prove, being the source of the stupid NYT piece running the shocking, scandalous news that Rubio's wife has had parking tickets and that Rubio once bought a small boat. In Florida). Bush's campaign surrogate, Lindsay Graham, has just attacked Rubio for being too pro-life. (C'mon, Jeb. PLEASE get out before you beclown yourself any further). That is what the "establishment" does, and it has nothing to do with Rubio. 

And as for who is likely to have a better understanding of the difficulties of normal Americans, is that going to be the Princeton & Harvard-educated, SCOTUS-clerking Ted Cruz, whose wife works for Goldman-Sachs? Or the football-scholarship/ community college/ finally got his act together at U. Florida, and then JD from University of Miami Rubio, whose wife was once a Dolphins cheerleader and is now ashamed of it? The Rubios are not "establishment" -- they're normal middle-class Americans. He just happens to come from Cuban immigrants, so he knows in his bones what is great (or at least could be great again) about our country, and he's enormously principled and scrappy in doing something about it.  He's an outspoken pro-lifer, outspoken defender of marriage, outspoken defender of persecuted Christians (whereas Cruz -- my big bugaboo against him-- threw them under the bus to fundraise).  

By all means, let Cruz & Rubio duke it out and show us which of them would be a better conservative President. But the scorn for Rubio as a Jeb-like establishment figure is either taking Cruz' word for it, prejudice against his good looks, or a matter of not being truly familiar with Rubio's record. Here, let Rush Limbaugh tell it

Why Else Cruz Won

I for the most part agree with Ted Cruz' politics, but I don't trust his character.

He can't work with anyone.

He sold out persecuted Christians for fundraising purposes (shoot. link to the full article now dead, but you can get the gist here).

He wears his Christian faith on his sleeve and yet his campaign does this kind of thing:

Fake "voter violation" mailers.

And now Ben Carson says Cruz surrogates spread the false rumor that Carson was suspending his campaign. Watch the video.

“If Ted Cruz doesn’t know about this, then he clearly needs to very quickly get rid of some people in his organization,” Carson, who ultimately finished with 9.3% support in the Hawkeye State, said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” Tuesday. “And if he does know about it, isn’t this the exact kind of thing that the American people are tired of? Why would we want to continue that kind of, you know, shenanigans?”
“At many of the precincts, information was disseminated that I was suspending my campaign, that I had dropped out, and anybody who was planning to vote for me was wasting their vote and, therefore, they should reconsider,” claimed Carson, who also pointed to tweets from Cruz surrogates that suggested the retired neurosurgeon was ending his bid.

I know politics ain't beanbag. And I also know you can't always control  your followers. But THAT is the kind of corruption and "insider" behavior -- all while wearing the mantle of trust and Christianity and principles-- that I am utterly exhausted by. 

Update: Oh, look. He's sorry/not sorry. 

Why Cruz Won

Huzzah! Who wins Iowa doesn't necessarily become the nominee, but at least last night's results tell us the country is not yet fully a reality tv nation.

Conventional wisdom was that huge voter turnout in the Iowa caucuses would indicate a Trump victory. So much for that: huge voter turnout, and Trump underperformed by several points.

I have to hand it to Ted Cruz, whose character I dislike: he did the hard work of retail politics and earned his victory. More than that, he won on principle -- another casualty of conventional wisdom is the proposition that you can't oppose the ethanol subsidy in Iowa(and a popular governor!) and win. But Cruz did it, and that does cause me to think again about whether he could win a national election.

Yesterday before the voting I watched this video, and it explains the Cruz win, I think. An angry farmer confronts him about ethanol and Cruz keeps his calm, doesn't back down, and actually persuades the guy. If this is the way he interacted w/ people all over the state, no wonder he won. This person could be president (really: watch! He shows us how it's done). I could wish THIS Cruz would show up for debates and speeches.


Alas, just as I was softening toward him, he took the stage after his big win last night and stomped all over his own victory by being unable to be gracious or even to enjoy his own moment. He launched right into a way-too-long 32-minute speech that seemed not unifying but divisive and sour. If you arrived late, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a concession speech.

Hugh Hewitt tweeted last night, in contrast to my opinion that the longer Cruz spoke, the worse he did for himself, that since Cruz was the last to speak, he knew people would be channel surfing and it was wise to take advantage of free media for as long as possible. I learn a lot from Hewitt, but I think he's wrong about that, because what Cruz said was suitable only for his volunteers in the room, not the larger public, and certainly not all the Huckabee-Bush-Christie voters who will be deciding where to land.

Cruz is just not capable of framing anything in terms other than he and his people are courageous fighters with knives in their teeth (he actually said that), which leads everyone else to conclude he thinks what about them? And he's always telling you about his war wounds from the past rather than painting a picture of the future. The longer he spoke, the more I thought, " Nope, this is not a president talking."

By contrast, Rubio's succinct, sunny, forward-looking remarks seemed gracious, canny and presidential. And by effectively tying Trump (same # of delegates) and surging 10 points in two weeks, he showed he, too, can do retail politics. Marcomentum!  I only wish Rubio would stop saying "they said we couldn't do this, they said my hair didn't have enough gray and I should wait my turn." He can keep the black hair -- it fits with his theme of capturing the American future. But he should stop saying some people think he should wait his turn, because it reinforces that idea rather than quelling it.

Here's a powerline post from last night. Couldn't agree more w/ the final update at the bottom:
Marco Rubio has just finished his “victory” speech on Fox News. He killed it. I pray–literally, not figuratively–that the Republican Party has the good sense to nominate him to run against the corrupt septuagenarian Hillary Clinton.

Update: I forgot to name two other observations. High turnout in the GOP race w/o a Trump win means a huge GOP crowd came out to vote AGAINST Trump. And the massive turnout there, plus Sanders tying Hillary on the other side means last night there was an incredible repudiation in both parties of Barack Obama's policies. Voters are energized for NOT what Obama gave us.

Trump Point CounterPoint

One reason I could actually get behind a Trump presidency: 25% of the federal workforce threatens to quit if he's President.  Oh, man, if only! 

However, that countermands my principle reason for opposing a Trump presidency. If he's president, he can't be named Ambassador to the UN. And I need this man at the UN. 

Off the Fence Before Iowa

Tomorrow night's Iowa caucus will give us our first true information about the GOP primaries. Donald Trump's been sucking up all the oxygen with a brilliant media campaign. The guy knows television and branding.

I can't believe --which is to say I absolutely can, but shake my head-- his pulling out of the most recent GOP tactic worked to get everyone talking about him for 72 hours. Goodness. He pulled that threaten-to-pull-out stunt already with the first two debates. If FOX news were a serious news organization and not a ratings gimmick, it would have responded with a simple, "We will have a podium ready for Mr. Trump and hope he'll come" and left it at that. But of course, it was to their advantage to play along and amplify his game, so they taunted him with a snotty news release instead. Fun reality tv: but unserious, and unfair to the other candidates.

I'll give Trump something else, an understanding to which I've been late in coming because I've been so put off by his personal vulgarity and long history of supporting Lefty causes (though he's probably not done so out of ideological commitment, but merely to grease the skids for business dealings -- something about which he's unapologetic). I watched his "speech" (really his random commentary) at Liberty University and realized that deep down, the man is motivated by a certain patriotism. His understanding of the Declaration, the Constitution, the rule of law, statesmanship, and the value of limited government is no better than the average American's in our age of college-teaches-you-nothing. But he at least loves his country in his limited way, and that plus the promise of jobs in an economy that's closing out a full decade of disastrous economic policy ON TOP of an economic revolution akin to the industrial revolution that not one single politician understands, much less addresses, is Trump's appeal.  People aren't fools and they aren't fooled by him. They're not loving his crassness; they're tolerating it in order to get some of these "wins" he promises.

He's been riding high in the polls, but the interesting question will be if those polls translate into actual voters in the caucuses. Reporters traveling with the various campaigns have said for months that Cruz has an excellent get-out-the-vote campaign and has been doing the hard work of retail politics, visiting every polling site.  Trump, by contrast, is said to have been relying on big rallies and events that are captured on camera. His poll numbers are good, but they're good with people who haven't been previously active in caucuses. So will they actually show up? If so, maybe we're a reality tv nation now, and retail politics means less than it once did. Or maybe not.

Meanwhile, I'm crossing my fingers for Marcomentum. Marco Rubio is also said to have a don't-count-him-out ground game in Iowa, and everyone's noticing that Ted Cruz' attack ads have suddenly gone viciously against Rubio rather than Trump, which suggests a Rubio surge.

I've decided I really whole-heartedly like Rubio. As I've mentioned previously, I see him as a more effective legislator than Ted Cruz --who, for all his vaunted constitutionalism, seems not to understand the body to which he was elected and how it works, and has spent his time helping to weaken it rather than shore it up against executive encroachment.  Polling continually shows that of the GOP candidates, only Rubio consistently beats Hillary and Bernie, and Cruz, whatever his merits, I think is too angry and too condescending a figure to appeal to the electorate at large. Trump TALKS angry and say horrible insulting things, but somehow he doesn't actually seem all that angry or condescending. Whereas with Cruz, something in his face just makes you want to slug him for being so smug -- even when you agree with him.

People who have worked with Rubio always remark on his sincerity, his transparency, his hard work in understanding issues, and that is what comes across to me when I hear him in interviews. I am always impressed with his detailed knowledge on defense issues in particular, but also on economic policy. He's been a champion of religious liberty and persecuted Christians (don't take my word for it, take a look at what Michael Cromartie has to say), and I love him for this:

It's not just that he cut a pro-life ad. That's what you do when you're running in Iowa and courting evangelical voters. It's that he didn't use the throw-them-some-red-meat boilerplate that insincere GOP politicians use: where they say they're pro-life and that they think Roe v. Wade should be overturned and would support a constitutional amendment to defend life.  That's what politicians say when they either know nothing about the issue or intend to do nothing whatsoever about it. The fact that Rubio tells you specific measures he'll support -- how he will advance the cause-- tells you he's given it some thought, understands the state of play, and actually means it.

Here's another Rubio ad I like. I'm not sure I fully get it, actually -- there seems to be an in-joke that I don't know about.  But it shows his sunny personality, and I'll tell you what's smartest about it: it shows his wrinkles, so he doesn't seem so young. His youthful good looks, along with his rushed, earnest delivery (even though he's capable of great eloquence), are weaknesses. They make him seem too young. But any time I hear him in an interview where there's time for an actual answer as opposed to a sound bite, I am impressed.

I Predict the Sudden Rediscovery of the Male Chaperone


This 16-year-old German girl's video asking the perfectly reasonable question, "Why do we have to live in such fear" about the growing phenomenon of girls being raped by Muslim refugees has gone viral.

Front Page magazine has more on the story, as well as links to the kinds of incidents Bibi Wilhailm is referring to. Such as the assault of hundreds of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve by gangs of "North African-looking men."

Sweden now has the #2 rape rate in the world, thanks to a wide open door policy for migration from the Middle East and North Africa.

I could link much more, but google it yourself.

It will be interesting to see whether any European government actually values its liberty and its women enough to put a stop to this. And whether the U.S. will continue on its follow-Europe path and import that madness here.

Meanwhile, I predict a sudden surge in male chaperoning among private citizens who care about one another. Not looking so patriarchal and condescending at the moment, is it?

Update: See? Soldiers of Odin protect women in Finland. Not necessarily a great development, however: where law fails, vigilantes spring up.

Rubio Answers A Question from an Atheist

Stick with it.

A Photo for the Lord's Day

Alexey Kljatov/CC BY-NC 3.0

For heaven's sake, click on the link above and go see Alexey Kljatov's photographs of snowflakes. They're all beautiful, but of particular interest to me are the ones that are triangular or columnar in shape -- never seen that kind before. 
Curtsy: Jaymi Heimbuch, Treehugger.