Blog No. 110. The “A Words” of the 2016 Election Campaign: Aleppo and Afghanistan

In attempting to chronicle the antics of the 2016 election over the last few months, we have sometimes tried to inject some humor. Today we turn to two subjects that leave little room for humor: Aleppo and Afghanistan.  We term them the “A words” of the campaign because, despite their importance, they are words that never seem to cross the lips of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and coverage in the media is spasmodic. Hence we thought it worthwhile to remind readers of what the candidates are so determined to ignore. […]

Blog No. 105. Which Route for a RINO: Will or Paulson?

For purposes of this blog, we are assuming that most RINOs are among the growing number of Republicans who find the nomination, or worse yet the election, of Donald Trump to be categorically unacceptable. There are, of course, many others in the #NeverTrump movement and our comments are for them as well.Which Way Rhino […]

Blog No. 102: Brexit: Arguments, Consequences and the Trump Factor

Even readers who have been preoccupied with the agonies of the Republican and Democratic primary campaigns are probably aware of the political battle being waged across the Atlantic over Brexit. That term, of course, refers to the proposal that Britain (with Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom) exit from the European Union. In more shorthand, the opposing sides are tersely referred to simply as Leave and Remain. The Brexit proposal will be put to the voters in a referendum on June 23, and to the questions “What will happen?” and “What will it mean?” there is clearly only one answer: no one really knows. Without attempting predictions, our view is that if the vote is to leave the EU, the risks to Britain, the EU, and ultimately the United States, could be significant. […]

Blog No. 89. Trump and Cruz: Republican Scylla and Charybdis

We had hoped to begin 2016 on an optimistic note, but after waiting until the eleventh hour and beyond, it seems to have eluded us. For RINOs, the continued presence of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz atop the Republican leaderboard is singularly depressing. We do not accept that the nomination of either is inevitable, but it is more of a risk than we can understand or accept. […]

Blog No. 88. Teflon Don: Did He Really Say That?

Through some magical power, Donald Trump has managed to enter a fact-free zone that can only be the envy of his competitors. Unlike the statements of the other candidates, Trump’s are not scrutinized for accuracy, and indeed they are generally assumed to be unprovable or flatly wrong. No, Trump’s pronouncements are assessed primarily on the degree unpleasantness with which they are delivered. (We imagine a campaign logo: “The Surly Bird Gets the Worm.”) He appears to have succeeded John Gotti to the title of the Teflon Don.

Other candidates have attempted to pick him up on this or that fact, and Glenn Kessler has depleted his inventory of Pinocchios in making multiple awards to the Donald. But no one, so far as we know, has made a comprehensive review of Trump’s claims and observations, even within the limits of a single debate. We though it might be a useful experiment applied to the Fifth Debate. Confined to that debate the experiment is obviously limited and will omit any number of his more noxious expostulations. Nevertheless, one has to start somewhere. What follows is the entirety of what Trump had to say at the Fifth Republican Debate, omitting only various personal comments directed at other candidates or the moderators. We have supplied headings and questions and comments in bold. […]

Blog No. 85 After Paris and Between Debates: Whither the GOP?

If anyone here remembers the Fourth GOP Debate with Fox Business News on November 10, please raise your hand.  Ah, that’s what we thought.

Given the passage of time, the intervening events of Islamic terrorism in Paris and Mali, the debate over refugees and the almost daily embarrassments from Donald Trump, it was inevitable the Fourth Debate would not have a lengthy shelf-life. Nevertheless, the issues raised at the debate, and the candidates’ approaches to them will continue to hover over the campaign. So perhaps it is useful to refresh some recollections to better appreciate the next debate (scheduled for December 15 in Las Vegas and to be sponsored by CNN and Salem Radio). […]

Blog No. 84 After Paris, What Now?

We continue to promise to provide a critique of the fourth Republican Debate and what it portends for the progress of the campaign. Before getting to that, however, we felt a need to comment on the responses of Democrats, Republicans and the President to the Paris outrage. […]

Blog No. 80. The Democratic “Debate” and Questions Not Asked

There is a broad consensus that Hillary Clinton won the Democratic “Debate.” We put the term in quotes because the event resembled not so much a debate as a joint press conference. With that qualification, we would not quarrel with the assessment that Ms. Clinton performed well and no doubt solidified her status as a front-runner. It is not that the other participants did poorly: they all seemed knowledgeable and well prepared, there were no egregious misstatements, and the event was happily free of personal sniping. Yet none of the others had the kind of breakout moment that each must have hoped for. All in all, the range of the conversation was, with few exceptions, from center left to far left and the interrogators asked few probing questions to get below the surface.

Given the cornucopia of commentary, we thought the most interesting exercise might be to note some questions that we hope might be asked in the next round. (The questions involve issues that Republican candidates will also have to address sooner or later.) […]

Blog No. 78. The CNN Debate and the GOP Outsiders

A CNN poll taken after last week’s debate on CNN showed the three top spots held by candidates who have never held elective office: Donald Trump (24% ), Carly Fiorina (15%), and Ben Carson (14%). An NBC poll had similar results with Trump (29%) leading Carson (14%) and Fiorina (11%). Although that development may have come as a surprise to some, it was consistent with a Washington Post/ABC poll taken earlier this month that found 58 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of conservative Republicans want the next president to be an Outsider, “someone from outside the existing political establishment.” For our own part, we are hopeful that the romantic attraction with Outsiders will pass and that cooler heads will prevail. As a general proposition, we believe that a true conservative should regard significant experience in elective office as a qualification—and not a disqualification—for presidential candidates. More specifically, Ms Fiorina might make an effective candidate for Vice President but, in our view, does not belong at the head of the ticket. We are doubtful that Dr. Carson should have any place on the ticket and certain that Donald Trump does not. […]

Special Bulletin. Departure and Donald Trump

As noted in Blog 74, Part II, we are about to depart on vacation with plans to return in August, Before leaving, however, we wanted to say a word about Donald Trump.

We like to think that we take a realistic view of the world but we have to admit that we have been in denial on the subject of Donald Trump. We have not mentioned his candidacy in the naïve hope that it would disappear on its own. It is now clear that is not going to happen. We still believe that it is highly unlikely that Trump will become the Republican nominee, but there is an increasingly serious question as to how much embarrassment and damage he will do to the Republican Party along the way. Our answer is, too much. […]