Live from Council Bluffs, it’s the GOP caucus

Featured image Nebraska attorney David Begley winds up his reports from Iowa for us with this account of last night’s GOP caucus in Carter Lake: It was a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The citizens of Carter Lake gathered at Thomas Jefferson high school in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and voted for the Republican nominee for President of the United States. There was a barefoot baby in attendance along with »

Karl Rove: the master strategist as master story teller

Featured image I normally don’t recommend books on Power Line unless I’ve read them from beginning to end. However, I’m making an exception for Karl Rove’s The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters. Why? First, because I’m in the early-middle of a long history of Austria and probably won’t make any headway on Rove’s book (beyond the first chapter, which I have read) for some time. Second, »

The endorsements scorecard

Featured image How important are endorsements by office holders when it comes to nominating a presidential candidate? I think the conventional wisdom is that this year, at least on the Republican side, they won’t count for much. On the other hand, Aaron Bycoffe of FiveThirtyEight cites research showing that in presidential nomination contests between 1980 and 2004, early endorsements by members of the party elites were the most important cause of candidate »

The gloves come off, but why did it take so long?

Featured image Check out Ted Cruz’s excellent new ad attacking Donald Trump over eminent domain. This is the kind of information Trump’s rival candidates should have started putting out months ago when it became clear that Trump is for real. Instead, by and large they (1) indulged in the fantasy that Trump would fade away, (2) worried that Trump would fight back to their detriment, and/or (3) attacked lesser candidates (but better »

After last night

Featured image I was impressed with the performances of all seven participants in the GOP presidential candidates’ forum last night (transcript here video below). I liked them all, especially when they talked about Obama or Clinton, and I thought they all did well with the exception of the pummeling that Ted Cruz took at the hands of Donald Trump on the matter of “New York values.” Trump administered a beatdown that left »

A good night for Donald Trump

Featured image I hate to say it, but Donald Trump won tonight’s debate, in my opinion. He did so mainly by winning his big exchange with Ted Cruz on “New York values.” This, he accomplished by playing the 9/11 card and playing with a solemnity I hadn’t seen from him. Gone, momentarily, was the show biz Trump. This was Trump speaking compellingly from the heart, or so it seemed. Cruz could have »

A dance to the music of polls — previewing tonight’s GOP debate

Featured image The GOP presidential debates are like a typical television series. The quality of actors doesn’t vary much from episode to episode, nor does the general nature of the characters they play. What varies is which character[s] they come into conflict with in a given episode. In the debate context, this variable is driven by which candidate poll data tells a candidate he (or she) must try to smack down. Early »

Nikki Haley and the role of anger in politics

Featured image Charles Krauthammer on Fox News spoke for many when, following Nikki Haley’s response to President Obama’s address on Tuesday, he called it the best such response he could remember. I take no position on this question of history, but I can say that Haley’s talk has turned into the most controversial response in memory. Robert Costa and Philip Rucker describe the controversy for the Washington Post. There is at least »

Reagan-Coolidge 2016?

Featured image Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a Reagan-Coolidge ticket this year? Or even a Coolidge-Reagan ticket? Think of this as the election equivalent of fantasy football league. Back in late October, I ventured to St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire to debate against Coolidge biographer Amity Shlaes on which Republican president was the greater and most suitable model for Republicans today. I know—this is like debating whether Mt. »

The Schlong Also Rises

Featured image Donald Trump has proved himself to be a man with substantial insight into the mind of the average Republican voter, a category in which I place myself (in case that’s not obvious from my comments here over the past many years). Having made illegal immigration and American greatness the primary themes of his campaign, he floated to the top of a competitive field and has if anything continued to increase »

Does Rubio’s Gang of Eight membership doom him?

Featured image It wasn’t long ago that conservative proponents of comprehensive immigration reform were insisting that the idea is popular among Republican voters. In 2014, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin told us, “nope, immigration reform [isn’t] toxic” and that “the anti-immigration forces are loud but in the distinct minority” within the Republican party. To be fair, Rubin and others of the same view backed up their claim with poll data, but they »

The Great Republican Revolt: who benefits?

Featured image I’ve never read anything by David Frum, or had a conversation with him, without thinking that I learned something. There’s plenty to learn from him in this long piece called “The Great Republican Revolt.” The revolt, Frum says, is founded on the belief that the Republican party no longer has the interests of “Middle Americans” at heart. It is not really a conservative revolt. Instead, it is populist: [These voters] »

On Lindsey Graham’s exit

Featured image Folks who read my posts regularly know that I can’t stand Lindsey Graham. That’s one of the reasons why I was glad he entered the presidential race this year. I figured he would get a well-deserved shellacking from GOP voters whom he has let down so often. The shellacking was even more complete than I expected. Graham hovered below 1 percent support in the polls, never made the “adult table” »

Thoughts on the Budget Fiasco [with comment by Paul]

Featured image I’m still scratching my head about the results of the omnibus budget that passed last week, in which it appears Republicans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. About the only tangible victories were the ending of the ban on oil exports, and the torpedoes launched at Obamacare (i.e., cutting off the insurance company bailout, and postponing the “Cadillac” tax on health plans, though I acknowledge the contrary case that »

What’s happening here

Featured image Occasional Power Line reader Robert Coram is the author of intensely interesting military biographies including Boyd (about the Air Force pilot/military strategist John Boyd) and American Patriot (about the mind-boggling Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day). At The Federalist, Dan McLaughlin draws on one of Boyd’s concepts to explain the course of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. In the words of the song, “Something’s happening here/What it is »

Tom Cotton and Harry Reid Agree On Omnibus Spending Bill

Featured image When Senators Tom Cotton and Harry Reid agree on something, you could call it a pretty strong consensus. And they both see Paul Ryan’s omnibus spending bill as a huge win for the Democrats. Harry Reid ran a victory lap: Senate Democrats on Friday boasted that they successfully managed to get just about everything they wanted in a massive spending and tax cut bill, despite being the minority party in »

The winner of the Rubio-Cruz immigration fight? Donald Trump

Featured image Open warfare between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz broke out during Tuesday’s debate. The topics were (1) intelligence gathering to protect the national security and (2) immigration. As I wrote immediately after the debate, it’s the immigration clash that will count most. Both issues matter greatly to Republican voters, but disagreements about immigration matter more than disputes about particular data collection methods. This is why Rubio was desperate to claim »