Poll: Mitt is considerably more popular than Trump among New Hampshire Republicans

Featured image According to most polls, Donald Trump’s support among Republicans is close to 30 percent, and the conventional wisdom, I think, is that he has the solid support of 20 to 25 percent of Republicans. In a field as crowded as the GOP’s is likely to remain for a good while, even 25 percent support can carry a candidate a long way, and Trump’s number surely will increase as candidates drop »

An open letter to President Hanlon

Featured image The Dartmouth College Republicans have promulgated an open letter to the president and trustees of Dartmouth College. The letter smartly heightens the internal contradictions of Hanlonism, i.e., the college’s pronouncements to students and alumni following the rampage of the Black Lives Matter mob through Baker-Berry Library last week: It is with great sadness and the utmost disappointment that we find ourselves having to write this letter. As the Dartmouth College »

Google Poll: Trump won the debate; Bush lost it

Featured image In the view of Republican voters who watched last night’s debate, Donald Trump won the encounter and Marco Rubio finished second, according to a poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys for the Wall Street Journal. Trump was the winner in the view of 28 percent of Republicans; Rubio in the eyes of 23 percent. After them come Ted Cruz (16 percent), Ben Carson (14 percent), Carly Fiorina (7 percent) and »

How’s this for objective political reporting?

Featured image The headline in today’s Washington Post (print edition) reads: “Debate exposes a rift within the GOP — rigid conservatism vs. a flexible pragmatism.” The story, by Philip Rucker and Ed O’Keefe, leads off this way: The leading Republican presidential candidates clashed sharply over immigration policy, military spending, and other intractable and emotional issues in a debate here Tuesday night, bringing into sharp relief the party’s fault line between rigid conservatism »

After last night

Featured image I won’t review the GOP candidates’ event on FOX Business last night. John and Paul have already done that. I just want to make a few conclusory observations in the spirit of candid inquiry. First, a disclaimer. If I could have picked a candidate for 2016, my first choice would have been Rick Perry. He has dealt with the immigration issue. He compiled a formidable record as governor of a »

My take on tonight’s debate

Featured image I suspect that it’s “as you were” after tonight’s debate. In other words, not much about the race is likely to change, with the possible exception that Jeb Bush may be finished. Let’s do a candidate by candidate analysis. Donald Trump caught a “yuge” break because his first major topic (after a few words on the minimum wage) was immigration. This is the issue that helped propel him to the »

Why lie? (2)

Featured image Speaking to a partisan Democratic crowd at a fundraiser in New York on Monday, President Obama mocked the Republican presidential candidates. Disparaging his domestic political opponents is what Obama does best. Not to say he’s great at it, or that he doesn’t have significant accomplishments to point to, but disparagement is his greatest strength. The GOP candidates seem to have gotten under his thin skin. “Every one of these candidates »

Up close with Iowa Republicans

Featured image The liberal media would have it that Republicans are old, white, and angry. To what extent was this stereotype borne out by the big Republican event at the Iowa state fairgrounds on Saturday? The crowd certainly wasn’t young. Age 66, I was older than average, but hardly outside my age-comfort zone. Nor was the crowd diverse. I saw only a handful of African-Americans and not many more Hispanics. To be »

At the Iowa state fairgrounds: Who moved them?

Featured image Ten Republican candidates turned up at the Iowa state fairgrounds on Saturday to speak to an audience of about 2,000. All but one of them delivered a stump speech. Chris Christie was the exception. He spent all of his time answering questions. His answers were on point and forceful. This was probably the most impressive performance of the day. Some who gave stump speeches modified or updated them to reflect »

At the Iowa state fairgrounds: Who turned them out?

Featured image The Iowa caucuses are in significant part about who can get their supporters to show up. Thus, one thing I wanted to watch for at yesterday’s Growth and Oppoertunity event was which candidates got supporters to the fairgrounds to cheer and hold signs. This metric would, it seemed to me, provide a rough measure of some combination of level of support and “ground game.” Unfortunately, neither Donald Trump nor Ben »

Iowa Republicans are very much up for grabs

Featured image I spent most of today at the Iowa state fairgrounds watching the Iowa Republican Party’s Growth and Opportunity event. Approximately 2,000 Republicans attended. Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the two leaders in Iowa, skipped the event. John Kasich was the only other member of the top 10 who did not show up. From the bottom tier, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Santorum all spoke. I will discuss the speeches »

After last night

Featured image After sleeping on last night’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate event, I offer a few notes and queries in the spirit of candid inquiry. Jeb Bush’s decision to go after Marco Rubio was stupid in so many ways that I wonder what he was thinking. This is what I was thinking: your campaign is so over. And I doubt I was alone. For the record, let it be noted that Bush »

Outrageous media bias yields good night for most GOP candidates

Featured image Let’s start by identifying the two biggest losers of tonight’s GOP presidential debate. They are CNBC (along with the mainstream media in general) and Jeb Bush. But since CNBC isn’t running for president, I guess Bush is the biggest loser. The winners tonight were the candidates who most effectively trounced the blatantly biased CNBC moderators. Heading that list are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Honorable mention (and I do mean »

Questions for the RNC

Featured image Watching the Republican candidates debate on CNBC, I see a glorified disgrace. The leading Republican candidates are an impressive crew. We are charged with the responsibility of choosing who among them can best represent us in the coming presidential election. Yet the RNC has set up a program of debates that has served up a prominent forum for smash face attacks on our leading candidates by moderators who sound like »

Iowa bound

Featured image Early tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to witness our odd democracy up close. First, I will meet up in Omaha with our excellent reporter, David Begley. We’ll check out Marco Rubio and Chris Christie at events in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday. Then, I’ll be off to Des Moines for a big event on Saturday at the State Fairgrounds that should enable me to “run the rule” (as English soccer »

Anatomy of GOP fundraising [with note by Paul]

Featured image Crane Brinton was the historian whose Anatomy of Revolution used to be required reading. He was an old-fashioned type who interrupted his academic career to serve in the OSS during World War II. He encouraged fellow academics out in the real world to act on “the patient virtues [they] had acquired professionally” rather than to “get obsessed with the importance of thinking and planning.” Brinton claimed in self-deprecating fashion: “I »

What really divides conservatives

Featured image What best explains the division we see among conservatives these days? Is it ideology, strategy, or just tactics? All three factor in. But I believe the biggest source of division is cognitive. Some conservatives perceive that the left is bent on radically transforming American values, institutions, and ways of living, and will use almost any tactic, regardless of its legality, to accomplish the transformation. Others perceive the current moment as »