Live from Kimballton, it’s Rick & Carly

Featured image Continuing his series of reports for us on the appearance of the presidential candidates in Iowa, Nebraska attorney Dave Begley files this story on the West Central Iowa Counties Boots and Barbeque Bash Fundraiser at Cottonwood Barn in Kimballton, Iowa on last night. Dave reports: The best news is that the food at the Republican event was fabulous, ten times better than the Dems’ food in Clear Lake. It wasn’t »

A different way to slice the GOP race

Featured image It’s a commonplace to say that the Republican presidential contest, with its vast field, consists of races within a race. Pre-Trump, we could discern three sub-races — conservative, moderate-conservative, and evangelical. The headliners in the conservative race were thought to be Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and maybe Rick Perry. The moderate-conservative headliners were Jeb Bush and Chris Christie (along, perhaps, with John Kasich if he decided to run). »

Is Donald Trump Mitt Romney with the common touch?

Featured image Here’s a different way of viewing Donald Trump’s appeal. Think back to Mitt Romney’s emergence as a candidate of some appeal. What was the case for Mitt? It resided mainly in his success in business and in a high profile business-like venture — saving the Winter Olympics in 2002. The case for Trump is, in many ways, different. Trump is the anti-politician; Romney had served as governor. Trump seems mad »

Report: Trump may take the pledge, after all

Featured image It turns out that two can play the leverage game. With the Republican National Committee making noises about limiting participation in future debates to candidates willing to commit to not running as an independent, and with it having said it will withhold data on Republican voters from candidates unwilling to make that commitment, Donald Trump reportedly is now considering taking the pledge. The RNC does have some leverage. However, I »

Ben Carson comes to Council Bluffs

Featured image Nebraska attorney Dave Begley has reported for us from Iowa on appearances by presidential candidates including Democrat/Socialist Bernie Sanders and Republican candidates Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina. As is evident from his report, Dave is Power Line reader who is representative of the kind of active conservative participating in Republican caucuses and (in Dave’e case) primaries. Dave has filed this report on the appearance of Republican candidate Ben Carson in »

Trump’s “leverage”

Featured image Donald Trump said last night that he cannot promise to support the eventual Republican nominee. Trump explained that he wants the “leverage” that refusing to make that promise provides. In a post-debate interview with Sean Hannity, Trump expanded on the theme of leverage. By not committing to support the nominee now, he can increase his chances of being treated fairly going forward, Trump told Hannity. He added that he hopes »

Ten thoughts about tonight’s debate

Featured image 1. I think each of the ten candidates did decently well in his own way and many did quite well. It’s a flawed field, but viewed collectively, a good one. 2. In my opinion, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — neither of whom I favor at this time — did the best. In that order: (1) Rubio and (2) Cruz. Both, for example, knocked it out of the park in »

The B Team debate

Featured image I agree with John’s assessment of the preliminary event in today’s presidential debate festivities. Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal were excellent and deserve immediate promotion to the A Team (stay tuned for a discussion of whom they should replace). George Pataki also debated well enough to deserve a promotion but, as John says, what would be the point. Rick Perry did pretty well but still stumbles at times. If he »

Republican field passes debate warm-up test

Featured image It’s not difficult to find fault with the individual members of the huge GOP presidential field. But watching nearly all of them (Trump, Huckabee, and Gilmore were no shows) participate in the first candidate’s forum of the cycle, I was impressed with what I saw, and more inclined than I have been for some time to agree that the GOP does have a pretty deep bench. (We don’t get to »

Can Rand Paul use the Cleveland debate to make himself relevant?

Featured image Rand Paul has become a diminished force in the presidential race, to the point that we have wondered “where did Rand Paul go?” Thursday’s debate will give Paul an opportunity to roar back into the consciousness of Republican voters. But to do so, Dave Weigel of the Washington Post suggests, he will have to take a page out of his father’s playbook and swing for the fences as an ardent »

Will Dems apologize?

Featured image In an open letter to DNC Chairman Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz, Jeffrey Lord provides a readout of the tangled history of the Democratic Party with slavery, segregation, lynching, and the Ku Klux Klan. Lord draws on the Democratic Party platforms of 1840, 1844, 1856 and 1860. He adds that, as the Civil War drew to a close, the Democrats opposed the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment (ending slavery), and proceeded afterwards »

Have Republicans Saved the Obama Administration?

Featured image Within the last 48 hours, the Obama administration dodged two huge bullets. First, Congressional Republicans passed the trade promotion authority act, paving the way for passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which the administration has been negotiating for years, and the Trade In Services Agreement. Then, this morning, the Supreme Court bailed out Obamacare, rewriting key provisions of the Affordable Care Act to prevent Obamacare from collapsing, with two presumed »

Good news from South Carolina [UPDATED]

Featured image As John has noted, the Confederate battle flag is under fire in South Carolina. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Tim Scott, and Gov. Nikki Haley — Republicans all — have called for it to be removed from the state capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. I agree that it’s time to take the flag down. Not because its presence caused Dylann Roof to kill blacks. It didn’t. Not because removing the »

Jeb Bush enters the race impressively

Featured image It’s official. Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for president today at Miami-Dade College. The text of his speech is here. Bush isn’t my preferred candidate for the Republican nomination (I don’t have one yet), nor is he likely to so become. However, I thought his speech was impressive, both in content (he can thank his speechwriters) and in delivery. Bush didn’t seem exactly “joyous,” but he certainly looked comfortable — »

What to do about the opening GOP presidential debate

Featured image In August, Fox News will hold the first debate among candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination. To be more accurate, Fox News will hold a debate among ten of the candidates seeking the GOP nomination. At least five candidates will be excluded. Among them might be the highly popular governor of Ohio, who once held a leadership position in the U.S. House of Representatives; the runner-up for the GOP nomination »

Josh Duggar and Caitlin Jenner? Seriously?

Featured image These are trying times for Democrats. They control neither the Senate nor the House, and fare even worse at the state and local levels. The economy, after six plus years of the Obama presidency, is so-so. President Obama’s foreign policy has produced setback after serious setback. To make matters worse, the Democrats are almost certain to nominate for president the co-architect of Obama’s failed foreign policy. And Hillary Clinton’s campaign »

Rick Perry tries again

Featured image Rick Perry has officially entered the race for the GOP presidential nomination. He’s the tenth Republican to throw his hat in the ring so far. Before assessing his chances, let’s take a moment to compare the quality of the Republican and Democratic fields. Martin O’Malley probably rates third among Democratic contenders, behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. O’Malley was a two-term governor of Maryland whose performance was poor enough that, »