March 29, 2016

"The truth is, we don’t know how Mrs. Clinton would fare in a no-holds-barred debate with a tough challenger—because she’s not faced one in this primary."

"From the way the Democratic superdelegates have been awarded, to the number and timing of debates, the entire primary season has been orchestrated to serve Mrs. Clinton’s interests by a party that is mostly in her pocket. This is why the last man standing is an angry, white-haired socialist. And yet the former first lady still can’t put him away."

From "Yes, Donald Could Beat Hillary/Conventional wisdom says he has no chance. But what if he blows up all the old rules?" by William McGurn (in the WSJ).

Despite what I just quoted up there, McGurn is in what I'd consider a pretty heavy state of denial. The column ends with:
Sure, it’s possible the GOP front-runner will implode, just as it’s possible all those polls showing Mrs. Clinton with a double-digit lead over Mr. Trump will indeed come to pass. But some of us who never thought he would get this far are a little more reluctant to be so categorical about an election that is still seven months away.
A little more reluctant? To be so categorical? You should be completely over your categoricality.

AND: Bernie Sanders has not been a tough competitor. He's been damned nice to her. He only fights on the issues. He holds himself above all sorts of attacks that Donald Trump would unleash with vigor, delight, and — his favorite — unpredictability. And yet Hillary's campaign is portraying Sanders's campaign as unacceptably negative. They're resisting debate because they don't like his "tone." His tone!

How is she going to deal with Trump's tone? Refuse to debate? One of the arguments McGurn examines — arguments for why Hillary is supposed to trounce Trump — is the Clinton will make him look "like an ignorant yahoo" when they debate. Will she even dare to debate?

91 comments:

AprilApple said...

It is true that, to this day, Hillary has never been asked and pushed to answer a single difficult question. Jorge Ramos came close, but she waved it off. No follow up.

Trump's negatives are higher than an un-indicted felon. Until that changes, we do know that.

Oso Negro said...

It's really hard to know how it would go. What if he lashes her with everything from Whitewater to Vince Foster to Lewinsky to Benghazi? What if Trump makes Hillary cry? That would almost certainly activate the zombie voters of the Althousian sisterhood.

AprilApple said...

Trump keeps saying he hasn't even started on her yet. (I just laugh) How will he treat his old pal? Trump saves all his rage, anger and tabloid lies for the dreaded evil scum Lyin' Ted Cruz - that evil leftwing anti-constitutional villain.

Brando said...

It is possible for Trump to beat her, as she is an incredibly weak candidate (the weakest the Dems have put up in decades) and Trump's particular style (a flurry of BS with some non-BS thrown in, and constantly moving to the next attack before a response is ready) is one she is susceptible to (because of her own negatives, and her slow, clumsy responses). This is why I don't completely rule out him winning the general election.

But as AprilApple notes, Trump's negatives are significantly higher than Hillary's, and he's weak in a lot of the same areas Hillary is (crony capitalism, dishonesty, authoritarianism, thin skinned, nastiness and cruelty) which isn't going to win over a lot of the people who otherwise would never vote for Hillary. Hillary also has the natural Democratic advantages, such as built-in leads among women and minorities, and the electoral "wall" (of solid blue states). Trump's schtick has proven strong with a plurality of Republicans, but as yet he is still poison for a solid majority of general election voters. And for all of Hillary's inability to inspire (and thus get Dems to the polls) she won't have to even to that, as Trump being on the ballot will do the job for her.

Things can change, of course--some major event could turn this around. But this trend right now is for the GOP to suffer a major loss this fall--perhaps losing both houses of Congress as well as the White House--and all the more shame for it considering just how vulnerable the Dem candidate is. This may well be remembered as the GOP's big year of missed opportunity, all because their voters took a shot on a reality TV star of no apparent virtues.

Birkel said...

Brando,
U.S. House is safe.

Henry said...

A little more reluctant?

I think McGurn is intentionally using understatement. You know the phrase "damning with faint praise?" McGurn is panicking with faint worries.

AprilApple said...

@Brando

"And for all of Hillary's inability to inspire (and thus get Dems to the polls) she won't have to even to that, as Trump being on the ballot will do the job for her."

Worth repeating.

AllenS said...

Brando said...
This may well be remembered as the GOP's big year of missed opportunity, all because their voters took a shot on a reality TV star of no apparent virtues.

Other than Trump, who do you think has taken advantage of this "opportunity". So far, nobody else has been doing shit. Go ahead, name the person who you think should be beating Hillary? Then, tell me why they haven't.

Brando said...

"Brando,
U.S. House is safe."

That's the CW, but if GOP turnout suffers enough after a "Trump like" general election campaign (with candidates scrambling to decide whether to support the guy, denounce him, or stay silent), I wouldn't rule out losing dozens of seats. I don't think the GOP had this sort of "top of the ticket" problem in decades.

AprilApple said...

The hated Rubio was beating Clinton in the polls. Cruz beats Hillary in some of polls. I have not seen a single poll where Trump beats Hillary. That might change, but it should not be ignored.

Henry said...

McGurn points out that Clinton hasn't had to face a strong challenger. He fails to point out that neither has Trump. The Republican field was fragmented and littered with second-rate campaigners. The establishment candidates were very weak and Trump's strongest opponent, Cruz, is an outlier in the party.

Brando said...

"Other than Trump, who do you think has taken advantage of this "opportunity". So far, nobody else has been doing shit. Go ahead, name the person who you think should be beating Hillary? Then, tell me why they haven't."

Well, that's simple--almost every other GOP candidate polls far better than Trump against Hillary, ranging from beating her by a few points (Cruz) to beating her by many points (Rubio, Kasich). Why they haven't gotten the nomination? That's also simple--they did not capture the "anti-establishment" sentiment of the Trumpists.

Now, to Trumpists (which may I assume you are one?) this may mean nothing as Kasich, Rubio, Cruz et al are "establishment" (never mind that Rubio and Cruz were Tea Party candidates and Kasich never had the establishment nod that preferred others like Bush, and in fact Kasich has been far more deviant from the party line on issues like Medicaid) and therefore they would be no better than Hillary. As you know we disagree on this. But a vote for Trump as it stands now is a vote for Hillary (barring as I note above a significant change, and even then maybe not), and in that we'll be seeing a uniquely terrible president.

Would a president Kasich, Rubio or Cruz with a GOP Congress have been all roses and sunshine? Probably not, but at least we might have seen tax reform and entitlement reform on the table. With Hillary, you can forget that and get ready for Amnesty on steroids. She's basically pledged it.

Henry said...

@AllenS -- Rubio would have been the Republicans best candidate in a national election where his weakness in retail campaigning wouldn't have been an issue. But the single-issue primary voters killed him.

M Jordan said...

The one-on-one polls in the general are fairly worthless at this point. Until the primaries end and the nominees make peace among their own, we just can't get a true picture of the general. Trump's negatives are high but so are Hillary's. And Trump has a lot more space to maneuver. My bet is Hillary will try the old tried and true: the war on women. And Trump will blow it up as he already did in Round One of that attack.

We are in uncharted water here with this election. The GOPe could not stop Trump. We'll see if the DEMe can.

AprilApple said...

My feeling is that Trump is the drunken anger vote. Think of all the things in life where anger inspired a decision. (nothing but regrets)

MadisonMan said...

Who will have longer coat-tails, Trump or Hillary?

I can't see anyone attaching their cart to Hillary's train if the threat of indictment is hanging over her head. There are at least, with Trump, things to admire, if one likes a showman. What does one admire about Hillary? That she shielded her husband from true accusations of harrassment? That she rode his name to a Senate Seat?

Laslo Spatula said...

"Probably not, but at least we might have seen tax reform and entitlement reform on the table. "

And Immigration would roll on, unchecked.

Enjoy the parsley.

I am Laslo.

Henry said...

And yet Hillary's campaign is portraying Sanders's campaign as unacceptably negative.

And very successfully so. The Clinton machine will have a field day attacking Trump. Not only will they go negative at every level, but they will do it with the blessing of the media. There will be no pearl-clutching about negative aads among the intelligentsia this time.

tim maguire said...

Last month, I thought it would be Rubio vs. Biden. At this point, Trump looks unstoppable to get enough delegates to win on the first ballot. I still think the Democrats will put up Biden. The Democratic elite and their media lapdogs are standing strong for Clinton because they can't just ignore Sanders.

Party leadership has to make sure Hillary wins the primary outright because that is the only way they can draft Biden without Bernie going third party. He must lose "fair and square" before they can go do what they intend to do anyway.

Brando said...

"And Immigration would roll on, unchecked."

That's going to happen regardless. Surely you don't think Trump will actually get a wall built? And find some way to prevent people from overstaying their visas (which accounts for nearly half of illegal immigration)?

Bay Area Guy said...

I saw the McGurn headline, and was momentarily excited. But as Althouse correctly notes, the article turned out to be thin gruel.

I have heard Trump supporters rail against the establishment, rail against Mitt Romney, rail against George W Bush for invading Iraq.

I haven't head yet the actual strategy Trump has to defeat Hillary in the General election. To win, he must get 70 million votes (269 EV). That's a lot people, many of whom aren't angry, many of whom are just trying to work hard, support their families, watch a little football, and minimize the drama in their lives.

I will vote for Trump over Hillary. But unless Trump starts to pivot to the General, and unite his party, he is going to partially give his supporters the Amnesty they detest, by putting up a weak, disjointed fight against Hillary, leading to her win, leading to more Amnesty.

Laslo Spatula said...

"That's going to happen regardless. Surely you don't think Trump will actually get a wall built? And find some way to prevent people from overstaying their visas (which accounts for nearly half of illegal immigration)?"

I think we could start by letting Border Patrol do their jobs rather than being bystanders.

I am Laslo.

tim maguire said...

2012 was the big year of missed opportunity, when Obama was deeply vulnerable and the Republicans responded by nominating the only person in the entire party who couldn't run against Obama's weaknesses.

But 2016 is also a year of missed opportunity because the Republicans have been building the farm system for 10 years. This was the year of the deep bench, when the party was fairly bursting at the seams with talent and ideas. And the Republicans are nominating a glorified used car salesman.

Laslo Spatula said...

" And the Republicans are nominating a glorified used car salesman."

Cruz doesn't have the Nomination yet.

I am Laslo.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

No holds barred? That's a pretty stupid figure of speech to apply to a candidates' debate to anyone who knows what it actually means.

tim maguire said...

AllenS said...Other than Trump, who do you think has taken advantage of this "opportunity". So far, nobody else has been doing shit. Go ahead, name the person who you think should be beating Hillary? Then, tell me why they haven't.

Umm...all of them?

Name one person? I'll name you 15.

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"Refuse to debate?" Yes.

@BAG: "he is going to partially give his supporters the Amnesty they detest, by putting up a weak, disjointed fight" They are going to get amnesty either way: touchback amnesty is Trump's stated policy.

khesanh0802 said...

@April Apple You are insulting a lot of sober folk who feel that they have been put upon by the politicians for too long. I relate, once again, my shock at being told by many members of my gun club that they favored Trump because he was cutting through the bullshit and stating their grievances. These are everyday machinists and mechanics in MN and it was early in the campaign before Trump had demonstrated any success. Most people away from the coasts would recognize these guys as "salt of the earth" types.

virgil xenophon said...

I'm with L-Man here all they way. And just remember, this time of year Reagan was behind President Carter by 30 points in the polls and won by 10, a forty point swing. So much for "unelectability"..

khesanh0802 said...

@Bayareaguy 0828 If you have been reading the WSJ editorial page on a regular basis you should recognize that McGurn's column, though weak, is a major departure from the negatives the paper has been piling on Trump.

AllenS said...

Brando said...
["Other than Trump, who do you think has taken advantage of this "opportunity". So far, nobody else has been doing shit. Go ahead, name the person who you think should be beating Hillary? Then, tell me why they haven't." -- AllenS]

Well, that's simple--almost every other GOP candidate polls far better than Trump against Hillary, ranging from beating her by a few points (Cruz) to beating her by many points (Rubio, Kasich). Why they haven't gotten the nomination? That's also simple--they did not capture the "anti-establishment" sentiment of the Trumpists.

By using the words "anti-establishment" and "Trumpists" don't you mean the voters? None of you "anti-Trumpists" on this blog and others have ever tried to make your case for these other people that have failed to excite enough people to win the nomination. You anti's have nothing and nobody to offer as a replacement for Trump.

Brando said...

"2012 was the big year of missed opportunity, when Obama was deeply vulnerable and the Republicans responded by nominating the only person in the entire party who couldn't run against Obama's weaknesses."

I agree about 2016 being a wasted opportunity, but really don't think Obama was all that vulnerable in 2012. The economy was in recovery with the trendline going towards more jobs created, particularly compared against the standard he was compared against (when he was elected in 2008, and people were actually worried the banks would collapse and we were going into deflation). Obamacare was generally unpopular (and especially in the GOP) but part of the problem was that the broad group of people who hated Obamacare did not agree over how to change or scuttle it. Romney wasn't a great politician in any event, and his "Romneycare" made him an awkward pick, but I think even if he had never signed Romneycare he would have been beaten that year. But then, I don't think his primary opponents would have done better (Newt, Rick). The economy had been improving just enough to take the wind out of the sails of a GOP that a lot of moderates still blamed for the 2008 crisis.

Virgil Hilts said...

Could HC boycott doing any debates on the grounds that Trump has shown that he is crass, uncivilized and unworthy of debate? If she continues to have a big lead in the polls, why would the potential downside of this tactic be worse than the potential downside of actually being asked tough questions (which she has not).

virgil xenophon said...

Allen S is on the mark. Trump could beat Hills like a rented mule--all he needs do is bring up the facts (both personal and public policy) of her past. She's had to build a new addition onto her home just so she'd have enough closets to hide all the skeletons in..

AllenS said...

Go ahead, Tim, name the 15 people from the "deep bench".

Virgil Hilts said...

To double down on my prior post. HC is now refusing to debate Bernie again unless he "changes his tone." Isn't she just setting up the argument for refusing to debate DT? Note that O'Reilly predicts she will never debate Trump. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/oreilly-doesnt-think-hillary-will-show-up-to-a-debate-with-trump/

AprilApple said...

Reagan was a man of substance, Dear Virgil. Reagan was articulate and studied, and as a former governor, he had the right kind of experience. Reagan didn't have Trump university or failed bankrupt casinos.
Reagan was able to win because Carter was such a negative malaise ninny.

Above all, though, Regan was the great communicator. He was all class. Trump is the opposite, he is all crass.

PB said...

If it came down to a Trump vs Clinton election, I think Hillary would refuse to debate The Donald. It would offer cover to her supporters who refuse to admit her failings and crimes.

Brando said...

"Could HC boycott doing any debates on the grounds that Trump has shown that he is crass, uncivilized and unworthy of debate? If she continues to have a big lead in the polls, why would the potential downside of this tactic be worse than the potential downside of actually being asked tough questions (which she has not)."

I think she could do this, and if she retains a big lead she just might. Her argument could be that she doesn't think Trump is capable of arguing on the substance and will not dignify him by appearing on stage with him. Her critics of course will call her a wimp, but I'm not sure a refusal to debate will change a lot of minds against her.

tim maguire said...

AllenS said...
Go ahead, Tim, name the 15 people from the "deep bench".


Do I have to? You remember when there were 16 candidates, don't you? The 15 who aren't Trump.

All 15, some even weeks after they dropped out, did better than Trump in head to head match-ups. He is the weakest of the field for the general election.

Brando said...

"Above all, though, Regan was the great communicator. He was all class. Trump is the opposite, he is all crass."

Yeah, the Reagan/Trump comparison is less apples to oranges as it is apples to piles of snow. Reagan was a gifted politician who didn't make enemies needlessly, had a thick skin, plenty of self confidence (real self-confidence--not insecurity masquerading as cockiness which is usually he sign of a sad person), and a set of core values that he could win converts to. He had detractors but he did much to prove them wrong (regarding his intelligence, his compassion, and his pragmatism).

If Trump has any of those qualities, he's done a great job hiding them.

MadisonMan said...

Above all, though, Reagan was the great communicator.

As is Trump. You can't have a successful TV show and not be a great communicator.

Henry said...

The idea that all you have to do to beat Hillary is bring up her skeletons is rather remarkable, considering that it has never worked in the past -- against her or Bill. Show me the history of President Dole and I'll give this idea some credence.

Her dishonesty and untrustworthyness is completely abstract in the context of a political campaign. Like George W, she has very good message discipline, so she's not going to be drawn into some embarrassing admission of anything. Her surrogates will keep us apprised of all the ways she hasn't been indicted and all the fact-checks she's passed.

Don't underestimate the power of survival. Clinton fatigue cuts both ways. No one is interested in anyone dredging up the futures market, or the billing records, or despicable Bill. And against it all is Clinton's 25 year history of staying one step to the right of the line of the letter of the law. "No candidate has been so thoroughly vetted ever" is the tag line.

The thing that should destroy her candidacy is her disastrous term as Secretary of State. But that's foreign policy and no one cares.

AprilApple said...

@ Brando @9 - Well stated.

Trump and his supporters think they can win by making those needless enemies. They keep shrinking the anger-party and wondering why people are leaving.

Even Ann Coulter, one of Trump's biggest fans, is left wondering why Trump is "mental."



Bob Boyd said...

"Could HC boycott doing any debates on the grounds that Trump has shown that he is crass, uncivilized and unworthy of debate?"

I don't think that would fly. Trump wasn't so crass and uncivilized that she couldn't go to his wedding.

AprilApple said...

Also, I don't think Reagan ever received the National Enquirer endorsement.

AllenS said...

I remember the Reagan attempt to win the Presidency, and the media hated his guts. There was just as much negative publicity back then about his unelectability as Trump is receiving now. Remember he was "just an actor"?

bbkingfish said...

Drudge already has polled it, and Trump has won the coming debates with Hillary by margins greater than 2-to-1.

AprilApple said...

The media hates all GOP guts. Nothing new.
Reagan was articulate. He rose above the vicious biased media by using class, and persuasion. Trump digs holes and wallows in the mud.

Brando said...

"I remember the Reagan attempt to win the Presidency, and the media hated his guts. There was just as much negative publicity back then about his unelectability as Trump is receiving now. Remember he was "just an actor"?"

The media also thinks Pauly Shore is unelectable, so by that theory Pauly Shore is the next Reagan.

I've pointed out above why Reagan was a lot different than Trump. And while Trump does have a minor chance to win the general election, his weaknesses are pretty stark and I doubt he can (or would be willing to) address them. There's a lot of people who find him off-putting, and not in the "uses the wrong dinner fork" kind of way but more in the "this guy is really deranged" kind of way. Yes, some people (including my high school history teacher) thought Reagan would be a dangerous president. But Reagan proved them wrong. When is Trump going to prove his doubters wrong? Keep in mind those doubters currently are enough of a majority to deny him the presidency.

virgil xenophon said...

AprilApple@8:54am & Brando @ 9:00/

Alas, all you say is absolutely true, but I still aver that, w.o. Trump, the thing that is rapidly both culturally and economically destroying our nation (ABSOLUTELY open borders) wouldn't even be on the election radar screen. Imperfect vessel tho Trump may be, imo a Cruz candidacy (tho he is my favorite philosophically) would both (a) fail to mobilize Trump supporters in the general and (b) be unable to appeal to the needed blue/white collar "Reagan Democrats" (and even independents) so vital to winning this year's election. Admittedly, Trump is a huge gamble, but one that might pay off. Cruze is a lock on a "slo-bleed" lost election with ABSOLUTELY no possibility of winning, as his appeal is only to a narrow band of conservatives, period. Trump puts many of the blue states in play, Cruz cannot.

(PS: FWIW a retired executive from GE lived next to us in Louisville and was Reagans boss while Reagan worked for GE. Some interesting stories...most very positive, I might add..)

damikesc said...

This is why I don't buy her being inevitable.

She is having major problems with a guy who, deep down, does NOT want to win this primary. He was never supposed to be competitive.

She's barely beating a terrible candidate with abysmal ideas and who is treating her with undue deference.

Why they haven't gotten the nomination?

Kasich and Rubio did "well" in polls against her because NOBODY took them seriously with those polls. If Rubio or Kasich started to be competitive, which they never were, their polls against her would've cratered horribly. Rubio could've probably still beaten her...but Kasich is a bit of an asshole and not terribly interesting or enlightening and would've been slaughtered.

Cruz will decimate her. He's stronger than her in her "strong" areas and MUCH stronger in her weak areas.

Rubio would have been the Republicans best candidate in a national election where his weakness in retail campaigning wouldn't have been an issue.

I don't see how. If you're a bad campaigner, there's not a lot to fix that. His terrible campaign was being noticed months before he imploded.

Paul said...

"Admittedly, Trump is a huge gamble, but one that might pay off. Cruze is a lock on a "slo-bleed" lost election with ABSOLUTELY no possibility of winning, as his appeal is only to a narrow band of conservatives, period. Trump puts many of the blue states in play, Cruz cannot."

Bingo, but that narrow band of conservatives would rather entertain the the fantasy of Cruz's electability, or lose, than support Trump.

Brando said...

"w.o. Trump, the thing that is rapidly both culturally and economically destroying our nation (ABSOLUTELY open borders) wouldn't even be on the election radar screen."

There's that theme again--no one talking about immigration until Trump brought it up. Never mind that it was a big issue in 2012 (remember Romney v. Perry? Or Trump criticizing Rommney for his "self-deportation" comments being offensive to Hispanics? Romney apparently should have called them rapists instead). No, Trump said he brought it up in 2015 and so we all must believe it. 2+2=5.

"I don't see how. If you're a bad campaigner, there's not a lot to fix that. His terrible campaign was being noticed months before he imploded."

It's true Rubio did not run a good campaign--mainly he counted on debate performances (which usually were very good, particularly in the early ones) and an air game, when you really need good ground organization. The only one with good ground organization is Cruz, which is odd because you'd think other GOP candidates would have learned from how Obama pulled off wins in 2008 and 2012 (but especially in the '08 primaries). Trump apparently has no ground game, and just counts on free media, which could mean risking a few points in key states where the Dems are likely to have learned from their incumbent.

If Cruz were the nominee, the main area he'd have to work on would be appealing to moderates. If you concede those to the Dems, it's hard to see how you get a majority. But presumably someone with conservative cred (like Cruz) could do that without fear of losing his right flank (which hurt McCain, Dole and Romney).

John Henry said...

Count me among those who do not see why Trump could not beat Hilary. I know: "Polls show..." but as someone else has said (Adams?) so far she has been the Globetrotters (assumed winner) facing the Washington Generals (There to make her look good as she trounces him).

Except that she is nowhere near as professional as the Globetrotters and Bernie is like a Generals farm team. And she is just barely beating him.

What happens to her when she runs up against some real opposition whether it be Trump or Cruz? She just does not have the needed skill sets. Part of that is the fact that she has never needed to accomplish anything in the past. Being the AG's wife as all she needed to get a job at Rose. Being the governor's wife was all she needed to make partner. Being the president's wife got her elected to the Senate. Being the ex president's wife got her in the running as a credible presidential candidate and that got her sec state.

She has never earned anything in this life and is unprepared to have to do so now.

As others have pointed out, in March 1980 the Repos were in disarray about stopping that cowboy washed up actor and Carter was predicted to win by a landslide.

In case anyone has forgotten, Reagan carried 44 states and got 50.8% of the popular vote even though there was another Repo (Anderson) running who got 6% of the popular vote, mostly out of Reagan.

John Henry

Bob Ellison said...

Yeah, I see it the way Brando does. Just because lots of people think Trump's a clown doesn't mean he isn't a clown.

He's a clown.

I'm not gonna vote for him. Yes, I'd take Hillary before Trump. She's a lying jerk that can be controlled.

Brando said...

Ok, for everyone making the "Trump will win because Reagan was considered unelectable in early 1980" comparisons--can you state why Reagan went from losing badly to Carter to winning in a landslide? Did anything happen in 1980 (hint--rhymes with "My-Ran"; see also, stagflation) that may have affected Reagan's fortunes? Did Reagan do anything as a candidate that may have helped him swing that electorate? Was there anything different about the electorate in 1980 that might explain this?

And, considering those answers, what do you see happening or what do you see Trump doing that will bring him a Reagan-like come from behind victory? Because his current trajectory will make him not Reagan but McGovern.

John Henry said...

Brando said

This may well be remembered as the GOP's big year of missed opportunity, all because their voters took a shot on a reality TV star of no apparent virtues.

Isn't that what they said about that washed up movie actor in 1980? Emphasis always on "actor" rather then on successful 2 term ex-governor of one of our largest states.

Reagan was also a very successful actor, one of the big names in his prime. Just as Trump was a very successful reality TV star. Strange how nobody ever points out how successful both were at that. Just "actor/reality TV star" with no adjective.

John Henry

Chuck said...

khesanh0802 said...
@Bayareaguy 0828 If you have been reading the WSJ editorial page on a regular basis you should recognize that McGurn's column, though weak, is a major departure from the negatives the paper has been piling on Trump.


Yes, this is the observation I was going to make, until I read this spot-on comment. For anyone who has today's print edition of the Journal, right above Bill McGurn's column (as linked by Althouse) is one by Bret Stephens, detailing a comparison between the foreign policy stylings of President Barack Obama and Businessman Donald Trump. Both Obama and Trump come off very badly, by intent.

Here's the concluding portion:

Non-American readers might also note the ways in which, on foreign policy, Mr. Trump is a magnification of Mr. Obama, rather than his opposite number. The president caused some consternation overseas when he complained, in a recent lengthy interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, that too many U.S. allies are “free riders” mooching off American security guarantees. “We don’t always have to be the ones who are up front,” the president explained. Leading from behind “was part of the anti-free rider campaign.”

Now take Mr. Trump. NATO, he told the New York Times last week, is “unfair” to the U.S., which pays “a disproportionate share” of the defense burden. The U.S.-Japan defense treaty is “not a fair deal.” Across the world, the U.S. is being “systematically ripped off.” On Ukraine, “I would agree with” the president that the country belongs in Russia’s sphere of influence. If Europeans won’t take the lead, Mr. Trump wonders, why should the U.S.?

Both men also share the conviction that the U.S. can’t afford much of a foreign policy anymore. Mr. Obama often faults the high cost of the war in Iraq for “constraining our ability to nation-build here at home.” Mr. Trump complains that “we’re defending the world” despite a national debt nearing $21 trillion.

One man wants to shrink America’s role in the world for the sake of a bigger state; the other man for the sake of shrinking the debt. In either case, the prescription is to put America in retreat. In neither case do they want to address the real driver of the U.S.’s long-term fiscal problems, which are entitlements and welfare (59% of the federal budget), not defense and international security (16%).

Which brings us to the most important way in which Mr. Trump is another version of the president: They both bend reality to suit their conveniences, and their conceits.

In Mr. Obama’s universe, terrorism is a nuisance, climate change is an apocalypse, and economic growth is an inequality problem. In Mr. Trump’s, immigrants are invaders, trade is theft and allies are millstones. For each species of rubbish there’s a sizable political constituency. Maybe it will be large enough to launch Mr. Trump to the White House.

There’s a tendency among pundits to offer high-toned explanations for why Mr. Trump has risen this far, despite political expectations and ordinary good sense. Many of those pundits performed similarly opportunistic services when Mr. Obama’s star was rising. We repeat our mistakes when we think we’re doing the opposite.

AllenS said...

AprilApple said...
Reagan was articulate. He rose above the vicious biased media by using class, and persuasion.

"Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -- R Reagan

Sounds kind of threatening to me, but it worked. Can't wait for Mexico to start building that wall using their money!

Brando said...

"Isn't that what they said about that washed up movie actor in 1980? Emphasis always on "actor" rather then on successful 2 term ex-governor of one of our largest states."

Of course his detractors will stick to the part of his experience that de-dignifies him. But as you note, he was a 2 term governor of CA. What in Trump's experience is equivalent to that? The real estate and personal branding business (even aside from criticisms of his experience in that) is not really relevant to being chief executive of the most powerful government on earth.

"Reagan was also a very successful actor, one of the big names in his prime. Just as Trump was a very successful reality TV star. Strange how nobody ever points out how successful both were at that. Just "actor/reality TV star" with no adjective."

As I've noted above, the mere fact that Reagan and Trump were both discounted by their detractors does not mean that Trump has Reagan's abilities to prove them wrong. If you pointed out where Trump turned enemies into allies, or demonstrated a real command of the issues, or showed a real grasp of how he could win a general election campaign (beyond cruel insults which can backfire as much as anything), then the Reagan comparison might be apt. But simply "you know who else they underestimated?" doesn't really advance that.

AprilApple said...

Vrigil - I agree that shutting down our porous border is essential. I agree that Trump has spoken about it with force and conviction. We could also shut down the illegal population by enforcing our laws and making it impossible to live here while under an illegal status. Trump loses me with every other issue and I cannot ignore his past stances that are 180 degrees out of phase from what he is promising now.

khesanh0802 said...

@Brando Yes, Iran had a lot to do with Carter's failure. One could easily draw a parallel to San Bernadino, Brussels, Paris, Syrian Refugees - and whatever is next - for Trump. It's possible. As far as stagflation: we have certainly had the stagnation part, but rather than inflation we have a stock market/financial bubble created by the Fed and now the rest of the central banks that I fear can not end well. Britain is very likely going to pull out of the EU primarily because of immigration and nanny state issues that the Brits are fed up with. Sound familiar?

AprilApple said...

Allen S - OK - I'll give you that one. Sounds good to me. I just doubt "the wall paid for by Mexico" will ever happen and all the other tabloid anger is too weighty for me to handle.

Henry said...

Well, this is timely:

Trump, should he win the Republican nomination, could beat Clinton (should she win on the Democratic side), but that fact has nothing to do with Reagan; as smart people have pointed out, 1980 is a terrible comparison to 2016.

There are multiple points, but this one stands out:

Trump’s favorable rating among the general electorate is, on average, 30 percent. His unfavorable rating is a sky-high 63 percent. In other words, a lot more people dislike Trump than like him.... Clinton is also unpopular. Clinton’s average net favorability, -13 percentage points, certainly evens things out a bit, but she is a lot less disliked than Trump is. That’s far different from 1980, when Carter’s net favorability of -11 percentage points was worse than Reagan’s.

Brando said...

""Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -- R Reagan

Sounds kind of threatening to me, but it worked. Can't wait for Mexico to start building that wall using their money!"

Threatening? How do you figure? He's challenging a man he was simultaneously pursuing détente with to live up to (Gorby's) own professed ideals (of glasnost and perestroika). Threatening would have been "take down the wall or I'll take it down for you, Kremlin bozo!"

I hope you're not holding your breath for Mexico to pay for that wall that no one is going to build.

John Henry said...

A bit off topic but this came across my email today:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Time that America Got Mexico to Stop Emigration
Have Border Patrol Help Immigrants Get Job

Alex Nowrasteh

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Republican front runner Donald Trump claims he is going to build a wall along the border and get Mexico to pay for it. This has been laughed off as infeasible, perhaps even a little nutty.

Yet perhaps we should have held back our disdain a little longer. In 1954, President Eisenhower prompted the Mexican government to deploy troops along the border to stop Mexicans from entering the United States. While Mexico didn’t build a wall, they attempted to stem the tide of Mexicans emigrating to the United States and their government paid for it. This might sound great to immigration restrictionists — until they realize how Eisenhower did it.

After months of failed negotiations between the two countries over the terms of the Bracero guest worker visa, the US departments managing the visa issued a press release on January 15, 1954 stating that migrants who entered would be immediately awarded a labor contract and a job.

Outraged by this attempt to cut them out of the negotiations, the Mexican government deployed 5,000 soldiers along the border to threaten, detain, and deter migrants who tried to enter the United States.

http://fee.org/articles/how-to-get-mexico-to-pay-for-a-wall/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fee_daily&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRokvq3PZKXonjHpfsX57%2BUtXqK2lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4DSMFhI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQ7HBMbhr1rgPWhk%3D

+++++++++++++++++++++

Similar to Scott Adams' suggestion that Trump could get Mexico to build a wall by welcoming Mexico's skilled middle class.

John Henry

khesanh0802 said...

I have to keep reminding myself that Trump does not control those who vote for him. We talk about Trump, Trump, Trump, or the failure of the GOP, but the reality is that enough people are VOTING for him to make him the leading candidate - regardless of how we, their betters, can not believe they could possibly do that,

Brando said...

"@Brando Yes, Iran had a lot to do with Carter's failure. One could easily draw a parallel to San Bernadino, Brussels, Paris, Syrian Refugees - and whatever is next - for Trump. It's possible. As far as stagflation: we have certainly had the stagnation part, but rather than inflation we have a stock market/financial bubble created by the Fed and now the rest of the central banks that I fear can not end well. Britain is very likely going to pull out of the EU primarily because of immigration and nanny state issues that the Brits are fed up with. Sound familiar?"

I think it'd have to be something much bigger--like 9/11 or worse. The economy is sluggish, but the 1980 combo of gas lines, double digit inflation (which drove everyone into higher tax brackets, which made the anti-tax argument of the GOP much more popular then than it has been since) and unemployment about double what we have now--that was a recipe for disaster for Carter. Part of the reason Carter was ahead of Reagan in early 1980 was Americans sticking by their president during the hostage standoff, but when his rescue failed and he looked impotent, combined with a very lousy economy, the polls switched markedly.

Also factors in that were Reagan uniting with the moderate wing of his party (mainly by picking Bush as VP) and presenting well in the one debate he had where his humor and optimism made a lot of people who were prepared to be scared of him realize he wasn't scary at all and was a nice contrast to a scowly Carter.

Finally, the 1980 electorate was a lot whiter than it is now--Asian, Hispanic and Black voters lean heavily towards the Dems and are a greater proportion of the vote (Romney had great numbers among whites, but Obama surpassed him with minorities).

The whole combo is what worked to Reagan's advantage, but again a big part of that was the sort of politician Reagan was. Is Trump that sort of politician? If he is, now would be a nice time to see it.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Brando As a reminder the death toll in Brussel, Paris, Pakistan and Turkey in just the last few months is approaching 9/11. If it keeps up at the current rate there is bound to be a fear generated backlash in this country as well as everywhere else. Unfortunately I am afraid we are in for more "death by a thousand cuts" here. It will have an effect.

BTW Cruz seems to be leading the latest polls in WI. That will really make life interesting.

Gabriel said...

Saying that the non-Trump candidates beat Hillary is like saying that focus groups like New Coke better than Classic Coke.

They did. But no one told them, we're going to take away your choices and leave you with only this one.

Sure, when Trump is the scary enemy getting 90% of the media attention he polls worse than Clinton. If anyone else gets the nomination, the media frenzy will be directed at them. Remember when poor Mitt Romney was accused of wanting to take away contraception? Remember in 2000 when John McCain was feted by journalists as the sane alternative to Bush and what they said about him in 2008?

The only real strength Trump has is that as a celebrity, the media cannot redefine him with the voters. Everyone already knows who Trump is and what he's like. Most voters have never heard of Ted Cruz or John Kasich. When the media's attention is focused on them, all sorts of lies will stick because the voters don't know who they are.

Brando said...

"@ Brando As a reminder the death toll in Brussel, Paris, Pakistan and Turkey in just the last few months is approaching 9/11. If it keeps up at the current rate there is bound to be a fear generated backlash in this country as well as everywhere else. Unfortunately I am afraid we are in for more "death by a thousand cuts" here. It will have an effect."

It may, but sadly the way a lot of Americans look at terror is that if it's over there, it's just a sad thing that happened rather than an outrage. Even if a few Americans get killed over there, the idea is that we at least feel safer here. But if say some group blew up the Brooklyn Bridge during rush hour, or something equally horrible and high profile, things could turn on a dime.

Anglelyne said...

khesanh0802: @April Apple You are insulting a lot of sober folk...

I wouldn't take it personally, khesan, or personally-by-proxy, as the case may be. April is deeply emotionally invested in the "drunken anger" explanation for Trump voters, as evidenced by the fact that she's been posting essentially the same comment about them over and over again for months on end now, like a protective mantra. Beats developing a xanax habit, I guess.

Anglelyne said...

John Henry: Similar to Scott Adams' suggestion that Trump could get Mexico to build a wall by welcoming Mexico's skilled middle class.

I suspect Mexico's skilled middle-class has little interest in migrating to the United States. Mexico, as is true for many "poorer" countries (and Mexico is not really a poor country), offers a pretty nice life for the better off - in some cases a better quality of life than is available to a lot of skilled, middle-class Americans. And getting to unload their poor citizens on the U.S. is win-win for them.

AllenS said...

Well said, Gabriel.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that Rubio was ever strong enough to take Hillary. If he had been strong enough, he wouldn't have joined the Gang of 8, and, maybe gone after Trump early on like he did at the end. Every time that things got tough, he waffled. What that means to me is that when things got tough during the general election, he would listen to the media, and they would be lying to him, as they did to McCain and Romney. That is why I find the contrast between the two Hispanics in the race so interesting, because Cruz is almost the opposite. My big problem with him is that he seems to have gone all fundamentalist with Glen Beck. And, that is likely to scare a lot of the non-fundamentalists in our country. We are talking Second Coming type stuff.

I actually think that either Trump or Kasich could beat Hillary. Kasich could do so on competence alone. But, may be too nice to pull it off. I don't think he has the killer instinct, which I think is going to be necessary to take out Clinton. Neither did Rubio. I think that Trump and Cruz both do.

I do think that Trump can do it, and here are some of my reasons.

For one thing, there are the demographics. He is fairly attractive to a demographic that the Democrats have had, and have needed, for 200 years. We are talking working class Whites. Esp. White males. The Jacksonian component there have been reliable Democrats since their namesake ran for President. Yes, they have strayed a bit, and esp. with Reagan, and have followed many of the other traditional Dem constituencies towards the Republicans, but their attachment to the Dem party runs deep. The sort of thing that so many find objectionable about Trump and how he speaks and acts, talks directly to this demographic. We just don't see it, because the MSM, as well as the Republican Elite, are not part of this demographic. And, there appears to be a carryover into the Hispanic and Black demographics too. We shall see. In any case, where is Hillary going to get the votes to counter this defection? The big thing there is Republicans staying home. Not a lot of Republicans are going to vote for her, given her 45 or so year record of corruption.

Another thing is that Trump operates and reacts immediately and instinctively, and is surprising smart in this regard, or at least is crafty. One of those aspects is that he seems to be able to attach adjectives to the names of his opponents that stick, because they are new and appropriate. Think "Little Rubio" and "Lying Ted". No doubt he will do the same with Hillary. She, on the other hand, is robotic, scripted, and horrible on the stump. Someone above suggested that her surrogates would be able to lay a hand on Trump. But, Trump would just tie them back to her (which in most cases will be easy, due to their past history with her). And, as I have pointed out before, I think that it will likely be almost trivial for him to get inside her OODA loop. And, I seriously doubt that she, along with all her handlers, minions, etc. can react fast enough to get inside his. Just think of how Trump would have handled Candy Crawley during a debate. (I actually think that Cruz might be even better at handling people and situations like that than Trump, but a number of the Republicans have shown an ability to turn on debate moderators when they transgress).

Should be interesting (and, yes, I would be happy with any of the final 3 candidates).

Bruce Hayden said...

Hillary has a lot of weaknesses. Of course, we all know that she is weak, robotic, not that smart, sickly, likely an alcoholic, and the most corrupt politician of our generation in this country. But, she is also on the wrong side of a lot of issues. One of them is immigration. She has repeatedly claimed to be to the left of Obama, deporting even fewer illegals than does Obama. That may be good politics for winning the nomination, but is horrid politics for the general election. A couple days ago, saw a picture of a Hispanic guy with his daughter, in, I think, Texas along the border. Americans (or at least, I think, legal aliens), who were executed by what appears to be Mexican cartels or gangs. Because the INS has been forbidden to deport almost anyone these days, the Mexican gangs and cartels have pushed across the border, and are operating somewhat openly in our border cities and towns. So far, they seem to be content primarily terrorizing Hispanics. But, they have been killing all along the border for years, and many of the dead are Anglo ranchers who tried to respond to them crossing their properties. Hillary is going to have a hard time defending this, and one way to push her there is to just start routinely publishing pictures of people killed (or raped) by illegals in this country. Esp. if they are children or women.

Then, we get to her immigrant Muslim problem. While it looks good to a certain segment of this country to be blindly multicultural and treat the poor Muzzies as victims, the reality is that we saw what militant Muslims could do to us on 9/11/01, as well as recently in San Bernadino, as well as in Brussels, Paris, Turkey, etc. over the last couple of years. As someone pointed out, the reality of them being primarily military aged males is that they are, indeed, an invading army. Hillary is ill situated to take on this threat. For one thing, she backs open immigration, esp. by victim demographics, that now include Muslims. And, she was instrumental in the middle east actions that have resulted in much of the wave of immigrants from that area of the world, including Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc., while Secretary of State. And, yes, it doesn't help her cause that probably her closest advisor, Huma Abedin ne Weiner, had parents who were Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Wonder why the US pushed Mubarak out and replaced him with the Muslim Brotherhood? Look no further maybe than the woman who apparently now sleeps many nights in Hillary's room in case of medical problems, Huma Abedin (Mrs. Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner).

tim in vermont said...

We saved all our worst for the Nazis until it was time to turn on Stalin.

tim in vermont said...

Hillary is on the wrong side of Keystone XL too. That is supported by a majority.

tim in vermont said...

Hillary is on the wrong side of coal too.

tim in vermont said...

Hillary is on the wrong side of vetting Syrian refugees

AllenS said...

Points taken, Bruce Hayden, and well said.

John said...

And, yes, it doesn't help her cause that probably her closest advisor, Huma Abedin ne Weiner, had parents who were Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Wonder why the US pushed Mubarak out and replaced him with the Muslim Brotherhood?

Bruce,

Has, not had, a mother who is under the thumb of, in the employ of the Saudi Arabian government. Unless this has changed in the past 2-3 months.

I cannot for the life of me understand how Huma could get a security clearance with her mother so precariously placed. "Hey Huma, we just arrested your mother for pederasty. We are very sorry but it is a capital crime. On the other hand, if you could just let us know the thinking in the Oval Office, we might find her innocent."

In the meantime a civilian dentist is unable to work in a military outpatient dental clinic because his 89 y/o mother lives in Israel.


Navy denies service from Queens dentist with Israel ties, security concern due to 'divided loyalties'
BY Leonard Greene
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 8:46 PM

“I can think of no better way to experience the sunset of my career than by using my professional skills as a dentist to assist those who have chosen to serve in the United States military,” Gershon Pincus said in an affidavit.

“Divided loyalties” and security concerns are keeping a Queens dentist with family in Israel from offering his services to the military at an upstate, off-base Navy clinic.
(snip)

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/divided-loyalties-queens-dentist-helping-navy-article-1.2469740

After a bunch of publicity and complaints, he did get a security clearance.

So how does Huma get one. Oh, yeah. Hilary sez.

Our country is in the best of hands.

John Henry

Michael said...

Mexico's skilled middle class could immigrate here any time they wanted. They have no need to. They live very well in a great culture in a beautiful country. They would only want out if they were somehow in the crossfire of cartel activity which most Mexicans are not.

mikee said...

Trump's opening statement -"Hillary Clinton is the warmest, kindest, most wonderful human being I've ever known. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale!"

Election ends with 49 state Trump victory.

Bruce Hayden said...

I cannot for the life of me understand how Huma could get a security clearance with her mother so precariously placed. "Hey Huma, we just arrested your mother for pederasty.

Because she was one of Hillary's top minions. Remember back to when her husband entered the White House? An awful lot of the people they wanted to install in the White House couldn't pass a security clearance (likely because of drug (esp. cocaine) usage). What happened? They mostly got their security clearances anyway. President Clinton essentially said "make it happen". My guess is that in Huma's case, Hillary wanted Huma as one of her top personal aids, and Obama, never an enemy of Islam, didn't see the danger, so said fine - she just couldn't bring in Sydney Blumenthal.

tim in vermont said...

Obviously Hillary is going to refuse to debate. Just had dinner with three people who said that she shouldn't dignify him with a debate and that he is so stupid a debate would be pointless. One of them a Republican who hasn't voted Democrat in her life.

tim in vermont said...

I have no idea how Trump would handle Bernie though. Everybody else has the weakness of adopting a different persona to try to get elected. There is a saying "you can't con an honest man." Sander's may be misguided, IMHO, but he's not dishonest.

tim in vermont said...

Why do I keep adding "grocer's apostrophes" everywhere? Even where a grocer wouldn't put one?

Brando said...

"Obviously Hillary is going to refuse to debate."

I'd say there's a good chance of that--she could get away with it without losing support. She'd only debate if she thought she could play it to her advantage, and it's possible she could think that. While she's not a good debater, Trump is a fairly awful one and it might be tempting for her to draw that out. So I'd put the "will they debate" possibility at 50/50.

"I have no idea how Trump would handle Bernie though."

That would be interesting. Bernie seems to have little tolerance for nonsense, and I could see him taking the wind out of Trump's sails. With Hillary, Trump has a chance (not a great chance, but a chance) of winning. Against Bernie, his odds are worse.