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Did you know both Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren were once Republicans? It’s true. Hillary even worked for Nixon. In fact, you’d be surprised at the big names who have in fact changed parties, for better or worse. Many of them are, to varying degrees, still successful members of the political establishment.

But switching political parties is something that rank and file voters never really think about. Most of us have picked a team and we tend to stay with it, no matter what happens. If ever there was a better case study for proof of this hypothesis, one only needs to look at the Republican party of today.

While Democrats are largely united as a party, the Republican party is fractured. Terms like ‘civil war’, ‘RINO’ and ‘purity test’ pop up regularly in major publications and most observers agree that the party is now split between a grass roots that has moved further and further to the political right and the establishment, moderate class.To make matters worse, Donald Trump has hastened and exacerbated this internal split as the leader of the more extreme right wing, leaving many in the middle unable to endorse or even support their own presidential candidate.

Let’s face it. It’s time to think about leaving the Republican party.

Yes, seriously. You may not like it, but if you’re a moderate, you really don’t have a place there anymore. The general shift in attitude on the right is so extreme that whether you like it or not, your moderate views are less and less tolerable and your own party has terms like RINO to disparage you as ‘not a true conservative’. Who needs that crap?

While I understand that you dislike Hillary and don’t agree with abortion rights or tax policies, those are things that party members can influence. In fact, you probably have move influence as a party member then someone outside the party. Some prominent Democrats today are pro-life. Others are NRA members and yet others are fiscal conservatives. The Democrats really don’t care what you think. You’re not going to hear DINO with derision from any of our members. But the extreme right of your own party is getting out of hand, and frankly, I don’t think they really want you around anymore.

So listen, we’re here, and we’re happy to have you, even if you don’t like taxes, abortion or even immigration policy. Join the party and become a voice of decent if you have too. At least you’re welcome. A big tent means respect for many different ideas, cultures, traditions, languages, and many other things that the Republican party has failed to offer. In an era where the Republicans are more and more hostile to different schools of thought, now is the time to rethink you allegiance. You’re welcome here with us.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, Hillary won. She had a total command of the issues. The email scandal was addressed firmly and immediately – and quite effectively I might add. Her admission of a mistake and her taking full responsibility shut down the entire conversation. There was literally nowhere left to go after that, and the entire topic was dropped. Donald left it alone, basically defeated in his attempt to make it a debate issue. One of many missed opportunities for him, handled by a well-prepared Secretary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Clinton was mostly effective at digging into Trump on a range of issues. It wasn’t enough that she speculated about his not paying taxes. She was able to tie not paying taxes to his not having contributed to such things as wounded soldiers, schools and other government funded items that almost everyone can agree on. It was very effective.

When it came to his birther movement leadership, she told a personal story about how it upset the president, at once humanizing him while portraying Trump as a heartless, lying antagonist. Personally I think should could have made more of a point that the movement is inherently racist (see my previous post on the topic). She basically mentioned it was racist and moved on. Meanwhile, Trump’s answer was typical self-promotion – that he did a good job simply because he accomplished his arbitrary goal of getting a birth certificate (even though that wasn’t his goal), never mind whether it was racist or not. I’m not even sure he understood her criticism, as his response didn’t address the racist charge.

I have to admit, while I don’t agree with Donald Trump’s portraying the country as a place of doom and gloom, he was effective during the first few minutes of the debate in his attempt to do so. This was his opportunity to define his reason for running, and he was effective, by and large. It was also Hillary’s missed opportunity to rebut his assessment. The economy is better than it was 7 years ago, less people are out of work, the stock market is doing well, the military is stronger than ever, and on and on. Trump’s vision of America went largely unanswered, and I hope Clinton does a better job in the next debates of answering his rhetoric.

This last point would really be my only critique of her performance, which was, overall extremely refined and well-prepared. She was poised, articulate and knowledgeable. Who can argue with that assessment? She had answers for Trump’s criticisms and didn’t seem phased by his on-stage bullying and his repeated interruptions. She had an answer for everything, well thought-out and defensible.

Meanwhile, his zingers fell flat. His joke about getting onto Pennsylvania Avenue (one way or another) was a dud, and not delivered well. He sounded like an old coot trying to talk about cyber warfare and there were numerous other instances where he seemed to ramble as a result of not understanding the issues at hand.

Overall, it’s fair to say Secretary Clinton’s preparedness paid off. And frankly it’s difficult to imagine that the next debates will be any different. In fact, my prediction is that she’ll do better. She’ll be confident walking in, while Trump, knowing he’s faced criticism for his performance in the first round will be more aggressive and, you’ll see, will be likely to make mistakes as he undoubtedly will step up attacks on Clinton to try and earn points with his base. In the end, I expect him to sink himself, perhaps by attacking Clinton over the Lewinsky scandal, ill advised as it would seem – something he (somehow) managed to avoid in the first round.

 

Listen, the idea that somehow Donald Trump would become a palatable candidate over Hillary Clinton simply because she’s not as healthy as a 40 year old is laughable. First of all, isn’t that the purpose of having  a running mate?

Frankly, Hillary Clinton could have 2 broken legs, gout, tuberculosis, lockjaw, be wheelchair-bound, oxygen dependent and aggressive brain cancer and I’d still cast my vote in her direction to keep Donald Trump from winning the election. Is that clear enough? She could be half digested by fungus, gutted and have her head placed on a stick in front of the castle and I’d still vote for her over Trump.

I wonder if I’m making my point clear enough?

Who cares if she coughs? It’s completely irrelevant. We have processes, stand-ins and everything else we need to keep the government running smoothly should something terrible happen. None of it is a reason to consider voting for the conman in chief wanna-be Trump. Somehow this has become an election issue. I say confront it head on: Oh, she’s not feeling good? I could give a rat’s ass. My ballot was cast months ago.

 

Those leading the Republican party today are total jokes. Punchlines for late night comedians. Fodder for the water cooler. The only qualified republican candidates are being overlooked and ignored by the media and will be forced to withdraw after a while due to lack of funds.

You could read 10 stories about Trump and never see a headline about about Christy, Bush or ummm, who are the other people running?

Perhaps this is a media coup after all? I mean, look what they are talking about in the press. Carson? The guy has a picture of himself with Klingon Jesus and doesn’t know apples from oranges about foreign policy.

And Trump? He’s a showman and a salesman, but NOT a politician who knows anything about policy. He thinks ratings translates into votes. We found out that isn’t true last night when we destroyed by Cruz in Iowa.

And Cruz? How could the most hated man in Washington run Washington effectively? Here’s a hint: he can’t. Can you imagine a president like Cruz? I true ideologue? He’d use executive orders to undo all the positive social changes President Obama worked so hard for. He’d work to ban every single type of abortion. He’d kick millions of people out of health care plans with his promise to repeal Obamacare. He’s a sick man who’s ready to wield power for the betterment of himself and his own personal views, but he definitely won’t be the president for all Americans. Only the staunch right wing bible thumping crew who think the apocalypse is nigh.

These guys are all fatally flawed candidates. They can’t win an election against a normal, center Democrat like Clinton. So my feeling is that the media is pumping them up which makes an easy glide path for a Democrat to take office in 2017. But I’m fine with all of it. And thank goodness. Let’s keep talking about Trump, Cruz and Carson. The more the better! I’ll laugh all the way to November.

TRUMP/PALIN for the republican ticket! smh

Let’s review the candidates as they stand today starting with Donald Trump. While he’s the so-called Republican front-runner, there’s very little chance he’ll win the nomination let alone the presidency. So let me be very clear about my prediction: Donald Trump will NEVER be the President of the United States. Period.

Why would I go out on a limb so early? First and foremost, you can’t be President and also a loose cannon – and Donald Trump is an unapologetically loose cannon. It makes for great political theatre as evidenced by his TV ratings, but you can’t win an election with 40% of the vote. Suppose for a moment that Trump was somehow (inexplicably) able to cinch the nomination. Now it’s just Trump and Clinton – all the other voices silenced in the primaries. How long do you think it will take Trump to say something stupid like he’s done so many times before – calling Rosie O’Donnell a pig, Carli Fiorina ugly, and Megan Kelly a bimbo. You can’t expect to get away with that stuff forever, no matter how brazenly unapologetic you are. And what works in primary season when only politicos care about the election is different from October of an election year when the rank and file voters start to get interested in the contest.

Next there’s his controversial immigration policy – if you can reasonably call it that. Threatening Gestapo-like tactics to round up and deport millions of illegals is a losing issue with the majority of the voters, let alone Latinos. You might find a few confused Mexican-Americans willing to vote for Trump, but most people are smart enough not to vote against their own interests when the consequences of an election would hit so close to home. In other words, what person would vote for a politician who advocates kicking their friends and relatives out of the country?

Trump is also weak on policy. He’s just a salesman with big, shiny ideas. But his ideas only appeal to the extreme right, and those folks don’t care about substance. It’s fine with them that Trump wants to build an expensive, impractical wall between the US and Mexico. They’d rather deport Mexican immigrants than worry about the cost or practicality of such an endeavor. But the voters at the center aren’t going to be so easily bamboozled and there’s still a year before the election where Trump is going to be forced to debate his ideas with more substantive policy positions. Telling us he’s going to have wonderful, talented people and amazing results will only take him so far and it’s only a matter of time before voters figure out he’s selling snake oil.

Moving on

Ted Cruz will never be president either. Nearly all his colleagues hates him and he’s far too extreme anyway. His tactics are slash-and-burn with a heavy dose of take-no-prisoners, and it will cost him. He’s far more knowledgeable than Trump when it comes to policy and will be a much better debater, but you can’t win from the fringe, and Cruz isn’t a pragmatist. Cruz has a shot at the nomination because he’s not stupid and he appeals to the republican base, so it’s possible he’ll the eventual nominee, but that’s as far as he’ll go.

And now for the rest: Jeb Bush never had a chance. He’s a Bush. I know it seems simplistic in the general analysis of things to say that Bush can’t win because of his family name, but there’s a lot of truth to it. Also, he’s been so underwhelming in his overall performance that it’s difficult to see him climbing out of the hole he’s in.

Kasich, Paul, and Fiorina just don’t have the star power or support to present a formidable challenge for the nomination. They might as well have been on the JV debate stage with never-were candidates like Santorum and Huckabee. Meanwhile, Carsen, it turns out, is something of a whack-o and he’s not going anywhere either.

So who does that leave? Just Marco Rubio, the only other person with a credible shot at the nomination. The problem with Rubio is that he’s no more capable of defeating Hillary Clinton than Ted Cruz. He might be smart, relatively clean, and even able to lure some Hispanics. But when compared with Clinton, he’s going to come up short. She’s got decades more experience than the young Florida Senator and he’ll be out of his league competing against her in a general election. He might not lose some debates, but he’s never going to win any.

Assuming that Marco Rubio grabs the nomination, and putting aside Hillary as a nearly unassailable challenge, Clinton still has two weapons for which the Republicans have no answer. Not one, but two former, beloved presidents. Bill Clinton is still wildly popular with many Americans, and Barack Obama gets passing marks from the majority of voters as well. Both will campaign relentlessly for Hillary and their star power will mean something when it’s time to vote.

Meanwhile who among the Republicans compares to these two men? There are none who do. Former Republican candidates are weak, fringe, or controversial. George Bush and Dick Cheney are toxic. John McCain and Mitt Romney are both blah. Palin is a joke and hardly worth mentioning, except as an example of the ineptitude of the available Republican surrogates. Simply put, the Republicans are a rudderless ship.

So it’s difficult to see how the Republicans win the Whitehouse. This will be the third presidential election in a row where they have failed to field decent candidates. When it comes time to vote, it’s hard to see how anyone but Hillary will prevail.

The problem with today’s liberals is that we are too busy living in the past. Right-wingers have a leg up in that respect as the party of the future. All the militant talk of purity and liberty and religious freedom is the path forward but liberals are simply too blind to see it. Instead, liberals are busy worried about global warming and international relations when they should be focused inward on our broken and deteriorating wreck of a country which, even as you read this, is surely in its final death throws.

So I have a solution for conservatives to help liberals get with the program. What liberals need is a change of vocabulary to help jossle our confused minds. The words we use have power, and unless we use powerful, accurate, and modern dialog, we liberals will remain behind the curve.

Let’s start with guns because lately there’s a lot of talk of guns in the media. The word ‘gun’ is out-dated. Let’s be honest. A gun conjures images of cold steel, but while accurate, it’s also 19th century and not really representative of today’s mindset. Accordingly, I propose we start calling guns ‘freedom sticks’. After all, what provides our freedom? Our freedom sticks!

Next, let’s talk about victims. First, we liberals need to remember that they are all about victimization. But what a terrible, old-school word! It does nothing to honor the fallen for their sacrifice. It’s weak, frankly, and desperately needs a retrofit from our aging vocabulary. From now on, I suggest conservatives refer to victims of gun violence as ‘the liberated’ to help our uninformed liberal hordes understand the value of freedom sticks.

Moving on to immigrants, the term ‘sovereignty deniers’ comes immediately to mind. Liberals will have a much easier time understanding conservative objections to immigrants if they are called something reasonably descriptive. Sovereignty deniers should be dealt with using freedoms sticks. See how it all comes together?

As a final example, I would suggest conservatives adopt them ‘CEO’ to replace the term ‘God’. We liberals have unwisely made the term God unwelcome in politics, schools, and elsewhere. This is terrible policy, but with all our childish bellyaching about the separation of church and state it has nevertheless come to pass. Still, conservatives know where the real power lies even if they aren’t allowed to say so. All they really need is a change in nomenclature to drive the point home, and who is the ultimate CEO? You guessed it!

All we really need are a few small changes to help our less intelligent neighbors finally see the brilliance of the conservative movement in all its glory. Let’s hope these changes catch on!

Virtually nothing important happened in politics yesterday, with 2 notable exceptions. First, Paul Ryan formally entered the race for Speaker of the House. (But then, that doesn’t appear to be much of a race.) Secondly, Hillary testified.

Ryan’s news was expected. He’s already been running for the seat since McCarthy bailed whilst trying his best to look disinterested. Then suddenly he’s ready! On a side note, his gaffe about family time was slightly amusing as well, truth be told. I’m sure he was thinking that the optics of wanting to be a good family man was probably a good thing – until the hypocrisy of his stated position on family leave was juxtaposed. Epic fail.

Onward to the Circus

As for Hillary, while many in the press have proclaimed there was no clear winner, I beg to differ. For Mrs Clinton, big, big win. Maybe the biggest win before the general election. With one fell swoop, the email and Benghazi controversies have come to an end. The Republicans got nothing. NOTHING. And they spent nearly half a day trying. In fact, they are probably worse off than before the testimony. Not only was there no smoking gun, but they came off as combative, partisan and the entire scene was at times chaotic.

They didn’t even get a good soundbite for their troubles.

If they couldn’t put anything useful together from their so-called ‘investigation’, then that’s the end of the road. What more is left? A ninth investigation?

When they finally release their findings, whatever negative feedback they offer will be seen as partisan. Who expects a positive report from this committee? And so nothing will come from it. I predict 1-2 days of punditry and then silence. With the election more than a year away, it’s difficult to see this as a prominent election issue.