Predicting the 2016 GOP nominee

For more than half a century the Republican nominating process has been the avenue through which the party chooses the nominee for the next election. This year’s nominee is never in doubt. Whoever finished second last time is this season’s nominee.

If no such person is running, as in ’68 and ‘00, the nominee is appointed by the party leadership and presented for ratification in the primary process. This is no historical accident, but rather a product of the institutional structure of the party.

That institutional structure is breaking down. Priorities and practices that took hold when the party was organized around northern commercial interests are being dismantled as the Dixiefication of the party intensifies. Republicans will enter the next nominating cycle without a presumed nominee for the first time in half a century.

Technically, the second place finisher in 2012 was Rick Santorum, but he was little more than the last clown out of the car. It’s not clear he’ll even be able to muster a challenge in ’16. No frontrunner is emerging from the party’s elite as both Bush and Christie have failed to assemble the support they would need to overcome massive resistance from the Southern rank and file.

In 2016, for the first time since 1964, the Republican grassroots will probably choose the party’s nominee for the White House. Get ready for an ugly campaign.

Handicapping the field in such a complex race isn’t easy. Adding to the complexity is the fact that Republicans will likely be running on two tracks that will not join up until late in the spring.

Track one, which we’ll call “the Gray Round,” will pit the party’s remaining credible governing figures against each other. The Gray Round is likely to include Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rob Portman and John Kasich.

Their job is to lay low and ride out the early stages of the campaign. Whichever one of them can consistently poll in the high teens or low 20’s while retaining enough money to stay in the race until March will outlast the others and face off in the late spring against whoever wins the other track.

There has never been a Gray Round competition in the primaries before and there might not be one this cycle. The candidate in that role always started the race in that role and has never been forced to compete for it. There will only be a Gray Round campaign if Christie and Bush choose to run, which remains in doubt.

Track two will be the Race for the Base. There could be fifteen or more candidates in this TLC reality show, including Cruz, Paul, Perry, Walker, Huckabee and a rotating cast of Fox News guests and AM radio hosts. The central question of the 2016 nominating race is this – Can the base select a leadership figure that won’t self-destruct across two whole weeks of media scrutiny?

Anyone from the Gray Round is capable of becoming the nominee. Their strategy is to outlast the other flavorless old white guys while counting on the Fox News zombies in the party base to split their votes among a rotating series of incompetent clowns.

Across the coming year and through the first few months of the primaries, the Gray Round candidates will be competing for the support of major donors, Republican Governors, and pundits. Getting to March in the Gray Round isn’t about votes, it’s about organization.

A successful Gray Round winner will have consistently finished second or third all the way through Super Tuesday on March 1. He will have lost to a rotating series of first place finishers, half of whom will be out of the race by March 8.

Gray Rounders are counting on each one of the successive Race for the Base challengers to disqualify themselves with nasty racist comments, abortion gaffes, comparing Democrats to the Nazis, or that thing they may or may not have done with that woman that time. That strategy may not work this time.

First, without a clear leader going into the campaign, Gray Rounders may be forced to split too much of their energy. Unless Bush is the sole competitor there as Romney was in ’12, the strategy may collapse.

Worse, none of the Grays have any hope of reconciling with the base. No matter how nutty or incompetent the base favorites prove to be, the grassroots is screaming for a candidate that represents their worse impulses. They are unlikely to settle for another Romney.

Second, for the first time ever there are some minimally competent political figures competing to lead the party’s loony wing. Ted Cruz may be the smartest Republican to ever go after the paranoid bloc. He is as disciplined and determined as he is dangerous.

Rand Paul, if he can assume control of his father’s political organization, will have a potent body of grassroots support to take him through the campaign. And Scott Walker has just survived his third close campaign in three years in a solidly blue state. This corps is a cut above the Ron Paul, Bachmann, Cain rabble that Romney faced in 2012.

The Gray Round strategy has probably run its course. This is the cycle in which the new base, Southern, rural, fundamentalist and aging, may finally displace the old northern commercial base that defined the Republican Party for a century.

There is a narrow way that Jeb Bush could take to win the nomination and give the Republicans a credible shot at the White House, but he is unlikely to go that route. It runs against his personal temperament and every value that shapes a traditional Republican outlook.

He could do what Jon Huntsman refused to do in 2012, and combine it with an unprecedented outreach in minority communities. That’s a strategy that could win while changing American politics, but he’s probably not that guy.

Barring some bizarre breakdown on the Democratic side the ’16 Republican nominee has virtually no shot at the White House. Nevertheless, this race matters. Winning the 2016 nomination will probably grant the nominee powerful influence over the party structure at a critical moment.

A winner from the base could acquire enough leverage to squelch efforts to broaden the party’s appeal, instead accelerating the concentration of the party’s power in Dixie and further divesting the party from any interest in national politics. A base winner will put the party on the fast track to some kind of regional split. As dangerous as that sounds, it’s probably inevitable. It’s probably best that it happen sooner rather than later.

Given all of the forces at play, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Cruz is the most likely nominee. What do you think?

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016
172 comments on “Predicting the 2016 GOP nominee
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  4. johnofgaunt75 says:

    This is a stress position people:

    So is this:

    This is not a high school prank. This is not a college frat initiation. This is torture. And the fact that some people on here sweep it under the rug is disgraceful and shows a complete and utter lack of moral bearings.

    This is a shame on the United States and people need to go to jail for this.

  5. kabuzz61 says:

    This is from Sen. Bob Kerry

    I would like you to pay close attention to his saying this is a total partisan report since the republicans understood that they premice of the ‘investigation’ was the CIA is guilty and then worked the facts to prove it.

    JG, talk about your values now.

    • flypusher says:

      Why are you reposting this? It has zilch to do with moral justification for torture.

    • texan5142 says:

      First, it is an opinion piece, second, as someone else pointed out, you had no problem with the partisan Benghazi witch hunt that found nothing, if it had found something you would be falling over yourself to shove that partisan report in our face.

    • johngalt says:

      “The use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights.”

      That was John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war, on the Senate floor yesterday.

      Kerrey, on the other hand, comments that the Republicans chose not to participate because they thought it would be a partisan hack job. Yet the decision not to participate – despite Kerrey acknowledging ample precedents for bipartisan investigations of intelligence failures – allows the GOP to claim that whether it was or was not.

      I stand by my earlier comment, Kabuzz. If even some of what is described in that report was done, then I’m appalled. It does not make me safer, and never has. It tarnishes our reputation and makes us more of a target.

      • flypusher says:

        I would bet that if this crap had happened under Clinton, buzzy would be tripping over himself to be the first to scream “J’accuse!!!!!’

      • Crogged says:

        Plainly it doesn’t matter that the report is ‘partisan’, since objectivity would be impossible for anyone in government to have when commenting on the actions of government. Let the truth out.

        Mr. Kerry, if you are going to complain about the lack of ‘solutions’ why don’t you take five minutes and add one more paragraph to your useless observations.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I find it interesting you know how I come down on the subject of torture when obviously you don’t.

        Kerry said the process set up by the dem’s started with the notion that the CIA is guilty and brought facts to support that. What Kerry is saying is that is not an investigation. Then on top of that he said the two investigations into the CIA in the past produced solutions.

        The CIA got caught with their pants down on 9/11. A huge intelligience lapse and then the WMD’s in Iraq debaucle. The CIA in my opinion over corrected.

        You can list all the scandal’s you want if it helps you change the subject, but we need the CIA, warts and all and this published report (Against Obama’s wishes even) just put lives at risk. So there goes the morality.

      • flypusher says:

        “I find it interesting you know how I come down on the subject of torture when obviously you don’t.”

        Your primary focus is on how partisan the report is in some people’s opinions-that speaks volumes.

      • johngalt says:

        Kerrey is no longer in the Senate and was not part of the investigation. His opinion, based on talking to his partisan buddies still in the Senate, is that the Democrats began with an assumption of guilt. This is precisely what they would say if they were looking to discredit the process. Your willingness to accept anything said by a Republican as the God’s-honest truth is what I would expect of a child listening to their parents, not of an adult listening to politicians.

        He also claims that earlier bipartisan efforts led to recommended solutions. Perhaps, but we still have the CIA torturing people in third world countries for no benefit. We do not need a CIA that damages strategic American interests in this manner.

    • Turtles Run says:

      He was addressing the conduct of the investigation not the results. Two different issues.

      How does any of what Kerry said justify the torture of human beings? We are better than that sorry you do not think so.

    • Creigh says:

      Whether a report is “partisan” or not means nothing. If it’s “true” or not is what matters.

  6. flypusher says:

    Let’s play the what if game, just for grins. Let’s say that McCain had won the GOP nomination in 2000, instead of W, so that we would have had either President McCain or President Gore. Let’s also say 9/11 still happens. Do you think we’d be dealing with this stain on our national honor yesterday’s Senate report describes? I’m saying no. I doubt either one would have gone into Iraq, for starters, which means you don’t have the torture at Abu Graib. McCain’s views on torture and it’s effectiveness are as clear as crystal, so I have no doubts that he would not have approved of this happening on his watch. Can’t be as certain about Gore, but I’ll bet he would not have approved it either.

    So the primaries matter, a whole lot.

    • CaptSternn says:

      That’s the problem, weak presidents. That’s one of the major reasons we have things like Iraq waging war against us for over a decade and the Taliban wouldn’t give up al Qaeda.

      But really, what are you complaining about? You trust the government more than you trust yourself. You want these people running all of our lives, including our health care. Are Gruber’s words starting to sink in yet?

      • flypusher says:

        All you can do is toss red-herrings. We have 20-20 hindsight for looking at all Bush43’s screw ups, yet you would make all those mistakes over again, it seems.

      • Anse says:

        Obama is routinely described as weak, and then described as a dictator. I do not think he can be both.

      • texan5142 says:

        Captain Sadist bloviates.

      • flypusher says:

        He’s going full-Shiela.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Capt Sheila?????

      • Anse says:

        Sternn will achieve full awareness when he realizes that the only way his Christian worldview can ever hope to be fulfilled in law and succeed as a guiding principle for government is for American Christians to resort to the terror tactics being used in the Middle East. Islamic radicals know what western Christians do not: they’re both fighting the same fight. The only reason they don’t join forces is because they’re too busy haggling over the nonsensical details of their respective deities.

      • Turtles Run says:


        I posted this once before about fundies on both sides of the religious coin

      • RobA says:

        Canadian here, been reading for a while.

        Just wanted to comment, the gov’t DOES take care of our health care here so I know what I’m talking about.

        Why do you say it with disdain like it’s a bad thing? It wasn’t a bad thing 3 years ago when my 55 year old father had open heart surgery that would have cost in the range of $200,000 down there.

        If we were American, and didn’t have proper insurance, our options would have been only ti take him home and make him comfortable until the end. Now he could last another 20 or 30 years with us.

        I’m failing to see the problem here.

        Yeah we may pay a little more in taxes (I know, I know, the T word is blasphemy down there) but frankly, me and everyone I know would prefer to spend a little more in taxes if it means living in a society where no one is going to die for lack of being unable to afford medical care.

        And I can’t imagine our taxes are even THAT much higher. I pay about 32% income tax, and the provincial sales taxes range from 0% in Alberta to 13% in Nova Scotia. If you compare that to what you guys pay (also factoring in your health insurance payment) I can’t imagine yup guys pay a whole lot less.

      • flypusher says:

        Hi Rob, welcome to the blog. I don’t know how much you’ve read, but that bit of non sequitur above isn’t even in the captain’s greatest hits list.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Hello Rob

        Thank you for your input. We hope you can make more comments on this blog in the future. It would be great to get an outside perspective.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Welcome Rob.

        We pay federal income taxes (top marginal tax rate is 39.6% but only on income over $400K).

        We also pay state income taxes depending on where you live which varies from 0% in places like Texas to as high as 11% in places like Hawaii on higher incomes. Most are in the range of 3-4%.

        Finally, we are also subject to various local and state sales taxes and local property taxes, which again vary but tend to be higher in states like Texas that don’t have state income taxes. In some cities, they even have city income taxes (such as New York City).

        So, no. When you take everything into account and you factor in health insurance premiums and deductibles, I really doubt we actually pay less in taxes than your average Canadian. We probably pay more actually and we also have to deal with the various exceptions and small print that governs what we get in health care and what we don’t. It’s really a pretty stupid system.

    • Tim says:

      It also says something about those who actually served in a war versus those who just read about it. Gore served as an infantryman with the Engineers for a short while in Vietnam in 1971. Not exactly a true war hero like McCain or John Kerry, but he was there. I feel fairly certain that your supposition that Iraq, torture, etc. would not have happened is safe.

  7. kabuzz61 says:

    This is from Sen. Bob Kerry

    I would like you to pay close attention to his saying this is a total partisan report since the republicans understood that they premice of the ‘investigation’ was the CIA is guilty and then worked the facts to prove it.

    JG, talk about your values now.

    • flypusher says:

      Do you even read your links carefully Buzzy? Of course you don’t, you just see someone criticizing Dems, and you’re too giddy with glee to read further it seems. Yes, there is a complaint about the report being partisan, but there are even more words about how Congress needs to step up and provide things like guidelines and oversight, since some of these “techniques” are controversial, and even wrong. He evens cites McCain’s views. So he’s not endorsing that form of interrogation.

    • Crogged says:

      So f_____g what if it were partisan? How about the Benghazi stuff–did it matter that only Republicans were pursuing the matter? No. If they had found anything outrageous I would have cared more about what they found rather than worrying it were ‘partisan’.

      Truth matters more than politics in some worlds and I don’t really care about Bob Kerry’s opinion. “I’ll wait until I read the report before commenting on what the hell the CIA did” is a dodge and Bob Kerry is a middle of the road same ol’ politics as usual problem.

      • flypusher says:

        My guess on buzzy’s “values” would be ‘it’s OK if GOPers/conservatives/”real Americans” do it.’

      • Crogged says:

        Bob Kerry knew what they were doing, but his job is professional middle roader, perfectly content to go on talk shows and complain about all of us getting along. He is overly compensated with seats on board of directors and the rest of the booty which goes along with inside the Beltway hot air gassers. I prefer the ones who put their neck on the line, right or left.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Ah, now your turning on your own.

        You missed the part about the report offered no solutions or changes, just a hit piece. But that is alright with you guys so you can feed your GW hatred to the max. Go ahead, eat up, but ask yourself why no one has been prosecuted. Maybe there isn’t evidence. what about when Kerry said they (the democrats) didn’t interview any interregators? I mean basically I think the liberal Gruber is correct. Some are too stupid.

      • Crogged says:

        They haven’t been prosecuted because Obama has made his worst mistake. It’s a ‘pardon’ in deed rather than by word, seeking the results Nixon received from Ford. Truth matters more than your convenient categories of right and left, the conclusion which defines all your premises in the most obtuse illogical way.

      • flypusher says:

        No buzzy, I didn’t miss it at all. The main point of this discussion is about torture not being in line with American values. Kerry’s complaints about the Senate report doesn’t even address that issue.

      • texan5142 says:

        Crogged says:
        December 10, 2014 at 8:38 am
        They haven’t been prosecuted because Obama has made his worst mistake.

        Agreed! He should have went after them the first day in office, but he decided to move on instead.

  8. johngalt says:

    The CIA report today was appalling. This American wants it to be perfectly clear that my security is not worth selling my soul.

    “The report finds that at least 119 detainees went through the CIA detention program and at least 26 were held “wrongfully,” partly because there was no information to justify their detention.”

    “…high value detainees were subjected to methods like waterboarding and sleep deprivation “in near nonstop fashion for days or weeks at a time…Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”

    180 hours, by the way, is more than a week.

    “‘The use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information,’ according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report.”
    (Quotes are from several different CNN articles today.)

    So we tortured 26 people for absolutely no reason, several of whom may have been CIA informants, and another 93 people without gaining any uniquely useful information in return. The President was not fully informed of this program for 4 years and there was little oversight of the agents who ran these programs.

    If this is not contrary to American values, I can’t really imagine what would be. Useless and gratuitous sadism that, in the end, has made us more of a target rather than less.

    • lomamonster says:

      This American adds his voice to yours, johngalt.

    • flypusher says:

      Interesting. You’d think if there was anyone who people would be using as the example for making any excuse in favor of torture, it would be Nazis.

    • flypusher says:

      “Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”

      According to Sternn in a post below, stress positions are no big deal, just sometime he “had to do in grade school.”

      Which could explain a whole lot…….

      • texan5142 says:

        Those that think that torture is acceptable tells you all you need to know about their mindset. It also explains much about their political beliefs.

      • sad and tired in Houston says:

        I am beginning to believe that both Stern and the grumpy cat in the too tight hoodie have lost there sense of humanity. Any one who excuses the use of torture is just as monstrous as those who actually do the deed or anyone who uses terror and murder to gain power and control.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      JG, I am with you on some forms of enhanced interrogation but I would like to understand your ‘values’ that you assign to America.

      Is looting, rioting and destroying the businesses of others also against your values?

      Is killing a baby in the womb part of your value system?

      I will say this for the CIA, they possessed a huge failure on their watch in regards to 9/11. For that department to remain relevent it probably made hasty decisions.

      Sometimes sh&t happens, Sometimes people in prison are found to be innocent after years in prison. Sometimes a man accused of rape is found to be innocent, etc.

      In your perfect world, none of that should happen, but it does and will. Because we are not perfect.

      • texan5142 says:

        “Sometimes sh&t happens, Sometimes people in prison are found to be innocent after years in prison. Sometimes a man accused of rape is found to be innocent, etc.”

        As long as it is not you, what is the problem……….right.

      • flypusher says:

        “Sometimes sh&t happens, Sometimes people in prison are found to be innocent after years in prison. Sometimes a man accused of rape is found to be innocent, etc.”

        And when that shit happens, what’s the more moral response: 1) sweep it under the rug and say “we don’t need to investigate, because shit just happens” or 2) You do investigate it, and if there was police/ prosecutorial conduct, you punish it and change the laws to prevent future misdeeds, if applicable. And you compensate the wrongly convicted as best you can.

      • johngalt says:

        Straw man, Kabuzz.

    • Crogged says:

      Since women have miscarriages I suppose God doesn’t have a value system.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And since babies (real, honest-to-God, already-born babies) have cancer, I suppose that means the same thing. If God is both omnipotent AND has a values system, then it’s an indescribably cruel and deviant one.

    • Crogged says:

      Let me address this a little deeper. Which branch of the federal government is responsible for burning and looting businesses? Was this after the financial meltdown, in response we created a federal agency in charge of burning and looting business, since business ’caused’ the meltdown. Bringing up generalized old grumpy men griping about the decline of morals in America (insert drool and sighs here) doesn’t begin to address the issue of an institutionalized, guys in grey suits in charge, legal memorandum in hand, department of the federal government with oversight of torturing real people.

      • flypusher says:

        I don’t recall anyone here expressing any solidarity with people who where breaking the law by looting and rioting and committing arson. But this is Buzzy-logic.

  9. lomamonster says:

    The “Color of Law” in the instance of the CIA torture documentation simply makes us all just as guilty of torture even as the German civilians were guilty of crimes against humanity in WWII. American exceptionalism be damned – We are the same demonic breed and headed down the same road.

    Time for some infrastructure before its too late.

    • flypusher says:

      Well said, my friend. There’s nothing exceptional about the “right makes might” mentality. Oppressors have using that for millennia.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Buzzy – No, we are not perfect but part of life includes admitting you are wrong and correcting your mistakes. You and your right wing brethren seem to believe that we as a nation should never admit to our failure because somehow that questions our patriotism (see Sternn’s constant claims that we hate freedom and other BS).

      Patriotism means admitting you did wrong and correct the issue and do your best to insure it does not happen again. It is a sign of strength not weakness.

  10. Crogged says:

    Today the campaign begins in earnest, the Senate report on intelligence ‘gathering’ accomplished by the CIA has been published. Now with hard facts out there the gauzy campaign of Senator Clinton becomes a little more difficult and the strange alliances of the Rand Paul campaign get a little more fractured.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Alternatives to Clinton would be welcome. (Alternatives to Paul would also be great!)

      Jim Webb apparently already has an exploratory committee, and could be interesting, as a centrist former senator from a recent block in the “Blue Wall” (Virginia) with strong military and foreign-affairs experience. He doesn’t really excite me, though, and the Democrats have a history of running and failing with able but boring technocrats.

      Joe Biden has also talked of running. I don’t think his happy-go-lucky, gaffe-dodging public persona will handle the full fire of Republican attack ads in a presidential campaign.

      My spouse and I were huge Deaniacs in 2004, and Howard Dean has also mentioned 2016 in passing. But I’m not sure he still has the presence and connections within the party (despite the success of his “50-state strategy” et al.) to pull together a primary success again. Plus, Vermont’s no prize on the electoral map.

      Other publicly-mooted potentials include former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. But they’re less well known, and suffer from varying degrees of bland-technocrat-itis and Biden-esque gaffe-lapses. Of course, depending on whom the Republicans choose, gaffes might neutralize themselves on both sides.

      Maybe Democrats should just blow Republicans minds by running Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, a highly legislatively experienced woman… and also a lesbian. But I doubt it.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      I would be interested to hear Senator Paul’s thoughts on the CIA report. I think it provides damning evidence that the CIA action’s were not only vile and immoral, but also illegal.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        It is hard to classify something as illegal when the administration apparently has the authority to decide what is and is not legal.

        Rand is running to be the GOP presidential candidate. He cannot come out too much against torture without being lumped in with the wimpy liberals.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Well, that is for a court to decide. The Bush administration can say that their internal counsel interpreted that water boarding, hanging people by meat hooks for days at a time and beatings are not “torture” but, ultimately, it would be up to a court to decide that question in the even charges were filed (and I think they should have been filed in this case).

        The fact that torture is now a political issue just shows to me how far the modern Republican Party has turned its back on the rights of the individual.

      • flypusher says:

        ‘The Bush administration can say that their internal counsel interpreted that water boarding, hanging people by meat hooks for days at a time and beatings are not “torture”….’

        No, no that’s just fraternity hazing stuff. Good clean fun!

      • Turtles Run says:

        I have an image in my head of Sternn banging away at his keyboard downing can after can of Mountain Dew typing up his justification for torturing people.

      • texan5142 says:


      • tuttabellamia says:

        I get a kick out of the important role beverages play in people’s images of Cap. GG pictures him drinking mint juleps on the porch. Now Turtles has assigned Mountain Dew as Cap’s beverage of choice.


      • Turtles Run says:

        Some of the crimes committed by the CIA:

        – A healthy detainee dies while subjected to hypothermia
        – forced rectal feeding (read about this medieval practice it is horrible)
        – a mentally challenged prisoner was held and tortured not because he was thought to have committed any information or have committed terrorist acts but solely to be used as leverage against a family member also being held
        – CIA lied about the success of their interrogation practices and the number of prisoners held

        These are acts that are indefensible but I am sure the pro-life types will give it their best shot.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        From now on, I’m going to imagine Sternn’s beverage of choice as being any that’s given via rectal feeding.

    • CaptSternn says:

      A couple of things stand out about the report. The first is about the rather sad level the left sinks to claim torture, one example being, “the prisoner was looked at in a very harsh way while being pulled forward by the collar.” Another example would be made to hold a stress position. We had to do that in grade school and it was used on trainees in Basic Training. Prisoners might be placed in solitary confinement, but we do that with prisoners in our own prison system already. Some slapping and water treatments, but that doesn’t get close to real torture. I work with a guy that was deployed to Gitmo for a year of guard duty. Maybe some of you should talk to somebody like him about how things are down there, about the kind of people he was guarding.

      The second thing is that we are talking about the CIA. I really shouldn’t have to add to that, but for the uninitiated, it is a very dark organization that often acts behind the backs of the federal agencies. The report included that the CIA was not getting clearance from the White House nor Justice Department. Things that can be said about the CIA would take up books and books, and there are probably quite a few books like that in print. Or just look up the Church Committee from the 1970’s.

      • CaptSternn says:

        And Turtles, I have never had a Mountain Dew nor do I care to ever try it.

      • Crogged says:

        You obviously have not read one fucking word of it, shame on your lying ass.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Actually I did. Remember, I am the one to go to the source while you are one to be told what to think and then run on emotion and deliberate ignorance. Your link pretty well sums that up.

      • Doug says:

        “You obviously have not read one f*ing word of it, shame on your lying ass”

        Oh! Oh! Cigar smoke in the face! Sternn, do you know painful second hand smoke cancer is?

      • texan5142 says:

        Captin sadist speaks.

      • texan5142 says:

        Sadist and narscasist ,one hell of a combination.

      • Doug says:

        Assuming it is positively known that the persons in question is are terrorists, I have no problem at all with torturing the hell out them. Just as they have no problem beheading completely innocent captives, or stoning a woman upon accusal of adultery, or with pedophilia. They do not live to, or even understand, our moral code. I have more sympathy for the feral cat in our neighborhood that doesn’t have a warm place to sleep (or didn’t until I built it one).

      • goplifer says:

        Here’s what happens when you make some assumptions and then start torturing people:

        Somebody needs to go to prison over this shit.

      • flypusher says:

        You talk about “torturing the hell out of people” and “our moral code” in the same paragraph- wow. How many righties pontificate about American exceptionalism out of one side of their mouths, but see no disconnect in lowering moral standards to “they act worse than we do”.

      • Crogged says:

        Captain, this 550 page document was released THIS MORNING and please cite one instance where the report claims a prisoner seemed to be exaggerating his treatment. You’ve made a lot of ridiculous claims but this one takes the cake. Yeah, you know a fof who knew someone at Gitmo. But back to the point, cite the page about a prisoner exaggerating his treatment.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Also Cappy’s previous claim of torture, oops, “enhanced interrogation” providing information to find bin Laden thoroughly debunked.

      • Crogged says:

        But of course he ‘read’ it and can’t cite a damn thing. I thought he had made some ridiculous arguments but this is the worst.

      • Turtles Run says:

        OK Sternn Big Red. The CIA operates on its own without clearance. Well that is against the law. People in the CIA need to be charged with traitorous behavior, but if they did get clearance then that official(s) need to be arrested.

        Torture and a moral code do not co-exist. We either stand by our ideals or quit pretending we a a moral and just nation. Torturing people is the work of cowards.

      • flypusher says:

        Water board volunteer:

        Anyone who claims it’s not torture, but isn’t willing to do what the author did, has zero credibility and is not worth listening to.

      • Doug says:

        “You talk about “torturing the hell out of people” and “our moral code” in the same paragraph- wow.”

        To clarify my position…I hate war. If it were up to me, there would be no US soldiers on foreign land, and this country would never instigate war nor impose its will on other countries. However, if the country is directly attacked (and it was) we certainly have a right to defense.

        As far as morals…please explain why torturing a known terrorist is morally worse than, say, a drone strike that kills a dozen outright and maims a few others. Or why torture is a “war crime” but the hundreds dead in the collateral damage of a bombing raid are merely a distasteful necessity. Why are hollow points forbidden but hand grenades and claymores are OK? Or how about sanctions and blockades that ultimately starve a hundred thousand? Rules of war are not rational. To be outraged about the torture of a handful of people in the context of a war is not rational.

      • flypusher says:

        “To clarify my position…I hate war. If it were up to me, there would be no US soldiers on foreign land………..”

        We have a lot of agreement on this one. I’d rather have zilch to do with throwback types who want to live in the 6th Century whenever possible.

        “As far as morals…please explain why torturing a known terrorist is morally worse than, say, a drone strike that kills a dozen outright and maims a few others. Or why torture is a “war crime” but the hundreds dead in the collateral damage of a bombing raid are merely a distasteful necessity.”

        In those 2 cases, intent comes into play. Doesn’t matter one bit to the dead/maimed people that you didn’t intend to hit them, but in making judgments on morality, or if you are on trial, it does.

        “Why are hollow points forbidden but hand grenades and claymores are OK?”

        Don’t know the specifics there, so can’t comment.

        “Or how about sanctions and blockades that ultimately starve a hundred thousand? ”

        Depends on whether you can make a case for not-blockading causing even more harm, such as due to an extended war (not unlike the decision about dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima).

        “Rules of war are not rational. To be outraged about the torture of a handful of people in the context of a war is not rational.”

        You want to go realpolitik and say it’s a brutal necessity, you can pick that route. But then you give up the right to all the outrage over whatever atrocities they choose to do in return. I’m not convinced that you must lower yourself to the moral level of a terrorist to ultimately beat a terrorist.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The self righteous

        In the loony lefts perfect world nothing bad should ever happen but to speak of morals, come on, the right doesn’t celebrate killing babies as a choice. The right doesn’t think rioting, looking and burning down peoples businesses is a way to express frustration. Take your fake morality and shove it people. This is an imperfect world with imperfect people making imperfect decisions at times. Grow up.

      • flypusher says:

        I’m curious Buzzy. You’ve mentioned that you have children. So if one of them had done something obviously wrong, like beaten up another kid and stolen his lunch $, and when confronted with the wrongdoing, had said “This is an imperfect world with imperfect people making imperfect decisions at times. Grow up.”, would you have accepted that and let him off without punishment?

        Also, who here has endorsed “rioting, looking and burning down peoples businesses [as] a way to express frustration”? Name some names grumpy kitty.

  11. briandrush says:

    If I were a Republican, I would find this whole thing pretty depressing. (I’m actually not a member of either big party. I’d be depressed as a Democrat, too, just not quite as depressed.)

    It’s not a healthy situation for the country, either, to have a paralyzed federal government or to move as we seem to be doing towards a one-party state. I’ve preferred the Democrats to the Republicans all my adult life (I was first eligible to vote in 1976 and first actually voted in 1980, so the old Dixiecrat days were before my time), but I have no illusions about them and they can obviously be just as corrupt and venal as any politicians. We need, in my opinion, a viable conservative and progressive party — at minimum. Our problem at the moment is that we’ve lost consciousness of what “conservative” is supposed to mean.

    A conservative in politics should be a defender of tradition and the status quo. Progressives should propose changes, and conservatives should provide those proposals with a reality check. We’re a progressive country in a progressive time, so conservatives aren’t supposed to actually win in the long term — they’re supposed to keep progressive victories from being too easy, to slow them down, and to stop (or at least help prevent) progressives from doing something stupid. Conservatives are like the body’s skeletal system, keeping it together and resisting coming apart. Or they’re like the brakes on a car, keeping it from rolling over a cliff. Without healthy conservatism in politics, we might end up in a fascist dictatorship, or a wacky untried socialist experiment, or simply cease to exist as a nation.

    I’m not a conservative myself. That’s not my role in the dialogue. But we NEED them. And these days, the GOP isn’t filling the position. Conservatives aren’t supposed to be either closet-racist reality-denying know-nothing reactionaries, or lapdogs and toadies of big corporate interests. But that’s what we mostly find among Republicans today.

    There still are conservatives in the federal government, but they all seem to have a D after their name. And that’s not supposed to be the role of the Democratic Party in the current party setup. Something really needs to change. I wish I knew how to get there without a political catastrophe, but I don’t

  12. csarneson says:

    Have we resolved the “Natural Born Citizen” issue with Cruz? He was born in Canada and was given dual citizenship at birth. This seems like something that will take the supreme court to address. I honestly don’t think he qualifies to be president on that issue alone.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Why should it pose a problem? John McCain was considered eligible to be president, even though he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Presidents Chester Arthur and Barack Obama were both born British subjects (by descent from their fathers) as well as American citizens.

    • flypusher says:

      The whole birth certificate issue with Obama was just plain asinine. Any similar “controversy” over Cruz would be no less stupid and time-wasting. It would be nice to amend the Constitution to get a more solid definition of “naive born”, but I don’t see any ammendments on any subject happening any time soon.

  13. Anse says:

    If the guy could avoid his occasional forays into conspiracy-nut fringe lunacy, I’d be okay with and maybe even a bit relieved to have Rand Paul as the GOP nominee. I am not looking forward to Hillary being the Dem on the ballot. I’m not even sure she’s a progressive anymore. She could have been a Republican back in the Eisenhower era. Elizabeth Warren is a great choice but I don’t think she’s got enough nationwide pull to win. Bernie Sanders has a great role as the Left’s conscious but he’s not a real candidate.

    • Anse says:

      I meant, “conscience”…

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Rand Paul would have to explain to the American people why allowing Denny’s to refuse to serve food to Black folks is a good thing for the country.

      He would also get to explain why allowing ExxonMobil to refuse to hire Black people is a good thing for the country.

      He would get to explain why it would be OK for banks not to give loans to single women.

      He would get to explain why it would be a good thing to allow companies to pay men more because mean have families to support.

      For fun, he’d have to explain why companies should have no obligation to make reasonable accommodations for hiring disabled people. Sure, you could do this engineering job, but we’d have to put a $500 wheelchair ramp into your office since you lost your legs in Iraq, so you are SOL.

      There are folks here who have tried to make those arguments, and those positions are not going to win the hearts and minds of independents.

      While everyone likes to flirt with libertarian policies now and again, those policies struggle under the bright lights. Fairly for the most part (and likely unfairly in other parts), Ryan would get roasted by the media.

      Rand Paul might be the only GOP/TP candidate that would get a smaller percentage of Black votes than did McCain.

      • flypusher says:

        “He would get to explain why it would be OK for banks not to give loans to single women.”

        Family values, doncha know? If the wimmins can be buying houses without a man, they’ll get these crazy ideas of economic independence, and there goes Western civilization.

      • Anse says:

        Any Republican is a big crap sandwich, but Rand Paul at least has something that will offend everybody in almost equal fashion. But I’m mostly just looking at the possibilities. A Rand Paul presidency would be a major let-down if he did not follow through on the foreign policy views he has expressed in the past. I think we can already guess how his domestic policy would go.

      • Doug says:

        “Rand Paul would have to explain to the American people why [whatever] is a good thing for the country. ”

        Here’s the thing you and many others apparently don’t understand: just because something is “bad” or distasteful doesn’t mean there has to be a federal law. And the corollary: just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s “good.” Live up to your own moral code, be a good person, and leave other people alone. I don’t understand why this is such a difficult concept.

        BTW, I spent about a decade in the restaurant business. You do NOT want to eat in a place where people hate you. And with these stupid federal laws forcing everyone to serve everyone, how would you know?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Doug…welcome to our little island.

        I’m looking forward to you spending a lot of time explaining to me things I don’t understand.

        “Live up to your own moral code, be a good person, and leave other people alone. I don’t understand why this is such a difficult concept.”

        Buddy, not a difficult concept for you, but it certainly did seem like a tough thing to do while being Black in Alabama looking for a hotel room on the side of the interstate.

        Folks won’t let you shop in their grocery store? Go to the other grocery store 30 miles away. I mean it’s a free country, and you are free to move your happy ass out completely out of town because we don’t want your kind here.

        Want to rent an apartment? Well, you know, I don’t think our tenants would feel comfortable with you living here, and maybe you would feel more comfortable over in Darkskinville with more of your own kind.

        So, you have a 20% down payment for this house? Great, but you see, our homeowners association has a bit of a policy about…well, you know. We just worry about our property values, and besides, I think you would be more comfortable with a new home over in Darkskinville.

        Look, you should be proud of that engineering degree. Those are not easy to get, and probably doubly difficult for a woman. However, all of our engineers are men, and I just don’t think you would feel comfortable working in that environment, and we would have to worry about sexual harassment and stuff like that. I wish you the best of luck in your job search, but I just don’t think we have anything for you.

        Hey, who needs a federal law? I mean, we’ll just let the states of Alabama and Mississippi worry about how to deal with that crap. They were doing such a good job of it before.

        It is going to be a joy for you to explain all the things I don’t understand. I think we are going to call it a “Dougsplanation”.

      • flypusher says:

        “Here’s the thing you and many others apparently don’t understand: just because something is “bad” or distasteful doesn’t mean there has to be a federal law.”

        So how long do you think it would have taken Jim Crow to wither away if things had been left to the states?

  14. bubbabobcat says:

    Romney is going to throw his hat in the ring again. This is his last best shot. No incumbent Democrat to run against (Hillary coronation in wait notwithstanding), free for all in the Republican primary, and no real damage or lasting scars suffered in his 2012 bid a la McCain and his unleashing of the Palin self absorbed and self aggrandizing untamed political beast that just won’t fade quietly into the reality TV netherworld.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Wasn’t Paul Ryan supposed to be the heir apparent?

      Retread presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, coming back after a previous defeat, seem much less popular now than they were in the days of, say, William Jennings Bryan. (“You shall not press down upon the brow of capital this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of Obamacare!”)

      Dole ran for the 1980 presidential nomination unsuccessfully, caught it in 2008 but lost to Clinton, and then disappeared from the presidential candidate field. McCain ran in the 2000 primaries unsuccessfully, then caught the nomination in 2008, but didn’t run again in 2012 or 2016. Romney flagged as a primary candidate by Super Tuesday of 2008, then won his party’s imprimatur in 2012, but lost the general contest and will have to struggle to be a viable candidate again at that level, I would think.

      Granted, Nixon failed in his 1960 run and then came back to win the 1968 race… but that’s renowned as one of the great political comebacks of modern history, and involved a very different world than the one we have now, fifty years later.

      Will an American people obsessed with novelty, and a Republican Party split between those who thought he was either not conservative enough or too milquetoasty, really seek to revive a Romney run?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I had forgotten about Paul Ryan. After being the fiscally serious GOP/TP wunderkind, he has gone a bit quiet for a while.

        Of course, that may have been strategic and not be a bad thing politically. I’m not sure Ryan ever resonated with the general public. Democrats didn’t like him, but they were not going to like any VP candidate on the GOP side. He did not seem to move the needle one way or the other.

        Maybe the GOP/TP flips it around a bit. Rather than nominating the VP that appeals to the base (e.g., Palin, Ryan), maybe they have the VP candidate that appeals to independents.

        Toss in a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage VP (or at least someone vocally ambivalent on the issues), and thread the needle with the message saying the VP will help soften the social conservatism to one audience while telling the base that the presidential candidate deeply cares about abortion and gay marriage.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Rather than nominating the VP that appeals to the base (e.g., Palin, Ryan), maybe they have the VP candidate that appeals to independents.”

        I doubt voters will fall for that; it’s rare enough that vice-presidents directly succeed their seniors, and though the office has grown a lot from Garner’s “bucket of warm piss”, it’s deliberately not influential enough to have much moderation on a chief executive’s determined view.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, I don’t think the VP choice has very much to do with whether the VP him/herself would have actual influence in the governing process. As HT notes, it’s simply about “appealing” to the base and/or independents.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        That’s kind of like trying to make a cattle abattoir more appealing to neighbors by getting Fabio to stand outside. I suppose it would work on some people, but not most.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl – You give voters too much credit. I think most people vote based on emotion and other arbitrary reasons. Hispanics will vote for someone with a Hispanic surname, which is why I think Ted Cruz would do well with Hispanic Democrats in a general election. I’ve spoken to Democrats who admit that when they have absolutely no knowledge of the candidates, they will vote for candidates with minority-sounding names and for women. I’m sure it’s not just Democrats, either, who vote for strange reasons.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Looks matter to voters, and so does the quality of a candidate’s voice.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So you’re comparing down-ballot races featuring unfamiliar names to the contest topmost on both the ballot and the news cycle?

        Those would be some *really* stupid voters.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sure, looks and voice matter; but that doesn’t mean a politician with noisome views can redeem himself by adding mere eye candy to the ticket.

        Heck, if that were the case, Romney might have won.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        In terms of sheer looks, President Obama rates well in comparison to Gov. Romney.

        I prefer to call voters “low information” as opposed to “stupid.” Not everyone who votes is well-informed politically, so many people will base their choice on something basic and simple, such as who their pastor endorses.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “In terms of sheer looks, President Obama rates well in comparison to Gov. Romney.”

        That’s a cute tactic, Tutt. But HT’s comment upstream, then mine, then yours, were *all* about the *vice-presidential* choice. It’s also hard to see how you could misinterpret my statement that no “politician with noisome views can redeem himself by adding mere eye candy to the ticket,” since VPs don’t tend to add proto-POTUS figures, but rather vice versa. Ryan is pretty clearly sexier-looking than Biden, for a significant majority of onlookers (though Biden certainly has his charms). And you apparently have started taking after your boy-toy in the way you twist others’ statements.

        Anyone who hasn’t paid enough attention to the country in which she lives to know A) the basic philosophical positions of the two major parties, and B) the two candidates from those two parties running for the highest offices in the land, which will affect our government, society, and economy for at least four if not eight years and beyond, is not merely “low information” but actively stupid. Stupidity can be self-imposed as well as genetically favored, and remaining that ignorant in as media-rich an environment as our nation today is pretty much a class case of self-inflicted, deliberate dumbth.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I agree with your view that it’s not likely that a “politician with noisome views can redeem himself by adding mere eye candy to the ticket,” but I think the reverse is true, that someone with great ideas might lose if particularly unappealing physically.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        As for twisting other people’s statements, you give me too much credit.

  15. pbasch says:

    Very interesting column. GOPlifer, you have become my favorite Republican commentator for now. You seem informed, the writing be good, and you seem to spend a minimum amount of time (actually none) name-calling and pumping your fist in the air shouting USAUSA. Good for you.
    I’m from NY (and live in LA – I’m your standard “coastal media elite”, except for the “elite” part… and actually the media part – lacked the fierce work ethic required), and I have voted Republican, once or twice. I voted for Guiliani before he turned into Mussolini (the day he fired the police chief for being too successful and popular). And…
    Okay, I voted GOP once. And now, if Mahatma Gandhi returned and ran on the GOP ticket I wouldn’t vote for him. If he ran against the reborn young George Wallace (Democrat), I’d consider strongly whether I thought Mr. Wallace had learned his lesson.
    Not that there aren’t a number of traditional Republican ideas I agree with, particularly in education, and certain kinds of foolish regulation (usually they’re local, not federal – I think there’s far more tyranny of small gov’t than big gov’t; one look at liquor laws anywhere, but particularly NY), but right now, the party is still in the thrall of theocrats and the extraction industries. I’d add Wall St bandits, but sadly the Democrats are just as bad (Elizabeth Warren, maybe not? If I were Hillary I’d make her Treasury).
    Anyway, thanks. And you set a reasonable tone for your comment stream. It takes at least a dozen comments to fulfill Godwin’s Law.
    Seriously, thanks.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      I’d happily take Elizabeth Warren for the top spot over Hillary Clinton, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out that way.

      I’m actually highly uncomfortable about voting for Hillary Clinton, but I strongly suspect she’ll be better (from my perspective) than any candidate the Republicans might be likely to offer.

      • flypusher says:

        I’m not happy with the dueling political dynasties thing either, but to be fair, Jeb Bush would be one of the better potential candidates. He’s far better than his brother, and he’s the one of his generation I think should have been offered up 1st as Presudential material. W poisoned the well for both other Bushes and other Texans.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        A great New Yorker article:

        With the money quote:

        “Why is it that so many people, in and out of the Republican Party, continue to bounce along with the Bush family? It is an article of faith with that crowd that Jeb is a natural leader. And yet his presence reminds one of Play-Doh left out of the container too long. One can’t quite decide whether he’s made of putty or chalk. He is given points both for being his father’s son and for not being his brother—which is somehow what passes for a meritocratic award. The odd idea is that, after one mediocre Bush Presidency and one failed one, it would be a matter of simple fairness to try a third. This can’t be what we call equal opportunity in America.”

  16. johngalt says:

    What potential GOP nominee wins more states than Romney in ’12? Romney himself might, with the right VP and 8 years of Democratic fatigue. Christie might, since he’s the governor of a blue state. Bush might given the name, donor connections and ties to the ultimate swing state of Florida. All three of these are pretty flawed, but goodness, Cruz? He’s busy threatening to shut down the federal government again and he’s pissed off so many of his fellow Republicans that he’ll find scant support in the primaries from anyone who matters. Walker? Can you see someone getting the nomination who was recalled (even if unsuccessfully) in his own state? Paul? The hard libertarian position gets 15% support in this country, no more.

    I don’t really want to see the GOP nominate a candidate who cannot win, because competition moderates all candidates. But maybe a Mondale-like loss is what is necessary to reshape the GOP into a political party that a majority of Americans can support at the national level.

    • lomamonster says:

      johngalt, you mentioned Democratic fatigue. Don’t you realize that the entire nation is adept at 3D chess at this point? I doubt that anyone is fatigued without an ulterior motive!

      It’s going to be mighty interesting this time for both parties.

  17. BigWilly says:

    Let me point out that WI has a solidly “Red” State Legislature. The Senate is 18-15 R, and the Assembly is 60-39 R. They’ve successfully quarantined the Dems to Milwaukee and Dane Counties and the underpopulated NW corner of the state. Gov. Walker seems to be keeping his rhetoric pretty tidy. Gov. Walker’s main strengths are his timing and discipline. He might do a trial this time to see where the wind is blowing. If the GOP seems to be hustling to the cliff this cycle he’ll probably pull out and avoid the after effects.

    Cruz is audacious and he lights up the base. He’d make a great VP, and I mean that sincerely. I don’t know if he can be disciplined when he enjoys riling people up so much. He out Shielas Sheila.

    I like Gov. Bush enough, but I wonder if this isn’t too much power in the hands of too few people if we see Bush Vs. Clinton again. I find that to be pretty unexciting, and troubling at the same time (trouble is a form of excitement).

    What about Kasich? Anyone got a read on him?

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Apparently John Bolton is keen to run. (Perhaps he should lose the mustache?) I doubt he’d fare well in a general election: I can see the media catch-phrases now: “Methods of Mass Distraction” and so on and on.

      Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee also gets mentioned as a name. He’s got a fairly good conservative resumé, but I’m not sure there’s anything there to crack the “Blue Wall”.

      Governor Mike Pence of Indiana got nosed about in 2008 and 2012, but seems to have similar electoral prospects to Corker’s.

      • johngalt says:

        After I read this about Bolton, which I hadn’t heard before, I rolled around on the floor laughing my ass off for a few minutes. Delusions of grandeur, thy name is John Bolton.

  18. CaptSternn says:

    Pretty early to be calling the 2016 primaries. Maybe some people are already thinking about 2016 because they are still stinging from the 2014 midterm elections?

    I am still with the line of thought that a lot is going to depend on what republicans do over the next 12 to 18 months, including what the GOP establishment does during this lame duck session, but much more importantly what the next congress will do when republicans actually control congress.

    The next 12 months will have an important role in determining who will be running and how they will be viewed, and stretch it out to 18 months or so to see how the GOP is stacking up against the DNC.

    If the GOP establishment in the current lame duck congress caves to the democrats on the budget, it is going to be bad for republicans in the 2016 elections. Not a deal breaker, maybe, but not at all good. The establishment needs to agree to only kick the can down the road for a couple of months and give the next congress the ability to act.

    The establishment is losing more ground to the tea party movement, and they know it. Will they be so petulant as to act in a “scorched Earth” manner, rather seeing republicans lose just out of spite than having the possibility that conservatives could win big in 2016? Or will they give the conservatives room to maneuver? The next few weeks will be very telling on that matter. Probably sooner rather than later.

    And just stop with this whole “Dixiefication” nonsense already, unless you feel the absolute need to play on ignorance and emotion rather than dealing with reality, logic and facts.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      One could look at this map and say, “Nuh uh, the GOP/TP is more than just the old South, we won all half dozen of the electoral votes in the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming, and a few other states with more guns than people.

      Others might look at this map and think, “Wow, that does look a whole lot like the old South is our only real stronghold”.

      But hey, why let those pesky emotional “numbers” cloud your judgment?

      • CaptSternn says:

        The Old South would be South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Looks like a lot more states are red than just those seven, including many in the North.

        Shall we go over it again, HT? The democrats before 1964 supported socialism, stronger central government, more centralized planning, viewing “minorities” as being inferior and denying the fact that some human beings are actually, human, nothing more than subhuman to be treated as property. Democrats are anti-federalists.

        Republicans are federalists, believe all should have equal rights, all are equally capable and favor capitalism over socialism.

        The parties haven’t changed, just the demographics. Example, we folk in the Old South, as in Texas, no longer hate republicans due to Reconstruction. That is just history for us. We do not like the democrats for their policies and their actions.

        Face the truth, democrats of old are still democrats. Republicans of old are still republicans. Federalists are still federalists, anti-federalists are still anti-federalists. If you are ashamed of what you are, maybe you should rethink what you are.

        Or maybe you are just a troll? You really don’t believe what you post here? You just do it to get a rise out of people?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Yes Stern…the Democrats are racists and the GOP/TP is truly goodness and light.

        Now tell us how that has something to do with the math that gets you to 270.

      • johngalt says:

        The “Old South” is the Confederacy, all the states you mention, plus Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia. Florida is part of that, but has long been a place that defies easy characterization. The remainder of the red states there are mostly lightly populated places with few electoral votes in the plains and parts of the West, with a few exceptions. It is highly ironic that West Virginia is red while Virginia is blue: WV is rejoining the Confederacy it refused to be a part of 150 years ago.

    • goplifer says:

      It’s not early. Heck, the most pivotal part is almost over. Don’t go into politics if you need that much lead time to make plans.

      The field will be set by April. The last real announcements will be made by about August. Anyone who doesn’t have their fundraising pipeline constructed already isn’t going to compete.

      The primary to determine who will be in the Gray Round is going hot and heavy right now ( and that is much later in the cycle than usual.

      It will be over by about February. By the way, Rick Perry seems to think he’s going to be in the Gray Round. He’s hilarious.

      Elections are like an iceberg. The part we see is very small. The part we get to participate in is even smaller.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Interesting view, Lifer. But I disagree, things are far from set at this point, and I think you were also making that point.

        Jeb Bush would not win the general election, the Bush name is still poison and will be for some time yet, maybe for a very long time. Perry can’t win because he has been a Texas governor.

        Cruz is the only Texan that could even hope to win the general election if he could win the nomination, and even that is a long shot. Hispanics will not vote for a Hispanic just because he is a Hispanic, in my opinion and from my observations.

        I do not look at politics the same way you do. I am not as involved in the party politics as you are. But I am part of the base. The base the GOP lost for some elections, voting straight LP ticket. Millions of us just stayed home in 2012, I was not one of them but enough did that Obama won a second term due to Romney.

        Question is, what will you do to win my vote for the person, the candidate, you prefer, in the primaries, and then win my vote in the general election? Or, is that even your goal? What do you gain by advocating racial divide? Income divide?

        And why do I even bother asking such questions? You have already provided all the answers to those questions. I have already provided my views on those things.

        What is the solution? Obviously we cannot have any decent or intelligent discussion about it here on you blog. Your followers are so insecure that they are unable to do anything but call people they disagree with nothing more than trolls. You promote racial divide every chance you get. It’s all you and the rest of the left have.

      • flypusher says:

        “Your followers are so insecure that they are unable to do anything but call people they disagree with nothing more than trolls. ”

        If it please the court, participants such as Tracy and 50 ohm have had plenty of disagreements with both Chris and the center/ left leaning participants of this blog. However many of those disagreements have been polite and civil, and those two have not been accused of being trolls. So the prosecution’s case here is that merely disagreeing isn’t sufficient cause to earn the “troll” label. The bar is much higher (or in this case lower) than that.

        Tl:dr troll is as troll does.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I haven’t done a word search, but I have a hunch Chris’ post only includes the word “race” in terms of the “presidential race”.

        There is someone on this blog who claims we cannot have a discussion about any topic because the dastardly liberals keep bringing up race. Without a trace of irony, that person has brought up race two or three times, even when no one else has.

        That person may actually be a vampire with this complete and utter lack of self reflection.

      • lomamonster says:

        Rick Perry might be hilarious in some respects, but the hard cold truth is that his leadership of one of the most powerful states in the Union was consumately a bust and left way too many Texans in desperate condition with collapsing social services – especially in education and health. And his leadership in the disregard of our environment by oil companies will have us dying by the thousands in no time. Our state is pretty much toast now for future generations of political prisoners too ignorant and poor to move out to save themselves.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        What states, I wonder, would Cruz be able to flip to red from among those in the “Blue Wall”?

        Tea Party idealists seem shamefully afraid or witlessly unable to answer that simple question: perhaps because, yet again, they’re dwelling in the realm of fantasy rather than reality.

      • flypusher says:

        “What states, I wonder, would Cruz be able to flip to red from among those in the “Blue Wall”?

        Tea Party idealists seem shamefully afraid or witlessly unable to answer that simple question:”

        The way I see it, if you are going to tout Cruz, or Paul, or anyone else as the one who can regain the White House for the GOP, that question is not only fair game, it’s mandatory. Anyone who is seriously in the business of running elections isn’t blowing it off with the “it’s too early to tell” excuse, at least not among themselves. Any candidate who is truly in it to win it is devoting much thought to that map, right now.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “The bar is much higher (or in this case lower) than that.

        Tl:dr troll is as troll does.”

        And now you have joined the likes of Owl and Bubba in the ranks of the trolls. It’s all you have left when you can’t stand in the face of facts and reality.

      • flypusher says:

        You really do live the unexamined life, don’t you? So you just rock on with your personal persecution complex, and we adults will do our adult discussion thing without you.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Since I don’t see any Tea Partisans offering up actual answers, rather than just the usual blind hope and tired venom, I guess there is NO plan for sundering the “Blue Wall”, or at least no interest in the difficult work of thinking about it.

        Well, that certainly does make a Democratic victory much more likely in 2016. Now if we could just ensure that party has a decent candidate with whom to coast to victory….

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Chris I eagerly await February to remind you of how the candidates will be determined by then.

        I’ll give you a prediction. I am sure you remember how the democrat’s screeched out the antiquated electoral college system. Well, I predict that states that normally go dem but have GOP state majority will go about changing the electoral system per district win. So if the GOP and dem candidate gets to split the college by who took what district. Seems fair. But you won’t like it now, will you?

      • goplifer says:

        The field of candidates for the gray round will be determined by February or there won’t be a gray round. The donors are either going to line up behind two or three people or they aren’t. If they don’t do it by February then they will lose control of the process completely.

        And no, they are not going to announce the winner to you.

        None of those blue states with Republican majorities have enough time to change their process before ’16. The changes would affect ’20.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        If states really want to make our elections fairer and more representative, how about just ratifying the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact instead?

        Oh, right. Because fairness isn’t actually the issue; jiggering the rules so that a Republican can win, on the other hand, is totally legitimate.

      • BigWilly says:

        I worked with the WI laws regarding political campaigns, but I don’t know that much about the FEC and its machinations. When do candidates file reports? Probably quarterly. It might be a good idea to follow the reporting to see who is taking in current donations, who they are taking them from, and how much they are.

        That will tell us who has the most cred with the big bucks donors. If you can’t make them happy (in most large scale elections where the candidate is unable to self finance) it’s pretty much game over.

        The potential candidates may appear to be nonchalant regarding the primaries, but they are all feverishly working to put organizations together in the key early primary states.

      • goplifer says:

        Willy, that method has a glitch. The checks aren’t being written yet. The money lags behind the decision. By the time the money starts showing up in formal campaign reports those numbers will just confirm what we probably already know.

        Plus, the largest chunk of the cash will never show up in any disclosures. The only evidence we will have for who won that primary will be on the surface – who stays in, who declines, and what posture they take.

      • BigWilly says:

        So the only direct evidence we have currently is trip manifests?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The proof is GOPlifer says so.

  19. Turtles Run says:

    Do not discount a Cruz political shot at the White House. He is neither a fool nor an idiot. He just plays one to appeal to the tea party base. He will make a hard left turn and ignore his past. The media will eat it up and give him legitimacy with those voters that do not follow politics to the degree.

    He has a good potential to draw Hispanic voter, not a majority but enough to hurt Democrats.

    Of course if he sticks to his crazy script he will be toast.

    • mary says:

      The thing that hurts Cruz the most (for those who listen and watch him closely, and, I do) is not his tea party platform, it’s his narcissism. He may be smart, but what will kill him is his complete self-absorption.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cruz is definitely a narcissist but he is a very ambitious narcissist. He is smart enough to know outside of Texas his tea- billy act will not fly. Texas right wingers have a special type of deep gene. Cruz may use a presidential run like Newt Gingrich simply to fleece the flock but we will not know till the primary season begins.

        I have not heard or seen the Cruz election apparatus but if it is truly minimal then expect him to simply try to cash in with the sheep.

      • texan5142 says:

        That is why the Captin likes Cruz, birds of a feather and all that.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Mary, an image is worth a thousand words, so I will leave you with this …

  20. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    I like to believe the better angels prevail, and a Bush, Christie, or maybe even a Rubio prevails.

    However, Christie, for someone who likes to talk about shooting straight, seems to be a little prickly with some thin skin on issues, and I’m not sure that personality survives a primary and a general election.

    Rubio is probably four years too soon. Obama could have benefited from four more years in Congress, and Rubio likely would benefit as well.

    That gets us to Jeb. Assuming we are not experiencing Bush-fatigue, he is viable. Bush could win and could beat a Democrat if every card in the house lined up the right way. However, I’m not sure he has the drive for the job. He may not have the personality to get up every day to go through the crap that a presidential candidate has to go through. He’s had second hand experience with the sausage grinder, and he may feel his sanity isn’t worth the sacrifice.

    Wow…I just talked myself out of the better angels prevailing.

    I completely agree that the political skills of the more “fringy” right candidates is a step up from what has been seen in the past. They may be politically bonkers, but Cruz, Paul, and a few others are more politically savvy.

    Let’s just take Perry and Huckabee off that list. They don’t have the savvy-ness to offset the bonker-ness

    Rand Paul will not be your next president. All other things aside, no way the America public elects a man with the perm.

    Despite his last name, I’m not sure Cruz pulls enough new voters to the GOP/TP to flip any state that Obama won last time (Chris’ Blue Wall).

    It will be interesting to see how the GOP/TP positions the social issues over the next year and a half. It is the social issues, much more than the fiscal issues, that push independents away from the GOP/TP.

    They either need to avoid talking about gay marriage for as long as possible or just come out in favor of recognizing it. That issue may not sway an election, but it is toxic for independents or leaners wanting to move the GOP/TP. The GOP/TP folks need to ignore gay marriage and gay people if they aren’t going to endorse gay marriage.

    My first reaction to the proposed bill for a federal ban on abortion at 20 weeks was that this is yet another GOP/TP flustercluck, but maybe someone is putting some rationality into it.

    First, a 20 week ban is stupid because there is nothing remarkable happening at 20 weeks. If the GOP/TP goes with fetal pain or viability, they are just lying to everyone, counting on the “stupidity of the American people”.

    If, however, the approach from a more “common sense” perspective, they could pass it and effectively hang it around the Democrat candidate’s neck. The argument should be:

    “We have made strong provisions for the life and health of the mother in this bill. Provisions have also been made regarding the health and viability of the fetus, allowing women and their doctors to make those extremely difficult decisions in those extraordinary cases.

    However, 20 weeks is long enough for a woman and her doctor to make decisions under the vast majority of circumstances. Everyone talks about making abortion safe and rare, so we have proposed this very reasonable bill that give women time for their decisions while also protecting babies in later term development.”

    Now, most of that is bullshit, and the percentage of elective abortions occurring after 20 weeks is extremely small (ironically, that number may be growing thanks to the time and cost hurdles put in place by the GOP/TP) but it sounds reasonable and probably scores political points. Folks against a 20-week ban probably are not voting GOP/TP anyway, so pissing them off has no political consequences, and the GOP/TP candidate gets to say, “See, the Democrats are in favor of killing babies and cannot even make a small compromise on this issue”.

    • mary says:

      You assume that Dems will simply let Repub presidential candidates avoid talking about gays and other social issues? You REALLY believe that?! And, the abortion subterfuge falls apart because women see right through all the duplicitous rhetoric. Conservatives have received a mandate to govern….not only those citizens who voted for them, but all citizens. Let’s see them walk the walk. I, for one, hope they can as our nation badly needs jobs, infrastructure repair, and an honest to goodness dialogue on significant social issues, not pandering or hammering. Show me what you got, conservatives!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Plenty of women are anti-choice and even more would personally not choose an abortion even though the support the rights of other women to choose an abortion.

        I’m going to use the term “common sense” here only in political terms, but a common sense restriction on later term abortion would play well with a big chunk of the electorate.

        Sure, most people would see it for what it really is, but it would allow a lot of people to vote GOP/TP without having to hold their nose while doing it.

        With a simple comment of, “You know, I’ve always thought of marriage as being between a man and a woman. I wasn’t raised thinking about gay marriage. The young people in America today are different than we were when we were growing up. They are more open and probably more enlightened than a lot of us were. The issue of gay marriage is going to be settled by the youth of this great country. It would be foolish for me to try to fight it. This is simply not an issue on which I’m going to campaign.”

        Two issues. Two mind-numbingly simple positions to take. Take those issues off the plate for democrats, and a whole new set of independents come into play.

        Would the GOP candidate that said those things survive the primary?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Would the GOP candidate that said those things survive the primary?”

        I rather doubt it. Republican primaries seem to bring out the lunatic fringe to eat anyone who pushes against their comfortable orthodoxies.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I see HT has come out with his pro-abortion/pro-slavery side again. He thinks laws against slavery are “anti-choice”, laws against involuntary servitude are “anti-choice”. The whole concept of equal rights for all offends him deeply.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Yes stern…I want to kill babies and I’m all for slavery. However, I thought we had moved off slavery to involuntary servitude.

        Fortunately for me, I’m not running for office and needing to explain my positions to the American people.

        Your buddy Rand has a tough row to hoe in that regard.

        He’ll win the hearts and minds of White college freshmen and sophomores not blessed with broad perspectives, but outside of that audience, he’s going to have trouble finding folks buying what he is selling.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Sterm, I might also note that here you have an unabashed, pro-choice liberal offering to endorse a 20-week ban on abortion, and your knee-jerk (maybe minus the knee part) is to label that as pro-abortion.

        You sir, are an example of where good governance and common sense go to die.

  21. rightonrush says:

    Oh hell Chris, if Cruz is the likely nominee the GOP may as well bend over and kiss it’s collective arse good-bye!

  22. mary says:

    Cruz as most likely POTUS candidate? God help us.

    • lomamonster says:

      As an audiologist, I can plainly conclude the Cruz with that voice will promptly sicken the general populace to the point of burying himself in a political dumpster.

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