How Trump might change the GOP race

In a largely improvised speech brimming with Trumpitude, The Donald announced last month his official entry into the race for the GOP Presidential nomination. Instead of just lingering around the fringes throwing garbage as in previous elections, Trump seems like he might mount a serious run.

Trump’s chances of winning the nomination are as near to zero as it’s possible to get, but he doesn’t have to win to change this race. A more or less intentional Trump campaign for the nomination could change the outcome of this race by introducing these three factors:

Candor – Yes, you read that right. To be clear, barely one out of every seven or eight statements Trump makes could fall within any reasonable definition of truthfulness. Mostly he’s just playing the part of the drunk uncle at the Thanksgiving table. When I use the term candor in reference to Trump I’m highlighting the unique character of those rare, factual gems.

Inside the GOP at this moment, the only officially tolerated narratives are based on delusions. From science denial to supply-side economics to Benghazi, on almost every issue of consequence the party is presently unwilling to make even the minutest concessions to reality.

Into this bubble of denial wanders a reckless monster with more money than Mitt Romney. While most of Trump’s statements fit the usual Fox News pattern of fact-starved, bigoted blather, he occasionally lays a foul smelling nugget of verifiable reality on the family table. Like rhetorical croutons in Trump’s word-salad, these inconvenient truths are disruptive and difficult for the other candidates to swallow.

For example, in his announcement speech he mentioned the disastrous cost of the Iraq War in specifics. When the Club for Growth called for him to be banned from the Republican debates, he claimed they’d done it because he refused their request to donate $1m to the group. Then he produced a private letter from the organization that seems to support his claim. These are things that serious Republican political figures simply would not do.

As a random wealthy weirdo beholden to no one, Trump can say things no one else can. His rare truthful statements are far more disruptive than his lies.

Stretching the definition of “credibility” – Having Trump on a debate stage being treated like a Real Candidate transforms the standard for credibility in this race. Trump makes Ben Carson look like a levelheaded, qualified leadership figure. The biggest loser if Trump participates in the debates will be Jeb! and the biggest winner will be Ted Cruz.

Nothing recommends Jeb! to Republican voters more than his fairly convincing claim to be the only adult in the race. With Trump hogging the media spotlight, juvenile outbursts from characters like Santorum, Carson, Huckabee or Cruz are less likely to blow up into major stories.

The simple physics of the Overton Window means that Trump’s presence makes everyone else look relatively rational. Placed on a spectrum of craziness with Trump, Cruz and Bush suddenly sit pretty close together near the political center.

And under current standards Trump will have treated as though he were a Real Candidate. No one in this field registers much more popularity or support than Donald Trump. Heck, outside the hardened party base few of these guys have higher favorability ratings than lung cancer. Trump has enough money and enough of a hardened goofball following to never dip below sixth or seventh in this race no matter what he or anyone else does.

An independent campaign – Here’s where it gets interesting. Trump has absolutely no shot at the GOP nomination. Every major constituency, every voting bloc, every organizational entity in the party will do anything necessary to stop him from winning. He is a major disruption, but not a candidate.

So what if he doesn’t quit when the GOP selects someone else?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but this may be the Republicans’ only shot at winning the White House in 2016. The logic of the Blue Wall boils down to this: thanks to demographic realities there is nothing that Republicans can do to win the White House. That’s not to say Republicans can’t win. Accidents, mishaps, and acts of God can occur. The Blue Wall logic says that none of the things Republicans are willing to do to win are enough to win. Winning will require some force majeure.

Since we can’t win by just nominating a solid candidate and running a great campaign, Republicans need some unforeseeable disruption, some strange event large enough to scramble the electoral math. Maybe there will be a war or a natural disaster. Or the Democrats’ will self-immolate by nominating the socialist Senator from Baja Canada. Or, someone like Trump might deliver what we need.

Granted, it would be reasonable to assume that an independent campaign by Trump will peel away more potential Republican voters than Democrats, but it’s hard to be certain. The man’s appeal is…let’s just say, eccentric. If he ran as an independent and he managed to get on the ballot in some of the larger states he might create enough static to make 2016 interesting.

Though possible, that outcome is unlikely. It’s far more likely that Trump will just shower the GOP primaries in bullshit, undermining whatever minimal credibility the winner hoped to gain. At some point in the process he’ll probably just wander away, distracted by a waiter or limo driver who needs a good reprimand. He’ll ruin the 2016 nominating campaign then move on to even bigger and better bankruptcies and trophy wives.

When the value of your brand dips below a certain critical mass, you start to invite speculation from junk dealers. The GOP nomination is about to get the Trump name plastered all over it in gold capital letters, then left to rot like some godforsaken Atlantic City hotel. And there’s nothing we can do about it, because no one can fire the Donald.

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
191 comments on “How Trump might change the GOP race
  1. tuttabellamia says:

    Back to the US Supreme Court: I’m particularly interested in anything relating to the fourth amendment, which pertains to one’s private space. Here’s an interesting ruling by the Court from last week pertaining to a person’s privacy when that person is a guest at a hotel:

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1175_2qe4.pdf

    • objv says:

      Tutt, pure applesause and befuddling.

      After some brief reading, I tend to side with the dissenters. CBS news stated, “The federal appeals court in San Francisco divided 7-4 in ruling that the ordinance violates the privacy rights of the hotels, but not their guests.”

      The hotel is the entity being protected. Guests still have to have to give their information and identification. The hotel management is in control of what is immediately released. The quest has no control over his privacy.

      Also from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/supreme-court-police-cant-force-hotels-to-share-guest-records/ :

      “the city’s argument that the measure was needed to help fight prostitution, drug trafficking and illegal gambling at budget hotels and motels.”

      In this case, I believe that any issues the hotel would have are greatly outweighed by the potential that innocent people could be victimized by those who would use a hotel for criminal purposes.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, I reposted this link on Lifer’s most recent blog entry, and there are other replies there.

        Thanks.

      • 1mime says:

        Generally, conservatives deplore intrusion by government into business operation. Here is a case where business (hotel industry) requested more constraint – not elimination of access to records – but proper orders instead of wide open perusal. Seems to me this not only protects the hotels but also the individuals staying in the hotels. How does this differ from the issue phone and internet records access?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, I tend to side with the privacy of the hotel and its guests. I take issue with the general assumption that hotels are used primarily for criminal activities. That smacks of profiling of hotel guests

        However, I could see a guest, innocent or otherwise, who gets hurt as a result of criminal activity, pressing charges against the hotel for not immediately providing requested information to the police.

      • 1mime says:

        I am sure it’s not quite this simple, but how would you feel if you were a small business owner and the police could come by whenever they wanted and look at your accounts with no subpoena or other court order? Just walk in and pull the books because they could and because local ordinances allowed it. Now, if the law officer has proper orders then that is one thing, but to have to allow unrestricted access to hotel records at any time of their choosing seems an unreasonable invasion of privacy.

        The prevailing opinion as I read it does not dispense with the authority of law enforcement to gain access to hotel records as long as they have appropriate orders to do so. That was the narrow change that the majority made to current procedure. The critical part of the opinion is that it required law enforcement to justify their records access with appropriate legal orders. Why is this not better for both the patrons of the hotel and the business?
        .

  2. texan5142 says:

    I want to see a cage match between whatever is living on Trump’s head and whatever is living on Paul’s head.

  3. flypusher says:

    The General Lee gets a makeover:

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/golfer-bubba-watson-to-paint-over-confederate-flag-on-dukes-of-hazzard-car/

    Happy July 4th to all. I’m off soon to go play lots of All-American music.

    • Doug says:

      Stop the insanity.

      • flypusher says:

        The car is Watson’s private property, so he is free to paint it or not paint it.

      • Doug says:

        Of course it is. He is perfectly free to be an idiot with his own property. But he’s not going to change the General Lee’s heritage by painting over the flag. If he wants to make a statement, he should burn it.

      • 1mime says:

        Let me go on record here in support of liberty. Whatever people wish to wear or display on their personal property is their right even if I strongly disagree with their choice. I draw the line at symbols that are racist or religious on public property. Free speech has its limits in a Democratic society. I am not in favor of dismantling historical statues and permanent historical markers whose purpose is historical not political – which the Confederate Flag most assuredly is.

      • flypusher says:

        “If he wants to make a statement, he should burn it.”

        Putting the stars & stripes on it is making a statement too. Plus burning a car causes a lot of air pollution, and thus is quite rude.

      • BigWilly says:

        How all this stems from a late 70’s early 80’s T and A show I have no clue.

      • Doug says:

        “Makin’ their way, the only way they know how”

        We all know what that means.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, I don’t know what you are trying to say. Could you elaborate?

      • Doug says:

        Just having fun, mime. I think it’s (oxy)moronic to paint the US flag on a car named General Lee.

      • 1mime says:

        No, I think Lee would have understood.

      • EJ says:

        Lee was a slave owner who was willing to betray his country in order to defend the rights of slave owners, and who campaigned against black freedmen having the vote even after the war. As such, his opinion on matters of morality and public propriety can probably be safely disregarded, as can anything named after him.

      • 1mime says:

        Robert E. Lee was on the wrong side of the slavery issue and the wrong side of the Civil War, but, he was an interesting man. Lee graduated second in his class at West Point and had a long and distinguished career in the US Army over 30 years (during which he fought with distinction in the Mexican-American War and used his civil engineering skills throughout the U.S. territory to great purpose). He ultimately decided to join the pro-slavery cause declared at long last by his home state of Virginia, resigning from the U.S. army he had served for so long. He turned down a commission to command all the Union forces and chose instead to fight to defend his homeland, in which his family and his wife’s (Mary Curtis, a descendant of George Washington) had deep roots and in support of slavery, which he endorsed. This decision was tragic but his lengthy and distinguished prior service to the nation should not be disregarded.

        Slavery has a long history and many fine people lost their lives fighting for and against it. We cannot disregard Lee’s role in the crushing losses of the Civil War – on both sides. That we find ourselves in contemporary time still fighting for racial equality is amazing when so much suffering and loss has already been endured. Yet bigotry, inequality, vote suppression, destruction of property loss of life continue. What has America learned from all the losses he has sustained in this ongoing fight for equality? The Confederate Flag is a symbol that reminds the oppressed of the terrible price that has been paid in the name of freedom, and it must be removed from public buildings and properties.

        Lee’s surrender to Grant and his farewell address to his army, are worthy reading. I believe that were Robert E. Lee alive today, he would understand and support the need to paint over the confederate flag with that of the United States of America. Lee was wrong in his personal beliefs but he was a man who when he made a vow, kept it, When he surrendered, he pledged:

        “I, Robert Edward Lee… do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the States there under, and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves, so help me God.”

        The irony today, is that all of us have this obligation as citizens of the United States and yet there are those who continue to deny basic inalienable rights of freedom and equality to all people. Historical perspective reminds us that much has been given so that all can benefit.

        Here’s a link to his surrender and farewell address to his troops.

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/lee-surrender/

        And, for those who didn’t see the PBS documentary, here’s a program transcript that you might find interesting.

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/transcript/lee-transcript/

    • 1mime says:

      Fly, I thought of you tonight while viewing the PBS “Capitol 4th” program. One of the pieces was Rhapsody in Blue with my absolute favorite clarinet piece….Just tears you to pieces when done right, and it was! Hope your music program was as satisfying.

  4. flypusher says:

    This harkens back to the little side conversation about weddings in a previous post. I really want to believe this is an internet hoax, but it looks real:

    (NSFW language)

    http://jezebel.com/charleston-gunmans-sister-solicits-donations-for-her-1715454935

    How oblivious can you be? I usually also have sympathy for the families of the killers, because they didn’t make the choice to do evil, but what a self-absorbed little twit this woman is! (So from that angle, this post is on topic)

  5. flypusher says:

    So on the subject of Trump’s “candor”, this little firestorm hasn’t burned out yet:

    http://news.yahoo.com/hispanic-leaders-republican-party-must-condemn-trump-071734048–election.html

    Immigration reform is an issue that needs to be discussed, and it’s a perfect opportunity for a candidate to show some leadership and propose some solutions. Unfortunately Trump approached it like a typical internet troll. The only difference I can see is that he didn’t hide behind a screen-name.

    • GG says:

      LOL good way of putting it.

      BTW, what the hell is up with dead possum on his head? When I see him that’s all I focus on.

      • johngalt says:

        Since when are possums bright orange?

      • 1mime says:

        Speaking of “live things” on the top of Trump’s head, I heard a cute political parody on NPR this afternoon. The President is remarking (of course this was someone impersonating him humorously) about how Trump has asked to produce his birth certificate again and again. Here’s what he wants to know: when is Trump going to produce a birth certificate for that thing that is living on the top of his head! It was pretty cute. After the parody of O, the impersonator did a remarkable George W. Bush. That was even better. I believe the program was called “capitol steps”. The impersonation concluded with Sen. Diane Feinstein who was acting in her capacity to learn more about the secrets of the Iraq invasion. Her first interviewee was VP Dick Cheney….you would have had to hear it to appreciate the humor – tho Cheney may not have found it amusing.

      • flypusher says:

        Must be a GMO type of possum!

      • fiftyohm says:

        The real question is what the heck is that growing out of the possum’s butt?

  6. shiro17 says:

    I’m entertaining a wild theory that the reason for so many Republican nominees is that this is an entire coordinated scheme to make the Republican nomination akin to some sort of reality TV show as this may be the only way to make the general populace pay attention to politics. If so, then it is ingenious.

    • 1mime says:

      You may be right, Shiro, and it will also make the debates meaningless. With ten candidates on stage, the answers will be 30 seconds long and thus help all of them avoid any meaningful indepth responses.

      I think Democrats Clinton, Sanders and Webb will offer a much more interesting and substantive debate than the Repubs until the two final honchos square off.

    • goplifer says:

      I thought that about the last primary. This is even worse.

      http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2011/03/the-biggest-loser/

      • 1mime says:

        How’d that “very weak incumbent” thing turn out for ya? Or, maybe the bigger point was how incredibly weak the GOP field was to lose to a very weak incumbent?

      • BigWilly says:

        Their public analysis was wrong, and they knew it. C’mon, you know better than that. I like this Webb guy. He hits all the right points; southern, male, christian, appropriately old, and even better (hopefully) somewhat conservative.

        If I may be somewhat Mercurial, I’d like to straighten out the ganbang/drug dealer remark. Let’s just say that these people are in the line of fire, but I in no way decree death unto them. It seems a relatively innocuous remark can travel a long way.

      • flypusher says:

        ” Or, maybe the bigger point was how incredibly weak the GOP field was to lose to a very weak incumbent?”

        I think it’s just more proof of what a great advantage it is to be the incumbent. I though W was ripe for a fall back in 2004, because of Iraq, but he managed to hold on. His dad was the last incumbent to lose, but you had that big monkey wrench in the electoral works that was Ross Perot. Absent a very dismal economy/October surprise/strong 3rd party candidate, it’s become very unlikely to topple a sitting President.

        But the 2nd term seems to embody the old caution of “Beware of what you wish for, you might get it”, because it looks like 2nd terms have been full of headaches at least since Ike.

      • 1mime says:

        Second presidential terms – The Hill had an excellent two year summary of Obama’s difficult second term. It is an interesting recap of political history.

        http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/246801-obamas-second-term-a-timeline

    • EJ says:

      From way over here, it looks a lot like the crowdedness of the Republican primary is a response to the lack of appetite for ideological heterodoxy amongst the party faithful. If the price of entry was a set of unique, thought-out policies then that would naturally limit the number of nominees to the number of sets of possible unique policies: there would be a single Tea Party candidate, a single establishment candidate, and so on. Instead, given the way that nominees get hammered for divergence from the party line, the price of entry seems to be exactly the opposite of that. This means that it’s very easy for anyone to reach the podium: simply show no personality and utter some banal talking points and you’ll not be any worse off than anyone else.

      Worse, an electorate which systematically selects against anyone with any vision in favour of those who can mouth the party line will not motivate visionaries to stand for election: even if those visionaries manage to win by camouflaging themselves amongst the field, they will have no mandate for putting their vision into practise. As a result, such people may wonder what the point of winning is.

      As a result, we have a game where the table stakes are low and the prize pot is small. Small wonder that we see it crowded with lightweights, timewasters and dilettantes.

      • johngalt says:

        I disagree with this. I think there is some degree of ideological heterodoxy. Of course, everyone wants to cut taxes and trim the beast, but Santorum and Rand should not be in the same room together, much less occupy the same stage. Rand has some admirably consistent, if loopy, libertarian ideals, while Santorum is just Christian Taliban. Cruz is both, which is fittingly schizophrenic. There are some practical, business-minded governors who run the gamut from union-busters (Walker) to just-about-too-religious (Bush) to serious asshole (Christie). Then there are people using the campaign as a long job application to be Secretary of HUD or Ambassador to Japan (most of them) or to fertilize the ground for a more legitimate future run (Rubio).

        There are so many of them because they are all so individually unimpressive. None of them have the inevitability (for better or worse) that surrounds Hillary, and that bodes poorly for the GOP prospects in 2016.

      • 1mime says:

        JG< as an extension of your thought about the number and lack of individuality of the GOP field….I think this "crowd" of Republican candidates says a lot about the lack of control the GOP leadership is able to exercise over the process. It's like all these rubber duckies being dropped into a stream floating willy nilly, going with the current, occasionally bumping one another, but no one standing out. The eventual "winner" at the finish line has not exhibited any great skill getting there except to simply "go with the flow".

        To those in the GOP who lament that the size of the field and the inevitable destruction that ensues as the candidates tear into one another's "sameness" while trying to differentiate themselves, I say – find a real conservative – one that will bluntly, publicly critique the conservative party and lay out a plan (such as Lifer has offered) to push a real conservative agenda. Even if I disagree with parts of this plan, I would have great respect for the honest expression.

        That is why I think Bernie Sanders' candidacy is resonating with so many liberals. He has something unabashedly original to say, speaks it clearly and honestly, and offers concrete proposals. He is a "let the chips fall where they may" kind of guy. That is refreshing and much needed in both parties and in American politics.

        Great observations, EJ, from across the pond!

    • RobA says:

      I just think it’s a function of the far right base being fundamentally idealogically rigid and uncompromising in their values.

      Most Dems have their pet issues, of course, but there seems to be much more willingness to compromise on specific ones if the overall candidate MOSTLY represents what you believe. Thus, a few candidates gets it done.

      With the Republican as being very rigid and uncompromising, you need so many different candidates to fill the need of all the niche movements.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – I’m not so sure a big majority of voters see themselves as “I am a Democrat”, or “I am a Republican” first and foremost. Among those that do, I think rigidity is endemic. But, for the most part, elections are won and lost in the vast middle. Now it certainly seems as though the Republicans are currently quite ideologically rigid. (And they’ve picked some really, really stupid issues to be rigid about). But let’s watch and see the inevitable softening of this dogma as the election nears. Likewise Hillary is, for now at least, the frontrunner precisely because she is not particularly extreme. A candidate need garner relatively few votes from that vast center to win.

      • 1mime says:

        Hoa there, Rob! You just stated how rigid and uncompromising Republican Presidential candidates are and that there needed to be a lot of them to fill the various niche movements….how many is that? It seems to me that they are all pretty consistently narrow in every respect – anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-gays, anti-gay marriage, anti-global warming, anti-large government (which means mostly an itsy bitsy gov’t), anti-gun laws, anti-tax (even when they are savaging basic services)…

        Can you think of any niche conservative group that doesn’t hew to all of these positions? What exceptions are there that you can see that I’m not?

      • RobA says:

        Good point 50.

        I guess my bias is getting in the way, I know far lefties are pretty rigid as well.

        Well, in that case, I got nothin’.

        Chemtrails maybe?

      • EJ says:

        RobA, you make a solid point. I vividly remember the hostility and suspicion that McCain and Romney got whenever they had an opinion that differed from the party orthodoxy. I remember thinking at the time, “If this is how America treats her free thinkers then small wonder if they choose to stay out of politics.”

        By contrast, people like Sanders and Warren seem to be extremely welcome within their own party. Yes, they differ from the party line, but that difference seems to be regarded as a strength rather than a liability.

        What do you think the reason for Republican ideological rigidity is?

      • 1mime says:

        Republican rigidity – It’s all about control – of message and the messengers. Conservatives view issues in very “black and white” parameters. Nuance and deviance are punished, not encouraged. Reprisal may be removal of funding for races or outright candidate substitution. The compliant Republican pups who sign “no new tax” pledges with the unelected czar, Grover Norquist, essentially abdicate their primary responsibility to their electorate. Red states and its elected members follow lock-step in messages and actions on the issue of the moment. It is comical to hear Republicans all spouting the same exact lines – like, they don’t think the public notices, or worse, they really don’t care if they do. Party first. Always.

        This is not the way the Democratic Party operates. Healthy disagreement happens but there is at least a platform and opportunity for disagreement without punishment. Unless and until the Republican Party encourages greater independence of thought from within their ranks (and base), they will remain stuck in the political quicksand we see today.

  7. flypusher says:

    Oh my! Interesting, and calling it controversial is a major understatement!

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/2/8884885/american-revolution-mistake

    Could you get a formal debate on this without spiking blood pressures??? I doubt it.

    • 1mime says:

      Hmm, Queen Hillary and Prince William? (-: Think that would go over well?!

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Fascinating article

    • fiftyohm says:

      Of course the influence of Britain was completely benign in its colonial possessions. Her encouragement of peace and tranquility and indigenous cultural self-expression are well documented in Malaya and the Indian subcontinent.

      No spike in blood pressure here. Just nothing to debate.

      • flypusher says:

        50, you’ll get no argument from me about Britian’s manner of rule, but I think there is definitely room for debate of the “what if” variety. The fact that Britian lost control over the 13 American colonies could have played a major role in shaping how they dealt with their other colonies. How much of the harshness of their rule in India could have been a result not wanting a repeat of all that unpleasantness of 1776? The author presents one alternative history. With the changing of such a major event that far back, one could spin any number of tales. Good clean nerdy fun.

        This could be a hook for discussion. I don’t know how much history taught in the public schools has changed since I was there, but this sort of idea would have been verboten back then. My ultra conservative 6th grade history teacher probably would have had a stroke on the spot if anyone had broached such an idea.

        My interest in history is in spite if, not because of, my experience with the Texas public school system.

      • fiftyohm says:

        The author makes much of the supposition that slavery would have been mightily affected. The US abolished the international slave trade the same month as Britain in 1807. Owning slaves remained legal in The Empah until 1833. Slavery was *abolished* in all of the northern states by 1804! This is not to minimize the suffering of the enslaved in the South prior to 1865, but the facts clearly argue against the contention that things would have been just ducky in that regard had we not cast off the yoke of British rule.

        Other contentions of the piece are ludicrous. The author blurts that “parliamentary systems are significantly less likely to collapse into dictatorship” than (I am assuming here), constitutional republics. This is an interesting point of view, as ours was the first, and it is still standing. He goes on to maintain that a plethora of political and economic policies with which he disagrees in the US are a result of our republican system and its foundational documents. There was also a bunch of word salad suggesting, (including the closing sentence), that seem to assert that parliamentary systems must, of necessity also be monarchies. (Ya learn something new every day, I guess.)

        It is also somewhat ironic that Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom. A minor detail for a journalist, I suppose.

        Verily, we should all take heed of this 25 year-old pup with an undergraduate degree in Social Studies. Meh – still can’t seem to raise my blood pressure. Time for a home brew! (Remember, I’m in eastern time.)

      • flypusher says:

        “The author makes much of the supposition that slavery would have been mightily affected. The US abolished the international slave trade the same month as Britain in 1807. Owning slaves remained legal in The Empah until 1833.”

        While slavery was one issue leading up to the revolution in 1776, it wasn’t the only bone of contention at that time. Taxation without representation is a valid gripe. I think that if Britain and the colonies had reached a mutually acceptable deal and avoiding rebellion, the slavery can would have just been kicked down the road, not unlike the way it was with the drafting of the Constitution. I can’t see the South anymore willing to abolish slavery in this case. So maybe you have one war in the 1840s instead of one in the 1770s and another in the 1860s. That may or may not have been better, but I have to wonder that if the anti-slavery side had also won in this alternative universe, whether the losers would have also been allowed the revision of history that’s causing so much national heartburn right now.

        “Other contentions of the piece are ludicrous. The author blurts that “parliamentary systems are significantly less likely to collapse into dictatorship” than (I am assuming here), constitutional republics. This is an interesting point of view, as ours was the first, and it is still standing.”

        That’s the weakest part IMO. He didn’t give examples, and I don’t recall any other constitutional republics coming about in the same way ours did, i.e., an alliance of different colony governments. He would have done better to cite concern that the Legislative branch is getting too clogged with gridlock, and the Executive branch is filling that power vacuum. Griping about Executive overreach is subject to the political jitterbug, i.e., often the complaints coincide a lot with the complainer’s party not holding the White House, but the trend is there, and not just with Obama. For example, I don’t think that Congress has actually declared war on anyone since WWII, but there’s been lots of American boots on the ground all over the world since then. Congress has pretty much declined to use that specifically delegated power to declare war (or not), and there goes one on the checks and balances. A certain amount of gridlock was intended as a feature, but I think it’s devolved into a bug, and that’s worrisome for keeping the constitutional republic functional.

        “that seem to assert that parliamentary systems must, of necessity also be monarchies.”

        I’m not sold on monarchs myself, but I must admit that Queen Elizabeth II will always have my respect for this:

        http://www.vox.com/2015/1/23/7877243/king-abdullah-queen-drive

      • 1mime says:

        What a wonderful story, Fly! Women will eventually ascend to leadership positions at all levels of business and government and will make strong contributions. They simply need the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. It will come.

      • RobA says:

        50 – yeah I think it’s wrong about slavery.

        Even if the Revolution hadn’t ever happened, it absolutely would have if they tried to get rid of slavery.

        If the South was willing to go to War with the North over slavery, surely they would have against Britain

        I think the AR was more or less inevitable. If it didn’t happen in 1776, it probably would have happened several different times in the next 100 years.

      • EJ says:

        Speaking of the British Monarchy, happy independence day to you all.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Yes, it was the speculative nature of the article that made it kinda mind opening.
      Some writers build a fiction career on writing social science fiction, like the Handmaiden’s Tale.

      • 1mime says:

        OK, if the gang is interested in historical speculation, imagine if France had not sold Pres. Jefferson The LA Purchase in 1803. – For a measly $15 million dollars, “The nation-changing Louisiana Purchase subsequently almost doubled the size of the United States overnight. This massive transfer of land included all of present-day Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa; most of Colorado, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, as well as significant parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and Louisiana. ”

        The lands west of the LA Purchase were still in Spanish possession and this territory added to Florida, completed a contiguous mainland from Atlantic to Pacific, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

        Good thing old Bony was so battle-fatigued and strapped for cash that he agreed to sell to Pres. Jefferson….What a coup for the fledgling nation…..

        What if, indeed.

      • fiftyohm says:

        An excellent point, mime! And if by grandmother has wheels, she’d be a bus! 😉

      • Well, 1mime, we got that land so cheap because civilized folks of the time wrote off much of that land as being uninhabitable. Spend an entire year in, say, Wichita, confining yourself to the climate control technology of the time, and you might well arrive at the same conclusion.

      • 1mime says:

        There are some who look to space as a habitable environment…..others who can’t visualize the possibilities. We probably won’t be around to witness such an experiment but it is a fascinating thing to ponder.

      • flypusher says:

        “Good thing old Bony was so battle-fatigued and strapped for cash that he agreed to sell to Pres. Jefferson….What a coup for the fledgling nation…..”

        Some irony for you 1mime:

        http://history1800s.about.com/od/americamoveswestward/f/haiti-louisiana-purchase.htm

        It was a slave rebellion (the thing the South probably feared the most) that put Bonaparte in that difficult position.

      • 1mime says:

        Most interesting, Fly. I knew Haiti was a factor but this account fleshed it out for me. Slavery and oppression have changed the face of our world in so many ways.

    • Kebe says:

      Read this gem of AH from the 1970s for a plausible alternative. See how the early USM resembles the Confederacy…

      http://www.amazon.com/Want-Nail-Burgoyne-Greenhill-Paperback/dp/1853675040/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435875365&sr=8-1&keywords=sobel+for+want+of+a+nail

    • Well, I’ll tackle the one item fifty neglected. It seems to me that our native Americans sealed their own fate by serving as the the Crown’s proxies (via Tecumseh’s Confederacy) in the War of 1812. Whatever rapprochement between the tribal nations and the U.S. might of been possible certainly went down in flames in that sad episode.

      It’s of course ludicrous to suggest that native Americans would have fared any better under British rule. At every turn the British exploited native Americans to further their own ends.

      As long as we’re speculating, I’ve always wondered what might have transpired had Tecumseh survived, or had his brother the prophet proven a more effective military leader. In some parallel universe, the western border of the U.S. might well be the Ohio river…

    • fiftyohm says:

      FP – A weak piece. Using a cheap rhetorical device, the Pethokoukis spouts his version of ‘how it is’, and says how amusing it would be for Christie to say that. Haha. Lame.

      • 1mime says:

        What did you read that you found nonfactual, Fifty?

      • fiftyohm says:

        That’s not the point, Mime. It would be like me positing you saying how government is too big and too intrusive. And then having a big chuckle about it. It brings nothing to the discussion.

      • 1mime says:

        If you ever hear me saying government is too big and intrusive, that would be worthy of a chuckle,Fifty!

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I was reminded of your statement about government size when I read this WSJ piece today. “Government size” is more complex than most people realize. The article provides interesting historical detail and contemporary analysis on the subject.

        “Given the grinding budget battles of recent years, it’s almost hard to believe the federal government now employs the fewest people since the mid-1960s. Yet according to Friday’s jobs report, the federal government now employs 2,711,000 people (excluding non-civilian military). Among the economy’s largest job sectors, it was the only one to shrink over the past year.”

        Also of interest in the article is the fact the growth of state and local government.

        “Local governments, in particular, have boomed from 4 million employees in the 1950s to over 14 million today. In the mid-1950s, state governments employed half as many people as the federal government. Today, state governments employ nearly twice as many….But these, too, are just the raw numbers. As a share of the total workforce, overall government employment has been dropping since 2010..”

        http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/11/07/the-federal-government-now-employs-the-fewest-people-since-1966/

      • fiftyohm says:

        Understood!

      • johngalt says:

        This piece in a hard-left publication really describes how Chris Christie would “tell it like it is” if he weren’t a Republican.

        I do think Christie, for all his faults, could get a foothold if he told it like it is on the fact that the GOP has accomplished nothing constructive over the last 6 years and needs to shed its distractions to focus on real, practical, conservative solutions to problems and pound this message home (with some hints as to what those solutions would be).

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t agree, JG. Christie’s style is too confrontational and mean-spirited. He’s not going to be able to put that genie back in the bottle. In “his” version of honesty, Christie will have some tall explaining to do about his decision to kill the tunnel between NJ & NY, and, more importantly, what he did with the money that had been allocated for the project. There are lots of nasty little secrets there for his opponents to plumb and you can bet they will. Plus, there’s still the “Bridgegate” debacle, which those in his administration who have been charged, may yet present some nasty surprises. Christie has worn out his welcome with the people of NJ and I submit his political future may not be as promising as he wishes.

        The honest and constructive observations and suggestions that Lifer has offered in hhis book provide a template for positive change for both parties. Instead, the mentality that “the emperor has no clothes” persists. Unfortunately, the Republican Party is having to deal with the devil they created in their embrace of the right wing extremists in the party, who are exulting right now in their legislative power accomplishments. I almost feel sorry for them.

        Lifer is offering honest criticism AND positive ideas to make governance more accountable and relevant. If you haven’t read his book to its conclusion, you should. It ends on a hopeful, constructive note which America needs even as some disparage.

      • flypusher says:

        Everyone who follows politics for fun and/or profit has those little fantasies. The part of this little daydream that struck a chord with me was the bit about stop talking like Obama is worse than the devil. Christie took some serious grief for saying good things about working with Obama after SuperStorm Sandy. When you can’t put aside partisan bickering to deal with a natural disaster, that’s a dangerous level of petty and stupid. Christie would do the country a great service by making that point often and bluntly. He would be tha absolute best candidate to make it, and he probably has little to lose in making it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – Agreed.

        FP – It is not at all surprising that Christie’s comments on the issue you mention went unmentioned in the subject piece. Guess they wouldn’t have been so ‘funny’.

      • johngalt says:

        The problem, Mime, is that cool, rational, logical thinking is going absolutely nowhere in the GOP campaign. I had (past tense) thought that Christie’s personality, which had allowed him to get at least some stuff done in blue New Jersey, might be the ticket to cut through some of the BS. I still think he can play that role, if he can stay on message, but he’s likely too flawed to actually win the nomination. I think after 24 years (my god) of unfulfilled idealism (Obama), conspiracy-minded, incompetent war-mongering (W.), and the frat house that was Clinton, the voters would be very (VERY) receptive to a no-nonsense straight talker with a track record of working with the other side.

    • I find Christie every bit as repulsive as Trump. I can’t abide a bully, and were Christie to attempt to treat me like he treats his constituents, I’d have my hands full subduing the irrepressible urge to hand him his fat derriere on a platter. The thought of that tub of lard bringing the “New Jersey model” to the rest of the U.S. gives me the screaming willies. No thanks.

      As for the Pethokoukis bit, sounds like a decent speech for the Hildebeast.

      • 1mime says:

        Well Tracy, we concur on Christie and the Don! I like your five principles and agree with their importance. It’s “how” these basic rights are pursued (and imposed) that challenges one. Even though we disagree on many specific issues, I believe we agree on many broad principles….the devil is in the details. Now, you may argue (persuasively) that these principles are inviolate – no room for deviation or flexibility. Every day I see life exacting a toll on basic freedoms, which I accept as part of living in a civilized society. The extent to which these demands intrude on my personal rights varies by issue, and I have tried to be selective as to where I draw the line. As you noted, sometimes we find ourselves at odds within a certain basic right. That does keep life interesting while it can be irritating.

      • “…the devil is in the details.” Yep! 🙂

        Even assuming there were no criminals among us, we’d still need government, the reason being that the exercise of our individual rights in the public sphere always has the potential to negatively impact our neighbors. John Locke, in what I believe to be one of the most powerful passages ever penned in the English language, put it this way:

        “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise Maker; all the servants of one sovereign Master, sent into the world by His order, and about His business; they are His property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during His, not one another’s pleasure: and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us, that may authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our’s. Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods or another.

        So, 1mime, it’s important for us all to understand that people of good conscience, exercising Locke’s law of reason, could arrive at different conclusions about what is ‘reasonable’ when it comes to the governance of the exercise of our rights in the public sphere. For instance, in the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights, where public safety comes into play, it’s only natural that goodhearted people might come to different conclusions about what restrictions might be reasonable, much as you and I have.

        It is in this realm of shared reason (which is marked by an honest desire for *mutual* benefit) that compromise is legitimate, and only in this realm. Compromise is not a virtue in and of itself. Compromise for its own sake serves no purpose (and is in fact not really possible); compromise with a dishonest broker exposes one to subsequent injury; compromise of principle serves only evil. The understanding and application of this principle is what makes politics such an engaging sport.

      • 1mime says:

        The best primer on compromise is marriage.

      • Compromise? Yes, dear. 😉

    • fiftyohm says:

      Tracy – I have a hard time blaming Christie for the “New Jersey model”, if by that you mean confiscatory taxation, Newark, and all the rest. He’s the first Republican governor since 2002.

      • 1mime says:

        Hmm, I’ve heard tell that in Jersey, the Republicans act just like the Democrats. Any truth to that?

      • johngalt says:

        Many years ago I found myself at a charity dinner (I was one of the beneficiaries, not the donors!) full of extremely wealthy New Yorkers when the subject of the then-current U.S. Senate race between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton came up. The table agreed, to a person, that Giuliani was an asshole and not fit to represent the state of New York in the Senate. It simply would not be dignified. I commented that it had been my impression that Giuliani had done a good job as mayor of NYC and that he was quite popular in the city. “Yes, of course,” replied one of the socialites, “but it takes a hard man to be mayor of New York. But, my goodness, we wouldn’t want that as a senator.”

        Similarly, Christie plays New Jersey hardball, and this is not, indeed, all that partisan. That probably won’t sell well nationally.

      • RobA says:

        Interesting anecdote JG.

        Some politicians only have political value in a very niche role. Remembe, Winston Churchill lost in a landslide right after the war.

        The skillet required to run the country in wartime is different from peacetime and voters sensed this.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Excellent point re: Churchill. Every time I think of that I shake my head in amazement. Churchill may have been an asshole, but he sure was a smart asshole.

      • 1mime says:

        Some might say the same of Bill Clinton or FDR…..but definitely could not say that about G.W. Bush. War leadership didn’t improve him. His one shining moment was his genuine sorrow over 9/11, and that was transient, at best.

      • 50, I’m mostly referring to his personal style, although I don’t cut him any policy slack, either. One of his constituents was recently brutally murdered as a result of his state’s despicable gun laws and reprehensible bureaucratic foot dragging. It was within his purview to address that, and he did nothing. Shameful.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tracy – Whether or not Carol Browne’s murder could have been, (with any real certainty), prevented by her being armed is questionable. Minimal training in situational awareness, a night time situation, a familiar person, and a possible attack from behind by a stronger assailant with a knife would make the outcome anything less than certain. But I do agree with the general gist of what you say regarding the state’s completely stupid gun laws.

      • fiftyohm says:

        anything *but* certain…

        Sorry.

      • All very true, 50, but I subscribe to a very simple mathematics:

        Some chance > No chance

        The governor’s bureaucrats denied Ms. Browne that chance.

  8. johngalt says:

    Back to the Southern issue. This is an interesting piece on the public relations war the Confederates won after the actual war was over. I didn’t realize how many Confederate war memorials existed in places that didn’t actually support the Confederacy.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/07/01/why-do-people-believe-myths-about-the-confederacy-because-our-textbooks-and-monuments-are-wrong/

    • flypusher says:

      I really do wonder, if you had a time machine and the power the change one event, if preventing the assassination of Lincoln could have prevented this. Reconstruction was so horribly botched.

      But it would be a fitting memorial to the latest 9 victims of all the lies and denial if a lot of blinders were wrenched from the apologist’s eyes.

    • johng, one characteristic of the American psyche is that we’ve always had a soft spot for the valiant, vanquished foe. Visit Tecumseh Court at the Naval Academy for an example of the same that has nothing to.do with the Civil War.

  9. bubbabobcat says:

    “Granted, it would be reasonable to assume that an independent campaign by Trump will peel away more potential Republican voters than Democrats, but it’s hard to be certain.”

    Um Chris. as a hardcore Democrat and liberal, that is about the biggest insult you can throw our way. Liberal Democrats are just as racist, delusional, and just flat out stupid as the Tea Party?

    He will get zero support from Democrats. Even Keisha Rogers only mistakenly got as much support a she did because she was shrewd enough to run as a Democrat and the genetic luck to be born a Black woman and there will always be a clueless and unaware and uneducated contingent of both parties to vote for knee jerk “typical” candidates at face value with no due diligence expended whatsoever.

    Trump ain’t fooling even the dumbest Democrat.

    The most likely roadmap for a (Jeb) Republican victory is if Bernie Sanders has Jon Anderson like popularity (as it appears already) and he runs as an independent 3rd candidate in the general election because Hillary is sooooo NOT the chic liberal pick, or Bernie’s Base © is so fanatical and disillusioned with Hillary (and find her no different from Jeb) that they just stay home in November if there are only 2 choices.

  10. BigWilly says:

    Donald Trump, bring it on we’re listening. We’d like to hear some serious talk about the economy. Micro and macro would suffice. I’d like to know what you have learned about econ from the casino biz.

    If the GOP nomination process is to be referred to as a “clown car” just remember that they’ve got the corner on diversity this time around.

    The Dems have Hilary and their conscience to deal with. Two septuagenarian caucasians vs. the “clown car.”

    At least we fitna have some fun.

    • 1mime says:

      I’ll tell you what the Donald learned about the econ from casino biz: “There’s a sucker born every day!”

  11. RobA says:

    Speaking of the experiment in Brownbackistan: seems every month the tax revenues are lower then predicted even just a few months ago. Pretty hard to project a solid budget when every month revenues are coming in less then expected.

    And as income tax revenues continue to drop, there’s also a decent chance the recent “fix” (keep the income tax cuts for rich ppl in place, jack up the state sales tax for everything, which of couse will disproportionatly affect t low income earners) won’t work either.

    The “fix” is based on current spending levels. But in the modern digital age, how much of those purchases will be redirected to online shopping where tax won’t be paid? Or redirected to bordering states with lower tax rates?

    Someone in the comment section said the rise in tax rate will be completely offset by even a 6% in overall transactions. Given the size of the rate hike, that is definitely within the realm if plausibility

  12. vivalagalgo says:

    With Trump in the race and probably on the debate stage, I’ll be watching the debates for the entertainment factor. And with Christie in, it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his temper and bullying comments in check on the campaign trail. It’s gonna be fun, folks.

    • flypusher says:

      So it’s top 10 to make the debate cut, right? What’s the total candidate count now? 14? Anyone else expected to join?

      • RobA says:

        Im sure David Duke is surveying the political landscape and decided to form an exploratory committee.

  13. flypusher says:

    We could be charitable and say that the Donald is keeping lots of comics and pundits and commentators occupied, off the streets, and out of trouble.

    But good Lord! If that man isn’t the biggest narcissistic Ahole on the planet, I shudder to think of what would one-up him!

    • Anse says:

      My thought about Trump has always been that he’s ultimately more interested in promoting himself. A presidential candidacy is a ton of exposure, some of it costing him money, much of it absolutely free. But then he goes out there and says these pretty asinine and quite racist things, and I wonder what he was thinking.

      I’m reminded of Michael Jordan, who was once asked why he was not a more vocal participant in political matters. His reply was, “Republicans buy shoes, too.” You’d think the Donald would have that kind of smarts.

      • flypusher says:

        You answered yourself with your 1st sentence. The man is an attention whore. People (inducing us) are talking about him, and I don’t think there is anything he wants more.

        If I have to feed that man’s addiction, I’ll do it with as much snark as I can.

      • RobA says:

        So far it seems to be pretty much a disaster for him PR and business wise.

        I’m sure he figured he’d get some free publicity as a Prez candidate, maybe make a few waves in a debate or two, and then go back to his tv show and all his other crap with a raised profile.

        Looks like his show won’t ever be coming back on, and even his properties like Miss Universe are getring cancelled.

        Not a good strategy so far.

        It begs the question : is Trump ACTUALLY a xenophobic racist, or is that simply the role one needs to play once you become a republican candidate in 2015?

    • 1mime says:

      I’ll tell you what will one-up Trump: the good old capitalistic business model, aka, “don’t just get mad, get even!” The big hitters in Mexico are weighing in and not only is Trump the loser, but so is his party. The great big wall Trump describes to keep out Mexican thugs and rapists may well be surrounding his “business and political empires…pitiful as they really are.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/06/30/how-mexico-is-going-to-make-donald-trump-pay/?postshare=4251435694790409&wpisrc=nl_daily202&wpmm=1

  14. Trump is going to be more entertaining than a barrel of monkeys. Heck, I’m pretty sure the inside of his head *is* a barrel of monkeys! Now, if only Bloomberg would jump in the race on the opposing ticket.

  15. Anse says:

    Has anybody in the GOP clown car called out Trump for his offensive and racist comments about immigrants? I haven’t heard any, and I’m kind of shocked by it. I’m shocked that they aren’t using it against him. It really says something about how much weight that kind of talk has with Republican voters.

    • 1mime says:

      Anse, the GOP can’t use Trump’s racist immigrant comments against him because THEY FEEL THE SAME WAY. To deny Trump would turn off the GOP base who froths at the mouth over any mention of immigration.

      Checkmate.

      • Anse says:

        Yeah, I saw a blurb today that said the Donald’s poll numbers of jumped a little in Iowa and New Hampshire over the last few days. Really sad.

    • Doug says:

      His comments were about ILLEGAL immigrants. There is no reason for legal immigrants or Hispanics in general to get their panties in a wad.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Doug, it’s like night and day between legal and illegal Hispanic immigrants. The legal ones are pure as the driven snow and the illegal ones are the dregs of humanity like Trump described. Must be nice to be live in such a distinct binary black and white world. Especially when you’re White.

      • Doug says:

        Only a racist would lump them all together. The rest of us make a distinction between legal and illegal.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug – “the rest of us make a distinction between legal and illegal…”

        I assume “the rest of us” means conservatives, alone? You do realize that there is a huge concern in the U.S. by people of all political persuasion that is pleading for immigration reform? It is disingenuous at best to ignore the real problems inherent in the immigration issue by making such simplistic statements as above.

        The Republican Party doesn’t want to solve immigration, it’s been too lucrative as a whipping post to gin up their base. When Pres. G.W. Bush introduced a “Pathway to Citizenship”, I hoped we would finally see a rational effort by Republicans to address immigration. We all know what happened to that proposal and it’s been downhill ever since. Are there any conservatives out there who can’t understand that when you build border walls you may keep some illegal immigrants out but you are also keeping many within. So, given this scenario, what is your solution Doug to deal with the problem? (Please, no “cute” answers.)

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thaaaat’s right Doug. Illegal = not even worth consideration as a human being. But that’s just me being “racist” in your twisted world. Damn glad I don’t live there.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        And here is reason number 1,239,876 the GOP continues (and likely will continue) to struggle attracting Hispanic voters.

        Demonizing (and dehumanizing) illegal immigrants probably isn’t going to endear you to all the folks who have parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, great grandparents, or friends who may have come here illegally. Why would I want to vote for your party when your party thinks my grandfather is a rapist?

        In terms of getting panties in a wad, Hispanics in general might recognize that we probably have more third-year college student rapists than we have illegal immigrant rapists, and the GOP isn’t talking about that.

        Some folks might recognize that when the GOP trots out a statistic about 80% of women and girls crossing the border illegally have been raped, it is the only rape statistic the GOP ever takes as truth while trying to minimize all other rape statistics.

        Other folks might recognize that it was the GOP that explicitly refused to allow any funds to go an abortion for these raped girls crossing the border. Evidently, these women’s bodies didn’t have a way to just shut that down, but hey, here is a coupon for some Pampers, and good luck with that.

        But yep, it is liberals who are racist. Keep saying it loud enough and maybe folks will believe you.

      • 1mime says:

        Super response, Houston. Sadly, here’s the latest Gallup Poll on the issue. You may be surprised.

        http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/02/politics/confederate-flag-poll-racism-southern-pride/index.html

      • Doug says:

        “The Republican Party doesn’t want to solve immigration”

        Certainly none of establishment Republicans.

        What would I do? First, get serious about punishing employers who hire them. Deport the ones that are caught. Stop all government benefits. Finally, clarify that citizenship is not go bestowed upon children of illegals. That’s a start.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Doug wrote: The rest of us make a distinction between legal and illegal.

        Funny, so how does one distinguish between legal and illegal Hispanic. Laws that those that make the distiction between the two never seem to upset when those of us that are gernetaions born Hispanics and those that are undocumented. Arizona’s laws punished treated legal residents as though they were criminals. I remember your pal Buzzy claiming we should just suck it up.

        Doug then wrote: Finally, clarify that citizenship is not go bestowed upon children of illegals.

        Now that it is us brown people taking advantage of the constitution, well things now have to change. I bet you are one of those that claims to support the constitution and a constitutionally limited government. Well, except when the wrong looking people try to use it, right?

        Thanks for the reminder why I have not voted Republican since 1988 and probably will never do so again. The Democrats have their issue but at least I get a seat at the table with them. The modern GOP is trying to relieve me of the burden of having a say in society. I guess I should thank them for trying to relieve me of my rights.

      • Doug says:

        Are you here illegally, turtles? You can pretend to be persecuted all you want,but if not then nobody is refusing you a seat at the table. In fact, the Republicans have infinitely more “brown” candidates in the next election.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Are you here illegally, turtles?

        No and that does not change the fact that Republicans especially those of the tp type try to pass laws that would force me to prove I am a citizen simply because I have brown skin (ala AZ papers please laws). It also does not change the fact that too many in the GOP are accepting of those with bigoted views. Feel free to pretend it is not so but those views are in plain site for all to see. At least those without blinders on.

        As for Trump’s comments there were false and supported a false claim that those crossing the border here are violent criminals. Legal or illegal had nothing to do with it because it ultimately is just the demonization of people simply to play to the ugly side of the GOP base. That is why it is offensive.

      • flypusher says:

        “No and that does not change the fact that Republicans especially those of the tp type try to pass laws that would force me to prove I am a citizen simply because I have brown skin (ala AZ papers please laws).”

        Some Hispanic people in the SouthWest descend from families that have been there since before there even was a United States. Why should they have to prove their citizenship when White people who recently moved to AZ to retire don’t?

      • 1mime says:

        Many elderly people have experienced the same problem Fly in so far as having to “prove” they are legitimate American citizens.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “Some Hispanic people in the SouthWest descend from families that have been there since before there even was a United States. ”

        Fly – I come from one of those families. Yet, I am always asked where are my parents from? Both born in Texas. What about your grandparents? They are from South Texas. I can trace my family back well back to Spanish control of Texas. Though to be honest I have a great grand Mother from southern Mexico. Uneducated people do not realize a good portion of Texas Mexican decendants did not cross a border. The border crossed us.

  16. briandrush says:

    Love this piece, Chris. I just laughed all the way through it.

    I still think you’re mistaken about Bernie Sanders, of course. If he wins the Democratic nomination, he’ll also win the White House. Beating Hillary is his real challenge. Beating the GOP nominee will be a walkover for either him or her. He’s a lot less “out there” than you’re giving him credit for; all of his policy positions have the approval of a solid majority of the voters. It’s only the “socialist” label that makes him seem weird to you, and that’s misleading.

    OTOH, as already noted in another comment, if he runs on a third-party ticket as a spoiler, that would do it, potentially. He won’t do that, though.

    If we look at the last time one party had a lock on the White House, which was the GOP from 1860 to 1928, we can learn something from the exceptions: 1884, 1892, 1912, and 1916. In 1884, the Republicans were tainted with scandals and a reputation for corruption, and Grover Cleveland — almost indistinguishable from the right wing of the GOP in policy stances — had a reputation as an anti-corruption crusader. He still lost his reelection bid, but managed to squeak out a second term with one term skipped.

    In 1912, Woodrow Wilson would certainly have lost except for Theodore Roosevelt’s third-party spoiler run. The Democrat would also have most likely lost in 1916 if he were not a sitting president with a fairly successful first term.

    So it takes a “perfect storm” sort of situation for the shut-out party to win, but it is possible. A spoiler run by the loser of the Democratic nomination might do the trick.

  17. RobA says:

    OT by a lot,.but I’m really surprised this isn’t a bigger story.

    7 black churches burned down since the Charleston shooting? I don’t think ANYbody is talking about this right now.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/again-historic-black-church-in-south-carolina-gutted-by-fire-20-years-after-kkk-burned-it-down/

    • rightonrush says:

      Death threats are being sent to female pastor’s of the AME churches.
      CLARENDON COUNTY, SC

      Two Clarendon County pastors say they have been targeted with threats of violence just because they are women.

      The two pastors received letters where the writer used Bible verses to threaten the women, leaving them concerned about their safety. One letter was left on the front door of Society Hill AME Church on June 10th for Pastor Mary Rhodes.

      “Whoever wrote this letter has taken the rime to find out who I am which means you may know my children, my grandchildren, and I have no clue who you are” Pastor Rhodes said.

      Four days later, Pastor Valarie Bartley received the same letter at Reevesville AME Church.

      The writer, who identifies as Apostle Prophet Harry Leon Fleming, says in the letter that “the woman cannot be head of the man in church, home and the world.”

      http://www.wistv.com/story/29446127/female-pastors-in-clarendon-county-receive-letters-threatening-their-safety

    • 1mime says:

      Rob! This is horrible! Why isn’t this all over the news? What can we do to get this information out?

    • flypusher says:

      IIRC, 3 are suspicious. I think that lightning is suspected with this one, and another is probably electrical. But deliberate church arsons have happened in clusters before, so I know I’d be extra vigilant if I were in any of those congregations.

    • way2gosassy says:

      Sorry but I don’t believe in coincidence with these numbers, 1 or 2 maybe but certainly not 7 and taking into consideration the timing of these fires, I don’t want to sound like Alex Jones but sumptin ain’t right.

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, story about the 7 churches being burned finally made the Houston Chronicle today. Of course, since the HC is such a liberal paper we can rest assured that the story will not appear in conservative tomes. Online, I read about the sad choice Black congregations and ministry are facing about arming their sanctuaries. Just in case there is ANYONE out there who mistakenly believes racism is on the wane, open. your. eyes.
      Not that these distasteful acts will influence the SCOTUS affirmative action decision, but one can only hope their decision is made with eyes wide open. And, as Fly mentioned, financial reasons may need to be integrated into Affirmative Action, but as long as there is racism, which undeniably is a truth, there will be a need for some version of AA.

  18. tuttabellamia says:

    Mr. Trump’s comments are so outrageous he has got to be a political troll.

    When he made those horrible comments about Mexican immigrants, my fellow Hispanics and I looked at each other and said, “He’s kidding, right?”

    I get the impression he’s poking fun at his own party, at the whole political process, with comments like, “I can be as obnoxious as I want to be, because I’m rich.”

    He cannot possibly be taken seriously as a candidate.

    • rightonrush says:

      I dunno Tutt, he’s gaining ground in Iowa. Looks like he is taking votes away from Scott Walker. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/07/01/walkers-iowa-lead-shrinks-slightly-trump-and-carson-gaining-ground/

      • RobA says:

        Instead it ironic that the very comments/tactics that are destroying his professional/business assets are the exact same ones that are raising his political appeal to the far right base?

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Well, I think the absolute minimum requirement for being in politics is simple DIPLOMACY, and Mr. Trump is severely lacking in this skill.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Why should he be kidding? Many in the GOP like the tea party support such comments and positions. In the last election cycle the tea party favorite Herman Cain proposed an electric fence on the Mexican border that would kill those attempting to cross.

      “It’s going to be 20 feet high. It’s going to have barbed wire on the top. It’s going to be electrified. And there’s going to be a sign on the other side saying, ‘It will kill you — Warning.’”

    • 1mime says:

      Let me predict that the GOP Debate stage is one that Donald Trump will not grace. He’d better stick to the ladies……

      • RobA says:

        I think he’s probably pretty smart in certain specific ways, I. E. Business. He’s too successful to deny that.

        To debate though one needs a broad intellect and sharp mind (exceptions exist *cough* ted cruz *cough*). I envision Trump getting absolutely dusted in a live debate.

      • EJ says:

        Donald Trump cannot be considered a successful businessman unless your definition of “successful businessman” involves personally profiting from running your businesses very badly.

        Trump Taj Mahal in 1991 and Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992 were early failures in which he was able to walk away by managing to saddle his shareholders and creditors with the losses. Interestingly, this had been predicted as early as 1990, and Trump’s response had been to sue and demand that the analyst who made the (subsequently vindicated) prediction was fired.

        Trump’s remaining hotels and casinos were combined into Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts which as late as 1998 was still profitless. When it finally defaulted on its debts and went under in 2004, creditors were willing to restructure on the condition that Donald Trump was removed from his position as CEO. The business itself wasn’t bad, he was just doing a terrible job at the helm. Trump’s remaining business, Trump Entertainment Resorts, was never able to pay its debts and filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and again in 2014.

        What he is extremely good at is persuading people to stake their money on his businesses, and avoiding having to put his own cash up for it. It’s a mystery why people fall for it.

      • 1mime says:

        Good rejoinder, EJ. I have read about Trumps financial exploits for years. He is a weasel. In fact, this is the last comment I intend to make about “him” as I don’t want to give him any more print presence. Let’s just ignore the SOB – that would really upset him, narcissist that he is.

  19. rightonrush says:

    Lord have mercy, this is the best primary that I can ever remember. Lots of entertainment when they try to out crazy each other. The debates are gonna be must see TV.

  20. Stephen says:

    I wonder if Bernie Sanders ran as an independent if he might Ross Perot,Hillary pulling enough votes off to let the GOP candidate to win. But for that to work we must nominate a centralist candidate. Other wise conservative people will not vote or vote for Hillary as the lesser of the evil.

    • Stephen says:

      And by conservative I do not mean crazy people. True conservatives are usually moderate in governance philosophy.

    • rightonrush says:

      Bernie Sanders is pulling in huge crowds everywhere he goes. Unlike Perot (who I personally like) Sanders has a large middle class & young voter grass roots organization that’s gaining more and more volunteers everyday.

      • RobA says:

        As a 30 y/o, I can tell you the vast majority of my social group is enthralled with him, despite most of us having never heard of him until recently.

        He’s definitely tapping in to something. A feeling that our system of capitalism isn’t quite working for all of us. A sense that the idea of of unregulated and unfettered capitalism is actually a bad idea rather than a good one. That education and healthcare and infrastructure are what we should be spending money on, not tax cuts for the rich and cutting social services to the bone.

        I don’t think Sanders can win. I think even Sanders realizes this. He brings tremendous value though just by his presence, mostly because he’s going to bring ALL serious candidates (even the GOP nominee, assuming it’s not Huckabee or Cruz) to the left on these crucial issues.

        Hillary or Jeb are not stupid. When they see these ideas put out by Sanders being very popular and forming a grassroots movement, they’re going to incorporate those into their platform.

        And that’s a great th8ng. We have given the Art Laffer types 40 years of their economic experiments, with disastrous consequences for the middle class. Time to try something new.

      • 1mime says:

        Hillary must be feeling “snake-bit”. Here’s the thing, Rob. If Bernie cannot topple Hillary outright, Dems have to support Hillary. We cannot afford to split the Democratic voter base. Repubs would love this….no point in making their job easier. Bernie has nothing to lose and will create some excitement and honesty in the Dem Presidential race. I’ll let the Repubs handle their own. Goodness knows, it will be a challenge.

        I share all the reasons you stated for voting against the Republican Party, and I’m a 71 year old, so there’s something to be said about common concerns among those who cannot support the Republican platform. Mainly, I want a Democratic candidate to win the Presidency and I’ll support whoever ends up as the nominee because the alternative is more of the same crap you’ve described in your comments.

      • rightonrush says:

        I wouldn’t underestimate Bernie. Lots of folks, myself included are sick of the status quo and are listening very intently to Bernie’s message. I think the closer it gets to the primary the more the gap closes between him and Hillary.

      • RobA says:

        Could be RoR

        It’s easy to forget that Hillary was a “given” in 2008 and Obama was just a dude who had made a good speech.

      • RobA says:

        I agree Mime. As big as Hillarys flaws are (and they’re pretty big) I still like her as a pragmatic and non crazy candidate.

        Hillary wants one thing: to be president. And I don’t think she cares too much how she goes about it. Not to say she’s got no princeples, but if she senses she needs to come hard left on certain issues, she won’t hesitate to do so in a second.

        I’d prefer that to an unbending idealogue.

  21. johngalt says:

    I think spinning Trump’s candidacy as a potentially positive thing for the GOP is evidence that Chris is a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Well, the title of his blog does say: “Because leaving isn’t exactly an option.”

      And he has compared his being in the Republican Party to being a prisoner.

      • RobA says:

        I’ve never understood that. I respect Lifers obvious intelligence to not question his reasons for his political affiliation. I’m sure they are well thought out and justified.

        I’ve never gotten the “it’s not like leaving is an option” though. From where I stand, if I were a traditional, sane, intelligent old school republican, it seems to me that leaving would be the ONLY option.

        There is literally nothing in the modern GOP that would keep me there. Even the bedrock of “fiscal conservatism” Isn’t there anymore. Fiscal conservatism involves both the the taxing AND the spending part. Anybody serious about governing a country to a healthy economy cannot look at taxes as an unambiguous evil.

        Brownback Kansas is a literal microcosm of current Republican fiscal policy: slash social services/education/infrastructure spending to the bone, and cut taxes for the rich to nothing. And the state is in an economic hell hole.

        Even if you were clinging to the last vestiges of an old school republican parry in the form of fiscal conservancy there is nothing in the current GOP for you.

        Fiscal conservancy isn’t ABOUT cutting spending and lowering taxes. It’s ABOUT a healthy and vibrant economy, and the vehicle that is usually DONE is by cutting spending (within reason). But the main takeaway is that cutting spending isn’t the GOAL. A strong economy is.

        Modern “fiscal conservatism” looks at cutting spending as the GOAL, regardless of what it might do to the overall economy.in Brownback situation, you’ve got the two Pillar of modern fiscal policy: low taxes and slashed spending. That’s why Brownback still Ludacrisly defends them. Because to them, they ARE a success. Never mind that they are destroying the overall economy. That’s simoly collateral damage.

      • 1mime says:

        For all the criticism about Dems by conservatives, they cannot ignore the facts….even if they’d like to and even if they attempt to “spin” them to their base.

        “The nation has 3.3 m more jobs than BEFORE the recession and the overall economy is larger than it was in December, ’07, when the downturn began”….Yet, “Most Americans still have a long way to go to recapture the sharp losses they suffered during the 2008-09 recessions when average incomes for the bottom 99% plummeted 11.6%…in those two years…Solid job growth is finally boosting paychecks for the rest of us. Still, income inequality worsened in 2014.”

        Does anyone here really think the American people are going to forget this?

        http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HoustonChronicle/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=SEhDLzIwMTUvMDYvMzA.&pageno=Mjg.&entity=QXIwMjgwMA..&view=ZW50aXR5

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Lifer is a purist who believes there’s still hope for taking his party back. In that way he’s an idealist — in his case, a “pragmatic idealist” — willing to reach out to unite the warring factions. A diplomat.

      • Tutta, Chris, long ago crossed over from RINO into DIABN territory. He’s either such a total victim of Stockholm Syndrome that he’s not even aware of it, or he is something else altogether. If the former, I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Chris Ladd voting booth; the display of cognitive dissonance would be a sight to behold. But, seriously, do you honestly believe that the Hearst Corporation publishes Chris’ posts in the Barnacle in the interests of being fair and balanced? You know, the same Hearst outfit whose flagship publication is the SF Chronicle? Come now, we are not children. Let us look things in the face and see them for what they are. So long as the GOP has friends like Chris and the Hearst Corporation, it has little need of enemies.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy – Lifer puts in a lot of time and effort for “our” blog. He stands up for GOP principles when he can honestly find them. That he recognizes other truths that are progressive doesn’t make him a DIABN, but a realist. He wants the Republican Party to find itself and be viable again – just like we all do. Democracy depends upon it. Surely one of the problems with the health and longevity of the Republican Party is their refusal to consider a broader viewpoint. I don’t know that they accept this as true now but if they continue on this path, your party will be a splinter of itself. I, for one, though a social liberal, respect Lifer’s opinions and experience. I learn from him. Certainly you can respect that even if you disagree with him in some areas.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        tthor and Rob, I think when you’re so involved in the political process as is Chris, it’s not as easy to give up your party affiliation as it is for voters For example, it’s rare for politicians to switch parties. Voters often switch parties from one election to the next depending on who’s running for office

      • johngalt says:

        Ah, yes, that old canard of the right: the mainstream media is biased. You’re talking about the same Houston Chronicle that endorsed Mitt Romney, right? And that in the 2014 governor’s election endorsed 57 Republicans in 94 races? That sounds pretty fair and balanced to me.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, and don’t forget Charles Krauthammer, Kathleen Parker, DAvid Brooks…Is the real concern that the Chronicle doesn’t have enough conservative journalists? That they actually offer more than one point of view?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think the Chronicle is more interested in getting hits for advertising money than in taking a political stance.

      • johngalt says:

        Bingo, Tutt. In a politically diverse area, they want to sell papers to everyone.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Texas Sparkle had a conservative blog for many years on the Chron.

        She recently left of her own accord, apparently on good terms, and she even thanked the Chron’s online editor for helping her deal with attacks from liberal posters.

      • Don’t get me wrong, gang, I have tremendous respect for Chris. All I’m sayin’ is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck – and it doesn’t matter that it calls itself a rooster, it’s *still* a duck.

        With respect to the Barnacle’s publication of “conservative” commentators, I strongly suggest that our gentle reader perform a running frequency analysis over, say, six months or so, of the rate at which lib editorials are published vs. conservative editorials. That’s exactly what I did back when I still subscribed to that rag, and as will surprise absolutely no one, it turns out that the Barnacle has a roughly 2:1 bias in favor of lib editorials. (And that’s not even accounting for the curious phenomenon of the Barnacle reprinting only those George Will articles focused on baseball…) Needless to say, I sent a polite letter along with my findings to the editorial board. Funny, never heard back from ’em. (I not sure if I still have that spreadsheet, but if I do, and anybody’s interested, I’ll be happy to post a summary.)

        I don’t know if the Chronicle’s *empirically demonstrated* bias is conscious, or subliminal, but in the final analysis it doesn’t really matter. I like Leo Pitts and former Enron adviser Paul Krugman as much as the next guy, but a man can only take so much cow bell. It got to the point where I was no longer willing to support the Chron with my filthy capitalist conservative lucre. If anything’s changed, let me know.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t believe the Houston Chronicle represents itself as a conservative journal anymore than the Wall Street Journal pretends to be a liberal paper. Both have value. I am curious though, Tracy, why do you follow Chris’ blog?

      • 1mime, is it obvious? I’m a glutton for punishment! 😉

        Seriously, just because I disagree with Chris on a wide variety of topics, that doesn’t mean I don’t respect his intellect, or his character. As I stated above, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chris; I think he’s an admirable human being – I just don’t agree with him much of the time. Come to think of it, I feel pretty much the same way about you! 🙂

        A lot of the people who participate here are driven by partisan politics. I’m not. I’ve done my best as an adult to recapitulate the same kind of education afforded to the intellectually spectacular generation that founded our nation and framed its system of government. This brand of education is very heavy on the Greek and Roman classics, and on the history of those civilizations, and on the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment. It drives one towards the life of a polymath. My formal education is in the physical sciences; I don’t think it’s even possible to obtain the kind of education that was common to the Founders/Framers. (Which I think is actually kinda tragic.) In applying my autodidactic Founder/Framer education, I try really hard to maintain intellectual consistency. It’s driven me to staunch advocacy of: 1) limited government, 2) the rule of law, 3) free enterprise capitalism, 4) individual freedom, and 5) personal responsibility. These five items are the very bedrock underlying the classical liberalism of the Founders/Framers.

        Note that political partisanship is fundamentally incompatible with with the kind of intellectual consistency I try to espouse. The platforms of our political parties are accidents of history, and based on political expediency rather than intellectual consistency. So I don’t disagree with everything the Dems support, nor do I agree with everything the GOP champions. (The GOP does hew a little closer to the items listed above, but only very marginally.) For example, if you apply intellectual consistency, there is simply no way you can support 2nd Amendment rights, but not gay marriage, and vice versa. This leaves me in the odd position of being neither fish nor fowl, in terms of modern political species. (Most would label me a conservative, but actually I’m not. While I do appreciate a Burkean sense of caution relative to social experimentation, I’m also quite willing to make changes consistent with the principles listed above.) It also leaves me quite willing and able, not to mention inclined towards, exchanging and arguing a wide range of ideas in a forum like this.

        Forums like this are the closest we can get to the classical Greek agora. This is a marketplace of ideas, and I like to sample the wares, as well as share my own. I’m just kinda picky about what I actually buy, and don’t give a flip for political brand loyalty.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Is it not possible that in state and local elections in Chris’ neck of the woods, the Republican candidates best represent his views?

      At a national level, you have a few more “oddities” to deal with, and I doubt Chris would have voted for a GOP candidate for Senate or President.

      I think it is safe to say that the “GOP agenda” in Illinois for a state or local position is very different than the national GOP agenda that focuses a whole lot more media attention on social things rather than practical things.

      • johngalt says:

        Yes! Not only possible, but probable. When I lived in Massachusetts, I voted for Republicans routinely – almost exclusively, in fact. They had to be centrists to win, while the Democrats were often the lunatics. Here in Texas, it’s the opposite, though I have to say I’m fortunate to have as my state rep one of the few elected Texas Republicans that I respect, Sarah Davis, and I have no problem voting for her.

      • RobA says:

        Good points all

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