January 20, 2016

Politics, Schmolitics

As cynical as Donald Trump is in his shameless position changes (and stabbing other candidates while humorously feigning concern for them), Jeb Bush might rival him simply because of Bush's complete disregard for anything but money.

Jeb couldn't even be bothered to prepare what he'd say when the Inevitable Question came up: that of  the Iraq War his brother engaged in.  His fumbling, defense of the war before his non-defense was, in its way, as telling a moment as way back when Ted Kennedy was running for president and stumbled over the simple question of "why are you running?"

That's pretty insulting to voters, not to take the run seriously enough to have more than a half-baked thought on the Iraq war.

Jeb was focused on money not message while Trump was focused on message, not money.  Of course that's easier to when you're a billionaire but certainly the optics of it was: Jeb is courting big money donors while Trump is courting Joe Six-pack.

What's truly brilliant about the Trump campaign is how we all thought he was winging it as he went along but apparently it was planned.  Who knew he had that sort of discipline? He is treating the campaign for president like a long TV series, presenting a hot, new plot twist each week.

Someone should've predicted this awhile back since the line between entertainment and politics (or pretty much everything) has shrunk to the vanishing point.  So Trump is ideally situated.

Isn't it hard to believe there's no one in a Republican party, no conservative think tank, not National Review or the Weekly Standard, smart enough to come up with a 21st century political strategy like Trump's?  And wasn't it Barack Obama and the 'Crats who pioneered the use of big data analytics?  Do you ever get the feeling that the Republican party is the ultimate amateur, junior-high school production? (Disclaimer: sorry to 7th graders everywhere for comparing them to the Republican party.)

On the other hand, maybe it's that the party wants to try to firewall the partition between politics and entertainment even at the risk of not winning the presidency ever again.  Nah, I don't think so.

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Interesting take in National Review:
As [Sowell's] Wealth, Poverty and Politics comes to a close, the author focuses his attention on controversies closer to home. He has much to say about the persistence of black poverty in the United States, and the role that the welfare state has played in perpetuating it. African Americans are, according to Sowell, a lagging group that has been ill served by its leadership, not entirely unlike the Malays in Malaysia. I can’t say I agree with every aspect of Sowell’s take on the contemporary American scene. For Sowell, the chief obstacles facing poor native-born blacks looking to better their lot are ghetto culture and a welfare-state ideology that rewards idleness. My own view is that many of the pathologies Sowell identifies can be explained at least in part by the failure of governments to protect African Americans from violence. For much of U.S. history, officialdom turned a blind eye to “black-on-black” violence, which in effect meant that predators routinely got away with murder and innocent victims knew they could not trust the state to protect them. People who live in fear are often less productive than those who live in peace. Nevertheless, Sowell has done us a great service by placing our current controversies in international context. We may be thankful that the U.S. is not yet a society in which productive minorities are despised. One wonders whether this will still be the case a generation or two hence, when there is a very good chance that racial disparities in wealth and income will have grown even more pronounced than they are today.

 Read more at: https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/429377/causes-wealth
Elsewhere in National Review:
Among all the other candidates, only Ted Cruz — who has gone out of his way to avoid alienating Trump’s supporters, while declining to embrace Trump’s toxic rhetoric — seems to understand this. (It is no coincidence that Cruz has by far the best data operation of any candidate in the race.)  Meanwhile, many a Republican Candidate Ahab seems to be haplessly chasing the great Hispanic whale, which, even if miraculously caught, wouldn’t do much to improve the party’s 2016 electoral prospects.
Strong establishments take insurgencies’ best issues and co-opt them. Weak and stupid establishments don’t. Right now, the GOP establishment is weak and stupid. Rather than attempting to present a forward-looking agenda that would appeal to a large number of Trump supporters and draw them into the Republican coalition, the establishment is seemingly working overtime to alienate them. Rather than pursuing an immigration policy that would protect vulnerable American workers and bring in skilled immigrants while disavowing Trump’s divisive tone and his impractical and overbroad prescriptions, it is promoting a quasi-open-borders policy that will perhaps keep maid service cheap for GOP donors — while electing a generation of Obamas. Rather than thinking through what a strong 21st-century Reaganite American patriotism would look like, too many candidates have embraced a hyper-militaristic nation-building strategy of which GOP voters have wearied, and that a national electorate decisively rejected in 2008 and 2012."
  – Mr. Carl is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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