Monday, March 14, 2016

The Final Four

Atlanta, GA— And so it has come to this. Donald Trump has not imploded. The people have not woken up. The laws of political gravity have not taken affect. Men who talk about shooting people on Fifth Avenue or punching protestors "in the face" can be president, after all. Donald Trump is bullet proof, that’s the word on the street. Nothing he says can hurt him…believe me, he’s tried. He said John McCain wasn’t a war hero, saying he liked people that don’t get captured. He mocked people with disabilities, and said unrepeatable things on stages all across the nation, but still, Donald Trump stands, immovable, at the top of the polls.
Tomorrow, from Florida to Ohio and beyond, Republicans will cast their vote. In Ohio, as Mitt Romney backs him, Mr. Kasich is actually looking good, with a possible shot at winning his state. But in Florida, where 99 delegates are up for grabs, Marco Rubio is on his last leg.
Remember Marco Rubio? That young Cuban-American whose father was jailed in Castro’s Cuba? The young man who didn’t have a chance at becoming speaker of the house of Florida, and then got the job. The young man who didn’t have a chance to become the Republican nominee for Senate, and then did. The young man who didn’t have a chance to become Senator, but then did it anyway. And now he doesn’t have a chance, he is told, to win Florida. For some reason, he just won’t believe it.
And, somewhere in all this, is Ted Cruz. He must be a man who doesn’t know his own mind right now. While on the one hand Mr. Cruz would surely like to knock Mr. Rubio and Mr. Kasich out of the race, he knows that if Mr. Trump wins both Florida and Ohio, the odds of stopping him are somewhere between zero and negative one.
The best case scenario would seem to be for Mr. Kasich to win his state, thus denying Trump those delegates, while at the same time Mr. Rubio loses Florida, thus knocking him out of the race. Mr. Kasich will still be about a thousand delegates short of the nomination, Mr. Cruz will be sitting nicely in a real two man race, and Mr. Rubio might finally have more time to spend watching football.
How will it actually turn out? That is for the voters to decide. But if Mr. Trump loses either Ohio or Florida, or both, we could very well be on the way to the most exciting end imaginable to this long reality show-a contested convention. It will be one fantastic finale to what has really been an epic show.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Rise Again



Mitt Romney is back. Like Odysseus at the end of the Odyssey, like the Rohirrim returning at Helms Deep, the bow is strung, the prince has come over the horizon, and he is prepared to save what is left of the Republican Party.
Early on in the race, in a twist that now seems almost comical, it is believed that Mitt Romney decided against another try for the presidency due to his fear of being beaten soundly by Jeb Bush. Ah…those were the days. Before the orange dragon had risen, before building walls was a thing, and before we all learned that it doesn’t take sentence structure to make a presidential candidate.
Perhaps some days Mr. Romney regrets that move. Perhaps there are days when he wishes he had climbed into the blood sport ring and traded jabs with those decades his junior. But then there must be days where he knows he is too old for that stuff anymore.
But now he has been called out of retirement. Like the proverbial Roman general who was off in the provinces tending his fields, Mitt Romney has heard the call of battle once more. He didn’t want to go, I would guess. Who in their right mind would want to battle against the monolith that is a man-Donald Trump? But Romney has come.
There are two thoughts on Mr. Romney stepping in and endorsing every candidate and any candidate not named Donald. Some, like myself, are glad that the GOP’s elder statesmen has done what elder statesmen do, speak out. We doubt it will change many minds in Fort Trumptner, (thanks, Politico), but sometimes you have to do the right thing, even if it doesn’t accomplish much.
Others feel that this was the wrong course of action. They feel that Mr. Romney embodies the now-hated “Establishment” of the Republican Party. They fear that “Releasing the Romney” (thanks, Colbert), will actually have a negative effect on the other candidates as Donald Trump is now seen as the ultimate outsider.
Today, across the nation, people are voting. We will see if Donald Trump continues to lose his grip on the GOP, or if we are all firmly in his grasp, and are only waiting now to be eaten.
Mr. Romney’s speech will not swing the pendulum suddenly, it won’t topple the walls around Fort Trumptner, but it is a step in the right direction. Welcome to the team of anti-Trumpers Mitt, thanks for taking to the trenches with us. Keep your head down, its about to get ugly.
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, March 4, 2016

War for the World

Donald Trump is seen speaking on television at Hockeytown

Atlanta, GA – We really do need to talk about last night.

One of the most important things for a candidate for any office to maintain is message discipline. You cannot let others dominate the conversation nor can you let others pull you off your platform and down into talking about other, unrelated things. Through everything that happened last night m, Donald Trump maintained shocking message discipline.
He managed to bring to bear all of his familiar and much loved talking points “he’s small, he’s a loser, I’m really rich,” while refusing to be knocked off his game by the facts. When Megyn Kelly showed clips of him clearly contradicting himself, he blew it off. When shown that the numbers for his proposals clearly did not add up, Trump maintained message discipline, repeating his platform “build a wall,” “the polls are good.” When confronted with the fact that Mitt Romney, the man who the party backed four years ago does not support him, Donald Trump reverted to a major part of his stump speech…screaming.
Marco Rubio had an ok night, although if I were a conspiracy theorist I would say he and Ted Cruz were already collaborating-having gotten together to stop the Donald. Both of them dancing around and punching Trump from the back and front, but neither dropping out so they can continue to maul him on the debate stage.
Rubio does indeed need to drop out soon, and will probably do so before he faces the inevitable and embarrassing loss of his own home state of Florida.
John Kasich was rather boring, sort of a cross between Charlie Brown’s teacher and a white noise machine. I can’t imagine he will last much longer, but he does seem determined to fight Donald Trump, whatever the cost. If for no other reason than to keep Ohio away from Trump, Kasich seems likely to stay in at least until then.
And then there was the winner of the debate, Ted Cruz. While Rubio and Trump were arguing about the size of Trump’s hands, calling each other “Little Marco” and “big Trump,” Cruz didn’t open his mouth; he just stood, trying not to laugh. Instead of calling names he argued about policy, while at the same time drawing a contrast between himself and two men who cannot win, and one man who must not win.
Perhaps Cruz should not have said “count to ten” to Trump, maybe he shouldn’t have encouraged him to breathe, although, to be fair, perhaps Cruz was just concerned about him. But for all that, Cruz did manage do a masterful job last night, and any team that put together such a debate performance for their candidate can be very proud of themselves and of him.
A word on the moderators: Megyn Kelly handled Trump well, while Bret Bair was alright. Chris Wallace had his moments, although there were some questions he asked that could have been phrased better.
Last night it was Donald Trump vs. the world, and the world is going to win this thing.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Strange Case of Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump



Atlanta, GA – There was a time in the Republican Party when many decided they did not want to vote for a guy who screams crazy things, so they started supporting Ben Carson, a guy who whispers crazy things.
 
Doctor Ben Carson, just like Dr. Jekyll, was a great and well respected doctor; an all-around good guy that everybody liked and respected both professionally and personally. When he announced his run for the presidency, however, many people didn’t really know what to say. He had said in the past that although he might run, he didn’t really want to be president, but if he did get in it would be because hundreds of thousands of people had asked him to join the race.
Doctor Carson’s campaign emails in the early days often would state that he was the new Berry Goldwater, a candidate who didn’t want the job, but was going to be handed it by the people. Of course, the emails didn’t mention how badly Goldwater lost the election.
Doctor Carson began rising in the polls last year, while at the same time stealing Donald Trump’s playbook; say whatever comes to mind, and your poll numbers automatically go up.
His Hitler comments rocked the nation, as did his awkward pronouncements that the pyramids were silos for grain. But Carson’s numbers began to dwindle beneath the staying power of Donald Trump, and soon the good doctor was playing second fiddle to the backup band.
He refused to give up however, and in Iowa, when several campaigns interpreted him going home, (usually a precursor to dropping out) as a precursor to his dropping out, he started making hay, attacking Ted Cruz as somehow having stolen Iowa, which Carson never had a chance of winning, away from him.
Now, that is pretty much over. Doctor Carson has at last bowed to circumstances and poll numbers, which have him running behind the purple unicorn, and dropped out. But we are left pondering the phenomenon that let him stay near the top of the polls, if even for such a brief period of time.
Carson has no experience, he is not a great speaker, nor is he an interesting one. So why did so many people rally around him for so long? In the end, for the same reason they are rallying to Carson’s personal polar opposite-Donald Trump. America wants to kick Washington and all involved with it to kingdom come, they don’t care how it’s done, nor who does it, whether a billionaire or a brain surgeon.
For all the difference in their personalities-indeed the candidates are almost Jekyll and Hyde by comparison-Carson and Trump supporters are pretty much the same. The platforms the men have been running on are also very similar, shallow on substance, long on promises that things will be different.
Come November, they will be. In what way remains to be seen.
Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Super Tuesday: The Final Battle

The Orange Dragon is devouring the land. From Alaska, where a former governor has endorsed the beast, to Georgia, where despite a statewide Cruz Campaign that is, reportedly, stronger than anything any candidate had in Iowa, the Dragon’s flames are consuming all in its path.

The establishment has been routed, their favorite White Knight, Jeb Bush, having fallen on his own sword in defeat. The libertarians have fled, Rand Paul slinking back into the woods of Kentucky rather than continue to fight a losing battle. Now, a gaggle of half-baked alternatives, one of whom isn’t even awake, and none of whom like each other, has risen. But they too, will fall.
John Kasich cannot defeat Donald Trump, deep down, even he knows that. Ben Carson’s campaign ended even before Iowa happened, and soon the brain surgeon will also be forced to admit he is no match for the great lizard. As for the New White Knight, the last best hope of the establishment, Marco Rubio, even his home state doesn’t want him. He has not won a single state, and cannot predict any state that he will win. He may think he can fight all the way to the convention, but the odds of him surviving that long are so small as to be non-existent.
That leaves only one person between the nomination and the dragon...Ted Cruz. And today is his final stand.
The South was supposed to be Ted Cruz’ bonanza. It was supposed to be his firewall. Instead it is turning into his Alamo. Instead of campaigning in states that he might have a chance at across the South, Cruz is at home, in Texas, in the fight for his life.
If Cruz can’t win his home state, it’s over. The route of the Republican Party will be complete, the armies of the GOP will all have been beaten, and Donald Trump will runaway towards the convention. The good news for Cruz is that he will probably win his home state, but everywhere else the sky is dark, lit up only by occasional flashes of flame from the Orange Dragon.
Cruz recognizes that he needs today. In recent days, in Texas, he has spoken about how badly he needs this win. He has, in fact, actually called Super Tuesday his Alamo.
But while, if Cruz wins Texas he will still be alive, what if he only wins Texas? Trump will not be the nominee, he will still be a long way off from the numbers needed to stand on the stage at the convention basking in the applause of many thousands, but if Cruz cannot win in the South, the most conservative part of the nation, where can he win?
This is a desperate day for Ted Cruz and all of those that share his brand of ultra-conservatism. The polls don’t close for several hours, and there is still time. But the one thing I can’t quite get out of my mind is what actually happened to those who stood inside the Alamo.
They were massacred.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, February 22, 2016

I Support Ted Cruz for President


Atlanta, GA – Who am I supporting for president? Ted Cruz.

Senator Cruz is not a perfect man, indeed, some of his policy positions and strategy moves have, in the past, been much less than could have been hoped for. He’s human. He can be abrasive. But for all that, when it comes to choosing a Republican Nominee, we have, now, only three choices.
Donald Trump. A man who can’t control his mouth, and doesn’t know what, if anything, he believes. He has flipped-flopped so often he makes Mitt Romney look like a Lincoln Chafee-style block of granite. He has been pro-life, he has been anti-life, he has believed everything by turns, and none of them for very long. Remember when John Kerry said he was for before he was against it? Trump was against after he was for it but before he changed his mind and supported it, but after that he opposed it. His supporters are the type of people that just want something to change in Washington…they want the table kicked over, and they don’t give a red cent how it’s done.
The second choice is Marco Rubio, a man who has proven again and again that he cracks under pressure, and also that he can change his mind on major issues after already having made it to the top. If we were the only choice, we could certainly do worse, but, for now, we can most assuredly do a whole lot better.
Ted Cruz isn’t a “great man.” He’s a senator who believes a lot of good things and who has a record of putting those beliefs into action. He isn’t someone to be trusted, because he was born of a human mother and father. He isn’t the last best hope of mankind, because that is God’s position, and it isn’t up for grabs.
But Ted Cruz is the man of the hour. While it is narrowing and steepening, he does still have a shot at the GOP nomination; if he wins Nevada and has a hands down victory at the next debate, he will be sitting pretty for a chance at the nomination.
He has the requisites to be the nominee: Conservative, (actually conservative, not "talking point conservative"), and he is electable. He is pro-life, (actually pro-life), and he is pro-self defense, and also he is anti-violence, otherwise known as pro-gun.
This is going be a long, hard fight. The only ones who know who will win are the groundhogs. But this is a fight worth fighting, and I’m all in, with Camp Cruz.
Let’s do this.
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, February 19, 2016

Please Don't Panic...but I'm Feeling the Bern

Atlanta, GA – The Junior Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders is running for president as a socialist who can’t comb his hair.
He wants to soak the billionaires and the “fat cats,” and doesn’t care that American greatness was built in large part on capitalism. He wants to tax the rich, despite studies showing that taxing the rich won’t actually help America. He wants to make college free for all, even though there is no way to pay for that.
This litany of reasons has been touted over and over again both by conservatives and liberals as reasons why Senator Sanders will never be president. They say he is too old, too out of touch, too nuts to ever be elected. And yet…and yet. Something is happening. Across the nation, a movement has risen from the college campuses of America, from young people who are sick and tired of the status quo, and are ready to try anything to make it better; even someone that, according to popular wisdom, can’t win.
Sanders came within one delegate of taking Iowa, and then took New Hampshire. He has narrowed Hillary Clinton’s lead nationally, and claims that he can take it all.
There are even a few things to like about him. He understands that we need to get rid of the “too big to fail banks,” he understands that college ought to be more affordable, (although he isn’t going about it the right way), and he understands that it isn’t the Federal Government’s job to tell states they can’t legalize marijuana.
But that isn’t Sander’s greatest strength. His greatest strength is that he really believes the stuff he “believes.” Hillary Clinton has gone farther and farther to the left in the last forty years; she once was against gay marriage, but ran after popular opinion to make herself “relevant; she once was against a higher minimum wage of twelve bucks and hour, but now is supporting it. But Senator Sanders is different, right, wrong, crazy, he believes the things that come out of his mouth, and probably would rather, in the old fashioned way, rather be "right" than be president.
For these reasons, I am announcing my support of him for the Democratic Nomination. He might not win it, but if he did, we would at last have a Democrat who represents the party’s base.
And, Republicans would once again take the White House, because the rest of Senator Sander’s platform is such a load of donkey manure that the GOP would carry forty-nine states against him.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Should we TrusTed?

Atlanta, GA – The Junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. In case you haven’t heard by now, he’s running for president.


On his yard signs, on his t-shirts on the banners that hang behind him when he speaks, Senator Cruz asks us to trust him. “TrusTed,” we are told. Ted is a “Proven Conservative,” Ted is a “Courageous Conservative,” Ted is a “Constitutional Conservative.” In other words, if you like conservatives, you will like this guy, and you should trust him too.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that it doesn’t actually take an awful lot of courage to talk and vote like a conservative when you’re from Texas, a place where, last time I checked, Republicans hadn’t lost a statewide election since 1990, lets deal with the question “should we really trust this guy?”
Ted Cruz, at age 18, said he wanted to rule the world. Granted, most 18 year olds do, which may be why some of his long time acquaintances, (I hesitate to call them friends,) don’t like him-they feel he is competition. However, as one digs deeper in the personal life of this man, you find more and more stories about people not liking him. One of his former college roommates, speaking about Cruz, said that he was a horrible person, “We should be afraid that someone like that has power.” Adding “I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone, I would rather pick somebody from the phone book."
This record of people seeming to have relational issues with the Senator has been played up in the media, and, if one is looking for anecdotes, they wouldn’t be hard to find. John Boehner, former speaker of the house, when asked about Cruz, raised the middle finger. Most of the other Senators seem not to like Cruz; they aren’t backing him in his run, and they don’t have much good to say about him. Senator Cruz would probably say that all of this is a god thing, indeed, in his stump speech he often says “if you see a candidate that is embraced by Washington, run away and hide.”
Oh, there is the catch. Cruz once tried to get himself embraced by Washington.
In the early two thousands, Ted Cruz was the one who argued at the Supreme Court level to ensure George Bush got the presidency, and then worked for a time in his administration. According to some reports, as late as 2012 he was still seeking Bush backing for a presidential run before they turned him down.
Ultimately Cruz’ attempt to join the machine was unsuccessful, and he fled to the wilderness, otherwise known as Texas, and started becoming a “courageous conservative.”
Politico and the New York Times both have tried to use these two factors: and lot of people don’t like Senator Cruz, and: he once tried to get himself embraced by the establishment, to say that Senator Cruz shouldn’t be trusted.
The first argument is malarkey. A lot of people don’t like him? A lot of people don’t like a lot of people. Tough. Get over it. Maybe Cruz was annoying when he was in college, (I’m told lots of people are), maybe those folks that don’t like him need to get a grip, and maybe the Washington Cartel doesn’t like him because they don’t like anyone who goes against the grain. Or maybe he is abrasive, (I’ve never met him), maybe he isn’t likable…so what?
As for the second argument, that he was once a member of the establishment, I’ll let my good friend Daniel Woodworth answer that one:
As a young man, he wanted a job. He didn't get the job, so he went on to do other things. That much is not particularly noteworthy. The author tries to equate wanting a job in the Bush White House to wanting to go along with all of Bush's agenda, but that doesn't follow at all with events.
It almost certainly is a good thing that Cruz didn't get the job, by the way. Who we associate with can play a big role in shaping what we believe. Had he not been forced out of the Washington mainstream as a young man, he might not have developed the same integrity and strength he shows today.
But, to answer the question “Should we TrusTed” I will have to give a resounding NO.
Not because he is a secret liberal or because he hates homeschoolers, (he doesn’t), or because John Boehner doesn’t like him. We shouldn’t trust him because he is a human.
In the years of the Bush Presidency, if you had listened to multitudes of conservative “talking heads,” you may have thought that George Bush could do no wrong. He was a saint. Every time the liberals attacked him, (sometimes with good reason), scores of conservatives would take to the airwaves like fighter pilots taking to the skies, to shoot out a stream of tracer bullets and memorized talking points.
Now that Barak Obama is in the White House, according to FOX and Conservative Talk Radio, he can’t even drink a cup of coffee right. Where was all that criticism when Bush was passing the PATRIOT Act? Could it be that some people just trusted him?
We should always hold our president accountable; we should always look over his shoulder and check on what he is doing. We should never trust him. You might choose to vote for Ted Cruz, you might choose to vote for Bernie Sanders, but whoever you pick, whoever becomes president, don’t ever trust them, because it is true that all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
 
Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Debate I Didn't Watch


Atlanta, GA – In 1960, for the first time, the presidential debates were televised. In a story that has since become a part of Political Science lore, Richard Nixon, who had just gotten out of the hospital, wore a drab suit and no makeup, looked horrible on stage pitted against the youthful, black suit wearing John F. Kennedy. The television audience overwhelmingly said that Kennedy walked away with the debate, while the radio audience resoundingly felt that Nixon had come out on top.
Just to see what it would be like, in this day and age, I didn’t watch Saturday’s GOP debate, rather I listened, in the old fashioned way.
The first surprise was that Jeb Bush sounded like a leader. In fact, had I just been coming to the race for the first time, I may well have thought that he was the frontrunner who knew what he was doing and who had massive popular support. He really sounded on his game, almost like a man who was just a few steps from the White House, save for his rational, reasoned rival, Ted Cruz.
On audio, Senator Cruz sounded more reasonable than normal, like a man with a plan. He sounded well prepared, cool and in control. Cruz sounded like he knew what he wanted and where he was going.
Donald Trump sounded absolutely unhinged. Like a screaming maniac who nobody liked. The candidates sounded united against this nut that was here for ‘no one knows what’. The audience sounded like they hated him and, again, had I just been tuning into the cycle for the first time, I would have thought Trump was running in last, and screaming nonsense in a desperate hope to get someone, anyone, to listen to him.
Marco Rubio sounded rattled at times, and at times in control, almost like there were two people inside of him, fighting to be let out. He sounded like an “also-ran,” someone who might get an honorable mention, but besides that, he won’t make the history books.
Ben Carson didn’t sound asleep at all. He didn’t sound crazy, he sounded pumped. He sounded like a real candidate, in fact, the good doctor sounded almost presidential. Carson seemed to connect to the audience both live and at home, like he was reaching right into the living room and talking to all of us.
And John Kasich? He sounded human. No, for real. John Kasich, for one fleeting moment of his career, sounded to me like he actually knew something. He sounded collected, like an adult, like someone who knows some stuff, like the kind of guy that, if he had ran thirty years ago, might be on his way to the White House.
The moderators, like good moderators, sounded barely there. Perhaps they should have jumped in sooner at points to make sure everyone followed the rules, but overall, if perhaps only because John Dickerson didn’t do half as bad as David Muir, I had no complaints.
Of course, most of the audience wasn’t listening, they were watching the debate, and Carson still seems asleep, Kasich still seems nuts, Jeb Bush still looks desperate, and Trump, still, somehow, looks tough. But I did get, for just a second, a glimpse into what this race would have looked like, had it taken place before 1960, when Kennedy set the bar so high.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Rubio Issue


Atlanta, GA – The junior Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio.
When he announced his campaign for the presidency of the United States, FiveThirtyEight, the numbers blog run by the world-renown digit-cruncher, Nate Silver, declared him the first candidate to announce he was running, who had a true shot at winning the Republican Nomination.
Since that time, many, including myself, have called him the “new Jack Kennedy” because of his youthfulness, intelligence, and fresh ideas. Despite being under major attack from Jeb Bush and his clan, with all the money and power that the Bushes have, Rubio managed to poll better than expected in Iowa, doing so well that his speech, accepting his third place finish, sounded like a victory harangue.
However, Marco Rubio has a problem. It isn’t that he is some sort of secret liberal, or that he made financial errors in the past. (Who hasn’t?) Senator Rubio’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t show up for work at the senate sometimes, indeed, that is really a non-issue. His problem isn’t his age or “inexperience,” because there is no experience in the world that can prepare you to be president.
Rubio’s problem is one of trust. When the world is on the verge of nuclear winter, when famine strikes, when Ebola gets to the US, the question the multitudes will be asking will be “can we trust our president?”
With Rubio, the answer, unfortunately, is no.
Not only is he not always certain of his positions, for instance on the Gang of Eight Bill, where he switched stances on a major issue that he should have had thought out long before he made it to the United States Senate. Rubio’s problems are not only with the man’s uncertainty about what he believes, but also the man himself.
Marco Rubio seems emotionally fragile. In his book An American Son, he talks of when he was frightful of losing an election, and how he sat in a car throwing a pity party until his wife’s example of keeping on going finally dragged him, the candidate, back to work. He speaks of not getting his food fast enough in restaurants, and how angry that has made him in the past. But Rubio stresses that was the past, and things are better now.
Before now, there have been hints, chinks in the perfectly airbrushed armor of the made-for-stage white knight, rumors that all might not be right. The time Rubio was giving the Republican response to the State of the Union, but had to stop and grab water. After that stories came out that Rubio needs a water at every event, and that he feels nervous and ill-at-ease if he doesn’t have one. But maybe that’s the past, maybe it doesn’t matter, everyone told themselves. It won’t happen again.
But it did.
On Saturday, what we saw, to put it kindly, was an emotional meltdown. Senator Marco Rubio fell apart mentally. It could be said that under the lights, with the live audience and the millions watching on television, the pressure was so great anyone could have succumbed. But it doesn’t matter, the president has to be able to take pressure. One governor who is down in the polls and is a bit tough with his words can’t make a prospective president crack up.
Rubio showed all the signs of a man breaking under strain at the debate. He began smiling in a way that showed he had nothing to say. He began repeating himself over and over again like a record had broken. Indeed, if the debate had gone on much longer, and if Governor Christie had had much more time to speak, I fully expect that we would have been treated to a shot of Senator Rubio in a room with rubber walls, wearing a white gown, and cutting out paper dolls with blunted scissors while rocking himself back and forth gently, repeating over and over “We need to understand, Barak Obama knows what he’s doing. We need to understand, Barak Obama knows what he’s doing. We need to understand…”
A man without mental vigor enough to stand up to the artificial but emotionally real challenges of television and large crowds is not a man who is fit to be President, such a man is not someone to be trusted with nuclear bombs or the reputation of our nation. Senator Marco Rubio is such a man.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

First in the Nation


Atlanta, GA – On the night of the Iowa Caucuses, of several things I posted on Facebook that night, the most popular was when, with seventy percent of the Republican votes counted, I used some back of the envelope math to project that Cruz was the sure winner of the state. I was suddenly a very popular person in Camp Cruz, getting PMs and text messages telling me great job.
Tonight however, I expect no such congratulations from the Cruzites. For, this evening, when the votes are counted in New Hampshire, unless Jurassic World is real and elves still roam the woods, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will win their respective fights.
While no polls currently give any hope to John Kasich, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio of pulling in first, the question of the night will be how much will Hillary Clinton lose by, and who, on the GOP side, will be second dog in the Granite State.
With snow storms brewing across the state, there is a possibility that those will help Cruz, who is currently tied with Kasich and Trump in votes cast so far today.
Rubio comes into this contest staggering after his awful CBS debate, where he vied with David Muir and Mary Katharine Ham for the worst performance of the night. It remains to be seen however if people in New Hampshire care all that much. Remember when Cruz lost the pre-Iowa debate and how much that hurt him.
I’m not sure what Kasich is trying to prove here, by staying the race. He didn’t do well enough in Iowa to even make the leader board, and he is in sixth place nationally. Perhaps he suffers from the age-old issue of not wanting to quit and spend the rest of his life wondering “what if?”
For all the diehard Cruz fans who remain convinced he can win, I’m not with you, but I’ll lay out a rag of hope. According to the New York Times, as of this morning 23% of likely voters remain undecided as to where to cast their votes. If the snow hurts Trump and Rubio, and if the polls have underestimated Cruz, and if all of those undecided voters swing over to the Texas Senator, he could pull out a win in the first in the nation primary. I don’t think it’s possible, but, hey, stranger things have happened.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, February 8, 2016

Disaster Night




Atlanta, GA – Tomorrow is the New Hampshire Primary, which makes the GOP Debate that happened on Saturday so crucial, as it was the last time New Hampshire voters will have a chance to see all of the viable and slightly viable candidates on stage at the same time before they cast their ballots.
Marco Rubio came out of the gate spinning in circles and looking like a man who forgot to take his motion sickness pills before riding a merry-go-round on a ship cresting thirty-foot waves. He was so bad that I almost felt sorry for him…almost, because sorry is not something I ever feel for politicians. If they got themselves into this mess, they will have to get themselves out of it.
Chris Christie went after Rubio and took him down, time after time. With line after line, attack after attack, Chris Christie had his best - in what has been a string of good debate performances. This was his first hands-down debate victory. He still won’t be the nominee, but it was fun to watch.
Ben Carson also did very well in the opening moments of the fight, going after Cruz and shutting him down. Had the former brain-surgeon had more time to speak, he may very well have challenged Christie for the victory title, but such is the luck of those who are doing poorly in the polls. Carson will not make it to Super Tuesday, or if he does, he will come in crawling.
Ted Cruz’s night was a bowl of meh. He needed to dominate, to prove that Iowa wasn’t a fluke, and that his horrible debate performance last time was. But instead he stayed in the background, not having a bad night, but not having a good one either. He won’t win New Hampshire unless Trump’s plane crashes, but as we move towards more conservative southern states, expect Cruz to start racking up the victories.
Jeb Bush reminded everyone he is still here, although that was about all he did. Unless something happens, (it won’t) that somehow propels Bush into the top tier of New Hampshire voting tomorrow, I expect by the end of the week to hear him at last say the welcomed words “I am suspending my campaign.”
Donald Trump was so-so, no fireworks, which for him is surprising, he is still on top with the numbers, and tomorrow he will have something to brag about when he wins New Hampshire, but after that, who knows? The Trump bubble will burst someday, but when?
And then there was some guy…oh yeah, John Kasich. I won’t waste your time. Remember the really annoying nerd from the movie War Games? “Mr. potato head”? Yeah, he was on stage last night.
As for CBS. From the moment George Stephanopoulos aired some silly little video about McCain and Graham, the whole thing had the feel of a high school musical directed by the last person available,
David Muir was leaning like he had balance problems when he stood on stage to announce the candidates, and what a job he did of it. If George Schultz had written a Peanuts strip about Charlie Brown’s worst nightmares come true, it would not have been as bad as David Muir on Saturday. It sort of left you wondering, when the whole debacle was over, how did Brian Williams get fired and Muir get to keep his job?
The moderating had a general feeling of ineptness, with candidates constantly having to remind Muir (who was often blushing visibly, even under twenty-nine layers of makeup) that they got to answer when their name was mentioned. To make matters worse, Ham’s opening line screamed of unprofessionalism, (you don’t say “hey guys” to the candidates…ever).
So that was how it went down. I didn’t learn much, except that Chris Christie would probably be a great guy to invite to a party.
I look forward to the Saturday Night Live Spoof.
 
Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

With all due respect...Drop Out

Atlanta, GA – I got my first taste of politics being forced by my mother, every week, to sit on a couch and listen to what I thought was the most boring thing on earth: Ron Paul’s “Texas straight talk.” Eventually my whining, squirming, and wiggling led into listening to, and then liking, the unusual Texas Congressman.

 Rand Paul has remained true to his father’s essential message of true conservatism, no matter the cost. His stump speech throughout his campaign has not been filled with high rhetoric about glowing sand or with jokes about how he would never do anything that was bad for his mother. He has not relied on insults and pettiness to bring himself up in the polls. Instead, Rand, just like his father, tells it straight.
Rand wants to audit and end the fed. He wants big brother to get a warrant before looking at our emails. He wants to bring down the national debt while keeping our military strong. On marijuana and prison reform, Rand Paul is spot on. He was the one candidate that, had he gotton the nomination, could have ridden to victory with a coalition of minorities, women, college students, and old whites. His appeal is so broad that it is unbelievable.
But somehow, he is doing terrible in the polls.
Part of this can be blamed upon an over packed field and a guy named Donald Trump. Part of it can be blamed upon the candidate himself, who walks around like he’s sucking a sour lemon. But a large part can also be blamed upon his team, who have failed again and again to take control of the spin, and to help their candidate. While Rand Paul would have made a fantastic nominee and even better president, in the primaries, he is awful.
No one has ever won the Republican Nomination that did not come in the top three in Iowa, and Rand fell into fifth. It is time to bow out, to do it now before he alienates too many people, and before he loses all hope of reclaiming his seat. It was fun, but now its time to go away. Like, right now.
As for Ben Carson, I have at times called his performances “pathetic,” “na├»ve,” and “odd.” I have attacked him from the day he got into the campaign, saying right after he announced that it was highly unlikely he’d get the nomination. However, none of this is in any way directed at Doctor Ben Carson, but rather the television character, (yes, every candidate is in some ways a fictional human) Candidate Ben Carson.
My respect for the doctor’s integrity, intelligence, and character remain unchanged. However, he has been an awful presidential candidate, and having come in fourth in Iowa, it is time for him to withdraw from the race.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

They won, but she lost

Atlanta, GA – We entered Iowa in a Trump-wind, and we leave it with Ted Cruz on top.
The polls, even the ones that were supposed to be the most accurate in the nation, were wrong. The Des Moines Register, Iowa’s most important newspaper, was wrong. Nate Silver, perhaps the most respected numbers man who walks the earth, was wrong.
Donald Trump didn’t win.
To make matters worse for the pundit class, all numbers pointed towards the fact that high turnout would be horrible for Ted Cruz. First time voters were breaking in a massive way for Donald Trump, while Ted Cruz’s campaign looked like it was staggering. But low and behold, it didn’t snow, people showed up in historic numbers, and a lot of them voted for Cruz. An awful lot. So many that he now holds the record for the most votes cast for GOP candidate ever in the Iowa Caucuses.
The news media was so surprised by it all, that many of them did not call the race until it reached into the 80th percentile reporting. I called the race for Cruz last night with 70% reporting when it became clear that turnout wasn’t hurting him and that more evangelicals were turning out than expected, besides the fact that he had passed the bell curve point of 68%. At that point CBS, NBC and FOX were still concerned that somehow somewhere massive Trump support was still hiding under a rock, but the likelihood of that was so small as to be nil.
Marco Rubio had a somewhat better night than expected, although his victory speech was out of place. He didn’t win, the people of Iowa said they didn’t want him; he is the new establishment candidate in race where, between Trump, Carson, and Cruz, the outsiders, garnered around sixty percent of the vote last night between them.
On the Democratic side, the numbers give it to Hillary, but in my book, Sanders won.
Hillary was supposed to be the inevitable candidate. She was supposed to steamroll her way to the nomination like nobody’s business, but some crazy guy from Vermont has made it his business, and people are responding. The very fact that Sanders came so close will hurt Mrs. Clinton.
Martin O’Malley dropped out last night, which means this is it, all bets are off. If Hillary goes to jail or gets in a car wreck, the Democrats either end up with Sanders, or they’ll have to call up some old party hack who’s been faithfully carrying donkey manure for them for the past forty years.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, February 1, 2016

This Ends Tonight


Atlanta, GA – On the Democratic side, the race is closer than the two sides of a peanut butter sandwich. While many Iowan Democrats say they feel Sanders will best look after their interests, many appear torn, battling with their hope that they will send the first woman to the White House, as well as a belief, (mainly rooted in fact) that Sanders would find it nearly impossible to win a general election, even against the cookie monster.

Things are so tight that Martin O’Malley is, for one brief moment, actually relevant in the discussion as both Hillary and Sanders supporters consider using Caucus ploys to have O’Malley hurt the other top candidate.
How will it turn out? Someway, certainly.
Over on the Republican side, otherwise known as the side most people care about, there is Donald Trump. He has crept past Ted Cruz in the polls, and his numbers remain steady. Several polls have him in first place, and Nate Silver, the revered number cruncher, gives a slight edge to Trump in the race, as does the final Des Moines Register poll.
Ted Cruz, according to popular lore, is still reeling from a bad second half in his last pre-Iowa debate. While he has down played expectations in Iowa, always only saying that he was going to “do well,” it is no secret that Cruz wants to win Iowa in a bad way.
In third and expected by everyone, including, apparently, himself, to stay there, is Marco Rubio. In a brilliant move, Rubio has always said he only planned on taking third in Iowa, thus not it won’t hurt his candidacy when he lands there tonight, as he no doubt will.
Rand Paul, the only other GOP contender with a shadow of a chance, continues to promise some lightning tonight, where he pulls at least into the top three, but I’m not holding my breath.
Chris Christie has said he only wants to beat the other governors, but no one has ever won the Republican Nomination that did not pull into the top three in Iowa, and there is no reason to believe this year will be any different.
Of course, winning Iowa isn’t everything, as can be told you by past Iowa winners, President Rich Santorum and President Mike Huckabee. However, if Trump falls flat on his face, dropping to third or even fourth, his candidacy will never recover, whereas if Cruz wins, it could signal the beginning of the end for all other contenders. If Rand Paul wins? Who knows?
The big story tonight will be turnout, for while Trump has a small lead among past Caucus goers, he has a commanding lead in first timers. But will they show up? Generally only about 120,000 Iowans go to Republican Caucuses, but according to Jeff Roe, Ted Cruz’s campaign manager, the polls predicting Trump will win assume over 300,000 people will show up, which would be rather unprecedented.
Cruz’s supporters are very loyal, while Trumps’ are apparently people who are exhausted with the political process. So will they show up and actually vote? Its hard to tell. Many pollsters say they won’t, but perhaps they are all just looking at things as they want them to be, not as they actually are.
To further complicate matters, there is a blizzard brewing across Iowa, which will make it more unlikely that first-timers will brave the weather.
So, the bottom line is it all hangs on turnout. If you love Trump, pray for clear skies. If you love Cruz, pray for snow.

Andrew Abbott

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Night of the Empty Podium

Atlanta, GA – Last night Ted Cruz was fall-guy out, so, in no matter how artificial a way, he was the frontrunner on the debate stage, and he had to go at it in that way.

He began with a terrific blast: “I’m a maniac, and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And Ben you’re a terrible surgeon. Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way…” There was no better way to start off, and he moved along at lightning speed for some time after that.
However, later in the debate he began to stall out, arguing with the moderators and sounding a bit shaky overall. He tried for a repeat of his CNBC thunder, when he attacked the mainstream media. Whatever you think about FOX, however, the audience didn’t buy Cruz’s attempt to catch lightning a second time, and the moment died in a painful way. However, Mr. Cruz’s closing statement, where he promised to kill terrorists and, without saying it, “make America great again" brought thunderous applause and showed that Cruz could win Iowa come Monday.
Marco Rubio, in contrast, had a horrible opening statement, which was obviously scripted, not funny, and not very memorable. However, he became stronger as the night went on, and while he didn’t win, had the fight gone into overtime, he might have gotten Cruz onto the ropes. His closing statement was well delivered and powerful, and while this is still not a three horse race, Rubio might only be three lengths behind, instead of ten or twenty.
Jeb Bush had a good night, actually getting a Republican crowd to applaud Bushes once again when he talked about his father and mother. It was an odd, rare moment in these post-Bush days. This won’t cause Mr. Bush to win the presidency, but it might be a small moment of dignity for him to get off the train at.
Ben Carson had few interesting things to say, and his closing statement was so bad I could have delivered it better, and I’m not a world famous speaker and writer like he is. I don’t expect him to come in anywhere in the top three in Iowa.
Rand Paul had a good night, going after Senator Cruz for his lack of principle on mass, unconstitutional collection of data by the government. He continues to say that he is doing much better in Iowa than the polls currently predict. I have no way of telling whether he’s right or not, but if he were to win Iowa, like he says he can do, or at least come in the top three, it would be such a massive upset that it could propel him all the way into the top tier.
Governor Chris Christie had a fantastic night, going after the Democrats and being tough on terror. I had a thought while watching him-what if he was from Texas? It is possible that if Christie came from there, with its long history of staunch conservatism, rather than New Jersey, a state suspect too many Republicans for the crime of being in the East, that Christie would be doing much better than he is. Could you imagine the governor in a cowboy hat?
At first I was surprised to see that it was audience participation night, with a crazy voter on the stage reading insane tweets sent to him by a monkey banging on a typewriter. Then I realized that it was John Kasich. If he ever drops out it will come as a disappointment to his supporter.
The moderators Chris Wallace and Bret Bair both had horrible nights, arguing with the candidates, not holding them to their cut off times, and generally running a poor show. Their questions were not as good as they could have been, and while the debate was not CNBC style bad, it fell far below the level of FOX Business first debate, the best one so far, and FOX’s own first debate, which was second best.
However, the winner of the debate was Megyn Kelly. She has managed to remain professional throughout, despite having a multi-billion dollar juggernaut throwing everything it has at her. She has been accused of horribly demeaning things, her name has been trashed, and she has been called unrepeatable names. However, Mrs. Kelly has not once bothered to stoop low enough to answer her critics. Her questions were concise, and she held the candidates to their cutoff times. From the moment she began, talking about the nine hundred pound elephant who had ran and hid from her, to the last time she signed off; after over three hours of continuous live television coverage in which she tangled with seven men who all want to be president, the night was hers, and hers alone.

Andrew Abbott

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Battle Iowa





Atlanta, GA – In six days, it will all go down. In Iowa, at over a thousand locations, the fights will break out. Politely called caucuses, they are no more than mad scrambles and desperate struggles for votes among the candidates.
Trump, who was in the state over the weekend, is comfortably in first place, and has left to campaign in others. Some sources on the ground tell that while Trump’s supporters are many, they have never been involved in these glorified fist fights before, and it may hurt them that they cannot simply call everyone a “loser” and walk out with a win. Trump has been calling on his people, saying that if their wife dies, if their husband dies, they still need to go out and caucus.
Ted Cruz is in this state to win it. He consistently has downplayed expectations, saying that he will do well but does not need to win. However, he is barnstorming the state, going “Full Grassley,” shaking hands, kissing babies, and fighting desperately for the first in the nation state, to prove that Trump is really nothing but hot air, and that Cruz has a pin to pop that bubble.
Marco Rubio polls in third, while not having much support in the rural areas in the state. However, he recently received a huge endorsement from the Des Moines Register. Rubio has been doing well in the debates, but questions remain as to how conservative he is, and he has not yet surged to Trump-Cruz heights. If he does well in Iowa, he might be able to continue on, but he is a man with a struggling campaign.
Future former presidential candidate Ben Carson is there…and that’s about it.
Rand Paul continues to promise a surge in the state, and his people certainly are devoted. While he is polling in fifth, it would not be the most shocking thing in history if he were to pull into third.
But for contenders, there is where the story ends. No one has ever won the Republican Nomination who did not come in the top three in Iowa, and no other candidates really have a chance to win. Unless something happens in the next week, the above lineup, (minus Dr. Carson, really) is the final scorecard of contenders for the nomination. Expect some people to start dropping out soon after the first of February.
On the Democratic side, Martin O’Malley won’t win Iowa. That’s done with.
Now for Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders, it’s all up in the air.
The establishment of both parties, reports indicate, are dying a horrible death of unnatural causes. However, Hillary is trying to keep the Democratic big-boys around for one more cycle. Sanders is determined to prove that any little boy or insane old man can grow up to be president.
It’s here at last. Real votes will soon be cast. The election is almost upon us. Hang in there, there is an end to this tunnel.
I think.
Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Had Enough?





Atlanta, GA – Had enough?
In the last seven years, our nation has doubled its debt, our economy has weakened even further, and there is no indication we are out of the woods, or even fairly into it, yet. Had enough?
In the last seven years, multitudes of unborn children has been murdered in the so-called “land of the free and home of the brave,” in a nation that chastises other countries for their human rights abuses, we have so many of our own, and all to pacify a voting block and to further a petty politician agenda. Had enough?
In the last seven years, the leaders of our nation have derided and mocked those who wish to hold onto the sacred rights of all men and women to defend themselves, and bear arms to do so. Not only have our leaders mocked, but they have fought tooth and nail, doing all they could to be certain that the lawful are disarmed, while at the same time doing next to nothing to go after the lawless. Had enough?

In the last seven years, our leaders have gone around the world apologizing for us, while at the same time weakening our military, and violating one of our most sacred policies, that we do not negotiate with terrorists. Our leaders have then turned around and said that it will be many years before the terrorists are defeated, while at the same time only using a fraction of the strength necessary, and then pretending to wonder why they get no results. Had enough?

In the last seven years, our nation’s colleges have gone from being the boot camps for the soldiers of the next age, to being the nurseries where we coddle the thumb-sucking children of the last one. These twenty year old children demand safe spaces, complete with bubbles and cookies, so they can hide away from the realities of the world, and not be offended. And our leaders have barely even fought back. Had enough?
In the last seven years, that outside world that these perpetual children are fleeing has at the same time become worse, and more violent, with riots in Baltimore, and unrest in St. Louis, while our president has not even had the self-control to wait for a verdict from the court before appearing on national television to all-but-say he believed a man was guilty without trial. Had enough?

In the last seven years, with terrorists firing shots in Paris, murderers walking the deserts of the Middle East, Communists hacking into multi-billion dollar systems and stealing from millions of Americans, with unemployment staggeringly high, with millions of illegal immigrants having poured across our southern border and living here as outlaws with impunity, our president has had the nerve to say that those who want to fix all this were “crazies.” Had enough?
If you’ve had enough of all of this, if you think that it is time for a change, if you love liberty, despise lawless rioters, and believe that if someone is a thug they should be called that, if you think that someone should have the freedom to believe as they would like, to worship as they choose, and should be allowed to exercise their God-given rights without fear of prison, or fine, or of having their business shutdown or taken away from them, never fear. We have come through seven years of the current regime, but time is on our side. We have but one year, or twelve months, or three hundred and sixty five days, or eight thousand, seven hundred, and sixty hours, or five hundred and twenty five thousand, six hundred seconds, before our current president leaves office. To make matters worse, this is a leap-year.
Hang in there.
Help is one the way.
 
Andrew C. Abbott