Saturday, January 21, 2017

Headline I Wish I'd Thought Of

Both the New York Post and New York Daily News headlined yesterday identically, as follows:
The Don of a New Day
Clever, I wish I'd thought of that myself. Hat tip to Drudge Report for showing both.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Natural Gerrymander

RealClearPolitics' Sean Trende and David Byler analyze the most recent several elections and reach some interesting conclusions concerning geography and politics which help us understand why the GOP does well.
There are only nine “mega-cities” in America: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas. These, in turn, affect 11 states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and Texas.

In seven of these states, further growth in this area does no good for Democrats, as they are already blue. In three others (Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia), the rural areas, towns, and small cities cast enough votes to outvote the mega-city. The final one – Texas – may be the key to a Democratic majority down the road, but Hillary Clinton still lost it by nine points, with a lot of Romney’s votes going to third party candidates. Put differently, the place where the Democratic coalition is growing the most does them the least good, electorally speaking.

But if it causes problems in the Electoral College, it wreaks havoc in the Senate, House, and state legislatures. While only 11 states have mega-cities, 18 states have neither mega-cities nor large cities. To put this in perspective, a party that sweeps the rural and town-dominated states starts out with 36 Senate seats. This won’t happen, of course – Vermont isn’t going Republican any time soon – but Republicans also have a solid foundation in states with large cities, like Oklahoma and Kansas. Because of the Democrats’ concentration in cities, and because of the concentration of the urban vote in relatively few states, the Senate is now a natural Republican gerrymander.

The President's First Speech

If you didn't get a chance to hear Donald Trump's speech at the inauguration, do yourself a favor and read it verbatim at the CNBC website. I enjoyed reading it, and I had heard it earlier live.

Some have criticized it as basically a campaign speech. That wasn't my reaction, nor that of the other DrC. One nice feature, it is relatively short and to the point.

Literally and Seriously

Writing in The Atlantic, Salena Zito describes the disconnect between the media and Donald Trump's many supporters:
The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.
During his inauguration today, several talking heads mentioned how Trump first establishes strong talking points, like the negotiator he is first and foremost. He then negotiates the best deal he can get which may involve some compromise of those original points. We get it, the press doesn't.

Obama's Two Word Legacy

Spoken during Fox News' coverage of today's inauguration - Brit Hume's two word statement of the legacy of President Obama.
Donald Trump
Eight years of the supposedly popular Barack Hussein Obama nearly destroyed the Democratic Party.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Canada Gets Own Trump

Canada's National Post reports a TV personality named Kevin O'Leary looks to be the frontrunner for leadership of their conservative Tory Party. He appears on the ABC reality program Shark Tank.

He doesn't yet have the party leadership. If O'Leary wins it, in a parliamentary system like Canada's, he would become Prime Minister in the event they win the next parliamentary election to be held no later than 2019.

O'Leary isn't as rich as Trump, but then few are. He certainly is worth many millions of dollars. Like Trump, O'Leary has had a checkered entrepreneurial and executive career littered with both successes and failures.

Face it, most business start-ups fail. That's the genius of the marketplace, it's a brutal winnowing process, a real survival-of-the-fittest.

Kevin O'Leary sounds like an interesting guy. Without claiming more than very superficial knowledge, I wish him well. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Liberals Love Losers

Writing in the New York Post, Bob McManus explains, in his view, "Why liberals just love to set terrorists free." He's entitled to his opinion and I don't find it necessarily unpersuasive. However, I have my own view, which I will now, with your permission, share with you.

I believe progressives love to free terrorists because they have the sneaking hunch the terrorists were justified in doing the evil things they did. If liberals don't always agree with terrorists' extreme actions, they agree with many of their grievances.

Liberal/progressives start with the notion that our society is wrong, oppressive, unjust, and more than a little evil. To them the glass is always at least half empty. Radical means are justified to right its wrongs.

Conservatives are comfortable with our society which they view as decent, free, just, and pretty darn good. To them the glass is at least half full, maybe more. Therefore radical means are not justified, and terrorists should not be freed.

The appeal of Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan to conservatives is his promise to undo the radical things progressives have done in pursuit of equal outcomes for all. Conservatives know equal outcomes are inherently unfair as they are not proportional to the recipients' efforts and accomplishments.

Bottom line: Liberals view individuals as pawns, without agency, buffeted hither and thither by cruel fortune. Conservatives view individuals as captains of their own fate, essentially meriting in most cases what they end up with, good or bad. Pawns don't deserve punishment, free individuals who screw up do.

Two Predictions

Lots of pundit predictions out there about this being "the most ominous inauguration ever." That's the conventional wisdom this January.

Because the conventional wisdom has been nearly universally wrong this political cycle, and because I'm a bit of a contrarian, I'm going to predict the promised trouble will be as big a bust as Y2K, a real nothingburger.  Helping me in reaching this conclusion is the prediction for cold rain in the DC area on Friday.

When the time comes, many of the protestors will think about the misery of expressing their displeasure while holding an umbrella and decide to stay warm and dry watching it on TV. And, I suspect the women's march on the 21st will likewise be less-than-massive.

We'll soon know if I predicted correctly, or I have to admit I blew it. Check this space late Saturday.

Californians Support Deportation, Oppose Sanctuaries

Politico reports on the findings of a poll of CA voters done by the Hoover Institution and Stanford University. Some findings were not what you'd expect from the deep blue state.
On Trump’s plan to suspend immigration from countries with links to terrorism, a plurality of California voters, 42 percent, said it would make California “better off.” That compares to 35 percent who said “worse off,” and 23 percent who had no view.

Regarding the effects of Trump’s promise to deport illegal immigrants, 44 percent said it would make California “better off,’’ 39 percent said worse off,’’ and 18 percent undecided, the poll showed.

On Trump’s plan to end “sanctuary cities,’’ 41 percent expressed support, 36 percent said they were opposed, and 22 percent were undecided.
I predict CA Gov. Jerry Brown will ignore this evidence of voter disapproval of his program.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Rest of the Story

The late radio "drama queen" Paul Harvey would declaim, "and now...the rest of the story." Chances are, you heard him do it.

In the last few days you've heard that European leaders are "shocked, shocked" that Donald Trump has said NATO is "obsolete." Trump added NATO is "very unfair to the United States," which spends hugely to protect all 28 member nations.

Do you know what else he said at the same time? You don't? That's because the MSM didn't want to tell you the rest of the story. According to Paul Mirengoff of Power Line, Trump continued "With that being said, NATO is very important to me."

If NATO is "very important" to Donald Trump, why should European leaders be aghast at what he said? All he said was NATO needs to be modernized and made fair.

Their concern is he will demand they live up to their NATO treaty commitments to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. Their free-loading constituents have become accustomed to paying little for defense, and may throw them out of office if they try to raise defense spending.

They also fear Trump will demand they close their borders to Islamic refugees, some of whom are terrorists. Doing so would require actions they don't wish to undertake, perhaps their own "wall" or equivalent.

Monica Crowley Out

On Thursday we wrote about plagiarism allegations directed at Monica Crowley, whom Trump had thought to appoint as spokesperson for the National Security Council. Now comes word that she has decided to remain in New York and "pursue other opportunities."

Crowley made a good choice if, in fact, choice it was. She may be able to overcome the plagiarism stigma, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has done so to some degree.

However, Goodwin is liberal and they get cut more slack. As the old wheeze goes, if liberals didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all.

It's the Market, Stupid

Amid reports of staff and budget downsizing at The New York Times and The Washington Post and, truth be told, most other papers. Amid declining Nielsens for the network national news programs, we rise to ask why this is happening? Several reasons suggest themselves.

You can blame the 24 hour news cycle, the Internet and its "new media," or you can fall back on a far more basic idea: the market. Free consumers decide what to do with their eyeballs - what to read or watch.

The old media continues to deliver a homogenous blend of 'progressive' and politically correct pap, and the consumers aren't having it, thank you very much. Meanwhile two not-progressive venues - The Wall Street Journal and Fox News - are respectively the most widely circulated newspaper in the land and the nation's most watched cable news programs.

Coincidence? I think not. Old media needs to think about their offerings, and the market's demonstrated preferences, which are not similar.

Can old media reclaim their former market share? Unlikely. Can they stop the erosion? Probably not, they are unwilling to deliver what the market finds palatable.

Somewhere along the line the old media stopped being a business and became a liberal/progressive crusade, without realizing the change demands a new funding source. Ad revenue won't cut it, they need pledge drives and contributions from the virtue-signaling wealthy. Hyper-liberal PBS and NPR long since figured this out.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lewis a Serial Boycotter

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) has announced that he is boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Twitchy website quotes Lewis from NBC's Meet the Press as follows:
I don't plan to attend the inauguration...first one I miss since I been in Congress.
However, The Washington Post reported the following back in January 21, 2001, with regard to the Bush inauguration:
Some members of the Black Caucus decided to boycott Inauguration Day; John Lewis, for instance, spent the day in his Atlanta district.
Lewis missing a Republican inauguration is somewhat normal behavior for him, contrary to all the hullabaloo in the MSM. The inauguration will be no less formal and official for his absence, and he is certainly entitled to stay away if he chooses.

I do somewhat resent him lying about it being his first no-show, that is simply untrue. Perhaps at 76 he has become somewhat forgetful.

Schadenfreude on Steroids

There are dumb weapons which devastate everyone in the neighborhood, and precision or "smart" weapons that mostly attack the bad guys. Trump is a smart weapon, one with excellent targeting.

His election drives radical feminists, BLM activists, Hollywood's old-and-new-leftists, teachers' and civil servants' unions and most other progressives loudly and painfully insane. At the same time it leaves normal people mildly entertained or even enthused.

What a great deal this is, all the irritating idiots punished and all the good folk happy. You could hardly ask for a better outcome, or one with less collateral damage.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

21st Century Reality

The National Post (Canada) looks back at eight years of the Obama administration's foreign policy, and thinks some long thoughts about our time.
In this century it is becoming clear that the dominant geopolitical problem is not, as was once expected, the development of “rogue states” lying outside the world’s economic and security order. It is, rather, the existence of characteristically stateless parts of the world, ones that create the conditions for civilian massacres, genocide, and exported terrorism.

As Obama’s history already shows, the use of drones in such environments is virtually irresistible. It is inarguable, if the alternative is the demise of a religious minority or ethnic group; and it will win the argument, if the alternative consists of bombs going off in American shopping malls and football stadiums. The places without law will face judgment from the skies.
As inherently weaker forces, terrorists hide among the populace, putting everyone at risk. Warriors without uniforms turn their opponents into assassins, who hope to kill the dangerous 'civilians' without killing too many true noncombatants.

It is the ugliest form of war, very nearly the Hobbesian "war of all against all." In this mode the ultimate tactic is genocide, expressed in 'Nam hyperbole as "Kill 'em all. Let God sort 'em out."

Transferring Personal Popularity

Mediaite reports President Obama making the following comment on NBC's Dateline program:
I had trouble transferring my personal popularity or support to the broader cause of the Democratic party.
This caused me to ponder the irony that a supposedly popular president could not convince voters to elect Clinton who he described as the best-prepared candidate we've seen in a long time. Let's consider a politically incorrect thought, shall we?

Suppose the Bradley Effect works in two ways. The first is of course the original way in which voters report to pollsters they will vote for a black candidate for whom they have no intention of voting.

I hypothesize the second way is, when asked by pollsters their opinion of a black incumbent office holder, voters will voice approval-of-performance they do not, in fact, feel. The reason for making an incorrect statement is identical in both cases, namely a desire not to appear racially biased.

If the Bradley Effect works for both incumbents and candidates, then just maybe President Obama had substantially less "personal popularity" than pollsters reported. That would explain the "trouble" Obama claimed to have. Perhaps he couldn't transfer popularity he didn't actually have as his poll numbers were partially an artifact of social desirability bias.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hanson: the Urban-Rural Divide

Historian Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institute sage and San Joaquin farm owner, comments for City Journal on the election won this past November by Donald Trump.
Donald Trump captured the twenty-first-century malaise of a rural America left behind by globalized coastal elites and largely ignored by the establishments of both political parties. Central to Trump’s electoral success, too, were age-old rural habits and values that tend to make the interior broadly conservative.

That a New York billionaire almost alone grasped how red-state America truly thought, talked, and acted, and adjusted his message and style accordingly, will remain one of the astonishing ironies of American political history.
In the process of building three homes the DrsC have found construction people to be very grounded individuals, sensible and no-nonsense. I've found more people I genuinely liked and admired in the skilled building crafts - carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, excavators - than among the college professors who were my colleagues.

As a builder of hotels and other big projects, Trump is accustomed to dealing with and talking to people in the construction trades. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn he preferred their company to that of the fancy society people to whom his wealth has provided access.

Wisdom in the Age of Trump

Amy Walters, writing for the Cook Political Report, summarizes a discussion of the challenges facing each party in the next two years.
There is nothing traditional about Trump. Some days things are going to look totally familiar to those of us steeped in the ways of Washington. Other days they won’t. However, unconventional doesn’t always mean unsuccessful. Trump’s campaign was messy and unpredictable and at times surreal. But, it worked. Whether it continues to work in governing is something we can’t know now. And, we may not have a good grasp of for quite some time.
No question Trump is an innovator, something of a force of nature in politics. Those who love our country will wish him well, as we wished Obama well eight years ago.

Obama was a disappointment in so many ways. For all our sakes, let's hope Trump is the opposite - a pleasant surprise.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hamlet in the White House

If you look hard enough, even anti-Trump MSM actors like The Washington Post can make some good points. For example, David Ignatius writes about the Russian hacking issue:
Why did the Obama administration wait so long to deal with Russia’s apparent hacking? This is the Hamlet puzzle in our drama. Like the prince of Denmark, President Obama delayed taking action even as evidence mounted of dastardly deeds. The first stories about Russian hacking broke in the summer. In September, the “Gang of Eight” — the top congressional leadership on intelligence — was getting detailed briefings on the hacking. The FBI by then had obtained the British ex-spy’s dossier.

The intelligence community issued a statement Oct. 7 charging that “Russia’s senior-most officials” had sought to “interfere with the U.S. election process.” Given that, why didn’t Obama do more?
Ignatius tries to answer this question but what he comes up with is it happened because "politics." That isn't good enough for a President.

Like all his predecessors, Obama swore to defend the country from enemies foreign and domestic. He concentrated too much on defense against domestic 'enemies' (Republicans) and not enough on the real foreign enemies like Russia.

Crazy Like a Fox

I think we can be certain Donald Trump doesn't want to get bogged down in a prosecution of Hillary Clinton. However, his supporters want exactly that, remember the shouts of "lock her up."

Now comes a story where the PEOTUS has tweeted she is "guilty as hell." I think it likely he does so to force Obama to pardon her, thus making prosecution impossible while bolstering his "she's guilty" narrative.

Are Scott Adams and I the only ones who think Trump is playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers? Let's see if he can sucker Obama into doing his bidding. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.