Ted Cruz Takes Lumps From Sally Yates

This made me smile.  A real deep down sincere smile.

Senator Ted Cruz likes to think of himself as an eloquent debater.  He likes others to admire his legal mind covered by a greasy shell of matted hair.  But yesterday Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates bested him in the newsworthy hearing–not once–but twice.

First, Cruz cited a law that was intended to show that Trump had the right to execute his first travel ban (the one with which Yates disagreed and that eventually led to her public firing). Yates then cited a more recent law, which she said specifically did not allow Trump to issue that executive order.

Second, Cruz asked, “In the over 200 years of the Department of Justice history, are you aware of any instance in which the Department of Justice has formally approved the legality of a policy and three days later the attorney general has directed the department not to follow that policy and to defy that policy?” Cruz said.

Yates responded, “I’m not, but I’m also not aware of a situation where the Office of Legal Counsel was advised not to tell the attorney general about it until after it was over.”


Ted Cruz Political Cartoons—Stumbling To The End Of His Campaign

There is no need for Donald Trump to work at undermining Ted Cruz.  The most hated member of the U.S. Senate is doing the work all by himself.

Last week Cruz made the awful mistake of naming a vice-presidential candidate in what reeked of desperation.   Then in one of the most bizarre examples of throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick he walked yesterday up to a rag-tag bunch of Trump supporters thinking he could debate them over to his side.   The rank-and-file Trump backer is not the type of person who knows how to debate and as everyone by now has seen Cruz was hammered with quips and embarrassments that are the fodder for late night television.

There is no doubt I find Trump deplorable in every sense of the word and know he is dangerous to those who care about policy and politics.   But Cruz is the most despicable politician that has come along over the past decade to the national scene.  He is so stridently conservative that he scares a large segment of the GOP and at the same time has a personality that is so revolting he has almost no support from those who know him best.

So the political cartoonists have a field day with Cruz.  I think we are close to the end of this journey for Cruz and we can send him packing.  In the meantime lets laugh at him.  After all, there is no way to take him seriously.

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Graphics: Republican Convention’s Delegate Math Explained

The New York Times has some grand graphics which makes the Republican delegate process for the presidential nomination much easier to grasp.   Before getting into the round-by-round rules of the convention, let’s look at who those delegates are supporting. Mr. Trump currently has around a 400 delegate lead on Sen. Ted Cruz with about 500 delegates remaining.  Please note the website link provides a much better view for bound and unbound delegates.  I wanted to post this series of graphics as they are well done and make the point of how hard the road ahead may be for the GOP at their convention.


When the 2,472 delegates to the Republican National Convention gather in Cleveland July 18, almost all of them will be bound to one of the presidential candidates.


For a second ballot, delegates from 36 states, territories and Washington, D.C., become fully unbound. Here’s where the jockeying at a convention would truly start.


Round three in balloting at the GOP convention.



Heavy-Hitter GOP Member Says Ted Cruz Is “Lucifer In The Flesh”

One does have to respect those who speak from experience.

“Lucifer in the flesh”, former Speaker of the House John Boehner said of Ted Cruz in one of his most sane moments of clarity.

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” 

Ted Cruz Smells Of Desperation

I watched the drama slowly–almost painfully so–unfold today in Indiana when Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced his vice-presidential running mate.

For the first half-hour I sincerely wondered if Carly Fiorina was actually going to show up on the stage.  In one of the worst staged political events this year Cruz talked for over 30 minutes and rambled on in his overly theatrical way to the point that I suspect most watching turned the channel.

But since I love a great train wreck I continued to watch.  And when Fiorina finally arrived on stage it took her only a few minutes to break into a song.

I kid you not.

Some older folks might think it cute, and it was clearly different.  But it should be recalled that even Sarah Palin skipped the talent portion when introduced as a vice-presidential pick.

I get the need for Cruz to find a way to change the topic following a devastating primary election night when he failed to win even one county in any of the five states in contention.  But to make such a presumptuous move as naming a running mate with an even more troubled candidacy than his own makes for a spiraling-down narrative than had he done nothing.

Shaking up the news cycle with something other than a laugh line is a laudable goal.   The Cruz campaign did need to do something that would make news and at the same time have credibility.   But what they attempted today was not only poorly staged and executed but will result in scorn and late-night talk show laughs.

Meanwhile Donald Trump remains unscathed from this goofy attempt by Cruz to change the message.

About the mid-portion of 2015 I am reminded that Time magazine tried to spin the notion the many GOP presidential candidates made for a most impressive list for the nation to ponder.  Surely there had to presidential timber among the group.

Today I recall that article and place it right along with the column by George Will who wrote the morning before the Berlin Wall fell that such a thing was not in the cards.   How wrong we often get the world staring us in the face.

But I can state tonight with total clarity and assurance that the smell of desperation that drove Cruz to the podium today will not serve him well.

A damaging reaction will follow May 3rd.    Voters are wiser than to fall for such smarmy attempts to get votes.

What Happens If GOP Candidate Is Less Favorable Than Mitt Romney?

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 31% of Americans have a favorable view of Donald Trump while 67% are unfavorable — nearly identical to an early March Post-ABC poll which found he would be the most disliked major-party nominee since at least 1984.

Ted Cruz fares better with 36% favorable and 53% unfavorable among the public at-large; his strongly unfavorable mark is 20 percentage-points below Trump’s level (33% for Cruz vs. 53% for Trump).

Now throw in some political history.

Both Trump and Cruz are less popular than Mitt Romney at this point in the 2012 campaign.  This is most problematic for the GOP—in a cycle where they were slated to win based on history and the mood of the nation.

With either Trump or Cruz Republicans are doomed at wining the White House.

More Proof Donald Trump And Ted Cruz Hurting Republican Election Chances

Mo matter how the GOP turns it looks bad.  The latest evidence of that is from Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are toxic for the general election.  Both would lose the White House to Hillary Clinton.  But what also might happen is turn down ballot races into real contests where a heavy Democratic turnout along with anti-Trump and anti-Cruz voters will upset some Republicans.

This week we’re making 14 House rating changes, with all but one of them favoring the Democrats. This has been a common theme for us in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, we offered ratings of a potential Hillary Clinton-versus-Donald Trump presidential race, which tilted the competitive Electoral College states toward the Democrats. Last week, we moved six Senate races and two gubernatorial races toward the Democrats. This is mostly because of the increasingly likely odds of the GOP nominating Trump or Cruz for president.

However, these House changes do not represent a massive upgrade of Democratic odds for taking the House. Many of them simply take some already unlikely targets for Republicans off our list of competitive races, and they don’t change the overall House prospects all that much.

Presidential Candidates And Red Ink In Federal Budget

During one of the Republican presidential debates Fox News did something I approved of.  After Donald Trump made a statement about balancing the federal budget with the removal of waste in government the anchors for the debate pulled up a graphic to underscore the folly of his statement.   It was an attempt to bring focus and reality to the numbers that need to be considered when talking about our national debt.

Too little tough questioning and genuine probing has been done to make the candidates speak forthrightly about the cost of government.  While I am a strong advocate of an energetic and broad type of federal government I also have never shied away from stating how bills need to be paid.

Gerald Seib writing in the Wall Street Journal has attempted to nail the candidates to their positions and then frame the larger argument as to why there is not  enough discussion on this matter.

In a nutshell, here is the disconnect: Mr. Trump has said he can eliminate the $19 trillion federal debt in eight years. At the same time, he has proposed a giant tax-cut plan that the conservative Tax Foundation says would, even after accounting for the economic growth it would create, reduce government revenues by $10 trillion over the next decade.

Taken together, that’s a hole of some $30 trillion to fill—and actually more, considering the debt would continue to climb in the interim. Add in promises not to touch Social Security and Medicare benefits and to build up the military, and the task is nearly impossible.

For perspective, the entire federal budget for nondefense discretionary spending—programs outside of entitlement programs and interest on the debt—now runs about $600 billion annually. You would have to eliminate every penny of that spending—on roads, education, law enforcement and scientific research—for 25 years to fill that hole.

Or, alternately, as the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated, you would have to cut all government spending outside of Social Security by 93%.

Mr. Trump’s main Republican rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, brings some of the same disconnects to this issue, simply on a smaller scale. While Mr. Cruz proposes passing a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that his economic proposals—which combine a big tax cut with increased military spending, the end of Affordable Care Act taxes and much smaller domestic spending cuts—would increase the national debt by $12.5 trillion over the next decade. To put that in perspective, the debt has risen about $9 trillion during the course of the Obama presidency.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders outbids everybody on both spending and tax increases—and would add to the debt. He proposes raising the rates across personal tax brackets, establishing a top federal tax rate of 54.2% and boosting taxes on capital gains.

While all that would pay for some of his expanded social spending, which would drive up federal spending by an estimated 33%, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget still estimates that his plan would add somewhere between $2 trillion and $15 trillion to the federal debt, depending on how much his plan for national health insurance would end up costing.

In terms of debt management, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Hillary Clinton are the most responsible. Her programs would increase federal spending by an estimated 2%, and she proposes tax increases to pay for them. The Tax Foundation estimates that her proposals for tax increases would raise $498 billion in federal revenue over a decade—though it also estimates those tax increases would decrease the gross domestic product by 1% in the long run by suppressing economic activity.