John Kasich walked into a small conference room at the Atkinson Country Club this morning and was greeted by a polite crowd of roughly forty people. Which is actually kind of impressive, the venue was tucked away in a next of winding back roads and Granite Staters woke up to a snowstorm troublesome enough to cancel area schools. (It would have shut down Washington, D.C., for 48 hours.)
Kasich spoke for just eight minutes—half of which he spent bantering with a pair of kids who were ready to go sledding—and then took questions from a group of voters who seemed neither hostile, nor enthusiastic. There was no excitement. No real message, even. Except that Kasich is not like any ofRead more
Actor Danny Glover is throwing his support behind Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
"Bernie Sanders' campaign has already accomplished what most observers -- including many of his supporters -- thought was impossible. Coming from 40 points behind in the polls when the campaign began, he achieved a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton in Iowa and enjoys a huge lead in the second Democratic contest in New Hampshire," Glover writes in his endorsement.
"There is now no denying that he is a serious contender. Although Clinton still leads in national polls, most of the people surveyed by those polls have so far given little attention to the fundamentally different policy goals between Democratic Party presidentialRead more
The Washington Post claims that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has “gained an apparent ally…in her fight to limit the political damage from her growing email controversy."
The supposed ally is another former secretary of state, Colin Powell. Why? Two of Powell's emails have been retroactively classified. (He doesn't think they should be.)
But there are obvious differences between Powell's receipt of two emails and Clinton's robust private email operation. Let's compare the facts as set forth in the Post's own piece.
First, "tens of thousands of emails…passed through the private server Clinton used while in office." Powell did not have a private server for his State Department emails.Read more
Trump Cancels Only N.H. Event Today, Offers Top Prize of $15 Buffalo Wild Wings Gift Card to Get Out the Vote
Donald Trump canceled his only scheduled campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday because it is snowing in the Granite State. "Due to the weather and the airports being closed Mr. Trump is unable to attend today's Town Hall at the Londonderry Lions Club," the Trump campaign said in a press release. "This event will be rescheduled and additional details will follow. Mr. Trump will campaign in New Hampshire on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday." Huffington Post reporter Scott Conroy notes that other campaigns stayed on schedule despite the snow.Read more
The latest dead-on-arrival lame-duck proposal from the White House came Thursday. In a statement about its “21st Century Clean Transportation System" plan, the Obama administration said it would pay for new infrastructure spending with a "new fee paid by oil companies." Here's an excerpt:
So to meet our needs in the future, we have to make significant investments across all modes of transportation. And our transportation system is heavily dependent on oil. That is why we are proposing to fund these investments through a new $10 per barrel fee on oil paid by oil companies, which would be gradually phased in over five years.Read more
The American Founders designed a federal government of separated powers: They authorized Congress to pass the laws, the president to execute them, and the Supreme Court (and "such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish") to apply them in judicial proceedings. But the lawmaking power is now, illegitimately, being shared. We currently have a president who feels free to grant unilateral executive amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in plain defiance of federal immigration law, to decree myriad changes to Obamacare at his whim, even to rename mountains and to decide who is pictured on our currency.Read more
On Thursday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie attacked Florida senator Marco Rubio from the left on the issue of abortion.
"He's made it very clear that — on the issue of pro-life, Marco Rubio is not for an exception for rape, incest or life of the mother," Christie said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Now, you know, I think that's the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about."
"I am pro-life, but I believe that rape, incest and life of the mother, as Ronald Reagan did, should be exceptions to that rule," Christie added.
Christie made two claims that are flatly false. First, Rubio has always said that he supports an exception when the life of the mother is endangered.Read more
For all the hype surrounding him, a Marco Rubio rally is completely different from the mega-rallies of Trump and Sanders or even the smaller, yet richly-produced, Clinton affairs. Thursday’s rally, for instance, was held in a dingy banquet hall just off the U.S. 1 Bypass in Portsmouth. At eight o'clock in the morning about 150 people packed into the small room, which looked like most of the bare-bones, early campaign events you see every four years in New Hampshire. Except for one thing: the candidate.Read more
After last night's Democratic debate, Rachel Maddow, one of the debate moderators, hugged the candidates. First Bernie Sanders got pulled tight, then Hillary Clinton.
Longtime Fox News Channel host and senior political analyst Brit Hume noted on Twitter,
"Rachel Maddow embraces both Clinton and Sanders at end of debate. I don't think I've ever seen a moderator do that before."
Rachel Maddow embraces both Clinton and Sanders at end of debate. I don't think I've ever seen a moderator do that before.Read more
In his weekly newsletter “Kristol Clear," The Scrapbook's boss alerts readers to "a two-part essay by Harvey Mansfield in the fine magazine City Journal. Mansfield's topic is 'Our Parties,' with Part I on 'The Democrats: how progress became drift,' and Part II on 'The Republicans: party of virtue.' And as an introduction to these challenging but very rewarding pieces, or as a tide-me-over until you have the leisure to read them, I'm happy to present a new conversation with Harvey Mansfield [available at conversationswithbillkristol.org]. In it, Mansfield considers our two major parties, the ideas behind them, and the qualities that often go with being a Democrat or a Republican.Read more
It’s been one scary horror movie. But now, at last, the happy ending. The slasher is dead. The aliens have been defeated. The flesh-eating zombies have been disposed of once and for all. The vampires will never suck blood again. You exhale. You relax. You heave a sigh of relief.
Big mistake! As even the most casual observer of cinematic conventions knows, this is the moment of maximum peril. The moment when, suddenly, the slasher's not really dead. The aliens aren't all gone. The zombies haven't been disposed of. The vampires are stirring. They're BACK!!!!
Donald Trump lost Iowa. But he's far from politically dead and decisively defeated.Read more
In few cases in its long history has the Supreme Court had occasion to interpret Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, which provides that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." This year it may have another. We'll know by the end of the Court's term in June, just as the presidential race is heating up.
United States v. Texas is the case to watch. At issue is President Obama's executive action on immigration known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). Under DAPA, undocumented immigrants who satisfy certain conditions may live here for three years, a temporary reprieve from deportation, and obtain work permits.Read more
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and authorized it to sue companies that commit “unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices." Two staff reports and internal CFPB documents just released by congressional Republicans have exposed the new agency's attempt to circumvent the very law that created it through activities that epitomize these three types of violations.
A last-minute amendment to Dodd-Frank explicitly barred the CFPB from regulating or suing car dealers, who derive much of their revenue from lending. But Elizabeth Warren—whose advocacy for the consumer agency led to her becoming its first leader and then a United States senator—has never accepted thisRead more
A memorable bit of health advice appeared in the February 3 New York Times: “Sexually active women who are not using birth control should refrain from alcohol to avoid the risk of giving birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, even if those women are not yet known to be pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended. . . . The report, which appeared to refer exclusively to heterosexual sex, also said that three in four women who intend to get pregnant do not stop drinking alcohol when they stop using birth control [emphasis added]."
As a colleague of The Scrapbook points out, "Yes, NYT, that is the type of sex that can get women pregnant.Read more
The Scrapbook’s commute is probably no worse than that of many of our readers who live in urban areas, which is to say that it's almost never pleasant and is also highly unpredictable. President Obama's appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4, for example, added a good 30 minutes to our morning drive, thanks to the -Secret Service-imposed street closings that allowed his highness's motorcade to make its way unimpeded from the White House to the Washington Hilton and home again. (We're afraid we may have had a profane thought or two about the breakfast as we were mired in the gridlock.Read more
For alumni of U.S. national-security departments and agencies, Hillary Clinton’s email saga is mind-numbing. The publicly available information makes clear she and her aides violated so many elementary security prohibitions that alumni are speechless. They wonder, had they done what she did, how quickly they would have lost their clearances and jobs and how extensive the criminal indictments against them would be.
By contrast, many who have never served in government or dealt with classified information see the affair as opaque, even overblown. Certainly Clinton has worked hard to foster that impression.Read more
Des Moines, Iowa
The shorthand understanding of the likely three-man race for the Republican nomination goes something like this.
Donald Trump is the populist outside agitator, running on economic nationalism and against the entire political system. Ted Cruz is the antiestablishment crusader, running on sharp intellect, eager confrontation, and ideological purity. And Marco Rubio is the conventional candidate, running on optimism, easing our anxieties, and repairing old divisions.
Cruz and Trump are often lumped together as “outsiders" or "antiestablishment," manifestations of the anger and frustration of the Republican base.Read more
It was 11:30 p.m. on the night of the Iowa caucuses and Hillary Clinton had a decision to make. She was ahead of Bernie Sanders by less than 1 percent of the vote count and most of the precincts were in. But her lead was shrinking. If she waited much longer, her victory speech might turn into a concession. So instead of taking the risk, she chose a middle course: She went out before the cameras, even as Ted Cruz was giving his own valediction, to deliver a speech that was neither victorious nor conciliatory. It was ghastly.
With her former president husband standing behind her slack-jawed—his mouth hung weirdly agape throughout her remarks—nearly the entire six-and-a-half-minute affair was pitched at a shout.Read more
Donald Trump sits atop national polls for the Republican nomination, with supporters arguing he is precisely the person to fight special interests, return power to the people, and “make America great again." If he were alive today, James Madison would surely disagree. The writings of the nation's fourth president offer several strong admonitions against rallying to the Trump banner.
Judging the Trump candidacy by Madison's standards is worthwhile, for two reasons. First, some of Trump's biggest fans consider themselves constitutionalists—and nobody was more important in the design, ratification, and defense of the Constitution than Madison. For 30 years, from 1787 until 1817, he was at the center of everyRead more
Ted Cruz put on a show when he won the Iowa caucuses. The impression was that of a rookie football player dancing in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. In the NFL, teammates stop an exuberant player from celebrating too long and being penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The stage at his victory speech was full of Cruz backers, but nobody stopped him. He danced for 32 minutes.
The advice to rookies from football veterans is when you score, act like you’ve been in the end zone before. Cruz didn't. He claimed the 28 percent of the Republican caucus vote he received sent a message to the world that "morning is coming." Not quite. He likened himself to Ronald Reagan. But he was very un-Reagan.
Cruz relied almostRead more
So now that the Democratic party is well and truly feeling the Bern, how should those of us who identify not as democratic socialists nor oligarchs nor oligarch-enablers feel about those lighter-shade-of-Mao “Bernie 2016" yard signs reddening up the landscape?
The perhaps counterintuitive answer is . . . thrilled. Ecstatic, even. The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she's thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.Read more
What is a Republican caucus in Iowa really like? On February 1, I went to Ames to find out.
One hundred eighty-nine Republicans filed into the sanctuary at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, just a few blocks from the Iowa State campus, to consider each candidate a final time before casting their votes. Like those across the state, the caucus started promptly at 7:00 p.m.—well, maybe a minute or two after. Jeff Ortiz, co-chairman of the Story County GOP and chairman of the precinct's caucus, gave a little leeway to the last few voters signing in. Every caucusgoer must be registered as a Republican in Iowa, which a participant can do up until the caucus begins.Read more
Another college president has caved. After months of protests at Ithaca College alleging campus leaders are indifferent to racism, President Tom Rochon announced in January he would be stepping down before the end of his contract.
“I recognize that colleges evolve through eras defined by new opportunities and challenges," he said in a written statement. "I believe it is best for IC to be led in the future by a president chosen by the board specifically to make a fresh start on these challenges, including those that became so apparent to us all last semester.Read more
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