Donald Trump’s net favorable rating among Republicans increased significantly over the past two weeks, putting him among the top six Republicans overall on this measure.‘s image also improved, while Carly Fiorina’s and Ben Carson’s images remain significantly better than they were before the Aug. 6 debate. John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are among those whose images worsened.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Thursday, September 3, 2015
[VIDEO] 'I have signed the pledge!' Trump rules out a third-party run as he casts his lot with Republicans following talks with party boss
Donald Trump ruled out a third-party run for president on Thursday, announcing in the lobby of his landmark Trump Tower in New York that 'I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and to the conservative principles for which it stands.'
'I have signed the pledge,' he told journalists and supporters.
Trump's press conference followed an afternoon meeting with Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
His campaign announced the event after the RNC began circulating a pledge to its 2016 presidential candidates that would commit them to supporting the party's eventual 2016 nominee.
It also requires them to forgo a third-party bid if they should come up short in the party primary races.
'I SIGNED THE PLEDGE!': Trump told supporters and journalists on Thursday that he's 100 per cent committed to runing for president as a Republican
TOUCHÉ: Jeb Bush fired back at The Donald with a hand-scrawled 'pledge' of his own on Twitter: 'Voted Republican since 1972'
RALLY: The Trump campaign gathered supporters at Trump Tower on Thursday for the announcement
Priebus, the real estate tycoon said Thursday, 'has been extremely fair. The RNC has been fair.'
'I wanted fairness,' Trump explained. 'I don't have to be treated any differently from anybody else. I just wanted fairness from the Republican Party.'
One of Trump's rivals lobbed a rhetorial hand grenade at him Thursday afternoon. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted a photo of his own 'pledge,' a hand-scrawled and signed note saying he had 'voted Republican since 1972.'
A Bush aide said Thursday that Jeb scribbled the note while taking in news of the Trump event at a Dunkin' Donuts in Meredith, New Hampshire.
Bush has been critical of Trump for a personal history that included an affinity with the Democratic Party and its policy positions.
Trump said in response to a reporter's question that he wasn't promised anything in exchange for his pledge to the RNC.
'Absolutely nothing,' he said, 'other than the assurance that I would be treated fairly.'
'We don't want anything,' he said he told Priebus.
Trump assured voters that he won't break his word.
'I have no intention of changing my mind,' he said, adding later that 'I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.'
A Trump spokesman confirmed the meeting with Priebus eirlier in the day but wouldn't tip his hand to indicate whether the billionaire would rule out an independent run.
Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Politico, 'I don’t think you can "expect" ANYTHING from Mr. Trump.'
Via: Daily Mail
Friday, August 28, 2015
Democratic legislators in the state Senate have brought Californians closer to new hikes on the cost of driving their cars. But the committee vote represented little more than a first step in a complex, intense negotiation between Republicans, Democrats and the man trying to stay influential but above the fray — Gov. Jerry Brown.
Republicans have resisted Democrats’ preferred approach, but California’s business lobby has pressed both parties to embrace new taxes and fees. “Last week, business organizations such as the California Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said any deal should seek to raise at least $6 billion annually by raising gas and diesel taxes and increasing vehicle registration and license fees,” the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Part of the rationale for increasing fees, instead of simply dialing up gas taxes, has centered around the growing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles in California — and the state’s interest in squeezing revenue out of every car on the road. “We have these Teslas that are being sold and they don’t pay any gas tax,” complained state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, as CBS Sacramento noted.
Gas in California has remained higher on average than out-of-state, thanks to cap-and-trade fees and the state’s unique environmental rules about the blends of gasoline that must be sold. Current state taxes include an excise tax of 39 cents, between 30 and 42 cents in sales tax, and 10 cents for the cap-and-trade levy, as Watchdog Arena observed.
Brown stays secretive
At a recent news conference that left some observers hungry for detail scratching their heads, Brown refused to hint at a revenue source for the improvements. “I’m not going to say where the revenue’s going to come from, how we’re going to get it,” he said. “We’ll get it done, but I’m not going to put all my cards on the table this morning,” Brown said, according to ABC 7 News.
Brown was joined at the appearance by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who signaled separately that negotiations would be tough. “It will be a bumpy road, but our constituents expect us to work together and figure something out,” she toldthe San Francisco Chronicle.
To date, the governor has not let slip whether he would support or oppose a tax hike to make up the difference.
That raised the possibility that Republicans might get their way, scrounging up revenue from savings and budgetary jujitsu instead of tax increases. But GOP legislators have been keen on siphoning revenue away from California’s cap-and-trade program, which Brown had availed himself of previously in order to fund construction spending on the state’s much-debated high-speed rail project. That has drawn strenuous objections from Sacramento Democrats.
The current proposal advanced by Assembly Republicans “would raise more than $6 billion a year by eliminating thousands of state employees and unfilled positions and reallocating existing state money, both from the budget and from other projects,” the Chronicle noted, while the plan pushed by Beall would raise billions with a suite of increased gas taxes and fees, including an “annual road access charge of $35 a vehicle,” according to the paper.
It was Beall’s bill that cleared its first committee test in the Senate this week, with Democrats besting Republicans in a party line vote.
For now, just a few broad outlines of an agreement have come into focus. According to the Chronicle, both sides reject the option of a “one-time fix, such as a bond measure that would pile more debt on the state. Any money raised must be earmarked only for road and infrastructure repair, and protected against being siphoned into other parts of the state budget.” Plus, legislators agreed that expenditures should be clearly identified and made public, with some kind of oversight and monitoring built into the arrangement.
So infectious is the boobery of the moment that the vector of contagion has penetrated even the high tower walls behind which dwells Hillary Rodham Clinton, into whose weedy enchanted kingdom few are admitted except discreet deliverymen with the usual weekly bulk shipments of eye-of-newt and toe-of-frog supplements. Herself frequently is banal, insipid, poorly informed, glib, contemptible, and almost always boring, but she’s usually not much of a genuine bomb-thrower, until she accuses her opponents of being genuine bomb-throwers, i.e., declaring that those in the pro-life camp who object to the vivisection of living human beings for commercial purposes are soul mates with “terrorists.”
Via: Fox News
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Leftwingers’ taunts in 2008 and 2012 have come back to haunt them.
In the jubilation of the Obama election victories of 2008 and 2012, the Left warned Republicans that the party of McCain and Romney was now “too old, too white, too male — and too few.” Columnists between 2008 and 2012 ad nauseam berated Republicans on the grounds that their national candidates “no longer looked like America.” The New York Times stable crowed that the Republicans of 2008 were “all white and nearly all male” — not too long before McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running-mate. In reaction to the defeats of McCain and Romney, Salon and Harper’s ran stories on the “Grand Old White Party” and “Angry White Men.”
For Democratic progressives, Hawaiian Barack Obama could not be of mixed ancestry and decidedly middle class, but simply “black” or “African American” — as if he had shared the Jim Crow experience of Clarence Thomas. Nor was there any allowance that race itself had become hard to sort into neat categories in a nation of immigration, intermarriage, and assimilation, in which millions of Americans were one-half this and one-quarter that. Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King proved that well enough by successfully constructing themselves as white for quite a long time.
Liberals had reversed the vision of Martin Luther King Jr.: The color of our skin, not the content of our character, is what matters. Superficial appearance, the ossified politics of the tribe — the curse of the world outside the United States, where corpses have piled up in the Balkans, Rwanda, and Iraq — alone mattered. Identity politics dictated that a shrinking white insular conservative party lacked the Democrats’ “inclusiveness” and “commitment to diversity.” Icons like Barack Obama were what mattered.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
This week, another GOP contender for president released a plan for replacing Obamacare — demonstrating again that yes, there are Republican alternatives.
As with the plan proposed earlier this year by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the main feature of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to change the pre-Obamacare status quo is a refundable tax credit for those who buy insurance outside their workplace. This is designed not only to ease the transition away from an Obamacare system laden with mandates and subsidies that drive up the cost of care, but also to make insurance affordable for more people than it was before Obamacare.
Some conservatives object that this sounds too much like Obamacare's tax-code-based insurance subsidy. They are right to make their voices heard, but the idea that this proposal is "Obamacare Lite," or even a step in the wrong direction, is preposterous. In fact, the idea of a tax credit had currency in conservative circles when Obamacare was still just a bad idea. More importantly, the subsidies that currently make Obamacare's sky-high premiums more palatable for consumers are not even one of the messy program's bigger problems.
The biggest single problem with Obamacare is its abridgment of human freedom — its unprecedented requirement that every American obtain insurance as a condition of existing, under penalty of fine, and likewise that every employer enter the insurance business or face a penalty.
But the main practical problem with Obamacare so far has been how badly it messed up the insurance market for millions of Americans in the individual and small group markets. These are people who were perfectly happy with what they had, and must now pay more for an inferior product. The additional (often unnecessary) coverage mandates and elimination of all underwriting either caused monthly premiums to skyrocket or caused insurers to jack up deductibles and skimp on their provider networks in order to make their premiums seem like a good deal — in many places, both of these things occurred.
The result is that many Americans who were previously happy with their coverage suddenly find themselves paying substantially more for policies they either cannot use or cannot afford to use.
Walker's and Rubio's plans, as well as that of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, would undo that crucial part of damage from Obamacare, allowing insurers to tailor plans (no more forced maternity coverage for 70 year-olds) and permit more flexible arrangements like miniature plans. They would also break the state regulatory monopoly on insurance licensing, so that New Jerseyans can buy plans that sell in Iowa for a fraction of the prices they must currently pay. This already makes all of their plans superior not only to Obamacare, but also to what existed before it.
But each also has a mechanism for making insurance more available than it was previously. Walker and Rubio have chosen a tax credit system. Jindal has gone the more ideologically pure route of a deduction, which would not subsidize anyone who does not pay taxes. But the conceptual difference between the two is smaller than you might think. Payroll taxes are taxes too. A refundable credit effectively gives all workers a break on them — including those too poor to pay income taxes but too rich to qualify for Medicaid.
Everyone in the Republican field agrees on Obamacare repeal. Conservative tastes will differ on the precise details of the replacement. But it's healthy for the candidates to show their work and demonstrate their commitment to repeal by presenting real plans for replacement that can always be improved upon later. Walker has done the right thing here, and all other candidates who haven't done so yet should follow suit.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Over half of Americans have soured on President Obama’s overall presidency, a new poll says.
The new CNN/ORC sampling released on Friday said that 51 disapprove of Obama’s role in the Oval Office, compared to 47 percent approving.
It said that 52 percent believe Obama’s policies are leading the U.S. down the wrong path.
Obama’s ratings have fallen since last month, it added, when 49 percent approved of his presidential performance and 47 percent did not.
Respondents rated Obama’s strategy for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) the most harshly, the CNN/ORC survey said.
It found that 62 percent of Americans believe the president is not properly countering the terrorist organization.
Nearly the same amount — 60 percent — also believe the U.S. is taking the wrong approach with Iran, it said.
Obama’s renewed push to close the U.S.-run detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba also meets with majority opposition.
CNN/ORC’s sampling said that 53 percent believe the prison should remain open, while 44 percent think it deserves closure once its prisoners are transferred elsewhere.
Obama fared better among respondents on the issue of climate change, with 47 approving of his handling of the issue, a boost of six points since May.
Americans are frustrated with both political parties overall. Republicans received higher disapproval ratings of 54 percent. In addition, 55 percent said their policies are wrong for the nation. Democrats, meanwhile, received 47 percent approval versus 48 percent disapproval.
CNN/ORC conducted its latest survey by telephone Aug.13-16 nationwide. It sampled 1,001 adults with a 3 percent margin of error.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves New York state Supreme Court during a lunch break of his summons to jury duty, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Trump is taking a break from courting voters to go to court as a potential juror. He shook hands and fist-bumped bystanders as he reported for jury duty Monday at a Manhattan court. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR. | THE WASHINGTON POST
Some people believe that Donald Trump is a Democratic mole who is in the Republican presidential race to scare away voters from the GOP and torpedo otherwise-promising Republican contenders by getting them to co-sign crazy.
Those who believe that Trump is a Democrat in Republicans’ clothing will wince at the question that NBC News’ Kasie Hunt put to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this week at the Iowa State Fair:
“Do you think birthright citizenship should be ended?”
Trump does. Supposedly. Although since the real-estate tycoon is a master manipulator who has over the years changed position on a variety of issues, no one can be sure what Trump believes about anything.
The candidate’s nearly 1,900-word policy paper on immigration suggests hitting “delete” on the 14th Amendment to ensure that the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants are no longer granted citizenship at birth.
Anyone who passed eighth-grade civics will know that changing the Constitution is nearly impossible because it involves getting the support of two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states. Anyone who has followed the immigration debate will note the irony that many of those who consider U.S. citizenship sacred when denying it to the undocumented suddenly consider it less sacred when stripping it away from their offspring. And any lawyer who was not absent the day they taught law in law school will tell you that, if you want to pick a fight with the judicial branch, this is the wrong battle. The courts have defended birthright citizenship without fail.
Besides, conservatives always talk about how they want to protect the Constitution. So now we have to destroy the founding document in order to save it?
Trump’s immigration proposals are a hot mess that can be summed up as follows: Build a wall, enforce the law, and protect the jobs of Americans.
But who can be sure that any of this is real?
President Barack Obama promised to make immigration reform a top priority, tried to explain away record numbers of deportations by claiming that he lacked the executive power to halt them, insisted that his administration was only deporting dangerous criminals and not hardworking people looking for a better life, and pledged that thousands of women and children refugees from Central America would be treated humanely.
None of this was true. It was all one big con job intended to fool the Democratic base.
Likewise, Trump’s policy paper is a mixture of bluster, generalities and vagueness. You hear what you want to hear.
As when Trump tells Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “We’re going to keep the families together. But they have to go.”
This isn’t the same as declaring that you would forcibly remove entire families. One could do what Obama did: Deport undocumented parents, and hope their U.S.-born children follow.
Those on the right who take Trump at face value on immigration will likely be just as disappointed as those on the left who were taken in by Obama.
This brings us back to the idea of ending birthright citizenship, which is catnip to the nativist wing of the GOP.
So when NBC’s Hunt asked Walker if he wanted to jump onboard Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, the governor said uncomfortably:
“Yeah, to me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country. And I’ve been very clear, I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws, no matter how people come here, we’re going to enforce the laws in this country.”
No one who has studied Walker’s multiple choice positions on whether we should give the undocumented legal status would agree that he has been “very clear” on immigration.
What is clear is that Walker and the other GOP contenders, would likely never have been dragged into the thorny debate over birthright citizenship if not for Trump. And now with his spineless “me-tooism,” Walker has disqualified himself from the race. Moderates won’t go near him, and the folks who agree with him are with Trump anyway. That’s a recipe for losing.
Republicans, beware of the Trump trap. Things are not what they seem. Every policy proposal is really a character test. And a presidential campaign is a terrible thing to waste.
Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for The Washington Post Writers Group.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
The Clintons survived the scandals and wars of the ‘90s because in the '90s there was a lot less cable TV and Internet and no Twitter or social media. (AP Photo)
Which Democrat will be the one to play Barry Goldwater to the Richard M. Nixon of Hillary Clinton? Who will step up to tell the self-wounded one-time colossus that the time has arrived to go home?
On August 7, 1974, Goldwater and the Republican leaders of the House and the Senate called on the president and told him he had lost the support of his party in Congress. The next day, Nixon told the country that he would be leaving his office, and the day after that, he resigned.
Coming on top of the pay-to-play scandals surrounding the Clinton Foundation and the embarrassing, extravagant sums she demands for her speeches, the criminal investigation into the scrubbed secret server maintained and surrendered by the former first lady may make her a burden too great for her party to carry. In a recent poll of registered voters, 58 percent say Hillary lied about the emails and 54 percent believe that she weakened the country's security. Since the main task of the president is securing the country, this doesn't bode well.
But worse than the cost of what already happened is the prospect of what still may come. "Until a month ago, one of the arguments I frequently heard ... was that that she'd been vetted like nobody's ever been vetted," wrote Frank Bruni in March. "All the skeletons had been tugged from the Clintons' labyrinthine closets. All the mud had been dug up and flung."
Then came "Clinton Cash" and the conflicts of interest, and when that had sunk in, the unsecured server. Who can swear there's not even more fresh new mud where that came from, ready to start fresh new media frenzies? With the server now in the hands of the government, there's the continuing prospect of fresh new developments from now through November of 2016. News could break during the primaries, after the primaries, during the conventions or shortly before the opening of the polls. Can one run a campaign while under indictment? We may be about to get an answer.
"Dems will put up with a scoundrel, but not a loser," the editors of this paper wrote earlier this year. They cited the undying support of Bill Clinton, who, to be fair, while he was in office never did anything like this. But the problem is that Hillary is becoming a loser because she's a scoundrel, as her lies and the continued exposure of them seem to come more and more to the fore.
Her ratings took a predictable dip in 2013 when she left her old role as diplomat for the tumult of politics. Another dip came in 2014 when her book launch fizzled and she claimed to have been "dead broke" after the White House. But the holes in the hull were punched by the Clinton Foundation and then the emails, which made her approval ratings slide underwater and saw her fall behind many GOP rivals in many important swing states.
The Clintons survived the scandals and wars of the '90s because in the '90s there was a lot less cable TV and Internet and no Twitter or social media. In the '90s, they controlled the White House and party and now they do not. In the '90s, they were in office, not merely seeking it; and Bill was a skilled and adroit politician, which Hillary is not.
For all of these reasons the time may soon come when their party will find that it cannot afford the Clintons. And some solon with indisputable party credentials will take that long walk to their door.
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