Charles Krauthammer articulated a major hurdle that Ted Cruz will face as he runs for the presidency:
First term Senators, we already tried a first-term Senator. … Cruz talks about you have to walk the walk rather than just talk the talk. You have to have done something but that's not his record in the Senate. He's a good rhetorician, but when Walker says I ran the state, I took on the unions, I took on liberals and I won I think it is going to be a strong argument.
The same applies to Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Erick Erickson calls it, “the fair and relevant question.” Allahpundit breaks down the prospective response here.
I do not think the issue of experience is dispositive. We have had very fine presidents with little political experience—Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower come to mind. We’ve had terrible presidents with lots of political experience—James Buchanan, for instance. There is no relevant job experience because the presidency is so different from everything else.
Rather, the essential question is: Can the president influence Congress to pass a conservative reform agenda that enjoys broad public support?
This query fully prices in the president’s role in our constitutional order. Article I, Section 1 reads: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” We must acknowledge Congress, not the president, is at the center of our regime.
Congress has made a mess of public policy. It has generated an endless tangle of inefficient, half-baked, contradictory rules that secure client-patron relationships between politicians and all manner of interest groups. That goes for tax policy, farm policy, infrastructure policy, regulatory policy, everything.
From top to bottom: Congress is an irresponsible steward of the public trust. Almost all of our problems trace back to the dysfunction of the Congress. Even Obama’s executive overreach: Congress has been handing legislative authority to the president and bureaucracy for 80 years; is it any wonder a president finally took something that wasn’t given him?
What conservatives need is a president who can induce Congress to make reforms that it would not otherwise make. This is no mean feat. After all, public policy emanating from Congress works quite well for … members of Congress! They like the status quo, thank you very much. Ideally, a good president helps members see their self-interest rightly understood, as Tocqueville would say. He gets them to do what they should be doing, anyway.
In an interview this evening on Fox News, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not promise that Americans would get to see the details of a nuclear deal with Iran before it's "signed, sealed, delivered."
Fox host Greta Van Susteren asked, "When there is a proposed deal, will the American people get sort of a real strong briefing on it before it's actually signed, sealed, and delivered so that we can have our thought whether it's a good deal, bad deal, so we can have some input? Or is this going to be signed and then we are going to hear about it?"
"Well, I think it's not about it signed -- it's negotiated between countries and it's negotiated between leaders of countries. That's traditionally and historically how international negotiations have worked," said Psaki.
Marco Rubio said that if President Obama inks a deal with Iran, he'd revoke it if he becomes president of the United States. He made the remarks in an interview with Hugh Hewitt:
Here's a transcript, courtesy of Hugh Hewitt's staff:
HH: Should we walk away from these negotiations in Geneva right now because of the conduct of Iran in other places than that negotiating room?
MR: Well first of all, we need to remember what’s not being covered by these negotiations, which are just as important as their nuclear ambition, and that’s the intercontinental ballistic missiles that they’re developing. And it’s very reasonable that before the end of this decade, Iran could possess a long range rocket that could reach the United States, the Continental U.S. They’re rapidly, that’s not even being covered by these negotiations. They’re not even the subject of sanctions. And I think that alone is a reason to be imposing sanctions on Iran, not to mention their state sponsorship of terrorism. That being said, any agreement that allows Iran to retain enrichment capability, leaves in place the infrastructure they will need in five, ten, eight, whenever they decide to ramp up enrichment and produce a weapon, if the only thing standing between them and a nuclear weapon becomes, and the ability to deliver it through a long range rocket becomes the ability to enrich at a higher level, that’s the easiest switch to flip. And you saw the North Koreans follow a model such as this. So I just think the deal is premised on an agreement on something that is totally unacceptable, and quite frankly, abandons almost a decade of sanctions built on the idea originally that they would not be allowed to enrich. And by the way, the Saudis, the Turks, the Egyptians, even the Jordanians have made very clear that whatever Iran is allowed to do under this agreement, they will expect the same. So if Iran is allowed to enrich up to 5%, 20% for research, the Saudis are going to insist on the same capability. And you suddenly are going to have region awash with nuclear infrastructure.
HH: Then let me ask you the three ifs. If that deal is in fact signed by President Obama that allows them to retain enrichment, and if you run for president, and if you win, would you revoke that deal?
HH: Would you go on record and just let them know that’s not going to…
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas offered an amendment on the Senate floor this afternoon to "defend the U.S.-Israel alliance" at the United Nations.
"The alliance between the United States and Israel is an alliance between the American people and the Israeli people, between the ultimate defender of the West and the eastern-most frontier of the West. As such, Congress is committed to ensuring the United States continues to defend Israel in the United Nations and other international forums. For decades the relationship between Israel and the United States has transcended political and personal differences. Our shared interests were enough to overcome any ideology. I urge the Obama administration to put their personal differences aside and uphold that tradition," Cotton said.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board greets the announcement of Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy by taking the Texas senator to task for, of all things, being too much like President Obama. The Journal notes that both men decided to launch a White House run as a 40-something first-term senator without executive experience and with some background in constitutional law (Cruz as a prominent constitutional lawyer who frequently won cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Obama as a part-time law school instructor). The larger point of the piece, however, is to question whether Cruz could win or could govern if he did, and the comparison with Obama doesn’t help make the Journal’s case.
On electability, Obama won (twice) — and handily. Indeed, by being elected senator, both men filled one of the five categories of positions (senator, governor, vice president, cabinet secretary, or commanding general) that every future president not named Abraham Lincoln has held. Both wisely decided to run within their 14-year window, the point after which presidential aspirants (such as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush) seem to exceed their historical expiration dates. And both were bold enough to realize that the time to run was before conventional wisdom said they should run.
On the ability to govern, anyone who thinks the main problem with Obama has been his lack of experience hasn’t been paying attention. The main problem with Obama hasn’t been his inexperience. It’s been that he had accomplished nothing of note in his life (except for getting elected to the Senate) prior to becoming president, knows little, and is wrong on most of what he thinks he knows. None of this applies to Cruz.
But Obama does have one quality that the GOP should be seeking in its nominee — willpower. As Obama has shown, even a president without much political acumen or expertise can go a long way toward “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” merely on the strength of his dogged determination to do so.
Take Obamacare. When Scott Brown won his Senate seat in Massachusetts in early 2010, any normal president would have called off the dogs, recognizing that the American public — even in Massachusetts! — wanted nothing to do with Obamacare. Instead, Obama pushed forward, and he won. Obamacare is law. Sure, the win came at the expense of Democratic control of the House, Democratic control of the Senate, and perhaps — soon — Democratic control of the White House. But none of that will much matter if a subsequent Republican administration and Congress fail to repeal what Obama has wrought.
The A-10 may now have all the supporters it needs to stay operational. As Stephen Losey of Air Force Times reports, Chuck Norris:
… the martial artist, action movie star and international icon of absurdly competent manliness, on Sunday posted a column on the website World Net Daily titled "Save the A-10 Thunderbolt!" In it, Norris argues that the massive firepower, reliability and ability to save troops' lives through close-air support means "the A-10's utility is needed now more than ever.”
It is said (and you would be a fool to doubt it) that reality exists because Chuck Norris allows it, so who is willing to argue with him when he says:
I just celebrated my 75th birthday, but I'm nowhere near ready to head to the scrapheap. Some things improve with age, and the A-10 has done just that, too.”
U.S. Sen. Dan Coats has decided not to run for reelection.
“It has a lot to do with age,” he said in a phone conversation today. “If I served again and won I would be four months shy of 80 at the end of the term.”
“You reach a time,” he said, “ when you have to acknowledge that it is time to step aside. And when you realize you have a responsibility to turn things over to the next generation. We have a deep bench and there probably hasn’t been a better time to do this.”
Coats, a former U.S. House member and aide to then-Rep. Dan Quayle, retired from the Senate in 1999 and spent the next decade-plus working as a lobbyist and serving as the United State ambassador to Germany. In 2010, he surprised the state’s political establishment by announcing he would seek a return to the Senate. At the time, he was expected to face incumbent Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh in the November election.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal released a statement Tuesday blasting President Obama as an "inept commander in chief. Jindal, who may run for the GOP nomination for president, criticized Obama's willingness to dismiss the Iranian supreme leader's "death to America" exhortations as "political rhetoric" while publicly criticizing the campaign rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
“I realize President Obama is accustomed to misleading the voters, but he shouldn't assume Middle Eastern tyrants use words as loosely as he does. He’s acting like this is no different than ‘if you like your health care plan you can keep it,'" said Jindal in his statement. “At the same time, the President and his minions are becoming more and more hostile to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel. The White House Chief of Staff is now saying they cannot 'simply pretend' that comments the Prime Minister of Israel clarified never happened.
Jindal continued: "“How did we get to a point where the White House believes the Iranian Supreme Leader’s comments about ‘death to America’ are just political rhetoric, and we don’t take the word of one of the leaders of our strongest allies? It’s simply because President Obama doesn’t value the strategic and historic bond between the United States and Israel. This President can sit at a negotiating table with folks who say ‘death to America, but cannot sit at a table with the Prime Minister of Israel. He’s an inept Commander-in-chief."
A spokeswoman for former Florida governor Jeb Bush says the possible Republican presidential candidate "disagrees" with one of his foreign policy advisers who spoke at a left-wing anti-Israel group this week.
James Baker, the former secretary of state and GOP foreign policy veteran, addressed the annual conference for J Street this week. An unpaid adviser to Bush, Baker criticized Benjamin Netanyahu for the Israeli prime minister's "diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship" and expressed his support for a nuclear deal with Iran. As Politico reported, he also said he disagreed that President Barack Obama has hurt the United States's relationship with Israel and said on the issue of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Netanyahu's "actions have not matched his rhetoric.”
"Governor Bush consults a wide range of advisors on foreign policy," said Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Bush. "While he respects Secretary Baker, he disagrees with the sentiments he expressed last night and opposes J Street’s advocacy. Governor Bush’s support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering, and he believes it's critically important our two nations work seamlessly to achieve peace in the region."
Campbell did not address whether Bush believes Baker should have spoken at the conference in the first place. Likewise, Campbell did not specify on which precise issues Bush actually disagrees with Baker.
Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley sounds a populist note in a short new video that suggests the Democrat may be preparing for a presidential run.
"Bonuses on Wall Street alone were twice what every American mom and dad working full-time at minimum wage brought home combined," O'Malley says in the 15-second video. "This is not how our economy is supposed to work. I don't buy it!"
A pair of statements about an hour apart on Monday by two top Obama administration officials give a clear if jarring look into the funhouse mirror that is current U.S. policy towards Iran and Israel. The twocomments are recorded by CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on his Twitter account:
Here are White House chief of staff Denis McDonough's comments, made at the J Street annual conference, in fuller context:
After the election, the Prime Minister said that he had not changed his position, but for many in Israel and in the international community, such contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two-state solution, as did his suggestion that the construction of settlements has a strategic purpose of dividing Palestinian communities and his claim that conditions in the larger Middle East must be more stable before a Palestinian state can be established. We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don’t raise questions about the Prime Minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations.
Over at the State Department, spokesperson Marie Harf piled on, despite clarification and even apologies from Netanyahu for some of his pre-election remarks:
MS. HARF: Well, the President, I think, addressed this in his interview that ran this weekend – that given [Netanyahu's] statements prior to the election, it’s going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing, when it comes to negotiations, that those are possible. So we are evaluating what’s taking place. And I think what we’re looking for now are actions and policies that demonstrate genuine commitment to a two-state solution, not more words. So that’s what we’ll be looking for.
... I think it’s just understandably confusing for people about which of his comments to believe. And so that’s why --
...I think we just don’t know what to believe at this point.
Hillary Clinton is a fairly weak candidate for the presidency, in many ways:
-She’s lost before, which is a bad omen. Many pols run a second time, but usually they lost the first time for a good reason.
-She comes across as wooden and unnatural on television.
-She has a chilly relationship with the media.
-She brings enormous personal baggage to the campaign; the email scandal is easy fodder for would-be opponents. Her husband also brings substantial baggage.
-She is strongly identified with the status quo in American politics, when just about everybody thinks it is time for a change.
And yet the smart money is on an easy nomination. Surely, Democratic politicians, strategists, and sympathizers are aware of these liabilities. Yet they are powerless to stop her, because the rest of the field is so weak.
Why is that? One answer is the party’s drubbings in 2010 and 2014, which cleaned out the Democratic bench, leaving relatively few would-be challengers who can give Clinton a run for her money.
Another reason: In a coalition increasingly non-white and female, the Democratic party is still mostly run by white men.
This matters enormously in the Democratic party. By and large, the GOP is made up of the white, married middle class. The Democrats, on the other hand, are a demographic hodge-podge. And one group that is less and less important to the Democrats is white men. In 2012, just 23 percent of Barack Obama’s vote came from white men, according to the exit polls. Compare that to white women, who made up 31 percent of Obama’s vote. And non-whites made up the rest, at an unprecedented 46 percent.
It is now regularly averred that the “browning” of America is going to remake the body politic. Maybe so, but first it will remake the Democratic party. Indeed, at the grassroots level, it already has. Federally mandated majority-minority districts guarantee a strong non-white presence in the House. The political order in major cities has also shifted. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles is of Mexican descent. Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York City touted his mixed-race family to win in 2013. And Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago is in the fight for his political life against Jesús "Chuy" García. Meanwhile, non-white mayors govern important cities like Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Washington; white female mayors run Houston, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis.
Senator Rand Paul, who is expected to announce a presidential run on April 7, made the case on Fox News tonight that the eventual Republican nominee needs to "go after" the "corruption" of Bill and Hillary Clinton:
"I think what you end up needing from any of us, whoever might be the nominee, is you do want someone who's a fighter," Paul said in response to a question about how the Republican nominee will be ripped to shreds by the mainstream media.
"And the thing is that I think we do need to aggressively go after the Clintons. I think we need to go after their corruption. I think we need to call her out for not being a consistent defender of women's rights when she's willing to take money from a country that actually would imprison a victim of rape.
"So there's a lot of hypocrisy on the Clinton side, the whole Clinton, Inc., enriching themselves. And you can't let that go. And [you're] going to need somebody who will ask the tough questions about why in Benghazi that she didn't provide the security that our ambassador needed. These are really important questions. And we won't win unless we do aggressively combat her and make sure she explains her record as well."
Four months after the publication of an infamous Rolling Stone piece depicting a violent gang rape at one of the University of Virginia's fraternities, and the magazine's subsequent retraction due to numerous inconsistencies and gross journalistic malpractice (see Philip Terzian's "A Credulous Press Feeds the PC Mob" from THE WEEKLY STANDARD's December 22, 2014 issue), the Charlottesville police department announced their investigation's findings this afternoon.
"All I can tell you is that there is no substantive basis to conclude that what was reported in that article happened," Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said.
Longo said Jackie first described a sexual assault in May 2013 when she met with a dean about an academic issue, but "the sexual act was not consistent with what was described" in the Rolling Stone article. When she met with police, she didn't want them to investigate the alleged assault.
She also refused to talk to police after the article was printed in November and ignited the national conversation about sexual assaults on college campuses. Discrepancies in the article were found by news organizations soon after it was published.
Longo said the case is suspended, not closed. He said the fact that investigators could not find evidence "doesn't mean that something terrible didn't happen to Jackie."
Investigators spoke to about 70 people, including friends of the accuser and fraternity members, and spent hundreds of hours on the investigation, Longo said.
Several media outlets flocked to Charlottesville soon after the story was published to track down "Jackie," fraternity members, and friends of Jackie mentioned in the article.