Just when we thought it couldn’t get any crazier with Donald Trump’s colorful commentary, he proved us all wrong again yesterday by directly stating that Obama "founded” the Islamic State.
Louis Nelson of Politico reports, "Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on President Barack Obama, doubling down on his accusation that he’s a founder of the Islamic State and claiming that both Obama andHillary Clinton remain the terrorist group’s most valuable players…
"The Manhattan billionaire bristled at the notion that referring to the president and his former secretary of state as the co-founders of a terrorist group intent on killing Americans was somehow inappropriate. He said that he has been successful thus far as a political outsider throughout the election cycle by speaking his mind, and if that ends up costing him the general election, so be it.”
I’m guessing the politically correct gatekeepers in the Republican party are once again "outraged” by Trump’s comments. #NeverTrumpers will no doubt say it’s the latest example of Trump throwing the election on purpose.
I haven’t seen any specific condemnations from the John McCain’s of the GOP as of yet, but I’m sure they’re coming – unless those people are able to completely avoid the press, which will not be easily deterred from asking about everything Trump says at any turn.
Although it’s safe to say many of us would prefer for Trump to stick closer to his winning economic message, his calling Obama the "founder” of ISIS has a pretty clear meaning and sets a stark contrast between the two competing visions of this year’s presidential candidates.
With Trump, Obama is not going to be allowed to coast comfortably into the sunset with a legacy as a "peacemaker” or great statesman. No, Obama’s being exposed for what he is -- a fraud. Good for Trump. We should applaud him.
For those conservatives who criticized Mitt Romney and John McCain for failing to set enough of a contrast between their candidacies and Obama’s, it’d be hard to complain now that we’ve got a guy won’t just stand up and fight back, he’ll start the argument with the Democrats in the first place.
Donald Trump not only doesn’t play by the normal rules of decorum, he’s rewriting the book. He’s not out to make friends with the Washington establishment; he doesn’t care about being included on the guest list of future White House parties or having a good seat at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Trump is setting the markers here and he’s steering the discussion in the race on his terms.
Even Nancy Pelosi recognizes it. Again, Politico’s Nelson reports Pelosi said, "For him to turn around and say what he did about the president and the secretary is so bizarre. It's reminiscent of demagogues who want to be in the press no matter what they have to say. They make their verbal poo poo any place to get attention. And this is a tactic. This is not an accident. This is a tactic, and here we are talking about it.”
Pelosi knows everything there is to know about making verbal poo poo, so she should recognize it when she sees it.
But for once, I agree with Pelosi. Trump has the whole world talking about him, setting contrasts at the same time. Let the "outraged” keep up their howling. Donald Trump isn’t here to play nice. He’s a package all his own. Take it or leave it. If he’s too "mean,” you always have Crooked Hillary and the status quo.
I for one applaud Trump’s willingness to call out Obama and Hillary. Let the battle commence.
If it hasn’t already, the specter of early voting should be haunting the Trump campaign
With the post-Democrat convention anti-Trump media storm continuing unabated this week and polls showing the Republican nominee losing more ground to Hillary Clinton, it’s somewhat comforting for us strongly committed to the #NeverHillary cause to remember there’s still almost three months to go until Election Day.
With peoples’ attention spans being what they are, there’s a healthy chunk of the American public that hasn’t even started paying attention to the race yet and won’t likely do so until the fall rolls around and the big campaign rallies start coming to a location nearest them.
For now, the Real Clear Politics average shows Crooked Hillary with a solid lead of nearly eight points, though Trump’s slide seems to have leveled off this week. Most surveys still have Hillary under 50 percent support, but that’s not real comforting in a year when both candidates have very high negatives and wouldn’t be likely to gain or lose ground quickly.
Swing state polls also heavily favor Clinton.
There’s no getting around it, the picture looks dark for Trump at this point in time. But we also know the fall debates are yet to come and the nationally televised forums are likely to set records for viewership with people curious to see how Donald Trump handles face-to-face time with Clinton. Sparks will fly. Trump will readily expose Hillary’s weaknesses and she’ll try to lie her way out of any potential jam. The voters will ultimately decide who deserves it more.
In other words, there’s still plenty of time to get everyone on the same page, right?
Not necessarily so, writes David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner. "Voting in the presidential election begins in September, giving Republican Donald Trump less time to turn things around than supporters might assume.
"Election Day is Nov. 8 — a full 88 days away. But absentee voting begins in September in at least half-dozen swing states that could decide the White House race.”
Drucker argues that Clinton’s noticeable organizational edge and initial advertising will likely serve her well with early voters and there’s little doubt the Democrat machine will be humming along at full speed as soon as it’s legally possible to cast votes.
So will the Republican data operation as run by the RNC, of course, with Republican leaders claiming they’ve made impressive inroads in pinpointing potential early voters since the party enjoyed great success in the 2014 midterm elections.
We have to hope the RNC’s up to the job as apparently the Trump campaign is still lightly staffed and won’t be able to handle identifying voters in the same way the Democrats can. As a career politician, Crooked Hillary has decades of experience in squeezing every bit of value out of get-out-the-vote efforts.
And we’re not even talking about the serious threat of voting irregularities here. There’s documented proof of voter fraud and the question of voter ID should be on the minds of all concerned Americans going into November.
The public is anxious about it, too. John Fund writes in National Review, "[P]olls show that the general public is worried about fraud and bureaucratic incompetence in voting. According to a Pew Research Center survey, only 31 percent of Americans were confident that ‘the votes across the country were accurately counted’ in the 2012 election. Small wonder. A separate Pew survey in 2012 found that one out of eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date, or a duplicate. Some 2.8 million people are registered in two or more states, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead.”
With early voting and the serious possibility of fraud, it places all the more pressure on Trump to get his message straight and make direct appeals to voters who could be persuadable. Trump’s economics speech on Monday in Detroit was a good start, but there’s been far too much time and attention given in recent days to his odd Second Amendment comments (and now his Obama/ISIS statements).
Lastly on this subject, Trump actually appeared to benefit from early voting in the primaries. His wins in Louisiana and Arizona especially were definitely aided by the pre-primary day tallies, right at the time when Ted Cruz was starting to challenge Trump in a basically one-on-one contest.
Trump’s biggest asset this year would seem to be in enthusiasm, taking advantage of his fervent supporters and measurable wave of anti-establishment feeling that’s gripping large swaths of the population.
Will it be enough to allow him to win in November? Time will tell. Predictions of doom are a little premature at this point, but with voting beginning soon, Drucker is right: time is running out for Trump to get his campaign back on track.
The media is already writing off the future prospects of Mike Pence if Trump loses
After it was clear that Donald Trump would secure the delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination in early May, speculation began as to whom Trump would select as his running mate.
Of course the #NeverTrump contingent immediately began narrowing the pool of candidates to those who would actually be willing to run with Trump, reasoning that anyone who ultimately did so would be jeopardizing his or her entire political career. Being indelibly tied forever to a man with such erratic behavior would ruin their lives, the doubters reasoned.
Thankfully there were more than a few qualified conservatives who didn’t go along with this line of paranoia, including Mike Pence who Trump revealed as his VP choice about a month ago.
But with Trump languishing somewhat in the polls, already the naysayers are claiming Pence’s future may be doomed, too.
Matthew Nussbaum of Politico reports, "Trump’s campaign is devolving, driven by one self-inflicted wound after another. And barring a sharp turnaround, Pence’s allies will need to focus on minimizing the damage by association the Indiana governor will face if he aims for a political career after Election Day…
"Pence considered running for the Republican nomination himself in 2016. But being on the losing national ticket — particularly this ticket — could carry lasting damage, operatives say. No losing vice presidential candidate has gone on to win the presidency since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And, in the last half of the 20th century, Bob Dole was the only losing vice presidential candidate who had not previously served as vice president to go on to capture his party’s nomination (Walter Mondale won the Democratic nomination in 1984 after being the losing VP candidate in 1980, but he had served as Jimmy Carter’s vice president from 1977 to 1981).”
The people who are in panic over Pence’s choosing to become Trump’s running mate are wrong for several reasons.
First, Trump likely won’t end up as the electoral disaster the anti-Trump contingent swears he will be and therefore Pence won’t be any more "damaged” than Paul Ryan was for having been Mitt Romney’s number two.
If anything, Sarah Palin was the one who took a big hit in party circles by being tied to John McCain, who never had a realistic shot to win and didn’t even put up a very good fight. Palin became the scapegoat for McCain’s political incompetence and certainly hasn’t recovered from it even today.
Second, all the attention in this election is on the top of the ticket. Mike Pence and Tim Kaine appear to be similar in temperament, quietly riding behind in support of the headline grabbing oversized personalities of the party nominees.
One way or another, Pence will always be remembered as Donald Trump’s running mate, but thus far he hasn’t become known for anything other than being a good surrogate. Pence has stuck to his own principles when called upon, so there wouldn’t be any permanent legacy issues there.
Third, the public has not really shown it would punish any politicians long-term. If you don’t believe it, look at Joe Biden who withdrew in disgrace from the 1988 presidential campaign over speech plagiarism issues and came back twenty years later to be Obama’s vice president.
Even if Pence ends up on the losing side this year, there’s really nothing to indicate the public would carry a long-standing grudge.
In other words, I would expect Pence to receive a new and fair "trial” with the voters should he decide to run for the top job in the future.
Simply put, the public doesn’t seem to remember, let alone punish "losers” from the past.
Lastly and most importantly, Pence probably doesn’t care about his personal future political prospects nearly as much as he does about trying to save what’s left of the present.
During his speech to the Republican convention last month, Pence famously noted that the next president will likely influence the direction of the Supreme Court for forty years or more.
Therefore, I believe, politics could very easily realign after this year’s election. If the Republicans lose this year, the party could and likely will look very different four years from now.
It’s really fruitless for Trump’s detractors to start running for the 2020 GOP nomination now since there’s no way of knowing at the point what the dynamics will be in four years. With a mounting national debt and conservatives losing ground rapidly in the culture wars, it’s impossible to tell what the mood of the country will be in the future.
I can’t help but conclude Mike Pence made the right choice by standing up with Trump this year, no matter how the election turns out. As for what happens tomorrow, we’ll figure it out when the time comes.
At long last, a Republican says Trump would be better than Hillary
Finally this week, we all know there have been many Republicans that have failed to endorse Trump or even acknowledge they’ll vote for him. But at least now they’re admitting he’d be better than Hillary.
Kelly Cohen of the Washington Examiner reports on one of them, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. "Amid a tough re-election battle, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., slammed Hillary Clinton as a bigger threat to the United States than Donald Trump...
"Toomey cited the Democratic nominee's failures in Libya and the Benghazi attacks, as well as ‘the incredible failed Russian reset.’”
Cohen noted that Toomey hasn’t endorsed Trump. That’s fine. At least Republicans seem to have gotten the message that Hillary is the real target and there’s plenty to talk about where she’s concerned rather than just complaining about Trump.
The Donald will certainly engender more than his share of criticism for his "founder” comments. But the choice is clear. We can take the brash talking outsider who represents a new direction in government or the corrupt truth-challenged insider who speaks nicely and uses the machinery of government to stab us all in the back behind-the-scenes.
Good for Trump. He’s not going to let the Democrats get away with it this year.