During this pre-primary season, the media has little to report except poll numbers and money raised. Yes, the candidates talk about their issues, but who cares what a candidate proposes who is struggling to rise beyond one percent in the polls and cannot raise enough money to take a bus to Dubuque.
The simplest – and simplistic – analysis of candidate strength is to see who is ahead in the polls and who raises the most money. That is generally the viewpoint of the pundits and the candidates who happen to have the best numbers in one or both categories.
On the Republican side, there is no real contest. President Trump is the frontrunner because there is no serious competition. And as far as fundraising, Trump – with $46 million raised in the latest cycle — is the leader among all candidates – Republican or Democrats. The level of Trump’s fundraising suggests that despite all that the Democrats and the media have thrown at him, his supporters are holding firm.
The real race for the nomination is naturally on the Democrat side.
In most polls, former Vice President Joe Biden is ahead with Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg duking it out for second place. Contrary to expectations and tradition, the person leading in the polls is not leading in fundraising. Far from it.
In the latest cycle, it is Sanders who swamps the field with a total of $35 million raised from millions of supporters – averaging approximately $18 per contribution. That is a phenomenal contribution report and suggests strength beyond his polling numbers – which are not all that bad.
Buttigieg claimed second place with a haul of $25 million. Frontrunner Biden had to settle for third place with $23 million. Senator Elizbeth Warren’s donations dropped with her polling numbers. She took in $21 million. While Buttigieg, Biden and Warren are within a few million dollars of each other, they are trailing Sanders by $10 million or more.
Of course, the two billionaires in the race – former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and businessman Tom Steyer — are ahead of everyone in financial resources. They are not raising diddly-squat because they are mostly self-funding, as in Steyer’s case, and totally self-funding in Bloomberg’s case. And even Steyer cannot match Bloomberg even if he spent his entire $1.4 billion fortune. Bloomberg could match that and still have more than $50 billion left over.
Steyer is proof that money is not everything. He has the worst expenditure to polling numbers ratio of any candidate – although Bloomberg could eventually also best Steyer in that, too.
As candidates drop out, both the polling numbers and money raised will change. Sanders and Warren are currently splitting the far-left progressive polling numbers and money. When – not if – one of them drops out, the other is likely to get the lion’s share of the other’s support. Right now, it looks like that will be Sanders – but nothing can be certain. One more Sanders heart attack and Warren could again be on top.
There are still a lot of single digit Democrat candidates pulling in a lot of money. As they drop out the numbers will shift.
Some analysts note that combined, the Democrat candidates are raising more money than Trump. They suggest that once it is a one-on-one between Trump and whoever, whoever will be getting all that money. That will not happen. If Biden is the nominee, those supporting Sanders or Warren will put away their wallets. If Sanders or Warren is the nominee, all that Wall Street money will stay on Wall Street. If Bloomberg is the nominee, the left will not show up at the polls no matter how much he spends.
The large field of Democrat candidates is soaking up a lot of money. By the time a candidate is selected there is likely to be a LOT of donor fatigue. Trump and the Republicans should go into the General Election with an enormous financial advantage.
So, there ‘tis.
Just a few days after announcing the end of his own bid for the White House, Julian Castro endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people—not the wealthy or well-connected—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change,” the former San Antonio, Texas mayor and Housing secretary during former President Barack Obama’s second term, recently wrote on Twitter.
Castro – who was the only Latino candidate in the large field of Democratic White House hopefuls – had a few heated exchanges with former Vice President Joe Biden, he always seemed to have warm relations with Warren.
Warren – who’s considered part of the top tier of nomination contenders along with Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg – praised Castro and his proposals a number of times on the campaign trail last year.
Short on campaign cash, unable to resonate in the polls, and failing to qualify for the most recent debates, Castro suspended his campaign on Jan. 2. On Tuesday Jan. 7 he joined Warren at a large rally in New York City. Castro is now headed to Las Vegas, Nevada and Marshalltown, Iowa this weekend to stump for Warren.
Some political pundits point to the possibility of Warren – if she wins the nomination – choosing Castro as her running mate.
Castro was the only Latino in the large field of Democratic White House hopefuls. And his deployment to Iowa and especially Nevada – where Latino voters play a crucial role in the state’s Democratic presidential caucus – could benefit Warren. It’s also likely he’ll stump for Warren in his home state of Texas – which has a large and vibrant Hispanic electorate. Texas is the second-largest state to vote on the March 3 Super Tuesday contests – the single largest day of voting in the nomination calendar.
Disgraced former FBI Deputy Director and current CNN contributor, Andrew McCabe now admits that he lied about leaking information to the media.
McCabe has now apologized for lying to agents, who spent weeks investigating the source of a leak to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that actually came from him.
Shortly before the 2016 election, The WSJ reported that an FBI investigation was underway involving then-candidate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
In May of 2017 McCabe denied that it was he who was the source of the leak.
But documents released by the FBI now show that he later fessed up, angering bureau investigators who had been spinning their wheels trying to identify the source of the leak. The documents showed McCabe admitted to misleading investigators during his August 2017 interview.
During that interview, McCabe was questioned about two media leaks on the same day that James Comey was fired. McCabe was reportedly asked if he knew how FBI information ended up in the 2016 WSJ article. He initially denied knowing about the leak, but he walked back his claim in a later interview.
Subsequently, the DOJ watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility, who obtained and released the documents under a Freedom of Information Act request, found that McCabe had indeed directed FBI lawyer Lisa Page to share the information he had publicly denied.
“I’ve said from the very beginning I absolutely reject that report, because I never intentionally mislead anyone about anything,” said McCabe. “I will not stand up and claim that I’ve done something I didn’t do.”
But, according to the released FBI documents, McCabe was blamed for sidetracking the bureau’s work by one of the agents conducting the interview, to whom McCabe the apologized. The transcript of the interview in the released documents reads:
“I remember saying to him, at, I said, ‘Sir, you understand that we’ve put a lot of work into this based on what you told us,’” the agent said.
“I mean, and I even said, long nights and weekends working on this, trying to find out who amongst your ranks of trusted people would, would do something like that.’ And he kind of just looked down, kind of nodded, and said ‘Yeah I’m sorry.”
The transcript is among a release of the documents from the DOJ, that catalog the reasons for McCabe’s firing that were requested by the watchdog group.
Lying to the feds is a crime, but McCabe has not been charged, and he has since sued the FBI and DOJ over his firing.
In an exclusive interview with local Iowa TV station, KCCI, Pete Buttigieg said that he would like to start a family in the White House.
The South Bend Mayor stopped by the KCCI studios over the weekend to spend time with a panel of undecided Iowa Caucus-goers.
Buttigieg answered their questions, including this one from Ivette Muhammad, a mother of eight.
“I’ve heard you are wanting to start a family. Is that something you hope to do soon, perhaps in the White House?” Muhammad asked.
“It is. This year the campaign is not conducive to it, but we are looking forward to it. Chasten will make an amazing dad. I’ll try to hold my own and it is something we’re looking forward to. I can’t imagine raising eight kids. My dad was one of eight, but maybe I’ll come to you for advice as our numbers are growing,” said Buttigieg.
This is not the first time that Mayor Pete has suggested starting a “First Family” should he win the Presidency. In a Father’s Day interview with CNN back in June, Buttigieg said, “I don’t see why not,” when asked about doing so. That television interview also marked his one-year wedding anniversary.
He went on to tell CNN’s “State of the Union” that “it wouldn’t be the first time that children have arrived to a first couple, but obviously that’s a conversation I had better have with Chasten before I go into it too much on television.”
Buttigieg is seeking to become the first openly gay presidential nominee from a major political party.
While the left has taken Inspector General Horowitz’s report as some kind of vindication of the FBI and the FISA court, the IG himself begs to differ.
In a second day of testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Hororwitz had some harsh words for both agencies regarding the mistakes his probe revealed that they had made.
During the hearing, IG Horowitz, rebuked the FBI for repeated “failures” during the initial phase of the Russia probe, as reveled by his extensive report on the investigation’s origins and the process used to obtain a surveillance warrant for former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
Horowitz’s report identified a total of 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications for Page, which included a doctored email and the failure to include exculpatory information about Page that may have impacted the court’s decision to grant the warrants.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was blunt in trying to get to the bottom of what happened during Wednesday’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.
“Were they just all incompetent?” he asked. Hawley then noted that due to the complexities involved, “it doesn’t sound like they’re very stupid to me.”
Hawley ultimately asked why the members of the FBI would commit such failures to mislead a court multiple times.
“That was precisely the concern we had,” Horowitz said. The inspector general made it clear, however, that he did not reach any conclusions regarding intent. But, he also did not necessarily accept the reasons people gave him during his investigation.
“There are so many errors, we couldn’t reach a conclusion or make a determination on what motivated those failures, [other than to] raise concerns about the explanations we got,” Horowitz said.
This echoed what Horowitz said in his opening statement, where he made clear that “although we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or the missing information and the failures that occurred.”
Horowitz went on to testify that both Justice Department attorneys and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “should have been given complete and accurate information,” adding, “that did not occur and as a result, the surveillance of Carter Page continued even as the FBI gathered evidence and information that weakened the assessment of probable cause and made the FISA applications less accurate.”
Accusations of Bias and Impropriety in the FISA Process
After Horowitz released his report, Democrats defending the initial Russia probe, pointed to the lack of a determination of “political bias” as a motivation to start the investigations of the Trump campaign.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., indicated that this would be a flawed assumption, questioning whether Horowitz’s inability to find evidence of bias really meant that there had not been any bias.
“Just because you didn’t find it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist,” Paul said, noting that there could have been 15 people involved whose bias influenced their decisions, but it just wasn’t provable.
“We could not prove it. We lay out here what we can,” Horowitz replied.
Former FBI Director James Comey, who led the bureau at the time, insisted he was unaware of any impropriety at the time, but told “Fox News Sunday” he “was wrong” when he defended the FBI’s FISA process in the past.
Still, he defended his former subordinates by claiming that no one committed any intentional misconduct, despite Horowitz calling for accountability and making referrals for further investigation.
At the same time, Comey admitted that there was “real sloppiness,” and that as director, he was ultimately responsible.
While the number on stage diminished, but talking points remained the same. And if you think that you are getting debate weary – like going through Disney’s Small World tunnel over and over – you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The pace of debates will increase with another in January and THREE in February. Whoever at the Democratic National Committee signed off on these debates should be looking for a new job.
For sure, the liberal media is always enthused – praising every event, while trying to never criticize any candidate. They will heap lavish praise on their media colleague moderators for their banal softball questions. The December debate was no different – and that was the overarching problem. There was nothing of substance to be learned.
In the aftermath, the folks at CNN and MSNBC could not say enough good things about everyone’s performance. According to the propagandizing pundits, all the candidates did an outstanding job.
I would concur that they all came out relatively even, but not as winners. Rather, they were united in demonstrating that none of them are what America needs. Even with fewer candidates on the stage they all seemed to appear individually smaller. They were all losers.
The seven-candidate debate brought about a much different dynamic, however. It was the day of the moderates. Unlike the previous debates – where progressives outnumbered the so-called moderates of the Democratic Party — this was a 5-to-1 advantage for the Biden wing of the Party. Elizbeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were left to hold up the increasingly tattered flag of the radical left.
Suddenly progressives did not look like the future of the Democratic Party, but a philosophic albatross. All that talk about everything for everybody got slapped down over and over. When Warren was told that most economists say her multi-trillion-dollar plans are way too expensive, her feeble response was, “They’re wrong.”
The debate led off with virtually identical no-surprise mentally pre-recorded statements in support of President Trump’s impeachment. Oh hum.
There were a few notable moments if you had not nodded off or switched over to the movie channel. The fellow with the sharpest blade was the usually mild-mannered mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. He was attacked by the two ladies on the dais, Warren and Amy Klobuchar.
Warren walked into a well-set trap when she blasted Buttigieg for being willing to take money from rich people and holding big-donor fundraisers in a fancy California wine cave. Buttigieg snapped like a bear trap. He said the Democrat candidate should not exclude any legal donations because the nominee will be facing the mega-million-dollar Trump campaign.
And then he went on the counterattack, noting that Warren is the very person – a multimillionaire – that she condemns. Punch number one. In a hard right to jaw, Buttigieg next noted that Warren had partially funded her campaign by transferring millions from her Senate account – money raised in the good old fashion soak-the-rich tradition. Punch two – and Warren is left staggering. Award the round to the small-town mayor.
Klobuchar played the experience card – diminishing Buttigieg by comparing her Washington experience to his as a small-town mayor. Often derisively referring to him as “mayor.” Buttigieg correctly noted that Washington experience is exactly what most voters do not want. While Klobuchar said she did not mean to demean his experience, Buttigieg hit back with, “But you did.” Mayor Pete may not have knocked Klobuchar to the canvas, but he showed he could take a punch and hit back.
Most of the post-debate pundits agreed that former Vice President Joe Biden was as good as he gets — not great, but at the top of HIS game. His level of performance was unintentionally damned with faint praise when CNN’s Chris Cuomo suggested that at least Biden did not have any of those senior moments that characterized his past performances.
Biden did stumble once – in my judgment. When asked if he would sacrifice hundreds of thousands of jobs to shut down the fossil fuel industry, he said he would. With that answer, the former VP won himself a spot in innumerable Republican campaign commercials.
Now in all fairness, Biden said all those people would get even better jobs – union jobs. No worker is going to believe that political sop. Biden made it sound like you lose your job on Friday and start a better job on Monday. No Joe. It does not happen that way.
Promising unemployment for hundreds of thousands of highly unionized mining and drilling workers may even lose Biden a few points with some of the labor bosses. That comment should have the head of the United Mine Workers heading to the White House for a photo-op.
Sanders was Sanders – reprising his role as the understudy for the Muppets’ grumpy old man. We were again … and again … reminded that a few people at the top of the economic ladder have a lot more wealth than a lot of us down at the lower rungs. His call for “revolution” in America is starting to sound like the wishful reminiscences of a retired general in a military home.
Businessman Tom Steyer reminded the audience that he was among the first to call for Trump’s impeachment – not long after the 2016 election. I wrote a commentary at the time, that he was collecting names for a future presidential run. Ironically, Steyer’s proud claim gives credence to the Republican charge that Democrats have been obsessed with impeachment from day one.
That leaves businessman Andrew Yang. According to the clock watchers, he had the least talking time – and I cannot think of anything he said that was new or significant. So, I guess he won the debate.
So, there ‘tis.
In the midst of this holiday season, I found myself channeling Clement Clarke Moore and his epic holiday poem.
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the House
Impeachment was stirring, with considerable joust;
The Articles were prepared by the chairmen unfair,
In the hopes that Pelosi, no vote would she spare.
The members assembled all smug at their desks;
While visions of Trump gave Democrats no rest.
The Speaker with gavel and Schiff at his post,
They addled our brains with their long-winded roast.
When off to the right there arose such a clatter,
I ran to the chamber to see what’s the matter.
Away to the gallery, I flew like a flash,
I tore open the doors with a loud sounding crash.
The lights of the chamber seem dim and so low,
Giving an ominous look to the people below.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
A miniature Nadler I saw from the rear.
He was speaking to another in such somber riff,
And I knew in a moment it was his friend shifty Schiff.
To your seats now assemble, I heard Pelosi proclaim.
She gaveled and shouted and called each by their name.
Now Omar! Now Clyburn! Now Dingell and Pascrell
Come Shalala! Come Lujan! Come Waters and Swalwell.
To the front of the chamber, to your seats in this hall.
Now vote away! Vote away! Vote away all.
To their seats in the chamber each member they flew,
With the hands full of papers, and those Articles, too.
And then in a twinkling, the call of the roll,
With the secretary of the House taking the toll.
As I drew in my head and kept gazing about.
Down came the gavel with Pelosi’s great clout.
She was dressed in all black, from her head to her foot,
As the scheme of her caucus had now taken root
With the pretense of solemnity, she stood at the podium
With confidence in the outcome, despite its odium
A bundle of votes, she drew from the floor
Of the number she needed, there were quite a few more.
Her eyes, how they squinted, her lips pursed so tight
You could tell that the Speaker was ready to fight.
When the votes were all counted and their deed was then done,
Madam Speaker had warned against any expression of fun.
With a wink of her eye and a frown on her head
She gave warning to her members – a warning they dread.
The Republicans stayed loyal to the positions they held,
But four Democrats protested by refusing to meld.
While shaking a finger at those who oppose,
She picked up the gavel and in her hand it arose.
Banging on the rostrum, she declared with great might,
That Impeachment is accomplished on this cold winter night.
So, there ‘tis.
When I was younger, I feared that I might die young. One day I woke up and realized I had become too old to die young. I, like several of the candidates for President of the United States, have slipped into what I call the “red zone” of life – that time when anything can happen at any time.
Since I am in the age range of several of the leading Democrat candidates, I have given serious thought to that issue. It is almost a year until the next election. Will the septuagenarian candidates make it to election day without a trip or two to the hospital?
I posed that question because I did a mental inventory of my friends who are in the same age group. Almost every one of them has had a trip to the hospital or been diagnosed with a serious illness – not always life-threatening, but serious enough. Many required surgery – including myself.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has already hit the emergency room with a mild heart attack. Having had one or two of those in the past, I can attest to the fact that you can return to normal life for a while – but not the life one leads when they are 40, 50 or even 60.
The 95-year-old former President Jimmy Carter said it directly. He declared that no person over the age of 80 can handle the job of President. I think he is probably right – and two of the Democrat candidates – Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden – will enter the eighth decade of life during their potential first term in office.
Based on my own experience and general statistics, I see a very high possibility – maybe even a probability – that one or more of the older candidates will have a health scare before the election. It could change the entire trajectory of the campaigns — depending on who it is and when it might occur.
If it happens when they are a candidate, it is mitigable. If it happens after taking the oath of office, it can be a much more serious problem.
I know it is not politically correct to raise the issue of age, but as Biden often says – “come on, now. Get real”
So, there ‘tis.
House Democrats are about to impeach President Trump in the most partisan and shallow impeachment in American history. However, they are already calling on their counterparts in the Senate to be fair and vote their consciences – arrogantly assuming that a conscientious vote would be for impeachment.
The hypocritical narrative being played out all over the anti-Trump media is that the likelihood that the Senate will acquit Trump largely along partisan lines is some sort of travesty. It has been assumed for three years – and accepted as fact for several months – that the House Democrats would impeach Trump.
From the start of the unprecedented “impeachment hearings” led by California Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, it was a foregone conclusion that the Democrat majority on the Judiciary Committee – which has the Constitutional responsibility to conduct actual impeachment hearings –would simply vote Articles of Impeachment and send their recommendation to the floor of the House where Democrats would complete their pre-ordained plan.
Democrats Jerry-rigged the process from beginning to end – even before newly elected Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib announced that her primary mission in serving in the peoples’ House was to “impeach the mother (expletive deleted).” It was from beginning to end, an impeachment looking for a reason – even a bogus reason. As the Washington Post so aptly stated in a 2017 Inauguration Day headline, “The Campaign to Impeach President Trump has Begun.”
Now that they have accomplished their skullduggery, those very same House Democrats – and their echoing friends in the news media – are begging for what they describe as a nonpartisan action in the Senate. They are trying to shame – and even threaten – Senate Republicans to put country ahead of party – intimating that that can only be done by impeaching Trump.
Democrats point to an oath the senators will take in advance of the trial – a pledge that they will be open and fair-minded. They fear that the Republicans will vote along party lines. Hmmmm. What about the Senate Democrats? If that oath has any meaning in such a political situation – and it does not – at least it should apply to the Democrats, too.
The hypocrisy is so obvious that it is bewildering that Democrats would even advance such arguments since they only remind folks of the brutally partisan and baseless action they took in the House.
It is the Senate Democrats who should examine their consciences and the Constitution. They should reject the political motivations of the House Democrats and reject the flawed and tainted Articles of Impeachment passed on to them.
If this was a judicial process instead of a partisan political fiasco, the case would have been thrown out of court on the first Motion to Dismiss — and those prosecuting this case would be accused of prosecutorial misconduct.
The Senate will most certainly acquit the President – apparently rather expeditiously. It will be the equivalent of responding to a Motion to Dismiss. While I would like too see folks like the whistleblower and Hunter Biden brought to the stand, the case of the prosecution is so flawed that quick dispatching may be the most merciful and appropriate action.
So, there ‘tis.
As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., abruptly wrapped up an all-day marathon hearing close to midnight on Wednesday, postponing votes on the articles of impeachment matter until Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that there is “no chance” that President Trump will be removed from office, once the matter goes to trial in the upper chamber.
Speaking to Fox’s Sean Hannity, McConnell said he even thought that could be some Democratic senators who would side with the GOP and vote to acquit the president.
“There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office. My hope is there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment. And Sean, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats.”
The remarks came as lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee held a heated markup session on two articles of impeachment related to Trump’s demand that the leader of Ukraine announce the opening of an investigation into a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. One article focuses on abuse of power and the other on obstruction of Congress.
When the shelved vote takes place Friday morning, and the articles will likely pass on a party-line vote — the full House will vote on the articles next week, and, if passed, the Senate will hold a trial on the case against Trump in January.
Despite a nearly three-month investigation in the House, in which a parade of current and former administration officials voiced concern over Trump’s actions, McConnell said he doubted the merits of the Democrats’ evidence against Trump.
“The case is so darn weak coming over from the House,” he said.
The majority leader said that he has been coordinating with Trump’s legal team throughout the impeachment process, an arrangement that would continue if the Senate begins a trial. It would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove Trump from office, but the GOP holds a 53-47 majority, meaning at least 20 Republican senators would have to join every Democrat in voting to remove the president.
Such a result is about as likely as me inheriting a million dollars from a Nigerian prince!
McConnell also signaled that he hopes the impeachment process in the Senate will be “shorter” rather than a drawn-out effort that could detract from the 2020 election.