Some of us (i.e., me) predicted Ted Cruz’s rise in the polls months ago

Today both Power Line and Commentary Magazine acknowledged that Ted Cruz may well be the last man standing. Because I love it when I’m right (yes, I have no shame), let me repeat my post from September, when I predicated precisely this outcome in the primaries:

Senator Ted CruzTed Cruz, with his devotion to the Constitution’s promise of individual liberty based upon inherent rights, is the antithesis of Orwell’s Big Brother.  Nevertheless, there is another Big Brother analogy that comes to mind when I think of Ted Cruz and that may explain his plan to become the Republican candidate for president.

It all begins with my dear friend Don Quixote, who was a big fan of those reality TV shows in which 12 or so people compete in a nicely Darwinian way to be the last person standing at season’s end. His particular favorite was Big Brotherwhich Wikipedia explains as follows:

The premise of the show is that there is a group of people, dubbed as “housemates” or “houseguests”, living together in a specially constructed large house. During their time in the house they are isolated from the outside world and are not commonly aware of outside event or have access to any electronic devices. Contestants are continuously monitored by in-house television cameras as well as personal audio microphones during their entire stay. Each season lasts for about three months, with at least ten contestants entering the house. To win the final cash prize, a contestant must survive periodic (usually weekly) evictions and be the last housemate or houseguest remaining in the compound by the series’ conclusion.

I never watched the show myself, but I loved hearing Don Quixote explain the strategies the various contestants were using in order to win.  One thing that I remember was that the winner was never the early front-runner, or even the mid-season front-runner.  Instead, the winner was the gray man, the one who kept a low profile while everyone else was gunning for that week’s front-runner.  Then, as the field thinned out, the ultimate winner was the one who had been carefully making alliances and playing his allies off against each other.

I keep thinking of that strategy when I see Ted Cruz.  He was the first to declare his candidacy (wasn’t he?), and he’s almost certainly the brightest of the bunch.  He’s also completely committed to a strict conservative ideology, as well as being anything but a shrinking violet.  Nevertheless, he seems to be going out of his way not to make a splash.  He’s kept out of Trump’s line of fire, as well as the missiles that the other candidates and the media are lobbing at Trump, and has been invisible when it comes to challenging either Fiorina or Rubio, both of whom are already being touted as the new conservative darlings to replace Trump’s front-runner status.

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The Bookworm Beat 11-24-15 — the “a little help from my friends” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My day has spiraled so wildly out of control, I despair of ever getting it back. Fortunately, a good friend who knows well how I think sent me an email that says much of what I would have said today if I’d had the time. So, here is the “Bookworm friends” edition:

On the subject of white guilt, let me paraphrase Alan Dershowitz who calls today’s tenured faculty the biggest wusses he’s seen in 50 years.  All of them are unable to respond to the outrageous demands and tactics of perpetual grievance groups, paralyzed by the white guilt.  What Dershowitz doesn’t say is that the victimization these groups are claiming as justification is nothing more or less than the tenured faculty has been trying for decades now to inculcate in them.  I think Mary Shelly wrote a cautionary tale about this . . .

Also, Bret Stephens places blame firmly where it belongs when it comes to those monstrous students — on their Progressive parents and faculty members, who are themselves the spawn of the Greatest Generation who, flush with winning the war and dominating the peace, forgot to parent.

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John Kerry’s reprehensible statements following the Paris massacre were all about Islam denial

John-KerryIn the wake of the Paris massacre, John Kerry went out and made a fool of himself. There’s nothing new there, but I did want to comment on something I did and to explain why I did it — or more accurately, why I didn’t do something that every other commentator did. My point in writing this is to prove that I’m not quite the half-wit people may have assumed I am.

Let me begin with Kerry’s words:

In the last days, obviously, that has been particularly put to the test. There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, “Here we are.” And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are? They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate. They kill Shia. They kill Yezidis. They kill Christians. They kill Druze. They kill Ismaili. They kill anybody who isn’t them and doesn’t pledge to be that. And they carry with them the greatest public display of misogyny that I’ve ever seen, not to mention a false claim regarding Islam. It has nothing to do with Islam; it has everything to do with criminality, with terror, with abuse, with psychopathism – I mean, you name it.

Everybody and his uncle latched onto the first part of that paragraph, in which Kerry seemed to say that satirical journalists and Jews were legitimate terrorist targets. I went in a different direction and focused on the second part where, in keeping with the Democrat-party line, Kerry again denied that massacres — whether ten months ago or a week ago — have anything to do with Islam. It occurred to me later that some readers might have thought I was stupid, careless, or otherwise deficient for not lambasting Kerry for his bizarre statement about legitimate and illegitimate terrorist attacks.

All I can say is that I’m not as stupid as I look. I actually had an analytical framework that I’d completely clicked through by the time I sat down and wrote. I’d processed Kerry’s remarks, and concluded that the most important part was his denial about Islam’s role. Everything else was just Kerry’s generosity in giving us an opportunity to see his obtuse brain working through a problem.

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Just Because Music : Rachel Platten’s “I’m gonna stand by you” and “Fight Song”

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a song that seemed to fit into the parameters of my “Just Because Music” category, but here one is — Rachel Platten’s I’m gonna stand by you.  And no, I have no idea what those parameters are; it’s just that some songs run through my head and I want to share them.

Incidentally, extra points for anyone who can tell me what the heck the video has to do with the song.

And if you like Platten’s vocal style and music choices, you can also check out her first hit, Fight Song. The video disappoints me, though. I thought it would have some MMA stuff.

Stuck on Stupid: Progressive Facebook edition (Part 2)

facebook-thumbs-downIt’s not a very deep dive to plumb the depths of Leftist intellectual positions on most issues, but it’s still a worthwhile exercise to expose the fallacies that they use to try to dominate the debate on pressing issues — with the most pressing issue being whether to admit Syrian refugees.  The easiest place for me to find examples of Leftist thought is my Facebook feed. Because I’ve spent my life in Blue enclaves, almost all of my friends — and they are really nice people in day-to-day interactions — are Progressives.  It gives me pleasure to deconstruct some of their more foolish or vicious posters:

I have to admit that these first two posters are my favorite “stupid Progressive Facebook” posts.  Because Thanksgiving is coming up, both chide anti-refugee conservatives for forgetting that the first Thanksgiving came about because the indigenous people in North America extended a welcoming hand to European immigrants.

Whenever I’ve seen one of these posters pop up on my Facebook feed, I’ve left a polite comment to the effect that we all learned in public school (thanks to Howard Zinn and others) that the Europeans, once having gotten a foothold in North America, promptly turned around and murdered as many Native Americans as possible. If they couldn’t murder them, they dispossessed them of their land and otherwise marginalized them.  There’s certainly a lesson to be learned here but the lesson isn’t to welcome refugees, it’s to cry out “For God’s sake, don’t let them in!”

Indians refusing pilgrims

Pilgrims should be supportive of immigration

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The Bookworm Beat 11-22-15 — the illustrated edition and open thread

I’ve gotten my family stuff squared away and now have a little time to blog. While I’m collecting my thoughts, here are some good political cartoons. Incidentally, you’ll note that a few are different versions of the same point. I included them all because they’re good and you may prefer one over the other to share with friends (and foes).

Liberals and background checks

Vetting sign language interpreters and refugees

Obama and refugees

Christian genocide

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Maybe Obama can re-energize by leading a fight to ban swords and knives

Robert Tracinski wrote an excellent article calling Obama the worst president ever. I urge you to read it. His opening point, which is that Obama is bored by the disasters he’s let loose in the world,and excited only about fighting to deprive Americans of their Second Amendment rights got me thinking. Combine that with today’s story about the swordsman in the Apple store, and I ended up with a snarky post:

President Obama seems bored lately. It’s no surprise why. Once he determined that Islam has nothing to do with massacres in Boston, Kenya, Mumbai, Paris, Mali, etc. (all committed with weapons that are already illegal in the U.S.), he was left with nothing to say. If you watch his lifeless statement after the Paris massacre, you can almost see him thinking “Same old, same old. I can’t even pretend emotion by this time.”

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The Wall Street Journal’s hatchet job on Ted Cruz

Ted CruzI’ve made no secret of the fact that I support Ted Cruz. I realize he’s not perfect, but no candidate is. What matters to me is that his political values most closely align with mine, that he’s not scared of a fight (and, especially, he’s not scared of the media), and that he is truly smarter than just about everyone else out there. I learned yesterday, though, that Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal most definitely does not like Cruz. She wrote a savage hit piece on him essentially blaming him for ISIS’s ability to spread throughout the United States. (That spread, of course, has nothing to do with Obama’s open borders policy and the contempt he shows for every person and idea that suggests that Islam might have a problem.)

But before honing in on her perception about Cruz’s alleged security failures, Strassel first lambastes him as a rank opportunist who cares only about self-aggrandizement and refuses to take care of the GOP’s needs:

The senator’s supporters adore him because they see him in those moments when he has positioned himself as the hero. To them he is the stalwart forcing a government shutdown over ObamaCare. He’s the brave soul calling to filibuster in defense of gun rights. He’s the one keeping the Senate in lame-duck session to protest Mr. Obama’s unlawful immigration orders.

Mr. Cruz’s detractors see a man who engineers moments to aggrandize himself at the expense of fellow conservatives. And they see the consequences. They wonder what, exactly, Mr. Cruz has accomplished.

ObamaCare is still on the books. It took the GOP a year to recover its approval ratings after the shutdown, which helped deny Senate seats to Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Scott Brown in New Hampshire. Mr. Obama’s immigration orders are still on the books. The courts gained a dozen liberal judges, all with lifetime tenure, because the lame-duck maneuver gave Democrats time to cram confirmation votes through. Mr. Cruz’s opportunism tends to benefit one cause: Mr. Cruz.

So it’s Cruz’s fault we have Obamacare and it’s his fault because . . . he took a principled stand against it?  (I admired that stand when he took it and I still do.) The fact is that Cruz is one of the few Republicans in Congress who actually stood by the party planks and actual promises he and other alleged conservatives made to voters since 2008. He is the only one in Congress on the right who shows the slightest bit of spine. So when Strassel writes, “but Obamacare is still on the books,” the real question shouldn’t be “How do we blame Ted Cruz?”  Instead, the real question should be “How did this happen when Republicans control Congress and the purse strings?”

Strassel’s claim that, following Cruz’s principled stand, it took Republicans “a year to recover,” is patently ridiculous. Republicans have enjoyed greater electoral success in the past six years than the party ever has — and she is going to blame defeats in Virginia and Massachusetts on Cruz. That is infuriating.

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[VIDEO] The always wrong, always mean Obama

obama-angryEverything Obama has touched during his presidency has turned to dross. I’d like you to look at this video, not as a Ted Cruz campaign video (which it is) but as a really short, savage indictment of Obama’s awfulness, from his boasting, to his anti-Americanism, to his vicious personal attacks on fellow Americans. What an awful man and a worse leader Obama is:

Stuck on Stupid: Progressive Facebook edition (Part 1)

facebook-thumbs-downMy Progressive Facebook friends have received their marching orders from Democrat central and the result has been a cascade of stupid cluttering up my Facebook feed. (This is the curse of a life spent living in Blue zones.) Lest I say something unforgivable to people whose good will I need in order for my children and me to get through our daily lives, I’m venting my spleen here.

I’ll start with my own Congressman, Jared Huffman, who is more than adequately filling Lynn Woolsey’s shoes, since she’s hard Left and not very bright:

Jared Huffman on refugees

If you’ll bear with me, let me just break out the problems with that self-congratulatory paragraph:

Ignoring the ad hominem attack with which Huffman begins his post, let’s get to the “factual statements.”  First, he says that “[t]hese people [are] overwhelmingly women and children. . . .”  Really?  That’s not what the demographics in Europe were.  In Europe, according to the UN, a source I’m sure Huffman trusts implicitly, the fleeing refugees were overwhelmingly men:  In the beginning, the UN was reporting that 72% of the refugees were men.  That number has since dropped to 62%, although I have to admit that I don’t trust the UN not to have fiddled with the numbers after the outcry about a huge tide of military-aged Muslim men swarming Europe. So no, if Europe is anything to go by, we’re not getting the widows and orphans.  We’re getting the fighting men.

Widows and orphans amongst refugees

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