Pre-Debate Thoughts

Trump is the front runner. That means there’s a big old target on him tonight as the Republican candidates face off at the university of Houston for tonight’s debate.

It’s Ted Cruz’s home state. While he leads in the polls in Texas, he needs to punch up on Trump just so that he won’t get overshadowed by Rubio, as he has placed twice behind the Florida senator twice now.

If Rubio looks even halfway presidential tonight, it will go a long way toward him actually winning a state – which, as I’ve said on the podcast, he hasn’t done yet. Rubio can’t beat Trump in the Northeast, and most of the SEC states will also fall probably for the Donald. But so long as he doesn’t go total MarcoBot 9000 tonight, he may actually get a win – late deciding voters may favor Rubio in the suburbs of Minnesota, and Alaska’s caucus might go his way despite the Donald’s alliance with former Governor Sarah Palin.

Then there’s Kasich and Carson. Carson’s campaign is on financial fumes, and Super Tuesday will likely be the last we hear of the good doctor for a while. It’s puzzling, since if you take super-PAC money out of the mix, Carson raised more money than any other GOP contender. He also burned through it by trying to raise more money, using direct mailing, an expensive and outdated form of fundraising in today’s age of digital moneybombs. Carson has spent almost 54 million dollars and has 4 delegates to show for it.

Then there’s John Kasich. He’s been taking the high road – so long as that high road isn’t a toll road. He’s got maybe a shade over a million dollars left. That’s not enough to make a real show on Super Tuesday, but the Ohio governor is hoping – praying – that he can hold out until March 15. He can’t. Any way you slice the math, Kasich’s and Carson’s campaigns are dead on their feet – the message just hasn’t hit the central nervous system yet.

And then there’s Trump. There are 661 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday. Right now Trump has 81, and needs 1,237 total to win the nomination. The math favors him. Most of the contests on March 1 are proportional. Even if Trump only pulls 30% across the board on Tuesday (a super conservative estimate) that’s 198 or so more delegates into Trump’s coffers. Still a long way to go for victory, but with each passing contest it makes it more and more difficult for someone like Cruz to win, or Rubio. Rubio has the better shot in the long run, of course, but while Cruz will win his home Lone Star State on Tuesday, the same assumption cannot be made about Rubio in Florida on March 15. Donald Trump is a name well known to Florida, especially in South Florida where Marco calls home. In fact, a lot of Sunshine Staters recognize the name Trump a lot more than they recognize the name Rubio.

So – let’s watch the debate.

Episode 3: South Carolina, Nevada PLUS Apples and Dino Smut!

Ken and Mike sat down Sunday morning and chatted about the South Carolina GOP results, the Nevada Democratic caucuses, exit polls, and Apple’s response to the FBI’s request for them to hamstring their iOS. 

Here’s the “Art of the Deal” that Ken was talking about, and here’s the Jimmy Kimmel clip Mike referenced.

And for those of you who don’t know what Ken was talking about when he said that Donald Trump brings his own mic, check out this. Oh, and apparently Mike’s joke about his reading material is actually a thing.

Three Questions – Mike’s Take

Ken and Mike came up with three questions to answer in lieu of a midweek short episode. Here’s Mike’s take. Ken’s is here.

Question 1 -Article 2, section 2 clause 2 directly says the president shall appoint with the advice and consent of the Senate. Do you think it’s a wise idea for Republicans to delay a hearing on an Obama appointee?

Yes, of course I think it’s a good idea that the Republicans delay the process. What turns out to be a bad idea is the announcement by Mitch McConnell that he will not let any appointment go through before the Presidential election. The President has an absolute right to appoint anyone as a Supreme Court Justice. From my perspective, I am sure that whomever he appoints will be a bad choice for America. That statement is based on my feelings about the job that President Obama has done as the chief executive.

In my opinion, in every way, his political decisions have had a detrimental impact on middle class Americans, while benefiting the wealthy financial sector. His pledge to transform American is one pledge that he has kept. He has put this nation on a path toward mediocracy.  I have no confidence that any selection that he makes for Justice of the Supreme Court be any different.

However, I am a strict constitutionalist and from that perspective Mitch McConnell has no right to throw a blanket over the process and shut it down before it has begun. That action only confirms the ineptitude of the Senator and make one think that the term Majority Leader is simply another oxymoron.

Question 2 – After the fireworks of Saturday night in South Carolina, what do you think will happen in Saturday’s GOP primary?

 It looks as though the “fireworks debate” will have one result. Jeb Bush is done. He will not get a bounce from the South Carolina primary, just a thud. Trump seems to have a Teflon coated suit of armor that allows him to take on anyone. First, he got the  anti-endorsement from Barack Obama when the President felt compelled to comment on the Donald. I call it an endorsement because there is no bigger badge of honor for any Republican then to be cast in opposition of our leftist president, Obama. Secondly, the Pope seemed compelled to weigh in on the Donald also. Trump handled the attack with skill and the Pope ends up looking like just another hypocritical socialist pontificating the evil of American society. Americans, middle class Americans that is, are sick of being called out when we are the most generous and free nation in the world. The Pope and all the other supporting leftists, never seem to get around to pointing the finger at the homelands of all the unfortunate immigrants who have caused all the turmoil by their deliberate efforts to have the United States resolve their nations’ social ills. Hypocrites! 

Question 3 – What’s going to happen with the Democrats in Nevada?

This only question this raises with me is: ‘Oh, are the Democrats in Nevada? What are they doing, fund raising during a state department crisis?’ That wouldn’t be unexpected. Oh, they are having a caucus. Better question: How many super delegates have committed to Hillary prior to any votes being cast?  Answer: three out of eight.

Three Questions – Ken’s Take

Ken and Mike came up with three questions to answer in lieu of a midweek short episode. Here’s Ken’s take. Once Mike remembers his wifi password, he’ll post his. Mike remembered it.

Question 1 -Article 2, section 2 clause 2 directly says the president shall appoint with the advice and consent of the Senate. Do you think it’s a wise idea for Republicans to delay a hearing on an Obama appointee?

First, obviously the death of Justice Antonin Scalia is a loss to the country. Despite the fact that I probably disagreed with him on almost every issue, it’s important to recognize that he was a brilliant legal scholar who dedicated his life to serving his country, upholding the Constitution as he believed it to be implemented. Again, while his vision of what the Founders intended and mine is quite different, there was common ground. His views on the First Amendment were often in line with mine.

That said, there’s no way to NOT politicize the vacancy created by Scalia’s death in the last year of President Obama’s second term, in the midst of a hotly contested presidential election.

The Constitution, from a strict originalist point of view, is quite clear on the matter. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 states that the president:

“shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law…”

It’s important to recall that when the Constitution was ratified there were no other Federal courts except for the Supreme Court. The Founders knew how important it was for a full court to be impaneled. That’s why Section 2 continues on to Clause 3, giving the president the authority to appoint justices without Senate consent if Congress is in recess.

If Obama really wanted to tweak the GOP’s nose, he could have appointed anyone and they would have been fine until the Congress reconvenes. Instead, he’s doing what Ronald Reagan did in 1987, what Franklin Roosevelt did in 1940, what Herbert Hoover did in 1932, what Woodrow Wilson did in 1916, and what William Taft did in 1912; his Constitutional duty.

Instead, the president has said he will nominate a justice, with the expectation that “the Senate [will] fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

The president, clearly, is an optimist.

“This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“If I were president now, I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice and I’m sure that, frankly, I’m absolutely sure that President Obama will try and do it. I hope that our Senate is going to be able to…do something about it. […] I think it’s up to Mitch McConnell and everybody else to stop it. It’s called, delay, delay delay.” – Donald Trump.

“I really wish the president would think about not nominating somebody.” – Gov. John Kasich.

“I do not think the president should appoint someone.” – Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would reverse the Heller decision, one of Justice Scalia’s seminal decisions, that upheld the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms…the stakes of this election, for this year, the Senate needs to stand strong.” – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

“The simple fact is the next president needs to appoint someone with a proven conservative record similar to Justice Scalia.” – Gov. Jeb Bush.

“I fully agree that we should not allow a justice to be appointed during his time.” – Dr. Ben Carson.

So, back to the question – is it wise for the Republicans to delay a hearing for an Obama nominee? It depends on who you’re rooting for in the November election. If you’re like me, and I know I am, you want the Democrats to retain the White House, so yeah, it’s a great idea for McConnell to tadpole up and prove to the American people that the Republicans are more concerned about frustrating the sitting president rather than carrying out the business of government. The American people, left and right, are absolutely furious at the stagnant swamp that is Washington, DC these days. The popularity of Donald Trump’s demagoguery and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ revolution is proof of that.

However, if you, for some reason, subscribe to my colleague and friend Mike’s wrongheaded reasoning and believe in the message of the Grand Old Party, braying to the media that any nominee Obama forwards won’t get a hearing is a damn stupid move. It gives the president every advantage, and will gain the Republicans nothing except more people who are angry that the government isn’t doing, well, anything, who probably weren’t going to the polls anyway, but will now just to throw the bums out. The president, who despite what the meat puppets at Fox News would have you believe, is not a political neophyte. Obama is an intelligent, astute political player. He’s going to submit a name, and if he’s smart – which he is – it’s going to be a name that’s already been through the Senate’s advice and consent rodeo, and emerged with an unanimous vote. There aren’t any shortage of those names – Leonard Strand, Rebecca Ebinger, Jill Pryor, Kara Stoll – and those are just some of the most recent. None of those names are circulating amongst the wonks and Supreme fans as likely on the short list right now, but who cares? This is the doomed political pantomime that is a lame duck president with a hostile legislature. All that matters is Obama puts forward a name that makes the Republicans look like hypocrites when they stonewall. Hell, he could even throw them a real curve ball and name one of their own – Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s name has been floating amongst the blogosphere lately.

Any way that you slice it, the Republicans adamant stance that no nominee will get a hearing is nothing short of a pathetic last stand, an amateur move on a professional stage, the last gasps of a political party about to rip itself apart. Pass the popcorn.

Question 2 – After the fireworks of Saturday night in South Carolina, what do you think will happen in Saturday’s GOP primary?

Wow. That was something, wasn’t it?

While I expected some fire from Rubio, who needed to make up for his fumble in New Hampshire, and certainly something from Jeb Bush, who needs to, well, do anything, Saturday night’s debate resembled nothing so much as a political Reservoir Dogs final scene.

There was one notable exception to the thrust and parry of verbal sparring that we all watched – Gov. John Kasich. The surprising New Hampshire runner-up decided to, I’m sure, take the high road. However, to a crowd that was actively booing facts and cheering every chunk of bloody red meat that Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and Bush threw to them. Dr. Ben Carson seemed to enjoy what is likely his last appearance on a national stage in 2016.

Trump will win South Carolina, a state who hasn’t liked being part of the rest of the country since about 1806. Ted Cruz is counting on every evangelical between Spartanburg and Charleston to turn out for him, and Jeb Bush is desperately trying to give the establishment a reason to believe in him. Meanwhile, Kasich is wondering where all of the donors who were supposedly going to be flocking to him after New Hampshire’s strong showing are? Rubio has the most to lose and the most to gain, since anything but a second place finish is going to have the pundits and the wags openly contemplating if the junior Florida senator is a tad too green.

Here’s my break down of what happens Saturday:

Candidate Percentage
Trump 35%
Cruz 18%
Rubio 17%
Bush 13%
Kasich 7%
Carson 6%

Question 3 – What’s going to happen with the Democrats in Nevada?

Clinton 50%, Sanders 48%.

Hillary’s once vise like grip on Nevada has eroded. Don’t believe the hype when it comes to Hillary’s pronouncements that Bernie’s victory in New Hampshire was a consequence of proximity twixt the Granite State and the Green Mountain one. Bernie’s message of political revolution, democratic socialism in all of its lowercase letter splendor, and extensive pre-media blitz push toward young voters of color, who feel as though the system abandoned them, has resonated. The Latino vote that Clinton is counting on is going to split along age lines. Those that can rent a car are going Hillary, and those that can’t are going to go for Sanders.

Episode 2

We take a look at the New Hampshire results, and predict what will happen in South Carolina and Nevada. Today’s show was recorded before both the CBS GOP debate and the sudden news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. We’ll try and get a short take episode on these events up this week.

We had a really interesting discussion about Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper, but for some reason the recorder kept cutting in and out. Here’s the clip Mike was talking about, even though it didn’t make the final edit.

The poll Ken was talking about that shows Clinton and Sanders tied in Nevada is here.

Like what you hear? Rate and review us on iTunes, and let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

New Hampshire Primary Predictions

This may be a tad different than what we said in the podcast episode, because that was recorded prior to the Saturday night GOP debate where Christie went all Reagan/Carter on MarcoBot and Trump kept scolding Bush for daring to breathe the same air as him.

1. Trump (33)
2. Rubio (15)
3. Kasich (13)
4. Cruz (11.5)
5. Bush (11)
6. Christie (6)

1. Sanders (55)
2. Clinton (45)

1. Trump (28)
2. Rubio (12)
3. Kasich (10)
4. Bush (8)
5. Cruz (7)
6. Fiorina

1. Sanders (58)
2. Clinton (42)

Episode 1 Drops Sunday!

The first episode of Dirty Politics hits iTunes and here on the site on Sunday afternoon! After you’ve finished watching the regular talking heads, and as you gear up for the Big Game, download and listen to Ken’s and Mike’s take on the Iowa results and their predictions of what will happen in New Hampshire!