Saturday, November 10, 2018

Vladimir say: “Зачем вмешиваться в выборы? У вас есть демократы!”

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In case you didn’t study Russian in High School or college, Russian President Vladimir Putin asks a valid question: “Why interfere with election? You have Democrats!” He hasn’t yet posed the question but he might as well have. By the way, did you know that Russians consider it rude and presumptuous to use a diminutive or nickname for someone with whom you are not intimate or close friends? Don’t call him “Vlad,” unless you’re really close to the guy. He’s not the kinda guy you want to piss off.

Anyway, at the close of business last Tuesday Arizona GOP Senate hopeful Martha McSally had appeared to eke out a close, 9,000 vote win over pretend moderate Democrat Krysten Sinema. By close of business Friday, Arizona election officials had miraculously found enough Democrat ballots to put Sinema up by 20,000 or so. In a red state.

Down in Florida, where Democrats have made election theft a finely honed skill, it took a state judge to force election officials in south Florida to stop fabricating Democrat votes out of thin air and the trunks of private vehicles.

Maybe some readers will remember the 2000 election, when it took a US Supreme Court order to halt a manufacture-and-count-ballots operation in the same counties that have been rigging the vote count so many times that they don’t bother to hide it any more.

Meanwhile across the state line in Georgia Democrats are feverishly and brazenly scouring for votes in what even the New York Times openly calls  “post-campaign campaigning.” Republican Bryan Kemp won a 50.35% of the vote on election night, with 100% of all precincts reporting. Democrat Stacey Abrams won 48.71% and Libertarian Ted Metz got 0.95%.

Under Georgia law, if no candidate receives 50% plus one vote, the top two candidates go to a runoff.

Give Georgia Democrats some credit for coming up with a new election theft tactic: Find people to swear up and down that they voted via absentee or provisional ballot even and especially if they didn’t, and scream “VOTER SUPPRESSION!!!” when otherwise lawfully acting election officials (doing a heroic yet thankless job) can’t find the nonexistent ballots.

If you’re pulling for Team Blue, all the Abrams gang has to do is find about 28,000 extra ballots for their side to push the election into a runoff. Don’t you dare think they can’t do it. If Arizona Democrats can find tens of thousands of ballots in a desert and Florida Democrats can find them in a swamp, then Georgia Democrats ought to be able to find’em somewhere between the hedges.

This drives Rule of Law loving people crazy because while we may not like outcomes, the process counts for everything. Democrats don’t give a rat’s ass about process. It’s all about getting the desired outcome. To them, “process” is just another word for “by any means necessary.”

No wonder the Russian President is pointing and laughing. He doesn’t need to lift a finger to create chaos, uncertainty and distrust in our election process. Why should he, when the Democrats will do it for him?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mississippi State at Alabama: Bulldogs are just what Bama needs

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And no, I don’t mean a cupcake. That comes next week when the Citadel Bulldogs visit Bryant-Denny for an 11:00am SEC Network ‘showdown.’

Mississippi State has some of the things LSU didn’t, like a decent defensive line and a mobile QB in Nick Fitzgerald. LSU will still be the best team Alabama faces in the regular season but State has matchups that could cause some problems even with a full-health Tua Tagovailoa. And Nick Fitzgerald’s toughness and ability to run right by our 300 lb. block of soap can convert 3rd and short in the second half. 

Alabama’s defense just keeps getting better every week, and the cool thing is that the whole unit has improved its play. There is a tremendous difference between the defense that let Louisville receivers run around in September. Arkansas and Mizzou would struggle to score even one touchdown against this unit. On pure passing downs, Fitzgerald will need every bit of his ball totin’ skills because he could be running for his life.

We can look for MSU to borrow from LSU’s game plan. They want to take the ball out of Tua’s hands and make Alabama beat them on the ground. They have a front seven capable of bringing pressure but the question is whether they’re capable and deep enough to do that for four quarters. It’s… unlikely.

Alabama’s offense revolves around Tua now. With Jalen Hurts out for at least another week, it’s either Tua or Mac Jones. Jones is a very good QB, but the playcalling changes with him. He doesn’t have the athletic or defense-reading chops that Tua does, so the playbook has to be trimmed down for him and we get more Sabanball. Let’s hope Tua stays upright, y’all.

Alabama wins both trench matchups, with MSU’s DL having a little better time against Bama’s OL than LSU did. I think we’ll see Bama put up less than 40 points again unless our offensive braintrust finds and ruthlessly exploits a Bulldog weakness.

Let’s say…

Alabama 38, Mississippi State 10

Jeff Sessions out as Attorney General, mulling a return to his Senate Seat? Well…

imageHe’s leaning against returning to the Senate even though he’d be a strong candidate for his old seat, now held by Democrat Doug Jones.

Everyone saw Sessions’ exit from the Department of Justice as a foregone conclusion. His fumbling of questions regarding his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak led to him recusing himself from oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian influence during the 2016 campaign. This immediately angered President Donald Trump and has led to near constant discord between Trump and the first sitting Senator to endorse his Presidential campaign.

Sessions is 71 and he’s spent the better part of four decades in federal service. People he’s spoken to tell IBCR that a decision hasn’t been made whether to start a moderately “uphill comeback” or just enjoy retirement. He is personally irritated by the the rancor with the White House but embraced his role in the Senate. He particularly relished his time and work on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, current Senator Doug Jones is widely seen as the weakest of the Democrat incumbents seeking reelection in 2020, and this has attracted a great deal of interest from a very deep candidate field. The possibles include Alabama political heavyweights like former Alabama Attorney Luther Strange and Representatives Bradley Byrne and Martha Roby. Sessions would almost certainly face formidable primary opposition. Also, Donald Trump is still very popular in the state and his criticism of Sessions’ handling of the Russia has taken its toll.

The political terrain in Alabama is simple and flat: Anyone not named Roy Moore will destroy Doug Jones in the 2020 General Election.  The primary campaign  is where this election will be decided.  Sessions must decide if he wants to get up close and personal with candidates that he knows and personally likes, and who began preparing to unseat Jones last January.

He hasn’t yet.

Perhaps the most telling indication of Sessions’ current thinking is this statement from his Senate colleague, Richard Shelby:

“Thank you to my good friend, Jeff Sessions, for over 40 years of noble service to Alabama and our country. Jeff was a respected colleague of mine in the Senate for two decades and represented our nation with honor as the U.S. Attorney General. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stay tuned, though.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Winners and Losers of the 2018 Midterms

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Time for a post mortem. A hot wash, if you will. Who won, who lost and what 2018 tells us going forward. First…

WINNERS

Mitch McConnell. As of Wednesday evening, the Republicans have flipped three Senate seats—Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota--while losing one in Nevada. There’s one more flip likely to go the GOP way in Florida and it looks like the GOP will hold Arizona, Tennessee and Texas while Democrats will hold Montana (‘why’ on MT is a whole post by itself). With 54 seats, McConnell can now confirm almost anyone President Trump nominates to the bench or his cabinet.

This is important. The midterm election is the time when most of a first term President’s cabinet resignations occur (forced or not). There are still a slew of lower federal court benches to fill, not the least of which is now Associate Justice Kavanaugh’s old seat on the DC Court of Appeals. There is also a non-zero chance that another Supreme Court Justice calls it quits or kicks the can. See the Losers section for a bit more.

House Democrats. They will get what they want. Committee chairs, the power of subpoena and the ability to arrest the furtherance of President Trump’s agenda. Democrats seized on center-right fears of overreach. Republicans also failed to put economic issues on par with immigration as a campaign issue. Economic recovery is as important to the MAGA platform as immigration. Republicans—Trump included—didn’t emphasize that as much as they should or could have. By the time Democrats made Trumpers out to be racist xenophopes, it was too late to convince suburbanites that (1) their pocketbooks were better off under GOP leadership and (2) the Democrats would attempt to reverse the progress. They saw an opening and they took it to the House.

Another thing Democrats did well is show voters that when a Republican runs to the left of his/her party, it’s a race to the center. That is a race that Democrats almost never lose. Democrats always have the media on their side. They can always portray themselves as centrists and they will always get a pass by the media. Republicans will never get a free pass to the center. Republicans will always be required to explain why they shouldn’t be considered a Republican extremist in a centrist’s clothing. And finally, Democrats know that when a Republican campaigns as a Democrat, voters will always choose the authentic Democrat. Republicans have never understood this, and they chase that centrist label every single time. Lucy + Football = Auugghh!

Rural America. I discussed the impact of flyover country here. The country boys and girls form the biggest reason why Mitch McConnell is smiling this morning. Exit poll data are still very raw, but rural turnout in this election was similar to (or greater than) what’s normally seen in Presidential elections. Midterms are typically low turnout affairs because there are no national candidates on the ballot.  Older Republican and rural voters are much more reliable. That’s why ‘generic ballot’ polls need to see Democrats with fat leads before they can move the needle on which party’s candidate wins or loses.

Polls badly missed rural turnouts in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. All of those states were either total tossups or were leaning Democrat Tuesday morning.  This is not the first time this has happened. The polls were wrong for the third time since 2012 and the pollsters can’t seem to grasp it. They’re thinking like Urbanites and they won’t get it until they stop doing that.

All of the voters who propelled their candidates to victory last night revealed themselves as a demographic that can’t be bought and has to be reckoned with. Theirs are the communities bearing the brunt of illegal immigration, thin health insurance markets, forced cultural change and contempt for the average Joe. Small town America spoke last night—loudly, clearly and convincingly.

LOSERS

Media Favorites. Beto O’Rourke. Stacey Abrams. Andrew Gillum. Krysten Sinema. All of these deeply flawed darlings of the leftwing media were sent home. Hundreds of millions were spent trying to get them elected. Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Buffet, Joe Biden, MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post… enormous effort was spent to foist these Democrat up-and-comers onto an electorate that wants nothing to do with their brand of social, cultural and economic re-engineering. There are others, but pick any one of the four I listed, identify a key component of their campaign platform, and tell me where Anyday Americans stand on that issue. I will lay odds that it ain’t close to the candidate. That any of them were even competitive tells you a lot about how much influence the media has today. That not one of them claimed victory last night says even more about Anytown America’s ability to see through their bullshit and call them out on it.

Deep South Democrats. Add the Alabama and Florida Democrat Parties to the list above. Florida will almost certainly see Rick Scott win the race against the last remaining Old South Democrat, Bill Nelson. With him goes the last Democrat statewide office. Alabama’s Doug Jones is my state’s only statewide officeholder because Democrats were shellacked up and down the ballot yesterday. Jones’ position is mortally weak—he won a tight race against an awful candidate in Roy Moore. Jones directly campaigned for no one on the ballot and therefore got no one elected. No one owes him anything, so he’ll seek reelection as 2020’s weakest Democrat. 

The 2010 and 2014 midterms fairly well cleared Democrats from office in these two Red Wall states. Yesterday’s results cemented these states’ GOP ground games. Republicans have all of the apparatus, all of the candidates and most of the money.

Paul Ryan and Establishment Republicans. When you have a President who is popular with your base, and he has an agenda that is also popular with your base, you twist arms and whip votes to get his agenda through the Congress, especially the People’s House. When you don’t twist arms and whip votes, you lose elections. Democrats wrested control of the House of Representatives because cocktail party Republicans rubbed elbows with the media and listened to media warnings about going too far on immigration, Obamacare repeal and entitlement reform. 

Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. I absolutely loved Senator Collins’ defense of her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The fact is that if Kavanaugh had expressed a willingness to overturn the abomination of Roe v. Wade, neither she nor Murkowski would have voted for confirmation, which would have negated the need for her speech on the Senate floor. With at least two (and probably three) more votes to confirm, Collins and Murkowski could have voted ‘no’ and Kavanaugh would still be confirmed if the vote took place next January. They’re losers here because these two Senators wielded outsized power over the President’s choice of judicial nominees. That power and the power to exert influence over the nomination of pro-life judges, justices and cabinet members is gone now.

WHAT NEXT?

Gridlock. The only thing Democrats can hope to accomplish is to harass the President and prevent Senate legislation from reaching the President’s desk. The House only controls taxes as its real weapon in 21st Century America since all bills generating new revenue must originate in the House. They have no input, and neither advise nor consent on judicial or cabinet nominations. They also cannot approve treaties or confirm ambassadors. The power of the purse is nice to have, until you draw the strings so tight that even the people who elected you go hungry.

Jockeying for position ahead of 2020. Make no mistake about it—the Democrat field of White House hopefuls now numbers in the dozen and they’re all looking for airtime. Just a piece of fame that gets their mugs in front of a Democrat base that wants Trump’s head served cold on a gilded platter. Watch the list of Dems making trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina before Christmas.

A clamor for impeachment of Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, or both. Look, there are a bunch of Democrats that just can’t help themselves. If there is even a whiff of a somethin’ somethin’ that they can twist into a high crime or misdemeanor, the articles of impeachment will fly. Nothing could work better for Trump’s reelection than a full-throated impeachment call. But it’s irresistible to them.

More bad polling. I placed too much faith in the rural-urban divide when it came to expecting a GOP hold on the House. The Senate played out just as I described—a roaring multitude of Ruralites drowned out the voices of the Urbanites, and places Democrats were polling well either flipped to or stayed in Republican hands. Pollsters have been missing the Ruralite vote since Obama’s last midterm in 2014 and nothing indicates they’ll do better in 2020.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Anyone see Doug Jones on the campaign trail recently?

DougJonesAside from campaigning for Bill Nelson in Florida last week, Alabama’s newly minted Senator Doug Jones has been conspicuously absent from the campaign trail leading up to Tuesday’s important midterm election. Democrats have what they think is an outstanding slate of candidates for state and national offices this year: Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is running for Governor; Don’s son Joe Siegelman is running for Attorney General and former Miss America Mallory Hagan is running for a US House seat.

You would think that a self-described moderate Democrat who became Alabama’s first Democrat Senator in nearly a generation would be a hot commodity at campaign stops and rallies all over Alabama. But Doug Jones is nowhere to be found. Why?

It would be easy to blame a desiccated state Democrat party apparatus. There just doesn’t seem to be much of a ground game for Democrats in Alabama. But Jones is a US Senator.  Surely he has the resources necessary to help a brother and sister out.

Maybe it’s because Jones took office and promptly turned his back on the electoral majority in the state and voted against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. That confirmation went through without him, but Alabamians know that he could have stopped that ugly nomination process dead in its swampy tracks by announcing that he had listened to Alabamians and planned to vote to confirm.

Doing so would have demonstrated his moderate bona fides, helping his now dimming reelection hopes and possibly increased his value on the stump this fall. Instead, he behaved just like any other DC Democrat and toed the party line. Toeing the Democrat party line is poison in deep red Alabama.

The other allegedly moderate Democrats running in this state recognize this, and we think they made the decision to tell Jones to just stay home. Or, stay in DC. Or, go campaign for Democrats in states not called Alabama.

Alabama’s slate of Democrats appear to be hosed. Bob Vance, running for the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court is the only Dem who stands a chance of winning. The others look like they’re headed for a short night come Tuesday.

This didn’t have to be so. Jones could have done the smart thing and announced his support for Kavanaugh. The credibility he would have gained would have helped him, and in turn he could have helped his fellow office seekers. This is how state and local politics work. Instead, Jones voted the way Chuck Schumer told him to and the Alabama Republican Party has the reins of power going into the 2020 election, where Jones will have to defend his seat.