Friday, November 30, 2018

Finally, a real test for Alabama


The Alabama Crimson Tide’s 11-game streak of wins by 20 or more points could come to an end Saturday.

No team in the history of football as we know it has done this. The last time it happened (Yale, 1888), neither the forward pass nor the football helmet had been invented. The streak is in serious jeopardy, and the team that threatens to derail Alabama’s train to the title is the same one that Bama hadn’t led through four quarters of last year’s College Football Playoff championship game.

Both the Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs have seen roster changes since January 2018. The most notable change has been at QB for Alabama. Heisman shoo-in Tua Tagovailoa took over at halftime against UGA last time, but now he’s had a jaw-droppingly good season with more 20-, 30-, 40-, 50-, 60- and yes 70-yard passes than anyone else. He’s had more touchdown passes than incompletions in more games than anyone else on the planet. He reads defenses like Evelyn Wood read Dr. Seuss books and he’s as deadly running the ball as he is throwing it.

UGA has reloaded on a defense that sacked Tua last January and created the now Glorious 2nd and 26.  The strength of the Bulldog defense is the linebacking corps in Kirby Smart’s Sabanesque 3-4 over/under scheme. This defense will attempt to do the same thing LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn tried to do: get pressure on Tua, make him throw a second or so before he wants to and try to pick up a turnover here or there.

Offensively, QB Jake Fromm is a year older and better. He’s not Tua, but he has two very good running backs in Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift. These are guys that could legit start for Bama. And, he’s still got the “other Ridley,” Riley. Georgia has a fine football team that has shamed many good opponents and lost only to an LSU team that played way over its pay grade for one day.

Alabama’s defense is still getting better each week and looks like there’s still room to grow. A lot of speculation rumbles about LB Terrell Lewis returning, but even if he does play (I’ll be mildly surprised if he does), his time away from big-time college football will limit his impact. At the start of the season, the Tide defense lacked only experience. That box has been checked. Bama is at or near the top in every defensive statistic. The team is hard to run on consistently and the secondary has grown into an elite unit.

What gives Bama the edge is a solid and tested offensive line that is just a bit better than UGA’s defensive front, and a defensive front of its own that is at worst a tossup against UGA’s blocking crew.

That, and Nick Saban, who is winning his way into becoming the best college football coach ever.

As this is being posted, Alabama is about a 12 point favorite. I think this will be a good game through mid 4th quarter, with Bama icing it with a late TD.

Alabama 35, Georgia 17

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Senator Doug Jones is a typical, dishonest anti-gun Democrat


Doug Jones, the junior Senator from Alabama, is being dishonest. Again.

There are three issues that any candidate seeking or holding statewide office in Alabama must take a stand on. One is the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Two is shrinking the size and influence the federal government has on everyday American lives. Three is the preservation of the right to keep and bear arms. When Democrats are honest on these issues, they lose.

Jones recently gave an interview on Reckon Radio, in which he tried to walk back the comments he gave on the floor of the United States Senate last March. Host John Hammontree asked about his call for more gun control during the speech, Jones went full Bill Clinton and denied that he was talking about gun control at all.

“Well, let me correct you – and this is part of the problem, John, with the media and others,” Jones responded. “I didn’t make a speech about gun control. I made a speech about gun safety. There is a difference.”

We’ll get to the control vs safety issue in a moment. Here is the actual text from his speech:

"So while I know that guns and gun control are difficult issues for this country, I can tell you they're complicated for me, too. But as a United States Senator today, a member of the legislative branch of government, I have many obligations. And I believe that the first obligation of government is to protect its citizens.

“And for me, and I hope for you, when I walk the halls of the Senate office buildings, and come through those double doors onto the Senate floor, I realize that every day we as a collective body have that same opportunity. Whether it is for DREAMers, or voting rights, or victims of sex trafficking, or in this case, our children who are demanding action on gun violence, we have the opportunity to build that tidal wave of justice and have hope and history rhyme."

Soaring rhetoric which says “we’re coming after your guns.”

“Gun safety” addresses how firearms are used, transported, handled and stored. Every gun owner is encouraged by the National Rifle Association to enroll in a firearms safety course. There are scores upon scores of videos available online that a new or prospective gun owner can watch and learn how to safely handle their weapons. Gun safety is the responsibility of the gun owner, and only the worst actors aren’t awed by the power of their weapon and fail to treat it with respect.

“Gun control” is the continued and pervasive effort to redefine the Second Amendment and restrict your access to firearms.

"We could spend days in this chamber debating the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment,” Jones said in his speech.

Jones campaigned last fall claiming to be pro-Second Amendment. What he says now is that he’s for redefining it. He wants it interpreted differently.

If you’ve read this far you probably don’t need this, but:

"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

That doesn’t need much interpretation or re-interpretation.

Jones is being a typical liberal Democrat. He wasn’t honest about his position on gun control last fall. And he wasn’t honest because he knows it’s true that when Democrats are honest, they lose.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

You hate Gary Danielson because he’s your DADDY

Face the mirror and face the truth. You hate the esteemed, accomplished and popular CBS Color Analyst because he knows more about football than you ever dreamed about knowing. And you will read this blog post because you know every word of it is true.

Gary Danielson is the snide wingman at the bar with you, pointedly explaining why your hairline is the reason why the hot chick across the room isn’t interested in you. He’s the catty tagalong girl who doesn’t know when to STFU about the outfit you spent two hours putting together, wondering loud enough for everyone to know that the reason Mr. Right ain’t looking this way is because… well…

The biggest beef you have with Gary’s commentary is that he says exactly what you don’t want to hear, right when your team is sucking before your very eyes. Your Heisman Trophy Quarterback  just threw an interception and Gary says, “boy, he really missed the read on the Safety playing deep.” Your team’s defense is defending the run like the Convent of Mercy and he says, “wow… they can’t stop anyone between the the tackles today.” Your team has the ball on their 40, there’s 2:20 left in the first half and your coach won’t call one of his three timeouts and try to at least get in field goal range. Gary asks the question that’s in your own bewildered mind: “What in the world is he thinking?”

Meanwhile, your team’s opponent can do no wrong today. In fact, he says in that casual, condescending voice of his that “they’ve been doing this to your team since so-and-so stepped on the scene in 2007.”

Gary, Jedi Master of colorful annoyance doesn’t stop there, either. Right after the 3,279th commercial break in the 3rd quarter, he comes back with the Telestrator. Then,  he finds the last three plays that drove you nuts and he diagrams precisely what your team did wrong. He carefully explains what they need to do to stop sucking, and then you throw things at the television because he’s right.

Here’s another thing about Gary. If you’re an Alabama fan, you think he hates Bama. If you’re a fan of any other team, you think he loves Alabama and secretly has a man crush on Nick Saban. This facet is the grandest illustration of why Gary is the perfect color commentary dude for when your team is losing to Alabama or isn’t winning big enough yet.

I know fans that have picked up the phone to call the police and file harassment charges against Gary. I know fans that have logged onto GoFundMe to start raising money to buy out his contract. I know fans that have put a piece of paper on the television screen so they don’t have to look at his face. I even know fans that have turned down the volume on the television broadcast and turned on the homer radio broadcast so they can hear what they want to hear instead of hearing what they need to hear.

He is the greatest color commentary prick of all time and he’s trying to help you, not hurt you. It’s true. And you know it.

What you have to do now is not only accept it, but embrace it. Gary Danielson is your Daddy. Don’t hate him for it.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Auburn needs a miracle


Only divine intervention will help the Auburn Tigers pull off an upset against an Alabama Crimson Tide that seems destined for Glory.

Either that, or we’re headed for a bizarre 2018 episode of the Twilight Zone, where up is down, good is bad and inside is out.

Last year, Alabama entered the Iron Bowl a little tired and a lot banged up. The game was at Auburn’s Twilight Zone Jordan-Hare Stadium and the Tigers had a team that had already upset Georgia. They were riding high and brimming with confidence, and they just made Bama look bad en route to a 26-14 shocker. It really wasn’t that much of a surprise—Auburn was 9-2 and only needed the win to claim the SEC West. They were at home, healthy, and riding an eight game win streak. Alabama’s defense was banged up and the whole team looked like they’d been rode hard through 11 games and put up wet.

The 2018 Iron Bowl looks radically different. Although Bama is again a little gimpy on defense (and the offensive line), they’re the home team this time and it’s Auburn showing the signs of wear and tear. The Tiger offensive line has been exposed as a glaring weakness just as Alabama’s front seven looks like it tasted bloody red meat for the first time.

The Tide defense is fearsome again, but the offense is absolutely terrifying. Heisman slam dunk Tua Tagavailoa has taken Bama to an entirely different plane of existence. He has a fleet of young, strong, fast and talented receivers. He has a corps of bowling balls for running backs. And he has a field vision and understanding that has been compared to that of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Even scarier is a reasonably healthy Jalen Hurts, who has already led Bama to the Championship Game twice. Alabama’s two quarterbacks are so athletic that there are plays designed to have a quarterback throw the football to… a quarterback. And no one knows whether it will be Jalen throwing to Tua or Tua throwing to Jalen or either one throwing to Irv Smith Jr running open on the other side of the field.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is a monster. Its only weakness is a shockingly bad special teams unit that can’t buy an extra point. It’s a weakness that Auburn will never get close to exploiting, though. This game should be decided by halftime. Auburn’s only chance at sunshine is to suddenly find an offensive line capable of blocking someone long enough for quarterback Jarrett Stidham to convert a few 3rd and long plays. And that’s gonna take a miracle.

Alabama 45, Auburn 14

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A few little known facts about Pilgrims, the colonies and Thanksgiving


Ask the average American what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about, and you may (or may not) be surprised by the answers. Some will say it’s about family, food and football. Others may say it’s about shopping and the start of the Christmas season.  None of these answers are wrong—that’s just what the holiday is to them and who are we to judge?

Ask them how it all started though and… well… correct answers are as rare as the sane and sober Uncle Charlie.

Here are a few facts about what it is and why it all started.

1. Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the United States. Canada doesn’t have one. Mexico, either. Nor do any European, Asian or African countries. Or Australia. Not even the South Americans even though they live in ’America,’ too. Some Americans don’t know this.

2. The first Thanksgiving was NOT held in a place called Plymouth, or even in Massachusetts. It was held in a place that is now Charles City, in Virginia. Squanto, William Bradford and all that didn’t happen until about two full years later.

3. The people in Plymouth, MA were Puritans. To them, any pleasurable activity was just wrong. Their first celebration was one of prayer, though journals from the time show that they feasted for at least three days. The people in Virginia were America’s first venture capitalists. Those colonists’ intent was to profitably grow a better variety of tobacco and sell it for a fortune in England.

4. All 13 of the original colonies were the property of the King and to one extent or the other, all had to produce something of commercial value to His Royal Highness.  They were not a free people and disloyalty to the king was treason, punishable by death.

5. Early colonists were a rebellious bunch. The Pilgrims once forced their way back aboard the Mayflower. Plymouth’s Thanksgiving feast wasn’t happening until after that dispute was settled. The first of many armed insurrections in the colonies was the Bacon Rebellion. It happened in 1676 in Virginia, 100 years before our Independence Day. Part of the casus belli was colonial leadership’s decision to cut some of the colonists out of a lucrative fur trading deal with the Natives. After about a year of fighting, the rebellion was crushed and many of the surviving rebels were executed. After the fighting was over, the victors gave thanks.*

6. The Natives were not all happy about the invasion of white people. Yes, Squanto did help the Puritans with agricultural knowledge and taught them how to fish. But in Virginia, most of the tribes closest to the European settlements recognized them as threats to their existence and attacks were frequent and brutal.  Vermont and New Hampshire had serious problems with Iroquois.

7. Only the strongest survived. North America had a climate that the English gentry were ill-suited to cope with. Many starved, many were killed by Natives and many were killed by disease or exposure. Summers with 90 degree temps and tropical cyclones contrasted with winters of nor’easters, heavy snow and freezing temperatures. It took strength and stamina to persevere.

8. The first Thanksgiving feasts were not lavish affairs with casseroles and quiches. They ate venison, swans, turkeys, seafood, beans, corn and local fruits. No cakes or pies, either--they didn’t have sugar and eggs were precious.

9. Prayer and thanks to God was very important, even to the capitalists in Virginia.

10. The pleasure-hating, straight-laced Puritans in Plymouth were actually headed to Virginia, but the Mayflower put in at that rock because they were running out of beer. This was a very big deal. The ship had been at sea for two weeks, and beer takes up a lot of space. The water aboard ship was foul and probably tasted nasty, but the beer was at least drinkable. So when their stock of ale got too low for the crew’s return trip to England, something had to be done. The colonists were put off at Plymouth and made to drink the local water. That led to an uprising and the re-boarding of the ship that was harbored for the winter.

There you go. Ten things you may not have known about our annual and unique American holiday. Don’t forget that business was a big part of the founding of this great nation. Don’t forget that the hardship of establishing a foothood here took many lives. And don’t forget to thank God that we can still freely celebrate this holyday with family, friends, food, football, shopping and… beer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

* Bacon’s Rebellion is a very important point in the history of early America. Nathaniel Bacon’s rag tag “army” consisted of a few hundred frontiersmen and a few hundred more white and African indentured servants and a dozen or so Native Americans. Their enemy was the Governor of Virginia, William Berkeley, an English aristocrat.

Bacon’s men had a few simple complaints that they wanted addressed:  high taxes, favoritism in appointing offices, monopolizing trade and favoritism to a few tribes of Natives that were attacking their farms and businesses. Bacon himself also wanted a military commission so that he could provide a militia to protect his people’s interest and provide a check against any future perceived tyranny.

Bacon’s Rebellion achieved a lot before it was finally quelled. This included showing the elite that an army of common men could challenge the ruling class. They routed Jamestown, burning it and Berkeley’s estate to the ground and forcing Berkeley himself to flee across the James River.  Bacon died of dysentery in October 1676 and the rebellion splintered shortly thereafter.

Thomas Jefferson and many other Founding Fathers viewed Bacon as a patriot. They saw his rebellion (and similar insurrections in Maryland) as premonition of the American Revolution. Bacon’s men were angry at what they viewed as the economic tyranny of colonial rule, just as colonists did 100 years later.

Kindly disregard leftist revisionism that seeks to cast Bacon’s Rebellion as a fulcrum for institutionalized racism and slavery. Bacon was white but many of his men were not. Bacon was free but many of his men were not. White and black (and a few Native) Americans joined together and fought together. It wasn’t their indentured status that scared the elite. It was the fact that a well-armed, well-organized and well-commanded force of commoners could wreak havoc on the established order.

The same fabric was woven again just 100 years later and this time the elite was crushed.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Watch out! Here comes The Citadel!


Thank God right now that the Alabama Crimson Tide is just a football team and not an enemy military force bent on ending the American way of life. Because if we were bad guys like that, Bama would stand no chance. Nick Saban would be forced to suffer the humiliation of surrendering the team colors at the 50-yard line to a grim-faced cadre of highly trained and professional warriors.

The Citadel is an institution with a rich military history. Founded in 1842, soldiers from The Citadel fired the first shots of the Civil War when they opened fire on the sneaky Union steamship Star of the West, that was trying to resupply Fort Sumter. During World War II, The Citadel had the highest percentage of any American college student body serving in the military and all but 46 of its living graduates were members of the armed forces.  Every member of the Classes of 1917 and 1918 served in World War I, and only two members of the Class of 1944 graduated because the rest entered military service and fought in World War II.

In any conflict though, the outcome is determined by where the battles are met. Alas for the fightin’ Bulldogs who are coming to Tuscaloosa, where they will be soundly defeated by a superior football force.

This game might be interesting (at least through the first quarter), as The Citadel runs an old-school multiple option offense that could churn up some yardage and shorten the game. Bama might not get as many possessions as they did against teams like Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Arkansas.

Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be at or near 100% and will likely go back to the usual routine of watching the second half from the sideline. Jalen Hurts is still not healthy—that high ankle sprain is doing what high ankle sprains do by healing slowly. Mac Jones will get some needed reps at full speed and hopefully get some confidence he’s lacked when the offense is running at full speed.

A lot of folks in the media are wagging their heads at Alabama hosting such an overmatched opponent but what’s an SEC team supposed to do—schedule a Notre Dame after a conference schedule that broke a gifted Kevin Sumlin and sent a cocky Urban Meyer to the cupcake land of the Big 10? Get real, haters.

Alabama 49, The Citadel 0

Saturday, November 10, 2018

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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

If Republicans hold the house in the 2018 midterms, thank the country folks

I want post this now, while all of my readers are watching college football. That way, if I’m right I’ll get to say, “I predicted it!” And if I’m wrong, all y’all can point at me and laugh at the data nerd.


I just finished reading a fascinating analysis of the 2016 election, authored by a couple of data geeks. Sean Trende and David Byler are analysts at Real Clear Politics, a must-read-daily website full of charts, projections and analysis. Their analysis following the 2016 election looks at trends in the electorate over time with a geographic filter, breaking voters into six distinct groups: rural, small town, large town, small city, big city and mega city.

Here’s a tell-all chart presented in the conclusions section of the report:

This shows that over the last three decades, Democrats have dramatically increased their share of voters in the largest cities and  dramatically lost their share in areas that are large town or smaller. Their worst losses are in the smallest population areas. Democrats may be getting more votes nationwide, but concentrating those votes in cities that they already dominated is like shooting a dead man. It’s a wasted bullet because dead is still… well… dead.

Getting an extra four or five million votes across the cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia is not enough to offset votes lost by the collective tens of millions from the thousands of Anytown, USA locales. There are at least 38 states that do not have a mega city in them or nearby. There are at least 25 that don’t even have a large city in them. Yet these “fly over” states have well over half of the eligible voters.

Democrats have created a very effective coalition of voters, but they have concentrated them in too few places, blunting their effectiveness and allowing Republicans to win elections without winning the majority of the popular vote.

This is important: You don’t need to win a national majority to win a national election.

California has a population of about 40 million. It has 53 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, or about one member for each 755,000 people. Alabama has about 4.9 million people and seven House members, or one member for every 700,000 people. Fewer people in Alabama have the same influence as a larger number of Californians. It’s not hard to put together a coalition of rural-ish states with fewer people wielding greater influence than states with high concentrations of urban dwellers.

This effect plays out in electoral politics but it also plays out in popular culture.

Pop culture is driven by urban dwellers. Urban areas are where the studios, producers, financiers, technicians and pop stars live because urban areas tend to have the physical infrastructure to support mass media production.

Urban areas are also more diverse demographically. They have higher concentrations of people of African, Hispanic and Asian descent. They also have higher concentrations of those identifying as having a non-traditional sexual orientation. As you watch your favorite commercial television programming over the next season, pay attention to the ads for alcohol, automobiles, toothpaste, mortgage lending and healthcare services. The vast majority of those will show the kinds and mixes of people you are likely to encounter in everyday life in the big city. Why? Because the people who make commercials use urban-ish people.

This may puzzle the Anytown citizen and for reasons he or she doesn’t realize. The small town banker may not run into a biracial or homosexual couple seeking a mortgage.  The rural grocer may not see a large south Asian family shopping together in her store. The large town teacher rarely has the child adopted by the gay couple in his class.

This cultural divide causes issues when the votes are counted on (and sometimes for weeks after) election day. The urban dweller can’t believe that their House or Senate candidate lost because all of the people just like them voted the same way. The rural-ish folks don’t see what the fuss is about, because all of the people just like them voted the same way.

The Ruralites may not (yet) understand the power that they wield, especially in midterm elections when turnout is typically low. But the Urbanites really don’t understand because everything they see on TV, hear on radio or dig on Spotify says everyone is diverse like them and diversity is just another word for Democrat.

They don’t understand that despite the diversity surrounding them in their urban enclaves, non-Hispanic whites still make up at least two-thirds of the electorate and most of that electorate lives in areas that are large town and smaller areas.

As a result, Urbanites are likely to conclude that the Ruralites are racist homophobes.

They would be wrong. Ruralites probably get the Melting Pot concept much better than Urbanites are willing to give them credit for. Most rural folks can trace their lineage back to immigrants, especially those in the rural areas east of the Mississippi and in the Mississippi River Watershed. Latin cultural influences are felt from rural Michigan to Louisiana and from south Florida to Wisconsin. The difference between those roots and the ones forming today is that in the ‘old days,’ immigrants assimilated and became Americans, contributing their culture to the greater American tapestry. This is less so with today’s Hispanic, Asian and growing Middle Eastern communities. Assimilation is now slower to occur, especially given the speed at which we get news today. Also, we have not helped assimilation by printing instructions for Life in America in languages not named English.

This frustrates Ruralites, who grew up speaking only English and maybe had bilingual grandparents. It’s not racist for immigrant-born Ruralites to expect today’s immigrants to do what everyone before them had to do. This is what made America great, they think, and when someone comes along with a promise to Make America Great Again, Ruralites are more willing to give the guy a shot.

The pollsters and election gurus missed the Ruralite movement in 2016, and may be missing it again in 2018.

Most of the 2018 polling, projections and analysis still look to the so-called ‘generic ballot’ as the most influential predictor in the outcome of congressional elections. This is a useful indicator of national sentiment, but it is still just an indicator of how the popular vote may go. It does not predict how people will vote. Even if it did, it ignores the first fact from above—you don’t have to win the popular vote to win a national election.

Two models: If both are right, Republicans will hold both the House and Senate

Ray Fair is a Yale Economics professor. He uses a numerical model driven by economic conditions to predict election outcomes and has a pretty good record—his was the only model that favored the Republicans in both the 2014 midterms and the 2016 election. The Fair Model predicts that Democrats will win 50.70% share of the vote.

Nate Silver is the architect of the Five Thirty Eight prediction model. Silver currently gives the Democrats an 85.9% chance of taking the House (and an almost nonexistent chance of taking the Senate). However, this prediction is based on Democrats winning by at least 5.9 percentage points.


Fair's model says Democrats only get 0.70 points, just barely a majority. As we know from Trende and Byler’s analysis, and as we can see from Silver’s model, this means that Republicans are poised to surprise the talking heads in the media on Tuesday night.

I believe they will.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The College Football National Championship will be decided Saturday night, y’all

Ed O

If LSU can’t beat Alabama in Death Valley, at night, in front of 100,000 screaming crazy drunk Cajuns, nobody can. You might as well just ship the natty trophy to Tuscaloosa.

There is nobody else on the Bama schedule or in the likely College Football National Championship Playoff field with the personnel and scheme that can hang with the Crimson Tide.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks. Traditionally, the team with the most emotional investment suffers from a week off because it interrupts the momentum of success that the emotion is built on. That team is LSU, but the pause will be offset a little by the night kickoff and the crazy coon ass energy in the stands.

Alabama comes in with a Sabanesque business as usual attitude, having already sampled the road in Columbia and Knoxville.

LSU’s defense is what has brought them to this point. Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda’s base package is a 3-4 scheme that looks a lot like a Nick Saban strategy. Their problem though is a lack of true 3-4 talent and depth, forcing Aranda to rely on some nickel lineups and even a 5-2 look that’s designed to confuse the offense and create opportunities to disrupt. LSU is so-so when it comes to total defense but they’re 7th in scoring defense.

Their star defensive player, Devin White, must sit out the first half Saturday night due to a targeting penalty called on him against Mississippi State two weeks ago. 

They will be sorely tested by an Alabama offense that has yet to see a defense they can’t destroy by halftime. Starting QB Tua Tagavailoa is an absolute phenomenon (and he’s only a true sophomore!) and he has a young-but-freakishly-talented corps of wide receivers. Behind Tua is a fleet of at least three bowling balls for tailbacks, and the studly Jalen Hurts waits in the wings as Tua’s backup. LSU can’t afford to let Bama get up by two scores in the first quarter but my sense is that this will happen, anyway.

Alabama’s very young but very talented defense faces an LSU offense that Les Miles would be very proud to call his own. QB Joe Burrow is a so-so passer and a decent runner when the field is wide open before him. He managed to make a few plays against Georgia but was only 50% and no TD’s. He’s 53% overall with only six TD’s and three INT’s. Burrow in the pocket is not going to beat Alabama, and Burrow has only so-so backs to carry the ball. There is no Leonard Fournette at LSU this year.

Alabama’s defense is getting better as the season progresses. The injury bug that bit so hard last year has gone elsewhere in 2018, so the unit has been developing together all year long. Expect the Tide front seven to get LSU’s offensive line out of position from time to time, and for Williams, Davis and Buggs to wreak havoc. A very young defensive backfield has also gotten better through the first eight weeks but is still inexperienced and somewhat thin. One reason why teams have been able to score 20+ points on this defense is opposing receivers running free in long yardage downs.

Bama’s only weakness remains special teams. Tide fans should pray this game doesn’t come down to a special teams play or three.

It shouldn’t, though—the game of football is always and everywhere won or lost in the trenches. Alabama’s OL appears better than LSU’s front seven, and LSU’s OL might hold its own against Bama’s front seven for a half. If Alabama gets up by 14 or 21 before halftime… well… you’ve seen that movie before.

Bama wins another one comfortably.

Alabama 44, LSU 17

A fairy tale begins with ‘Once I am elected.’


It is crazy enough how honest a leftist is when he knows the camera is rolling and the mic is hot. When he doesn’t know that he can’t ever make the truth disappear… hoo, boy. This is what we get when Project Veritas goes undercover and gets people to be comfortable with who they are and what they’re up to.

The clip below is just the first 2:30.

Go here for a link to the full video and a keen analysis of what it means.

Florida, please tell me that you’re not about to be this stupid. Please.