Trump knocks Rubio out of the news cycle

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That was a strategic kill-shot, to borrow Scott Adams’s word. And it changes everything for conservatives.

After a so-so debate performance and in the middle of a 16-hour verbal assault from Marco Rubio, Trump went nuclear. But not the way everyone would expect Trump to go nuclear.

Trump didn’t need to invent a brilliant new put-down line to counter Marco. Instead, he calmly introduced Chris Christie to 10,000 fans in Texas. Christie did the rest.

I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump to be president of the United States.

Now that is a kill-shot.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele told Breitbart News, “One word: BOOM! Exclamation point,” about the endorsement:

Today after what we saw Marco Rubiodo last night, he was out there attacking Trump on twitter and Trump was like, got one for you, BOOM! Now the guy who defined Marco a few weeks ago is back in the game. He’s engaged, and he’s working with Trump. BOOM!

And New Gingrich tweeted:

Just a little while later, Maine’s governor endorsed Trump. And John Kasich predicted a Trump sweep on Super Tuesday, saying “nobody’s gonna win but Trump,” before admitting he doesn’t know about Texas. 

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan offers the best explanation of Trump’s rise I’ve read so far in Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected:

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

The “unprotected.” Perfect.

Glenn Reynolds offers a similar case for people’s attraction to Trump, and forecasts an avalanche of support about to rain down: 

In his terrific book, Private Truths, Public Lies:The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification, Timur Kuran writes about the phenomenon he calls “preference falsification”: People tend to hide unpopular views to avoid ostracism or punishment; they stop hiding them when they feel safe.

This can produce rapid change: In totalitarian societies like the old Soviet Union, the police and propaganda organizations do their best to enforce preference falsification. Such regimes have little legitimacy, but they spend a lot of effort making sure that citizens don’t realize the extent to which their fellow-citizens dislike the regime. If the secret police and the censors are doing their job, 99% of the populace can hate the regime and be ready to revolt against it — but no revolt will occur because no one realizes that everyone else feels the same way.

This works until something breaks the spell and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers — or even to the citizens themselves. Kuran calls this sudden change a “preference cascade,” and I wonder if that’s not what’s happening here.

Sarah Palin made it okay for Tea Partiers to support Trump. With Christie’s endorsement, it’s now okay for mainstream Republicans to admit they hate the elites. 

Glenn Reynolds wrote his column before Christi’s endorsement making it somewhat prescient. I think Glenn is right, as usual. Trump is a natural leader in the new political dichotomy and the perfect embodiment of the Generation X election

For conservatives, it’s time to stop the fatalism and start planning how to get the best possible policies from the Trump administration. 


Here’s What Chris Christie Got Right

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I stand by my assessment that Chris Christie’s leadership and management played a role in the retaliatory shutdown of Fort Lee’s access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Yesterday, I compared the GWB scandal to several Obama scandals. I pointed out that conservatives must apply the same standards to Christie as we did to Obama when the IRS scandal broke.

Today, let’s look at Christie’s response and contrast it to Obama’s.

Christie Fired Somebody Close

Christie fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly within 24 hours of learning of the problem. Contrast that with Obama’s handling of IRS officials and senior White House lawyers. Obama let serial harasser Lois Lerner hang on for months, including months of paid leave, before she retired with full benefits. She wasn’t fired. She wasn’t prosecuted. Nor was senior White House counsel Robert Bauer. Bauer is busy prosecuting people who speak of voter fraud.

Christie Humbled Himself Before the People

When Chris Christie spoke today, he was clearly a man humbled. I’ve had to recite my failings before people whose respect I wanted. It sucks. Christie’s body language, tone of voice, and choice of words all screamed, “I wish I could go hide.” But Christie didn’t hide. He stoop up.

Obama, however, hid. Obama ignored the IRS scandal for weeks. His minions attacked the victims in public. When he spoke, he blamed unnamed GS-zeroes in the Midwest. No one within a thousand miles of the White House earned Obama’s scorn. As far as we know, the people who ordered the hit on the Tea Party got raises. And Obama’s demeanor throughout the ordeal was one of smug arrogance.

Christie Faced the Victims

After Governor Christie’s press conference–which lasted an hour–he went on an apology tour in Fort Lee. He went to Fort Lee’s mayor, a Democrat, to apologize in person–something few Americans do anymore.

Lewis Caroll’s imagination couldn’t conjure up a mental picture of King Obama stooping to apologize in person to victims of his criminal assault on political opponents. Obama isn’t man enough for that kind of humility or decency.

What It Means

I have no idea what it means for Christie’s future. I’m not a big fan of Chris Christie’s politics, and I think the bridge scandal speaks poorly of his judgment of people. And he could be lying about what he knew and when, for all we know.

But Christie demonstrated today how men of character handle embarrassing scandals. He said “I’m sorry,” he showed true contrition and humility, he fired a close adviser, and he apologized to victims face-to-face.

Leaders in business and government should learn from Chris Christie’s example. Christie showed us character in action. I hope it wasn’t an act, but if it was, it was a damn good one.

Why “Time for Some Traffic Problems in Fort Lee” Matters

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One argument put forth by conservatives–and even some liberals–regarding the IRS scandal was this:

Obama set a tone that encouraged IRS workers to harass conservative and Tea Party groups. He didn’t have to give a direct order. His tone and statements clearly condoned such criminal behavior toward his political enemies.

Kimberly Strassel at

Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.

Peggy Noonan, likewise, wrote:

A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.

I still believe that’s a strong, effective, and truthful indictment of President Obama.

If it’s true of Obama, then it’s equally true of Democrats’ favorite Republican, Chris Christie, the Godfather Governor of New Jersey.

We’ve been reading about Christie’s heavy-handed punishment of Republicans and Democrats who defy his dictates. Sure, we all cheer when a governor stands up to abusive teachers’ unions. But standing up to bullies–and teachers unions are bullies–is not bullying. Other Christie action were bullying.

The New York Times ran a story on Christmas Eve that recounted several instances of Christie’s bullying.

  • a former governor who was stripped of police security at public events;
  • a Rutgers professor who lost state financing for cherished programs;
  • a state senator whose candidate for a judgeship suddenly stalled;
  • another senator who was disinvited from an event with the governor in his own district.

Even the conservative site NewsMax wrote about the growing problem of Christie’s dark side.

Meanwhile, the Republican establishment has all but ordained Christie its party’s 2016 nominee. That GOP establishment is doing for Christie what it did for Romney–secure all the money and all the endorsements before anyone else forms an exploratory committee. The establishment that wants amnesty in Washington and Medicaid expansion in Missouri also wants Christie to run unopposed. It’s their usual, losing “play to the middle” strategy. Kinder, gentler losers.

That “play to the middle” strategy could bite the party hard this time.

Today, we learned that a top aide to Christie authorized the shutdown of George Washington Bridge accesses to the town of Fort Lee. The shutdown was an act of political retribution. Fort Lee’s mayor, a Democrat, refused to endorse Christie for re-election.

Texting Kills

Transcripts of emails and text messages are damning. Emails between Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and Port Authority authority, David Wildstein, leave little doubt that the GWB shudown was payback:

Kelly to Wildstein: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Wildstein’s response: “Got it.”

The shutdown caused major traffic nightmares in Fort Lee. A 91-year-old died when an ambulance couldn’t respond to her distress call. Three other emergency calls were delayed by traffic.

If the exchange between Kelly and Wildstein left room for doubt as to the motivation for the shutdown, a text message exchange between Wildstein and undisclosed correspondent removes all doubt. From BigGovernment. com:

The undisclosed person also wrote, “I feel badly about the kids, I guess.” Wildstein wrote, “They are the children of Buono voters,” referring to Christie opponent and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono.

Christie’s Excuses Mirror Obama’s

Governor Christie has avoided the press since today’s disclosure. After cancelling a scheduled appearance to celebrate recovery from Hurricane Sandy, Christie released a statement claiming his staffers “misled” him about the reason for the bridge closure. He went on to say that he learned of the true motivation for the closure only today.

But, as former Christie fan Josh Barro points out on, Christie’s claim holds no water. Barro writes:

There have been 117 intervening days, during which Christie accepted the resignations of two of his Port Authority appointees who are caught up in this scandal. I assume he and his top staff have had a lot of conversations during that time, trying to figure out exactly what happened in Fort Lee.

Did his people really manage to keep him in the dark for that entire time such that he’s shocked today? If so, what does that say about his skills as a personnel manager?

If Barack Obama set a tone that implicitly condoned IRS harassment of Tea Party groups, then Christie, at least, set a tone that encouraged his underlings to shut down a bridge for political retribution.

Kimberly Strassel’s description of Obama’s reaction to the IRS scandal sounds exactly like Christie’s “outrage.”

Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do.

I think Obama should be vilified over the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, Obamacare, and numerous other infringements on human rights. Only an establishment party hack could hold Chris Christie to a lower standard.

Jay Nixon Putting Party Ahead of Missouri? *UPDATE*

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Last week, the Illinois legislature passed a massive income tax increase on individuals and businesses.  Overall, it represents about a 67 percent income tax increase.

In response, neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana have wisely mounted massive campaigns to suck businesses and people out of Illinois.  Even New Jersey’s fabulous governor, Chris Christie, plans to fish the Land o’ Lincoln for some business transplants.

One state bordering Illinois has been notoriously silent.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has done nothing to steal business and residents away from Illinois.

Is Nixon being lazy?  Or is he just being a good Democrat?

While we’re at it, why isn’t St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay beating the bushes on the East Side?  The city needs business and people desperately, but Slay has been as silent as Nixon.

Look, people, I realize that we have a lot of friends in Illinois.  My wife is from GC.  Most of her family lives in Madison County.  But businesses and workers are going to flee to the state.  Illinois dropped from the 23rd best tax state to the 36th in one step.  With Democrats in charge of the legislature and the governorship, this increase is only the beginning.  Illinois taxes will rise until the people in Illinois elect tax cutting budget hawks.

In the meantime, Jay Nixon has an obligation to put Missouri’s economy ahead of Democrat party loyalties.  Missouri needs to follow the leads of Indiana, Wisconsin, and New Jersey by campaigning for fleeing Illinois businesses and people.

*UPDATE* Over on United for Missouri, Emily Iles explains the extraordinary dangers to Illinois’ economy this tax hike poses.