Via Power Line, the latest installment of the Washington Free Beacon series Veep thoughts with Kamala Harris:
As the Power Line blogger, Scott Johnson observes, she finds herself a source of great amusement.
We bid farewell, at least for now, to Nikki Haley in this week's phony polling, since she's dropped below our 2% probability threshold at Election Betting Odds.
Nevertheless, I'm going to …
New Hampshire, see you soon!— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) March 24, 2023
RSVP and join me in Dover on Monday: https://t.co/BSXg0aE6kH
Might be my last chance to see her.
(For the record, the previous presidential candidate event I attended was Rand Paul's back in 2015; he wound up dropping out of the race before the NH Primary. Before that,… was it Fred Thompson? Jon Huntsman? I forget.)
As I type, Nikki's at 1.7% which makes her a longer shot than … Michelle Obama, who's at 1.8%.
Not that I'd vote for Michelle, but I totally get why she'd be a formidable candidate. Compared with (say) Hillary Clinton, who (let us not forget) almost won back in 2016:
- Michelle's got less experience in elected office, but Donald Trump showed that's not necessarily an obstacle.
- Michelle's husband was less scandal-plagued and more honest than Bill Clinton.
- Unlike Hillary, Michelle doesn't have a documented history of lying through her teeth.
On to this week's results:
Warning: Google result counts are bogus.
Pete and Kamala are still hanging in there, I assume their presence indicates folks (essentially) betting that Biden won't make it for one reason or another. (If he starts scampering around naked in the Rose Garden, singing "Come On-A My House", for example.)
Same for Michelle, for that matter.
Kevin D. Williamson backs a candidate who has yet to appear in our standings: Joe Exotic for President: Why Not?.
In case you were wondering: He’s in.
I mean, of course, newly announced 2024 presidential contender Joseph Allen Maldonado, a.k.a. Joe Exotic, a.k.a. the Tiger King, a.k.a. the reality-television grotesque who actually had the No. 1 show in the nation, with truly unbelievable ratings: Tiger King had more than 34 million viewers in its first 10 days, nearly five times the average viewership of Celebrity Apprentice in its 2014-15 season. If ratings are what matters, then Joe Exotic is surely the best-qualified presidential candidate since Dwight Eisenhower: D-Day got great ratings.
No? Okay, then.
Why not Joe Exotic?
Isn’t being a reality-television star a presidential qualification? There are enough Americans who believe that to elect a president, are there not? Are we doing the democracy thing or aren’t we?
And the relevant Mencken quotes:
"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."
"Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
"Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage."
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
There's that old story about the lady or the tiger. Or this updated one from Charles C. W. Cooke. Pick One: Conservatism or Trump.
Conservative Americans must choose. Do they want Donald Trump to play a central role in Republican politics, or do they want to win elections and achieve the policy outcomes that supposedly inspired them to get involved in politics in the first instance? My question is literal, not rhetorical. Conservatives must choose. They cannot have both of these things. They must pick only one.
As president, Donald Trump delivered some welcome conservative victories. He is not going to do so again. In fact, the opposite is true. If Trump is allowed to stick around, he will remain what he has already become: a massive drag on the fortunes and the efficacy of the political Right. Electorally, Trump is a bust. Ideologically, he is a mess. And as an agent of persuasion . . . well, let’s just say that, at this point, the GOP might be better off asking Charles Manson to serve as the chief representative of its brand. A Republican Party that features Trump as its star attraction is a Republican Party that will stay at the margins of federal office and watch impotently as progressives continue to accrete power. The bureaucracy will grow. Taxes will increase. Entitlement spending will spiral. The border will remain porous. The Supreme Court will be flipped back. That, and not the handful of salutary reforms that were achieved between 2017 and 2021, will be Trump’s legacy.
Trump is not going to win elections going forward. He won in 2016 because he ran against Hillary Clinton — and, even then, he secured only 46.1 percent of the vote. In 2018, he was a drag on the Republican ticket. In 2020, he lost reelection by 7 million votes. In 2022, he almost single-handedly demolished the GOP’s chance to retake the Senate. If Trump is nominated in 2024, he will lose once again. The same goes for 2028, 2032, 2036, and every election season in between. Trump is a poor candidate; he has become worse, not better, over time; and his time in the wilderness has turned him into King Lear.
Ayup. And we hate to be repetitive, but CCWC has another obeservational article: Donald Trump’s Self-Serving Florida Slander Is Nonsense.
Those on the American right who continue to doubt that Donald Trump will happily burn down anything that stands between himself and his desire to lose yet another election for the GOP would do well to note that, despite being engaged at present in nothing more consequential than a nascent shadow primary, he has already reached the point at which he is willing to sully the reputation of his home state of Florida in exchange for a mess of pottage. In a wildly misleading Truth Social post, published this morning, Trump cast Florida as being among “the worst in the Country” for “crime,” “Education,” “Health & Safety,” “Education & Childcare,” “Affordability,” and “COVID-19 Deaths.” “HARDLY GREATNESS THERE!” he concluded.
Charlie doesn't seem to be a fan.
One thing about being president: you need to come up with a foreign policy. Ron DeSantis has time to come up with one, but his initial try was unimpressive. Jim Geraghty writes on The DeSantis Make-Up Call.
Hey, remember how so many folks — left, right, and center — spent so much of last week arguing about Florida governor Ron DeSantis and his answers to Tucker Carlson’s questions about Russia and Ukraine?
This was a big, meaty topic of debate here at NR. Mark Wright had serious questions about the ramifications of how DeSantis perceived the Russian invasion and its consequences. Dan McLaughlin said DeSantis was trying to have it both ways. Noah Rothman concluded that DeSantis had “staked out a position he will struggle to defend and, should he emerge as the GOP nominee next year, potentially represents a significant liability for his campaign.” Jay Nordlinger said that DeSantis’s characterization of the war as a “territorial dispute” “betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of something very important to understand.” Michael Brendan Dougherty said the criticism of DeSantis from the hawks was unpersuasive and illegitimate, and an inaccurate reinterpretation of Ronald Reagan’s true record.
And I wondered how much a presidential candidate’s campaign-trail remarks actually reflect what he will do in office.
Earlier this week, Ramesh observed that, “Ron DeSantis’s remarks about Russia’s grinding war in Ukraine have now sustained more scrutiny than some treaties,” and concluded, “Americans should want both moral clarity and prudence in our foreign policy. Florida’s Republican governor is showing too little of the first, and many of his critics too little of the second.”
Now, as Emily Litella would say, “Never mind.”
I'm a big fan of Emily. She knew to admit when she was wrong.