Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bushwhacked in South Carolina

The question was.... ‘‘will 43 engage?’’ 

"As Jeb Bush struggles, some look to his brother" by Michael C. Bender Bloomberg News  January 06, 2016


For much of the 2016 Republican primary, conventional wisdom has had it that former president George W. Bush is something of a liability to his brother Jeb’s struggling campaign.

But for at least one top Republican in South Carolina-the state that holds the American South’s premier presidential nominating contest and only early state that has never dealt a primary defeat to a member of the Bush family-the 43rd president could be the party establishment’s answer to stop front-runner Donald Trump in his tracks.

‘‘The game changer is: Will 43 engage?’’ Katon Dawson, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, said in an interview about the former president, who was the nation’s 43rd commander-in-chief. ‘‘If 43 engages, it will matter for his brother, but, really, it will matter for the entire team.’’

Dawson, who was the South Carolina chairman of the former president’s re-election campaign in 2004, said it wasn’t clear what the ‘‘boomerang effect’’ would be for Jeb Bush if his brother joined the campaign, but guessed the younger brother would be helped, particularly in South Carolina. ‘‘I know what 43’s poll numbers are in South Carolina. And they’re good,’’ Dawson said. ‘‘Really good. Jeb’s numbers, not so good. But 43’s is.’’

Looking back at this now it is f***ing laughable.

But for Dawson, the biggest reason for George W. Bush to wade into the race is to take down Trump, whose rise has confounded the party’s traditional pro-business base. ‘‘If he engages, and Trump comes after 43? You gotta know who 43 is to know that you can punch him once, but you won’t punch his ass twice,’’ Dawson said.

So far, the questions about the last Republican president have focused on whether he could help his brother become the third member of the family to win the party’s presidential nomination. They surfaced again this week as another former president, Bill Clinton, hit the campaign trail on behalf of his wife, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

‘‘A lot of people say, you know, your brother also has a lot of popularity: Like Bill Clinton has with Democrats, your brother has it with Republicans,’’ Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade told Jeb Bush on Tuesday, as the former governor nodded in agreement. ‘‘If he could tell your story as well as you can, if not better, is that something you are considering?’’

Rewriting and revision of history!

‘‘Yeah, it is something to consider, because he is very popular,’’ Bush said, opening the door to the possibility slightly more than he has in the past.

The possibility of pulling the former president onto the trail is a thorny one for his younger brother, a candidate who has struggled to simultaneously embrace and separate himself from the family legacy that includes President George W. Bush; his (and Jeb’s) father, President George H. W. Bush; and grandfather, Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut.

Have you seen the family tree?

The latest polls in South Carolina show Bush hovering around 10 percent, putting him well behind Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, but in the conversation of the next tier of candidates, which includes Sen. Marco Rubio and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The polling math regarding former President Bush makes for complicated politics for his brother, who has vowed to run a primary campaign that wouldn’t damage his viability in a general election race.

A Bloomberg Politics national poll taken in November shows that the popularity of former President George W. Bush, a record-low when he left office in 2009, remains underwater with the public at large: He got a 45 percent favorable to 50 percent unfavorable rating.

Need I even type anything?

But when only Republicans are asked, the picture is starkly different: 77 percent of members of his own party give the former president a favorable rating, making him the most popular Republican in the survey.

While the second President Bush’s persistent upside-down favorability ratings with the public at large suggest his brother is smart to distance himself, the Republican numbers suggest that in the current primary season, when Jeb has struggled to create excitement, his brother would be an indispensable surrogate.

‘‘He’s an asset,’’ Mike Murphy, a longtime Bush confidant who is running a super-PAC supporting the candidate, said about George W. Bush in an October interview with Bloomberg Politics. ‘‘I’m hoping to see him on the campaign trail.’’

Dawson emphatically agrees. ‘‘Republicans don’t have a Bill Clinton. We’ve been in dire need of one. The only one we’ve got is W,’’ he said. ‘‘He hasn’t engaged in anything since he’s left office, unlike Bill Clinton, who’s been engaged from day one.’’

The South Carolinian’s anticipation of a Trump-big brother Bush brawl is premised on the fact that Jeb Bush has been one of Trump’s most frequent targets of ridicule. Dawson’s clearly hoping that will rouse the ex-president from his political somnolence.

‘‘Anyone that knows the Bushes knows this is a competitive bunch of people,’’ Dawson said. ‘‘They’re loyal and competitive. If 43 comes off the ranch, it very well could change the race.’’


The answer was yes, he would engage:

"Attack on Bush legacy a risky strategy in S.C." by Bill Barrow and Sergio Bustos Associated Press  February 15, 2016

GREENVILLE, S.C. — For Jeb Bush, the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his brother George W. Bush’s time in office are suddenly front-and-center of his bid to keep alive his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, thanks to Donald Trump.

The former president had already announced plans to campaign for his younger brother on Monday in South Carolina, marking his most direct entry into the 2016 race to date.

But on Saturday, Trump used the final Republican debate before the state’s Feb. 20 primary as an opportunity to excoriate George W. Bush’s performance as commander-in-chief.

The former president, Trump said, ignored ‘‘the advice of his CIA’’ and ‘‘destabilized the Middle East’’ by invading Iraq on dubious claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

‘‘I want to tell you: They lied,’’ Trump said. ‘‘They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none.’’

One thing I like about Trump: he says it like it is about the Bushes. The record has shown after all this time that they did indeed lie and knew he didn't have WMD. Protesters knew it before the invasion. There is no way they could not have known. They were doing it come hell or high water.

Trump didn’t let up as Bush tried to defend his brother, dismissing his suggestion that George W. Bush built a ‘‘security apparatus to keep us safe’’ after the 9/11 attacks.

‘‘The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that,’’ Trump said, adding: ‘‘That’s not keeping us safe.’’

I don't think it is something we will ever forget.

The onslaught, which Jeb Bush called Trump enjoying ‘‘blood sport,’’ was the latest example of the billionaire businessman’s penchant for mocking his rival as a weak, privileged tool of the Republican Party establishment, special interests, and well-heeled donors.

But the former Florida governor’s embrace of his family name and history approach tacks away from Bush’s months-long insistence that he is running as ‘‘my own man,’’ but could be a perfect fit for South Carolina. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who ended his GOP presidential campaign in December and endorsed Jeb Bush in January, said: ‘‘The Bush name is golden in my state.’’

Must be painted-over tungsten then.

George W. Bush retains wide appeal among Republicans, from evangelicals to chamber of commerce business leaders and retired members of the military. All are prominent in South Carolina, with Bush campaign aide Brett Foster going so far as to say that George W. Bush is ‘‘the most popular Republican alive.’’


If true, that tells you a whole lot.

After the debate, some Republicans again suggested Trump had gone too far. Bush wasn’t alone on stage leaping to his brother’s defense, with Rubio coming back to the moment to say, ‘‘I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore.’’

The attack on George W. Bush carries risk for Trump, given the Bush family’s long social and political ties in South Carolina and the state’s hawkish national security bent, bolstered by more than a half-dozen military installations and a sizable population of veterans who choose to retire in the state. 

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Trump has repeatedly defied predictions that his comments might threaten his perch atop the field, but the Bush family does have a history in the state that is hard to overlook. In 2000, George W. Bush beat John McCain in a nasty contest, marred by rumors that McCain had an illegitimate black child.

Gee, who started those?

McCain adopted a child from Bangladesh. Exit polls showed George W. Bush won nearly every demographic group.

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, won twice here, beating Bob Dole in 1988 and demolishing Pat Buchanan in 1992.

One of the elder Bush’s top strategists, Lee Atwater, hailed from South Carolina and remains a legend in GOP campaign annals.

Yeah, he's the one who came up with the Willie Horton ad against Dukakis, and then apologized for it on his deathbed.

Last week, Jeb Bush touted the endorsement of Iris Campbell, the widow of Carroll Campbell, a former South Carolina governor and a national co-chairman of previous Bush presidential campaigns.

Yet even as he defended his brother’s presidency at Saturday’s debate, Jeb Bush found a way to distance himself from George W. Bush’s business affairs and to criticize Trump at the same time. The issue: eminent domain.

Before entering politics, George W. Bush was part-owner of the Texas Rangers, and their home city of Arlington, Texas, used eminent domain to take private land and build a stadium for the team. Trump has defended such uses of eminent domain as a way to foster economic development.

Retorted Bush, who argued eminent domain should be reserved for public infrastructure projects, ‘‘There is all sorts of intrigue about where I disagree with my brother. There would be one right there.’’

This all makes for such interesting reading, huh?

In a separate development, Mike Murdock, a prominent Texas-based televangelist, will formally endorse Trump for president at a rally in Greenville on Monday.

“He has a warrior spirit for restoring America in the eyes of the world and he has a warrior’s heart,” said Murdock, the head pastor at the Wisdom Center ministry, told Bloomberg News in an interview. “I am endorsing him for president.”

Murdock, who frequently preaches about prosperity, arguing that a strong moral faith will lead to financial success for Christians, joins a handful of high-profile evangelists who have backed Trump. Two-thirds of Republican voters in the state describe themselves as evangelical.



"George W. Bush returns to campaign trail for Jeb" by Tracy Jan and Matt Viser Globe Staff  February 16, 2016

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former president George W. Bush inserted himself forcefully into his brother’s flagging presidential campaign Monday, praising Jeb Bush’s “quiet conviction” and “humble faith” before a cheering crowd of more than 2,500 voters.

The Presidents’ Day rally topped a weekend of open warfare between Bush and Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who continued aggressively attacking the legacy of Jeb Bush’s father and brother in a bid to prevent the younger Bush from catching a wave of support in South Carolina.

Trump’s heated rhetoric — and the Bush campaign’s response — is turning the South Carolina primary into a referendum not only on Jeb Bush but on his brother’s eight-year administration and the family’s place in the modern Republican Party.


Thank you, South Carolina!!!

George W. Bush’s appearance, his first public foray into politics since leaving office seven years ago, could help Jeb Bush battle for a respectable finish in South Carolina in his quest to become the third President Bush.

Or it could not.

It’s unusual for a former president to inject himself so directly into a primary battle, but in this case it’s about kin.

Many of former president Bush’s comments seemed directed at Trump, who has in recent appearances belittled George W. Bush’s White House legacy, especially in relation to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Without mentioning Trump, the former president walked through his experiences on Sept. 11, reminding the country of the time of turmoil, and of national unity. He talked about the need for sobriety and experience.

Did he tell them about seeing the first plane hit while he was in the limo on the way to the school that day? 

Of course, he couldn't possibly have seen that because the TV coverage hadn't begun yet; however, maybe he was being apprised of the war game scenarios that were exactly mimicking what was happening that day. 

And then there is him sitting there reading a book while the country is under attack.... 

Now I think I know why Bush lost. No need to be bringing all that "conspiracy" and "inside job" talk up.

“Strength is not empty rhetoric, it is not bluster, it is not theatrics,” Bush said. “Real strength — strength of purpose — comes from integrity and character.”

Like he would know anything about those things.

“And in my experience, the strongest person isn’t usually the loudest one in the room,” he continued. “I’ve seen in my brother a quiet conviction, and a core of conscience that cannot be shaken.”

Wearing a “Jeb!” sticker on his lapel, he also praised his brother’s demeanor, saying “Jeb is a man of deep and humble faith, that reveals itself through good works, not loud words.

“These are tough times. And I understand that Americans are angry and frustrated,” the former president said. “But we do not need someone in the Oval Office who mirrors and inflames our anger and frustration.”

Just someone who takes advantage of it to push a war based on lies.

Trump held an impromptu press conference just hours before — and several miles away from — the rally to slam George W. Bush for his handling of the Iraq war and 9/11, ratcheting up the attacks he made on the debate stage Saturday.

“The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. . . . we weren’t safe,” Trump said. “What does that mean that he kept the country safe after 9/11? What about during 9/11? I was there. I lost a lot of friends.”

It was textbook Trump — trying to dominate coverage just hours before the biggest moment of Bush’s campaign.

Jeb Bush, struggling to break free from the bottom of the pack, is girding for a fight, deploying his brother in a state where the Bush legacy could pay huge dividends after months of distancing himself from his family name.

Or not.

“Jeb finally looked up and realized you gotta play the cards that you’re dealt,” said Braden Bunch, former chairman of the Sumter County GOP. “There’s no way to escape the Bush last name, so embrace it and run with it and recognize that in the past, it has been a powerful tool.”

George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, remain popular in South Carolina, where both won hard-fought primaries.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death over the weekend allowed Trump to broaden his anti-Bush rhetoric, criticizing George W. Bush’s 2005 appointment of John Roberts to the Supreme Court on the Sunday morning talk shows. As chief justice, Roberts twice preserved President Obama’s health care law by siding with the majority in deeming the law constitutional.

Reversed himself at the last minute, making one wonder what the NSA had on him. 

Btw, Scalia's death is awfully suspicious, too. 

Cui bono?

In the hours before Monday’s rally, Trump further taunted Bush, threatening on Twitter that his attacks will only grow prior to Saturday’s Republican primary. And he picked on Jeb Bush’s decision to call in his “mommy” and brother for help.

Criticizing former president Bush, who remains beloved in South Carolina among retired members of the military, evangelicals, and business leaders, is a risky strategy for Trump, state party officials said. It will be difficult for Trump to add to his coalition by attacking the last Republican to win the White House, they said.

David Woodard, a Clemson University political scientist, said Trump’s comments about George W. Bush are the “kind of inflammatory talk that really doesn’t work well down here.”

“We have a reputation for real hardball politics but I don’t think saying things like that about past presidents will help you,” Woodard said.


"The region is where, in 2000, a smear campaign originated that falsely claimed John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child, that his wife was a drug addict, and that he was mentally unstable. (Senator McCain, after winning the New Hampshire primary, lost South Carolina to George W. Bush.)" 

Yeah, it only works if it is the Bushes playing dirty.

Earlier on Monday, former president Bush and his wife, Laura, met with about 100 veterans at an American Legion Post in Columbia. As veterans feasted on barbecue, Bush greeted individuals, stopping at one point to sign a paperback copy of his memoir of his White House years, according to a pool report of the event.

Oh, so the Bush campaign handles reporters the same way as the Clinton campaign! 

Of course, they no longer report on such things because that would limit their access to the campaigns (as if handing over your stories for editing isn't).

Senator Lindsey Graham, who endorsed Jeb Bush last month after dropping out of the race, introduced the former president on Monday night to a cheering crowd of more than 2,500 voters crowded into a drafty coliseum in North Charleston.

“This is Bush country!” Graham said.

The former president, again in an apparent reference to Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric, told rallygoers: “If serving as president of the United States makes me part of the so-called establishment, I proudly wear that label. There’s been a lot of name-calling going on but I’ll remind you of something my father told me: Labels are for soup cans.”

Some undecided voters said they were drawn to the rally to hear from the former president, hoping some of his charisma would rub off on his brother.

“I’m hoping Jeb shows that fire like his brother used to be,” said Wendy Johnson, a 44-year-old who praised George W. Bush’s dedication to the military. “I want to support Jeb but there’s something holding me back.”

Johnson, who plans to see Marco Rubio and Trump in coming days, says she is weighing their stances on national security.

Several state Republican Party officials said Jeb Bush has little to lose in deploying his family. While he is unlikely to win the first-in-the-South primary, placing second or third could give him momentum going into Florida, which votes March 15....

So if he does win, oh boy.


RelatedOn the trail with Bush

"How the Bush camp plans to save his candidacy" by Ashley Parker New York Times  January 02, 2016

HIALEAH, Fla. — Jeb Bush and his supporters still have a pile of money to spend — remnants of $100 million raised when he seemed early last year to be a sure bet. They have an expansive ground operation in New Hampshire. And allies have just begun a new ad campaign in Iowa.

But nothing they have tried so far has lifted Bush’s terrible poll numbers. And with just four weeks remaining until voting begins, Bush needs to do something to save his candidacy.

It may be too late: Other campaigns appear to have counted him out altogether. But, in extensive interviews over the past week, aides and key allies to Bush described a long-shot plan to pull off what seems all but impossible — winning the Republican nomination for president. The plan has six elements:

■ Stay on the attack

■ Avoid embarrassment in Iowa

Needs to finish no lower than fifth and beat Christie, they say.

■ Win New Hampshire — or at least make the top 3

And emerge as the establishment’s alternative to Trump or Cruz. 

That seems to be Rubio now after last night.

■ Woo Senator Lindsey Graham

Throughout the campaign, Bush had made a point of checking in with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina weekly.


On the trail with Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham addresses teenagers in N.H. His speech was a mix of doomsday address and inspirational narrative.

He actually told them ISIS wants to kill them all and said, “I may have the first all-Jewish Cabinet?”

Lindsey Graham ends his presidential campaign

Democrats say it’s a sign GOP has lost its way?

"Bush, speaking in North Charleston, South Carolina, announced the endorsement from the state’s senior senator and one of his former rivals in the race, Lindsey Graham. Graham extolled him as a sensible and steady choice who has not given into anger and despair."

Bush-Graham looks like a good ticket, huh?

■ The big brother, and the Bush alumni network

Another key for Bush in South Carolina is his older brother, former president George W. Bush.

Though no final decision has been made, aides say the campaign is most likely to deploy the former president in the state — where he remains popular — sometime after the New Hampshire primary.

But how and where to use the 43rd president is a vexing question for the campaign. George Bush is certain to remind voters that his brother hails from a political dynasty. And he could force Jeb Bush to confront the decision to invade Iraq, an issue the candidate stumbled over early on. Aides further worry that the former president, a charismatic campaigner, could outshine his brother on the stump.

■ The advertising blitz

Bush’s super PAC has spent tens of millions in television ads that have largely failed to help his standing in the polls. But the group will continue the ad campaign.

Right to Rise has started a voter identification and canvassing program in New Hampshire, and in addition to television ads, it is putting money behind radio, mail, and digital in the early states, including some in the so-called SEC Primary on March 1. The group also reserved a nearly $17 million television ad buy for the March states....

Despite the record haul in ads, his aggressive anti-Trump message never resonated in New Hampshire.


"Bush blames Trump for blocking foreign policy debate" by Jim O’Sullivan Globe Staff  December 30, 2015

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, during an hourlong discussion with the Globe’s editorial board on Wednesday and in a brief interview afterward, repeatedly invoked Trump’s name, often to bemoan how much attention Trump receives. That balancing act is emblematic of the dilemma facing the Republican pack of a dozen current candidates who have chased the real estate magnate for months. Echoing another theme from the campaign trail, Bush told journalists they have been manipulated by Trump.

“You guys are the violin and he’s the violinist, and he’s just playing you like nobody’s business,” he said.

That always goes over well with people.

Later on Wednesday, Bush’s campaign confirmed they would be redeploying staffers to New Hampshire, a crucial state for the candidate but one where he has long been mired in single digits in the polls. A Bush aide said Wednesday that the campaign would have about 40 staffers there, adding to what is already the largest paid staff in the state.

The Des Moines Register reported that Bush’s campaign was canceling its television ads in Iowa, shifting resources to paid staff in early-voting states. Bush’s campaign manager, Danny Diaz, told the paper that Bush was not withdrawing from Iowa, where he is fifth in polling.

With less than five weeks until the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, the two-term governor and son and brother of presidents has been trying to position himself as the candidate with the experience and intellectual heft to handle the White House.

In an implicit dig at his former protégé and now rival, US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Bush said he is alone among the candidates in holding a consistent stance on immigration.

Not what voters want.

And he said he’s the only candidate with a serious, detailed proposal to reform federal entitlement programs, though New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has also outlined a plan.

Increasingly, Bush has been emphasizing foreign policy and national security, arguing he is the only candidate equipped to defeat the Islamic State.

Said he will "destroy" them in a radio ad, which would be a shame after all the time and money the U.S. and its allies have spent creating and supporting them.

He has joined Trump and others in the GOP primary in blasting President Obama for weak management of the US role abroad. After nearly two full terms under Obama, and still uncertain how to reconcile the foreign policy legacy of former president George W. Bush, large blocs of the Republican Party are at odds over what its philosophy should be.

While some Republicans, like US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have urged a retreat from “military adventurism,” Bush is among those advocating a more robust use of force.


That the same guy who wants to carpet bomb the desert?

Globe must have him confused with Rand Paul. 

As for a Bush and the more robust use of force.... fuck that!!

“We got attacked,” he said Wednesday, explaining the decline of his party’s isolationist wing. “I think the whole conversation changed with Paris. The caliphate was a — it happened at warp speed, and the withdrawal of America precipitated it. It wasn’t that we created it, but we precipitated it.”

He cited that false flag, huh?

“The voids are being filled,” he said. Americans, Bush said, have developed a “hyper-awareness of our neglect of national security issues.”

Bush also acknowledged a roiling unrest in the electorate, which many political handicappers believe has worked to his detriment. As Bush has hewed toward a more moderate approach, candidates projecting an angrier profile, like Trump, have thrived. Trump has routinely mocked Bush, even as other candidates have climbed more aggressively in the polls.

“People are legitimately angry, but they should want solutions, rather than just have some people that identify with their anger and their angst,” Bush said. “And generally that’s the case, as you get closer to elections people start figuring out who can sit behind the big desk.”

Bush also offered an explanation for his seemingly tortured answers to a question in May about whether his brother was right to order the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He said he had “totally misunderstood” the question during an interview with Fox News.

“I stumbled a bit, because I don’t want to be critical of my brother; I apologize,” he said, noting that he had later acknowledged the invasion was “a mistake.”

No, it wasn't a "mistake!" That's the narrative myth they want you to believe. 

It was planned pre-conceived effort and they lied to do it.

The “lessons” from the US venture in Iraq, Bush said, include the need for “iron-clad” intelligence and “a strategy for security and stability, and an exit strategy.”

He also appeared to chalk up the question to an interest in Bush family psychodrama. 


“I know you guys love the Bush folklore. It seems to be a fascination. I’ll provide a little therapy for everybody here,” said Bush, before offering his answer.

Like their Nazi past or their connections to presidential assassinations?!


Turns out W helped only Trump:

"Trump makes himself great again with help from Jeb and W" by Joan Vennochi Globe Columnist  February 16, 2016

Donald Trump adopted Ronald Reagan’s slogan, “Let’s Make America Great Again,” but he continues to defy Reagan’s sacred commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”

With good reason. Look what Trump’s latest sacrilege got him: Jeb Bush, watching, Eli Manning-like, as big brother shows him how to win the game. And with that sibling psycho-drama comes the added burden of revisiting the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, which happened on George W. Bush’s presidential watch, and led to his decision to invade Iraq.

Those issues hobbled Jeb Bush at the start of his campaign, as he tried to prove he was his own man — and not his brother’s keeper. Now, thanks to Trump, they are back in the spotlight.

If Reagan-era conventions applied, Trump has gone so nuclear with the ill-speaking, he should be radioactive. But until voters say so, he’s not. Ever the gambler, he’s betting the passion for political revolution on the right is as real as the one on the left — and that flushing out the establishment represented by the Bush dynasty is the path to victory.

That was clear during last Saturday’s debate, when Trump declared, “Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.” Trump continued to attack during a Monday press conference, comparing the argument that Bush kept the country safe after 9/11 to saying that a rival team “scored 19 runs in the first inning, but after that, we played pretty well.”

She linked Democracy Now?

Marveling at Trump’s chutzpah now sounds as trite as the sentiment behind Reagan’s famous “It’s morning again in America” ad — a theme reprised in a Marco Rubio campaign ad.

More on the ad below; however, it was the use of the term chutzpah that caught my attention.

But Trump’s success, so far, is based on a different kind of self-promotion. Jeb Bush derides it as Trump’s willingness to insult his way to the White House. The problem for all Trump opponents is that some of his insults ring true enough.

Jeb Bush may have a little more zip than he did when Trump first tagged him as “low-energy,” but he’s far from electric. As for his brother, it’s hard to deny that on the morning of Sept. 11, George W. Bush did not keep the country safe. Having the former president recount his version of being told when the planes struck the World Trade Center towers is a reminder of the controversy over warnings the Bush administration failed to heed.

Oh, yeah, those.

And hearing the former president declare “The presidency is a serious job that requires sound judgment and good ideas” is not necessarily a boost to the brother who wants to be president. Does Jeb really want to answer yet again for W’s judgment and ideas?

Remember how Jeb Bush struggled to answer questions about the Iraq invasion? First, he said that he, too, would have authorized the invasion. Then he said that, knowing what we know now, mistakes were made. After that, he said we should focus on the lessons learned. And after that, he said the lesson learned was the need for good intelligence.

And then he said he would preemptively strike North Korea! 

He IS his brother!

Pushing Bush back to that turf is win-win for Trump’s quest to make himself great. Making the country great is another matter.



"With less than a week to go before South Carolina’s Republican primary, the GOP front-runner also reiterated that the 9/11 attacks happened during President George W. Bush’s time in office. The statement was an apparent attempt to overshadow the former president’s Monday campaign appearances on behalf of his brother, Jeb Bush. During a Monday news conference, Trump also renewed his criticism of George W. Bush. While Trump would not say whether he considered Bush to be a failed president or label him responsible for the 9/11 attacks, he noted that ‘‘the World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush.’’ Trump focused much of his criticism at Cruz, however."


The South Carolina Campaign

I'm only going to touch upon a few things here as I patch in this coverage. I give you what I read to show you how the campaign was covered as well as those things I never saw in print or that were added on the web.

In my view, it's all theater, it's all circus, it's all about establishing a narrative so that the pre-determined outcomes will have some plausibility with an increasingly awake and angry American people.

"It’s South Carolina’s turn to sort out the GOP field" by James Pindell Globe Staff  February 12, 2016

If you asked top Republicans in the last couple months, New Hampshire had one job to do in this presidential race: Pick which of the four establishment GOP candidates should move on to the next primary contests.

But based on Tuesday’s results, Granite State Republicans punted on the question. And now New Hampshire’s job has been passed along to the next state on the calendar: South Carolina.

See: New Hampshire Hangover

Looks like Trump ran it all the way back, huh?

In the 2016 presidential race, there were so many Republican candidates that debate hosts needed two stages to fit them all. Political operatives and the media developed the concept of ideological lanes to help determine how the race could play out. First, a candidate had to win his or her so-called lane, and then the winners of each lane would compete for the nomination in the spring.

By September, these lanes were defined — as were the front-runners driving in them. Businessman Donald Trump led the outsider line. US Senator Ted Cruz led the conservatives lane and secured that spot after he won the Iowa caucuses. And then there was the establishment lane, which featured four candidates: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. And the GOP base had a reason for disliking every one of them.

Of that group, only Rubio seriously competed in Iowa, where he placed third in the caucuses. All four of these candidates campaigned in the New Hampshire primary. As a result, Tuesday night’s results should have mattered a lot — if only based on simple math. If the support for all four candidates was consolidated behind one of them, that candidate could have topped Trump as the race’s front-runner.

At first, it appeared as if Iowa had pointed the way. While the drivers in the other two lanes, Cruz and Trump, finished first and second in the Hawkeye State, Rubio was in a solid third place, far ahead of the rest of the field. He just needed to do well in New Hampshire to claim his establishment-sanctioned crown. But then his poor debate performance during the New Hampshire campaign knocked him off his perch. He eventually placed fifth in the primary. 

How you liking the "horse race?"

So instead of giving national Republicans and political donors a clear establishment candidate, New Hampshire Republicans gave them these results: Kasich with 16 percent, Bush with 11 percent, Rubio with 11 percent, and Christie with 7 percent. Again, the sum of their support would have crushed Trump, who won the primary with 35 percent.

New Hampshire did accomplish something in terms of winnowing the field. The day after the New Hampshire primary, Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina dropped out of the race, and their combined 11 percent support is now up for grabs.

But also in South Carolina, the establishment lane is complicated. One Republican US senator, Lindsey Graham, is backing Bush, and the other, Tim Scott, is supporting Rubio. Kasich heads to the state with some momentum with his second-place showing in New Hampshire, but it is unclear if he will immediately have the financial resources to play in a contest just a week away.

There are also no guideposts. There has not been any public polling on the Republican race in South Carolina since before the Iowa caucuses. That poll from NBC News and Marist College showed Trump leading the field by 16 points, then Cruz in second place, and Bush and Rubio scrapping it out in the establishment lane for third place.

Establishment Republicans are hoping that South Carolina won’t punt like New Hampshire did, but they’re also confronting an even scarier reality. With Kasich on the rise, the establishment vote could be again split three ways. This could mean the gap between front-runners and everyone else will be so large that eventually only two candidates move on to future primaries: Trump and Cruz.

They are doing that this morning, and have obviously adopted Rubio as their lone standard-bearer. 

Good luck with that!

You know what the problem is there (something I reported earlier)? Trump is the second choice of Cruz folk and Cruz is the second-choice of Trump folk.

Hey, wait a minute....


RelatedFive ways the South Carolina primary is different from Iowa, N.H.

"Presidential contenders criscross South Carolina" by Seanna Adcox and Kathleen Hennessey Associated Press  February 12, 2016

DENMARK, S.C. — For Republicans, South Carolina is another chance to emerge as the viable alternative to the billionaire reality-TV star who snatched the race away from the GOP establishment.

Think about the attitude and values that the sentence puts forth for a moment -- as if race is the entitlement of the GOP establishment. 

Alas, that's the pre$$ we have in 21st-century America. 

Although Trump appears to have a solid lead in the polls in the state, the rest of the field is hoping to peel off support from the large and influential evangelical community.

No, they ended up going for him, too!

As his rivals hustled through rare snowfall Friday, Trump showed he won’t make it easy. He was able to steal the spotlight with a Twitter threat to sue his closest competitor.

‘‘If @TedCruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen,’’ Trump wrote.

Another tweet questioned Cruz’s faith: ‘‘How can Ted Cruz be an evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?’’

Trump’s broadside was a response to cutting new ads the Cruz campaign is airing in South Carolina.

One spot is set in a children’s playroom. ‘‘Look, I’ve got the Trump action figure!’’ a boy says.

‘‘What does he do?’’ another asks.

‘‘He pretends to be a Republican.’’

(A Cruz attempt to go after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio abruptly ended when his campaign pulled the ad after learning it featured an actress known for her work on softcore pornography.)

Jeb Bush and his allies also are aiming attacks on the bomb-throwing front-runner — hoping his coarse style and record on social issues will turn voters off.

That's almost as bad as calling him an insurgent.

Right To Rise USA, the super PAC backing Bush, released an attack ad blasting Trump for supporting partial-birth abortion, allegedly defrauding students of Trump University and trying ‘‘to seize private property to line his own pockets.’’

‘‘If Trump wins, conservatives lose,’’ says the ad.

On Friday, Bush campaigned at a faith forum at conservative Bob Jones University in Greenville, where he mused about what his famous father, former President George H.W. Bush, would think of Trump’s cursing.

‘‘I can’t imagine my dad ...,’’ Jeb Bush said, trailing off as the audience laughed, imagining the former president cursing. ‘‘Yeah, ‘not gonna do it.’’’

Bush has embraced his family’s network in the state. He’s inviting his brother, former President George W. Bush, to campaign with him. 

You know, this all fun shits and giggles but its garbage. 

This isn't helping me elect a president.

On Friday, he picked up the endorsement of South Carolina’s former first lady Iris Campbell, a longtime Bush family ally.

Trump was the only Republican to bypass South Carolina on Friday, redirecting his typically unconventional campaign to Florida, where he planned to hold a rally in Tampa.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore ended his campaign after failing to win support. The Republican said he would support the party’s nominee....



These next two pieces never appeared in print, apparently lost between late Saturday night and early Monday morning. We are both seeing them for the first time. 

Aren't you excited?

"GOP candidates trade attacks at S.C. debate" by Matt Viser and Annie Linskey Globe Staff  February 14, 2016

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Donald Trump and Jeb Bush traded shots in a biting and personal fight over the legacy of President George W. Bush during the Republican debate here on Saturday night, after Trump asserted the former president irresponsibly led the country to war in Iraq and failed to prevent the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

If nothing else, Trump proves that odious creatures can have some redeeming qualities. Now that Jeb is out and not a viable candidate going forward, the chances of an "accident" happening to Don lessens. 

The other way of looking at the Bush failure is all this talk needs to be silenced, period. All this rehashing of 911 and Iraq that might get other minds asking questions, to wit....

"It is clear that Trump was employing code for 'The Jews did it', something I don't personally believe, but easily understood by his audience.  Bush is correctly regarded as their tool, and now Jeb! is out of the race.  The average American may not be able to put all the pieces together, but there is an understanding that the Wars For The Jews are the actual cause of why their lives are falling apart." -- xymphora 

More on that later.

The debate was rollicking and at times out of control, with tempers high in front of a feisty crowd.

They were likely -- as Trump pointed out in New Hampshire -- a list of fat-cat RNC contributors. 

I mean, we aren't fooled by this stuff anymore.

The candidates fought to notch game-changing performances before South Carolina primary voters cast ballots Feb. 20.

Going after George W. Bush posed risks for Trump in a state where the 43rd president remains enormously popular, with approval ratings above 80 percent. The crowd repeatedly booed Trump, who spoke into the cameras and suggested that the live audience was packed with donors and lobbyists. 

No question about it now!!!!! 

I feel sorry for him there, and admire him for having the guts to call it all out.

“Obviously the war in Iraq was a big fat mistake,” Trump said. “We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq.”

Standing on the debate stage, Trump made arguments familiar to liberal Democrats who loathe the war. “They lied!” Trump said. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.”

Well, they didn't exactly loathe the war. They went along with it. 

It was the people protesting that were not listened to, people like me, that loathed it -- and continue to do so. 

I think the next stop for the Bushes should be jail cells at Gitmo.

Bush rose to the challenge more aggressively than he has in previous debates when he or his family was attacked by Trump.


“I [couldn't] care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It’s bloodsport for him, he enjoys it, and I’m glad he’s happy about it,” he said. “But I am sick and tired of him going after my family.”

It's a science!

Then, speaking to an audience friendly to the Bush clan, he added: “While Donald Trump was building a TV show, my brother was building the apparatus to keep us safe, and I’m glad he did.”

Trump interjected.

“The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that,” he said, adding he lost “hundreds of friends” in the attacks.

Bush got in several other jabs at Trump. “This is a guy who gets his foreign policy from the shows,” Bush said. “This is a guy who insults his way to the nomination.”

Horse race, boxing match, football game.... that's entertaaaainment!

“He has had the gall to go after my mother,” he added. “My mom is the strongest woman I know.”

“She should be running,” Trump responded.

With tempers flaring, Ohio Governor John Kasich seemed aghast.

“This is just crazy,” he said. “This is just nuts. Jeez. Oh, man.”

Actually, so is he!

The debate was the first time the candidates met face-to-face after the New Hampshire primary, where Trump easily defeated the rest of the field and left a muddled picture in the battle for second place.

Now that the primary campaign has reached South Carolina, a state known for its gritty political culture, Trump’s rivals, especially Bush and Cruz, have launched increasingly strident attacks to prevent him from steamrolling to the nomination.

The two-hour debate, sponsored by CBS News and the Wall Street Journal, was the ninth meeting of the candidates on stage, with the pack now winnowed to six. The debate was held at the Peace Center, an ironic venue given the tenor of the discussion.

Cruz and Marco Rubio displayed deep disdain for one another on immigration. Trump told Cruz, over and over, he was “a liar” who has no friends in the Senate.

“You are the single biggest liar,” Trump shot at Cruz. “You are probably even worse than Jeb Bush...This guy will say anything. Nasty guy.”

Actually, they are all liars.

The debate Saturday night was the first opportunity for Rubio to make good on a promise to perform better. The Florida senator botched the previous debate in New Hampshire, a dismal performance that he conceded led to his fifth-place finish in the primary.

That's an interesting take going forward.

Kasich, who is trying to capitalize on his second-place finish in New Hampshire, refrained from throwing punches.

“I don’t want to get in this fighting,” he said. “I’m going to stay positive about what I want to do.”

Cruz attacked Rubio over immigration on Saturday night, citing comments he made in Spanish to the station Univision.

“I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish,” Rubio said. Cruz then began speaking in Spanish.



"Donald Trump didn’t win any fans with debate performance" by James Pindell Globe Staff  February 14, 2016


I mean, I'm not a "fan" of any of them, but....

Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate, the only one before the South Carolina primary later this week, featured two main battles: former Florida governor Jeb Bush vs. Donald Trump, and US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas vs. US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Based on last night's results, it looks like Trump delivered a knockout while Cruz and Rubio fought to a draw.

Governor John Kasich of Ohio and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson were also on the stage, but largely on the sidelines, during the two-hour debate televised on CBS.

The exchanges that got the most attention were between Trump and Bush. Throughout the campaign, Trump’s supporters have stuck by him, no matter what. But even some South Carolina Republicans backing Trump had to pause at some of his debate lines.

First, there was Trump’s attack on former President George W. Bush. Remember, there is a reason Jeb Bush’s super PAC features the former president talking about his brother in television ads, and there is a reason Jeb Bush invited his brother to campaign with him in Charleston on Monday. Among South Carolina Republicans, the former president is extremely popular.

So what happened?

Early in the debate, Trump railed against the former president for his decision to go to war in Iraq. Jeb Bush then countered that his brother had kept America safe after Sept. 11, 2001. Trump’s retort: The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred on George W. Bush’s watch, and Trump lost “hundreds” of friends that day.

Second, Trump brought up the controversial issue of eminent domain — and defended it. There are parts of the Lowcountry in South Carolina that are very libertarian. Voters there would likely have lined up with US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, but he is no longer in the race. Bush probably isn’t their cup of tea, but the eminent domain exchange may have eliminated Trump from their consideration.

Too many buts in the paper these days.

Third, there was Trump’s defense of Planned Parenthood. The percentage of self-identified evangelical voters is even higher in South Carolina than it is in Iowa. Although Trump was careful to say he was pro-life and disapproved of Planned Parenthood’s abortion services, he said the organization did a lot of good work on women’s health. This is a distinction that many in South Carolina don’t accept.

It's not so much abortion per se for me, it's selling the tissue for all sorts of things that bugs me. 

Trump has been the subject of controversy during past debates, and it didn’t seem to hurt him. There was his dustup with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. There were his tussles with Bush and Paul and Cruz. There was the debate in Iowa he skipped entirely. The difference Saturday night was that he repeatedly offered words that could be used against him all next week.

After the debate Trump told reporters, “I thought it was my best debate.”

A week from now Trump may still win the South Carolina primary, but it won’t be because of that debate.


That's the analysis from the BG anyway. 

Time to take the gloves off:

"The gloves come off before GOP primary in S.C." by Matt Viser Globe Staff  February 17, 2016

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — There is a notion in South Carolina politics: Voters don’t so much want to see a candidate swing at someone as they want to see how a candidate can take a punch to the nose.

Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz are trying to prove themselves under that standard — and then some. Bloodied and battered in New Hampshire, they are engaged in a vigorous fight in the final days before the state’s Republican primary on Saturday, with voices rising, tempers flaring, and threats of lawsuits flying.

Rubio won a round Wednesday by capturing the coveted endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

RelatedGOP’s Haley and Ryan counter Trump’s message

So which Marco Rubio would that be and how do you talk to your kids about Trump?

But with Donald Trump maintaining a commanding lead in the polls in a Republican presidential campaign that has gone from negative to just plain nasty, the three-way slugfest for the second- and third-place spots is providing the biggest drama over who can continue — and who will be pressured to drop out — after Saturday’s primary.

Cruz is brawling directly with Trump, with plenty of scars to prove it. Rubio is hammering Bush, trying to keep his rival Floridian’s head under water, even as he woos reporters and cracks rehearsed jokes to disprove his image as a robotic campaigner.

Bush, trying to loosen up, shed his eyeglasses and wore contacts for the first time in his life Wednesday. He is featuring the stars of his dynastic, blue-blood family: his mother, Barbara, is due to visit South Carolina Thursday, on the heels of former president George W. Bush’s appearance with Jeb Bush on Monday.

With each primary state from now on, the pressure on the bottom-tier candidates to quit the race will intensify exponentially. But if either Rubio or Bush emerges from South Carolina as a convincing second alternative to Trump, besides Cruz, that could count as a victory in this topsy-turvey Republican campaign season.

In a Bloomberg Politics poll released on Wednesday, 36 percent of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina said they would support Trump, with Cruz a distant second with 17 percent. Rubio was at 15 percent, Bush at 13 percent. Ben Carson was at 9 percent, and Ohio Governor John Kasich at 7 percent.

Bush, in a sarcastic comment at his event, could barely hide his annoyance as he openly indicated he was sick of the polls and punditry.

“It’s all been decided, apparently,” Bush said. “The pundits have made it all — it’s all decided. I mean, we don’t have to go vote I guess. It’s all finished. I should stop campaigning maybe, huh?”

Yup, in more ways than one.


Not even the Pope could help poor Jeb:

"Pope rips Trump’s faith, Trump fires back" by Matt Viser and Tracy Jan Globe Staff  February 18, 2016

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Pope Francis waded directly into the contentious Republican presidential contest Thursday when he branded Donald Trump “not Christian” for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, including the candidate’s proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border.

The extraordinary remark from the pontiff provoked a heated response from the GOP frontrunner, who showed no hesitancy in taking on arguably the world’s most revered and powerful religious leader.

Which can only help him.

While flying home to Rome after a six-day trip to Mexico, the pope told reporters, in response to a question, that he did not agree with Trump’s proposals. He made the remarks in a wide-ranging news conference aboard his plane, just hours after standing on the Mexican side of the border and blessing people on the American side.

“A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they are, and not in building bridges, is not Christian,” said Francis, who grew up in Argentina and is the first pope from Latin America.

That lets Zionist Jew Israel off the hook then.

Trump quickly responded, telling supporters at a rally, “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.” He added in a statement that he “proud to be a Christian,” and suggested the pope would view him differently if the Vatican is ever under siege by terrorists.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by the ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president,” Trump said.

Even if you can't stand the guy he does have some great comebacks.

The combative casino and real estate magnate has stoked his political fortunes by picking fights with public figures, repeatedly defying predictions that he had gone too far. But even by Trump’s standards, responding so forcefully to the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics marked an unprecedented escalation.

Coming just two days before the South Carolina primary, the public dispute between Trump and the pope instantly sucked media attention away from Trump’s rivals. Trump has a comfortable lead in most polls, but Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have been gaining ground.

The pope was asked specifically about Trump, but several other candidates have joined Trump in calling for a wall along the Southern border. Trump is the candidate whose campaign is built on explosive media attention, and it remained far from certain how much being called out by the pope will hurt him in an increasingly vicious Republican primary.

They enable it, and then they criticize hit!

Catholics make up about 22 percent of the country’s population, but in South Carolina they comprise only 7 percent.

And Trump won that demographic, too!

At a Republican women’s luncheon with Cruz at the posh Poinsett Club in Greenville, some voters reacted with dismay at the pope’s comments.

“Quite frankly, I’m wondering if the pope is actually Christian,” said Becky Kirkland, a 73-year-old Laurens County Tea Party committeewoman who considers herself an evangelical Christian.

Dani Uebel, a 77-year-old retired nurse in Greenville, said that while she does not support Trump for president — she is wavering between Cruz and Rubio — she does not feel the pope should be inserting himself into politics.

“I don’t think any of us could ever make that judgment of another person — not even the pope,” said Uebel, a Christian, about the pontiff’s comments on Trump.


The pope has staked out positions that have antagonized some American conservatives. He has advocated for policies to combat climate change, spoken out against “the idolatry of money.” He has called for compassion and sympathy for the world’s immigrants and refugees, in stark contrast to the hard line taken by the Republican candidates for president in the United States. Pope Francis has also downplayed disagreements over gay marriage and abortion. 

I'm tired of his whole globalist spiel to honest with you. That's why I excommunicated myself and spend Sunday mornings here before running off to play basketball.

I have a few other problems with him, too, but those are a bit later.

A Gallup poll released last July showed that the pope’s favorability rating dropped significantly, to 45 percent, from 72 percent a year earlier.

Gee, I can't imagine why.

Trump has previously praised the pope, but in recent days the billionaire and the Vatican traded words as the pope undertook his trip to Mexico. Critical of the pope’s trip to the Mexican border, Trump told Fox Business Network last week that he didn’t think the pope understood “the danger of the open border we have with Mexico.”

“I think Mexico got him to do it because they want to keep the border just the way it is,” he said. “They’re making a fortune, and we’re losing.”

A Vatican spokesman pushed back, saying, “The pope always talks about migration problems all around the world, of the duties we have to solve these problems in a humane manner, of hosting those who come from other countries in search of a life of dignity and peace.”

So how many refugees are filling up the Vatican these days?

The pope on Thursday said he did not intend to get involved in American politics.

Yeah, nothing personal.

Then he should have kept his mouth shut!!

“I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that,” Francis said. “We must see if he said things in that way, and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

Judge not?

Dan Scavino, a top Trump adviser and his social media director, posted on Twitter an aerial image of Vatican City and pointed out that it is “surrounded by massive walls.” That message seemed to resonate quickly in South Carolina.

RelatedYes, Vatican City has walls, but they’re not exactly a barrier 

Look at the agenda-pushing pre$$ rush to the Pope's defense!

At Mutts BBQ in Easley, just outside Greenville, Winifred Hindman, a 74-year-old retired hairdresser who plans to vote for Cruz, said Trump’s mouth is ``filthy’’ but his faith is none of her business.

“If he says he’s a Christian, that’s between him and the Lord,” she said. “The pope is wrong and he should not be getting involved in our politics unless he wants to tear his walls down around his Vatican.”

Jerry Falwell Jr., a well-known evangelical leader who has endorsed Trump, also responded by saying the pope was out of line.

“Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run a country,” he told CNN.

Well, there is a reason not to vote for Trump!

Trump has made a point to openly discuss his religious convictions and his Presbyterian upbringing, showing off photos of his confirmation photo or his mother’s Bible. But he has also dismissively referred to Holy Communion as “drink my little wine…and have my little cracker.” He has said he can’t remember asking God for forgiveness, and won’t name a favorite Bible verse. He recently referred to a book in the Bible as “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians.” 

That's not a deal-buster for me, what with the supposed separation of church and state in this country. 

Still, he has broad support among evangelical Christians.

In New Hampshire, Trump won among evangelical Christians with 28 percent of the vote, according to exit polls. He lost that group to Cruz in Iowa.


The Pope has never been popular down there. 

RelatedTrump says he’d bring back waterboarding and ‘much worse’ for terrorists

That's interesting, insofar as the Pope didn't issue any criticism of torture -- but then how could he, what with the history of the Catholic Church (and that little thing called the Inquisition).

And while we are talking history, the centuries of sexual abuse have pretty much destroyed any moral credibility they may have had. I said may have.

"GOP hopefuls swap venom before S.C. primary" by Matt Viser and Tracy Jan Globe Staff  February 19, 2016

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — Marco Rubio, trying to ride fresh momentum, on the final day of a brutal primary race that remains incredibly tight, according to a number of polls released Friday.

That sure came out of nowhere!!! 

He end up being the most sellable of them?

Jeb Bush, seemingly stagnant in the polls and excluded from the top tier, campaigned with his 91-year-old mother, hoping Palmetto State voters might once again put a Bush on the path to the White House.

Voters will head to the polls on Saturday in what Republican Party officials are projecting will be a record turnout.

Rubio, enjoying a surge of his own, was trying to lift himself over Ted Cruz into second place, which would represent a strong comeback for the Florida senator after a weak performance in New Hampshire.

“Over the last 10 days, the Cruz campaign has lied, smeared, fabricated, and even Photoshopped,” said Rubio communications director Alex Conant. “We fear the worst dirty tricks are yet to come. . . . The Cruz campaign will do anything to stop Marco Rubio’s momentum.”

From the kitschy stores of Myrtle Beach to the battleship in the Charleston harbor to the home-style cooking in the upstate region, the six Republican candidates stumped the state scrapping for any last bit of attention. The next phase of the campaign — with the Nevada caucus Tuesday followed by Super Tuesday on March 1 — will become more national in scope.

I was told Nevada doesn't matter.

The polls down the stretch have been volatile, with many voters saying they remained undecided. Donald Trump has led in all of the polls but some show the gap narrowing between him and Cruz, who was in second place.

Rubio in recent days has enjoyed a boost of momentum that came from the coveted endorsement of Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and polls showed him edging into a tie with Cruz. Bush desperately wanted the governor’s endorsement, given Haley’s strong approval rating in the state and her rising national stature.

Rubio’s appearances on the final day of campaigning Friday featured an image of diversity that many in the party are eager to promote: An Indian-American female governor, Haley, introduced a black US senator, Tim Scott, who then presented Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants.

“It looked like a Benetton ad!” Haley said of campaigning with Rubio and Scott, at a high school gym in North Charleston.

Speaking of ads:

Rubio campaign ad ‘Morning Again in America’ features stock footage of Canada

Yup, nice catch by Buzzfeed. 

Gees, he lies about Cruz, his ad is deceptive. All the qualifications you need to be president.

In a theater on the campus of the College of Charleston, Cruz brought out surprise guests one by one from behind a red velvet curtain: former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who announced his endorsement of Cruz; Cruz’s wife, Heidi; and Phil Robertson, a star from the realty show “Duck Dynasty,” in his trademark camouflage pants and long gray beard.

“Bibles and guns brought us here, and it will be Bibles and guns that keep us here,” said Robertson as he waved a Bible in one hand. The crowd roared.

Cruz later joked about making Robertson the ambassador to the United Nations.

Todd Ericsson, a 46-year-old Cruz campaign volunteer, accused Trump of ruining the primary, turning it from “an interesting conversation about destroying the establishment to making fun of each other’s mothers.”

“Trump has made it into reality TV, ‘The Real Candidates of the United States,’ ” Ericsson said.

It always was from the very start.

He said the carnival atmosphere was apparent as he knocked on doors for Cruz. A woman told him she would not vote for Cruz because she heard he is an anti-Semite, Ericsson said. Another told him Cruz is not a Christian because she heard his father was part of a Catholic cult.

“How do you even address that?” Ericsson said. “Lies are one thing. These are just outright bizarre fabrications.”

I'm not sure they are; however, Cruz has bent over backwards for Israel and I don't know about his church. Maybe you could ask his dad

Hey, it's the rough-and-tumble of South Carolina politics!

Bush has hoped that South Carolina would give him the same kind of boost that it gave his father and brother during their campaigns in 1988 and 2000. He brought in his brother, the former president George W. Bush, for a large rally on Monday night.

He has spent more money on ads than anyone else, but he is fast losing opportunities to gain traction. If he doesn’t have a strong finish, he may lose the ability to persuade donors to keep his campaign alive.

Word is they were bailing out before the primary!

John Kasich, who finished second in New Hampshire, vowed on Friday to “keep hanging in there” no matter what happens Saturday. The Ohio governor has been focused far more on doing well in heartland states that will vote in the coming weeks.

He skipped a day of campaigning in South Carolina to travel to Michigan, and he’s not planning to campaign in Nevada.

He reportedly joked during a town hall in Columbia on Friday that expectations have been so low in South Carolina that his voters could fit into a Volkswagen. “Now,” he added, “maybe you can put them in a van.”

I thought he skipped South Carolina.

Trump, on the other hand, drew large crowds throughout the day Friday. A pastor got up at his rally at Pawleys Island and prayed that on Saturday, “The Trumpsters will show up like never before.”

Trump urged his supporters to boycott Apple products, saying that the high-tech company should allow federal investigators to gain access to the cellphone of the planner of the San Bernardino, Calif., attacks.

“Apple ought to give the security for that phone,” Trump said. “What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number.”

There he goes again. 

Btw, the real goal there looks like them wanting to implant something on the phone to implicate those two cover story patsies of a crisis drill.

Trump has built his success with harsh attacks and defiance of political convention. He started the final week of the South Carolina campaign calling George W. Bush a liar and saying he failed to prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He engaged Pope Francis in a war of words Thursday. He did not let up Friday.

“Bush has less chance than — let’s see, do we have any children in the room?” Trump said.

“Karl Rove is a bad guy. He’s just a bad guy,” he said of the Republican operative, before turning to several well-known conservative journalists. “George Will is a bad guy. Stephen Hayes is a bad guy. Charles Krauthammer is a bad guy.”

Yup, not so much, yup, yup.

One of the few people he had a kind word about? Bernie Sanders, who he thinks he could defeat.

“I’ll be honest,” Trump said. “I don’t like to speak badly about Bernie. I’ll be honest. I sort of want him to win so badly. . . . I’d much rather go against him.” 

Be careful of what you wish for, Don:

"Both Sanders and Clinton have reached new favorability highs and lows respectively in matchups with GOP contenders. Sanders outpolls Trump 48 – 42 percent; and tops the rest by wide 8-10% margins, whereas Clinton only edges past Trump by a slight 1% margin and it’s downhill after that, losing out to Cruz, Rubio, Bush and Kasich." 

Maybe the Democrats should scrap her, huh?

Before concluding to the strains of “Eye of the Tiger,” Trump returned to a theme of his campaign.

“We’re going to win so much, you’re going to get tired of winning,” he said. “You’re going to say, ‘Please, Mr. President. I have a headache. Please, don’t win so much. This is getting terrible.’ And I’m going to say, ‘No, we have to make America great again.’ ”

Little hubristic.


So what are the voters down there saying anyway?

"Talk radio’s rumor, conspiracy, dubious facts add fuel to S.C. GOP primary" by Tracy Jan Globe Staff  February 18, 2016

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bob McLain introduces himself on air as “president of Insensitivity University for non-politically-correct studies,” a talk radio host in the reddest enclave of one of the reddest states in America.

For four hours every weekday afternoon, from his studio tucked behind a strip mall outside downtown Greenville, McLain rules a universe in which Bernie Sanders is known as “Bolshevik Bernie” and Jeb Bush becomes “Juan W. Bush.”

It’s an equal-opportunity firing squad against illegal immigration, Muslim refugees, and the establishment GOP. The border between fact and fiction is routinely blurred, if not completely obliterated. 

Look whose talking! 

Lest I remind you, the ma$$ media helped Bush lie us into Iraq -- twice! 

Remember the babies tossed out of incubators lie?

“There’s nuts and then there’s really nuts,” McLain, known to listeners as “Bobby Mac,” told a reporter off air this week after cutting off a caller spinning 9/11 conspiracies. The 69-year-old former sportscaster and weatherman says he does not traffic in gossip and innuendo, but admits that “unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time to do a deep dive and correct it.”

That's interesting, and I'm going to elaborate more on that shortly.

In a state notorious for dirty politics, the airwaves are one tool in a bag of dirty tricks. Campaigns regularly plant callers coached with talking points — callers whom the show hosts refer to as “seminar callers,” the radio equivalent of Internet spammers.

Listeners declare Ted Cruz ineligible to run for president because he was born in Canada. Some pin the 9/11 terrorist attacks on a George W. Bush administration plot. Others gleefully inflate a long-dismissed Marco Rubio misdemeanor arrest into a rumor about him soliciting a gay prostitute as a teenager in Miami.

Okay, all three of those "conspiracy" theories are true. Bloggers and the alternative media have dug them out. 

The fact that the Globe would even run a story like this tells you that the lid is coming off the cover-ups. The article is meant to put down such things, but just the fact that they feel the need to respond to such things is telling.

The stakes in Saturday’s Republican primary are particularly high here in the conservative “upstate” region around Greenville, an area close to the mountains, where more than a third of GOP primary ballots were cast in 2012.

The region is where, in 2000, a smear campaign originated that falsely claimed John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child, that his wife was a drug addict, and that he was mentally unstable. (Senator McCain, after winning the New Hampshire primary, lost South Carolina to George W. Bush.) 

It was a Bush smear, which is why I was so nervous heading into this thing. They play dirty.

“It’s a back-alley knife fight,” McLain said, in an interview in his studio. “Certainly the consultants recognize the importance of carrying this part of South Carolina. That’s why we have a reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts.”

Days before the primary, a Globe reporter sat in during McLain’s show. A computer screen displayed callers’ first names, locations, and topics, after being vetted by the producer, who McLain calls “Moneypenny,’’ a reference to the secretary in James Bond films. They dialed in from work, while stuck in traffic, even while pumping gas. First-time callers get introduced with a cowbell.

The most frequent subject? Donald Trump. Not surprisingly, Trump — a reality TV star as well as a casino and real estate mogul — makes great radio fodder here in the Appalachian foothills.

Poor Donald, some lamented. The Republican National Committee stacked the decks against him at the debate here Saturday night, filling the audience with Bush supporters, the callers claimed.

I covered that above, and they did. Trump calls 'em out and they boo louder!

“The RNC looks at Donald Trump the way Dracula looks at a cross,” said Rob from the town of Moore.

Some say they are resigned to him and hope to work and influence him on the other side. 

In a way, his very public life helps him. There is no secret to use against him because it's already been out there.

Others have claimed that Trump, the front-runner, is not even officially on the Republican ballot in South Carolina. They dismissed “potty mouth traitor Trump” as a Democrat, pointing to his criticisms of George W. Bush’s entree into the Iraq war as “leftist talking points.” 

I'm not going to get into an argument over language, except to say that it's a bit refreshing. 

As for leftist talking points, I'm far from that. You need only be a conscientious human being to condemn that mass-murdering slaughter based on lies, as Iraq is still reeling from that disruptive war crime.

McLain delights in stoking the fire, between sips of diet wild cherry Pepsi. He floated the possibility that Trump is purposefully using loaded language about the Iraq war to appeal to Democrats because the state’s open primary system allows voters to cast a ballot in either primary.

Wes from Greer validated his theory, citing a friend who works for the Trump campaign: “Believe you me, it is well thought out and absolutely part of the plan.”

Trump’s aides did not respond to a Globe request for comment on their radio strategy.

Some South Carolina observers believe things have gone too far already in this election.

Tony Beam, a pastor and host of a morning Christian talk show on another station in Greenville who has endorsed Cruz, has grown so discouraged by his evangelical listeners jumping on the Trump bandwagon that he is considering going off air after 12 years.

“I get frustrated by the nature and tone of what I’m doing,” Beam said about giving voters a platform to spew what he considers Trump vitriol against women and Muslims. “Talk radio can become so attack-oriented, there’s a point where I don’t think it contributes to the general welfare.”

McLain has no such qualms. Trump took part in the show — live in the studio — for 20 minutes this week, after a volatile news conference on the other side of the state in which he unleashed criticisms against the Bush family and threatened to sue Cruz for running “false ads” against him.

“Welcome to the Palmetto State, home of adversarial back-stabbing political advisers with a bag full of dirty tricks,” McLain said, opening his segment with Trump on Monday.

A listener texted the station accusing McLain of having a “bromance with Trump” and “foisting this classless clown on this country” because of the “admiration he displays to Trump’s conniving ways.”

McLain told listeners all the candidates except Bush have appeared on his show this cycle. Cruz called in for half an hour the day after the New Hampshire primaries.

“Look, there’s a reason why every talk show host in America is talking about Donald Trump,” McLain said. “He’s the leading candidate and he’s sucked all the air out of the room for everybody else.”

McLain has not endorsed a candidate, saying he remains undecided among Trump, Cruz, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. He’s ruled out John Kasich “because if I wanted a Democrat, I’d vote for a Democrat.”

Yeah, how he thinks he can win the Republican nomination is beyond me. I think he is in it to cadge a few delegates so they can deny Trump (please do not read that as an endorsement of Trump. It is not).

Bush is out “because I don’t believe that illegal immigration is an act of love.” Same with Rubio “because he’s an open borders guy,” adding that the country has enough fast-food workers, gardeners, and construction workers.

“Progressives call me a xenophobe. Think of a phobia and I’m a carrier,” McLain said.

He eggs on his listeners who are as quick to float conspiracy theories about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death and President John F. Kennedy’s assassination as they are to flood his phone lines with claims of the government trying to forcibly diversify their neighborhoods through immigration and refugee resettlement policies.

Unfortunately, those are also three valid views with elements of truth to them.

Mariana, a “legacy caller” now living in Nashville, ranted against Rubio’s immigration bill, saying one could “live on the lam for 10 years, committing all sorts of deceit and fraud, having as many children as you can” and then become an American citizen after paying a $2,000 fine.

That claim prompted McLain to announce, in his booming used-car salesman voice, that Rubio wants to “sell American citizenship for only $2,000. Hurry, hurry, hurry!”

(The bill, which Rubio has since backed away from, would have required illegal immigrants to pay the fine, wait at least 10 years, and pass a background check before having the opportunity to become a permanent resident, a step that precedes citizenship.) 

Now I'm wondering how he came in tied for second. 

Well, not really; he was the only "establishment" candidate left down there.

All the while, McLain’s producer, Moneypenny, whose real name is Angela Fleming, sat across from him in the studio, watching for his cue on when to cut off callers. Fleming, 43, is a lesbian who was scheduled to marry her girlfriend of five years on Thursday — a fact that, if they knew, would drive many of the station’s listeners to distraction.

“They have no idea who Moneypenny is,” said Fleming, who has yet to make up her mind about whom to vote for — or which primary to vote in, for that matter. “I want the Democrats out of my wallet and the Republicans out of my bedroom.”

“It’s not Bob who ticks me off most of the time,” she said. “It’s the callers.”

You know who ticks me off?



So what were the expectations going into the vote?

"With a reboot, Marco Rubio should be able to get back on track.

Donald Trump won across every voter segment in the primary — independents, male, female, all age and income groups.


No, John Kasich did not win New Hampshire, but you can be excused for thinking he did given the fawning post-election coverage. The former Ohio governor came in second (see: Trump, Iowa). One of the downsides of a single-minded focus on New Hampshire is that you are totally unprepared for the tsunami of states that follow. Most of America woke up Wednesday hearing Kasich’s name for the first time. The question is, can he build an airplane while he’s flying it?

For Republicans, winning Iowa has not been a good predictor for capturing the nomination. The last two Iowa winners, Mike Huckabee and Santorum, fizzled. But Cruz followed his first-place Iowa finish with a top 3 performance in New Hampshire. Now he heads south where voters are more receptive to Cruz’s archconservative message. It’s hard to view this race as other than a Trump-Cruz battle at this point.


Baseball player/manager Leo Durocher said nice guys finish last. After finishing sixth in Iowa, Bush was looking for a “reset” in New Hampshire, but he needed to do better than fourth place to get back on track. He’ll stay in on the theory that third place is wide open."


The Results

"Donald Trump rolls to S.C. victory" by Matt Viser and Tracy Jan Globe Staff  February 21, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Donald Trump rolled to victory in South Carolina on Saturday, defeating Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the Republican presidential field and proving that his gut-level appeal to angry conservatives is a more potent force than anything the GOP establishment has been able to muster.

The victory in a core Southern state puts Trump in a commanding position heading into Nevada’s Republican caucus Tuesday and then Super Tuesday on March 1, which includes a string of conservative states spanning the Deep South, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Trump led 33 percent to about 22 percent for Rubio and Cruz, with 98 percent of precincts reporting. Jeb Bush trailed with 8 percent, followed by Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Bush immediately withdrew from the race, a crushing end for a candidate who started his campaign last year as the presumed front-runner with all the advantages of a family dynasty and heavy financial backing.

“The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision,” he said, his voice cracking in an emotional concession speech. “So tonight I am suspending my campaign.”


SeeJeb Bush suspends campaign after 4th-place finish in S.C.

Mainstream Republicans, who have spent months baffled by Trump’s rise, are hoping a smaller field will clarify which candidate can best challenge Trump and Cruz. But after his win in New Hampshire earlier in the month, Saturday’s victory puts history on Trump’s side.

Every candidate who has won both the Granite State and South Carolina has gone on to win the Republican nomination.

“There’s nothing easy about running for president, I can tell you,” Trump said. “It’s tough it’s nasty, it’s mean, it’s vicious. It’s beautiful. When you win, it’s beautiful.”

Trump discounted any notion that once candidates drop out, he would be more easily defeated. “They don’t understand that as people drop out, I’m going to get a lot of those votes also,” he said. “You don’t just add them together.”

Rubio’s close finish with Cruz and Bush’s exit from the race energized the Florida senator and sets him up as the Republican Party establishment’s strongest candidate. He said he represents a new generation of conservatives ready to lead in the tradition of Ronald Reagan.

“After tonight, this has become a three-person race — and we will win the nomination!” Rubio said.


His immigration stand dooms him with the base!

Trump’s win caps a week of intense political combat, in which he threatened to sue Cruz, accused former president George W. Bush — who has an approval rating of 80 percent here — of lying, and got into a verbal spat with Pope Francis over immigration.

None of that approval rubbed off on Jeb, huh? 

Only 1 out of 10 who liked W liked Jeb?

Trump won despite being derided by some of the state’s top leaders, including Republican Governor Nikki Haley, the state’s first nonwhite governor, who said Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States was divisive.

Or he won BECAUSE OF that. 

Just a simple matter of semantics and the way one looks at things.

After South Carolina, candidates now are about to scatter around the country as the contest transitions from a race in which campaigns camp out in early primary states and hold town hall meetings into one that is far more focused on national television interviews, debates, and TV ads.

South Carolina is a gateway to the South, providing an early indicator for the results on March 1, when 11 states vote. Cruz had been hoping to ride a wave of support from evangelical Christians, while also proving he can broaden his appeal.

I'm sure he will win his share of Deep South states like Santorum. 

He said in his concession speech that the South Carolina results showed the conservative base is behind him. He had won the Iowa caucus.

“We are the only campiagn that has beaten, and can beat, Donald Trump,’’ Cruz told his supporters. “Conservatives continue to unite behind our campaign. If you are conservative, this is where you belong, because only one strong conservative is in a position to win this race.’’

I suppose he does have a point there to a certain degree.

Exit polls showed that nearly three-quarters of primary voters here support temporarily banning Muslims from the United States, which Trump has proposed. Three-quarters of voters also said they were evangelical Christians, and the polls indicate that Trump won among them, too. He benefited from those who want change.

Strange how the exit polls were lousy in Nevada.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they wanted someone “outside the political establishment,” a similar number from Iowa and New Hampshire. More than half said they felt “betrayed” by the Republican Party. Among those who prefer electability and experience, Rubio was the top choice.

They are not alone. 

For the increasingly angst-ridden Republican establishment — worried that Trump could soon become an unstoppable political train — Bush’s exit clarifies the options. But even if Rubio had received all of Bush’s votes in South Carolina, he still would have lost to Trump.

Time for the eulogy:

Bush had every advantage, and he had high hopes that South Carolina would give him a chance to rebound his campaign. His family has long and deep ties here, and he brought his brother into the state for a major rally last week. His mother — also a beloved figure who went to school in Charleston — was with him in the final days.

Throughout his campaign, he has continued to argue that problem-solving and experience should matter more than negative attacks. Betting that voters would respect him more for it, he held true to his positions — even those on immigration and national education standards that had become out of step with the GOP base.

But in the end, it didn’t work. Bush struggled to overcome his family name, with voters resistant to the idea of a third Bush presidency. He was the quintessential establishment candidate in an antiestablishment election, at the mercy of forces that he suggested were beyond his control.

“The presidency is bigger than any one person,” he said. “It is certainty bigger than any one candidate.”

As voters from the shores to the hills went to the polls here, the candidates continued lobbing nasty accusations at one another — of lying, of cheating, of being utterly unqualified for the presidency.

“Lying #TED Cruz just (on election day) came out with a sneak and sleazy Robocall,” Trump tweeted just before 9 a.m. “He holds up the Bible but in fact is a true lowlife pol!”

Rubio’s campaign accused Cruz of being behind robocalls saying that Rubio was dropping out of the race, a charge that Cruz’s campaign denied. Then the Bush campaign accused Rubio of dirty tricks of his own.

“In fact we have reports of Rubio campaign spreading lies about Jeb & Kasich at precincts on the coast,” tweeted Bush communications director Tim Miller.

Rubio scored a dramatic turnaround after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire. He spent the past week trying to retool his campaign and rebuff accusations that he was a robotic politician with a thin resume. He was looser at events, delivered new jokes, and spent more time with reporters.

Rubio also got the coveted endorsement of Haley.

“For me the state of South Carolina will always be the place of new beginnings,’’ he said Saturday night.

Cruz was hoping a win in South Carolina could show his appeal is broader than in Iowa, where he won and where candidates like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum won only to be denied other significant wins.

Cruz, a clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the 1990s, took a morning off the campaign trail Saturday to attend Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral in Washington.

“Justice Scalia’s passing, I think has underscored for the people of South Carolina and for people across the country the stakes of this election,” Cruz said in an interview with MSNBC outside of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“The court very much hangs in the balance, and we are going to determine whether the court continues to preserve the Bill of Rights . . . or whether the court will undermine those rights,” Cruz said.

Kasich quickly moved on, not even spending election night in South Carolina as he shifted focus to the big batch of states slated to vote on March 1. He held a town hall gathering in Worcester, Mass., and planned to watch the South Carolina election returns from a hotel in Wakefield, Mass.

After his second place finish in New Hampshire — and a strategy that never banked on a strong performance in South Carolina — Kasich is opening offices in states like Georgia, Michigan, and Virginia.

His strategy is to remain in the race as the field is whittled down, banking that he’ll benefit by being the last governor in the race.



Bush admits he misjudged voter anger

Bush bust as Cruz, Rubio, Clinton get million-dollar boosts

Donald Trump is now firmly in control of the GOP race

The will of voters is a "hostile takeover." 

I'm surprised Cruz didn't do better:

"Cruz advocates for privacy, but he’s collecting a lot of data" by Michael Biesecker and Julie Bykowicz Associated Press  February 11, 2016

WASHINGTON — Protecting the privacy of law-abiding citizens from the government is a pillar of Ted Cruz’s Republican presidential candidacy, but his campaign is testing the limits of siphoning personal data from supporters.

His “Cruz Crew” mobile app is designed to gather detailed information from its users’ phones — tracking their physical movements and mining the names and contact information for friends who might want nothing to do with his campaign.

His campaign is behaving like a little NSA, huh?

That information and more is then fed into a vast database containing details about nearly every adult in the United States to build psychological profiles that target individual voters with uncanny accuracy.

Data collection is big business!

Cruz’s sophisticated analytics operation was heralded as key to his victory in Iowa earlier this month — the first proof, his campaign said, that the system has the potential to power him to the nomination.

After finishing a distant third in New Hampshire, Cruz is looking to boost the turnout of likely supporters in South Carolina and in Southern states with primaries on March 1, where voters are more evangelical and conservative.

Maybe he got ripped off last night.

The son of mathematicians and data processing programmers, Cruz is keenly and personally interested in the work.

“Analytics gives the campaign a roadmap for everything we do,” said Chris Wilson, data and digital director. “He has an acute understanding of our work and continually pushes me on it.”

Data-mining to help candidates win elections has been increasing among both Republicans and Democrats. Mobile apps by other presidential campaigns also collect some information about users.

I'm glad I'm not politically active!

But The Associated Press found the Cruz campaign’s app — downloaded to more than 61,000 devices so far — goes furthest to glean personal data.

The Cruz app prompts supporters to register using their Facebook logins, giving the campaign access to personal information such as name, age range, gender, location, and photograph, plus lists of friends and relatives. Those without a Facebook account must either provide an e-mail address or phone number to use the app.

By contrast, the app offered by GOP candidate Ben Carson’s campaign asks supporters to surrender the same information as Cruz from their Facebook accounts but also gives an option to use it without providing any personal information. Carson’s app separately asks users to let the campaign track their movements and asks them to voluntarily supply their birthdate and gender — including options for “male,” “female,” and “other.”

Must explain his dismal showing.

Ohio Governor John Kasich’s campaign app doesn’t request personal information from supporters, but it repeatedly nags users to let the campaign track their movements until they answer yes.

And he is the good Jedi!

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders’ app, “Field the Bern,” requires supporters to sign in using their Facebook account or an e-mail address, and it also repeatedly asks to let the campaign track their movements until they answer yes.



The other 2016 presidential contenders, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, appear not to have officially sanctioned campaign apps in Apple and Android stores.

Appear not to, but who knows? 

Certainly her handling of e-mail doesn't help.

The Cruz app separately urges users to let it download their phone contacts, giving the campaign a trove of phone numbers and personal e-mail addresses.

No worry regarding the hackers, huh?

The campaign says that by using its app, “You hereby give your express consent to access your contact list,” but Wilson said the campaign will not do this to anyone who declines to allow it when the app requests permission.

Cruz’s app also transmits to the campaign each user’s physical location whenever the app is active, unless a user declines to allow it. The campaign said it does this “so that we can connect you to other Cruz Crew users based on your particular geographic location.”

The campaign tells users it can share all the personal information it collects with its consultants or other organizations, groups, causes, campaigns, or political organizations with similar viewpoints or goals.

That is where the print copy cut it off.

It also shares the material with analytics companies. Cruz’s campaign combines the information with data from a group called Cambridge Analytica, which has been involved in his efforts since fall 2014. A Cambridge investor, Robert Mercer, has given more money than anyone else to outside groups supporting Cruz. 

Please tell me they are not located in Massachusetts!

Sanders’ campaign said it shares personal information from supporters with its consultants and vendors but not analytics companies.

Cambridge has a massive 10 terabyte database — enough to fill more than 2,100 DVDs — that contains as many as 5,000 biographical details about the 240 million Americans of voting age. Cambridge considers its methodology highly secretive, but it may include such details as household income, employment status, credit history, party affiliation, church membership and spending habits. Cambridge uses powerful computers and proprietary algorithms to predict Americans’ personality traits

Taking focus groups to a new level.

Downright creepy, isn't it?

The Cruz campaign paid Cambridge $3.8 million in 2015, accounting for more than 8 percent of all its spending. Two outside groups supporting Cruz, including one directly funded by $11 million from Mercer, paid the firm $682,000 since December. Cambridge has five employees at Cruz headquarters in Houston and 70 others split between New York City and the Washington suburbs.

The power of Cruz’s data-driven systems was on display in Iowa.

The GOP candidates held similar positions on issues such as abortion and gun control. Cambridge helped differentiate Cruz by identifying automated red light cameras as an issue of importance to Iowa residents upset with government intrusion. Potential voters living near the red light cameras were sent direct messages saying Cruz was against their use.

“Everything in this campaign is data-driven. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Jerry Sickles, a paid field representative in Hooksett, N.H., who uses the Cruz Crew app. “We just know exactly who our voters are, and we will make sure they get out to vote.”

Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, has been outspoken about protecting Americans’ personal information from the government, including the National Security Agency. “Instead of a government that seizes your e-mails and your cellphones, imagine a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American,” he said when announcing his campaign.

Cruz campaign officials say it’s different for the government versus a campaign to collect data. Sickle said Cruz is building on the use of big data pioneered by the successful Democratic campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“It’s not like we’re giving it to the NSA,” Sickle said. 

Actually, they are. 

All these electronic communications are being scooped up and stored by the telecoms so the government can have access. That's what we have been told, anyway.

A campaign spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, added: “Why wouldn’t we want to use every tool available to us to win?” 

Do anything to win? 

I'm not sure that is a quality I want in a president. 

I want them doing what is right and legal. 

The guy is showing Nixonian tendencies (with all apologies to Dick).

The scope of Cruz’s system is formidable. Cambridge’s database combines government and commercial data sets such as voter rolls and lists of people who liked certain Facebook posts, along with consumer data from grocery chains and other clients that can provide a voter’s preferred brand of toothpaste or whether he clips coupons. 

I wonder if he won the Crest or Colgate voting bloc.

In Iowa, where identifying evangelical voters was key to Cruz’s victory strategy, Cambridge’s employees scoured the Internet for such useful information as church membership rolls. 

I wonder if they will find this.

Cambridge chief executive Alexander Nix said the company categorizes every American into one of five basic personality types derived from academic research and up to 50,000 questionnaires conducted each month.

“We’ve quantified the personalities of every adult American,” Nix said. “We can reach out and target those different clusters with messages about the things they care about most, but that have been nuanced to resonate with their personality type.”

For example, a Cruz campaign worker about to knock on the door of a house would access information about the household’s members through the Cruz Crew app, receiving prepared scripts about what issues each person was likely to care about, modified to appeal to their personality. 

Now I'm feeling manipulated!

Even within issues such as the right to bear arms, Nix said personality types will tailor the message. For voters who care about traditions or family, a message may resonate about guaranteeing the ability of a grandfather teaching shooting lessons. For someone identified as introverted, a better pitch might describe keeping guns for protection against crime.

Cambridge and the Cruz campaign stressed that anyone providing personal information through the app does so voluntarily. Data uses are outlined in legal disclosures available on the campaign’s website. 

And if not, ask until they say yes.

Cambridge said it operates behind firewalls on its computer servers to secure its data and follows all applicable US laws. Cambridge runs its operations out of the United States; they would be illegal in Europe under stricter privacy laws there.

In the hours before the Iowa vote, the campaign pushed urgent messages through its app to users who had Iowa contacts listed in their phones. The app displayed pre-written text messages the supporters were encouraged to forward to their Iowa acquaintances, urging them to caucus for Cruz.

The chief technologist at the privacy advocacy group Center for Democracy and Technology, Joe Hall, said
politicians are unlikely to strengthen privacy protections as their campaigns become more and more reliant on mining personal data to squeeze out votes. 

Another reason they were for all the tyranny! It was self-serving!

“This is a form of political-voter surveillance,” Hall said. “If people understood that this amount of fine-grained, sensitive data was being used by political campaigns, they would likely feel betrayed.”

Maybe that is why he slid to third.


Anyway, it doesn't look like Jeb Bush will Become the Next President, but there may still be a way....

"Jeb Bush’s recent comments linking mental illness to mass shootings landed with a thud. After the shooting in Colorado at a Planned Parenthood facility, the GOP candidate for president called for a renewed focus on mental health systems in order to identify people with “severe mental health issues” before they spiral out of control. 

Because of your brother?

In comments to WHOTV in Iowa, Bush focused his concern on deeply disturbed individuals who live in isolation, their delusions stoked by social media, [asking] “What are the common denominators of these very public mass murders where people then commit suicide?” 

Committed suicide? 

It's usually the authorities killing them, Jeb. 

As for delusions stocked by media:

"Boston Globe Freaks Over Jeb’s Accidental Deep Politics

Here’s a slightly complex one with a very simple message:

The Boston Globe just ran an item implicitly questioning the judgment of a Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush. The basis? The PAC ran an ad featuring Ben Swann, a newscaster who has doubts about the official Boston Marathon Bombing story. The Globe has no beef with the ad itself, which like many others takes Marco Rubio to task for missing Senate votes. Instead, it is who is shown mentioning Rubio’s record that has the Globe up in arms: a newscaster who has publicly expressed skepticism about the Boston Bombing, along with 9/11 and several mass shootings:

In 2013, while working for Cincinnati Fox-affiliate WXIX, Swann suggested that the FBI knew about the Boston Marathon bombing before it happened — even questioning if the government recruited and trained the perpetrators. On his YouTube channel later that year, Swann raised the notion that the FBI executed Ibragim Todashev, a suspected friend of the Tsarnaev brothers.

The Globe refers to Swann as “a Boston Marathon bombing conspiracy theorist.”

The paper contacted the Super PAC for an explanation, and it dodged that “bullet.”

The Globe of course never actually says what is wrong with questioning the version promoted by the FBI and government, nor addresses the huge number of known anomalies with the official account. Instead it relies on cheap McCarthyist tactics of discrediting anyone simply because they do not easily fall into line with what we’re told to think.

Highly unlikely but…. Could Jeb Bush’s supporters be so desperate to save his dying campaign that they are even willing to seek the support of the very demographic that believes his family, their cronies, and the military industrial complex fully capable of almost anything to maintain and consolidate power? Or, in this case, regain power?

Almost certainly not – most likely the Ben Swann item on Rubio was just one the advertising people ran across, and grabbed. But if there were more to it, the irony would be tremendous.

In any case, anything of depth on this would totally be lost on the Globe. Pity the poor, simple, traditional media. They miss everything, and make a big deal out of nothing.