Posts Tagged ‘Ted Cruz’

Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 16, 2016

August 16, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 16, 2016

There will be Twitter!

• Comedy!

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Cheeps and Chirps — belated July 2016 Republican National Convention edition!

August 11, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 11, 2016

Twitter feed, represent!

Sadly, this could be an evergreen tweet

 

• Reminder: The U.S. is still at war

 

• Comedy!

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Cheeps and Chirps for July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 15, 2016

Presenting more recent odds and ends from my Twitter feed.

• Comedy!

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Cheeps and Chirps for May 15, 2016

May 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 15, 2016

Here are some more recent odds and ends from my Twitter feed.

• Comedy!

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Exit Ted Cruz… for now

May 6, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 6, 2016

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas ended his presidential campaign Tuesday night after losing the Indiana primary by 16 points to businessman Donald Trump. The outcome in the Hoosier State all but assured Trump of obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. Ohio Gov. John Kasich — who still had fewer delegates than U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, despite the fact that the Floridian dropped out of the race in March — ended his campaign on Wednesday, only a few hours after GOP national chairman Reince Priebus acknowledged that Trump was the party’s presumptive nominee.

So here we are: The man whom many predicted would never win the nomination, and whom I predicted wouldn’t even win a single primary or caucus, has vanquished all comers from the party of elephants.

In truth, I’m sorry to see Cruz go. Tracking his campaign was like watching a suspense thriller. Would the obvious creep — and Cruz’s off-putting personality and looks were matched only by his heartless radical-right policies — be able to charm, fool, injure or kill all the characters who stood any chance of detecting and foiling his evil scheme?

Cruz, after all, isn’t just someone who was famously loathed by his freshman-year college roommate and widely reviled by his Senate colleagues and fellow Republicans. Recall that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) tepidly endorsed Cruz about three weeks after saying, in a speech at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 72nd Congressional Dinner, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.”

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Some notes on 2016 primary voting trends (or the lack thereof)

April 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 27, 2016

Out of idle curiosity, I began looking at popular vote numbers in Tuesday night’s primaries. Interestingly, the data show that in three states, the Democratic runner-up — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Clintaln in Rhode Island — received more votes than the Republican winnerbusinessman Donald Trump in all five of that states.

Trump outdid Sanders in Delaware, 42,472 to 36,659, and in Pennsylvania, 892,702 to 719,955.

However, in none of these states did Trump get more votes than the Democratic winner. Maryland, in fact, wasn’t even close — Clinton’s 533,247 votes were more than twice as many as the number Trump got in the Old Line State, 236,623.

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Lion kings, gorillas, Labradors and road kill: The 2016 presidential campaign as viewed from the perspective of a handful of Pennsylvania “Wal-Mart moms”

April 25, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 25, 2016

When I last wrote about politics, I discussed a cockamamie scheme to draft a retired Marine general into running a third-party presidential campaign that would block either Trump or Clinton from winning the Electoral College.

I wanted to return to the subject of politics after reading this Todd Gillman story about the possibility of a contested Republican National Convention, which seems high indeed. The article, published Friday, concerns focus groups that were held in Pennsylvania last week by a pair of pollsters, one Republican and one Democratic. Gillman concluded that “for at least one group of Wal-Mart moms — an umbrella demographic that stands for much of the electorate … depriving Trump of the prize if he’s ahead would deeply offend many voters.”

(The pollsters define Wal-Mart moms as voters with children age 18 or younger at home and who shopped at Walmart at least once in the past month; they comprise roughly 15 percent of the electorate. According to Gillman, they include members from a wide range of income brackets.)

Gillman does a good job of presenting the arguments for and against a contested convention. The cons mainly come from the mouths of 10 anonymous so-called Wal-Mart moms from the Pittsburgh area, all registered Republicans, who said their sense of fair play would be offended if the candidate with a plurality of votes didn’t wind up receiving the nomination.

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The effort to elect a general named ‘Mad Dog’ captures the craziness of the 2016 election

April 12, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 12, 2016

More and more political observers expect the Republican National Convention in July to be contested, meaning that businessman Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and possibly others will maneuver, overtly and otherwise, in an attempt to secure the presidential nomination.

The outcome of more than just one political race is at stake — the Republicans’ choice, and the manner in which it is made, could have a major impact on down-ballot races. Some have even speculated that G.O.P. control of both houses of Congress could be at stake, although that’s unlikely to happen in the House of Representatives thanks to gerrymandering. If the decision-making process is particularly acrimonious, some observers suggest, the Republican Party could crack up.

Trump has a numerical advantage in national delegates, but his team’s failure to grasp the fine points of the nomination process is exacting a toll. Last month, Slate’s Josh Voorhees wrote a detailed description of how a contested convention might work. Over the past week, political scientists Norm Ornstein and Francis Wilkinson have written about different possibilities, speculating which nominees might emerge under which scenarios.

The one thing everyone agrees upon is that the chances for turmoil are high. If someone other than Trump or Cruz are chosen (which he doubts will happen), Ornstein wrote, “the upheaval at the convention would probably make Chicago 1968 look like a picnic.” Wilkinson thinks that

[T]he outcome most likely to break the party is the one in which Republican elites crown one of their own. Such a candidate would be perceived as illegitimate — not by every Republican, surely, but by enough Trump and Cruz voters to court disaster.

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On politicians and (possible) pyramid schemes

April 7, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 7, 2016

I referred on Tuesday to a post by Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan that asked “Do Any of the Republicans Running for President Actually Want to Win?” I happen to disagree with some of Ryan’s takes. For instance, I think that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) very badly wants to be president — although I also believe that he’s keenly aware of the fact that his fervently courting evangelical audiences and throwing red meat to them will eventually redound to his benefit, whether or not he’s ever elected to another office.

Ryan wrote that “this entire election makes a lot more sense if you think of it like a political sequel for The Producers.” She continued:

Mel Brooks’s 1967 farce-musical tells the story of a pair of down-on-their-luck men who realize that they can make more money producing a musical that’s a flop than they can producing one that succeeds. Money raised by backers, reason Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom (as played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder), will make them rich, and if the show closes after only a night, they get to keep all of the money themselves rather than paying investors their share of profits. To maximize its offensiveness, they hire a Nazi to write it, the worst director on Broadway to direct it, and an [sic] semi-lucid man to star in it. Much to their horror, Springtime for Hitler is a smash hit.

Politicians left, right and center have long been associated with all manner of grift, but the link seems to be especially deep when it comes to conservative politicos. Back in the fall of 2012, the left-leaning historian Rick Perlstein, author of books about presidents Nixon and Reagan, argued that “the reflex of lying [is] now sutured into the modern conservative movement’s DNA” and asserted that “conservative leaders treat their constituents like suckers.”

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Man on the run: Contemplating the intent and the future of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

April 5, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 5, 2016

Eight days ago, a hitherto obscure public relations expert and New York University adjunct professor named Stephanie Cegielski generated a great deal of attention when she wrote an open letter explaining why she would no longer support Donald Trump’s run for president. The most notable thing about the letter was its author — specifically, the fact that Cegielski had worked for several months for the Make America Great Again political organization, an unofficial adjunct to Trump’s campaign.

The next few days went poorly for Trump: He suggested breaching the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit torture, among other things; said he was for punishing women who illegally obtain abortions before changing his position on the matter several times; continued an aggressive defense of his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, even after Florida police charged him with manhandling a female reporter then associated with a conservative “news” outlet; and gave the latest in a string of interviews in which he seemed arrogant and disjointed. (Asked by The Washington Post’s Robert Costa what strategy he had for converting former Republican rivals into allies, Trump said, “I think that’s overrated, what you’re saying, about bringing them into the fold. At the same time, I think I would be successful with many of them. I don’t know that I’ll be successful with Jeb Bush.”)

Now several pundits are questioning whether Trump is sabotaging his own campaign, consciously or otherwise, because he doesn’t really want to be president. By way of example, today, we had Michael Brendan Dougherty writing for The Week; on Monday, there was Robert Becker writing for Salon and three editors writing for The Huffington Post; on Friday, Sean Illing in Salon and John Fund in the National Review. On Saturday, A Prairie Home Companion ran a “Guy Noir, Private Eye” skit in which a faux Donald Trump orders his staff to find a way for him to wreck his lead in the nomination campaign. On Sunday, Chris Wallace began an interview by asking Trump, “Are you in the process of blowing your campaign for president?”

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In his own words: Ted Cruz on religious liberty

March 22, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 22, 2016

A review of statements
that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
has made about religious liberty: 

“The Pilgrims risked everything so that they could worship the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The founders enshrined this right to live according to our faith in the First Amendment, and we must continue to celebrate and safeguard citizens’ God-given rights.

“As we have witnessed an unprecedented attack on citizens’ first freedoms, Ted Cruz continues to champion Americans’ religious liberty.

….

“As a presidential candidate, Ted Cruz has hosted two national religious liberties rallies and has brought together Christians who have been persecuted for their beliefs so that people across the country can listen to their stories and stand united for our first freedom.

“On day one, a President Cruz will instruct the Department of Justice, the IRS and every other federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today.”

— Ted Cruz presidential campaign website, undated

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Regarding Sen. Rubio’s attempt to quit the race on a high note

March 19, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 19, 2016

On Tuesday night, I was surprised neither that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio lost the Florida primary to businessman Donald Trump nor that he subsequently dropped out of the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination as a result.

As it happened, I caught Rubio’s concession speech while I was listening to National Public Radio primary election coverage in my car. He gave a good speech and he delivered it well; I can easily understand why some pundits thought that he would be Obama 2.0, a conservative political wunderkind who would energize American youth and minorities in a way no Republican presidential candidate has since — well, perhaps since Ronald Reagan… or maybe it’s more accurate to say in a way that no Republican presidential candidate ever has.

Unfortunately, as so often happens in politics, the lofty rhetoric of Rubio’s farewell speech didn’t match up very well with the cold, hard facts of reality. On Tuesday evening, Rubio said:

[T]his is the campaign we’ve run, a campaign that is realistic about the challenges we face but optimistic about the opportunities before us. A campaign that recognizes the difficulties we face, but also one that believes that we truly are on the verge of a new American century. And a campaign to be president, a campaign to be a president that would love all of the American people, even the ones that don’t love you back.

Compare that with a foreign-policy speech that Rubio delivered in New Hampshire in early January:

What became abundantly clear was this: Barack Obama was deliberately weakening America. He made an intentional effort to humble us back to size, as if to say, “We no longer need to be so powerful because our power has done more harm than good.”

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Dynamic scoring, sobering results: More on the Tax Foundation’s analysis of GOP candidates’ tax plans

November 14, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 14, 2015

Recently, I performed some sophisticated data crunching on a Tax Foundation analysis of the tax-reform plans of seven Republican presidential candidates. (Which is to say, I typed the data from this Tax Foundation table into a spreadsheet and divided certain numbers by 10.) After comparing the results to historic U.S. budget deficits, I concluded that:

[A]ll of these tax proposals would be budget busters, creating some of the largest annual deficits in U.S. history. If enacted, and if they worked as projected, either government services would have to be cut dramatically or tax rates would have to be increased in order to prevent the national debt from ballooning. And given the political scene, the former option would be far more likely to be enacted.

However, there’s a catch.

The catch is that the Tax Foundation projected potential budget surpluses or deficits for the Republican proposals using two different methods. The numbers I relayed in my previous post were produced using static revenue estimates, a technique that has long been employed by government budget analysts.

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U.S. budget deficits: Numbers past, present and future

November 12, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 12, 2015

Earlier this week, I wrote about an analysis from the Tax Foundation that indicated that the tax-reform plans of seven Republican candidates each might increase the deficit by more than a trillion of dollars over a 10-year period. I want to explore the details a little further.

Allow me to set the stage with a brief history of federal budget deficits. The first time the U.S. budget was in the red for more than $75 billion was in fiscal year 1981, when it hit $79 billion under a plan enacted in what turned out to be the last year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. The first time the federal deficit exceeded $100 billion was the very next year, under Ronald Reagan, when it reached $128 billion. Between 1983 and 1995, the budgetary gap ranged from a low of roughly $150 billion to a high of $290 billion.

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Conservatives vs. Obamacare: Looking at (and debunking) part of the case against the ACA

September 7, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 7, 2013

The conservative crusade against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues apace.

Let’s be clear, to borrow a phrase from the president: There are a number of reasons why the health care reform law is so loathed on the right. To cite just one factor: It passed Congress in 2010 without a single Republican vote.

And yes, this is a big and complicated law that tackles a huge swathe of our society and economy. There’s a chance that the so-called Obamacare legislation will work brilliantly. There’s a chance that Obamacare will fail spectacularly. My hunch is that the law will work, but in the manner that many large projects work — that is, imperfectly.

Glenn Kessler, the main Fact Checker columnist for The Washington Post, had a post Tuesday morning examining three particular claims made by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a television ad inveighing against Obamacare.

Here’s how Cruz starts off the spot: “There’s bipartisan agreement that Obamacare isn’t working. Democratic Senator Max Baucus, the lead author of Obamacare, says it’s a huge train wreck.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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