Charles Krauthammer describes the leading four candidates on foreign policy and looks for historical parallels. Bernie Sanders' pacifism is reminiscent of George McGovern. Hillary Clinton's internationalism would bring back the policies of her husband's administration. Krauthammer sees a parallel between Ted Cruz's unilateralist pledges to tear up the Iran deal and firm up the alliance with Israel parallels Ronald Reagan. And finally, he terms Donald Trump is proposing a mercantilist foreign policy.
It’s all about money. He sees no particular purpose for allies or foreign bases. They are simply a financial drain.
Imperial Spain roamed and ravaged the world in search of gold. Trump advocates a kinder, gentler form of wealth transfer from abroad, though equally gold-oriented.
Thus, if Japan and South Korea don’t pony up more money for our troops stationed there, we go home. The possible effects on the balance of power in the Pacific Rim or on Chinese hegemonic designs don’t enter into the equation.
Same for NATO. If those free-riding European leeches don’t give us more money too, why stick around? Concerns about tempting Russian ambitions and/or aggression are nowhere in sight.
The one exception to this singular focus on foreign policy as a form of national enrichment is the Islamic State. Trump’s goal is simple — “bomb the s*** out of them.” Yet even here he can’t quite stifle his mercantilist impulses, insisting that after crushing the Islamic State, he’ll keep their oil. Whatever that means.
Krauthammer posits that the "closest historical analog to Trump's foreign policy is King Philip II of Spain. I have all the admiration in the world for Charles Krauthammer, but Trump is not at all like Philip II. The king's foreign policy was driven, above all by his religious fervor. He used the gold his country hauled in from the New World to fund his military attacks on Protestants and Muslims. This is the king of Spanish Armada. He was the main financier of the Holy League that won the naval battle, Lepanto that defeated the Turks and won control of the Mediterranean for the Europeans. He funded the Catholics in the bloody series of French Wars of Religion. It was against his armies that the Dutch fought their wars of independence. His policies were not about trade or economic warfare; they were about religious warfare.
The only similarities I can see between Philip II is that they were both lucky in their inheritances, they married several times, and they mismanaged their wealth. Philip's father was the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, or Carlos I of Spain, probably the luckiest man in history as far as inheritances went. From his father, Philip inherited Spain, its possessions in the New World plus the Philippines which are named after him, Naples, and the Netherlands. Instead of managing this empire wisely, Philip ran an inefficient state and overextended the country by constant warfare to fight against his religious enemies. His foreign policy was interventionist and usually unsuccessful. I don't think the parallels with Trump hold up at all.
Oh, and during his reign, Spain had to declare bankruptcy five times. I guess, like Donald Trump, Philip would have said that those weren't personal bankruptcies so they don't count.
Like Trump, Philip was married several times, although he did not divorce his wives. His final marriage was to his niece, something not uncommon among the Habsburgs. But then, maybe a man who often jokes about dating his own daughter might be able to relate.
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For all the talk about what role the Republican Party might play in who gets the party's nomination, there doesn't seem to be quite as much attention being paid to how the Democratic Party leaders are working together to make sure that Hillary wins the nomination. Bruce Bialosky writes,
As of the writing of this column, The Congenital Liar (TCL) has won 1,243 delegates and the kindly, old Socialist has won 975. With the total number necessary to win the nomination being 2,383 delegates, one could easily judge this to be a horse race with a couple of furloughs to go.
Not so in the “Democratic” Party, where the will of people does not matter. They have what they call superdelegates (which is a nice way to say Party Bosses; or, if you don’t like that term, Insiders or better yet The Establishment). TCL leads the Socialist by a current count of 469 to 29 in that count, spreading her lead over him to 708 delegates and making her close to being the nominee.
Just think what might be happening out there without this manipulation of the nomination process. The candidate drawing the bigger crowds and winning quite frequently would be perceived as the one with the momentum toward gaining the party ring. Instead of speaking about Sanders throwing in the towel, the press would be hounding TCL about whether she is going to collapse again like she did in 2008.
How come we're not hearing more about how the party elites have already stepped into the campaign to make sure that their candidate will win without paying attention to what the people are saying?
Aren’t these the very people Sanders’ people are rebelling against? An estimated 714 establishment types are stealing the will of the people. It would be different if Sanders had only 300 delegates from the people, but he is within striking distance of TCL.
Of course, these rules were made by the people who would be designated as superdelegates, for their own benefit to protect their own interests. After all isn’t that what the establishment does -- thwart the will of the people? As the Wall Street Journal states “One reason Mr. Sanders get no respect is because Democratic elites prefer a nominee who disguises her socialism better than he does.” Where is Rodney Dangerfield when you need him?
I bet that there are a while lot of Republican party leaders who are envious of the Democrats' superdelegates and wish that their party had had the foresight to write rules that gave them about a third of the number of delegates needed for nomination. I bet Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio might be thinking the same thing.
John Podhoretz writes that Hillary Clinton's anger and frustration at Sanders' continued lèse majesté in staying in the campaign even though the support of superdelegates make it a quixotic venture.
The frustration is palpable. Everybody says Sanders can’t win. Everybody says she has the Democratic nomination sewn up. And yet there Bernie is and he won’t go away — and instead of suffering the power outages endemic to socialist regimes, he’s the Energizer Bunny on steroids.
What are these lies about her Hillary is so angry about? The specific claim that set her off didn’t come from the Sanders campaign but from a leftist activist who asked Clinton to defend taking “fossil-fuel” money. She said she didn’t — indeed, it’s illegal for any corporation to donate to a presidential campaign — but then she basically acted as though the activist were an official of the Sanders team spreading falsehoods about her.
The reason the charge makes her angry is that she knows it’s “sticky” — the kind of idea that goes viral. She had faced the same question a few times in previous weeks, all due to an article published by the radical group Greenpeace detailing $300,000 in donations to Clinton from people who work in the oil and gas industries.
But it’s not “sticky” because it’s about oil and gas. It’s sticky because it resonates with the idea that Clinton is a corporatist in liberal garb secretly plotting to serve the interests of big business and Wall Street against the modest folk. The supposed evils of Wall Street are the focus of the Sanders campaign, and one of the reasons Sanders is bedeviling Clinton’s every step is the ease with which he can tie her to them.
She has only herself to blame in this regard. After all, it was her decision and hers alone to take gigantic speaking fees from investment firms at a time when she knew she was going to be running for president in short order.
A politician with a natural sense of the negative emotions roiling inside her own party would have foregone such gigs. Did she need the money? Please. Her husband made more than $100 million in speaking fees between 2001 and 2013, when she left government. Surely she could have borrowed a couple of bucks from him if she was short before payday.
But she didn’t. She took the dough. And that helps to explain why she sputters with rage when confronted with the leftist-populist accusation she hasn’t been hard enough on corporations like oil-and-gas producers closely tied to the “millionaires and billionaires” Sanders excoriates hourly.
And Bernie keeps chugging along with strong support from people willing to put their money where their hearts are. We just learned that he raised $109 million in the first three months of 2016. That is only $3 million less than what Hillary raised in the entire year of 2015. If the media weren't so focused on Donald Trump, they'd be spending all their time marveling at Bernie's sustained support and Hillary's weak candidacy.
Oh, by the way, when Hillary says that the Clinton Foundation has been totally transparent, she is totally lying. Guy Benson eviscerates that claim.
(1) Clinton Foundation Failed to Disclose 1,100 Foreign Donations (Bloomberg): "There are in fact 1,100 undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, Giustra says, most of them non-U.S. residents who donated to CGEP... in 2008, the Clinton Foundation signed a 'memorandum of understanding' with the Obama White House agreeing to reveal its contributors every year. The agreement stipulates that the 'Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative' (as the charity was then known) is part of the Clinton Foundation and must follow 'the same protocols.' It hasn’t."
(2) Clinton charity never provided foreign donor data (Boston Globe): "An unprecedented ethics promise that played a pivotal role in helping Hillary Rodham Clinton win confirmation as secretary of state, soothing senators’ concerns about conflicts of interests with Clinton family charities, was uniformly bypassed by the biggest of the philanthropies involved. The Clinton Health Access Initiative never submitted information on any foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton’s tenure from 2009 to 2013...During that time, grants from foreign governments increased by tens of millions of dollars to the Boston-based organization." (See the original for links and two more reasons to scoff at Hillary's claim.)
Hillary Clinton is pretending to be a populist as she seeks to crowd Bernie Sanders on the left and take advantage of the anti-establishment ardor on the left. But, as Jonah Goldberg points out, the "Clintons are in no position to surf the populist wave." She's trying to embrace Obama and his legacy to win his supporters while still blasting Wall Street.
And the Clintons, both darlings of Wall Street who have enriched themselves by exploiting their connections to it, are badly positioned to withstand, never mind exploit, the populist tide. That’s why Hillary Clinton can’t put Bernie Sanders away. That’s why Bill is turning up the heat on the “awful legacy” of the last eight years. And that’s another reason Hillary will have a harder time in the fall than people think.
Apparently, Donald Trump is upset with his aides because they were so far behind Ted Cruz in working the delegate selection efforts in individual states. Trump was so clueless that Reince Priebus had to explain to him what his staff should have already known.
When the discussion turned to the wrangling of delegates to the party’s nominating convention in Cleveland this July — an issue that has dogged Mr. Trump and his skeletal campaign organization for months — Mr. Priebus explained that states all had different rules governing how they were selected.
Mr. Trump has found himself at a disadvantage in some states, as his aides have allowed rival campaigns to peel some delegates away. Mr. Trump mentioned Louisiana, where he won the primary, but where Senator Ted Cruz is likely to come away with more delegates after exploiting peculiarities in the state’s system, according to those briefed on the meeting.
The situation in Louisiana infuriated Mr. Trump, who threatened this week to sue the Republican National Committee over it.
But when Mr. Priebus explained that each campaign needed to be prepared to fight for delegates at each state’s convention, Mr. Trump turned to his aides and suggested that they had not been doing what they needed to do, the people briefed on the meeting said.
I thought he hired the best people. Instead, he's basically run the campaign based on his own instincts, his Twitter account, and the free media he's been given. Actually understanding the rules that were written long before Trump ever got into the race was beyond him. Can you imagine this guy trying to pick up the reins of the entire executive branch?
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There seems to be quite a split among former and present-day Navy SEALs over those who are using their time as a SEAL as a way to gain national prominence either by writing books, appearing on TV, or running for national office. The government can't decide if they want to ride the wave of popularity about the SEALs or stifle attempts to cash in on the elite fighting force.
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Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster who worked for the Rubio campaign, explodes the idea that the Republicans can win the 2016 election simply by bringing out the supposed "missing white voters" who didn't show up to vote in 2012. Some are making that argument and positing that Donald Trump is just the candidate to bring those voters out. Please.
But what about “the missing white voters” whom Trump supposedly would energize and bring into the electorate? Weren’t there more than 4 million whites who voted in 2008 but not 2012? Yes, and Mitt Romney lost by 5 million votes. Had every one of the missing white voters turned out and voted for Romney, he still would have lost.
Those whites who did not vote were concentrated in the deepest red states — Arkansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia — where President Obama never had a chance and lack of competition drove down turnout. No evidence exists of a dramatic falloff among white voters in the swing states that decide the outcome of a presidential contest.
Conservatives are fond of calling for dynamic scoring of the financial impact of changes in tax policy, where individuals’ behavior is incorporated into the estimate. For example, doubling the tax on yachts does not generate twice the revenue, because people in turn do not buy as many yachts.
We should apply the same concept to voter turnout. Would a Trump nomination bring more white voters to the polls? Undoubtedly, based on the high viewership of Republican debates and the high turnout in Republican primaries so far. Higher white turnout could conceivably put some of the Democratic-leaning but overwhelmingly white states of the Great Lakes region into play.
But the other side gets to play this game, too. There may have been 4 million fewer whites who voted in 2012, but there were also 12 million eligible Hispanic voters who stayed home. We know it is easier to drive voters to the polls to vote against rather than for a candidate — witness the tea party’s success in 2010 and 2014 in trying to stop the Obama agenda.
How difficult would it be to increase Hispanic turnout, given Trump’s ratings and his threat to deport 11 million immigrants? The easiest job in U.S. politics in 2016 goes to the Democratic operative charged with doubling Hispanic turnout to stop Trump. And that could put some Republican-leaning states with higher nonwhite populations, such as Georgia, into play.
Trump has a serious Republican problem as well. Since 1984, no victorious Republican presidential candidate has received less than 91 percent support from Republicans. Trump’s favorable to unfavorable ratings among Republicans are 52 percent to 47 percent, with 34 percent strongly unfavorable. A candidate beginning a general election campaign with almost half of his party holding unfavorable views is a non-starter. Contrast that with Hillary Clinton’s favorable to unfavorable ratings among Democrats of 78 percent to 20 percent.
Ted Cruz has also made this argument. It's a fallacy. I don't think, however, that Cruz would have the same ability to drive Hispanics out to vote for Hillary that Trump would. It's going to be a tough fight for whomever the GOP candidate would be, but why go ahead and pick the one most likely to turn off voters or, even worse, set them to voting for Hillary?
Naomi Schaefer Riley tackles a question I asked my husband just the other day: who are the 26% of women who have a favorable opinion of Donald Trump? Her theory is that these are women who are looking for the candidate who will be strongest on security issues.
So what is a security mom to do? Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who is working for a Ted Cruz super PAC, says that when she’s interviewed female Trump supporters, they say they are most concerned about “security, fairness and patriotism.” They like the strength that he projects. Like his male supporters, they are attracted to Trump’s claims of being an outsider because women are particularly concerned with the “corruptibility” of elected officials. And, finally, says Conway, they are attracted to his message of “optimism.”
Well, I can certainly voting on "security, fairness, and patriotism," but these women need to realize that nothing about a hypothetical Trump administration would make us more secure.
As much as I sympathize with the desires of these Trump supporting security moms to make America safe again, I think their choice of candidate is completely misguided. The letter signed by more than 100 GOP foreign-policy experts last month makes the case plainly. As these former cabinet secretaries, diplomats and wonks note, “Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe and which would diminish our standing in the world.”
These are men and women who have been consistently critical of the administration that has gotten us to this point. They have disagreed with each other about American actions in both Iraq and Syria, but they are consistent in their belief that Trump would put us in danger.
Between his admiration for Vladimir Putin and his demand that our allies pay us for protection, Trump would seem a better candidate for running the mob than the United States.
The tragedy is that Trump’s failings make a Hillary Clinton presidency all the more likely. If the security moms don’t feel safe now, imagine what the world will look like after four more years of the same policies.
If they're concerned about national security, supporting Trump will just get us more of the same sort of policies we'd had under Obama once Hillary cruises to election.
While we all focus on Trump's unpopularity with women, Hillary isn't all that popular with them either.
SNL found one woman who defends Donald Trump.
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John Hasnas, a professor at Georgetown's business school, writes about the one kind of diversity that colleges and universities are distinctly uninterested in - ideological diversity. They'll do all they can to recruit women and racial minorities as faculty, but would never think of doing the same thing for ideological diversity even though conservatives are just as rare, if not more so, than racial minorities in the faculty lounges.
Yet, in my experience, no search committee has ever been instructed to increase political or ideological diversity. On the contrary, I have been involved in searches in which the chairman of the selection committee stated that no libertarian candidates would be considered. Or the description of the position was changed when the best résumés appeared to be coming from applicants with right-of-center viewpoints. Or in which candidates were dismissed because of their association with conservative or libertarian institutions.
I doubt that my experience is unusual. According to data compiled by the Higher Education Research Institute, only 12% of university faculty identify as politically right of center, and these are mainly professors in schools of engineering and other professional schools. Only 5% of professors in the humanities and social-science departments so identify.
A comprehensive study by James Lindgren of Northwestern University Law School shows that in a country fairly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, only 13% of law professors identify as Republican. And a recent study by Jonathan Haidt of New York University showed that 96% of social psychologists identify as left of center, 3.7% as centrist/moderate and only 0.03% as right of center.
Of course, if you followed the reasoning for why it is important to have racial diversity on a faculty, the same logic would apply for ideological diversity.
It is also claimed that being in a diverse academic environment better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce, and that this preparation can only be developed through exposure to people of diverse cultures, ideas and viewpoints. And a diverse faculty provides students with role models who demonstrate that people from all backgrounds can achieve intellectual excellence and are worthy of respect.
These are good arguments. But surely the robust exchange of ideas is enhanced by exposure to and interaction with people who have diverse political and philosophical viewpoints, not only cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Actually engaging with those with whom one disagrees can break down stereotypes and promote understanding across ideological divides. And if students see faculty members who share their unpopular viewpoints, they may be more inspired to pursue intellectual excellence.
As Hasnas points out, Yale has announced that they're going to spend $50 million to "enhance faculty diversity" and Brown will spend $100 million to hire faculty from underrepresented racial groups. But no university would ever dream of doing the same thing for hiring conservatives.
Predominantly liberal faculties identify merit with positions that are consistent with theirs, see little value in conservative and libertarian scholarship, and perpetuate the left-wing stranglehold on the academy.
Having a diverse faculty is a genuine value for a university and its students. Indeed, it may be valuable enough to justify spending $50 million or $100 million to increase the percentage of women and minority professors. But if diversity is really such an important academic value, then why are universities making no effort to increase the political and ideological diversity of their faculties?
While Donald Trump has adopted the Democrats' misleading characterization of Scott Walker's term as Wisconsin's governor, the truth is so very different.
The Badger State’s jobless rate was 4.6% in February, below the 4.9% national average (which bumped up to 5% in March). Wisconsin’s labor participation rate rose to 68.7% in February from 68.4% the month before. That’s lower than the 70.9% that Wisconsin reached in February 2007, but then the labor participation rate has fallen much further in the rest of the U.S. The national labor participation rate inched up to 63% in March, which is still close to lows last seen in the late 1970s. According to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, only six states have a higher labor participation rate than Wisconsin.
The reality is that—like Ohio, Michigan and Indiana—Wisconsin has been doing well in the wake of conservative reforms. These include Act 10, which reduced the monopoly power of public unions, tax reduction and regulatory reforms, school-choice expansion and more recently a right-to-work law that lets workers choose whether to join a union and pay dues.
Mr. Trump was able to defeat Mr. Walker in the presidential race, but he won’t succeed in persuading voters not to believe what they’ve witnessed with their own eyes.
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This is quite funny. Buzzfeed imagines how Donald Trump would review great works of literature on his Twitter feed.
As we wait for tonight's NCAA men's championship game, we're finding out even more sleaze about UNC Chapel Hill. I know that the sportscasters want to fulfill Roy William's wish to ignore the story, but the Raleigh News and Observer's reporter Dan Kane has been quite assiduous in following the academic scandal. Last week he reported on another way that UNC misled the NCAA. The university has long claimed that the limits of 12 hours on students taking independent studies classes started in 2006. Now it's becoming clear that the limit started before 2003 and went back to the early 1990s. THis is important because the NCAA is limiting itself, not to the clear academic fraud perpetrated by the university, but to whether athletes were given impermissible benefits not available to other students.
Going back further than 2006 would add well more than 100 athletes to the list of 10 that the NCAA said exceeded the independent study limit through classes that had no professor, never met and yielded a high grade for an end-of-class paper.
For example, records show many athletes on the 2005 men’s basketball championship team took multiple fake classes, which were directed and graded by a clerical employee in the African studies department – including a star player who took 12 hours’ worth in the spring semester when the team won the title....
The question of the independent study limit could come into play as the NCAA considers how and whether to punish UNC for what the NCAA says are five serious violations.
The NCAA’s notice of allegations, issued last May, appears to accept UNC’s contention that the limit started in the fall of 2006. The notice said from the fall of 2006 to the end of the 2010-11 academic year, 10 athletes exceeded the limit, which was an impermissible academic benefit under NCAA rules.
But if the limit has been in existence much longer, it could capture 140 more athletes who had exceeded it, according to a spreadsheet in the NCAA’s exhibits. The spreadsheet identifies students who had enrolled in more than 12 hours of independent study and “anomalous courses” from mid-2000 to mid-2011.
That presumably would include Rashad McCants, whose transcript shows he took nothing but fake classes in the semester during the championship run. He had taken seven others prior to that semester, making a total of 11, or 33 hours.
During the 2004-05 national title season, records show the team accounted for 35 enrollments in fake classes.
Dan Wetzel explains why UNC's 2005 championship should be disqualified.
This is still a topic because when Williams won his first NCAA title in 2005, it was one tear-filled feel-good moment. Man, CBS could hardly contain itself over that one. Ol' Roy finally won the big one, dadgumit. Of course, that UNC team featured seven players who earned degrees from the African and Afro-American Studies Department and thee others who didn't graduate at all.
At the time, the NCAA referred to all of them as "student-athletes."
One of the guys who didn't graduate was junior star Rashad McCants, who in the fall semester of that championship season failed two classes: algebra and psychology. (Don't ask why a college junior was taking algebra, let's just assume it was very challenging version of algebra.) With his eligibility on the line, McCants enrolled in four of the now discredited classes in the spring and, while winning the championship and declaring for the NBA, managed straight A's in every one of them – a 4.0 GPA to go with his 16.0 ppg.
McCants says the classwork was all a joke. In an interview with ESPN he described his academic career as "almost a tragedy."
On Monday, the NCAA still referred to all the players as "student-athletes."
Roy Williams thinks that all this "junk" has been talked about too much. I'm sure he does, poor guy. No coach wants his professional life's greatest achievement tarnished by the evidence that he cheated to keep his players eligible.
Of course, the NCAA is taking a leisurely approach to their investigation so that it conveniently won't be wrapped up until after the tournament.
John U. Bacon writes about the lack of principles at the NCAA at PostGame,
But we were stunned to learn that hundreds of University of North Carolina football and basketball players had availed themselves of either "aberrant" or "irregularly" taught courses, defined by ESPN.com as those which entailed "unauthorized grade changes, forged faculty signatures on grade rolls and limited or no class time." In fact, we now know some 226 North Carolina basketball players took these bogus courses for phony grades, for almost two decades.
So what has the NCAA done? Almost nothing, of course -- and it has being doing it for years. The NCAA argued that, because half the students in those classes were not athletes, it was a university matter, not an NCAA one. So it left the mess for the university to clean up. But it was a big enough mess for the UNC chancellor to resign over it.
To make any sense of these situations, you have to understand how the NCAA works -- or doesn't, as is often the case. The key for me was learning that the NCAA was created in 1905 to police college athletics, but soon after the 1979 championship game, featuring Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, it realized there was money to be made -- big money -- so it became saloonkeeper, too.
If you can't guess which of those two jobs it is more passionate about, you need only heed Deep Throat's maxim: Follow the money. Of the NCAA's $777 million budget in 2012, only 1 percent of it was earmarked for enforcement, which hardly serves as an endorsement for its priorities, or its efficacy in keeping college sports clean. It's all the more revealing to study just where the NCAA spends its relatively paltry resources for investigations.
Whenever a college athletic program gets itself in trouble with the law, the NCAA usually steers clear, sticking to worrying about how many minutes a week student-athletes are allowed to stretch, the distance they can travel in a car with an alumnus, and whether they are allowed to put cream cheese or jam on their free breakfast bagel. (Until recently, they were not.)
....If making sure athletes are bona fide students is not a central mission of the NCAA, from its very inception in 1905, you have to wonder what exactly its central mission might be. A principle is something you follow, even when it goes against your immediate self-interest, like allowing Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, a town with a significant Jewish population, to protect the principle of free speech. But the NCAA doesn't follow any principle that runs against its immediate self-interest -- even if it means unwittingly endangering its long-term survival.
On the rare occasions when the NCAA does go after someone, as Taylor Branch pointed out in his seminal piece in The Atlantic, it typically focuses its "public censure on powerless scapegoats." Not the athletic directors or the head coaches -- whose millions can buy teams of topflight lawyers -- but the assistant coaches, the low-ranking administrators, the poorly paid tutors and the players.
That's when you realize: The NCAA is no longer an enforcement agency, but a marketing company. Once you grasp that, everything the NCAA does -- and doesn't do -- suddenly makes a lot more sense.