The Republican Contenders and the CNBC Assassination Squad

October 30, 2015

by Avi Davis

There are two pieces of big news which resulted from the third Republican debate which took place in Colorado on Wednesday night.  The first is that the CNBC moderators were shown to be out of their league.  They lost control of the proceedings early on and never really regained it and then compounded this failure by asking the most pointedly inane personal questions of the candidates, treating them as if they were circus animals being paraded for the network’s and audience’s enjoyment.

Ted Cruz of course slapped their insults right back at them when he lambasted their line of questioning which included crude characterizations of Donald Trump as a cartoon book character, Mario Rubio as an insolvent pauper, Ben Carson as incapable of “vetting” those who appropriate his image and Jeb Bush as a loser because his poll numbers have sagged.   Clearly the CNBC moderators had geared up for a confrontation with the Republican candidates, thinking of every means they could to cast them as interlopers and incompetents.

Is it any wonder then that no less than four of the candidates made specific reference to the nastiness of the questioning and the clear attempt by the moderators to paint those standing of the stage as little more than a group of truculent children with no business contending for the highest office in the land? And Ted Cruz was right to compare the treatment meted out to the Republicans with the way the Democrats had been gingerly handled two weeks prior.  If you remember that was a time when a proudly identified socialist unashamedly called for a political revolution in the United States – and his remarks did not seem to bat a lash on any moderator’s eye.

This is of course of a piece with the generally poor coverage of the Republican race.  Donald Trump, in Oklahoma this week, goaded the cameramen filming him to pan on the 10,000 strong audience he had attracted, knowing, as he said, that the filmed and written reports likely to follow would not mention any more than a handful in attendance. Mario Rubio, questioned about the Sun Sentinel’s editorial in Florida that day which had called for the Senator to resign his seat because he was absent so often from Senatorial proceedings,  illuminated that paper’s bias when he compared the Sentinel’s treatment of Senators Bob Graham,John Kerry and Barack Obama, when they all ran for president (missing far more Senate business than Rubio).  He just laughed at the paper’s hypocrisy.

So here’s the story on the real winners and losers in Boulder on Wednesday night:  The commentators were revealed to be petty, uninformed muckrakers with an axe to grind, trolling for any dirt they could dish up on the candidates;  while the candidates themselves, to a man (and woman) carried themselves with dignity under an assault from their interrogators. A victory for civility over contempt and a triumph of clarity over obfuscation.

One does to have wonder about the commitment of those who run Cable news networks to the ideas of fairness and openness for which they pride themselves as compared to the actual practices of those who sit behind their news desks.  In a fairer world each one of those CNBC  moderators would have been fired after Wednesday’s fiasco- for not only their blatant prejudice, but also for diminishing the American people’s trust in the accuracy of their reportage.

So the moderators lost.  But there was one other loss which occurred on stage that night that went largely unnoticed.

And that is the end of the Bush Era in U.S.politics.  From the time of George Herbert Walker Bush’s  rise to the vice presidency in 1980, until last night, it seemed certain that there would always be a Bush flapping his wings over or near the White House’s gates. It ended last night with Jeb Bush’s attempt to pour coal on the fire that the moderators had already lit under Mario Rubio, when he  suggested that Rubio should resign his Senate seat.  Rubio’s rapier response cut Bush to shreds and left him speechless and vulnerable.  He ended the evening an also ran, his campaign huffing to an abrupt halt.

 

 

Once hailed by both his father and his brother, former presidents of the United States, to be the best politician in the family, he has actually revealed himself to be its worst campaigner –  his lack luster debate performances and less than stellar speeches on the hustings, making him look uncomfortable and out of touch. It cannot be too long before the realization that there will not be a third Bush presidency spanning the last half century dawns on even the most diehard Bush followers and the Bush mint, which has determinedly hammered out two presidents over the past thirty-five years, will be shuttered for good.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of the Intermediate Zone


Pigs at the Trough

October 17, 2015

In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, the ever reliable columnist Daniel Henniger wrote the following about the first Democratic debate:

“What is striking about the candidates’ economic proposals is how disconnected they are from a private-sector economy. The Democrats have disappeared into a sealed world of public-sector economics, running to wishful thinking, like Bernie Sanders’s “tuition-free” public-college education. In Mrs. Clinton’s version, college would be “debt-free.”

CNN’s uncurious Anderson Cooper didn’t ask the senator how it could be “free.” But Mr. Sanders answered it himself: “I pay for my program, by the way, through a tax on Wall Street speculation.”

It is so fantastic. The Democrats, not least Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, seem to have discovered El Dorado itself in “Wall Street,” a city of infinite gold dust to finance their economic pyramids in perpetuity.”

 

So here we have the absolute irony of the Democrats’ crusade against the evils of capitalism: while happy to drink from the trough when it suits them, they will call for the trough’s removal, eclipse or destruction when the political winds are conveniently blowing their way.

For all the rhetoric about Wall Street and ‘casino capitalism’ from the Democratic candidates, one has to wonder what they actually mean by these terms?   Do they perhaps means entertainment giants such as Time-Warner, Sony Corporation and Viacom – publicly traded corporations on Wall Street whose executives have been major contributors to Democratic causes?  Do they perhaps mean Silicon Valley high fliers such as Google, Oracle and eBay – no strangers to Democratic politics?  Or do they perhaps mean the New York Times Company –  traded on the NYSE,; or the multinational conglomerate, Graham Holdings Company – owner of the Washington Post and many other news outlets – both of whose support the Democratic nominee  will desperately need in his or her quest for the White House

And don’t forget all those Wall Street bankers who are banging on the doors of Democratic Headquarters to be considered for jobs in the new Administration.  It should be remembered that both Hank Paulson  and Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretaries who both who served under Democratic Presidents, had prior storied careers on Wall Street.

El Dorado indeed.

Yet for some reason the same companies and bankers who never seem to tire of getting beaten up by candidates Obama and Clinton, continue to disgorge the dough when slapped on the rump.

Barack Obama raised a record $42.2 million in his 2008 election campaign from Wall Street bankers and financial insiders, and although the amount was considerably less in 2012, the fact that anyone on Wall Street was willing to give him a dime after his four year long jeremiad accusing them of having virtually raped the country, is a marvel in itself.

The truth is that there is a symbiotic relationship between politicians and ‘Wall Street’: One is seeking to buy and grease the passage to power and the other seeking to buy and secure influence.  It doesn’t matter which party it is or who the bankers and corporations may be:   Politicians need Wall Street and Wall Street just as badly needs politicians.

So all rhetoric aside, lets just agree that the political pigs will continue to feed at the financial trough, and the Democrats will continue to pretend to kick the trough away: yet will always quietly and secretly bring it back whenever they think that no one is looking.

 

Avi Davis is  the President of the American Freedom Alliance and  the editor of the Intermediate Zone


Democrats Demonstrate Historical Amnesia

October 14, 2015

by Avi Davis

One of the most remarkable things about Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas was not the way the candidates sought to differentiate themselves from one another, but rather how much they struggled to make themselves look the same.

Part of this was due to the presence of a 72 -year-old firebrand, whose ideological weight made the stage sag way down to the far left and had all the candidates tumbling in that direction.  Bernie Sanders, with his calls for a political revolution, a crusade against Wall Street, free college tuition for all Americans and the break up of national banks sounded more like Fidel Castro in 1959, than a modern day American presidential contender.  And yet, he received by far the greatest applause of the evening, so long lasting  that at one point  the debate began to resemble a rally rather than a genuine exchange of ideas between thoughtful progressive candidates.

 

 

What is truly remarkable is how little resistance these entirely bankrupt and out- of-date ideas received from the other candidates.  When Jim Webb meekly attempted to challenge Sanders’ wild rhetoric  – pointing out that a political revolution is not exactly on the horizon and that Congress was unlikely to pay for the exorbitant programs Sanders was proposing, his criticisms were met with deafening silence.  Hillary Clinton, the long favored front runner, seemed too busy touting her experience and the fact that she is a female to be much engaged in confronting both Sanders’ and the audience’s silliness.

But letting this stuff go bears consequences.  That is because Sanders now has a national voice – which he may not have had before – and his brand of  socialist propaganda, which would never have passed muster 22 years ago when Bill Clinton faced off against his Democratic challengers, is going to be taken seriously in the upcoming presidential race.

The extraordinary thing is that here we are in 2015, twenty five years after the collapse of the world’s greatest failed experiment in socialism, in a country, by dint of its free enterprise system, which has ensured a greater level of prosperity for a greater proportion of its population, than any other nation in history.  Each one of the candidates harped on the great income disparity between rich and poor ( “the greatest gap since  the 1920s!,” at least three of them howled)  – but its all quite relative.  Even those in the lowest income brackets in our society today live lives of comfort and ease when compared to the existences of those same poor in the 1920s. Cell phones, 50″ television screens, owner-owned cars and a variety of other electronic  possessions can be seen in the homes of the most dirt poor areas of Detroit, New Orleans and East Los Angeles.  While these are not true determinants of income, they are symbols of an affluence that the poor in the rest of the world deeply envy and  why so many are risking their lives as illegal immigrants to cross our borders.

No one on that stage last night should have needed a history lesson in how socialism actually operates in the real world and how it significantly failed millions and upon millions of its adherents in the 20th Century.

 

 

But apparently no one was bold enough to stand up to Sanders and call him out for the ridiculous figure he casts in 21st Century American politics. They were all too busy retreading tired liberal tropes about brutal police tactics, institutional racism, billionaire avarice, climate change exigencies, Republican obstructionism, Wall Street chicanery and pharmaceutical industry malfeasance – all of which form part of Bernie Sanders’ bucket list of complaints against America.

And while Sanders was barking his socialist wares, Hillary Clinton was left free to address the country’s significant problems with broad platitudes. Although CNN host Anderson Cooper admirably continued to grill her about the consuming email scandal and her failures regarding Benghazi, none of her competitors seemed to consider these considerable vulnerabilities to be fair game. Sanders actually offered her a hand out of the furnace, seeming to agree with her that the concern of the country over her honesty and good faith, are not matters worthy of general discussion in Democratic circles but should be remaindered as Republican scare tactics.

The other big winner of the night was Barack Obama.  None of the candidates sought to distance themselves from Obama’s abysmal foreign policy record, the sluggish U.S. economy, his failures to assist his much venerated middle class, nor the Obamacare fiasco that any of them would need to fix immediately should they become President.  Clinton, whom the White House appears not too eager to see as as a presidential successor, went out of her way to avoid attacking Obama’s record and legacy, carefully sidestepping his most egregious failures.

This was the weak and uncourageous field which stood before the American public on the stage in Las Vegas last night.  We deserved and deserve much better.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

 


Ann Coulter’s Helpful Gaffe

September 21, 2015

by Avi Davis

I have never been a big Ann Coulter fan. It has always appeared to me that her penchant for stirring political acrimony by name calling and ridicule was merely an attempt to mirror the same liberal tactic which so often offends conservatives. Maybe many among us welcomed the unbridled fury she unleashed against our liberal dominated institutions; but for me, her brand of populist rhetoric sank us into the same mire as our adversaries – reducing the debate to a mere game of mud slinging rather than a true struggle over ideas

So now we come to the high water mark of Coulterism: in a tweet during the second GOP Debate, she used an expletive to describe the candidates’ obsession with Israel, qua Jews. Immediately following and in the four days thereafter, her tweet unleashed a barrage of criticism from both the left and right, whose memberships now recognize that within our ranks lurk Buchananites whose support for Israel can never be taken for granted and to whom we must be wary lest we witness a recrudescence of the kind of isolationism which always brings with it the stench of antisemitism.

Coulter has spent a great deal of time trying to back pedal on her tweet but it hasn’t made much difference. The underlying animus remains and there is little chance for her now to disguise it.

But lets forget Coulter for the time being and answer her question:

Why is it that Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and most of the other candidates ( Rand Paul perhaps excluded) made and  make such a big fuss about Israel, mentioning the defense of Israel almost in the same breath as the defense of the United States?

Perhaps it could be characterized as mere pandering to the heavy Jewish vote in their constituencies -those whom they believe might be disenchanted with the anti- Israel tilt of the Obama Administration and are looking for a realignment.   Or perhaps it has something to do with some of their rich Jewish backers – such as Sheldon Adelson – who can help prop up sagging campaigns.

Actually, neither of these explanations are either true nor accurate. Every one of these candidates has been on record for years expressing unconditional support for the State of Israel and its security needs – and it is for one glaringly simple reason: they believe Israel’s security vouchsafes the United States’ security. Making that connection may not be so patently obvious given the geographical distance between the two countries. But it is abundantly clear to anyone who has heard jihadist rantings in mosques from Oslo to Riyadh – the two countries are regarded as the hydra headed monster whose joint destruction is essential to paving the way for the re-emergence of the Caliphate.

Big Satan and Little Satan – there is really no difference in the minds of America’s enemies – except perhaps in determining which one should be eliminated first. Given this fact, it is perfectly sensible and reasonable to make common cause with an ally who is really on the front lines of the defense of what are essentially American values and whose military and intelligence services stand resolutely in support of U.S national security needs.

So, please, give Ann Coulter her due. She raised an important question that now has been resoundingly answered. And perhaps never again in this campaign will the issue of why we give support to Israel or why we give such untoward attention to Jewish interests, will be asked again. Those interests are clearly American interests and what a great relief to find that that these formidable Republican candidates almost to a man (and now a woman) understand it.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

 

 


Second GOP Debate Brings Some Surprises.

September 17, 2015

by Avi Davis

The Second GOP Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley last night was a wonderful showcase of the great talent in the Republican nominating field. I was deeply impressed with several of the candidates who had not revealed their strengths in the first debate. Included among them was Chris Christie who stood effectively above the fray by calling attention to the pettiness of the exchanges between some of the other candidates and made some forceful points about foreign policy and planned parenthood; Marco Rubio continues to impress me with his remarkably articulate presentation – probably the best extemporaneous orator I have ever witnessed on the American political scene. Mike Huckabee presents as a clear sighted elder statesman who delivered the line of the evening when he reminded his fellow candidates that Ronald Reagan rarely spoke about what he personally could do for America as much as about the American potential for greatness. John Kasich is beginning to emerge from obscurity to present his brand of compassionate conservatism – which of course places him on the moderate ( dare I say “liberal”) wing of his party but positions him well to collect votes of disaffected Democrats.

But Carly Fiorina, to my mind at least, stole the show. Diminutive (at least in comparison to the men on the stage) and the only woman, she displayed a remarkable wit, pluck and was carefully prepared. If her words were rehearsed then it was not noticeable. She came across as confident and informed and very much a leader – clearly a skilled competitor to the others who are now forced to pay her the respect she deserves. Her line about Hilary Clinton – that logging flight time cannot be listed as an accomplishment – is a killer.

Of the others I did not think Scott Walker particularly distinguished himself, despite what other commentators have said. I am still waiting for him to look and sound presidential – that kind of ringing confidence still seems to escape him. Ted Cruz did well. but appears at times a little too stiff and robotic. There is not enough warmth nor personality in his presentation and he lacks the humor and self effacement of other candidates such as Ben Carson – all of which would help humanize him. Rand Paul was the big loser of the night. Diminished by the great Great Diminisher, Donald Trump, himself, he never quite recovered his poise;

Of the front runners, Jeb Bush did much better this time around but I can’t help wondering about his level of preparation and his sometimes faltering delivery. At least he stood up to Trump and did not allow himself to be kicked around again. Ben Carson was amiable, humorous and comfortable – but of all of them, his soft spoken demeanor, while attractive, tends to cast him as the guy you would like as your best friend, but not necessarily as your president.

Then of course there is front runner The Donald. ( Why am I calling him that????). He was warmer and less arrogant this time around and held his own against the others who tried to paint him as a light weight with no defined policies. This is, of course, a mistake. Trump is supremely intelligent and a quick study and what he says is true – what he doesn’t know he will pick up – and with speed. The jury is still out on whether he has the temperament to be president – he hardly ever talks about mustering support in Congress for his policies or of working together cooperatively with anyone. The first thing a President learns upon entering the White House is that no elected leader just pushes a button that gets things done. It takes extensive back slapping and glad handing of people you don’t really like and even consider your enemies.
Will he learn this and would he be able to engage in the political world like other cooperative presidents such as Ronald Reagan – and to a certain extent – Bill Clinton? That should be left to the questioning by hosts in future debates.

So much for presentation . I will talk about the substance of the disagreements on policy between the candidates in a post later today. .

Avi Davis's photo.
 Avi  Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone
Comments
  • Avi Davis
    Write a comment…

GOP HOPEFULS JUDGED BY NOT WHAT THEY SAY BUT HOW THEY SAY IT

August 10, 2015

By Avi Davis

Much has already been written about  the characterization of  the 17-strong field of GOP Presidential contenders as a stellar field of candidates, unlike anything seen in recent memory. That observation was only amplified by the first Republican debate on August 6th,making clear that this campaign has already produced a bumper crop – far out shining the measly pickings of only four years earlier.

And since they are off and running it is time to assess the prospects of these men and one woman.  The candidates who will take the lead in this race will not necessarily be those with the most detailed plans for righting the tottering U.S. ship of state; or those with the most refined vision.  It will be those those who can project the self assurance of a president.  What will ultimately matter in these early days will be not so much what the candidates say, but how they say it –  how they look on the stage and how they connect with an audience. Appearances, at this stage, are everything.

If we use these criteria to judge the performances of the first tier debaters on Thursday night ( I did not get a chance to watch the second tier), then the unqualified front runners emerging from the pack are Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Mario Rubio and  Ben Carson.  Cruz, because he was direct in his statements; did not flinch from his previously announced positions and presented a summary which was more targeted and emphatic than anyone else on the stage; Huckabee because he, more articulately than the others,drew attention to the prevailing malaise of the country and the lack of integrity and absence of vision within the country’s current leadership; Rubio, because he shone as the hardscrabble candidate, recounting his fighting struggle from poverty and debt to becoming a resoundingly articulate champion of American values;  And Ben Carson because he was the most likeable individual in the arena – bringing a levity and lightness to an otherwise overly serious discussion, without losing his focus on the gravity of the problems confronting the United States.

On the other hand, the two men who entered the debate as the once presumptive leaders-  Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, fell flat and were largely uninspiring;   Jeb Bush often looked uncomfortable and awkward – and by my reckoning was the least polished and articulate of the speakers;  Scott Walker, who boasts of being just an ordinary guy, actually presented more like an Average Joe, reminding me too often of the actor Chris Parnell who often parodied politicians just like him on Saturday Night Live.

Of the others, Chris Christie did himself no harm when he convincingly roasted Rand Paul over the NSA wire tapping scheme but did not impress as a self assured leader; he was a little too much New Jersey bouncer and less presidential aspirant than he could have been.  His unfortunate positioning on the stage at the beginning of the line of speakers allowed the cameras to catch his girth in full profile; Unfortunate, because Americans, at least in the modern era, do not tend to elect fat men to the presidency.  Rand Paul, receiving a convincing drubbing from Christie, did not recover well and looked rather deflated afterward.  John Kasich came across as a good and honorable man, but not strident in his views nor feisty enough in his demeanour to convince anyone that he would be capable of engaging in mortal combat with the take-no-prisoners Clinton machine.

Which leaves of course the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.  Donald Trump captured the limelight before entering the debate with a populist brand of politics which should be familiar to anyone with a sense of American history.  William Jennings Bryan in the  mid-1890s – and to a certain extent in the two presidential campaigns which followed – became the first candidate to appeal to a wide constituency with a stark, simple message short on specifics but long on bravado.  I thought of him as I watched Trump’s performance.  Trump’s encounter with moderator Megyn Kelly over his characterization of women has now degenerated into a war of attrition between himself and the press, who devoured his tantrum – and his astonishing continued campaign against her – as red meat – in the process turning him into more of a circus act than a leading presidential contender. He must be starting to realize that ‘The Donald’ brand, honed in a spectacular real estate and entertainment career, does not easily mulch down into political capital.  His perpetual frown and surly defensiveness (together with the Megyn Kelly interface and the confusing refusal to disavow a third party stand),transformed him from populist hero into the evening’s bully.  And in the end, no one really likes a bully.

But overall, it was a great evening, full of sparkle and energy and it should give those of us fed up with seven years of our failed experiment in progressivism considerable heart that daring and assertive American leadership , coupled with a return to U.S. greatness, could be just around the corner.


Netanyahu Delivers a Warning

March 3, 2015

 


%d bloggers like this: