Jeb Bush is Certifiable III: The Wrath of Iraq

Its mind boggling to me that the single most obvious question that potential candidate Jeb Bush would be asked caught him completely unaware.  First with Megyn Kelly on Fox:

In an interview set to air Monday, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked presumptive presidential candidate Jeb Bush if he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003 “knowing what we know now.”

“I would have,” the Republican answered. “And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that they got.”

OK, maybe he misheard the question; it’s Monday right?

Monday meme

 

 

 

 

 

So on Tuesday, Jeb goes on Hannity to clear things up.

“I interpreted the question wrong I guess…Knowing what we know now, you know, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead-up to the war and the lack of focus on security. And my brother’s admitted this, and we have to learn from this.”

Blah blah blah, but as to knowing what we know now?

I don’t know what that decision would have been, that’s a hypothetical”

So mistakes were made, and apparently by that mysterious entity known as the third person, and a refusal to answer.

Now many times it’s fair to say that hypothetical questions shouldn’t be answered, however the Iraq War wasn’t hypothetical, it was real, and an answer to that question is an excellent proxy to all sorts of foreign policy views.

Particularly if your last name is Bush.

On Wednesday, Bush got ambushed by a college student and was able, finally to give a half way decent answer to a question about Iraq, however it’s somewhat damning with faint praise to say he handled a question by a 19 year old idiot. But when he was asked questions by grownups According to the Washington Post, Jeb double downed on Tuesdays mistakes-were-made-hypothetical’s answer:

He was later asked about comments aired by Fox News on Monday that he would have ordered the Iraq invasion even knowing how the war unfolded and that intelligence used to justify the war was faulty. On Tuesday, Bush clarified his comments, saying he had misunderstood the question.

But a man in Reno asked Bush, “You said I think it was yesterday that I don’t want to answer hypotheticals. Don’t you think running for president is hypothetical when you say, if I run for president dot-dot-dot?”

“Rewriting history is hypothetical,” Bush replied.

He said that he had misinterpreted the question from Fox’s Megyn Kelly to mean “Knowing what you knew then, what would you do?”

“And I answered it honestly and I answered it the way I answer it all the time, which is that there were mistakes made, but based on the information we had, it was the right decision,” he said.

“What we ought to be focused on is what are the lessons learned?” he added. “There are two lessons. One is, if you’re going to go to war, make sure that you have the best intelligence possible and the intelligence broke down. That’s clear, clearly one of the mistakes of this. And secondly, if you’re going to do this have a strategy of security and a strategy and have a strategy to get out. And both of those things didn’t work the way they did, although I give my brother credit. Once the mess was created, he solved that mess with the surge and created when he left a much more stable Iraq that now, that was squandered in some ways when President Obama did not keep any small amount of troop level.”

Bush also dismissed “hypothetical” questions about the origins of the Iraq war as a “disservice” to U.S. troops who died or were injured in the war, and to their families.

By Thursday, Jeb was in Arizona and finally seemed to suspect that he might actually be asked about Iraq, and he had better come up with an answer.

If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.

And on Friday:

Friday

As I’ve argued here and here, Jeb Bush is mentally unprepared to be President.  All he cares about are illegal immigrants and when he’s not talking about that, it’s as if he’s never thought of the issue before, even when the issue is the most predictable question any potential candidate has ever gotten.

 

 

 

Jeb Bush is Certifiable: Part Deux

Jeb Bush 2I had written last month that I had thought Jeb Bush was a little bit cray cray because of his need to remake himself as someone he isn’t: a Hispanic.  So completely has he tried to strip away the culture he was born in, as scion of a northeastern WASP family, that his do over as El Jeb the Immigrant looks odd and uncomfortable. Now comes word that it’s passed into full scale delusion.  The New York Times reports that:

Mr. Bushy, a former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate, was born in Texas and hails from one of America’s most prominent political dynasties.  But on at least one occasion, it appears he got carried away with his appeal to Spanish-speaking voters and claimed he actually was Hispanic.

In a 2009 voter-registration application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Mr. Bush marked Hispanic in the field labeled “race/ethnicity.”

Carried away is putting it mildly.

Bush of course quickly sent out a tweet apologizing for his “mistake.”  But I’m not buying that.  This is the same guy who claimed he was Florida’s first “Latino Governor.”  Even if Bush was a Latino, that position was already taken by Bob Martinez. Such monomaniacal focus on remaking himself, at this stage in his life, is a red flag to me of a host of mental issues.

Don’t put this guy in the White House.

Jeb Bush is Certifiable

Jeb Bush was in Iowa last week sticking his toe in the water to see if he really could win the general by losing the primary.  I have to give him credit; he’s willing to stick to unpopular positions, even if they are politically toxic.  He reiterated his support for Common Core, which is unpopular with some conservative activists, and opposed renewal fuel standards, which although they are not popular with Republicans in general, are popular in Iowa. So he’s not afraid to run against the grain. But I just can’t, in this or any other parallel universe, imagine Jeb Bush winning the Republican nomination.     Jeb Bush

David Frum wrote a piece in The Atlantic last month describing Bush as a Republican version of Obama in that they have created artificial identities to hide behind.  In Bush’s case, he is from a northeastern WASP family via Texas and now regards himself as an adopted Hispanic, speaking Spanish in the home, converting to Roman Catholicism, and moving to the Capital of Latin America, Miami.   He may be the Republican Obama, but that’s not really his problem.

I don’t think Jeb will be the nominee because:

Last name Bush. Dynasties don’t wear as well with Republicans as they do with Democrats. If Carolyn Kennedy threw her pill box shaped hat in the race, she would have a decent shot because…last name Kennedy. And this is even though she’s an incompetent who blew her chance to be appointed senator by being unable to talk in interviews. Hillary is the Democratic “front runner” now only because of dynasty.

His family is messed up.  His wife isn’t comfortable in English (probably because of the practice of speaking Spanish at home), She also has a shopping problem. All of his kids have been arrested at least once and his daughter was a drug addict.  Not exactly a picture perfect first family.

But the real clincher is that the only national issue Jeb is associated with is amnesty, which is unpopular with the base.  Now of course whoever does end up with the nomination will probably be pro amnesty too since any anti-amnesty candidate won’t be able to get the funds to run. Republican donors are as pro amnesty as Chuck Schumer. But the other candidates will be associated with other issues. Jeb won’t. And on that issue he looks vacillating and contradictory. As I have written about previously, he came out with a book in 2013 about amnesty in which he proposed not offering a path to citizenship. Since he had always supported amnesty with citizenship before, on day 1 of his book tour he was asked why he changed his mind, and he stammered and it turned out he hadn’t changed his mind at all. So the first day of his book tour he disavowed the central premise of the book he was trying to sell. That will come up over and over in 2016.

Of course, what Jeb was hoping for was that by the time 2016 rolled around, amnesty would have been a done deal, and he could have pointed to the book to say, “See? I was opposed to citizenship!” That would place him to the right of the actual policy. I think the odds look poor for that now.

As a governor he wasn’t bad and was pretty tight with the State dollar, however he didn’t have any input in Federal areas like immigration. Frum’s article does make a good case for the similarities between Jeb and Obama, but I think the real take away is that when it comes to immigration, Jeb is certifiable. He seems to have no other passions other than illegal immigrants. And it’s not even a logical obsession.  It’s actually more about preferring Latin Culture and people to the more Anglo variety that Jeb hails from.  How else to explain the illogic of wanting to grant people who illegally cross the border amnesty (who are mostly Hispanic), but deport people who actually entered the country legally, but overstayed their visas (and who are primarily not Hispanic)?   Never has an American politician been so blatant about replacing me and my family with someone else that he likes better. Bush is obviously carrying around some mental issues about his fellow Americans.

The Democrats are far more circumspect than this.

I hate to be one of those, “I’ll never vote for…” types who swear they’ll never vote if McCain/Romney/fill in the blank wins the nomination, but I think Jeb would actually be worse than any conceivable Democrat.  Except maybe Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, and even then, I’m not sure Gutiérrez is as obsessed with illegals as Jeb is.

 

 

My Burwell Bet

Supreme Court

 

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today for yet another Obamacare case, this time, it’s King v. Burwell.  What’s the case about?  In short, from the text of the ACA:

“…the monthly premiums for such month for 1 or more qualified health plans offered in the individual market within a State which cover the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent (as defined in section 152) of the taxpayer and which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under 1311…”

The key phrase is “an Exchange established by the State.”  So since most States didn’t set up an exchange forcing people into the Federal exchange, none of the subsidies given for health plans through the Federal exchange are legal.  The ACA plainly stated that subsides could only go through State exchanges and the IRS, which crafted a rule allowing subsides through the Federal exchange, overstepped its boundaries outside of the text of the law and is in error.  This should be an open and shut case.  The IRS violated the text of the law, it was wrong, and subsidies should be halted from going through the Federal exchange, right?

Heh!

I don’t believe the law has anything to do with how the Supreme Court arrives at decisions.  If there were any questions to that, the way the Court handled the individual mandate should settle them.  The Court is a political animal.  If it were ever truly interested in a just and reasoned weighing of law and the Constitution, those days are long passed. Of course that makes it easier for me to predict the Court’s behavior.

That’s how I was able to predict the Court’s decision over the individual mandate.  As I wrote then:

“My gut feeling is that the odds are better than even that the court will uphold the mandate.  I base that on the fact that the mandate has 4 automatic votes for.  So that means that only one vote is needed to be swayed among the other five Justices who actually have to study this case (unlike Ginsberg and Breyer, who will be windsurfing instead of reading law books). “

I was right because the Court decision (Robert’s changing his vote) was purely political.  So since I’m feeling cocky, I’ll go ahead and lay my marker down now.  So in spite of the actual text of the law limiting subsidies to State exchanges, I predict that the Court will find against the plaintiffs and rule that the subsidies can pass through the Federal exchange.  The 4 liberal judges will of course vote to uphold the subsidies because…Obama.  The magical swing vote will either be Kennedy or Roberts.  If Kennedy votes against the plaintiffs, then Roberts, to save the law, will vote for.  But if Kennedy votes for the plaintiffs; abolishing the Federal subsidies, then Roberts will vote against, since he will then have a free vote to show his independence; as long as it means nothing.

Of course, I could be totally wrong and the Court could surprise me.  But no breath holding on my part.

 

 

 

 

Crusades VS ISIS: What’s the difference?

The President kicked up quite a ruckus last week during the National Pray Breakfast when in his remarks he compared ISIL to the Crusades. 

No really.  First the warm up:

But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it.  We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism  — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions. 

We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

So he is clearly putting his remarks in context with events that are occurring now.  But then, the swerve:

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation. 

So all of you people who are part of the coalition that’s fighting the Islamic State, hey, you’re not so great.  You are really as bad as the people you’re bombing.

Some pep talk huh?

I have to admit, I do find that mindboggling. Moral relativism is for academics and unemployed hipsters, not the President. The only reason to try to compare ISIS today with the Crusades centuries ago is to excuse ISIS. In the same week that a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by ISIS, the President feels the need to make a comparison with the Crusades? How does that help the coalition that he ostensibly leads?  Can you imagine FDR making the same comparisons with Hitler’s Germany?

“Troops, before you storm the beaches of Normandy, risking your lives to liberate France, just remember, you are no better than the people you are fighting.  Sure the Nazi’s are killing and enslaving people, but what do you think our country has done?  Massacred Indians enslaved Africans.  Really, we’re no better than the people I’m ordering you to kill.  So get to it!”

Basically the President is saying his side is no better than their side.

At a time in which the insane overreach of the Islamic State has lead to an opportunity to unify the Middle East against the IS, the President blew a chance to make it clear that the west was going to stand with Muslims and others who wished to support it against barbarians.  Instead he brought up the Islamist’s favorite go-to scare story about the West, the Crusades, and condemned his own side for thinking it was better than they were.

 

 

 

Scott Walker Peaking Too Early?

Scott Walker’s “surprise” win of the Kansas Straw Poll may be a shock to the establishment, but its zero surprise to me. Walker’s win has generated a flurry of articles on Walker as well as an appearance on This Week. But as far back as a year ago, I predicted Walker would probably be the best all around choice for the 2016 Republican primary process. He’s a governor of a purple/blue State who rose to national prominence battling the budget, pension reform, and unions.  He is attractive to both establishment types for a solid record of actually winning, and grass roots types for the ability to take on and wrestle to the ground left leaning special interests; something that’s not seen much these days.Scott Walker

Walker’s national prominence came about with his fight with Wisconsin public sector unions.  I wrote about the skirmish back in 2011 and thought at the time that Walker’s victory could have spelled the beginning of the end for public sector unions.  Alas, so far that victory has remained just Walker’s.   But the enmity he earned from both local and national Democrats and the left in general lead to a recall election, which Walker won handily.

By Republican standards, Walker is a stand out success story.  He battled the left and rather than backing down under a barrage of negative press, which Republicans traditionally do, Walker stuck to his guns and won a pretty substantial victory. Compare that to Jeb Bush, who’s sat out the various political battles since the 1990’s and now expects to ride in on a golden, donor financed chariot to be crowned the nominee based on the divine right of Bushes.

The Republicans do have a deep bench, at least compared to the Democrats.  In fact the Democrat’s bench consists of one person, Hillary Clinton.  If she gets sick, the Dems are in trouble for 2016. But the Republican’s bench consists of establishment types that are anathema to the base of the party, like Jeb Bush, and social conservative types that are anathema to the establishment like Mike Huckabee. The converged area on the Venn diagram of candidates that both the base and establishment can live with is almost as limited as the Democrats presidential bench.

Walker’s major problem with the base is his immigration position.  Walker has tried to be cagey and hold every position on the issue at once.  He has both supported a path to citizenship and made vague comments about fixing the system.”  However the fixing doesn’t seem to include border security or a wall.  In other words, he’s a pro amnesty open borders type, which should please the establishment wing.  Although I would love to make amnesty a disqualifier, the fact is there are no, I mean zero commonly mentioned Republican potential 2016 candidates that oppose amnesty.

In any case if Walker does enter the race, he’ll have to quit being cagy about immigration and speak directly to the issue.

But immigration isn’t even his biggest problem yet.  When I made my prediction on Walker last year, it was based on the idea that the talking heads and establishment media wouldn’t pay any attention to Walker until at least the Iowa Caucuses. But the results of the Kansas straw poll show that plenty of other Republicans were thinking along the same lines as I was.  The media has rediscovered Walker this week and they will remember in short order that they despise him. Walker is like Sarah Palin and Allen West combined, with a little Tom DeLay sprinkled on top. It’s too bad he couldn’t have flown under the radar a while longer, but if there is one Republican who knows how to fight back, it’s Scott Walker.

 

No One Expects the Gay Bakery Inquisition

Of all the myriad ways that the social and political battle over gay marriage could have evolved, I don’t think anyone could have seen coming the gay war on bakeries; cake on cake, icing against icing.  But that’s the current battlefield; make of that what you will.Gay Inquisition

As to the latest battle in the ongoing cake war:

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, is facing a complaint from a customer alleging she discriminated against his religious beliefs.

According to Silva, the man who visited last year wanted a Bible-shaped cake, which she agreed to make. Just as they were getting ready to complete the order, Silva said the man showed her a piece of paper with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She said she would make the cake, but declined to write his suggested messages on the cake, telling him she would give him icing and a pastry bag so he could write the words himself. Silva said the customer didn’t want that.

Clearly the guy ordering the cake was a troll trying to make a point, and no doubt the point will soon be made since the case was referred to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, but if you are anxiously wondering what, oh what they will decide, if their response is anything other than the allowing the baker to decline anti-Gay bigotry on her cakes, I’ll have a double helping of gay wedding cake with rainbow icing.  In fact, I’ll have a slice regardless of what the Colorado Civil Rights Division decides, because that sounds delicious.

However it will have to be on a “cheat day.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time this sort of trolling has occurred.  A Christian website called bakeries to see if they would make a cake with “Gay Marriage is wrong” written on it.  You can guess the results, but hey, there are some opinions a business owner can apply to his customers and others that he can’t.

Of course the original troll (of which there have been many copies) was the legal action taken against the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The shop was run out of business and started a veritable war on bakeries by gays that quickly expanded into other wedding services.

In New Mexico, a photographer who declined a job offer of photographing a same sex commitment ceremony was sued by New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission even though New Mexico didn’t even have gay marriage or civil unions at the time.  The photographer’s defense was on First Amendment grounds, but the First is gradually joining the Second in Amendments the left no longer recognizes. So a totally made up thing; like a “commitment ceremony” becomes not just a civil right, but a demand on everyone else to support it. Now on the list of services that this photographer provides, I rather much doubt “commitment ceremonies” were listed on the price sheet. But someone decided to troll and harass this businessperson anyway.  There is also the more famous Washington State florist case.

These aren’t religious institutions, these are individuals, and it looks like individuals are having their rights peeled away.  I can’t be indifferent to gay marriage, or even merely tolerant of it, the law is gradually going to force me to love, love, love gay marriage.

Religious institutions will eventually get theirs.  The people on the left who say they support religious freedom sure were supportive of the Obama administration’s initiative to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception.  If they can do that, they will eventually force churches to perform gay marriages.  That already happens in Europe and will happen in the US eventually, First Amendment or no First Amendment.

The US has become a strange and confusing place, where “rights” have become a zero sum game. For someone to get “rights” someone else must surrender theirs.

When “rights” start to conflict, then you are no longer talking about rights, you are talking about groups that have political power dumping on groups that don’t; even at the cost of real, constitutional rights. It’s pretty clear in this example whose constitutional rights are being violated.

The battle against gay marriage has long been lost, and it’s inevitable that in time, it will spread out to all 50 states.  If West Point is hosting gay marriages, then the Vatican will eventually.  Marriage went from being a social institution to civil right with benefits and prizes.   But during that battle, I’ve been told over and over that it doesn’t affect me and it doesn’t affect my marriage.

Yet no sooner did the Court ruling tide turned, the story changed, and I was told gay marriage meant there is a new (gay) sheriff in town, and his name is Intolerance.

I knew the promise that someone else’s gay marriage wouldn’t bother anyone would turn out to be a lie, but I admit I’m surprised with how rapidly we’ve gone to, “I just want my partner and I to have what you have,” to “You’re not allowed to ignore me, you must provide services for my over the top marriage extravaganza!  And if you don’t, I’ll see you in court!”

For the record, if I were a baker I would have no problem with taking money to make gay wedding cakes. In fact, that’s probably true for 99.9 percent of bakeries across the US, but then, there would be no reason to troll me or the vast majority of bakeries happy to make fabulous gay wedding cakes would there?  Instead, the hunt would be on to track down and run out of business the few who did have a problem with it.

To me, the common sense solution is that no baker should have to provide services he fundamentally opposes, but that’s too simple an answer now.  One view has to dominate and drive out everyone else who opposes it.