Three for the Money: Carly, Walker, and Cruz

This week, three of the Republican candidates showed their mettle and had very good weeks. Majority leader Mitch McConnell and both the Democrat’s “inevitable” Hillary Clinton and the president’s standings sagged.

Carly Fiorina

Carly’s ability to handle the press and make a name for herself without a large staff or campaign chest continues. This week, she capitalized on videos showing Planned Parenthood to be involved in a distasteful racket, negotiating for the best price for aborted fetal tissue. 

Mainstream news outlets pretty much ignored the story, as Michael Barone noted:

The 2012 Obama campaign appealed to single women by suggesting that without Obamacare’s contraception mandate, contraceptives would somehow be unavailable -- a favorable way to frame the abortion issue. But the Planned Parenthood videos are, in the words of Democratic columnist Kirsten Powers, “stomach-turning stuff.”

Most mainstream media outlets are carefully avoiding the subject, as the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway points out. The New York Times and Washington Post ran 773 stories on the Confederate flag over the last month but only 31 on the Planned Parenthood video. Heavily pro-choice newsrooms have no appetite to discredit the nation’s leading abortion provider, but may be forced to as members of Congress hold hearings and propose legislation

Carly Fiorina, however, with her penchant for the main shot, did not ignore the issue. In interviews with CNN’s Jake Tapper and Fox and Friends, she refused to bite the usual media bait and instead turned tables on the interviewers, reminding viewers that it is the leading Democrat’s positions which are extreme and out of the mainstream.

“Let’s also talk about Hillary Clinton’s position,” Fiorina said. “Let’s talk about what ‘extreme’ is. It’s not a life until it leaves the hospital? That’s Hillary Clinton’s position. It’s Hillary Clinton’s position that a 13-year-old girl needs her mother’s permission to go to a tanning salon or get a tattoo, but not to get an abortion. It’s Hillary Clinton’s position that women should not be permitted to look at an ultrasound before an abortion, and yet people who are trying to harvest its body parts can use an ultrasound to make sure that those body parts are preserved, so they can be sold. That, Jake, is extreme.”

She was as deft in refusing to attack Scott Walker, in expressing concern about domestic security, and in agreeing with Trump and public sentiment on immigration policy.

She remained in charge of the interview when she appeared on Fox & Friends, and among other things, repeated her charges against Planned Parenthood:

“I’m pro-life, but I know plenty of pro-choice women who were horrified by this.”

Desperate Democrats charged the videos were out of context edits, but unedited videos were available and didn’t sustain that defense. I don’t recall any defense that this fetal tissue was vital for medical research outside of the organization’s public relations department. Probably because it isn’t. As Alicia Colon noted:

Can we put our taste buds into that category because companies like Pepsi, Kraft, Nestles, and many other companies get their flavor enhancers from a biotech company that uses clones of old fetal cell lines. Jill Stanek of LifeSite, answers some of those questioning Pepsico's involvement with the issue and its contracts with Senomyx:

The company. Senomyx, develops patented flavor enhancers by using "proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems." These receptors are made from HEK293. HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney cells. These cells, which were cloned, originally came from healthy, electively aborted human embryos. Using information from the human genome sequence.

President Obama's Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo's use of cells derived from aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under "ordinary business operations."

The liberal debunking site tried to mitigate the inferences of Pepsi and others but ended up confirming the salient facts. In a victory for the Pro-life movement, Pepsi has announced it will no longer use this flavor enhancer.

Carly is a most talented strategist and debater. More importantly, her views are not the blinkered ones of those who’ve spent their professional lives in the bubble -- she grasps the legitimate concerns and sentiments of voters outside of it. She’s tied in 7th place in this week’s Public Policy Polling. The more people see her in action, the more they like her.

Scott Walker

Scott Walker also carried on the fight against the left’s gotcha tricks and stupid ideas.

While perhaps not as articulate on his feet as Carly, Scott Walker, too, held his ground and adroitly managed a setup by pro-illegal immigration backers who’d transported an illegal alien and his family to one of his appearances and had the kid beg that the family not be separated:

 Flores asked the Wisconsin governor why he opposed President Obama’s immigration executive actions that would keep his family intact.

“We are a nation of laws,” Walker told him several times, emphasizing that the president had ample opportunity to pass immigration legislation during his first two years in office when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress -- yet he didn’t.

He also pointed out that the president’s executive actions on immigration -- which Obama himself claimed he didn’t have the authority to do -- have been halted in the federal court system.

“My point is that you have to follow the law, follow the process,” he told Flores. “No man or woman is above the law in this country -- that’s the beauty of America.” 

On the preposterous Iran deal, some of which seems to have been written in invisible ink because Susan Rice says there’s a side agreement no one’s seen -- even, apparently, the always incredible John F. Kerry -- Walker spoke for most of us: in an interview with the National Interest’s editor

The Iran deal is a terrible agreement that will be remembered as one of the biggest diplomatic disasters in U.S. history. It is a threat to our safety and the safety of our closest allies, especially Israel. It gives an American stamp of approval to the Iranian nuclear program, undermines the principle of nonproliferation across the globe, lifts the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran, and provides a signing bonus of around $150 billion to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Seeing this bad deal and President Obama’s lack of resolve, our allies are now taking matters into their own hands. That’s why I’ve said this deal is the starting pistol in a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race and will actually make war with Iran more likely, not less.

Iran’s Supreme Leader should know that a future American president will not be bound by this dangerous agreement. As president, I will terminate the deal on day one by immediately re-imposing sanctions against Iran, working with Congress to impose new crippling sanctions, and convincing our allies to do the same. This will not be an easy task, but given how bad this deal is, we cannot delay. When America truly leads and works with our allies, we can negotiate with Iran from a position of strength, prevent the regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and roll back Tehran’s influence across the Middle East.

In the same interview he laid to rest the suggestion that poncing around the Senate is better foreign policy preparation for the presidency than managing a state as its governor:

I believe that, in my lifetime, the greatest president on issues of national security and foreign policy was Ronald Reagan -- a governor from California. Americans want a leader who will fight and win for them. Governors must actually govern and follow through on their platforms and campaign promises. 

Looks like the usual media games with tongue-tied conservatives aren’t working.

Ted Cruz

Cruz is also a great debater and this week in a move that took a lot of people’s breath away, he challenged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom most conservatives consider a  failure, a tool of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, too willing to cozy up to Democrats for the benefit of big business, and too willing to ignore the election promises made to Republican voters.(The procedural Dance of the Seven Veils by McConnell is described by Ace of Spades)  Cruz’ speech lasts 20 minutes, though regretfully I have not been able to find a transcript of it.

He targeted McConnell’s actions on blocking the defunding of the Export-Import Bank, widely viewed as a tool of corporate cronyism. He included in his attack on the procedural jostling the McConnell actions on ending the Congressional exemption to ObamaCare and funding to Planned Parenthood in the must-pass Transportation Bill, using language stronger than ever any of us can remember hearing on the floor of the usually decorous U.S. Senate: 

"That has consequences for how this body operates," he said. "If you or I cannot trust what the majority leader tells us, that will have consequences on other legislation, as well as on how this institution operates." 

Within hours of this blistering attack, McConnell called up a fast track bill on defunding Planned Parenthood

This week, Cruz also spoke at a rally condemning the deal with Iran and in the process handled superbly the Code Pink loonies ever-present at anything that supports a strong national defense.

This week, these three candidates demonstrated to voters and the press that not all Republicans are stupid pushovers for the slimy tactics of the press and the Democrats and their willing pawns.

Is Standing Up to the Left Working?

It seems to be. Michael Barone and Jay Cost, two of my favorite analysts, have some insights to share on this.

A.) The Democrat Coalition is Splintering

Hillary’s being dragged down by her email scandal and credibility failings as well as Sanders’ appeal to the party’s increasingly left wing base. 

Obama’s popularity is fading rapidly, too.

Barone notes that in trying to pull together a disparate collection that will carry them to 51%, the Democrats are faltering. “Gentry liberals” and “black activists” are at odds, and notes three critical issues dividing the party -- black activism, funding Planned Parenthood, and illegal immigration. 

“It would be a terrible mistake for the progressive movement to split into a ‘black lives matter’ movement and an ‘economic justice’ movement,” laments Clinton administration Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. But the fact is that the different priorities of gentry liberals and black activists, two heavily Democratic constituencies, are sparking heated arguments.


Then there is the issue of sanctuary cities, highlighted by the murder on July 1 of Kathryn Steinle by a five-times-deported illegal immigrant whom the San Francisco sheriff set free rather than turn over to federal authorities. 

Democrats have defended sanctuary-city policies by arguing that illegal immigrants won’t cooperate with law enforcement if they’re afraid of being deported. But, for some, the San Francisco murder was too much. House minority whip Steny Hoyer, with evident sincerity, decried San Francisco’s action. So, perhaps more tactically, did Hillary Clinton. 

But some Hispanic leaders and liberal city officials defend sanctuary cities’ policies. And so, as congressional Republicans press the issue, Democrats are likely to be split.

B. Obama is Really Unpopular and Growing More So Every Day

Jay Cost observes:

Barack Obama is not popular. This plain and simple fact may surprise those who read only legacy journalists, who often elide this inconvenient truth. A recent Associated Press write-up is illustrative:

Even as the public remains closely divided about his presidency, Barack Obama is holding on to his support from the so-called “Obama coalition” of minorities, liberals and young Americans, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows, creating an incentive for the next Democratic presidential nominee to stick with him and his policies.

Obama’s job approval in this poll was a paltry 43 percent, with 55 percent disapproval. This is hardly a public “closely divided,” but it is typical of the media’s approach. They prefer to gloss over his bad numbers, point out the weakness of the GOP, or emphasize how popular he is among Democrats. 

But ignoring a fact does not make it any less true. Obama is unpopular, and he has been unpopular for a while. The most straightforward definition of a popular president is one who garners at least 50 percent approval in public opinion polls. The last time Obama hit that mark in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls was April 2013. Excepting brief boosts corresponding to his reelection and the killing of Osama bin Laden, he has consistently been under 50 percent in the RCP average since December 2009. This makes him one of the least popular presidents in postwar history.


So although there is no acute crisis, Americans do not think the nation is in good shape, and because most people are skeptical of Obama’s domestic and foreign policies, they have soured on him. His approval ratings are not the lowest presidents have seen, but he has fallen under 50 percent more consistently than any of his predecessors.

Though Hillary Clinton is increasingly dominating the political spotlight, the president’s standing will affect the 2016 contest. Clinton is scurrying leftward to keep Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley from winning the progressive vote, but in so doing she risks alienating the middle of the country, which has tired of activist government. And it is quite likely that, as his former secretary of state, Clinton will be seen as Obama’s successor, thus bearing the burden of his unpopularity. 

All this gives the GOP the best opportunity to retake the presidency since 1980. The country is unhappy with the state of the union. If voters believe that conservatives offer a change for the better, Obama’s persistent unpopularity should vault the Republican nominee into the White House.

This week, Fiorina, Walker, and Cruz capitalized on the public’s disdain for the policies of an unpopular president and the strong desire of voters for a return to more sensible, practical policies and forthrightness. I think they like what they are hearing from candidates like these.