Donald Trump is Just Like Ronald Reagan …

Donald Trump is just like Ronald Reagan … in the sense that his opponent can only win by convincing the public that Trump is too uninformed and reckless to be President.  Hillary’s unpopularity and the unpopularity of Obama’s policies (as opposed to Obama’s personal popularity) forces her to take the lesser-of-two-evils approach: “I may have a dirty-hand, but it’s a steady-hand that won’t launch nukes because some foreign leader gets on my wrong side.”

There is an urban myth that Reagan trailed Jimmy Carter in the polls until their one and only debate, then pulled ahead and eventually won because he won the debate and showed the voters that Carter’s attacks were false.  This narrative is based on the Gallup poll, which was erroneous.

Actually, Reagan got a post-convention bounce in the summer, which gave him a majority.  Voters saw that he was neither uninformed or reckless.  His debate performance just padded his lead.

While the 1980 election involved an unpopular incumbent bedeviled by the Iranian Hostage Crisis and a horrible economy, Hillary is bedeviled by her own baggage: #ClintonFoundation, #ClintonEMails, #ClintonContamination etc., etc., etc..

So Trump’s objective at the GOP Convention is first and foremost to dispel the attacks that he is too uninformed and reckless to be President and second to not let the voters forget just how corrupt Hillary Clinton is.

How Bill Clinton’s Meeting With Loretta Lynch Neutralizes FBI Director Comey

I have never had any question that the #FixIsIn and Hillary Clinton won’t be indicted.

What I have always wondered is how Obama keeps FBI Director James Comey, who from everything I read is a straight-shooter, from going rogue if he believes that there is no non-political reason that Clinton should not be indicted, yet the so-called “career prosecutors” recommend no indictment and Lynch accepts their recommendation.  It could be a nightmare for the Democrats:  Comey resigns and then does the Sunday morning news show circuit to explain why Hillary should have been indicted.

So imagine this scenario.  Comey recommends an indictment and the “career prosecutors” recommend no indictment.  Attorney General Lynch calls Comey into her office and says something to the effect of, “as a result of that unfortunate meeting with Bill Clinton, I cannot be the final decision-maker between you and the career prosecutors.  I will have no choice but to recuse myself and appoint an independent counsel unless you and the career prosecutors can get on the same page.  This may, unfortunately, push any decision off until after the election.  So I want you to think about it for 24 hours and let me know whether your recommendation stays the same.”

If Comey sticks to his guns, an independent counsel is appointed who knows his or her future is best served, or who is otherwise inclined to, delay a decision on indictment until after the election.

Even if Comey believes that Lynch’s decision to recuse herself is to forestall his resignation, Comey’s resignation would have very little impact on the Presidential election because Lynch has a plausible explanation for recusing herself:  the principle that avoiding the appearance of impropriety is paramount even when the facts and the law are cut-and-dry.

So I don’t think the meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch was meant to stay secret.  It was only meant to appear to be a secret meeting.  Its purpose was to neutralize Comey.  Diabolical, and sadly, I can’t see how it doesn’t work.

How Maggie Hassan Politicized Opiates/Opioids

On November 3, 2015, Governor Hassan called for a special session of the legislature to, in her words, “to take up comprehensive substance abuse legislation.

Based on the chart below, which shows deaths from opiates spiking in New Hampshire more than a year earlier, one can fairly ask of Hassan: “what the hell took you so long”?


More particularly, why didn’t Hassan propose the package of legislation that she proposed in November, 2015 in the budget she submitted for the period beginning July 1, 2015?  Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and say it was just that she was asleep at the switch when she proposed her budget at the start of 2015.

Hassan vetoed the budget passed by the Legislature on June 25, 2015.  While the veto message mentioned not spending enough on opiates/opioids, it was well down a laundry list of additional spending.  In other words, opiates/opioids was not the or even a primary reason behind the veto.  Moreover, the budget Hassan vetoed actually increased substance abuse funding by 75 percent.

In September, Hassan reached a deal with Legislature over the budget.  In taking her victory lap, Hassan made clear that the primary reason she vetoed the budget was to prevent a reduction in business tax rates, not because the budget didn’t do enough regarding opiates/opioids.  Indeed, Hassan asserted that the budget deal “fails to include even higher levels of funding for substance misuse.”

As noted at the outset, approximately two months later Hassan called for a special session to deal with opiates/opioids.  This session was scheduled to and did take place just a matter of weeks before the Legislature reconvened in its regular 2016 session.  Obviously, at this point, there was no point in calling a special session.  Except to score political points.

The package of legislation Hassan proposed in November, 2015 could have been proposed months earlier, when the Legislature was in its regular session and the budget was still being contested.  But that wouldn’t have been as flashy a headline as “Hassan Calls for Special Session.”

In January of this year, Hassan said opiates/opioids presented an “all hands on deck” moment for the State.  But as the chart above shows it was every bit as big an issue in July, 2015 when Democrat State Senators went on a junket to Israel:


Yet there was no criticism by Hassan or her allies in the media WMUR, NH1, NHPR, etcetera when the Democrat State Senators chose to go on a junket rather than deal with the issue.

Incidentally, second from the left is Ray Buckley, Chairman of the New Hampshire Democrat Party, on what was supposed to be a non-partisan “educational seminar.”




What NH’s GOP Candidates Should Learn From Success of Trump

The lesson to be learned from Donald Trump’s success in the GOP primaries is that the majority of voters even in the GOP do not care about ideology for the sake of ideology.  Stated differently, it didn’t matter a bit to Trump voters that Trump is not a traditional conservative.  For example, in Indiana, where Ted Cruz -an ideologue’s ideologue- got his long awaited one-on-one with Trump, a majority of the voters supported Trump:


Consider these New York Times exit polls from the New Hampshire primary:


While “shares my values” was the most important candidate quality, only approximately one-third of voters felt that this was the most important quality.  Over half the voters felt that “tells it like it is” and “can bring needed change” were more important.


And as for issues, “economy/jobs” was clearly the most important issues.  Indeed, over 90 percent of the voters were very or somewhat worried about the economy.

It also bears noting that only 26 percent of voters described themselves as “very conservative,” which would suggest that three-quarters of New Hampshire GOP primary voters aren’t interested in candidates like Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina, and to a lesser extent Marco Rubio, who emphasize ideology.  By the way, these three combined for approximately 26 percent of the vote.

With all this in mind, consider this tweet announcing Jim Lawrence’s candidacy for the GOP nomination in New Hampshires Second Congressional District:


I happen to think that low taxes and small government create a much better environment for economic growth and the creation of good jobs than what we have in place now.  But Lawrence’s announcement doesn’t make that connection.  Instead, he comes across as a Ted Cruz ideologue.

If I were Lawrence I’d make my message about improving the economy and creating good jobs.






By way of example, middle-class voters want good jobs.  To them, whether

Trump is Stalin, Hillary is Hitler & #NeverTrump are in Deep Denial

“If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”   Winston Churchill

Churchill had an intense hatred of communists.  But he realized that Hitler presented the greater immediate threat to the United Kingdom, and so was willing to ally temporarily with Stalin in order to defeat the greater threat.

Trump was not my first choice, second choice, third choice, fourth choice or fifth choice, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  I disagree with him on trade, on foreign policy, on illegal immigration, on entitlements among other things  But what Churchill said applies with equal force here.

Standing on the principle of anti-communism made it much more likely that the United Kingdom would fall to Nazi Germany.  Standing on the principle of #NeverTrump makes it much more likely that eight years from now -after Hillary has finished her second term- America will resemble a European style socialist-democracy even more than it does now after eight years of Barack Obama.  And there will be no going back.

To be clear, I don’t think that Trump will win even with a united Republican Party.  But a divided Republican Party, or worse a third-party along the lines advocated by Senator Ben Sasse, guarantees a victory for Clinton, who would keep American careening down the path to European socialism.  #NeverTrump also makes it more likely that the Democrats will win majorities in the Senate and perhaps even the House.

It is likely that by the time Clinton finishes her first term the United States Supreme Court will consist of six liberals and Justices Thomas, Roberts and Alito.  This guarantees that the Heller (Second Amendment) and Citizens United (First Amendment) decisions will be reversed.  There will be no individual right to bear arms, even in one’s own home (what the Heller decision was about), and government will be able to broadly regulate political speech under the guise of regulating campaign spending, which heavily favors Democrats because the media -which is overwhelmingly left-wing- will have a free hand in shaping public opinion.

But that’s not all.  Racial and gender quotas will once again be legal.  And Congress’ power to set policy will be drastically undermined as such a Supreme Court will uphold executive orders issued by Clinton when a GOP Congress (if we have a GOP Congress) “fails to act.”  Similarly, the scope and power of the unelected DC bureaucracy will continue to grow because a Clinton Supreme Court will “defer” to agency “interpretations” of federal law that go far beyond the intent of Congress.

With Trump there is at least a chance that the Supreme Court will not become a de facto hard-left House of Lords.

A Clinton presidency would continue the drastic shrinkage of the United States military.   A weak military is a far greater threat to the peace and security of the country than any intemperate tweets from the Commander-in-Chief.  I am confident that Trump would rebuild the United States military.  Indeed, I think he would do a great job at this.

Eight more years of Obamacare and heavy and ubiquitous regulations under Hillary will make us look back with nostalgia on the 2%-GDP-growth of today as the good old days.  While Trump is not a believer in free-markets he would do far less damage than Hillary.

If the #NeverTrump movement wants to keep GOP majorities in the Senate and House then they’ll rename themselves #NeverHillary and direct their fire there.  Otherwise, expect Trump’s supporters not to vote GOP down the ballot.  In fact, I think #NeverTrump will result in the worst possible outcome: Democrat control of the White House and Congress.  Remember what we got the last time that happened?

The Most Effective Argument That Trump Can Make Against #NeverTrump

It’s either me or Hillary is not a very effective argument for Donald Trump to use against #NeverTrump.  They already know that, yet they believe that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils because Clinton would leave conservatism to fight another today as opposed to co-opted.

Without getting into the argument whether conservatism is better or worse in the long run with a Clinton presidency versus a Trump presidency, let’s agree that Trump has to give #NeverTrump a better reason to hold their noses and vote for him than otherwise you get Hillary

What Trump should do is say that his first act as President will be to nominate Ted Cruz to the Scalia seat.

The damage to the Constitution and the country from a Hillary nominee, who would probably serve 30 or 40 years on the Supreme Court, is inestimably higher than anything Trump could do.

Indeed, just in the next couple of years a Hillary nominee would result in the Heller (Second Amendment) and Citizens United (First Amendment) being overturned.  The so-called “moderate” Merrick Garland would have upheld the laws in issue in Heller, which required firearms to be kept inoperable in one’s own home.  Imagine what a Clinton nominee would do!

But Cruz wouldn’t just be a reliable conservative jurist.  He could well be a worthy successor to the great Antonin Scalia.  He combines an off-the-charts intellect -it has been reported that he got a perfect score on the LSAT- with the right type of judicial philosophy, that is the philosophy that Scalia practiced.  That it is the judge’s duty to say what the law is, not what the law should be.

And at only 45 years old, Cruz could serve for three decades or more.

Given the enormous influence the Supreme Court has, influence far beyond what our founders ever imagined, and that this influence has been used to advance the policy goals of the Left, I think the prospect of a Supreme Court Justice Ted Cruz should prove irresistible to all but the most diehard of the #NeverTrump.

Enough With the Revisionist History of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

Recently, Bryan Gould, writing in #DyingPaper, a.k.a. the Union Leader, argued that conservatives “owe Sen. Forrester their serious consideration in the governor’s race” because she “voted against reauthorizing expanded Medicaid.”

The problem with Gould’s argument is that the vote that really mattered was the vote to authorize expanded Medicaid two years ago.  Indeed, in Gould’s own words:

There was widespread opposition to Medicaid expansion among grassroots Republicans in 2014 for many reasons. Among them, they saw the 100 percent federal funding as a means to get the program in place, after which the federal government would diminish the funding and leave New Hampshire taxpayers holding the bag. They also didn’t believe that enough Republicans in the Legislature would be able to withstand the Democrats’ predictable cant about depriving poor people of their access to medical care to allow the 2014 legislation to expire this year if the federal government failed to keep its word. 

And sure enough that’s exactly what happened.  Again, Gould’s own words, “a minority of Republicans joined with a united Democratic caucus” and reauthorized Medicaid expansion.

Gould defends Forrester’s vote to authorize Medicaid expansion:

because it provided roughly 48,000 uninsured low-income New Hampshire residents Medicaid coverage and made the federal government entirely responsible for a substantial portion of the uncompensated care that its mandatory treatment laws had created.

Gould omits that not all of these 48,000 were uninsured.  Many had private insurance, which they dropped to get free Medicaid insurance.

Gould also omits that the federal funding is not “free money,” as proponents described it.  The federal government is running a deficit.  So Medicaid Expansion is “free money” in the sense of running up a credit card bill that your kids are responsible for.

Gould also defends Forrester’s vote to authorize Medicaid expansion on the ground that it reduced healthcare costs for the non-Medicaid population:

In most cases, federal law requires hospitals to provide care to people even if they have no health insurance and are unable to pay. Of course, hospitals can’t simply absorb those costs (which are called uncompensated care) so they pass them along to their other patients through higher prices for their services. In other words, because of federal law, the cost of uncompensated care has been socialized among other patients and their insurers for years.

The 2014 Medicaid expansion law changed this by using federal funds to reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care. In 2015 alone the federal government paid New Hampshire hospitals $142 million to reduce uncompensated care. The net effect of the law was to shift the burden of the subsidy for uncompensated care from New Hampshire patients to federal taxpayers. 

In 2009, healthcare costs in New Hampshire were over $10 billion.  The $142 million is 1.4% of 2009 spending.  It’s probably less than 1% of current spending.  It is not a significant driver of healthcare costs.  As Greg Moore -the head of the Koch organization in New Hampshire- has noted, there has been no reduction in costs as a result of Medicaid expansion:

Next, ObamaCare fans argued that uncompensated care (indigent health services without repayment) represented a “hidden tax” on health insurance consumers and that Medicaid expansion would cover these costs and lower health insurance rates for everyone. However, after spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on new Medicaid recipients, analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce shows that premiums still went up between 7.5-8% this year.

So on the vote that really mattered, Forrester was clearly on the wrong side.

Gould argues that Forrester should get credit for offering amendments to reauthorizing Medicaid expansion that failed:

Sure enough, this year the federal government will fund only 95 percent of uncompensated care under Medicaid expansion plans, and that will fall to 94 percent in 2018. HB 1696, the 2016 bill that extends Medicaid expansion, would therefore leave a $9 million hole in the state’s budget and require up to $2 million in new administrative costs that would have to be borne by taxpayers.

Sen. Forrester sought to amend the bill in the Senate to protect taxpayers and New Hampshire patients from absorbing these costs. She also tried to restore a provision that the House of Representatives had removed that would have required the beneficiaries of this welfare program to work or engage in community service for at least 30 hours a week.

But we knew that federal funding would drop to 95% when Medicaid expansion was initially authorized in 2014.  Any amendments to protect the taxpayers could have and should have been included in the law authorizing Medicaid expansion given that, as Gould himself notes, it was a sure thing that enough Republican State Senators would vote with the the Democrats to reauthorize.

Most importantly, expanding Medicaid is the wrong way to provide access to health insurance.  It is a government-dependency trap in that the recipients lose their benefits if they cross the income threshold, which disincentives looking for a better paying job (more than 133% of federal poverty line).  The better approach is to provide a tax credit for health insurance, which would be paid directly to the private health insurer to the extent that someone does not make enough to use the credit.

#DyingPaper (aka Union Leader) Embraces Supreme Court’s Upholding Obamacare

Say what you will about Donald Trump, but I can’t remember any other Republican Presidential candidate ever standing up to Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid:


Indeed voters everywhere owe Trump a thank you for exposing that the “coveted” Union Leader endorsement required taking #StinkyJoe golfing (in the case of Trump and who knows what else in the case of the others).  But this post isn’t about Trump.  I just wanted to explain the title.

Recently, the Union Leader editorialized glowingly about a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision Continue reading #DyingPaper (aka Union Leader) Embraces Supreme Court’s Upholding Obamacare

Colin Van Ostern Reveals He is No Friend of the Second Amendment

Earlier this week, New Hampshire Public Radio “interviewed” Democrat gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern.  I put interview in quotations because NHPR, unsurprisingly, served up softballs that allowed Van Ostern to repeat his talking points.  But one portion actually is elucidating: Continue reading Colin Van Ostern Reveals He is No Friend of the Second Amendment