Bill Clinton

Can Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton?

Well, the pundits say no, or have said no up until recently.

They all thought he would get spanked by the GOP machine but it turns out it was Trump dishing out the spankings.

Now the pundits are having to recast their thinking. They are starting to realise that all head-to-head polling to date hasn’t accounted for Donald Trump attacking Hillary Clinton directly. He will start doing that soon…he’s already got a nickname for her ‘Crooked Hillary’.

How would Donald Trump fare in a general election against Hillary Clinton? The conventional wisdom is that he wouldn’t stand a chance. The GOP is divided. His campaign, despite a recent spate of landslide primary wins, appears to have its own civil war going on. His favorability numbers are at historic lows for a nominee.

The case against Trump’s electability is strong. But it is also perhaps overstated. The Manhattan billionaire does have a narrow path to the White House. In fact, he may be the GOP’s most electable option at this point, at least among the candidates who are actually still running for the job.

John Kasich argues he’s the only guy who can beat Clinton, an idea mostly predicated on his performance in head-to-head election polls. But head-to-head polls this far out, historically speaking, are not all that predictive, and Kasich has struggled to turn his on-paper attractiveness into actual votes at the ballot box.

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, would likely be the most right-wing nominee since Barry Goldwater. His act appears to have worn thin among even the Republican grassroots, his natural constituency. Cruz might somehow still manage to pull the nomination away from Trump, but there’s approximately zero reason to believe he can win over the swing voters who typically decide presidential contests.

So back to Trump, who still has a few things going for him. His general election strategy, such as it is, seems to be predicated on two strategies: pivot left as far as possible and launch a scorched earth campaign against Clinton.

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Bill Clinton tells the truth inadvertently

No, not about Monica Lewinsky but about Barack Obama:

Monday night in Spokane, Wash., former President Bill Clinton praised his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, by contrasting her to what he called “the awful legacy of the last eight years” under President Obama.

Although a Clinton spokesperson has since walked back Bill’s apparent gaffe, that couldn’t have gone over well at the White House — or, at any rate, at the mansion in Cuba where President Obama was staying just then — but Clinton was right. Barack Obama has left an awful legacy, and the next president, whoever it is, will have a lot to deal with. Fortunately, the next president — whether it’s Hillary, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, or even Bernie Sanders — will probably be a better president.

For one example of Obama’s “awful legacy,” we need look no further than the terror attacks this week in Brussels. These attacks, which killed dozens and injured close to 200, were perpetrated by the Islamic State, the group that Obama once disparagingly called a “jayvee team.”   Read more »

Hillary in real trouble now, and not from Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton’s campaign now hangs on a knife-edge.

The FBI has confirmed that there is an active investigation into her lackadaisical security around top secret emails.

The FBI formally confirmed that its investigation connected to Hillary Clinton’s private email server remains ongoing in a letter released on Monday.

The letter from FBI general counsel James Baker comes one day before the New Hampshire primary.

The message does not offer new details about the probe, which the bureau has been reluctant to discuss. However, it represents the FBI’s formal notification to the State Department that it is investigating the issue.

Since last September, “in public statements and testimony, the Bureau has acknowledged generally that it is working on matters related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server,” Baker wrote to the State Department.

“The FBI has not, however, publicly acknowledged the specific focus, scope, or potential targets of any such proceedings.   Read more »

The world’s greatest gun salesman coming to NZ?

So who wants the world’s greatest gun salesman, Barack Hussein Obama, to visit New Zealand?

Turns out a good few of the population.

Barack Obama is the person New Zealanders most want to visit New Zealand this year, according to a Herald-DigiPoll survey.

Asked which VIP they would most like to come to these shores, nearly half of respondents chose the US President. Pope Francis won 19 per cent of the vote and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came third with 11.5 per cent.

Obama has never visited New Zealand during his seven years as US President. His second presidential term comes to an end this year so he is running out of time to make an official visit.

US Ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert said there was no lack of interest – Obama had told him personally that he would like to travel to this country.

Gilbert said despite the popular belief that a president’s mandate waned in their final year, Obama still had “much to get done” in 2016.   Read more »

What would you do?

Wendyl Nissen tries to explain that she would indeed stick around with a cheating husband…

None of us knows whether we would stand by our man until it happens to us.

As Colin Craig paraded his wife Helen in front of the media as evidence he is a very nice man, despite allegations of inappropriate behaviour and rumours of harassment, many women would have watched her strained performance and felt several things.

Pity for the position a man who supposedly loves her has put her in. Admiration for the strength it took her to do it and deep sadness that she is married to Craig and will continue to be.

And then they would have asked themselves the question. Would I stick around if that happened to me?

What we don’t know about women in Helen’s shoes is what has gone on before.

Let’s be realistic. If you’re married to a politician you don’t see a lot of him. It’s all meetings and phone calls, flights to catch, endless nights away, handshakes and beers, time massaging not only his ego but those of his people and party.

You never see him and when you do his head is in the cloud of self-love.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Helen’s appearance in front of the TV cameras was the most time she has spent with Craig in a very long time.

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Shelley Bridgeman says wheeling out political wives is ‘demeaning and humiliating’

A good observation by Shelley Bridgeman about Monday’s shameful press conference by Colin Craig.

By wheeling out his wife in times of strife, Colin Craig was observing a tradition beloved of male politicians.

He was merely using his nearest and dearest in an attempt to sanitise his image. In a statement, his wife, Helen Craig, said: “I do not often speak to the media but I choose to stand with my husband here today in full love and support of him”.

If those words sound familiar, even somewhat plagiarised, it’s probably because of the Tammy Wynette song Stand by Your Man – the lyrics of which make me feel a little queasy:

“You’ll have bad times, and he’ll have good times
Doin’ things that you don’t understand
But if you love him, you’ll forgive him.”

Then, of course, the famous chorus goes: “Stand by your man, and show the world you love him”.

It’s difficult to believe that politicians are still taking inspiration from a sentimental song that has its origins in the 1960s.

How can anyone think such a retro approach to indiscretions and blind loyalty is the best response in the 21st century?

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Musing of the Day

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton motions for members of his family to join him onstage after he and former first lady Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) unveiled portraits of themselves in Washington, April 24, 2006. The portraits will hang in the newly-restored National Portrait Gallery, which is scheduled to reopen July 1. The gallery holds the only complete portrait collection of U.S. presidents outside the White House's own.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTR1CRQU

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.

Yikes.

And we get all into a tizz about pulling a ponytail.  Yet these are the people we elect to positions of power.  We have our own.  One fled the country.  One’s still running a major city somewhere.  We had a party leader that went to jail.

And there is another party leader

 

– Orin Kerr, Washington Post

Clinton’s campaign becoming a joke

Hillary Clinton’s campaign risks becoming a joke, worse a running gag.

There is a rich vein of material to tap as well as it lurches from one embarrassment to the next.

Matt Lewis at The Telegraph explains:

Republicans are the usual targets for caricature on popular US comedy show Saturday Night Live (remember Tina Fey as Sarah Palin?). But comedienne Kate McKinnon’s impersonation of Hillary Clinton last week gave Fey a run for her money.

On the eve of Clinton’s announcement, one biting SNL skit imagined what Mrs Clinton’s announcement video might sound like. “Citizens, you will elect me,” McKinnon barked. “I will be your leader!” The satirical message was simple: Hillary Clinton believes she is entitled to the presidency.

In 2008, it was widely perceived that Mrs Clinton’s sense of entitlement cost her the White House. So this time round, she is making a concerted effort to appear “normal”. After announcing her candidacy, Mrs Clinton and her entourage took a 1,000 mile road-trip in a van she dubbed the “Scooby Doo van” (presumably named after the “Mystery Machine” driven in the classic children’s cartoon). En route, she made a pit stop for a chicken burrito bowl at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant.     Read more »

The lies of Hillary Clinton keep on coming

Hillary Clinton just keeps on lying, it seems she just can’t help it.

She of course calls it mis-speaking.

Andrew Bolt explains:

Hillary Clinton campaigns for the immigrant vote in Iowa:

All my grandparents, you know, came over here [to America],” Hillary Clinton claimed, reinforcing her immigration reform bona fides.

Except, of course, it’s another Hillary lie – one so astonishingly obvious that you can only conclude that she lies reflexively and habitually.

Only one of her grandparents was born overseas, although another was the child of immigrants, forcing Clinton’s staff to offer this cringing explanation:

“Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result she has always thought of them as immigrants,” a Clinton spokesman told BuzzFeed News.   

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Labour should do this with its leadership contenders

After the Democrats were trounced in the 1994 midterms, Barbara A. Bardes and Robert W. Oldenick claimed in their book Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind, Bill Clinton employed the firm Penn and Schoen to conduct a poll a day dissecting his language, mannerisms and the nuances of his policy proposals. Heading into the 1996 election, on discovering that swing voters preferred outdoorsy vacations, the Clintons decided to summer in Wyoming.

Will New Zealand ever listen to Captain Mumblef*ck? They didn’t for the two years he lead Labour last.

Or vote for a double chinned, bespectacled, cardy wearing civil servant from the set of Gliding On who has his own set of skeletons lurking?   Read more »