Bubble Boys and Hot Air Balloons

boy blowing bubble

Iowa did shake up the Republican race for President, but it may have impacted the candidates who are staying in the race as much as those who left. Ted Cruz remains his nasty self but those who came directly behind him may now be compared to bubble boys and hot air balloons.

In this roiling Republican race for President, nothing goes unnoticed, especially a lack of authenticity.

Chris Christie used the former moniker to describe Marco Rubio who is always “on message” and appears to repeat the same platitudes whether he is giving a stump speech or responding to a question. It’s just a matter of a transition sentence and then “section 1 B.”

In this roiling Republican race for President, nothing goes unnoticed, especially a lack of authenticity. Marco is being criticized, basically, for being too smooth and too rehearsed.

Donald Trump is the other contender most affected by the race in Iowa. Mr. Trump used to love quoting polls in his giant rallies. It animated and reinforced his ego. Now, however, some of the air has gone out of his balloon. He is slowly returning to normal, but he definitely gave the shortest speech of his career for his concession statement.

Mr. Trump is also raising a valid point about the campaign tactics of Ted Cruz. Cruz’s staff directly spread the rumor that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race in order to reduce the competition for the evangelical vote. This lie directly affected the results, and if anyone other than Trump were complaining, the press would take greater notice. As it is, it just looks like sour grapes.

With New Hampshire coming close on the heels of Iowa, none of these caricatures will stay constant. The results will generate a whole new set of dynamics and will go a long way to clarifying the race. A primary election provides a much easier way of expressing your opinion, and I would look for Mr. Cruz to falter behind the hot air balloon and the bubble boy.

Negative Campaigning in Political Horse Race


The public and the candidates repeatedly express frustration with the negative campaign ad, 30 or 60 second television spots inevitably designed to distort opponents weak spots, shot in black and white for increased effect and repeated over the airwaves again and again ad nauseum.

Empirical evidence shows that negative campaign ads move the polling results more quickly than positive ones.

So why do campaigns continue to create these monstrosities? Unfortunately, they work.

Empirical evidence shows that negative campaign ads move the polling results more quickly than positive ones. So as a campaign winds down to the end, especially if it’s close, these advertisements proliferate.

So that’s one reason why the gloves have come off in the Trump versus Cruz “cage match.” With just a few points separating them in some polls, both sides have resorted to sharp attacks on the other. In a sentence, “the knives have come out.”

However, this is Trump territory, and no one is going to win a trash-talking or trash-advertising contest against him. Cruz’s one foray, an attempt to tar Trump by accusing him of “New York values,” backfired big-time with the New York Post putting the banner headline “Drop dead, Ted,” on its home page. And Trump got to trumpet the city’s recovery from 9/11, causing even Cruz to applaud that response in a recent debate.

The birther issue may become even more potent. The real meaning of “natural-born system” has never been litigated by the courts and Cruz’s birth in Canada has let Trump use it against him with an insidious effect.

And, in a statement with wide consensus, Trump has noted that Cruz “doesn’t have any friends.” Everyone in the Senate hates Cruz, and the Republican establishment has even come around to supporting Trump as a result.

The basic lines of attack have now been opened and expect each campaign to stick to those talking points through the next 10 days. Both sides will accuse the other of political calculation, of not being a true conservative, and they will probably beat each other to a tie over the issue. Then, perhaps, the campaign in Iowa will end the same way it began, with the issue of immigration taking front and center stage.

The Unconventional Candidacy of Donald J. Trump


Donald Trump is more than an entertainer despite the efforts of his political foes to brand him as such. He is a shrewd and cunning politician who has read the Republican electorate extremely well and knows how to meet its needs.

Mr. Trump continues on an upswing, and no one, no one, knows how far that will take him.

Mr. Trump’s success dates back to his announcement speech when he was willing to adopt a controversial stand against illegal immigration and offer to build a wall across our southern border … and have Mexico pay for it!

This pledge struck all our pundits as nonsense until his poll numbers began to rise as a result. Mr. Trump’s willingness to pepper his speeches with superlatives and, yes, the hugeness of his vision for our country complemented and reinforced that promise, and none of the traditional candidates could match it.

Now, as a liberal Democrat, I do have some problems with some of Mr. Trump’s policy prescriptions, but his willingness to take on the entire system is something this country hasn’t seen since Bob Dylan. That provides an allure to his unconventional candidacy, and it remains to be seen how far it will go.

Already, Republican insiders are starting to say they would prefer Trump over Ted Cruz, an odious individual who can’t seem to get along with anyone. And Trump’s numbers continue to climb while Cruz seems to have peaked too early.

Some pundits say that Trump is made of teflon; nothing seems to stick against him or affect his candidacy. But that ignores the central fuel of his campaign: the American people are sick and tired of being lied to by standard politicians.

One can argue President Obama has accomplished a great deal during his time in office: saving the country from a recession, providing national healthcare, reforming Wall Street through Dodd Frank. He can inspire his base, one reason why Hillary Clinton is trying to cling to him so tightly. But while she has her own struggles, Mr. Trump continues on an upswing, and no one, no one, knows how far that will take him.