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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Trump should be commended, not condemned for making changes at the top

While the balance of the news coverage in the past week has been positive since Donald Trump brought on Breitbart executive Steve Bannon and conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway to head his campaign, there has also been more than his fair share of critics saying the Republican nominee only made the bold moves because he’s behind and desperate…or even worse, a poor manager.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reports on the whispers, “Critics, including academics, Republican political strategists and at least one former Trump operative say that the seemingly constant Trump meetinghirings and firings at the top of Team Trump, and a failure to plan for the general election, undermine the idea that he is a talented boss.

“In all, it adds up to a repudiation of the businessman's claim that he'd bring excellent management and negotiating skills to Washington.”

Are Trump’s frequent changes really poor management or just a case of a non-politician getting his feet under him in a new endeavor?

It’s no secret why most aspiring office holders begin their careers much farther down the food chain than running for President of the United States. I would guess many who are considering politics for a career begin their journeys running for a local school board seat or for county supervisor.

Then there are several other potential political layers where people might gain experience, such as a state assemblyman or senator, state attorney general or secretary of state. If successful on those levels, perhaps run for governor or for the House of Representatives…or even the Senate, such as first time politician Al Franken did in Minnesota (in 2008).

No, Trump started at the top and it hasn’t been easy…but he’s come a long way.

Adding to the challenge, Trump also has an inherent suspicion of those already in power and rightfully so of the professional political class in Washington DC. After probably receiving thousands of pieces of advice from friends and “pros” alike, Trump can be excused for not knowing what is legitimate from something that’s a load of you-know-what from people who are just looking for a high profile job, fame, or even worse, to sabotage the legitimacy of an outsider who truly wants to change the system.

Just as he’s done his entire life, Trump has relied on his instincts from the very beginning, hiring relative novice Corey Lewandowski to head his fledgling campaign operation because the two seemed to gel personally. Lewandowski clearly had his own struggles in not only managing staff personalities, but also with the media.

Then back in March, perhaps because of Lewandowski’s ineptness, Trump brought on Paul Manafort to run his delegate operation and then ultimately the campaign itself when a more professional touch was needed ahead of the GOP convention.

After last month’s party convention, rumors began leaking of not only internal strife within the campaign, but also of Manafort’s deep connections to Russia that he established during his years as a lobbyist.

So, Trump made changes last week by bringing on movement conservatives Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway to steer his campaign. Like Lewandowski, both Bannon and Conway aren’t professional campaign managers, but they do know a little about public mood and messaging. It’s only been a short time that they’ve been onboard but it’s hard to argue that Trump’s “new” direction seems to be paying benefits.

Far from being criticized as a bad manager for showing the willingness to change course late in the game, Trump could just as easily be praised for bold decision making. There are many, many government programs that are failing to achieve their intended purpose and continue on for years because someone doesn’t have the nerve or authority to pull the plug on them.

Trump doesn’t hesitate to change if things aren’t right. That’s a positive, not a negative. If you’re a baseball manager and your closer has just blown ten games in a row, you bring in a new closer or write-off the entire baseball season.

By cleaning house last week, Trump proved, again, that he has the guts to assess a problem and offer a solution. I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing it’s similar to what he’s done in the business realm throughout his life. As a result, Trump has been “Yyyyyyuuuuggggeee-ly” successful.

If there is an area where Trump deserves some criticism it’s for his failure to staff up and establish campaign-run get-out-the-vote efforts across the country. Data operations are a staple in these technological times and Trump should have recognized earlier that he would need a state of the art ground game to compete with Crooked Hillary’s corrupt Democrat machine.

The RNC is supposedly taking up the slack and registrations are up in key places, but Trump should have “managed” it better.

But on the whole, Trump deserves the benefit of the doubt about changes he’s made to his own campaign. Not only is Trump showing a remarkable learning curve as a first-time “outsider” candidate, he’s demonstrating that he’s got the internal fortitude to manage.

We’ll have to see whether he’s going to fold the enterprise after November 8.

Establishment Republicans are still bitter sore losers, here’s why

Many of the same people who complain about Donald Trump’s unconventional management of his own campaign are the ones he’s displacing on the power continuum in Washington.

These are the folks who backed Jeb Bush early in the process last year and bankrolled his campaign with big checks that ultimately found their way to the proverbial political round file (after being cashed, of course). Perhaps because they’re no longer politically relevant in these times of Republican Party upheaval, these elites are deciding to sit it out and claim self-righteousness in the process.

Stephen Moore writes in The American Spectator, “The Bush brigades are the worst. Many of the W. Bush speechwriters and policy experts have denounced Trump. Wait. The people who gave us the Medicare prescription drug bill, the worst and most intrusive energy bill in American history, a massive expansion of the federal role in education, and the biggest bailout of private companies in history — TARP — are complaining that Trump isn’t ideologically pure? Mitt Romney’s Romneycare was the godfather of Obamacare, as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out many times.”

Moore should know, having served on the WSJ editorial board for years. Unfortunately some of his fellow Journal writers in recent times have become the biggest cheerleaders for pro-amnesty, pro-corporate welfare big business interests in the country. And they probably love Hillary.

Moore continues, “The Bush wing is angry because Trump’s victory in November will represent a repudiation not just of Obama’s ruinous reign, but of much of the Bush foreign policy adventurism and domestic policy over-spending. ‎This is why so many are for Hillary. Their legacy of failure is less exposed and more durable if Trump loses. The Romney and Bush operatives ‎lost fair and square and now they want people to believe that their anti-Trumpism is an act of heroism and principle. No, they are just sore losers.”

They are sore losers indeed. You can add some former backers of John Kasich, Marco Rubio and sadly, yes, Ted Cruz to that list as well.

In general, the anti-Trump forces are generally made up of people who were opposed to the formation of the grassroots Tea Parties and have fought to protect the feckless GOP congressional leaders despite their many failures to stop or even stall most of Obama’s agenda. In essence, they’re some of the most ineffectual people in the country because they pretend to be limited government conservatives while championing big government intervention in practically every aspect of our lives.

Kasich people. Pfft.

And what exactly was the theme of the Kasich campaign, for example? For Trump, it’s “Make America great again.” For Cruz, it was TRUSTED and included his conservative crusade to break up the Washington cartel. Heck, even Marco Rubio’s slogan was “The Next American Century.”

For Kasich? (Crickets chirping). His campaign website says “A Positive Vision for America.” What does that mean? How delightfully vague…Mitt Romney probably loved it.

Bottom line: the establishment #NeverTrump contingent is all about power. Trump provides them an easy excuse for not supporting him because of past bad behavior; but make no mistake, anyone who proposed to take control away from Washington and return it to the states or to the People would draw the same kind of fury from the defenders of the status quo.

It’s not really about Trump for these people. It’s about losing.

Critics try to spin Olympics as countering Trump’s “we’re not winning” theme

Speaking of winning and losing, the Olympics concluded last Sunday in Rio and commentators are still talking about how well the United States team did in competing against the world’s best athletes.

To make a long story short, it was a dominant performance by the Americans. NBC soaked it up. Of course along with the standard flag waving and human interest themes there were also the usual feel-good stories about Americans like Michael Phelps and Simone Biles who did especially well. Congratulations for the victors poured in from many sources.

When it was over, I think most people were glad. Enough had been said; the results spoke for themselves. But now some are trying to make political hay out of what was not said.

In one of the stupidest op-eds of all time, political consultant Mark Vargas writes in the Washington Examiner, “Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president of the United States by declaring that ‘America doesn't win anymore,’ and that he'll ‘Make America Great Again.’ But after watching the United States' performance at the Olympics in Rio, my message to Mr. Trump is simple: America is already great…

“The damage caused by Trump's rhetoric will take a Herculean effort to repair. It's like America is in an emotionally abusive relationship, with Mr. Trump as the abuser. We've heard the message a thousand times. We can't win and we're losers. But thanks to Team USA and our gold medal performance in Rio, we're reminded that we're anything but.”

Vargas’ Twitter account page shows him posing for a picture with Paul Ryan and it says he is a former Republican candidate for Congress. He’s also got several pro-Mexico posts, so we know his point-of-view.

He’s probably a Kasich supporter and loves amnesty.

In answering Vargas’ question (on why Trump didn’t tweet more on the Olympics), Trump didn’t need to comment much on the Olympics because in many ways they’ve devolved into the same kind of worldwide cultural rot celebration that’s eating away at the foundation of Western Civilization.

Olympic athletes know more than any about excellence and individual (and team) accomplishment. They compete, do their best and only three of them take home a prize in each event. Yet if you saw much of NBC’s coverage, you’d think the only athletes in the world are biological females (even if they look like men) and the only sports people care about are swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball.

As always, special attention was given by NBC to athletes who are Muslim, homosexuals or borderline transgender. It’s almost as if Obama’s Justice Department was at the production controls in Rio.

True, the U.S. did come out on top of the medal count, as they usually do (at least in the summer games). But “winning” in athletics has never been at issue in this country. “Winning” in terms of international trade or vanquishing the enemy around the world has become a forgotten goal.

That’s the lack of winning Trump is talking about. Not difficult to see.

Thanks to Obama’s eight years of appeasement and apologies, America’s history of triumphs has been downplayed in favor of picking on the police in this country and subjugating our economic interests to international bodies on “climate change”.

Trump isn’t perfect and some elements of his agenda aren’t conservative or limited government in nature. But there’s no doubt he will put America’s interests first, a “win” that will do more for millions in this country as opposed to a select few athletes in South America.

We should all be proud of our “winners” in the Olympics. But the real “winners” in America after November will be those who are able to enjoy the freedoms that made this country great in the first place and have been trounced under Democrat rule.

There won’t be any medals awarded, but the sweet smell of freedom is reward enough.

This year, Republicans should learn from Jimmy Carter

Finally today, it’s a well-known fact that many Democrats aren’t happy with their nominee this year, but unlike a number of Republicans, they’re keeping quiet with their displeasure and largely committing to voting for Crooked Hillary out of party loyalty.

Former President Jimmy Carter is following suit, though he doesn’t exactly sound thrilled about it.

Mark Hensch of The Hill reports, “Former President Jimmy Carter says neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is liked by voters, but he will be voting for the former secretary of State.

“’It’s been an exciting and unprecedented kind of campaign this year, and unfortunately, the way it’s turned out, both choices in the major parties are quite unpopular,’ he said Monday… ‘Everybody knows I’m Democratic, and I’ll be voting Democratic.’”

If anyone should know what a political disaster looks like it is Jimmy Carter, who nearly blew a huge polling lead to Gerald Ford in 1976 and almost grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory.

Without a doubt, Jimmy Carter was one of the worst presidents in history. But Republicans could still learn from him, if for nothing else, to admit Trump is a better choice than Crooked Hillary.

True to Carter’s words, both are “unpopular.” But that’s a sign of the times, where no Republican would be able to fight through the media’s curtain of negativity to be seen in a positive light by a majority of the public.

For some reason, the concept of liberty is a hard sell.

I think most Republicans will eventually make the right choice, but it wouldn’t hurt for them to follow Carter’s example and throw out a little support now.

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