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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Trump endures interrogation at the hands of liberal Matt Lauer

There was so little fanfare in the media heading into Wednesday night’s first (almost) head-to-head presidential candidate forum in New York that you might not have heard about it unless you were specifically looking for it.

NBC’s Matt Lauer hosted the somewhat deceptively titled Commander-in-Chief forum held at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York harbor. The event was co-hosted by the
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and NBC News.

Donald TrumpThe “Commander-in-Chief” title was deceptive because the hour-long program seemed to be less about who would serve as the head of our nation’s armed forces than it was about which one of the candidates’ character flaws would disqualify him or her from holding the office.

Gabriel Debenedetti of Politico reports, “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each immediately found themselves on the defensive as they faced off at the general election's first candidate forum Wednesday night, as the former secretary of state was forced to justify her private email arrangement at the State Department and her vote to authorize the war in Iraq — while the businessman was confronted with his qualifications for the White House, his past controversial statements about the military, and his apparent ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.”

From the outset, Crooked Hillary was so calm and collected in answering questions about her email you’d almost think she doesn’t think the matter is important or relevant at all. Oh wait, she doesn’t think it’s important or relevant!

She must have said “I take it seriously” about a dozen times, though I didn’t keep count. If Hillary has to constantly assure everyone that she’s “serious” about handling national secrets, don’t you think there’s an element of doubt there in her own mind?

It might be just me but I saw nothing but skeptical looks on the faces of most of the military vets lining the stage, with expressions that were kind of like, ‘Is she really serious or is she just lying – again?’

Further, I don’t know if it’s because Hillary’s so short of if she felt insecure sitting so close to Lauer, but the Democrat stood up and paced around the stage as she was answering the questions, purposely not looking at the host as if she might be able to get in a few more fibs before she could be interrupted.

When it was Trump’s turn on stage, Lauer immediately started in with a “what have you done in your life to believe that you could possibly lead the military?” line of questions, heavily implying Trump isn’t qualified to be COC because he hasn’t held a political office.

An equally fair question to Hillary would have been, “Aside from being married to your husband, what have you done in your life to deserve being seated up here talking about the possibility of being Commander-in-Chief?”

If it weren’t for Bill, I’m confident the world would have never heard anything about Hillary Rodham Clinton, except for maybe on a police blotter or being brought up on charges of corruption.

The thing that bothers me most about this type of forum, aside from the prosecutorial attitude of chief liberal interrogator Matt Lauer towards Trump, is people were asking specific questions about dealing with ISIS or fixing the VA health system, the solutions to which just aren’t possible to articulate in the time given.

(Note: Anyone remember George W. Bush’s beat-down of Lauer on waterboarding?)

And this type of discussion heavily favors politicians like Clinton who have served for years in official capacity such as membership on Senate committees or as Obama’s Secretary of State.

Just because someone coming into office is from outside government doesn’t make them any less capable of making decisions when confronted with a set of facts and given several possible alternatives by experts whose job it is to study these matters.

The truth is, any president is going to be heavily reliant on their advisors on day one and all throughout their time in office. The real issue involved is who you’re going to surround yourself with to give you that advice. Hillary Clinton, for example, will be getting advice on her Muslim immigration policy from Huma Abedin. How comfortable do you feel about that?

Crooked Hillary will also be handling your national secrets. Here’s how she said she did it, paraphrasing, “Every time I had to deal with sensitive information I went into one of those little tents – you might have seen them – so there are no cameras around to possibly take a look at the information on the device.”

And she also said she didn’t deal with any marked confidential or sensitive information. A total and complete lie, left mostly unchallenged by Matt Lauer.

Leadership is what’s important in this election.

When Trump talks about leadership, there’s little doubt he’s qualified. What has Hillary Clinton ever managed? She can lie her way through 28 minutes of softball questions from Matt Lauer and several audience members who either identify as Democrats or are “undecided” but ask questions like they’re very much leaning.

When all is said and done, Trump’s main job on Wednesday night was to look “presidential” and to keep his cool in the face of difficult -- and in my opinion, unfair – questions. He looked unsure of himself at times and was clearly searching for specifics at others, but overall, he did about as well as could be expected in this type of event.

As for Hillary, I guess the best thing that could be said is at least she didn’t have another seizure or coughing fit, though her voice definitely sounded hoarse. But I supposed if the Clinton campaign actually admitted she’s been sick lately it would just play in to the rumors she’s not healthy enough to be president. There’s probably something to that theory.

On the whole, I’m guessing more of Donald Trump’s fans watched the Commander in Chief forum than Hillary’s. Will either candidate be helped or hurt by it? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Mark Levin leaps off the #NeverTrump bandwagon, leaves the stragglers bitter

It’s often said – and I wholeheartedly agree – that endorsements don’t really do much for a political candidate.

But then every once in a while there’s an endorsement that could really make a difference in a particular race. Donald Trump received one of those on Tuesday night.

Joe Concha of The Hill reports Mark Levin said on his radio program, “’I’m gonna vote for Donald Trump. I’m gonna wind up voting for Donald Trump on Election Day,’ the talk radio host said after reiterating his perspective that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was a far better choice for conservatives.

“’I take no responsibility for the dumb things he says or the dumb things his surrogates say,’ he added of the GOP nominee and his campaign.”

Fair enough. I don’t think any conservative would want to take responsibility for everything Donald Trump or some of his surrogates utter either. But then again, who would want to take complete responsibility for anything anyone says, let alone a first-time politician with a penchant for off the wall ranting.

Despite Levin having joined the #NeverTrump side in April, the stalwart conservative indicated that Hillary was just too awful to justify staying on the sidelines. It’s basically the same thing as those of us in the #NeverHillary movement have been arguing all along. Though Levin didn’t specifically say it, a vote for anyone other than Trump is the same as a vote for Hillary.

Naturally, the eternally discontented and ratings driven folks at RedState weren’t impressed with Levin’s announcement.

In a post titled “The New Breed of Trump Voters: From #NeverTrump To ‘Oh Well, I Guess So’”, RedState writer Jay Caruso wrote yesterday that Levin belongs in a new category of Trump supporters. “The newest breed of Trump supporters are those who have said for some time they are part of ‘Never Trump,’ but for whatever reason, have convinced themselves they need to vote for him. Their motivation is similar to that of the ‘resigned’ Trump supporters, but are late to the game.

“It's disappointing. For the longest time, they were happy to carry the banner of #NeverTrump. The key word is ‘never.’ The word means, ‘at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever’ or ‘not at all.’”

I could add a few of my own definitions for #NeverTrump, but I don’t think they’d be welcome on a family-friendly blog such as this one. It almost seems like Caruso is saving special venom for people like Levin and best- selling author Brad Thor who have actually used their powers of perception and reason to be able to change their minds on something as important as this year’s very consequential presidential election.

Caruso then takes the standard RedState/#NeverTrump line of defense in once again vowing never-ever-ever-ever-ever-not-me on Trump. “This country has survived a civil war and World War I. The country has also survived The Great Depression. It survived World War II and won the fight against the Nazis. And it survived The Vietnam War, Watergate and 9/11. The suggestion that I am supposed to cower in fear over the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency and should run to cast a vote for a fraud like Donald Trump, when the country has faced much worse, is absurd.”

Adolf Hitler was bad; so was slavery that was a major cause of the Civil War. But if Hillary is elected, there goes our Constitution and Bill of Rights. That’s a much greater threat to our precious individual liberties than Hitler ever was…or even ISIS today.

Once again, it’s not absurd to argue on behalf of Trump because casting a vote for the Republican ticket means more than just voting for the nominee and running mate Mike Pence. It also means voting for the power to make judicial appointments, select Republican cabinet members and thousands of other offices that will be filled by conservatives and Republicans as opposed to Crooked Hillary’s hacks who probably had to donate money to the Clinton Foundation in order to be considered for a nomination.

The only thing that’s “absurd” here is the #NeverTrump cohort’s childlike refusal to come out of their rooms and eat dinner with the rest of the family because they didn’t get their first choice of what’s on the menu.

Not only that, #NeverTrump’s whiners often resort to calling Trump supporters names in the process.

Prior to digging at the recent converts, Caruso took to task the people who have supported Trump from the beginning, who he describes as, “They're the ones with Trump banners in their Twitter profile, photos of themselves wearing 'Make America Great Again’ trucker hats and the ones who are sent into a semi-orgasmic state whenever Trump yells about Mexico paying for his ‘beautiful wall.’”

Sounds like everyday Americans who are proud of their country to me.

Though I don’t know a lot of people that supported Trump from the beginning, the ones I do know are not the type of brainless yahoos the bitter #NeverTrumpers make them out to be. And I highly doubt the late Phyllis Schlafly, also a Trump supporter from the beginning, should be looked down upon because she made a different choice in the GOP primaries than the so-called “enlightened” #NeverTrump contingent who profess to be so much smarter than the rest of us.

It is a FACT that a lot of good people chose Trump and there’s no corner on virtue in the #NeverTrump camp. Their daily self-righteous musings about principle and sticking to beliefs is just a bunch of hot air in a thinly walled balloon intent on generating readership from what’s left of the dwindling anti-Trump movement. It’s about time those of us who weren’t Trump supporters in the beginning but who now appreciate the candidate’s evolution got a giant pin and popped their shell.

Short of this, we can just keep asking them to be reasonable. University of Buffalo Professor James Campbell writes at Real Clear Politics, “Although some might take it as Clintonian parsing, there is a third way. Thinking Republicans should NOT SUPPORT Donald Trump, but they should reluctantly VOTE for him. On what matters most, and that is public policy, Trump is not nearly as bad as Clinton. Shout that Donald Trump is an idiot from the roof tops and into any microphone thrown in front of you–but then declare a vote for him.

“The distinction between supporting and voting for a candidate is not a gimmick. There is a real difference. Support implies a positive assessment. A vote is a choice. I suspect the overwhelming majority of Republicans disgusted by Trump are even more appalled by the prospect of a Clinton presidency. So declaring a distinction between their support and their votes is the right and honest thing for them to do.”

Campbell’s reasoning is crystal clear. I agree. I would add that voting for Trump is not only the way to potentially stop Hillary but it’s also the best argument conservatives can make for standing up to him should he win. There will no doubt be many times we disagree with him and any and all types of persuasion should be employed to get him to change his mind when he’s wrong.

The #NeverTrumpers will have no say when the time comes. That makes being like Caruso is now, to use his word, absurd.

Convincing undecided Republican voters to back him could be the key for Trump

Just because people like Mark Levin and Brad Thor have announced their intentions to vote for Donald Trump doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of Republicans still out there who are huddling under the leaky #NeverTrump shelter or are simply just…undecided.

The CNN/ORC poll from the other day showed Trump now has the support of 90 percent of Republican likely voters (83 percent of registered voters). But you don’t even have to be good at math to see that leaves one in ten Republicans still ripe for the picking.

And therein lies a great opportunity for Trump to grab the holdouts. But there’s a caveat, too.

Aaron Zitner and Michelle Hackman write in the Wall Street Journal, “This year, the pool includes far more upper-income and Republican-leaning voters from suburban and metropolitan communities—areas that often determine which party will win a state. And they form a larger pool than in the last election—about 13% of all voters, compared with 8% in 2012.

“Among them, some 48% of those who say in Journal/NBC News surveys that they don’t back either major-party candidate nonetheless want the next Congress to be controlled by Republicans, suggesting they are GOP voters at heart. That is a far larger share than in 2012 and about twice the share who want Democrats to run the next Congress.”

The same survey also revealed that 80 percent of these undecided voters don’t like either candidate.

That’s a daunting number, but this is where the assurances of people like Mark Levin will make a difference. The highly educated suburban Republican vote is where Trump is weakest (such as the areas around Philadelphia and in the Virginia Washington DC suburbs) and this is no doubt caused by many of these people making up what is now the #NeverTrump movement. They’re the establishment Bush and Kasich supporters who also liked Marco Rubio. In other words, these are the folks who are completely turned off by Trump but don’t like Hillary either.

A good portion of them are politically tuned-in and probably are inclined to listen to someone like Mark Levin, though admittedly Levin might be a little edgy for these wavering middle-of-the-road types.

It seems clear that with this Republican undecided faction, it isn’t about policy; it’s about tone and appearance. If Trump can keep his twitter use to a minimum and stick to a script, he’ll prove he can be presidential and reassure the undecided voters that there is a quality choice in this election opposite of Hillary Clinton.

Poll after poll seems to indicate the same thing, which puts Trump in kind of a tight spot. He needs to continue to go after Hillary’s pathetic record, yet he must do so in the person of someone who recognizes the dignity of the American presidency.

If Trump can keep it under control, I believe he’ll get a larger share of the Republican undecided suburban vote on Election Day. And he might just win the election along with it.

Twitter war of words between Hannity and Goldberg resolves little, entertains many

Finally today, if you ever doubted that ours is a changed world from the old days, just take a look at the Twitter war fought yesterday between Donald Trump defender and Fox News host Sean Hannity and determined #NeverTrumper Jonah Goldberg of National Review.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “The running feud between Fox News' Sean Hannity and National Review's Jonah Goldberg exploded onto Twitter early Wednesday morning, as the media figures traded a series of rapid-fire barbs over the lack of lock-step Republican unity behind Donald Trump…

“The latest Twitter altercation began with Hannity responding to Goldberg, who shared an article about comedian Amy Schumer declaring that she would move to Spain if Trump is elected president.”

Click on the article for the full rundown on what the two conservative media personalities said to each other – via the internet, of course. Who knows if they’d be inclined to say the same things in person or over the phone, but somehow, the internet just always seems to make things nastier.

Twitter is a particularly effective argument starter as it’s nearly impossible to hash out a point in 140 characters. There’s only room for the shouting, not much for reasons and supporting arguments.

I side with Hannity in his tussle with Goldberg. #NeverTrump is going to own the election if Hillary is elected whether they want to take possession or not. They can call us Trumpkins or puppy dogs all they want – none of it will change the truth.

Election Day is two months from today. I can’t help but think there are a lot more Twitter battles yet to be fought before we hear the results from the election.

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Mark Levin

I actually do not recall Mark ever stating he was a never trump. I am the same, was a Cruz supporter, but have no choice to vote for Trump. Levin was very skeptical of Trump for good reason, but can't let Hillary win. It's as simple as that.

RedState's "NeverTrump" position

The writers at RedState, by living in a Quixotic fantasy world, are fast blogging themselves and their "*NeverTrump" position into irrelevancy, except among left-wing Hillary supporters. Why bother even giving them the time of day, let alone attempts to reason with them? Maybe by "RedState" they mean "CommunistState," because that's what we'll end up with if they are successful in persuading conservatives to stay home or leave the top of the ballot blank.