This is why we can’t have nice primaries, Part 2

  • Rather than debate, Trump set the course for coarse by making  attacks, however childish, on other Republicans
  • Trump is every bit the RINO he accuses others of being.  How else can you define someone who refuses to pledge support to the nominee of the party whose nomination he covets, whose leadership he installed?
  • Trump threw the first disparaging punches at anyone who had the gumption and actual quals to run and especially if he (or she) looked to be a contender and not a VP applicant  
  • Even if time lines are flummoxed by the ongoing din, it is simply inarguable as to what Trump’s approach is to other candidates especially given that he refuses to debate and campaigns by tossing epithets
  • How bad is it?  The distortions that have spewed attacking Ron DeSantis are almost Victory Enterprises level stuff although the current attacks on DeSantis have the integrity to project their crap weeks ahead of the caucuses, unlike Victory Enterprises which preferred an even more shameless unmanly 11th hour approach leading up to a primary. You can review their stuff by clicking on the links.

If you are a Republican in Iowa, and especially if you have voted in the caucuses before, you likely will have received from each of the main contenders for the Republican presidential nomination dozens of  broadsides (large postcard advertisements) typically 11 inch by 6 inch or larger, two-sided mailers that are either attack pieces, laudatory, or some combination. We have received at least 125 since summer in addition to direct-mail envelopes, countless texts and perhaps 30 e-mails a day ( a lot go to spam) not to mention the extensive radio and TV or streaming ads in our purview.

As for phone calls, not sure of all the purposes of the calls because we do not answer calls from numbers we do not know, but 6 to 10 a day is a guess related to the nomination process that probably are either push polling, preference collectors, or candidate fund raisers. Not answering will be the same response to the anticipated daily plethora of  calls I anticipate in the fall hectoring me to vote by mail, even though it is less secure, and I have never skipped an election.  The vote by mail if you know what’s good for you calls are  actually threatening — once answered — suggesting the calls will stop only if I vote by mail (they won’t) and they will be glad to bring me everything I need to get the bounty ball rolling.

In this commentary we are defending Ron Desantis who we support for the Republican nominati0n and challenging in particular Trump and Nikki Haley for the broadsides and other ads, being run against him. The worst of the attack components make statements that are as inflammatory as can be with sketchy, out of context quotes, calumnious summations using references that are a study in obfuscation with hope-you- won’t-check-the-tiny-type-face “documentation” (see our annotations to the samples embedded herein).

In attack mode, the worst are mendacious, two-faced, traducing, misleading examples of the copywriters shameful yellow art.  In these last few weeks the attack-themed ones have gotten more numerous.

Often the most egregious actors in all this are the allied PACs and those supposedly independent of any candidate but set up to disparage one or another candidate. This allows the  official campaign to seem to take the high road.  The candidate is thus able to deny responsibility even if without a straight face. It is all so transparent however.

But if that is how it is going to be, so be it. Trump certainly cannot claim innocence or non-participation or victimhood.  He gives no quarter and can expect none.

The most aggressive of late seems to be from Nikki Haley (and friends)  directed at Ron DeSantis.  Haley who has claimed to be, based on one outlier poll, not only the leading contender to Trump but more likely to beat Biden than anyone including Trump.

Early on Haley did not take on Trump directly, her campaign benefactors were content that efforts be focused on putting DeSantis out of the game as he was more the danger to the deep state then Trump who is far more vulnerable to being distracted. It is now clear that the anti–Trump element has chosen her.

Haley is currently going after DeSantis for, wait for it, mimicking Trump (the implication should be to Trumpistas that being like Trump is a bad thing. Never mind that DeSantis was bonafide MAGA (TEA Party and Congressional Liberty Caucus Chair) when Trump was still singing Hillary’s praises. If there is any mimicking going on it is Trump glomming on to some of DeSantis’ longer held and more articulate positions.

In other current ad flights Haley or her friends rightly attack Biden as too old and that he is not going to make it through another term, so “say hello to President Kamala Harris”, unless of course she (Haley) is the nominee. The ads also say  ~~ time for a new generation ~~ which we agree with as members of the boomer cohort.

But the not so subtle other side of the attack line on Biden is that Trump is too old, oh, and that ALL 75 year olds running for office should have a competency test. It is only slightly oblique as to Trump but sauce for the goose sauce for the gander.

Haley is properly up front that Biden is too old, but in doing so implies politicians of Biden’s age need to make way for a new generation. If Trump wins against Biden (a likelihood of any plausible Republican nominee) Trump (only three years younger)  would be older than Biden when Biden was installed four years ago.  Haley also refers to Congress as something like an exclusive nursing home (a good line).

Clearly Haley is not running for VP but she is serving at a minimum to do a number on DeSantis and obliquely Trump in the respective ads. The extent of the money spent by her PAC and allied PACs to do negatives on DeSantis must be gargantuan and now Americans for Prosperity Action has come out of the closet and endorsed Haley directly. That would be the same group who Trumpistas insisted was supporting DeSantis. They are spending a ton of money to stop DeSantis and Trump.

The Trumpista attack line on DeSantis used to be that he is  a swamp toady.  Never mind that the swamp prefers Trump because they figure he can be tied up easier and DeSantis would not have the distractions they have initiated and the fact that DeSantis has promised to begin slitting their throats on day one.  They know his performance record means he means it.

Haleys support – neocons and various billionaires including Koch’s illegal immigration friendly / Americans for Prosperity (an interesting combination) are united by anybody but Trump or DeSantis.  Nikki Haley would not be allowed to attack DeSantis so frequently if the swamp looked on DeSantis as one of them.  Rather, they would enjoin Haley to concentrate on Trump instead of “their boy” DeSantis. And yet the Trump attack line on DeSantis continues.

Irony abounds in Haley and Trump attacks on DeSantis — the ad receipts 

If Trumpistas would open their eyes they would see that:  1) Haley’s attacks on DeSantis point to him as the superior alternative to Trump that she must defeat, 2) Haley accuses DeSantis of mimicking Trump which is to say anti-Trump people should look to her, 3)  we see that the billionaire corporate interests are lining up with her – belying the Trumpistas’ accusations against DeSantis and 4) if the latter (corporate support) was seriously a concern for Trumpistas they ought to find it a bit unsettling when Trump sucks up to Big Ethanol, Big Wind, Big Pharma as he most certainly does, he brags that he has   given them special sustenance.

Another irony, Trump is essentially a corporate board (open to as much criticism as Nancy Pelosi as to family business access to information and influence) but DeSantis does not sit on any corporate board, his family is young and his earned reputation is to take on special corporate interests and privilege and their irresponsible denigration of culture (Disney).  Need we detail DeSantis’ articulation against DEI compared to Trump and his efforts against ESG? See here and here.

The energy rap:

Both Haley and/ or her friends and Trump and /or his friends have attacked DeSantis accusing him of being two-faced on energy development – specifically fracking and offshore drilling. See broadsides.

Haleyites have even run an ad purporting that DeSantis opposes ALL fracking Readers must have  seen it —  the egregiously lying “yeah, yep, yep” spot of DeSantis responding to a woman’s question in a bustling room about fracking in THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES — something that the people of Florida oppose.

The lies and distortion and hypocrisy of their attacks on DeSantis on that can be understood by honest people who investigate a bit or ask a couple key questions.  Even Trumpistas when they find a sense of balance.  Ask Trump and Haley what their positions are on fracking and off-shore drilling in truly environmentally sensitive areas or even just aesthetic areas.

Ask Nikki Haley and Donald Trump if they are OK with fracking in the Everglades National Park.  Ask both (especially Haley) about fracking in the Cypress Swamps of South Carolina or anywhere in the Santee region.  How about some drilling platforms nearby off of Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach? And as for Trump, how about a nice juicy one off of Mar-a-Lago? It is just jaw-dropping incredible what they, and or their operatives are allowed to say in furtherance of their quest. Does even Trump not cringe when such attacks go out . . . when his own administration opposed more offshore drilling off of Florida?  No, because he is insufferable in his campaign style. And by the way the offshore ban is for new drilling closer than 3 miles off the Atlantic coast and 9 miles off  the Gulf Coast but still allows it within territorial waters (12 miles).

As pro-fossil energy as we are, we would demure on fracking or drilling in those areas as well given that alternate grand oil basins are not in nearly as economically or environmentally sensitive areas. But maybe we should not be surprised at Trump using the attack line since he arguably champions risking water-tables in other ways and places, like here in Iowa.  He does after all champion  using half the corn crop, more than half this state’s farm acreage for ethanol to be burned in cars, via favorable treatments including marketing mandates, all while grocery and meat prices are high.

But maybe there is hope for sensible environmental reasoning with DeSantis while still being aggressive with fossil fuel production as needed.  True, and to his credit, DeSantis has opposed renewal  of the Renewable Fuel Standard (the ethanol mandate) but with Reynolds on board with his campaign his position seems to be changed.

The Social Security rap  

Trump castigates DeSantis for wanting to reform Social Security, a hornbook conservative proposal for decades. Trump’s economy, as good as it comparatively was, still plagued the country with deficits aggravated by the mega appropriations bills he signed more than once:  “Trump’s” economy did not do much to alter the ooming “lock box” Social Security trust fund deficit date.  And of course never mind Trump’s championing of the Romney-Ryan team when  they favored changes, like DeSantis, that would not affect current recipients but would help sustain their benefits in the out years. And ask Trump if any changes are to be tolerated or is that somehow a broken promise as regards a twenty-year old starting out in the economy that he or she might never see unless SS is restructured (unless the  largely Democrat zeitgeist of assisted suicide takes hold aggravated by “pandemics” —  see Oregon,  Washington, Hawaii, Maine . . .).

It is such a phony attack by Trump.  There is a schedule for  increasing “full retirement benefit” ages yet all of those affected started paying in when the retirement age was fixed at 65. Was that somehow a broken promise? Does Trump want to go back to 65 and what recompense is there to be for those government takings of what was  “promised” all those people?  Honest people want to know.  

What is particularly insufferable is that Trump previously backed policies on Social Security for which he’s now attacking DeSantis, calling the program a ‘Ponzi scheme’.

Of course Trump prefers the income tax system

Trump apparently does not want anyone mucking with the grandness, the majesty, the essence of the income tax as the government’s primary way of funding the Federal government?

According to Trump’s distortions —  did you know DeSantis wants to somehow increase your taxes and win your vote!!?   . . . impose a 23% sales tax as if that was on top of the manipulable income tax Trump merely wants to ‘improve”.

Trump came up with that distortion because DeSantis  supported the Fair Tax. We support the concept as well. It is a replacement tax system based on consumption — a replacement of the income tax based system with all its distortions.

The fair tax is a system far more transparent that does indeed require everybody to realize they have a piece of the action of government. Sure everyone pays taxes up front with their purchases under the system (variations might have this or that exemption for all) . . .  and why shouldn’t they? The essence of the concept is to END the income tax.  Our government survived without the income tax before politicians found the income tax allowed for all manner of obscure manipulations to benefit their donors, and otherwise sustain their sinecures. 

Honest people admit that under the Fair Tax System those in poverty get a welfare check on the back-side, it is just not ridiculously called earned -income tax credit or possessed of built in obliviousness to the cost of government. Furthermore the system avoids punishing earnings for the purpose of savings or investment as the income tax does.

The 23% charge against DeSantis is another ugly distortion from Trump — his hallmark campaign MO.

The soft on illegal immigration broadside and the obfuscations in the small print “documentation” (they really don’t want you to check their claims)

According to Haley’s allied organization Stand for America, Inc (SFA) which did much of the specific anti-DeSantis broadsides and other media attacking DeSantis to benefit Haley’s campaign: They say:  Ron DeSantis’ immigration policy is AMNESTY TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS; NO FUNDING FOR THE BORDER WALL, NO INCREASED FUNDING FOR THE BORDER PATROL.

Of course they are bold face lies. There is not another term more appropriate.

Haleys friends at SFA cannot show any such policy position because DeSantis’  actual stated and posted policies expose their calumny.  His record on the matter as governor of Florida giving executive orders more so reflects “policy” because of the higher degree of autonomy a governor enjoys. DeSantis has proved his mettle famously busing illegals to Blue states and sanctuary cities demonstrating and sharing the crisis border states experience. Further, he sent law enforcement personnel and Florida NG units to Texas to help secure the border He has called for Special Forces intervention  against the drug cartels and human traffickers. He is against amnesty for illegal entry.

While falsely characterizing his votes the SFA broadside’s lies refer to the time period DeSantis was a congressman. Votes there may be compromises, or laden with multiple issues (damned if you do, damned if you don’t) or must pass omnibus elements that an individual congressman has exhausted any ability to impact but may vote for as the lesser of evils or the impossibility of timely alternatives to the situation.

Even at that,  looking at the good company DeSantis was in with his votes gives readers another clue that the emblazoned accusations are also shibboleths against renowned conservative champions of protecting the border and our immigration laws.  In tiny print the SFA hit piece offers the “documentation”  “HR 6136”,  “HR 1625  2018”, and “HB 3354 , 2017” we needed a magnifying glass to verify the numbers as they are set in a font about 1/3 the size you are reading this commentary.

On HR 6136 DeSantis was joined by the likes of  Marsha Blackburn (then a congresswoman), the particularly well known amnesty loving Iowan Steve King, Tom Massie, Louis Gohmert and others. On HR 1625 Desantis was joined by those same people and we should also mention border state personage Andy Biggs (now chair of the House Freedom Caucus).  On the Senate side for that bill DeSantis was joined by Mike Lee, Rand Paul, John Kennedy, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and other conservatives. HB 3354 was another  multi-department appropriations measure a “partisan whipped bill” which means it was sponsored by the Speaker, then Paul Ryan. Nuff said. DeSantis opposed it. The bill died in chamber.

When  Florida Governor DeSantis debated California Governor Newsom a few weeks ago the soft on immigration  attack line against DeSantis was incredibly used by Newsom to try to weaken DeSantis before the nation. Of course DeSantis’ record preceded him but Newsom tried to paint DeSantis as a supporter and enabler of illegal immigration, not that Newsom is not one in reality.  He did so in order to undermine DeSantis against Trump. The liberal Politifact rated Newsom’s attack on DeSantis:

Gavin Newsom’s  mostly False claim about Ron DeSantis’ support of amnesty for immigrants

It is a clear read that we commend to you for the record.

The above commentary showcases just some of the Haley and Trump distortions, hypocrisies, calumnies used against DeSantis.  In a later post this week we will comment on  Trump’s  “undeserving” riff, and his RINO riff  towards DeSantis.  The preposterous attack by Trump on DeSantis’ wife Casey, what ought to disqualify Trump (not false charges of insurrection or the various law-fare attacks made against him), Trump’s dumbfounding comments regarding the Civil War, “women” and our greatest complaint about Trumps performance in office and after leaving his operation Warp Speed.

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