400 Plus Tea Party Patriots From Iowa Rally Behind Grassley

Grassley listens to a question during the 2009 Reuters Washington Summit in WashingtonWhile some Republicans in the U.S Senate have softened their positions on whether or not hearing on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court should be held, Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee, has stood firm on his position not to hold hearings.

Now over 400 grassroots activists from Iowa have signed on to a pledge supporting Grassley’s position. Below is a letter being circulated by Tea Party Patriots thanking Grassley for recognizing that the Supreme Court will function perfectly fine with eight justices over the next ten months. The letter also encourages him to do everything in his power as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to block President Obama from putting one more Justice on the Supreme Court.

“Americans are looking forward to being part of this process and having our voices be heard in the November election before Justice Scalia’s replacement is confirmed,” the letter reads.



The Honorable Chuck Grassley
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

March 23, 2016

Dear Chairman Grassley,

I am writing to thank you for your commitment to upholding the Constitution and standing firm in opposing a confirmation hearing for any Supreme Court nominee President Obama makes during this lame duck period.

The Democrats often remind us that elections have consequences. Indeed, elections certainly do have consequences, but the Democrats would prefer to forget that the 2014 elections ever took place. Americans gave the Republicans the majority in the Senate, in large part because we wanted to make sure that President Obama’s reckless agenda would not be rubber-stamped during his last two years in office. Part of President Obama’s agenda now includes making his third appointment to the Supreme Court, but there simply is no reason to rush this process.

President Obama, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and others on the political Left are rushing to put another liberal Justice on the Court, and it’s easy to understand why. Replacing Justice Scalia, the Court’s most thoughtful originalist, with a progressive, “results-oriented” Justice would dramatically change the make-up of the Court, and would immediately change the outcome of several major upcoming decisions.

Thank you for recognizing that the Supreme Court will function perfectly fine with eight justices over the next ten months. Please do everything within your power as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to block President Obama from putting one more Justice on the Supreme Court. Americans are looking forward to being part of this process and having our voices be heard in the November election before Justice Scalia’s replacement is confirmed.


Joe Villirillo, Adel, IA
Louise Bernhardt, Akron, IA
garry klemme, Akron, IA
Kay Quirk, Alta, IA
Lyndal Bahney, Altoona, IA
John Cosner, Altoona, IA
Robert Pence, Altoona, IA
Charles Ainsworth, Amana, IA
Bill Leibold, Ames, IA
Michael Means, Ames, IA
Bruce Niehm, Ames, IA
Jerold Peterson, Ames, IA
David Rood, Ames, IA
monte toresdahl, Ames, IA
Ramona Wierson, Ames, IA
michael davies, Anamosa, IA
Dwight Axtell, Ankeny, IA
Keith Carlson, Ankeny, IA
Ksenia Gardino, Ankeny, IA
Pamela Havnen, Ankeny, IA
Phil Rekemeyer, Ankeny, IA
Martin Vogel, Ankeny, IA
Bill Mullin, Arnolds Park, IA
Keith Witzke, Arthur, IA
Kris Ennis, Asbury, IA
Carol Schmidt, Asbury, IA
Gene Hammons, Atalissa, IA
Max Argo, Atlantic, IA
Julie Pohlsander, Audubon, IA
Lotus Paulsen, Avoca, IA
steven johanson, Badger, IA
Melissa Banian, Bettendorf, IA
Larry Nissen, Bettendorf, IA
Ann Quist, Bettendorf, IA
Donald Keith Twite, Bettendorf, IA
Pamela Blackman, Blanchard, IA
Nell Moore, Bloomfield, IA
fred hawley, Blue Grass, IA
DENNIS Price, Blue Grass, IA
Steven Coe, Boone, IA
Pat Hastie, Boone, IA
Sandy Monen, Boone, IA
carol wiltsey, Boone, IA
Mary Wise, Boone, IA
Boyd Bonnett, Brooklyn, IA
Melinda Holder, Brooklyn, IA
Gary L Carlson, Buffalo Center, IA
Janice Kiewiet, Buffalo Center, IA
Dean Connelly, Burlington, IA
Todd Darnall, Burlington, IA
Carl J Lensgraf, Burlington, IA
Gary L Zachmeyer, Burlington, IA
Barbara Himes, Bussey, IA
Joseph Loesch, Calmar, IA
Ken Meiners, Carroll, IA
steve riley, Carroll, IA
Ash Kading, Casey, IA
Jim Burford, Cedar Falls, IA
Keith Coppage, Cedar Falls, IA
Eric Lawson, Cedar Falls, IA
Ralph Mentzer, Cedar Falls, IA
Eugene Schwickerath, Cedar Falls, IA
David Williams, Cedar Falls, IA
Ray And Linda Agrimson, Cedar Rapids, IA
Carl Clore, Cedar Rapids, IA
sheryl combs, Cedar Rapids, IA
Lance Greco, Cedar Rapids, IA
David J. Detwiler, Cedar Rapids, IA
John Kapler, Cedar Rapids, IA
Brett Lund, Cedar Rapids, IA
John McInerney, Cedar Rapids, IA
Dale Marvin Nordby, Cedar Rapids, IA
Sarah Pauley, Cedar Rapids, IA
Larry Pernicka, Cedar Rapids, IA
John Petermann, Cedar Rapids, IA
Myron Rupp, Cedar Rapids, IA
Yvonne Savoy, Cedar Rapids, IA
Elisabeth Wellington, Cedar Rapids, IA
Connie Whitmore, Cedar Rapids, IA
Gerald Janicke, Centerville, IA
Lee Schwerdtfeger, Centerville, IA
Myrna Ladwig, Chester, IA
Vanessia Oden, Cincinnati, IA
Dennis L Binder Jr, City not submitted, IA
Lawrence Boeckmann, City not submitted, IA
Christopher Brittain, City not submitted, IA
Mark Burkart, City not submitted, IA
Larry Clement, City not submitted, IA
Van Delashmutt, City not submitted, IA
John Dommerman, City not submitted, IA
Celene Eliason, City not submitted, IA
Grace Gabrielsen, City not submitted, IA
Ed Hardgrave, City not submitted, IA
marv johnson, City not submitted, IA
tom mace, City not submitted, IA
Doug Maxson, City not submitted, IA
Brian McKnight, City not submitted, IA
See McRemer, City not submitted, IA
Alan Meyer, City not submitted, IA
Don Miller, City not submitted, IA
Michael Nevins, City not submitted, IA
Leonard Pistek, City not submitted, IA
Alvin Rottinghaus, City not submitted, IA
Richard Steggall, City not submitted, IA
Dale Whitaker, City not submitted, IA
Martha Pauley, Clear Lake, IA
Robert Speakar, Clear Lake, IA
Allen Schmid, Clinton, IA
Cheryl Devoto, Clive, IA
Greta Kelso, Clive, IA
Patricia Liittschwager, Clive, IA
Wendell Ross, Colfax, IA
melodie applegate, Colo, IA
Betty Henderson, Colo, IA
William Tucker, Colo, IA
Gary Nielsen, Coralville, IA
David Clayton, Council Bluffs, IA
Craig Congdon, Council Bluffs, IA
Billy Daniels, Council Bluffs, IA
Edwin Daugherty, Council Bluffs, IA
Brad Elgan, Council Bluffs, IA
Mike Franks, Council Bluffs, IA
John Guehlstorff Iii, Council Bluffs, IA
Marjorie Matzen, Council Bluffs, IA
Max McCord, Council Bluffs, IA
Freddie Miller, Council Bluffs, IA
Joni Paez, Council Bluffs, IA
Lenny Scaletta, Council Bluffs, IA
James Shaw, Council Bluffs, IA
Pat Toscano, Council Bluffs, IA
Tim Moore, Crescent, IA
Joseph Villarreal, Crescent, IA
Stan Kepros, Cresco, IA
Jeanne Ruiz, Cresco, IA
John Botts, Cumming, IA
Donald Hawbaker, Dallas Center, IA
Lee Inghram, Danville, IA
Keith Avey, Davenport, IA
Shelia Clayton, Davenport, IA
Nancy Gronewold, Davenport, IA
Terry Honnold, Davenport, IA
Mark Jasper, Davenport, IA
Rayanne Moser, Davenport, IA
Roger Risch, Davenport, IA
Joe Speer, Davenport, IA
Terry Welty, Davenport, IA
Alan Yoder, Davenport, IA
Daniel Carolan, Decorah, IA
Thomas Hansen, Decorah, IA
Janice Tyler, Decorah, IA
Noel JOHNSON, Denison, IA
jim samples, Denmark, IA
Shirley Bird, Des Moines, IA
Paul Bisanti, Des Moines, IA
Wayne Brill, Des Moines, IA
Doug DeFord, Des Moines, IA
Thomas Dudley, Des Moines, IA
Darrell Ferguson, Des Moines, IA
William Hackley, Des Moines, IA
clifford hammers, Des Moines, IA
Marjorie Hansen, Des Moines, IA
Gary Lee, Des Moines, IA
James Leporte, Des Moines, IA
James Lyttle, Des Moines, IA
Vincent Meek, Des Moines, IA
Ron Quick, Des Moines, IA
Shirley Reiste, Des Moines, IA
David Ross, Des Moines, IA
Willia Sansenbach, Des Moines, IA
Rick Trim, Des Moines, IA
Frank Tursi, Des Moines, IA
Bob Wells, Des Moines, IA
Dennis Wilhelm, Des Moines, IA
Jena Merical, Dexter, IA
Theresa Huinker, Dubuque, IA
Janice Labonne, Dubuque, IA
John Muenster, Dubuque, IA
Jeffrey Robbins, Dubuque, IA
Julie Schilling, Dubuque, IA
Michael Stallsmith, Dubuque, IA
Scott Woywood, Dubuque, IA
David Kramer, Dyersville, IA
Dave KRAMER, Dyersville, IA
Earl and Jeanne McBride, Eagle Grove, IA
John and Norma Irwin, Early, IA
Teresa Meeks, Eldridge, IA
Darrell Rude, Eldridge, IA
Bill Hansen, Estherville, IA
Merle Dockendorff, Fairfield, IA
Dick Bries, Farley, IA
Jackie Williams, Farley, IA
Jingles Waterman, Fayette, IA
John Frank, Fontanelle, IA
marty daggett, Forest City, IA
Patricia Nessa, Forest city, IA
Donald Mack, Fort Madison, IA
Monica Stupka, Garner, IA
Donald Stupka, Garner, IA
jason reinke, Geneva, IA
Tom Demory, Glenwood, IA
Wayne Herman, Glidden, IA
Roger Harvey, Grimes, IA
Dwight Bisgard, Griswold, IA
Cara Hall, Grundy Center, IA
Mike Mikels, Harlan, IA
Karla Mikkelsen, Harlan, IA
Kelly Robinson, Harlan, IA
Dorothy Carrothers, Hedrick, IA
Bradley Lewis, Hiawatha, IA
DON DOLL, Hornick, IA
Kevin Kollbaum, Hornick, IA
Joseph Wilson, Hudson, IA
Lavonne Spaans, Hull, IA
Gary Hendricks, Humboldt, IA
Colleen Johnson, Humboldt, IA
Amy Dettbarn, Huxley, IA
rebecca dunbar, Indianola, IA
Michelle Fetters Steen, Indianola, IA
Ricky Halvorsen, Indianola, IA
Jay & Donna Drisen, Inwood, IA
Jacqueline Bienlien, Iowa City, IA
Richard Couch, Iowa City, IA
Sandy Lloyd, Iowa City, IA
Dianne Molander, Iowa City, IA
chad murphy, Iowa City, IA
Martin Wenck, Iowa City, IA
Bill Bonin, Iowa Falls, IA
Jerry Hitch, Iowa Falls, IA
Jean O’Malia, Iowa Falls, IA
Jim Furman, Johnston, IA
Joe Hamling, Johnston, IA
jeanne jennings, Johnston, IA
Jack Koopal, Johnston, IA
Michael Nelson, Johnston, IA
Kent Wildrick, Johnston, IA
Len Garrison, Kingsley, IA
Anthony Rothrock, Kingsley, IA
Bessie Gilmore, Kiron, IA
Joseph W Linton, Knoxville, IA
Terry Smith, Lake City, IA
Andy Leppert, Lansing, IA
Robert Fonder, Laurens, IA
Rick Kislia, Le Claire, IA
Leray Bleeker, LeClaire, IA
Ron Shepherd, LeClaire, IA
Davy Yoder, Leon, IA
Doris McElmeel, Lisbon, IA
D. Shon Fagan, Macksburg, IA
philip erickson, Madrid, IA
Michelle Bockenstedt, Manchester, IA
Richard Cordes, Manchester, IA
George Durey, Manchester, IA
David Gore, Manning, IA
Bruce VonSprecken, Maquoketa, IA
Anita Felling, Marengo, IA
Kenneth Connelly, Marion, IA
Randy Gardner, Marion, IA
Anita Hansen, Marion, IA
Terry Hanson, Marion, IA
Heidi Hepker, Marion, IA
David Knuth, Marion, IA
Marilyn Mark, Marion, IA
James McPartland, Marion, IA
Timothy Morrissey, marion, IA
Kathy Patterson, Marion, IA
James Sauer, Marion, IA
sherri shreeves, Marion, IA
Allen Tupker, Marion, IA
Doug White, Marion, IA
Bill Egleston, Marshalltown, IA
Leo Neva, Marshalltown, IA
K Cassel, Mason City, IA
Daryl Muilenburg, Maurice, IA
fcebert@aol.com Ebert, Missouri Valley, IA
Ladonna Retzlaff, Monticello, IA
Larry Davis, Montrose, IA
Bill Ward, Moravia, IA
Judy Ray, Mount Ayr, IA
Judi Collora, Mount Pleasant, IA
Don And Carol Walden, Mount Vernon, IA
Richard Nissen, Mt Pleasant, IA
Patriot Tobey, Mt Pleasant, IA
James Jensen, Muscatine, IA
James Phillips, Muscatine, IA
Tony Rickey, Muscatine, IA
Pam Wearth, Muscatine, IA
Jerald Nott, Nashua, IA
Steven Heerts, New Hartford, IA
Russell Truex, New Hartford, IA
Linda Abernathey, Newhall, IA
Ruth Rusk, Newton, IA
Marvin Hinrichs, Nichols, IA
Dave Lewis, North Liberty, IA
Jeanette Best, Norwalk, IA
Sandra Heckart, Norwalk, IA
David Case, Oakland, IA
Cheri Schmidt, Ocheyedan, IA
Thomas Smith, Ollie, IA
Karen Hahn-Brown, Osage, IA
Mary Burkheimer, Osceola, IA
James Peddicord, Osceola, IA
Tom Wales, Oskaloosa, IA
Kurt Uhlenhake, OSSIAN, IA
Gene Coombs, Ottumwa, IA
Paul Cremer, Ottumwa, IA
Paul Halferty, Ottumwa, IA
Dwight Paris, Ottumwa, IA
Dusty Proctor, Ottumwa, IA
Joan Braatz, Oxford, IA
Duane Schlabach, Parnell, IA
Michael Kraft, Pella, IA
Jane Stoulil, Pocahontas, IA
Joy Cummings, Prairie City, IA
Jean Irwin, Primghar, IA
Larry Hodne, Ralston, IA
Linda Braden, Red Oak, IA
Dan Castleberry, Robins, IA
Bob Groeneweg, Rock Valley, IA
Neil Blaas, Rockwell City, IA
Gary Clark, Roland, IA
Billy Williams, Roland, IA
Nancy Folkerts, Rudd, IA
Phillip W Filides, Sabula, IA
Lana Myers, Sac City, IA
Martin Pearson, Sac City, IA
Kevin Kirchgatter, Saint Ansgar, IA
Ellen Ross, Saint Charles, IA
Stephanie Kuperus, Sanborn, IA
Bradley Robinson, Sergeant Bluff, IA
Alvina Krikke, Sheldon, IA
Alyda Roetman, Sheldon, IA
Edwin Verburg, Sheldon, IA
Marcia Wassenaar, Sheldon, IA
Lila Breedlove, Shenandoah, IA
Russell Gordon, Shenandoah, IA
David Brame, Sidney, IA
Jamesq Abshier, Sioux City, IA
Seth Cottrell, Sioux City, IA
Foster Ellis, Sioux City, IA
Thomas Graham, Sioux City, IA
Valerie Hair, Sioux City, IA
Deb Hale, Sioux City, IA
Ricky Harris, Sioux City, IA
Linsey Lane, Sioux City, IA
Jose Leon, Sioux City, IA
Christopher Lybbert, Sioux City, IA
Stephanie McManigal, Sioux City, IA
Mark Nahra, Sioux City, IA
Ken Reuter, Sioux City, IA
Christa Carson, Solon, IA
Ron Melsha, Solon, IA
Richard Wojno, Solon, IA
William Harmonson, Spencer, IA
Barbara Tomlinson, Spencer, IA
Lori Birkland, Spirit Lake, IA
Leroy Sorensen, Stanton, IA
Donald Mahlow, State Center, IA
Bonnie Hach, STORM LAKE, IA
Karen Lonsdale, Stuart, IA
gordon strain, thor, IA
wayne patrick, Toddville, IA
Mary Tangeman, Toddville, IA
Michael Tangeman, Toddville, IA
W.L. Bland, Urbandale, IA
Shelley Cherry, Urbandale, IA
James Fitts, Urbandale, IA
Richard Freedman, Urbandale, IA
Donna Nelson, Urbandale, IA
Bill Pim, Urbandale, IA
Bob Thenhaus, Urbandale, IA
Warren Stueve, Van Meter, IA
Dean Van Gundy, Van Meter, IA
Kip Murphy, Ventura, IA
Lowell Hyett, Wapello, IA
Michael Cole, Waterloo, IA
Craig Hawker, Waterloo, IA
cheryl helmers, Waterloo, IA
Katrin Kuriger, Waterloo, IA
Larry Martin, Waterloo, IA
Gary Moser, Waterloo, IA
Jan Seeley, Waterloo, IA
Dale Thome, Waterloo, IA
Russell Watson, Waterloo, IA
Gary Buda, Waukee, IA
Michael Manley, Waukee, IA
Michael Manley, Waukee, IA
Julie Muselman, Waukee, IA
Beverly White, Waukee, IA
James Bieber, Waukon, IA
Betty Larsen, Waukon, IA
Cliff Green, Wdm, IA
Michael Boyd, West Des Moines, IA
David Creighton Sr, West Des Moines, IA
Paul Curran, West Des Moines, IA
Dan Custis, West Des Moines, IA
Cheryl Kutscher, West des moines, IA
Colin McBee, West Des Moines, IA
Mark Miller, West Des Moines, IA
Deborah O’Donnell, West Des Moines, IA
Marianne Wadle, West Des Moines, IA
Frank Ward, West Des Moines, IA
Jacqueline Garlow, West Union, IA
Wade Mackey, Wilton, IA
Lorri Schlueter, Worthington, IA
Richard Mahlow, Zearing, IA

2:23 Mid-Day Must Reads

ASFLife From Death: How the Scalia Funeral Mass Became a Triumph of Evangelization

By KATE O’HARE – Catholicvote.org

There’s no question that the death of Antonin Scalia is a sad moment that opens up many troubling questions for the nation. But, it was also a gift in a tumultuous time, a sacred moment of love and respect on a loud and fractious news day — ending as the assembled clerics stood on the outdoor steps and sang “Salve Regina” a cappella as the casket was carried to the hearse.

Trump Tops Kasich in Latest Ohio Poll

Quinnipiac University Poll

Not even native son Gov. John Kasich can stop the Donald Trump steamroller as Kasich falls behind the Republican front-runner 31 – 26 percent among Ohio likely Republican primary voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is at 21 percent with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 13 percent and Dr. Ben Carson at 5 percent.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont 55 – 40 percent among Ohio likely Democratic primary voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh- pe-ack) University Poll finds.

Rubio takes “Ankeny Strategy” national!

Internally, the campaign calls this “The Ankeny Strategy.” In the run up to the Iowa caucuses, rival campaigns mocked the Rubio operation for being so obsessed with Ankeny. They joked that it felt like Rubio was running to be mayor of the Des Moines suburb. His headquarters was there, and his state chairman represents the city in the state Senate. But it paid off: Rubio’s surprisingly strong third place finish in Iowa was possible because he ran up his margin in Polk County.

My commentary: The only problem with this is that it lead to a third and second place finish, not a victory. Rubio needs to win, not simply do respectively well.

24 Years Later, Joe Biden’s Words Haunt Democrats


Several elements of the old Biden speech are problematic for Democrats, most notably his position at the time as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, making him the party’s voice on the handling of judicial nominations. The comments are also directly at odds with what President Obama and Mr. Biden, now the vice president, have been saying in demanding fair consideration for any nominee after the death of Justice Scalia on Feb. 13.

Rubio in Search of Mormon Support Tonight


Hutchison is, among other things, the chair of Rubio’s Nevada campaign and a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These two facts are not unimportant in the context of today’s Republican caucuses in Nevada. Mormons are only 4 percent of Nevada’s population, but they have exercised outsize influence in the state’s past two caucuses, accounting for 25 percent of Republican participants in 2012 and 26 percent in 2008; Mitt Romney, America’s most famous Mormon, won their vote by 88 and 95 percent, respectively.

Cruz changes tune on rounding up undocumented immigrants


Ted Cruz moved to a more aggressive deportation policy in an interview on Monday night, saying he would look for and deport undocumented immigrants using Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, marking a change from a January interview with CNN.

Appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, Cruz was repeatedly pressed on the specifics of his deportation plans by host Bill O’Reilly, who asked Cruz, “Would you go look for them, though? As (Donald) Trump would look for them to get them out, would you do that if you were president?”

“Bill, of course you would, that’s what ICE exists for,” Cruz said. “We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them.”




Mid-Day Must Reads

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.35.34 PMBelow are a few of the outstanding article that have been published this morning.

Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker writes a great piece on the looming Supreme Court confirmation battle, more specifically how we ended up at a place where the party in control of the Senate holds all the cards.

Edward Morrissey writes in The Week about how the confirmation process itself is overshadowing the life and accomplishments of Justice Scalia. A fantastic read.

If you are looking for some lighter material, check out James Poniwozik’s piece in the New York Times that argues how Donald Trump is actually bad for late night comics. Say what? I love articles like this that are enjoyable and light reading, but bring up valid points we may have otherwise overlooked.

Finally for you political nerds, Eliana Johnson from National Review writes a great synopsis on why South Carolina is a critical test for Ted Cruz. There are some great insights there.

The Brute-Force Politics of Judicial Confirmations

On nominations to the Supreme Court and for other judicial vacancies, the rule has been simple. The side with the most brute force has won.

Reid had the power to invoke the nuclear option, and he did it; McConnell has the power to protect the Scalia seat, and he is doing it, at least until the next election. It is thus clearer than ever that the future of the judiciary is decided at the ballot box, not in the courtroom.

How Antonin Scalia became an afterthought in his own demise

That brings us to today, when one of the longest-serving members in the court’s history has largely been forgotten in an unseemly scrum over who replaces him, and when. Republicans have adopted Schumer’s 2007 position, while Democrats forget that the Senate has no obligation to approve nominees — and that it was Democrats who were largely responsible for dispensing with deference to elected presidents in judicial appointments.

Scalia, ironically, spent nearly three decades attempting to move the court back to a less activist model. Had that effort succeeded, it would have made his own passing remarkable in itself rather than a bugle call for both sides to divvy up the spoils.

Even with that, the epic breadth and depth of Scalia’s impact on American jurisprudence may take several more decades to be fully appreciated. At the moment, though, the nearly 30-year tit-for-tat judiciary battle between Republicans and Democrats only deepens the belief among voters that America’s institutions are failing its citizens, and that will be yet another reason for voters in both parties to look outside those institutions to make them work once more.

Donald Trump Is a Conundrum for Political Comedy

How do you spoof a candidate who treats campaigning like a roast?

Mr. Trump is now a serious candidate — often a self-serious, angry one — with a serious chance. But stylistically, he works in the mode and rhythms of a stand-up. He riffs. He goads. He works blue. When he gave a victory speech in New Hampshire, feinted at congratulating his opponents, then pivoted — “Now that I’ve got that over with … ” — he sounded like a sketch comic doing an imitation of himself.

His style has rendered him, weirdly, almost comedy-proof. Election parodies traditionally exaggerate candidates. But Mr. Trump exaggerates himself — he’s the frilled lizard of politics, inflating his self-presentation to appear ever larger. Satire exposes candidates’ contradictions and absurdities. But Mr. Trump blows past those, while his supporters cheer.

And while the get-along guy Jimmy Fallon has a technically fine impression of Mr. Trump, it’s all hair and no teeth.

Ted Cruz: South Carolina is a Big Test

South Carolina, which votes Saturday, will give a good indication of just how sturdy that firewall is. The state is demographically similar to its southern neighbors, with both a large evangelical population (evangelicals constituted nearly two thirds of Republican primary voters in 2012) and a strong tea-party presence. A loss here would be a warning sign that the campaign has overestimated its ability to identify and persuade the voters it needs to carry the South.

In the past, candidates who have run a campaign with explicitly religious themes, and who have cobbled together narrow coalitions — Rick Santorum in 2012, Mike Huckabee in 2008 — have never proved widely successful. Both men won the Iowa caucus and a host of Southern states, but they didn’t fare well in South Carolina. The Palmetto State will provide a more reliable predictor of whether Cruz’s candidacy has the potential to be widely successful, and to make history in the process.

Cruz has the money and the infrastructure Santorum and Huckabee did not, and his campaign is amplifying the tactics that produced victory in Iowa here in South Carolina. As the dual Camp Cruz locations suggest, it remains a ground-focused operation that emphasizes person-to-person contact. “This campaign I believe is gonna be decided by the grassroots,” Cruz told reporters on Monday. “It’s gonna be decided friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, pastor to pastor, South Carolinian to South Carolinian.”

But Iowa, as a low-turnout caucus state whose voters are pre-conditioned to organizing through their religious institutions, was ideally suited to Cruz’s candidacy. He amassed 28 percent of the vote there. Will he fare as well in South Carolina?




Remembering Justice Scalia

Antonin ScaliaJustice Scalia will Lie In Repose At The Supreme Court on Friday

Much has been written about Justice Scalia’s passing, but below are a couple of articles written by people who were his ideological adversaries. The true mark of a man isn’t just what his friends and allies say about him when he’s gone, but also what those he did battle with have to say about him as well.

Click on they hyperlinks to read each article in full.

The Scalia I knew Will Be Greatly Missed – Cass Sunstein

[quote]Volumes can and will be written about Scalia’s approach to the law. Even those of us who disagreed with him (as I often did, sometimes intensely) owe him an immense debt, because the clarity and power of his arguments forced us to do better.[/quote]

Antonin Scalia Will Be Remembered as One of the Greats – Mark Joseph Stern

Liberals—and, as a shorthand, many journalists—labeled Scalia a “conservative.” That was true as far as political temperament went; from his notorious friendship with Dick Cheney to his thinly veiled delight at the outcome of Bush v. Gore, Scalia was a Republican at heart. But to call him nothing more than a “conservative” would be to overlook the remarkable nuance and complexity of his jurisprudence. Scalia cast a decisive vote in the most important free speech case of the 1980s, Texas v. Johnson, which held that flag burning qualified as constitutionally protected expression. He wrote the landmark majority opinion in 2011’s Brown v. EMA, a double victory for First Amendment advocates that protected both depictions of violence and minors’ rights. And he dissented in Maryland v. King, arguing that the Fourth Amendment forbids law enforcement from collecting DNA from arrestees. (His fierce dissent sounds like it could have sprung from the pen of Edward Snowden.)

Stern closes with the following.

When I was younger and angrier, I expected to cheer Scalia’s retirement, elated by his absence from the court. Today, I only feel overwhelming sadness. In my time covering the court, I’ve grown to admire the gruff, cantankerous man who lobs bombs and quips at nervous lawyers and bemused justices alike. Scalia was the justice you either loved or hated, relentlessly opinionated, representative of everything that was right or wrong with the Supreme Court. He was witty, unpredictable, caustic, indignant, and brilliant. He was an American original. And after the partisan howling over his legacy fades, that is how his country will remember him.

Trump in Command of South Carolina, but a Much Different Race is on the Horizon

Trump DSM
Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

Except for one Monmouth University poll that showed Dr. Ben Carson with a one-point lead in South Carolina back in early November, Donald Trump has led every poll in the Palmetto state since late July. Trump hasn’t just led in the polls, he’s dominated the competition.

If you average Trump’s support in all of the 23 different surveys of likely South Carolina voters that have been conducted over the past seven months, he averages a stunning 34.78 percent. Trump’s current lead over Texas Senator stands at 22 points. Trump has maintained a double-digit margin over his nearest competitor in South Carolina since mid-December.

Trump’s lead in South Carolina, combined with his big win in New Hampshire last week, would indicate that he’s in the driver’s seat for the Republican nomination. However, in Saturday night’s CBS News Republican presidential debate from South Carolina, Trump appeared to be anything but in control of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

The previous frontrunners for the Republican nomination would have been content to sit back play it safe. How many times in the Republican debates of 2012 was Mitt Romney declared the winner of primary debate because his opponents either refused to go after him or because he was successful in brushing off their criticisms of his record or previous statements?

Trump used the ninth debate, and the first after trouncing the entire GOP field in New Hampshire, to moderate his position on foreign entanglements, Planned Parenthood funding, and he even blamed President George W. Bush for the country being attacked on September 11, 2001. Not only is the timing of all of this questionable with the March 1st SEC primary just around the corner, where one would think more conservative positions on foreign policy and social issues would be key, but the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia also puts a newfound importance on issues like abortion regulation, religious liberty, and Second Amendment rights.

As I watched the debate on Saturday night, I tweeted, “This. Is. Nuts. Either Trump is absolutely brilliant and knows something about the electorate nobody else does, or he’s imploding.” As with every Trump-induced controversy, it’s wise to give it a few days before predicting his imminent demise. Still as I write this on Monday afternoon, I still don’t know what to think of Trump’s debate performance. But for the first time, I think he has misread the Republican electorate.

The vacancy created by Justice Scalia’s unfortunate death resets the presidential race moving forward. Even if Trump is able to win South Carolina on Saturday, I still think his decision to criticize President George W. Bush on the 9-11 attacks, and more importantly his idiotic defense of Planned Parenthood funding, puts into question his judgment and temperament in a way that’s never been done before.

Trump was smart at the onset of Saturday’s debate to mention federal judges Bill Pryor and Diane Sykes as two jurists that he would consider nominating if he had the chance to do so. During the rest of the debate, however, Trump cast doubt on his ability to follow through on and actually nominate a conservative like Pryor, since the Democrats’ main objection to his previous federal nomination was because of his views on Roe v. Wade, which he called “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”

Meanwhile, Cruz has used the uncertainty of the Supreme Court vacancy to point out previous things that Trump has said regarding abortion and Second Amendment rights. The Cruz campaign is out with a new TV ad called, “Supreme Trust” that closes with a statement that we cannot trust Trump on the serious issues like life, marriage, religious liberty, and the Second Amendment.

After defending Planned Parenthood in last weekend’s CBS News debate, the Cruz campaign released, “Currency,” an ad that rehashes the debate about Planned Parenthood treating the unborn like currency, and then featuring Trump saying, “Planned Parenthood serves a good function.” The Cruz campaign showed no signs of backing down after Trump held a press conference demanding that Cruz take down the ads.  Infact, the Cruz campaign responded by releasing a third spot, this one called “Chance.”  The lastest spot features Trump’s liberal record on partial-birth abortion, federal funding for Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton all in his own words.  Cruz used similar ads in the lead up to the Iowa Caucuses to boost turnout of evangelicals while also peeling them away from Trump. The campaign is obviously using a similar concept in South Carolina and other southern states.

As the Republican race progresses, it’s already abundantly clear that Cruz is likely to benefit from the focus that will now be on the Supreme Court. Similarly, it is clear that Trump, will be the one candidate who the new focus on the Court will likely hurt. As is also always the case in presidential nomination fights, momentum also plays an important role, and if Trump is able to deliver another victory in South Carolina, his position as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination may be cemented, but he will not yet be a lock to win.

An awful lot will be decided when the polls close in South Carolina at 7 p.m. eastern. Just like in New Hampshire, we must wait and see if any of the Republican candidates can rise up to challenge Trump for the win, but who finishes in second and third place will be equally important.

Will Cruz, with the balance of the Supreme Court now in jeopardy, be able to consolidate support around his candidacy and be the only candidate to really challenge Trump’s lead? Or will Sen. Marco Rubio, who rebounded with a good debate performance, be able to capitalize on the endorsements of Rep. Trey Gowdy and U.S. Senator Tim Scott, two young and dynamic elected officials from key parts of South Carolina.

And while Jeb Bush and John Kasich, are considered to be long-shots at this point. Bush has the endorsement of Sen. Lindsey Graham and members of the Bush family, including former President George W. Bush, are also campaigning for him in the state. Kasich, meanwhile, has garnered ample media attention following his second place finish in New Hampshire.

South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary may not sort out who ends up being the GOP nominee, but it should help us determine who the challenger to Trump will be moving forward. If that answer for some reason is not clear on Saturday night, meaning Trump wins and not much separates the rest, Trump will continue to benefit.





Prepare for Battle: The 2016 Election Just Became Even More Significant

USSCThe untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia not only will change the makeup and demeanor of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it’s also safe to say that the ensuing nomination process to find his replacement on the bench will also significantly impact that the 2016 general election.

The impact of Scalia’s death instantly changed what had already been an unruly and unpredictable race for the Republican nomination for President. With the ideological balance of the court at stake, Senate Republican Mitch McConnell wasted no time on Saturday evening following the news of Scalia’s death in putting out a statement saying, “The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will be in charge of the nomination process, echoed McConnell’s sentiment. “Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice,” Grassley stated Saturday evening.

The quick reaction of McConnell and Grassley meant that the battle lines were quickly established. In his brief remarks from California about Scalia’s passing, President Obama stated that he intends to fulfill his responsibility to nominate a successor, and added that he expects the Senate to fulfill its responsibility

These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone,” said President Obama. “They’re bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy. They’re about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life, and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our Founders envisioned.

If Scalia’s death does anything, it puts the 2016 presidential race into perspective. Regardless of which Republican presidential candidate you may favor, there is something much larger at stake – the balance of the Supreme Court. Republicans have already signaled that they plan to stall the confirmation process in order to allow whoever is elected this November to fill the vacancy caused by Scalia’s death.

Democrats were quick to call Republicans obstructionists despite Grassley and other Republicans citing the fact that no lame-duck president in recent history has nominated someone to be a Supreme Court Justice in the final year of his presidency. And while President Obama, Democrats in Congress, and their allies in the media will likely howl about the actions of the majority party in the U.S. Senate, they would do the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot.

Democrats may not like what’s about to transpire in Washington, but it’s about time that they are forced to take some of their own medicine. It was the Democrat Senate in 2009 that took a number of unprecedented moves in order to pass the Affordable Care Act. It was the Democrats in 2013 who enacted the “nuclear option” to change the long standing rules in the U.S. Senate so that the minority party could not filibuster executive branch nominations. The rule change, while controversial, did not apply to Supreme Court nominations.

Call it whatever you want -payback, poetic justice, or partisan politics, but when the balance of the Supreme Court is in play, you better believe it’s going to be a no-holds barred contest.

The Supreme Court vacancy will significantly alter the Republican presidential race and the general election that follows. Yet, regardless of who ultimately prevails, Republicans must be steadfast in their decision not to allow President Obama to replace to Justice Scalia, who served as the conservative cornerstone on the court for nearly 30 years with liberal jurists who surely will see no problem with a president who routinely acts outside of the boundaries set forth by the constitution.

Conservatives and Republicans need to prepare for battle. It’s going to be the most intense election in history now that so much is on the line.