Tim Kaine Asks Voters to Trust Hillary — But Can They Trust Him?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) (Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Last night at the Democratic National Convention, Tim Kaine attempted to make the case that Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy, a sentiment with which the overwhelming majority of Americans disagree. Amid a number of attacks on Donald Trump, Kaine laid out his argument:

First, she’s consistent. … When you want to know something about the character of somebody in public life, look to see if they have a passion that began long before they were in office, and that they have consistently held it throughout their career.

Kaine’s attempt to paint Hillary Clinton as a consistent, principled politician is certainly difficult one, running contrary to even the most cursory examination of her entire political career. But it is all the less convincing coming from Kaine, who is in the midst of a political realignment of his own, changing a number of long-held beliefs in order to become a more palatable running-mate for the increasingly radical Clinton campaign.

Kaine has followed Clinton’s lead on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with an impressively quick about-face on his previous support of the deal. One week ago, Kaine was praising the trade deal, which Clinton helped negotiate as Secretary of State. The very next day, Hillary Clinton chose him as her running mate, and he privately agreed to echo her newfound opposition to the deal. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, friend to both Kaine and Clinton, said on Tuesday that he expects that a Clinton administration would ultimately flip-flop again and support the deal. Continue Reading

First Draft of the GOP Platform: What You Need to Know

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

On Sunday evening, the Republican National Committee shared a 58-page first draft of the party’s 2016 platform with members of the convention’s platform committee, which will debate, add, or change provisions over the next week.

For the most part, the RNC’s draft is similar to the 2012 platform. On Common Core and other education issues, the party’s stance is still strongly against federal meddling in local affairs, even if some Republican lawmakers are less committed to a principled stance on the issue. The platform also condemns the growth of the federal administrative state at the expense of local sovereignty.

Even though the platform is not a binding document, it can be very revealing as to the party’s priorities and goals going into the general election, and therefore an important part of the convention process.

Here is a brief look at where this draft platform stands on a number of key election issues:

Marriage

The 2012 platform called for a national constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union strictly between man and woman. Billionaire LGBT activists, such as hedge fund manager Paul Singer, have been attempting to shape the platform towards a more moderate position on same-sex marriage and other social issues.

Though the RNC’s draft platform no longer proposes a constitutional amendment supporting traditional marriage, it takes a strong position against the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Instead, the draft suggests that marriage is an issue best left to the states. Continue Reading

Trump, Cruz Escalate Attacks as Indiana Vote Nears

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are in the midst of making their final pitches to the people of Indiana before next Tuesday’s primary, spending millions of dollars on television advertising throughout the state. Trump has largely focused on trade deals and outsourcing, attacking local manufacturer Carrier Corp for its plans to move 2,100 jobs to Mexico. Cruz, meanwhile, has largely focused on Trump’s recent statements against North Carolina’s bathroom bill, and has repeatedly compared Trump’s policies to those of Hillary Clinton.

A recent ad from the Trump campaign features Donald Trump Jr. praising his father’s tough persona, stating, “It’s that toughness that I want renegotiating trade deals with China and Mexico. It’s that toughness that I want keeping me, and my family, and your family safe.” Another Trump ad attacks Cruz on both trade and immigration, claiming, “Bad trade deals supported by Ted Cruz have hurt Indiana” and that only Trump “will stand up to China, Japan, and Mexico” to renegotiate those deals. Governor Mike Pence, who endorsed Ted Cruz earlier today, nevertheless said that he was “particularly grateful that Donald Trump has taken a strong stand for Hoosier jobs.”

The Cruz campaign, however, has been busy drawing parallels between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on issues such as gun control, abortion, and, particularly, transgender bathroom access. Cruz has been highlighting this issue in rallies throughout the week, saying, “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both agree that grown men should be allowed to use the little girls’ restroom” and that “[i]f Donald Trump dresses as Hillary Clinton, he still can’t use the little girls’ restroom.” A new advertisement featuring Carly Fiorina further characterizes Trump and Clinton as two insiders unwilling to stand up to the establishment, saying, “Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will fight the system, because they are the system.”

Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

“It’s The Economy, Stupid!” Time For CNBC To Grill Candidates On Monetary, Tax, Trade Policy

Photo credit: Teresa via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At last, we mere voters might get to watch a debate that will focus on the two top issues that virtually every poll places at the top of our concerns: jobs and the economy.  Earlier debates have only lightly brushed on these matters. This is a great pity. Time for CNBC to give us a gold standard presidential debate with questions that matter.

As I wrote in my Forbes.com column “Here’s What’s Likely To Hurt the Republicans in 2016” last April:

“It’s the economy, stupid!”  The weirdest thing about the onrushing 2016 presidential cycle is the scarcity of a GOP economic growth theme. Missing, too, is a serious growth agenda. That gap — not demographics, nor electoral college math — is the GOP’s most serious deficiency in its quest to regain the White House.

Democratic campaign consultant Bob Shrum wrote in his compelling political memoir No Excuses:

“Carville was obsessed with keeping the Clinton Campaign on message. That was easier with the ads than the candidate. A pledge to “end welfare as we know it” reassured voters in the middle. The point of the lance was economic: Clinton had an economic plan, a health care plan; Bush didn’t and you couldn’t trust what he said anyway. But it was hard to channel a candidate who was a policy prodigy. Clinton’s broad reading and interests sometimes led him to break out of the message box of his own campaign. I was on the phone with Carville one day when he said he had to hang up; the road was calling in.

Continue Reading