USA Today
USA Today

Debate takes:

Trump: Even. Probably didn’t net gain or lose any from his fundraiser. Some thought he should have debated. Others like the cut of his jib for staying away. You’ll remember that Senate candidate Joni Ernst stayed away from the Des Moines Register’s editorial board — and now they call her Senator Ernst.

Cruz: Without Trump to be his foil, may have lost a little. He’s all hard-core and anti-establishment…but at some point people are going to wonder why SO MANY people that know him do not like him.

Rubio: A lot of people think he came out the winner, and I probably can’t argue. But I do think he needs to take down his “angry” tone, just a bit. I get that he’s trying to sound extra forceful, but on nearly every question, it’s like he’s angry at everything. “And you wanna know about this lectern? Well I’ll TELL you about this lectern!”

Carson: At one point he gushed out everything he knew and learned about Russia and the Mideast. It was like he was operating on a brain and all the knowledge spilled out onto the operating room floor. (Now THERE’s a visual for ya…)

Bush: This type of stage just isn’t his forte.

Christie: I thought he knocked it out of the park on a few answers. I don’t know if he can catch much fire in New Hampshire, but if he did I wouldn’t be surprised.

Kasich: Yeah, well…

Rand: Rarely do you get to see a candidate on a major stage with that much, “Yeah I know I’m not going to win, so F–You,” of an attitude. But his supporters are still psyched.

So what does that leave for the caucuses?
The giant motzaball out there is whether Trump’s Iowegians show up.

A notoriously small percentage of people actually go out to caucus in Iowa. So do the Trumpians — who I would speculate are on the low end of that turn-out ratio (i.e. they don’t usually go) — show up?

And if not, does Cruz dominate?

New Hampshire is not likely to mimic Iowa, but whatever happens in the Hawkeye state will reverberate across the country.

Fun stuff, eh?


Did even his buddy Biden listen?

And in case anyone was listening, Chuck Hagel doesn’t think Ted Cruz’s carpet bombing plans are workable.

Then again, if the President didn’t listen to Hagel, why should Ted Cruz?



Brad Ashford’s FEC numbers are in, and are decent.

Interestingly, the OWH’s Joe Morton, to to editorializing just a tad to saysthis about Chip Maxwell’s $2K COH, and a poll that says 2/3 of GOP voters are undecided:

Winning over almost two-thirds of the electorate requires a campaign, which takes money.

Heh. That’s one way to put it.


Hear ye

Opening it up on this Carl Curtis Open Comment Friday!
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  1. Key 'n Trumpets says:

    Cruz is crippled in Iowa, no matter what he does, because of what he did. While we don’t hold Ted accountable for being born in Canada, he wanted until he was a Senator running for President before the light bulb went on and he renounced his citizenship. Dumb. And any guy who wants to win Iowa, yet then champions smashing Iowa ethanol subsidies, is double stupid. Ethanol is how Iowans feed their kids. This is crippling for Cruz. Grassley and Branstad may seem unimportant to non-Iowans but their anti-Cruz crusade in Iowa is deeply meaningful there. Moreover, while Cruz can be as cranky as any non-insider, Cruz is an elected US Senator and far more of an insider than Carly, Ben or that guy who has Iowa supporters standing in freezing weather for hours to see him.

    If standing hours in the snow is at all indicatory, maybe it means Trumpeters will drive the few minutes it takes to get to their precinct to vote. We shall see.

    Sweeper, good assessment.

  2. @BenSasse is doing total Trump destruction online. He even has the stubby fingers meme going.

    Trump, a fat blob of a man, actually accused Sasse of being a gym rat. Oh no, Brer Fox, don’t throw me in the briar patch!

  3. Key 'n Trumpets says:

    “…And you Trumpkins are going to have to crawl into burrows to hide your shame. Begone, maggot!”

    Shame on you Professor. I did not insult you. I did nothing but explain reasons about Cruz, who led the Iowa GOP debate, and next leads in Iowa, that he has problems with Iowa’s own GOP Governor and Senator preaching against Cruz ala ethanol. I am personally not in favor of subsidizing corn ethanol because it costs more to produce than petroleum and is thus a waste of tax dollars. It is up to you chemists to develop new methods to make ethanol cheaper so that artificial subsidy isn’t required. I agree with Cruz on this point but I’m not an Iowa voter. Obviously, Senator Grassley and Governor Bransted disagree with my view. Cruz is their Iowa problem and he is theirs. And as I noted, some of Cruz’s other campaign problems stem directly from him not laying his own groundwork ahead of time.

    Such behavior is usually excused as election season jitters. Yet a Republic’s voters require dispassion and reason. What candidates do is tactical. We can choose to remain rational.

    • KnT: just a little harmless trolling. But nothing compared what what beastmode trollmaster Sasse has been directing at the short-fingered vulgarian.

      I’ve often noticed the real indicator of when a politician’s time is up is when he’s being openly mocked. That’s Donald Trump, right now.

      • anon says:

        GH-not a vote has been cast, is time Trump’s enemy? It may be like a NASCAR race where everyone is waiting for him to Howard Dean and crash and burn, I do enjoy he has burst out of the usual media election box, he is a wild card. If he does succeed with the court, and a congress, how much worse could it be, would Hillary still be cruising without him.
        Also Fox is into their same election bullshit, their viewers dropped away after Obama’s second election, Frank Luntz is phony, O’Reilly, no spin, Megyn Kelly is a female Jon Stewart. They are as much of a drag as the Bushes and Clintons

  4. Hawkeye says:

    Ted Cruz is a “Canadian Anchor Baby”.

    When I heard that, I laughed so hard the ethanol I was drinking shot out my nose.

  5. Lil Mac says:

    I predict Trump wins Iowa by double digits.

    The Des Moines Register’s poll has Trump +5, but the poll measured three days before the Trumpless debate and only one day after. While Falwell Jr’s endorsement and Grassley’s and Bransted’s condemnation impacted this poll, it wasn’t much able to measure fallout momentum boost after the Trumpless debate and parade of presidential picks.

    The pollster notes that 45% of voters are still “changeable” but none of them are Trump voters. Between them, the un-decides, and no one moving away. its a net gain for Trump this weekend.

    Will Trump’s voters actually vote? They stood in the snow to see him. Those who say they “definitely” plan to attend caucus is 30 Trump, 26 Cruz. Those who will “Probably” attend 27 Trump, 21 Cruz.

    Pollster Selzer said Trump leads both inner core and fringe. That’s golden. And no one has a better record than Selzer on polling IA. But this poll didn’t much measure what Iowans felt when they watched Trump, Santorum and Huckabee together as seeming “presidential IA picks” while a lot of “GOP candidates” were arguing on the other side of town. For those IA caucus voters who are yet changeable, this image is persuasive, perhaps indelible. And it certainly is penultimate coming this final weekend.

    If Trump tactics are unfathomably new, the timing of this is perfect old school strategy.

    • I think your prognostications are wrong, but if I’m wrong and Trump gets elected, every time he acts like the crony capitalist liberal he’s been his whole life, I’m going to remind you.

      It’s the least I can do. 🙂

      Meanwhile, pro-life organizations in Iowa are advising people to vote for anyone except Trump. They aren’t fooled.

      • Lil Mac says:

        Thanks for the happy face. It matters more than voting does. The fraction of value of our one vote is so infinitesimally small that all of this for each of us can only end up either as an exercise in dispassionate prediction or a warped emotional homage to the façade that is patriotism and altruism. But do please feel free to remind me of whatever you wish whenever you want, for I am not the Iowa electorate. I don’t even vote there. I am just trying to look at all this in context.

        The latest ripple is Hagel joining FOX owner Murdoch to urge the pro-choice, anti-gun, anti-energy, environmentalist Bloomberg to run as an Independent. Murdoch, Bloomberg, and Hagel are united by being for open borders and instant amnesty, which seems an antiquated notion in the aftermath of the Paris attacks and ISIS infiltration. But more to the point, that belief puts these men squarely against a clear majority of American voters who value borders. It doesn’t matter what I personally feel about our borders, any more than what I personally feel about ethanol subsidies. Bloomberg is on the short side of American opinion on borders just as Cruz is on the short side of Iowa opinion on corn gas. But I also see reports today that Rubio is “most popular” while Rubio is running third. What the heck does that mean? It’s all guesswork. And Iowans are voting on Bloomberg today. That may change by November.

  6. Lil Mac says:

    Nobody outside of Iowa is one bit impressed that Trump (35.8) was standing next to Huckabee (2.2) and Santorum (0.4) while GOP candidates as high as 19 pts were debating. Non-Iowans saw only two guys who lost to McCain and Romney. That is NOT what Iowa voters saw. Iowa’s GOP voters gave their hearts to Huckabee and Santorum in 08 and 12. Last Thursday, they saw two beloved presidential leaders standing with Trump. What Iowans think is all that matters on Monday.

    Trump understands what others cannot even see, in this case, that only Iowans vote in Iowa.

    Compare that to Cruz’s last minute mailer to Iowa voters saying they “violate” law by not voting. That is like Internet Pfishing, “Your account has been closed, give us your account password!”

    THAT is Cruz’s GOTV strategy? Scare Iowans into voting? The gestapo will get you if you don’t show up and vote for Ted! Oh brother. Tack a few more points onto Trump’s Iowa win. As if Trump voters needed more incentive to show up. Never a dull moment in this campaign.

    • IO-WA-tcher says:

      LM, all this time I thought you were just a gas bag. Now I know better. In spite of your assertion that Iowans think of Santorum (0.4) and Huckabee (2.2) as anything but a couple of has-beens, those numbers behind their names prove that you’re just full of sh!t. Far from loving those old losers, they don’t even remember them.

  7. Pro Life Voter says:

    Lou Ann Linehan is a hypocrite. She tells everyone Saturday she is pro-life then donates to pro-choice democrats like Brad Ashford and Jim Esch. What’s worse is she gave Brad Ashford more money recently!

  8. To Pro Life Voter says:

    A real conservative never supports pro-choice Democrats. Linehan chose to work for Obama and Hillary Clinton. She chose to give to Brad Ahford and Jim Esch. You can only infer that she supports Nancy Pelosi being Speaker. name for me the last republican leader that said its ok to vote for a Democrat for Congress. Lou Ann’s DC establishment mentality is not what we need in Nebraska

  9. Elkhorn Voter says:

    Lou Ann didn’t have to be apart of Hillary Clinton’s Team. She could have chosen to resign. She chose to work for her after the Benghazi Scandal. People who differ on policy leave, SHE DIDN’T!

  10. Go Lou Ann! says:

    Lee Terry is a loser. I’m glad Lou Ann gave to Brad Ashford. We need reasonable voices in Lincoln and not knee jerk reactionaries.

    • Sparkles says:

      OpenSky Policy Institute had an editorial in Saturday’s LJS titled; “Ag land valuation cap not solution”.

      It’s always refreshing, and a bit remarkable, to read these reports. Reports that just sing of common sense. Of straight-forward, empirically supported data, all pointing to logical and irrefutable conclusions. Conclusions that almost always directly conflict with the lobbyist-crafted agenda being pushed by Nebraska’s right lurching Governors and their ‘conservative’ claques.
      Reports free of the corrupting influence, half-speak and misinformation disseminated by the legions of right wing, drown government in the bathtub groups like ALEC, Platte Institute, Club For Growth, Americans For Prosperity, End Spending (Ricketts) PAC, a whole array of Koch funded orgs, etc..
      Groups still desperately seeking, 50 years on, to immolate the programs of the Great Society. And politicians, who on behalf of their wealthy and privileged patrons, never relent in their effort to reach into and take from the tattered pockets of the elderly, the infirmed and the working poor.

      Time and time again, informed solutions are offered to Nebraskans and their leaders –
      Whether from OpenSky, or UNK Professors (“Study: Medicaid expansion could save $1B over five years”) or UN Medical Center, College of Public Health / Center For Health Policy (Study: “Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska under the Affordable Care Act”). –
      Time and time again our Governor and the ethically challenged, among our GOP legislature seek to serve self-interest and personal gain over the welfare of our state and the common good it’s people.

  11. anon says:

    With Chelsea in Council Bluffs Hillary to a good crowd said insulting muslims was dangerous. I think the polls are right at her margin at least 5%. Bernie seems to have a good lead in NH, but his campaign against her by kissing her ass at debates and sniveling about her afterwards wont carry him much farther

  12. Lil Mac says:

    5:25, you too are a “gas bag”. Isn’t everyone? CO2 issues from the top, H2S from the bottom. As for your opinions on constipation, we are grateful for your contributions to good bowel health. But if you aren’t a proctologist, that is one strange hobby.

    Kidding aside, you make a valid point. If we see Santorum (0.4) and Huckabee (2.2) then Iowans today don’t see these men as presidential. They indeed don’t today. Yet these men seemed presidential to these same voters before they endured eight years of being PC-gagged while a President played the race card. Huge swaths of the electorate have wanted to scream, “For God’s Sake! You are the most powerful man in America! Quit whining!” That frustration and more has burst forth today in the form of several political outsiders leading this race, outsiders who didn’t exist as candidates in 2008 and 2012.

    Iowans don’t see Huckabee and Santorum as nasty ex-spouses but as old friends in retirement. Iowans don’t expect them to be a best fit for post-Obama America. But a fondness is there. Trump went for the warm fuzzy that comes with the familiar. It’s a warmth trigger that should pay off big.

    Your explanation is also fact-based and thus reasonable regardless whether or not I call you names.

    A suggestion. If you wish to bait someone with name calling, don’t try that on a Trump supporter. For they of all people realize it is sticks and stones you need to worry about. Wordy assaults upon my bowels do not hurt me. My happiness comes when tonight Trump takes a hard electoral stick and cracks the political skull of your chosen candidate. Enjoy the caucus.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been watching Sasse for a year now. Did anyone vet this guy? Look at his resume. The ultimate insider reading excepts for his new book as speeches on the floor. Haven’t heard him speak about Nebraska issues. Keep waiting for him to represent us. Ben, come back home from Iowa!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Give Ben a break. He’s testing presidential waters for his latest noninsider gig in a few. No accident his last name rhymes with gas, etc.

  15. Waterloo Resident says:

    Linehan being Hagel’s Chief of Staff is enough to disqualify her. She is as unloyal to the Republican party as Chuck was. What Republican says Brad Ashford is the solution for our nation’s problems??? I will make it a point that all my Republican Neighbors know that she support Democrats and worked for Obama

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