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Saturday, Feb 06, 2016

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Lucky for us, Iowa keeps on giving

Just when we’d decided Iowa wasn’t especially important in the Great Scheme of Things, we discovered differently. Besides accomplishing the salutary winnowing of both major parties’ presidential fields — its fundamental purpose — Iowa managed a bonus: It exposed a whiner, an incompetent and at least one opportunist ... and that was only on the Republican side.

Democrats hoping to turn their gaze to New Hampshire might be stuck through the weekend with a narrative over how a purposely oblique process gave a politician long associated with corruption a much-needed, if razor-thin, victory.

As the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto notes:

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Quirky Iowa’s message: Nobody knows nothin’

Now that the first votes have been cast in the long journey leading to Election Day 2016, it is safe to write out loud what plenty have been thinking all along: Nobody knows nothin’.

The last, traditionally most golden, of polls before the Iowa caucuses wasn’t even close. Predictions of what sort of turnout would benefit which candidates were upside down. And those glowing reports about Donald Trump’s masterful skip-the-debate strategery? Donald ducks was all shine and no substance. You have to believe these same bloviators buy a car for its color.

Similarly, then, the old saw about there being three tickets out of Iowa — for Republicans, anyway; Democrats are already down to two — must also be viewed skeptically as well. With the Hawkeye State receding quickly in the rearview mirror, who knows what fresh astonishments lie ahead in New Hampshire and beyond?

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Hillary’s dark-matter emails: A big you-know-what deal

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates weekdays at TBO.com.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Hillary Clinton’s email scandal just got worse. No, don’t stop me, because it did. Get worse. Way worse. Like DefCon 1 worse.

Friday afternoon, the State Department declared 22 emails that turned up on Clinton’s private server contain material that is so incredibly secret no part of them can be released. Not the headers. Not the dates. Not the subject lines. Not even the correspondents.

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Hillary’s dark-matter emails: A big you-know-what deal

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Hillary Clinton’s email just got worse. No, don’t stop me, because it did. Get worse. Way worse. Like DefCon 1 worse.

Friday afternoon, the State Department declared 22 emails that turned up on Clinton’s private server contain material that is so incredibly secret no part of them can be released. Not the headers. Not the dates. Not the subject lines. Not even the correspondents.

None. Of. It.

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Open carry: An ancient right seeking codification

The Right Stuff has no personal investment in the hot debate over whether civilians should be able to strap on their trusty sidearms for the world to see. But, since it seems personal ownership of one or more guns lends gravitas to critics of the open-carry bill knocking around in the Legislature this session, let me say as someone who could take it or leave it: I do not own, and never have owned, a gun.

Moreover, as a non-owner, neither my feelings nor my sense of safety will be injured in the least if open carry becomes state law.

I am sanguine on the topic not simply because open-carry prevails in 45 states (Florida would become the 46th), and that 36 of those states rules are at least as permissive — if not moreso — than Florida’s would be.

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Can Trump answer Sasse’s questions?

Knowing Donald Trump’s penchant for discoursing on Twitter, Ben Sasse, a thoughtful, principled, Ivy League-sharpened conservative freshman senator from Nebraska, has gone there seeking, in a respectful manner worthy of his reputation, knowledge about where the Republican presidential frontrunner stands on certain key issues.

Twitchy helpfully compiled Sasse’s inquiries (and editorial remarks) in one convenient location, viewable here. The subjects include single-payer healthcare, gun ownership, taxes, unilateralism in the executive branch and — oh, yes — Trump’s boasts about his affairs with married women.

If he engages honestly and fully, Trump’s answers would be useful not only for those still making up their minds about the mega-billionaire celebrity blowhar-, er, candidate, but also for those who — for reasons known only to themselves — are solid-gold Trumpets.

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If you thought Hillary was in trouble before ...

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates weekdays at TBO.com.

Hillary Clinton’s defense of her private, unsecured email server — nothing marked classified passed through — is both silly and demonstrably false. But, as we have seen with this week’s revelation from the intelligence communities’ inspector general (appointed by President Obama), even if her long-expired excuse were 100 percent accurate, use of the server by her and several top aides was at least reckless and at worst compromised U.S. national security.

It’s one fascinating term of art she’s clinging to, that nothing was “marked” in such a way that it would raise an eyebrow. In short, she’s asking us to believe she was the first secretary of state in the modern age whose electronic correspondence never included anything remotely sensitive.

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If you thought Hillary was in trouble before ...

Hillary Clinton’s defense of her private, unsecured email server — nothing marked classified passed through — is both silly and demonstrably false. But, as we have seen with this week’s revelation from the intelligence communities’ inspector general (appointed by President Obama), even if her long-expired excuse were 100 percent accurate, use of the server by her and several top aides was at least reckless and at worst compromised U.S. national security.

I mean, it’s an interesting term of art she’s clinging to, that nothing was “marked” in such a way that it would raise an eyebrow. In short, she’s asking us to believe she was the first secretary of state in the modern age whose electronic correspondence never included anything remotely sensitive.

Batch after batch of emails released by the State Department have shown, abundantly, otherwise.

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Senator (annotated): ‘We don’t need no stinking Constitution’

If President Obama’s persistent support for gun-grabbing Australian-style weren’t sufficiently revealing, here came Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski to make it obvious: Democrats don’t like the Second Amendment.

At a Senate hearing on Obama’s recent executive order on firearms Wednesday, Mikulski used her opening remarks to dismiss America’s founding document as a mere inconvenience in the face of a Higher Purpose.

“[L]et’s solve the problem,” she announced to her colleagues and a panel that included Attorney General Lorretta Lynch. “Let’s not get involved in constitutional arguments, and let’s help our American people be safe and secure in their home, their neighborhood, their school and their house of worship.”

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Bernie’s unAmerican appeal

They — and by “they,” I mean MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Scarborough and sidekick Mika Brzezinski — were going ga-ga over Bernie Sanders’ new ad, declaring it shows an upstart candidate bristling with confidence ahead of the presidential campaign’s opening act, the (overblown, frankly) Iowa caucuses.

The commercial, which uses a sliced-and-diced version of Simon and Garfunkel’s compelling “America” (“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together ... ”) laid over images from the heartland and Sanders’ campaign, marries the idea of people who have “gone to look for America” to the fevered ideas of a Democratic Socialist pitching an America that does not, never has and absolutely never should exist.

In fact, that America already exists, and it’s called Western Europe, which, while applying many of the solutions Sanders extols — national health care, cripplingly high minimum wages, free college education — high taxes, stubbornly high unemployment, a failure to assimilate immigrants, overbearing bureaucracies and the collapse of religious faith coupled with (not surprisingly) an overweening sense of entitlement.

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