In poll results released over the weekend, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trounced other potential Democratic presidential nominees by a minimum of 45 percentage points in three different states. The NBC poll queried potential voters in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina.
In New Hampshire, Clinton was supported by 69 percent of respondents. The only other Democrat to land double digits was Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) at 13 percent. Vice President Joe Biden received 8 percent support, followed by former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD), each taking less than 2 percent.
When asked who they would support if the 2016 presidential election were held today, Clinton was supported by 48 percent of New Hampshire respondents over former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 42 percent, and 49 percent supported Clinton over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) also at 42 percent support.
In Iowa, Clinton was the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination, garnering the support of 68 percent of respondents. Biden followed with 12 percent, while Sanders, Webb, and O'Malley took less than 10 percent combined.
Clinton was favored above Bush and Walker by a minimum of 8 percentage points in the Hawkeye State.
Responders from South Carolina support Clinton over Biden for Democratic nominee by 45 percentage points.
The poll did not indicate a frontrunner among Republicans.
New Hampshire respondents supported Bush (18 percent) above Walker (15 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (14 percent), and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (13 percent).
The top spot in Iowa was a close call between Bush, Walker and Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with only one point difference between the three potential candidates.
South Carolinians favored Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) above Bush, Walker and Huckabee by two points.
Support for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has reached an all-time low of 37 percent in his home state. Residents cited his arrogance, views on education, and lack of attention to their state in their negative assessment of the governor. For the first time, a majority of New Jerseyans (53 percent) view Christie negatively.
Voters have definite opinions about reasons behind the slide. Twenty percent mention his attitude, personality, and behavior; 15 percent refer specifically to “Bridgegate” and 10 percent say something about shunning his current duties to pursue presidential ambitions.
“As one respondent said, ‘Christie visiting different states for the presidential race made New Jerseyans not like him,’” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers University.
“Others used words like ‘arrogance,’ ‘rudeness’ and ‘abrasive’ to explain the turnaround from his high flying post-Sandy days. And of course, all manner of mentions of Bridgegate and other scandals were offered.”
Christie’s slump is reflected in specific issues as well. His job approval on taxes (the top concern for 29 percent of voters) is down three points to 28 percent since the December 2014 Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. On the economy – the most important issue for 24 percent – Christie is down four points to 31 percent approval. And what was already a strikingly low approval rating on handling the pension situation has fallen an additional five points to 19 percent. The largest decline, seven points to 35 percent, has been in respondents’ perception of how he has been handling education.
Republicans are also becoming disillusioned with Christie, according to the poll. Forty-eight percent disapprove—a 19 point drop from December. Reasons for the drop include negative perceptions on his views on crime and drugs, the state budget, and the state pension fund.
We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al-Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership. Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.) We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature....There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State.
In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse. The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers...The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.
Our failure to appreciate the split between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the essential differences between the two, has led to dangerous decisions. Last fall, to take one example, the U.S. government consented to a desperate plan to save Peter Kassig’s life. The plan facilitated—indeed, required—the interaction of some of the founding figures of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and could hardly have looked more hastily improvised. It entailed the enlistment of Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, the Zarqawi mentor and al-Qaeda grandee, to approach Turki al-Binali, the Islamic State’s chief ideologue and a former student of Maqdisi’s, even though the two men had fallen out due to Maqdisi’s criticism of the Islamic State...After Jordan granted the United States permission to reintroduce Maqdisi to Binali, Maqdisi bought a phone with American money and was allowed to correspond merrily with his former student for a few days, before the Jordanian government stopped the chats and used them as a pretext to jail Maqdisi. Kassig’s severed head appeared in the Dabiq video a few days later. Maqdisi gets mocked roundly on Twitter by the Islamic State’s fans, and al-Qaeda is held in great contempt for refusing to acknowledge the caliphate. Cole Bunzel, a scholar who studies Islamic State ideology, read Maqdisi’s opinion on Henning’s status and thought it would hasten his and other captives’ death... A reconciliation between Maqdisi and Binali would have begun to heal the main rift between the world’s two largest jihadist organizations. It’s possible that the government wanted only to draw out Binali for intelligence purposes or assassination. (Multiple attempts to elicit comment from the FBI were unsuccessful.) Regardless, the decision to play matchmaker for America’s two main terrorist antagonists reveals astonishingly poor judgment.
3) For all of its rightful pummeling of conventional wisdom, Wood's piece succumbs to CW in its analysis of AQ being "decisively eclipsed."— D. Gartenstein-Ross (@DaveedGR) February 17, 2015
4) Wood also succumbs to CW on AQ's lack of religiosity. AQ was not just "wearing medieval religious disguises." pic.twitter.com/B4cWWGgMrF— D. Gartenstein-Ross (@DaveedGR) February 17, 2015
"We need to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs...
The US Senate easily confirmed Dr. Ash Carter as defense secretary last week; today he will officially take over managerial control of the Pentagon.
“If anyone was made for this job, if there was a job description made for a person, this is a person who fits the job description,” Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday at the swearing in ceremony. “Dr Carter, as you take leadership of this greatest military in the history of mankind, [you] do so with the confidence of everyone in your building, confidence of the United States Senate, confidence of President Obama and me.”
Immediately after his remarks, Vice President Biden administered the oath of office, and the newly sworn-in defense secretary took the podium.
“For me, this is the highest honor to be the 25th secretary of defense,” Carter announced. “I am honored to rejoin the men and women of the Defense Department in what is the highest calling, which is the defense of our country."
"Starting today, I want to make three commitments,” he continued. “The first is to help our president make the best possible decisions about our security and the security of the world. And then to ensure that our department executes those decisions with its long accustomed competence and effectiveness."
Not surprisingly, he also emphasized his commitment to those serving with and under him.
"My second commitment is to the men and women of the defense department, whom I will lead, to reflect in everything I do and to honor the commitment and dedication that brought them into service," he said. "To protect their dignity, their safety, their wellbeing. To make decisions about sending them into harm’s way with the greatest reflection and care.”
“And third, [I'm committed] to building a force for our future," he continued. "That involves not only securing the resources we need but making sure we make the best use of the taxpayers' dollar. [We must] embrace change so that years from now, decades from now, we continue to be a place where America’s finest want to serve, and a place that is a beacon to the rest of the world.”
Out: Bombs. In: Jobs for Islamic terrorists.
The State Department that refuses label the beheading of an American journalist "an act of war" is offering up a new way to defeat ISIS: getting fighters jobs in their home countries.
"We cannot kill our way out of this war."
"We can help them [Muslim countries] build their economy so they can have job opportunities for these people."
First, yes, that was MSNBC's Chris Matthews asking State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf tough questions. Second, during the interview Harf refused to acknowledge one basic fact: Fighters aren't joining ISIS because it pays well or because they're poor. They're joining ISIS to please Allah. What makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47? Maybe the promise of 72-virgins upon death has something to do with it.
Thousands of fighters are pouring into Iraq and Syria from economically sound countries like Great Britain and even the United States. This ridiculous "jobs" suggestion proves that the Obama administration, and the State Department in particular, still continue to deny the true motives behind ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups. When Harf says the administration wants to get at the "root cause" of why young men join terror organizations, she's being disingenuous. The root cause is radical Islam, and the White House refuses to mention it.
The upside to this exchange is Harf acknowledging that this is, in fact, a war. What progress.
President Obama soared to victory in 2012 thanks in part to the bogus "war on women" narrative perpetuated by the left, claiming Republicans everywhere want to ban birth control and that the only way to success as a female in America is through government.
The war on women narrative largely worked in 2012 thanks to a national, nonfactual and emotional campaign focused on low information, single issue female voters. As a reminder, it was ABC News anchor and former Clinton hack George Stephanopoulos who got the theme started during a 2012 GOP primary debate in New Hampshire, not Republicans themselves.
Despite badly losing on the war on women narrative in the 2014 midterms (where low information voters tend to stay home), Democrats are planning on bringing the theme back for the 2016 presidential election. More from Real Clear Politics:
With the help of EMILY’s List, Democrats are already laying down markers on GOP candidates. This week, the group that supports pro-choice female Democratic candidates launched a new campaign that will document each time a Republican candidate “ignores, insults, or offends” American women. The “Insult & Injury” initiative, first shared with RealClearPolitics, includes digital advertising and graphics that can be shared via social media.
EMILY’s List argues it already has a good amount of material to work with, pointing to Rand Paul’s “shushing” of CNBC host Kelly Evans during a recent interview, and Mike Huckabee’s description of women who curse in the workplace as “trashy.”
But beyond those headlines, the group is focusing on the GOP candidates’ records on a variety of issues, including abortion, contraception access and pay equity. EMILY’s List is targeting Republican presidential candidates’ opposition to Planned Parenthood and/or their efforts to defund it, as well as their opposition to raising the federal minimum wage, which the group argues disproportionately affects women.
“Women and families need leaders who understand the challenges they face and take them seriously. They deserve better than the disrespectful words and harmful actions of the current Republican 2016 field,” said Communications Director Jess McIntosh in a statement.
Better be careful, Republicans, you might hurt feelings. Apparently EMILY's List thinks women just can't handle that.
Get ready for another round of advertisements and statements from liberal politicians defining women by body parts and by the pills they take. Further, as the left has cried racism toward anyone who disagrees with Barack Obama, they'll be crying sexism as we begin to harshly and honestly criticize Hillary Clinton.
In the meantime, don't forget the left often publicly claims to treat and stand up for women in one way, but the reality of their behavior is very different. Will Ted Kennedy, who left a young woman to die in his car, be glorified again at the 2016 DNC convention as he was in 2012? Will Bill Clinton give a keynote speech? Will Hillary Clinton come clean about her time at the State Department when the sexual abuse of young girls overseas was covered up? Will Democrats admit that they were against a woman's right to vote before hijacking the movement when it became politically convenient? Will progressives justify their decades long battle to get women enslaved to government, leading them into a life of less opportunity and prosperity?
Before liberal groups like EMILY's list or Planned Parenthood start re-accusing Republicans of a war on women, they should take a close look at their own sordid history. If you want to arm yourself against this narrative with facts and history, be sure to read Assault and Flattery: The Truth About The Left and Their War on Women.
NBC celebrated the 40th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live" on Sunday night with just about everyone in Hollywood. The most surprising special guest, however, had to be former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Seated next to Taylor Swift, the former Republican vice presidential nominee had her chance to shine during the latter half of the show, when Jerry Seinfeld came on stage to take questions from the audience. After calling on celebrities like Michael Douglas, John Goodman and "Seinfeld" creator Larry David, Seinfeld picked Palin out from the crowd. Palin asked Seinfeld how much money SNL creator Lorne Michaels would give her to run for president next year, with a certain vice presidential choice:
Palin's appearance was pretty classy considering how Tina Fey and company mercilessly mocked her during the 2008 election. Sunday night's joke was pretty harmless overall. The following clip, however, is not so funny. TMZ captured Palin on her way to the SNL After Party, where she was heckled by a few people who decided to get her attention by criticizing her appearance, shouting things like, "Put on a scarf!" and claiming she looked like "crap":
The best part about the clip? Palin's bold reaction to her classless critics. Refusing to be treated like an object, Palin responded to her hecklers by shouting things like, "When you get a job, come talk to me!" and, "Are you in show business? Then don't be jealous!"
Thankfully, these immature passersby were the minority in the crowd. Most were vying for pictures with Palin and complimenting her.
For what it's worth, that white number Palin had on actually came from her daughter Bristol's closet. She can pull off looking stunning in her daughter's clothing? Now that's impressive! Yet, it apparently wasn't enough to silence her always venomous haters.
Liberals seem foolishly determined to resurrect the "war on women" in 2016. If they really cared about respecting women, these activists would start by demanding Palin get an apology from how she was treated outside of the SNL set. Based on how media outlets like CNN treated her daughter when she was physically assaulted last year, I wouldn't hold your breath.
United States District Court Judge Andrew Hanen's very thorough 123-page opinion explaining his decision to issue an injunction blocking President Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program covers a multitude of legal and factual issues. Here are the five most important points from the decision:
The DAPA Program Directly Causes Significant Injury To States
A key hurdle that any plaintiff must clear in any law suit is establishing the "standing" to sue in court. In order to establish standing, a plaintiff must show how the defendant's actions caused the plaintiff a specific and significant harm. Many legal experts believed that demonstrating how Obama's DAPA program harmed states would be the plaintiffs most difficult issue.
The states solved this problem by identifying a number of services they would be required to provide to formerly-illegal immigrants if the DAPA program were to move forward. The court spends the majority of the time on drivers licenses, specifically the $174.43 it would cost Texas for each of the tens of thousands of DAPA recipients who are likely to apply for drivers licenses once they obtain legal status through the DAPA program.
The Obama administration tried to argue that states would be free not to offer drivers licenses to DAPA recipients, but Judge Hanen noted that when Arizona tried to do exactly that for DACA recipients the Obama administration told a federal court they had no choice.
Judge Hanen also noted that, thanks to other federal laws, Texas paid $716,800,000 in health care for illegal immigrants in 2008 and Wisconsin was forced to pay $570,748 in unemployment benefits to DACA recipients. Each of these cases are examples of direct financial harm to states directly caused by executive non-enforcement of immigration law.
Congress Never Created Or Authorized Deferred Action Status
Defenders of Obama's DACA and DAPA programs often note that the Supreme Court has been very clear about the supremacy of the federal government over the states on immigration policy.
But, as Judge Hanen notes very early in his opinion, "deferred action," the legal basis for Obama's DACA and DAPA program, was never created by Congress. "Deferred action is not a status created or authorized by law or by Congress, nor has its properties been described in any relevant legislative act," Hanen writes on page 15. "The Government must concede that there is no specific law or statute that authorizes DAPA," he repeats on page 90.
Instead, Hanen notes, the Obama administration relies on two "general grants of discretion" in immigration law to support the DAPA program. But, as Hanen goes on to explain, if anything these statutes create separate and specific ways the Secretary of Homeland Security can offer legal status to illegal immigrants. But Obama's DAPA program does not follow the processes these two other statutes created. Instead, DAPA created a brand new program out of whole cloth after Congress specifically debated and ultimately rejected new laws like Obama's DAPA program.
There Is A Big Difference Between Executive Discretion And Bestowing Benefits
In the 1985 case Heckler v Chaney, the Supreme Court held that plaintiff death penalty opponents could not use the Administrative Procedure Act to force the Food and Drug Administration to take enforcement actions against states who used certain drugs for lethal injections that had not been approved for that purpose.
In that case, the Court found that the non-enforcement decisions of federal agencies were "generally committed to an agency's absolute discretion" and were therefore "unsuitable for judicial review."
Judge Hanen found that Obama's DAPA program, however, cannot be characterized as "non-enforcement" since "it is actually affirmative action rather than inaction."
Specifically, Hanen notes that DAPA "awards legal presence to individuals Congress has deemed deportable or removable, as well as the ability to obtain Social Security numbers, work authorization permits, and the ability to travel." "Absent DAPA, these individuals would not receive these benefits," Hanen continues, "Exercising prosecutorial discretion and/or refusing to enforce a statute does not also entail bestowing benefits."
Immigration Officials Have No Discretion In How To Implement DACA/DAPA
In addition to finding that DAPA is a bestowal of benefits, not an act of non-enforcement, Hanen also found that the program includes no real acts of prosecutorial discretion at all.
All law enforcement entails necessary acts of prosecutorial discretion by law enforcement officials. The Highway Patrol does not stop every driver going over the speed limit and your local police department does not investigate every bike theft. But these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by law enforcement officials.
Obama's DACA program, however, is not at all like these very common and accepted forms of prosecutorial discretion. Asked to identify a single case where an immigration enforcement officer was allowed to use their discretion to deny a DACA applicant deferred action status, the Obama administration failed to identify a single case (see footnote 101 on page 109).
Preventing The Implementation Of DAPA Preserves The Status Quo
In addition to showing that he will likely prevail on the merits, a plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must also show that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief and that "the balance of equities" are in his favor.
Here, Hanen found that once illegal immigrants are granted legal status through DAPA, it would be virtually impossible for a court to undo the harm afterwards.
"The Court agrees that, without a preliminary injunction, any subsequent ruling that finds DAPA unlawful after it is implemented would result in the States facing the substantially difficult if not impossible task of retracting any benefits or licenses already provided to DAPA beneficiaries," Hanen writes. "The genie would be impossible to put back in the bottle."
In addition to the states suffering irreparable harm, Hanen notes that potential DAPA beneficiaries would not be significantly harmed by continuing to live under the existing status quo. "The court notes that there is no indication that these individuals will otherwise be removed or prosecuted," Hanen writes. "They have been here for the last five years and, given the humanitarian concerns expressed by Secretary Johnson, there is no reason to believe they will be removed now."
After burning alive a captured coalition fighter pilot in a cage earlier this month, a seemingly new low even for ISIS, a videotape surfaced Sunday showing the rank and file beheading 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.
Perhaps acts such as these no longer faze us anymore – after all, the explicit targeting of Christians by ISIS is nothing new – but the madness shows no signs of ending. While Pope Francis and other faith leaders have condemned the killings and called the victims “martyrs,” Ed Morrissey reminds us the White House still refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that the victims subscribed to a specific religious sect. Referring to them in a press release simply as “Egyptian citizens" washes over, if not totally takes away from, their sacrificial and Christ-affirming deaths.
Maybe continued and purposeful evasion about whom ISIS targets, however, is just one reason why the president’s foreign policy disapproval numbers are steadily rising. Now, more than half of Americans are giving the president poor marks dealing with this global jihadist threat, according to a new CNN/ORC poll:
Americans are increasingly unhappy with President Barack Obama's handling of ISIS, and a growing share of the nation believes that fight is going badly, according to a new CNN/ORC survey released Monday.
The CNN/ORC poll found 57% of Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling the threat posed by ISIS, a significant decline in support for the President over the past few months. In late September, that number was 49%.
Fifty-seven percent disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs more broadly, and 54% disapprove of how the President is handling terrorism. Another 60% rate Obama negatively on his handling of electronic national security.
When it comes to taxes, do the rich pay their fair share? In this week's video, economics professor Lee Ohanian reveals actual data about who qualifies as "rich," and what percentage of the tax burden top earners actually pay. The facts will surprise you.