Trump and Cruz send shivers down GOP spines

Trump Ted

Trump and Cruz send shivers down GOP spines

The prospect of either man as the Republican nominee is setting off alarm bells among officials and operatives across the country.
By ALEX ISENSTADT 01/05/16 05:11 AM EST

With only weeks before GOP primary voters first cast their ballots, the level of alarm among establishment Republicans about the enduring dominance of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is reaching new heights.

In private conversations with several former aides, Mitt Romney, who in March will keynote the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual fundraising dinner, has expressed rising frustration about Trump’s prolonged lead in polls and has argued that the real-estate mogul could inflict lasting damage on the party’s brand.

In Washington and elsewhere, meanwhile, Republicans are on the hunt for a political entity that can be used to stop Trump. In recent weeks, Alex Castellanos, a veteran TV ad man who was a top adviser to George W. Bush and Romney, has been meeting with top GOP operatives and donors to gauge interest in launching an anti-Trump vehicle that would pummel the Manhattan businessman on the television airwaves.
Those who’ve met with Castellanos say he’s offered detailed presentations on how such an offensive would play out. Castellanos has said that an anti-Trump ad campaign, which would be designed to cast him as a flawed strongman, would cost well into the millions. It was unclear, the sources said, whether Castellanos, who did not respond to a request for comment, would ultimately go through with the effort.

One growing worry about Trump or Cruz, top party officials, donors, and operatives across the country say, is that nominating either man would imperil lawmakers in down-ballot races, especially those residing in moderate states and districts.

“At some point, we have to deal with the fact that there are at least two candidates who could utterly destroy the Republican bench for a generation if they became the nominee,” said Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’d be hard-pressed to elect a Republican dogcatcher north of the Mason-Dixon or west of the Mississippi.”

“Trump and Cruz are worrisome to most Republican candidates for governor, senator and Congress,” said Curt Anderson, a longtime GOP strategist and former Republican National Committee political director. “Some will say they are not worried, but they are.”

Romney has been calling around to former advisers to sound them out about the race, and to kvetch about Trump’s surprising durability. But in the immediate term, at least, he has expressed unwillingness to lend his hand to a stop-Trump effort — or to endorse a candidate more palatable to a GOP establishment paralyzed by his rise and worried that nominating him or Cruz would scupper an opportunity to control both the White House and Congress in 2017.

The concern is particularly acute in the Senate, where Republicans are fighting to preserve a relatively slim four-seat majority, defending more than half a dozen seats in hard-to-win swing states. Among them: Ohio, a presidential battleground state where Republican Sen. Rob Portman faces a perilous path to reelection.

When Trump traveled to the state in November, he met with Matt Borges, Ohio’s Republican Party chairman — who warned the front-runner that “divisive rhetoric won’t help us carry Ohio.”

“It’s time for people who have never won squat here to listen to the people who have been doing it for decades,” Borges said in an interview. “I’m just looking out for how we win in November.”

In Wisconsin, some party officials fret that a Trump or Cruz nomination could sink Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who faces a tough race against his predecessor, Russ Feingold.
“Certainly, it would be bad for Ron Johnson if Trump is the nominee,” said Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble who, like Johnson, was swept into Congress in the Republican wave of 2010. “I think Trump is probably really bad down-ballot.”

Some top party strategists have spent months considering how the outcome of the primary will impact congressional races. Since last spring, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been poring over research and polling data in hopes of better understanding how each of the Republican candidates running for president would affect GOP hopefuls running for Senate. The committee has held internal meetings to discuss the pros and cons of each presidential contender and how they would affect each key Senate race.

The House, where Republicans have a historic 30-seat majority, is more secure for the party. But there, too, the GOP has reason to worry: The party must defend nearly three dozen endangered seats — many of them in liberal-to-moderate states like California, New York and Florida.

Should Trump or Cruz win the nomination, party operatives say, some longtime officeholders in more conservative districts such as New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett or Florida Rep. John Mica, who typically skate to general election wins, could find themselves in tougher-than-usual contests.

Cruz’s campaign pushes back on the idea that the Texas senator would imperil those running in House and Senate races. A Cruz nomination, they argue, would motivate conservatives to turn out to vote in a way that an establishment candidate couldn’t.

“Down-ballot Republicans need Ted Cruz at the top of the ticket because he is the only candidate in the race who can excite the base to show up in November,” said Rick Tyler, a Cruz spokesman. “If we chose another moderate, we will simply lose seats we would otherwise win.”

Trump’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Some, though, are already counseling Republican candidates to begin to think about how to distance themselves from a Trump or Cruz in the event either wins the nomination.

“Candidates will need to develop their own brand,” said Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, a Republican who has represented a swing district in Lehigh Valley since 2004. “A candidate will need to run his or her own campaign and distance themselves from the top of the ticket.”

Among the tricky questions candidates will be forced to consider: whether it’s worth endorsing either potential nominee.

Illinois Rep. Bob Dold, a Republican who represents a liberal-leaning, suburban Chicago district, said he had ruled out endorsing Trump. He declined to say whether he’d back Cruz.

While Dold said he was monitoring the primary, he argued that voters would be willing to look beyond the party’s presidential nominee when determining his fate in November.

“Illinois 10th District,” he said, “has a long history of ticket splitting.”

 

Living Proof World Convention Reno Nevada March 30th and 31st

Living Proof Reno Slide

Living Proof World Convention Reno Nevada March 30th and 31st

We are calling on the friends, ministry family of Mario Murillo Ministries and all believers who want to see America saved to Reno! 

We invite you to two historic days of the Living Proof World Convention. The theme of this convention is The Power and the Plan to save America.   

Everyone knows that America is in dire need of a supernatural awakening.  The power and the plan for such a miracle must come from the Holy Spirit.  He has the only plan and the only power that will work.

We are surrounded by prophetic words that promise a massive harvest but what will touch off the explosion that will sweep millions into the Kingdom?  And how would we function during such a miracle?

We are certain that He has shown a plan and a path to power that we want to share with you.

The old methods no longer work.  Preachers are desperate to break out of molds that are holding back their effectiveness. It is our deepest desire that this world convention ignite fires of momentum for continual harvest in every ministry that comes to this event.

There is a growing consensus that we have plumbed the depths of personal blessing, and we have been taught to death.    What we need now is for all of that to be set on fire and to have it blaze forth into national repentance, healing and blessing.

#75

No ministry is supposed to thrash about in a pool of frustration.  We were all designed to express the life of the Resurrected Christ.  The Holy Spirit wants your house of worship to be a center of an uninterrupted flow of healing to the millions who grope in dark misery seeking hope and deliverance.

Two words flipped Mario Murillo Ministries on its head!  They are the words Living Proof.  We are leaving the world of regular meetings for Living Proof Crusades.  This World Convention is also the official launch of our new weapon to save America.

We see this event as an upper room experience.  We will be filled with the Holy Ghost and fire to bring a fresh mighty witness to America!

boomtown-reno_54_990x660

Please make your plans now to be at the Living Proof World Convention.  We are gathering in Reno in the Boomtown Hotel and Casino.  This site was carefully chosen because it is a much more peaceful setting than the downtown strip.

We also feel led of the Lord not to charge any registration for this convention!

Plus, we can get you hotel rooms for amazing prices.   For a regular room the convention price is…get this $25 a night.  In their new North Tower a larger room is only $40!   But, you must reserve these rooms directly through us.  Please do not wait as these rooms will go fast!

Let us know that you want to attend the World Convention, or that you want to volunteer to help with the convention and finally, if you want rooms reserved.   We cannot wait to see you in Reno!

Click here to take your first step:   http://mariomurillo.net/contact-us/

MY SON DIED ‘LOOKING FOR A TRAITOR?’

Gold Star mom: MY SON DIED ‘LOOKING FOR A TRAITOR?’

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Jun. 2, 2014 – 06:00AM   |
2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, left, and Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (File and AP)

Sondra Andrews’ son, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, is one of six soldiers killed reportedly while searching for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

The sergeant’s return to captivity has stirred “very raw emotions.”

“It gets really hurtful when I think, this guy was worth my son’s life? My son who was patriotic? Who was a true soldier? Who defended his country with his life?” Andrews told Army Times via phone on Monday. “That guy was worth that? I don’t think so.”

Andrews also was upset to hear the U.S. government agreed to release five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom.

“I bet you anything there were soldiers killed or wounded capturing those five guys,” she said. “So what does that do for their sacrifice? They sacrificed for nothing, because they turned right around and let them go.”

Bergdahl disappeared June 30, 2009, from a base in Paktika province, near the border with Pakistan.

He and Darryn Andrews were deployed with 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Soldiers who say they served with Bergdahl have since spoken out on social media and in news reports that the then-Pfc. abandoned his post, wandering away from the combat outpost on his own. Many expressed anger that soldiers were killed while searching for Bergdahl.

Darryn Andrews was one of those men.

He was killed Sept. 4, 2009, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device and a rocket-propelled grenade, according to the Defense Department notice announcing his death. He was 34.

The military told the Andrews family that their soldier died after a mission to capture a top Taliban fighter, Sondra Andrews said.

“By omission, we assumed they were just pursuing the Taliban,” she said. “Then the guys [Darryn Andrews served with] started contacting me. They said, ‘No, ma’am, we were looking for [Bergdahl].’ ”

Sondra Andrews said she’s “very angry” that the military didn’t contact the family before announcing Bergdahl’s recovery.

“They didn’t have enough respect for us to give us the consideration of letting us know, especially since Darryn was part of that mission,” she said. “As a mother, you’re like, ‘what else have they not told us?’ ”

Within hours of Bergdahl’s disappearance, her son and his soldiers went out on foot patrols to search for him, Sondra Andrews said.

“They found his gear. They knew [he’d left],” she said. “You don’t get captured and leave your gear in neat little stacks. They knew he had walked away from his post.”

Sondra Andrews said she wants to see a full investigation into Bergdahl and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and captivity.

“The military really owes the parents of these fallen soldiers the truth,” she said. “Just the fact that they’re calling that man a hero just took me to my knees.”

Sondra Andrews said she wants people to know her son was a good man and a good leader who always wanted to join the Army. Darryn Andrew’s son was just 2 years old when his father was killed. His daughter was born four months later.

“He was a wonderful father and family man, an amazing son, a great brother,” she said.

Al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo treated better than our vets

GITMO

Al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo treated better than our vets

 

President Obama finally addressed the nation Wednesday about the growing scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. After meeting with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki he pledged to hold folks accountable.

Thanks, Mr. President.

By now most American have heard about the VA’s infamous patient “secret wait lists” which reportedly contributed to the deaths of up to 40 veterans in the Phoenix area alone. Those patriots were American heroes who served our country proudly. Yet they were left to die waiting to see a doctor.

While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.

Here’s another secret the White House doesn’t want you to know about the VA. Al Qaeda detainees get better medical treatment than our veterans.

Say what?

Yes, it’s true. I know because I served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005-2009 and visited Guantanamo Bay Naval Base over 30 times during those years.

Despite the fact that Al Qaeda terrorists carried out the Sept. 11 terror attacks, killing 3,000 people in America, the admitted co-conspirators and their roughly 150 fellow jihadists at Gitmo have approximately 100 doctors, nurses and health care personnel assigned to them.

Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call.  Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD?  No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.

The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes.

While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.

But beyond the Gitmo numbers, the situation at the VA is also a bright, shining example of misguided priorities and terrible mismanagement.

In late 2008, when Obama was  president-elect, he and his staff were warned not to trust the wait times reported by VA health care facilities. But instead of fixing the problem, their focus was closing Guantanamo and improving the comfort of detainees. Even though they already lived under some of the best prison conditions ever seen.

Richard Sivage copy

While some who see “2008” may reflexively say, “blame Bush, not Obama” the fact is that the VA’s health system has been fatally flawed for years, regardless of who has been the president.

The VA is a classic example of big government gone wild. It is America’s second largest cabinet agency after the Defense Department. Since civil service promotions are traditionally based more on seniority than performance, and it’s near impossible to fire anyone, there’s a punch-the-clock mentality that’s pervasive. Not surprisingly, there’s little to no sense of urgency. So to instill incentives, the VA shells out high salaries and bonuses, deserved or not.

According to a Fox News report, Phoenix VA hospital paid staff up to $357,000 for doctor executives and $147,000 for nursing staff.  On average, doctors and nurses in Phoenix make just over half those figures.

Meanwhile, the gardening budget at Phoenix VA hospital was over $180,000 in 2013. The facility also spent $211,000 on interior design over the past three years.

If any government entity ever needed a complete overhaul, it’s the VA.  If it were in the private sector, it would have been shuttered long ago.

Today’s VA has near zero accountability, while labor unions fight to protect employees who aren’t doing their jobs. Shinseki and his senior staff should be the first to go.

President Obama needs to refocus his priorities. There must be less time, effort and energy caring for Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Gitmo and much more attention put on caring for America’s veterans.

Our veterans have served the nation proudly. In many cases they were gravely wounded during their service and now will require a lifetime of medical support. Every one of them deserves better.

 

J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy Commander who served as a Pentagon spokesman in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-09. He serves as senior adviser to several Washington-based think tanks.