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Andy Ostroy
Andy Ostroy is a New York City-based political analyst and blogger who's appearances on various television and radio programs including MSNBC, ABC and Fox News. His blog The Ostroy Report is at Twitter @AndyOstroy

Entries by Andy Ostroy

Trump's 9/11 Lies Will Bring Him Down

(4) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 8:57 AM

It's here. The moment we've all been waiting for. That highly anticipated point in the presidential primary season when Republican front runner Donald Trump presumably has gone too far. This time his target was not Sen. John McCain, Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Mexicans, gays or any of the countless other people and groups he's offended since he launched his campaign last June.

No. This time Trump committed the unthinkable in shamefully exploiting the September 11 tragedy for his personal political benefit. Worse, he's lied about it. Blatantly. And he's been doubling, tripling and quadrupling down on his lies.

"I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down," Trump said last weekend at a rally in Birmingham, Ala. "And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering."

When challenged the next day by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump doubled-down:

"It was on television. I saw it. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don't like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good."

As the non-partisan fact-checking organization Politifact concluded, Trump's claim "defies basic logic. If thousands and thousands of people were celebrating the 9/11 attacks on American soil, many people beyond Trump would remember it. And in the 21st century, there would be video or visual evidence."

As usual, rather than apologize for his outrageous behavior, Trump's been repeating his "thousands and thousands" lie ad nauseam, despite a complete lack of evidence.

"Trump is plain wrong, and he is shamefully politicizing an emotionally charged issue. No one in Jersey City cheered on September 11," said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

Trump's claims have also been summarily repudiated by Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and John Farmer, Jr, the state's Attorney General at the time of the attacks.

To be sure, there are lots of reasons to utterly despise Trump. The litany of unconscionable racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic comments, as well as his buffoonish behavior, is more than enough. But now he's trampled on sacred ground. He's shown unprecedented disrespect for the 3000 dead and their still-grieving families while offending the entire Muslim and Arab population of Jersey City. It's the apex of his ignorance-fueled, hate-filled campaign.

The conventional wisdom is that Trump will not be able to recover from this latest controversy. It will follow him everywhere he goes. He'll be asked relentlessly to explain how he was the only witness in America to "thousands and thousands" of Muslims celebrating in the streets of Jersey City. It'll dominate his rallies, upcoming debates, tv and radio interviews and press conferences. He will be forced to defend himself from charges of lying. Of not being trustworthy. Of not being worthy of the Office of the United States Presidency.

Trump's 9/11 lies will accomplish the one thing that's heretofore seemed impossible: it will unite both his detractors and supporters. Because there's one thing on which all Americans can agree: you don't exploit the horrific 9/11 tragedy for personal political...

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An Open Letter to Trump Supporters ('Fans')

(25) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 12:52 PM

To Supporters of Donald Trump:

Firstly, what the hell is wrong with you people!? Have you, like your hero, completely lost your minds?! Have you forgotten what America stands for and the principles it was founded on? Or have you, like your hero, turned into a vessel for bigotry, hatred and intolerance? Do you really not see the unprecedented ugliness of his campaign and your role in perpetuating it?

When you look at Trump, and you listen to his fiery, rabble-rousing, incendiary rhetoric, do you really see a United States president standing before you? Someone who can handle the intense pressures of the job both domestically and globally? Someone with the diplomatic skills to succeed in difficult negotiations with world leaders? With our enemies? Someone who possesses the character and qualifications to engage, not alienate? To unite, not divide? Do you really see a statesman? A role model for your children? Someone who will make Americans proud on the world stage?

What do you truly think when you hear him talk of Mexican rapists? Or when he calls women ugly, fat pigs and bimbos? How about when he suggests that women who criticize him are menstruating? Or that decorated soldiers like Sen. John McCain are not war heroes because they were captured? Or when he says we should "bomb the shit" out of Syria? Or that we should round up and deport 11-million undocumented immigrants, ripping them away from their children? Or that we should register Muslims. Or that his "fans" were justified in beating a black protester at his rally?

Do you believe that a United States president should make outrageously offensive statements that suggest he's a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe? Should he act like an ignorant buffoon?

Does it not concern you greatly that he offers zero substance and cannot substantiate, with facts and specifics, his outlandish positions? Do you not worry that he speaks in empty, grandiose superficial language? That he believes he can accomplish anything, simply because "I'm Donald Trump, and I'll make it happen." Is this enough for you? Do you not expect more from your candidate? Do you not demand logic, rational thinking and intellectual curiosity?

Have you closed your eyes and contemplated what a Trump presidency would actually look like? How it would grossly cheapen the Oval Office? Is it acceptable to you that a serious presidential contender has no political experience, curses like a sailor, offends everyone who isn't male and white, and incessantly reminds you how rich he is as he tells you that $15 an hour is too much for you? Does it worry and offend you that he boasts of using bankruptcy laws to screw his creditors while he promises to "make America great again." And most importantly, doesn't it bother you that he thinks America isn't great now? That's not very patriotic, is it?

I know you find him entertaining. You probably loved him on The Apprentice. So he's a tv star to you. A celebrity. And Americans are obsessed with celebrity. That's why you flock to his rallies and watch the debates in record numbers. But that's not a reason to elect him leader of the free world, or for him to be commander in chief of the world's greatest military. Especially during such difficult, challenging times at home and abroad.

To be sure, what I've asked you above is rhetorical. I know that you think Trump is amazing and would be a terrific president. Thankfully, you are in a very small minority. Anyone who understands political math knows that The Donald will never win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency. And no one knows this more than Trump himself. Which is why, after he's done teasing, manipulating and exploiting you, he will break your hearts and abandon you. One thing we know for sure: Trump hates losers. He'll be gone from the race before he is...

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Here's How/Why Jeb Bush Will Win the GOP Nomination

(502) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 10:34 AM

A new poll out of New Hampshire shows front runner Donald Trump gaining momentum while Dr. Ben Carson is losing ground. And herein lies the makings of Jeb Bush's path to the Republican presidential nomination.

The current GOP primary campaign is like no other in political history....

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An Open Letter to Jeb Bush

(726) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 9:26 AM

Dear Jeb:

Let me establish for the record that I am a passionate, loyal, card-carrying Democrat. As such, you and I differ on virtually every political, economic and social issue imaginable. Furthermore, I consider your brother George one of the worst presidents...

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An Open Letter to Ben Carson

(24) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 9:23 AM

Dear Mr. Carson:

It's certainly been a busy week for you, hasn't it? I bet you never thought you'd be on the proverbial hot seat like you've been. Questions coming at you from the media in rapid succession over several controversial statements you've made about your personal life over the past fifty years. It's been a deluge. Requests for clarification. Demands for the truth. Elaboration. Affirmation. Substantiation. Confirmation. No wonder you seem exhausted, frustrated and just plain fed up.

I'd be too if I were you. Except I'm not you. I'm not running for president, but more importantly, I haven't boasted that I tried to slam a hammer into my mother's head, or that I stabbed someone in the "abdomen." Or that I met Gen. William Westmoreland in 1969 and was offered a full scholarship to West Point (it's a free school). Or that I saved a bunch of white kids during the riots after Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. Or that I was the only "honest" kid in a Yale classroom.

I also never suggested that millions of Jews in Nazi Germany could've escaped the Holocaust had they been armed with guns. I've never said that people go to prison straight and come out gay. I've also never said that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery. Or that Muslims should not be president. Or that rape babies shouldn't be aborted. Or that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. But you have.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Crazy is as crazy does. Mama always said you can't outgrow crazy." Yeah, and you can't run away from it either. Or blame your crazy on the media. No, Dr. Carson, the shitstorm you now find yourself sailing in is completely self-inflicted. It's your outlandish comments, your bizarre behavior, your apparent pathology that's inviting this piercing scrutiny. But in an effort to gain sympathy and raise funds, you stood before the news cameras last week and chastised the media for "piling on" and perpetrating a "witch hunt." And you're continuing to play the victim card.

You're running for President of The United States of America. Leader of the free world. Commander in Chief of the world's greatest militia. Yet you have no political experience whatsoever. Just a very compelling personal narrative of humble beginnings marred by violence; followed by intense ambition; tremendous career achievement; and all made possible by divine intervention. You brag of hurting people with bricks, bats and hammers, and that you stabbed someone. Yet your position is that the media is not supposed to question any of this absurdity. And if they do it's a witch hunt!? Can it be a witch hunt if it was you who brought up all this kooky stuff? And since it was you who brought it all up, isn't it therefore fair game for the media?

Oh how I long for the good old days, when the one thing we could all agree on, whether Democrat or Republican, was that our presidential candidates should never have stabbed anyone. But not you, Dr. Carson. You wear this alleged incident like a badge of courage. In fact, you seem upset that people are doubting the truthfulness of this story. One thing's for sure: should you be elected, thanks to America's racial progress, you won't be the nation's first black president. But you'd definitely be the first to have ever knifed someone in the gut!

The fact that you're now getting battered in the press is no one's fault but your own. I'm sorry Doc, but lies matter. And they matter big time when you're running for president. You're on the hot seat now for sure, but it's not because, as you claim, you're a "threat" to progressives. Or because "there is a desperation, on behalf of some, to try and find a way to tarnish" you. Even the venerable Wall Street Journal, certainly no bastion of the 'liberal media', has questioned the accuracy and legitimacy of several major elements of your biography.

To be sure, you're woefully ill-prepared to run for the highest office in the land. You lack the necessary experience, and worse, you've been sounding like a loon. That press conference last week? You were whining and ranting and appearing unhinged. You think the kitchen is too hot now? I can assure you, Mr. Frontrunner, that it's only gonna get...

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GOP Candidates and "Gotcha": 'Please Don't Hold Us Accountable For Our Outrageous Behavior!'

(41) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 10:46 AM

Wah, wah, wah! That's the collective whining of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and several GOP presidential candidates complaining of unfair, biased, mean-spirited debate moderators and their "gotcha" questions.

But President Obama has it right. How on Earth can we expect these malcontents to firmly and effectively handle a complicated global nemesis like Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un when NBC's John Harwood makes 'em cry?! If the last GOP debate was a litmus test for leadership, well then, there doesn't seem to be a whole lotta litmus here.

What a bunch of petulant little babies! They need to put on their big boy pants for Pete's sake and act like they're qualified to be leaders of the free world. Why the heck should voters make candidates like Ben Carson, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio Commander in Chief when they can't even go toe-to-toe with CNBC's Rick Santelli and Becky Quick?!

It's time these White House wannabes stop all the disingenuous gotcha nonsense. You can't 'gotcha' someone if they haven't said or done anything 'gotcha.' It's as if the candidates are saying, "We're fed up with how the media makes us accountable for our ignorant, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, racist behavior!"

And it reprises the deliciousness of Tina Fey's brilliant Sarah Palin: "I just hope the lamestream media won't twist my words by repeatin' em verbatim."

Instead, perhaps Carson should stop making exploitative Holocaust references or saying that convicts go into prison straight and come out gay. And Trump should stop calling people ugly, stupid bimbos. And Rubio should stop saying women should be forced to carry rapists' babies. And Fiorina should stop lying about non-existent Planned Parenthood videos. And Cruz should stop saying Obama's foreign policy has left the world on fire. And Rand Paul should stop telling women reporters to "Ssshhh." I could go on, but the sheer tonnage of mind-numbing verbal diarrhea is simply too voluminous to recount here.

Those in the Republican clown posse need to appreciate that they're running for President of the United States of America, not checkout clerk at Target (although some folks would argue this crew is not even qualified for that job either). And so they need to demonstrate a level of resolve and character worthy of the office. To be able to explain and defend their statements and behavior in a dignified, respectful manner without mercilessly attacking the proverbial messenger.

It shouldn't matter if they believe the questions are unfair, petty and rude. Will they throw similar hissy fits when it's Bashar, Putin or Kim Jong ruffling their feathers? Is their thin-skinned peevishness a window into how poorly they'd handle a tough, challenging, even threatening opponent on the world stage? Having the right temperament is a valid, unconditionally required qualification for the presidency of the greatest nation in the world.

For the record, it's not like the Democratic candidates have gotten a free pass from debate moderators. For example, consider what CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Bernie Sanders: "A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?"

Or what he said to Lincoln Chafee regarding his early votes as a Congressman:..."what does that say about you that you're casting a vote for something you weren't really sure about?" To which Chafee replied, "I think you're being a little rough."

Or how he challenged Hillary Clinton: "Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency.You were against same-sex marriage, now you're for it; you defended President Obama's immigration policies, now you say they're too harsh; you supported his trade deal dozens of times - you even called it the gold standard. Now, suddenly last week, you're against it. Will you say anything to get elected?"

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Explaining the Ben Carson Phenomenon

(3) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 8:14 AM

There can only be one reason why Ben Carson is now at the top of three new Iowa polls and a new national poll: Republican voters might be in desperate need of some of the good doctor's brain surgery!

How else do you explain his impressive double-digit surge past the front runner Donald Trump? (or, for that matter, how Trump is the front runner in the first place). It certainly can't be because Carson's put forth innovative, substantive policy proposals. To the contrary, his growing supporter base cites his 'calm, soft-spoken and reassuring' demeanor as the qualities they find most attractive...despite his multiple controversial gaffes.

So here's a little tip for the remaining 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls as they head into the primary homestretch: your party's voters will love you no matter what craziness comes out of your mouth as long as you say it with your eyes half closed and sounding like the anesthesia's kicking in.

German Jews would've fared better against the Nazi's had they all been armed with guns? No problem! Muslims should not be president of the United States? Absolutely! Obamacare is as bad as slavery? Of course! Abortions should be illegal even in cases of rape or if the mother's life is at stake? Yes! Yes! That's why we love you, Ben! Because you make ridiculous, absurd, narrow-minded, outrageously offensive comments like these in such a 'mild-mannered, gentlemanly, user-friendly' fashion!

To be sure, gone are the days when Republican voters demanded logic and reason from their candidates. Or meaningful policy proposals. Or an ability to satisfactorily articulate them. Carson, on Fox News Sunday defending his position on Medicare, sounded like a disingenuous 14-year-old trying to explain why he smells like cigarettes.

Pressed by host Chris Wallace over his desire to eliminate the huge government entitlement program, Carson's feeble response conjured up images of Herman Cain trying to explain his "999" tax plan during the 2012 campaign. Except Carson's Medicare/health care plan is more like "CCC": complicated, confusing, crazy.

So maybe there's hope for Jeb Bush yet. Or Chris Christie. Perhaps one of them will win the war of attrition against the extremists including Carson, Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Maybe the successful strategy is to lie in wait as the clown car careens off the cliff, leaving one of them the last man, the sane man, standing.

If that's the case, Bush, who lately looks and sounds like he'd rather be getting his chest waxed than be on the campaign trail, better start showing some serious moxie and passion before it's too late. And Christie needs to get out of the 'quiet car' and start making the kind of noise that resonates with voters. As inept as the crazies are, these two "mainstream" candidates have been even more inept. The election always has been theirs to...

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"He Kept Us Safe" (Before He Kept us Safe)

(36) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 6:21 PM

It began with the last Republican debate, where presidential hopeful Jeb Bush attempted to defend his brother's war in Iraq by stating, "He kept us safe."

Then there was the GOP front runner Donald Trump subsequently saying in an interview with Bloomberg that "When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time...he was President, OK? Don't blame him or don't blame him, but he was President. The World Trade Center came down during his reign."

Then, over Twitter like a couple of 12-year-olds, Bush and Trump called each other "pathetic."

Of course, if you're a Republican like Jeb Bush, and your brother also happens to be responsible for the worst military blunder in American history, the subject of the September 11 attacks can be very confusing and complicated, and certainly a tragedy with a hazy timeline and dubious and disputable blame.

Which is why it would be best for Bush, and extremely helpful to voters, if he would issue a statement of clarification on the subject:

'He kept us of September 12...which is the day after the day something really bad happened when, technically, he was president, but you can't blame him because he had no idea it was for the August 6th 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing whose headline declared, verbatim, "bin Laden determined to strike in US"...ya know, the memo that also referred to bin Laden hijacking airplanes and which also mentions the use of explosives...just the sort of really bad stuff that happened on that really bad day...but that was just a teeny little run-of-the-mill warning that no one took seriously...and it was only a month before that really bad thing happened, so there really wouldn't have been much time to do anything...and besides, no president could've prevented it...except maybe one who maybe paid a little more attention to that August 6 which case a month could've been a pretty long time to possibly prepare and prevent...but HEY....even Rudy Giuliani said that no terrorist attacks occurred on George's watch, so THERE! Now can we please stop obsessing over the the worst, most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history which killed 3000 and get back to what really matters....those four people who died in Benghazi because of...

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A Challenge to the Media in Reducing Mass Shootings

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 6:08 PM

It's time to take some action in reducing mass murders in the United States, and it can simply start with the media. I challenge broadcast and cable news networks, local TV and radio stations, newspapers and magazines, and news websites to immediately agree to no longer make public the names...

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Donald Trump Tweets Like a Catty Middle Schooler

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 12:53 PM

The 2016 presidential campaign has been a real eye-opener for sure, with the Republican Party's effort to recapture the White House hijacked by flavor-of-the-moment "outsiders" like Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, who've dominated the polls, the press and the public's attention.

And how the campaign's been waged is also a paradigm shifter. For example, there's been lots of chatter about how Trump's use of Twitter has radically altered the political landscape (see Monday's NY Times article). And not necessarily for the better. His relentless tweeting more resembles the behavior of a catty middle-school drama queen than a grown man.

Which is why I took actual Trump tweets, changed the names from real people to fake school kid names, and changed political situations to sound more school-like. The results are stunning. The conclusion? There's a 13-year-old girl trapped in Donald Trump's head. Remember, these are actual Trump tweets except for the names and one or two places/situations:

"Fiona is no bargain but I don't like Henry--he dates and tells--be careful Fiona! (just watch!)"

"Kim is truly one of the dumbest of the school paper people - he doesn't have a clue!"

"Do you ever notice that lightweight Max constantly goes after me but when I hit back it is totally sexist. He is highly overrated!"

"Ethan is trying to hit back at me because I'm saying that he let the class down w/his loss to Bastion. Should've won--he choked!"

"Anna and Emily are finally attacking each other, as I knew they would, in order to be the last "cheerleading" girls standing against me. Great"

"Sarah was very disloyal to Darby, her friend, when she decided to run against her. Both said they "love" each other.They don't - word is hate!"

"Jack is, without question, the WORST EVER president. I predict he will now do something really bad and totally stupid to show manhood!"

Griffin should not take back Sophie. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again--just watch. He can do much better!"

"Everyone knows I am right that Griffin should dump Sophie. In a couple of years, he will thank me. Be smart, Griffin."

"Everyone is asking me to speak more on Griffin & Sophie. I don't have time except to say "Griffin, drop her, she cheated on you & will again!"

"Everybody wants me to talk about Sean and not Noah--I guess people just don't care about Noah!"

"Lucy, what the hell were you thinking when you went out with that loser Malcolm. There is a guy who has got nothing going, a waste!"

"Charley is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her old boyfriend left her for a boy- he made a good decision."

"Pervert alert. Gus is back on twitter. All girls under the age of 18, block him...

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Here's How/When Trump's Campaign Ends

(34) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 11:56 AM

One thing we know for sure about Donald Trump: he doesn't like to lose. He hates losers. He even has varying degrees of loserdom in his verbal arsenal: "major," "proven," "total" and "disgruntled" losers, to name a few. So how will his ginormous ego ultimately handle losing the Republican nomination for president? We'll never know, because he won't be in the race long enough for us to find out.

You heard it here first: Trump will soon be exiting the campaign, going out, as I'm sure we'll hear from him incessantly and insufferably, a winner. He will wait for the perfect time, maybe a week, 2 weeks, a month or two months from now. But he'll surely be gone, and while he still maintains a commanding lead in the polls. His announcement will go a little something like this:

"I'm going back to my business. I'm a business guy. I did the math. Look, I will make a ton of money running my company. More money than ever before. Politics? It's a crazy game. Honestly, you have to be crazy to be in it! I'm not crazy. I'm smart, incredibly successful. You know, I ran a historic campaign, and I'm way ahead in the polls. Beating everyone. I did something no one else has ever done. It was so amazing they'll be studying this campaign in college classes. It's obvious I'd have won the nomination. And trust me, I'd be elected president too if I stayed in. This was fun, but I'm gonna leave politics to the politicians and go back to running my phenomenally successful business. I'm leaving on my terms, on top. A winner. Trump always wins (wink!)..."

To be sure, Trump is not going to sit idly by watching his lead appreciably slip until Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio pulls ahead. That sort of public humiliation is not in The Donald's playbook. He won't wait long enough for them to get even remotely close. But given his recent decline in the polls--5 and 7 points respectively in Iowa and New Hampshire since September--he's most likely already contemplating his grandiose, hyperbolic, reality-twisting send-off.

Trump doesn't really care about "making America great again." He doesn't care about politics, and he surely doesn't care about becoming president. What he cares about, what he's always cared about, is Donald J. Trump. This whole campaign charade has been about him. How successful he is, how rich he is, that his toys are the biggest and best, and that he can do anything. And now that he's "proven" (at least in his megalomaniacal mind) that he can win at politics too, he's achieved the only goal that's ever existed here, which is to feed his insatiable id and further build his brand.

The bigger question is, when Trump finally does leave the race, who'll pick up the Muslim-hating, Mexican race-baiting birther block? Where will his 25% crazybase go? Maybe by that time Republicans will be so soured by the colossal disappointment and wastefulness of Trumpalooza that they'll start moving towards the center and support Bush, Rubio or Carly Fiorina. And that's when the Republican Party and its chairman Reince Priebus will start to breathe a collective sigh of relief that this "historic" circus is finally over. But will the GOP's brand, which has suffered through chaos and dysfunction, be able to recover by...

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Time for Bloomberg?

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 10:44 AM

A look at the current Republican presidential polling shows more than half of voters' support going to political "outsiders" Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. Clearly, at least within the GOP, voters are fed up with career politicians and the status quo. So is the landscape finally fertile enough for former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg?

Bloomberg is Trump without the crazy. Without the pomp and petulance. Without the ad hominem attacks and the inflammatory, race-baiting rhetoric. Without the catty teenage girl-like incessant tweeting. No walls, no Mexican rapists, no birthing. Just a smart, savvy, mega-rich chief executive (in business and politics) who can appeal to the "no bullshit, owes no one, he's his own man" crowd who's heretofore fallen in lust with Trump and his "message." Is 2016 America ready for a self-funded independent candidate with class, credentials and credibility? An outsider who could actually win? If you're Bloomberg you must be asking these same questions.

Unlike Trump, Bloomberg actually has a brain when it comes to politics and policy. He's an intellectual. A substantive thinker who's been on the populist side of a variety of national-interest issues such as the environment, illegal immigration, gun control, stem-cell research, intelligent design and gay marriage. And while Trump's bombast and bragodiccio has captured the over-excited loins of GOP extremists, Bloomberg could, more importantly, capture the hearts and votes of a much broader coalition within the party's disillusioned and disenchanted. Oh sure, Trump's the fun party girl. But Bloomberg's the one they could bring home to mama.

With voters' anger and frustration with Washington never greater, and with Hillary Clinton's campaign awash in distrust, disappointment and 'truthiness,' the time has never been better for a socially moderate, fiscally conservative third party candidate to capture the disenfranchised on both sides. However, such independent candidates have never fared well in American politics.

But Bloomberg could say, "I've been a Democrat, a Republican, and can give you the best of both parties and the fresh perspective of a Washington outsider -- a successful chief executive, who's not beholden to any special interests." He could run on a bi-partisan platform that promises to bring the nation together after decades of gridlock and toxicity. Perhaps we're finally at that moment in American politics where this unique message could resonate with a majority of voters and change history.

Unlike the empty suit that is Donald Trump, Bloomberg has impeccable credentials from which he could mount a potent campaign. After twelve years as mayor he left NYC with a $2.5-billion budget surplus; a declining crime rate; an overhauled public education system with rising test scores; cleaner streets and environment; more efficient public transportation; and booming tourism. He's also responsible for the 311 info line; CitiBikes; public plazas; and the High Line park. And if you consider his smoking and trans fat bans, as well as required calorie counts, the city's a much healthier place.

And when it comes to business, he's the real deal. A self-made, no-help-from-daddy visionary who's amassed a $40-billion fortune, making him America's 10th richest individual and the 13th in the world. He's no self-serving, carnival barking, megalomaniacal media whore whose businesses have filed for bankruptcy four times. Bloomberg is Goliath to Trump's Lilliputian.

President Bloomberg? The sound of that could be extremely appealing to many on both sides of the...

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Will Republicans Heed the Words of Pope Francis?

(96) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 4:13 PM

One thing's become abundantly clear with Pope Francis's visit to America this week: God is most definitely not a Republican. As the human embodiment of God herself, Francis, in his historic address Thursday before a joint session of Congress, spoke plainly, passionately and with unfettered moral leadership on myriad hot-button...

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The GOP Nomination: It's Still Jeb Bush

(11) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 8:20 AM

Back in April of 2014, when everyone was still riding the Chris Christie bandwagon (despite the BridgeGate and Sandygate scandals), I wrote why Jeb Bush will win the 2016 presidential nomination. Eight months later I wrote "Here Comes Bush v Clinton 2.0." Almost a year later it's still Jeb Bush.

Scott Walker and Rick Perry are already gone. For all intents and purposes, Ben Carson "Muslim-ed" his way out of the race last weekend. And it's just a matter of time before the hope and money dries up for Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and the rest of the 2nd string clowns. That leaves Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Bush. Rest assured, the whorish, sycophantic lust affair that extremist troglodytes have with Trump will soon end, as will Fiorina's revisionist history campaign designed to botox away the deep scars of her dreadful corporate record (read Joe Nocera's excellent Tuesday NY Times op-ed on Trump and Fiorina's "Snake Oil Sales"). Stick a fork in Cinderella and Shrek.

Watching last week's second Republican debate made it clear that Bush was the only adult in the room (except when he seemed a little too sophomorically excited about receiving Trump's adulation with that awkward hand slap). And while the other candidates' poll numbers are gyrating all over the place like a cheap stripper, Bush is holding steady near 10 percent. As more candidates implode and drop out, his numbers will steadily rise. And with over $100-million raised to-date, he's got nothing but time in this war of attrition. Take it to the bank: Gen. Jeb Custer will be the right's last man standing.

And what about the Democrats? A new CNN poll shows Hillary Clinton dealing with her Bernie Sanders "problem" by taking a commanding 42 percent to 24 percent lead. Joe Biden's a likable guy with a stellar public service record, but if he enters the race his chances of beating Hil are about as good as mine. Martin O'Malley and Jim Webb? Yawn. Nationally, Clinton has the support of an overwhelming majority of Democrats, especially women. No one's beating her. Period. End of story.

So yes, it will be Bush v. Clinton, again. Just another dynastic retread, right? Wrong. Hillary Clinton stands to make history as the first woman president of the United States. That makes this next election not only different, but incredibly exciting, inspiring and a proud moment for all Americans, even Republicans, even if they don't understand and appreciate the monumental significance of it...

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Stick a Fork in Trump

(35) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 11:39 AM

Since the beginning of the campaign I've said the time will come when voters, even the narrow-minded hateful troglodytes who've heretofore propelled Donald Trump's Cinderella campaign to the top of the polls, will tire of his shallow speeches, empty promises and incendiary rhetoric. Simultaneously, Republican voters with brains will rise...

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The GOP's Real Problem With Trumpalooza

(1) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 1:03 PM

It was just a few short months ago that it seemed likely that Republicans would put forth mainstream presidential candidates for 2016 who, more than ever, mirrored the overall opinions of a majority of Americans on a range of social and domestic issues such as gay marriage, abortion, women's rights,...

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Where Do We Draw the Line With "Religious Freedom" in the Workplace?

(44) Comments | Posted September 12, 2015 | 8:23 PM

Imagine you're approaching the counter at Walmart. The cashier looks in your wagon and politely informs you that as a Catholic she can't ring up your condoms. Another cashier, a Christian Scientist, says he's refusing to ring up your aspirin. An Orthodox Jew tells you she can't ring up your...

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The Typical Trump Press Conference

(1) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 8:30 PM


Donald Trump continues to maintain his front runner status in the campaign for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. That simple fact in and of itself is fascinating, but is even more intriguing given how Trump has not offered voters one single comprehensive policy...

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An Open Letter to Kim Davis

(15) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 11:57 AM


Dear Ms. Davis:

As you occupy your jail cell, contemplating your next move, let's set the record straight: you are a public official, paid by taxpayers and therefore your personal religious beliefs are completely irrelevant and insignificant as relating to issuing marriage licenses...

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Assessing the Trump Phenomenon

(7) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 5:18 PM

One thing's certain: Donald Trump is not going to be America's 45th president. It's a pretty safe bet that he won't even be the Republican Party's nominee. The conventional wisdom is that the Trump phenomenon will soon begin to wane, either organically or from some sort of inevitable implosion. Given his penchant for talking first and thinking later, it's not hard to fathom a verbal gaffe so offensive that even his most ardent, loyal supporters will finally throw in the Trump logo-embossed towel.

Oh sure, The Donald's polling continues to surge. And this week he's even polling surprisingly well in a head-to-head match-up against the Democrats' presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, despite several controversial statements about women that make him sound like the party's biggest misogynist, he has a 60% favorable rating among Republican women, prompting CNN's Wolf Blitzer this week to ask, "What does this tell us?" Well, at the very least, Wolf, it tells us that Republican women are incredibly tolerant of their front runner repeatedly making outrageously sexist comments.

"I cherish women," Trump has said in his defense. Of course, by cherish he means calling women fat, ugly, stupid, angry, emotional, hormonal bimbos whenever they disagree with him.

So what doesall this tell us? For one thing, firing up the radical fringe 15-20% of the base--while completely alienating moderates and independents, let alone women, blacks and Hispanics--won't get him very far. The lust affair with Trump will, likes those in the past with Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, "the Ricks" (Santorum/Perry), Mike Huckabee and others with sensational, albeit brief celebrity-like moments in the sun, will surely end. This romp is just lasting a bit longer, that's all. But there are some very valuable lessons to be learned here from the rise and ultimate fall of Donald Trump.

Trump's candidacy demonstrates a growing dissatisfaction among voters with politicians' business-as-usual approach. His noteworthy ascendancy is a testament to those who want something different and exciting; someone they deem honest, straightforward and independent. Someone who speaks his mind and seemingly doesn't give a shit about polls or the media (although he cites both non-stop). While Jeb Bush pleads "I'm my own man," no one really believes him. He's intravenously connected to the old, rich, white GOP machine (can you say "Paul Wolfowitz" for craps' sake!?) and, well, there's that little thing like his last name.

But no one for a nanosecond doubts that Trump is his own man. He's got a Fort Knox-like treasure chest of fuck you money and freely speaks accordingly. And despite five deferments which kept him from serving in Vietnam, he's masterfully crafted an enviable tough-guy, take-no-shit-from-anyone personae full of bombast, braggadocio and balls. To his small but clearly outspoken minority of fervent fans, he's a modern day political John Wayne. The man that candidate Bush dreams of being.

Trump is the far, far right version of the irreverent, truth-telling everyman that Chris Christie was supposed to be. Except that Christie, besides being embroiled in scandal which has tainted that reputation of honesty and integrity, is also an angry, obese bully from New Jersey...not qualities of a credible presidential nominee (his polling is pathetically low).

To be sure, if God is a Democrat, Trump's popularity among Republicans will continue to grow and he will, despite odds of a zillion-1 against it, win the nomination (can you say, "President Hillary Clinton?"). But just imagine if Bush was able to tap into the sentiment fueling Trump's historically loony campaign, and the qualities so beloved of the candidate himself, without all the fiery rhetoric and controversy. Imagine a Bush who can credibly convey that he truly is his own man, not indebted or beholden to anyone. Someone who says what he believes and sticks to it and who dares anyone to challenge him. Imagine that Bush going up against Clinton. Now that's a match-up that would make the Democrat gods...

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