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Posted April 29, 2016, 3:00 p.m.

Donald Trump (by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Donald Trump (by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0])

When real-estate mogul Donald Trump entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I, like most political observers, dismissed him as having no chance of winning.

I knew that his opportunistic populism would resonate with part of the party, especially given how tone-deaf it has been to its own conservative base in the last several presidential cycles, so I did not completely write him off. In fact I hoped that his blunt talk would influence the other candidates to deviate from their scripts and engage in some real, genuine, uninhibited debate about the future of the party and the nation.

Initially, I thought the most-likely Republican nominee was Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) . . . but his campaign imploded surprisingly early. Former technology executive Carly Fiorina (R) seemed like a possibility as well, but her campaign also disintegrated after a brief flare. Then for much of the early phase of the race I thought it would eventually settle on Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as a reasonable compromise between the conservative base and the old-guard party elites, and although Rubio held out until the final four, he also fizzled.

And then I thought for sure that the party would rally behind Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), an outsider and ‘tea party’ favorite who is not well-liked by the old guard, but who has proven his leadership chops (love him or hate him) and has helped move the Congress in a more un-apologetically conservative direction.

All along, I thought that Trump’s apparent success was an illusion.
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Last Updated April 1, 2016, 11:28 p.m.

For April Fools Day 2016, Off on a Tangent officially endorsed the reelection of President Calvin Coolidge in the 1924 presidential election . . . because that was way more fun than considering the sorry bunch that are actually running in 2016. The site was emblazoned with Coolidge advertisements and included the endorsement article front-and-center.

You can view the site in all its glory by clicking here, or just read on for the content of the endorsement itself. Read More…

Posted March 16, 2016, 10:56 a.m.
Judge Merrick Garland

Judge Merrick Garland

President Barack Obama (D) will nominate Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the United District of Columbia Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, to the United States Supreme Court.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Garland would replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died of natural causes last month. This would shift the ideological makeup of the court; Scalia was a right-wing conservative firebrand, while Garland is generally regarded as a moderate or center-left judge.

Garland was first nominated to the D.C. Circuit by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1995, but the Senate did not act on the nomination at that time. After Clinton’s reelection in 1996, he re-nominated Garland, who was then confirmed in March of 1997 by a bipartisan 76-23 vote.

This appointment sets up a clash with Republican leaders in the Senate, who have promised not to act on any Supreme Court nomination until after the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. Constitution, however, charges the Senate with providing the president with its “advice and consent” on judicial nominations, and whether inaction constitutes “advice and consent” remains an unanswered legal question.

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Posted in Briefly, Reports
Posted February 13, 2016, 5:16 p.m.
Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court has died while visiting the Cibolo Creek Ranch resort near Marfa, Texas. He was 79. Scalia went to bed last night complaining that he did not feel well, and then did not appear for breakfast this morning. He was later found dead in his room. There is no indication of foul play and it is believed that he died of natural causes in his sleep.

Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan (R) in 1986. He was considered to be part of the court’s ‘conservative’ wing, and routinely issued firey opinions in favor of an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

Scalia was very active during oral arguments before the court, asking more questions (and making more statements) than any of his fellow justices. He also wrote more concurring opinions than any other justice in the history of the court. Only two justices have written more dissenting opinions.

He is survived by his wife, Maureen, and their nine children.

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Posted in Briefly, Reports
Posted February 9, 2016, 2:00 p.m.

The automotive industry continues to move forward, introducing a lot of new, good-looking cars and discontinuing the ugliest ones. On the 2015 version of this list, four of the cars from the previous year’s list had been discontinued. This year, another three models get sent to the great parts-bin in the sky. The Scion xB, Honda Crosstour, and Mini Coupe are—thankfully—no longer available.

I’m starting to have a hard time finding ten truly ugly models to make this list, which is a good problem to have if you care about cars and how they look. The trends are moving in a good direction. But the show must go on.

The criteria for inclusion is the same it has always been. I don’t include models that aren’t sold in the United States. I don’t include models that sell in low volume (and volume is defined completely subjectively based on how many I see on the highways in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area). I don’t include exotic, military, or special-purpose vehicles—so no super-cars, tanks, or postal trucks. I also don’t include vehicles reserved exclusively for the commercial market, such as the persistently horrific Ram Promaster.

This list is entirely my personal opinion. If you own one of the cars on this list, well, don’t take it personally. Read More…

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Posted in Articles, Products

About Scott Bradford

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.