Quick Takes

* More news on the success of President Obama’s containment strategy with ISIS:

The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has dropped from roughly 2,000 a month down to 200 within the past year, according to the Pentagon, which says the waning numbers are further proof of the Islamic State’s declining stature.

The declining number of fighters is a direct result of strikes that have targeted the terror group’s infrastructure, Air Force Maj. Gen. Peter E. Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, said Tuesday…

Last week, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, N.Y., published an article in its journal, the CTC Sentinel, that highlighted the Islamic State’s financial plight. Documents in the journal, and noted in a report published by The Post, show that the Islamic State is having difficulty compensating its fighters and workers while providing basic amenities such as electricity and fuel. Recent defectors from the group have indicated that many fighters are on half pay and some haven’t received salaries in months.

* Steve Benen takes on Jim VandeHei’s ridiculous call for a third party presidential candidate so I don’t have to.

Oh. So what “Normal America” longs for – and desperately needs – are billionaires capable of “disruption” and a willingness to “exploit the fear factor”?

By any fair measure, VandeHei’s piece is unfortunate, but the core problem is not just that his thesis is wrong. Rather, what’s striking is VandeHei’s lack of self-awareness.

His thesis is warmed over No Labels pabulum peddled by Joe Lieberman in D.C. ballrooms. VandeHei is probably well-intentioned, but while his argument claims to take aim at Establishment America, it ends up reflecting Establishment America’s worst instincts. He’s not disrupting a stagnant inside-the-Beltway worldview so much as he’s reinforcing it.

* I’m seriously beginning to think that it is a mistake to ever write about what the Republican presidential candidates and/or their spokespersons say. Because the next day, it changes. Example number one: Donald Trump is going to adopt a more businesslike and presidential ‘persona.’ On second thought, maybe not.

Donald Trump will never change, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Tuesday.

POLITICO reported strife within the Trump campaign as the reality TV star rejected convention manager Paul Manafort’s assertion to Republican National Committee members last week that his new boss was “projecting an image” for voters but would tone down his rhetoric. But Lewandowski, appearing on CNN, pushed back on that idea.

“Donald Trump will never change,” he said. “The motto of the campaign has been and continues to be: Let Mr. Trump be Mr. Trump.”

* Example number two: Cruz and Kasich are going to work together to deny Trump the delegates he needs to win the nomination prior to the Republican Convention. Oops, maybe not.

The deal announced late Sunday night started to show cracks by Monday morning. Kasich declined to direct Indiana voters away from him and toward Cruz. “I’ve never told them not to vote for me – they ought to vote for me,” he told reporters while campaigning in Pennsylvania, which hosts its primary on Tuesday. “But I’m not over there campaigning and spending resources; we have limited resources.”

* Finally, this video provides a powerful lesson about how social media can ignite the worst in human beings.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.