2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Ratcliffe Falls to Intelligence Agency Imperialism

President Trump’s withdrawal of the nomination of U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be director of national intelligence on Friday is the latest of his acts of deference to an Intelligence Community that hindered his election and plays a key role in the ruling class’s subversion of his presidency.

The identical talking points of politicians and pundits who railed against the Ratcliffe selection spooked Trump, and reflect the increasingly important domestic political role that the CIA and the FBI (though not the National Security Agency, which is mostly military) play within America’s ruling class.

Presumably and inexplicably, the president will nominate yet another person to oversee that complex who will answer to itself and not to constitutional authority.

The echo chambers of the Democratic Party, the establishment Republicans, and the media alleged that Ratcliffe would have been Trump’s defender. But these are the very people who have been trying to to take Trump down. We do not know what was in Ratcliffe’s mind, or in Trump’s. We know that the issues involved are bigger than either man. The agencies and the ruling class of which they are part would oppose with equal vigor any outsider who might disrupt their prerogatives.

The following explains those prerogatives’ bases, and hence why challenging them should become a national priority.

More than other parts of the modern administrative state, (or the deep state, or whatever you prefer to call it) and by virtue of the secrecy in which they must operate, these agencies have been able more vigorously to assert the classic claim that their officials are entitled to special deference because they know more than ordinary Americans and their elected officials. But their claim to special expertise is largely counterfactual.

For all the wizards who have hidden behind the CIA’s and FBI’s curtains, this is old news. Nothing could be further from the truth than the assumption (prevalent even at Fox News) that 99 percent of their officers are competent patriots who keep us safe. No. In reality, they are standard-issue bureaucrats who count on the public’s credulity for their privileges. Given their proclivities, we should be grateful for their incompetence.

The CIA, from its very founding, has filled the chasm between the mountain of what it claims to know and the mole hill of what it does know, by pretending that its opinions are facts. Politicians, press, and public are supposed to take its statements, that typically start with “we believe . . . ” or “we have high confidence that . . . ” as if they were founded on reliable secret sources. In fact, the CIA’s human intelligence, based as it is on “official cover,” has always been as ignorant as it has been gullible. Modern encryption has much reduced traditional communications intelligence’s usefulness. But agency people parry inquiry into the basis of their opinions by jutting the chin and asserting that any clarification would put lives in danger.

Almost invariably, those of us who have had the power to push through this pretense have found it to be cover for politics, or for incompetence, or for garden-variety corruption. Or all of the above. Revelations in the course of the war on Trump about the networks of the agency’s friends of friends in cushy sinecures around the world are nothing new to congressional overseers who have kept track of these relationships.

The FBI used to be different. That began to change beginning in the late 1970s under William Webster. After 9/11, as the FBI took on more a more obvious political role under Robert Mueller, the differences between its culture and CIA’s narrowed considerably.

Concern for influence within and service to the ruling class became its leadership’s foremost concern, closely following the felt need to assert sufficiency in the face of circumstances that showed its insufficiency. Its inability to perform the anti-terrorist mission that had become primary—the failure to find out who bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, who mailed the 2001 anthrax letters, to notice the obvious warnings of the Boston Marathon bombing (to name but a few) led the bureau toward the same paths taken by the CIA of integration into the ruling class, of dishonesty, and whoring after political influence.

The Intelligence Community’s war on Trump is focusing national attention on the agencies’ incompetence and corruption. As the Justice Department’s investigations into the agencies’ interference in domestic politics unfold, the public should pay attention to how their conspiracies neglected basic competence, how they disregarded the need for even the mere appearance of truth—never mind truth itself—and how reliant they are on their own sense of entitlement.

Their coordination with the media was and remains impressive in its thoroughness and efficiency; as were the number of people feeding the same talking points to the media apparently independently and authoritatively. They planted stories, then used them as the bases for investigations, the very existence of which they used to foment yet more stories. But the transmutation of innocent events into causes celebres through mere addition of luridly presented pretend-detail are marks of low-grade agitprop. These people were playing with the political destiny of a great nation, and acted like the spoiled self indulgent little people they are.

These people, whose workaday products are of even lower quality, are the ones to whom we entrust—excluding the cost of military intelligence—some $50 billion, as well as the presumptive power of secrecy. These are the people who have claimed the right to decide with whom elected congressmen, senators, and presidents may discuss the nation’s secrets.

President Trump’s reticence and the delusions of Fox News notwithstanding, it is time for the American people to demand adult supervision for these sorcerers’ apprentices.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Post

Trump Single-Handedly Changes the Political Calculus

The two greatest political controversies in the western world in the last several years—the attempt to delegitimize President Trump and the question of Britain’s relations with the European Union—have generated similar reflexes and tactics in the opponents of the president and of Brexit. In the one case as in the other, the initial response of the political establishments in the two countries has been disbelief followed by a tenacious determination to undo the verdict of the voters.

There is also an important difference.

In the U.K., the referendum three years ago generated a 52 to 48 percent vote to leave the European Union, contrary to the wishes of the incumbent government, which was so committed to the losing “remain” side that Prime Minister David Cameron had to be replaced by Theresa May.

As prime minister, May made three catastrophic errors: she gambled on an election to strengthen her position and then lost her majority. The Conservatives have hung on since with the support of a small Protestant party from Northern Ireland. But the government has found it impossible to reconcile the majority in the country and among conservative voters who wish to leave Europe with a majority of the parliamentary party that wants to remain.

May tried three times unsuccessfully to get parliamentary approval for a compromise agreement which Europe had accepted, but no one in the U.K. had voted for compromise and it was really an attempt to remain described as as a departure. May then signaled that she had to have a deal, which emboldened Brussels (where the EU government sits) to be inflexible, although the departure of Britain will be a disaster for the EU—akin to Texas seceding from the United States. Donald Trump warned May it would not work and it didn’t.

Boris Johnson, the leading Conservative “leaver,” won the succession easily, among the M.P.s and the 160,000 party members. Johnson is much mocked as a clownish figure, but he is a highly intelligent man and deft showman who also turns out to be a tremendous vote-getter, as he demonstrated in twice winning the mayoralty of the generally leftist London as a conservative. He has said he would seek an agreement with Brussels but will not hesitate to leave the Union without one, on the latest deadline for an agreement, October 31.

The remainers have never apparently considered the possibility that leaving this socialistic and ever more centralized union is the best course for Britain. Nor, to judge from the utterances of their chief spokespeople, have they ever apparently considered that those who wish to leave are anything but unworldly, xenophobic, know-nothings and demagogues.

Thus, with barely 90 days before the U.K. leaves automatically by the simple operation of its referendum vote and the expiry of the agreed final deadline, the remainers still imagine that they can stop the inevitable by having voted in parliament that Britain must not leave without having negotiated a departure agreement. As a French newspaper remarked, this is like the passengers of the Titanic voting no confidence in the iceberg.

Even if dissident conservatives do something that has not occurred since Neville Chamberlain was forced to hand over power to Winston Churchill in May 1940, and vote against their own government in significant numbers, compelling an election, polls indicate that the leavers retain a slim margin in public opinion and more than 60 percent of the constituencies of the British Parliament voted to leave in the referendum. It is highly likely that Johnson and his government would be reelected, but even if they were not, another government could not be installed before October 31, as Parliament is in recess until early September.

Yet a regime of belligerent and fear-mongering disbelief continues.

The parallel in the United States is obvious. There is absolutely no question of the legitimacy of the results of the 2016 presidential election. And, practically unnoticed is the fact that even those most fiercely devoted to the destruction of the Trump presidency no longer claim that it was a false election result.

Andrew Weissman and the other fanatical partisans who conducted the so-called Mueller investigation and wrote the report of it, sent an infirm figurehead forward to defend their dirty work under withering examination before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees last week. They knew from the beginning, as the Strzok-Page texts confirm, that “there was no there there” on the bunk about Trump-Russian collusion, but spun the farce of the Mueller investigation out for two years trying to provoke Trump into an action that could be called obstruction of justice, and sold through the wall-to-wall Democratic chorus in the national media as a “high crime or misdemeanor” such as “treason or bribery” which the Constitution requires two-thirds of the Senate to be convinced of beyond a reasonable doubt to remove a president.

Obviously, as Trump did not take the bait, there was no chance of that, so the best they could do was to invent the preposterous notion that failure to “exonerate” the president of obstruction meant that the House of Representatives should pursue it through impeachment. It is such cynical nonsense they can’t get even the Democratic majority of the House to vote for an impeachment resolution, and are trying to substitute continued investigation in what is taintingly called an “impeachment inquiry,” to try to smear Trump enough to cost him reelection.

Mueller admitted to Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) last week that no prosecutor had ever officially expressed an inability to exonerate (and Ratcliffe was named director-designate of National Intelligence by Trump four days later). No one could exonerate Robert Mueller of murder either, but there’s no evidence of it.

This is a colossal fraud, and it won’t work. The public doesn’t buy it; the candidates aren’t talking about it; when Congress returns in September, Lindsey Graham’s Senate Judiciary Committee will grill the authors of the politicization of the intelligence agencies, the FBI, and other parts of the Obama Justice Department as well as the propagators of the false Steele dossier and the fraudulent FISA warrant applications. Graham (R-S.C.), will get the publicity, and the bare-faced liars who chair the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), will be talking to themselves about their “solid evidence” of the president’s crimes. Weissman and the lesser Democratic Torquemadas couldn’t find them; Nadler and Schiff can’t declare what their evidence is (because there is none).

This is the last echo of this attempted rape of the Constitution and no one will be listening when the Congress returns in September. They will listen to the Graham committee’s exposés of the Democrats who acted corruptly, and they will notice the indictments when the special counsel, (John Durham, who unlike Mueller does have full retention of his faculties), starts bringing them down.

The president deliberately has escalated the controversy by attempting to make the four extremist freshman Democratic congresswomen the real face of the Democrats, and by pointing out, in the case of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the inappropriateness of Cummings’ assault on the integrity of the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The president undoubtedly knows that he is playing with fire assaulting the most holy of the taboos of political correctness so explicitly, though his grasp of the political arithmetic is almost certainly correct. I assume he can reassure his own followers and whatever independent voters may be left in this fierce partisan crossfire that he is not racist. In sober times, it would be clear that no case whatever exists that he is a racist. But these are not sober times and he has contributed something to their insobriety, though—one must remember—in reaction to immense provocations.

Here is the great difference between the British and American political classes. The British political leadership was obtuse, arrogant, and bumbling, and tried to terrorize the country against Brexit. But they have operated within the law and parliamentary rules. The president’s opponents have committed crimes, including the confection and propagation of the falsehood that the president has committed crimes. The Democrats will pay the price of mortal political error.

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America • American Conservatism • Democrats • Donald Trump • Great America • Post • The Left

The War on The Obvious

When was the last time you were called racist? If a supporter of President Trump, it’s a safe bet the gross epithet is regularly seared upon your forehead. Always, by those who self-anoint as progressive.

Such a charge, once preserved for the truly primitive of mind, is now stamped and singed on anyone who dares to disagree with anything issuing from the left side of the political aisle.

To point out the obvious is “racist.” This week, President Trump’s blistering comments on Baltimore’s cadaverous state invited the familiar threadbare cries. Perhaps, because that city is majority-black. Or perhaps because that term is the only resort of those defending the indefensible.

Because Baltimore is indefensible. And its denizens deserve better.

President Trump’s greatest gift is his penchant for forcing his foes to defend the indefensible. Baltimore, like many Fishtowns across post-industrial America, is Hell, for the forgotten majority, at least.

Baltimore condemns its citizens with the country’s worst schools and mops up more murders than El Salvador. Its poverty rate is nearly twice the national average.

This scandal, of course, has nothing to do with a congressman’s melanin density. In the 1950s, city residents, buoyed by chrome, copper, and steel industry jobs, enjoyed a 7 percent pay bump on the average American. The number earning middle-class wages was one-fifth higher, poverty one-fifth lower than average America.

Of course, what ails Baltimore ails Youngstown, Ohio, and the burgeoning roll-call of desolate swathes that used to matter. Back when people mattered. And not just the welfare of big business and moneyed interests.

What ails Baltimore is what put Donald Trump in the White House. It is what pushed a majority of Britons to vote to leave the European Union—the economic treachery of self-serving elites who’ve run the show since the 1980s.

Which is why the comments from one man were so disappointing to read. David Simon, writer of the acclaimed TV drama “The Wire,” has nothing but contempt for the president, and spent the weekend tweet-scorching.

If one has actually watched “The Wire,” however, you would think the creator harbored (or should harbor) Trumpian sympathies.

During its glorious five-season run on HBO from 2002 to 2008, “The Wire” was a weekly pastiche of crumbling American institutions. The perils of one-party rule, the decline of newspapers, the soft bigotry of educational decline, the corrosive effects of deindustrialization, and the hopelessness of reforming a system bought and sold by the deepest of pockets.

In the third season, centered upon the tribulations of dockworkers condemned to terminal decline, union man Frank Subotka, today’s Trump Democrat, laments the loss of what once enabled the American Dream: “You know what the trouble is, Brucey? We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.”

Soon after, the docks go under. And a Democratic mayor sells off the real estate to developers of upscale, yuppie apartments.

The theme is obvious. And Trumpian. And not just within Simon’s fiction.

In an essay in his book, The Wire: Truth Be Told, Simon wrote a screed presaging Tucker Carlson’s famous monologue:

Unemployed and under-employed, idle at a west Baltimore soup kitchen or dead-ended at some strip-mall cash register—these are the excess Americans. The economy staggers along without them, and without anyone in this society truly or sincerely regarding their desperation.

Ex-steelworkers and ex-longshoremen, street dealers and street addicts, and an army of young men hired to chase and jail the dealers and addicts, whores and johns and men to run the whores and coerce the johns—and all of them unnecessary and apart from the new millennium economic model that long ago declared them irrelevant.

This is the world of “The Wire,” the America left behind.

The spirit of that extract would be at home within the burgeoning circles of national conservatism. I’d imagine this journal would happily publish such work.

But for President Trump to point out Baltimore’s problems invites the charge of racism. Bernie Sanders once referred to parts of impoverished Baltimore as “a third-world country.”

Obviously, Bernie is a progressive lodestar, so his comment didn’t register among the Chatterati for whom President Trump’s mere existence tinders a Pavlovian public contempt.

And such public contempt might animate the Democratic base. But it won’t win elections. What will win is the pointing out of obvious problems, combined with the gumption actually to do something about them. President Trump hasn’t read Debrett’s on manners. So what? His voters know that.

Truth is, this why Democrats are so virulently opposed to the president. Without those seemingly intractable problems ensuring legions of lifelong Democratic voters, they have little else to offer. Their record in Baltimore says it all. And Trump-era conservatives aren’t afraid to point out the obvious.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Diaz Meyer for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Great America • Identity Politics • Post

Don’t Kill Whitey

In the cult classic “Black Sheep,” the lead character, played by the late Chris Farley, takes the stage before a raucous audience at a Rock the Vote event in support of his big brother, played by Tim Matheson, who is running for governor of Washington.

After winning over the crowd with a robust routine of slapstick demagoguery (“You gotta fight for your right to vote!” “I have a dream!” “Power to the people!”), Farley’s character beams giddily over at his newfound Rastafarian friends offstage, before turning back to the audience to shout: “Kill Whitey!

The crowd instantly falls silent, their raised fists wilt away stunned, while Matheson’s character sits agape and mortified. Even the Rastafarians frantically wave their hands and shake their dreadlocked heads shouting, “No! No!”

It is telling that in our current political hour the top comment for this clip on YouTube reads: “‘Kill Whitey’ huh? I didn’t know this was the Democrat National Convention.” Funny as that is, it wouldn’t be the whole truth. Republicans are often just as eager as Democrats to virtue signal their disgust with “whitey.”

President Trump’s fusillades aimed at Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Al Sharpton, have been met with return fire from Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “Mr. President, your reprehensible comments are like water off a duck’s back when it comes to this community. It just washes off of us,” said Steele, at a press conference in Baltimore with Sharpton.

If only everyday Baltimoreans could deflect bullets as ducks deflect raindrops or hack politicos do criticism.

“Baltimore homicides exceeded 300 each year from 2015 through 2018,” reports Awr Hawkings, citing figures compiled by USA Today and the Baltimore Sun, “and 2019 is on track to cross the 300 threshold for the fifth year in a row.”

Testifying to the brutality of the predators who stalk this concrete jungle, the Baltimore Police Department’s annual homicide analysis show that more than half of 309 homicide victims in 2018 were shot in the head. “The large majority of killings,” writes Jessica Anderson in the Sun, “271, or 88 percent—were from gunfire. And of those, 199 victims were shot multiple times.”

Alas, Charm City has lost its charm.

But facts, as John Adams said, are stubborn things, and so the politico-media complex has rejoined in one voice that any criticism of “diverse” politicians or activists is implicitly racist. Reuters informs us that Trump is “again stoking racial divisions” for stating what is obvious to those with ears to hear, eyes to see, and noses to smell, simply because the blame falls on the shoulders of sable race hustlers.

Nevertheless, Trump persists, untroubled by criticism and taking aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the sordid state of San Francisco. But the most interesting thing to tumble out from the fracas so far has gone largely unnoticed.

Sharpton, said Trump, “Hates Whites.”

With two words the president shoved rightward the window through which mainstream political discussion filters in, shining a light the anti-white animus that stains our culture and politics.

It is no secret that white Americans have become the punching bag of our politics. According to former Texas Rep. Robert Francis O’Rourke, if America is great—though surely it “was never that great,” as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said—it became so only on the “backs of blacks.”

Just about every presidential hopeful among Democrats supports reparations to one degree or another. Democrats high and low agree that America can only be redeemed of the sin of slavery if whites acquiesce in submission; and if they refuse, said whites reveal themselves as the vile racists that they are.

“Wolves in sheep’s clothing,” is how former congressional candidate Saira Rao describes white people, and she cautions minorities against befriending whites, for they are always “penetrating your inner circle and soul, only to betray.”

Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of Idaho’s Democratic Party, agrees. She believes that “training” to teach people “how to shut their mouths if they are white” is imperative, and has made it her “job” to “shut other white people down when they want to interrupt”; that is, when they want to have a voice about the way that they will be governed.

White people must “shut their mouths” when it is announced that America “is not going to be the country of white people,” as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has said.

White people must “shut their mouths” when the “face of the future” is declared “brown skin and brown eyes,” as Nancy Pelosi has said.

White people must “shut their mouths” when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) insists “ethnicity and racism” alone drive Trump’s policies and, by extension, his supporters’  enthusiasm for them.

Trump’s shots at Cummings and Sharpton, then, were not errant rhetorical missiles, but the latest round of calculated fire against the Democratic Party’s anti-white platform. The polls, for what they are worth, show that Trump has found the mark.

Earlier this month, after the president took to Twitter to tell the “squad” to “go back” to countries they or their forebears came from, if they hate America and its historic demographic so much, his approval ratings actually remained stable and in some cases improved.

Reuters/Ipsos public opinion polling showed a 5 percent approval increase among Republicans, while polling from USA Today/Ipsos reported that 57 percent of Republicans approved of Trump’s tweets directed at the “squad.”

Though the pollsters say over and over that “most Americans” disagree with Trump’s message, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist polling conducted nationally and immediately after the “go back” salvo among registered voters showed a new job approval high of 44 percent.

It appears that sticking up for America and calling out ingratitude is a winning strategy.

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Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • GOPe • Post • Republicans

T’was a Nice Republic, While It Lasted

On or around 9 a.m. EST, on July 24, 2019, as a gentle breeze wafted over the gingerly groomed Kentucky bluegrass grounds of the National Mall, the great God-Emperor of American Justice himself—Robert Swan Mueller III—descended, like Moses from Mount Sinai or Zeus from Mount Olympus. Downward he came from his lofty perch in the heavenlies, whence the right judgments of his all-knowing, unbiased and perfectly objective mind emanate like piercing UV rays of legal wisdom from the sun itself.

Why were we blessed with this spectacular, once in a lifetime visitation, which only a few million eyes have seen?

As the media mavens breathlessly informed us, over and over again, Lord Mueller was summoned to appear in deceptively frail human form to converse with his humble servants (i.e., congressional House Democrats) about his most recent, and apparently final, infallible encyclical on the serious matter of Russia’s successful attempt to install Donald J. Trump as president and personal sock-puppet to Vladimir Putin—thereby denying the Oval Office the graces of its rightful heir and pre-ordained occupant, Madam Secretary Hillary! Rodham Clinton.

Lord Mueller assured everyone that CrowdStrike was correct: Putin achieved this dastardly feat of WikiLeaks hacking and stole the American presidential election by: a) running a couple thousand dollars worth of ads on Facebook; b) somehow guessing that John Podesta’s email password was “password”; and c) somehow getting into the former secretary of state’s basement where she kept her private unsecured email server—no matter what Ellen Ratner says Julian Assange told her directly, and despite not ever having had either servers in the FBI’s chain of custody.

To lend Mueller’s definitive analysis even more credibility, the very Democrat attorney who represented Clinton’s former IT guy (who at Clinton’s direction allegedly wiped her server clean of any evidence) was sworn in with Mueller. This same attorney, the Democrats were relieved to hear, also ran the special counsel’s day-to-day affairs while Lord Mueller apparently was napping most of the time. But for Lord Mueller’s assurances, there were absolutely no conflicts of interest in any of this, this fact might otherwise have been mildly concerning, even to CNN legal analysts, who were busy organizing impeachment parties before the hearing started.

In any event, the assembled patron saints of congressional districts from sea to shining sea had been entrusted, by virtue of this divine commission, the great task of explaining to the boobery in red-state flyover country why—despite the apparent lack of any actual evidence of collusion, conspiracy, or whatever—and a terribly confusing explanation from Lord Mueller himself as to why he was (uncharacteristically) unwilling to make a prosecutorial decision at all about obstruction of justice—it is nonetheless their somber and sublime duty to impeach the duly elected president, Donald J. Trump. And, as a bonus, they must hang him high for treason (something to do with building hotels before he became president), too.

After all, Lord Mueller pronounced Trump “not exonerated,” and as everyone knows, the presumption in America has always been that Republican presidents must prove their innocence beyond any reasonable or unreasonable doubt whatsoever, and be subjected to endless accusation and systematic investigation until they resign, or are impeached, or at least are not re-elected.

Various sundry hoi polloi and their rabble-rousers (i.e., congressional House Republicans) also attended, to maintain the illusion that what was going on was somehow vaguely connected to the Constitution; but Mueller rightly paid them no mind. Instead, he cleverly Jedi mind-tricked them into repeating their questions several times over the course of nearly half their allotted time, and otherwise encouraged them to use the rest of their allotted minutes talking to his trembling right hand. Apparently, his hand had nothing to say, either.

He was, in short, having none of their impertinent inquiries into his staff deliberations, reasons for declining to prosecute implicated Democrats, decisions to arrest and torture others he wished to see punished, why he only looked into one side of his remit and studiously ignored the other, and other such off-topic desiderata that might actually have boosted the spectacle’s ratings.

To be sure, there was no way the majority was going to insist he lower himself and be subjected to mere mortal standards of under-oath testimony—which is to say, Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) were not going to allow much less compel him to be seriously cross-examined, or even frisked. No. That they will reserve for the likes of the fiendish (not to mention suspiciously hot) Hope Hicks.

All in all, Mueller’s testimony amounted to a dreadfully dull affair in which any discerning patriot would realize that all these endless XYZ-gates and their interminable special investigations have achieved is to flip every principle we say we stand for upside-down in the bloodlust for partisan electoral advantage.

T’was a nice republic, while it lasted. Requiescat In Pace.

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2016 Election • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia • The Left

Putin’s Patsies

A patsy is somebody easily manipulated. A pushover. A chump. A sucker.  Look up “patsy” in the dictionary and you should find pictures of Hillary Clinton, media figures, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey and dozens of other leftists and deep state actors, because it’s becoming clear that these people were nothing but willing and eager patsies for Vladimir Putin’s attempts to destabilize our constitutional republic.

For years we had to endure to the Left’s wild conspiracy theories about Donald Trump colluding with Putin to steal the 2016 elections, insinuating or even bluntly stating that they believed Trump to be a traitor to his country. Fact is, even the Weissmann-Zebley investigation, formerly known as the Mueller investigation, didn’t find a criminal conspiracy. Those two partisans had tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, unbelievable powers of investigation and subpoena, and still came up blanks.

While the Mueller hearings were a disaster for Democrats, they did confirm several things: with Mueller’s admission that Aaron Zebley ran the day to day operations of the investigation, we know that it was a staff driven investigation. For reminders’ sake, Zebley represented Justin Cooper, who was Hillary’s IT guy—the one who set up her private email server and smashed Blackberries with a hammer to destroy evidence in the face of an ongoing investigation. Furthermore it was abundantly clear that Mueller did not write his report; it was most likely written by Andrew Weissmann, a partisan Democrat who has donated thousands of dollars to candidates and even attended what was supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s victory celebration. This was an investigation run by the most partisan of partisans on Mueller’s team.

But add to all this one of the more jaw-dropping moments during the Mueller hearings. Robert Mueller claimed he was not familiar with Fusion GPS, the outfit that manufactures news for their clients and gave us the Steele dossier. As Mueller was charged with trying to determine the extent of Russian meddling, it would seem he might be mildly interested in determining who and what Fusion was as they were the outfit that helped give life to and then aggressively spread the Russian collusion fairytale back in 2016.

In admitting that he is unfamiliar with Fusion, combined with Zebley and Weissmann running the investigation, tell you all you need to know about the Mueller investigation: it was a political hit job run by partisans who never had any intention of actually getting to the truth of the matter. The Zebley-Weissmann investigation was, in fact, one of the major operations of what amounts to a soft coup to reverse the outcome of the 2016 elections and remove the duly elected president of the United States.

What we have discovered from real investigations and hearings, however, is that Hillary and the DNC did collude with Russia were used by Putin. From former Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s testimony we know that Christopher Steele’s dossier had two primary sources: an ex-Russian intelligence officer and a Ukrainian businessman with close ties to Putin.

As even Comey has admitted, the Steele dossier was “salacious and unverified” which is what happens when you have Russians whispering fairy tales in your ear. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the dossier, just as I opined on Fox News back in January of 2018, is a Russian misinformation campaign meant to destabilize the United States and part of a wider effort by Putin to destabilize western democracies.

Consider that Hillary Clinton and the DNC actually funded Russian misinformation; there’s no denying that. They paid their hacks over at Fusion GPS millions to have an ex-British spy compile the dossier. Then many in the media acted as compliant messenger boys, broadcasting the misinformation far and wide, injecting this poisonous and infectious disease into the American public’s bloodstream and relentlessly pushing it for years. Unable to help themselves, or perhaps incapable, mainstream media did double work as the propagandists of the Left and Putin.

Somewhere Putin must be laughing his head off that he hit the jackpot of patsies with the American Left. Which of course was not just limited to Hillary, the DNC and the mainstream media. It also included Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, and others inside our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. These men and others, apparently blinded by Trump Derangement Syndrome and motivated by partisan politics, were willing to use anything to attempt to frame Trump—including the dossier. If you accept the premise that the dossier was Russian misinformation, our Justice Department, FBI and heads of intel used Russian misinformation to secure a FISA warrant to spy on a U.S. citizen. Let that sink in.

As all of the pieces continue to fall in place, it is hoped that there will be real clarity in the very near future as the Justice Department inspector general’s report comes out and Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham finish their investigations into the investigators. It is stunning to note what the American people have been through over the last few years—from hoaxes and conspiracy theories to a soft coup attempt, massive abuses of power, and disregard for constitutional rights. We have to ensure that these things never happen again.

This is why people must bear the full consequences for their actions. There must be jail time for some, a lifetime revocation of security clearances for others, and for others, a complete transparency about what fools they have been and how they were played so that their reputations will never be able to recover. We need all of these things to happen to ensure the future of the rule of law and our constitutional republic.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Stepping Over Mueller’s Cadaver

There are few hoaxes in the history of journalism as disgraceful as Russiagate, and few events underscore the media’s shame quite like its tragic, unintentionally humorous  coda.

Liberals expected Robert Mueller’s testimony to be a moment of truth for Trump; but it turned out to be the only truthful moment in this soap opera. How quickly fact goes to work; in an afternoon, the number one “news” story in America for two years had completely evaporated, along with the reputation of its protagonist.

Had Mueller given a lecture on German idealism, his testimony would have been more intelligible and more worthwhile. Testifying about what had been built up as the most important investigation in modern political history, the man who liberal hagiographers had likened to an American giant seemed faintly familiar with his report. To the amused shock of the Right and the horror of the Left, it was revealed that the colossal shadow belonged to a senile old man.

The real Mueller painted, in strikingly ironic visual language, the malignance and power of the national news media that contrived, out of nothing, a deranged conspiracy theory that dominated American politics for the better part of two years.

It is difficult to grasp the profundity of this farce. Absurd as it was, this Russian fairy tale was no mere comedy; it contained elements of great tragedy as well.  People were hurt. A country was torn apart. Strangest of all, it destroyed Mueller too. How ironic, that he should become a casualty of his own witch hunt.

Even those who knew that Mueller’s probe was a sham were not prepared for the comedy that ensued. After months and months of gaslighting, here at last was the grotesque, ridiculous truth. The media could spin whatever tales they wanted about an ongoing investigation. They could pivot from collusion to “obstruction” and chatter about “OLC opinions” and whether the Sphinx of the Justice Department “meant” to say that Democrats should impeach Trump during his cryptic press conference. But here was the man himself, and he hadn’t even read his own report.

Mueller’s pointless, destructive testimony made for a fitting conclusion to this pointless and destructive drama. Like the probe that he was called to discuss, Mueller was preceded by great pomp and expectation. He was supposed to deliver the most spectacular indictment of a president in modern history. He ended by exposing the media’s self-importance and tarnishing his own legacy.

This painful self-parody was inevitable. A lie like this one could only grow so big before it collapsed under its own weight. It was abundantly clear when Mueller finished up months ago that the emperor had no clothes, but the media wouldn’t leave well enough alone. Too much had been invested in the story. The hero couldn’t exit the stage without making a speech.

Mueller didn’t want to do it, but larger forces had decreed that the Bad Orange Man must go down. So Mueller was summoned to drive a stake through Trump’s heart, only to embarrass himself and discredit his own work (assuming, of course, that he was actually involved in any of the work.) His feeble performance just accented the banality of the tragedy: what was all of this national panic even for?

For two years, all else fell by the wayside of a political counter-revolution staged by center-left partisans in the press and their Democrat handlers. The country was distracted, lied to, and deeply hurt. Nothing changed when Mueller finished up without the smoking gun. Accountability did not arrive for the hoaxers, who instead subjected the country to another four months of baseless, fevered conjecture about whether the president broke the law by wanting to end the inquisition.

Through it all, the media revealed its selfishness like never before. They were out to get Trump. It didn’t matter what was true or who got hurt in the process. Americans were divided against each other, their faith in democracy shaken. People like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, who were never found to have committed any collusion related wrongdoing, were threatened, shaken down, and charged with spurious unrelated crimes. Just when it looked as though Mueller would escape unscathed, #TheResistance decided it needed him for one last impeachment push.

That any of this happened is a testament to the media’s destructive power. But Mueller is no victim, either. He was an active participant in the farce. This national embarrassment could have stopped at any point. It could have ended when Mueller realized he had nothing. It could have ended when Mueller submitted his report. But that is not what Mueller chose to do.

At each step, Mueller obscured things further. What was there to justify all the frothing hysteria, the libel, the early morning raid on a man’s home? Mueller could not say. Instead of closing the case and shutting up, he invented a singular standard of justice to penalize one specific person. Trump did not collude with Russia, neither was he charged with obstruction, but he was “not exonerated,” either.

Mueller’s even more confused testimony laid bare the inanity of the whole probe over six hours of agonized interrogation. He added nothing to the nothing that came before while muddling the whole.

Now, as they have done before, the media will congratulate themselves for a job well done and move on to the next hoax. They will pretend that they never beatified and built a national savior cult around a 74-year-old bureaucrat. Down the memory hole with Robert Mueller and all of his “bombshells.”

They will separate the Mueller report from its author and do what they can with his product. Even now, anyone who still questions the gravitas of that profound canonical work will fall under suspicion of insanity, while those who worshiped its creator for two years will give themselves a pat on the back for their devotion to the “truth.”

But the truth has, for once, come to light, and Mueller has been swallowed up in its monstrous absurdity. The media will gladly take the report and step over the cadaver.

Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Big Media • Donald Trump • Post • The Left

Menacing Invective Against Trump Creates Dangerous Climate

Former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden has bragged on two occasions that he would like to beat up President Donald Trump.

In March 2018, Biden huffed, “They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

Biden’s tough-guy braggadocio was apparently no slip. A year later, he doubled down on his physical threats.

“The idea that I’d be intimidated by Donald Trump? … He’s the bully that I’ve always stood up to. He’s the bully that used to make fun when I was a kid that I stutter, and I’d smack him in the mouth.”

Had former Vice President Dick Cheney ever dared to say something similar of President Obama, what would the media reaction have been?

Recently, Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.), another presidential candidate, took up where Biden left off:

“Trump is a guy who you understand he hurts you, and my testosterone sometimes makes me want to feel like punching him, which would be bad for this elderly, out-of-shape man that he is if I did that. This physically weak specimen.”

One trait of the Democratic field of presidential candidates is always to sound further to the left than any of their primary rivals. Apparently, a similar habit is to see who can most effectively imagine beating up the president. For now, Booker seems to be in first place.

The current candidates are just channeling three years of sick showboating by Hollywood celebrities.

Actor Robert De Niro has repeatedly expressed a desire to physically assault trump. A month before Trump was elected, De Niro said of him, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Later, De Niro doubled down with a series of “F— Trump” outbursts.

This is especially dangerous in the aftermath of progressive zealot and Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson’s 2017 attempt to assassinate Republican congressmen at a practice for a charity baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot and nearly killed. Three other people were also shot and wounded.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), just hours after she was sworn in, said a rally that she had promised her young son that “we’re going to impeach the motherf—r.”

Donald Trump is a controversial president, no doubt. He replies to his critics with strong, often inflammatory invective.

Yet the continued litany of threats to physically assault or kill a president is lowering the bar of assassination, and it will haunt the country long after Trump is gone.

On the day Trump was inaugurated, the pop music star Madonna told a large crowd outside the White House that she had thought of blowing it up.

A few months later, comedian Kathy Griffin issued a video where she held up a bloody facsimile of a decapitated Trump head.

Since then, Hollywood and the entertainment industry have been in constant competition to imagine the most gruesome way of killing off Trump—stabbing, blowing up, burning, shooting, suffocating, decapitating or beating.

Celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg, George Lopez, Moby, Rosie O’Donnell, Mickey Rourke and Larry Wilmore seem to relish the media attention as they discuss or demonstrate what they consider to be creative ways to kill the president.

It is hard to determine whether their tweets and outbursts are designed to restore sagging careers, are heartfelt expressions of pure hatred, or both.

We saw something similar to the current climate of threatened violence during the re-election campaign and second presidential term of George W. Bush.

A few columnists, documentary filmmakers and novelists went well beyond the boilerplate invective of calling Bush a fascist, racist, Nazi and war criminal, and imagined his assassination in a variety of ways.

But we are now well beyond even that rhetorical violence.

Trump and his critics often go at it relentlessly in interviews, in Twitter wars, and on television and radio. No insult seems too petty for Trump to ignore.

Yet progressives like Biden and Booker seem to think that by bragging of wanting to do violence to the president, they will rev up their base and win attention, as if physical violence is justified by Trump’s unorthodox presidency.

Nonetheless, the current climate is becoming scary. Those who brag of wanting to violently attack the president should worry about where their boasts will finally lead if any of the thousands of James Hodgkinsons in America take such threats seriously and act upon them.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(C) 2019 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Featured Article • GOPe • Great America • Republicans

Confessions of a Recovering Neoconservative

The realignment of the political Right has prompted a public confessional of sorts, a raw acknowledgement that millions of us were led astray by Republiican leaders we trusted, we voted for, and we defended during times of war. We only have ourselves to blame, of course, because we did it with our eyes wide open. But the Trump era is forcing many Republicans to reexamine what we once believed and reassess what actually is true.

In a fiery speech earlier this month at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C., Fox News host Tucker Carlson talked about purging his “mental attic” to dust off the ideas that he had accepted as legitimate over past few decades.

“The Trump election was so shocking . . . that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say ‘wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?’” Carlson said. “Just look around . . . who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? A lot of the people we’ve been told are good guys are not. Some of them are the worst guys. I’ll let you figure out who.”

Carlson didn’t need to name names because the conservatives in the room, I assume, envisioned pretty much the same collection of bad guys—and they aren’t on the Left.

For the most part, the list would include Republican villains such as Bill Kristol, Carlson’s former boss at the now-defunct Weekly Standard, and a number of other conservative commentators still clinging to the mantras that afford them their sinecures; Bush family members and certain administration officials; former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and the late John McCain; former Republican congressional leaders such as ex-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; and an assortment of well-heeled donors.

They populate most of the Beltway clique of once-influential thought and political leaders who controlled the Republican Party for more than two decades and whose collective incompetence, arrogance, and intellectual torpor resulted in their ouster in the form of Donald Trump’s election on November 8, 2016.

In fact, Carlson’s Trump-inspired epiphany echoed my own internal thoughts during much of the conference—thoughts I’ve had consistently over the past three years—but in my head have been far more harsh than Carlson’s public musings. Others shared similar reflections about both the people and the policies they once were loyal to. As I’ve purged my own mental attic of alleged truisms and political heroes since November 2016, here is what I often think:

You idiot. How dumb could you be? How could you have been duped by these frauds for so long?

Like millions of Republicans, especially those of us who once considered ourselves to be neoconservatives before watching the public meltdown of our one-time heroes into a molten pool of pathetic and sniveling NeverTrump Republicans, the presidency of Donald Trump has forced me to reckon with my own political stupidity and gullibility. Not only was my faith placed in the hands of self-serving and fundamentally dishonest people, I now realize that in trusting them, I unwittingly defended misguided policies that have wreaked havoc on large swaths of the country.

When I first started out in politics in the early 1990s, a few years after I graduated from college, Kristol and his fellow neoconservative headmasters were my political idols. I was “squishy,” as Kristol once put it, on immigration and nodded my head in agreement with those who argued non-Americans would do the work that Americans wouldn’t. After all, who else would happily staff our restaurants and stock our grocery stores and fertilize our lawns while keeping the costs cheap? It’s a win-win for everyone!

Free trade opened up new markets for American goods around the world, there could be no downside. American companies owed us nothing, and if they decided to move jobs and resources and tax dollars to a more hospitable country, welp, that’s laissez-faire economics, folks! If you got hooked on drugs or stuck in a low-wage job or trapped in a decaying industrial town, that was your own damn fault. You should have been more ambitious, anyway.

Nation-building in the Middle East at the expense of American soldiers from the Midwest was the only way to defend our sovereignty and secure our future. Of course U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in any country. Of course the war would end quickly. No, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney would never mislead us about weapons of mass destruction.

That, and more, was my political mindset for more than two decades. I defended broad policies bolstered by platitudes and endorsed by my “Conservative Betters” without taking a moment to consider the long-term consequences or measure their outcomes. Why quibble about the details when you have all of “The Smart People” on your side? I mean, Bill Kristol was on TV!

In the end, being a neoconservative meant having no skin in the game. You could push for war in other countries because it wasn’t your child who would be deployed. You could argue in favor of “free trade” because your company wasn’t relocating overseas. You could support unfettered immigration because foreigners weren’t taking your job and probably wouldn’t compete with your children when the time came. You could ignore the influx of illegal drugs or the shuttering of manufacturing plants or rising white illegitimacy rates because none of it was happening in your suburb or the tony enclave of your city.

It didn’t matter if none of it really worked in practice as long as it worked in theory.

Meanwhile, those policies that sounded so good in theory from my comfortable environs were hammering Middle America. Simmering rage about the consequences of illegal immigration went unnoticed. Drug abuse soared as illicit narcotics and prescription painkillers, unrestrained by government action or political attention, flooded blighted communities. Unfair trade agreements robbed farmers and steelworkers and small business owners of profit. Still, neoconservatives clung to their vaunted yet vague “principles” as they sneered and looked the other way.

And that’s how we got Trump, as they say.

Now, thanks to Trump’s ascendance, we know why neoconservatives ignored the plight of their less fortunate countrymen: They hold them in contempt. Neocon NeverTrumpers have ridiculed Trump supporters as unsophisticated, racist rubes incapable of independent thought who blindly following the lead of their Bad Orange Master. Kristol said in 2017 that white, working-class Americans were “decadent, lazy, [and] spoiled.” He even accused Carlson, his one-time protégé, of being a white nationalist.

As they pivot away from positions they once claimed to hold, vanquished neoconservatives offer nothing in the way of “conservative” alternatives to Trumpism, just the same stale mantras about free trade and virtuous illegal immigration and the “free market.” Those leaders who once insisted America wage any number of wars securing borders in foreign lands and sold to us as protecting the “national interest” now rage about the sinister roots of Trump-afflicted “nationalism” and complain about those who insist we secure our own borders.

I’m not the only recovering neoconservative with regrets. Norman Podhoretz, one of the original architects of neoconservatism, also has second thoughts about the last couple decades. He has reconsidered his previous adherence to once defining tropes about conservatism, particularly those about trade and immigration.

“The idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong . . . there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma,” Podhoretz admitted in an April 2019 interview, “And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration. What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate.”

That is one reason why the current transformation of the Republican Party will outlive Donald Trump. Yes, the figureheads have changed, but so too have the policy priorities and the views of many rank-and-file Republicans. As we look around at the smoldering debris left behind by a “conservatve” political class that has been inattentive—even hostile—to the basic well-being of so much of the American middle class which is and must be the heart and soul of American society and culture, we know that there is no turning back to the era of selective ignorance and deference to rarified political pedigree.

And the “bad guys” should never be allowed to regain a position of influence again.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Identity Politics • Post • The Left

Donald Trump at the Overton Window

I shall leave it to the theologians to decide whether it is providential or merely coincidental that it was this very week in 1729, on Tuesday in fact, that the city of Baltimore was founded. I think we can say that, for the genus rattus, the city has been providential, at least since 1967. That was the year Thomas D’Alesandro III—the brother of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (and son of Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., a former mayor of Baltimore)—began the city’s 50-plus years of uninterrupted Democratic Party rule. (If you except the younger Mr. D’Alesandro’s immediate predecessor, you can push the run of Democratic mayors of Baltimore all the way back to 1947.)

Things have been good for the rats in Baltimore. For homo sapiens sapiens? Not so good. Drugs. Violence. Poverty. Squalor. “The Wire” was more documentary than fiction.

But rats have, as the book of Genesis recommended, been fruitful. Also, they have multiplied. Quoth Catherine Pugh, mayor of Baltimore until just a couple of months ago, when she stepped down because of charges of corruption, rats were so plentiful in Baltimore that “you could smell them.”

But that was in September of last year, before Donald Trump turned his gimlet eye on Baltimore, a city that has suffered not only from more than half a century of local Democratic control but also from nearly 25 years of representation by Elijah Cummings, a race-hustling confidence man right out of central casting.

Over the weekend, the president opened up on “King Elijah” in a series of tweets. “Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings,” he wrote in one, “has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull . . . Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need. Sad.”

The president continued: “Baltimore’s numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy. Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail. The money was stolen or wasted. Ask Elijah Cummings where it went. He should investigate himself with his Oversight Committee!”

In short, Baltimore was “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

It was one thing when Christine Pugh dilated on the rodent theme in 2018.

It is quite another when Donald Trump does it in 2019.

The cries of “racism” came fast and furious against the president, from, among many others, the Rev. Al Sharpton. (I always love writing “the Rev. Al Sharpton”: the incongruity is positively giggle-making.)

That did not faze the president, who promptly repeated and broadened his attack. “There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know,” he wrote, “that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself. Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!” And then there was this on Sharpton: “I have known Al for 25 years. Went to fights with him & Don King, always got along well. He ‘loved Trump!’ He would ask me for favors often. Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing. Must have intimidated Comcast/NBC. Hates Whites & Cops!”

Politico, along with the rest of the virtue-signaling, chest-less media, sobbed in impotent disbelief. “President Donald Trump on Monday opened new fronts in the bitter tirade he launched over the weekend against Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore, lobbing insults at civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.”

You know that the president’s observation was impermissible because Politico called it “bitter,” which ever since Obama’s “bitter clingers” remark has been code for “right-wing redneck.” But the best thing about Politico’s little melodrama was its description of Sharpton as a “civil rights leader.”

What Al Sharpton really is, as the president noted, is a “con man,” a race-hustling mountebank. Thomas Sowell was less polite but more accurate when he said that Sharpton headed “a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley ‘rape’ hoax of 1987 to the Duke ‘rape’ hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.”

Exactly so.

I suspect that those who see an element of calculation in the president’s tweets about Baltimore, Cummings, and Sharpton are correct. As Monica Showalter noted at The American Thinker, the president has just dramatized a real problem and made the Democrats, and their enablers in the media, defend the indefensible, just as he did with his comments a couple of weeks ago about the racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American tetrarchy of “the squad.” President Trump, Showalter noted, is “now forcing Democrats to own the urban shambles and filth that characterize one-party blue-city rule, putting all Democrats on their backfoot. That’s what’s behind his surprise Twitter assault that began with Rep. Elijah Cummings and his rat-infested Baltimore district, which pretty much came out of the blue.”

I think that’s probably correct. But there are a few larger issues at play in this episode.

One was articulated several decades ago by the philosopher Sidney Hook, who, writing about the danger of spurious charges of “racism” and kindred epithets, noted

as morally offensive as is the expression of racism wherever it is found, a false charge of racism is equally offensive, perhaps even more so, because the consequences of a false charge of racism enable an authentic racist to conceal his racism by exploiting the loose way the term is used to cover up his actions. The same is true of a false charge of sexism or anti-Semitism. This is the lesson we should all have learned from the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Because of his false and irresponsible charges of communism against liberals, socialists, and others among his critics, many communists and agents of communist influence sought to pass themselves off as Jeffersonian democrats or merely idealistic reformers. They would all complain they were victims of red-baiting to prevent criticism and exposure. [Emphasis added.]

You see the dynamic Hook outlined at work everywhere today, not least in the ridiculous charges that Donald Trump is racist because he attacks people who do bad things who also happen to be black.

Their color has nothing to do with his criticisms. Trump attacks “the squad” not because they are female or “people of color,” but because the are anti-American fanatics. He attacks Elijah Cummings not because he is black but because he is a corrupt pol who has done ill by his district. He attacks Sharpton not because he is black but because he is a race-baiting con-man.

Donald Trump is an equal opportunity scourge. He doesn’t care if you are black or white, male or female, if you behave badly and violate the public trust, he will call you out, baldly. And note this above all: If you attack him, he will attack you back. As Brit Hume pointed out recently, “People discerning a racist motive for Trump’s attack on Elijah Cummings are missing a key point: Trump attacks those who criticize him and his administration, black or white.” Hume follows up with an amusing and color-coordinated list of people Trump has put in their place (Bernie Sanders: crazy, Elizabeth Warren: total fraud, Justin Amash: loser, Joe Biden: low IQ, Harry Reid: insane, etc., etc.).

Beyond the elements of political calculation and polemical style, however, Donald Trump’s recent tweet fests suggest that he may be on the threshold of shifting the Overton Window on race.

Named for the policy analyst Joseph Overton, the famous fenestration describes the range of ideas and rhetoric that are acceptable in public discourse, from the unthinkable and radical at one end to popular ideas and settled policy at the other.

Public discourse in America has long been held hostage to a species of racist moral blackmail that has made it almost impossible to tell the truth about many central social realities. Trump opened the window on that paralyzing darkness when he dared to violate the taboo against criticizing failure when it happened to be presided over by blacks. But to do so is not racist. In fact, it is anti-racist, because it dares to hold everyone, blacks as well as whites, to the same standard.

The ethic of one-sided discriminatory intimidation has been the Democrats’ meal ticket from Jim Crow through the comically misnamed “Great Society” right down to our current crop of race hustlers like Elijah Cummings, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, not to mention the hundreds of academics who have based their entire careers on race, not scholarship.

Trump was elected partly because he was “politically incorrect”: he dared to bring the engine of common sense to bear against the malodorous carapace of left-wing ideology.

The president has a long way to go. But he has been the first chief executive in a very long time to have the rough courage to challenge the entrenched, sclerotic establishment that promulgates an agenda of dependency in order to protect its power and perquisites, surrounding the whole with the sleepless sentinels of politically correct interdiction.

It is a rotten, and a deeply un-American, spirit that has risen up among us. Donald Trump will not vanquish it single-handedly. But simply by tearing the scab off this festering infection, revealing it to all in its hideous profusion, he has earned the gratitude of everyone who values liberty and the boundless opportunities of what we used to be able to call, without embarrassment, the American way.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Post • race • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

How to Tell If a Trump Supporter Is Racist

Every non-liberal leftist—that is, nearly every Democrat running for president, New York Times and Washington Post columnist, CNN and MSNBC host, and your left-wing brother-in-law—labels every Trump supporter and, of course, President Donald Trump, a “racist.”

And they don’t stop there. Leftists don’t only label the half of the country that supports the president “racist,” they label all whites and America itself “racist.” If your son or daughter attends or recently attended an American university, it is close to certain he or she was repeatedly told that America and all whites are racist. According to the Left, whites are divided between those who admit they are racist and those who don’t admit it.

Every conservative and many liberals know this is a big lie. The great question is: Do leftists believe it? It is impossible to know. But this we do know: If you repeat something often enough, and if your Weltanschauung (worldview) and that which gives your life meaning are dependent upon believing something, you will eventually believe it.

So here is a way to show it is a lie.

Ask any white conservative, including one who supports Trump, the following three questions:

1) Do you have more in common with, and are you personally more comfortable in the company of, a white leftist or a black conservative?

2) Would you rather have nine white leftists or nine black conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court?

3) Would you rather your child marry a black Christian conservative or a white non-Christian liberal?

A white racist would prefer the whites in each case.

I have asked these questions of thousands of Trump supporters at lectures and on my radio show. Not once has a white Trump-supporting conservative said he or she would be more comfortable in the presence of a white leftist than a black conservative or would prefer an all-white liberal Supreme Court to an all-black conservative Supreme Court. Not once has a white Christian conservative said he or she would prefer their child marry a white non-Christian liberal to a black Christian conservative.

If you’re an honest leftist, this should present a powerful challenge to your belief that all white conservatives are racist.

But it won’t. Leftists have too much at stake to confront the truth about conservatives. Everything the left has ever believed has depended upon lying about opponents. From the day Stalin labeled Trotsky—who served as the head of the Red Army and who, along with Lenin, founded the Bolshevik Party—a “fascist,” leftists have lied about their opponents.

Some liberals lie and some conservatives lie, but the truth is both a liberal and conservative value. It has never been a left-wing value. Any leftist who would commit himself to the truth would cease being a leftist. He would either become an anti-left liberal or an anti-left conservative.

“America is racist.” “Whites are racist.” “Trump supporters are racist.” These are all big lies.

So, then, given how important it is to leftists to maintain the lie of conservative racism—along with xenophobia, misogyny, transphobia, and Islamophobia—how would they rebut conservatives’ answers to these questions?

Presumably, they would argue that every conservative who responds to these questions as I described is lying.

But these questions are important—no matter how much leftists ignore or dismiss them—because they perform an important service for conservatives.

I know this from Jewish history. There was so much Jew-hatred in the medieval Christian world that Jews sometimes wondered if there was any truth to the attacks on them. When a whole society denigrates a group, members of the denigrated group start wondering whether any of the attacks on them have any truth. But when the charge of blood libel—that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to bake matzos for Passover—arose, it liberated Jews from taking any of the anti-Semites’ attacks seriously. Every Jew knew the blood libel was a lie—Jews never consumed animal blood, let alone human blood.

Every conservative knows his responses to these three questions are heartfelt and true, so these questions can help conservatives come to see the Left’s charge of conservative racism as medieval Jews came to see the anti-Semites’ blood libel charge: as a lie.

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Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Republicans • Russia • The Media

Democrats’ Attack Machine Revs Up Against Ratcliffe

Twenty minutes before President Trump announced Sunday afternoon on Twitter that Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would be his choice to replace Dan Coats as the director of national intelligence, the Democrats’ attack machine already was in action.

“John Ratcliffe, by one measure the second most conservative member of Congress, appears to believe that the Russia investigation was cooked up by Democrats who ‘committed crimes.’ Now Trump reportedly is considering placing atop the US intelligence community,” tweeted NBC News analyst Ken Dilanian, pejoratively known as “Fusion Ken” for his ties to the infamous opposition research shop, Fusion GPS.

(Take note of Dilanian’s scare quotes around “committed crimes” as if the whole thing was legit and not under criminal investigation by a U.S. attorney or a separate probe by the Justice Department inspector general.)

Trump then confirmed the pick on Twitter, saying Ratcliffe will “lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”

Ratcliffe, a member of both the House Intelligence and House Judiciary committees, earned plaudits last week during the disastrous Robert Mueller hearings for his verbal vivisection of Mueller’s claims about not exonerating Donald Trump on alleged obstruction of justice offenses.

“The special counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence,” Ratcliffe told the bewildered prosecutor. “It’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the special counsel regulations, it’s not in the OLC opinions, it’s not in Department of Justice manual.”

Pointing out that the president, like any other American, is entitled to a presumption of innocence immediately caused the Left to brand Ratcliffe a Trump shill, lackey and suck-up.

Now Trump foes are using Ratcliffe’s performance against him while lauding the work of Coats, who publicly made it clear in May that he intended to stonewall Trump’s directive to declassify all documents related to the corrupt origins of the Obama Administration’s investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign. Coats succeeded James Clapper, a known anti-Trump partisan, who was a key player in concocting the bogus Russian collusion hoax in 2016. Attorney General Bill Barr is investigating the entire scandal, which includes any involvement by Clapper or his surrogates.

The media and top Democrats, including Clapper’s partner-in-collusion, former CIA Director John Brennan, immediately started bashing Ratcliffe on Twitter while commending Coats as a courageous straight shooter.

“Dan Coats served ably & with deep integrity,” Brennan tweeted early Monday morning. “Ratcliffe showed abject subservience to Trump in Mueller hearings. The women & men in the Intelligence Community deserve a leader like Coats who puts nation first; not a servile Trump loyalist like Ratcliffe.”

Coats “has had the independence and strength to speak truth to power,” tweeted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that will preside over Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing, tweeted that the “mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power. As DNI, Dan Coats stayed true to that mission.”

CNN contributor Garrett Graff mocked Ratcliffe while lauding his CNN colleague: “Before becoming DNI, Jim Clapper had worked in U.S. intelligence for nearly fifty years and personally headed two of the nation’s 17 intel agencies. By comparison, John Ratcliffe was the mayor of Heath, Texas, pop., 8000.”

The increasingly unstable Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” offered some public relations advice to those seeking to tank Ratcliffe’s nomination.

“Just start calling Ratcliffe a fascist,” Scarborough suggested on Monday morning’s show. “And call him a fascist throughout this entire process. Call him a fascist for the rest of his career until this fascist apologizes to capitalists who are Democrats who he has mislabeled.”

Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman insisted that the “ultra-conservative” Ratcliffe would make Russian interference in the next election “more likely.” Waldman’s perpetually hysterical colleague, NeverTrumper Max Boot, claimed that “Ratcliffe has no qualifications in the intelligence field, but he does have a history of slavish loyalty to Trump—as he demonstrated by berating and maligning special counsel Robert S. Mueller III during the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.”

Ratcliffe, 53, is qualified to serve as DNI, a position created in 2004. (Coats, a former U.S. senator from Indiana, served for one term on the Senate Intelligence Committee.) The third-term congressman is a former U.S. attorney, federal terrorism prosecutor. and Texas mayor.

But the freakout about Ratcliffe has nothing to do with his qualifications or his appropriate excoriation of Robert Mueller last week. The Left and NeverTrump Republicans who’ve been fully invested in the now-discredited Russian collusion scam also have helped cover up the real scandal, which is how the most powerful law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the world were weaponized by the Obama administration against the Trump campaign and the incoming Trump administration. They are terrified that Ratcliffe, like Barr, will expose the abuse of power, widespread corruption and media complicity behind the hoax, just as the 2020 election gets underway.

Unlike the current deification of Coats for allegedly “speaking truth to power,” the real truth-seekers are people like Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Ratcliffe, Barr, and Trump who know that Americans are entitled to know exactly what went down in 2016 and 2017. Senate Republicans would be well-advised to make sure Ratcliffe’s nomination proceeds quickly, despite the egregious attacks.

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Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Post • Republicans

Fiscal Conservatism, R.I.P.

The drama over congressional testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller this week obscured other important legislation before Congress—like the mammoth $2 trillion, two-year budget deal lawmakers passed on Thursday.

While this budget deal got very little attention outside or even inside the Beltway, it is a massive agreement that betrays any notion of fiscal responsibility, and significantly limits the influence lawmakers have on spending over the next two years.

President Trump has declared his intention to sign it. He was pushed in this direction by Senate Republicans, who reportedly had no interest in saving even a little money by doing a one-year straight extension of spending.

Instead of working with fiscal conservatives within the administration, Senate Republican leadership haughtily declared they would not negotiate with the president’s staff, and hid behind misleading arguments about military funding.

Though some on the Right applauded the deal for preventing Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats from inserting liberal policy provisions—colloquially referred to as “poison pills”—this mischaracterizes as victory an agreement that does little more than enshrine the status quo.

According to the text of the agreement circulated to Capitol Hill staff, “poison pills” will not be added to any spending bill “unless agreed to on a bipartisan basis by the four leaders with the approval of the President.”

In other words, “how a bill becomes a law” is being touted as a major win, protecting pro-life priorities and a host of other issues. This is a distorted Washington way of making the obvious seem profound.

“Unless agreed to on a bipartisan basis by the four leaders with the approval of a president” is merely a handshake agreement that can be (and may be) violated at any point. Moreover, it is only what is already required to pass a spending bill in the Senate, where achieving the necessary 60 votes to end a filibuster requires the participation of both parties, anyway.

Defense hawks and some in the White House touted the deal as a win for the military, but this is hardly the case. Funding for the troops was again cynically used to manipulate support for a deal that, in reality, only increases defense spending above Fiscal Year 2019 levels by $5 billion.

Congress as a whole gets a pass on making any tough spending choices, as this agreement suspends the debt ceiling without consequence for the next two years, and places no limit on the amount of money that can be spent in the interim. And the outline of the agreement provides deeming authority, otherwise known as the process by which the Congress sets spending levels without ever having to pass a budget.

A Grim Fiscal Scenario
To understand just how bad this deal is, one has to appreciate the fiscal context in which it takes place.

In 2011, conservatives fought—and won—an agreement based around the concept of “cut, cap, and balance.” Under the leadership of conservative senators, and supported by the 2010 electoral Tea Party wave, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act (BCA), which placed spending caps on defense spending and domestic spending (outside of entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). Congress was incentivized to hold to these caps by a sequester—automatic cuts—that would kick in if spending went too high.

Thanks to the BCA, total federal outlays (in nominal dollars) actually declined for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower’s first term in office. From 2011 to 2017, the growth in federal spending, adjusted for inflation, was zero.

But Congress, being Congress, has spent years chipping away at this fiscal discipline. This current deal obliterates any that remains, thoroughly destroying what is left of the spending caps and rebuilding the culture of excess spending in Washington.

The backdrop to this is a dire fiscal picture. The federal deficit is set to exceed $1 trillion every year starting in 2022. According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) rises to 21 percent this year, on track to 28 percent by 2049. Only three years (the war-time years of 1944 and 1945, as well as 2000) have had higher spending-to-GDP ratios. The federal debt held by the public will increase to 92 percent of the economy in 2029, up from 78 percent this year. Interest on the debt as a share of the economy will soon surpass defense spending.

This is an unsustainable fiscal path. In a telling statistic, the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 105 percent in the first quarter of 2019. According to the World Bank, debt-to-GDP ratios which exceed just 77 percent for an extended period result in slower economic expansion. Every percentage point of debt above this level costs the country around 2 percent of sustained growth. The United States has been well above this threshold for years.

Yet both parties largely remain unmoved. Led by conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee, House Republicans united to oppose the budget deal this week, which still passed with full Democrat support.

But House conservatives have been undermined at every step by Senate Republicans, who appear to have virtually no interest in restoring fiscal sanity. The majority party in the Senate dismissed the White House’s suggested $150 billion in spending offsets, opting instead to side with House Democrats in a paltry $77 billion in offsets whose application are delayed long enough to ensure they will most likely never take effect.

The attitude of Senate Republicans was probably best summed up by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who reportedly reassured President Trump in the Oval Office that “no politician has ever lost office for spending more money.”

The state of fiscal conservatism has been on the decline in the last five years, but this budget deal officially represents its funeral. The party that gave us “cut, cap, and balance” is a shadow of its former self.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Robert Mueller Can’t Recall

Even I, as someone who has been blue in the face shrieking that the Mueller inquiry would be an unutterable fiasco since the day it was announced, could not have imagined such a terrible shambles as the world watched, gape-mouthed (like the witness much of the time), when Robert Mueller appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on Wednesday.

The Democratic line that began with the president being a traitor who would be removed from office and imprisoned, and descended to impeachment but clinging to the Oval Office furniture by the grace of Republican senators, to general odium for moral turpitude, is now reduced to hypocritical pieties about ethics and the robo-repetition that “No one is above the law.”

Wednesday marks the decisive turning from squeezing the last drop out of the lemon of the president’s alleged crimes, to the long-delayed investigation of the investigators.

The revelation that the Steele dossier—cited in Hillary Clinton’s election memoir as evidence of Trump’s treason—was commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign was dismissed as a ”talking point” by the Washington Post and the Democrats generally. The fact that it was the basis of false foreign intelligence surveillance applications was disputed and then allowed to pass and fade with full media silence.

The Strzok-Page text messages revealing a rabid partisanship on the part of some of Mueller’s leading collaborators, the instant transition of Clinton’s official whitewashers into Trump’s defamers and tormentors was dismissed as improper aspersing of distinguished professionals. Mueller was portrayed as a virtual Superman of law enforcement integrity, a “Republican” war hero and peerless exemplar of faithful, selfless public and patriotic service, and the most knowledgeable and formidable of the country’s experts on law enforcement and clean government. He would unmask and destroy the perfidious ogre who had swindled, flim-flammed, and sleazed his way into the White House.

Mueller may once have deserved some of that iconization, though a number of episodes, including his handling of the FBI corruption case in Boston, the Atlanta Olympic bomber affair, and the Uranium One affair, leave room for some reservations. But it became clear on Wednesday that he did not remember much of anything about “his” report, could not even retrieve from memory the much bandied-about word “conspiracy,” contradicted himself, and stonewalled the committees on many questions that appeared to be appropriate for him to answer, (though many questions he rightly declined to answer).

Still, it was a bit rich that Mueller criticized the president in his written answers for stating that he (Trump) did not remember the correct answer to some of the special counsel’s (Mueller’s) questions, given the porosity of his own memory. Never mind the invocation by his successor at the FBI, James Comey, 250 times under oath that he didn’t recall recent matters highly germane to his official duties and actions.

David Axelrod, current spiritual holder of the of the Saul Alinsky Prize for slippery political conjuration, tweeted after a couple of hours that the hearings were “very painful.” They were, and not just for those who were hoping that the hearings would grease the skids for the Democratic presidential impeachment launch. Mueller was drawn, pallid, hesitant, and inarticulate, and very unfamiliar with much of what he had been asked to recall and answer. He appeared to be ill and in no condition to deal with such a challenging session, and implausible as the real guiding force behind this massive and completely redundant inquest.

By the end of the day, there was a general recognition that the page had been turned. The more rabid Democrats may continue to huff and puff and shake their fists at the sky like King Lear, and promise vigilance against the machinations of the Kremlin. But those responsible for this monstrous disgrace to the intelligence services and the FBI that merged parts of them with the dirty tricks division of the Democratic National Committee, cannot delay their day of reckoning much longer.

The Coming Backlash for Democrats
The real origins of this satanic sequence of outrages and the real authors of this ridiculous special counsel report will be unmasked. The Democratic impeachers will be overwhelmed by the gathering backlash.

Mueller has been a respectable front for a ghastly assault on the Constitution, and at the end, he was, understandably, a reluctant witness, but—brave old soldier and Bronze Star winner that he is—he took a bullet for the platoon rather than accept the attorney general’s offer of assistance if he wanted to ignore the House subpoenas to appear. He wanted to retain his professional standing while fronting a horrible mutation of the political system. It was a little like Theresa May, the British prime minister who left office the same day, trying to leave Europe and remain in it simultaneously.

As Washington Dinsdale said in the 1939 Marlene Dietrich-James Stewart film “Destry Rides Again,” one “must choose between the bottle and the badge.” Mueller tried to turn an inability to exonerate—a standard that he admitted has never been asked or expected of any kind of American prosecutor—into something the Democratic congressional allies of his investigative team could use to continue their malicious and illegal harassment of the president. He never should have published the second volume of his report, which is a pastiche of selective and spliced scraps scarcely more rigorously composed than the Steele dossier and apparently intended, with no more success, to serve the same partisan interests.

It is a great sadness, a great victory, and a great irony. The spectacle of a stooped and aged Robert Mueller, after he had (voluntarily) been so dishonestly used by the president’s enemies, was an objectively sad one, a sorry swan-song to a substantial career. The victory of the Trump Republicans is seismic, and announces the imminent exposure and punishment of those who abused the system to attack the president and deform the political system.

The irony is two-fold. If Trump’s enemies had not launched the Russian collusion nonsense, all their pre-electoral skullduggery would not have been unearthed—if they had given him the normal honeymoon for incoming presidents, a serene ambiance would have settled Washington down, at least for a year or so, and they would now be wallowing in their Washington lobbying and other sinecures.

The second irony is that there is plenty of room to attack this president in more traditional and acceptable ways. His policies have mainly been successful; but he is too bumptious, egocentric, and stylistically annoying for many people, and the Democrats could have made something of an issue out of his personality.

Instead, they have struck out, will have no window through which to fire live ammunition at Trump, and will have to take the heat for their corrupt actions. They promised “scorched earth,” and are immolating themselves.

We are now between the lightning and the thunder.

Correction: This article originally misidentified which House committees Robert Mueller testified before. He appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, not the House Oversight committee. We regret the error.

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post

Covenants Without the Sword

Conor Friedersdorf fancies himself The Atlantic’s resident ethnic White Knight, galloping in to the aid of minorities terrorized by the handful of genuinely conservative pundits yet standing.

Naturally, Friedersdorf entered the fray on behalf of Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after she found herself in the crosshairs of one of Tucker Carlson’s recent monologues, which simply pointed out the obvious: Omar hates America. In her words: “We must confront that our nation was founded by genocide and we maintain global power through neocolonialism.”

Friedersdorf, armed with an interpretive decoder ring, explains that Omar is only innocently savaging “what she regards as the country’s failure to live up to its lofty values.”

Whether America has lived up to some “lofty values,” based on an entirely arbitrary definition of them by a naturalized foreigner, is irrelevant—Omar attacks America as it is, she therefore hates America as it is, and she will continue to hate it until, as Friedersdorf suggests, it conforms with the values she wants America to adopt. These may be summarized as: “This is not going to be the country of white people.”

According to Friedersdorf, Omar is merely fighting for supposed American principles such as equality and social justice; but how amazing is it that those principles are congruent with and adaptable to the political, economic, and social interests of her own particular ethno-cultural group, and that these interests conflict necessarily, as Omar suggests, with those of whites. She does not want peaceful coexistence, much less a melting pot. What she wants is submission.

But perhaps the most disheartening aspect of the Omar-Friedersdorf-Carlson debacle has developed on the Right, rather than on the Left.

Writing in defense of Tucker, David Harsanyi at The Federalist concedes that Omar, as a “philosophical matter,” is not the kind of immigrant “we” should want. But though Harsanyi defends Tucker, he actually favors high levels of immigration and writes of Tucker, “he’s wrong about immigration.”

“When my parents came to the United States as refugees in 1968, for instance, they were asked to renounce communism—because collectivism, like Islamism or fascism or any authoritarianism, is antithetical to American principles,” writes Harsanyi. “This is one reason we still give newcomers citizenship tests. We want them not only to comprehend our foundational ideas, but to adopt them.”

That’s all well and good. But how can a nation that has convinced itself it is purely propositional—that is, where membership is given to all comers based strictly on their supposed adoption (or, most commonly, lip service given to) “foundational ideas” or “principles”—maintain itself against the whims of those who manage to power their way in and rise to power in spite of them? They, not “we,” will come to define citizenship, and define it out of existence. In questions of immigration, size matters. The numbers we admit—either legally or illegally—matter.

But who are we kidding? A nation that countenances the presence of some 22 million illegal aliens has effectively lost the will to live. Of course, I do not mean to suggest that there are no uniquely American ideas; but if, as America becomes increasingly “diverse” due to immigration, enough people can be convinced that those “foundational ideas” and “principles” include open borders, what good is the truth? The “philosophical matter” that defines membership in our national community, our very way of life, is gradually being redefined by the new “we.” Propositions will not hold against a wave of willful ignorance.

Moreover, and though it might turn the stomachs of well-meaning liberals—so, to be clear, that includes contemporary “conservatives”—discrimination is a vital and natural process that facilitates both peace and assimilation; that is, the adoption of the foundational Anglo-Saxon-Protestant fashions, customs, and habits that once made up the basis of our national fabric—the vestiges of those evil “white people” Omar wants to uproot.

But today discrimination has been outlawed in every concievable form. There is no natural mechanism to make the Omars among us adopt our way of life, and it is becoming increasingly difficult even to remove those who are here illegally—those who, by their rejection of our national sovereignty, essentially spit in our faces.

“Covenants without the sword,” wrote Thomas Hobbes, “are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.” There was a time when people like Omar would have been denaturalized and deported, just as the subversive Emma Goldman was, and that would be the right thing to do. But it is not hard to imagine the bipartisan support that Omar—or even Goldman—would enjoy today from the “Right” and Left if such action even were suggested.

Incredibly, the best take on Omar and other militant practitioners of identity politics, the only take in keeping with sanity, came from President Trump. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” or from which their parents or ancestors came, if they hate America so much? Trump is on target here, and a people reasonably concerned with their own survival will see that he is.

No one, least of all Omar, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), or Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), has a right to demand America undergo fundamental transformation to become the more “diverse,” un-American union of their dreams. They are not within their rights to demand America more closely resemble the backwaters from which they or their parents came. Republicans and Democrats entertain this fundamental transformation at the hands of foreigners and their ungrateful progeny, unworthy of their incidental citizenship. Why?

America wants to have its immigration cake and eat it, too, even as it chokes on every bite. A society that is only inviting is self-destructive, while a society that is only closed off looks like North Sentinel Island, where the odd Christian missionary is greeted with a volley of arrows. A civilized people who are too much one thing or the other cannot for long survive, for they will be consumed by foreign atavists or become themselves atavistic.

Immigrants who have come here legally and with the proper spirit thrive in America and are welcomed when they do. But identifying which immigrants are likely to do that and how many of them we can successfully assimilate is not something Americans can afford to take lightly.

Tucker Carlson, then, reminds us not only of how dangerous individuals like Omar are, but how dangerous it is to allow everyone from Conor Friedersdorf to David Harsanyi constantly to define and redefine the “philosophical matter” of membership in our society—even as we cannot bring ourselves to enforce existing laws or to assert one fundamental way of life over the many “diverse” options presented by newcomers.

2016 Election • Deep State • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Mueller Trips Over His Own Feet

Do you remember when the great Willie Mays fell down chasing a fly ball during the 1973 World Series? Here was Mays, one of the most graceful and agile athletes ever to play the game, author of some of the most remarkable fielding plays in baseball history, and here he was, 42-years-old, playing for the Mets, and in the waning days of his remarkable career, tripping over his own feet. It was a sad end for such a legend, and people were pained to watch it.

I couldn’t help but think of the “Say Hey Kid” while watching Robert Mueller’s rambling, awkward, uncomfortable, and disjointed testimony before two congressional committees on Wednesday. It was clear the former special counsel was out of his element, and unfamiliar with much of the report that bears his name. He clearly did not write it and, arguably, did not even bother to read it.

Mueller seemed to be suffering some of the natural effects of aging—and suffering even more (as happens too often with distinguished people) from the effects of shady handlers and manipulators. Such people attach themselves to luminaries like Mueller and hide behind their reputations for probity to carry out nefarious schemes of one kind or another—in this case in service to #TheResistance.

Mueller responded, well over 200 times, with some variation of “I cannot respond,” “that is beyond the purview of the investigation,” “I don’t remember,” “I don’t recall,” “If it’s in the report, it is accurate,” “can you repeat the question?” and the like. He fumbled for obvious words. And all the while he was surrounded by handlers who seemed to prop him up and feed him lines, not a principal in the process but a figurehead.

What Did Mueller Know, If Anything?
That makes the composition of his investigative team so much more suspicious. Did he really not know the politics of his staff attorneys and investigators? Was he unaware that all supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and that half a dozen contributed money to her campaign? Did he even ask?

Had Clinton been a defendant in a criminal case (or Donald Trump, for that matter), and had these attorneys been questioned about their fitness to serve on a jury, all of them would have been barred for potential bias. It is an obvious conflict, and an obvious question that should have been asked of each of them: did you contribute to or actively participate in either campaign? That it was not asked is a clear indication of Mueller’s manipulation.

As was this: the unethical and nonjudicial standard of a potential defendant not being “exonerated.” Such a requirement is unknown in our—or in any—fair-minded judicial system. The presumption of innocence is sacred, for several reasons including the impossibility of ever proving one’s innocence of anything. After all, there might be no evidence of criminality now but who’s to say such evidence won’t appear in a month, a year, or even a decade from now? That is why prosecutions require the foundation of probable cause that a crime was committed (a standard that was not even met in this case) and conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

That such deference was not granted to Donald Trump is outrageous.

As was this: the only evidence of collusion between a candidate and a campaign was not actually investigated by Mueller. That evidence was of the Clinton’s campaign’s solicitation of and payment for the salacious and unverified Steele dossier that was published in Russia and used to facilitate spying on American citizens. “Beyond the purview of my investigation”? Mueller should just have admitted that the purview of his investigation was to dig up any dirt it could on the president. Period.

Election Meddling Everywhere
The horrors of Russian interference that purportedly disrupted and corrupted American democracy still haven’t quite been explained. What did the Russians do? Meet with campaign officials? I assume that the campaigns on both sides met with foreigners representing several dozen countries. I myself greet several Russians every week. Is that collusion?

Apparently they purchased ads on Facebook that influenced . . . who exactly? As the joke (by now, old) goes: did the Russians convince Hillary not to campaign in Wisconsin? Even Bill thought that was a big mistake. What did the Russians do that influenced the election? And note that the conflation of “Russians” and “Russian government” is not at all warranted without further evidence.

Politicians are almost always duplicitous and labor to sound pious and sincere, but let’s be frank: do foreign governments take an interest in American elections? Of course they do. The interests of most countries are likely to be furthered by one side or another in any given contest. It is why the United States routinely interferes in Israel’s elections, with the Obama State Department being censured by Congress for spending U.S. tax dollars to campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013.

The British, French, Germans, Italians, Australians, and Israelis all have an interest in who sits in the Oval Office. As do the Russians, Iraqis, Iranians, and Pakistanis. Sometimes countries will overtly favor one person, other times they will covertly support one over the other, and some countries—usually adversaries—will try to acquire dirt on both parties to hedge their bets and use the information to their advantage in future relations.

That has been a Russian tactic for decades—and one of a nation’s most common uses of its intelligence agencies (and even diplomatic corps) is to gather information on candidates and positions, predict outcomes, and try to reach out to any and all campaigns. I doubt that the Russians are atypical, as I don’t doubt that the United States does exactly the same thing in other countries. (See the histories of Chile, the Philippines, and Iran for just a few examples.)

The whole process of this investigation has been a bizarre farce since the beginning and has corrupted the American legal establishment in ways that will reverberate for quite a while. The tendentiousness is blatant. The misstatements by so many Democratic representatives were reprehensible. It is clear that “collusion” (if it did occur) is not a crime. Period.

So, can a person obstruct justice to impede an investigation into a non-crime? That seems more like obstruction of injustice. Does one obstruct justice by asking an investigator, prosecutor, or judge to go easy on someone? If so, that type of “obstruction” occurs every day, and I have probably violated it hundreds of times. But that is not obstruction. Nor is ranting in private about the injustice of it all, nor is calling a political witch-hunt a political witch-hunt.

The Stuff of Banana Republics
There were repeated references to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleading guilty and going to prison for “campaign violations.” Well, that is an obvious falsehood. Cohen was prosecuted for tax evasion and fraud having nothing to do with Trump—and he admitted to a host of other violations simply at the behest of prosecutors who otherwise would not have accepted a deal. The fact that Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign violation does not even mean that there was a campaign violation, as anyone who has ever pleaded guilty to a seat belt violation instead of a moving violation can attest.

How Trump won remains a mystery only to elitists who, beyond their own circles, know very little about the country in which they reside but pontificate about all the time. It seems pretty apparent that the Democrats hope to perpetuate these investigations through 2020, hoping that the country tires of Trump and the whole tumult.

But the danger to the country is enormous—not just the indifference of politicians to the real problems the country faces but also the harm to its international reputation, the invitation to even more insidious interference in the future, the corruption of the legal process, and the nightmare of an agency with limitless power focusing its enmity and unlimited resources on a political target. That is the stuff of banana republics.

When the Torah taught us “Justice, justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20), the Kotzker Rebbe explained the redundancy by averring that justice must be pursued only through means that are just. Justice is distorted when the means to attain it are perverse.

Let Mueller rest and retire. His sad decline is depressing to note. But, had I been on the committee, I would have closed with this statement:

Mr. Mueller, there is compelling evidence that your staff was biased against President Trump from the beginning and that you purposely omitted or ignored exculpatory evidence. You may not be guilty of prosecutorial misconduct, but neither have you been exonerated of it.

Unfortunately, those who think that will be the last word on this matter will be sorely disappointed.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

The Day #TheResistance’s Dream Died

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It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Donald Trump, not Robert Mueller, was supposed to be broken and vanquished at the hands of his political foes. Donald Trump, not Robert Mueller, was supposed to suffer a legacy-ending humiliation on national television that would bury his tough-guy reputation and taint his past achievements. The supporters of Donald Trump, not the supporters of Robert Mueller, were supposed to slink away in embarrassment, desperately searching for any calcified crumb of credibility to salvage their beaten hero.

The climax of #TheResistance’s fantasy to take down Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to end with long faces at MSNBC and CNN, or with reporters at the Washington Post and the New York Times admitting defeat. 

Mueller “looked dazed and confused as he listened, mouth agape, to his questioners, often struggling to identify who was talking,” confessed Post columnist Dana Milbank after the hearings on Wednesday. “He stammered, licked his lips, consulted his aide and begged forbearance.”

These are the kinds of things Washington Post opinionators write about Donald Trump, not about Mueller.

Panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” were supposed to be ebullient after watching their savior in action, not ranting like lunatics about the need for someone to “punch” President Trump. The Lawfare folks were supposed to be popping champagne corks, not turning on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for refusing to play along with their impeachment crusade. And it was Team Mueller, not Donald Trump, who was supposed to declare victory.

Stumping the Prosecutor
But the dream died on July 24, 2019, when former Special Counsel Robert Mueller not only failed to deliver the goods against Trump but revealed that #TheResistance, once again, had pinned its hopes on a flawed actor not up to the task. Just like the cast of conquerors who came before him—Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, Michael Cohen, and Omarosa, just to name a few—Robert Mueller slouched out of the spotlight after failing to best the Bad Orange Man.

The spectacle in front of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee was not what the Democrats expected but it was exactly what they deserved. After delaying the scheduled hearing for a week, Mueller reluctantly appeared but only after negotiating a deal that his chief of staff could attend alongside him. Aaron Zebley was sworn in as a witness by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), but Republican members refused to direct any questions to him.

The man who had launched a thousand warnings that Trump’s days were numbered struggled to find page numbers. The man who was celebrated in a Christmas carol, whose face appeared on votive candles and mugs, who became a celebrity crush, couldn’t find the microphone or locate on the dais the lawmaker trying to speak to him. 

The man whose name is emblazoned on the most anticipated report in modern political history was unfamiliar with its contents; after the media and Hollywood actors ridiculed the American public for not reading the report, it was painfully clear that the alleged author hadn’t read it, either. Mueller actually was stumped by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and ended up correcting an explosive comment that quickly deflated the only hopeful moment for Democrats. 

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Mueller made up new tenets of jurisprudence while coterminously violating Justice Department rules. “The finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller stumbled to explain to the House Judiciary Committee.

Legal wizard say what?

Mueller sat speechless as Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) schooled the storied prosecutor about the rule of law and recounted the many ways in which Mueller breached those standards. 

“Volume two of this report was not authorized under the law to be written,” Ratcliffe told Mueller, referring to the obstruction of justice section of the document. “It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department and it was written in violation of every DOJ principle.”

Impeachment Follies
The fair, impartial arbiter of the truth also admitted he was a bit selective about whom he charged with lying to federal officials. 

Under intense questioning by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mueller confessed that he did not charge Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor with alleged ties to Russia who met with George Papadopoulos and purportedly was the reason why the FBI opened up an investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, for lying to investigators even though the report cites three instances when Mifsud gave false statements. Papadopoulos, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and others were not so lucky.

And the straight shooter rejected every entreaty to discuss the real foreign election interference: How Fusion GPS, working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Christopher Steele, a British operative, to produce the dossier, which reportedly was sourced by Russians tied to the Kremlin. Both Steele and Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion, were lobbying on behalf of Russian oligarchs at the same time they were working for the Democrats. But Mueller, or whoever wrote the report, conveniently omitted referring either to Glenn Simpson or Fusion GPS in the 448-page missive.

When pressed to answer questions about the omission, Mueller claimed he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS, making him the only person within a 2,000-mile radius of the Beltway who hasn’t heard of the opposition research outfit. He further refused to answer any questions about the firm’s possible role in the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, even though his report and investigation devoted a significant amount of time to the 20-minute briefing.

By the end of the day, the charade was so painful to watch that one of #TheResistance’s most despised foes, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), had mercy on Mueller and stopped questioning him despite having time on the clock to do so.

So, the dream of Robert Mueller hauling Donald Trump out of the Oval Office in handcuffs is dead. Impeachment dreams based on the good word and work of Robert Mueller also are dead. And now a nightmare looms in the dusk for #TheResistance in the shape of Attorney General Bill Barr, who is investigating the investigators

#TheResistance is faced with getting rid of Trump the old-fashioned way—at the ballot box. But after squandering every ounce of political capital on the collusion plotline, the Democrats’ next nightmare very well might take place the evening of November 3, 2020.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

America • Deep State • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Russia • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

Don’t Let Mueller Fool You

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday gave a performance in front of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees that Fox News anchor Chris Wallace described as a “disaster for Democrats.” 

Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department in 2017 to investigate whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “colluded” with Russia to rig the 2016 election, appeared nonplussed by his surroundings. His responses to members’ questions posed to him were laconic, to say the least. After a little more than two years of a seemingly unforgiving and endless investigation, Mueller’s appearance was a total flop.

The Democrats have responded to Mueller’s lackluster showing either by quietly admitting it was an unmitigated disaster for their party heading into what will be another contentious presidential election year, or by insisting, as Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) continues to do without evidence, that it proved everything the Left has been saying about Trump’s perfidy. 

Republicans mainly have agreed that Mueller was an embarrassment; a doddering old man who was well beyond his prime. Rush Limbaugh has maintained for months that Mueller was merely a figurehead for the investigation into Trump; that he was uninvolved with the day-to-day operations of the insidious, politically-charged investigation. 

Instead, Mueller’s presence as the namesake of the investigation into President Trump and his 2016 campaign allowed for true partisans to run amok—and to do so while still hiding in the murky shadows of the swamp. 

Don’t be fooled. 

Robert Mueller Is Not a Sad Sack

Mueller knew exactly what he was doing. Yes, he appeared much as Muhammad Ali did against Trevor Berbick in 1981: a sad remnant of a once-dominant fighter who was ultimately crushed by his own frailties. Yet, unlike Ali in that fight against Berbick, Mueller has no known or discernible physical or mental ailment that would reduce his talents. 

What Americans saw Wednesday was an act by Mueller to deflect attention away from the fact that his investigation was never going to “prove” any “collusion.” The entire thing was a grotesque act of political theater designed to give the anti-Trump forces of the establishment the boost they needed going into 2020. 

Mueller also wanted to protect critical intelligence sources from deeper public scrutiny, meaning that those responsible for initiating the absurd investigation into Trump will not be punished for their wrongdoing and, further, that these same people will be free to attempt similar shenanigans in the future. That’s right. The deep state will live to fight another day. Now that their attempt to defeat Trump through investigations and false accusations has faltered, Mueller would rather be viewed as a hapless hack than as the corrupt top cop he is. 

At the end of June, the House Democrats issued a subpoena demanding that Mueller appear before the House to answer questions related to the Russia investigation. Shortly before Mueller’s appearance, Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer sent a letter to Mueller reminding him that his testimony, “must stay within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.” Mueller did exactly as he was instructed by the Department of Justice. 

This was not the act of an ignoramus, rather it was the mark of a truly deceptive personality.

Mueller has been a career federal prosecutor. He has been involved in some of the biggest, high-stakes investigations both as a prosecutor and, later, as the second-longest-serving FBI director in history. Mueller has survived endless controversies, whether it be engaging in a massive cover-up after the FBI engaged in heinous informant abuse, or botching the 2001 anthrax terror attack investigation. 

After each controversy, Mueller maintained his good standing in “polite” society. 

The Greatest Ego Trip Ever

Mueller, I believe, accepted the role as special counsel investigating claims of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence because his ego would not allow him to pass up the chance. Not only did Mueller personally and politically dislike Trump (being a “Republican,” as we know, does not preclude NeverTrumpism), but as a career federal prosecutor, Mueller could not help but to envision himself the man to take down this much-maligned president. 

Pride goes before a fall, though, and Mueller has suffered through the greatest ego deflation of any public figure in recent memory. Touted as the purest of the pure; proclaimed to be the most respected man in Washington; portrayed as being too smart and tough for Trump to handle, Mueller has been stymied at every turn—and had minimal effect on Trump. 

The world did not witness the public nervous breakdown of a once-powerful member of the elite in that hearing. Instead, we saw the shiftiest move an inside operator could make in these tough circumstances. Mueller played dumb; he allowed himself to be the center of a partisan feeding frenzy, while ominously insisting that the president was neither guilty nor innocent—a sort of legal purgatory, awaiting final judgement. 

And who will be the arbiter of that final judgement? 

Mueller slyly showed us his devious hand: the president would be subject to an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. He would not be investigated for “conspiracy” to rig the 2016 election. Instead, Trump would be subject to an investigation into purported corrupt practices that occurred during his tenure as head of the Trump Organization. This investigation would begin the moment Trump leaves office, provided he loses in 2020, and it would be Mueller’s last laugh. 

Whether or not this come-from-behind-winds investigation can be more successful than the current spate of inquiries into President Trump is another matter, and not an especially important one for Mueller’s purposes. What Mueller appearance showed was the long-game that our wretched elite are playing. The Right can joke among themselves that Mueller broke down today and laugh at his embarrassing display. Yet, what most in the Right-wing media don’t get is that Mueller and his ilk are not playing for laughs and they don’t worry about the embarrassment. They are playing for keeps. 

Straining Credulity

Ask yourself: do you really believe a former FBI director would be unaware of the fact that virtually all of the people working for his investigation team were not only rank partisans who hated Donald Trump, but who also were active supporters of Hillary Clinton? Is it probable that Mueller is fine with his eponymous investigation turning up a royal goose egg for all to see?  

Come on. 

Mueller was shining everyone on today and that’s why all of us should be upset and why Trump and his supporters should continue to be on guard. These corrupt elites are only just getting started—especially the more obvious it becomes that they will not defeat Trump in a fair election.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Republicans

Focus on the White House, Not the House, in 2020

Although we have many reasons to be optimistic about the 2020 election, there is one particular battle in which we would be wise instead to accept defeat upfront—even if said defeat is still a year-and-a-half away.

We are right to continue focusing on the fight to hold—and perhaps even increase—the Republican majority in the Senate and to keep President Trump in the White House for another four years. But as nice as it would be to take the majority again in the House, we must be prepared to acknowledge that this will not happen.

Notwithstanding President Trump’s genius plan to pigeonhole the entire Democratic Party as racist, socialist, and un-American—courtesy of the four vile congresswomen known as “the squad”—the fact remains that the U.S. House of Representatives is most likely too far gone, for multiple reasons.

The “Best-Case” Scenario
As the president continues to use the four radical congresswomen to frame the whole party as shifting too far to the left for most Americans, our focus has to be on the so-called moderate Democrats who were key in the party’s retaking of the lower chamber in the 2018 midterms. Some of them have even complained (anonymously) of the threat that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) presents to their re-election chances next year.

And it’s true. While the Democrats did benefit greatly from flipping 18 districts previously held by Republicans yet voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats never would have taken the majority without an additional 23 seats that also voted for Trump.

Those 23 districts, for reference, are as follows (with 2016 percentages included):

  • Georgia 6th: 48-47
  • Illinois 14th: 49-45
  • Iowa 1st: 49-45
  • Iowa 3rd: 48-45
  • Maine 2nd: 51-41
  • Michigan 8th: 51-44
  • Michigan 11th: 50-45
  • Minnesota 2nd: 46-45
  • Nevada 3rd: 48-47
  • New Hampshire 1st: 48-47
  • New Jersey 3rd: 51-45
  • New Jersey 11th: 54-44
  • New Mexico 2nd: 50-40
  • New York 11th: 54-44
  • New York 19th: 51-44
  • New York 22nd: 55-39
  • North Carolina 9th: 54-42
  • Oklahoma 5th: 53-40
  • Pennsylvania 17th: 54-43 (prior to the forced redrawing of the state’s congressional map in 2018)
  • South Carolina 1st: 54-40
  • Utah 4th: 39-32
  • Virginia 2nd: 48-45
  • Virginia 7th: 50-44

This is the primary reason why far more Democratic-held seats are ranked as “tossups” for 2020 than Republican-held seats; the majority party is always on defense, and this cycle is no different. As it stands now, there are far more Democrats in Trump districts (31) than there are Republicans in Clinton districts (just three). Out of those 31, eight are decidedly safer than the remaining 23, as they were elected either during or before the 2016 election. Unlike the Republicans who survived 2016 in districts that were carried by Clinton but went on to lose in 2018, the Democrats in Trump districts proved to be much more resilient. Barring some retirements, this likely will not change in 2020.

While it does make sense for the GOP to target these 23 seats, it’s safe to say that at least a handful more seats out of the 199 that they currently hold may very well be in danger of flipping blue in 2020, such as Georgia’s 7th congressional district (incumbent Rod Woodall is retiring), Texas’s 23rd (incumbent Will Hurd only barely won re-election last time, with 49 percent of the vote), and Michigan’s 3rd (where incumbent Justin Amash abandoned the Republican Party to become an independent, setting up for a three-way race next year).

But let’s just assume, for a moment, the hypothetical “best-case” scenario: Republicans manage to hold every single seat they currently have and flip all 23 seats in question.

The result would be a majority of 222. That’s just four seats above the minimum threshold of 218.

No Meaningful Majority
If there’s one thing that has been proven about the modern Republican Party, it’s that they never have a majority, even when they do have a majority.

Just look back at the track record of the 115th Congress, with both houses under Republican control. They failed multiple times to pass Obamacare repeal, could never agree on a solution to the immigration crisis, and only barely passed tax cuts by the skin of their teeth.

Most of these failures rested not on the House, where the Republicans had a 23-seat majority, but in the Senate, where the Republicans initially held only a two-seat majority, then reduced to a one-seat majority after the Alabama special election. It was in that chamber where Obamacare repeal died, and where Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by one of the narrowest margins in history.

Now the Republican Senate enjoys a healthier majority of 53 seats out of 100, especially with the departures of such traitorous “Republicans” as Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and John McCain. But imagine, if you will, a post-2020 scenario where the Republicans hold a majority in the House that’s every bit as razor-thin as their Senate majority was during the 115th Congress.

The horror. The horror.

A four-seat majority in the House would truly be more of a plurality than a real majority, especially when you consider the much larger proportion of anti-Trump Republicans.

As it stands now, there are at least 20 Republicans who have proven to be completely unreliable in regards to many key items of the president’s agenda. This is evident by the tallies of Republicans who have, either intermittently or repeatedly, voted against the president’s national emergency declaration, voted against funding the border wall, voted for several Democrat-backed proposals of amnesty for illegal aliens, voted against the tax cut bill, or most recently, voted to condemn the president as “racist.”

Taking these various votes into account, the top 20 most egregious offenders are:

  • Dan Bacon (Nebraska 2nd)
  • Susan Brooks (Indiana 5th)
  • Ken Buck (Colorado 4th)
  • Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida 25th)
  • Will Hurd (Texas 23rd)
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania 1st)
  • Mike Gallagher (Wisconsin 8th)
  • Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington 3rd)
  • Dusty Johnson (South Dakota)
  • John Katko (New York 24th)
  • Pete King (New York 2nd)
  • Thomas Massie (Kentucky 4th)
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington 5th)
  • Dan Newhouse (Washington 4th)
  • Francis Rooney (Florida 19th)
  • Jim Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin 5th)
  • Chris Smith (New Jersey 4th)
  • Elise Stefanik (New York 21st)
  • Fred Upton (Michigan 6th)
  • Greg Walden (Oregon 2nd)

All it would take, after a hypothetical best-case scenario in the 2020 elections, is just four out of any of these 20 going turncoat and denying the new, much smaller Republican majority any substantive victories. Seems like a slim reed of hope to invest much effort in grasping.

Just as the 2018 elections ended up being about rooting out as many anti-Trump Republicans as possible, so, too, may 2020 serve the same purpose. The only way to alleviate any fear of such McCain-style backstabbing in the lower chamber is if primary challengers topple as many of the anti-Trumpers as possible so that no would-be Brutus remains within the 117th Congress.

If the Republicans, by some miracle, manage to retake the House, then all the more power to them. But if they don’t (the more likely outcome), then 2020 could still prove an ideological victory if not an electoral one, in the strengthening and unifying of the minority party, so that it may be better prepared for the day when it does finally reclaim the majority.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

Administrative State • Big Media • Deep State • Donald Trump • Political Parties • Post • The Media

The ‘Marlene Effect’: Why Our Reasonable Neighbors Are Blind to the Deep State

In an essay that I published recently at The American Mind, I argue that we need a conservative revolution to reclaim our constitutional republic. Exposing the deep state is a necessary condition for this revolution. By deep state, I mean a species of corruption exercised by a largely hidden elite almost completely insulated from the oversight of the sovereign people. This elite act in direct violation of the principles of limited and balanced government as well as democratic participation.

While the evidence for this corruption is overwhelming, the soft power of both the deep state and the institutions supporting it is so great that public opinion remains largely immune to evidence, even as those Americans who are “woke” to it, strive to resist. It is here where the most insidious consequences of the deep state begin to come into view.

How do people with reasonable and moderate political views and who possess the typical American generosity of soul refuse to believe something so obvious to so many others? I’ll call this the Marlene effect, after one concrete example of my acquaintance. Marlene has a general faith in the American government and in the public discourse about politics and issues found in legacy media outlets. 

So far as she is concerned, the news she gets every day is fair if not entirely unbiased. Her exposure to Donald Trump through the media, long before the election, sparked in her an aesthetic disgust with him.  He is not (or is not portrayed) as the sort of man she could admire. Because she shared this revulsion with those in her social circle, her views became hardened and, to her, altogether obvious. Every story amplifies her feelings. 

When Donald Trump was elected, this patriot of some 80 years could only be baffled by the results. By logical necessity, she had to assume that her proper disgust at the misogynist president ought to be extended to a great many citizens who have now become alien to her—the “other” who she thinks threatens the values that she associates with the America of her experience and the America of her dreams. 

Marlene has become, unexpectedly and suddenly, aware of a hidden America, a dangerous America, and now she is able to see in all manner of symbols (words, cars, hats, and so many more that suddenly fit her new social and moral map of America) the deplorables who are all around her: driving down the road, standing next to her in the grocery store, or fixing her plumbing. 

Fortunately, the most powerful institutions in America offered Marlene hope. Her most trusted news sources promised Marlene that this stain on America’s reputation, this global embarrassment of a president, would be brought down. The most respected people in her world—the FBI, Justice Department, and perhaps seasoned, wise public servants at other federal agencies—were taking their constitutional and moral duties seriously to remove the president for cause. Marlene sought information daily on the gossip and developments of the Mueller investigation and other efforts, but she did so through the news sources that she trusted. Insofar as she heard about any alternatives to these sources or was subjected to alternative interpretations, she was regularly reassured that they were conspiracy theorists and cranks who are not to be trusted—they were part of the problem, the philistines to be vanquished. 

When disconcerting evidence emerged and the facts lined up against the narrative that she had internalized, her trusted sources supplied her with odd and strained explanations and asserted a bit more loudly that whatever you think you see is not actually there. Only the narrative is true—trust the narrative, not the facts. The guardians of public opinion promise to make the crooked line of evidence straight for you. Marlene is reminded of the self-evident truth beneath the evidence: Trump is bad, the Democrats in Congress and their allies in the trusted government agencies are trying to protect American principles, and the media is there to supply you with a comforting and useful narrative. 

The deepest problem is that Marlene is not capable of challenging this narrative. To do so would be to risk both social alienation and her own sense of place in the world. 

The Marlene effect is particularly strong among educated (especially professional) people over age 50 who have long thought of themselves as moderate, practical, and deeply informed. They care about cultural, social, and aesthetic trends and plug into the most socially acceptable forms of information that keep them connected to the cosmopolitan trends appropriate to their actual or aspirational station. The more geographically distant from the center of cultural and social power, the more powerful the Marlene effect on those needing reliable sources to provide them with the right opinions, tastes, and styles.

The distance between Marlene and the evidence, coupled with the need to have the correct opinion on matters she is incapable of assessing directly, puts her completely at the mercy of the sources of authoritative information and assessment that she has chosen. More than perhaps any other segment of the population, those afflicted by the Marlene effect are most controlled by a public opinion generated by elite institutions rather than by their own experiences (indeed, as we noted before, their experiences are shaped by the opinions with which they are supplied). Like all provincials who aspire to be known for their cosmopolitanism, Marlene cannot question the authority of her sources without exposing her complete dependence on the work of others for her most cherished opinions and values. 

The Marlene effect makes people immune to evidence and dependent on a constructed narrative. The Marlene effect reveals that the most important battle is about who gets to define reality for the citizens of a self-ruling nation.

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