UNITED STATES - MARCH 12: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wipes her nose during her weekly news conference in Washington on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Elections

Instead of Bracing for Coronavirus, Democrats Focused on Impeachment

Now all of us are paying the price for the Democrats’ shortsighted and destructive campaign against the president.

On January 15, House Democrats delivered two articles of impeachment to the United States Senate. Democrats knew the Republican-controlled Senate would not have enough votes to convict President Trump. But that didn’t deter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from wasting government time, resources, and attention for months in a doomed effort to remove Donald Trump from the White House. 

Six days later, on January 21, the first known case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19, or the Wuhan virus) was reported in the United States.

While the Left and NeverTrump Right predictably gather steam to condemn Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, congressional Democrats have escaped any accountability for ignoring the early stages of the outbreak. And, with no sense of irony, the very journalists and pundits who cheered impeachment are the same folks now blasting the president for “not doing enough” to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Let’s back up for a moment: Since before Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Left and NeverTrump Right have been on a destructive crusade to crush his presidency. It is unlike anything in recent political history—no tactic has been considered too beyond-the-pale or in violation of sacred limits. The Russian collusion farce and ensuing special counsel investigation into an imaginary crime monopolized the White House’s attention for more than two years. When that failed, House Democrats and their administrative toadies in government concocted the Ukrainegate scandal that began the month after Robert Mueller’s disastrous testimony on Capitol Hill. 

As the impeachment inquiry got underway in late 2019, the coronavirus was devastating parts of China. Even though his White House was under siege, President Trump took action: On January 29, the president announced the formation of a special task force and declared coronavirus a “public health emergency.” A few days later, on January 31, Trump halted travel from China, a move largely viewed as a pivotal step to minimize the disease’s spread here. 

Democrats, including several presidential candidates, accused the president of “fearmongering” and xenophobia. Joe Biden opposed the travel ban. “This is a virus that happened to pop up in China. But the virus doesn’t discriminate between Asian versus non-Asian,” Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) dimly told Politico. “In our response, we can’t create prejudices and harbor anxieties toward one population.”

On the same day that Trump announced the travel stop and mandatory quarantine of Americans coming back from afflicted regions, Democrats, rather than address the legitimate threat to the nation, instead pushed to extend their impeachment charade by demanding more witness testimony.

Complaints But No Solutions

Democrats remained mostly silent on the coronavirus menace throughout February. 

One sparsely-attended hearing held by the House Foreign Relations Committee on February 5–the day Trump was acquitted—offered little in the way of solutions or a plan to combat the various exigencies related to the illness. One witness was Ron Klain, a partisan Trump-hater and Obama’s so-called Ebola czar who by January 30 had already written a lengthy screed warning Americans that the president’s “war on government has decimated crucial functions” and agencies would not be prepared to fight coronavirus.

Post-impeachment, Democrats continued to pour more rage and derision on the president as the disease took hold in other countries. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ignored the risk for most of the month as she gloated about her successful impeachment effort. During her weekly presser the first week of February, Pelosi didn’t even mention coronavirus, choosing instead to explain why she tore up Donald Trump’s state of the union address on national television while snubbing American heroes. And rather than call an emergency session as the threat escalated, Pelosi’s House adjourned on February 13 and didn’t return to business until February 25.

In fact, Pelosi’s first public comment on February 24 about the Wuhan virus wasn’t until a month after the first U.S. case was reported. 

“Americans need a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe,” Pelosi said, as if she were a bystander and not one of the most powerful politicians in the country. “The president’s request for coronavirus response funding is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.” 

Her first tweet on the matter also posted that day—weeks after Trump started taking action.

But Pelosi wasn’t the only Democratic leader asleep at the switch during a critical period of global escalation. During a February 26 meeting of the House Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education, coronavirus came up briefly with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (The budget hearing then veered into unaccompanied minors at the border and gun violence.)

The House Homeland Security Committee held its first hearing on coronavirus just last week.

Partisan Games

While Americans became more alarmed this month about a possible pandemic, Pelosi, of course, played partisan games. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused the speaker of delaying a vote on additional coronavirus funding to use it in campaign ads against Republican lawmakers. 

The House passed, and President Trump signed, a bill to provide $8.3 billion to help state and local governments defray extra costs to fight the predicted epidemic.

Even now, as the stock market crashes, sporting events are canceled, business owners panic, and college campuses empty out, perhaps for the rest of the academic year, House Democrats are dragging their feet on an emergency aid package to help Americans affected by the crisis. 

Pelosi waited until late Wednesday to announce a relief package—hastily drafted in just the past few days—laden with unrelated and divisive progressive goodies such as permanent paid sick leave and changes to Medicaid. House Republicans have voiced their objections to the plan.

But the House is again scheduled to adjourn until at least March 23. Pelosi pushed back on delaying the break to iron out any differences with the White House or her GOP counterparts. “I’m not sticking around because [House Republicans] won’t agree to language,” Pelosi told a reporter during a press briefing on Thursday morning. “Save it for another day.”

The administration, as is the case in any unexpected calamity, deserves some scrutiny for how aspects of the coronavirus threat have been managed, such as the preparation and distribution of test kits. But there is no excusing the absence of leadership by Democrats on Capitol Hill who not only ignored the unfolding debacle but stood in the way of quick action.

The Democrats’ destructive impeachment crusade must factor into any fair examination of how the government addressed the coronavirus outbreak in its nascent stages. Had lawmakers paid more attention to a legitimate national threat and had the president not been encumbered by the Democrats’ months-long impeachment distraction, the preparation and remedies might look very different right now. 

Impeachment didn’t just impact Donald Trump. Now all of us are paying the price for the Democrats’ selfish and destructive campaign against the president. He alone should not beat the burden of scrutiny—Democrats wanted power and they abused it on impeachment at the expense of the greater good.

 

Elections

With Joe Biden’s Comeback, the Establishment Comes Out of Hiding

In just a few short days, what was shaping up to be a sad and pathetic end to Biden’s career turned into a richly ironic triumph. The joke’s on us.

Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday comeback is something to be both relished and feared. It is an outrageous, grimly comical turn of events: a 77-year old man who refers to the Declaration of Independence as “the thing” and who seemed to be confused about his own last name is now a leading contender for the White House.

As funny as it may be on the surface, there is something dark and sad about Biden’s rise. The Democratic Party establishment knows Biden is unfit for office. They don’t care. With Biden, the political machinery that usually operates in hiding, in the shadows, has come out into the light, in aviator sunglasses and a sunny grin. The powers-that-be are declaring, openly, that their right to rule will not be reined in by anything, least of all the perception that they are incompetent and out of touch.

Thanks to decades of failed and corrupt leadership, many Americans are developing a creeping and cynical feeling that they don’t have a voice, that voting is like choosing from a carefully crafted menu of options with the same mediocre results. President Biden would prove them right. He would eliminate the mystique that once allowed them to believe our political system is one worth respecting and complete the decline into decadence that characterizes American managerial democracy, which is now at such a late stage of decay it no longer matters if a presidential nominee can tell his wife and sister apart.

Biden’s comeback proves that many things which people thought mattered in the great American clown show of presidential politics actually don’t.

The standards are through the floor: Biden has no policies, no core philosophy, and no special qualities to recommend him other than a perception of “electability” that is driven almost entirely by a sycophantic news media.

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote to remove Trump from office, not to elect Joe Biden. He would be the first president who upon election everyone, most of all his supporters, knows would not be calling the actual shots.

Sanders supporters have now learned a harsh lesson: power, not ideology, is what matters most. Indeed, Biden’s surge has less to do with his so-called “moderate” politics—nothing about the Democratic party is “moderate” anymore—than the fact that Biden can be more easily compromised and controlled than a True Believer like Bernie. That’s the view from the halls of power, at least. There has been a convergence between party elites and primary voters, who chose Biden for similarly un-ideological reasons: they care most about removing Trump from office, and they think Biden is the candidate best positioned to do that. Sanders supporters, reeling from the rebuke of black voters, have now fallen into a familiar revolutionary pattern: blaming an uninformed lumpenproletariat for choosing the “wrong” candidate.

The black and Boomer coalition that chose Biden is just not ideologically driven the way Sanders’ young, liberal supporters are. Notwithstanding the elitism of the Sanders camp, they have a point: not that Biden’s coalition made the “wrong” choice, but that democracy is vulnerable to corruption by powerful interests, in this case the interests almost universally backing Joe Biden.

There was obvious political coordination in Biden’s miraculous “comeback.” Mighty powers came into alignment. Having won the endorsements of former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Biden went into Super Tuesday with an uncrowded field and the sanction of the mainstream media and party elites. The confusion that had troubled primary voters magically dissipated overnight.

It’s not unreasonable to wonder if many, in some sense, were swindled: many of Biden’s voters were late deciders. They were certainly cheated of decent alternatives. Democrats have had four years to find their candidate. Getting rid of Trump is all they’ve been talking about. This is the best that they could do?

Biden also was the beneficiary of a dumbing down of standards and the gamification of presidential politics by the elites. The media, by turning presidential politics into a ridiculous game show, created an environment in which an obviously senile, 77-year-old man could thrive merely because of his association with a beloved figure. Since there are no longer any standards for the presidency, the favor of the media and a scintilla of competence, in this case Biden’s link with Barack Obama, can be game changers.

Super Tuesday itself was the culmination of a tawdry spectacle controlled closely by the corporate media and the DNC. It had only the trappings of democracy. There were “debates” with arbitrary qualifications that shut out some candidates for having the wrong politics, while accommodating other, more powerful players. While lacking in substance, there was plenty of melodrama and meaningless speculation about which candidate was “winning” a media-driven horse race.

The logical outcome of this dumbing down is the scenario now taking shape: Voters accepting propaganda about a candidate with obvious signs of dementia, his “competent” leadership, and other such establishmentarian clichés—it’s about results, not revolution! Another possibility is that primary voters, rather than being duped, are cynically accepting that the myth of technocratic competence is just that—a myth—that the president is only a figurehead for more powerful forces, and that there’s nothing, in short order, that anyone can do about it.

Would Biden “govern” any differently than Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar? Of course not. His presidency would complete decades of America’s transformation into an oligarchical, managerial state.

For sociopathic strivers like Buttigieg, it would be the career opportunity of a lifetime. To Biden’s handlers, America is like a giant tech corporation, and voters are the pliable consumers—impressionable morons who can be won over with cheap slogans. The neoliberal style pioneered by Obama—the president as America’s hip, Silicon Valley-approved CEO—would find a dark echo in the Biden of 2020. The goofy “Uncle Joe” of Obama’s presidency is gone.

And so the most degrading presidential primary in American history is winding down with an anti-climatic deus ex machina. The Democratic Party establishment powers-that-be are tying up this door stopper with a twist, and the revolution that just days ago had liberal news anchors panicking from the comfort of their sinecures has been called off for now.

It’s too bad. Watching the animal fear that Sanders had provoked from the elites, it was possible for conservatives, however briefly, to be excited that a socialist was succeeding. But all of that now feels premature. In just a few short days, what was shaping up to be a sad and pathetic end to Biden’s career turned into a richly ironic triumph. The joke’s on us.

Elections

No Thanks: Biden Promises ‘Return to Normal’

President Trump, for all his flaws, has exposed the arrogance, ignorance, and failures of Washington’s ruling class. That’s why they’re desperate to oust him, even if it means replacing Trump with a man way past his prime who’s exhibiting more alarming behavior each day. There’s nothing “normal” about it.

If he wins the White House in November, Joe Biden is pledging a “return to normal.” And apparently Team Biden thinks that catchy slogan sounds like a promise instead of a threat.

Since announcing his candidacy last spring, Biden and his boosters have touted the former vice president’s ability to roll back the clock to the period of political appeasement that was interrupted by the unwelcome rule of Donald Trump. Biden, who has roamed the halls of power in Washington, D.C. for nearly five decades, claims only he can restore the nation’s capital to the comfort zone it had formerly been for him and his cronies, a place where mean tweets and spontaneous firings and “irregular channels” don’t frustrate the Beltway’s business-as-usual brotherhood.

“Joe Biden wants to take America back to a time before Trump,” cooed a headline in a lengthy puff piece on Biden in the July 2019 issue of the New York Times magazine. “For voters unnerved by Trump’s conduct in office but not necessarily seeking radical change, he offers vast experience, conciliatory instincts and an empathy rooted in personal anguish.”

Now, Biden’s view of what constitutes “normal” might be a tad out of whack after 47 years in national politics. After all, the Democratic front runner remains gobsmacked as to why anyone would question the propriety of his son’s profitable international business dealings while Biden worked in the West Wing.

And Biden’s recent interactions with “normal” Americans have veered from creepy to dangerously aggressive. At a campaign appearance in Michigan on Tuesday, Biden berated an autoworker, pointed in his face, and said he wanted to “go outside” with the man.

A Third Obama Term

But Team Biden, cocksure about their candidate’s totally-organic-and-not-manufactured Super Tuesday romp, is leaking names of possible members of a Biden cabinet.

Axios reported that several Obama/Biden alumni are being considered for top posts. Biden’s former rival, Pete Buttigieg, is rumored as a potential U.N. ambassador or trade representative to boost his foreign affairs cred before his next run for office. This totally-not-a-quid-pro-quo is in exchange for Mayor Pete’s unexpected exit from the race just 36 hours before Super Tuesday and his quick endorsement of Biden right before polls opened that day. Biden also has made similar offers to failed foes Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke, who recently backed Biden.

“Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan—a reversal of President Trump’s unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him—many from the Obama years,” wrote Jim VandenHei and Mike Allen on Monday. “Biden, a throw-back institutionalist, relishes an emphasis on governing, norms and restoring alliances. That includes respect for experts, and for the art and science of governing.”

The list, however, includes some of Obama’s most notorious henchmen, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (the signer of the first FISA application on Carter Page); communications advisor Anita Dunn; and Secretary of State John Kerry. Mike Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon, the chairman of JP Morgan Chase, could be offered top financial appointments.

Biden also is considering his options for vice president, a critical decision given his age and legitimate doubts about his cognitive fitness. He’ll have to appease the left-wing base of the party, including Bernie Sanders backers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). And he will almost certainly need to pick a female running mate. Possible candidates include Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Stacey Abrams, who lost her run for governor of Georgia but claims she was robbed of the win, is also on Biden’s shortlist because she “electrifies crowds,” according to Axios.

Biden is earning the endorsement of some of Trump’s biggest enemies: James Comey, the disgraced former head of the FBI, and former CIA Director John Brennan have signaled their support for the former vice president. (Biden’s campaign, in the ultimate smackdown, rejected Comey’s support.)

A Return to the Status Quo Ante

So what, exactly, would a “return to normal” look like under President Biden? How would a mix of grudge-carrying Obama loyalists and untested socialist newcomers govern since it’s unlikely Biden actually will be in charge?

This is a shortlist of what Biden and company promise to revive:

A time when the news media fawned over a Democratic president, covered up his conspicuous corruption, and instead blamed any malfeasance on the underhanded machinations of his Republican foes.

A time when the permanent Beltway “expert” aristocracy, now exposed as hostile if not subversive to the broader interests of mainstream America, ran the show.

A time when it was not only acceptable but heroic for the president publicly to condemn the rulings of a federal court—including the highest court in the land—without demands for apologies.

A time when the plight of “kids in cages” was ignored.

A time when the political punditry class of the Left and Right wasn’t “exhausted” from doing their jobs, i.e., keeping close tabs on the White House, challenging the truthfulness of statements made by the occupant of the Oval Office, and questioning the travel expenses, furniture costs, condo rental agreements, Christian faith, or marital well-being of various presidential aides.

A time when phone calls between the president and world leaders remained classified information and, God forbid, were never exploited for political gain.

A time when daily press briefings were cordial affairs—devoid of sexist grandstanding and frequent outbursts by ostensibly objective journalists—with plenty of jocularity between the president’s spokesman and swooning members of the White House press corps.

A time when the Justice Department, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, and a secret spy court operated clandestinely to execute a political hit job with nary a raised eyebrow from the media or a member of Congress.

A time when a British operative could act as both an FBI source and a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch while planting negative stories in the media weeks before a national election and no one considered it meddling or “interference.”

A time when a scandal-plagued president and his administration could claim they were “scandal-free” and the brainwashed news media regurgitated that provable falsehood as fact.

You get my drift.

When Biden-supporting Democrats and NeverTrumpers praise the idea that Uncle Joe will usher in an era of normalcy, they mean for them, not for you. After all, the Obama years weren’t exactly halcyon days for millions of working-class Americans or other Americans who actually believe in America’s founding principles.

Trump, for all his flaws, has exposed the arrogance, ignorance, and failures of Washington’s ruling class. That’s why they’re desperate to oust him, even if it means replacing Trump with a man way past his prime who’s exhibiting more alarming behavior each day. There’s nothing “normal” about it.

Elections

An Ideal Deep State Figurehead

Far from being concerned about Joe Biden’s creeping senility, the deep state may be rallying for the former vice president precisely because he will be weak, easily manipulated, and no threat to their agenda and habitual overreach.

While Joe Biden recently has become the Democratic establishment’s answer to the Bernie Sanders insurgency, his declining cognitive ability is hard to ignore. Garbled speech, nonsequiturs, confusion, and the appearance of an actor forgetting his lines characterize most of his unscripted remarks, whether in public venues or on the debate stage.

This evident cognitive decline is something that a great many Americans will recognize, due to their experience with aging relatives. While Biden was never terribly bright, even a few years ago he appeared significantly more energetic, lucid, and articulate.

At 77, he clearly is not as capable as he once was.

Artificial Momentum

Biden’s declining abilities had at least something to do with his poor showing in the early Democratic primaries. He lost the first few, coming in an embarrassing fourth place in Iowa. Until Super Tuesday, the non-Sanders candidates appeared to be replaying the scenario of the Republican primary of 2016. Several ideologically similar figures with varying degrees of political skill were dividing the vote among the party’s establishment and permitting an outsider to win through the old stratagem of “divide and conquer.”

Then, in an audacious display of Machiavellian discipline, two of the most popular remaining candidates—Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—bowed out on the eve of Super Tuesday. How exactly this happened remains a mystery. But soon endorsements from key figures in the Obama Administration came rolling in.

After disappointing Super Tuesday results, Michael Bloomberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have also dropped out, with the former endorsing Biden. While Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) remains the race, she has been sidelined by the Democratic leadership, who have changed the debate rules to exclude this powerful and fresh voice from consideration.

Remaining are Biden and Sanders, representing ideologically opposite poles within the Democratic Party, with particularly strong differences on economics and foreign policy, as well as a palpable difference in tone.

Biden’s recent surge is curious. He has the same demerits that previously kept him in the rear of the pack. He won South Carolina, due primarily to its large percentage of black voters, but there is no realistic chance he or any Democrat would win there in November.

As the failed impeachment showed, Biden is knee-deep in corruption. And, as before, he lacks energy and strength as a campaigner, and is burdened by peculiar personal weaknesses, such as a penchant for invading the personal space of children and insulting voters. How did this strange guy become the consensus choice of the Democratic Party pooh-bahs?

The most obvious answer is that they think he can beat Trump. After all, he has had a lot of experience, once-upon-a-time was known for appealing to blue-collar voters, and, while not an excitement candidate or novelty, he is a known quantity.

But there is something more.

Biden Is a Friend to People in Power

Biden is a party man. When the party changed, he went with it, standing up for gay marriage, transgenderism, and other faddish items that excite the Democrat base. At the same time, he has fought for globalization, banking interests, and a neoliberal foreign policy, including his once-popular support for the Iraq War.

In other words, he has that peculiar mix of views that is culturally progressive while being at peace with finance capitalism and American liberal hegemony. It is the same basic worldview of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. This point of view finds eager assistance from the various organs of the deep state.

By contrast, Trumps’ unconventional views and expressed desire to “drain the swamp” have resulted in a constant battle with the permanent bureaucracy and its sycophantic allies in the press. This includes not only the usual institutional friction, but conspiracies against him by the most powerful instruments of national power: the FBI, the CIA, and the courts. From these came the insertion of spies and informants into his presidential campaign, an attempted impeachment, and resistance to the exercise of well-established presidential powers through nationwide injunctions.

It is fitting that America’s policy in Ukraine became the pretext with which his enemies tried to remove him from office. America’s policy there has been little explained and barely noticed by most Americans, but it has much to do with our ongoing friction with Russia, was the brainchild of the CIA’s John Brennan, was once the portfolio of Joe Biden, and it exemplifies all of the worst instincts of American foreign policy’s mandarin class.

How the Deep State Controls Elected Officials

Returning to Biden’s apparent mental decline, what if his lack of energy and apparent confusion are not faults, but virtues, at least for one cohort of supporters? After all, a dull and declining president is even more easily manipulated than the average president. By limiting information, boxing in decisions, or slow-walking items of disagreement, all presidents have had to deal with institutional resistance.

In Kosovo, Bill Clinton grumbled as the army dragged its feet on deploying its ground forces. In Iraq, George W. Bush was not persuaded by WMD intelligence, but he backed down when CIA Director George Tenet replied, “It’s a slam dunk.” And Ronald Reagan famously avoided the full weight of blame for the Iran-Contra affair, because it was widely understood that he was increasingly disengaged and reliant on advisors in his second term and likely unaware of what the CIA was doing behind his back.

But Obama also exemplifies the modern, compliant, and figure-head presidency, particularly with regard to the national security state. While Obama appeared in control and presented the image of a thoughtful and deliberate leader, this was only because he did very little to upset the status quo. While he was mocked for “leading from behind” on foreign policy, this also describes his approach to the presidency as a whole.

He outsourced key decisions, such as the details of Obamacare, or the conduct of the war in Afghanistan. And he spent his political capital either on programs that empowered government bureaucrats or did not threaten them, such as his use of the bully pulpit to express solidarity with his alienated black and minority supporters.

Consider the fawning profile of President Obama from the New Yorker in 2012:

Each night, an Obama aide hands the President a binder of documents to review. After his wife goes to bed, at around ten, Obama works in his study, the Treaty Room, on the second floor of the White House residence. President Bush preferred oral briefings; Obama likes his advice in writing. He marks up the decision memos and briefing materials with notes and questions in his neat cursive handwriting . . . If the document is a decision memo, its author usually includes options for Obama to check at the end.

It should be obvious how this method empowers the people drafting the memos along with their limited menu of options. There is a well-known cognitive bias of picking the middle choice when presented between two apparent extremes. This supposedly thoughtful approach actually ends up outsourcing the most important decisions to others.

Obama apparently is proud of his record as a compliant teacher’s pet, who did not burden his handlers with Trump’s insouciant skepticism and questioning. His suave, pseudointellectual style was the attractive public face for the faceless deep state and its functionaries.

In spite of campaigning on ending the Iraq War and “not doing stupid shit” on foreign policy, Obama ended up going along with his advisors’ recommendations for conflict with Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. These were all examples of the dubious but aggressive neoliberal foreign policy peddled by the deep state’s key figures and institutions.

If Biden were to become president, he would be even more pliable than Obama. In addition to generally endorsing the status quo and the rights of the government workers to influence policy, he is low energy, incoherent, and, one must imagine, subjectively aware of his increasing weaknesses. As such, he will find it easier to rubber stamp and endorse what is put before him in order to preserve appearances and avoid internal criticism.

The Power Behind the Throne

A President Biden would be like the child-kings of Europe, whose decisions were made by regents and other advisors—the “power behind the throne.”

While Biden’s declining mental acuity will hurt him during the campaign and likely cause him to look terrible in any debates, he has promised that things will “return to normal” if he is somehow elected.

In other words, he appeals to the establishment because he promises a restoration of the extensive powers and immunity from oversight that characterized the Obama-era FBI, CIA, and national security apparatus, along with the rest of the federal government’s overreaching bureaucracy. As with Obama, a figurehead President Biden’s chief function will be to ratify what the left-leaning government officials want to do without the distraction of executive oversight.

Far from being concerned about his creeping senility, the deep state may be rallying for Biden precisely because he will be weak, easily manipulated, and no threat to their agenda and habitual overreach.

Elections

The Greatest Fear Is Fear Itself

President Trump is the first serious businessman to be president and undoubtedly is a talented executive. He still has an opportunity to turn this to account politically, by approaching the crisis with no regard to politics, other than to lead the country through this challenge.

The combination of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the upheavals in the world oil market has shaken public confidence and created a susceptibility to panic, to which, as usual, investors were the first to succumb.

In the United States, the antics of the Democratic politicians and media grasping at straws more desperately than ever to try to prevent the long-unthinkable reelection of the president, have exacerbated the problem. So, unfortunately, has the president’s effort to minimize the problem, an impossible task given the uncertain extent of the danger and the fear-mongering of the president’s enemies.

In the United States, as the chief of state and head of government are the same person. There is no one else to stabilize opinion and get the country focused on measures to address and resolve the problems, notwithstanding the commendable and apparently well-organized efforts of Vice President Mike Pence and his collaborators. Because it is such a contentious political atmosphere, where the president’s election was so tenaciously contested, and his own personality is at times bombastically counterproductive, he is not the optimal source of the sort of placatory and reassuring crisis address that came more naturally to some of his predecessors.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural and his subsequent fireside chats generally win the gold star for carrying the country with him out of the Great Depression. But President Truman’s leadership of opinion to combat Soviet aggression in Europe and Korea, though less mellifluous than Roosevelt’s addresses, was effective.

Dwight Eisenhower, with the prestige of his office supplemented by his stature as a victorious World War II theater commander, always enjoyed almost universal support on matters of national security. John F. Kennedy was very effective and much-admired in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Lyndon Johnson rallied the country well over civil rights but lost most of his political capital in Vietnam. Richard Nixon extricated the United States from Vietnam very skilfully and triangulated great power relations with China and the Soviet Union with consummate effectiveness, but his administration unraveled over the absurd and inexplicably bungled Watergate affair.

Ronald Reagan, a formidably persuasive and uplifting orator (his opponents tried to downgrade him to a “good communicator”), rallied the country to the initiatives that ended the Cold War satisfactorily. There has not been a great deal of inspiration from the White House since; the Bushes were not overly articulate, and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are very fluent, but not great phrase-makers and didn’t deal with such challenging crises as most of the presidents between Roosevelt and Reagan.

Rooseveltian confidence from Trump will be lampooned by the anti-Trump media and the Democratic leadership, who have tried feverishly to convict him of criminal offenses he didn’t commit (and weren’t crimes anyway). Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week attempted physical intimidation of Supreme Court justices over abortion, shaking his fist at the Supreme Court building, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been gratuitously insulting to the president many times—comparing him, among other unflattering reflections, to a skunk with emasculated manhood.

President Trump is correct that it is pointless to try to engage with them until after the election, when it will be determined who retains their positions. I suggest that the president consider a plan of more precise action to address the coronavirus crisis and share it with the former presidents, Bush, Clinton, and Obama, and President Carter (if his health permits), and leave it to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to see if anything can be done on a bipartisan basis in the Congress. They have at least agreed on funding, albeit with the usual bickering and backbiting, which is not the tenor public discourse requires at this time.

The president has not succeeded in easing concerns by downplaying the danger, and marching about clinics in a partisan hat like a bulldozer driver is effective in many challenges, but this one has to be dealt with  by amassing a pan-political coalition. Former presidents are the most credible group to assist and surely they would be willing to do so. The response to the virus must be pitched on a nonpartisan, national interest basis. Schumer, Pelosi, and most of the snarling media would be obliged to take such an approach seriously.

It won’t do just to say it’s only the flu, everything is under control, and 99 percent of us will survive. In addition to the recent strenuous efforts to get the ability to test for the virus more widely deployed and accelerating much faster than new cases are identified, some arrangements should be assembled for elderly people; even if it involves using specially sanitized paramilitary vehicles to provide special transport for their urgent needs, and to work with local health and social service organizations to provide for special home delivery of groceries.

Any plausible and serious program to help shelter the most vulnerable segment of the population would go a long way to allaying fears. Most people can live with the somewhat increased possibility of a nasty flu, we’ve all been through something close to that before, but losing parents or grandparents needlessly is a prospect that scares and angers millions of people. The president’s enemies are whipping up this fear and they must be countered with a believable plan to shame them into stopping their terror campaign.

The fate of the cruise liners being held offshore faintly resembles the tragic voyage of the liner St. Louis in 1939, carrying Jewish fugitives from Germany and barred from port after port, and it must be stopped. Bring them promptly into port, screen everyone, and act efficiently and sensibly. This ghastly series of nightmare cruises makes the whole world appear helpless, cowardly, and callous and incites public unease.

To be effective and believable, a policy of containment by the United States will require that every person entering the country be screened. This obviously will require some time but personnel should be recruited now, probably from among the armed forces, and the necessary apparatus distributed to them as a maximum priority. The country should learn every day that the percentage of arriving people being tested and quarantined where necessary is increasing sharply. The president was correct in acting early to deny entry to people coming from afflicted areas.

We can’t believe Chinese or Iranian reports of the state of the virus in those countries, and Iran has a less developed public health system. But we can learn from Italy and South Korea, advanced societies and friendly states. There should be provisional arrangements in place for conducting school and university activities online, and drastic steps to sanitize continually in all branches of public transit and transport, especially aircraft.

There is no need for this in the United States now, but the country should know that if the incidence of the virus goes past a certain threshold, whole areas will be sealed, as is being done in Italy, where the army, special police, and railway security are supervising all rail traffic out of approximately one-quarter of the country.

South Korea is more instructive: it is closer to the Chinese source of the illness, and has reported a decline in incidence in the last few days, and a lower fatality rate—less than 1 percent—than any other seriously afflicted country. This presumably means they are giving special protection to the elderly. The key is to be proactive, move quickly, as America has always done in a crisis: clear, unhistrionic, nonpolitical leadership.

President Trump is the first serious businessman to be president and undoubtedly is a talented executive. He still has an opportunity to turn this to account politically, by approaching it with no regard to politics, other than to lead the country through this challenge. The nation has come through many worse trials; this one is only complicated by its unknown extent and the venomous political climate.

FOLEY SQUARE, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2017/02/17: NYC lawyers, law students, and legal workers of all kinds gathered at Foley Square in New York, in coordination with the nationwide General Strike. This demonstration is one of many being planned across the country so the legal community can express our solidarity with the growing movements against the new regime and its white supremacist agenda.
Elections

Antifa’s Most Important Enabler: Its Legal Arm

It’s unlikely the black-masked leftist group would have been able to do so much damage around the country if not for the aid of the National Lawyers Guild.

Antifa violence will feature prominently in the lead-up to this year’s election. The left-wing movement’s numbers skyrocketed following President Trump’s 2016 victory and campaign staffers for Bernie Sanders have already predicted serious street violence should Trump win again. 

Same goes for a Sanders primary loss. As another staffer recently predicted, this year’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee will be rife with attacks on police; enough, apparently, to make the infamous 1968 convention in Chicago “look like a f—ing Girl Scout f—ing cookout.” 

With the weight of the Democrat machine now transparently behind former Vice President Joe Biden (who was the only 2020 candidate, outside of Andrew Yang, to condemn Antifa’s vicious beating of Andy Ngo last year), a “rigged” Sanders primary defeat and resulting far-left violence should be even more likely.  

Busy alongside Antifa this year will be the movement’s unofficial legal arm: the National Lawyers Guild.

Although much lower profile than their enablers within the establishment media and among the more extreme elements of the Democratic Party, the National Lawyers Guild is actually far more important when it comes to keeping Antifa’s program of extreme political violence going.  

Made up of thousands of hard-left lawyers spread out in over 150 chapters across the country (not including over 100 student chapters), and funded by giant philanthropists like the Ford Foundation and George Soros, the NLG explicitly and openly coordinates legal action and public relations in support of the Antifa movement. As one chapter states online, the guild’s member-lawyers “understand that legal support is critical in the planning and aftermath of any action,” and “can usually mobilize NLG volunteer lawyers to handle initial court appearances, and . . . often continue to defend activists pro bono.”  

Their chapters’ contact details and telephone helplines appear across Antifa websites and social media, while NLG attorneys advertise their services on Antifa podcasts and blogs, such as “It’s Going Down,” the biggest of either in the United States. Unsurprisingly then, in 2018, when mass arrests accompanied Antifa’s armed mob-attack on a “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley, police reported that 21 activists had called NLG for help, most of whom admitted to being Antifa. 

In spite of the movement’s over-the-top brazenness and ultraviolent tactics (see their 15-on-one attack against an unarmed journalist), just two violent Antifa attackers have actually received prison time. Much of this lack of accountability can and should be directly pinned on NLG: Antifa’s most important enablers.

Antifa With Law Degrees

NLG makes open justifications for its broad and deep support for Antifa on its website and through the media. In the process, they usually recite, practically verbatim, Antifa’s frantic slogans and frenzied talking points showing how indistinguishable the two are in terms of ideology and temperament.

For instance, in a 2017 op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, top guild officials explain how the group’s lawyers counsel Antifa members to protect Americans from “fascists and white supremacists seek[ing] to take power in the streets and halls of government.” The American people, readers are told, “cannot depend on the government to meaningfully intervene and prevent the rise of fascism.” That is “up to us,” they write. 

Police apparently cannot be depended on to curb these supposed “take over” threats. They apparently have “sympathy toward the ideas being espoused at alt-right rallies” and cannot be considered an “effective solution.”  

Due to the government and law enforcement’s supposed connivance with “fascists” and “white supremacists,” nonwhites in particular, we’re told, are in need of NLG and Antifa’s help.

“People of color,” the guild lawyers contend, are “in vulnerable legal positions” and apparently “cannot participate in confrontations [with fascism] for their own safety.” The essentially all-white Antifa movement, therefore, lets people of color “benefit from the risks taken by those with more privilege.” Andy Ngo has also pointed out the movement’s overwhelming whiteness (in addition to its overrepresentation of LGBT-identifiers).

NLG’s History of Enabling Extremism 

Older readers of American Greatness likely will be familiar with NLG and its tactics. According to Discover the Networks, in the 1940s and ’50s, the group and its members defended figures such as Alger Hiss, Judith Socolov, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as well as members of the Communist Hollywood 10. For these and other efforts, the House of Un-American Activities Committee labeled NLG the “legal bulwark of the Communist Party.”

By the 1970s, like most Communist groups, NLG moved into racial politics, representing ethno-terror groups including the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement (whose members attempted to kill Harry Truman, among others).

As former senior guild lawyer William Kunstler put it in an interview, “Whether it’s the American Indian Movement, or the Black Liberation Army, or H. Rap Brown . . . I’m really interested only in spending my talents and any assets I have to keep the revolutionaries functioning.”

Also in the 1970s, NLG represented groups most closely resembling today’s Antifa: the white middle-class hard-left Students for a Democratic Society and its ultra-violent spin-off, the Weather Underground. 

 NLG’s Moral Support for Antifa Terror

NLG’s online literature shows it is stridently committed to Antifa’s program. This apparently includes Antifa’s use of violent terror tactics.

As NLG states, “[t]aking militant and confrontational direct action . . . are a crucial part of the fight against fascism.” The group praises Antifa for “ensur[ing] that the virulent white nationalism sweeping the country is met with militant resistance” and for “directly confront[ing] fascism by shutting down far-right demonstrations.”

Elsewhere, they explicitly state that “while many abhor tactics that involve violence, historical evidence shows that direct action has contributed to shutting down fascist movements before they gain too much power or influence.” 

This is highly alarming considering the source. These are trained, legal professionals who are supposed to understand and respect the Bill of Rights, the democratic process, and the rule of law (rather than the rule of force). Many of them, now or in future, could be judges, government lawyers, and lawmakers (Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, for example, is an NLG member); people with considerable authority and influence on Americans’ lives.  

Legal Support for Antifa 

Following Antifa-related protests and events around the country, one finds NLG attorneys popping up everywhere. On top of general anti-Trump protesters, NLG members have represented Antifa figures such as the bike-lock-bashing professor, Eric Clanton; the near-dozen-strong group that shut down an ICE office in Oregon; Jeremy Ibarra, who was part of an Antifa mob that attacked a Portland free-speech rally (Ibarra refused a plea deal offered by prosecutors at NLG’s urging on the ground that fighting fascism is not a crime.”); and Michael Williams, who, along with Berkeley schoolteacher, Yvette Felarca, was charged with felony assault and rioting at a demonstration in California. 

They also sue police regularly, which, in combination with its direct representation of Antifa, they explicitly state has facilitated Antifa violence. According to its newsletter, NLG has been able to influence the way police in Portland handle protests, stating that when mainstream conservative group Patriot Prayer held a rally in 2018, police surprisingly were “fairly hands-off” and “deploy[ed] significantly fewer crowd control weapons than the previous year.”

“This approach,” they write, “also enabled more left-right skirmishes to occur,” as well as “numerous clashes result[ing] in the bloodiest showdown” yet. (emphasis mine).

PORTLAND, OR - JUNE 29: Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, members write the phone number of the National Lawyers Guild in case they get injured during a Portland demonstration between the right and left on June 29, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Several groups from the left and right clashed after competing demonstrations at Pioneer Square, Chapman Square, and Waterfront Park spilled into the streets. According to police, medics treated eight people and three people were arrested during the demonstrations.

Moriah Ratner/Getty Images

NLG also helped organize as well as defend the Washington, D.C. inauguration protesters of 2017. Leading up to the inauguration, Washington, D.C.’s Antifa branch (the one which protested outside Tucker Carlson’s house after posting his address online) placed on its Facebook page a message to members stating if “arrested while protesting in DC, the NLG is there to support,” along with a NLG contact form that read: “Arrested resisting oppression, racism, fascism, or white supremacy? From jail, call: (202) 660-1422 (write this number on your arm).” Ibarra had NLG’s Portland number on his arm when he was arrested.

Although the city suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage (with over 200 protesters being arrested), injuries were strangely minor. One Antifa member present, Thomas J. Massey, told the Washington Post, he thought “there should have been more violence” and that, next time, he hoped Antifa would be “more successful” and that he’d “get to punch a Nazi.” 

The following year, Massey got his wish (of sorts) when he and 10 other Antifa members jumped two Hispanic Marines in Philadelphia they apparently mistook for “Proud Boys” (Gavin McInnes’s former organization). Numerous charges were laid following the attack, including “ethnic intimidation (Pennsylvania’s version of a hate crime) due to racial slurs reportedly being used during the incident. 

Charged along with Massey was NLG organizer Joseph Alcoff, a leader of D.C. Antifa who reportedly has posted on Twitter “the left wins nothing w/ nonviolence” and “#DearRichPeople die in a fire.” Interestingly, Alcoff’s mother is a university professor who reportedly makes around $200,000 a year.

Apart from direct representation, NLG also offers a range of other services to Antifa. 

When Portland police arrested more than 100 Antifa members and general anti-Trump protesters following nearly a full week of post-inauguration riots (costing taxpayers over $1 million in damages), the guild hosted a local meeting to field questions and offer advice to arrestees.

NLG also organizes know your rights” trainings for anti-Trump protesters and manages a phone line for those inquiring about protest activity, including how to avoid arrest and understanding local anti-masking ordinances.

In fact, the group lobbies regularly against anti-masking laws at the state and federal level—laws that are intended to make violent offenders accountable for their actions and which were originally put in place decades ago to stop Ku Klux Klan terrorism. Over a dozen states have such laws, which are enforced inconsistently. When they are, however, as was shown last year when Berkeley police decided to enforce its local anti-masking law during Antifa’s attempt to shut down a speech by Ann Coulter, they can be highly effective in deterring violent activity.

NLG also leads a so-called “legal observer” campaign where hundreds of volunteers monitor police at Antifa protests in order to ensure ‘participants’ rights are not infringed upon’ and to provide pro bono counsel to those arrested. Some NLG observers, however, have been accused of turning a blind eye when conservatives’ rights at such events (like the right not to be assaulted) have been violated.

NLG is not like the ACLU, which at least pretends to be concerned about legal principles (rather the race or political beliefs of their client). For instance, unlike the ACLU, NLG explicitly states it will not provide counsel to groups that “promote hate speech.” How NLG defines extremism, however, seems to be race-based, as evidenced by its initiative to push the FBI to overturn its “race identity extremist” designation for blacks only.

There are limits to speech freedoms, NLG contends, and the group “will not be swayed by the argument [against Antifa’s tactics] that hateful, dangerous speech should be tolerated at any cost.” To argue otherwise, or to “recast Antifa as a violent, leftist suppression of speech is a dangerous effort eerily reminiscent of the left-baiting that accompanied the Nazi rise to power.”

Other Antifa Legal Defenders

NLG isn’t the only legal enabler of Antifa terror; the guild just happens to be the biggest and most effective one.

The Los Angeles-based By Any Means Necessary, for instance, also regularly defends Antifa members on a pro bono or low-cost basis. In 2018, BAMN managed to defend successfully five Antifa members who, rather astoundingly, were found not guilty by a Berkeley jury even after police witnessed them punch and kick a 50-year man at a 2018 “March4Trump” rally. After the beating, Antifa then leafletted over 100 pamphlets around homes in the victim’s neighborhood titled, “Safety Alert: Fascist Living in Your Neighborhood.”

Elsewhere, “Big Law” firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher provided pro bono representation to a protester accused of felony rioting at the 2017 inauguration protest, while groups including the ACLU, Disrupt20, the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee and the D.C. Legal Posse, have provided a range of services to arrested participants—like NLG, the ACLU also lobbies against laws prohibiting mask-wearing, calling it a “civil rights issue.” They also sue regularly police over supposedly harsh treatment of Antifa and anti-Trump protesters.

The provision of free legal representation and other kinds of legal aid to Antifa is a significant form of material support. It also provides the movement with a big boost in morale when carrying out its extreme program of terror and violence. Knowing one has a legal support base at the ready will increase the confidence of those already committed to violence and likely push those into violent law-breaking who would otherwise be deterred.

This raises the question of whether Antifa would have been able to cause the amount of damage it has around the country if not for the aid of the National Lawyers Guild?

Just as worrying perhaps are NLG lawyers themselves. It’s a serious concern to the nation that there are so many trained legal professionals exercising their influence within and without the system who reject the democratic and rule-of-law principles that have long underpinned it.

In the 1927 Supreme Court case of Whitney v. California, one of the most celebrated defenses of free speech and assembly ever authored by the high court, Justice Louis Brandeis (who was joined by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) wrote that America’s Founders “believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth [and they believed] that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile.”

A few years later, in the landmark opinion of Terminiello v. Chicago, Justice William O. Douglas wrote that a “function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute” and that speech “may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.”

NLG’s Soros and Ford Foundation funders, as well as the media outlets that platform them, should be pressured to disavow Antifa and the terror tactics they employ against the American people—tactics that absolutely suppress free speech, the right to free assembly and, ultimately, the spread of political truth. 

Elections

Chris Matthews and His Tingle Tangle

The downfall of the “Hardball” host is a cautionary tale about what happens to the insufficiently “woke” on today’s Left.

Chris Matthews is now an ex-TV host. Apparently brought low by his inappropriate comments about female associates on-air and off, he forever will be remembered as the fellow whose leg tingled when he gazed upon President Barack Obama during MSNBC’s coverage of the Democratic presidential primaries in 2008.

Obama, Matthews once proclaimed, was “perfect” and had “done everything right.” On another occasion, he admitted he couldn’t resist Obama’s “Julia Roberts” smile. He swooned over former-President Bill Clinton, too. His admiration verged on idolatry when he compared Clinton’s appearance at the funeral of Coretta Scott King to “Jesus in the temple.” He wasn’t as big a fan of Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, he declared “the reason [Hillary Clinton is] a U.S. senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a frontrunner is her husband messed around.” Outrage from the National Organization for Women and Hillary’s acolytes compelled him to apologize, but those offended remained on a slow simmer over this and his other snarky comments about Hillary. He once compared her to Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and called her “witchy.”

Oh, Matthews doesn’t like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), either.

Following the February 5 Democratic presidential candidate debate, Matthews suggested that Sanders might have supported Fidel Castro and said if “the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering . . . So, I have a problem with people who take the other side.”

After Sanders won the Nevada caucuses, Matthews compared the victory to the World War II fall of France to Nazi Germany. He apologized for that one, too, but it was clear he was reflecting an antipathy felt by establishment Democrats.

Matthews, however, has been reliable as an attack dog for that party with a long list of anti-conservative insults without need for any public apologies.

At President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Matthews said the president’s speech had a “Hitlerian background” and implied that Trump was similar to Mussolini. He joked that the Italian dictator executed his son-in-law so Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, should be “a little careful.”

Matthews said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had “a troll-like quality,” that he “operates below the level of human life,” reminded him of Joe McCarthy, and was “negative and menacing.” He declared that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich “looks like a car bomber. He’s got that crazy Mephistophelian grin . . . He looks like he loves torturing.”

He referred to Rush Limbaugh as “phone sex for the traveling salesman. Think about it.” On the same day, on another show, he compared Limbaugh to a villain who was killed in a James Bond film. “In the end,” he said, “they jam a CO2 pellet into his head, and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp . . . we’ll be there to watch.” He then added a personal taunt: “Are you watching, Rush?”

Still, all this tilling in the Garden of Liberal Hate wasn’t enough to save Matthews in the Age of #MeToo when he was accused of making unwelcome observations about the attractiveness of women he encountered at work.

Modern sensibilities don’t welcome this. Just ask whoever runs the human resources department at your job, school, etc. They’ve got pamphlets if you have any questions. For a quick look at Matthew’s creepiness, “The Daily Show” put together a few on-air examples in a video entitled “Lookin’ Good! with Chris Matthews.” It’s available on YouTube.

Women—and men—generally enjoy compliments in an appropriate setting where there isn’t a power imbalance. An elder male host of a banner news show, pocketing a much bigger paycheck and able to make or break lesser employees, asking a junior, lesser-paid female reporter to lean into the camera so he and his audience can admire her pretty face, really isn’t OK. “The Daily Show” video opens with such an incident.

Defenders of Matthews contend that he was just admiring female beauty. He respects women, they insist, but his treatment of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin belies this. While Matthews routinely attacks the character of those he dislikes, his disrespect for Palin involved cringe-inducing admiration for her physical appearance and smug contempt. In his mind, it seems “nice-looking woman” plus “conservative political views” must equal “dumb bimbo.” It’s liberal misogyny.

Matthews described Palin’s appearance as: “Primordial. When she walks and moves, there‘s something electric about it . . . she’s constantly in motion. She looks, obviously, very attractive.”

He didn’t like anything else about her. Palin, he said, “doesn’t give a rat’s butt what the facts are . . . she’s almost squirrelly.” While late-night comics mocked Palin with the phony “I can see Russia from my house” phrase and exaggerated her accent, Matthews bluntly labeled her an illiterate imbecile.

During MSNBC’s election night coverage on November 2, 2010, Matthews asked Senator Mark Begich (D-Ark.),

If she were on “Jeopardy” right now and the topic was [sic] national government, American government generally defined, would she look like an imbecile, or would she look OK? Does she know anything? . . . Have you ever been an eyewitness to her actually reading something? Have you seen her—no, I’m dead serious about this. Have you ever seen her reading words on a piece of paper? A newspaper, magazine, anything? Have you ever seen her read something?

Matthews so loved his “Jeopardy” crack that he repeated it in variations on at least three other televised appearances.

In 2012, Matthews himself was a contestant on Jeopardy. He finished dead last, winning just $2,300. Among his mistakes was giving “What is Istanbul?” as the response in the category “6-Letter World Capitals” to the answer, “St. Basil’s Cathedral is there.” The correct response was “Moscow.” It makes one wonder if counting letters is a problem for Democrats, as also evidenced with Biden’s three-letter word: “J-O-B-S!”

In the “Jeopardy” category “Law and Order,” when presented with the answer “In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that the ‘hostile environment’ type of this can be sex discrimination,” Matthew erroneously responded, “What is a hostile workplace?” The correct response was “What is sexual harassment?”

Maybe Matthews should have ruminated over that after the show.

Some see sinister forces involved in Matthews’ downfall. Kyle Smith opined in the New York Post that after Matthews gave rough treatment to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, their supporters engineered his destruction using transgressions that would have been forgiven if committed by a liberal in better standing with the new, more radical Democratic Party.

As that party moves further toward radicalism, will other stalwarts be discarded? If they’re lucky, it won’t be with the ignominy Matthews is experiencing.

Elections

What I Saw at Biden’s Kansas City Rally

Don’t write off Joe. After watching the former vice president’s speech over the weekend, it’s clear he will run a close contest against President Trump.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign set its rally Saturday at the summit of the liberty memorial in the heart of Kansas City. The access road to the nation’s World War I museum passes through a rectangular park that stretches nearly a quarter-mile. The line of people hoping to attend ran the length of the road.

An intern struggled to mount the teleprompter glass in the face of stiff winds. A mostly white crowd began to pack in around the stage as members of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers managed security. It seemed women outnumbered men by about 20 percent. The attendees spanned all ages, but the 50 to 70 demographic appeared to be heavily represented. The venue was too small to accommodate the crowd. Perhaps 500 people found a spot close enough to view the candidate directly.

I talked to some of the lucky ones who made it in to get a sense of things. One attendee told me she believed the Republicans were destroying our institutions and that “Joe” would repair the damage. I asked what institutions she meant. She said the Supreme Court and the Senate. In all, I spoke to more than half a dozen attendees. Their answers were remarkably similar.

For instance, I asked each one what agenda items a new President Biden should prioritize in his first 100 days. None had a clear answer.

A few mentioned healthcare and womens’ rights, (which I took to mean abortion rights). One mentioned America’s standing throughout the world and our relationship with our allies. But these issues were not what motivated them to come to see “Joe.”

For these attendees, it wasn’t about issues. They had an affection for Joe that contrasted with their contempt for the current president. Almost all of them mentioned the word, “decency,” in their answer. I heard that same word, “decent” or “decency” no fewer than six times in talking to these supporters. They felt Joe sincerely wanted to help. “Joe genuinely cares about people,” one said. Most referred to the former vice president by his first name. “Joe is one of us,” one said.

I asked each whether there were any concerns about family members getting rich while trading on Biden’s name and influence. The question was met with eye rolls and dismissiveness. “Everyone has family,” one told me. Another said, “There’s never going to be a perfect candidate. It’s getting exhausting listening to all of the flaws each candidate has.” Others retorted with examples of President Trump’s flaws.

I asked whether they had any concerns about Vice President Biden’s mental acuity. The answer was unanimous: No. Joe makes gaffes. That’s just Joe. One mentioned the former vice president mixing up his wife for his sister and chuckled sympathetically. Two retorted with examples of flubs made by President Trump. All told me that they would have voted for any Democratic candidate just to get rid of Trump.

A Strong Start Before the Stumbles

Biden started the speech strong by comparing his recent comeback during Super Tuesday to the Kansas City Chiefs who came from behind to win the Super Bowl. He then he began telling the story of how his first days as a U.S. senator were marred by the death of his wife in a car accident. He wanted to make the point that it was a Missourian who talked him into seeing it through.

But three hecklers started screaming at him from just a few rows away. (You can watch the video here.) Biden stopped his story to try to reason with them. Their protest had to do with getting evicted and the availability of low-income housing. Biden promised that he would end evictions in his presidency and offered to meet with them after his speech. But the hecklers just continued to disrupt the speech until police officers led them away.

The exchange with the protesters consumed almost a third of the entire time Biden spoke. He mishandled the hecklers, allowing them too much of his precious time. But in so doing, he also revealed a sincere desire to persuade and convince the unreachable.

The crowd stayed with Biden, chanting “Joe! Joe! Joe!” to drown out the protesters. Biden stumbled through the rest of the story without really bringing it home. He then seemed to recover by returning to the South Carolina and Super Tuesday victories. He bragged about drawing higher turnouts in Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina. He then swiped at his rival Bernie Sanders by challenging the crowd, “If you want a nominee who is a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat,” to join him.

Biden then made a typical Biden gaffe by stumbling over whether he was running for election or re-election. He fumbled a story about an Irish poem leading to a confusing line in which he exalted his goal to “make history rhyme with justice.” He then accused the president of “ripping off the band-aid” and said “they’ve seen how ugly the other side is. They are ready to unite the country. They’re ready to move. This is the United States of America.” The crowd puzzled over who “they” were supposed to be and whether they should be cheering or booing.

Biden Voters Forgive His Flaws

Afterward, I found an attendee for a debriefing. She enjoyed the speech but expressed disappointment that it was so short. Biden spoke for barely 15 minutes. She told me that the same thing happened in the St. Louis speech he gave before coming to Kansas City.

The speech exhibited many of Biden’s strengths and weaknesses. His followers will not be moved by more Ukraine dirt or videos of his gaffes. They’ve already factored that in and they’re willing to forgive these flaws because they believe he’s a kind and decent man at his core. For a scandal to have an effect, it would have to cast doubt on those impressions.

But the speech also showed vulnerabilities. While it was a good speech, I nevertheless saw signs of dullness and confusion. He was genuinely flummoxed by the protestors. While he started strong, by the end, he had some trouble staying on message. Biden’s policy messages remain vague, which allows him to lead a coalition of contradictory priorities. This, not his gaffes or corruption, is his Achilles’ heel.

Biden should be taken seriously. In many ways, it is he, not Bernie Sanders, who has become the Democrats’ Trump. It’s easy to make either man the butt of a joke. It’s easy to create video montages of silly gaffes for both. Biden followers, like Trump followers, have already factored in many of the criticisms their opponents are counting on to act as vulnerabilities. After watching this speech, I’m convinced that Biden will run a close contest against President Trump.

Elections

Joe Biden: I Am As Sharp As A Tack! Sharper, Even!

Joe Biden: Folks, I am proud to be here in the great state of  . . . the state of . . . the . . . what I am saying is, I am proud to  . . . er . . . here’s the deal: it’s the state that’s next to that other state, but this one begins with an “M” . . .  er . . . Let me just begin by saying that here, in the great state of . . . er . . . in this state, which is definitely a great state, I am glad you all came to see me! No joke!

Ever since Super Thursday, my campaign has literally been on a roll. Just when everybody was ready to leave me for dead, I proved them all wrong! I am no more dead than that Chinese guy I met in Paris in 2015, Deng Xiaoping, when I negotiated the Paris Climate Treaty with him. He was as alive as anybody, even more so than me, if I remember correctly, and I always remember everything correctly, because I have perfect memory. In fact, my memory is so good, I even remember things that never happened in the first place, and you have my word as Biden on that!

Sure enough, I met Mr. Deng in Paris, and we had a really nice dinner, and we talked about my grandkids and his grandkids. And then, during the negotiations, Mr. Deng offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. So here’s the deal, he said: after 2060, China promises to try to make an effort to possibly reduce their emissions, and in exchange, beginning today, America will not oppose China’s plans to dominate Asia. Since I couldn’t refuse such a deal, I didn’t, and me and Mr. Deng shook on it.

So there is your proof, folks—I am as alive today as Mr. Deng! I am serious!

And folks, I’ve been around a long time and I know more than most people. I even know things nobody else knows. Even I don’t know half the things that I know. And I can get things done. That’s why I’m running to be your Senator. No joke!

So I’d like to thank my sister, Dr. Jill Biden, for all the help with the campaign so far. Jill has been terrific. Every time I need something, like my pills, or directions to the little boys’ room, or the phone number for my gerontologist, she is always there for me. So when I decided to run for the U.S. Senate last April, she was definitely there. At least, I remember her being there . . .  Jill, honey, were you there? You were. Good. What’s that? You’re not my sister? What are you talking about? Are you sure? Oh, right. Of course, I meant, you were my wife. Are my wife. Right. So who is my sister? Do I even have a sister? Valerie? Who is Valerie? Oh, right. Valerie. Got it. Is she here now? Standing right next to you, you say? Oh, good, I see her.

My Brain Has Been Through A Lot

Here’s the deal, folks: a lot of the people who criticize me, especially Republicans, just don’t have good brains. No brains, period. None. Have you ever seen Nikki Haley’s brain? That woman is just an idiot. Let me count the ways in which she is an idiot. One, she didn’t expand Medicaid when she could have, as governor of South Carolina. Two, she . . .  she . . . she didn’t . . . she didn’t do that other thing to help the people of her state. Which is why I say that she has no brain. No joke!

Now, my brain has been through a lot. In fact, no presidential candidate in this race has a brain that has been through as much as mine. My brain has been through two major surgeries, and, miraculously, it’s still functioning! I remember just before my last brain surgery, the doctors told me that I probably wouldn’t make it, or if I did make it, I’d probably be a vegetable—that’s how serious it was. But whaddaya know!

It turned out all they had to do was remove some unnecessary portions of my brain, and I was fine! You can see that right here and now! In fact, my post-Super Thursday resolution is, that whenever I start a sentence, I am going to . . .  going to . . . What I am saying is, that from now on, every time—and I mean, literally, every time I start saying a sentence, I will definitely . . . for sure, I will . . . Here’s what I am going to do, this is a promise, and you can take it to the bank: every time I begin a sentence, I will . . .  finish it! Yes!

So folks, a lot of people on the campaign trail ask me . . .  They ask me if the thing is . . . that thing . . . What I am trying to say is, many Americans, real Americans, Americans of all three genders, just like you and me, many of those Americans ask me if I . . .  I’ve been asked by many Americans about . . . People, real people, are hurting, and that’s why they ask me all sorts of questions. And the one question they always ask me is . . . there are people who want to know the answer . . .  the question they always ask is about education! I am serious!

Folks, I know a lot about education, because after I was Barack’s vice president, I became a teacher for a few years. As a teacher, I taught students. Those students, they were taught by me, and they learned many things from me. I didn’t do it for money, I should point out, I only did it for the love of teaching, because look at all those minority students who can’t read because their parents can’t read or write themselves. And that’s just unacceptable! No joke!

In point of fact, the University of Pennsylvania only paid me $800,000 for teaching there, and I remember that I taught . . .  I taught . . . the thing . . . that thing that I taught, I did it when I came to the University that one time, to explain to students about . . .  the thing. No, it must have been that other thing . . . What I explained to somebody there is that education is very important, it is key, in fact, to a successful economy, and that is why we must have education of every kind—higher, lower, whatever. I am being serious!

Education is vital, if we are going to beat China. No, wait, we don’t need to beat China, we already beat China. Didn’t we? Right. We did. I mean we did it in the past. But we can do it again in the future, if we need to, and that is why we need education. And that’s why the University of Pennsylvania paid me $800,000, to contribute to educating Americans on the need to beat China. So this would be the second time we beat China. But only if we need to, and I don’t really think we need to.

You Know . . . The Thing

Folks, when I was in law school, I came across the text of the Declaration of Independence. It was so moving, so inspiring, that I memorized it. To this day, I can recite it by heart. It says, we hold these truths to be apparent, that all women and all men are created equal, and that  . . . they are equal, because . . . Title XVII says so, and . . . also, these men and women, and any transgendered persons, that they are endowed by their . . . their . . . you know, their . . . thing . . . that thing that is . . . well, the thing . . . the endowing thing, they are endowed by it with certain unalienable rights, and those rights are . . .  they are given rights, like an endowment, because they need rights in order to vote . . . I remember there are three of them. I definitely remember that. Those rights . . . the three rights that the . . . great thing endowed them with, they are Life and the Pursuit of Happiness. No, wait! That’s only two . . . I know there is a third one . . . Or is Pursuit and Happiness two separate rights? I can’t remember . . .

Folks, let me talk instead about an issue where I just appointed Beto O’Rourke to be my right-hand man. And that issue is gun violence. Gun violence is the single most important issue facing America today, except for climate change and transgender rights, which are also important, if not more so. I am being serious!

But think about it, folks: 150 million people have been killed by guns in America since 2007, and that’s not even counting the people who were killed using knives and forks! Think about that! 150 million! 150 million Americans, dead, all because gun manufacturers are exempt from liability. This is 100 times more Americans than were killed in all the wars! Including Vietnam! No joke!

Because of guns, we have carnage on our streets, and I want to tell you, if I’m elected, and if you have a gun, I’m coming for you! And gun manufacturers, I’m going to take you on and I’m going  . . . going . . . I’m going to do what I need to do, and . . . Er . . . You can run, but you can’t hide! I will find you! What’s that? They are not hiding, you say? They are advertising? Well, let me tell you, when I am president, there will be no more advertising showing guns in a positive light! Only in a negative light! Right.

And you know what the worst part is? The worst part about those gun manufacturers is how they try to sell you 100 rounds in a single bullet! Imagine that! Who on Earth would need 100 rounds in one bullet? I have no idea. I don’t even know what a round is . . .  And then, to add insult to injury, they put 30, 40, 50 clips into a weapon! Can you imagine that? I don’t know what any of this really means, but I am glad Beto knows—he is my czar for all the gun questions now, I’ve appointed him my czar. What’s a “czar,” by the way? Does anybody know? Oh. OK.

And That Is Why I am a Candidate for the United States Senate

So folks, this campaign is all about the working men and women of America. And the other working genders, I don’t mean to limit myself to just two genders, we all know there are many other genders—at least three that we know of, and almost certainly many more. But regardless, my own family is proof that if you work hard enough, you can succeed in anything. I am living proof of that, and as your future Senator, I promise you that together, we can . . .  we can . . . you and I can . . . both of us . . . we can all come together and make it happen, because this is what makes our country special.

I come from a thousand generations of Pennsylvania coal miners. As the first Biden to go to college . . .  er . . . except for the other Bidens who went to college before me, I . . . there were a thousand generations of Bidens . . .  what I am trying to say is that we Bidens have been mining coal in Pennsylvania and Delaware our entire lives, and the lives of a thousand generations of Bidens before that.

And that is why I’m now a candidate for the United States Senate. Look me over, if you like what you see, send a small donation to me, maybe $5, or $20. Or more, if you can afford it—and I know you can afford it. If not, vote for the other Biden. No joke!

Folks, I am very grateful for all the support from the black community. I have supported civil rights my entire life. I marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. I remember doing that very well, even if no one else does. In fact, I remember a dog biting me when I was marching there. That dog remembers biting me, too—I recently met that dog, and the dog said it was real sorry. And also I remember how the white police used fire hoses on me. I am being serious!

But that wasn’t the first time that I stood shoulder to shoulder with the black community. I was there in Little Rock, in 1957, when schools were being desegregated. I remember helping that little black girl attend school, and I knew even then that they would surely arrest me for that.

In fact, they did arrest me—although they waited for about 40 years until I got to South Africa to visit Nelson Mandela. So the minute I got to South Africa, they arrested me. They told me the second we all got off the plane that the rest of the Congressional delegation had to go to the left, where the buffet was set up for them, but I had to go to the right, because they had a special meal prepared for me.

So I said, absolutely not, I am not eating that meal, because all I see there is overcooked beef and hardly any vegetables, and the dessert was very unappetizing and flabby-looking. I told them I would much rather eat with the rest of the Congressional delegation, and the South Africans eventually agreed, and took me to the buffet. So that’s how I was arrested there, when visiting Nelson Mandela, which was a really formative experience for me, and that’s the God’s honest truth.

Thank you, folks!

 

UNITED STATES - MARCH 4: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks at an abortion rights rally during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Washington on March 4, 2020, as the Court hears oral arguments regarding a Louisiana law about abortion access on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
Elections

The Humanity of a Fetus and the Inhumanity of Our Abortion Politics

When politicians like Chuck Schumer descend so low as to issue veiled threats of violence against sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices, it’s time for everyone to speak out, not just pro-life advocates.

Wading into the abortion debate is a perilous undertaking, but Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) recent incendiary remarks cannot be ignored. “From Louisiana, to Missouri, to Texas—Republican legislatures are waging war on women—all women. And they’re taking away fundamental rights,” Schumer said last week at a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Leaders of the Democratic party, like Schumer, are engaging in what might be the most despicable form of pandering imaginable. To appease a militant fringe of nihilistic, self-absorbed “pro-choice” fanatics, they are willing to legalize murder. And as Schumer demonstrates, now they are even willing to threaten anyone who may object.

Most people can agree there is a difference between consuming a morning-after pill and performing a late-term abortion. The former, however hideous it may be from a religious and moral perspective, is clearly more humane than the latter, which by any objective standard is the violent killing of a human being.

New York, a bastion of Democratic Party power and Schumer’s home state, recently passed a law permitting “late-term abortions.” Specifically, the law permits abortions after 24 weeks if there is “an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”

Let’s not speculate as to how subjective the assessment of “fetal viability” or “patient’s life or health” may be. That’s fodder for endless debate. But what about a perfectly normal fetus that’s 24 weeks old? What sort of a human being is that? It’s certainly more than a lump of barely differentiated cells that can be terminated in the first few days after conception. So what is it? To answer that, the following story is enlightening.

The Rescuing Hug

In 1995, two twins, Kyrie and Brielle Jackson, were premature infants. Born after only 24 weeks in the womb, both girls had health problems and were placed in separate incubators. One of them, Brielle, went into critical condition, and in desperation, against hospital protocol, nurse Gayle Kasparian moved the stronger twin into the same incubator with her dying sister.

And then something miraculous happened.

The stronger twin, Kyrie, put her arm around Brielle, and quickly Brielle’s temperature returned to normal, and her heart rate stabilized. These two girls are now healthy young women leading normal lives.

Chuck Schumer, and every other pandering Democrat, is invited to imagine what was going on in the mind of that human being, only 24 weeks after conception. Here was this little person, physically struggling to stay alive, missing the companion who had been by her side for her entire limited existence. She was alone, unable to understand why, and she was dying. And then her twin was returned to her side, and her world regained some of the comfort to which she’d grown accustomed. She got stronger. She lived.

This is not a story of a bundle of nonviable cells. This is the story of a person. This is the person that Chuck Schumer and every other extremist “pro-choice” advocate have decided it’s OK to kill for no reason apart from being unwanted by the mother.

Even if you support Roe v. Wade, it did not understand itself as giving anyone the right to murder. What the decision hinged upon, right or wrong, was the “viability” of the fetus. And “viability” is now on a collision course with technology.

In 2014, Courtney Stensrud gave birth to an infant girl in Texas after only 21 weeks of pregnancy. That baby is now a healthy 5-year-old, with no mental or health disabilities.

Everyone knows that extremely premature infants can suffer extreme health challenges and that many of them don’t survive long after being born. That’s not the point. What matters is that a 24-week-old fetus is a human being, with thoughts and feelings, capable of feeling a sense of identity, capable of giving and receiving companionship.

Argue all you like over where to draw the line of “viability.” But don’t pretend that aborting a normal 24-week-old fetus isn’t murder.

The Stunning Hypocrisy

One of the reasons Democrats are willing to defend killing babies in the womb is that if these babies are born, they may end up leading problematic lives, trapped in poverty, raised by unwilling parents, facing a life of discrimination, ineligible for the entitlements or privileges that our society is unwilling or unable to afford. Yet these same Democrats insist that Americans open the borders to flood the cities with economic refugees from all over the world.

The only way to explain this paradox is to understand the common motivation, which is crass political calculation and opportunism. In the case of being “pro-choice,” Democrats want to defend laws that place few if any restrictions on abortion because that helps them tag Republicans as waging a “war on women,” as if to recognize the humanity of a fetus somehow equates to misogyny.

In the case of immigration, Democrats call for open borders because that helps them tag Republicans as “racists” and “xenophobes,” as if it constitutes unforgivable bigotry to recognize reality: America can’t possibly absorb the billion or so people who would come here from elsewhere.

If the press and the social media monopolies weren’t overwhelmingly partisan in favor of Democrats, the extremists who think aborting a 24-week-old fetus is a “human right” would be exposed for their cold-blooded inhumanity. Have a look at these videos published by the Campaign for Life Coalition. Then go try to find them on YouTube.

When politicians like Chuck Schumer descend so low as to issue veiled threats of violence against sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices, it’s time for everyone to speak out, not just pro-life advocates. Those of us who recognize the humanity of the fetus may still be able to acknowledge that, in some respects at least, there is a legal case to be made by pro-choice advocates. But we reserve our empathy for those who choose life.

Chuck Schumer is encouraged to avoid making those of us who have stayed out of the abortion debate have to pick one extreme or the other. Because if and when that happens, it will be Schumer, and every other phony political hack who panders to the pro-choice extremists, who reaps the whirlwind.

Elections

Common Sense vs. Corruption (Again)

Trump is once again likely to be running against a Democrat who is the very embodiment of political corruption, even the most outstanding current example we have of American political corruption, aside from the Clintons of course.

The candidates who most excited the punditocracy have quit the race. Over at National Review, Jim Geraghty observes that “Elizabeth Warren departs the race without finishing above third place in a single state. Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand quit well before the voting.”

These media candidates, of course, were also the most amusing candidates. But the circus has left town; things just got serious. The race for the party’s nomination is now down to a Marxist hardliner who has always eschewed party membership and Joe Biden, the party hack who is the pick of the Democratic Party’s powers-that-be. Interesting.

As of today, those in the know tell us that Biden is going to come out on top.

And that means 2020 will be, in essence, a re-run of 2016.

Back in July of last year, I asked: “Is Common Sense Making a Comeback?” In that piece, I noted that Trump had run as “a common-sense conservative.” My question was: Did America, by electing Trump, take a step in the direction of returning to common sense in American political life?

That raises the question of the meaning of the 2016 election. Was the election decided by the vote for common sense conservatism or by the vote against the brazen corruption of the Clintons? If the election was decided by voters recoiling from the nauseating corruption of the Clintons, then the true test of common sense may await us in 2020.

For a replay of common sense versus political corruption, the Democrats would probably need to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden. At this point, it seems that only Biden’s political corruption approaches the corruption of the Clintons, though, as with the Clintons, the media could be counted on to conduct a cover-up and distraction campaign to protect him.

In 2016, Trump ran against someone who should have been headed to the Big House instead of running for the White House. You or I already would have been in the Big House if we had committed a tiny fraction of the rule-breaking Hillary Clinton has racked up. But in America today, members of the deep state get a pass when they break the rules; you and me, not so much.

The Democrats should have been forced to find another candidate to run against Trump in 2016 because their candidate should have been in jail. A candidate, even a Democrat, running for the Oval Office from federal prison is an innovation in American politics that America is probably not yet ready to experience.

Unfortunately for those of us drawn to the idea of a contest between common sense and the nonsense offered by the strange new Democrat Party, so unlike the party of JFK or even of Walter Mondale, it now appears a contest between common sense and its opposite is not in the offing for 2020. As in 2016, Trump is once again likely to be running against a Democrat who is the very embodiment of political corruption, even the most outstanding current example we have of American political corruption, aside from the Clintons of course. Once again, the Democratic propaganda directorate—a.k.a., the mainstream media—will do whatever it takes to shield the voters from the truth about Biden’s corruption and about Biden’s infirmity, just as they did for Hillary.

And once again, Trump’s victory would leave the same question left by the results in 2016: did the voters choose common sense over nonsense or did they simply recoil from Biden’s manifest corruption?

Still, two victories in a row by a self-declared common-sense conservative would be interesting. It would raise the possibility that common sense is making a comeback in America. We’ll see.

Elections

Putin Endorses the Democratic Party Establishment

As in 2016, one of the Russian president’s chief goals is to sow discord in the American electorate and discredit the 2020 election’s legitimacy. In this, he has plenty of help.

In the days before the tolerant Left wanted Republicans and populists re-educated and/or eradicated, a moderate Democratic friend of mine who held a deep-blue district was engaged in a hotly contested primary against a far-Left opponent. Empathizing, I said, “I know there’s nothing I can do, but . . . ”

“There is,” she smiled. “Endorse my opponent.”

The political immoral of the story? Sometimes politicians publicly support candidates to help make sure they lose. For example, the worst thing President Trump could do to a “progressive” candidate would be to endorse him in his primary.

Apparently, such tried-and-less-than-true political tactics are lost upon many in America’s intelligence community and their cohorts in the collusion media. But then again, real-world experience isn’t the forte of elitists.

How else to explain why the stolid leftist dolts are at it again?

Though the Left jumped the gun, it fully intends to relaunch its deceitful sequel, Russiagate 2020. Also, one was advised to “ponder who is this sequel’s actual author and why . . .”

And there’s no time like now.

This time, not only will they suggest Russia is (still) colluding with President Trump to steal an American election, the Ivan the Terrible wannabe, Vladimir Putin, and his Kremlin cronies will boost the presidential candidacy of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. Ever the penny-pinching despot, Putin will want to increase the odds Russia “wins” the impending U.S. election by killing two birds and our democracy with one election interfering stone.

We will be assured by the same past and present intelligence community Obama loyalists, collusion media, and Russian collusion ambulance chasers like neo-McCarthyite Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who spawned the 2016 Russiagate lie, that this is Putin’s intent.

Of course, these are the same folk who missed the 2012 video wherein President Obama asked then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev (and Vladimir Putin) to forebear their actions and, ergo, interfere in America’s election to help him—Obama—get reelected.

While Winston Churchill observed that Russia is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” for our far smarter intelligence community (just ask ’em) Putin’s Russia is easier to read than a “Coexist” bumper sticker.

How else to explain an intelligence assessment speculating who the frequently shirtless poseur, Vlad the Bad, will want to install as president of the United States? (“Assessment” being the intelligence community’s fancy word for “guess.”)

Since most of us haven’t attended an elite foreign policy diploma mill and there majored in social climbing, ass-kissing, and appeasement, we’re left to rely upon common sense.

Though the same charlatans who credit President Barack Obama for our booming economy—you know, people like Barack Obama—also claim his administration was “tougher” on Russia than Trump’s has been, there is one person above all others who knows this is bunk. Hint: he’s an ex-KGB Lt. Colonel.

From the reneging on missile defense in Eastern Europe and the Russian “reset” to Uranium One and refusing lethal aid to Ukraine (and larding some pockets, as well?), the Democratic establishment has been a boon to Putin. His pining for the good old days of being a Soviet socialist superpower, also includes pining for the more recent days when the Democratic Party establishment gave him everything he wanted—often in return for simply biding his time (see the aforementioned Obama election interference).

So what will Putin do?

Knowing he’s hated in America and well aware he is being used as political cudgel by the Democrat establishment to hammer and sickle their opponents, Putin wants people to believe he’s supporting Trump and Sanders.

This is why the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia views Trump as a “dealmaker” they can “work with” is accurate. It is not because it is what Putin truly believes; it is what Putin wants the American intelligence community—and, ultimately, the American electorate—to believe. It is the first chapter in Putin, himself, scripting the Russiagate sequel, one history that instructs will be spread far and wide gratis by the American Left in and out of government.

Knowing his “endorsement” is poison, Putin’s next step is to let it be known through covert and overt means that he is supporting Trump, whose reelection would continue to be a disaster for Russian interests.

Similarly, Putin will also let it be known he favors Sanders as the Democratic nominee; and, unwittingly, some on the Right will join in with some of the establishment Left to spread the fake news. Yes, Sanders is a socialist with whom Putin could expect favorable treatment. But Putin isn’t one to fellow travel down a dead end. Like the Democratic establishment, Putin knows Sanders will lose to Trump—which, again, is the last outcome Putin wants.

As in 2016, one of Putin’s chief goals is to sow discord in the American electorate and discredit the 2020 election’s legitimacy. In this, he has plenty of help—witting or not—from the collusion media, the Democrat establishment, and the conspiracy theory-addled lefties riven by Trump Derangement Syndrome and its symptomatic cognitive dissonance.

Still, isn’t it odd how Putin’s “endorsed” candidates just happen to be the two biggest threats to the Democratic Party establishment?

Isn’t it odd how these “assessments” just happen to come from the bowels of the administrative state still filled with Obama and Democratic establishment holdovers?

Isn’t it odd how there’s gaming in Casablanca?

In 2005, around the time President George W. Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul (the nature of which remains unknown), I warned of a revanchist, re-Stalinizing Russia under the thumb of this would-be vozhd. One of the critical points remains: to underestimate Putin’s deviousness would be disastrous for U.S. interests.

Putin served Mother Russia and the KGB in East Germany—where they sent some of their most adroit operatives. To ascribe to Putin cartoonish motives and clownish tactics that are so easily uncovered constitutes, at best, naïve misfeasance on the part of our intelligence community (and their spoon-fed pals in the collusion media).

If ascribing such motives to Putin is spawned by political bias, it constitutes dangerous malfeasance that impacts and impairs our nation’s strategic interests; and, knowingly or not, selfishly abets Putin’s goal of sowing a corrosive discord among the American people—namely, the Democratic establishment and collusion media.

And it’s why, in advancing Russian aims through means unfair and foul, the real screenwriter of Russia-gate 2020, former KGB Lt. Col. Vladimir Putin, will continue to covertly abet and endorse the Democratic Party establishment.

Elections

Whoopi Goldberg Wants Educator Dr. Jill Biden to Be Surgeon General

The Daily Caller reports, The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg called for Democratic presidential Joe Biden to appoint his wife Jill Biden as surgeon general should he win the White House. Whoopi didn’t realize that she isn’t a “real doctor,” she is a teacher.

The misunderstanding came amid a conversation Goldberg and other co-hosts on the ABC show were having about former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent Super Tuesday success and co-host Joy Behar’s claim that she would like to see a lot of the players in the Democratic primary take up positions in a potential administration under former Vice President Joe Biden.

“If Biden wins. I would love to see that cabinet filled with all of these wonderful, smart people that have been running,” Behar began, adding, “Bloomberg, wouldn’t Bloomberg be a great one for Mnuchin’s job, treasury secretary?”

Jonathan Karl weighed in then, saying that he didn’t believe that any promises had already been made but that it would certainly make sense for Biden to reward loyalty and support with position. “Klobuchar is almost certainly going to be on the short list for vice president. I don’t know if she’ll ultimately be his running mate but she’ll be on that list.”

“I’m hoping Dr. Jill becomes the Surgeon General, his wife,” Goldberg said then. “Joe Biden’s wife. He would never do it but, yeah, she’s a hell of a doctor. She’s an amazing doctor.”

“I thought she was a doctor in —” Meghan McCain replied.

“—PhD,” Behar interrupted.

“I could be wrong,” Goldberg shrugged.

“She’s a teacher,” Sunny Hostin confirmed, suggesting instead that she would be a better fit as Secretary of Education — the post currently held by Betsy DeVos.

“Perfect,” Behar agreed.

Elections

Bring It, Chuck

If there’s a way the enemies of the Constitution can punish originalist judges, it stands to reason that justices who vandalize the Constitution to further the progressive agenda can also face reprisals from the Constitution’s friends.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) threats against conservative Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are the talk of the nation.

Speaking at a Planned Parenthood rally on the Supreme Court’s steps on Wednesday, Schumer didn’t exactly threaten to sell the jurists’ body parts after vivisection. But he did say, “I want to tell you Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price . . . you won’t know what hit you, if you go forward.”

Schumer may not be aware that “reap the whirlwind” is a Biblical allusion from Hosea, a book of dire warnings, which it wouldn’t hurt him to read. As for “pay the price” and “you won’t know what hit you,” if used against elected officials, those phrases might be excused as tough talk referring to the next election.

But justices are not elected.

Still, let’s presume those are not actual threats of violence—for two excellent reasons.

First, there are likely a thousand opinion columns and a million Facebook posts being composed which give more than adequate coverage to the scenario in which they are.

But second, Schumer operates in a blustering, disingenuous, ruthless world of political pressure. It’s logical that political pressure is what he intended his threats to convey. Yes, “tough talk” also energizes constituents, but only if they believe that Schumer has some practical option in mind.

What could that option be? What dirty tricks, what impassioned calumnies, what forms of character assassination could be employed against Gorsuch and Kavanaugh—I mean, which weren’t already employed, in the no-holds-barred confirmation fights? What more could be done to destroy those who’ve strode manfully through the gauntlet of the Democrat’s full fury?

We’ve discounted violence. (Read those other columns, for that possibility.) Partisan impeachment attempts? That weapon’s already been deployed, ineffectively, and it can only become weaker with further use. So, what’s he got? Mean words from celebrities at the next awards show?

Whatever the nonviolent option for punishing justices is, Schumer’s playing a risky game by threatening it. The judiciary deliberately was set up to be insulated from public whims and legislative agendas. If there’s a way around that, however,  if there’s a partisan reprisal option which can penetrate the defenses the Founders put in place . . . well, then, both sides can employ it.

If there’s a way the enemies of the Constitution can punish originalist judges, it stands to reason that justices who vandalize the Constitution to further the progressive agenda can also face reprisals from the Constitution’s friends.

So, what tactic do you have in mind, Schumer? Go ahead and unleash it—if you’re ready to see it used against you, too.  If you go forward, you know exactly what will hit you—because it was your idea in the first place.

Elections

The Left’s Politicization of Coronavirus Backfires—Bigly

As the Left and their collaborators in the media tried to score political points against the president, they ended up highlighting a deep concern: The fact that the Chinese could weaponize our dependence on them.

Even first year political science students know how difficult it is to beat an incumbent president and that it is nearly impossible to beat one leading a soaring economy; only five incumbent presidents have lost their re-election bids since 1900. No wonder the media and Democrats have linked arms to mislead the American people in yet another paranoia propaganda campaign.

It’s becoming fairly obvious that the media and Democrats are hyping the coronavirus outbreak to incite panic, harm the markets and economy, and score political points against President Trump. Of course, as with the Mueller investigation and impeachment, their efforts backfired as the president dealt with the outbreak forcefully and immediately.

There is one silver lining in this media circus surrounding the coronavirus epidemic. Their insistence on disseminating widespread fear and paranoia about it has allowed us, in turn, to diagnose our dangerous dependence on China.

It should be apparent to most by now that the corrupt and barbaric Communist Chinese regime has been enriched and empowered by the naïveté of the West. They have stolen intellectual property, used illegal subsidies, dumped their products, and now apparently are using slave labor to produce goods to sell to the West.

But the Chinese have been empowered as well by the greed of Chamber of Commerce corporate shills who were all for offshoring production to sell out the U.S. worker if it meant better bottom lines for themselves.

Let’s be candid: they don’t care about the small and medium-sized businesses and they don’t care about the American workers who don’t wear suits and work in offices. They have undercut this country for decades by offshoring production just to increase profits and sell cheaper goods, all to the detriment of American workers and communities.

Yes, there were short term benefits to consumers, but at what cost to American workers, industry, communities, small businesses, and even national security?

Consider the arguments in favor of globalism in light of what we now must see as a dangerous dependence on the corrupt Chinese regime. Take pharmaceuticals as an example.

A Department of Commerce study found that a staggering 97 percent of all antibiotics in the United States came from China. Add the startling statistic that 80 percent of the ingredients we use to make various drugs within the United States are also from China or outsourced from other nations and you have a recipe for disaster.

While antibiotics and pharmaceuticals have been off the table in the trade “war” with China, if China really wanted to wreak havoc in the United States, they could simply stop our medicine shipments. And don’t think they wouldn’t. The idea actually already has been proposed by a leading Chinese economist, who suggested such action as a “countermeasure” in the trade war. Imagine our healthcare system breaking down in weeks without the necessary medicines to combat daily diseases within our borders.

Look around you. Does your local Walmart or CVS or Target have any hand sanitizer or face masks in stock?

But this isn’t simply about healthcare: this is about national defense. A bill co-sponsored by Representatives Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.) last month highlighted this problem, with the goal to “encourage U.S. manufacturers to take over the business as a matter of national security.”

“It’s clear that China controls the generic drug market our military needs to stay healthy,” Garamendi said.

In this instance, the Left’s commitment to never letting a serious crisis “go to waste” backfired on them and their collaborators in the media. As they tried to score political points against Trump, they ended up highlighting an actual and deep concern: The fact that China could weaponize our dependence on them. Moreover, Trump has been and continues to be way ahead of them on this issue.

The fragile balance of our national security is perched in some ways on the precipice of China’s whims. We shouldn’t let this crisis go to waste. This is our chance to restore vital manufacturing, shift supply chains out of China, and, most importantly, to do it as quickly as possible and never allow America to be put in such a vulnerable position again.

Elections

Fake Radical Bernie Sanders Colludes with DNC and Establishment

The Vermont socialist had the chance to take a stand for his innocent supporters, defusing tensions with a nuclear power and curbing the abuses of the deep state and justice system along the way. In each case, he chose to go along to get along. That is definitely consistent—consistently treacherous.

Agents of the Russian Federation did not act on behalf of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in any official or unofficial capacity in 2016, and no matter how much corporate media bloviates to the contrary, there is no evidence of such interference. If there were, the drumbeat of hyperbolic rants about it would be all across conservative talk radio and Sean Hannity would be printing “Kremlin Colonel Sanders” t-shirts.

Fast forward to four years later and what are we to believe  is the new evidence of “Russian interference” on Bernie’s behalf, apart from briefings given by intelligence officials supposedly presented to the House Intelligence Committee but disputed by National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and GOP members of the committee? As the Vermont senator’s fortunes appeared to be rising, suddenly rumors of Boris and Natasha meddling in the election conveniently cropped up in front of Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) committee.

Isn’t it funny how it all just seems to happen as if on a seasonal schedule?

Not to be outdone, when asked about aberrant behavior by his own and actual supporters online and elsewhere towards supporters of rival campaigns, Bernie Sanders was not beneath invoking the wild card of “Russian shenanigans” rather than admit that some of his supporters might be violent.

Thanks to his extraordinary lack of a spine, Sanders is likely to allow these slanderous allegations to proceed, and not for the first time. For someone polling so high with Latinos, Bernie should at some point dig down and find the cojones and demand from the media and intelligence agencies tangible proof of these allegations. While he does that, he should also demand to know whether anything that Vladimir Putin is doing to “influence” the election approaches even a shadow of what Michael Bloomberg is trying to do with his $500 million in campaign spending (so far).

Fighting fire with gasoline

Instead of confronting the press and demanding that it substantiate its allegations, Sanders has fed the bears. Recently in Nevada, when asked about harassment by his supporters of rival Pete Buttigieg’s supporters, Bernie deflected, saying “. . . not being too paranoid, all of us remember 2016 and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our election and divide us up. I’m not saying that’s happening.”

But if he’s not saying that, then why bring it up? By invoking Russia, Bernie Sanders is attempting to prop up what he knows is a major vulnerability of his campaign which is the violent and totalitarian tendencies of some of his supporters.

In January, when staffers in Iowa and South Carolina were exposed on video to be open Marxist-Leninists who believe in revolution by force if not by the ballot and reeducation camps, Sanders’s campaign did not fire the people in question but merely had them protect their social media accounts—even in the case of one who had been arrested on a DUI. One possible reason that the campaign has turned a blind eye to these people is that at this stage of the primary campaign it is too difficult to hire dedicated personnel with the willingness to work in those specific states. Another possible reason could be that a series of embarrassing firings would alienate his core constituency: young radical socialists.

Moreover, there is a distinction to be made between episodes of so-called harassment such as online namecalling and taunting (which is an intrinsic part of modern social media) and actual violent incidents such as the assault committed by one Bernie supporter in recent weeks against a man in a Black Guns Matter t-shirt at one of his events.

Whatever the reason, Sanders is shielding offending supporters and staff by being less than honest, which is part of a shameful pattern of behavior.

When his 2016 campaign was accused in 2018 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of having been aided and abetted by Russia, Sanders did not voice a clear objection. Instead, he claimed a campaign worker had alerted authorities at the time. Were he to have done only a cursory investigation, Sanders would have discovered—as I did in a National File story published last month—that the person in question had not been affiliated with his campaign but was a hoax journalist attempting to capitalize on the “Russian collusion” hysteria of the early months of the Trump Administration.

The people that the fraudulent tipster John Mattes implicated were real, innocent Bernie supporters and their personal reputations were ruined by these allegations that were featured by mainstream media outlets like Huffington Post, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, and Ari Melber. How could a candidate like Sanders, who  is so obsessed with “fairness,” think it is fair to tar supporters with the same brush that is now used to whitewash other more slippery supporters who are actually a problem?

The answer is difficult to know but is most likely very simple. While deluded celebrities like Joe Rogan admire Bernie for his supposed consistency, the truth is that most politicians (and even most human beings) are more than willing to bargain their principles in the interest of self-preservation.

In his heart, Sanders knows that notwithstanding obvious differences and the threats that Russia poses, the United States cannot afford not to have a functional and cordial bilateral relationship with it. But once the same DNC that bamboozled him in 2016 decided to scapegoat Moscow for their abysmal loss that year, Bernie Sanders decided to cling to its sinking ship rather than jump into the life raft of his own self-declared “independence.”

While publicly condemning the unfair treatment of the DNC, he collaborates with the party establishment on deceiving the public concerning Russia. Here is a quick list of similar betrayals:

  • In July 2018, following President Trump’s controversial conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Senate Democrats introduced a resolution to “Protest American Democracy from Russian Interference.” The senator chosen to deliver the remarks in favor of the bill on the floor was . . . Bernie Sanders.
  • In April 2019, after the release of the Mueller report, with no smoking gun nor any evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, Bernie called for more investigations into the president.
  • In the matter of the Mueller investigation, Sanders once again shows that his rhetoric about the rights of people within the criminal justice system can be applied only based on convenience. He has never raised his voice to object to the blatantly political decisions to indict and convict Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, or Dutch national Alex van der Zwaan for process crimes absent any evidence of a crime related to Russian interference or collusion.
  • The intelligence community’s contrived cases for wiretapping and surveillance of Papadopoulos and Carter Page have so far escaped his criticism, even though in 2015 he made a point of making it clear that he was against renewing the Patriot Act under President Obama.
  • While objecting to prosecution in Brazil against journalist and supporter Glenn Greenwald, Sanders surrogate Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) omitted any mention of imprisoned Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

In every one of those cases, neither ideology nor personal beliefs come into play. Bernie Sanders had the chance to take a stand for his innocent supporters, defusing tensions with a nuclear power and curbing the abuses of the deep state and justice system along the way. And in each case, he chose to go along to get along. That is definitely consistent—consistently treacherous.

Elections

‘I’m More Qualified Than You To Beat Trump!’

Whatever happens, the Democratic Party will never exist again as a party with a sane, left-of-center orientation.

Our electoral politics are about to enter a kind of terra incognita, with an avowed Marxist dinosaur who spent a lifetime praising Communist dictatorships and brutal leftist tyrants all around the globe, as the most likely nominee of one of the major parties. 

When the history of the 2020 election is written, this suicidal choice by the Democratic Party’s primary electorate will be traced back to one central theme: the party’s singular obsession with Donald J. Trump. 

Beating Trump is a monomaniacal preoccupation with the Democratic electorate. Every candidate is viewed through that lens and that lens alone. The problem for Democrats going into the general election is that beating Trump, per se, isn’t an obsession with a majority of the voters—improving their own lives is more important. 

On the stump, Democrats barely mention job creation, for example—except for when they are talking about creating more government jobs. Reviving manufacturing or America’s industrial base is of no interest to them—killing private-sector jobs, like auto manufacturing jobs, or mining jobs, or traditional energy sector jobs, is in vogue. Displaced blue-collar workers can learn to code.

Terrorism is of no interest to Democratic candidates—they all condemned the drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani. Crime or public safety? Ensuring racial proportionality in arrests and prosecutions is more important. Quality of education? As long as students are indoctrinated and transgender issues are properly addressed for all children eager to hop on the trend, it’s all good. 

With the exception of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, who wants a Marxist revolution and whose paleo-Stalinist nonsense has now almost totally infected the Democratic Party, “beating Trump” is the only thing any of them seem to want to talk about.

Unserious Candidates, Sliding Leftward

Gallons of ink have been spilled, and countless gigabytes have been posted, debating which candidate can best “take on Trump.” Reporters collect quotes from attendees at candidates’ events on the subject of who can best beat Trump. Trump isn’t just living rent-free in their collective heads—he has put down deep roots and applied for permanent resident status there. 

At any Democratic debate, vanishingly little time is spent discussing job creation, or the job security that flows from a vibrant labor market, or energy independence, or people’s physical security in the face of crime in cities run by Democrats. The contestants just repeat some variation of “I am the one who can beat Trump,” coupled with “we need an economy that works for everybody, not just the corrupt billionaires.” Meanwhile, the cancerous ideology of socialism continues to corrupt the Democratic Party, dragging it further and further leftward.

Beto O’Rourke, the fake Texas Hispanic, burst onto the national scene with his losing campaign to unseat Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), despite spending a mind-bending $80 Million. Why was he most qualified to defeat Trump? Because he had the best ideas for keeping the economic expansion going? Because he had the best ideas for enforcing immigration laws? Nope. He could best defeat Trump because he could win Texas (even though he didn’t)! 

As Beto’s campaign sputtered, his unserious proposals (Confiscate guns now! No more tax exemptions for churches!) drifted further and further into la-la-land. On November 1, Beto saw the writing on the wall and scurried out of the limelight.

That’s the problem with being a self-funded billionaire—everyone around you will only tell you things you want to hear.

What about Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.)? Booker’s candidacy was “about the diverse coalition that is necessary to beat Donald Trump.” Booker was not the jobs candidate, nor was he the lower taxes candidate, nor the business creation candidate, nor the anti-crime candidate. Booker could beat Trump, he said, because he was the diversity candidate. It turned out, however, that Booker has always had a hard time pretending America is some post-apocalyptic hellhole of racism, poverty, and despair. Struggling in the polls and out of money, Booker dropped out on January 13—shortly before the Iowa caucuses. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) ran as a one-issue “I’m a mom” candidate best able to defeat Trump, because, well, Trump is not a mom. “The future is female!” she proclaimed, erasing her two sons from that future. Anything other than the “I’m a mom” was either an afterthought or viewed through the prism of “family”—another word for “I’m a mom, and Trump is not, so that’s why I’ll beat him.” 

After panhandling for dollar bills in Iowa restaurants and gay bars, and only (just barely) qualifying for the first two debates, Gillibrand crashed and burned on August 28. The lesson—that a shameless panderfest to this or that identity group (in her case, a “distinctly feminist message that looked like a compelling counter to Donald Trump”) was not the way to go—fell on deaf ears.

A New Generation? Not Quite Yet

Julian “Latino Obama” Castro was yet another shiny object for the leftwing media. His prediction of whom the Democrats will nominate looks comical in hindsight:

Kennedy was 43 when he took office. Carter was 50 or 51. Clinton was 46 and Obama was 46 or 47. I think you’re going to have somebody from this group under 55 that emerges as a Democratic nominee. Because when I go out there, I hear very clearly that people want a new generation of leadership—a new face—whether I run or not.

Try not to bust your gut laughing—the likely Democratic nominee is actually a 78-year-old Marxist who had a heart attack after angrily yelling at the sky, as is his habitual practice, and his chief competitors are a 77-year-old cognitively-challenged denture-sporting ex-vice president, a 70-year-old screeching banshee from Massachusetts, and a 78-year-old gazillionaire who has a stent implanted in his heart and eats blood thinners and beta-blockers like they are candy

But what made Castro think he was unique enough to make him the one to defeat Trump? As Castro explained, “you have to be able to stand up to Donald Trump and to call him out.” Since every other candidate also promised to stand up to Trump and to call him out, Castro’s candidacy struggled in the low single digits for months. Following a few middling and borderline obnoxious debate performances, Castro’s campaign ended ignominiously on January 2, after desperate appeals for money.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a charisma-deficient boss from hell, told us she was the one most qualified to beat Trump because she was from the Midwest. Trump isn’t from the Midwest and has never lived there—but he won the Midwest anyway. Being from the Midwest certainly didn’t help Klobuchar in next-door Iowa much. 

Klobuchar’s entreaties to Democratic primary voters, that the financial math of Bernie’s proposals doesn’t add up were entirely correct—and also of entirely zero interest to them. The “I can beat Trump in the Midwest because I am from Minnesota” didn’t move the needle at all, and she’s now out of the running, too.

Coal billionaire Tom Steyer was best able to beat Trump, he said, because only he got the true religion of climate change. Apparently nobody around Steyer ever had the courage to gently explain to him that he will never, ever be president. Ever.

That’s the problem with being a self-funded billionaire—everyone around you will only tell you things you want to hear. You pay the bills. Having demonstrated that his robotic woodenness is matched only by Bloomberg’s robotic woodenness, Steyer’s odds of becoming the nominee were microscopic even before South Carolina. Spending $250 million (that’s one-quarter of a billion dollars, for you and me) didn’t buy him a whole lot of love—Steyer dropped out the night of the primary. He won’t be missed (except by ad executives).

Ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been planning to run for president since he was in diapers. He even joined the military as a direct commission officer because he thought that a “served in the military” checkmark would help his résumé. (He’s in the wrong party for that.) His speeches and debate performances come straight out of McKinsey & Co. PowerPoint slides. 

In theory, Biden could have claimed the mantle of the candidate who is concerned about jobs, taxes, schools, and immigration. Instead, he has positioned himself as the “Barack-and-I” electability choice while adopting the lunatic fringe’s positions.

Buttigieg was a rarity—he did say many vacuous and unspecific words about some things that people actually care about—all that McKinsey consulting experience has taught him that real things matter more to people than abstract nonsense. Other Democrats might want to emulate that aspect of his campaign, if not the creepily robotic delivery. 

Buttigieg had a kind of “I can beat Trump because I’m twice as young as the tired old fossils standing next to me” vibe. Alas, even as a sort-of non-Bernie (despite having a genetic predisposition to Marxism) his campaign ran out of gas in South Carolina. In the language of campaign-speak, after “having internal conversations” about the future (which is never a good sign) Mayor Pete was out, so to speak.

Faux Left vs. Real Left

After back-of-the-pack results in no fewer than four consecutive states, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is over, and she knows it. Her rhetoric always came back to corporate greed, rigged systems, and corruption. The substance of her “plans” differed little from those of Bernie Sanders—government takeover or regulation of virtually everything, just without the socialist label. If she weren’t old and 1023/1024th white, Bernie would take her as a running mate.

So what made Warren so special? “She is a fighter.” She cannot possibly believe her own plans (unlike Bernie, who is a classic Marxist-Leninist useful idiot, and probably believes some of it). The leftists sense it—why buy an obvious fake, when the real thing is standing right next to her, red in the face, shrieking Marxist gibberish even louder than she is?

With her odds of becoming the nominee now a tiny fraction of a percent, and Warren herself “reassuring supporters” that she is in it for the long haul, expect her to drop out after Super Tuesday. Successful campaigns don’t need to reassure anyone—their success is all the reassurance they need.

Remember Kamala Harris? Perhaps she was most qualified to beat Trump because, as a senator from California, she knew about the tech industry, manufacturing, and farming? Perhaps she knew how to appeal to both urban voters and rural voters? Nope. She was most qualified to beat Trump because she was once a prosecutor, and she would not only beat him, but prosecute him afterward! 

Harris entered the race with much promise: relatively young, articulate, female, black, Indian, experienced (well, sort of) . . . she checked off all sorts of boxes. Schizophrenically, Harris could never make up her mind about whether she wanted to out-crazy the crazies on the Left, or try to compete with Biden for the “moderate” lane. 

Her prosecutorial attack talents were demonstrated in the first Democratic debate in June 2019, when she tore into Biden for (as it turned out) having the same views on school busing as she herself held. Her polls briefly climbed up to the mid-teens, but that moment turned out to be just that—a moment. By the fall, Harris’ campaign was circling the drain, its messaging confused, its organization in disarray. On December 2, the one-time “tough prosecutor” dropped out.

A Sad Parade

Among the slew of other “also-rans” it is worth recalling only Tim Ryan—remember him? Probably not. The congressman from Ohio naïvely tried to talk about things like jobs, manufacturing, America’s industrial base—in other words, things that normal people, in the Midwest and elsewhere, actually care about. Ryan’s problem? The Democratic Party has absolutely no interest in any of this. Democrats are much more interested in remote and mostly irrelevant abstract notions, like “environmental justice,” climate change, and transgender rights for 5-year-olds. 

Though he was not terribly exciting, Ryan sounded saner and more coherent than the clowns riding the Democrat clown bus—which meant, obviously, that he had zero chance. Ryan did make it into the first couple of debates, got no traction, and dropped out on October 24. If a tree falls in a forest with nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?  That’s the epitaph for his campaign and the lesson or Democrats who want to talk about issues general election voters find compelling. 

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio got bored running his own city into the ground and decided to set his sights higher—on running the entire country into the ground.  At 6’5”, he was the tallest candidate, and, therefore, most qualified.  Selecting a candidate based on his height turned out to be a bridge too far even for loopy Democratic voters.  His candidacy deader than a doornail, de Blasio called it quits on September 20, and went back to screwing up New York City.

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, had a simple reason for why he would beat Trump: he, and he alone, really cared about climate change. Every other contestant cared, sure, but Inslee really, really cared. His polls in a permanent flatline, Inslee dropped out on August 21.

It’s difficult to know if we should laugh at all this, cry, or shrug indifferently.

John Hickenlooper, the ex-governor of Colorado, had no difficulty telling huge adoring crowds why he was most qualified to beat Trump: “I’m running for president because the only way to end the Trump crisis of division is with a leader who knows how to bring people together and get stuff done.” Actually, I’m just kidding—there were no huge crowds. In fact, there were no crowds of any kind for him. His poll numbers comatose, the Hickenlooper campaign finally collapsed on August 15.

Andrew Yang became the first semi-serious Asian-American candidate to run for president. He was most qualified to beat Trump because he was Asian, which meant that he knew many doctors, and like all Asians, he could do math better than Bernie. After New Hampshire, he must have done the math, said “adios, muchachos” to his supporters, and joined CNN.

Bloomberg’s Billions, Biden’s “Barack-and-I” Electability

Mike Bloomberg doesn’t need to explain anything to anybody—his explanation for why he can beat Trump is loud and clear, available on every channel on every TV or computer screen. With his galactic-sized bank account, Bloomberg’s theory of the election requires no ability to understand complex nuances: he will abandon every belief he ever held, apologize for everything he ever did, and buy the nomination by running two billion dollars’ worth of ads about how he can “get it done,” then he will buy the presidency by running two billion dollars’ more worth of ads. 

And if it takes more money than that, that’s fine. After his catastrophic debate performance in Nevada, and his barely-passable debate performance in South Carolina, Bloomberg will soon be the guy wearing the t-shirt that says “I spent enough money on TV ads to buy Belgium, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

It is hard to do justice to the Joe Biden campaign in one or two paragraphs. He cratered in Iowa. He crumpled in New Hampshire. He flubbed in Nevada, although (without a trace of irony) he called his very distant second place in Nevada a “comeback.”  He achieved a kind of zombie resurrection with his primary win in South Carolina—the first time he actually won anything in 33 years of presidential aspirations. His South Carolina efforts were characterized by a ramped-up output of bizarre pronouncements. 

In theory, Biden could have claimed the mantle of the candidate who is concerned about jobs, taxes, schools, immigration—issues about which ordinary Americans actually care. Instead, Biden has positioned himself as the “Barack-and-I” electability choice while adopting the lunatic fringe’s positions on open borders, foreign policy, transgenderism, climate hysteria, abortion, and most everything else. 

In the last debate, a caffeinated-to-the-gills Biden was perkier than usual, without the vacant stare of someone who checked out the day before. Aside from the debate, Biden’s mental collapse on the South Carolina campaign trail is worth a separate analysis. 

If I were Trump, I’d be hard-pressed to decide which challenger I’d rather face—a near-octogenarian perpetually-pissed-off Marxist who hollers and gesticulates madly when confronted by an inconvenient question? Or a near-octogenarian buffoonish “Mr. Electability” who remembers things that never happened, but can’t remember which job he is running to fill

It’s difficult to know if we should laugh at all this, cry, or shrug indifferently. Whatever happens, the Democratic Party will never exist again as a party with a sane, left-of-center orientation.

Elections

Bernie’s Prophetic Play for Demographic Advantage

If Sanders is the nominee and loses to Trump in November, it won’t be because of something he said about Fidel Castro 30 years ago. It will be because, like George McGovern, his time had not yet come.

Since Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders’s stunning victory in Nevada, the liberal Democratic establishment is in panic mode. Their response makes sense. Yes, it does appear to many rational observers that the Democratic Party is about to immolate itself.

But people on the Right should not break out the champagne just yet.

According to a popular theory, Sanders is tapping into the same “populist” outrage that propelled Donald Trump to power. Voters, especially young and poor voters, want to destroy an increasingly unequal social order. It’s true that there is an overlap between Trump and Sanders—both have a working-class message and are critical of globalization in different ways. But what separates them is enough to make you wonder what can really be meant by “populism” today. 

The term “populist” derives from “people,” after all. But who exactly are our people

While Trump won handily with white working-class voters in 2016, Sanders is boasting about building a “diverse” coalition.

The conversation about “electability” surrounding Sanders is misleading. According to some, Sanders is too radical to win a working majority of Americans. He’s a Communist. He’s a socialist. He’s a Russian agent. And so on. But these pat talking points elide something significant: to an increasing degree, “electable” has less to do with policy than with where the electorate is coming from.

Is Bernie Sanders George McGovern? Who knows. Who cares? It won’t matter for very long. Sanders seems to understand this.

A Big Flip on Immigration

The scariest and most radical thing about Sanders isn’t his socialism but his immigration position. Of course, this position isn’t really much different from those of his primary rivals except that now it has his full-throated support. Like his competitors, Sanders is promising open borders: a mass amnesty for 22 million illegal immigrants, and an effective end to immigration enforcement. Bernie is only a “populist” in the sense that he is courting, potentially, the population of the entire world. 

Bernie’s “populism” is a world away from “America First.” Sanders wasn’t always so radical on immigration—once upon a time (four years ago) he called open borders a “Koch brothers proposal”—but he has since been beaten into shape by the cultural Left and has seen the light.

If you look at how Sanders did in Nevada, it’s enough to dispel the mystery about why he flipped. If he were to win the presidency and grant a mass amnesty, he would be running effectively un-opposed in 2024.

If the Nevada caucuses are any indication, then demographics is destiny—not just for Bernie Sanders, but for the Democratic Party and for all aspiring presidents.

What made the Nevada caucuses special is no secret: unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada is a majority-minority state. Its diverse, Hispanicized population more accurately reflects the Democratic electorate nationwide, but it’s also a glimpse into how the country is trending demographically. The Latino population in Nevada is about 30 percent. It’s one of the most heavily Latino states in the country. America is projected to become minority white around 2050.

What Does a “Diverse Coalition” Mean?

Sanders absolutely crushed it in Nevada—it was his most impressive victory yet—but his most remarkable leads were with young people and Latino voters. He won about 50 percent of Latinos, roughly the same percentage as he did in 2016, but against numerous competitors this time.

The white vote, in keeping with the divided nature of the race, was more split up: Sanders won about a third of the state’s diminishing white population of Democrats, 20 percent less than in 2016 and more than his competitors, but by a small margin. He lost the black vote to Biden. It’s fair to say that Sanders was anchored by Latinos and young people.

Sanders has claimed that he is building a diverse coalition, and after Nevada, he can say that with some truth. He carried a truly impressive array of groups: not just Latinos but whites, college-educated voters, non-college educated voters, men, women.

But the term “diverse” ignores some important demographic information. For one, Sanders does not have a lock on the black vote. Biden beat him with blacks in Nevada by about 10 points. And as we’ve seen, Biden won South Carolina’s primaries with robust black support. Neither does Sanders appear to have a distinct advantage with white voters, who delivered a fairly split verdict in Nevada.

Then there’s the fact that the black population in America hasn’t changed much in recent years, while the white population has dropped dramatically. In parts of the country (and soon will it be in the whole country), the largest source of population growth comes from immigrants, specifically Mexican and Latin American immigrants. In other words, the best bet for any Democrat is to tap into the fastest-growing part of the population: Latino migrants and their descendants. Just based on the Nevada results, Sanders seems to be doing that.

Anticipating today’s Super Tuesday results, Sanders could well sweep California and Texas, both heavily Latino states that are also majority-minority.

Sanders has the support of young people and Hispanic immigrants who, because of their high fertility, trend young. This isn’t terribly surprising. It turns out that billionaire bashing rhetoric is appealing to people who don’t own anything. This is a vulnerability for Donald Trump, to be sure, at least if he chooses to run—in keeping with the advice of clueless advisers—simply as a non-socialist.

If Sanders is the nominee and loses to Trump in 2020, it won’t be because of something he said about Fidel Castro 30 years ago. It will be because, like McGovern, his time had not yet come.

 

Elections

Centrists Flirt With Democrats, and the Party Rebuffs Them

What is happening in Allegheny and Lancaster counties, and countless other counties across the country, shouldn’t surprise anyone. It has been reflected in every single Democratic debate of this presidential cycle.

PITTSBURGH—There is a battle going on here within the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, a formidable force of centrist, conservative, and liberal Democrats whose backgrounds range from union halls in the city to the businessmen and women who have spread out into the leafy suburbs that hug the city limits.

A key figure in the battle is committeewoman Heather Kass, who is running for the state House. Several years ago, Kass posted on social media criticism of Obamacare and the distribution of free Narcan for addicts—and insinuated support for President Donald Trump.

Fortunately for Kass, she received 49 votes from the committee to secure its endorsement. Her opponent, liberal activist Jess Benham, received just 19.

That’s when things got interesting. Darrin Kelly, an influential local labor leader, issued a statement blasting Kass’s previous statements. The party hierarchy followed that up by saying her social media history was disqualifying.

The fight soon unraveled in many different directions and tested a party that has comfortably come together and built a force that helped keep a Democrat as the chief executive officer for five consecutive terms and keep a majority of the county council seats.

Now accusations of disloyalty and closet Trumpism are being tossed around by the liberal wing of the party. The factions that once worked together well enough to enjoy a healthy coalition are splintering.

Party Chairwoman Eileen Kelly held a press conference defending the endorsement process and encouraging forgiveness of Kass’s past social media posts. But in response, local elected Democrats including two of the county’s congressmen, Representatives Mike Doyle and Conor Lamb, demanded her resignation.

Two things are worth watching: The chairwoman is probably going nowhere, and the April 28 Democratic primaries in Pennsylvania are going to be a spectacle. This county isn’t the only one in the commonwealth with fractures within the party. Roughly 250 miles due east along the Lincoln Highway, Lancaster County is experiencing some serious turmoil within its party ranks.

Unlike Allegheny, Lancaster is considered a red county. Yet despite giving Trump a majority of its votes in 2016, Democrats (under then-Chairwoman JoAnn Hertz) fought and flipped traditionally Republican-held suburbs in the 2017 and 2019 local elections.

As thanks, Hertz was given the choice of either facing public criticisms from within the party ranks or resigning.

Forced out, Hertz was replaced in a committee election by Diane Topakian, a retired Service Employees International Union political organizer who is from the most liberal side of the party.

Places such as Allegheny and Lancaster counties have made strides in elections with Democratic candidates who ran and won as centrists. Once they are elected, however, local party apparatuses start to demand more fidelity to liberalism, and the national party stresses it in messaging. But these are the kinds of places where any gains that were made since Trump was elected may start to fall apart.

The ideological balance in this country remains firmly center-right. Yearlong 2019 Gallup poll numbers based on combined data from 21 of its telephone surveys show 37 percent of the country, on average, identifies as conservative, 35 percent as moderate and 24 percent as liberal.

It also found that Republicans tend to be less fractured. They have their differences, but in the end, they conform around conservatism.

Democrats are more fractured. Survey results strikingly reflected what happened in Allegheny and Lancaster counties. As Gallup said, “Even though liberalism has been on the rise among Democrats, it is not yet the clear majority position, perhaps leading to the strong intraparty clashes.” This has been seen at the local level in Allegheny and Lancaster counties, as well as the national level, in Democratic Party presidential debates.

A Democratic presidential candidate is not going to win or lose based on how fractured his or her party is. It will depend on how well he or she can coalesce the party and motivate people to show up.

What is happening in Allegheny and Lancaster counties, and countless other counties across the country, shouldn’t surprise anyone. It has been reflected in every single Democratic debate of this presidential cycle.

This didn’t start yesterday, last week or in reaction to Trump or Hillary Clinton. This party has been trying to shed its centrist members since the presidential campaign of Al Gore, and it tipped the scales with former President Barack Obama—who waited until his second term to dismantle the so-called New Deal coalition in favor of the ascendant coalition of young people, minorities, women, and just enough white working-class voters.

Clinton failed to include the working class in her coalition and lost. If these smaller county parties mimic that in 2020, and if the Democratic National Committee and its presidential nominee follow suit, Democrats will struggle locally and nationally. The result will be fewer locally elected Democrats, a slim-to-none congressional majority and four more years of Trump.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Elections

President Trump and Coronavirus

No matter what ravages the virus causes elsewhere, if it never gets to general municipal shutdowns in the United States, the administration will be able to claim a victory. 

The attempt to hang coronavirus around the neck of the president is a movement that has gone from a standing start to neck-snapping speed, as opportunities to discredit Donald Trump in the American media generally do.

He was criticized for acting early in restricting access from potentially vulnerable countries, and after for having short-changing the relevant government agencies, even though that didn’t happen. Even the brickbat-wielding Washington Post has had to make the point that, in fact, Trump increased the allocations to public health and disease control authorities. 

The more civilized antagonists of the president start by acknowledging that many people who become infected will not even be aware of it, and among those that are diagnosed the mortality rate is around 3 percent. Given the sources for these comforting assurances, I suspect their motives are not so much to placate concern as to lower the threshold at which it may be asserted that the administration is responsible for unnecessary deaths.  

Under the Media Microscope

We are already seeing the beginning of a process reminiscent of the media treatment of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981. “America Held Hostage” was the subtitle of ABC News’ special 11:30 p.m. features news program, and each day was an extension of American humiliation. The incidences of the virus will naturally be announced every day, with the implication that they were avoidable, and the numbers of fatalities will be presented with the implicit message that if the federal government had been more prudent, they would not have occurred. 

When precautions taken are fully effective, the authority is usually derided for imagining a crisis and wasting money on it; when the best of precautions cannot stop a problem from happening completely, the authorities were “negligent.” The death watch has already been mounted, and any assurance from the president or his spokespeople that everything is under control and that the country is ready is dismissed out of hand as overconfidence and an effort to use boastfulness to inspire complacency. Thereafter, any incidences of the virus are cited to puncture the supposed complacency of the regime. 

The media will scrutinize every word the president utters with the aim of transforming it into a “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” statement. (That was President George W. Bush’s commendation to Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as a quarter of the police force defected, stealing their police cruisers as getaway vehicles, and emergency assistance crews were greeted with sniper fire as they tried to rescue victims.)

Half-Measures from the House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has already dusted off her “praying for the president” mode from December—when she urged “solemnity and sadness” while she, with infinite affected reluctance, strong-armed her docile House Democratic colleagues into the unfounded and doomed impeachment effort against the president for non-impeachable offenses,  the commission of which by the president there was, in any case, no probative evidence.

Unctuous and sepulchral, Pelosi has already begun pretending that the administration has engaged in half-measures and is presumptively responsible for anticipated deaths from the virus. Short of obtaining and releasing cultures of the Coronavirus, the Democrats and their media shills are doing everything they can to lumber the president with this charge, where so many spurious accusations have failed before.

He has moved quickly in assembling a strong team led by Vice President Mike Pence to maintain flows of information and prepare as well as can be done against whatever may come. The Health and Human Services secretary, Alex Azar, has incurred some criticism for having made inadequate use of nearly two months lead time, which may be the reason the president has entrusted this mission to the vice president. But both have spoken fluently and credibly over the few days of this new escalation of the coronavirus as a national threat and issue.

Against the fact that the Democrats, both elected and in the “impartial” media, will represent any further occurrences of the virus as evidence of Trump’s incompetence and indifference, the administration has an opportunity to demonstrate its undoubted efficiency and Trump’s own talents as an executive, as the only serious businessman who has ever held the U.S. presidency. 

If all suspected cases are quarantined promptly and there is no evidence of negligence in preventing its penetration of the population, it will be a signal administration victory.  Unfortunately, greater human damage in countries that should have acted earlier and didn’t—including China, but possibly also some of America’s allies, likely including South Korea and possibly Japan and Italy—will illustrate the relative and preemptive efficiency of Trump’s handling of the challenge.                

A Nerve-Wracking Waiting Game   

The danger, apart from that caused by the eagerness of the anti-Trump media—almost punch-drunk from the innumerable defeats they have endured and frenzied at the approach of the president’s probable reelection—is that the constant focus on this disease will discourage the country, dampen the stock market, and place the administration in a vice between seeming overconfident and flippant, or grim and doom-laden. No matter what ravages the virus causes elsewhere, if it never gets to general municipal shutdowns in the United States, the administration will be able to claim a victory. 

As incidences are now turning up in small numbers of people who have not been in source countries and so the origin of their initial exposure is unknown, we may not have long to wait to see how widespread this problem is in the United States.

I doubt that serious dislocations in China or elsewhere will be especially damaging to the U.S. economy. There is a fairly extensive pipeline of most vital imports, and considerable latitude to select different or even domestic sources of supply. Any economic damage to the United States will be after much more severe damage to other countries, so the administration should be able to portray America as comparatively fortunate and take some credit for that. The heavy hit to the Dow Jones Industrials last week indicates the market has already overcompensated for anything that has happened or become likely.

This problem is now a nerve-wracking waiting game and neither the optimists nor the alarmists know what to expect.

So far, Trump has done better with a strong show of awareness and readiness than the Democrats have with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) asinine allegations of “towering and dangerous incompetence,” and the fatuities about Trump being “anti-science,” and only interested in Wall Street. (Donald Trump has never cared a rap what Wall Street thought about anything, one of his more endearing traits to his followers.)

So far, the depredations of coronavirus in the United States have been slight, and the excesses of the fearmongers have been impetuous and irritating. The Trump Administration has won the first round, but this is a voyage of discovery for everybody and certainly possesses the potential to be a very unpleasant episode.