Category Archives: Politics

George Clooney could be a formidable presidential candidate

George Clooney just sold his tequila business for a headline-grabbing $1B.  It seems plausible that he is building his image for a presidential campaign, and, if so, Republicans should take it seriously.

Although he has spewed the standard Hollywood liberal talking points, he hasn’t come across in the deranged Ashley Judd/Madonna mold.  He seems like a serious guy, not an arrogant idiot, who has taken a lower political profile than many of his contemporaries.  He’s not even on Twitter, has done interviews with Fox News and Business Insider, and thereby has created space for an image of gravitas that most celebrities have squandered.

His UN “humanitarian” work seems more legitimate, low-key, and serious, than that of most Hollywood grandstanders.

He took another step toward political respectability by marrying not some starlet, but a quintessential liberal pin-up girl:  exotic, brown, man-jawed, not too young, with a prestigious-sounding job as a “human rights lawyer” and now having children.

Plenty of people have speculated about a potential run for California or federal office, and he has denied interest.  And of course we don’t know how his views would stand up to scrutiny or how he’d do in a debate, but he could be strong candidate. Now that President Trump has broken the glass ceiling of celebrity-type candidates, this could be a trend.

The biggest barrier to his candidacy might be a refusal by the Democratic party to accept a white male nominee.

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Why would Theresa May call an early election — and why would Labor agree?

Could the fix be in to nullify Brexit?  We thought it was peculiar that the Conservative Party chose an anti-Brexit candidate, Theresa May, to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister.  Now May has called an early election, even though she has a solid majority.  Her stated reason is to obtain a larger “mandate” for the U.K. to negotiate the terms of Brexit with the EU.  This doesn’t seem convincing given that the party publicly got behind Brexit after it passed and Cameron resigned.

A Prime Minister only calls an early election if the polls suggest that the governing party is likely to increase its majority, of course, and indeed polls so indicated when May called the election a couple of weeks ago.  However, under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act passed in 2011, two-thirds of the House of Commons must agree to election prior to expiration of the five-year fixed term.

One obvious question is why a minority party would ever agree if the majority party feels that an early election would be to its advantage.  Perhaps in some cases the minority party has its own polling numbers, or an underdog strategy that it is convinced that it can execute.  But in this case Parliament approved the early election nearly unanimously:  522-13.

What do all of these MPs know that the Tories, or the rest of us, don’t?  Labor could have agreed to an early election to create a pretext to dump Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has never been popular among the caucus, if they lose ground.  The Liberal Democrats also mostly supported the early election; perhaps they figured they had nothing left to lose.

Our conspiracy theory is that Theresa May is hoping to lose her majority, or at least have it reduced, in order to sabotage Brexit.  Maybe Labor is in on it.  We speculated at the time that the establishment would do everything it could to slow-walk and eventually ignore the Brexit vote.  This could be part of that strategy; with the media’s help, perhaps May could attribute any result other than a significant gain in Conservative seats as resounding proof that the electorate has changed its mind on Brexit.

Theresa May might envision getting on the cover of Vanity Fair (or whatever the British equivalent is), and then lucrative sinecures on the globalist lecture and think-tank circuits, as the heroic woman who sacrificed her own position and her party’s interest for the good of her country, and indeed the whole world.

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Top 10 side effects of Trump’s victory

The great news just keeps on rolling in after Tuesday.  Here are some great (and some not so great) side effects that we can look forward to:

10.  The Clinton Foundation will close up shop, since with no influence to peddle no one will donate to it.

9.  The media will try to build momentum to elect Hillary Clinton Speaker of the House for the sake of national unity (and since she won the popular vote, dontcha know).  President Trump and Vice President Pence will then have to avoid being in the same place for four years.

8.  We will never hear the name Alicia Machado again.  Or Sidney Blumenthal, Robbie Mook, or Jennifer Palmieri.  Or Huma Abedin (unless she ends up in the dock or in the pages of the Federal Register as having been granted a pardon).

7.  Ivanka Trump will be America’s first woman president, maybe around 2028 (while the left decries the Trumps for trying to create a dynasty).

6.  Democrats will move to abolish the electoral college.  Democrats will rediscover the majesty of the filibuster, the perniciousness of the presidential executive order, and the importance of checks and balances.

5.  Merrick Garland will resign his judgeship, join the Harvard Law School faculty, and become a bitter old man writing op-eds and appearing on MSNBC panels relentlessly attacking President Trump.  He may run for Senate and prove to be just as leftist as Elizabeth Warren.

4.  The bubble for firearm and ammunition company stocks will end (though the Soros-funded rioters may keep up demand under they peter out).

3.  Chelsea Clinton will run for office (the only way to prevent #10).  Kirsten Gillibrand will lose her status as liberal icon and be pressured to make way for Chelsea to take her seat.  Ditto for Richard Durbin once Michelle Obama decides that she’s entitled to a senate seat too.

2.  James Taranto will grudgingly have to retire his “we blame George W. Bush meme.”  Glenn Reynolds will happily have to retire his “TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day XXX” meme.  CBS will finally be able to cancel Madam Secretary, which was presumably created as an in-kind donation/hagiography to the Clinton campaign (every time you saw a promo for the show, you were supposed to think of Hillary Clinton).

1.  The Trump Organization will have to change its name back to the original German Trumpf to avoid any conflict of interest.

 

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Might Hillary Clinton pivot her rhetoric on terrorism to win the election?

The Muslim terrorist attacks over the weekend in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota provide another dose of vindication to Donald Trump’s worries about the threats posed by Muslim immigrants.  It must be clear to Hillary Clinton that this issue—contrasted by her and her minions’ default nothing-to-see-here responses—could carry Trump to victory.

Could we see Clinton try, perhaps in the presidential debates, to co-opt Trump’s ownership of this issue by finally acknowledging the pattern of Islamic terrorism and recognizing that a specific ideology and specific group of identifiable people are at war with our civilization?  It would only take a few words, and Clinton could probably craft an artful paragraph or two to produce the most headline-grabbing news out of a debate.

We know from their words and actions what Hillary Clinton, President Obama, the mainstream media, and the rest of the left think of terrorism:

  • The U.S. is an evil hegemon that has oppressed the brown peoples of the world and must repent.  Arabs and other Muslims are noble people with admirably exotic [collectivist] views and lifestyles.
  • Only a selected few enlightened global visionaries, due to their life experiences and proper educations, have internalized the image of global utopia that is within our grasp, if only they may be allowed to bring to bear their benevolent understanding for the benefit of the rest of us.  President Obama, of course, is the quintessential contemporary “Muslimist” (as Steve Sailer has coined) who, while perhaps not Muslim per se, can bridge cultures and allow us to vicariously bask in his understanding of the beauty of Islamic society.
  • To fulfill the left’s prime directive of building a multicultural society in the U.S.—to achieve three interrelated goals of uplifting the other peoples of the world, making American society more progressive, and demonstrating our virtue as a people—is the most important movement on which we could embark.  Hence a few or a few thousand dead prole Americans is a trivial price to pay to achieve this vision, which of course depends on Clinton’s election.
However, Clinton is also a smart politician, and she must be able to see that the American people—selfish bigots that we are—are not grasping this reality.  Since she will say anything to get elected, it is possible that she will take the risk of modifying her language.
If she declares that the U.S. is under threat from concerted Muslim terrorism, there will certainly be a hushed outcry from the left.  We can envision her briefing her followers in advance, telling them not to worry about her public rhetoric that has become  necessary to win the election, just as she certainly did in her secretive speeches to Wall Street banks.  Her private audiences will understand that her public pivot is just for show.
Such a tactic would be a significant test for the left, to see whether they are so blinded by their world view that they can’t adapt to win an election.  Forget about challenging their core beliefs—that won’t happen—but it is conceivable that she could at least change her language for two months.  Huma Abedin might pout, but she will join everyone in nodding and winking just to get over the finish line in November and then allowing Clinton to resume her regularly scheduled programming.

 

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We never get the right questions on re-thinking the Iraq war

The most obvious way for a politician (or non-politician) to explain his ostensible waffling on support for President Bush’s war on Iraq beginning in 2003 is to say that it was a reasonable idea at the time, but, given the history, he wishes that we hadn’t begun it.  This result was not inevitable from the outset, but rather came about because of our insane rules of engagement—in which President Bush tied one had behind our proverbial backs and then President Obama tied the second hand too.  Moreover, Obama made the fatal mistake of promising to withdraw and then doing so before the job was finished, erasing gains that we had made after the surge toward the end of Bush’s term.

This seems like a simple and valid reading of history (and is our position).  Yet the media never ask the right question.  At Wednesday’s “commander-in-chief” forum for the presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton duly said, “I think the decision to go to war in Iraq, and I have said that my voting to give President Bush that authority was, from my perspective, my mistake.”

Perhaps it’s implicit, but she didn’t explain why.  Nor do the media ever drill down on this point.  The hard left would say that many members of Congress who voted for the war were simply duped by the Administration’s false intelligence.  But very few people in either party offer the view that the decision to go to war was a mistake only in light of how it turned out due to conscious decisions once we were at war, and why that is the case—simply circumstance or bad luck, the realization that America simply doesn’t have the will to do what it takes to win a war, or President Obama’s fecklessness?  Even putting aside the issue of blame, is our polity not mature enough to understand that it is possible that an action might have been warranted at the time but simply didn’t work out as we had hoped—and that doesn’t mean it was a mistake?

There are different types of mistakes:  (1) decisions that were inherently erroneous to begin with, (2) those that were simply calculated risks but didn’t turn out well, and (3) those that might have been right but in which execution failed (and perhaps should have been predicted to fail).

“Mistake” is an odd word; it has acquired an imprecise definition in common usage, though the dictionary definition seems to mirror (1) above.  Is buying a lottery ticket a mistake if you don’t win?  We would say no.  Getting married to your ex-wife?  Probably yes.  Launching “New Coke”?  Hard to say.

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Don’t be surprised if the U.K. government ignores a Brexit vote

A few media outlets have described the actual process by which the U.K. would leave the European Union (EU) if voters elect to do so this week.  The referendum question is “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”  We would support Brexit if we were British.

Under Article 50 the EU treaty, a country’s departure will be effective two years after the departing member notifies the European Council of its intent to leave.

This period is supposed to provide time for the departing member to negotiate its relationship with the EU—trade deals and the like—but Article 50 makes it clear that the member will depart after two years regardless of whether any such negotiations are completed, unless the EU, including the departing member, unanimously agrees to extend the deadline.

We could see any number of scenarios by which the U.K government simply ignores the will of the voters if Brexit passes.  The referendum is not legally binding.

No doubt the rest of the European Union will drag its feet on negotiations and strike a hard bargain.  The bloc apparently perceives that the U.K. would have little leverage, and we expect the shrill socialists who represent the continental political class to punish the U.K however it can, both to discourage other members from getting the idea to exit and because they despise the U.K.’s individualistic, pro-market, pro-globalization, pro-America identity in general.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation, expected in the event of a Brexit win, could be the first upheaval that would pave the way for U.K. politicians to make excuses to void the will of the voters, especially if the vote is close.  Theresa May and George Osborne, who both have endorsed staying in the EU, are leading candidates to replace Cameron, as is Boris Johnson, who has endorsed leaving.  It may seem odd for the Tories to replace a resigned Cameron with someone else on the losing side, but such fecklessness is what we have come to expect from the Conservative Party.

Could a new pro-EU government try to marshal public support to stay in anyway?  Parliamentary elections are not due until May 2020, around two years after the supposed deadline for the breakup to be finalized.  We could easily envision a scenario whereby, once the media and EU demonization of the U.K. kicks into high gear, the government throws up its hands and says, Wait, the outcome is likely to be much more detrimental to us than we expected, so we need a pause.

What if the political cycle, say a year from now, finds the Tories behind in the polls, perhaps due in part to the negative climate brought about by the negotiations?  We could even see the Tories calling early elections as an act of desperation—perhaps even planning to lose—and using the political turmoil and/or the formation of a new government as excuses to suspend the negotiations and ask the EU to extend the deadline.  If Labor wins the next election, and the process of leaving is not finalized, would they be expected to honor the obsolete vote?  (Current Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has always been considered a Euroskeptic, but he may come around or may not become prime minister if Labor wins; the rest of the caucus is strongly pro-EU of course.)

Suppose some other shock hits the U.K. in the next two years:  a successful Scottish secession referendum (although Scotland is more pro-EU than England, the government could still use the disruption as an excuse to rethink Brexit); a major recession; a major Islamic terrorist attack; Russian agitation; some EU action that could be spun as a game-changer; the death of Queen Elizabeth II; the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president; etc., etc., etc.  The media and political class would certainly blame every real or imagined ill that befalls the U.K. over the next two years on the “Leave” vote.

The legitimacy of such excuses wouldn’t matter much.  We have high confidence that the establishment could say, Well, due to the tremendous temporary upheaval caused by ________________, it is just not prudent to continue down this course now.  

Maybe they will decide to call another referendum in light of whatever crisis emerges.  We can easily envision Jean-Claude Juncker, or whichever tinpot socialist bureaucrat represents the continental status quo at the time, shaking hands with some Labor prime minister in Brussels in 2019 or 2020, both with stupid grins on their faces, as they announce agreement to shove the Brexit vote of 2016 down the rabbit hole.

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Bernie Sanders may be staying the race in case Clinton gets indicted

Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he is staying the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.  He was able to articulate, we suppose, a rationale, though it’s hard to understand why the nominal continuation of his campaign increases his ability to achieve his stated goals of defeating Donald Trump and influencing the party platform.

The only logic we can think of is that he is hanging on to be the default choice in case Hillary Clinton is indicted for mishandling classified information via her home-brew e-mail server and/or corruption for dealing favors to foreign governments though the Clinton Foundation.

Perhaps President Obama has assured Clinton that he won’t indict her but hasn’t let Sanders in on the news, either out of a sense of propriety or just for fun.

We can see Sanders wanting to remain technically a candidate to preempt Vice President Biden or someone else riding in on the proverbial white horse if Clinton goes down.  It’s a long shot that this logic would work even if she does get indicted, but he has little to lose.

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