Category Archives: Politics

Obama displays a certain lack of cynicism: White male sacrificial lamb for SCOTUS plays it safe

President Obama has nominated D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.  We had figured that Obama could never nominate a white male, and would go all-in and nominate someone who shares his judicial philosophy—i.e., a leftist in the mode of Sonia Sotomayor.

That would accomplish two things:   (1) Put someone up that he truly would like to see on the Court, in the event that Republicans were to cave and move the nomination.  (2) Failing that, rile up the base, adding the charges of RACISM to the usual OBSTRUCTIONISM.

We figure that if President Obama felt that he had a high probability of getting someone confirmed, and/or was bracing for a fight, he would choose someone like D.C. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, who has the benefit of a somewhat stealth philosophy as well as a history of being approved by a recent Senate with unanimous Republican support.

Instead, we read the choice of Garland as a resignation on Obama’s part that he won’t get confirmed.  It’s a safe choice in that sense, as Garland will go back to his important job, and probably won’t risk having any dirt dug up.  We assume there isn’t any:  Garland has been a typical career-government liberal Circuit Judge for two decades, and the circus surrounding his nomination won’t change his life much, nor will it diminish his chances to be nominated by a future Democrat president (though he’s getting a bit old).  There’s little down-side to the president or to Garland.

(Of course, choosing someone as a sacrificial lamb displays a certain type of cynicism, but if he believed that he has no chance at confirmation, then Obama’s choice of Garland is less cynical than some possible alternatives.)

We can imagine Obama’s conversations with the likes of the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and other leftist groups, to the effect of, I have decided that my nominee has no chance.  I won’t put up a minority as a token/martyr who would be harmed by the process.

We find it hard to imagine Obama being so magnanimous when faced with an opportunity to engage in racial rabble-rousing.  So we remain open to alternative explanations.

Maybe Obama is just lazy, phoning-in this nomination of an easy choice, as he has been doing with so much else toward the end of his term?

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Advice to Marco Rubio for positioning for a future presidential run

There will be plenty of postmortems dissecting how Marco Rubio went from Tea Party darling Senator-elect in 2010 to a humiliating flame-out in this year’s presidential election.

The five obvious reasons, in order of importance, we think, are:

1.  His leadership of the “Gang of Eight” amnesty scheme.

2.  His leadership of the “Gang of Eight” amnesty scheme.

3A.  His robotic persona in the debates.

3B.  His resemblance to Barack Obama in 2008:  a blank slate, with few accomplishments and no executive experience, who says the right things on the surface—allowing voters to project whatever specific viewpoints they wished upon him—and checks the diversity boxes.  (Notwithstanding (3A), Rubio’s rhetoric is, of course, more substantive than Obama’s.)

3C.  Later in the race, his association with the D.C. establishment.

 

Although we are glad that the primary campaign served its purpose of vetting candidate Rubio, we can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that he didn’t live up to his promise.  To take one example, his speech after President Obama announced his appeasement of Cuba in December 2014 was outstanding.

It is certainly plausible that he could come back.  At 44, he has decades of opportunity left in him.  How he uses the first of those decades will speak to his character and his seriousness to be a viable presidential candidate.

The best course of action for Rubio would be to run for governor of Florida in 2018, when Gov. Rick Scott (R) cannot run again due to term limits.  Rubio needs the executive credentials and gravitas that would come from such a stint.  Of course an electoral loss would derail him (though it didn’t in Richard Nixon’s case, though he had already accumulated a more substantive resume), but he needs to take the risk.

Another alternative would be to angle for a cabinet position—something far away from immigration—like Secretary of Education or Secretary of Transportation.  A university presidency would not be as beneficial, but if he governs like Mitch Daniels, then it could be a step in the right direction.

Of course he should repudiate his actions as part of the “Gang of Eight.”  We don’t think that this will be a major challenge, as President Trump will provide cover by, in concert with Congress, completely changing the way that the U.S. implements immigration policy.  (If Hillary Clinton wins, then no one as conservative as Marco Rubio is ever likely to be elected president again, so this whole discussion would be moot.)

A Fox News gig in the meantime would be OK.  We hope that he doesn’t sit out the political debate and then come riding back onto the scene out of nowhere.  We hope that he does not take the petulant step of resigning from the Senate early.  Though it would give the Republicans the benefit of incumbency following an appointment by Gov. Scott, such a move is not statesman-like.

What he especially should not do is to trod the familiar path of retired establishment politicians and take a high-paying, non-work job in a law or lobbying firm, investment bank, or private equity firm—and then present himself to us again in eight or twelve or sixteen years’ time with only that additional resume item.  Such an occupation would do nothing but reinforce his lack of executive credentials and his membership in the D.C. establishment.  Spending his prime years as a high-class Republican community organizer wouldn’t mitigate the perception of him as another Barack Obama.

No doubt Rubio, who has suffered financial challenges, wants to cash in—and we never begrudge someone that—but if he’s serious about mounting another presidential campaign, he’s going to have to find a way to do more than that.

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Trump chooses not to play the liberals’ grovelling game

The latest phony outrage surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign is his refusal to “disavow” statements of support from some group or other.  Good for him.

The left loves to play the game of denounce, apologize, and grovel.  The MSM attempts to define the bounds of legitimate debate, and never passes up an opportunity to manufacture outrage to serve its own ends.  It is unbecoming of the right to fall into this trap.

Donald Trump plays the no-apology game well.  Even if he believes that the Ku Klux Klan, or David Duke, or whoever, does not bring to the table a point of view that is legitimate in our political discourse, it does not necessarily follow that he must jump on the bandwagon to condemn them.  He gains nothing from it.  He understands that to apologize for something that he didn’t do only weakens him.  He never avowed the KKK in the first place, so he has nothing to disavow.

His honesty is also refreshing.  He “doesn’t want to tick off anybody that might vote for him.”  People will vote for him based on all kinds of motivations, which are irrelevant to Trump.  No obligation is created by accepting someone’s vote.

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Postmortem on Jeb Bush: Donald Trump was the perfect foil

James Kirkpatrick in the Unz Review, citing Peter Beinart in The Atlantic and Michael Warren in the Weekly Standard, makes that point that we raised back in September:  Donald Trump was the perfect foil to Jeb Bush, due to the contrast in their personalities and Trump’s masterstroke to raise the immigration issue.

We agree with him that the Republican establishment will likely learn nothing from this history.  Will their reflection consist of:  See, We Told You So.  Trump was wrong on temperament and wrong on the issues.  Now how do I get an invitation to the ceremony where President Clinton signs the Gang of Eight Law?  Or:  Well, we lost with our best shot.  Now let’s take to heart the concerns raised by the majority of Republicans who voted to nominate Trump and fight President Clinton on these issues.  (Yes, it’s a rhetorical question.)

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Trump didn’t build his career by negotiation from a position of weakness

National Review Online‘s Ramesh Ponnuru is out in front with some establishment wishful thinking:  Donald Trump can choose John Kasich as his running mate to “help Trump get the nomination, and be his running mate for the service?”

Help Donald Trump how?  With his 5% of the delegates?  With a stirring endorsement, referring to his mailman father?  Trump has not succeeded thus far in the election—nor in becoming a billionaire in business—by negotiating from a position of weakness (e.g., like Jeb Bush in choosing a spouse), which is what picking Kasich in a gambit to pick up his votes would amount to.

A Trump choice of the already-vanquished Chris Christie would be a stronger signal, because he would not be trading any delegates, bur rather choosing someone for his perceived fit on the issues or general-election electability.

We think it’s more likely that Trump will double-down on his advertised appeal by picking another outsider.  If we wins a wide victory in the primaries, why wouldn’t he stay the course?  (Alex Pappas at The Daily Caller has some good ideas.)  Ben Carson is conceivable (though we hope not, as, like Sarah Palin before him, a baffling lack of knowledge, and apparent lack of curiosity, about world affairs would not bode well for his fitness to be commander-in-chief).

We could see Trump choosing Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz in the event that he enters the convention with a plurality but not a majority of delegates, to prevent the two of them from teaming up to deny him the nomination, which would be likely.  We hope that he would find a way to make it Cruz to maintain credibility on immigration and anti-establishment positioning.

The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat raises a scenario that is somewhat more plausible on the surface:  that Marco Rubio could employ a similar tactic and pick Kasich.  Rush Limbaugh says that this possibility is the only reason why Kasich is staying in the face.  Of course, the same point about Kasich’s lack of electoral value in the primaries holds; it seems implausible that Kasich’s delegates could tip the balance in a race between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump, or that his endorsement at some point before all of the primaries are complete would sway voters significantly.

The big problem with a Rubio-Kasich ticket would be the massive “screw you” that it would convey to the anti-establishment voters who will have given Trump and Cruz a lot of votes.  It would be saying, “frustrated voters, we heard you loudly and clearly, just like we always do.”  A lot of them would stay home in November.

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Open letter to Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter: Help President Trump choose a Supreme Court nominee

Though conservatives have, with good reason, feared the prospect of Donald Trump’s judicial appointments should be become President, the death of Justice Antonin Scalia has brought this issue to the forefront.

We can rationalize a cautious optimism.  Donald Trump has not spent a lifetime pondering Constitutional issues, as Ted Cruz (and probably even Jeb Bush) have, so we hope that a President Trump would mitigate his weakness in this area by deferring to the conservative movement, especially opinion leaders like Hannity and Coulter (we suppose that Mark Levin is now off of this list) who have praised Trump.

Recall the furor by which the right successfully scuppered President George W. Bush’s attempted nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court in 2005.  President Trump, smart leader that he is, would delegate to avoid such a train-wreck.  Attorney General Ted Cruz would be the point person, assisted by White House Counsel John Yoo, in choosing candidates for federal judgeships.

We request you, conservative luminaries who will have influence with the Trump Administration, to guide him on this issue on which you are so focused and right-minded and on which he will welcome your insight.

 

 

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Vice President Biden’s hail Mary might work yet

Perhaps Vice President Biden is among us who are hoping for Hillary Clinton to be indicted over her mishandling of classified e-mails while she was Secretary of State.  With the latest revelation that Secretary Clinton instructed Jake Sullivan to delete the classified markings on a document and send it over an unsecured communications medium, we might get our wish.  Such brazen and reckless conduct would condemn anyone else to criminal punishment.

Meanwhile, Biden is reminding everyone, I’m still here!

When he decided not to run for president, he probably figured that he had a small—much less than 50%—chance of defeating Clinton in the primary.  Maybe he figured, if Clinton gets indicted, then I can enter the race as “elder statesman/savior who has been coaxed into service out of necessity” rather than “also-ran who has been getting trounced in the primary but is the last viable man standing.”  He can keep the non-candidate glow aflame until it’s too late.

It may yet work out for him.  Though he might do better to cue Maureen Dowd to prepare a column about how reluctant he is in carrying this burden instead of seeming too eager.  Then again, we are not qualified to question Biden’s political savvy.

 

 

 

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Kevin McCarthy is Trump’s latest scalp

Will the Republican establishment connect the dots between the Donald Trump phenomenon and Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Ca.) failure to step-up to the speakership?  (That’s a rhetorical question.)

We asserted a few weeks ago that Donald Trump would not be the Republican presidential front-runner were it not for Jeb Bush.  (Nor would the delightful “cuckservative” meme have emerged without Trump on the scene.)

Now Trumpism can add McCarthy’s political obituary to those of Scott Walker and Rick Perry, and eventually of Jeb Bush*, to its resume.  McCarthy was undone thanks to the emboldened House Freedom Caucus, which has been fueled alongside Trump’s disruption of the Republican landscape.  Trump continues to give cover to the dissident, hope to the disaffected, and an outlet to the angry.

McCarthy and his ilk—most Republicans in Congress, actually—made it easy for Trump by basically ignoring the voters’ ire about immigration that was a major reason for their victory in the 2014 mid-terms.  Were it not for Trump, there would be little movement to punish Republicans for ignoring the issue and allowing President Obama to implement amnesty by executive action after the elections.

* Hopefully, anyway.  We do not rule out the possibility of the Republican establishment using whatever dirty tricks it can muster from its formidable arsenal to steal the nomination from Trump at the convention, against the will of the majority of delegates elected through primaries and caucuses.

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Live by the cynical lie, die by the cynical lie

The media was duly aflutter when Maureen Dowd broke the “news” in her August 1 column that Beau Biden had, on his deathbed, implored his father to run for president.  This tidbit could obviously only have been leaked to Dowd by Vice President Biden either directly or indirectly.

However, the media has been quiet about an astonishing revelation from last night’s softball 60 Minutes interview with the vice president:  he claimed that “nothing like that ever, ever happened.”

Does Maureen Dowd feel ashamed at being used so cynically by Biden, uncritically lapping up his spin?  It’s ghoulish enough that she would serve as the mouthpiece for a cunning politician whose only possible motive for reporting such an anecdote could have been to gain political points from his family tragedy.

Is she now wallowing in the ignominy of being sold out when Biden decided it would be in his interest to shift the narrative?  Does she feel foolish at all?  Will she think twice the next time an unseemly liberal requests to exploit her influence to do his own bidding?  Kudos to Biden for playing the pliant liberal media like a fiddle; shame on Maureen Dowd for serving as his sycophant.

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I only have one question

So all ultra-leftist Bill de Blasio has to do is trot out his afro-haired son in a shamefully contrived stunt to get blacks and white liberals eating out of his hand. How long after January 1 will it be until New Yorkers are longing for the past 20 years of law and order and (relative, by New York standards) fiscal sanity? If de Blasio wins, we’ll not be able to think of any truer example of citizens getting the government they deserve.

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