Tuesday, July 10, 2018

So What Do the Anti-Trumpers Want?

The Republican elite, also knows as the never-Trumpers, have made it clear that they would prefer to see the Democrats win Congress than to love another day in a country in which a Republican Congress supports a Republican president. This list includes but is not limited to George Will, Max Boot and Jenifer Rubin, all of the Washington Post. Boot was the most recent to pen a "I hope the Democrats win" column.

So, exactly what do you guys want? What principles do you hold so dear that you would rather see a party that's leaning socialist take control of Congress than have the Republicans stay in power?

Let's start with immigration. I've read your columns for years. When George W. Bush proposed immigration reform you were against it until we closed the border. That goes back to President Reagan - we have to secure the border as a condition of allowing any sort of amnesty to those already here. You hammered on that in 2005.

Now you complain about how uncaring we are to rip families apart. What did you think border enforcement was going to look like? Did you expect a bit stop sign would be enough? Maybe you were in favor of a wall. I remember calls for a wall or at least a substantial fence in the early days of the Obama administration. But now that Trump wants a wall you think it's the dumbest thing in the world.

Or are you actually in favor of open borders so that you have cheap housekeepers and gardeners? If this is true than say so. Come out and say "America needs to have the same control over its borders as every other nation with the exception of cheap labor which should come pouring across."

Then there's trade. Max Boot said that he's in favor of free trade. Funny thing, President Trump says that he is, too, and he wants trade barriers to come down. But other countries don't want to drop their protectionism. The choices are endless talks that don't accomplish anything or a new round of tariffs. Yes, Trump's tariffs could backfire but negotiations didn't get anywhere. Again, come out and state your position on this, "Trade wars are too messy. America needs to accept that they are at a disadvantage in trade and shut up."

Boot Complained about appeasing dictators meaning Korea's Kim. They need to say, "I'd rather North Korea continue to develop the capability of destroying New York than see President Trump shake Kim's hand."

Other things they could confess, "Yes, for years I've been saying that lower individual and corporate tax rates are a good thing and that we need conservative judges on the Supreme Court but now I believe in raising taxes on corporations and the rich. And I've decided that having conservatives appointed to the courts isn't worth having Trump in the White House."

Or they could come right out and tell the actual truth, "I know I'm supposed to be a conservative and stand for certain principles but when it comes down to it, I prefer style over substance and, like late night talk show hosts, I'm happiest when the opposition is in power and I can rant about how everything would be better if we were in power. I'm not comfortable when our side has to make real compromises and I'd feel a lot better with a centrist like Romney who looks and acts the part than someone like Trump who is enacting a conservative agenda but doesn't have the proper decorum."

When you get right down to it, the Republican elite haven't liked an actual Republican president since Reagan, if then. They were lukewarm about Bush-41 and they hated Bush-43. They don't have anything good to say about Nixon or Ike, either.

Which is why no one listens to them except the other side.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Failing the First Rule of Politics

Before changing political norms, the first thing you should always do is ask, "What will happen if this is turned on me?" Invoking the nuclear option in the Senate should have warned the Democrats. They were too anxious to pack the courts with Obama appointees so they eliminated the filibuster for judicial appointments except for the Supreme Court. In response, the Republicans didn't give aththa second thought to applying the same standard to the Supreme Court.

Now Democratic leaders and others are openly calling for confrontations with members of the Trump administration where ever they are. WaPo blogger Jennifer Rubin declared that Sarah Huckabee Sanders deserves a "life sentence" of being harassed publicly. The original excuse was that "tearing children from their parents is so extreme that it requires an extreme response". That is no longer the case. A woman posted a video of herself reading a statement to Scott Pruit, head of the EPA, calling on him to resign. In he video it was apparent that he'd already finished his meal so he left rather than start a fight. She called him a coward for not responding to her. There have been other similar incidents.

Rather than calling for more violence, Democratic leaders should be looking at the long-term damages their policy of confrontation will cause. First is will this set the tone from now on? Hillary Clinton admitted that her policies would put "a lot of coal miners out of work". Will miners and other people displaced by a future administration be justified in confronting the EPA administrator? I'm only throwing this out as a single example of possible outrage.

This is where the Democrats are showing their shortsightedness. Just as the nuclear option was used against them so can confrontation.

There is also a problem with perceptions. One reason the Democrats are pushing this strategy it to fire up the base. It makes them feel that they are accomplishing something. But the image of activists confronting administrators may not be popular among the general electorate. It may repel independents and motivate Republicans. But calling off these confrontations will demoralize the base.

Democrats have forgotten Saul Alinsky's 4th rule and Republicans haven't: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." They keep adopting strategies as if they are the only ones who can use them. They assumed that eliminating the filibuster would never be turned back on them. They assume that, after harassing Republicans, they will never be harassed. With a Supreme Court vacancy, they are assuming that they can change the rules to stall for time and that it will never be used against them.

And they keep acting like they are in charge and will always be. They tell themselves that their cause is just and the Republicans are evil so co-existence is no longer an option. They are sure that somehow President Trump will be removed from office, if not by impeachment then by the 2020 election. They still haven't learned that their dominance is not preordained. They were sure of their permanent Democratic majority in 2008 only to lose Congress in the 2010 and 2014 elections. They were positive they'd keep the White House in 2016. And they act as if they haven't lost state elections all across the country. They need to relearn how to coexist with the Republicans and stop acting like spoiled children.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Trump Hysteria

For the past week or two the nation has been in the grip of a new round of Trump hysteria. It began with the G7 conference when the Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau did an about face from what he'd said to President Trump and attacked Trump over trade. The Left bemoaned Trump not getting along with the other G7 leaders (conveniently forgetting that Germany's Merkel decided to postpone her retirement specifically to oppose Trump. How do you get along with that?)  Then people complained about the summit with North Korean's Kim. It was disrespectful to have US flags side-by-side with the NK flag or Trump was too friendly with a despot (from the same people who complained when Trump insulted Kim last year) or that Trump must have made a bad deal because Trump known nothing about high-stakes negotiation (see The Art of the Deal).

Then things really went into overdrive when AG Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigrants. That meant an end to the catch-and-release policy on illegal immigrants with children. A combination of policies and court decisions said that it was cruel to put children in the same facilities as adults so they were put in special child-dentition facilities until they could be placed with someone within three weeks.

Outrage over this started slow but caught on quickly. Samantha Bea lashed out at Ivonka Trump for sharing a picture of herself with her child. Similar outrage was shown any time anyone connected with the administration was shown with their child. "How can you be so insensitive as to show your child when children are being ripped from their parent's arms?"

Pictures were shared of the harsh conditions. The initial pictures were from 2014 and all of the facilities used were opened under the Obama administration. None of that mattered.

The national news media picked up the story, labeling it a "crisis" then an "emergency".

A photographer took a short video of a child crying after her mother set her down so ICE agents could search her. It became the symbol of children being ripped from their parents. Mever mind that she was only crying because she was set down, she was not separated from her mother, the mother was not a refugee - she was just following her sisters in search of a better job, and the mother had left three other children behind. The picture was still the symbol of children ripped from their parents.

As the hysteria grew so did the comparisons. George Takei claimed it was worse than the Japanese internment under FDR (overlooking that his family was imprisoned for being the wrong ethnicity while children of illegal immigrants are taken away because their parents broke the law). Others insisted that this was the Holocaust all over again with space blankets being substituted for gas chambers. No one seemed to give a damn for the hardships and danger that the parents put their children through while going through Mexico.

After President Trump signed an executive order to keep families together the left totally lost their minds. With no specific policy to protest they began attacking members of the administration. Suddenly it was unacceptable for members of the administration to eat in a restaurant. Previously, when people were harassed by restaurant staff, the owners apologized. Now they celebrate it.

I could name other things but you get the idea.

I don't think all of this hysteria is really about immigration policy. I think it's the realization that Trump is not going anywhere. The Inspector General's report on the Clinton email investigation showed that the top agents in the FBI were very biased against Trump. They even ignored new evidence in the Clinton investigation in order to pursue the investigation into non-existent  Russian collusion.

The Russia investigation has been the left's last hope for getting rid of Trump and it's evaporating.

Even worse, the left has been counting on a Blue Wave to retake Congress with the possibility of impeaching Trump. All hopes of a Blue Wave are gone. The Democrats might win a small majority in the House but it will be a struggle to keep the Republicans from picking up a seat or two in the Senate.

And Trump's popularity is rising. He's as popular as Obama at this point and more popular within his own party than anyone but George W. Bush.

And that's the real root of the current hysteria. Trump's no going anywhere. He'll serve out his full term and will likely be reelected. It's like election night all over. A man they hate runs the country and they can't stand it.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why Trump Will Win Reelection (new version)

I've written before that President Trump will be reelected in 2020. I'm even more sure of it now. Here are my reasons:

1) The Left really hates Trump.
This sounds counter-intuitive but the presidents who is really disliked by the opposite party get reelected, usually by wide margins. Nixon, Reagan, and George W Bush were all hated by the Democrats. Clinton and Obama were hated by the Republicans. They all won reelection. Ford, Carter and George H. W. Bush were tolerated by the other party and all were defeated.

2) The Democrats don't have a message.
Yes, they have a half-assed newer deal but they aren't going to win any votes with it.

3) The Democrats don't have a leader.
Barack Obama left the party in shambles. Now he's become the de facto leader, interviewing possible successors. A lot of Democrats are fond of Obama but he's the lamest of lame ducks and he has a history of putting himself ahead of his party (which is how he decimated the party in the first place).

4) The Democrats don't have a front-runner.
The 2020 election is 2 1/2 years from now. Typically successful candidates are known well before the election. Candidates who only emerge during the primaries typically go down in flames (think Dukakis or Kerry) Right now the Democratic front-runner is Joe Biden but it's unclear if he will even run. Elizabeth Warren denies that she's running. Most of the ones who have made it known that they will run are unknowns. They are having trouble being known because of the next point...

5) The Democrats can't get their message out.
Network news and cable news wants to feel like part of the resistance. That means they show anti-Trump 24/7. What little message the Democrats have is drowned out by anti-Trump coverage. The exception to that if Fox but they aren't going to carry any water for the Democrats, either.

6) Trump is keeping his promises.
The Democrats keep dismissing it at Trump playing to his base but Trump is actually following up on his major promises. Which leads to...

7) Trump is doing well in the polls.
A year ago the left was sure that even all else failed, Trump would be a one-term president because of his unprecedented unpopularity. Since then he's gotten a lot more popular. He's polling ahead of Obama at the same point and he's ahead of everyone except a post-9/11 Bush in popularity within his own party.

8) Foreign affairs.
Korea is a big deal. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is a big deal. Trump is playing hard-ball with international trade but his goal is to open more markets to US companies. If he succeeds then this will be a big deal. Defeating ISIS should be a big deal but it happened to quickly and easily that it will probably be forgotten.

9) Low expectations
Remember the predictions for a Trump presidency? The economy was supposed to crash but that didn't matter because Trump would cause a nuclear war. And if he didn't he'd establish a fascist dictatorship with blacks enslaved and all other non-whites sent to concentration camps. But none of that mattered in the long run because everyone was going to die of global warming. Trump would have to work really hard to live down to all the expectations. That makes his accomplishments seem even better.

10) Hate Trumps Love.
8,000,000 Obama voters voted for Trump. Instead of trying to woo them back, the Left is blaming them and insisting they are racists and sexists. Hollywood is piling on this. Late night talk shows compete to see who can be the most insulting to the president. An Oscar-winning actor drops an F-bomb at the Tony awards. Popular actors and directors put out tweets. No one on the Left is willing to admit that the Democrats no longer represent the working class. Instead they are consumed with hate. Polls have shown that Democrats are disowning conservative relatives over Trump (this actually happened in my wife's family). And Bill Maher would rather see the economy crash than see Trump reelected. Which brings me to my final point...

11) It's the economy stupid.
Bill Clinton was right when he said this in 1992. When Trump took office his predictions of 4% growth were dismissed as impossible in today's economy. We were told to get used to anemic 2% growth from now on. But the economy has surpassed all expectations. Growth is currently over 3.5% and unemployment is the lowest it's been in years. At the rate things are going, unemployment will soon be the lowest it's been in most people's lifetime. It's already the lowest on record for blacks. It's nearly impossible to run against that.

A word of warning - it is possible that things might change. Trump might trigger a real trade war which could crash the world economy. Or some unexpected weakness could suddenly appear as it did in 2008. I don't expect this, though. Growth under Obama was too sluggish to allow a bubble to form. Right now the economy looks strong and should continue to be for several years yet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Craziness From Campus

What happened to the left being "reality-based"? They keep getting loonier and loonier as dogma replaces reality. This is most evident in college campuses.

Exhibit 1: A doctor of feminist studies evaluates a dog park from an Intersectional Feminist viewpoint. Here are her criteria:

1. How do human companions manage, contribute, and respond to violence in dogs?

2. What issues surround queer performativity and human reaction to homosexual sex between and among dogs?

3. Do dogs suffer oppression based upon (perceived) gender?

This is the ultimate example of anthropomorphism. The author, Helen Wilson, Ph.D. is taking the belief that gender is a social concept instead of a biological reality and applying it to animals. She worries that animals are "assigned" genders and sexual orientation at birth based on biology rather than their individual orientation. She also worries about proper consent and that dog parks contribute to rape culture. There is no affirmative consent. The dog who happens to have male genitalia does not ask the dog with a uterus "Can I sniff your nose?", "Can I sniff your butt?", "Can I hump you?". He just does it and it's up to the female to drive him off if his advances are unwelcome.

I hate to tell Dr. Wilson but that's how animals reproduce in the wild.

Exhibit 2:An English professor at Marquette University recently recounted "a day that felt like a constant barrage of microaggressions" as part of her ongoing diary of "everyday microaggressions" that she uses to see past her own "whiteness." Here's the really crazy one:

Following this panel, a white professor posts to social media how proud she is of white students (pre-service teachers) for buying school supplies for "underserved communities," playing into this savior script and celebrating altruistic charity instead of teaching ways to re-route power.

So it's now a microaggression for white students to do an act of charity for minorities because it makes them feel good about themselves. I suspect that given the choice between being given school supplies and being told that some college students are being taught ways of re-routing power, the "underserved communities" would take the supplies. I'm sure there are generations of liberals rolling over in their graves right now at the idea that charity is offensive.

The problem is that this stuff doesn't stay on campus. The second example is from an education department. They are training future teachers to be flaky. This is all newspeak. As the Instapundit says, "1984 wasn't meant to be an instruction manual."

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Samantha Bee's Horrible Joke

In early June, Samantha Bee reacted to a picture of Ivanka Trump holding her son. Bee was reacting to news reports of illegal immigrant families being separated at the border and was outraged that Ivanka would show herself with her child when other parents are having their children stripped from them under her father's government. Bee went on to use one of George Carlin's 7 words you can't say on TV, calling Ivanka a "feckless C***".

A bit of background. US policy has always been that children cannot be sent to adult prisons. So the choices are separating them or giving adults with children a Get Into America Free card. Apparently the latter has been the policy. There's a legitimate policy debate there. Should we encourage illegal immigration by allowing adults with children in or should we discourage it by arresting illegal immigrants as we find them, knowing that it will separate families? Or should we have prison facilities for entire families?

But all of this is too deep for Bee. Her show is all about shock and outrage. So she took advantage of the president's daughter and did something shocking.

There are only a few forbidden words in today's language and Bee used one of them. Furthermore, in her half-assed apology, she said that she's been trying to "reclaim" the word by using it fairly often on her show.

I'm amazed that basic cable allows that word to be used.

As for Bee "reclaiming" it, the word has two main uses. One is to refer to a woman's genitalia. The other is usually paired with "dumb" to mean, "I only keep this woman around for sex".

In her bit, Bee went on to suggest that Ivanka put on a nighty and seduce her father into changing his policies. So, she may have upgraded "dumb" to "feckless" but she still meant it in the crude sense. No reclaiming there.

So Bee feels it's ok to use a vulgar expression while suggesting incest between President Trump and his daughter. Never mind that Ivanka is way more liberal than her father. She's related to him so it's ok to attack her for his policies.

The left has a varying standard on presidential children. It was forbidden to even mention the Obama girls unless the press was quoting a press release. It was a national story when the Bush twins used fake IDs at a bar. It was also a national story when someone dared to ask Chelsea Clinton (who was in her late-20s and stumping for her mother) about her father's impeachment. If the President is a Democrat then the kids are off-limits, if a Republican then it's open-season.

Still, it's quite a stretch to go from a zero-tolerance policy implemented by the Attorney General to the President's daughter.

Samantha Bee is the truly feckless one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

When and Why Did the FBI Start Investigating Candidate Trump?

Until this month, the official story was that the FBI began their investigation of the Trump campaign in the Fall of 2016 after John McCain turned over the Steele Dossier to them. That timeline changed considerably with the revelation of Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Now it's being alleged that the FBI started investigating the Trump campaign much earlier.

Under the new timeline, Trump was under pressure from the Washington Post's endorsement panel to name some foreign policy advisors. The seasoned professionals were boycotting Trump so he had to settle for 3rd string back-benchers - people who had done business overseas. That set off alarms because at least two of these advisors "had ties with Russia".

Personally, I think it went back even further. Fairly early in 2016, Vladimir Putin was asked about Trump and said that he was clever (later translations say that he may only have called Trump colorful). Reporters demanded that Trump repudiate Putin, something that Trump's ego was not going to allow. Instead Trump accepted the compliment and said a couple of complimentary things about Putin. The pundits went crazy insisting that this somehow proved that Trump was Putin's puppet and that Trump was planning on overthrowing the US government and installing himself as an authoritarian leader.

Keep in mind that no one batted an eye when SoS Clinton met with Russia to reset relations or when POTUS Obama did his own reset. Or when Obama premised flexibility after the next election to the Russian ambassador over a hot mic Or when Obama made fun of Romney for calling Russia our biggest geo-political rival.

It's been pretty well established that the FBI and Justice Department were being run by Obama loyalists. I'm guessing that they were among those never-Trumpers who believed that Trump was colluding with Putin and looking for any excuse to open an investigation. Then Trump added some people with "ties to the Kremlin" to his advisors. Russia is pay-to-play. Anyone doing business there has ties with the Kremlin and these advisors had done nothing illegal. But that's all the excuse the FBI needed.

The New York Times article that broke the store about Operation Crossfire Hurricane admitted that the FBI considered quietly meeting with the Trump campaign. They decided against it. Why? Because they wanted to catch the Trump campaign doing something with the Russians.

In a Sunday morning news show, Comey claimed that it was all about Russia but why have FBI informants meet with the Trump campaign if things were as innocent as Comey claimed (and remember that Comey lied under oath to Congress about wiretapping so he is not a reliable source).

I think that rather than the FBI investigating the Russians and their connections with Trump, they were investigating Trump and his connections with Russia. The focus of the investigation was not Russia, it was Trump.

And that's why it's a scandal.