Friday, June 12, 2015

Cruising the Web

David French presents reasons why conservatives should not follow Franklin Graham's lead in deciding to boycott gay-friendly businesses. Even besides the point that having a gay-friendly business should not even be a reason to object to a business, there are deeper philosophical reasons why such boycotts should trouble conservatives.
If we’re trying to build a culture (and not just a legal regime) that respects individual liberty and freedom of choice, it seems to me that we should give our fellow citizens the space to disagree with us without trying to destroy their business and livelihood. The alternative is the world the Left is trying to create — a world of mind-numbing conformity, where not even the owners of local pizza shops are allowed to have minds of their own. Everything must be assimilated into the liberal Borg collective. I don’t want to live in a world of endless ideological witch-hunts – invariably based on partial information — where the end-game is what? Liberal chicken restaurants across the street from conservative chicken restaurants? I don’t think it’s realistic or desirable to expect a completely de-politicized commercial space. After all, people’s values are too deeply felt to expect them to always and forever leave them out of the workplace. Don’t we like Hobby Lobby?

Barring something truly extraordinary (like, say, funding ISIS), keep me out of the boycott businesses. I am, however, up for a good “buycott.” I loved the popular response to Chick-fil-A because it didn’t represent an effort to deprive anyone else of their business but instead struck directly at the liberal Borg. Chick-fil-A would not be assimilated. It lived to fry again, to make its own way in a competitive fast food environment, where the quality of the shakes matters much more than the charitable donations of the founders. In the world of television, music, and movies, I have a similar perspective. I’ll see good movies made by virtually anyone, but — at the same time — I don’t find heavy-handed political messages to be particularly entertaining or interesting. In other words, such “art” is simply a bad product, not worth purchasing.
If we are going to support the idea that everyone should be entitled to his or her own views when it is conservative views being denied a voice, then we shouldn't turn around and do the same thing for other views with which we disagree.

Hans von Spakovsky exposes the lack of evidence behind Hillary Clinton's claims that laws on Voter IDs are efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.
Clinton’s assertion is hard to reconcile with the U.S. Census Bureau’s finding that blacks voted at a higher level than whites by two percentage points in the 2012 election. Moreover, the Justice Department didn’t file a single case in 2014 (or, thus far, in 2015) under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act alleging the disenfranchisement of people of color.

Clinton also claimed that students and grandmothers are being turned away from the polls in Texas because of its voter-ID law. But there is no evidence that this is occurring. In state elections in 2013, turnout almost doubled in comparison with the 2011 state election (when the ID law was not in place) — including in heavily minority areas, some of which had even greater increases in turnout. And the few people who don’t have an ID are provided with one free of charge by Texas authorities.

In the 2014 midterm congressional election, the turnout of the eligible voting-age population in Texas was 28.3 percent, according to the U.S. Elections Project. In contrast, the turnout in New York, which Senator Clinton formerly represented and which has no ID law, was 28.2 percent, slightly less than in Texas. The turnout data in other states such as Georgia and Indiana that have had voter-ID laws in place for many years show that the constant claims of voter suppression are false....

Clinton similarly criticized North Carolina for passing a voter-ID law and cutting the number of early-voting days from 17 to 10. What she did not mention, however, is how wrong the Justice Department, which has so far unsuccessfully challenged the law, was when it predicted that minority turnout would go down because, according to DOJ’s unbelievably patronizing experts, blacks and Hispanics are “less sophisticated” voters who wouldn’t be able to figure out how to register and vote. In fact, the early-voting change was in effect for the 2014 election, where black registration and turnout went up in comparison with the 2010 midterm election.

Clinton criticizes the Supreme Court’s decision in the Shelby County case, which declared the coverage formula for Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional. Section 5 required certain states to get the permission of the federal government before they could make any changes in their voting laws.

But as the majority opinion exhaustively pointed out, the coverage formula was based on 45-year-old data that did not reflect current conditions. There is no evidence that states such as Georgia and Texas differ from states such as New York and Massachusetts today — except that black turnout and the number of black elected officials in proportion to their population is generally higher in the formerly covered states than in the rest of the country.

Clinton also misstated Section 5’s requirements. She claimed that states that are required to translate their voting materials, including ballots, into other languages, could now stop doing that because of the Shelby County decision. But the provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires ballots in other languages is a totally different section that has nothing to do with Section 5.

The former secretary of state’s other three big voting-rights issues are early voting, felon enfranchisement, and universal voter registration. She wants to mandate 20 days of early voting across the country to “give more citizens the chance to participate.” However, various studies, such as one from the University of Wisconsin in 2013, show that early voting does not increase turnout. In fact, the Wisconsin study concluded that early voting actually hurts turnout — it can “lower the likelihood of turnout by three to four percentage points.” So pushing for early voting nationwide is not a good idea.
But, hey why let facts get in the way of a demagogic attempt to gin up accusations of racism in order to increase her base's turnout.

David Harsanyi looks at the NYT's efforts to trash Rubio that ended up making him seem more like ordinary Americans. As Harsanyi writes, I'm not necessarily interested in a candidate who is "like me." Think of the political leaders you admire whether they be Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, the Roosevelts, Kennedys, or Reagan. None of them were ordinary folk, not even Lincoln. Many of them came from wealthy backgrounds and those that didn't, like Lincoln and Reagan, demonstrated a drive and willingness to work hard that I know that I lack. So I don't care if someone is like me or not. But lots of Americans, apparently, like to vote for the candidate who is most like them - the one they'd most like to have a beer with. The candidate who wins that poll question usually wins the race. And I can't imagine many people saying they'd rather hang out with Hillary rather than Rubio. Harsanyi points to the essential point about the NYT's story.
The problem with the New York Times investigation isn’t so much that it’s a transparent attempt to paint Rubio as an unfit candidate, but that the paper exhibits an ugly double-standard in coverage.

Although he was more fiscally responsible than Barack Obama at the same stage of his life, it should be mentioned that Rubio, like many of us, is less reckless than he seems. Even though he was “struggling with debt,” Rubio probably understood that money was in the pipeline. Whether he wins the presidency or not, there’ll be a flood of opportunities to profit on his fame and connections. Many American lives—though with far more modest figures—are on a comparable trajectory. Most of us have to borrow to pay for our educations, houses, and fancy windows, but we expect those investments will pay off at some point. It’s a risk, of course, that comes with varying levels of success.

Listen, some folks make $100,000 trading cattle futures their first time out of the gate and others have to take on mortgages and wait years for their property to appreciate.

Which reminds me. Watching fans of Hillary Clinton attack Rubio for his fiscal failings should be a comic experience. It isn’t because Hillary is preposterously wealthy for someone who has accomplished so little. It’s that Hillary got her hands on gobs of cash in a truly detestable manner. Not only has she peddled her influence, but that influence was bought with the success of someone else’s name. If 2016 pits Rubio against Clinton, it won’t pit a guy who has trouble balancing a checkbook against a prosperous and talented woman. It’ll be a race that pits a person whose greed and corruption goes back decades against a guy whose dream, according to The New York Times, is a fishing boat and a nice car—the type of items that many average Americans can still covet.

And, as expected, Rubio is cashing in on the Times' attack stories.
In just the last six days, Rubio has raised more than $100,000 in donations. The campaign is making a simple pitch: “Help Marco fight back against the elitist liberal media. … Sign this petition to let the liberal media know you won’t be swayed by their attacks on strong conservatives like Marco.”

FOX News is going to have a consolation debate for the candidates who don't make the cut for their main debate in August.

Just another sign that Hillary Clinton is having some problems reining in all parts of her coalition as she focuses more on the left.
Moderate Democrats are worried about Hillary Clinton’s recent embrace of liberal policies.

After positioning herself as a centrist and steely potential commander in chief in the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton has shifted.

Clinton is now to the left of President Obama on the federal minimum wage. While Obama has endorsed a $10.10 hourly rate, Clinton has signaled support for more than doubling it, to $15 an hour.

The former first lady says same-sex marriage should be a constitutional right and endorsed Obama’s executive action shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. She wants broad reform of a criminal justice system and calls for automatic voter registration.

Red-state Democrats in Congress don’t want Clinton to lose sight of a broadly appealing economic message that can win over white working-class voters who have deserted the party in droves recently.

Jonah Goldberg is also less than impressed with Clinton's rollout for her campaign. It's so bad that she's going to have a do-over and announce again.
She reminds me of Fred Thompson in 2008 or Rick Perry in 2012. Her best day in the polls was the day before she announced.

But fear not, the Clinton campaign has conveniently found a strategy that says none of this matters very much.

Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report in the New York Times that the Clinton team has turned its back on a “nationwide electoral strategy,” opting instead to reassemble the Obama coalition of 2008 and 2012. To do that, Clinton needs to run to the left and pick polarizing fights that galvanize low-information and hard-to-motivate voters.

The days of trying to win swing voters and independents are apparently over. Today it’s all about that base. “The highest-premium voter in ’92 was a voter who would vote for one party some and for another party some,” James Carville, a longtime adviser to the Clintons, told the New York Times. “Now the highest-premium voter is somebody with a high probability to vote for you and low probability to turn out. That’s the golden list. And that’s a humongous change in basic strategic doctrine.”

Carville’s right that it is a big change in doctrine, but it’s unclear whether the doctrine is right. So far the entire theory rests on the precedent of one candidate: Obama. “If she won,” Martin and Haberman write, “it would suggest that the so-called Obama coalition of young, nonwhite and female voters is transferable to another Democrat.”

As I’ve been writing for a while, I’m extremely dubious. Here are four reasons. First, Obama didn’t really run as a polarizing figure in 2008. He ran as a post-partisan reformer who would end gridlock and fix the failures of the two-term incumbent (as did George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him).

Second, Obama was a very good politician without much baggage (that the media were willing to report on). Clinton is a mediocre politician with mountainous baggage. Third, Obama’s coalition has never been transferable to any other cause or politician, despite the President’s best efforts. And last, Clinton is running to stay the course.

The Obama veterans around Clinton boast of their willingness to break with the practices of the past. But it looks more like they can’t break out of their own Obama bubble, running the same plays for a very different quarterback.

Ben Domenech thinks that John Kasich is the perfect candidate...for GOP consultants and the elite.
Yes, the consultant class often finds a perfect candidate – malleable on hot button issues, persnickety and prone to give good quotes, and typically just antagonistic enough toward fellow Republicans to receive favorable media coverage.

In this cycle, they have a dandy of a candidate in Ohio Governor John Kasich. A fiscal conservative with a testy personality who loves Jesus and Obamacare alike? Perfection. And he in turn has hired the perfect consultants for his impending run! John Weaver and Fred Davis, fresh from snarfing up Jon Huntsman’s cash in 2012, are back again to trot out a candidate who will spend his time trolling his own party and giving interviews.
Domench reminds us of a great column that Don McLaughlin wrote back in 2013 with advice for Republican presidential candidates: " 73 Rules For Running For President As A Republican: Run To Win in 2016.
I've actually used this column as an activity with my AP Government students who read After Hope and Change about the 2012 election for their summer reading.
When they'd come back in the Fall with the questions they'd had to answer about the book, I'd give them some of McLaughlin's rules and have them match them up with the 2012 GOP candidates and try to figure out whom he was discussing. The kids always had a lot of fun with that and I could get a good sense the first week of school who had actually read the book and had a real interest in politics and who was just faking it. This year they're reading another book, The Surge:2014's Big GOP Win and What It Means for the Next Presidential Election, edited by Larry Sabato. I'll have to think of another activity to go with that book.