Thursday, January 07, 2016

Cruising the Web

Ah, so this is why young women aren't enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton.
Young women are not as enthusiastic as older women are about Hillary Clinton because they just don’t care enough about the abortion issue, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in an interview with The New York Times.

Asked to explain that gap, Wasserman Schultz implied that since younger women did not come of age during the most contentious battles surrounding the abortion issue, they are less likely to vote for Clinton, an outspoken pro-abortion proponent.
This relates to the argument by a lot of political observers that Hillary is the candidate of yesterday. Besides Democrats whipping up fears about a conservative war on women, abortion just isn't that important an issue to most voters. Polls of the issues most important to voters usually finds only about 2% who plan to vote based on abortion or who think that that is the most important issue when presented with a list. When the question is asked in an open-ended manner so that those polled can name their own issue for what's most important, it doesn't even rank 1% of respondents. So if political genius Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks that young women just don't care enough about abortion to warm up to Hillary, she really doesn't understand the electorate. So there will have to be some serious fear-mongering by the Democrats to whip up enough fears among women voters to help them see Hillary as their savior.

The Associated Press has analyzed
Obama's proposed executive actions and determined that none of them would have prevented any of the deadliest mass shootings in the past year. But should reality intrude on a good photo op?

Meanwhile, Mollie Hemingway refutes the White House's claim that a violent felon can buy a gun over the internet with no questions asked.
In fact, it is illegal for violent felons to purchase guns. And no one can just order guns off the Internet without going through a background check. Far from it. Internet gun purchases are relatively rare, but when they happen, the purchased items aren’t sent directly to the buyer but first must be sent to a dealer holding a federal firearms license. Such gun transactions processed by a federal firearms license holder must include a background check, regardless of whether the sale is across state lines or not. Gun transactions across state lines must be processed in the home state of the recipient. So if you purchase a gun off the Internet from a different state, it will be sent to a federal firearms license holder in your state, and you would not be allowed to take possession of it until a background check is done on you.
Despite the actual legalities of the matter, PoliFact rated the President's statement as true because he didn't necessarily mean that it was legal to do so, just that a felon could buy a gun. Well, if that is our criteria, felons can break the law to get guns no matter what laws restricting them are passed.
I mean, anyone “can” do anything illegal at any point in time, so I’m pretty sure that was the important point President Obama was trying to put in people’s minds — not that violent felons can fill up their Amazon carts with AR-15s and have them shipped straight to the scene of the crime. Also true: A violent felon can go rob a bank at any point in time he desires. (By the way, I hope you also get a kick out of watching how fact checkers go from hyper-literal to relaxed and figurative depending on the political views statement being checked. )

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Jonah Goldberg explains how Trump, in addition to his economic class, follows in FDR's footsteps. And that isn't a compliment like the way it was when Time portrayed Obama as FDR.
Enter Trump, via his fabulous escalator. The GOP front-runner isn’t openly contemptuous of the Constitution; it just doesn’t enter his thinking very much. If he believes something is worth doing, he says he will do it. He makes little effort to explain how he will get Congress to agree, never mind write the laws the president is supposed to faithfully execute. And that’s the way Trump’s fans like it.

We’ve seen this sort of thing before. “I want to assure you,” Franklin Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins told New Dealers in New York, “that we are not afraid of exploring anything within the law, and we have a lawyer who will declare anything you want to do legal.” When the Supreme Court continued to stand in his way, FDR tried to pack it with pliable hacks.

Trump has already spoken fondly of Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese Americans (which was constitutional according to the court at the time. Eight of the nine justices had been appointed by FDR. The one Republican appointee was among three dissenters.) It seems a sure bet that a President Trump would follow FDR’s — and Obama’s — example in doing whatever he could get away with.

If Obama didn’t inspire so much partisan loyalty from fellow Democrats (and the news media), it might have occurred to them that he — and Senate Democratic leader Harry “nuclear option” Reid — was laying down precedents that the next president would use and abuse.

But such realizations always come too late. During the height of the Watergate hearings, Alan Cranston, a Democratic senator from California, made an awkward admission: “Those who tried to warn us back at the beginnings of the New Deal of the dangers of one-man rule that lay ahead on the path we were taking toward strong, centralized government may not have been so wrong.”

If Trump's opponents are hoping that his campaign will collapse because of insufficient efforts to build a get-out-the-vote operation, they better place their hopes on something else. At least he'll have the data available for a real push. His data operation might not be as extensive as those built by some of his top competitors, but it should still help him be competitive on GOTV operations.

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When President Obama holds his CNN town hall meeting on guns, remember the history of plants showing up at such townhalls, particularly the ones on CNN.
CNN has a long history of allowing political plants to flourish in its public forums.

At the cable station’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas in 2007, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as “ordinary people, undecided voters.” But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada, and a far-left anti-war activist who’d been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq.

At a CNN/YouTube GOP debate two weeks later, the everyday, “undecided voters” whose questions were chosen included:

A member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Americans for Hillary Clinton Steering Committee.

A young woman named “Journey” who questioned the candidates on abortion and whom CNN failed to properly identify as an outspoken John Edwards supporter.

A supposed “Log Cabin Republican” who had declared his support for Obama on an Obama ’08 campaign blog.

A supposedly unaffiliated “concerned mother” who was actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers — which had endorsed Edwards for president.

A supposed “undecided” voter who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent but who had already publicly declared his support for former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson’s Democratic presidential bid.

A staffer for Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), a former intern for Representative Jane Harman, (D., Calif.), and a former intern for the Council on American–Islamic Relations.
The list goes on and on.

It's still too early for the polling in either Iowa or New Hampshire to be indicative of the eventual winner.

Just what this election needs - the return of Gary Johnson.

I was impressed that Ted Cruz would come out against the ethanol mandate while campaigning in Iowa. I have always found that to be one of the stupidest public policies and bemoaned the influence of Iowa on the presidential election to get so many candidates to endorse it. I admired John McCain for condemning it in 2008. But not so fast for Ted Cruz.
Sen. Ted Cruz in 2013 co-sponsored the "Renewable Fuel Standard Repeal Act," which would immediately repeal the ethanol mandate.

He has chastized those politicians who embrace the ethanol mandate when in Iowa and then speak about free enterprise elsewhere.

Yesterday in Iowa, Cruz said he would leave the ethanol mandate in place for now — not touching it at all in his first term, and then letting it expire when the current mandate is (kind of) set to expire, in his theoretical second term.
So he gets to have it both ways. Too clever by half.

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So what would Machiavelli advise the Republican candidates? He had wisdom for every age.

Gosh, it's hard to keep up with all the transgressions possible to make in today's culture.
Louis Vuitton has announced that Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s son, will be the new model for its womenswear section — and, apparently, that’s somehow oppressive to trans people.

Yes, seriously.

According to a piece by Katie Glover in the Independent, promoting the idea that individuals can wear whatever kind of clothing they want may seem progressive, but it’s actually transphobic because if cisgender men start wearing clothes typically associated with the other gender, then no one will be able to tell transgender people are transgender based on the clothing they wear.
Got that? And if you give boys toys that were traditionally for girls and vice versa, I guess that would be oppressing transgender children. Where does the madness stop? All I know is that chances are I'm offending someone with everything I do.

The media like to tell us that Ronald Reagan could get elected today and would be out of place in today's Republican Party. Well, Michael Tanner asks a related question, could Bill Clinton get the Democratic nomination today? He certainly seems out of the mainstream of today's Democratic Party and many of his policies are anathema to the Democratic electorate in 2016.
Bill Clinton, after all, was a “New Democrat,” the president who declared that “the era of big government is over.” Hillary is an unapologetic defender of ever bigger government. In that same State of the Union address where he announced the demise of big government, Bill went on to say that he had “worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic Government in Washington. And we have to give the American people one that lives within its means.” If Hillary said anything even close to that, her head would explode.

For example, Bill was a champion of free trade, pushing through NAFTA among other trade agreements. But Hillary is campaigning as a protectionist, even repudiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that she helped negotiate.

Bill — pushed, of course, by Republicans in Congress — brought us welfare reform. Hillary seeks to expand the American welfare state.

Bill presided over the first and only balanced budgets since the Nixon administration. Federal spending averaged just 19.2 percent of GDP during the Clinton presidency and bottomed out at just 17.6 percent, the lowest level since 1966. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has already called for more than $1.1 trillion in new spending over the next ten years. And while Bill seriously explored entitlement reform, even considering the possibility of allowing younger workers to invest privately a small portion of their Social Security taxes, Hillary not only opposes any efforts to “cut or privatize the program,” she actually wants to expand it to offer new and additional benefits.
In fact, we might as well ask if today's Hillary Clinton would have supported the Bill Clinton of the 1990s if he weren't her husband?

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So Rahm Emanuel can't claim ignorance of the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald. He knew all about the efforts to quash the video and pay off the family.
Emanuel has maintained since McDonald’s death that he has never seen the dashcam video, but the emails prove the mayor knew exactly what the footage showed when city lawyers negotiated a deal that would at least delay the video’s release. Emanuel’s lawyers were offering $5 million in hush money to keep the video hidden just weeks before the runoff election.

And the biggest part of the deal — that McDonald family attorneys agreed to keep the video to themselves until criminal proceedings were concluded — just so happened to be inked the day after Emanuel was re-elected.

As Trump competes for the evangelical vote in Iowa, John Stemberger, a Florida activist on family issues, writes a column at CNN with three questions that evangelicals should ponder before they vote for Trump. Besides his own personal history and his positions on issues that evangelicals have traditionally cared about, there is this.
3) Are the love of money and pride legitimate issues to weigh when considering support for a presidential candidate?

First, the Bible is very clear that "the love of money" -- not money itself -- is "the root of all evil." But Donald Trump is also very clear -- he really loves money. In fact, he has reminded us over and over again, relishing and boasting in how "really rich" he is. Trump's TV show "The Apprentice" even used the O'Jays' song "For the Love of Money" as the theme song.

It's not often that the Bible speaks with such clarity on what is evil. How heavily should a Christian voter considering supporting Trump take into account his love of money?

Secondly, Scripture declares "God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble." Proverbs says that "everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord."

Trump is not just proud. He is proud of being proud. But don't take my word for it. Just listen to most any speech he gives. Trump has said, "part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich."

All of us are sinners in need of grace. But what are we to do with a professing Christian who is openly proud and brags about his sin and who wants other Christians to trust and support him to be our next president?
I have wondered about this and how anyone who professes to use his or her faith when voting could consider Trump. Add in his personal history and the positions that he's taken in his past on positions like abortion and same-sex marriage which such social conservatives have traditionally voted. Is his bluster on immigration and other issues and his nose-thumbing at political correctness enough to cancel out all the rest? I have no idea, but it is a puzzlement. Maybe that is why his strongest support comes from Democrats who sometimes vote Republican.

Daniel Henninger also sees
the campaigns of Trump and Carson has a revolt against political correctness.
Since at least the early 1990s, a lot of the public has been intimidated into keeping its mouth shut and head down about subjects in the political and social life of the country that the elites stipulated as beyond discussion or dispute. Eventually, the most important social skill in America became adeptness at euphemism. It isn’t an abortion; it’s a “terminated pregnancy.”

Some keywords in PC’s history:

Identity, gender, gender-neutral, diverse, inclusive, patriarchy, workplace harassment, multiculturalism, dead white males, sexism, racism, organic, “privileged,” hate speech, speech codes, prayer in schools, affirmative action, respecting our differences, microagressions, trigger warnings. That’s just the tip of the iceberg—which political correctness slammed into with the Trump and Carson campaigns.
I'd forgotten how much of Carson's early campaign was explicitly condemning political correctness. And Trump, of course, has blown PC concerns to smithereens.
When Donald Trump’s mostly working-class voters repeatedly said that “he tells the truth,” this is what they were talking about—not any particular Trump outrage but the years of political correctness they felt they’d been forced to choke down in silence.

American society has never been static. A fair-minded person would concede that many of these controversial subjects involve legitimate and complex issues. Politics exists to mediate them.

Mediation? We should have been so lucky. The left never modulated its PC offensive. The 2006 Duke University lacrosse scandal, a travesty of PC trampling on individuals, should have been a red flag. Instead the Obama Education Department imposed what are essentially kangaroo courts on American campuses to enforce Title IX sexual-abuse cases.

Policies like that don’t emerge from the marketplace of ideas, much less political debate. They come from a kind of Americanized Maoism. The left goes nuts when anyone suggests political correctness has totalitarian roots. But the PC game has always been: We win, you lose, get over it, comply.

But people don’t get over it, and they never forget. For a lot of voters now, possibly a majority, their experiences with enforceable, politically correct behavior, speech and thought have bred a broad mistrust of elites.

Average people think individuals in positions of leadership are supposed to at least recognize the existence of their interests and beliefs. The institutions that didn’t do that or were complicit include the courts, Congress, senior bureaucrats, corporate managers, the press, television, movies, university administrators.

David Gelernter examines why the left has grown so vicious.
You see characteristic leftist arrogance among global warmers, who show their respect for their opponents by refusing to listen to them and implying that they are crackpots. On campus, leftists have spit at conservatives, screamed obscenities at moderate liberals, yammered on about phony "rape crises" while doing everything they could think of to promote universal debauchery, rigged local votes to silence opponents of the Kill Israel (aka "BDS") movement.

The list goes on, the arrogance is staggering, the asymmetry all too obvious. Conservatives, bursting with facts and ideas (and anger and dismay), are eager to have it out with liberals and maybe even convince a few. Liberals are eager to make assertions and strike moral poses, but not to respond to rational argument or speak to the facts.
That might be a bit of an overgeneralization, but Gelernter rightly points to Obama's arrogant dismissal of anyone who disagrees with him whether on the economy, health care, or foreign policy as having totally ridiculous and illegitimate positions. Perhaps that is why, when everything that conservatives predicted would happen with the stimulus and Obamacare has come to pass, liberals seem so gobsmacked. They never seem to have even considered such reasoning. Gelernter has his own explanation - that liberals have replaced traditional religion with their politics. As a secular conservative myself, that's a hard thesis for me to swallow.

I am also not sure how recent this viciousness is. If you doubt the ugliness with which the left has greeted someone with whom they disagreed, read Craig Shirley's column reminding us of what was written and said about Ronald Reagan as he emerged on the public scene. Shirley has written several books about Reagan: Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan, Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America about the 1980 campaign, and Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All about the 1976 campaign so he knows what he's talking about when he writes about the contempt with which the left discussed Reagan throughout his political career. It wasn't until his death that we started seeing a different tone and now the left likes to pretend that they had such respect for Reagan and they use Reagan now to criticize current day Republicans. Reading Shirley's histories is a nice reminder that political commentary was just as ugly back then. It's just more ubiquitous now with cable TV and social media providing an echo chamber and forum for all sorts of jerks to express their opinions in the ugliest way possible. In fact, without cable news and social media, I question whether we would be witnessing the Trump phenomenon today.