Recycling Campaign Slogans


Now that Joe Biden’s handlers have picked his VP nominee, it’s clear that they aren’t planning on an effective move toward the political center. While Kamala Harris isn’t a top pick for the AOC/Bernie wing of the party, she’s no moderate. Indeed, she’s distinctly to the left of Biden, and adding her to the ticket increases the contrast between the Biden and Trump campaigns. We’re being offered (as Barry Goldwater’s losing campaign put it) A Choice Not An Echo.

Perhaps the Trump campaign should recycle the winning 1920 slogan of A Return to Normalcy.

Readjusting the Overton Window


The Overton Window is the range of ideas which are considered acceptable for public consideration and debate. It moves around as the climate of public opinion changes.

President Trump’s speech at Mt. Rushmore was an attempt to move the window upward to include a more respectful view of the Enlightenment principles generally held by the Founding Fathers and away from the Postmodern Neo-marxist worldview underpinning much of the turbulence in America these days. I hope he was successful. I’m not sure that he was. Oh, he did a fine job of rallying the people who already agree with him, but he was preaching to the choir.

Let me extend that metaphor a bit. I’m not sure how effective he was as an evangelist, one who brings good news to the unconverted. There are a large number of Americans who have come to believe the marxist fallacy that everything can be defined as a power struggle among various identity groups, and that someone else’s is the result of privilege and oppression. They want what they see as their turn controlling the levers of power, and many of them are willing to tear down the current system in order to change things.

What many of them don’t understand is the difference between the ideals of the American Revolution and so many others—the people have granted power to the government so it may serve them not rule over them. Those who wish to be change things so that they can become part a new ruling class need to look at the history of those other revolutions. Only a few of the revolutionaries become part of the nomenklatura, and even fewer make it into the Inner Party. The rest become the proles in a failing society.

The good news these folks need to hear is that the American Revolution produced a melting pot society where everyone’s positive contribution has a chance to prosper. It’s not a perfect society, but it’s the best humanity has come up with to date. Events such as the Minneapolis riots or the failure of Antifastan in Seattle are hitting some with a dose of Reality that may show them the folly of their worldview.

It will be interesting to see how they react.

Meanwhile, I hope President’s speech successfully framed some of the questions to be considered by the public between now and the Third of November.

Good Advice—From China


My training as a military officer included reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The most famous quote from that ancient Chinese classic is probably

是故勝兵先勝而後求戰,敗兵先戰而後求勝。Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Patricia McCarthy has a post over at The American Thinker titled The unbearable pettiness of the Washington press corps which looks at the disrespectful manner in which the press treats Donald Trump at the manner in which the President turns their futile behavior back on them, especially during the Wuhan virus pandemic briefings. Throughout her piece, she quotes Sun Tzu.

What makes these briefings so entertaining is when the president calls them out for their dishonesty.  He has a steel-trap mind and remembers what he has said.  When they twist or edit his words, he knows it and humiliates them.  But they seem not to realize they are being humiliated.

President Trump has been teaching us all.  It is only the men and women of the media who fail to learn.  Donald Trump, as John Perazzo has written, is a superb and unappreciated president.

“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.” —Sun Tzu

This is that moment.

Read the whole thing. I’ll add this—

上兵伐謀 What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.

The Art of War is available from Amazon.

CPAC 2020, Day Two


There’s a lot of speechifying at CPAC, and some of it’s worth hearing, but I spend most of my time networking and developing background information for future posts. I spent most of my time today on the floor of the exhibit hall, on broadcast row (where talk radio outlets are set up doing interviews), and in the lobby bar. One recurring theme I heard today was about outreach to minority voters and especially about bring black voters back into the Republican party.

I live in a far suburb of DC which is in range of WCSP-FM, C-SPAN’s local FM station, so during the drive home this evening I was able to listen to President Trump’s speech at a rally in South Carolina. His opening seemed almost like a standup comedy routine; he was clearly having a good time with a friendly audience. Toward the end of the speech, he made a pitch targeted explicitly at black voters which he ended by reminding everyone that the Republicans are the party of Lincoln. The crowd, a South Carolina crowd, erupted in cheers and applause.

The Republican Party has changed since I was growing up in the ’50s.

And so has South Carolina.

Bernie Bros and Bernie Bots


The Washington Post reports that Senator Bernie Sanders has received a briefing from intelligence officials claiming that the Russians are acting to interfere in the Democrats’ primaries in support of Sanders. My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has posted his thoughts on the matter, and they’re worth reading.

Yesterday, I pointed out that the 2016 Russian Collusion Hoax never make sense. Why would the FSB or GRU or other Russian organization work to support an American presidential candidate who was promising to take effective actions against Russia’s interests? Russia supporting Trump over Clinton made no sense.

Recycling Russian collusion, this time supporting Sanders, may be a act of desperation by the Democrat establishment, but at least it makes sense.

Sanders claims to be a socialist, but based on his record, it’s probably more accurate to view him as a communist. If one of America’s adversaries were looking to support a politician who would weaken our economy, our military, and our standing in the world, who in the 2020 field of candidates fits the bill better than Sanders? While many Russians are too young to remember the USSR, the country’s leadership does. They saw (and many participated in) they way communism ruined Russia. They are no longer communists because they’ve seen communism fail, but they still think as Marxists, so they view the world in terms of a zero-sum power struggle. The logic of that worldview would lead them to favor candidates such as Corbyn in the UK and Sanders here.

And it is all about power.

The Russian nomenklatura have maintained power by allowing a quasi-Fascist alliance between government and oligarchs to evolve. Similarly, the Deep State has developed alliances throughout the West which are threatened from the Right by Trump and the Left by Sanders. In 2016, the Democrat establishment was successful in suppressing Sanders’ candidacy, but they failed to defeat Trump. Four years later, they’ve failed in their efforts to nullify that election. As one prominent Democrat observed, elections have consequences, and one of the consequences of 2016 is that the Deplorables learned they can push back against the elites and win. The ongoing struggle for command of the Democratic Party will be interesting to watch.

I’m ready for my second cup of coffee this morning. I think I’ll put a bag of popcorn in the microwave as a mid morning snack.

The Stupid. It Burns.


Donald Trump has done more to hobble Vladimir Putin’s ability to act on the world stage than any of his predecessors. For example, Trump’s favorable treatment of fracking has kept the prices of oil and natural gas down, devastating Russia’s income as an oil exporter and severely truncating Putin’s cash flow. It’s the Democrats who espouse policies which are more favorable to Russia’s interests.

So the New York Times ran this yesterday—

That “warning” was supposedly contained in an intelligence briefing. If our intelligence agencies really think that Vladimir Putin would act so stupidly against his own interests as to try to interfere in the 2020 election in Trump’s favor, then it’s time for a top-to-bottom review of what’s going on in Spookville. Trump’s appointment of Richard Grenell as acting Director of National Intelligence looks like a pretty good move.

Note to the Times: The Russian Collusion Hoax failed last year.

Swamp Draining


President Trump has withdrawn the nomination of Jessie Liu to position at the Treasury Department. According to a post by J. Christian Adams over at PJ Media, the reason for the withdrawal is the President’s disapproval of Liu’s work as the U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and the straw that broke the camel’s back in this case was her office’s sentencing memo for Roger Stone. For lying to the FBI, Democrat senate intelligence staffer James Wolfe who leaked secret data to his girlfriend got 2 months.  Liu’s “career prosecutors” recommended 9 years for the same behavior by Stone.

Adams goes through a long list of biased prosecutions by the “career prosecutors” in Liu’s U. S. Attorney’s office, and concludes—

This was the week that Trump got his sea-legs. He campaigned on draining the swamp, and he has learned how subtle and how sophisticated the swamp is.

Meanwhile, institutionalists, including some Republicans too cowardly to be quoted by name, have gone on record as clutching their pearls at Trump’s actions.  They want the bureaucrats to be unmoored to the executive branch.

The “career lawyers” at the Justice Department did not stand for election and win.  The entire Department should take note.  There is a unitary executive.  Elections matter.  The President ran against the elites who are dispensing biased, sanctimonious unequal justice in Washington D.C.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he is keeping his promises.

Read the whole thing.

Given the house cleaning at the National Security Council and the withdrawal of the Liu nomination, I won’t be surprised if there are more vacancies in certain government positions in the near future.

Gnats and Elephants


The United States fired one missile. It hit its target, and there was trivial collateral damage.

Iran launched 15 missiles. Four (over 25 %) failed in flight. The remain eleven all missed their targets, causing collateral damage to a third party (Iraq) and wounding Iraqis.

Donald Trump set his red line a the death of an American, and he has not responded with further military action. Iran’s feeble response to our hit on Soleimani didn’t tempt him to ratchet up the fight. Rather, Trump’s restraint demonstrates the huge difference in power between the U.S. and Iran and the difference in our abilities to take a punch.

Elephants have thick skins, but if small insects become bothersome, elephants have the wherewithal to deal with them.

Nothingburger or Schiff Sandwich?


My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post over at The Other McCain asking, “Why the Ukrainian ‘Nothingburger’?

This has “Deep State” fingerprints all over — partisan bureaucrats acting to undermine the administration’s policy goals. If such activity is permitted, then no matter who is elected president, the same policies (i.e., those preferred by the bureaucracy) will continue. Elections become meaningless, Americans who want a change in policy are left with no effective recourse, and it becomes impossible to enact real reform.

If we can assume, then, that this CIA whistleblower was acting in concert with Schiff and/or other House Democrat, what was their purpose? Was this nothingburger of a “scandal” just another wild episode partisanship run amok? Or was there a strategic purpose to this Ukraine episode?

Oh, I think that the real initial purpose for the complaint may turn out to be that members of the Deep State were attempting to deflect public attention ahead of the report from DoJ IG Horowitz on the FISA warrants associated with the Russian collusion hoax. William A. Jacobson explores a likely provenance for that scenario here. However, there are other reasons for certain folks to find the made-up scandal useful.

The marxist wing of the House Democrats were casting about for a fresh excuse for impeachment hearings.

The Never Biden wing of the the Democrats were looking for a way to end Joe Biden’s candidacy.

The Orange Man Bad contingent of the Main Stream Media always needs fresh material to attract their declining audience.

And though it may seem counterintuitive, President Trump appears to be using the situation to his advantage. His quick declassification and release of documents gives the appearance that he has nothing to hide. I suspect that we will eventually see that it is the Democrats and their Deep State allies that are engaged in a coverup.

It’s become a tired cliché that all the Democrats should have to do to win is not be crazy—and they can’t manage to act sane. Whoever drafted the whistleblower complaint thought he was being clever, but he didn’t understand his adversary. Donald Trump does not play under the Old Rules. He fights back.

An Investment Opportunity


Donald Trump’s personal style is … well, it’s a bit rough around the edges for my personal tastes, but he’s been effective at framing the public dialog in was that no Republican political has for several decades. He’s got the Democrats defending their political leadership of cities like Baltimore. He’s got them defending Al Sharpton. It’s seems clear to me that he intends to stay one step ahead of the Democrats during the coming election cycle.

I’m buying more popcorn futures.

The Old Normal


Several conservative commentators have taken the position that Donald Trump’s tweets about The Squad last weekend were a PR blunder. One pundit described it as an “own goal.” I disagree. While I might not have phrased those tweets exactly as the President did, I believe that his main point—Why don’t you go straighten out one of those troubled foreign countries you admire (eg., Somalia, “Palestine”) to provide a worked example of how you think we should change America?—is a valid put-up-or-shut-up challenge to those congressional novices.

I also think that he’s been smart in refusing to back down, and there’s a post over at Bookworm Room that provides a partial explanation of my view. Over the past decade, the Left has successfully narrowed the range of “respectable” public opinion (called the Overton Window). Trump is forcing the allowable range of our public conversation back to realm of opinions held by most sentient adult Americans, including many, if not most, Leftists.

Think of ideas that were normal just a decade ago: using pronouns consistent with biological sex, worrying about Muslim-inspired terrorism, admiring the Founding Fathers, believing that a traditional male-female marriage is optimal for raising children, mentioning the Judeo-Christian God in public, questioning anthropogenic climate change, or being anything but mindlessly positive about a member of a “Progressive protected victim class.” Nowadays, thanks to relentless media, entertainment, political, and educational pressure, voicing those ideas creates the risk that the speaker will be shouted down, humiliated, fired, or even physically attacked.

Read the whole thing.

Donald Trump is sometimes inarticulate or coarse. But just as the economy has improved by the changes the President has championed to the New Normal economy, our public discourse will likely benefit in the long run as we allow the values that made America great to compete with the New Normal in the marketplace of ideas.

Trump v. Pelosi v. AOC


Donald Trump is running for reelection, and it seems that he’d rather run against the sort of Progressive Democrat whose politics are strongly different from his own—”a choice not an echo” to borrow an old campaign slogan. While AOC won’t be the 2020 nominee, she’s the face of the Democrat’s for now, and that seems to suit Trump just fine.

Nancy Pelosi’s goals aren’t much different from She Guevara’s, but the two differ radically on how to achieve those goals. After six months as a congresscritter, AOC has shown that she is unwilling and/or unable to work within the established congressional order. She wants revolution now. Pelosi’s decades of practical politics have taught her that a recurring first step toward her goals is winning elections. She’s also seen what happens when her side’s politics moves too fast for the voters. See, eg., the elections of 1994 and 2010.

Pelosi isn’t all that popular with voters outside the costal blue zones, but recent poling shows that AOC and her squad of newbies are unpopular even in many Democrat strongholds. Thus, Trump would much rather have She Guevara as the face of the Democratic Party. As the coming primaries settle on the Democrat’s presidential nominee, that candidate will push AOC aside, but her effect on the party’s branding will linger, and Trump sees that as to his advantage.

So Trump is likely to continue baiting AOC and her squad. And given their mix of arrogance and inexperience, I suspect they’ll keep taking the bait.

Oh, one more thing … I’ve seen Trump’s tweets from last weekend labeled as “racist.” He suggested that a foreign-born congresswoman return to her homeland, straighten it out, and then come back to show us how it was done. How is that challenge racist?

Brandishing the Big Stick


Teddy Roosevelt once described his approach to foreign affairs as speaking softly while carrying a big stick. Over the past few days, Donald Trump apparently came close to using that stick, but he wound up speaking softly. It seems to me that he made a wise choice.

Iran is being crippled financially by our sanctions. Its proxy fighters in places like Yemen and Syria have been taking beatings from our allies. Iran’s power and influence are not on the rise.

So why would Iran attack shipping and shoot down a U.S. drone? Desperation?

I don’t think so. The Iranians may be testing the limits to see what they can get away with. Or they may be in such a cash bind that they’ll try anything to raise the price of oil. But oil shipments through the Persian Gulf are no longer a direct concern to Trump because his policies have resulted in America becoming a net oil exporter. These days, it’s China, Vietnam, and Japan who are reliant on oil from the Gulf.

A pinprick attack in retaliation for shooting down a reconnaissance drone wouldn’t have caused enough damage to the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards to curb their ambitions, so speaking softly (but firmly) probably was wise.

This time.

One of these days, the Iranians will do something too costly to be disregarded. Then it will be time for the stick.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know


Mexico has been unable or unwilling (or some of each) to enforce its own immigration laws at its southern border, and one result has been a spike in the influx of illegal immigration passing through to the U. S. Donald Trump threatened to use his authority to apply a tariff on Mexican goods unless Mexico began acting responsibly with regard to illegal migration.

At the last minute, Mexico gave Trump what he wanted, and Trump has placed the tariff proposal on hold.

Of course, the senator’s actual prediction was more along the lines of the President caving in to Congressional pressure after Mexico failed to agree to acceptable terms.

Some New Yorkers are better deal makers than others.

Congress, the Supreme Court, and Impeachment


President Trump has remarked that if the House were to pass articles of impeachment against him that did not properly charge him with a crime (Orange Man Bad isn’t even a misdemeanor), he might go to the Supreme Court seeking to have the impeachment quashed. Various pundits and academics have tut-tut-ed and stated that the President doesn’t understand how impeachment works. Do they?

Alan Dershowitz has a piece over at The Hill suggesting that the President may not be too far off base.

Were Congress to try to impeach and remove a president without alleging and proving any such crime, and were the president to refuse to leave office on the ground that Congress had acted unconstitutionally, there would indeed be such a constitutional crisis. And Supreme Court precedent going back to Marbury v. Madison empowers the justices to resolve conflicts between the executive and legislative branches by applying the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Recall that when a president has been impeached by the House, the Supreme Court’s chief justice presides at his Senate trial and the senators take a special oath. This special oath requires each senator to swear or affirm that “in all things pertaining to the trial … [to] do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law” (italics added).

If the House were to impeach for a non-crime, the president’s lawyer could make a motion to the chief justice to dismiss the case, just as a lawyer for an ordinary defendant can make a motion to dismiss an indictment that did not charge a crime. The chief justice would be asked to enforce the senatorial oath by dismissing an impeachment that violated the words of the Constitution. There is no assurance that the chief justice would rule on such a motion, but it is certainly possible.

No one should criticize President Trump for raising the possibility of Supreme Court review, especially following Bush v. Gore, the case that ended the 2000 election. Many of the same academics ridiculed the notion that the justices would enter the political thicket of vote-counting. But they did and, in the process, weakened the “political question” doctrine. The case for applying the explicit constitutional criteria governing impeachment is far more compelling than was the case for stopping the Florida recount.

So no one should express partisan certainty regarding President Trump’s suggestion that the Supreme Court might well decide that impeaching a president without evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is unconstitutional.

Read the whole thing.

The Truth is Out There


Over the past day, I’ve read of couple of posts whose ideas resonated together. The first was by David French over at NRO. The second was by Sarah Hoyt at According to Hoyt.

French’s piece, Franklin Graham and the High Cost of the Lost Evangelical Witness, takes Billy Graham’s son to task for having a double standard with respect to presidential morals. Graham spoke out against what he saw as Bill Clinton’s moral lapses 1998, but in 2018 called “this thing with Stormy Daniels and so forth … nobody’s business.” Yet, he’s recently called out Pete Buttigieg, tweeting, “As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as a sin, something not to be flaunted, praised or politicized.” French (and I) see Graham as inconsistent, and he (and I) see such inconsistency as the sort of hypocrisy that blunts the Church’s witness to the world.

The proper Evangelical position toward any president is not hard to articulate, though it is exceedingly difficult to hold to, especially in polarized times when one party seems set on limiting religious liberty and zealously defending abortion: We should pray for presidents, critique them when they’re wrong, praise them when they’re right, and never, ever impose partisan double standards. We can’t ever forget the importance of character, the necessity of our own integrity, and the power of the prophetic witness.

Read the whole thing.

This tweet from The Babylon Bee is a proper, if humorous, response to some Christian’s acceptance to Donald Trump’s sexual behavior.

FWIW, I didn’t support Trump in 2016, he hasn’t been an ideal president, but I believe that he’s done better that Hillary Clinton would have. That brings me to Sarah Hoyt’s post, We SEE You. She writes,

Years ago, I told a friend that I voted Republican, not because they were that much better than the Democrats, but because the press hated them and would keep an eye on them, while the left got a complete pass, which meant they could get crazier and crazier.

Christians on the Right shouldn’t fall in to the same trap that has caught so many folks on the Left. We need to shine the light of Truth rather that avert it because of worldly political convenience. Hoyt continues,

The deeds done in dark? Shout them from the rooftops. Do not give the left their presumption of good, or even of good intentions.

Read all of this one too.

I’ll add that the Right is not entitled to any presumption of good either. The Truth is out there.

Lying Liars Gotta Lie


The Wall Street Journal reports that Michael Cohen instructed Stephen Ryan, his previous lawyer, to raise the prospect of a pardon after the FBI raided Cohen’s home last April. That statement by lawyer Lanny Davis, who now represents Cohen, directly contradicts Cohen’s testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on 27 February.

Cohen: “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.”

Davis: “During that time period, [Cohen] directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump.”

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, but he has now flipped on his former client Donald Trump, so it makes sense that the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee would give him a forum for further lies.