Wow, THAT week went by fast...
1 It’s the economy, stupid, except when the news media and Democrats want to overthrow the President…The Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter rolled in at 3.2%, considerably higher than the 2.5% predicted by “experts.” This is good news and big news, but because it’s favorable to Trump news, you can’t find it on the front page of today’s Times, or in the headlines at HLN. I’m an economics dummy—that’s one reason I majored in American Government, because I didn’t have to take major Economics course—but I worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce long enough to learn that all sorts of good things flow from a healthy GDP, which averaged well under 3 for the entire, benighted, protected and over-praised Obama administration.
There is no question that similar news—there was similar news in 2015—early in the Obama administration would have been heralded as cheer-worthy proof that Obama’s economic stimulus monster, derisively nicknamed “Porkulus” by critics, was working (it was an expensive failure), and that he was leading us out of the Wilderness, just as he had promised. Similarly, when Bill Clinton was running for re-election in 1996, his smug and slimy ways (“Where is the outrage?” asked poor Bob Dole) were already a matter of record even before Monica Madness, but the liberal news media and Democrats mocked the very idea that Presidential character should matter to voters.
That very year, my old theater company revived Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man,” a Sixties political satire on Presidential election politics. The play centered on an idealist candidate’s ethical dilemma of whether to release damning information on a competing candidate for the nomination, violating the good candidate’s ethics (the alleged scoop was that his competitor had dabbled in homosexual relationships in the army, not that there’s anything wrong with that: Gore Vidal certainly didn’t think so) to win the nomination for himself and save the nation from the bad candidate, even though the Army rumors had nothing to do with why he was bad—the man was a Machiavellian right-wing monster (Gore believed all conservatives were monsters). The Washington Post reviewer panned the play, mocking the script as ridiculously outdated. “Who believes that character matters in choosing a President any more?” she asked.
One of the great ironies of the 2016 election and its ugly and getting uglier aftermath is that Democrats (and the Post, of course), have conveniently forgotten the “It’s the economy, stupid!” mantra, as today the fact that the President may have said “I’m fucked!” is deemed more newsworthy and significant than a boost in the GDP. The historical fact is that Presidents are ultimately judged on how well the nation does under their stewardship, not how crusty and rotten their character is (See: Wilson, FDR, Kennedy, Johnson, et al. ) My position is the same as it was in 1996: the nation, the culture and the Presidency are better served by ethical leaders than unethical ones.
Unfortunately, politicians and journalists only agree with me when their party is out of power.
2. Now THIS is obstruction of justice! Massachusetts judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph was charged with obstruction of justice, along with another court officer, for helping an illegal immigrant elude arrest by the ICE.
“The allegations in today’s indictment involve obstruction by a sitting judge, that is intentional interference with the enforcement of federal law, and that is a crime,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling. “We cannot pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law.”
Police arrested a suspect on March 30, 2018, for being a fugitive on narcotics charges. Officials later discovered that the suspect had been deported twice, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a detainer. On April 2, 2018, a plainclothes ICE officer came to the district court in Newton to take custody of the suspect and was told to wait in the lobby. The judge, however, arranged for the suspect, his lawyer and an interpreter, to leave through a different exit, escorted by MacGregor. (I’m not going to write “allegedly;” this is confirmed by witnesses and the court records.) “ICE is gonna get him?” the judge asked the defendant’s attorney before directing that the court recorder be turned off, which is a violation of Massachusetts court rules. 52 seconds later court recordings were turned back on, and caught the court clerk asking the judge if she wanted to let the ICE officer in. The judge said no, allows the subject to go, saying, “That’s fine. I’m not gonna allow them to come in here. But he’s been released on this.” The court officer who was also charged asks if the defendant is released, and the judge says yes.
Nice. I guess I’m going to have to research this, but right now I don’t understand why officials of sanctuary cities can’t similarly be charged with obstructing justice. That’s obviously what they are doing, and what they intend to do.
3. The Biden Follies. It took less than a day into Joe Biden’s Presidential run to make his first gaffe. “Do you have a message for the rest of the world?” a reporter asked. Biden yesterday. Joe replied, “Yes. America is coming back like we used to be: ethical, straight, telling the truth — supporting our allies. All those good things.”
This was immediately seized upon by internet wags who noted that Joe pledged to make America straight again. Surely this was a dog whistle to blue-collar, anti-gay Democrats, right Chris Matthews? Take THAT Pete Buttigieg! Though the news media will try to obscure it, Biden’s statement is a lie and hypocrisy bomb. Biden’s ethical? Wasn’t he the only Presidential candidate in history to have to withdraw because he used a stolen speech by another politician to describe his “personal journey”! Telling the truth—like “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”? Supporting our allies—like Israel, Joe?
Biden has joined my small but growing list of political ethics corrupters. It is clear that he is going to run on a pandering and anti-integrity platform, apologizing for virtually all of his prior positions, endorsing the most popular radical and socialist nonsense being proposed by his younger, female opponents (a metaphorical hug), and simultaneously hoping to be able to maintain the mantle of the reasonable, centrist candidate. This would be an astounding tight-rope act for the smartest, most unprincipled candidate in the world, but Joe—well, you know.
My Trump-hating sister says that she will vote literally for any Democrat to oust Trump, no matter how dishonest, hypocritical, dumb, facile, phony, corrupt or embarrassing they he or she may be, and Joe is aiming for Democrats like her.
Meanwhile, sensing (as she does), that Joe may be pathetic, he still would probably be a stronger candidate than the rest of the depressing Democratic field, the Washington Post is trying to pretend all of its attacks on Reagan and John McCain for being too old never happened. Now the paper is saying nobody is too old to be President., so Elizabeth Warren, Bernie and Joe can skirt one of the obvious flaws in their ambitions. That’s demonstrably false: look at Presidents W.H. Harrison, FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan. Any time we elect a President older than 65, we’re rolling the dice and buying into a declining asset to handle the toughest job on earth.
Oh–I almost forgot! The candidate who says that he wants to return to telling the truth said yesterday that he asked President Obama not to endorse him, neatly avoiding the realities that Obama wouldn’t endorse him with African Americans running, and that when a former President won’t enthusiastically endorse his loyal VP, it’s a serious blow. This is either a lie by Biden, who would obviously love to have Obama’s endorsement, or deceit, because he told Obama, “I’m not going to ask you to endorse me, because I know you can’t.”
As another early illustration of how Biden’s doomed run will make others into liars and fools, here’s Nate Silver, desperately trying to argue that Joe has a shot:
|Candidate||VP Years||Year Nomination Sought||Early Polling Avg.*||Won nomination?|
|George H.W. Bush||1981-89||1988||37||✓|
Notice anything about that list?