PowerLine -> Chuck and Nancy and Donald and Kyrsten – Pelosi Driven Off Stage By “DREAMers”

PowerLine -> Chuck and Nancy and Donald and Kyrsten – Pelosi Driven Off Stage By “DREAMers”


Daily Digest

The Wages of Borking

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 01:59 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

This week marks the 30th anniversary of one of the turning points in modern American politics: the travesty of the Bork confirmation hearings. The “Borking” of Bork changed the rules of judicial appointments, and have poisoned judicial politics, ever since. It was a shameful moment because of the duplicity and hypocrisy of Democrats.

Several days before President Reagan announced Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Howard Baker and Ed Meese met with Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd to go through a list of possible nominees, and neither man indicated that Bork was unacceptable. Byrd said to a reporter when asked about Bork’s possible nomination: “I frankly think he would probably be confirmed,” and Byrd cautioned fellow Democrats that Bork’s nomination should not become “a litmus test of party affiliation and loyalty.” Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) said: “I start with the assumption that the President has the right to appoint whom he wants.” Biden, never at a loss for words—even if they were someone else’s—had told a reporter in 1986: “Say the administration sends up Bork, and, after our investigation, he looks a lot like another Scalia. I’d have to vote for him, and if the groups tear me apart, that’s the medicine I’ll have to take. I’m not Ted Kennedy.”

But then came Ted Kennedy’s single most demagogic moment on the Senate floor:

Women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy. President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of American. No justice would be better than this injustice.

The White House and others thought Kennedy’s intemperate remarks would backfire, but they misjudged the determination of the left and was slow—fatally slow—to respond.

The subsequent public campaign of the activist Left was stunning in its breadth, depth, and dishonesty. It also made evident the startling politicization of civic organizations in America. By the time the Bork battle was over, about 300 organizations had joined the anti-Bork coalition, which raised and spent more than $10 million for advertisements and lobbying efforts. The intimidation tactics were not limited to senators; at least two black witnesses who were to testify on behalf of Bork were threatened with personal and professional reprisals and canceled their testimony. Many of the opposition groups were predictable, such as the ACLU, the NAACP, feminists, environmentalists, and labor unions. But also joining the list was the Association of Flight Attendants, the Jewish War Veterans, the National Council of Senior Citizens, the YWCA, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, and the Epilepsy Foundation of America. George Will commented: “The ease with which such groups have been swept together for the first time in such a campaign reflects, in part, the common political culture of the people who run the headquarters of the compassion industry.”

During his tenure on the DC Circuit Bork had written or joined 416 opinions, many of them on the same side as fellow DC Circuit Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Bork’s three-judge panels were unanimous 90 percent of the time, and Bork was in the majority 95 percent of the time. The Supreme Court had reversed not a single majority opinion Bork wrote or joined, while in six cases the Supreme Court had adopted a dissenting opinion of Bork’s. Bork’s critics said he was hostile to minorities and civil rights, yet he sided with minority plaintiffs in seven out of eight cases that came before him as a judge. As political scientist Aaron Wildavsky noted, “How could a superb legal craftsman be outside the mainstream when he was one of the leaders in determining what constituted excellence in legal reasoning [as a professor at Yale Law School and Solicitor General of the United States]? How could a judge who had written some 150 opinions, and had never been reversed by a higher court, be outside the mainstream?”

Much more can be said about this whole sorry affair (and I do in chapter 13 of the second volume of The Age of Reagan), but looking back after 30 years we might conclude that “Borking” is something that could only be done once, notwithstanding the lasting damage it has done to judicial politics. The recent confirmation hearings for Amy Barrett so glaringly revealed leading Democrats to be anti-Catholic bigots that their histrionics are now backfiring. And we have Harry Reid to thank for one of the biggest political blunders of modern times­—throwing out the filibuster of judicial nominees. Given that Democratic Supreme Court nominees generally sail through while each Republican nominee is an uphill fight, this change means Republican president does not have to worry about gathering Democratic Senate votes and can nominate more jurists like Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch wouldn’t have been confirmed but for Reid’s impetuousness. I always knew Reid would turn out to be good for something.

But let’s look finally at some data. This chart shows the real lasting wages of Bork: appellate court judgeships are becoming harder to get judges confirmed because of the legacy of Borking. You can see a fairly clear before- and after- break in the bars.


Chuck and Nancy and Donald and Kyrsten

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 01:52 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Kyrsten Sinema represents Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is said to be the first openly bisexual woman elected to Congress, as well as the only openly non-theist or atheist member of the current Congress.

Sinema presents herself as a bipartisan moderate. She did not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House and reportedly voted with the Democrats “only” 73 percent of the time in recent years. According to one ranking, this makes her the House’s most bipartisan Democrat. But if Sinema were a Republican, it would just about make her a RINO in the true sense of that overused epithet.

At the risk of being cynical, I wonder whether Sinema’s moderation, such as it is, has anything to do her political ambition in Arizona. She is thought to be quite interested in running for the Senate seat now held by Jeff Flake. Alternatively, if John McCain were unable to continue in the Senate, it’s very possible she would seek that seat.

Strong suspicion arises not just because Arizona is a reddish state, but also because of Sinema’s pre-Congress incarnation. In 2000, she worked for Ralph Nader’s campaign. Apparently, Al Gore was insufficiently leftist. She entered politics in 2002, running as a Green Party candidate for the Arizona House. She finished last.

Soon, she switched to the Democratic Party and was elected to the Arizona House. During her time there, she received honors from the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the National Association of Social Workers. Moderates and practitioners of bipartisanship don’t receive such honors.

Strong Suspicion of cynicism also arise from this statement by Sinema:

I used to say that I wanted universal health-care coverage in Arizona, which went over like a ton of bricks. Turns out, Arizonans hear the word ‘universal’ and think ‘socialism’—or ‘pinko commie.’ But when I say that I want all Arizonans to have access to affordable, quality health care, Arizonans agree wholeheartedly. Same basic idea, different language.

Kyrsten Sinema, then, appears to be a faux moderate, intent on making it to the U.S. Senate by pulling the wool over the eyes of Arizona voters.

In this effort, she has an enabler — President Trump. KTAR News reports:

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said Thursday that she hoped a meeting she had with President Donald Trump would be the beginning of a bipartisan approach to solving the nation’s problems.

“What I hope comes from this is a process through which we begin to focus on making compromises to solve these big-ticket items,” Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos.

Sinema said she and eight other Democrats met with Trump and five congressional Republicans on Wednesday without party leaders present. She said it was “really important” that the president hear from people aside from leadership.

“What happened in that meeting was the first bipartisan discussion that rank-and-file, like normal Democrats, have had with the president,” she said, adding that it was the same for Republicans.

(Emphasis added)

By holding this meeting with Sinema, Trump has aided significantly her effort to capture a Senate seat currently held by a Republican. Now she can (1) present herself as someone the president trusts enough to work with to promote his agenda and (2) distance herself from her party’s unpopular leaders, the abnormal Democrats, who were excluded from the meeting (though not from the Chinese dinner where an agreement to agree on amnesty for “dreamers” may have been reached).

Trump, I imagine, would like to see Jeff Flake replaced in the Senate. But Flake doesn’t vote with the Democratic party 73 percent of the time. Flake doesn’t favor single payer (under any packaging). Flake voted for Obamacare replacement legislation. Sinema voted to preserve Obamacare.

Even on immigration, Sinema is at least as soft as Flake. She is said to oppose mass deportation of illegal immigrants and to favor both the DREAM Act and the creation of a path to citizenship for illegals.

Moreover, the 2018 Arizona Senate race may not come down to Flake vs. Sinema. Kelli Ward, whom Trump supports, leads Flake in the polls. This makes it all the more difficult to understand, even from Trump’s perspective, why he would boost Sinema by treating her as one of the handfuls of moderates with whom he can work.

Nor does Trump need Sinema’s vote. Republicans have a clear majority in the House, where only a simple majority is required to pass legislation. The only half-way logical reason to reach out to so-called moderate Dems is to have a shot (though not a good one) at passing legislation without the votes of House conservatives (e.g., Freedom Caucus members).

If Trump is willing to bolster a center-left Democratic Senatorial candidate for the purpose of screwing House Republican conservatives, that seems problematic. This is especially true where, as here, (1) the Democrat in question favors single-payer health insurance and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and (2) Trump plans to work with Nancy Pelosi to “get things done.”

If you’re dealing with Pelosi, Sinema is irrelevant. If you’re not dealing with Pelosi, Sinema is still irrelevant because there probably aren’t enough Dems whose ambition militates in favor of helping Trump pass stuff that Pelosi doesn’t want to be passed.

It’s not even clear that Sinema’s ambition militates in that direction. Having been in the room with Trump may suffice.

Meanwhile, Trump got some good press coverage out of the meeting. Maybe, in his mind, that suffices.


Pelosi Driven Off Stage By “DREAMers”

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 01:13 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

This morning, Nancy Pelosi was speaking at a press event in San Francisco when the room was invaded by more than 100 demonstrators claiming to be “DREAMers,” i.e., people who were brought to the United States illegally when they were young. The demonstrators took over the event, drowning Pelosi out and eventually driving her from the room. Their complaint was that Pelosi and her fellow Democrats have sold their families out in their negotiations with President Trump. (Actually, no agreement has been made and very possibly no agreement will be made, so their complaint is premature, just as the complaint by many conservatives that Trump has sold out his anti-illegal immigration base is premature.) This video shows what happened:

Many Americans are sympathetic to the “DREAMers” and favor a resolution of their status that allows them to remain in the U.S. The more people who see videos like this, the less support the “DREAMers” will have.

My only other observation is that the Democrats seem powerless to resist the far Left. We have witnessed a number of similar scenes, and it is hard to think of one where a Democrat has responded effectually. I think the reality is that the Democrats lack any intellectual framework or perspective from which they can object to the incipient fascism of their most enthusiastic supporters–or, as in this case, critics.


Demography and the End of Diversity?

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 11:55 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

“Diversity” has become the touchstone of contemporary liberalism, rivaling even equality as its first principle, though of course, the two can co-exist. Democrats have placed all their chips on diversity, seeing the rising coalition of minorities and elite white professionals as their ticket to political dominance at some point in the future (the Teixeira-Judis hypothesis). A lot of Trump’s white voters in the midwest are old and will start to die off soon, so eventually, demographics will deliver the country to Democrats.

But what if diversity doesn’t actually work out that way? What if the “diverse” constituencies come to distrust each other? Robert Putnam, the man who got us to worry about solitary bowlers, was the first to note social science data that found that increasing diversity results in higher levels of social distrust—not what liberals want to hear:

[I]mmigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer.

Putnam, being a good liberal, thought or hoped this would prove a temporary phenomenon, and that eventually, our diverse identity groups would sing Kumbaya together just like an ethnic studies department faculty meeting. (Heh.)

Now comes Psychology Today with a story about new research that shows that minority groups may become more conservative if they view other rising minority groups as potential competition:

This pair [J.A. Richeson and M.A. Craig] has a new paper coming out that asks an equally interesting question: when learning that another minority group (e.g. Hispanics) is growing in size, do other minority groups (e.g. Black Americans, Asian Americans) similarly become more conservative? This is a serious possibility — when faced with threats people often become more right-leaning in ideology and more strenuously defend the status quo (or “the system”) (see Jost et al., 2003). And those with less power and status can be invested in making sure that the system does not change, because change can worsen an already disadvantaged position (Jackman, 2005). Minority groups, therefore, can often become competitive with each other as they struggle to keep (or not lose) their group position. This can promote resistance to change in the status quo.

In their new paper, Craig and Richeson (in press) exposed non-Hispanic minorities (e.g. Blacks, Asians) in the U.S. to information suggesting that: (a) Hispanic populations are growing; or (b) people are moving location but not necessarily growing in group size (i.e., a control condition). Their results reveal a clear pattern. As was true for Whites, when learning that other racial groups are growing in size, racial minorities also shift to the right and become more conservative in ideology. Becoming a smaller group, therefore, threatens those in a numerical majority or minority. This threat encourages people to endorse a status quo that emphasizes tradition and reliance on intergroup hierarchies. . .

[T]he findings of Craig and Richeson (2014) suggest that if these trends continue Whites will shift further to the right (and thus bolster support for Republicans). And the Craig and Richeson (in press) findings suggest that although minorities tend to lean toward Democrat candidates, this is likely to change, whereby Black and Asian voters may become more conservative as the Hispanic population grows.

This only scratches the surface. If you view government as a primary spoils system, then the zero-sum nature of it will cause infighting among the spoils-seekers. We can already see this at work in California, where the move to reinstate affirmative action admissions in public universities was sailing along until Asian Democrats in the state legislature, under pressure from their constituents, opposed the change.

Maybe this partly explains why Trump got a higher share of the Hispanic and black vote than Romney or McCain did?

But always keep in mind my favorite headline of the 2016 campaign:


Strange doings in Alabama, Part Two

Posted: 18 Sep 2017 11:47 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Over the weekend, President Trump announced that he will visit Alabama next weekend to campaign for Sen. Luther Strange in that state’s Senate primary Republican run-off. I found this decision difficult to explain inasmuch as (1) polls show that Strange trails his opponent Judge Roy Moore by a significant margin and (2) Moore seems as likely as Strange to vote for pro-Trump positions — at least the ones that aren’t crafted with the help of Chuck and Nancy.

I wondered whether the White House views the race as closer than the polls suggest. I also appealed for guidance from my Alabama sources.

Quin Hillyer is my primary go-to guy on Alabama politics. Regarding Trump’s visit to Alabama, he tells me, succinctly:

I am flabbergasted. Strange is going to lose. This will make Trump look like a loser.

The very latest poll tends to confirm Quin’s view. The survey, by JMC Analytics, finds Moore ahead of Strange 47-39, with 14 percent undecided. If “leaners” are assigned to the candidate they tend to favor, the margin remains the same — 50-42. The margin of error is 4.4.

Most previous polls have shown Moore to be ahead by double digits. Thus, the race seems to have tightened a bit. However, the election is now only a little more than a week away. (The JMC survey was conducted from September 16 to September 17.)

These results are pretty consistent with the results of the initial primary, in which Moore outpolled Strange by six points. The third-place finisher, Tea Party conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, recently endorsed Moore and disclosed he has already voted for him. Brooks made these comments during the period in which the JMC survey was being conducted. Trump’s announcement that he will campaign for Strange next week also occurred during this period.

A reader who is plugged into Alabama Republican politics expects Moore to win and wonders whether he will defeat Democratic candidate Doug Jones in the general election. He notes that in a recent poll conducted by Emerson College, Strange voters were almost evenly split in their preference for Jones (31 percent) versus Moore (34 percent). The same poll shows Jones in a statistical tie with Moore (and Strange). However, our reader suspects that this poll overstates the level of support Jones is likely to receive in the general election.

Our reader is a Brooks supporter, as I think I would have been. He blames the current “strange doings” on Mitch McConnell. He writes:

The Republican establishment poured millions of dollars into a Senate primary campaign in a state that is more deeply red than the Alabama football team’s crimson jerseys to defeat a highly principled and intelligent conservative because McConnell et al. knew that Brooks would not be the Senate Majority Leader’s lickspittle. The McConnell and Strange tactics were almost guaranteed to lead Brooks and many of his supporters to support Moore, a principled but badly flawed candidate over Sen. Strange, who is capable but remarkably flexible on issues.

Because of this, McConnell may well get Moore as the new Republican senator, who will certainly not go along to get along, but may not understand what he is not going along with. (For example, he asked a radio interviewer what DACA was when asked his position on it.) Or worse yet, McConnell may have helped elect a Democrat.

And President Trump may well end up looking like a loser in a state where, as he is fond of reminding us, his rallies drew massive crowds.


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