PowerLine ⚡ John Hinderaker – Klobuchar Joins the Race + The case of AOC’s scrubbed FAQs

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PowerLine ⚡ John Hinderaker – Klobuchar Joins the Race + The case of AOC’s scrubbed FAQs

Daily Digest

Klobuchar Joins the Race

Posted: 10 Feb 2019 04:40 PM PST

(John Hinderaker)As expected, Senator Amy Klobuchar announced this afternoon that she is running for president. Why not? Everyone else is. Scott has written about Klobuchar a number of times, most recently here.

Klobuchar made her announcement in snow-covered Minneapolis. Predictably, she described herself as the candidate of everyone:

“I am running for every parent who wants a better world for their kids. I’m running for every student who wants a good education,” Klobuchar said. “For every senior who wants affordable prescription drugs. For every worker, farmer, dreamer and builder. I am running for every American. I am running for you.”

Somehow, though, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion she isn’t running for me.

Klobuchar’s all-things-to-all-people approach has served her well in Minnesota. She is good at constituent service and gets quite a bit of support from the business community. In the Senate, she has focused mostly on uncontroversial small-ball–product safety and the like–and she is personally pleasant toward local conservatives. I don’t know her well, but she is cordial when I run into her, as, most recently, when I testified before the Joint Economic Committee, of which she is a member. Coincidentally, her husband worked for me quite a few years ago. I get along fine with him, too.

I make these personal observations because they are an important part of Klobuchar’s political persona. Her voting record is just as bad as any other Senate Democrat’s, but her leftism comes in a moderate package. If she can fool a lot of Minnesota businessmen, she likely can appeal to relatively moderate Democratic primary voters, too.

Klobuchar’s bland image obscures the same vaulting ambition that characterizes almost any serious presidential candidate. And also, apparently, a considerable amount of rage. Lately, she has been in the news because of longstanding reports of her abusive treatment of staff. Whether voters will care remains to be seen.

The obvious question is whether Klobuchar will be one of the finalists when the 20-odd Democratic presidential wannabes sort themselves out. It is way too early to tell, of course, but I think she may be. Openly leftist candidates, of which there are many, will split the crazy-Democrat vote. While most primary voters will fall into that category, there is room for someone (maybe a couple of someones) closer to the center. It is easy to imagine that when the primary season approaches a climax, whoever becomes the chief “moderate” candidate will face off against three or four uncompromising leftists. That moderate, or faux-moderate, a candidate could well be Amy Klobuchar. Neither her drive, nor her discipline, nor her political skills should be underestimated.

I would not be shocked if, when the dust settles, Amy Klobuchar is the Democrats’ choice to face off against President Trump. But first, she will have to show that she can get traction in a Democratic electorate that is more or less crazed.


William Barr, from unanimous Democratic support to none

Posted: 10 Feb 2019 02:03 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of William Barr for Attorney General. His nomination now moves to the Senate floor where, in all likelihood, Barr will be confirmed very soon.

The vote in the Judiciary Committee was 12-10. Every Democrat on the Committee voted against Barr.

This is the same William Barr whom the Senate confirmed unanimously three times during the Reagan-Bush years. The last of these times, when Barr was nominated to be Attorney General under Bush, the Judiciary Committee approved him by unanimous vote, and the full Senate confirmed him by a voice vote.

Barr was confirmed unanimously even though he testified that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided. Joe Biden, then the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, praised Barr for his candor. Biden added that Barr, who had been serving as Deputy Attorney General, as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.”

This time around, Barr received no votes from Committee Democrats. In all likelihood, he will receive virtually no Democratic votes on the Senate floor.

Democrats will try to explain their negativity by citing the Mueller investigation. But Barr had nothing but praise for Mueller and is a personal friend of the special counsel.

Barr testified that he doesn’t believe Mueller would engage in a witch hunt. Matthew Whitaker who is the acting Attorney General and will remain in the job if Barr is not confirmed refused to deny that Mueller’s probe is a witch hunt.

It’s true that Barr made no categorical commitment to release Mueller’s report in its entirety. Instead, he promised to release as much of it as is permitted by law.

The Democrats weren’t satisfied with this answer. However, they cannot reasonably expect Mueller to violate the law, including applicable regulations. A promise to release more of the Mueller report that the law permits would be legitimate grounds for voting against Barr. A promise to release all that the law permits are not.

The Democrats’ unanimous opposition to Barr isn’t about Mueller, a personal friend of Barr. Rather, it’s the product of their resistance to President Trump. Indeed, any number of Trump appointees have been approved without any Democrat support or with virtually none.

Accordingly, the next time a Democrat is a president, Republicans will be well within their rights unanimously to oppose his or her nominees. They should exercise this right freely, though not indiscriminately.

If Republicans happen to control the Senate, meaning that the nominee can’t be confirmed without some GOP votes, this should not deter them from saying no. I suspect it will deter a few GOP members, but it shouldn’t.


“Death to America,” he explained

Posted: 10 Feb 2019 07:21 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)Iran has been at war with the United States since the overthrow of the Shah and the ascent of the mullahcracy in 1979. The Iranians held American hostages for 444 days in 1979-81, until President Reagan was sworn in. On Reagan’s watch, however, the mullahs upped the ante, dispatching their Hezbollah subsidiary to murder 242 Marines in Beirut in 1983. The Iranians have kept right at it, murdering and maiming many of our fellow Americans in the Middle East and plotting to conduct terrorist operations on our doorstep in Washington, DC.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration arrived at a farcical Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran that allegedly blocked its path to nuclear weapons. Obama’s long march to this false climax included the suspension of sanctions and cash payments that funded the regime’s continuing nuclear program, the regime’s terrorism and the regime’s other murderous efforts opposing the United States.

You can understand why the mullahs might be upset with President Trump. As Fred Fleitz persuasively demonstrates in his February 7 NR column, “Nine Months Later, Trump’s Iran-Deal Withdrawal Is a Clear Success.” If you haven’t caught up with Fleitz’s column and have any interest in the subject, don’t miss his column.

Now Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameni is yearning for the good old days when he could take the money from President Obama and run. He wants it understood that he harbors no ill will to Democrats or the American people.

In a speech celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Iranian catastrophe on Friday, Khameni “explained” that the whole “Death to America” thing referred to the Trump administration: “As long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon ‘Death to America,’” Khamenei reportedly said: “‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, [National Security Advisor] John Bolton, and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo. It means death to American rulers.” MEMRI reported on Khameni’s Friday speech here, Reuters here. The Hill here, and the New York Times here.

This has a certain plausibility. We can’t doubt that Khameni years for the good old days of the Obama administration and wishes the death of President Trump along with the other named administration officials. They have worked hard to merit Khameni’s antipathy.

Nevertheless, a funny thing happened on the way to Obama’s appeasement of Iran. Khameni and friends chanted “Death to America” from the first days of the Obama administration in 2009 through the consummation of the nuclear deal in July 2015. See, for example, Tim Shipman’s March 2009 Telegraph story, MEMRI’s February 2014 post, and Julian Hattem’s 2015 Hill story.


The case of AOC’s scrubbed FAQs

Posted: 10 Feb 2019 05:14 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)Earlier this week I retrieved Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Frequently Asked Questions about her Green New Deal resolution from the memory hole down which she had deposited it. I posted the document here via Scribd. I sarcastically observed that a close reading showed it to satirize the Democrats’ bold new project to save the planet from destruction.

On Friday night AOC adviser Robert Hockett actually claimed that the document was the work of unfriendly hands (video below). He blamed it on the usual suspects. How did they post it on AOC’s site? I don’t know any Republicans this clever.

Watch AOC advisor straight-up lie about the Green New Deal that was posted on her own website and then blame it on memes posted by me and Dice! Clown show! 🤡🤡🤡pic.twitter.com/AoVrFwJ47O

— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 9, 2019

You say Hockett. I say hack it. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Hockett’s story harks back to the time Anthony Weiner claimed “Lewd photo was hack,” as the 2011 Politico headline had it. Reminder: It wasn’t. The photo was Weiner’s.

Team AOC appears not to have its story straight. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff acknowledges the document was posted by AOC (tweet below). The document, however, was allegedly posted in error. It was unfinished. It was, you might say, half-baked.

AOC’s chief of staff says that the FAQ published to the website two days ago was published by mistake. https://t.co/p9ujzEy6yf

— Emily Larsen (@emilyelarsen) February 9, 2019

In good journalistic style, the Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio now relates “The mysterious case of AOC’s scrubbed ‘Green New Deal’ details.” Clown show, indeed.

Quotable quote (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez): “When your #GreenNewDeal legislation is so strong that the GOP has to resort to circulating false versions, but the real one nets 70 House cosponsors on Day 1 and all Dem presidential candidates sign on anyway.”

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg gets the last word here.

Just admit you committed one of the greatest Kinsley Gaffes in decades: Your office obviously released what you actually think. And now you’re scrambling to pretend something else happened. It’s dishonest and speaks to the immaturity of you, your staff and your ideas. https://t.co/1Jh6AVASO0

— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) February 10, 2019


Virginians profit from blackface scandal

Posted: 09 Feb 2019 08:57 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)The good people of Virginia are about to get a reward for enduring the sh*tshow that has been playing out in the Commonwealth. They are going to get a tax cut.

I’m not sure they deserve it. After all, Virginians elected the Northam-Fairfax-Herring slate. But they did so with imperfect knowledge about the trio, so let’s not be churlish.

The tax break affords Virginians $1 billion in relief. According to the Washington Post:

The deal includes a sharp increase in the standard deduction for people filing state tax returns — for individuals, to $4,500 from the current $3,000; and for married couples, to $9,000 from $6,000.

In addition, taxpayers will get a one-time refund in October — just before election season — of up to $110 for individuals and $220 for married couples.

State and local taxes will continue to be deductible at current rates instead of being capped, as they are in the federal plan. And several business tax breaks bring the total value of the package to at least $976 million.

Republicans have been pushing for tax relief for some time. They want to offset the effect of the 2017 federal tax cut that capped the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted. Virginia taxes, though much lower than Maryland’s, are high enough that the cap on deductions hurts many Virginians.

Virginia Democrats resisted, as Democrats almost always do in these cases. Northam held out for spending increases, as Democrats almost always do in these cases. The tax relief package seemed to be going nowhere.

But after the blackface scandal broke, Northam reconsidered, his willingness to go to the mat for fiscal liberalism seemingly sapped by demands from Virginia liberals that he step down (Northam reportedly is considering leaving the Democratic party and becoming an independent). He agreed to the tax cut and got little in the way of extra spending.

If only Northam would reconsider his position on infanticide.

Republicans have the majority in both houses of the state legislature, albeit just barely. So once Northam caved, tax relief was on the way.

When the blackface scandal broke, I had feared that Northam, if he remained governor, would seek absolution by veering further to the left. Wrong again, it appears.

Reportedly, Northam seeks absolution by promising to read Roots and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essay “The Case for Reparations.” Ta-Nehisi Coates? That’s carrying the joke too far.

Even so, if I lived in Virginia, I’d be okay with Northam reading The Communist Manifesto, as long as he agrees to tax cuts.


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