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FINAL VERDICT: LIBERAL CONCEDES DEFEAT TO CONSERVATIVE IN WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT ELECTION: “I don’t know what this means for 2020, but if the Supreme Court election reflects a fired-up conservative Wisconsin base, the type that delivered victories for Scott Walker, then Democrats should be very worried.”

SCOTT WALKER TO DC? THE TIMING’S RIGHT. Report: Walker listed as possible replacement for Trump’s interior secretary.

THIS IS TOO BAD: Scott Walker loses bid for third term in Wisconsin. But a third term is hard to pull off.

GOOD: Supreme Court Deals Massive Blow To Government Unions. This is basically Scott Walker on a national level. Of course, if the unions provided value, they wouldn’t have to force people to pay dues.

At any rate, I agree with FDR that public employee unions are a conspiracy against the public. More on FDR’s view here.

LEFTIES ARE THUGS: “Silence white supremacy!”/”Get him out” — that was the chant at a meeting of the Madison school board ad hoc committee on police officers in schools. “The protestors were black, white, hispanic, and east Asian. Very few are parents. All but a handful are very young, very loud, and very obnoxious…. What else is new? Madison school board leadership race-shamed Karen Vieth for complaining about the dysfunction in her school. So why shouldn’t school board member Loumos do the same when a citizen and parent speaks in favor of keeping the police?”

Plus: “Blaska maintains a calm demeanor throughout the disturbing intimidation, but you can see that his hands shake (something commented on by the videographer, DuersttheWuerst), and I can only imagine how scary it must be to publicly express opinions in a small room that is packed with people denouncing you. The committee members do nothing to push back the intimidation or to protect Blaska’s right to speak to the group.”

Disgraceful. But hey, more votes for Scott Walker. And for Donald Trump! Because behavior like this is how you get more of both.

BROWN’S BILLION-DOLLAR BOONDOGGLE: Slow Death of the Train to Nowhere.

John Fund:

In 2011, the new GOP governors of Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin turned down federal money for trains. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker told me: “Washington may help pay for building it, but we’d be stuck paying the operating costs of a boondoggle.”

But California’s transportation planners, who never encountered a boondoggle they couldn’t embrace, pressed on despite mounting costs and construction delays. In 2015, desperate to beat a deadline that would have meant the end of federal funding, they began construction on a 119-mile segment of track in the state’s sparsely settled Central Valley. Fewer than 3 percent of the train’s potential riders live along that portion of the route, but backers believed that if they built the Central Valley segment, the sunken costs would convince state legislators to find money for the remaining segments.

That is increasingly unlikely. In January, the California High Speed Rail Authority released its new business plan. Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a train critic who represents Fresno, promptly labeled it a “going-out-of-business plan.”

According to the Authority’s own numbers, the train’s costs have soared to a likely $77 billion — more than double the original cost estimate of $32 billion. If anything goes wrong, the tab for the project could hit $98 billion, or 50 times the current annual appropriation for the nationwide Amtrak system. As for delays, the Authority conceded that rail service on the portion of the route from Bakersfield to San Jose probably won’t begin until 2029, a full nine years after the entire system was supposed to be complete.

As for the “high speed” aspect of the train, the Authority now admits that the two-hour-and-40-minute travel time that helped sell the initial bonding of the train in 2008 will now slip to, at best, three hours and 30 minutes. Travel time on some runs will be up to five hours.

The question Californians need to ask is: Where did the money go?

SO NICE OF YOU TO NOTICE: How the Right’s War on Unions Is Killing the Democratic Party.

Since 2010, six states have passed “right-to-work” laws, meaning that workers can benefit from union representation without paying to keep the union funded. In other states, Republican legislatures have hamstrung public-sector unions by denying them collective-bargaining power.

Everyone remembers the high-profile battle in Wisconsin that Governor Scott Walker launched in 2011, but the union-busting efforts have not slowed down. In 2017, Missouri and then Kentucky’s right-to-work laws were rammed through within weeks of Republicans’ gaining power, and Iowa successfully limited the collective-bargaining power of public-sector unions. There was a push to do the same in New Hampshire, though it failed.

Few of these battles drew the same attention as what happened in Wisconsin, particularly after Donald Trump’s carnival began dominating news coverage. But there is good reason to believe that all these efforts will profoundly change the future of American politics.

It’s nice to see the Left acknowledge, even tacitly, that they can’t win without the advantage of legalized theft against the workingman.

MARK PULLIAM: Anatomy of a Witch Hunt: The Politically Motivated Prosecution of Texas AG Ken Paxton. “In the annals of ‘lawfare’ — the weaponized use of the legal system to punish a political enemy — one must distinguish between a random ‘drive-by’ motivated by spite or revenge, versus carefully orchestrated schemes calculated to achieve regime change: removal of an elected official by defeated rivals. Both types of lawfare constitute a serious abuse of the legal system, but the latter variety — exemplified by Wisconsin’s notorious ‘John Doe’ investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and the baseless prosecution of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for carrying through on his threat to veto a bill — amounts to an attempted coup d’état, representing a dire threat to representative democracy. In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton currently faces such a politically motivated gauntlet, with the obvious goal of removing him from the post to which he was elected in 2014 (or, lacking that, damaging his prospects for higher office).”

Why shouldn’t Democrats do this, since it often works and can swing a seat (see, e.g., the disgraceful Ted Stevens prosecution) and there are few if any consequences. And it’s not as if the GOP returns the favor.

IT’S NOT OVER IN WISCONSIN: Schimel says Ethics Commission chairman should recuse himself from matters related to leak investigation. “Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is disputing arguments made by the state’s Ethics Commission and asking its chairman to recuse himself from matters related to a recently released Department of Justice report. . . . Schimel argued Halbrooks, who was a witness in the first John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker and his associates during his time as Milwaukee County Executive, should recuse himself from any involvement related to the most recent DOJ investigation. The first John Doe investigation was used as a basis for the second secret probe and, Schimel argued, a third investigation DOJ refers to as ‘John Doe III.’ The ‘previously unknown and secret investigation into a broad range of Wisconsin Republicans’ was uncovered during the DOJ investigation of the Guardian leak.”

DEEP STATE UPDATE: How the FBI Criminalized Trump’s Transition.

It’s looking more and more like a reprise of what happened in Wisconsin after Scott Walker took office, and for the same reason: A threat to people’s feedlot.

CHEESEHEAD STASI: DOJ Report: Wisconsin’s Infamous John Doe Investigation Was More Sinister Than First Reported.

A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

“Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

And in an all-too familiar occurrence involving allegations of government abuse, a key hard drive believed to contain the court-sealed John Doe documents leaked to The Guardian in October 2016 has suspiciously disappeared – GAB officials with knowledge of the hard drive can’t seem to explain what happened to it.

People should be jailed and disbarred for this.

THE WALKING DEEP STATE DEAD: The rotting corpse of Wisconsin’s John Doe investigation still stinks.

You may recall the two John Doe investigations of Scott Walker, his supporters and almost the entire Wisconsin conservative movement. It was a nasty, vicious investigation which saw military-style raids in the middle of the night.

There was John Doe No. 1, investigating Scott Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive. They never came up with any wrongdoing by him.

Then there was John Doe No. 2, regarding Walker’s alleged unlawful collusion with conservative groups during the recall election. It is John Doe No. 2 that has generated litigation over several years. In the end, every court that ruled on the issue found that the entire prosecution legal theory was legally unfounded — that even if these conservative groups did what they were alleged to have done, it was constitutionally protected speech and not illegal.

Lives were ruined over an attempt to punish constitutionally protected speech by conservatives.

Read the whole thing.

FREEDOM: Appeals court upholds Wisconsin right-to-work law.

A Wisconsin appeals court upheld the state’s right-to-work law Tuesday, the second time in two months that Badger State unions have seen their legal challenges to the law rebuffed in court.

The unions had argued the law, which prohibits workers from being forced to join a union or pay a regular fee to one as a condition of employment, was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the issue had been long settled.

“The unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of non-member employees,” Judge Mark Seidl wrote for the court.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker applauded the ruling and defended the purpose of the law. “The purchase of any service should be voluntary and not coerced. Wisconsin’s right-to-work law protects freedom, not special interests. I applaud the court in affirming the constitutional right of all Wisconsin workers to be free to choose whether they want to join a union or financially support a union.”

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, who defended the law before the court, said they were “vindicated.”

Can we go national on this?

THESE CONFRONTATIONS HAVE ALWAYS WORKED OUT SO WELL FOR THEM: Gov. Scott Walker confronted by Democrat over Obamacare repeal.

IT’S A SMART PLAYBOOK: On Labor and Beyond, Trump Is Following Scott Walker’s Playbook.

UNIONS VS. THE PUBLIC: The Walker Model Gains Momentum in the Midwest.

Scott Walker’s successful efforts to curb the bargaining power of public employee unions may not have translated into a successful bid for the GOP nomination, but they are gaining traction among other Republican governors at the state level. . . .

It’s significant that ground zero for public sector union reform is the upper-Midwest, once the capital of organized labor. Democrats try to cast such reforms as a betrayal of workers, but in a post-industrial age when half of union members are public employees whose demands for fatter benefits packages come at direct expense of the taxpayers, many voters don’t see it that way. As James Sherk noted in our pages last year, “A movement formed to defend blue-collar laborers now fights primarily to help white-collar workers expand government.”

FDR was right about public-sector unions and why they should be prohibited: “Unthinkable and intolerable.” Plus: “The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don’t generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers.”

BRIDGET JOHNSON REPORTS FROM CPAC: Gov. Scott Walker Compares Today’s ‘Angry Mobs’ to 2011 Wisconsin Protesters.

DON SURBER: Orrin Hatch Joins The Party Of Trump.

But what about comity?

What about the long-term implications?

What about straining relations between the parties?

Don’t care. Democrats have never cared. Why should Republicans?

Democrats tried this crap in Wisconsin in February 2011. Remember the shouting mobs Democrats sent to the Capitol in Madison? Meanwhile, Democrats left the state to try to stop the vote in the legislature.

But Republican Governor Scott Walker did not bend, and he became the first governor in our nation’s history to survive a recall election.

And in November, Wisconsin flipped red in the presidential race for the first time since 1984.

What Dems really hate about Trump is that he campaigns and governs with the no-holds-barred approach of a Democrat.

WHY DEMOCRATS ARE PANICKING: Gov. Walker: White House interested in Wisconsin union law.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about how the White House can implement on a federal level parts of the Republican governor’s contentious policy that all-but eliminated collective bargaining for public sector unions in the state.

President Donald Trump has talked about wanting to weaken collective bargaining protections for federal employees, most of whom can’t currently bargain over wages or benefits, to make it easier to hire and fire government workers and base pay on merit rather than tenure. Those changes would require an act of Congress.

Walker severely restricted union power in Wisconsin and is now talking with the Trump administration about “how they may take bits and pieces of what we did” with the union law and civil service reform and “apply it at the national level.”

The hits just keep coming!

SCENES FROM SCOTT WALKER’S WISCONSIN: Wisconsin’s budget picture gets $714 million brighter.

Fiscal bureau director Bob Lang reported tax revenues are expected to be $455 million higher than what the Department of Administration projected in November. Also, spending in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 is expected to be $226 million lower — largely due to lower-than-expected Medicaid enrollment — and other revenues are expected to be $33 million higher.

That turns what was thought to be a $693 million deficit for the upcoming budget into a $21 million surplus, including all departmental budget requests.

It also adds more cushion to the state’s bottom line as it closes out the 2015-2017 budget cycle. Previously the net balance was about $40 million. The latest estimate has the state closing out the year with a $362.2 million ending balance.

The additional revenue helps explain why Gov. Scott Walker has been able to promise several additional spending proposals in his upcoming 2017-2019 budget proposal, such as a “significant increase” for K-12 schools, a University of Wisconsin tuition cut back-filled with state taxpayer dollars and $100 million more for local roads and rural broadband.

Wisconsin Democrats, to borrow a phrase, should be thanking him.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Legislators Take Aim At Academic Tenure:

Following in the footsteps of Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, which in 2015 and 2016 weakened tenure protections for public university faculty, legislators in Iowa and Missouri have introduced bills to eliminate the practice in their states. . . .

Both bills were introduced very recently and it’s unclear whether either one have a chance of making it into law. The usual argument for tenure—that it is a necessary institution for protecting academic freedom—continues to hold significant purchase, and rightly so. Many untenured professors report being afraid to express unpopular views; it’s possible that eliminating tenure would make academia even more politically conformist. And politicians have a tendency to try to interfere improperly in university research agendas.

At the same time, this is by no means a simple question. The institution of tenure-for-life—and the “for-life” part is critical; it used to be that professors could be forced to retire when they reached old age—imposes significant costs on universities as well. It makes education more costly by reducing universities’ flexibility in consolidating or changing departments, forcing them to hire an ever-growing poorly paid caste of low-paid adjuncts. .

And when it comes to risk-taking and conformity, the evidence is once again mixed. It could be that while the institutions frees tenured professors to be more creative, it encourages young faculty to be more risk-averse. And one study found (unsurprisingly) that on average, the quality of professors’ work declines after they get a job-for-life guarantee.

It would probably be unwise for state legislatures to torch the institution of tenure overnight. At the same time, the existing faculty hiring and retention system is overdue for reform. Faculty are becoming a smaller and smaller share of university personnel, even as adjuncts and administrators proliferate; the university business model is increasingly not working for the American middle class; and higher education is growing increasingly politically monotonous and irrelevant in the humanities and social sciences.

I don’t think tenure is the problem — in fact, the real political activists seem to be student life / diversity administrators. But higher education’s brand has suffered a lot in recent years, which makes this sort of thing less unthinkable than it used to be. And that brand damage has been self-inflicted.



I’ve said several times on Right Angle that Trump ought to bring Scott Walker on board as his Pushback Czar or whatever he’d want to call it, for Walker’s experience in taking on the Deep State — and winning. It’s going to be a full-time job, and the President’s attention is always spread thin. Walker could be Trump’s point man on hitting back hard.

It isn’t bad advice.

NUCLEAR COUNTER-STRIKE ON HARRY REID: Dirty Harry Reid threatened to nuke Republican filibusters of a President Hillary Supreme Court nominee. And in 2013 Dirty Harry actually limited Republican filibusters.

In 2013, Senate Democrats changed the filibuster rules on most of Obama’s nominees, allowing their approval by simple majority but left the 60-vote hurdle intact for Supreme Court nominations.

Scott Walker is recommending the Republican Senate eliminate the filibuster for Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. Nuclear counter-strike, Harry. It’s what happens when you start nuclear war.

MERRICK GARLAND DIES ON BASE: Now It’s Trump Who Can Recast the Supreme Court: Election results end hopes for Obama’s long-languishing pick Merrick Garland.

Senate Republicans held a Supreme Court seat vacant for the next president. Now that it’s President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican majority in the Senate, what happens next?

The election results end the hopes for President Barack Obama’s long-languishing pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, since Republicans still control the Senate’s confirmation process. Donald Trump released a list of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees who were generally met with approval by conservative lawmakers, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will continue to hold the high court seat vacant for a Trump pick.

At stake is the ideological balance of the Supreme Court for decades.

A Trump win eliminates the potential for the first liberal majority since 1970. In addition to the current vacancy, three justices are older than 78 and could leave the court during the Trump administration — meaning Trump would be able to recast the Supreme Court for a generation with his choices.

Trump said repeatedly in stump speeches that preventing liberal justices from being appointed to the court was a reason conservatives should vote for him, particularly on gun rights.

“They’ll respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for, what it represents,” Trump said during a debate.

That sets up a major confirmation fight for more than just Trump’s choice to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, the reliably conservative justice who died Feb. 13. That pick would likely come early in 2017. Democrats are unlikely to forget the GOP’s historic stonewalling of the Garland nomination for what would be nearly 300 days — and are equally unlikely to help confirm a nominee they fear could undo court rulings on key issues such as abortion rights.

Two thoughts: (1) I’ll bet Harry Reid regrets announcing that he was going to go nuclear on Supreme Court nominations once Hillary was President and Dems controlled the Senate; and (2) Would Democrats really try to block America’s first openly gay Supreme Court nominee?

Related: Scott Walker: It’s Time To Kill The Filibuster. “The last time Republicans had total control of government, under Bush, they squandered it. . . . Reid blazed and re-blazed this trail, and there’s every reason to think his lefty disciples will follow his advice and get rid of the filibuster themselves once they have a chance down the road to do so. Why should the GOP protect the Democrats’ minority leverage now when there’s every reason to think Dems won’t repay the kindness in 2020 or whenever they’re back in the majority? That’s where the prudential argument breaks down. It’s worth thinking hard about saving the filibuster if you can count on the other party to save it too. When you can’t, and the GOP can’t thanks to Reid, why not take advantage of your political strength and do away with it now yourself?”

AND I’M PRETTY SURE THAT THE NEW YORK TIMES APPROVED, BACK THEN: This is what Democrats actually did in Wisconsin when Scott Walker took office as governor in 2011.

TOM BEVAN: Fear, Loathing and Turnout in Wisconsin.

Fear and loathing of the choice facing voters on Nov. 8 is one of the defining features of this election, and not just among swing voters. Nowhere is that more true than in Wisconsin, which stands alone as the only battleground state this year where Democrats and Republicans resoundingly rejected both current nominees in their party primaries earlier this year.

Wisconsin may be the birthplace of the Grand Old Party, but it hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan’s 49-state landslide win in 1984. George W. Bush nearly flipped the state red in 2000, losing to Al Gore by just 5,708 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast. Bush almost did it again in 2004, losing to John Kerry by only 11,384 votes.

After those consecutive nail-biters, the state fell hard for Barack Obama in 2008, with Wisconsinites giving him a 14-point win, nearly double the margin by which he won election nationally. Ditto 2012, when the state gave Obama a seven-point victory while winning nationally by just less than four.

But things changed in Wisconsin in 2010, when a young, ambitious conservative Milwaukee County Executive named Scott Walker won the gubernatorial race.

If anyone knows how to work the GOP’s Wisconsin turnout machine, it’s Walker, who tweeted his nameless endorsement of Trump back in July.

RAND PAUL AND SCOTT WALKER WERE MY EARLY FAVES, BUT NEVER GOT TRACTION. HMM. Democrats Were Worried About Rand Paul, Leaked Email Reveals: At the same time Democrats were advised to “elevate” Donald Trump.

So when Hillary tells you how awful Trump is, remember that she maneuvered to make him the GOP nominee…


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by three Democratic district attorneys seeking to revive a criminal investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign — effectively ending the legal wrangling over the four-year-old probe.

The decision marks a major victory for Walker and his Republican allies, who mounted a vigorous challenge to the secretive, so-called John Doe II investigation that involved investigators issuing dozens of subpoenas and seizing equipment and millions of documents from those under investigation.

In a statement Monday, Walker said the U.S. Supreme Court, Wisconsin Supreme Court and other judges have all reached the same conclusion — “that this investigation by prosecutors was without merit and thus must be ended.”

“I applaud the individuals and organizations who fought for and successfully defended their First Amendment rights against political opponents who wanted to silence them,” Walker said.

Eric O’Keefe, president of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, the tax-exempt organization at the center of Walker’s political operation to stave off the 2011 and 2012 recalls, called the case “a politically motivated attack and a criminal investigation in search of a theory.”

He told a conservative radio host Monday that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, whose office launched the investigation in August 2012, should be removed from office.

“We call upon the prosecutors to admit their wrongdoing and close their files,” O’Keefe said in a statement. “They should end their desperate rear-guard action, surrender these unlawfully seized materials, and submit to the lawful authority of the court system.”

It was Gangster Government all along.

WELL, THEY GOT MCAULIFFE IN, SO MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: DOJ decides not to retry former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. So we have Ted Stevens, Tom Delay, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and this . . . and the GOP does nothing.

I’VE GOT AN AMICUS BRIEF WITH ERWIN CHEMERINSKY AND ILYA SOMIN IN THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT, in a case involving prosecutorial misconduct and the “John Doe” investigations of Scott Walker supporters. A press account is here. The brief — which, unsurprisingly, cites my Ham Sandwich Nation piece — can be found here.

HMMM: Donald Trump Backs Rep. Renee Ellmers vs. GOP Grassroots in N.C. Primary.

“I need [Ellmers’] help in Washington so we can work together to defeat ISIS, secure our border, and bring back jobs and frankly so many other things,” Trump says in the recording. “Renee knows how to do it. She gets it, and together we will make America great again”

Ellmers was first elected in Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010. She unseated long-time Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge with the backing of groups like Americans for Prosperity and conservative icons like Sarah Palin.

Since her election, the conservative and grass roots groups have soured on Ellmers.

“Renee Ellmers, in 2009 and 2010, she came to AFP [Americans for Prosperity] events and touted her conservative values,” said AFP president Tim Phillips. “And she hasn’t kept her word on that.”

“Renee Ellmers’ votes to fund Syrian refugees, Planned Parenthood, and President Obama’s amnesty plan are all shining examples of a Washington politician who has gone native,” Citizens United Political Victory Fund President David Bossie said earlier this year.

Yesterday Trump hired GOP consultant and Bob Dole ’96 advisor Jim Murphy as his national political director, after ditching Governor Scott Walker’s former campaign manager, Rick Wiley, two weeks ago.


As for why law professors should care about this, some thoughts from Jonathan Adler:

The university’s ideological tilt, combined with its intolerance, cannot but place higher education in an even more precarious place. After all, how long will taxpayers in red states be willing to subsidize universities that appear to be their ideological enemies? In a politically polarized nation, why subsidize the other side?

Recent events in Wisconsin — where Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the state legislature have slashed state funding, frozen tuition and weakened tenure — may be an augur of things to come. Financial pressures are part of the cause, but the widespread perception that universities do more to encourage progressive activism than to prepare students for successful careers are surely part of the mix as well. After all, it is easier to support spending on higher education when academic institutions are seen to serve the public at large.

Ideological intolerance is a threat to liberal education. In time, it may be a threat to educational institutions as well.

Mizzou is a harbinger. The wise will learn from its example; the unwise will become examples themselves.

GREAT MOMENTS IN SELF-AWARENESS: Bernie Sanders, a fan of communist regimes, says Scott Walker’s ideology ‘kills people.’

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: U of Wisconsin Regents Consider New Tenure Policies.

And the second comment on the story calls Scott Walker “an under-educated troll.” Um. . . .

TRUMP AND THE KKK: Jonah Goldberg offers the best explanation for Trump’s footsie-ing with David Duke on Sunday. As Jonah writes, “the issue for me really isn’t whether Trump is a Klan-loving racist. I never thought that (and you can fall far short of that standard and still not have admirable views on various issues), but that isn’t really what matters in this context:”

Again, the best defense of Trump is that he hates these PC gotcha games by the press. I think that’s plausible and probably explains some of it.

But, denouncing the Klan should be easy. You shouldn’t have to think about it. And you certainly shouldn’t let you’re fear of being called “politically correct” get in the way. That’s beyond asinine. If you want to turn the tables on the interviewer and note that the Klan used to be the militant wing of the Democratic party, go for it. The one thing you shouldn’t do is sound like you’re reluctant to condemn the Klan(!) or that you’re dog-whistling that you don’t really mean it when you do.

Yet when you watch the Tapper interview, it becomes clear what is really going on: He think condemning the Klan will hurt him with conservatives or southerners or both. He needed aides to tell him, “Mr. Trump, sir, it’s okay to disassociate yourself with the KKK.” And so he took to Twitter to clean up the mess he created.

In other words, the issue isn’t that conservative opponents of Trump think he’s a Klan supporting racist, it’s that Trump thinks many of his conservative supporters are. And that’s just one reason I don’t want this guy speaking for me.

Read the whole thing.

Before and after Mitt Romney was shlonged in the 2012 presidential election, Jonah liked to write that Romney speaks conservatism as a second language. Trump does too, only he’s able to disguise it better because of his pushback against PC and because of his decidedly non-patrician tone. The fact that Manhattan limousine leftists such as Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, who coined the infamous “short-fingered vulgarian” leitmotif while editing New York’s ur-’80s Spy magazine to describe Trump, have long despised the man as a classic nouveau riche wannabe obviously helps to burnish his conservative street cred. (Most people instinctively know they’d have a lot more fun hanging out with Al Czervik than Judge Elihu Smails.) As I’ve mentioned before, this is very much akin to another former New York Democrat who decided to turn his megaphone towards an eager right-leaning audience, Morton Downey Jr. But Trump’s tone-deafness towards conservatism also explains the clanger last night: “Donald Trump Praises Planned Parenthood Again, Attacks ‘So-Called Conservatives’ Who Disagree.”

Expect a lot more of this between now and August and/or November.

And if Trump wins the White House? As Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal recently noted, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spectacular-celebrity fueled race to Sacramento, followed by five or so years of inertia because the legendary Hollywood tough guy was terrified of running afoul of the state’s entrenched socialist special interests (unlike Wisconsin’s milquetoast appearing Scott Walker) may be a sneak preview to what’s to come.

See also: Ventura, Jesse.

UPDATE: Heh, indeed.™

A YEAR AGO, HE WAS MY FIRST CHOICE: Scott Walker’s Reforms Have Saved Wisconsin Taxpayers Billions.

NOW CAN WE HAVE SOMETHING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL? Scott Walker signs civil service overhaul.

Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation Friday overhauling the state’s century-old system of merit hiring and firing, gaining the first legislative priority he set after calling off his presidential bid last year.

Inking the legislation at the offices of ManpowerGroup, Walker said the rewrite of the state’s civil service law would help the state keep the best possible employees and ensure that the state remains “efficient, effective and ultimately accountable to the people of Wisconsin.”

“This is really about bringing Wisconsin into the 21st century when it comes to recruitment and retention,” the Republican governor said.

Walker said the state needed to learn from the private sector hiring practices of companies like Manpower, a global human resources giant, and update its policies for hiring, overseeing and firing the 30,000 state workers affected by the changes.

Walker said the state is keeping its principles of hiring according to merit rather than politics, but is updating a system that had become too slow and inefficient.

It’s time to face up to the reality that the 19th Century notion of an apolitical professional civil service is dead. What we have now is a politicized monoculture in support of one party and one agenda.

HE’S NO SCOTT WALKER. Time to Talk About John Kasich’s Biggest Failure as Ohio Governor: Union Reform.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Upset Republican donors: Have we wasted our money?

Major GOP donors and fundraisers are wondering whether they’re wasting their money on super-PACs.

They say they’re not ready to abandon the super-PACs, but they’re starting to look for ways to make them more effective during a presidential cycle that has challenged conventions about how to spend political donations.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s relatively cheap campaign — contrasted with the millions of dollars spent on behalf of Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Scott Walker and Rick Perry — has left donors, fundraisers and conservative leaders questioning the value of super-PACs, which got a boost from the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allowed independent groups to raise unlimited cash.

“People are upset about the Citizens United decision; people are upset about all this money flowing into politics, but at the end of the day it has no impact,” said New York financier Anthony Scaramucci, who was a national finance co-chair for Scott Walker’s presidential campaign before moving to raise funds for Bush when Walker quit the race.

“I mean, with the free media, or whatever the term is, when they allow Trump to go on to every TV station in America — if there’s evidence that PACs are so consequential, please explain it to me,” Scaramucci said.

John Jordan, a California winery owner who is running a super-PAC to support Marco Rubio’s bid, agrees.

“Despite all the talk about money in politics, we are entering an era where big money is less and less important,” said Jordan, who nonetheless spends millions on politics, largely through his own super-PACs.

Well, guys, it’s not like I didn’t give you some solid advice before this election cycle even started. But did you listen? Noooo. Think what that money could have done if it had been properly deployed.

NOT JUST WOODROW WILSON: Pretty much everything Donald Trump says was said in more stately and respectable prose by early-20th-century academics. My latest Bloomberg View column draws on the forthcoming intellectual history Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (plus a host of pre-1923 sources easily available through Google Books):

Early 20th-century progressives transformed American institutions, and the movement’s premises continue to inform thinking and policy across the political spectrum. “It was the progressives who fashioned the new sciences of society, founded the modern American university, invented the think tank, and created the American administrative state, institutions still defined by the progressive values that formed and instructed them,” writes Leonard, a research scholar at Princeton’s Council of the Humanities.

The progressives believed, first and foremost, in the importance of science and scientific experts in guiding the economy, government, and society. Against the selfishness, disorder, corruption, ignorance, conflict and wastefulness of free markets or mass democracy, they advanced the ideal of disinterested, public-spirited social control by well-educated elites. The progressives were technocrats who, Leonard observes, “agreed that expert public administrators do not merely serve the common good, they also identify the common good.” Schools of public administration, including the one that since 1948 has borne Woodrow Wilson’s name, still enshrine that conviction.

Leonard also brings to light an embarrassing truth: In the early 20th century, the progressive definition of the common good was thoroughly infused with scientific racism. Harvard economist William Z. Ripley, for example, was a recognized expert on both railroad regulation and the classification of European races by coloring, stature and “cephalic index,” or head shape. At the University of Wisconsin, the red-hot center of progressive thought, leading social scientists turned out economic-reform proposals along with works parsing the racial characteristics — and supposed natural inferiority — of blacks, Chinese, and non-Teutonic European immigrants. (Present-day progressives somehow didn’t highlight this heritage when they were defending “the Wisconsin Idea” against the depredations of Republican Governor Scott Walker.)

The University of Wisconsin has a lot to be embarrassed about. At least The Donald doesn’t talk about “race suicide.” Read the rest of the column here.


This is where progressive urban governance leads: The combination of over-promising and under-delivering, corruption, institutional ineffectiveness, and clientelist politics ruptures the relationship between so-called public servants and the public they purport to serve. Chicago isn’t Detroit or Cleveland: It isn’t some lost city that has in effect been left to weed over. But employing the same kinds of institutional approaches with the same values and the same assumptions will produce — surprise — the same results. The Jesse Jacksons of the world instinctively respond by threatening to immiserate the functional parts of Chicago. But Jackson et al. shouldn’t be leading a march on the high-end retail district — they should be leading a march on the Democratic-party headquarters, which is the actual locus of malice in this sorry affair.

Republicans for the moment are pleased to be a non-factor. But that eventually is going to have to change. There is no city in the United States larger than San Diego with a Republican mayor. A Republican and a pseudo-Republican were, for a time, able to thrive politically in New York owing to the unusual character of Rudy Giuliani and the fact that the millionaire residents of an economically resurgent Manhattan wanted to be able to travel from a Broadway theater to a Soho restaurant without passing through Beirut. (New Yorkers, alas, have short memories, and thus have turned the city over to Bill de Blasio, with predictable results.) Conservatives as such are not players in the real-world politics of our largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia. They are a relatively minor factor in some large metropolitan aggregates such as greater Houston and the DFW metroplex, but as for the cities themselves — not really. Consider that even in conservative Texas, the big urban political fight this season was whether Houston’s crusading lesbian mayor could subpoena church sermons as part of her campaign to pass a city law guaranteeing certain toilet privileges to men who pretend to be women. That bespeaks a certain battiness, to be sure, but it also suggests an operative political model that should not be that hard to beat: Houston, which is largely working-class and overwhelmingly non-white, rejected that ordinance by a wide margin.

Obviously, it’s long past time for a change:


But if the GOP wishes to seriously get in the game in those cities, as Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Lois Lerner’s victims have all discovered, Republican mayoral candidates are going to have to be prepared to go to war against “the Deep State,” which will maintain the left’s entrenched power and free-flowing graft “by any means necessary,” to coin a phrase.

WATCH: Harry Reid Goes Off on MSNBC for Being Nice to the Koch Brothers.

Fortunately, as a wise community organizer would say, MSNBC Joe Scarborough gets in Reid’s (mysteriously disfigured) face and punches back twice as hard: Scarborough to Reid: You’re right — you’re a much better Joe McCarthy than me.

Continue reading ‘WATCH: Harry Reid Goes Off on MSNBC for Being Nice to the Koch Brothers.

Fortunately, as a wise c…’ »


He’s not good at the merry aggression of national politics. He never had an obvious broad base within the party. He seemed to understand the challenge of his name in the abstract but not have a plan to deal with it. It was said of Scott Walker that the great question was whether he had the heft and ability to go national. The same should have been asked of Jeb. He had never been a national candidate, only a governor. Reporters thought he was national because he was part of a national family.

He was playing from an old playbook—he means to show people his heart, hopes to run joyously. But it’s 2015, we’re in crisis; they don’t care about your heart and joy, they care about your brains, guts and toughness. The expectations he faced were unrealistically high. He was painted as the front-runner. Reporters thought with his record, and a brother and father as president, he must be the front-runner, the kind of guy the GOP would fall in line for. But there’s no falling in line this year. He spent his first months staking out his position not as a creative, original chief executive of a major state—which he was—but as a pol raising shock-and-awe money and giving listless, unfocused interviews in which he slouched and shrugged. There was a sense he was waiting to be appreciated.

I speak of his candidacy in the past tense, which is rude though I don’t mean it rudely. It’s just hard to see how this can work. By hard I mean, for me, impossible.

In his latest G-File, Jonah Goldberg adds, “While not my first choice by any measure, I think [Jeb] could be a fine president, and it would be a no-brainer to vote for him over Hillary Clinton. That said, I’ve always thought he’d be a deeply, deeply, flawed nominee. As I’ve written before, in a contest of familiar brands, the more popular one does better — and the Clinton brand is more popular than the Bush brand. In a change election, when the other side has an old and tired brand, the last thing in the world you should do is respond with an older and even more tired brand.”

But leave it to Steve Green to really stick the vermouth in: “When somebody like Jeb Bush has lost somebody like Peggy Noonan, it’s over.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: What Big Campaign Donations Can’t Buy:

By June, Jeb Bush was the GOP PACman; he had raised more than $100 million, and spent over $10 million of it. Second in such fundraising is Ted Cruz, who raised $38.4 million in outside money. The two of them together have 60 percent more cash than all the other candidates combined. They are currently tied for fourth place in polling.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker, who used to be running third in the PAC race, has already dropped out, as have Rick Perry and his $13.8 million worth of outside funds. Marco Rubio, with a comparatively dainty $17.3 million, is doing better than the three early leaders in outside fundraising — and yet he’s still being blown away in polling by Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who have raised, to a first approximation, zero in outside funds.

As Paul Blumenthal, Sam Stein and Scott Conroy write at the Huffington Post: “According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, outside groups — super PACs and political ‘nonprofits’ — have already poured in more than $33 million to promote Republican candidates in the primary campaign through mass communication like television, radio, online advertising, direct mail and phone-banking. … Meanwhile, two candidates whose most significant source of outside help has been free media attention — Trump and Carson — have consistently remained the top two candidates in both national and statewide polls.”

Where are all those shadowy billionaires we were warned out?

Well, if they were smart, they’d be buying media companies. But we’ve been over that one before.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Why Republicans Hate Political Consultants. “One reason Republicans hate political consultants is that so many of them seem to have absolutely no conception of loyalty or reticence or even self-awareness. Scott Walker is a talented governor who won three elections in a blue state. He deserves the respect of his employees, who were happy to spin best-case scenarios for him as long as the money was good. Now, though, Walker’s campaign manager is suddenly out of a job. So what does he do? Like a true Washingtonian, he absolves himself of responsibility for the collapse while explaining to the press—and to his future clients—that it was entirely the governor’s fault. . . . Using the Washington Post to re-litigate internal fights is unseemly. Using the Washington Post to blame the candidate? That’s disgusting.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Florida Public College Abolishes Tenure.

A public college in Florida has taken a decisive step to eliminate tenure, putting one of the largest cracks yet in a gradually-crumbling edifice.

Instead of receiving tenure after five years of employment, from now on professors at the State College of Florida will only receive annual contracts the school can decline to renew at any time.

The change only applies to new hires and does not affect currently-tenured faculty, but it still had to overcome a storm of protest from staff. Some said the school will be unable to attract any talented applicants, while others said it would make it too easy to fire faculty who aroused controversy.

Well, that’s true, and non-PC faculty are very grateful for tenure. On the other hand, are there enough non-PC faculty to make it worth it?


Tenure has been under severe attack in K-12 schools by critics who say it mostly serves to protect low-quality teachers. But it’s held up better in colleges and universities, where professors argue tenure is critical for preserving their academic freedom. Still, it’s been an increasingly popular punching bag for reformers who say such protections are simply outdated.

But even in academia there are signs of disintegration. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker’s most recent budget revoked the state’s statutory guarantee of tenure, and also redefined tenure in a way that makes it far easier to lay off professors even if they have it. At colleges across the U.S., there is a trend of hiring more and more adjunct professors who are ineligible for tenure, while tenured professors who retire simply aren’t replaced.

This is a major issue. If tenure is essential to a university, why are so many people teaching there untenured?

WE SHOULD BE SO LUCKY: Governor Scott Walker’s Campaign Legacy: His Labor-Policy Reforms..

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE SURVIVOR: First they came for Rick Perry, then they came for Scott Walker. Roger Simon asks who will be the next candidate to be booted off the island?


Related: Rubio Moves Decisively in the Wake of Walker Exit.

ASHE SCHOW ON Scott Walker’s Flameout: “Despite having survived three elections and being invited to speak at conservative conferences across the country, Mr. Walker appeared not ready for primetime.”

Watching candidates bumble around, you think it must not be very hard. Then you try it yourself and you discover that they bumble around because it’s very hard.


Too bad — he could have been a remarkable president, but Trump sucked all of the oxygen out of the room this past summer.

THE BLACK HOLE OF THE TV NEWS INDUSTRY: “78% of CNN’s GOP primary coverage was devoted to Trump,” the Legal Insurrection blog notes; I clocked at least 40 minutes of wall-to-wall Trump obsession by Anderson Cooper last night during my hour at the gym.

RELATED: Have we reached “Peak Trump?” As James Lileks once said, “joyless monomania is death” to any publication, and it’s pretty painful to watch in a TV network as well. If Trump’s popularity descends to the middle of the GOP pack, what story will CNN obsessively glom onto next?

IT’S PARTISAN WITCH HUNTS ALL THE WAY DOWN IN WISCONSIN: More Wisconsin emails reveal John Doe investigators targeted conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices.

Our liberal friends in Wisconsin are unhappy. They think someone is leaking emails that make the state’s partisan campaign regulators look bad. We’ll plead guilty to having sources, but the emails are news and they sure are revealing.

Today’s installment from court documents concerns how a special prosecutor and regulators at the Government Accountability Board (GAB) targeted the state’s conservative Supreme Court justices. The partisan goal was to force some justices to recuse themselves from hearing a constitutional challenge to their probe of GovernorScott Walker and his political allies. . . .

The GAB and prosecutors tried to rig [Wisconsin] Supreme Court review of a constitutional challenge to their probe. They used information they had collected through kitchen-sink subpoenas to search for information well outside their already voluminous writ. Then they targeted conservative justices while giving liberals a pass. The good news is that in July Wisconsin’s Supreme Court shut down their investigation as unconstitutional.

Kevin Kennedy, who runs the GAB, responded to our last editorial by saying his staff merely “feel passionately about ensuring that all parties comply with campaign finance laws” and partisan emails can be explained because “staff of the G.A.B. are human.” Human enough to abuse their power to punish their political opponents.

Drip, drip, drip. There’s much more partisan nastiness going on in Wisconsin than has thus far been revealed. Mr. Kennedy, his accomplices on the GAB staff, and the prosecutors involved in this cabal should lose their jobs for their blatant, partisan abuse of government power.

Tar. Feathers. Sicilian Bull.

GOOD IDEA: Scott Walker proposes ban on government unions.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker laid out a proposal Monday to completely overhaul the nation’s labor union laws, calling for eliminating most of the advantages private-sector unions have under federal law and prohibiting public-sector unions altogether.

The proposal, if enacted, would represent the most radical change to federal labor law in almost a century, making Walker’s labor reforms in his home state seem modest by comparison. They also would be a massive blow to the strength of organized labor, a major player in Washington politics and staunch ally of the Democratic Party.

Walker said the proposals were aimed at strengthening the rights of individual workers, which under current federal labor law are often sacrificed to bolster union strength. Unions would still exist, but they would be voluntary organizations with workers able to join or leave whenever they felt.

Related: Non-Union Workers More Happy With Work Than Union Members.

SCOTT WALKER: WHAT WENT WRONG? “Walker is a conservative but not a fire-breather. That made his attempt to straddle the grassroots and the establishment — which would have been difficult for any politician — harder to pull off:”

Of course, it’s still early. The old baseball cliché that you are never as good as you seem when you’re winning and never as bad as you seem when you’re losing often applies to politics. And Walker, like all of the candidates this year, has been buffeted by an unexpected force. No one would have guessed that the candidate who talks of buying affordable shirts at Kohl’s and campaigns at Harley-Davidson outlets would get shoved aside in Iowa by a loudmouthed billionaire who brags about his incredible wealth and woos voters by taking their children for rides in his helicopter.

Oh I don’t know – look at the run that Newt Gingrich gave milquetoast Mitt Romney in 2011 simply by being an MSM-attacking fire-breather himself.

A FADING CAMPAIGN: Scott Walker’s no-good month.

THE HILL: Walker shakes up GOP field with plan to replace ObamaCare.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is jump-starting a debate on ObamaCare with the hope of getting out in front of his GOP rivals on one of the party’s toughest topics.

Walker on Tuesday became the first leading presidential candidate to put forward a detailed replacement plan for the healthcare reform law, a move that will put pressure on his rivals to release their own plans. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who has trailed in the polls, is the only other candidate with a full plan, which focuses on grants to states.

The move could give Walker an edge with conservative voters in Iowa, where he needs a strong result in February’s caucus votes to solidify his campaign. A few weeks ago, Walker polled as the favorite in Iowa, but his lead in polls has evaporated as Donald Trump pulls ahead.

“Certainly, any time a presidential candidate comes out with a real plan, it creates pressure on other campaigns to do the same. And that is a very good thing,” said Dan Holler, communications director for the conservative group Heritage Action.

Repealing ObamaCare remains a top priority for grassroots conservatives. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) released the outline of a three-point plan but has not provided details. Other candidates have not yet made clear their positions on healthcare policy.

The GOP field reacted to Walker’s proposal cautiously, with only Jindal offering a statement.

He blasted Walker’s proposal, arguing that he is merely setting up a new entitlement program to replace ObamaCare.

Well, at least they’re arguing policy.

VIDEO: SCOTT WALKER CONFRONTS UNION HECKLERS AT IOWA STATE FAIR: “I am not intimidated by you, sir, or anyone else out there. I will fight for the American people over, and over, and over, again. You want someone who’s tested? I’m right here. You can see it. This is what happened in Wisconsin. We will not back down. We will do what is necessary to defend the American people going forward.”


The UK is not exactly a bastion of right-wingery. As a hoary political joke has it: In the UK, they have two parties—the Labour Party, which we in the U.S. would call the Socialist Party, and the Conservative Party, which we in the U.S. would also call the Socialist Party. And in the American context, Wisconsin is not a particularly right-wing state. Why are unions not getting their way in these places?

The answer is not, pace the wailings of Richard Trumka, a labor leader and Scott Walker critic, that Gov. Walker is some unique right-wing monster—and the same holds true for British PM David Cameron. As Richard Aldous pointed out in a must-read essay yesterday, the British voters reelected Cameron because of, not despite, his austerity and reform agenda; likewise, Wisconsin voters chose three times to keep Scott Walker in office.

To the moderate voter, it seems faintly ludicrous that public sector unions, alone of all political advocacy groups, are entitled to government-enforced dues collection. And then, that voter opens the London papers and sees that unionized public sector workers such as London’s tube drivers, who make far more than that same average voter, are going to strike for the second and third time this month over issues that have nothing to do with safety, job security, or any of the supposed traditional arguments for unionization. (The rural-American equivalent would be a school strike in a Wisconsin town over pension and health contribution levels that the average voter can only dream of.)

The waning of the blue model isn’t just an American phenomenon. The inability of Western countries to support and pay for lavish public sector pensions and benefits is becoming more apparent. Voters are giving politicians on both sides of the pond a mandate to do some remodeling.

Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.

THE HILL: Outsiders take over GOP.

Outsiders who have never before held political office are dominating the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Donald Trump is the GOP front-runner, while businesswoman Carly Fiorina is surging after a strong performance in last week’s debate.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is also showing strength, and is a candidate to watch in the Iowa caucuses, where he is outperforming former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Conservatives are thrilled with the developments.

“This is a paradigm shift,” conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace told The Hill. “The base of the party is in open revolt. We’re watching a political party dissolve. It’s a civil war and the GOP as it’s constructed may not survive.”

Others think Republican voters will eventually coalesce around a more traditional GOP candidate — perhaps Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

They believe Trump’s rise is a product of his celebrity and a media frenzy that will ultimately fizzle. They doubt that Carson and Fiorina will be able to compete in the fundraising fight, or pull together the political operation to make a deep run through the primaries.

But for now, the anti-establishment wing of the GOP is on the upswing.

I’d be okay with Walker, or Cruz, actually. I don’t think they’re “establishment” in the way that, say, Jeb is.

RON FOURNIER ON HILLARY: The Queen of Paradox and Her Crumbling Stone Wall.

For once, Hillary Rodham Clinton seemed to be a decent candidate. Taking aim at weak spots in the GOP lines, she attacked Jeb Bush on women’s health, Marco Rubio on abortion, Scott Walker on college costs, and Donald Trump on sexism.

Then the stone wall crumbled around the Queen of Paradox: Hillary Clinton, both a political colossus and a catastrophe. We learned Tuesday night:

—She will give the FBI a private, illicit server that housed her official email during her four years as secretary of State, including thousands that she covertly deleted.

—Her attorney will give agents a thumb drive containing copies of the self-selected emails she returned to the State Department after discovery of the rogue server.

—A top intelligence official reviewing just a handful of those emails told Congress that top-secret information had been contained in two emails that passed across the server.

Where do I start? How about with the Clinton campaign’s ridiculous suggestion that coughing up the server and email were voluntary acts. We know that’s bunk—because Clinton herself said she wouldn’t surrender the people’s records without a fight.

Well, she lies a lot.

KA-BOOM: Hillary Tweets: Republicans like Gov. Walker are making it harder to afford college & pay off debt. Hillary says that’s wrong.

Scott Walker replies:

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.38.30 PM

I do believe that the GOP field is getting feistier.

JON GABRIEL: Scott Walker and a ‘Return to Normalcy.’

This isn’t the first time a politician listed “aggressively normal” as a selling point. In 1920, America’s political climate was in even greater tumult than today’s. President Wilson had fundamentally transformed the federal government into an oppressive entity that regularly jailed detractors, instituted a then-unimaginable level of regulation, and created the first income tax. Our battered soldiers returned from the charnel houses of Europe to find an executive branch pushing for an even more robust internationalism. By the time the president was incapacitated by stroke (a fact hidden for months), most Americans had had enough.

In a field of flashy candidates, a dull Midwesterner caught the zeitgeist by calling for a “Return to Normalcy”:

“America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.”

Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding’s promise of a boring four years delivered a landslide victory from an exhausted electorate. After dying in office he was replaced by our dullest president, Calvin Coolidge, who was succeeded by a third steady hand, Herbert Hoover.

In many ways Walker is the heir to Silent Cal; a leader focused on concrete results with minimal rhetoric and even less drama.

Glamour got us into this fix.


As Jon Gabriel tweets, “I’m thinking a Scott Walker-led ‘Return to Normalcy’ campaign will be very appealing in this political climate,” particularly when compared to Hillary, Trump, and Sanders.


Who do you favor as Republican nominee for President in 2016? free polls

Let’s see how your minds were changed, if they were. Previous poll results here.

24 HOURS LATER, here are the results of the InstaPundit readers poll:

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.23.01 AM

Overall, not much change from the first hour, despite a lot more votes. I’m not surprised that Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina are popular among InstaPundit readers, but I am surprised at the size of Walker’s margin.


Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 11.46.18 AM

THE INSTAPUNDIT POLL: I’ll repeat this after the GOP debate.

Who do you favor as Republican nominee for President in 2016? free polls

ANALOGIZING UNIONS TO COMMUNISTS: Dana Milbank at the Washington Post draws an amusing (even if unintended) parallel in his latest column, “Why Scott Walker is so dangerous.

This is the essence of Walker’s appeal — and why he is so dangerous. He is not as outrageous as Donald Trump and Sen.­­ Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic. Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country about the menace of communists, though the actual danger they represented was negligible. Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting the United States), even though unions represent just 11 percent of the U.S. workforce and have been at a low ebb. . . .

But deception is the demagogue’s tool. Walker spoke Thursday about “the death threats not just against me and my family but against our lawmakers” and about the nails put in the driveway of one lawmaker to puncture his tires. Such behavior is beyond the pale — though hardly unique to Walker’s opponents. And some of Walker’s claims — including the alleged threat to “gut” his wife “like a deer” and of protesters “beating” and “rocking” a car he was in — could not be substantiated by independent authorities.

Such deception, however, is in the service only of the larger deceit at the core of his candidacy: By scapegoating toothless trade unions as powerful and malign interests, he enlists working people in his cause of aiding the rich and the strong.

Notice how Milbank himself engages in outlandish deception: He insinuates that Walker is somehow lying about the death threats he has received, saying that they “could not be substantiated by independent authorities.” But the threats made by union thugs against Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans do, indeed, appear to have been substantiated, as evidenced here, here, here and here. For Milbank to suggest that Walker is lying because Milbank failed to even conduct a cursory Google search to confirm the validity of the threats tells you everything you need to know about Milbank’s far-left agenda and lack of veracity. 

On the larger level, Milbank is trying to convince the low information reader that Walker’s campaign to end outlandish, expensive, taxpayer-funded perks for public union workers is somehow analogous to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s campaign against Communism. The only think McCarthy and Walker have in common is that they’re both from Wisconsin. But Milbank’s unintended analogy between Unions and Communists is on point, as they both encourage working the minimum amount, guaranteed jobs for life (regardless of merit), and redistributing wealth. So maybe Milbank is right, after all: Scott Walker’s willingness to take on public sector unions is dangerous indeed– to these liberal/progressive/Marxist values. No wonder Milbank is afraid.

AN IDEA SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Scott Walker tells undocumented worker that immigrants must follow the law.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Scott Walker Inquiry Shows the Danger of Secrecy.

In 2010, Wisconsin convened a “John Doe” investigation into the misuse of funds in the Milwaukee county executive’s office. In the state, a judge can allow prosecutors to carry out a John Doe investigation, requiring secrecy from everyone involved. Stuart Taylor explains: “This ‘gag order’ provision, almost unique in American law, effectively disables targets or witnesses from publicly defending themselves or responding to damaging leaks.” In 2012, this somehow spawned a second John Doe probe of Wisconsin conservative groups, who were accused of illegally coordinating with Governor Scott Walker’s campaign, as he tried to hold his office during the recall election.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has finally ended that investigation, which has been stalled for many long months as its targets sued their way through the courts. The ruling mostly relied on technical legal questions: Was the campaign finance statute upon which prosecutors relied unconstitutionally vague? (Yes.) Did Judge Gregory Peterson, the second judge to supervise this investigation, step outside of his remit when he quashed subpoenas and effectively ended the investigation? (No.) Did the judges and prosecutor act wrongly when they accepted their jobs running this investigation? (Also, no.)

But the summation is brutal. It seems clear that the Wisconsin Supreme Court would like to make a broader ruling targeting the behavior of the prosecutors (which you can read about here), and the court’s decision fires a few well-placed shots in that direction. . . .

I found myself nodding along at every word. This investigation never should have taken place. This would be true if conservatives are correct that the investigation’s amoeboid spread and pattern of selective leaks indicate a politically motivated prosecutor doing his best to take down a controversial Republican governor. It would still be true if we are looking at merely one more instance where a special prosecutor roamed out of control, dizzy with a superheroic mandate to hunt down all malefactors wherever they might be found. Either way, the fundamental problem is the same: Government power gone wildly beyond the limits of common sense.

This was a politicized effort by corrupt prosecutors to kill the political opposition for political reasons. For this abuse of power they should wind up broke, disbarred, and in jail.

BILL QUICK: I’m Not Worried About A Scott Walker Sellout. “The signs that justify hope are what Walker has actually done: He has taken on and defeated most of the major pillars of today’s Democrat party: Labor unions, teacher’s unions, bureaucrats, and he has done so with great bravery and effectiveness. No other GOP candidate can point to a similarly effective, hard-core, record.”


I’m Sorry — If Your Kids’ Lunches Look Like This, You’re Probably Creating Monsters: “Somewhere down the road, you’re going to have a daughter-in-law who hates you for spoiling her husband (your son) because he will enter their marriage expecting the same gourmet lunches with hand-carved Legos and smiley faces. And he’ll probably also leave his socks and underpants all over the house expecting her to pick up after him — because that’s what you always did for him.”

What Americans Lose When We Refuse Crap Jobs: “First, let us look at the social media fail of reporters that have seemingly never worked in food service. They have been mocking pictures of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker eating ribs while wearing latex gloves… I don’t know anything about the work experience of either reporter, but their apparent ignorance of basic food-safety regulations makes me wonder whether either has ever worked a crap job. Note to the national media: the people who make your food? They wear gloves. It’s for your benefit, not theirs.”

The doubts of a ‘Social Justice Warrior:’

A few weeks ago, I was heralded as a “Social Justice Warrior” by an anonymous commenter on the Internet. The title was meant, of course, as an insult — but I was elated.

I imagined myself as a superhero, fighting one stigma at a time until the United States became a land of truly equal opportunity.

I suppose I’d prefer to be a Social Justice Ninja, because “warrior” lacks the intrigue and mystery that I always try to emulate in my Cat Woman costume at Halloween.

Nonetheless, to him, I was a warrior for pushing a politically correct agenda by using rhetoric that wasn’t my own, but instead airy slogans right out of the leftist playbook.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but he was right.

I’m a rising junior at Columbia, one of the most PC universities in the country.

It’s one thing to have the already enormous self-esteem that all kids these seem to have drilled into them by their teachers since kindergarten. But if you imagine yourself a superhero ninja Catwoman comic book character while a student in college, it might be time for a wakeup call. (Otherwise, it will arrive good and hard when you enter the workforce.) To paraphrase the line from The Incredibles, if everyone thinks he’s a superhero, then no one is.

Or perhaps it’s gender-specific: while college-aged young women think of themselves as cartoon superheroes, college-aged men are allowed to deteriorate into beta males: “In less than 15 years, we’ve gone from ‘let’s roll’ to ‘let’s not get involved.’”

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR: The Untouchable: Democrats are Terrified of Scott Walker. They Should Be.

Related: Dear Democrats: You only have yourself to blame for Scott Walker. “Looking back, it’s clear that without the recall, there is no Scott Walker presidential announcement today. What the recall did was turn Walker into a conservative hero/martyr — the symbol of everything base GOPers hate about unions and, more broadly, the Democratic party. He went from someone no one knew to someone every conservative talk radio host (and their massive audiences) viewed as the tip of the spear in the fight against the creep of misguided Democratic priorities. He became someone who had the phone numbers of every major conservative donor at his fingertips. He became what he is today: The political David who threw a pebble and slew the mighty liberal Goliath.”

If you strike me down . . .

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Scott Walker crushes college professor tenure.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trailblazing effort to weaken tenure protections at public colleges and universities is now a reality with his signing of a $73 billion budget on Sunday.

The effort has outraged unions and higher education groups, leaving them fearful that other lawmakers will follow suit to unravel labor protections in higher education that have long been considered sacred ground.

Walker downplayed the changes at Sunday’s signing at a valve manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, emphasizing instead that tuition was being frozen in the University of Wisconsin system for two more years at the rate it was two years ago.

“We made college more affordable for college students and working families all across the state,” Walker said.

Walker signed the budget as he prepared to announce his run for the Republican presidential nomination Monday. The tenure fight could further endear him to conservatives skeptical of what some perceive as the ivory tower of higher education, and it serves to remind voters of his earlier effort to scale back collective-bargaining rights of public employee unions — including K-12 teachers — when he was first building a national profile.

Walker is thinking like the left — in terms of an ecology of taxpayer-funded activism. He’s cutting it off at the source, rather than fighting the apparat on policy. That’s smart.

And, of course, all is proceeding as I have foreseen.



WALL STREET JOURNAL: Wisconsin’s Friend at the IRS: Emails Show a Common Cause in Restricting Political Speech:

Wisconsin’s campaign to investigate conservative tax-exempt groups has always seemed like an echo of the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. It turns out that may be more than a coincidence.

Former IRS tax-exempt director Lois Lerner ran the agency’s policy on conservative groups. Kevin Kennedy runs the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) that helped prosecutors with their secret John Doe investigation of conservative groups after the 2011 and 2012 recall elections of Governor Scott Walker and state senators.

Emails we’ve seen show that between 2011 and 2013 the two were in contact on multiple occasions, sharing articles on topics including greater donor disclosure and Wisconsin’s recall elections. The emails indicate the two were also personal friends who met for dinner and kept in professional touch. “Are you available for the 25th?” Ms. Lerner wrote in January 2012. “If so, perhaps we could work two nights in a row.”

This timing is significant because those were the years when the IRS increased its harassment of conservative groups and Wisconsin prosecutors gathered information that would lead to the John Doe probe that officially opened in September 2012. …

These interconnections matter because they reveal that the use of tax and campaign laws to limit political speech was part of a larger and systematic Democratic campaign. Speaking at the University of Wisconsin in 2010, President Obama sent his own political message to investigators.

“Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, [Republicans] are being helped along this year, as I said, by special interest groups that are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on attack ads. They don’t even have to disclose who’s behind the ads,” he said. “You’ve all seen the ads. Every one of these groups is run by Republican operatives. Every single one of them—even though they’re posing as nonprofit groups with names like Americans for Prosperity, or the Committee for Truth in Politics.”

Conservative nonprofits like the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce were later subpoenaed and bound by secrecy orders as their fundraising all but ceased. Liberals worked together to turn the IRS and the GAB into partisan political weapons.

Reminder: In 2009, President Obama “Joked” About Sending The IRS After His Enemies.

OBAMA VISITS WISCONSIN, SMEARS WALKER: President Obama is visiting the Badger State today, greeted at the airport by Gov. Scott Walker. Despite Walker’s hospitality, it didn’t take long for the Campaigner-in-Chief to take the lame duck presidential gloves off and attack Walker and the GOP policies he’s implemented:

He said neighboring Minnesota had raised the minimum wage, implemented all-day kindergarten and made it easier to go to college while raising taxes on the top two percent. Obama said the results are that Minnesota has a lower unemployment rate and $9,000 higher median income than its neighbor.

Obama said all of the Republicans running — he joked that he’s lost track of how many and suggested they could start their own Hunger Games (video) — all have the same governing agenda of giving breaks to the rich while everyone else is on their own. That’s the same policies, Obama said, that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

He even joked that the Republicans were like having a crazy Uncle Harry — somebody you love but “you don’t want to put in charge.”

And he said that the fight is also about values.

“Being an American is not about taking as much as you can from your neighbor before they take as much as they can from you,” he said. “We are not a bunch of individuals out here on our own. We are a community, we are family. We are all in this together.”

Ah yes, it’s always heartwarming to hear the Dear Leader President speak of communist communitarian values that are so deeply antithetical to the individualist values upon which this country is based. And of course it’s much better, for a republic such as ours, to have only one candidate for President rather than a choice. Who wants a choice anyway–that’s so Hunger Games and individualistic, to have a bunch of competitors vying for the nomination.  As for a “crazy Uncle Harry,” let’s just say that “crazy Uncle Joe,” even crazier “Uncle Bernie,” and the pathological liar-cat lady “Aunt Hillary” aren’t individuals I would want to have the metaphorical keys to the nuclear arsenal, either.

RELATED: Scott Walker’s retort: Welcome to Wisconsin, Mr. President.

ANOTHER WISCONSIN CONSERVATIVE BRINGS RETALIATION LAWSUIT: This time it’s Cindy Archer, a longtime aide to Governor Scott Walker, whose home was raided, SWAT-style, as part of an investigation witch hunt against conservatives in the state initiated by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Archer has filed her civil rights-First Amendment lawsuit against Chisholm in Wisconsin state court. Explaining her decision to file the suit in the Wall Street Journal, Archer reveals:

I was a close adviser to Scott Walker in the county executive’s office and then in the statehouse, but it never occurred to me that my own happiness would be collateral damage in a political vendetta.

Nothing could have prepared me for waking up to the shouts of men with battering rams announcing that they were about to break down my door on that morning in 2011. It was so unexpected and frightening that I ran down from my bedroom without clothes on. Panicked by the threatened show of force, I was then humiliated as officers outside the window yelled at me to get dressed and open up. I quickly retrieved clothing and dressed as I unlocked the door.

Agents with weapons drawn swarmed through every part of the house. They barged into the bathroom where my partner was showering. I was told to shut up and sit down. The officers rummaged through drawers, cabinets and closets. Their aggressive assault on my home seemed more appropriate for a dangerous criminal, not a longtime public servant with no criminal history.

After they left, I surveyed the damage. Drawers and closets had been ransacked. My deceased mother’s belongings were strewn across the floor. Neighbors gathered in small clusters at the end of their driveways and the press arrived in force.

What had prompted the raid? My guess: As an adviser to Gov. Walker, I had played a lead role in drafting and implementing public-employee labor reforms that would propel him to the national stage.

The governor’s reforms, commonly referred to as Act 10, prompted angry union protests. The reforms also enraged many politicians, including, as I would later find out, Mr. Chisholm and members of his staff. My ties to Gov. Walker and Act 10 made me a prime target for Mr. Chisholm’s campaign to intimidate anyone close to the governor.

In other words, I was targeted because of my politics—in plain violation of the First Amendment and federal civil-rights statutes.

Like so many Walker and union reform supporters who were targeted by Chisholm’s “John Doe” investigation, Archer was never charged with a crime. Her reputation has been irreparably damaged, and Archer states that she lost her job working for Walker because she was a target of the investigation:

I have also been subjected to derogatory headlines and made the butt of jokes on talk radio and anti-Walker websites about everything from my personal appearance to my sexual orientation and mental stability. Neighbors became distant and suspicious.

Worst of all, I have discovered that my demotion as Gov. Walker’s deputy director of administration, which came four weeks before the raid on my house, appears to have been engineered by the governor’s team after word reached them that I had been targeted by the district attorney. Subsequently, I have not been given any role in the administration that may bring public attention.

Archer is now working as the Chief Information Officer for the Wisconsin Public Defenders’ Office. Her lawsuit will provide a much needed opportunity to discover more information about the motive of Chisholm’s investigation, including what should be some very interesting depositions. A similar First Amendment retaliation lawsuit filed by Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth had early success in a federal trial court, but the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the lawsuit dismissed due to its belief that the federal civil rights claims should be resolved by the Wisconsin state courts.

Now, with the Archer lawsuit, the facts can finally be discovered. I am hoping O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth consider refiling their lawsuit in Wisconsin state court, too.  It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

CINDY ARCHER: Why I’m Filing a Civil-Rights Lawsuit: Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his agents ransacked my house and ruined my career.

After much soul-searching, I am filing a civil-rights lawsuit on Wednesday against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. I fear his retaliation, given what I know of his methods, but the Chisholm campaign against me that began at dawn on Sept. 14, 2011, requires a legal response to discourage the prosecutor’s continued abuse of his office.

Some background: Mr. Chisholm launched his first round of investigations into the affairs of Scott Walker in May 2010, when he was serving as Milwaukee county executive and Mr. Walker’s office reported the disappearance of some charitable funds. Rather than seek out the perpetrator—whom Mr. Walker’s office had also identified—the district attorney’s crew turned its attention to Mr. Walker and his staff.

The investigation grew in size, scope and intensity as Mr. Walker rose in Wisconsin politics, eventually winning election as governor in 2011, reforming public-employee union laws and prevailing in recall elections. By that time, the investigation by Mr. Chisholm, a Democrat, had moved well beyond the matter of the missing funds, citing a grab bag of potential offenses as justification to vacuum up the internal communications of Mr. Walker’s aides, apparently for anything that could be used against the Republican governor.

I was a close adviser to Scott Walker in the county executive’s office and then in the statehouse, but it never occurred to me that my own happiness would be collateral damage in a political vendetta.

Nothing could have prepared me for waking up to the shouts of men with battering rams announcing that they were about to break down my door on that morning in 2011. It was so unexpected and frightening that I ran down from my bedroom without clothes on. Panicked by the threatened show of force, I was then humiliated as officers outside the window yelled at me to get dressed and open up. I quickly retrieved clothing and dressed as I unlocked the door.

Agents with weapons drawn swarmed through every part of the house. They barged into the bathroom where my partner was showering. I was told to shut up and sit down. The officers rummaged through drawers, cabinets and closets. Their aggressive assault on my home seemed more appropriate for a dangerous criminal, not a longtime public servant with no criminal history.

After they left, I surveyed the damage. Drawers and closets had been ransacked. My deceased mother’s belongings were strewn across the floor. Neighbors gathered in small clusters at the end of their driveways and the press arrived in force.

What had prompted the raid? My guess: As an adviser to Gov. Walker, I had played a lead role in drafting and implementing public-employee labor reforms that would propel him to the national stage.

This was a serious abuse of power for the most craven of political reasons. John Chisholm and his minions should end up broke, unemployable, and possibly in jail. As an example to the others.

WHAT I’D LIKE TO KNOW IS: how did Roberts decide that this is the kind of issue ‘courts usually decide’? That itself is a decision. What’s the standard for saying the Supreme Court shouldn’t decide an issue? Is it just based on whether the Justices have a bad feeling about the whole thing? And aren’t issues of minority rights exactly the kinds of issues that are often very important for the Supreme Court to decide?”

And: “The comments appear to be uniformly negative in response to Scott Walker’s denunciation of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision on his Facebook page…”

ADDED: Scott Walker showed a far superior instinct back in January. What’s happened since then?

SCOTT WALKER JUMPS THE MARRIAGE SHARK: The Supreme Court did the Republicans a favor by taking gay marriage off the table, Roger Simon writes. Why has Walker put it back on?

ALONE IN FIRST PLACE: Scott Walker Leads GOP In New National Poll. It’s not as sexy when you apply margin of error, but still.

CHANGE: The Birth Of The Cool Republican.

The age of Obama has passed. Many of the Millennials who enthusiastically supported Obama during his campaigns have grown disillusioned by Washington. A Harvard poll of young voters last year, for instance, found trust in major government institutions dropping dramatically. A large portion are out of work and tired of paying taxes for a ballooning entitlement state — an entitlement state from which they expect no benefits.

So, luckily for Republicans, their likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, is about as un-hip as a candidate can get. The pantsuit-wearing, 67-year-old grandmother comes off as stuffy and unapproachable. She hardly has the suave people skills of President Obama — or any president of the past few decades. A couple of weeks ago, for example, the former secretary of state seemed to brush off an eager autograph seeker coldly, telling her to “go to the back of the line.” Combine that with her contemptuous attitude toward the press and we don’t exactly have the kind of breezy, relaxed attitude of a candidate young voters could picture themselves hanging out with. Even her campaign branding so far — her logo, her website — have been a far cry from Obama’s widely praised style.

Quite a contrast with Paul, Rubio, Cruz, and Perry. Scott Walker looks good on a Harley, which he really rides, but I’m not sure he’s cool. And Carly Fiorina isn’t so much cool as she is hot — a fighter.

THE NEXT ASSAULT ON FREE SPEECH: The WSJ editors perspicaciously predict the “Return of the Speech Police” in the 2016 presidential election:

[A] behind-the-scenes effort is under way to lobby the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department to stifle free political speech the way the Internal Revenue Service did in 2012. Don’t be surprised if the subpoenas hit Republican candidates at crucial political moments.

In late May the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 asked the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Right to Rise Super PAC for violating campaign-finance law. According to the letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “If Bush is raising and spending money as a candidate, he is a candidate under the law, whether or not he declares himself to be one.”

The theory behind this accusation is campaign “coordination,” the new favorite tool of the anti-speech political left. Earlier this year the Justice Department invited such complaints with a public statement that it would “aggressively pursue coordination offenses at every appropriate opportunity.” . . .

Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer says Mr. Bush should be considered a candidate who is illegally coordinating because if you asked “100 ordinary Americans” if he is a candidate, they will say yes. What a bracing legal standard. What would the same 100 Americans have said about Hillary Clinton in 2013, or Ted Cruz in high school? Where is the limiting principle?

There is no limiting principle–just ask conservatives in Wisconsin who supported Scott Walker’s efforts to reform public sector unions.  The point isn’t so much that liberals/progressives think they will ultimately win when these efforts are inevitably challenged in court. The point is that merely investigating conservatives on shadowy “coordination” allegations is sufficient to chill conservatives’ speech, sending supporters (and their funds) elsewhere.

FEDERALIZING VOTING: NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio says the U.S. has a “democracy problem” because States generally define the terms of voting. This is essentially an echo of Hillary Clinton’s recent proposal to pass a federal law requiring automatic voter registration upon reaching age 18, restoring felons’ voting rights, and a mandatory 20-day early voting period.

“Our elections are governed by state law and for a long time I’ve believed we need to make a fundamental series of reforms,” de Blasio told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Let’s face it, a lot of the people in the political class have tried to discourage voter involvement and a lot of incumbents prefer a very small electorate.”

The mayor referred to several Republican governors who have signed laws requiring photo identification by voters, arguing the provision is a modest step to prevent fraud. Democrats like de Blasio counter that Republicans’ interests are more partisan: They want to discourage some people from voting altogether.

Congress has some authority, under the Elections Clause, to regulate the time, place and manner of congressional (not state) elections. But presumably the present GOP-controlled Congress would not sanction federalizing election law in the way proposed by DeBlasio and Clinton. For the moment, at least, the battle will remain in the federal courts, as liberals/progressives resort to their typical lawfare tactics in an attempt to block state laws designed to stop voting fraud.

Indeed, this is shaping up to be a big theme of the Democrats in 2016: Republicans are trying to keep minorities from voting by implementing anti-fraud reforms like voter ID and periodic purging of voter rolls for dead, illegal and other ineligible individuals. Unfortunately for the Democrats, there is no evidence whatsoever that such anti-fraud laws prevent minorities from voting. Indeed, voter turnout rates for blacks exceeded that for whites in 2008 and 2012, and the turnout of other minority groups has consistently increased, despite enactment of anti-fraud laws.

But according to the liberals/progressives, restricting voting by convicted felons and requiring photo ID are little more than modern-day Jim Crow laws, secretly aimed at blacks. It’s all about ginning up minority turnout in the presidential election, which is why Hillary’s top campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, has filed lawsuits challenging these ant-fraud laws ahead of the 2016 election in key battleground States such as North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Ironically, the litigation activities in which Mr. Elias is engaging is undoubtedly being “coordinated” by his chief employer, the 2016 Clinton campaign.  And it is now clear that the Elias lawfare is being bankrolled by George Soros. One might surmise from this that Soros is trying to “buy” a Clinton presidency by funding this litigation, and that it’s all being done with the knowledge, blessing and at least implicit coordination with the Clinton campaign. Ironically, this sort of “coordination” is the deadly sin of which the political left has been trying to convict Scott Walker for several years. It’s just another case of the progressive motto: forbidden for thee, but not for me.

RYAN LOVELACE: Did Hillary Clinton’s lawyer inadvertently expose her electoral nightmares?

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has filed lawsuits in Wisconsin and Ohio to fight voting rights laws passed by Republicans, and some say those lawsuits could be read as a sign that Clinton is worried about winning those states in 2016.

In 2012, both Wisconsin and Ohio went blue for President Obama. But they’re considered swing states now, and with Midwestern GOP contenders such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker poised to enter the presidential race, Clinton may have turned to her superstar lawyer to help eliminate her GOP competition.

Marc Elias serves as general counsel of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He has filed lawsuits in Wisconsin and Ohio, and more may be coming.

The Clinton campaign has insisted it had nothing to do with the liberal legal warfare, but Elias typically intervenes on behalf of Democrats in desperate need of assistance. He “emerged as the star” of the 2008 recount battle that resulted in Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a “Saturday Night Live” alum, upsetting a Republican incumbent by just 312 votes.

And when Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., suddenly appeared vulnerable in last year’s midterm elections, Democrats called on Elias to ensure that Roberts would square off solely against one liberal opponent, independent Greg Orman, by removing the Democratic candidate from the ballot. A favorite of the outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Elias reportedly helped Democrats sneak a provision into a spending bill late last year that raised the maximum amount of money that donors can provide to Democrats and Republicans.

As 2016 approaches, Elias joined the Clinton campaign and appears to have begun waging a full-bore attack against the GOP. His lawsuit in Wisconsin alleges that several state laws — including the controversial voter ID law that has already survived judicial scrutiny — needlessly restrict citizens’ right to vote.

The GOP is way behind on the lawfare front. They need to raise their game, pronto.

AUTOMATIC VOTER FRAUD: Hillary Clinton calls for automatic voter registration. I’m sure this wouldn’t lead to any problems.

“Today Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of citizens from voting,” she said during a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston.

“I call on Republicans at all levels of government, with all manner of ambition to stop fear-mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they are so scared of letting citizens have their say.”

Clinton went after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by name, accusing the Republican presidential hopefuls of taking part in “a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise” minorities, young people and the poor.

Automatic voter registration is just another ploy by Democrats to swell their base’s turnout at the polls, including those who lack legal ability to vote, including illegal aliens and convicted felons.  This shouldn’t be surprising, as a recent poll revealed that 60% of Democrats agreed that illegal immigrants should be able to vote, and another revealed that illegal Hispanic immigrants favor Democrats by 54 to 19 percent over Republicans. Democrats in Congress have introduced legislation to restore voting rights for convicted felons.

Keep talking, Hillary. A recent Rasmussen poll showed 76% of likely voters support voter ID, including 58% of Democrats. In recently upholding Indiana’s voter ID law in 2008, liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (now retired and replaced by Elena Kagan) observed in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board:

[F]lagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists,that occasional examples have surfaced in recent years,and that Indiana’s own experience with fraudulent voting in the 2003 Democratic primary for East Chicago Mayor—though perpetrated using absentee ballots and not in-person fraud—demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.

There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters. Moreover, the interest in orderly administration and accurate recordkeeping provides a sufficient justification for carefully identifying all voters participating in the election process. While the most effective method of preventing election fraud may well be debatable, the propriety of doing so is perfectly clear.

The incentive to commit voter fraud for political gain is indisputable. Hillary’s policy proposal would only amplify such incentives. Moreover, President Obama’s unilateral lawmaking executive action on immigration has made it easier for illegal immigrants to register to vote (and vote) by granting them drivers’ licenses and Social Security numbers.

Clinton’s remarks indicated that the automatic registration should occur when an individual turns 18, but it’s unclear how such automatic registration would be executed. It is clear, however, that under New York v. United States and its progeny, the federal government cannot commandeer States to carry out federal law, so the federal government would have to implement such automatic voter registration itself somehow, perhaps via Social Security’s database.

States already have the capability of requiring automatic voter registration if they wish.  So this is truly another attempt by Democrats to impose a one-size-fits-all “solution” to a non-problem.

TENURE’S DEMISE BEGINS?: A Wisconsin state legislative committee approved a measure that would, if ultimately enacted, cut $250 million from the University of Wisconsin over two years, and eliminate state laws guaranteeing tenure.  The $250 million cut can be absorbed with little effect by eliminating the unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. As for the tenure reforms:

The elimination of tenure protections was first suggested by [Gov. Scott] Walker back in February, but was considered a longshot proposal. The Joint Finance Committee, however, is tremendously influential, and its decision to send the rollback to the floor of the legislature is seen as making passage much more likely.

By itself, the measure wouldn’t end tenure, but it would remove the current protections it has under state law and allow universities to set their own policies on the matter. In response, current UW system president Ray Cross said the school’s board of regents will act to enshrine tenure as university policy in a meeting later this week.

More details:

In addition to removing tenure from state law, the budget committee called to make it easier for tenured faculty to be fired or laid off. One provision eliminates current law requiring that tenured faculty only be removed for just cause and only after due notice and hearing. Another provision gives Regents authority to lay off any employee, including tenured faculty, if budget circumstances call for it. Seniority protections would go away, although seniority would be one factor considered in who loses jobs.

Darling stated that Wisconsin is the only state that has job protections for tenured faculty written into statutes, which Radomski said was a point of pride for many faculty and a reason faculty find System campuses a desirable place despite comparatively low salaries. The GOP motion calls for the Board of Regents to determine whether to have tenure and what it would entail.

UW faculty are fighting mad. I have mixed feelings about this, and it’s not because I have tenure (which I do).  Undoubtedly, tenure inherently creates some “dead wood”–faculty that slack off and lose interest in their jobs once they know they have a presumptive job for life.  And it would be nice to have a higher education system that reflects a real world ethos of rewarding excellence and punishing lethargy–among faculty, staff and administrators.

On the other hand, the original justification for tenure in higher education (and notice that this emphatically does not apply to lower education, where elementary, middle school and high school teachers do not undertake scholarship as part of their job) is that the job does generally require and involve scholarship, and sometimes that scholarship is politically controversial. Tenure was designed to ensure that scholars could feel free to express their views, without fear of retribution based on viewpoint discrimination. And frankly, it’s conservative professors who need this protection the most, as they are inherently swimming in a sea of progressive colleagues/deans/administrators/sharks who would be tempted to “punish” conservative scholarly viewpoints and activities. These concerns potentially could be allayed with robust statutory protections against viewpoint discrimination, but this would encourage expensive litigation whenever a faculty member is fired. Whether these costs would outweigh the benefits isn’t as clear as it may seem initially.

In any event, the Wisconsin legislature’s proposal represents a thoughtful beginning to an important discussion about what tenure means, and when it is needed (if ever).

SCOTT OTT: The 7 Reasons Scott Walker Should Get the Republican Nomination for President.

IS SCOTT WALKER the Anti-Bush?

THE HILL: Walker goes strong on foreign policy.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) brought a South Carolina crowd to its feet Saturday during his remarks on national security, a topic generally considered Walker’s Achilles heel as he weighs a run for president.

Addressing the South Carolina Freedom Summit, likely GOP candidate Walker used foreign policy as the climax for his speech, framing the issue as a matter of courage and emotion rather than “something you read in the newspaper.”

“On behalf of your children and mine, I want a leader that is willing to take a fight to them before they take the fight to us,” Walker said, referring to ISIS and “radical Islamic” fighters. The line received a standing ovation.

Walker also repeatedly referred to his trip to Israel, scheduled for this weekend, where he will undergo what the Washington Post described as a “crash-course in foreign policy.”

“We need a president to affirm that Israel is our ally and start acting like it,” he told the crowd.

On reflection, I think we need to let Arab allies seize the ground now held by ISIS. That’s because — unlike us or Israel — they won’t be squeamish about running the firing squads until there aren’t any ISIS fighters left. We and the Israelis, on the other hand, should quietly remove the people funding ISIS.

THAT KEEPS HAPPENING: Another Attack On Scott Walker Boomerangs.

JEB BUSH DEFIANT ON IMMIGRATION: “I’m right about this.” “A feisty Jeb Bush gave a full-throated defense of his immigration stance in front of a Washington audience on Thursday, laying out the economic case that reforms he champions could return the nation to prosperity. Bush took a swipe at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely opponent against Bush for the Republican presidential nomination next year, for saying that he favors limiting legal immigration to the U.S. as a means of preserving jobs in the nation for current citizens.”

You can’t complain about stagnant wages and hype increased immigration at the same time. Well, you can, but . . . .

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: North Carolina Legislation Would Require All UNC Faculty To Teach Eight Courses Per Year. You’re going to see a lot more of this, but, like Scott Walker, they’re focusing on faculty because faculty are visible, and missing that most of the higher education bloat comes from administration.

I can recommend some reading on this for the North Carolina legislature.

I SMELL A WISCONSIN RAT:  Reporter M.D. Kittle at asks a very interesting question:  What did the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel know, and when did it know it?  The question relates to the Journal-Sentinel reporters’ knowledge of a pre-dawn paramilitary-style raid of the home of Cindy Archer, a fomer aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and one of the architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10, which reformed that State’s public sector unions.

The raid of Archer’s home occurred in the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 14, 2011.  At the time of the raid, Archer saw an individual that she believed to be a reporter, standing in her lawn.  But the question became:  How would a reporter even know that Archer’s home was being raided?  Someone had to tip the Journal-Sentinel off.  But under Wisconsin law, disclosure of a search warrant’s issuance, prior to its execution, is a Class I felony and could also violate the judge’s secrecy order of the John Doe investigation itself.

The Journal Sentinel ran a story on the Archer raid on the same day that the raid occurred (Sept. 14, 2011), authored by reporter Jason Stein.  In that story, Stein suggests that the raid was associated with the ongoing John Doe investigation:

About a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, raided the home of a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday as part of a growing John Doe investigation.

The home on Dunning St. on Madison’s east side is owned by Cynthia A. Archer, who was until recently deputy administration secretary to the Republican governor. Archer, 52, now holds a different state job but is on paid sick leave, records show.

“We’re doing a law enforcement action,” one of the FBI agents told a reporter.

He didn’t identify himself or provide further comment but confirmed that he and three others were with the FBI and that a Dane County sheriff’s deputy was present.

The raid on Archer’s home coincides with a John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County.

That probe was started last year after the Journal Sentinel reported that another Walker staffer who was being paid by Milwaukee County taxpayers to help citizens with county services was instead using her work time to post anonymous comments supporting candidate Walker on websites and blogs. As part of the investigation, authorities earlier seized the work computers of two former Walker staffers and executed a search warrant of one of their homes.

Stein also intimates that Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, one of the John Doe prosecutors, was involved in the raid:

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm also declined to comment.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said one of his deputies had been placed at Archer’s house during the search at the request of investigators from Chisholm’s office. Mahoney said his office wasn’t involved in the investigation.

Sources indicated that Chisholm’s office continues to take the lead in the case of Walker’s former county staffers, with federal authorities providing assistance with computers and other digital technology.

The rest of the Stein story describes prior John Doe raids initiated by Chisholm’s office.  Stein may have just guessed that the raid was John Doe-related, but the tone of his piece seems more confident than that.

Journal Sentinel reporter Patrick Marley–not Stein– has admitted that he was the reporter Cindy Archer saw in her lawn.  But Stein admits that he, not Marley, was tipped off about the Archer raid, and he merely asked Marley to observe and take notes because Marley lived closer to Archer’s home.

So the question remains:  Who tipped off Stein (a political reporter) about the Archer raid?  Stein denies that his source was a prosecutor or law enforcement officer, and it’s theoretically possible (though somewhat farfetched) that one of Archer’s groggy neighbors just happened to know Stein’s home or cell phone number and called him in the middle of the night to tip him off.

The John Doe investigation has been plagued by selective leaks all along, is an ongoing problem, and is almost invariably favorable to the prosecutors. All of this strongly indicates that the source of these leaks is an insider in the John Doe investigation.  While Stein appears to claim a reporters’ privilege to protect his source regarding the Archer raid, Wisconsin does not have a reporters’ shield statute, its courts have recognized only a qualified privilege pursuant to its state constitutional equivalent of the First Amendment.  So in theory, the identity of Stein’s source could be revealed under the right circumstances.

But regardless of Stein’s possible privilege, it seems evident that there is a serious and continuing leak in the Wisconsin John Doe investigation, and that it warrants an investigation of its own.

Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the courage of Eric O’Keefe of the Wisconsin Club for Growth–who has defied the ridiculous gag order imposed on John Doe targets–the only knowledge the public would have today about the investigation would come from these one-sided, pro-investigation leaks. But getting the truth about an issue of such public importance shouldn’t depend upon the courage of one person. The leak’s one-way nature and suspicious timing only amplify the impression that the entire investigation is, as O’Keefe’s lawsuit contends, a political witch hunt, designed to silence conservatives in the State.  Thankfully, O’Keefe is punching back twice as hard.

NEWS FROM THE WISCONSIN STASI: Milwaukee DA John Chisholm Lets The Mask Slip. Again.

For guys who ordered pre-dawn raids using battering rams, the John Doe prosecutors turn out to be kind of touchy… so thin-skinned that they actually let the mask slip.

Milwaukee DA John Chisholm was apparently so unhinged by recent criticism that he actually suggested Saturday that Governor Scott Walker be criminally charged with defamation for criticizing him.

So, no, Chisholm really doesn’t get the First Amendment thing, does he?

And so much for the notion of prosecutorial restraint and Chisholm’s non-political motivations. Normally, prosecutors running a secret investigation that imposes gag orders on subjects avoid public comment. But obviously, they have been feeling the heat — legally, politically. Maybe that’s not surprising, because they’ve had a very bad week. No, make that a bad year.

Chisholm deserves to end up broke and in jail.

AUDIO: The Power Line Show: We Interview Scott Walker.