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THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: On this day in 1931, Jim Jones—the charismatic religious leader who instigated a terrifying mass murder-suicide—was born in Crete, Indiana.

Personally, I am not a big fan of charisma. I like my leaders—religious or otherwise—to be more on the sober side. Downright boring isn’t a deal killer for me. Exciting leaders tend to lead their followers to places they’d prefer not to be—like the remote jungles of Guyana.

Jones grew up poor with an interest in religion that was unusual for his age. Also an avid reader of Marx, Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Gandhi, he began attending gatherings of the Communist Party USA in 1951. Determined to become a great man, he asked himself, “How can I demonstrate my Marxism? The thought was, infiltrate the church.”

Continue reading ‘THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: On this day in 1931, Jim Jones—the charismatic religious leader who instiga…’ »

ANOTHER BAD MOVE BY JIMMY CARTER:  “Happy 40th Birthday, Department of Education.”

I don’t understand what it is about progressives that makes them think that because something is “important,” it should have a federal agency dedicated to regulating it.  Many things are important and yet do not lend themselves to top-down, lockstep regulation from inside the beltway–marriage, parenthood, religion, … and education (just to name some).  They are so important that it’s crucial that they not be federally controlled.

Alas, the iron rule of bureaucracy applies:  Once created, it is devilishly difficult to get rid of one of these things.

IT’S ALL ABOUT FRAUD: Heed Jimmy Carter on the Danger of Mail-In Voting: ‘Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.’

“Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.” That quote isn’t from President Trump, who criticized mail-in voting this week after Wisconsin Democrats tried and failed to change an election at the last minute into an exclusively mail-in affair. It’s the conclusion of the bipartisan 2005 report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker III.

Concerns about vote-buying have a long history in the U.S. They helped drive the move to the secret ballot, which U.S. states adopted between 1888 and 1950. Secret ballots made it harder for vote buyers to monitor which candidates sellers actually voted for. Vote-buying had been pervasive; my research with Larry Kenny at the University of Florida has found that voter turnout fell by about 8% to 12% after states adopted the secret ballot.

You wouldn’t know any of this listening to the media outcry over Mr. Trump’s remarks. “There is a lot of dishonesty going on with mail-in voting,” the president said Tuesday. In response, a CNN “fact check” declares that Mr. Trump “opened a new front in his campaign of lies about voter fraud.” A New York Times headline asserts: “Trump Is Pushing a False Argument on Vote-by-Mail Fraud.” Both claim that voter fraud is essentially nonexistent. The Carter-Baker report found otherwise.

Intimidation and vote buying were key concerns of the commission: “Citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace, or in church are more susceptible to pressure, overt and subtle, or to intimidation. Vote buying schemes are far more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail.” The report provides examples, such as the 1997 Miami mayoral election that resulted in 36 arrests for absentee-ballot fraud. The election had to be rerun, and the result was reversed.

There are more recent cases, too. In 2017 an investigation of a Dallas City Council election found some 700 fraudulent mail-in ballots signed by the same witness using a fake name. The discovery left two council races in limbo, and the fraud was much larger than the vote differential in one of those races. The case resulted in a criminal conviction. . . .

It is often claimed that impossibly large numbers of people live at the same address. In 2016, 83 registered voters in San Pedro, Calif., received absentee ballots at the same small two-bedroom apartment. Prosecutors rarely pursue this type of case.

Mail-in voting is a throwback to the dark old days of vote-buying and fraud. Because of this, many countries don’t allow absentee ballots for citizens living in their country, including Norway and Mexico. Americans deserve a more trustworthy system.


DAN MITCHELL: Coronavirus and the Tradeoff Between Big Government and Competent Government.

There are some glaring inaccuracies in Milbank’s column, starting with the absurd notion that big-spender Trump (he increased domestic spending at a faster pace than Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama) is somehow connected to the principles that animated the Tea Party.

More relevant, he wants readers to believe that anti-government activism somehow blocked the production of a “rudimentary test” for the virus, yet I’ve repeatedly documented that the actual problem has been mindless red tape from bureaucracies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.

Speaking of which, Chris Edwards has rigorously debunked the notion that those bureaucracies, along with the National Institutes of Health, somehow have been starved of resources.

Here’s his chart showing funding for NIH and CDC.

Well, Dana Milbank.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Left and the Theocrats.

Kim Ghattas, a correspondent for the BBC, gave a remarkably frank interview to her home network about her new book, Black Wave, an account of the Saudi–Iranian rivalry that has warped life and politics in much of the Islamic world.

What struck me about the interview is that the Beirut-born Ghattas is much more plain and direct about the disastrous role played by leftist Western intellectuals — particularly French thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir—in encouraging and enabling the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini and his repressive model of Islamic government.

It is worth remembering that the Iranian theocracy was a great project of the secular Western Left.

Foucault welcomed Khomeini’s revolution as “the first of the grand insurrections against global systems.” Sartre traveled to Tehran to flack for Khomeini. The French Left celebrated Khomeini as “the Islamic Lenin.” (American conservatives might have said much the same thing, but the French Left meant that as praise.) Andrew Young, Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to the United Nations, hailed Khomeini as a “saint.” Many of those intellectuals stood by their judgment, though some of them, such as Simone de Beauvoir, recoiled from Tehran’s treatment of women and minorities.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Roger Kimball on The perversions of M. Foucault.

SO MY PROBLEM WITH DAVID FRENCH’S CLAIM that Christians shouldn’t vote for Trump is that if you take it seriously, Christians shouldn’t vote for anyone because no president in my lifetime was Christ-like enough to meet French’s standard. (No, not even Jimmy Carter, whose public piety is merely cover for a poisonous personality). Now if you want to argue for monastic exclusion from politics, that’s fine (though to my mind stupid). But if you want to argue for it only when Trump is president, then I question your sincerity, and French’s rather pharasaical tone doesn’t help.

But despite his argument, I think even a serious pro-life Christian might conclude that, given a choice between an un-Christ-like politician who is loudly and vigorously in favor of abortion (i.e. any Democrat these days), and an un-Christ-like politician who is without doubt the most pro-life president we’ve ever had, it’s okay to support the latter. French attempts to engage this argument but to my mind he is not successful. I doubt many will find the piece all that persuasive but I think that French’s main intended audience was David French, whose faith in neverTrumpism may need bolstering at this point. And I’m not sure it’s impossible to love your enemies while still trying to kick their ass.

On a broader note, so long as we’re talking about sin, I’ll note that pride and envy seem to play a major role in the NeverTrump movement in general: Pride in (self-proclaimed) moral superiority, and envy of Trump’s accomplishments, which make him by any reasonable measure the most conservative president of my lifetime. I’d suggest some self-reflection on this point.

Related: Christian Just Voting For Whichever Political Party Less Likely To Make His Faith Illegal One Day. Yeah, this second piece is satire, but is it really?

VIRGINIA HAS RATIFIED THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. This is basically meaningless, as the time set for ratification expired long ago, as did the dubious Congressional “extensions.” Some are prepared to argue that time limits on ratification are invalid, but there’s no authority for that, and it’s been common practice for decades.

Of course, a genuine, fairly-and-evenly-enforced Equal Rights Amendment would be a disaster for feminists, but they’re expecting to get something like the judicially-rewritten and expanded Title IX. But Keith Whittington is right:

If we think there is a serious need for the ERA and genuine support for it in the contemporary United States, then there is a ready solution—draft a new amendment, push it through Congress, and send it to the states. If we think that the ERA could not currently be adopted and ratified in a reasonable amount of time, then perhaps we should not be eager to say that the ERA is part of the Constitution because exactly three states legislatures have endorsed it since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

If there’s support now, pass it now. If there isn’t support now it shouldn’t be ratified at all.

THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT I SAID WHEN I HEARD:  Trump Averts a Benghazi — and a Jimmy Carter.

ON TUESDAY, ROBERT SPENCER ASKED: The Baghdad Embassy Siege: Do the Iranian Mullahs Think Donald Trump Will React Like Jimmy Carter?

They chose…poorly.

THIS IS CNN: “As Americans sit glued to impeachment hearings centered on allegations of bribery and self-interest over country, I can’t help but be emotional myself when I think about the Carters’ specific brand of patriotism and the fear that we may never see another president and first lady like them again.”

Only if America is very, very lucky. (Though the above quote is quite a tacit insult of Obama’s presidency.)

On the other hand, even history’s greatest monster can get something right. “As Americans sit glued to impeachment hearings,” here’s a flashback to last year: Jimmy Carter Believes That Democrats Shouldn’t Pursue Impeachment.

LIKE JIMMY CARTER’S, WE’LL BE CLEANING UP OBAMA’S MESSSES FOR YEARS TO COME: How Obama’s team set up Trump’s Syrian dilemma. “Over the last few days, a host of former Obama officials have been repeating this story, which is highly misleading, to say the least. Rice and her colleagues would have us believe that Team Obama created a highly effective plan for stabilizing the Middle East by working through groups like the YPG, and Trump, mercurial and impulsive, is throwing it all away by seeking a rapprochement with Ankara. That’s nonsense. In fact, the close relationship with the YPG was a quick fix that bequeathed to Trump profound strategic dilemmas. Trump inherited from Obama a dysfunctional strategy for countering ISIS, one that ensured ever-greater turmoil in the region and placed American forces in an impossible position.”

DAVID HARSANYI: Jimmy Carter Is Our Worst Ex-President. “Joe Scarborough is wrong. The world would have been a far better place had Carter left the stage.”

“Great men” do not, as Carter has his entire post-presidential life, use freelance diplomacy abroad to undermine elected American governments. They do not coddle and legitimize tyrants and murderers around the world. They do not undercut liberalism by allowing despots to use them as props. It is one thing to meet with detestable characters as president — diplomacy and American interests often dictate it — but it is quite another to ally yourself with them as a free man. Yet, that’s what Carter has done for 40 years.

Carter was the first, and only, ex-president to visit communist Cuba. “I look forward to this opportunity to meet with Cuban people from all walks of life and to talk with President Castro,” Carter claimed. While there, Carter would spin fantasies about Cuba’s “superb systems of health care and universal education,” while offering perfunctory attention to the hundreds of political prisoners who were, as he tossed around a baseball with Castro, being imprisoned and tortured.

Then again, there are few communist strongmen who haven’t sung Carter’s praises.

They know who their friends are.

WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS, TO THE MALAISE THAT NEVER ENDS: Jimmy Carter Wishes He Had Donald Trump’s Legendary Stamina.

(Classical reference in headline.)

TO BE FAIR, HE COULDN’T MANAGE IT AT 50: Jimmy Carter: I couldn’t have managed presidency at 80. “Weeks shy of his 95th birthday, former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday he doesn’t believe he could have managed the most powerful office in the world at 80 years old. Carter, who earlier this year became the longest lived chief executive in American history, didn’t tie his comments to any of his fellow Democrats running for president, but two leading 2020 candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, would turn 80 during their terms if elected.”

BEFORE JIM ACOSTA, THERE WAS MIKE WALLACE: Mike Wallace Is Here: New Documentary Exposes 60 Minutes Reporter’s Theatrical Shtick.

How he nailed those wingtip-wearing bastards, those human-rights-violating tyrants, those smarmy politicians! He destroyed every one of them, such as . . . er, well, such as . . . I mean, you know. But you don’t, really. Did Wallace nail . . . anybody important? Even anybody we remember? Or was he just really good at playing the role of a truth-seeking, take-no-prisoners, holy-man-on-a-mission journalist?

Avi Belkin’s new documentary, Mike Wallace Is Here, tries to make the case for Wallace’s importance but pretty much comes up empty. If Wallace, 60 Minutes’s attack dog on so many Sunday nights, did in fact line his trophy room with the skulls of the men he’d vanquished, you would think a documentary would provide the evidence. It doesn’t. There isn’t a single shot of Wallace really nailing anybody you’ve ever heard of, though there is a bitter exchange with the Vietnam War general William Westmoreland, who sued Wallace and drove the reporter to depression and a suicide attempt before dropping the case. If Wallace ever got a scoop that mattered, it isn’t in this film. One time he exposed a small-time dirtbag who was selling kiddie porn. Lots of times he managed to get shoved aside on camera, or to have people dramatically stalk off the set or try to put their hand over the lens. But that’s all theater, not journalism.

Kyle Smith doesn’t mention in his review whether or not the documentary mentions this infamous moment in Wallace’s career, as described by the late Roger Ailes, someone else who understood the blending of theater and journalism:

Recognize that any time you are in the presence of a newsperson, the conversation is fair game for the record. Jimmy Carter’s famous confession that he sometimes had lust in his heart for women other than his wife was uttered to a Playboy magazine journalist as he was leaving Carter’s home at the conclusion of the formal interview. Even Mike Wallace, big-game hunter of the unguarded moment, got caught in this snare. As recounted on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal by TV critic Daniel Henninger in March of 1981, Wallace:

was interviewing a banker in San Diego about an alleged home improvement fraud involving mainly black and Hispanics, who supposedly had signed contract they couldn’t understand, which led to foreclosures on their home mortgages.The bank hired a film crew of its own to record the interview with Mr. Wallace. The bank apparently left its recorder running during a break in the CBS interview, and the tape has Mr. Wallace saying, in reply to a question about why the black and Hispanic customers would have signed their contracts, “They’re probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos.”

When the Los Angeles Times got wind of this indiscretion and reported it, there was at least a minor uproar from reporters and others about Wallace’s “racially disparaging joke”. Wallace ultimately pleaded “no bias”, admitting that over time he’d privately told jokes about many ethnic groups but that his record “speaks for itself”. Henninger added, “Needless to say, this has to be the most deliciously lip-smacking bit of irony to pop out of the oven in a long time. Here we have the dogcatcher cornered. The lepidopterist pinned. The preacher in flagrante delicto. This is the fellow who has imputed all manner of crimes against social goodness to a long lineup of businessmen and bureaucrats. From here on out, all future victims of Mr. Wallace can take some small comfort in knowing that although they may stand exposed as goof-offs, thieves and polluters, he’s the guy who made the crack about the watermelons and tacos.”

Eventually, as the cost of the equipment Wallace used for his stings became affordable to all, James O’Keefe and others on the right would begin to employ the same investigative techniques that 60 Minutes pioneered, only aimed at Wallace’s fellow leftists. As I wrote in 2011: Investigative Journalism: It’s All Fun and Games until the MSM Gets Stung.


Trump entertained a Reform party run in 2000 himself, and perhaps to satisfy Perot, as well as because of bad advice from consultants, Trump denounced Buchanan at the time. But Trump had the good sense not to seek the nomination of a party whose founder preferred to see it die than have a life after him. Instead, Trump learned from the failures of Perot and the Reform party. Trump, like Perot, campaigned as something of a moderate on social issues — but he did so without excluding social conservatives, and since becoming president he has served his coalition allies better than many a professed true-believer conservative Republican ever did. Trump also realized, as Perot should have recognized a quarter-century earlier, that third-party politics was a waste of time, when the same resources could be used to take over the GOP from within. Republican voters, if not Republican elites, still wanted the party to be that of Nixon and Reagan, not just the Bushes — the party of the Rust Belt and Reagan Democrats, not just the party of Social Security privatizers and military contractors. Trump put the politics of Perot and Buchanan together into a winning force on the right and a winning force in the 2016 election. Whatever happens next year, this has changed American politics in a way that Perot’s symbolic achievement in 1992 never did. Yet if Perot had been more far-sighted in 2000, he might have hastened the populist realignment — and spared the country some of the hardships and disgraces of the last 20 years.

He was a self-made billionaire, a brilliant if eccentric businessman who could have been an equally significant figure in politics — if only he had been willing to treat populism as something more than the private possession of H. Ross Perot.

By siphoning away votes from George H.W. Bush in 1992, Perot’s third party candidacy paved the way for eight years of Bill Clinton, who got cold feet over capturing Osama bin Laden, and massively expanded Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act. Both 9/11 and the 2008 economic meltdown were twin hangovers from the Clinton years. In “The Complicated Political Legacy of H. Ross Perot,” Jim Geraghty notes that “Jonah Goldberg [once] wrote that someone could write a good book on how in the short span from 1988 to 1992, Ronald Reagan’s America became Bill Clinton’s America. At least one chapter in that book would have to cover H. Ross Perot, who passed away” on Tuesday:

Back to Jonah’s point, you might think that the time with the biggest interest in candidates outside the major parties would be a time of major crises and national instability. And yet . . . the United States of America in 1992 doesn’t look all that bad at all from the perspective of today. Yes, the country was emerging from a recession, but unemployment peaked at 7.8 percent in June, which looks pretty modest by the standards of the Great Recession. The tech and dot-com booms were just around the corner. The Cold War was over, Kuwait had been liberated from Saddam Hussein, and the United Nations had rarely looked more effective. The worst horrors of the Balkans still lay ahead. Al-Qaeda was just a bunch of unknown guys. North Korea had no nuclear weapons, nor did Iran — nor did India or Pakistan yet. Perot and Bill Clinton lamented that Washington was allegedly paralyzed by gridlock, but the partisanship of that era looks mild compared to today. The legislation passed during Bush’s presidency was pretty substantive.

Depending upon your point of view, Perot and Clinton either tapped into latent American anxiety in the early 1990s, or they convinced Americans that things had gone terribly wrong when in fact things were going okay. As I noted when George H.W. Bush passed away, on the campaign trail, Bill Clinton described a struggling, desperate America:

Unemployed workers who’ve lost not only their jobs but their pensions, their health care, and even their homes. Laid-off defense workers who now make their living driving cabs. Elderly couples whose refrigerators are bare because so much of their monthly Social Security check has to go for prescription drugs. Middle-class families everywhere who’ve taken second jobs to make ends meet.

H. Ross Perot declared in his book, “Unless we take action now, our nation may confront a situation similar to the Great Depression — and maybe even worse.” That looks pretty hyperbolic, considering how the 1990s turned out.

While the economy of the early 1990s looks pretty solid today, there was a genuine fear back then that the stock market crash of 1987 was the harbinger of very bad times to come, one that George H.W. Bush didn’t help by raising taxes in 1990, a year in which he was consumed by foreign policy decisions. A gesture that Bill Clinton repaid by declaring the mild recession of 1991-’92 as “the worst economy in fifty years” and by running to Papa Bush’s right by excoriating him for violating his 1988 “read my lips” pledge. While both Clinton and Perot “convinced Americans that things had gone terribly wrong when in fact things were going okay,” it would take the dot com boom — and a media, with a Democrat in the White House to once again report good economic news, to solidify that belief.

Which remarkably, survived until the fall of 2008.

A NOW A WORD FROM HISTORY’S GREATEST MONSTER: Jimmy Carter: ‘illegitimate’ Trump only president because of Russian meddling.

Ted Kennedy could not be reached for comment.

IF YOU GO CARRYING PICTURES OF CHAIRMAN MAO, YOU AIN’T GONNA MAKE IT WITH ANYONE, ANYHOW: John Lennon’s Son Denounces Political Correctness, Says Leftist Intellectuals Have Become Pathetic.

Dad eventually may have figured that out also, in his last days, before his life was tragically cut short. His personal assistant from 1979 until his death late the following year has said, “John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on Jimmy Carter.”

Because of Lennon’s murder, and because so much footage exists of him recording the Imagine album in 1971, his radical chic image has become freeze-dried. But it was simply another phase for Lennon, in-between the psychedelia of the mid-‘60s, the booze-fueled “lost weekend” of the mid-‘70s, his house husband phase raising Sean few years later, and his return to recording near the end of the ‘70s.

As Lennon himself said in one his last interviews, “I dabbled in politics in the late 1960s and 1970s, more out of guilt than anything. Guilt for being rich and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn’t enough and you have to go and get shot or something, or get punched in the face to prove I’m one of the people. I was doing it against my instincts.”

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update. “Biden continues to lap the field, Buttigieg’s boomlet bottoms out, O’Rourke stabilizes, Messam registers, Klobucher shows a tiny bit of life, and mentions of John McCain, Jimmy Carter and Alannis Morissette.”

NEO-MCCARTHYISM: James Comey calls Jimmy Carter a “Communist.”


The author, Chris Smith, wrote that, “Comey has been savaged by William Safire and lauded by Chuck Schumer; just what kind of Republican is he, anyway?”

Comey apparently howled with laughter.

He explained, “In college, I was left of center, and through a gradual process I found myself more comfortable with a lot of the ideas and approaches the Republicans were using.” He voted for Carter in 1980, but in ’84, “I voted for Reagan—I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.”

Perhaps his “gradual” move away from communism had something to do with his chosen career path. It may have dawned on him that communist leanings might be a serious disqualifier when one is hoping for a career in government law enforcement, especially during the Cold War.

It shouldn’t really surprise that Obama would nominate former communists to two of the most important offices in the U.S. government. Underneath it all, Obama really is a socialist – who surrounded himself with other socialists like Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Speaking of Obama, his former vice president is prepared to move even further left: “Joe Biden breaks with Obama in moving to left,” claims The Hill today.

Further left than the man who prompted Newsweek to blare on its cover shortly after his inauguration that “We Are All Socialists Now?” What could go wrong?

UPDATE: According to this “fact check” site, this post is wrong because Comey was calling Jimmy Carter a Communist. Their evidence is . . . the very quote reproduced verbatim above.

WELL, MAYBE THIS WON’T HURT JOE THAT BADLY. AFTER ALL, DICK CHENEY WAS IN FAVOR OF GAY RIGHTS LONG BEFORE BARACK OBAMA OR HILLARY CLINTON. Joe Biden faces backlash over resurfaced 2015 video of him praising Dick Cheney: ‘He is a decent man.’

GLENN GREENWALD: Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them.

In sum, Democrats and their supporters had the exact prosecutor they all agreed was the embodiment of competence and integrity in Robert Mueller. He assembled a team of prosecutors and investigators that countless media accounts heralded as the most aggressive and adept in the nation. They had subpoena power, the vast surveillance apparatus of the U.S. government at their disposal, a demonstrated willingness to imprison anyone who lied to them, and unlimited time and resources to dig up everything they could.

The result of all of that was that not a single American – whether with the Trump campaign or otherwise – was charged or indicted on the core question of whether there was any conspiracy or coordination with Russia over the election. No Americans were charged or even accused of being controlled by or working at the behest of the Russian government. None of the key White House aides at the center of the controversy who testified for hours and hours – including Donald Trump, Jr. or Jared Kushner – were charged with any crimes of any kind, not even perjury, obstruction of justice or lying to Congress.

These facts are fatal to the conspiracy theorists who have drowned U.S. discourse for almost three years with a dangerous and distracting fixation on a fictitious espionage thriller involved unhinged claims of sexual and financial blackmail, nefarious infiltration of the U.S. Government by familiar foreign villains, and election cheating that empowered an illegitimate President. They got the exact prosecutor and investigation that they wanted, yet he could not establish that any of this happened and, in many cases, established that it did not.

After this investigation, Trump may be the cleanest president of my lifetime. Except maybe for Jimmy Carter, who was terrible.


Have some sympathy for Mark Hamill — imagine the psychological pressures of being best known for playing a communist-inspired slave-owning religious terrorist fanatic who’s killed hundreds of thousands of people. Forget Jimmy Carter — Luke Skywalker is history’s greatest monster!

TOUT CE QUI EST VIEUX EST NOUVEAU: Macron’s Speech To Yellow Vest Protestors Channels Jimmy Carter’s Malaise Talk.

Though the American left have pretty much been in perma-malaise mode since Bobby Kennedy.

CAN OUR GOVERNMENT BE COMPETENT? JIMMY CARTER SAYS YES! When Democrats Loved Deregulation, from Matt Welch at Reason TV:

Classical reference in headline, one that’s too funky to simply hyperlink to:

HOW DO YOU SAY LEAD BALLOON IN FRENCH?   Macron’s Speech To Yellow Vest Protestors Channels Jimmy Carter’s Malaise Talk.

REMEMBERING JOHN MCCAIN: “John taught us how to lose.”

Going back four decades, starting with the 1980 election, 15 men and women have been nominated for president by our two major parties. Until now, only one of them had left us — Ronald Reagan, born in 1911, who announced his withdrawal from public life in 1994, a quarter-century ago.

Four of these nominees are now past 90 and two more, including McCain, passed 80; seven passed the 70 mark in recent years, and just one, Barack Obama, is under 65. We’re used to having them around. In contrast, 40 years ago there were only five living presidential nominees, Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon, plus landslide losers George McGovern and Barry Goldwater.

John McCain does not belong in landslide loser territory. His loss by 7 points to Barack Obama in 2008 was the widest margin since 1988, but his 45.6 percent of the popular vote was just slightly under President Trump’s 45.9. The difference in the result was that Hillary Clinton ran 5 points behind Obama.

“John taught us how to lose,” his friend and colleague Lindsey Graham said on the Senate floor Tuesday. He was referring especially to McCain’s gracious concession speech on Election Night 2008, rallying Americans to support the first black president. This was indeed a national service, one Hillary Clinton failed to provide eight years later.


STOPPED CLOCK:  Jimmy Carter Believes That Democrats Shouldn’t Pursue Impeachment.

JOEL KOTKIN: Democrats Are Helping Trump Win Re-Election. “In their anti-Trump fervor, the Democrats have embraced leftist positions that weaken their prospects in 2018 and, perhaps even more so, beyond. This leftward shift was evident in scores of elections around the country as well as here in California where the party endorsed climate activist and open-borders advocate Kevin De Leon over longtime centrist, and still heavily favored, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The lurch to the left could become particularly problematic if the economy, always a big if, holds up. Right now almost two-thirds of voters think the economy is in good shape, according to a recent YouGov poll. To be sure, Trump’s approval ratings are not great, but not much worse than those at the same stage of their presidencies as Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all but one of which was re-elected to second term.”

JONATHAN TURLEY IN THE HILL: FBI source in Russia probe raises alarms over political surveillance. “Three questions, however, stand out over his role. The details of Halper’s work still are largely unknown. What we know is that the FBI carried out an investigation targeting Trump campaign officials with both surveillance, document demands, and at least one informant. All of this was done through national security powers, where warrants are easily obtained and kept secret. We know this investigation began, at the latest, in July 2016 and that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application was based in part on a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign. We also know that key Justice Department officials expressed hostile views of Trump in emails, and that key Justice Department officials have been subjects of demotions and one criminal referral. . . . While the media has tended to downplay these allegations, they are manifestly serious. The use of a paid FBI asset to target a national campaign in this way would be unprecedented. The closest we have come historically was the allegation in 1980 that aides to Ronald Reagan spied on Jimmy Carter’s campaign and obtained confidential documents Carter used to prepare for a debate. While he has denied the allegations, one of those aides identified was Halper.”

UNPOSSIBLE, HE USES NONE OF THE APPROVED STOCK PHRASES: Roger Simon: Trump Vastly Better than Obama at Foreign Policy.

Now that we have learned CIA director and secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jung-un over Easter, it is time to acknowledge the obvious: the foreign policy of political novice Donald Trump has been vastly more successful that that of the supposedly experienced Barack Obama.

And vastly is an understatement. Obama’s foreign policy was a disaster, beginning with the peculiar apology tour that mystified much of its Middle Eastern audience, through the yet more peculiar (misspelled) reset button with Russia that further mystified Sergei Lavrov, on to Obama’s overheard whisper to Medvedev telling Putin he would be more accommodating on missile defense after the election (imagine the apoplectic reaction of our media if Trump did that!) to the Libyan war leading to the assassination of Qaddafi (the only Arab leader to voluntarily denuclearize) that created a failed state and a raft of refugees to Italy and elsewhere, and, of course, the rapid exit from Iraq that gave rise to ISIS.

And this omits the equally egregious examples – the failure to enforce the red line on Assad’s use of chemical weapons, about which he naively believed Putin, and the never-signed, never published Iran Deal itself, which has done nothing but enrich the mullahs who wreak havoc from Venezuela to Yemen. This duplicitous and unverifiable non-agreement prolonged the monstrous Syrian civil war, causing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II and changing the character of Europe possibly forever.

There’s more but you get the point. Not even Jimmy Carter had that bad a record. And this is without Obama’s sickening lack of response to the freedom demonstrators in Iran. (“Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?” Well, we know.)

And Trump?

To begin with, there’s the near-annihilation of ISIS. Then there’s the renewed alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States without, miracle of miracles, the ostracism of Israel. Indeed, while announcing the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem (with little protest by ME standards), the Israeli-Saudi alliance has flourished. Does this mean an solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is imminent? Probably not. But at least the decades of moribund unchanging policy since Oslo have finally been bypassed and new perspectives made possible.

Read the whole thing.

TO BE FAIR, NOT EVERY PRESIDENT CAN BE HISTORY’S GREATEST MONSTER. Former President Jimmy Carter Rips Trump [Again]: America ‘Apparently’ Wants a ‘Jerk’ for President.

Well, there he goes again, to coin a presidential phrase.

(Classical reference in headline.)

HEY, BIG SPENDER: Cash-Strapped DNC, DCCC Pay Hillary Clinton’s ‘Resistance’ Group Nearly $900,000 Combined for List Acquisitions. “DNC’s $300,000 payment was made as state Democratic parties were waiting on promised funding.”

The DNC, which is in the midst of facing financial hardships, conjured up $300,000 on Jan. 8 to pay Onward Together, Clinton’s group, for “list acquisition,” according to the FEC filings. The payment was made to Clinton’s organization as state Democratic parties were waiting on $10 million in funding for rebuilding efforts that was initially promised last July.

As of early January of this year, the money had never made its way to the parties, and the DNC did not even have $10 million on hand. In late January, after reports surfaced of its inaction in relation to the state parties, the DNC finally announced it would begin disbursing $1 million to 11 different state parties, with grants going to Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.

The DCCC also paid hundreds of thousands to Clinton’s “resistance” group for “generic committee list rental” between mid-December and late January.

It says something about today’s Democratic Party that it is still in thrall to its losing presidential candidate — who is no longer an elected official holding any office.

I don’t recall Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, or John Kerry having much or anything to do with the party’s day-to-day affairs after their losses.


Internal polling by the Democratic group Priorities USA showed the president’s approval rating had climbed to 44 percent in early February, which “mirrors Trump’s improving position in public polls.” Gallup finds a narrow majority of Americans support his handling of the economy, and the new Republican tax law is getting more popular.

“I think people just kind of assume he’s a goner,” FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver told me recently, “but look, he’s now more in a range where presidents have recovered to win reelection. His approval rating is up to 41 or 42 percent in our tracking. That verges on being a normal number that resembles what happened to Reagan or Clinton or Obama in their second years.” (Silver noted over the weekend that Trump dipped to 39 percent in their tracking.) As Jim Messina, who managed President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, warned earlier this month, “Donald Trump can absolutely be reelected.” . . .

“If you had the election literally today, I think Trump would be an underdog in the popular vote, but I don’t know about the electoral college,” FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver told me. “He’s coming from a low point where he had, approval ratings wise, by far the worst first year of any president. But he’s kind of reverting to some mean, in a way, and the mean is how, on average, incumbent presidents get reelected. You know, on average incumbent presidents are having a rough time two years in and their parties suffer anywhere between mild and humongous loses in the midterms, but the baseline case is that incumbent presidents usually win.”

Interesting to see the conventional wisdom shifting. Plus:

Lichtman said the only variable that Democrats can control in the 2020 election is whether they nominate a charismatic candidate. He noted that the party’s past three presidents—Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—were all elected as “young unknowns,” which does not describe the top likely candidates to run against Trump in 2020: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. “The Democratic Party increasingly is looking like a nursing home,” Sabato said.

But don’t get cocky, kids.

DON’T GET COCKY: Trump Makes Quick Work of Re-Election Fundraising. “President and his super PAC appeal to supporters big and small to build massive war chest—faster than any prior White House occupant.”

In the past year, Mr. Trump has appealed to supporters big and small to build up a re-election war chest, held nine political rallies in states he won in 2016 and aired campaign-sponsored television commercials to promote his policy agenda. He has also embraced the political action committees and major donors he once called a scourge on governing.

Mr. Trump’s campaign and an outside group that backs him collected more than $73 million last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings and interviews with officials at America First, a part-super PAC, part-nonprofit group that routinely meets with Mr. Trump and top White House officials to discuss political strategy. The campaign’s $43 million haul is four times what President Barack Obama raised in his first two years in office, a period when he wasn’t actively fundraising.

Indeed, no president who has served under modern campaign finance laws that date back to President Jimmy Carter has held a re-election fundraiser before entering his third year in office, said Brendan Doherty, an associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy who has researched presidential campaigning. Mr. Trump had eight in his first year.

If Trump continues to deliver on jobs and wage increases to Rust Belt and Midwest Obama-to-Trump voters, that warchest will be overkill.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a little overkill.

TRUMP VERSUS THE DEEP REGULATORY STATE: Unfortunately the Wall Street Journal op-ed by Christopher DeMuth is behind the pay wall. But it’s a fine essay and worth quoting at length.

Federal regulation has been growing mightily since the early 1970s, powered by statutes that delegate Congress’s lawmaking authority to mission-driven executive agencies. Beginning in 2008, the executive state achieved autonomy. The Bush administration during the financial crisis, and the Obama administration in normal times, decreed major policies on their own, without congressional authorization and sometimes even in defiance of statutory law.

President Trump might have been expected to continue the trend. As a candidate, he had railed against imperious Washington and promised to clear regulatory impediments to energy development and job creation. Yet he also was an avid protectionist, sounded sometimes like an antitrust populist, and had little to say about regulatory programs like those of the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. He was contemptuous of Congress and admiring of President Obama’s unilateral methods. Clearly, this was to be a results-oriented, personality-centered presidency.

The record so far has been radically different. With some exceptions (such as business as usual on ethanol), and putting aside a few heavy-handed tweets (such as raising the idea of revoking broadcast licenses from purveyors of “fake news”), President Trump has proved to be a full-spectrum deregulator. His administration has been punctilious about the institutional prerogatives of Congress and the courts. Today there is a serious prospect of restoring the constitutional status quo ante and reversing what seemed to be an inexorable regulatory expansion…

The essay goes on to say Trump has appointed qualified, reform-oriented agency leaders (a first indicator that he’s serious). He has turned away from “unilateral lawmaking” (a second indicator). Unilateral lawmaking is a diplomatic term for Obama’s questionable or blatantly unconstitutional executive orders (like spending “billions without a congressional appropriation to subsidize insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges”).


A third indicator is the introduction of regulatory budgeting, which sounds tedious but is potentially revolutionary. The idea goes back to the late 1970s, when the new health, safety and environmental agencies were first issuing rules that required private businesses and individuals to spend tens of millions of dollars or more. It seemed anomalous that this should be free of the disciplines of taxing, appropriating and budgeting that applied to direct expenditures. Jimmy Carter’s commerce secretary, Juanita Kreps, proposed a regulatory budget as a good-government measure; Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D., Texas) introduced legislation; and several academics (myself included) worked out the theory and practicalities in congressional reports and journal articles.

The idea never went anywhere.

Well, it never went anywhere until now.

OUR HIGHEST-IQ PRESIDENTS WERE PROBABLY HERBERT HOOVER AND JIMMY CARTER: Too much of a good thing: very smart executives are less able leaders.

THAT’S WHAT WORRIES ME: Biden 2020? It’s Not as Crazy as It Sounds.

Al Hunt:

To see why they’re not crazy, start with this fact of political life: When an incumbent runs for re-election, the contest is a referendum on him. A challenger, to be successful, must offer an appealing alternative that better addresses whatever’s bothering people. Jimmy Carter, the outsider, beat President Gerald Ford in 1976 in the shadow of the Watergate scandals. Ronald Reagan defeated Carter four years later by showing resolve that resonated during the Iranian hostage crisis. Bill Clinton’s domestic focus had broad appeal in 1992, the first presidential contest after the end of the Cold War, against the veteran cold warrior President George H.W. Bush.

After three-and-a-half years of Trump, what will swing voters be looking for? A grown-up who is committed to getting things done by trying to bridge the bitter partisan divide. A person with experience in governing, savvy about the ways of Washington and wary of national-security booby traps. A reputation for incorruptibility to drain the ethical swamp of the Trump years.

More than most outsiders, new faces or ideological purists, the 74-year-old former senator and vice president could fit that bill.

A politician first elected in 1970 is not going to be the face of the future. But after the exhaustion, trauma and incompetence of the Trump years, voters will look for stability, solidity, maturity, global experience, civility and integrity. Biden checks all the boxes.

These are indeed Heinlein’s Crazy Years — we just live in them.

YES. NEXT QUESTION? Is Roger Goodell Deliberately Pushing the NFL Leftward?

Remember that the NFL was cultivated into prominence by Pete Rozelle, a pro-war conservative. In the 1960s, Rozelle hired a World War II veteran-turned-filmmaker, Ed Sabol, to produce highlights, commercials and documentaries that marketed the sport as patriotic and militaristic. Sabol’s NFL Films made football feel more American than baseball. His work was so critical to the league’s wild growth that in 2011 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The same honor had been bestowed on Rozelle in 1985, while he was still commissioner.

By contrast, a year ago Mr. Goodell hired a Democratic political strategist, Joe Lockhart, as the NFL’s executive vice president of communications. Mr. Lockhart, best known as President Clinton’s press secretary for two years, also worked for Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. Last week the New York Times credited him with crafting the NFL’s message on the anthem controversy.

Joe Lockhart was among the least effective of Bill Clinton’s spinmeisters, and he’s bringing those same foot-in-mouth skills to the NFL these days. If only the NFL had the sense to react to the anthem protests the same way the NBA did — while Bill Clinton was actually in office.

(Try clicking in through Google if above Wall Street Journal link requests a login.)

SO FAR, SO GOOD: Donald Trump: King of Deregulation?

It seemed a characteristic bit of Trumpian magniloquence—he’s not only a boffo deregulator, he’s the best ever! Still, it was a remarkable claim. Trump has overseen more deregulation than George W. Bush or Ronald “government is the problem” Reagan?

But, measured by at least one significant standard, Trump’s claim is true. Patrick McLaughlin of the Mercatus Center, a free-market-oriented think tank at George Mason University, applies innovative research techniques to the study of regulation and the economy. He recently analyzed the output of regulatory restrictions promulgated in the last several presidencies, going back to Jimmy Carter. McLaughlin found that there have been periods in some presidencies when regulatory output slowed or declined—in several years of the Reagan presidency, for instance, and in 1996, when “reinventing government” was part of Bill Clinton’s election pitch. But over the full terms of each recent president, including Reagan, regulation increased, according to McLaughlin. So far the increase in regulatory restrictions under Trump has been near to zero.

“So in that sense, the president may be right,” the economist reports. “There may not be a net increase in regulations so far under him, and since there was a net increase in every four-year term for every preceding president, going back to the ’70s, then I think that could be a safe statement.”

How about a moratorium on new regulations until we get a serious net decrease?

HE’S BACK: Jimmy Carter Volunteers to Negotiate End to North Korea Crisis.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Jimmy Carter: The media has been harder on Trump than predecessors.

Plus, he and Rosalynn voted for Bernie.

(Sorry, I had my Carter women mixed up before. Fixed!)


As Iowahawk tweets, “You haven’t lived till you’ve seen a Jimmy Carter 15 minute bass solo.”

I’m a bit miffed – I offered the four original members some pretty serious money for a reunion performance back in 2007 when our late-lamented hourly show kicked off its three year run on satellite radio.

VOX: How Venezuela went from a rich democracy to a dictatorship on the brink of collapse.

As New York University historian Greg Grandin has pointed out, Chávez “submitted himself and his agenda to 14 national votes, winning 13 of them by large margins, in polling deemed by Jimmy Carter to be ‘best in the world.’”

“Chávez was always careful to maintain electoral legitimacy,” Francisco Toro, editor of Caracas Chronicles, an opposition-friendly news and analysis site, told me. Toro says that Chávez had big advantages with friendly media and his tendency to use state money on his campaigns, but that he didn’t “steal or cancel elections blatantly.” Chávez even allowed his opposition to run a recall referendum against him in 2004 just two years after surviving a coup attempt. He won the referendum by a huge margin.

When Chávez picked Maduro to succeed him, it was because he expected Maduro to be an effective champion for his ideas after his death. But while Maduro shared a great deal with Chávez ideologically, he has not been able to repeat his political or economic success. Instead, he’s overseen Venezuela’s descent into economic catastrophe, lost swaths of Chávez’s committed political base, and become one of Latin America’s newest autocrats.

Just last month I wrote on this page, “It’s an easy prediction to make, that the Left will portray Maduro as they eventually portrayed Stalin — the brute who betrayed the revolution of his noble predecessor.”

And, well, here you go.

TRUCK DRIVER: ‘Overregulation’ Means Government Literally Deciding When I Work, Eat, And Sleep.

Unless you own a business, when you hear pundits and politicians drone on about “overregulation,” the notion probably goes in one ear and out the other. But being a truck driver is similar to owning your own business. So next time you hear your Senator or your favorite radio show host decry government regulation and oversight, let me give you an idea of what “overregulation” looks like on the ground.

For starters, let’s talk “logs” and “hours of service.” While you’re only fighting one clock on your morning commute, a truck driver is fighting five clocks. Like you, he’s fighting real time. You have to be at work by 9:00 a.m., and he has a 9 o’clock appointment at the local distribution center. It’s 8:45 and I-40 is a parking lot. In addition to this, he has four other clocks to worry about: the “eight-hour break” clock, his “14-hour on-duty, not driving” clock, the “11-hour on-duty, driving” clock, and the “70-hour weekly on-duty” clock. For simplicity, I will call each of these the “eight,” the “14,” the “11,” and the “70.”

Now I’ll explain what’s known in the transportation industry as the “Hours of Service” regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) requires drivers to log everything they do, where they did it, the duration of the task, and when the specific tasks were done. The biggest principle to keep in mind is that when any one of the “clocks” runs out, you can no longer drive legally. Once you start the clock by going on-duty, you have eight hours before you must stop driving and take a 30-minute break.

Also, once you start your clock, you have now started a nonstop 14-hour window in which you must get all the driving done you need to for that day. If you get stuck at a shipper for three hours, you now have only 10 hours to drive. Which brings us to your “11”: In any given 14-hour on-duty period, you are only allowed to drive legally for 11 hours within that 14-hour period. In addition, in any eight-day period, you are only allowed to be on-duty (not driving and driving) for a total of 70 hours. Hence, your “70.” (This week, I made it back home with only one hour on my 70… I was cutting it close.)

Read the whole thing — and keep it in mind the next time somebody bemoans or brags about Jimmy Carter deregulating the trucking industry.

WHY WAS A U.S. SUBMARINE FLYING THE JOLLY ROGER? “In Navy tradition, the flying of the flag typically signifies a successful mission of some sort. As the Washington Post points out, the practice for subs began in World War II, when Royal Navy submarines flew the flags as a means of signaling a successful mission. Legend has it the flag, traditionally considered the flag of pirates, was adopted after a British admiral in World War I compared submarine warfare to piracy.”

THESE ARE ALMOST AS GOOD AS QUOTES FROM ONE OF JIMMY CARTER’S BOOKS:  Some Choice Quotes from Hillary Clinton’s Book About Collapsing In the Street (And Also, Losing a Presidential Election).


Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled Kenya’s presidential election results, mandating fresh elections in the next 60 days. No court on the continent has ever done such a thing. . . .

Jimmy Carter and John Kerry have some explaining to do. Who’s wrong, Kenya’s highest court, or foreign election monitors? And how much did fears of election-related violence play into the observers’ decision to brand the elections as “free and fair” when some on the observation teams may have had significant reservations? Did American favoritism for Kenyatta, who is seen to be more cooperative on business and security cooperation with the United States, play any role in the enthusiasm with which American observers approved the results?

The next 90 days will be extraordinarily messy.

It’s easy to forget that elections, in a way, are a simulated civil war. Without them, or without belief that they’re reasonably fair, you move quickly beyond simulation.

And, really, Carter ratified Hugo Chavez’s fraud. He’s utterly untrustworthy.


Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty.

But they didn’t say plenty. They didn’t say much at all. The rank and file noticed and got mad. Even their supposed champions didn’t grasp what life under Mr. Obama was like—a man who was wrecking the economy while preaching little sermons, whose subtext was always how smart he was, how dumb they were, and how America was full of racist clods, dangerous cops and infantile nuts who would go crazy if they even heard the words “Islamic terrorism.” So the rank and file was deeply angry and elected Mr. Trump.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. They’d rather see the country collapse than risk being called a racist by Rachel Maddow. “Country over party” indeed. But Trump has brought along his own people, who are doing a lot better at engaging the left than the Bill Kristol/David Frum beltway types. As I wrote:

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

But if you don’t like Trump, you really won’t like what comes after Trump, if the “resistance” succeeds. Luckily for Trump, the resistance seems mostly to be a bunch of self-important clowns and Antifa thugs.

THOMAS EDSALL: Has the Democratic Party Gotten Too Rich for Its Own Good?

In days past, a proposal to slam the rich to reward the working and middle classes meant hitting Republicans to benefit Democrats.

Even as recently as 1976, according to data from American National Election Studies, the most affluent voters, the top 5 percent, were solidly in the Republican camp, 77-23. Those in the bottom third of the income distribution were solidly Democratic, 64-36.

In other words, 41 years ago, the year Jimmy Carter won the presidency, the Sanders proposal would have made political sense.

But what about now?

In the 2016 election, the economic elite was essentially half Democratic, according to exit polls: Those in the top 10 percent of the income distribution voted 47 percent for Clinton and 46 percent for Trump. Half the voters Sanders would hit hardest are members of the party from which he sought the nomination.

The problem for the Democratic Party is that “them” has become “us.”

Democrats need to ask themselves how that happened.

NOW HE’S NO LONGER AMERICA’S WORST LIVING EX-PRESIDENT, HE LACKS COLLECTOR’S VALUE: No one wanted to buy this Jimmy Carter ‘love letter’ at auction.


Obama now lecturing America on food waste and eating meat, gets fact-checked by his former chef.

Barack Obama Jets to Milan to Deliver Climate Change Speech, says there that Climate Change ‘Created by Man’ and ‘Can Be Solved.

Crucial for Americans to Resist ‘Hate,’ Obama Says in Rare Address.

That last item is pretty rich coming from a guy who before his last State of the Union address, met with a rapper who featured an illustration of a gang posing with a recently murdered judge in front of the White House on his then-most recent album.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Barack Obama Is Using His Presidency to Cash In, But Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter Refused.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD HARSHES THE NARRATIVE: Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole: Trump’s core global strategy is intended to destroy any illusions in Moscow that Russia is a peer competitor of Washington’s.

A Trump administration is going to be four years of hell for Russia: a massive American doubling down on shale production along with a major military buildup. Trump is, in other words, a nightmare for Putin and a much, much bigger threat to Putin’s goals than President Obama ever was or wanted to be.

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

So blind does hatred make them that they cannot understand how their own behavior is driving American public opinion in directions that bode ill for liberals in the future. In the first place, suppose Donald Trump does not in fact turn out to be the second coming of Benedict Arnold. Suppose instead, as is much more likely, that he turns out to be a very hawkish president, one who quite possibly will make George W. Bush look like Jimmy Carter. The media and Democratic Party leaders will have staked huge amounts of credibility on a position that turns out to be laughably untrue. Six months or a year from now, they will have to flip from calling Trump an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three.

The press and the Democrats — but I repeat myself — will make that flip without a moment’s hesitation or acknowledgment.

Plus: “The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself.”

WHEN THE DEMOCRATS DO IT, THAT MEANS THAT IT’S NOT ILLEGAL:  Read all about the Jimmy Carter transition team’s secret 1976 contacts with the USSR.

FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS: Older Judges and Vacant Seats Give Trump Huge Power to Shape American Courts.

There are 870 Article III federal court judgeships, the vast majority on district courts or appeals courts like the one that recently upheld a halt on Mr. Trump’s immigration ban. These judges are appointed by the president and serve a lifetime term. (A few federal judges are appointed for limited terms.)

After Jimmy Carter took office, Congress established 152 new federal judgeships, expanding the federal judiciary by nearly 30 percent and allowing Mr. Carter to stack the federal courts despite a presidency that lasted only one term.

Mr. Trump, through a combination of demography and a growing number of vacancies, stands to enjoy a similar windfall. Democrats have long accused Republican Senate leaders of obstruction in not allowing many of the previous administration’s judicial nominees to come to a vote. The most prominent example was the refusal to vote on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but the tactic extended to Mr. Obama’s lower court nominees as well.

“Right off the bat, Republicans refused to approve anyone,” said Nan Aron, president of the liberal group Alliance for Justice. “So you know how important this is to the Republican Party.” Currently, 112 of the 870 authorized judgeships with lifetime appointments remain vacant — 33 have been vacant for more than two years.

Damn right it’s important. And if the Gorsuch nomination is any indicator, the Constitution could be ripe for a big comeback.

FROM JOEL KOTKIN, AN IDEA SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Decentralize government to resolve country’s divisions.

America is increasingly a nation haunted by fears of looming dictatorship. Whether under President Barack Obama’s “pen and phone” rule by decree, or its counterpoint, the madcap Twitter rule of our current chief executive, one part of the country, and society, always feels mortally threatened by whoever occupies the Oval Office.

Given this worsening divide, perhaps the only reasonable solution is to move away from elected kings and toward early concepts of the republic, granting far more leeway to states, local areas and families to rule themselves. Democrats, as liberal thinker Ross Baker suggests, may “own” the D.C. “swamp,” but they are beginning to change their tune in the age of Trump. Even dutiful cheerleaders for Barack Obama’s imperial presidency, such as the New Yorker, are now embracing states’ rights.

As in the antebellum period, American politics sadly reflects two increasingly antagonistic nations. One can be described as a primarily urban, elite-driven, ethnically diverse country that embraces a sense of inevitable triumphalism. The other America, rooted more in the past, thrives in the smaller towns and cities, as well as large swaths of suburbia. Sometimes whiter, the suburbs are both more egalitarian and less reflexively socially liberal.

This division worsened in the Obama era, whose city-centric approach all but ignored the interests of the resource-producing regions of the country, as well as the South. In contrast, under Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Democrats were joyously competitive in these areas, assuring that the party was truly diverse, rather than simply the lap dog of the littoral constituencies.

With the GOP now in control of Washington, the coastal areas are becoming, to paraphrase President Obama, the new clingers, whether on the environment, racial redress or gender-related issues. Now they fear, with good reason, that the very administrative state they so eagerly embraced could come back to undermine their agenda even at the local level.

The problem is, I don’t think the blue states have “learned their lesson” about big government. They’re still all for it, and will happily wield it against the Deplorable Classes whenever they manage to get back in control. Unless you can do something about that, I don’t think you can successfully sell limited government. Maybe a constitutional convention could do something.

SO LET’S ABOLISH IT: Why Do We Have a Department of Education? Jimmy Carter’s Debt to a Teachers Union. Public education existed well before 1980, but an unpopular President Carter wanted the nation’s largest union on his side before an election.

I say abolish it, but not until it’s had a year or two to ram through reforms on higher ed and K-12.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Newsflash: Obama Was A Historically Unpopular President, According To Gallup.

That poll found that Obama’s overall average approval rating was a dismal 47.9%.

Only three presidents scored worse than Obama since Gallup started doing these surveys in 1945: never-elected Gerald Ford (47.2%), one-termer Jimmy Carter (45.4%), and Harry Truman (45.4%).

Obama even did worse overall than Richard Nixon, whose average approval was 49%, and was less popular overall than George W. Bush, who got an average 49.4%.

Well, he was a historically bad president. If he hadn’t had the press propping him up he’d have been in the 30s.

WITH FIRE: To Fix the Department of the Navy; Kill the Mabus Legacy.

Global warming and political incorrectness are the greatest threats to the United States, and it is the job of America’s Navy to protect us from those threats. For the past eight years, that has been the strategic legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and the primary goal of his successor should be to ensure that Mabus has no legacy. The traditional mission of the US Navy has been to deter potentially hostile navies, or failing to do that, defeat them. Getting the US naval services back to that philosophy is going to be a big job for the new administration.

The Mabus priorities have been making the naval services more caring, inclusive, and environmentally protective. Discipline, combat effectiveness, and readiness have been secondary goals at best. Under Mabus, the Navy has sunk to readiness levels approaching those of the post-Vietnam Carter era.

Read the whole thing — although Instapundit readers have long known that Jimmy Carter was Obama’s best-case scenario.

JOEL KOTKIN: Obama’s Not So Glorious Legacy.

Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Barack Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. After all not only was he heralded as the “smartest” president in history within months of assuming the White House, but he also secured the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office. Usually, it takes actually settling a conflict or two — like Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter — to win such plaudits.

The greatest accomplishment of the Obama presidency turned out to be his election as the first African American president. This should always be seen as a great step forward. Yet, the Obama presidency failed to accomplish the great things promised by his election: racial healing, a stronger economy, greater global influence and, perhaps most critically, the fundamental progressive “transformation” of American politics. . . .

Whenever race-related issues came up — notably in the area of law enforcement — Obama and his Justice Department have tended to embrace the narrative that America remains hopelessly racist. As a result, he seemed to embrace groups like Black Lives Matter and, wherever possible, blame law enforcement, even as crime was soaring in many cities, particularly those with beleaguered African American communities.

Eight years after his election, more Americans now consider race relations to be getting worse, and we are more ethnically divided than in any time in recent history. As has been the case for several decades, African Americans’ economic equality has continued to slip, and is lower now than it was when Obama came into office in 2009, according to a 2016 Urban League study.

And that’s just the beginning of his failures. Read the whole thing.

KARL ROVE: A Preview of Obama’s Post-Presidency.

Mr. Obama still doesn’t understand that the GOP’s victories in ’10, ’14 and ’16 were repudiations of his policies. In the podcast, he argued that rural voters were wrong to vote Republican because his administration “devoted more attention, more focus, put more resources into rural America.” The idea that Democrats “abandoned the white working class,” he added, is “nonsense.” In other words, country folks should stay bought and the working class is too dumb to understand what’s good for them.

While saying it was time for “new voices and fresh legs,” Mr. Obama threatened that if “some foundational issues about our democracy” arise after he leaves office, he might “weigh in.” He also promised his presidential center would help young people become “organizers, journalists, politicians” by providing “tools for them to bring about progressive change.”

The IRS may get indigestion at such partisan use of a nonprofit, but Republicans should do cartwheels about these pledges, since it was Mr. Obama’s leadership that helped produce the biggest GOP dominance in nearly a century.

Mr. Obama will be the first ex-president since Woodrow Wilson to remain in Washington. Given the tone of his interviews, he could well become a carping, persistent presence in our nation’s capital.

We’re years past Carter being Obama’s best-case scenario.

BLOOMBERG NEWS EDITORIAL: Obama’s Betrayal of Israel at the UN Must Not Stand.

Flashback: Candidate Obama: “Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

Plus, Tom Maguire emails:

Since you were early and accurate with your Obama administration prediction that “Jimmy Carter is a best-case scenario”, shouldn’t you be taking a Bold Stand on Obama’s likely behavior as an Ex-Pres?

I think “Jimmy Carter is a best case” will apply to Future Obama as well. And that was before this UN Security Council clown show.

I think that Obama will far surpass Jimmy Carter in both sanctimony and support to America’s enemies. I believe that he will set a new standard in awfulness for ex-Presidents. But sadly, I don’t think this counts as a particularly bold prediction.

DON’T DOUBT ME: “Obama had barely lowered his hand after being sworn in back in 2009 that Glenn Reynolds proposed that a re-run of the Carter presidency was likely a best case scenario for the lightworker, and while this has been manifestly true for quite a while now, yesterday’s UN vote seals the deal.”

Related: Krauthammer’s Take: It’s As If the U.N. Passed a Resolution Declaring Mecca Jewish Territory. They’d never do that. Someone would kill them. Israelis take note. . . .

OBAMA’S MIDNIGHT REGULATION EXPRESS: The goal is to issue more rules than the new administration could ever repeal.

Kimberly Strassel:

Perhaps nothing has more underlined the Obama arrogance than his final flurry of midnight regulations. With each new proposed rule or executive order, Mr. Obama is spitefully mocking the nation that just told him “enough.”

The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.

Mr. Obama has devoted his last year to ramming through controversial and far-reaching rules. Whether it was born of a desire to lay groundwork for a Clinton presidency, or as a guard against a Trump White House, the motive makes no difference. According to a Politico story of nearly a year ago, the administration had some 4,000 regulations in the works for Mr. Obama’s last year. They included smaller rules on workplace hazards, gun sellers, nutrition labels and energy efficiency, as well as giant regulations (costing billions) on retirement advice and overtime pay.

Since the election Mr. Obama has broken with all precedent by issuing rules that would be astonishing at any moment and are downright obnoxious at this point. This past week we learned of several sweeping new rules from the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, including regs on methane on public lands (cost: $2.4 billion); a new anti-coal rule related to streams ($1.2 billion) and renewable fuel standards ($1.5 billion).

The fundamental transformation will continue until January 20.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Obama’s Second Term Was a Complete Failure.

As the Professor warned in the middle of Obama’s first term, “Up to now, comparisons with Carter were a tool of Obama’s critics. From now on, they’re likely to be a tool of his defenders. Because as bad as Carter was, Obama is shaping up to be worse. Much worse.”

CHANGE: Trump makes history with phone call to Taiwan leader. “Trump’s transition team confirmed late Friday that the president-elect had spoken by phone on Friday with Taiwan’s president, the first conversation between a U.S. president or president-elect with Taiwan’s leader since 1979, when the two countries severed diplomatic ties. . . . The phone call will almost certainly infuriate Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. Jimmy Carter formally declared Beijing the sole government of China in 1979, which ended formal U.S. diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”

ABOUT THAT JOBS REPORT… Labor force participation ticks down.

It remains stuck at levels not seen since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was President.

Of course, even during Carter’s Administration the trend for labor participation was upward.

If only someone had warned us that Obama would prove to be worse than Carter.


With the announcement of Trump’s triumphant (Trumphant?) Carrier deal, the word that occurs to me—not for the first time—is “showman.”

That’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, by the way. But it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years.

It’s not that previous presidents haven’t tried. Reagan was good at the speeches, as well as some sweeping gestures (“tear down this wall,” and the firing of the air controllers). Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush were abysmal; Clinton only so-so (playing the sax on TV comes to mind).

Obama tried and sometimes succeeded, particularly during his first campaign. Remember the Greek columns? . . .

But this is the water in which Trump swims. This is his most comfortable place to be: the showman, in the spotlight. He’s been doing it for his entire life.

That’s one of the reasons Trump preferred enormous rallies, and was relaxed when giving lengthy speeches without a teleprompter and ad-libbing extensively. He likes the spectacle of it all and realizes the important of the gesture and the symbol. And despite his more “presidential” demeanor since his election, I doubt this aspect of his personality will fade during his presidency; au contraire. And he understands the elements of surprise, of timing.

It does look that way.

ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES: White House Report Card: Will Obama Oust Jimmy Carter As Worst Ex-President?

“SO, ABOUT LAST NIGHT …” In his column at the Washington Post, Sonny Bunch of the conservative Washington Free Beacon writes:

There’s something to be said for the idea that Trump rode a wave of white resentment into the White House. But this is, at best, a half-truth. I’ll discuss the demographics in a moment; for now, let’s focus on the resentment. “Family Guy”‘s Seth MacFarlane made the totally reasonable point that “the Left expended so much energy over the last several years being outraged over verbal missteps, accidental innuendo, ‘tasteless tweets’ … in the name of clickbait, that when the REAL threat to equality emerged, we’d cried wolf too many times to be heard.”

This is a variation on the “But he fights!” defense/critique of Donald Trump. He gives voice to people who have spent the social media age watching viral outrage after viral outrage consume news cycles and destroy lives, to people who look at the silliness on college campuses and recoil at the thought of giving such institutions tens of thousands of dollars to fill their children’s heads with nonsense ideas. As Robby Soave noted at Reason, “Trump won because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.”

* * * * * * * *

Twitter created a series of impenetrable bubbles this cycle, and bubbles of this sort are not healthy for members of the media. They’re not healthy for anyone, really, but they’re doubly unhealthy for those of us who would dare to think they can or should shape the national narrative. If Democrats’ takeaway from last night is “the people of this country are filled with hatred,” as my own bubble suggests it might be, they will learn no lessons and gain no weapons with which to combat Trump and his successors going forward.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say that it was Twitter that created those impenetrable bubbles, or if it was simply one of the many platforms available to amplify and broadcast them.

During the 1960 presidential election, at the height of mass-media, mass-production, and the concomitant federal government shaped by the socialist New Deal, Nixon and Kennedy shared remarkably similar midcentury centrist views on most issues, from civil rights to the role of religion in America to the Cold War. But virtually every election since has seen pitched battles between two diametrically opposed worldviews: the radical chic anger of the McGovernites versus Nixon’s Great Society-esque foreign and domestic policies. Jimmy Carter’s big government malaise versus Reagan’s Goldwater-inspired conservatism. Al Gore’s radical environmentalism as religion versus George W. Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism. Etc., etc.

Until now. This election offered a plethora of worldviews slugging it out: a Northeast Corridor-based overculture that believes a radical chic-inspired failed community organizer and failed health care reformer in a bespoke suit is the second coming of God. And that his designated successor, whom they previously denigrated as a reactionary racist, whose biggest achievement was making a hash of the Middle East while pointlessly racking up nearly a million air miles (all the while railing against “climate change”) deserves to be president simply because of her gender.

Their reality was opposed by the alternate media bubble created by Trump’s most loyal media supporters, such as Dilbert creator Scott Adams, an increasingly surreal Drudge Report, and a that would likely be unrecognizable by its late founder.

Their reality in turn was opposed by the #NeverTrump crowd at the Weekly Standard and National Review. Who at times arguably seemed more angry with Trump himself and his mixed legacy in business than his Democratic opponent.

Ultimately though, the reality that prevailed was that of Trump’s working class base of supporters. Who tried to send a message to Washington in 2009 with the surprise election of Scott Brown to block Obamacare. And when that failed to stop the Democrats, tried to send a message in 2010 by sweeping a wave of Republicans into the House to block its implementation. And when that failed to stop the Democrats (and its rollout turned out to the debacle that everyone on the right insisted it would be) sent a wave that recaptured the Senate. A group that’s angry at being called homophobic bigots and racists. Angry at a never-ending war in Iraq after victory was in-hand. Angry at a stagnant economy. Angry over possibly the biggest lie told repeatedly by an American president: “If you like your plan you can keep your plan,” only to discover no, you can’t – and if you want any health insurance at all, you might need a second mortgage to cover the premiums.

Is Trump a perfect messenger for such anger? Of course not. But like Bill Clinton in 1992 and Obama in 2008, he showed up to play, mentally decided that he had more star power and cable media savvy than his opponents in his party’s primary, and rode a populist message to success. I hope he can deliver on some of his promises, but the fact that he won’t begin his administration by launching a culture war against half the nation, as both Obama and Clinton did, will give us all room to breathe.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: From Hope And Change To Fear And Loathing:

So this is how Hope & Change ends. With the FBI in turmoil, with surging anti-police violence, with fears of voter fraud and foreign hacking, with a sluggish economy, with a terror warning and with two unpopular presidential candidates tearing at each other like wolves.

Heckuva job, Barack Obama!

The 44th president made history by being elected, but leaves behind a nation on the verge of a crack-up. He flatters himself by insisting his tenure has been a roaring success, but the public mood tells a different story.

Obama promised to unite America, but exits amidst far greater divisions. It is telling that he has stopped portraying himself as a uniter and, like Jimmy Carter, blames the public.

Carter saw malaise, Obama sees bitter clingers, racists and xenophobes. While Obama’s lectures convey disappointment in his fellow Americans, it never occurs to him that he is a disappointment to them.

His failure to come to grips with the polarization, combined with an aggressively liberal agenda spearheaded by executive orders and a politicized bureaucracy, means his successor will inherit a country broken along every fault line imaginable. Voices of discontent and even estrangement are rising among Americans of all stripes and persuasions.

It would have been hard for him to have done more damage if that had been his goal all along.


Shot: Trump accuses SNL of being part of media conspiracy to ‘rig’ the election: The Donald hits out at Alec Baldwin’s ‘hit job’, says his portrayal ‘stinks’ and calls for the ‘unfunny’ show to be cancelled.

—Headline, the London Daily Mail, yesterday.


But many of the show’s writers say..without equivocation, that Saturday Night was out to get [Gerald Ford’s Press Secretary, Ron Nessen when Nessen stupidly agreed to host a show in April of 1976]. The attitude, [writer] Rosie Shuster said, was: “The President’s watching. Let’s make him cringe and squirm”…[Producer Lorne Michaels] is proudest of the time Saturday Night replayed, three days before the 1976 election between Ford and Jimmy Carter, the speech in which Ford announced his pardon of Richard Nixon. The feeling on the 17th floor was that the pardon had been conveniently forgotten by the press and that a reminder was in order.

—Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad, Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, 1986.

As Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air, “Stop complaining about Trump’s ‘war on the media’ because he’s right.”


Chaser: Media Admire ‘Beauty’ of NYTimes Book Review Comparing Trump to Hitler.

Wait, is he one of history’s greatest monsters*, or a smalltime Tri-State Mafioso? Make up your mind, Gray Lady.

* No, not Jimmy Carter.

FIRST JIMMY CARTER AND HIS KILLER RABBIT, NOW THIS: “Mrs. Clinton takes on a cartoon frog,” and James Taranto is there to observe every painful moment of the encounter — for the frog:

Poor Pepe! He’s just a make-believe frog, and he stands falsely accused of being ‘racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.’ Which means that, according to the definition we set forth yesterday, he qualifies as a Deplorable. That meme [Trump adviser Roger Stone and scion Donald Trump Jr.] tweeted might have been silly, but damned if it doesn’t pass the fact check.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

HEY, REMEMBER HIM? Barack Obama, the incredible shrinking president:

While presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump loom horrifyingly larger, can we spare a little horror as U.S. President Barack Obama looms ever smaller? No, I’m not sorry he’s leaving. I’m alarmed at a series of recent foreign policy humiliations showing just how badly the incredible shrinking president has damaged America’s standing in this turbulent world of ours.

First, emerging from the back door of Air Force One at the G20 in China after local functionaries literally denied him a red carpet. Second, begging Russian President Vladimir Putin for help on Syria and getting chlorine gas. Third, being told off by the president of Turkey over American support for Kurds in Syria. Fourth, being cussed out by the president of the Philippines.

It is literally impossible to imagine any of these things happening to former presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush or Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter? Maybe one or two. But Obama managed all four. While he did cancel his meeting with the appalling Filipino president, he seemed to treat the rest as no big deal.

As Glenn noted, “When Jimmy Carter Is your best-case scenario, you’re in trouble.” That was written back in 2011, but alas, voters didn’t heed the warning. Which is why our semi-retired president’s last months in office aren’t exactly occurring “unexpectedly,” even to his most die-hard loyalists.


LIE OF THE DECADE: Obama’s ransom payment to Iran out-lies Hillary and even his own Obamacare mendacity, Jed Babbin writes at the American Spectator:

Obama has said repeatedly that the deal blocks all of Iran’s paths to nuclear weapons, which is precisely the opposite of the truth. Hillary won’t disturb Obama’s lies about the Iran deal because it’s as much a part of her legacy as it is a part of his.

Obama’s lies — on Islamic terrorism, Iran, Syria, Russia, China and the rest — will remain undisturbed if, as seems likely, America elects the woman Safire labeled congenital liar as president. On Iran, Obama’s lies deserve the label “historic” because they will shape our history, and those of our allies.

When presidential lies are synonymous with policy, our nation is in great danger.

Indeed™. Or as Glenn warned in 2011, “Up to now, comparisons with Carter were a tool of Obama’s critics. From now on, they’re likely to be a tool of his defenders. Because as bad as Carter was, Obama is shaping up to be worse. Much worse.”

Of course, Carter hasn’t lacked for leftwing apologists to spin even his most embarrassing moments. The scrotal torque-inducing spin to defend his successor’s myriad disasters will be astonishing to witness in the coming years.

OBAMANOMICS: US Productivity Plunges For 3rd Quarter In A Row – Longest Losing Streak Since 1979.

Instapundit readers have known for years that Jimmy Carter was the “best-case scenario” for Barack Obama.

CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF ABORTION!  “As It Prepares For War, Planned Parenthood Is Training A Political Army,” Think “Progress,” breathlessly reports.

Ahh, progressivism, where time and ideas stand still. Philosopher William James coined the phrase “the moral equivalent of war” at the dawn of the 20th century; the concept immediately spread like wildfire amongst his fellow “Progressives” as way to organize Americans and end-run their pesky notions of freedom and individuality, as Jonah Goldberg noted in his 2012 book, The Tyranny of Clichés:

And creating a moral equivalent of war was just the perfect way to get this organic cooperative life off the page and into American hearts and minds. Although the idea began as just the moral equivalent, when the opportunity for a real war loomed on the horizon, the progressives leaped at it with both feet. John Dewey, James’s heir as the foremost practitioner of philosophical pragmatism, championed going to nonmetaphorical war, on the grounds that it would help do all of the things that James wanted from a moral equivalent of war. In less than a decade the optimistic and individualistic possibilities of pragmatism had now evolved into “social possibilities,” specifically what Dewey called the “social possibilities of war.” He complained that opponents of entering World War I failed to recognize the “immense impetus to reorganization afforded by this war” and implored them not to let the crisis go to waste.

After the war (covered extensively in my book Liberal Fascism), progressives returned to the Jamesian argument about the moral equivalent of war, now claiming that World War I proved that planning and social control had worked under Woodrow Wilson’s war socialism. Therefore, the same techniques — command and control economics (i.e., “war socialism”), censorship, propaganda, etc. — should be applied in peacetime. “We planned in war” became the mantra of the intellectuals, furious with the Republican-led “return to normalcy” of the 1920s. And liberalism has never recovered. The search for a moral equivalent of war continues to define American liberalism to this day.

From Jimmy Carter declaring the moral equivalent of war in 1977 in a futile effort to solve that decade energy “crisis,” to Obama issuing Thomas Friedman-inspired “Sputnik Moments” seemingly every year at his State of the Union addresses, to Planned Parent’s battle cry (to be fair, they’ve long been in the killing business), the moral equivalent of war continues to endlessly pop up on the left, often in the strangest places.

MICHAEL BARONE: A quick historical look at opposing your own party’s candidate. In the course of the essay he reminds everyone that Jimmy Carter was once a segregationist. It’s something of an incidental comment, but The Democratic Party was the party of slavery and segregation.

A COLD WAR MYSTERY SOLVED: Why Did Jimmy Carter Save The Space Shuttle?

A COLD WAR MYSTERY: Why did Jimmy Carter save the Space Shuttle?

GALLUP: Satisfaction Under Obama Is Lowest Since Carter.

According to Gallup, Americans’ satisfaction levels with the way things are going in the U.S. are low and President Obama will be leaving office with a lower overall satisfaction average of any president since Jimmy Carter.

Only 29% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. according to the Gallup poll conducted during the first week of June.

The Gallup poll asked, “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?”

Americans’ satisfaction has averaged only 24% across the 89 months of the Obama administration to date. The low satisfaction levels of recent years means that Obama will be leaving office with an overall satisfaction average of 24% for his presidency so far. Obama’s numbers are lower than the average measured across the term of any president since Jimmy Carter.

The Obama administration’s numbers are far below the 37% overall average since Gallup began measuring in 1979. Gallup has only three measures of satisfaction taken during the Carter administration, all in 1979, and they average 19%.

I can’t imagine why.

OH, HI, SHOCKED FACE: How Ayatollah Khomeini suckered Jimmy Carter.

CRAZY BARRY’S IS HAVING A HALF-OFF SALE! “Bank of America gets half off its Justice Dept. settlement…by giving millions of dollars to liberal groups approved by the Obama administration:”

The bank has wiped about $194 million off its record $16.6 billion 2014 mortgage settlement by donating to nonprofits and legal groups. Thanks to little-known provisions in the settlement, the bank only had to make $84 million in donations to do that.

The bank wasn’t exploiting any loophole. It’s a key part of the deal the Justice Department offered to get it to settle in the first place. For every dollar the bank has given the nonprofits — none of which were victims of fraud themselves — it has claimed at least two dollars off the settlement. The deal ensured the Obama administration that a certain part of the settlement funds would go to friendly liberal groups, bypassing the normal congressional appropriations.

Among the groups receiving the money were Hispanic civil rights group the National Council of La Raza ($1.5 million), the National Urban League ($1.1 million) and the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America ($750,000).

* * * * * * * *

“This is nothing short of a shakedown and another example of how the Obama administration is rigging the system to benefit their political allies. Instead of directing settlements directly to victims or returning the money to the U.S. Treasury, President Obama set up a slush fund for community organizers and other liberal activists. This is outrageous,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., chairman of the Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

It’s quite a racket – the 2008 financial crisis was caused by the Clinton administration massively expanding Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act, forcing banks to give high-risk loans to those who had no business owning a home, in a textbook example of Reynolds’ Law run amok. Now in its wreckage, Bank of America is shaken down for billions by the same party that created the CRIA. And of course, no one in the MSM will ask Hillary about her husband’s involvement in the debacle – instead, as this NewsBusters headline today notes, “NY Mag Writer Begs Media to ‘Stop Bugging Hillary Clinton!’

As Michael Walsh would say, “think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” and you won’t go far wrong. Not to mention how all of the above is another marker on the road to “The Coming Middle-Class Anarchy,” if sufficient voters begin to realize how corrupt Beltway elites have rigged the system to benefit themselves and their cronies.


YES, NEXT QUESTION: While Obama plays, the Defense Sec holds sway … Is Ash Carter picking up slack for the President?

Quite a damning series of juxtapositions at the new Heat Street Website, where Stephen Miller is credited for coining the “President Ash Carter” riff while our semi-retired president goofs it up during the last months as “Preezy of the United Steezy,” as NBC’s Jimmy Fallon dubbed him.

CONGRATULATIONS TO JERRY POURNELLE, winner of the 2016 Robert Heinlein Award.

The National Space Society takes great pleasure in announcing that its 2016 Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award has been won by acclaimed science fiction author Dr. Jerry Pournelle. This prestigious award selected by an international vote of NSS members will be presented to Dr. Jerry Pournelle at the 2016 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The public is welcome to attend the conference and see the award presentation at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ISDC will run from May 18-22, 2016. . . .

This award is presented once every two years for lifetime achievement in promoting the goal of a free, spacefaring civilization. The winner is decided by the vote of the entire NSS membership, not by the awards committee. The award consists of a miniature signal cannon, on a mahogany base with a black granite inlay and a brass plaque as shown. The award concept came from Robert Heinlein’s classic book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Some of the early award winners include Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan, Neil Armstrong and Elon Musk.

It’s richly deserved. In particular, Jerry carried the torch during the dark post-Apollo/Jimmy Carter days. Much of what’s happening in commercial space owes its existence, in part, to Jerry’s writing in that era.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN! Wall Street’s latest dirty word—stagflation:

A tightening labor market and rising inflation against a backdrop of slowing overall growth are painting an increasingly stagflationary picture for the U.S. economy.

Stagflation, or conditions in which costs are rising but growth is not, last was seen in the 1970s, before then-Fed Chair Paul Volcker had to push the economy into recession to slay the inflation dragon.

Now, with a variety of factors coming together to show inflationary-deflationary cross currents, Wall Street is bracing for another battle.

Welcome back Carter! Although as someone once warned, when it comes to foreign, domestic, and economic issues, “at this point a Carter rerun is probably a best-case scenario.”

(Incidentally, note that CTL-F “Carter” brings up zero returns in the above CNBC article. “Unexpectedly.”)

BUT IT ENRICHED WALL STREET FATCATS/DONORS: Note to Hillary: Clintonomics Was a Disaster for Most Americans: Under Bill Clinton, Wall Street created a ruinous bubble, while workers lost wages and power.

How could Clinton have undergone such a lightening-fast reversal? The answer is straightforward, and explained with candor by Robert Rubin, who had been co-chair of Goldman Sachs before becoming Clinton’s Treasury secretary. Even before the inauguration, Rubin explained to more populist members of the incoming administration that the rich “are running the economy and make the decisions about the economy.”

Wall Street certainly flourished under Clinton. By 1999, the average price of stocks had risen to 44 times these companies’ earnings. Historically, stock prices had averaged about 14 times more than earnings. Even during the 1920s bubble, stock prices rose only to 33 times earnings right before the 1929 crash.

A major driver here was Wall Street’s craze for Internet start-ups. In 1999, for example, AOL’s market value eclipsed that of Disney and Time Warner combined, and’s value was double that of United Airlines. The Clinton team created the environment that encouraged such absurd valuations. Throughout the bubble years, Clinton’s policy advisers, led by Rubin and his then protégé Larry Summers, maintained that regulating Wall Street was an outmoded relic from the 1930s. They used this argument to push through the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall financial regulatory system that had been operating since the New Deal. The Clinton team thus set the stage for the collapse of the bubble and ensuing recession in March 2001, only two months after Clinton left office. They also created the conditions that enabled the even more severe bubble that produced the 2008 global financial crisis and Great Recession. . . . The unemployment rate did begin falling after Clinton took office in 1993, reaching a 31-year low of 4 percent in 2000. But this growth in job opportunities resulted primarily from a major expansion in household and business spending tied to the stock-market bubble. A run-up in both household and business indebtedness financed this spending boom. Unemployment started rising again soon after the bubble burst, and the debt-financed expansion collapsed in March 2001.

Yep. The fabulous Clinton economy was mostly a bubble. Plus:

What was Clinton’s overall record with respect to improving living standards for working people and the poor? During the eight full years of Clinton’s presidency, the average real wage for non-supervisory workers, at $13.60 an hour (in 2001 dollars), was 2 percent lower than the average under Reagan and Bush and nearly 10 percent less than under Jimmy Carter’s “years of malaise.” The average individual poverty rate under Clinton, at 13.2 percent of the population, was modestly better than the 14 percent rate under Reagan and Bush. But it was worse than the 11.9 percent figure that was maintained, on average, under Nixon and Ford, as well as Carter.

In sum, Bill Clinton’s presidency accomplished almost nothing to improve conditions for working people and the poor on a sustained basis. Gestures to the poor and working class were slight and back-handed, while wages for the majority remained below their level of a generation prior. Wealth at the top exploded with the Wall Street bubble. But the stratospheric rise in stock prices and the debt-financed consumption and investment booms produced a mortgaged legacy.

But here’s a hint: Electing Bernie Sanders won’t improve things.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Scalia’s Grave-Dancers Deserve a Harsh Verdict.

When the news broke Saturday that Justice Antonin Scalia had died at age 79, my Twitter feed began to fill with hate. Not disagreement or disrespect — actual hate. He was an ignorant waste of flesh, wrote one young fool. His death was the best news in decades, cheered another. Then there was the woman who just had to tell the world that she felt safer now than she had at the death of Osama bin Laden. And several people expressed the hope — the hope! — that Clarence Thomas would die next.

Thus we see the discursive toll of our depressing Supreme Court deathwatch. We’re actually rooting for people to die.

It’s unusual for a vacancy to occur in the midst of a presidential campaign, but it’s common as cake for activists to dream the hours away speculating on who’ll be next to go, and for journalists to count up the number of appointments they think the next president will get to make. Sometimes in their earnestness the activists of left and right do indeed sound as if they’re rooting for a death or two. They seem to think the justices whose votes enrage them deserve to go.

None of this is entirely new. My mentor, Justice Thurgood Marshall, didn’t die in harness, but I remember the deathwatch all the same. I was serving as one of his law clerks in 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected, and on election night, one of the television networks reported that Marshall had decided to quit the court, in order to give Jimmy Carter the opportunity to make an appointment. The report was false, of course, and Marshall was furious. Some in the building speculated that the story had been planted by activists hoping he would get the message and depart, clearing the way for a younger liberal voice — much as, in recent years, some on the left have openly if cruelly urged Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down, as though she owes them some special fealty.

To the SJW crowd, everyone owes them special fealty. But read the whole thing.

Plus: “To trash the justices because we don’t like their votes (usually on a handful of issues) is to diminish the majesty of the court itself. The more we do it, the less reason there is for anybody to respect the justices when at last whichever side we’re on has a majority.” But, you know, one reason why people take such a ghoulish interest is because the Court has become so very important, and individual members so very important.

HITLER, STALIN, POL POT, SADDAM HUSSEIN, OBL, JIMMY CARTER ALL BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF:  Richard Dreyfuss: Dick Cheney Is the ‘Most Despicable’ Man in History:

Liberal actor Richard Dreyfuss on Wednesday couldn’t resist trashing Dick Cheney as he promoted his new film role of Bernie Madoff. After Good Morning America co-host Amy Robach suggested he was playing “the most despicable man in modern history,” Dreyfuss derided, “Actually, he is the second most despicable man because I’ve already played Dick Cheney.”

Incidentally, the vast majority of Madoff’s investors were his fellow elite New York City Democrats who imagine themselves to be infinitely more sophisticated than the rubes in the heartland. I wonder how they could have been so gullible to the charms of a charismatic left-leaning conman selling them impossible pie-in-the-sky fantasies?



GEE, WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BENEFITS FROM THIS ARTICLE? “We Keep Electing Outsiders; How’s That Working Out?”, Jonathan Allen asks at Roll Call:

Jimmy Carter kicked off the trend with a promise to restore honor to the White House. Ronald Reagan, the tough-talking movie star and California governor, vowed he’d get Washington’s spending and taxing under control. Bill Clinton, who had never worked in Washington, ran as the man from Hope. George W. Bush, despite being the son of a president, managed to come off as more Texan than political elite. Most recently, Barack Obama’s message and historic 2008 candidacy made it impossible for anyone to view him as an insider.

And yet, after electing this caravan of outsiders, voters still see Washington as a swamp of dysfunction, decadence and corruption. I readily admit I have more faith in our government and its leaders than most Americans do. But if you truly believe that Washington is getting worse, why keep electing the same kind of candidate?

If this sounds like an infomercial for Hillary Clinton, that’s likely not a coincidence. In December of 2009, NewsBusters spotted “another entry for the revolving door file: Politico’s Jonathan Allen…formerly of Congressional Quarterly and former Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ [D-MD] office, will take over as the top staffer at Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s DWS PAC,” Ken Shepherd wrote. “For his part, Allen, whose wife works as the communications director for freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), found it an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

In February of 2010, when Allen returned to the Politico after admitting that he preferred pack journalism to working in a PAC, he sheepishly claimed:

I am a registered independent. My political views, like those of many Americans, are not neatly defined by anyone’s platform. I love the power of a good idea and get frustrated when I see the political system distorted by inertia or hypocrisy. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats and even some third-party candidates. I am not by temperament a partisan or an ideologue. But there is no doubt that I have voted more often for Democrats, and when I decided to indulge my curiosity about life on the other side of the notebook it was most natural for me to align with them.

And judging by the above article, he’s still a Democrat operative, whether it’s with or without his byline.

HENCHMAN TO HISTORY’S GREATEST MONSTER: Jimmy Carter’s former chief speechwriter James Fallow has a new obsession — banning the gas-powered leaf blower.

Fight the power!

VIDEO FLASHBACK: In 1976, Jimmy Carter predicted the world would run out of oil in 2011.

Sadly, the world will never run out of busybody Malthusian socialists, it seems.

Related: “If there is a single thing that I love about our current world, it’s that we have this vast, comprehensive, and easily-accessible universal library of video footage shot of people who never dreamed that their remarks would someday show up in a vast, comprehensive, and easily-accessible universal library of video footage,” Moe Lane notes, in his post at Red State titled “Ted Cruz is correct: Eric Holder talked about brainwashing people about guns.”

(Via Charlie Martin.)


Related: Man tasked by president to cure cancer spins Iran was just helping out our boats “in distress,” Kerry thanks Tehran.

Remember in 2008, when Democrats with bylines were all cranking out their worshipful spin predicting which legendary president Obama was going to be most like? I wonder what they think about January in his last year in office resembling the last Januaries of the administrations of both Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson?


This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows the detention of American Navy sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran’s Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)

UPDATE: Iran’s Humiliation Of Barack Obama Is Now Complete.

With a year in his administration to go, do you really want to tempt fate like that?

MORE: Wow, the Gray Lady turned into so slowly, I hardly even noticed:



What is “authenticity” in contemporary politics? Is it a man who parlayed a routine Congressional career into a lucrative gig at Lehman Brothers presenting himself as the son of a mailman? Or is it a billionaire with a supermodel wife dropping the pretense that he’s no different from you stump-toothed losers in the rusting double-wides? Trump’s lack of pandering extends to America, too. He doesn’t do the this-is-the-greatest-country-in-the-history-of-countries shtick that Mitt did last time round. He isn’t promising, like Marco Rubio, a “second American century”. His pitch is that the American dream is dead – which, for many Americans, it is. In 1980, Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” was an aberration – a half-decade blip in three decades of post-war US prosperity that had enabled Americans with high school educations to lead middle-class lives in a three-bedroom house on a nice-sized lot in an agreeable neighborhood. In 2015, for many Americans, “malaise” is not a blip, but a permanent feature of life that has squeezed them out of the middle class. They’re not in the mood for bromides about second American centuries: They’d like what’s left of their own lifespan to be less worse.


RECALL HOW CARTER GOT HIS NOBEL PRIZE: You can thank Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton for North Korea’s nukes.

NEO-NEOCON: What was Clinton actually implying when she said that Trump is the best ISIS recruiter?

But there’s something else, too: in Hillary’s “ISIS uses Trump to recruit” claim, isn’t Clinton really saying that all it takes to turn a significant number of Muslims into murderous barbaric ISIS recruits is the idea that a US presidential candidate might want to bar them from visiting or immigrating to this country? Isn’t that a powerful condemnation of the religion and its adherents—by Hillary? Are they so ready to kill that just a few words indicating they’re not allowed to come here would be enough to ignite them and inspire a lot of people to join the ranks of the murderous terrorists of ISIS?

Seems awfully Islamophobic to me, not to mention bigoted. And furthermore, does that mean she’s saying that we have to make nice to them and welcome them into this country, or more of them will want to kill us?

Whoops — if everyday Muslims are that easily radicalized, then it sounds like Hillary’s inadvertently making an excellent case for Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Islamic immigration. But then, it is FDR and Jimmy Carter-approved, after all.