News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Buttigieg, Venezuela, State of the Union, and Much, Much More

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., stand with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., as Trump speaks while departing after a Senate Republican Policy luncheon, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Happy Thursday morning!

It’s a girl!!! I’m one proud papa, but my mother was ecstatic.

Pete Buttigieg

Pete who? The first openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., is the first openly gay candidate for president. He announced yesterday.

He’s a millennial, a Harvard alumnus, and an Afghanistan veteran. When my Anglican Church left the Episcopal Church because of its growing heresies, he stayed — and got “married” to a man. He also calls Mike Pence “homophobic,” but genuine. He might be able to win the Democratic primary, but don’t bet on him.

Read more about Buttigieg (pronounced “boot-a-judge”) here. His last name is Maltese, and it means “lord of the poultry.” I still get a kick out of that.


In a typical move for South American countries, an opposition leader attempted a coup on Wednesday. I don’t usually like coups, but anyone who cares about the horrific destruction big government socialism has wreaked on Venezuela under Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro should support Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó, the 35-year-old leader of the opposition party, declared himself acting leader in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, on Wednesday, the BBC reported. A number of South American countries — Brazil, Colombia, and Peru — recognized Guaidó as president, and so did President Donald Trump.

Maduro was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, after a vote that was undermined by an opposition boycott and widespread claims of vote-rigging. He responded to Trump’s recognition of Guaidó by cutting off diplomatic ties with the United States and giving U.S. diplomatic staff 72 hours to leave Venezuela. “We’ve had enough interventionism, here we have dignity, damn it!” he declared.

Venezuela’s socialist implosion has caused a continental crisis across South America. Nikki Haley, then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called for regime change in Venezuela last May. She noted the Venezuelan migrants who are destabilizing neighboring countries. The country is even facing a spiritual crisis — Catholic priests trudged through the rain from Colombia to deliver communion wafers for Easter Sunday last year.

It is truly tragic to see the home of the great liberator, Simón Bolívar, struggling so much. Bolívar led South American countries to throw off Spanish rule, but he failed to unite them in his dream of Gran Colombia, which could have looked more like the U.S. than the constant destabilization so tragically familiar in South America. His dream was impractical and he was far from perfect, but it is still tragic to see what has become of his home country.

The State of the Union

Welcome to 2019! This year, we’re going to have a tussle between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Donald Trump over when and how the State of the Union is going to happen. A source of mine in Congress said the Senate should host the speech if the House won’t, but traditionally, both branches of Congress have agreed to invite the president. In any case, Trump has the high ground and Pelosi is trying to make hay of this shutdown.

As for the political games, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) had a good brief summary.

Nancy Pelosi said the State of the Union — which the president is constitutionally mandated to give — isn’t happening in the House of Representatives until the government opens.

Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation, offered her organization as the location.

While the Constitution requires the president to brief Congress on the state of the union, early presidents merely sent a written document to avoid the pageantry of European kings. In the era of television, the State of the Union has become a national annual event, to the extent that someone like George Washington would likely complain about the pageantry.

Congress has traditionally passed joint resolutions to invite the president to give the speech, but Trump could give the speech anywhere and merely send the transcript to Congress.

But he’s not doing that.

Photo of the day

Winston Churchill holds up fingers in V sign as he leaves the Capitol in his car on Dec. 26, 1941. (AP Photo)

On this day in 1965, Sir Winston Churchill breathed his last. The great British bulldog had rallied his country to stand together in defense against Adolf Hitler, and toward victory in Europe. He had long warned about Hitler from the sidelines in the House of Commons, only later to become Prime Minister and give his country the fortitude it needed to carry on a brutal and unforgiving war. His soaring rhetoric will live on to inspire future generations.

I was blessed to study Winston Churchill’s statesmanship with Dr. Larry P. Arnn at Hillsdale College, and I will always remember his question, “What is statesmanship?” Leave your answer in the comments. I’m sure he would eviscerate yours just as thoroughly as he eviscerated each of mine. That man really makes you think.

Other morsels

Roe v. Wade is for amateurs: New York’s Radical Abortion Law Repealed Protections for Wanted Babies, Too

NY Catholic bishop questions Gov. Cuomo’s faith over ‘death star’ abortion law

My friend Sam Pauken just launched his blog. Here’s his first post: How We Got Our Bibles (Part 1): How Seminary Revolutionized How I Saw the New Testament

Americans don’t want “VA health care for all” Poll: Americans Like ‘Medicare for All,’ Until They Learn What It Costs

Notre Dame Joins the Crusade Against Columbus

Beto Is Ridiculous. But It Might Work

Iowa judge rules ‘heartbeat’ abortion law unconstitutional

The Public School Monopoly Forces Kids to Learn Secular Humanism. We Need More Options.

LA Teacher Sues Union Over Forced Dues

Evolution Stifling the ID Debate Is Bad Science

Pro-life movement in ‘season of hope’ VP Pence says, citing Jeremiah 29:11

The Supreme Court Has Taken a Strange Gun-Rights Case

Um… yes… Chris Matthews: Is Kamala Harris ‘Seen as African American?’

The Daily Scripture Feed

That’s all for now, but I’ve got some doozies coming up…