Rough Beasts Slouching toward the White House

Pardon me for the reference to Yeats's poem "The Second Coming," but events this week reminded me of the poem and this line: "the worst are full of passionate intensity."

On the one hand, we have the most effective president in my lifetime, who has, as John Hinderaker details, pulled this country out of the economic doldrums, which were the direct result of the idiotic policies of his predecessor in office:

American wages unexpectedly...


...climbed in August by the most since the recession ended in 2009 and hiring rose by more than forecast, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to lift interest rates this month and making another hike in December more likely.

Average hourly earnings for private workers increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier, a Labor Department report showed Friday, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the median projection for 2.7 percent.  Nonfarm payrolls rose 201,000 from the prior month, topping the median forecast for 190,000 jobs.

This is reality.  The Democrats' clown show is fantasy.  Fortunately, most people care more about reality than fantasy.  Still, both confusing the facts and distracting people from them are tactics at which the Left excels. 

A Democratic Congress never would have passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  In fact, not a single Democrat voted for it.  And Hillary Clinton never would have signed it.  The progress the U.S. economy has made since Donald Trump took the helm from the hapless Barack Obama is an ongoing rebuke to the Democrats' anti-growth policies.  This is one reason the Democrats are so anxious to regain control over the House in November.  With the House in Democrat hands, they won't be able to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but they will be able to guarantee that no more pro-growth, pro-worker legislation will be enacted.  They will focus on impeaching President Trump instead. 

In other words, if they get their way, fantasy will triumph over reality.

In the face of this reality, the "enemies" (he refuses to call them "adversaries") of the president have revealed they are in a political death match with the president that they've already lost, says Conrad Black in a most convincing article that I urge you to read in its entirety:  

American election campaigns normally begin right after Labor Day, and on the first day this year, there were three blockbuster events.  First, the start of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice-designate Brett Kavanaugh identified the Democrats implicitly with the shrieking hecklers who were evicted from the committee room.  And Senator Richard Durbin's effort to stigmatize Judge Kavanaugh because he was chosen by "Donald John Trump," who is (apparently) demonstratively "contemptuous of the rule of law," and similar essays of enraged self-puffery by some of his colleagues, won't fly.  The softer edge of the anti-Trump Resistance knows that despite frenzied efforts to extort and suborn evidence against Trump for two years, none has been found. ...

Also on Tuesday, the Democrats fired an instantly fizzling cannon with the inevitable Bob Woodward's customary pastiche of fabrications, unsourced misquotations, and malicious gossip.  Woodward's credibility has been impugned by almost all of the last nine presidents; his original co-mythmaker Carl Bernstein has almost battered himself into insensibility with his pronouncements in the last six months that Trump was finished because under the 25th Amendment he was mentally incompetent and then because the Manafort and Cohen cases put him into the legal self-ejection seat.  Woodward, the old sniper who never dies, on Tuesday had the distinction of being called a liar by two four-star Marine generals, John Kelly and James Mattis, both among the very few holders of high public office in living memory whose integrity could not be and never has been questioned.  In this toxic atmosphere they were confirmed in the Senate last year by a combined vote of 186 to 12, nonpartisanship's last gasp, for a while. ... In a democracy, somebody will pay for this, and it is unlikely to be Donald John Trump, the principal accuser of the others.  Woodward should never have survived as an author after inventing the deathbed confession of a comatose William Casey in his nasty novel Veil about the Iran-Contra fiasco, but this time he took one for the losing team and shot himself in the head with a howitzer.  Sending him into battle to win it for the Democrats two months before the election is like dispatching a small brigade of very aged arsonists to fight one of the California summer forest fires that the new prophet of the Democrats, Bernie Sanders, says was caused by this president's opinion of climate change.

Finally (still on the first day of the campaign), Robert Mueller accepted written answers to questions from the president on collusion matters.  Inspector Javert is hanging up his badge.  This is a concession that he can't subpoena the president and has no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion and no chance of a perjury trap.  The thought, expressed by many in the media, that Mueller could still hang tough on questioning of the president about obstruction of justice is, like the Democratic-media echo chamber's joyous ululations over the Woodward drivel, rubbish.  That circus has flopped; strike the tents.  Day One was a disaster for the Democrats.

It may well be time to change the fairly recent innovation of having Supreme Court confirmation hearings or, at a minimum, hearings in which the nominee testifies.  After all, since the hearing of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the rule is that nominees cannot and will not answer questions respecting any "hints," "forecasts" or "previews" – as into how they might rule on matters which may come before them.

So these hearings have simply become a means by which the Democrats try to tar otherwise sterling, well qualified nominees.

The results of the Kavanaugh confirmation process were certain before the hearings began.  He's a well respected jurist with a spotless reputation.  Nothing has changed this, and with Senator Jon Kyl having been sworn into office by the vice president, and McConnell's assurance of confirmation, he will certainly be seated by the time the Supreme Court begins its new term on October 1.  Nothing in this fiasco of a hearing has changed that. 

What has changed, I should think, is any serious notion that Cory Booker or Kamala Harris has a national political future after their outrageous performances this week.  Booker has exposed himself as an idiot, claiming he was like Spartacus in revealing classified information which had already been declassified, and which, in any event, showed that the judge had opposed "profiling." 

Newt Gingrich said it best:

Cory Booker should study history before he tries to use it.  Calling a Senate publicity stunt his "Spartacus" moment was absurd.  Spartacus was a gladiator slave who rebelled, lost, was crucified.  Booker studied at Stanford, Oxford, Yale Law School.  His only risk is being ridiculed[.]

Kamala Harris's unsubstantiated charge that the judge had discussed the Mueller investigation with an unnamed lawyer in a private firm at some unnamed date along with bullying the witness again demonstrates that she lacks the character and wit to hold even the senatorial seat, let alone higher office.

Worse, for the Democrats, the often paid and completely outrageous effort to bully the Judiciary Committee has to drive any moderate even farther from its ranks.  Latest reports say 200 people were arrested for their disruptive tactics.  They include this person who bloodied his crotch for the display, which was supposed to mean what?  And outside the hearing room, nitwits wearing costumes from The Handmaid's Tale – again, for what end? 

If you're wondering what all these cheap theatrics were about, in a series of tweets, here compressed for readability, Wretchard offers a rational explanation:

The new liberal strategy is not to argue but to confuse.  Create phantom objects, devise imaginary plots, sow intrigue, all with the view of giving Trump "a taste of his own medicine".  They reckon that by reducing the battle to pure noise output the Mighty Wurlitzer will win.

The problem with this approach is that it multiplies chaos and essentially fries the normal comm[unication] channels.  Nobody gets the "word" because there is no word, unless that word is Noooooooo!!!

There is a second component to the liberal strategy: a deliberate attempt to be unpleasant, increase anxiety and induce an atmosphere of crisis.  The goal is to inflict deliberate pain, a pain that will only go away if you give them what they want.

The Constitutional Crisis will not go away, indeed it will get intolerably worse until they get what they want.  A judge once asked Charlie Sheen asked him why a man like him would pay for sex, he replied: "I don't pay them for sex.  I pay them to leave".

Also this week, the New York Times published an anonymous op-ed by someone it identified as a "senior official" bragging about how, despite the achievements of the administration, Trump is a wild card whose orders the bureaucratic resistance thwarts at every turn.  Who knows who this person is or what position he holds.  (In the past, someone quoted by the NYT as a "senior official" turned out to be an intern.) 

Of course, without Trump as president, none of these achievements would have occurred.  In any event, numerous real senior officials discounted the claims.  The best of which was the incredible Nikki Haley

By making sweeping, but mostly unspecific, anonymous claims, the author creates many problems.  Taking this course sows mistrust among the thousands of government workers who do their jobs honestly every day.  It unfairly casts doubt on the president in a way that cannot be directly refuted because the anonymous accuser's credibility and knowledge cannot be judged.  It encourages U.S. adversaries to promote their hostile claims about the stability of our government.

What's more, by throwing gas on a fire of endless distraction, the author and the frenzied media reaction to the op-ed have hurt all of us trying to do our jobs for the country.

Dissent is as American as apple pie.  If you don't like this president, you are free to say so, and people do that quite frequently and loudly.  But in the spirit of civility that the anonymous author claims to support, every American should want to see this administration succeed.  If it does, it's a win for the American people.

As a former governor, I find it absolutely chilling to imagine that a high-ranking member of my team would secretly try to thwart my agenda.  That is not the American way.  It is fundamentally disloyal, not just to the chief executive, but to our country and our values. 

To Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, I say: Step up and help the administration do great things for the country.  If you disagree with some policies, make your case directly to the president.  If that doesn't work, and you are truly bothered by the direction of the administration, then resign on principle.  There is no shame in that.  But do not stay in your position and secretly undermine the president and the rest of our team.  It is cowardly, it is anti-democratic, and it is a disservice to our country.

In the meantime, Barack Obama has hit the campaign trail violating the tradition that ex-presidents keep silent about those who follow them (a tradition G.W. Bush followed during Obama's eight years and then also violated after his brother lost the nomination).  Reprising his logic-free, emotional straw-man gambits, Obama attacked the president.  This, the insane Kavanaugh hearing display, the Woodward book, and the anonymous op-ed all make me think the curtain is about to fall on the opposition party, the media and their lies.  Conrad Black thinks so, too.

Black suggests that Trump, having made Sessions the hero to the Democrats by publicly attacking his recusal and sloth, will leave them hard pressed to attack him when Sessions's appointee John Huber brings charges against those former officials in the FBI and CIA who manipulated FISA to spy on the Trump campaign and the many people implicated in the Clinton foundation-Uranium One scandals which the previous administration swept aside.

Should I be wrong about the disgust rational people should bear against Trump's political enemies, and the Democrats retake the House, they have no chance to impeach the president.  If I'm right, however, like Black, I hope Trump "will grind his heel in the faces of his rabid enemies," the slouching beasts of chaos.  And the president is certainly campaigning around the country, in an unprecedentedly determined way, so I think that's his plan, too.

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