Cut the Chaff
In all the perfervid reporting this week (Victor Davis Hanson calls this “concocted melodramas”) there are only three big stories to my mind: The President’s stunning success in the Middle East, Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos’ brilliant parlay to Princeton’s virtue-signaling president and the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Each of these are likely to further tip Trump toward an election victory in which according to Rasmussen he’s already reached 53% approval among likely voters.
The Middle East
No one has better described the significance of the Abraham Accord than Spengler (David Goldman). The President, defying the conventional wisdom of decades of big thinkers in foreign policy establishments here and in Europe, offered the Palestinians their last best hope for peace. Since peace was never their objective, they turned it down and now they are like the petunia in an onion patch of the children’s song -- standing alone among its neighbors.
The author details the wisdom of those big thinkers -- “that a resolution of the Palestinian statehood issue was a precondition for peace”; that “American influence required massive military deployment in the region”; that we had to “back Turkey in Syria.” Trump did the opposite on all three counts. He ignored them and moved our embassy to West Jerusalem -- a signal we would not stand for Israel’s liquidation, and other nations have followed on his lead. He assassinated Iran’s war chief Qasem Soleimani, making his point “Iran would pay a heavy price for its pinprick warfare against its Arab neighbors.” Only then could the Gulf leaders risk a deal with Israel.
This week he met with a representative from Kuwait and predicted they too would soon sign on to the Accord and that other countries were likely to follow.
Don’t doubt Spengler on how significantly the President demolished the reputation of the international foreign policy pundits in the process. If your memory is short on this point, here’s John F. Kerry, America’s number one globalist foreign policy fop, on the subject. By way of further example, here’s Brookings Institution; Martin Indyk on PBS ; and John Brennan echoing the same fact-free, foolish strategy pap.
After the fact of the Accord, there seems to have been a sea change in bipartisan support for it. As Matthew Continetti notes, Trump changed the world:
The irony is that Trump's opponents are ready to accept this "very positive thing" despite warning against and objecting to the policies that contributed to it. Through his personal relationship with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump reaffirmed that there is "no daylight" between the United States and Israel after an eight-year caesura. He defied conventional wisdom when he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, when he withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, when he cut off aid to the Palestinians, when he recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and when he ordered the lethal strike against Qassem Soleimani. But the catastrophes that the foreign policy establishment predicted would follow each of these measures never materialized. What emerged instead were the Abraham Accords and a growing alliance against Iran.
It is in the realm of foreign policy that Trump's deviations from political norms have had the most positive and irreversible consequences. If he becomes president, Joe Biden may mistakenly try to revive the chances for Palestinian statehood by getting tough on the Israelis. He may attempt to resuscitate the moribund Iran deal. But it is highly doubtful that he will rescind the Abraham Accords, or withdraw recognition of Israel's Golan sovereignty, or return the U.S. embassy to Tel Aviv. He won't have the support for such decisions. And he won't have any good reason to make them. Anyone who has read the news lately understands that a strong and engaged Israel is good for security. Her enemies are our enemies.
For this and for bringing about the peace deal between Serbia and Kosovo, the President has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Reuters’ Gwladys Fouche, to its shame, thinks high school dropout Greta Thunberg should get it instead.
Princeton’s “Systemic Racism”
If like me you’re disgusted with the corporate, political, and academic nonsense about “systemic racism” which now covers everything, including being on time for appointments, mowing your lawn, doing your homework, and speaking and writing standard English, Secretary of education Betsy De Vos seems deftly to have called the bluff of these virtue signalers.
Christopher Eisgruber, president of Princeton University, sent a missive to the university community admitting that his institution was plagued by “institutional racism.” Doubtless he intended this merely to add to the sickening masochistic white male limbo dance. As Paul Mirengoff at Powerline blog observed, however, the move was a dumb one. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, discriminating on the grounds of race , color, or national origin can cost an institution federal funding. (Princeton received over $75 million in federal aid in the seven years Eisgruber headed it.)
The Secretary of Education rather quickly informed Eisgruber that her Department had opened an investigation into racism at Princeton. Rather costly virtue signaling on his part and a valuable lesson to other institutions who might otherwise be inclined to follow his lead.
First, Princeton is asked this:
The President’s Letter admits “Racism and the damage it does to people of color... persists at Princeton” and racist assumptions “remain embedded in structures of the University itself.” Do these admissions mean Princeton’s non-discrimination and equal opportunity assurances and representations to the Department and/or to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education... have been false and misleading? If not, why not?
The second question is:
How many individuals were, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, excluded from participation in, denied benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance by Princeton January 1, 2015 and the present? Is this number evidence of systemic or embedded racism?
Finally, the Department asks for the number of “public nondiscrimination and equal opportunity representations... Princeton has made, measured by website visits, between January 1, 2015 and the present.
Eisgruber has put Princeton in a box. It either must formally admit to engaging in unlawful discrimination, which might well result in serious financial penalties, or it must admit, in effect, that Eisgruber was blowing smoke when he copped to systemic racism at Princeton -- an admission that surely would enrage the militant students and alumni Eisgruber has been working so hard to appease.
I expect I’ll keep getting systemic racism mea culpas in emails and ads from every purveyor on the continent, but I expect universities with competent counsel will no longer follow suit.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Replacement
On Friday we learned that Justice Ginsburg, who had been valiantly fighting health issues for some years, had died, and the fight to replace her was underway. Progressive groups pledged $10 million dollars to keep the slot open, doubtless in the belief that Biden would win and keep this seat in similar hands. Majority leader Mitch McConnell, who has shepherded through the Senate so many judgeships, said he intended to bring it to a vote on the Senate floor this session. (He was helped in reshaping the federal judiciary by Obama’s failure to fill so many vacancies and former Senator Harry Reid’s rule change precluding filibustering.)
There are 53 Republican Senators and 47 Democrats. In case of a tie, the Vice President may cast his vote. Senator Susan Collins says she will vote no. Senator Lisa Murkowski has said she will not vote for a Supreme Court Justice before the election. Rumor has it that Mitt Romney would vote against a replacement, something his spokesperson vehemently denied. Even assuming they all bail, Manchin, who voted for Kavanaugh, indicates thst he'll vote yes, and there’s at least one other Democratic senator in a tight race who might jump ship on this (Doug Jones of Alabama). The President has made clear some time ago that he’d move ahead with any replacement, observing honestly that a Democratic president would. Those who want to deny him another seat on the Court will bring up what’s called “the Biden rule” arguing that traditionally no president should do this in an election year. Unfortunately for them, as recently as four years ago, when Obama tried this with Merrick Garland, Biden said there was no such rule.
Biden said that statement, taken out of context, glosses over his main gripe from the time -- that Bush nominated Thomas, an "extreme candidate," in 1991 without consulting his committee just four days after Justice Thurgood Marshall retired.
There are a number of candidates on the President’s short list. I put my money on Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative Catholic mother of seven (including two children adopted from Haiti and one with Down Syndrome) who presently sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. At the American Spectator, Robert Stacy McCain persuasively argues for her appointment. He notes that there has not been a Republican woman on the Court since Sandra Day O’ Connor; she’s not from the Ivy League, graduates of which load the court “who come from a very insular, elitist perspective that does not reflect the experience of ordinary Americans”; and she’s from the middle of the country, not the coasts. During Barrett’s confirmation hearings to the Court of Appeals, Senator Dianne Feinstein famously slammed observant Catholics “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that people have fought for years in this country.”
Democrats have to risk alienating Catholics and traditional women concerned with family issues if they repeat this.
Barrett has said that women shouldn’t be pigeonholed into specific roles based on other “dogma” on the issue; rather, the individual circumstances should govern and nobody should assail their choices out of some feminist or traditionalist perspective. That’s a healthy viewpoint the majority of American women, and particularly middle-class or upper-middle-class women in the suburbs, will find wisdom in.
Which is a trap the Democrats could easily fall into, seeing as though so many of them have taken on the perspective that women who choose family over a career are somehow selling themselves short or are traitors to their sex and seeing as though the Left is insistent on forcing women to adopt more and more unrealistic ideals for themselves, at an increasing cost to the happiness of women in America. Nobody would accuse Amy Barrett of that, but to paint her as barefoot and pregnant because she has seven kids, including two adoptees from Haiti and one with Down Syndrome, will be an unmitigated disaster in front of suburban women far more likely to see her as a hero.
You guys want to alienate the rest of the Catholics you haven’t pissed off? You want to drive away those suburban white chicks you’re competitive with because of Trump’s mean tweets, the ones you had a brief flirtation with in the 2018 midterms but who are ignoring your texts thanks to the “mostly-peaceful” riots just a few miles away from where they do yoga a couple of days a week? Go make a run at Kavanaughing Amy Barrett. Let’s see how well that works for you.
I’d advise any senator on the fence to listen to Ted Cruz, who argues we can’t afford to have a vacancy on the court and resultant 4-4 ties with election disputes already underway and likely to continue. An unresolved election is dangerous to the world and could well lead to civil war here.
As for the rioting which grabbed our attention these past months: A funny thing happened as soon as polls showed majority of voters of all races opposed them: they stopped. Just like that.