Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 14, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The presumed Democrat victory in Pennsylvania is complicated.
  • Rex Tillerson had to go, and Mike Pompeo is an upgrade.
  • The Left smears incoming CIA Director Haspel.
  • Hollywood loves pedophilia as long as it’s a moving story.
  • Utah escapes Islamist school bombing; media still distracted by guns.
  • Some leftists want to abolish immigration enforcement altogether.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.” —Thomas Jefferson (1820)

IN BRIEF

Dems on the Lamb in Pennsylvania

By Thomas Gallatin

Democrats are celebrating today what appears to be a victory, still too close to call, for Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s special House election. Republican Rick Saccone has yet to concede since Lamb’s lead is only a few hundred votes and state officials note that there are still absentee ballots that need counting. Needless to say, Democrats are gloating over a win in a district Donald Trump won by 20 points. And the Leftmedia is touting the result as a sure sign of a rising blue wave come November that will sweep Democrats into the majority in Congress in a repudiation of Trump.

So, even as Democrats and the Leftmedia play this up as a harbinger of their hopes for the near future, the facts regarding this particular race simply don’t support that narrative. Why? Well, as the old adage states, the devil is in the details.

First, at best this serves as a temporary victory for Democrats in a district where current boundaries are disputed — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that the state’s district boundaries were unfairly gerrymandered. The case is now in the appellate courts, but, whatever the outcome, Democrats will have to defend the seat again come November.

Second, and what may be the most significant point to note here, Lamb ran on key campaign issues that are in direct opposition to the national Democrat Party’s leftist policy platform. Lamb did not run as an anti-Trump resistance candidate; rather he staked out a more centrist approach and campaigned as a pro-lifer who supports the Second Amendment. Essentially, Lamb campaigned as an old Blue Dog Democrat.

Third, the fact of the matter is that local issues almost always trump national politics. Recall the reason for this special election in the first place. PA-18, a strongly conservative district, was held by Republican Tim Murphy for eight consecutive terms until last year, when he was forced to resign after news came to light of an extramarital affair that he sought to cover up by pressing his lover to get an abortion. It looks like many conservative voters rightly felt jaded and were uninspired by a rather lackluster Republican candidate.

Finally, Democrats outspent Republicans by nearly five to one on this campaign, even though Saccone received considerably more funding support from outside groups than did Lamb. It is no secret that DNC coffers are hurting. Democrats desperately needed to tout a win in Trump country to motivate their base into coughing up donations, so this election is effectively a fundraising advertisement. This fact alone explains much of the Demo/MSM spin. As DNC Chairman Tom Perez tweeted today, “Wow! Conor Lamb has won the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District! This is the first House seat we’ve flipped from red to blue since Donald Trump was elected president — and this can be the first of many defeats he and Paul Ryan get this year!” In other words, “Send money!”

So, was the PA-18 special election a bellwether? Only if Democrats have decided to reject their leftist policy platform, their anti-Trump resistance and their disdain for everyday working Americans. But something tells us that’s not how Democrats or the Leftmedia will spin this election outcome.

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The Left Smears the Incoming CIA Director

By Harold Hutchison

With the decision by President Donald Trump to move CIA Director Mike Pompeo to secretary of state came the need for a new CIA director. Gina Haspel, a highly decorated, longtime CIA employee who was involved in covert actions, was chosen for the post. The Left immediately started to smear her.

As part of her service to this country in the shadows that are part and parcel of what the intelligence community does to keep us safe, she oversaw a CIA “black site” in Thailand that housed two high-ranking members of al-Qaida, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The latter was a mastermind of the attack on USS Cole (DDG 67). Both were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques — because they weren’t gonna talk for beer and cigarettes. Haspel was also involved in destroying video evidence of those interrogations. Keeping secrets is, after all, what the CIA does.

The “Gitmo bar” coalition — you know, the folks who make Hanoi Jane look like a bush-league supporter of America’s enemies — is already denouncing her selection. So is Sen. Ron Wyden. Glenn Greenwald, who last year smeared SEAL Team Six, is piling on, as is NSA leaker Edward Snowden. In other words, Haspel has the right opponents.

Haspel was among some American patriots, including José Rodriguez, Dr. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who were handed a very difficult task. They had to get information about pending attacks from terrorists who had no inclination or incentive to cooperate. Contrary to the lies that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pushed forward in a half-baked report on American “torture,” they succeeded in their mission.

Sadly, Feinstein teamed up with John McCain to tie the CIA’s hands, and in doing so, left us in today’s situation where our enemies now know our interrogation playbook — in fact, they can readily obtain versions online. It was a dishonorable and ungrateful way to repay the service Haspel and others performed for this country.

It seems that a party once eager to break the glass ceiling has a problem with a woman whose confirmation would break the CIA’s glass ceiling. Quite frankly, that opposition isn’t a disqualification, it’s a résumé enhancement.

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Top Headlines

  • House fails to pass “right to try” bill amid Dem objections (The Hill)

  • Texas law prohibiting sanctuary cities is upheld by appeals court (The Resurgent)

  • Anti-Trump group awarded $250,000 DHS grant for “pathways to citizenship” (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Parents are being fed misinformation about the national gun control walkout (The Federalist)

  • Real estate economist: Home prices are increasing twice as fast as income growth (CNBC)

  • Obama aide started Christopher Steele-FBI alliance (The Washington Times)

  • Navy Sec: Services face “war for talent” amid shrinking field of qualified recruits (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Stephen Hawking, controversial physicist, dead at 76 (Fox News)

  • Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats in nerve agent case and will block all high-level contacts with Moscow (The Washington Post)

  • Humor: Rex Tillerson blindsided by news he still worked for State Department (The Onion)

  • Policy: Mike Pompeo is an excellent choice for secretary of state (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: Five ways Obama’s discipline policy made schools less effective and safe (The Daily Signal)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Tillerson Had to Go, and Pompeo Is an Upgrade

By Lewis Morris

Rex Tillerson’s departure as secretary of state is just one part of a reordering of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy team ahead of a possible May meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Tillerson will stay in his post until March 31, but stated that he will delegate official duties to Deputy Secretary Jon Sullivan and that he will work toward “an orderly and smooth transition.”

Tillerson’s departure didn’t catch anyone by surprise, though the manner in which it took place may have. Since assuming the top position at the State Department at the beginning of the Trump administration, the former ExxonMobil CEO has had a tough time acclimating to life in the Trump administration. Some in Washington were astonished he lasted as long as he did.

Trump, who remained gracious and publicly thanked Tillerson for his service, admitted that he and Tillerson did not see eye to eye. “I actually got along well with Rex, but really it was a different mind-set, a different thinking,” Trump said. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was okay. . . . So we were not really thinking the same.”

Iran was not the only area of disagreement between the two. Tillerson was also in favor of staying in the Paris climate accord and he wanted to keep the U.S. embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv. And while he deserves some credit for his work on getting North Korea to the negotiation table, Tillerson really undermined Trump’s larger plan. As Marc Thiessen put it, “By projecting weakness to Pyongyang, Tillerson was undercutting Trump’s message of strength — and thus making war more likely.”

In an editorial, The New York Sun notes, “The big danger at the Korean summit … is not that we fail to come to terms. It’s that we accept terms that would leave North Korea under the heel of a communist dictatorship. The temptations are going to be enormous.” Thus, Tillerson was a liability.

If Tillerson’s ouster suggests a reordering of U.S. diplomacy, so too does the man who has been tapped to replace him. Mike Pompeo, currently CIA director, seems to be more on Trump’s page on foreign policy, and it could suggest that the administration is looking to take a harder line on both Iran and North Korea. Pompeo is eminently qualified — he was first in his class at West Point, earned the rank of captain in the Army, received a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, served three terms in the House and has run the CIA for more than a year.

This latest shakeup in the Trump administration may suggest that it’s a disorderly and chaotic place to work that some people just can’t get a handle on. Another way to look at the churn is to see the Trump administration as a dynamic organization that needs the right balance among its team members to work properly. Trump has always maintained that people are clamoring for an opportunity to work for the White House. Maybe he secretly wants to give them all a chance to do so before he leaves office. Or maybe it really is more akin to World Wrestling Entertainment.

Among the bigger departures are Gary Cohn, who resigned just last week as director of the National Economic Council after a disagreement over tariffs. White House Communications Director Hope Hicks called it quits on Feb. 28 after admitting to a House Intelligence Committee panel that she told “white lies” for Trump. Speechwriter David Sorensen and Staff Secretary Rob Porter both departed because of spousal abuse allegations. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price left in November after facing criticism for using private planes on government business. And who can forget Steve Bannon, the former strategist and architect of Trump’s election victory who left the White House last August to raise Cain on the campaign trail.

That’s a lot of turnover in 14 months. But back to the transition at the State Department, where we believe Pompeo is a major upgrade. Whether he’s able to stabilize the Cabinet is one thing, but a department full of career leftists needs a stronger leader than it’s had. We expect Pompeo will provide that and help guide American foreign policy in the right direction.

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Michelle Malkin: “Here is my homework assignment for all the fist-clenching, gun control-demanding teenagers walking out of classrooms this week (and next week and next month) to protest school shootings: Ask not what the rest of the country can do for your local school’s safety; ask what your local school boards and superintendents have been failing to do for you. Chances are, the adults closest to you — those most directly responsible for your security — have been shirking their primary duties, squandering scarce resources and deflecting blame. Yes, it’s glamorous and exciting to appear on ‘The Ellen Show,’ rub elbows with Eminem at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, pal around with Anderson Cooper, and soak up praise and donations from George Clooney and Oprah for shouting at the NRA, Republicans and President Trump. Sure, it’s fun to ditch your homework, parade around in ‘March For Our Lives’ swag, and watch your Twitter mentions explode like SpaceX launches every time you indignantly accuse gun-owning moms of hating their own children. … But when the media whirlwind dies down and the Everytown buses ship you back home, mundane realities will set in. … As a famous Chicago community organizer once quipped, ‘Change is hard.’ Selfies with gun control armbands is easy. Cleaning your own house, district and county is hard. Junkets to DC are easy. Digging through audits and public records is hard. Regurgitating Mad Libs-like talking points against the NRA and Second Amendment is easy. Go back to class and look homeward, all you young ‘change agents.’ The faultiest faults are near, not far.”

SHORT CUTS

Observations: “Bad news: Quite a few of Trump’s initial hires were terrible people (Bannon), deeply compromised (Flynn), or bad at their jobs (Priebus, Tillerson). Good news: The replacements have been uniformly upgrades. We shouldn’t take that for granted.” —David French

For the record: “Ironically, [Hillary Clinton] claimed that Trump’s voters wouldn’t want an Indian getting ahead. But it was Republican voters in Louisiana and South Carolina who elected Indian-Americans as governors, Donald Trump who appointed an Indian-American as UN Ambassador, and it was Clinton allies who opposed and savaged both Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley.” —Erick Erickson

Tripling down: “According to polls I’ve seen, it has cost me commercially. That’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t change anything I said. I know my job is, for the most part, to entertain people and make them laugh. That said, if I can be selfish every once in a while and talk about something serious that’s important to me, then I do want to take that opportunity. But I don’t want to abuse my position. I pick my battles.” —Jimmy Kimmel

About time: “I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith, and I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said.” —ABC talkinghead Joy Behar issuing a month-overdue coerced apology about making fun of Pence’s Christianity

A “coverup”? That’s cute: “Republican House Intell Comm shut down Russia probe before doing a complete job. This is a coverup and a lasting stain on the reputation of what used to be a bipartisan Committee when it was run by Republican Rogers and Democrat Ruppersberger. Politics beat a desire for the truth.” —Eric Holder tweet

And last… “Waiting for liberals to celebrate Gina Haspel as first female CIA chief… Oh no, wait… liberals can’t celebrate her accomplishments. She’s a REPUBLICAN.” —Liz Wheeler

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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