Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 5, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“Judges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.” —John Adams (1776)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Amidst the Demo circus around Kavanaugh, Sasse gives a civics lesson.
  • Is Bob Woodward’s Fear merely “fiction”?
  • Socialism and race drive another Democrat upset.
  • It’s time to end USPS subsidies for Chinese businesses.
  • Leftists panic over noncitizens ditching federal aid.
  • Lexington sees tourism suffer after Red Hen flap.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists, and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

Sasse Provides Civics Lesson During Kavanaugh Hearing

In the midst of a Democrat-created circus intent on obstructing as much of the Senate’s confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as possible, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) offered a timely rebuke and an insightful civics lesson.

In just under 12 minutes, Sasse outlined the constitutional roles of the three branches of government and followed that by explaining why the confirmation of judicial nominees has become so politicized — something the Founders never intended. Sasse diagnoses the root of the problem as the legislative branch having abdicated its constitutional power to career-minded, unelected bureaucrats within the executive branch agencies:

The real reason, at the end of the day, that this institution punts most of its power to executive branch agencies is because it is a convenient way for legislators to be able to avoid taking responsibility for controversial and often unpopular decisions. If people want to get reelected over and over and over again, and that’s your highest goal — if your biggest long-term thought around here is about your own incumbency — then actually giving away your power is a pretty good strategy. … And so, at the end of the day, a lot of the power delegation that happens from this branch is because the Congress has decided to self-neuter.

Sasse then eloquently noted how this abdication of power by Congress has ultimately undermined the voting power of every American citizen:

The important thing isn’t whether Congress has lame jobs; the important thing is that when Congress neuters itself and gives power to an unaccountable fourth branch of government, it means the people are cut out of the process.

So, ultimately when the Congress is neutered, when the administrative state grows, when there is this fourth branch of government, it makes it harder and harder for the concerns of citizens to be represented and articulated by people, that the people know they have power over. All the power, or almost all the power, right now happens offstage. And that leaves a lot of people wondering, “Who’s looking out for me?”

He then concluded by boiling down the only truly legitimate thing senators need to consider for deciding on Kavanaugh:

So the question we have before us today is not what did Brett Kavanaugh think 11 years ago on some policy matter. The question before us is whether or not he has the temperament and the character to take his policy views and political preferences and put them in a box marked “irrelevant” and set it aside every morning when he puts on the black robe. The question is, “Does he have the character and temperament to do that?” If you don’t think he does, vote no. But if you think he does, stop the charades. Because, at the end of the day, I think all of us know that Brett Kavanaugh understands that his job isn’t to rewrite laws as he wishes they were. He understands that he’s not being interviewed to be a super legislator. He understands that his job isn’t to seek popularity. His job is to be fair and dispassionate. It is not to exercise empathy. It is to follow written laws.

Ultimately, Sasse accurately articulated what really matters. The rest of the antics in the Senate yesterday were just the sideshow.

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Is Woodward’s ‘Fear’ Merely ‘Fiction’?

Ever since Watergate, Democrats have been eagerly searching for the next Watergate. They’re like drug addicts chasing the next high. They so badly want to take out another Republican president they just can’t stand it. Indeed, impeaching Donald Trump is the focus of more than a few leading Democrats. With that backdrop and to set up November’s supposed “blue wave,” Bob Woodward, the journalist who along with Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal that took down Richard Nixon, is set to release a new book: Fear: Trump in the White House.

Naturally, The Washington Post, where Woodward still serves as an associate editor, “obtained” an advance copy of the book. And even with the Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh yesterday, Woodward’s book occupied four of the top five slots in the Post’s “Politics” email this morning. Clearly, Jeff Bezos’s tabloid is heavily invested in taking down Trump — or at least exploiting the golden goose for ad revenue.

Like Hollywood movie trailers, part of the book’s advance marketing is releasing salacious tidbits. From the Post’s account:

A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.

Woodward describes “an administrative coup d'etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.

Again and again, Woodward recounts at length how Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders.

Woodward claims to have taped “hundreds of hours” of conversations with White House officials and staff, and that “there’s nothing in this book that doesn’t come from a firsthand source.” Perhaps he’s got some red meat, but White House officials dismiss it. Defense Secretary James Mattis called it “fiction.” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it’s “nothing more than fabricated stories.” Chief of Staff John Kelly reasserted his contention in May that “this story is total BS.” Trump himself wondered if Woodward “is a Dem operative.”

Then again, Trump does thrive on chaos and the book’s anecdotes do jive with his public taunting of, well, everyone, so it’s hard to say. Yet some of Woodward’s anecdotes that purport to reveal that Trump is unhinged actually show that he’s a pretty good leader, listening to the counsel of his aides and setting course based on the best advice. Either way, White House officials and Woodward are both saying exactly what’s in their best self-interest.

In any case, beyond the strategically marketed excerpt leaks, we won’t know more until Fear actually hits bookstores — on a release date, by the way, that reflects unbelievably poor taste because it’s on Tuesday, September 11th.

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Socialism and Race Drive Another Demo Upset

There’s a trend in the Democrat Party illustrated by yet another primary upset Tuesday, when 10-term Demo Rep. Mike Capuano of Boston was defeated by Ayanna Pressley. Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 57-42 defeat of 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley, the number four House Democrat, in June, the Boston race wasn’t even close. Pressley won 58-42 — nearly the precise numbers of Ocasio-Cortez’s victory. The difference is Pressley didn’t come out of nowhere. She was a political operative in Massachusetts and in Congress for years (she’s too old to be a Millennial), and Capuano saw her coming. He just couldn’t stop her.

Two things stand out to us. The first is the more obvious: Pressley didn’t just duplicate the Ocascio-Cortez upset by the numbers; she’s a socialist in the mold of Bernie Sanders. Indeed, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Pressley and congratulated her “sister in service” for the win. The party as a whole is shifting significantly left.

Second, this is about Democrat race-baiting. For years now, the party has promoted identity politics tied to the color of skin. Pressley, a 44-year-old black woman, was too attractive to a minority-majority district for a 66-year-old white guy to hang on. To Democrats, straight white guys are just the worst, and the only thing Capuano had going for him is that he isn’t a Southerner.

“It’s not just good enough to see the Democrats back in power. It matters who those Democrats are,” Pressley told her own supporters. “While our president is a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man, the conditions which have made [this district] one of the most unequal in America were cemented through policies long before he ever descended the escalator at Trump Tower.” The rest of the old white guys leading the Democrat Party best look over their shoulders.

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Top Headlines

  • Three takeaways from Day One of Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight (The Daily Signal)
  • Kavanaugh hearings are merely an audition for 2020 Democrats (Washington Examiner)
  • Parkland victim’s dad claims Kavanaugh wouldn’t shake hands but that’s not what happened (The Daily Wire)
  • FBI investigation looms over Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (CBS News)
  • Trump responds to Nike (The Daily Caller)
  • Nike stock plunges after tapping Kaepernick as “Just Do It” campaign poster boy (PJ Media)
  • Health law’s constitutionality is back in focus with GOP lawsuit (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces he will not seek reelection (Fox News)
  • Google won’t tell Congress if it’s working with China on censored search engine (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Humor: Democrats demand Kavanaugh submit to DNA test to prove he’s not actually Hitler (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Labor unions can be great institutions again (Washington Examiner)
  • Policy: What about “below the fold” regulatory actions? (American Action Forum)

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

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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.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Star Parker: “The passing of Senator John McCain was marked by a sea of eulogies mourning the end of an era of civility and compromise. What has happened, they ask, to those noble, bipartisan days of yesteryear, and how have we descended into today’s crude and primitive tribalism? I read this stuff and wonder where I was during those wonderfully tranquil, civil days gone by. … In 1967, abortion was still illegal in America. Since abortion on demand became legal through Roe v. Wade in 1973, more than 60 million of our babies have been destroyed. In 1967, 10 percent of our babies were born to unwed mothers. Today it is more than 40 percent. In 1967, about 8 percent of white adults over the age of 25 and 9 percent of black adults of the age of 25 had never been married. By 2012, 16 percent of white adults and 36 percent of black adults had never been married. In 1967, no one would have dreamed that in America the sacred and holy institution of marriage could be anything other than the bond between one man and one woman. The 1960s marked the beginning of the moral decline of our nation and the flowering of the civil rights movement. One pushed moral ambiguity; the other pushed for moral clarity. The stretch from the 1960s to today, during which John McCain served in Washington, was about struggle. What might be taken as a time of bipartisanship and compromise was instead more about morality and politics. … This is our struggle. Let’s be honest and unapologetic about it.”

SHORT CUTS

Friendly fire: “Until today, I genuinely thought Colin Kaepernick was acting purely from a point of fiercely held principle, and one I happen to agree with. Now, I’m not so sure. By taking Nike’s money, Kaepernick’s made it seem like he won’t salute the flag, but he will bow down to the dollar. And by filling his boots with corporate cash, he’s made a mockery of any suggestion that he’s been ‘sacrificing everything.’” —fellow anti-American Piers Morgan

Upright: “Perhaps Colin Kaepernick and the ad executives at Nike should pay a visit to Walter Reed or Arlington Cemetery. They might have an opportunity to learn what it means to ‘sacrifice everything.’” —Catherine Smith, the mother of a severely wounded OIF veteran, commenting on “Nike Takes a Knee

For the record: “I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it. As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do.” —Donald Trump responding to the Nike/Kaepernick charade

Well … bye! “I’ve said again and again it’s hard to get away from it, but I doubt very much I’ll be running for office again.” —John Kerry

Rank hypocrisy: “The truth has less currency than it should have in a democracy of our quality. … Facts don’t apparently matter to some people. I believe they matter to the American people.” —John Kerry

Braying Jenny: “Happy Labor Day. There’s no better time to talk about why workers’ rights would suffer if Brett Kavanaugh … is confirmed.” —Hillary Clinton

Braying Jackass: “What we see here is an illegitimate process that will yield an illegitimate Supreme Court justice and further degrade in the public’s mind the legitimacy of the institution of the Supreme Court itself.” —"Republican" strategist Steve Schmidt on Brett Kavanaugh

And last… “Just remember, the arguments are not the same. We are arguing for a constitutional justice. They are arguing for a left-wing justice.” —Andrew Klavan

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