“No mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.” —George Washington (1789)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- After a tumultuous two years, Jeff Sessions is out as AG.
- The darkest cloud for Republicans is in the suburbs. That must change.
- Daily Features: Columnists, Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, and Short Cuts.
It was a long time coming and shouldn’t surprise anyone — Attorney General Jeff Sessions tendered his resignation at President Donald Trump’s request on Wednesday. Sessions and Trump got off on the wrong foot right from the start after Sessions capitulated to Democrat demands that he recuse himself from the investigation into Russian election interference. The two never recovered, as Sessions’s decision paved the way for the creation of Robert Mueller’s special investigation, which has proven to be little more than a witch hunt and a constant headache for Trump.
Predictably, Democrats responded to the news by running to the fainting couches. Senate Still-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suggested, “Clearly, the president has something to hide.” Others like Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who just last year demanded Sessions’s resignation, is now blowing the Democrats’ “obstruction of justice” whistle, claiming, “Americans must have answers immediately as to the reasoning behind [Trump’s] removing Jeff Sessions from [the Justice Department]. Why is the President making this change and who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation? We will be holding people accountable.”
There is no question that Trump’s timing for firing Sessions was strategically calculated. With Republicans now sitting on an even stronger Senate majority, the president is freer to nominate someone without Democrat obstruction. Second, so long as Sessions was AG, Trump had little prospect of seeing the Mueller investigation either limited in its scope or brought to an end. Trump certainly doesn’t want it dogging him for another two years.
Irrespective of the outcome of the Mueller investigation, House Democrats have made it clear that they will go after impeaching Trump. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway reports that Nadler is planning to go “all-in” on seeking the impeachment of both Trump and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Trump is certainly aware that no matter what he does, Democrats are gunning for him, and he has clearly decided not to sit back and let it happen.
Indeed, Trump’s choice of Matthew Whitaker as the temporary attorney general demonstrates his intention to fight back against the Democrats. Whitaker has previously criticized Mueller, saying, “It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.” Of course, Democrats are calling for Whitaker to recuse himself from having any authority over the Mueller investigation. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter who Trump picks for AG — Democrats will demand recusal.
For the time being, the president has an AG who will presumably act to limit the scope of the Mueller investigation to Russian election interference, hopefully bringing this year-and-a-half-long witch hunt about “collusion” to an end.
While the GOP did as well as could be expected in governors’ races (the loss of Scott Walker is a bitter blow) and secured a historic win in the Senate (netting a gain of three seats), the loss of the House is a significant setback for the party and perhaps the first sign of looming defeat in future years. Why? The areas where many Republicans lost were the suburbs, and that may portend trouble ahead.
The Wall Street Journal notes, “The GOP lost House seats in the suburbs of Denver, Dallas, Houston, Des Moines, Minneapolis (two seats), Kansas City, Chicago, Richmond, Phoenix, and even Oklahoma City. They also lost in the longtime GOP stronghold of Staten Island.”
There are a number of reasons the GOP lost in the suburbs. Pete Sessions blamed his loss in a Texas district he represented for 16 years on the late John McCain’s decisive vote against the limited ObamaCare repeal in 2017. Other Republicans may have lost in heavily red states for turning their back on President Donald Trump, or because they embraced him too tightly. In some cases, it was just lackluster candidates.
The fact is, the suburbs have become the crucial battleground, and Republicans fell short in holding what had been a key to their coalition. Some of it was just the historical pattern of midterm elections. Part of it is due to understandable discomfort with Trump’s rhetoric and brash style. A fair bit of it was due to the constant lies that Republicans are racist, usually when they don’t do what Democrats want on immigration or other issues. That so many Americans believe that is a testament to the power of the Leftmedia and Silicon Valley.
We can’t do much about Trump’s rhetoric. At 72 years old, he is set in his ways. While he speaks the truth about media bias and issues like border security and illegal immigration, he makes people who would otherwise be persuaded cringe with how he talks about them. He is a very good campaign asset — as four GOP senators who defeated Democrats in these midterms can attest to. Unfortunately, he’s also a liability in too many areas.
In any case, good strategy and tactics are hard to find on the GOP side, and both are necessary due to Democrats’ storytelling advantage. But there are some things the GOP can do policy-wise and on the candidate-recruitment side to make things better.
Health care is a big issue. For eight years, the GOP has opposed ObamaCare but had no coherent plan to replace it, and it finally bit them in the rear. Republicans need to start moving the ball forward in a free-market direction. Major changes are off the table until 2021 at the earliest, but they can nibble at the edges while they develop an election strategy.
Another move is to pursue a major military buildup. With Democrats promising defense cuts in the face of a more dangerous Russia and China, this should be a given. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all need major boosts in their force structure.
Third, Republicans need to push for an end to lawless actions on all fronts. Not just immigration, but bureaucratic abuse, the violent acts of antifa, and even the actions taken in corporate boardrooms against the Second Amendment need to be exposed in oversight hearings. Executive action is also an option (Trump still has the pen and the phone).
Finally, the GOP needs better candidate recruitment. As Republicans have a habit of doing, there were some duds nominated. In Virginia, Corey Stewart dragged down GOP representatives who were at risk. On the flip side, Beto O'Rourke’s unexpectedly strong performance helped Democrats take some seats in Texas. The key will be to find candidates who can push a Trump-like agenda while being capable of fighting back when falsely smeared as racist, homophobic, or worse — all with a more suburb-friendly tone. In other words, not your stereotypical Republican.
The Battle for the Suburbs hasn’t ended; in some ways, it has just begun. But the stakes are enormous in 2020. We will either see Democrats take even more control, or we will have a chance to restore a government to its constitutional boundaries.
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ON THE WEB TODAY
- A (Drug) War by Any Other Name — Drug cartels are terrorist organizations that pose a threat to American national security.
- Girl Scouts Sue the Boy Scouts — The Boy Scouts changed their name to include girls, and the Girl Scouts aren’t happy about it.
- Video: Trump Calls Acosta ‘Rude, Terrible Person,’ Suspends Press Pass — It was quite a testy exchange between the president and CNN’s arrogant talkinghead.
- Video: Betomania Crashes and Burns — Beto O'Rourke goes down in Texas, despite Leftmedia hoopla and $70 million.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
- Twelve murdered in California mass shooting (NBC News)
- McConnell says confirming judges will be his “top priority” (The Daily Signal)
- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg breaks ribs in fall (CNBC)
- Stacey Abrams finally concedes she lost the Georgia governor election … and then she moved the goal posts (The Resurgent)
- House GOP fight begins: Jordan challenges McCarthy (The Hill)
- House Democrats announce leadership bids (National Review)
- Trump to sign directive this week revamping U.S. asylum policy (MarketWatch)
- Ex-New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman won’t face criminal charges for alleged abuse (USA Today)
- Trump administration rolls back ObamaCare’s birth control rule (Washington Examiner)
- Humor: Nation excited to kick off calm, courteous 2020 presidential race (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: Resuming U.S. nuclear weapons testing is crucial (The Washington Times)
- Policy: Yes, it matters if China is ripping off American tech (American Enterprise Institute)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
At the sound of a woman’s “blood-curdling screams,” a Missouri gun owner sprang into action Saturday — and now Benjamin Seadorf is reportedly being credited with helping to save the woman from a vicious attack.
Seadorf told FOX4 he was at his Kansas City home with his four children when he suddenly heard “blood-curdling screams” coming from the direction of a nearby intersection. Seadorf grabbed his 9-millimeter handgun and headed towards the screams. When he reached the source, he encountered Alarick Williams allegedly attacking a woman, who had some of her clothes ripped off, inside a car. The fight was occurring in front of the couple’s three children, who were also in the vehicle.
Another good guy with a gun saves the day.
Read more at Fox News.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Gary Bauer: “Losing the House means Democrats will launch multiple investigations against Donald Trump. The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, is even promising to investigate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But there is a risk for them. Many of the seats they just captured are in swing districts, and the American people did not vote for investigations ad nauseam. Democrats could easily lose these seats in 2020 when President Trump is driving GOP turnout. The Senate victory is huge. Not only does President Trump have a firewall on legislation and impeachment, but filling judicial vacancies will be like an assembly line. We are no longer dependent on unpredictable moderates like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Hopefully, Democrats will think twice about conducting another Kavanaugh-like smear campaign against a future Supreme Court nominee.”
Insight: “Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right.” —H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
For the record: “The House defeat is also a message from moderate Republicans and independents, especially women put off by Mr. Trump’s rancorous style. A question in the October Wall Street Journal-NBC poll puts this problem in sharp relief. While 44% of voters approve of Mr. Trump’s policies, some 20% like his policies but dislike him personally. That 20% is five times the percentage who disliked George W. Bush but liked his policies when he lost the House in 2006, and 10 times the share that disliked Barack Obama in 2013. Worse for Mr. Trump, the share of voters who dislike him personally but like his policies increased in the past two years.” —The Wall Street Journal
Political futures: “Republicans lost 26 seats in House in 1982. In 1984 Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, winning 49 of 50 states. Red team lost 26 house seats [Tuesday] night. Time to gear up!"—Star Parker
Fact check: true: "There are no reports of Republicans rioting or burning down cities or pillaging and plundering [Tuesday] night. #civility” —Todd Starnes
Snark: “So weird that Russia decided to only hack the Senate elections.” —Eddie Zipperer
Warning to the Left: “The Democrats in the House will have to decide just how much presidential harassment they think is good strategy. I’m not so sure it will work for them.” —Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Belly laugh of the week: “Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.” —House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
And last… “Kinda funny the Democrats putting all their hope behind Beto [O'Rourke], a white male, when they’ve successfully chased about all of them out of the party.” —Frank Fleming
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