Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 25, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Dems Refuse to Negotiate; Will Trump Declare Emergency?

Thomas Gallatin

On Thursday, the Senate voted on competing spending deals. Both went down to defeat as neither the GOP’s nor the Democrats’ bills met the 60-vote threshold required for passage. Prior to voting, both parties acknowledged that neither bill had much chance of passing as Democrats still refuse to negotiate on funding even an inch of a border barrier. They rejected President Donald Trump’s compromise offer to extend DACA protections for three years — an immigration issue that Democrats claim to hold dear.

As the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history hits Day 35, it has become increasing clear that Democrats have chosen a path of non-negotiation. By repeatedly declaring a border barrier to be “immoral,” Democrat leaders have drawn a clear line in the sand. Since this is morality itself and not just a bit of funding, they now have no room to compromise — hence the ridiculous doublespeak from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Sanctuary City of San Francisco). On the one hand, she blasts Trump for wanting a border barrier, stating earlier this month, “The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation. It’s an old way of thinking.” On the other hand, just yesterday she claimed, “Democrats have always been strong about honoring our oath of office to protect and defend the American people. … Securing our borders is an important part of that.”

The irony here, as we and many others have repeatedly pointed out, is Trump’s call for a border barrier is what these same Democrats were calling for only a few years ago. So has a border barrier always been an “immorality,” or has it become one only since Trump was elected president? Obviously that’s a rhetorical question. Pelosi and company are playing politics, particularly at the expense of federal workers. As Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) recently noted, “Last week, House GOP voted to pay federal employees their 1st paycheck in 2019, despite shutdown. Only 6 Dems voted with us. It failed. Dem priority is not paying workers or opening gov’t. It is opposing Trump.” Those federal workers are missing their second check today.

Crenshaw further explained, “Democrats are not prioritizing reopening the government. They are prioritizing NOT building physical barriers as part of comprehensive border security. I think many Americans are scratching their heads wondering — why not have both?”

In this current shutdown deadlock, Mark Alexander suggests that Trump declare a national emergency and “hang it around Demo necks because they refused any negotiation to reopen government.” Indeed, given that Trump appeared to cave on the SOTU, that may be his plan.

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Another Nuclear Option to Clear Judicial Backlog?

Michael Swartz

If there’s one thing President Donald Trump has been dogged about — besides feeding his Twitter habit — it’s the pace he’s kept in sending judicial nominees to the Senate. For most of the first half of his term, he was getting approvals at a blistering pace. But as the 115th Congress closed, the petulant antics of lame-duck GOP Sen. Jeff Flake left the president with dozens of nominees who didn’t get through the process. As our Thomas Gallatin wrote late last year, “Hopefully, with Flake gone and a larger majority, Senate Republicans can make up lost ground and get Trump’s nominees confirmed at a rapid pace.”

To that end, President Trump has renominated a slate of 51 jurists — including one for Brett Kavanaugh’s old seat and another for a newly created judgeship in the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review — in his latest effort to put a dent in the 140 judicial vacancies currently without nominees. (Six vacancies in various district courts have nominees pending.) One would think that without Flake to gum up the works and an enhanced Senate majority of 53 Republican senators — a majority that makes moderates like Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski less of an obstacle in seating conservative jurists — that Trump’s nominees would sail through.

Unfortunately, minority Democrats have found a new stalling tactic as they try to run out the clock on Trump’s term. Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw points out, “The reason for this [delay is] the fact that Democrats are dragging their feet as much as possible and demanding a full 30 hours of allowable debate after cloture, even in cases where no serious objections have been raised and the candidate will clearly be confirmed anyway.” At 30 hours per nominee, confirmation is like pulling teeth.

Shaw further notes that when Republicans were in the minority during the Obama administration, they reached an informal agreement with Democrats to limit debate to eight hours. It’s doubtful Chuck Schumer intends to play nice like the GOP did, though.

In that same vein, Washington Examiner analyst Quin Hillyer suggests that those holdovers previously nominated be waived through the Senate committee process. According to Senate rules, the leadership can order that nominees bypass committee, writes Hillyer, and in this case it’s appropriate because the nominees were vetted by the previous Congress. This process wouldn’t be used for new nominees, but it could clear the backlog.

During the Obama administration, Democrats tried to paint Republicans as constituting a “do-nothing Congress.” Now that we have a Democrat-controlled House bent on investigating Donald Trump and a rump coalition of 47 Democrat senators who exist simply to be obstinate rather than do the people’s business, these suggestions have been placed in the hopper. Trump can now at least focus on the judicial branch — a task that’s always time well spent. But he’s going to need help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP HEADLINES

  • DHS to begin sending asylum seekers to wait in Mexico (The Washington Post)
  • Growing number of Democrats buck Pelosi on federal worker pay (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Trump associate Roger Stone arrested, faces obstruction charge (Associated Press)
  • Michael Cohen subpoenaed by Senate Intelligence Committee (Washington Examiner)
  • Elizabeth Warren planning “wealth tax” on America’s rich (Fox Business)
  • Civil penalties for polluters dropped dramatically in Trump’s first two years (The Washington Post)
  • Iran’s nuclear chief again confirms Iran flagrantly violated nuclear deal (The Daily Wire)
  • Minimum-wage hikes in New York City cause restaurants to eliminate jobs, cut hours, raise prices (Reason)
  • Catholic leaders: Excommunicate Gov. Cuomo over New York’s extreme abortion law (LifeSiteNews)
  • Humor — or is it? Ultrasound unable to detect heartbeat in New York State legislators (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Preparing for the next North Korea summit: What Trump needs from Kim Jong-un (Washington Examiner)
  • Policy: Under Trump, U.S. economic freedom rises significantly (The Daily Signal)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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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 cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Marc A. Thiessen: “If Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., were a conservative, all anyone would be talking about is how uninformed she is. She would be facing trick questions from reporters designed to expose her lack of knowledge, and brutal sketches on ‘Saturday Night Live’ mocking her intelligence and fitness for office. Instead, SNL fawns over her, while CBS’s ‘Late Show’ host Stephen Colbert — far from making jokes at her expense — eats ice cream with her and asks how many ‘f—s’ she gives about her critics. Boy, it’s good to be a socialist. … Once people decide you are ignorant, it’s hard to recover — just ask Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle. Of course, they were conservatives, so the standards are different.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one’s own person is its ultimate reward.” —Patricia Sampson (1921-1998)

Upright: “I’d never wanna get on an airplane that only had one wing. The president wants to make sure that we’re actually securing the border in … totality, not just with one wing. You need two wings. Which means you have to have a wall. You have to have technology. You have to have all of the things that the president has put forward in his proposal.” —Sarah Sanders

Look in the mirror: “We’re doing serious damage to our country. Totally unnecessarily.” —Nancy Pelosi

Hot air: “[Central America] is the most vulnerable region in the world to global warming. … That is one of the principal causes for [migrants] making that long journey.” —Al Gore

Alpha Jackass: “Last week, a group of boys engaged with a Native American man beating a tribal drum. … These boys, who attend a religious school, were there on a school trip protesting against a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. Several of these boys were wearing red MAGA hats, a hat that has become synonymous with white nationalism and racism. Several were doing a ‘tomahawk chop.’ Several were laughing. When I saw that video, I saw boys flaunting their entitlement and displaying toxic masculinity. It seemed to me like they were reflecting the white nationalism and racism that the hats on their heads have come to represent. I sent out a tweet that read, ‘The red MAGA hat is the new white hood.’ Right-wing pundits and anonymous trolls alike screamed for my head–literally and figuratively. My husband received death threats on his cell phone. Many demanded an apology. Here’s the thing: I was right. So, I won’t apologize to these boys. Or anyone who wears that hat.” —Alyssa Milano

And last… “The funniest thing in the #ExposeChristianSchools tag are the people complaining about the ‘anti-science’ agenda of Christian schools. Do you guys have any idea what sort of anti-science gibberish they teach in public schools? Let’s start with the idea that girls can have penises.” —Matt Walsh

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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