“We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” —George Washington (1786)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Virginia Democrats are finding the bed they made rather uncomfortable.
- Judicial obstruction has been taken to a new level in the last two years.
- Trump called out “ridiculous partisan investigations.” Dems ramped them up.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
It’s a tough time to be a Democrat in Virginia. For the rest of the country, it’s been like watching an episode of “House of Cards,” only this is no fictional TV show. Wednesday provided the latest twist in what can only be described as a slow-motion political train wreck.
Following the initial revelation of Gov. Ralph Northam’s racist 1984 yearbook photograph and that in another yearbook he was known by the nickname “Coonman,” Democrats across the country were quick to call for his resignation. Many assumed Democrats were in the perfect position to prove their party’s commitment to “social justice.” However, almost immediately following Northam’s controversy, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax found himself knee-deep in his own scandal, this time over allegations of sexual assault. His accuser has released a detailed statement of her accusations. Suddenly, with Virginia’s top two Democrats facing growing pressure to resign, the question of succession was raised. According to the Commonwealth’s Constitution, should both Northam and Fairfax resign, the office of the governorship would fall to Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring.
For Democrats, should that worst-case scenario unfold, it would be painful, but at least a Republican wouldn’t take over. Or at least that was the thinking until Wednesday afternoon, when AG Herring admitted that he too had dressed in blackface once in 1980 when he was in college. Cue the outrage posse.
Suddenly, Virginia’s top three Democrats are all damaged goods — two racists and a sex offender. Ironically, one of the Democrats who had called for Northam’s resignation was none other than Herring, who stated on Saturday, “It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Fairfax and assured him that, should he ascend to the governorship, he will have my complete support and commitment to ensuring his success and the success of our Commonwealth.” So, if Herring does not resign for the same “crime,” would he not be outing himself as a total hypocrite and political opportunist?
And, to rub a little salt in the Democrats’ wound, guess who’s in line for the governorship should all three Democrats resign — Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican.
Finally, Mark Alexander observes, “I think Demos are regretting jumping on the resignation bandwagon because there are very likely other stupid yearbook photos, fraternity pranks, etc., in many backgrounds. The issue with the two blackface cases versus sexual assault are very different, and Northam’s fumbling story change compounds his problems, but the point is that just about everyone out there has stupid stuff in their past. Will the category of offense be widened from just the Demo favorites of race and #MeToo?”
Lower federal courts have issued injunctions blocking President Donald Trump’s executive actions a record 30 times. “That number,” The Daily Signal reports, matches “the total for the first 42 of the 45 presidents so far in American history.” We knew judicial activism was a problem, but that’s astounding.
The majority of the injunctions, the Signal explains, were “against Trump administration policies providing extreme vetting of immigrants from countries deemed to be failed states; denying funding to sanctuary cities that won’t cooperate with federal law enforcement on immigration law; and tightening the asylum process for illegal immigrants, among other issues.” In other words, policies that aren’t exactly conventional.
To make matters worse, these injunctions weren’t merely regional in scope but national. Not surprisingly, the source for most of the injunctions came from judges sitting on some the country’s most left-leaning courts, such as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to 1963, no lower court had ever issued national injunctions, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that nationwide injunctions began to become more common.
In fact, Barack Obama’s Justice Department pushed back against the practice, arguing, “A trial court abuses its discretion by fashioning an injunction, which is overly broad.” And last year, House Republicans proposed the Injunctive Authority Clarification Act, which would have put limits on nationwide injunctions, confining the rulings for the most part to the district over which the court presides, but it was never voted on.
Back in 2016, Justice Samuel Alito noted the obvious problem with lower courts being empowered to issue nationwide injunctions, writing that it “invites the loser to seek to obtain in court what they could not achieve in the political arena.” Precisely. What we have witnessed through the first two years of Trump’s presidency attests to the reality of this problem.
Michael Morley, an assistant professor at Florida State University College of Law, points out, “All it takes is a single litigant anywhere in the nation to win one time, and then they are able to obtain effectively nationwide relief enforcing the rights of all people throughout the nation. So, you have a fundamental asymmetry where the government has to win everywhere, whereas to have a policy or a regulation or an order invalidated, a challenger only has to win once.”
One thing is certain — the more lower courts continue to issue nationwide injunctions against Trump, the more the pressure grows for legislation to be passed that prevents this abuse.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only things that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union Address Tuesday night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defiantly responded, “It was a threat. It was an all-out threat. The president should not bring threats to the floor of the House. He said he wasn’t going to cooperate unless we didn’t exercise our constitutional responsibility to oversight.” Cry us a river.
The Democrats’ strategy since Trump’s surprising election win has been to hamstring him with investigations. That’s what the Mueller/Comey/Clinton collusion is all about. And as we’ve asserted before, a recession that boosts Demo chances in 2020 would be a cherry on top for them.
Democrats wasted no time after the SOTU. On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff launched a new probe into the president’s foreign business relationships and if those are affecting U.S. foreign policy. “He has no basis to do that,” Trump retorted. “He’s just a political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself. It’s just presidential harassment and it’s unfortunate and it really does hurt our country.” The Hill also reports, “The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday voted to give special counsel Robert Mueller transcripts from dozens of witness interviews from the panel’s Russia probe.”
Meanwhile, on the House Ways and Means subcommittee docket today: examining the disclosure of presidential tax returns — a move clearly meant as a shot across the bow for Trump’s decision to withhold his own returns.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer taunted the president, saying, “He’s scared. He’s got something to hide. Because if he had nothing to hide he’d just shrug his shoulders and let these investigations go forward.”
Memo to Schumer: Pointing out that investigations are a political witch hunt — which these are — is a lot different than obstructing those investigations. Trump has done nothing to stop the process; he’s merely exposed the partisan hackery of it all.
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Featured Analysis: Utopian Dreams, Dystopian Realities — Democrats want to punish the wealthy just for daring to have more money than others.
- Video: Bad Laws Worsen the Homeless Crisis — Politicians claim housing regulation helps the poor. In reality, it makes their lives much harder.
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“Though the streets of Compton are generally associated with racial violence, this group of cowboys is breaking stereotypes by getting at-risk youngsters off of the street and onto horses instead. The 10 original founders of the horse-collective first met each other as young boys at a nonprofit stable located in a semi-rural area of Compton. Since their relatives encouraged them to attend the organization’s activities as an alternative to gang violence, the stable provided the youngsters with a safe haven from the dangers of their environment.”
Read more at Good News Network.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP HEADLINE SUMMARY
- Apologies ad nauseam: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Wednesday was once again forced to apologize for claiming Native American ancestry on a 1986 registration card for the Texas state bar, and left the door open that there may be more documents out there with a similar claim,” Fox News reports. Her latest apology is just a few days removed from her quietly giving a private mea culpa to the chief of the Cherokee Nation.
- Last year was another record-setting warm one, according to government scientists. In fact, the current five-year period is the warmest on record. Democrats are complaining that climate change was absent from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address, but the U.S. is doing its part to reduce emissions. That’s not the case with other nations, which is why the Green New Deal, the goals of which were unveiled today, is senseless. In any event, there are more unknowns than there are knowns.
- “Cutting the supply of prescription opioids has been a popular intervention to fight the drug crisis. But, according to a study released last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association, these interventions are likely to cut opioid deaths by only 3 to 6 percent by 2025.” Read why The Washington Free Beacon says that “policymakers must think bigger to stop opioid deaths.”
- Not satire: “Calls for Liam Neeson to be removed from the upcoming ‘Men In Black’ film are making the rounds on social media after the actor made highly controversial statements about wanting to find and kill a black person.” (Fox News)
- Humor: Elizabeth Warren admits to wearing paleface at college costume party (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: What can be done to improve retirees’ security? The American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew G. Biggs recently testified before the House Ways & Means Committee “to discuss developments in retirement income policy in the United States.”
- Policy: Assuming Congress doesn’t fund a border barrier, the president is almost guaranteed to declare an emergency. And according to National Review’s John Yoo, he’s got the law on his side.
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
OPINION IN BRIEF
R. Emmett Tyrrell: “Years ago, more than 50 years ago, one of my wisest coaches in high school told me to forget my grandparents, by which he meant forget their battles. Americans, in times past, argued along racial lines, ethnic lines, religious lines and even union member lines. Actually, northerners did not much like the southerners, and vise versa. The time had come, my old coach felt, to give up the battles of the past. That is even truer today. Yet there is nothing long ago or far away about [Ralph] Northam’s remarks on an abortion bill, which would allow abortions up to 40 weeks, now being discussed by Virginia legislators. On Jan. 30, he explained: ‘if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” They would discuss whether the infant would live or die, while “the infant would be kept comfortable.’ That is the kind of thing Gov. Northam should now be apologizing for.”
Insight: “If I want to be free from any other man’s dictation, I must understand that I can have no other man under my control.” —William Graham Sumner (1840-1910)
For the record: “Megyn Kelly was fired from her show for asking a hypothetical question about blackface. Joy Behar actually wore blackface, and admitted it, and showed a picture of it on TV, yet she still has her job.” —Matt Walsh
Braying Jenny: “It’s really quite a sad thing when you know that we’ll be talking about something that applies to the health and life — health and ability to have other children of women. I hope that in his family, he never has to face that crisis and apply his attitude toward it.” —Nancy Pelosi replying to Donald Trump going after late-term abortion
Braying Jackass: “I saw [the State of the Union] as a psychotically incoherent speech with cookies and dog poop. He tries to put together in the same speech these warm, kind things about humanitarianism, and caring about children. At the same time, he is demonizing people who are immigrants in a way that was appalling. … There were people in that gallery who were children, who have been torn away from their mothers at the border. He did not mention them. There were soldiers who were transgender, who have been thrown out of the military. He didn’t mention them. … There are veterans who he has thrown out of this country who are Dreamers. He did not mention them. And he didn’t say one positive thing.” —Van Jones
Alpha Jackass: “Buy stock in coat hangers! Here we go, 60 years, back to the back alleys!” —actress Bette Midler
Dezinformatsiya: “Virginia Attorney General Says He Also Dressed in Dark Makeup.” —The New York Times, which subsequently substituted in the word “blackface” following objections
Non Compos Mentis: “It has now been shown completely that nothing about my background ever had anything to do with any job I got in any place.” —Elizabeth Warren
And last… “‘Immigrants have to come here legally.’ Only half the room stands and applauds. This is a position that every elected Democrat held until 2009.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher