Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 1, 2019


“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” —Alexander Hamilton (1775)

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Demo Debate 4: Biden the Frontrunner

Joe Biden knew he was going to be attacked again at last night’s fourth Democrat presidential debate, so the frontrunner had one job: Fend off attacks with his own offense. He did that and emerged having solidified his frontrunner status. The bad news for him and Democrats? As Barack Obama’s adviser, David Axelrod, put it, “This may be the best he could do.” And Biden may be the best “moderate” Democrats can hope for if they want to beat President Donald Trump. That’s not saying much.

Laughable as it may seem, Biden is the not-crazy one in the Democrat field. As party activists have moved ever further to the left — and are decidedly hostile to old white guys — the 76-year-old vice president to Barack “Fundamentally Transforming the United States of America” Obama is the only viable option for those who remain unwilling to jump on the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren Socialist Express, or to play the identity-politics game driving the candidacies of other Democrats.

Biden effectively parried attacks from Kamala Harris, who damaged him in their first debate and did not heed his plea before this debate to “go easy on me, kid.” The two bickered at length about health care, for one thing. Biden attempted to stake out the “reasonable” position of simply building on ObamaCare, which he insists “is working,” rather than going full-bore single-payer or what he called Harris’s “double-talk” on health care.

Harris had her own issues failing to rebut Tulsi Gabbard’s damaging attacks on her prosecutorial record on criminal justice. Harris, Gabbard alleged, “blocked evidence from being revealed that would have freed” prisoners, and thus the former California attorney general owes an apology to “the people who suffered under your reign.” For Harris, who’s hoping to be the first black female president, Gabbard’s was a painful blow.

Biden also decidedly rebuked Kirsten Gillibrand’s attempts to undermine his record “fighting” for women by noting her past praise of his record. He wondered, “I don’t know what’s happened, except that you’re now running for president.”

Then again, Biden has yet to debate Warren or Sanders, which will happen in September.

The one issue last night that best illustrated Biden’s moderation (and he’s still solidly on the Left) was immigration. Much of today’s Democrat Party has rejected the policies of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Chuck Schumer, who a decade or more ago were at least rhetorically if not actually tough on illegal immigration. Instead, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, and others on stage last night were arguing for decriminalizing illegal border-crossing so, in Booker’s words, “you won’t need these awful detention centers” anymore.

The former vice president, having real experience enforcing federal law with the administration that actually built the “cages” Democrats now scream about, still advocates a modicum of the Rule of Law. Biden said, “If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It’s a crime.” (Caveat: IF he can win the nomination in today’s party and then, IF elected, carrying through with enforcement as president will be an entirely different matter than a debate line.) In fact, Biden practically endorsed Trump’s policy on asylum, saying, “What we should do is flood the zone to make sure we have people to make those decisions quickly.”

The irony is that Biden is running on his 50-year record in Washington, while his opponents are using that very record (criminal justice, for example) to persuade voters to reject him as yesterday’s old and ineffective white guy. Where is today’s Democrat Party? We’ll find out.

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California’s Voter Suppression

California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Tuesday that would bar President Donald Trump’s name from appearing on the state’s 2020 primary ballot unless he discloses his tax returns. Newsom “justified” the bill, arguing, “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence.” So, the party that loudly opposes any form of voter ID laws out of faux concern for potential voter suppression has now put forth a draconian piece of voter-suppression legislation. Even former Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown wouldn’t dare go this far, as he vetoed a similar measure over concerns that it was unconstitutional.

However, in this era of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Democrat concern for constitutionality is no longer even feigned. But they would have done well to listen to Brown, who argued, “It sets a ‘slippery slope’ precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.”

Brown’s argument is a cogent one. What stops Texas, Georgia, or Florida from coming up with their own laws clearly aimed at suppressing the ability of a Democrat presidential candidate from getting his or her name on the ballot?

Obviously, this move is meant to once again highlight the long-running Democrat complaint that Trump has not released his long-form tax returns. That’s an action most modern presidential candidates have willingly taken, but one the Constitution does not require.

Clearly, however, this law is ripe for legal action. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh stated, “The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president and states cannot add additional requirements on their own. The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.” It would seem the one-party oligarchs in California disagree.

Correction: California’s law is specifically directed to the primary ballot, not the general-election one, which renders discussion of the Electoral College largely moot. Another 10 states are considering similar legislation.

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Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Elijah Cummings IS a Racist. Democrats hope shrieking “racism” will keep black voters on their plantation through 2020.

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


JUDICIAL INROADS: “The Senate confirmed 13 of President Trump’s judicial picks this week, helping clear the deck ahead of the five-week August recess. The nominees were split up throughout the week with four confirmation votes taking place on Tuesday and nine on Wednesday, three of which were by voice votes.” (The Hill)

LENDING RATE LOWERED: “The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark rate by a quarter point Wednesday as an insurance policy not against what’s wrong with the economy now, but what could go wrong in the future. It was the first rate cut by the central bank in more than a decade.” (CNBC)

SLUGGISH PROGRESS: “Mexico announced Tuesday that there has been a 39 percent reduction in the number of Central American migrants passing through the country on their way to the U.S.,” according to National Review. “The number of migrants traversing Mexico to reach the southern border has fallen from 144,278 in May to 87,648 thus far in July, foreign-relations secretary Marcelo Ebrard told the Associated Press.” However, the Washington Examiner adds, “Federal law enforcement based on the U.S.-Mexico border are expected to encounter 1.1 million people trying to cross illegally by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, despite Mexico’s assistance stopping migrants on their journey north.” By the way, Fox News reports, “The U.S. Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation granted $475,000 to the Great Zimbabwe Museum to make repairs to the border wall of an 11th century stone fortress that surrounds the ruins of an ancient city.”

BIN LADEN’S SON DEAD: “The United States has obtained intelligence that the son and potential successor of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, is dead, according to three U.S. officials. The officials would not provide details of how Hamza bin Laden died or if the U.S. played a role in his death. The death occurred some time in the past two years, said the officials, but confirmation came only recently.” (NBC News)

NO RACIAL BIAS: “A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demolishes the Democratic narrative regarding race and police shootings, which holds that white officers are engaged in an epidemic of racially biased shootings of black men. It turns out that white officers are no more likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot black civilians. … In fact, if there is a bias in police shootings after crime rates are taken into account, it is against white civilians, the study found.” (Heather Mac Donald)

PROFITS SHAVED: “Gillette’s infamous ‘toxic masculinity’ ad may cost Procter & Gamble more than anyone imagined in January. The year that Gillette launched its ‘We Believe’ campaign and asked ‘Is this the best a man can get?’ has coincided with P&G’s $8 billion non-cash writedown for the shaving giant.” (The Washington Times)

OLYMPIC CONCERN: “With the Tokyo Olympics looming, women’s groups in New Zealand and the U.K. are sounding the alarm over the threat posed to the integrity of women’s sports by biological males who identify as females being allowed to compete against females.” (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: Slow and steady wins the race with China (The Washington Times)

POLICY: When the Supreme Court is right to overturn precedent (The Daily Signal)

HUMOR: AOC hits New York Times Best Sellers list with Economics for Dummies (IMAO)

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

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Jim Geraghty: “[Last night’s] debate should end Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign. She seemed caught speechless at one moment. Then in the middle she boasted that she could go to white suburban women and explain the concept of white privilege to them. Towards the end, she tried to attack Biden and out of all of the potential vulnerabilities, she cited an old op-ed to argue Biden opposes women working outside the home. (Exhibit A of the counter-evidence would be Jill Biden, who stopped teaching for two years after having a child and then continued her teaching career.) When Gillibrand’s presidential campaign ends, it will be primarily remembered for, ‘I’m just here for some ranch.’”


Upright: “It’s interesting that the same people who said Martin Luther King laughing as a woman was raped isn’t relevant to King’s legacy are now insisting that Ronald Reagan’s racist comments should destroy Reagan’s legacy. I think we should have a more consistent approach to these things.” —Matt Walsh

Adulting: “Kamala says she knows too many people who stay at a job they don’t like so they can have insurance. Yes. That is called being an adult and making adult decisions.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

A blind squirrel finds a nut: “If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It’s a crime.” —Joe Biden

Soapbox theater: “The first thing I’m going to do as president is I am going to Clorox the Oval Office.” —Kirsten Gillibrand, who apparently has forgotten that Bill Clinton is no longer in office (“If Kirsten Gillibrand is elected, she promises the first female president’s first act would be… cleaning?” —Emily Jashinsky)

Non Compos Mentis: “This is going to be a tough truth but we are too late. We are 10 years too late. We need to do everything we can to start moving the climate in the right direction but also need to start moving our people to higher ground and the best way to do that is to put economic resources in your hands so you can protect yourself and your families.” —Andrew Yang

Womansplaining: “I can talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump and explain to them what white privilege actually is.” —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Braying Jenny: “This current president is continuing to betray us. We were supposed to be going after al-Qaida, but over years now, not only have we not gone after al-Qaida … our president is supporting al-Qaida.” —Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

And last… “Based on watching almost six hours of D debates the last two nights, I have concluded 20 candidates is not enough. None of these candidates is any good.” —Ari Fleischer

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