“A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation.” —Thomas Paine (1792)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Carville Blasts Leftist Dems; Candidates Hold 8th Debate
- FBI Director: Carter Page Surveillance Was Illegal
- The Brilliance of Mitch McConnell
- Challenging Sanctuary Jurisdictions
- Stand for Our Schools
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Following the Democrats’ Iowa caucuses debacle last week, former Bill Clinton campaign adviser and Democrat strategist James Carville publicly blasted his party’s candidates in interviews for their hard-left platforms. On MSNBC, Carville went on a rant over the Democrats’ poor performance, concluding that he was “scared to death” about the 2020 election. In a followup interview with Vox writer Sean Illing, Carville further elaborated on his concerns, bemoaning, “We’re losing our [darn] minds.”
Pointing to the lower-than-expected voter enthusiasm in Iowa, Carville observed, “Look, the turnout in the Iowa caucus was below what we expected [and] what we wanted. Trump’s approval rating is probably as high as it’s been. This is very bad. And now it appears the party can’t even count votes. What the hell am I supposed to think? … And now it’s like we’re losing our [darn] minds. Someone’s got to step their game up here.”
Democrats have gone to the extreme left, Carville charges, and by doing so they are turning off vast swaths of the country. “We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments — talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party. … They’ve tacked off the [darn] radar screen.”
Carville also blasted Democrats over their “free college” platform, arguing, “Here’s another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness. I’m not here to debate the idea. What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans. They don’t want to hear this s—. And you saw [Elizabeth] Warren confronted by an angry voter over this. It’s just not a winning message.”
The Democrats’ elitist and self-righteous attitude is not a formula for winning, Carville notes, as he laments that this “smugness” and “patronizing” would only lead to further Democrat losses. “We can’t win the Senate by looking down at people. The Democrat Party has to drive a narrative that doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant.”
Carville’s interview was published last Friday, hours before the Democrat presidential candidates took the stage for their eighth debate. That debate made abundantly clear that Carville’s assessment was spot on. The Democrat candidates are simply uninterested or unable to concern themselves with any views outside of their narrow leftist ideology. As PowerLine’s Steven Hayward insightfully observed, “I watched the Democratic field show once again that it is running to be president of Twitter more than President of the United States.”
For example, not one of the candidates on the stage Friday night would have given the go-ahead, like Trump did, to take out Iran’s leading terrorist, Qasem Soleimani. Bernie Sanders strangely argued, “You cannot go around saying, ‘You’re a bad guy. We’re gonna assassinate you.’ And then you’re gonna have, if that happens, you’re opening the door to international anarchy.” Pete Buttigieg ridiculously asserted that “taking out a bad guy is a bad idea if you do not know what you’re doing.” Joe Biden suggested (without evidence) that “there’s no evidence yet of an imminent threat that was going to come from [Soleimani].” Never mind the fact that he had the blood of thousands of Americans already on his hands.
Regarding socialism, only one candidate on stage — Amy Klobuchar — raised her hand in rejection of the failed ideology. On the question of racism, every candidate brandished their “woke” talking points, deriding America as a racist country founded on racism. Sanders took the cake: “We have a racist society from top to bottom, impacting healthcare, housing, criminal justice, education — you name it. And clearly this is an issue that must be dealt with.”
Finally, one of the moments that most highlights the current divide between Democrats and Republicans was Biden’s chastising Trump for awarding Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “By the way, Colonel Vindman got thrown out of the White House today,” Biden lamented. “[The president] should have been pinning a medal on Vindman, and not on Rush Limbaugh. I think we should all stand and get Colonel Vindman a show of how much we support him. Stand up and clap for Vindman!” Biden demanded.
These Democrats are so out of touch with much of America that they don’t seem to realize the majority of their attacks against Trump are in fact attacks against Americans. These Democrats do indeed appear to be losing their minds.
While much of the country’s attention was focused on the Senate voting to acquit President Donald Trump of the House Democrats’ impeachment charges on Wednesday, a potentially criminally significant moment was occurring in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, where FBI Director Chris Wray answered questions regarding the FBI’s abuse of the FISA court. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) cited Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, which found that the FBI had failed to follow the law with its FISA warrant applications to surveil Carter Page. Ratcliffe asked Wray to “acknowledge that this was illegal surveillance with respect to at least several of these FISA applications because there was no probable cause or proper predication — correct?” Wray responded in the affirmative, simply answering, “Right.”
That’s quite an admission and an about-face from Wray’s comments last December when, in an interview with ABC News, he sought to downplay the seriousness of the IG report. “I think it’s important for the American people to know that when the FBI opens an investigation it does so with proper predication, with proper authorization, based on the facts and nothing else,” Wray stated then. “I think it’s important that the inspector general found that in this particular instance the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization.” Now he’s acknowledging that the FISA application for surveilling Page was illegal. This will certainly help Page in his lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI.
Once again, it appears that Trump has been proven correct. He blasted Wray’s characterization of the IG report, asserting, “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”
While the wheels of justice may turn slowly, the good news is that they are still turning.
Americans have just watched the impeachment drama meet its end in the Senate following orderly speeches, which was in stark contrast to the scripted-for-cable-news performances in the House demanding to remove President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been vilified by the Left with terms like “ruthless” and “egregious” because he denied additional drama to the same folks who still can’t get over losing the 2016 presidential election. In the eyes of Republicans, the Senate has, again, done its job — as has McConnell.
But, as recently as December 2017, McConnell was under significant fire from within the Republican Party grassroots for, at the time, his role in fueling the fiery and failed special Alabama Senate primary race. Many grassroots conservatives blamed McConnell for the fact that a key Senate seat is now held by Doug Jones, a lone Democrat senator from the South. Many also called the Senate majority leader an albatross around the necks of the conservative cause — as Nancy Pelosi is to Democrats. The list of grievances included failure to deal with illegal immigration, failure to halt Planned Parenthood funding, and failure to repeal or replace ObamaCare.
Put simply, Mitch McConnell was not exactly hailed by grassroots Republicans.
That was until the unexpected death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016.
A month after Scalia’s passing, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland. McConnell cited his former colleague Joe Biden’s own words in shelving the Democrat nomination by declaring no vacancy on the Supreme Court would be filled in the year of a presidential election. The “Biden Rule” originated in June 1992, when the then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman argued that, should a vacancy occur when President George H.W. Bush was running against Democrat Bill Clinton, the deliberating body would “seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”
McConnell’s move was a huge gamble, because nobody seriously thought Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton. But, as it turns out, McConnell ensured that Garland’s nomination never received a Senate hearing, and he provided voters with a big reason to vote Trump. Once Trump took office, he and McConnell delivered, nominating and confirming Neil Gorsuch.
DC theatrics were in full swing when Trump made his nomination to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh. Unlike the Gorsuch nomination, Kavanaugh’s nomination came ahead of a midterm election and shifted the ideological balance of the Court. But McConnell’s steady leadership came into focus as America watched over 48 hours of questioning and hysteria that ultimately solidified the Supreme Court with an originalist interpretation of the Rule of Law. While most will remember the Democrats’ shameful display that displaced anything resembling civility during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, don’t overlook the importance of an earlier stance McConnell took that made this appointment as valuable.
These two Supreme Court justices are the shiny trophies promised by presidential candidate Trump. But, since his first day in office, President Trump has filled over 20% of the circuit-court seats in the country. His 34th circuit judge is being confirmed with three more in the queue for floor action. Compare this record to his predecessor, who appointed 55 circuit judges in eight years. Trump currently still has 128 District Court vacancies to fill.
Needless to say, the impact on the judiciary is already immense, with the guarantee of this campaign promise returning to the presidential trail in 2020. Yet this would not be possible without the Senate and the leadership of Majority Leader McConnell.
McConnell has embraced his role, recently declaring, “You’ll be pleased to know that my motto for the remainder of this Congress is leave no vacancy behind.” He’s doing the work to confirm women and men who are relatively young and intellectually skilled, many with experience as Supreme Court clerks. And their approach to the bench is “to follow the law and the Constitution.”
Yes, President Donald Trump will be credited with his role in placing conservative constitutionalists throughout our nation’s courts. But the ruthless brilliance and powerful maneuvering by Kentucky’s senior senator will forever earn him many accolades for being one of America’s most consequential leaders impacting conservative policy and law.
For as long as most Americans can remember, Democrats have made it clear that any law inimical to their agenda can be blithely ignored. Nothing makes this clearer than the hundreds of locales across the nation known as “sanctuary” jurisdictions, where policies forbid local law enforcement from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). New York state is one such place, and for the first time America has an administration willing to force the political class to choose between maintaining a haven for illegal aliens or keeping access to programs that help state residents move through customs lines more quickly.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf revealed the administration’s agenda last Wednesday. Wolf explained the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was immediately suspending enrollment in Global Entry and several other Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP), including NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST. Thousands of New Yorkers are members of these programs, because they allow people to bypass typically long Customs and Border Protection (CPB) lines.
The state’s recently enacted “Green Light Law,” which gives illegal aliens access to drivers’ licenses — but also blocks federal agencies like ICE and CPB from accessing the state’s DMV records without a court order — was the tipping point. In a letter provided to state officials, Wolf noted the law “compromises CPB’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying to TTP membership meets the program’s eligibility requirement.”
Why is that important? “In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids,” Wolf added. “In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission.”
And that was before the law took effect in December, precipitating a surge of illegals rushing to New York DMVs to obtain their new identification, using foreign documents such as passports or a driver’s license to get it.
Not all New Yorkers were on board. Lawsuits filed by Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola and Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns, both of whom argued the law would put him in conflict with federal immigration law, were dismissed separately by U.S. district judges, Gary Sharpe and Elizabeth Wolford, for the same reason: Both judges deemed the clerks lacked standing to challenge the law.
New York Attorney General Letitia James was pleased the courts dismissed “meritless claims."And last Friday she announced her intent to sue the DHS. "Despite President Trump’s attempt to punish New Yorkers for passing our own laws and standing up to his xenophobic policies, we will not back down,” she said.
Xenophobic policies? During his State of the Union Address, President Trump made it clear what sanctuary jurisdictions are really all about. “Just 29 days ago, a criminal alien freed by the sanctuary city of New York was charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman,” Trump stated. “The killer had been previously arrested for assault, but under New York’s sanctuary policies, he was set free. If the city had honored ICE’s detainer request, his victim would be alive today.”
CNN’s Van Jones, who was once the Obama administration’s “green jobs” czar until he was forced to resign due in large part to his association with the 9/11 conspiracy truthers, provided the typically progressive response to such inconvenient realities. After asserting that Trump is “managing” racial issues as a “tradeoff between the Latinos and the African Americans,” Jones insisted, “Sanctuary cities are safer than non-sanctuary cities. The Cato Institute, which is libertarian, has come out and said immigrants are committing less crime.” He added, “So, for some reason he thinks that doubling down on the anti-immigrant piece is a big part of this thing.”
Remarkably, no one ever challenges the utter bankruptcy of such an absurd contention. If the Rule of Law were upheld, crimes committed by illegals would be almost wholly avoidable. Thus, it would be truly enlightening to know what Jones and other sanctuary supporters consider a “reasonable” level of murders, rapes, robberies, etc., Americans must endure, not just for accommodating illegal immigration, but seeing it incentivized by “woke” politicians.
Trump addressed that reality as well. “No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration,” he stated. “Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls, gates, and guards. Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration.”
One political-class member, Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was annoyed by the crackdown. “This is obviously political retaliation by the federal government and we’re going to review our legal options,” he said. Cuomo echoed those sentiments, calling the crackdown “pure politics.” He also asserted the federal government is “anti-immigrant.”
Nothing is more political — or more dishonest — than the ongoing and highly orchestrated effort by progressives to conflate illegal and legal immigration, as if the difference between the two is somehow irrelevant.
It is not, and the Trump administration is making that crystal clear. Moreover, Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of acting secretary at the DHS reminded Americans what Cuomo and his illegal-immigration-supporting allies have either forgotten or don’t care about: “[A] majority of 9/11 terrorists used Virginia driver’s licenses to help accomplish their evil mission,” Cuccinelli stated. Moreover, unlike Virginia, which addressed the problem, Cuccinelli added that New York is “walking backwards, quite intentionally, in the other direction to bar the sharing of law-enforcement-relevant information like vehicle registration, matching driver’s licenses to identifications, and, critically, criminal records which are kept up to date, and DMV databases.”
Access to records is only part of the equation. The Real ID Act of 2005 requires states to establish an applicant’s date of birth, Social Security number, proof of residence, and citizenship or lawful status to obtain a driver’s license compliant with that law. It also empowers the DHS secretary to define “official purposes” for which those licenses can be used, including the boarding of commercially operated airline flights, or entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants.
Nonetheless, The Washington Post reveals the administration’s efforts are rather modest: “A DHS official with knowledge of the deliberations said the department does not plan to take immediate steps against other states and cities.”
Really? Why not? Fifteen states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico offer driver’s licenses to illegals, and it’s well past time to have the courts decide if this practice — asserted to be a states rights’ issue — is really another effort to nullify federal immigration law.
Furthermore, this administration should explore every option available to undermine sanctuary policies — including demands that Congress enact laws making officials who harbor illegals subject to civil and criminal liabilities when those illegals commit crimes that harm American citizens.
Hopefully, making it inconvenient to travel is the first in a series of initiatives that would ultimately make sanctuary jurisdictions politically untenable.
Americans have abided de facto anarchy long enough.
Grassroots perspective by Patrick Hampton
Janiyah Davis is like many students across the United States, brilliant and talented, but stuck in a school that stifles her potential.
But during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address, the Philadelphia fourth grader took the spotlight. Trump presented her with an Opportunity Scholarship that would allow her to attend a public or private school of her choice. Her mother proudly stood beside her daughter as Trump announced what he says is the “next step forward in building an inclusive society.”
According to the address, 18 states have created opportunity scholarships. Janiyah, who was among many children on the waiting list for the scholarship, waits no longer.
While inclusivity and opportunity are platforms often lauded by progressive Democrats, few if any stood to support school-choice initiatives. Few if any stood to support Janiyah.
This denial is widespread — taking place across the nation, and especially back home here in Tennessee. So far, more than 57 private schools in the Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville areas have expressed interest in the state’s program for educational savings accounts. In Chattanooga, a groundswell of support for school choice has emerged. Yet Democrats remain staunchly opposed, arguing that this could do more harm than good.
More harm than students graduating without job skills? More harm than students who are below college standards? More harm than kids who can’t read in the fourth grade?
Since the 1990s, the National Assessment of Educational Progress has been the “nation’s report card” in evaluating the performance of students across the nation. According to the latest NAEP data, nationwide, only 35% of students in the fourth grade can “read proficiently.” Similar data is reflected within my home state and town, with just over a third of students at the local and state level being able to read “proficiently or higher.”
Students aren’t faring well. So why would Democrats be against more choices to benefit students stuck in failing schools?
The current public-school system is as follows: Grocery Store A sells you a bad apple. You complain to management only to return and purchase yet another bad apple. Grocery Store B has apples of excellent quality, but because of government regulations, you can only shop at Grocer A because you live near that grocer.
With ESAs made possible, you’d be able to shop at Grocer B with no strings attached. As more people shop elsewhere for apples, Grocer A loses money and must decide whether to stock better apples or shut down its produce section.
By contrast, if a school is failing a student, what options exist for the concerned parent? Should she send yet another complaint to the superintendent? With an educational spending account, a mother could move her child to a better school. Should other parents follow suit, this would prompt underperforming schools to either improve or close their doors.
This free-market approach allows schools to compete and be their greatest. It’s what any concerned parent wants for their child, but it’s what liberal-leaning teachers unions and lobbyists oppose.
It’s simple; school choice aces the test for many parents who have demanded better. It checks all the boxes of inclusivity and opportunity — the very things Democrats claim to support. Politicians aiming for reelection must get behind this movement. We believe great schools should be rewarded, and as a concerned father and education advocate, I stand with millions of parents whose children deserve better than what has been delivered. I stand with Janiyah.
INEVITABLE OUTCOME: Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman, who is suspected of releasing classified information, is fired and escorted out of White House after Trump acquittal (Fox News)
SECOND IMPEACHMENT WITNESS SACKED: Trump recalls Ambassador Gordon Sondland (Washington Examiner)
SIGNALING PRIORITIES: Trump budget would cut $4.4 trillion in spending, boosting defense while slashing safety nets and foreign aid (Fox News)
BUTTIGIEG PREVAILS: Iowa Democrat Party awards Pete Buttigieg 14 delegates, Bernie Sanders 12 after caucus meltdown (Fox News)
IF NOT FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS… Buttigieg argues for end of Electoral College after Iowa “victory” without popular vote (Breitbart)
BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Buttigieg high-school essay praised “Profile in Courage” Bernie Sanders (The Daily Caller)
BRAVO: Actor Gary Sinise recognized with Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award for supporting veterans (Washington Examiner)
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE… Obama-produced film wins Oscar; producer quotes Communist Manifesto in acceptance speech (The Daily Wire)
COPS ATTACKED: Two New York officers shot in assassination attempts; Trump rips Mayor Bill de Blasio (USA Today)
REPUBLICANS ATTACKED: Man deliberately rams vehicle into GOP tent full of volunteers (The Daily Wire)
POLICY: China’s stranglehold on pharmaceuticals threatens Americans’ health and national security (Issues & Insights)
POLICY: Unlike in Europe, the U.S. approach to climate change is actually working (Washington Examiner)
HUMOR: Adam Schiff wins Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in a Fictional Impeachment (Genesius Times)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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- Video: Acquitted Forever — This impeachment has done a lot of damage — not to the intended target, though.
- Video: All the Democrat Lies and Why They Matter — Simply stated: You can’t trust the Democrats. With anything.
- Video: Trump Acquitted — Has He Learned His Lesson? — Bill Whittle thinks the president may — or should — understand now the restrictions on presidential behavior.
- Video: Afghan Footage Shows What Actual Oppression Looks Like — Real sexism is entirely different from what our “woke” leftists claim.
- Video: The Left Attacks Actress for Being Straight — The Left forced actress Jameela Jamil “out of the closet” after harassing her for being straight.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “We are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.” —Ronald Reagan
For the record: “I thought it was a terrible thing when [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] ripped up the speech. … It’s an official document. You’re not allowed. It’s illegal what she did. She broke the law.” —Donald Trump
Friendly fire: “The issue of this campaign … is that word ‘socialism.’ Some people like it, younger people like it, [but] those of us like me, who grew up in the Cold War and saw some aspects of it … don’t like it, OK? It’s not only not free, it doesn’t frickin work!” —MSNBC’s Chris Matthews
Braying jenny: “I’m stunned by [Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s firing]. I’ll talk to my colleagues about this because I know they have some concern about some of the interventions that the president has with our military. That’s such a shame. What a patriotic person.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
A blast from the past: “I don’t mind people coming up and calling me a communist.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders in 1972
Non sequitur: “We can give hundreds of millions of dollars to baseball players, but we’re telling the young people in America, ‘You want to be a teacher? You’re going to start off at a salary that you really can’t even survive on.’” —Bernie Sanders
The BIG Lie: “The truth is that our agenda is precisely the agenda that the overwhelming majority of the American people want.” —Bernie Sanders
Grand delusions: “I think once the Democratic Party is more certain about who the nominee is, you’re going to see a real coming together of everyone. I really do believe that. Trump represents the best unifier the Democratic Party could ever hope for.” —former Sen. Claire McCaskill
Non compos mentis: “Billionaires, they may own more shoes than the rest of us, they may own more cars, they may own more houses, but they shouldn’t own a bigger piece of our democracy.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Village idiots: “They told me I only had 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.” —Oscars winner Brad Pitt
And last… “Obama recalled ALL politically appointed ambassadors as soon as he took office. Remember that, liberals? No? Didn’t care until Trump does it?” —Liz Wheeler
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis