The Grudge Report
The rest of the country has moved on from 2016 — why can’t Democrats? We’re one desk calendar away from 2020, and liberals are still trying to prove that Donald Trump couldn’t have won a two-and-a-half-year-old election without cheating. Even now, they don’t have a scrap of proof. But they’ll keep looking — because in the end, collusion is a whole lot easier for the Left to swallow than the truth: that Americans chose a conservative agenda over theirs.
Although we’re still waiting for the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, most Americans have already made up their minds. After even Michael Cohen, insider-turned-Trump-enemy, told House leaders there was no Russian conspiracy, people are ready to turn the page on the Democrats’ grudge match. If anything, the Left’s relentless pursuit of Trump may have turned him into a more sympathetic character. “Trump, he gets badgered every single day,” a New York man told USA Today.
Now, with Mueller’s investigation coming to a close, more people seem to be siding with the president, who’s insisted the whole thing was a fishing expedition from the start. Only 28 percent of Americans believe the FBI director’s investigation is fair and accurate — that’s the lowest level to date. A USA Today/Suffolk University survey also found a startling number of people — 59 percent — generally trust the president’s denials about wrongdoing in 2016. Of the people who had “some” trust in Mueller’s investigation, half agree that President Trump has been the victim of a “witch hunt.”
As far as the White House is concerned, the investigation has been a waste of taxpayer dollars from the beginning. “So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed,” President Trump tweeted, “and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report. This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime. Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an election that they thought they were going to win. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”
No wonder Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lost her appetite for bringing formal charges against Trump. By a 62-28 percent margin, Americans don’t want the president to be impeached — a wider gap than even the 54-39 percent mark from October. “I think the American people are tired of this kind of harassment of the president,” House Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said. And they’re turning on his biggest abusers — including the liberal media, who refuse to give the president a fair shake, despite major improvements on unemployment, national security, and foreign relations.
Fortunately, the American people don’t need the media to tell them when things are looking up. They understand positive change when they see it. Seven in 10 people now think the economy is in “good shape.” Only 27 percent disagree. Even the president’s approval rating is up, two points over this point last year — and climbing. If I’m a liberal, I have to be concerned. Not only is my anti-Trump strategy backfiring, but my friends in the media are losing their grip on the country. And, making matters worse, our radical platform is pushing Middle America away.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the president “cumulatively leads a generic Democratic opponent, 46 percent to 40 percent,” in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin" — some of the same states, which, not-so-coincidentally, have told liberals to turn down their extremism a notch. While the Left’s fixation on stopping President Trump’s agenda is certainly slowing his administration down, it’s also putting them at odds with voters — the same ones they need to win in 2020.
Originally published here.
SPLC Fights Fire with Fired
For as much money as Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has, they could certainly do better in the crisis PR department. A week after the organization’s stunning announcement that founder Morris Dees had been fired for allegations of racism and sexual misconduct, the group’s only move has been setting out to prove detractors right. Instead of seizing the moment for some honest soul-searching, SPLC decided to show once again how unapologetically partisan it is.
It took years for the media to start seeing the cracks in SPLC’s seemingly civil façade. After the group’s “hate map” inspired the gunman at FRC, members of the press started wondering if the group’s tactics were too reckless. Another shooting in 2017, this one by a fan of SPLC’s at a GOP baseball practice, raised even more eyebrows. Suddenly, Politico, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Weekly Standard, the Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, PJ Media, the Free Beacon, and others started sniffing around the group’s offshores bank accounts, its fiercely liberal leadership, and dangerous methodology — publishing one damning column after another: “They’ve lost their way,” “They aren’t judging fairly,” “They’re biased, polarized, and unfair.”
Then came the events of last week — ripping away SPLC’s hypocritical mask once and for all. In an astounding turn of events, the self-anointed arbiter of hate turned out to be the guiltiest one of all. There were allegations of “mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism” all threatening, the group wrote, “the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.”
Like so many of us who know the real SPLC, Rich Lowry of NRO couldn’t believe the group could write that with a straight face. “The missive is touching in its assumption that the SPLC still has moral authority or integrity. The scandal is, nonetheless, a remarkable comeuppance for an organization that has weaponized political correctness for its own money-grubbing.”
Now, instead of taking the opportunity to dig deep and recalibrate, SPLC is proving their critics right. Showing they have absolutely no interest in weeding out the bias and extremism that’s poisoned the group for years, SPLC has hired Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff to lead its “top-to-bottom” investigation of workplace culture. Tina Tchen, the group insists, will “hold a mirror” up to the organization and its leaders. “No one’s actions, no matter that person’s position at the SPLC, including those of us on the board, will be exempt from scrutiny and accountability.”
For an organization that’s never shown interest in a fair evaluation, the choice isn’t all that surprising. Instead of hiring an outside investigator with an open mind, SPLC is intentionally rigging the outcome — an approach it’s certainly familiar with after years of framing opponents. For anyone still clinging to the group’s last gasp credibility, that ought to tell them all they need to know. If SPLC were truly interested in reinventing themselves and earning back society’s trust, they would hire a neutral party — not a political hack, who will help them bury their skeletons.
Now that the SPLC has been exposed, the onus is on the media. “There’s a lot of talk,” Lowry says, “of the need for more civility in our public life. Any journalist who believes this should shun the SPLC. Its business model is based on an elaborate form of name-calling. It lumps together people who have legitimate, good-faith opinions the SPLC finds uncongenial with hideous racists, using revulsion with the latter to discredit the former…” It’s time for America to walk away, because finally “they have designated themselves.”
The Divided States of America
“We’re at war,” one frustrated Californian wrote to her local paper. “Not with another country, not with terrible diseases and plagues, not with ruthless dictators. We are at war with ourselves.” Red, blue, purple — America is a tangle of ideologies all pulling in different directions. These days, as the debates rage on, the map no longer seems to show state lines — but ideological battle lines.
It’s not as if Americans have always seen eye to eye on every issue. But the days of even general consensus seem lost. Things that we used to take for granted — values like common decency and civility — are suddenly rare. Issues that were once uncontested — the value of a fully born human life — are suddenly grounds for fierce debate. In the states, the see-saw battles are even more pronounced.
In Illinois, New York, and Rhode Island, locals have watched leaders fight to make newborn killing legal — while Missouri, North Carolina, and Arkansas try to stop doctors from dismembering babies in the womb. In one state, legal infanticide is a street party. In another, it’s a cause for community mourning. And it’s not just abortion. On education, sexuality, gender identity, immigration, and counseling, the gulfs are growing.
But how people think about the issues is just one part of the divide. “According to Pew Research, there are no issues that are widely considered top priorities by both Democrats and Republicans today. The average partisan gap between the parties’ rankings of priority issues in 2019 is 19 points, representing a 36 percent increase over the last two decades… Even as recently as 2014, the top priorities of Democrats and Republicans were much more aligned than they are today.”
There are profound differences in how the two sides view the world today. Not since slavery has there been such a stark contrast between the ideologies of the states. America survived, but barely. Of course, the silver lining is that things can shift quickly. We’ve seen entire scripts flip on abortion after the New York law. In a matter of weeks, the number of people calling themselves “pro-life” jumped by 17 points. Change is possible — but it’s also up to us.
As William Penn once said, “Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them… and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too… Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad.”
If we want good government, we need good people in it. We can’t have morally strong policies if the character of our leaders is weak. It’s time for Americans — and the church in particular — to step up in ways they haven’t before. One view is ultimately going to prevail. If we want it to be the view that our founders held, that we “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” then we have to step forward and advance those core American and biblical values.
We can’t put the nation on cruise control or think someone else will take care of it. We have to be engaged — from the school board and city council right up to Congress. Make sure you’re supporting solid candidates — or prayerfully consider becoming one. The future of the country depends on it.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.