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Advice for Trump and Biden to Close Out the Race

By Peter RoffNewsweek

The 2020 election is coming down to the wire and it’s closer than most would acknowledge. The polls say former vice president Joe Biden has a substantial lead over President Donald Trump, but as in 2016, there’s reason to believe the polls are wrong.

Call it a hunch based on more years of covering American politics than I’m comfortable acknowledging, but media-conducted public polls that match candidates head to head have grown increasingly unreliable even as they’ve grown in importance. The more of them there are, the less they can be relied upon, at least for their value in predicting outcomes.

There are many documented reasons for this, including the ways data are manipulated after being collected and the trend away from landlines to cell phones. All that is for later. The important thing for each candidate is how he closes the race, as it is likely to make the difference between victory and defeat.

For Donald Trump:

During the campaign, Trump has learned the truism that those who live by the sword also die by it. In 2016 he made former secretary of state Hillary Clinton‘s character a major issue—some would say the issue—and won. This time the Democrats have made his character the principal issue in their campaign and he’s been on the ropes because of it.

His response, which at times verges on whining, is unbecoming a president. Voters don’t like it. Those who voted for him in 2016 did so because they expected him to take on “the swamp.” He said he knew it would be tough. Maybe he didn’t realize how tough it would be. In the process, however, he’s delivered on many of the other promises he made, something the other swamp dwellers don’t like because it proves things can be changed if you’re willing to fight for them.

To close the campaign, Mr. Trump needs to take the focus off himself and turn it back on the country he promised to “make great again.” It was an effective message then and would be again now. In a recent Gallup survey, 56 percent of the respondents said they were better off now than they were four years ago. That suggests there are plenty of people out there who think the president did a lot of things right even though he’s been investigated, impeached and vilified by the major media more intensely than any president in recent memory—including Richard Nixon.

Instead of talking about Hunter Biden (though there is a lot to talk about), Donald Trump needs to sell the successes of his first term as a reason for the voters to give him a second. Talk about economic growth. Talk about tax cuts, about record employment for Black and Latino Americans, about the creation of millions of new jobs, the manufacturing renaissance, achieving energy independence, criminal justice reform, fighting sex trafficking more aggressively than any previous administration, brokering real deals to help bring peace to the Middle East and keeping America out of new wars.

The pieces are there, Mr. President. You just have to put them together for people. Because if you don’t, no one else will.

Trump Biden Florida parade
A caravan of supporters for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden drive past supporters of President Donald Trump standing on the sidewalk next to the Versailles Restaurant during a Worker Caravan for Biden event on October 18, 2020 in Miami, Florida.JOE RAEDLE/GETTY

For Joe Biden:

The former vice president spent much of the campaign sequestered in his home in Delaware, communicating over the internet and through supporters. As a strategy, it worked. It kept him out of the limelight most of the time and allowed everyone to remain focused on the president, who daily found a way to remind people who didn’t vote for him why they don’t like him.

But being the anti-Trump is not enough to get him across the finish line first. Most late-deciding voters choose to stick with the devil they know rather than taking a chance on the one they don’t—and none of the Democrat’s proposals on taxes, jobs and the economy are compelling enough by themselves to persuade people to switch. Biden has to spend the last week telling people in more detail than he’s as yet put forward just what his presidency would do to bring America back from the COVID lockdown recession. And he has to be the one who does it—to show people he understands what he’s advocating and not just direct potential voters to a website.

This leads to another issue: Biden must address questions about his fitness for office head-on. The Republicans may have started the whisper campaign about his not being up to the job, but it’s seeped into the national conversation. Biden will need to campaign aggressively, out in the open, on his feet, as if it was his first run for U.S. Senate, to put an end to the growing buzz on both sides of the aisle that he’s just a placeholder for his running mate.

Finally, the Democratic nominee must get out in front of the stories about his son Hunter and their alleged corruption. The stories may not be true, but what the elder Biden has said thus far has not carried enough weight with voters still trying to make up their minds.

As Democrats have done with Trump, voters are equating Biden’s lack of candid answers about specific questions with possible guilt. It’s hard to face when it involves a family member, but Biden needs to put the country first—something he and other members of his party have repeatedly and from the start accused the president of failing to do.

If Biden has no doubt his son did nothing wrong, he should announce he will appoint a special counsel—on par with Robert Mueller‘s investigation of President Donald Trump—to investigate and clear up once and for all the questions about Hunter’s business dealings in China, Ukraine and elsewhere. If Biden can’t do all that, the president, who once wrote a book on the art of the “comeback,” will probably have an extra chapter to add to the next edition.

It’s a close election that will decide, more than at any time since 1980, the direction of the nation for decades to come. America will either move to the right or lurch to the left depending on which of the two men on the November ballot makes the better case to the electorate. How each of them finishes the race will likely determine which way the nation will go.


Rapper 50 Cent Says Biden’s Tax Plan a ‘Bad Idea’

By Peter RoffAmerican Action news

File:50 cent en concierto.jpg
www.photosbyalyssa via Wikimedia Commons

Joe Biden likes to claim his plan to repeal the Trump tax cuts won’t cause most Americans to see their taxes rise. That’s wrong, say both a famed rapper and a noted anti-tax activist – a position backed up by a newly released study that also projects wages for an average American household will decline if his plan is enacted.

An analysis of the Biden plan released by Grover G. Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform said the passage of Biden’s plan would lead to a top marginal rate of more than 60 percent on many households and small businesses.

This news did not sit well with the rapper 50 Cent – commonly known as “Fitty” – who threw his support to President Donald Trump, saying on Twitter “Yeah, I don’t want to be 20 Cent. 62 percent is a very, very bad idea.”

Under the Biden plan higher earners like the rapper, who was born Curtis James Jackson III, who are New York City residents could see their top rate go as high as 62 percent. “Are you out of ya (expletive deleted) mind?” he said through his social media account.

A separate study by Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff for the non-partisan Goodman Institute looked at the tax and Social Security changes that would occur under the Biden plan found that wages would decrease by $1,000 per year for households with income of $50,000 and by $2,000 per year for a two-earner couple making $100,000. Additionally, because the $400,000 threshold in the former vice president’s plan is not indexed, couples who start out with a modest income in their 20’s could end up “paying the Biden tax by the time they are in their 50’s.”

The Goodman study also found the tax discriminated based on age, with younger entrepreneurs facing “six times the extra burden on retirees with the same income in their 60’s, living off accumulated wealth.”

Biden has vowed to steeply raise personal income taxes and impose an additional 12.4 percent payroll tax (along with a doubling of the capital gains rate to 40 percent). New York has an 8.82 percent income tax and New York City takes another 3.876 percent. Ironically, his plan would have the biggest impact on taxpayers in blue cities and states – his base of support in the upcoming election – because they typically impose a higher tax burden on their residents.

“50 Cent speaks the truth when he says no one should have 62 percent of any dollar they earned taken by government. 50 Cent speaks not just for rappers but for millions of small businessmen and women who would be hit by the high tax rates threatened by Biden and New York,” Norquist said.

Other studies that have looked at the Biden plan, including those from The Tax Foundation, the Tax Policy Center, and Penn/Wharton all projected taxes will rise on all income groups if the Biden plan becomes law.


How a Biden presidency will change your life·

The end of American Constitutional government

By Larry Fedewa Ph.D.DrLarryOnline.com

Everybody keeps saying, “This is the most important election in our lifetime, if not in American history.” Is this true? Why do we keep hearing this?
The answer to the question is, Yes. It is truly the most important election at least in our lifetime, perhaps in our history with the exception of the election of 1860, which ignited the Civil War.


The reason for this judgement, however, differs for each side of the debate. Biden supporters assert that President Trump is a failed president, whose continuation in office will threaten the future of America. They follow with a series of accusations which are expressed in the context of what an evil person he is, citing mostly statements or tweets he has made, whether actually or allegedly. 


Unfortunately, however, it is rather more difficult to determine the actual positions of the Democrat ticket due to the discrepancy on certain issues between Candidate Biden’s shifting support on key questions, such as, fracking and fossil fuel policies, COVID, economic shut-down, packing the Supreme Court, Chinese military aggression, and other issues, as well as different views put forth by surrogates and the DNC. 


All of this casts a shadow over Mr. Biden’s claim that he IS the Democrat Party today. However, there seems to be enough evidence to assert that the following outline is reasonably representative of their platform. The underlying issue, however, concerns the Constitution of the United States of America.


The theory of Constitutional Law which characterizes the liberal movement holds that the language of the Constitution itself was developed in the 18thcentury and should not be taken literally. Rather the Constitution represents the intentions of the Founders and should be adapted to modern problems and issues by following the “spirit” rather than the letter as written.This approach allows the American judiciary — at all levels – to rule according to current political trends. Thus, the actual wording of the Constitution is ignored, and issues are resolved on whatever basis a particular court finds appropriate. The following positions advocated by the Democrats in this election are to be understood in this context:  Supreme CourtTo effect these changes in law would require Supreme Court approval, because they would overrule the Constitution and become the law of the land. In order for that to happen, the Court would have to be controlled by liberal justices, which it is not at present. Therefore, the Dems would pass a law expanding the number seats on the Court and then appoint known liberals to fill those seats. This is called “packing the Court”. 


Electoral College: If elected, the Dems will seek to eliminate the Electoral College in favor of the majority of the popular vote. In effect, New York and California, as the most populous states, would control the federal government. Middle America would cease to exist as a political force in the nation.  

Guns: The Second Amendment to the Constitution provides for the right of Americans to bear arms, i.e. to own weapons. This right would be overturned by the Democrat-controlled government. 


Religion: Another restriction imposed by the Constitution is the prohibition of government interference with religion, i.e. freedom of religion. The Dems are of a mind to permit the federal government to discriminate against citizens on the basis of religious beliefs. Two recent examples are the provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring all employers to provide birth control amenities to employees without regard to the religious beliefs of the employer. Another case in point is the accusation that Judges who belong to the Catholic Church are not fit for office, because of the official Catholic teaching that abortion is a sin. 


Beyond Constitutional issues, there are several other planks in the Dems’ platform: 
Economy: The most significant economic impact of the Democrat agenda is the additional taxes they will assess on the American people. Biden has declared that on his first day in office, he will rescind the Trump Tax, immediately increasing middle class taxes by several hundred dollars, to be followed by a major increase on companies and individuals with incomes and assets (passive income) totaling $300,000 or more. Presumably, this includes retirement funds and other investments which have positive yields. 
Foreign policyThe biggest issue in foreign policy is the rapidly mounting evidence that Mr. Biden is guilty of major corruption through billions of dollars advanced from foreign sources, especially China and Russia, to his son, Hunter Biden, and other relatives. This makes him the “Manchurian Candidate”, i.e. an American President controlled by the Chinese Communist party. 


Domestic policy – chief concerns in domestic policy are:

a.   Abortion — establishment of unlimited abortions at public expense, including the killing of 9th month fetuses for any reason. 

b.  Law enforcement – support for defunding of police departments in favor of social workers. 

c.    Energy – commitment to the elimination of fossil fuels by some deadline (varies from 2030 to 2050) with the accompanying loss of millions of jobs, loss of the competition with China – all without any satisfactory substitute technology and based on dubious science. 

d.  Federal support of Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other Marxist organizations which were responsible for much of the violence, property destruction and murder in 2020.

e.   Immigration – re-opening of US border to unregulated immigration and government support for these immigrants through welfare, free medical care and education.

f.     Trade – reversion to former trade policies in which US firms paid high tariffs on exported goods and services and charged no tariffs on import from foreign manufacturers.

g.   Health care – re-institution of Obamacare with socialized medicine on the horizon, i.e. complete government control of health care, probably through expansion of Medicare.


 Summary – The Biden years would thus lead to complete government control of our lives, permanent economic stagnation, permanent low employment, continual expansion of welfare-dependent population, decline of American quality of life and world standing, and ultimately a world dominated by the Chinese Communist Party.


ConclusionThat is why 2020 is the most important election in American history.


Biden Untruthful on Taxes

By Peter RoffAmerican Action news

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America via Wikimedia Commons

Former Vice President Joe Biden has taken to social media to push back against claims his economic plan will lead to a tax hike on American taxpayers. “Let me be clear,” he tweeted on October 7, “A Biden-Harris Administration won’t increase taxes a dime on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.”

At first blush, that seems to be a lie. One of Biden’s core commitments to the voters has been his and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ promise to repeal “on day one” the 2017 law that lowered marginal income tax rates on individuals and corporations. If that happens then the amount paid in income taxes will go up on everyone who pays them, not just the “wealthiest Americans” as Biden and Harris like to suggest. 

The reforms to the U.S. tax code that made up the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided a financial boost to all Americans, even those that do not pay income taxes, because of the resulting increase in economic activity and job creation.

The numbers show the tax cuts worked as intended. The average American kept more than $1,250 of what they’d earned than previously possible while the average family of four saw household income increase by $2,000. According to data compiled by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, taxpayers with incomes of between $50,000 and $100,000 saw a reduction in their annual levies twice as large as those with incomes of over $1 million.

Biden’s attack on the affluent, a tactic used by Democrats any time the economy turns sour as it has because of the coronavirus lockdowns, is calculated to win votes in November. His economic plan does not include income tax hikes for those making less than $400,000 per year – which conflicts with his promise to repeal what he calls the Trump tax cuts in their entirety – but does include several hikes in what the middle class will have to pay if his proposal becomes law. 

“The most notable tax increase he has advanced is to restore in full the excise tax associated with the Obamacare individual mandate. Virtually all families who paid this tax (before it was zeroed out by the Trump tax cut) made far less than $400,000 per year,” says the Center for a Free Economy’s Ryan Ellis.

Ellis is one of several tax policy experts to conclude Biden’s plan includes tax hikes on middle America. Groups from the left, right, and center including the liberal Tax Policy Center, the Tax Foundation, the American Enterprise InstituteThe Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and a model budget analysis produced by Penn Wharton all said taxes would go up across all income levels if the Democrat’s proposal became law.

Coming or going, it seems the former vice president is not being totally candid with the voters about what his plan would do. The Trump tax cuts will not be completely repealed, something left-wing followers of Bernie Sanders and AOC might find disappointing. The middle-class GOP voters Biden and Harris are trying to woo into their column will not like hearing they’ll be paying more to the government while potentially getting less from it. 

Biden is right on one thing though. It won’t be “one, thin dime” taxpayers will be shelling out if his plan passes; it will be a lot more.


Joe Biden Takes a Dark Turn on Blowing Up the Court

By CHARLES C. W. COOKENational Review

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses reporters in Las Vegas, Nev., October 9, 2020 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

It gets worse. For weeks, Joe Biden has refused to answer whether he intends to blow up the United States Supreme Court on the preposterous grounds that, if he does, journalists will write about it. Now, he adds that voters “don’t deserve” to know his position.  This transmutes an untenable position into a downright nefarious one.

Biden’s defenders have been trying to draw some equivalency between the threat of his “packing” (read: destroying) the Supreme Court and the Republicans’ push to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ginsburg. In and of itself, this is ridiculous: The Republicans are in control of the White House and the Senate, and, in acting now, are using a process that has been in place since 1789 and echoing a norm that has obtained throughout American history. But the equivalence also fails on its own terms, in that neither President Trump nor any of the 53 Republican senators are keeping any secrets about their plans. Trump has been open about his nomination from the start; so have the 51 Republicans who intend to vote yes; so has Susan Collins, who intends to vote no; and so has Lisa Murkowski, who opposes the process but says that she may vote yes if it comes to the floor. There is no parity here. One party is going about the business of government with the branches that it presently controls; the other party is threatening to smash those branches up.

Biden’s stance essentially inverts the way the American system is supposed to work. Going into the election, the Democrats’ position is that it would be unseemly for candidates for our electedbranches to answer questions about what they will do, but that it is imperative that candidates for the judicial branch be expected to say ahead of time how they intend to rule in major cases. Why is Biden, who knows better, indulging this? I suspect it is because he knows full well that what is being proposed by his party is monstrous and so hopes to sidestep it entirely.

Biden’s defenders have been trying to draw some equivalency between the threat of his “packing” (read: destroying) the Supreme Court and the Republicans’ push to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ginsburg. In and of itself, this is ridiculous: The Republicans are in control of the White House and the Senate, and, in acting now, are using a process that has been in place since 1789 and echoing a norm that has obtained throughout American history. But the equivalence also fails on its own terms, in that neither President Trump nor any of the 53 Republican senators are keeping any secrets about their plans. Trump has been open about his nomination from the start; so have the 51 Republicans who intend to vote yes; so has Susan Collins, who intends to vote no; and so has Lisa Murkowski, who opposes the process but says that she may vote yes if it comes to the floor. There is no parity here. One party is going about the business of government with the branches that it presently controls; the other party is threatening to smash those branches up.

Biden’s stance essentially inverts the way the American system is supposed to work. Going into the election, the Democrats’ position is that it would be unseemly for candidates for our electedbranches to answer questions about what they will do, but that it is imperative that candidates for the judicial branch be expected to say ahead of time how they intend to rule in major cases. Why is Biden, who knows better, indulging this? I suspect it is because he knows full well that what is being proposed by his party is monstrous and so hopes to sidestep it entirely.

Biden’s argument in this clip is unequivocal. He agrees that the idea of “packing the Supreme Court” is an outrageous “power grab.” He suggests that it takes people of courage to stand up to their own party when it begins to flirt with such outrageous propositions. And, most important of all, it is clear from this clip that there is nothing “different” about this debate in 2020 than there was back in 2005. By his own terms, Biden agrees with FDR that the Court was “thwarting” the government’s agenda. By his own terms, he is aware that that government had won in a landslide. And yet, despite this, he understands that the planned remedy was disgraceful. FDR, Biden says, was “corrupted by power in my view,” and his “court packing” plan served as a good reminder of how “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What was necessary — what Biden explicitly wanted “entered into the record” — was that “statesman” stand against “political exigency.”

A good example of such a statesman, Biden said, was . . . well, Joe Biden.

Where is that man today?


Ex-GOP Leaders Commit to $10 Million Ad Campaign Against Trump

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

A group led by former New Jersey GOP Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said Friday it would be spending “at least” $10 million on a digital, television, and direct mail campaign in key states with the intent of defeating President Donald J. Trump in his bid for re-election.

“Millions of lifelong Republicans who have voted Republican in every presidential election are ashamed of Donald Trump’s lack of decency and incompetence,” Whitman, the former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush and national chairwoman of the Steering Committee for Republicans and Independents for Biden. Her group is one of several composed of one-time GOP elected officials and political consultants who are engaged in efforts to stop Mr. Trump from winning a second term. 

The campaign will be surgically targeted, the groups said in a release, to suburban voters, particularly suburban women who, it claimed, “have been fleeing the Republican party in droves” over concerns for Mr. Trump’s character and his lack of empathy for the American middle class.

“His refusal to follow the science has led to over 200,000 American lives lost to the pandemic and voters across the country know it. Republicans and Independents For Biden will spend the rest of this election letting Republican voters know that it is okay to set our partisan differences aside in this election and vote for the only decent, experienced, leader on the ballot,” Whitman – who was twice elected governor of New Jersey with less than 50 percent of the vote said.

The group’s first ad in the campaign, “Daughters,” will initially begin appearing in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona almost immediately across multiple platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and television streaming services.

Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona are all home to pockets of suburban women who voted for Trump in 2016 but, according to polls the group conducted for the ad campaign women, “are not only concerned about his glaring character deficiencies, but also his incompetent and inadequate response in addressing the coronavirus.”

According to its release, Whitman’s organization is “affiliated with and paid for by The Lincoln Project,” a group formed by high-profile GOP operatives, several of whom are veterans of the McCain presidential campaign. The group has been criticized by many regular Republicans for taking multiple, large dollar contributions from Democrats and for expanding its efforts into campaigns for the U.S. Senate with the intent of flipping control of the body to the Democrats in the 2020 election. 

Among those involved in The Lincoln Project are former McCain presidential campaign senior strategist Steve Schmidt, former McCain and John Kasich for President aide John Weaver, former Evan McMullin strategist Rick Wilson, and Jennifer Horn, the one-time chairman of the New Hampshire State Republican Party.


Biden: ‘Firmly Planted to the Left’

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America via Wikimedia Commons

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s deliberately projecting a moderate image in his campaign against President Donald J. Trump, was accused Monday of being “firmly planted to the left” by Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Ms. McDaniel, the niece of one-time GOP presidential nominee Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, told FBN’s Stuart Varney that Biden, to win the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other hard-left leaders in the Democratic Party, had positioned himself well outside the mainstream of U.S. politics in his latest effort to win the White House. 

“I do think he is firmly planted in the left,” the top RNC official said, citing Biden policies that would raise taxes and abolish jobs in the U.S. energy industry to underscore her point. Rather than be vague or misleading about his intentions as he has been doing, she said it would be fairer to the voters if the onetime U.S. Senator from Delaware went “on the road with Bernie and AOC” to talk about his real agenda.

Objectively, Biden is running farthest to the left of any Democrat seeking the presidency since Michael Dukakis ran in 1988. After famously bragging that he was a “card-carrying member of the ACLU” and defending the controversial state prison furlough program that allowed even those convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole to be allowed out on weekend passes, the former Massachusetts governor ended up losing the popular vote to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in what amounted to an Electoral College landslide. 

Biden has vowed to roll back the recent tax cuts that sparked considerable job creation and growth in the U.S. economy before the economic lockdowns instituted in many states because of the onset of the novel coronavirus brought on a recession. He’s also pledged to end fracking, which would severely threaten America’s new-found energy independence, expand Obamacare, and has suggested he would abolish the federal law preventing labor unions from requiring workers to join them as a condition of employment. He’s also suggested that as president he would push for the repeal of the so-called “Hyde Amendment” that prohibits federal dollars from being used directly to fund abortions.

The political potency of the abortion issue, which generally adheres to the benefit of candidates who take what is known as “the right to life” position, will be tested in the upcoming election. Trump has made his opposition to abortion rights a cornerstone of both his campaign and his presidency, pointing frequently to the number of judges he has appointed to the federal bench whom he believes are in sync with his thinking on the issue. Stunningly, several recent polls suggest that Biden is nonetheless gaining support among Catholics and self-described evangelicals who the abortion issue is a major motivating factor in determining how they will vote. 

Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, are also on the leftward edge of the gun issue. During the campaign, both have talked openly about banning the private ownership of certain kinds of weapons and accessories like high-capacity magazines as well as suggesting they are willing to consider confiscation of firearms already in private hands.


The Joe Biden Show

Is he St. Joseph or Joe the Terrible?

By Larry Fedewa Ph.D.DrLarryOnline.com

The Democrat Convention, held last week, was the first time in American history that a major party convention was held on television with no live crowd in attendance. Being the first to do anything is always a uniquely difficult challenge which requires imagination, originality and the courage to risk failure. All these attributes are magnified substantially when your new, experimental product will be seen for the first time – with no trial runs – by tens of millions of people for four days — with the outcome likely to have a major impact on the future of the most famous nation in world history.

This is the nature of the challenge which faced the planners of the recent Democrat convention. They deserve a lot of credit for meeting that challenge with imagination and courage. Their product has been judged on two levels: technical and content.

Technical

Technically, the production was excellent. They chose to utilize their Hollywood connections for a news broadcast format, where a host/anchor introduces a series of guests. The hostesses were young, attractive actresses, who performed their commentaries and introductions flawlessly. The “guests” were a mixture of children and ordinary people with a personal story to tell, celebrity entertainers who performed very hip music, and, as the nights advanced, an increasingly dominant collection of politicians, both obscure and prominent. All seemed well-rehearsed and the programs flowed smoothly through every night’s performance –logistical and technical difficulties well in hand.

In all, the technical accomplishments deserve a great deal of recognition and credits to the planners, organizers and implementors of the week.

Content

The content and overall message of the four days was always bound to be controversial since it was designed to present one of the two major political visions. While the major theme of the convention was proclaimed to “unify America”, there seemed to be a sub-text of “dump Trump”. The truly vicious attacks and name-calling of the President did not seem conducive to joining hands with his followers. In fact, it seemed intentionally aimed at infuriating them. The overwhelming impression of the entire program seemed to have been an obsession with defeating Mr. Trump – to the extent of omitting any details of their plans to bring about the unity they originally set as their goal.

They did detail some of their perceptions of the Americans who have suffered in various ways in recent times, including prejudice, police brutality, and loss of medical insurance. The net impression of this emphasis on the evil Donald Trump and of white racism with its effects on the poor African American community was a very dark picture of present day America, accompanied by promises to make it all better, but no attention to how they intend to do it.

If the final criterion of success is audience ratings, then we have to point to the fact that the ratings of this year’s Democrat Convention were down from 2016 by 18% at 22.6 million households according to early estimates. It is impossible to tell how many additional viewers watched on live stream computers.  Also, there is no way to evaluate what this means, since there is no similar program to compare it with. The first comparable program will start on Monday evening, when the GOP convention goes live.

The Joe Biden Show  

The unquestionable star of the convention was former Vice President, Joseph Biden, enjoying his day in the sun after nearly 50 years in politics. Not only were many of the politicians praising him in the most glowing terms, but they were joined by his wife, children and grandchildren.  The praise was most extravagant even by his former rivals, who a few months ago were telling us how deficient he was for the nomination. But then that is politics – all for the party, including setting aside personal opinions of winners. The most prominent critic of Biden in that group was Kamala Harris, who called him a racist (as she does all her enemies). This time, as his Vice Presidential nominee, she professed him to be a man of so many talents and accomplishments that he sounded like a candidate for sainthood.

The Speech   

Everyone was waiting anxiously for Mr. Biden’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, some with trepidation that he would make one of his well known bloopers. He has been accused by many critics of being in the early stages of dementia, but there has been no clinical evidence to support this judgement, even though some unscrupulous physicians have contributed public diagnoses of dementia  — or reduced mental capacity – without ever having examined him or even encountered him socially. Such allegations should be discounted immediately and totally.

Another factor may figure in his lifelong tendency to make mistakes in diction, and that is his battle against stuttering. A person who stutters may learn better diction, but the attention that effort requires is a constant distraction from what he is saying. This distraction can cause losing one’s train of thought, hesitation while trying to remember a name or a word or a fact and mispronouncing some word – to name a few of the hazards unique to stutterers.  (For more on this, read John Hendrickson, “What Joe Biden can’t bring himself to say”, The Atlantic, Jan-Feb 2020). Stuttering cannot, however, be equated with low intelligence or dementia, no matter what popular opinion dictates.

So, what about the Biden speech of his life last Thursday evening? My first impression was that it was very well done and very effective, the best speech of his long career. It was very much an answer to “Who am I?”, very emotional and personal. It was a testimony to his intent to do his best to achieve the goals of the campaign, in the most compassionate and comprehensive way possible.

What it wasn’t was an illustration of his solutions to the challenges so urgent in American life at this troubled time in our history. There was no mention of China, of Iran, NATO, Al Qaeda, North Korea or any other foreign policy issue. Nor was he specific about internal American affairs – the riots in our streets, the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade deficit, American manufacturing, the current supply chain, among many other issues. Blaming Donald Trump is not an answer. It raises a question, what would you do?” At the end of Mr. Biden’s speech, along with 22.8 million other viewers, we couldn’t answer that question.

Saint or just another corrupt Democrat?

We will close this reaction to the 2020 Democrat Convention with a comment on Mr. Biden as a public servant. There are sharply contrasting views of his history. On the one hand, the praise he received for four long convention sessions left the overall impression that he possesses every virtue a public servant can exemplify. He is a family man, a survivor of terrible personal tragedy, a dedicated public servant, skilled in crossing the aisle in the Senate, a listener, compassionate, with a deep knowledge of all the functions of government, including the Oval Office, selfless and sinless.

On the other hand, his critics cite his record of complaints of illicit touching and fondling of women – bolstered by TV clips of his unduly familiar hands on various women – and then the accusations of his unethically paving the way for his son, Hunter Biden’s, profiting from transactions with Ukraine and China. These accusations are yet to be proven in court.

It is, however, a matter of public record that he has accumulated a net worth estimated by CBS to be $9 million. Peter Schweizer’s book, Profiles in Corruption (2020) details Biden’s actions as Vice President to benefit five members of Biden’s family, although no specific steps have been taken to prove that Schweizer’s charges, even if true, were illegal or criminal. Nevertheless, even such detailed accusations begin to tarnish the saintly profile ascribed to Mr. Biden by the Convention. If proven, they would mark the end of his career as a politician. We will see what happens.


Ten 2020 Issues, Policies, Personalities — and Chance

We’re in uncharted territory: lockdowns, social anarchy and violence, virtual campaigning, and a heap of known unknowns.

By Victor Davis HansonNational Review

Former Vice President Joe Biden adjusts his protective face mask as he speaks about his economic recovery plan during a campaign event in New Castle, Del., July 21, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

We’re in uncharted territory: lockdowns, social anarchy and violence, virtual campaigning, and a heap of known unknowns.

The nation has never seen an election like this. A mysterious virus from China has terrified the country, killed perhaps 180,000 Americans, and is now weaponized as a political asset to neuter the president. Half the country is still in de facto quarantine. Governments — national, state, and  local — for the first time have induced an artificial but severe  recession.

The country is convulsed by riots, looting, and urban violence, but with the novelty that many governors and mayors have either turned a blind eye to the anarchy or contextualized it as a legitimate reaction to social injustice.

Joe Biden has been incommunicado for nearly four months, so much so that the Democratic Party believes that his vice-presidential running mate may well be the next president much sooner than later. And the media seek to shield Biden from himself by aborting normal journalistic scrutiny — on the unspoken surety that he is not cogitatively able to conduct a normal campaign and, indeed, in one unguarded moment of confusion and bewilderment, might well sink the entire 2020 progressive agenda.

The result is a virtual candidate, with virtual issues, and a virtual campaign. How then can we adjudicate what issues will matter?

1) The Lockdown. More or less, Americans followed the March–June lockdowns that seemed at least for a while to slow the viral spread. Of course, “flattening the curve” to prevent hospital overcrowding soon insidiously morphed into the impossible task of stopping the virus by shutting down the economy and quarantining the population. I suppose the theory was “we had to destroy the health of a society to ensure it was healthy.”

We know from Sweden and the gradual diminution in cases in the hardest hit states of the U.S. Northeast that the virus has a say in such policies. It seems determined to have an initial spike followed by a lull and yet another lesser spike, before it finds it harder to infect more vulnerable victims, as antibodies and T-cells increasingly ensure either growing de facto immunity or asymptotic infection, all while herd immunity rises and the virus plays itself.

We will soon, perhaps in a year or so, learn of the real tally of forced quarantines — the substance abuse, child abuse, retrogression in millions of young students denied K–12 learning and supervision, missed health diagnostics and preventative care, and delayed or cancelled surgeries. And the tab will likely be far higher than the coronavirus death count and the post-viral fatigue and morbidity of stricken but recovering patients. In other words, there were never blue/red choices or Democratic/Republican ones, but only bad and worse and all in between.

Fairly or not, the lockdown as a political issue is now crystalized as back-to-school/not-back-to-school for millions of the nation’s students, the vast majority of whom are either going to be immune — or asymptomatic if infected. To the degree Trump makes the moral argument that in such a lose/lose scenarios we have far more to forfeit by keeping kids home than at school, and that we can protect vulnerable teachers through reassignments from classroom teaching, he will win the issue.

Biden’s insistence that schools remain closed is likely a losing issue, because voters know that locked-in families are increasingly not viable —economically, physically, and psychologically, and in a way that outweighs even their fear of the virus. As a grandfather of a special-needs child, I can attest that the months without skilled teaching and classroom stimulation have been disastrous — they’ve now wiped away much of the stunning progress achieved in the past year by skilled and emphatic classroom teachers.

2) COVID. Like any other natural or manmade disaster — from 9/11 to Katrina to the 2008 financial crisis — the sitting president gets praised or blamed depending on whether the catastrophe is seen as waning or waxing, even if it is well beyond a president’s ability to either worsen or mitigate any such disaster.

COVID up until now is a he said/she said, dead-ender, as data can be adduced that the U.S. did better than the UK or Spain but worse than Germany, or should have/should have not issued the travel ban, quarantines, or earlier/later or not at all. The point is not the past status of the virus, but that the trajectory from October 1 to November 3 — Election Day — will become political. If the second spike deflates, the virus seems to decline, and people instinctually regain confidence, with news of impending vaccines and far better treatments, then Trump will benefit from that reality. If we see a third spike at this time — say, one that falls heavily on teachers who returned to work in some states — then Biden will claim “I told you so.”

3) The Economy. Even Biden cannot argue that the pre-viral economy was inert when he knows it was booming by any historical marker. Its weakness — huge deficits — is neutralized as an  issue because Biden and Harris, to meet their fantasy agendas, would borrow far more than even Trump has. Polls understandably continue to suggest more voter confidence in Trump than in Biden on economic issues. Whether the economy — rather than the lockdown and virus — is the news will hinge on whether it continues to recover or suffers a sudden debt/financial/liquidity crisis.

4) The Violence and Social Anarchy. The wreckage of the inner core of our major cities should be Trump’s greatest issue, given that even blue-city mayors and the network and cable news industry cannot censor all the sickening and nihilistic violence. The Left and its appeasers own the violence. Initially, they proudly enabled the demonstrations in hopes of weaponizing the outrage over the death of George Floyd into another “Charlottesville” writ against Trump.All Our Opinion in Your Inbox

The meme that Trump’s “stormtroopers” want to take over cities is now a stale joke, given that  Antifa seems eager to roast Portland police personnel in their barricaded precinct, while looters in the million-dollar mile of Chicago greedily target Gucci and Nikes as “reparations” justice.

If Trump frames the issue that he is the only sane impediment between all that and civilization, he will be helped enormously. Biden’s recourse seems to be to stay quiet about the violence and to outsource support for the demonstrators to Harris, while he now and again nods to law and order and claims he wants to defund the police without defunding the police. In a larger sense, Biden seems fixated on past May-June inert issues that often drove down Trump’s polls, but seems baffled that the real challenges are August-October issues that are quite different, fluid, and breaking in Trump’s direction.

5) The Strange Case of the Biden VP. In Democratic terms, Harris was the only viable pick once Biden explicitly limited his running-mate selection to a woman and implicitly to a black woman. The other younger, more woke candidates were unvetted — and for good reason given their now exposed pasts. The only other candidate with stature is Susan Rice, who has never been elected to anything; but, more important, seems incapable of telling the truth, and she tends to alienate everyone with whom she deals.

But Harris has problems of her own that explain why she exited the Democratic primaries early with nonexistent support. She is rude, often ill-prepared, demagogic, and seems to think her role as VP is threefold: a) Trotskyization of her recent hard-left social persona that failed so miserably in the primaries; b) a wink and nod “centrist” rebirth, by carefully referencing her career as a California prosecutor (when in fact she was a vindictive DA), and c) privately reassuring leftists, donors, Sandernistas, and the Antifa/BLM crowd that if they elect Biden now, they will be very soon be electing Harris, who will revert to her hard-core leftist essence, since she will not have to face voters as she did in 2019. In sum, her appointment prompted short-term giddiness; but in retrospect, her long-term negatives will start becoming  an issue.

6) Socialism. The new old Joe Biden is not really a socialist convert. He is a naïve Menshevik who has no idea of the nature of those who are telling him what to say and do. So far, he has mixed the message that he is impaired and personally fearful of the coronavirus — understandable given his age and health — with his usual platitudinous phrases (“first, second, . . .”; “come on, man”) and calls for patriotic obeyance to the quarantine. Throughout, he avoids telling America what he is for and what he is against— and whether the agendas of Bernie Sanders, AOC, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren are his own.

Whether before or during the debates, Biden will have to answer yes or no to fracking, reparations, government confiscations of semi-automatic guns (even the U.S. government  cannot buy “back” what one never “owned”), Medicare for all, the end of border-wall construction, decoupling with China, free health care for illegal aliens, a wealth tax, a 40 percent-plus income-tax rate on higher incomes, and getting back into the Iran deal and the Paris climate accord. The strangest thing about this strange Biden campaign is that we all know what the hard Left was for in the primaries, we all know that Biden and Harris have embraced that losing message, and yet we known that no one will simply say, New Green Deal? Hell, Yes! Reparations? Of course! Open borders? Why Not?

Never have such contortionist candidates disowned the very issues that they bragged would usher them to victory, while reinventing themselves as something they are not — with the surety that they’d revert to what they are if they were elected.

7) Tweeting versus Mental Confusion. The proverbial swing voter in the ten or so states is the key to the election. Without much sweat, Trump will fire up his base and the old Perot/Reagan Democrat/Tea Party voters who previously hid in 2008 and 2012 or voted Obama. He may well capture 10–15 percent of the black vote and 40 percent of the Latino vote. But he could still lose, given lots of new variables, like mass mail-in voting and third-party vote harvesting like the kind that destroyed California’s quite accomplished congressional incumbents and candidates in 2018.

Conventional wisdom reminds us that Trump needs to win a majority of independent suburbanites in these key purple states. The issue is simple: Do they fear getting only a recorded message when calling 9/11, an Antifa punk showing up at their corner park, a BLM looter across the street from their Costco, or another no-bail, turnstile, parolee carjacking — more than they are turned off by Trump’s tweeting, his epithets, and his shouting about “fake news”?

What bothers these pivotal voters  most: Trump on the rampage whining about how biased reporters spin fake news, or ten seconds of dead silence as Biden looks in vain for his wife, or a toady reporter, to steer him back to his prompt and his place in the script? In contrast, Trump’s most able cabinet members and advisors—Barr, Pompeo, and the recently arrived Scott Atlas—are increasingly appearing in high-profile, visible roles, and proving invaluable to the campaign

8) Known Unknowns. In the next eight days, all sorts of breaking news can change the pulse of the election. Will other Gulf Arab states join the UAE in recognizing Israel? Will Russia intervene in Belarus? Will China provoke an incident with Hong Kong or Taiwan or unleash its pit bull North Korea to embarrass Trump? Will the health of the septuagenarians Biden and Trump stay constant? Will John Durham flip a wannabe fixer like Eric Clinesmith to snare the principles in the veritable coup to destroy Trump? Will Kamala Harris go full Antifa/BLM? Will a mysterious tape, recording, intercept of a long dormant scandal appear in Access Hollywood/George W. Bush DUI style? Will Biden or Trump go full Howard Dean/I have a scream and shout “YAAAAHH!” to wreck his campaign? We all know some sort of attempted October surprise is coming, we just don’t know its magnitude and effect.

9) The Virtual Election. No one knows either how we can elect a president through virtual campaigning, virtual conventions, and perhaps virtual debates and virtual voting by mail. We suspect that Joe Biden’s cognitive challenges are the stimulus for the left-wing effort to cite the virus as grounds for changing the rules. But even when rules change, they don’t always change as the changers anticipated.

10) Sleeper Cells. In 2016, money didn’t matter. Hillary Clinton vastly outraised and outspent Trump in nearly every state. Polls of the Electoral College were way off. Voters do lie to pollsters because they don’t want their names on electronic lists, or they decline to say out loud what they like about Trump, or they’re just amused by the idea of screwing up left-wing analyses.

Worse in 2016 were the silly quoted odds that Clinton would win — often reaching absurd disparities such as a 4–1, 5–1, or 10–1 sure thing. In 2016, “organization” didn’t matter. Robbie Mook was declared a genius and proved a fool; Trump’s campaign was said to be foolish run by a bigger fool Steven Bannon, plagued by government subversion and serial firings and hirings — and yet it proved far more sophisticated in its analytics and strategies. Do record gun sales, crashing ratings for the woke NBA, weird outlier polls, voters’ own belief that Trump will win or that their neighbors will vote him in, etc. mean anything? Is right now August 2016, when the polls just can’t be wrong — again?

In sum, the more Trump talks about his empathy for the suburbanite and inner-city dweller, both deprived of their civil rights to safety and security by deliberately lax, blue-state law enforcement, the more he expresses his bewilderment but undeniable compassion for Biden’s tragic, steady cognitive decline, and the more he seems too busy to tweet about much other than the landmark Israel–UAE deal, an impending COVID vaccine and therapy breakthroughs, unexpected economic uptick indicators, and his efforts to save the nation’s children from the disaster of two lost two school years, all the more likely swing voters will break in his favor.

And all the more likely he will confound the learned-nothing/forgotten-nothing polls.


The Debates Must Go Ahead. Let Trump and Biden Have at It

By Peter RoffNewsweek

Absent any last-minute surprise, voters in November will have to pick whether they want Donald Trump or Joe Biden to be the president of the United States for the next four years. They are remarkably different in just about every way possible, with dramatically different visions for the nation’s future.

How those differences are expressed and explained is largely a function of the media. Up to now, the coverage has generally kind to Biden, while, it can be argued, the mainstream media is in open revolt against the idea of Trump winning a second term. The pro-Trump outlets, few though they may be, cannot be expected to treat the former vice president very well either.

The battle lines have been drawn, and, frankly, this leaves the American people at a distinct disadvantage. They have nowhere to go to find honest information brokers. The polarization of the press corps makes it unlikely the media can be relied upon, whatever the candidates themselves may say, to report accurately about either candidate’s position on the issues of the day.

The only way to avoid the conundrum this will cause, and thanks to the proliferation of social media and internet-based broadcasting, is for the candidates to go directly to the voters as often as possible. Both campaigns are already doing this. The Trump campaign has established a nascent broadcast network of its own that sends our original programming to counter the national narrative established by the networks. Biden, who largely remains inside his home because of the coronavirus, has also taken to giving interviews over apps that allow those who watch to hear his views without having them first feed through an editor’s filter.

That’s a good start, but, for the most part, the only people paying attention to these narrowcasts are the media, who dutifully report what they want, and the people who have already made their choice. Both campaigns are communicating to the faithful—which works better for Trump, who polls show has the approval of 90 percent or more of GOP voters than Biden, who is enthusiastically backed by only about two-thirds of Democrats.

This brings us to the presidential debates, which, in most previous elections, have amounted to little. There were times when they were important. In 1980, Ronald Reagan used his one debate with President Jimmy Carter to prove he was not the loose cannon the Carter campaign and much of the media were saying. In 1988, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis likely torpedoed his presidential aspirations when, in answering the first question asked him by CNN’s Bernard Shaw, said, hypothetically, that he would not want a man who raped and killed his wife, Kitty, to receive the death penalty.

The Obama-Romney and Trump-Clinton debates may have been entertaining, but they didn’t little to move the voters’ perceptions of either candidate. What they did do was remind Republicans how things are generally stacked against them by the Washington press corps, such as when moderator Candy Crowley intervened in a back-and-forth between Obama and Romney to Obama’s benefit or when ABC’s Martha Raddatz jumped on Trump several times so Clinton didn’t have to.

For the upcoming general election, the Commission on Presidential Debates has recommended three encounters between Trump and Biden and one between Vice President Mike Pence and whomever Biden chooses as a running mate. The Trump campaign wants four. Neither proposal is sufficient. Instead, there should be eight debates, one every other week, between the principals in which they go head-to-head without the media and without a moderator who does anything but keep time.

Trump and Biden are both, and this is meant with the utmost respect, big talkers. They’re not shy about making their views known and know how to communicate what’s on their mind. It would be refreshing to see them go head-to-head for an hour each time on a single topic, four picked by one campaign and four picked by the other. It’s a formula for a robust discussion that will get, hopefully, at what’s on the minds of the candidates and the American people.

Trump and Biden Merchandise
Girls walk past President Trump 2020 and Joe Biden 2020 sweatshirts displayed for sale on the boardwalk on July 3 in Wildwood, New Jersey.MARK MAKELA/GETTY

In previous debates, the reporters asking the questions—when they’re not playing “gotcha”—ask questions about subjects of importance to the folks who live in the Acela corridor and in the wealthy environs in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco. No one ever asks a candidate to defund ethanol subsidies or explain their views on the right to carry concealed firearms or whether they believe lower taxes and deregulation stimulate growth and lead to job creation. Instead, we get questions about banning firearms, U.S. policy toward the war in Syria and LGBTQ equality. All are important, of course, but some are more important to the people living in the heartland of American than others.

In this campaign, more than any in recent memory, we don’t need media filters and moderator mumbo-jumbo to help us decide who should be president for the next four years. We need to see as much of the candidates as we can. More debates, shorter in duration, without media stars preening for attention would serve us all well.


The Teflon Campaign

Why nothing sticks to Donald Trump or Joe Biden

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

It was congresswoman Pat Schroeder, Democrat from Colorado, who labeled Ronald Reagan the “Teflon” president in a fit of exasperation in August 1983. What frustrated Schroeder was that nothing “stuck” to Reagan—not the recession, not his misadventures in Lebanon, not his seeming detachment from his own administration. Reagan’s job approval had plunged to a low of 35 percent at the beginning of that year, but his numbers were rising and his personal favorability remained high. “He is just the master of ceremonies at someone else’s dinner,” she said.

Ironically, the one thing that did stick to Reagan was Schroeder’s nickname. The phrase was so catchy that writers applied it to mobsters (“Teflon Don” John Gotti) and to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Teflon presidents, gangsters, candidates—we have had them all. What we have not experienced until now is a Teflon campaign.

Between March 11, when the coronavirus prompted the NBA to suspend its season, and May 14, some 84,000 Americans died of coronavirus, more than 36 million lost their jobs, and Congress appropriated $3.6 trillion in new spending. It is not foolish to suppose that these world-shaking events would affect the presidential election. On the contrary: One would expect a dramatic swing toward either the incumbent or the challenger. But look at the polls. Not only has there been no big shift. There has been no shift.

On March 11, Joe Biden led Donald Trump by 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average. On May 14, he led Trump by 5 points. “Biden’s advantage,” says Harry Enten of CNN, “is the steadiest in a race with an incumbent running since at least 1944.” He has never been behind. His share of the vote has been impervious to external events.

Neither good nor bad news has an effect. Bernie Sanders ended his campaign on April 8 and endorsed Biden on April 13. Biden received no bump from this display of party unity. Tara Reade accused Biden of sexual assault on March 25, and Biden did not respond directly to the allegation until May 1. His margin over Trump did not shrink. It remained the same.

Why? The incidents of this election cycle are not the reason. Epidemics, depressions, and sex scandals have happened before. What is distinct are the candidates. One in particular.

If this race has been the steadiest in memory, it is because public opinion of the incumbent has been the most consistent in memory. “Trump’s approval rating has the least variation of any post-World War II president,” notes Geoffrey Skelley of FiveThirtyEight. Whatever is in the headlines matters less than one’s view of the president. And he is a subject on which most people’s views are ironclad.

When the crisis began, Trump’s approval rating was 44 percent in the RealClearPoliticsaverage. On May 14, it is 46 percent. A social and economic calamity befell the country, and Trump’s approval ticked up. Not enough for him to win, necessarily. But enough to keep him in contention.

Americans feel more strongly about Trump, either for or against, than about any other candidate since polling began. His supporters give his approval ratings a floor, and his detractors give his ratings a ceiling. There is not a lot of room in between.

For years, Trump voters have said that they are willing to overlook his faults because they believe the stakes in his victory and success are so high. Heard from less often have been Trump’s opponents, who are so desperate to see him gone that they dismiss the failings and vulnerabilities of whoever happens to be challenging him at the moment.

Recently the feminist author Linda Hirshman wrote in the New York Times that she believes Tara Reade’s story but will vote for Joe Biden anyway. “Better to just own up to what you are doing,” she wrote. “Sacrificing Ms. Reade for the good of the many.” Hirshman is the mirror-image of the Trump supporter who, as the president once said, would not be bothered if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. Intensifying tribalism makes this election a nonstick surface.

What gives Biden the upper hand is that there are more people who feel negatively than positively about Donald Trump. What gives Trump a chance is the uneven distribution of these people across the country. That was the case before coronavirus. It is still the case today.

Watching the numbers hardly budge over these past months, I have sometimes wondered what could move them. War? Spiritual revival? Space aliens?

Don’t think so. Throw anything at it. Nothing adheres to this Teflon campaign.


Don’t Believe Joe Biden’s Weak Attempt To Save Face On China

His flip-flops suggest that he remains troublingly clueless about the biggest geo-political peer rival and potential challenger to the United States.

By Sumantra Maitrathe Federalist

Under old-school journalism, reporters would be camping in front of Joe Biden’s campaign offices asking questions on his foreign policy: whether he still thinks Qatari-funded jihadis wanted to topple Syria’s Bashar Assad, if Libya intervention under President Obama was a mistake, and the reason for the flop of Obama’s Asia Pivot. In the last few weeks, Joe Biden has shown he would say anything to be president, including first promising to cure cancer, then flip-flopping on abortion, and finally flipping on China.

American domestic politics are for Americans to decide when the election comes, but at a time Beijing is returning to Tiananmen form, no bigger issue needs further scrutiny than Biden’s China stance.

Biden recently said in Iowa that China is a “serious challenge” and threat, adding, “We are in a competition with China. We need to get tough with China. They are a serious challenge to us and in some areas a real threat.”

Funny, because in May, he mocked the China threat, saying, “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man…They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west.”

Biden then added that he is worried about President Trump’s tariff wars against China, which is arguably “exacerbating the challenge,” and said “if we do what we need to do here at home…we can out-compete anyone.” According to reports, Biden then said: “You bet I’m worried about China…if we keep following Trump’s path.”

While pondering the alternative way, Biden said he would force China to go green: “Biden will rally a united front of nations to hold China accountable to high environmental standards in its Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects so that China can’t outsource pollution to other countries.” Yes, good luck with that. It might sound plausible in a school kid’s Earth Day project, but not in the policy plans of the prospective leader of the free world.

This, is, of course, pure madness. There is no bigger potential challenge for the West, and especially for the United States, than the rise of a near peer-rival great power like China. At this very moment, Chinese government lackeys in Hong Kong are cracking down on the largest protests of 2019, where more than a million Hong Kongers are marching to stop China’s de facto takeover of Hong Kong’s justice system, which would allow any dissident to be packed off to trial in mainland China.

But that is not the biggest issue. The problem is China is a challenge unprecedented to U.S. policymakers. Chinese peacetime gross domestic product is overtaking America’s, and China is set to soon, as a percentage of relative power, eclipse all previous great power challenges that the United States has ever faced, including Imperial Spain, Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and even the Soviet Union.

To put it simply, the conflict of interest between the rising China and an established hegemon in the United States is inevitable. In international relations, it is known as “the Thucydides Trap“.

Consider the world of international politics like a snooker table. Unlike the domestic politics of a nation state, the international system is anarchic in nature. That is because, in domestic politics there is an established government that can decide and, if needed, enforce. The lack of hierarchy in international politics makes it anarchical, in Kenneth Waltz’s terminology, because there is no global governance, and any attempt to form a global empire would invite backlash from rival powers, while any attempt at global governance would result in a global war.

Naturally, international politics is determined by nation-states, and more importantly great powers, which are the single most important actors of world politics. And great powers rise or fall due to a variety of factors: stupid policies, ideological and military overstretch, spending more than one can afford, foolish wars and global policing, failure or decline in technological competition, juvenile or effeminate elites, and the biggest variable of all: time.

In that light, the Thucydides Trap comes in.

Throughout history, there has been one completely consistent pattern: Growing and rising powers always challenge established powers. From Athens and Sparta, to Rome and Carthage, to Napoleon, to the two World Wars, and the Cold War, this pattern remained the same. China and the United States are just the new avatars of this great game, as the actors change, but the game remains the same.

In this context, conflict does not always mean war. It could be a cold war, trade war, proxy wars, anything, but conflict between a rising and established power is inevitable. As J.J. Mearsheimer states in his book, China will try and push away the United States from Asia, just as the United States once pushed away European great powers from the Western Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Biden is flip-flopping on this biggest challenge confronting the United States, tweeting friendship bands about how much he misses Barack Obama, and claiming there was not a hint of scandal during his eight years as vice president. For all his problems, President Trump has been forthright about the China challenge, much more than any current Democrat, or even a majority of the Republican leaders. In the future, this might be considered his legacy.

While most focus on tariffs and economics, China—with its AI research, space research, naval build-up, data and IP theft, and unfair trade practices—is a much bigger challenge than to suffer a dollar increase in the price of a beer can. There are questions already on how one should contain China, or what in itself is an intelligent containment strategy.

Some are pointing out their doubts about whether the present U.S. leadership and population is even martial enough to withstand the long-coming generational conflict. But whatever the case, to lightly rephrase an old and used proverb, you cannot choose whether to be interested in a coming Cold War, as the Cold War is already interested in you.

Biden’s callousness about identifying that and then his face-saving flip-flop is, therefore, the most troubling aspect of his candidacy. The less said about his Democratic colleagues, the better.


The Early ‘90s Called Joe Biden. They Want Their Foreign Policy Back

By Sumantra Maitra • the Federalist

In a recent rally, the septuagenarian former vice president flashed his pearly set and declared, to the utter confusion of foreign policy analysts across the Euro-Atlantic, that China is no threat to the West: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.”

Beijing is the world’s second-largest economy, and increasingly isolated due to its revanchism in the Asia Pacific. It is confronting Australia, India, and Japan simultaneously, challenging the U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy every day. It’s returning to Maoist totalitarianism and Chinese civilizational exceptionalism, the leader of artificial intelligence and genetics research, with advanced space warfare capabilities and highly advanced stealth and hypersonic warfare capabilities.

China is a chronic thief of intellectual property, a great power extensively buying lands (and governments) across the world, a manufacturing giant in a trade war, and a great power engaged in espionage, cyber warfare, and naval buildup. Yet, according to the front-runner of the Democratic presidential field, it is no threat to the United States and the West.

Biden is obviously wrong about China. In fact, Biden is wrong about a lot of things. Like Johnny English, it is his job to know nothing, be wrong, and goof around. He has a glowing smile, 1950s social mannerisms, righteous rage at social justice issues to update himself for the kids, and is catastrophically wrong about every single foreign policy position possible.

Let’s start with the biggest position that would come back to haunt him as president. I was a rookie reporter covering the U.S. vice presidential candidates’ debate when I saw the difference between a quietly earnest if wonkish Paul Ryan, and a smug, condescending Biden, with a media fully disposed in the latter’s favor. It was Biden who dismissed whether Russia was a revanchist power.

While one can argue about how much Russia was a “threat” per se, no one would deny that Russia is and will be an adversarial power, and something Biden’s administration not only didn’t perceive, but when informed, dismissed mockingly.

But that is not all. Biden is stuck in time, as the world changed around him. For example, Tucker Carlson writes in his book, “Ship of Fools,” “In the fall of 2002, a total of seventy-seven senators voted in favor of the Iraq War resolution. This included the majority of Democrats, and 100 percent of the party’s rising stars. Two future presidential candidates who voted for the war, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, also happened to be future secretaries of state. The future vice president, Joe Biden, voted for it…”

He also notes that, during Vietnam evacuation, “Senator Joe Biden of Delaware agreed; he introduced legislation to curb the arrival of Vietnamese immigrants, accusing the Ford administration of not being honest about how many refugees would be arriving.” Vietnamese immigrants, needless to say, are one of the most successful and assimilated groups in the United States, but that’s beyond the point.

The point is Biden never thought independently about what might be good or bad, but said the things the Democratic base wanted to hear. In 2002, Iraq War support was simply good politics, even though now no one talks about it.

Biden also argued for a renewed troop surge in Afghanistan, a conflict that has long transformed from a war to an imperial law and order mission, similar to what the British did in the 1890s, against Afghan rebels in North West Frontier Province. Funnily enough, when the most consequential decision of the Obama administration came, such as the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden, Biden argued against it. Obama, of course, took the advice of his generals instead.

To Biden’s credit, like a broken clock he was right about foreign policy twice. During one of the most catastrophic foreign policy decision in modern Western history, when Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice were arguing for toppling Muammar Gaddafi, which turned Libya into a slave trading hub and mass migration springboard, Biden apparently argued against it. He was also apparently overruled and then went on to fully support the Obama intervention, even when he despised Clinton, according to his aides.

Likewise, he was the first one to publicly state that there are no good Syrian rebels, because all are Qatari-funded Islamists. But then he promptly backtracked, genuflected, and apologized. He should have stuck by both, because history could have proved his caution and restraint right. But he did not.

The problem for Biden is much more than that. He reminds me of the grandmother in “Good bye, Lenin!” who fell in coma during the Soviet years, only to wake up after the fall of the Berlin Wall in a unified Germany, yet her grandson must continue an elaborate hoax to assure her that she is still in communist Germany, so she doesn’t have another shock and suffer a stroke.

Biden, likewise, is also stuck in the heady days of early 1990s triumphalism, with an expanding North Atlantic Trade Organization, an European Union that is a prospective trade ally, and the world fit for liberal interventionism and democracy, with a hope that China would eventually be entrenched as a pillar in the liberal order.

Unfortunately, none of that came true, and China is pretty much the biggest rising great-power rival challenge to an established superpower, compared to the history of rising-power challenges, from Sparta to Athens, Carthage to Rome, the Spaniards, Napoleon and Germans twice, to the Brits. There’s an academic consensus about it, and Uncle Joe is wrong once again.

Most importantly, however, he is opposed to his own base. Recent studies suggest, that Americans overwhelmingly, distinctly support a restrained foreign policy and less liberal interventionism and democracy promotion abroad, this stance is even stronger among the Democratic base.

The findings in this survey suggest that American voters are not isolationist. Rather, voters are more accurately described as supporting ‘restrained engagement’ in international affairs—a strategy that favours diplomatic, political, and economic actions over military action when advancing U.S. interests in the world. American voters want their political leaders to make more public investments in the American people in order to compete in the world and to strike the right balance abroad after more than a decade of what they see as military overextension.

Guess who won an election promising just that?

It is a mystery that President Trump cannot transform his foreign policy instincts into electoral support, but one can blame Trump’s poor PR, lack of strict message discipline, and continuous mainstream media opposition for that. The fact remains, however, that Trump is more attuned to a non-interventionist America than his prospective rival Biden.

It is still too early to say what would happen. The primaries and the debates haven’t started yet. While one can be sympathetic to an affable grand-fatherly figure, one should be careful about someone who has repeatedly, to use a liberal catch-phrase, been on the “wrong side of history.”


Biden’s Career Is A Testament To The Hard Left Turn Of Liberals

By David Harsanyi • The Federalist

It’s apparently never too early for presidential politics. Right now, former vice president Joe Biden tops, or nearly tops, every poll assessing the popularity of the potential 2020 Democratic presidential field. Biden, reportedly still mulling over whether 76 is too old to run for president, has claimed he’s the “most qualified person” for the position. Considering the players in the Democratic field, it’s difficult to argue otherwise.

Then again, the idea that experience is a determining factor for voters is a dubious one. The past two president have had little policy experience. Most of the Democratic field––at least the senators––has never voted for any consequential legislation. The most significant position, it seems, is how melodramatic a candidate can get about the imagined dystopia of the Donald Trump era. And when it comes to hyperbole, Biden is a heavyweight. Continue reading


Joe Biden, 1992: No Supreme Court Pick Until After Election

by Joel B. Pollak     •     Breitbart

Vice President Joe Biden spoke out forcefully against appointing a new Supreme Court justice in an election year–in 1992, when he was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and George H.W. Bush was running for re-election.

Footage of Biden delivering an emphatic floor speech on the subject on June 25, 1992 was unearthed by C-SPAN on Monday. Continue reading


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