Posts Tagged ‘Kirsten Gillibrand’

Potential 2020 Candidates ‘Hamstrung’ by Lack of Minority Staffers

December 5, 2018

Potential 2020 Democratic candidates are struggling to recruit minority staffers to help with their campaigns, a factor Democratic operatives say could severely limit success.

Emerging campaigns have been trying assemble minority campaign staffers, but there has been a shortage of capable Democratic operatives who fully understand the coalitions and how to work across racial and economic lines, despite the party’s base being increasingly diverse and young, according to Politico.

Image result for elizabeth warren, photos

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) have previously employed African Americans in senior leadership roles, so they could reactivate them in the future if they decide to run for office, giving them an advantage over emerging campaigns who are still compiling spreadsheets of potential minority staffers and strategizing about assembling diverse teams. Politico interviewed more than a dozen Democratic operatives and their consensus on the issue was there aren’t enough seasoned minority operatives to join the campaigns.

“Here’s what’s going to happen. If you don’t have any people of color on your national team or if you don’t have them in those early states … you’re going to be hamstrung,” said Jamal Simmons, a seasoned Democratic operative who has served as an adviser for multiple Democratic presidential candidates.

The shortage of minority political talent, one veteran Democratic campaign manager said, stems from the fact that Democratic campaigns and congressional offices have only recently started to make a push to diversify their staffs. Some congressional offices and state parties have worked to build an informal farm system by prioritizing minorities for mid-level positions that will lead to campaign managing jobs or chief of staff roles. But for now, the lists to pick from are small.


Ask almost any Democratic strategist for a short list of top African-American talent and many of the same names come up. Addisu Demissie, who recently ran California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom’s campaign, is regularly mentioned as one of the most capable operatives. He’s expected to serve a top-level position if Sen. Cory Booker decides to run for president.

A former adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign reflected on their experience against Hillary Clinton and how she was able to boast about her diverse campaign staff compared to his staff, which was mostly white.

“The Clinton team did a masterful job of banging the shit out of us on these issues,” the adviser said. He said it was often overblown but that they were “occasionally right.”

Brandon Hall, A veteran Democratic consultant, said it’s in the best interest of the campaigns to staff up early since they are expecting a crowded field of candidates.

“If 20 candidates run, there isn’t enough staff, period,” Hall said. “Smart candidates should make diversity a priority early. Those that do will be able to fill out a diverse senior staff.”

Minyon Moore, who served as a top adviser for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, emphasized the importance of Democrats picking up diverse campaign staff in order to stay competitive. A multiracial senior staff is imperative to assembling diverse coalitions of supporters, Moore said.

“It’s just a fact,” Moore said.

The concern expressed by Moore and other operatives has been widely voiced for years throughout the Democratic Party, Politico reported.

Democratic donors and activists have been demanding for years that Democratic candidates and lawmakers hire more minorities, to little avail. In 2016, Susan Sandler, a major Democratic donor, urged other donors to pressure the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to hire a person of color as the committee’s next executive director. Some of the potential names Sandler offered were familiar: Demissie, Ruiz and Brynn Craig, another Clinton campaign veteran. Instead, a white woman, Mindy Myers, who served as a former campaign manager for Warren and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, got the job.

Steve Phillips, a Democratic donor who founded Democracy in Color, a political organization focused on multiculturalism in politics, said his group has a database of minority operatives that campaigns can draw from. Most of the likely presidential campaigns haven’t asked to use it, he said, though it’s still early.


Power Rankings: Hillary’s back! — She can still fill a room and Democratic bank accounts!

November 2, 2018

She’s running!

Hillary Clinton, the runner-up for the Democratic nomination in 2008 and the runner-up for the presidency in 2016, wants to run again, she told the public this week. Thanks to her long record of public service, she debuts in the Top 10, leapfrogging over the likes of Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and John Delaney.

It’s bad news for Michael Avenatti, whose usefulness to the Democrats may have expired, judging by how everyone now admits his Brett Kavanaugh hearing theatrics were bogus.

And Joe Biden cracks the top three, making him the top ranked white guy this week.

[Related: Hillary Clinton’s most loyal aide now wants Michael Avenatti in 2020]

The Lesson of 2018: Character assassination, mob rule, intimidation don’t work

November 2, 2018

Even if the Democrats end up winning, they showed progressivism is a losing message.


Booker tells activists "We are in a moral moment in America"
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker exits the stage after speaking at a get out the vote event hosted by the NH Young Democrats at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter) (Cheryl Senter)


In a few days the U.S. will have its midterm results, and the Beltway press corps will lecture us on the lessons. Don’t expect to hear much about the one takeaway that is already obvious: that today’s preferred progressive politics—of character assassination, mob rule, intimidation and wacky policies—is an electoral bust. It is not what is winning Democrats anything. It is what is losing the party the bigger prize.

Six weeks ago, Democrats were expecting a blue wave to rival the Republican victory of 2010, when the GOP picked up 63 House seats. Everything was in their favor. History—the party in power almost always loses seats. Money—Democrats continue to outraise Republicans by staggering amounts. The opposition—some 41 GOP House members retired, most from vulnerable districts where Donald Trump’s favorability is low. Democrats were even positioned to take over the Senate, despite defending 10 Trump-state seats.

Democrats obliterated their own breaker in the space of two weeks with the ambush of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The left, its protesters and its media allies demonstrated some of the vilest political tactics ever seen in Washington, with no regard for who or what they damaged or destroyed along the way—Christine Blasey Ford, committee rules, civility, Justice Kavanaugh himself, the Constitution. An uncharacteristically disgusted Sen. Lindsey Graham railed: “Boy, y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it!”

A lot of voters suddenly agreed with that sentiment. The enormous enthusiasm gap closed almost overnight as conservative voters rallied to #JobsNotMobs. Even liberal prognosticators today forecast that Republicans will keep the Senate and Democrats will manage only a narrow majority in the House, if that. It’s always possible the polls are off, or that there is a last-minute bombshell. But it remains the case that the ascendant progressive movement blew an easy victory for Democrats.

Meanwhile, to the extent Democrats are winning, it has been in large part due to party leaders’ quiet but laborious efforts to sequester that movement. Yes, talk-show hosts have made a darling of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive activist who defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in a New York primary. And liberal pundits are already claiming a victory by left-wing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in Florida’s gubernatorial race will prove America aches for Medicare for All.

But on the ground, Mr. Gillum and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez are the anomalies of this cycle. The far bigger if less covered story is the extent to which Democrats have run candidates with conservative credentials, or candidates who can’t run fast enough from liberal positions.

For all the talk of the “year of the woman,” it is equally the year of the Democratic “veteran.” In battleground after battleground district, Democrats recruited former service members as their candidates: Amy McGrath in Kentucky, Richard Ojeda in West Virginia, Jason Crow in Colorado, Jared Golden in Maine, Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey, Max Rose in New York. By at least one count, more than half the veterans who’ve run in 2018 are Democrats—a huge shift, and a reason some traditionally GOP districts are competitive.

Senate races, meanwhile, have been entirely defined by the extent to which Democratic candidates have positioned themselves as “moderates.” Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, a self-described “Prada socialist” and onetime antiwar activist, now insists she would be an “independent” voice in favor of bipartisanship. Nevada’s Jacky Rosen was one of three House Democrats who voted in September to make the Trump individual tax cuts permanent. Missouri incumbent Claire McCaskill is running a radio ad boasting she “is not one of those crazy Democrats.” Asked on Fox News about her Senate colleagues, she took a swipe at Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

All of this is reminiscent of 2006 and 2008, when Democrats won Congress by running moderates and then the White House by nominating a candidate who promised to unite the nation. Only after the party jerked left did the GOP win its 2010 blowout.

Will it be different this time? The moment the polls close on Tuesday, it will be wheels up for the 2020 presidential campaign. And save for Joe Biden, every current leading contender for the Democratic nomination either was a ringleader of the Kavanaugh spectacle (Sens. Cory “Spartacus” Booker and Kamala Harris) or is a progressive icon (Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand).

If Democrats win Tuesday, it will be despite this crowd, not because of it. They’d be wise to remember that a vote to rebuke President Trump’s inflammatory politics isn’t the same as an embrace of a progressive agenda or its candidates. The Democrats’ own recent history and campaign strategy prove it.

Write to

Appeared in the November 2, 2018, print edition.

Why Democrats are staying silent about the migrant caravan

October 31, 2018

Defending the caravan could be political suicide

Back in June, Washington’s new zero-tolerance policy on the southern border was creating a firestorm. Parents caught crossing illegally were separated from their children, and heartbreaking photos of crying toddlers forced President Trump to call a time-out.

I wrote then that the policy was basically right, but being right wasn’t always enough. This was one of those times because the “image-driven stampede of public opinion” made rational debate impossible and threatened to hand Democrats a huge election victory in November.

Fast-forward to the present, and images again are driving public opinion on immigration. Only this time, photos of the seemingly endless caravans of thousands of Central American migrants vowing to cross our border, one way or another, are evoking different sentiments.

By Michael Goodwin

Now the Dems are on the defensive as Trump sends the military and a clear message that he will defend America’s sovereignty in the face of what he calls an “invasion.”

The change is striking. Four months ago, critics on the left wouldn’t shut up about the border and some, like Mayor de Blasio, made grandstanding trips to Texas detention facilities and held press conferences to denounce Trump in the harshest possible language. Now, despite the president’s tough talk and use of the military, leftist pols hardly make a peep, fearful that defending the caravan could be political suicide.

The stark turnaround serves as a reminder of how quickly the political winds can change direction. Recall that Dems shut down the government over the “Dreamers” legislation, but got nothing but blame and now rarely mention the issue.

And while immigration looked like a sure loser for the GOP in June, the sheer size of the caravan, and the violence displayed by some marchers in Guatemala and Mexico, is galvanizing Republican and conservative voters and could tip next week’s midterms.

Trump’s latest wrinkle, a controversial bid to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, reveals both his commitment to the issue and the political opportunity he sees. He stresses the caravan in the numerous rallies he’s holding for GOP candidates, and tweets about it often.

“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border,” he wrote Monday. “ Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”

In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News, the president also proudly embraced the term “nationalist.”

“It means I love the country, it means I’m fighting for the country,” Trump said. “I look at two things, globalists and nationalists. I’m somebody that wants to take care of our country” and cited securing the border as an example.

Immigration reform has vexed Washington since 1986, when Ronald Reagan signed what all agreed would be the last amnesty bill. But the borders were never secured, and the 3 million illegal immigrants covered by that deal have been dwarfed by three decades of easy access for illegal crossers, well-coached asylum seekers and millions of visa holders who never leave.

Trump has targeted the problem from the day he announced his campaign in 2015 and his vow to build a wall is popular with many voters. But he’s had no success in getting Congress to rewrite the laws or fully fund the wall despite the GOP holding majorities in both houses.

Yet border control is still a powerful message and the silence of the Dems about the caravan is instructive of the trap they face.

If they support the use of the military or any other Trump measure aimed at blocking entry, they risk turning off the party’s leftist base on the eve of Election Day. On the other hand, if they object too loudly and demand sympathy for thousands of unvetted migrants, Trump will have fresh reason to brand them as favoring open borders and illegal immigrants over law-abiding citizens.

Silence is not usually the best option in politics, but in this case, it’s the only one that makes sense for Democrats.

Unfortunately for them, Trump has both the advantage and the bully pulpit. He pressed his point Tuesday by asserting that he has the power to issue an executive order that ends birthright citizenship.

Many on the left immediately howled in protest and most legal scholars believe the Constitution’s 14th amendment provides citizenship to anyone born here, though others believe legislation could pass muster.

For now, it doesn’t really matter. Trump got the attention and reaction he wanted, showing again why next Tuesday could be full of surprises.

Warren’s gene-ius move? hardly

Democratic guru David Axelrod calls Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test “a head-scratcher.” He tells Politico magazine: “First of all, the timing of it was odd: Why intrude on this midterm process that way? Secondly, it was instructive for everyone. It’s hard to get the upper hand with Trump in a kind of skunk fight.

“I think she was trying to push back because she didn’t want to have him continue on what is another version of, like, birtherism, and she thought she could end that discussion. But what she mostly did was elevate the issue, and that was the gamble. And I would say they lost that gamble.”

$leazy does it for Gilly

Incumbent pols have many advantages, one being the sly way they use taxpayer funds for campaign purposes. Most get away with it, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is so arrogant she practically admits that’s what she’s doing.

“We’re trying to do it a little differently,” Gillibrand told The New York Times about her re-election bid. “What that looks like is I’ve done 16 town halls; I’ve been to all 62 counties; I’m trying to really create a grass-roots-oriented campaign and a modern campaign.”

Actually, there’s nothing modern about it. Tammany Hall long ago perfected the art of the steal.

Chele Farley, her GOP/conservative opponent, also points out that much of the campaign money Gillibrand is spending is aimed at voters outside New York. That suggests Gillibrand is planning to run for president in 2020, despite a promise to serve a full term if she is re-elected.

Farley demands that Gillibrand repay the costs of the town hall meetings, and the state GOP complained to the Senate Ethics Committee that all 16 events “were nothing more than publicly-funded campaign rallies.”

Gillibrand’s own words are the best evidence against her.

Cuomo’s 9/11 analogy a dud

Block that analogy.

Gov. Cuomo told his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, what went through his mind when the first unexploded pipe bombs were discovered.

“To use a frightening analogy, for me, it reminded me of when the first plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11. And you said, ‘well maybe it’s just an aviation accident.’

“And then the second plane hit. The [George] Soros receipt of the bomb, people investigated, et cetera, but we really didn’t know what it meant.”

Dems lower expectations for ‘blue wave’

October 23, 2018

Talk of a blue wave sends the signal that Democrats have races in the bag, and that voters don’t need to come to the polls on Nov. 6.

Democrats are tamping down expectations for a “blue wave” two weeks before the midterm elections as key races in the House tighten and winning back the Senate majority looks increasingly out of reach.

Image result for Tom Perez, photos

Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez said on CNN’s “New Day” that he doesn’t use the term “blue wave,” and added that he’s always thought this year’s races would be close.

The Hill

Separately, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who’s campaigning for Democratic candidates, said he doesn’t believe in a blue wave.

“I know a lot of people talk about this blue wave. I don’t believe it,” Sanders told “Rising” Hill.TV co-host Krystal Ball.

“I happen to think that on election night you’re going to find a very close situation and maybe a handful of votes determining whether Democrats are gaining control of the House,” he said.

The remarks by Perez and Sanders could be seen as a way of motivating the Democratic base.

Many Democrats are convinced that the 2016 presidential race was lost in part because Democratic voters didn’t show up, perhaps because they thought there was little chance that Republican Donald Trump would win.

Talk of a blue wave sends the signal that Democrats have races in the bag, and that voters don’t need to come to the polls on Nov. 6.

“I think it’s really, really smart and if you look at some of our strongest candidates, they’re being very thoughtful and very intelligent on how they’re approaching this, which is always run like your 10 points down,” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“It’s less of an expectation management game than it is a turnout game,” he added. “Never say ‘we’ve got this.’ “

At the same time, there are real reasons for Democrats to fret over their chances given President Trump’s rising approval ratings, fallout from the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight and a strong economy the White House has taken credit for delivering.

Perez still said he has “a lot of confidence” that his party will win back the House.

Democrats have led Republicans on the generic congressional ballot in virtually every public poll conducted over the past year, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Monday gave the party a 9-point lead over the GOP in the race to control Congress.

Some Democrats insist that winning the bare minimum of 23 seats needed to flip the House still amounts to a wave.

“Winning 23 seats is a wave,” said a Democratic strategist familiar with House races. “The frustration among some Democrats is losing sight of how big of an accomplishment it is.

“People built expectations for this giant tsunami without the evidence there. The people actually looking at that data, in this fight, know how hard it is and are not taking anything for granted.”

Perez acknowledged, however, that the race for the Senate presents “a tougher map” for Democrats.

More than two dozen of the party’s incumbents are defending their seats this year, including 10 in states won by Trump in 2016, and Republicans are eager to expand their slim 51-49 majority by flipping seats in deep-red states, such as North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri.

Democrats believe they have benefited from an enthusiasm gap with Republicans for most of the year, but there are some signs that GOP voters are getting more motivated ahead of Nov. 6.

Trump has been campaigning across the country and is increasingly using the bully pulpit to steer the national conversation toward issues such as the immigrant caravan headed toward the U.S. border with Mexico — something seemingly designed to fire up his base.

Early voting in some critical battlegrounds as of Monday found that GOP-affiliated voters are outnumbering the Democratic-affiliated voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Tennessee and Texas, according to TargetSmart data analyzed by NBC News.

Democratic-affiliated voters outpaced GOP ones only in Nevada, according to the report.

Democrats are also worried about laws in crucial pockets of the country that could suppress Democratic voters.

These allegations have become a dominant issue in Georgia’s nationally watched governor’s race between former state House minority leader Stacey Abrams (D) and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp. If elected, Abrams would be the first black woman to serve as governor in U.S history.

An APM Reports analysis found an estimated 107,000 voters in Georgia have been removed from the state’s voter rolls because of the “use it or lose it” law, which removes people who have not voted or made contact with an election official over three years.

Kemp, who oversees the state’s elections, said his office is following the law and has worked to prevent voter fraud.

“There are so many ways that Republicans have tried to make voting less accessible to voters over the last two years,” a former DNC aide told The Hill. “We’re really cautious of what the impact of those actions will be going to the polls and how many people are able to vote.”

Some Democratic strategists are also exercising caution about their midterm prospects because they’re “still a little scarred,” in the words of one observer, after Trump’s shock victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has stepped up campaigning for Republicans in the final stretch of the campaign, attracting thousands of Republicans, while expressing confidence about the party’s prospects.

In recent rallies, the president has also sought to cast Democrats as unfit to govern and has spoken intermittently about a coming “red wave” that would expand the Republican majorities in both chambers.


Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020 — “Someone needs to perform an intervention.”

October 21, 2018

This is beyond odd, but here goes. I rise to defend Hillary Clinton.

She is under attack and this time, the long knives are wielded by members of her own clan. Suddenly, after two years of indulging Clinton’s blame games and pity parties, lefty pundits say she’s talking too much, she’s stuck in the past, she had her chance and she blew it.

Vanity Fair, declaring that she “still hasn’t learned the lessons of #MeToo,” is furious that Clinton said her husband’s Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power ­because the 22-year-old intern “was an adult.”

Politico flatly declared Clinton a “problem” who won’t go away and fretted that Democrats “don’t know what to do” about her.

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

A New York Times columnist, noting that Clinton is a font of gaffes and a focus for Republicans, accused her of “moral arrogance” and wrote that “someone needs to perform an intervention.”

The passions are real and the imagery colorful. Imagine an intervention where a pink pussy-hat posse forces Clinton into a van and drives her to a remote cabin in the woods to keep her from talking.

Alas, the motives are suspect. These three writers, all female, are not so much angry at what Clinton is saying as they are over the timing. The gist of their complaint is that she is hogging the spotlight they believe should be trained on Democrats running in the midterms. They’re mad because they fear she’s undercutting the holy war they subscribe to against President Trump.

Intramural feuds are often bloody, but this one is also stupid. Trying to silence Clinton is a lost cause and, even if it succeeded, wouldn’t cure what ails Democrats.

In fact, shutting her up might push the party even deeper into the wilderness.

Implicit in the charge that Clinton is the problem is the assumption that others are the solution. It’s a fair point — until you try to name any Dem who has a better shot at serving as the party’s leader, uniting it around a message and potentially defeating Trump in 2020. After all, that’s the job that is vacant.

So let us run through the parade of likely applicants, starting in the Senate: Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Anybody stand out? While there is political talent, none strikes me as a heavyweight contender who could lead the party and go toe-to-toe with Trump.

Sanders is running on vapors, Booker is a lightweight who embarrassed himself with the Spartacus shtick and Gillibrand is a ­do-nothing hack.

As for Warren, CNN, showing its usual tin ear, moved her to the top of the Dem field just before she imploded with her disastrous DNA test. Her silly repetition of the now-disproven claim that she has significant Native American ancestry opens her to endless ridicule and further diminishes her ­already narrow appeal.

Others advertising their availability include Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Same question: Does anybody in the group look like a champion in waiting? Not to me and, to judge from the lack of great enthusiasm, not to big funders or hot-shot consultants.

Two others in the thinking-and-hoping stage are New York’s feuding Frick and Frack, Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo.

Mayor Putz is term-limited and it looks as if his career has peaked. His image of being lazy, corrupt and incompetent means he’s not an asset to anyone, so he may have to get a real job when he finally leaves City Hall.

As for Cuomo, his mediocre rec­ord might get him a third term in deep-blue New York, but it’s not likely to endear him to national Dems. He trusts no one, including himself, which is why he hides from the media, lest he say things like America “was never that great.”

His habit of ducking debates won’t fly in a grueling presidential campaign against numerous competitors, and the rampant corruption on his watch makes him a fat target.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is also considering a run, and fellow richie Tom Steyer, whose deep pockets are funding the “Need to Impeach” movement, could be a candidate. Oprah flirted with the idea before saying no, but don’t be surprised if she flirts again.

The list, then, is long, varied and growing — but not compelling. Which is why Clinton, despite her enormous flaws and two presidential defeats, can’t be ruled out as the party’s best hope. God knows she wants it more than anybody else.

It’s also why I have been saying for months that she was keeping her options open and might actually seek a rematch with Trump.

And that was before she and Bill Clinton announced their six-month speaking tour. The gambit is designed to keep her name front and center without having to declare herself a candidate. Her recent phone calls to White House reporters also signal her plan.

So I was not surprised when one of her former aides, Philippe Reines, admitted to Politico that Clinton might run. He cited her fan base, said she was tough enough to go against Trump and could raise the money.

There you have it, the official word that attempts to silence her are doomed. Brace yourself — she’s baaaack!

Harvard’s poison ivy

If nothing else, the trial over whether Harvard discriminates against Asian-American students is revealing the messy ways that top schools decide who gets admitted.

It’s no surprise, for example, that when the question involves legacies, donors’ offspring and athletes, academic merit is often not the deciding factor. Yet most galling is the claim by Harvard’s lawyer that “if it considers race, it is always considered in a positive way.”

That’s sophistry. With a finite number of openings, to consider race as a reason for admitting one student inevitably means shutting out another student, presumably of a different race.

Even an Ivy Leaguer can figure that out.

Behind the bloat

Reader George Merrill asks the $80 billion question. He writes: “Florida and New York have similar-sized populations so you would think the cost of state services would also be similar. However, this is not the case. The Florida budget is $88 billion while New York’s is $168 billion.

“I find the government-provided services in Florida to be excellent. Therefore, it is a mystery to me why New York spends 90 percent more money to provide the same services.

“Please clarify.”

My answer: Waste, fraud and abuse. Everything else is detail.

Stable door’s shut

Nicholas Saridakis wants to answer my question about why President Trump would stoop to call Stormy Daniels “Horseface.”

He writes: “I no longer begrudge Trump his shots at his foes and no longer care about his being ‘presidential.’

“Look where it’s gotten us. The fools who hate Trump can play the dignity game all they want. It no longer matters.”

The Origins of Progressive Agony

October 17, 2018

In the wake of Obama, the Democratic party was a shipwreck, to be saved only by Hillary and the Supreme Court . . .

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate Democrats left,” and lately the rantings of Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez confirm that diagnosis.

Obama, the Fallen God

Paradoxically, Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and 2012 and yet helped to erode the old Democratic party in the process. He ended up in opulent retirement while ceding state legislatures, governorships, the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the Supreme Court to conservative Republicans.

Obama had promised leftists — in his prior brief tenure in the Senate he had compiled the most partisan record of his 99 colleagues — that his social-justice methods and agendas would lead to a proverbial “permanent Democratic majority.” Do we remember the February 2009 Newsweek obsequious cover story “We Are All Socialists Now”?

By Victor Davis Hansen
National Review

Protesters gather in front of the doors of the Supreme Court as Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in, October 6, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Why liberals are ganging up on Kanye West — Diversity of thought cannot be permitted

October 14, 2018

In the beginning, it was safe to ignore Kanye West and his growing bromance with President Trump. After all, West is a performer, which makes it easy to discount his political talk, and he is married to a Kardashian, which, well, enough said.

But recent events demand attention. First came West’s Sept. 29 appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” where he rapped in his red Make America Great Again hat and praised Trump in a speech, most of which NBC cut from its telecast.

Then there was Thursday’s spectacle in the Oval Office. Once again, his stream-of-consciousness commentary veered from nonsense to common sense and included references to the 13th Amendment, which forbids slavery, and his feeling of being “programmed” as a black man to support only liberal politicians.

There was no denying those events were intriguing and entertaining, but I still didn’t regard any of it as politically significant — until the left-wing media went absolutely bonkers on him.

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

Their extraordinarily venomous and personal attacks on West reminded me of the left’s unhinged smears of Brett Kavanaugh and Trump.

Some sunk to citing West’s documented mental-health issues and many invoked his race in pejorative terms, making them especially outrageous.

A black anchor on CNN (Don Lemon) accused West of putting on a “minstrel show,” a black pundit on the same panel called him an “attention whore” and “the token Negro of the Trump administration.”

Another chipped in with, “Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read.”

A black New York Times columnist said the White House scene was “white supremacy by ventriloquism” and a white MSNBC anchor called it “an assault on our White House.”

Whoa, Nellie. What nerve did he touch?

The first thing to notice are the double standards. If conservatives criticized a black liberal in those words, the liberal media would let loose a chorus of “racism” and ­demand that every Republican ­denounce the commentators.

But this time, it was the liberal ­media itself making the offensive comments, so Democratic politicians were not required to take a stand. Naturally, none did.

Yet it was the sheer volume of the hatred, and the uniformity of it, that really got my attention. What’s this really about?

My conclusion is that the outpouring of wrath suggests the answer. To wit, if Kanye West is important enough to be targeted by so many in the media for character assassination, he must also be dangerous.

And if he’s dangerous, it’s in the same way that conservative speakers are dangerous to college snowflakes. Any dissent from the ruling coercive liberalism might be contagious, and therefore must be silenced. Diversity of thought cannot be permitted.

So we can assume the left fears West could be a leading indicator that Trump’s appeal to the working and middle classes is cutting across racial barriers.

And precisely because Democrats are making a fetish of race, gender and identity politics, a prominent racial and cultural force like Kanye West leaving the fold could be the start of a movement toward conservative values. Which is why he must be silenced by any means necessary.

It may be too late, for there are clear reasons why he and others would dissent from the coercive orthodoxy. Consider that black unemployment has reached historic lows because of the Trump economic boom, and one report says about 800,000 more African-Americans have jobs now than had them at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.

These changes are giving rise to new, confident voices such as Candace Owens, a black commentator and activist, who supported West and blasted his critics.

Candace Owens

Candace Owens

“The paradigm has shifted,” Owens said on Fox News. “Black conservatives will no longer be fearful. Black conservatives are willing to speak out. We are excited. It ­finally feels like it’s our time.”

It’s also possible, of course, that West is a one-off, a disrupter of no real political consequence. That would not be surprising given the hard facts of racial politics for the last 40 years.

Democrats, regardless of their race, generally count on getting ­upwards of 90 percent of the black vote. And the election of Obama seemed to seal party allegiance for years to come.

Black antipathy toward Trump was especially strong, stemming from his “birther” campaign against Obama. Many viewed the attempt to delegitimize the first black president as inherently racist, a view Obama did not discourage as he campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s feuds with black athletes, especially LeBron James, also feed the negative narrative.

Not surprisingly, exit polls from the 2016 presidential contest showed Clinton getting about 89 percent of the black vote, and Trump just 8 percent.

That dramatic tilt confirmed that black voters remain the most reliable group in the Dems’ coalition, outpacing Latinos and Jews, with those groups generally giving the party about 75 percent of their votes.

Still, recent polls show Trump gaining support among black voters, with his approval rating as high as 36 percent in an August Rasmussen survey. Others, including Gallup, show he has gained, but have him topping out in the low to mid-teens.

We will know more after the midterms, but I generally believe the willingness of individual voters to buck historic group trends is a hopeful sign. Fundamentally, America is a nation of free individuals, not of tribes or groups, and our republic is healthier when both parties are forced to compete for every vote.

Any vote taken for granted is a vote not earned and leaves politicians free to break their promises without suffering any consequences. Surely we’ve all had enough of that.

Take it from a teacher

Reader Elaine Evans says she has seen bad teachers, but disagrees that there is almost always a link between teacher quality and student outcome.

She writes: “I taught for 30 years in Brooklyn schools and had special-ed students who could not absorb abstract concepts, no matter how hard I tried. Some students could not understand what a numerator and a denominator were! We used a play pizza to illustrate what one piece out of eight would look like as a fraction, but they couldn’t get it.

“We have to stop pretending that all children have the same intellectual skills! College is not for everyone.”

Dem bums stay mum — Republican headquarters in Manhattan

Image result for Republican headquarters in Manhattan, damage, photos

It looks like New York Dems got the message — civil is out, thugs are in.

To my knowledge, no Democrat denounced the violent attack on Republican headquarters in Manhattan, complete with anarchist graffiti and broken windows.


Not Gov. Cuomo, not Mayor de Blasio, not Senators Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand. Usually you can’t shut them up, but this time not a peep about the violence. Hillary Clinton’s lips are also sealed.

Image result for andrew Cuomo, photos

Their silence is their shame.

Papa Mike’s pizza?

From the London Telegraph:

“Pizzas must shrink or lose their toppings under Government plans to cap the calories in thousands of meals sold in restaurants and supermarkets.”
Michael Bloomberg, is that you?




The Price of BernieCare

October 12, 2018

Democrats object that Republicans are telling voters the truth about single payer.


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks after the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Oct. 10.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks after the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Oct. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Chuck Schumer declared this week that health care is the issue that will define the November elections, and the Senate Minority Leader may be right for the wrong reason. Democrats could end up paying a big political price for signing up en masse for Bernie Sanders’s government-run health-care agenda.

Republicans are running ads slamming Democrats on single-payer health care, and President Trump framed the issue this week in a USA Today op-ed that said “Democrats would gut Medicare with their planned government takeover of American health care.” Democrats claim this is unfair because not every candidate has endorsed single payer, but if they now want to repudiate it they should say so.


Mr. Trump is referring to the Bernie Sanders bill known as Medicare for All, which has been endorsed by 16 Senators, including almost all of the left’s leading 2020 presidential contenders (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren).

A companion House bill has attracted more than 120 co-sponsors, which is nearly two-thirds of the current Democratic caucus. Other devotees include the Democratic nominees for Governor in California (Gavin Newsom) and Florida (Andrew Gillum) and dozens of other candidates around the country. Did Democrats think they could endorse this to please their progressive base but then have no one notice?

Medicare for All would finance health care through taxes instead of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays. All care would then be “free” in the Venezuelan sense of the word. Government would dramatically cut the reimbursement rates doctors receive for providing services. All this would lower administrative costs and make health care more efficient, or so we’re told. And we’re not supposed to call this “government-run health care,” though who do you think would make the payment decisions?

Mr. Trump noted in his op-ed that the plan would cost the federal government $32.6 trillion over 10 years. That figure is from an analysis by the Mercatus Center’s Charles Blahous, a respected researcher and a former Social Security and Medicare trustee who sometimes writes for us. His findings are in the ballpark of every serious analysis.

That spending figure amounts to 10.7% of GDP in 2022 when the plan kicks in and then up from there. National defense—routinely derided as too expensive and wasteful—is a mere 3% of GDP today. And brace yourself: “Doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan,” Mr. Blahous says.

Liberals are griping that these estimates overlook what would be a decline in overall health spending, but Mr. Blahous goes out of his way to credit savings that would probably be illusory such as lower drug costs. As in every socialist system, the real “savings” would come from price controls and wait lists for many health-care services. Have a cold? Come on in. A hip replacement or breast reconstruction? Get in line.

And that’s the good news. The truth is that BernieCare would essentially blow up the entire current health system. The Sanders bill would eliminate employer-sponsored insurance, which now covers some 150 million Americans. The sales pitch for that should be: If you like your health-care plan, we won’t let you keep it.

BernieCare would also blow up Medicare as we know it by creating a new health system that young and old would have to join. We don’t like to see Republicans defending current Medicare as a perfect system, since it has many shortcomings and needs reform like premium support that Paul Ryan has proposed. But compared to BernieCare, Medicare is the Mayo Clinic for everyone.

Maybe Democrats should have looked at the results in Vermont when Bernie’s home state tried to set up single payer. A Democratic Governor abandoned the idea in 2014 once he was looking at an 11.5% payroll tax, plus a 9.5% income tax, and more increases to come. Progressives couldn’t even get single payer up and running for about 625,000 people in a state with a decent health profile. In 2016 nearly 80% of voters rejected a referendum to set up single payer in Colorado.


The charges of distortion from Democrats are especially rich given that they have spent tens of millions of ad dollars this year accusing Republicans of wanting to deny chemotherapy to cancer patients who lack insurance. The truth is that the GOP last year debated more rational ways to cover folks with pre-existing conditions other than mandates that raise the cost of premiums for everyone in ObamaCare. The GOP ideas that would cover pre-existing conditions include high-risk pools that subsidize tough-to-insure patients directly.

Republicans are inept at defending themselves, and their failure to repeal ObamaCare has made them vulnerable to attack. But in dissecting single payer, the GOP is providing voters with crucial information about what Democrats want to do on health care when they next take power. ObamaCare was merely a down payment on BernieCare.

Appeared in the October 12, 2018, print edition.

Did Jane Mayer, Ronan Farrow, and Michael Avenatti give Trump his biggest victory yet? — More allegations, fewer facts made a media circus

October 8, 2018

A lack of contemporaneous evidence was always the greatest weakness of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that at a high school party in 1982 — 36 years ago, when she was 15 years old — a drunken 17 year-old Brett Kavanaugh forced her onto a bed, tried to undress her, and, when she tried to scream, covered her mouth with his hand.

But the second biggest weakness in Ford’s story was that it did not appear to fit into any pattern. There were no other allegations that Kavanaugh had done anything similar to anyone else. In the notorious #MeToo cases of the past year — which all involved powerful adult men, like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, and not adolescents like the Kavanaugh of 1982 — the man abused a number of women. It was not something he did just once and then stopped.

Image result for Ronan Farrow, photos

Ronan Farrow

But in the case of Kavanaugh, Ford stood alone. Alone, that is, until two stars of the New Yorker — Ronan Farrow, who wrote key exposes of the #MeToo scandal, and Jane Mayer, who was attacking Republican Supreme Court nominees when Farrow was in grade school — published the story of Deborah Ramirez. Ramirez claimed that sometime during the 1983-1984 academic year at Yale, when both she and Kavanaugh were 18 year-old freshmen, there was a small dorm-room party at which Ramirez — drunk, ‘on the floor, foggy and slurring her words’ — remembered Kavanaugh exposing himself to her.

By Byron York
Washington Examiner

Ramirez admitted that there were “gaps” in her memory because of drinking. And she suggested that as recently as a few weeks earlier she barely remembered the alleged incident, if at all. It was only after “six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney” that she recovered enough recollections to come forward.

Despite contacting “several dozen” classmates, Mayer and Farrow could not find any eyewitnesses to confirm that Kavanaugh was at the party, much less that they witnessed the alleged event happening. But Mayer and Farrow did find one classmate, who would not allow his name to be used, who “said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two.” The classmate said he was “100 percent sure” that he was told about Kavanaugh’s alleged misconduct at the time.

Some Republicans ridiculed the story for its flimsiness. The New York Times reported that it “had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate [Ramirez’s] story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge.” But Democrats had a second sexual-misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh. It could be the beginning of a pattern.

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Michael Avenatti

Then came Michael Avenatti, whose hours of appearances on CNN and MSNBC bashing the president and touting his client, the porn star Stormy Daniels, had given him a following among the resistance. (That exposure also served as a base from which Avenatti is now exploring a Democratic run for president.) Shortly after the New Yorker story broke, Avenatti came forward with a new client, a woman named Julie Swetnick, who said that in 1981 and 1982, when Kavanaugh was 16 and 17 years old, she “became aware” of “efforts” by Kavanaugh to spike the punch at house parties she attended.

“I also witnessed efforts by [Kavanaugh friend] Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys,” Swetnick wrote. “I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.”

Swetnick wrote that she herself was raped at a party “where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present.”

The Avenatti-Swetnick story represented the moment when the anti-Kavanaugh forces jumped the shark. The allegation was off-the-scale serious: Who knew Brett Kavanaugh was a high-school Bill Cosby? But Swetnick produced no witnesses to the events she alleged, nor could she produce witnesses who confirmed even that such events occurred, nor could she produce witnesses who confirmed her presence at any such events, and, she was not even part of Kavanaugh’s social circle at the time (Swetnick was older than the others and from a more distant suburb of Washington and attended public school there, outside the tight-knit group of private school students with whom Kavanaugh hung out).

In short, Avenatti and Swetnick had nothing beyond an incendiary accusation. Nevertheless, some Democrats embraced the story to push the notion that there was an accumulating weight of sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh.

“We already have three credible reports of sexual misconduct by Judge Kavanaugh,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, referring to Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick. Pressing for an FBI investigation, Hirono said it “certainly should cover the three credible reports that have come forward.”

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford And Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Testify To Senate Judiciary Committee

Sen. Mazie Hirono.  Sept. 26, 2018 – Source: Getty Images

“We now have three credible accusers of sexual assault,” said Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a press release headlined: “Senate Democrats: FBI Must Investigate All Three Credible Allegations of Sexual Assault Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.” Other Democrats on the committee sent out the same release.

The talking point got some pickup in the press. ABC News asked President Trump: “Mr. President, there are now three women accusing Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Are you saying that all three of these women are liars?”

Democrats had their pattern. They demanded Trump order the FBI to interview people who might have knowledge about all three accusations.

But at the same time, there were doubts. Some Kavanaugh opponents were hesitant to embrace Swetnick’s allegation; it seemed too much, even for Resistance-minded Kavanaugh opponents. And then, right before the vote, Mayer and Farrow published an update to the Ramirez story in which they convinced their previously anonymous source who had heard of the alleged incident to speak on the record. That source, a college professor named Kenneth Appold, said that he had tried to contact the other student who told him about the incident.

“[Appold] said that he had not been able to get any response from that person, despite multiple attempts to do so,” Mayer and Farrow reported. “The New Yorker reached the classmate, but he said he had no memory of the incident.”

And that was that.

The FBI interviewed four people about the Ramirez allegation: Ramirez herself, two alleged witnesses named by Ramirez, and a friend of Ramirez’s from college. (A third alleged eyewitness refused to talk.)

As for Swetnick, the FBI interviewed Mark Judge, who also figured in other allegations, but did not interview Swetnick herself.

The much-demanded investigation apparently added little or nothing to what was already known about the Ramirez and Swetnick stories. And that meant the Kavanaugh matter was back to square one, Christine Blasey Ford. In that case, FBI interviews with six people associated with the allegation also apparently produced no more supporting evidence than was known before.

By the time the Senate voted, the Democrats’ pattern of “three credible accusers” had fallen apart, and the original allegation was as unverifiable as it had been on the day it was made. Some Democrats began to point fingers at Avenatti for messing everything up. One Democrat, Sen. Gary Peters, said Avenatti’s involvement had turned the Kavanaugh confirmation “into a circus atmosphere.”

But it wasn’t just Avenatti. There was, in fact, a pattern in the allegations against Kavanaugh — a pattern of progressively weaker and more desperate-sounding accusations. The Ford allegation came without any contemporaneous evidence to support it. The Ramirez allegation was vague to begin with — the accuser admitted she was drunk and had a poor memory — and fell apart completely for lack of corroboration. And then Avenatti brought the circus.

Together, the allegations created the impression of Democrats grasping at any straw they could find to stop Kavanaugh. First came their faith-based “I believe Dr. Ford” declarations of support for Ford. Then came Ramirez and Swetnick. Successively weaker allegations against Kavanaugh did indeed do damage, but against the accusers more than the accused. And now there is Justice Kavanaugh.