Posts Tagged ‘Ted Cruz’

Trump’s Republican Populism — Much of his record is easily lost amid the Trumpian tweets and excesses

November 6, 2018

Why he succeeds where Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura failed.

Image result for photo, President Trump with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan at the White House, Sept. 5. PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM
President Trump with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan at the White House, Sept. 5. PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Long before he was president, Donald Trump was a celebrity, a walking, talking jumble of political incorrectness who rode his billionaire populism all the way to the Oval Office.

But a funny thing happened to Mr. Trump once he became president. At some point he understood that if he was not to fizzle out like so many populists before him—think pro wrestler turned governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura in Minnesota or Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger in California—he would need to tether his populism to the Republican policy agenda. And, mostly, he has.

This record is easily lost amid the Trumpian tweets and excesses. Even so, it remains a record most Republicans cheer: a major overhaul of the tax system that has brought the economy roaring back to life, two stellar jurists seated on the Supreme Court and a record number of nominees confirmed for the district and appellate courts, a thoroughgoing regulatory overhaul courtesy of what had been the largely unused Congressional Review Act, not to mention a long overdue defense buildup.

These are precisely the kind of victories that losing even one chamber of Congress would render next to impossible going forward. Judging from the president’s many rallies—and his new bromances with old opponents—he knows it too.

Take Ted Cruz, a rival in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. During the primaries Mr. Trump routinely referred to the Texas senator as “Lyin’ Ted.” At one point, he embraced a National Enquirer report claiming Mr. Cruz’s father had associated with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald not long before the shooting.

As president, Mr. Trump now appreciates that in a tight Senate he can’t afford to have a Democrat take Mr. Cruz’s seat. That’s why the president was in Houston last week holding a monster rally for the senator he now calls “Beautiful Ted.”

It could have turned out much differently. After the Senate failed to repeal ObamaCare in 2017, finger pointing was the order of the day, with Mr. Trump complaining about Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership. No one on the GOP side was getting anywhere—until the Senate changed the focus by pushing through something that did pass, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Likewise in the House. Mr. Trump can boast about “so much winning.” But without the considerable legislation Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican caucus have sent to the president’s desk for his signature, the winning words would remain hollow.

Give the president his due as well. Yes, he’s stocked his White House with gadflies (Steve Bannon), troublemakers (Omarosa Manigault), loudmouths (Anthony Scaramucci), and appointees with Pat Buchanan-like hostility to free trade (Robert Lighthizer). But he’s also filled key Trump administration posts with strong conservatives who would have been equally at home in a Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio White House (Larry Kudlow at the National Economic Council, Don McGahn as White House counsel, John Bolton at the National Security Council).

Mr. Trump has likewise known where to look for advice. In 2016, Sen. Cruz challenged him on Supreme Court picks, saying Mr. Trump was likely to chose a nominee like his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, a Clinton appointee to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals whom Mr. Cruz described as a “hard-core pro-abortion liberal judge.” Mr. Trump responded by having Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society come up with what conservatives regard as a dream team list of jurists from which Mr. Trump said he would choose. Again, he has.

In other words, for all the talk about how Mr. Trump’s populism is changing the Republican Party, his most significant achievements have come when he’s hitched his populism to traditional conservative priorities and then worked with his fellow Republicans to make good on his promises.

That’s why the stakes are high Tuesday. Losing the House may not be the end of the world for the president—Mr. Trump may even regard a Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a gift in the run-up to 2020—but it would almost surely mean an end to the big legislative achievements like those we’ve seen these past two years.

Losing the Senate would be even worse. Democrats are still smarting from Mr. McConnell’s decision two years ago not to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, during a presidential election year. If Democrats get control, they will use it to thwart many of Mr. Trump’s nominees, whether for the federal courts or his own cabinet. And if a Democratic House manages to impeach the president, Mr. Trump will want as large a GOP majority as possible in the Senate.

For all the bumps and bruises, the Trump-Republican collaboration has yielded large achievements for the American people. But if these midterms take their normal historical course, the GOP will lose one or both chambers of Congress. And that in turn would test how effective Mr. Trump’s populism can be without his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill driving the agenda.

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Trump faces complaints that new Iran sanctions are too weak

October 27, 2018

A battle is brewing between the Trump administration and some of the president’s biggest supporters in Congress who are concerned that sanctions to be re-imposed on Iran early next month won’t be tough enough.

As President Donald Trump prepares to re-impose a second batch of Iran sanctions that had been eased under the 2015 nuclear deal, conservative lawmakers and outside advisers have become worried that the administration may break a promise to exert “maximum pressure” on Iran. They are angered by suggestions that measures to be announced Nov. 5 won’t include a provision cutting Iran off from a key component of the global financial system.

Conservative lawmakers and outside advisers have become worried that Trump may break a promise to exert “maximum pressure” on Iran. (AP)

The self-described Iran hawks are concerned enough that they have drafted legislation that would require the administration to demand that Iran be suspended from the international bank transfer system known as SWIFT.

“The president asked for maximum pressure, not semi-maximum pressure,” said Richard Goldberg, a former aide to a Republican senator and senior adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a group that supports punishing Iran with sanctions. “Maximum pressure includes disconnecting Iranian banks from SWIFT.”

Trump pledged Thursday to do whatever it takes to pressure Iran to halt what he refers to as its “malign conduct” such as nuclear and missile development and support for terrorism and groups that destabilize the Middle East.

“On Nov. 5th, all US sanctions against Iran lifted by the nuclear deal will be back in full force,” he told a gathering at the White House to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the 1983 attack on the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which is blamed on Iranian-backed extremists. “And they will be followed up with even more sanctions to address the full range of Iran’s malign conduct. We will not allow the world’s leading sponsor of terror to develop the world’s deadliest weapons. Will not happen.”

The Nov. 5 sanctions cover Iran’s banking and energy sectors and will reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports. They could also include measures to force Iran out of SWIFT.

Despite Trump’s tough stance, the hawks are worried about recent comments from Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and his staff that suggest Iran will be able to stay connected to SWIFT. They are also concerned the administration will back down on its stated zero-tolerance policy for Iranian oil purchases by granting waivers to certain countries and companies that do not fully stop buying it.

Iran deal supporters, like the other parties to the agreement, argue that pushing Iran out of SWIFT, the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, will lead to the creation of alternate mechanisms that could supplant it as the leading global institution for financial institutions to send and receive information about banking transactions. They also say expulsion will make it harder for Iran to conduct transactions, such as humanitarian purchases, that will still be allowed after Nov. 5.

Allowing Iran to remain in SWIFT would make it easier for Tehran to import humanitarian goods like medicine permitted under US sanctions and “would help the United States make clear that its critique of Iran is directed at the regime, not the people of Iran,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former Treasury official now with the Center for a New American Security. She added, though, that disconnection would be a “fast track” to isolation.

The debate underscores the challenges the administration faces as it tries to isolate Iran without the full backing of other world powers who remain supportive of the nuclear deal.

Although the hawks had been pleased by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal in May and cheered the August re-imposition of an initial set of sanctions, they are now seething that Treasury may opt to use existing safeguards to isolate Iran instead of hitting SWIFT members with sanctions if they don’t disconnect Tehran.

Treasury has been coy about its intentions, saying only that Mnuchin and the agency have led “an intense economic pressure campaign against Iran as part of this administration’s comprehensive strategy to address the totality of Iran’s malign and destabilizing activity, with much more to come.”

“Treasury has made it very clear that we will continue to cut off bad Iranian actors, including designated banks, from accessing the international financial system in a number of different ways,” it said. “We will also take action against those attempting to conduct prohibited transactions with sanctioned Iranian entities regardless of the mechanisms used.”

That less-than-categorical position has rallied the hawks around the legislation prepared by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would require the administration to impose sanctions on SWIFT members, including some US banks, should it not suspend Iran on its own.

Federal law currently gives the administration authority to act against Iran’s central bank and other banks covered by terrorism and money laundering sanctions. Cruz’s legislation, however, would authorize the administration to hit all of Iran’s banks with sanctions and require it to act against SWIFT if it connects any Iranian bank under sanctions to its system, according to a copy seen by the AP.

In August, Cruz led a group of 16 GOP senators, including Trump Republican allies Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and John Barrasso of Wyoming, in demanding action against SWIFT if Iran is not suspended. Congressional aides say they believe support for his proposed legislation will be strong. “The administration’s maximum pressure campaign will not succeed if the Islamic Republic remains connected to SWIFT,” the senators told Mnuchin.

The Associated Press

Mitch McConnell: Protest at Louisville restaurant didn’t ruin my meal

October 24, 2018

Recently, we’ve seen several examples that when the far left doesn’t get what it wants through the democratic process, it resorts to intimidation and mob tactics. This tendency was on full display during the debate over the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican Senators and their families were targeted by the mob at their homes, at airports, and in their cars. They received threatening phone calls and letters. Death threats spiked. These were not efforts to engage in civil discourse or to persuade peacefully – these were simply efforts to intimidate.

Unfortunately, these antics and incivility did not stop after Justice Kavanaugh was rightly confirmed.

By Mitch McConnell, Guest Contributor

On Friday evening, my wife and I were once again the target of the aggressive intimidation while eating at a restaurant in Louisville. You may have read about it in the Courier Journal, but the article and its video didn’t lay out all the facts. So let me set the story straight.

Related column: Mitch McConnell does not get to play the victim in restaurant protest

As Elaine and I sat at a booth and enjoyed our dinner, a man came in off the street and rushed at us. Acting alone, he began shouting, slamming his fists on our table, and causing a disruption as others tried to eat. At one point, he even grabbed my wife’s to-go box off of our table and threw it outside onto the ground.

Almost immediately, the restaurant’s other customers began rejecting his harassment. They told him to quiet down or leave. A few men even approached the aggressor and escorted him to the exit. We are grateful to our fellow diners and the restaurant staff who helped end the disruption.

Background: Man dumps McConnell’s to-go box on Bardstown Road, witness says

I’m not sure exactly what in my career suggests I would be easily swayed by such a spectacle. The reality is simple: I will not be intimidated. But this issue is not really about me, or about any individual elected official. It’s about something larger: The mob mentality that is being systematically fed and encouraged by the far left all across our nation.

The threats and intimidation are even being cheered on by prominent, leading Democrats. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there should be no civility until her party was back in power. Eric Holder, President Obama’s Attorney General, recently told a group that “when they go low, we kick ‘em. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”

So the extreme left’s playbook is quite clear. But even while the far left is forming its mobs, the Senate is continuing our productive work for the American people. As angry protesters climbed over barricades, disregarded and disrespected the police, and attempted to shout down anyone who disagreed, I was proud to prioritize the passage of landmark opioids legislation. Similarly, the Senate recently passed important aviation infrastructure legislation. The president just signed our water infrastructure bill into law. And we will continue to confirm more of the president’s highly qualified judicial nominees this year. Our work in the Senate is too important to the country to back down in the face of these mob antics.

When the Senate is not in session, I frequently travel across this Commonwealth listening to the men and women who I represent in Washington. For instance, this week I traveled to Eastern Kentucky to visit with workers at a manufacturing facility, small business owners and community leaders, and opioid treatment professionals at the University of Pikeville. My office receives thousands of calls, letters and emails every week from Kentuckians. While we may not always agree, I do appreciate every person who engages in the democratic process in a civil way.

In fact, while Elaine and I waited for our table, a social worker approached us. She wanted to talk about the devastating effects of opioid addiction she witnessed firsthand. We discussed her work and how important this issue is to Kentucky and the country. That’s how our government is supposed to work – with reasoned judgment and respect, not with intimidation and extreme mob behavior.

Column: Trashing McConnell’s food went too far. How to protest and not be an idiot.

It’s time for each of us to decide what kind of country we want. One side can continue to hurl mud, hatred, and toxic behavior until we reach a breaking point. Or, those with strong beliefs on both sides of an issue can speak up in a civil way.

I enjoyed my meal in Louisville on Friday night, and I will continue to eat with my friends and family at my favorite Kentucky restaurants. I appreciate those who spoke up against the shameful behavior. We hope other customers weren’t too inconvenienced by the extremist left-wing tantrums.

I was not the first senator confronted, and I unfortunately likely won’t be the last. But the Senate will not be intimidated by the antics of far-left protesters, and we will continue our important work.


Democratic Darling Beto O’Rourke Sadly Watches as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Unite

October 23, 2018

Texas wants jobs, not mobs.

Two years and five months ago, on the day of the Indiana Republican primary that ended his presidential campaign, Ted Cruz unloaded on Donald Trump. It was more than an unloading — Cruz disgorged months of resentment against the man who defeated him and attacked his wife, his father, and his character. Trump was a “pathological liar,” Cruz told reporters, a “bully,” a “narcissist,” an “utterly amoral” man who acted from “a deep yawning cavern of insecurity.” Cruz took his anger at Trump to the Republican National Convention and beyond.

By election day 2016, Cruz had come to an uneasy support of his party’s presidential nominee. And then Trump won. So on Monday night, at the Toyota Center in Houston, there was Cruz, introducing Trump with fulsome praise.

“I’m proud to have worked with President Trump on the biggest tax cut in a generation,” Cruz said.

By Byron York
Washington Examiner

President Donald Trump, left, embraces Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
President Donald Trump, left, embraces Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (AP)

“I’m proud to have worked hand-in-hand with President Trump to repeal job-killing regulations.”

“I’m honored that President Trump is here endorsing and supporting my campaign,” Cruz declared, “and I look forward to campaigning alongside him in 2020 for his re-election as President of the United States.”

Was it hypocrisy? A lack of principles? Plenty of observers would be happy to charge Cruz with those sins and more. But that’s not what was going on. Say what you will about Cruz, and Trump, but there could be no greater tribute to the overwhelming power of voters in the American political system than what took place in Houston Monday.

The voters changed Cruz’s mind. He represents the voters of Texas, and wants to keep doing so, so he supports the president they support, regardless of the past. It doesn’t matter whether Cruz believes what he says deep down. What’s more important is his signal that he will do what the voters of Texas want.

Trump recognizes a fellow transactional politician when he sees one. Onstage in Houston, Trump gave a brief history of his relationship with Cruz that was the distilled essence of it’s-just-business politics.

“In just 15 days the people of Texas are going to re-elect a man who has become a really good friend of mine,” Trump said. “You know, we had our little difficulties.”

“But actually, if you remember, in the beginning, it was a love fest,” Trump continued, referring to the days in which Cruz chose to wrap his rival Trump in a “bear hug.”

Trump recalled that the press saw hypocrisy at work at the time. “Remember, they kept saying, ‘Well, when is it going to break up?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll break up… And then we said, ‘You know, it’s time — that’s what has to happen.'”

“And it got nasty,” Trump said. “And then it ended.”

It would be hard to find a more concise telling of the story. In the end, it was just business.

Now, Trump said, he and Cruz get along famously. “Nobody has helped me more with your tax cuts, with your regulations, all of the things we’ve been doing with your military and your vets than Sen. Ted Cruz,” Trump told the crowd.

“He defended your jobs, he defended your borders,” Trump said of Cruz. “He defends your families, he defends your faith, and we are defending together, with a lot of other Republicans, your freedom.”

Earlier in the day, on the way to Texas, Trump rejected the nickname he gave Cruz during the campaign. “He’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore,” Trump said. “He’s Beautiful Ted. I call him Texas Ted.”

After a brief scare, Cruz seems to be in control of his re-election race. Cruz has led Democratic rival Beto O’Rourke in all 17 of the polls in the RealClearPolitics average of polls dating back to April. But in August, things got a little close, and the White House made plans for the president to visit Texas on Cruz’s behalf.

Lately, Cruz has been back up. In the last three surveys, by CNN, the New York Times, and Quinnipiac, Cruz has led O’Rourke by seven, eight, and nine points, respectively.

The man who came up with “Lyin’ Ted” turned his sights on O’Rourke Monday night. “Ted’s opponent in this race is a stone-cold phony named Robert Francis O’Rourke, sometimes referred to as ‘Beto,'” Trump told the crowd. “He pretends to be a moderate, but he’s actually a radical, open-borders left-winger.”

Does anyone think the phrase “stone-cold phony” might occasionally reappear in the campaign between now and election day, courtesy of the president?

Monday night’s rally marked another stage in the relationship between Trump and Cruz. They have been through a lot, openly loathed each other, and are now virtually composing love songs for each other. Who cares what they really think? The voters made it happen.

Trump says Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have ‘enough Indian blood’ to be Pocahontas — What Does Harvard Law School Say?

October 23, 2018

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President Trump said Monday evening that he can no longer call Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., “Pocahontas” because she does not have “enough Indian blood.”

“A bad thing happened last week, because Elizabeth Warren was exposed as being a total fraud. And I can no longer call her Pocahontas, because she has no Indian blood,” Trump told thousands gathered at a rally for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Monday evening.

“I can’t call her Pocahontas. She doesn’t qualify. … I’ve been saying it for a long time,” Trump said. “I’ve been saying it for a year and a half. I said, ‘I have more Indian blood than she does, and I have none.’ I can’t use the name Pocahontas, but if you don’t mind, I will anyway. We got to keep her down.”

Warren took a DNA test to prove that she had Native American ancestry, as she has claimed numerous times throughout her political and academic career.

Carlos Bustamante, a Stanford University geneticist, conducted the test, which Warren used to respond to Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunt and his mockery of her previous claim to be a Native American while a professor at Harvard Law School in the 1990s. Warren’s roll-out of the test results was widely seen as a sign that she is running for president in 2020.

Rather than using a commercial service to conduct her DNA test, Warren hired Bustamante, 43, who appears in the video explaining the test and in a scene in which the Massachusetts senator telephones his office and asks to speak with him. Warren received considerable criticism for the test, which found that her Native American heritage stretches back six to 10 generations, making her between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American.

Where are the ‘ruthless’ Republicans the media keep talking about?

October 20, 2018

Republicans must have developed arthritis by all the extended unnatural positions they’ve put themselves in to appease Democrats, and yet there’s a meme bubbling up in the media that the GOP is full of ruthless operators, while the opposing party is perversely enjoying its own humiliation.

This, like other things you read in newspapers or watch on cable news, is the exact opposite of reality, but MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough fed this garbage to his audience on Friday.

Related image

By Eddie Scarry
Washington Examiner

“As a former Republican, when we lose, we get really angry and we knock people’s heads off their shoulders,” he said. “It’s just a natural instinct. … Who’s the Democrat that’s a strong, tough liberal or the strong, tough moderate or the strong, tough conservative Democrat who’s going to lead this fight?”

Donnie Deutsch, a frequent “Morning Joe” guest without obvious purpose, wondered where the “fresh, aggressive, rageful voice” is in the Democratic Party.

Image result for Donny Deutsch, photos

Donnie Deutsch

Politico editor-in-chief John Harris wrote in a piece earlier this month that there’s a “fear” among Democrats “that their party loses big power struggles because Republicans are simply tougher, meaner, more cynical and more ruthless than they are.”

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore said last month, “It’s amazing how we talk as liberals. We always want to be nice and maybe be fair.”

You know those Democrats: the Quakers of politics.

Wait, that’s not right. What I meant was: the party that, with a crucial assist from the media, nearly derailed a Supreme Court nominee by accusing him of attempted rape and, worse, getting drunk in college.

What I meant was: the chosen party of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who successfully called on the public tormenting of Republicans, like Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who in June was chased out of a restaurant by a liberal mob, or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who enjoyed the same fate in September.

Image result for Maxine Waters,, photos

Republicans like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley nearly drive themselves insane accommodating Democrats, as when he delayed a vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination not once, not twice, but three times.

Then, of course, there’s Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who delayed the full Senate vote on Kavanaugh for another week, a needless cave to Democrats (and the media) who insisted Kavanaugh undergo more vetting from the FBI.

You’ll recall that Democrats then complained that the investigation wasn’t real and Flake’s status as a media hero came to an abrupt end.

The Kavanaugh episode showed that Democrats and the media have seized the #MeToo movement for political purposes and yet no elected Republican has aggressively confronted this.

This week on ABC’s “The View,” Joy Behar said of Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford: “She said it was him; you know who it is who’s assaulting you, and if that’s all true, we’re stuck with this guy for the rest of his life. He’s very young for the Supreme Court. It’s a huge problem for this country.”

Image result for Joy Behar, photos

Had a “tougher, meaner, more cynical” Republican been the guest that day, he or she would have exposed Behar for turning unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations into a political tool.

But the guest was Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who would only compliment the #MeToo movement as “really important.”

Even President Trump has shown a tendency to collapse under the ballistic pressure wave Democrats and the media can create when their hearts are in it.

During the summer, the administration did nothing more than enforce existing law — a novel concept, for sure — when authorities moved apprehended illegal immigrants at the border and put them in prison.

Minors aren’t allowed to accompany their parents to the lockup so they were instead placed in detention centers to wait.

But Democrats and the media pushed the idea that this was a “new policy” and that Trump was “separating families,” even though the Obama administration had done the same thing.

After a few weeks, Trump (one of those “ruthless” Republicans that John Harris wrote about) relented and signed an executive order that stopped the full law enforcement.

In the lead up to the midterms, Democrats have attempted to thwart a Supreme Court nomination, succeeded in getting Trump to back down on a major immigration fight, and inflamed mob protests.

The media aren’t really interested in that, but where are all the vicious Republicans we keep hearing about?

Rage when you disagree: How ‘safe spaces’ led to today’s political mobs

October 15, 2018

What’s behind the recent spread of outraged mobs on US streets, wild-eyed and throwing violent fits because their favored political outcome didn’t happen? How did so many Americans give up on resolving disagreements through discussion and turn the fact that a disagreement exists into an excuse for a tantrum?

Campuses started setting up “safe spaces” well before 2015, when the news hit our media in earnest: College students were literally taking shelter from the possibility of hearing opinions they might disagree with.

By Karol Markowicz
New York Post

For all the mockery the idea received, we’re seeing that principle extended to the real world. The recent outbursts on our streets have their root in the idea that only one opinion is the correct one and all others must be shut down.

And politicians are encouraging the idea that disagreement is a personal attack: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Hillary Clinton said last week.

“If you don’t agree, unfriend me” is a common enough post on Facebook — and that’s directed toward people who are supposed to be your friends.

It’s not a big leap from there to: If you don’t agree, you can’t have dinner, as Ted Cruz found out recently when he was chased from a restaurant. Or to yelling at Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator. Or to: If you don’t agree, I can physically assault you, applied to strangers on the other side of your protest, as happened recently to the Republican son of Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

We’re also years into those pre-Thanksgiving articles about how to talk to members of your own family who have a different political perspective. Most pieces now advise you to avoid talking politics altogether. That’s normal, actually — but if you avoid the subject because it makes you bristle with anger toward the people you love, that’s a problem.

It’s not just far-off relatives with a different political perspective that raise the ire of those unable to handle disagreement. In a Washington Post op-ed, “Thanks for not raping us, all you ‘good men.’ But it’s not enough,” Victoria Bissell Brown writes that she raged at her husband because of some small comment “I yelled at my husband last night. Not pick-up-your-socks yell. Not how-could-you-ignore-that-red-light yell. This was real yelling. This was 30 minutes of from-the-gut yelling.”

This is not normal. This is not behavior that should be rewarded with publication of an op-ed column on a non-fringe Web site. Bissell Brown is a retired history professor; the lessons of safe-space campus culture weren’t limited to students.

And when she reports that “I announced that I hate all men, and wish all men were dead,” that isn’t a joke we can all be in on. The inability to resolve conflict normally even in our own homes is exactly what spills out onto our streets.

After the 2016 election, we heard lots of admissions that many of us reside in political bubbles where we never hear outside opinions. For a while, it seemed like the consensus was that this was a negative thing. But now people increasingly retreat to these bubbles, proudly, and never learn how to handle political disagreement.

The result is the rage we’re seeing now. The more we shut off hearing the other side’s point of view, the more likely we are to see these mobs spring up.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder said last week “Michelle [Obama] always says, you know, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”

Criticized for encouraging violence, he called it “fake outrage” and tweeted that he only meant “Republicans are undermining our democracy and Democrats need to be tough, proud and stand up for the values we believe in — the end.” He didn’t explain how his kicking comment made sense in that context.

When the other side is seeking to “destroy what you stand for,” or “undermine our democracy,” violence doesn’t seem so farfetched.

In covering the early days of “safe spaces,” Conor Friedersdorf wrote for The Atlantic about student protesters who didn’t want a reporter filming them: “At various points, they intimidate him. Ultimately, they physically push him. But all the while, they are operating on the premise, or carrying on the pretense, that he is making them unsafe. It is as if they’ve weaponized the concept of ‘safe spaces.’ ”

Never learning to argue out their political beliefs, these people have graduated and now expect their opinions to always be shared and their favored political outcomes to always occur. Instead of being told to grow up, they’re encouraged to express their fury by people who should know better. Better for everyone if they had their rude awakening sooner rather than later.

Rep. Steve Scalise: When Eric Holder, other Dems call for violence, that’s a direct threat to our democracy

October 12, 2018

This summer, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters called on her supporters to harass cabinet officials. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that you “cannot be civil” with members of the Republican Party. And Wednesday, videotape was released of former Attorney General Eric Holder telling a Democratic audience at a campaign rally in Georgia on Sunday that they should “kick” Republicans when they perceive them as “going low.”

Image result for eric holder, barack obama, photos

Despite the continued reports of politically motivated threats or violence, Democratic Party leaders have worked to keep this anger burning and incite even more harassment and violence.

By Steve Scalise

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Barack Obama and Eric Holder. | AP Photo (FILE photo)

Beginning with my own near-death experience at the hands of a deranged shooter who sought to assassinate a baseball field of Republicans, there is a growing list of violent or threatening actions taken against conservatives by Democrats.

  • Ashley Kavanaugh, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s wife and his daughters received multiple credible threats.
  • Dana Loesch, NRA spokeswoman, received death threats against her children on Twitter.
  • Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., received such a threatening phone call that the man has now been indicted.
  • Jamie Gardner, wife of Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., wife, received a text of a beheading after the vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.
  • Several Republican Senators had their personal information, including home addresses, posted to Wikipedia for threatening purposes by a Democrat House staffer.
  • Congressman Clay Higgins (R-La.) received threatening phone calls that led to a man’s arrest.
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kent., and his wife Kelly Paul have both received credible threats that have led to arrests.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife, as well as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, were chased out of restaurants.
  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted by protesters and harassed out of a DC restaurant.
  • Rudy Peters, a Republican California Congressional candidate, was nearly stabbed while campaigning.
  • My office has continued to receive threats against my life that have led to arrests.
  • A female pro-life activist was violently assaulted by a man that has now been found guilty of eight counts of assault for this and similar incidents.

And this list goes on. The threats and the violence have not let up and instead of seeing my Democrat colleagues calling for an end, there have been calls for their supporters to keep going, to do even more to threaten Republicans.

In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation.

As a survivor of a politically motivated attack, it is tragic to think this is an acceptable state of political discourse in our country. I refuse to stand for this and I will continue to call for an end to it. A healthy, strong democracy is not possible if anyone lives in fear of expressing their views.

Image result for eric holder, photos

If this is going to stop, it must start with Democratic leaders, who need to condemn, rather than promote these dangerous calls to action.

In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation. While it’s clear many Democrats refuse to accept the election of President Trump, if they want change, they need to convince people with their ideas and actually win elections, rather than call for violent resistance, harassment, and mob rule.

As I see, working in Congress every day, it’s possible to agree without being disagreeable and address political differences in a civil manner. That’s an example leaders need to continue to set.

Instead, when Democratic leaders like Eric Holder call for violence, that is a direct threat to our democracy.

I hope he and others think long and hard about the world they are creating and the impact they are leaving on this country.

As the oldest democracy, our country has long been heralded as the freest country in the world. It doesn’t feel so free if anyone lives in fear for holding or expressing a differing opinion.

Let’s end this violence and return to civility before someone else gets hurt.

Steve Scalise represents Louisiana’s first Congressional district and serves as the Republican majority whip. On June 14, 2017, he was shot by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter while practicing with fellow Republicans for a Congressional baseball game. He nearly died, and underwent multiple surgeries before returning to the House on Sept. 28, 2017, to bipartisan applause.


See also:

Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia as crowd chants ‘lock her up’







Democrats, the Civil Party? Ask Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton

October 12, 2018

Remember Michelle Obama’s famous ‘when they go low, we go high’? The 2018 Democrats have amended that take. It’s a little less noble-sounding.


Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight continues to have personal and political reverberations. Outraged left-wing activists, spurred on by their rape accusations against Kavanaugh, adopted Alinsky-like tactics of confronting senators at restaurants and raucously banging on the doors of the Supreme Court.

These actions have the potential to spiral out of control, both literally (stoking actual violence) and politically (producing conservative backlash against the “mob” that boosts Republican energy in the midterm elections).

With that in mind, one might suppose that some adult—some prudent leader with moral authority in the Democratic Party—would step forward to calm the base and remind them how to behave. Instead of being summoned to their better angels, Democratic leaders are urging their base to fight harder—to be even more like President Trump, the man whose behavior they supposedly loathe.

Read the rest:


See also:

Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia as crowd chants ‘lock her up’







Civility Is Still the Best Policy for Democrats

The short-term gains from adopting Trumpian tactics are not worth the long-term damage to American government.

Don’t use your fists, use your words.Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


The consensus on civility emerging from Democratic Party leadership in the wake of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation seems to be, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em. Hillary Clinton told CNN that it was impossible to be civil to Republicans until the Democrats win back Congress. And on Wednesday a tape surfaced of Eric Holder, the former attorney general who’s considering a 2020 presidential run, saying that instead of Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high,” the Democratic plan should be “When they go low, we kick them.”

Is going low the right choice? That question can be divided into two parts. Will the Democrats in fact do better in November’s midterm elections and beyond by adopting Trumpian tactics of incivility? And if they would do better by going full Donald Trump, would it be worth it?

The answer to the first, pragmatic question may well be yes. The 2016 presidential election has been interpreted as proof that the way to win elections in this closely divided political era is to energize the base, not to win over moderate swing voters. And right now, the Democratic base is feeling pretty angry.

Yet the assumption that anger will turn out decisive Democratic voters the way it worked for Trump with Republicans needs close examination. The last time the Democratic base — especially black voters — turned out in force was for Barack Obama. In 2008, Obama voters were motivated by hope, not anger against Republicans. In 2012, many blacks turned out again so that Obama’s accomplishment in getting elected president wouldn’t be repudiated. It’s not clear (yet) that anger and incivility would bring out those voters in the 2018 midterms.

Then there’s the fact that emerging Democratic stars don’t sport angry personas. Beto O’Rourke, running for the U.S. Senate in Texas, has steadfastly refused to run negative ads against the incumbent Republican Ted Cruz. O’Rourke may not win, but he’s already much closer than anyone would have expected. He has motivated the base with heartfelt speeches that reflect emotion but not incivility.

The same is true of further left candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ayanna Pressley in Boston. Both women of color broke through and won their primaries for U.S. House seats by being engaging and passionate — but not uncivil.

Nevertheless, assume that Clinton and Holder have it right politically, and that the Democrats should name-call and catcall like Trump to find a path to victory. I still want to argue that they shouldn’t do it. Winning the House would be enough to block Trump from pursuing his legislative agenda, and winning the Senate would allow us not to spend the next two years obsessing over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health. But even these gains aren’t worth the Democratic Party selling its soul and embracing incivility the way the Republicans have under Trump’s leadership.

What’s so great about civility? Citizenship, that’s what. The word “civility” derives from the Latin word for citizen. It’s not like courtesy, which refers to the manners you use at a royal court.

Civility is the basic belief that the other side in the political debate is just as committed to good citizenship in the republic as you are. Civility leads to polite behavior because it starts with the good faith assumption that the other side is well-intentioned, even if its beliefs are wrong.

To be sure, a good faith assumption can be overcome by the facts. Self-conscious racists and white nationalists aren’t well-intentioned. And treating them with civility can be a moral error, even if they happen to be citizens in the technical sense.

But when it comes to the great majority of Republicans, including many Trump supporters, Democrats would be making an error of major proportions if they adopted the belief that all such people are lacking the intention to make the republic the best it can be.

When both sides stop treating each other as citizens, bad things happen. Discourse dies. Reasoned disagreement becomes hatred.

Ultimately, the final breakdown in the norms of civility is civil war — defined as the state in which citizens cease to share a common purpose, and become enemies. When civil war happens, republics die.

That’s why Democrats shouldn’t abandon civility just for some short-term gains. The game isn’t worth the candle. A republic in which everyone acts like Trump isn’t a republic worthy of the name. Rather, it’s a forum for rage and contestation just waiting for the next blowup.

Once a party has squandered civility, it’s very, very hard to get it back. Republicans are going to be learning that well after Trump has left politics. All the politicians who have supported his agenda are going to be tainted — for a generation.

And if the moral argument against short-term incivility doesn’t convince you, maybe a pragmatic long-term argument will. Historically, winning moderate swing voters has been the key to winning national elections. It’s how all presidents since Ronald Reagan won, until Trump. Trump may have upended our expectations and norms. But he probably hasn’t inaugurated a new law of politics.

When the time comes again to win elections the old-fashioned way, the Democrats will want to claim the mantle of civility. Respecting its norms now will keep that possibility alive.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Noah Feldman at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Stacey Shick at


We do not have the right to behave like a mob. Are we seeing the cutting edge of a new threat to democracy?

October 8, 2018

If liberals intend to employ such bullying as a regular tactic, then they are the threat to our form of government. We do not have the right to behave like a mob.

This past week, left-wing bullies shouted down senators in the hallways of the Capitol, stormed senatorial offices and generally endeavored to “occupy” Congress as they once did Wall Street — all to force members of the Senate to reject Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Among the many disgraces of the two weeks since Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of sexual assault was leaked to the press, the bad behavior of protesters on Capitol Hill may seem low on the list. But it is something that we should be deeply concerned about.

The right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances is a cornerstone of the Anglo-American political tradition. When James Madison acquiesced to a bill of rights, he made sure assembly and petition were included.

Put simply, the right to petition is the right to ask your government for things without fear that it will punish you merely for asking. Similarly, the right to assemble is the right to do so in a public forum, without fear that the government will harm you. These fit perfectly into the spectrum of rights protected by the First Amendment, which broadly establishes the unfettered formation of public opinion as the great bulwark of republican government.

By Jay Cost
New York Post

But the First Amendment doesn’t grant carte blanche to assemble and petition. In fact it’s the only pair of rights listed therein that contains a limitation. We have to assemble and petition peaceably. We do not have the right to behave like a mob.

And a mob was what we saw in Congress over the last 10 days. Demonstrators were rude, crude and abusive. They got in the faces of members of Congress and disrupted the business of the national assembly. Thank goodness there was no violence. Were it not for the superlative work of the Capitol Police, there probably would have been.

This is not republican government in action. In fact, it is the just the opposite.

Direct access to members of Congress is a good thing. And when controversial pieces of legislation are under consideration, there will doubt be high passions. Back in 2010, conservative Tea Partiers protested vociferously when ObamaCare was passed. That is all well and good, and insofar as progressives were behaving likewise, there is nothing objectionable.

But the way protesters confronted senators like Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch and Susan Collins on Capitol Hill, or how they got in Mitch McConnell and Sonny Perdue’s face at the airport, is something different.

In a country of more than 330 million people, only a relative handful of us have the ability to assemble around the Congress and engage directly with members of the legislature as they go about their days. That unique privilege is reserved mainly for those who live in the metropolitan Washington area. The rest of us must rely on our duly elected representatives from afar, allowing them to serve as our agents in public affairs.

When protesters interfere with the legislative process in the reckless fashion they did this week, they are thus harassing not just members of Congress but all of us, for our interests in government cannot be realized if our members are being harried and bullied.

This is the line between the benevolent rule of the majority, which the Founders thought was essential for republican government, and the clamor of the mob, which they knew was a threat to it.

Moreover, we should all be deeply concerned about the new tactic of harassing members of Congress in their personal lives. Recently, protesters shouted at Ted Cruz as he ate dinner in a DC-area restaurant. A Democratic legislative staffer revealed the personal information of Republican senators who supported Kavanaugh on the Internet.

What is especially concerning is that high-level liberals are encouraging this kind of behavior. As the Kavanaugh battle raged, ThinkProgress editor Ian Millhiser took to Twitter to encourage his followers to “confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep, and where they work until they stop being complicit in the destruction of our democracy.”

This was exactly backward: Petty harassment of legislators and mob-like behavior in the halls of government are themselves destructive to our form of government. Since ours is a representative republic, the only way that we have any power is if our members of Congress are free to act according to the wishes of their constituents.

If they’re getting bullied by malevolent protesters, they aren’t free. And if liberals intend to employ such bullying as a regular tactic, then they are the threat to our form of government, not the policies and people they are protesting.

Reprinted with permission from National Review Online.