One of the blessings of the Trump administration was that Trump reminded us how fun regular people are. Sure, I love the symphony and all that stuff, but a representative government should be basically populist—it should care about the people it governs, and look out for their interests. Leaders should reflect the people, not set themselves against the people. At most, our officials should strive to set examples for how a good life can be lived.
The thrust of this piece—written one year ago today—is that elitism is shockingly ignorant: it presumes that anything that does not interest the elitist is somehow barbaric and simplistic. That our own elites embrace the vulgar and raise up vice as a virtue suggests their elitism is supremely misguided—or lacking entirely.
Few remember now Michael Bloomberg’s disastrous run for the Democratic primary last year—it was so long ago!—but it was the political embodiment of clueless elitism against Trumpian populism. Bloomberg had the resources and the softly center-Left stance to buy himself into the White House, or at least the Democratic nomination, but he bungled it so badly, even his supporters were in awe of his ineptitude.
Well, now we have a senile, fraudulent feebster leading a puppet regime, so it seems gross incompetence is no longer a barrier to entry to the highest office in the land. Perhaps a healthy dose of elitism is needed after all.
Last night was the second and final presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden. Overall, it was far more measured in tone and richer in substance than the first debate, and it accomplished what President Trump needed to do: reassure squishy independents and critical undecided voters that he’s not just a loose cannon, but can actually govern, and govern well.
I also found the moderator to be surprisingly fair. The questions obviously were slanted in favor of the Democrats, as these questions always are (again, who cares about climate change anymore?), but she gave President Trump the opportunity to respond to criticisms, and also had some tough questions for Biden.
President Trump did what he should have done in the first debate: he gave Biden the rope with which to hang himself. It was Biden who brought up China and Ukraine, which opened the door for Trump to attack Hunter Biden’s lucrative salaries from foreign companies and governments—the result of Biden’s influence peddling.
Last night was the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden. It was a grudge match; “hard to watch” and similar sentiments are the main comments I’m seeing on social media.
As a Trump supporter, I enjoyed the debate for GEOTUS’s zingers and no-nonsense combativeness. He was aggressive and feisty, and clearly understood the Leftist slanting of the questioning (as Milo Telegramed, “Why are we still talking about climate change?” Chris Wallace was clearly in Biden’s corner in terms of the tack of his questions, and he didn’t interrupt Biden the way he interrupted Trump.
To be fair to Wallace, Trump was talking over Biden and Wallace frequently, and as the role of a moderator is to moderate the debate, Wallace’s job was to try to keep the candidates to the two-minute rule. That said, Trump was responding to a number of inaccurate and false accusations against him, including the widely debunked but oft-repeated Charlottesville myth.
I do think on the substance of the issues, Trump hammered Biden. Trump has facts, history, accomplishments, and morality on his side. His first term has been wildly successful by any metric. The irony of Trump’s presidency is that if it were anyone else in his position, they’d be lauded as the greatest president in a generation, but anyone else wouldn’t have had the cajones to accomplish what Trump has.
Unfortunately, for all that I loved Trump’s aggressive attempt to rattle the ailing Biden, I’m afraid it came across as bullying and unprofessional to squishy swing voters. Trump’s base is with him no matter what (especially after he refused to be maneuvered into denouncing the Proud Boys, a completely benign organization unfairly slandered as “white supremacists”). He’s got to win over those undecided folks in key swing States who probably love the president’s policies, but find the president personally distasteful.
As of right now, it looks like Amy Coney Barrett will get confirmed to the Supreme Court before the election, even if she’ll be seated under the wire. A plurality of Americans want Barrett seated, according to a Rasmussen poll. Conservatives shouldn’t take anything for granted; to quote Marcus Cato Censorius, “many things can come between the mouth and a morsel of food.” But it does seem that ACB will soon be Justice Barrett, and America will be better off for it.
Of course, the Democrats are in high dudgeon, and are already threatening to pack the Court should they win the presidency and gain a senatorial majority this November. Conservatives have anticipated this potential move for some time, but haven’t done much to stymie it. Our focus has been, understandably, affixed on merely gaining a solid constitutionalist majority on the Court, but today’s Left will do anything to demolish a conservative Court.
It’s another Lazy Sunday dive into some of my deep cuts—the forgotten or neglected posts of yesteryear. As a reminder, here’s my loose criteria for selecting these posts, as spelled out last Sunday:
That’s all a long way of saying that I’m doing some deep dives for an indeterminate number of Sundays into some forgotten posts. These are posts that don’t immediately spring to my mind when I’m referencing my own work. These posts may or may not have had high or low hit counts; they are just posts that don’t linger strongly in my memory. They’re the red-headed stepchildren of my churning mind.
“Breaking: Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize” – I used to do these “breaking” news posts periodically—dashing off a couple hundred words about some major development. I was perhaps overly optimistic about Trump’s peace talks in Korea, but while they might not have ended the Korean War’s long cease-fire, they definitely calmed down tensions between the US and North Korea.
“George Will’s Self-Destruct Sequence” – The Never Trump phenomenon was gasping for air in 2018, but it still had some loyal adherents (and still does, if you check out National Review, The Dispatch, and The Bulwark, the last of which is blatantly progressive, despite its claims to be a conservative site). One of the first major figures to succumb publicly and wildly to the disease was George Will, the long-time WaPo columnist and tweedy neocon. Will argued that Republicans in Congress should be voted out to avoid giving Trump dictatorial powers—a ludicrous obsession with the Left and the Never Trumpers, and completely deleterious to the future of the nation. Sure, we Republicans might be the “Stupid Party” sometimes, stupidity in the highest halls of power is generally preferable to the “Evil Party” of intentional wickedness. Now we have so-called conservatives plumping for Joe Biden on similarly faulty premises. Yeesh!
“HSAs are A-Okay” – I’m a big fan of health savings accounts, or HSAs, thanks in large part to my younger brother’s financial wizardry. Health savings accounts allow account holders to deposit funds that can be used to cover future, out-of-pocket medical expenses. Since my cut-rate insurance comes with a hefty $6750 annual deductible, squirreling away cash into my HSA helps in the event of a catastrophic injury or health crisis. But the real beauty of an HSA is that the deposited funds can be invested in mutual funds and grow in value—tax-free. They’re the ultimate investment vehicle, and you can save medical receipts for years before using them to withdraw HSA funds (if you use an emergency fund to cover medical expenses on the front-end, the HSA funds can grow unmolested until you decide to use them).
That’s it for another edition of Lazy Sunday—one of the last truly lazy ones for some time, as I report back to school tomorrow morning. Classes resume 20 August 2020, so I still have about eleven days to prepare for the return of students.
It’s an election year, in case you’d missed that point, and our man Trump is up for reelection. Trump is not doing well in the polls at the moment, but George H. W. Bush was similarly down against Michael Dukakis at this point in 1988, and won in a blowout victory. Of course, Dukakis was an exceptionally feeble and excessively nerdy politician, and Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton ad was a gutsy, effective attack on Dukakis’s program of weekend release for prisoners.
1988 was also a very different America. Even 2016 seems like another world. Trump’s election was the paradigm shift of our age, spawning four years of constant resistance from progressives and neocons alike. Joe Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, enjoys the full support of the media and the institutions; even in his advancing senility, they are determined to drag him into the White House, where he will serve as a dull-witted, mentally-diminished puppet for every crazy Left-wing policy ever concocted in the faculty lounge of a women’s studies department.
Lately, it’s been easy to give in to despair. Trump is way down in the polls, we’ve suffered reversals on DACA (and Trump’s own reversals on rescinding foreign student visas for colleges going online-only in the fall and on suspending foreign worker visas through the end of the year), BLM is murdering people for saying “All Lives Matter,” and so on.
Despair is a sin. Like most situations in life, doing the opposite of what you feel is virtuous. Wallowing in self-pity (or shouting angrily during one of Tucker Carlson‘s litanies of unpunished progressive malfeasance) is the emotionally satisfying approach, but it’s not very productive.
Right now, President Trump is down in the polls, and there’s a lot of black-pilled commentary on our side (I’m certainly guilty of it). Z Man wrote a scatching post yesterday—entitled “Flight 93 Crashed“—that argues that Jeff Sessions’s defeat in the Alabama US Senate Republican primary to former football coach Tommy Tuberville marks the end of any significant, mainstream nationalist and immigration patriot influence in national politics. Sessions was, indeed, a John the Baptist in the Senate, crying out in the wilderness of the cheap labor lobby, a lone voice for immigration restriction.
I do think President Trump has treated Sessions shabbily at times, but when Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, he allowed hostile forces to take the reins, resulting in two years and millions of wasted dollars on a politically-motivated investigation that nearly put Roger Stone in jail for a meaningless process “crime.” More importantly, it stymied the Trump presidency, putting a stop to the energy and excitement of those early days of his administration.
Sessions was, I believe, doing what he thought was right, but his fatal error was he assumed we were still playing by the old playbook of political decorum and fair play. By taking that path—however honorable in the particular—he unleashed incredibly dishonorable forces, albeit unintentionally. To add insult to injury, Democrat Doug Jones won his Senate seat away from Judge Roy Moore, a huge hero for social and religious conservatives.
It’s a hot weekend here in South Carolina. It’s been a mostly mild summer so far, but today the brutal combination of heat and humidity hit with their full rancor. I’m currently writing this post from the third story finished attic at my parents’ house, as it’s been another big family weekend, this time to celebrate my maternal grandmother’s birthday. Like every protagonist from Stephen King’s early work, I’m typing shirtless and drenched in sweat—an image none of you needed.
It occurred to me Friday that I’ve (improbably) hit twelve editions of Phone it in Friday, so I thought I’d cheekily dedicate the next few Sundays to looking back at past PiiF installments—a month of Fridays for a month of Sundays. Chalk it up to laziness—I mean, that’s the point of these Sunday posts—-but I’m running out of umbrella topic ideas, and this lame tactic gives me a month to dream up some more.
So, without further ado, here’s the first installment of our Phone it in Friday Lazy Sundays:
“Phone It in Friday – Musings & Reflections on NATO, Brexit, Etc.” – The very first PiiF goes back to 13 July 2018, before I was doing daily posts. I believe I was sticking to a thrice-a-week MWF schedule. The astute observer will note that I capitalized the “I” in “It” for this first installment, and lowercased it for (I believe) the rest. The post covered Brexit, why I believe Turkey should not be in the NATO alliance (the alliance itself is probably obsolete, anyway), and President Trump’s visit to England. Remember when Theresa May was still the Prime Minister of England and kept delaying Brexit?
“Phone it in Friday II: Boris, Bond, and Borders” – It would be slightly over a year, on 26 July 2019, before I resorted to another PiiF. That pithy PiiF celebrated Boris Johnson’s election as Prime Minister of Great Britain (which presaged the victory of true Brexit), the literary death of James Bond, and a Chicago Chamber of Commerce piñata bashing for illegal children. ¡Ay caramba!