Not Our Kind, Dear

Victor Davis Hanson, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, explains why he longer works for the magazine of William F. Buckley:

I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the left.

We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.

Empiricism is hardly a growth industry, but clinging to tradition has its charms, especially if doing so allows you to strike down your rivals. There’s a long history of keeping crazies at National Review. During his long reign at NR, Buckley famously put paid to the Birchers and anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard, casting them to the outer darkness. Later on, Buckley cast out writers he had championed, including Joseph Sobran and Pat Buchanan, both for anti-Semitism. My father subscribed to NR and I would read it cover to cover in my youth. Once I set up my own household, I subscribed for over a decade, but after a while the value proposition wasn’t there.  

Buckley has been gone for over a decade now, and while his beloved NR is still in operation, it hasn’t been a serious enterprise for a long time. Back in 2016, NR tried to cast the Bad Orange Man to the outer darkness, marshaling dozens of arguments against the Dread Pirate Drumpf, but all their sound and fury signified, well, nothing. Why was that? No one really took NR seriously any more.

While Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t need a particular platform to be heard, his departure from NR means the cupboard is bare. It’s not surprising, truth be told — Republicanism generally signifies nothing. Hanson knows why:

I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.

And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.

I’m not convinced it’s even a culture. From our perch in flyoverland, the conservative movement NR embodies is a pose rather than an attempt at understanding, let alone defending, a culture. Back to Hanson:

The original Republican conservative movement, I thought, was going to go back and look at the Constitution, when Jefferson said it won’t work if you pile up everybody in the cities because they will be subject to mass hysteria. Or de Tocqueville, and you look at certain ideas, I thought that’s what we were.

I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don’t think they were. I don’t think they wanted to be.

Hanson is clearly disillusioned, but he had to know the truth — any classicist of his erudition understands that grandeur and the trappings of the elite are powerful intoxicants. And currying favor with our betters is lucrative. 

Selective

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds’s approval rating has been moving up well into positive territory.

Current polls in the Des Moines register show 53% of Iowans approve of her job, while 43 do not – which, at +10, pretty decent ratio in this very polarized society.

The article in the Des Moines Register is actually fairly comprehensive about reporting the story.

With one exception.

Go ahead, read it.

In what paragraph this very favorable story is the governors party mentioned?

Answer below the jump.

Continue reading

At Stake

If you’re voting in California today? Your mission is clear.

Gavin Newsom is everything that’s wrong with modern progressivism (although far from alone at that). He’ part of an “elite” that has destroyed one of history’s great success stories, one of America’s onetime great accomplishments.

Larry Elder may not have all the answers, and given that even if he manages to swim upstream past the Democrat fraud machine he’ll still be facing a California State Assembly on his own.

Is there a better guy for the job than Elder? Some certainly wish it so:

As Donald Rumsfeld said, “You don’t go to war with the army you want. You go with the army you have”. The California GOP may be rebounding, but at the state level they’ve got nothing. Nationally? This next three years is going to be interesting in all the wrong ways, party-wise.

A wish and $3 will get you a cup of Starbucks. $5.50 in California.

Well, Lookie Here

Rep. Matt Gaetz exonerated of allegations of sex trafficking.

He was the victim of an extortion attempt:

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz has been exonerated after 62-year-old Stephen Alford was recently indicted by the Department of Justice for extortion.

“Stephen M. Alford did knowingly and willfully devise, and intent to devise, a scheme to defraud and for obtaining money and property by means of material false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the promise of executing such scheme, did cause, and attempt to cause, a wire communication to be transmitted in interstate commerce,” the indictment states.

So, all you Democrats in the comment section (you know who you are) who were measuring the drapes in a Supermax cell for Gaetz? Anything to say?

By the way – Rep. Gaetz’s father, Don…

…was a student of my father’s, back in Rugby, ND, back when I was a toddler.

I’m not gonna claim it gives me absolute moral authority or anything.

Downfall

I went to the GOP headquarters last night, with a small group of activists and with what seemed for a while to be an even bigger group of media

And there, we waited for the puffs of smoke for the chimney (that none of us could find):

Do buildings even have chimneys, anymore?

Gradually, some of the members of the executive committee started showing up:

Bobby Benson Dash executive committee man from CD6, and one of the first to publicly break with Carnahan.

And then, things settled into negotiation. Which was when I left. It was hot out there.

And, apparently, it got a little hot in there, too:

Carnahan started the evening demanding ten months of severance – likely over $100K, which is probably triple what the MNGOP has in the bank at the moment.

After a 2-3 hours of hammer and tongs, it came down to a 7-7 vote for a $38,000 severance deal. Aaaand, under the rules, Carnahan got to break the tie. Which she did. Basically skipping out with the MNGOP’s bank account.

Not, naturally, without leaving the DFL and media (ptr) a natural punch line:

I mean, on the one hand, it’s so obvious, even Jennifer Brooks got it.

And it’s not wrong.

Anyway – between the upcoming audit, the election for party chair in the next 45 days, the gut-shot this likely provides the Hagedorn race in CD1 (presuming his health permits a re-election bid), and Carnahan’s stated intent to run for that congressional seat (which has to be described as “dead on conception”, at this remove), not to mention the inevitable drama of the Lazzaro trial (or, more likely I suspect, guilty plea and showing where the financial bodies are buried, likely followed by the inevitable and justifiable clawback lawsuits on behalf of the victims, which will lead back to the party’s currently nonexistant coffers), the drama’s not over.

To say nothing of the that will attend the next year in MNGOP internal politics. Of the 14 non-Carnahan members of the Executive Committee, seven voted against the severance:

The rest of ’em need to have a short, sharp conversation with their voters. Hopefully leading to some down time, in many cases (although I can be convinced).

It’s not the end of the drama. It’s not even, as Churchill said, the beginning of the end. It’s onlyh yet another end of another frustrating beginning for the MNGOP.

Reckoning

During her first campaign for #MNGOP state chair, I supported Jennifer Carnahan. It wasn’t a slam-dunk – Keith Downey was very capable. I thought she told a good story, and had a good plan.

The vote made sense at the time.

But a lot has changed during Carnahan’s administration.

I left activism in 2018 – but heard the stories about the goings on at the GOP HQ. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt – and politics tends to draw big egos and hair-trigger tempers (much like radio) – so like a lot of grassroots voters, I paid them little mind.

But the tsunami of stories this past two weeks hasn’t left a lot of room for rational doubt. It’s time for Carnahan to go.

It’s not even really about the allegations about Tony Lazzaro, awful as they are. I think it’s entirely plausible Carnahan didn’t know that her close friend, guest at her small wedding, and primary campaign donor was involved in the activities for which he now faces Federal criminal charges; it’s not like sex traffickers advertise it in polite company.

I said plausible. But while rumors abound that Lazzaro’s side hustle was an open secret in inner party circles about (including from Andy Aplikowski’s letter this morning), let’s just leave that, noxious as it is, to the FBI and the DOJ.

The allegations against Carnahan and her staff, though? It’s impossible to read the credible, against-interest allegations of sexual harassment on the parts of various staffers and not get outraged at the “bro” culture that seems to have erupted in *our* party’s HQ.

As a conservative, a Republican and a father and grandfather of young women, I see these stories (none of them *completely* news to me, even outside the party) and wonder, not just why any woman would *work* there, but why they’d vote for the GOP?

Are they merely allegations, not court verdicts? Sure.

So what about when the “allegation” go to court? With discovery, testimony under oath? Imagine the anger every parent will feel at a party that’d foster that kind of depravity, when allegation turns to judgment? When that revulsion goes to vote?

Do you, loyal GOPer, feel lucky?

As to the allegations about Carnahan’s HR style, and her staff’s dubious HR practices, and the allegations four former Executive Directors made? Those just bounced the rubble.

It’s time for Carnahan to go.

And maybe others are reaching that conclusion:

And if Carnahan doesn’t? The Executive Committee must relieve her of her duties.

And if for whatever reason they don’t? The State Central needs to do it. Not just because the alternative is electoral disaster – although it is. No – because either way it’s the right thing to do.

It should go without saying – the GOP needs an independent investigation of the HR and financial allegations, including the out of control spending and tens of thousands in hush money purportedly paid to departing staffers.

Minnesota Republicans – the heart and brains of this state – may nor may not “deserve better”, but we had best demand better.

This Is #NeverTrump

I’ve been frank about my long-term ambivalence (at best) about Donald Trump.

In fact, if the universe were a purely binary construct, I could say with a straight face that the only think I like less than Trump…

…is “#NeverTrump”, the reaction to Trump among Republicans that became ever-more knee-jerk over time, to the point of having “Republicans” endorsing Biden over Trump last year.

One of the worst – and by “worst”, I mean “Most Perennially Dim” – offenders is Tom Nichols.

And on a weekend where the Administration lived down to something far below our worst expectations, Tom Nichols exceeded even them:

Naturally, there are Democrats who, given their dubious critical-thinking skills, accept this notion – that Kristi Noem abrogated her foreign policy and national defense duties attendant to being governor of South Dakota, and being seen in public on a day when the person Tom Nichols endorsed was not.

As Expected

I’d like to say the MN GOP Executive Committee took at least a half-measure at its emergency meeting last night.

To be honest? It was maybe more of a quarter-measure, voting for a financial audit.

The party really needs an independent legal review over the sex harassment charges, on top of the financial audit…

…and of course, Carnahan, whose financial and personal relationship with Lazzaro remains the elephant in the room.

Rebecca Brannon was able to watch the Zoom meeting – which, apparently, was itself a subject of a fair part of the meeting, by her account (read the whole thread):

So the party apparently plans to go into the State Fair with this as its status quo.

I may just have to go to the fair, if only to see how that works out.

More constructively? Anyone leading a petition effort to get signatures to force a Central Committee emergency meeting can have time on my show. Have your people call my people.

Just So We’re Clear On This

As this is written, the MNGOP Executive Committee is scheduled to meet on Sunday night. The Lazzaro Fiasco is forcing action.

The following needs to happen, while events are still even partly in the Executive Committee’s control:

  1. Chairwoman Carnahan needs to resign.
  2. If she doesn’t, the Executive Committee (henceforth EC) needs to put her on leave.
  3. The EC needs to commission an independent financial audit.
  4. All “Nondisclosure Aghreements” (NDAs) with former staffers need to be voided; NDAs don’t cover illegal activities.
  5. The list of those NDAs needs to be made public. The considerations – reportedly $10,000, in some cases, of GOP money – need to be publicized, as part of the audit.

The EC, in short, needs to rip out the rot, fraud and corruption by the root, while it still can.

Because if they don’t, the following will happen:

  • The GOP will get slaughtered in the statewide races in 2022. It may happen anyway, but if the repairs don’t start immediately, it’s not even debateable.
  • Even though Legislative races are the job of the House and Senate GOP committees and the local units of the party, the general public doesn’t know this. Hell, I barely knew it until probably 10-12 years ago. As of two weeks ago, people were expressing some confidence about taking the House back from the scandal-ridden DFL. If this isn’t fixed, stat, that is out the door.

Will the EC act?

Please tell us the EC is smarter than the Judicial Nomination Committee.

Anyway – fix this.

While you can.

You Called?

There was one time since Ronald Reagan left the stage that I felt like this nation had a genuine chance to succeed – with “success” defined as “being the nation that the founding fathers envisioned it being”. That was during the Tea Party.

Kids, ask your parents.

The Tea Party was organic. It was a mass movement that almost entirely led with its its ideals – from leaving its demonstration sites cleaner than we found them, to focusing on its principles more than any mass movement (worth following) I can recall in my lifetime. Fiscal responsibility, federalism, checks and balances, civil liberties, equality, a tamed bureacracy – what wasn’t to like?

Naturally, this was a threat, both to the Democrat party (whom the Tea Party shellacked in the 2010 midterms) but the GOP establishment; both, with their handmaidens and drinking buddies in the media, combined to undercut the movement via the most defamatory attack PR campaign not waged on behalf of a Clinton that I can recall.

Which led to Trump, for better or worse, as millions of workadaddy, hugamommy people figured playing nice wasn’t going to work (notwithstanding the Tea Party having led one of the great electoral tsunamis in history in 2010 and 2012).

The Tea Party has lurked in the shadows, or in some cases been appropriated by hucksters.

It’s time for that to change.

Six months into Joe Biden’s presidency, the opposition to his sweeping agenda is practically nonexistent. This week, in direct violation of his oath of office, President Biden extended a moratorium on evictions despite acknowledging beforehand that doing so would be illegal. Meanwhile, his party is trying to push through a multi-trillion-dollar package that will radically transform the relationship between citizens and government from birth through retirement. This is a five-alarm fire for conservatism and Republicans should be fighting Biden with every tool at their disposal. Instead, Republicans have remained largely silent about his unconstitutional power grab and, far from resisting his spending spree, are greasing the wheels for it by agreeing to pass one of his top priorities — an unnecessary infrastructure bill that is effectively an appendage of the larger social-welfare package…Historically, the path of least resistance was always for Republicans to come to Washington and rubber stamp more spending. At the height of the Tea Party’s power, there was a period during which Republicans were more afraid of voting to increase spending than they were of voting to cut spending. That was an important development that effectively put the brakes on Obama’s legislative agenda after 2010.

It was a brief period – but it showed it could be done.

And that’s what we need to shoot for:

Today, the U.S. is at a scary point in its history. The last time the nation racked up so much debt, it was in response to the short-term crisis of World War II. Yet once that crisis ended, so did the elevated spending.

I’m more than ready to get back to it.

Life Is Full Of Ironies, If You’re Stupid

A few years ago, when people started talking about the “Dunning Kruger Effect” – the notion that the less someone knows about a subject, the more expert they feel about it – the first thing I thought was “Well, this isn’t going to get turned into a form of onanistic self-ongratulation, used in service of political hackery, nosireebob”.

I was right, of course, judging by this “Dunning-Kruger-For-Dummies”-level primer:

During the 2016 election and in the months after the presidential inauguration, interest in the Dunning-Kruger effect surged. Google searches for “dunning kruger” peaked in May 2017, according to Google Trends, and has remained high since then. Attention spent on the Dunning-Kruger Effect Wikipedia entry has skyrocketed since late 2015.

There’s also “much more research activity” about the effect right now than immediately after it was published, Dunning said. Typically, interest in a research topic spikes in the five years following a groundbreaking study, then fades.

“Obviously it has to do with Trump and the various treatments that people have given him,” Dunning said, “So yeah, a lot of it is political. People trying to understand the other side. We have a massive rise in partisanship and it’s become more vicious and extreme, so people are reaching for explanations.”

“People are trying to understand the other side”, and why politics has become more vicious and extreme, by trying to quantify your opponents idiocy?

Seems legit.

In so many ways:

Many people “cannot wrap their minds around the rise of Trump,” Sloman said. “He’s exactly the opposite of everything we value in a politician, and he’s the exact opposite of what we thought Americans valued.” Some of these people are eager to find something scientific to explain him.

In other words, people using the “Dunning Kruger Effect” to explain the rise of Trump, qua Trump, without understanding the demography and class-conflict aspects of 2016 (and today) are exhibiting…

what pop-psychological syndrome?

I don’t wanna keep seeing the same hands, here…

Lining Up For Final Approach On That Windmill

When I first heard that there was going to be a recall vote against Gavin Newsom, I figured “Quixotic” was an understatement. The early polling showed California’s incompetent governor walking away with a recall election.

And when Larry Elder took leave from his national talk radio show (Disclosure: on my station, on the Salem Network, for which I work part-time), I figured it was yet another symbolic drive to get people talking about the issues.

But as Ed Morrissey notes, I want to believeˆ.

Indeed, I believe in miracles.

We’re not anywhere near “Miracle” level yet, and we may never get there. But the path to get there just got a little more brightly lit:

Californians who say they expect to vote in the September recall election are almost evenly divided over whether to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, evidence of how pivotal voter turnout will be in deciding the governor’s political fate, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

Ed Morrissey notes:

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who last week won a court battle to appear on the Sept. 14 recall ballot, leads in the race to replace Newsom among the dozens of candidates in the running, while support for reality television star Caitlyn Jenner remains low, the survey found. Forty percent of likely voters remain undecided on a replacement candidate, providing ample opportunity for other gubernatorial hopefuls to rise in the ranks before the Sept. 14 special election…

One potential advantage – special elections (and a recall is the special-est election there is) offer at least a slight premium for the motivated. Has this past couple of years of incompetent elitism left enough Californians angry enough to bring on a spasm of rebellion?

The odds are still very, very long. But maybe not as long as we’d thought.

And if it succeeds? Mid-terms are gonna be lit.

Ruparing

I’d like to claim this as a late addition to the DFL Dictionary – but alas, it’s actually from the Urban Dictionary:

Rupar (Verb): To purposely (sic) mislead. To completely mischaracterize a statement or video by omitting context.

Yesterday, at a “press conference” on the Capitol steps, as embattled representative John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson, the DFLer from either Saint Paul, Superior or someplace else, was promising not to resign, a woman – “Tammy Jo”, we’re told – drove “onto the Capitol Mall” (looks like the upper parking lot to me) and waved a Trump flag.

KARE11’s John Croman – who is distinguised by being “Not Quite Esme Murphy” – tweeted what would appear to be a troubling outburst:

Now, my first thought was that “Tammy Jo” was likely a DFL plant, a DFLer from Woodbury, sent to lend Thompson and his press conference a cleansing blast of the unambiguous victimhood that is his only line. That, I surmised, would explain why not a single member of our city’s press corps – the people who ran down “Umbrella Man” and his life story run down while the rubble was still burning last year – has come up with a complete identification of “Tammy Jo”.

I’m sure it’ll happen.

But even given the in-the-bagginess of the Twin Cities media, that seemed a bit of a stretch.

Still – it’s not merely the Twin Cities media; it’s KARE11, the station that led the local TV market to “Woke”-ness. There’s got to be a DFL-upsucking angle, I thought. I mean, this wasn’t a “hate crime” per se, but Berg’s 20th Law seems to be proximate: “All incidents of “hate speech” not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise.” There might need to be an Esme Murphy Corollary: “Hoaxes, and/or DFL PR operations”.

Because the DFL had a need, and Croman fulfilled it.

Leave it to David Steinberg, who on issue after issue – Keith Ellison, Ilhan Omar, the riots, the Minneapolis City Council – does the reporting the Minnesota Media can’t be bothered, or haven’t been told by Ken Martin they’re allowed, to do.

So – what really happened?

Aaron Rupar isn’t the disease. Coming from the Twin Cities media scene as he did, he’s just a symptom.

Generation Gaslit

This entire thread…

…may be the best single summation of the post-Tea=Party right-of-center landscape I’ve seen since, well, the Tea Party.

It’s going to be the subject of a solid chunk of my show on Saturday.

Prescription

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are three weeks [as this was written. Currently a little under two weeks, Ed.] until the legislature adjourns. Republicans continue working with Democrats to keep Dictator-for-Life Walz in power and to enact Democrat agendas in police reform, tax increases, and legalizing marijuana.

Why?

Shut everything down until Walz ends the Permanent Emergency and the law
is changed to say he can declare another only with consent of both houses.

Or else drop the masks, change parties and come clean with us. You’re
not staunch conservatives standing up for what’s right. You’re
Republicans in Name Only working hand-in-hand with Democrats to pass
their agenda.

Joe Doakes

It’s high time the MNGOP stood for what’s right, here.

In A Just World…

…Senator Scott would be a contender for the Presidency.

I knew the guy was sharp. This speech clinched it for me:

And I suspect the Dems know it too. That’s why we had…well, this going on on Twitter last week:

Someone with hope about race, the economy, and the world?

Can’t be tolerated.

Opportunity Stumbles

Dominic Greene at the Spectator ponders the depressing spectacle of the Biden “presidency” via the lens of last week’s gawdawful “news conference” and what it symbolizes for our democracy:

Joe Biden is the face of the United States. But Joe Biden no longer looks like Joe Biden. And he no longer sounds like Joe Biden — especially in the long and excruciating silences when he forgets what he’s saying or fumbles for his cue cards.

The United States no longer looks like itself either. The sorry theatrical display of Biden’s first press conference is an accurate image of what has happened to American democracy. A carefully limited number of carefully selected journalists asked carefully vetted questions. A carefully chosen president read carefully written answers off his cue cards, and carefully avoided taking any questions from Fox or Newsmax.

The White House is no longer the home of democracy. It’s a reality TV series in a care home. Biden mused about how the country has lost its way, about how it used to be so much better, but he seemed fatalistically feeble, as if it was all too much and all too late, and he has already given up. As if the nation is in its twilight years.

Open note to Ron DeSantis, Kristi Noem, Dan Crenshaw, Nikki Haley and everyone else lining up to run against this ongoing case of elder abuse: do lots of press ops involving clearing brush with a chainsaw, or out at the range, or just being joyfully, intensely physically capable. America – real America – doesn’t like seeing itself as feeble, of mind or body.

And that’s the vision we’re being gaslit with today.

Branding

The RINOs and Never Trumpers in the Republican establishment hated Donald Trump and did everything they could to obstruct, undermine and sandbag him.  Still do, except when it comes to fundraising.  Then, they want to use his name and photo to beg Americans to send them money, because they know how popular he is with the rank-and-file.

Donald Trump understands the importance of a name-brand.  His name is on his hotels for a reason.  President Trump asked the RNC to stop using his brand, the party refused citing a First Amendment right because he’s a public figure, and the President rebuked them.  No more money for RINOs.

They shouldn’t have needed rebuking.  They should have had enough honor to drop his name and image.  They should have proudly used RINOs like Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, since those are the people they’re actually hoping to get elected.  Using President Trump’s name to raise money for candidates who don’t hold his beliefs is deceptive.  It’s bait-and-switch, false advertising, consumer fraud, lying and pretty much standard procedure for RINOs and Never-Trumpers.

I hope President Trump does run as a third party candidate. Can’t wait.

Joe Doakes

I’m personally going to go with “focus ASAP around candidates who can straddle the divide – DeSantis, Noem, whomever – and get back to the business of trying to save Western Civilization.

Threefer Madness

President Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine,
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of
Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined every
single Democrat in voting guilty.

No word on whether Democrats and turncoat RINOs will commence a third
impeachment attempt against the man who left office January 20th, or
whether they will instead seek to impeach a different Republican former
President such as Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover or
Abraham Lincoln.

Joe Doakes

Will the Dems try for three?

Depends on:

a) How badly Biden continues to bungle Covid, and

b) How quickly the Ted Cruz deflection peters out.