Elizabeth Warren’s Evasions: Liner Notes

I have a new column up at The Federalist today, “Elizabeth Warren May Have Plans, But She Does Not Want to Discuss Them On Television.” I think most of the traffic today will be going to dissecting the new book attacking Justice Kavanaugh, but Sen. Warren seems like a potentially larger problem in the medium term.

The column is a partial analysis and fact-check of Warren’s debate performance last week, which was effective in attracting Democrats and ineffective in being candid. Plenty got left out for space because her evasions pervaded virtually every answer she gave.

I was particularly miffed I had to cut a discussion of her answer on pulling out of Afghanistan without any peace agreement, because she had the gall to accuse military commanders of not being able to define “winning” in Afghanistan, while having no specifics about pulling out, let alone the possible consequences of doing so without any agreement. Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq without a Status of Forces agreement was a major contributor to the rise of ISIS (and in turn, ISIS-inspired domestic terror), underscoring that even those who support withdrawal (which is a reasonable position) may pay a political price later if it’s done recklessly. Warren also spoke of the need to get our allies involved, as if almost half of the NATO forces in Afghanistan do not come from our allies.

There is also a larger tension between her general non-interventionism and her nationalist trade policies on the one hand and and her belief that we’re going to solve our illegal immigration policies by re-instituting the rule of law in countries like Venezuela on the other. Her most consistent position may be that problems she does not want to address are to be addressed by others.

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Whither the Trump Dynasty? (Liner Notes)

My final Federalist column this week asks, “Will President Trump Launch A Dynasty?” And I don’t really answer the question, which is probably bad punditry, but I try to stay away from predictions. Nevertheless, I offer ways for people to think about the question, which has been bouncing around online for the past week or so. Indeed, I was already working this up mentally before it became the cover story at The Atlantic.

I didn’t really leave much out for space, either. I could have elaborated a bit more on what different types of candidates Ivanka and Don Jr. would be, but I figure most people understand that without elaboration.

I also could have included a bit about how dynasties in America are generally overrated, even outside politics. The wealth and income inequality stats on this do not really stack up the way the left thinks they do. And I might have included it because at one point this was looking like a short piece, rather than a standard one. But then the bit about a potential Obama dynasty hit me and allowed me to stay within the lane of politics. I am usually big on having a column structured in my head before I start writing. But sometimes I have to just start writing and let the process tell me how to flesh out an argument.

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Sanders and Warren Promote Hate: Liner Notes

Another day, another column up at The Federalist: “Warren Mimics Bernie’s Promotion Of Anti-Semite Linda Sarsour To Campaign Surrogate.” Not quite how I’d put it (the timeline is reversed), but it’s a problem either way.

Sadly, the records of Linda Sarsour and Max Berger are so copious that items were left out due to space considerations, particularly incidents that required explanation of a backstory. For example, Sarsour once wished she could take away Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s vagina. That’s bad enough on its own, but is worse once people know who Ali is and that she was the victim of female genital mutilation at age five. Sarsour was even condemned as an anti-Semite by grunge rocker Courtney Love, but again the back story would have required more explanation.

Similarly, I left out Max Berger’s 2013 tweet, “Confession: I would totally be friends with Hamas,” because the left has reason to pass it off as a joke. But when you look at Berger’s total record, how much of a joke was it? And I left out the sad fact that Warren agreed with Berger’s fellow travelers from IfNotNow about ending “the occupation,” because I felt like I’d have to explain why “occupation” is the wrong term, and one aimed at delegitimizing Israel.

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Elizabeth Warren Used To Be Interesting: Liner Notes

Another brief, bleated note, this time about “How Politics Made Elizabeth Warren Dull And Less Electable.”

Longtime readers of this tiny sideblog know I believe that the mass audience generally prefers discussing people > events > ideas. Accordingly, while this piece is nominally about Warren, she also serves as a peg to discuss the difference between orthodox and heterodox candidates.

For a more literal account of how Warren became a dull, orthodox leftie, read Peter Suderman at Reason. It’s an in-depth look at a point I merely touch upon: the idea that Warren’s wonkery is not particularly well-founded.

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Jonathan Franzen’s Climate Doomsday: Liner Notes

My latest is up (in a pleasant surprise) midday at The Federalist, “Jonathan Franzen’s Crazy Climate Rant Contains A Nugget Of Truth.”

Given how quickly it was posted, I’m not in a position to write at length about it now. However, a couple of things did get left out. For example, I considered noting Franzen has had a rough couple of years professionally. I erred on the side of not delivering a cheap shot, though it might provide some context to his extreme pessimism about the state of the world.

Moreover, this is not Franzen’s first foray into climate doomsaying. He previously published a collection of essays titled The End of the End of the Earth, which spent a fair amount of space focused on saving the birds instead of humans. Like this new essay, the left didn’t much care for that, either.

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The Electatbility Debate: Liner Notes

I have a new column up at The Federalist, “What Is The Electability Debate Really About?” The debate Democrats are having about it is quite different from the traditional debate about “electability,” which usually centers around experience, charisma, etc.

One thing I didn’t fully internalize until I emailed it to editorial is that the debate Dems are having is partly built into how they have been thinking about elections during this century, but also partly influenced by an era where governing experience seems less important to voters. Trump is Exhibit A of this phenomenon, but in 2008, both nominees were senators, not governors. Hillary Clinton was never a governor. And as has been observed by many, Congress is increasingly a parliament of pundits whose members are not particularly interested in building a legislative record. Although being a governor does not fully prepare someone for the presidency, it seems like the trend of preferring those without it on the resumes is probably not a good one.

The upside of realizing this belatedly is that I may be able to turn it into a column sometime in the coming months.

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Warren Rises On Her Rivals’ Weaknesses: Liner Notes

So, I have a new column up today at The Federalist, “How Elizabeth Warren’s Candidacy Benefits From Her Democrat Competitors’ Weakness.”

The thesis is one that seemed obvious to me, though I hadn’t seen anyone actually write the column, so I did. It’s in a fairly bloggy style. We are trained to think of polls as a snapshot of a moment, but in truth, straight news is the same way. Columns, including my own, often reach for something larger, but there’s something to be said for a summing up of the general situation at a particular moment. And shortly before Labor Day seemed like an apt moment.

I do feint toward something larger at the end in considering that a comparison of Democrats is a different exercise than comparing a Democrat to President Trump. But Josh Kraushaar recently wrote more on Elizabeth Warren’s general election problems. I went to the archive so you can zip by the paywall. You’re welcome.

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“The Squad” Accuses Israel of Torture: Liner Notes

Another Monday, another column at The Federalist, “‘The Squad’ Co-Sponsors Bill Claiming Israel Tortures Children, And Parrots Other Terrorist Propaganda.” The bill is wild; the story behind it is wilder.

What got left out for space? Plenty. Indeed, this is one of the tricky parts of writing about Israel. Most are not heavily dialed into the subject, so the temptation is to explain more and more of how things are connected until one looks like the push-pins and yarn conspiracy guy. In reality, one would have the same problem in writing about German or French politics for an American audience which does not follow them closely.

For example, the column quotes Mark Mellman, but I cut out his quotation of Nelson Mandela, who was sympathetic to the Palestinan cause, yet still believed in Israel’s right to exist with secure borders. I also cut a quotation from Israel critic and former South African Justice Richard Goldstone, because to grasp his significance, I felt like I had to explain the Goldstone Report and his quasi-apology for inaccurately accusing Israel of war crimes. It’s important to demonstrate just how weak a canard it is to accuse Israel of being an “apartheid state,” but doing all of that explaining eventually distracts the reader.

This is another reason why the column remains focused on the DCI-P group and does not discuss other groups cited in the bill. For example, the manner in which Human Rights Watch addresses Israel is a story in itself, right up to the present day, with Israel refusing to renew a work visa for HRW’s Israel program director based on his past and current BDS activism.

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“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Democrats: Liner Notes

My column today at The Federalist is “Pete Buttigieg’s Candidacy Exposes Democrats’ ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Approach To Black Voters.” It’s a familiar theme, but from a different angle.

That is, I have written a fair amount about the Democrats’ “upstairs / downstairs” coalition, in which a disproportionately white woke runs the party in ways not fully supported by the more diverse rank-and-file voters. Today’s column addresses the fact that a part of the Democratic coalition holds socially conservative views on LGBTQ issues (and more), yet does not receive the treatment woke elites give to anyone else holding those views.

What got left out due to length? Over at Commentary, Noah Rothman recently reminded readers what happened to Californians who supported Prop 8, the 2008 ballot initiative outlawing same-sex marriage. Yet today, even with same-sex marriage much more accepted, nonwhite Democrats who oppose it get a pass from social justice warriors. That’s a very hypocritical look for a campaign cycle which (barring a recession) is shaping up as a “culture war” election.

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Big Media Still Whitewashing Democratic Anti-Semitism: Liner Notes

My latest column is up at The Federalist, “Media Won’t Report That Tlaib And Omar’s Israel Trip Was Planned By A Pro-Terrorist Group.”

I did not leave out much for space, instead running a fair amount over the usual maximum word count. That said, as with my piece on Woodstock, there’s more granular detail on some things in pieces hyperlinked within the column.

This is still unfortunate, as click-through rates on hyperlinks is generally abysmal. It is generally preferable to show rather than tell. For example, I mention Josh Glancy, the New York correspondent for The Sunday Times of London, on the Corbynization of the Labor Party. It’s more powerful when you know that Glancy identifies as a ” Jewish Labourite” and writes this before concluding Corbyn is anti-Semitic:

“Mr. Corbyn has described the constitutionally genocidal Hamas as his ‘friends.’ He’s appeared on stage with inveterate anti-Semites. He’s defended a mural that depicted hooknosed bankers running the world. He’s attended a wreath-laying ceremony that celebrated the perpetrators of the Munich Olympics massacre.

“All of this was variously offensive, tone-deaf, ignorant or, at times, insidious. But none of these scandals quite clinched it for me. The associations were often tangential. And, I reasoned, there was the possibility of confusion: Mr. Corbyn is not exactly known for his sharp wits.”

Partisanship, as the kids say, is a helluva drug. And in that sense, I note his example not as a complete condemnation, but a recognition of human nature. After all, much the same sort of denial was at work for many Republicans when it came to Rep. Steve King. But King was ultimately condemned by his party, while Omar is defended by hers. That’s not healthy politics and those journalists pretending otherwise are contributing to the toxicity.

By the way, I also recognize that some media outlets may get around to reporting on MITFAH eventually. But a biased narrative can circle the world many times before the truth gets its boots on.

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