Comments On Kamala

We still think Kamala will be the next president but we are more concerned about our prediction than we were a few months ago.  It seems more likely that the year will be 2024 rather than 2020 but time will tell.   Instapundit cited a Jim Geraghty post in NRO’s Corner that caught our attention.  Jim says and quotes:

The other day Wonkette offered an article with a headline that declares — cleaning it up for your sensitive eyes — “Kamala Harris Doesn’t Have To Explain Herself To Your Dumb [Tushes].”

Infuriated by headlines about a Harris speech declaring that she is defending her record as a prosecutor, Stephen Robinson writes:

Is Harris on trial here? Why is she “defending her record”? Did she lose all her cases like the prosecutor who faced off against Perry Mason each week? That guy needed to explain himself. Harris put [bad words] in prison. She imprisoned [bad words] so well she was the first woman elected district attorney of San Francisco and the first black woman to become attorney general of California. She’s the Serena Williams of law and order.

While she’s undoubtedly better than Hamilton Berger, Harris’s record is a little more complicated than that. [Emphasis added]

Jim concludes that candidates always need to defend their records.  We agree but we have concerns.  First, Stephen can’t be bothered to look up Hamilton Berger like Jim did.  Really, this is not a tweet but Stephen’s article and he can’t be bothered to type in Perry Mason prosecutor.  Go and try it.  We will wait as it won’t take long.  You won’t even need to finish typing prosecutor and you will find that Hamilton Burger has his own Wikipedia site!

Second, what is a good record for a prosecutor?  We are not convinced that Jim is right that Kamala is better than Hamilton.  Hamilton, on our small sample, never convicts the innocent or frees the guilty.  Obviously, life is more complicated than a TV drama but convictions, as Scooter Libby could tell you, might not be the best measure of a prosecutor. Evaluating teachers and prosecutors involves problems because the goals, learning and justice, are hard to measure.

Third, Jim is worried about the need to serve a strong leader demonstrated in the tone of Stephen’s article.  Instead, given the circumstances at Oberlin College, we find Jim’s parenthetical comment is more important:

(Whatever else you think of [Stephen]’s argument, he’s absolutely right when he declares, “it’s insulting to claim that black people can only have an adversarial relationship with the criminal justice system or that a black woman can’t prosecute crimes without betraying her community.”)

Kamala has a mixed heritage but we are not getting into the swamps of what is black in the quote.  The important point is that protecting communities from bad actors is a good idea even if Oberlin disagrees.

Sidebar: We have already said that convictions are not necessarily justice and we would add that police do not always act properly.  Protecting communities without harming them is a challenge and we agree with Jim that Kamala should explain how she did that.  Perhaps she has examples of convicting cops.  We just think that Stephen’s law and order message is the important one rather than the she doesn’t need to explain one.  End Sidebar.

This is the first good news we have seen about a Democrat presidential candidate.  Perhaps more is forthcoming but we are not holding our breath.

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WSJ On Josh

Recently we evaluated two opinions on Josh Hawley, the GOP junior senator from MO.  We concluded that we were unimpressed with his behavior.  We still see him as a political opportunist.  It is nice to see the WSJ agree with us.

The editorial board of the WSJ compares Josh’s behavior in questioning a prospective judge with Harvard’s action of punishing a law professor for defending Harvey Weinstein.  They give lots of detail that Josh, as a lawyer and former attorney general, should be embarrassed by.  Do read it all.  They conclude:

For many on the right and left these days, principles are merely weapons of temporary convenience in the battle for power. But such thinking breeds contempt for the law, and that is dangerous for all Americans, especially for cultural conservatives who need the law to defend against an increasingly coercive left. Defenders of religious liberty shouldn’t imitate Harvard’s situational legal ethics. [Emphasis added]

We would expand their thought to all conservatives because the rule of law and respect for the law is a big part of conservatism.  We know that politicians often disappoint conservatives and we still support them. Josh is an improvement on Claire McCaskill, who he replaced but not as much as we had hoped.  Josh’s failure is an enormous one and conservatives need to consider looking for an alternative.  He is not the answer in ’24.

Opinions On Josh Hawley

Josh Hawley has received some interesting commentary from the right.  For background, Wikipedia tell us Josh:

is an American lawyer and Republican politician, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from Missouri. Hawley previously served as the 42ndAttorney General of Missouri from 2017 to 2019, before defeating two-term Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the 2018 Senate election. He is currently the youngest member of the Senate at age 39.

Michael Brendan Dougherty at NRO is having a bromance with Josh in Josh Hawley versus the Aristocracy.  Michael concludes his article with

[Josh] staked out new territory for Republican politicians, based on some of the bleeding-edge conservative thinking on issues of tech and labor policy. For the first time in a long while, I’m excited for what’s coming next.

David Bernstein writing at the Volokh Conspiracy has a very different outlook.  David is the University Professor and Executive Director of the Liberty & Law Center at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.  Both writers have impressive conservative credentials but they couldn’t disagree more.  David’s title is, “Senator Josh Hawley is becoming a first-class demagogue.”  How can two people with such great conservative credentials disagree so completely?

First question: are Michael and David talking about the same thing? The answer is in part.  David limits his discussion to Josh’s questioning of The Donald’s federal judge nominee.  Michael’s brief is more wide ranging but he approves of Josh’s questions:

Hawley also got some conservatives’ attention by blasting Michael Bogren, a Trump judicial nominee to the U.S. District Court in western Michigan. Hawley hammered him for his legal work defending East Lansing’s ban against a Catholic farmer’s participation in a public farmers’ market because the farmer announced his intention on Facebook to continue renting his orchard for weddings, but not same-sex ceremonies. As part of his legal arguments, Bogren had said there was no distinction between the Catholic family running their orchard in accordance with their faith and the Ku Klux Klan persecuting non-whites. Hawley grilled the nominee, saying that his unflattering comparison failed the test that Justice Anthony Kennedy had outlined in the Masterpiece Cakeshopcase, in which anti-religious animus was deemed to be at work in Colorado’s application of non-discrimination law.

Second question: Who wins the argument from a conservative perspective?  David.  Don’t forget that Josh is a lawyer and former Missouri Attorney General.  David doesn’t address Michael Brendan directly but you can see that Michael Brendan has made an enormous error.  Michael, the prospective judge, was working for East Lansing.  His job was to advocate for his employer.  The legal system doesn’t work if one side throws in the towel.  Josh knows that.

Third question: What are the implications?  It is clear to us that Josh wants to replicate The Donald in one of the upcoming presidential elections.  He will be the progressive Republican who will support some conservative positions.

Sidebar One: What makes a person a conservative?  Who gets to decide?  MWG, of course! Seriously, labels can be a problem.  We see conservatives as being more concerned with process than outcomes.  That is why conservatives often disagree more often than the left.  The latter even has a name for it, BAMN.  Thus, conservatives support the Constitution and rule of law.  We see personal and economic freedom as part of that but, unlike libertarians, we don’t see freedom as the only good.  End Sidebar One.

Elections are always about choices and those choices depend on the opposition but it is highly unlikely that we would vote for Josh in the Republican presidential primary.

Sidebar Two: Marco versus Josh would be a tough primary call.  They are two young and pretty Republicans but not reliable conservatives.  End Sidebar Two.

We voted for The Donald in the general and it is highly likely we would vote for Josh in in the general given the folks we see running for the Democrat nomination now.

Socialism Is Economic Foolishness

David French is off The Donald beat and writing about Bernie Sanders and school choice at NRO.  It makes David sound much better.  He seems almost surprised that Act Naturally would favor public schools.  It is not a misguided attack by the candidate.  Act Naturally is a socialist and he supports lack of choice for deodorants, schools, and everything else.  He, Bernie, always thinks he knows better than the consumer.  David has an almost beautiful conclusion:

Sanders makes his intentions crystal clear. In his plan, he writes, “We do not need two schools systems; we need to invest in our public schools system.” This is exactly wrong. One size does not fit all. Sanders looks at parents and declares that he knows best. Parents should look back at him and respond, quite simply: I know my child, and I want to shape his destiny. Your collective solutions cannot meet my family’s [educational] needs.

It is almost beautiful because it needs one more sentence after we have inserted education above.  The sentence might go like this: Your collective solutions cannot meet my or my family’s needs in any area.

Economic Foolishness Sweepstakes

The economic foolishness sweepstakes is on.  The Donald has planted his flag by raising taxes (tariffs) on Americans to punish China and other countries.  He also failed to allow exceptions to the Jones Act for LNG.

Speaking of natural gas, Andrew Cuomo has stopped a natural gas pipeline so New Yorkers can’t get natural gas by sea (because of the Jones Act) or land.  The WSJ reminds us that it is part of a pattern for Andrew:

He has also banned drilling for natural gas in the rich Utica and Marcellus Shale that lie under the state, and he has blocked another natural gas pipeline upstate. Due to pipeline constraints, the utility Con Edison in March suspended natural-gas hookups in Westchester County north of New York City.

Kamala Harris want to fine companies that don’t achieve [“]pay equality[“].  We can’t have that term without quotes.  Really, we are not making this up.  CNN says:

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, shortly before Harris headlined a town hall in Los Angeles, the California Democrat called pay equity a “really big issue” where “if you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families and communities and all of society benefits.”

We need to give you a long quote to show you what she is saying:

“This will radically change the way we enforce equal pay in America,” reads the plan. “Our current equal pay laws rely exclusively on proving instances of individual discrimination and place the burden entirely on employees to hold big corporations accountable. … Under our plan, for the first time in American history, companies will be held responsible for demonstrating they are not engaging in pay discrimination.”
Under the plan, companies with 100 or more employees will be required to obtain a certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within three years of the plan’s passage by handing over employment data to the government. Companies with more than 500 employees will have two years to receive the certification. And each company will be required to display whether they met the certification on their company’s website.
Those companies that do not receive the certification will be met with a stiff penalty: For every 1% gap in pay between men and women that persists after the EEOC accounts for experience and job titles, a Harris administration would fine companies 1% of their daily profits during that fiscal year. [Emphasis added]

With Kamala companies will be guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.

Meanwhile the Morning Jolt tells us that  Pete has called for four tax increases:

A “fairer, which means higher” marginal income tax, a “reasonable” wealth tax “or something like that,” a financial transactions tax, and closing “corporate tax loopholes.”

We have no idea why higher taxes are fairer.  It would have been a good question as would have been why would any wealth tax be reasonable.  We would also like to know what he thinks a loophole is.  If fairer is higher then we would expect him to find many loopholes.

Sidebar: We have not used the word crazy to describe any of these proposals.  We thinks this speaks well for our restraint.  End Sidebar.

We are not sure who will win the economic foolishness sweepstakes.  We are only sure that America will lose.

The Debt Crisis And Selective Memory

With all the oxygen being sucked up by the Green New Deal (GND) scam, at least some folks are trying to talk about serious stuff like the debt crisis.  The problem is that there is more emphasis on score settling than serious solutions.  Steven Rattner from the administration of the 44th president lets us know in the NYT  that your grandchildren are already in debt.  Steve is right and we are delighted that a leftist mentions the entitlement problem but:

In a perfect world, those programs would function like insurance; each generation’s annual premiums would pay for support received during its golden years. That principle was abandoned long ago. Based on the current demographics of the American populationwe would need to set aside $49 trillion to make the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds truly solvent. [Emphasis added]

The problem with the principle in bold is that it was never adopted.  Many a Facebook post suggest it is a principle but it is not.  W tried to get us there some years ago on Social Security but neither party bought his pitch.

John Phelan from the Center for the American Experiment lets us know in the Star Tribune that The US Is (Still) Heading For A Debt Crisis.  John is also right.  John and Steve are on opposite sides of the aisle so this seems great.

It is not.  Steve is all about taxes.  GOP tax cuts, according to Steve, are the cause of the deficits.  He wants higher taxes on the rich.  He has a neat chart of the deficit but he never mentions that the first four annual deficits of a trillion dollars happened under his watch.  And there are some spending issues related to his time in office.

John punctures Steve’s proposal:

A currently popular answer is to raise taxes, particularly on “the rich.” But historical evidence suggests that doing so will have little impact on federal government revenue.

So for John it is a spending problem and he also zeros in on entitlements:

The problem diagnosed by the CBO is not a shortage of revenue but an excess of spending. To avoid spiraling federal debt and all the problems this will bring, substantial entitlement reforms are necessary. Indeed, it will be hard to give the Trump administration a passing grade if it takes no action on this front. Without it, the nation has little hope of avoiding a fiscal crisis.

The 44th president got his second term, in part, because his opponent wanted to defuse the debt crisis and he didn’t.  In 2016, both candidates pledged to make the debt crisis worse.  Well, that is not what they said exactly but it is what they pledged.  We need to convince the electorate that the debt crisis is the most pressing problem for the US federal government.  Steve and John only help a little by agreeing that entitlements are part of the debt crisis.  We need bipartisan support to solve a real crisis.

We need a compromise that increases taxes and decreases spending to get real support.  We still advocate eliminating the gas tax and replacing it with a carbon tax that does not raise the price of gas.  Our estimate is about $20 a ton.  We eliminate all funding for alternative energy and means test Social Security.  It is not a complete solution to the debt crisis but it would be a significant step in the right direction.

 

Start Your 2024 Engines

We were a fan of Bobby Jindal 2016 presidential bid.  It looks like he is first to throw his hat into the 2024 campaign with his WSJ op-ed.  Read the whole thing and you will probably find lots to like but there are reasons to be concerned.  Bobby says:

Yet liberal elites in America and Europe seem shocked by the growing backlash against their environmental, immigration and trade policies. They only see the upsides of globalization, with more-efficient supply chains, a rising middle class across many formerly impoverished nations, and a larger market for their advanced products and services. They ignore the tangible and near-term dislocations suffered by families and entire communities. Politicians should ensure that international trade isn’t a zero-sum game that disproportionately burdens the very working people they claim to champion.

The part we are most concerned about is trade policies.  We haven’t taken a survey but we are not sure that liberal elites or just liberals favor globalization and free trade.  Favoring free trade, it seems to us, is almost exclusively limited to conservatives.  Has any of the many candidates for the 2020 Democrat nomination come our for free trade?  International trade is not a zero-sum game.  We support free trade because it is a positive-sum game despite the dislocations.

Dislocations for families and communities come from other sources as well.  The demise or decline of K-Mart, Sears, and the coal industry, for example, is not caused by free trade.  We will leave the survey to you but our guess is that international trade only makes a small contribution to the dislocations we have seen.

Innovative government policies to help folks with these dislocations are in short supply.  We hope that Bobby has some ideas to share with us.  We could do worse, much worse, than Bobby in 2024.  He has time to work on them.  Any solutions should not be limited to dislocations caused by free trade.