New Friends For W And Jonah?

George W Bush’s recent speech has attracted some interesting press.  It has also given Jonah Goldberg something interesting to say about The Donald and his relationship to others.  Let’s start with the speech.  The Politico title is: Full Text George W. Bush Speech On Trumpism.  It connects to Edward-Isaac Dovere’s article: George W. Bush Slams Trumpism, Without Mentioning The President By Name.  The two titles give it away.  W is now a leftist hero because he attacked The Donald even though he did not mention him.

We read the speech and thought The Donald wasn’t the main target.  In one paragraph he uses the time frame since World War II.  In the next paragraph W says the following:

For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.

So does the 70 years mean from 1945 to 2015?  We don’t think it does for two reasons.  One, FDR became a fan of US leadership in the late 30s or early 40s.  We think that his relationship with Churchill dates it in the 30s.  Second, the US president from 2009 to 2017 was no fan of freedom in the world or US leadership.  We see the criticisms from W falling at least as heavily on him as The Donald.

That brings us around to Jonah.  We think that recently he has missed that there are many of us who voted for The Donald because we felt he was the better choice.  We still think that is true.  But Jonah has a crucial point:

But it seems like almost everybody is only hearing what they want to hear. Liberals, the media, and — importantly — President Trump’s Amen Corner all heard the same thing in Bush’s remarks: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Trump Bad.” That’s why Bush is suddenly benefitting from a strange new respect from liberals and a strange new hatred from former supporters.

Our reaction is clearly within those bounds of hearing what we want to hear although we continue to be a big supporter of W, much less excited about The Donald, and decidedly unenthusiastic about the president between them.  Shortly after that Jonah asks:

I want to ask you to entertain a thought experiment. Imagine, if just for a moment, that all of you who fall into one of these camps are entirely wrong. What if President Bush was aiming his fire at Democrats and liberals?

We are not a liberal and we are not in The Donald’s Amen Corner (but we are fans of Amen Corner at Augusta).  We think that W was defending his administration but that he did direct most of his fire at the Democrats and liberals.  We like Jonah’s point and question.  We all need to ask if we misunderstand somebody.  This is especially true when they don’t name names.  When we read the speech by W we were shocked to see the headline and the related article.  We saw it as an epic takedown of that other president.  Try going through it line by line and see what you think.  As for now, Jonah is back as a must read for us.


It Has Come To This

Fredrick M. Hess and Grant Addison form American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have a nice take on NRO about Betsy Devos, her speech at Harvard, and the reaction of the students.  Fred and Grant are impressed by the speech but not the reaction of the students to it.  There take is expected for folks from AEI.  They notice the strange situation of students at a private college throwing temper tantrums at the thought of K-12 students being allowed to have a similar choice.  Do read the whole thing.  They conclude:

When serious speakers show up to have substantive discussions, universities and their denizens should be expected to respond in kind. Absent that, a whole suite of privileges that have been accorded to the nation’s colleges and universities for the role they’ve historically played in the public square — from public and philanthropic support to the hosting of presidential debates — need to be assessed in a new light.

Harvard will pay less of a price for the behavior of its students because it has an enormous endowment.  Still, the behavior of Harvard and other students are costing schools all over the country.  Unless faculty and administrators find a solution they will continue to lose support.  Donations, state support, and students will go elsewhere because there are other opportunities.

McCarthy And The NFL

Andy McCarthy at NRO has a great take (that is, we agree with most of it) on the controversy among The Donald, the press, and the NFL.  His point is that the primary claim by the athletes that blacks are being killed by police with impunity is false.  Here is a quote we like:

Right. We are supposed to accept, without inquiry or criticism, what they claim to be seeking. We are supposed to ignore, as if it were not plain as day, that what the protesters are actually seeking — a racially skewed justice system, one that would endanger law-abiding black people by paralyzing the police — is the antithesis of what they claim to be seeking.

As the saying goes, read all of it.  Andy’s article also reminds us of the uncharacteristic nature of the left’s argument in this case.  Two of the left’s favorite weapons are that the insulted party gets to determine the extent of the insult and hypocrisy is the vilest of acts. Kaepernick and his followers on the field and in the press often say it is about violent police behavior towards blacks.  The insulted parties disagree saying that they have insulted the flag, the military, and so on.  We doubt that the left’s irony is intentional but the double nature of it brings us joy.

Andy’s article is more important than recognizing the double hypocrisy of the left.  Both are enjoyable.



GOP Tax Proposal

We had great fun reading Jeanne Sahadi’s article on CNN Money: Details Of The GOP Tax Reform Framework Revealed.  We have some serious comments about the framework below but first a few snippets from CNN Money that reveal the interaction of CNN and GOP.

Here are some nuggets from Jeanne with [our comment]:

And even though the administration says it wants reform to offer middle class tax relief, the framework calls for a 12% bottom rate, which is actually higher than today’s lowest rate of 10%. But typical families in the 10% bracket today “are expected to be better off” when all the changes under reform are considered together, the blueprint says.  [So why are there quotes around expected to be better off?  Is it because it comes from the framework?]


[The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)] was originally intended to ensure the wealthy [nope, high income as it is not a wealth tax] pay at least some tax.  [It has been a spectacular failure.]

And then:

Kill the estate tax: What Republicans refer to as the “death tax” only affects about 0.2% of all estates — and only those worth more than $5.5 million. [So it is not a death tax?  Jeanne makes strong arguments

And then:

The hope [hope?  Do you think business react to incentives or not?] is that the new system will make U.S. companies more competitive with their foreign counterparts, and that they will use more of their foreign profits to invest and create jobs in the United States.

It is just the usual tone you expect.  Now on to the serious stuff.  Our position is that we only care about business taxes in this reform period.  So the personal tax stuff seems inoffensive but we really don’t care about it.  We care about business taxes and find this proposal is a good one.

  1. It cuts corporate taxes substantially.
  2. It cuts business taxes.
  3. It switches to a territorial system.

No proposal is perfect but this is a good one.



NFL Brand; Last Time?

We really didn’t want to go here again but Jason Witlock is tarnishing the Fox brand at WSJ.  His apparently unintentionally ironic title is: [The Donald] Helps Kaepernick Drag The NFL Into Politics.  Uh, Jason, we know that Dennis Prager has already pointed this out but who was the first to politicize the NFL?  It was’t The Donald.

Jason takes seven paragraphs to insult The Donald before hitting the nail squarely on the head.  He says:

This latest [The Donald] controversy says far more about us—the media and other public figures—than the president. We have an unhealthy addiction to social-media-driven controversies, particularly ones that can be spun racially.

We agree entirely.  Without the racial angle Kaepernick’s behavior would be ignored but because of the racial issue the NFL couldn’t act and the media made a big deal of a trivial episode.  It is possible that manners were winning but The Donald jumped on one side and the media went bonkers.  Jason tries to switches sides when he says:

Let’s remember: While Colin Kaepernick’s original protest was about police brutality and the black community, the anthem kneels have largely provoked conversations about disrespecting the flag and the now-unemployed quarterback’s career. The protest has evolved again, this time into a referendum on a disruptive president.  [Emphasis added]

Not much has changed about the conversation surrounding policing and the black community. But as I wrote in these pages earlier this year, Mr. Kaepernick has shifted the way the NFL is perceived and discussed. Mr. Goodell, NFL ownership and the league’s television partners will no longer be allowed to present the game as an escape from America’s divisive political discourse. Mr. Kaepernick and his handlers cleverly dragged the league into America’s broader social-justice war.

Sidebar: We wonder if Jason found his (The Donald) immediate predecessor (HIP) disruptive?  End Sidebar.

Jason was right the first time.  The media goes bonkers over racially charged events that it can try to create a controversy.  It just adds to the media frenzy if there is a chance to beat up on some one not on the left.  The problem for the left is that when they try to intimidate large groups they only tarnish their brand.  Jason, the NFL, and ESPN have tarnished their brand while Alejandro has burnished his.



While we were writing our last post, “Damaging The Brand,” about the NFL and ESPN the NRO Editors came out with “Time Out” covering the NFL part of our discussion.  We can’t say we agree with the editors on every point but we believe that MWG and NRO are on the same page here:

Conducting this business to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has put President Trump in a comfortable position: him and the flag on one side, annoying protesters mucking up Sunday Night Football on the other.

We agree.   There is a reason why Kyle showed the giant American flag at the Giants’ game.  Conservatives like it and so do football fans.  This debate is good for The Donald and bad for the NFL. We still wish we were not having it.


Damaging The Brand

The NFL and ESPN have both damaged their brand recently.  Of all people, Holman Jenkins at the WSJ missed the ESPN version.  Another of our favorites, Jay Nordlinger  at NRO missed the NFL version.  Let’s start with Holman.

He starts with Jamele Hill as an example of the political controversy swirling around ESPN.  Holman says:

It’s time to let the average American in on a secret, especially the average sports fan, two weeks into the Jemele Hill controversy. Ms. Hill, an ESPN on-air personality, sparked a furor by tweeting her opinion that Donald Trump is a “white supremacist” and his presidency a “direct result of white supremacy.”

Holman explains that Jamele isn’t being as rude as most people think.  He says, and we agree:

Now, this epithet may not mean what you think it does. As Wikipedia or linguists or some on the disquieted left would be happy to tell you, in the mouths of “critical race theory” activists, white supremacy refers, in fact, to almost everybody and everything. CUNY’s Angus Johnston, an enthusiastic purveyor, explained on Twitter last year: “White supremacy isn’t about what is in somebody’s heart. It’s about who wields political power.”

Then, after reporting that ESPN is losing two million subscribers a year he switches to the issue of streaming sports and says Amazon etc. cannot compete with ESPN because of technical limitations.  Holman has missed the point.  ESPN has suffered substantial brand damage.  Folks are not going to research the details  of what Jamele and compatriots have said.  They feel insulted and we will see more comparisons between ESPN/NFL and NASCAR and calls to boycott ESPN/NFL.  The next negotiations between the networks and NFL should be interesting.

Over at NRO, Jay Nordlinger is upset because of some of The Donald’s comments at a rally.  We agree in part.  We wish that The Donald were less like his immediate predecessor (HIP).  HIP couldn’t keep quiet and neither can The Donald.  Here is Jay’s lead-in and quote:

Saturday, at a rally supporting Luther Strange in Alabama, President Trump decided to reignite the issue, and essentially argued that players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a b—h off the field right now. He is fired.” [Emphasis added]

We hate to get into the literally versions serious argument but we think Jay is going too far in saying that The Donald is arguing that folks should be fired.  As we said, we wish The Donald would leave it alone.  But what he said was “Wouldn’t you love it…” The answer is that lots of fans would love it unless it was a player for their team.

Sidebar: Kyle Smith at NRO has an interesting take that Colin and his friends were losing the argument until The Donald restarted the controversy.  Kyle says:

If you’re an NFL fan, you can only be aghast at what Trump has done. His side — our side, the side that said you shouldn’t insult the flag because of the mistakes made by some police officers — was winning.

We’re not convinced on who was winning but it is an interesting take.  End Sidebar.

Our problem with Holman and Jay is that ESPN and the NFL are hurting their brand. They are hurting their brand because, in Kyle’s terms, there is much interest to make America normal again.  In addition, lots of fans are on the right.  It is easy to hurt a brand and hard to repair the damage.  The Donald recognizes that he benefits by being on the popular side of the question.  We’d prefer he and HIP stay out of these controversies.  Holman and Jay need to recognize the damage ESPN and the NFL have done to themselves.