After Eight Years of Obama, Will Democrats Be Ready to Stay Home?

Real Clear Politics reports on a survey carried out by liberal groups and interpreted by Stan Greenberg, a Democratic Party pollster. So you have to start by wading through a lot of spin:

Democratic voters are skeptics this summer.

They doubt presidential contenders can deliver favored reforms from Washington, no matter how enticing the policy agendas sound. Those doubts depress enthusiasm about next year’s White House contest and could impact turnout for the eventual Democratic nominee.

Their skepticism doesn’t turn on the idea of a Democratic nominee who would follow a two-term Democrat, President Obama. “It’s because the old political system is uniquely corrupted” in their eyes, Greenberg said. “What matters is how deep the critique people have about what’s happening in the country, both politically and economically.” …

To succeed Obama, a Democratic candidate has to animate secular voters and what Greenberg calls the rising American electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters). These slices of the population will make up a majority of the total electorate for the first time in 2016, according to the pollster.

Near the end, you come to the point:

The threat comes down to an enthusiasm gap of 19 points between the Democrats who say they are “extremely interested” in the congressional and local races in 2016, and the much more energized GOP voters.

19 points is a huge difference. After 6 1/2 years of Barack Obama, Democrats are dispirited. Not much has gone right, unless you think the absence of gay marriage used to be the world’s biggest problem. Sea level hasn’t changed noticeably, and race relations have rarely been worse. Republicans, on the other hand, are not just energized, but outraged. A lot can happen in 16 months, but I would be surprised if events cause Republican-leaning voters to think the election isn’t so important after all. Therein lies a huge advantage for the GOP.

Down and out in Paris and London

George Orwell at work We know that Paul is on vacation in Paris. I believe that John is on, or about to depart on, vacation in London. I think we may be short on manpower for a while and that our coverage may reflect it. If so, I will post a few literary, musical or otherwise offbeat items from which I would refrain if we were at full strength.

I have invited Professor Philip Hamburger to provide us brief commentary on the Supreme Court’s Clean Air Act decision yesterday in Michigan v. EPA, with special attention to Justice Thomas’s concurrence. Although Professor Hamburger is also on vacation, he thinks he will work up something for us in the next day or two.

In the meantime, if things seem a bit slow or offbeat over the next week, I wanted you to know why.

Netanyahu’s take

Israel simply cannot afford the smug self-delusuions with which our pending nuclear agreement with Iran is being negotiated and sold. Its critique of the arrangement reflects a realistic view of the proceedings. Prime Minister’s Netanyahu’s views, expressed most recently yesterday and posted here, represent the Israeli consensus. I find their bluntness refreshing:

• “In the nuclear talks, to my regret, what we are seeing are Iran’s increasing demands, and the major powers’ concessions which are also increasing, in keeping with the Iranian pressure. This agreement is going from a bad agreement to a worse agreement, and is becoming worse by the day.”

• “In effect, it is paving Iran’s way to being not only a major power with one or two nuclear bombs, but with an unlimited arsenal within a decade with the possibility of achieving several atomic bombs beforehand, by violating the monitoring which, in any case, is full of holes.”

• “In addition to this, the agreement also gives Iran many billions of dollars, apparently hundreds of billions of dollars, within a short time, which will allow it to finance its increasing aggression, first of all the murderous stranglehold it is using around the State of Israel, but also in other parts of the Middle East that are subject to its aggression, such as Yemen, Iraq and many other places.”

• “Therefore, there is both a conventional threat and a non-conventional threat, which in my view will heighten the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”

• “For all of these reasons, this is a bad agreement. I appreciate the fact that there is a broad consensus within the State of Israel against this agreement. There are also increasing voices in the West against this agreement; they understand the significance its implementation would have on global security, theirs as well.”

Netanyahu leaves unspoken the American strategic reorientation that Obama has engineered, away from Israel and our Sunni allies, toward our deadly and unremitting enemies in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Gay Wedding Etiquette

We’re featured the humor of Key & Peele here before (remember “Curse the Brilliant TSA!“), but I’m not sure they can get away with sketches like these much longer–certainly not on a college campus. I especially like “When do we get to sing YMCA?” and “Where do you get the Euros to buy gay gifts?” Enjoy–about 4:30 long: (more…)

Campaign Notes

So with the entry today of Gov. Chris Christie into the GOP presidential sweepstakes, the field is now complete from the diversity standpoint. Christy means we Hefto-Americans have a candidate, to go along with Cuban-Americans (Cruz, Rubio), Indian-Americans (Jindal), Uterine-Americans and Italian-Americans (Fiorina), Slavic-Americans (Kasich, eventually), Arko-Americans (Huckabee), folically-challenged Americans—or are we “Toupee-Americans?”—(Trump), Phamacolocigal-Americans (Paul), Cheesy-Americans (Walker), and the plain vanilla middle class—better known to academics as the “Bushoisie”—has a candidate, too.

If the polls are right, Trump is actually in the hunt. I think there’s a way to end that quickly, by using Trump’s own popular culture status against him. I recall a pivotal moment in the 1984 Democratic primaries, when Walter Mondale dispatched the pesky Gary Hart with a single question. Hart had been rolling with a vague theme of “new ideas,” though his only new ideas seemed to be his name and his age. So in one of the debates, Mondale wheeled on Hart and said, “You remind me of that hamburger commercial—‘Where’s the beef?’”  Mondale was referring to the famous Wendy’s commercial that was a huge sensation at the time.  Mondale had in fact never seen the commercial, but he was well briefed on how to use it, and reporters dutifully starting writing stories on how thin Hart’s “ideas” really were.

So here’s a suggestion for one of Trump’s GOP rivals (probably Christie) in the first debate. Just wheel around and say, “Trump—we don’t even need to say ‘You’re fired,’ because your skills don’t even rise to ‘apprentice’ level.” Then sit back and watch Trump lose his cool. What cool?, you say? Yes indeed.

New York Times: The Ultimate in Hypocrisy

This is from yesterday’s Twitchy, but, assuming that most of our readers don’t haunt Twitter, it bears repeating here. Following the Charlie Hebdo murders, the New York Times covered the terrorist attack, but declined to print any of Charlie Hebdo’s mocking images of Muhammad. The paper self-righteously declared a policy against showing religious images that may be deemed offensive:

“Out of respect to our readers we have avoided those we felt were offensive,” New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet told The Huffington Post on Monday night….

But that was then and this is now. Or, put another way, no one is afraid of being slaughtered by Catholics. So yesterday’s ArtsBeat section featured this portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made from 17,000 condoms:


The “artist” made no bones about the piece’s political intent–with which, of course, the Times agrees:

Niki Johnson of Milwaukee, the artist who created the work, said in an interview that she disagreed with Benedict’s conservative social positions, including a statement that condoms could contribute to the spread of AIDS in Africa. The portrait, she said, is “not hate-based,” but rather a way to critique Benedict’s views while raising awareness about public health.

“What I want to do is really destigmatize the condom, normalize it,” Ms. Johnson said.

Another profile in courage at the Times. So far, no beheadings have been reported in Milwaukee.

Marilyn Mosby Goes Vogue

We have been watching, with a skeptical eye, the doings of Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore States Attorney. Young, inexperienced and politically ambitious, Mosby may have sown the seeds of an unsuccessful–or worse, unjust–criminal prosecution by overcharging six police officers who were involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray. On the other hand, Ms. Mosby is undeniably attractive, a quality that could take her far.

Mosby is the subject of an adoring profile in this month’s Vogue, a venue not usually associated with district attorneys. This photo is by Annie Leibowitz:


The relentlessly left-wing Vogue knows what it is doing, of course. Its endorsement of Mosby’s rise is political:

A stunned cheer rose from the crowd as 35-year-old Mosby made her statement. The six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, who had died in April from spinal injuries sustained in custody, would face 28 counts, ranging from false imprisonment to second-degree murder. In forceful language, Mosby described her department’s investigation and how the state’s medical examiner had ruled Gray’s death a homicide. She acknowledged the unrest in Baltimore, coming on the heels of police killings in other cities of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. “I have heard your calls for ‘No justice, no peace,’” she said. “However, your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.”

But it is camouflaged by the magazine’s usual chatter about fashion:

Dressed in a simple pantsuit, sleeveless blouse, and not a trace of makeup, Mosby is warm and willing to accept hugs from fellow diners who thank her “for giving us justice.” Otherwise, she is every inch the prosecutor: straight-backed, concise, a portrait of self-control. …

The day after our dinner is a busy one. Mosby is meeting with her external-affairs team to plan the announcement of a program that puts first-time, nonviolent offenders in a work-training program. Dressed in a beige pin-striped skirt suit and Tory Burch heels, she scrutinizes every detail of the presentation, down to how many minutes she wants to spend shaking hands and who will be standing behind her when she speaks.

Nowhere is Vogue’s upbeat profile is there any reference to Baltimore’s soaring crime rate following Mosby’s attack on the police department. Mosby’s own comments on crime betray a deep lack of understanding:

“There have been decades of failed policies: zero tolerance and harassment and people being locked up for small crimes,” she says, “policies that drive a divide between communities and law enforcement. So many people feel like they are voiceless, that they’ve been dehumanized. What we saw in the riots is a result of that.”

Those “failed policies” are the proactive, broken windows policing policies that caused crime rates to plummet across the United States. It the lax policing apparently favored by Mosby that gave rise to the unlivable, crime-ridden cities of the 1970s. Those who are ignorant of the past are doomed to repeat it, as Baltimore is now seeing.

Marilyn Mosby has risen above such mundane concerns. She is now a political star, as we can see from the final credits in Vogue’s panegyric:

Sittings Editor: Kathryn Neale.
Hair: Tomo Jidai; Makeup: Rebecca Restrepo for Elizabeth Arden