Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Trump vouches for sincerity of Putin’s “meddling” denial

Featured image President Trump returned today to the question of Russian meddling in 2016 president election. He stated that Vladimir Putin, in response to his questions about the matter, has repeatedly denied meddling. Trump added that he believes Putin’s denials are sincere. Trump didn’t say he believes Putin’s denial, only that the denial is sincere. It’s unlikely, however, that if Putin meddled, his denial is sincere. Putin almost surely has a firm »

The presumption of guilt

Featured image As Scott wrote this morning, the proposition that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty is to be applied by a jury sitting in a criminal case. The proposition need not be applied in an election campaign and, if one chooses to apply it, one should not demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But in the case of Roy Moore, as a friend emailed me to say, “the Left »

The allegations against Roy Moore

Featured image The Washington Post’s story about Roy Moore persuades me that, when he was in his early 30s, he liked to date teenage girls. It does not persuade me that he engaged in inappropriate sexual touchings with the 14 year-old girl who claims he did. There are three main reasons why. First, the other teenagers the Post interviewed don’t allege inappropriate touchings. It seems likely that, if Moore inappropriately touched one »

Is the backlash over NFL kneeling racist?

Featured image The Washington Post found “experts” (its term in the paper edition) who think so. I don’t (though there must be white racists who are criticizing the kneelers, just as there must be black racists who are praising them). The Post’s experts seize on the fact that some who criticize the kneelers cite the players’ wealth and accuse them of being ungrateful. For example, Newt Gingrich said that players should be »

Kevin Spacey: A modest proposal

Featured image Kevin Spacey will be excised from the movie All the Money in the World. The film, in which Spacey was to play J.Paul Getty, has already been shot. But due to multiple allegations of sexual assault against him, Spacey’s scenes, of which there surely are plenty, will be reshot with Christopher Plummer in the Getty role. I understand the decison, but does it go far enough? I think Hollywood should »

Rand Paul’s neighbors dismiss “property dispute” reports

Featured image In the aftermath of the assault by Rene Boucher ( “the leftist next door”) on Sen. Rand Paul, Boucher’s lawyer claimed that politics played no part in the attack. I put no stock in public statements by attorneys defending their clients. However, there were also reports about landscaping dispute, and suggestions that Sen. Paul is not a good neighbor. Even if these reports were true, it wouldn’t mean that Boucher’s »

Monkey business at the CBO?

Featured image The mainstream media almost never mentions the Congressional Budget Office without adding the adjective “non-partisan.” But the CBO is staffed by folks who, in real life, are probably partisan. And given the pool from which its staff is drawn, most very likely are partisan Democrats. Are its findings infected by partisan bias? I don’t know. But something funny is going on with the CBO’s assessment of the impact of repealing »

This day in media freakouts

Featured image A year ago tonight, we learned that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton and would be our next president. Some took the news better than others. Amber Athey and Justin Caruso of the Daily Caller have collected videos of some who didn’t take it well at all. Here’s Rachel Maddow who, after attempting a semi-rational analysis, melts down completely. Here’s Jake Tapper referring to the Clinton campaign as “we” twice »

Virginia post mortem, Part Two

Featured image If the only information we had heading into yesterday’s election in Virginia was (1) that Hillary Clinton carried the state by five points and (2) that President Trump’s approval rating in Virginia was 40 percent (compared to 57 percent disapproval), it would have been fairly easy to predict that Republican Ed Gillespie would lose by around 9 points. If, in addition, we recalled that four presidents in a row had »

Virginia post mortem

Featured image It’s no surprise that Ralph Northam defeated Ed Gillespie. I was surprised, though, that the race wasn’t close, and I think most analysts were surprised that Northam won so comfortably (by at least 8 points, it looks like). With hindsight we can say that this was a race between two uninspiring candidates who needed, somehow, to inspire support. Northam inspired support because of raw hatred for President Trump. Gillespie tried »

Virginia’s looking good for the Democrats so far [UPDATED: Northam wins]

Featured image Only about 2,000 votes separate Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie in Virginia’s governor race. Northam, the Democrat, holds the narrow lead. About one-quarter of the vote has been counted. At FiveThirtyEight, the view is that Gillespie isn’t running well enough in comparison to Donald Trump to have much of a shot. Indeed, Northam seems to be doing better than Hillary Clinton, who carried Virginia by 5 points. UPDATE: With almost »

Tom Cotton and the future of Trumpism

Featured image Last night, in a post about Tom Cotton, I suggested that the Senator might be one who, along with President Trump himself, helps “shape Trumpism into a functional, more traditionally conservative but still nationalistic approach to governing.” David Azerrad of the Heritage Foundation discusses the kind of synthesis I had in mind. Perhaps the greatest shortcoming of Trumpist populism, in its current form at least, is that it can at »

Losing the plot on free expression

Featured image Shouting down a speaker is un-American. Kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem is anti-American. Giving the presidential motorcade the finger is as American as apple pie. Yet, students who shout down speakers on college campuses typically receive no (or no meaningful) disciplinary action. Meanwhile, a woman who, while riding her bike, flipped off President Trump’s motorcade lost her job as a result. Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post »

The New Yorker does Tom Cotton

Featured image The New Yorker is running a piece by Jeffrey Toobin called “Is Tom Cotton the Future of Trumpism?” Toobin is a left-wing hatchet man. Ed Whelan has called foul on him several times, including here (for his treatment of Justice Scalia) and here (for his treatment of then-Judge Gorsuch). Adam White did so here. Toobin’s treatment of Cotton is far from fair and balanced. Consider this ludicrous passage: In describing »

The Saudi purge in context

Featured image Steve has written two insightful posts about what’s going on in Saudi Arabia. Unlike Steve, I have no Saudi sources, nor do I know a lot about that kingdom. However, I’ve seen an assessment that looks right to me. It holds that Saudi Arabia is facing existential threats on at least two fronts: (1) economically, because of the global oil situation (not least American fracking) and a large youth cohort »

Donna Brazile switches trains

Featured image Donna Brazile rode the Clinton express for decades, parlaying the ride into fame and possibly fortune. Now that the one-time express is a stalled local, Brazile has hopped off, and will make a pretty penny for her expose of that train. As Steve suggests, Brazile isn’t just hopping off the Clinton train and trying to sell her book. She also wants fellow passengers to disembark with her. It suits this »

The leftist next door

Featured image As more information becomes available, we learn that Rene Boucher, the man who assaulted and seriously injured Rand Paul, is (as John suggested) a rabidly anti-Trump leftist. According to this report from PJ Media, Boucher’s activity on social media consists to a considerable degree of reposting anti-Trump memes and stories and sharing posts from Bernie Sanders. However, Boucher wasn’t solely a copycat. He did offer this original thought: May Robert »