URLs du Jour

2021-01-15

  • Kevin D. Williamson ponders the End of the Republican Party. It's a very long essay, but worth your attention. Especially if you care about having a healthy two-party system. KDW's not optimistic on that score.

    Like its financial counterpart, moral bankruptcy happens two ways: gradually, then suddenly. In 2016, I wrote that the likely outcome of a Trump presidency would be the end of the Republican Party as we had known it. And so it ends for the Grand Old Party: From abolition to anarchy, from republicans to rabble, a bloody-minded, homicidal gang in thrall to the very democracy John Adams warned us about. A dog in this condition would be put to sleep. It would be a piece of mercy.

    I'm probably more hopeful, but I'm having a hard time coming up with good reasons to be hopeful.


  • Megan McArdle is not quite as pessimistic as KDW, but almost: If Republicans can’t cast Trump off, their wounds — and the country’s — will only get deeper.

    I have not yet heard anyone on the left outline a credible vision for what happens after we impeach the president and, one hopes, convict him and bar our insurrectionist in chief from ever holding office again. I would like to know that there is one, and not just a fond hope that the backlash for Jan. 6 will break the Republican Party once and for all. The Democrats have wasted the better part of two decades on deterministic assumptions that, one day, demographic destiny or some other deus ex machina will do its work, Republicans will obligingly die off, and the woke will inherit the Earth.

    Try assuming instead that they will be a political force to be reckoned with — and negotiated with — for the rest of everyone’s life.

    But this is a reasonable and benign fantasy compared to the one Republicans indulged in Wednesday: that if they were willing to condemn the Capitol insurrection as the work of a few bad apples, Democrats should admit their part in stoking our increasingly bitter divides, and we should all move on. “It will only serve to further divide a nation that is calling out for healing,” said Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) as the House took up impeachment.

    I'm pretty sure there's no reason for Republicans to take Democrat advice on how to proceed post-Trump. (E.g.: MSNBC's Joy Reid Calls For 'De-Baathification' Of The GOP.) On the other hand, hoping for a magical GOP return to a commitment to fiscal sanity, limited government, individual liberty, free markets,… that seems increasingly pollyannish by the day.

    For example…


  • George F. Will notes a tough competition: Lindsey Graham had a lock on most ludicrous senator — until Josh Hawley pounced.

    Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled 117th Congress will benefit from what freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) did at the end of the 116th. It and Hawley will soon recede into the mists of memory, but this should be remembered: Before Hawley immolated his brief political career (see the photo of his clenched-fist salute of solidarity as he walked past the mob that was about to sack the Capitol), he seemed certain to be a presidential candidate in 2024. Which probably explains his performance during the December auction in the Senate.

    In late December, President Trump, who was thinking that Hawley and kindred congressional spirits could deliver to him a second term, decided that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) were right to demand that pandemic relief-cum-stimulus legislation should feature $2,000 checks showered evenhandedly on those in need and on scores of millions who are not. Three senatorial mini-Trumps — Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Hawley — promptly joined the Pelosi-Schumer-Trump Axis of Generosity.

    Assuming I don't dump my party registration before 2024, I look forward to skipping over Rubio and Hawley on the New Hampshire primary ballot. And maybe just giving up, crumpling my ballot, and walking out of the polling place.


  • But hey, there's always the dim hope that Democrats will act even dumber than the Republicans. For example, Robby Soave finds it necessary to instruct one of their leading lights in First Amendment basics: No, AOC, It’s Not the Government’s Job to ‘Rein in Our Media’.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) told her social media followers earlier this week that Democrats in Congress might respond to the Capitol riot with some sort of "media literacy" initiative.

    The phrase media literacy ordinarily implies helping individuals make sense of the media landscape, but AOC seems to have more in mind than that: She suggested "we're going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can't just spew disinformation and misinformation."

    It's true that both traditional media and social media sometimes spread "disinformation and misinformation." But the federal government has no formal role to play in suppressing its spread. The First Amendment explicitly bars Congress from infringing on freedom of the press or freedom of speech, and the Supreme Court has recognized no exceptions for disinformation. If the government could ban disinformation, after all, it could use that as a cover for banning speech that is not actually false but merely critical of the government, or of specific politicians. Recall that Democrats swiftly denounced The New York Post's report on Hunter Biden's foreign connections as "disinformation," even though many underlying aspects of the story have since been confirmed.

    And …


  • Also "pouncing" on the AOC blather is David Harsanyi. AOC, other progressives have a new goal: Silence the press.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a wellspring of truly terrible ideas for years, but her new one might be her worst on yet: A Ministry of Truth.

    During a live stream on her Instagram page, Ocasio-Cortez was asked by a viewer if, to help with national healing, there were congressional plans to institute any “truth and reconciliation or media literacy initiatives.”

    The socialist congresswoman replied that, yes, indeed, she and some of her colleagues have been exploring media literacy initiatives to help “rein in” the press and combat misinformation after last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

    “It’s one thing to have differentiating opinions but it’s another thing entirely to just say things that are false,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “So that’s something that we’re looking into.”

    I'm as angered as anyone about Trump and his personality-cult followers promulgating wackadoodle conspiracy crap about the election. It's bad. And giving the state power to "rein it in" is even worse.


Last Modified 2021-01-16 10:09 AM EST