Sure, Why Not?

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Jim I. Geraghty asks the burning question: Could Joe Manchin Become the H. Ross Perot of 2024? And Susan Collins become the Admiral Stockdale?

After noting that Trump is a big fan of (fellow loser) Kari Lake…

Needless to say, plenty of Americans would cringe at the choice of Biden-Harris or Trump-Lake. Meanwhile, the organization No Labels aims to get on the ballot in all 50 states and is expected to have at least $70 million to fund a major independent bid for the presidency.

And West Virginia senator Joe Manchin keeps refusing to rule out a presidential bid. He faces challenging odds in his Senate reelection. Earlier this year, Manchin and GOP senator Susan Collins of Maine headlined a No Labels event. (Obvious joke: How should you describe a No Labels event?)

Our Amazon Product du Jour is a mere $1.99 on Kindle. It was published back in 2014, and its introductory essay was by… Senator Joe Manchin! Followed by a couple ditties from … Jon Huntsman! Remember him?

"No Labels" is heavy on anodyne feel-good messaging. For example, the word "commonsense"—they like spelling it that way—appears four times on their front page.

Also of note:

  • A WIRED tongue bath. Virginia Heffernan provides one for the Secretary of Transportation: Pete Buttigieg Loves God, Beer, and His Electric Mustang. The needle on the sycophancy meter is in the red from the start:

    The curious mind of Pete Buttigieg holds much of its functionality in reserve. Even as he discusses railroads and airlines, down to the pointillist data that is his current stock-in-trade, the US secretary of transportation comes off like a Mensa black card holder who might have a secret Go habit or a three-second Rubik’s Cube solution or a knack for supplying, off the top of his head, the day of the week for a random date in 1404, along with a non-condescending history of the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

    As Secretary Buttigieg and I talked in his underfurnished corner office one afternoon in early spring, I slowly became aware that his cabinet job requires only a modest portion of his cognitive powers. Other mental facilities, no kidding, are apportioned to the Iliad, Puritan historiography, and Knausgaard’s Spring—though not in the original Norwegian (slacker). Fortunately, he was willing to devote yet another apse in his cathedral mind to making his ideas about three mighty themes—neoliberalism, masculinity, and Christianity—intelligible to me.

    Oh my. Oh dear. This reads like a parody. So bad, it inspired commentary by David Harsanyi: Let’s Probe The Beautiful, Voluminous, And Transcendent Mind Of The World’s Most Remarkable Human Being, Pete Buttigieg

    When Heffernan asks our hero whether “Republicans really want to be dragged into a bigger far-right project, including the renunciation of democracy, modernity, civil rights, human rights,” the greatest mind of our generation — perhaps any — treats readers to his fresh, incisive perspective. The “two greatest pillars of the mainstream right” destroying “democracy, modernity, civil rights, human rights,” says Mayor Pete, are GOP’s efforts to limit abortion and “lower taxes for the wealthy.”

    I bet you dummies are pretty mad you never thought of that, right? But, to top it off, Mayor Pete drops these words on us:

    “They’re now the dog that caught the car. And, to switch metaphors, they rode a tiger to get there. They made a lot of distasteful bargains in order to get there.”

    Who can argue? The man who once told us that the “shape of our democracy is the issue that affects every other issue,” also illuminates our understanding Christianity. “When you’re making public policy,” the political left’s go-to man on faith notes, “you’re often asking yourself, ‘How does this choice help people who would have the least going for them?’” Help the poor? Finally, a new concept for Christians to ponder!

    And (no surprise) it also inspired wicked, albeit easy, parody, for example, from Charles C. W. Cooke: A Profile: I Love Pete Buttigieg.

    We chit-chat for a while about minutiae — Fermat, musical counterpoint, the known origins of the umlaut — and then, unbidden, he opens up about his personal life. “I like water,” he tells me, effervescently. “I drink it often — sometimes cold.” “Tell me more,” I ask girlishly, sensing that he has more to give. “I like pizza, too,” he adds. “I have a pizza oven at home. We use it on Saturdays.”

    I don’t mind admitting it, but I’m transfixed. The man’s mind is a cathedral, and I, a mere congregant, have been invited into its inner sanctum. “I also have a car,” he offers. “It has batteries in it instead of gasoline. Electric!”

    It is.

    “Do you have any questions?” he asks me. “Yes,” I say. “Which of these do you find the most enchanting: Helicopters, barges, or monorails?”

    The answer to parody-Heffernan's query may surprise you!

  • Authoritarians want you to forget a great many things. (Stephanie) Slade lists one at the top of the list: Post-Liberal Authoritarians Want You To Forget That Private Companies Have Rights

    On Wednesday night, Sen. J.D. Vance (R–Ohio) took the stage at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and declared—to the astonishment of many who subsequently read the quote online—that "there is no meaningful distinction between the public and the private sector in the American regime."

    The remark came during a panel discussion about Regime Change, a new book by the "post-liberal" Notre Dame political scientist Patrick Deneen, in which Deneen argues that classical liberals and left-progressives are all pushing the same agenda and need to be "replaced" by a new conservative elite.Reason.)

    I really liked Vance's book Hillbilly Elegy. I didn't like some of the things he said during his election campaign, but I hoped he'd get better in office. Guess not.

  • Just in case you were in doubt. Eli Lake has his take on the Durham Report: The FBI Didn’t Persecute Hillary. It Protected Her

    If the Durham report shows anything, it is that the FBI leadership bent over backward to protect Clinton’s campaign while launching a full investigation into Trump’s campaign on the thinnest of pretexts. In other words, the FBI was not really the Clinton campaign’s persecutor, as so many insisted over the past few years, as much as its protector.

    “The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence,” the Durham report observes, referring to the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign, “reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign.”

    Consider the bureau’s approach to Clinton.

    The Durham report notes that, in early 2016, a confidential FBI source arranged for a sizable donation to Clinton’s campaign from a foreign country. Instead of taking steps to learn what might be in the works, the bureau eventually instructed the source to stay away from the Clinton campaign. Then, it offered Clinton’s lawyers what is known as a defensive briefing, so Clinton was aware of the foreign country’s efforts to help her.

    … which was something they never "offered" to Trump. More at the link, but the bottom line:

    All of this is a black eye for the FBI. The bureau is supposed to be above politics. Its leaders are supposed to show fidelity to the law and act without partisan favor. Comey, McCabe, and their deputies were guilty of a confirmation bias so severe it led them to embrace partisan falsehoods to get their man, and the republic is still paying the price for their failures. To this day, millions of loyal MSNBC viewers and most Democrats in Congress still act like it’s 2017, and Donald Trump is a Kremlin agent.

    It was a hoax six years ago. It’s a farce today.

Last Modified 2024-01-13 10:57 AM EDT