It Begins With a Single Step

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Jeff Maurer's journey into himself might take him to the heart of darkness, aka MAGA Republicanism!

Well, probably not.

But he is refusing to go along with "The President is Just Fine" crowd: I Won’t Pretend That Maybe Biden WAS the First Black Female President.

Here’s something Joe Biden said recently, and yes: This was in one of the interviews in which his campaign gave questions to the interviewer and said “ask these questions,” and the interviewer said “sure!”

“By the way, I'm proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first Black woman, to serve with a Black president.”

The audio is arguably not as bad as the transcript, depending on your definition of “not as bad”. Because the audio makes if fairly clear that Biden was not claiming to be a strong ebony queen shattering glass ceilings on behalf of his Nubian sisters. What Biden was doing (yet again) was stammering through a passage that contained a half-remembered thought that he could not turn into a coherent sentence. So…is that better? Or is it a thousand times worse?

Maurer goes for the "thousand times worse" explanation.

And—wait, there's more—you may have heard that ABC News "tweaked its transcript" of Biden's interview with George Stephanopoulos. From:

"I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about."


"I'll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the good as job as I know I can do, that's what this is about."

Maurer isn't having that either:

Personally, I hear “the good as job as I know I can do”, which is what the ABC transcript currently says. So, not “goodest”, but not great, either. And I have a follow-up question: Do I have to pretend that “it’s okay as long as I try my best” is a remotely acceptable answer to Stephanopoulos’ question? Jesus Christ, Joe: No it is not okay if you just do your best THIS IS NOT FUCKING TEE BALL!!! We are not playing Candyland, this is not the water balloon toss at a fucking three year-old’s birthday party, we’re choosing the most powerful person in the world YOU DON’T GET A JUICE BOX AND A “YOU’RE A WINNER AS LONG AS YOU HAD FUN” IF YOU HAND THE NUCLEAR CODES BACK TO TRUMP!!!

At some point, Maurer will probably start noticing that he's not getting invited to as many swanky Georgetown cocktail parties as he used to.

Also of note:

  • Fact-checking: It's not just for Trump any more. At least not at the Gray Lady. At least for now. Heather MacDonald reports: The Times Turns on a Dime. She's looking at this NYT story: Fact-Checking Biden’s ABC Interview. Not just that he "downplayed and misstated polls", but also:

    But it is Biden’s invocation of a classic anti-Trump meme that incurs the most surreal of all Times responses. Biden had said during the Stephanopoulos interview: “This is a guy who told us to put bleach in our arms to deal with Covid, with a million—over a million people died.”

    The Times is withering. Exaggerated! it proclaims. Trump did not “instruct people to inject bleach but suggested that doing so with a disinfectant was an ‘interesting’ concept to test out.” The Times notes the context for Trump’s alleged bleach-injection instruction: in April 2020, a member of the federal coronavirus task force had reported on ongoing experiments regarding the use of light and disinfectants to kill the virus. Trump then speculated, as the paper reports:

    Mr. Trump responded: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.”

    The Times’s current distinction between suggesting that a concept be tested and suggesting that a concept be implemented was missing in its contemporaneous coverage in 2020. The paper ran thousands of words implying that Trump had likely triggered a public health emergency of MAGA bleach drinkers. Reporter Matt Flegenheimer, then on the Covid hysteria beat, reported that Trump had “suggested that injections of disinfectants into the human body could help combat the coronavirus.” Such a suggestion “did not sound like the work of a doctor, a genius, or a person with a good you-know-what,” sneered Flegenheimer, throwing a loose version of Trump’s comments about himself back at him.

    But that was then. The NYT's agenda changed, so must its reporting.

  • Come on, New Hampshire Democratic activist! He, or she, is quoted in the NH Journal story: Pappas Case Highlights Success of Biden's Strategy to Stay on Ticket. The topic is my Congresscritter's refusal to say anything definitive on that topic.

    “He got the message: ‘Fall in line, Buttercup,’” a New Hampshire Democratic activist told NHJournal on background.

    Of course, the actual message was delivered by "former New Hampshire Democrat state chair", Kathy Sullivan just after the debate:

    “Suck it up, Buttercup.”

    Kind of a cliché, but at least it rhymed!

    So I'd suggest to the unnamed and possibly non-existent New Hampshire Democratic activist: how about "Fall in line, Valentine!" or "Fall in line, Porcupine!" or … well, you know how to use a rhyming dictionary.

  • Another good question from Kevin D. Williamson. Recent remarks at a gathering causes him to wonder: What Are Senators For?

    What do GOP Sens. Rick Scott, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson have in common? All three of them wish that they knew somebody in Washington with some real power.

    There is nothing quite as magnificent, quite as magisterial, as watching former Sen. Jim DeMint interview a panel of senators and listening to those august worthies complain that somebody in Washington—you know: somebody!—should … do something!

    Not them, of course. It was the weirdest thing: They were speaking Tuesday before an audience of would-be rightist insurgents at this year’s gathering of so-called national conservatives known as NatCon4, and they got an honest-to-goodness standing ovation for spending the better part of an hour declaring that they don’t do jack all day and can’t do jack and nobody should expect them to. “They tell us when to work, what we’re voting for, everything,” Scott said. It is as though he has never heard of the word “no.” The senator should think about expanding his vocabulary.

    Apparently none of these three are on Trump's VP list. Hey, if they were VP, they could break Senate tie votes! That's power, right?

  • Pun Salad is a sucker for a Hayek shout-out. And Michael F. Cannon provides one: The End of Chevron Deference: Tapping the Brakes on the Road to Serfdom. (Gifted link.) Cannon is very cautiously optimistic:

    Those who advocate massive government intervention in the economy are apoplectic. They believe that if Congress cannot delegate such massive powers to executive agencies, then the federal government cannot competently direct the economy, redistribute income, and enrich their favorite special interests.

    And they are right.

    The uncomfortable truth that Chevron supporters do not want to admit is that their desire to control so much of other people’s lives is inconsistent not only with liberalism but with that most magnificent manifestation of liberalism, the U.S. Constitution. In Loper Bright, the Supreme Court faced a decision between liberalism and the rule of law on the one hand, and an anti-liberal ideological agenda on the other. It made the right choice.

    And not a moment too soon. In his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom, Nobel Prize–winning economist Friedrich Hayek explained that when legislatures attempt to direct the economy, their incompetence will increasingly lead to calls to concentrate power in the hands of government officials who have increasingly less regard for liberal values such as individual liberty, the separation of powers, the rule of law, or democratic accountability. Loper Bright restores the separation of powers and thereby strips power from any bureau-cum-auto-crats.

    Loper Bright does not dismantle the administrative state. It does not even mean we are no longer heading down the road to serfdom. But it does tap the brakes.

    "Tapping the brakes" is probably the best we can do in our state-besotted era.