Can Donald Trump Mount a Comeback?

The “Turtle” snapped.  Powerful Senator Mitch McConnell, aka the Turtle, is not opposing the impeachment trial of President Trump, signaling the two men are no longer “Happy Together.”   If you don’t understand that reference, shame!

There is no doubt that the traditional leaders of the Republican Party want nothing further to do with Donald Trump.  However, they have a problem because so many Americans continue to support him, and believe he is being treated unfairly by the establishment.

So the Turtle and other GOP power brokers should be very careful if they want to keep power.  President Trump is not a man to be easily dismissed.

The road back to authority for Mr. Trump is paved by just one person: Joe Biden.  And I’m not talking about running for President again which is a long shot, but not impossible, for Donald Trump.

No, I’m talking about political influence and credibility.

The conniving Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer well understand that President Trump will retain “people power,” much the way Barack Obama did when he left office. That’s what is driving this absurd second impeachment which could be worse than the first farce.

Donald Trump did encourage Americans to protest the election results.  Absolutely, he did that.  But he never even contemplated the violence that occurred on January 6. Maybe he should have.  But a misjudgment, even when it’s drastic, is not a removable offense for a president.  If it were, most of our Chief Executives would have been impeached.  Or am I wrong?

Therefore, the latest impeachment is designed for just one thing: to finish Trump forever in the political arena.

At this point, the betting odds are that Mr. Trump will not be convicted.  Schumer needs sixteen Republican senators to support the democrats.  A few like Mitt Romney are salivating to cancel Trump.  But most are not.

Now back to President Biden.  The smart play would have been for him to discourage impeachment in the name of national unity.

Instead, Biden did his best impression of Pontius Pilate and stood aside. Are you surprised?  It would have taken courage to go against the howling left wing mob.

Somewhere Barabbas is smiling.

The overreach by Democrats and their media allies is just getting started, and it is here where Donald Trump might benefit.

First, the cancel culture.  This despicable trend is owned exclusively by the left.  The cruelty and unfairness of the effort is obvious to any decent person.  The more traction the cancel thugs get, the more anti-liberal backlash there will be.

Immigration.  Soon the southern border will be under siege again because President Biden is sending open border signals.  The approaching chaos will anger many Americans.

And finally the economy.  Already gas prices are rising because oil companies know Biden will try to hurt them.  So the energy moguls are stockpiling cash.  Higher gas prices will hurt working people.

I could list many other examples but here’s the headline.  If President Biden’s liberal policies fail, and that’s almost a given, Americans will be looking for someone to stop the madness.

And it won’t be the Turtle.

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Eternal Denseness of the Binary Mind

I’ve been arguing for some time that media-conservatives’ vehement reliance on whatboutism has led to some of the dumbest and laziest political debates in our country over the past four years, and I’m looking forward to it largely going away — at least on the right — now that Donald Trump has left the building.

No longer under immense daily pressure to defend the indefensible when it comes to the president, righties’ forced abandonment of this embarrassingly weak deflection tool should ultimately prove to be a healthy thing for Republicans and conservatives. Sure, Trump’s shadow will loom for a while (especially with the Senate likely taking up his impeachment trial), and the former president will continue to insist on loyalty from the GOP, but he shouldn’t be nearly the intellectual liability he’s been for Republican leaders and “conservative” pundits since 2016. The new political landscape will hopefully provide a stronger opportunity for principled ideas and substantive policy battles.

What I’m not as optimistic will disappear is the partisan media’s narrowly focused, binary hold on our country’s political debates. It’s been a big problem on both sides for a while, but it worsened significantly in the Trump era.

I vented a little about this issue on Twitter the other day:

When one relies on cable news commentary and other partisan-media outlets for their political news, they are conditioned to believe that there are exactly two arguments to every single issue:

  1. the argument presented and promoted by the partisan commentators they listen to.
  2. an opposing argument crafted and presented by those very same partisan commentators.

In other words, it’s the same partisan entity who is putting forth both sides of the same story, with their side reliably being the far more compelling argument, and the other side (which often doesn’t reflect what political opponents are actually saying) reliably being the patently ridiculous argument.

It’s a binary choice, as far as partisan consumers are concerned. Third, fourth and fifth arguments (which are usually much better ones), put forth by less partisan individuals (who typically don’t enjoy as large of platforms), aren’t even recognized. Thus, they’re not considered… even at their very source.

Case in point, I’ve written three pieces for this website regarding the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and its aftermath. In each, I laid out the prominent role the president played in inciting the violence by describing how he spent two months (actually longer than that) selling millions of Americans on the perverse lie that our nation’s democracy had been hijacked, that he had actually won the election, and that January 6th at the U.S. Capitol would be the day of reckoning.

Here are some of the rebuttals I’ve received to those columns:

“You see, I’m a free speech absolutist, and to suggest that Trump saying ‘we must fight this injustice’ is tantamount to calling for physical violence is a dangerous road down which to travel. Every politician says ‘we must fight’ the political enemy, for Christ’s sake!”

“I am no Trump fan but if people weren’t so lazy and actually read or heard what Trump said there would be no blame of this on him. The people that were planning to storm the Capitol were already were motion while Trump was still speaking. Not to mention that the lax security sure looked like it was a setup.”

“Individuals are free to make their own judgments, tell me how this fits high crimes and misdemeanors and if it does would it not also apply to others who’ve made incendiary statements?”

You may notice a common theme among those responses. Each of them is working off the premise that my “incitement” argument is defined specifically and solely by what Trump said to his supporters in front of the White House on January 6th, not long before they moved over to the Capitol where the attack occurred.

The problem is that I never made any such argument. I never quoted a line from that speech, never directly blamed what was said in that speech for what happened, and never argued that common-use political terms like “fight,” on their own, are dangerous. My argument was about conduct and rhetoric that spanned more than two months… not just a snippet of speech from the day of the attack.

The proper context was even included in the Articles of Impeachment filed by the Democrats (though I think it should have been expanded): “In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials.”

So, who were these commenters responding to, since they clearly weren’t responding to me? The answer is a conservative-media opposition narrative, tailored and repeated ad nauseam by Fox News commentators and right-wing talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, in an effort to diminish the case for why Trump should be held accountable for his actions.

To be clear, no one is arguing that select lines from one speech, by themselves, incited the attack. At least, I haven’t seen anyone making that argument. Trump’s “stop the steal” campaign leading up to January 6th is why it happened. His speech that day was just the cherry on the cake.

That reality would have been very hard for Trump’s toadies in the media to defend. Reducing the entire issue to a soundbite or two, however, has made things much easier. So easy, in fact, that all they’ve had to do is present another soundbite or two in return.

Dennis Prager demonstrated this in a column on this website last week:

“Over and over, in every left-wing medium and stated repeatedly by Democrats, Trump is blamed for ‘inciting’ the riot in his speech just before it took place. Almost never is a Trump quote cited. Because there is none. On the contrary, he did say, ‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard’.”

Notice how Prager also attributed the incitement claim purely to the left, despite the fact that numerous prominent Republicans and conservatives have stated the same thing. That’s how the binary game is played.

Bill O’Reilly did the same thing this week:

“The Trump case is subjective, an opinion that he directly incited a mob to violence. However, he used the word ‘peacefully’ in public remarks to the protestors so that is certainly exculpatory.”

To Bill and Dennis, it’s as if those two months prior to January 6th never happened.

I would say you can’t make this stuff up, but you clearly can. And a number of media-conservatives have had extra incentive to do so, being that so many of them (as Bernard Goldberg recently pointed out) ran interference for President Trump as he tried to steal an election he unequivocally lost, helping to legitimize the false narrative of massive voter fraud that ultimately infuriated enough people to provoke a domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The alternate reality they helped spread is further proof of the intellectual ineptitude of binary political arguments. On Fox News commentary shows from election night until January 6th, how many right-leaning voices were given air-time to unequivocally shoot down Trump’s demonstrable lies about massive voter fraud? That work was left almost entirely to the network’s vastly outnumbered liberals like Juan Williams, which effectively deemed that position to be the “liberal” (and thus wrong) argument in the eyes of the network’s viewers.

Imagine if there had been serious, frequent debates between conservative commentators on Fox’s highest rated shows about Trump’s claims of election fraud, with one of those commentators explaining precisely why those claims were total nonsense.

In the past on Fox News, honest brokers like Charles Krauthammer would have been invited on to prime-time (by hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly) to transcend the hyper-partisan B.S., and call things straight. Instead, viewers tuning in were largely handed the binary choice of agreeing with angry grifters like Dan Bongino that something screwy was going on with the vote counts, or buying the supposedly “liberal” argument that Joe Biden won fair and square.

Poll after poll has shown that a strong majority of Republican voters believe that the election was stolen for Joe Biden, and that Trump actually won. What we saw on January 6th demonstrated why that fiction is so dangerous. What we heard from many prominent media-conservatives, for two months, helps explain why that fiction was (and still is) subscribed to by so many people.

It’s a result of binary politics, and it’s only worsening our culture.

 


Note from John: I’ve been writing a weekly non-political newsletter since October, covering topics like art, music, humor, travel, society and culture. I’ve been surprised by, and thankful for, how many people have been signing up for it. If it sounds interesting to you, I’d love for you to subscribe (it’s free).

Order John A. Daly’s novel “Safeguard” today!




Why the Left Has To Suppress Free Speech

Let us begin with this fact: The left always suppresses speech. Since Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, there has been no example of the left in control and not crushing dissent.

That is one of the important differences between liberal and left: Liberalism and liberals believe in free speech. (The present leftist threat to freedom in America, the greatest threat to freedom in American history, is made possible because liberals think they have more to fear from conservatives than from the left. Liberals do not understand that the left regards liberals as their useful idiots.)

The left controls universities. There is little or no dissent allowed at universities.

The left controls nearly every “news” medium. There is little or no dissent in the mainstream media — not in the “news” sections and not in the opinion sections.

The left controls Hollywood. No dissent is allowed in Hollywood.

That is why we have “cancel culture” — the silencing and firing of anyone who publicly dissents from the left, and even “publicly” is no longer necessary. The National Association of Realtors has just announced that if you express dissenting views (on race, especially) in private, you may be fined and lose your membership in the organization — which effectively ends your career as a realtor.

So, we return to the opening question: Why does the left need to crush all dissent? This is a question made all the more stark because there is no parallel on the right: Conservatives do not shut down dissent or debate.

The answer, though the left will not acknowledge it, is the left fears dissent. And they do so for good reason. Leftism is essentially a giant balloon filled with nothing but hot air. Therefore, no matter how big the balloon — the Democratic Party, The New York Times, Yale University — all it takes is a mere pin to burst it.

Leftism is venerated by intellectuals. But there is little intellectual substance to leftism. It is a combination of doctrine and emotion. The proof? Those with intellectual depth do not stifle dissent; they welcome it.

That is why universities are so opposed to conservatives coming to speak on campus. One articulate conservative can undo years of left-wing indoctrination in a one-hour talk or Q and A. I know this from personal experience on campuses. You can, too. Watch the speeches given by any conservatives allowed to speak on a campus — many of these talks are still on YouTube — and you will see large halls filled with students yearning to hear something other than left-wing pablum. Look at their faces, filled with rapt attention to ideas they never heard that are clearly having an impact. Universities are entirely right to fear our coming to speak. We come with the pin that bursts their $50,000-a-year balloon.

That is also why it is so hard to get any of them to debate any of us. In 35 years of radio, I have never mistreated or bullied a guest. I was unfailingly polite to an icon of the left, Howard Zinn, the America-hating author of the America-hating “A People’s History of the United States.” I even invited a UCLA political science professor and violinist, one of seven members of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra who refused to play when I conducted the orchestra in a Joseph Haydn symphony in the Disney Concert Hall — solely because I’m a conservative. Despite his public letter, in which he accused me of holding “horribly bigoted positions” and wrote, “Please urge your friends to not attend this concert, which helps normalize bigotry in our community,” I nevertheless invited him on my national radio show. He agreed. I had him in studio for an entire hour and treated him and his wife (who accompanied him) with great respect, despite my contempt for his false accusations and his advocacy of the cancel culture. Every American should hear that hour.

Unfortunately for the emotional and intellectual health of our society, he, Zinn and a few others were anomalies. Of the 100 or so left-wing authors, professors and columnists invited to appear on my show, almost none has responded in the affirmative. They prefer NPR, where they are never challenged.

The opposite, however, is not true: Every conservative intellectual I know says yes to every one of the (very few) left-wing invitations we receive. Of course, we are almost never invited. We regularly invite leftists. Leftists almost never invite us. They claim it’s because we are not up to their intellectual level and they have no desire to waste their time. One would think that the opportunity to publicly show how vapid we conservatives really are would be too good to pass up.

Leftists do not debate us or appear as guests on our shows and prevent us from speaking whenever possible, because they (correctly) fear conservatives. Race-baiters such as Ibram X. Kendi or Ta-Nehisi Coates or “White Fragility” author Robin DiAngelo would never debate Larry Elder, for example. Why won’t they? Because they would be shown to be the intellectually shallow purveyors of hate they are. Deep down, they know it. Larry Elder is one of many conservative black intellectuals who left-wing blacks (and whites) refuse to debate.

Now you know why the left suppresses free speech: because they have to. If there is free speech, there is dissent. And if there is dissent, there is no more left.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” was released to home entertainment nationwide on September 15, 2020. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

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Last Updated: Monday, Jan 18, 2021 11:02:35 -0800




The Trump Legacy

Liz Cheney got the headlines but the Wyoming Congresswoman’s vote to impeach President Trump was not the most damaging republican action recently.  No, the largely unpublicized resignation of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was. That’s because she is married to Senator Mitch McConnell who is now torturing Mr. Trump in a foolish display of power.  Ms. Chao’s exit sent an anti-Trump signal that was surely endorsed by her husband.

As Senate majority leader, McConnell is delaying the impeachment trial until after Joe Biden is sworn in.  But the Kentuckian is also saying it’s okay if GOP senators vote to ultimately convict the president on charges of inciting the violence at the Capitol building.  Why would McConnell do that?

He has to know that voting to convict Donald Trump in the Senate would damage the Republican Party immensely.  Millions of people who voted for Trump would leave the GOP.

This is not a Richard Nixon situation where the nation heard the President on tape conspiring to commit a crime.  The Trump case is subjective, an opinion that he directly incited a mob to violence.  However, he used the word “peacefully” in public remarks to the protestors so that is certainly exculpatory.  Yes, he did not tamp down the visceral anger of his supporters as he should have.  No, that is not a high crime or misdemeanor.  It was a severe error in judgment.

Mitch McConnell knows all this so it is a mystery as to why he wants to hurt his own party.  He, himself, is partially to blame for the Republican senate loss in Georgia because he blocked the $2,000 Covid relief checks.  So McConnell is now emerging as a villain to many Republicans.

Fair-minded Americans should understand that President Trump was largely successful on policy during his term.  His signature achievement is reviving the sluggish Obama-Biden economy – an action which benefited nearly all working people.

Mr. Trump also managed “Operation Warp Speed” to success as a Covid vaccine is a reality.  That is a colossal accomplishment.

In addition, President Trump contained North Korea and Iran.  Confronted the Chinese threat in a methodical way, and broadened U.S. power in the Middle East.

Also, Americans were rewarded with three traditional Supreme Court justices by Mr. Trump which protects against arbitrary changes to the Constitution.

Therefore, Mitch McConnell is playing an extremely dangerous game by diminishing President Trump in the eyes of Americans who still like him.  And the crazy part is that McConnell doesn’t have to do it.  Donald Trump will soon be a past president and the nation is not well served by an unnecessary impeachment trial that will stoke even more division and hatred.

Wise up fast, Mitch.  You’re misusing your power.  You’re hurting the country.




Ten Republicans Got It Right on Impeachment

On Wednesday, Donald Trump made history by becoming the first American president to be impeached twice. Though ten congressional Republicans, voting against the leader of their party, made the effort the most bipartisan presidential impeachment ever, it was absolutely shameful that 197 of their GOP colleagues chose to let Trump skate.

National Review’s Kevin Williamson summed it up well:

“A paltry ten House Republicans mustered the guts and the patriotism to vote to impeach Donald Trump. By way of comparison, 139 Republicans in the House voted to overturn the 2020 election. If the American public concludes that this is a party of irresponsible crackpots who can no longer be trusted with power, it will be impossible to blame them.”

To review, a U.S. president incited a murderous act of domestic terrorism on the U.S. Capitol. He did so through months of aggressively lying to his millions of faithful supporters, as part of an attack on our democracy and electoral institutions, for the purpose of overturning the results of a free and fair election that he unequivocally lost.

If that’s not an impeachable offense, I don’t know what it is.

Remarkably, quite a few House Republicans who voted no on impeachment have outright conceded that Trump incited the January 6th violence. Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who’s been as reliably servile to Trump as anyone, has acknowledged that the president bears a large amount of responsibility for what happened.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw has said the same, tearing into his Republican colleagues last week on Fox News for shamelessly joining in with Trump’s two-month-long rouse.

They’ve been lying to people,” he told Martha MacCallum. “They’ve been lying to millions. They’ve been lying that January 6 was going to be this big solution for election integrity. It was never going to be.”

Crenshaw added, “It was all fun and games to them. They never knew what a real fight was. Real fights are scary. Bullets flying, that’s scary. Glass breaking, that’s really scary. … They’ve been talking about the courage to stand up to this. … But when it came down to it, there was no courage.”

But Crenshaw voted against impeachment on Wednesday. Afterwards, he tweeted this explanation:

“We can’t ignore the President’s behavior leading up to the violence in the Capitol last week. He bears enormous responsibility for it. But impeachment is not the answer. We all need to deescalate, lower the temperature, and move forward together as a country.”

With all due respect to Rep. Crenshaw, the compelling case for national unity and grace — in support of our nation’s “peaceful transfer of power” — died along with five Americans at the U.S. Capitol.

From election night of November 4th until the insurrection on January 6th, there wasn’t serious talk of a second Trump impeachment. That was true despite the president refusing to concede, lying to the public every day about who had won, amplifying one insane conspiracy theory after another, demanding other Republican leaders join him or face serious political consequences, pressuring state officials to commit election fraud (and slandering them to the point of death threats when they didn’t), and ultimately convincing millions of angry Americans that if Vice President Mike Pence didn’t overturn the election at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th (something Pence couldn’t do even if he wanted), our democracy will have been successfully hijacked, and the republic will have been lost.

None of those actions compelled a second impeachment effort, even though some of them (along with later directing a large crowd to intimidate congress) were impeachable. The spirit of “moving forward” — sentiment that fell under relentless assault by Trump in the final weeks of his presidency — prevented it.

It took the terrifying results of those actions, as witnessed on January 6th, to end two months of public sufferance, and shift the response to one of accountability and the prevention of further damage by the president.

The devastation Trump has already caused is difficult to fully grasp, as we continue to learn more details of the Capitol attack.

Five people died, including a police officer who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. Several other officers required hospitalization, one of whom will likely lose an eye (gouged with a flagpole by a rioter), and another who suffered a heart attack from being shocked by a stun gun. One officer has since committed suicide, with others reporting suicidal thoughts to their superiors.

Active bombs were placed in the Capitol. Other weapons were brought in, along with zip-tie handcuffs, because some of the rioters were intent on capturing or killing Mike Pence and members of congress.

Serious threats of follow-up attacks on elected representatives, state capitols, and the upcoming presidential inauguration have the FBI working overtime, with immense security measures being put in place to protect our citizens and institutions.

Yet, a huge majority of congressional Republicans are arguing that the pursuit of constitutional accountability, for the man who “bears enormous responsibility” for what happened, is uncalled for. Why is it uncalled for? Because he’s almost gone, and it would be divisive.

The notion is absurd, especially coming from the roughly 150 Republican members of the House and Senate who, in the final weeks of the Trump presidency, formally voted in support of the president’s effort to overturn the will of the 81 million American voters who decided the election.

If the concern is that accountability for Trump will cause even more violence, as some Republicans (including Jim Jordan) have suggested, that’s an even worse argument. Elected leaders, when making political decisions, shouldn’t be trying to appease those inclined to join violent mobs when they don’t get their way. How would that be any different than caving to the demands of terrorists?

Let’s face it. If Trump cared one iota about national unity, he’d do the honorable thing by admitting fault and resigning. But he hasn’t, and he won’t. As usual, he’s putting his ego before the country, and it’s up to others to deal with the mess he has created.

If Trump won’t accept personal accountability, it’s up to other elected leaders to impose it. The offenses Trump committed and the violence he has incited warrant stronger action than glancing rhetorical disapproval and collective shoulder shrugs. He shouldn’t be let off the hook just because the timing is inconvenient. He shouldn’t be given a free pass just to avoid further upsetting people who don’t think he did anything wrong in the first place.

Impeachment, despite only ten Republicans doing what was right, was a good start. If the Senate trial can’t logistically happen before Trump leaves office, it still needs to happen… and be taken seriously.

The offenses he has committed demand it.

Thank you, Representatives Cheney,  Newhouse, Rice, Kinzinger, Gonzalez, Upton, Meijer, Beutler, Katko, and Valadao for doing the right thing.

 


Note from John: I’ve been writing a weekly non-political newsletter since October, covering topics like art, music, humor, travel, society and culture. I’ve been surprised by, and thankful for, how many people have been signing up for it. If it sounds interesting to you, I’d love for you to subscribe (it’s free).

Order John A. Daly’s novel “Safeguard” today!