Patterico's Pontifications

11/4/2019

Kevin Williamson on Fire

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am



The man can write. I’ll give you a taste, but read the whole thing with great pleasure.

The leading anti-immigration voice in our country belongs to my friend Mark Krikorian of the Mayflower Krikorians. Two of the most prominent voices associated with our dotty new blood-and-soil nationalism are linked to the surnames Buchanan and Ahmari. My colleague Michael Brendan Dougherty calls himself a nationalist, too — a nationalist in the cause of at least two nations, by my count. That’s two Irishmen, an Iranian, and an Armenian, three of them Catholics and all four of them gentlemen who, if earlier generations of so-called nationalists had had their way, would be admiring these United States from afar.

Funny old world.

On Friday, I appeared opposite Sohrab Ahmari on a panel hosted by the William F. Buckley Program at Yale. He argued that the main duty of the state is not to protect liberty but to achieve the good, biblically defined. That’s what he said when he showed up, anyway — he was a little bit late owing to the fact that the state he would entrust to do God’s work here on Earth cannot quite manage to make the trains run on time, a fact that you might think would be of some interest to a bantamweight Mussolini.

. . . .

There is much more to the good life than politics, and liberty, properly understood, is only a means, not an end. The question of what we are to do with that liberty might be answered in any number of ways consulting many different sources of wisdom. But it is far too important to be left to the people who cannot even quite make the trains run on time. A government that is soon likely to be presided over either by Donald Trump or Elizabeth Warren is not a fitting instrument of moral instruction, and the people — We, the People — who bear the blame for having made it what it is ought to be modest in our expectations about what we might make of it in the future.

It just gets better as it goes.

By the way, speaking of a government run by Donald Trump, the Second Circuit has ruled that New York prosecutors can get his tax returns. I predict the ruling will be upheld by the Supreme Court, by a lopsided if not unanimous vote (8-1?), following by a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the unforgivable betrayals by Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

107 Responses to “Kevin Williamson on Fire”

  1. This is really well written and an enjoyable read.

    But the common principle of the Trumpists and the alt right is grievance at the lack of respect displayed to their tribe. It’s not any specific biblical teaching, philosophical principle, or policy outcome. There are things they want within those categories, but they are all less important than getting the respect they feel their tribe is owed and is being unfairly denied.

    So David French can be right on all the biblical teaching, conservative principles, or policy positions, but until he focuses on owning the libs in a way that releases endorphins for the base he’s on the wrong side.

    Great column though.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  2. Kevin’s Ahmari criticism is spot on. We don’t want Sharia to be codified anymore than to codify the “good, biblically defined” over protecting liberty.

    As to the news that the 2nd Circuit ruled in favor of New York prosecutor’s grand jury to review Trump’s tax reform. I agree that Trump doesn’t have a defense and I’d anticipate SCOTUS to refuse to take it up.

    However, if Democrats don’t think this tactic won’t be applied to them in the future, I’ve got a bridge to sell…

    whembly (fd57f6)

  3. Yeah, he sure can write..nonsense. Once you get past the name calling, Mr. Williamson doesn’t have much to say. Anyone who’s not a globalist, or favor of cheap labor and open borders is a nasty nationalist or a “Bantam Mussolini”. Oh, and people who came here after 1787 should all be in favor of immigration forever, because their Great Grandparents or something were immigrants too. if you figure the logic of that..give it a whirl.

    I lot interest at the end, but got the impression that Williamson doesn’t like Catholics, or maybe he doesn’t like Catholic Converts because they disagree with him. But maybe there was some real super important point I missed. The real question regarding to Kevin is – who is his audience? He’s lost his chance to be a “reasonable Conservative” at Atlantic, and the Bulwark Boys and the guys at the Dispatch didn’t offer him a job. He’s more or less stuck at NR defending David French! Well, maybe Dave can get him a job. Writing about how you hate trump, love globalism and big business, isn’t a ticket to the big time.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  4. Weird, because in many circles that Williamson appears to aspire to be in, Catholicism is acceptable along the lines of Mainline Protestantism, except for the old-school catholics who are into Latin rite and other pre-Vatican II conventions (e.g. Mel Gibson and Rick Santorum)

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  5. @2 Bernie hasn’t released his returns yet….we (the public) need some rules on this.

    Time123 (6e9135)

  6. At the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin was of the opinion that the executive could not be brought before the courts. And he was TONS smarter than Donald Trump.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  7. rcocean,

    Well, it wasn’t an article on “Orangeman Bad”, so that may have been an improvement for you. And it was dealing more with first principles — the idea that certain conservatives still have a Libertarian bent, and that’s a fundamental disagreement with Trump’s statist instincts.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  8. I know quite a few Trump voters and never once have I heard them say what they are looking for is respect for their ‘tribe’ or any other term one applies to them.

    The main thing I hear they want is respect for the constitution, effective but limited government, border enforcement (aka legal immigration only) and freedom to pursue their personal brand of happiness..

    Lastly regarding ‘tribe’s, if there is any group they feel affiliation to it’s those who take care of themselves and hold precious/are willing to defend our inalienable rights, whether they can trace American ancestry back before the founding or they just got off the boat.

    harkin (d9e504)

  9. I lot interest at the end, but got the impression that Williamson doesn’t like Catholics

    No, it’s because the last great flowering of Republican nativism was anti-Catholic. See James Blaine, Speaker of the House, Senator, Secretary of State and 1884 GOP Presidential nominee (lost to Grover Cleveland, Part 1). The era saw a great deal of public opposition to Irish and Italian immigration, and Williamson is suggesting that people like Buchanan would still be in Ireland had the nativists succeeded then.

    He was the sponsor of the failed “Blaine Amendment” which purported to keep religion out of public schools but was intended to keep public schools Protestant, even in areas that were Catholic or Jewish. The amendments passed at the state level and have lately been used to block voucher programs.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  10. Won’t be surprised if SCOTUS doesn’t take it up.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  11. As far as the tax returns are concerned, I think it’s clear that an impeachment inquiry would have access to such, and that is the proper Constitutional venue for an investigation of the Executive. If the President has to be answering to every local sheriff, he will have no tome for anything else.

    This is kind of like the reasoning that protects court officers with qualified immunity.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  12. No tIme. I suspect Trump has no tOme and never has had one.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  13. As for the SCOTUS, we already know that all 4 liberal judges will vote against Trump, just like they do 98% of the time. It shouldn’t be hard for them to pick up a Roberts or Goresuch, to make it a 5-4 defeat for Trump.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  14. Won’t be surprised if SCOTUS doesn’t take it up.

    Yep. that would be a way for Roberts to stab Trump in the back without having to be too public about it.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  15. A ‘conservative’ who mixes religion and politics by quilling a short, simple essay like this the next voice who’ll lead:

    “My God. Conservatism is irrelevant today. Time to retool for tomorrow.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. ^ is the next voice who’ll lead… Typo.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  17. #9 – If that’s what Williamson’s point is, he’s even stupider than I thought.

    1. Some guy in 1884 called Blaine didn’t like Catholics
    2. Blaine also wanted immigration restriction
    3. Therefore all Catholics in 2019 should be against immigration restriction – forever.

    Talk about dumb!

    rcocean (1a839e)

  18. Lastly regarding ‘tribe’s, if there is any group they feel affiliation to it’s those who take care of themselves and hold precious/are willing to defend our inalienable rights, whether they can trace American ancestry back before the founding or they just got off the boat.

    Exactly. I know several Indian (dot not feather) coworkers and ex-coworkers who support Trump’s position on immigration. Not all mind you but as a percent of people whom I know who are out about supporting Trump (or at least out to me about it), the number of recent immigrants, those who came here LEGALLY, are disproportionately favorable to Trump’s policies. Now these are all non-Muslim Indians, the few Muslims that I’ve worked with I don’t know all that well. However I have suspicions that one of my doctors, a man who came here back in the 1970’s to go to school at Duke, might possibly lean the same way. They left those ‘holes for a reason and they don’t want those reasons popping up here. Especially, as one told me, since they’ve gone to the effort to come to THIS country, putting a couple oceans between them and the problems, rather than somewhat more easy to immigrate to British Commonwealth countries. For Williamson to harrumph about recent immigrants is pretty obnoxious and an indication that he completely missed the point.

    PTw (894877)

  19. If the President has to be answering to every local sheriff, he will have no tome for anything else.

    To be fair, President Trump does reside in New York and the Trump Organization is headquartered there. I read an item last week where the President has said that upon leaving office he will not return to New York; he will become a permanent resident of Florida. He should have done so 20 years ago.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  20. I think most East Indians go with the flow dependending on where they reside, how much “juice” (favorable treatment of businesses, regulation or lack thereof) they get from the local government and the scent they pickup (in the benign sense) from whom they are talking to.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  21. Its not “forever” – it should be when member of said group is elected President – if we are talking Catholics of the European immigrant sense, that vote has gone R since 1968 forward. If Red Pill sinks in, you are looking at a steady cascade preference of blacks toward the R party that started in 2016 and was remnant enough to foil Gillum and Abrams in 2018.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  22. As for those cheering the NY DA’s attempt to rummage through Trump’s tax returns before they are accidentally released to the NY Times, remember that precedents matter. In a few years it might be a local DA going after President Warren’s tax returns from her time as a foreclosure flipper.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  23. …then we will have no choice but a County dog catcher (belated RIP to John Witherspoon) and god help him if he had a “side hustle”

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  24. @22. Why do you say that as if it’s a bug?

    We’ve had a cultural norm of presidents releasing their tax returns for my entire adult life. We grant so much power and discretion to the president that i have no problem with forcing them to release their tax returns. We already require many of the people that work for them to do so. Part of limited government is making it harder for government officials to abuse their power for their own benefit. This does that in some small ways.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  25. Re: Patrick’s prediction of a near unanimous SCOTUS upholding the 3rd Circuit ruling on Trump’s tax returns, I predict they will adopt the position taken by the government’s amicus brief. That is, Mr. Vance’s office should not be able to obtain the president’s personal records unless and until it could show that they were central to the investigation, not available elsewhere and were needed immediately, rather than after Mr. Trump leaves office.

    Stu707 (52fdfe)

  26. @17, my read was that the types of arguments being used today are very similar to the types of arguments used in the past. The US was not persuaded by those arguments in the past and things worked out fine. The fact the people making these arguments today wouldn’t be here if the US had been persuaded by theses types of arguments in the past was used to illustrate this.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  27. JVW (54fd0b) — 11/4/2019 @ 11:11 am

    President Trump does reside in New York and the Trump Organization is headquartered there. I read an item last week where the President has said that upon leaving office he will not return to New York; he will become a permanent resident of Florida.

    he actually switched legal residences (or attempted to – New York does extensive auduts(=) in September. He and Melania. They will vote from a Florida address in 2020.

    In switching legal residence away from New York after beinbg elected president, he folows both Eisenhower and Nixon.

    Eisenhower became president of Columbia University in 1949, so when he was elected in 1952 he wasa citizen of New York. He moved to Pennsylvania.

    Nixon moved east to New York and joined law firm after losing his race for Governor of New York in 1962 and saying you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more. In 1969 I think he bought properties in bth Florida and california. he changed his residence to California – In the politically insoired audit, they concluded that Nixon could not get a capital gains exemtion for the salke of his main home because his main home was 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. D.C. But in spite of almost all the politicians in Washington considering the washington natioals their home basebakl team, their residence is in the state they were elected from, although tht can change from time toi time as it did with Mitt Romney. Nixon llater about 1980 sold San Clemnete and moved to New York and then New Jersey. His library when it was finally established about 1990, is in California.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  28. There are a lot of terrible things I read in the newspapers about Trump’s immigration polcies, which they say are so bad he hardly can find people to implement them, but almoat none from Democratic politcians..

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  29. Deep down, perhaps the only substantive difference they would make is putting the employers in orange jumpsuits and perp-walks way before the throngs of their illegal employees after raids, Sammy.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  30. ”Part of limited government is making it harder for government officials to abuse their power for their own benefit. This does that in some small ways.”
    Time123 (6e0727) — 11/4/2019 @ 11:36 am

    If that were the motivation, there would be scant reason to object.

    We know that’s not the motivation, because it applies to the president only and not other political offices — nor do the people in favor of it spend much effort, if any, pushing for it to be applied more broadly.

    Munroe (f5f3f1)

  31. Minority kids already hate conservatives/white nationalists and 200,000 turn voting age every month and they have ids. Trump barely won the electoral collage in 2016 thanks to democrats voting for jill stein instead of clinton. Remember 6 million democrats who voted for obama in 2012 didn’t vote in 2016. They will be voting in 2020 along with 3 million new democrat voters (mostly minorities or millennial.

    asset (a4a957)

  32. #5

    @2 Bernie hasn’t released his returns yet….we (the public) need some rules on this.

    Time123 (6e9135) — 11/4/2019 @ 10:17 am

    I think that is irrelevant here… this is a NY grand jury requesting this document. It all appears pretty straight forward to me. Grand Jury investigations only requires a lower standard of proof… in fact, this is a normal process for grand jury’s to investigate if there were a crime

    However, it’s definitely setting a dangerous precedent. I see this further legitimizing lawfare tactics against your political opponents.

    #22 As for those cheering the NY DA’s attempt to rummage through Trump’s tax returns before they are accidentally released to the NY Times, remember that precedents matter. In a few years it might be a local DA going after President Warren’s tax returns from her time as a foreclosure flipper.

    Kevin M (19357e) — 11/4/2019 @ 11:17 am

    Exactamundo. We’re in the age of partisan “tit for tat” with no end in sight.

    You’re kidding yourselves if you think this will end when Trump is out of office.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  33. ”But the common principle of the Trumpists and the alt right is grievance at the lack of respect displayed to their tribe.”
    Time123 (66d88c) — 11/4/2019 @ 9:26 am

    The common principle of the Left and #NeverTrump is an incessant need to caricature their opponents.

    Munroe (f5f3f1)

  34. @22.

    Why do you say that as if it’s a bug?

    We’ve had a cultural norm of presidents releasing their tax returns for my entire adult life. We grant so much power and discretion to the president that i have no problem with forcing them to release their tax returns. We already require many of the people that work for them to do so. Part of limited government is making it harder for government officials to abuse their power for their own benefit. This does that in some small ways.

    Time123 (6e0727) — 11/4/2019 @ 11:36 am

    IMO, the proper action is to simply not vote for him if he doesn’t release is tax records, ala candidates in the past.

    Not to use the powers of the state to “force it”. That’s ripe for abuse as well…

    whembly (fd57f6)

  35. Munroe, I agree with you that we need more transparency, not less. It would be fantastic If Trump responded to this by releasing Pelosi’s somehow. Maybe this could kick off a vicious cycle that results in the release of tax returns for all congress critters and their staffs. I honestly don’t see a downside to that.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  36. #35

    Munroe, I agree with you that we need more transparency, not less. It would be fantastic If Trump responded to this by releasing Pelosi’s somehow. Maybe this could kick off a vicious cycle that results in the release of tax returns for all congress critters and their staffs. I honestly don’t see a downside to that.

    Time123 (6e0727) — 11/4/2019 @ 12:24 pm

    President cannot publically disclose it either, as much as you’d cheer for such vicious cycle… but, this would literally be Trump break clear laws here.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  37. @36

    I know. And we need to follow the law. But if they find a loophole I wouldn’t cry.

    Time123 (6e9135)

  38. Nixon moved east to New York and joined law firm after losing his race for Governor of New York in 1962 and saying you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more.

    That wasn’t for the Governor of New York, it was for the Governor of California. He lost to Pat Brown.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  39. “In a few years it might be a local DA going after President Warren’s tax returns from her time as a foreclosure flipper.”

    – Kevin M

    I would count that as neither a tragedy nor a travesty. I’d hope that she’d save everyone the trouble by just releasing them voluntarily, as American presidents have done for decades.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  40. The State isn’t just randomly trying to force Trump to show his taxes. Trump had sex with someone not his wife and then paid her off, possibly with campaign funds, then lied about it. There are legal issues. He may have broken the law and the grand jury wants a gander at his taxes.

    Hot tip, keep your pants on and tell the truth. If you get busted doing otherwise, don’t whine and snivel about it.

    Maybe Trump will learn not to be a philandering jackoff.

    (btw Bernie has released 10 years of tax returns. 2008-2018.)

    JRH (52aed3)

  41. “personal responsibility” one of those archaic terms you never hear anymore.

    JRH (52aed3)

  42. @40, yes that’s true. But more than 1 thing can be true at the same time and I think it strains credulity a little to pretend that’s the only thing happening here.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  43. We’ve had a cultural norm of presidents releasing their tax returns for my entire adult life. We grant so much power and discretion to the president that i have no problem with forcing them to release their tax returns.

    I very much doubt you could do this by statute, particularly if Congress exempted themselves. As a matter of course, all tax returns of sitting presidents are audited by the IRS. There is no good reason to make them public — and many reasons not to, such as 3rd parties in partnerships or LLCs. Do you doubt they would be doxxed and harassed? Such a law would discriminate against businessmen and/or the wealthy. I think that GOP candidates and Presidents should refuse as a matter of principle.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  44. as American presidents have done for decades

    MOST presidents since Nixon have released current year tax returns. Some candidates, not all, have released older returns. Once in office no president has released older returns that I’m aware of.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  45. Does anyone doubt that the NY DA is doing this as a political gotcha?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  46. Trump had sex with someone not his wife and then paid her off, possibly with campaign funds, then lied about it. There are legal issues. He may have broken the law and the grand jury wants a gander at his taxes.

    If he paid her off with campaign funds then it would hardly show on his taxes. If he paid her off with his own funds, then it also should not show up on his taxes. I’m not sure what the necessity to see the tax returns are here, if that is the fig leaf you choose.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  47. How come Congress does not pass a law requiring Members to disclose their tax returns?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  48. The danger of operating from enemy territory. Four Presidents have won the election without winning their state of residence:
    James K. Polk, 1844
    Woodrow Wilson, 1916
    Richard M. Nixon, a New Yorker by then not a Californian, 1968
    Donald J. Trump, 2016

    nk (dbc370)

  49. Anyway, Elizabeth Warren will avenge him when she closes down Wall Street.

    nk (dbc370)

  50. nk,

    Polk did OK.

    Nixon won re-election, and New York in 1972 (along with every other state save MA).

    Kevin M (19357e)

  51. Eight Presidents won the election while losing their state of birth but winning their state of residence. They were smarter than Trump (no kidding). Polk and Trump are the only ones who lost both their state of birth and state of residence and only Polk’s were two different states.

    nk (dbc370)

  52. The ultra-weird had taken over the Democratic Party in 1972, too. But I doubt that we’ll have that kind of reprise. The other ultra-weird have taken over the Trumpablican Party. Weirdo vs. weirdo.

    nk (dbc370)

  53. The idea that Trump paid off Stormy Daniels with “Campaign Funds” is absurd. This is a fishing expedition to get Trump’s tax returns and then use them as political ammunition. Nobody is fooled with the NY prosecutor’s bogus analysis and fishing expedition.

    Grand Jury data is supposed to be confidential, but we all know Trump’s tax returns will leak the second they are provided. That’s the plan.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  54. New York City and State is a socialist swamp. Like Illinois, they wallow in their corruption and love it. Trump should have moved out years ago. It reminds me of a Guy from Brooklyn I met 20 years, I asked him when he left New York, and he said: “when i got smart”.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  55. Nothing could top the SCJ betrayal by Injustice Roberts on his Deep State Rulings on Obama Care. The worst is yet to come.

    mg (8cbc69)

  56. Ooh that socialist New York Stock Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade! The corruption does not come from the “socialists”. It comes from corrupt plutocrats, like the criminal traitor Trump, sharing a pittance of their loot with corrupt public employees.

    You know this tax returns stuff and Ukrainian whatsis? So what if it’s small potatoes? Al Capone was not sent up for murder, bootlegging and white slavery, either. He was sent up for tax evasion.

    nk (dbc370)

  57. @53. Well, the Pres. lawyers’ defense was not that the tax returns were not relevant to the payoff, but that the President was immune from criminal investigation. I believe this is the same case where the Pres. lawyer said the Pres could shoot someone and not be punished. That’s a terrible defense. Clinton tried it in the Paula Jones Case and it didn’t work then.

    So, get better lawyers, or better yet, when you f*ck somebody that’s not your wife, don’t pay her hush money and then lie about it.

    JRH (52aed3)

  58. The fact that the pres. *didn’t* make the case that the returns are not relevant strongly suggests they are.

    JRH (52aed3)

  59. Jimmy Breslin wrote a book “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”. Set in New York. Ostensibly a Mafia parody, but really an allegory about assholes like Trump who, when there’s a straight way to do something and a crooked way to do something, they’ll pick the crooked way.

    nk (dbc370)

  60. Anyone see Sidney Powell’s sur-sureply today?
    https://www.scribd.com/document/433411005/Flynn-Reply-Docket-Entry-135

    She’s eviscerated the government here… and holy footnotes!

    whembly (fd57f6)

  61. 38. That was a mental slip. I typed ahead of myself. I was thinking already New York. The sentence actually makes no sense the way it is. Thank you.

    Sammy Finkelman (2f3e32)

  62. 46. If he paid her off with business funds, and the business accounted for it as a business expense, (legal fees by Michael Cohen) and it a pass through corporation, then you could have a problem.

    Sammy Finkelman (2f3e32)

  63. Thank you for that link, Whembly.

    felipe (023cc9)

  64. Has Sidney Powell ever tried a case? I see a record of a lot of appeals, not to mention a movie, but no actual trials. What she reminds me of is Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men” who also never tried his cases — he just snowed his opponent (and the court) with paper until they struck a deal.

    As I see it, Flynn and the government negotiated his plea before he was formally charged. Which means he also negotiated the charges he would plead guilty to. Now, taking a leaf from another criminal traitor, namely Donald Trump who never kept a deal in his life, he is trying to back out of the deal. The government should let him do it. Then re-indict him properly on every provable charge, try him properly (bet you Ms. Powell won’t be his lawyer for that), and sentence him properly on all charges.

    nk (dbc370)

  65. nk (dbc370) — 11/4/2019 @ 3:25 pm
    What’s ironic about choosing the crooked way, is that it is seen, by them, as being the path of least resistance.

    felipe (023cc9)

  66. We’re all being manipulated by the players in both these major parties. Schiff of Fools: impeachment will fail; Pelosi knows it. McConnell won’t dump a first term president of his own party either- he wants all the judges he can get.

    We’re on to both of them: her goal- beat him up for primaries and hopefully have the voters do her dirty work and reap the bennies w/bigger majority. His goal: save the GOP Senate.

    Just censure him and be done with it. Regardless- he’ll wear both an impeachment win and a censure stain as badges of honor. He’ll re-elected– and take names.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  67. Trump Rally in Lexington, KY., tonight says it all.

    Water beads in Paul and McConnell’s shadows.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  68. 66. I agree. Regretfully. And about Schiff especially. He is a grand-standing, self-aggrandizing, bumbling jackass, no person who can be trusted to manage an impeachment.

    nk (dbc370)

  69. 66. DCSCA (797bc0) — 11/4/2019 @ 4:28 pm

    We’re all being manipulated by the players in both these major parties

    One side wants to make it Donald Trump masterminding everything and seeking to get Ukraine to make (presumably false) charges against Joe Biden, when if you carefully study the evidence you have Gordon Sondland and others trying to get Trump not to follow through on a misguided impulse not to give any aid at all to Ukraine because they tried to take him down in 2016; and the other side claims Joe Biden boasted of firing a prosecutor who was investigating his son, when that’s not what he said, and Joe Biden almost certainly made up the whole story anyway. (But somebody used what Biden said and out a twist on it, perhaps knowing that Biden couldn’t explain.

    Not enough people are interested in, or capable of maybe, getting at the truth.

    McConnell won’t dump a first term president of his own party either- he wants all the judges he can get.

    The one thing you cold be reasonably sure about would be that a President Mike Pence would nominate more or less the same judges. Are they going to impeach and remove Mike Pence too before he could get a vice president confirmed and make Nancy Pelosi president? Maybe a plea bargain, what?

    Now you could argue that removing Donald Trump and replacing him with Mike Pence both as president and as the nominee would harm the chances of electing a Republican in November 2020, but that depends actually on what kind of a case they make. Either way, the Republican Senate will likely choose the course of action that is most likely to avoid a loss in the presidential election.

    We’re on to both of them: her goal- beat him up for primaries

    during the primaries, you mean.

    and hopefully have the voters do her dirty work and reap the bennies w/bigger majority. His goal: save the GOP Senate.

    The GOP Senate is in very deep trouble because of the math. Republicans actually won a smaller percentage of Senate races than of House races in 2018 because most of the seats that were up for election had Democratic incumbents, 2012 being a presidential election year; 2020 will be the opposite.

    Just censure him and be done with it.

    Maybe that;s all the can do, but impeachment and trial and a possible majority but less than 2/3 vote in the Senate to remove amounts to a super-censure.

    Regardless- he’ll wear both an impeachment win and a censure stain as badges of honor. He’ll [be] re-elected – and take names.

    Well, that probably depends on what Mike Bloomberg does.

    Sammy Finkelman (2f3e32)

  70. Shouldn’t Roberts rewrite Trumps appeal as a tax and then say “elections have consequences” again

    steveg (354706)

  71. James K. Polk, 1844
    Woodrow Wilson, 1916
    Richard M. Nixon, a New Yorker by then not a Californian, 1968
    Donald J. Trump, 2016

    nk (dbc370) — 11/4/2019 @ 2:15 pm

    Amazing list. All contenders for the worst president we’ve ever had. It’s as though their home states knew something we didn’t, but I rather think with partisanship considered, this list is really a sign of weak men who take the easy path of winning from a party that’s a minority (and weak) where they hail from.

    Dustin (4eba71)

  72. Dustin, that’s an interesting take on Polk. Why do you think he’s one of the worst?

    Kishnevi (49889c)

  73. I was first blown away by Williamson’s writing ability when I read this bit from him back in 2012:

    There is a weird contrast at the heart of American attitudes toward Mormons: Their doctrines may sound exotic to mainstream Christians — whose idea of sensible and respectable orthodoxy is engaging in weekly sessions of symbolic or mystically literal cannibalism in honor of a Jewish god-man who ran afoul of the Roman criminal-justice system after a dinner party went south 20 centuries ago — but, personal planets or no, Mormons themselves are practically the yardstick of normalcy. Every religion gets a stereotype, and the Mormon stereotype is: nice, clean-cut, well-mannered, earnest, sober.

    norcal (eec1aa)

  74. @68. He projects the resolve of a creampuff left out in a thunderstorm.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  75. Polk was a protege of Andrew Jackson, who won the nomination because Robert J. Walker changed the rules of the Democratic Convention by having it adopt the “Rules of 1832″ which required a 2.3 majority to nominate. This took the nomination away from Martin van Buren who had come to Baltimore with a majority of the delegates. (By the way, having the decision made at the convention, which the Republican Party also later adopted, and which lasted till about 1952, cut short presidential campaigns)

    Polk was a “dark horse.”

    The convention tried to name Silas Wright of New York as vice president, but, the telegraph having been set up for the first time that day (Samuel F B Morse was transmitting newspaper reports between Baltimore and Washington) he sent a message to the convention in Baltimore declining it, and sent men on horses to back it up, and they were forced to choose someone else.

    That was George Mifflin Dallas, who was related by marriage to Robert J. Walker.

    Polk was responsible for the Mexican War, and maybe, ultimately, the Civil War, although other things had to happen for that to occur. He died of cholera shortly after leaving office. He was also the first of the deliberate one term presidents. It became a point of rectitude that a president should sere on;y one term, and that lasted through 1860. (Hayes maybe also honored this)

    Sammy Finkelman (2f3e32)

  76. @69. Sammy, Nancy was handed the Mueller Report six months ago w/enough on Trump to initiate proceedings then. But no. You think she wants a ‘President Pence’?? Of course not. She stalled and dragged this out as long as she could before dropping the nickel on him as the election cycle ramps up just to beat him up and hopefully flip more House seats. McConnell tonight said it all as well– “leave no judicial vacancy behind”– and Mitch was all up in Trump’s ‘behind’ tonight. Rand as well. No way McConnell is goin to dump Trump. Lord, Joey Bee gaffed himself agin into a Trump bayonet dummy as well; wasn’t sure if he was in Iowa or Ohio yesterday.

    Our Captain is not gonna get yanked from the bridge over a Trump-style phone call. But keep your lifejacket handy all the same.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  77. @11-
    I think it’s clear that an impeachment inquiry……. is the proper Constitutional venue for an investigation of the Executive. ….

    So you agree that Congress has no constitutional authority to conduct oversight of Executive branch activities (hearings, etc.) absent an impeachment inquiry?

    Rip Murdock (59d7bd)

  78. “In four short years he met his every goal…”

    Patterico (115b1f)

  79. Not a lawyer disclaimer, but is it possible that one of Robert’s previous rulings might come back to bite him in the ass on the tax returns case?

    The whole citizenship case and pretext. Yes the grand jury has the right to request the information, they followed all the laws, rules and procedures but there’s something a little “pretextual” about their request.

    And yeah, just like Reid and the nuclear option, Pelosi and the impeach inquiry, there’s a really good chance that this will come back to bite the Democrats in the ass.

    Stacy0311 (3d63e6)

  80. Kishnevi, you could easily make the case he was one of the best presidents. He had some amazing results. But if you consider what was happening with slavery, and fights against it, in many of the territories he gained, and of course that issue dividing his own party during his presidency, it’s no surprise the civil war happened. Civil wars like that don’t happen. They are made to happen.

    Makes you wonder what people will say a century from now about what we know is happening today.

    Dustin (d42b09)

  81. Mutt (or is it Jeff) wants to talk….

    Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is willing to comply with House impeachment inquiry, his attorney says

    An attorney for Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani who was charged last month with campaign finance violations, said Monday that his client is willing to comply with the House impeachment inquiry — and challenged the notion that President Trump does not know Parnas.
    …….
    “Any sentient being looking at the public record of the president and Parnas together — during intimate dinners, waving to each other at rallies, taking pictures together, and of Parnas’s alleged involvement with the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani — could divine that the president and Parnas knew each other,” he said.

    Bondy said that it would “defy all reason” to conclude the two did not know one another. “If the president really did not know Mr. Parnas, it would imply a degree of ignorance that we are not prepared to attribute to him,” he said.
    ……
    Photographs posted by the two men to social media also show that they interacted with Trump repeatedly since Parnas first gave a $50,000 donation to his campaign in October 2016. In May 2018, the pro-Trump super PAC America First reported receiving a $325,000 donation from an energy company the duo had recently formed.
    On Monday, America First confirmed that Parnas and Fruman were part of a small dinner on April 30, 2018, that was organized by the group and attended by Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. White House pool reports show Trump was at the dinner for nearly 90 minutes. …..

    Rip Murdock (59d7bd)

  82. Secret FBI data base will set Flynn free.

    mg (8cbc69)

  83. You never trumpers better help out your candidate, Lieawatha.
    https://pjmedia.com/trending/elizabeth-warrens-meme-team-flops-spectacularly-on-launch-day/

    mg (8cbc69)

  84. Williamson’s writing skills are impressive, yes. But like all parodists and satirists, their style is less persuasive and more like preaching to the choir. I quickly grew tired of him. Give me someone who who earnestly listens, understands, and will accurately describe an opposing view, then argue in favor of his own. We are no longer children; let us put away the ways of children.

    felipe (023cc9)

  85. And here you thought Nixon proved that “no one is above the law”.

    Both Trump and his “Justice” Department are arguing that not only is the President immune from prosecution but investigation as well. Then, after eight years of mafia-style abuses (or more, I suppose) he or his VP can forever pardon the actions. And release of those promised tax returns? Forget that too.

    Exactly. Exactly the type of person that should never hold that particular office.

    noel (f22371)

  86. Then, Trump is trying to turn the country against a free press and obstructing the Constitutional powers of Congress to be a check on his power.

    What next? Of course, the final defiance of an outlaw President will be ignoring the decisions of the courts. And all the Republican Senators said – Amen!

    noel (f22371)

  87. If you think that is the worst, you’d still be wrong. If he loses the election, he will do whatever it takes to convince his supporters that it was “stolen”. Could he even refuse to leave office? If it’s close, I think you know the answer.

    noel (f22371)

  88. I read the dam’ thing, the linked article, five times and couldn’t make heads or tails of it. He starts off with “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (that’s Leviticus 19:33), to end up with governmental leaders having no business being moral leaders unless they can make the trains run on time,and in-between we find that he likes David French even though American liberalism cannot really exist in a democracy which has both James G. Blaine and Catholics in it.

    I would have gone with: A black man, an Armenian, and two Irishman walk in to a bar, and the bartender says: “Where’s the Iranian?” And the Armenian says “We don’t need him. One man’s Mede is another man’s Persian.” And the bartender asks, “Are you shah?” And the Armenian says, “Sultanly!”

    nk (dbc370)

  89. I think most East Indians go with the flow dependending on where they reside, how much “juice” (favorable treatment of businesses, regulation or lack thereof) they get from the local government and the scent they pickup (in the benign sense) from whom they are talking to.

    And this is not true of most ethnic groups, up to an including your typical home-grown American? Aside from being marginally racist, perhaps you should get to know a better class of Indian people.

    PTw (894877)

  90. “I predict the ruling will be upheld by the Supreme Court, by a lopsided if not unanimous vote (8-1?)” Patterico

    I think that the Court will refuse to hear it but if it does, I think Trump’s appointees know what’s coming if they vote against him.

    Tweet, tweet.

    noel (f22371)

  91. Shorter version…maybe they are just telling you what they think you want to hear, PTw.

    urbanleftbehind (06b09b)

  92. Shorter version…maybe they are just telling you what they think you want to hear, PTw.M

    And aside from the world you’ve built in your own mind regarding me and people I’ve worked with on and off for 5, 10, 15 years whom you cannot possibly know, what evidence, besides of course your own prejudices, do you have for this?

    PTw (894877)

  93. You might also wish to consider, PTw and urbanleftbehind, how many East Indians are here on an investor green card, running small businesses. (It was $500K for depressed areas and $1M for non-depressed areas, but it’s been almost doubled now so the Kushners can squeeze more from their Chinese “investors” and I’m not joking.) They, the East Indians, might feel that they got in line, played by the rules, and paid their dues, and everybody else should too.

    nk (dbc370)

  94. #76 —

    Joey B will gaffe and over share and over handle and borrow his eloquence from others and still win because the idea of Trump is repellent to all those suburban women who have been voting Republican for decades. And there are not enough deplorable who didn’t vote in 2016 to replace them. If Liz W is the candidate, she might just scare people enough to vote Trump, because at least he’s mostly ineffective.

    I fear you are right on how impeachment goes down, and Nancy P’s timing motivation. Until the GOP loses an loses and loses with Trump, they won’t stop being the good little Trumpkins because there is a whole toxic culture of Fox and Talk Radio and primary challenges that ensures that opposing Trump means unwanted family time after the primary.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  95. Gotta replace Schiff, this is when you need someone from the Seth Molton or Tim Ryan mold to step in.

    urbanleftbehind (06b09b)

  96. They, the East Indians, might feel that they got in line, played by the rules, and paid their dues, and everybody else should too.

    Precisely my point. Well that and then, as I said above, they don’t want the s from the ‘holes following them here. They came here, to the good ole U S of A, specifically for a reason. Well, some of them anyway. No demographic lacks its scallywags, rapscallion, and worse. Italians, Irish, Germans, Jews, Canadians, what have you. Those who came from far away (well aside from the Canadians floating across Lake Erie on empty beer kegs), more often than not did so with a purpose of coming to a country that they admired. For many of these people, there were/are much easier countries, somewhat similar to ours, to emigrate to.

    PTw (894877)

  97. What I would like to hear during a SC oral argument:

    Roberts: What do you say to the President’s claim that this is a fishing expedition and that these returns will leak the day you get them?

    NY DA: Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Roberts: OK, but if the do leak, don’t expect to show up here again.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  98. If he paid her off with business funds, and the business accounted for it as a business expense

    Not one person has claimed that. Probable cause does not include “maybe”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  99. Dustin,

    Polk is generally regarded as very good, but not great. Something like #10. His addition of the Mexican Cession to the USA strained the earlier compromises regarding slave states, but the cause of the civil war was 1) slavery itself, 2) the industrial revolution, and 3) the utter incompetence of every other US President between Van Buren and Lincoln — an amazing parade of losers who round out the 40’s in the list of best presidents. Nixon scores higher. In time, Trump will too.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  100. I know, Kevin. But many will always note that Polk set the nation up for the very worst thing that happened to it. Nixon was a terrible president too, but many of the reasons aren’t well understood because of his amazing corruption. Trump, similarly, will be hated for his corruption, not his impulsive and clumsy leadership.

    History is written by the winners, after all.

    Dustin (d42b09)

  101. To be clear, I have no more problem with Polk than I do the guys in the Alamo, but it’s an interesting list. Anyone optimistic about Nixon and Trump’s reputation is at least offering insights. I can’t understand why Trump was nominated in the first place when the GOP had great answers to big government.

    Dustin (d42b09)

  102. Polk didn’t set us up for anything (save perhaps the current immigration issues). The civil war was coming regardless and his was the only administration that had a fracking clue what it was there for. IF you want to blame any single president, blame Buchanan who jawboned several Supreme Court justices into supporting the Southern take on Dredd Scott, arguing that the case would settle the slavery questions once and for all.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  103. Trump was nominated because both parties had neglected, if not acted against, a large segment of voters for some time, and Trump championed their issues.

    These folks (tradesmen, manufacturing workers, back-office workers, etc) who had seen their prospects disappear to Asia (GOP neglect), or been replaced by cut-rate illegal immigrants (Democrat neglect), finally had someone who spoke to their pain. And so they rose up and showed up.

    Talk to an Anglo non-union carpenter about Trump. If you can find one.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  104. #80 – Polk is one of our greatest President’s. He won the Mexican war and got us California, Texas, Arz, and NM. He also settled the land dispute with England and got us Washington State. Funny, how the one President who actually fought a war with some benefit to the average American is sneered at by the Globalist elite.

    And annexing Texas didn’t cause the Civil war. Jeff Davis caused the Civil war, and all the other Southern Pols who took their states out of the Union and supported firing on Fort Sumter. One could also blame Buchanan who stacked his cabinet with Southern Traitors, who transferred cannons and arms to federal bases in the southern states, where they were “conveniently” available for the Confederacy in 1861.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  105. Every religion gets a stereotype, and the Mormon stereotype is: nice, clean-cut, well-mannered, earnest, sober.

    And the most Famous Mormon today – Mittens, is changing that stereotype.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  106. #27 Nixon was really an East Coast Guy at heart. he wanted to go to Harvard but couldn’t due to a family illness. He only went to Duke Law School because he couldn’t afford an ivy league law degree. And he wanted to get a NYC wall street law position but got turned down. He only went to college in Whittier and opened a law practice there because he had to. In 1941, he got a chance to go to DC and work for Wages and Prices board and took it. From 1947 to 1960 he spent almost all his time in DC. He came back to California to run for Governor, but lost partly because every knew he was just going to use the Governorship for another POTUS run. After 1962, he moved full time to NYC, and came back when to SoCal during his “exile years” and returned to NJ/NY as soon as he could.

    Nixon came from California. He was never really a west coat guy. Unlike Reagan, who went there in the Mid-30s and always considered it home.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  107. 98. Well, what District Attorney Cyrus Vance is talking about is “falsifying business records.” I think that actually has to do with reimbursing the National Enquirer for what they paid Karen McDougal. I think Michael Cohen was reimbursed for what he paid Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels with Donald Trump’s persona; funds. Is the DA looking into whether what was deducted as a business expesee?

    Sammy Finkelman (2f3e32)

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