[guest post by JVW]
Earlier this month Dana got the ball rolling on the extended Weekend Open Thread post, so now that a four-day weekend is standard ’round these parts (Patterico’s Pontifications is becoming the Holland among political blogs, thanks in large measure to me) I’ll get the weekend started and look forward to recommencing with everyone on Tuesday (or Wednesday, maybe Thursday).
Item Un – Who Is Winning the Debt Ceiling Debate?
If you read conservative media, and even if you take the look at the snivley bleating of some lefty academics, it is emphatically the GOP. Not only did the somewhat surprising passage of a House bill increasing the debt limit in return for spending rescissions and caps catch the Democrats and media (excuse the redundancy) off-guard, but it highlighted the fact that the Biden Administration and Democrat Congressional leadership hadn’t even bothered to come up with a back-up plan. After weeks of insisting they would accept nothing but a clean bill raising the debt ceiling with no conditions and assuming that their media allies would help sell the narrative of recalcitrant Republicans dragging the nation to the brink of fiscal ruin, Dems are hit smack in the face with separate polls from both CNN and Fox suggesting that three in five voters agree that spending cuts ought to be part of any increase in the debt limit. Even Democrats are close to an even split on the question. This is a reversal from the Obama years when polling around debt ceiling negotiations consistently showed the public siding with the Obama Administration and Democrats over Congressional Republicans.
What accounts for the switch in perception this time around? One clear factor has to be that Barack Obama was eloquent and glib and could at least explain his position in a consistent and plausible (if demagogic) way, whereas Joe Biden is grouchy and oafish, continually stumbling for words and derailing his own train of thought. But writing at NRO, Noah Rothman sees another huge factor at work: Americans’ ongoing struggles with inflation. Unfortunately for the progressives, nearly two-and-one-half years into the Biden Administration a majority of Americans — and ominously for the Democrats a sizable majority of independent voters — refuse to believe that this inflation was caused solely by pandemic and supply-chain based problems the administration inherited in 2021. They now see the reckless spending of the Democrats over the past two years as being a contributor to the problem, perhaps even a major one. It will be a long hard slog to June 1, but likely a bit longer for the Biden/Schumer/Jeffries troika than it will be for the two Republican Micks staring across the table at them. (If I understand things, I get to use that slur for the sake of irony since I’m Irish. At least this is what Dave Chappelle and George Lopez have told me.)
Item Doi – Gavin Newsom Prepares for a National Run
Joel Kotkin explains how the gelatinous governor is positioning himself to a party obsessed with environmental doomsdayism and the grievances of racial and sexual minorities, yet still a bit worried about killing the goose which lays the golden eggs:
Many conservatives may see Gavin Newsom as the epitome of the progressive Left, with some even calling his policies “communist.” But the policy preferences of the California governor (whose presidential ambitions are evident) represent something more plausible and thus more dangerous: a blending of Peronist income redistribution coupled with the fanatically “green” authoritarian agenda embraced by the state’s dominant tech oligarchy, public-employee unions, and climate activists.
[. . .]
Newsom goes beyond Perón by adding race-based welfarism to his agenda. He has embraced reparations proposals (though he is apparently not yet willing to fund them) that could cost upwards of $640 billion, even though California was never a slave state. Newsom, born with the curse of “white privilege,” has been a firm backer of racial quotas, and he has already pledged to replace Senator Dianne Feinstein with a black woman, even though blacks make up barely 5 percent of the state’s population.
The whole piece provides an interesting insight into what cheerleaders have hailed as “California Capitalism,” but which otherwise is simply progressive oligarchy with the hopes that nobody notices the growing chasm between the very wealthy and the working poor, while the growing numbers of the desperately destitute have the good sense to keep hidden out of sight lest they spoil the beach party.
Item char ( तीन ) – One Washed-Up Elderly Politician Comes to the Defense of Another
The once inevitable next President of the United States, Hillary! Rodham Clinton, while being interviewed by Charlotte Alter of Time, gave a rousing — no, a robust — well, perhaps mundane — ok, maybe a somewhat feeble defense for her old friend Dianne Feinstein, who is under increasing pressure to stop cosplaying as a United States Senator, and gave a impassioned — no, half-assed defense of elderly politicians in general:
“Let me say a word about my friend and longtime colleague Dianne Feinstein,” [Her Clintonic Majesty] continued. “First of all, she has suffered greatly from the bout of shingles and encephalitis that she endured. Here is the dilemma for her: she got reelected, the people of California voted for her again, not very long ago. That was the voters’ decision to vote for her, and she has been a remarkable and very effective leader.”
I actually find myself agreeing with Her Frumpiness about Sen. Feinstein being duly reelected at the age of 84 and therefore we Californians deserve the ill representation from her that we happily voted for. Naturally, the First Lady/Senator/Secretary follows this up with a broadside against those mean ol’ Republicans who won’t let Chuck Schumer replace Sen. Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee with a alert Democrat, ignoring the idea that perhaps California voters don’t perhaps prefer to be represented by a non compos mentis Senator to decide weighty legal issues on behalf of our state’s residents. In any case, America’s Cybersecurity Queen then brought the Boomer sense of entitlement to the forefront:
When I asked her again about the broader question of whether Democrats have allowed their leadership to get too old, she pushed back. “I do not believe in broad questions about age,” Clinton, age 75, said, adding that she also didn’t believe in term limits. “If you don’t want to vote for somebody, don’t vote for them. But don’t impose some artificial check on the voters. I don’t buy this whole debate. And frankly, a lot of the people pushing it, I don’t understand what their real agenda is, because part of it is a bank shot against Joe Biden. And I think Joe Biden has done a very good job.”
The fact that Hillary Clinton thinks that Joe Biden has done a very good job tells me that (1) life is pretty good for a retired bureaucrat, cattle-futures trader, and corporate pep-talk giver out in Chappaqua, (2) she thinks that America was overdue for high inflation, incompetent stewardship, and overseas embarrassment, or (3) the only other President she can still remember is Donald Trump. I will always be grateful for the fact that she never became President (why do I find myself with the sudden urge to knock on wood?).
Item ceathair – The — ahem, ahem — “Failure” of Ron DeSantis’s Campaign Launch
A technical glitch which I guess led to a reduced audience size and a change to the format certainly isn’t how anybody would want to launch their Presidential campaign, but the incessant hot takes from the media that this disastrous and glitch-filled event which crashed and burned and might derail his embarrassing campaign which is melting upon contact with reality anyway. Much of this sniping came from the lefty media, naturally, as well as full-throated Trumpists, predictably; but there were also some concerns expressed by those who otherwise would like to see Governor DeSantis as the eventual GOP nominee. So how will we know if the DeSantis campaign, which has now been endorsed by 150 former Trump Administration officials, is truly legit?
Well, the DeSantis campaign raised $8.2 million in the first 24 hours after the announcement. It took Donald Trump six weeks to raise his first $9.5 million
Item kuhlanu – More Bad CNN Polling for the President
As I was drafting these items, a new CNN poll just dropped (how I love using trendy slang favored by the kids; I find it to be on fleek) suggesting that the up again/down again fortunes of Joe Biden are currently on a low cycle. His approval rating has dropped to 35%, the lowest of any President at this point in his first term ever, and now 66% of Americans say that it would be a “setback” or a “disaster” if he were to be reelected. I wonder if a debt ceiling deal with Republicans would boost his fortunes, allowing him to be seen by moderates as a conciliator, or would doom him with progressives as a traitor. Going back to Item Un, it would seem that whoever told President Biden to eschew negotiations with House Republicans did the Chief Executive no favors.
Obviously there is an opening for a competent Republican who can keep the election issues centered around the manifest failures of Joe Biden and not about any perceived mistreatment the candidate or his party has experienced in the past. Perhaps it’s time for Hillary Clinton, who will turn 77 just before Election Day 2024, to update her wardrobe.
Item chhah ( छह ) – Pride Month: Maybe Billion Dollar Corporations Should be Careful about the Company They Keep
As if Bud Light’s disastrous decision to celebrate a very effeminate 26-year-old male actor who carries on in the persona of an exceptionally frivolous 15-year-old girl probably wasn’t fully vetted, two other companies have said:
“Hold my beer!” (no, that’s too trite in this case) “Oh yeah? Watch this!”
I: Target hires a company headed by a satanist to create a line of Pride merchandise. Really thought that one through there, guys. Nothing says “our LGBTQ friends should be a part of the mainstream” quite like associating them directly with the Father of Lies. Many Target stores are choosing not to prominently display the Pride merchandise, which has the LBGTQ lobby up in arms, and Target finds itself in the unenviable position of angering both sides of the debate (sound familiar, Anheuser-Busch?).
II: The Los Angeles Dodgers decide to invite The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of gay and trans men who paint their faces grotesquely and dress in nun’s habits, to be honored on field during next month’s Pride Night. Some Dodgers fans point out that despite pretending to be some sort of organization centered around “community service,” “ministry,” and “outreach,” the sisters’ public facing indicates they are much more about frivolous fashion shows, crazy parties, and utterly predictable political grandstanding. Furthermore, their alleged altruism, such as it is, appears to be limited to tossing a few bucks collected from their events at various en vogue LBGTQ charities, along with providing weblinks to organizations which actually do the hard work of providing a tangible service. Even an unabashedly reverent profile of the group in the Dog Trainer struggles to define what “ministry” they provide beyond chatting up troubled boys and men at their numerous social functions. By that standard, most drunks perched on barstools are performing a ministry, but I digress. In any case, having second thoughts, the Dodgers disinvite the group and issue apologies to their fans. Then having third thoughts, and amid an alleged avalanche of complaints from advocates, the Dodgers re-invite the group to the event and apologize to the LGBTQ community. I don’t know who in Dodgerland gave the club the idea that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were anything other than a politicized group of debauched attention-seekers, but the Dodgers walked themselves right into the trap. Again, a half-hour of research (and not just reading their self-serving press releases) before inviting this group would have served the club’s community relations team very well, but perhaps in these stupid days the team knew exactly who they were dealing with and thought it would be a lot of fun to bring them into the Chavez Ravine spotlight, screw the Catholic fans.
All three instances show what happens when a corporation does not do its due diligence when determining how to navigate the choppy waters and rocky shoals of contemporary political disagreements, and the perils of trusting social media and mindless “influencers” as a valid source for who can appeal to a broad swath of your potential market base. I have very little sympathy for any of those three corporations for being this lazy and stupid.
Item Seven – Remembering Those Who Served, and Those Who Sacrificed
I attended the Armed Forces Day Parade in Torrance last Saturday, the first time I had done so in my 27 years living here. I am very chagrined that it had taken me so long. When I was in middle school playing my baritone horn, I marched along with my bandmates in my hometown’s Armed Forces Day parade, so seeing young musicians failing to keep in marching step brought back some sentimental memories. My friend and I situated ourselves at the start of the parade route, which gave me the opportunity to lustily boo Ted Lieu and to half-heartedly boo Maxine Waters as they drove by in their chauffeured vintage convertibles.
But the most poignant moment of the parade was the passing through of some of our nation’s last surviving World War II veterans, many of whom rode in vintage military vehicles. I thought about my grandfather, who served stateside in the army during the War, and my two great-uncles who saw combat in Europe, one of whom was killed in action over Ploesti, Romania almost 80 years ago. I hope the Los Angeles Daily News will indulge me in publishing below the two pictures I have linked to above (more pictures of the parade including — warning! — of Rep. Lieu can be found here). They and their fallen comrades-in-arms deserve to be held in our hearts this weekend, and I’m not ashamed to report that I choked up as they drove by, knowing that the day will soon come when we will not be able to honor them while they are still living.
Have a peaceful and safe Memorial Day, everyone.