I stumbled across this piece of election recap over at The American Spectator, an article by Scott McKay, who I’ve read and discussed before. I thought it worth a mention. Excerpts, with my comments, follow:
This should have been a massive wave election. Given the low job approval ratings of the sitting president in his first midterm election, and given the favorable generic congressional ballot numbers, this should have been a plus-five wave in the Senate and a plus-30 wave, or bigger, in the House. It also should have resounded down to statehouses, and yet the GOP turns out, apparently, not to have been able to beat abysmal Democrat gubernatorial candidates like Katie Hobbs, Kathy Hochul, and Gretchen Whitmer.
There are so many utterly horrid Democrats who will remain in office after this election that it should be offensive to average Americans. It’s tempting to fall into the trap of believing there must be wholesale corruption in American elections, but the problem with going there is that there must be proof before it’s actionable.
And the axiom about the cycle that involves weak men and tough times is a real thing, and we are in the worst quadrant of that cycle.
I might point out that I’ve been saying that last bit for a few years now. The cycle referred to is this one:
- Hard times make tough people.
- Tough people make good times.
- Good times make weak people.
- Weak people make hard times.
And, yes, we’re on the last phase of that. It’s interesting, because we only have to go back to my parents’ generation to find the second; the children of the Great Depression, who lived through WW2 and turned the U.S. into a global powerhouse. Their children, the Boomers – my generation – frankly gave rise to the third phase. (I proudly exempt my own kids from that. They are all tough, productive and proficient.)
But gas prices will skyrocket thanks to the Biden administration’s running out of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The true shortage of both crude oil and refined petroleum products will soon become unmistakable.
And it’s going to be a cold winter in America, and a rough time coming.
You only think it’s rough now. You have no idea how bad things can get. When the diesel fuel runs out and the trucks don’t move, and the shelves go empty, and the layoffs come, perhaps you’ll think of 2022 as the good times.
But will they vote accordingly? Color me skeptical.
The trouble is that the Republicans are also performing manifestly awfully, and if the voters were only willing to deliver a mild rebuke, at best, of the Democrats, they do appear willing to deliver one to the Republicans as well.
The voters took a look at the Republican Party and they don’t prefer Mitch McConnell to Chuck Schumer — or, if they do, not by a lot. They don’t prefer Kevin McCarthy to Nancy Pelosi — or, if they do, not by a lot.
And they didn’t see much of anything out of the GOP that they thought was worth voting for, even if they thought the Democrats were no better.
Of course. Again, as I’ve been saying for years, when one party is Thelma-and-Louiseing us off a fiscal cliff just a little slower than the other, what choice? The destination is the same either way. But Mr. McKay holds out for a bright spot:
Objectively, it’s clear that DeSantis is the future of the GOP. The talk about Lake as potentially overshadowing him can now be put to bed.
What we’ll have to discover is whether, rather than the future of the party, DeSantis must become its present. Because what he’s done in Florida in turning it definitively from purple to red in just four years is the single most impressive thing in Republican politics.
Frankly, it might be just about the only impressive thing in Republican politics now.
Republicans should study DeSantis and emulate him. He’s the standard. And as America turns bleak over the next two years, he might be the only inspiration the party has left.
Here’s where I’m skeptical. Sure, there are bad times coming, and yes, if there is any sanity left in the country, the Dems will be held to blame for it. But the rock upon which I founder in this assessment is the statement “…if there is any sanity left in the country.” I’m having a hard time convincing myself that the electorate in general are much smarter than sheep.
But I might be wrong. There’s an story about a young man buying a mule from an old man, who assured the buyer that the mule was “…the most biddable creature ever birthed. Just tell him what you want him to do and he’ll do it.” So the young man pays for the mule, takes hold of the headstall and says, “OK, come with me.” The mule doesn’t budge. “Come on,” the buyer says, pulling harder. “You’re coming with me.” The mule ignores him. Then the old man says, “Oh, wait.” He picks up a nearby two-by-four and shatters it across the mule’s skull. The mule looks up and starts to follow the buyer. The old man calls after them as they leave, “He’ll do anything you want, but first you have to get his attention.”
Denver’s own Mike Rosen was, for many years (including most of the thirty or so years I lived in the Denver area) the 800-pound gorilla of talk radio in the Mile High City. I always enjoyed his show, and in fact was an in-studio guest for two hours in 2001, after Misplaced Compassion hit the market. He’s a brilliant guy, engaging and fun to talk to, and while he’s semi-retired now he still turns to the keyboard and says what he thinks about things. Here he explains to us how crime really does seem to pay these days. Excerpt:
The Rite Aid pharmacy chain has announced that theft in their New York City stores has cost the company $5 million, just in the last quarter. They’re now considering putting literally everything behind glass showcases and are even hiring off-duty police officers for security in some of their stores. The NYPD reports that petty theft has increased 42% in the city this year while robbery is up 37% and burglary up 32%.
In other big cities governed by Democrats, crime rates are soaring thanks to progressive district attorneys, some whose election campaigns were funded by radical left-wing, America-hating billionaire George Soros. These DA’s allow criminals charged with violent crimes awaiting trial to be released without bail on their own recognizance with the effect that too many continue to commit other crimes. One such DA, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, was actually removed from office after a recall election in June. This, in one of the most liberal cities in the country. We need a lot more of that, as well as not electing such people in the first place.
A recent report from Colorado’s Common Sense Institute finds metro Denver to be among the nation’s worst venues for soaring crime rates. Colorado ranks 1st in motor vehicle theft in the country, with multiple cases of car thieves using those stolen vehicles to commit other crimes, and then stealing yet another car to commit more crimes. All this while they’re released on bail — or without!
Denver (and Colorado) have sure changed since I moved to that area in 1989. Back then Colorado was still South Wyoming in most places, although Boulder was already Hippie Heaven and Denver was showing the first signs of descent into lunacy. But it’s only gotten worse; I loved Colorado for many reasons but boy, howdy, did we ever pick a good time to leave.
Mr. Rosen continues:
A basic principle of economics and human nature is that what you punish you get less of, and what you reward you get more of. Yes, some first-time criminals can be rehabilitated and programs devoted to that can be useful. But the problem is with repeat offenders, amoral, sociopathic criminals. Crime is their business. It’s what they do for a living. Think of Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster. Criminal-coddling policies of unrealistic, progressive social justice warriors in government include early releases from prison, reduced sentences, decriminalizing serious offenses, downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, and eliminating bail. This has made crime pay for criminals who feed on law-abiding citizens, while progressives make the thin blue line ever thinner.
In other words: Incentives matter.
Government really only has two legitimate functions: To prevent other people from harming me or taking my stuff. Or, at least, to provide redress in the event someone does harm me or take my stuff – and that government should stay off my back if someone tries to harm me or take my stuff and I defend myself with force.
Government in the cities mentioned by Mr. Rosen here, as well as in most major American cities, have failed in all three of those areas. They handle criminals with kid gloves; they provide little in the way of redress to the citizenry when appealed with the clean away at least the worst repeat offenders, and heaven help you if you exercise your right to self-defense.
So, assuming the trend continues in our major cities, one can only wonder what comes next when the municipal governments, who have primary police and prosecutory powers, continue to fail in what is one of their few legitimate duties. At best, the citizenry takes matters into their own hands. At worst, the thugs rule the streets. It’s hard to see any middle ground here.
Take a look at the signs waved by some of the protestors, rioters and arsonists plaguing our major cities today. Take a look at some of their positions – anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-freedom.
Now take a look at the protestors themselves. Ask yourself how many of them actually do any productive work.
These people toil not, neither do they spin. They are, by and large, parasites on the productive members of society that they demonize at every turn. But there’s something they are missing, a key point that we, the productive, understand, that they do not. And I say this to those parasites:
You need us. We don’t need you.
To you folks out there in the audience today, I say this: We – you and I – not they, are the people who make this economy run. We grow the food these parasites eat. We make the clothing they wear. We make the cell phones and tablets they use to plan their riots. We write the code for the social networking sites on which they plan their riots. And I say this to those parasites:
You need us. We don’t need you.
You look down your noses at the people who feed you.
People like my father, who raised Black Angus cattle, corn, and soybeans for much of his life. The people who sell the seed and take the steers off to the packing plant. The people who make fertilizer, who build the farm machinery in factories like the huge John Deere plant in Waterloo, Iowa. You look down on the truckers who haul supplies to the farms and ranches and food to the distributors and stores.
You look down your noses at the people who transport you.
People like the thousands who work in the plants of Ford, GM, Chrysler, and the other various manufacturers all around the country. The people who refine the gasoline and Diesel fuel that move the vehicles, the people who fix your car when it breaks down, the driver of the wrecker who comes out to help you because you lack the skills to do something as elementary as changing a tire – a skill I learned at about ten years of age.
And to that I say to you: You need us. We don’t need you.
You look down your noses at the people who clothe you.
Thousands more grow cotton, raise sheep, to make the cloth. Workers all over the world make your “stylish” tattered blue jeans, maybe even some of those really expensive ones with fake ground-in dirt on them to make it look as though you’ve actually done a day’s work at some point in your lives. Thousands more package the clothing, deliver it to stores, where retail clerks deal endlessly with difficult customers at little pay to provide you with the clothes you wear while lecturing the rest of us.
And to that I say to you: You need us. We don’t need you.
You look down your noses at the people who keep you warm.
I’m talking about the thousands that work on the Alaskan oil fields, in the shale formations in the Dakotas, and on drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The people who build the pipelines, who move heavy equipment from site to site, who work in the refineries and who move heating oil and natural gas from those refineries to its final point of use – not to mention the scientists and engineers who design and build the equipment and discover new sources of valuable fuels. You not only look down on these people but demonize them for their contributions to some nebulously defined ‘climate change,’ even as the United States is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions not because of climate worries but because of cleaner fuels and vastly increased efficiencies, brought to you by those workers, scientists and engineers.
And to that I say to you: You need us. We don’t need you.
You look down your noses at the people who make it possible for you to communicate.
From Silicon Valley to your local cell phone store, an entire industry is devoted to our modern, highly connected lifestyle. People all around the world build the cellular phones you use and write the software that runs them. Thousands more maintain the phone towers, the internet hubs, the connections, the wires, fiberoptic cables and wireless networks that transmit the data. Their efforts make it possible to make your plans to riot and loot, to attack the very businesses, stores, and restaurants these productive people count on in their own productive lives.
And the irony of you decrying capitalism while using this technology, unprecedented in human history, that could only be the product of a free market, capitalist system, is beyond description.
And to that I say to you: You need us. We don’t need you.
I’m going to presume for a moment that the parasite-protestor class, those with the Gender Studies degrees and trust funds, is actually capable of active thought. To them, I say this: I want all of you parasites to think, long and hard, about the implications of that statement:
You need us.
I’ve put this up every recent election year, so here it is again. In fact, on these last two Fridays before the mid-terms, I’ll present this, my calm, reasoned speech first, then next Friday (Nov 4th) I’ll give you my shouted, gesticulating barn burner. This week’s topic: What kind of a campaign speech would I give if I, your humble servant, were running for President? It might go something like this:
Ladies and Gentlemen – friends – Americans – citizens.
I stand before you on this two hundred and thirty-first year of our Republic. I stand before you to announce my intention to seek the Presidency of our Republic. Most important of all, I stand before you to tell you why I intend to seek this thankless, stressful job, and what I intend to do with it.
I’d like to take this time to tell you the undying principles upon which I will base my policies, and upon which I will base legislation that I will propose to Congress:
Liberty means you are free to do as you please, so long as you cause no harm, physical or financial, to anyone else. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If it neither picks my pocket nor break my arm, it’s not my concern.” This is a coin with two sides: Nobody gets to tell you what to do, but neither do you get to tell anyone else what to do. Marry who you like. Work where and how you like. Start businesses and create new products and services as you like. It’s nobody else’s business – and it sure as hell isn’t the government’s business – until you hurt someone else. We currently live in a nation where you are required to obtain permission from a government bureaucrat to cut hair, to paint fingernails, to sell lemonade. I call bullshit. This must stop.
That means the following: The fruits of your labors are yours. They do not belong to some government bureaucrat, nor to some shouting agitator, nor to some ivory tower academic. They are yours. Government, to be effective at the few things they are required – absolutely required – to do, must tax you for some small amount of the fruits of your labors, but that taxation must be strictly limited, strictly fair, simply defined, and some must be collected from every single citizen. Everybody contributes. Nobody skates. There are too many in the nation who have no skin in the game, and our elections have become auctions, with candidates falling over each other promising voters more of other peoples’ property. I call bullshit. This must stop.
Government, at all levels, serves you. You do not serve the government. I stand here today not as someone seeking to be your master, but as someone applying for a job – and you will be my employers. I am applying for the job of CEO of the world’s largest Republic, and you, the citizens of the Republic, are the world’s largest Board of Directors. I answer to you, not the other way around. Every single government employee, from the President to the third assistant dogcatcher in Leaf Springs, Arkansas, answers to you. And so as one of my first acts in office I will personally visit every office, every facility, and every installation that falls under the control of the Executive Branch. I will personally speak with the Federal employees at those offices, facilities and installations. Any employee that cannot satisfactorily answer two questions: “What is your purpose? What are you doing right now?” will be fired on the spot. Any Executive Branch employee at any level who breaks the law, any law, will be fired and prosecuted. Government employees have, for too long, been held to different standards than the electorate. I call bullshit. This must stop.
The Federal government has become a bloated Colossus. Washington is littered with extra-constitutional agencies, the purpose of which is to regulate, to dictate, to interfere with the free citizenry. There is no constitutional justification for many of them, and many of them actually work at cross purposes. The result is that every single business enterprise in the nation has to have an army of accountants and attorneys to help them navigate the twisted pathways of regulation and taxation; that every citizen has to puzzle through pages upon pages of Federal guidance in so prosaic an action as filing their annual tax return. The Federal government has only a few, a very few, legitimate roles: To protect private property, to ensure liberty, to protect the citizens from foreign interference. That’s all. But not today; no, not today. The Federal government has indeed become a bloated Colossus, but I intend to cut it down to size. As one of my first acts in office I will call upon Congress to eliminate the Federal Departments of Commerce, of Energy, of Education, and any others that I deem to be extra-constitutional and that add no value to the proper roles of government. And believe you me, this is only the beginning. Our government is too big. I call bullshit. This must stop.
Let me be very clear on my intent. I intend to reduce the Federal government to a minimum. I’m not talking about trimming around the edges. I’m sure as hell not talking about “reductions in the rate of increase.” I’m talking about swinging a meat axe, and I am serious as hell about it. All the extra-constitutional agencies set up by previous administrations will be gone. Not reduced, not repurposed – gone. Education? Gone. Energy? Gone. Commerce? Gone. Health and Human Services? Gone. Labor? Gone. Housing and Urban Development? Gone. Environmental Protection? Gone. Homeland Security? Gone.
There are three cabinet-level agencies that the Federal government is justified in retaining: Defense, Treasury, and State. The rest can go. Veteran’s Affairs can be rolled into Defense. As for Federal law enforcement, we already have an agency for that: The U.S. Marshals. The borders? Roll the Border Patrol into the Marshals. One headquarters, several missions, but that’s doable.
I intend to take the Federal government back to the level it was in 1850. In that year, the Federal government’s expenditures were about 3% of GDP. Now we are 23 trillion in debt, and Federal spending is 20% of GDP. I call bullshit. This must stop.
That will be the genesis of my campaign slogan: THREE PERCENT!
So, if you value liberty and property, and want accountability and efficiency in your public servants, vote for me. If you want Free Shit, vote for someone else. That’s all.
In all honesty, even if I wanted an elected office, I’m effectively unelectable in any case (think the country would elect an atheist minarchist libertarian President? Not hardly!) But I’d love the opportunity to give this speech in a big enough venue to make media talking heads explode and proggie commentators start running around like their hair is on fire.
Over at the New English Review recently, scribe Roger L. Simon explored the possibility of Tulsi Gabbard becoming President Trump’s 2024 running mate. As will surprise none of you, I have some thoughts, which begin with “not only no, but hell no!” Excerpt:
At the least, the choice of Gabbard would make a striking comparison on many levels to Kamala Harris, though it’s highly unlikely our current vice president will be anywhere near the 2024 Democratic presidential ballot.
That party tries to keep her out of sight as much as possible now, but even when they send her as far as the border of North and South Korea, she seems to have trouble remembering which is our ally. A second vice presidency isn’t in the cards.
Notwithstanding Harris, however, the case for Gabbard isn’t frivolous. Her video statement on formally leaving the Democratic Party is as eloquent and well-taken as any potential Republican vice presidential candidate I can think of:
“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party. It’s now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoking anti-white racism, who actively worked to undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, and who are hostile to people of faith and spirituality, who demonize the police who protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans who believe in open borders, who weaponize the national security state to go after their political opponents, and above all, are dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.”
Tulsi isn’t wrong in any of that quote; she accurately sums up what has become of the Democrat Party. It’s become a party that Harry Truman wouldn’t recognize. Indeed, Truman would be considered a far-right reactionary by today’s Democrats. But Mr. Simon, much as I like and respect him, only hints at one of the major problems with this idea:
I write this well aware that I may not agree with Tulsi on everything. (I don’t even agree with myself on everything.) I write it in a desire to move things forward in the worst of times.
I’m also well aware there are several other worthy potential Republican vice-presidential candidates, notably Gov. Ron DeSantis, who certainly deserves to be president someday. He would be a great one. He’s done a superb job in Florida and has continued to do so with Ian, miraculously restoring electricity to the state within days.
In 2024, assuming Trump runs again, he would be well-advised to make Ron DeSantis the heir apparent. In fact, I’d bet serious folding money that Governor DeSantis will one day occupy the Imperial Mansion, and when he does, he will likely be the most consequential President since Ronald Reagan. But even if the Governor declines, Trump should not pick Tulsi Gabbard.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire the principled stand Tulsi Gabbard has taken on leaving a political party that has gone insane. She is leaning into taking the red pill to some small extent; a recent video shows her shooting an AR-pattern carbine, among other weapons. From what I read, she is personable as well. Sensible people like her, even those who disagree with her on policy positions. Were I to have the chance to speak with her, I expect it would be a polite exchange of ideas without rancor. Like me, she’s a veteran with combat-zone tours under her belt.
But she shouldn’t be the VP candidate for a GOP President.
Her positions on gun control have been (hah) a moving target, but she is generally in favor of bans or at least restrictions on “assault weapons,” she is in favor or higher marginal tax rates, her economic stances in general are well to the left of center.
Ms. Gabbard’s leaving the ever-more-loony Democrats shouldn’t lead one to believe that she’s switching sides. I don’t think she is. I think she’s stayed the same, a reliable liberal as the term was defined in the Nineties and early Oughts. As she stated herself, the party left her, not the other way around. She’s not a conservative or a libertarian, and she likely isn’t and won’t be moving in that direction.
Should Donald Trump run again in 2024 – and I’m guessing he will – the last thing he should do is embrace a liberal to the Presidential bosom. And, to be fair, I doubt Tulsi would be interested in the gig in any case.