Victor Davis Hanson, December 24, 2020
After Nov. 3, the meaning of some words and concepts abruptly changed. Have you noticed how new realities have replaced old ones?
Media cross-examination of the president is now an out-of-date idea. The time for gotcha questions has come and gone. Why ask a president whether he is a traitor or a crook when you can focus on his favorite flavor of milkshake or compliment him on his socks?
The old pre-election truth was that new vaccines take years to develop. The new postelection truth is that it's no big deal to bring out new vaccines in nine months.
Impeaching a first-term president after his first midterm election -- on a strictly partisan vote, for political reasons other than the Constitution's "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" -- is now a terrible idea.
Worse would be to appoint a special counsel to harass a president on unfounded charges of collusion with China. An even scarier notion would be a conservative dream team of partisan lawyers hounding President Joe Biden -- using a 22-month, $40 million blank check.
It would be unprofessional for university psychologists and physicians from a distance to diagnose, in pop fashion, the mental faculties of a President Biden.
Certainly, there would never be talk about Department of Justice officials contemplating wearing a wire as part of an entrapment scheme to remove a President Biden through the 25th Amendment. That would almost constitute a coup attempt.
Almost as bad would be for the holdover FBI director to start "memorializing" his private conversations with Joe Biden on FBI devices. He might then leak such memos to the press -- just in case he were to be fired for secretly investigating Biden for "Chinese collusion" and then lying about such a probe.
What happened to the Logan Act? Not long ago it was assumed to be a critically needed guardrail. Wouldn't it now ensure that presidential transition team members were not calling foreign leaders while Donald Trump is still president? How has it suddenly become a defunct, ossified relic?
Leaking classified material would be about the worst thing government officials could do. Imagine if a Trump holdover, burrowed into the new Biden administration, released a transcript of Biden's private conversations with the Mexican president or the Australian prime minister.
Such a breach of trust would be almost as bad as a turncoat anti-Biden mole seeking to resist presidential directives. Imagine if this anonymous staffer were given an op-ed in the New York Tines to claim that a cadre of old-time Democrats were shocked by Biden's cognitive decline and resisting his directives.
Is extending security clearances to former high-level officials turned cable-TV pundits still a bad idea? Who would wish to see, for instance, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe issuing warnings each night on Fox News? With a wink-and-nod hat tip to his "confidential sources," Ratcliffe could spin conspiracy theories that Biden is facing bombshell disclosures about his family misadventures with the Chinese.
Is it still important that we keep the tradition of retired high-ranking military officers -- all subject to the requirements of the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- not disparaging the president? Who would want former Pentagon officials, some of them serving on the boards of military contractors, warning us that Biden should be removed because of cognitive challenges? Certainly, generals and admirals should not compare a President Biden's policies to those of Mussolini or the Nazis.
At least "dark money" no longer exists. The old idea of right-wing billionaires pouring money into candidates' political campaigns was supposedly a dangerous practice. It would be far more civic-minded for left-wing billionaires to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of nonpartisan state bureaucracies entrusted with guaranteeing the sanctity of national elections.
And apparently after, not before, an election is the proper time to announce critically important news.
Like the rollout of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine?
Like a $900 billion stimulus package?
Like a revised upward Fannie Mae report on the economy?
Like the ties between a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee and a suspected Chinese spy?
Like a federal investigation of Joe Biden's son and his possible profiteering with rich Chinese elites affiliated with China's government?
To keep track of our brave new American world is easy.
Just consider everything said to be bad by the "Animal Farm" media before Nov. 3 as now good. And remember that everything said to be good two months ago is now actually bad.
Terry Paulson, December 24, 2020
In late September, Congress passed a bill to keep the government funded at current levels through this Friday. Trump has refused to sign the comprehensive funding bill tied to providing new $600 stimulus checks to qualifying Americans. It’s clear that they don’t have much time to resolve their disagreements and pass a law President Trump will support.
Most likely, they will pass another extension, but Trump has already signaled he would rather use a pocket veto and let the next president handle the issue than sign a bill he can’t support. Such a standoff risks a government shutdown if a solution cannot be passed and signed.
President Trump has had three shutdowns in his term as president, the longest being 35 days between December 2018 and January 2019 over the issue of funding for the border wall. That shutdown forced about 800,000 federal government workers to go on furlough without pay. If an extension is not passed to avoid a shutdown, thousands of government workers considered nonessential would again be furloughed or forced to work without pay until the shutdown ends.
Government leaders love to say how they experience our pain for the lockdowns generated in many Democrat controlled states and cities during the COVID Pandemic restrictions. Many Americans have lost jobs; some have lost their businesses. Government workers can talk as though they understand, but they’ve had no cuts in salary or their retirement plans. They have been insulated from the consequences of their own actions.
Our republic was formed to protect individual citizens from government overreach and control, but now, we see a bloated government with protected bureaucrats calling on extending restrictions on citizens. While citizens suffer, the federal government just increases the federal deficit and prints more money. Government workers lose nothing; they continue to be paid at current levels. The incoming administration has the audacity to talk about increasing taxes on the citizens who have been already paying the price for their restrictive controls they’ve had in place since the Spring.
State and local governments do not have the ability to sustain deficit spending; they need the consent of the governed to raise taxes to support more spending. That is why municipal, county and state governments are in a big hurt; they have depleted revenue due to the economic restrictions they have put in place. They are looking to Washington to bail out their largesse, and President Biden and the Democrats promise to do just that.
What does that mean? Democrats will try to make citizens from the responsible states pay for the overspending of the irresponsible states like New York and California. Biden has promised to unify our country when and if he takes office, but such actions will only further divide America. It will infuriate citizens who have fled Democrat-controlled states for such irresponsible spending.
A government shutdown may just be the blessing America needs to let government workers know what losing a job and a paycheck means. If they experienced a shutdown for 8 months, they just might finally “feel our pain” up close and personal.
Currently, government workers have no skin in the game. There is no shared sacrifice. When any shutdown furlough ends, they’re usually paid retroactively for what income they lost. What do our citizens get for having their businesses closed and their jobs lost—$600 or maybe $1,200. Citizens will get crumbs and the promise of higher taxes.
President Trump came to Washington to take on the swamp. It put up more of a fight than expected. In fact, if the results of this election stand, the swamp will have won. The Biden administration has no plan to cut back the size of government. No, his plan is to feed the beast and free it to take control of more of your life.
Could we shut down government for two years until the mid-term elections? Unfortunately, probably not.
I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Lets hope 2021 brings an end to the Corona Virus and brings back a normalcy that we had in 2019. Lets hope that both Democrats and Republicans can come to some kind working relationship that benefits the whole of the country. Now that the wishing is done back to the issues we face. We aren't going to make everyone happy but, with some skill we might salvage a working relationship across the Isle that will lead to a continued roaring economy more jobs and less restrictions on industry that can pay good wages. Some kind of term limits for the Congress and the Senate which could lead to “Draining the Swamp.” A standard way of conducting “Federal Elections” would be a good start. Understand people under our system of Capitalism there will always be a disparity in wages simply because people have different values. There is nothing wrong with this. This system always opens the opportunity for one to be as successful as one wants to be.