Sunday, March 29, 2020

Trumping Wilson

How to deal with federalism during a pandmeic:
Wilson, a Southerner, was an intellectual, president of Princeton; Trump, a New Yorker, became president as a novice politician who said he relied on gold-plated instincts. Wilson wrote a book about constitutional government; Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal.” Wilson believed in deploying federal power, and he was also an avowed internationalist; Trump, who arrived in the presidency with limited ideological mooring, has renewed his call for stronger borders and immigration restrictions.

But Trump has also made clear that he believes states should shoulder responsibility. There is no mistaking his approach with Harry S. Truman’s “the buck stops here” view of accountability.

“Governor Inslee, that’s the state of Washington ... And you know, he’s always complaining,” Trump told Fox host Sean Hannity on Thursday. “And your governor of Michigan, I mean, she’s not stepping up.I don’t know if she knows what’s going on. But all she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn’t get it done. And we send her a lot.”

Wilson used another approach. “He definitely took a national viewpoint that the federal government was supreme to the states,” said Thomas Knock, a Wilson biographer and scholar. “He and Theodore Roosevelt reinvented the presidency that way.”
But were they right?

Stimulated Republicans

Big spending, Republican style:
For the first time in the modern era, Republicans are on record supporting direct cash payments to most American adults — a government-backed measure more likely to be found in socialist countries. While a 2008 stimulus package offered tax rebates to many taxpayers, the 2020 legislation offers all Americans making less than $100,000 grants of up to $1,200 each with an additional $500 for each child. Also in the bill: a massive expansion of unemployment benefits, $500 billion in loans to businesses and local governments, and tens of billions more for the airline industry, hospitals and food assistance.

David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, Washington’s preeminent fiscal conservative watchdog, which Toomey previously led, raised the possibility that the coronavirus package could push this year’s budget deficit to $4 trillion. The largest annual deficit in U.S. history was $1.4 trillion in 2009.

“The spending is just outrageously high,” McIntosh said in an interview. “But on the short-term basis, we’re pleased.”

He opposed the direct payments to Americans but was satisfied that a significant portion of the taxpayer-funded package consists of loans likely to be repaid. He added that Congress rejected what he called the Democrats’ list of unrelated “political goodies.”

“Yes, it’s too much, and we’re worried about overall spending, but we recognize something has to be done,” McIntosh said. “That’s the kind of comment I’m hearing from conservatives who would normally oppose big spending bills.”
In an emergency, all spending is equal?

Reality Track

The Justice Department defends common sense:
"Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports and is fundamentally unfair to female athletes," Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Tuesday. "Sports are an important part of education and character development and provide an arena where individual discipline can result in achievement and recognition. The purpose of all-female athletics is to ensure that women have an equal opportunity to participate, compete and excel in this important part of life."

"Title IX has been a major step forward in the long fight to achieve this equality. As reflected in Title IX, the basis for single-sex athletics, is rooted in the reality of biological differences between the sexes," Barr argued. "Clearly then, eligibility to participate on a single-sex team must be based on objective biological fact. Girls should not be forced, through the dismantling of Title IX, to be sidelined in their own sports."
Why do fake women hate real women?

Joe's Solution

What does Joe know?
Biden has become an afterthought, a non-player, an irrelevant presence in America today. Part of that is he's been prevented from making public appearances because of the pandemic. But more importantly, Biden really has nothing interesting to say about the crisis. He echoes Democratic talking points about Trump's failures, but as far as recommending action, he's been stuck with parroting the president.

The New York Post:

“He’s making himself irrelevant,” Saikat Chakrabarti, a former chief of staff to Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, told The Post, saying the virtual broadcasts were not helping. “We need action immediately, and Biden can’t do anything real right now.”
Biden has been forced to watch from the sidelines as President Trump steals the spotlight with daily coronavirus briefings that have been a ratings smash.

Though some experts have criticized the president for spreading inaccurate information and promoting untested antibiotics during his briefings, polls suggest Americans are increasingly pleased with his performance handling the deadly pandemic.

All the Democrats have as far as criticism of Trump is that he didn't gaze into his crystal ball and see the future course of the pandemic. The New York Times, naturally, is blaming Trump for the spread of the virus. He should have tested sooner! He should have ordered social distancing sooner! He should have KNOWN!
Hey Joe, what're you gonna do now?

Viral Bullets

California gets sued over its anti-gun attitude:
The NRA-ILA’s Jason Ouimet commented on the suit, saying:

Municipalities and states that target lawful gun stores for closure aren’t promoting safety. By weaponizing their politics to disarm you and your loved ones, these shameless partisans are wantonly promoting a gun-control agenda that suffocates your Second Amendment rights when you need them most. NRA members recognize these unlawful power-grabs for what they are, and the National Rifle Association is proud to stand and fight alongside fellow Second Amendment groups who recognize it as well.
California seems to have its own ideas about what's more dangerous...

Another Crisis, Another Investigation

Nancy Pelosi wants to have one:
Pelosi said, “First let me say how sad it is that even since the president’s signing of the bill, the number of deaths reported has doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 in our country. This is such a very, very sad time for us. We should be taking every precaution. The president, his denial at the beginning, was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment to where it — his continued delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed is deadly. Now the best thing to do would be to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up because we just don’t know. We have to have testing, testing, testing. That’s what we said from the start before we can evaluate what the nature of it is in some of these other regions as well. I don’t know what the purpose of that is. I don’t know what the scientists are saying to him. I don’t know what the scientists said to him, when did this president know about this, and what did he know? What did he know, and when did he know it? That’s for an after-action review. But as the president fiddles, people are dying.”
Another investigation will save us, or something...

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Corona Excuse

Autocrats love a crisis:
The problem, of course, is that the coronavirus pandemic swept the world at a time when democracy was already under attack—both because of the rise of authoritarian politicians in nations from the Philippines to Turkey to Brazil, and because of China’s effort to present itself as an alternative model to the Western liberal order.

Freedom House, an organization that tracks political freedoms and individual liberties world-wide, has noted that 2019 marked the 14th consecutive year of the global freedom decline.

“We were already at the precipice. The fears and the anxieties were already there, and now you inject the virus on top of that,” said Alina Polyakova, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington-based research institute. “We now find ourselves in a really dangerous place for maintaining a democratic future. I can see us coming out of the public-health crisis that we are currently in with many more people buying into the notion that authoritarian states are better equipped to deal with future crises.”
Democracy dies in outbreaks?