Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see the inspector general at the Justice Department taking his job seriously as reports surface that his forthcoming report will be highly critical of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. While they sympathize with President Trump’s desire to fix trade imbalances, they fear new steel and aluminum tariffs will have a negative impact on American consumers and the economy. And they slam Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for announcing his opposition to a judicial nominee because the nominee is white and President Obama’s previous nominees were black.
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America pause to cheer the Falcon Heavy rocket launch by Space X this week and David hopes it sparks more aspirational innovation that our nation so sorely needs. They also grimace as Republican majorities are preparing to jack up spending significantly over the next couple of years, even though some positive elements are included in the budget bill. And they sigh as Nancy Pelosi uses part of her marathon floor speech on immigration policy to say her young grandson blew out his birthday candles and wished he could look like his friend from Guatemala.
A federal judge in Texas shot down a proposed voter identification law for the fourth time, citing intentional discrimination against minorities, but a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity says previous court decisions and existing federal law are on the side of the Lone Star State.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos prevented Texas from implementing parts of a 2011 voter ID law and completely rejected a reworked law crafted by lawmakers to comply with an earlier defeat at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ramos says the legislation clearly has the hallmarks of discrimination, both for amending the previous law rather than starting over and for increasing penalties for anyone caught lying as to why they don’t have government-issued photo identification.
But critics of Ramos say her decision is far less complicated than that.
“This judge, an Obama appointee, has shown her bias from the very beginning, when her first opinion said that there was no reason to pass a voter ID law other than to discriminate,” said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation. He is also a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
Von Spakovsky says the original Texas law required government-issued photo identification from all voters. He says the amended version offered far more leniency.
“They changed it to say if you show up at a polling place and you don’t have an ID, you’ll still be able to vote if you simply sign a form that says I had a reasonable impediment that kept me from getting a photo ID and you show some document that’s got your name and address on it,” said von Spakovsky.
He says that could include a bank statement or a utility bill and adds there are no barriers in Texas to getting a photo ID or bringing an acceptable alternative to the polls.
“Texas provides a free photo ID to anyone who doesn’t already have one. Second, they’ve even gotten rid of that requirement by saying all you’ve got to show is a document with your name and address on it . It doesn’t cost you anything to bring a utility bill, or a bank statement, or some other government document,” said von Spakovsky.
He also laughs off Ramos for considering tougher penalties for lying on a government form to be discrimination.
“She claims that’s voter intimidation. Again, punishing lying on a voting form is not voter intimidation, yet that’s the claim that she makes,” said von Spakovsky.
Von Spakovsky says Texas has another thing on its side as it prepares to appeal: existing federal law.
“Texas copied a federal requirement. Under federal law in the Help America Vote Act of 2002, anyone who registers by mail, the first time they go vote they have to show some form of ID, and the forms of ID are specifically listed as exactly the same thing,” said von Spakovsky.
“So [Ramos] is basically saying that the same kind of requirement Texas put in, which is identical to a federal requirement – a federal law – that’s been upheld in the courts, that that’s somehow intentional discrimination . I mean that’s just crazy,” said von Spakovsky.
As a result, von Spakovsky fully expects Texas to win its next battle in the appeals court, in part because doing otherwise would be tantamount to ruling against itself.
“I have a hard time believing they’re going to uphold what this judge is saying, also because of the fact that the changes that were made by Texas actually followed a guide or outline that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals itself wrote in its prior opinions,” said von Spakovsky.
A dozen states require some form of government-issued identification. And within those states, von Spakovsky says there is proof that such policies do not discriminate.
“All of the claims that this will keep, for example, minority voters out of the polls we know is not true. States like Georgia and Indiana have had their ID requirements in place for more than a decade. In fact, turnout of African-Americans in Georgia went up after this law. A lot of people think it’s because it improves public confidence in the election process,” said von Spakovsky.
While von Spakovsky admits many opponents of voter ID laws truly believe minorities and the poor are being disenfranchised, he says others just don’t like closer scrutiny of the voting process.
“There are other people who don’t want anything that will make elections more secure. These are people who want to be able to easily steal votes. Texas has a history of voter fraud, including a lot of people who go into poor neighborhoods and purchase and buy votes,” said von Spakovsky.
Best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza says there were fascists on both sides of the violence in Virginia on Saturday and he posits that Democrats and their allies in the media are now focused on painting all Republicans and conservatives as responsible for the racism that still exists in the United States.
Last week, prior to the violence in Charlottesville, D’Souza likened the Antifa movement and their pattern of stopping speech through violence to Adolf Hilter’s brown shirts and Benito Mussolini’s black shirts. But with white supremacists and neo-Nazis on one side and Antifa on the other, which side is the fascists?
“Clearly, there’s a fascist streak running between both sets of violent activists. The mayor of Charlottesville said, ‘These people all came to fight.’ They didn’t come to peacefully protest. They wanted to tangle with each other,” said D’Souza, author most recently of “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.”
While many in the media and in Democratic circles suggest that the white supremacists are Trump voters, D’Souza says that’s not true of the organizer of the rally.
“What’s really strange is that the white supremacist who organized the rally is a former Obama guy and a former Occupy Wall Street guy. So right away you know that something fishy is going on here,” said D’Souza.
When it comes to the rest of the neo-Nazi and KKK figures in Charlottesville, D’Souza says the story is more complicated.
“This white nationalism was actually invented in the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party has moved from embracing white nationalism to embracing every other type of minority nationalism. So the Democrats like black nationalism, black pride, black solidarity. They’re telling every ethnic group – blacks, Hispanics, Asians – be proud of what makes you distinctive,” said D’Souza.
He says Democrats now mobilize all of these groups against white nationalists, and that has created some changing voting patterns among white supremacists.
“Today if you’re a white nationalist, you don’t find a hospitable home in the Democratic Party. You don’t find much of a home in the Republican Party either, because Trump is not a white nationalist. Trump is an American nationalist. So I think that’s why some of these white nationalists are for Trump,” said D’Souza.
“They normally would be Democrats, if the Democrats hadn’t created a type of multiculturalism in which these guys are not welcome at the multicultural picnic,” said D’Souza.
But rather than acknowledge these bigoted elements as a fringe of the American political landscape, D’Souza says liberals and the media are trying to paint the political right with a very broad brush.
“The media is up to something very vile and very cunning. They’re trying to excuse the much more dangerous fascism on their own side. Think about it: the driving of speakers off campus, not just the Antifa violent guys, but the deans and the studio bosses in Hollywood. If you have a different point of view, they’ll run you out of town. They’ll make sure you never work again,” said D’Souza.
“This is the fascism, not just of the street but of the institutions. The Democratic Party today has much more of a fascist ideology and fascist tactics than anything you see in the Republican Party,” said D’Souza, who says he’s never seen a white supremacist at a GOP event in more than 25 years of speaking around the country.
D’Souza says this effort is a massive exercise in blame-shifting.
“There’s an effort to transfer responsibility from the actual guilty party, the Democrats, onto the non-guilty party, the Republicans,” he said.
“What’s underway here is an effort to create a national shaming of the right. For example, look at the stuff about, ‘Trump is a fascist.’ Trump has never said one kind thing about fascism,” said D’Souza. “The left wants to have a one-way hate campaign.”
He says there’s plenty of evidence of Democrats praising the most vile fascist regimes in history.
“When you had real fascism, very dangerous fascism, I’m talking about Mussolini’s Italy and Nazi Germany. We have [Franklin Roosevelt] praising Mussolini, sending members of his braintrust to fascist Italy to study Italian fascism, which he thought was more progressive than the New Deal. He wanted to bring fascist ideas over here,” said D’Souza.
In the wake of Charlottesvile, the debate is turning once again to the fate of Confederate memorials and monuments. Some want to destroy them, others believe they should be limited to museums and cemeteries, while others fear tearing them down is tantamount to erasing history.
D’Souza says this North vs. South debate raging around the Civil War is badly misplaced.
“The real slavery debate was not between the North and the South. It was between the pro-slavery Democratic Party and the anti-slavery Republican Party . Most southerners did not own slaves. Most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves. The northern Democrats led by Stephen Douglas were actively and cunningly protecting slavery and did so for 40 years,” said D’Souza.
He says that should mean plenty of statues and memorials getting razed in the North, since so many figures openly or tacitly approved of slavery.
D’Souza also notes that the Democrats are never under any pressure to denounce any figures from their party’s past, even those as recent as longtime Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, who spent years in the KKK.
“No one is pulling his statues down. He was lionized in the Democratic Party. Hillary called him her mentor. So you know there is a big lie underway. It’s just a matter of getting our fingers on it so we can expose what’s really going on,” he said.
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the “tough guy” stance that President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis are taking in deterring further chemical attacks in Syria. They dive into the complications surrounding the healthcare debate, as Mitch McConnell scraps the vote on the most recent GOP bill and many of the Republicans opposed believe the government should be doing more. Finally, they discuss the PC complaints that the new Dunkirk film — a historical World War II drama — is “too white,” even though the vast majority of soldiers involved were white.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss Republicans forcing a runoff in Georgia’s sixth congressional district and recall the many highly-touted red state Democrats that never panned out. They’re also stunned that Fresno police do not consider a person who murdered people because of their race and shouted “Allahu Akbar” to be suspected of terrorism. And they react to reports that Bill O’Reilly is likely on his way out at Fox News.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of Trump protesters arguing about who is more oppressed. They also rip New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for testifying against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. And they sigh as the insane people from Code Pink repeatedly disrupt the Sessions confirmation hearings.
While some of Donald Trump’s early personnel choices are leading some Democrats and media figures to conclude a racially insensitive administration is preparing to take charge in Washington, the leader of a prominent black conservative group says the concerns are double standards whipped up by the left and that Trump’s controversial choices are actually more tame on racial issues than their counterparts in the Obama administration.
And he is also offering Trump some advice on how to make good on promises to revitalize predominantly black neighborhoods.
As of Monday afternoon, Trump has named people to five prominent positions, only two of which require Senate confirmation. The choices eliciting the most concern from the left and the mainstream media are Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, for attorney general and former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon for chief strategist and counselor.
Project 21 National Advisory Board Co-Chair Horace Cooper begs to differ on multiple fronts. First, he is weary of race being injected into every political debate.
“We are distorting the conversation, generally, about public policy by randomly throwing around epithets that this person or that person, either a supporter or and individual affiliated with Mr. Trump, must in some way be bigoted, racist, or sexist,” said Cooper, who served as general counsel for former House Majority Leader Richard Armey, R-Texas.
He says that constant prism is also a hindrance to advancing good policy.
“The idea that a person is for a tax cut or against a tax cut, is for a construction project or against a construction project, can only be viewed from the prism of does that make you a racist, a sexist, or some other ‘ist,’ is completely unhelpful,” he said.
Cooper is also frustrated by what he sees as a massive media double standard on personnel, noting that current Obama counselor Valerie Jarrett and former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder got a free pass even though they contributed mightily, in his eyes, to far worse race relations over the past eight years.
“These two individuals helped to encourage and promote what could only and honestly considered to be racially divisive policies by President Obama, and yet none of these questions were being considered,” said Cooper.
“I bring those two names up because I want to highlight the contrast where the media has played no role and where voices that claim they are interested in encouraging America to come together have been completely silent, even to this day, about the role that those two individuals provided in the Obama administration,” said Cooper.
Stacked up against Holder and Jarrett, Cooper believes Sessions and Bannon look pretty good.
“I don’t see any similar record with regard to the designate for attorney general, Mr. Sessions, or to Mr. Bannon as a key strategist and counselor in the office of the White House,” said Cooper.
Critics of both Sessions and Bannon point with alarm to statements and posts from avowed racists praising the choices.
“Bannon, Flynn, Sessions — Great! Senate must demand that Sessions as AG stop the massive institutional race discrimination against whites!” tweeted former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who recently collected three percent of the vote in Louisiana’s jungle U.S. Senate primary. He finished in seventh place.
Cooper says an avowed klansman in publicly endorsed and donated to Hillary Clinton and she faced little media pressure to denounce him, although her campaign did. He says the bottom line on a candidate or nominee is their record and not who likes them.
“I actually don’t care whether (Louis) Farrakhan or whether the Klan issues an endorsement in the election. What I care about is what are policies and characteristics of the individual in question who is asking for our vote,” said Cooper.
Once again, Cooper says the media is showing a double standard.
“This has not been an even-handed assessment on the part of the media. If they would like us to have this more expansive view, that supporters of given a given entity or individual are as important or more important than the candidate him or herself, then they needed to have been saying or doing that over the last eight years. And they didn’t,” said Cooper.
He also hammers the press for drawing parallels between what might come in a Trump administration and the segregation era of American history.
“The mainstream media is working hand in glove with progressives to create this false impression. This is not good for the country. It is not helpful to pretend that a record in America that existed during the era of Jim Crow is the functional equivalent of a 21st century Trump transition team,” said Cooper.
“If we are serious about looking at the rhetoric, we need to match the rhetoric with the reality. Nothing in Donald Trump’s commentaries is the equivalent of that old evil of segregation and racism,” said Cooper.
Cooper hopes Trump can put the concerns of many at ease by making good on his promise for a New Deal for the black community. Cooper says any meaningful effort will start with improving schools in those neighborhoods. And that means improving school choice.
“We’ve absolutely got to stop the union stranglehold over our schools and allow our young people, particularly in the inner city, to have the option of leaving poorly-functioning public schools or threaten to be able to leave them,” said Cooper.
He says that choice ought to extend to faith-based schools as well.
“That’s a key ingredient in the black community that will instill the kinds of achievement values that are biblically based. That would go a long way to assuring that young black men and women who graduate from failed public schools, and not able to read their diploma, would be able to not only read their diploma but be able to compete,” said Cooper.
On the economic side, Cooper says enforcing and even tightening immigration policy would greatly help improve employment in black neighborhoods since illegal immigrants can easily underbid American citizens for work.
But Cooper also says government policies that encourage entrepreneurship can also revitalize those local economies.
“If you want to incentivize employers, then you create a right regulatory regime and the right tax regime so that it is possible that jobs in the community close to where inner city residents live can develop,” said Cooper.