Neither of this Week’s Attacks Will Affect the Midterms: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 27, 2018—Whom can we blame? How will it play in November?
Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Sadly Exposes Linda Sarsour’s Opportunism: Steven Emerson, Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2018 — Expressions of grief, shock, and solidarity came from all corners as a horrified nation learned about a Jew-hating gunman’s attack on a historic Pittsburgh synagogue.
Midterm Optics Are Bad for Progressives: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Oct. 25, 2018— For progressives, the looming midterm elections apparently should not hinge on a booming economy, a near-record-low unemployment rate, a strong stock market, and unprecedented energy production.
Democrats Are Blowing It, Again: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Oct. 12, 2018— Michael Kelly, the legendary journalist who died covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003, once wrote that the “animating impulse” of modern liberalism was to “marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company.
On Topic Links
Democrats No Match for ‘Nationalist’ Trump: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Oct. 26, 2018
‘Most Important Election Ever’ — Not: David Harsanyi, New York Post, Oct. 26, 2018
Domestic Issues, Not Israel, Key to Pivotal Jewish Voters in Midterm Elections: Cathryn J. Prince, Times of Israel, Nov. 1, 2018
The Democrats are at a Low Point. Can They Regain Power?: Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail, Oct. 12, 2018
NEITHER OF THIS WEEK’S ATTACKS WILL AFFECT THE MIDTERMS Michael Goodwin
New York Post, Oct. 27, 2018
Whom can we blame? How will it play in November? For the second time in a week, those were the crass calculations running through the minds of the political class. First it was the pipe bombs and now it is the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. In both cases, the instant assumption was that the allegiance of the perpetrator would determine which side would be punished in the midterms and which side would reap the benefits of sympathy.
If this sounds heartless and ghoulish, welcome to America. The politicization of everything is exacting a terrible price on our country, with no crime or tragedy too heinous to exploit. As the number of pipe bombs grew and it became clear that all the targets were Democrats or fierce critics of President Trump, most fingers pointed in the obvious direction. Much of the media rushed to blame the president, and Dem congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi piled on, even denouncing Trump’s call for national unity.
“Time and time again, the president has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions,” they said in a statement that was remarkably harsh and partisan given that the suspect was still at large and fear was growing by the day. Meanwhile, the pattern of targets was too obvious for some in the president’s corner, and they smelled a “false flag” operation. They suspected the bombs were a plant by the left to put the blame on Trump and swing the coming election to the Dems.
But now that we know that suspect Cesar Sayoc, 56, is indeed a Trump supporter, we are back to the original assumptions. Phrases such as “MAGA Bomber” and “Native American Trump Supporter” who drove a “Trump Mobile” convey the tone of most of the media, with some coverage veering into a “we told you so” smugness. For the 1 millionth time, they were sure this would be the final straw in his popularity. Happy days would soon be here again.
And then came Saturday’s slaughter, which scrambles the political playbook because it defies easy assumptions about the fallout. Suspect Robert Bowers is a sick anti-Semite, the carrier of a disease nearly as old as mankind. Because of that, he is no fan of Trump, as he has said on social-media posts. For Bowers, Jews are the everything, the sole measuring rod of all things, which makes Trump part of the problem. The president, after all, is a strong supporter of Israel and his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner. The fact that Trump also dared to criticize white nationalists after the Charlottesville, Va., incident is proof he cannot be trusted, according to Bowers’ Nazi-like rants.
Still, that distinction may be buried in the rush to gain an edge, and the anti-Trumpers may be correct that the horrors will persuade enough voters in key districts and states that the president is to blame for the rise of political violence. In that case, Dems could sweep both houses and turn Trump into a piñata for the next two years, assuming he isn’t impeached and convicted before his term expires. So a bandwagon of belief is rolling in that direction, but nobody need save me a seat. I’m not convinced the bomb suspect’s support for Trump will swing the election or that the synagogue attack helps Democrats.
Here are three main reasons for my doubts. First, neither suspect was a solid citizen who suddenly turned to violence because of politics. Sayoc is a career criminal whose arrest record goes back three decades, including at least one charge for making terroristic threats. A recent former employer described him as “crazed” but not about politics. He was, as The Post put it in a headline, a “stripper with a steroid problem.” Bowers, based on what we know of him so far, is a freak of the fringe who would not be welcomed in any mainstream political party. His vileness isn’t partisan.
Although the public in general is distressed with gutter-level politics, and most feel Trump makes too many inflammatory comments, it doesn’t automatically follow that these two alleged criminals can be successfully pinned on the president. Just as most Americans did not blame Bernie Sanders when one of his supporters shot Republican Congressman Steve Scalise in a planned assassination attempt last year, most are more likely to believe Sayoc and Bowers are responsible for their own actions.
Second, the speed of events these days means no one storyline dominates for long, even in the anti-Trump-obsessed media. The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle looked as if it would determine the election — until the caravan of Central American immigrants making their way toward the southern border vowed to get into the country, one way or another. Both events galvanized GOP voters and quashed most predictions of a blue wave. While it’s clear the media and Democrats will try to reverse the trend by hanging Sayoc and Bowers around Trump’s neck, that approach probably will work only with those already opposed to Trump.
Besides, the president’s supporters can — and already are — pointing to left-wing violence by antifa and comments by Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters and other Dems urging an uncivil campaign of harassment against Republicans. And The New York Times didn’t help the left’s cause with its outrageous publication of an article that fantasizes about an assassination of the president. Shamefully, the Gray Lady’s demand for civility doesn’t extend to its own conduct.
The economy is the third reason for my doubts that last week will dramatically reshape the election. Most Americans in the workforce today have never seen anything like the jobs boom and the rising incomes that go with historic low unemployment. To most voters, kitchen-table issues almost always outweigh headline-grabbing incidents, even horrible ones, a fact often lost on elite bubble dwellers. The media especially continue to fall hard for the illusion that the public trusts them to decide what matters most.
In short, I’m having that déjà vu feeling all over again. Much as they were in 2016, too many know-it-alls are 100 percent certain about which way the wind will blow on Nov. 6. The skeptic in me suspects they still are confusing facts with their own bias. My only certainty now is the same one I had two years ago: Voters have a mind of their own. Thank God for that.
PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE MASSACRE SADLY
EXPOSES LINDA SARSOUR’S OPPORTUNISM
Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2018
Expressions of grief, shock, and solidarity came from all corners as a horrified nation learned about a Jew-hating gunman’s attack on a historic Pittsburgh synagogue. Eleven Jews were killed because they were Jews, gathered for Shabbat services at the Tree of Life synagogue. Four Pittsburgh law enforcement officers were wounded as they raced toward the gunfire and prevented the tragedy from becoming even greater. But one person’s statements of grief and solidarity stand out, largely because it contrasts a long record of sowing enmity and antisemitism. During a vigil on Sunday outside the White House, Linda Sarsour, microphone in hand, spoke of love and solidarity with American Jews. “I hope that you commit and you join me and my sisters and brothers who are here today, to resist hate and choose unrelenting love every single time,” she said.
Her organization, MPower Change, issued a similar statement in Sarsour’s name, expressing “solidarity with our Jewish family, especially the community in Pittsburgh, after today’s horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. In the face of overwhelming hate, we choose unrelenting love and unity. We recommit ourselves to dismantling antisemitism and all forms of racism.” How nice. If she is sincere, however, Sarsour would do well to revisit the years of hatred she has expressed against Israel, the Jewish state, which is a vital safeguard for Jews threatened by antisemitism around the globe. And she won’t have to look back very far.
Just last month, Sarsour spoke at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)’s national convention. She called herself an “unapologetic, pro-BDS, one-state solution supporting resistance supporter.” By definition then, Sarsour’s ultimate ambition is a world with no Jewish state. BDS has been blasted as antisemitic, including by the Berlin State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, because it seeks to isolate Israel and many BDS leaders advocate Israel’s elimination. And a one-state solution would flood Israel demographically, stripping it of its Jewish majority.
At the same convention, Sarsour blamed the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — the most prominent Jewish advocacy group in America — for the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police. Why? Because the ADL runs a program that takes high-ranking police officials to Israel, where they learn about fighting terrorism and other threats. To Sarsour, that means American police officers must “come back here and do what? Stop and frisk, killing unarmed black people across the country.”…
Sarsour also argued at the ISNA convention that Muslims should not defend or “actually try to humanize the oppressor,” which was a reference to Israel. Sarsour knows that she is seen as an antisemite. She made a video last year that seemed cynically devised to shut down those concerns. But in trying to condemn Jew-hatred, Sarsour couldn’t help but minimize its severity, saying, “It’s different than anti-Black racism or Islamophobia because it’s not systemic.” During a discussion at New York’s New School a year ago, she blamed “Jewish media” for giving her a bad reputation. Sarsour famously tweeted, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and rejected offers of solidarity from pro-Israel Jews that are similar to what she claims to offer after the Pittsburgh massacre. Those aren’t views limited to criticism of specific Israeli policies, but a wholesale rejection of a Jewish homeland.
There are about 14.5 million Jews in the world, nearly half — 6.5 million — of whom live in Israel. Another estimated 5.7 million live here in the United States, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For the sake of argument, say only half of those Jews living outside Israel consider themselves Zionists (though the available data indicates the figure is much higher). But that means that nearly 10 million of the world’s 14.5 million Jews are Zionists. Sarsour, by her own words, is hostile toward about 70 percent of world Jewry. But she’s no antisemite? She and her Women’s March colleagues have refused to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, even after he said that “powerful Jews are my enemy,” and recently called Jews “termites.”
Was the slaughter at the Tree of Life synagogue a turning point for Sarsour? It’s a valid question, considering her embrace of Rasmieh Odeh, a woman who was convicted in the 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem grocery store that killed two Israeli students. Odeh’s friend acknowledged her central role in the bombing plot — on camera — and Israeli investigators found similar explosives in Odeh’s bedroom. Still, Sarsour said that she was “honored and privileged” to be in Odeh’s presence last year — just before Odeh was deported for naturalization fraud.
And all of this doesn’t even address Sarsour’s inability to condemn Hamas or acknowledge that its obsession with destroying Israel makes life for Palestinians in Gaza worse every day. Sarsour spoke with emotion on Sunday. Her voice cracked at times, and if you didn’t know her, you’d think she was offering a sincere, heartfelt expression of grief, love, and support. The problem is that we do know Sarsour. And we know that our skepticism is more than justified.
MIDTERM OPTICS ARE BAD FOR PROGRESSIVES
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review, Oct. 25, 2018
For progressives, the looming midterm elections apparently should not hinge on a booming economy, a near-record-low unemployment rate, a strong stock market, and unprecedented energy production. Instead, progressives hope that race and gender questions overshadow pocketbook issues. The media are fixated on another caravan of foreign nationals flowing toward the United States from Central America. More than 5,000 mostly Honduran migrants say they will cross through Mexico. Then they plan to crash the American border, enter the U.S. illegally, claim refugee status, and demand asylum. Once inside the United States, the newcomers will count on a variety of ways to avoid deportation.
This gambit appears mysteriously timed to arrive right before the U.S. midterms — apparently to create empathy and sway voters toward progressive candidates supporting a more relaxed immigration policy. Open-borders advocates and progressives assume that if border-security officials are forced to detain the intruders and separate parents who broke the law from their children, it will make President Trump and Republican candidates appear cold-hearted and callous. Earlier this year, a similar border melodrama became sensationalized in the media and almost certainly dropped Trump’s approval ratings. But this time around, the optics may be different.
The new caravan appears strangely well organized. The marchers, many of them young men, do not appear destitute. They do not seem to fit the profile of desperate refugees whose lives were in immediate danger in their homeland. For many Americans, the would-be refugees may seem presumptuous in assuming that they have the right to barge into someone else’s country. Most Americans realize that if an organized caravan of foreigners can simply announce in advance plans to crash into the U.S. illegally, then the concepts of a border, citizenship, sovereignty, and even a country itself no longer exist.
A number of other events on the eve of the midterm elections also may have the opposite of the intended effect on voters. The Supreme Court nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh ended up as scripted melodrama. Protesters disrupted the Senate on cue. They screamed from the gallery. Democratic senators staged a walkout. They filibustered and interrupted the proceedings. Their collective aim was to show America that male Republican senators were insensitive to the feelings and charges of Christine Blasey Ford, and therefore callous and sexist.
Ford had alleged that Kavanaugh 36 years earlier had sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers. But she produced no corroborating testimony, physical evidence, or witnesses. Many of her assertions were contested by other people. Many Americans finally concluded that there was no reason to deny Kavanaugh’s nomination to the court. To find Kavanaugh guilty of Ford’s charges, Americans were asked to suspend the very ideas of due process and Western jurisprudence. The furious demonstrations that followed Kavanaugh’s confirmation only made the optics worse. Republican senators were confronted at their offices and on elevators. Protesters broke through police cordons and beat and scratched at the Supreme Court doors, apparently in vain efforts to break in and disrupt the swearing-in ceremonies. Liberal icons such as Hillary Clinton, former attorney general Eric Holder, and Senator Cory Booker seemed to encourage the incivility and disruptions.
Did the ongoing chaos work to change public opinion in their direction? Perhaps not. Most Americans do not want frenzied shriekers scratching at doors on Capitol Hill. They are turned off by shouters popping up in Senate galleries. Few are comfortable with efforts to bully or intimidate senators rather than to persuade them. In yet another misreading of the public, Senator Elizabeth Warren produced the results of a DNA test to prove she had properly claimed advantageous minority status on the basis of her alleged Native American family history. But the test only confirmed that Warren might be 1 percent (or less) Native American and is probably not from a tribe in the continental U.S…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]
DEMOCRATS ARE BLOWING IT, AGAIN
New York Times, Oct. 12, 2018
Michael Kelly, the legendary journalist who died covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003, once wrote that the “animating impulse” of modern liberalism was to “marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company. And to make itself as unattractive to as many as possible.” “If it were a person,” he added, “it would pierce its tongue.”
I thought of that line while reading a tweet from Nate Cohn, The Times’s polling guru: “Take everything together, and, on balance, it’s been a good 10 days of state/cd polling for the GOP in a lot of important battlegrounds.” The “cd” refers to congressional districts, where Republicans now have at least a fighting chance of holding on to a majority despite the widely anticipated blue wave. Even better are Republican chances of holding the Senate. On Sept. 30, RealClearPolitics gave the G.O.P. a lock on 47 seats, with 9 tossups. Now it’s 50 and 6, with races in Tennessee, Texas, and North Dakota increasingly leaning right. Donald Trump’s approval rating is also up from a month ago.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not during a midterm when the opposition party almost always gains seats. Not after 21 months of Trumpian chaos. Not after a year of #MeToo. Not after Christine Blasey Ford’s emotional testimony and Brett Kavanaugh’s angry retort. And yet it is. Predictably. Once again, American liberalism has pierced its own tongue. It pierced its tongue on CNN this week, when Hillary Clinton told Christiane Amanpour that “you cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” And when former Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday, “When they go low, we kick ’em.”
It pierced its tongue last week when New York’s Representative Jerrold Nadler pledged to use a Democratic House majority to open an investigation into Kavanaugh’s alleged perjury and the “whitewash” investigation by the F.B.I. A party that can’t change its mind and won’t change the subject meets the classic definition of a fanatic. It pierced its tongue last month when Cory Booker and Kamala Harris turned Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing into audition tapes for their presidential bids, complete with “I am Spartacus” histrionics and bald misrepresentations about Kavanaugh’s views on racial profiling and contraception.
It pierced its tongue when Minority Leader Chuck Schumer chose to make Kavanaugh’s confirmation the year’s decisive political test, rather than run a broad referendum on Trump’s inglorious tenure. As I wrote in July, the political strategy was guaranteed to hurt red-state Democrats, as they were put “to the choice of looking like political sellouts if they vote for Kavanaugh, or moral cowards if they don’t.” It pierced its tongue when The New Yorker violated normal journalistic standards by reporting Deborah Ramirez’s uncorroborated allegation against Kavanaugh, and much of the rest of the media gave credence to Julie Swetnick’s lurid one. The pile-on wound up doing more to stiffen Republican spines against an apparent witch hunt than it did to weaken their resolve in the face of Blasey’s powerful accusation…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]
On Topic Links
Democrats No Match for ‘Nationalist’ Trump: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Oct. 26, 2018—A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. midterm elections.
‘Most Important Election Ever’ — Not: David Harsanyi, New York Post, Oct. 26, 2018—If you believe that a midterm election in a time of relative peace and economic prosperity is the most important in history or even the most important in your fortunate lifetime, you either are oblivious to history or don’t have a single nonpartisan synapse firing in your skull.
Domestic Issues, Not Israel, Key to Pivotal Jewish Voters in Midterm Elections: Cathryn J. Prince, Times of Israel, Nov. 1, 2018—When Republican candidate for Florida governor Rick DeSantis was asked at an October 21 debate whether President Donald Trump is a role model for kids, he pivoted — to Israel.
The Democrats are at a Low Point. Can They Regain Power?: Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail, Oct. 12, 2018—Whatever happened, it is often asked, to the Republican Party?