Incompetence v. Catastrophe

The Biden Administration is not (yet) a calamity, but it seems determined to get there. After all, the Administration appears to be taking a whole host of progressive policy proposals seriously, a prospect that ought to dampen the spirits of anybody who resides on this side of sanity. Fortunately there are some reasonable Democratic Senators—a dwindling group to be sure—who are uneasy with the current state of affairs, and who are consequently unlikely to support the more extreme structural proposals. 

It is doubtful for instance, that the Senate will succeed in either packing the Supreme Court or eliminating the legislative filibuster over the next two years. But all bets are off for after the 2022 off-year elections. If the historical pattern is upset and the Democrats retain the House and grab a few more Senate seats, the stage will be set for transitioning from mere incompetence to real catastrophe.  

I can hear the chorus wailing now…”But Donald Trump…”. Please let us get this straight once and for all. The fact that Donald Trump was and remains an ignoramus from the Archie Bunker school of applied politics is utterly irrelevant. The “what about Trump” argument is nothing more than a vacuous school yard taunt in the time-honored tradition of “so’s your grandmother”. It has nothing intelligent to say about the merits of the Biden policy agenda. 

So, about that agenda. Progressives seem to be pushing on an open door. The policies that the supposedly moderate Mr. Biden campaigned on have been tossed out the window. Instead he has embraced an agenda that actively subverts the Constitutional order and guts the rule of law in favor of bureaucratic central planning. All this under the guise of “saving democracy” and promoting “equity”. 

It has apparently not occurred to Mr. Biden that the point of the Constitution is to preserve liberty by dividing power. It was never designed to promote equal outcomes, which is what “equity” is code for. In fact, outcome guarantees are antithetical to liberty and an affront to the idea of equality before the law. Perhaps Mr.Biden missed that lecture during the time he was suspended from law school for plagiarism, a habit he seems to have retained from his school days.

Back to the progressive agenda. Needless to say the marketing campaign for it is, as usual, replete with dishonesty, combined with unyielding ignorance. Which may explain why CNN, The NY Times and The Washington Post are so enthusiastic about it.

For instance, consider the recently introduced Democratic bill to expand the Supreme Court to 13 members. In supporting the bill, Rep Mondaire Jones (D-NY) argued that “Court expansion is something that is deeply rooted in the American tradition”. Really? Congress last passed an act to amend the Justice system by increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to 9 back in 1869. That was 152 years ago. The size of the Supreme Court has remained at 9 justices ever since. 

As a follow up, President Biden has appointed a commission to consider changing the structure of the Court, including its expansion.  Speaker Pelosi has said that she supports Biden’s commission, but that the Democratic bill to pack the Court won’t get a vote on the House floor. That would be the same Speaker Pelosi who claimed that impeaching Trump (the 1st time) would require an overwhelming bipartisan consensus. We know how that worked out. 

All this is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate the Court into ruling the way progressives wish them to. This is the same crowd that spent the last 4 years accusing the Trump administration (often correctly) of violating democratic norms and politicizing federal agencies. And now they have launched a full fledged attack on the third branch of government; the branch that is supposed to be non political. The branch that is supposed to protect individual rights against mob rule. 

And speaking of mob rule, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) was in Brooklyn Center Minnesota where, referring to the trial of Derek Chauvin who is on trial for murdering George Floyd, she had this to say when asked what protesters should do moving forward:

“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

We can be thankful in a way. Progressives have revealed what they are really all about, and always have been—the iron fist in the velvet glove—operating under the guise of democratic majoritarianism. Individual rights do not matter; they are subsumed by an ever changing collection of “group rights” AKA demands of Democratic constituencies.

What remains to be seen is whether there are enough Democratic Senators and Congressman willing to put an end to the madness. Perhaps there are, but we are getting very close to the edge. If not, the Biden administration is very likely to melt down like Icarus did as he approached the sun. Then we will be faced with a real calamity instead of a potential one. 

JFB

Joe Biden–Man of Science

Joe Biden, who during the campaign repeatedly insisted that he relied on “the science” in formulating policy proposals has just tossed science overboard. According to the Washington Post, a spokesman for the President-elect said that the incoming administration “…will release nearly every available dose of vaccine in the United States after Biden takes office Jan. 20 to get supplies quickly out to the states.”

The result of this policy change is to change the vaccination regimen so that the second shot—the booster shot—will be given 84 days after the first shot rather than the 21 to 28 days for which the vaccines were scientifically tested. 

When Britain first proposed a three-month wait for the booster shot, scientists in the U.S., Europe and the World Health Organization were, in the words of the Washington Post, “dubious”. Earlier this week the FDA said such a move would be premature and “not rooted solidly in the evidence”.  Moreover, the testing done so far suggests the efficacy of getting only 1 shot of the vaccine slips from 95% down to only 52%—a staggering fall. 

But it allows Joe Biden to look like he is doing something, which of course, is the point of the exercise. 

The proposed policy change is liable to do far more harm than good. The current policy is to put the most vulnerable and front line medical personnel first for the 2 shot regimen.  The new policy will leave the most vulnerable more exposed to a fatal infection than they would have been otherwise, without necessarily doing anything to reduce the spread f the disease. 

To the extent that more people have limited protection, but the most vulnerable have less, there is a greater likelihood that the most vulnerable will suffer more fatalities. But it doesn’t end there. Providing a broader range of the population with limited protection will in all likelihood protect people who don’t need it at the expense of people who do. Not only that, delaying the second shot, gives the virus more time to adapt. This increases the time that the virus has to adapt to the new (and weaker) vaccine and develop resistance to it. 

The likely end result will be to (1) increase the fatality of the disease with older, more vulnerable populations, while (2) having little to no effect on the rest of the population and (3) delaying the onset of herd immunity.

But it will show that Joe Biden is doing something. 

There actually is something that can be done about the slow rate of vaccine take-up. The first thing to do is to understand the problem, which is a logistics problem, not a supply problem. The most difficult part of any complex distribution network is the “last mile”. A bureaucratic command-and-control system implemented by government is the last way a complex distribution system should be engineered. 

The obvious way to handle the problem is to go to people who are experts at this. They live in the private sector at places like Amazon, Walmart, CVS and the like. Having financed the development of the vaccines, which was a good idea, government should contract with the private sector to handle distribution. That would solve the problem, or at least improve distribution efficiency. 

Unfortunately, it is also something that progressive control freaks are unlikely to do. 

JFB

Time to Move On

The manual recount in Georgia is over, and Joe Biden won the state by a slim margin of 12,000 votes. In Michigan, the margin was 146,000 votes. The margin of the Biden victory in Arizona was 11,000 votes. In Pennsylvania the margin was about 80,000 votes including provisional ballots. But even if 100% of the provisional ballots cast in favor of Biden (51,889) were tossed aside, it still wouldn’t affect the outcome. 

Biden won and Trump lost, fair and square. But Trump and his team of lawyers refuse to acknowledge the obvious. So perhaps Republicans ought to follow the lead of Senators Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse and push back against the detestable Trumpian effort to snatch the election away from the rightful victor.  Trump’s efforts reflect more than his typical narcissism; they are part and parcel of the ongoing and deliberate sabotage of the public trust in our institutions for purely partisan reasons. 

And before the fingers start pointing, let’s be clear—this is not an entirely new phenomenon. Both Democrats and Republicans have done this. Hillary Clinton and her minions spent the better part of 4 years pretending that they were robbed of a rightful victory in 2016, with no evidence, as CNN likes to say about Trump. The New York Times 1619 project explicitly argued that the foundational purpose of the U.S. was the imposition and maintenance of race-based slavery, the effects of which are with us today in the form of institutionalized oppression and systemic racism. 

It is worth listening to what Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has said on the subject of the public trust, especially with respect to Trump and his lawyers’ post electoral behavior. (Not that it has varied much from his pre-electoral behavior). 

Here is how Sasse is quoted in Politico.“Wild press conferences erode public trust. So no, obviously Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets,” Sasse said.

Benn Sasse

He went on “When Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud — because there are legal consequences for lying to judges,” Sasse said. “President Trump lost Michigan by more than 100,000 votes, and the campaign and its allies have lost in or withdrawn from all five lawsuits in Michigan for being unable to produce any evidence.”

It is absolutely clear to anyone who is rational that Biden won and Trump lost, full stop. The margins of Biden’s victory in the contested states simply overwhelm the possibility of any conceivable attempt to win by fraud. The people who insist that Trump actually won are simply delusional. And that is being kind. 

We should not overlook the fact, and it is a fact, that Trump’s cheerleaders are engaged in a deliberate attack on American institutions that have been the mainstay of our liberties. It is, for instance, hard to believe that the leaders of the effort, people like Rudy Giulliani and Sydney Powell, actually believe the nonsense they have been trying to sell. If they really believed what they claimed about fraud, they presumably would have made the claim in court. But they didn’t. That’s because, as Ben Sasse pointed out, lawyers face consequences for lying to judges. 

But not for lying to the gullible. It’s the old bit—if you don’t know who the mark is in a card game—then you’re the mark. (For a discussion of the particulars, Jim Geraghty has a terrific article in National Review that demolishes the contention that the election was stolen by Biden & Co.)

A backdrop to all this is that Republican officeholders, with a few notable exceptions, are terrified of their voter base. As a result, many have refused to say out loud what they know to be true. In so doing they have created a remarkable profile in cowardice. And if they continue down this road the result may very well be calamitous for the Republican Party. And rightly so. Perhaps we will get an inkling of what the electorate thinks about all this on January 5 in Georgia. 

JFB

The Fat Lady is Warming Up

It is now mid November. Apparently though, no one has gotten around to telling President Trump that the presidential election is over and done with and that he lost. While no one disputes his right to seek legal remedies for election irregularities, no one who has mastered third grade arithmetic thinks that there is even a remote chance that the outcome will change. The election is over. Biden won and Trump lost. It is as simple as that. 

Or ought to be. But it isn’t because Trump is busy resisting the outcome and claiming fraud. It is possible that Trump actually believes that the election was “stolen” despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. He has never lacked a ready supply of self pity. More likely, he is setting things up for some other purpose, like a future run, a TV show or to ward off a future prosecution. 

Trump’s post election behavior, which includes the unwarranted and vindictive firing of Defense Secretary Esper, perfectly demonstrates why he should never have been elected president in the first place. Regardless, despite all the hysteria, at noon on January 20, 2021 Joe Biden will take the oath of office and Donald Trump will no longer be president. Period. Because that’s what Section 1 of the 20th amendment to the Constitution says. “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January…” 

At that point all powers of the presidency will be vested in the person of Joe Biden. Whereupon Donald Trump can go pound sand and it won’t make the slightest difference to the functioning of the government. 

Perhaps fans of the “living Constitution” ought to think about that for a moment. Namely, that the Constitution actually means what the text clearly says it means. We could start with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania which took it upon itself to rewrite Pennsylvania’s election laws on the fly despite the fact that the text clearly leaves that task to the legislature. 

In any event, the election is finally over. Now the intra-party bloodletting can begin in earnest. Meanwhile, in Washington it is a truism that personnel is policy. So we need to watch and see who emerges in the jockeying for position in the new administration. Bernie Sanders (Socialist, VT) is said to be campaigning hard to be Secretary of Labor. Let’s see if the supposedly moderate Mr. Biden gives the thumbs up for that. 

President elect Biden has made no secret of his admiration for Dr. Anthony Fauci, currently head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID). Just the other day Dr. Fauci was speaking at the Washington National Cathedral along with other pandemic experts. Here is what he had to say as reported by CNBC.

“I was talking with my U.K. colleagues who are saying the U.K. is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit,” he said on stage. “I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you’re told.”

So now it appears that the true spirit of rule by experts is upon us. Get used to it, as Dr. Fauci might say. 

JFB

Can Trump Win the 2020 Race?

To win, he has to pull an inside straight. With time running out, it’s not likely. But it is possible. 

The Biden campaign strategy has always been to focus the race on Trump’s personality and avoid policy. In this he has been mightily helped by Trump and his compulsive need to be the center of attention. But Trump has not helped himself here at all because his personality is so abrasive and off putting, to say the least. 

Further, the most important medium that presidents and candidates use to communicate with voters is television. When a political figure is on TV, it is like he has been invited into your living room. And Trump represents the grouchy, cantankerous guest who simply won’t leave. That behavior appalls coastal America. But when the medium is changed there is a different reaction.  In live appearances, his obnoxious behavior thrills the crowds that gather by the tens of thousands to see him. 

In contrast, Biden’s entire campaign message has consisted of declaring that he is not Donald Trump. The reason is not simply that Trump’s personality is so distasteful to so many, although it is an important factor. It is also because the hard left of his party is ascendant, and their policy agenda is unlikely to be popular with rank and file voters. So Biden’s strategy is to concentrate on personality, avoid policy, and run the clock out. That strategy allows the rank and file to believe that Biden is a moderate, while the left wing gets to own policy making after the election, particularly if the Democrats sweep the House and Senate. 

The election has always been tighter than the national polls suggest. Biden has maintained a consistent lead against Trump for going on a year. But so did Hillary Clinton. The main difference is that there exists a reservoir of fondness for Biden in a good part of the electorate while there was none for Hillary Clinton. Moreover, Trump has the Coronavirus hanging over him, which he didn’t have before. So the question is: How is it possible for Trump to come from behind to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at this late stage?

It is possible because (1) there is lingering suspicion of Biden stemming from the 1994 crime bill, particularly among African-American males; (2) Biden made a significant unforced error on energy policy in the second debate, and (3) while there is hatred for Trump on the left, there is no enthusiasm for Biden. 

So how does this square with the polling that shows Biden with a national lead of around 8 to 9 points? It doesn’t. If Biden carries the popular vote with a margin of 8 or 9 percentage points it is virtually impossible for Trump to win. Actually it would be more indicative of a blue tidal wave in which Biden picks up 340 – 360 votes in the electoral college, well over the 270 needed to win. Add to that the probability of Democratic control of the House and Senate. 

On the other hand if Biden’s lead in the popular vote slips to 3 or 4 points, it is very possible that Trump could pull it out of the fire. That’s because the battleground state polls are much tighter than the national polls, with much wider margins of error. But for Trump to win the key battlegrounds and gain 270 electoral college votes, the polls have to wrong. What are the chances of that?

More than you’d think. That is because Biden has shown significant weakness, compared to the usual performance of a Democrat, among African-American voters, particularly males. In part it stems from Biden’s criminal justice record, which wound up exacting a heavy price on African-American males. A significant fall-off in the votes of African-American males could tip the margins in Michigan (14% African-American), Pennsylvania (11%), Minnesota (12%) and maybe Wisconsin (6%).  

Add to that Biden’s falling into the Energy v. Climate trap during Thursday’s debate. Politicians are prone to claim that costs are really benefits—because they get away with it. But you can only go so far claiming that there will be all these brand new “Green Jobs”, especially when you are looking for votes in a jurisdiction that produces lots of fossil fuel based energy, especially by fracking. When Biden denied he ever said he would ban fracking and then tried to pivot to “transitioning” to clean energy, fossil fuel industry voters in Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma and maybe Minnesota took notice. 

Pennsylvania is a critical state. Combine the impact of a lower than usual percentage of African-American Democratic votes in Philly and Pittsburg with motivated energy industry voters; and then factor in a net increase of Republican registrations on the order of of 125,000 voters and a Democratic decrease of 65,000 voters since 2016 and you have the formula for an upset. And it is wise to remember James Carville’s description of the state: In-between Pittsburg and Philadelphia lies Alabama. 

Then there is the factor of enthusiasm and its cousin, momentum. While there is a lot of enthusiasm for getting rid of Trump, there is little enthusiasm for Biden. That could make it difficult for the Biden campaign to motivate new voters and get existing registrants to the polls in sufficient numbers. That said, fear of Covid could be a factor motivating Biden voters to show up. 

Trump, on the other hand, still retains the loyalty and enthusiasm of his base. But he may be losing suburbanites, particularly suburban women who normally vote Republican. On that score Biden didn’t help himself any when he tried to explain away the corruption issue, news of which is only going to get worse in the next week. Nor did he do himself any favors among affluent and highly educated Republican suburbanites when he pretended that his tax plans would not affect them. 

The final question has to do with what pollsters refer to as “shy Trump voters”. That phrase refers to people who are actually in favor of Trump but hide it or lie about it to pollsters because of the chilling effect of cancel culture. It is possible that Trump could actually perform significantly better in the battleground states than the polls currently suggest. If we see the national polls tighten to where Biden is ahead by 3 to 4 points, Trump could possibly eke out a victory at the last minute the way he did in 2016. But if Biden maintains a lead in the 8 to 9 point range, it is virtually impossible. 

At the moment, I’d put the odds of a Trump victory at about 1 in 3. 

Let’s wait and see if the polls tighten over the next week.

JFB

Biden Inc

We are being treated to a new level of liberal hysteria, and that is truly impressive when you consider it has being boiling hot ever since the darkest day in American history, November 8, 2016. The proximate cause for the wail du jour has been set off by the NY Post, which had the effrontery to report on what it claims are e-mails that show that Biden Inc. used its influence for personal enrichment in the Burisma matter. 

Sure enough Facebook and Twitter went into suppression mode and tried to limit the reach of the story. (Note to Republican Congressman: these companies are private actors and have every right to publish or not publish pretty much whatever they want. So butt out). More to the point, lefty journalists have been very quiet about the subject hoping it will go away. And they have been working overtime trying to silence other journalists who would deign to cover the story. 

The usual routine, which is on full display here, is to refer to an inconvenient story as having been “debunked”. Which in no way means that the story has actually been shown to be false or inaccurate. That would require authentic reporting, as in asking who, what, when, where and why. We get precious little of that these days. 

But the whole business does raise a rather obvious question, namely why the effort to suppress the story? Surely if the story is demonstrably false it would redound to Mr. Biden’s benefit as well as to any reporter who could produce hard evidence showing it to be false.  That has not yet happened, despite the obvious incentives.

Perhaps that is because it is very likely that the story is true. That the Biden family’s financial good fortune is intertwined with Mr. Biden’s political career has been amply documented in the past. It is worth reading, for instance the Atlantic Magazine on the matter. Or this article in Politico. Biden rates an entire chapter in Peter Schweitzer’s “Profiles in Corruption”. 

That Biden has used his political positions to enrich his family is not really seriously in question. What he has done may have been legal, in which case we are just talking about legal corruption. What is instructive is the frantic effort to bury the story. 

Anything or anyone that threatens the power grab underway by the new authoritarians of the left will be met by whatever means necessary. And if that requires running over pesky constitutional rights, corrupting the courts, changing electoral processes on the fly, and using government power to suppress the opposition, so be it.  

There are no enemies to the left, and all that matters is acquiring political power. 

Anyone who doubts the Democrats’ all consuming lust for power had only to watch the performance of the allegedly moderate Senator Amy Klobuchar (D.MN) on the Senate Judiciary panel in the hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Here is what she said responding to Judge Barrett. 

[“ …I appreciate it, judge, that you said that you didn’t want to be a queen. I actually wouldn’t mind being a queen around here, truth be known. I wouldn’t mind doing yet. Kind of a benevolent queen in making decisions so we could get things done…”].  

That says it all. 

JFB

Joe Biden–“Moderate” –on Court Packing

Vice President Joe Biden, currently masquerading as a moderate, has been a gas bag for pretty much his entire career. But recently he has shown a remarkable reticence. He has refused to discuss where he stands on the Democrats’ threat to pack the Supreme Court, if they take control of the Senate after the November elections.

We hear a lot these days about how President Donald Trump violates norms. And for good reason: He does. That said, it is Mr. Biden who has taken a sledge hammer to political norms in a way that makes Trump look like a piker. 

In response to a question about the voters desire to know his position in the matter of Court packing, Mr. Biden said to reporters “They’ll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over”.  He then went on to say “Now, look, I know it’s a great question, and y’all — and I don’t blame you for asking it. But you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that.”

Not content to leave it at that, days later Biden went on to say that the voters don’t deserve to know his position, complained that questioners were “probably Republicans” and in any event Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Court was “non-constitutional”.  The assertion that the President doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to nominate someone for an empty seat on the Court is simply astonishing, even by Biden standards. 

So now we have a situation in which the allegedly “moderate” Democratic Presidential nominee (1) refuses to respond to questions about Court packing, a threat made by his own party, and a truly fundamental issue; (2) complains that if he were to answer the question reporters would write about it, and (3) claims to believe that the President’s nomination for an empty Court seat is “non-constitutional”. 

In the meantime the left wing of the  Democratic Party is chomping at the bit to pack the Court, end the legislative filibuster, add Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as states and end the electoral college. All of this is for the purpose of transforming America into a one party state run by leftist ideologues.

Some discerning voters are curious to know what Mr. Biden thinks about all this. And up until now, Mr. Biden has made it clear that he has no intention of telling them. 

Let us remember that a couple of short weeks ago, Mr Biden, in a burst of Trumpian grandiosity, proclaimed himself to be the Democratic Party. So why won’t the alleged moderate who is supposedly the personification of the Democratic Party unequivocally state his position on a matter that goes to the very foundation of the American republic? Perhaps it is because he is an institutional wrecking ball. Or maybe, just a coward.

JFB

The Many Absurdities of 2020

Pennsylvania is one of 8 states that chooses its Supreme Court justices by election. Both the Democrats and Republicans nominate candidates; third party nominees are occasionally on the ballot as well. Election winners are placed on the Court for an initial 10 year term. In 2015 Democrats won 3 open seats and flipped the partisan make-up of the Court. 

One year ago the Pennsylvania state legislature passed and Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe signed an election bill specifying that mail-in ballots must be received by 8:00 PM on election day. The State Supreme Court apparently had other ideas. On Thursday, despite the clear language of the law, they extended the deadline for the return of ballots to the following Friday—which is after the election has already happened. In other cases they ruled that mail-in ballots could be returned to drop boxes (apparently obviating the need for post marks) and knocked the Green candidate off the ballot this November. 

This is obviously a recipe for chaos. And it is clearly designed to assist Democrats in what is widely expected to be a close contest in a critical state. Democrats who keep complaining about the Trump Administration’s contempt for the rule of law have remained remarkably quiet about the Court’s partisan attack on just that. 

Freudian Slips

Meanwhile on the campaign trail Kamala Harris referred to a “Harris Administration”. The nominal head of the ticket, Joe Biden, referred to a Harris / Biden Administration. So for all those who think that Biden is both “moderate” and in control…Dream on.  

Kamala Harris
Joe Biden

Political Accountability

We hear a lot these days about how the Trump Administration is violating the independence of executive agencies and in the process threatening “our democracy”. Of course everything that leftists don’t like threatens “our democracy”. And it remains the case that in what is left of our Constitutional system, the executive agencies and their officers are subordinate to the elected President, derive their powers from him and report to him. It is called political accountability. 

So let’s conduct a thought experiment on political accountability by asking a question. When are Mayors of big American cities going to announce that going forward, their police departments are going to be independent and not answerable to elected officials? 

A Final Thought

Q. What is the proper course of action when the two major political parties nominate repulsive candidates?

A. Vote for a third party. 

JFB


Biden Against Violence. Sort Of.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden is about to unleash a huge ad buy  decrying violence in general, but not in particular. The reason is obvious.  Polling indicates that he is being hurt in swing states where support for Black Lives Matter has plummeted as a result of months of violence BLM unleashed. Further, despite heroic efforts of the mainstream media to obfuscate the facts,  the violence is largely a left wing affair, aided and abetted by Progressive Mayors. Up until this point the Mayors have refused to enforce laws designed to protect people and property from just the sort of violence that has become a daily occurrence in some American cities. 

Conveniently enough, the Biden campaign, along with its media allies, has pivoted to blaming the violence on Trump and white racists. “Without evidence” as CNN is fond of saying. Well, take a look at the video below of “protesters” below chanting “Death to America” Iranian style and count the MAGA hat wearers among them. It won’t take long because there aren’t any. 

Critics of the Mayors’ response (or lack of it) to the chaos have correctly pointed out that the cities engulfed in violence have been governed overwhelmingly by Democrats for generations. Hilariously enough, the New York Times has rushed into the battle with a front page story saying, well yes, it is true enough that the cities have been run by Democrats but…Mayors, unlike the President, don’t have sufficient power to prevent the violence and in any event Republicans abandoned the cities ages ago. 

Where to begin. 

Let’s start with this. Law enforcement is essentially a local affair. Mayors have the responsibility to direct police priorities. Some actually are directly in charge of police departments. To insure political accountability, most of them appoint the senior management (e.g.— like the Police Commissioner). And as for power, New York City has over 35,000 uniformed officers, making it larger than the standing Armies of most countries. But by and large the Mayors, including New York’s de Blasio, have ordered the police to stand down. In addition plenty of the Mayors have rejected federal law enforcement aid. Nancy Pelosi went so far as to refer to federal law enforcement officers as “storm troopers”. The idea that Mayors in the United States lack sufficient authority or resources to prevent the violence is simply ludicrous on its face. 

Then there is the charge that the problem is that the Republicans have abandoned the nation’s urban areas. Or as the Times notes with a straight face

“…if cities have become synonymous with Democratic politics today, that is true in part because Republicans have largely given up on them. Over the course of decades, Republicans ceased competing seriously for urban voters in presidential elections and representing them in Congress.

“Republican big-city mayors became rare. And along the way, the Republican Party nationally has grown muted on possible solutions to violence, inequality, poverty and segregation in cities.”

It takes a level of duplicity that is simply astounding for the Times to complain that there are few, if any, big city Republican Mayors. The very prospect of an actual Republican Mayor, particularly in New York, is enough to send the paper’s editorial board into periodic convulsions of fear and loathing. True enough the Times endorsed Michael Bloomberg in 2005, a nominal Republican. But the party label was a mere convenience for Mr. Bloomberg, evidenced by the fact that he abandoned the Republican Party after a few years and went on the run for the Democratic Presidential nomination.   

The Times did endorse Republican Rudy Giuliani for a second term, basically because his rival Ruth Messinger displayed breathtaking incompetence; not because they agreed with his policy stances. You have to go all the way back to 1965 to find another Republican Mayoral endorsement. That would be John Vliet Lindsay, who like Bloomberg, eventually abandoned ship and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the 1968 cycle. 

The Times isn’t really interested in Republican policy proposals for cities, unless they have all of a sudden decided they are in favor of, say, school choice. What they really want is for the occasional nominal Republican to run as long as said Republican advances the policy objectives of the Democratic Party. 

Let’s be clear about what is going on here. The Democrats are caught in a vise. The radical left that increasingly controls the party’s agenda is sympathetic to the rioters. But the people who used to be rank and file Democrats, “the deplorables” as Hillary Clinton called them, are so unenlightened that they don’t relish having their houses and businesses burned down in the name of social justice. So Biden is trying to square the circle by decrying violence in general, while pointing at right wing racists, in a delicate effort to assuage all elements of his coalition by carefully avoiding saying anything of substance. 

Will it work? Who knows? It could. It is certainly a cynical enough strategy.

JFB