Good Friday Morning! Who will Donald Trump fire today from his cabinet? At this rate, the tougher bet is trying to guess who lasts through to the end of the Presidency. Last summer, The Onion ran a news story with the headline: “Nation Not Sure How Many Ex-Trump Staffers It Can Safely Reabsorb,” and we’ve only added more staffers since then, with more coming. I’ll walk through how to analyze everything that’s happening in the White House. I’ll also touch on Hilary Clinton’s speech in India. Links follow.
New this week at the Conservative Institute
North Korea has danced around the negotiating table for decades. They use it as a means to get cash and other concessions from the West to prop up their regime. The US should be very skeptical of any talks — if North Korea even shows up.
The latest jobs report was a huge success. That success also tells a story of how even a decade later, Americans continue picking up the pieces in the wake of the Great Recession.
What to Make of White House Firings
It’s like a revolving door at the White House these days. If you can’t keep up with who is in and who is out these days, I don’t blame you. Maggie Haberman, a journalist at the New York Times, who probably does the best reporting on the inner workings of the White House, had this tweet on the ongoing drama:
White House officials are describing the current climate as either the walls closing in or the reset that Trump needs. Pick one.
I think however you read the stories about the names coming and going will dictate how you interpret these changes. And what many opinion pieces, and even reporters, are doing is picking a side and lining up the facts. It’s hard to read either way, in my opinion.
On the one hand, Gary Cohn’s departure seemed like a big deal at the time, and that the protectionist wing was taking over the White House. But then Trump nominated free market proponent and CNBC personality Larry Kudlow to be the chief of the economic council. Kudlow will push the same agenda, with a friendlier disposition towards Trump.
Right now, Rex Tillerson’s departure seems like a big deal, but Mike Pompeo will probably work better with Trump and run a tighter ship than Tillerson, just based on his relationship with Trump. The reason it seems like a big deal is because Trump is switching Secretary of States right before setting up a potential meeting with the North Koreans. Right now the White House doesn’t have a plan, logistics, or advisors in place to navigate any possible meeting with the North Koreans. But all of this was true with Tillerson as well, making it difficult to see how changing Secretary of States hurts Trump.
To top all the crazy things off, ProPublica published a blatantly false report, which they retracted and apologized for, that accused Trump’s nominee Gina Haspel of overseeing the post-9/11 enhanced interrogation techniques. Senators John McCain and Rand Paul criticized Haspel over that report, something they’ll have to walk back.
In short, all these changes seem to matter until they don’t. And they likely only matter if the replacement for the person is worse than the original. The spin, both for and against the administration, is that Trump’s White House is imploding in chaos or it’s Trump setting up the team he wants. The only way to measure that is through results, so we wait and see.
WashPo and Hilary Clinton blame White Women for voting for Trump
I have to admit; I’m somewhat shocked Hilary Clinton keeps revisiting the 2016 election and arguing about why she lost, either through book or speech. I’ve tried just to ignore the Clintons since the election loss, even though I’m not wholly convinced she’s given up running again in 2020.
Two statements are stunning to hear from a former Presidential candidate. The first effectively calls all non-city areas in the country backward, sexist, and racist:
“I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product,” Clinton said. “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards. You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs, you don’t want to, you know, see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are, whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it.”
This statement, in particular, is stunning because, in the 1990’s, these exact people nominated her husband, Bill Clinton, to the Presidency. We’re talking places like Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and the Midwest, which all went Clinton in the 1990’s, are now suddenly backward and racist just because they didn’t vote for her.
Jonah Goldberg had the right idea here when he pointed out: “It shows that she really doesn’t like large swathes of the country. She has a Manichaean view that says people who voted against her are backward, racist, sexist, and kind of dumb.”
The kicker in all this came from her second statement, which blamed white women for being incapable of thinking independently. The Washington Post ran an op/ed defending this point, in a piece entitled: “Like it or not, studies suggest that Clinton may not be wrong on white women voting like their husbands.” The key segment is:
During a discussion at the India Today Conclave on Saturday, Clinton was asked why she thought most white women voted for Trump, even after the “Access Hollywood” tape and claims of sexual misconduct weeks before the election.
“[Democrats] do not do well with white men, and we don’t do well with married, white women. And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party, and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should,” she said.
Clinton also said she was winning with white women — but lost momentum after then-FBI Director James B. Comey released a letter saying the agency was looking into additional emails from Clinton’s private server.
The former Democratic presidential nominee is correct that white women usually choose Republicans in presidential elections; they’ve done so since 2004. And most white women without college degrees have backed the Republican in every presidential election since 2000.
And, like it or not, the second part of her statement may not be wrong.
Clinton has made comments like these before and has been criticized for them because they appear to place the blame for her loss on white women’s inability to think independently about their vote. But there are studies that show that how white women vote, especially those who are married, is highly influenced by the politics of their husbands.
The piece goes on to argue that the only reason these women voted for Trump is that they were pressured into it by their husbands or some other male influence in their life. But for men, the argument goes, Clinton would have won women if they could only think independently.
It’s a weird argument to make on two counts. First, it presumes all these white women are secretly Democratic Party voters who are under the control of evil men. Second, both the article and the studies it cites, suffer from selection bias.
People tend to marry people who hold the same values and interests as them. Countless studies have shown this simple fact. In other words, it’s far more likely these are Republican voting women who married Republican voting men, and they vote the same way. And again, Jonah Goldberg captures this point beautifully:
This is a pristine example of the lazy false-consciousness narrative that informs so much of feminism. It can’t possibly be the case that women agree with their husbands — or that their husbands agree with them. I mean, sometimes people who share a worldview marry each other. You either agree with — and ultimately love — Hillary or you figuratively toil in the fields in your Handmaid’s Tale habit.
Occam’s razor offers a much simpler answer. Hillary Clinton wasn’t skilled or likable enough to pull it off. She was a known quality, and much of the country wanted something new — not the dour heir to a political dynasty. Sure, she was dealt a bad hand. I’d be bitter too if I had won the popular vote but still lost. But Hillary literally ran on the idea that it was her “turn” to be president, an appeal that only works on people who already believed that her sex or last name entitled her to the job — a ridiculous idea on the merits and an insane one given the political moment she was in. That sense of entitlement explains why she never went to Wisconsin far more than the stranglehold of the patriarchy or the deplorableness of the denizens of backward America.
I continue to be amazed that cultural liberals try to keep Clinton relevant in current events. I just can’t fathom why. She’s not going to win an election. She lost a primary in 2008. She used backroom deals to seal off the nomination in 2016 from anyone else and still lost a general election to the second worst Presidential candidate in history (she’s #1). Americans don’t like her, and we’re talking Americans in her party.
Stories like this are helpful insofar that they show the false reality those deep in identity politics believe about the world. Hopefully, this form of politics dies off soon, but I’m not holding my breath.
Best links of the week
Why It Doesn’t Matter Who the Winner Is in PA-18 – Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics
Why Conor Lamb (Probably) Won: Lessons from the Pennsylvania special election. – Bill Scher, Politico
Republicans are in denial on their coming shellacking – John Podhoretz, The New York Post
When will we stop killing humans with Down syndrome? – Marc Thiessen, Fox News
Terror In Budapest – Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
The Seth Rich Family’s Lawsuit Contains Brutal Claims against Fox News – David French, National Review
What Trump Can Learn from Madeleine Albright About North Korea Talks: Take it from someone who accompanied that secretary of state on a humiliating visit to Pyongyang in 2000. – Eli Lake, Bloomberg View
The Ticking Time Bomb for Suburban Retail – Laura Bliss, City Lab
Beware The Ides Of March, For This Is How A Republic Dies: A republic dies not instantly, or by brute force, but through physical and moral exhaustion, and in slow, methodical steps. Just consider the Roman Republic. – Jeffrey Blehar, The Federalist
Satire piece of the week
Famous YouTuber Logan Paul has been working hard to cultivate a more humble, sympathetic public image since posting a widely criticized video of a dead body back in December, and today the popular vlogger took another huge step forward. In an act of true maturity, Logan Paul has decided to postpone his epic school-shooter prank video in support of the national school walkout against gun violence.
Wow. It’s so inspiring to see Logan finally utilizing his vast social media influence for good.
In a video titled “POSTPONING MY EPIC SCHOOL SHOOTER PRANK (real) (not clickbait),” Paul explained to his subscribers that he would be waiting a full 48 hours before posting a video of himself jokingly telling a group of eighth-graders that there’s an active shooter on their campus in order to respect the cause of the Parkland victims.
“I have respectfully and humbly made the choice to wait a couple of days before allowing the Logang to see me pretend to shoot up a school in the most epic and hilarious prank of all time,” Paul explained in the video. “I’m wise enough to know that there’s a time and a place for posting monetized footage of students cowering under their desks while I parade through their classrooms firing blank rounds out of an AR-15, but today should be about the movement for common-sense gun legislation and not the priceless look on a bunch of scared teenagers’ faces when they realize they just got tricked by the master.”
Thanks for reading!