October 11, 2019

2020 Update

We'll be taking a brief hiatus for Columbus Day; be back in full swing Wednesday!

On Monday, the Washington Free Beacon published a story alleging that county records cast doubt on Elizabeth Warren’s claim that in 1971 she was fired from her job as a teacher due to being pregnant. Washington Free Beacon

On Wednesday, Warren criticized Facebook’s decision not to remove an ad from the Trump campaign that Biden’s campaign alleged was misleading. Twitter

While former Vice President Joe Biden still holds a narrow lead in polls of the Democratic primary, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has surged into second place, averaging 1.8% behind. RealClearPolitics

See past issues

From the Left

The left defends Warren’s claim to have been fired while pregnant, and focuses on the challenges awaiting Warren in the primary.

“It's ‘trivially easy’ to reconcile [the] facts to Warren's story — if one remembers that pregnancy is a nine-month process. Warren was rehired at 4 months, before she was showing. Two months later, when she would have been visibly pregnant, is when she says she was pressured to leave. It's certainly not uncommon for employers to ask someone to resign rather than to fire them outright, especially in matters such as this… If anything, these new details make Warren's story more touching, since she lost a job that she had good reason to believe was hers for at least another year.”
Amanda Marcotte, Salon

“Why, then, didn’t Warren tell this version of her story earlier? Because being a woman in politics has changed dramatically throughout the course of her career. Even a decade ago, being seen as a mom was a political liability… That Warren wasn’t telling this story in 2007 doesn’t mean she didn’t have a story to tell; it means that there were real political and cultural reasons to keep the discrimination aspect of it quiet. We’ve seen a similar dynamic with the #MeToo movement: acts that happened many years ago are taking shape through a new language and coming to the public fore. That doesn’t mean that the women speaking out now are liars. It means that the landscape has changed, and women are increasingly able to tell the whole truth.”
Jill Filipovic, The Guardian

“Some may see Warren’s rephrasing as the mark of a lie or as a cynical play for political points. I see it as an indicator of the changing ways stories of gender-based mistreatment get told in mainstream politics. To be taken seriously as leaders in politics and business, women have historically been told to project strength and power, to play down any parts of their histories that might encourage voters to imagine them as fragile, exploitable, or overtly female. ”
Christina Cauterucci, Slate

Regarding her candidacy, many note that “Biden still remains well ahead in support among blacks, at 36% [compared to 20% for Warren]. Whether Warren can continue to improve her standing with this critical demographic group will be particularly important in the early voting state of South Carolina. A recent CNN poll showed Biden with a strong lead in the state, with the support of 45% of black likely primary voters. The same survey showed Warren with only 4% support among black voters in the state… It has not gone unnoticed that some of Warren's events in South Carolina have featured largely white audiences. And despite the warm reception at the [Congressional Black Caucus] dinner, Warren has not received endorsements from any black lawmakers in that caucus, unlike Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.”
MJ Lee, CNN

“Let’s take [the] Top 5 [candidates]: Warren’s plans may be too boldly progressive, she struggles with black voters and in Massachusetts, which she represents in the Senate, her support is weak among precisely the sorts of working-class whites that a Democratic nominee would optimally reclaim. Joe Biden has been unfairly tangled in this Ukraine web and isn’t as vigorous as in the past. Sanders just had a heart attack. And Kamala Harris has repeatedly failed to capitalize on bursts of momentum while giving voters maddeningly mixed signals about who she is. That leaves a certain hyper-articulate Hoosier

“[Buttigieg is] phenomenally talented. None of his fellow contenders for the nomination speaks off the cuff in such gorgeously composed paragraphs… But, ugh, that age… In 2016, I visited and spent many hours with him in South Bend, then wrote a column with the headline ‘The First Gay President?’ I was looking at least a decade into the future, after he’d extended his résumé beyond South Bend, which has only about 100,000 people. I’d be a lot more comfortable if there were an additional zero in that population figure, if he had a better record on race, and if there weren’t quite so many elitist mile markers on his journey to this point.”
Frank Bruni, New York Times

The right is doubtful of Warren’s claim to have been fired while pregnant and critical of media coverage of the issue, but sees Warren as the current frontrunner.Regarding Facebook, “[its] essential threat to democracy isn’t that Mr. Zuckerberg will intervene on behalf of his preferred candidate — it’s more fundamental than that. Mark Zuckerberg need not intervene, because Facebook, the platform, will do so instinctively. With its algorithmic mandate of engagement over all else, Facebook has redefined what it means to be a good candidate — and provided a distinct natural advantage to those who distort the truth and seek to divide…

“Just as television favored a new brand of well-coiffed, charismatic and dynamic political figures, Facebook offers a disproportionate advantage to those most likely to stoke negative emotions… There’s a compelling case to be made that Facebook should be forced out of the [political ad] game entirely to counter the spread of divisive, toxic content.”
Charlie Warzel, New York Times

Some suggest that Congress “remove Trump from office, so that he cannot abuse incumbency to subvert the electoral process, but let the American people make the judgment on whether or not he gets a second term… Removing Trump from office for the remainder of his term would disable him from abusing presidential power again and protect the integrity of the electoral process from inappropriate interference. At the same time, letting him run for a second term would permit the American electorate to decide whether Trump, despite his attempt to subvert the system, should have another chance… Decoupling removal from disqualification lowers the stakes and changes the constitutional calculus. As long as Trump can run again, Republicans cannot hide behind a claim that they are [the] ones protecting voter choice by opposing impeachment.”
Edward B. Foley, Politico

From the Right

The right is doubtful of Warren’s claim to have been fired while pregnant and critical of media coverage of the issue, but sees Warren as the current frontrunner.

From the Right

The right is doubtful of Warren’s claim to have been fired while pregnant and critical of media coverage of the issue, but sees Warren as the current frontrunner.

“No one, of course, is arguing that it’s impossible a Riverdale teacher could’ve been dismissed for being pregnant in 1971; they’re merely questioning, with good reason, whether that’s what happened in Warren’s case — whether she is inaccurately describing a moment she claims, over and over again, was a turning point in her life. The version of the story Warren told at Berkeley — that she decided that pursuing a career in childhood education just wasn’t for her — isn’t all that dramatic or likely to win voters’ sympathy. The version she’s taken to telling on the campaign trail — that she was a good teacher helping needy children before a sexist school board broke its promise and fired her because she was pregnant — is quite the opposite…

“Warren would have us believe that in 2007, while speaking at Berkeley as a tenured Harvard Law School professor, a former vice president of the American Law Institute, the author of a critically acclaimed book, and a prominent commentator on economic and legal issues, she felt uncomfortable saying that she had been dismissed from her first job for being pregnant. Did she think the Berkeley crowd was going to take the side of the school administrators? Did she think they were going to boo her?... At best, we’ve got the candidate who’s arguably the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination changing her story about her first job; at worst, she’s rewriting her personal history to paint herself as a victim of sinister patriarchal forces because it makes for a better and more politically useful narrative.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“You would think that in this supposed golden-era of media fact-checking, when the truth matters now more than ever, that our very trustworthy and skeptical press would dig deeper into the matter… There is no reason to give Warren the benefit of the doubt against contemporaneous news reports, documentation, and her own previous account of her departure from Riverdale. There is especially no reason to give her the benefit of the doubt after she has been caught already in one massive, glaring lie about her life story. Yet [left-leaning] newsrooms are giving her exactly this.”
Becket Adams, Washington Examiner

Regarding Warren’s call for Facebook to ban the allegedly misleading ad from the Trump campaign, “Warren is wrong, and Facebook is right. Asking tech companies to police the truth of paid political ads opens a Pandora’s Box of potential bias and censorship. Moreover, it’s completely inconsistent with the general practice of television and radio advertising. As NBC’s Dylan Byers pointed out, the ad has also run on NBC, ABC, CBS, Google, YouTube, and Twitter. Asking corporations — including corporations who attempt to outsource fact-checking to independent fact-checkers — to referee the contents of political ads would result in an increased corporate thumb on the scales of American politics. It’s also inconsistent with American constitutional principles…

"Yes, the ad is misleading… But misleading ads are hardly new in American politics, and the answer for a bad ad is a better ad.”
David French, National Review

“Warren’s chief adversary, Joe Biden, resides in the blast zone of impeachment. Any discussion of Hunter Biden raking in $50,000 a month by Ukraine’s largest energy company is a loser for Team Biden. Voters inherently understand that Hunter wasn’t getting rich for his energy expertise — of which he has none. He was being paid for access to his father. It reeks of the same charges of crony capitalism that sunk Hillary Clinton… Warren, on the other hand, can weave the Ukraine episode into her core campaign messaging railing about how ‘corruption is breaking our democracy.’ She can claim the barb is directed at Trump, but it has the added benefit of wounding Biden.”
Colin Reed, Fox News

Regarding her candidacy as a whole, “Warren seems to have concluded that if a rule-breaking candidate like Donald Trump can be elected president, then the old political rules don’t apply any more. So she has endorsed Medicare for All and backs eliminating private health insurance; she has said she’d ban fracking for oil and natural gas; she supports decriminalizing illegal border crossing, health care for illegal immigrants who get across, and paying reparations to the descendants of slaves…

“Warren obviously hopes that her calls for federal oversight of large corporations and her call for a 2% wealth tax on multimillionaires will resonate with non-affluent Trump voters. But those voters seem more concerned with elites’ political correctness than convinced that Warren’s proposal will send their way any money somehow mulcted from corporations…

"This is not to say that Warren is a sure loser. Any Democratic nominee has a serious chance of beating Donald Trump. But it says something interesting about the Democratic Party that its current top three are in their 70's and all from overwhelmingly Democratic states.”
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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