“President Trump said Friday he will nominate William P. Barr as attorney general and Heather Nauert as ambassador to the United Nations.” AP News
The left is divided on Barr and critical of Nauert’s lack of diplomatic experience.
Many are skeptical of Barr’s expansive view of presidential authority. “If the past two years have taught the nation anything... it’s that the Trump administration needs an attorney general who welcomes more, not less, transparency and accountability for its actions — a legal officer who can provide assurances that the federal government works for the American public and not for any one person.”
New York Times
Others note, “no doubt [he] champions a strong presidency, and he has publicly endorsed the controversial idea of the ‘unitary executive’... Barr sees the president’s power as wide-ranging and reposed in the president alone; but he does not see it as limitless... In our current straits — with an abominable acting attorney general and the real concern that the president might have selected a crusading, unqualified loyalist to head the department — Bill Barr is a big step in the right direction.”
It’s worth noting that as attorney general, “Barr pushed an aggressive ‘law and order’ agenda on both immigration and street crime... Whether or not Trump knows it, he’s picked an attorney general who knows how to run the kind of immigration policy Trump likes: one that cracks down first and asks questions later.”
Regarding Nauert, “early on in his presidency, Trump’s eclectic mix of deputies often appeared to be executing multiple foreign policies at once. But Nauert’s appointment is an indication that Trump is now seeking out advisers who, no matter their personal views, cohere to the agenda of a president who seems to increasingly know what he wants and how he wants it done.”
“With no policymaking or negotiating experience, and after 20 months as a spokeswoman for the state department, Nauert will take her seat on the security council alongside counterparts with decades of experience...
“Nauert is not expected to be given cabinet status, downgrading the role to being largely a mouthpiece for the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the national security adviser, John Bolton – both of whom are deeply sceptical of the UN’s usefulness... [Her appointment] is widely being interpreted as bad news for the UN.”
Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg
“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week
The right praises Barr and Nauert.
The right praises Barr and Nauert.
“Barr set the gold standard for the job when he served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H.W. Bush... He is a man whose career in the law demonstrates professionalism, keen judgment and fealty to the Justice Department’s core mission of equal enforcement of the law without regard to any political considerations.”
Trump has nominated “a well-respected establishment lawyer whose legacy is bound up with a different president, the quintessential establishmentarian (and very un-Trump-like) George H.W. Bush... [in 1991] the majority-Democrat Judiciary Committee approved Barr unanimously.”
“Barr brings much-needed experience and instant credibility to the task. After all, he has already been the nation’s chief federal law-enforcement officer... Importantly, when Barr was attorney general, the chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division was a fellow by the name of Robert Mueller...
“Barr and Mueller had a fine working relationship... where Mueller has real evidence of a crime, Barr will be his strongest prosecutorial ally; and where Mueller lacks evidence, Barr will expect him to close the case the way prosecutors close cases — without fanfare.”
Regarding Nauert, many posit that “in her time as the State Department's chief spokeswoman, Nauert has learned the ins and outs of the State Department bureaucracy. She's also learned the three keys to being a successful U.N. ambassador: being a team player, understanding U.S. foreign policy interests, and understanding the interests and nuances of other international actors.”
“Ninety percent of her job will be done if she only stands tall in the face of all the globalized hand-wringers of the world... what Beyond-the-Beltway Americans want in their ambassador to the United Nations is [simple]: Just be boldly, outspokenly, unabashedly, unapologetically pro-America and pro-Israel.”
In response to criticism of Nauert’s background at Fox News, it’s worth noting that “by September 2013, only [slightly over] halfway through Obama’s tenure, his administration had hired at least 24 reporters.”
“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News
“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
“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…
“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post
Man spends $4,000 on giant statue to give town the middle finger. It’s art, officials say.