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Chris Wallace Interviews Joe Biden: A Retrospective

By 10.22.15

This is Chris Wallace. In the wake of Joe Biden taking himself out of the race for President, I interviewed the Vice President at his official residence. You can see the full interview on Fox News Sunday, but here is an excerpt.

Wallace: Mr. Vice President, thank you for this rare interview with Fox News Sunday.

Biden: Now that I’m not running, I can appear on Fox. Let the cabinet members do the low-ratings shows on MSNBC. Besides, your audience needs to know that I supported the raid to kill bin Laden.

Wallace: But three years ago, if I may, Mr. Vice President, I’m reading directly from a New York Times account of your remarks at a Democratic congressional retreat, you recounted your advice to President Obama as, quote, “Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go.”

Biden: You’re not telling the whole story, Chris. On Meet the Press a few months later, I said the full context, that I added, “Follow your instincts, Mr. President.” Of course, I knew his instincts. I knew he would do the raid. I’m not a Dick Cheney, I wanted him to feel that he made this decision all on his own.

Wallace: Are you jealous?

Political Hay

Paul Ryan and the Suicide of the GOP Establishment

By 10.22.15

Paul Ryan has demands. Meet them — or else.

Congressman Ryan is one of the world’s good guys. But that isn’t a qualification to be Speaker of the House. The point of being Speaker, a Republican Speaker, is — to borrow from the late Jack Kemp — to “be a leader.” And not just a leader in the sense of pulling people together but a leader who can lead in the direction of a conservative agenda. Not to mention being a leader as a Member’s Speaker — not an Imperial Speaker. 

But Ryan has a huge hurdle here.

It is abundantly obvious that the GOP’s Washington Establishment is perilously close to suicide. A complete and utter meltdown.

Over in the Washington Examiner is this headline on a story by Byron York:

Panicked establishment gets ready for war against Trump

Byron writes this:

Letter From San Francisco

At SF Schools, the Kids Are All Right

By 10.22.15

Is there such a thing as being too politically correct in San Francisco? Yes — but a public official has to overreach drastically to hit that mark. Everett Middle School principal Lena Van Haren did just that when she chose to withhold the results of her school’s Oct. 9 student council election because students had elected too many white kids. “It’s not OK for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white,” Van Haren told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jill Tucker as her decision made national news. On Monday, Van Haren finally released the names of the winners.

Van Haren insists that she never intended to interfere with the results; she just wanted to wait to release them until the school had developed a plan to increase the student council’s diversity. One possible remedy would be to add seats so that African-American and Latino children are better-represented. And: “I think it still can be a teachable moment.” Problem: I don’t think Van Haren understands that she’s the one who has a whole lot to learn.

Special Report

The Irrefutable Case for Paul Ryan

By 10.22.15

(UPDATE: On Wednesday evening, the Freedom Caucus announced that a “supermajority” of its members support Paul Ryan for Speaker. While they did not reach the 80 percent threshold of the caucus members needed to issue a formal endorsement, this is, as Rep. Ryan put it, “a positive step toward a unified Republican team.” Ryan’s becoming speaker is still no sure thing, though more likely than it was Wednesday morning. Some Freedom Caucus members seem hesitant to switch their endorsement from Rep. Daniel “Not the Dictionary Guy” Webster; perhaps they should have thought of that before endorsing someone who never had a chance to win the job.

Play Ball

The Courage to Be CC Sabathia

By 10.22.15

Historically, baseball and booze have gone together like bat and ball. There is no shortage of anecdotes about legends like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle who, despite having head pounding and eye blurring hangovers, still managed to hit massive home runs much to the awe of their teammates.

Even as little as 30 years ago, beer was dispensed freely to the players in the locker room, and team management considered it a good morale-boosting exercise if the players hung out after the games and drank. The team that drinks hard together plays hard together.

All that is distant trivia, and today’s modern baseball player is without question healthier, better conditioned, and a great deal more likely to be sober than his forefathers in the game. Even so, alcohol abuse will still occasionally rear its head, with CC Sabathia being the latest case.

Campaign Crawlers

Red-State Blues

By 10.21.15

There are no Democrat statewide elected officials in Louisiana.

The last one, Mary Landrieu, was turned out of her Senate seat in a landslide election last year. Landrieu had been the only Democrat among the statewide officeholders since 2011, when Attorney General Buddy Caldwell switched from “D” to “R” in an effort to hold off a challenge from the right in that year’s elections.

And yet there are several current polls which have a Democrat, state representative John Bel Edwards of tiny Amite in the southeastern part of the state east of Baton Rouge, leading the other three major candidates in advance of Saturday’s primary. Those polls also generally say that Edwards would open the runoff election with a lead of as much as 14 points against Sen. David Vitter, the likely Republican runoff participant.

The Charlie Watch

Déjà Charlie All Over Again

By 10.21.15

Political perennial Charlie Crist is at it again. He announced Tuesday that he will run for the Florida congressional seat now held by Republican David Jolly, who will run for the U.S. Senate seat Marco Rubio is relinquishing to run for president.

For those who’ve lost track, which would be easy to do, Crist is seeking the Florida 13 seat as a Democrat. This is Crist’s latest, though perhaps not his final, party affiliation in a career in which he has the distinction of having lost statewide elections as a Republican (U.S. Senate 1998), an independent (U.S. Senate 2010), and as a Democrat (Florida governorship 2014). Searching for something positive to say about Florida’s political chameleon, I can do no better than to say that Crist is not easily discouraged.

It doesn’t matter much which party label, or absence of label, Crist hangs on himself. He has an unbroken record of no achievement in any of the state and local political offices he has held since first being elected to the Florida Senate from a St. Petersburg district in 1992 (a complete list of these offices supplied on request).

Buy the Book

Charles Koch’s Human Flourishing Project

By 10.21.15

Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies
By Charles G. Koch
(Crown Business, 288 pages, $28)

Charles Koch’s new book, Good Profit, is written for two different kinds of readers. The first is the entrepreneur who wants to build up a firm, as Koch did in spectacular fashion. So much so that an investment of $1,000 in the company back in 1960 would be worth $5 million today (if dividends had been reinvested in the firm). I’m not that kind of reader, alas. I’m the second kind, who wants to know how a company that foreswears crony capitalism can thrive, as Koch Industries did.

A Further Perspective

Politicians’ Words

By 10.21.15

At the recent televised debate among candidates for the Democrats’ nomination for president, Hillary Clinton declared that “the wealthy pay too little” in taxes and “the middle class pays too much.”

Some people might wish to argue about whether that is true or not, but no rational argument can be made on either side of this issue, because the words used are completely undefined. Nor is Hillary Clinton the only one who talks this way.

It is one of the many signs of the mindlessness of our times that all sorts of people declare that “the rich” are not paying their “fair share” in taxes, without telling us concretely what they mean by either “the rich” or “fair share.”

Whether in politics or in the media, words are increasingly used, not to convey facts or even allegations of facts, but simply to arouse emotions. Undefined words are a big handicap in logic, but they are a big plus in politics, where the goal is not clarity but victory — and the votes of gullible people count just as much as the votes of people who have common sense.

The Current Crisis

Behind the Candidates’ Smiling Faces

By 10.21.15

All patriotic, civic-minded, Americans at this point in the electoral cycle have seen quite enough of our presidential aspirants on the debate stage. For a certitude, we have seen enough of the Democrats! One evening of them is enough for me.

Yet the question arises: What could possibly motivate them? Why do they call for more federal expenditures on infrastructure and healthcare and family leave, and weekends with pay or why not overtime pay? With 18 trillion in debt already amassed (at least half of it by the Prophet Obama), why do the Democratic candidates call for piling more debt on our children, the very same credulous gulls whose college tuition the Democratic candidates are promising to pay along with healthcare and personal debt reduction. When will these young dopes figure things out? It is they who are going to have to pay for the Democrats’ giveaways. What motivates these Democrats?