Five Quick Things: 2024 Is Starting Too Early - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Five Quick Things: 2024 Is Starting Too Early
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy (Vivek Ramaswamy/YouTube)

Perhaps, given all the money it takes to mount a presidential run, it’s inevitable — but the moves being made in advance of next November’s presidential election seem to be dizzying. We’ve got a lot going on in the meantime, you know.

For example, as Melissa Mackenzie and I discussed in this week’s episode of The Spectacle, at this point it’s far too likely for comfort that we’ll be sending our kids to Ukraine to fight Russia in a wasteful and useless war long before then. How often is it that presidents lose reelection campaigns in the middle of a major war, by the way? Has that ever happened in American history?

Maybe that’s the ace in the hole a corrupt, decrepit old hack of a president who’s out of ideas and commands none of the confidence of even his own political party might draw in attempting to hang on until he’s 86 years old.

No thanks, Joe. Kill that World War III “whatever it takes” rhetoric, please. It’s provocative. It makes us wonder if fires at food processing plants, train derailments, and other freakish disasters aren’t something other than accidents.

But … anyway

1. Joe and the Teamsters and All of Your Money

Before we start in on all the GOP presidential infighting, how about this ugly little scandal?

Can Americans be bribed with their own money? The powers that be are certainly putting that question to the test. In recent years, we’ve seen inflation-inducing cash giveaways associated with “Covid relief.” We’ve seen the ongoing attempts at profoundly inequitable student loan forgiveness. In December, we saw a $1.7 trillion pork pie omnibus appropriations bill passed by a Congress that had no time to read it.

Lost in all of this has been one spectacular giveaway: $100,000 per beneficiary of the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF). The fund provides pension benefits to nearly 360,000 private-sector workers and retirees, mostly Teamsters Union members. U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, called the deal out in December, noting it was “the largest private pension bailout in American history” that benefited only “a tiny minority of workers.” He suggested it resulted from the insanity of “allowing those who mismanaged pensions to determine whether their funds qualify for taxpayer assistance with no safeguards.”

The $36 billion comes almost two years after the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. That “rescue” was the Biden administration’s Covid spending bonanza. Biden signed it into law in the spring of 2021, when the economy was already well into recovery. The housing market was booming. The stock market was on a steady upward climb. It was obvious that the “rescue” would cause inflation. It was obvious Democrats were taking advantage of an opportunity to give away public largesse. And did they ever.

Thirty-six billion dollars. Can you even believe that number? And here I am calling it a “little” scandal. Of course, that’s how it’ll be reported — if it’s reported at all and if it’s reported as a scandal at all (and you can count on going 0-2 there).

Ace of Spades notes that this is nothing because when it’s the public-sector unions whose pensions funds fail, rather than just the private-sector ones, that’s when the little piddly $36 billion tab turns into some real money. And yes, they will make you cough up for that.

Unless somehow your Republican representatives in Congress are willing to spill some political blood in defense of your wallet. The Democrats are counting on that not being the case.

Look for a public-sector pension crisis to hit before the 2024 election — especially in blue states where people and money have been evacuating in droves. It could very well be the biggest issue in the race.

2. Viva Vivek (Even Though He Can’t Win)

I’m really turning into a fan of Vivek Ramaswamy, for a number of reasons. And no, this isn’t some sort of NeverTrump thing. I just like an awful lot of what Ramaswamy has been saying.

When he announced for president earlier this week, one of the things he said is that, at this stage of the 2024 game, it’s more important to decide the “what” than the “who,” and that is absolutely right. Ramaswamy’s standard speech that he’s been making at conservative confabs, think tanks, and places like Hillsdale College talks about the dire necessity to redefine a common American identity that energizes and unites the public, because that’s a vacuum at present — and the Left is trying to fill it with woke garbage like climate change, feminism, transgenderism, and critical race theory.

He’s saying something else, which is that Make America Great Again is an attempt to fill that identity void and it’s actually bigger than one man. Which is obviously what you’d say if you’re running against Donald Trump, so sure — it’s a little bit self-serving, but that doesn’t make it not true.

I’ve said for a while, including in my book The Revivalist Manifesto, which is still available at Amazon by the way, that the movement that Trump has led preceded him and will be around after he’s gone from the political scene. That doesn’t minimize Trump and it doesn’t delegitimize his accomplishments; it’s just the truth. He’s in his 70s, one way or another he’s going to be off the political stage by 2028, and before there was MAGA, there was the Tea Party, which the political establishment hated. Ramaswamy is simply validating that view, which is correct.

But pay attention to his discussion of woke capitalism and the merger between corrupt corporations out of intellectual gas, the Hard Left and their nonstop anti-American cultural aggressions, and communist China. Ramaswamy, more than anybody else I’ve seen, really gets the challenge ahead.

That doesn’t mean he’s our next president. It does mean that when we’re deciding the “what” in the 2024 race, he deserves to be heard on the question.

Oh, and by the way, stop with the “he got a scholarship to law school from George Soros’ brother” business. That had to do with the fact that he had great grades; it doesn’t make him some globalist plant. The guy has staked his entire political identity on blowing up the Soroses and Klaus Schwabs as our overlords; take the win if he wants to help.

3. This Is How You Handle the Media

Ron DeSantis isn’t in the 2024 race. Not yet. He needs to get the law changed in Florida so he can stay as governor and run for president at the same time; until he does that, he isn’t in this race.

Nevertheless, DeSantis can still help shape the “what.” And here’s an element of that.

The standard operating procedure for Republicans and other victims of the corrupt corporate media should always be to immediately shut down their lies and refuse to engage further. Yet, over and over, Republicans who are regularly smeared and hoaxed by the leftist media agree to engage them under the premise that they are acting in good faith. That’s a mistake Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his team have proved they know not to make.

Just this week, NBC’s longtime purveyor of propaganda Andrea Mitchell wrongfully claimed during an interview with Vice President Kamala Harris that the Republican governor “says that slavery and the aftermath of slavery should not be taught to Florida schoolchildren.”

DeSantis’ office didn’t just shame Mitchell for spreading lies about the governor and Florida law, which requires students to learn about slavery, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, and more. The governor’s press secretary Bryan Griffin also called out NBC for being “maliciously intent on deceiving people” and threatened to cut off the media giant’s access to information, comment, and interviews from the governor, who is one of the top polling Republicans for the 2024 presidential ticket.

In an email addressed to “all of the bookers and producers reaching out to our office from NBC News and MSNBC,” Griffin wrote that the governor’s office will give “no consideration of anything related to NBC Universal or its affiliates” until Mitchell “corrects the blatant lie” and “NBC and its affiliates display a consistent track record of truthful reporting.”

“This will be the standard response from our office until @mitchellreports apologizes and your track record improves,” Griffin emphasized on Twitter.

Team DeSantis didn’t back down, and they didn’t accept a lousy fake apology from Mitchell, who more or less doubled down on the original lie. They kept charging and stayed on offense.

You cannot pretend that Democrat agitprop purveyors are honest brokers. You have to treat them as enemies to be beaten. Especially when as a political candidate you have direct access to the public through a social media presence that can generate a very wide audience.

DeSantis doesn’t need NBC and he let them know it. Good bet he outlasts Andrea Mitchell, who Don Lemon (wait, who?) says is past her prime.

4. This Is Not How You Do It

Then there’s Mike Pence, who somehow thinks he’s going to be president. And Pence decided that simping for the pedophiles, groomers, and racial predators at Disney is the way to the GOP nomination:

If you want solid, stolid, poker-faced, self-righteous impotence and me-tooism, Mike Pence is your man. Solid, stolid Pence reinforced that perception Wednesday when he called out Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) for being so un-conservative as to do something actually to resist the Left and stop it in its tracks. Good, solid, colorless Men of the Right such as Mike Pence just don’t do such things.

Pence began by defending DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education bill, which endeavors to stop the grooming of children in primary schools. The former vice president declared that he “fully supported Florida’s initiative to protect kids and protect parental rights.” He even offered an example of why such a bill was needed: “I was just in Iowa last week where literally there’s a school — the Linn-Mar Community School — [that] will allow a student to get a gender transition plan without parental notification or approval.” That’s ghastly indeed, and it’s good to see Pence speaking out against it. But don’t take that to mean that once The Pencidency was up and running Gray Mike would do anything actually effective.

Pence went on to hit DeSantis for going too far: “I have concerns about the follow-on. Disney stepped into the fray; they lost. The idea of going after their taxing authority. That was beyond the scope of what I, as a conservative, a limited-government Republican, would be prepared to do.” Of course. As everyone knows, being a conservative, limited-government Republican means being a dutiful lapdog for the Left. It never, ever means taking on Leftist power centers such as Disney that are corrupting children on an industrial scale with woke propaganda. Oh, no. That would be Big Government Liberalism.

Larry Hogan, the nearly nonexistent, supposedly Republican former governor of Maryland, said much the same thing.

Sorry, boys. This worshiping at the altar of cultural passivity game is what got you Barack Obama and the “fundamental transformation” of America into a place where Sam Brinton culturally appropriates Tanzanian ladies’ fashions. Sticking to that Stupid Party crap when it’s more played out than Madonna’s plastic surgeon only tells us, as Robert Spencer said in the story excerpted above, that you’re “yesterday’s man.”

Mike Pence is a nice guy. Hogan isn’t; he’s a jerk. Neither one can make a claim as valid as Ramaswamy can for the 2024 GOP nomination.

5. We’re Starting to See Who the Real Bigots Are

Milt Harris had a great post at RVIVR Thursday on a couple of loosely related sports items that tell us a lot about our culture and who the people responsible for it are.

The first item had to do with a prank. Tiger Woods was paired with Justin Thomas, who’s a lot younger and stronger these days, at last weekend’s Genesis Invitational golf tournament. On the ninth hole, Woods outdrove Thomas — something that isn’t supposed to happen — from the tee. But he was ready for it anyway, and, as the two were walking up the fairway, Woods gave Thomas a tampon in celebration of his weak drive. It’s a joke between guys, something that the cultural Left will never, ever stamp out.

But they’re trying. A couple of bitchy, insecure feminist harpies, someone named Karen Sugar and someone else named Sarah Stirk, erupted at the “misogyny” and “tone-deaf” quality of the joke.

And the second item comes from the queer sports website Outsports, which is celebrating the fact that Boston Red Sox first baseman Tristan Casas (who hit an amazing .197 last year) is apparently committed to wearing red nail polish on the field. Someone named Ken Schultz, who is one of Dave Chappelle’s Alphabet people, celebrated the move, saying it’s a nice challenge to the “stereotypically macho image of MLB players for the better. This girly look is great for baseball.”

As Milt said…

Notice how Schultz referred to baseball as a “testosterone fueled jock image of masculinity.” People like Schultz attack the traits of masculinity insinuating that they are outdated and wrong. However, God forbid that anyone would disparage the traits of homosexuality. You’re a bigot for doing that, but Ken Schultz isn’t a bigot for disparaging traditional males.

It’s easy to sum this up — these are people who are bigoted against straight males, and their hatred and microaggressions must stop. It’s time that they embrace inclusion and Stop The Hate.

Or not. Because the alternative, which is just as good, is for their intended victims and the rest of us who are like them, to begin responding in kind. And there’s an awfully deep well of Shaddap for us to draw from.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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