This week’s 5QT will strike an intentionally hopeful note because your author absolutely insists on spreading good cheer despite all the odds.
That said, this is the best I can do.
The Biden campaign has staked out a position for 2024 already; they say they want the whole 2024 race to be about abortion.
The Biden administration wasted little time making it clear that abortion access will be a cornerstone of President Biden’s 2024 re-election bid as red states continue to enact bans and restrictions.
Why it matters: Last year’s midterm elections showed voter sentiment breaking for new protections for abortion rights following the fall of Roe v. Wade. Biden is hoping he can replicate that.
- Polls have shown that abortion is a key issue Americans consider when deciding how they’ll vote.
- Some anti-abortion groups have blamed the GOP’s disappointing midterm results on the party’s reticence around the issue, as well as its lack of consensus on national restrictions — although some presidential candidates are now looking to change that, as Axios’ Zach Basu reports.
State of play: Biden’s first campaign video released on Tuesday shows footage of abortion rights protests that took place around the time of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision.
- Biden referred to “MAGA extremists” who are restricting Americans’ rights, including “dictating what health care decisions women can make.”
Here’s the truth about this: Joe Biden’s position on abortion is the most extreme of any in the “mainstream” of American politics. Joe Biden and the Democrat Party are for slaughtering unborn children all the way up to the point when they descend the birth canal — and then they get squishy.
That’s a position that four out of five Americans — maybe even five out of six — do not agree with.
The GOP has done an awful job of making this understood by the American people. Though I’ve got to give Sen. John Kennedy credit because this week he did a shockingly good job of illuminating this in a Senate hearing. I highly recommend spending six minutes watching this:
At some point, they’ll get smart and bring a bill in Congress that imposes a federal ban on abortion at six months. Why? Because at six months there’s a comfortable majority of Americans who think abortion shouldn’t be legal. But even that isn’t why.
You can’t make public policy with that bill at the federal level. The Democrats will fight it tooth and nail. Even if you could pass it through both houses, Biden would veto it. And that is why you bring that bill. What you’re doing is smoking out the fact the Democrats are for the worst, most morally repugnant, radical abortion positions imaginable. And letting them choke on that.
But what’s worse than their position on abortion is the limitless promotion of sexual perversion and human destruction where transgenderism is concerned. It’s absolutely amazing how quickly that party has closed ranks around the trans crowd.
Did you catch that when the House voted to pass a federal ban on biological males invading organized women’s sports, not a single Democrat crossed the aisle? Not even any Latino or black Democrats whose constituents have zero interest in promoting the trans agenda.
Nope. Didn’t matter. They took a position that the public is overwhelmingly revolted by.
I’m praying the Republicans get just a little smart between now and the 2024 election. Bring a weak-sauce six-months abortion ban bill and smoke the Democrats out on the issue, then hammer them on transgenderism to show just how dystopian their social agenda truly is. And watch Team Biden attempt to call Republicans extremists on abortion.
The House Republicans did something else to smoke out the Democrats’ position on a key political issue this week; they passed a budget and debt ceiling increase that bumps the debt ceiling up by $1.5 trillion in return for about a half-trillion dollars in budget cuts a year. What they’re cutting is mostly indefensible stupid crap Team Biden has larded into the federal budget through that rotten “Inflation Reduction Act” and other recent measures; not a single cut in that GOP budget would negatively affect the American people on balance.
And the fact is that it doesn’t really matter whether these cuts are all that good (they are) or if they’re comprehensive enough to really meet the needs of the fiscal emergency we’re in (they’re definitely not). The point here is to force the discussion in the direction of having Biden and his people recognize that federal spending simply cannot continue unabated.
It is a political win for the American people to recognize that’s an unrealistic prospect.
Joe Biden, at least so far, refuses to negotiate and will offer nothing to support his demand for a “clean” debt ceiling increase. So this is a game of chicken.
And Biden’s Treasury secretary, the irresponsible Wall Street profiteer Janet Yellen, she of the insane position that running the national debt up to $51 trillion over the next 10 years is a “responsible” piece of fiscal policy, is now warning of an economic disaster should we hit the debt ceiling in a month or two and not be able to borrow any more.
This administration is a collection of thugs who clearly despise the Constitution and the American people, and 70 percent of the American people are saying that they want no part of a Biden second term.
Which means that Joe Biden can’t survive a war of attrition on the debt ceiling. It will break him politically.
Nobody really thinks the Republicans have the stones to carry out this fight. But the fact is that Biden is violating Sun Tzu’s “golden bridge” rule: you always give your enemy a golden bridge to retreat across, because if he has to dig in his heels along the river bank, he will fight to the death. If the GOP backs down with no considerations at all, it’s the end of the Kevin McCarthy speakership and what will come after him will be a lot more intransigent. It’s very difficult to imagine that plunging the country into a debt crisis when we’re already on the verge of an undeniable recession is a good strategy for retaking the White House, the Senate and the House.
So let’s have Ragnarok. Let’s plunge over the waterfall, and let’s do the debt crisis and the recession in one fell swoop.
When it’s Joe Biden’s decision (the corporate Joe Biden, obviously; Joe Biden the senile old thug barely even knows what day it is much less is in charge of his side’s strategy) that we’re going to do this. Biden could sit down with McCarthy and offer him a few trinkets to save face and give up a reasonably clean debt ceiling; so far he hasn’t done it and shows no sign of doing so.
Fine. Give him his medicine. We’re going to have to start making our peace with the idea there are consequences to decline because that’s inevitable given the current status quo, so we might as well start with this.
So Joe Manchin says he’s running for reelection in West Virginia next year, although there’s little in the way of polling that shows that he’s well-positioned to get reelected as a Democrat in one of the most Republican states in the union.
And now the Republican governor, Jim Justice, who’s far, far more popular than Manchin, has jumped into the race against him.
Justice’s approval rating is some 15 points higher than Manchin’s, again, in a state that is overwhelmingly Republican.
He’s cooked. He knows it. Everybody knows it.
Manchin has been offered opportunities to switch parties. He’s been offered opportunities to join Republicans in standing against the worst of these insane spending bills and other abuses. He’s refused. He’s chosen Chuck Schumer over his own constituents again and again, though admittedly not every time.
There is no more reason to offer Manchin anything. Republicans have a superior candidate this time. It isn’t great that Justice is 72, but that’s still younger than Manchin is. And when Manchin is gone, it’ll be a whole new era in American politics before West Virginia elects a Democrat again.
Bye, dude. We won’t miss you when you get bounced out next year.
There was this crazy piece by Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review a couple of days ago, and it referenced this other piece at the Bulwark (yes, yes, stop laughing), and it brought up an amazing revelation in certain distinctly un-revelatory quarters:
At the Bulwark, Sarah Longwell argues that one of the clearest results of her many focus groups of Republican voters is that they don’t want to turn the clock back to the time before Donald Trump. She writes, “The Republican party has been irretrievably altered and, as one GOP voter put it succinctly, ‘We’re never going back.’”
And this basically dooms candidates such as Mike Pence and Nikki Haley who are running as if the pre-Trump world still existed. She quotes voters who identify these candidates as “pre-2016” throwbacks, one voter saying of Haley: “She would just be right back to the Paul Ryan, John Boehner kind of a thing. That’s a no-go for me.”
Longwell ends ominously with the warning that the next election cycle will dispel any notion of a return to the pre-Trump party. “The question, then, will be what AT [After Trump] Republican politics evolves into once everyone in the Republican party understands that it is the future. The answer isn’t likely to be pretty.”
Dougherty goes on to note that the Bulwark piece comes to the conclusion that GOP voters are a bunch of unwashed rubes who can’t see the brilliance of the NeverTrumpers, and he’s smart enough to recognize the obvious flaw in that — which is that no matter how much the Bulwarkies might despise the party’s voting base, there are good reasons why they chose Trump over the old-fashioned Bush Republican gang, and those reasons persist.
He goes through a long recitation of just how awful George W. Bush was for the Republican Party, and it’s quite well done.
I’ve seen a few things lately out of the GOP establishment crowd that seem to indicate they’re finally coming around to the idea that this really isn’t going to be just an interregnum before they get the keys to the castle again. They’re very bitter about this, and the rest of us are entitled to demand that they hurry up and get through the Five Stages of Grief already, but perhaps it’s progress.
As irritating as they are, we might actually need them in a tight race here and there. Which doesn’t mean at all that these people should ever get to run things again. And good God, no more Bushes. Ever.
Amazon Prime Video has a movie I stumbled on starring Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham called On A Wing and a Prayer. It’s a true story about Doug White, a Louisiana pharmacist who, with his family, was catching a ride from Marco Island, Florida, to Monroe, Louisiana, on a King Air 200 with an old pilot friend of his who died just after takeoff. This happened in 2009.
White managed to land the plane at the airport in Naples thanks to the help he got from air traffic controllers and Kari Sorensen, a Connecticut flight instructor who managed to reach him by phone and talked him through flying the plane and landing it in a crosswind. It’s a miraculous story.
It’s clunky, and it has plot points that are overdone at times and a little ham-fisted at others. But what’s fun about On a Wing and a Prayer is that it’s a movie about a Christian family with old-school values and they’re not treated like freaks, though this is a Roma Downey project, so OK — it’s a Christian movie. At this point, I don’t care; woke-free films get affirmative action points from me, and this one qualifies. If you’ve watched other things Graham has been in, she’s a bit of a shock as the conservative religious Southern wife, but it’s actually a pretty believable performance (albeit with a slightly overloaded North Louisiana/Steel Magnolias accent). Quaid’s completely in his element as the lead.
This isn’t a Best Picture nominee, but it’s entertaining, and it’s like water in the desert in terms of being a movie that actually celebrates traditional American values and spirituality instead of dumping on them. For that reason, it deserves viewership and a mention here.