If, as is now probable, President Trump loses his campaign for reelection, Republicans will wish that they had paid more attention to the House.
The question that frames the election cycle for the House is this: Can Republicans pick up seats in the event of a Trump loss?
There are plenty of instances in which the presidency swung one way while the House swung the other. In 1916, Woodrow Wilson won, while Republicans picked up 19 seats. In 1960, John F. Kennedy won while Republicans picked up 20 seats. In 1988, George H.W. Bush won, while Democrats picked up two seats. In 1992, Bill Clinton won while the Republicans picked up nine seats. In 2000, George W. Bush won and the Democrats picked up two seats.
In 2016, Mr. Trump won and the Democrats picked up six seats.
This cycle is particularly susceptible to such an outcome. Take, for example, the recent special election in California’s 25th Congressional District. In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton carried that district by 9 points. In 2018, the Republican incumbent, Steve Knight, lost his reelection bid by a similar amount to Katie Hill. In the wake of a messy scandal, Ms. Hill resigned. In the special election to replace her, Republican Mike Garcia, a rookie candidate, beat a member of the California Assembly by 10 points.
There are more than 40 congressional districts in the country currently held by Democrats that are as Republican as that California district. The Republicans can and should be competitive in almost all of them: Districts such as New York’s 11th, where Mr. Trump won by 11 points, and Democrat Max Rose is trying to defend his seat against Nicole Malliotakis; or South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, where Nancy Mace is running against Democrat Joe Cunningham in a district the president won in 2016 by 13.1%; or New Mexico’s 2nd district, where Yvette Herrell is running against Xochitl Torres-Small in a district the president won by 10.2% in 2016.
It is unlikely that the Democrats will continue to hold all of these seats. In many instances, these districts had been won by Republicans for years.
What would help the House Republicans is more money (shocker). The president’s campaign has already raised $1 billion and has $300 million in the bank. Similarly, the Republican National Committee has more than $250 million in the bank. They should share some of that prize money with House Republicans, who, with appropriate resources, could pick up more seats and either seize control of the House or at least make it very difficult for the Democrats to maintain discipline at all times.
Right now, the split in the House is 232-199. The Republicans need to net 19 seats to take control of the chamber, and, more importantly, need to net as few as a dozen to be able to complicate and retard the ability of the Democrats to enact what is likely to be an aggressive and excessive agenda.
The simple reality is that it is difficult to run the House with a narrow majority, in large measure because any small group of troublemakers in the majority party can hold the House hostage. Ask former Speaker John Boehner how he feels about the Freedom Caucus.
For Democrats in the next Congress, this problem will be acute. If there is a Democratic majority in the House next year, they will be in the center ring of the ideological civil war that threatens to engulf the party of Jefferson and Jackson. Additionally, irrespective of whether they hold the majority, the Democratic caucus almost certainly will face a leadership struggle, as many House Democrats will undoubtedly expect Speaker Nancy Pelosi to honor her commitment to be a transitional leader.
At a minimum, winning House seats now will set the stage for Republicans to regain control of the House in 2022 in the wake of what will be a bumpy and contentious first two years of a Biden administration.
The monomaniacal obsession of the RNC with maintaining the president’s leaky boat of a campaign should not cause Republicans to miss opportunities to make the party stronger, grow the next generation of elected leaders, and impede the legislative and policy craziness heading straight toward us next year.
The party needs to remain focused on the House.
• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.
There is a firestorm over churches (and holy places in general) in California, and it isn’t clear if the fire can be put out.
In California, the governor and the mayor of Los Angeles have threatened to cut off power and water to churches that don’t obey California’s recent coronavirus enforcement order for them all to be shut down. In California, churches and other holy places are regarded as non-essential services.
Because these are still threats by the governor and mayor, it isn’t clear if they will be carried out.
There are serious consequences to shutting off power to religious institutions.
To begin with, if you shut down power, security protection systems, even if they have back-up batteries for emergencies, will fail. This means that fire alarms won’t work, burglar alarms won’t work, indoor and outdoor lighting will turn off, air conditioning and heating systems, including ventilation, will stop functioning. Sensors and cameras will stop operating. Buildings will become exceedingly dangerous and vulnerable.
Cutting off water creates a sanitation health problem for any building because toilets and sinks won’t function.
Are the threats by the governor and mayor excessive? Are they reckless?
Right now we are living through an epidemic of attacks on churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. Many religious sites have been hit by burglaries and vandalism. Churches, synagogues and mosques have been set on fire. And far too many of the attacks are meant to demonstrate hatred of religion by destroying religious artifacts, Torah scrolls, prayer books and other faith symbols. Statues of Jesus and Mary have been desecrated, damaged, destroyed and burned.
No religion has been spared in attacks on religious sites.
Arson is growing around the country, including California. The 249-year-old San Gabriel Mission was mostly destroyed by fire on July 11th. The fire was not an accident. Fox News reported on July 13 that “A slew of Catholic churches from Florida to California were burned and vandalized over the weekend as police continue to investigate whether or not they are connected to protests targeting symbols and statues.”
Shutting down power makes it easier than ever to attack religious places and get away with it. Social isolation has only made things worse, not better. The reason is plain to see: People who are locked up, with no sports activities, no shops, no bars, no restaurants and no social gatherings. Communities are reaching the boiling point. While this alone can’t explain the viciousness of various protests around the country, some by violent anarchists and revolutionaries, social isolation certainly has fueled the malaise.
Religious gatherings are ways for the community to deal with the tensions of everyday life and to address both sad and happy life-cycle events. But today there are no real weddings, confirmations, bar mitzvahs, holiday observances or even proper burials under social lockdown conditions. Virtual funerals cause as much grief as they aim to mitigate.
It is in this context that the threat to shut down churches, cut off their water and power if they don’t obey, represents a rising crisis in California, now made worse in fact by a reckless and unexplained recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled that a Nevada church must obey a 50-person limit. The Supreme Court split 5-4, but the majority simply made a ruling and offered no explanation for their action, a shameless way to handle an ultra-sensitive issue. The California situation actually is worse, because the government is not asking for limitations on church attendance. California is demanding a complete shutdown of all religious places.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. It also guarantees the right to assembly. But officials in California, like many other officials across the United States, are not concerned about the U.S. Constitution.
In a conversation with Fox News correspondent Tucker Carlson, Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, said back in April he wasn’t thinking of the Constitution. Mr. Carlson asked, “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?” “That’s above my pay grade, Tucker,” Mr. Murphy replied. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”
Does the state have the right to close down churches, synagogues or mosques that don’t obey? That issue already came to a head in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to not only shut down but to “close” synagogues permanently that didn’t obey his orders.
So far, the challenges to coronavirus restrictions have been based on the argument that churches are being treated unfairly and unequally. What has yet to be tested is whether the state can forcibly shut down a church, synagogue or mosque either by use of police power or by other coercive means such as shutting down power and water.
As PJ Media reported on July 23, one church in California, the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, is not closing down and is not imposing any restrictions on worshippers. Recent photos on Twitter show that the church is packed despite the COVID-19 threat, suggesting that at least in some parts of the United States people are willing to take their chances with the virus to fulfill their spiritual needs.
Of course the church in Sun Valley is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will the California authorities try and close it down? Will they shut off water and power? Will the cops be ordered to storm the facility? Will there be another constitutional challenge? Will the Supreme Court agree it is constitutional to completely close down holy places?
The firestorm has started, although it is still too early to tell how hard and hot the winds will blow.
• Stephen Bryen is the author of the new book “Security for Holy Places” (Morgan James Publishers).
Politicians and various social justice groups have long used labels that have nothing to do with the real intent of legislation, or an organization, to dupe the public. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Numerous “civil rights” bills have been passed by Congress over the years that have nothing to do with civil rights, but how many members are brave enough to point that out and vote against them?
Which brings me to the Black Lives Matter movement. How many mainstream reporters have bothered to delve into the background and founding principles of the rapidly spreading organization to which even White CEOs are contributing gobs of money in what appears to be an attempt to protect themselves and their businesses from any potential charge of racism?
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which self-describes as “an ecumenical, nonprofit research organization that promotes the benefits of free enterprise to religious communities, business people, students and educators,” has exposed the ideology of Black Lives Matter (BLM).
According to Acton, the founding principles of BLM include a guaranteed minimum income for all Black people, free health care, free schooling, free food, free real estate, gender reassignment surgery, free abortion (already disproportionately high among African-American women, “27.1 per 1,000 women compared with 10 per 1,000 for white women,” but apparently unborn Black lives don’t matter to BLM).
Washington, D.C.’s local BLM chapter has even called for “no new jails” (which would likely guarantee an increase in crime, much of it perpetrated in Black communities — see the District’s crime stats, see Chicago, see Los Angeles). BLM also demands reparations and wants to create a “global liberation movement” that will “overturn U.S. imperialism (and) capitalism.”
According to The New York Post, “Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a newly surfaced video from 2015 that she and her fellow organizers are ‘trained Marxists’.”
Breitbart News, a conservative syndicated news website, reported that “Cullors, 36, was the protege of Eric Mann, former agitator of the Weather Underground domestic terror organization, and spent years absorbing the Marxist-Leninist ideology that shaped her worldview.”
Driving through what appeared to be a mostly White neighborhood in Washington, D.C., last weekend I was surprised, though I probably shouldn’t have been, to see quite a few “Black Lives Matter” signs on front lawns and on cars. A few friends have posted the BLM sign on their social media pages. I wonder if any of these people know the background and goals of the movement or the radical ideology behind it.
There are a growing number, especially among the young, who have been “educated” in our once-great universities by some professors who support the BLM movement and promote similar or identical ideologies. Part of what they are taught is that America began as a White, slave-owning patriarchy and that slaves actually built America. They quickly absorb this, then come home to tell their parents they are part of the problem.
This is a major reason school choice is important if the nation is to be preserved. It should also be obvious that parents must be more selective in where they allow — and in many cases pay for — their children to attend colleges and universities and choose one where their values are strengthened and the nation not undermined.
Black lives matter because like all lives, everyone is endowed with unalienable rights. But the BLM movement might be more harmful than helpful to African-Americans. BLM’s foundational principles and goals seem closer to those of China and the former Soviet Union. If more people understood that, they might wake up and realize that the United States, as Ronald Reagan used to say, is only one generation from losing it all.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).
Revolutions have a depressing tendency to go bad. The first American Revolution in 1775 is an exception, but the rule has been for well-intentioned revolutions to turn very ugly very quickly. The present Black Lives Matter (BLM) upheaval is one that is going downhill rather precipitously. The Internet and social media have probably hastened the process, but the BLM movement is following a well-worn path.
Most revolutions begin with a spark that sets off a set of long-held grievances. They are usually hijacked by organized forces with their own agendas far different than those that began the unrest by attempting to redress legitimate injustices. Those new revolutionary elites soon begin to keep power by suppressing those who disagree with them. Eventually, they rewrite history to support their own narrative and attempt to destroy those societal institutions that might oppose them. Finally, they tend to collapse under the weight of their own illogic.
The Russian Revolution is perhaps the model for the cycle, although it took seven decades for it to finally implode through the illogic of its underlying premise. The original 1917 revolution was led by progressives and socialists who meant to redress legitimate grievances against the government of the czars. It was quickly hijacked by the radical Bolsheviks (Communists) and their agenda was largely imposed by force.
The Communists originally paid lip service to democracy, but dissenting opinions were quickly shouted down as the Bolsheviks tightened control. Then, dissent became a crime against the state. Mild dissidents were “reeducated,” and those who persisted in their criticism were liquidated.
Once the Communist Reds had won the civil war against the Whites — a loose confederation of monarchists, moderate Socialists and democrats — the real terror began, and the Communists began to rewrite history in their own image. Cities and streets were renamed, churches were banned, and statues — even those of legitimate nationalist heroes — torn down.
The Communists industrialized terror and intimidation more efficiently than most radical revolutions, and the edifice did not collapse until 1991. By that time, the well-meaning progressives and liberals who had started the original revolution were long gone. Those who survived the Red terror were forced to quietly watch a czarist government was replaced by something far worse.
Most revolutions that go bad don’t last as long as the one that created the Soviet Union. The French Revolution that was hijacked by the radicals was itself negated by Napoleon within a decade, and China’s Great Cultural Revolution didn’t last as long as that. However, before they implode, some revolutions can do a great deal of damage.
Millions of Russians and Chinese died in the terror generated by the Bolshevik and Great Cultural revolutions, respectively, and the purges by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge decimated that nation’s population. Massive blocks of the cultures of those nations were wiped out as the revolutionaries tried to erase history and rewrite to suit their narrative.
Fortunately, the current excesses caused by the unholy alliance of reverse-racist and Antifa radicals who have co-opted the Black Lives Matter movement seems to be running through the revolutionary cycle at warp speed. This is likely caused by the Internet and social media as well as the rapid psychological burn-out resulting from the 24-hour news cycle.
It did not take long for the revolutionaries to begin mandatory re-education classes via Zoom with the resulting repercussions for those not showing proper revolutionary attitudes.
Take, for example, the case of Marymount College Associate Professor Patricia Simon, who had the temerity to fall asleep during a BLM Zoom re-education meeting. According to The New York Post, activist students quickly gathered 1,800 signatures demanding her firing; fortunately for her, it was not a firing squad. By all reports. Ms. Simon is a harmless progressive nitwit, but radical revolutions need example as a warning to the insufficiently zealous.
One of the reasons that the Russian Revolution lasted seven decades, and the Black Lives Matter upheaval will not likely last past the first frost is that the Communists had a coherent agenda based on the philosophy — however misguided — of Karl Marx. By allowing the radicals to become the face of the movement, BLM activists have alienated many middle-road people who could help them attain their goals if they could ever articulate them coherently.
Aside from renaming a few streets and sports teams, destroying neighborhood businesses and getting some insincere corporate executives to put more Black actors in their commercials, this is a revolution that is burning its candles at both ends.
• Gary Anderson lectures in Alternative Analysis at the graduate level.
My city of Seattle has been torched and terrorized for two months now by Antifa agitators playing a dangerous game of security dress-up. Enough is enough. While President Trump vows to use his power to restore civil order, there is a simple way, currently overlooked, whereby the administration can hold Seattle’s political class accountable for their failed policies and snag taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in the process.
Seattle officials never waste an opportunity to chastise the president publicly. When there’s an opportunity to pounce, a press release is distributed and a tweet sent dramatically framing themselves as heroes standing up to an authoritarian president. But what you may not know is that these same politicians breathlessly beg the White House behind the scenes to give them a valuable gift of land at practically no cost so that they can build another drug-friendly, homeless facility.
The Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle was decommissioned in 2005, and subsequently leased to the city. This base occupies 34 acres of prime real estate abutting Seattle’s largest park. It’s easily worth $35 million by some estimates, probably more. Seattle, however, is attempting to obtain this property for pennies on the dollar under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, which allows the transfer of decommissioned military bases to take place if the land will be used for a so-called public good — such as green space, a school or homeless housing.
But the BRAC guidelines also give the federal government flexibility to sell the land at a market rate if they determine that the public good proposal fails to meet statutory requirements. Seattle’s plan does just that.
City officials plan to build what sure looks like a methadone clinic for homeless people with severe drug addictions and psychotic predispositions. The redevelopment plan for this decommissioned base, for instance, includes 85 “supportive” units that “leverage outside behavioral health services, including chemical dependency treatment and mental health services, and bring providers onsite when possible.”
Seattle admits that “counselors” will be available 24-hours-a-day to mediate all the anti-social behavior expected at these units. There are even rooms reserved for “physicians and visiting nurses” to deal with drug-related episodes.
This may not be the place you’d like to raise your family. But to Seattle politicians, it’s the promised land.
In what epitomizes the folly of progressive social engineering, city leaders also propose using this federal property to build “affordable housing” for families making up 60% and 80% of the median income. In other words, Seattle is trying to force through a housing scheme that would, in the same structure, offer space for fathers to play catch with their sons and physicians to administer Narcan to overdosed addicts.
How is this a sane idea worthy of consideration, let alone deserving of federal resources during a pandemic?
In this still-fragile economy, the Trump administration should seek fair compensation for this valuable property rather than give it to an outright hostile local government for almost nothing. Why should Seattle get a deal? That’s an excellent question for the Department of Defense under Mark Esper and the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Ben Carson, the two bureaucracies overseeing this land acquisition.
Since Seattle is trying to acquire federal land, the city’s redevelopment plan literally hinges on White House approval. Ben Carson’s HUD reviews the BRAC application to determine the “impact of proposed homeless assistance on communities in the vicinity of the installation, including whether the plan is feasible,” among other potentially adverse effects.
Ben Carson could tell Seattle to pound sand.
The secretary certainly has evidence to argue that, rather than compassionately offer vulnerable populations a pathway toward recovery, Seattle’s backward approach creates corridors of misery. The city is now 15 years into their 10-year plan to “end homelessness” and — surprise, surprise — homelessness is much worse. And that’s because public officials have decriminalized hard drugs by refusing to prosecute offenders. Open-air narcotics is now a fixture on Seattle’s streets, notably seen in tent encampments.
Homeless populations, especially those who struggle with drug addiction, are attracted to Seattle because they know that their destructive habits will be enabled. Crime, predictably, has spiked in neighborhoods with similar housing projects, as some homeless steal and pilfer from law-abiding citizens to support their addiction. Homeless addicts are so emboldened by Seattle’s “social justice” approach to treatment, that they are now posting up tents directly by residential homes. And the problem will worsen as the city council moves to cut 50% of the police budget and the county moves to close the Seattle jail.
Seattle’s Fort Lawton redevelopment plan should be rejected and the White House should seek fair market value for the military land. Why subsidize more of Seattle’s failures at taxpayer expense?
• Jason Rantz hosts a daily, afternoon drive talk show on KTTH Seattle and is a frequent guest on Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JasonRantz.
Savvy voters know the stakes in November. If the president loses the election and the Senate falls to the Democrats, conservatism, as customarily defined, is unlikely to survive.
Those on the right were largely celebrating Donald Trump’s policy triumphs — if not all the president’s tweets — in his first three-and-a-half years: major tax and regulatory reform, a roaring economy, the lowest unemployment rate recorded for minorities (ever), Kempian Opportunity Zones to lure business capital to the inner cities, energy independence from the Mideast, and a spectacular right-of center transformation of the courts. And that’s only a partial benefit list.
But guess who’s willing to have all these splendid achievements come tumbling down? The Democrats and the media, with a huge assist from the pandemic, of course, but also a zealous group of pious “Republicans” fueling an increasingly bizarre Never Trump Movement. It turns out this gang doesn’t care a fig if all these conservative policies go down the drain on Nov. 3.
The movement is not only building a national political operation to oust the president but several crucial factions are working to annihilate the Republican majority in the Senate for refusing to toss him out of office. But how would freeing all branches of government from effective Republican control promote conservatism or responsible republicanism, which Never Trumpers never tire of insisting they cherish?
Among the biggest supporters — or at the very least condoners — of this slash and burn strategy are some familiar names. Bill Kristol, once a respected conservative force within the GOP, has been merrily birthing several organizations that have viewed Mr. Trump as a pariah president. His Republican Voters Against Trump (RVAT) refers to Mr. Trump’s presidency as “deeply un-American” and those who backed him are implored to “inaugurate Joe Biden as the next president.”
The Right Side PAC, consisting of former Trump and George W. Bush administration officials, is crusading for the former Obama VP in seven battleground states. Founder Matt Borges warns: ”The future of the Republican party depends on cutting this cancer [Donald Trump] out now …”
The Lincoln Project thinks knocking off the president is too mild a punishment for Republican officeholders who have refused to cripple his presidency. So the Lincolns have decided to remove senators cooperating with him even in causes conservatives normally approve. Key members of the Lincolns include George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, and Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain’s 2008 race for the White House.
Here’s how the Lincolns think they are improving the political climate for decent Republican values: Ridding the Senate of Republicans with decent Republican values. Armed with several million dollars, the Lincolns, The Hill publication informs its readers, are instructing voters to defeat a dozen senators up for reelection this year, because of their “cowardice” for failing to break with the president. (The 12 irredeemables: Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, Steven Daines, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Lindsey Graham, Jim Inhofe, Mitch McConnell, Martha McSally, Mike Rounds and Thom Tillis.)
One ad, titled “Names,” features the senators’ images so Republican voters will have the nation’s enemies engraved in their memories before filling out their ballots. “Learn their names,” the ad demands. “Remember their actions and never, ever trust them again.” Reed Galen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, condemns them for having “abandoned their consciences.”
The Lincolns’ primary target? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, who has proved instrumental in the multiple achievements of the president’s first term, including putting down the Democratic effort to convict Mr. Trump of an impeachable “crime” that didn’t exist. His two most crucial wins that made the president a likely shoo-in for reelection before the pandemic: the tax reform act and his brilliant engineering of a major ideological shift in the federal courts.
His success in transforming the judiciary was so well received that Republicans of various ideological hues have given him standing ovations for his Olympian achievement. Still, the Lincolns demand his ouster.
Even moderate-to-liberal Republican Susan Collins of Maine is being pushed to the guillotine. The Lincolns yearn for her head, even though she’s voted less than 50% of the time with the president in the current Congress. She cast two votes they may have found disqualifying. She was with him on the tax bill and made a brilliant defense of his winning U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh, which appears to have moved Joe Manchin, when he was a Democrat, into Justice Kavanagh’s corner. But no good GOP deeds like these, as the Lincolns would have it, should be rewarded if you’re not comfortable putting your knee on the president’s neck.
The Kristols in the Never Trump world have, at least not yet, begun crusading for the extinction of Republicans who side with the president on conservative policies and personnel. That may be a bridge too far. But they have become the Lincolns’ Great Enablers by refusing to condemn their outlandish tactics.
Will the Never Trump coalition be successful? Columnist Max Boot, a lifelong Republican, certainly hopes so. “As far as I am concerned,“ he recently wrote, “all of Trump’s enablers need to be defeated — and that includes the entire Republican caucus in the House and Senate, save for Mitt Romney.”
Seriously, does any rational Republican believe this is the path to GOP prosperity?
• Allan H. Ryskind, a former editor and owner of Human Events, is the author of “Hollywood Traitors” (Regnery, 2015).
Time is relative.
Two and half years is plenty of time to get a master’s in business administration if you’re going to school full time. But it is probably not enough time to pay back your student loans.
And 30 months is definitely not enough time to finish something truly big: like reforming the way an organization with more than 2 million employees, a $700 billion budget, and a 535-person board of directors performs its business functions. Especially if that organization is the Department of Defense.
Nevertheless, some lawmakers want to terminate the position of Chief Management Officer (CMO) at the Pentagon based on the perception that the office — after only 2 1/2 years of operation — has not succeeded in completely fixing the military’s complex and often wasteful business practices.
But is success in such a short time really a realistic expectation? Especially considering that there has already been turnover and that the current CMO spent a full-year relegated to “acting” status while awaiting Senate confirmation.
The CMO was created as the third-ranking officer at the Department of Defense with the intention of having a single position focused on business transformation and reform. The high rank of the office reflects the importance placed on reforming the Pentagon. After all, it is the third of three pillars of the 2018 National Defense Strategy: “Reform the Department for Greater Performance and Affordability.”
The law describes the chief management officer as responsible for “establishing policies on, and supervising, all business operations of the Department, including business transformation, business planning and processes, performance management, and business information technology management and improvement activities and programs, including the allocation of resources for business operations, and unifying business management efforts across the Department.”
No individual or organization would be able to accomplish such an enormous task within only 30 months.
Congress’ push for the termination of the position is primarily a response to a recommendation made by the Defense Business Board (an advisory board for the Pentagon) which found that “the OCMO has not taken advantage of its inherent authorities or organizational position.” That is not wrong, but the major reason the office has not yet found its footing is that it is still being established within the vast Pentagon bureaucracy. It takes time for a new office to establish the boundaries of its authorities and determine how it can best accomplish its mission.
Further, in an institution the size of the Department of Defense, not one single office can be responsible for reforming how it does its business in every single function that takes place in the department. This type of work requires detailed, local knowledge specific to each of the organizations inside the department.
The importance of the role resides in having a consistent and persistent advocate for reforming business operations and pushing the department toward more efficient and effective practices. That is why the position is fairly high within the Pentagon’s hierarchy — it demonstrates the importance of the issue. And the chief management officer and his staff needs to model and amplify good behavior, championing the business transformations taking place within the department and establishing the incentives and the culture that enables better practices.
Congress has been very active recently in reforming how the Defense Department operates. It is a laudable effort that should continue. However, Congress needs to give the Pentagon enough time to process and adapt to its reforms before reverting or further changing its reform efforts.
Even the best reform effort will fail if it is not allowed enough time or authority to implement the changes desired. Congress should give the CMO that time, now that it has the authority.
• Frederico Bartels is The Heritage Foundation’s senior policy analyst for defense budgeting.
Illinois Democrats were outraged earlier this summer when the Trump administration decided to send federal agents from the FBI, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Department of Homeland Security to Chicago in an effort to help local police reduce the Windy City’s escalating murder rate.
Between May 25 and the beginning of June, 25 Chicagoans had been gunned down and another 85 wounded, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. May 31 had, in fact, been the most violent day in Chicago in more than six decades with 18 people left dead on the streets.
Still, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the move “wrong-headed” and the city’s fiery mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who had earlier said of the president, “What I really want to say to Donald Trump begins with “F” and ends with “U.” appeared on MSNBC to promise that she would use “every tool” to keep the president from sending “troops” into the city. Promising that she would not have “tyranny in the city of Chicago,” the mayor said she would go to court to keep federal forces out of the city. Illinois Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin questioned the federal involvement as well, but in less colorful language.
Many Chicagoland residents living in gang-ridden neighborhoods on the city’s West and South sides, however, liked the idea. A Reuters reporter interviewed residents of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods and found eight of 10 interviewed agreed with the mayor in opposing any federal intervention to deal with Chicago’s epidemic of violence, but that support for federal intervention was much higher among those living and working in more crime-ridden parts of Chicago.
To her credit, once Ms. Lightfoot realized what the president was actually proposing she softened her criticism. The federal officers dispatched to Chicago are part of a Justice Department operation dubbed “Operation Legend” to work with local law enforcement agencies to arrest and charge felons illegally found in possession of a firearm under federal rather than state and local laws.
Much and perhaps most of Chicago’s crime and violence is traceable to repeat violent offenders who have for years roamed the city’s streets without fear of arrest or conviction on these charges. That is already changing. Last week, a previously convicted armed robber was sentenced to 15 years in federal court after being arrested in possession of a gun, and three other felons in possession were charged and will face federal mandatory sentences when convicted.
These arrests contrast with Chicago’s decades-long refusal to either cooperate with the “feds” on such matters or pursue stiff sentences against armed criminals and gangbangers in possession of illegal weapons. Former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson observed five years ago that Chicago’s criminal violence was “directly related to the lack of accountability for gun offenders.”
He went on to say, “In Chicago, nearly 85 percent of shooting victims have previously been involved in a gun crime as a victim or offender.” That remains true today and yet for years the federal jurisdiction reporting the fewest federal prosecutions of felons in possession of illegal firearms has been Chicago.
“Project Legend” along with two other Justice Department programs, “Project Guardian” and “Project Safe Neighborhoods,” “Project Legend” is, in reality, an expanded version of a program first successfully implemented in the ’90s in Richmond, Virginia, where the U.S. Attorney and local police and prosecutors launched what they called “Project Exile,” promising criminals who used guns no bail, no plea bargains, federal prosecution and a minimum of five years behind bars. The National Rifle Association supported the program and paid for billboards and other ads trumpeting the costs of using a gun in a crime in Richmond.
When “Project Exile” was launched in 1997, Richmond had the second-highest murder rate in the country. Within three years, it dropped by more than 40% as it became clear to criminals operating in the city that they wouldn’t “walk” if they used a firearm illegally. Since then, several other cities and a few states have implemented similar programs with success, but it wasn’t until Donald Trump moved into the White House that Justice Department officials began encouraging greater cooperation in arresting and referring such cases to the federal courts.
During his 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump’s campaign website cheered the success of “Project Exile” and promised that in a Trump administration the program would be expanded. His first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was a strong supporter of the program, and it appears that Attorney General William Barr shares their view, which looms as good news for residents of Chicago’s crime-ridden neighborhoods and very bad news for the city’s recidivist criminals.
• David A. Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.
The Babylon Bee headline was perfect.
“‘Trump Might Not Accept The Results Of The 2020 Election,’ Says Movement That Still Hasn’t Accepted Results Of 2016 Election.”
“Leftists are warning that President Donald Trump might not accept the results of the 2020 election,” the satirical website wrote. “These same leftists have spent the last four years declaring that Trump is not their president, that Hillary Clinton actually won because she won the popular vote, and that Trump only won because of Russian interference.”
As the old saying goes, it’s funny because it’s true.
After Mrs. Clinton’s humiliating loss in 2016 (she got crushed in the Electoral College vote, 304-227), the Democratic nominee went on an international tour to explain what happened.
For months — which turned into years — she blamed FBI Director James Comey, Russia, computer bots, WikiLeaks, Bernie Sanders, Facebook, Joe Biden, fake news, Twitter, voter ID laws, the vast right-wing conspiracy, sexism, Barack Obama, ageism, child sex pervert Anthony Weiner, white women, xenophobia, black people, the Electoral College, the Democratic National Committee, misogyny, women cowed by their husbands, and even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (we never could figure out a former mayor of New York City caused Mrs. Clinton to lose Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Florida and … you get the point).
Now the new talking point is that Mr. Trump won’t leave the White House if he loses on Nov. 3 — and Hillary’s pushing it.
“Well, I think it is a fair point to raise as to whether or not, if he loses, he’s going to go quietly or not. And we have to be ready for that,” the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said on “The Daily Show.”
Mrs. Clinton appeared on the show to push mail-in ballots — and claim that Mr. Trump is trying to disenfranchise Americans. “There have been so many academic studies and other analyses, which point out that it’s just an inaccurate, fraudulent claim,” she said.
“There isn’t that problem. All the games that are played … to try and keep the vote down — that’s the real danger to the integrity of our election, that combined with disinformation and misinformation and all the online shenanigans we saw in 2016,” Mrs. Clinton said.
The sore loser has spent nearly four years objecting to the outcome of the 2016 election — and made a fortune in the process. She wrote a book, aptly named “What Happened,” and hawked it endlessly in public appearances, always pushing the conspiracy theory that the election was influenced by outside forces — and thus Mr. Trump is not truly president.
With Hillary leading the charge, others have been making the same claim, too.
“Whether he knows it yet or not, he will be leaving,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said July 20. “Just because he might not want to move out of the White House doesn’t mean we won’t have an inauguration ceremony to inaugurate a duly elected president of the United States.”
The claim that Mr. Trump will refuse to leave the White House made its way to the hallowed halls of the Capitol on Tuesday.
“Mr. Attorney General,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat, asked Bill Barr in a House hearing, “what will you do if Donald Trump loses the election on Nov. 3 but refuses to leave office on Jan. 20?”
Mr. Barr answered: “If the results are clear, I would leave office.”
The conspiracy theory — as well as others far more nefarious — has made its way to Hollywood.
Alec Baldwin, the former “30 Rock” actor, last week tossed out a theory that Mr. Trump will deploy the military to stop the general election in November. The actor’s comments came as federal agents descended on Portland, Oregon, amid weeks of protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody.
“The ‘police’ activity in Portland, and lack of outrage over/resistance to it tells us how Trump could stop the election in November,” Mr. Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “It’s his only hope.”
The Babylon Bee joke article was perfect because liberals claim Mr. Trump is planning to do just what they’ve been doing since Nov. 7, 2016 — ignore the outcome of the election and claim victory. And while it’s funny, it’s also sad — and scary. But it illustrates just how much Democrats fear Mr. Trump, and they’re already setting up the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election won’t be fair — at least if Mr. Trump wins.
Mrs. Clinton has steadfastly refused to accept the election’s outcome, and now she has the audacity to claim that Mr. Trump might not accept the tally this time around? Losers like Mrs. Clinton never blame themselves, and now, the two-time loser is laying the groundwork to reject the outcome of the 2020 election.
That’s what losers do.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.
Why is the desolation and violence in America’s inner cities only getting worse? That question takes on an even more urgent implication considering the Democrats have been in charge of those cities for generations.
Now, during a time of pandemic and general Democratic Party panic during an election year in which it’s becoming more and more apparent, the instinct of the incompetent and corrupt politicians running these cities cannot take any responsibility for their failure and destruction caused by their policies.
The blame game has taken on an entirely new art with Democrats in charge of the disasters unfolding in front of us.
Consider the great American city of Chicago, Illinois. Yes, it’s a city that has had a problem with gun violence for decades. What feeds that problem, as it does in many other liberal urban areas, is the fact that Chicago has “gun control,” making it less easy for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, while becoming too inviting for those who wish to do harm to a community.
How bad is it?
“Through the first half of 2020, Chicago matched the homicide pace of 2016, the city’s most violent year in nearly 20 years. There were 329 homicides in Chicago from January to June, an increase of 34% from 2019. According to the Chicago Police Department there were 1,384 shootings in the first half of the year, an increase of 42% from 2019. In June alone there were 562 shooting victims, an 85% increase over last year’s totals for the same month,” The Blaze reported.
And what is the cause of this carnage? We are to ignore the fact that we are in the midst of a national campaign by leftists and Democrats condemning law enforcement as evil and bad. Instead, Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot explained the problem is guns coming in from other states.
She told CNN, “The fact of the matter is our gun problem is related to the fact that we have too many illegal guns on our street, 60% of which come from states outside of Illinois. We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, no background checks, no ban on assault weapons, that is hurting cities like Chicago.”
When Ms. Lightfoot blames guns from out of state, one must ask, if it’s because there’s no gun control in those other places, why is it only Chicago that has become a blood-soaked hellscape? She can’t answer that question because the answer would indict liberal policies in every Democratically-held city.
Earlier in July, Ms. Lightfoot blamed guns and the coronavirus. When asked by reporters why there was such a surge in violent crime, she demurred at first, saying it was a “complicated question.” She then went to blame the virus lockdown, which she implied what is a factor in somehow making people engage in murder and other violent crime.
Resorting to ridiculous excuses for the increase of civil disorder in your city is a go-to tactic by Democrats. Ms. Lightfoot is not the first person to suggest that the lockdowns, or unemployment, have led people to become mindless criminals.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, caused a disturbance a few weeks ago by suggesting the same thing during a social media townhall. About the rise of violence in New York, she referred to the economic crisis, unemployment and rent concerns.
The implication was those who are poor or struggling, seamlessly move from being normal, law-abiding people into mindless criminals. It’s an insult to every American, and exposes the contempt with which leftist politicians hold the average citizen.
What is undeniable to everyone, apparently except Democratic Party leadership, is the incendiary rhetoric condemning the police, and law enforcement in general, is fueling the willingness of marginal anarchist and Marxist groups to engage in violent mob action in urban areas run by Democrats. Why? Because for some reason the mob feels safer in blue cities. It is the literal and figurative taking of a knee in front of the mob by Democrats signaling to the malevolent everywhere that now is the time to cause mayhem and destruction.
Consequently — “In New York gun violence has surged in June and July, with shooting incidents up to 150% in the 28 days before July 19 compared to the same time. Last year. At the same time NYPD officers have been making significantly fewer arrests. Collars were down 62% in the 28 days leading up to July 12,” the Queens Daily Eagle reported.
In addition to the disbanding of at least two crime units, new city regulations limit what NYPD officers are allowed to do during an arrest, compelling many to observe it has become almost impossible for an officer to do his or her job without committing a crime.
No wonder Democrats and the left never take responsibility for their policies that continue to destroy cities and lives. One would be inclined to call these “failures,” but it is becoming more urgent to recognize that this downward trajectory of civil order and quality of life is perhaps exactly what the American left really wants.
All these “blue cities” have things in common, including gun control, sanctuary city policies and hostility toward law enforcement. If any of these mayors and governors were serious about wanting to stop the death and destruction, they could do it, but it would require repudiating everything they stand for. Instead, lying and misleading becomes the standard of the day.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.