Twitter’s trending topics took issue with a post from Donald Trump Jr. which compared President Joe Biden to former President Jimmy Carter as opposed to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Biden isn’t the next FDR he’s the next Jimmy Carter,” Trump Jr. wrote, hours after a new jobs report Friday morning signaled a long, slow recovery ahead with missed expectations by 700,000 jobs added in April.
Biden isn’t the next FDR he’s the next Jimmy Carter.
Twitter’s editorialized “trending topics” highlighted the post, branding users “confused” as if Trump Jr.’s tweet was a personal attack of character.
“People are confused by a Tweet from Donald Trump Jr., saying that President Biden isn’t the next FDR he’s the next Jimmy Carter,” the platform-publisher wrote, “given that former president Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose humanitarian record is largely respected.”
Trump Jr. published another post on the topic after Twitter began amplifying “confusion.”
“Anyone who is supposedly ‘confused,’ by my below tweet should probably read the awful Biden job report out today,” Trump Jr. wrote. “Then take a peek at the rising prices of raw materials that we’re seeing and then finally google ‘Jimmy Carter inflation’….Things will make a lot more sense to you!”
Anyone who is supposedly “confused,” by my below tweet should probably read the awful Biden job report out today, then take a peek at the rising prices of raw materials that we’re seeing and then finally google “Jimmy Carter inflation”….Things will make a lot more sense to you! https://t.co/ZJ6142EJIEpic.twitter.com/77bqHP2ubh
Jimmy Carter’s presidency is synonymous with energy shortages, stagflation, weakness against foreign enemies, and a general sense of impending doom, and Twitter is just memory-holing it. pic.twitter.com/9qPcKQFeJ4
The report out Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows about 266,000 new jobs were added for the month of April, far short of the million jobs predicted as millions of Americans rake in more on government assistance as opposed to an earned paycheck. School closings endorsed by the Biden administration meanwhile, have kept millions of working parents home, unable to re-join the workforce.
Generous government handouts combined with school closures ticked the unemployment rate up to 6.1 percent despite more jobs available this spring than there were in the days leading up to the pandemic last year.
Yep, that’s right… Without wearing a mask, His Fraudulency Joe Biden got all physically cozy with 93-year-old Rosalyn Carter.
Yep, that’s right… Without wearing a mask, the Reverend-Doctor Jill Biden got all physically cozy with 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, a two-time cancer survivor.
And then — get this — after they left the Carter home, His Fraudulency and the Reverend-Doctor performed mask theater, they WORE THEIR MASKS OUTSIDE for the television cameras. See below:
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter (L) walks U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. first lady Dr. Jill Biden out after they after visited former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, April 29, 2021, in Plains, Georgia. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
So, if I’m understanding all this, these are Joe Biden’s totally arbitrary and anti-science masking rules…
When you’re fully vaccinated (and the Bidens are), you need to wear a mask outdoors, even if you’re by yourself, even if you’re with your spouse, who is also fully vaccinated. You also need to continue to wear a mask indoors when fully vaccinated. As you will see below, Biden believes this is “your patriotic duty for God’s sake.”
But when you’re indoors with two very frail people in their nineties, you can rip the mask off and hug it up!
Now, CDC guidelines say it’s okay for the fully vaccinated to be together indoors without a mask and without social distancing. The Carters are fully vaccinated, which means the hideous Bidens did not violate CDC rules.
But the hideous Bidens don’t care about CDC rules. The hideous Bidens want us all wearing masks even after we’re vaccinated and whether we’re inside or outside. That’s why they wear their masks outside, to emotionally blackmail us with their virtueless, anti-science virtue signaling
Here’s Joe saying exactly that on the far-left Today Show just last week after being asked why, after he’s been vaccinated, he continues to wear a mask outdoors and indoors: “[I]t’s a small precaution to take that has a profound impact. It’s a patriotic responsibility for God’s sake.”
Here’s the full transcript:
NBC’s Craig Melvin: CDC guidance this week about outdoor mask wearing. A lot of folks excited that they can now shed these masks if they’ve been double vaccinated. Are you going to be one of these folks now? We no longer going to see the President of the United States outside with a mask on?
His Fraudulency Joe Biden: Sure, sure. I mean, but what I’m going to do though, because the likelihood of my being able to be outside and people not come up to me is not very, very high. So it’s like, look, you and I took our masks off when I came in because look at the distance we are. But if we were in fact sitting there talking to one another close, I’d have my mask on and I’d make you to have a mask, even though we both been vaccinated. And so it’s a small precaution to take that has a profound impact. It’s a patriotic responsibility for God’s sake. It’s making sure that your wife, your children, if in fact they haven’t been vaccinated, making sure that they’re not going to get sick.
It’s a patriotic duty for God’s sake!
And why is it a PATRIOTIC DUTY for a fully vaccinated person to continue to wear a mask in and out of doors??? Because it’s a “small precaution to take that has a profound impact.”
A profound impact!!!!!
Joe Biden on mask mandate orders: “It’s about patriotism. It’s about being patriotic. It’s about saving lives, for real. I’m— this is not hyperbole. It’s about being patriotic.” https://t.co/Slpqqn7UmM
So what anti-vaxxer Slow Joe is saying is that even after you’ve been vaccinated, nothing changes, the risk is still too great to do something as reckless as wearing a mask outdoors. But…
Boy, oh, boy, but will you look at that picture…
Just look at it…
As we all know, there’s nothing riskier in this pandemic than being around the frail and elderly, and while I mean no disrespect towards the former president and his wife (God bless them both), they define elderly and frail…
Nonetheless, here’s His Fraudulency and the Reverend-Doctor proving everything they say about masks is total bullshit, proving they know it’s safe to not wear a mask after you’ve been vaccinated, and proving it with their actions, proving it by “exposing” not just the elderly and frail, but a former American president and first lady…
And then, right after hugging it up maskless with the Carters, both of these godless frauds put theirs masks back on outside for the television cameras. Yep, they strapped that emotional blackmail to their smug faces and strutted around like that makes them Super Patriots superior to the rest of us slobs.
If he’s awake yet, His Fraudulency must be furious at the Carters for releasing a photograph that exposes every word of his mask talk as a hypocritical lie.
Let me tell you what that picture proves… It proves what Biden really believes… If everyone is vaccinated, it’s safe to remove your mask and hug even those who are the most vulnerable to the China Virus.
And if that’s the case, if the vaccine allows us to engage in the riskiest behavior there is, Biden wearing his pompous mask while outdoors is nothing less than a propaganda symbol of his fascist desire to keep us down, to keep us and our children in these oppressive masks forever, and that speaks volumes about his monstrous lack of character.
The Democratic president signs a treaty with the leader of America’s greatest geopolitical rival.The two countries had once been allies, but they have stopped trusting each other.Still, the U.S. president thinks that he can strike a deal on one particular issue—an issue that many of his supporters deem to be a matter of life and death.Indeed, this presidential deal-making is controversial, because critics say that the other country simply can’t be trusted.
Yet the American president persists in his deal-quest, saying that not only is this agreement a good idea, but that further agreements should be made as well.He says that his diplomatic dealing “allows us to continue on course toward a safer world with even more substantial limitations” in the future.
Not surprisingly, the foreign leader is delighted by this windfall deal; as he says, “In signing this treaty, we are helping to defend the most sacred right of every man—the right to live.”
At the summit, there is nothing but tidings of good cheer.And so concerns about the bad terms of the deal—to say nothing of outright cheating—are brushed aside.
Does this sound a bit like the climate agreement that President Joe Biden has struck with Chinese leader Xi Jinping?
You know, all the optimism?All the honeyed words at the summit—and the dismissal fears that the U.S. will sit and watch as the Chinese regime flouts the agreement?
Sure, Biden-Xi is exactly what it sounds like.And yet while the preceding paragraphs might seem to be a description of the effort by the 46th president, they are in fact taken from the actual record of the 39th president, Jimmy Carter.
Back in June 1979, Carter traveled to Vienna, Austria, there to to meet with Leonid Brezhnev, president of the Soviet Union. The purpose of the summit conference was to sign a Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, known as SALT II.
For his part, Brezhnev was so happy with the deal that he actually kissed Carter.
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev (right) kisses U.S. President Jimmy Carter (left) after both leaders signed the SALT II Treaty in Vienna, Austria, on June 18, 1979. (AP Photo)
Yet not everyone wanted to kiss Carter.
Back in the U.S., far from Brezhnev’s embrace, many Americans had grave concerns about the treaty.One such was conservative author and activist Phyllis Schlafly; in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September 1979, Schafly was scathing:
SALT II not only allows the Soviets to have the power, but also the perception of power.It is obvious that SALT is so unequal, so unfair, so humiliating to the United States. It gives so many advantages to the Soviet Union that I don’t know how the Kremlin could have anything but contempt for a country which would acquiesce in such an unequal, unfair deal.
Indeed, widespread criticism wilted support for SALT II in the Senate, and so the treaty languished, never getting close to the two-thirds support it needed for ratification.
Then in December 1979, the Soviet Red Army invaded Afghanistan, thus underscoring Russian malevolence and duplicity.At that point, even Carter had to give up on getting his precious treaty ratified. In January 1980, he withdrew the deal from senate consideration.
Yet even so, the Carter administration insisted that the U.S. would still abide by the terms of SALT II. es, Carter—joined by the liberal diplomatic establishment—was that much in love with the idea of an arms control treaty with Moscow.
Fortunately, there was another point of view, skeptical of dumb treaties made with untrustworthy “partners.”
Republican presidential contender Ronald Reagan delivers a speech on November 16, 1979. (AP Photo)
And 1980 was a presidential campaign year, and the 1980 Republican platform was unsparing: “The Republican Party rejects the fundamentally flawed SALT II treaty negotiated by the Carter Administration.”
That November, Ronald Reagan swept Carter out of office, winning 44 of the 50 states.Once in office, Reagan declared, “We’ve given up on SALT.”
So we can see: A long time ago, a Democratic president made a foolish deal with an adversarial superpower, and yet fortunately, he was blocked from implementing that deal. Indeed, that president was tossed out in the next election.
But actually, come to think of it, the events of 1979-80 weren’t that long ago. In fact, one of the major figures in the SALT II debate is still on the national stage today, still looking to make a one-sided deal with an adversary.
What Did Joe Biden Do?
In 1979, Biden was serving his second term in the U.S. Senate, and was already a loud voice on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In August of that year, Biden and his senatorial colleagues traveled to Moscow, holding what he described at the time as a “very cordial” meeting with top Soviet leadership, aimed at smoothing the ratification of the SALT II treaty.
In those days, the Soviet Union’s egregious human rights record—you know, the GulagArchipelago and all that—was a major concern of many Americans.The Soviets had made myriad promises about human rights and had broken all of them, and so it seemed bizarre to be trusting those same communists on arms control.
Yet in the minds of many liberals, arms control was paramount.And so, with the same sort of obsession with which Captain Ahab pursued the white whale in Moby Dick, Carter, Biden, and other Democrats pushed hard for SALT II, including minor modifications that Biden hoped would make it more palatable.
Interestingly, decades later, Front Page Magazinereported that during those 1979 sessions in Moscow, Biden told the Soviets not to worry about human rights because nothing was more important than securing the arms control treaty.As Biden reportedly said 42 years ago, the issue of human rights should not be allowed “to spoil the atmosphere with problems which are bound to cause distrust in our relations.”
In other words, the SALT II deal was all.And as an aside, we can see, here, a familiar and perverse dynamic in our diplomatic dealings with adversaries: Once the U.S. foreign-policy establishment—we might dub it Big Diplomacy—gets fixed on a goal, such as the ratification of a treaty with a foe, it tends to get so preoccupied with that goal that, Ahab-like, it waves away counter-indicators that argue against the goal. Indeed, Big Diplomacy often finds itself covering up contrary evidence, so as not to allow the stopping of “progress.”
Fortunately, the nation as a whole is bigger than Big Diplomacy, and so that’s why SALT II failed.
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) tells a Washington press conference that ratification of the Salt II treaty is vital to American security, on October 9, 1979. (AP Photo/ Charles Harrity)
Yet revealingly, Biden still sees SALT II as a good thing.
In October 2007, when he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination for the second time (as we know, the third time’s the charm), the Delawarean found himself in a debate with other hopefuls, including former Rep. Bill Richardson.Since Richardson was well known as a diplomat, Biden was eager to demonstrate his own diplomatic chops, and so he declared, “And with regard to my experience, hey, Bill, in 1979 I was–I led a delegation of 19 senators negotiating the [SALT II] agreement with Brezhnev.”
In Biden’s mind the failed treaty with an evil empire is still something to brag about.
Now, Climate Change
Now let’s fast-forward to today.At the April 22 virtual summit on climate change, President Biden said of the issue, “This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative.A moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities.”
Then, surveying his fellow world leaders gathered together onscreen—including Xi Jinping of China—he added, “I’m confident that we are going to get this done together.”
President Joe Biden speaks with China’s Xi Jinping and other world leaders at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021.
Biden then pledged to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by between 50 and 52 percent by 2030—as in, a mere nine years from now—compared with 2005 levels. As the Washington Postdescribed it, Biden’s pledge is “significantly more aggressive than the target set by President Barack Obama six years ago.”
So while the U.S. is pledging to do all that—with all the dislocations and impoverishments sure to come—what are the Chinese pledging to do?
Before we come to their pledge, let’s consider some baseline data: Today, China accounts for 28 percent of all planetary CO2 emissions, while the U.S. accounts for just 15 percent.So one might think that in a fair negotiation, the Chinese would have agreed to substantial reductions.
And yet in point of fact, the Chinese have been busy increasing their CO2 output by burning ever more coal.As Global Energy Monitorreported in February:
China now has 247 GW [gigawatt, or one billion watts] of coal power under development (88.1 GW under construction and 158.7 GW proposed for construction) – a 21% increase over end-2019 (205 GW), and nearly six times Germanyʼs entire coal-fired capacity (42.5 GW).
So with those numbers in mind, let’s take at look at the Chinese commitment, as reported by the Washington Post:
China’s Xi Jinping, the first national leader to speak at Thursday’s summit, reiterated the nation’s pledge to “strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.”On coal consumption, Xi said China might “phase it down” during its 15th Five Year Plan, which runs from 2025 through 2030.
We might step carefully over some of those words, because they are slippery.Xi said that China will “strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030.”We can note that “peak” suggests that emissions will continue to rise between now and then.Moreover, the phrase “strive to,” doesn’t exactly connote a rock-solid commitment. Nor does the verb “might,” as in, the Chinese might “phase down” coal later in this decade.
Moreover, if we think back on the Beijing regime’s mendacity on other issues—including, but hardly limited to, the treatment of minorities and dissidents from Tibet to Xinjiang to Hong Kong—then it should come as no surprise that this agreement, too, is likely to have no effect on Chinese behavior.
So we can see the danger: If the U.S were to abide by Biden’s CO2 restrictions, our economy would be damaged, and perhaps crippled, while the Chinese are still building coal plants.
Smoke billows from stacks as a Chinese woman wears as mask while walking in a neighborhood next to a coal fired power plant on November 26, 2015, in Shanxi, China. A history of heavy dependence on burning coal for energy has made China the source of nearly a third of the world’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Yet in the meantime, Biden is basking in praise from the Main Stream Media; typical is this trilling headline from CNN: “Biden’s remarkable success on climate.” With plaudits such as that, why would Biden pour rain on his own parade by allowing that the Chinese haven’t committed to doing much of anything–except to keep going in the wrong direction? (We can also add that Russia accounts for some five percent of global CO2 emissions, and its leader, Vladimir Putin, promised little.)
So now we come back to that familiar and perverse dynamic of Big Diplomacy: our foreign-policy elite has become so invested in the process, and the agreement, that it becomes blind to evidence that it is being hoodwinked. That is, the diplomatic process must be preserved, even at the expense of the American national interest. (In the meantime, green groups, powerful in the U.S. but outlawed in China, will be policing adherence here while likely downplaying China.)
And so in 2021, in our dealings with China, we find ourselves in a situation akin to that of 1979. Back then, Big Diplomacy, enraptured by champagne chats with the Russians in palatial settings, actively lobbied on behalf of a bad deal for Uncle Sam.
Yet this time around, SALT II supporter Joe Biden isn’t in the U.S. Senate; rather,he’s in the White House, pushing yet another giveaway agreement, this time on climate.
Still, it remains to be seen how much effect Biden’s deal will have on the U.S.Why?Because the April 22 commitments in and of themselves have little legal force.To be sure, the 46th president can give marching orders to his own administration, and he is indeed doing that; sample headline from the New York Times:“Biden’s Intelligence Director Vows to Put Climate at ‘Center’ of Foreign Policy.”
So we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of Biden departments and agencies to write regulations—and even outright prohibitions—by executive fiat. In fact, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) is already accusing the Bidenites of climate “dictatorship.”
Yet unlike SALT II, the agreement Biden has just reached is not a treaty, and so he won’t be sending a document to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. (He realizes that he could never get the two-thirds vote it would need to go into effect).
And yet because Biden’s April 22 deal is not a treaty, it has no force beyond the Biden administration.To put that another way, Congress, which is not formally involved in any of the April 22 happenings, could vote to undo any and all of it.
To be sure, just about every Democrat in Congress supports what Biden is doing, and so if opponents wish to see change, well, they’ll have to engage in the hard work of freedom: they’ll have to win elections and thereby change the Senate and the House.
So that’s an encouraging thought. What we have here is a Biden deal, not a Congressional deal—and thus it’s not officially an American deal.The Congress is, after all, the first branch of government; it’s Congress that funds and oversees the Executive Branch.And so if opposition Republicans do well in the 2022 midterms, much of what Biden has done can be undone.
And then, of course, we have the 2024 elections; this balloting will include a judgment on the Biden presidency.
We can recall that Jimmy Carter’s actions on SALT II were a part of his record when he sought a second term in 1980, and as we have seen, he and SALT were thunderously rejected.
And so now today, opponents of Biden’s new deal—his one-sided deal with Xi, which is all gain for the Chinese, all pain for America, and all for nothing, climate-wise—must start making their case and preparing for the election in three years.
To be sure, the April 22 climate deal is not the only argument against Biden, and some of those arguments include eerie parallels to the 1970s. Here at Breitbart News, past articles have compared Biden’s economic policies, as well as his energy policies, to those of Carter.
Without a doubt, the Carter-Biden parallels are starting to add up.
Joe Biden was first elected to public office in 1970, the same year that Jimmy Carter was elected governor of Georgia.Two years later, in 1972, Biden was elected as a senator from Delaware, and four years after that, in 1976, Carter was elected to the presidency—with Biden as a worker bee on his behalf.
So, during the late 1970s, Biden served in the Senate while Carter was in the White House.Then in 1980, when Carter was running for re-election, Biden appeared at the Democratic National Convention praising Carter on national television.
In other words, Biden should remember well what life was like during the Carter administration.And he should also remember that Carter went down in a landslide defeat in 1980, losing 41 of 50 states—including Biden’s Delaware—to Ronald Reagan.
President Jimmy Carter and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., greet Biden supporters at a $1,000-a-couple fund raising reception at a Wilmington, Delaware, hotel on Monday, Feb. 20, 1978. Biden was the first U.S. senator to endorse Carter’s presidential candidacy in 1976. (AP Photo)
Given President Carter’s miserable experience, one might expect that President Biden would be cautious about doing anything that would harken back to the Carter days.
Yet curiously, Biden’s policies are echoing Carter’s in what’s typically the most important issue-area for any president: economic policy.As we shall see, Carter’s policies were not a success—they were, in fact, a disaster—and yet there goes Biden, following down Carter’s path.So if Biden remembers the 1970s, what could he be thinking, re-enacting 70s-type policies?
Perhaps he’s thinking that not that many Americans remember the 1970s—and he’s right about that.In fact, about two thirds of Americans alive today are under the age of 50, which means that they have little or no memory of the larger events of that decade.
Thus we can see: Americans are at risk of finding themselves in the mental trap described by the philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”The only escape from this trap, of course, is that we all learn about the past.
So perhaps those of us who do remember the 1970s can offer a refresher on its economic history.Or better yet, a been-there-done-that warning about failed economic policies.Here goes:
The predominant economic school of thought at the beginning of the 1970s was Keynesianism.John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) believed that the critical variable to economic growth was the maintenance of aggregate demand—that is, the overall willingness of the population to spend money.Yet, of course, people couldn’t spend money unless they had money.So if they lacked money, the government should, Keynes said, print money or borrow money and give it to people who would then spend it, thereby stimulating the economy.Presto!Aggregate demand is maintained, the economy reaches its optimum output, and people are happy.That at least was the theory.
It was the administration of President John F. Kennedy [1961-1963] that first used fiscal policy with the intent of manipulating aggregate demand to move the economy toward its potential output.Kennedy’s willingness to embrace Keynes’s ideas changed the nation’s approach to fiscal policy for the next two decades.
Yet there was a bad side effect from too much pumping up of demand: inflation.That is, if too much demand, or money, is chasing too few goods, then the prices of those goods are bid up.Mankiw further details the impact of the wastrel aggregate-demand policy of the 1960s:
But the inflation that came with it, together with other problems, would create real difficulties for the economy and for macroeconomic policy in the 1970s.
Yes, in the 1970s America suffered a hangover from the spending spree of the previous decade.In the 60s, free-spending policies—most obviously President Lyndon Johnson’s decision to fight the War in Vietnam and the War on Poverty at the same time—caused more than a tripling of the annual change in the Consumer Price Index, from 1.7 percent in 1960 to 5.5 percent in 1969.
That was indeed long ago and far away.In 1969, even after a decade of rising prices, the price of a first-class postage stamp was just six cents, a gallon of gasoline was 36 cents, and the median home price was a little more than $23,000.
Then came the 1970s—and real inflation.In the years of that decade, the inflation rate was never lower than 3.2 percent, and it reached as high as 11.3 percent; the average rate was a stiff 7.1 percent.Not surprisingly, consumers—especially those on fixed or limited incomes—were alarmed and angry.And consumers, of course, are also voters.We can add that in 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the inflation rate soared to 13.5 percent.
Such inflation was unacceptable, even if it wasn’t so easy to overcome.During the ’70s, three presidents, of both parties—Republicans Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and Democrat Carter—struggled to combat inflation; they tried everything, from imposing price controls, to wearing lapel buttons, to delivering “malaise” speeches, and yet nothing worked.
To make matters worse, at the same time, the unemployment rate was rising: from 3.9 percent in January 1970, to a peak of nine percent in May 1975, to a still-too-high six percent at the end of 1979.
Most economists were puzzled by this unfortunate concatenation of events, risingprices and rising joblessness.Yet if they couldn’t cure the problem, they could at least give it a name.Thus we had a new portmanteau word: “stagflation”—a fusing of “stagnation” and “inflation.”
President Gerald Ford, wearing a WIN button on his lapel, holds up a WIN enlistment form which asks citizens to sign up as inflation fighters, during his news conference in the White House Rose Garden on October 9, 1974. WIN stands for Whip Inflation Now. (AP Photo)
President Jimmy Carter delivers his energy speech, which became known as the “malaise” speech, on television on July 15, 1979. (AP Photo/Dale G. Young)
Demand Side, Meet Supply Side
However, a few rogue economists did step forward with new solutions.One such was Arthur Laffer, whose Laffer Curve showed that high tax rates—the top personal income tax rate in the ’70swas a daunting 70 percent—were stifling productivity and supply.And to Laffer, supply was more important than demand, hence the nickname assigned to Lafferites, “supply siders.”To Laffer and his allies, including Rep. Jack Kemp (R-NY), borrowing or printing money to pump up aggregate demand did not help if supply was being choked by taxes and regulation; in fact, such over-stimulation and under-production proved to be a recipe for still more inflation.
Another economist with a different approach was the late Robert Mundell, who died just on April 4 of this year, at the age of 88. Mundell argued that predictable tight money, not loose money, was vital so that businesses, investors, and governments could make better financial decisions. To Mundell, the whole Keynesian idea of “fine-tuning” aggregate demand was a misnomer; the key was monetary stability.
To put it mildly, the ideas of Laffer and Mundell were viewed as heresy by most of their professional contemporaries.In the words of Mankiw: “Economists did not think in terms of shifts in short-run aggregate supply.Keynesian economics focused on shifts in aggregate demand, not supply.”
Meanwhile, in the White House, Jimmy Carter had to defend his failed economic record. He himself was not a big spender, and yet he defended demand-side economics, even as it dissolved into stagflation.Indeed, during his 1980 re-election campaign, Carter attacked challenger Reagan’s supply-side tax-rate-cutting plan.So what was Carter’s better idea?What was his economic vision for a brighter second term?He didn’t say.
For his part, Reagan was a firm believer in the supply side, which he linked to the basic virtues of hard work, entrepreneurship, and limited government.And in the 1980 election, it was he, not Carter, who prevailed.
After being sworn in as our 40th president, Reagan followed Laffer’s advice and cut tax rates; he also followed Mundell’s idea of tight money.
President Ronald Reagan signs the largest tax cut bill in U.S. history at his ranch near Santa Barbara, California, in 1981. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)
There’s no need now to recall the history of Reaganomics, and yet we can observe that the people who knew Reagan best—that is, his fellow Americans, living under his leadership—boostedhim to a massive re-election in 1984, granting him 525 of their 538 electoral votes.
We can also add that epic rewards came to both Mundell and Laffer.In 1999, Mundell was honored with the Nobel Prize in Economics, and in 2019, Laffer received the Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.
Yet now today, Biden is undoing what remains of Reagan’s supply-side legacy; he is shifting his focus back to the demand side.In fact, in contravention of Laffer Curve thinking, Biden has even proposed raising some tax rates.In other words, Biden is on his way back to where entered into politics—back to the 1970s.
Most obviously, Biden has returned to the Keynesian prescription of boosting aggregate demand.As The New York Timesexplained, “The president sees public spending, rather than relying on businesses to turn tax cuts into investment, as the key to competitiveness.”
And since a central tenet of aggregate-demand theory is that the poor have a higher propensity to consume—that is, they are more likely to spend, not save—Biden is most glad to transfer money to the poor.As another New York Times piece declared in its headline, “To Juice the Economy, Biden Bets on the Poor.”As far as the Times is concerned, more spending equals more growth, pure and simple: “Many economists predict that the increase in consumer spending would spur more hiring and business production, helping to lift the economy to its fastest annual growth rate since the mid-1980s.”
So is that really how the economy works?That we can simply spend ourselves rich? The Biden people seem to think so.Once again, journalists and pundits are on board; the MSM abounds with upbeat speculation that Bidenomics could bring about a new “Roaring 20s.”
But what about roaring inflation?After all, the new spending has to be spent somewhere—and so will that pump up aggregate demand to inflationary levels? That’s the concern of Lawrence Summers, a top economic official in the Clinton and Obama administrations.In a February 4 Washington Post op-ed he warned:
There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability.
The new spending has, after all, been a gusher—a gusher of red ink.According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, last year’s federal deficit was $3.1 trillion, and this year’s deficit will be $3.4 trillion—although, of course, that number could go up if federal expenditures rise higher than the current level of about $6 trillion.
To look at this spending another way, we can look to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, which calculates that federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product rose from 20.7 percent in 2019 to 31.3 percent in 2020; yes, that’s the biggest spike in Uncle Sam’s share of GDP since World War II.
And with all that aggregate demand surging into the economy, it’s possible, as Summers suggests, that we could see the sort of rapidly rising prices that blighted the decade of the 1970s—and wrecked Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Indeed, just on April 9, Breitbart News’ financial newsletter took note of the sudden surge in producer prices in March, suggesting a possible annual inflation rate of 4.2 percent. That is, indeed, a 1970s-ish inflation number.
President Joe Biden speaks during an event on the American Jobs Plan in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Still, Biden supporters are untroubled; they see inflation as much less of a problem than unemployment.Thus New York magazine hailed Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP, the $1.9 trillion Covid bill, which the president signed into law on March 11), as a “paradigm shift.” And specifically addressing the threat of inflation, the author asserted:
With the ARP, the federal government is risking a depreciation in the real value of the economic elite’s bonds and cash holdings for the sake of minimizing involuntary joblessness.
In other words, maybe yes, bonds and cash will depreciate (that’s what happens with inflation).But according to the article, that’s okay, because such depreciation will affect rich people.
Yet in fact, the elite don’t often hold much in the way of bonds or cash; they mostly hold stocks, or own real estate, or other variably priced assets, which often rise with inflation.In addition, of course, the rich tend to pay close attention to their money—and so, of all the income classes, they are the most likely to shift their assets as the need arises.
In other words, if there’s a new bout of inflation, the wealthy will likely be fine—and they’ll still be wealthy, no matter what.In reality, the biggest losers are likely to be those of humbler means, including those on fixed-income pensions and those who keep their funds in a checking account—or under a mattress.
It seems unnecessary to add that there are more voters with middle and low incomes than with high incomes.Which is, to say, by inflating the economy, Biden could be deflating his political standing.
So now we can wonder: If we again suffer from inflation as we had in the 1970s, might the Democrats today suffer another political backlash—as they did in 1980?Surely Biden remembers Reagan giving Carter the boot? Right?
There’s no way to know.And yet we do know, because wise old Santayana told us, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
RealClearPolitics White House Correspondent Philip Wegmann posed a timely question to Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday: Why is President Joe Biden calling for the MLB All-Star Game to be moved out of Georgia due to an election bill but has yet to call for the United States to boycott traveling to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics? Shortly after Wegmann’s query, the MLB announced it was moving the All-Star Game out of the state.
While the left calling for all corporations to boycott Georgia is ridiculous, Biden would be prudent to heed the failures of Jimmy Carter in 1980 and send our athletes to compete against the new Evil Empire — China. Having American athletes compete in Beijing makes it clear our nation’s enterprise and athletic superiority will not falter in the shadow of tyranny. If the United States pulls out of the Winter Olympics, the CCP wins, and they don’t deserve one ounce of victory whatsoever.
In 1980, the United States joined 65 countries in boycotting the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. After 35 years of containment, the Soviet Union’s presence was spreading from Poland to Afghanistan to Nicaragua to Mozambique and Angola — Marxism-Leninism was trampling the globe and détente wasn’t cutting it.
President Jimmy Carter, whose strategizing during the Cold war was less than stellar, announced the boycott after the Soviets declined American demands for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, a year after its military invaded the country. While Carter was trying to compensate for failed foreign policy, his plans accomplished nothing and dashed the dreams of more than 500 hardworking American athletes, denying them the unparalleled chance to compete on the global stage.
It is unequivocally true the Chinese Community Party is responsible for mass genocide and is a tyrannical regime. Indeed, it will be up to the Biden administration to send a clear message to dictator Xi Jinping that the United States will not stand for the extermination of Uighurs. Yet, as evidenced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken getting pushed around by a Chinese diplomat at the Alaska Summit, the Biden administration has much work to do.
Biden needs to get on the offensive. This means mandating federal contractors disclose their ties to the regime, as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida proposed. It means denouncing censorship, quitting the talk of systemic racism that only communicates national weakness to foreign adversaries, and working with Quad member states Australia, India, and Japan to strategize on opposing China’s aggression, as Trump did. It also means holding China accountable for concealing evidence of the coronavirus months after an outbreak in Wuhan, which devastated the entire globe.
It means policies and partnerships, not fruitless efforts that only harm our own talented and hardworking citizens.
The worst thing we can do to stand up to China is to keep our athletes home. As anyone who has ever faced down a bully knows, when you decide to hide and not to fight, the bully wins. Our athletes should go to Beijing next year proudly, bring home medal after medal, and show the world what it means to compete on behalf of a free society. We shouldn’t give China an easy way to run up its medal count by preventing Americans from going to the Olympics.
Cruz continued by noting a boycott shows “the Biden administration does not have a China strategy and, in their fumbling, they would use American athletes as pawns to look tough on China instead of actually getting tough on China.”
Similar to Cruz, Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, argued in The American Conservative that boycotting the Olympics only provides “vanity” to the U.S. government in feeling like it has erroneously accomplished something.
“A solitary, or almost solitary, holdout by the U.S. might make some people feel righteous, but it would likely be counterproductive. It would look like a politically motivated bout of moral vanity at the expense of athletes who would lose the opportunity to compete,” Bandow wrote.
While some may claim the United States would be giving in to the Chinese by participating in an athletic event with the repressive regime — and traveling to their home court — the opposite is true. By forcing our athletes who have trained for years to sit on the sidelines of the global stage, America would allow China to declare victory before the race even begins.
Most importantly, there is much reason to doubt that the United States sitting out the Olympics will actually fix China’s human violations or help those impacted. It is dubious China will suddenly come to the realization that it is a repressive regime in need of course-correction upon the withdrawal of American athletes from a Winter Olympics competition. If anything, given the tremendous media opportunities, participation by U.S. athletes provides an opportunity for the civically engaged to shed a light on China’s myriad human rights abuses.
The Biden administration must take stricter measures against China, whose communist regime is arguably the greatest threat facing the entire world. But sitting out the 2022 Olympics is not the right way to do it.
Evidently, Joe Biden has bigger plans to reshape America than we realized. Remember when he said that if he’s elected, “Nothing would fundamentally change”?Well, that was in June 2019, pre-election.
Here we are, in 2021, post-election, and things are different.For instance, let’s consider this Washington Postheadline from January 27: “As Biden vows monumental action on climate change, a fight with the fossil fuel industry has only begun.”
Given that fossil fuels account for almost two-thirds of American energy consumption, we can see that “Middle Class Joe” has some bold—many would say, radical—plans for reshaping Main Street, as well as the rest of America.As the president said from the White House, “This is no time for small measures. … We can’t wait any longer.”The Post article details:
In barely a week in office, Biden has moved to rejoin the Paris climate accord, halt the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, impose new limits on oil and gas production, and mandate climate change as a priority across every federal agency.
And there’s more:
On Wednesday, he promised to use the government’s purchasing power to fund a federal clean-car fleet—and the jobs that would come with it. He pledged to help low-income and minority communities that have historically suffered the worst pollution.And he insisted the nation must set about preparing for the inevitable impacts of climate change, even as it tries to stave off the worst future outcomes.He also said the United States will lead the world in the global effort to cut greenhouse gases that are driving climate change.
Interestingly enough, Biden is doing all this by executive order, or by some other sort of administrative diktat.Breitbart News has closely followed the sharp reaction to Biden’s shutdown of the Keystone Pipeline, as well as his direct attack on the sovereignty of the Ute Indian Tribe—and yet he keeps issuing more rulings.
Indeed, CNN counts 30 such unilateral orders in total, just in Biden’s first three days in office, including, of course, topics far beyond energy.This flurry of action-grams dwarfs those of any previous administration, such that even the New York Times—which strongly supported Biden last year, of course—thinks he’s going too far: Its January 27 editorial was headlined, “Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe.” On February 1, Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) tweeted, “President Biden has signed more EOs in his first two weeks than Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump combined,” adding, “Governing by a pen and a phone does nothing to unify our country.”
So why is Biden doing all this?What’s gotten into him?It appears that over the last year, he has been rethinking his positions; he says he now aims to be the most progressive president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.That’s ambition, for sure, and it’s worth noting that FDR was a popular four-term president.
1936: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) the 32nd President of the United States from 1933-45. A Democrat, he led his country through the depression of the 1930’s and World War II, and was elected for an unprecedented fourth term of office in 1944. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Yet FDR pushed an explicit economic agenda; he was all about farms and factors, not environmentalism. And it’s that lunch-bucket tradition that the 46th president comes from—at least that was once the case. More recently, as Politicoexplained, things have changed: “Big Green groups have pushed Biden, whom most would never confuse with a crunchy activist, into crafting the most aggressive environmental platform in the nation’s history that calls for spending $2 trillion.” That $2 trillion, we can observe, is just a spending total—it does not include the economic cost of environmental regulation.
So before we spend too much time thinking back to the successes of the 32nd president in the 1930s and 40s, we might look back at a more recent Democratic president, the 39th—he was very much focused on energy and changing the economy. And oh yes, back in the 1970s, Jimmy Carter wasn’t successful at all.
If Biden thinks about this more recent history—which he, of course, lived through—he might be more cautious about grandiose measures concerning energy.
The Great Reset of the 1970s
Carter was elected to the White House in 1976, at a time when the word “energy crisis” was on everyone’s lips.Bestselling books such as 1972’s The Limits to Growth set a tone of eco-pessimism that affected the Carter administration’s thinking; these were the days when the Malthusian feeling that everything was running was widespread, at least among the liberal elite.
So it was in this context that Carter delivered a televised speech to the nation on April 18, 1977; as a way of signaling his commitment to austerity, he wore a cardigan sweater, since part of the message was that, in this “era of limits,” we would all have to turn our winter thermostats down to 68 degrees.
President Carter’s Fireside Chat on Energy President Carter reviewed his campaign promises and reaffirmed his intention to carry them out. Topics included the importance of a new energy department, and an energy policy that focused on conserving the nation’s natural resources.
In his first sentence, Carter got right to the tough stuff:
Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem that is unprecedented in our history.With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge that our country will face during our lifetime.
We can see that the president was prepping the nation to think big, bold, and drastic.After all, if the situation was “unprecedented”—to say nothing of “unpleasant”—then we needed to make massive changes to deal with “the greatest challenge that our country will face during our lifetime.”
In fact, we might pause to note that environmentalists often engage in this sort of hyper-talk.If they’re asking ordinary people to make sacrifices now, for the sake of some green goal in the future, well, they’d better put some strong sauce in the gumbo.
Then, further underscoring the enormity of what he had in mind, Carter declared, “This difficult effort will be the ‘moral equivalent of war.’”
Yowsa!Like a war, only peaceful—the “moral equivalent”!?
Yet for all his own personal fervor about his new kind of “peaceful war,” Carter was worried that not every American would wish to join him in this new crusade, and so sought to persuade his audience that, yes, the situation was worse than it looked:
Now, I know that some of you may doubt that we face real energy shortages. The 1973 gas lines are gone, and with this springtime weather, our homes are warm again. But our energy problem is worse tonight than it was in 1973 or a few weeks ago in the dead of winter.It’s worse because more waste has occurred and more time has passed by without our planning for the future. And it will get worse every day until we act.
This was the essential Jimmy Carter: He was not an uplifter, not a uniter, but rather a doomer and gloomer.He was, in a word, a scold.That is, he was wagging his finger at the American people, preaching “strict conservation,” trying to get them to scrimp and sacrifice for the sake of his “moral energy war.”
Needless to say, he based his hard message on . . . the science.And the science, he assured us, was remorseless: “The oil and natural gas that we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are simply running out.”Got that?Running out!
Interestingly enough, Carter used the word “coal” eight times, as in, for instance, seeking to “increase our coal production by about two-thirds to more than one billion tons a year”—so as we can see, sometimes, the science changes.
At the time, Carter’s critics said that we weren’t running out of energy at all; the problem, they said, was price controls that had squashed American energy production.An oft-seen bumperstrip back then blared, “Carter Kiss My Gas.”(These were also the days, we might add, when the science told us that the big fear was global cooling, as seen in this 1974 magazine article, and in this 1979 Hollywood movie.)
Yet Carter and most Democrats thought they knew better, and so later that year, the White House and the Democratic majorities in Congress—including freshman Senator Biden—worked together to create the U.S. Department of Energy.Its biggest project, we might recall, was the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, aimed at turning the aforementioned coal into gasoline; it was abolished in 1986, and nobody has missed it—although the billion dollars it spent might have been used for some better purpose.
Alas, Carter’s energy war did not end in victory for the United States.During his four years in office, oil prices tripled, even as American oil production fell, thanks to those price controls.In other words, the windfall profits from those oil-price spikes during his presidency all went overseas. Meanwhile, at home, both inflation and unemployment rose.
To many observers back then, it seemed that the American Dream was slipping away.And yet there was one man who disagreed.
The Gipper to the Rescue
Ronald Reagan, then the ex-governor of California, spoke to Hillsdale College on November 10, 1977, going right at Carter’s “moral equivalent of war”—critics called it “meow”—energy policy:
I mentioned oil. Is there anyone that isn’t concerned with the energy problem? Government caused that problem while we all stood by unaware that we were involved. Unnecessary regulations and prices imposed—price limits—back in the ’50’s are the direct cause of today’s crisis. Our crisis isn’t because of a shortage of fuel; it’s a surplus of government. Now we have a new agency — we have a new agency of enormous power—20,000 employees and a 10 and 1/2 billion dollar budget. That’s more than the gross earnings of the top seven oil companies in the United States.And that’s just to start with. It is nothing more than a first step toward nationalization of the oil industry.
And Reagan wasn’t done yet:
You know, when they tell us about the conservation — of course we should save. No one should waste a natural resource. But they act as if we’ve found all the oil and gas there is to be found in this continent, if not the world.Do you know that 57 years ago our government told us we only had enough for 15 years?And nineteen years went by and they told us we only had enough left for 13 more years.Now, we’ve done a lot of driving since then and we’ll do a lot more if government would do one simple thing: Get out of the way and let the incentives of the marketplace urge the industry out to find the sources of energy this country needs.
That was Reagan’s message: While Carter was talking about sacrifice and suffering, Reagan was talking about abundance and liberating.
Former California Gov. Ronald Reagan, purses his lips on August 26, 1977 as he pauses while the audience applauds his announcement that he will oppose the Panama Canal treaty negotiated by the carter administration. Reagan, who met with two carter administration officials on Thursday, August 25 who negotiated the proposed agreement, declared at a banquet in New York: I do not believe we should ratify this treaty. Reagan was addressing the 1977 national convention of young Americans for freedom. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)
Three years later, as we allknow, Reagan defeated Carter in a landslide.(Oh, for the days when a Republican could win a majority of the popular vote, as well as 489 electoral votes.)
Once in office, the 40th president did exactly what he said he would so: He decontrolled oil prices.And the freed-up market did exactly what the free marketeers said it would do: It increased oil production, while oil prices actually fell.
Indeed, five decades later, all of Carter’s Malthusian pessimism has been disproven: we aren’t running out of anything. U.S. oil production had risen by about 50 percent prior to the Covid crash, and natural gas production has nearly doubled. In other words, Carter’s faith in the science, as it appeared in 1977, was deeply misplaced.(Could we call that faith unscientific?)
Okay, so now, back to our time, to the 46th president: As we have seen, he, too, is thinking big—too big, in the eyes of ordinary Americans, who just wish to be left alone, and not be swept up in some ginormous plan to remake the country.
To be sure, Biden hasn’t mentioned the “moral equivalent of war,” and the specific issues have changed over the past half-century, from “energy crisis” to “climate change.” Yet the common thread between Carter and Biden is the zealous desire to do big things, even when big things may not be necessary or advisable.
So today, Biden and his administration are in favor of “The Great Reset, which Virgil has criticizedheartily, as have many other writers here at Breitbart News.And that Reset thinking is leading Biden, just a few weeks into his presidency, to trample a lot of Americans—and their jobs and futures.
Yes, without a doubt, Biden is enjoying the Main Stream Media/Establishment praise for his “monumental” leadership on the environment and its new handmaiden, “environmental justice.” As a Washington Postheadline put it the day after his pronouncements, “Thanks to Biden, the U.S. has gotten back into the fight against climate change.”
However, even as he’s basking in all that MSM praise, Biden might also do some remembering: remembering, that is, what happened to the last Democrat who had too-big energy plans.
Jimmy Carter wanted to get the U.S. into a vainglorious “moral equivalent of war”—and yet after just four years, he and his hubris were badly defeated. And Carter’s defeat was America’s victory. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.
So now, Biden. As Axios big-dog pundit Mike Allen wrote on January 31, “Biden ran as a unifying centrist . . . Turns out, Biden is governing as an activist liberal.” Thus the question for conservatives: Where’s our Reagan?
The mayor of Philadelphia had some choice words for President Donald Trump on Friday, calling for the president to concede the election to former Vice President Joe Biden.
The race in Pennsylvania, a state Trump must win in order to gain a second term, is still too close to call with about 124,000 more ballots left to count as of Friday morning. As of 2:45 pm with 98% of estimated votes in, NPR reports that Biden currently holds a small but growing 13,662-vote lead over Trump in the Keystone State.
“You know, I think that the president needs to do is, frankly, put his big boy pants on and he needs to acknowledge the fact that he lost and he needs to congratulate the winner,” Mayor Jim Kenny told reporters at a midday press conference.
He then added that Trump should concede “just as Jimmy Carter did, just as George H.W. Bush did, and, frankly, just as Al Gore did—and stop this and let us move forward as a country.”
While the Trump campaign had prematurely declared victory in Pennsylvania, Biden is not officially declaring victory either but has said he is confident that he will ultimately win the election based on current trends in ballot counting.
When asked about her views on abortion, the eldest daughter of President Donald Trump said: “I respect all sides of a very personal and sensitive discussion, but I am also a mother of three children, and parenthood affected me in a profound way in terms of how I think about these things.”
“I am pro-life, and unapologetically so,” she then added.
Prior to this interview, Ivanka Trump’s views on abortion were not always apparent. In the past she typically would tip-toe her way around the quarrelsome question and never expressed a public position.
After the interview, a White House aide told RealClearPolitics that Ms. Trump’s view was both a personal conviction and a reflection of how Democrats have shifted on abortion, saying, “A huge driving part of that is where the Democratic Party has gone.”
President Trump’s views on abortion have changed throughout the years, but his embrace of a pro-life stance was undeniably crucial in helping him get evangelical Christians to turn out in monumental numbers for him in the 2016 presidential election. His selection of then-Gov. Mike Pence, an evangelical, as his vice presidential pick also played a big role in developing the firm relationship between Trump and evangelicals.
Some, such as the president of the female anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, have gone as far as to call President Trump “the most pro-life” U.S. president in history.
Trump’s full embrace of the issue reflects a longer-term trend of the Republican Party and the evangelical community’s bond growing stronger ever since then-former Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1980 allied himself with the newly founded Moral Majority, helping him form a broad coalition to oust incumbent President Jimmy Carter.
President Donald Trump often boasts of his accomplishments in nominating federal judges, and for good reason: at the close of his first term, he will have confirmed more judges to the federal judiciary in one term than any recent U.S. president.
As of October 5, according to the Heritage Foundation, Trump has confirmed 218 judges to Article III courts — that is, the “Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. courts of appeals, the U.S. district courts and the U.S. Court of International Trade.”
On October 26, that number will rise to 219 with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
No president in the past four decades has appointed more judges in a first term. The only one who appointed more was Jimmy Carter, who appointed 248 — but he had the advantage of an expanded federal judiciary.
Under Carter, Congress added 152 new judgeships — nearly one-third of the previous total — and Carter filled them quickly. (Democrats want to expand and “pack” the Supreme Court if Joe Biden wins the 2020 election — not because of a backlog in the courts, which Carter faced, but for ideological reasons.)
Trump has also appointed 53 appellate judges, leaving no vacancies on that level.
Currently, Trump has appointed more than one-fourth of active federal judges. That is a large proportion — but Barack Obama’s appointees still account for nearly 40% of the federal bench, according to the Pew Research Center.
That means Trump will need a second term if he is to establish a solid “constitutional conservative” foundation for the federal judiciary.
There are three things that make Trump’s judicial appointments special. The first is the timing.
Trump won the 2016 election as Senate Republicans were blocking the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Had Trump lost, the Court would have had a liberal majority — perhaps for decades.
By filling the empty seat vacated by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, Trump preserved a nominal conservative majority. He will expand it with Barrett’s confirmation.
Second, Trump has appointed an unusually large number of appellate judges. These are among the most powerful judges in the system, and they form the primary pool of candidates for appointment to the Supreme Court. Trump has created a deep bench from which Republican presidents can draw in the future (including himself, if he wins a second term in office).
Third, President Trump’s judicial appointees have been vetted by conservative legal authorities, including the Federalist Society, which promotes the originalist school of constitutional interpretation. Thus, Trump’s appointees are considered more reliably conservative than the nominees of a typical Republican president.
The gains Trump has made could quickly be reversed if Biden wins — not least because his party intends to expand the Supreme Court for the first time in 150 years.
In fact, despite the rapid pace of Trump’s appointments, new vacancies keep opening up on the federal bench. Currently, there are 64 vacancies on the federal bench — over 7% of the total seats. 40 nominations are still pending in the Senate.
A New York Timespoll released last week revealed that 58% of likely voters believed the Supreme Court should not be expanded. A majority (57%) of Democrats agreed with the idea of packing the Court; 89% of Republicans opposed it.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
So now we have our “October Surprise”—at least one of them.The news that President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19, has been hospitalized, and released, throws the remaining weeks of the presidential campaign into an even more uncertain kind of uncertainty. In the next few days, and for the rest of the campaign season, it’s a cinch that every possible rumor—about his health, about presidential politics, and about everything else—will be thrown around.And the only way to beat down false rumors is with the truth, delivered as transparently as possible.
For instance, one way not to handle the illness of a commander-in-chief is the way that President Woodrow Wilson handled his illness in October 1919.On October 2 of this year, historian Michael Beschloss tweeted the front page of the New York Times from more than a century ago, on October 3, 1919; the banner headline read, “Doctors In Consultation Call Wilson ‘A Very Sick Man.’”
In a follow-up tweet, Beschloss added, “After his massive stroke 101 years ago . . . Woodrow Wilson showed wrong way to deal with Presidential illness—concealed almost everything about his condition, ignored VP and Cabinet (and was furious when they met in his absence), let wife make important decisions in his stead.”
Yes, Wilson and his inner circle handled the matter badly; fortunately for the nation, the 28th president was not on the ballot in the next presidential election year, 1920.
The Best-Known October Surprise Was No Surprise
Interestingly, the most famous “October Surprise”—and the period in history that gave rise to the phrase—is the one that never happened.Back in 1980, the meme of “October Surprise” referred to the rumor that President Jimmy Carter had a sneaky plan up his sleeve, aiming to gain the release of the Americans held hostage in Iran just prior to the presidential election.The presumption, of course, was that a sudden jolt of good news would boost Carter’s bid for a second term.
The American hostages had been seized by the Iranians in November 1979, and their plight became a major issue throughout the 1980 election year.Yet as it happened, Carter had no such sneaky or surprising plan.He would have loved to get the hostages out at any time, obviously, but there was no special arrangement to release them prior to November 4, 1980.And on that day, with the hostages still in Iranian captivity, Carter lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan.The Americans were finally released in January 1981.
In fact, the biggest surprise of October 1980, at least in terms of presidential politics, came in the single debate held between Carter and Reagan, which occurred in Cleveland on October 28. Reagan did surprisingly well, and so what had seemed to be a close election turned into a landslide; the Gipper won by ten points, carrying 44 states.(So yes, today, we might mull the seeming likelihood that there will be only one debate in 2020, not three, and that the one debate this year was held in . . . Cleveland.)
Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate each other from separate podiums October 31, 1980, prior to the 1980 presidential election. (Photo by Liaison via AP)
Yet there’s a curious coda to the 1980 October Non-Surprise.In 1991, former Carter national security aide Gary Sick published a book, October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, arguing that it was the Reagan campaign that had conspired with the Iranians to prevent the hostages from coming home prior to the election.That is, Sick was asserting that the Reaganites had planned their own kind of October Surprise, as a dirty trick on Carter—and on America.Sick’s book received enormous attention at the time, even if little or nothing of his allegation stood up to scrutiny.
Thus the Sick book serves as a reminder that those who have influence with the media and the liberal establishment can oftentimes plant an idea that has no factual foundation.So in the hands of a crafty liberal, the rumor that Carter was planning to pull one over on Reagan became the printed and published allegation that Reagan was the perpetrator, and Carter was the victim.
Other October Surprises
So now, if we look back into presidential-election history, we can see other October Surprises of various kinds.
For instance, in 1956, we saw two October Surprises.The first was the Hungarian Revolution, erupting on October 23, in which freedom fighters took to the streets of Budapest, as well as of other cities, seeking to overthrow Soviet domination of their country.
In the meantime, here at home, the incumbent U.S. president, Dwight Eisenhower, then running for a second term, stopped short of active intervention in Hungary, but helped facilitate the escape of some 200,000 Hungarians from communist tyranny.
The second surprise was the Suez Crisis, beginning on October 29, in which Britain, France, and Israel went to war against Egypt.The fighting was something of a misfire, and soon ended, and yet for at least a time, it seemed possible that it could escalate into a U.S.-Soviet confrontation.Once again, Eisenhower played a constructive role in bringing the hostilities to a close.
Ike was innocent of any sort of manipulation in either incident, and yet nevertheless, he benefited politically; his sturdy image of peaceful resolve in the midst of foreign turmoil helped him to win a reelection that November by a 15-point margin, carrying 41 of 48 states.
Then, in 1972, there came another October Surprise.On October 26, just 12 days before the national election, President Richard Nixon’s top diplomat, Henry Kissinger, declared, “Peace is at hand.”Kissinger was referring to a breakthrough in the arduous negotiations he had been conducting with the North Vietnamese for the past three years—later including the Russians and the Chinese—seeking an end to the Vietnam War.
In this October 26, 1972, file photo, then presidential adviser Henry Kissinger tells a White House news conference that “peace is at hand” in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
Critics accused Kissinger of manipulating the timing of the good news for the benefit of Nixon’s reelection, and yet in point of fact, the war had already been drawing to a close, thanks to Nixon’s leadership.Having inherited a war from his presidential predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, in which more than 500,000 American troops were fighting in Southeast Asia, Nixon had, by October 1972, reduced the number of troops to around 20,000.
In fact, the final peace agreement was signed in January 1973; for his efforts, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
A generation later, on October 12, 2000, the destroyer USS Cole, anchored in Yemen’s Aden harbor, was attacked by suicide bombers in a small boat.Seventeen sailors were killed, and 39 injured; the perpetrators were a part of Osama bin Laden’s then-obscure al-Qaeda organization.It’s hard to pinpoint just how much impact this attack had on the presidential election the following month, and yet some observers believed that it contributed to the perception that President Bill Clinton hadn’t been taking terrorism seriously enough.As we know, Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, lost the 2000 election, by a narrow margin, to George W. Bush.
A small boat guards the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, October 20, 2000. Investigators have found bomb-making equipment in an apartment near the Yemeni port and believe two former occupants may have carried out the suicide bombing that killed 17 sailors aboard the USS Cole. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
It can be argued that Bush, too, failed to take al-Qaeda seriously enough—and that’s why we were taken by surprise on September 11, 2001.
Then, in October 2016, came another pair of October Surprises. On the 7th came the news of Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood tape, which temporarily threw his presidential campaign into a tailspin. And on the 28th came the news that FBI Director James Comey was investigating Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, throwing her campaign into a tailspin.
So as we can see, events can take fateful turns on the eve of a presidential election.Of course, such drastic turns can, and do, happen at any time, and yet now, in October 2020, as so many eyes are glued to political events, we realize how much effect they can have.
And we should keep in mind that the month of October has only just begun.