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Ads regarding Kavanaugh are about narrative first, confirmation second

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Ads regarding Kavanaugh are about narrative first confirmation second

Let’s face it. If you ask 100 random people on the street who Brett Kavanaugh is, only a handful would know. Chances are those who recognize the name have seen him on television ads run by groups supporting or opposing his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Such is the nature of Supreme Court politics today. In a society that’s always connected, it’s amazing how minuscule the people’s connection is to a major political event such as the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice who may make it possible for an originalist adherence to the Constitution. This is the most important confirmation battle in decades.

That’s why there are so many ads, right? No, not really. Kavanaugh’s nomination battle on the airwaves is simply a vehicle for the left and the right to drive their narratives. It’s a way to get funds from people in the know so these groups can do little to inform the masses that are not in the know.

The numbers are astounding:

Liberals crushed in SCOTUS spending war

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/20/scotus-spending-fight-kavanaugh-liberals-784530“Our budget for Gorsuch was 10 million [dollars],” said Carrie Severino, JCN’s chief counsel. “And we expect we will meet or surpass that given how contentious we have seen things becoming so far.”

JCN, founded in 2005, is one of four groups on the right bombarding swing-state Democrats with television ads in recent weeks. The conservative groups convene regularly for conference calls to update one another and coordinate their efforts and have launched a bus tour and phone banks, and otherwise pledged resources to the effort.

The pressure tactics used on Senators in swing states, both Democrats and moderate Republicans, is definitely intended to try to push them towards or away from confirmation, but there’s much more to it than that. Most of the Senators who are subjects of the ads are up for reelection this year. It’s a two-edged sword; they get attacked to weaken them without the money spent doing so being attributed to the opposition’s campaign. If they pledge to confirm Kavanaugh, the attack ads will be pulled. If they don’t pledge to confirm, the ads will continue to hurt their reelection chances.

Win-win.

If we look more closely at the tactics and messages being used, we’ll see something interesting. It’s much more about promoting a narrative than supporting or opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. He’s a narrative vehicle. At the heart are the two primary court-based narratives, guns and abortion.

Let’s look at the ads run by two powerful groups for each topic, the NRA and NARAL:

It’s no surprise that these groups would frame the narrative surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation around the topics they hold dear, but it’s important to note that neither actually talk about Kavanaugh himself. They use clips of other people threatening to attack their position rather than looking at Kavanaugh himself. Why? Narrative.

Supreme Court nominations are second only to presidential campaigns when it comes to getting people to open their pocketbooks. The finality of Supreme Court decisions makes the stakes appear to be extremely high, which they are, and this sense of urgency is prime time for collecting donations to push their overall narrative.

It is highly unlikely any Senators will be swayed by the calls being prompted by these groups. It’s possible elections can be swayed, though. At the end of the day, these groups hope to get more people on board with their message. They know Kavanaugh’s confirmation is out of their hands, but that won’t stop them from raising funds around him.

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Judiciary

Jeff Flake has become a punchline

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Jeff Flake has become a punchline

There are conservatives who oppose the President through conscientious means and with discernment of who to support and what to oppose. Then, there are “conservatives” like Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

In his final days in the United States Senate, Flake has decided to go out with his conscience intact. At least that’s what he’s telling himself and anyone who would listen. In reality, he’s going out with his middle finger raised to the man he blames the most for his career failures: President Trump.

Flake has threatened to hold up judicial nominations until the Senate votes to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. Let’s set aside the likelihood that such an action by Congress would be unconstitutional with Article 2 giving the President wide powers over the Justice Department. That’s a debate for Constitutional scholars.

Instead, let’s focus on what Flake is actually doing. He’s willing to jeopardize the judicial system which desperately needs an infusion of originalists just to fire a parting blow at the President. That’s really what this comes down to. He’s not obeying his conscience. He’s not protecting Mueller. He’s not trying to right a wrong. He’s being a child.

He’s a punchline.

Even if there was a real threat that President Trump might somehow interfere with the Mueller investigation, this wouldn’t be the way to try to protect him. All Flake is doing is pulverizing the few pieces of his credibility that were left standing.

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Democrats

Good news for the Democrat agenda: McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

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Good news for the Democrat agenda McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

Trumplicans chalked one up for the status quo yesterday when they chose Paul Ryan’s right-hand man, Kevin McCarthy, to be the party leader in the House and unanimously re-elected Mitch McConnell to lead the Senate. Both men were endorsed by Donald Trump for the jobs.

Despite the fact that Republicans suffered the worst mid-term defeat since Watergate, McConnell and McCarthy touted a list of vague GOP accomplishments that conveniently failed to mention the party’s failure to keep their promises, which is why the Democrats won last week.

In an opinion piece for FOX News, McConnell bragged — now try not to laugh — about how the past two years of Republican leadership “will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.” He then challenged the new Democrat majority in the House to put aside partisan politics and work with Republicans to get things done.

Apparently, the concept of irony is lost on McConnell. Outside of the GOP’s alleged success at saving the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans have always been working together, which is why they still fund Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, DACA, and sanctuary cities with massive new spending that exploded the budget deficit.

While McConnell and McCarthy have adopted Trump’s “blame the Democrats for my failures” playbook, the sad reality is that Republicans favor the Democrat agenda because it’s their agenda; bipartisanship is a given.

Based on developments during the lame duck session, it’s going to be worse when the 116th Congress opens for business in January.

Nancy Pelosi called last week’s victory a mandate to save Obamacare and she will promote legislation designed to move America closer to a single-payer healthcare system. Trump has a track record of support for Obamacare and he promoted single-payer healthcare during his 2016 campaign.

Following the recent shootings in California, Pelosi announced that she would make gun control a top priority. Trump and the GOP have actively promoted radical gun-control legislation, including: seizing guns without due process, establishing an FBI database to track guns and gun owners, and requiring a license to own a gun.

Now comes word from the Democrats that they will work to bring back a classic of Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialists — a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. As expected, Trump appears to be a fan of the idea.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump supported raising the minimum wage to at least $10 and hour. And as part of the recent US-Mexico trade deal, he fought for and won a $16 an hour minimum wage for auto workers on both sides of the border in an effort to price Mexico out of the auto industry. Ironic because he’s essentially admitting that mandatory minimum wages eventually result in lost jobs.

Even thought economic advisor Larry Kudlow recently stated his preference to see the federal minimum wage eliminated, Trump’s history of flip-flopping on this along with a host of other issues, along with his 2020 re-election hopes, means that the Democrats will likely win on the issue.

We were repeatedly told last week to vote Red to make sure we stop the Democrats. But to quote Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings, when it comes to the difference between Republicans and Democrats . . .

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”

 

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Guns and Crime

‘Release criminals early and reduce sentencing’ wasn’t a MAGA promise

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Release criminals early and reduce sentencing wasnt a MAGA promise

What happened to the “law and order” President? Some on the right are asking how we went from getting tougher on crime to suddenly endorsing a bill that gets weaker on crime on the front-end AND the back-end. Unfortunately, it’s only some on the right. Most seem to be buying into this new brand of conservatism just as they bought into “fair trade” and tariffs as their new foreign trade mantra.

If this isn’t what the President promised, then what is it? We can say many things about President Trump’s demeanor and style, but one thing that’s been impressive about his administration so far is that they’ve been more consistent than most when it comes to keeping promises. This is one of the first 180’s the administration has performed. And don’t get fooled into thinking this isn’t a 180. Do you remember at any point during his campaign when he said, “Let’s release current criminals early and reduce sentencing on future criminals!”

I don’t remember hearing that at any MAGA rallies, either.

So what’s the motivation here? We can look at individual lawmakers and see why they may be surprisingly accepting of this legislation. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), for example, has personal experiences as a prosecutor that drove him to the conclusion that he needed to support the bill.

Sen. Mike Lee: A conservative case for criminal justice reform

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/sen-mike-lee-a-conservative-case-for-criminal-justice-reformFor example, when I served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Salt Lake City, Weldon Angelos — a young father of two with no criminal record — was convicted of selling three dime bags of marijuana to a paid informant over a short period of time.

These were not violent crimes. No one was hurt. But because Angelos had been in possession of a gun at the time he sold the drugs (a gun which was neither brandished nor discharged in connection with the offense), the judge was forced by federal law to give him a 55-year prison sentence. The average federal sentence for assault is just two years. The average murderer only gets 15 years. While acknowledging the obvious excessiveness of the sentence, the judge explained that the applicable federal statutes gave him no authority to impose a less-severe prison term, noting that “only Congress can fix this problem.”

To be clear, what Senator Lee is describing is the front-end of the problem. Yes, there are certain mandated sentencing requirements that need to be addressed. But to do this properly, you don’t unleash 4,000+ hardened criminals as a result. Fix sentencing problems for the future, then allow those who would have been affected by reduced mandatory sentencing appeal their individual cases. In light of the new sentencing requirements, judges can take a case-by-case look to identify people, such as the one Senator Lee describes, who should be eligible for early release. Don’t just open the floodgates.

Other conservatives who support the bill, such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), are taking a Libertarian stance against victimless crimes. But there’s a flaw with their thinking as well. Even if one believes drugs should be legal and their sale should be regulated, that doesn’t change the fact that when these criminals committed their crimes, drugs were illegal. They weren’t acting on their civic duty to protest an abusive system. They were selling illegal drugs, often while carrying firearms. Many of them avoided being labeled as violent criminals simply because the opportunity hadn’t presented itself at the time they committed their crimes.

Releasing lawbreakers because one doesn’t believe the law is just doesn’t change the fact that they broke the law. If you’re going to change the laws first, fine. But don’t release criminals ahead of changes in the law.

Many proponents of criminal justice reform look at the costs associated with running overpopulated prisons as the reason for their support. Again, this is backwards. The prisons are overpopulated in large part because we’re not deporting enough criminal illegal immigrants. If you remove them first, then assess the costs, you’ll find prison overpopulation mitigated and costs dramatically reduced.

Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz did an amazing writeup yesterday on the subject. It’s one of several listed by the site as “must reads” before making up your own mind on the topic.

‘Criminal Justice Reform’ or Jailbreak? Here’s the TRUTH

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/criminal-justice-reform-or-jailbreak-heres-the-truth/Congress and President Donald Trump are making a big push for “criminal justice reform” legislation, but there are problems with the First Step Act.

We’ll keep updating this page as news develops, so be sure to check back with Conservative Review for updates on the bipartisan jailbreak bill.

With the President behind it, many Republicans will now believe they support it, too. Before you let someone else make up your mind, you should look into these “reforms” for yourself. Law and order are still important even if its alleged proponents abandon it.

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