April 3, 2017: The Gorsuch Bluff | Bill O’Reilly v Mike Pence | South Korea Sexism
1. Playing Chicken, Gorsuch Style
So this week, the Trump administration is looking for its first big victory on anything. It expects the Senate will approve Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court even without a filibuster-proof 60 votes. The belief is that the Senate will get rid of the filibuster -- the so-called “nuclear option.” Last week, we reported that many in the Red Press were actually rooting for the nuclear option. Over the weekend, however, we detected a new strain of thinking that the option probably won’t be necessary, that the Democrats will cave on a floor vote.
In an article in The Washington Free Beacon, which was also carried by National Review, the Beacon’s editor in chief, Matthew Continetti, argued that the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, is just promising the filibuster to keep his base happy, but probably does not have the votes to deliver. He pointedly compared Schumer to Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Liberation Organization for speaking out of both sides of his mouth. (Arafat, he said, professed a desire of peace but incited anti-Semitic violence.) It was a particular insult to Schumer, who is Jewish and a vocal supporter of Israel. Continetti encouraged the GOP to move forward and watch Schumer break.
“Schumer is a hypocrite and a liar and out for no one but himself. And it is for these reasons that his threat to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch should be viewed with incredulity………
Schumer says he will vote against bringing the Gorsuch nomination to the floor of the Senate. He urges his fellow Senate Democrats to do the same. His decision is chum in the water for the frenzied “resistance” to President Trump …...The conventional wisdom in Washington, taking Schumer at his word, holds that enough Democrats will follow their leader to force Mitch McConnell to change the Senate rules. …….[this is ] Another lie.”
What We’re Watching:
Meanwhile, the Red Press is keeping a tight vote count. Independent Journal Review was reporting that another Red State Democrat, Joe Donnelly, had thrown support behind Gorsuch on Sunday:
“Prior to Sunday, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch had the support of all 52 Republican members of the Senate as well as two Democrats — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). On Sunday afternoon, another red state Democrat publicly announced that he'd support Gorsuch's nomination, moving the 49-year-old judge one step closer to avoiding a potential Democratic-led filibuster in the Senate.”
But Keep In Mind:
To get to 60 votes will not be easy. Last night, another Red State Democrat, Jon Tester of Montana, said he would oppose Gorsuch. The GOP, as of early this morning, still needed five votes from across the aisle.
Other difficulties are ahead in Congress: Trump is facing a full rebellion from his right flank in the House on other issues, like tax reform. He took to Twitter to chastise the House’s Freedom Caucus last Thursday, but on Sunday he suddenly made nice:
Anybody (especially Fake News media) who thinks that Repeal & Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength in R Party!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2017
He then golfed with Sen. Rand Paul, leader of the resistance to TrumpCare, over the weekend.
The reason for the turnabout is no secret. He needs the Freedom Caucus votes down the road and he is learning that bullying them won’t work. Many in the Red Press supported the rebels. Laura Ingraham’s Lifezette reminded Trump of who was loyal to him during the “Access Hollywood” debacle in the campaign.
2. One Bright Spot: Nikki Haley on Russia and Assad
On Sunday, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, appeared on ABC’s “This Week.” Haley conceded that there was “no question Russian meddled in the election,” and assured the host, Martha Raddatz, that “she was beating up on Russia.” Raddatz tried to draw Haley out on the distance between her tough words and President Trump’s expressions of respect for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Haley continued:
"Look, he's the president. He can say what he wants, whenever he wants. But the direction we've gotten is to do our jobs, make sure that the United States is strong and that's what we'll do."
Haley also addressed Rex Tillerson’s statement last week that the U.S. is no longer focused on ousting the Syrian -president, Bashar al-Assad. The decision has been controversial among Neo-Cons and Democrats alike. Said Haley of the decision:
"Our goal is we want to bring Assad to justice. We want them to pay for the crimes that he's done. We're going to continue to let Russia know how dangerous it is to keep Assad in power.
In addition to that, we're going to fight ISIS. We're going to try and bring stability back to the area. You don't have to have one or the other. We've got a lot of important issues. Assad is not going away, but we're not going to stop beating up on him. We're not going to stop saying that the way he treats the people in Syria is wrong, that he has actually killed his own people and America will never stand for that."
Despite her seeming brush-off of the president, Haley received much support from all sides of the Right for her performance.
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, tweeted:
Nikki Haley appearance on ABC testament to how hard top nat sec officials trying to conduct conventional foreign policy despite everything— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) April 2, 2017
Brian Robbs, @Brianrobb72, urged listeners to acknowledge the nuance in Haley’s statement:
Meanwhile, others were quick to point to Raddatz’s hard-hitting interview as biased. “Raddatz’s dismissal of the Ambassador borderlines on contempt of her position, and was completely uncalled for,” wrote Nicholas Fondacaro of Newsbusters, who criticized Raddatz for being too aggressive and for speaking “in a way that sounded as though she was pitying Haley for her ignorance.”
RockPrincess @Rockprincess818 tweeted:
Nikki Haley is blowing partisan hack Martha Radditz away. So sick of these #FakeNews anchors pushing war with Russia, Assad and Syria.— RockPrincess (@Rockprincess818) April 2, 2017
What We’re Watching:
While Nikki Haley continues to remain a bright spot in the administration, the response is split on the Trump administration’s stance on Assad. While those on the Far Right like Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson @PrisonPlanet applauded the pullback on Assad, Neocons have been critical. In his article for the neocon bible Commentary, headlined “Giving Up on Assad’s Ouster Is a Terrible Mistake,” Noah Rothman wrote:
In reality, the U.S. giving up on Assad’s ouster represents a political earthquake that will likely only jeopardize the American position in the region.
The effect of such a pronouncement is to cut the legs out from under the Syrian insurgents America has been supporting materially and morally for the last seven years. Moderate rebels, to the extent they have survived, will have failed. They have lost everything and can claim almost nothing for their sacrifice… America has surrendered the moral high ground in exchange for indefensible terrain from which it will surely be forced to retreat sooner rather than later.
More favorable has been Haley’s “open fire” on the UN. Last week, The Conservative Review raved of her tough talk “on the United Nations anti-Israel hatred:
“Although she is only a couple months into her tenure as U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley made clear that America will no longer roll over when the world’s worst dictatorships single out the United States and its allies with demonization campaigns. For her unapologetic defense of key U.S. allies, Haley has earned much deserved respect from across the political spectrum.”
3. Fake News Alert: The Strange Parallels Between Park Geun-Hye and Hillary Clinton
Strong and powerful women fallen from disgrace? The Right is on it. Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, was arrested Friday morning after being impeached and removed from office earlier on allegations of bribery, extortion and abuse of power. The Daily Caller was quick to notice a parallel in the situation:
"Park’s scandal bears a striking resemblance to the investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative, which was found to have accepted millions of dollars in donations as a gateway fee for political access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."
The Fox News contributor and Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen also chimed in:
South Korea's Hillary Clinton... https://t.co/VBvvbsRR3E— Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) March 31, 2017
Then, last night, an old fake news story started circulating on social media, declaring that Wikileaks had found that Park Geun-hye had funded Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
What We’re Watching:
The Hillary Clinton-Park Geun-hye connection seems especially ripe for fake new stories. Another article we found on the anti-Left website Living Resistance somehow managed to weave together Park, Clinton, Marina Abramović (the Yugoslavia-born performance artist), and the fake “Pizzagate” story (You remember, the one where top Democratic leaders were involved with a satanic child pornography ring based at a pizza restaurant in Washington) into one giant -- and damning -- fake news piece:
“Hillary Clinton team were involved in rituals led by Marina Abromovic, a bizarre woman who carves pentagrams into her flesh and takes photos with children.
The news eventually resulted in broader questions about other close supporters of Hillary Clinton’s team. So far James Alefantis, John Podesta, Tony Podesta, Jeffrey Epstein, and Denis Hastert are believed to be involved in sex trafficking or child molestation. The scandal has been called “pizzagate” because it is believed that Podesta used the term “pizza” in a coded way in his emails.”
4. In Defense of Pence and O’Reilly
Sometimes it is very hard to understand the sexual mores of the conservative world, but last week we learned of at least one common thread: Brook no criticism.
Two of the nation’s most prominent conservative men faced some hard attacks. In a profile in The Washington Post, Vice President Mike Pence, who calls himself a devout Christian, revealed that he will neither dine nor drink alcohol alone with women besides his wife. The Blue Twitterati mocked him with glee, accusing him of everything from being a closeted homosexual to being a barely repressed sexual predator.
We watched the inevitable pushback; The Blaze delighted in calling liberal reactions “unhinged.”
In Pence’s case, one couldn’t help but wish progressives would be a little bit more tolerant of Christian behavior...
We were all set to forget about the Pence brouhaha, when The New York Times revealed that the Fox host Bill O’Reilly has paid $13 million in settlements to five women who accused him of sexual harassment or verbal abuse. Again the Blue Twittersphere erupted (although two of the claims are public and several years old). Even though O’Reilly’s alleged behavior would seem to contradict the Christian values proposition, those in the Red Twitterati who didn’t ignore the story came to his defense. But they didn’t necessarily defend the behavior -- they just eviscerated the source.
Actor James Woods @realJamesWoods,with 612k followers wrote got 2.7 k likes for this:
Handy rule of thumb: if the @NYTimes does ten articles a day bashing a person or political position, you can't go wrong voting the other way— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 2, 2017
Trump’s Week 10 @angiekay500 tweeted:
Bill O'Reilly thrives because everyone can see thru the leftists media propaganda machine & their latest hit job.— Trump's Week 10 🇺🇸 (@angiekay500) April 1, 2017
We see you sore losers! 👀
From Curiosi Media @curiosi_media:
Bill O'Reilly Thrives? You betcha! Great historian & reporter. No bullshit. Love him. And I'm a woman. Screw NYT!— curiosi media (@curiosi_media) April 1, 2017