While I strongly support the increased funding for our military, I could not in good conscience vote for the Omnibus that costs almost $1.3 trillion. The military threats to our national security are real and serious, but so is the fiscal threat to our national security.
— Gary Palmer (@USRepGaryPalmer) March 22, 2018
Is the GOP staring at another 1930?
After the victory of Donald Trump in 2016, the GOP held the Senate and House, two-thirds of the governorships, and 1,000 more state legislators than they had on the day Barack Obama took office.
“The Republican Party has not been this dominant in 90 years,” went the exultant claim.
A year later, Republicans lost the governorship of Virginia and almost lost the legislature.
Came then the loss of a U.S. Senate seat in ruby-red Alabama.
Tuesday, Democrats captured a House seat in a Pennsylvania district Trump carried by 20 points, and where Democrats had not even fielded a candidate in 2014 and 2016.
Republicans lately congratulating themselves on a dominance not seen since 1928, might revisit what happened to the Class of 1928.
In 1930, Republicans lost 52 House seats, portending the loss of both houses of Congress and the White House in 1932 to FDR who would go on to win four straight terms. For the GOP, the ’30s were the dreadful decade.
Is the GOP staring at another 1930?
Unlike 1930, though, the nation has not endured a Great Crash or gone through year one of a Great Depression where unemployment hit 10 percent in June, when the Smoot-Hawley tariff was passed.
Today, the economy is moving along smartly. The labor force is larger than it has ever been. Workers are re-entering and seeking jobs. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at record lows. Confidence is high. Our Great Recession is 10 years in the past.
The problem for Republicans may be found in a truism: When the economy is poor, the economy is the issue. When the economy is good, something else is the issue.
A good economy did not save the GOP in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, where the party’s tax cut was derided by Democrat Conor Lamb as a wealth transfer to the rich. Nor did Lamb hurt himself by implying Republicans were planning to pay for their tax cut by robbing Social Security and Medicare.
Republican candidate Rick Saccone reportedly stopped using the tax cut as his major issue in his TV ads that ran closest to Election Day.
Other factors point to a bad day for the GOP on Nov. 6.
Republican retirees from Congress far outnumber Democratic retirees.
Democratic turnout has been reaching record highs, while GOP turnout has been normal. And even in the special elections Democrats have lost, they are outperforming the Democrats who lost in 2016.
Relying upon hostility to Trump to bring out the resistance, savvy Democrats are taking on the political coloration of their districts and states, rather than of the national party of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.
There is, however, troubling news from Pennsylvania for Nancy Pelosi.
Lamb promised voters of “Deerhunter” country he would not support San Francisco Nancy for speaker. Look for Democrats in districts Trump carried to begin talking of the “need for new leaders.”
Trump seems fated to be the primary target of attack this fall, and not only in districts Clinton carried. For an average of national polls shows that disapproval of his presidency is 14 points higher than his approval rating. And this is when the economy is turning up good numbers not seen in this century.
At the national level, Democrats will turn 2018 into a referendum on the Trump persona and Trump presidency. For while the Trump base is loyal and solid, the anti-Trump base is equally so, and appreciably larger.
Lest we forget, Hillary Clinton, not the most charismatic candidate the Democrats have put up in decades, beat Trump by nearly 3 million votes. And while Trump pierced the famous “blue wall” — the 18 states that voted Democratic in every presidential election between 1992 and 2012 — the demographic trend that created the wall is still working.
White voters, who tend to vote Republican, continue to decline as a share of the population. Peoples of color, who vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic in presidential elections, are now nearly 40 percent of the nation.
Mass migration into America is re-enforcing that trend.
Moreover, millennials, who have many elections ahead of them, are more liberal than seniors, who have fewer elections ahead and are the GOP base.
But if Republicans face problems of demography, the party of “tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect” appears to be reaching the end of its tether. Federal deficits are rising toward trillion-dollar levels.
The five largest items in the budget — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, interest on the debt — are rising inexorably. And there appears no disposition in either party to cut back on spending for education, college loans, food stamps, housing assistance or infrastructure.
If the Fed did not retain the power to control the money supply, then the fate of New Jersey and Illinois, and beyond, of Greece and Argentina, would become our national destiny.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
(Creators, copyright 2018)
Roll Trump Roll – ‘Bama football to visit White House for national championship celebration
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team is travelling – yet again – to the White House to celebrate another national championship victory.
President Donald Trump will host Coach Nick Saban and the team at the White House on April 10, according to a source familiar with the plans.
The president attended the national championship game in Atlanta where Alabama defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in a stunning 26-23 overtime win.
An official announcement is expected later today.
Alabama GOP Rep. Byrne: Trump ‘sh*thole’ remarks a distraction
On Friday, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) fielded questions from reporters shortly before a town hall meeting at the city hall in Robertsdale. One of the questions he took concerned a report that President Donald Trump described certain nations as “sh*thole countries” during an immigration policy meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier in the week.
According to WKRG’s Bill Riales, Byrne called Trump’s comments “an unfortunate and major distraction.”
Byrne also argued the Congress had more pressing concerns than immigration at the moment.
“I’m just disappointed that we’re having an immigration debate before we get this funding bill done,” Byrne said. “I mean, we — the government has got to be funded a week from today, and we still don’t have a deal on that.”
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Left-wing activists call on Nick Saban to speak out against Trump’s NFL anthem protest criticisms, decline White House invite
In a press release issued Thursday, the liberal activist group CREDO Action boasted about a petition it claims that more than 72,000 people have signed calling on University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban to speak out against President Donald Trump.
The petition encourages Saban to “disavow” Trump’s criticism of the National Anthem protests by NFL players and to pledge to decline an invite to the White House should Alabama emerge victorious in Monday’s college football national championship game against the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
“Take a stand against Donald Trump’s racism. Disavow his hateful critique of NFL protesters who are speaking out against systemic racism and police brutality. Affirm your players’ right to protest and pledge not to take your team to the White House if you win the national championship.”
CREDO Action is the advocacy arm of CREDO, a self-proclaimed “social change organization” and offers fundraising methods for other liberal groups.
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Roll Trump Roll! President to attend Alabama-Georgia national championship game
President Donald Trump will attend Monday’s college football national championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia’ capital city, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein.
Bluestein cites “three people with direct knowledge of his plans” and says Trump will be hosted by Georgia native Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers and his wife, Jamie Ayers. First lady Melania Trump is also expected to be in attendance.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened her briefing by congratulating both schools.
“The president would like to start by congratulating two great teams from two great states both in the heart of Trump country,” she said. “We look forward to a fantastic National Championship between Georgia and Alabama next week.”
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.
7 Things You Should Be Talking About Today: Papadopoulos continues to be a problem for Trump, Governor Ivey attacked by grinches, Paul Finebaum is to blame for Sen. Doug Jones, and more …
— The New York Times alleges that a drunk Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russia had Hillary Clinton’s deleted e-mails.
— When stolen e-mails appeared online, Australian authorities alerted “their American counterparts” about the conversation.
— Papadopoulos has already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
— Early Sunday the Iranian government warned protesters will “pay the price” for their actions.
— Trump tweeted: “The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!”
— Trump campaigned against Iran, calling it the world’s “No. 1 terror state”.
— Obama’s administration backed the Iranian regime in 2009 because they were seeking a nuclear deal.
— Former United Nations Ambassador said, “You have President Trump, members of his administration, taking the side of the demonstrators,” he added. “180 degrees the opposite of what Barack Obama did in 2009.”
— U.S. Lindsey Graham criticized Obama’s reaction to those 2009 protests saying he didn’t want to get involved because it would mess up the nuclear deal.
— Governor Ivey, like many politicians, used her Facebook page to wish her followers a Merry Christmas.
— The Freedom from Religion Foundation claimed her Christmas cheer was “unconstitutional”.
— In the past the group has targeted Alabama schools and local governments to mixed results.
— Finebaum claimed in his 2014 book, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference” that he is responsible for Gov. Robert Bentley being elected in 2010.
— The influential talker claims Bentley would tell people Finebaum “got me elected”.
— Bentley’s scandal-plagued 2nd term led to an appointment of Sen. Luther Strange and that set the wheels in motion for Democrat Doug Jones to win in a very red state.
— Democrats predicted the stock market would plunge, instead it soared.
— Democrats predicted world-wide chaos in Trump’s first year, instead United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has secured votes for sanctions for North Korea from Russia and China.
— With the help of a complicit news media, Democrats waged a massive misinformation campaign against tax cuts, it still passed.
— Trump and the Republican Senate have confirmed a record 12 appellate judges this year.
— The last two confirmed judges were conservative Twitter-darling Don Willet and Taiwanese immigrant Jim Ho.
— Many Trump voters cited his list of conservative Supreme Court possibilities as the reason they voted for him.
Yellowhammer News contributor Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and “Yellowhammer News Presents: Guerrilla Politics” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama.
Cliff Sims checks in from the White House, talks Trump’s big tax cut with the Ford Faction on Yellowhammer Radio
Cliff Sims, founder of Yellowhammer News and current special assistant in the White House, talked about the president’s massive tax cut on today’s Ford Faction radio program.
GOP needn’t despair about Alabama
Republicans should not be disheartened by Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama, because the election had little to do with Doug Jones — and probably even less with Donald Trump or the Republican agenda.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s quite troubling that the GOP’s thin Senate majority just became anorexic, but this election by itself is not a predictor of a Democratic rout in 2018. Republicans could sustain substantial losses, to be sure, but the Alabama election doesn’t make that foreseeable.
Roy Moore was a uniquely problematic candidate with more baggage than many Republicans believed they could excuse. Though it is remarkable that a Republican candidate lost in crimson-red Alabama, it is also noteworthy that even with his problems, he came close to winning.
The vast majority of Alabama Republicans did not want to sit home or to vote for Jones, because they understand the magnitude of the stakes before us. Yet enough of them did. Apparently, the fact that he would have doubtlessly voted as a conservative at a time when every single Republican vote is critical wasn’t enough to overcome the sexual allegations and other concerns about Moore for these voters.
Also, America’s political situation is particularly fluid, and there are too many variables and important events yet to play out for us to reliably forecast the 2018 election results. One savvy politician told me this week that he could see Republicans losing the majority in both houses in 2018 — but he also wouldn’t be surprised if they were to actually gain seats if the economy remains strong and Trump’s agenda continues apace.
Democrats have more Senate seats to defend in 2018 (26) than Republicans (eight), 10 of which are in states Trump carried in 2016 — five by double digits. Even CNN concedes that the electoral map “still clearly favors Republicans.” But like other liberals, they are counting on Trump’s supposed unpopularity and soaring passion in the Democratic base to offset any GOP advantages.
Moreover, prudent analysis has to factor in the adage that people vote with their pocketbooks — even young people, the demographic reputed to be least enamored with President Trump. A Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits survey conducted before the 2016 election showed that 65 percent of voters ages 18 to 26 would base their votes more on economic policies than on social issues.
Economic indicators are decidedly positive now, and notwithstanding Barack Obama’s delusional post-presidential assertion that he deserves the credit for it, it’s hard to dispute that Trump deserves the lion’s share of credit.
The economy is humming well above 3 percent — a threshold the Obama malaise architects had already written off as no longer attainable. Unemployment is way down, and the stock market is surging significantly above impressive Obama-era levels.
This is real growth, as opposed to the fake growth Obama defeatists were touting when the economy was stagnating at 1 percent. And it can be traced to Trump’s actions and the attitude he carried into office, just as Obama’s stagnation can be traced to his business-hostile bearing.
Trump is bullish on America, the free market and American business. Entrepreneurs have responded accordingly, as have consumers. (Look at Christmas season sales already this year.)
Trump has also been aggressive in rolling back stifling bureaucratic regulations across the board, and no one should underestimate the impact of his decision to back out of the Paris climate accord — or his support of the coal and natural gas industries.
Trump also tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to substantially revise, if not wholly repeal, Obamacare, and he is determined to try again. He and congressional Republicans have done a better job so far with the tax reform bill. Though it is imperfect and not the bill I would craft if I were king, it would meaningfully improve the existing law and is very close to being passed.
If it passes, I believe we’ll see even more growth and far more revenues than the experts — the same ones who predicted that our days of 3 percent growth were over — are forecasting.
Yes, things could so south, especially if Trump and Congress are unable to move the tax bill and other major items of legislation before the 2018 elections, but I’m feeling upbeat.
My main concern is chaos within the Republican Party. The angst toward Trump among many Republicans is palpable, and unfortunately, a disproportionate number of these opponents are influential in the media.
I understand the naysayers’ disapproval of Trump’s style and various other complaints. But I don’t understand why they won’t acknowledge the positive developments that are occurring during his presidency — even if they have too much pride to give him credit for them. I get (and sometimes share) their distaste for his tweets, but it’s baffling that they won’t concede that on policy, at least, he has been far different from — and almost entirely better than — what they gloomily warned he would be.
He’s not governing like a so-called populist nationalist, and he certainly hasn’t advocated liberal policies as many feared. No matter what you think of Trump personally, he is advancing a largely conservative agenda.
Unlike some of Trump’s perpetual critics, I don’t worry that Trump is going to usher in an era of alt-right dystopia or that the country is going to descend into Bannonism — whatever that means. The critics shouldn’t fear that Trump will forever taint the conservative movement or that America will descend into darkness.
America was descending into darkness under Obama’s eight years, and that process would have accelerated into warp speed had Hillary Clinton been elected. So could we please lighten up and support the president when he’s advancing salutary policies, which is often, and go into 2018 with a spirit of warranted optimism?
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Laura Ingraham explains Roy Moore’s loss on Birmingham’s WYDE 101.1 FM
Long-time University of Alabama fan Laura Ingraham appeared on Michael Hart’s radio program on WYDE 101.1 FM this week and gave probably the best explanation yet of why Roy Moore lost.
She said the problem was the candidate, not the Republican agenda.
Laura’s bottom line: “The election has zero to do with the viability of the view of Donald Trump on substantive issues and everything to do with a confluence of circumstances unique to Alabama.”
Ingraham’s key quotes:
— “The idea that substance had anything to do with this is preposterous.”
— “All of those issues that Trump ran on are not only still popular, but vital to be addressed during his time in office.”
— “The idea that the people of Alabama have suddenly [moved] on to now supporting open borders, ridiculous trade deals like NAFTA, is preposterous. Donald Trump’s agenda in Alabama remains probably as popular as it was when he was elected.”
— “Luther Strange, or Mo Brooks especially, Gary Palmer who I think would be a great senator, these guys would be with Trump 98 percent of the time.”
— “(Moore) was probably the only prominent Republican in the entire state who couldn’t beat Doug Jones, and that’s the guy that Republicans end up rallying behind?”
Listen to the interview below:
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Quin Hillyer: Alabama’s attorney general race may become a ‘Chess’ match
Alabama faces a barn-burner of a Republican primary for state attorney general next year, with at least four highly qualified candidates. The one perhaps the least well known to the general public is, oddly enough, the one who has almost certainly spent the most quality time with the biggest state and national Republican luminaries.
Meet Chess Bedsole, with whom I sat down for an hour-long interview on November 30.
(Note: Earlier this year I separately visited, off the record, with two other AG candidates, Alice Martin and incumbent Steve Marshall, but I was not writing for Yellowhammer then. I’ll circle back to them soon for on-the-record reports.)
First, understand that I never even attempted to ask Bedsole about policy or his campaign. That will come another time. Instead, I spent the whole hour learning his background, and listening to his remarkable political stories.
As a Mobile native just out of law school (and with a tax degree) in 1998, Bedsole found himself offered jobs by two of the all-time titans of the Senate: moderate Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who chaired the Senate Finance Committee, and conservative Republican stalwart Jesse Helms of North Carolina, offering (in contrast to Moynihan’s nice offer) an absurdly low starting salary. The Moynihan post was much more of a plum job, but Bedsole, a conservative, chose Helms instead.
“I found Helms was a genuine gentleman, always going at his job with sort of a servant’s heart,” Bedsole said of the senator who in his younger days had been considered a conservative firebrand. “You could tell when he had decided he liked you: He started out just calling a new staffer ‘Fella,’ but you knew he was fond of you when he eventually started referring to you as ‘Son’.”
Helms rather quickly made Bedsole a chief legislative negotiator – but that job was interrupted by the Bush vs. Gore presidential recount in 2000. Bedsole, wanting to help, took temporary leave from Helm’s office and arrived in Florida as the youngest lawyer on Bush’s recount team, but found himself overseeing operations in Broward County – which soon, by luck, became ground zero for the fight. He impressed the right people, and somehow, with no prior ties to Bush-world, ended up (once Bush had been declared the victor) reviewing outgoing president Bill Clinton’s executive orders (seeing which ones might be revoked or reworked) for the presidential transition team. He reported to Scooter Libby, who of course was incoming Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.
Transition over, Bedsole returned to Helms’ staff – but by early 2002, returned home for family reasons, expecting to work in a Mobile law firm. Instead, he somehow found himself running Jo Bonner’s successful campaign for Congress. And then, since he was a legal recount expert, he was suddenly dispatched – at the urging of Jeff Sessions, no less – to take charge of the Republican side of the Baldwin County recount in the tight and contested governor’s race between Bob Riley and Don Siegelman.
Riley won, of course, but Bedsole – despite a meeting with just him and the Riley family, probing his interest for something more permanent – wanted to go into private practice rather than government, and moved to Birmingham to do it (and eventually to get married).
Government kept calling, though. While still in private practice doing complex business litigation, Bedsole somehow was persuaded to accept an appointment as a municipal criminal judge in Blount County. There, by his account, he started cracking down on worse offenders, rather than letting them skate – including with the help (secured via Sessions) of a federal Drug Enforcement Agency task force) – but also spearheading new programs to divert youthful non-violent offenders in to work and rehab programs.
And Sessions kept calling. At Sessions’ urging, Bedsole found himself in Trump Tower in the fall of 2015, meeting the billionaire himself – and suddenly became Alabama’s state director for the Trump campaign, and then one of Trump’s chief national delegate hunters.
And then, once the nomination was secured, he was assigned, directly by Trump Central, to be the Trump major domo assignee to V-P nominee Mike Pence’s traveling team, working directly with Pence (and usually in the seat right next to him) as they flew around the country campaigning.
Now he’s running for AG.
So, to review the employers, direct superiors, or major sponsors/mentors for Bedsole’s high-level jobs: Jesse Helms, Scooter Libby, Jo Bonner, Bob Riley, Jeff Sessions, Mike Pence, and Donald Trump. Other than that, it sounds like a pretty boring existence, eh?
This, above, is just the Cliff’s Notes version of Bedsole’s résumé. Listening to him elaborate on these political adventures is a political junkie’s dream. (Alas, this column doesn’t have room for some of the war tales.)
Clearly, Chess Bedsole is not to be taken lightly. He impresses.
Again, his competitors in the Republican primary also impress. In particular, I’ve watched the career of Alice Martin for 17 years now, and she’s a no-nonsense legal star. This is gonna be a heckuva race, one in which Alabama voters for once should be thoroughly pleased with their options.
Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.
President Trump, Steve Bannon come with last-second support for Moore
President Donald Trump is considering coming to Roy Moore’s aid as the special Senate election draws near, according to a Politico report published on Wednesday.
This news comes as former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon confirmed to CNN that he will return to Alabama next week, where he will appear at a rally in Fairhope in support of Roy Moore.
Why this matters: Moore has bled support from would-be colleagues since the allegations were published earlier this month, with many Senators who had previously endorsed recanting, including Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama. Polls show that the race has tightened amid the allegations, and a last minute boost from President Trump and Steve Bannon may prove to be the kind of national support Moore needs to get him over the finish line.
The report reveals that the White House may sign off on robo-calls, emails and text messages in an effort get out the vote for Moore on December 12.
Jeremy Beaman is a Huntsville-native in his final year at the University of Mobile. He spent the summer of 2017 with the Washington Examiner and writes for The College Fix. Follow him on Twitter @jeremywbeaman and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quin Hillyer: Mitch McConnell helped create this mess in Alabama
If ever there is legitimacy to playing a “blame game,” it exists right now with regard to the mess Alabama Republicans face in a special U.S. Senate election that should not be occurring in the first place.
In order of approximate chronology rather than of seriousness, here are all the places the blame lies – with the obvious caveat that by far the largest part of the blame lies with Roy Moore, if the allegations against him are even close to being true.
1) Luther Strange. I am reliably informed that numerous people, wise and experienced, advised Strange not to allow his name even to be considered for appointment to the Senate under the unique circumstances then existing. If he wanted to be the senator, he should have run under his own power, not as the selection of the very governor Strange was supposed to be investigating on criminal charges. The appearance of a conflict of interest was too obvious and too appalling.
2) Robert Bentley. Of course the governor should not have done any of the things that compromised himself in the first place – but, having done so, he should never, ever have considered Strange for the appointment. See above.
3) Mitch McConnell and his minions/Political Action Committees (henceforth: MMMPACs). MMMPACs, having failed to learn the lessons of earlier interferences in state elections (for example, opposing Marco Rubio in Florida, Ben Sasse in Nebraska, and others who proved to be excellent senators), decided to waste some $9 million on behalf of the un-re-electable Strange. Even worse, MMMPACs tried to act as bully-boys, threatening candidates and campaign consultants that if they opposed Strange, they would never work in/have no future in Republican politics ever again. Potentially strong candidates – ones who could have defeated both Strange and Moore – were thus bullied out of the race.
4) Governor Kay Ivey. She was wrong, both practically and I believe legally, to call for the special election this year. Practically, a cash-strapped state should not be spending $15 million to run an election when there would really have been no harm in waiting until a regular election in 2018. Also practically, the unique circumstances of the Bentley scandal meant that the political waters were too roiled to allow the public a “normal” and thoughtful consideration of the potential candidates, with too little time for some potentially good candidates to get organized enough to make the race. Finally, while nobody challenged her in court, I am convinced that once Bentley had called the election for 2018, nothing in state law allows a governor the power to unilaterally change a duly called election date. In short, this election should not have been held until November of 2018.
5) Mo Brooks. This is the least of these blame points but it warrants inclusion on this list. The conservative with the best chance of sneaking past Strange into the runoff with Moore chose an ill-conceived tactic that blew up in his face, by airing a TV ad with video of Brooks being interviewed at the scene of the shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise’s staffers themselves were outraged, and were quoted complaining that Brooks appeared to be trying to profit politically from the assassination attempt.
6) Strange and MMMPACs. Together, they ran one of the most despicable campaigns I have witnessed in more than four decades involved in or covering politics. They poisoned the well with harshly negative, even vicious, and at least somewhat untrue attacks against both Moore and Brooks. (The worst was the one insinuating that Brooks somehow was weak against ISIS!) And when they weren’t wrongly attacking their opponents, they were running ads for Strange that were so trite they insultingly played into national stereotypes about supposedly simple-minded Alabamans. So obnoxious were their tactics that, if basing the judgment on the campaign alone, neither Strange nor McConnell should ever hold office again.
7) Donald Trump. He, too, should have stayed away from a state’s party primary. By jumping in before the first primary, he helped (at least at the margins) Strange ward off the challenge from Brooks. Well, if the national pooh-bahs wanted “anybody but Moore,” the only way by then to stop Moore was for Brooks to edge past Strange into the runoff. As I said the very day qualifying for the race closed, Strange had no chance on God’s green Earth to defeat Moore in a runoff if those were the two candidates who emerged.
It is time for a hard and fast new rule: National party committees and so-called “Leadership PACs,” and their affiliates, should avoid all direct financial involvement in party primaries. Sure, they can and ought to try to recruit good candidates, but their recruiting pitch should be this: “We can help line you up with good strategists and workers and policy briefings, and we will commit to raising X amount of money for you if you emerge as the nominee. But aside from that, winning the nomination is up to you; we are holding our money and our clout for use against Democrats in the general election, not to trash fellow Republicans in a primary.”
Mitch McConnell, Luther Strange and company utterly screwed up this whole election. They should hang their heads in shame.
Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.
Why aren’t liberal journalists calling Doug Jones a Civil War-truther like they did General Kelly?
Gen. John Kelly has emerged as President Donald Trump’s most effective spokesperson. He is plain-spoken and authentic.
His defense of Donald Trump’s phone call to a war widow was heartfelt and easily understood, but he had to be punished for that. The Democrats and their allies in the media decided to pretend Kelly using the phrase “empty barrel” to describe provocateur Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was racist. (It’s not).
Last week, the pretend outrage around Kelly centered on his lamenting that Americans do not want to compromise on anything in Washington D.C., a completely reasonable view. While Kelly described the importance of compromise he referenced the Civil War and he praised Robert E. Lee.
“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly said. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”
For some reason that was portrayed as Kelly taking up the South’s “lost cause” or arguing for slavery.
But they still raked Kelly across the coals for a completely reasonable comparison.
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) November 1, 2017
Perspective: John Kelly is wrong: slavery, not compromise, caused the Civil War https://t.co/5UDOA1ZN07
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 1, 2017
Do they think John Kelly doesn’t know about slavery and it’s role in the Civil War?
Of course he understands this and they know it.
But, let’s play their stupid game for a second, this is a Tweet (and an ad that was seen during the ‘Bama-LSU game Saturday night) by Democrat Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones.
Today, we say that there is honor in compromise. Real leaders work together to get things done. pic.twitter.com/h5f6zfma84
— Doug Jones (@DougJones) October 30, 2017
That’s right, Jones is now calling for compromise AND stating that a lack of compromise contributed to the Civil War. If you watch the video, he also praised a Southern General just like Kelly did.
Is Doug Jones fighting for slavery? For the South’s “lost cause”? No, of course not. He is speaking out, in generic politician speak, about the insane polarization of our modern political system, just like John Kelly was.
So where is the American media?
Feeding the polarization.
Pretending John Kelly is a monster.
Asking Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the Trump Administration thinks that slavery is wrong…
— The Hill (@thehill) November 1, 2017
But on Doug Jones?
Admittedly, Jones is down as much as 17 points to Roy Moore, so maybe he isn’t on their radar? That argument doesn’t fly because the national media has been running a non-stop attack on Moore’s candidacy since the day he beat Luther Strange in the Republican run-off.
Why? Because this isn’t about right and wrong, black and white, or even the things these individuals actually believe, all of this outrage is about running down Kelly, and making him into a racist and minimizing him as an advocate for Donald Trump and his administration.
They are willing to dishonestly trash a Gold Star father, a decorated American general and a good man, in order to hurt Donald Trump, Republicans and conservatives.
Make no mistake, that is what all of this is about.
Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.
(The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect those of Yellowhammer News.)
Down Syndrome Man Offers Moving Testimony for the Sanctity of Life
In Iceland, the vast majority of babies with Down syndrome are killed in utero. Using the same reasoning as Nazi Germany, apparently, Iceland sees this as social progress, presuming that those with genetic differences are incapable of loving, inspiring, or creating immeasurable joy.
As those with Down syndrome and other genetic disorders have proven time and again, this is clearly not true.
Nevertheless, Iceland has apparently left it to society’s elite to decide who deserves to live or die, based on some subjective determination of human superiority. Such thinking led to the horrors of slavery and the holocaust, but humanists never learn from history, which they are bound and determined to repeat.
As reported in Breitbart News yesterday, Kari Stefansson is a geneticist and the founder a company that has studied Iceland’s population’s genomes stated, “My understanding is that we have basically eradicated, almost, Down syndrome from our society—that there is hardly ever a child with Down syndrome in Iceland anymore.”
In response, Patricia Heaton, of ABC’s The Middle cogently Tweeted: “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
Frank Stephens, agrees, and he’s sickened by Iceland’s slective killing. Mr. Stephens, who has Down Syndrome, provided compelling testimony to a Congressional Committee on Capitol Hill last week, making a strong case for the sanctity of all human life. Realizing the obvious connection, Stephens told the committee that his life is “worth living.”
“Seriously, I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence. Is there really no place for us in the world?” Mr. Stephens said. “Surely happiness is worth something…Let’s be America, not Iceland or Denmark,” he added.
If anyone thinks this would never happen in America, Planned Parenthood and our country’s federal judges that are so sympathetic to their cause, are already doing their part to make sure it will.
When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was Governor of Indiana, he signed a bill into law that that prohibited abortions based on the sex or race of the child or a prenatal diagnosis of “Down syndrome or any other disability.” The law also required that aborted babies bodies be disposed of in a dignified manner befitting human remains, instead of merely throwing them in the trash as abortion providers are known to do.
None of this sat well with America’s largest abortion mill, Planned Parenthood. Never hearing of an unborn child they didn’t want to kill in their insatiable quest to trade death for dollars, they teamed up with the ACLU to sue Indiana over this new law. A federal judge appointed by Barack Obama—U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt—promptly issued a permanent injunction against the law just last month. In other words, this judge says Indiana cannot stop a woman from killing her unborn child if she wants to do so because the child is female instead of male, or because the child’s skin is one color instead of another, or because the child has Down syndrome. This, says Judge Pratt, violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
In response to this ruling, President Trump said:
“Sadly, there remain too many people – both in the United States and throughout the world – that still see Down syndrome as an excuse to ignore or discard human life. This sentiment is and will always be tragically misguided. We must always be vigilant in defending and promoting the unique and special gifts of all citizens in need. We should not tolerate any discrimination against them, as all people have inherent dignity.”
Frank Stephens agrees.
“Whatever you learn today, please remember this,” Mr. Stephens passionately declared, “I am a man with Down syndrome, and my life is worth living.”
Watch Mr. Stephens moving testimony, which was Tweeted by PBS News Hour, here:
WATCH: “I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living” said Down syndrome advocate Frank Stephens to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. pic.twitter.com/PYPcxFjbBw
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) October 26, 2017
Donald Trump Takes Healthcare Reform into His Own Hands
In light of a handful of Republican U.S. Senators repeatedly siding with Democrats to block President Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, he is using the power of the pen to start the process on his own.
In its news release yesterday, the White House quoted the President as saying:
“The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care.”
The media advisory said the President is “signing an Executive Order to reform the United States healthcare system to take the first steps to expand choices and alternatives to Obamacare plans and increase competition to bring down costs for consumers.”
At the crack of dawn today, the President Tweeted “The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies have stopped. Dems should call me to fix!” Next, he Tweeted: “ObamaCare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”
The White House press release yesterday said that the President is “taking action to increase the health care choices for millions of Americans, potentially allowing some employers to join together across State lines to offer coverage.”
“The status quo is not delivering quality healthcare options for the American people, who are facing higher premiums and fewer options,” Trump stated.
A Fox News article this morning said the Justice Department has notified a federal appeals court that a payment due Monday “will not occur.” Confirming this, acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma said, “We will discontinue these payments immediately.”
However, The Wall Street Journal reported Trump telling one legislator lawmaker that the payments may continue if a bipartisan deal is reached to reform health care.
The President says he still seeks that legislative outcome. In the meantime, however, he says his order will give help people by giving them more health care choices at lower prices.
Three Lessons Republicans Must Learn From That Messy Alabama Primary
Some say Judge Roy Moore’s victory over Senator Luther Strange last Tuesday was a loss for the president: “Alabama defeat leaves Trump weakened, isolated amid mounting challenges,” read a headline in the Washington Post.
Others say it was a defeat for the Senate majority leader: “Judge Roy Moore wins Alabama Senate primary, dealing a huge blow to Mitch McConnell,” declared the liberal news site Vox.
And a few even say it was all about the chairman of Breitbart News: “Steve Bannon just defeated Trump,” wrote liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.
But this wasn’t about Trump or McConnell or Bannon, and it wasn’t even really about Moore or Strange.
It was about Alabama.
More precisely, it was about how Republicans in Alabama choose candidates to stand against Democrats in the general election, and then against liberalism once in office.
But if we allow a proxy war between Trump and McConnell and Bannon and whoever else to distract us, then we’ll fail to learn some valuable lessons that tumbled out of this messy but instructive race. It’d be foolish to repeat these mistakes in another Republican primary, but it could be catastrophic to do so during a general election.
So let’s remind ourselves of three big ones:
Lesson 1: Never disrespect the voters.
Like many Republicans in Alabama, I had a somewhat open mind at the beginning of the primary. And there was plenty to like.
If you like former Senator Jeff Sessions, then you’d probably love Congressman Mo Brooks. He’d carry the torch of conservatism in the Senate. If you like Senator Richard Shelby, then you’d probably love Luther. He’d protect the state’s interest and bring home jobs. Those who like Donald Trump would probably love Judge Moore. He’d give the establishment hell.
I honestly couldn’t decide … until an outside group supporting Luther released an attack ad against Brooks. And someone thought it’d be a good idea to ask veterans to carry the message.“I served my country,” said one veteran. “Mo Brooks, he voted to cut off funding to fight ISIS.” “We fought for our freedom,” said another. “Brooks, he fought to cut off funding.” “Mo Brooks was playing politics,” they went on to say, “siding with Nancy Pelosi and the liberals instead of siding with us.”Luther lost me in the primary because of that ad. Instantly.
First, because claiming that Mo Brooks was siding with Nancy Pelosi on anything is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. He’s one of the most consistently conservative voices in Congress. Hit him on whatever else – being a lifelong politician, not jumping on the Trump Train, etc. – but cozying up to liberals? Come on.
Second, they gave those veterans a script that did more than stretch the truth, and then put them on television. I respect those veterans. They’re my brothers-in-arms, but I fear they were manipulated. That turned me from annoyed to angry.
Then later during the run-off, I had to listen to another ad supporting Luther, this time saying how strong he is on the Second Amendment (which indeed he is). But then they had to blow it with another unnecessary jab.
“Roy Moore,” the narrator said, “He’s a little soft on gun rights.”
Luther lost me in the runoff because of that ad. Permanently.
There’s plenty of truthful material to use against Moore, but claiming he’s “soft” on guns was the dumbest thing I had heard since … well … someone said Mo Brooks was in cahoots with Nancy Pelosi. Do they really think we’re that stupid?
Luther’s outside supporters meant well, but they couldn’t have caused a worse reaction with the voters they were seeking to influence. I saw otherwise calm people grow red-faced with anger about those ads.Not because of where they came from. Not because they were negative, per se. But because they were taking cheap shots at well liked, and well known, conservatives.
It seems like Alabamians know Mo Brooks and Judge Moore much better than the people who created those ads. We not only felt they were being unfair to two of our movement’s most unwavering conservatives, they were insulting our intelligence by claiming they were liberals or gun grabbers.
Listen, the organizations that funded those ads are full of dedicated conservatives. Good people. Our people. And the firms that cut those ads have talented and dedicated experts who can produce amazing spots. I’m sure they poll-tested and focused-grouped the language and think all of this criticism is unfounded. Maybe ads like that worked well elsewhere in the past. But the results speak for themselves.
We can, and must, attack our opponents. Early, often, and without rest. But it must be done with integrity. Doing the research, formulating the right argument, and writing clever copy for an honest yet effective attack will be harder, but the result will be much better.
At least do this: Our ad guys should adopt that old saying from the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.
Lesson 2: Negative ads still work.
Yes, those ads backfired and drove voters away from Luther, but we mustn’t believe that negative ads don’t work at all. They’re proven to be effective when done correctly, and proven to fail when not done at all.
In 2008, Senator John McCain refused to launch negative ads against then-Senator Barrack Obama until it was too late. Four years later Mitt Romney did the same thing. They played nice, and lost. Remember how we complained about that?
Besides, successfully launching and withstanding negative ads during a primary fight also shows us who can throw a punch and who can take a punch. Republicans need proven fighters and tested survivors, or else our candidates will get hammered in the general election by the Democrats (who will attack, and harshly).
Why this would normally matter: Judge Moore proved once again that he could take a punch, probably better than anyone. Steadfast doesn’t begin to describe the man. But since some voters were primarily driven into his camp by the other guy’s campaign ads, did he demonstrate an ability to effectively counterpunch? He’ll need to do that during the general election, and the time for practice has passed.
But why it doesn’t matter at all right now: Judge Moore’s opponent in the general election just said he thinks it should be perfectly legal to abort an unborn baby at any time during pregnancy, even a few minutes before birth. No restrictions. Oh, and taxpayers should fund it, he says. It’s hard to believe that my grandfather’s party nominated this guy. The only question that remains, does Roy Moore want us to still call him “judge” or will “senator” do?
Bottom line: If our future candidates walk away from this primary thinking they shouldn’t use negative ads, then they’ll follow McCain and Romney straight into the loser’s club.
Lesson 3: You’re the candidate, so control your message.
When asked by reporters, Luther would correctly say that he had nothing to do with those ads, they weren’t created or funded by his campaign, and that he couldn’t legally coordinate with the committee that produced them.
That’s all true, legally speaking. But voters still held Luther responsible for the ads because they knew he could have done something. Hearing him claim he was powerless to make them stop seemed rather unbelievable.
A couple of years ago when Congressman Gary Palmer was running for his seat, an outside group came into Birmingham and ran a misleading ad against his opponent. Palmer could have sat by and allowed the ad to continue, and remained within the law, but he made it known publically that he thought the ad was misleading. He didn’t coordinate with the outside group. He simply voiced his distaste with the ad like everyone else.
Guess what? The group heard Palmer loud-and-clear, and they pulled the ad.
Hearing Palmer say that pulled me strongly to his side. Hearing Luther say nothing pushed me further away.
Still, even if it were true that Luther couldn’t say anything to cause those outside groups to pull their insulting ads, what does that say about his ability to influence things on Capitol Hill? It begs the question, if Luther couldn’t get his friends to pull a bad ad that was insulting his voters, then how could we expect him to convince his opponents to repeal a bad law that was harming his state?
How to avoid this: Congressman Palmer showed us the way. The second an outside group strays from a campaign’s messaging strategy or releases a misleading ad, candidates should immediately make their displeasure publically known.
An old soldier once told me that there’s a big difference between a lesson learned and a lesson observed.
We observed these lessons during the past several weeks, but will we truly learn them? Time will tell.
Meanwhile, what other lessons did you take from the primary? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.
(“Be bold and courageous.” – Joshua 1:9)
About the Author: Pepper Bryars is the new editor of Yellowhammer News. Pepper began his career writing for military newspapers while serving in the Alabama Army National Guard. He then became a staff reporter for the Mobile Press-Register, spent time as an aide to then-Congressman and Governor Bob Riley and served as a presidential appointee managing legislative issues for the Defense Department. Pepper was also a strategic communication advisor to U.S. military forces operating in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. He was twice awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Exceptional Public Service, once for service in Baghdad during the early days of the Iraq War and a second time for work at the Pentagon. He is the author of two books and most recently wrote a popular conservative opinion column that was published in the Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register, Huntsville Times, the Mississippi Press and at AL.com.
The Movement Roy Moore Rode To Victory
As is now clear to most of America, Roy Moore won last night because a highly motivated, populist base showed its deep disdain for establishment politics.
As I wrote last week, “It’s a movement fueled by hard-working, patriotic Americans who embraced an American dream that’s turned into a nightmare, and they’re fed up. They’re tired of being told what to do, what to say, what to believe, and how to act.”
Donald Trump clearly gave voice to this movement a year ago, but the fascinating question of this election is what reenergized it in Alabama?
Was it more Luther Strange’s appointment by Robert Bentley, his association with Mitch McConnell, a combination of both, or is there an even deeper reason? Regarding the Bentley appointment, as State Rep. Paul Beckman told Yellowhammer six weeks ago:
Regarding the Bentley appointment, as State Rep. Paul Beckman told Yellowhammer six weeks ago:
Look, no one is saying this was illegal; it’s a matter of ethics. Luther’s office was in the middle of a criminal investigation of Bentley, so it just doesn’t look good for Bentley to turn around and appoint the man who’s investigating him. He took the appointment under questionable circumstances, and that took the decision out of the hands of the people. The undecided voters in this election represent a larger group than normal and I think that’s one reason why. You have to do what’s right and instead of waiting for it to play out, Luther created the stigma that now hangs over him.
The other theory is that Strange’s loss was more attributed to the fact that the Senate Leadership Fund—a PAC associated with a beleaguered Mitch McConnell—intervened on Luther’s behalf and that association was his undoing. McConnell is the face of the establishment, and this new American movement would rather sink that ship with a torpedo than polish its brass as it slowly submerges. The sooner the swamp is drained, the better.
While Strange’s association with both Bentley and McConnell played a part in Roy Moore’s victory, an even deeper factor was in play. What Moore’s campaign so masterfully architected was an emotional connection to members of America’s new populist movement—many of whom feel oppressed, forgotten, and unfairly targeted by leaders of a country they’ve believed in and fought for their entire lives. In other words, Moore’s campaign not only tied Luther Strange to the establishment; they brilliantly reflected to their base how Roy and his wife were under attack from that same establishment.
In so doing, Moore created a way for these socially conservative, fiercely independent voters to see themselves in his story.
The association they made is that Roy was under attack from the same status-quo politicians that they’re under attack from every day. This made sense to them on a very personal, emotional level—a level that affects their wallets and their worries. In this way, Roy Moore’s story found deep, personal resonance among an already-devoted base.
For frosting on the cake, this candidate had already shown that he’s willing to lose his job if it means removing the Ten Commandments from the courthouse, and if he’s under attack, you can better believe they will have his back. For this reason, it’s not a stretch to believe that these negative ads delivered Roy Moore’s victory on a silver platter. The hardworking, devoted people that comprise his voters despise being told what to do by elitists, and last night proved that’s exactly how they viewed this election.
While there’s no way to know what percentage of them turned out last month and again last night, the proof’s in the pudding, so it’s a safe bet that the number is extremely high. While the apathetic majority found better things to do, this unshakable base was going to the polls to vote for their champion, just as they will this fall.
The only question that now remains is, will Roy Moore’s campaign become a template for anti-establishment Republican candidates in the rest of the country or was it unique to Alabama? In other words, can Steve Bannon and the powerful Breitbart engine make Moore’s victory more about giving voice to everyday Americans that despise the establishment than about Robert Bentley and Alabama politics?
One thing is certain, Bannon and company are just getting started, and as of this morning, Roy Moore now has Donald Trump in his corner too. That’s a locomotive that’s not likely to be stopped, at least in Sweet Home Alabama.
V.P. Pence in Alabama Tonight To Campaign for Luther Strange
Vice President Mike Pence will be in Birmingham tonight campaigning for incumbent U.S. Senator Luther Strange ahead of tomorrow’s runoff election against Roy Moore.
Pence’s visit comes on the heels of President Trump’s Friday night visit to Huntsville to campaign for Senator Strange.
At that rally, President Trump said: “Luther wants to end business as usual, stop the insider dealing, and Luther Strange is determined to DRAIN THAT SWAMP.”
“With Luther Strange…you send a fighter to change Washington the way we all know it can be…Together with the great people of Alabama, and your giant in the Senate, we will make America proud again, we will make America rich again, and we will make America great again,” the President said.
In response, Senator Strange said:
“Tonight, it was my honor and privilege to welcome President Trump back to Alabama, where millions of people are proud of his work to Make America Great Again,” said Luther Strange. “From the beginning of my campaign, I have stood with the President to deliver on the promises he made to our great state, and the entire nation, by fixing our broken immigration system, revitalizing our economy, and draining the swamp in Washington.
Looking forward to tonight’s rally with Vice President Pence, Strange added:
“I want to thank President Trump for coming to Alabama tonight and I look forward to having Vice President Mike Pence in Birmingham Monday night. Voters in Alabama value the President and Vice-President’s endorsements and it is their strong support that will lead to a victory for our great state on September 26th.”
Below are the details of tonight’s event.
Tickets: Tickets can be obtained through Eventbrite and are limited to the capacity of the building.
Where: HealthSouth Aviation, 4851 65th Place North, Birmingham, AL 35206
Date: September 25, 2017
Time: Doors open 4:00 PM/Event Begins 7:00 PM
Cliff Sims Talks Suits, Winning Streaks, and the Real Donald Trump on the Ford Faction
On two laughter-filled segments on the Ford Fusion, Yellowhammer founder Cliff Sims breaks it down for the guys, talking suits, championship belts, and what life is really like behind the scenes in the White House.
In one portion of the segment, Sims gives some insight into life as a senior White House staffer, saying:
“When he says things like ‘we’re going to make sure we get good deals for America and we’re going to be taken advantage of anymore,’ it’s not just a talking point…I’ve heard him behind closed doors meeting with foreign leaders, and I see him look ’em in the eye and say, ‘you guys have got to step up here because we’re not going to tote the load for you anymore,’ and I think that takes some of them by surprise because they think they’re in on the joke, like it’s a wink and a nod. No! There’s none of that (with President Trump).”
You’ll hear this and much more on this audio, so don’t miss Cliff Sims on this segment of the Ford Faction. You’re guaranteed to laugh a lot and you’ll definitely be glad you listened!
As Trump Admonishes North Korea, Alabama-Made System Remains Crucial To National Defense
In what may have been one of his finest moments to date, President Donald J. Trump delivered a speech to the United Nations this morning that made many Americans want to stand up and cheer. After extolling America’s virtues instead of apologizing for its existence, the president stated:
In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs. In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.
Reminding the U.N. delegates of America’s moral authority, the president continued:
America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others.
Trump also reminded his audience that these measures were taken because decent people across the globe have a moral obligation to reject passivity when tyrants seek to destroy human rights. As he stated:
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.
With that backdrop, President Trump shined a clear light in the dark corner of Kim Jong-un’s madness:
No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later.
Invoking no imaginary red lines or hollow doublespeak, the president plainly articulated his position with resolute conviction, leaving the rogue tyrant and any who may support him no doubt where the United States now stands.
No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
Trump was no less clear in his message to Iran. Again, he articulated what so many thinking Americans know but what political leaders have for too-long lacked the courage to express:
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos…It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most.
In response, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump, saying, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech. President Trump spoke the truth about the great dangers facing our world and issued a powerful call to confront them in order to ensure the future of humanity.”
Unfortunately, the leaders of both countries seem to have an insatiable appetite for war and destruction, and that’s why America must remain strong if we want to remain free. One critical spoke in the wheel of our strength is a missile defense system developed right here in Alabama. In fact, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program (GMD) is the only one capable of intercepting and destroying the kind of intercontinental ballistic missiles the “rocket man” would use to deliver nuclear warheads to the United States.
As national security expert Lorne Thompson wrote in an article for Forbes:
It seems there is only one step the Trump administration can take that would not increase the likelihood of war and materially improve the safety of the American homeland. That step is to accelerate and expand the modest missile defense system called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) that operates interceptors in Alaska and California.
On the offensive side of the ball, America’s largest deterrent is the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (MM3). These MM3’s would be used if the U.S. should strike Kim Jong-un. Like the GMD, the MM3 was also predominantly developed by Boeing. Finally, Boeing is working on the next generation of offensive weapons—the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which will yield better performance using technology that didn’t exist when the Minuteman missiles were developed.
While we all hope these defense systems and offensive weapons will never need to be deployed, it’s reassuring to know they are locked and loaded to defend our homes should the call come. In the meantime, the President closed his speech today with a powerful vision of hope and peace:
In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain. Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us. This is the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul. So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world. We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United States of America.
Former White House Aide Gorka to Stump for Roy Moore in Alabama
Former deputy assistant to President Trump, Sebastian Gorka, is coming to Alabama Thursday to join Sarah Palin in a rally supporting Roy Moore.
According to today’s article by Axios, Gorka is now working for an organization called the “MAGA Coalition.” The group’s website says it’s “a national network of over 5,000,000 America First citizens who share in the belief that both our national parties have taken America down the wrong path.”
Gorka will be leading a Thursday night rally in Montgomery along with Palin, who will be in Alabama under the banner of The Great America Alliance, a group closely aligned with Steven Bannon. Gorka worked for Bannon at Breitbart before the two became White House advisers.
It’s obvious that a big reason Bannon and Gorka are involved in this race is that Mitch McConnel supports Strange, but the more interesting question surrounds their relationship with Donald Trump in light of his support for Strange.
As the Axios article said, “Think about this. A month ago, Gorka and Steve Bannon were working in President Trump’s White House. Now they are preparing to go head-to-head against the president to support a candidate who is loathed by the same establishment that originally loathed Trump.”
Much has been reported about the implications of this fascinating turn of events. HotAir.com recently ran a story with the enticing headline “Alabama GOP Senate runoff now a proxy war between Trump and Bannon.” However, an article posted on The Hill today says “Allies of Bannon insist that the Trump-Bannon split over Moore isn’t indicative of a larger rift.”
Whatever the implications, it’s clear that Donald Trump and Mike Pence will be in Alabama campaigning for Luther Strange just as Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon are doing everything in their power to elect Moore because they view Strange as the establishment candidate.
As Politico stated in an August 16 article, “If Moore wins, his approach could serve as a template for other insurgent candidates…The assault from pro-McConnell forces has allowed Moore to portray himself as the underdog. During a recent appearance before the Weyrich Lunch, a closed-door gathering of conservative leaders in Washington, Moore said the Washington establishment wants nothing more than to bring him down.”
Look for Sebastian Gorka and Sarah Palin to expound upon that message at their Thursday night rally in Montgomery, as it’s now apparent that forces outside of Alabama are working hard to bring both candidates down.
Trump Nominates Four Alabamians as Federal Judges
In a White House news release, President Trump announced sixteen nominations for federal judgeships today, and Alabama jurists comprise a fourth of that list.
The four Alabamians nominated to serve on federal courts are as follows:
Jeffrey Beaverstock—nominated to serve as District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Mr. Beaverstock is a partner in the Mobile, law office of Burr & Forman, LLP, where his practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation in State and Federal courts. Mr. Beaverstock was active duty in the U.S. Army for four years, serving as an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer. Since leaving active duty, he’s served in the U.S. Army Reserve, and is now a Lieutenant Colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army (Reserve) and is the Chief of Contract and Administrative Law for the 377th Theater Sustainment Command. Mr. Beaverstock earned his B.A. from The Citadel in South Carolina, where he was selected as the Distinguished Military Graduate and as the Most Outstanding Army Cadet. He earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he served as managing editor of the Alabama Law Review.
Emily Coody Marks—nominated to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Emily Marks is a partner in the Montgomery, Alabama, law office of Ball, Ball, Matthews & Novak, P.A., where she has practiced since 1998. She specializes in labor and employment law, civil rights law, and appellate law and she lectures on these topics before employers and other members of the bar. Mrs. Marks earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Spring Hill College, and her J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where she served as chair of the John A. Campbell Moot Court Board and as a senior editor of the University of Alabama Law & Psychology Review.
Terry F. Moorer—nominated to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Judge Terry F. Moorer currently serves as a Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, a post he’s held for ten years. Before his current judgeship, Judge Moorer served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama, as a Command Judge Advocate in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and as an attorney in the Office of Staff Judge Advocate in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Judge Moorer earned his Associate of Arts from the Marion Military Institute, his B.A. from Huntington College, and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Brett Joseph Talley—nominated to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Brett Talley serves as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy. Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Talley served for two years as the Deputy Solicitor General in the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Before joining the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Talley served as a speechwriter for U.S. Senator Rob Portman and as a Senior Writer for Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign. Mr. Talley worked as an associate in the prestigious Washington, D.C., law office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Early in his career, he was also a law clerk for Judge Joel F. Dubina on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and for Judge L. Scott Coogler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Mr. Talley earned his B.A., in philosophy and history, summa cum laude, from the University of Alabama, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as an articles editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
The Role of Polls, Pundits, and Politics in the Heavyweight Bout: Strange vs. Moore for U.S. Senate
Two weeks into the run-off campaign to determine who will be the Republican candidate for Jeff Sessions’ old U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Luther Strange, the picture isn’t much clearer than it was the night after the primary vote on August 15th.
This uncertainly aside, there’s no shortage of speculation surrounding the race, and disputes between the two heavy weights are evident in everything from polls to endorsements.
The first poll following the August 15th primary was released a little over a week ago by JMC Analytics. Given the way the poll’s questions were framed, and the fact that Breitbart (who strongly supports Moore) had its exclusive release, the poll was likely commissioned by entities supporting Roy Moore.
That statewide survey polled 515 registered Alabama voters, 70% of whom said they were definitely going to vote in the September 26th run off. Of those respondents, 51% said they’re voting for Moore, and 32% chose Strange, while 17% said they were undecided.
Other notable factors in this first poll were:
• 60% either voted for Moore or Strange in the primary, but the poll didn’t ask which
• 68% self-identified as evangelical Christians, and 72% were over the age of 55
• The poll also asked if President Trump’s endorsement helped Luther Strange in the August 15th primary; 51% said it made no difference, while only 25% said it made them more likely to vote for Strange
• 45% said the fact that McConnell helped Strange made them less likely to support Strange, while 46% said it didn’t matter
The second poll, released today by Harper Polling shows a much closer race. In its ballot test, 47% chose Moore, and 45% chose Strange, with only 8% undecided. This poll was comprised of 600 likely Republican primary runoff election voters in Alabama and, based on the way its questions were framed, it was likely commissioned by entities supportive of Luther Strange.
Other notable factors in this second poll were:
• 30% of these undecided voters lean towards Strange and 6% lean towards Moore
• Respondents ranked support for President Trump, “conservative values,” and the “ability to get things done for Alabama” as the three most important factors in selecting a candidate
• 87% view the President favorably and 69% hold of “very favorable view” of President Trump
Aside from the obvious difference in the two polls—one showing Moore leading by 19% and one show him only leading by 2% (virtually a dead heat)—the percentage of undecided voters is another noteworthy disparity. The first poll shows 17% undecided and the second only shows 8% undecided. The persuadable middle is often the deciding factor in elections like these, assuming they turnout in high percentages, which they did not in round one. However, if the second poll is accurate indicating that 30% of these undecided voters lean towards Strange and only 6% lean towards Moore, that clearly gives Strange a strong advantage with this group.
Washington influence is another topic in which the two polls seemed to tell a different story. In the one likely commissioned by Moore supporters, only 25% said Trump’s endorsement helped Strange. In the one likely commissioned by Strange supporters, 38% said the candidate’s support of Trump’s agenda is the most important factor in the race, and 60% of those said Strange is the more supportive of Trump than Moore—indicating the relationship between Strange and President Trump does matter.
While the second poll didn’t raise the McConnell question, the first poll made it clear that the association between Strange and McConnell, which Moore will continue to highlight, clearly plays in Moore’s favor.
A similar issue in this election is the “Washington insider” perception. Again, Moore has sought to frame Strange in this light. On this topic, however, the second poll asked respondents if “willingness to fight the Republican establishment in Washington” is the most important “candidate characteristic” and only 11% said yes, suggesting that Strange being perceived as a Washington insider may not be as important to voters as many assume.
Another ongoing issue, the importance of which also remains to be seen, is endorsements. Before the election, Moore was endorsed by famous conservative evangelicals like James Dobson, Chuck Norris, and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, while Strange had the backing of iconic conservative organizations like the NRA, the National Right to Life, and ultimately gained the endorsement of President Trump. Closer to home, Strange has the endorsement of Bubba Bussey of the Rick & Bubba Show fame, while Moore picked up the support of his former opponent Trip Pittman.
In the two weeks since, Steve Bannon is out at the White House and just endorsed Roy Moore, no doubt reinforcing Breitbart’s strong support of the former Alabama judge. At the same time, the Washington Post and others have speculated (citing unnamed sources) that Trump may be distancing himself from Strange, although the White House has not confirmed these rumors.
If the first poll is more accurate, the President’s role doesn’t matter that much, but if the second poll is more accurate, it will matter, and if Trump does indeed refrain from working hard for Strange, that plays to Moore’s advantage. What we don’t yet know is how a polarizing national figure like Steve Bannon entering the fray on behalf of Roy Moore will be perceived by Alabama voters.
In the final analysis, with a little less than a month before the election, undecided voters, voter turnout, and endorsements will most likely continue to be factors in determining whether voters choose Luther Strange or Roy Moore to represent the Republican party in the election to the U.S. Senate.
“Fire and Fury”: Donald Trump’s Style And Why It Works
Though the media is currently in a complete state of frenzy over the events in Charlottesville, pardoning of Joe Arpaio and major changes at the White House, the situation with North Korea remains as high stakes as ever. It’s no secret that President Trump has come out strongly against Kim Jong-un and his authoritarian regime. Trump threatened “fire and fury” against any unfriendly action from North Korea, stating North Korea “better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble.”
In response to his comments, Trump has received mixed reviews. Critics worry that he is too provocative and that an irrational dictator like Jong-un will not respond by backing down but rather with violent force. Trump’s supporters, on the other hand, appreciate his strength and zeal in contrast to the “strategic patience” of the Obama administration. In analyzing whether Trump’s intimidating rhetoric will serve as an effective deterrent for the communist regime, it may prove helpful to take a look at the actions of the presidents that came before him.
The Clinton administration seemed somewhat successful initially in dealing with North Korea. After Pyongyang threatened to abandon their commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Clinton successfully established the Joint Framework Agreement. Under this agreement, the U.S. promised $4 billion in benefits to North Korea if it agreed to halt its nuclear program. However, shortly after the agreement was signed, the Republicans took control of Congress and refused to pass it. Members of the GOP viewed the agreement as appeasement and favored a zero-tolerance policy toward North Korean nuclear development. It turns out the Republicans were correct in their assumption that the dictatorship could not be trusted to adhere to any agreement, as a few years later, North Korea admitted it had been secretly conducting a nuclear-weapons program.
Trump has been singled out for his emblazoned rhetoric toward Jong-un and his regime, but George W. Bush made use of threatening rhetoric as well. Bush named North Korea as one part of the three-part “axis of evil,” a move that surprised and incensed Pyongyang. Despite his use of strong language, Bush attempted diplomacy with North Korea in a similar manner as Clinton. The Bush administration reached an agreement to send $400 million in fuel, food, and other aid in exchange for then leader Kim Jong-il shutting down the country’s main nuclear reactor. Bush went as far as to write a personal letter to Jong-il, expressing his hope that the agreement would stay in place, but shortly after the agreement was made, North Korea launched a rocket and the agreement fell apart. Moving forward, with focus on the Middle East, the Bush Administration did not put much further effort into the North Korean problem.
After a nuclear test in 2009, President Obama sent an envoy to North Korea and asked Kim Jong-il to begin denuclearization talks. However, nothing came of this interaction, and no major moves were made. In 2012, Kim Jong-un claimed he would halt nuclear tests in exchange for food aid, but this turned out to be a bluff. The Obama administration attempted an economic strategy to choke the North, imposing sanctions on coal exports. Obama’s actions did not, however, prove effective. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, North Korea conducted four nuclear tests without any apparent repercussions. Obama avoided confrontation with “strategic patience,” which didn’t work. In 2014, Obama threatened that the “U.S. will not hesitate to use military might,” and in 2016, he said that there would be “consequences” for North Korea. Obama didn’t, however, deliver on these comments and world opinion was that Obama was unlikely to carry through on any act of military strength which is why so many of our enemies grew in strength under the Obama Administration.
Trump’s critics purport that economic sanctions would be more effectual in deterring North Korea than military action, but it remains uncertain whether such sanctions would be effective. Seven rounds of UN sanctions have been attempted over the past eleven years, and not one has worked. The communist state is well aware that it is both outmanned and outgunned. Trump’s comments are indeed inflammatory, but perhaps it is this kind of rhetoric that we need to prove to North Korea that if they continue making nuclear weapons, there will be consequences. As Ronald Reagan once said, “America has never gotten in a war because we were too strong”. Trump’s rhetoric in this instance actually serves to our advantage because though our opponents could predict what Obama would do, they do not know what Trump might do and when you’re going up against the most powerful military force in the history of the world, that one fact should prove to be a very effective deterrent.
Editor’s Notes: Opinions of Guest Editors do not necessarily reflect the views of Yellowhammer.
About the Authors: This article was co-written by Chris Reid and Katie Pickle. Mr. Reid is general practice attorney in Birmingham Alabama. He has worked for Republican leadership in the United State House of Representatives in Washington, DC, and was a health policy advisor to the Governor of Alabama. You can contact him by email at email@example.com or by phone at 205-913-7406. A description of his practice areas is available at www.reidlawalabama.com. Katie Pickle is a law clerk at the Reid Law Firm and a 1L student at Emory University School of Law.