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For the term "Taki".

Memo to White House Concerning Supreme Court Vacancy

A satirical take on what the White House can do to encourage Republicans to self-destruct.

A memo was delivered to this column — obviously by mistake, given its contents. It had clearly been dropped, trampled on, recovered, and then delivered wrongly because the address was by then unclear, and parts of it were unintelligible: Washington weather has been paralyzingly awful (an inch of snow).

The memo was … interesting. The recipient’s name was undecipherable, but from the content, it is fair to conclude it was someone in the White House. The author’s first name was David; the last name was unintelligible (but may have begun with a “P”), as was the top of the memo which might have had an organization’s name on it. The subject matter was blurred but was presumably “Taking Advantage of Impending SCOTUS vacancy.” Some of the unintelligible parts of the memo have been filled in, but only where they were obvious.

DATE:                                  JANUARY 31, 2022

MEMORANDUM FOR:      [Unintelligible]

FROM:                                 DAVID [unintelligible]

SUBJECT:                           Taking Advantage of Impending SCOTUS Vacancy

The impending Supreme Court vacancy presents a fate-given opportunity for President Joe Biden to shore up his so-far disastrous presidency — but not in the way small minds are thinking.

The temptation the president will be subjected to, reinforced by the advisors the president has surrounded himself with (losers all), will be to focus on getting someone — actually, anyone — confirmed before the November elections.

That shows the shallowness of their thinking. Whoever they get confirmed will make little or no difference on the court: Donald Trump — may he burn in hell (too bad there isn’t one) — saw to that.

What counts are the November elections, and the Democrats are on track to suffer massive losses.

Even —and this is the important part (worth waking POTUS up from his afternoon nap to read) — even black Americans are deserting the party in droves. That is partly because of the administration’s brain-dead vaccination policy, which hurts lower-income groups. Does anyone in the WH realize that most black Americans are in the lower-income groups? Does anyone in the WH know any black people in lower-income groups?

So, to recap: the WH should keep its collective eye on the ball, which is the November elections.

The only question they should be focused on is: What can the WH do to encourage Republicans to self-destruct?

Answer: Make the opportunity to self-destruct irresistible for Republicans (rarely a difficult task).

The way to do that is to nominate black women (of course) but black women who are unqualified for the job, and then sit back and let the Republicans defeat them.

Of course, the president shouldn’t admit they are unqualified. (That has to be said because there is a more-than-trivial danger that the president in an, er, unguarded moment at an ice cream shop might give the game away.) He really has to be managed properly in this case (i.e., better than he has been), but then that would be true going into the November elections even if there weren’t a SCOTUS vacancy.

The nominees should be unqualified, but not ridiculously so. They should receive WH support, of course, but there should be just enough plausibility to the Republicans’ claims so that they will make them!

Think what happens. The Rs defeat black female nominee #1.

One week later the president nominates black female #2.

A very short time later — the Senate majority leader must be instructed to move faster than that body normally does — the Rs defeat black female nominee #2.

If the president can’t see how this plays out, someone must explain to him that we want this to happen five, maybe six times before November.

The point is to give the Rs ample opportunity to defeat black female nominees. What a record for Democrats to run on this fall!! Gadzooks! Maybe there is a god after all! Just kidding!

One danger is that the Republicans catch on. That’s not likely to happen. It is certainly not likely to happen before they’ve defeated three or four nominees.

That’s probably enough to poison the well of black voters for the Rs in November.

But what, small minds in the WH (is there any other kind?) may ask, happens if in fact no nominee gets confirmed and the Republicans take the Senate in November, ensuring that no nominee ever gets confirmed?

Not to worry. Keep your eye on the big ball.

Even if the Democrats lose SCOTUS for another generation, it shouldn’t matter: Democrats don’t really have to follow its dictates anyway. The entrenched bureaucracy (of course there’s a Deep State — what the hell do you think Democrats have been building for the last 70 years!) can make end runs around almost any SCOTUS decision. Maybe not all, but most of them.

What’s important is keeping the country moving in the proper direction: toward government control of most of the institutions in this country. Our European friends are way ahead of us in that regard. They really do seem to care about their people more than we do: governments in Europe are much more hands-on in managing their citizens’ lives. We have done much to catch up in recent years — ObamaCare was a giant step in that direction — but there is still much to be done.

We are paying too much attention to the courts. Our most notable success in the past, as any fool can see, has been in the academy. We have scored touchdown after touchdown there.

But now we need action in Congress to get three essential things accomplished (is there anyone in the WH who can count to three?): Enacting the so-called “Freedom to Vote Act” (great title — mine!), admitting D.C. and Puerto Rico to the Union, and increasing the size of the Supreme Court.

Allowing the struggle to fill one seat on the Court today to get in the way of those imperatives is folly.

Alas, folly has been the hallmark of this [the rest of the memo is undecipherable].


February 8, 2022
The American Spectator

It’s Too Bad We’re Not All NatCons Now

Gosh, that guy Reagan was really good.

Neal Freeman wrote last week in The American Spectator that the “National Conservatives,” as they style themselves, and Christopher DeMuth, the chairman of the two conferences the NatCons have held, have chosen to “move on” (as Freeman puts it) from fusionism. (Full disclosure: I was a sponsor of the two NatCon conferences, and I’ve known Neal since we both worked in the Buckley for Mayor campaign in 1965 — eat your heart out!) Before looking at Freeman’s objections to the NatCons, we should take a quick look at what fusionism actually is. The term was coined back in the ’60s at National Review to describe the coalescence of libertarians, traditional conservatives, and anti-communists. At the 1981 Conservative Political Action Conference, President Reagan said this about it:

It was Frank Meyer who reminded us that the robust individualism of the American experience was part of the deeper current of Western learning and culture. He pointed out that a respect for law, an appreciation for tradition, and regard for the social consensus that gives stability to our public and private institutions, these civilized ideas must still motivate us even as we seek a new economic prosperity based on reducing government interference in the marketplace.

Gosh, that guy Reagan was really good.

It’s not quite clear precisely what Freeman is objecting to, his prose is such … fun to read. He took Daily Themes at Yale (first taught in 1907), the same course Buckley took: 300 words a day. Only the best survive, like Buckley and Freeman. Now Freeman can write sentences like, “The NatCon political model appears to be neither Napoleonic France nor Churchillian Britain but Orbanian Hungary. When national conservatism first came on stage, some of us were expecting a bit more fanfare from the brass section.” Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. But what does it mean? What, precisely, is it that Freeman is objecting to?

We learn, in the very last sentence of his piece: it’s the planned economy, as advocated, he claims, by various people in the NatCon world.

Freeman relates that he once ran a business that could not compete with foreign imports, but he chastises those who say, as he says Rod Dreher does, “We need to unapologetically embrace the use of state power.” To do what?

Freeman is not fair to many of the NatCon folks: there’s lots to object to in our current economic arrangements before becoming an advocate for a socialist planned economy. Does anyone think what we have now is a free market? We should remember President Obama’s proposed TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), from which we can develop this axiom: no trade governed by a 2,000-page treaty can be called “free.”

If the current laws and regulations that govern business activities in this country could be printed (even in one-point type) on only 2,000 pages, every day would be the Fourth of July in this land for a generation. What this country needs is to repeal a thousand laws. For a start.

In taking a swipe at the NatCons, Freeman gives DeMuth a pass, but says, “His fellow NatCons are less measured. Spend an hour at the bar with a NatCon and you get the full, splenetic file” on how bad the libertarians are; that their solution to every problem is to cut the income tax. I was at the last NatCon conference in Orlando in November and missed seeing Freeman at the bar; nor did I get the impression that the NatCons had a bad enough impression of libertarians.

To wit: at the evening session on November 1 in Orlando the panel showcased two homosexuals, one of whom said, “The Catholic Church lost its moral authority in country after country. That was not because of liberals; it was because of the Catholic Church, specifically, the behavior of priests.” That’s rich, coming from a homosexual who said also, “There’s nothing so ridiculous as one male adult telling another male adult what to do with their genitalia.” My end of the bar required another round before quieting down.

Freeman also picks on J. D. Vance, currently running for the nomination for the U. S. Senate from Ohio. Vance has said (but was he joking?) that we (the government presumably) should seize the Ford Foundation’s $20 billion and distribute the funds … in a better manner than the foundation does. It’s not likely that Vance meant that exactly as it sounds: he is objecting, one assumes, to the lopsided power that lefties and wokies have gained in this country, including, as we saw just a year ago, the power to affect the outcome of elections.

About which something should be done!

Just what is a puzzle not yet solved, so far as we are aware, by the strict devotees of fusionism. One problem, surely, is that many corporations have simply become too big. Just because antitrust laws were abused in the early decades of the 20th century doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be applied appropriately now. It is most relevant to note that in the very first issue of National Review, Buckley wrote about monopolies: “The competitive price system is indispensable to liberty and material progress. It is threatened not only by the growth of Big Brother government, but by the pressure of monopolies — including union monopolies.” That sounds like an endorsement of government’s muscling in, not just a nostalgic longing for Southern agrarianism.

Big corporations, with armies of lobbyists and lawyers that outnumber the troops of Mordor — all armed with limitless budgets for wining and dining — influence the making of public policy with the goal, and the result, of making it increasingly difficult for small businesses to compete with them. China isn’t our only problem.

The size of government, mega-corporations, and most especially high-tech monopolies is a problem, though not the only problem. Those monopolies, with the gravitational force of Saturn, shape business, and they shape, and trash, the culture. It is not likely that little Burkean platoons of citizens gathered together here and there across the plains can escape that force; they will need to band together in something like, well, like government. During the Cold War we — we conservatives, we fusionists even — put up with a government larger that we wanted because a government of that size was necessary to keep us free (the Lions Club couldn’t develop Star Wars). Now we need to curtail the power, not just of big government, but of big business as well — mega-corps, big banks, high-tech monopolies — and the Lions Club can’t do that either.

We say, and not ritually, that a government big enough to give us all we want is big enough to take it all away — which is why we don’t want a government that big: not big enough to give us all we want, but only those things government should give us, primarily protection from our enemies foreign and domestic, and the other items enumerated in our Constitution, properly understood.

Our government today is a lot bigger than it was when Reagan made his remarks about fusionism in 1981. Our big government itself, including the Supreme Court, has been the instrument for abandoning our traditions and trashing our culture (rampant pornography), our mores (rampant, and subsidized, illegitimacy, homosexual marriage), our faith (driving God from the public square and from public schools), and our belief in the sanctity of human life, and the very definition of men and women. None of that trashing, now far worse than it was in 1981, is part of “the deeper current of Western learning and culture” that Reagan spoke about. Which of those issues would not have been a concern of the founding editors of National Review, or the solons of fusionism?

The people and the states should manage their own affairs, consistent with the goodness the Founding Fathers sought to embody in our system, but they cannot unless we dismantle more than a century of big government — the legacy of Wilson and Roosevelt and Johnson and Nixon and Bush and Obama — and the plagues big government, as well as the Supreme Court, has over the years visited on us, freed from any notion of good that the Founders had. We tend to forget that this country was founded not just to be free, but to be good as well.

So there is much work to do. We are adults, however, experienced in the ways of Washington, and we know, we know, that enacting a specific legislative provision to solve this problem or that problem will always be easier than repealing a major law or overturning a Supreme Court decision, which probably requires a full-scale attack on the zeitgeist. And so we propose discrete fixes … and then the number of laws and their complexity grows.

And with it, the need for National Conservatives to gather together to plan for — to plot and scheme for — a revival of the spirit of liberty and goodness that vouchsafed this nation to us, a revival that would make our ancestors proud, and our children free and good.


January 11, 2022
The American Spectator