Author Archive: Elizabeth Price Foley

GOP CONGRESS DISCOVERS IT’S THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH!: The WSJ has a hilarious and/or depressing piece, “McConnell, Ryan Use Balance-of-Powers Argument to Reassure Voters.

When asked about Mr. Trump, his effect on the party, or his prospects this November, each responds by talking about the importance of the legislative branch. Congress, they say, will assert itself again after eight years of an administration they see as having severely skewed the balance of powers.

Implied in their message is the assumption that they will be able to protect the prerogatives of the institution because they’ll still be running it. And that’s part of their underlying point: Keep us in charge, and we’ll keep the president—whoever it is—in check.

Mr. McConnell invoked the balance-of-powers argument when asked in a CBS interview Sunday about divisions within the party and Republican voters who might be part of a “never Trump” movement.

“What protects us in this country against big mistakes being made is the structure, the Constitution, the institutions,” he said. “No matter how unusual a personality may be who gets elected to office, there are constraints in this country. You don’t get to do anything you want to.” . . .

So let me get this straight: Now the GOP Congress is ready to assert its constitutional prerogatives, prophylactically flexing its muscles in anticipation of a Trump Administration? I’m in full support of Congress protecting its sole constitutional power to legislate, and using all available tools to do so against an overreaching President.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this latest “assurance” from GOP congressional leaders of their ability/willingness to check a runaway potential future President, whether Trump or Clinton (the latter of which I think is a far more realistic threat). Their track record for the past seven years says otherwise. Res ipsa loquitur.

YES. THIS. EXACTLY:  Victor Davis Hanson makes cogent observations on the “high IQs” of the establishment political class:

Turn on an evening cable show and ask which interviewer is married to which anchor on another channel, or which of the pundits are former politicos, or how many in the White House worked for Big News or are married or related to someone who does. How many pundits were advisers to political candidates or related to someone who was? How does Ben Rhodes do an interview on CBS News or George Stephanopoulos interview Hillary Clinton or a writer expound on the primaries when he is also an adviser to a particular campaign? The problem is not just that all this is incestuous or unethical, but that it blinds a tiny elite to what millions of quite different Americans value and experience.

Charles Murray recently wrote in anger, addressing those who would vote for Trump because “Hillary is even worse”: “I know that I am unlikely to persuade any of my fellow Establishmentarians to change their minds. But I cannot end without urging you to resist that sin to which people with high IQs (which most of you have) are unusually prone: Using your intellectual powers to convince yourself of something despite the evidence plainly before you. Just watch and listen to the man. Don’t concoct elaborate rationalizations. Just watch and listen.” . . .

Murray has a point that Trump’s crudity and buffoonery should be taken seriously, but when he says establishmentarians have “high IQs,” what exactly does he mean? Did a high IQ prevent an infatuated David Brooks (whom he quotes approvingly) from fathoming presidential success as if he were a sartorial seancer, from the crease of Senator Obama pants leg? What was the IQ of the presidential historian who declared Obama the smartest man ever to be elevated to the White House? . . . Or perhaps the conservative wit who once wrote that Obama has a “first-class temperament and a first-class intellect,” and that he is the rare politician who “writes his own books,” which were “first rate”?

Establishmentarian high IQs? The point is not to castigate past poor judgment, but to offer New Testament reminders about hubris and the casting of first stones — and why hoi polloi are skeptical of their supposed intellectual betters.

So how did a blond comb-over real-estate dealer destroy an impressive and decent Republican field and find himself near dead even with Hillary Clinton — to the complete astonishment, and later fury, of the Washington establishment? Simply because lots of people have become exhausted by political and media elites who have thought very highly of themselves — but on what grounds it has become increasingly impossible to figure out.

Indeed. If I hear one more of my conservative/libertarian “high IQ” colleagues (many of them long-time friends) denigrate Trump as stupid, racist, sexist or (I kid you not)  not “really” successful–I may puke.

One certainly may oppose Trump’s policies on a principled basis.  But to hear the right-of-center intelligentsia (who may be well-educated and perhaps even have high IQs, but are not necessarily intelligent) denigrate the presumptive GOP nominee–selected by We the People–using the same leftist tactics used to denigrate George W. Bush and many other conservative standard-bearers, is nauseating.

These “high IQ” members of the GOP intelligentsia simply cannot hide their disdain for ordinary Americans’ selection of a GOP nominee, yet they simultaneously claim that the GOP represents ordinary Americans’ values. The GOP intelligentsia is behaving like a delusional narcissist, reveling in its (false) superiority over the little people.

YES, TRUMP CAN WIN: So argues Sean Trende at RCP:

Throughout this primary season, I’ve had an ongoing fight with a co-worker about whether Donald Trump could win the general election.  I was pretty firmly in the “if the economy collapses, maybe, but he is much more likely to drag the entire Republican field down with him” camp.

To resolve this, my co-worker invited me to set up some benchmarks: what we would have to see in order to believe that Trump really could win the election – not just that he had some sort of outside shot in a perfect storm, but that he had a legitimate, realistic chance of winning.

To cover my bases, I tried to set benchmarks that I thought would be really difficult for Trump to meet: He would have to pull within five points of Hillary Clinton in the RCP Average within a month of wrapping up the GOP race (this was back when he was down by 10), and then he would have to prove that he could lead her in a polling average (rather than in the occasional outlying poll) by the end of the Republican convention.

So, here we are. Last week, Trump was up by 0.2 percent in the RCP Average, meeting both of my goalposts two months ahead of schedule.  I still believe that he is the underdog, but I have to concede that he can win. I would put his chances more around 30 percent today.  If at some point he establishes a durable lead (he returned to trailing Clinton Friday morning), or if he can push his average up into the high forties, I will revise things accordingly.

Why might this continue?  Here are a five reasons . . . .

Read the whole thing.

RELATED: National Poll shows Trump nearly even with Clinton, 47 to 45 percent among registered voters.

WHEN MALE IS FEMALE, BLACK IS WHITE, AND OLD IS YOUNG: Peder Zane explores the meaning of the Obama Administration’s absurd interpretation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of discrimination “on the basis of sex”:

A dispute about bathroom rights turned into a Pandora’s box of philosophical riddles about the nature of identity and the meaning of truth on May 13 when the Departments of Justice and Education issued a letter prohibiting “discrimination based on a student’s gender identity.”

The letter defines gender identity as “an individual’s internal sense of gender.” It also states “there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity.” . . .

Sex is a biological fact. Almost everyone is born with distinct physical markers that define us as male or female.

Gender is a social construct that refers to the fluid range of expected behaviors taught to boys and girls. . . .

Though the administration might have the best of intentions, its fusion of sex and gender raises complex questions. Race, for example, is even more of a social construct than gender. Men and women will always be biologically distinct, but race is almost entirely an invention. It wasn’t too long ago that Italians, Jews and Aryans were considered separate races. . . .

Similarly, if one’s sex is a choice, why not one’s age? As 60 becomes the new 40, we increasingly see age as an attitude rather than a number. If I believe I am 65, what basis do you have for disagreeing with me? . . .It might sound absurd, but, given that logic, why can’t a white person claim the benefits of affirmative action or a middle-aged man demand Medicare and Social Security?

Exactly. If I feel like a 25 year-old black male today, who has a moral or legal basis to challenge this self identity? And if they dare to do so, they are “discriminating” against me based upon my age, race and gender.

Orwell would be so proud of today’s totalitarian progressives: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

As a legal matter, however, interpreting a 1964 law that bans discrimination “on the basis of sex” as banning discrimination “on the basis of sexual identity” is patently absurd. The 11 brave States that have filed a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s newfound construction of the 1964 Civil Rights Act will ultimately prevail, as congressional intent drives statutory construction.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): A reader sends this takeoff on the #ManEnough4Hillary campaign.


ENFORCING LEGAL LIMITS ON GITMO TRANSFERS: My Daily Caller oped discusses the forthcoming transfers of one-third of the remaining 80 Gitmo detainees, and how Congress might enforce the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act’s limits on such transfers.

WELL NOW, ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?: Federal judge slams DOJ lawyers for lying to the court on immigration deportations.

The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.

On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.”  In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

Justice’s only explanation is that its lawyers either “lost focus on the fact” or “the fact receded in memory or awareness”—the fact here being realities that the DOJ was required to disclose to the court. The states weren’t able to make certain arguments or seek certain legal remedies because the program supposedly hadn’t been implemented, leaving them in a weaker legal position.

More to the point, an attorney’s first and most basic judicial obligation is to tell the truth. Judge Hanen concludes that the misrepresentations “were made in bad faith” and “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” Many a lawyer has been disbarred for less.

As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification. Such extraordinary judicial oversight is usually reserved for companies with a pattern of corruption or racially biased police departments. Justice is sure to appeal, and whether Judge Hanen has the jurisdiction to impose his plan is uncharted legal territory.

I’ve written about the DOJ’s astoundingly unethical behavior in the immigration case before here, here, and here, as well as other cases such as the litigation involving IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Liars gonna lie, I guess.  Usually, the threat of losing one’s law license is enough to prevent such blatant lies to the court. For some reason, the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice seems unable/unwilling to tell the truth. They must think they’re  “special.”



HOUSE WINS ITS HISTORIC OBAMACARE LAWSUIT: A federal district judge in D.C., Rosemary Collyer, today ruled in favor of the U.S. House of Representatives in its historic lawsuit against the Obama Administration. Judge Collyer granted the House summary judgment on its claim that the Obama Administration had violated separation of powers by spending money–without any congressional appropriation to do so–on the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “cost sharing subsidies” (subsidies that essentially help low-income individuals pay for out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and copays).

Judge Collyer back in December had ruled that the House of Representatives had standing to bring its separation of powers claim– which was itself an historic decision. Some of you may recall that my colleague David Rivkin and I have long arguedcontrary to many naysayers–that the House would have standing to sue the Administration, and that it would ultimately win its constitutional claim on the merits.

Now that the House has won its constitutional claim on the merits at the trial level, the Obama Administration will appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been packed in recent years with Obama appointees. Depending on how the D.C. Circuit rules, the case may be headed for the Supreme Court.

This is for the Obama Administration, which seems to think it’s above the Constitution:

told ya so

TRUMP’S GENDER “PROBLEM”: The repeated talking point that Donald Trump has a “problem” with female voters turns out to be driven largely by party affiliation and race rather than gender itself.  The New York Slimes Times has a piece today titled “The Women Who Like Donald Trump,” as though it such women are a rare breed worthy of examination. Salon has an even more ridiculous piece, “Trump’s Misogynist Campaign.

But exit polling from the Republican primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska indicate that Republican women supported Trump at essentially the same rate as women’s participation in the primary. The same absence of a “gender gap” existed prior to Cruz and Kasich suspending their campaigns, as is evidenced by exit polls in Republican primaries such as New York, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

Even the Quinnipiac poll released yesterday that focuses on the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania show that while Clinton outpaces Trump among all women voters (not merely Republicans), her gender advantage appears to be race-specific, with Clinton holding a commanding lead with non-white women, but Trump actually beating Clinton among white women. In Florida, Clinton has a 13 point advantage among women (48-35) but Trump actually leads Clinton by 3 points among white women (43-40).  In Ohio, Clinton enjoys a 7 point lead among female voters over Trump (43-36), but once again, Trump has a 7 point advantage over Clinton among white women (42-35).  In Pennsylvania, Clinton enjoys her largest gender advantage, beating Trump by 19 points among women (51-32)– a gap that narrows to 6 points among white women (45-39).

Clinton’s gender advantage is weaker than Obama’s 12 point advantage over Romney with female voters in 2012.  And the gender difference in presidential elections almost always favors the Democrats’ candidate, suggesting that Hillary’s gender advantage may be due more to the fact that she is a Democrat than any particular gender “problem” specific to Trump.  Other recent Republican candidates had similar gender gaps without facing incessant accusations of misogyny. John McCain, for example, had a 14 percent deficit versus Obama among female voters in 2008.  George W. Bush had an 8 percent female deficit versus Gore in 2000. Indeed, the last Republican presidential candidate to win among female voters was George H.W. Bush in 1988, who beat Dukakis among women 52-48.

There is little doubt that Trump has high “unfavorable” ratings with women, but this doesn’t appear to be translating into voting against him, at least among Republican women and white women. This should not be particularly surprising, as Hillary Clinton’s “unfavorable” ratings among women are also quite high–with 52 percent of women characterizing Clinton as “unfavorable” in a recent PPP poll–and of course even higher among men (59 percent), yet it doesn’t appear to stop Democrats of either gender from pulling the lever for her.

Don’t get me wrong: Donald Trump is more popular among men than women, and Hillary Clinton is more popular among women than men. But the gender gap between the two candidates is not as large as has been reported by the media, and appears to be driven mostly by party affiliation and race than gender itself. I would be very interested to see any data that focuses specifically on the Trump-Clinton gender preference among independent voters, which may be a more accurate indicator.

AMERICANS ARE SICK OF IDEOLOGY: Peggy Noonan explains why the Trump train is gaining speed, “Simple Patriotism Trumps Ideology.”

In my continuing quest to define aspects of Mr. Trump’s rise, to my own satisfaction, I offer what was said this week in a talk with a small group of political activists, all of whom back him. One was about to begin approaching various powerful and influential Republicans who did not support him, and make the case. I told her I’d been thinking that maybe Mr. Trump’s appeal is simple: What Trump supporters believe, what they perceive as they watch him, is that he is on America’s side.

And that comes as a great relief to them, because they believe that for 16 years Presidents Bush and Obama were largely about ideologies. They seemed not so much on America’s side as on the side of abstract notions about justice and the needs of the world. Mr. Obama’s ideological notions are leftist, and indeed he is a hero of the international left. He is about international climate-change agreements, and leftist views of gender, race and income equality. Mr. Bush’s White House was driven by a different ideology—neoconservatism, democratizing, nation building, defeating evil in the world, privatizing Social Security.

But it was all ideology.

Then Mr. Trump comes and in his statements radiate the idea that he’s not at all interested in ideology, only in making America great again—through border security and tough trade policy, etc. He’s saying he’s on America’s side, period.

Exactly. The average American doesn’t give a damn about either political party. They vote for one party over another simply because one party comes closer to reflecting their views than another, or because one candidate seems more genuine, or less corrupt, than another.  They don’t place either political party above their own self-interest, or the nation’s interest.  The GOP (as well as the Democrats) has driven most of these independent-minded Americans away by elevating party and politics above country.

Trump’s appeal is grounded in an absence of a rigidly defined, party-centric ideology, and his elevation of country over party. In other words, Trump–the quintessential political outsider–is an average Joe (albeit a very wealthy one).

ME GUSTA TRUMP: PORTRAIT OF A HISPANIC TRUMP VOTER: The New Yorker’s piece is dripping with incredulousness, reading like a portrait of a rarely seen (and dangerous) species:

John Castillo grew up in Lincoln Heights, the heart of Hispanic Los Angeles, in a tight-knit Mexican-American family. His father’s name was Juan, but his mother decided to name their son John. . . .

After the Marines, Castillo moved back to California and went to work for U.P.S. He’s now an inspector for an aerospace company. He was once a Democrat but is now a conservative and a Republican. The transition happened in the Marines. “The way they scream at you, it hardens you,” he says. “It makes you understand the importance of respecting the law.” He also thinks travel helped him get rid of a “naïve” point of view that he associates with liberal politics. He believes in the importance of the Second Amendment. . . .

His Twitter bio reads “devout Catholic” and “lifelong pro wrestling fan.” He’s also a fan of Spanish-language radio, and he retweets Pope Francis and the W.W.E. with equal enthusiasm. And he is also a passionate supporter of Donald Trump.

Fourteen per cent of Hispanic voters say they will “definitely support” the Republican candidate in November, and Castillo, who describes himself as an “American of Mexican descent, in that order,” is not an anomaly in his support for Trump. Although eighty per cent of Latino voters held an unfavorable opinion of Trump in a recent Washington Post/Univision poll, a fifth of Hispanic Republicans said they planned to vote for Trump during the Party’s primaries. That level of support has remained constant in states with a discernible Hispanic presence. According to entrance and exit polls, Trump got just under half of the admittedly few Hispanic Republican votes in Nevada and a quarter of them in Texas, surpassing Marco Rubio in both instances. Rubio won Florida’s Latino vote (seventeen per cent of all Republican voters) by a wide margin, but Trump’s backing among Hispanics remained at twenty-six per cent. .  . .

Over several recent conversations, Castillo explained his support for Trump in meticulous detail. At times, he sounded like the many white voters who have been inspired by the candidate.  . . .

When I responded that plenty of those whom he wants to protect could potentially be deported en masse by President Trump (there are a million undocumented immigrants living in Los Angeles County, more than in any other county in the United States), Castillo rejected the idea that his views were contradictory. I’d much rather live surrounded by my own people than any other,” he says, “but illegal is illegal.” And yet, there is a possibility that gives him pause: What if Trump keeps his word and rounds up Castillo’s friends and neighbors? “If he were to try that there would be riots and uprisings,” he says, blinking rapidly. “If he did that I would fight back.”

The New Yorker writer, Leon Krauze, is a Mexican journalist and Univision news anchor out of Los Angeles. He is clearly baffled that any Hispanic would ever even consider voting for Trump because of Trump’s pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. He clearly assumes that illegal immigration–and illegal immigration alone–is the only issue of concern to Hispanic-American voters, in much the same way that liberal/progressives often assume that abortion is the only issue of concern to women, or affirmative action or police brutality are the only issues of concern to blacks.

The notion that an Hispanic, black, female, Asian, LGBTQ, or any other American could put “American” before these identity politics-driven categories is baffling to progressives. Yet Trump won the support of almost 3 in 10 Hispanic voters in the Florida Republican primary, almost half of Hispanic voters in the Nevada Republican primary, and 26 percent of Hispanic voters in the Texas Republican primary (the latter two States’ Hispanic population being heavily comprised of individuals of Mexican heritage). These are remarkable numbers, considering that the other two closest GOP competitors–Rubio and Cruz–are Hispanic-Americans and native sons in Florida and Texas, respectively.

Of course no one really wants to point out this inconvenient truth: Americans are Americans, and they don’t always march to the progressive, politically correct tune.

CAITLYN’S COURAGE: “Backlash over Caitlyn Jenner’s Cruz Support Proves Leftists are the Real Bigots.

Caitlyn Jenner’s support of GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz is sending the LGBT activist community into conniptions. True to form, radical liberals prove they’re the truly bigoted ones by calling the transgender reality star a “lunatic” for praising the most conservative candidate in the race.

In an interview with The Advocate, Jenner boldly said, “I like Ted Cruz. I think he’s very conservative and a great constitutionalist and a very articulate man. I haven’t endorsed him or anything like that. But I also think, he’s an evangelical Christian, and probably one of the worst ones when it comes to trans issues.”

If Jenner thinks Cruz is weak on trans issues, then why support him? With a commitment to constitutional principles that should make establishment politicians bury their heads in shame, Jenner explains that while Democrats are “better when it comes to these types of social issues,” if we don’t have liberty, we don’t have anything. This position truly goes against the liberal grain as identity politics takes a backseat to freedom.

“Number 1, if we don’t have a country, we don’t have trans issues,” Jenner said. “We need jobs. We need a vibrant economy. I want every trans person to have a job. With $19 trillion in debt and it keeps going up, we’re spending money we don’t have. Eventually, it’s going to end. And I don’t want to see that. Socialism did not build this country. Capitalism did. Free enterprise. The people built it. And they need to be given the opportunity to build it back up.” . . .

Jenner’s comments stunned LGBT activists. . . .

Well, I can see how they’d be stunned. I mean, the gall of Jenner, to elevate the needs of the country or the Constitution over those of the LGBT community! Doesn’t he know that once one is part of that community, there can be no deviation from the script?

GOPe IS DEMEANING ITS OWN BASE AND FIGHTING ITS EXPANSION: Investors Business Daily has an editorial, “Dazed and Confused: The Republican Establishment Has Had It Coming.”

Donald Trump’s string of victories on Super Tuesday has left the Republican establishment dazed and confused. The GOP’s political brain trust (and we use that term ironically) seems to be asking: Where did all these angry voters come from?

The revolt of the working class is dismissed as a movement of political philistines. The left calls them rednecks; the right calls them “low-information voters.” But that speaks volumes about the incompetence of pollsters, pols and campaign pros in both parties — the parties that profess to stand for and behind these voters — and how oblivious they are to what’s really desired.

Rank-and-file Republicans have been shouting at the political class for years, but no one’s paid attention. Party professionals are so disconnected that they’re seriously thinking of rolling out Mitt Romney as a last-minute alternative to Trump. How delusional can you get?

Trumpism rises above party identification and all the micro-compartmentalizing of voters that the political class has spent tens of millions of dollars supposedly perfecting. But if they’re so smart, why didn’t they see this voter hurricane coming?

Even more delusional are the elitist liberal Democrats who are celebrating because “Trump can’t win.” Right. That’s what the Republican brain trust said six months ago about The Donald’s chances. They could be wrong again. Trumpism may steamroll right over the Clintons; Hillary is the epitome of everything voters have come to detest about Washington.

Amen. What is the GOP establishment smoking? They’re behaving like they’re zoned out on crack–hypersensitive, overheated, paranoid, and filled with anxiety. Why do they not gracefully accept the decision of their own voters?

The rise of Donald Trump is a direct result of the GOP’s failure to listen to, or even care about, the issues of concern to ordinary (i.e., beyond the Beltway) voters. They want a leader who ardently defends U.S. sovereignty, security, and economic interests, and who overtly snubs stifling political correctness. They don’t want a patrician like Mitt Romney, whose speech today smacks of a controlling, wealthy father chastising his upstart children for their foolish attempts at independence.

We don’t need lectures. We need leadership. And more importantly, we need someone who can energize enough voters to defeat Hillary Clinton.