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NOVEMBER 14-15,  2022

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE: 

MISSILES OVER POLAND:  It turns out, according to the United States, that the two missiles that landed in Poland today, killing two civilians, were probably fired, not by Russia as previously feared, but by Ukrainian forces trying to down a Russian missile.  If the U.S. assessment is correct, a major international crisis has been avoided. 

THE ANNOUNCEMENT:  Former President Trump made his formal announcement Tuesday night, throwing himself into the 2024 presidential race.  I had been very dubious about this maneuver, as had been most political commentators.  But I must say that I thought the speech was good, presidential, and lacking the bitterness and viciousness of past Trump rhetoric.   Mr. Trump reviewed what life was like under his administration, comparing it to the present, and the contrast was effective.  The speech was too long, and both CNN and Fox cut away for commentary, but there was nothing there to ridicule.  Impossible to say whether Trump will succeed in his quest.  He has more baggage than American Airlines, but he's also a fighter.  If not Trump, the GOP can draw on a deep bench of superb candidates, led by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.  The Dems are not rich with candidates, or issues. 

A GOP HOUSE:  There was no formal pronouncement, and no gong was sounded at the Statue of Liberty, but some news outlets have now called enough open House races for the Republicans to give them the 218 needed for a House majority.  Kevin McCarthy was "elected" Speaker at a meeting of House Republicans today, although the formal election must wait until the new House is sworn in January.  As the majority, House Republicans are expected to launch many investigations into the Biden administration. 

 

THIRD WORLD NEWS:  Our embarrassment continues.  Foreign nations must be so impressed.  It's a week after the midterm elections and we still don't know officially who will control the House of Representatives.  By contrast, Florida held its elections and delivered a full count of results in one day. 

Now, there may be understandable reluctance by some news organizations to call the still-outstanding races and make Republicans happy.  But the realistic count thus far, in the grown-up world, not the comic-book world, is that Republicans have clearly won 216 of the 218 seats needed for a majority, and that most of the still-to-be-called races are tilting Republican. (Fox now says the GOP has 217.)  I suspect we'll have the full picture by tonight or tomorrow morning, and the GOP will prepare to receive the Speaker's gavel.  It's a Sears Craftsman hammer with a loose head.

Of course, the big show today will be at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's Florida home and headquarters.  He is expected to announce that he's running for president.  I'd be careful about predictions, though.  He has the capacity to tease, and might simply announce that he's forming an exploratory committee to determine whether to run.  The former president must surely be aware that large numbers of Republicans are calling on him to not run, but to step aside and let a new generation of candidates compete for the presidency. 

There are reports that Trump wanted his daughter, Ivanka, to appear on the stage with him, but that she refused.  Only a report.  One current poll among Republicans puts Governor Ron deSantis of Florida ahead of Trump for the presidential nomination. 

Stand by...

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 12-13,  2022

THE SILVER LINING:  There was indeed a silver lining in last week's dismal election returns.  And it was a very important one, teaching us that Americans can work politically at the local level to get the kind of change they want.  In this case, those who won were on our side.  From the Washington Examiner: 

As disappointing as the Republicans' midterm performance was, this year's election had many silver linings beyond the Democrats' likely loss of the House of Representatives. Among the most important winners on Tuesday was the issue of school choice, a nonpartisan issue that is really about educational quality.

The victories were big, and they were also widely distributed. Tommy Schultz boasted last week that his organization, the American Federation for Children, had targeted and defeated around 40 incumbent state legislators who opposed school choice. It was a good investment of the group's $9 million.

In South Carolina, school choice advocate Ellen Weaver was successfully elected as the superintendent of education on an education freedom platform. And the school choice wave wasn't limited to the state's rural voters, either. In Charleston, candidates backed by the pro-school choice organization Moms for Liberty secured a majority on the local school board.

The group's endorsed candidates also won several Florida school board races, and their victories across the country are being tallied up. Meanwhile, all six of Gov. Ron DeSantis's endorsees won their school board runoff races as well.

That's just the beginning of the successes that education freedom candidates enjoyed on election night, including successful reelections for every governor supporting school choice. And these victories were preceded by one of the most exciting outcomes — the welcome failure by leftists to repeal Arizona's school choice law through a ballot referendum.

For decades, liberals have claimed that they can solve the education problem with more funding and fewer students in the classroom. And for decades, they have kept getting more funding and smaller classrooms, and these have not solved anything. Student proficiency has failed to rise despite trillions of dollars being invested over the years throughout the 50 states. As a consequence, on the whole, public schools in the United States are abysmal compared to their international peers.

To make matters worse, reading and math proficiency rates crashed during the pandemic thanks to malingering teachers unions, which resisted a return to classroom instruction long after it was clear that COVID-19 was neither a threat to children nor easily spread by them. In refusing to show up at work, they tried to hide behind politically correct rhetoric. As the Chicago Teachers' Union put it, "the push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny."

Lesson: These are not people who can be worked with.

COMMENT:  Please read the whole thing.  This is one of the most important stories to come out of the election, but I haven't seen a word of it on any "news" network.  My own sense is that school choice will be a major issue, perhaps the major issue in American politics in the coming decade.  After all, it affects every parent and child in America.  We will be ready.

November 12-13, 2022       Permalink 

 

BACK ON:  I apologize for the delay since my last text, due to circumstances beyond my control.  I'm back.

Maybe I should have stayed away.  Our side isn't exactly covering us with glory.  I see that the Dems will control the new U.S. Senate, with victories in Arizona by incumbent Senator Mark Kelly, and Nevada, with incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.  I see that there is only one Senate seat left to be decided, and it will be determined by a runoff in Georgia between incumbent Raphael G. Warnock and challenger Herschel Walker.  The best our side can do, if it wins that seat with Walker, is to return the Senate to its current status, 50-50, with the Dems having a one-vote advantage because our intellectually astute vice president, Kamala "you can't take me off the ticket" Harris, breaks a tie.

We didn't plan it this way.

Even the House races humiliate us.  Depending on who you read, we have about seven races to win before we can claim leadership of the House.  We'll probably get there, but don't expect our troops to be taking a victory march down Broadway.  Leadership of the House should have been wrapped up days ago.

The talking heads are talking.  There are endless explanations for what happened on Tuesday.  Why did Republicans  underperform so badly?  How could all those pollsters be so wrong?

Or were they?

Frankly, I look first at simple, common-sense answers.  This one is startling, and probably right, from Frank Luntz: 

"Republicans have received 5l.5% of the House vote so far while Democrats have received 46.6%. 

"If this had happened before the new districts were drawn, that +5
GOP lead would have won them about 25 seats.

"That's the impact of partisan redistricting."

Add to that the observation of an increasing number of observers that the Republicans simply did not come out to vote.  But why?  Well, let's try "overconfidence."

So redistricting and overconfidence might well explain most of the Republican problem on Tuesday.   I'm not making that as a definitive statement, but huffy and puffy explanations involving analysis of issues should be looked at with some skepticism.

November 12-13, 2022       Permalink 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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