Commentary on Political Economy

Thursday 21 December 2023

 A well-reasoned column from Peggy Noonan. I like the first part, which instances pointedly the objections and invective I have hurled at the utter numskulls on the so-called Left : you miserable idiots! You can't even imagine the harm you are doing to yourselves and to your ideals and to your country! I will laugh hard when you all end up in a concentration camp... to be gassed like the vermin you are!

National Unity and the Colorado Supreme Court


Does anyone ever win these things? I mean apart from left-wing and right-wing media infrastructures. Doesn’t it all just leave people more deeply entrenched?

American Continuance 101: Don’t troll the foe. Don’t indulge yourself, don’t provoke. It’s a dangerous world out there, we have dangerous foes, only the ignorant haven’t noticed. “We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.”

That is my advice to all of us as we close the year and begin a new one that is sure to be interesting. Don’t you like how I said that? As we brace ourselves, let’s consider the big court case this week that was, in my view, a brilliant, high-end provocation that was not at all constructive.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled, as you know, that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, that this disqualifies him from the presidency, and therefore his name is barred from the state primary ballot in 2024. The Trump campaign will appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court will surely review the decision.

The court’s opinion is gravely yet calmly put, clear and highly literate. There are three problems with it in this layman’s view. On the charge of insurrection, everyone notes and is right to note that Jack Smith, the special counsel, has brought serious charges against Mr. Trump—conspiracy to defraud the country is one—but insurrection isn’t among them. And he is a famously careful, dogged man.

Second, Mr. Trump hasn’t been convicted of insurrection by a jury or judge. It seems to me that when and if he is, a state court might feel free to remove his name from a ballot. Until he is, they shouldn’t. Because without conviction, whether Trump committed insurrection is a matter of opinion and argument. With conviction it can be asserted as proven fact.

I wish we didn’t focus on the word insurrection. All the evidence presented of the events in and around 1/6 leaves me convinced that Mr. Trump attempted to overturn a democratic election outcome to hold on to power; that he deliberately and repeatedly lied to the country in furtherance of this aim; that he either directed or egged on a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol to halt the constitutionally mandated vote-counting process; that he attempted to pressure the state of Georgia to alter its final vote tally illegally; that he has never shown remorse for these things and would surely do it all again if returned to the presidency. I believe that in the court cases he faces he will be found guilty of many charges.

I’m not at odds with what might be called the animating spirit of the Colorado decision, but if allowed to stand it would create chaos, because once these things start they spread like a virus. If Colorado judges can knock a presidential candidate off its ballot, New York judges can do it too, and Mississippi ones, and so on.

Sometimes sheer old boring prudence has to have a place in things.

The southern border of the state of Texas is in functional collapse, with an unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. The Washington Post this week likened the border area to a “Mad Max” world of cut-through barriers and debris. Fox News on Wednesday showed an order instructing a recently crossed migrant to report to U.S. immigration officials to make her case to stay in America. Fox showed the date on the order: January 2031. An immigration lawyer said it is proof of what illegal immigrants already sense: The administration is in effect granting back-door amnesty to all who come. And so they’re coming. Among them are—again the number is unprecedented—natives of China, India, Africa, Turkey. This is a challenge to our national security that most won’t begin to worry about until something bad happens. The Department of Homeland Security reported this week that 35,000 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions were encountered in fiscal 2023. That’s only the number caught. In October alone, Customs and Border Protection reported apprehending 13 people on the terrorist watchlist. Again, that’s only the number caught. What a disaster.

If Colorado is able to ban Mr. Trump from the ballot over charges of insurrection, can Texas ban Joe Biden from the ballot on grounds he has defied his constitutional responsibility to defend the country by securing its borders? There are politicians in Texas already promising to do just that.

So now the Colorado question surely goes to the Supreme Court. The justices take a lot of battering, some legitimate, some ideological and political. But I respect them, not only as an institution but individually, as serious human beings. And so our end-of-year prediction. The court will take the case and won’t uphold the Colorado ruling.

Not a prediction but a hope: that the decision be unanimous. That it not be open to suspicions of partisan hackery, that it show unity—a court of many pieces holding together when the stakes are high. That would be a gift to the nation and a hopeful way of beginning 2024. “Sail on, O Ship of State.”

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