Mona Charen | Editorial
22024
page-template-default,page,page-id-22024,tribe-no-js,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-3.8.1,vertical_menu_enabled,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1.1,vc_responsive
  • What's Missing from Trump's China Policy for 05/24/2019

    The Dow plunged 450 points on the opening bell May 6 in response to this presidential tweet: "The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No! The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday." Economists eye this brinkmanship fearfully. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's global research team, among many others, has warned that a trade war could cause a global recession. Desmond Lachman of AEI notes that there are splash back effects of imposing harsh tariffs. They may succeed in weakening China, but any "marked slowing in the Chinese economy is bound to have spillover effects on those economies with strong trade links to that country." Among those countries with "strong trade links" to China would be ours. Lachman is warning that Trump's policies may be undermining the strong economy, and that this should worry him looking at 2020. But before we get there, spare a moment to savor the irony of what Trump's policies have so far achieved on one of his favorite 2016 hobbyhorses — the trade deficit. In 2016, the goods and services trade deficit with China stood at $309 billion (which Trump frequently exaggerated to $500 billion). As of March 2019, the trade deficit with China was $379 billion — a 23 percent increase.Updated: Fri May 24, 2019 […]

  • White Males and Abortion for 05/17/2019

    Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., tweeted in response to anti-abortion legislation passed by the Alabama legislature: "I refuse to believe that these Republican men represent the views of most Alabamians. Their action is both unconstitutional and shameful. The people of Alabama deserve to be on the #rightsideofhistory — not the side of extremists. Women deserve better." It seems much more likely that Jones is the one who is out of step. A 2014 Pew poll found that Alabama is among the most "pro-life" states in the country, with 58 percent saying the procedure should be illegal in "all or most cases." It's possible that among the 58 percent who oppose abortion in Alabama, some will find the legislation passed this week to be too extreme, but don't count on it. Just last year, voters approved a state constitutional amendment declaring that it is "the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children." Fifty-nine percent of voters voted in favor. Updated: Fri May 17, 2019 […]

  • Should Democrats Avoid Female Candidates? for 05/10/2019

    Many Democratic voters are worried that a female candidate cannot win the presidency in 2020. "I don't think they're strong enough to carry it for themselves," an Iowa voter told The Washington Post. Amber Phillips reports that "female politicians are held by voters to a much higher standard than men," and points to polls showing that today's support for Elizabeth Warren (12 percent) and Kamala Harris (8 percent) drops to low single digits when voters are asked who is likely to defeat President Donald Trump. Without denying that some people may harbor misogynistic feelings, and that many Democrats may indeed fear, as Phillips reported, that while they personally would happily vote for a woman for president, their neighbors might not, this doesn't prove that women are held to a higher standard. The evidence is mixed. It's never possible to know with certainty what motivates voters. Could Mitt Romney's religion have decided the 2012 race? It's possible. Updated: Fri May 10, 2019 […]

  • A Tale of Two Obstructions for 05/03/2019

    Every Republican remembers with disgust the video of Bill Clinton glowering into the camera and declaring: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false." It's worth revisiting why that statement was so infuriating. It wasn't because we — well, let me speak for myself, I — was outraged at the idea of a president having an affair with a young intern (though that was part of it). No, it was the lying. Clinton lied and lied and lied. He even lied under oath. Lying is cheating. Lying displays contempt for other people. Today, the attorney general of the United States asserts, in terms that should make Clinton smile, that because the president of the United States was "frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks," he could not be considered guilty of obstruction of justice.Updated: Fri May 03, 2019 […]

  • Will Conservatives Give Russia a Pass? for 04/26/2019

    The conservative media world, along with all but a few Republican members of Congress, are in the process of handing Vladimir Putin his greatest victory yet. They are ignoring the copious evidence in the Mueller report that Russia interfered in our election — and continues to do so. Pace Jared Kushner, it was a whole lot more sinister than a "couple of Facebook ads." The narrative has now taken hold that the Mueller investigation originated with the Steele dossier. On Fox News, Ed Henry said that the FBI relied on the dossier to "get this whole thing going." Breitbart referred to the debunked "Russia hoax," and a Wall Street Journal editorial demanded to know how "the partisan propaganda known as the Steele dossier become the basis for an unprecedented FBI probe of a presidential campaign..." As the Mueller report makes clear, and as even the infamous "Nunes memo" of 2018 conceded, the investigation did not begin with the dossier. It began when a foreign government (believed to be Australia) "informed the FBI about its May 2016 interaction with (George) Papadopoulos and his statement that the Russian government could assist the Trump Campaign." Updated: Fri Apr 26, 2019 […]

  • Did Bernie Sanders Steal His Wealth? for 04/17/2019

    In 2016 and 2017, Bernie Sanders raked in over a million bucks. Last year, his gross income was down to $561, 293 — still not too shabby. The point is not to rib the senator about his membership in the top 1 percent, though that's tempting. Nor is it to chide him for his relatively paltry charitable donations. His contributions to charity represented only 3.4 percent of his income, it's true. But compared with some of his competitors in the Democratic field, that was generous. Beto O'Rourke reportedly contributed only one-third of 1 percent of his 2017 income ($370,412), and he may have underpaid his taxes by $4,000 by taking medical deductions in excess of the permitted amount. Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillebrand all gave less than 2 percent of their incomes away. Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg have yet to release their tax returns, and of course, President Donald Trump is hiding behind a spectral audit (still not complete, three years on?) that in any case would present no legal obstacle to disclosure. Why he is hiding his "beautiful" tax returns is up to the imagination. The question for Bernie Sanders is: How can you sleep at night knowing that you became rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor? Updated: Wed Apr 17, 2019 […]

  • Twitter Ain't America for 04/12/2019

    An appropriately Twitteresque meme circulated recently on that platform: Write a sad story in just three words. This was an homage to Ernest Hemingway, who, challenged to write a sad story in only six words, grabbed the nearest blank paper and scrawled: "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn." Or so the story goes. It's too good to check. Responses to the three-word challenge ran the gamut from "People trust CNN," to "Trump elected again." I suggested, "Twitter represents America." It would be a sad story if it were true, but there are many reasons to doubt that Twitter represents anything other than a cacophony of curmudgeons. Updated: Fri Apr 12, 2019 […]

  • Biden and the Problem of Touch for 04/05/2019

    "If I profane with my unworthiest hand "This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:Updated: Fri Apr 05, 2019 […]

  • Mueller Did the Right Thing for 03/29/2019

    It seems that "13 hardened Democrats" or "angry Democrats" did not deliver a politically motivated, illegitimate hit job after all. Based on what we know so far, the special counsel's office reported that it did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This is a fabulous vindication of the integrity of the system. No one is noticing that. Instead, the Trump team is gorging on schadenfreude, and the anti-Trump team is choking on bile. Updated: Fri Mar 29, 2019 […]

  • More Misconceptions About College for 03/22/2019

    Now that we've all had a good airing of grievances about elite colleges and their attendant injustices, let's get some perspective. While the numbers of high school graduates heading off to college has increased in recent years, the percentages graduating with a four-year degree have not increased much. Many students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, drop out before receiving a degree. (They cannot drop out of student loan payments though.) Updated: Fri Mar 22, 2019 […]

  • Liars and Cheats for 03/15/2019

    Operation Varsity Blues has unleashed a veritable orgy of stereotypes. "Entitled white kids" have been trending, along with told-you-so's about how the system is "rigged." Several commentators have suggested that this scandal should quiet concerns about affirmative action because the criminality of Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, and Co. proves that whites are willing to do anything to get ahead. A writer at The Week declared meritocracy a fraud, while The New York Times perceived a "lesson in harsh racial disparities." "This scandal exposed the fact that there is a misplaced emphasis on so-called affirmative action inequities, rather than privilege," one education consultant told The New York Times. The paper quoted a black parent: "You often hear talk about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and that college admission is based on merit. What this story tells me is that the playing field is not level based on race and wealth."Updated: Fri Mar 15, 2019 […]

  • If You're Serious About Climate... for 03/08/2019

    Do you ever wonder why people run for office? I mean, unless you're a total cynic, you must assume that at least part of the motivation is wanting to do good. Sure, those who run for office want fame and prestige, but they also have strongly held views and want to affect public policy, right? So why in the world would they engage in sabotage of the ideas they hope to advance? That's undeniably what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey have done with their juvenile Green New Deal. Updated: Fri Mar 08, 2019 […]

  • Trump's Fatal Attraction for 03/01/2019

    The good news is that the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, did not result in a deal — because any deal would have been nothing but a scam perpetrated by Kim Jung Un. Selling this same rug repeatedly is a North Korean specialty. The Kim dynasty inked agreements to denuclearize in 1985, 1992, 1994, 2005, 2007 and 2012. You've seen the results. Pyongyang violated every one and marched inexorably toward nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology. It's bad enough to confront the prospect of a nuclear-armed North Korea. It would be worse to, in effect, subsidize it, which is all that was on offer. Why would Kim give up his nukes? To get American aid to improve his economy? Fantasy. He runs a prison state that actually exports slaves to countries such as China, Kuwait and Qatar. His goal is not to develop the economy but to remain firmly in power and conquer South Korea. He saw what happened to Muammar Gaddafi when he gave up his nuclear program and to Saddam Hussein, who only pretended to be working on one. Updated: Fri Mar 01, 2019 […]

  • Unwarranted: Elizabeth Warren's Flawed Idea for 02/21/2019

    Elizabeth Warren, one of the — what is it now, 211? — candidates for president, seems intent on proving that having been a Harvard law professor is no bar to fatuous policy prescriptions. She has endorsed the farrago of foolishness called the Green New Deal, promises to tax the rich to "make the economy work for us" and recently proposed a shiny new policy idea fresh from 1971 — government-funded universal preschool. Decade after decade, this old chestnut is trotted out as a pro-family, pro-middle class reform, and every time, assumptions about government's competence to perform this task are blithely assumed.Updated: Thu Feb 21, 2019 […]

  • You Can't Say That on Twitter for 02/15/2019

    She tweeted that "men are not women," and for that, Meghan Murphy, feminist journalist, was banned from Twitter. An anodyne statement of biological reality qualifies as "hate speech" for some of the gnomes at Twitter HQ. Murphy received a rote notification that "you may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease." Excuse me, but that sound you heard was me spitting my coffee across my desk. I cannot count the number of times I've been harassed on Twitter on some of the above grounds. Twitter has benefits, but let's face it, threats, vile abuse and harassment have become a key part of Twitter's brand. Louis Farrakhan has an account. Terrorists romp through its pixels with ease, and the Russians deploy bots like biological agents. Only a select few offenders are punished or banned. When founder Jack Dorsey was asked on Sam Harris's podcast why suspensions and other disciplinary actions always seem to go in a PC direction, Dorsey was phlegmatic, "I don't believe we should optimize for neutrality." That was Silicon Valley-speak for, "We are not fair." Updated: Fri Feb 15, 2019 […]