About Jon Gabriel, Ed.

Jon Gabriel (a.k.a., @ExJon on Twitter) is the Editor-in-Chief of Ricochet. He is a political writer and marketing consultant, contributing articles to Ricochet, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and the Heartland Institute. Until 2012, he served as Director of Marketing for the free-market Goldwater Institute, where he converted policy initiatives into compelling stories. In the private sector, Jon led marketing efforts for Cold Stone Creamery, Honeywell, and several technology companies. In his spare time he helped create a political satire blog, garnering several notices from Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, National Review, The New York Times, and other media outlets. Jon is a summa cum laude graduate of Arizona State's Cronkite School of Journalism and is a former submarine reactor operator for the U.S. Navy. When not obsessing about the news, he obsesses about the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Diamondbacks and indie rock. He lives in Mesa, Ariz., with his long-suffering wife and two precocious daughters.

A Pinch of Incense

 

When the Roman Empire persecuted Christians, they provided an easy out. All the believer had to do was offer some incense to the gods and they would be set free.

One of their victims was Polycarp, the elderly bishop of Smyrna, a city known today as Izmir in Turkey. Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle and later discipled Irenaeus of Lyons, another early saint.

In 155 AD, he was swept up in a fierce persecution, yet offered no resistance. When soldiers burst into his home, the bishop welcomed them cheerfully, ordering that a meal be prepared for them. He asked leave to pray, and the now sheepish Roman guards allowed it before reluctantly taking him to the Proconsul.

McCarthy Elected Speaker of the House on 15th Vote

 

Following four days of voting, negotiations, and drama, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been elected Speaker of the House on the 15th ballot.

McCarthy garnered 216 votes after several early holdouts voted in his favor. Six other GOP holdouts voted “present”: Reps. Andy Biggs (R–AZ), Lauren Boebert (R–CO), Eli Crane (R–AZ), Matt Gaetz (R–FL), Bob Good (R–VA), and Matt Rosendale (R–MT). This lowered the number of votes McCarthy needed to grant him the Speaker’s gavel.

Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D–NY) gained 212 votes. The vote was concluded shortly after midnight.

Christ Is Born!

 

The Nativity Grotto in Bethlehem. The star marks the spot where Jesus Christ was born. It is part of the Church of the Nativity, built by the Roman emperor Constantine in 326 AD.

Behold a new and wondrous mystery.

My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Christmas Will Not Be Instagrammed

 

Five days before Christmas, I finally recovered. After coughing, wheezing, and hurling my way through a month of whatever plague spread across the country, it was finally time to decorate the house for the holidays.

First up: hit the local church lot and buy our belated Christmas tree. My teen daughters tagged along, but I insisted Dad was going to make the final decision.

I’m the breadwinner. The paterfamilias. The big guy who makes the important calls. And what’s more important than a photogenic pine I can upload to Instagram and impress people I’ll never meet?

Demosthenes Speaks to America

 

I’m reading through the speeches of Demosthenes, an Athenian statesman from the 4th century BC. One of his orations, called the Third Olynthiac, punched me in the gut, bringing to mind the frustration many of us feel with our current mess.

Demosthenes lived at a time when Philip II of Macedon was growing in power, knocking off Greek cities one by one. Meanwhile, Athens ignored the threat, unwilling to fight what became Alexander the Great’s empire. Demosthenes reminds me of Winston Churchill in the interwar years, begging a complacent United Kingdom to get serious before it was too late.

Like Churchill, he was usually ignored.

Peru’s Left-Wing President Attempts Coup; Congress Sends Him Packing

 

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo was impeached Wednesday and is now being held by Lima Police.

Peru’s Congress voted to oust President Pedro Castillo Wednesday, shortly after he attempted to dissolve the legislature and install himself as head of an emergency government. Lawmakers ignored Castillo’s declaration and voted to remove him from office in a vote of 101-6. Vice President Dina Boluarte now serves as the interim leader of the South American nation.

In the past six years, Peru has had six presidents amid numerous corruption investigations and impeachments.

The Final Numbers from Arizona (13 Days After Election Edition)

 

You guys: On Monday, November 21, all counties in the state of Arizona finally finished counting the Election Day votes. And it only took them 13 days. In fact, two of the contests were so close that automatic recounts were triggered. Those won’t begin until after December 5 … another 14 days away.

Want to restore trust in the process, Arizona? Reform the bad election laws. For the last time, let’s go to the big board…

Governor

Breaking: GOP Takes US House of Representatives

 

At 6:13 p.m. ET, Decision Desk projected that Republican Kevin Kiley won election to the U.S. House of Representatives for California’s 3rd Congressional District. With that call, the GOP has the 218 seats needed to take the majority in the House.

The Latest Numbers from Arizona (Monday Edition)

 

As expected, the votes broke the GOP’s way in Monday’s vote counts, but not nearly enough to give Republicans the lead in the remaining races. Katie Hobbs has been projected to beat Kari Lake in the gubernatorial race. The AG and Superintendent of Public Instruction contests are still too close to call, but the latter, Tom Horne, has just taken the lead.

Onto the numbers…

Governor

The Latest Numbers from Arizona (Sunday Edition)

 

Yes, Arizona is still counting. The only ballots remaining are mail-in ballots that were dropped off on election day itself, along with a minuscule number of provisional ballots. As I noted last night, from today on, these are expected to go the GOP’s way.

Sunday night’s numbers were good for the GOP, but not as great as expected. The elephants beat the donkeys by about 10 percent in this latest batch; they would have liked to see a victory closer to 15 percent.

Over the next few days, each count will favor Republicans slightly more. Onto the numbers…

The Latest Numbers from Arizona (Saturday Edition)

 

As mentioned in last night’s post, Arizona has now counted all the mail-in ballots received before election day and the regular election-day ballots. As of tonight, we are counting mostly “late earlies” — those mail-in ballots dropped off at polling places on election day itself.

Traditionally these have swung far to the right; we’re talking 75% GOP vs. 25% Democrat. Completely lopsided. Tonight was when the count was supposed to flip into the red column.

Yep. All but guaranteed. Money in the bank. A done deal.

The Latest Numbers from Arizona

 

Arizona is famously slow in counting votes. And since the debacle of 2020, state election officials have changed nothing. (I wrote about it here for the Arizona Republic.)

Adding to the confusion is that votes are counted in a specific order. The ballots tabulated so far were mailed in or dropped off before election day, and the ballots filed on election day itself. These tend to support the Democratic candidates. The last returns from these two categories were announced Friday night.

As of Friday night, some in the last category are added to the mix: the so-called “late earlies.” These are mail-in ballots dropped off at polling places on election day. These tend to support the Republican candidates, and the ballots are slower to count since election officials must verify the signature on the outer envelope before opening and counting. Observers for Democrats and Republicans are present throughout this process.

Update from Maricopa County, AZ

 

I drove to my local polling place in Mesa, AZ, boldly strode in, and dropped off my ballot. The turnout was very large for an off-time (2:30 p.m.); there were no problems with the machines; voters, volunteers, and workers were all happy and friendly.

Many other voters in Maricopa County, however, weren’t so lucky. This is the largest county in Arizona, containing Phoenix, its many suburbs, and more than 60% of the state population. Following two years of “stop the steal” recounts and a low-trust environment, one would think the Republicans running the county’s voting operations would have been ready. You would have been wrong.

We Are No Longer Conservatives; We Are Restorationists

 

Conservatives have long struggled to define the term “conservatism.” This makes sense since it’s always been less a political ideology than a life philosophy. Perhaps even an attitude.

When asked to define conservatism, Abraham Lincoln replied, “Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?”

William F. Buckley updated his answer for the mid-20th century, framing it in opposition to liberalism. In other words, an anti-ideology. In his book Up from Liberalism (1959), Buckley declares conservativism is  “freedom, individuality, the sense of community, the sanctity of the family, the supremacy of the conscience, the spiritual view of life.”

This Isn’t a Biden Presidency. It’s a Biden Regency.

 

Conservatives have asked one big question since Jan. 20, 2021: “So … who’s actually running the country?” Theories abound, including Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, or Barack Obama wearing Susan Rice as a skinsuit. Due to the administration’s utter incompetence, I don’t see any single person running the show, but an infighting cabal propping up Biden’s husk to show internal dominance. Looking at the wreckage, I figured no one was in charge.

I’ve finally settled on a new paradigm: It’s not a Biden Presidency, but a Biden Regency.

Biden is surrounded with longtime D.C. power players, such as Ron Klain, Susan Rice, Anita Dunn, John Podesta, Gene Sperling – a veritable “who’s who” of Beltway knife fights and insider skullduggery. Throughout their long careers, they’ve never sought credit or voter approval. Just power.

No US Troops in Ukraine, Thank You Very Much

 

If you’ve listened to today’s flagship podcast, you know it got a bit spicy. (If you haven’t yet listened, you’re in for a treat.) To briefly recap, co-host @jameslileks noted his support for Ukraine. Our guest considered his support insufficient because he does not want the U.S. military sent into the war zone.

This critique struck many Ricochetti as odd since the public agrees with James by a large margin. A recent Reuters poll showed that only 26 percent want troops tromping about the Transdnieper. The guest said, no problem, because public opinion is “malleable” (shudder). After the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention general governmental incompetence over two decades, I suspect we are less malleable than expected.