How Will You Judge Presidential Candidates?

 

When evaluating potential presidential candidates, we should expect high quality, if somewhat flawed, candidates. But as I looked at how the field might shape up, I wondered how people might decide on who might have potential, and who would be completely out of the running. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that many of us seem to have clear preferences, but I’m frequently not clear on the criteria people use. In these times, it’s fruitless to try to find an ideal candidate: too many have baggage or have demonstrated attributes that we dislike or even hate.

I started to think about my choices at this point, and I have very clear reasons for a couple of the potential candidates, but beyond those two, I’m not sure how I feel about the others. There are people who we are now in the running—Donald Trump and Nikki Haley—but I wonder what attributes, positive or negative, stand out for you when you look at some of the others, like Mike Pompeo, Ron DeSantis, Glenn Youngkin, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Kristi Noem, Mike Lee, Mike Pence, Greg Abbott.

Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the FBI searching Biden’s Delaware beach house for classified documents today and reports that the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee are getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of information coming from the Justice Department. They also shake their heads as the HHS inspector general concludes the National Institutes of Health failed to keep close tabs on the gain of function research done in Wuhan and elsewhere that was paid for with taxpayer-funded grants. And they sigh as former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan strongly hints that he will run for president in 2024, even though there’s very little chance he will make any ripples in the campaign at all.

Join Jim and Greg as they anticipate a U.S. Senate run from GOP West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and whether that will change Sen. Joe Manchin’s plans for 2024. They also react to former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announcing he will not run for U.S. Senate next year. Then, they fume as water-starved California lets 95 percent of the recent deluge of rain flush out into the Pacific Ocean in order to save the delta smelt in a key part of the state. Finally, they shake their heads as Democrats go from declaring Georgia Jim Crow 2.0 to a leading candidate to host next year’s Democratic National Convention.

Can We Please Have Rainbow-colored Snow?

 

I recently ran across this little gem of political correctness on the College Fix website. Apparently, Norwegian universities are just as keen to waste taxpayers’ money as their American counterparts. After all, how else can you explain why the University of Bergen is using a $1.2 million USD grant government grant to investigate how using white paint can encourage white supremacy?

The goal of this “study” is to discover if titanium oxide white paint, which was invented in Norway, has fostered the use of white “as a superior color.” The government-sponsored study seeks to examine the rise of titanium oxide white, apparently the whitest of white paint, through “historical, aesthetic, and critical lenses.”

Jim and Greg give credit to CNN’s Dana Bash for asking tough questions of the three House Democrats House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wants booted from their sensitive committees – and their answers were rather unconvincing. They also react to the latest “Twitter Files,” exposing the powerful left-wing group Hamilton 68, which declared many Twitter accounts to be Russian bots or peddling Russian disinformation, when the vast majority were real people who just disagreed with the left’s narrative on various issues. Finally, they react to President Trump’s bizarre accusation that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis locked down his state far too long during the COVID pandemic, when the evidence is strongly to the contrary, and discuss why Trump is pursuing this line of attack.

Member Post

 

Happy Saturday Ricochet friends, The latest episode features a lengthy discussion about proposed changes to sex education in the Irish curriculum. The guest this week is Alan Hynes of the Catholic Education Partnership. Despite the teaser in the title there is little time to devote to the ongoing saga of Enoch Burke but I’ll post […]

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I was both amused and horrified by a comment I heard on a podcast recently: According to text message threads and other communications coming out of the controversy over Hunter helping his cousin rent an apartment in Los Angeles, the person everyone in the Biden family goes to when a problem needs solving is Hunter. […]

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After having fun with the Associated Press war on “the,” Jim & Greg applaud Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for a 50-year low on crime and aggressive proposals to crack down on child predators and and fentanyl pushers. Jim also walks us through the major water dilemma facing western states and why government intervention is not inspiring a lot of confidence. And they shake their heads as a Biden judicial nominee can’t explain the subject of Article V or Article II of the Constitution.

This week The Learning Curve podcast marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day with guest host Dr. Jay Greene of the Heritage Foundation and Laurence Rees, a former head of BBC TV History Programmes; founder, writer, and producer of the award-winning WW2History.com; and author of The Holocaust: A New History. Mr. Rees sheds light on the historical context of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, including the rise of the cultural and political conditions that led to the Holocaust. Rees discusses how the Nazis promulgated their anti-Semitic ideology and laws, and underscores the criminal realities of the Auschwitz concentration and death camp, as well as the Holocaust’s six million Jewish victims. Rees also talks about the fragility of both human life and political and cultural institutions. Mr. Rees closes the interview with a reading from his book on the Holocaust.

Guest:

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer Iowa becoming the latest state to pass sweeping school choice legislation which gives parents more options on where and how to educate their kids and creates more competition for our schools. They also groan as New York City Mayor Eric Adams complains about the burden placed on his city to deal with the flood of people who entered the nation illegally. The buses from red state governors are a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers of migrants being shuttled all over the nation by the federal government. They also react to Rep. Adam Schiff’s TikTok video complaining about his ouster from the House Intelligence Committee, which he immediately turned into a fundraising pitch just in time for his new campaign for the U.S. Senate.  And Jim reacts to the speculation that Aaron Rodgers could be headed to the New York Jets.

Jim and Greg discuss House Speaker Kevin McCarthy rejecting Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee, with Jim explaining why the move is good politics and good policy. They also groan as Rep. George Santos criticizes comedians and other politicians for making fun of his serial mendacity. And as former Vice President Mike Pence admits having classified documents, they wonder just how many of our top officials are careless with sensitive materials.

This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and Gerard talk with Kevin Chavous, president of Stride K12, Inc. and a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia, on the growing movement toward school choice in education. Chavous discusses the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue and Carson v. Makin, as well as the expansion of private school choice programs, education savings accounts, vouchers, and education tax credits. Amid the successes, however, he also addresses some of the self-inflicted wounds that have harmed the charter public school movement in recent years, and what lessons educators should draw from the challenges schools faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, in the wake of recent nationwide declines in NAEP scores in both reading and math, he offers key suggestions for governors, state legislators, education reformers, and school choice advocates alike on a constructive future for K-12 education reform.

Stories of the Week: The state’s education community paused this week to pay tribute to former Massachusetts State Senate President Tom Birmingham, who passed away Saturday at the age of 73. Birmingham was instrumental in passage of the landmark 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act. In recent years, as Cara notes, Birmingham was a distinguished senior fellow in education at Pioneer Institute, working tirelessly to defend high academic standards, U.S. history and civics, school choice options, and accountability. Gerard discussed the U.S. Supreme Court case involving a 24-year-old deaf Michigan man, Miguel Perez, who says he was denied a qualified sign language interpreter for years, and later sought relief under both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Court will decide whether federal law required him to exhaust administrative proceedings before seeking relief in federal court.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s vow to get answers on the Biden administration’s debacle in Afghanistan. McCaul says the administration has been stonewalling on providing documents on how U.S. intelligence was so wrong on the advance of the Taliban, the deadly attack on U.S. service members outside the Kabul airport, and much more. They also shudder as a new report shows the U.S. is dangerously deficient in producing new weapons to replace the many munitions we’re sending over to Ukraine. In other words, if the U.S. got involved in sustained military action, we could run out of key weapons in less than a week. Finally, they shake their heads as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s solution to the wave of street vendor robberies is to tell them not to conduct business in cash.

Should We Be Providing ‘Charity’ to Ukraine?

 

In a recent speech, Rand Paul gave a powerful presentation regarding the millions of dollars we are giving to Ukraine. He likened our situation to a conundrum that Davy Crockett faced when he served in Congress. (Most of us perceive Crockett as an iconic symbol of the West, but he also served in Congress from 1827 to 1835.) And Paul told a story that speaks to our continual donation of funds and military equipment to Ukraine and how it extends a long, expensive, and debilitating process of trying to be generous to other countries under the guise of national security.

Although Crockett’s original speech was not transcribed, his ideas were captured in an 1867 article written by Edward Ellis and published in Harper’s Magazine, called, “Not yours to Give.” And the conclusions that Crockett reached challenged Congress’ intention to donate charity to the widow of a distinguished naval officer. He took his position from an encounter with a citizen who called him out for a similar funding decision that Crockett made in another devastating occurrence. Crockett was credited with the following description of the situation:

Several years ago, I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

Join Jim and Greg as they consider whether Republicans have a better shot at winning a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona now that liberal Rep. Ruben Gallego announced he is seeking the Democratic nomination in order to run against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema – who was a Democrat and is now an independent.  Can the GOP take advantage of a three-way race? They also welcome the news that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain will be leaving soon after steering the Biden administration far to the left on many issues and then unconvincingly trying to spin us on the consequences of that approach. Finally, Jim breaks down the impasse on the Pentagon opposing sending M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine and Germany refusing to send tanks unless we do.

Join Jim and Greg as they offer up two bad martinis and a crazy one. First, they shake their heads in disbelief and deep skepticism that the Supreme Court couldn’t figure out who leaked Justice Alito’s majority opinion in the Dobbs case, which resulted in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. They also hammer President Biden for demanding no conditions whatsoever to an extension of the debt ceiling, even though his unconstitutional plan to “forgive” student debt by forcing the bill on other taxpayers caused this debate to happen months earlier than it should have. Finally, they roll their eyes at reports that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was tapped to co-chair the Supply Chain Disruption Task Force but never went to a single meeting.  Seems to be a lot of that going around with Biden cabinet secretaries.

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the impending resignation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose years in power were most notably marked by draconian COVID policies and unilaterally outlawing the right to own many different weapons. They also shake their heads as some House Republicans propose a national 30 percent sales tax to replace all other federal taxes. They appreciate the effort to simplify the code and hope discussions continue but fear this plan will only be used by Democrats to hammer Republicans. Finally, they respond to former Vice President Al Gore bellowing about boiling oceans and a billion climate refugees.

Join Jim and Greg as they cringe at reports that December’s illegal border crossings will hit a record high and possibly reach 250,000, and Jim wonders why the numbers keep coming out later and later. They also shake their heads as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre keeps dodging questions about the Biden classified documents or referring people to sources she knows won’t say anything. Finally, they marvel as Biden climate envoy John Kerry publicly hails himself and others in a “select group of human beings” who are in position to “save the planet.”

This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson are joined by David Garrow, who was Professor of Law & History and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is the Pulitzer-winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Garrow shares his insights into the historical and religious context around key events and speeches in the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He examines the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as King’s famous speeches, including the “I Have a Dream” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Garrow discusses Dr. King’s legacy for students and educators, with reference to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and other writings that evoke the theme of human dignity through history, poetry, scripture, and America’s Founding ideals.

Stories of the Week: A new Boston monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King has stirred controversy. Concerned about students’ ability to cheat with the use of advanced artificial intelligence, some higher education and K-12 officials want to ban it outright. Gerard reflects on a young Dr. King’s emphasis on the need for thinking intensively and critically, for the goals of living a good life and workplace success.

A Question for Ricochet’s ‘Classified Documents’ Experts

 

Recently I heard someone discuss an aspect of the Biden classified documents matter that I was hoping people “in the know” around here could clarify, verify, and/or rebut.  FWIW, I believe what I heard was on the Commentary podcast, but I don’t recall for sure.

The commenter noticed that the Biden documents (or at least some of them) were “loose” and in an envelope that indicated they had been removed from their proper folder.  The commenter interpreted this fact to indicate an intention on Biden’s part to “hide” the documents.  In any event, this prompted several questions in my mind that I hope some could answer: