The Rod Martin Report – April 14, 2018
Comey Outs…Himself (and McCabe is Found a Perjurer)
Paul Ryan “Retires”
A “Blue Wave”?
The Economy, Stupid
Education and Immigration
What Americans Think About America, and Why It Matters
Comey and Ryan and Syria oh my! It’s been quite a week. Let’s get started.
Jim Comey’s book tour begins next week, and he got an early start this week talking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. You may recall that George was Bill Clinton’s Communications Director, and has had every bit the objective journalistic career since that you would expect.
Which only makes this exchange with the former FBI Director more telling:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you tell him that the Steele dossier had been financed by his political opponents?
COMEY: No. I didn’t…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But did he have a right to know that?
COMEY: That it had been financed by his political opponents? I don’t know the answer to that.
It went downhill from there.
The book itself is, in consistently anti-Trump Chris Wallace’s words, “surprisingly bitchy”. But the bigger point is that, yet again, Jim Comey accidentally helps the President with the “facts” he claims to reveal.
1. The fact that Trump wanted the fake “facts” in the DNC-purchased Steele dossier investigated proves he wasn’t trying to obstruct the investigation: he was demanding it.
2. That alone (and it’s not alone) argues strongly for Trump’s innocence. You don’t ask the FBI to investigate you if you think you’re guilty.
3. Comey says he told the President that such an investigation might be a bad idea, because it might make it appear that Trump was personally under investigation. This further establishes the truth that Trump wasn’t under investigation, and that Comey saw no reason for him to be, UNTIL Comey was fired and sought revenge.
4. Oh, and Comey says that based on “classified information” he can’t reveal (funny, since he was happy to leak classified information against Trump), he believes Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch was even more compromised regarding the Clinton email investigation than we know.
But none of that’s the worst of it. Comey says that he wouldn’t have publicly reopened the Clinton email case in October if anyone at the FBI had thought there was the slightest chance she could lose, and that the only reason he told the public was to avoid any hint that her Presidency might be “illegitimate” after she won.
Which is to say, the FBI was completely in the tank for one side in a Presidential election, and was actively trying to help the Democrat nominee (1) win the election (by “clearing” her a second time) and (2) solidify her political position afterward.
Consider that carefully, and then recall all these same “impartial professionals” have done to try to destroy Donald Trump’s…what was that word again?…”legitimacy”.
Jim Comey just made it perfectly clear: Barack Obama made the FBI and the Justice Department an arm of the Democrat Party. Which might explain why the FBI raided Michael Cohen’s office seeking details on the Billy Bush tape, but never even requested access to the DNC email servers that contain the only hard evidence of what is supposedly the crime of the century.
In his book, Comey says he’s prone to being driven by his pride. And indeed he is. As at the Senate hearing where he admitted under oath that he was a felon leaker, that he had no reason to believe Trump had obstructed justice, that Trump had never been under investigation personally (he still isn’t), and that he had committed a crime to attempt to get a Special Counsel appointed (apparently out of revenge), that pride just keeps driving him to accidentally tell more truth than he means to tell.
The Swamp is a lot deeper than we thought.
All of this comes on the heels of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s announcement last week that Donald Trump is still not a target of the investigation. Which means, after a year and a half of the combined investigative powers of the Congress, the Intelligence Community, the FBI, the Special Prosecutor’s office plus every opposition researcher on Planet Earth, they still ain’t got nuthin’.
That is, by the way, exactly what the House Intelligence Committee found at the conclusion of their more-than-a-year investigation: that there was “no evidence” of any sort of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. For the non-lawyers among you, “no evidence” doesn’t
mean “keep investigating forever”: it means “dismiss the case, with prejudice”.
But then, the FBI’s leadership always knew there was no evidence. Because as Comey inadvertently makes clear in his book, the FBI’s leadership had long since weaponized the agency as an arm of the Democrat Party.
Witness the recently-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (whose wife received nearly $500,000 from a Clinton ally’s Super PAC during the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s email server). This week, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reported that McCabe repeatedly lied to investigators and under oath, a point already made by the Office of Professional Responsibility before his firing.
This is the sort of thing that gets you locked away in prison for a very long time. So of course, Democrats termed McCabe’s firing a “rush to judgment”, “unprecedented, unseemly and cruel”. McCabe, of course, is getting ready for a book tour of his own.
Jeff Sessions? Paging Jeff Sessions?
Sessions may not respond (as he is prone not to do), but the American people — in both parties — prefer he would. A new poll finds that more than 2/3 of Americans want a second special counsel to investigate abuses of power at the FBI and DOJ by corrupt Obama appointees. That number includes 75% of Republicans, 69% of Independents, and a whopping 60% of Democrats.
My guess? The longer Mueller continues, the higher those numbers will go.
So in the midst of this, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his retirement this week, to take effect after the election. The immediate media spin, and much of the conventional wisdom on the Hill, was that Republican donors and Washington insiders will take Ryan’s retirement as a sign that the House is lost, and that funding must shift to the Senate races as a “last bastion”.
There are kernals of truth in that, but as is so often the case, the CW misses more than it gets right.
As far as the base is concerned, Paul Ryan is an immense disappointment, John Boehner 2.0 or worse. Ryan’s career (for those paying attention) began — and continued for years — as a brilliant young conservative reformer, intent on fixing everything that’s wrong with the nanny state. Those paying attention — and there were lots of them — were thrilled when he was picked for Vice President, because it signaled that he really was the future of the party, in a more positive version of George H.W. Bush’s having become the future of the party in 1980 and 1988. There was legitimate hope that things were trending the right way (and in a sense, they were).
Paul Ryan as Speaker was quite another matter. He certainly showed more spine and did more good than Boehner, but it would have been hard not to. And despite real achievements (particularly December’s Tax Reform), as of this moment, his time is bookended by the awful Boehner budget he was forced to pass upon first taking office, and the awful Ryan budget just passed. It would be easy to get into the weeds on both of those, but the point is that none of Ryan’s early promise is what the base sees in him today. Today, he personifies the Beltway, the Swamp as it were, rightly or wrongly.
So what does that mean for November?
First, as I’ve been warning for months, the real issue for Republicans in November is the one that’s been costing them races for some time now: the enthusiasm gap. Democrats are fired up, Republicans aren’t. We can bemoan the stupidity of this — why fight so hard in 2016 just to give it away two years later? — but we can’t avoid the reality of it.
If Ryan is leaving, there’s a real chance that someone better could take his place. That has potential to be a game changer, if Republicans don’t squander the opportunity and make a premature succession decision (or worse, a premature succession decision in favor of a RINO). The opportunity to bring a fighter to the top spot might just light a fire at the margin, and everything is won at the margin.
The CW will continue to blare that this means Republicans are doomed. Well, we were doomed in 2016 too, and we rose to the occasion, despite most of our side actually believing it was doomed. An actual reason we have to overcome, rather than a general trend of “inevitability”, is something we can work with. We’ve worked with it before.
Moreover, Ryan will want to leave on a high. That will push him toward passage of some legacy legislation. Remember that in his core he actually is a conservative policy wonk. Burnishing “legacy”, unencumbered by the need to get re-elected, will unquestionably help conservatives, the President, our numbers and thus our team in November.
Second, if money does flow to the Senate races, that’s not a bad thing. Money spent on the Senate side will help our House candidates too, and at present, not enough Republican money is flowing to the Senate races, in a year when mathematically we should have a historic blowout. Democrats are defending 25 Senate seats, Republicans just 8; and at least 10 of those Democrat seats are flippable. At the high end, Republicans could end up with a 60+ seat Senate, enough to routinely break filibusters and pass any agenda they want. This doesn’t fit the media narrative, but this is what’s at stake.
Third, make no mistake: that “blue wave” is anything but inevitable. The RCP average has the generic ballot at D+7. But that includes a couple of outlier polls (one openly Democrat, the other not-openly) at D+11, both of which are bogus. And even including them, the key point to remember is that Republicans win the House at D+5 or better. Yes, the polls are and always have been that biased. So at this moment, we’re either winning or within the margin of error.
The CW got every jot and tittle of 2016 wrong. Don’t think it suddenly got smarter, or less biased against us.
And whatever Paul Ryan’s flaws, he’s still one of the smartest guys in the room. Don’t think he hasn’t had all of these thoughts, or that his timing is disconnected from them. It isn’t. And if he really is taking one for the team, that will add back a lot of luster to a once-illustrious career.
So about those Senate numbers. Here’s where things stood a month ago.
It’s an election, so these numbers are moving targets, but the graphic above shows what’s possible: every one of those seats is winnable.
What’s changed in a month? Florida got a LOT closer: Scott has pulled within four — for nearly the entire past month — and has yet to unleash his unlimited cash. Missouri is now within the margin of error. And Tennessee (not on the above chart) is looking rough: Marsha Blackburn might lose the seat to Phil Bredesen (but Bob Corker was going to lose the seat anyway, and Blackburn has a shot at holding it).
Still, if you believed the polls, Donald Trump was down 13 points a couple weeks before the 2016 election, and Brexit was a sure loser, as were David Cameron and Bibi Netanyahu and Matt Bevin and a rather interesting percentage of the candidates on our side over the last several years. Enthusiasm gap notwithstanding, I wouldn’t lose sight of that if were I you.
So what else has changed in the past month?
The economy just keeps getting better. U.S. weekly jobless claims are holding below 300,000 for the longest streak on record. In Iowa and some other parts of the country, there are actually too many jobs for the available population. Contrast that to the dismal Obama years, and to the growing leftist demands for a Universal Basic Income.
Post-Tax Reform, things are improving so much — and for so many — that even Robert Johnson, founder of BET, is blown away:
It’s a little hard to top that (though Trump’s giant step toward sweeping welfare reform just might). But there’s more. This week, Trump forced China to cave on tariffs, an unprecedented achievement.
As I have long said, I am a free trader, but free trade does not exist, not between any two countries in the world. (It does exist within countries, such as the United States: you can sell from Florida to Georgia without meaningful trade barriers.) So if free trade doesn’t exist, and in fact there remain all sorts of trade barriers between nations, why should the United States not recognize that everyone in the world is desperate for access to the U.S. market, and if faced with losing access to that market, in whole or in part, all of them are likely to make us a better deal?
Anyone who thinks this is 1930 missed, oh, about 80 years.
Conservatives and libertarians alike howl when you say things like that, because they are more enamoured of their policy theories than with the means by which to achieve them. That’s why so many of them work in think tanks and not the real world.
I work in the real world. I believe in my theories enough to care about actually implementing them.
So here’s the most representative shot Trump took at the Chinese, in a wide-ranging discussion going back before the Inauguration and involving everything from Taiwan to North Korea to intellectual property rights. Yes, it really is all connected.
When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%. When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%. Does that sound like free or fair trade. No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2018
And here’s China’s response, the very next day: “China’s Xi Promises to Cut Auto Import Tarriff, Ease Restrictions on Foreign Ownership”.
Boy, that Donald Trump sure is stupid about trade policy, isn’t he.
And if all that weren’t enough, the Congressional Budget Office now admits they totally blew their prediction for the deficit numbers resulting from the Trump Tax Cut. Indeed, they weren’t even close…not that that’s particularly surprising considering how badly they blew the call on Obamacare, and virtually every other policy in my lifetime.
Turns out, the Trump Tax Cut is already boosting growth enough to largely pay for itself…and it’s barely begun to work. Which is exactly what we said.
(Parenthetically, it is long past time we abolished the CBO. Congress allows the CBO, an unelected body, to determine what bills become law based on the CBO’s politically biased and inaccurate projections. This process is one of the main hindrances to any real reform, and one of the main reasons Congress keeps passing abominations like the Omnibus. The CBO has been corrupt for longer than the FBI, IRS and DOJ, but like them, it’s a tool of the Democrat Party hiding behind a fake cloak of nonpartisanship and objectivity. If you want to drain the swamp, start here.)
Bottom line? It’s the economy, stupid. At the rate of progress since December, Americans are going to be in unbelievably good shape come November. If they’re complacent about that, maybe the Democrats win. If the Enemedia can keep them focused on nonsense, ditto. But at this point in Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, the smart money said Reagan was toast.
And then he won 49 states.
Of course, Democrats are counting on more than just complacency. They used to believe illegal immigration was a bad thing that would hurt American jobs. Here’s “Sanctuary State” California Senator Diane Feinstein, in the oh-so-distant 1994:
And here’s Bill Clinton, one year later.
Identical comments by Donald Trump, of course, are invariably labeled “vile”, “hate-filled” and “racist”.
So what changed? Democrats discovered they’d aborted too many of their children to keep a voting majority. And so they joined the Chamber of Commerce’s jihad for cheap labor, in hopes of replacing all those lost voters with “undocumented Democrats”.
And so they have: a new report finds that California alone has handed drivers licenses to over 1 million illegal aliens. And of course, California automatically registers you to vote when they hand you your license.
Democrats pretend to be outraged by the prospect of “foreign intervention” in American elections. But what do you call this?
They’re counting on more than just that. Democrat teacher unions have had control of the public schools for decades. Here’s the result:
This week, a new study finds that 4 in 10 Millennials don’t know that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, and that 1/4 of Millennials have never even heard of it.
This is on the heels of a survey last week that found over 1/3 of U.S. Millennials believe the Earth is flat.
Note well: 95% of those 55 and over believe the Earth is round. Which means that they got a vastly better education than kids are getting now.
Yes, it’s really getting much, much worse. Which makes it a whole lot easier for their Democrat teachers to indoctrinate them in “Social Justice” and Identity Politics. Without facts or perspective, emotional finger-pointing wins all day long. Just ask those Holocaust survivors Millennials don’t know exist.
They’re wrong. Just as they were wrong when they condemned Israel for blowing up the Syrian nuclear weapons plant being built by North Korea (in an area later controlled by ISIS).
WMDs are dangerous enough unused. They’re vastly more dangerous in the hands of a regime like Assad’s. Even allowing someone like Bashar Assad to have them at all is a threat to all of us, because one of those weapons is as likely to be used in the New York subway as on a Damascus suburb. How many warring forces control bits of Syria again?
But the commission of a mass atrocity such as at Douma simply cannot be tolerated. Allowing it to go unanswered is an invitation for countless other regimes to make WMD attacks de rigueur. And once that genie’s out of the bottle, the world becomes a much uglier place.
You won’t see Donald Trump putting the entire American Army in Syria for a decade, as some Presidents might. His purpose is not to occupy anything.
Donald Trump is simply enforcing Barack Obama’s unenforced “red line”: if you commit one of the world’s ugliest war crimes, expect to pay, promptly.
It’s a lesson that will keep most regimes from obtaining the weapons in the first place. And that’s why last night’s bombing matters, and is absolutely right.
But don’t take my word for it. Listen to this guy, Kassem Eid, a Syrian chemical attack survivor being interviewed by CNN:
If that doesn’t get you, what’s wrong with you?
There’s lots more to discuss, as there always is, from Facebook declaring two black women offering humorous political commentary — Diamond and Silk — “a threat to the community” to “gun free zone” London surpassing New York in murders and implementing…wait for it (yes, it’s not a joke)…knife control. We can’t cover it all here, but if you want my as-it-breaks commentary on these sorts of things, follow my Facebook page and join the discussion.
But it’s worth considering that, despite all the darkness, there is much hope. And I think that was better summarized in a Rasmussen poll this week than in just about anything we could ask for.
The question asked was, “Is the United States the best nation in the world?”
Note that it was not “it is one of the best?” And “best” means a lot of things: it means goodness, decency, quality of life, place you want to be, opportunity, everything.
The results were remarkable.
70% say that yes, America is the best nation in the world. That includes 86% of Republicans (which, incidentally, is also the percentage of Evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump), but also a rather amazing 64% of Democrats.
The Social Justice (and Social Gospel) Warriors have a tougher hill to climb than they think.
Not shockingly, the older you are, the more you believe this, regardless of race or party (there’s that education problem again).
But it’s even more than that. A whopping 78% of all American adults say that if they could live anywhere in the world, they would still choose the United States.
Identity politics and “Social Justice” — and let’s be honest, a whole lot of Evangelical preachers — are intent upon the premise that America is the worstplace in the world. But this is more than a bit ironic, while they tell us that we are “heartless” or even “racist” if we don’t let everyone on Earth come here illegally. Why would all those people want to come — why would any of them be here — if they didn’t agree with that overwhelming majority of Americans?
And deep down, don’t the SJWs — and Social Gospel preachers — know this, when they say its wrong not to let everyone come here, or wicked to send anyone back? Aren’t they implicitly calling the rest of the world…a “s***hole”?
I’m not calling the rest of the world any such thing. But I’m not dumb enough to think you make the world better by heightening race, gender and class divisions, or by flooding the electorate with those who would. America is great. It’s great because it’s still built on the idea that men are sinners, meaning their government should be limited so the sinners running it can’t become tyrants. It’s great because in our justice system we have both judges and juries, so there are always checks and balances. It’s great because we cheer those who dare greatly instead of showering them with envy and demanding a fake “equality” of result.
It’s great because here, absolutely anyone can be or do absolutely anything, so long as it doesn’t harm his fellow man.
Most Americans — in both parties — still understand that. And that means there’s hope. Hope that the Identity Politics crowd won’t succeed in dividing us. Hope that we can still come together, loving our neighbor as ourselves and as the individuals we are rather than as arbitrary warring groups: “no Jew or Greek, no slave or free,” united in one body while infinitely diverse within it.
However imperfectly, that has always been America. And America remains a place where anyone can become more than they are, and everyone can reasonably hope that their children will do better still. That is the American Dream, however maligned and warped some make it.
That is worth defending. That is worth fighting for. And that’s why I take the time to write you these letters.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it. The Rod Martin Report was the most accurate analysis of the 2016 election cycle. Do your friends a favor and pass it along; and remember, there’s a lot more we publish each week that doesn’t make the newsletter.For Freedom,