Today, primary elections are being held in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington State, and there’s a special election in Ohio’s 12th district to fill the House seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Pat Tiberi. All of these races are drawing fevered attention from the national media for what they might indicate about how voters feel about President Trump (Translation: “Come on, you stupid voters! Please, please, please forget about the booming economy and your new jobs and lower taxes and hate Trump like we do!”)
The race getting the most attention is that Ohio race, where the seat has been held by Republicans for over 35 years, but polls show a dead heat between 31-year-old Democrat Danny O’Connor and two-term Republican State Senator Troy Balderson. However, the polls also still show 7% undecided, and the only accurate poll is the one being taken today at the ballot boxes. O’Connor tried to show some independence that might appeal to moderates when he said he wouldn’t back Nancy Pelosi as Speaker if the Democrats took over the House, but he’s since backed away from that. As I’ve explained before, she is so entrenched and has so much control over committee assignments and purse strings that she will never have to leave until she walks out on her own accord or is carried out feet first.
Our objective journalism corps will also be watching intently to see how candidates endorsed by President Trump fare, as an indicator of whether Republican voters are still with him (“Boo!”) or abandoning him (40-point New York Times headline: “YAY!”) Much will also be made of turnout: will there be a big turnout of Democrats, signaling that much-vaunted “blue wave” in November? Will it be matched (or even swamped) by Republicans, dead set against allowing Democrats to take over the House, where they can halt all the investigations of Deep State perfidy and block all the reforms that Trump has been trying to make, while bringing back the type of tax and regulatory policies that made living through the Obama economy feel like crawling across a hot parking lot covered in fly paper? Another big question is whether Independents who supported Trump will stick with him or fall for the siren song of socialism being pushed by the Dems' young Bernie Sanders Mini-Me's? That, we might not know until November, unless a lot of Independents turn out to vote in party primaries.
I’ll have a wrap-up of the election results tomorrow. But until then, I’ll just urge Republicans in those states to turn out and vote as if the future of America depended on it. Because it does.
All within a period of about 24 hours, the social media giants Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and Apple (iTunes) removed Alex Jones and his InfoWars videos and podcasts from their platforms. As Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz notes at this link, the sites have been under pressure about censoring conservative commentators, but they apparently felt that Jones’ brand of conspiracy theorizing fell outside the line of acceptable free speech.
Personally, I don’t care for what Jones does, and I would never rely on InfoWars as a news source (then again, same goes for the SPLC, and these sites use them as their trusted advisers!) But I would rather have the marketplace of ideas remain open to all, including bad ideas, with the understanding that the rancid fruit will be identified and rejected, rather than have a self-appointed group of speech police in Silicon Valley pre-judge who’s allowed to speak online.
Besides, as several commentators noted, when you’re dealing with people who are allegedly paranoid conspiracy theorists, how do you think they’ll react to all the social media platforms banning them at the same time?
Meanwhile, Bretibart.com (another site that’s had its problems with being blocked by social media) pulled up a remarkably prescient Jones interview from 2015 in which guest Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report warned Jones not to rely on social media for an Internet platform. Drudge has one of the most-visited sites online, but it’s an independent website, with only a small presence on Twitter. Drudge said this:
“Make your own place. The Internet allows you to make your own dynamic, your own universe. Why are you gravitating toward somebody else’s universe?...They are taking your energy, and you get nothing in return!”
Young people might not remember this, but in the Paleolithic days of the Internet, bloggers each had their own pages, on websites they paid to host. Then they began moving to blogging platform sites, and then to social media sites like Facebook that promised convenience and visibility, easy connections and free membership. But as always, those “freebies” came at a steep price. First, it was loss of privacy and exposure of your personal information, then demonetization of “controversial” content, and now, the corporate bosses are trying to police what users are allowed to say. This has started an exodus of users.
So where will they all go? To other social media sites that will grow big and rich and arrogant and repeat the same cycle? Back to printed books, manual typewriters, friends you know personally and going out into the fresh air occasionally? Or will commentators follow Drudge’s advice and return to hosting their own sites, independent of the speech monitors of Silicon Valley?
I have no idea what happens next. But I can tell you this: If I suddenly disappear from Twitter or Facebook for expressing a very-bad, triple-plus-ungood thought, you can always get my newsletter twice a day by email, or find me at MikeHuckabee.com.
On behalf of me and my entire staff from “Huckabee” on TBN, I’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to the International Country Gospel Music Association for honoring us with their 2018 Award for “TV Show of the Year!”
When I first started doing a TV series, some network suit types were baffled. Whoever heard of a news/talk show with a band? One where top political figures rubbed elbows with comedians and great musicians? Where the host moved from interviewing the Attorney General to playing the bass with the musical guest (whether the guest wanted me to or not!)
Luckily, audiences got it, and the ratings showed they had as much fun watching it as I did hosting it. Now, we’re thrilled to be on TBN, where great people both on my staff and at the network help me bring you not only major newsmakers and inspiring Huck’s Heroes, but the best in comedy, variety and all genres of music: country stars like Ricky Skaggs, Lorrie Morgan and the Oak Ridge Boys; classic rock icons like Mark Farner of Grand Funk and Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals; pop and soul legends like Tony Orlando and Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, and both established artists and rising stars of country, gospel, Christian rock and more. Imagine Ed Sullivan if he’d interviewed Mike Pence between the Chinese acrobats and Rare Earth.
If you’re missing “Huckabee,” you’re not just missing news-making interviews, but also some fantastic family-friendly entertainment. Fortunately, you can catch up on past episodes at the link. As for me, I’m going to go look for a prominent spot to proudly display our new award!
Hope for baby boomers
Here’s a story that gives hope to aging baby boomers that you’re never too old to rock, and not just in a rocking chair. In Germany, police launched a search after two elderly men disappeared from a retirement home. They were finally located at 3 a.m., in the crowd at Wacken Open Air, the world’s biggest heavy metal rock festival (I can imagine them being the only ones there yelling, “Turn it up!”)
Police said they were finally persuaded to go back to the home, although they were in a “disoriented and dazed” state and reluctant to leave. I’ll bet that described everyone there.
RIP Charlotte Rae
I’m sad to report the death of Charlotte Rae, one of those familiar TV faces many of us grew up with. She passed away Sunday at 92, surrounded by family at her home in L.A.
Most people remember her as the motherly Mrs. Garrett on two long-running shows, “Diff’rent Stokes” and “The Facts of Life.” But her career stretched over seven decades. She first came to fame playing Mammy Yokum in the original Broadway production of “L’il Abner;” appeared on such early TV shows as “Car 54, Where Are You;” and kept working almost to the end, on such recent teen shows as “Pretty Little Liars” and “Girl Meets World.” She was one of those rare actors whose colleagues describe her as being as warm, funny and down-to-earth in real life as she appeared on screen. In fact, she once said that at a book signing, the fans “all wanted a hug from me! And I gave it to them. All of them."
She will be missed by fans, and boy, will her attitude be missed in Hollywood.
RIP Paul Laxalt
My condolences also to the family of conservative elder statesman Paul Laxalt, who has died in Virginia at 96. I’d urge you to click on the link and read his full obituary, which is one of the great American rise-from-humble-beginnings stories of all time. In his memoir, “Sweet Promised Land,” Laxalt told of his father, a Basque who left the Pyrenees in 1906 to herd sheep in the American West. After surviving horrific combat in the Philippines in World War II, Laxalt went to law school, then into politics, eventually becoming a US Senator, Governor of Nevada and trusted adviser to President Reagan. As he said, "Not bad for a Basque sheepherder's kid."
Laxalt even ran for President himself in 1987, an experience he later described as “the four most miserable months of my life.” But if you want to know all the inside dirt, sorry: he was too much of a gentlemen ever to cash in by writing a tell-all book. There aren’t many like him in politics today, sadly for us all.
It's all for nothing if they don't get rid of Trump
Think of all the time that must have been spent by our intelligence agencies in behind-the-scenes maneuvering to manufacture a pretense for investigating Trump. (And, yes, we’re on to them; we’re still working on getting the last few puzzle pieces, but we know they did this.) The many millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prosecuting attorneys skilled in the ways of ruining lives in order to win cases. The show trials designed to intimidate and “flip” a former campaign associate whom the judge knows would otherwise be of no interest to them. The immunity deals. The strategic leaks. The close collaboration with major media outlets, through former government officials such as John Brennan and James Comey, to reinforce a chosen narrative while twisting like a pretzel to excuse blatant examples of lawbreaking by the President’s political enemies. The endless redacting of documents for no good reason other than covering their tracks. So much time, so much money, so much effort. What is it all for?
TO GET RID OF PRESIDENT TRUMP.
Just that. If the people doing these things don’t get rid of Trump, through impeachment or resignation or going after his family or whatever it has to be, then all of their careful strategizing and hard work will have been for nothing. And that is why Trump absolutely must not sit down for an interview with the special counsel. The goal of the questioning will be to get him gone --- even through catching him in the tiniest and most innocent misstatement or mistake. Everything they’ve been doing for months –- years now –- has been leading, in their minds, to this. So they've been working like fiends to figure out how to do it.
The President’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has said a decision will be made “in the next day or so” regarding whether or not Trump will agree to an interview with Robert Mueller. Negotiations continue, and word is that the special counsel is open to reducing the number of questions and allowing some of them to be answered in writing. If Mueller tries to issue a subpoena, assuming he even has the authority to do that, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow says the team will fight it. Sekulow says it would be a first, that such an argument has never been made in court but that there are writings and precedent in Trump’s favor. His attitude seems to be “Bring it on.”
David Rivkin, former White House counsel under both President Reagan and George H. W. Bush and a constitutional law attorney, said Monday in an interview with Melissa Francis on FOX News that it’s not enough just to limit the number of questions relating to obstruction. “The entire obstruction inquiry is fundamentally illegitimate,” he said. “The President cannot constitutionally engage in obstruction of justice while exercising the core constitutional powers of his office.” (Example: Firing FBI Director James Comey; Trump had ample reason and the unquestionable power to can that guy’s sanctimonious behind.) Thus the questions would have to be limited to collusion-related matters, with obstruction off the table. Also, in order to have an interview at all, the special counsel would have to show why it was necessary, considering that essentially all documentary evidence that the special counsel has asked for has been turned over.
Rivkin said he was troubled by media reports saying that the special counsel has said it wants to issue a report on obstruction first, when the official mandate was to investigate collusion. (My thought: they don’t want to have to report that there was no collusion if the plan is to get Trump on obstruction. What, pray tell, would he be guilty of obstructing if there was no crime?)
Rivkin was outspoken about the infamous Trump Tower meeting, too: “As far as the collusion is concerned, I think...such a meeting may have been politically damaging, but the notion that a politician running for office is interested in exploring the possibility of getting some dirt on his or her opponent, I mean, that’s as old as the Republic itself...What do you think the DNC and the Hillary campaign were doing...engaging (through) a law firm a foreigner, a former British agent who went out and hired a bunch of Russians to get dirt on Trump?”
If this were a real investigation into Russia making inroads into our electoral process, the prosecutors would be looking at the Democratic side, too. But it isn’t, and they’re not.
And as Jonathan Turley points out, the President complicates matters when he issues expansively-worded tweets in which the details sometimes change or are inconsistent with statements from his lawyers. That happened Sunday morning with a tweet about the meeting that included Don Jr. at Trump Tower, intended to defend his son but..not helpful. In fact, it was the opposite of helpful. Perhaps he doesn’t think the details are all that important, and in the normal world they might not be, but this is the world of politics. The opposite of normal. In this context, he’s just creating more problems for himself.
Turley is hard on Trump’s tweet about the meeting, and also on those who took the meeting in the first place. “If stupidity were a crime,” he says, “Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner would serve life sentences for doing so.” But it isn’t, and Turley explains why obtaining damaging information on one’s opponent, in and of itself, is not illegal. An exchange of information is NOT a campaign contribution. The non-lawyers blabbering on CNN that the Trump campaign broke federal election law are part of the effort to GET RID OF TRUMP, and they’re just too full of rage to see how wrong they are.
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