Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter S – for Slate and Salon. While the predominantly left-leaning media has no shortage of ridiculous ideas, this week’s winners were easy picks. From Slate, we have the mind-boggling titles “Abortion Might Finally Be a Winning Issue for Democrats” and “Trump’s ‘No Quid Pro Quo’ Statements Are Clear Evidence of His Ukraine Motives.” And let’s not forget good old President Obama. He was the left’s golden boy for years, but now he’s stepping on ideological toes – and Salon is happy to set him straight.
A Winning Issue for Whom?
The 2020 Democratic field of possible contenders for the White House is far more progressive on abortion than any previous group of candidates, Slate reported this week. “The relatively new consensus ought to please reproductive justice advocates, who have been trying to reframe the abortion debate for years,” the author posits in an article titled “Abortion Might Finally Be a Winning Issue for Democrats.”
For anyone paying attention to the current crop of Democratic wannabes, there should be no question that these “reproductive justice advocates” have finally reframed the abortion debate – but will that translate to votes in 2020 to help oust Trump? While the article highlights recent polls that there are more Democrats who support fully or mostly legal on-demand abortions than Republicans who believe abortions should be illegal either all or most of the time, it barely glosses over an important set of voters – those across the political spectrum who fall somewhere in between. There is, after all, a reason Bill Clinton famously coined the phrase “safe, legal, and rare.”
Writing for the Harvard Political Review in 2018, Lainey Newman explained: “’Safe, legal, and rare’ was an effective tagline, in part because it is hard to argue with. Most Americans believe that abortion should be available and legal, but many Americans also feel that it is immoral.”
Are these so-called reproductive justice advocates correct in their belief that Americans are finally enlightened enough to move beyond such moral hang-ups? Well, not exactly. Liberty Nation’s Joe Schaeffer explained an interesting phenomenon after Planned Parenthood finally dropped the façade and embraced its true purpose:
“But a funny thing happened amid this tranquil rebranding. Abortion opponents started winning legislative battles in state after state. Bills outlawing abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected have passed in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio. While Planned Parenthood was prettifying its image, its core product was losing traction.”
The activists and Hollywood elites shouting their abortions probably are pleased by this portrayal of the procedure as a virtue rather than a sometimes-necessary evil – but is it a stance that will win the electorate?
Where Did Trump Learn the Term Quid Pro Quo?!
Trump is a Russian agent. No, wait, he’s extorting Ukraine’s president for his own benefit. The leftist media will stop at nothing, it seems, to salvage their narrative that Trump is some sort of criminal mastermind and – somehow simultaneously – a complete nincompoop. So how do they reconcile their position with testimony that Trump has told officials that he wants nothing from Zelensky other than that he do the right thing? That’s easy: Trump wasn’t telling the truth; he was launching his cover story.
LN‘s Graham J. Noble and Leesa K. Donner both addressed the issue with trying to interpret “Tell Zelensky to do the right thing” to mean anything other than simply what it says. As Ms. Donner explained, it “ultimately tells you more about the listener than it does the speaker.” And as she also pointed out, “It isn’t hard to recognize which party would choose the noble interpretation and which the sleazy one.”
The gist of this article from Slate isn’t that President Trump might have been threatening Zelensky with his “do the right thing” message, but that the conversations with Gordon Sondland and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) were a diversion. After all, why else would the president use – as the Slate author puts it – “the lawyerly Latin phrase” quid pro quo? It couldn’t be that quid quo pro is a commonly used – even if often not fully understood – expression. No, clearly the fact that he used that phrase means he knew what was coming and was trying to establish his alibi before being accused.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) wondered the same thing. He observed during one hearing that Trump denying any quid pro quo when asked whether the aid was being held up to get something in return was the equivalent of getting pulled over for speeding and saying, “I didn’t rob the bank.” But that’s comparing apples to oranges – it is a false analogy. It would have worked – kind of – as an analogy had Trump’s response to “do you want something from Ukraine before you release the aid?” been something more like “I’m not a Russian agent!” or “I didn’t pay Stormy Daniels any hush money!”
You don’t have to know Latin to have at least a vague idea that quid pro quo means something along the lines of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Given that this is exactly what you would call wanting something in return for releasing the foreign aid, it’s a perfectly reasonable phrase to use in this case. Perhaps the real question the anti-Trump left wants to ask is: “How does that big orange dummy know what quid pro quo means?!”
Uh … Have You Seen the System Lately?
When the father of the ACA and DACA – a man who advanced identity politics throughout his presidency and once declared in a town hall that firearms are not defensive weapons while pushing “common sense” gun control – is the one warning that the Democratic Party is going too far left, you know things are getting out of hand. Barack Obama might have been the darling of the establishment media during his presidency, but he didn’t scale up in his progressiveness with the party, and now he must go.
Abortion isn’t the only topic on which the Democratic Party is moving progressively farther left. There was a time when nearly all candidates would distance themselves from the most radical ideas, but from the Green New Deal to Medicare for All and student loan forgiveness, the party is running headlong into socialism.
It’s such an abrupt shift that even Barack Obama thinks the current crop of presidential hopefuls need to cool it – but it seems he’s pushing against too much weight and might well get crushed. As LN‘s Jeff Charles put it, “Former President Barack Obama is either trying his best to get canceled or to inject some sanity into a fractured Democratic Party.”
According to Salon, it’s Obama who has lost touch with reality – or, at least, the electorate.
“In trying to tip the party towards moderation, Obama said Democrats’ ‘ultimate goal is to defeat a president and party that has … taken a sharp turn away from a lot of the core traditions and values and institutional commitments that built this country.’
The problem with that analysis is that it fails to appreciate how that established order – the one that former President Obama is so nostalgic for – made Donald Trump possible.”
Well, Salon will get no argument here against that assessment – though it seems to have an equally flawed understanding of this phenomenon. The author points to Obama’s decision to bail out Wall Street at the expense of the poor and working class, but then quotes a Democrat calling for Sanders or Warren to fix the damage done by both Obama and Trump.
The author then goes on to point to other problems like “wealth inequality” and young people being “shackled” to student debt. What could solve these issues? The article doesn’t specify, but it could be inferred, based on the context, that more government intervention is the desired answer. That Donald Trump won the presidency – rather than the self-declared democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders – in part, by campaigning on deregulation and ending Obamacare seems a clear sign the solution is less government interference, not more.
How electing a socialist president to meddle with the economy could possibly fix Obama’s meddling in the economy is unclear. What is crystal clear, however, is that while the former president may well be right to warn the Democrats against the leftward slide, Barack Obama is no longer the golden boy of the leftist media.
Read more from James Fite.