Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tuesday Thoughts - Federalism, Trump Fatigue, Trump SLAAP Lawsuit, Wisconsin, Arizona, Biden Sexual Assault Allegation

Some random thoughts this Tuesday:

1.  Federalism:  During Monday's Trump Show, the President  declared that he had "absolute authority" to override Governors' stay-at-home orders and reopen the economy.  Of course, the President does not have those "police powers," which, under our Constitution, belong exclusively to the states.  I am interested though in watching how the two political camps respond.  Up until the Trump era, Republicans strongly believed in federalism, i.e. that the Constitution grants states powers independent
of those held by the national government.  Meanwhile, Democrats, at least during most of my lifetime, view states as simply being administrative units of the national government.  My guess is Democrats will find a new appreciation for federalism, while those in the Trump cult will approve his ignoring the Constitution and throwing long-time GOP support for federalism under the bus.

2.  Federalism Redux:  The Covid-19 crisis has proven the benefits of federalism.  Imagine the shape the United States would be in if we would have had to depend on the federal government leading the virus response?  There would be a lot more dead Americans, no doubt.  Governors did notwait on the President. They took the ball and ran.  It is a lesson Congress needs to learn.

3.  Trump Fatigue:  People get tired of watching television shows even the good ones.  Plots repeat themselves as writers run out of ideas.  I thought of that while watching, during yesterday's episode of the Trump Show, the President yell at reporters because he did not want to answer straightforward, legitimate questions.  Trump's act has grown tiresome.  Do not underestimate the desire of many votes to change the channel come November 3rd.

4.  Trump Campaign Files Another SLAPP Lawsuit:  Passing under the radar last week was the  Trump campaign filing yet another defamation lawsuit targeting First Amendment rights.  This time the lawsuit was filed against a northern Wisconsin television station which dared to air a commercial the Trump campaign did not feel was accurate.  (I won't get into the hypocrisy of the Trump campaign filing such a lawsuit while putting out blatantly inaccurate commercials about Joe Biden.)  Make no mistake about it, the Trump campaign knows it is not going to win this Wisconsin lawsuit.  Rather it is a typical SLAPP lawsuit, one which is designed to shut up critics by forcing them to spend a fortune defending their free speech rights in court.  Under the American Rule, even if you win in court, you still have to pay your own legal bills.  SLAPP laws reverse the American Rule on those types of cases.  But you know which state does not have a SLAPP law?  Wisconsin.

5.  Wisconsin:  Speaking of Wisconsin, what in the heck happened?  Republicans were sure that holding an election in the midst of a pandemic would suppress enough Democratic votes (especially in Milwaukee where they only had enough workers for five voting locations) that a Republican Wisconsin Supreme Court justice could win re-election.  Yet, the Democratic challenger won by 10 points.  Democrats found a way to turn out, despite the pandemic, as they mailed in thousands of absentee ballots.  Of the three swing states that tipped the 2016 election - Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - I always thought that Wisconsin, as  the most rural of the three, would likely be in the Trump column in 2020.  Now I'm not so sure about Trump winning Wisconsin in 2020.

6.  Arizona:  A poll out of Arizona has Biden up over Trump by 9 points.  Trump has not led in any of the Arizona Trump v. Biden polls in 2020.  Biden leads the Real Clear Politics average of polls by 4.4% in the state.  Trump won the state by 3.5% in 2020.

7.  Biden Sexual Assault Allegation:  Occupying the small bandwith not devoted to 24/7 coverage of Covid-19 comes the allegation that a former Senate staffer was sexually assaulted by then Delaware Senator Joe Biden.  Well, okay, the allegation was originally unwanted touching, which later blossomed into full-blown sexual assault.  The mainstream media has looked into the Reade's allegations and found her less than credible.  To summarize, the media found that 1) Biden did not have a pattern of sexual assault or sexual harassment; and 2) Reade's subsequent conduct was inconsistent with someone who had been sexual assaulted or harassed.  I read an article that quoted extensively from Reade's Twitter feed much of which has since been deleted.  Until about 2017, Reade posted tweets praising Joe Biden. Then in 2018, she began expressing a love for Vladimar Putin.  Then by 2019, she turned to attacking Biden, and praising Russia and Putin, even praising the Russian President's physical appearance.  The Twitter transformation was bizarre to say the least.

I doubt Trumpers trying to use the Reade allegation actually believe Biden is a sexual deviant.  Some though are using the allegation to suggest the allegation against Biden is comparable to the nearly 20 women who have accused Trump of sexual assault.   Wrong.  Unlike Biden,  Trump definitely had a pattern of conduct, one confirmed by his own words on the Access Hollywood tape.

But Trumpers are on very solid ground when pointing to liberal and media hypocrisy as to how these types of of "Me Too" allegations are being handled.  The allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh were decades old and not verified.  Yet we were told we must believe Kavanaugh's accuser.  This is despite the fact that Kavanaugh, like Biden and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas before him, had no history of mistreating women.  Further, in Thomas' case, the "victim" Anita Hill followed Thomas to another job after a time when he supposedly sexually harassed her.   Hill's behavior was explained as being typical of someone who is sexually harassment victim.  But when it came to  examining the truthfulness of the Biden allegation, conduct of Reade's, similar to Hill's, was considered to throw doubt on her allegation.

The "Me Too" movement has been a great development as far as encouraging women to come forward and lodge complaints about sexual assault and harassment.  But the "Me Too" movement is not so great when it has been used to insist men be considered guilty upon being accused, regardless of how old those allegations are or despite the lack of a pattern of misconduct or corroborative evidence.  During the 2020 campaign, the "Me Too" movement forced Biden to recant on his handling of the Anita Hill accusation against Clarence Thomas when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  In fact, Biden handled the allegation as well as any Democrat could.  People forget that at the time, the general public overwhelmingly believed Thomas over Hill, including African-Americans.  People also forget that several Democrats voted for Thomas' nomination.

We need to treat conservative and liberal politicians exactly the same when it comes to these He Said She Said allegations.  Right now there is most definitely a double standard being employed.


Anonymous said...

Want to talk about hypocrisy? What about the pro-life party wanting to sacrifice people for the economy? It just proves that their pro-life stance has nothing to do with life, but only about pushing their religious dogma unto the masses.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 5:52, I agree with the first part of your comment about the pro-life hypocrisy regarding willingness to sacrifice older Americans for the economy. That is a much better argument to demonstrate hypocrisy in the pro-life position than those who try to do the same thing using the death penalty. Someone who has committed a murder is not equivalent to innocent human life in the womb.

The second part of your argument, I could not disagree with more. There are plenty of pro-life people who hold their position completely separate from any religious belief. In fact, there are atheist pro-life groups out there. I've been around enough pro-life people to know that most of them do not base their beliefs on religion, but on the fact that they truly believe that a fetus is developing human life that is worthy of legal protection.

I came to my pro-life views following a paper I wrote my sophomore year of college on pre-natal development which convinced me beyond any doubt that a fetus was not just a blob of cells but a distinctly human life. Given my libertarian leanings, I would be very pro-choice if I was convinced that a fetus is just blob of cells and not a distinct human life. Science says otherwise though. Abortion is the one area where liberals do not seem interested in listening to science. There needs to be a balance between the woman's understandable right to bodily integrity and the human life growing inside of her.