I need to get caught up on a lot of smaller stories, so I decided to devote this column to OOP's short takes:
- Can we please stop pretending that getting a degree from an Ivy League school means someone is smart? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a degree from Yale. Former Trump spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany graduated from Harvard Law School. Texas Senator Ted Cruz graduated from college at Princeton and then received his J.D. from Harvard Law School. After graduating from Stanford University, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley received a law degree from Yale. Donald Trump and his children, Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Tiffany, all graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, which is an Ivy League school. Maybe some of these people have "book smarts" (although the Trumps, with the possible exception of Tiffany, clearly do not even have that), but they lack any common sense which they combine with a heavy dose of intellectual dishonesty.
- Speaking of Ivy League Stupid, how about Senator Ted Cruz? Was he really so incredibly stupid he didn't know someone with a camera phone would take his picture getting on the plane heading to Cancun while Texas was experiencing a week long natural disaster? Caught trying to skip out on his state, Cruz claimed he was just escorting his wife and daughters to the vacation spot and had no intention of stay. Then that turned out to be a lie when group text messages sent by his wife were published, showing that the Senator planned to spend the entire weekend vacationing in Cancun. His wife, Heidi, told friends that the Ritz-Carlton, where they planned to stay had rates of "only" $300 a night.
- It has been announced that President Donald Trump is going to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference to be held in Orlando, Florida this week. In recent years, CPAC has become a joke under the leadership of Matt Schlapp, President of the American Conservative Union which hosts the event. CPAC used to be an event in which prominent conservative intellectuals in the GOP pass on their wisdom and ideas to up and coming young conservatives in the party. Since Trump's election, Schlapp has turned away from conservative intellectualism to go all in on Trump crazy. Most of the speakers at this year's CPAC would never have been allowed to speak at conferences held in the pre-Trump era. They not only are too extreme, they do not have the intellectual heft of the CPAC speakers of the past.
- Is Schlapp oblivious to the possibility that the Orlando CPAC event is likely to be attended by Qanon, Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, etc, and that their presence will become the story? Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a Qanon enthusiast, in fact is one of the speakers at the event. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, an even bigger Qanon supporter than Boebert, has not been invited to speak at CPAC, but is speaking at the event to one of the group's sponsoring the CPAC event. Schlapp seems to have no interest in stopping extremists from taking over the conservative movement.
- Reports are that Trump will announce at CPAC that he is the "presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee." I think many Republican Senators voted against convicting Trump because they never believed he would run again. Facing likely criminal prosecution, Trump now has every reason to run in 2024, which would allow him to raise money for his criminal defense and to be able to claim any prosecution of him is about partisan politics, not his violation of the law.
- Speaking of likely criminal prosecution, the United States Supreme Court, without dissent, ruled that New York prosecutors can obtain Trump's tax returns as part of a criminal investigation into the operations of the Trump Organization. Those tax returns will now be going to the grand jury considering what indictments, if any, to bring. While the New York prosecution is something Trump should be worried about, I think Trump's prosecution in Georgia for trying to coerce election officials into changing election results, may be a bigger legal and political concern.
- I keep reminding people that you can be a felon and run for President of the United States. If Trump is convicted in New York or Georgia and is nominated, the Republican Party will have a felon as its nominee. While I think it is entirely possible that Trump runs, I doubt he would go all the way to the convention. Trump would likely end up as a two time loser and he wouldn't want that on his record.
- The United States Supreme Court also declined to hear an appeal out of Pennsylvania regarding ballots received late (Justice Thomas dissented). Pennsylvania had a law that absentee ballots had to be received by Election Day. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended that by a few days due to the pandemic. The question was whether the PA Supreme Court could do this or whether that had to be done by the legislature. The ruling only affected about 10,000 ballots, not nearly enough to have affected the result.
- Regarding the deep freeze of Texas which has created a major crisis, I was listening to a podcast in which two climate scientists were interviewed. The host asked whether the Texas freeze was proof of "climate change." Even though both scientists very much believed in climate change, they were adamant that the deep freeze was a weather event and not proof of climate change. They talked about how the winters in Texas had in fact gotten warmer and that the deep freeze contradicted that trend. Their point, which I wholeheartedly endorse, is that you can't prove climate by focusing on weather events...you have to look at long-term trends. Yet, members of the media are constantly suggesting weather events prove climate change. It was so refreshing to get push back from climate scientists who know the difference between weather and climate.