Saturday, September 21, 2019

By the time we got to Woodstock…

Fox News poll: Joe Biden's lead is shrinking in Democratic presidential race

Former Vice President Biden has an 11-point lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren.


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On the roster: By the time we got to Woodstock… - Warren posts major gain in Fox News poll - DCCC chief tries to quell diversity uproar - Hold on, let me get my alligator

BY THE TIME WE GOT TO WOODSTOCK…
It’s been a good deal of fun riding along this decade with Baby Boomers on their semi centennial nostalgia trip.

We had one of the high points this summer as America again marveled at how 50 years ago a bunch of guys with slide rules and short-sleeved dress shirts managed to shoot three men to the moon by blowing up a half-a-million gallons of kerosene and liquid oxygen and somehow brought them home alive.

For people who get vexed when the supercomputer in their pocket doesn’t load videos in less than five seconds, this looks even more amazing.

There’s been lots to celebrate as the twenty-teens pay homage to the 1960s, deposing Jim Crow chief among them. The invention of the laser, Sean Connery’s James Bond, the push-button telephone, Taco Bell, the Ford Mustang, the scanning electron microscope and Bob Gibson’s 13 shutouts were all pretty good too.

But most of the inventory has been heavy lifting.

The decade’s main legacy project other obtaining equal protection for the descendants of slaves was the Vietnam War, arguably the low point in American foreign policy history. Not only did the government act perfidiously toward its own citizens and America’s allies, Uncle Sam was defeated and then, in defeat, betrayed the people America had claimed to be there to protect. The deaths of 58,318 American and a quarter-million South Vietnamese troops looms over the whole of the era. It was a war wrongly begun, conducted and concluded.

The assassination of the president, his brother — the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination — seven years later and then the world-historic leader of America’s Civil Rights movement are only some of the lowlights of a period of political violence that ought to hush the clacking keys of social media Cassandras snorting about a new civil war.

We had riots in more than 100 cities, including one in Washington that burned a stripe across the heart of the capital. The riot in Detroit killed 43 people and saw 7,300 arrested. Concerned about a lack of civility these days? How about the time the Ohio National Guard killed four college students at a campus demonstration? Fairly uncivil.

Yes, most of reliving the 60s has been challenging. Some of the biggest changes, like the sexual revolution kicked off by the birth control pill, are still culturally freighted today. Others, like taking drug culture mainstream, look more and more dire with the passage of time.

But as the members of the “Me Generation” slide into the shank of their 70s, it’s hard to begrudge them a nostalgia trip. It may not be the anniversaries of the defeat of fascism and the invention of the modern world we celebrated along with their parents, but hey, Gen X will spend the 2040s at Cameron Crowe retrospectives and talking about how they once got laid off at Pets.com and the time we impeached the president for lying about being a super creep.

And now we come to where the river meets the ocean. Yes, it’s the semi centennial of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair held August 15, 16 and 17, 1969 in the Catskill Mountains is southeastern New York. Whether it was to you an Aquarian antidote to the strife that proceeded it or a mud-slicked coda to a decade’s discordant symphony, it was certainly the end of something.

Tributes, critical re-evaluations, musical revivals and cultural analyses have billowed out across the media world like plumes of patchouli and cheeba smoke. The air is heavy indeed, and never seems to clear.

The leading contenders for the major party nominations next year, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, were 23 and 26 respectively this weekend 50 years ago. They were both already working in their chosen professions. Both had been student athletes but avoided the Vietnam draft with medical excuses. Neither would have been caught dead at Woodstock.

Trump and Biden, in very different ways, sat out the 60s we’ve been commemorating this decade. And yet, they’re re-litigating them.

We’ve got an incumbent president stoking the culture war in ways that Richard Nixon and Pat Buchanan would have envied and his leading challenger vowing to fight a new birth of racism he says is tantamount to George Wallace’s brand. Both men tell us that the America is teetering on the brink and that if the other side wins, the country may never recover.

This should sound silly to the voters of a country that is rich, peaceful and free. Looked at from above the momentary cultural haze, America and Americans have in really profound ways never been better off.

We rightly blame the lack of historical perspective among younger Americans for our current self-induced political crisis. And social media has allowed the pudding-headed on the far left and far right to connect and interact in ways that pose new threats to our republican system. Every day brings new panics and new outrages, each with a warning that the end is near. These panicky throngs all but lay themselves at the feet of demagogues, begging to be saved from the coming American apocalypse.

But our nostalgia-tripping seniors own a big piece of the problem, too. The strife between the crew cuts and the long hairs never ended, both sides sneering at the other. The tribal contempt that was succored by the Vietnam divide is with us still.

In 1969, depending on your juke box and radio preferences, you would have heard Merle Haggard belting out “We don’t burn no draft cards down on Main Street; We like livin’ right, and bein’ free,” or the cast of “Hair” enthusing “No more falsehoods or derisions; Golden living dreams of visions.”    

Not only did they not get over it, but the two sides of the cultural struggles seem to have actually intensified their antipathies in this late-life return to their political adolescences.

While it’s fine to take a moment to relieve the heady days of youth, the rest of us would be obliged if you could stick to big rockets, good music and screenings of “Dr. No.” 

THE RULEBOOK: TAKE THIS CONTITUTION
“The zeal for attempts to amend, prior to the establishment of the Constitution, must abate in every man who is ready to accede to the truth of the following observations of a writer equally solid and ingenious…” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 85

TIME OUT: SAVING THE WHALES
National Geographic: “It was October of 2018, and if Japan didn’t stop slaughtering sei whales plying the waters of the North Pacific and come into compliance with the international treaty that regulates the global wildlife trade, it was going to get punished. The implicit threat, made at a meeting in Sochi, Russia, by the elected panel that handles wildlife trade enforcement matters for the 183 members of the Convention on the International Treaty for Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), was drastic: Failure to comply, the panel said – couched in the formal language of treaty communications – could shut Japan out of the lucrative, legal wildlife trade. … Japan had long claimed that its killing of about a hundred sei whales a year was done in the name of science and that the leftover whale meat was sold to fund academic work.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance
Average approval:
41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.6 percent
Net Score: -12.8 percent
Change from one week ago: down 1.6 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 43% approve - 56% disapprove; IBD: 40% approve - 56% disapprove; Gallup: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 53% disapprove.]

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WARREN POSTS MAJOR GAIN IN FOX NEWS POLL
Politico: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren has leapfrogged Sen. Bernie Sanders for second place nationally in the Democratic presidential primary, according to a new poll out Thursday. The new Fox News poll of registered voters who say they plan to participate in the Democratic primary or caucus in their state shows that although Warren still trails former Vice President Joe Biden, pulling in 20 percentage points to his 31, she posted an 8-point gain over the previous survey conducted last month. Sanders dropped 5 points in the poll, good for third place with 10 percent support. The poll shows remarkable growth for Warren over the last five months – she has gained 16 points since March – while Biden has remained somewhat steady over the same period. Sanders’ second-place lead has diminished steadily over the same period, with Thursday’s survey the first in which he dropped into third place.”

Trump revives attack on Warren’s ancestry claim - Politico: “President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he planned to revive an old attack strategy on Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, focusing on her contentious past claims of Native American heritage. ‘Like, Elizabeth Warren – I did the Pocahontas thing,’ Trump said during a New Hampshire rally Thursday. ‘I hit her really hard and it looked like she was down and out but that was too long ago, I should’ve waited. But don’t worry, we will revive it.’ Trump mocked Warren in the early days of her candidacy for previously claiming Native American heritage and taking a DNA test to prove her claims. … Though controversial at the start of her candidacy at the beginning of the year, the issue of her heritage has since faded from public attention. … Warren has proved a growing threat to the Trump campaign with her own populist message to counter the president’s.”

Obama and Biden go way back, but it’s complicated -NYT:Barack Obama was riding his call for generational change to the Democratic presidential nomination in the spring of 2008 when he began musing about potential running mates with aides traveling with him on the trail. … Over the next several months, Mr. Obama’s top advisers would present 30 alternatives, all of whom he respectfully considered. But his preference was clear from the start. When it came time to decide in August, Mr. Obama chose Mr. Biden over two younger finalists — Tim Kaine, the governor of Virginia, and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, peers in the mold of Bill Clinton’s choice of Al Gore in 1992. ‘You are the pick of my heart, but Joe is the pick of my head,’ Mr. Obama told Mr. Kaine after he made his choice, according to people with knowledge of the exchange. Eleven years later, Mr. Obama’s cautions and calculations have come to roost.”

Biden’s brother may have profited from his position -Politico: “A donor with deep ties to Ukraine loaned Joe Biden’s younger brother half-a-million dollars at the same time the then-vice president oversaw U.S. policy toward the country, according to public records reviewed by Politico. The 2015 loan came as Biden’s brother faced financial difficulties related to his acquisition of a multimillion-dollar vacation home, nicknamed ‘the Biden Bungalow,’ in South Florida. There is no indication that the loan influenced Joe Biden’s official actions, but it furthers a decades long pattern, detailed in a Politico investigation earlier this month, by which relatives of the former vice president have leaned on his political allies for money and otherwise benefited financially from the Biden name. Details of the loan are laid out in property records in Collier County, Florida, where Biden’s younger brother, James, and James’ wife Sara, owned until recently a home on Keewaydin Island.” 

O’Rourke says he ‘will not in any scenario’ run for Senate -Fox News: “Former congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke made it clear Thursday night that he ‘will not in any scenario’ run for a U.S. Senate seat again despite the growing calls for him to switch races. ‘Let me make your show the place where I tell you and I tell the country that I will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate,’ O'Rourke told MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell. … However, he also vowed that he wasn't going to run for president when he challenged Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O'Rourke is attempting to relaunch his White House bid yet again following the mass shooting that took place in El Paso on Aug. 3. However, a growing number of Democrats hope he decides to drop out and instead challenge the other Republican U.S. senator from Texas, John Cornyn, who is up for reelection next year.”

Delaney says he’s going to hang around - CNBC:John Hickenlooper might have dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, but at least one of his fellow long shots, businessman and former Rep. John Delaney, plans to stick around for a while. The Delaney campaign told CNBC on Thursday that the one-time Maryland lawmaker is going to ride out the race until at least the Iowa caucuses in February, even if he doesn’t qualify for the party’s fall debates. And a big reason is because Delaney, a millionaire businessman, has the financial resources to stay in the hunt. ‘We certainly intend to ride this out until Iowa,’ said Michael Hopkins, the Delaney campaign’s national press secretary. “Unlike other candidates, we have the finances to support ourselves.’ The goal is slightly less ambitious than what Delaney had in mind much earlier in the race. ... Delaney is currently polling at 0.4% in national Democratic polling, according to a RealClearPolitics average.”

DCCC CHIEF TRIES TO QUELL DIVERSITY UPROAR
Politico: “Rep. Cheri Bustos, chair of House Democrats’ campaign arm, is trying to hit the reset button after a tumultuous month – hoping to convince frustrated black and Latino lawmakers that she is taking diversity seriously while maintaining her focus on holding the House. Bustos (D-Ill.) notified members on Thursday of a new advisory council that will conduct the search for an executive director, following a massive senior staff shakeup from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in late July. The move, which comes after two Politico reports detailing the unrest within the caucus over the lack of diversity in the committee’s senior ranks, is intended to further underscore her commitment to reshaping the upper echelons of the campaign arm. Twelve Democratic lawmakers and five technical experts with former experience working at the campaign arm will sit on the council, according to a letter from Bustos obtained by Politico. Bustos and her top aide have held repeated phone calls with lawmakers on the issue.”

Latinos for Trump gets a rocky start -Miami Herald: “In June, one day before the Democratic presidential candidates debated for the first time in Miami, Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and Vice President Mike Pence stood before a boisterous crowd in a hotel a few miles from the debate site and announced that together they would lead a new Hispanic outreach effort for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Pence was the headliner. But if Latinos for Trump is to be a functioning arm of Trump Victory, then Nuñez, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, will be the face of the 2020 effort. … Nearly two months later, Florida’s first female Hispanic lieutenant governor is just beginning to take on the role, defending the president’s move to curtail immigration and blasting critics who say he encouraged the Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso by warning repeatedly of an immigrant ‘invasion.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Rep. Rashida Tlaib will not go to Israel after all -Detroit Free Press

AUDIBLE: HEY, BIG GUY 
“The Tallman” – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s name for himself as revealed in emails obtained by a local news outlet, The City, showing de Blasio used a private email account for public business.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend, Dana Perino [!!!!!] will be sitting in for Mr. Sunday. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. 

Share your color commentary: Email us at  and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

HOLD ON, LET ME GET MY ALLIGATOR
CBS Miami: “Move over Florida man, a Florida woman who pulled a small alligator from her yoga pants during a traffic stop has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to four charges. Florida prosecutors say a Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy stopped a pickup truck in May after it ran a stop sign. The driver, 22-year-old driver Michael Clemons, told the deputy he and his 25-year-old passenger, Ariel Machan-Le Quire, were collecting frogs and snakes under an overpass. He gave the deputy permission to search bags in the truck. When the deputy found 41 3-stripe turtles in a ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’ backpack, he asked if Machan-Le Quire had anything else. She pulled the 1-foot gator from her pants. Officials say the Clemons case is pending.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The Korea crisis is real and growing. But we are not helpless. We have choices. We have assets.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in The Washington Post, April 20, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Liz Friden contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

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