The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

Representative Maxine Waters Calls for Political Violence

Waters walks in a Fourth of July parade in Los Angeles in 2013. (Reuters photo: Jonathan Alcorn)

Making the click-through worthwhile: Maxine Waters advocates mob politics; examining Gavin Newsom’s particular brand California progressivism; and a look at Derek Hunter’s new book.

Does She Know Where This Leads?

Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters, calling for attacks on the Trump administration at a rally in Los Angeles Saturday: “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

How exactly does Maxine Waters think this is going to shake out?

Does she think this tactic will be used only by leftist protesters, only against Trump cabinet officials, and that in no circumstance will “pushing back at them” lead to violence against those targeted individuals? Does she think that there is no possible scenario where the security details assigned to protect cabinet officials from harm respond to threatening behavior with force? Does she think that there’s a scenario where the cabinet officials, the president, and his supporters in general decide that because so many leftists are angry, they had better change their minds and their policies?

Does she envision a near-future where Trump and the Right in general avoid policy proposals that offend or anger Leftists, out of a fear of being targeted for “pushback” that will make them unwelcome anywhere?

The only counter-evidence for these scenarios is the entirety of human existence and the complete history of angry mobs. Angry mobs are not discerning or careful. They do not distinguish between their initial target and anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Charles Murray described how an angry mob at Middlebury College attacked political-science professor Allison Stanger as she attempted to walk him to his car after a disrupted speech event:

I didn’t see it happen, but someone grabbed Allison’s hair just as someone else shoved her from another direction, damaging muscles, tendons, and fascia in her neck. I was stumbling because of the shoving. If it hadn’t been for Allison and Bill keeping hold of me and the security guards pulling people off me, I would have been pushed to the ground. That much is sure. What would have happened after that I don’t know, but I do recall thinking that being on the ground was a really bad idea, and I should try really hard to avoid that. Unlike Allison, I wasn’t actually hurt at all.

Stanger disagrees with Murray politically — but the mob didn’t care; she was next to him and for that she got a concussion.

Angry mobs are not good for deterring a particular unwanted behavior. They are good for instilling fear and giving a lot of people an excuse to let out all of their antisocial or violent impulses with a thin patina of moral righteousness. “I’m not harassing and assaulting another human being, I’m standing up for human rights!” No doubt the man who tried to kill as many GOP congressmen as he could at the baseball field in Alexandria, Va., believed he was standing up for good causes and doing the right thing.

Harassment of public figures on the right is only going to lead to harassment of public figures on the left. No doubt everyone remembers their own favorite example of a breach of decorum and proper behavior: the guy in the Miami cheesecake factory, Joe Wilson shouting out “you lie!” at an Obama address to Congress, the man who dumped a beer on a lawmaker in a bar, the guy who harangued Ivanka Trump on a flight. The fake blood thrown at the private home of an NRA lobbyist. The guy who threw water at Tomi Lahren in a restaurant in New York. The audience disruptions at Julius Ceasar and Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale.

Some no doubt would argue that the president himself threw gasoline on this fire. At a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in February 2016, Trump said, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, okay. Just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.” And then in Saint Louis a month later, Trump lamented that no one sufficiently hurts protesters at his speeches: “Nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right? And they’re being politically correct the way they take them out, so it takes a little bit longer. And honestly, protesters, they realize it. They realize that there are no consequences to protesting anymore.”

This is a genie that does not go back into the bottle easily. A lot of people in politics remember the examples of their side being attacked and conclude this is how the entirety of the opposition wants to play the game. The rallying cry on the Right on Twitter these days is “you’re going to hate the new rules” — basically conservatives cheerfully announcing they or their brethren will adopt any tactic used by the Left. Turnabout is fair play; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. (Lord knows I’ve long lamented the glaring double standard and the need for one bipartisan set of rules for public debate.)

The problem is that this cycle of tit-for-tat leads more and more people conclude that the opposition only understands the language of force and that they cannot be negotiated with, persuaded, or even tolerated in a form of coexistence.

We could steer away from this path, if there was a broad, across-the-spectrum denunciation of comments like the one from Waters, reemphasizing that in the United States, we settle our differences through debate and discourse and the ballot box and in the courtroom — not by stirring up an angry crowd and implying (or maybe more than implying) a threat of physical violence against the political opposition. But that’s too much to ask in this polarized — Balkanized? — environment, isn’t it?

A Look into California’s Likely Future

Comedian Dennis Miller used to joke that Ted Kennedy was “the distilled essence of liberalism — emphasis on distilled.” Gavin Newsom — the former San Francisco mayor, current lieutenant governor of California, and likely the next governor — could be similarly characterized as the distilled essence of his state’s unique brand of liberalism — except that could be interpreted as an unfair shot at Newsom’s 2007 statement about a “problem with alcohol.”

While I was on vacation last week, NR ran the profile I wrote about Newsom. A few details that got trimmed out:

  • The connections between powerful California political families are fascinating. (Gavin Newsom’s aunt, Barbara, was married for almost two decades to Ron Pelosi, the brother-in-law of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.)
  • As the Sacramento Bee summarized, “Newsom opened [his] wine shop in 1992 with the financial backing of family friend and oil fortune heir Gordon Getty. Newsom’s father, a classmate and close adviser of Getty, urged another prominent friend, John Burton, to recommend then-Mayor Willie Brown to appoint him to a vacant seat on the Board of Supervisors.” It’s not often you read sentences like, ‘[Gordon and Ann Getty] paid about $233,000 toward his first wedding reception.”
  • Newsom is now married to Jennifer Siebel, a feminist documentary filmmaker whose works include Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In. On October 6, after the revelations about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Seibel wrote, “Based on my years in the industry and unfortunately, my own personal experience with Harvey Weinstein, I can tell you that I believe every single word that was written.”
  • Siebel did not specify when Weinstein’s “aggressive advances” toward her occurred. But she said that the world needed more powerful men like “my very own husband Gavin Newsom who understand their place of privilege in the public eye and use it to defend and protect those who need defending.” Unfortunately, Weinstein had donated $5,000 to Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign in 2009. On October 13, Newsom donated an equivalent amount to a nonprofit organization — an awkward announcement that he was effectively returning a donation from a creep who had harassed his own wife.
  • There’s little reason to think that as governor, Gavin Newsom would deviate much from the current Democratic status quo. He pledges “guaranteed health care for all,” which would probably require at least another $100 billion in taxes, to “alert immigrants of ICE activity,” to put the state on the path to “100 percent renewable energy,” which would require changing about 70 percent of the current suppliers, to eliminate all diesel pollution by 2030, and to create a state-level technology-research institution like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It’s all as ambitious as his pledge to end long-term homelessness in ten years.

Good luck, California.

The Flaws of Modern Journalism Do Not Make the Mission Any Less Important

An important conclusion from Derek Hunter’s newly-released Outrage, Inc: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood:

For all the problems I have with modern journalism, journalism itself is incredibly important. Or at least it should be. And you won’t find many people who love movies more than I do or are a bigger supporter of the pursuit of truth.

That last part, the pursuit of truth, permeates everything else. Without it, nothing has meaning, nothing matters. If the truth is Play-Doh, it can be molded and bastardized to fit whatever the holder of it wants it to. . . .

The United States, or any other free people, needs access to accurate, truthful information. Without it we’re serfs making decisions based on lies told by those in power. When you make decisions based on lies, you are under the control of those feeding you the lies. . . .

The American people have never been more misinformed by the media, but they’ve also never had more access to more information. The house of cards that is the mainstream media will either fall or be forced to change completely. Until that happens, it’s up to you not only be informed but to inform others.

ADDENDA: If you haven’t already, check out NRPLUS, National Review’s new membership undertaking offering lots of benefits — including a Facebook group where editors and writers (including yours truly) pop in regularly and chat with readers. Get complete information here.

The best news of the morning: While she’s still got a difficult road ahead, GOP congressional candidate Katie Arrington is expected to make a full recovery from a serious car accident that occurred Friday night. She is expected to continue her campaign and could be walking around in a few days. God bless her.

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