The Morning Jolt

Obama: Hey, I’m Going to Start Renaming Stuff, Just Because I Can

We’re deep into the “YOLO” stage of this presidency. Finally, for all of you who felt that naming the country’s highest mountain after President McKinley represented some sort of intolerable outrage . . .

President Obama announced on Sunday that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

The move came on the eve of Mr. Obama’s trip to Alaska, where he will spend three days promoting aggressive action to combat climate change, and is part of a series of steps he will make there meant to address the concerns of Alaska Native tribes.

The central Alaska mountain has officially been called Mount McKinley for almost a century. In announcing that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, had used her power to rename it, Mr. Obama was paying tribute to the state’s Native population, which has referred to the site for generations as Denali, meaning “the high one” or “the great one.”

Mr. Obama, freed from the political constraints of an impending election in the latter half of his second term, was also moving to put to rest a years long fight over the name of the mountain that has pit Alaska against electorally powerful Ohio, the birthplace of President William McKinley, for whom it was christened in 1896.

(If you’re wondering about the contradiction, it was called McKinley since 1896, but officially declared “Mount McKinley” in 1917.)

You know that if Obama had the power, he would rename the Washington Redskins.

He does this as Americans grow increasingly frustrated and angry with the state of the country:

A total of 71 percent of American voters are “dissatisfied” with the way things are going in the nation today, including 41 percent who are “very dissatisfied,” according to a Quinnipiac  University National poll released today. Only 2 percent are “very satisfied,” with 26 percent “somewhat satisfied.”

Looking at the federal government, 49 percent of voters are “dissatisfied, but not angry” with Washington, while 27 percent are “angry,” the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. Only 2 percent are “enthusiastic” about the federal government, while 21 percent are “satisfied, but not enthusiastic.”

Only 2 percent of voters trust government “almost all the time,” while 13 percent trust government “most of the time.” Another 51 percent trust government “some of the time” and 34 percent trust government “hardly ever.”

As Allahpundit would say, “Nice work, champ.”

Donald Trump Is Pat Buchanan without the Social Conservatism

Politico asked a group of historians to assess Donald Trump and draw parallels to past figures: “Some maintained that he is a unique product of the era of reality TV, social media and the 1 percent. But others saw similarities to politicians, personalities and tycoons past, from Italy’s former bunga-bunga prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to the last billionaire to disrupt presidential politics, Ross Perot, to segregationist populists like George Wallace.”

I was surprised no one compared him to Pat Buchanan; I write about Trump as Buchanan without the social conservatism today.

As much as he really likes Trump, Buchanan loves Trump’s supporters, describing them as needed revolutionaries. “People are agitating for the overthrow of the old order and a new deal for America,” Buchanan writes. “For there is a palpable sense that the game is rigged against Middle America and for the benefit of insiders who grow rich and fat not by making things or building things, but by manipulating money.” . . .

Buchanan became politically radioactive in some circles in the 1990s, largely because of the perceived anti-Semitism of his occasional qualified praise for Hitler, his flirtations with Holocaust denial, and his ceaseless criticism of Israel and its supporters. While he remained a constant presence on cable news and in print, he never really regained his ability to influence the GOP’s ideological direction. By the presidency of George W. Bush — with its pro-free-trade stances, dramatic expansion of U.S. military action abroad, dismissal of mass deportation, and support for guest-worker programs — Buchananism seemed all but dead.

It’s not surprising, then, that Buchanan sees Trump’s rise as sweet revenge on a Republican establishment that wrote him off as a political liability and a hatemonger.

“Whatever becomes of Trump the candidate, Trumpism, i.e., economic and foreign policy nationalism, appears ascendant,” Buchanan wrote. Considering how much Trumpism sounds like the old Buchananism, that assessment must have brought a smile to his face.

You can take that as a good thing or a bad thing, but I think it’s safe to conclude that the basic philosophies of Buchananism in the 1990s — wariness of free trade, supreme skepticism of immigration, disinclination to use military force abroad — were only stifled during the Bush years, not renounced.

Bernie Sanders and the Left’s Unshakable Faith in International Community

Appearing on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Bernie Sanders didn’t just boast about his opposition to the Iraq War that began in 2003; he touted his opposition to the first Persian Gulf War.

“I think historically, in too many instances the United States has gone to war, often unilaterally, when we should not,” Sanders said. “I think my vote against the first war in the Gulf region was the right vote I think we could have gotten Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in a way that did not require a war, and I think certainly–”

At this point, anchor Martha Raddatz felt obligated to interrupt the kumbaya talk.

“Even though he had invaded Kuwait?”

“But the point was you had the whole world united against him, Martha,” Sanders snapped. “Do we need to go to war in every instance, or can we bring pressure of sanctions and international pressure to resolve these conflicts?”

Take that, straw man who calls for going to war in every instance!

“Look, I am supporting President Obama’s effort to make certain that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, but I get very nervous about my Republican friends who keep implying that the only way we could do that is through another war,” he said. “War is the last resort, not the first resort.”

Notice Sanders talks about the awesome power of sanctions, and then applauds a deal that takes away sanctions on Iran. The sanctions were working. The White House insists that it’s the deal or war, no options in between, and Sanders goes right along with it.

It’s fascinating that years after Saddam Hussein died, Sanders still believes the Iraqi dictator could have been coaxed or persuaded to relinquish control of Kuwait . . . when we know from what happened that Hussein thought keeping Kuwait was worth a war with the coalition forces. Despite the fact that Iraq violated 16 U.N. resolutions, Sanders still thinks that “international pressure” could have cajoled old Saddam into changing his ways.

A big chunk of the world — or at least a big chunk of the world’s governments — oppose ISIS. But there’s much less will to confront them in ways that involve risk — i.e., sending troops to go fight them. The insistence that “the whole world united” is enough holds us back from actually solving the problem.

ADDENDA: In case you missed it on Sunday, here’s my appearance on Howard Kurtz’s program.

A bit earlier we mentioned the Redskins. Today in Washington, the team is coming to terms with a twist that would be unimaginable two years ago: “It is becoming increasingly apparent that Griffin has lost his starting quarterback job, and depending on the events and conversations in the coming days, possibly his roster spot. Outside of ownership, there has been a groundswell of support from a strong segment of football people within the organization to change quarterbacks, but there is a question about whether they have the authority to part ways with Griffin, sources said.”

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