The Morning Jolt

Bernie and His Giant Match Are Coming for You, America

It’s always good to have a little wariness about new technology, particularly in the arena of social media. Sometimes you’re looking at the next Facebook or Twitter; sometimes you’re looking at the next Google Plus or MySpace. This year, it’s Snapchat:

With a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is pulling out all the Snaps.

The Democratic upstart–who is in a tight battle with Hillary Clinton in several of the early primaries, according to several recent polls–on Sunday kicked off a nine-day Snapchat ad campaign specifically targeted at voters in Iowa.

On Jan. 24, Mr. Sanders’ campaign began running the first of nine planned Snapchat geofilter ads. These ads are visual images people can add to their Snapchat videos only when they are present in specific locations.

Here’s an example of one of those Snapchat ads:

Hey . . . what is the little Bernie Sanders caricature holding behind his back? Is that a ruler? A paddle? Are we going to “feel the bern” in our knuckles or — yeesh — somewhere else? Why did he open his ad with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America,” with the opening lyric “let us be lovers”? Dear God, he wants to act out that twisted sexual-fantasy op-ed! It’s Fifty Shades of Socialist Red!

Oh, wait, wait! My mistake; apparently it’s just a giant match. He’s not coming to paddle us; he’s merely an arsonist. Relax.

Some things never change.

David Brooks: ‘Please Allow Me a Few More Months of Denial’

Ever watch a pundit have a breakdown? David Brooks is either being boldly contrarian or simply insisting that the political reality is not what we’re seeing in front of us.

The electorate is going to realize that in an age of dysfunctional government, effective leadership capacity is the threshold issue. That means being able to listen to others, surround yourself with people smarter than you, gather a governing majority and above all have an actual implementation strategy. Not Trump, Cruz or Sanders has any remote chance of turning his ideas, such as they are, into actual laws.

In every recent presidential election American voters have selected the candidate with the most secure pair of hands. They’ve elected the person who would be a stable presence and companion for the next four years. I believe they’re going to do that again. And if they’re not, please allow me a few more months of denial.

Before we go any further: “In every recent presidential election American voters have selected the candidate with the most secure pair of hands.” Bull. Hands don’t get much more secure than Mitt Romney’s, and his presence was “stable” to the point of being “uncool.” I’d argue that George H.W. Bush’s hands were more secure than Bill Clinton’s in 1992, as well.

Look at the bright side, Trump fans: Those of us who strongly oppose your man aren’t doing so because he can’t win — well, at least I’m not. He may be an underdog in the general election, but he’s not that much of an underdog, particularly up against flawed candidates like Hillary and Sanders. He’s already reached cultural icon status, epitomizing wealth, success, grandeur, ego, anger, vulgarity . . .

Nobody felt the need to run an “AGAINST PATAKI” or “AGAINST GILMORE” cover.

It Turns Out You Can’t Go Home to ‘90s Paranoia Again

Back when they announced The X-Files would return as a limited series, I told my pop-culture podcast co-host that it would be difficult to recapture the magic. The once-beloved, often-derided show seemed to speak to a particular 1990s, pre-9/11 paranoia. Ruby Ridge, Waco, Oklahoma City, pre-Millennial fears, Y2K, the Hale-Bopp Comet cult — there was a strange vibe of fear and menace amidst the Clinton scandals and dot-com boom. But to revive a plotline about a government effort to work with aliens and enslave humanity, when the real world features menaces like al-Qaeda and ISIS . . . well, it looks kind of silly. Portraying the military and FBI higher-up as sinister villains in a world after the bin Laden raid and American Sniper and Paris and San Bernardino looks morally inverted. Separately . . . didn’t the first season of True Detective do a better, deeper, more thoughtful take on the “two cops with different views investigate a grisly crime with possible ties to conspiracies and the occult”?

Allahpundit is unimpressed with the revival:

Mulder, who used to look and sound perpetually half-asleep, seemed genuinely stoned this time, never more so than when he was dropping his Unified Truthbomb Theory on Scully about how the aliens and the military-industrial complex and war are all connected, man. The unlikely casting of McHale, whom I know mainly from his many years of introducing especially dopey Kardashians clips on “The Soup,” made the Alex Jones figure seem more ridiculous than he needed to be. The gratuitous Bush references felt so dated, and so seemingly obligatory for a pre-Obama pop-culture fixture, that they operated almost as self-parody. There was even a requisite “disillusioned cop angrily confronts his father-figure sarge” scene between Mulder and Skinner. Either Bunch is right and Carter meant all of this sincerely, which means he’s tone-deaf to how laughable it turned out, or the campiness is evidence that Carter is winking at the conventions of his own show, which means true blue “X-Files” fans who are excited for a new chapter will actually be getting a sort of satire of the original, like “The Brady Bunch Movie.” Bad news either way if all you were looking for was some vintage X-F good times.

Maybe some beloved shows shouldn’t come back. Hope I don’t have to write that about Twin Peaks.

ADDENDA: Lots of events coming up, so mark your calendars!

Our Charles C.W. Cooke, author of the acclaimed The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future will be in Knoxville, Tennessee this Wednesday at a must-attend event — cosponsored by the Beacon Center of Tennessee  and the National Review Institute. “A Conversation with Charles C. W. Cooke” takes place on January 27 at 6:30 P.M. at Club LeConte (800 S. Gay Street). It’s free, but you must RSVP to or by calling 615-383-6431.

Also on Wednesday, at 4 p.m. I’ll be moderating an event at the Heritage Foundation featuring Florida governor Rick Scott, discussing how his state has created 1 million jobs in five years; I’ll be joined by the brilliant economist Steve Moore. I suspect the governor will get back at me for all the times I’ve said he should have been cast as Lex Luthor in the new Superman movie.

He looks like he spends his days fighting a red cape,

but he actually spends his days fighting red tape.

Then on Thursday at the Heritage Foundation, Michael Walsh will discuss his book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West: “Seizing the high ground of academe and the arts, the New Nihilists set about dissolving the bedrock of the country, from patriotism to marriage to the family to military service; they have sown (as Cardinal Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — once wrote of the Devil) ‘destruction, division, hatred, and calumny’ — and all disguised as the search for truth. The Devil’s Pleasure Palace examines how Critical Theory took root in America and, once established and gestated, how it has affected nearly every aspect of American life and society – and what can be done to stop it.”

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