The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

Moore Wins Alabama Senate Primary

Making the click-through worthwhile: GOP Alabama Senate primary winner Roy Moore’s unlikely role as the resistance to DACA, who’s most likely to replace retiring Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, an observation about how our government spending disputes usually turn into cultural disputes, and how conservatives are awfully quiet about one case of wasteful government spending.

An Unlikely Figure to Represent Resistance to DACA

Judge Roy Moore is the man most likely to represent Alabama in the Senate, barring an enormous upset in the general election against Democrat Doug Jones, which will be held December 12. this morning, characterizing Moore’s win in the Alabama Senate Republican primary:

Roy Moore’s insurgent victory in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff in Alabama marks a definitive rejection by Donald Trump’s base of his shift toward working with Democrats on issues like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

This is a little ironic, because until mid-summer, Moore apparently had no idea what the DACA program was, judging from this interview with radio host Dale Jackson from July 11:

JACKSON: “Would you support an end to the Dreamer program that President Trump has still continued to push?

MOORE: “Pardon? The Dreamer program?”

JACKSON: “Yes sir. The DACA/DAPA. You’re not aware of what dreamers are?”

MOORE: “No.”

JACKSON: “Dreamers are — this is a big issue in the immigration debate. Dreamers are . . . ”

MOORE: “Why don’t you tell me what it is Dale, and quit beating around, and tell me what it is?”

JACKSON: “I’m in the process of doing that, Judge Moore.”

The controversial DACA program established in 2012 had somehow escaped his attention, but once he was up to speed, Moore concluded he opposed it. The man he defeated, Senator Luther Strange, did a good job of sounding like he opposed DACA for what it does (allowing those who entered the country illegally while children to stay) but if you look closely at his words, his primary objection to the program was President Obama implementing it through an executive order:

Since my tenure as Attorney General, I have been fighting, and winning, against Obama-era experiments with illegal amnesty. Today, the Trump administration rightly affirmed that Congress must lead the way in securing our borders and ending the crisis of illegal immigration.

We actually sued successfully to stop the Obama administration program to allow adults to stay here illegally (DAPA). I think this program is the same category — I think it’s unconstitutional.

The President makes the best point — Congress should address this issue. I’m in the camp, and maybe it’s a small camp, that [believes] we can do more than one thing at a time.

Extraordinary measures [were already taken] in the past administration to benefit noncitizens over citizens of our count country. The last thing we need is the help of foreign nations trying to tell us how to straighten our own immigration system.

Of course, nowhere in his statement does he say, “I believe those who entered the country illegally as children must not be allowed to stay.”

As the man most likely to be the next senator from Alabama, hopefully Moore will continue to study his briefing books and not just wing it when discussing topics he sort-of, kind-of remembers reading about once:

Jeff Stein: Some right-wing conservatives think Sharia law is a danger to America – do you?

Roy Moore: There are communities under Sharia law right now in our country. Up in Illinois. Christian communities; I don’t know if they may be Muslim communities. But Sharia law is a little different from American law. It is founded on religious concepts.

Stein: Which American communities are under Sharia law? When did they fall under Sharia law?

Moore: Well, there’s Sharia law, as I understand it, in Illinois, Indiana — up there. I don’t know.

Stein: That seems like an amazing claim for a Senate candidate to make.

Moore: Well, let me just put it this way — if they are, they are; if they’re not, they’re not.

No Corking It Up and Saving It For Later . . . 

Is it fair to wonder whether retiring Tennessee Senator Bob Corker finds it harder to get things done in Washington in the Trump era than he expected?

“After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018,” Corker said in a statement.

“When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms,” said Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult. But I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me.

In Tennessee, the big guessing game today is figuring out whether GOP Governor Bill Haslam wants to be a senator. If he doesn’t, and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is interested, she would be the most-likely new frontrunner.

Her House office issued a statement: “Rep. Blackburn appreciates the outpouring of encouragement and support she has received about a possible Senate run. She ran for Congress to advance conservative values and fight for the people of Tennessee. Over the next week she will take a look at the Senate race and decide how, and where, she believes she can best serve her state and her nation.”

Andy Ogles, the head of Americans for Prosperity in Tennessee, already announced a Senate bid.

Americans, Competing With Each Other Instead of With Other Countries

There are a lot of times I disagree with David Frum, but he’s still a heck of a political diagnostician:

As societies become more diverse, political competition among groups intensifies. When you have diversity at a time of steep recession, the competition becomes even more intense still. I made this point in my 2012 book about Mitt Romney: In a multi-ethnic society that is rapidly becoming more multi-ethnic, economic redistribution is inevitably also ethnic redistribution.

The traditional parties of the left thought expected that their voters would look at the redistributionist project and say: “This is still the same thing as I remember from the 1950s, you’re transferring from the rich to the poor. I’m less rich, so I’m in favor.”

What they discovered instead was that a lot of voters who traditionally voted for the left, said: “You’re distributing from the existing inhabitants of the country to the newcomers. I identify not as ‘not rich’, I identify as ‘an existing inhabitant of the country.’”

I think this is a point I stressed to you when we talked previously about Obamacare. Of those who lacked health insurance before the Great Recession of 2008, 27 percent were foreign-born. When you take money out of the existing social insurance programs to fund a new one, the people who get angry are both those who feel that they are economic losers, and those who feel they are ethnic losers.

This is at the heart of a lot of our debates — the sense that the government doesn’t really want to serve everyone equally and that not only does it prioritize certain citizens’ concerns over others, the government doesn’t like even having to pretend to care about the concerns of certain groups.

ADDENDA: If Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius had “taken taxpayer-funded flights on private jets in which [she] traveled to places where [she] owns property, and paired official visits with meetings with longtime colleagues and family members,” Congressional Republicans and conservatives in media would be screaming bloody murder about it, with good reason. If she had taken 26 flights on corporate jets at taxpayer expense, we would be raging with fury about it. It would be the lead story throughout Fox News Channel’s prime-time lineup.

But it’s Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, who is doing all this, so we’re cool with it. We just want to our side to enjoy the perks of office, not be frugal with taxpayer’s money.


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