The Morning Jolt


The Cable-News Crowd Denounces Kanye

Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and others in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 11, 2018. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Making the click-through worthwhile: The talking heads choose a revealing moment to start questioning the mental health of Kanye West, the Democratic “blue wave” keeps hitting contrary currents, President Trump and “Cocaine Mitch” get another big win on judges, and some kind praise for The Three Martini Lunch podcast.

The Bold New Era of West-ern Civilization

Kanye West wasn’t my cup of tea back in his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” days, nor his “comparing himself to Jesus” days, nor his “Imma let you finish, but” Taylor Swift–interrupting days. I don’t really see why I should suddenly change my opinion on the guy just because he’s found a Republican president he likes. I have no doubt that the budding friendship between Donald Trump and Kanye West is genuine, though: They’re both egomaniacal narcissists with model wives who play the media like a fiddle, and as the saying goes, “game respects game.”

What is pretty revealing is how quickly West was denounced for this particular shift in his beliefs. Last night the big talking point on cable news was that West was mentally ill.

They make this accusation now? This is a man who voluntarily signed on to the constant drama circus that is life married to a Kardashian. This is a man whose surname is West — and then chose to name his daughter “North.” This is a man who recorded his debut single with his jaw wired shut after a car accident. This is a man who announced plans to run for president in 2020 back in 2015. This is a man who promoted his sneakers with nude models. This is a man who staged a “fashion show” on Roosevelt Island in New York City where most of the models were wearing translucent outfits and some fainted in the stifling heat.

This is a man who stormed out of the American Music Awards after he didn’t win in 2004; declared himself the voice of his generation in 2008; declared, “My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live” in 2009; declared, “I would never want a book’s autograph, I am a proud non-reader of books” in 2009; performed for the authoritarian ruler of Kazakhistan in 2013; declared, “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people” in 2013; declared himself “the Steve Jobs of the Internet” in 2013 (wouldn’t the Steve Jobs of the Internet be . . . Steve Jobs?); described himself, “I am Warhol! I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh,” in 2013; followed up on his interrupting stunt with Taylor Swift with an aborted attempt to interrupt Beck in 2015; declared, “Everyone is a fashion insider, because it’s illegal to be naked” in 2016; contended that Jay-Z was threatening to kill him in 2016; depicted naked celebrities in a 2016 video; and declared himself “50 per cent more influential than any other human being” in 2016.

And now the cable-news crowd deems Kanye crazy?

Come on. Hugging Donald Trump as he’s sitting behind the Resolute Desk doesn’t even crack the top 30 craziest things Kanye West has ever done.

Midterm Roundup

The New York Times/Siena poll surveys Tennessee, and finds Republican Marsha Blackburn ahead of Democrat Phil Bredesen, 54 percent to 40 percent. You know what’s going to be epic? When Taylor Swift debuts her song about breaking up with Bredesen.

I think the battle for control of the House of Representatives will be close, which is different from predicting that the GOP will hold the House. But you never know what can go wrong, even in an alleged “blue wave” year:

Donna Shalala may be in trouble.

Shalala, a Democrat running in a district that President Donald Trump lost by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016, is trailing Republican TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar by 2 percentage points in a Mason Dixon-Telemundo 51 poll. The independent poll’s margin of error was 4 percentage points and included a pro-Trump non-party candidate who could siphon votes from Salazar.

Salazar’s unique background as a journalist in a party dominated by President Donald Trump and her appeal with older, Spanish-speaking voters has enabled the GOP to remain competitive. Shalala, one of the most experienced first-time congressional candidates, won a competitive Democratic primary by less than 5 percentage points and has faced criticism from liberal Democrats and Republicans alike for her tenure leading the University of Miami, when campus janitors went on a hunger strike over low wages and the school acquired Cedars Medical Center.

This was one of those open-seat House races that Democrats thought would be a fairly easy pickup. And then the local voters went and nominated 77-year-old Shalala. (I suppose if there’s any state that would be comfortable with older candidates, it would be Florida.)

Meanwhile, Democrats have donated about $7 million to the challenger to Devin Nunes, arguably the most secure Republican congressman in the state of California, and now Nunes is “only” ahead, 53 percent to 45 percent. Good thing they didn’t use all that money elsewhere!

Here Come the Judges, Here Come the Judges

Cocaine Mitch wins again.

Senate Democrats accepted an offer Thursday from Senate Republicans to confirm 15 lifetime federal judges in exchange for the ability to go into recess through the midterms, allowing endangered Democrats to campaign.

The calculation by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his caucus was simple: That Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be able to confirm roughly 15 judges if he kept the Senate in session for the next few weeks anyway. So Democrats OK’d an offer to confirm three Circuit Court judges and 12 Circuit Court judges as the price to pay to go home for election season.

McConnell and President Donald Trump will now have confirmed 84 judges over the past two years, including two Supreme Court nominees, after the deal.

I’m running out of Scarface gifs to illustrate Cocaine Mitch’s wins.

If Republicans hold the Senate (and it’s looking good right now), one has to wonder if Justice Clarence Thomas will feel comfortable retiring in the next year. He’s 70, he’s had a long and impressive run, and he could be confident that a like-minded judge would replace him. We’ve all heard the speculation about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer . . . which means it’s not all that implausible that President Trump could have the most influence on who sits on the nation’s highest court since Richard Nixon.

Donald Trump is not really much of a conservative personally, but he could well be remembered as one of the most important presidents ever for the advancement of the conservative agenda and philosophy.

ADDENDA: Just three days until the Leadership Institute’s Conservative Podcasting School — today’s the last day to register for half-price!

Speaking of podcasting, thanks to The Gospel Coalition for putting The Three Martini Lunch on their list of ten recommended podcasts!

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombus offer thoughts on the news of the day, generally speaking to serious matters from a Republican perspective with a light-hearted tone and witty banter. We need to keep a sense of humor in a day when political rhetoric has become so heated and has an outsized influence on too many people.

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