Posts

The Rushmore Report – Lebron James vs Laura Ingraham

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham sparked nationwide controversy this week after telling Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant to avoid discussing politics and to “shut up and dribble.” Liberals predictably decried Ingraham as racist, based on her comments, but she has refused to apologize.

Ingraham said, “The left and the media attack dogs can dish it out, but they can’t take it.”

On Thursday night, Ingraham aired a video featuring the NBA stars discussing politics and the state of America under President Donald Trump. “King James” harshly criticized the commander-in-chief, saying he does not “give a —- about the people.”

In response to that clip, Ingraham said, “I’m numb to this commentary. Must they run their mouths like that? A lot of kids and some adults take these ignorant comments seriously. There might be a cautionary lesson in Lebron for kids. This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. Someone gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. They’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions voted for Trump to be their coach. Keep the political commentary to yourself or as someone once said, ‘Shut up and dribble.'”

Not surprisingly, liberals accused Ingraham of racism. Others bemoaned Ingraham telling an athlete to remain silent on non-sporting news when she has had numerous non-political guests, such as Tim Tebow, on her show through the years. Lebron James responded with the following tweet.

“wewillnotshutupanddribble.”

But Friday, Ingraham pointed out several problems with these accusations of racism. She released a statement saying, “In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called Shut Up & Sing, in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to ‘Shut Up & Act,’ Jimmy Kimmel to ‘Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,’ and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich to ‘Shut Up & Coach.’ If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks – false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case – the content was unaffiliated with ESPN.”

On Friday night’s show, Ingraham echoed those remarks and added, “If you want to be a political pundit, you’re coming on my court, okay? Let’s do it. Let’s have a real conversation about black unemployment. Let’s talk about violence in the inner city. Let’s talk about all the issues like school choice. Let’s do it. Don’t think you’re not going to get criticized if all you do is a drive-by hit on Trump and say he’s no leader.”

Ingraham told her audience that she “called those remarks barely intelligible, not to mention ungrammatical, and the left erupted.” She added that she was “an equal opportunity critic” and that “race has nothing to do with it.”

On Twitter she invited Lebron on the show anytime to discuss politics.

About the Author

Timothy Meads writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report: Seven Reasons Conservatives – And Most Americans – Should Be Happy

“Making America Great Again” isn’t going to happen overnight. But, 2017 has surely been a good start. So, before leaping too far into a new year, let’s take a look back at what Republicans have accomplished already. Following are seven reasons conservatives – and most Americans – should be happy. These are accomplishments worthy of national celebration.

1. Judicial Picks

In one of his first big acts as President, Trump selected Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But he’s not the only solid judicial nominee Trump has selected this year. While lower court seats may not seem all that important, they matter – a lot. Townhall’s Guy Benson explains: “Despite the heavy media emphasis placed on the Supreme Court, thousands upon thousands of cases are decided and resolved at lower levels, which is why populating those courts with constitutionalists must be a priority.” And that’s why each seat filled, no matter how small, is another huge win for conservatives.

2. Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Agreement

In June, Trump put “America first,” as he so often promises, and formally withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement. Liberals, predictably, went nuts. What they failed to understand is that Trump’s decision was less about climate than it was about American business interests. As Trump noted, “The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries.” And he was right. The Climate Agreement would mean higher energy costs for average Americans, fewer jobs, and overall less economic growth.

3. Significant Blows to ISIS

Throughout his campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed to defeat ISIS. Almost a year into the presidency, he has nearly fulfilled that promise. Today, ISIS has relinquished 98 percent of its territory. In the liberation of Mosul, as one example, ISIS lost 6,000 fighters. While at its peak, the terrorist organization had over 45,000 men counted among its quasi-military forces, that number has now been reduced to less than 1,000.

4. National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Passes in the House

Gun owners and Second Amendment advocates have had some big wins this year, but the most notable was the House’s passage of H.R. 38, known as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. The law allows anyone with a concealed carry permit to legally carry a concealed firearm in any state that recognized concealed carry rights, which, as of 2014, is all 50. This means citizens can carry their legally owned guns across state lines.

5. Recognizing Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

For years, U.S. presidents have promised to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the recognized capital. But Clinton, Bush, and Obama all failed to follow through on their promises. But on December 6, Trump made good on his promise. This makes a statement to Israel and to the world.

6. Tax Reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Trump on December 22. The $1.5 trillion plan will be the biggest tax overhaul of our tax system in over three decades. Forget what you are hearing from the Left. More than 80 percent of Americans will receive a tax cut under the law. According to The Wall Street Journal, a family of four earning a median income of $73,000 can expect a $2,059 tax cut.”

7. Economic Uptick

Tax reform will surely lead to significant economic growth, but we won’t really see those effects until next year. So, let’s talk about the effects Trump has had on our economy already. Over 2.2 million jobs were added in the first 11 months of 2017. Unemployment has hit its lowest level in 17 years, at 4.1 percent. GDP growth is at 3.2 percent, after failing to hit three percent once in the last eight years. The stock market is up 5,000 points. Enough said.

About the Author

Erika Hass writes for Townhall.

Political Correctness

Do you know how to never offend anyone with what you say? It’s simple. Never talk about religion, politics, or cats. The one exception is that in most circles today it is okay to criticize Christianity, but not other religions. Avoid attempts at humor at all cost. it is acceptable to laugh at anything crude, but don’t “force” your morality on anyone else. The phrase for today is “political correctness.” If you are new to the game of political correctness, let me help.

We don’t “man” an office or position. We “person” it. We don’t allow our children to play Cowboys and Indians. They are to play Cowpersons and Native Americans. As Vice President Al Gore taught us, “My mother always made it clear to my sister and me that men and women are equal, if not more so.”

You have your assignment. May all mankind and womankind strive for equality, if not “more so.” Strive for non-offensive, non-controversial speech in everything you say. But if it is political correctness you want, you may want to avoid the Scriptures. The Scriptures are all about truth, whether it stings or not.

The Rushmore Report: Why Trump’s Low Poll Numbers Matter

President Trump entered the White House with the lowest approval ratings any president has had when taking office, and though his numbers went up for a few weeks, a new Gallup Poll has his approval rating at a new historic low – 37%. The question is, with the next presidential election nearly four years away, does it matter? The answer is yes – this is a real problem. Here’s why.

First, it is important to note that two factors seem to be able to keep approval ratings above or below their natural level for long periods: the economy and media coverage. To a lesser degree, unemployment and inflation have historically altered approval ratings. For Trump, this seems to be a wash. Though the economy is moving in a positive direction, clearly the media is predisposed to attack Trump as never seen in modern political history.

America’s current partisan divide further burdens the president’s numbers. Democrats in Congress are not going to work with him and Democrats at large are solidly against him, even if they don’t know why.

Here’s why low poll numbers matter. Any major policy initiative requires that the president work with people who pay attention to them. High approval ratings give a president a great deal of leverage over members of Congress. Under unpopular presidents, big policy changes – tax reform, immigration reform, health care reform – often force legislators to choose between what their district wants them to do and what the president or Congress wants them to do. A popular president can help to ease the burden of an unpopular vote; an unpopular president has to accept what Congress wants to pass if he wants to sign any bills at all.

A president can have real power to shape the future of the country, but that only comes with popularity. An unpopular president is more likely to find himself hemmed in by protests, like Johnson and Nixon in their later years – or like Carter, so ignored by Congress and his own administration that he spent his time approving the White House tennis schedules.

If President Trump wants to avoid their fate, he’ll need to change something dramatically. We’ll soon find out whether he can.

About the Author

Dan Cassino is an associate professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, researching public opinion and political psychology. His new book, Fox News and American Politics, will be released at the end of April.

The Rushmore Report: Jennifer Garner Backs Working with Trump, Blasts Hollywood

Church-going Christian actress Jennifer Garner has said that she is ready and willing to work with President Donald Trump when it comes to helping the country’s rural working class, and that unlike some of her Hollywood friends, she is not “refusing to engage” with him. In an interview with The Washington Post, she balked at Hollywood’s refusal to give Trump a chance.

Garner said, “People felt like Trump really understood them, that he was going to come in and create jobs for them. They felt like they needed something to just turn everything upside down. I’m looking forward to helping him make good on what they saw as promises, a mandate from him, that he was going to make their lives better.”

The newspaper pointed out that some members of the Hollywood elite are feeling split between working alongside Trump in their various charity efforts or protesting the president over his policies and remarks.

Trump was made the butt of a number of jokes during the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, with the Republican pushing back by arguing that those opposed to him are “losing badly.”

Garner admitted that some of her friends “want to turn their back to his administration and just don’t even want to engage.” She added, “If he’s willing to help the poor kids who got him elected, then let’s do it. They certainly think he’s going to.”

Jennifer Garner has starred in faith-based movies, such as Miracles from Heaven, and has regularly been spotted taking her children to church. The Golden Globe award-winning actress has said that making faith-based films has inspired her even further to continue attending church.

“I will say that being around this community, and while I’ve always gone to church in West Virginia, that when I got back to Los Angeles, I was talking to my kids about the movie and they said, ‘Mom, you don’t take us to church,’ and we went that Sunday, and they went today without me,” Garner said in an interview that year.

One of Garner’s main initiatives has been the nonprofit Save the Children organization, which is famous for its international projects, but also for helping poor rural communities in the U.S. when it comes to educational programs.

The actress has for years urged Congress and state governments to fund reading and literacy programs that include all-day kindergarten, and called on the U.S. government to expand credits and deductions for the education needs of families.

“Send me a ticket to Mar-a-Lago,” she said. “I’m ready to go down and have a steak and a good chat (with the President). I really think it’s great, if he’s willing to help the poor kids who got him elected.”

About the Author

Stoyan Zaimov is a reporter for The Christian Post, with a focus on current events and Christian culture.

The Rushmore Report: Predictions for 2017

At the end of 2016, social media buzzed with Americans intentionally sharing their unpopular opinions. While I wasn’t aware that anyone on Twitter or Facebook ever held back their thoughts and feelings, now is as good a time as any to make a few political predictions for 2017. Admittedly, my predictions may not be popular with many in the “mainstream.”

1. Political correctness will die a cold lonely death.

Here’s a novel concept: We shouldn’t let the media and cultural police dictate the kinds of conversations we’re allowed to have, words we use, or places we’re permitted to speak. Donald Trump might not always have the best words, but he shrewdly recognized that America is sick of being shamed for essentially not being liberal. The flipside to our newfound rhetorical freedom is that we shouldn’t be jerks and must extend a measure of grace when we ourselves are offended. That’s going to be a challenge.

2. Republicans will pull a Harry Reid and use the nuclear option to confirm a Supreme Court Justice.

When we allowed for the direct election of Senators with the 17th Amendment, we began the process of turning the Senate into a more august House of Representatives. Republican Senators can bank on losing upcoming primaries if they fail to replace Antonin Scalia with a staunch conservative. Oh, they’ll wax poetic about process and respecting the rights of the minority. But Mitch McConnell won’t put that process over a major political win at the Supreme Court if Democrats force the issue.

3. Democrats will oppose Trump’s trade policies even though they aren’t much different than their own.

It was almost impossible for Republicans to say nice things about President Obama’s unapologetic support for free trade. It’s hard to admit agreement with the political opposition, and Democrats will continue the trend. Trump’s opposition to free trade sounds a lot like Clinton’s rhetoric and his trillion-dollar infrastructure spending ideas are based on the same premise as Obama’s 2009 Stimulus. Nevertheless, Democrats will find a reason why Trump’s trade protectionism and stimulus aren’t sufficient to win their support.

4. Donald Trump will have more Tweets than appearances at White House press briefings.

According to incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump’s Twitter account “will be a really exciting part of the job.” That means those lovely tweets aren’t going anywhere. Why should they? Trump is communicating directly with his most passionate supporters and keeping the media tied in knots. It’s hard to ignore a tweet from the President-elect taking credit for stock market advances and bringing hope to a previously gloomy nation. We’ve never had a real social media president. Well . . . we sure have one now.

5. Republicans will find they can’t keep popular parts of Obamacare.

Conservatives hate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. It also happens to be the cornerstone of the whole healthcare scheme the law creates. The ACA puts heavy restraints on the health insurance marketplace in exchange for requiring young healthy Americans to buy insurance policies that they otherwise wouldn’t. It’s cost shifting at its finest. If Republicans want to keep many of the popular aspects of the ACA – like requiring coverage for preexisting conditions – and end the individual mandate, insurers will lose their shirts and the model will collapse. Repealing and replacing the ACA will be a huge lift, but Republicans can’t simply keep what people like and remove the parts the GOP finds objectionable.

6. America will begin to wrestle with the public policy implications of automation technology.

We love technology in America. Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of our culture. To this point, advances in technology have largely provided us an array of tools that made us more efficient and expanded our economic opportunities. But what happens when machines replace humans in major sectors of our economy? Automated trains, cars, trucks, and boats will increasingly supplant transportation workers. Retail, manufacturing, and food service automation is happening at a similar pace. We shouldn’t limit technological progress, but we must retool education towards a lifetime of learning and routine reskilling for adults as well as children. That’s going to be a monumental task, but we need to tackle it sooner rather than later. Otherwise, we’re going to be talking about much higher taxes and commensurate social program spending to deal with higher unemployment.

7. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions enforcing federal marijuana law, Congress will kick it to the states.

Whether voters support marijuana legalization or not, it’s likely going to become an issue that Congress leaves to the states to decide. With the patchwork of state laws in clear conflict with federal law, either Sessions starts going after inconsistent state laws or Congress addresses the issues first. Democrats would gladly move the issue to the states and enough federalist Republicans will join them in the name of empowering the states. This move will undoubtedly put pressure on remaining states to regulate and tax marijuana as another revenue stream likely subject to high “sin” taxes.

With a new president riding a populist wave, basic partisan assumptions may not hold true this year. The political consequences will be interesting, to put it mildly. You might like politics in 2017; you might not. Thankfully, 2016 taught us that you don’t need to keep your feelings about it to yourself.

About the Author

Cameron Smith is a regular columnist for AL.com and state programs director for the R Street Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

The Rushmore Report: Progressives Demand Gun Control After Knife Attack at Ohio State

You can’t make this stuff up. Following the horrific knife attack at Ohio State University (no guns involved), would-be Vice President Tim Kaine tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the senseless act of gun violence at Ohio State this morning.” Never mind, the only gun that was used was the one that killed the raging ISIS-inspired murderer, preventing the loss of dozens of more lives.

Still, progressives used the brutal knife attack as an excuse to demand more gun control, even after authorities declared that they had zero evidence that the attacker even owned a gun, let alone used one in the attack. But as is often the case, progressives, including the man who wanted to be Vice President, don’t let pesky facts derail their agenda.

An Ohio State police officer used his gun to shoot and kill the machete-wielding attacker, believed to be an immigrant from Somalia, inspired by ISIS.

Yet, in the aftermath of the rampage, the talking heads at CNN, MSNBC, and ABC didn’t hold back. Joined by progressive activists and celebrities, they spent the next 48 hours using the attack as a pretext for demanding stricter gun control laws.

Let’s be clear. The attacker did not use a gun. A good guy who did have a gun ended the attack. Therefore, guns are the problem. Am I missing something here?

Shannon Watts, who runs a gun control group funded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, claimed during the attack that America “gives dangerous people guns,” and intimated that a gun-free zone would have stopped the OSU attack. She did not explain why the campus ban on machetes did not prevent the attacker from striking and stabbing at least nine individuals.

So if a machete-free zone didn’t keep out machetes, why would a gun-free zone keep out guns? Actually, in the Ohio State example, it would have made things much worse. Presumably, the gun-free zone would have affected campus police. So here’s my question. While nine people were stabbed, several more would have been had the attacker not been shot by the officer. Which of the would-be victims, looking back, wish the gun had not been used?

Of course, the media is complicit with the craziness. Tim Kaine lamented the “gun attack” when there were no guns. Yet, not one report from CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, or ABC criticized him for his obvious misstatement. But if Donald Trump predicts the weather incorrectly, he is branded a liar, manipulator, and danger to our democracy.

From this, we learn two things.

1. Gun-free zones don’t work any better than machete-free zones.

2. Honest journalism in America is pretty much dead.

The Rushmore Report: Why George Will Left the Republican Party

George Will is no longer a Republican. The famed conservative columnist and commentator has left the party he joined in 1964. Why? In his own words – “I left the party for the same reason I joined it in 1964 when I voted for Barry Goldwater. I joined the party because I was a conservative. I leave it for the same reason – I am a conservative.”

Will chalked up his departure to the ascension of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.

“To give you a time line, shortly after Trump became the presumptive nominee, he had a summit meeting with Paul Ryan where they stressed their common principles and their vast shared ground, which is much more important than their differences. I thought that was puzzling doubly so because Paul Ryan still didn’t endorse him,” Will told Fox News.

“After Trump went after the Mexican judge from northern Indiana, then Paul Ryan endorsed him. And I decided that, in fact, this is not my party anymore.”

Trump retaliated by attacking Will on Twitter. “George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party. He’s made many bad calls,” said Trump.

When asked to respond, Will said, “I have no response. Mr. Trump has the gift of being able to say everything he knows in a short tweet. I don’t share that gift.”

Will explained the process. “I changed my registration to unaffiliated 23 days ago. I hardly made an announcement. I just mentioned this in a meeting with the Federalist Society.” He then invoked Ronald Reagan, who was a Democrat before joining the GOP. “So the long and short of it is, as Ronald Reagan said when he changed his party registration, I did not leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me.”

Response to the State of the Union Address

Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution states, “The President shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the State of the Union.” George Washington delivered the first such address on January 8, 1790 in New York City. From Thomas Jefferson to Woodrow Wilson, the address was written, but not delivered in person. Initially referred to as “The President’s Annual Message to Congress,” Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the phrase “State of the Union,” which has been used ever since. And since 1966, the opposition party has delivered a rebuttal.

Last night, President Obama sought to offer an upbeat celebration of his administration’s achievements, while setting the stage for the 2016 elections. He pointed to job creation numbers, low unemployment numbers, lower gas prices, a higher stock market, and withdrawal from unstable states in the Mideast. He made his final pitch for action on climate change, gun control, immigration, and income inequality. “Last year, he spoke to Congress,” said Jennifer Psaki, the White House Communications Director. “This year, he spoke more to the American people.”

Critics point to a failing strategy to defeat ISIS, record numbers who have left the job market, and a sobering poll that reveals 68 percent of Americans feel the country is on the wrong track. Further, they attack the president’s positions on gun control (rightly saying none of his new executive orders would have stopped any of the recent highly publicized shootings), immigration (correctly pointing out he had two years to pass anything he wanted, when the Democrats controlled all of Congress, but did nothing), and his assessment of climate change as our greatest national security threat.

There is much in Obama’s speech to criticize. His cynical, often rude response to his Republican opposition has grown predictable and tired, beneath his office. The assent of Donald Trump, which he routinely ridicules, is the result of the political environment and ineptitude which he has, at the very least, failed to solve.

But rather than offer a point-by-point rebuttal of the president’s speech or policies, let’s be grateful for the way our system works. A democratically elected leader, along with co-equal branches of government, represents the people. Does the American democratic experiment have its flaws? Of course it does. But in the entire history of organized government, no better plan has been put forth. There will be plenty of time to assess the speech itself. But let’s pause and rejoice that we have a president and not a dictator, a representative government and not a monarchy.

Can You Name This Candidate?

There are 17 Republicans and five Democrats running for President. Let’s play “Name This Candidate.” I will tell you some of the things he or she has said on the record. You guess who this is. And then you decide – would you vote for this person?

  1. “I am very pro-choice.”
  2. “I identify more as a Democrat.”
  3. “Hillary Clinton is a talented and terrific woman.”
  4. “We must have universal health care.”
  5. “I just believe Republicans are too crazy.”
  6. “The economy just does better under Democrats.”
  7. “I generally oppose gun control.”
  8. “I don’t ask God for forgiveness.”

Would you vote for this man or woman? If you want a President who is, by his or her own words, “pro-choice,” “a Democrat,” a fan of Hillary Clinton, and a proponent of universal health care, this is your man or woman. If you want someone who considers Republicans “crazy” and favors Democratic rule on the economy, vote for him or her. If you are looking for someone who “generally” opposes gun control and sees no need to pray for God’s forgiveness, this is your candidate. I’ll give you another hint as to their identity. This person was a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Reformed Party member, Democrat, and then Republican again.

So who is this pro-choice, self-identified Democrat, supporter of Hillary Clinton, who needs not ask for God’s forgiveness? His name is Donald Trump and he leads in all the polls.

How is this possible? If Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio espoused these views, they’d be laughed off the stage of the September 16 debate on CNN. So what does this tell us? I see two things. First, people are tired of politicians and desperate for change. Trump represents change. And second, people vote for the medium over the message. That’s why the more attractive candidate usually wins. In 1960, the people who listened to the Kennedy-Nixon debates said Nixon won. But those who watched said Kennedy won.

Brash is in. Ideology is out. Rudeness is accepted. Words matter little. Americans are ready for change – any change. But in a day when 73 percent think we are on the wrong track, who can blame the American people? Don’t let me stand in your way if you are a Trump supporter. But buyer, beware. If his track record means anything, you have to know that the Donald you like today is not likely to be the same Donald on Inauguration Day, 2017.