The 2020 election conspiracy, admitted at last
February 11, 2021
ITEM #1: Conservatives who have raised questions about the security and accuracy of the 2020 election have been mocked ceaselessly as “conspiracy theorists,” lumped in with everyone from flat-earthers to “truthers” and “deniers” of every sort.
Turns out there was a conspiracy after all. And now we all know it, thanks to this much-discussed piece by Molly Ball in Time Magazine.
Ball has written a lengthy exposé on what she calls “the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election” — and the details of that story make it clear that by “save” the election, the conspirators meant “save it, and the country, from Donald Trump.”
That’s right: Those involved in this conspiracy aren’t just admitting their involvement. They’re downright bragging about it. As the eminent historian Victor Davis Hanson put it: “They boasted about the power of this collusionary effort.”
To be sure, Ball, the story’s author, emphatically insists there was nothing nefarious about this effort, and that it was designed not to sway the election one way or another, but merely to protect its integrity.
But believing Ball’s premise requires overlooking some crucial details — which, for those familiar enough with the relevant related facts, can be found within Ball’s story itself.
We’ll focus on two in particular.
First, the group, organized by Mike Podhorzer and called the Analyst Institute, “helped 37 states and D.C. bolster mail voting,” as Ball reports, and then compounded that with a robust effort to encourage people to take advantage of the increased opportunities to vote by mail.
As we’ve documented at great length, it has long been a point of bipartisan agreement that mail-in voting significantly increases the likelihood of fraud and error. Which means one of the key objectives of the conspirators was to change states’ election laws in a way that would make their elections less secure. (Infamously, Nevada was one of them.)
Second, the group focused heavily on efforts to combat what it calls “disinformation,” especially online. Ball doesn’t question their motives at all, and so she fails to point out a rather obvious problem with how that “disinformation” was identified and suppressed.
James Freeman, however, in a piece for the Wall Street Journal, sets the record straight:
“Ms. Ball makes no mention of the fact that the most consequential use of this censorship tool in 2020 was an abusive blocking of true information. Accurate New York Post reporting on Biden family influence peddling was suppressed by Twitter and other media outlets. Even people tempted to endorse censorship as a tool to ensure reasonable political debate must acknowledge that it failed miserably in helping to inform the public in 2020.”
Ball goes to great lengths to paint a portrait of this conspiracy — again, her word — as a necessary, even heroic, endeavor that ultimately succeeded in preserving not only the integrity of the 2020 election, but the institution of democracy itself. (“Democracy won in the end,” she writes. “The will of the people prevailed. But it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.”)
But the truth is something quite close to the opposite. By weakening election security safeguards and suppressing true information inconvenient to the Joe Biden campaign, these conspirators did far more to raise questions about the accuracy of the 2020 election than to answer them.
And it’s all right there in Ball’s story — at least, for those willing to see it.
ITEM #2: We all know much of the news media suffers from selective memory loss when it comes to holding politicians accountable for their rhetoric.
But fortunately, Mollie Hemingway isn’t one of them.
Writing for the Federalist, Hemingway recalls an episode that’s rather inconvenient to what has become a favorite narrative among Democrats and their press allies:
“Less than one year ago, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York led a mob on the steps of the Supreme Court while a case was being heard and tried to thwart the natural deliberation of justices by violently threatening two of them to rule in favor of his and other Democrats’ preferred outcome.
“‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,’ Schumer threatened the two most recently confirmed justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
“The threat was so alarming that even leftist activists such as Laurence Tribe condemned it. Schumer received a rare, same-day rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, who said, ‘Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.’ …
“Schumer’s threats came just 17 months after the Supreme Court had been besieged and attacked by abortion activists upset at Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Like the Jan. 6 event, the October 2018 siege also involved Vice President Mike Pence being condemned by protesters. As he walked down the steps of the U.S. Senate following the vote to confirm Kavanaugh, the crowd greeted him with chants of ‘shame!’
“Across the street, hordes of protesters broke through a police barricade and attempted to beat down the 13-ton bronze doors of the court. Protesters included a topless woman with a Hitler mustache and another woman who scaled the Contemplation of Justice statue in front of the court and sat in her lap to the cheers of other protesters.”
You’ll want to check out Hemingway’s full piece, in which she notes, while providing several examples, that the Schumer episode was just one of several such incidents brought to us courtesy of the left.
Which is why it’s impossible to take seriously all the hand-wringing we’ve seen from Democrats and the media these past weeks over norms, decorum, respect for our institutions, etc.
Under their rules, it’s only Republicans who need to be held to account for their words and actions. When Democrats step out of line? We get rationalizations and excuses — until it’s time for it all to be conveniently flushed down the memory hole.
ITEM #3: As our nation’s economy continues its recovery from the severe economic strife caused by COVID-driven shutdowns, it’s critical that policymakers pursue a course that fosters economic growth, job creation, and an environment in which private enterprise can thrive.
Perhaps now more than ever, what our economy needs is freedom — more freedom for business owners and entrepreneurs to operate and innovate, and more freedom for workers to pursue opportunities for employment.
With that in mind, we’re going to go out on a limb and guess that anything that can be fairly described as a “Regulation Superweapon” … probably isn’t a step in the right direction.
That’s how Erin Hawley, writing for National Review, characterizes a particular federal agency now that it has been repurposed by the Biden administration — to carry out what is essentially the opposite of its original intent.
“Tucked away in the avalanche of President Biden’s early executive actions is the little-noticed but momentous creation of a new regulatory super-agency. Under the guise of ‘Modernizing Regulatory Review,’ the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has just been given, through executive fiat, the charge of using federal regulatory authority to achieve administration goals. OIRA’s transformation from a check on agency excess to a pro-regulatory arm of the federal bureaucracy has significant implications for the power of the administrative state, and ultimately, for how Americans are governed.
“OIRA began as a check on agency authority and is best known for ensuring that agencies consider the costs of any proposed regulation. As part of the Paperwork Reduction Act, President Carter created OIRA within the Office of Management and Budget to review agency reporting requirements in order to reduce government-imposed paperwork. Later, in an attempt to rein in governance by agency rule, President Reagan assigned to OIRA the additional task of reviewing draft and final regulations to ensure that projected benefits exceeded projected costs.”
Hawley documents how in subsequent years, administrations of both parties continued to respect and even strengthen the office’s function as a check on regulation.
After years of complaining that the office has been “a speed bump to aggressive regulation,” as Hawley puts it, the left has finally found, in President Biden, just the man to do its regulatory bidding.
“President Biden’s Modernizing Regulatory Review memorandum wholly transforms OIRA from a check on regulation into a regulatory-promotion office. Indeed, the Biden administration’s view of regulation as a public good — no matter the type or kind or cost — is on full display in the presidential memo. Formerly limited to checking the work of other agencies, OIRA must now use its power to ‘affirmatively promote’ regulation. The office is directed to partner with agencies ‘to explore, promote, and undertake regulatory initiatives that are likely to yield significant benefits.’ OIRA’s regulatory-promotion mandate is broad, ranging from environmental stewardship to human dignity, equity, and social welfare.
“Just as troubling, the memo spells out the administration’s hostility to any attempt to cut back on regulation — no matter how needless or nonsensical. OIRA 2.0 is directed to review regulations to ensure they don’t have ‘harmful anti-regulatory or deregulatory effects.’ That’s right: The order moves toward a blanket assumption that repealing a regulation is always harmful. Notwithstanding the many instances in which deregulation leads to innovation, job growth, and economic flourishing, the administration prejudges any attempt to minimize regulation as likely harmful.”
So let’s make sure we have this straight. At a time when our economy is still recovering from the economic destruction caused by government-enforced shutdowns, President Biden has decided it’d be a good idea to … put up additional barriers to job creation and economic growth.
We suppose it could be worse, though. Just imagine if Biden were a hard leftist, instead of the reasonable “moderate” the mainstream news media keeps insisting he is!
ITEM #4: Uh-oh. They’re doing it again.
We all remember Rahm Emanuel and “Never let a crisis go to waste.” They’re the left’s favorite words to live by: Declare a crisis, and then use said crisis as pretext for a massive expansion of government. Some classic examples from recent history include the Obama stimulus and the woefully misnamed Affordable Care Act.
Now, it seems President Biden is ready to get in on the act.
From a recent Issues & Insights editorial:
“President Joe Biden used Friday’s jobs report as another justification for his massive $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. ‘A once-in-a-century virus has decimated our economy, and it’s still wreaking havoc on our economy today,’ he said.”
Translation: We’ve got a crisis on our hands, and only big government can solve it.
The problem, however, is that the recent economic numbers don’t justify this view at all.
From unemployment to GDP to the stock markets, the numbers are all actually trending in a positive direction — a fact that Democrats and the news media don’t want to acknowledge because it would undercut their case for aggressive government action (and would also be an implicit admission that Biden inherited a strengthening economy from Donald Trump).
Of course, a continued recovery is not guaranteed, and can easily be thwarted by government interference (as we noted in Item 3 above). Which is all the more reason to resist calls for using our current challenges as a reason to dramatically grow the state.
As the editors note:
“Biden’s description of the economy is increasingly detached from reality. And the only reason he and his fellow Democrats have for urgency is that they want a massive wish list of liberal spending programs on the books before people realize it wasn’t needed.”
Read their full analysis here.
ITEM #5: Let’s see … what else are Democrats doing to try to hamper our economic recovery?
Ah, yes. There’s this:
“[W]atch what happens if President Biden and fellow Democrats more than double the federal minimum wage to $15, as they’re pushing to do.
“Senate moderates got a guarantee that the hike wouldn’t come while the pandemic rages, but Biden’s $1.9 trillion ‘relief’ bill can still include a slightly delayed increase, with all its job-killing impact.”
That’s from a recent New York Post editorial, available in full here.
Progressives always couch their push for minimum-wage hikes in their supposed concern for the interests of workers. But as the Post’s editors correctly note:
“Fact is, many restaurant owners, and others who employ low-wage workers, will find such a hike simply unaffordable, particularly as they struggle to recover from the pandemic. ...
“Upshot? Many businesses will wind up closing for good, plain and simple. Others will stay open but only by laying off employees and raising prices. And keep in mind: Even workers who hang on to their jobs will have to pay those steeper prices, which will eat into much of their raise. Great plan.”
ITEM #6: Finally, some sad news this week, as longtime American statesman George Shultz passed away at the age of 100.
Shultz is best known for having served as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, and his death has inspired a number of moving tributes.
We especially liked this one from the New York Sun, which included a nice anecdote that wonderfully captured Shultz’s quick wit:
“The death of Secretary of State George Shultz, coming at a moment when America seeks wise leadership, reminds us of what an impact a major cabinet member can have. And also of an encounter we had with him in Detroit, where, having returned from Vietnam, we started with the Wall Street Journal and, eventually, witnessed Shultz’s capacity to puncture pomposity with his Semper Fi spirit.
“Shultz was then, as best we recall, President Nixon’s budget director. He was in town on such business and called a press conference at the federal building, which was across the street from the Journal’s news bureau. So we tucked a notebook in our pocket and went over at the appointed hour. There were an astonishing number of reporters present.
“Nixon was by then in the heavy seas of Watergate, and various members of his administration were starting to decamp. At some point, a television reporter, with a camera crew, stands up and says to Shultz. 'Mr. Secretary, a lot of people are starting to quit the administration; are you yourself going to leave, sir?' Something like that. To which Shultz replied: 'Well, I am a Marine, and a Marine sticks to his post.'
“The scrum of reporters was digesting this when the television guy, who had sat down, maneuvered himself back up into an upright position and said, 'Well, sir. I’m a Marine, too, and when I was in the Marines, we were told, "A thinking Marine is a dead Marine.”’ The reporters swiveled back in Shultz’s direction, where, without missing a beat, Shultz says: 'I see why you survived.'”
Rest in peace.