Friday, May 22, 2015

By The People: Part I: Where We Stand

Charles Murray is the great political scientist of our generation. First he told us in Losing Ground that liberals knew by the early 1970s that the Great Society programs weren't working. But they kept them anyway. Then in The Bell Curve he told us that IQ is really important and it applies to race, and got his head handed to him. Most recently in Coming Apart he showed that the upper 20 percent in America was doing fine, but in the bottom 30 percent the women don't marry and the men don't work.

Now he's really mad, and in By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission he is calling for revolution. If you are with him, then you are not a libertarian or a conservative. He wants to call the supporters of a limited government: "Madisonians."

OK, he's not calling for blood in the streets, but he is proposing a cunning way to neuter the administrative state. But first, let's look at Part I of his book, where Murray analyzes the federal government and determines that it can't be reformed from within.

The problem is that the Constitution has been set aside and there's no way to get it back. Congress isn't going to do it, even with a Republican president, because the current system favors the status quo and the Supreme Court won't do it because, e.g., limiting the meaning of "general welfare" to its original meaning would cause chaos.

It's Hamilton vs. Madison, according to Murray. Hamilton and the Federalists favored a strong state and Madison and the Anti-federalists wanted a weak state. But back then nobody was thinking of anything like today's state. A strong state meant something like Hamilton's report of manufactures. A century later, under the influence of the Germans like Hegel and Nietzsche, the Progressives decided that the Constitution was outmoded.
To simplify, progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong  unifying leader... They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded.
This progressivism got implemented by the judicial system, and "ultimately transformed the nation." The progressives saw the old Constitution as Newtonian and mechanical, "with its three separate branches and checks and balances." They wanted something evolutionary and Darwinist. So the game was on to change the meaning of law.

It started with the erosion of the Contracts Clause in the Constitution, and continued with the validation of the Social Security Act (which really put the federal government into the general welfare business). Then there was the gutting of the Ninth Amendment and the extension of the Commerce Clause to let the federal government regulate whatever it wanted under the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes."

But we can't go back. If the Supreme Court invalidated current understanding of the "general welfare" it would mean the end of spending on "Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all welfare programs, all spending on K-12 education" and so on. The fact is that by 1942, "we stopped obliging the American government to control itself."

But that's not all. We now have "a lawless legal system." Why? Because legal process is so costly. Because the ancient concept of mens rea is gone. In the old days,
You not only had to do something wrong, you had to be aware that you were doing something wrong. But the law also held that ignorance is no defense.
How did that work? It worked because "there weren't many laws" and most of the laws covered things that were instinctively wrong, like "murder, rape, and theft." But now we have a huge body of law and "the government has chosen to convert mistakes, or sometimes simply choices with which the government disagrees, into crimes."

So we have laws that are arbitrary, complex, subjective, discretionary. That is lawless. But that is just the beginning.

It used to be that lawsuits were rare; but now changes in legal rules make lawyering very profitable. First there was the introduction of Strict Liability which lowered the bar for claiming damages. Then there was the broadening of discovery, where a plaintiff could now go on fishing expeditions into the records of the defendant. Used to be that you had to sue someone in the defendants court district; now you can forum shop. And now the ethical limitation on lawyers for "stirring up litigation" is gone. Then there is the "private enforcement regime" where Congress lets private parties sue against business or individuals in violation of a law.

OK, so it's too easy to sue. But that is just the beginning. Now there's the regulatory state.

Today Congress passes a general law and sets up an agency to come up with the details. Typically the targets of the regulation will have to deal with the bureaucracy and the administrative courts of the regulatory agency. And the Supreme Court through the "Chevron Deference" has held that the regulatory agency is almost always right. It goes back the the Progressive Era faith in government by disinterested experts. The problem is that if the regulators get their eye on you they can destroy you in the expense of the system before you ever get to a real court of law (as opposed to an administrative court that belongs to the regulator).

OK, so the regulators and the administrative judges are too powerful. But that is just the beginning. There is also the corrupted political system.

Murray is not saying that today's politicians "are more venal or dishonest than political of the past." It is just that that
todays' political process has produced politicians who, while keeping within the law, do things that are operationally indistinguishable from the way Third World kleptocrats operate.
Back in the old days, before the 1960s, the government didn't have that many favors to distribute, campaigns weren't that expensive, special interests didn't give much money, and only a few leading politicians got to write the laws.

But with the expansion of the regulatory state, particularly industry-wide regulation by EPA, OSHA, and EEOC, every corporation had to get into the game in Washington DC. Now it takes a ton of money to run for office, there are hordes of lobbyists, and the number of staffers is way up.

In 2012 the Democrats set up a "Model Daily Schedule" for members when in DC. It tells members how to allocate their time.
It includes four hours [per day] of "call time" -- the term for phoning contributors -- and one hour of "strategic outreach" which includes such things as breakfasts and meet-and-greets with supporters.
On top of that, the parties regularly hold fundraising dinners. They go to lobbyists and tell each of them to cough up a million bucks. Because only "friendly" interests get friendly results from office holders.

A kleptocracy? Well, politicians usually seem to manage to get rich in government service. And you have to pay for access to the authorities. And when a congressman calls for a contribution you cough up. And officeholders reward their friends. And "bribes produce results independently of political principle."

Can it be reformed? After George W. Bush pushed through the budget-busting Medicare drug plan, don't expect much reform from Republicans. And Murray goes to Mancur Olson and The Logic of Collective Action for the explanation.
First, advanced democracies inherently permit small interest groups to obtain government benefits for themselves that are extremely difficult for the rest of the polity to get rid of. Second, these successful special interests inevitably pile up over the years until the political system becomes rigid and unresponsive, unable to adapt[.]
In other words,
People who receive government benefits tend to vote for people who support those benefits.
We may call for reform as much as we like, but the fact of all of today's programs and benefits "will push the Republican Party to the center in all presidential elections."  We are not going to get truly "Madisonian majorities in both houses and a Madisonian president."

Something else will have to give. But that's the topic for Part II: Opening a New Front.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

President Obama's Racist Legacy

I was to the University of Washington's Meany Center for the Performing Arts last night to hear Rhiannon Giddens. Giddens is a 2000 graduate of Oberlin and she's parlayed her opera degree into a nice little gig doing bluegrass.

What with the opera training, Giddens has a fine singing voice, and she also plays violin and banjo.

Did you know that the banjo was invented by African Americans?

But guess what, this privileged lady is now doing protest, so she contributed to We Are Not For Sale: Songs of Protest by the NC Music Love Army.

Gotta love these Oberlin liberals: their echo chamber lets them say and sing the darndest things!

Hey Rhiannon! When you are performing at the UW World Series isn't it a bit racist to be talking about 4-year-old Chinese child workers? Are there any 4-year-old Chinese workers? Google doesn't seem to think so. But there is this youTube of a 5-year-old Chinese boy operating his Dad's frontloader. Yes, we should definitely put a stop to that! Why pretty soon every 5-year-old All American boy will be demanding to be allowed to do the same!

But here's what I took away from the concert.

President Obama has flown African Americans up a box canyon. The man that talked about ending America's divisions had divided us. Well, what do you expect: he's a politician. Not one, but two of Giddens's sidemen gave us the Black Lives Matter line that the po-lice are targeting African American young men. One of them sang a song about dear old Huey P. Newton.

Look, it's a free country, although we should thank our lucky stars that Giddens's group wasn't a bunch of crazy whites babbling racist hate speech about Waco or Ruby Ridge. Imagine!

Did I mention that Rhiannon Giddens was African American? Who knew? She presents herself as a nice middle-class girl that might be any combination of mixed race -- rather like Cablinasian Tiger Woods. But she did go to Oberlin. That explains a lot.

The thing about politics is, as I like to say, that politics is division. Any professional politician is an expert in dividing up the cake so that he gets 51% of the vote and the other guy is let with the remainder. But the measure of any man is how he rises above the ordinary.

The measure of a general is to rise above merely using his troops as food for powder. He knows that in order to win the battle or the war he is going to use up many of the lives of the young men assembled under military discipline in his command. Can he use those mothers' sons for a worthy cause or are they going to be complete wasted, men dying by the roadside of hunger or sickness -- the usual fate of the soldier -- or shattered in the holocaust of battle?

Same thing with the CEO. The measure of a CEO is to rise above merely using his employees as cannon fodder for the market wars. Can he rise above that? Can he generate a corporate culture that actually helps his employees grow and flourish?

Then there's the politician. Is he just a divider? President Bush's famous line that he was a uniter, not a divider, is actually a sheepish admission of the politician's art. He is a divider, but every politician nurses in his heart the faith that all this dividing is really for a higher, better cause: to unite his nation and lead it from the dusty plains into sunlit uplands.

I don't know what President Obama thinks about the calling of the politician. With any public figure I assume that I know nothing about him, because any public figure is a social construct, a creation of publicity. But the evidence of his actions suggests that he is not a man that has risen above the dust and grime of his calling to something higher and better.

That's a shame: for African Americans -- who he has confirmed in their racism and victimology -- for America --which has not flourished on his watch -- and for the world -- which has not become more peaceful during his leadership.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Liberal Intolerance Will End Up Hammering Liberals

A couple days ago an 80-year-old Duke professor got in trouble for racism. He made a four-paragraph comment in The New York Times about the Baltimore riots. Hey, he said, back in 1965 racial discrimination wasn't just against blacks; it hit Asians too.
The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.

So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn't feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.

I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existemt because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.
Oh dear oh dear, professor. You know you aren't allowed to say things like that in America. Because racism.

Seriously, I suspect that we are approaching what we sophisticated people call an "inflection" on liberal race and gender oppression. And I suspect that we will look back on today's liberals as being as dumb as Romanovs or Bourbons. Or Manchus, for those that don't confine their reading to European ancien régimes.

Here's why. Government is force.

The reason that I keep hammering on this "government is force" meme is that I believe that it explains a lot. And the people that should always keep this in mind is the members of the ruling class -- whether Bourbon or gentry liberal.

The ruling class should always remember that government is force, because the next thing it should remember is: "who is going to be totally pissed of by our latest noble attempt to force people to do the right thing?"

Timeout for review of the Law of Incoming Rounds. Humans are immensely sensitive to mortar rounds landing on the ground right next to them. But humans regard mortar rounds landing half a mile away as something of a joke.

Wise rulers understand that government is force. Wise rulers understand the Law of Incoming Rounds. Wise rulers do not let their more enthusiastic supporters oppress the little people just for the fun of it. Wise rulers do not let their supporters oppress the opposition and deny them freedom of speech.

Liberals have a foolish understanding of things like the rule of law and freedom of speech. They have converted the importance of the rule of law into a passion for justice. And their understanding of freedom of speech doesn't seem to stir very far from outrage when liberals are attacked for speaking their minds.

But the real point of things like the rule of law and limited government and freedom of speech is to minimize the opportunity for opponents of the regime to get really pissed off.

The rule of law means that the government doesn't get to do too many arbitrary things that make people on the receiving end totally mad and enraged.

Limited government means that the government isn't using force very much. That means that the clunking fist of government isn't beating too many people over the head.

Freedom of speech means that opponents of the regime get the chance to freely assemble and demand a redress of their grievances.

But the Obama regime, starting at the top, doesn't seem to get this.

It thinks that government is a matter of the president with a phone and a pen. No doubt, but then you don't get to manufacture a consensus over the next government application of force. And the people on the receiving end of the phone and the pen get really pissed off.

It thinks that government is a matter of administrative systems advised by policy analysts and experts. No doubt, but what happens if the system is a mess and the experts are wrong? As in Obamacare? You think that the Democratic operatives with bylines are going to be able to convince the American people that Republicans are to blame for Obamacare?

It thinks that opposition to liberal ideas is "hate speech" and thus not deserving of the constitutional support for free speech. Yeah. Every tin-horn dictator believes that.

What the Obamis and the gentry liberals don't get is that their politics is perfectly designed to make people really pissed off and vote for the other party.

Perhaps that's why Sean Trende reports that support for the Republican Party is at the highest level in decades. If you look at Trende's RCP Election Index you see that there is nothing quite like a Republican administration for raising Democratic strength, and nothing like a Democratic administration for raising Republican strength.

In other words, government is force and it makes people really pissed off.

Of course, I think that the real Obama own-goal is the race politics of Ferguson and Baltimore. I just keep wondering what Asian and Hispanic Americans think about that.

That 80-year-old Duke professor mentioned white-Asian interracial dating and marriage. I notice too that there is plenty of white-Hispanic dating and marriage going on. Now the Asians are mounting an anti-Affirmative Action lawsuit against Harvard for doing a redo on the old Jewish quota of the early 20th century, only this time against Asians.

What I say is: why don't you Asians and Hispanics come on over to the Republican Party? I don't know what the Democrats have been saying about us behind our backs, but why not give us a try? We're kinda stuffy and old-fashioned, but we do believe in that fusty old idea of the career open to talents, and we do believe in judging people on their character, not on the color of their skin.

But that is just by the way. My prediction is that people are getting really pissed off with the liberal-gentry ruling class because the liberal gentry ruling class is too stupid to realize that Job One for every ruling class is to avoid pissing people off.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Embarrassing Clinton Revelations: Is It Something in the Water?

Ever since the Clinton era, say about the time that Bill Clinton was running around during the mild 1990-91 recession talking about "the worst economy in the last 50 years" there has seemed to be a jinx on reality.

Whatever mind-numbing fantasy the liberals came up with would get accepted as reality. And good conservative common-sense got anathematized as racism, sexism or homophobia. Or "on your own" economics.

But in recent months something has changed. News that challenges the liberal line seems to be getting through.

Item: the flap over George Stephanopoulous' interview of Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer. Look, it's no big deal to me that George gave $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, whatever, to the Clinton foundation. It's no big deal that a Clinton loyalist would try an ambush interview on a conservative. That's what loyal retainers do in America to demonstrate their fealty to their noble lord. But the fact that there is the teeniest reaction on the part of the mainstream media that maybe there's a problem here is startling.

Item: "New docs reveal administration knew about Benghazi 10 days before attack." What? Who let the dogs out? Because this could be a suppurating wound on the Clinton campaign. It means that Republican candidates can run around repeating that Clinton lied, lied to the faces of the relatives of the brave Benghazi martyrs. For ever.

Item: Chelsea Clinton is a rich bitch and is causing chaos at the Clinton foundation. Whaat? How did that one ever get out? For 22 years, ever since the first Clinton campaign, we've never heard a peep about Chelsea, except heartwarming stories in connection with Socks the Cat. Now they are dishing on Chelsea on the NY Post "Page Six."
“A lot of people left because she was there. A lot of people left because she didn’t want them there,” an insider told me. “She is very difficult.”
I know. Gentry-liberal trust-fund baby demonstrates arrogant sense of entitlement and starts wrecking her inheritance. This is not news. But still, for someone to break the Clinton Code of Omerta, that is news.

So what is going on here? The movie The War Room has the Stephanopoulos character telling a Clinton bimbo:
"I guarantee if you do this, you'll never work in Democratic politics again."
Hey, it's only a movie, but my nickel says that the message goes out to every journalist that thinks of writing or fronting anything that's embarrassing to Democrats.  Report this and you'll never work in this town again. In my view that's why we've heard practically nothing about the real Obama all these years.

So what's going on? Don't tell me that it's the power of the conservative media that's finally forcing these stories out. No, I don't think conservative media has that power.

No, I think we are seeing a power struggle emerge in the liberal/Democratic world, the beginnings of a struggle to own the party after the Obama years. And my guess, and I mean guess, is that this starts with the elected officials in the Democratic Party, because they are starting to realize that they are screwed. They are starting to realize that the 2010 and 2014 elections are not flukes; those mid-terms represent a fundamental shift in the sentiments of the voters.

Let's go out on a limb here. I'd say that a lot of senior and up-and-coming elected officials know that the Obama people have flown them up a box canyon. There is now no alternative but hitting the wall in 2016 as the American people desperately decide that it's time for a change. The question is: Who will inherit the ruins in 2017? The elected officials don't want the Obama crowd; they are the guys that wrecked the party. And they don't want the Clinton crowd either; they are yesterday's men and women.

If this is true, or close to true, then it means that the Democrats are in much worse shape that we think.

Kinda reminds me of the good old Soviet Union. It seemed invincible, until one day in 1990, it wasn't. On account of a washed-up B-movie actor called Ronald Reagan.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Of Course "Motherhood" is a Social Construct

Just in time for Mothers Day Harvard professor Kathleen McCartney wants to remind us that motherhood is a social construct. Thanks, Kathy, we needed that.

But need I remind you, professor, that feminism is also a social construct. If we are to delegitimize this kind of motherhood:
In US culture, we hold to the idea that young children are better off when cared for exclusively by their mothers. 
which you feminists like to do 24-7, then we should admit that any other motherhood is also a social construct. But you don't do that, professor. You appeal to science.
Anthropologists have attempted to disavow us of this view... In foraging societies, mothers stay in close proximity with their babies, while in agricultural societies mothers share child-rearing responsibilities with those less able to be productive in the fields, like grandmothers and young girls. Shared child-rearing has been and continues to be the norm across cultures.
No kidding? You mean like the way that women in suburbs today form a community of mothers and help each other, and then go on to form a kind of informal home-schooling collective? But no. This stunt is meant to justify "child care."
In contemporary society, child care is our form of shared child-rearing. 
I don't think so, professor.  Child care is about dropping your kid off for a paid employee to look after the kid. It's similar to the old days when rich women had nurses and governesses to raise their kids and had their kids presented to them once a day for an hour.

But actually, according to McCartney, "child care" is OK. Because science.
Our culture’s ambivalence about maternal employment spurred research on whether child care was a risk factor for young children. In time, social scientists demonstrated definitively that infant care did not disrupt the mother-child bond and that children thrived in quality child care.
And Dr. McCartney was one of the scientists that proved it.

Back in the 1970s she thought that "believed solid research findings, like my own, would lead to policy change." But it didn't, and now she's mad.

But do you not see, professor, that "policy change" is a weasel word for changing the social construct, by force. So it's not really a social construct but an oppressive construct.

Oh, and by the way, the studies I've heard of say that children that spend their first year away from Mommy tend to develop attachment problems. There is no substitute for direct contact with a mother's love in the first year. Because science.

Liberals like Kathryn McCartney would be amusing if they weren't such dangerous oppressors. If the old concept of motherhood was attached to women defining their identity in the home, what in the name of honest scholarship is the new paradigm of career-oriented women that define their identity by "leaning in" and doing the work/life balance? It's just another social construct of motherhood!

Here's my social construct on motherhood. Rich women have, down the ages, wanted to schuck off the work of nursing and raising their children on servants. Naturally, they have devised cunning social constructs to justify their decision; that's what humans do when they do something shameful.

Today, after a brief moment in the notorious 1950s when Communist feminist journalists like Betty Friedan found themselves unwillingly caught in the suburbs with their kids, rich educated women have reverted to type.

Naturally, as humans have ever done, they have clothed the nakedness of their selfish acts in the alluring raiment of virtue.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Amtrak: Liberals Just Don’t Get It

After the tragic Amtrak rail crash on Tuesday May 12, liberals were first out of the gate blaming Republicans for the crash. You see, Republicans are proposing to cut about $200 million from Amtrak’s budget for 2016. QED.

The Wall Street Journal has a sensible editorial on how this makes no sense. And points out that, if the well-traveled northeast corridor weren’t subsidizing the rest of Amtrak then maybe there would be money for upgrading the signaling, etc.

Oh and by the way, the Journal reports, “Amtrak fares average about 34 cents per mile, versus 15 cents for domestic flights and about a quarter for cars.” Oh, and Amtrak has fares average about 34 cents per mile, versus 15 cents for domestic flights and about a quarter for cars.” Oh, and Amtrak has “so many legislatively mandated tasks and responsibilities” that it doesn’t know which end was up.

Hey, here’s an idea. How about we spin off the northeast corridor from the rest of Amtrak and let the northeast states make what they want of it?

This sort of thing, to me, just illustrates the problem with government. It all ends up as a fight for loot. It all comes down to who gets the government loot to, e.g., feed little children, fix crumbling infrastructure, or install positive train control, or fight racism, sexism and homophobia?

What liberals cannot get through their skulls is that almost everything is simply a paying proposition: “will it pay” to e.g., build a fast and safe northeast rail corridor? If it is then profit-oriented businessmen will build it and run it and make a profit. If not, then why waste the resources on this fragile planet just to appease some powerful special interest.

Oh yes, you say. But passenger rail in a crowded urban corridor is different. It can never pay for itself. The only way is by government subsidy.

But if the only way is government subsidy then we are talking about politics and government where the majority wins and the most powerful interest gets the money. I’d say that this is not a good time for liberals to argue this line because chances are that we’ll have Republicans running Congress for the next decade and they won’t be wanting to spend money on liberals.

If you want government to do it, then you are saying, let’s resolve this by force. And if you end up on the losing side, too bad for you.

That is what capitalism is born to do. It is here to allow change to happen without the say-so of the ruling class. It does not depend on the support of the powerful; it does not pretend to be helping the oppressed. It merely asks “will it pay?” and acts accordingly. It does not require that you get a majority of the votes in Congress before you can do anything. It just says: if you think you can make money on this, go for it.

And if it turns out that it doesn’t pay, then too bad for the stockholders and the bondholders. The taxpayer gets off scot free. That is, unless well-connected liberals come along and demand that the failing corporation gets bailed out “in the national interest.”

I like to say that the only thing that government can do is declare war: on fascism, on ignorance, on want, on bigotry, on the dangerous state run by the thug dictator next door.

What government cannot do is run a business, delivering consumers a service, responding to their individual needs as creatively and flexibly as possible. It’s not the fault of individual government leaders or individual bureaucrats when government fails to do that; it’s just that government is force, and it can’t do things that don’t require force.

But that is what liberals refuse to learn. But why should they care; it's not their money.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Baffling, Progressive Democrats

Today in his weekly column Karl Rove writes that he's baffled by the Democrats. You've got Bill Clinton's crazy comments about the corrupt Clinton foundation; there's Hillary Clinton hidden away from the world in still silence; there's President Obama's crazy insult to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). And why is nobody running against Hillary Clinton?

But I'm baffled by the Progressive Agenda, a 13 point plan for wrecking America and the poor, advanced by people like NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and others. What are they thinking? Don't they realize that it's time for progressives to go and hide after the disaster of the Obama administration?

But no. Here's uber-progressive Joan Walsh of Salon and she's all hopped up about of the rollout of the Progressive Agenda at the US Capitol where "progressive leaders endorsed an agenda to tackle income inequality."

Oh dear, Joan Walsh. Don't you understand that progressive economics and politics increases inequality as it encourages people not to submit to the market economy but to live as serfs on the liberal plantation? Let's take item #1 to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour as the poster boy for progressive folly. Let's think of a few objections to a higher minimum wage:

  • It's superstitious and pre-rational. The science is settled. Minumum wages create unemployment.
  • It's racist. Minimum wages create unemployment especially for unskilled black males.
  • It's dominatory. It puts politicians in charge of the economy. But politicians know nothing about making and selling things. They only know how to divide and conquer.
  • It shoves workers off-the-books and makes workers and employers skirt the law to earn a living.
Here's an idea to help workers. Why not abolish the payroll taxes? What with FICA and unemployment and workers comp. and all, the average working stiff pays about 25 percent of his wages in payroll tax. Then workers could keep their own money as they put aside a little money against a layoff; they could save their own money for a down payment on a house, or starting a business, or sending the kids to college or saving for retirement. What a concept.

The whole Progressive Agenda is like that. It thinks that the only way for the unskilled to get a break is by force. There is not thought at all to enhancing the labor market and the demand for labor so that the employers of the United States would be competing to hire workers and bidding up their wages.

That's the problem with people that believe in politics like a religion. It means they have a remarkable faith in the potential for force: marching for justice; burning down drug stores; putting the screws on business; taxing hard-working entrepreneurs.

But I suspect that the enthusiastic progressives have got it all wrong. I suspect that the average American voter is not riled up about minimum wages and "Black Lives Matter." The average American voter is frustrated that nobody seems to care about ordinary middle-class concerns: good jobs, good schools, and a better world for our children. What do Obamacare, immigration amnesty, and gay marriage have to do with that?

Remember ten years ago? Democrats, under the leadership of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), recruited a bunch of moderate candidates to run for Congress and won 35 House seats in the 2006 midterms, and 30 House seats in 2008. But all that got blown away in the 2010 midterms as Americans revolted against the left-wing Obama agenda.

Do the Democrats really think they are going to get traction on an even more left-wing agenda in 2016?

You never know, not until the votes are counted.

But count me just as baffled as Karl Rove.