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Guess Who’s REALLY Saving “Our Democracy”?  

“The Biden-Schumer election demagoguery hits a bipartisan wall,” reads the subhead on a Wall Street Journal editorial on Senator Kyrsten Sinema this morning.

The essential brick in that bipartisan wall was of course Senator Krysten Sinema, Democrat from Arizona, who yesterday rose on the Senate floor to announce that, while she supports the Biden-Schumer election bill, she is unwilling to blow up the filibuster to achieve it.

Progressives with Twitter accounts were not pleased. “How do the staff of @SenatorSinema not resign at the shame of being handmaidens to the death of Democracy?” asked someone called Malcolm Nance. Handmaidens? Is it an all-female staff?

But it was a substantive speech. It evoked curmudgeonly praise from PJ Media’s Stephen Kruiser, who wrote, “While the tired Dem ‘blah blah’ about voting rights was unneeded and incorrect, some of the remarks in the beginning were fantastic.”  She said, as the Wall Street editorial noted, that the elimination of the filibuster would make the Senate even more bitterly partisan.

“The problem of polarization would be exacerbated by stripping the minority party of its power in the U.S. Senate. She reminded her co-partisans how ‘nearly every party-line response’ to Senate polarization ‘has led us to more division,’ with judicial confirmation battles as the chief example. In a ‘steady escalation of tit for tat,’ she said, ‘each new majority weakens the guardrails of the Senate.’”

“Demonstrating more foresight than the late Harry Reid or current Senate Majority Chuck Schumer demonstrated,” Townhall’s Spencer Brown declared, “Sinema declared that ‘eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy from threats in the years to come.’ Ending the legislative filibuster in order to force through Democrats’ radical federal takeover of elections is something Sinema said would ‘worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.’”

Shortly after Sinema delivered her remarks, Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, issued a statement that reiterated his support for the filibuster and saying that eliminating it would be a “perilous course of action.”

Senators Sinema and Manchin refused to nuke the filibuster two days after President Biden’s incendiary but clearly ineffective remarks in Atlanta that charged that those who disagree with him on the voting bill are Bull Connor and George Wallace rolled into one. David Harsanyi called the President’s remarks “little more than the mendacious ravings of a demagogue.

The President’s words were so outrageous that Mitt Romney “ripped” it and Democrat David Durbin admitted the President might have gone too far and Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell delivered a masterful putdown. So, why did the President even go to Atlanta to say such nasty things?

One suggested rationale is that he intended to use the speech to rally support for his base. He knew the bill would not pass, but he wanted the base to know his heart us with him. Note to President Biden: This portion of the base doesn’t care about the heart of the old man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—what it cares about is passing an election law bill that will slant elections in their favor for all eternity. The no-shows for the speech, most notably including Stacey Abrams, show that the base is onto him. Biden is “reeling” after a terrible week.

The damaging speech got President precisely nothing. The Wall Street Journal editorial on Sinema ends this way: “We disagree with Ms. Sinema on many policies, but she’s right that the chief challenge for American self-government is leaders “pressuring us to see our fellow Americans as enemies.” President Trump often indulged in this tendency, and President Biden did the same in his Tuesday speech.

“In addition to apparently closing the door on Mr. Biden’s voting agenda, Ms. Sinema’s speech offers a glimpse into an alternate reality where Mr. Biden governed according to his campaign rhetoric and his mandate instead of as a demagogic partisan. His Presidency would not be flailing as much as it is now.”

Sinema and Manchin remind us of a Democratic Party before the Squad and radical ideologies took it to a new place. Manchin and Sinema could help their party, if only the Dems knew it.

Scientists: On Shaky Pedestals

Raise your hand if you believe that science wasn’t politicized during the pandemic.  

The public is onto this and that may be the reason that the White House has released a 67-page document with prescriptions that aim at “scientific integrity.” “About time,” writes Glenn Reynolds in the New York Post.

Interesting timing for releasing a plan to de-politicize science, as Reynolds observes:

Ironically, even as this initiative was announced, damning new information about government scientists’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak came out. A series of just-released e-mails from top scientists revealed they were highly confident that the disease came out of a Chinese laboratory, even as their public statements treated any such suggestions as crazy talk, “conspiracy theory” and “misinformation.”

Reynolds calls our attention to U.K. science journalist Matt Ridley’s excellent piece on why eminent members of the scientific community sought to suppress the lab leak theory of how the pandemic began, even though they found the theory likely. Short answer: They didn’t want to offend China (whose Wuhan lab, by the was receiving U.S. money for “gain of function” research).

In order to head off dissent (ironic, since many scientific breakthroughs begin with dissent), health officials told us to always “believe the science.” That was the mantra, but the mantra takes a hit if scientists aren’t honest with us.

And then shouldn’t we listen to the experts and evaluate what they are saying and then make up our own minds? I mean, isn’t using your mind the sort of thing a scientist would do? Adding to the conundrum, experts often disagree. Crispin Sartwell has a terrific op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning about this very issue. He observes:

Deferring to the experts appears central to many people’s value systems and political identities and is emphasized relentlessly by the Biden administration and the media. For people who have staked their lives on doing whatever the experts tell them to do, the strange unity of confusion has induced an epistemic crisis. …

Another Hit for the President

“Supreme Court puts an end to pandemic of the autocrat,” is the headline on a Fox News report on yesterday’s Supreme court ruling that the Biden administration can’t use OSHA to mandate vaccines.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that the administration can’t mandate through OSHA that private employers coerce employees to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. However, in another decision, the Court held that health workers at entities that receive Medicare and Medicaid money can be required to get a vaccination.

Though the ruling on private employers appeared the likely outcome, it was nevertheless a relief, affirming that government can’t just decree us to do something without any legal basis.

“This is no ‘everyday exercise of federal power,'” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the order. “Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”

Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff has an excellent breakdown on how individual Justices decided. Good piece also in Reason.

Debatable Debates

Ms. Must’s eye is on the clock, but late as it is, I can’t sign off without mentioning some good news: The Republican National Committee has at last recognized that the “nonpartisan” Presidential Debate Commission selects moderators, panelists and rules that inevitably favor Democrats.

That is partly because the Commission is an establishment group that, for example, has one member whose specialty is “civility”—you know, making sure conservatives don’t get out of hand. At any rate, the RNC is signaling that it will bar Republican presidential candidates from participating in these debates.

Please do more than signal! It is possible to put forward some kind of format that doesn’t disadvantage conservative candidates. Good analysis from Powerline.

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