Does Sanders Cancel Out Comey... Or Will Terrorism Cancel Out Everything?

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By Mark Green

Lowry & Lemarche debate Clinton's standing after Comey's rebuke and the Sanders embrace. In our super--polarized era, will Hillary's 50% negative be the new 40% and will unindicted beat unqualified? Then they a) agree that Pence will be a footnote in '16 but b) disagree whether Obama's remarks at the Dallas service were courageous and candid or tone-deal and inappropriate.

After the Truck Attack. Though analogies to the tumultuous '60s arre surely overwrought, does the combination of lone wolves causing mass deaths and shootings by and of police change the trajectory of 2016?

Rich Lowry of the National Review is sympathetic to "extreme vetting", in Trump's words, based not on religion but anti-American "ideology" as happened during the Cold War or "if, say, people believed in killing homosexuals." But he parts company with Newt Gingrich by calling "outrageous and unconstitutional" efforts to deport American Muslims if they believe in Sharia Law. Gare Lamarche thinks any such tests of new arrivals or current Americans repugnant and likely intended to politically instill and exploit fear.

Ok, but what if there's an Orlando a month -- would that create a terrible "new normal" that Americans would treat calmly as Israelis do... or stampede voters into a a national security state or officials into over-reacting as Bush 43 did? Lowry notes that "France is right now facing such constant low-level terror threats because of a greater Muslim population not well integrated into its society" and that America certainly would respond with alarm if there more Orlandos. He worries that ISIS has found a new tactic that works for them.

Gara, for years with the ACLU, agrees that were there more such events in the US -- "a country awash in guns" -- there would then be "a continuing balancing of civil liberties versus crackdowns."

Host: certainly Trump and Gingrich's rhetoric is inflammatory and politically inspired. But imagine if there were a Trump Administration -- how would it react to continuing low-level attacks? For now: internationally, the Obama Administration has been modestly successful at its combination of drone/missile/air attacks plus special forces in helping allies take back territory from the self-declared "Caliphate"; domestically, law enforcement agencies have capably stopped large scales attacks since 9/11; but extremists driving a truck through crowds or shooting up a nightclub pose a new and different kind of problem.

Pence, Sanders, Comey. There's a consensus that VP pick Michael Pence of Indiana may slightly assauge the party's fundamentalist base but will be soon forgotten, especially given the dismissive to nearly humiliating way he was rolled out. "It gives Hillary alot of room on her own VP choice," adds Gara, "which everyone seems to think keeps moving to Senator Tim Kaine -- former governor, former DNC chair, now Senator -- who easily meets her 'ability to be president' test."

More significant is how Clinton comes out after the extraordinary Comey rebuke and Sanders endorsement. Lowry thinks that "the media missed the importance of an FBI director attacking a party's nominee" because they thought that a stupid tweet with a star of david was as important. Indeed, national polls did show her slipping some 4-5 points after Comey's denunciation-- which Gara thought was an outrageous violation of prosecutorial discretion since his job is to indict or not...but not editorialize.

Host: but won't Sander's endorsement move as many points in her direction by coaxing the 90%+ unity a nominee needs to win?
Lowry agrees that with the Reagans, Bushes, Romneys, Scowcroft, Armitage, Kirk/Graham/Sasse, Will/Erickson/Gerson/Lowry etc opposing the GOP nominee, it will be hard for Trump break 90% of his smaller party. Lamarche agrees but still worries about Trump's threat since "he really can't get below 45% [in a 2 way race]."

The Host pounces: "given his qualities and numbers, he hasn't ever gotten over 42 percent -- and won't." There ensures an interesting debate as Lowry notes that 42 might be enough to win a multi-candidate contest (see Lincoln, Wilson, Clinton) , as the Host adds that Gary Johnson is not TR, Perot or Nader, to which Lowry niftily replies that he needn't be, only a safe place for the millions of voters dissatisfied with the two major nominees. To which the Host only later realizes he should have concluded that the Libertarian and Green party nominees will likely fall to perhaps 5-7 percent since people don''t like to waste their vote when so much is at stake.

Obama After Dallas.
Speaking of the Rashoman Effect -- when differently situated people see the same events very differently -- Lamarche lauds Obama's eloquent, sensitive, gutsy remarks at the service for the five police officers slain by a black sniper targeting whites. Many Obama admirers think only someone of his oratorical skills and unique bi-racial background could attempt such a challenging assignment. Rich, however, is unmoved, thinking it very inappropriate to discuss Black Lives Matter and shootings by police at a solemn service about shootings of police.

Lamarche then condemns Rudy Giuliani's remarks calling BLM protestors "inherently racist" for focusing on only "black lives." Gara recalls a friend saying that while all houses matter, if yours is burning down that should probably be the one fire fighters immediately focus on. Rich then questions statistics about whether there's a serious problem at all of racial bias in law endorsement, which Gara dismisses by citing the overwhelming weight of policing studies as well as Tim Scott's own problems "driving while black" though a U. S. Senator.

The Host repeats something he heard a black female police officer say on television this week: "I think blue lives matter. I think black lives matter. But if you harbor racial resentment, do not put on that blue uniform!"