Figures of Speech? $11 Trillion Dollars

Figures of Speech? $11 Trillion Dollars

April 29, 2021

It was supposed to be Joe Biden's first address to a joint Congress. What it was, as anyone brave enough to tune in saw, was his first address to an almost empty room. The scene was certainly a downer, punctuated by a 100-days speech that reminded everyone just how long the next four years will be. "America is on the move again," the president insisted. In what a majority of Americans see as the wrong direction.

"If you missed President Joe Biden's big speech to the nation last night, congratulations," Jim Geraghty joked. His analysis, which compared the monologue to a bowl of reheated oatmeal, was actually one of the kinder reviews. "Boring, lifeless, and predictable" might have been all right, he agreed, if the actual talking points were ones that Americans could swallow. Instead, Biden's dull delivery was only cover for the most extreme socialist agenda this country has ever seen. And he'll have to put more than Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to sleep if he has any intentions of accomplishing it.

"Biden conjured a world in which there was no danger from unprecedented deficit spending, no possible adverse consequences from raising taxes on corporations and rich people, no spike in violent crime that needs attending, and no foreign threats that demand of us more than platitudes about leadership," the NRO editors blasted. "Even as he proposed one of the most radically Left policy agendas in American history, he continued to feign an eagerness to work with Republicans."

At this point, he's said the word unity more than any president -- but meant it less than all combined. His sweeping proposals -- everything from Big Government toddler-care to free college and elder care "infrastructure" -- all cashes out to more $11 trillion dollars in new spending, a number so radical that even liberal Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) warned Biden: that's not the path to bipartisanship. "How [are we going] to pay for it?" Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) asked on "Washington Watch." "We haven't even gotten to the appropriations [bills] and his budget, which we expect to be about $4.5 trillion dollars in other spending..." It's cradle-to-the-grave socialism. That's not something you can have a "productive discussion" with Republicans about. For them, and for the majority of Americans in this nation, this "moderate radicalism," as CNN hilariously tried to spin it, is a non-starter.

Not to mention, analysts point out, a complete and utter fiscal disaster. One of Biden's favorite words in the 6,045 marathon was "jobs" (which he used 46 times) or -- my personal favorite, "millions and millions of jobs" (four times). His disastrous climate initiative would create jobs, Biden said. His $2 trillion dollar COVID relief hoax will create jobs. Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord will send "hundreds of thousands" of people to work. No one is quite sure how, since all of the fact-checkers seemed anxious to take his word for it. Maybe he means we'll all have to take two and three jobs to pay for our share of the costs of his new government programs. Either way, he's living on a planet where facts don't matter.

The reality is, David Bossie points out, the American people aren't looking for radical change. This is a nation that, by generous counts, voted President Biden into office by just 40,000 votes. Democrats have a "microscopic majority in the House, and they control the U.S. Senate by a heartbeat. There's no mandate for Joe Biden to move forward with this extreme socialist overhaul.

For a party claiming to be so in touch with Americans, nothing this White House is pursuing has the support of the nation it's governing. It's true on overseas abortion funding (77 percent oppose), abolishing girls' sports (54 percent oppose), court-packing (65 percent oppose), ending voter ID (77 percent oppose), defunding the police (62 percent oppose), abolishing the filibuster (52 percent oppose), higher taxes/bigger government (56 percent oppose), overturning the Hyde amendment (58 percent oppose), and granting amnesty over controlling the border (62 percent oppose).

It's no wonder Biden's speech bombed. Even CNN admitted that Donald Trump's maiden address got higher marks than his successor. That's because, for all of his flaws, President Trump still spoke in a language of common values -- life, faith, freedom, patriotism. This president spent Wednesday night offering to lead a new war on faith with the Equality Act and applauding children who want to ruin their lives and mutilate their bodies against their family's wishes. "To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially young people, who are so brave, I want you to know, your president has your back." And yet, that same back is turned on all of the parents, all of the regretful adults, all of the counselors and doctors who are desperate to protect our sons and daughters.

Meanwhile, there was no word of the real crises in our midst (which is not, as Joe Biden would have you believe, the lack of taxpayer-funded gender transition surgeries for minors). He never mentioned the chaos at the border. Never hinted that one of those "human rights commitments" America cares about is stopping genocide against Chinese Uyghurs. He did, however, find time to repeat the harmful lie about our country's supposed racism (a word he mentioned twice as often as faith, for anyone keeping count.)

Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) ripped the tired argument to shreds in his GOP response, masterfully exposing Biden as a political opportunist who's only using this rhetoric to try to get more support for his policy. "Hear me clearly," Scott said. "America is not a racist country." And yet, he points out, from colleges to corporations, "people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven't made any progress. By doubling down on the divisions we've worked so hard to heal." The Democratic leadership is no different. They're using race, he insisted, as "a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants." That's wrong. "It's backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination, and it's wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."

It's all a ruse. Just like the political theater of a socially-distanced, half-empty room, when every single member of Congress has been vaccinated. "It's interesting," Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said. Democrats didn't mind 100 senators in the same room, inches apart for hours on end, to impeach Donald Trump for the second time. "Apparently, COVID was not an issue then." The message, the New York Post editors think, is that this nightmare will never end. Thank goodness the same can't be said of this nightmare of a Biden presidency.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Woke CEOs Go Bully up in Fights

April 29, 2021

Corporate America: heavy on threats, light on action. After the big blow-up in Georgia, most businesses probably thought they'd scared the daylights out of Republicans by going on MSNBC and ranting against the state's election law. Turns out, the people who should be scared are the woke CEOs. Not only did Major League Baseball's All-Star move backfire, but fed-up conservatives seem to have universally decided to stop paying attention to the corporate rants. If Coca-Cola, Target, and Starbucks want to pitch a fit and leave the state, well, don't let the door hit your can on the way out.

Even on issues like transgenderism, a topic that shouldn't be a heavy lift (nor one that any CEO should stake his company's viability on), Republicans seem just as resolved. Seeing major brands like Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, Bayer, Ben & Jerry's, Capital One, Dell, Gap, GoDaddy, Hilton, H&M, IKEA, Levi Strauss, Marriott, Nike, PayPal, Pepsi, Peloton, Pfizer, REI, T-Mobile, Uber, Verizon, and Wells Fargo pledge their allegiance to the Human Rights Campaign hasn't made states' knees turn to jelly. In fact, their indifference to these public letters, warnings of financial consequences, and even full-page New York Times ads has been so overwhelming that the Associated Press is wondering if corporate America's entire crusade is toothless.

"There's been a vehement outcry from supporters of transgender rights," the AP writes, "but little in the way of tangible repercussions for those states. It's a striking contrast," they insist, "to the fate of North Carolina a few years ago. When its legislature passed a bill in March 2016 limiting which public restrooms transgender people could use, there was a swift and powerful backlash. The NBA and NCAA relocated events; some companies scrapped expansion plans... So far this year, there's been nothing comparable. Not even lawsuits, although activists predict some of the measures eventually will be challenged in court."

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), who was at the tip of the spear in that North Carolina debate, thinks the lessons in his state ought to be the roadmap for every conservative moving forward. When you stand up to these cultural bullies, they go away. And multiple states lately, thanks to Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) -- who stuck to his guns and fought back -- are standing up and saying we're pursuing common-sense policy no matter what the mobs do. What's happened? As the AP points out, nothing.

As Dan explains, a lot has been made of the quote-unquote backlash to North Carolina, but that's a narrative that leaders like him have been trying to debunk for years. "Even in the year 2016, when HB 2 was passed in March and remained on the books throughout that year, it was by some distance the best tourism year for North Carolina ever." When Bishop asked the general assembly staff to study the economic fallout in 2018, the answer came back: there wasn't any! "And yet the establishment media have forever... cited one article by two AP reporters with no economic expertise, no analysis, no examination of data. They just sort of came up with the notion that there had been $3.76 billion dollars of economic impact on North Carolina. It was absurd."

In reality, North Carolina's tourism numbers broke records; its population grew faster than any state in the union; Forbes named it either the top state or second best state for business since then, and the state's GDP was even higher than the national average!

"I think what you're seeing is you can only maintain kind of a bully's bravado a few times until you're called out," Bishop told listeners on "Washington Watch." "And now they've gone to the well more often than they can." Look, Dan said, "I never back down." (He was the lead sponsor on HB 2, incidentally.) "I never advocated for the repeal of HB 2. I've been elected four times since then -- and some who waffled weren't. So I just think the lessons are clear. And I would certainly say to all those states that have voters that want these values protected... you've got to show them who's boss. [Our elected officials] have been elected by the people to serve and make the decisions -- not CEOs, not the radical H.R. departments that have been infested with these rogue Leftists. You just cannot cave to that. And this phenomenon will go away if a number of states stand up to it."

Just this week, Florida leaders -- despite a similar onslaught -- managed to resurrect a girls' sports bill from the dead and send it to the governor's desk. "This is a pro-female, pro-woman bill," said Sen. Keith Perry (R), and if Ron DeSantis (R) signs it, it will be yet another signal to the Left that this movement will not be intimidated. As Ronald Reagan said, you don't negotiate with terrorists -- and these are cultural terrorists. More men and women need to do what Governor Kemp has done and call their bluff. What Dan described in North Carolina is the perfect example that they are bluffing. They can't hurt your economy. In fact, the Tar Heels have grown so much and welcomed so many transplants that the Census just gave them another congressional seat.

One of the best things conservatives can do is counter-attack. "In Georgia," Bishop reminded everyone, "they filed a bill to repeal Delta Airlines aviation fuel tax credit... [T]he MLB has had to defend the fact that they're retaliated against Atlanta, a community in which business owners are majority black. And Stacey Abrams is having to bear the brunt of that ridiculous activisms. That's the thing. I say not only stand pat, but go after these corporations."

It's something the Republican Party could stand to learn from Donald Trump. He always felt like the best defense was a good offense. And he was constantly on the offense (maybe a little bit too much). But the point is, the things you believe in, fight for them. Don't hunker down in a foxhole. Charge the hill.

"There's a great hunger and intense hunger out there for people, for elected officials, who will stand up for their convictions," Dan insisted. "I don't care whether I remain in office or not. If someone wants to dump me because I've stood up for the principles I've been elected upon, so be it. But my responsibility is to stand for the principles, and let the voters choose."

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

As Biden Pushes CRT, More States Push Back

April 29, 2021

By FRC's Meg Kilgannon

Last week, the Department of Education published a proposed new rule establishing priorities for grants in American history and civics education programs. Conservatives should be on alert when the Biden Administration starts meddling in our local schools' history and civics curricula. Their proposed rule includes projects that incorporate "racially, ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse perspectives," which we know is code for divisive and destructive Critical Race Theory. The Biden rule even praises the New York Times' controversial and discredited "1619 project."

What could this mean for public schools in America? State legislatures across the country are considering bills that would ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory, and the issue is being addressed none too soon. Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, also warns of "action civics" and federal legislation designed to combine racist ideology with protesting as classwork.

In a recent interview on "Washington Watch," Kurtz explained: "Legislation pending in Congress right now called the Civics Secures Democracy Act would appropriate one billion dollars a year to fund history and civic education. And if you combine...that legislation with the new Biden rule, then this would be like a second Common Core, but much worse. You might remember that Obama was able to force Common Core on 48 of the 50 states just by offering grant money through what was called "Race to the Top." If the Civics Secures Democracy Act passes, it will be exceedingly difficult to prevent even red states from applying for these grants that then require the state impose Critical Race Theory and something else called 'action civics.'"

Kurtz continued, "Action civics is essentially political protest (in practice, Leftist political protest) for course credit that will be imposed even on the red states in most instances if that legislation passes and the Biden administration administers the grants to fund it."

We know that when Left-wing education lobbyists hound state legislatures for additional education funding, federal grant money -- even with dangerous strings attached -- is very hard for state and local lawmakers to refuse.

But Kurtz describes a way to stop this potential indoctrination of our nation's primary and secondary students: "First, we could block the federal bill." But, he continues, "we have to fight this at . . . the state level and frankly the district level as well." Kurtz has a state-level proposal called the "Partisanship Out of Civics Act" that is endorsed by the National Association of Scholars. His bill responds to both action civics and Critical Race Theory and the worst ideas from the 1619 Project.

A bill inspired by Kurtz's model is advancing in Texas, and several other states are advancing bills in response to Critical Race Theory as well. Lawmakers across the country are just beginning to come to terms with how to deal with the issue.

These responsive bills reflect an important reckoning that varies in detail by state. Many have adapted President Trump's executive order barring Critical Race Theory in a way that impacts education in public schools. Some of them are going to pass and be overturned. Some of them may face a veto. But the important point is that our leaders are grappling with this troubling issue and we are grateful for the work they are doing. Efforts like Stanley Kurtz are a wonderful contribution to the process.

For concerned conservatives reading this and wondering how to help, your state and local government is closest to you, and is where you can instantly have the greatest impact. Please reach out to your elected officials, and let them know they need to grapple with the harmful and destructive ideology contained in Critical Race Theory.