Election Reflections

Each of our three editors provides today his individual short reflections on the election just concluded. We welcome readers to offer their own reflections about the election. ... Read More

We Still Do Not Know What Is Coming

Donald Trump’s apparent loss to Joe Biden would be far less troubling had Biden not chosen a left-wing extremist for his running mate. Then again, it would have been far more troubling if Republicans had failed to keep control of the Senate. The one hopeful sign about the resilience of American institutions is that the preference of the electorate for divided government seems to remain strong. Since Franklin Roosevelt’s time, only Kennedy and Johnson had and kept control of both houses for more than two Congresses. The rapidity with which Clinton, Obama and Trump lost that control of Congress seems to be a warning that there is still a middle that rejects partisan attempts at radical change. That may be due to the different geographic makeup of the House and Senate more than the continued viability of the center, but it remains a brilliant achievement of the Founders. Markets are already celebrating a return to divided government: Bloomberg news stated on November 9 that “A GOP-led Senate with a Democratic president is "one of the better scenarios" for stocks, JPMorgan said, as it would limit market-negative policies but lessen trade uncertainty. The firm expects a rotation to value and said once there's full election clarity, bond yields may grind higher. Goldman Sachs cut its 10-year Treasury yield forecast on prospects for a divided Congress.” ... Read More

Thinking About Things: The Biden Family Business, Ethics and the Rule of Law

While I have no special insight (or maybe no insight at all) into the outcome of tonight’s election, recent revelations about the Biden family (the apparent selling of Chinese and other nations’ access to Joe Biden by his son, his brother and others for millions of dollars, some of which allegedly went at least indirectly to Joe Biden) brings to my mind several thoughts. But first a few sentences of essential background. The first line of defense to the initial revelations by the New York Post was that this was Russian disinformation. The second line of defense seemed to be that this could not be true because none of the media were reporting it and if it were true, the media would of course be reporting it. After Mr. Bobulinski’s firsthand eyewitness account of events, supported by contemporaneous emails and documents (collection of links here), was broadcast on national television, a soft third line of defense developed: that this was “old news” unworthy of comment. An equally soft fourth line of defense was that this was just a political smear and that Joe Biden did nothing illegal. One does not need to dislike Mr. Biden or like Mr. Trump to recognize that something quite troubling happened and is now being ignored - sort of like the “crazy uncle in the attic” whose rantings are ignored by dinner party guests. It is not as if peddling influence to foreign governments is new. The Clinton foundation raised hundreds of millions of dollars from Middle Eastern potentates based on the presumption that Mrs. Clinton would become President. A week after the 2016 election, the foundation was effectively finished. President Bill Clinton sold nights in the Lincoln bedroom to large donors, mostly domestic, but perhaps foreign. Politically powerful politicians have spouses and children who seem to end up making gobs of money, sometimes even right out of college. Chelsea Clinton had a starting salary of $650,000 or so. Hunter Biden has lots of company selling access, perhaps indeed from both parties. But the Biden family business is troubling not only because Joe Biden was vice president at the time, but because he is on the verge of becoming the actual President-elect tonight or this week. ... Read More