You Can’t Legislate Free Inquiry on Campus

There is a battle raging for the soul of America’s universities. One side, on the left, seeks to limit the range of acceptable speech to a curated set of “safe” ideas. Another side, on the right, wants to aggressively enforce the addition of other ideas to restore a balance of perspectives. Both approaches are misguided and dangerous.

.. Just as those who shout down or silence speakers with whom they disagree contribute to the problem, so, too, do efforts by legislators to eliminate particular courses or forms of expression.

Trump’s short-term achievements will cost conservatives

Amos went to Israel at a time of great prosperity to tell the nation God would destroy it for failing to care for its widows, its poor, its orphans and its refugees.

Everyone looked around at the success, riches, and plenty and mocked the prophet.

.. ch, and it has become far easier for conservatives to turn a blind eye to injustices than speak up.

.. More and more conservatives are modeling Trump’s bad behaviors. His vulgarity, his thin skin, his willingness to insult and demean, and his willingness to degrade his office are now reflected in conservative political leaders who increasingly see their goal as beating the other side instead of advancing ideas and sound public policy.

.. The party of small government is perfectly happy to grow government as long as Trump is spending the money. The party of limited government is perfectly happy to have a powerful chief executive as long as Trump is wielding the power. Trump and his supporters have also doubled-down on unwise precedents set by the Obama administration. President Barack Obama investigated leaks to reporters such as James Rosen; Trump now seems to revel in the idea of shutting down whole networks whose coverage he hates. Republicans who decried the left’s hostility to free speech in the Obama years now champion censorship of their opponents.

.. It is safe to say many of the president’s supporters have concluded that arguments and debates no longer work, so they will take what they can get as quickly as they can before the tide rolls in and washes this administration away.

.. The short-term gains of this administration, like those of the last, are being achieved by executive order and appointment. So too then can the gains of this administration be wiped out as easily as those of the last.

.. There will always be partisans on the left who hate anything those on the right do. But they are not who conservatives have to worry about. Conservatives have to worry about those in the middle who are persuadable. They have to worry about minority voters increasingly skeptical of the secular drift of the Democratic Party. They have to worry about younger voters.

.. It has become harder to make the case for family and morality as prominent evangelicals applaud and justify the bad behaviors of a thrice-married adulterer who believes immigrants should be judged based on their nation of origin, not the content of their own character.

.. not only has Anthony M. Kennedy not retired from the Supreme Court, but also he has drifted left.

.. the precedent is now there for Democrats to just ignore a replacement who Trump nominates. The conservatives who rallied to Trump to save the high court may very well lose it because of him.

.. Though many conservatives, myself included, have cheered the successes of this administration, most of them are easily reversible and, along the way, it will be harder and harder to separate the successes from the low character and behavior of the man whose name is connected to them. Conservatives may no longer care, but for most Americans, character still matters. At some point, those on the right will pay the price.

The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Etiquette

Remember the hand-wringing when Barack Obama wore a tan suit or tossed a football in the Oval Office?

 .. As part of our continuing effort to resist the exhausting and numbing effects of living under a relentlessly abusive and degrading president, we present, for the third time in nine months, an updated guide to what Republicans now consider to be acceptable behavior from the commander in chief. As before, these examples, drawn from incidents or disclosures in the last three-plus months, do not concern policy decisions — only the president’s words and actions.

Question the authenticity of a recording of you bragging about sexual assault, even though you previously admitted it was real

.. Call the American justice system a “joke” and a “laughingstock”

Have your lawyer pay $130,000 in hush money to a porn star with whom you had an affair while your wife was at home caring for your new son

.. Continue to call for a criminal investigation of your former political opponent, whom you call the “worst (and biggest) loser of all time” a year after the election

.. Tell your rich friends after your tax bill passes, “You all just got a lot richer

Boast that you have a higher I.Q. than your secretary of state, who fails to deny that he called you a “moron”

.. Defend your mental competency by saying that you are “like, really smart” and a “very stable genius”

Tell your attorney general not to recuse himself from overseeing an investigation into your campaign, then when he does anyway, call it “a terrible thing”

.. Falsely claim that your predecessor failed to contact the families of fallen soldiers, and then exploit the death of your chief of staff’s son to defend yourself

.. Threaten to take away a TV network’s broadcast license for reporting on your deliberations about the nation’s nuclear arsenal

.. Threaten to use federal tax law to punish a professional sports league for letting its players express political opinions

Tell reporters that “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it”

Warn American citizens in Puerto Rico, only weeks after a catastrophic hurricane, that the federal government can’t help them out “forever,” even as you tell victims of a hurricane in Texas, “We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!”

.. Spend one-third of the first year of your taxpayer-funded presidency visiting your own golf courses or properties
.. While debating policy with lawmakers on live television, accidentally agree to a deal that is the opposite of what your party wants, get corrected by the House majority leader, and then release an official White House transcript that omits the exchange

.. Say that your former White House adviser and campaign chief has “lost his mind,” after another former adviser and campaign manager is indicted on money laundering and other federal charges

.. Claim that a new tax bill you support will “cost me a fortune,” even though it will probably save you millions, but who knows since you refuse to release your tax returns

.. Take credit for the fact that no one died on a domestic commercial airliner during your first year in office

.. Continue to mock foreign leaders by implying that they are, among other things, “short and fat”

.. Try to stop the publication of a book that says critical things about you and your administration

.. Accuse an F.B.I. agent of treason without evidence

.. Watch four to eight hours of cable television a day, mostly the channel that feeds you self-serving propaganda
 .. Choose for federal judgeships nominees who cannot identify or explain basic legal concepts, and who were rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association
.. Falsely claim that you have signed more legislation than any first-year president, when in fact you have signed less than any post-World War II president
.. Taunt a foreign leader who claims he has nuclear weapons by saying your “nuclear button” is “a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
.. Criticize a law that your party firmly supports, then, two hours later, reverse yourself

.. Pick nominees to the federal bench who call a sitting Supreme Court justice a “judicial prostitute” and refer to transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan”

.. Campaign hard for a Senate candidate; then when he appears likely to lose, say “I might have made a mistake” and later delete your tweets supporting him .. Behave so erratically and irresponsibly that senators of your own party resort to saying you’re treated like someone at “an adult day-care center” to keep you from starting World War III
.. Spend one of every three days as president visiting at least one of your own properties
.. Publicly and privately humiliate your own attorney general for recusing himself from an investigation into your campaign
.. Say nothing when a foreign leader’s bodyguards brutally attack peaceful protesters in the streets of Washington, D.C.
.. Tweet GIFs of yourself violently attacking the media and your former political opponent
.. Encourage police officers not to be “too nice” when apprehending criminal suspects

.. Help draft a misleading statement about the purpose of a meeting between your son, other top campaign aides and representatives of a rival foreign power intent on interfering in the election

Deliver a speech to the Boy Scouts of America that includes mockery of a former president and winking references to sexual orgies, and then lie by claiming that the head of that organization called and told you it was the best speech ever delivered in Boy Scout history

Hang a framed copy of a fake Time magazine cover celebrating your business acumen in your golf clubs around the world

Mock a female television anchor’s appearance, saying the anchor was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at a holiday gathering at your private resort

Force your cabinet members to take turns extolling your virtues in front of television cameras

Welcome into the Oval Office a man who threatened to assassinate your predecessor, whom he called a “subhuman mongrel,” and who referred to your political opponent as a “worthless bitch”

Continue to deny that Russia attempted to influence the presidential election, despite the consensus of the American intelligence community — and yet also blame your predecessor for not doing anything to stop that interference

Grant temporary White House press credentials to a website that, among other things, claims that Sept. 11 was an “inside job” and that the massacre of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax

.. Pardon a former sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to obey the law

Continue to repeat, with admiration, a false story about an American military general committing war crimes

Mock the mayor of a world city for his careful, sober response to a terrorist attack

 .. Admit to trying to intimidate a key witness in a federal investigation

.. Profit off the presidency, accepting millions of dollars from foreign government officials, businesses, politicians and other supporters who pay a premium to patronize your properties and get access to you — while also attempting to hide the visitor lists at some of those properties from the public
.. Promise to drain the swamp, then quietly grant ethics waivers to multiple former industry lobbyists who want to work in your administration

.. Call for criminal investigations of your former political opponent, seven months after winning the election

Appoint your family wedding planner to head a federal housing office

Shove aside a fellow head of state at a photo-op

Accuse a former president, without evidence, of an impeachable offense

.. Employ top aides with financial and other connections to a hostile foreign power

.. Call the media “the enemy of the American people”

Demand personal loyalty from the F.B.I. director

Threaten the former F.B.I. director

.. Allow White House staff members to use their personal email for government business

Claim, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally

Fail to fire high-ranking members of your national security team for weeks, even after knowing they lied to your vice president and exposed themselves to blackmail

Refuse to release tax returns

Hide the White House visitors’ list from the public

Vacation at one of your private residences nearly every weekend

Use an unsecured personal cellphone

Criticize specific businesses for dropping your family members’ products

Review and discuss highly sensitive intelligence in a restaurant, and allow the Army officer carrying the “nuclear football” to be photographed and identified by name

.. Hire relatives for key White House posts, and let them meet with foreign officials and engage in business at the same time

Promote family businesses on federal government websites

.. Compare the U.S. intelligence community to Nazis

.. Share highly classified information with a hostile foreign power without the source’s permission

Is Tom Cotton the Future of Trumpism?

The junior senator from Arkansas is a hybrid of insurgent and old guard.

At forty years old, Cotton is the youngest member of the Senate

.. when we hear that kind of ridicule, we hear them making fun of the way we look, and the way we talk, and the way we think.”

.. It was, on one level, a breathtaking leap—to equate mockery of a louche New York billionaire with attacks on the citizens of this small, conservative city, which lies across the Arkansas River from Oklahoma.

.. “Next to Trump, he’s the elected official who gets it the most—the economic nationalism.

.. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, whose term is not up until 2020, said that, by threatening journalists, Trump was violating his oath to defend the Constitution.

.. “The President puts things sometimes in a way that I would not,” he said in early October. “But he was still nominated by our voters and elected by the American people to be our President, and if we want him to accomplish our agenda we need to set him up for success.”

.. From the beginning, Tom could play to both the establishment and the Tea Party. Everyone recognizes he’s got a firm set of conservative principles, but that makes him a polarizing figure. There are a lot of people here, too, who hate him and think he’s the Antichrist. The only thing everyone agrees on is that he wants to be President someday.”

.. To make that next leap, Cotton expresses the militarism, bellicosity, intolerance, and xenophobia of Donald Trump, but without the childish tweets.

.. He and his supporters see Trump and Trumpism as the future of the Republican Party.

.. He was the one who told us about John Kelly,” the former Marine Corps general who is now Trump’s chief of staff

.. after Cotton spoke out against a quick deal to protect the Dreamers, Trump made a formal proposal to Congress that attached many strings Cotton had demanded.

.. Trump gave Cotton a victory on the touchstone issue of his Senate career by decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear-arms deal

.. “Putting aside the issue of technical compliance or noncompliance, it’s clear that the agreement is not in our national interest.”

.. “One thing I learned in the Army is that when your opponent is on his knees you drive him to the ground and choke him out.” In response, a questioner pointed out that killing a prisoner of war is not “American practice.” (It is, in fact, a war crime.)

.. in North Korea, Cotton supports Trump’s brinkmanship with Kim Jong Un

.. one recent report suggested that the President would name him director of the C.I.A. if Mike Pompeo, the current director, were to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

.. Cotton would ratify the President’s instincts. He offers Trump a certainty that matches his own

..  “The Democratic Party has drifted away from them,” Tom told me, as his parents sat nearby. “Bill Clinton would be repudiated by his own party today.

.. I wrote against sacred cows, such as the cult of diversity, affirmative action, conspicuous compassion and radical participatory democracy. I wrote in favor of taboo notions, such as Promise Keepers, student apathy, honor and (most unforgivably) conservativism.”

.. The letter combined outrage, overstatement, and savvy politics in a manner that Trump would perfect a decade later.

.. “ ‘God, guns, and gays’—social issues—were driving white conservatives to the Republicans all along

.. It is impossible not to see race as a central element in the fall of the Democratic Party here

.. “It took a black President to bring out the threat.”

.. “I would always say to my liberal white friends, ‘Oh, come on, surely it’s gotten better.’ And they’d say to me, ‘Oh, no, it hasn’t. You can’t believe what white people say about Obama in private—he’s Kenyanhe’s Muslim, they’d call him unprintable racial epithets.’ ”

.. I think a lot of people in Arkansas thought he was ‘uppity,’ to use the old smear.”

.. Cotton also benefitted from enormous outside spending by conservative groups, including some affiliated with the Koch brothers

.. outside groups spent twenty-three million dollars for Cotton, compared with fourteen million for Pryor.

.. Democrats in Arkansas had a special reason to disdain Obama: “It wasn’t because Barack Obama was black, it was because Barack Obama stopped the Clinton restoration.”

.. About three hundred thousand people, which amounts to more than ten per cent of the state’s population, have taken advantage of the law to obtain health insurance.

.. The program is not called Obamacare but, rather, Arkansas Works.

.. “If you live in a big city and you work in an office building, immigration is almost an unalloyed good for you. . . . It makes the price of services that you pay for a little bit more affordable—whether it’s your nanny to take care of your kids for you, or landscaping your yard, or pedicures, manicures, that sort of thing. And you get a lot of exciting new fusion restaurants as well.

“But if you live and work in a community where they have a large illegal-immigrant population

  • that’s straining the public school,
  • that’s clogging up the emergency room when you’re trying to get care,
  • that makes it more dangerous to drive in the roads because people don’t have driver’s licenses or they don’t have insurance,
  • or if they are bidding down the wages or even taking jobs away from you, then it doesn’t look nearly so good,”

.. Most economists believe that immigrants, legal and otherwise, add more to the economy than they take from it, and that their presence in the labor force does not lead to lower wages over all.

.. “He probably knows more about geopolitics than most senators.”

.. In March of his first year in the Senate, Cotton wrote an open letter to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which was co-signed by forty-six other Republican senators, warning the mullahs that Congress might undo any agreement they reached with Obama. The letter was denounced by Executive Branch officials as an attempt to interfere in a diplomatic initiative, but Cotton regards it as a triumph.

..  he boasted about the letter

 .. You simply cannot neglect security, and without security there cannot be political compromise and reconciliation, there cannot be good governance, there cannot be economic development, there can’t be anything.”

.. If Rand Paul is the leading Republican isolationist in the Senate, Cotton, in short order, has become heir to the opposing wing of the Party, the one associated with Senator John McCain, whose efforts to increase the defense budget Cotton has championed.

.. But Cotton has gone well past McCain in his swaggering belligerence.

.. “In my opinion, the only problem with Guantánamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now,” Cotton said. “We should be sending more terrorists there for further interrogation to keep this country safe. As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell, but as long as they don’t do that they can rot in Guantánamo Bay.”

.. skirted the edge of demagoguery. “I don’t think any Republicans want legislation that is going to let out violent felons, which this bill would do,”

.. Cotton made his name in the Senate in a more personally poisonous way. In his first year, Cotton placed a hold on Obama’s nominations for the Ambassadors to Sweden, Norway, and the Bahamas, because of an unrelated dispute regarding the Secret Service.

.. “There is a point where winning a political battle isn’t worth it.”

.. “How many guys in town can give a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations and also get kudos in the pages of Breitbart? The answer is, one guy.”

.. Cotton has carved out a clear Trumpism-without-Trump agenda:

  • limits on immigration through legislation,
  • deportations, and a wall;
  • longer prison sentences for American convicts and suspected terrorists abroad;
  • a bigger budget for the Department of Defense.

.. The question is whether he has the charisma to sell that agenda to a broader public.