The ‘resistance’ cries wolf, Al Gore returns and other notable commentary

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From the right: The Resistance That Cried Wolf

When the “rhetorical judo” known as “whataboutism” — citing similar bad acts by the opposition party — “is used to defend the indefensible, it is obviously wrong,” asserts Jim Antle at The Week. But he adds that all too often, President Trump’s “fiercest critics declare his every utterance and action unprecedented without bothering to thoughtfully consider the precedents.” So treating “everything Trump does as an emergency, without distinction, will make true emergencies more difficult to recognize.” And “if the press gets it wrong, hyping something that isn’t especially unusual” — like cutting on-camera press briefings — “it makes it easier for Trump to dismiss future criticisms or unflattering reports as ‘fake news.’ ”

Conservative: Russia Scandal Looks Different Outside DC

Jason Willick at The American Interest warns those “holed up in Dupont Circle offices” that while the Russia scandal “continues to consume all of the oxygen in Washington . . . things are playing differently outside the capital.” A new Huffington Post/You Gov poll shows GOP voters, by a more than 2-1 margin, think Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian figures was appropriate. This, despite the fact that “elite conservative [media] opinion has shifted markedly” against the president on the issue. Says Willick: “This is a reminder of how marginal DC media is when it comes to shaping the opinion of the mass of actual conservatives in the heartland.” Plus, the poll shows “voters as a whole aren’t nearly as concerned with the Russia issue as those of us in Washington might think.”

Policy writer: He’s Baaack — Al Gore, That Is

Former Vice President Al Gore, looking to capitalize on President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, “is back in the public eye, whether you like it or not,” warns Julie Kelly at National Review. Indeed, he’s “been on a media blitz to reprise his role as the prophet of planetary doom” and has yet another documentary film coming out. In a recent appearance on Fox News Sunday, he blasted Trump’s move as “reckless and indefensible” — yet “also acknowledged that the accord would not have solved climate change but was rather a ‘powerful signal to the world.’ ” And he’s indulging in the “same apocalyptic rhetoric that made him a climate cult hero after his failed presidential bid . . . despite his record of failed predictions.” Says Kelly: “Gore is the perfect archetype of the modern-day climate movement: monotonous, hyperbolic and opportunistic.”

Professor: Did Liu Xiaobo Die For Nothing?

The sudden death last week of imprisoned Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace lauareate Liu Xiaobo sent a “strong message” that China’s Communist leadership “is committed to defending its political monopoly by any means and at any cost,” declares Minxin Pei at Project Syndicate. Because “as much as they aspire to a leading role on the world stage, China’s leaders want to suppress dissent even more. And they probably expected little reaction from Western democracies.” So far, “that calculation seems to have been correct”: There has been “some grumbling” in Western capitals, but “no major Western leader has publicly denounced the Chinese government’s conduct.” Meanwhile, “China’s censors have worked overtime to ensure that Liu’s death is a non-event.” Yet “far from a sign of strength, the Chinese regime’s mistreatment of Liu amounted to an indication of its weakness, insecurity and fear.”

Urban wonk: NY Unions Fight Constitutional Convention

Every 20 years, notes Steve Malanga at City Journal, “New Yorkers get to vote on whether to convene a constitutional convention to modify their state’s principal governing document.” Now, as they’ve done in the past, the state’s unions “are mustering their forces . . . determined to ensure that no convention ever takes place.” That’s because “no matter how dysfunctional Albany might seem to the average citizen, the state works just fine for public-sector workers,” who fear a convention “might eliminate some of their cherished prerogatives.” They also worry it “could weaken New York’s powerful and expensive worker-compensation system and even narrow or eliminate collective bargaining for state workers — a terrifying scenario for organized labor leaders.”

— Compiled by Eric Fettmann


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