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The Murky Crystal Ball, Part I: Joe Biden Is Toast--The News

If you had spent the last 20 years marooned on a desert island, and you returned on Monday and looked at a few newspapers and websites to get caught up on American politics, you would be absolutely stunned. "Wait," you would say, "There was a presidential election won by...Donald Trump? The tacky real estate guy?" But once you were over that, you would read the day's coverage and conclude that doom is imminent for both the Democratic Party and for the country as a whole.

In particular, Monday saw a gaggle of stories about how badly the presidency is going for Joe Biden these days. Seemingly every outlet, across the spectrum, had at least one item on the subject. A sampling:

  • Breitbart: "Polls Reflect Biden Disaster Presidency: Job Approval 10 Points Worse than Obama at same Point"
  • The Bulwark: "Joe Biden Is in a World of Trouble: Even Democrats Don't Like Him"
  • The Hill: "Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt"
  • Politico: "'The president's decline is alarming': Biden trapped in coronavirus malaise"
  • The Washington Post: "'Frustration is at an all-time high': Behind Biden's falling poll numbers"
  • CNN: "Mounting problems test Biden's presidency and Democrats' hold on power"

This isn't an exhaustive list, by any means. And again, all of these were published on Monday—we haven't been collecting "bearish on Biden" headlines for two weeks. We're not exactly sure how so many outlets ended up with the same basic story on the same day, but we would guess it is a response to: (1) the Ezra Klein piece on David Shor, which we wrote up yesterday, in which Shor sounded the alarm for the Democrats; and (2) the fact that the news is overall slow, since the debt-ceiling drama is in abeyance for the moment.

In any event, as the punditry did its best Chicken Little impression, it was up to actor George Clooney to be the voice of reason. Appearing on the BBC, he compared the post-Trump U.S. to a battered child, and said "There's a lot of things that have to be repaired, you know? There's a lot of healing that has to happen and it's going to take time."

And actually, there was at least one pundit who joined Clooney in trying to put the brakes on. That would be TPM's Josh Marshall, who wrote an op-ed headlined "The Winter of Our Discontent," in which he responds directly to the Klein-Shor piece. It's worth reading the whole thing, but the main argument is that Democrats, both the officeholders and the rank and file, should have been realistic about the difference between the sort of giant majorities that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson had in Congress and the skin-of-their-teeth majorities that the Democrats have today, and so should have set their expectations accordingly.

As to Biden, Marshall points out that his downturn in approval rating is understandable, given current circumstances. We agree entirely, though Marshall lists three anchors that are currently hanging around the President's neck, while we think it's more like six. First, here are the three that we and Marshall both have:

  1. The ongoing pandemic, and the fact that it's still not over
  2. The Afghanistan withdrawal
  3. The bickering about the reconciliation bills

And here are the three we would add to that list:

  1. The vaccine mandate(s)
  2. Inflation, and in particular, skyrocketing gas prices
  3. The mess at the border

There may be no president in history who could go through all of these things in a relatively short timeframe without losing 10 points off of their approval rating. Well, except for Donald Trump, perhaps. His ceiling was low and his floor was high, and so he rarely moved outside of the 36%-42% approval range.

We are not proposing that Biden is guaranteed to rebound. There may be new setbacks and crises. Some of the existing setbacks and crises may prove insurmountable. He could be stuck in the 40s for months, years, or the rest of his presidency. He could drop into the 20s, which would be Harry S. Truman end-of-term territory. It is certainly possible.

On the other hand, looking at the list above, one can envision most of the items dropping off the radar. Pandemic-wise, there is an excellent chance that the U.S. will return to normalcy by next year, as much as that is ever going to be possible, thanks to vaccines, vaccine boosters, the approval of vaccines for children, many vaxx-refusers acquiring immunity the old-fashioned way, and other vaxx-refusers dying off. The bickering over the infrastructure bill will be over, presumably with a bill in the $1.5-$2 trillion range passed and implemented. OPEC will increase production to meet global petroleum demand, and supply chains will be repaired, likely countering the worst of the inflation. We continue to believe Afghanistan does not have long-term staying power as an issue. And it's fair to assume that the White House will find more humane options for securing the southern border.

It is also worth pointing out that Biden is not Trump. Trump was preternaturally unable to think about any day beyond today, and for him every opinion poll was a life or death matter. That way of thinking may also have gotten into the heads of the punditry, at least a little bit. Biden, however, has been at this a long time, and so knows a little something about the long game. He clearly set himself up to take some hits now—Afghanistan, the vaccine mandate—with the belief that the damage would fade by next year.

Biden's choices could work out well for him, or they could blow up in his face. He might well be the foremost expert in political strategy in America, by virtue of his 50-year résumé, and even he doesn't know for sure. His crystal ball may be a bit less murky than everyone else's, but it's still murky. But the folks who suggest that we are at a key inflection point, or that the S.S. Biden has already run aground, never to set sail again? Please. That just isn't knowable more than a year before the midterms and more than 3 years before the next presidential election. (Z)

The Murky Crystal Ball, Part II: Joe Biden Is Toast--The Polls

That last item is mostly supposition, both from us and from others. Now let's look at the same question—Is Joe Biden's goose cooked (or, at least, about to be put in the oven)?—but try to put it on a numerical basis. First, a pop quiz. Here are graphs of the Gallup Poll approval ratings for seven different presidents. Can you guess which president each one shows? Gallup's only been doing this since 1948, so it's seven of the post-World War II presidents:

Started around 62, slowly declined to
the 50s and then the 40s, then a slow increase to the high 50s, followed by another slow decline into the 40s, and
finally an upward trend at the end of term ending right around 60

Started around 54, then a largely
consistent upward trend culminating in a spike into the 80s, followed by a downward trend that bottoms out around 30,
and then an end-of-term uptick to the high 50s

Started around 70, dropped pretty
quickly to the 40s, and then bounced around in the 40-50 range for the rest of the term, ending with a slight uptick to
about 53 or 54.

Started around 67, then a general
decline to the 40s and the 30s, excepting a brief surge into the 60s, but that faded, with the end being at 35 or so.

Started near 80, and managed to stay
above 60 for quite a while, but then dropped into the 50s and 40s and never saw 60 again, ending right at 50.

Started at 53, jumped briefly into the
60s, then declined to the high 30s before a slow climb back to the 50s and then 60s. Then there was a big drop into the
high 40s/low 50s, and at the end of the term an uptick that got back to 60 again.

Started at 59 and jumped around between
the high 30s and the high 50s for a very long time. Eventually got back to the high 50s/low 60s, and stayd there until
the end, finishing at 63.

Before we give you the answers, let us note that Biden started his term at around 53% approval, and at the moment he's down to about 45%. There is a distinct difference in the numbers, though, depending on the lean of the pollster. The latest from Trafalgar and from Rasmussen, both strongly Republican-leaning, have Biden at 40% and 41% approval, respectively. On the other hand, the latest from Ipsos, Morning Consult, and YouGov, which have slight to moderate Democratic leans, put Biden at 50%, 49%, and 48%, respectively. In other words, depending on which pollster you trust, Biden might not have a polling problem at all right now, and may just be moving around within the margin of error.

But let's presume that Biden does have a polling problem, and that he's down 8-10 points from the start of his term. Here are the four presidents from the group above who did not serve two full terms. Does that make it easier to guess who they are?

Started around 54, then a largely
consistent upward trend culminating in a spike into the 80s, followed by a downward trend that bottoms out around 30,
and then an end-of-term uptick to the high 50s

Started around 70, dropped pretty
quickly to the 40s, and then bounced around in the 40-50 range for the rest of the term, ending with a slight uptick to
about 53 or 54.

Started around 67, then a general
decline to the 40s and the 30s, excepting a brief surge into the 60s, but that faded, with the end being at 35 or so.

Started near 80, and managed to stay
above 60 for quite a while, but then dropped into the 50s and 40s and never saw 60 again, ending right at 50.

In order, they are George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Three of those men lost their reelection bids; the fourth saw the writing on the wall and decided to throw in the towel. Each of them had at least a slight uptick during their lame-duck periods, but on Election Day, each was within spitting distance of 40% approval. That is not a good place to be if you want to get reelected, as another recent one-term president could also attest if he wasn't busy telling everyone he actually won.

Now, here are the three who managed to serve two full terms:

Started around 62, slowly declined to
the 50s and then the 40s, then a slow increase to the high 50s, followed by another slow decline into the 40s, and
finally an upward trend at the end of term ending right around 60

Started at 53, jumped briefly into the
60s, then declined to the high 30s before a slow climb back to the 50s and then 60s. Then there was a big drop into the
high 40s/low 50s, and at the end of the term an uptick that got back to 60 again.

Started at 59 and jumped around between
the high 30s and the high 50s for a very long time. Eventually got back to the high 50s/low 60s, and stayd there until
the end, finishing at 63.

In order, they are Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. As you can see, they all experienced a downward trend early in their terms, and they all dropped to an approval rating in the low 40s. But, unlike a Jimmy Carter or a Gerald Ford, they didn't stay in that neighborhood long-term. Biden's dream scenario would likely be the Clinton graph; build support, slowly but surely, then be in the high 50s by Election Day, and spend the rest of your time in office in the 60s. Considerably more realistic is the Barack Obama graph, moving around between 40 and 60, never too high and never too low, but in the right place when people are casting their ballots.

A few weeks ago, Politico's Jack Shafer wrote a piece under the headline "The Folly of Premature Political Obituaries," in which he makes the same case we're making, albeit with a bit more pique. In the key passage, he writes:

One reason so much of the Biden presidency grist has been bundled as evidence of his doom is because it's the firmest hook to hang the facts on. There's no logical reason the rough patch Biden has encountered couldn't be viewed through the lens of the 2022 midterms—as in, Biden is going to be in a lot of trouble next year if he doesn't start throwing up some legislative wins for his party to campaign on. But the press doesn't want to fire the starting pistol on 2022 yet. Instead, pundits presage Biden's end because in the reductionist tradition of political pre-obituaries, it's never too soon to assert that something has dealt a fatal blow to a presidency—even one like Biden's, which has at least 1,221 more days to go.

Shafer is careful to reiterate that he does not mean to "suggest that the Biden presidency will remain immune to a dark ending," merely that it's too early to know. There are many possible paths here, and as you can see in the charts above, a middling approval rating early in a president's term—particularly this early—doesn't predict anything. All the presidents above have been there. The two-termers are the ones who found a way not to remain there. (Z)

The Murky Crystal Ball, Part III: Joe Biden Is Toast--The Virginia Gubernatorial Election

And in our final word on this general subject, let us talk about the Virginia gubernatorial election. This contest is being held out as a referendum on Joe Biden, and a proxy for next year's midterms. For example, CNN's Stephen Collinson had a piece yesterday headlined "Virginia's gubernatorial election is more important than ever as a national barometer." There are lots of others like that, most of them published in the last week or so.

There is no doubt that Virginia has a reputation as a bellwether, though we're not sure why. Yes, it is, and has been, a purplish state for a while. And it's close to Washington, DC. And it does have a "throw the bums out" mentality when it comes to gubernatorial races, almost always going against the party that holds the White House. That said, consider how things have unfolded after the last 10 Virginia gubernatorial elections. The columns show the year of the gubernatorial election, the person elected governor, how the party composition of the House of Representatives changed at the next midterm election, how the party composition of the Senate changed at the next midterm election, and who won the presidency at the next presidential election:

Year Governor Next House Next Senate Next President
1981 Chuck Robb D+27 R+1 Ronald Reagan
1985 Gerald Baliles D+7 D+6 George H.W. Bush
1989 Douglas Wilder D+8 D+1 Bill Clinton
1993 George Allen R+53 R+6 Bill Clinton
1997 Jim Gilmore D+5 EVEN George W. Bush
2001 Mark Warner R+6 R+1 George W. Bush
2005 Tim Kaine D+30 D+5 Barack Obama
2009 Bob McDonnell R+63 R+5 Barack Obama
2013 Terry McAuliffe R+13 R+9 Donald Trump
2017 Ralph Northam D+39 R+2 Joe Biden

So, the election of a Virginia governor presaged gains for his party in the House seven times, gains for his party in the Senate five times, and the winning of the White House by his party four times. That's not much in the way of a bellwether. Given the potential for random variation, in fact, it's not a whole lot better than just flipping a coin.

But how about this current election? After all, Terry McAuliffe (D) is close with Biden, and has embraced the President and his agenda wholeheartedly, and the would-be governor's polling numbers have sagged as Biden's approval ratings have sagged. It's certainly possible that when Virginians cast their gubernatorial ballots, what they will be thinking is: "I want to send a message to the White House." But is it not more likely that they are paying attention to the campaign, and remembering the 4 years McAuliffe already served as governor, and are judging him on his merits, and not Biden's?

Let's put it this way. Right now, FiveThirtyEight's rolling average of polls of the Virginia governor's race has McAuliffe at 47.6%, Republican Glenn Youngkin at 45.1%, and the rest of the vote undecided or going to a third-party candidate. In McAuliffe's original (successful) run for governor, in 2013, he got 47.8% of the vote, the Republican got 45.2%, and the rest went to third-party candidates. Isn't it just possible that what we are seeing right now is not a reflection on Biden at all, but is instead a demonstration of the fundamentals of Virginia off-year politics, especially off-year politics with the steady-but-unexciting Terry McAuliffe on the ballot?

We have more "murky crystal ball" comments beyond these three items, but we don't want to overdo it, so we'll get to them in the next few days. (Z)

It's "Go" Time for Merrick Garland

The 1/6 Commission has issued its first group of subpoenas, and the deadline for compliance on the part of the four recipients is Thursday. Steve Bannon has already announced that he will ignore his, and Mark Meadows pooh-poohed his on Monday, so he's probably also a no-show. Dan Scavino only got served this weekend, because he was ducking the process servers, and he tends to do whatever Donald Trump tells him to do. Since Trump already ordered all four not to abide by the subpoenas, that will presumably dictate Scavino's decision. And Kash Patel has done some bellyaching, but is thus far cooperating with the panel (he also has fewer resources to defend himself if he gets in hot water). Anyhow, add it up, and it looks like the Committee is going to go 1-for-4, or possibly 2-for-4 if there is a surprise.

That means that the folks running the 1/6 Commission are going to have one or more people who are guilty of contempt of Congress as of Thursday. And so, it will be decision time for them. However, if Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is to be believed, they've already made up their minds. That's not surprising; they surely thought through all the contingencies when they issued the subpoenas, including what they would do in the likely event of a subpoena being ignored. And it would seem that the plan is to refer the matter to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

That means that unless this is a bluff or the Committee changes its mind, then sometime around lunch on Friday, this is going to land in AG Merrick Garland's lap, and he and his team are going to have to decide what to do. Garland has assiduously avoided taking any action against Trump or any members of his administration, and has also generally preferred to maintain the balance of powers between branches. But he also has a duty to assist Congress, as the nation's top law enforcement officer. Ultimately, there are only two options, either Garland can enforce the subpoena(s) or he can kick it back to the Commission and tell them to file a civil suit and/or to use their own police force (e.g., the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House) to enforce the subpoena. We'll likely find out what the AG has decided by next week. (Z)

The Art of (Culture) War

Though he was lacking in most of the traditional political skills, Donald Trump did have a few talents in this arena, among them the ability to intuit what culture wars issues would get his followers' blood boiling. That's not to say he was a total savant; he used Twitter and his rallies to workshop various possibilities and to separate the wheat from the chaff. Still, he did have a very high batting average, even accounting for this assistance, probably because the same things that pissed his followers off also piss him off.

The land is now populated with Trump clones who hope to use their Trumpiness to advance their political careers. And given how much culture wars stuff was a part of his arsenal, they want and need to have that in their arsenals, too. The problem is that they don't have rallies or a massive Twitter following to provide insight. And they also don't have Trump's own Twitter account to serve as their culture wars North Star. So they have to take their best guess, sometimes with less than stellar results.

For example, in honor of National Coming Out Day yesterday, DC comics announced that Superman is going to come out as bisexual in the latest issue of the series "Superman: Son of Kal-El." When we heard that news, we wondered if Republican politicians would be able to make hay out of it. On one hand, that's a classic commodity that's being changed by "the libs," like a Black James Bond, or a genderless Potato Head. On the other hand, there are already a huge number of LGBTQ+ comic characters, there are so many comic books to be filled with content that they're always looking for new and different directions that will sell product, and "bisexual" doesn't stick in conservatives' craws these days the way "transgender" does. If DC had announced that Superman was starting hormone blockers and would henceforth be known as Superthey, or Superzim, then we'd be much more certain about Republican heads exploding.

Note that we were only uncertain as to whether or not kvetching about Superman would work to rile up the base. We were 100% sure that some politicians would at least try it. And indeed, they did. For example, it may be more than a year until the election, but the Ohio Republican Senate primary is already a pitched battle, with the candidates trying to out-Trump one another. And so it is that wannabe senator Josh Mandel tweeted this yesterday:

It's not clear to us if he understands the meaning of "literally" or "destroy America." Does he actually imagine that a bunch of comic book writers said: "You know, for this month's issue, how about we try to bring the United States down from within?" Of course he doesn't imagine that; he knows that's absurd. However, does he imagine that a bunch of Trumpers are going to buy into that notion? Apparently he does, though it certainly seems he guessed wrong. He got slaughtered on Twitter, and there has been virtually no conservative commentary about a bisexual Superman.

Screwing up even worse was state Sen. Wendy Rogers who sent this tweet:

The irony of misspelling "Lois Lane" as "Louis Lane" in this context is thick. Meanwhile, Rogers apparently did not bother to read any of the news stories before uncorking her faux outrage (encased in her very real homophobia). The Superman in this particular story is actually Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. And so, she is effectively advocating for an Oedipal relationship. We certainly hope she didn't realize that. Though who knows; maybe they do things differently in her corner of Arizona.

Anyhow, the point is that for these two folks, this culture wars battle turned into a massacre. Maybe there's no harm in trying, and seeing what sticks, though it surely can't be great if one makes oneself into the butt of jokes too many times. (Z)

Don't Know Much about History: Conservatives and Columbus

And we continue on the "culture wars" theme. Several months back, when Joe Biden decided to formally recognize the Armenian genocide, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to "recognize" the genocide that the U.S. government committed against the Native Americans. We made a comment about that, saying it was probably not correct, and got a lot of unhappy e-mails in response. We've been meaning to return to the subject, and deal with it in something more than a brief aside, but Erdoğan clammed up thereafter, and so there was no news story for us to connect it to. However, yesterday was Columbus Day and/or Indigenous Peoples' Day. And that finally gives us our opportunity. Actually, we'll return to it today, and then two more times, because there's a lot to be said.

Unlike bisexual Superman (see above), any attempt to rename or otherwise push back on Columbus Day is all-but-guaranteed to flip conservatives' lids. And yesterday, they did not disappoint. We don't want to drown you in examples, so we will limit ourselves to three prominent folks. First up, former Trump adviser Larry Kudlow, who appears to know as much about history as he does about economics, went on Fox Business Channel to praise Columbus. Since it is a business channel, Kudlow took a business angle, and described the explorer as "a great entrepreneurial risk-taker" who deserves credit for "open[ing] new trade routes around the world."

The former Trumper couldn't leave it there, however. He also felt the need to take a swipe at the Natives. And so, he decreed: "I don't think Columbus went around chopping heads off and killing the indigenous. But then again, down through the centuries, the indigenous did a pretty good job of cutting other heads off, so it was a different game in those days."

Moving on, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has a Trumpian nose for winning culture wars issues, and so he issued a proclamation honoring the Italian explorer. Here are the portions that stand out:

WHEREAS, Columbus Day was first proclaimed a national holiday by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America and for more than a century has, until very recently, been a unifying day for all Americans to celebrate the fact that had Columbus and the explorers who followed him not traveled across the Atlantic, the country we hold dear and the lives we enjoy would not exist...

WHEREAS, Columbus stands a singular figure in Western Civilizations who exemplified courage, risk-taking and heroism in the face of enormous odds; as a visionary who saw the possibilities of exploration beyond Europe; and as a founding father who laid the foundation for what would one day become the United States of America, which would commemorate Columbus by naming its federal district after him...

WHEREAS, we must learn from history and continue to discuss Columbus' contributions, discoveries, and experiences rather than revise history, and acknowledge that individuals who seek to defame Columbus and try to expunge the day from our civic calendar do so as part of a mission to portray the United States and Western history in a negative light as they seek to blame our country and its values for all that is evil in the world, rather than see it as the force for good...

The actual declaration has a preamble, a total of eight whereases, and a pretty gold seal.

And then there is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). He went on an unhinged 19-tweet rant that replicated a proclamation from Ronald Reagan, and then went on to some editorializing. The string included this trio:

Later, Cruz returned to the social media platform to take a swipe at the "lefties," with an added bonus swipe at trans folks:

What fools we've all been to not notice Cruz's vast 1/8 Italian heritage that he did not bother to mention until it allowed him to own the libs.

We don't want to turn this into a dissertation, especially since today's post is already pretty long. So, we're just going to offer a list of 10 critiques of these men's historical presentations. Away we go:

  1. Columbus' financial goal was to render valuable service to the monarch, and to be rewarded handsomely for that. A crude modern parallel would be a bounty hunter who makes their living collecting rewards for the capture of bad people. Is that entrepreneurial? We leave it to you to decide. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

  2. Meaningful trade between the Old World and New World did not commence until about a century after Columbus died. Can he be given credit for that? Again, maybe, maybe not. If so, the primary trade commodities he was responsible for are tobacco and slaves. Neither of those is exactly something to be proud of.

  3. Columbus most certainly did have people beheaded. It was a standard form of execution in the Spanish Empire at that time.

  4. As both Kudlow and Cruz point out, the Native Americans committed acts of extreme violence against Europeans. That does not reflect well on them, although they were generally acting in self defense, and their violent acts were ultimately dwarfed in number by those committed by people of European descent. Or, if you want to put it another way, two wrongs don't make a right, and "the Natives did it, too!" does not in any way exonerate Columbus or any of his brethren.

  5. One wonders if DeSantis is being deliberately obtuse, or if he really doesn't know the background of the creation of Columbus Day. Either is possible. It was indeed made a holiday in 1892, as part of the festivities for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The general idea was to celebrate American progress, including its progress in conquering the Natives. There was a significant display on Native Americans in the Anthropology Building, and the message was "Columbus encountered a bunch of savages, and we've finally finished the job of taming and civilizing them." The final engagement of the Indian Wars, Wounded Knee, had taken place two years before, and it was at the Chicago World's Fair that Frederick Jackson Turner first presented his famous essay arguing that the conquering of the frontier, and the Natives, is what created American culture, and what made America special. In short, from a 21st century vantage point, it was a rather cringe-y moment of historical commemoration, and probably not the best thing to lionize in a proclamation.

  6. Also, Columbus Day has never been a major civic holiday. And it definitely wasn't a "a unifying day for all Americans." We can guarantee you that most Black folks and Natives have never seen a need to honor his memory.

  7. As to "courage, risk-taking and heroism," it was always risky to get on one of those godawful boats back then and to take your chances with the open seas (and possibly a troublesome crew). That said, Columbus was a "free thinker" who went against the conventional wisdom of his day, and calculated that the Earth was smaller than everyone else thought. If he were alive today, he would totally be the type to treat his COVID-19 with bleach or ivermectin. Anyhow, they were right, and he was wrong, and he just got lucky to bump into another continent. But what this means is that when he departed, he thought (again, incorrectly) that he was in for a voyage of just 2,000 miles. That's not a short trip, obviously, but it wasn't especially long by the standards of his day. Someone like Ferdinand Magellan showed considerably more courage in launching his journey than Columbus did.

  8. Columbus did not see "the possibilities of exploration beyond Europe." Have these people never heard of, for example, Marco Polo, who predated Columbus by nearly three centuries? Everyone already knew about Asia in Columbus' time, he just thought he could get there more quickly than everyone else.

  9. Is there no room for nuance here? Both DeSantis and Cruz assert if you're critical of Columbus, you hate America, and you think America is bad and evil and yada, yada, yada. Can't you tell Columbus' story, point out where he was important, but also where he did problematic things, and yet not have some sort of nefarious agenda?

  10. Cruz's hypothetical syllabus, in particular, is quite the enigma. On one hand, he says that children should be taught the good, the bad, and the ugly. Presumably he does not mean the Clint Eastwood movie. At the same time, he says that anyone who is down on Columbus is "not interested in teaching real history" and basically wants to destroy the U.S. It's a good thing he's not doing (Z)'s faculty evaluation; it wouldn't go well.

This is really par for the course for Republican politicians. Some of them understand the history, most don't, but they all seem to feel the need to turn it into a morality play, like a 19th century melodrama, where everything is black and white and there are no shades of gray.

In short, we're not impressed. Tomorrow, we will flip to the other side, and take a look at the far-left's interpretation of Columbus. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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Oct04 Opponents of the Texas Abortion Law Demonstrated All over the Country on Saturday
Oct04 COVID-19 Deaths Pass 700,000
Oct04 New Details Emerge in Case against Weisselberg
Oct04 Climate Change Deniers Are about to Get an Unpleasant Surprise
Oct04 Can Sinema Be Recalled?
Oct04 Alito Says Supreme Court is Not a "Dangerous Cabal"
Oct04 Congressional Fight over Biden's Agenda Is Spilling over into Virginia
Oct03 Sunday Mailbag
Oct02 Saturday Q&A