Each day, it seems, brings an increased sense of recklessness coming from the radicalized, unaccountable government in Washington, D.C. that we are supposed to believe 81 million Americans wanted in November 2020.
The primary example of that on Wednesday 14 April was the news that congressional Democrats are preparing legislation to pack the Supreme Court by enlarging its ranks to 13 justices.
— The Intercept (@theintercept) April 14, 2021
This incendiary announcement came very shortly after the Biden administration unveiled its plan for a commission to study such a proposal. President Biden said during the 2020 campaign that it was not on his agenda to pack the court, so in the conventional terms of “old politik,” his move could be seen as a gesture to the far-left progressives who want to pack the court, but not necessarily as a signal of intent.
It’s becoming more and more deadly to be unable to think outside the old paradigms of convention, however. It may be comfortable, but it’s not realistic anymore. The prompt move by the Democrats in Congress is just the latest evidence of that. They’ve signaled that they don’t intend to wait on Biden’s commission.
Even with that congressional move, I saw commentators assessing it as a gesture to the party radicals. But if it was only a gesture, it could have been left undone. Biden has already made the gesture.
The congressional move is, and should be read as, real. The cumulative informational impact of the two closely linked events – Biden’s announcement and the congressional Democrats’ – is that Biden opened the door to the policy topic. Now “it’s” in the room, to be deliberated and run with.
That’s warfighting tactics, information shaping the battlespace. Too many minds are still back on the concept of political information being trial balloons, abstract signals, and influence ops. But we’re past that point with the current regime in Washington. The implicit goals are real, and the plan to enlarge the court is what it looks like: a plan to enlarge the court, as soon as possible.
Why now? Because the November 2022 election is only 19 months away, and if the Democrats don’t use their 51 Senate votes to enlarge the court now they may not get another shot at it this decade.
Indeed, if they want to pack a 13-justice court before the 2022 election, to ensure they don’t lose any cases brought over it, the heat is really on. An expanded court and four justices are a lot to pack into 19 months. They’ll have to go gloves-off (or brass knuckles on) to get it done.
Conversely, if this is just a gesture to the radicals, it tips the Democrats’ hand in a way that will be alarming to all non-radical voters. The cost-benefit calculus doesn’t shake out. This is a very big gun to pull, if they only intend to brandish it.
Schumer and Pelosi aren’t explicitly backing the plan, as far as I have discerned. They’re keeping their options open, one would infer. But at some point they’ll be forced to react. As it is, the fact that they’re letting it happen is the main information we need. Maybe we’ll see the bills die in committee. But the determination to introduce them is already overriding prudence. Schumer and Pelosi are apparently willing to let the arm-twisting and horse-trading occur, with a screen over them.
It doesn’t matter that bills to enlarge the court have been introduced before. This isn’t “before,” and everyone knows it. The outcomes of “before” are not a guide. This is not ops normal. Perhaps there are enough non-radicalized Democratic senators with courage to fend off this attempt in the next 19 months – but unlike 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, we can’t be at all complacent about that. We can only wait in trepidation to find out.
Another lively event on Wednesday was launched in the media. The New York Times published a list of the corporate CEOs who haven’t signed up to hate and ostracize states that want to stop electoral cheating.
This is not even activism masquerading as journalism. It's just activism, pure and simple. https://t.co/IJ4ilgSsqz
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 14, 2021
There have been a number of reactions to that too, many of them well-spoken and righteous. Most of them are irrelevant, however.
What matters about this move is that the Times is giving radical mobs a list of which CEOs to attack in their homes and businesses. If you work at one of these companies, you probably want to watch your six.
What the network of political radicals can do with information, and legislation, is what matters now. It’s not just a theoretical possibility, to be debated, talked down, and pooh-poohed. It’s what will decide the course of the immediate future.
It is imperative to catch up in that regard.
A final point on the radicalization steamroller. Many observers were justifiably appalled on Wednesday to see our UN ambassador claim, falsely, that “White supremacy is weaved into our founding documents and principles.”
Biden’s UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tells the National Action Network that if America's going to join the UN’s Human Rights Council, we must acknowledge our own failures: “White supremacy is weaved into our founding documents and principles” pic.twitter.com/bYc5SyWkE1
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 14, 2021
That kind of irresponsible radical patter makes us look hapless, foolish, not in control of our own leadership or messaging.
But incredibly, something else made us look worse. It’s news from late on Tuesday: that the Biden administration intends to have the drawdown in Afghanistan complete by the date of 11 September 2021.
No one can help noticing that that’s the twentieth anniversary of the terror attack on 11 September 2001. News reporting indicates that it’s intentional.
BREAKING: President Joe Biden will leave U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the May 1 deadline negotiated with the Taliban by the Trump administration, an official says. Biden has set the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks as the new withdrawal date. https://t.co/Ngiormrwxo
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 13, 2021
Who remembers where Al Qaeda was hosted, and planned and trained prior to that attack? Who remembers why we invaded Afghanistan in October 2001? That’s right: because the Taliban hosted Al Qaeda there, to cook up the 9/11 attack.
I’m no friend of the “forever war” profile in Afghanistan, and recognize that we need to get out. But leave 9/11 out of it. Put another date on the schedule.
The Taliban are going to retake Afghanistan, at the least in some coalition in which they have power like that of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and it’s useless to pretend otherwise. It won’t be up to us, in any case. In some combination, Russia, China, and Pakistan will compete, or cooperate, and drive stakes with Afghan factions to birth the next stage of Afghanistan.
The symbolism of handing Afghanistan back over to the Taliban on 9/11 – which is how the entire world will see it – is humiliating. It’s like choosing a date of 7 December to surrender to Japan. If we’re going to signal weakness this far in advance, we probably shouldn’t actually wait that long.