Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!

This tweet caught my eye:

I know what Ponnuru is getting at, but isn’t this a rather odd comment? Of course J6 was an inside job; the conspiracy went right to the very top of the US government. The president and his henchmen encouraged a violent mob to storm the capital with the goal of intimidating Congress into not certifying Biden’s victory.

I find it odd that when people talk about “the government”, they tend not to include the president. Consider:

During the Trump administration, campus leftists called for government laws against hate speech. And yet I doubt that those leftists actually wanted President Trump to regulate hate speech.

During the Trump administration, “the government” pressured Twitter to “combat misinformation” regarding Covid. Yet Trump was widely seen as being against cancel culture.

BTW, during the Trump administration, lots of Trump supporters liked his approach to lockdowns. But Trump supported the lockdowns back in the spring of 2020, and explicitly criticized the Swedes for avoiding lockdowns. It’s as if Trump’s supporters drew a distinction between Trump and “Trump”.

There is probably no politician in US history that spoke out more forcefully than Trump in favor of using “the government” to take political candidates off the ballot. Trump used this argument against Obama, Hillary, Ted Cruz, among others. And yet his supporters see him as a critic of “the government” meddling in elections. They were outraged by the Colorado and Maine rulings. (It’s the Dems who should be outraged, as the courts are handing Trump the presidency on a silver platter.)

There are some questions that are so absurd that no pollster would ever think of inquiring what the public believes. But they should! How about a poll on these questions:

1. Should the government be able to determine what’s taught in the public schools?

2. Should the government stop interfering with Medicare?

3. Should the government determine military policy on gays and transgender people?

You might be surprised to find out what “the public” actually believes.

PS. Recall this WaPo headline?

New study confirms that 80 percent of Americans support labeling of foods containing DNA

Don’t assume that any question is too stupid. Ask!!



19 Responses to “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!”

  1. Gravatar of steve steve
    1. January 2024 at 05:59

    Agree that the courts are helping Trump win the election. More broadly, I think that our era of tribalism and in Trump’s case his cult of personality have lead people to remember and believe whatever they want to believe. People just forget or ignore the bad parts. This has always been true to some extent for the far left and far right but I think it is worse for both sides right now and worst for Trump in particular. I try to avoid this by looking mostly at numbers but now there isn’t any data source that the Trump supporters will accept as valid other than right wing media and people on YouTube.


  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. January 2024 at 10:22

    Steve, The right wing media is no longer even recognizable as news. Outlets like Fox are now almost 100% GOP propaganda. I recently saw a bit of Fox and they kept insisting that the economy was in absolutely horrible shape. It’s not perfect, but 3.7% unemployment and 3% inflation and a booming stock market are not “horrible”.

    Their commercials are even funnier. There’s this comic book called Trump for kids, that presumably teaches kids how Trump was banging porn stars while his beautiful wife was home nursing Baron. Or maybe they teach the kids how Trump views war heroes as suckers for joining the military. Or that he’s a sore loser that tried to overturn democratic elections. Or that he scammed college students with a phony university. I haven’t read the thing, so I’m not sure which Trump actions they focus on. But I’m sure there are lots of good lessons for kids on how to live your life. Trump is such an inspiring figure.

  3. Gravatar of Will Will
    1. January 2024 at 13:19

    Scott, why are so many supposedly small government people not willing to trash Trump? John Cochrane for example repeatedly downplays January 6 and Trump’s role, even though he previously made a big deal of his fear for American democracy. How can any small government person not acknowledge the attempt at overthrowing a democratic presidential election, which is about as big government as it gets?

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. January 2024 at 13:53

    Will, Lots of people don’t have good judgement when it comes to politics.

  5. Gravatar of Solon of the East Solon of the East
    1. January 2024 at 16:12

    Ramaswamy evidently likes theatrical and overstates the case regarding J6.

    But I would not trust the congressional committee’s narrative either.

    Unless there is an adversarial process, that is, someone is arguing from the position of a equally positioned defense counsel, then you tend to get a show trial or kangaroo court.

  6. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    2. January 2024 at 00:20

    The biggest threat to the American republic are apparatchiks like Sumner who, despite evidence to the contrary, continue to say stupid things like the protest on January 6th was a secret, violent, insurrecction, hell-bent on overthrowing the U.S. constitution, notwithstanding the fact that there were no weapons, no coordination, and it’s so-called ‘leader’ reminded everyone to ‘please be peaceful’.

    Scott, either did not watch the speech, read the transcript, or he continues to suffer from TDS, which is common amongst those who yell and scream “nationalist”, “hitler” and “putin puppet” to anyone who challenges their gross misinterpretation of events. A political panel that doesn’t permit witnesses, cross examinations, and other evidence is just promulgated a narrative. Anyone who watches the J6 congressional panel, and draws a conclusion from that panel alone, clearly doesn’t understand what constitutes ‘evidence’. These are the type of people who would not be good lawyers. They would lose case after case after case. They’d be public defenders and public prosecutors because no law firm would hire them.

    There is a distinction between a rowdy protest and an insurrection. It’s not even close. There is a distinction between a country involving itself in a civil war that happens to be raging on its border, and a country that is hell-bent on taking over the world. There is a distinction between a country that displays its flag, in a show of pride (basically every country on earth) and a country that seeks to imprison, kill and deport anyone that is different (i.e, a country that resembles Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany). Patriotism and Nationalism are not the same. Hitler and Trump are not the same. Insurrections and protests are not the same. Intent and negligence is not the same.

    Those who are not partisan hacks, and who have average intelligence, are capable of making these not subtle distinctions.

  7. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    2. January 2024 at 01:00

    You are taking Trump out of context again. It was a close race in 2016; he wanted to try and convince voters that if Cruz was the nominee, clinton might try to remove him from the ballot because he was born in Canada.

    Was it a low blow? Yeah, of course. But that’s just politics. Nobody actually bought it. Everyone knew it was a low-blow. They both smiled during the debate. He didn’t even believe it when he said it, and Cruz being a Harvard lawyer knew it was nonsense. People chose Trump over Cruz because they wanted someone who would take on the uniparty establishment and the woke imbeciles, and they thought he was the best man for the job.

    And he probably still is the best man for the job. The very fact that he hate him so much, is precisely the reason we love him so much. You are the epitome of a modern day neocon and neolib. If you haven’t noticed, we hate neocons and neolibs. We like the fact that he pisses you off so much.

    And get a grip with Clinton please. Her NGO is not even trying to hide her pay-to-play scheme. She spends more than 70% of donations on admintrative salaries, and almost every one who donated to her organization received legislative gifts. That’s just hilarious. You really think she’s clean? You think those emails disappeared for noble reasons? Everyone knows she’s a corrupt, even democrats.

    And Biden’s son should definetly be in jail. It amazes me how our legal system will send a kid to jail for life because he or she had a few grams of cocaine, but somehow its acceptable for Biden to smoke cocaine on video and then not go to jail?

    One rule for thee, another for me? Is it really too much to ask for laws that are applied fairly to everyone?

  8. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    2. January 2024 at 03:35

    It’s funny to see commenters say that Trump doesn’t represent the republican party. Obviously, that is the whole point.

    His supporters are true conservatives, and true conservatives don’t like the Bushes, the Cheney’s, globalists like Romney, the war mongering uniparty, or canidates like Haley who call for CBDC’s, digital ID’s and lists of speech. Her supporters might as well being vote for Kim Jong un or Xi jinping. Not to mention, she cannot point to Ukraine on a map. She’s an idiot.

    Vivek, Trump, RFK jr. are all good canidates. The uniparty choices: namely, Haley, DeSantis, Biden, are really bad choices.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. January 2024 at 10:36

    And right on schedule, the three stooges show up again.

  10. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    2. January 2024 at 13:16

    You go too far in your criticism.

    When you break things down to Trump/GOP supported Lockdowns in spring 2020 but later did not. Between spring 2020 and later we had accurate death data on COVID. In my personal life I locked myself home on St Patrick’s Day the weekend before lockdowns and 4-6 weeks later I was in IDGAF mode and breaking any protocols I could. The data came out and it turned out non obese male under 50 had zero COVID risks.

    I’m fine with the month lockdowns because we didn’t have good data then. In terms of my own personal risks and followed that schedule except I shutdown earlier and went back out a lot earlier.

    Even more now that this appears to be a lab virus we simply didn’t know if it was a .5% cfr of mostly old people or a 20-40% cfr that took a lot of young people. Once the data came out you modify your behavior

  11. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    2. January 2024 at 13:16


    It’s more like the Christian trinity…3 parts of one whole. Those same ‘three’ always show up at the same time to say variations of the same thing.

    I know you know this, it’s just amusing how they try.

  12. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    2. January 2024 at 14:14

    Sean, When your comment has nothing to do with the post (which was not about the wisdom of lockdowns), it’s a pretty good indication that you did not understand the post.

    And the virus came from an animal market—all the recent evidence points that way (although the CCP is covering up that fact.)

    And we knew the fatality rate in the spring of 2020–I mentioned the figures in some posts back then.

    msgkings. I allow trolls when I know they are hurting their own cause with their silliness.

  13. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    2. January 2024 at 17:37

    “It’s the Dems who should be outraged, as the courts are handing Trump the presidency on a silver platter.”

    Should the courts not enforce the tenants of the Constitution as they see them? I don’t know if that’s your position, but it seems one that is all to common.

    It’s very dangerous to suggests prosecutors and judges should try to take the politics of their decisions into account. They are usually not experts in politics and it is not their job to play politics. Yes, some of them do it at times anyway, but it should not happen. Leave politics to the politicians. Prosecutors and judges should enforce the law.

    If the law is properly enforced, Trump will be in prison where he belongs. Voters do not have the right to support just any candidate they like. Candidates for President have to be natural born citizens and at least 35 years-old. They can also not be insurrectionists.

    While it may make more sense to ban those from the ballot who’ve been convicted of crimes related to insurrection, we should nonetheless support the notion that legal rulings should be based on interpretation of the law, and not political considerations. I prefer a bad ruling based on an honest assessment of the law than one based on perceived political expediency.

    Ultimately, I suspect that disqualification from running for President will require conviction of a crime related to insurrection.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    3. January 2024 at 05:44

    Michael, Yes, he should be prosecuted—I’m talking about removing him from the ballot, which is beyond stupid.

    This is banana republic stuff.

  15. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    3. January 2024 at 16:21


    It seems there’s a lack of nuance here. First, there is a difference in my mind between having judges decide to remove a candidate from a ballot, as happened in Colorado, versus having a Secretary of State do so, such as occurred in Maine.

    Put yourself in a judge’s place. Someone challenges Trump’s right to be on the ballot in your state, and you have to make a decision. Do you decide on the law, or the politics, or some combination? What if you’re on an appeals court or the state supreme court? What, if anything, do you say to your colleagues on the court about the case in any dicussion that occurs? I somehow doubt you’d argue the politics of the situation, but maybe I’m wrong. If you wouldn’t, and would decide, at least in part, on the politics, then would you engage in a dishonest discussion with your colleagues?

    Now, let’s consider the fact that neither of us knows much, if anything, about the applicable Colorado law in this case. We do have this from the 14th amendment to the Constitution:

    See Section 3:

    Are you really confident you know what the right thing to do is in this case, based on law?

    From a lay legal perspective, it seems reasonable to perhaps require conviction on some crime related to involvement in an insurrection to warrant disqualification from office. But, where are the lines drawn here? Which crimes are close enough to “insurrection” to disqualify a candidate? Judgement will be required. That said, it’s quite obvious Trump led a multi-pronged effort, however stupid and misguided, at insurrection.

    Jefferson Davis went to prison for 2 years after the Civil War. The 14th Amendment was added in 1868. Should Davis have been allowed to run for public office? How about Robert E. Lee, who was not prosecuted? These aren’t necessarily simple questions to answer, legally, or otherwise. After all, Lee certainly could have been prosecuted.

    Now, on the politics, you’re just guessing. That’s not to say you’re wrong, but it is just a guess. Even experts in politics are often wrong. Not only is this a very complicated situation politically, but it is very much uncharted waters for the US. I don’t understand your seeming confidence in your opinion.

  16. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    3. January 2024 at 17:39

    Trump hasn’t been convicted of any crimes related to J6, or any crimes at all. Now maybe he should be convicted, but I think that it is pretty sound reasoning for a judge to conclude that at this point in time, at the very least someone needs to be convicted of a crime before you can even begin to consider whether the person engaged in insurrection. Trump’s situation isn’t analogous to the US Civil War, where there were lots of public records about who participated in the government and army of the Confederacy, a breakaway state that waged war against the US. Given that there was no army on J6, just an unruly mob, and given that Trump wasn’t actually there leading people into the Capitol Building or giving explicit instructions for people to storm the building to overturn the elections, I think due process would require that Trump have the chance to defend himself in court against any claims that he committed crimes. Common sense can tell you that you don’t need a trial to prove that Robert E. Lee engaged in insurrection when he led an army in war against the US. Trump’s case is far less obvious.

  17. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    3. January 2024 at 17:52

    Lizard Man,

    Obviously I agree that, at least in some cases, a conviction for a crime related to insurrection should probably be required to prevent an otherwise qualified candidate from running for public office. However, I have no expertise in law, and this Trump case is very nuanced.

    For example, Trump waited quite a long time to help put an end to the insurrection, despite documented urging by members of Congress, VP Pence, and even members of his own family. This was while their lives were in danger. His conduct here alone seems quite damning, and perhaps should eschew the need for a criminal conviction, just based on available evidence.

    Again, I’m no lawyer, so I could be way off, but the older I get and the more I learn about our legal system, the more I appreciate how much more complex legal decisions are than appears on the surface.

  18. Gravatar of Anshil Anshil
    4. January 2024 at 08:48

    1. It was the CDC, as stated in the “twitter-files” that demanded Twitter censor information. Trump wasn’t mentioned or involved. According to those files, the FBI also played a role (rank and file members) in censoring voices.

    2. Trump never called for mandatory lockdowns, nor did he ask government employees to choose between a job and a jab. The Trump administration only restricted travel from China during the initial outbreak.

    3. The mandates that forced non-essential businesses to close were primarily in blue states. Most of the Red States took the advice of the scientists who wrote the “Great Barrington Declaration.”

    4. Perhaps you don’t know this, probably because you are retired now, but things are pretty bad in academy. At least at the top schools. There is no free speech. The left basically demands conformity. Young conservatives, like myself, cannot speak out without being bullied or harassed by the left. Conservative speakers are mostly banned.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. January 2024 at 10:49

    Anshil, Yes, people tended to absolve Trump for the bad things done by the federal government. I’d add that they gave him credit for the good things that were done by the federal government. With Biden it’s the opposite.

    You are wrong about lockdowns, he favored them:

    “ATLANTA — President Trump on Wednesday criticized the decision of a political ally, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, to allow many businesses to reopen this week, saying the move was premature given the number of coronavirus cases in the state.”

    As far as “jabs and jobs”, I was very sad to see so many GOP officials try to prevent private companies from setting their own policies. What happened to support for free markets?

    Sorry to hear about the conditions on campus. Don’t let them bully you—speak out forcefully on what you believe and push back if they try to bully you. These DEI people are so stupid it’s easy to mock them—like shooting ducks in a barrel.

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