- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2019

The spectacle of 2020 presidential politics continues, punctuated by melodrama, unintentionally comedic moments and gaffes. Now-and-then Democratic front-runner Joseph R. Biden had a moment in that realm during a campaign appearance at a “gun safety” forum in Iowa — when he declared that flamethrowers were illegal.

“It violates no one’s Second Amendment rights to say you can’t own certain weapons. You’re not allowed to own a bazooka; you can’t own a flamethrower,” Mr. Biden told his audience.

Yes, well.

“There are several problems with this. First, it completely ignores the plight of Wile E. Coyote, for whom bazookas, explosives, and various rocket- and flame-powered devices procured from the Acme Corporation are integral to his quest to get the Road Runner,” writes Rich Cromwell, a senior contributor to The Federalist.

“Second, it’s totally legal to own flamethrowers in every state in the union, with only a license required in Maryland and a modified nozzle for California purchases. Elon Musk’s Boring Company even sold 20,000 of them back in 2018,” he continues.



“The thing is, flamethrowers are not considered firearms and have legitimate uses, like clearing ice and snow, adding a bit of flair to live performances, attempting to catch nemeses, and stopping alien invasions. Also, they’re just awesome. So maybe it’s time for Biden to issue one of those corrections for which he’s becoming internet-famous,” Mr. Cromwell observes.

HEADLINE OF NOTE

“Is Obama Too Far To the Right For the Democrats?”

That was a question asked in a headline from The New York Sun.

“If our most recent law-professor president wasn’t quite left-wing enough for you, wait for the Elizabeth Warren administration,” points out Ira Stoll, a contributor to The Sun.

AND THAT’S THE WAY IT WORKS

Democrats don’t overlook any opportunity to sully the reputation of President Trump, it seems.

“We have long ago become inured to Democratic politicization of mass shootings and the accompanying tirades against President Trump suggesting he is somehow responsible for these atrocities. Consequently, the Left’s exploitation of the recent massacres in the cause of gun control was all too predictable. This time, however, they added a new ruse to their rhetorical repertoire. After El Paso and Dayton, Democrats failed to dissuade Trump from visiting the victims, an omission they would have inevitably denounced as callous, the Left went berserk when he and the First Lady posed for a photo with an infant survivor of the El Paso shooting and two relatives,” writes David Catron, a columnist for The American Spectator.

“The phony outrage erupted when the First Lady posted a tweet about the El Paso and Dayton visits that contained a photo featuring herself holding the baby, Paul Anchondo, and his Uncle Tito with his arm around the president. Why would this upset anyone? Well, it turns out that Tito Anchondo, like his brother Andre — who was killed shielding his son from the gunfire — is a Trump supporter,” Mr. Catron continues.

“This photo undermines two carefully cultivated leftist myths: that Hispanics by definition disapprove of Trump and that he is a Mexican-hating racist. This was too much for the Democrats and their media allies, who, with characteristic hypocrisy, attacked Trump for politicizing the tragedies,” he notes.

THE RETURN OF THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

Those who remember “The McLaughlin Group are in luck. The pioneering political talk show first aired in 1982 and now returns to public television in September with new weekly episodes, to begin airing on Fridays, starting Sept. 6 on Maryland Public Television.

Tom Rogan is back to host the series; he replaced the late original host John McLaughlin, who died in 2016. Longtime regular panel members Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page will return to the airwaves, along with guests of note. Also of note: The program’s content will be uninterrupted by commercial messages, the producers say.

“Our team is eager to relaunch this esteemed series not only for the benefit of our viewers but fans of the program across the country,” says Larry D. Unger, president and CEO of Maryland Public Television.

EIGHT HISTORICAL AUTOGRAPHS

The cachet of historic fundraisers and famous autographs are not confined to current times. In 1864, the United States Sanitary Commission, a civilian organization dedicated to helping sick and wounded soldiers of the Civil War, staged a mammoth, record-breaking fundraiser in New York City for their cause.

The group also sent a request to President Abraham Lincoln for his autograph and those of his Cabinet — the “Team of Rivals” — to be auctioned off to raise more funds at the time.

The president complied — as did Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, Secretary of the Interior J.P. Usher, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, and Postmaster General Montgomery Blair.

That very same document has come up for auction once again, this time through the Raab Collection, a Pennsylvania auction house specializing in historic documents. The collection of autographs is valued at $35,000, according to Nathan Raab.

“This is a remarkable find, which adds to our knowledge of President Lincoln’s charitable character and is a reminder that the President recognized his function as the Commander but also the Healer in Chief” says Mr. Raab — who also has a forthcoming non-fiction book titled “The Hunt for History” due from Scribner next year.

THE WHITE HOUSE CALL FOR CHRISTMAS

First lady Melania Trump has already planning for Christmas at the White House, truly a grand but complex endeavor. She could use a little assistance, though. Mrs. Trump is seeking volunteers to help with the decorations and with greeting visitors. Also needed: volunteer entertainers and musicians.

Don’t dilly dally though. Applications for volunteers close on Aug. 27, for musicians, it’s Sept. 10.

Find information and applications at WhiteHouse.gov/Christmas.

POLL DU JOUR

62% of the world’s population “would rather eat well than be thin.”

61% believe that most diet plans “ultimately fail.”

55% say they “are content” with their current weight.

51% have tried a diet to lose weight.

45% say that they exercise “so I don’t have to watch what I eat.”

Source: An IPSOS POLL of 14,502 adults IN 29 COUNTRIES conducted Aug. 24-SEPT. 7 AND RELEASED MONDAY.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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