‘Joker’ director’s cancel-culture regret and other commentary

New York Post Opinions 2 months ago

Libertarian: ‘Joker’ Director’s Cancel-Culture Regret

Director Todd Phillips, whose new movie “Joker” has “proved controversial,” is stirring up controversy himself for criticizing cancel culture, Reason’s Robby Soave notes. In a Vanity Fair interview, Phillips said it’s hard “to be funny nowadays with this woke culture” because the “funny guys” are afraid to offend anyone, and “it’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter.” That, in turn, drew heavy social-media fire. Yet Phillips follows “a host of other comedians,” including Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K., who decry “shame mobs” that empower “those who believe it’s never okay to make light of subjects that are sacred to the political left” and that anyone who disagrees should be “shunned, silenced or fired.”

Analyst: Why Blacks Back Establishment Dems

Black voters are leaning toward Joe Biden for 2020, notes FiveThirtyEight’s Perry Bacon, Jr., and “that team-up — black voters and the more establishment candidate — is not unusual.” Why? Many reasons: Establishment candidates are “established” with, and have ties to, black communities. “Black voters are pragmatic” — tending to vote for the candidate with the best chance of beating a Republican. Also, black leaders “are part of the establishment and support its candidates.” And lefties now resonate best with highly educated voters, but “the vast majority of black Democrats don’t have college degrees.” Finally, the party’s “liberal activist wing” just isn’t “running enough black candidates.” It all adds up to blacks as the main force blocking “the path of the liberal left as it attempts to dethrone the party establishment.”

From the right: Dems Are Crying Wolf

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is “the motto of congressional Democrats when it comes to getting President Donald Trump,” scoffs Ford O’Connell at The Hill. Impeachment has been Democrats’ “monomania” since the 2018 midterms, and since neither Russian collusion nor their “smears” of Justice Brett Kavanaugh caught on, their latest try is the Trump-Ukraine phone call and whistleblower complaint. Yes, Trump’s call was “ham-handed and ill-advised.” But claiming it was illegal and warrants “a fast-tracked impeachment” is just “wishful-thinking.” In fact, the whistleblower complaint “reads more like a premeditated political set-up” than “the misgivings of a concerned citizen.” Democrats should watch out: They’re playing a “high-risk game” that may not go over well with voters.

Foreign desk: Don’t Abandon Lebanon

For many Lebanese, the greatest fear is that their country will become “a battleground in the geographical contest pitting Iran against the US and Saudi Arabia,” warns Hussein Ibish at Bloomberg. There is also a risk the country will be regarded as “little more than a Hezbollah front state” and “treated as a kind of colony” by Iran. That perspective is “deeply unfair”: Previous ceasefires brokered by the United States, after all, are partly to blame for the group’s enormous influence. And in any event, “abandoning Lebanon now to Hezbollah domination would effectively cede control of the country to Iran.” While “Lebanon is not a Hezbollah state,” observes Ibish, “treating it like one risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

From the left: Hey, Dems — Let Prosecutors Trap Trump

Democrats should “bring in killer lawyers,” give up their “time on TV” and stop “showing off for the folks at home” if they want to “hold Trump accountable,” snarks the Daily Beast’s Margaret Carlson. The fact is that “almost any prosecutor in the country will be better at building a case for impeachment” than any member of Congress. Adam Schiff, for example, foolishly decided to “channel his inner Corleone to read a mobbish summary of Trump’s call, too cute by half” — giving the president and his defenders “something to harp on for days.” During the Watergate hearings, lawyers, not politicians, did the questioning and brought down Nixon. If Democrats are serious about taking down Trump, turn to the lawyers and “hire as many as you can.”

— Compiled by Karl Salzmann

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