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2019年2月1日 星期五

RCP Morning Note, 02/01/2019: Pivoting to the Budget; 'Emergency' Precedents; Quote of the Week


02/01/2019
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Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Pivoting to the Budget; 'Emergency' Precedents; Quote of the Week

By Carl M. Cannon on Feb 01, 2019 08:27 am

Good morning, it's February 1, 2019, a Friday, the day of the week when I highlight a memorable quote associated with this date in history. Today's comes from Langston Hughes, who was born on this day in 1902.

Before I share his quotation, I'd note that February 1 is a fitting day to draw attention to memorable words: On this date in 1884, the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary was published. It was the brainchild of the Philological Society of London, which in 1857 had decided that all existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient.

So this august body agreed to produce a book that re-examined and defined the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward. They knew this was an ambitious undertaking. They couldn't have known how ambitious. Today, the fruits of that project consist of 20 volumes, all of which are available online. That great repository provides the meaning and etymology of 600,000 words going back a thousand years, and providing context for them with 3 million quotations.

The words we use, and their precise meaning, is important, as the governors of New York and Virginia have reminded us in recent days. Or take the phrase "states' rights," for example. I'll have a brief observation on that -- and evocative words from Langston Hughes -- in a moment.

First I'd direct you to our front page, which aggregates an array of columns and stories spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

Big Budget Deal Is Best Path for Both Trump and Dems. A.B. Stoddard urges the president to put aside his border wall fight and put an end to what promises to be an uninterrupted battle from one fiscal cliff to another.

Why Trump Predicts His Re-election "Should Be Easy." Myra Adams provides a history lesson and a primer on political machinations in assessing the president's remark.

Presidents and the Lessons of "Emergency." Marc Land looks back at precedents for the emergency-powers authority Donald Trump has said he could use to fund a border wall.

Five Facts: The U.S.-Mexico Border. In RealClearPolicy, No Labels offers this overview.

Paranoia About China Is Rooted in Weak Knowledge of History. In RealClearMarkets, Bill Meisler argues that the entire world benefits from the increasing prosperity and the creative talents of the Chinese people.

The Phillips Curve Points in the Wrong Direction. Also in RCM, David Simon asserts that economists' reliance on inflation-unemployment linkage is misguided.

Europe Has a Role to Play in Venezuela. In RealClearWorld, Dita Charanzova explains why the EU should recognize Juan Guaidó as president and lays out other steps that need to be taken.

An Open Letter to the Pulitzer Committee From Parkland Parents. In RealClearEducation, Andrew Pollack and Ryan Petty write that reporting by the South Florida Sun Sentinel deserves to be recognized.

Highs and Lows of Super Bowl Halftime Shows. RealClearLife has this recap.

* * *

On this date in 1861, a convention of Texans voted 166-8 to secede from the Union -- and put the matter to a vote of the electorate, which in those days and in that place meant people who were exclusively white and male. This momentous decision was not made over some philosophical concern about "states' rights" or any other constitutional prerogatives. Here is the language from the "declaration of causes" at the secession convention:

"[Texas] was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery -- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits -- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time."

A year later, The Atlantic Monthly provided the Northern states' rebuttal in the form of Julia Ward Howe's rousing poem. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was promptly set to music in the ranks of the Union Army (the preferred tune being a more upbeat version of "John Brown's Body," which itself was appropriated from an older song).

The words of that hymn, and the sentiments it rallies, have been an American touchstone through the years. It was sung in the Washington National Cathedral after 9/11, and perhaps most memorably by Martin Luther King Jr. on the capitol steps in Montgomery, Ala., in March of 1965. "How long?" King asked. "Not long. Because mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored…"

Years before "black is beautiful" became a rallying cry for more radicalized African-Americans in the 1960s, Langston Hughes sought to make the same point: "The night is beautiful," wrote the great poet. "So the faces of my people. The stars are beautiful. So the eyes of my people."

A careful reading of his words, however, shows that Hughes was searching in his prose and poetry for the universal traits that bind all people together. He was born 117 years ago today, and he died, too young, in 1967. In the last year of his life, he was asked to write a one-sentence synopsis of his body of work. Here is what he produced: "My seeking has been to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America and obliquely that of all humankind."

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)
ccannon@realclearpolitics.com

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