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2019年2月4日 星期一

RCP Morning Note, 02/04/2019: Domestic Threats; Data as 'the New Oil'; Electing GW


02/04/2019
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Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Domestic Threats; Data as 'the New Oil'; Electing GW

By Carl M. Cannon on Feb 04, 2019 08:24 am

Good morning, it's Monday, February 4, 2019. I hope you enjoyed Sunday's low-scoring Super Bowl. Whatever one's feelings about head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the New England Patriots' sustained run of excellence can only be admired. So, congratulations are in order for the Pats and their fans. With the Red Sox victory in the 2018 World Series fresh in our minds, Boston can legitimately lay claim to the word Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman used recently while encouraging a disgruntled NBA star to join the Celtics.

That word was "Title-town." Speaking of baseball, spring training starts later this month. I can hardly wait.

On this date 230 years ago, George Washington was chosen as the first president of the United States. The vote was unanimous, an electoral result that we can safely assume will never be replicated. I'll have a brief observation on that event 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:

* * *

What We Really Need Is a "Domestic Threat Assessment." Frank Miele weighs in on last week's Senate testimony from senior members of the national intelligence community.

Offshore Wind Agreement Is Win-Win for Energy, Wildlife. Collin O'Mara hails a plan to protect endangered right whales from the construction and operation of East Coast wind turbines.

Data Is "The New Oil." In RealClearEnergy's Energy and the Information Infrastructure series, Mark P. Mills examines the next phase of the data revolution.

New Year, Same Old Debt. In RealClearPolicy, Joseph Minarik warns that the latest CBO deficit projections are cause for concern given that the health of the economy should be moving numbers in the other direction.

China Breaks From a Century of Humiliation. In RealClearDefense, Christian Heller writes that China's expansion into the South China Sea stems from a long history of exploitation at the hands of Western nations.

Cures Coming From Value-Based Outcome Medicine. In RealClearHealth, Matthew Kandrach spotlights innovative payment models that ensure patients only pay for a product if it works for them.

Solving the "Lost in an Amusement Park" Dilemma. Cellphone realities aside, RealClearScience editor Ross Pomeroy ponders whether it's best to stay in place or roam and search when separated from a companion.

Books, Movies, Music and TV Shows to Watch for This Month. Kirk Miller compiled this roundup in RealClearLife.

* * *

After leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington hoped for nothing more than living his remaining years on his Mount Vernon estate.

In a December 23, 1783 missive to Congress, Gen. Washington resigned his military commission, closing out, he said, "this last solemn act of my official life."

"Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action," he added, "bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body under whose orders I have so long acted."

It was not to be.

In the winter of 1788-1789, 11 of the original 13 colonies had ratified the United States Constitution, meaning that America's first president would be chosen by the states' designated presidential electors. The two states that hadn't yet ratified, North Carolina and Rhode Island, weren't represented. New York, the temporary seat of the new federal government, inexplicably didn't name its electors in time for the February 4, 1789 vote.

Two electors from Virginia, and another two from Maryland, were late to the party because their travel was hampered by winter weather. Yet 69 electors managed to make the scene. All 69 named George Washington at the top of their ballots. Thirty-four chose John Adams as vice president, the highest total for that role.

And so the first administration came into being -- without the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary, billions of dollars of attack ads, and the two-year campaigns that have become a staple of modern elections. Somehow, neither system seems satisfying. In other words, the pendulum may have swung too far in the direction of pure democracy.

It's hard to know precisely what George Washington would have thought of 21st century elections. It's not as hard to divine how he'd view party politics and a partisan media. He spoke to that, several times.

In a January 22, 1795 letter to a friend named Edmund Pendleton, Washington expressed concern that Native American people would come to resent whites. He made a broader observation along the way. "When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated," he wrote, "the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly."

George Washington expressed many other important sentiments in his life, most notably in his farewell address as president. For this morning, however, I'll leave you with my personal favorite George Washington quote. It came when he was still in the Army, in March 1783, as he met with officers under his command who were infuriated that Congress had reneged on promises of pensions and pay. Without complaining directly, Washington sought to quell the brewing mutiny by drawing his officers' attention to the years he himself had risked everything for his country -- also with little remuneration. He did so with a subtle gesture and a seemingly innocuous aside as he paused briefly to put on his reading glasses before relaying the contents of a letter to his comrades in arms.

"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles," Washington said, "for I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country." At hearing this, several of the men wept.

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

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