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A Dismal National Report Card (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) May 10, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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The US Department of Education recently released national test scores for American 4th and 8th grade students in math and reading. They call it the “Nation’s Report Card.” I call it a dismal failure, no better than a D.

Only about a third of American 8th graders scored as proficient in reading and math, along with around 40% of fourth graders. And despite massive expenditures and countless reform efforts, there was essentially no improvement over the scores reported in the last tests 4 years ago. It’s been almost a decade since there was significant growth in the scores.

The new Secretary of Education is advocating more parental choice through charter schools and vouchers. In the face of these results, it would be hard to argue that it isn’t time to try something new. As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

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The Senate is Broken (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 26, 2018

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https://omny.fm/shows/townhall-review-conservative-commentary-on-todays/david-davenport-the-senate-is-broken/embed?style=artwork

 
Former President James Buchanan called the United States Senate “the greatest deliberative body in the world.”  But Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, recently complained that he hasn’t even been able to get a vote on a single legislative amendment in his first 15 months on the job.

The fact is that the U.S. Senate has largely quit deliberating.  The Senate has voted on only 6 non-budgetary amendments so far this year and has taken only 25 roll call votes in the two-year Congress, compared with 154 at this point in the last Congress.

Bills are held in secret until 51 votes are lined up and then sprung on the Senate.  Largely gone are the committee deliberations, debates and amendments.

Votes are taken largely to make statements for the next election, not to make great public policy.  It’s high time Congress returned to “regular order.”

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The Coming War in Data Privacy is from Europe, Not Washington (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 17, 2018

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While Mark Zuckerberg has been busy defending Facebook over data collection and privacy, a much more ominous threat is quietly coming from Europe. The European Union is implementing tough new standards on data privacy with stiff fines for violators. What many don’t realize is that these rules do not apply only to European companies, but to anyone who has data from Europeans.

For example, American universities enroll students from abroad and they will now be subject to this law.  Complying will cost millions and those who violate the new law could be subject to fines up to $23 million dollars.

Europe’s view is that the individual controls his or her data, not companies that collect it.  With an amazing overreach around the world, this now becomes a new global standard.  On top of trade wars, brace yourself for a new—and costly—cold war over privacy and data.

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Questions About Walls (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 11, 2018

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https://omny.fm/shows/townhall-review-conservative-commentary-on-todays/david-daveport-questions-about-walls/embed?style=artwork

 
President Trump loves walls—besides a border wall with Mexico, he wants to erect trade walls to protect American steel and aluminum with tariffs of 25 and 10 percent, respectively.

In his famous poem about walls, Robert Frost said, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” adding that before he built one, “I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was likely to give offence.” Those are good questions for Mr. Trump’s policy.

He wants to wall out foreign products that are cheaper than American products. But this will trouble not only nations that produce them, but also American consumers who like to save money.

There’s also a question of constitutionality, since the president’s power to do this is based on national security. And the biggest question:  will tariff walls even work in a global economy?

Many important questions about walls.

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Will the U.S. Be Prosecuted in the International Criminal Court? (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 4, 2018

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As if President Trump did not face enough legal challenges, there are now two threatened prosecutions of Americans at the International Criminal Court.

First, the Palestinian territories have filed a complaint against both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu over relocating Israel’s capital to Jerusalem. While an important matter for Middle Eastern politics, it’s difficult to see how this could be a criminal matter for the court.

Second, the prosecutor is seeking authority to investigate whether the U.S. military is guilty of torture and other war crimes in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. is not a member of the court, Afghanistan, on whose territory the alleged crimes occurred, is.

If either of these moves ahead, it would be the first time the ICC has sought to prosecute Americans and would set up a major confrontation between the U.S. and the court.

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Another Shot Fired in California’s Civil War (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) March 22, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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California is stepping closer to a civil war with the federal government over immigration. In the latest round, one day after President Trump visited the state to see prototypes of his border wall, the state senate appointed an illegal immigrant to serve on a state commission, a big step in California’s progressive history.

Lizbeth Mateo, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was appointed to the state’s Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Advisory Committee.  Perhaps, as a lawyer who advocates for immigration rights, she would have a perspective to share as a witness before a state commission, but as a member? There’s no legal basis for that and it is a further effort by California to tweak the Trump administration.

Unfortunately, the rule of law is rarely raised anymore in debates about immigration policy. Tweaking Trump is just a bad approach to public policy.

https://omny.fm/shows/townhall-review-conservative-commentary-on-todays/david-davenport-another-shot-fired-in-california-s/embed?style=artwork

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The Rise of Millennial Voters (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) March 20, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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A wave of change is coming in the 2018 and 2020 elections:  the rise of millennial voters.  In those elections, millennials, born between 1980-2000, will finally pass baby boomers as the largest voting generation.

What we know is that millennials hold different political views than their boomer parents.  They are more fearful, saying 4-1 that America is on the wrong track.  They believe less in political institutions such as Congress and the President.  They are more open to socialism, less committed to freedom. Seventy-one percent say we need a new political party.

What we don’t know is how many millennials will actually show up to vote.  So far, their voting percentage is low:  only half or less of eligible voters in 2016.

It seems likely that millennial concerns will change the conversation in future elections, but we’ll have to wait and see whether they actually vote and change the outcome.

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Power to the States (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) January 31, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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One encouraging development is that power is leaving Washington, DC and heading to the states. Policy wonks call it devolution, I call it progress.

After 15 years of federalizing K-12 education, for example, Washington turned its back on No Child Left Behind and passed a bill returning power over schools to the states.  There’s no need for Washington to act, as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says, as a national school board.

There’s discussion in Congress that the states should not only manage the trees, plants and flowers in their territory, but wildlife as well, including endangered species.

Welfare reform may be the next big issue and any solution is likely to create a larger role for states. Only the marijuana laws are moving the other way, toward Washington.

It’s heartening that Washington may finally be reading the Tenth Amendment—that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution belong to the states or the people.  Not everything needs to be a federal case.

I’m David Davenport.
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What Kind of Country Wants Media Stars for President? (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) January 29, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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Social media blew up when it appeared that Oprah Winfrey might run for president.  Think of it:  two billionaire media stars who had never held political office running for president. Only in America.

But the deeper question is why voters are turning in this direction?  Besides their obvious frustration with politicians, voters seem more interested in making statements than actually governing. We don’t know what policies Oprah might follow and, even after a year, Trump’s policy approach is still taking shape.  But they do make a statement.

A related problem is that the presidency is becoming all bully pulpit and no real leadership, all hat and no cattle as they say in Texas.  We want superheroes and action, not mature deliberation.  What passes for action in Washington these days is party-line votes and executive orders, not working through complex issues.

Citizens have duties, too, and we shouldn’t vote just to express frustration, but to guide the policy and governance of the nation.

https://omny.fm/shows/townhall-review-conservative-commentary-on-todays/david-davenport-what-kind-of-country-wants-media-s/embed?style=artwork

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Previewing Trump’s State of the Union Speech (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) January 22, 2018

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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A president’s first state of the union message is an important occasion. But in our era of political theater, there is some danger that this year the sideshow will overshadow the main attraction.

Several Democratic members of Congress say they will boycott the event.  One Congresswoman is encouraging females who do attend to dress in black.

Despite the political challenges, “it’s the economy, stupid.”  If Trump makes this primarily an economic address, he can succeed.  Think about it:  unemployment is down, jobs are up and the stock market is on fire. His big piece of legislation, the tax bill, is projected to lead to even more economic growth. The president has problems elsewhere, but so far so good on the economy and that should be his message.

The Constitution does not actually require this kind of televised state of the union address, though tradition does.  It’s always possible that a nontraditional president like Trump might surprise us and do something completely different.

https://omny.fm/shows/townhall-review-conservative-commentary-on-todays/david-davenport-previewing-trump-s-first-state-of/embed?style=artwork

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