A Review of the Likely 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates

PresidentialSealby N. A. Halkides   2/5/15
The 2016 Presidential campaign will feature probably the widest-open Republican field in memory, exceeding even the free-for-all of 2012.  The good side of having so many candidates that when they’re assembled on stage they look like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is that we may hope to actually find a good one; the bad side is the possibility of losing the best man in the crowd.  With so many candidates it was not practical for me to continue my series of “close-ups” (I have written in some detail about Rick Santorum, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush here on ST already), and it is quite impossible even to give a comprehensive description of the positions of all fourteen candidates on every major issue.  Space and the fact that such complete information isn’t even available at this time prohibit such an approach.  More importantly, I don’t think that’s the best way to look for a leader:  it’s more important that our man have a coherent theory of limited government than that he believes the capital gains tax rate should equal “r”.  Also, there are some issues so important that being on the wrong side of one of them is a complete disqualifier (e.g. for many of us it would immigration, abortion, or both).

Those two considerations mean that it’s easier to look for a basis to disqualify a candidate than to accept him, however negative that may sound.  What I have tried to do is present the candidates’ views on a few key issues in the hope that we may either be able to glimpse the candidate’s political philosophy or else rule him out as ipso facto unacceptable.  Note that “Limited Government” is one of the “issues” I have included, for to repeat, I think this is the key to finding the right man for the job – if there is one.

For convenience, I have grouped like candidates together into three classes.  I could have shortened this review by leaving out the Establishment-men, but I decided not to because a lot of Conservative voters seem to be having trouble distinguishing between Conservative and Establishment, and I hope this summary helps open a few eyes.

1. The Political Outliers, or Odd Men Out

These are men who are difficult to pigeonhole within the generally accepted lexicon of American politics, although the term “Conservative” may be carelessly applied to them.

Mike Huckabee –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Sound on both, but doesn’t seem to understand the harm SSM does to real marriage.  Is against SSM primarily because of his religious beliefs, and that’s unlikely to carry the day with the general public.

Economic Policy:  I couldn’t find anything currently, but going back to 2008, Huckabee’s positions were an inconsistent hodge-podge.  He wanted to make college tuition tax deductible, increase wind power, and eliminate all taxes except for a sales tax (source:  About News).  While Governor of Arkansas, he increased both spending and taxes, according to the Club for Growth, which is never a good sign.

Gun Rights:  Seems solid enough.  Huckabee is a hunter and in May 1998 received the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award.

Limited Government:  Not in favor.  “’If there are a certain number of kids from single-parent homes who aren’t going to school and don’t have health care, you can say that’s not government’s job,’ Huckabee told me. “Well, sweet and fine! But you know what? If the kid’s sitting outside the door of the hospital choking with asthma, do I sit there and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think, philosophically, government should get involved’? I’d much rather the kid get help than I sit around and say I’m so pure in my ideology.” – Profile in The New Yorker.  In other words, one man’s need is a claim on another’s life – this is the basis of all socialism, and its acceptance marks Huckabee as a Progressive.  Also, he was being disingenuous in using an example involving a child:  (1) Where are the parents? (2) Conservatives don’t generally object to funding health care for orphans; the real issue involves adults, and generally able-bodied adults at that; and (3) how melodramatic can you get?

If that weren’t enough to classify Huckabee as a man of the Left, as Arkansas Governor he let a convicted felon out of jail with predictable results:

”Huckabee commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who went on to shoot four police officers in Washington last year. Given the same information he had then, Huckabee says, he would make the same decision. “When I looked at his case, I looked at a twenty-seven-year-old put away for a non-weapon burglary and an aggravated robbery. He had a sentence of a hundred and eight years,” Huckabee said. (From the same New Yorker profile).   “He would make the same decision(!)” – ‘nuff said.  Never learning from past mistakes is a hallmark of the Leftist.

Disqualifiers:  advocates Common Core (wants to rebrand it in an obvious attempt to mislead voters – Glenn Beck blows the whistle here; advocates high levels of immigration; in Arkansas, wanted to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state college scholarships.  He has also defended President Obama’s immigration policy.

Nik’s Summary:  Huckabee is basically a Progressive who “got religion” and then failed to apply those teachings toward a coherent political philosophy.  He resembles a member of the familiar religious Left:  “He is Jeb Bush hiding behind the cross” – Glenn Beck.  Has the potential to do great damage in 2016 by siphoning off some social conservatives from a better candidate just as he did in 2008, when his candidacy enabled John McCain to get the nomination.

Rick Santorum –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Solid on both, but sounds like an extremist and may alienate many with his choice of words.

Economic Policy:  Good in many ways but with odd exceptions, such as his support for the minimum wage, which are the key to understanding Santorum.  While all Conservatives understand the importance of the family, Santorum goes well beyond that and favors the use of state power to enforce certain family norms that go well beyond merely believing that marriage means the union of one man and one woman.

Gun Rights:  While Pennsylvania Senator, Santorum voted in favor of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (Bill S 397), but there are some reasons to question just how deep his support of gun rights goes:  he voted in favor of trigger locks on handguns and also in favor of “closing the gun show loophole,” i.e. taking away the basic right of the individual to sell his guns without performing useless background checks on the buyer.  My estimation is that Santorum would never support extreme measures like gun registration but might become useful to the gun-grabbers by supporting what they euphemistically call “common-sense regulation”.

Limited Government:  It is clear that Santorum does not have a coherent theory of limited government – he is perfectly fine with the use of force to achieve those social purposes he deems beneficial.  C.C. Writer has termed him a crypto-progressive, which is probably the best one-word description of his philosophy.  His basic problem is to see the family as the basic political unit (thus sacrificing individual rights when convenient) instead of only as a vital social unit.  You might call this a very strange form of collectivism in which the family has primacy over the individual.  In that, Santorum is unique in American politics.

Disqualifiers:  I give a full-length analysis in The Problem with Rick Santorum.

Nik’s Summary:  Santorum holds too many positions that are anathema to mainstream American voters, and is a singularly ungifted politician, managing to often sound more extreme than he actually is, for example on the question of pre-marital sex.  Santorum is much more open about his views than Huckabee, but like Huckabee he has the potential to siphon off some social conservative votes from a better candidate in 2016.

2. The RINOs and Establishment-Men, or The Inglorious Bastards

Jeb Bush –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  o.k. on abortion.  Believes SSM to be a state issue, which is technically correct but evinces a certain lack of passion about the issue.

Economic Policy:  Few specifics available.  Thinks increased immigration will boost the economy(!).

Gun Rights:  Supports gun rights, but inconsistently.  Like Santorum, he seems amenable to extended background checks, one of the methods the gun-grabbers intend to use to chip away gradually at our gun rights.  See the summary below for a linked article covering this issue in more detail.

Limited Government:  Obviously does not favor limited government – he vastly increased spending while Governor of Florida and favors massive Federal involvement in education.  He has spoken of cutting the rate of growth of government, but obviously does not believe that massive true cuts are necessary.

Disqualifiers:  Strong support for Common Core and Amnesty.

Nik’s Summary:  As with Santorum, I did a full-length piece on Jeb’s numerous deficiencies in Why Jeb Bush is not a Conservative.  Jeb is pure Establishment and therefore would most probably lose to any Democrat, and would certainly fail to significantly alter the nation’s course should he somehow be elected President.  One favorable sign is that very few Conservatives have been fooled into thinking Jeb is one of them.

Chris Christie – 

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  is against abortion with exceptions for rape and incest and is against public funding for abortions.  Took a stand against SSM but didn’t exactly fight it tooth and nail:  “”Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.” (Report on Fox News).  One would hope that a true Conservative would fight against having the law “dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court”.

Economic Policy:  In his 2015 State of the State speech, Christie (who is Governor of New Jersey) mentioned the drop in the State’s (U3) Unemployment Rate from 9.7 to 6.4 percent.  However, those numbers are basically bogus, since the U3 number simply fails to count people who have given up on looking for work because they can’t find a job, and NJ is still behind the national average in terms of employment.  In fact, NJ is in very bad shape, with its credit rating being downgraded eight times(!) during his governorship and with huge unfunded pension liabilities for public-sector workers.  Christie at least is resisting the predictable efforts of Democrats to raise taxes even higher than they are now, but he shows no particular interest in free-market solutions to economic problems.

Gun Rights:  Christie believes in gun control.  NJ has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, harassing gun owners in numerous ways.  Currently, Christie apparently supports further restrictions:  “Among the changes would be a redefining of some semi-automatic shotguns as “assault firearms” should they possess one of more listed features to include a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a folding stock, or a pistol grip. Currently semi-auto shotguns are only classified as such if they have two or more of these features. This would make several popular home defense and 3-gun competition shotguns such as the Benelli M4 and FN SLP the subject of increased regulation.”  (as reported on Guns.com).  My take:  Christie is aware of how his anti-gun views could hurt him in the 2016 Republican Primaries and so is trying to cover them up somewhat.  If he were not interested in running for President, I believe he would have given NJ State lawmakers even more of what they wanted in the way of gun control measures.  Plainly, Christie does not believe in the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.

Limited Government:  Given his support for gun control and his unwillingness to fight Obamacare, it is hard to imagine that Christie truly believes in limited government, although he did say this during his second inaugural address:  “I do not believe that New Jerseyans want a bigger, more expensive government that penalizes success and then gives the pittance left to a few in the name of income equity. What New Jerseyans want is an unfettered opportunity to succeed in the way they define success. They want an equal chance at the starting; not a government guaranteed result.”  That is clearly a Conservative principle – was it sincere or merely an overture to get Conservative support?  In fairness it must be admitted that a Conservative governor would be hard-pressed to bring any Conservative reforms to a state dominated by far-Left Democrats.  This is perhaps a good reason to avoid nominating a governor from a Left-leaning state – it’s hard to know whether his policy failures (e.g. Romneycare in Massachusetts) are due to his own shortcomings or to the terrible hindrance posed by a Democratic legislature.

Disqualifiers:  Christie supports “immigration reform” i.e. amnesty.  In 2008 he said this:  “Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime.”  Favors gun control.  Does not understand the dangers to this country posed by radical Islam (see Chris Christie’s Islam Problem in NRO).

Nik’s Summary:  Every time some Establishmentarian has written an article attempting to portray Christie as a Conservative, it has been immediately shot to pieces by dozens of commentators including yours truly, thus there is little chance that Christie is going to fool Republican Primary voters into thinking he’s some kind of Conservative.  At the same time, as a RINO he must compete for support with Jeb Bush, who has more backers among the Establishment, more money, and better organization than he does.  With those handicaps, it’s hard for me to imagine that Christie will get very far during primary season, and might well decide against running as much as I’m sure he wants to.

John Kasich –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Kasich is pro-life except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger (San Francisco Chronicle, Apr 4, 1999).

Kasich says he continues to support Ohio’s SSM ban.

Economic Policy:  What a President Kasich’s economic policy might be is suggested by a report in Cleveland.com as to what he will probably do next in Ohio:  “That policy likely will include more efforts to reduce the state’s income tax and pressing to lure businesses and job growth to the state.”

Reducing taxes and enticing businesses are all well and good as far as they go, but these should be recognized as measure favored by Establishment-men as well as Conservatives – a point which some people are still confused about.  Kasich is clearly not a Conservative when certain other of his views (see below) are taken into account.

Gun Rights:  Kasich has been inconsistent on gun rights – while in the House in 1994 he voted in favor of the “assault weapons” ban, but as Ohio Governor he partly redeemed himself by signing H234, a very modest bill that slightly strengthened gun rights in the State.  He had also voted in favor of background checks to buy guns at a gun show, one of the ways the gun-grabbers intend to nibble away at our gun rights.  In the end, I don’t believe that Kasich sincerely supports the Second Amendment; he merely thinks there are enough gun laws on the books already, which is not the same thing at all.

Limited Government:  If you listen to Kasich long enough you will find absolute proof of his basically Progressive convictions.

“Economic growth is great, but there’s one thing that people in my political party don’t always understand. Economic growth is not an end unto itself. Economic growth provides the means whereby we can reach out and help those who live in the shadows.”  

What this means is that the individual does not have the right to pursue his own happiness; personal success is only good because it allows us to give money to charity.  I remember Arnold Schwarzenegger, a total RINO if ever there was one, saying much the same thing.  Or:

“Promoting Obamacare in South Dakota, Montana and several national interviews last week, Kasich touted the Bible chapter’s depiction of judgment based on individual charity as a sweeping endorsement of government programs for the poor.”

Kasich thus appears unable to distinguish between private charity and government confiscation of private property for alleged charitable purposes (Godfather Politics explains the difference).

Disqualifiers:  While capable of at least mentioning American’s Judeo-Christian heritage, Kasich’s immigration views have evolved, and we all know what that means:  he’s moved to the Left.  He was the only governor during the Republican Governors Association’s conference last November to express openly a willingness to create a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.  No real surprise there, as back in 1994 Kasich voted to pass a bill to increase the number of temporary visas granted to highly skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 by the year 2000.  Clearly Kasich is among the many Republicans who only listen to the Chamber of Commerce and not ordinary American workers.

Nik’s Summary:  Odd as it may sound, I discussed Kasich’s failings in Scott Walker on Close Inspection because he took in Ohio the same approach to public-sector costs that Walker did in Wisconsin – an amoral “We can’t afford this” argument that never mentioned taxpayers’ rights – and got clobbered.  Kasich is, however, much more a traditional sort of politician than Walker – in other words, I don’t think he can be trusted.

Kasich betrayed Republicans in the State Legislature by supporting Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.  Red State has the story:

“The Republican-led Ohio House stripped the Obamacare Medicaid expansion from the budget Gov. Kasich, a Republican, introduced last February. In place of the expansion, both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate approved language explicitly forbidding it.  Kasich expanded Medicaid unilaterally after issuing a line-item veto of the legislature’s ban.”

I submit that someone who could do that is utterly unacceptable for the Republican nomination.

3. Conservatives and Conservative Poseurs

Ted Cruz – 

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Cruz is strong on abortion, having actually authored an amicus curiae brief for the Supreme Court in defense of the 13 states that were defending the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.  At the state level (in Texas), he defended Rider 8, prohibiting state funding for groups that provide abortions.  Cruz also strongly supports traditional marriage.

Economic Policy:  Cruz wrote about economic policy in an op-ed for the Washington Post:

“And yet, as Democrats work to move the United States further toward the failed economic policies of European social democracies, our economic mobility has diminished. Without fail, when government controls the economy, opportunity dries up…Free-market policies expand opportunity, produce prosperity and improve lives, especially for those working to climb the economic ladder…Republicans shouldn’t just assail excessive financial and environmental regulations; we should explain how those regulations kill jobs and restrict Americans’ ability to buy their first home.”

I am actually encouraged by the lack of specific policies in these declarations, for what I think we most need is a candidate who knows the importance of abstract ideas like freedom vs. socialism and how social democracy is destroying Europe, and Cruz gives every indication of understanding these things.  How many other Republicans even speak of the free market?

Gun Rights:  NRA executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said this about Cruz:  “Ted Cruz is one of our nation’s leading defenders of the Second Amendment. For over a decade, Ted has fought tirelessly to defend our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and his leadership was absolutely critical to our major victories before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Cruz authored another amicus brief in the famous Heller case, in which Progressive gun-grabbers were dealt one of their more serious blows when the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment did indeed confer an individual right to keep and bear arms.  Cruz then looks like no squish on gun control but in fact a principled defender of the Second Amendment.

Limited Government:  I couldn’t find anywhere a concise statement of political philosophy from Cruz, but he did make some remarks recently at the Iowa Freedom Summit:

”It is exactly why many of us do what we do. We fear for our children and our grandchildren; we fear they will not grow up in a nation where individual God-given rights, freedom and liberty are protected but instead reviled and stripped away leaving misery in its place. We fear our children and grandchildren will suffer immensely at the hands of those indoctrinated by the government. And, we fear that some of our posterity will succumb and abandon the values we hold dear.“

While not specific, again consider the general tone:  how many other Republican candidates even use words like “freedom” and “liberty” or mention the dangers of children being “indoctrinated by the government” – practically an attack on government control of education?

Disqualifiers:  I’m not going to get into the question of whether Cruz is a natural-born citizen here – the legal issues are complicated and I have not studied them enough to form an opinion.  This might not be an issue unless other Republicans challenge Cruz’s eligibility in various state primaries, but we should all be aware of the possibility of a nightmare situation in which Democrats wait until Cruz gets nominated, then challenge his placement on the November ballot in the Federal courts.  Should they prevail, Republicans would probably find themselves with a candidate picked by the RNC, almost certainly Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney.  I think this scenario is extremely unlikely, but anyone wishing to support Cruz should at least consider the possibility.

Much more serious is the vital question of immigration.  While I don’t doubt that Cruz genuinely favors securing the border as he claims on his website, he does not seem to see the danger of continuing the high levels of immigration that have done so much to transform this country for the worse.  Here is his position on immigration as I infer it based on an interview by Byron York in The Washington Examiner:

Cruz offered five amendments to the infamous “Gang of Eight” (Los Bandidos Ochos) amnesty proposal.

“The first was border security, which Cruz said the current bill “leaves to the subjective, amorphous discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.” Cruz offered an amendment that would have created a three-year period, during which security would be increased, before the estimated 11 million currently-illegal immigrants could apply for legal status.”

So this amendment put enforcement first, which is all to the good, but then it allowed for an amnesty (I think any bill that allows people to obtain legal status after breaking our immigration laws to enter the country is an “amnesty” as reasonable people would use the term).  So Cruz does not see the problem with these 11-million (or more) illegals becoming legal.  It’s true that he apparently wants to deny them citizenship (see below), but how that could be done once they were granted legal status is beyond me (cf. the old Newt Gingrich proposal along these lines).

“Two other Cruz amendments would have increased the number of high-skilled temporary workers and the number of total immigrants allowed into this country legally each year. “I am an unapologetic advocate of legal immigration,” Cruz told me…”

Yes, Cruz has fallen for the industry lie that they can’t fill those STEM jobs with us stupid, unqualified Americans and so they just have to import foreign workers who coincidentally will work for half the American rate of pay.  He has also unwittingly joined with Democrats to even further squeeze the American middle class – and hey, fair is fair, so if you’re going to destroy the jobs and wages of the American working poor with immigration, it’s only right that we do the same to a good segment of the middle class.  Maybe being in the same welfare lines will bring us closer together as a nation.

“Cruz’s final two amendments dealt with the 11 million who are in the country illegally. The first stated flatly that ‘no person who has previously been willfully present in the United States while not in lawful status shall be eligible for United States citizenship.’”

All well and good, but since Cruz had earlier granted these people legal status (see above), what is to become of them?  Inevitably the Democrats will pressure continually for them to get “a path to citizenship” and it’s hard to see Republicans resisting.  And of course we’ll be stuck with all their children, also.

“The final amendment said that “aliens who have entered or remained present in the United States while not in lawful status shall not be eligible for means-tested benefits.”

Note that they would still be eligible for non-means-tested benefits, which could add up to a tidy sum – to be paid by the American taxpayer.

Cruz wants to double the level of legal immigration – see the video at the 3:28 mark.

Cruz here says of his amendments that he would have doubled the level of legal immigration and increased H1-B visa holders five-fold!  That means 325,000 high-tech jobs taken from American and given to immigrants.

It has been suggested that Cruz proposed these amendments as so many “poison pills” to the bill so that it would never pass the Senate, but Cruz has never said so himself and he sounds sincere on the video above.  Therefore, I am inclined to take these amendments at face value, that is, as a genuine statement of his position on the immigration issue.

Nik’s Summary:  Cruz’s web site provides more details on his positions than most of the other candidates’ websites do, and is certainly worth visiting for anyone wanting to know more about him.  Cruz is plainly a full-spectrum Conservative, very capable of formulating a moral argument against the Left. He is practically alone among the candidates in having an actual philosophy of limited government, and I firmly believe that we need a highly intellectual candidate to hit the Democrats where they’re weakest – their bankrupt ideology of statism.  So it just about broke my heart to hear Cruz speak about the “need” for more H1-B visas and express a desire to double the level of legal immigration.  Why such an intelligent man can’t see that this amounts to further economic problems followed by social unrest and finally national destruction as the Democrats win every national election is a frustrating mystery to me.  I can only think that like Establishment Republicans, Cruz has spent too much time listening to the country club/Chamber of Commerce set and not enough listening to the problems of the ordinary citizen.  I don’t like to get personal, but the background of Cruz’s wife Heidi raises my suspicions: she received an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and served as a Vice-President of Goldman-Sachs.  But even that doesn’t explain why Cruz, along with every open-borders Republican, cannot see that continued high levels of legal or illegal immigration mean the end of the GOP as anything like an opposition party.

Rand Paul – 

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Paul is against both.  His views on SSM seem partly traditional and partly to stem from Federalism, for he sees marriage as a state issue.  There is little for the Conservative to quarrel with there.

Economic Policy:  Paul supports balancing the Federal Budget.  Like his father Ron Paul, he is opposed to the Federal Reserve.  I couldn’t find too many other specifics, perhaps because Paul has been so outspoken on other issues.

Gun Rights:  Paul mentions his support for the Second Amendment on his website, and seems quite sincere although he does digress slightly by tying it to the Fourth Amendment.

Limited Government:  I think we have to admit that Rand Paul is certainly in favor of limited government.  Whether he actually has a coherent theory of such a government is another matter.  It becomes apparent when looking at Paul’s views on national security and foreign policy that like his father, he is a Libertarian and not a Conservative, and Libertarian theory is anything but coherent.  It’s a great pity because on a number of individual issues Paul winds up on the right side even if ultimately for the wrong reasons.

Disqualifiers:  Does not see the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran(!), seems willing to support cuts to defense spending, and favors open borders.  Those stances are clearly the product of Paul’s basic Libertarianism.

Nik’s Summary:  Rand Paul is right on a number of issues, but then so are some of the Establishment-men, and this does not make any of them true Conservatives.  (The old joke, dating from the pre-digital era:  even a broken clock is right twice a day.)  Paul is basically a Libertarian pretending to be a Conservative, although some of his views (e.g. on abortion and SSM) are unorthodox to the extent there is or can be a Libertarian Orthodoxy.  Paul may have an appeal to some confused young people and will definitely appeal to Libertarians and some Conservatives.  Given his views on foreign policy and national defense, though, I can’t see how he could possibly assemble a winning coalition from among Republican primary voters.

Marco Rubio –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Rubio seems to be a staunch opponent of abortion.  He opposed Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because of her support for Roe v. Wade and because of her mistaken ideas about the Second Amendment.  Rubio has strongly disagreed with court decisions making SSM the law of the land by fiat, and believes the question should be in the hands of the states.

Economic Policy:  Rubio has spoken about education, advocating some kind of independent accrediting process for colleges and an alternative to student loans, “Student Investment Plans”.

Gun Rights:  Rubio seems solid enough here.  Here is what he said during a CNN interview:  “My position on guns is pretty clear. I believe law-abiding people have a fundamental constitutional right to bear arms. And I believe criminals and dangerous people should not have access to guns. There are laws that protect those two things–but many of these [additional] gun laws are ineffective. They don’t do those things. They either infringe on the rights of law-abiding people and do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And I’m troubled this debate is about guns. It should be about violence. Violence is the problem, guns are what they’re using.”

Limited Government:  Rubio knows how to sound Conservative, but a careful examination leads me to doubt he has a coherent theory of limited government.  Consider this statement to NPR, which sounds ambiguous about government programs:

“The success sequence in America says you get an education, you get a good job, you get married, you have children,” Rubio says. “People who do those four things have an incredible level of economic stability.

“But there are millions of people who aren’t going to have one or any of those things,” he says. “They are not going to have an equal opportunity to succeed unless something happens to equalize the situation.

“The question for those of us in public policy is: What can a limited government do to become a part of that solution — not the exclusive solution — but a part of that solution?” Rubio contends.

Rubio, significantly, doesn’t answer his own question.  It really sounds as though he wants to be on both sides, in favor of government programs aimed at increasing “opportunity” while at the same time being careful to use the phrase “limited government”.

Disqualifiers:  Favors amnesty.  It was his co-sponsorship of the notorious “Gang of Eight” Senate Amnesty bill that caused many Conservatives to take another look at Rubio’s supposed Conservative bona fides.

Nik’s Summary:  Rubio has taken a number of Conservative positions, yet his claims to Conservatism somehow ring hollow.  He may be merely a clever man who knows how to sound like a Conservative to get the crucial support of the Republican Party’s base but whose own views are strictly in accord with the Establishment’s.  His position on immigration supports this theory:  as mentioned above, he was one of the “Gang of Eight” (whom I refer to as Los Bandidos Ochos, The Eight Bandits) that sponsored the infamous Senate Amnesty bill last year.  This indicates one of three things:  (1) he cares more about Latino immigrants than current Americans; or (2) he thinks he can ride into the White House carried on a tide of grateful Latino voters should he deliver Amnesty, and is too ambitious to care about how such a project will destroy this country; or (3) he doesn’t understand that Latino voters overwhelmingly love socialism and will always vote for the party of big government, and really believes Karl Rove’s nonsense about them being “natural Republicans”.

Whatever the case, Rubio’s push for amnesty has probably (and fortunately) damaged him beyond repair with the Conservative base, and it’s hard to see him lasting past the first few primaries.

Carly Fiorina – 

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  From her web site (link below):  “Carly believes that life begins at conception; she is pro-life.”  And:  “Carly believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and she supported California’s Proposition 8.”  So Fiorina is sound on both issues.

Economic Policy:  From her 2010 Senate candidate web site, we see that she understands the importance of reducing taxes and regulation:  “California workers and entrepreneurs will reach their greatest economic potential when we reduce taxes and unnecessary regulatory burdens.”  Her specific positions were in favor of extending the Bush Tax Cuts, lowering marginal income tax rates, and eliminating the Death Tax.  Given her background, it is perhaps unsurprising that Fiorina seems exceptionally strong on purely economic issue.

Gun Rights:  “Carly believes the rights outlined in the Second Amendment are a critical part of our country’s founding principles and that it is the responsibility of our leaders in Sacramento and in Washington to uphold and defend these fundamental rights.”  This is good enough as far as it goes; it would be good if we knew for sure that Fiorina would not support “common-sense gun control” which always means an incremental infringement upon gun rights.

Limited Government:  I could not find any general statement about this, so we cannot know what Fiorina’s view of government is, or if she even has a coherent philosophy.  On all basic issues other than immigration, however, Fiorina looks pretty solid.

Disqualifiers:  Here is her position on immigration:  “Carly believes that the solution to our nation’s illegal immigration problem must begin with securing our borders. Without secure borders, we cannot begin to have a rational discussion about immigration policy. Technology holds great potential to help in our nation’s security efforts, and Carly believes we should use every tool at our disposal to ensure our borders are secure.  At the same time, Carly is also committed to developing an effective visa program and temporary worker program to support legal immigrants who fulfill important roles in our nation’s economy. An effective temporary worker program for seasonal agricultural employees and visa programs for workers in other high-skill, high-demand industries can help us fill what are often dire employment needs.”

This is of course the standard Establishment line:  “secure the borders” and then allow millions of uneducated, low-skilled workers to cross it, while also increasing high-skilled unemployment among Americans by allowing more high-tech aliens to enter the country and take their jobs away.

Nik’s Summary:  It actually may come as a surprise to many to see Fiorina here, but it is clear that she is considering a run for the White House.  I’m guessing here, but I think her calculation is that the Democratic nominee in 2016 will be a woman, either Elizabeth Warren or more likely Hillary Clinton, and that she looks very good compared to either of these two (an underlying assumption being it is easier for voters to understand her differences with another woman than it would be with a man, which is an interesting, if highly debatable, hypothesis).  Another hypothesis is that she’s only hoping to do well enough to be considered for the VP slot on the ticket.

Fiorina lost a bid to unseat Senator Barbara Boxer, which is unsurprising in loony-Left California, and for six years was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard.  Now, wealthy businesspeople tend to be Establishment rather than Conservative (this is overwhelmingly the case), and Fiorina’s position on immigration, detailed above, bears this out:  Fiorina sees the world basically the same way every other wealthy Establishmentarian businessperson does.  She does have what I call “Conservative instincts” but as we have seen with George W. Bush, that isn’t sufficient to make a good President.  I believe that as yet another wealthy businessperson, Fiorina would be too vulnerable to the Democratic attack machine to win the general election should she be nominated.  During primary season, her greatest handicap might be that not many Republicans outside of California know who she is.

Mike Pence –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Pence’s attack on Planned Parenthood and his support for a law (HB 1123) protecting Indiana residents from being forced to fund abortions through their health insurance plans strongly suggest he is extremely solid on abortion.

In this year’s State of the State message, Pence called for a ban on same-sex “marriage”.  Clearly, Pence is not going weak in the knees on SSM the way some Republicans have.

Economic Policy:  Indiana’s economy has been doing well relative to the rest of the Midwest under Pence.  From his website we read that Pence favors reducing regulation, and he has taken specific steps in this direction including an executive order placing a moratorium on new regulations and ordering a review of existing ones.

Indiana also seems to be in better shape financially than other Midwestern states.  Its 2014 credit rating (Standard & Poor’s) is AAA, making it better than those of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, or Wisconsin (Scott Walker fans take note).

Gun Rights:  Pence signed HB229, which makes it legal to bring firearms onto school property as long as they remain secured in a vehicle out of sight.  This is a welcome step against those idiotic “gun free zones” which do nothing to protect the innocent but can snare good people into technical violations of unreasoning laws.  Because there is a certain amount of controversy in doing this, it suggests that Pence is a sincere defender of gun rights.

Limited Government:  Pence’s inconsistencies (see “Disqualifiers” below) make it impossible to tell if he truly believes in limited government.  He sounds good on the economy and gun rights, then turns around and accepts the Medicaid Expansion and the equivalent of Common Core, and to top it off he now seems intent on establishing a state-run news outlet!  Some further criticism of Pence’s record may be found at The Federalist  in an article by Joy Pullmann.

Disqualifiers:  Pence has given in to the Medicaid Expansion through Obamacare (see Mike Pence gives in and Philip Klein’s story in the Washington Examiner.  Klein sums it up this way (and very well, too):

“Myopic Republican governors think they can fool conservatives by gaining token concessions on what remains a government-run healthcare program and calling it “free market reform.” But the Obama administration is playing the long game, realizing that if it keeps adding beneficiaries to the books, big government liberalism wins.”

That is exactly right.  The danger of leaving Obamacare in place, or going along with it in any way, is not that the people will learn to like it as the Left preposterously claims, but that too many will become dependent on it while losing their good-quality private insurance, making the Act that much more difficult to repeal.  Perhaps those Republican Governors who, when presented with a choice between accepting more largesse from the Federal taxpayer and maintaining any limited-government principles they might have held, have cynically calculated that as state officials they can “take the money and run” while leaving the fight against Obamacare to Republicans holding office at the Federal level, but if so they are derelict in their duty and certainly unworthy of election to Federal office.  Obamacare is the most socialistic program in the history of the United States, transforming citizen into subject, and no one who collaborates with its evil can claim to be attempting to conserve traditional American freedom, that is, to be a true Conservative.

Pence’s about-face is particularly troubling when we recall how solid he used to be on this issue.  Here is an excerpt from a letter he wrote to then-Governor Mitch Daniels:

“The Affordable Care Act raised taxes on every Hoosier taxpayer and business (see Table 1), doubled down on an already broken and unaffordable Medicaid system, and, left unchecked, it will destroy all the progress we have made on health care access, not to mention our economic competitiveness and fiscal solvency for our state and country.”

Then there’s Common Core, an educational travesty mostly associated with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  It was brought to Indiana by Pence’s predecessor as Governor, Mitch Daniels, but there as in other states ran into strong Conservative opposition as outraged parents and others found out more about what it really was.  In early 2014, Pence signed a bill making Indiana the first state to formally opt out of the Common Core standards.  The problem is that Pence has not given any indication he understands why Common Core is anathema to so many people, nor does the law prevent Common Core from being written into the state’s educational standards.  Of course, one may question how fair it is to hold Pence responsible for the actions of the two agencies responsible for writing new state standards, the Department of Education and the Center for Education & Career Innovation, but he is the Governor and this issue arouses a lot of passion among Conservatives.  (More specifics on the standards themselves may be found in the Indy Star.

Nik’s Summary:  Pence looked pretty good to me until, as with Scott Walker, I took a much closer look at him (in this case I was aided by a timely article in NRO linked to above).  What I found was deeply disturbing:  Pence sold out on the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, taking the money and abandoning the fight against the most liberty-reducing domestic enactment of the entire Obama administration.  I personally see this as more serious than the Common Core issue, which could perhaps be explained away as benign neglect on Pence’s part, but many Conservative voters will not be too forgiving a mood come primary season (if I read them right) and I think these issues mean big trouble for Pence.

If I were to hazard a guess about Pence’s transformation, it would be that political ambition – the desire to be President – has led him into a more Establishment-type stance in preparation for managing (not reducing or eliminating) the Federal welfare state.

Rick Perry – 

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  In 2013, Perry signed a Texas bill restricting abortions (it banned the procedure after 20 weeks, requires abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers, and requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of any clinic at which they provide abortions.

When a Federal judge struck down Texas’ ban on same-sex “marriage” in 2014, Perry criticized the decision, so he seems to be good on both issues.

Economic Policy:   The fact that Texas has done much better than most other states during the recent recession and non-recovery (comparisons with California are especially bad for Progressive theory) had given Perry a perhaps-outsized reputation for success in state government.  The fact is that Texas, by its Constitution, has a very weak governor, who in consequence probably deserves less praise or blame than he gets depending on whether things are going well or badly.  Where Perry deserves great credit is as a salesman for the State of Texas: he relentlessly advertised the state’s favorable business climate to out-of-state industries and organizations and enjoyed considerable success in bringing them to Texas.

Perry does sound the right note on the economy in a vague sort of way, advocating construction of the Keystone pipeline and generally opening up energy resources, reform the tax code, and reduce regulation.

Gun Rights:  Texas has an exaggerated reputation as a gun-friendly state (mainly among overheated Leftists who see it, absurdly, as a kind of “wild west” place where rootin’-tootin’ Republican-votin’ yahoos shoot up the town.  As a matter of fact, Texas’s gun laws have generally been rather moderate – until recently, it was illegal to carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle there.  Still, it’s no surprise that Perry attacked Obama in 2013 for cynically using the Sandy Hook incident as an excuse for more Federal restriction on gun rights.  Perry did put his foot in it in 2012 when he said this:

“When it gets back to this issue of taking guns away from law abiding citizens and somehow know this will make our country safer, I don’t agree with that. I think most people in Texas don’t agree with that, and that is a state by state issue frankly that should be decided in the states and not again a rush to Washington, D.C. to centralize the decision making, and them to decide what is in the best interest for the citizens and the people of Florida and Texas. That’s for the people of these states to decide.”

The obvious problem with this is that it sees gun ownership as a privilege to be regulated by the states and implies that gun control at the state level is acceptable, and Perry by saying so gave momentary aid and comfort to the gun-grabbers.

Perry at least lost no time in inviting gun manufacturers to relocate to Texas, in line with the salesmanship I mentioned earlier.

Limited Government:  As the above issue discussion suggests, Perry does not seem to have anything resembling a coherent theory of limited government. His approach to different issues is decidedly ad hoc, not proceeding from firmly-held principles.  About the best that can be said is that Perry has come to hold a number of sound positions either by a sort of “instinct” (traditional values) or by trial and error.

Disqualifiers:  Perry’s great weakness has always been immigration.  In 2001, he signed a law that gave in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who met Texas’ residency requirements.  Obama’s lawless amnesty has given Perry the opportunity to pose as an immigration hawk, but to me a pose is all it is.  Here is Perry on Fox News Sunday by way of On The Issues:

“Well, here’s what I think is very important for Washington to understand: You’re not going to have comprehensive immigration reform until the border is secure. The American people do not trust Washington to do these two things at the same time. They expect the border to be safe & secured. They want to be able to live in their communities and feel like they’re safe.”

In other words, there’s nothing wrong with “comprehensive immigration reform” (i.e. a total Amnesty of millions of illegal aliens) as long as it occurs after the border is “secure”.  This is the first dodge of the Republican who favors amnesty but knows it’s poison to the Conservative base of the party.

Nik’s Summary:  In 2012, sensing that the weakness of the Republican field had left him an opening, Perry entered the race, gaining support from Conservative Republicans who by then were desperate to find a remotely acceptable candidate.  But Perry’s opportunism was obvious, as was his lack of preparedness to discuss the issues.  There is no doubt that Perry is a somewhat more polished performer this time around, but for my money he’s still a salesman who has boned up on a product catalog prepared by the company’s more-knowledgeable technical personnel.  Is he slick enough to sell himself to Republican primary voters?  That for the moment remains an unanswered question.  Of course his views on immigration should disqualify him in the eyes of many voters once they learn about them.

Jeff Sessions –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Having voted in favor of bills prohibiting minors from crossing state lines to get abortions without having to notify parents and barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions, Sessions seems reliable enough here.  He also voted in favor of an amendment to ban same-sex “marriages” and has stated his belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Economic Policy:  I couldn’t find much in the way of details, but Sessions does appear to understand the need for lower taxes and less spending.

Gun Rights:  Sessions is rated A+ by the NRA, and I can’t find anything in his voting record that contradicts that.  He voted against expanding background checks at gun shows, in favor of prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers where their products were misused by others, and in favor of allowing guns in checked baggage on AMTRAK trains.

Limited Government:  As with so many others, there is little in the record concerning broad philosophical statements.  I can find nothing objectionable in his Senate voting record, however – he voted against the bank bailouts in 2008, when many other Republicans deserted whatever free-market principles they might have had, believes in drilling in ANWAR, and joined Ted Cruz and 17 others in trying to stop funding for Obamacare.

Disqualifiers:  Has shown no interest in running and would be a long shot against any Democratic nominee.

Nik’s Summary:  Sessions has not announced any intention to run for President, and in fact is only here for one reason:  he has shown time and again that he “gets it” on the crucial issue of immigration, and not one of the other candidates has done so.

Sessions is very likely the best candidate we could find this year, which probably means he’s not electable.  Democrats would certainly dredge up old allegations of racism, all of which appear to be unfounded, dating back to Sessions’ days as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.

Bobby Jindal –

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  As Governor of Louisiana, Jindal signed two bills similar to the Texas enactment (see the section on Rick Perry) which have had the effect of closing abortion clinics because they can’t meet the standards.

Very recently, Jindal has said that the states should be able to define marriage as they see fit (The Washington Times).

Economic Policy:  I can find virtually nothing specific about Jindal’s economic policies.  One report stated that he would be more popular if he could explain his policies better, but gave no details.  Louisiana’s business climate does have a higher ranking than it did in 2008 when Jindal became governor, but again the details are sketchy.  Forbes mentions lower business costs and an improved regulatory environment.  The Governor’s official web site mentions tax cuts but once again provides no details.

Gun Rights:  In 2013, Jindal signed 6 gun-related bills (SB 135, HB 717, HB 6, HB 8, HB 98,  and SB 178).  While this looks impressive, the bills did little to enhance the gun rights of ordinary citizens.  The first two required increased background checks, the third allows off-duty law-enforcement officers (but no one else) to carry firearms on school property, the 4th is really a privacy law preventing the release of information from concealed-carry permit applications, the 5th allows sheriffs to enter into reciprocity agreements (apparently gun permits are not valid across Parish lines), and the last makes voter registration forms available at firearms retailers, a kind of Conservative answer to “motor voter” laws.  Therefore, Jindal cannot be regarded as a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms based on this record, although it is unlikely he would support any outrageous gun-grabbing attempts.

Limited Government:  I can’t find any indication that Jindal has a truly coherent theory of limited government.  From a 2009 speech, we have this:

“To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care.  Republicans believe in a simple principle:  No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage – period.  We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage.  We oppose universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients – not by government bureaucrats.  We believe Americans can do anything – and if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens.”

Most of this is standard boilerplate – fine as far as it goes, but it’s still a kind of laundry list, and one might question what “universal access” without “universal government-run health care” means in practice.

And I am very troubled by something he said to Politico:  “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”  Got that – what people earn are “toys” that the rich get to keep only so long as someone doesn’t decide to use a legal gun to rob them?  Perish forbid that the government protect private property if it happens to belong to a wealthy person!  It may well be latent Progressivism that has so often led Jindal to make disappointing speeches after seeming moments of promise.

Disqualifiers:  Although Jindal seems to understand the dangers of specifically Muslim immigration, he along with just about every Republican office-holder is laboring under the delusion that a misguided “compassion” for people who want to come to American should guide our immigration policy:

“What I mean by that is we make it very difficult for people to come here legally. We make it very easy for people to come here illegally. As the son of immigrants, I think that, certainly, a lot of people think we should let more people come in to our country because it’s compassionate for them, and it certainly is,” said the 42-year-old Republican leader whose parents were immigrants from Punjab.

“I think we should also let more people come into our country legally because it’s good for us. When people want to come here, work hard, get an education, play by the rules, that’s good for America.“

This is strikingly similar in content although not in language to Scott Walker’s view.  There is the same unthinking assessment that somehow immigration is an automatic good, never to be questioned, and that somehow the we’re not letting in enough immigrants (“we make it very difficult for people to come here legally”) at a time when 1,000,000 third-world immigrants are allowed in every year!  If I had to hazard a guess, it may be that Jindal is familiar with the horrific slaughter of Hindus by Muslims in his ancestral country of India (a slaughter which of course continues to this day at a slower pace with acts of Islamic terrorism).  Would that he were as familiar with the economic effects of flooding the American labor pool with millions of low-skilled workers, and the political effects when these lovers of socialism begin voting Democratic.

Nik’s Summary:  Jindal has a habit of disappointing Conservatives after raising their expectations.  And we must ask why, if he’s a successful governor, is his approval rating so low?  (As of 1/23/2015, he stands at 46% approve, 45% disapprove, and that’s an improvement over two years ago when he was down at 38%).  Of course it might simply be that Louisiana isn’t doing well economically due mainly to Obama’s policies and falling oil prices (this last is definitely a factor).  In a colloquy on NRO with an anti-Jindal partisan from Louisiana (his post has since been removed) I asked for specifics as to what he didn’t like about the Governor.  His objections were:

  • Budget shortfalls leading to cuts in education and health care.  My take:  the shortfalls are due to falling oil receipts, and cutting services rather than raising taxes is the correct response.
  • The State University system is under financial distress.  Lacking the time to investigate this thoroughly, I’m not willing to assume this is Jindal’s fault.  Many state university systems are in financial difficulties.
  • Hospital Privatization alleged not to be saving money:    My take, after consulting Becker’s Hospital Review, is that while privatization is saving less money than projected ($100 million instead of $140 million) it is still saving money.  This makes more sense than the idea that the government can run something (anything) more efficiently than private business.
  • Cutting hospice benefits for Medicaid patients:  this undoubtedly took place, but the reason was falling revenues.  I will repeat that when tax revenues go down because of economic conditions, the correct response is to cut spending, not increase taxes, and I can’t fault Jindal for doing at the state level what we’re going to have to do at the Federal level if we want to avoid fiscal collapse.
  • School Vouchers:  This looks like a mixed bag:  taxpayers have saved some money, but voucher students are getting lower scores than their peers in public schools.  However, it should be remembered that to qualify for the vouchers, the public school the student is enrolled in must be failing; thus some of these students may be bringing with them the cause of their former school’s failure.  It does appear that the vast majority of parents are happy with their voucher schools, and while school vouchers are not the ideal solution (a system of private education is), they may be a step in the right direction.

So it could be that many of the Democratic Left are unhappy merely because their preferred approach, which is wrong, is not being followed.  But it is also possible that in the end Jindal is a mediocrity, another conventional politician with the ability to occasionally sound interesting but no more.  In any case, his desire for increased third-world immigration is enough to disqualify him completely.

Addendum:  Just before this article “went to press,” Jindal wrote a very good op ed in Politico on the necessity of Republicans being more than Democrats-lite on health care.  It sounded genuinely Conservative themes and was distinctly anti-Establishment GOP – if this is the real Jindal and not a ghost writer then he deserves some further consideration.

Scott Walker – 

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”:  Walker has been consistent in his opposition to abortion.  In 2013 he signed a bill requiring doctors to have hospital admitting privileges (cf. Rick Perry in Texas).

Walker had been against SSM going back to his days as Milwaukee Country executive, but when a Federal judge struck down the Wisconsin State Constitution’s ban on SSM in 2014 Walker suddenly became reticent:  he refused to state his position (see the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).  It’s not as if the point is moot, either – the State Attorney General has appealed the decision.  I have to think Walker has decided to waffle on the issue because public opinion has been shifting in favor of SSM (that’s what happens when you fail, as Republicans have, to make a principled case against it, and this is one of my long-standing criticisms of Walker and the Republican Establishment generally).

Economic Policy:  So much attention has been lavished on Walker’s battle with public-sector unions that few have any idea what his other economic policies might be (if requiring public-sector workers to make a small contribution to their own benefits can be called an economic policy), and after searching through a number articles, I still don’t know.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate isn’t that bad compared to other Midwestern states, but other metrics, such as job creation and creditworthiness are far less favorable – Indiana is in much better shape, as I mentioned when discussing Mike Pence.

Gun Rights:  Walker signed concealed carry and “castle doctrine” bills into law.  He would seem therefore to be “safe” on gun control, although interestingly one commentator noted that Walker favors open borders, which means millions of new Democratic voters supporting a rabidly anti-gun Democratic Party.

Limited Government:  Walker has absolutely no coherent theory of limited government, and typically approaches every question from a purely fiscal standpoint – what I have termed the “green eyeshade approach”.  This is most apparent in his fight with the public-sector unions over their benefit costs, which I detailed in Scott Walker on Close Inspection.  At no time did he speak of the rights to taxpayers to have their government cost as little as possible; instead, realizing that the state couldn’t come up with the money to pay for the public sector’s lavish benefits, he supported Act 10 to make public employees contribute more to them.

Disqualifiers:  Walker claims not to support amnesty, but in the end favors the same thing without the hated (by most Americans) word “amnesty”:  he has stated that anyone should be able to come to America (see the long article linked to above).

Nik’s Summary:  To his credit, Walker has rejected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin.  I wish I could say definitively that he did so as part of an effort to resist Obamacare’s implementation, but the possibility exists that he has simply calculated the long-term costs will outweigh the Federal loot on the table at the moment – in other words, costs will go up faster than subsidies, a reasonable assessment but a less-principled reason to resist the expansion.  He also has tenacity, refusing to give ground on Act 10.  He has partially defunded the unions, whose membership is down.  Upon this, and the supposed balancing of the State Budget (which, by the way, never happened), does his supposed Conservatism rest.

I maintain that merely supporting such relatively small measures as Act 10 (and they were small measures, despite the “nuclear” response of the Democrats and their unions) does very little to actually move government to the Right (make it smaller and less powerful) because the unions can still engage in collective bargaining and the Democrats can still buy as many votes as ever – a point that perhaps deserves a separate article.  Nothing that Walker and Wisconsin Republicans have done cannot be undone within minutes the moment Democrats retake control of the State, and more to the point, nothing they have done makes a future Democratic victory less likely with the single exception of reducing forced contributions to the Party from public-sector workers.  Furthermore, they haven’t solved the State’s budget problems – they’re facing a reported $2.2 billion shortfall, which is another reason I maintain Act 10 was small potatoes and not some great Conservative triumph justifying the enthusiasm of Walker fanboys.

As this was being written, Walker unveiled his 2015-2017 State Budget.  Should Walker actually succeed in cutting Wisconsin’s bloated budget, he will have achieved something more substantial than Act 10 ever was:  an actual cut in the size (and therefore the power) of government.  If he does that, he will have more of a claim to the “Conservative” mantle than he does at the moment, but that’s a bit “If”:  So far, it appears Walker’s savings come principally from reducing funding for the University of Wisconsin system.  Now there is nothing wrong, in principle, with cutting education spending, but it means (1) Act 10’s reforms weren’t sufficient to balance the Wisconsin budget (a point which cannot be repeated too often, at least until it begins to penetrate the minds of Walker fanboys), and (2) social spending (welfare programs) apparently won’t be touched, and that’s where the money is.  If Walker can’t cut social spending in Wisconsin, what makes anyone think he could do so as President?

Furthermore, at $70 billion, this will be the largest budget in state history.  That hardly suggests Walker has spending under control.  It also appears a gas tax hike is on the table, although Walker has not signaled his approval.

Walker’s approach to politics seems to me decidedly un-intellectual and amoral – the hallmark of the Establishment-man – and I consider him the most dangerous of the Establishment candidates because so many Conservatives believe that he’s one of us (it is only out of a perhaps misplaced concern for their feelings that I have listed Walker here rather than under the “Establishment” sections).  A Walker nomination would, in my opinion, result in probable and predictable defeat against almost any Democrat; a Walker Presidency would without doubt be a colossal disappointment.


Researching this summary has been an extremely discouraging experience.  Not the RINOs and Establishment-men, except for their sheer number and their dominance within the GOP – I expected nothing of them – but the ostensible or self-proclaimed “Conservatives”.  Is there no man among them whose honor is greater than his ambition?  Who has not swallowed the poisonous idea that immigration is always a good thing, no matter the numbers, the skills, or the political beliefs of the immigrants, who will one day become “citizens”?  Who aren’t in reality either Establishment-men or Libertarians pretending to be Conservatives?

To repeat their deficiencies:  Jeb Bush, Walker, Rubio, Fiorina, and Perry are basically Establishment-men; Rand Paul is a Libertarian; Cruz is in favor of increasing immigration, Sessions isn’t running, Jindal appears unreliable and believes we’re making it too hard for more immigrants to enter this country, and Pence seems to have fallen prey to personal ambition.

It isn’t necessary in a survey such as this that the author provide any recommendations – “we research, you decide” is good enough – but the sad thing is I couldn’t make any whole-hearted recommendations in any case.  I will say that intellectually, Cruz stands at the head of the pack, but is infected with “immigration-itis” while Sessions is the best man on immigration but apparently has no interest in running.  That leaves us Conservatives on the horns of a dilemma:  do we once again support the least-terrible option among the candidates (much as most of us came around to Mitt Romney in 2012), or do we try to draft Sessions or perhaps someone else?  Do we go with Cruz and hope we can dampen his enthusiasm for invading hordes of immigrants, or with Pence and hope he remembers his (former?) Conservative principles?  Whatever we do, we have to make sure we block the RINOs and Establishment-men from getting the nomination.

Nik is a freelance writer, former professor, and has written for FrontPage Magazine.
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69 Responses to A Review of the Likely 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Actually, immigration does boost the economy. Unfortunately, the only beneficiaries at present are the immigrants and their employers, but the economy does grow larger (at the expense of the existing working and middle classes, of course, which is why the Establishment loves it so much).

    Note that licensed gun dealers must perform background checks at guns sales, as they do everywhere else. I could see requiring the gun shows to provide such a facility for individual gun sales, and apparently most already do (or so I was informed on NRO when this came up a year or two back). Anything beyond that is unacceptable.

    In essence, no one is sound on immigration, aside from Sessions (and he isn’t running). Perhaps we need to find the least unsound good choice.

    One good thing I will note about Huckabee is that when liberals called for higher taxes for deficit control, he set up some sort of deficit-control program by which those who wanted could voluntarily contribute. Naturally, none did, no matter how much they call for “everyone” paying their “fair share”. I strongly favor this approach, and it does show someone who can challenge liberals at their own game.


      Tim – thanks for your response. As to the alleged “gun show loophole,” my objection is that the very idea of any background checks is stupid and unavailing. The gun-grabbers’ purpose is to heap as much trouble and expense on gun buyers as possible, with absolutely no relation to public safety. The fact we Conservatives must never forget is that criminals can always get guns, and therefore attempts “to keep guns out of the hands of criminals (or lunatics)” are complete folly even though the idea polls well among those who haven’t thought about the issues much. We should punish criminals for using guns for a criminal purpose – that is more than sufficient.

      Or to put it even more succinctly: stop trying to control guns or the access to guns – control the criminal instead.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, backgrounds checks are a reality, and no one’s going to get rid of them. I do agree that they need to live up to the advertised “instant” check. I also agree that the “gun show loophole” is a misnomer; the laws are the same there. But an ordinary person selling a gun on the street probably knows the buyer, which is unlikely to be the case at a gun show. This is why I would be willing to extend the checks there — provided it’s done in such a way as to minimize the inconvenience. As I said, according to bloggers citing their own experiences at gun shows, this is already the case at many or most of them.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Thanks for this very thorough analysis, Nik. One is left with the impression that many of these politicians are good at giving conservative speeches, but they don’t necessarily mean a word of it.

    I think Walker is our best choice, all things considered. And I’d want Cruz or Jindal on the ticket as well (top or bottom of the ticket is fine). Huckabee simply isn’t presidential material. Same with Santorum. Christie, at best, is an old-style Democrat — which is better than the outright Marxist typical of today’s Democrat Party. But he’s a politically correct clown on too many big issues.

    John Kasich: not even on the radar. He impresses me as a false god, a political opportunist. Nik outed him as a conservative fraud with this:

    What this means is that the individual does not have the right to pursue his own happiness; personal success is only good because it allows us to give money to charity. 

    Basically, cut someone’s manhood off and all they have left to do is parse things in terms of how it’s good for the poor. (The Catholics are stuck with someone such as this who is a Marxist rather than a Christian.) A conservative doesn’t look at life that way other than to note that hard work, good values, and perseverance are what the poor need, not other people’s money or stoking more envy and sense of entitlement.

    Rand Paul is a nut. Nuff said.

    Marco Rubio is George W. Bush with a bit more “ethnicity” to him. I’m not sure you can believe anything he says. I really don’t believe that as president he would stand up and do the hard or right thing. For Senators, words are cheap and easy.

    Mike Pence isn’t well known enough. Unless he gives a hell of stump speech and can energize the issues, I don’t see him as a factor. The same goes with Rick Perry. Unless he can find a reason to run for President of the United States, other than it’s the next logical step after governor, he’s yesterday’s news.

    Jeff Sessions. If he can come up with a REASON for running for president, if he can articulate the main issues of the day in a forthright and understandable way (something Romney did not do, for example), then who knows? I contend that if America wants another weenie Marxist like Obama, there’s not much you can do. But if they don’t then someone needs to offer them a clear, challenging, and inspiring choice. Does Sessions have him it in him to do that? To me, that is the low-hanging fruit for any GOP contender to pick. It drives Rush nuts sometimes that there are huge issues (which have large public support) that are not used by the GOP.

    Bobby Jindal. I agree with Nik. It’s sort of a matter of which day of the week you intersect this man. Sometimes he’s great. Other times he says the darndest things. This may not be PC to say, but his positive is that he’s sort of a weak, somewhat feminized-looking man who would not seem threatening to the ladies. And that’s a big factor these days.

    Jeb Bush. Seriously, I might vote for Hillary before I vote for this clown. If you’re going to go over the cliff anyway, one might as well get it over quickly. Bush is the worst sort of statist/Establishment Republican who is basically a woman in man’s clothing.

    And speaking of women, I’d vote for Sarah Palin in a heartbeat.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As to that last sentence, I suspect we all would. She’s probably unelectable, but she does seem to have some understanding of ideology as well as realizing the nature of the Left (if only by having been one of its greatest victims — which is, incidentally, why SCOTUS members with prior Washington experience tend to be more reliable than those without it).

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Thank you Nik for putting this piece together. This information is something every Conservative voter needs to have access to in a concise form.

    I’m in agreement with your analysis of the people involved. And perhaps someone else will come on the scene who will match our hopes, but I am dubious.

    As to the people involved, I think Cruz most closely fits the bill, but I am weary of 40-somethings inhabiting the White House. I really would like to see someone with more experience and, hopefully, wisdom sleeping there. Given the times, we probably will not have the luxury of waiting for a mature Cruz.

    As for the rest, I think if the party nominates either Bush or Christie, many millions of people who supported Republicans in the past will simply not vote. There is little doubt in my mind that a Dem would emerge victorious against either of these two.

    I wouldn’t trust Huckabee with the ashes from my fireplace. I believe there must be something fundamentally dishonest about a man who becomes a TV preacher only later to become a politician. From a Christian point of view, what would be more important, to save souls or get elected to office? I also find him to be oily.

    Rubio has committed presidential suicide with his Gang of Eight Immigration Bill. Carly is a pretty unknown quantity, i.e. to be avoided until she has some sort of record. The Kasich of 2000 was much preferable to the present edition. Jindal comes across as too wonkish. Sessions’ accent and heritage would kill him with the media. Paul is nutty, but a flip-flopper to boot.

    As to the Republican platform, I think they put way too much stress on cutting taxes. While cutting taxes may be a laudable goal, it is not a cure-all. And given the times we live in, I believe there are much more important goals which need to be accomplished.

    1. Immigration control. Secure the border for 3-5 years in a measurable way before allowing any further discussion on “immigration reform.” By the way, I think one future goal in this regard should be the legislation of the requirement that anyone who chooses to become a US citizen should have to give up his citizenship of any other country. I know this used to be the case and the Supreme Court struck this off the books, but something like this needs to be done.

    2. Spending growth must be stopped and then cut. This would have a huge effect on future debt and the economic growth of the country. It would also help the overall security in the long run. Each federal agency should be required to produce a new budget from zero each year, not simply add on.

    3. The bureaucracy should be throttled. There needs to be a moratorium on new hires. This would help with the federal deficit in a big way.

    4. In the spirit of point 3, the regulatory state needs to be rolled back. Most, if not all, of Obama’s executive orders need to be repealed. The EPA needed to be downsized tremendously. The Depts. of Edu, Energy and HHS need to be dismantled. Homeland Security should be broken up into more manageable parts and those should be shrunk. Presidential power should be curtailed by statutory law and possibly amendment. Freedom would be tremendously served in a concrete way.

    5. The whole system of government unions should be broken up.

    6. The imperial judiciary needs to be addressed and reformed.

    7. Break the crony-capitalist connection between government and big business and finance. Let companies stand or fall on their own.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. If we could find someone to articulate this type of vision and then win, how great would that be? Even if he succeeded in only one or two of these goals, we would be far better off than we are today.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      An interesting thought that has occurred to me regarding government employee unions, at least at the federal level: Is there any basis to them today other than JFK’s misbegotten executive order enabling them? If so, all a new president would have to do is cancel the executive order, which should have happened (one way or another) long ago.


        Good question, Tim – I have heard that it is indeed only an executive order and not an act of Congress that enabled them. If that’s so, the next Republican President should certainly ban them, and if there’s a Republican Congress they should be permanently banned.

  4. Jerry Richardson says:


    Very impressive analysis, thanks. I don’t know anywhere on the net where I can find this sort of analysis. I salute you!

    Probably the most poignant and saddening statement you made, I think is:

    Is there no man among them whose honor is greater than his ambition? —NAK

    Isn’t the following the truth:

    Nik’s Summary: Sessions has not announced any intention to run for President, and in fact is only here for one reason: he has shown time and again that he “gets it” on the crucial issue of immigration, and not one of the other candidates has done so.

    Sessions is very likely the best candidate we could find this year, which probably means he’s not electable. —NAK

    I’m not trying to start an argument, but I would like a bit of back-and-forth discussion based upon your and Brads differing opinions on Scott Walker:

    I think Walker is our best choice, all things considered. —Brad

    Walker’s approach to politics seems to me decidedly un-intellectual and amoral – the hallmark of the Establishment-man – and I consider him the most dangerous of the Establishment candidates because so many Conservatives believe that he’s one of us (it is only out of a perhaps misplaced concern for their feelings that I have listed Walker here rather than under the “Establishment” sections). A Walker nomination would, in my opinion, result in probable and predictable defeat against almost any Democrat; a Walker Presidency would without doubt be a colossal disappointment. —NAK

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Actually, the differences aren’t as great as they seem. NAHALKIDES saw no one worth supporting except Sessions (who isn’t running) and (to a much lesser extent) Cruz. So he may well consider Walker the least bad choice other than them. At the least, Walker has some notion of what the Left is capable of doing and how low they will go (like Sarah Palin, and for the same reason, having been the target of their vicious hate-mongering and incitements to violence). That can make up for a lot.

      And, in the end, he defeated them twice, and left the GOP probably stronger in the state than it was before they started their war against him. Note that they actually gained ground in the state legislature (even recovering control of the State Senate after the Democrats won a small number of recalls, helped by a couple of weak Republican incumbents) in the Obama re-election year of 2012. Despite serious Democrat efforts, none of 2010 class of congressmen has been defeated. And he definitely has a non-elite background (never having completed college).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’m not trying to start an argument, but I would like a bit of back-and-forth discussion based upon your and Brads differing opinions on Scott Walker:

      Jerry, one of the factors concerning Scott Walker is that Rush thinks highly of him. And Rush has been one of the few conservatives voices who has “outed” the Establishment Republicans. Unless all the talk is just for show, he’s certainly no friend of them, and they of him.

      The only candidate of the bunch I actually might not vote for would be Jeb Bush. At some point I’ve had enough. And I’m about at the point right now, complete apathy. The best we can hope for is not an Establishment Republican, per se, but one who certainly isn’t likely to rock the boat, despite giving good conservative speeches once in a while. We should remember, Romney actually gave a couple stunningly good conservative speeches.

      But with the culture being as it is, we can’t expect Jesus Christ himself to actually govern as a conservative. We are left to console each other as we watch madness – nothing less than madness – reign in the West.

      I’ll take Scott Walker in a heartbeat. I’m not as picky as I used to be. And I have no illusions that any Republican, including Sessions, would actually govern as a conservative. This is why I’m still high on Palin. She’s tenacious enough to actually do the right thing, whose honor, as Nik said, is greater than her ambition.

      The Establishment Republicans see their job as managing the decline of America, for they surely have no plans on changing course. And to a large extent, a true conservative GOP president would likely give good conservative speeches but pick only a very narrow bandwidth for enacting conservative policies. This, to a large extent, is by necessity because a president is not a dictator. But it’s also just part of the show. It’s all so much a show now, I’m fast getting to the point believing it really doesn’t matter anymore who we elect as president. The die is cast. There will be a price to pay for our delusions. We’ll see Europe pay that price first, likely in ways that may surprise us, but a mushroom cloud is a possibility.

      Half the population of the United States is crazy. Islam makes a person crazy and Progressivism makes them a little crazy. Progressivism is a shared delusion that can only sustain itself by eating our seed corn, by borrowing on tomorrow’s future, by eating away at the foundations of our civilization because reality itself is not perfect. At best a conservative GOP president can put a nice face on it, but he can’t change it.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Managing — or at least slowing — the decline of America and the suicide of the West, unfortunately, may be the best we can hope for today. Fortunately, at age 63, I probably won’t have to endure very long. If the Fall can be held off until after I die — well, that’s better than what would happen with the Plunderbund back in charge. Not as good as backing away from the Fall, but that may no longer be possible.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Timothy, I believe we are all conservative idealists to a certain extent, not pragmatic junkies. We’ll continue spitting into the wind. You can clamp a rat cage to our faces and 2 plus 2 will never equal 5.

          But there is a realistic landscape that it is worth noting. And we see the American character changing to the New Man — a man obsessed with artificial niceness, with sex/race/ethnicity, with white guilt, with equality, with the de-masculization/feminism, with socialism, with revisionist history, with “narrative” instead of facts being one’s guide, with every little facet of life being politicized.

          And any GOP candidate has to swim in this sea to a large extent. So I’m not being cynical when I say that you’ll see more than a few GOP candidates (for the presidency or some other office) mouthing conservatives ideals while actually governing in a much more liberal way. And to a large extent, we can’t blame them because many of the people who claim to bleed red, white, and blue do little more in their lives but wear a thin symbolic veneer of conservatism while more and more living a Progressive life, in practice.

          I don’t expect GOP candidates to commit electoral suicide. But I do expect them to at least try to articulate a conservative message and back it with their policies and votes to at least a minimum.


      I’m not trying to start an argument, but I would like a bit of back-and-forth discussion based upon your and Brads differing opinions on Scott Walker

      Any disagreement between Brad and I – and there isn’t ever very much, I’m glad to say, Jerry, because basically we think alike – is always friendly and constructive, so you don’t have to worry. I’m not sure that I can make my case at a length suitable for this comment, thread, though. I wrote about Walker at great length in Scott Walker on Close Inspection, which while it isn’t an easy read is fairly comprehensive, if I say so myself. Maybe I can summarize and by doing so explain why I think Walker will lose to any Democrat.

      Taking the last first, I believe Walker is basically pure Establishment. Yes, he’s better than Jeb, Kasich, Rubio, and perhaps Jindal, but he’s still Establishment. My theory is that any Establishment-man will lose to almost any Democrat for the Presidency. I believe this has been true since at least 2000 (Bush 43 lost the popular vote to Gore) and may have been true since 1988 (Bush 41 was elected to Reagan’s third term, while the Perot factor makes it impossible to be certain about ’92 and ’96). Another time I can go into more detail as to why the Democrats are so strong (or see yet another of my articles, The Reality of the Tipping Point), but they are, and I think the only way to beat them now is to strike them where they’re weakest – in their bankrupt philosophy of statism. Also, even if an Establishment-man could win, he wouldn’t reverse this country’s course (see, e.g. the Presidency of Bush 43) – what we need is a Conservative, not just a Republican – an important point we must never lose sight of.

      So for me the question becomes, “Which candidate can best make the ideological case against the Democratic Left?” Or at least, “Is Walker that man?” My answer is an emphatic “No!”

      I first became interested in Scott Walker when I could see, from my perspective only a few miles away from where Wisconsin’s Democratic Senators were hiding out in Illinois, that he was losing his fight with the Democrats in Wisconsin – and he was losing for some time. When Walker signed the very modest proposals of Act 10 into law, Democrats took it as a declaration of war and pulled every dirty trick in the book to avoid having Act 10 go into effect and to recall both Walker and some Republican State Senators (this story is told at length in the article I linked to above).

      Point 1: Walker was surprised by the response and unprepared for it. That showed me he didn’t understand the Left.

      Point 2: Walker was losing the fight: his approval rating collapsed, it looked like an activist judiciary would declare Act 10 void, and Republicans lost one Senate seat in a recall election which was enough to give control to the Democrats. The main reason Walker was losing was that he always framed the issues in purely fiscal terms, never moral ones. He never spoke of the rights of taxpayers not to be fleeced by the collusion of Democrats with the unions, while Democrats said they were supporting “working families,” i.e. the taxpayer-supported families of over-compensated public workers! Moral arguments count, and Walker was losing by default.

      Point 3: Walker prevailed ultimately by sheer dumb luck (o.k., he did show tenacity, or maybe just stubbornness). Republicans won a critical Supreme Court race by 7000 votes, saving Act 10, while a quirk of Wisconsin law prevented the now Democratic-controlled Senate from even assembling!

      Point 4: Act 10 wasn’t really the Conservative triumph many still believe it was. Its greatest effect was to reduce the amount of money flowing into Democratic coffers – a real achievement, but Walker had left the unions intact to fight (and conspire with Democrats) another day. Walker had not moved Wisconsin to the Right, that is, made it harder for the Democrats to win future elections. Nor was it sufficient to fix the State’s budget woes, as I predicted 8 months ago – Wisconsin is now facing a $2.2 billion shortfall.

      Point 5: Walker’s success, slim as it was, would not be easily replicable at the Federal level, where the biggest problem is out-of-control social spending. We’ll never cut social spending without making a moral case, not just a fiscal one, and I don’t think Walker can do that.

      Finally, there’s immigration: Walker is in favor of open borders.

      Walker, then, would probably lose to Hillary. To my way of thinking, a Walker victory could be even worse: the government would continue to grow larger, immigration would continue to turn the whole country Blue, and the Establishment would blame everything on Conservatives, because Walker would be considered a Conservative by almost everyone. The Establishment would be emboldened in 2020: “See – you Conservatives are too extreme! We need a sensible moderate (like Jeb Bush or some long-lost Bush cousin) this time.”

      Actually, Jerry, too many Conservatives (not including Brad) seem to have trouble recognizing the difference between Establishment and Conservative – the subject for a future article of mine, you may be sure! (And ST readers won’t escape with a short little missive like this one). After that, perhaps yet another article making the case against Scott Walker, but I think I’m going to lose that fight. Right now, it looks like Walker will be considered acceptable by enough Conservatives to put him over the top. We’ll see.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        And ST readers won’t escape with a short little missive like this one

        I like long missives when they are well thought out and written. But then, I like history books. Looking forward to your next one.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I do want to point out a couple of points. One is that the GOP did recover the Wisconsin State Senate in 2012 despite the victories of Obama and Baldwin. That is definitely an accomplishment for which Walker probably deserves at least some credit. Second, he may well have learned his lesson about the nature of modern liberals after his experience in 2011. (He may not talk that way because most people, not having experienced the bigoted, hate-mongering virulence of modern liberals, would consider anyone who told the truth about them “extreme’ and thus undesirable.)

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    There are a couple of interesting events I thought I’d mention here. For one thing, new Senator Tom Cotton punctured the Party Line that Guantanamo encourages Muslims to become terrorists by pointing out that there were none before the 9/11/01 bombing and all the preceding jihadist atrocities going back to 1979 (the seizure of the embassy in Teheran). This is the sort of challenge we need to see more often from the GOP. Probably the best thing the Beltway Bandits can do is simply let Cotton and others like him expose the iniquities and idiocies of liberalism. Unfortunately, even that may be beyond them, lest they no longer “stand tall in Georgetown”.

    Second, John Ransom has an interesting little piece at townhall.com skewering libertarians on foreign policy. He points out that he largely agrees with them on economics, but that they’re idiots on foreign policy. (Of course, there are other problems with libertarianism as well, as we all know. By an odd coincidence, I’m reading the article on the Marquis de Sade in the latest Smithsonian. I haven’t finished, so I don’t know yet if they mention that the Marquis was jailed — in the Bastille, one of the handful of prisoners released by the rioters — for murdering a prostitute by poisoning her with Spanish fly aka cantharidin.)


      Since this thread is attached to one of my articles, Tim, forgive me for engaging in some shameless self-promotion by mentioning that I explain (at my usual great length) the reason why Libertarian foreign policy is as bad as it is, often agreeing with the far Left, in Libertarianism Minus Conservatism = Zero. It’s no accident that Libertarians agree with the Left. Here is a brief except:

      “Two strains emerge from the Rothbard-Paul cacophony: (1) the state itself, regardless of its nature as free or unfree, is evil; (2) States like America and Israel that in their very founding express particular values rather than being born in the usual way from historical or geographical accidents are particularly to be abominated and blamed for any conflict in which they are involved. This is logically a direct consequence of Libertarianism’s negation of values. “

      • Timothy Lane says:

        As I mentioned elsewhere, I just read the article on the Marquis de Sade in the February Smithsonian. He’s become a lot more popular in recent decades because of his hostility to all forms of authority (such as those who jailed him for murder). I couldn’t help thinking of both liberal and libertarian libertinists while I was reading the article.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Ah yes, liberal and libertarian libertinists. Cain was their founder. Sodom and Gomorrah the first cities run under their philosophy of governance. De Sade, was one of the founders of the modern association.

  6. Jerry Richardson says:

    NAHALKIDES & Brad Nelson,

    I’m not trying to start an argument, but I would like a bit of back-and-forth discussion based upon your and Brads differing opinions on Scott Walker
    —Jerry R.

    Thanks to both of you guys for an excellent presentation and defense of your viewpoints on the suitability of Scott Walker for President. Is there any other website where you could find this sort of high-class, well-thought-out , intense although polite (not syrupy) disputation concerning political candidates?
    I don’t think so.

    And NAK, one of the reasons I brought this up was the fact that I already was aware of your stated opinions found in your referenced article; and Brad, I was already aware that you were favorably disposed toward Scott Walker.

    Both of you provided what I wanted to know; a succinct discussion of the reasons for your opinions.

    As for me, I will track the leading candidates, and will firm-up my voting decision prior to the Republican primary; although unless there is considerable change in the timing of the Republican primary, I and other Texas Republicans may not have much of a chance to actually influence the outcome of the Primary

    The timing of the Texas primary has been a long-standing sore-subject with me. Even though Texas is the second largest electorial-state (California is number one); by the time the primary is held, too often the Republican candidate has already, in effect, been decided, by a gaggle of much smaller states—please don’t conclude that I’m putting-down smaller states; I grew-up-in and spent 40 years in the great State of Mississippi before becoming a proud non-native Texan.

    In the past, my voting options in the Republican primary have generally been reduced to two options, 1) Rubber-stamping the already decided-on candidate; 2) Voting for someone who has already conceded the race (often by dropping out).

    Even though the RNC has discussed “condensing” the primary nation-wide and holding it earlier (in June I think) I’m not sure that will provide Republicans in the State of Texas with a voting opportunity to actually influence the selection of the Republican candidate.

    In the last two Republican primaries I was strongly opposed to both of the already effectively-selected Republican candidates (John McCain and Mitt Romney); so my vote for someone else meant nothing—well no, actually it meant the preservation of my voting integrity; worth something to me; worth nothing to anyone else, but that’s ok.

    Voting integrity is an interesting and somewhat troubling issue.

    Generally speaking when it comes to the General Election, I vote for the Republican candidate as opposed to the Democrat candidate using the “lesser of two evils” calculus if I am not much in favor of the Republican candidate. That could certainly change for me.

    Brad Nelson made a comment that underscores this possibility: “The only candidate of the bunch I actually might not vote for would be Jeb Bush.”

    And the reason for this, for me, is that when you examine Jeb Bush’s political positions—and he is very outspoken about them—especially immigration and education (Common Core); you have to ask what is the significant difference between Jeb Bush and a Democrat? Perhaps gun control or abortion; either or both of those issues can provide a single-issue, or two-issues choice for me to use the “lesser of two evils” calculus; although I would much prefer my choice not to come down to such a narrow criteria range.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I don’t really have a dog in this Establishment fight, Jerry. If Scott Walker is an Establishment man, then so be it.

      One way to establish the identity of an Establishment man is by their unwillingness to engage in the culture wars. I really don’t know Walker’s record in this regard, but give Bobby Jindal a couple more points for doing so.

      In this blog post American Thinker by Rick Moran, he quotes a Washington Times report regarding Jindal’s comments about the recent ignorant remarks by our Marxist president at the prayer breakfast:

      “It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast,” said the likely presidential candidate, according to a statement first reported by National Review. “We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

      An Establishment man will generally run from these issues, as I was shocked to learn first hand from Michael Reagan (a big Jeb Bush supporter, by the way and who has apparently never met an illegal alien he couldn’t apologize for). And although there will be some Establishment men who say they are against abortion, we should be careful not to be rope-a-doped in this regard. As my older brother told me, there is a big different between being “anti-abortion” and being “pro abolition of abortion.” It’s very easy for Establishment men to give lip service to this issue.

      Whatever the realities are concerning governing a population that is hooked on, and corrupted by, entitlements, at least one can glimpse into the heart of a man (or woman…such as Palin) by their willingness to take a stand in the culture wars.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        As I’ve mentioned in a number of places, Jindal is my first choice, and his recent comments have only cemented this. Walker would be my second choice at present.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’m warming to Jindal. I didn’t ever dislike him. But what hurt him in my eyes was when he was being touted as this man of conservative vision and principle — so much so that about three years ago or so he gave the Republican response to one of Obama’s state of the union addresses. And Jindal came off as very weak. He made Mr. Rogers look like Schwarzenegger in comparison. He’s probably still hurting from that very bad impression.

          But he sure appears from time to time to speak and govern like a very brave conservative. And pardon my French, but he’s not Obama’s bitch like Christie is. I’m warming to Jindal and would, of course, vote for him for president without the least hesitation. The same cannot be said for Rand Paul or Jeb Bush, although I would not sit out an election if Paul was the candidate. But a vote for Jeb Bush would, for all practical purposes, be a vote for Hillary. To quote that famous nut-job, “What difference would it make?”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Texas is thinking of running its primary earlier next year. I live in Kentucky, which has its primary (both for President as well as other races) in late May, and is unlikely to change. In 2008, this gave me a choice between Ron Paul (whom I voted for) and John McCain. (For that matter, I finally switched my registration to Republican for the 1988 primary, my choices being Jack Kemp and Pete Du Pont. Naturally, both were gone long before May.)

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    When even the milquetoast and often nonsensical David Frum is against you, then you’ve got problems: Is Jeb Bush Too Enthusiastic About Immigration? by Jim Geraghty. Hat tip to the always-observant Mr. Kung.

    Reading all that, clearly Jeb Bush is a multiculturalist of the first order. And certainly he’s an Establishment Republican Progressive. And that means, among other things, that he’s swallowed down some of the anti-American premises of the Left. It’s one thing to note the generally positive impact of *legal* immigrants to this country. It’s quite another to gush over the *illegal* ones and diss your own country.

    Yes, we all know that we have a big problem in terms of dumb-downed schools and a dumbed-down culture. And yet this moron (excuse my ad hom) fronts for Communist Core (that is, “Common Core”). Jeb Bush is intellectually and morally confused.

    Whether he is also a narcissist or just cynical, I don’t know. But he clearly uses immigrants as mere mascots or tokens to build himself up. One can see how he belongs to the Brian Williams set. He will say darn near anything in order to boost his image via showing how damn empathetic he is (the new Gold Standard of the Golden Child of the left).

  8. Jerry Richardson says:


    BRIAN KEMP, Georgia’s secretary of state … has a scheme to bring his state into the political spotlight. He wants Georgia to hold a presidential primary on March 1st 2016. Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia are scheming to join in. Even Florida may add its considerable weight to this group.

    By holding primaries so early in the nomination process, these states hope to play a bigger role in shaping the race. A “Southern Super Tuesday” would force prospective presidential candidates from both parties to woo the region’s voters, say its backers. A bit more backslapping and handshaking in the area could deliver some welcome business to the odd barbecue restaurant, too.

    A Southern Super Tuesday

    What do you think about the chances and the helpfulness (if any) of this prospect?
    And what I really don’t understand is why can’t there be an entire USA Super Tuesday? Would someone please explain? And comment on the pros and cons.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Theoretically there could be a nationwide primary (or, more precisely every state primary on the same day). In practice, there are individual difficulties, such as the fact that many states have their regular primaries later in the year (such as Kentucky in late May) and don’t want the expense of running a separate presidential primary. One such oddity is the New Hampshire law (as far as know still on the books) requiring that their presidential primary be held before any other.

      The main disadvantage for such an approach (an effective national primary) is that it places so much emphasis on having the money to campaign (i.e., run expensive ads) all across the country. Scattering the primaries allows more time for candidates to raise money, and especially to develop momentum. And having a number of small caucuses and primaries early on (Iowa and Nevada have 4 districts each, New Hampshire 2, and South Carolina 7) allows for more personal campaigning.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Well, you can scratch Rubio of my list and add him to my “Will stay home instead of vote for another Bush” list. George Neumayr makes the call in The Counsel of Capitulation. Long story short, Rubio is dead to me as a candidate. So is the Republican Party. Don’t know what else we can do as citizens to keep this country from turning into Cuba or North Korea. Speak while you have a voice. Unfortunately, the GOP isn’t listening.

    For those who thought Rubio was *barely* sufficient as a candidate (that kinda-sorta included me) are unfortunately vindicated. What a putz this man is.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    National Review is in all-out Destroy Trump mode. The headline to a John Fund article is that Trump is “Telling them what they want to hear.” Geez, that’s a revelation. Who ever heard of a politician doing that?

    And Jonah, in thorough condescending mode, tells us poor Trump fans that it’s time for an “intervention.” This is the same rube who bit on homosexual marriage. And *we’re* the ones in need of an intervention.

    Look, I think most conservatives realize that Scott Walker is their likely best option for a GOP presidential nominee. Trump, at best, is shaking up the GOP Establishment. Jonah and John, when are you going to write some articles about the hypocrisy of the GOP Establishment? Even Kevin Williamson seems like he’s lost it.

    At this point, I wouldn’t write for National Review if they asked me. It would be too embarrassing to be associated with that organization. Donald Trump is a marketing opportunist in a nation centered on pop-culture trends. So how is he different from your typical Republican who goes along to get along with the latest idea, whether gay marriage, global warming, or amnesty? I’m all for exposing Trump for who he is. But where is the gusto, especially at NRO, for exposing, say, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio for who they are?

    At least with Trump, we know he is the court jester. The sick aspect of politics is where you have these RINO candidates who dress in proper attire and say “proper” things but are just as vapidly goofy beneath the surface as Trump is *on* the surface. So what NRO wants is, what, better looking liars?

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I removed NRO from my bookmarks bar some weeks back, so thanks for letting me know what is going on there.

      One should know that WFB sold National Review to some Goldman Sachs financial type. I don’t recall if the buyer put it into a trust or holds it personally, but clearly NRO does the bidding of New York City progressive types. The only thing which means anything to them is money. Anything which may impede this goal or slow it down must be aggressively countered.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve noticed that. I still check out NRO, but all the Trump-bashing (I have no use for Trump, but I sympathize with those who value him as one shaking up the GOP establishment) has made that a speedier task lately.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        If just one person pointed out the unlikelihood of anyone who gets elected — no matter what they say — actually reducing the size of government or enforcing immigration law, that would be a clean start. To not do so is to skirt reality and get involved in an absurd sort of political theatre where the Left drives the cultural issues while the right sticks its head in the sand and is left playing with tricks of rhetoric.

        Jonah Goldberg has far outlived his usefulness as a sage. And it’s good to see that some of the commenters there are ripping him a new one, pointing out that this beltway type rarely has to live with the consequences of illegal immigration, so they are free to pontificate from on high to us little people who need these constant “interventions.”

        • Timothy Lane says:

          That’s the point of the “forgotten man” in my analysis of A, B, C, and D above. C is the man who pays, and who tends to be forgotten by the political class. The primary concern of my politics over the past 30+ years has been C, and the way the elites make the C population pay for their utopian dreams.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Oh, mercy, it’s such a pleasure to run into someone who thinks as I do. Here’s a great reply by Jared A. Chambers to Jonah’s vapid article about Trump:

    Dear Mr. Goldberg,
    I understand you are concerned that Donald Trump is a self-serving, self-promoting narcissist who is only adopting conservative positions so that he can sucker voters. You are probably correct.
    However, please drop a note to your website support team, as NRO’s archives are missing all of your condescending rants about John Boehner/Jeb Bush/Mitt Romney/Bob Dole/John McCain +/- about 1000 Republican disappointments to run for elective office across the last 20 years, advising us that we were dupes if we dared waste our votes on their lies.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That was indeed a superb rebuttal. They might be right about Trump, but are the others any better? (In fact, I made a comment to that effect on one of them today, pointing out that even a demagogue is better than someone who can’t even pretend to carry about Kate Steinle.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Here’s a thought. Let’s imagine that The Donald is just telling us (at least a good portion of us) what we want to hear. So what? When hasn’t that been the modus operandi of the GOP? From a gambler’s perspective, what chance is there of getting immigration laws enforced by voting for any of the GOP candidates whose first name is not “Donald”? Realistically, zero (or one in a hundred, just to make the math easier).

        What chance is there that The Donald would actively and effectively work to enforce immigration laws? Perhaps it’s only 4%. But the rational person understands that’s at least four times better odds than the other GOP candidates offer. He may be a liar, a poser, and a result of nothing but marketing. But what if he markets his way to the presidency? Is he then likely to throw away his “brand” just so that Bernie Sanders or the other kooks on the Left (or the kooks in the GOP Establishment) don’t get upset? Or, as with is other successful business ventures, is he likely to actually go with a hand and a brand that gave him results?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Exactly. The grassroots voters have concerns, which the Beltway Bandits of both parties ignore (or more commonly oppose). Trump, at worst, is no worse than they are; but if he means any of it, he’s an improvement over the Democrats and their YBR doormats.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      What is important about Trump is that he is picking up on the issues which concern average Americans. This is why the RINOs and Leftists try to demonize both Trump and the issues he is talking about. They do not want either to gain any traction in the political discussion.

      Let’s face it, the Republican party is pretty much run by a bunch of Plutocrats. The Democrat party is run by a bunch of autocratic Leftist. I don’t like either but will take the Plutocrats over the autocrats.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        This is why the RINOs and Leftists try to demonize both Trump and the issues he is talking about. They do not want either to gain any traction in the political discussion.

        According to Limbaugh, the GOP Establishment is trying to dump their current base (conservatives) and replace it with a more “centrist” base…thus they really do believe they can appeal to Hispanics. And maybe they can, but only by out-bidding the Democrats as the party of the surrogate parent. I don’t see that happening.

        The GOP acts like a battered wife. They don’t dare look at the Left wrong for fear they’ll be walloped. So their paramount motivation is to distance themselves from any conservative controversy (aka “disagreeing with the Left”). They think they can gain electoral advantage by a kind of osmosis. In their minds the Left goes too far. The right goes too far. Their conceit and delusion is that they are the “reasonable” people, the adults, the “centrists” who have the wisdom of Solomon. And they believe reasonable adults are above such things as getting your hands dirty with a real political disagreement.

        And sometimes this cowardice in the guise of statesmanship does work. Often it does not, however. In either case, they only ever end up giving us Progressivism Lite (sometimes not so lite).

        Plutocrats or autocrats, both the GOP and the Democrats think they know how to run our lives better than we do. They are both a thoroughly elitist mentality. And this shows in commentary from people such as Goldberg who ooze condescension.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a good article by George Neumayr that is worth a read: Trump and the Chattering Class:

    The nation’s most serious problems are largely ignored as politics is reduced to a game of politically correct tattle-tales seeking to extract apologies from offending conservatives. The biggest controversies of the day almost always revolve around the media monitoring this or that odious conservative for ideological deviations. It is sad to see Republican candidates reinforcing the superficiality of this politics by competing with each other over who can be more offended by Trump.

    Governor Perry is one of the worst offenders of all. And I will not vote for him. Add him to the Jeb Bush and Rand Paul list.

    There’s an idea floating out there that, although Trump won’t likely be the GOP nominee for president, he is at least introducing some important issues and is forcing the Republican Establishment to deal with it. I submit that no such thing is happening, although it’s a pleasant thought. The Republican Establishment will not take on these issues. That is exactly why they are fighting Trump so that these issues can be marginalized.

    What needs to happen is for the GOP Establishment to be destroyed. And if Trump has a hand in this — either from a genuine conservative point of view or, as some suspect, a sort of Democrat Manchurian candidate — all the better. Someone has to destroy and delegitimize this group of creeps. They are not combating the Left in any meaningful way and simply stand in the way of those who would.

    I repeat again, the GOP Establishment must be politically destroyed. Anything less won’t do. Their pomposity must be marginalized. Their “compassion” and “sensitivity” shown to be the kind of Leftist-inspired emasculation of freedom, thought, and principal that it is. And they must be outed as the ideological enemies of conservatives that they are…as are Libertarians.

    Speaking of Libertarian kooks, Walter E. Williams is surely one of them as he seems to purposely misrepresent Lincoln and the Civil War in Historical Ignorance II. Nik has a good post there.

    Let’s see…re-writing history. Another thing that libertarians have in common with the Left.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The GOP establishment’s refusal to deal with these issues, and especially to fight back against liberalism and political correctness, is exactly what fuels the Trump boom. He’s a blowhard, but he’s saying what needs to be said — and no one else is (except maybe Cruz).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:


        • Timothy Lane says:

          Incidentally, I just came across an item on the subject of Trump at redstate.com you might like. The link is:


          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Where I differ with this guy is that I will not be voting for any Establishment candidate. I’m better off joining the League of Emotionally Trite and Superficial People (the Left) than these assholes of the Establishment. Whether I would hold one nostril shut and vote for Scott Walker is a possibility. But no to Bush, Rubio, and Perry. I’m tired of these clowns who would sell out our country to illegal aliens because they don’t have the backbone to enforce a law.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Perry is not terribly popular in Texas. There has always been a large percentage of Republicans and conservatives who have voted against him. As I recall, he didn’t even get a majority in his second run for governor.

              He is a typical crony-capitalist type, but he was not as bad as his Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst.

              Had Perry decided to run again for governor, I am sure he would have lost the primary to Abbott.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I am so cheesed off right now. I haven’t been this angry in a long time. Those who are squeamish at harsh language are urged to move on. Skip this post. You have been warned.

    What a piece-of-shit governor you folks have in Texas. Rick Perry is an asshole. I heard some of the words this political clown said about Donald Trump. Trump is a “cancer” on the Republican Party (and presumably on the nation as well).

    Jesus H. Christ. Yet again, these fucktards in the Republican Party can work up a good anger at someone poking holes in the conceits of the Establishment Wimps, but they have little of this “passion” or anger for Obama and the Democrats. Time after time we see this from the fucktard Establishment Guys.

    I’m really really cheesed off, especially after hearing this asshole governor on Michael Medved’s radio program just now. And it’s not that criticizing Trump bothers me. Have at him. But Trump isn’t the one who has been ruining this country. It’s been Obama, the Democrats, and Establishment fucktards such as Perry.

    Jesus, I really am angry about this, and sorry for the language. But I’m giving it to you like it is. We have got to get rid of the true cancer in the Republican Party and it’s not Donald Trump.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is what angered a lot of people about Mitt Romney. During the primary campaign he went after other candidates (especially Newt Gingrich) hard, but in the general election he handled Barry Screwtape Obama with kid gloves. We want someone who will fight the Enemy (satan in Hebrew) harder than he will his fellow Republicans. So far, the best example pf this may be Carly Fiorina.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        This is what is so damn pathetic. Clearly Perry is behind in a crowded field and he thinks that by bashing Trump he can pull up. But is that really what the typical GOP voter is looking for? I doubt it.

        If you want to take the lead, how about a nice, consistent, coherent, thoughtful, direct, forthright critique of what Obama and the Democrats have been doing to this nation with their fascist-like ideology?

        Nope. He can’t find any anger for that, but he sure can for someone who challenges the Republican Establishment. I think this dope did himself a world of hurt.

        On the other hand, these assholes have been living the Establishment Republican version of multiculturalism for so long that they might be suffering from a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. They’re so used to praising illegal immigrants or otherwise apologizing for them, their own cowardice and complicity becomes plain, and having that pointed out to them is what really angers them.

        America going to hell under Obama and the Democrats? That draws a yawn from these assholes.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The only thing more vapid than the touchy-feely world of Progressivism (where everyone is a victim, and you must be sure to tell everyone constantly the various ways you’ve suffered and have been oppressed), is the vapid world of the Establishment Republican. He accepts the basic tenets of the Left, that there are victim classes to whom we should offer special “sensitivity” simply because of skin color or whatever.

    I can appreciate Progressives of the Democrat Left because at least they honestly despise conservatives and don’t pretend to be conservative. But the Establishment Republicans, who are Progressive through and through (but perhaps not as Marxist), pretend to be conservative even while making any true conservative (Ted Cruz, for example) their mortal enemy. As we see time and again, they’ll bend over backward to kiss Obama’s ass. But they reserve their contempt not for the Left but for conservatives.

    And although I wouldn’t deem Donald Trump a conservative (he is Donald Trump Inc.), because he pricks a pin in the bubble of the contemptible conceits held by the Establishment Republicans, he is their enemy as well.

    Who is worse in this country, the Left or the people who get in the way of combating the Left? I can have some respect for an ideological opponent. We’re dealing with a bunch of weenies, ne’er-do-wells, emotional children, and various stages of political perverts. But they do sort of have a shared vision of Utopia in the Democrat Party.

    But what is the vision of the Establishment Republicans? Power. Nothing but power. They have no ideology other than what they adopt from the Left. And even then, it is an adoption of mere convenience.

    What the Left and the Establishment Republicans have in common is that they think they should be running our lives. The Left wants to do so through an entirely different paradigm, changing the basic structure of the citizens and state to the client-and-master. The Establishment Republicans are in no way opposed to this. But they honestly believe they can run the state better. They are mere “technocratic managers.” Oh, they’ll make a big show here and there (perhaps in an attempt to convince themselves that they are other than what they are). You’ll see Christie bashing a Union. Scott Walker doing the same (driven, it seems, completely by cold fiscals matters).

    But this is all for show. The Establishment Republicans have no real disagreement with the Left. But, along with the Left, they do despise conservatives who they view as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. (It’s thoroughly engrained in many that to oppose the ideology of Cultural Marxism — where various groups are victims and white people have to walk on eggshells because of “white privilege” or whatever — is to be these things. Establishment Republicans went to the same colleges and learned the same baloney.)

    To the Establishment Republicans as well, we are the small-minded people in flyover country who “cling to guns and religion.” And as much as we sometimes try to squint and believe, if only for the sake of our sanity, that a Romney or a George W. is a conservative, they are anything but.

    So to vote for Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and probably even Scott Walker, is to vote for what Democrats looked like maybe 15 years ago…and they were pretty rabidly “Progressive” then. All these men buy into the preeminence of the state. None of them believe the state exists for very specific and defined roles, with the rest being necessarily left to us to figure out our own lives. All have imbibed the core premise that the state exists to wipe our noses and our asses.

    All of these political scoundrels believe that their “compassion” trumps any resistance to their agenda. And anyone who resists their agenda is deemed a “wacko bird,” or worse.

    So I will not be voting for these phoneys. I will sit out the election. And, Mr. Trump, I’m available for political consultation. If you’re not just one big gas-bag of ego and attention-getting, with the right forthright platform you could wipe the floor with these pansy men. But you can’t just be making it up as you go along. And that’s ultimately all that you likely have. And that is a weakness, especially against the Establishment Republicans who will cite “compassion” to justify their cowardice and lack of spine. And as you saw so clearly from the idiot governor of Texas, the Establishment is more than willing to play the race card on its own party members to hide the fact that they are nothing more than Democrats Lite.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I think there are differences, which might best be expressed as the GOP Beltway Bandits go along (somewhat) with what the Left proposes. This makes them less harmful than the Left — but still harmful. It’s just a matter of how quickly our society disintegrates.

      But I’ve long suspected that one reason why the Beltway Bandits are so weak and defensive is that they really believe the Left’s moral indictment of them (and Big Business, which they defend) is accurate. This is their version of liberal guilt.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        think there are differences, which might best be expressed as the GOP Beltway Bandits go along (somewhat) with what the Left proposes. This makes them less harmful than the Left — but still harmful. It’s just a matter of how quickly our society disintegrates.

        I think you’ve pretty much re-stated what I said. The Left is hard-charging. The right are technocratic managers of what the Left has achieved and are glad to step in and “manage” it better (but never to repeal it). Both are statists in the sense that there is no limiting principle in the ideology of either Democrats or Establishment Republicans in regards to what the state can do “for” you.

        But I’ve long suspected that one reason why the Beltway Bandits are so weak and defensive is that they really believe the Left’s moral indictment of them

        Yes, I think that’s obviously so, as I mentioned when I said the Establishment Republicans went to the same colleges and universities and drank down the same ideology….

        The Establishment Republicans have no real disagreement with the Left. But, along with the Left, they do despise conservatives who they view as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. (It’s thoroughly engrained in many that to oppose the ideology of Cultural Marxism — where various groups are victims and white people have to walk on eggshells because of “white privilege” or whatever — is to be these things. Establishment Republicans went to the same colleges and learned the same baloney.)

        And, yes, they therefore obviously to some extent believe the Cultural Marxist critique of America and Western Civilization.

  15. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Below is a link to American Spectator which reran a 1994 article on John Kasich by the late Robert Novak.


    The most important paragraph states the following:

    It isn’t that Kasich is an apostate. Rather, it’s that—like most members of Congress—he’s a professional politician first. He’s known no other life since graduating from Ohio State University in Columbus as an out-of-state resident (growing up in a Democratic family in a blue-collar Pittsburgh neighborhood). After a stint as a state legislative staffer, he was elected to the Ohio senate at age 26. After one term, he ran for Congress in 1982, defeating a short-lived Democratic incumbent in a normally Republican seat from the Columbus area.

    This pretty well sums up the Republican Party. There are, of course, outliers but the majority are simply in this for reasons of profit. It is their business.

  16. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Mr. Kung sent me this article . And it explains why Jeb Bush is not “nice” but instead is better thought of as a fool.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There is a strong desire on the part of Republican elites to believe that everyone on both sides means well. The Demagogues have no such inhibitions, and are quite willing to display a Paul Ryan look-alike throwing a wheelchair-bound granny off the cliff. The elites lose, at least in presidential years when more voters of the sort who readily believe any ad they see turn out, because they can’t bring themselves to fight as hard as the Enemy does.

      As for Jeb Bush’s funding, my thought for a long time is that a candidate’s success in persuading voters is a function of message multiplied by money. If there’s no money, it doesn’t matter what the message is because no one will hear it. But if the message is unacceptable, it doesn’t matter how much money is spent propagating it.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There is a strong desire on the part of Republican elites to believe that everyone on both sides means well.

        Rush was just talking about the Iran deal which will help Iran get nukes. And he says that ultimate the reasons why Obama or the Republicans would do this is “inexplicable.” You can give reasons, he said. But at the end of the day, there’s not one reason that is likely going to click with people and give a clear understanding. It still doesn’t seem to make sense.

        I think there is an aspect of this to the Republican Establishment mindset. Yes, they are elitists. Yes, the may believe their own aggrandized sense of compassion. Yes, they are schooled in the same doctrines as those on the Left (multiculturalism, diversity, equality, social justice). Yes, much like the Left they view conservatives as the knuckle-dragging homophobes and bible-thumpers who are an embarrassment to any kind of national campaign or party.

        But at the end of the day, there is an aspect of this that is inexplicable. The man said “I don’t think Barack Obama has bad motives. I just think he’s wrong on a lot of issues.”

        How do you explain Angela Merkel? Does a desire to commit cultural suicide explain her embracing of “refugees” who are likely no more than immigration Jihadist? Does her guilt over Nazi Germany explain this? Does her desire to prop up the welfare state explain that (assuming that it would, which I think is doubtful)? Her act is so stupid as to merit the word “inexplicable.”

        Yes, Jeb Bush has been girlified. There’s barely a man left there. But much of the extreme silliness (and destructiveness) remains at least somewhat inexplicable.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          And he says that ultimate the reasons why Obama or the Republicans would do this is “inexplicable.”

          Why Obama is doing this is open to question. No doubt his ego is involved in that he wants a “legacy”, but I believe his hate of America and pro-Muslim sympathies have more to do with it. No doubt, his anti-colonial views also contribute. Don’t forget American and Israel are white nations who have been imposing their wills on the poor people of color around the world.

          But the reason the establishment Republicans are supporting this is simply money.

          We must not forget that these people have a major commonality with Marxists, i.e. man is an economic animal. They couldn’t care less about anything else.

          Once the deal goes through, Iran will be given about US$150 billion. A large portion of that will go to major companies around the world to upgrade old and build new infrastructure.

          Iran, will then increase its production of oil and tap into the wealth of other raw materials in its ground, such as copper and chrome. Once the money starts to flow into the general population they will start consuming more consumer products.

          “Money makes the world go round, the world go round the world go round.” Thank you Joel Grey.

          As Lenin said, “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

          Businessmen, particularly those in public corporations, are not known for their long-term views about the world or for promoting morality. The next quarter’s bottom line is what is most important.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            That’s a pretty good explanation, Mr. Kung. That takes some of the inexplicableness away. Perhaps it’s just too shocking to say “Obama hates America and Israel and the Republicans have no more moral grounding than avarice.”

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Explaining Angela Merket’s lunacy is difficult. Explaining Obama’s is easy — his sympathies are with Iran due both to its Islamism (no self-deifier can be a Muslim, but it’s clear that Obama’s sympathies are with them) and its hostility to the West, especially Israel and America (which Obama has shown abundantly that he shares). The background of Valerie Jarrett (a communist who grew up in Iran because her parents had chosen to expatriate themselves there) contributes to this.

          But the idea that Obama is a traitor is something the GOP can’t bring themselves to realize.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I agree. Obama’s sympathies are with Iran (and against Israel and U.S. interests) because of the reasons Mr. Kung and you have given. This isn’t a great mystery but remain words along the lines of “He who must not be named” for the Jeb Bush types. As someone (Steyn?) noted about the Establishment Republican types, gentlemen just don’t go around assuming bad motives (unless they are conservatives, of course…the enemy of my enemy is my friend).

            Angela Merkel is another Leftist clown. Europe and America (in fact, the entire Western world) is plagued by them. Too often we do speak deep truths but they don’t touch us, if only because they are too daring (“He who must not be named”) or we’ve repeated them so often. But one of those truths is, as Dennis Prager says, is that Leftism is the most dynamic religion in the world today.

            Few, for instance, ask why a Muslim acts like a Muslim. We know it’s because of the culture of Islam. It forms people to think in certain ways and act in certain ways. Well, this is no different from those who have made Leftism their religion. They act and think in certain ways. And one of those ways is that white people (native Europeans) are bad (guilty) and “people of color” are innocent and are victims of the white people.

            And the way Redemption works in the Religion of Leftism isn’t to believe in Jesus Christ. It’s to let so-called “refugees” flood across your own borders so that you can make (other people) pay penance for their societal sins. (These leaders will still live inside their gated communities, so that’s why I said that it is “other people” who actually will pay the penance.)

            What complicates this is that these same people who partake of Leftism as their religion generally claim to be of the enlightened class who has put such un-reasonable things behind them. They deny their faith elements and instead have declared that they are all self-evident. You need only “reason” to believe in global warming, abortion, socialism, etc. Much of the reality of this thus is murkeled into the dark zone “He who must not be named.”

            Of course, Angela Merkel is a politician, and such types typically are ready and willing to say or believe anything if it leads to political power. You really don’t know what these people might actually believe in the privacy of their castles.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Note thatthe socialist Hollande in France has more of a backbone in dealing with Muslims (though not as much as is needed) than Merkel, who theoretically is a conservative. In France, unlike most of Europe (and the anglophone world), nationalism is linked to the left as much as the right as a result of the French Revolution and the consequent wars.

  17. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Does Ben Carson have the typical “money and government can solve any problem” attitude? It seems so according to this article by Anne Kane and M. Catharine Evans: Ben Carson’s big-government education plans.

    Conservative Truth #4: Throwing money and a larger government bureaucracy at a social problem rarely solves it and usually makes it worse. For all the talk by the Left of “smart” this and “smart that, this is not what we get. And Carson ought to know that a good education is not a function of how large the government oversight is or how much money is thrown at it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Carson, unlike liberals, is at least capable of learning. Perhaps someone should tell him about Kansas City schools after corrupt courts pushed through a large spending plan (to create a magnet for the whites they believe the black students need to be able to learn) there. They basically devoted all of Missouri’s spare education spending to one city’s schools — and accomplished nothing.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I agree. He’s a smart man and capable of learning. I hope he does. But it’s a little late to do one’s learning while on the campaign trail. But better late than never, I guess. Advice is free here…and yet it’s a heck of a value compared to what is out there.

  18. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a great take-down of Kasich and all big-government Christians: What Makes John Kasich So Sanctimonious by Doug Bandow. The entire thing is worthy of reading, but here’s a bit of it:

    Worse, though, is the fact that Kasich apparently has not lived up to his own rhetoric by helping personally. In the moving vision of the separation of the sheep and the goats Christ’s (not St. Peter’s!) statement is, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus did not say whatever you voted to take from your neighbors for the hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick, and imprisoned you did for me. He did not say whatever bureaucracy you voted to create to help those in need you did for me. Indeed, what made the famed Samaritan good was personally helping the person in front of him, not voting in the next election for a politician promising to create a government agency.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is why I did a liberal parody of the parable of the Good Samaritan in which the Samaritan gets an official from the nearest town to take care of the victim, who ends up dying before the official can help him. But for liberals, that’s how to “help” someone — and Kasich has adopted their attitude. Of course, his rule has no limiting factor, so Kasich in effect has proclaimed himself an adherent of the unlimited welfare state. I will not vote for him — perhaps not even in the general election (though Sick Hilly the Fire Witch would make that a difficult option).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One of the realities of “the poor” is that they are often a degenerate, dirty lot. It’s therefore much easier for liberals to turn them into a mere idea — a mascot — and work their “good works” via government. To further distance them from reality and toward a favored narrative “the poor” may even be deemed “victims” who are the way they are because of some “oppressor.”

        This also conveniently takes morality out of the equation, for you cannot work with the dregs of the earth without realizing just how powerful bad morals are (and, conversely, the salutary value of good ones). This entire welfare (as opposed to charity) transaction is founded upon unrooted idealism (even narcissism) that is disconnected from the true reality of things, particularly the importance of personal conduct and the ideas one holds.

        This is not to say that every poor person is a victim of their own bad behavior. Life is onerous enough to produce the wretched in great quantities for a variety of reasons. Even Jesus said, “For ye have the poor with you always…” along with an admonition to do them good.

        My older was shocked from his idealism and into reality a couple Christmas seasons ago (I hope I can get him to write about it) when he was playing Santa for the Salvation Army and handing out toys. He told me the line-up of parents has such an entitled sense to what they were getting. There was little or no sense of gratitude. And yet the play must go on. Those involved in this kind of charity (for it was indeed not a government welfare program) can nurse their sense of being a do-gooder and overlook the reality of the situation which was that these private agencies have simply become a widespread network cell of functionally communal K-Marts for a certainly class of people.

        There are indeed the poor and wretched on this earth who need our help. But, generally speaking, “the poor” in our rich country are poor for reasons of bad morals, drugs, alcohol, or lifestyle choice. Still, even these types need our help. And what they need is a clear message of ideas and ideals, of hope and meaning, rather than just the blank check our “do-gooder” society is fond of indiscriminately distributing.

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