God, Conservatism, and Donald Trump

Trump4by Trevor Thomas2/22/16
For the last several days, I’ve spent a lot of time spreading the following paragraph around the Internet:

Donald Trump is a biblically-illiterate, adulterous, strip-club owning, casino magnate. He has been on every side of almost any political or moral issue you can imagine. Yeah, he’s said some things that people like to hear, but what is there in his life that reveals that he will actually do what he says? He is “wise in his own eyes” and we should not be swayed by his cunning, craftiness, and deceitful scheming. Even the shallowest of political observers knows well that Washington, D.C. is one of the most difficult places in the world to remain a principled person. The temptations for corruption are rampant. What is there in Trump’s life that tells us that once he gets to D.C. he will act according to conservative principles? Nearly nothing. America should NOT gamble with Donald Trump.

You can imagine the responses I got from the rabid (Is there any other kind?) Trump supporters. One reply said the following, “Nothing in you (sic) stupid statement tells me you know what in the hell conservative principle’s (sic) are, you sound like idiot beck (sic) or cruz (sic) on one of his lying bible thumping snake handling speeches.”

Kind-of makes you sic (sick), doesn’t it?

In spite of the grammar, it made me think about “conservative principles.” In a quick reply, without really dwelling on the matter, I said, “The most significant principle of (conservatism) is that our rights come, not from man or from government, but from God. We cannot have as president a man who rejects the Laws of the Law Giver.”

A couple of days later, because of his comments on immigrants and immigration, and due to his desire to wall off the southern border, the Pope himself was questioning the Christian credentials of Donald Trump. When asked by reporters for his thoughts on Trump’s ideas for ending illegal immigration to the U.S., Pope Francis answered, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”

Forgetting for a moment the Pope’s sloppy analogy (it must have been a while since the Bishop of Rome has been home, or read the Book of Nehemiah), of all the things over which to question Mr. Trump’s Christianity, immigration was a very poor choice. Unlike abortion, homosexuality, marriage, divorce, financial stewardship, fornication, and forgiveness—all areas where, from a Christian perspective, Mr. Trump’s words and deeds are at best questionable—there is no clear-cut biblical direction on the matter of immigration.

Also, can you recall a time when the Supreme Pontiff (at least this Pontiff) was so quick to question the Christianity of a leading American liberal politician? How “Christian” is it to kill children in the womb, promote every kind of sexual deviancy imaginable,promote an enslaving welfare state, or redefine the oldest institution in the history of humanity? When then presidential candidate Obama was using some of the most radical pro-abortion language by any politician in U.S. history, I recall little, if any, protest at all from Vatican officials. Tragically for decades now, much like many liberal denominations across the U.S., the Catholic Church has shown tremendous ignorance and indifference toward sin.

Of course, a devout Christian in the White House won’t cure sin in our culture. Nevertheless, history and sound conservative doctrine prove that a strong Christian worldview is the surest means by which to secure and promote liberty, peace, and prosperity in the U.S. and the world over.

At The Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Fuelner highlights the conservatism of Edmund Burke. “The principles of true politics,” Burke said, “are those of morality enlarged.” Dr. Fuelner also notes that, “Burkean conservatism,” as he calls it, “is a branch of ethics which separates him sharply from Machiavelli and the modern idea that power is supreme in politics. Burke’s basic political principles are based on the classical and Christian natural law, derived from God and perceived by good men through ‘right reason.’”

Such “right reason” led Burke, whom many consider to be the father of modern conservatism, to oppose the godless and bloody French Revolution. Reflecting on “the new liberty of France,” Burke concluded that, “I should therefore suspend my congratulations…until I was informed how it had been combined with government; with public force; with the discipline and obedience of armies;…with morality and religion;…with peace and order; with civil and social manners. All these (in their way) are good things too; and, without them, liberty is not a benefit whilst it lasts, and is not likely to continue long. The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please: We ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.”

While observing what Americans did with their new-found liberty—and noticing the lack of summary executions, genocide, and the guillotine—Alexis de Tocqueville concluded that “In the United States the sovereign authority is religious…there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth…The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

The brilliant Russell Kirk agreed. Author of the seminal The Conservative Mind, Kirk said that Christianity and Western Civilization are “unimaginable apart from one another.” The first of Kirk’s “Six Canons of Conservatism” declares “Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems.”

In The Portable Conservative Reader, Kirk concludes that “all culture arises out of religion. When religious faith decays, culture must decline, though often seeming to flourish for a space after the religion which has nourished it has sunk into disbelief.”

The “decay” of Christianity in America has most certainly coincided with a “decline” in our culture. Thinking they are “progressing” toward a society with more freedom and greater happiness, far too many Americans have ignored Burke when he warned, “Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters (chains).”

We have forgotten what “America’s Schoolmaster,” Noah Webster, taught us: “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles…to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.” The size of our economy, the might of our military, or the abundance of our natural resources matters little if we are a nation filled with people devoted to a “theology of self.”

A nation whose laws and lawmakers will not protect the most innocent and defenseless among us, will not guard the oldest institution in the history of humanity, who protect the pervert and punish the pious, is a nation that will not long endure. A nation who cannot see the clear eternal truths when it comes to life, marriage, the family, and so on, cannot be trusted to get its immigration policy right, cannot be trusted to get its foreign policy right, cannot be trusted to maintain fiscal discipline, and cannot be trusted with the most powerful military the world has ever known.

I sometimes like to refer to myself as a “John Jay conservative.” Jay—a Founding Father, member of both Continental Congresses, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, and first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court—stated that, “it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians as their rulers.” This is why, when going to the ballot box, faith is foremost in my mind. And this is why, in the GOP primary, I will not be voting for Donald Trump.


Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com • email: tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World • Blog: Whose Slave Are You?
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73 Responses to God, Conservatism, and Donald Trump

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    A number of conservatives have found it interesting that the Peron pope is so ready to condemn Trump over his immigration policy — but has no objection to the Wicked Witch of the West (Nan Pelosi, the San Francisco Freak) justifying her abortion-worship on the basis of her Catholic religion, or participating in NAMBLA parades.

    An interesting point to note about John Jay is that when Aaron Burr’s Republicans won control of the New York legislature in 1800, Alexander Hamilton suggested he call the old legislature into a last session to name the state’s electors for the presidential race that year. Jay refused, and of course the Republicans named electors who all voted for Jefferson and Burr. Unlike most politicians then and now, Jay put ethics above power politics.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Unlike most politicians then and now, Jay put ethics above power politics.

      Which is, sadly, why machine or power politics generally prevail over principled people or positions.

    • David Ray says:

      That fool Nancy soiling her character in a NAMBLA parade. Why I’m i not surprised.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    By chance, I just happened to hear that RINO Michael Medvev say that Rubio was a more conservative choice than Cruz because of Rubio’s position on defense spending.

    Brad has mentioned some of Medvev’s nonsense before, but this is the first time I have heard it from the man’s mouth.

    The man is a fool or dishonest. Rubio is the biggest liar of all the candidates, which says something. He is also the most baldfaced liar of them all. He will allow the borders to be thrown open to millions of third-worlders and legalize those who are already here. By doing this, he will put huge downward pressure on the incomes of millions of American workers, increase social outlays as those who do work will need more welfare support in one way or another and he will irrevocably change the culture of the nation. What is conservative about that? Again, Medvev is a fool or liar.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, to be fair, Rubio may honestly not believe that his open borders policy will have that effect. Most of the old Jack Kemp crowd honestly believe this is a good idea. Of course, many also share such delusions as the belief that the Black God means well. He is willing to hide his position from the voters, but that doesn’t in and of itself prove that his position is insincere, or for that matter that’s he’s lying about other issues (such as defense and foreign policy, where he’s far more eager to go on foreign adventures than a good conservative ought to be).

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        If Rubio honestly supports his open borders policies he should stop claiming one thing in English and another in Spanish. He should also own up to his pivotal role in the Gang of Eight bill. That he does one and denies the other is a clear sign of his dishonesty.

        If Rubio doesn’t believe his open borders policy will result in what I laid out, then he is not terribly bright. The old Jack Kemp crowd had the excuse that they did not have thirty years of empirical evidence which we have gathered since Reagan’s amnesty. If any of those people are still around and hold on to their old beliefs, they are just as delusional or dishonest as Rubio.

        As to other issues, I have not noted any particular depth in Eddie Haskell’s utterings. On defense and foreign policy, he sounds like John McCain’s parrot.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Well, to be fair, Rubio may honestly not believe that his open borders policy will have that effect. Most of the old Jack Kemp crowd honestly believe this is a good idea.

        Establishment Republicans are another “cult of nice.” They are psychologically permanent members of the Stockholm Syndrome club. They’re so afraid of criticism (being called a racist, sexist, homophobe, etc.) that they have reflexively come to the judgment that it is not these unfair criticisms that need to be confronted. Instead, they take them as truth and thus have set it as a core dogma of Progressive Establishment Republicanism that they must “reach out” and be more “inclusive.”

        In effect, they’ve fully adopted the Cultural Marxist way of viewing things which is to divide people by interests according to race, sex, and class. For the Cultural Marxist, it is a laughable idea that we could be organized around any better or higher principle (such as Americanism and the U.S. Constitution).

        How sad that the Progressive Establishment Republicans have caved. And although few articulate this as clearly as we do here, this is, of course, the reason for Donald Trump. Whether Trump’s cure is worse that the disease we shall perhaps see.

        • David Ray says:

          “Cult of Nice/Suck up”. I gotta remember that one.

          As for me, i no longer care if i’m tagged a bigot. My epiphanol last straw was the “#bobbygindaliswhite” crap said of him for espousing western/American culture.

          What would liberals praise as an alternative!??
          Perhaps that muslim Said who gunned down his daughters in a taxicab in Irving, Tx??? (Guess they were getting too “#white”.)

          • Timothy Lane says:

            We can be very un-PC here, such as quoting the joke that ended Mark Steyn’s career at NRO. (“How do you make a fruit cordial? Be nice to him — or else.”) In a posting at Town Hall on a recent Chick-fil-A incident at a Nebraska university (students had voted for a Chick-fil-A at the student union, but the Lavender Thought Police objected and the student president decided to hold a re-vote without including Chick-fil-A as an option), I suggested open flame cooking — such as barbecue over burning faggots.

      • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

        Yes, but if Rubio and Medved don’t see how destructive an open borders policy is, then they are fools and in no way innocent. It’s not like it’s hard to understand, especially when we have the experiment run right before our eyes in the high levels of legal and illegal immigration since the Ted Kennedy bill in 1965. Also, Rubio has lied repeatedly about his position and he’s still lying now – the man is unfit to be nominated.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Brad has mentioned some of Medvev’s nonsense before, but this is the first time I have heard it from the man’s mouth.

      Every time I get a call from Pat (pst4usa), or call him, I usually include the latest Medved outrage. It’s a running joke about my neck veins bulging out. Why do I listen to a guy who so annoys me?

      Medved is a status-quo kind of conservative. Ratchet Left a dozen notches and, like Jonah Goldberg, he’ll find a comfortable home there and will soon be telling us how conservative Lenin actually was.

      Glad you got a taste. Oh, baby. Those neck veins are bulging even now.

      • David Ray says:

        I’ve also been left scratching my head over Medved positions.
        I actually wonder if he’s ever been in a real bare-knuckle fight in his entire life.
        (My 1st bewildered encounter was his “hedge his bets” support of McCain in 2008. Medved is, well, very proper.)

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    This is why, when going to the ballot box, faith is foremost in my mind. And this is why, in the GOP primary, I will not be voting for Donald Trump

    Clearly, I agree with this sentiment. In fact, I have already voted in the Texas primary and the Donald was not my choice. But should he become the Republican nominee, I will run to the polling station to pull the lever for Trump, unless he chooses Rubio as his running mate.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I will run to the polling station to pull the lever for Trump, unless he chooses Rubio as his running mate.

      Oooo….oooo…oooo…Mr. Kung. You make me laugh. So Rubio would be the deal breaker? If Wormwood is on the bottom of the Screwtape ticket, you won’t be supporting it.

      Well, being no fan of Rubio, I can certainly understand the sentiment.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Heh,

        I would vote for Screwtape and Wormwood before voting for a ticket headed by Lucifer if only because Screwtape and Wormy would be somewhat less effective, thus perhaps giving us a chance to save ourselves.

        As you know, I am not looking for perfection. In politics it is generally the lesser of two evils.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          And no one this side of Satan is more evil than just about any Demagogue. This is why some of my sobriquets for Obama (Barry Screwtape Obama and the Black God) are demonic references.

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      Agreed. Completely. I will do the same thing in Illinois.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    If you can stand the whiplash, contrast this article with this one: Trump Reflects Changes in American Culture.

    Basically that article is a tightening down of the bolts following the ratchet to the Left. It’s accepting as a fait accompli the vulgarization and stupidification of America.

    I’ll admit in my private moments that I don’t think there’s much chance of unloosening even the last three bolts and tugging the mechanism back. But I sure as hell wouldn’t rationalize, even praise, the vulgarization and stupidification of our culture as this guy does.

    Contrast that with Trevor’s article. Savor it, for his is like a language of some small Borneo tribe that few people speak and that will soon fade from the earth. The corruption is so deep, I believe this is so.

    Yes, as that other guy says, we want Trump to fire the incompetents, etc. And when you’re building a skyscraper, the metric is in regards to gravity, price, size, expected occupancy, location, etc. And anyone who can build a skyscraper has achieved some great skills in this regard.

    But the metric regarding government is different. You can’t just tell everyone how super-competent you are at making deals, firing people, etc. Unless one is grounded in a political and moral philosophy (one deeply and consciously held), then one is in no position to do much more than just fly by the seat of one’s pants.

    Trump doesn’t seem to have even a beginner’s understanding of the problems. In regards to businesses moving jobs offshore, his solution is to use the strong arm of government to force businesses to keep jobs here. Not only does this show a penchant for FDR-like big government, but it shows how blissfully ignorant he is of the problem in the first place: Big Government (particularly big Progressive government) has made doing business in America expensive.

    You can’t fix something if you don’t know what the problem is. And I’m not convinced that Trump is anything other than a blowhard.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is one of Elizabeth’s concerns about Trump, that as a businessman he won’t be able to adjust to the nature of government executive work. This would also be true of many military officers, though Eisenhower’s position as commander of a coalition force gave him suitable experience.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I’ll admit in my private moments that I don’t think there’s much chance of unloosening even the last three bolts and tugging the mechanism back. But I sure as hell wouldn’t rationalize, even praise, the vulgarization and stupidification of our culture as this guy does.

      As you know, I have written on how the West is lost, exactly because of its loss of belief in itself, which is the result of a loss of faith in Christianity.

      Let me use a Bible verse which I believe is applicable in the broadest sense.

      2 Timothy 4:3-4New International Version (NIV)

      3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

      Do you think this might apply to America?

  5. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Trevor makes a number of good points here, and I especially appreciated the Tocqueville passage (Burke not so much as I’ve never liked him, or at least his writing style). It is perfectly true that morality must inform politics, and this I think has been one of the overarching themes here at ST from the beginning. Europe has given up on Christianity and not even attempted to replace it with an objective code of morality, and we all see the results: the Continent is collapsing before our very eyes.

    Yet with all that said, I am not sure that we should refuse to support Trump simply because of his Godless ways, and I am certainly against browbeating his supporters. These are desperate times, and we must fight on the purely political front as well as the broader cultural one using the best tools we have available to us. How many anti-Trump screeds have I seen on NRO (I’ve wasted too much time over there just as Brad has apparently with Michael Medved) that completely missed the point: Trump is the accidental creation of a corrupt GOP Establishment that has driven its base to take desperate measures.

    From the beginning, say a year ago when I did my survey of all the likely Republican candidates, it was obvious we had a very poor field to choose from. Even Cruz looked bad on immigration (this was before he explained his actions in more detail) while all the rest were plainly hopeless, and he was the only one with anything like a Conservative governing philosophy. The rest were mostly myopic, amoral Establishment-men with a couple of political outliers (Santorum and Huckabee) who plainly had no chance of winning.

    The field has thinned considerably since then, but even now, there are only two Conservatives running, Cruz and Carson, and neither man is without his deficiencies (and Carson appears to have no chance at this point anyway). I refuse to condemn those who, when faced with a choice between Trump, Cruz, and Carson, decide that Trump is the man for them. (I choose Cruz myself).

    Should Trump ultimately be elected President, the country will not necessarily descend immediately into a Sodom-and-Gomorrah level of immorality; it’s possible Trump might even clean up that cesspool on the Potomac known as Washington, D.C. somewhat. The broader fight to restore sanity and decency to our culture will go on, and (dare I say it) ST should be a part of that struggle. I think the more important question by far is whether Conservatism will be better or worse off in the post-Trump era, and there is a very real possibility that by breaking the Establishment’s death-grip on the GOP Presidential nominating process, Trump will have left Conservatives in a stronger position than we are today.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      An interesting interpretation there. Since Trump seems much the likeliest GOP nominee this year, and no Demagogue is acceptable, I hope you’re right. Who knows, he might actually mean a good bit of what he says. If he holds firm on immigration and makes a good Supreme Court choice (and no Republicans has a good record in that respect, at least in my lifetime or even Elizabeth’s), that may be the best we can hope for from any of them. Unfortunately, a man who built his life on deal-making is unlikely to release the stranglehold Versailles-on-the-Potomac has on America.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I refuse to condemn those who, when faced with a choice between Trump, Cruz, and Carson, decide that Trump is the man for them. (I choose Cruz myself).

      I agree with your sentiment. But I do find the aggressive nature of many of Trump’s supporters somewhat irritating. I find their tendency to dwell on the Cruz campaign’s relatively picayune failings (for which he fired his communications director) while ignoring the huge failings of the other candidates, including Trump, somewhat tiresome. It brings to mind the well know Bible verse,

      You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

      Instead of going after each other personally, I would prefer that Trump and Cruz and their supporters concentrated on pointing out Rubio’s inconsistencies and attacking the Democrats.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        My concern with Trump is the Trumpbots who reject — and in fact denounce — any criticism of their idol, no matter how valid it is. I will say that Patricia hasn’t followed that pattern, admitting that he is imperfect. Nor has she hurled vitriol at his critics, as (at least according to some of these critics) the Trumpbots do. (Of course, I have no way of verifying these critics’ claims.)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          And the problem with that is that the right ideas, not a cult-of-personality, is the only thing that will fix what is broken. Having been involved one way or another in politics for most of my life, I understand fully the glamour of it all. You can’t walk into the halls of power without feeling the buzz. You can’t be involved in a campaign without sharing in the excitement and becoming personally connected to the candidate. A little kool-aid is par for the course.

          But blind faith in what a candidate says he’s going to do, and ignoring his track record, is little more than re-painting Obama’s deep anti-American Marxism with “hope and change.” I’m fully convinced that Trump is a towering figure who commands great loyalty and who might be an answer to some of what ails us. But I’m just not convinced yet that he is much more than what America is becoming known for: all style with very little substance.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            If we believe what Trump says, he would be a fine choice. But you could say the same thing about Rubio. Does either one actually mean it? The only way to find out is to elect him — and if he’s just tricking us, it’s too late to do anything about it then.

  6. Steve Lancaster says:

    Trump is echoing the mantra of Mike Savage, “language, borders, and culture”, it is a simple theme but one that conservatives who believe, with justification, that government, federal, state, and local is corrupt and has surrendered to progressives needs someone who will break a lot of dishes. The end result may not be what anyone desires, but, we are due to live in interesting times.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Trump is echoing the mantra of Mike Savage, “language, borders, and culture”

      In general terms, it’s about time that America was praised instead of bashed. I fear the cult-like anti-American, pro-guilt programming is so thick, few can now think around it. And if they can, they are afraid to give their opinion. And it’s this latter aspect that has left so much blood on the hands of the vapid and craven GOP Establishment.

      I totally get the attraction to a GOP candidate (although he could just as easily be running as a Democrat) fighting for his country and against political correctness. This is certainly why Ann Coulter developed such a girl-crush on Chris Christie that did not wane until cooler heads prevailed and Christie was outed as little more than a PC big-government Progressive Republican. And, yes, like Trump he was vocally right on one particular issue and we loved him (at the time) for it.

      The thing about the “language, borders, and culture” idea, the language is obvious enough (English), as is the borders. But it’s the culture that most of us will likely disagree about. And as they say, culture is upstream from politics. This is why it has been so disastrous (at least culture-wise) when the GOP abdicated the cultural issues (other than weak lip-service) and turned the idea of America into strictly financial terms…or, of course, adopting the premises of the Left.

      We see the Orwellian state brewing on college campuses. We see it outside of that domain, all around us, perhaps in a more diluted form, but oppressive all the same. We have a libtard mayor where I live, although many think of her as a conservative. The latest controversy is some promotional video on behalf of promoting the city as a bedroom community for the larger metropolis of Seattle was criticized because it had too many white people in the video.

      This is madness. Who will stand up and say that to even make such a comment betrays prejudice against white people who deserve the same respect as everyone else?

      This is just one example of the madness that is now gripping our land, so don’t underestimate me. I totally get much of the appeal of Trump. The big problem with Trump, however, is that he represents liberal “New York Values.” Yes, like Chris Christie, he’s right on one very big issue (at least rhetorically…actually doing something is another story).

      Trump represents one of the worst elements of human nature, and it’s not his rough edges. It’s the ability to normalize whatever gunk is mainstream at the moment. His “culture” would be the very same culture that has created this immigration mess in the first place. Unless you can openly criticize and undermine the concept of multiculturalism and the inherent racism of “diversity” and affirmative action (Trump bashed Scalia regarding this), you haven’t a chance of getting a mandate to do what really needs to be done, especially including reigniting the idea of color-blind American Exceptionalism.

      While Trump promises to do Obamacare one better and “take care of all of us,” he ignores the fact the the open borders problem stems precisely from the socialist mindset where the redistribution of wealth simply takes place on an international scale. How does a man actually fix the border problem while doing his best to further socialism?

      He can’t. And he likely won’t because the politics of the situation, despite his bluster, is clearly over his head.

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    More insanity or evil from the Obamanation.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/hhs-immigrants-with-hiv-stds-welcome/article/2583913

    Is this the type of immigration Rubio supports?

  8. GHG says:

    “Donald Trump is a biblically-illiterate, adulterous, strip-club owning, casino magnate. He has been on every side of almost any political or moral issue you can imagine.”

    Yep, and yet he is the best hope to stop the slide into the abyss.

    Cruz is the only true conservative among those still left standing, but neither side wants his ideology to get a public hearing lest it catches fire and sweeps across the plains. He would be isolated and his one term would do nothing other than to give the left the juxtaposition from which to run against and beat those do nothing conservatives.

    Rubio and Kasich really don’t want to stop illegal immigration because they’re of the opinion that they can’t beat them on the immigration issue, so the only politically viable move is to join them. And while that will be the final nail in the coffin of the GOP as the opposition party, they can say they were on the winning side of the issue and save their own political viability. Integrity is not strong in either of these men.

    So we’re left with Trump. I’m not happy about that, but there it is.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Lesser of evils, as usual. Cruz is a reliable conservative, but also extremely ambitious (as presidential candidates tend to be). He runs hard on his religion even as his campaign is certainly no more ethical than the others. Carson is a conservative, but ideologically uncertain about issues, and in any case has no chance. Kasich has a good background for the most part, but has chosen to run as the media-liberal candidate. Rubio is generally conservative, but his betrayals on immigration make it impossible to trust him. Trump has always been for Trump first and foremost, but he does have a good charitable record, probably really is a patriot, and is thus likelier to do what’s needed (especially stand up to the various forms of political correctness) than anyone but Cruz.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a thoughtful article by Daniel John Sobieski: Godfather Trump Now Threatens Cubs Owners. Whatever one may think of Trump, it’s disappointing to see any conservative go for the “Cruz is a liar” shtick coming from Trump when his is likely he largest liar of them all, and by far.

    But Trump won the Nevada caucuses handily. And if his winning continues through next Super Tuesday, he will be the presumed nominee. That is when we conservatives get together and pretend that John McCain is a conservative, that Romney is a “severe conservative” and that Trump is not the bull-in-a-china-shop individual that he is. He’s already backed down from his #1 issue, which is deporting illegal aliens. Now he says some can stay if they are gainfully employed.

    I told you so. He’s not even president yet and yet he is apparently backing down from his primary point of appeal.

    Incredibly, National Review Online has a good article by Jeremy Carl that is fairly rational and not one particularly kind to Establishment Republicans. And he speaks very true words about Carson:

    For Carson, a vanity candidacy as book tour may have its own internal logic, but he is rapidly diminishing the goodwill he built up with GOP voters.

    Jonah Goldberg writes similarly:

    but Ben Carson seems to be running one of the most ingeniously disguised book tours in modern memory

    That’s probably true, but surely a case of the pot calling the kettle black since Jonah is little more than a book hocker pretending to be a conservative. Much of the chattering commentariat is little more than a book and speaking tour for fees. Part of Trump’s appeals is that people think he will actually do something about several things — not just talk or sell books — including illegal immigration. I have my doubts.

    But it’s very true that Carson has lost a lot of good will. He simply looks like a bumbler now, entirely out of his element, even joking about the incompetency of his staff. He needs to find a new cause other than becoming president. David French writes:

    It means being humble and self-aware enough to know when your own vanity is hurting the country.

    Granted, this is coming from an Establishment Republican. But even a blind chicken can find a grain from time to time. The general thought is that in order to stop Trump, all the others need to drop out and Rubio and Cruz need to unite on the same ticket. Super Tuesday may well indeed bury the hopes for those plans. And then it’s “Smiles, everyone, smiles” as we try to make up reasons why, despite his rough edges, Trump will govern as a principled and thoughtful conservative, nominate the next Scalia, and make good deals to fix everything.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Trump’s blustery threats are my biggest concern about him. We really don’t want another strong man using the government to target his enemies.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I agree, although I’m okay with the “strong man” part of the equation. We want a strong man within the bounds of the Constitution (and not merely within the fake limits imposed by the chattering liberal class). I’m okay with a strong man who says in Jacksonian bluster, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” Deference to an increasingly illegal Supreme Court is not a good thing…but neither are the illegal executive orders of Obama. This is why one must be grounded in a good character and a good understanding of America and its founding or else it’s just excess piled upon excess. And I think that slogan could go around the eagle on the presidential seal if Trump is elected.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s an interesting article from Ross Kaminsky whose premise is:

    While I did not go into it in any depth during this particular talk, Spectator readers know that I believe almost all of these rational objections to a potential Sanders presidency apply equally to Donald Trump. They are two sides of an ignorant and dangerous populist coin.

    And why I still consider him a dweeb:

    He will do more harm to the nation and to the GOP in the long run than Clinton will do. He will destroy what’s left of the Republican brand and he will ensure Democratic control of Congress

    That is standard Establishment Republican baloney. “Don’t you dare offend anyone or you’ll destroy the brand.” And thus the “brand” of the GOP has become a model of emasculated wussdom that has led to Donald Trump’s rise as an antidote to this doddery old fecklessness of the GOP and their chattering commentariat in the face of the dynamic Left.

    Kaminsky might actually be a libertarian, gauging from the article. But he’s typical of the intellectual and moral confusion out there.

    I have little doubt that Trump would be a horrible president. But Hillary or Sanders would be worse. We roll the dice with Trump if he is the nominee and hope to hell he isn’t as liberal as we fear. But as for destroying the Republican brand, the Establishment Republicans did this to themselves. And the lack of intellectual rigor (or just honesty) shows in this article by Kaminsky.

    The country has moved left. We have indeed become more loud, obnoxious, vulgar, and corrupt as a people. In some ways this makes Trump a good reflection of us. We’re not Obama (at least yet). We simply feared political correctness (being branded a racist, sexist, homophobe, etc.). Obama was the political Messiah in this regard. Vote for him and you could show you were “foward-thinking.” Trump’s appeal could very likely be more in his self-proclaimed (if not actual) opposition to political correctness because it is a common prison that we all share.

    I get that. And it’s equally conceivable therefore that Trump could re-energize the Republican brand, blowing out the tired, old slogans of the chattering and intellectually and morally baffled Establishment class. We need to break the back of political correctness. And if Trump does no more than that, he will have served a purpose.

    But when tearing down one structure, one must be prepared to build something more solid in its place. Trump is ill equipped to do this. But perhaps those who follow will.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      If you want a really bad article, check this one from (naturally) NRO that tries to explain why Trump voters are so angry (and mocks them for it) without ever discussing the Beltway Bandits’ betrayals. The link is:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/431794/trump-voters-are-angry-why

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Another daft person at NRO. Okay, let’s first admit that much of Trump’s appeal is personality, not the nitty gritty of policy and principles, a point that seems to escape Oren Cass. And we might admit this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s often a good thing for in our day to day lives, we don’t take every word or action someone has said and then run them through a calculator. We get a “feel,” we make an overall judgment.

        And sometimes we can make bad judgments. But reducing any political contest down to formulas — formulas designed specifically for the intelligentsia to show us how supposedly smarter they are — is not the way to go. I am indeed concerned with someone’s political philosophy (or lack of same). But pretending that presidential politics is best seen through the formula of “rational” you-should-think-the-way-I-do stuff is not how it works. I’ll gladly admit to Trump’s overall personal appeal while telling people why this appeal is, in fact, based on fraudulence. But I don’t discount the idea of intuitive appeal itself instead of getting lost in onerous reams of policy debate.

        The real difference is that Romney held himself each day to the highest standards of decency and felt keenly the burdens of leadership, while Trump is an entertainer committed to delivering whatever irrational blather of insults, threats, and lies will earn the most retweets.

        On the face of it (which is where all lies and half-truths start), that’s not an unfair statement, per se. Romney was a decent guy…as defined by the Establishment Republicans. The indecent guy is the guy who would tackle the national debt by reining in “free stuff,” who would secure the nation’s borders, who would call a spade a spade regarding Islam, and most especially would thump Obama over the head for being a Leftist and all that implies. “Nice” people just don’t do such “divisive” things…which is why the Establishment Republicans are sitting on the sidelines. They offer little to no opposition to the Left. And their own policies are often “Democrat Lite.”

        So although I think it’s all fine and dandy to note the drawbacks of Trump, this guy is another dweeb in a self-serving vacuum.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        This paragraph says it all:

        The Trump phenomenon does not deserve elevation to the level of some reasonable response, needed movement, or well-earned comeuppance. It is best regarded as some combination of nihilistic joke and authoritarian fantasy. Yes he has “tapped into anger,” but let’s stop pretending it is a rational anger at problems ignored. Look at what is actually different about Trump, and ask what makes those things so popular.

        This dimwit’s arrogance is exceeded only by his ignorance. His dismissal of those he disagrees with is typical of those who cannot win an argument based on facts. He simply resorts to name calling which is standard leftist procedure.

        Some of us at ST may not think Trump the greatest thing since sliced bread, but we have had a robust discussion as to why he is so popular. At its most basic level, Trump’s popularity is based on a complete loss of trust in establishment politicians. Of course, the establishment and their lackeys will not come out and admit this.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          A number of respondents pointed out his arrogance as well as his (willful) ignorance. He was very careful to ignore that little problem of Establishment betrayals. One cannot understand the angry voters of 2016 without realizing the crucial aspect that when the GOP was given both houses of Congress, it still refused to stand up to Barry Screwtape Obama.

          Incidentally, as a comment on Brad’s point, one might note that Mitt Romney’s decency and civility was abundantly clear when dealing with Obama, but not when dealing with Newt Gingrich. But then, NRO didn’t like Newt either, so that doesn’t count.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I stopped reading NRO over a year ago, so appreciate your wading through the swamp to point out some of their more egregiously stupid articles.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Actually, they still have a lot of good stuff, and the magazine itself even more so. Note than even Jonah Goldberg understands why Trump gets so many voters, though he doesn’t like it. But I ignore most of their anti-Trump material (this was linked to at Hot Air).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I really would enjoy a good, old-fashioned, authoritarian fantasy, particularly of the adherence-to-the-Constitution kind. I just don’t think Trump fills the bill. But you’re right about the one paragraph.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Another so-called conservative attacking Trump, but in a particularly despicable manner.

            http://www.infowars.com/ny-times-columnist-jokes-about-assassination-attempt-ending-trumps-campaign/

            I have long known this guy was a phony. He is the man who came up with the term “crunchy conservative”, which has to be one of the more stupid monikers anyone could think of. Bowl of corn flakes anyone?

            The guy looks like a perv. A bit like John Wayne Gacy.

            I am glad to read that Trump is taking the threats of assassination seriously as I wouldn’t put anything past the Wall Street/K Street mafia. That’s why I think his best insurance policy would be to nominate Cruz as his vice president.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Well, the threats seem to come from drug lords and Muslim extremists (if you’ll pardon the redundancy). But Douthat was, at the very least, writing in extremely bad taste (especially given the nature of the attacks on Trump, which usually emphasize his own coarseness). I’m disappointed, since that’s more like something I’d expect from the corrupted David Brooks. I wonder if Douthat remembers the various liberal fantasies about assassinating Bush in 2004 — and how conservatives, rightly, attacked them.

  11. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    A few thoughts which shed light on Trump’s “honesty”.

    http://www.newsmax.com/Parker/trump-carson/2015/11/15/id/702213/

    The above piece recounts how Trump suggests Carson’s religion journey is phony. Then in case that questioning Carson’s story of angry young man with a bad temper finding God doesn’t do enough damage, Trump takes another tack and compares Carson’s pathological anger with the pathology of a child molester.

    Is this the type of thing an honest man spouts?

    Trump questions Rubio’s eligibility to run for president because his parents were not US citizens when Rubio was born in the USA. Regardless on one’s personal feelings about birthright citizenship, it has for over one hundred years been accepted that anyone born on US soil is an American citizen.

    Is Donald being honest here?

    Trump called the Pope’s remarks about his Christianity “disgraceful” and said that others “shouldn’t have the right to question another man’s religion.” Yet shortly prior to the Pope’s comments, Trump tweeted about Cruz, “How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?”

    Is Donald being consistent and honest in this case?

    Clearly, Donald is sneaky, lying, and devious and talks out of both sides of his mouth. In a word, he is like most politicians. Where Donald has a special talent is his vulgarity. Vulgarity does not limit itself to curse words. It is a much bigger thing than that. Trump is vulgar in the way he handles himself in the debates, he is vulgar in the way he speaks on TV (his remarks about Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley on the Anderson Cooper show are a good example), he is vulgar in his attacks on his opponents. But mostly, he is vulgar in his bombastic self-regard. He is the perfect candidate for the present state of American culture.

    Yet he would appear to be the only chance to beat the Demorats and Hitlery, so I will still vote for him. But I don’t pretend he is something he is not.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      It’s disturbing that Trump has the trait of rhetorically assaulting people harshly, especially calling them “liars” simply because someone has told the truth about Trump. This is a very disturbing personality trait. This is political correctness, writ large. This is basically Trump Correctness being shoved down our throats.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Donald’s latest backhanded praise of Cruz

        “I have had a lot of difficulties with Ted,” the real estate mogul said, alleging the Texas senator tells lies. Trump added, “He’s tougher and he’s actually smarter. I have to give that to him.”

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a readable, and fairly open-minded, article about Donald Trump by Thatcherite, John O’Sullivan: Trump Has Problems, Sure — But There’s an Upside, Too

    But at the end of the day, I’m not sure what he’s saying other than Trump is bullet-proof to his own lies and transgressions because the electorate is so fed up with the Establishment and/or they love Trump’s brash personality. Still, I found his article readable which is more than you can say for most these days.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Very nice. I could live with his Trumpian conservatism, at least as much as I did Bush’s compassionate conservatism. He’s very good on the malignancy of the bipartisan American Nomenklatura infesting Versailles-on-the-Potomac and explains nicely why the GOP should stand up to the Cheap Labor Lobby if it wants to maintain any vaguely recognizable form of conservatism.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Speaking of the cheap labor lobby, I’m sure you’ve heard of this story, but here’s a link:

        Laid Off Disney Worker Breaks Down in Tears Before Senate Panel

        Trump apparently said he will put a stop to the abuse of the HIB visa program, not that I even begin to understand the intricacies of this. But it’s a sure vote-getter.

        This is not good PR for Disney. Still, there are two sides to every story. For instance, given how generally degraded American values have become, is it possible that the workers that are being displace have spent as much time surfing on Facebook as doing their jobs? Is the cost of Obamacare causing companies to dump full-time workers to get part-time ones? Whose fault is this or are their several contributing faults?

        Before shedding tears for this displaced worker, I’d want to get all the facts. There use to be a thing called “journalism” in America. It no longer exists. It’s just a bunch of surface-level human interest stories masquerading as journalism.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          As you know, I believe that business interests are pushing for immigration not only to keep wages down, but because business has given up on a large percentage of the American labor force.

          I have never heard anyone else say this until yesterday when Mark Levin played a clip from a close Rubio ally saying something like “let’s face it, we all know that a lot of American workers don’t cut the mustard.”

          So instead of trying to solve the problem let’s just import labor and put the slackers on welfare. ????

          • Timothy Lane says:

            This is certainly a convenient excuse for those who wish to replace American workers with foreign ones. The latter are usually cheaper, and in many cases are treated as slaves since their visas are dependent on remaining with their employer. A good case can be made that the real problem is American labor law. But one can never forget that there are many employers who would love to revert to the days targeted in “Sixteen Tons”.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Unfortunately, if anyone has had recent exposure to young American workers, it is clear that many of them really are pretty useless.

              They come out of school with a second-rate education, have unwarranted high self esteem and do not want to spend the time and effort required to learn how to do something properly.

              Why wouldn’t an employer prefer a foreigner who works?

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            The long contempt for America that has seeped out of Cultural Marxism has likely spread much further than we’d like to think. I agree with Timothy that this dismissal of American workers is a convenient rationalization for supporting illegal aliens.

            But also never forget that Bush’s plan was to win without the base. That traditional base is about as bread-and-butter American as you can get. So let it sink in when (at the time) the leading GOP candidate thought so little of average Americans that he thought he could become president without them.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              As a New York Democrat once remarked, the Republicans have a choice: They can either change their policy on immigration or their policies on everything else

              Exactly!. The Republicans avoid solving the big problems and go for imported labor.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I think Sullivan has been reading ST.

          Though I’m not enthusiastic about any of the candidates — after Reagan and Thatcher, anyone else is a letdown — my sympathies are with Ted Cruz,

          While I admire Reagan and Thatcher, I think we need to be a little careful about holding on to the romantic past. It should not be forgotten that the situation both found themselves in was very different from ours today.

          They had to fight a big evil empire which had arisen in 1917 and from that time forward was a major player in the world. The fight was seen as a binary one and this made it easy for the public to get behind winning.

          Today, the world is a much messier place. Trump does have a way of simplifying things so this is probably to his advantage.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I just heard on Fox News that Fat Boy (Chris Christie) has endorsed Trump. This is, well, yuge. Christie, whether you like him or not, is a Progressive Establishment Republican, but one who retains a populist bent and certainly a guy who is considered a serious, non-frivolous person. This is a good endorsement for Trump.

    Put it this way, if I was running for president, I would rather be endorsed by Christie than by Romney or any of the Bushes, at least if one wants to win a national election.

    It’s all but over. I expect Cruz to win Texas, but that’s about all he’ll get. Cruz’s problem was that it’s not easy to become president of the United States. It takes a special magic and special circumstances. He’d make a great Supreme Court Justice. But he doesn’t encapsulate his message as well as Trump does. Granted, Trump isn’t saying much. But his “Make America Great Again” is implicitly a rejection of what we here know as Cultural Marxism. Cruz, on the other hand, is too intellectual and lacks charisma. People want a leader, not a policy wonk.

    And listening to Cruz in commercials when he’s tried to turn it up, it just doesn’t sound natural. It sounds very forced.

    I expect Trump to wipe the floor with Hillary because he will actually fight back. The nattering nancy-boys at NRO are wringing their hands telling us how vulnerable Trump is to Hillary’s attacks. But, Jesus H., this is absurd coming from these Establishment guys who, when faced with a wealth of material regarding Obama, used none of it.

    Well, for better or for worse, Trump will be the nominee.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, I’ll wait and see. I think it will be decided soon, by mid-March at the latest if Trump is the clear winner. But I’m not giving up until then.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I’m not so sure Christie’s endorsement means that much. It certainly doesn’t mean much down here.

      Christie has many of the same characteristics Trump has so such a ticket would be a bit redundant as far as obnoxiousness goes.

      I think it is now pretty clear that Christie’s attack on Rubio in the previous debate was coordinated with the Trump crowd.

      Of course, I agree with you as regards the near inevitability of Trump winning the nomination as I have believed that since N. Hampshire.

      Cruz, on the other hand, is too intellectual and lacks charisma. People want a leader, not a policy wonk.

      Cruz does not come over well on TV. On the other hand, he comes over very well on a stage in a large auditorium. The problem is that they are two very different venues and one must adjust one’s presentation accordingly. Cruz doesn’t seem to be able to adjust to TV.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Actually, reports at the time said Christie was coordinating with Jeb Bush against Rubio. Trump’s main concern at the time was Cruz, though he certainly is going all-out against Rubio now.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I wonder about those reports. In any case, it makes Christie look something like a gun for hire.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Jeb is done. I think Rubio is done, if only because the anti-establishment vote (Trump/Cruz/Carson) is so large, there are not enough pieces for Rubio to pick up even if Cruz got out of the race.

          The big news is that the endorsement of Trump by Christie goes a long way to legitimizing Trump in a lot of eyes. This was a big one.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I didn’t watch last night’s debate, but checked out the Drudge Report Survey just as the debate began. According to that survey Trump had already won the debate with something over 60% of the votes.

            So it was clear that whatever Trump said or didn’t say, whatever Rubio, Cruz or the others said or didn’t say, made absolutely no difference in the minds of a very large percentage of Trump voters.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Cruz should have had the brass balls to skip the debates once he saw how pointless they were. Levin had some great words on that yesterday. These debates are (supposedly) for us. But they now serve no productive purpose. They just serve to tear everything apart. Woulda shoulda coulda, I guess.

        But I won’t hold Cruz to account (Rush touched on this today) for the function of politics turning from ideas to mere entertainment. Trump is an irrational candidate from the traditional American point of view. He’s on all sides of the issue. It’s difficult even for his proponents to make sense of his ideology. You can’t blame Cruz for being a decent, thoughtful man.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I have read that the Republican governor of Maine has also given his endorsement to Trump. But more importantly, Ken Langone, the uber-insider, crony capitalist corporatist is backing Trump. This guy is the ultimate Republican establishment insider. He calls himself a catholic, but criticizes the Pope for his position on wealth distribution, but is absolutely ok with deviant marriage. Another destroyer of our culture because only money is important to him.

      This man has had huge influence in the Republican party for decades. He believes in nothing but money. That he supports Trump is a sign that the GOPe has decided Trump is going to win and will do their best to co-opt him. This is worrying. He was originally a Christie donor.

      For those who do not know of him, Langone is the man who took Home Depot public. But before and since, he was and is your stereotypical Wall Street financier type. Not to be trusted in any way.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        According to Town Hall, LePage had previously endorsed Christie, a friend. So when the latter endorsed Trump, it was natural for the former to follow his lead.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        That he supports Trump is a sign that the GOPe has decided Trump is going to win and will do their best to co-opt him.

        You said it, Mr. Kung, and this is why I think the Christie endorsement is important. It anoints Trump not only for the left-of-center voters who consider themselves conservatives but with the Republican Establishment.

        We generally look on politics from afar. But every once in a while you read stories about some new freshmen Senator or House member (state or Federal) and how they are enormously sucked into the status quo power structure. They are grabbed by the balls and they never let go. If you want something done so that you can show the voters that you did something, you pretty much have to play ball.

        Co-opting popular (inherent because of being elected) or populist politicians is what they do. It’s what they’re best at. Don’t think that the GOP leaders in the House and Senate don’t think they can’t use this guy. They are good at fooling people. They will fool Trump. And, like the Borg, their slogan may as well be “Resistant is futile. You will be assimilated.”

        This is a major reason we keep sending conservative politicians to Washington (or to a state capital) and they soon turn into something else. I suppose that’s always the nature of politics, but it is a particularly corrupt Establishment we have in there now.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One of the points Mark Levin made tonight (or today…depending upon when they broadcast him in your area) was that Trump isn’t a populist so much as he is an anarchist. Levin says that populists by their nature of being popular have some kind of political agenda. But with Trump, he’s so all over the board — completely mercurial, making things up as he goes, flying by the seat of his pants — that Levin may be onto something.

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