Making Peace with The Donald

Trump5by Brad Nelson2/27/16
First off, I hope you like the new banner at the top. If you hate it, you won’t hurt my feeling for saying so. Being in the world of graphic design, you have to live with a certain amount of rejection and try to make the best of it. But I wanted to do something a little more basic and elegant. I may still fiddle with it in the days ahead. But what it was lacking was an “at a glance” description of what we are all about. We are indeed about the best (even when commenting upon the worst) of culture, politics, and entertainment. We strive every day, not to be perfect, but for subtle refinement.

Which brings us to The Donald. The latest poll says that 81% of GOP voters see Trump getting the nomination. Count me amongst them.

First off, I have not come here to insult Trump supporters, no matter how much Kool-aid they may have drunk. We understand that, much like Barack Obama, he is sort of a blank slate upon which you may write your own hopes and dreams. And I agree completely with what I heard on the radio last night from a prognosticator: Trump doesn’t have policy, he has opinions.

When does confidence range into over-confidence and even megalomania? That’s for you to decide. But clearly there is a “type” out there who are very comfortable with their pronouncements being sacred. You can understand the idea seen in The Ten Commandments when Yul Brynner as Pharaoh would often say, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Napoleon perhaps was the best example of this in recent memory. He was a totalitarian administrator whose word was the law, and he had a lot of laws.

So without trying to insult anyone, let’s first agree that Trump’s grounding is in his own self and his own sense of omniscient wisdom, not in any traditional American principles we would recognize as adherence to the Founders’ intent, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or the general principles of liberty in creative tension with societal order, all backed by a generally Judeo-Christian moral system.

Forget all that. Trump, if elected, will likely govern as he is campaigning: by the seat of his pants, making it up as he goes along, and putting up a wall of intimidation and bluster when he is opposed and his weaknesses exposed. That might make you pine for Napoleon who was at least an able administrator with a solid idea of where he wanted to go, even if he was an extremely authoritarian one. I expect Trump will be something like FDR but without the manners. Expect an alphabet-soup plethora of agencies and 3-year-plans, much like Roosevelt had.

But we’ve got what we’ve got. We could analyze the “whys” of it all until the cows come home and it wouldn’t change the reality that Trump will likely be the GOP nominee and thus a very good chance of being the next president. And the good news is that he won’t fold like a cheap tent in any debate with Hillary or Bernie. We would have someone willing to fight. Whether he is on “our side” or not is what causes so much consternation, for I don’t believe there’s any reason to believe that he has anything other than general liberal/Progressive (aka “New York”) values. And if you are a conservative trying to squint just right and see Trump as a fellow traveler, then good luck with the cognitive dissonance.

Perhaps the reason he is running as a Republican rather than a Democrat (where he would be a better fit) is his inherent love for America. The Democrats and the Left are a bunch of bed-wetting America-haters whose calling card is grievance and whose identity is victimhood. Trump is not a victim, and if he grieves for anything it is seeing America torn apart by the jackals of anti-Americanism. Whether or not he understands the source of this is doubtful. Trump is an “intuitive” person (read: impulsive) and it’s not likely he’s able to stop and take a look at what we here see as the core poison of our culture: The Left.

Trump, much like Establishment Republicans, accepts (knowingly or unknowingly) many of the premises of the Left even while (in Trump’s case) claiming to hate political correctness. What a Trump nomination would do would be, ironically, what the Establishment Republicans have been trying to do — redefine the center (moving it leftward). The GOP Establishment, through the sheer alchemy of political will, wants to redefine what it is to be a Republican and a conservative so that it meshes with at least a solid majority of the American people (or what they think that majority is or should be). And here’s where the similarity ends, for with the GOP it’s probably worse than even that, for the GOP has lost faith in the American people as Angela Merkel has in Germans and Europe. Gilbert T. Sewall writes in an article you should all read:

Globalists embrace cheap labor and expanding markets. Migrants are, they say, essential ingredients of Europe’s population growth, economic welfare, and healthy future. Older Europeans should count on newcomers to fund their future old-age benefits. In their dreams EU officials and employers perceive the migrants as a reservoir of talent able to “rescue” economies.

Perhaps this explains Trump voters. On an intuitive level they know the fix is in against them. They know that the Ruling Class does not (as Rush Limbaugh has often noted) have their best interests in mind. Average Americans are being dismissed just as the native populations of Europe are being dismissed. The issue of illegal (or legal Muslim) immigration is the focal point of this, but by no means the totality of this issue. But it is one we can all put our finger on and understand.

One of the creepiest things about Marco Rubio — and this includes Ted Cruz to some extent — is this recent GOP emphasis of The American Dream equating to the immigrant, against all odds, coming to America and achieving success. And that’s a fine paradigm. But I think it’s obvious now that the emphasis on the paradigm betrays the Ruling Class’s dismissal of ordinary Americans. Who is championing their cause, their ability to rise and prosper?

Well, although Cruz is certainly not against this, it’s Trump who is rightly seen as the champion of average Americans. He may be a bull in a China shop regarding the details, but his general emphasis is clear. Perhaps that’s why there is such sting (and persuasive power) in trying to cast Cruz as a Canadian. This may be unfair, but good god, aren’t we all tired of putting foreigners first, of blaming America first?

This is why the nitty gritty of Trump’s various own lies and transgressions don’t matter to his supporters. They’re not interested in electing a Pious-in-Chief. They want a fighter, someone who will finally put average Americans first, and not in the lying way of Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton who feign respect for “the little guy” but for whom power is their game. And although I think Ted Cruz would be a better president, perhaps ultimate justice will be done and Trump will nominate him to the Supreme Court.

Yes, I realize just now I was seeing Trump in the way I wanted to see him, as this year’s open-ended “hope and change” candidate. You can read into him what you want. But reality reminds me that this is the fellow who thinks his partial-birth-abortion-loving sister would be a great justice. When push comes to shove, at least regarding Supreme Court nominees, we may think GWB’s Harriet Miers was a sane choice compared to whatever Trump comes up with.

But for now we have our little Napoleon who we hope will, if elected, use the vast powers of the state in our interest while sticking it to the powers that be. We just hope that the Constitution and the rational rule-of-law-guided-by-wisdom isn’t one of those “powers that be” this is also a casualty.

Trump’s election to the presidency would be something to watch…perhaps morphing the presidency into the largest Reality TV show on the planet. I guess that’s better than Hillary.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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55 Responses to Making Peace with The Donald

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I like your interpretation, that Trump becoming a Republicans reflects his reaction to the Demagogues’ reflexive hostility to America (and Western civilization), especially white middle America. Whatever Trump’s flaws, he doesn’t share that hostility, and at times even rejects it. The Demagogues’ hostility to those voters, and the Republican leadership’s condescending unconcern for them, paved the way for his success. And now the rest of us will have to pay for it.

    Incidentally, an interesting suggestion I’ve seen is that someone like Rick Perry (whose political career is effectively over anyway) run as a conservative third-party candidate. The idea wouldn’t be so much to hurt Trump, but rather to get those conservatives who would refuse to vote for him and thus stay home to show up for a candidate — and then vote for down-ballot Republicans, many of whom will need the help. (And if nothing else, they’ll be less bad than their Demagogue alternatives.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thank you for being the first to delve into this thread, Timothy. I hope it was clear to others (as it was to you) that my post was not dripping with condescension toward Trump voters. They might be right. Trump might be the most effective guy for what we need right now. I don’t agree with having to pile on Cruz in order to try to build up Trump and flavor the kool-aid, but that tends to be how it goes in politics.

      As for the third-party candidate such as Perry, I think this would be destructive. Besides, I think the GOP Establishment can work with Trump. They know there’s no way that a President Cruz would “reach across the aisle” (mean: cave on his principles) to work with them. But Trump would appear to be of the much more pragmatic (read: “go along to get along”) sort.

      And if there is a President Trump, Trump can expect the lying sons-of-bitches of the Republican Establishment to tell him, “Sure, we’ll build a wall. But we have to do this in increments. First we need to sort out keeping families together.” They (the Left, in this case) suckered Reagan in California on the abortion bill. I do not underestimate the power of the Dark Establishment Side to sucker Trump. Yes, I know that runs counter to the “Trump is the smart deal-maker” shtick. But other than giving money to both sides (which smart businessmen must do), he’s a neophyte in politics.

      Yes, Trump supporters suppose his bravado and daring-do are like a knife that will cut through the normal red-tape and congealed establishment in DC. And I think he could in some respects. But he’s not Superman. He doesn’t have x-ray vision. He’ll have to deal with the same sons-of-bitches that Ted Cruz (and Ronald Reagan) have had to deal with. And when you shake hands, you have to make sure you count your fingers.

      And because winning and “the art of the deal” are everything (the very reputation of Trump), every half-ass, half-baked, stinky compromise will be declared a gigantic victory…by Trump and his chorus of Trumpkins. And we’ll hear the same strains that we hear now from the Establishment Republicans: “Oh, we can’t do it all in one step. But this is a start.”

      Call me a cynic, but for all his bravado, I think he’s somewhat of a babe in the woods in regards to politics. It remains to be seen if his supporters will swallow down his half-measures and defeats as “victories” simply to keep their Golden Boy golden. It should be interesting.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, some of the Black God’s worshippers remained loyal, but much of that reflects his being The First Black President and their reflexive white guilt (or black racial loyalty). Besides, he has delivered on the free stuff they wanted, and for some that’s all that mattered. So I think Trump’s personality cult will shrink, but probably not disappear. Perhaps the best thing to hope for from Trump (though I will say that I won’t give up hope at least until after March 1, and maybe a couple of weeks more) would be for him to pick a strong conservative VP to serve as the ideological mainspring of the administration (Jeff Sessions would probably be the ideal choice).

  2. pst4usa says:

    I can’t find anything wrong with your analysis Brad, I hate it, but that does not mean it is wrong. The only problem is that T rump is another divider not a uniter, as he and 0bama claimed to be. There are too many Republicans, as you say, that will stay home and a Rick Perry candidacy will not bring them out of the wood work to support down ballot candidates. So because of T rump, win or lose and it will matter not; America will be over for good, not with a bang, not with a fight, not even a whimper, but with reality TV and an electorate that make the electorate from the movie “Idiocracy” look like a mirror image of themselves.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      One of the experiments The Donald will be running, Pat, should he be elected president, is whether one can be a Chief Executive and fix things without an ideological grounding. Unless he is some type of savant (and he shows no signs of that), it’s hard to imagine Trump fixing much.

      And I don’t mean he’s not intelligent. But as I’ve said before, if on the one hand you’re for socialized medicine (which he is) and on the other you’re against socialized borders, how do you make that work? How do you make anything work when you’re grounded in flippant come-backs as if you were a never-ending guest on The View?

      It’s good to be able to handle the media. But once we get past perception, what will be the substance? Is Trump capable of substance?

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      I think you’re a little too pessimistic, Pat. One thing that many people are forgetting is that the GOP was undergoing a civil war even before Trump entered the fray and it is still going on, with Trump strangely adhering to neither side. So one question for Conservatives is this: has Trump weakened the Establishment enough so that Conservatives can now wrest control of the Party from it, or has Trump strengthened the Establishment so that now Conservatives must leave the GOP and found their own party? I believe it will be some time before we know the answer to that question.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        has Trump weakened the Establishment enough so that Conservatives can now wrest control of the Party from it, or has Trump strengthened the Establishment so that now Conservatives must leave the GOP and found their own party?

        The Establishment is counting on the massive failure of Trump (in the general or as president) as cementing once and for all their grand strategy that you should not do or say anything that the most rabid New York Times reporter can spin against you.

        In essence, the Republican Party, at least at the national level, is dead. And those few victories that are achieved at the state or local level cannot last given that the head is rotten. The rest of the body will soon follow.

        Conservatism is dead in all put a poeser role. Much like in the mainstream Christian church, what passes for orthodox is very liberal. The Establishment GOP has already ruined the brand. There is no movement conservatism inside of elective office. It’s all a holding action, at best, or adding to the mess.

        It’s unlikely that we can do anything other than follow the path of Europe where “conservative” is a near meaningless word. The massive socialist welfare state (short of its collapse) isn’t going anywhere. Politics today, more than ever, is mere orchestrated lies.

        And if anyone wants to know why people like Trump it’s because they realize just how absolutely rotten the rest of them are. By comparison he may be worth a try, if only to piss off and emasculate (for a time) those who have been selling this country down the road by “crossing the aisle” with the Democrats.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Do you think maybe a lot of people are pissed off at the GOPe because of such garbage as this?

          http://www.keloland.com/news/article/politics/daugaard-vetoes-hb1008

          The governor is a “Republican”.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Well, he’s right that it isn’t an urgent problem — yet. But it increasingly is becoming one across the nation, and it would be best to forestall it. Sort of like passing laws banning the use of Shariah law. But at least the governor will get to “stand tall in Georgetown”, which may be all that matters to him.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I just have one question for you, Mr. Kung. Where do you go if your pee-pee feels like a woman but your ass feels like a man? Don’t you think it’s the requirement of all “sensitive” institutions to create a bathroom whereby you can write your chosen gender (or genders) over the door on a blackboard-like sign that the next person can then erase and write in his own? That seems fair to me. Anything less is insensitive and sexist.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I think Trump is cynically playing to the crowd. He has tapped into a wellspring of anger and concern which the fools in the GOPe have disdained to acknowledge.

    It is easy for Trump to attack all his competitors in this campaign without doing himself damage as they are all politicians and the crowd is not interested in discernment. “A pox on all their houses”, is today’s motto. The Republican establishment has earned this, but there has to be something truly positive on order if the destructive sentiment is not to spiral out of control.

    I really have no idea what Trump would do if elected president. I have some hope that he would build a wall, but how he would then help push illegals to leave and then cut back overall immigration is a question.

    Yes, I have read his position papers and like much of what they say, but he does not mention any details of these papers when in a debate or in front of large crowds. At least I have not heard any details.

    We know most people who vote for him will never read the details. So I would have more confidence in him if he would lay some of this detail out for all to hear.

    I would especially love to see a position paper and hear from him as regards his judicial philosophy. There is no doubt in my mind that the appointment of justices such as Scalia, Alito and Thomas is as important as getting a handle on immigration. If we succeed on one and not the other, the country will still go over the cliff.

    I can’t get over the feeling that a vote for Trump is something like playing the lottery.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course, his supporters might admit this, but argue that choosing any other candidate is like picking a ticket you know will lose. As for voter anger, I think the failure of the Establishment was the failure to realize this, partly because most of that anger involved their surrenders at t he behest of the donors. So even once it become obvious enough even for them to see, they couldn’t try to assuage that anger (except maybe regarding Scalia, and few voters even trust them there — and we can’t know if they hold firm in the end until next year).

  4. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    This whole thread, the post and comments, is a breath of fresh air.

    Essentially, Trump is what the voters want, so let’s deal with that fact, stubborn as it is. In other forums, I’ve tried to make the point that snooty conservatives should change to a positive approach, stop pillorying Trump and explaining exactly how human and faulty he is, and turn their energy into a dialogue with Trump, with the goal of helping improve his chances of governing effectively.

    The corollary point I often make is that all this noise about anger and such being the reasons voters are flocking to him misses the base reality of his attraction. It is simply stated: he loves America, knows who powers the engine of prosperity, and will fight instead of reaching across the aisle in amity. We’ve had about all of this comity that our country can tolerate, and Trump supporters are vitally interested in having someone dedicated to saving this grand, Blessed, experiment in moral governance known as the USA.

    Knowing all of this, and even admitting that it is true, some conservative bed-wetters actually posit supporting HRC, the current incarnation of Satan threatening us ordinary citizens. I can barely read Ricochet anymore.

    Thanks to all here for your time and efforts analyzing our bizarre circumstances. You have regenerated my hope somewhat.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, his nomination isn’t a done deal yet; we’ll see in a couple of days whether the recent anti-Trump campaigns have been sufficiently effective to derail him. If they fail, the key may be making sure that his VP choice and key cabinet choices are strong conservatives (which, after all, Trump claims to be now himself). At present, we can only hope — and after 7 years of Barry Screwtape Obama, that isn’t encouraging at all. But sometimes hopes do come true, especially if one finds a way to help them happen.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Knowing all of this, and even admitting that it is true, some conservative bed-wetters actually posit supporting HRC, the current incarnation of Satan threatening us ordinary citizens. I can barely read Ricochet anymore.

      Thanks, Tom. I hope we can take a fair and impartial view of Donald Trump here and not get too caught up in blinkered partisanship. But there’s also an important territory apart from the enthusiasm. Although we enjoy and respect the passions thrown behind any particular candidate, the rest of the formula is a candidate’s ideas. As Deana wrote in a recent article, it matters that a candidate (especially for president) have a solid foundation.

      But there can be unusual times, and we are living in one right now. Both parties (referred to commonly as “The Ruling Class”) do not have the interests of Americans at heart. Both use and abuse the electorate while they gain power and wealth and leave our country open to invasion.

      We’ve become a diminished public (and republic), trained like Pavlov’s dog to be satisfied with the trinkets thrown at us. While the rich get richer (and I am by no means for equal outcome or socialism, nor am I an anti-capitalist), the average American either makes due with a lower standard of living or becomes a serf on welfare.

      It must be amusing to The Ruling Class that we have shown ourselves to be so compliant and dumb. Instead of giving us real benefits, they diminish our lives and prospects via various high-sounding tomfoolery. Affirmative action punishes hard work and reverts us to a tribal-based society where skin color is king. Sexual irresponsibility is supported via abortion and they slap a nice-sounding name on it and call it “women’s health.” The family is torn asunder in a thousand ways and it is called progress. We rob from future generations with our debt and printed money in order to buy off today’s generations and have fake Nobel Prize winners, such as Paul Krugman, call this fiscally sound policy. We halt actually building infrastructure such as needed pipelines and call it “environmentally sensitive.”

      We dimwitted Americans put up with The Ruling Class bamboozling us with all kinds of baloney rationales for why we can’t make progress even while there is a large movement among us who call themselves “Progressives.” We have bought this diminishment of ourselves under so many nice-sounding marketing lies: environmentalism, fairness, equality, social justice, affirmative action, feminism, women’s health, and even liberty.

      So I, for one, do not obsess over how many marriages The Donald has had, that he has built a strip club, or that he uses vulgar language in public. We need to prick the balloon of political correctness and expose the rotten game being played on us.

      And if that is why many otherwise sensible and conservative people support Trump, I get it. The only warning I have is that I think it will be very difficult for Trump to actually fix anything if he is not grounded in 100% pure Americanism. Short of having Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, and myself on his staff of advisors, I can’t imagine that Trump will do much more than rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. I could be wrong about that. I hope I am.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Trump’s immorality and lack of Christian ethics is even less important if we compare him to Slick Hilly, facilitator of her husband’s serial abuses of women. So many people look at his flaws (many as they certainly are) and act as if the alternative is Jesus Christ. He defintely isn’t running this year.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I guess if your house is infested with cockroaches, you’re not too concerned if your exterminator goes to church every Sunday. Still, you hope the exterminator you hire does not also kill the cat and poison the pantry.

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    Town Hall reports that Jeff Sessions — arguably the most reliable conservative in the Senate, especially on immigration — has just endorsed Trump. Of course, Trump was heavily favored in the Alabama polls. This certainly won’t hurt him there.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This is a very important endorsement. It will convince many of the Cruz crowd to fall in behind Trump should he win the nomination, which he surely will.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Ditto. And never forget that Jeff Sessions is a politician. Licking your finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing is an essential skill.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Sessions’ endorsement gives me a bit more hope that Trump will follow through, at least in large part, on his build-a-wall and cutting back immigration promises . This is, after all, what Sessions is famous for and I think the endorsement adds a tad more pressure on Trump to do what he says he will do.

          But as you remind me, they are all politicians. Perhaps Sessions is gunning for the VP slot. I can think of worse possible candidates.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Trump’s position paper on immigration owes a great deal to Sessions, and some of the latter’s staffers were already working with Trump. So his support is hardly a great surprise. It does mean that Trump now has been endorsed by more senators than Cruz has.

  6. Pst4usa says:

    This is an insignificant comment on this topic, but to your first question Brad, I like the new banner.

  7. Anniel says:

    I think Senator Sessions is great. Almost as good as your new banner, which is great. It is elegant and gets to the very bones of the site. Always a good thing

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Annie. It’s good to hear, positive or negative. We’re sort of a benevolent dictatorship here (the nature of doing this…someone has to pull the strings and make the wheels go round). But I like getting input and ideas. Never hesitate to offer a suggestion.

  8. Timothy Lane says:

    There have been some interesting further developments. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska freshman with anti-Establishment and anti-illegal immigration credentials (and not a professional politician, unlike Sessions) came out fully against Trump, to the point where he would vote for a third-party candidate in November. Rubio hinted that he might do the same, despite his prior debate pledge to support the GOP nominee. In addition, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air wrote an interesting piece on why he now favors Rubio. Although he seems a bit optimistic about Rubio really learning the right lesson from the failure of the Gang of 8 monstrosity, it’s a good article overall, with an excellent discussion of the relative merits of Cruz and Rubio. The link is:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/02/29/caucus-time-why-i-choose-marco-rubio/

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I don’t buy Morrissey’s reasoning. Rubio’s great idea about stopping Obamacare, which Morrissey so praises, has been less effective than Cruz’s government shutdown attempt, which Morrissey condemns. Contrary to what Morrissey and the other GOPers claim, Cruz’s attempt was very effective as it mobilized and energized the base. I know because I am the base and know plenty others who make the same claim.

      More importantly, what Morrissey and the rest of the insiders don’t seem to understand, is that millions of Americans don’t believe anything politicians say as the GOPe has lied to us for decades. And Rubio has proven himself to be just another lying SOB politician. All one has to do is look at his promises and actions regarding immigration.

      Rubio has become a leper. I will do everything I can to make sure he is not on the ticket.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One thing I noted at the time (I was already blogging by then) of the shutdown was that the GOP had made no attempt to push its case publicly. This was a failure by Cruz (who after all sought that shutdown), but also Boehner and McConnell (who, for whatever reason, went along with the idea). They had a strong case, but their failure to make it caused them to fall in the polls. Fortunately, after they surrendered (as was inevitable from the beginning, sadly), the unexpected failure of the federal Obamacare website enabled them to recover.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          It’s hard to know what was a Cruz error or just a problem of getting through the media filter. And there’s little doubt his own party was against him. Sort of hard to make a splash when you’re the only adult in the room.

          But by no means do I think Cruz is perfect. But defunding Obamacare was a de facto plank in the Tea Party platform and something a lot of elected Republicans at least gave lip service to.

          But at the end of the day, let’s not forget that defunding an unconstitutional law such as Obamacare is not only in the purview of Congress, it’s the right thing to do. It’s still the right thing to do.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Of course, Cruz also did a good job of differentiating himself from the GOPe by pushing for the government shutdown. No doubt this played a significant part in his thinking.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      While conservative policy would be served well by both men, the approach to conservatism and inclusion is perhaps the most important quality in my choice. Cruz, as solid a conservative as anyone could want in the Senate, has run his primary campaign on the basis of ideological purity. Cruz has repeatedly argued, especially in regard to Rubio, that he’s not just the most conservative candidate in the race but the only conservative in the race. That portends an insular, base-driven campaign that simply will not work in swing states any longer.

      The sounds of weasel-words. The sound of the ratchet cranking one more turn to the Left. These guys are always making an excuse why they can’t go with the best candidate. And it should send chills through any conservatives spin when they here the word “inclusion” bandied about.

      Rubio lost most of the base because of his Gang-of-Eight collaboration on amnesty for law-breakers. Cruz is a real conservative. Rubio is Eddie Haskel with a bow tie.

      And it’s now a “fantasy” for the House to abide by it’s Constitutional duty:

      Cruz led a poorly conceived shutdown over the fantasy demand that Barack Obama sign a budget defunding ObamaCare

      This guy, and his extremely weak and tired rationale, is why I’m not totally (now) dead-set against Trump. I’m just tired of the weasels and weasel-words. But thanks for pointing out that article, Timothy.

  9. pst4usa says:

    For those that would ike to read what Ben Sasse had to say, here it is.

    AN OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS
    To my friends supporting Donald Trump:
    The Trump coalition is broad and complicated, but I believe many Trump fans are well-meaning. I have spoken at length with many of you, both inside and outside Nebraska. You are rightly worried about our national direction. You ache about a crony-capitalist leadership class that is not urgent about tackling our crises. You are right to be angry.
    I’m as frustrated and saddened as you are about what’s happening to our country. But I cannot support Donald Trump.
    Please understand: I’m not an establishment Republican, and I will never support Hillary Clinton. I’m a movement conservative who was elected over the objections of the GOP establishment. My current answer for who I would support in a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton is: Neither of them. I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option.
    Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation. Much like President Obama, he displays essentially no understanding of the fact that, in the American system, we have a constitutional system of checks and balances, with three separate but co-equal branches of government. And the task of public officials is to be public “servants.” The law is king, and the people are boss. But have you noticed how Mr. Trump uses the word “Reign” – like he thinks he’s running for King? It’s creepy, actually. Nebraskans are not looking for a king. We yearn instead for the recovery of a Constitutional Republic.
    At this point in Nebraska discussions, many of you have immediately gotten practical: “Okay, fine, you think there are better choices than Trump. But you would certainly still vote for Trump over Clinton in a general election, right?”
    Before I explain why my answer is “Neither of them,” let me correct some nonsense you might have heard on the internet of late.
    WHY I RAN FOR SENATE
    ***No, I’m not a career politician. (I had never run for anything until being elected to the U.S. Senate fifteen months ago, and I ran precisely because I actually want to make America great again.)
    ***No, I’m not a lawyer who has never created a job. (I was a business guy before becoming a college president in my hometown.)
    ***No, I’m not part of the Establishment. (Sheesh, I had attack ads by the lobbyist class run against me while I was on a bus tour doing 16 months of townhalls across Nebraska. Why? Precisely because I was not the preferred candidate of Washington.)
    ***No, I’m not concerned about political job security. (The very first thing I did upon being sworn in in January 2015 was to introduce a constitutional amendment for term limits – this didn’t exactly endear me to my new colleagues.)
    ***No, I’m not for open borders. (The very first official trip I took in the Senate was to observe and condemn how laughably porous the Texas/Mexican border is. See 70 tweets from @bensasse in February 2015.)
    ***No, I’m not a “squishy,” feel-good, grow-government moderate. (I have the 4th most-conservative voting record in the Senate: https://www.conservativereview.com/members/benjamin-sasse/ http://www.heritageactionscorecard.com/membe…/member/S001197 )
    In my very first speech to the Senate, I told my colleagues that “The people despise us all.” This institution needs to get to work, not on the lobbyists’ priorities, but on the people’s: https://youtu.be/zQMoB4aUn04?t=3m8s
    Now, to the question at hand: Will I pledge to vote for just any “Republican” nominee over Hillary Clinton?
    Let’s begin by rejecting naïve purists: Politics has no angels. Politics is not about creating heaven on earth. Politics is simply about preserving a framework for ordered liberty – so that free people can find meaning and happiness not in politics but in their families, their neighborhoods, their work.
    POLITICAL PARTIES
    Now, let’s talk about political parties: parties are just tools to enact the things that we believe. Political parties are not families; they are not religions; they are not nations – they are often not even on the level of sports loyalties. They are just tools. I was not born Republican. I chose this party, for as long as it is useful.
    If our Party is no longer working for the things we believe in – like defending the sanctity of life, stopping ObamaCare, protecting the Second Amendment, etc. – then people of good conscience should stop supporting that party until it is reformed.
    VOTING
    Now, let’s talk about voting: Voting is usually just about choosing the lesser evil of the most viable candidates.
    “Usually…” But not always. Certain moments are larger. They cause us to explicitly ask: Who are we as a people? What does the way we vote here say about our shared identity? What is actually the president’s job?
    THE PRESIDENT’S CORE CALLING
    The president’s job is not about just mindlessly shouting the word “strong” – as if Vladimir Putin, who has been strongly bombing civilian populations in Syria the last month, is somehow a model for the American presidency. No, the president’s core calling is to “Preserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution.”
    Before we ever get into any technical policy fights – about pipelines, or marginal tax rates, or term limits, or Medicare reimbursement codes – America is first and fundamentally about a shared Constitutional creed. America is exceptional, because she is at her heart a big, bold truth claim about human dignity, natural rights, and self-control – and therefore necessarily about limited rather than limitless government.
    THE MEANING OF AMERICA
    America is the most exceptional nation in the history of the world because our Constitution is the best political document that’s ever been written. It said something different than almost any other government had said before: Most governments before said that might makes right, that government decides what our rights are and that the people are just dependent subjects. Our Founders said that God gives us rights by nature, and that government is not the author or source of our rights. Government is just our shared project to secure those rights.
    Government exists only because the world is fallen, and some people want to take your property, your liberty, and your life. Government is tasked with securing a framework for ordered liberty where “we the people” can in our communities voluntarily build something great together for our kids and grandkids. That’s America. Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of speech – the First Amendment is the heartbeat of the American Constitution, of the American idea itself.
    WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO MR. TRUMP?
    So let me ask you: Do you believe the beating heart of Mr. Trump’s candidacy has been a defense of the Constitution? Do you believe it’s been an impassioned defense of the First Amendment – or an attack on it?
    Which of the following quotes give you great comfort that he’s in love with the First Amendment, that he is committed to defending the Constitution, that he believes in executive restraint, that he understands servant leadership?
    Statements from Trump:
    ***“We’re going to open up libel laws and we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.”
    ***“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. They were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak…”
    ***Putin, who has killed journalists and is pillaging Ukraine, is a great leader.
    ***The editor of National Review “should not be allowed on TV and the FCC should fine him.”
    ***On whether he will use executive orders to end-run Congress, as President Obama has illegally done: “I won’t refuse it. I’m going to do a lot of things.” “I mean, he’s led the way, to be honest with you.”
    ***“Sixty-eight percent would not leave under any circumstance. I think that means murder. It think it means anything.”
    ***On the internet: “I would certainly be open to closing areas” of it.
    ***His lawyers to people selling anti-Trump t-shirts: “Mr. Trump considers this to be a very serious matter and has authorized our legal team to take all necessary and appropriate actions to bring an immediate halt…”
    ***Similar threatening legal letters to competing campaigns running ads about his record.
    And on it goes…
    IF MR. TRUMP BECOMES THE NOMINEE…
    Given what we know about him today, here’s where I’m at: If Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, my expectation is that I will look for some third candidate – a conservative option, a Constitutionalist.
    I do not claim to speak for a movement, but I suspect I am far from alone. After listening to Nebraskans in recent weeks, and talking to a great many people who take oaths seriously, I think many are in the same place. I believe a sizable share of Christians – who regard threats against religious liberty as arguably the greatest crisis of our time – are unwilling to support any candidate who does not make a full-throated defense of the First Amendment a first commitment of their candidacy.
    Conservatives understand that all men are created equal and made in the image of God, but also that government must be limited so that fallen men do not wield too much power. A presidential candidate who boasts about what he’ll do during his “reign” and refuses to condemn the KKK cannot lead a conservative movement in America.
    TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT
    Thank you for listening. While I recognize that we disagree about how to make America great again, we agree that this should be our goal. We need more people engaged in the civic life of our country—not fewer. I genuinely appreciate how much many of you care about this country, and that you are demanding something different from Washington. I’m going to keep doing the same thing.
    But I can’t support Donald Trump.
    Humbly,
    Ben Sasse
    Nebraska

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      So let me ask you: Do you believe the beating heart of Mr. Trump’s candidacy has been a defense of the Constitution?

      If this is the best Sasse can do, he should not go public.

      Ask people who will better defend the Constitution, Hillary or Trump? They may not know for sure, but they do know Hillary is not about adhering to the Constitution. So what do they have to lose with Trump?

      More importantly, if a significant number of conservatives join the GOPe and go third party they are “giving the election to Hillary” and the Left and defense of the Constitution is OUT THE WINDOW!!!

      If one wishes to be truthful, the reason there is unease as regards presidents overstepping the bounds of the Constitution is because, for decades, the CONGRESS has abandoned its duty to both the Executive and Judicial branches. If Congress would fulfill its role, we would not be in the present situation.

      By pretending that a third party run is anything other that a vote for Hillary, Sasse and his ilk are playing the old mis-direction game. Unfortunately, the PEOPLE have been easy to fool as else we wouldn’t be here. In the end, the PEOPLE are at fault.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        This is my sole criticism of Sasse’s comments. Bad as Trump would be (and his concerns about free expression are very accurate), Slick Hilly would still be worse. Her party is actively the party that no longer respects the Bill of Rights. Trump may or may not be that bad, but he still wouldn’t be leading a party dedicated to opposing those rights.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I didn’t read every word. (First error: not concise). But going third party at this point is not a sign of a principled conservative but of a suicidal conservative. Hey, it’s possible that Trump could be worse than Hillary. But if it comes down to Trump vs. Hillary, I admit now it would be pretty petty to either go third party or sit out the election. If we can swallow down Romney, swallowing Trump is easy.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      So who does he support, Pat?

      • pst4usa says:

        As far as I can tell Brad, anyone but T rump. But I cannot verify that. I had much the same reaction as the rest of the gang here, I have said no matter how badly I despise T rump, he is a leftist, but he is not as far left as Hillary or Sanders, and if we the gullible people of the United States of America are dumb enough to let another snake oil salesman stick it to us, while we have a clear Constitutionally literate choice in the primary, then we deserve what we get.
        We might know more after tomorrow, if it is really over or not, but I will continue to fight for this country as long as we have a choice. I will vote for the piece of crap known as T rump if he gets the nomination, but I do not see anyway for him to win the general election because of way too many folks like Mr Sasse, even though he is wrong; he is not alone by any stretch of the imagination.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          We analyze things here better than anywhere else. And I think one of the metrics regarding Trump is that he is a strong-man (or appears to be). He has the kind of nitrous oxide that we need to meet the challenges we face.

          Whether he then drives the car over the cliff or into oncoming traffic remains to be seen. But we know without a doubt, and from painful experience, that the milquetoast, mealy-mouthed Establishment kinds (such as Romney) will not ever make the car go, no matter how many “vroom vroom” sounds they make.

          Trump, however, can make the car go. Where the hell it will go is anyone’s guess. But at this point, there are enough people (at least in these primaries) willing to wind it up and let it go.

    • pst4usa says:

      This is the error that jumped off the page at me; “with three separate but co-equal branches of government.” Co-equal, I think not. If you have studied the founders and there writings on this subject, you will find a definite hierarchy of the branches of government. The legislative branch, the ones closest to the people and most accountable to the people was to be by far the strongest branch. (divided into one branch behoding to the people and one beholding to the States); followed by the executive branch and a distant third was the judicial.
      The founders knew that the two branches that need to be held in check the most were the judicial first and the executive second, these were the ones most removed from the wrath of the voters and hence needed to be the least powerful.
      Now we have been indoctrinated or convinced by the leftist for over 100 years that us poor uneducated normal citizens should leave the governing up to the experts, the professionals, it would be too hard for us to understand the complexities of governing. Well if T rump is the nominee, then they will have been proved right. Was it a self fulfilling prophecy or did they cause it to happen, I will leave that for you to decide.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Wish I’d written this. This is a pretty good and concise article by William Murchison: Bread and Circuses

    A Rubio adviser makes a reasonable — under the circumstances — point. “We came to the conclusion that if being a part of the circus is the price you have to pay in order for us to ultimately be able to talk about substantive policy, then that’s what we’re going to do.” Thus Rubio’s offering the full-length mirror image. This explanation assumes that, once the clown acts have cleared out, the big top crowd will be ready for some serious talk about capital gains taxes and Afghanistan withdrawal dates.

    I kind of doubt that will happen. The circus image has a haunting quality. Panem et circenses — bread and circuses — were what the Roman populace came to crave for the entertainment and release they provided.

    And…

    Politicians’ propensity to gain power through voter temptation is the doorway to the Age of Trump: the age of despair over government’s ability to get anything right without getting more things wrong.

    There used to be some dignity in the political profession, whose basic purpose was to give Americans scope for fulfillment according to agreed-upon rules of conduct. As we no longer agree on anything — thanks to our varied cravings for government goodies — politics in the 21st century is a scramble without dignity, lacking serious purpose, lacking the means of harmonizing human relationships.

    Now, “to be fair,” as 1st Timothy StubbornThings might say, the corruption of “serious” politics by the GOP Establishment with their trail of lies and refusal to oppose the Left is as responsible for this as anything. When reading an article such as this, I always have in the back of my mind: “Who does this guy the prefer for president?” For all I know, Murchison preferred Jeb Bush. As one commenter to the article wrote:

    The bread and circuses are the lies put forth by the Rubio types who then are endorsed by prominent Republicans who go onto claim that Trump is unelectable and that no one will vote for Trump. That is the circus.

    Also, I think Murchison is being a bit too nostalgic. Politics in America has always been very gritty. I get so tired of hearing people, for instance, pining about how supposedly chummy Reagan and Tip O’Neil were. Tip caustically opposed Reagan and called him all kinds of nasty stuff. But behind the scenes, yeah, a lot of these guys can get together for a beer. In some respects, we are the fools to all of them.

    One fellow had an interesting observation:

    This campaign should be much more decorous and refined. Like presidential elections of the early 19th century, wherein Thomas Jefferson accused John Adams of “having a hideous hermaphroditical character.” Martha Washington, elegant First Lady, got in on the act, calling Jefferson “the most detestable of mankind.” Old Hickory himself, that noted gentleman Andrew Jackson, among other choice appellations, stated that John Quincy Adams was “a pimp.” Adams returned the compliment by calling Jackson’s wife “a s l u t.” The moral of the story is that Murchison is correct. Rubio and Trump should take a lesson from the mannered giants of our early history. The 2016 campaign should be elevated and dignified like those of that much more civil time.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      For all I know, Murchison preferred Jeb Bush.

      Yes, Murchison is a Jeb Bush type of guy. As I recall, he was very much against Cruz in his attempt to shut down the government to stop Obamacare.

      Murchison was a writer for the Dallas Morning News for many years.

      Politics in America has always been very gritty.

      Not only in America. Politics has always been a full contact sport no matter what country. And while it is true, early American campaigns were known for their vitriol, the level of discourse did rise somewhat over the years. By the twentieth century candidates were fairly civil and there was some serious discussion over policy.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I ran some pieces in FOSFAX on past political comments (I actually updated them for today) as a reminder of what we used to have. My first was Charles Sumner’s attack on Senator Hammond of South Carolina for being devoted to “the harlot, slavery” (I made it an attack on Obama’s devotion to socialism). I included a nice British one, Disraeli’s explanation of the difference between a “misfortune” and a “calamity”. There were a number from the early days.

  11. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Brad, I think this is the best short summary of the Rise of Trump that can be done. To analyze all the factors that opened the door for him would take thousands of words and to try to anticipate a future Trump Administration’s policies would require thousands more.

    As to a third party run by an alleged Conservative: it would have no chance of success and virtually guarantee Hillary’s victory. And it would be ironic for someone like Rick Perry, who’s as Establishment as ¡Jeb! and as opportunistic as Trump (Perry was very much the Donald Trump of 2012, jumping into the race because of the poor quality of his rivals, and completely unprepared) to be an alleged alternative to the GOPe and to Trump.

    It remains for someone to begin investigating what the GOP will look like post-Trump, for whatever may be said about Trump and may even be true, I view him as a transitory phenomenon. He’s 70 years old and isn’t going to be around much longer, at least in the GOP. We must eventually answer the question, “Did Trump help or hurt the cause of American Conservatism?

    P.S. I like the new format!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A lot of anti-Trump types act as if once he wins, that means he now represents both the GOP as a whole and the conservative movement. But if Eisenhower couldn’t quite pull that off, I doubt Trump can either. The concern that his performance is an indication of the corruption of American politics with its pursuit of celebrity and acceptance of insult as a campaign style, but Obama already showed that and no liberal objected (though conservatives did).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Nik. And my already low opinion of Perry was lowered further by his ill-advised idea of a 3rd party run. If “conservatives” such as Perry want to take back the Republican Party, then they are going to have to actually oppose the Left, not just talk about it.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I’m not sure Perry himself has made that suggestion. I think it was someone else proposing him as an alternative, the idea being not so much to hurt Trump but to help down-ballot candidates (since the assumption is that the Perry voters would be conservatives who otherwise wouldn’t show up at all). The reason Perry was suggested is that his active political career is pretty much ended anyway.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Then Perry gets dark marks for not vociferiously and constantly denouncing the suggestion. He should Tweet it every morning and even if he’s sitting on the toilet. That’s the standard the dishonest press (including Establishment Republicans) are holding Trump to regarding David Duke.

          By the way, Jeffrey Lord has an interesting article on this: Mitt Romney Plays the Race Card

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Romney, like the rest of the GOPe, has shown himself to interested in nothing but money and power. Another pig at the trough, he simply looks a little better than most as he wears a bib to keep some of the slop off.

            This is perhaps why the GOPe chose to run him for the presidency. He does look better than McConnell with food all over his face.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I just heard a clip from Hillary’s victory speech on Super Tuesday:

    “Breaking down barriers so everyone can rise.”

    Whether she believes that or not, it’s a perfect encapsulation of the Utopian progressive view. In essence, the only reason we have any pain in this world is because we have prohibitions. We are all just lovely little buttercups who would stretch to the sun and grow true and beautiful if not for the clouds of various prejudices that are said to divide and exploit people.

    Name me a single human being in this world who hasn’t thought he has been unfairly held back by something. That’s why the Democrat message is so powerful.

    Hillary’s message is perfect for the victim and grievance class (and works just as well for racism). It’s a naive ideology that believes that man is basically good. And if you don’t believe this, eventually they will jail or kill you. This utopian attitude sets up such high expectations, with such anger toward the slightest obstacle, that eventually this rage is turned against people. 100 million was the body count last century.

    But who can be against “women’s health”? Who can be against breaking down barriers (even if it means an invasion from the south that fundamentally transforms our society)? It’s all feel-good nonsense aimed at uneducated and morally dubious voters. Hang on.

    And this is one reason Trump is a better choice than Hillary. Although I think he has inhaled much of Progressivism, I don’t think he’s a societal utopianist. He’s had to work to where he’s got. Hillary and others, generally do not. They are the vile political class who use demagoguery to stir up the masses to do their bidding. People should be smarter. They’re not.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Name me a single human being in this world who hasn’t thought he has been unfairly held back by something.

      In more mature days, people knew and understood this. This is one reason the Left works so hard to undermine education and critical thinking.

      Now, if you pay attention, you will notice that many variations of this theme are bombarding us daily. The MSM constantly pound this home in their news stories. TV writers slip it into just about every episode they write. Newspapers and the internet are full of stories of “injustice”. Public television has a separate channel which deals almost exclusively with this theme.

      The intent is to make everyone feel the victim and aggrieved. Grievance required a target, which today is the WASP who works. Of course, the target was already chosen before the majority of people found out they had been so badly handled.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yep. Yep. and Yep. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are so cruel. [How cruel are they?] Well, if I have to pay for my own birth control, it’s considered a “war on women”…if I were a woman, that is.

        We’ve become such hyper-sensitive little ninnies. Everyone’s looking for “injustice,” like you said. It’s become a sport. And it’s turned people into hardened fundamentalist cranks who have absolutely no incentive to either overcome normal obstacles or to look inside and see that perhaps they are the person at fault.

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