The Donald, and why the hoity-toity pols hate him

Republished from the Press and Journal

Rick Perry, the presidential aspirant and former Texas governor, recently bellowed this about Donald Trump at a speech in downtown Washington, D.C.: “Let no one be mistaken, Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded.”

“He’s becoming a jackass, at a time when we need to be having a serious debate about the future of the party and the country,” South Carolina senator and fellow 2016 candidate Lindsey Graham told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

“The Donald’s life has been seven decades of buffoonery,” Kevin Williamson wrote in the conservative National Review.

In the vein of Rodney Dangerfield, Donald Trump, the mega-rich real estate mogul and unlikely presidential candidate, can’t get any respect. At least not from the hoity-toity political establishment that sits (or dreams of sitting) along the Potomac.

But out in the hinterlands  what D.C. elites call “flyover country”  Trump’s message and style are actually resonating. And the best part about the Trump phenomenon is that no one in the punditocracy can explain it.


Voters and the fanciful stories they tell themselves

It’s only June, 17 months out from Election Day, and the 2016 primary contest is in full swing. The field is swelling with potential candidates, both serious and long shot. And surprisingly enough, the media is doing its job of asking the presidential hopefuls tough questions (everyone except Queen Hillary, that is). The number one inquiry this election cycle is a highly uncomfortable topic for Republicans: was invading Iraq was really worth it, given that the intelligence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons program was heavily flawed?

Our intrepid journalist class wants nothing more than to entice GOP nominees into violating the Eleventh Commandment, and trashing George W. Bush’s ill-fated Iraq invasion. Thankfully, most Republicans are finding their marbles and recognizing reality: the invasion wasn’t worth over $1 trillion and thousands of American lives. As Iraq descends into chaos, each candidate, both declared and undeclared, has said it was wrong to topple Saddam’s regime. That’s a safe answer, seeing as how most American believe the Iraq War was poorly conceived and too costly, and President Obama was elected largely based on voters’ misgivings about the invasion.


We’re going back to Iraq and boy is it depressing

Mark Twain’s quip about history was wrong; it indeed repeats. Unfortunately the repetition is of bad things, rarely good.

After promising to roll back the folly that was the Iraq War, President Obama is taking us back to the graveyard of empires. He recently presented Congress with an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” to go after the growing Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The president has been using airstrikes on ISIS for 6 months already. Under current law, he’s supposed to request Congress’ imprimatur after 60 days of carrying out military action. But, hey, what’s a little thing like law to get in the way of bombs?


America needs to get back to religion, no matter what libertarians say

Here’s a quick lesson for young, self-styled libertarians: Nick Gillespie’s punk-rock stylings and irreverent attitude are not a formula for success.

Admittedly, few in the budding millennial libertarian “generation” will believe me. They are busy celebrating pot freedom and the right to marry whoever they want. Clearly, somewhere along the line between Leonard Read and the New York Times-dubbed “libertarian moment,” freedom turned into blissful sodomy and getting stoned. Should the trend continue, libertarianism will wither, and rightly so.

Gillespie, who is a thought leader in the trendy libertine-leaning freedom movement, is championing the decline. From his soapbox at Reason magazine, he preaches the principles of free association and non-aggression. Much of his work is laudable; his wittiness is a great tool showing how foolish the warmongers in Congress are. But even the wisest jokester is not immune to stupidity. Gillespie’s attitude, anti-authoritarian as it is, is a road map of the perilous direction that libertarianism is trending.

In a recent diatribe, the black jacketed sermonizer attempts to correct Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on a topic of high importance: God and America. The governor, who is a convert to Catholicism, recently told a group of Christians and Jewish leaders the country has drifted away from God. This path is dangerous for America, he averred. As a possible 2016 presidential candidate looking to court social conservatives, Jindal was unambiguous about his warning, telling the crowd, “We have tried everything and now it is time to turn back to God.”

This is all wrong according to Gillespie. Issues of public policy, spending and debt, entitlement programs, civil liberties, and militarization are not matters of spiritual conviction. When it comes to politics, he maintains, “God has nothing to do with any of that.”


Vox: The most biased speakers, the most obvious questions

The midterm elections have come and gone. Predictably, the Republicans retook the Senate, profiting off a feeling of general unease with the Obama Administration. The commentariat class was abuzz with speculation over the meaning of the election and what it portends for the pomp and decadence show known as the presidential election. Nick Gillespie of the libertarian Reason magazine naively believes the election results mean nothing because both parties are “going extinct.” Politics is a team sport with intense loyalties. The jackass and elephant aren’t leaving American life any time soon.

As journalists debate over how a Mitch McConnell-run Senate will govern, they all agree on one thing: the sanctity of the process that brought Republicans to power. Progressives, in particular, love the voting process. They revere it like a religion, and treat casting ballots as no different than worshiping at the altar. Every Election Day brings columns and blog posts about the importance of “making your voice heard.” These puff pieces laud democracy as the god that brought simpletons to the promised land.

Likewise, the writers often play a cunning game of pretending to be open-minded and independent, while simultaneously hacking for their preferred political party. No other media outlet wears this veil better than Vox. Run by former Washington Post blogger and self-styled “wonk” Ezra Klein (and financed heavily by the corporatist giant General Electric), Vox is supposed to be a home of objective analysis for plebes too busy to read stacks of white papers. It’s just a coincidence that every conclusion Klein and crew come to happens to be über progressive. Vox is the journalistic embodiment of the hack Stephen Colbert trope “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Such ideological motives should arouse suspicion in conservative-minded observers.