Yes indeed, we are running a little hot tonight. In places like Iceland, where angry protesters are demanding their off-shore-account-holding prime minister resign. And it’s Panama’s fault. And while Putin is not directly named in the so-called Panama Papers – caused by an insider leak so enormous it required dozens of news organizations banding together to a grind through the millions of emails, files, and PDF documents; his radioactive fingerprints are all over the billions of wealth accumulated by his close associates, friends and family.
So Breitbart and the New York Magazine having revealed that Trump might just know a lot of nasty secrets regarding Fox New’s Roger Ailes, has got lost a little in the news cycle. Of course, the Trump-on-Ailes story is speculative, based on comments from insiders and revolves around a lawsuit by a disgruntled former employee of Ailes. The Panama Papers, on the other hand, involves so much hard data that Hillary would need a private server farm to store it.
But does Trump – through his apparent mediation of the lawsuit – know far more about Ailes than Ailes would ever be comfortable with? And does this help in part to explain Trump’s treatment by the media?
Right now, there is no way to know. And given where the nomination process is, Trump may feel whatever secrets he does know are best kept secret. You might say, it’s very presidential of him to keep those cards tucked away in his bullet-proof vest. Never to be slapped down on the table. But with the knowledge on the part of powerful media players that he does indeed have them, offering him silent leverage.
That’s the thing. When you’re a world-famous reality-star/marketing-mogul/ruthless real estate developer, you don’t even care too much about your own secrets, because you have few left. At least compared to more discrete personalities who move behind the cameras rather than swagger in front of them. Or at least, that’s the impression you like to give. I’m tough and people know me. And they love me. So there.
In places like Putin’s Russia, and in some Latin American countries whose leaders figure in the Papers, part of the money – a relatively small but vital part – has apparently gone towards buying media complicity. There is no scandal – for example – in Russia as a result of the leak. And in Argentina, it’s just one more piece of damning evidence in a long-running corruption scandal.
So if the Ailes story is even half-true, then Trump has bought some breathing space on the media stage for a few million rumored to have been used to settle the lawsuit with Aile’s ex-employee. Whether this is a deeply troubling story or not is unclear. That’s because the mainstream media in general is far more subtle about how it responds to the various levers of power – not only financial ones. But respond they do, and levers do get pulled. Often. Trump – once again – is guilty of blunt crassness more than anything else. And he himself does not seem to have had a direct hand in breaking the story.
Yes Cruz is rolling out all the women in his life – ok, that didn’t sound quite right. Yes, Cruz as a loving husband, and overachieving loving son, and as a funnier and more human guy than his firebrand image suggests, are all helping The Ted (can we say that?) in Wisconsin. But as Byron York points out, Wisconsin is not an angry state. At least according to some recent polling. Could this be key as well?
How can Wisconsin not be angry? In 2016?! Is this Scott Walker’s fault? There must be some really angry public union officials, right? And some spitting mad school teachers. But in general, Wisconsinites are positive on their future in America. That is, they are not overwhelmingly angry and pessimistic about their lives. Unlike some other areas of the country.
According to Forbes, the State of Wisconsin ranks merely in the middle of the pack in terms of business costs, labor, regulatory environment, and economic climate. Quality of life is higher, but Wisconsin has a cost of doing business slightly above the national average. So it’s not exactly boom town.
As the GOP moves closer by the day to a full-blown fracture, Wisconsin seems to have escaped much of the fury associated with a party in revolt. But if Scott Walker has done a good job in his own state, as a national candidate he was simply not up to the unenviable task of the 2015-16 nomination race. So perhaps the Badger State is an exception, but a useful one, for those who wish to derail the Trump train. And one that is appearing on the primary schedule at just the right time. That is, as Trump is finally stumbling a little. Or more than a little.
Scott Walker had the good sense to get out of the race quickly. Will his state’s apparent good sense rub off on the GOP nomination process? Just a little please?
The law of unintended consequences is rigorously applied to government bureaucratic missteps. As it should be. But why not show a little healthy skepticism – to not say furious rejection of – the Republican, (and Democrat), party’s attempts to micro-manage the political nomination process? Rules are made and then remade on the spot to favor a candidate or to exclude an unwelcome outcome. Only to have an unpredicted outcome overshadow any previous concerns.
Hence the who-cares-anymore pledge required of GOP candidates last year by a party worried about a Trump third-party candidacy. Because there was no way on hell and earth that Trump was going to win the nomination. So it made sense to plan for the possibility of Trump, after losing some primaries, storming out of the official Republican party to start his own party.
And now the grand unifying pledge that the remaining candidates won’t honor, is acting as a metaphor for a party that seems divided beyond hope. And what was the third-party threat is now seen as a lifeboat for principled conservatives with Captain Kristol at the helm. To hell with ignorant, angry voters. The ship of state is ours. And we’ll build our own little stateless ship if we have to.
So thank you Fred Bauer for turning our weary gaze to the wise words of James Fenimore Cooper whose analysis of the demagogues versus doctrinaires confrontation – from 1838 – is eerily relevant to this election year. One stokes the masses. The other resides in ideological purities that refuse to give credence to popular concerns. As Bauer, writing in the Weekly Standard, puts it:
If the demagogue appeals to the resentments of the masses, the doctrinaires appeals to the narcissism of the powerful, assuring them that what truly afflicts a troubled nation is an ungrateful public.
The doctrinaire alienates the voting public and provokes anger, which the demagogue then feasts on. And the doctrinaire is on both sides of the political spectrum: conservative and radical (ok, liberal). And between gender-neutral washrooms in your kids’ school and trade deals that earn corporate consultants substantial fees and cost you your job, you are also told that you are ignorant to be angry. And dumb. And your votes are wrong. And that’s by the elites of your own party.
Is it any wonder that Trump – whose absolute bungling of the abortion issue even has Ann Coulter doubting – is doing as well as he is?
Even if you’re a star QB, you need a ground game. And you especially need it when it counts, in the big games. Just ask Cam Newton. You need it when you’re playing in New Orleans, for example.
So. Trump is quickly realizing he too needs a ground game. And he needs it yesterday. And if not yesterday, then now will have to do. You mean you have to romance and convince the actual delegates? You can’t just win the most votes and then relax? It may be that the RNC looks like The Alamo to Trump’s team: a besieged remnant of establishment party members and lobbyists, bravely or even crazily fighting on as their supplies (as in fundraising) dwindle.
It is not. At least not yet. The RNC is still a fortress filled with Trojan horses – like the convention rules for example – that must be taken down one delegate at a time. Remember, Ted Cruz was nearly as much of an outsider as you Mr. Trump. But he’s a wonky rebel who knows and loves the rules of the game. Even if it’s to bend them to the breaking point. You will have to scale those walls as well. And only teamwork will get you over the parapet.
Yes, maybe the rumors of affairs turn out to be true. And you get handed an easy convention win. Likely not. So you better have a plan A. Yes A. Because a Ted’s-a-cheatin’-lyin’-philanderer strategy is best left as a plan B, at best. You need a ground game. As good or better than Ted’s. You need to talk to the delegates themselves. Apparently like the good doctor is now doing in places like North Dakota. Will Carson have coffee with Curly Haugland? That would be an interesting conversation to listen in on.
And of course, Paul Manafort – whose greatest tactical campaigns were back in the 70’s and early 80’s – has been brought aboard to fight the delegate fight. Why did this take so long? Why didn’t someone tell you – The Donald – that it’s not over when primary voters vote. It’s just starting. So perhaps Corey Lewandowski should be rubbing elbows rather than grabbing arms. It’s part of the game you willingly entered Mr. Trump. By all means bend the rules. But play the game.
It’s good to know that ISIL’s leadership is hunkered down because of the Obama Administration’s strategy in combating the terrorist organization. At least that’s what Obama himself assured the world from a press conference in Buenos Aires. So as hundreds of trained killers are waiting throughout Europe to launch their next attack, be calm and know their leadership is hunkered down.
Be calm like Obama himself, as the president digs down in the bunkers of windy and chilly Barlioche’s golf courses. It’s still uncertain as to which course he will play a few rounds at, but you can be sure that on one of the five cargo jets stationed at the Bariloche airport, there was room in the hold for at least one or two sets of the president’s golf clubs. Left-handed of course.
And what better way to respond to the carnage in Brussels than dining out on Argie beef and dancing a little tango? Like any tourist recovering from the long flight down Buenos Aires way.
Let’s be fair to the failed strategy in Syria. Carpet bombing ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State, or Daesh (as Kerry was forced to mispronounce at his press conference) may very cause new supporters to blossom again like a desert weed as the result of collateral damage from an intensive bombing campaign. Or it might work, if that collateral damage is accepted as necessary. That’s a horrifying thought to most in the West nowadays. One that many in the Allied countries did not feel as Dresden burned during WW II, for example. Or – at the time at least – when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were reduced to rubble.
But the analogy is imperfect. As horrifying as the Nazi regime was, the cultural and political divide between ISIS and the West is deeper. And is rooted in a fanatical version of the Muslim faith. Precisely because it is not tied to so-called blood and soil, at least not in the same way, it is a threat that can materialize almost anywhere. And it’s adherents don’t even have to be Muslim. Like aging English rock chicks who go to Syria to cut heads off. Any raging sociopath is welcome with open arms and encrypted instructions on how to maim and kill.
But you have to call the enemy what it is – islamic fanatical terrorism – to be able to devise and try out strategies to both contain and defeat it. And Obama will not let the ugly truths of this particular breed of terrorism cast doubt on his world view. That, is some handicap Mr. President.
Some Arizona voters waited in line upwards of 5 hours to perform their civic duty on Tuesday, and it turned out to be a disaster. When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Arizona was able to alter election polls without permission, which led to them cutting poll locations by 70%. Maricopa County, the largest in Arizona, had just 1 poll location for every 21,000 people.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise as each Tuesday, elections are reporting a record amount of votes. The the problem wasn’t limited to just the lack of locations.
Registered voters, either Democrat or Republican, were turning up to polls with their voter registration cards, and the system was reporting them as Independent which prevents them from voting. Some registered Democrats were even showing registration as Republican in the system.
There were so many problems with the polls in Arizona Tuesday that the results were being confirmed while citizens were still in line waiting to cast their vote. This obviously upset Sanders supporters the most, as Hillary and Trump were declared winners of their respective parties before people had even casted their votes.
If Arizona isn’t able to resolve the problems before the Primary Election in August it will appear fraudulent (even more so), and certainly before the general election.
This Sunday, President Obama posed in Havana, with an enormous mural of Ernesto Che Guevara looming behind his smiling presence. Guevara gave a speech in Algeria in the mid-60’s demanding the north – i.e. Europe and North America – fund the south – the developing world. Not a good move Ernesto. The fiercely smiling Cuban colleagues at the airport to greet El Che were furious. So was Fidel. Why? The apparatchiks in Moscow who were funding the new communist regime, were not pleased and took Che’s demand as precisely the self-righteous ransom it indeed was.
So Che was shipped off to Africa to organize, aid, and abet revolutions in places like the Congo. And was left dangling on his own, a couple of years later, in Bolivia where the soviet-backed local communist rebels were not interested in his motley crew. And for the great convenience of all, his martyrdom silenced a voice filled with hatred and rage. Who was willing to kill even more than he was willing to die. A real revolutionary who wrote guides on how to use terror – sorry liberating, armed violence – to achieve political ends.
His eternal image has waxed and waned over the years, but has always been present. At late 90’s radical anarchist gatherings, and in Middle Eastern islamic protests, for example. And his memory is fetishized by Hollywood, as is to be expected. How romantic.
So as Belgium reels from this latest ISIL attack, it seems Europe – in whose bedrooms more than a few now fully grown politicians had Che’s image taped to their walls – is getting a little tired of the sacred altar of diversity. Diversity at all costs. Diversity as an absolute good. Diversity as atonement even, for the sins of the greedy first world. Diversity as the entitled, spoiled, love child of the marxist liberation movement Ernesto Guevara personified.
Surely, President Obama feels every epic footstep of his sacred yet secular journey, in all it’s hard-fought bittersweetness. So with his worldly wisdom – he’s one of them as he said in Egypt, and he’s just a Hawaiian/mid-western kid who settled in Chicago – the president understands how to place this act of violent terror into perspective. We come together, we embrace, we fight climate change; and bit by bit the crazed murderers in Syria, North Africa, Europe, America, and elsewhere, unstrap their explosive-laden belts and begin to work for ngo’s. No more bodies in Belgium. Or France. Or California. Magically, mystically, yet with that grounded common sense with which Obama graces each of his projects.
So don’t expect Che Guevara and the sacred altar of diversity to be deconstructed in the places it was built – North American university campuses in places like Berkley and Chicago – but rather in old Europe. Where they are getting sick and tired of offering refuge to be repaid with violent hatred. The electorate that is. We’ll see how their leaders deal with what is a war in their cities, in their suburbs, and on their borders. And we’ll have to see who the next president on this side of the Atlantic is, to see how America deals with this war.
Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority … Lord Acton’s pessimistic view on the nature of rulers seems to suggest that you have to be corrupt before you even gain the absolute power that proceeds to absolutely corrupt you. That of course is his most famous quote, and it immediately precedes the above sentence, in Lord Acton’s famous letter.
What a shock. Ruthless, ambitious people are … ruthless and ambitious. Even by nature before the spoils of power push aside any inner charity they might have had. So, in 2016, it appears that a majority of Americans like neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump. And a majority of Americans know both Clinton and Trump as well as any public figure. Unprecedented situation screams the NY Times: voters dislike their candidates!
There is a further implication to Acton’s quote, as pointed out recently by Jonah Goldberg. Absolute power also corrupts those who are subject to such power. Think of the atrocities North Koreans do to each other in order to gain the favor, or avoid the horrifying wrath, of its crazed leadership.
And in America, think of how nasty voters are to each other – depending on who you are voting for.
So what? Because in America there are checks and balances. And voters have a pretty clear-eyed – yes you can say cynical – view of their choice of candidate; in the case of the two leaders. They want a job done, and don’t let their views on the honesty of either candidate get in the way.
Is this the breakdown of democracy as we know it? That seems a little exaggerated. But when you are an elite who sees its behind-the-scenes grip on power loosening, then you cry Armageddon to any mainstream or not-so-mainstream media outlet you can get to answer your calls. In the GOP’s case, that is.
Because there is no establishment as secure as the Democrat establishment, who know perfectly well that Hillary will be their nominee. And who await with delight the possibility of a bloody convention battle in Cleveland that will leave the Republican Party divided and weakened, and more likely to lose the general election. Regardless of who wins the GOP nomination.
How can any learned conservative intellectual honestly believe that Trump will lead America wildly astray? If the down-ballot effect plays out – or even if it doesn’t – Congress and the Courts will keep Trump in check. And Trump may be more than willing to soften his views and do some down-and-dirty-here’s-what-I’ll-give-ya legislation with Congress. Remember aging liberal Jimmy Carter fears Cruz way more than Trump.
Trump – should he be able to beat Hillary – will get the political education of his life. Not even his hair color will resist. It will turn white within a year or two. It’s called realizing what the job really entails.
So as the GOP – with convention plotters being justified by Ross Douthat – thinks of how they can deny Trump; maybe just a little less armageddon? America is far greater than the two leading candidates, and the voters understand that.
Republicans are hierarchical, respectful of authority, and fall in line. This according to Ed Rogers – of Bush 41’s team – in an already-notorious dinner-interview with several honest-to-goodness GOP establishment types on Showtime’s The Circus. So, they fall in line behind Jeb, then behind Marco, and now behind … Ted? Or does Kasich receive the empty establishment lane.
Try albatross: the great establishment albatross. Seen in the Hamptons, on Sea Island, and hovering over the Potomac. A big and stately bird that has been worried about it’s nest as of late. Having worn down Jeb Bush to the point where he angrily stated he had better things to do, and then having turned to Rubio, who was unable to turn his accomplished rhetoric into serious votes and has now bowed out; where will the albatross go?
In his concession speech, Rubio soared and healed and united an angry, wounded America. It really was inspiring. It’s just he can’t even win his home state. And the tidy little list of GOP virtues outlined by Ed Rogers implies the most important one of all for the men seated around that well-laid D.C. dinner table: we wait our turn. A rule Marco has defiantly ignored. And it might have worked. In some other year. But in some other year, Marco might have been attacked and elbowed out of the campaign by the establishment.
So as Marco Rubio laid out how he understands the frustrations of Trump supporters – something he might have done more forcefully earlier on – he also stated that the establishment had to change. It was not quite throw the bums out. But I’m sure there was more than a little anger on Rubio’s part fueling his words on Tuesday night. He has borne more than his share of slings and arrows; many funded by … them. The e-guys.
Ok. Now what? There’s increasing talk of a Crubio ticket. But given that Kasich appears to have Ohio in his less-than-bulging bag, imagine this. A Kasich Rubio ticket. How?? Kasich tries to grab delegates in more North Easterly primaries. And Cruz goes for Western states. And they stall Trump enough to go to a contested convention; where those e-guys do an end run around the majority of GOP voters in Cleveland and in the latter rounds Kasich – as Dixville Notch predicted – steals the nomination.
Hell hath no fury. So Kasich enlists Rubio as his VP to assuage the flames of rebellion. And they get trounced at the polls in November.
That’s why those e-guys should consider just easing over to the side a touch, and letting Cruz try and take the nomination. Unless Trump continues to make all that irrelevant by appealing – whatever one thinks of how he does it – to enough angry voters. Every time it seems that an outcome is finally becoming clear in the GOP race, the deep divisions in the party means someone keeps pushing back from the other side. So a contested convention is becoming a little more likely every day. Whether that helps any of the remaining candidates, or not.
It has been a whirlwind for the GOP in last 24 hours. It’s down to three candidates after presidential hopeful, Marco Rubio, has dropped out of the race following a loss to Donald Trump on his home turf in Florida. But with Trump’s business/resort presence in Florida was it really Rubio’s turf?
Leaving the GOP down to Trump, Cruz, and Kasich, while Kasich came up with a big win in his home state, Ohio yesterday. Following the Tuesday primaries, Donald Trump announced he will not attend the next debate on FOX due to a previous commitment. However, is reaction to Trump’s debate withdrawal, the Governor, John Kasich, said he won’t attend if Trump doesn’t. Anyone starting to see a VP alliance here?
That would leave Cruz to debate with himself.
With Kasich’s votes so low it has some wondering why he’s still in the race, but why would he withdraw knowing he has a good chance at winning Ohio? Preventing one of the other candidates from winning those delegates. Seems a little like teamwork shaping up with a Trump/Kasich general election card.
Sorry John Lewis. There is no one love or one unified people in America. Bob Marley could not even gain a substantial African American audience for his songs; like One Love. And culturally, America is deeply divided. So instead of using utopian pieties that are blown away by the winds of angry change like wispy dandelion puffs, let us acknowledge the deep differences that divide America. And then try to decide what to reasonably do about them.
Donald Trump is receiving no mercy from anyone. Kasich and Rubio are about to drop their I-will-follow pledge, and Ted Cruz has hammered Trump’s approach. The GOP establishment – Congressmen and women, party donors, conservative intellectuals – have lambasted his rhetoric. And Hillary – and Bernie but not as loudly as of yet – has turned her politically correct artillery towards the Trump campaign.
And then there’s the hard-left activists. Yes, they were a diverse group of protesters in Chicago – aging activists; scarved islamic women; angry young black men; feisty Latino protesters/activists; pale faced haters of the First Amendment who want silence from the silent majority; black-clad anarchists; flag-waving communists; student wanna-be Bill Ayers; and others. But what they have in common is an assault on the Trump campaign’s first amendment rights.
Did Trump deserve it? That can only be decided by one question: is his message hate speech? Because that’s the only valid reason for shutting down his first amendment rights. And you do it through the courts.
Compare the text of Trump’s most controversial comments: on women – silly but nasty; on Islam – generalizing where he should not have, but indicative of the very real Judeo-Christian vs. Islamic confrontations around the world; on immigrants – angry and sometimes discriminatory; the initial reluctance to repeat what he had said about David Duke – for tactical reasons that do not excuse the slowness. Do they rise to the level of hate speech?
They don’t have to. You see – as was discovered by the US Military when a diversity instructor told soldiers that merely being a white male makes you prejudiced and even racist – it’s what you can imply from Trump’s comments that counts. You are guilty until proven innocent. And you must tread softly and carry a big I’m-so-sorry-and-humble grin on your face. Or you will be charged, tried, and condemned. Do not speak out. Do not assume anything. You will be reprogrammed by academia and the media. Especially if you say what’s on the minds of many in his own party who are now attacking Trump. Like the Black Lives Matter activist told Fox’s John Roberts, white people have to sacrifice something. Have to suffer and yield and admit their shameful ways. How? We’ll let you know.
Yes, Trump stuck his finger in a hornet’s nest, because he felt enough people needed to hear someone say that, and this was, and is, his route to the presidency. And yes, politics runs on, or around, both hypocrisy and anger: if you say what you really think, enough people will get mad enough at you that you are no longer electable. Assuming that still holds true in 2016. Because people are craving authenticity – whether from Sanders or Trump; and whether they are right about either of them being authentic, outsider voices.
But criticizing Trump’s comments – a right and even a duty for anyone who is passionate about the future of America and geniunely disagrees with what he says – is not the same as shutting him down. And criticizing Trump for supposedly creating the conditions that possibly could be thought of as baiting an anarchist-inspired mob who clearly were dying to use Peronista youth (let’s leave the crazed Austrian out of this) tactics on Trump, is abandoning the first amendment when the going gets tough.
The first amendment only really means something when you don’t like what the other person is saying. That’s why the fricking hell the founding fathers put it there, right in front. First thing. And for Ted Cruz to paint Trump as some sort of monarch who has faced the 2016 version of the purifying rage of the Boston Tea Party, is a shameful tactical ploy that I pray he apologizes for at some point in the future. I pray, but I doubt.
Everyone who cares about the constitution should have defended Trump’s right to have that rally. And then continued to criticize and attack his ideas until their tweeting fingers fall off. That’s democracy. What the protesters did in Chicago is far closer to fascism than anything The Donald has done, or said – as offensive as some of his comments may be. But we now have a society conditioned by aging radical academics who now have a whole new generation of followers far less familiar with the cannons of western civilization than the rants of identity politics (try suggesting students read the classics at Stanford and see what happens to you). Bill Ayers is a proud parent. And the first amendment is ever more conditional with each passing year.
Earlier today, Dr. Ben Carson made the official announcement that he endorses Donald Trump today. This endorsement comes with mixed emotions from former Carson supporters. Some are party-loyal and praise the endorsement while others (mostly evangelicals) are wildly disappointed in this endorsement.
Carson shared a statement acknowledging that Trump is the one to beat Hillary saying, “Join me in supporting and rallying around the only candidate the GOP has that can defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and return America to that shining city on a hill.”
The GOP remains divided when it comes to the contestant who can defeat Hillary, but with a Carson endorsement will that sway more Republican support? And, do you think Carson’s recent endorsement will put him near the top of the list of VP spot for a Trump card?
The National Review has been searching the souls of everyone but the conservative intellectual elite, of which they are a flagship, and finding all others wanting. But over at the Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard is taking a different tack. Admittedly, even the NR is coming round to the conclusion that Trump may very well be inevitable, and they perhaps rightly state that this means conservative ideology’s hold on the GOP will be weakened and may even be ousted from the party they helped renovate and renew through the turbulent 60’s and the scandal-plagued 70’s.
Paul Bedard, on the other hand, is shining a steady light on immigration, and it’s possibly enormous effect on working wages in America. By featuring and linking to Ed Rubenstein’s paper on immigration and wages in America over the last few decades, Bedard seems to be suggesting – quite reasonably – that Trump supporters are not angry racists emerging from their rural hideouts, or working class neighborhoods. If Rubenstein’s interpretation of the data in his paper, The Negative Impact of Immigration on American Workers, is right, then legal and illegal immigration have been a boon for employers and a curse for workers.
But Rubenstein – writing for NPG which stands for negative population growth – goes much further than criticizing the downward pressure on working wages and the rising profits that large-scale immigration produces. He attacks population growth itself. GDP growth rates only matter for those at the top – so goes his thesis – but GDP per capita is the only relevant figure. That seemingly trite statement then gets kicked into a whole new ballpark with the following corollary:
If rapid population and market growth was the cure all for stagnating markets, then Africa, Latin America, and most of Asia should be the home of the richest countries in the world. While demographically challenged Japan should be mired in poverty.
As Rubenstein maps out a statistical basis for xenophobia – there is no more closed society than Japan save perhaps Bhutan and North Korea – he suggests the time for an open, welcoming America is long gone, given the imbalances between labor and other factors of production like capital and land and natural resources. It’s an ecologically-friendly perspective in the longer term, but plays well to a bluer collar audience in the shorter term.
There is a problem with this thesis – many if you are a classic free-trade economic conservative. Japan – the model of an aging, wealthy, and socially inward looking society – is desperately dependent upon exports to countries like America. Japan needs free trade. But largely rejects the free movement of human capital. And rather than killing the USA in trade, they prefer quite logically to invest enormous sums in producing a significant share of their products in the markets where they sell them. Like America. Of course, they still keep the profits.
Yes, Japan and even China may respond positively to some added pressure, but a full-on trade war hurts all. And Rubenstein risks inspiring the next Senator Smoot and Representative Hawley – who unleashed punitive tariffs on America’s trading partners in the summer of 1930, and arguably helped make the Great Depression great.
Rubenstein has put his finger on an issue that is generating a lot of anger, especially among Trump supporters. And it has to be acknowledged in all it’s specificity by the conservative intellectual elite themselves. At places like NR, and the Washington Examiner. Precisely in order to avoid the tragedy of a series of trade wars. You folks aren’t quite as heroic as you may think you are. Search your own souls just a little. It would help. Especially if Trump is as malleable as Jimmy Carter thinks he is.
Sea Island, off the coast of Georgia, must be beautiful. A little bracing perhaps this time of year, but bracing winds are what is needed when you’re planning – not a coup – but a last ditch campaign against the Hunnish intruder from Gotham City. Something like Churchill rallying his country in The Battle of Britain. And while cruise-loving Billy Kristol – who long ago earned the right to go on as many cruises as he darn well pleases – would likely brush aside the comparison to the jowly aristocrat who held Hitler in place while America waited to enter the war, others seem keen to press General Krystol into immediate and full battle mode.
Please, he’s just an editor! But Kristol’s sharing of Kasparov’s incisive analysis of the Trump campaign is surely useful for those who are determined to stop Trump. Not at any cost, but at great cost, even to the 2016 election, if necessary. Because – why not seeing we’re getting historical – Stalingrad and the long winter of Trump’s siege on conservative values must surely melt in the thawing and blooming spring of conservative counter attacks on Trump’s hypocrisies.
So a brokered convention is even more likely now, assuming Trump does not make that plan irrelevant by March 16, early morning. Comparing Trump to European fascist tyrants is politically understandable for those hostile to him. But there is a more uncomfortable analogy at hand. One that comes from America, rather than Europe.
Huey Long took on the political establishment in Louisiana in the 1920’s and 1930’s and cracked open a comfortable cartel that had effectively disenfranchised poor rural, white voters; to say nothing of black voters. The populist Democrat governor and then senator of Louisiana used ruthless methods to favor his constituencies, and put in place enormous government spending programs that changed the state. He was America’s Peron – in his home state at least – a couple of decades before the Argentine authoritarian unleashed his fasicist-tinged populism on the South American country.
Neither Long nor Peron had much respect for freedom of the press. In an erie anticipation of today, Long attempted to place surtaxes on newspapers that had published supposedly slanderous material.
But there’s a problem with comparing Trump to Long. Long was an accomplished lawyer – he reputedly convinced the Tulane University Law School’s board to let him write the bar exam after only a year of study. And he passed. And he had very clear policy ideas – ones that deeply angered his opposition. Trump is no Huey Long, but his theatrics and vindictiveness are vintage Long. And the anger against governing elites that Long prodded and utilized, is real today. Even if the conditions of those who feel disenfranchised in 2016 would have made Long’s supporters laugh. But the anger is real, and Trump is playing it; if not as skillfully as of late.
But that’s the real problem – it’s theatrics draped around someone who has no ideological core. Unlike Huey Long. And that’s why Jimmy Carter – speaking at the House of Lords in the UK – stated he’d vote for Trump over Cruz. Because according to the aging ex-president from – where else? – Georgia, Trump is malleable. Unlike Ted Cruz. And Trump would turn on conservatives like Ted Cruz if elected president, according to Carter.
Think about it: Jimmy Carter thinks Trump is a pushover.
When you don’t put clear daylight between yourself and David Duke, and repeatedly repudiate him loudly and clearly – which Trump should have but didn’t do – Frank Underwood comes after you. And someone much scarier than Frank tries to kill you with her crocodile kindness. Nancy Pelosi. Nancy is deeply worried about GOP establishment types doing an end run around The Donald at a contested convention in Cleveland. That would subvert the nomination process she states. And yes, Nancy is right about that. If her advice is followed and Trump is meekly accepted as the inevitable nominee, then it also helpfully ensures the Democrats can sharpen their electoral tactics for the general campaign against candidate Trump. Starting last Super Tuesday night.
Like making sure that Trump gets compared to everyone from Mussolini to George Wallace. As Kevin Spacey did on CNN recently. For those old enough to remember a little of the 68 campaign and the very real violence in politics in those times, it’s safe to say that Trump is no George Wallace. But his own life and dealings don’t matter. It’s what you say on CNN that matters. That’s not ironic at all. And Trump understands this. But his delay on Duke was a clear stumble. And he can expect no mercy as he climbs his way to the top of the food chain … who said that? Oh, yes.
Of course, Nancy Pelosi understands that she can’t carp about possible GOP bending of arcane convention rules to ensure Trump is denied the nomination, without saying something about the best finagle of them all: super delegates. So she also criticized the Democratic Party’s use of that elite breed of delegate. Now that Hillary has the nomination all but sewn up, of course.
The David Duke thing might have echoed even more loudly throughout the media had not yet another surprise added a new food fight to the GOP race. Mitt Romney has come out punching hard at Trump, who hit back … in both vulgar and more nuanced (for Trump that is) tones. So this is where the race is at: Mitt Romney pushing David Duke off the stage so he can take swings at Trump. It’s so chaotic and hostile that the fact that Megyn Kelly will be a moderator again in the Detroit debate is merely another news item among the rest. And hardly the most outrageous one.
While the GOP debates can be a chore to watch, tonight’s debate really exposed Donald Trump for what he truly is. Despite his limited exposure, Governor John Kasich excelled tonight among the endless tit for tat between Trump, Rubio and Cruz.
Conservatively, Kasich is a favorite, however for voters there’s a lack of confidence for him in an election so Trump continues to get the majority of votes. Our country deserves better than what we’re seeing on tv from debates and interviews on both sides.
Kasich is a quality candidate who would make a great leader of this country. Foreshadowing from these debates, it’s possible Kasich gets the VP title on a Trump card. how much would that help, and does it even slightly make Trump look any better?
Please tell me that General Hayden – who knows about military intelligence and the intelligence community seeing he was Deputy Director at the DNI, among many other key postings – never used actionable information produced as a result of, for example, waterboarding. This would have been during the Iraq War a little over 10 years ago. Of course he has. And of course he has defended the utility of such practices, calling some of his critics interrogation deniers.
But the retired General is part of the Anti-Trump brigade, the Hawks battalion let’s call them. Trump is a loose cannon and cannot be trusted with the position of commander in chief is their story, although those in charge of telling this story are either retired, about to retire, or not currently running the defense and intelligence community. Aside from upsetting the structure of the defense establishment with his comments on Putin and Israel, for example, could it be that Trump has committed the sin of saying out loud what many politicians and soldiers say in private?
Dick Armitage and Colin Powell did not give press conferences before their one on one with Pakistan’s Musharraf. The supposed threat – leaked by Musharraf – that the U.S. would bomb his country back to the stone age seemed to produce Pakistan’s collaboration in Afghanistan, and arguably helped lead to the eventual capture and killing of Bin Laden several years later. But in public they were impeccably mannered men. Of course, an electoral campaign and a war on terror are two very different contexts.
So the charges against Trump – and suggested disobedience by Hayden – seem to be several. He’s not militaristic enough: he doesn’t understand international affairs and the lobbies that surround each issue; both economic and ideological lobbies. He doesn’t have the temper to oversee any substantial military operation. He’s too militaristic – as Cruz backer Mark Sanford suggests – and his militarism will breed more terrorism. He wouldn’t follow the Geneva Convention, as Arizona Democrat Ruben Gallego accusingly states. That’s a rather broad, even mutually exclusive, set of criticisms.
Just a guess. If you put this collection of critics together and tried to get them to cobble together a strategy for the situation in Syria, say, you might be disappointed with the result. But in one sense, they are right. America’s defense policy in the Middle East is like walking through a minefield with a copy of Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior as your guide. Winning is almost impossible in the short and medium term. Sometimes never. What you can do is contain the damage from any given disaster. And plan how to anticipate and thus contain the next disaster. So a Trump administration would have to sing a less reckless tune and sooth a few frayed nerves at the Pentagon and the DNI, and elsewhere.
But some of those assailing Trump’s supposed ignorance are the same who insisted that Iraq should be invaded. The consequences of that advice is still being sorted out in 2016, and will still have to be sorted out by whoever is the 45th president. Maybe Hayden has it backwards, and it’s Trump who should ignore them. That is, unless Hillary Clinton becomes the next president. If Benghazi is any guide, that should worry Hayden far more.
Bernie Sanders is outrageous. He’s shamefully hiding a dark secret that thanks to the noble efforts of Clinton’s staff, has thankfully come to light. The senator has relied on foreign fundraising and the Federal Election Commission is hunting him down. A guy in Germany actually donated to Bernie’s campaign using his credit card. Which was later apparently canceled, by the way. But where will this end? Does not Bernie have a clue??
Hillary does things the right way. And well she should. She’s had 40 years of fundraising experience, that she and husband Bill Clinton have honed to a fine art. Take foreign fundraising. She sent her bagman, Jose Villarreal, to Mexico City to host a fundraiser. With Americans, supposedly. According to The Hill. foreign fundraisers are fairly common. As long as you play by conventional party rules. For example, Wal-Mart lobbyist Ivan Zapien, who lives down there, will be present. That’s good to know. And donors must assert they are U.S. citizens are lawful permanent residents. And then give money. Just about anywhere it seems.
So of course, Hillary’s team is outraged at Bernie Sanders’ flagrant hypocrisy, and are Trumping him throughout the media. It may even help their cause: to ensure that an independent like Bernie never ever gets as much momentum ever again in any Democratic Party nomination process forever and ever. Amen. So they will have to tweak the rules as soon as it’s feasible, and add to the moat surrounding their electoral fortress. Superdelegates will likely give Hillary the victory anyway. But not nearly as comfortable a victory as they had thought about a year or so ago. And that can’t happen again. Ever.
And with the FEC gunning for Sander’s campaign and his unorthodox fundraising, they will hopefully shut his spigot to a trickle. Or less than the open flow it currently seems to be set at.
South Carolina is Hillary’s no doubt. But she needs more than South Carolina, and more even then a big Super Tuesday. She needs to grind Bernie down so that he retreats back to Vermont, muttering angrily to himself. And fundraising needs to return to where it belongs: in expensive homes in Mexico and California and New York, and Virginia. Oh, Hillary herself will be at what will surely be a posh event, raising a little cash in London, England. Now that’s how you do fundraising Bernie!
They are seething, frustrated, and furious – and tired of people disrespecting them. Yes, conservative pundits are an angry lot these strange days of 2016. And boy do they have some advice for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Drop your gloves. Or your bat. Sprint to the pitcher’s mound. And start swinging. And don’t stop still he’s on his knees.
And the pundits don’t mean swinging at each other – that’s what’s got them so frustrated. They mean swinging hard at you-know-who. They mean the fear that attacks on The Donald boomerang back and sink the attacker, has to be abandoned at this crucial stage of the nomination. Come senators, PACS, and pundits all, the times have a changed and we will take Trump down.
Are they right? Is the only way to defeat Donald Trump to take him on on his own terms? Or is this the desperate last throes of the establishment kicking and lashing out at everyone who does not buy their orthodoxy of what conservatism means in 2016 and what voters (should) want?
There are at least two other scenarios aside from this binary hit-him-and-win vs. hit-him-and-he-sinks-you options. Let Trump win the nomination and reel him in bit by bit by convincing him how vital the RNC and the Republican Party are to his electoral success as Reince Priebus has suggested. Some may buy this, others laugh. But it is not an impossible outcome, although it’s also possible that Trump reels the RNC in, or what’s left of it after the convention.
Another possible outcome is that it doesn’t matter whether you attack Trump. He loves hitting back if you do, and he’ll win whether you attack him, or whether you play the waiting game. As in waiting for Carson, Kasich, and either Marco or Ted, to quit. If Ted Cruz supporters are just as likely to go to Trump as to Rubio, this strategy may reward patience with resounding failure in Rubio’s case; and he’s tanking vs Trump in his home state by the way.
So we have a punditry furious that after 8 years of Obama’s administration, the chance to right the nation’s course according to fiscal conservatism, (fairly) hawkish foreign policy, and open trade is being sucked away from them by someone they simply don’t like. And even if they did, anyone as unexpectedly successful as Trump has been is bound to draw hostility.
So in the Texas CNN debate, Cruz and Rubio will have to decide whether they will take up the gauntlet that the punditry has angrily tossed at their feet in the hopes they will unsheathe their rhetoric and go for the throat, and elsewhere, against Trump. There will be countless commentators waiting for the smell of blood on that stage, and glad to play forensics in the days to follow. And then the voters will speak.
Isn’t the point – for Trump and his supporters – that endorsements don’t matter? As Donald Trump picks up his first lonely endorsements, should this cause any concern? If voter anger is real and sustainable, then presumably it is directed at the very people who tend to do the endorsing: established governors, or senators, or other members of the federal and state governments across the USA. As well as party insiders and powerful donors. Especially powerful donors it seems.
So, given that the wave of voter anger he is expertly riding is aimed straight at endorsement-types, what should Trump do with these incipient acts of official recognition? To put it in stark terms; if Marlene Ricketts and the Our Principles PAC suddenly, somehow, started running ads praising Trump (relax, it’s only a theoretical for rhetorical purposes), would his supporters crow with vindictive delight? Or stampede straight to Ted Cruz’s camp?
Is the raging bull that Trump is riding one that can be controlled, and eventually corralled within a traditional GOP party structure? That doesn’t seem likely, but if Trump rides triumphantly out of the March primaries, and the GOP stalwarts give up the good fight and abandon Rubio, and Ted Cruz dies a noble but painful political death, what happens to all that anger?
In the best of outcomes, Trump convinces his supporters that in no way will it be business as usual when he occupies the White House. And of course, then reminds voters of Clinton, and redirects all that anger Hillary’s way, reminding them that there’s the tiny matter of a general election to take on.
So here’s the question: is GOP voter anger fungible between the primaries and the general election? If Trump wins, does that anger dissipate dangerously, and leave GOP voters – and especially Trump supporters – drained just as the national election gets underway? It has been, and will be, such an unprecedented battle for the GOP nomination that it has been entirely consuming. People like Kevin McCarthy complain of Trump sucking up all that life-giving oxygen and it taking away from candidates like Jeb Bush and Kasich. But is the brush fire of voter anger sucking up oxygen that could be used in future battles? As in the national election?
Or will this bare-knuckles nomination brawl produce a hardened army of supporters who will eagerly launch themselves into the election campaign, and, get … out … and … vote! How Trump manages his supporters as the GOP slowly bends his way, is going to be fascinating to watch. Because if he can successfully manage the transition from nomination to general election, politically he will be ready for the Presidency. Whether you like him and his policies, or not.