Swamps, RINOs and Trump

Many in the press hope they see a big story developing: a Republican “civil war” between those aligned with the president or Steve Bannon and the “establishment” GOP.  But as one outlet has already realized, the momentum is with the president:

Traditional Republicans fancying the cracks in their party as an opening to primary President Trump in 2020 need to deal with one inconvenient fact: Republican voters aren’t interested.

The brawl for dominance in the Republican Party is certainly remarkable. Former President George W. Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the chairmen of two top Senate committees; and now Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; all have sharply rebuked Trump, questioning his fitness, integrity, and moral authority.

But their resistance, though hardly isolated, is missing one crucial element: a significant measure of enthusiasm from Republican voters. That’s a weak foundation from which to pursue a challenge to the renomination of a sitting president.

Why is Trump’s base willing to overlook his unorthodox presidential behavior? Here the article nails it:

…where Trump’s Republican opposition sees a dangerous political provocateur, the GOP base sees a fighter who is defending them and their values — against the cultural oppression of the liberal elites in New York and Hollywood and against a political establishment in Washington that bends the rules for everyone but them.

Trump’s coalition includes true conservatives (as opposed to the think-tank faux conservatives in D.C.) and blue-collar Democrats who are tired of seeing everything and everyone put ahead of the needs of honest Americans.  The “have you no decency” outrage from the GOP establishment is easily ignored when one remembers how often they have failed to keep their promises to the voters (Obamacare repeal?  Immigration enforcement?  Tax and regulation relief?).  The problem with most Republican members of Congress is they are “Republican In Name Only (RINO).”  The Tea Party movement was a “civil” attempt to protest this repeated betrayal, and the bi-factional ruling party attacked it — the Republicans by painting it unfairly as racist, and the Democrats by illegally unleashing the IRS and other government agencies on the various groups.  In the latter case, no accountability has been forthcoming against Lois Lerner and her helpers, either.

Is it any wonder a large part of the voting population now wants to burn the establishment to the ground?

Not only has the administration outlasted the Democrats’ frantic efforts to delegitimize it, the shoe is rapidly moving to the other foot as:

These stories are far more important than the manufactured distraction over presidential condolence calls to Gold Star families. Those who care about America should not allow the topic du jour to “move on” from them.

The real fight now is not over the survival of the Trump administration (even the NYT admits “he’s not going anywhere“). It’s over whether he will have a more cooperative Congress to deal with after 2018.  Steve Bannon is rallying insurgent candidates* across the country, and even sitting Senators are reading the tea leaves (finally).  The election of Trump represented a bursting point of extreme voter dissatisfaction with business as usual.  “Civil” didn’t get voters anywhere, so they went with the bull in the china shop. Whether that voter anger and focus can be maintained through the next election cycle is the question of the decade.  If it is, the Trump victory in 2016 will be seen not as a fluke, but as a pivotal moment in American politics when the Swamp was finally confronted head on.

* While Bannon rallies Republican insurgents with name recognition, there are also complete outsiders like Tony Monetti in Missouri, who is challenging established Republican candidates in the primary to run against vulnerable Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.  Be sure to pay attention to ALL the candidates in the races for which you can vote.

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America — not the GOP — first

The past six months should prove, once and for all, there’s no practical difference between the Democratic and Republican parties.  People are beginning to notice:

More than 200 days have passed and Obamacare remains. High taxes, too, continue to burden the economy. With the lack of progress on his legislative agenda, one would think that President Trump – who rode to victory on those issues and carried many Republican lawmakers with him – was facing a Democratic-held Congress.

The inability of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push through a Republican Congress Trump’s key policy proposals is indicative of a problem identified by Pat Buchanan in 2000. The establishments of both parties are more similar than dissimilar…

For years the GOP went to the party faithful begging for money and votes. Why? Support a GOP Congress and when a Republican president moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Obamacare would face the guillotine.

When it came time to put their money where their mouths were, GOP leaders folded like a cheap suit. Not only was the party unable to agree on replacing Obamacare, they could not even come together to repeal it. Six months in the Trump administration and Ryan and McConnell proved P.T. Barnum right that there is a sucker born every minute…

Trump was elected by voters because he promised to build a wall, end free trade deals that rip off the country, enact a Muslim moratorium, reduce the size of government, normalize relations with Russia, and resist unnecessary wars of intervention. Trump’s positions on these issues are contrary to not only Democrats, but the GOP establishment of Ryan and McConnell.

For the 2018 election, ignore the party labels.  Look to see who promises to support the agenda enumerated above.  And hold them publicly accountable if they then fail to do so.  It’s not Donkey versus Elephant anymore.  It’s American nationalism and independence versus being subsumed by globalist elites.  Enough with the kabuki dancing.  Make this nation strong again, or get out of the way!

On the edge

Today’s shooting at Republican Congressmen practicing for a baseball game is but the latest (and possibly most worrisome) example of ever-more violent rhetoric leading to more violent action.  Our entire nation needs to take a deep breath and look hard at the road we’ve been traveling to this point.

Nearly a quarter century ago, shortly after Supreme Court Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the Senate, PBS pundit Julianne Malveaux infamously said on air ““You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.”  A number of people on both sides of the aisle considered this sort of statement to be well beyond the pale.

How far we’ve fallen.

Politics has long borrowed military language: campaign, objective, tactic and so forth.  It used to be understood these were metaphors.  Then Sarah Palin put out a campaign graphic putting “crosshair” targets on key districts in the election.  The Left went melodramatically berserk over her “eliminationist” message, trying to pin the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Palin’s activity.  (For the record, Gifford’s shooter turned out not to be a ‘right-winger,’ but rather, a mentally unstable person who had a bizarre fixation on her.)

Now the shoe is tied tightly on the other foot, and hopefully it pinches hard.  The militant vocabulary used today is not a metaphor: there are two broad worldviews in competition in the U.S., and both increasingly see the other as a literal enemy (and for many, one that must actually be destroyed, not just voted out of office).  I’m sure many Democrats were greatly disappointed when Wednesday’s shooter turned out to be a Bernie Bro and Rachel Maddow fan, instead of a militia member or such rot.  (That didn’t stop their automatic pleading for more gun control.)  Facebook apparently was quick on the trigger to take down the shooter’s page, but not before some of the wiser denizens of the web captured it all for posterity.

Trump is easily one of the most questionable occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and continuous scrutiny is prudent.  That’s not what the other party offers.  They’re trying to nullify the last election by waging an overheated rhetorical war on two fronts: obstructionism in Congress and the courts, and riling up their base to vandalism and worse with some of the most vile language imaginable.  (Note to the Democrats: increasing the frequency of F-bombs in your public addresses might endear you to some of the college crowd, but for the rest of us it just shows you to be a crass juvenile who feeds on emotion, not careful thought.)

College campuses seem out of control, to the degree that self-appointed vigilante groups of students have to be asked by administrators to stop roaming campus with baseball bats and other instruments.  Attempts by conservatives to speak on a campus are now met frequently with vandalistic temper tantrums.  And protestors on both sides of issues like immigration are now showing up suited for battle, not just to carry signs.

Why write all this?  Because I’m concerned our nation crossed a critical line today, and the path we’re on is leading to disaster.  There are plenty of nuts in both camps, and a continuous backdrop of violent rhetoric (particularly on the internet) only encourages them.  As each side looks warily at the other, the mutual distrust leads many ordinary people to wonder if they need to be making preparations for war.  Thus does the divide get wider and more hostile.

We all need to realize that when ballots no longer settle issues, bullets do.  Is that really how we want to go forward?  Do the posturing online ‘toughs’ really want to see their friends and family caught up in the bloodshed of civil war or anarchy?  I spent 24 years in uniform believing I was helping defend America.  I’ve seen firsthand what a country looks like in a civil war (spoiler: it isn’t pretty).  Now it seems we’re determined to destroy ourselves.  If Wednesday’s any indicator, I have a feeling those who are playing with fire to score political points are going to be among the first to get burned.  But probably not the last.

God help us all.

The world needs the U.S.

…more than the U.S. needs the world.  And it’s about time we started acting that way:

Approximately 30 countries are refusing to accept the deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in the U.S., according to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While these countries are refusing to accept the deportations of these criminals, the U.S. government is still issuing visas and student visas to citizens of those countries, according to the Texan congressman. There is already a law on the books which allows the U.S. to hold visas from a country that is not taking back its criminals, but according to Cuellar, the U.S. is not enforcing it.

“We’re not enforcing it, which is amazing. So now my intent is to go back to our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that,” Cuellar told Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, in an interview.

Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.

And releasing illegal criminal immigrants puts the U.S. population at risk.

As others have already noted, our response to this intransigence should go beyond refusing to issue any kind of visas to countries that won’t take back their criminals.  We should also halt any foreign aid that goes their way (which we shouldn’t be in the business of anyway), as well as putting a 100% tariff on any goods imported from that country.

The United States has the largest economy in the world and its third-largest population (after China and India).  We have a wealth of natural resources, and technology such as fracking is allowing us to access even more of this potential.  Simply put, the world needs access to our market and economy far more than we need anything from overseas.  Were it not for the debt we’ve recklessly assumed over the last half century (much of it from playing GloboCop), we could stand utterly independent of the world.

Want to make America great again?  Send all known illegal immigrants to Guantanamo Bay (which our last president unwisely all but emptied) until their home nation agrees to receive them.  Let’s stop pretending foreigners enjoy the same Constitutional rights as citizens.  They are endowed with the protection of life, liberty (as long as they are law-abiding) and the pursuit of happiness (subject to being in America’s interest to accept them).  As long as there is a foreign national being held because of their country’s refusal to take back deportees, cut off all access to the United States and its markets.

And while we’re on the subject, killing the H1-B visa is long overdue.

It’s time the American government (all branches of it) put America first.  We don’t need “citizens of the world” running our country.  We need patriotic, hard-headed realists.

The GOP doesn’t seem to have many of those.  Making America Great Again will require action in the 2018 election, too.  Do you know how your representatives are voting?  You should.  Don’t count on Trump to change the direction all by himself.  Even if he did, that way lies future problems with executive overreach.  Punish the globalists in Congress, and give Trump a legislature he can work with.

Then let’s let the world tend to itself for a while.  We’ve been bailing it out since 1917.  After a century, we deserve to shed the role.

The Trump has sounded

I relearned a lesson last night: I’m entirely too old to stay up past midnight watching election returns.  That said, at least I’m teaching a Government class today so I’ll just call that “lesson preparation.”  Sounds more responsible that way.

There’s every reason to believe the next stages of whatever movement this is will be:

  • Democrats will continue to support Executive Orders for their agenda while Obama still has his “pen and phone” the next couple months.  Then they will be outraged when Trump uses the same process to begin undoing the ‘fundamental transformation” of the U.S.
  • The mainstream media, whose stunning lack of curiosity the last eight years means we still don’t know anything about Obama’s college record, and very little about his mentors (Bill Ayers, “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, etc) unless one has actively sought out such information through alternative means.  (See why you’re dying, corporate media?  Your hypocrisy and double standards for the two parties is a large part of why Trump is ascending to the White House.  Chew on that for a while.)
  • Dissent will once again be considered by Democrats the “highest form of patriotism,” instead of the last eight years where  any dissent from Obama’s agenda automatically meant you were a ‘deplorable, racist, xenophobic bigot.’
  • Any attempt to restart (or continue) the several investigations into Clinton, her Foundation, and other aspects of what is clearly a crime family syndicate will be labeled ‘demonizing your opponent,’ or an abuse of executive power.  But it was OK to say George W. Bush should have been brought up on ‘war crimes‘ charges.

In short, the Democrats will now have to refer to the Newspeak dictionary definitions they use when out of power.  As our current President liked to say, “elections have consequences.

Yes.  Yes, they do.

We now need to hold them to the standards they set the last eight-plus years.  And yes, while I still have issues with The Donald’s tendency toward verbal diarrhea, he’s shown recently that he CAN control his tongue, at least for a while.  So I wish him good luck in using all the expanded authority the Democrats created for the Presidency to smack the Left as hard as he can, all the while remembering that he’s only following precedent they set.

Perhaps a few years in the wilderness under such circumstances will bring the Democrats around to believing in limited Federal authority again.  I have no idea what the next four years hold, but it will be amusing watching the Democrats walk back their positions on activist government now that they no longer control said government.  It will also be interesting to watch a true outsider deal both with the opposition party, and the elements of the GOP who went #neverTrump and now look politically foolish.

As for Hillary: ding dong, the witch is (politically) dead, the wicked witch is dead!

Quote of the day week month

David Brooks of the New York Times belatedly wonders if the mainstream media misjudged the Trump phenomenon because these insulated, pampered, prima donna self-appointed ‘opinion leaders’  “did not listen carefully enough” to the increasingly alienated, economically devastated and politically orphaned former American middle class that now makes up much of Trump’s constituency.

To which Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds responds:

The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.

Spot. On.  Glenn.   Trump is essentially the GOP base — including frustrated Tea Partiers who tried to address their concerns the “appropriate” way and were vilified for doing so — quoting the band Linkin Park to their self-proclaimed betters on both sides of the aisle:

The number one question is how could you ignore it?  …

Tried to give you warning but everyone ignores me
Told you everything loud and clear
(But nobody’s listening)
Called to you so clearly but you don’t want to hear me
Told you everything loud and clear
(But nobody’s listening)

I got a heart full of pain, head full of stress
handfull of anger, held in my chest
And everything left’s a waste of time
I hate my rhymes, but hate everyone else’s more

I don’t like Trump, but I like our self-perpetuating mandarin class even less.  And as I’ve pointed out, if the Trump reaction to insider shenanigans in previous elections is met by even more insider shenanigans to deny him the nomination even if he gets the requisite number of delegates, then our political chattering classes are going to like who comes after him even less.

I fear we all will.

Just die already, GOP

That’s a post title I couldn’t have imagined writing a decade ago, despite the misgivings I was having about our bi-factional ruling party even back then.  But watching the slow-motion thrashing of the establishment GOP in response to a real, grassroots populist rebellion against their utter failures to live up to their own brand is just sickening.  (Note: I’m of the opinion that much of Trump’s support is not so much an endorsement of the man himself as it is a substantial number of the rank and file seeing an opportunity to finally stick a much-deserved finger in the eye of the GOP insider elite.  The anger out there is both real and justified.)

The insiders’ true colors are now showing, and it’s quite ugly.  In case you thought our ruling class even pretended to acknowledge the will of the voters, this videoclip should put that myth to rest.  Excerpt:

Curly Haugland, Republican National Committee Member: “The media has created a perception that the voters will decide the nomination.  …  The political parties choose their nominees, not the general public.”

When asked by the reporter “then why bother holding primaries?” his response:

“That’s a good question.”

That kind of attitude is exactly what has so much of the GOP’s nominal base up in arms.  For years citizens who care passionately about our nation’s future have organized, rallied, donated, campaigned and otherwise given of themselves to try to elect representatives and officials who will implement the policies they believe in.  And they’ve been soundly disappointed time and again, as officials “grow” in office or otherwise compromise on the very issues where their constituents expected them to stand firm.  But rather than figure out how to reconnect with that base by actually changing course, the elites are simply out to reassert their partisan a-thor-i-TIE by any means necessary.  I suspect that will include shenanigans at the convention, even if Trump wins an outright majority of delegates before then.  It’s certainly happened before when a substantial number of voters supported a candidate the insiders didn’t like.

And at that point, whether you support Trump or not, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the GOP has lost every bit of its legitimacy — first by governing differently than they promised, and then by ignoring the voters when they try to hold the party to account.  I would not be surprised if things got extremely nasty in this country after that.  After all, when the people are convinced ballots no longer matter, they will find other ways to express their displeasure at those who continue to put the screws to them.

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