Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trump update

Any hope the Republican Party might have had that Donald Trump might soften his stance on illegal immigrants evaporated in the opening minutes of a press conference in Iowa on Tuesday night.

One of America's most prominent Mexican-Americans, Jorge Ramos, the leading news anchor for the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, stood to ask him about his plan to deport undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants.

"Excuse me," said Mr Trump, who is leading polls of contenders vying to be the party's presidential candidate. "Sit down. You weren't called. Sit down."

Ramos ploughed on.  "I'm a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen," he said. "I have the right to ask a question."

Mr Trump responded with the bluntness that has marked his campaign. "Go back to Univision," he said, signalling to one of his security guards who then removed Ramos from the room.

Later Mr Trump allowed Ramos to return to his seat and the exchange continued, with Ramos telling Mr Trump that his policy was unworkable.

As far at the Republican establishment was concerned, this was not the way primary campaign was supposed to unfold.

After losing the last election in part due to overwhelming support for Democrats among minorities, the GOP had expected supporters to fall in behind Jeb Bush, who has the backing of much of the the party's traditional donors class and who is well known and well regarded by American Hispanics.

Instead, the GOP is confronting what has become known as "the summer of Trump".

Earlier in the day a new poll found that Mr Trump was now leading the field in New Hampshire – a state in which moderate Republicans normally fare well – with support three times higher than that of his closest competitor.

According to the research by Public Policy Polling, Mr Trump is leading the polling with an overwhelming 35 per cent of the vote in that crucial state, followed by Ohio governor John Kasich, who comes in second at 11 per cent.

Mr Bush languishes in third on 7 per cent in equal place with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

And on Monday night Mr Trump had launched another attack on the high-profile Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who had angered him during the first Republican debate by asking him about his history of making apparently misogynist comments.

"Was afraid to confront Dr Cornel West. No clue on immigration!" he tweeted on Monday night, following up with another dig, "I liked The Kelly File much better without ‪@megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!"

Mr Trump had earlier suggested that Kelly pursued her aggressive line of questioning against him because she was menstruating.

These new tweets prompted Roger Ailes​, the Fox News chairman and one of the most powerful conservatives in the country, to come out in defence of his reporter.

"Donald Trump's surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing," Mr Ailes said on Tuesday afternoon.  "Donald Trump rarely apologises, although in this case, he should."

Mr Trump responded immediately.   "I don't care about Megyn Kelly," he said during a news conference. "She should probably apologise to me, but I just don't care."

The ongoing focus on Mr Trump has served not only to throw the Republican primary into confusion, but to distract from controversy surrounding the leading Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton.



Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be? After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes.

The crisis in world markets seems related not only to a sinking Chinese economy, but also to what Beijing is saying to the world; i.e., China will save herself first even if it means throwing others out of the life boat.

Disbelievers in New World Order mythology have long recognized that this new China is fiercely nationalistic. Indeed, with Marxism-Leninism dead, nationalism is the Communist Party's fallback faith.

China has thus kept her currency cheap to hold down imports and keep exports surging. She has run $300 billion trade surpluses at the expense of the Americans. She has demanded technology transfers from firms investing in China and engaged in technology theft.

And the stronger China has grown economically, the more bellicose she has become with her neighbors from Japan to Vietnam to the Philippines. Lately, China has laid claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and all its islands and reefs as national territory.

In short, China is becoming a mortal threat to the rules-based global economy Americans have been erecting since the end of the Cold War, even as the U.S. system of alliances erected by Cold War and post-Cold War presidents seems to be unraveling.

Germany, the economic powerhouse of the European Union, was divided until recently on whether Greece should be thrown out of the eurozone. German nationalists have had enough of Club Med.

On issues from mass migrations from the Third World, to deeper political integration of Europe, to the EU's paltry contributions to a U.S.-led NATO that defends the continent, nationalistic resistance is rising.

Enter the Donald. If there is a single theme behind his message, it would seem to be a call for a New Nationalism or New Patriotism. He is going to "make America great again." He is going to build a wall on the border that will make us proud, and Mexico will pay for it.

He will send all illegal aliens home and restore the traditional value of U.S. citizenship by putting an end to the scandal of "anchor babies."

One never hears Trump discuss the architecture of our rules-based global economy.  Rather, he speaks of Mexico, China and Japan as tough rivals, not "trade partners," smart antagonists who need to face tough American negotiators who will kick their butts.

They took our jobs and factories; now we are going to take them back. And if that Ford plant stays in Mexico, then Ford will have to climb a 35-percent tariff wall to get its trucks and cars back into the USA.

To Trump, the world is not Davos; it is the NFL. He is appalled at those mammoth container ships in West Coat ports bringing in Hondas and Toyotas. Those ships should be carrying American cars to Asia.

Asked by adviser Dick Allen for a summation of U.S. policy toward the Soviets, Ronald Reagan said: "We win; they lose."

That it is not an unfair summation of what Trump is saying about Mexico, Japan and China.

While the economic nationalism here is transparent, Trump also seems to be saying that foreign regimes are freeloading off the U.S. defense budget and U.S. military.

He asks why rich Germans aren't in the vanguard in the Ukraine crisis. Why do South Koreans, with an economy 40 times that of the North and a population twice as large, need U.S. troops on the DMZ?  "What's in it for us?" he seems ever to be asking.

He has called Vladimir Putin a Russian patriot and nationalist with whom he can talk. He has not joined the Republican herd that says it will cancel the Iran nuclear deal the day they take office, re-impose U.S. sanctions and renegotiate the deal.

Trump says he would insure that Iran lives up to the terms.

While his foreign policy positions seem unformed, his natural reflex appears nonideological and almost wholly results-oriented. He looks on foreign trade much as did 19th-century Republicans.

They saw America as the emerging world power and Britain as the nation to beat, as China sees us today. Those Americans used tariffs, both to force foreigners to pay to build our country, and to keep British imports at a price disadvantage in the USA.

Whatever becomes of Trump the candidate, Trumpism, i.e., economic and foreign policy nationalism, appears ascendant.



GOP Should Worry Less About Trump and More About Itself

By David Limbaugh

Commentators and political consultants are working overtime to divine why Donald Trump's candidacy is explosively successful despite his breaking all the established rules. They're outthinking themselves.

They say he is a flash in the pan, the darling of disaffected independents, the tea party's dream, a Clinton plant or the right wing's narcissistic alternative to Barack Obama.

Folks, it's not that difficult. For many Americans — who knows what percentage? — the Republican Party is not an antidote to President Obama's seven-year wrecking ball.

They look at the GOP and occasionally see strong rhetoric but mostly observe a lack of inspiration, energy and any sense of urgency about the current state of affairs. They recall that when Republicans didn't have control of Congress, they asked for patience until they recaptured the House. In the meantime, we were not supposed to rock the boat and jeopardize the upcoming elections.

Since winning back Congress, they've offered a similarly tired excuse: We don't have control of the presidency. Just wait until 2016, and we'll really turn things around. But for now, let's be calm.  Calm? What is there to be calm about?

Those living outside the Beltway wonder why there isn't universal horror over the $18 trillion debt and $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities threatening our kids' future, the gutting of our military, the government's destruction of the world's best health care system, the assault on American businesses and the energy industry, Obama's runaway Environmental Protection Agency, his managed invasion of our borders, his war on Christians' religious liberty, his mistreatment of Israel, the Iran deal, and the government's funding a notorious abortion factory.

It's true; Republicans don't have control of the executive branch. But that doesn't mean they have no power. They have the power of the purse. They didn't have to forfeit their constitutional power on the nuclear arms deal with Iran.

Obama hasn't had the power to do many of the things he's done, either — from granting selective exemptions on Obamacare to granting amnesty to "Dreamers" — but nothing has stopped him.

Likewise, the same-sex marriage lobby didn't have anywhere close to a majority when it started bullying its way toward societal and legal legitimacy, but it proceeded fearlessly. And it got results.

Even if you believe that Republicans have no power, is that any excuse for their always having their tail between their legs? Some see little evidence that the Republican Party believes in its own ideas anymore.

But that's not the case with Donald Trump. Even if he isn't a Reagan conservative, at least he's got the courage to take on the status quo — the outrages of the Obama administration, the complacency of establishment Republicans and the tyranny of political correctness.

Trump is standing up, shaking his fist at the Beltway elite and saying he is tired of the intentionally managed decline of America and the impotence and apparent indifference of Republicans. In contrast with much of the GOP ruling class, he is high-energy, is in your face, has no tolerance for excuses and is vigorously proud of America. He refuses to take no for an answer, unlike most Republicans, with a few notable exceptions, who seem to lust after any excuse for inaction and avoid confrontation at all costs. Trump may get more slack because he's an outsider, but it's time that our risk-averse people took some chances themselves.

Trump is filling a void, which he couldn't do if one didn't exist. Like him or not, he is shaking things up, sounding an alarm and showing other candidates what appeals to voters.

Some look at establishment Republicans and see those comfortable with Obamacare lite. They pretend to favor full repeal but in the end will only tweak it. They say they're fierce free-marketers, but they'll barely reform the tax code. They acknowledge that entitlements are bankrupting us, but they don't have the guts to make the case for restructuring them. They promise to cut government spending, but they think that means shaving pennies off the rate of increase. They say they'll protect the borders, but they spend half their time trying to prove they're not xenophobes.

When Ronald Reagan was vying for the Republican nomination, he didn't muzzle himself for fear of scaring off moderates. He said what he believed. Leadership is presenting ideas you believe in and selling them even to a minority. It is not keeping your powder dry until the next election. Do you ever see the wildly successful left doing that?

Trump is showing leadership, whether or not you like him or believe in his authenticity or his ideas. Before you complain too much about him, you should ask yourself what his success says about the establishment's prescription of sitting on our hands and biding our time.

Trump is hardly my first choice, but he is doing a lot of good right now, including showing the value of confidently presenting your ideas and how "making America great again" is a message that still strongly resonates with voters.

Let's quit spending so much time worrying about Trump and focus on regaining confidence in our own ideas and presenting them to the American people.



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