Monday, February 01, 2016

Trump's past is not the issue

It has been fashionable the last two weeks to pen articles attacking Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race for the Republican Party nomination for President.  "He’s not a true conservative." "He’s not Ronald Reagan," they said.  The jury’s still out on whether or not he’s a true conservative, but we can agree that he is not Ronald Reagan.

I would say he is more like Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln had been elected to Congress as a member of the Whig Party, but he parted company with the Whigs and joined the Republicans, when the Whig leaders wouldn’t take a stand on the biggest issue of the day—slavery.  The country’s whole future hung on the issue of slavery.  Lincoln was against it, but the Whigs didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of pro-slavery voters.  Lincoln became President, won the Civil War, and ended that barbaric practice.  The Whig Party disappeared from the national stage and became a paragraph in history books.  You can almost hear the Whig poobahs saying about Lincoln, "He’s not a true conservative.  He flip-flopped on the tariff issue."  Small minds, small issues.

Similarly, Donald Trump took a stand on the big issue of our day—immigration—coming out strongly in favor of securing the border and deporting illegal aliens, while the Republican leadership and the other candidates in the race for President (with maybe only one exception) talked about "immigration reform."  They don’t want to ruffle the feathers of "Latino voters;" while Trump wants to save America.   Immediately, Trump jolted into the lead in the race and has stayed there ever since, in spite of being rude, bombastic, and obnoxious.

By contrast, Marco Rubio, arguably the most likable guy in the pack, will never rise much above 15% in the polls because he is on the wrong side of this issue.  Unless Rubio comes out and says, "to hell with the so-called Latino vote,  I’m gonna deport every last one of the illegal aliens,"  he will stay in the pack fighting for second or third place twenty points behind Trump.

The media pundits don’t get it, though.  They offer up all kinds of explanations for Trump’s success that have nothing to do with the issue of immigration:  It’s his simple sentences.  It’s his rudeness and bruskness.  It’s his hair.  He’s an outsider. The people who support him are stupid (40% of Republicans!).

Some critics argue that Trump was a liberal Democrat until recently and we cannot trust him to keep any of his promises on immigration, or anything else.  The answer to that is that lots of Republicans were elected as Tea Party candidates a few years ago, yet they ended up supporting the big-government-open-borders policies of the Obama administration once they got into office.  Why should we trust anyone?  Maybe all of the candidates are lying.  In which case, Trump is no better or worse than the others.  But, if he is telling the truth and he ends up keeping his promises, since he is the only one with a plan to reverse the illegal immigration problem, shouldn’t we put our support behind him?

Going back to the Ronald Reagan comparison, Mark Steyn noted rightly that Reagan could not get elected governor of California today.  The demographics have changed so much that the state is now solidly left.  America is going in the same direction.  With more and more people coming into the country with different ideas about work, liberty, the rule of law, morality—it will be hard to elect anyone who is not pandering to them, promising more subsidies, more government, more corruption.

With this election the country stands at a crossroads—do we keep going in the same direction —the one leading over the cliff— or do we change direction?  Many people believe Trump will lead the country in the right direction.  Maybe he will, maybe he won’t.  But it is certain that most of the other candidates will not.



How Are Republicans and Democrats Different?

When Democrats accuse Republicans of being selfish, it's just the usual Leftist projection of their own faults onto others

John C. Goodman

Have you ever wondered why Republicans and Democrats differ in the way they think about government? I’m not talking about the difference between conservatives and liberals. Those differences are pretty apparent. But most Democrats are not all that liberal and ideology is not what drives them to the voting booth.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that

"61% of registered Democrats say candidates’ detailed policy plans – on health care or other topics – matter to their vote, and 35% say a candidate’s general values and approach to government matters more. For Republicans it’s the reverse: 51% care most about a candidate’s general values and approach to government, and 45% prioritize their policy plans"

Let’s drill down a bit on what that really means. Ezra Klein describes an interesting journalistic experiment. MSNBC asked Benjy Sarlin, its reporter on the Republican race, and Alex Seitz-Wald, its reporter on the Democratic race, to flip jobs for a week and write up what they learned. I‘ll skip the full conversation and zero in on what Klein found most revealing -- a statement by Sarlin:

"I was caught off guard by how specific and personal Democratic voters’ issues tended to be. One woman told me she had lost a job because she had to take care of a sick relative and wanted paid family leave. Another woman told me her insurance stopped covering a certain medication that had grown too expensive and she liked how Clinton and Sanders talked about lowering drug prices. One man told me his wages were stagnant at his hotel job and he was looking for policies to increase them"

"We’re talking about bread-and-butter issues," Phyllis Thede, an Iowa state representative backing Clinton, told me when I asked about her constituents’ top concerns.

By contrast, Republican voters tend to be excited by more abstract issues: One of the most common answers I get from Cruz voters when I ask about their leading concern is "the Constitution." There are fewer "I have a specific problem in my own life, and I’d like the government to do x about it" responses.

These findings are consistent with my own anecdotal experience. For many years I was an attentive viewer of C-Span’s morning show – where callers could call in on a "Democratic" or "Republican" line. What I found striking was how rarely anyone on the Democratic line talked the way Bernie Sanders talks. I don’t recall a single caller saying we should all (including the caller) pay higher taxes so that we can have paid family leave or free college tuition or universal pre-school or universal long term care.

Instead I heard teachers arguing for more pay for teachers, seniors wanting more out of Social Security and Medicare, union members wanting trade protection, etc. In other words, what I heard a lot of was selfishness. The Democratic line attracted a lot of people who want government to intervene for their benefit at everyone else’s expense.

In column after column, New York Times writer Paul Krugman repeats the canard that the Republican Party is the party of selfishness and greed and the Democratic Party is the party of altruism and charity. This, by the way, is how most of the intellectual elite thinks. Yet if we look at the personal behavior of Republicans and Democrats, the reverse seems to be true.

The modern Democratic Party descended from the Roosevelt coalition. And that coalition was solidly based on economic self-interest. At Franklin Roosevelt’s behest, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which attempted to regulate the entire economy, based on the Italian fascist model. In each industry, management and labor were allowed to collude to set prices, wages, output, etc. Every industry or trade was allowed to conspire to pursue its own interests at the expense of the public. The Supreme Court put an end to the NIRA, but it didn’t put an end to the ideas behind it.

The regulatory agencies that survived judicial scrutiny continued the Roosevelt pattern. The CAB served as a cartel agent for the airlines. The ICC served as a cartel agent for the trucking and railroad industries. The FCC was a cartel agent for the broadcast industry. The AAA was the vehicle that allowed farmers to seek monopoly rents.

The Democratic Party attracts rent seekers. The Republican Party attracts them as well. But the Democratic Party’s essence seems to be rent seeking. Democratic candidates campaign on the idea of taking from Peter to give to Paul and brag about it once they have done it. Republicans do it too, but afterward they are more likely to apologize for what they have done.



Veterans, Trump and the Hypocrisy of the Democratic National Committee

Reading the reactions from some veterans to Donald Trump’s "support the troops" rally last night, you would think that the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan was trying to give money to veteran’s charities.

It’s worth noting right out of the gate that I don’t particularly care for Trump’s brand of "scream louder than the other guy" politics. But it should come as no surprise that hypocrisy abounds in some of the negative reactions to the Donald’s event.

One of the more notable critics of Trump, and the rest of the GOP field, is Marine Corps veteran Sean Sorbie.

In a piece posted to, he rhetorically brutalizes Trump, Cruz and Fiorina for using veterans as pawns in their political chess match.

"My brothers and sisters in arms deserve so much more than the pandering and cheap political stunts being pulled by today’s Republican presidential candidates. It is insulting that America’s veterans are being used as a bargaining chip by candidates who want to get air time next to Donald Trump."

Sorbie then goes on to claim that Republicans in general would hurt veterans because of their opposition to raising the minimum wage and Obamacare, among other Democratic Party platform talking points. The last half of the article is some kind of odd victory lap touting the supposed success of the Democratic Party in improving the quality of benefits and access to veterans.

By now, you are probably having the same thought I had after reading the article: "What is this guy’s deal?" The truth about Sorbie, however, is where the egregious hypocrisy begins to reveal itself.

Sorbie works for the Democratic National Committee, a fact he conveniently omits from the article.

While Democrats are tripping over themselves to knock Trump for "politicizing veterans," the DNC is carting out their own veteran to push their politics.

I can only presume that Sorbie is an educated and intelligent person. This leads me to believe that he knew he was using his status as a veteran on behalf of the DNC to bolster the credibility of his argument and shield it from criticism. Who’s going to knock a veteran?

There’s certainly nothing wrong with appealing to your time in the service as part of building an argument. There is, and should be, an added level of credibility when a veteran puts forth a case on veteran’s issues. However, Sorbie wasn’t just making a case for veteran's issues, he was criticizing Republicans for doing the exact same thing he and the DNC are doing–which is politicizing veterans to score points against the other side.

It’s certainly no coincidence that Sorbie penned the hit piece for the DNC against Trump and the Republicans. He knew it would be virtually impossible for anyone in politics or the media to openly criticize the actions and words of a veteran, unless of course that person was also a veteran.

I too served in the United States Marine Corps. I was on active duty from 2010 to 2014 and completed two deployments to Afghanistan.

I don’t disagree with most of what Sorbie says in his article about the actions of some GOP candidates. Trump has insulted veterans. It is ridiculous that candidates are using donations to veteran’s charity as bargaining chips in a political race. We do deserve much better than cheap political stunts.

None of that, however, changes the fact that he is hammering Trump for using veterans as political pawns, while himself being used as a political pawn by the DNC.

The last paragraph of the article is painful to read once you are aware that Sorbie is a paid employee of the DNC.

(Emphasis added)

"Once again, it’s insulting that Republican presidential candidates are using veterans like myself to get media attention. Instead, they should look to Democrats who have delivered on their promises to veterans and will never exploit our service and honor to this country."

Whether or not Sorbie was directed to write the piece by the DNC, or took it upon himself, doesn't really matter. I'm sure he'll argue that he found some spare time to draft and copy edit a lengthy column for his employer all out of the kindness of his heart. Regardless, The DNC benefits from the use of a veteran's service to push their political agenda.


This is just standard Leftism: Rules are for other people, not us


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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