GOP elite warms to once-unthinkable Trump nomination
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The country’s top Republicans gathered last week at a posh resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, dining at restaurants where porterhouse steaks go for $105 and sipping martinis in a hotel atrium filled with palm trees and gurgling fountains.
Outwardly, then, it seemed like business as usual for the power brokers and influentials of the Republican National Committee attending their spring meeting. It was anything but.
Hurricane season is upon the GOP, with the old order at risk of being swept away as the concluding round of state primaries looms. There were clear signs here that elements of the party elite are starting to buckle under the pressure.
Many are beginning to adapt to the notion — preposterous not so long ago — that Donald Trump will probably be their presidential nominee, the face of the party in 2016, and that continued efforts by the party establishment to sabotage his campaign or block him at the convention may not only be futile but also counterproductive and ultimately bad for the party.
Party committee members, in nearly two dozen interviews, said they still have serious doubts about the professionalism and tone of Trump’s campaign and fretted about his ability to beat the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. But almost none of the GOP leaders from around the country said they were still trying to block Trump from rising to the top at the Cleveland convention in July.
“There are some people who probably didn’t give him a lot of chance at the beginning,” said George Leing, a committeeman from Colorado. “But he’s certainly proven to have resiliency. He’s obviously the leader right now.”
“He is going to be the nominee,” said one longtime establishment Republican who previously worked for a rival campaign but wasn’t ready to put his name to that statement.
Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich made personal appeals to the committee members over the course of the three-day conference, and the nominating contest is far from over. Trump could still fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needs, triggering a contested convention.
But at the same time an alliance of grudging realists appears to be forming. Republican insiders are settling on something approaching acquiescence to the billionaire’s insurgency.
Even while Trump notably did not join his rivals in making an appearance at the event, he dispatched advisers to court the party officials he has lampooned during his front-running rocket ride, the same GOP grandees that he accuses of overseeing a “rigged’’ nominating system.
“People are warming to the idea,” said Don McGahn, a party insider and top Washington election lawyer who is advising Trump, as he roamed the hallways of the Diplomat Resort & Spa. Ada Fisher, a committeewoman from North Carolina who went public with her support for the New York businessman after her state’s primary, wears a Trump pin on her shirt.
“I like Donald Trump,” she said. “Donald Trump defies traditional Republican stereotypes. . . . He will win. He will bring change to America.”
Others gave Trump some credit for identifying and appealing to populist undercurrents in the angry conservative base that candidates like establishment favorite Jeb Bush missed.
“Here’s a guy who had no political background. And he’s about to become perhaps the nominee of the party,” said Ron Kaufman, the Massachusetts committeeman. “He’s a very savvy guy. Here’s the thing about Trump: He understands what a lot of people don’t understand, about where the country is and why they’re angry and why they’re upset.”
Trump has moved into a new phase of his campaign in which he is trying to navigate that dichotomy and make the transition from outsider to party leader, showing the GOP leaders that he is capable of playing a grown-up role.
On Thursday at the Republican National Committee meetings, members packed into a third-floor corner room with views of the Atlantic Ocean. An open bar was set up. A tray of refreshments — overflowing with shrimp, oysters, and crab legs — was so heavy it required two waiters to lug it into the room.
Team Trump had arrived.
Trump’s new senior adviser, veteran political consultant Paul Manafort, had spent the day roaming around the hotel toting a briefcase bearing his initials as he held one-on-one meetings. He, along with former RNC political director Rick Wiley, have been acting as emissaries sent by Trump to try to persuade establishment Republicans to get aboard with the insurgent candidate.
For about an hour, Manafort and Wiley — who were also joined by former candidate and Trump backer Ben Carson — explained in the closed-door meeting how Trump is evolving as a candidate, according to interviews with members who attended the session.
They started by reassuring members that they wanted to work with the RNC, not against it. As part of a PowerPoint presentation, they displayed a map of bellwether states that they believe Trump can carry in the fall election. Rather than just six or so swing states, they said, Trump would turn more than a dozen states into competitive races in the general election against the Democratic nominee.
His advisers believe that Rust Belt states, along with much of New England, would be receptive to the blue-collar message Trump has carried.
Rights Versus Wishes
Here is what presidential aspirant Sen. Bernie Sanders said: “I believe that health care is a right of all people.” President Barack Obama declared that health care “should be a right for every American.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Every person has a right to adequate health care.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his January 1944 message to Congress, called for “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” And it is not just a health care right that people claim. There are rights to decent housing, good food and a decent job, and for senior citizens, there’s a right to prescription drugs. In a free and moral society, do people have these rights? Let’s look at it.
In the standard historical usage of the term, a “right” is something that exists simultaneously among people. As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference.
Contrast those rights to free speech and travel with the supposed rights to medical care and decent housing. Those supposed rights do impose obligations upon others. We see that by recognizing that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy. If one does not have money to pay for a medical service or decent housing and the government provides it, where do you think the government gets the money?
If you agree that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy and that Congress does not have any resources of its very own, the only way for Congress to give one American something is to first take it from some other American. In other words, if one person has a right to something he did not earn, it requires another person’s not having a right to something he did earn.
Let’s apply this bogus concept of rights to my right to speak and travel freely. Doing so, in the case of my right to free speech, it might impose obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. My right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations. If I were to demand that others make sacrifices so that I can exercise my free speech and travel rights, I suspect that most Americans would say, “Williams, yes, you have rights to free speech and traveling freely, but I’m not obligated to pay for them!”
As human beings, we all have certain natural rights. Of the rights we possess, we have a right to delegate them to government. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Because we possess that right, we can delegate it to government. By contrast, I do not have a right to take one person’s earnings to give to another. Because I have no such right, I cannot delegate it to government. If I did take your earnings to provide medical services for another, it would rightfully be described and condemned as an act of theft. When government does the same, it’s still theft, albeit legalized theft.
If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you should be against these so-called rights. When God gave Moses the eighth commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that he did not mean “thou shalt not steal unless there is a majority vote in Congress.” The bottom line is medical care, housing and decent jobs are not rights at all, at least not in a free society; they are wishes. As such, I would agree with most Americans — because I, too, wish that everyone had good medical care, decent housing and a good job.
HBO: Democrat propaganda machine
HBO should stand for History Bungling Office. Over and over again, they have abused their disclaimer that certain films are "fact-based dramatizations."
They re-litigated Al Gore's 2000 "victory" in "Recount." They viciously cartooned Sarah Palin's vice-presidential candidacy in "Game Change" without putting up any such disclaimer. Now, they're smearing Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a pervert and painting Anita Hill as a saint of sexual harassment in "Confirmation."
The makers of this "fact-based" movie claim it's balanced. Baloney. The advertisements alone give away the game. Over the face of actress (and executive producer) Kerry Washington, who played St. Anita, are the words, "It only takes one voice to change history."
This ignores the obvious: Liberals lost the Thomas fight more dramatically than they lost the 2000 election. It wasn't just that he won his confirmation. The American people didn't believe Hill's lurid and unsubstantiated tales of "Long Dong Silver" chatter. Even the CBS-New York Times poll found 58 percent believed Thomas, to only 24 percent for Hill. Only 26 percent of women believed Hill.
But HBO is rewriting history to make Hill's unpersuasive smear a dramatic turning point of women's rights. Cue the violins!
Early on in the movie, Hill is reluctant to testify, saying, "When someone comes forward, the victim tends to become the villain." That's exactly what HBO is doing to Justice Thomas with this movie: villainizing the victim.
Appearing on Fox's "The Kelly File," the film's executive producer and writer Susannah Grant claimed she was never certain about who was telling the truth during the Hill-Thomas hearings. She insisted that the truth wasn't really that interesting. "What I think is interesting about these hearings that they were a watershed event in our collective cultural history. They completely changed how we perceive and talk about women's rights in the workplace."
Grant and HBO predictably ignore everything that's happened in America since the Hill fiasco that ruins their leftist narrative. The film ends with the happy note that sexual-harassment complaints quickly doubled at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency Thomas led during the Reagan years. The film doesn't breathe a word about all the sexual harassment and rape charges against, yup, Bill Clinton, and how Anita Hill came to Slick Willie's defense in op-eds and TV interviews and shredded the consistency of feminism in the process.
HBO would never do a film about Paula Jones or Kathleen Willey or Juanita Broaddrick with the words, "It only takes one voice to change history" over their face. Bill Clinton's alleged harassment of them in the workplace and hotel rooms could never make them feminist icons like Hill. Feminists put female accusers down when they question the behavior of "feminist" male politicians.
Why at this late date would HBO dredge this garbage up again? This is obviously an election-year ploy in a year with a female Democratic Party nominee. Liberals can easily compare Hill and Hillary Clinton as misunderstood feminist heroines facing down abusive Republicans. Kerry Washington is a huge Clinton backer, posting gushy notes on her Instagram account when Clinton appeared with her in Hollywood in February: "A good friend came by set today. Proud to say... #imwithher".
When NBC's Matt Lauer surprisingly asked Washington if the film was propaganda, Washington shot back, saying: "For me, I've always felt it's important for me to not hold back on my political beliefs because of what I do for a living. I don't think that I should have to be any less of an American because I'm an actor." But "Confirmation" insists that what Americans thought of the real Hill-Thomas hearings in 1991 is less worthy of consideration than Washington's fictionalized history.
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