Friday, September 02, 2016
Bush=Nazi? Not so much
Despite the extreme abuse he received from the Left, I have always described GWB as a sentimental Christian gentleman -- and the report below by Taylor Griffin reinforces that
As a young White House staffer in the early years of President George W. Bush’s administration, I was always struck by President Bush’s kindness, warmth and genuine humility. I saw it when he choked back tears as he comforted grieving families after 9/11. Or in the camaraderie he shared with wounded warriors. But, I saw it in small moments too. Here's one of those that meant a great deal to me personally.
As I prepared to leave the White House for a new job opportunity, Ashley Kavanaugh, the President’s secretary at the time, called to tell me that the President wanted to invite my family to come visit in the Oval Office on my last day of work. It was 2003, a few days after the start of the Iraq war, when my brother, sister and father arrived at the White House Northwest gate. This was a busy time for the President. I anticipated a quick photo op. So, as we walked down the drive toward the West Wing, I instructed my family not to linger too long with the President. I knew that he had a great deal weighing on him, more than usual, and had an especially tight schedule that day.
We were ushered into the Oval, introductions were made, and White House photographer Eric Draper snapped a photo for posterity. After a few minutes of pleasantries, I thanked the President and began to usher everyone out.
As we turned for the door, he boomed, “hang on,” and motioned us back, insisting that we stay a little longer. He asked my brother about his career plans, my sister about her studies in college. He took the time to get to know each of them. As we left, everyone was beaming.
Later, I thanked the President for how generously he had welcomed our family. As much as I appreciated it, I asked why he had taken so much time for a junior staffer and his family from a small town in North Carolina? “Well,” he said, “this may be the one time in their lives your family will ever visit with a President in the Oval Office. I wanted to make sure that it was something they could remember.”
Everyone who has worked for President Bush has stories like this, my friend Dana Perino has a book filled with them (here's one and another). Many of these are far more awe-inspiring than mine (here here and here). But, sometimes it's the small things that best illustrate true kindness and real character.
Another wonderful Reagan story -- perhaps the best yet
Reagan was giving a speech at a school for the blind in the early 80’s. When the speech and the question and answer period were over, Reagan ordered all the journalists and photographers, and even his own staff - including Bennett himself - out of the auditorium so he could spend a few minutes with the children.
Later that day, Bennett was on the phone with the school administrator and asked her about those last few minutes in the auditorium. The administrator recounted how Reagan came down off the stage, sat amongst the children, and allowed them to feel his face.
In Denouncing Alt-Right, Hillary Treads Where GOP Will Not
Jonah is a bit flustered below. That Hillary condemns the Alt-Right confuses him. He does not seem to see that it is just an update of her "Vast right-wing conspiracy". See sees demons where they are not.
Jonah is broadly right in identifying whom the Alt-Right are -- people who acknowledge racial differences -- but he has fallen for a simplistic explanation for their motives. He cannot see that it is a concern for the safety of themselves and those like them that motivates Alt-Righters.
Black on white crime is a huge problem that is swept under the bed by mainstream politicians because of their refusal to talk about racial realities. Alt-Righters want to get that conversation under way without shrieks about Nazism, Apartheid, Jim Crow etc. The world of the 21st century is different from the 20th century and we need to acknowledge that and not go back to fight old battles that were won long ago.
There is no general agreement among Alt-Righters about how to deal with black criminality, but that it must not be ignored is universally agreed among them. Getting the problems of racial differences out in the open is what is aimed at
Last week delivered one of the most remarkable moments of this most remarkable political season. A major politician defended the conservative movement and the Republican Party from guilt-by-association with a fringe group of racists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists who have jumped enthusiastically on the Donald Trump train: the so-called alt-right.
“This is not conservatism as we have known it,” the politician said. “This is not Republicanism as we have known it.”
That politician was Hillary Clinton, and that’s astonishing. Clinton is normally comfortable unjustly condemning conservatism and the GOP for the sins of bigotry and prejudice, not exonerating it. After all, she coined the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Her husband’s administration tried — unfairly — to pin the Oklahoma City bombing on conservative critics, specifically radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. Less than a decade later, she revived the charge in her book “Living History,” tying the bombing to “right-wing radio talk shows and websites [which] intensified the atmosphere of hostility with their rhetoric of intolerance, anger and anti-government paranoia.”
Just last year, Clinton was comparing the entire GOP presidential field to “terrorist groups” for their views on abortion.
This history suggests that Clinton’s attempt to distinguish the party of Paul Ryan from the alt-right was not the product of high-minded statesmanship, but political calculation. The goal was to demonize Trump so as to make moderate voters feel OK voting for a Democrat.
(Trump is not an alt-righter, but his political inexperience, his anti-establishment persona, and his ignorance of, and hostility to, many basic tenets of conservatism created a golden opportunity for the alt-righters to latch onto his candidacy.)
If I were a down-ballot Democrat, I’d be chagrined. By exonerating the GOP from the stain of the alt-right, Clinton has made it harder for Democratic candidates to tar their opponents with it. What’s truly extraordinary, though, is that Clinton is doing work many conservatives won’t.
There is a diversity of views among the self-described alt-right. But the one unifying sentiment is racism — or what they like to call “racialism” or “race realism.” In the words of one alt-right leader, Jared Taylor, “the races are not equal and equivalent.” On Monday, Taylor asserted on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” that racialism — not religion, economics, etc. — is the one issue that unites alt-righters.
If you read the writings of leading alt-righters, it is impossible to come to any other conclusion. Some are avowed white supremacists. Some eschew talk of supremacy and instead focus on the need for racial separation to protect “white identity.” But one can’t talk about the alt-right knowledgeably without recognizing their racism.
And yet that is exactly what some conservatives seem intent on doing. For example, my friend Hugh Hewitt, the influential talk radio host, has been arguing that there is a “narrow” alt-right made up of a “execrable anti-Semitic, white supremacist fringe” but also a “broad alt-right” made up of frustrated tea partiers and others who are simply hostile to the GOP establishment and any form of immigration reform that falls short of mass deportation.
This isn’t just wrong, it’s madness. The alt-righters are a politically insignificant band. Why claim that a group dedicated to overthrowing conservatism for a white nationalist fantasy is in fact a member of the conservative coalition? Why muddy a distinction the alt-righters are eager to keep clear?
In the 1960s, the fledgling conservative movement was faced with a similar dilemma. The John Birch Society was a paranoid outfit dedicated to the theory that the U.S. government was controlled by communists. It said even Dwight Eisenhower was a Red (to which the conservative political theorist Russell Kirk replied, “Ike’s not a Communist, he’s a golfer”).
William F. Buckley recognized that the Birchers were being used by the liberal media to “anathematize the entire American right wing.” At first, his magazine, National Review (where I often hang my hat), tried to argue that the problem was just a narrow “lunatic fringe” of Birchers, and not the rank and file. But very quickly, the editors recognized that the broader movement needed to be denounced and defenestrated.
Buckley grasped something Hewitt and countless lesser pro-Trump pundits do not: Some lines must not be blurred, but illuminated for all to see. Amazingly, Clinton is doing that when actual conservatives have not.
We Have Nothing Left Holding Us Together
On Friday, a South Carolina high school stopped students from bringing American flags to a football game against a heavily Hispanic rival school. Why? The principal was presumably worried that waving the flag might offend the Hispanic students. According to the principal, “This decision would be made anytime that the American flag, or any other symbol, sign, cheer, or action on the part of our fans would potentially compromise the safety of all in attendance at a school event.”
This isn’t the first such situation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that a public school in California could ban students from wearing a shirt emblazoned with an American flag on Cinco de Mayo thanks to fears over racial conflict at the school. The lawyer for the children complained, “This opens the door for a school to suppress any viewpoints that are opposed by a band of vocal and violent bullies.”
Meanwhile, has-been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been widely praised in the media for refusing to stand for the national anthem during football games. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” explained the man earning an average of $19,000,000 per year for sitting on the bench. He continued: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
We’re watching the end of America in real time.
That doesn’t mean that the country’s on the verge of actual implosion. But the idea of America required a common definition of being American: a love of country on the basis of its founding philosophy. That has now been undermined by the left.
Love of country doesn’t mean that you have to love everything about America, or that you can’t criticize America. But loving America means understanding that the country was founded on a unique basis — a uniquely good basis. That’s what the flag stands for. Not ethnic superiority or racial solidarity or police brutality but the notion of individual liberty and equal rights before God. But with the destruction of that central principle, the ties that bind us together are fraying. And the left loves that.
In fact, the two defining philosophical iterations of the modern left both make war with the ties that bind us together. In President Obama’s landmark second inaugural address, he openly said, “Being true to our founding documents … does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way.” This is the kind of definition worshipped by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has singlehandedly redefined the Constitution. He said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
But this means that liberty has no real definition outside of “stuff I want to do.” And we all want to do different stuff, sometimes at the expense of other people’s liberty. Subjective definitions of liberty, rather than a common definition, means a conflict of all against all, or at least a conflict of a government controlled by some who are targeting everyone else. It means that our flag is no longer a common symbol for our shared definition of liberty. It’s just a rag that means different things to different people based on their subjective experiences and definitions of reality.
And that means we have nothing holding us together.
The only way to restore the ties that bind us is to rededicate ourselves to the notion of liberty for which generations of Americans fought and died. But that won’t happen so long as the left insists that their feelings are more important than your rights.
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Posted by JR at 12:50 AM