Some Odds and Ends

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln

We can’t have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves. – St Thomas Aquinas

Did you know that Herman Goring had an elder brother? Albert Goring. Helped Jews during the Nazi regime.

The SS America after a long and glorious career, wound up on the rocks. Let’s hope this isn’t prophetic.

Russian bombers are now based in Iran.

Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone. – Hilaire Belloc

The Sherman tank, built during World War Two, was giving good service in the Israeli armed forces as late as the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It has been up-gunned, but clearly that was a design that worked very well.

An ISIS fighter was receiving welfare. Of course.

To succeed in the world, it is much more necessary to possess the penetration to discern who is a fool, than to discover who is a clever man. – Charles Maurice de Tallyrand.

God is more ready to pardon that we have been to sin. – St. Catherine of Siena

The ship of democracy, which has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those on board. – Grover Cleveland

35 thoughts on “Some Odds and Ends

  1. Cluster August 17, 2016 / 8:24 am

    I am surprised that there is not more conversation, or at the very least more curiosity as to the murders of 3 people connected with the hacking of the DNC emails. Is this not just one hell of a coincidence or is this me being conspiracy minded?

    George Soros, aka the most dangerous man in the world has claimed that the refugee crisis is the new normal and helps his open border cause. He is also actively undermining Israel. Oh and he has also donated $7 million to the campaign of Hillary.

    From the YCMTSU file, gay activist Sally Kohn proclaimed that “progressive muslims” support Sharia law and that’s a good thing. I don’t think Sally really thought this one all the way through.

    The liberal media is doing everything they can at the moment to declare this race over which leads me to believe that they are worried. Granted Trump has an uphill battle and he is a flawed candidate, but I still believe that the political and media elite are completely underestimating the mood of the average American.

    Trump had two good speeches over the last couple of days and last nights appeal to inner city votes, and connecting inner city decay and poverty to Democrat policies was spot on and well received.

  2. Marc Lee August 17, 2016 / 11:20 am

    It’s not conspiracy, nor coincidence when you look around and realize that there is little the Clintons haven’t already done or won’t do in order to protect themselves, their activities and their power. Just a guess……their deterent is very effective at silencing anyone who would foolishly come against them. Think of her compassion at murdering Khadafy, deliberately abandoning Chris Stevens and others to die, arming terrorists, defending rapists, trying to destroy opponents. What are three more lives to them?
    What I don’t understand is why Soros is still free to do anything?. He was tried and found guilty of insider trading and was out on appeal but lost his appeal so why is he not in prison? He should be charged with financing insurrection and riots, have his assets frozen and pay for all the damages his paid terrorists have caused. But that’s in a world where rule of law exists…..where we don’t live any more.
    Yes, I think what we’re witnessing from the left, the elitist right and the store bought media is desperation. Think it’s likely to get much uglier before they’re through. But all of the enlightening exposures from leaked documents is keeping them busy trying to spin themselves out of it so let it keep coming. And that means exposing ALL the corruption on both sides. We need one huge purge here.

  3. Cluster August 18, 2016 / 11:25 am

    In small town politics there’s a universal saying – “they eat their own” and that is exactly what is happening within conservatism and it’s too the point where I now prefer to call myself an American rather than a conservative. I read through yesterday’s postings and found this from Mark:

    But Johnson is as anti-Conservative as Trump

    How exactly is that? Is there a conservative test out there that I am unaware of? Has anyone ever read the positions statements on Trump’s website? Here is a link:

    And here’s a summary – tax and regulatory reform, immigration reform, securing the border, repealing Obamacare, renegotiating trade deals, harnessing our energy reserves, and standing behind the second amendment. Last time I checked, these were conservative positions. Newt Gingrich has been the most effective conservative politician in my lifetime and he is in Trump’s inner circle. If Newt can accomplish what he did in the 90’s, than why would any conservative oppose him? Well with the exception of someone like Bill Kristol who seems to be more interested in his next invitation to the DC Soiree than he is in advancing conservatism.

    I have to think that in the face of strong opposition from the political and media elite, we have found the right candidate.

    • Amazona August 18, 2016 / 2:03 pm

      Cluster, I want very much to believe Trump when he says what he says. I really do. I am a firm believer in redemption and the ability to change. As I have said, I am a reformed Liberal, and proof of that belief. My concerns about Trump prior to the convention were threefold: One was his history of positions that were pretty much the opposite of the ones he is now espousing, one was his odd and erratic behavior on the campaign trail where he changed his positions so often and made statements that were simply not believable, and one was his history which I felt was baggage that could be used to bring him down.

      My main problem was with the GOP, which started off not wanting Trump but using him to take out Cruz and then refusing to give voters who had not voted for Trump a final voice in the selection process.

      Since he was nominated, my criticisms have been based on his odd campaign strategies. I don’t want a candidate who thinks he was nominated to go after other Republicans, or who thinks his job is not to run against Hillary but against the media, or who is so casual about the prospect of losing, seeing it only as a chance for him to have a nice long vacation. I absolutely want him to win, but if he can’t then I absolutely want him out of the way so we can get someone who has a chance.

      I used to be a big Newt fan. In the past few months he has said things that make me cringe, and seems to have gone off the rails a little bit. I have no idea why he became a Trump fan so early in the process, when Trump was still talking about liking Planned Parenthood and promising to deport all illegals and generally being an idiot. It didn’t make sense to me then, when we had a choice, and it doesn’t make sense to me now. The “reasons” given by him, and Ann Coulter and others, seemed very thin and superficial and based more on what they wanted to see rather than what was visible to us out here in the hinterlands.

      But that was then and this is now. Just don’t use the support of someone like Newt to shore up a belief in Trump, because Newt has eroded my respect for him. He had his day and that is long past. In the past few years I haven’t heard anything from him that sounds like he is the Newt of old.

      If we have to elect a man based on personality, so be it, as long as it is not Hillary. If we have to accept a litany of positions on Trump’s web site as true, accurate positions he personally holds, and to which he will remain steadfast and loyal and predictable, then so be it—it’s not as if we have a choice.

      I have not said a single word to indicate anything but wholehearted commitment to voting for Donald Trump as long as he is the Republican candidate. I have not said a single word to indicate a desire to have someone else on the ticket unless Trump goes into a full-out death spiral of his own making. You say “I have to think that in the face of strong opposition from the political and media elite, we have found the right candidate.” and I do not agree. I believe with my whole heart and soul and mind that the right candidate would have been a lifelong committed conservative with a deep knowledge of and commitment to the Constitution and the ability to articulate the benefits of returning to Constitutional governance. But that is not what we got, and we have to live with what we got. I think we have been saddled with the wrong candidate, who is still so vastly better than Hillary that I am quite comfortable voting for him.

      He is less wrong now that he has people laying out the positions he has to have to win over or at least calm the fears of people like me.

      As for the tired old stereotype of “DC cocktail parties” that is just silly. There seems to be this perception that Senators and Representatives and cabinet members and political observers are so motivated by social invitations to soirees put on by and attended by people with opposing political views that they will happily discard their own just to be on the invite list. I don’t know how this meme got started, but it has taken on a life of its own.

      • Cluster August 18, 2016 / 2:24 pm

        And I understand where you are coming from too. I also cringed at Trump numerous times and share many of the same concerns you spoke of, but like you said, he is the nominee now and so my sole focus and hope is that he surrounds himself with good common sense people who will advance a conservative agenda. I disagree with you on Newt. I think he is a kindred spirit of Trump and supported Trump because he saw in him an outsider who was not at all intimidated by the political and media elite, and someone who he could work with and help mold. If Newt can gain the same success he did in the 90’s, we will all be in much better shape.

        Re: DC cocktail parties, that is said with a little tongue in cheek, but don’t dismiss it entirely. I think someone like Bill Kristol, who I have grown to detest, is enamored with himself and his DC “cred” and by renouncing Trump he aligns himself with other elitists, so I think there is some legitimacy to that accusation.

      • Amazona August 18, 2016 / 4:53 pm

        I don’t think denouncing Trump means being an elitist or trying to get in with elitists. I can understand the frustration of a second-generation conservative warrior watching our first great chance to advance the cause lost to a boorish pandering populist with no conservative credentials at all. It hit me pretty hard and I am just an observer of the process, never having been in the trenches as Kristol has.

        I wish he would come around to voting for Trump as our only chance to keep Obama II out of the White House, but I do feel his pain. He has devoted his life to conservatism and is now watching it redefined in a very superficial and somewhat Progressive way, and I can’t blame him for being totally pissed off about it. And he is doing what supposedly attracted people to Trump—he is telling it like it is.

  4. Cluster August 19, 2016 / 8:18 am

    Not sure how many of you saw Trump’s speech last night, but I have been waiting to hear a Republican give that speech for two decades now. He spoke directly to the black and hispanic community, connected the policies of the left to their current plight and asked for their vote. If this is Trump 2.0, this is a game changer, and all the credit goes to Kellyanne Conway

    • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 10:18 am

      I think it is an appalling and rather disgusting article which has, as its true agenda, demeaning legitimate concerns about Trump. I understand the sensitivity of Trumpists to the observations of those of us who watched them ditch their much-vaunted “principles” en masse as soon as an appealing demagogue came on the scene.

      The smug self-righteous “evangelicals” who could not lower themselves to vote for someone from a “wrong” religion even though he had lived that religion, had preached the word of God, had donated to good causes, had visited the sick and comforted the grieving and in general gave evidence of making a serious effort to live his life as a true and believing Christian, suddenly swooned over a man with no religious history or background, who bragged that he had never found any reason to ask forgiveness for anything (in spite of a sordid history that included sexual promiscuity, serial adultery and lying to his family about his escapades) and said his Christian faith could could be illustrated by the fact that he had “eaten that little cracker”.

      The self-proclaimed “conservatives” swarmed in unruly mobs to shriek their support of a man whose every speech promised a stronger Central Authority which would solve every problem, without reference to or presumably concern for Constitutional restraints on presidential powers.

      The same folks who screeched, in the Clinton Hound Dog years, that “character does matter” suddenly did a big 180 and decided no, it really doesn’t after all. Now they not only went bonkers over a man whose sexual escapades rivaled those of Clinton but which were much more crudely described by him in public, they viewed his shady business dealings as proof that he “knows how to get things done”.

      And now they get the vapors over being seen as hypocrites. Now they want to be seen as political ideologues, in spite of basing their entire political choice on issues instead of ideology, and are lecturing those who actually are committed to constitutional—that is, conservative—political values.

      When the entire conservative movement is hijacked by people who want what they want but don’t want to admit that what they want is antithetical to the meaning of political conservatism so they simply redefine the word, this IS the end of the conservative movement. Unless a serious effort is made to save it, and that includes pointing out where it has gone off the rails.

      I found the article quite insulting, as it sneered at political principles as “moral narcissism”. This is a way to try to excuse lack of principle—by demeaning principle, by ridiculing it and portraying it as something silly or petty.

      I think the honesty of the piece is illustrated by its misstatement of the Cruz convention speech. “Ted Cruz, in his notorious non-endorsement speech at the RNC, spoke the magical words, “vote your conscience” — music to the ears of moral narcissists.” That is a disgusting comment but typical of demagoguery. “Notorious”? Meow. An honest person, even if he admires the tactic, would have to recognize the Trump tactic for what it was—petty and vindictive. Trump invited Cruz to speak, understood that Cruz would not provide a personal endorsement of Trump the man, said he wanted him anyway, read the speech, made no objection to the speech, applauded the speech—and then within minutes of the end of the speech attacked Cruz for making it. Did Cruz say he was not going to vote for Trump? No. Did Cruz encourage other people to not vote for Trump? No. I find it telling that Trumpists are so threatened by the idea of people being guided by principles, such as simply telling people to do what they think is right.

      The article is a temper tantrum. Trumpists used every dirty trick in the book to get their guy, the guy who only got a little over 35% of primary votes cast, into the nomination, and now they are not happy to just rest on their victory and try to get the guy over the massive hump of actually being elected—they now demand that the 60% or so of Republicans who did not want Trump say they were wrong, and that Trump is and was the best choice. They demand that their preferences be validated. And they are trying to head off the inevitable I TOLD YOU SOs that will be hurled at them and piled upon their heads if their guy loses. They are setting up an excuse factory that churns out “It’s not his fault” bumper stickers to cover their hypocritical asses.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 10:23 am

        BTW, I do not agree with the people who are trying to keep Trump from winning. I think it is as misguided as the sentiments that gave us Trump in the first place. Unless there is a valid, reasonable belief supported by facts we don’t know that suggest that a replacement can be made for Trump in time to try to turn this around, I think they are putting the wrong principles in play.

        When there was a chance to actually nominate a conservative, who actually had a chance of winning, was the time to fight the good fight. Once that fight was lost, I think the right move is to do whatever it takes to keep the White House out of the hands of the radical Left, and then to bring those principles into play again to revamp the Republican Party and make sure this kind of mess doesn’t happen again.

      • Cluster August 19, 2016 / 10:29 am

        I find the self interested musings of people like Bill Kristol to be insulting. NeverTrumpers do not own the conservative cause, so we will have to agree to disagree.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 10:48 am

        I guess it comes down to “What IS ‘the conservative cause’?”

        As I said, it has been redefined. Whereas it used to be a commitment to the blueprint for governance laid out in the Constitution and its restrictions on federal size, scope and power, it has morphed into a populist movement based on issues.

        There is nothing wrong with passion for an issue, but to be a conservative this has to be accompanied by a commitment to addressing that issue within the boundaries established by the Constitution. Once these boundaries are ignored and the people start to support someone who openly states that he, as an individual, will be the moving force to address an issue then they have moved away from the objective definition of “conservatism” into populism and susceptibility to demagoguery. The party, or movement, has moved from objective ideology to the surges of emotion.

        Trump’s appeal was never one of a constitutional approach to solving problems—it was always HIM solving problems FOR the people. When you listened to what he said, and to what his supporters said, this was always the message. He even admitted that if he couldn’t find someone to be on his staff who could work with Congress he would “have to” govern by Executive Order, just like Obama.

        I believe that people who are still committed to constitutional governance, and who have sought out and supported candidates who have shared that commitment, DO “own the conservative cause” as it has existed for a long long time. I do agree that these people do not “own” the revamped, redefined, Progressive version of the “conservative cause” that is based on issues that have been defined as “conservative” in nature. This is Trumpist territory.

        And THAT, more than Trump himself, is the battleground.

      • Cluster August 19, 2016 / 11:38 am

        By your definition, Reagan was more of a populist then a conservative as he ran on building up the military, curbing inflation, and reducing tax burdens. And for that matter, every GOP president in my life time from Nixon through Bush ran on issues (Nixon with law and order, and Bush with keeping America safe), other than a commitment to strict constitutional governance.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 10:55 am

        One thing that Trumpists are just going to have to accept and get used to is that there is NO respect for their choice of Trump over other, better qualified, less toxic, dedicated conservatives. That might sting, but it can come as no surprise. If they feel insulted, then maybe instead of attacking the messenger they should take a hard cold look at the true reasons they were so drawn to this man over everyone else. His appeal, where it existed, was visceral, no matter how many people tried to make it appear objective and intellectual. They just liked him so much that literally nothing else mattered, and this has been their choice.

        And many of us choose to view it with, if not outright contempt, at least with disdain. And if this emotion-based attraction to a showman over a statesman results in losing the White House, there WILL be contempt. One would assume this was understood and accepted as the price of making the choices they made.

      • Cluster August 19, 2016 / 11:52 am

        I still think you mischaracterize the people who support Trump, and I can assure you that the “Trumpists” do not care one bit what NeverTrumpers think of them, nor do they want their respect. I lost respect for the milquetoast, self superior GOPers a long time ago. There is a profound divide in the GOP so I guess we will see how it plays out.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 4:21 pm

        If Trumpists don’t care what we think of them why is there this push to get us to say we were wrong and Trump really is, as you said, “the right candidate”?

        If Trumpists don’t care what we think of them why isn’t it enough to just say fine, we’ll vote for the guy in spite of his defects because as bad as he is he is still better than Hillary? Why are you still trying to sell him to people who have bowed our heads and acknowledged that we have no alternatives?

        You can like Trump, you can think he is just marvy and peachy and special, and that is fine. But if you don’t care that millions of us merely tolerate him instead of swooning over him, then stop trying to convince us he is wonderful. He may win. We will try to help him win. He may do a decent job. We hope he does. He may even do a good job. We hope he does. But buy into the meme that he is the “right man for the job”? Not hardly.

        George W. Bush said it best, when he said “I’m not the best man for the job, but I’m the best man in the race”. Trump is far from the best man for the job, but he is certainly the best candidate in the race. We know we have to play the hand we’re dealt, but please stop telling us that two twos is a winning hand. It CAN be, but it still sucks and it’s nothing to brag about. On the contrary, it is a hand that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end, with no enthusiasm and little hope.

        I’m glad Trump changed his tone and started to say things that make sense. I am truly glad. I hope he means it all. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that he means it all. It sounds like he hit a lot of the right notes last night and I hope he builds on this.

        Just don’t tell us that we have no right to be disappointed, pissed off, or even angry. It is like waiting for eight years to get the best ticket in town, starring the superstar of the ages, only to show up at the theater to find the role played by the third understudy. You may not understand what it is like to look forward to an election cycle for the first time in decades, to anticipate an election cycle filled with hope and enthusiasm and optimism and excitement and a sense of moving forward, only to have the rug pulled out and have to settle for a dreary, depressing, slog through muck that has only a slight chance of success. We EARNED a good candidate. We DESERVED a good candidate. And what we got was Trump, because of the triumph of emotion over rational thought, and the manipulations of the GOP. Trump spoke not just to the hopes and fears and goals of Americans, because several of the other candidates did the same thing. No, he spoke to their emotions. He appealed to them on a highly personal, visceral, level, and then they reverse-engineered their support to say it rested on his message.

      • M. Noonan August 19, 2016 / 7:31 pm

        All true – but as I noted at the time, my wish was that Walker (or Jindal) had decided to out-Trump Trump. If we’re going to have this sort of campaign, then I do wish it were run by someone with a bit more intellectual rigor than Trump. Jindal did actually make a stab at it, but it was too late for him…and none of the other candidates had the guts to even try. Of course, what was missing in Walker and Jindal, ultimately, was a willingness to really tangle with the established order of things (the dogmas of Free Trade, NATO, mass immigration – even if we stopped illegal immigration, there is an argument to be made to highly restrict legal immigration as we let assimilation catch up with immigration…and no one is talking about that). And, of course, going after the crony Capitalist/Semi-Socialist economic system we have now…Trump, of course, has profited mightily precisely off of this, but even he is smart enough to attack it…Jindal and Walker and the rest weren’t.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 4:25 pm

        “There is a profound divide in the GOP so I guess we will see how it plays out.”

        Yes, we will. And I will say here what I have said in communications with various party officials in a couple of states—–the divide is basically between the ideologues and the Identity Politics people, and it is the ideologues who have the commitment and the foundation of actual political philosophy, while the Identity Politics people may have scrounged up some numbers this time around but are so shallowly rooted that they will slope off after the next shiny thing dangled in front of them, or just lose interest and wander off to watch some more reality TV.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 4:30 pm

        “By your definition, Reagan was more of a populist then a conservative as he ran on building up the military, curbing inflation, and reducing tax burdens. “

        Really? Reagan told people that if he couldn’t get Congress to go along with his ideas of how best to address these issues he would just issue Executive Orders and rule from the White House?

        Gee, I guess I missed that.

        “And for that matter, every GOP president in my life time from Nixon through Bush ran on issues (Nixon with law and order, and Bush with keeping America safe), other than a commitment to strict constitutional governance.”

        Again…really? Which of them had a history of saying that “the government should pay for everything”? Which of them said he would rule by executive fiat, coming right out and admitting that the Constitution would not play a role in his presidency? What, exactly, did Nixon or Bush 41 or Bush 43 say during campaigns to indicate an intent to bypass Congress if he decided that was the best way to get something done?

      • M. Noonan August 19, 2016 / 7:26 pm

        In any popularly elected official, there is always a quotient of populism – as well as demagoguery. It really can’t be done any other way…to get votes, especially when we get into millions of voters, it takes a bit of splash and appeals to populism just to get noticed. We’re a long way from the times when it was expected that the Presidential nominee would sit home, quietly, and allow his surrogates to make the case. I’d prefer the old way – Candidate is named, platform crafted and then, essentially, the people discuss which is best and make their choice. But, that is not to be in this day and age.

        But Trump is a massive order of magnitude higher (or lower, as you wish) in the demagoguery and populist stakes than any Presidential candidate we ever had. Even with what we’ve done this past 100 years, the Presidential candidate did try to craft an “above it all” image as surrogates got into the muck. Trump has gotten into it directly – though in this, as is in so many things, Obama did lead the way (“knife to a gun fight”; “punch back twice as hard”; “get in their faces”; “the police acted stupidly”). My biggest worry about Trump is that if he wins, pretty much all candidates will feel compelled to adopt his strategy for winning – if we think our political discourse is crude now, just wait a bit and see what the Democrats would be like running against him in 2020.

      • Cluster August 20, 2016 / 9:40 am

        Well Reagan actually did go around Congress and got himself into hot water over the Iran Contra deal, and I just don’t recall Trump ever saying he would dismiss Congress in favor of executive order. I am not saying he didn’t say it because Lord knows Trump is capable of saying anything, but I do remember a few instances where he chided Obama for his executive orders and said he would not be that type of President. I also don’t recall Trump saying that “the government should pay for everything”.

        I understand your sentiment but looking back now on the GOP field of 2016, I just don’t see any “superstar of the ages” in that line up. I was a big Rubio guy but he shrunk on the national stage and proved he just wasn’t ready. I also liked Fiorina but like Rubio, she just wasn’t ready. Kasich is Democrat lite and completely self absorbed, Jeb was a non starter, Christie or Paul couldn’t fill the role either and Cruz’s game plan of embracing Trump in the beginning proved to be a tactical mistake. Besides, in this current political environment a Harvard educated lawyer/politician was at a disadvantage from the beginning. Cruz is also not “bigger than life” as you stated, and just doesn’t have the personality to galvanize and inspire enough people. His appeal is limited and in this day and age, that is a big factor.

        Re: the NeverTrump movement, the condescension is palpable. It’s funny how this group seemingly considers themselves to be in another league, and much smarter than those folks in fly over country. The GOP has been wanting to expand their coalition and advance their message for the last couple of decades and now when the moment is here, the party purists are offended that the voters have rejected their heady analysis and preferred candidates. Instead of working with this coalition and building on common ground, the GOP Clerisy chooses to demean and personally attack those who have the audacity to reject their opinions this election cycle, and considering those opinions have led to two electoral defeats and the unabated advancement of the progressive agenda, I would suggest that maybe they should be listening more closely to the voters this time around rather than the noise within the GOP Clerisy bubble.

      • Amazona August 19, 2016 / 9:13 pm

        I give Walker, Jindal, et al a little more slack because they were so massively overwhelmed by the media blitz of Trump there was just no way to get their voices heard, Look at the debates: “Mr. Trump, what do you think of ____? Mr. Blank, what do you think of what Mr. Trump said?” It was TrumpTrumpTrumpTrumpTrumpeteyTrumpTrump. Some of us tried to warn Trumpbots that this could not be taken as true support for Trump—since when have the liberal Complicit Agenda Media wanted us to have the best candidate we could get?—-but no, the fervor was so great in the WWE/UFC types, with blood boiling in anticipation of Trump taking Hillary to the mat and so smitten by his grandiose verbiage, the media attention was taken as validation of his greatness.

        I look at those who did try to take Trump on, and see how they fared. For one thing, dirty underhanded gutter tactics are in Trump’s wheelhouse, and fortunately for the nation few others have his experience and expertise in this area, much less the glee in the bloodletting. For another, he had the coverage.

        I do think that in this age of bigger-than-life TV and social media and so on, a candidate has to be somewhat bigger than life, and Walker and Jindal are just not that type of personality. I also have my concerns about Jindal’s eligibility, as his parents were not citizens when he was born. Once the well was poisoned for Cruz, thanks to truly despicable tactics by Trump, I thought Walker would be the perfect choice at the convention, as he is the un-Trump—mild mannered, not volatile, not a guy who would stir passions so much that people would feel driven to vote for Hillary just to defeat him.

        But early in the race, no one could overcome the blaring cacophony of Trump media coverage. No one. Its value has been estimated at about $2 billion, and I’m not sure that spending that much by anyone else could have matched it much less overidden it. Someone like Hannity could have picked someone and given him a lot of air time to counter the Trump tsunami, but Hannity was in the tank for Trump and didn’t have much time for anyone else.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 12:45 pm

        Rubio had charm, charisma, a pretty face and a political background with just (barely) enough conservative cred to get him onstage. But he lacked backbone. His problem was much less one of “not being ready” and much more one of “not the right stuff”. He might, possibly, grow into a more focused person, but so far he has been campaigning for class president more than president of the United States and his popularity campaign pretty much sunk his political campaign. Fiorina has what it takes to be president but in a field that had degenerated into a Last Man Standing cage fight kind of mentality she was not in her element. Kasich is a weasel, who is barely recognizable as the effective ideologue of the past. Jeb has the chops to handle the day to day work of the presidency, and the mental and emotional maturity, but he is too Progressive and too much in the tank with the elites. Christie is too much like Kasich, and Paul is too identified with the loonier aspects of Libertarians and his foreign policy stances were too wishy-washy and unrealistic.

        I disagree that Cruz had a “game plan” of “embracing” Trump. I think his “game plan” was to keep the whole process on a civil, civilized, and focused plane of how best to govern the nation. It was a noble and valiant effort, and in a field that did not include Trump it probably would have elevated the discourse into a very effective counterpoint to the gutter tactics of the Dems. He had no way of knowing how many Republicans yearned not for someone to lift us out of the gutter but for someone to want be IN the gutter.

        You say of Cruz “Cruz is also not “bigger than life ….(and)….. just doesn’t have the personality to galvanize and inspire enough people…” but I don’t agree. I know people who have met with him, in the early stages of his campaign before he even announced he would be running, when he was establishing his ground game, who said he was brilliant, inspiring and charismatic. His skill set is much more focused on being able to put together an argument that is concise, coherent and compelling, and to sell this to people by explaining it in a way that is clearly understood. This is not the skill set that was necessary to deal with the brutal onslaught of schoolyard bullying and below-the-belt attacks of a Trump, so in that kind of conflict he did not come across well.

        I think a Candidate Cruz would have proved to be “bigger than life” in the kind of way the nation needs—that is, by treating people with respect and dignity, talking to them as if they are smart and concerned and involved, by keeping the discourse on the things that matter and not on personality or identity.

        You say of Cruz “His appeal is limited and in this day and age, that is a big factor.” Yet the “appeal” of Trump as a person is really quite limited. This comes back to personal taste, so those who find Trump “charismatic” and even “attractive” just don’t understand how much his very persona, his speech mannerisms and facial contortions and the general way he comes across are just downright creepy. Icky creepy. I have to read his speeches because I just can’t stand to watch or listen to him. There is just something about him that is very off-putting. So while I agree that Cruz is not photogenic, it’s not as if he was up against someone who IS. He does not have orange skin, a floppy mop of peroxided hair, and a face that often looks like that of a baby with a full diaper. This whole “appeal” thing is just too subjective to be very compelling. I have a friend who thinks Nicolas Cage is the sexiest man alive. ????? Obviously, attraction is a personal quirk.

        The chance we missed was the chance to give American voters a real choice, a choice between thought and emotion.

        I heard a line in a book I was listening to that I thought summed up the difference between Trump and Cruz: “If you can get people to believe they are thinking, they will love you. If you make them think, they will hate you.”

  5. Cluster August 20, 2016 / 10:26 am

    So I just saw NeverTrumper Bruce Bartlett, who worked in the Bush II administration, on MSNBC and like a dutiful member of the Clerisy, Bartlett shamed the GOP for being the party of white “nationalists” that had little chance of gaining in roads into minority precincts. A comment of which I am sure earned him praise from the MSNBC elite and a definite invite to more appearances but this comment is simply beyond the pale and firmly puts Bartlett into the progressive camp. My opinion is that the Bush’s may have been the worst thing to ever happen to the GOP. I never did like Bush I particularly following his primary with Reagan when he proclaimed that trickle down economics was voodoo economics, and after breaking his no taxes pledge once elected. And while I supported Bush II primarily because of the war, he never did fight back against the opposition and allowed the progressives to define him at every opportunity, and then buckled under progressive pressure and enacted TARP I. The Bush’s personify the GOP Clerisy and they have done more to ruin the reputation of the GOP than any other.

    • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 11:39 am

      We need to remember that “working in the Bush II administration” is not the same as having solid conservative credentials. Merely moving on to MSNBC ought to make that clear.

      I don’t have a problem with the Bushes. Do I agree with everything they did? No. I understand that the comment on “voodoo economics” was mere campaign rhetoric, and much worse uttered since then, including by Mr. Trump, has been dismissed as such and declared no big deal. I agree that Bush II did not stand up the way I wanted him to, and caved when I didn’t think he should have. OK. So I will not vote for either of them again. Time to move on from the Bushes.

      “Reagan actually did go around Congress and got himself into hot water over the Iran Contra deal…” but this is not at all the same thing as legislating from the Oval Office. A lot of top secret activities go on through various intelligence agencies that are approved by the president, as Commander In Chief as well as the president, and these are not in any way similar to legislation.

      “…and I just don’t recall Trump ever saying he would dismiss Congress in favor of executive order..” Now you’re just Bobbing me, “responding” to something I never said. “Dismiss Congress”? Never said it, never hinted at it, never implied it, it never happened. Let’s try to stick to what is actually said, OK?

      I don’t know when Trump said it, but I did quote it here on the blog in a post, when he said that he was “hoping” he could find someone who could work with Congress so he “wouldn’t have to” get things done by Executive Order. And there is more.

      “Trump says President Obama’s irresponsible use of executive orders has paved the way for him to also use them freely if he wins the presidential race.

      “I won’t refuse it. I’m going to do a lot of things,” Trump said when asked if he would use executive orders in an interview Sunday onNBC”s “Meet the Press.”

      “I mean, he’s led the way, to be honest with you,” he added, referring to Obama.

      The Republican primary front-runner said his executive orders, unlike the president’s, will be for the “right things.”

      “But I’m going to use them much better and they’re going to serve a much better purpose than he’s done,” he said.”

      “Portsmouth, New Hampshire (CNN)Donald Trump announced Thursday that if elected president, he would sign an executive order to mandate the death penalty for convicted cop killers.”

      ““One of the first things I’d do in terms of executive order if I win would be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that anybody caught killing a policeman, policewoman, police officer — anybody killing a police officer: death penalty,” Trump said to loud applause. “It’s gonna happen. OK? We can’t let this go.” “

      So much for state sovereignty.

      Then there are the personal promises to “build a wall” that would not require Congressional approval or funding because he would “make Mexico pay for it”—-supposedly by stopping the sending of money back to Mexico from Mexican nationals working in the United States. These are two things that would require Congressional approval, by the way, as would deportation of millions. That would not only require Congressional approval, it would require Congressional funding.

      Now. Let’s stop for a minute, and then calmly step away from where we seem to be now. I am pointing out the problems millions had with Trump BEFORE HE WAS NOMINATED. These are things that concerned us, things that Trumpbots simply ignored or dismissed or even cheered, all of which showed (at least to us) a strong Progressive attitude toward government. Coupled with repeated comments that the only thing wrong with Obamacare is that it didn’t go far enough and “the government should pay for everything” there were a lot of big red flags whipping in the hurricane of legitimate concerns about Trump’s qualifications and credentials. It all happened. But it doesn’t need to be revisited, or re-argued, or re-defended. He is the nominee. The time for these arguments against Trump being the nominee are past.

      My point is that to ignore these things back when they were brought up, to either dismiss them or defend them, is by the definition of many a disqualification for identity as a constitutional conservative. I am not talking about Trump any more, not in those terms. That ship has sailed. What I am talking about is the defensiveness of Trumpbots who now want to be considered hard-core constitutional conservatives, when the only reason he IS our nominee is their dismissal of basic constitutional governance because they were smitten by a strongman persona who promised to fix everything.

      As the great black philosopher LL Cool J said, in his character on NCIS Los Angeles, “Only a fool trips over what is behind him”. I am trying to look forward.

      I am accepting Trump at his word, that what he says now is what he believes. I have a little precedent for that. Rightly or wrongly, my opinion of LBJ was that he was a vile, disgusting, criminal and moral reprobate who stooped to literally everything, including murder, to get to the White House—but that once there he strove to do a good job. With that background of personal opinion, I can accept the idea that Donald Trump, who (unlike Hillary Clinton) does not have a string of bodies lining his path to the White House, can and will make the changes in attitude and action necessary for him to do a good job.

      Having said all of that, I still grieve for the destruction of the GOP, and lay most of the blame on the people I identified above, who created this massive division within the party when they abandoned the basic principles of constitutional conservatism while insisting that they still represent the party. You just can’t have something like that happen without tearing the party apart. A year ago, the party was fairly unified. There were Progressive dinosaurs at the top we knew would have to go, but aside from that there seemed to be an overall sense of excitement and enthusiasm about the 2016 election cycle. We had the most despicable Democrat candidate since, well, LBJ, on one side, and on the other we had what we kept referring to as our “depth on the bench” which was filled with strong conservative possibles.

      Then out of nowhere a big, blustering, blowhard demagogue came blasting out of Left field (literally) bellowing “Follow me! I am the answer to everything that bothers you! To hell with process, to hell with Constitutional constructs, all you need is MEEEE!” And suddenly the party unity was shattered, as about a third of Republicans decided that they preferred this to what the party had been building up for years. Defend these people all you want, but please stop trying to convince us that we should not resent the damage they have done.

      • Cluster August 20, 2016 / 12:32 pm

        You keep wanting to blame the Trumpists for the damage to the GOP which completely ignores the two decades of damage that the NeverTrumpers have wreaked upon the party. Was looking the other way while the 1992-2006 GOP Congress spent like drunken sailors a good thing for the GOP? How about adding $4 trillion to the debt during the Bush II admin? How about the expansion for federal benefits under Bush II? Or the expansion of the Education bureaucracy with NCLB? These are not exactly strict Constitutional measures. Then of course those who you blame for “damaging” the party were faced with John McCain as the nominee and most of them stepped up and supported McCain without whining. They were then given Romney, who I was excited about, but Romney wasn’t exactly a “strict constitutionalist” either so it begs the question then why now do the NeverTrumpers insist on a strict constitutional? Honestly, I think the NeverTrumpers are more responsible for the Trump nomination than any one else.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 1:06 pm

        How far back are you determined to go in your frantic effort to make this whole Trump movement less toxic to the party?

        Yes,the party was already a mess. Duh. No argument there. My point was not and never has been to claim that the GOP was, before Trump, a strong and vibrant and functional party with undivided commitment to constitutional governance. This is a straw man that won’t hold up even without being flailed at in defensive outrage.

        IT. WAS. A. MESS. It started to pull itself out of its self-induced damage when it nominated Romney. You sneer “…Romney wasn’t exactly a “strict constitutionalist” either…”—on what do you base this statement? When he was the governor of a largely Democratic state his job was to enact the legislation passed by that state’s legislature. He did his job, as he was legally and morally bound to do. What is the basis for your complaint that he was not a “strict constitutionalist”? He just didn’t run a very effective campaign. (See: dysfunctional Republican party.)

        “…so it begs the question then why now do the NeverTrumpers insist on a strict constitutional (sic)?” No, it doesn’t. It does no such thing. Aside from the foolishness of trying to use past mistakes, or allegations of past mistakes, to excuse current and future mistakes, conservatives have always wanted a president strongly committed to constitutional governance. We got McCain, and raised hell about it. We got Romney and liked him, but then ran into the pseudo-conservative “evangelical” bigot brigade that didn’t give a hoot about constitutional governance, they only wanted someone with a Christian brand they could identify with and to hell with living a Christian life in a Christian church.

        So stop with the history lesson, unless it is to illustrate how and why the burgeoning conservative movement, energized by the successes of the TEA Party and educated by its failures, had finally put together a game plan designed to fix what was wrong.

        The party was a mess. It had one good chance to fix what was wrong. That chance was torpedoed by a mob mentality that proved itself to not give a damn about ideology, and to be wholly motivated by issues and a demagogue who would pander to them.

        All you would have to do is try to envision the party if Trump had just made some speeches supporting our candidate and donated a bunch of money to the cause, and let the newly energized conservative movement support and nominate a true conservative who has the skills to take the message to the people and the backbone to stand up to the party elites, both in and out of Congress. The simple fact is, the fact you are determined to ignore, is that without Trump the party would not be split as it is now. You may complain it wouldn’t be perfect, and I would have to agree with you, but that is not the point. The point is, it would be for the most part united, and it would be supporting a candidate in an election that is not based on who is worst for the country.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 1:12 pm

        “Honestly, I think the NeverTrumpers are more responsible for the Trump nomination than any one else.” Really? Wow. That is a line of reasoning that explains a lot.

        Pointing out the moral, philosophical, political and personal defects of a presidential hopeful and his deviance from the stated party ideology is what made him successful?

        How does your theory, according to you an honest representation of how you feel, explain why more than 60% of Republican voters were ignored, in party manipulations to give the nomination to someone who had such a glaring lack of support? The party got its back up and said “We’re not going to be bossed around by a large majority of our members !!” and decided to nominate someone who never had our support just to teach us a lesson?

        I’m just not sure how this all worked. Please explain your honest opinion on this process.

      • Cluster August 20, 2016 / 2:37 pm

        I will give it a try. The problem with the other 60% of GOPers vote is that they were spread out amongst other candidates and they could not get on the same page. You’re assuming that had it just been between Trump and Cruz, that Cruz would have gained all 60%, and that is just not the reality. You also claim that the nomination was given to “someone who had such a glaring lack of support?” I will remind you that Trump garnered 13.3 million primary votes and easily out distanced everyone else in the field, along with winning 36 states, so I would not characterize that as a “glaring lack of support”. You’re right that the GOP was a mess, but whose fault is that? As I have said before, I have voted in line with the GOP every election cycle and I have nothing to show for it, so forgive me if I don’t think that another Harvard educated lawyer/politician was our last best hope to save the party. I am much more interested in seeing the likes of Gingrich, Giulani, Gowdy, Christie, etc., get into office than I am Trump. I think the team that is currently surrounding Trump are all experienced, pragmatic conservative warriors and I am hopeful they will advance the conservative agenda.

        I also really like Trump’s current attack on inner city decay and poverty and linking them to Democrat policies. I have been waiting for 20 years to see that happen and I am convinced that not many in the GOP would have taken on that challenge. They never have before.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 1:19 pm

        What this whole thread comes down to is that now that the Trumpists have won their first battle—gaining the nomination—they are now fighting to rewrite history so they can not be seen for what they are. Now the howling mob swooning over the guy who promised not to bring the nation back to constitutional governance (which is what made it great in the first place, something never mentioned, NOT ONE TIME, in the hysteria) but to be The Guy who, when given enough power, will just fix it all, wants to recast itself as true conservatives driven by commitment to the constitution.

        Trumpbots didn’t seem too worried about how they were coming across when they were screeching their adoration for the guy who “TELLS IT LIKE IT IS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now all of a sudden they want to be admired for their party vandalism.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 6:44 pm

        During the primary process, several polls went beyond first choice votes and asked people who, if their first choice did not win, would be their second and sometimes even third choices. What struck me, and the pollsters, was that Trump got nearly zero second-choice votes. The takeaway from this was that you were either for Trump or you weren’t, that if he was not Number One in your book he would not get your vote if your favorite didn’t make the cut.

        The number of second-choice votes for Cruz, added to those for whom he was first choice, indicated that he would be the one to pick up votes as other candidates dropped out.

        I don’t think that merely being a Harvard grad, or a lawyer, or a politician, or any combination of the above, is a good reason to dismiss someone as presidential material. I look a little deeper than the superficial. For example, I look at the kind of work Cruz did as a lawyer, what he fought for, and his success rate. I am amazed at how many people say they like Trump “because he’s not a politician”. That makes absolutely no sense to me. There are good politicians and bad politicians, and I think a good politician, one who is in politics because of a calling to serve his country when he could make a lot of money in the private sector, one whose political career is a straight line from everything he said mattered to him from high school on and focused on making the country work better, is exactly what we should have been hoping and praying for.

        Oh, I know that a lot of people get sucked into the “at least he’s not a politician” nonsense, but to me that is saying they want someone who has no idea of what is going on, why it has been going on, or the process for fixing it. Trump is an excellent example of that. He seems to think that solving business problems, in a business you started and own and pretty much control outright (even with a Board of Directors) is the same thing as dealing with problems in a huge country where these things demand a working knowledge of the system, of the processes, and of the people you need to win over to get anything done. It is naive and simplistic but it sure seems to appeal to a lot of people.

        I know that a lot of people die or are injured every year due to medical malpractice, but if I need to have my appendix taken out I am not going to call an electrician and explain it by saying “At least he’s not a doctor”. No, I’m just going to be picky about the doctor I go to.

        ” I will remind you that Trump garnered 13.3 million primary votes and easily out distanced everyone else in the field, along with winning 36 states, so I would not characterize that as a “glaring lack of support”” We have gone over this before. He got less than 40% of the total votes cast. That IS a glaring lack of support. It is so glaring that some of it is continuing even after his formal nomination—which depended on silencing the voices of that 60+ %. Of the votes he did get, many were from Democrats and Independents voting in Republican primaries—-and of course they had the best interests of the GOP at heart and were not, cross their collective little hearts, trying to rig the election to saddle us with a loser. Then he got a lot of votes after his rabid junkyard dog routine became so distasteful and so expensive that no one wanted to be in the same race with him, especially given the fawning free press coverage that swamped anything anyone else said or did and spun everything his way, so he was pretty much the only one left. The whole “easily outdistanced everyone in the field” depends on implying that he got more votes than any other single candidate, but he did not “outdistance the whole field”.

        See, this is what drives me nuts about Trumpists—the need to justify their support and spin everything to try to make it look more favorable to him than it was. We were there. We experienced the whole thing, and furthermore we experienced it from the position of being horrified by what was happening, not from inside the bubble where everyone was wrapped in the same glow of Trumpism.

        It’s kind of like seeing a UFC fan put on specs and a bow tie and ponderously declaiming that he “loves the sport because of its elegant juxtaposition of geometry and physics, and its exploration of the medical phenomenon of asphyxiation…” Bullshit. It fools no one, not even the one trying to pull it off.

        Trump squeaked by with a majority in one state before the rest got sick and tired of his schoolyard bullyboy antics and the simultaneous futile battle for media coverage. Until then he was well under 35%. When he was pretty much the last guy there he still didn’t get every vote. Not even he can get away with claiming that less than 40% of the votes cast represents a real “win” much less overwhelming support. He played dirty, he gamed the system, his people ignored the real politics of ground game in various states and concentrated on packing the Rules Committee which shut down discussion and dissent, and he “won” by outgaming the system. So great. You got what you wanted. You got Trump. Now just stop, please, this frantic effort to rewrite history and reframe this as a real victory and his support as something thoughtful.

        I’m glad he is sounding better. I hope he keeps it up.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 6:48 pm

        And no, you did not explain “Honestly, I think the NeverTrumpers are more responsible for the Trump nomination than any one else.” You went off into defining less than 40% of the votes cast as a definitive victory, but you did not explain how opposition to Trump led to him getting the nomination with such a small slice of the total vote.

      • Amazona August 20, 2016 / 6:58 pm

        “You’re right that the GOP was a mess, but whose fault is that?” That’s easy. It’s our fault. It’s our fault for not having high enough standards for our Republican nominees. It’s our fault for being lazy and thinking that once we get them elected and send them off to Washington our job is done. It’s our fault for not keeping up to date on what is happening, and analyzing why it is happening, instead of just swallowing whatever the Complicit Agenda Media tell us. It’s our fault for not being engaged in the process—worse, for not even understanding the process. It’s our fault for becoming weak and silly and swanning about after all sorts of issues instead of focusing on the real difference between Left and Right, which is how to govern the nation, and making our decisions based on that difference. It’s our fault for letting the most important choices we can make degenerate into nothing but America Idol kinds of Personality Politics.

        And having about a third of the party turn its back on the foundation of the party, on its stated goals and blueprint for governance, because they have fallen under the spell of a con man whose latest scam is pretending to be a conservative, is hardly the way to fix those things.

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