It may just be that Donald Trump’s biggest sin—as it was with Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan and others who preceded him on the national stage—is that he has blocked what the intellectual heirs of Marx who populate the Democratic Party believe is the United States’ inevitable slide into a permanent socialist welfare state.
Some will argue this is nonsense. They may be right about that—but the debate about these luminaries on the political right so often devolves into character assassination and the politics of personal destruction that it is hard to be sure. The leaders of America’s elite culture, who have the power to shape people’s thinking and economic behavior as well as influence how they vote, are a leftward lot who cannot be happy they are saddled with Sleepy Joe Biden as a presumptive presidential nominee.
Since coming into office, Trump has complained that he has been the victim of a coordinated campaign to discredit him. The allegation that his campaign colluded with Russian intelligence operatives to tilt the election in his favor—which so many senior congressional Democrats and former Obama administration senior officials assured everyone was both serious and substantive—turns out not to have been true at all.
This is troublesome. Some of the same people who were on television as often as possible reiterating there was truth in the charge were telling congressional investigators that they had no evidence to back up their claims. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
We’ll probably never know everything that went on but, from what we do know, there’s more true than not true about the suggestion, for example, the FBI under James Comey—perhaps at his own direction—sought to intervene in the 2016 election to Trump’s detriment. Using a phony “dossier” as cover that they apparently knew to be full of falsehoods (and paid for, in part, by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign), they wiretapped Trump campaign headquarters looking for dirt. And they set up retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who, for a brief time, served as national security advisor, on the charge of having lied to them.
There are those—and count me among them—who find the idea that lying to the FBI is a crime questionable, especially since the United States Supreme Court has affirmed the FBI and other police agencies can lie to you without penalty or sanction in the course of an investigation. That, it seems reasonable to assert, tips the scales of justice unfairly towards the interests of the state. But that’s an issue of another day.
The fact the Flynn investigation is so badly tainted by misconduct, not just by the investigators but also by the prosecutors, taints all the subsequent investigations and prosecutions touching on the Russia collusion investigations. Perhaps they deserve reconsideration, especially the case against longtime Trump political associate Roger Stone—which moved forward, he claims, only after he refused an entreaty to make everything go away if only he would go along with the government’s assertions regarding phone conservations with the president that matched the narrative the FBI was trying so hard to establish.
This whole saga is a black stain on the American system of jurisprudence. The Stone case, from the obvious bias of the judge and jury foreman to how a key witness, it was recently learned, contradicted himself between his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee and what he said in federal court, ratifies rather than reassures the American public that something is rotten in Washington.
It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest, were there not profound political considerations connected to the action, that President Trump should pardon everyone who was convicted or pled guilty to process crimes arising out of the collusion investigation.
Which brings us to the unfortunate tale of Judge Emmett Sullivan. By inviting the submission of amicus briefs and appointing a retired federal judge to argue against the dropping of the case against Flynn—as the Justice Department now wants to do—Judge Sullivan is only prolonging the inevitable. Even if Flynn’s plea of guilty to the charge he lied to the FBI is somehow sustained in Sullivan’s courtroom, it will almost certainly be reversed on appeal.
A pardon would short-circuit that but would make it hard for Flynn and others to claim they were both set up and exonerated. Justice requires they be able to do both.
Over at The Bulwark, Tim Miller more or less pleads for Democrats to start acting like they mean it when they claim President Trump is a unique danger to American values.
He writes: “I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of Democrats don’t actually view Trump as a unique crisis. Or rather: They don’t view him as being more than a difference in degree from the “emergency-crisis” Republicans always represent. For these Democrats, all of Republican/conservatism has been inevitably leading to Trump and the only difference between Trump and, say, George H.W. Bush, is that Trump says the quiet part out loud.”
If we want a better politics and more effective government, political leaders and activists will need to rediscover the ability to differentiate among their opponents on the other side of the aisle. From the perspective of conservatives, American politics was better when the Democratic Leadership Council was pushing for ideas like welfare reform, charter schools, public school choice, and middle-class tax cuts in that party. From the perspective of liberals, American politics was better when the Republican Main Street Partnership was a more significant force in the GOP, pushing for the most pragmatic options and trying to find policy solutions that wouldn’t freak out soccer moms. While you may want to defeat as many of the opposing party’s candidates as possible in November, you’re probably going to have to work with some of them after the elections. If the Trump presidency offers any lesson for the country, it’s that once everybody’s considered to be as bad as the devil, then nobody is treated like they’re as bad as the devil.
HBO host Bill Maher realized the mistake on the eve of the 2016 election: “I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy [George W.] Bush like he was the end of the world. And he wasn’t. And Mitt Romney we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars because I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn’t have changed my life that much or yours. Or John McCain. They were honorable men who we disagreed with and we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf and that was wrong. But this is real. This is going to be way different.”
This Democratic presidential primary has been fascinating to watch from the perspective of the Right, because every once in a while, one of the trailing candidates makes a point that leaves conservatives nodding their heads. Tulsi Gabbard acknowledges some moral complexity on the issue of abortion and vents frustration with American overseas military operations that never seem to end satisfactorily, Marianne Williamson warns of an intangible but real crisis in the country’s spiritual health, and Andrew Yang seems like a bright guy who’s thought long and hard about the ramifications of growing automation in our economy. Conservatives are extremely unlikely to vote for those candidates, but you can see room for a productive dialogue. A Republican president who had to work with a Democratic House of Representatives full of Gabbards, Williamsons, and Yangs could probably reach a lot of compromises and productive agreements.
Meanwhile, much more prominent and influential Democratic figures keep acting like once a Democrat is in the White House again, they’ll never need to compromise with Republicans. They keep offering magic wand solutions that ignore every likely obstacle — wrangling a diverse House caucus, getting a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, injunctions from federal courts, a Supreme Court decision that the idea violates the Constitution.
As modern Americans, we have inherited the most significant philosophic and political revolution in the history of the World. That very revolution gave rise to a government that established a meticulously-calibrated system of checks and balances and important protections for individual liberty.
However, with the highly partisan and ideological rhetoric of today’s political rhetoric. The stability and harmony our government was designed to foster can seem under attack. The last time that Americans seemed to be this divided ideologically was during the Civil War.
Nevertheless, despite the ideological differences, we are still more united than divided. We may have varying individual opinions on particular issues, party affiliations, and ideologies, but we all agree that our rights as Americans must be preserved, protected, and defended. Many times we just don’t see eye to eye on how best go about reaching these rights.
But as long as we respect our opponents’ intentions, we all should celebrate and not balk at disagreement.
Let us not forget that before anything else, the United States was instituted as an experiment in individual liberty. Examine some of King George III’s actions that ultimately led to the American Revolution, as Thomas Jefferson laid out in the Declaration of Independence.
Many of the issues below are still present today:
The King levied taxes on Americans without their consent. Currently people and businesses across the United States face ill-advised government policies, taxes, and regulations on a daily basis.
Along with Parliament, the King legislated upon Americans in every aspect of their lives. The modern Administrative State is threatening to do the same, with the will of bureaucrats taking precedence over the will of the people.
The King established a bureaucracy that hounded Americans and violated their property rights. The modern bureaucracy continues to subject Americans to this kind of harassment on a daily basis.
The King also denied people accused of crimes the due process of law. Countless people are being deprived of basic due process and subjected to excessive punishments under the modern criminal justice system.
And finally, for years King George III ignored pleas of Americans for relief. The people need to take action with the courts or in the court of public opinion when the government no longer lends them an ear.
Despite all of our differences, we Americans agree on far more than we disagree.
Regardless of our political leanings, protecting individual liberty remains the story of the United States of America. We all want to safeguard the rights of everyone to ensure that they can fulfil their potential and enjoy all the benefits of participating in our inimitable American system.
We will only be able to rise above our evident differences and unite under our shared principles and destiny as Americans if we can learn to assume each other’s motives, respect one another’s sincerity, and acknowledge that we do agree on certain profound ideals.
By Ramesh Ponnuru • National Review
Gorsuch confirmed, ISIS defeated, taxes cut: The Trump administration has compiled a solid record of accomplishment in its first year, one that compares well with the records of many of its predecessors.
Two of the biggest accomplishments came late in the year. The prime minister of Iraq declared victory over ISIS on December 9. Republicans reached a deal that seemed to secure passage of a tax bill on December 15. Until then, it appeared possible that 2017 would end without an all-Republican government enacting any major legislation.
Now the Republicans’ policy record looks better, at least as most conservatives see it. The tax bill advances several longstanding conservative objectives. It cuts tax rates for most Americans, slashes the corporate-tax rate for the first time in decades, expands the tax credit for children, limits the reach of the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, and scales back the tax break for expensive homes. By scaling back the deduction for state and local taxes, it may encourage a more conservative fiscal politics in the states. And it allows drilling to proceed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
By Kyle Sammin • National Review
Last month, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Gill v. Whitford, which concerns gerrymandering in Wisconsin. Gill is the latest of many instances in which progressives have taken to the courts to advance their electoral cause when they couldn’t win at the polls. The plaintiffs in the case advanced a novel theory, the “efficiency gap,” which purports to varnish their old arguments with a fresh coat of mathematical certainty, replacing politics with math, whether the people agree or not.
One problem with elevating recently invented theories to the level of constitutional law is that they are found nowhere in the Constitution. But even if you are willing to overlook that important detail, there is also the lack of evidence that the “efficiency gap” theory is true. It works for the Gill plaintiffs because they think it would achieve the result they want: more Democratic state legislators. But, as the 2017 House of Delegates elections in Virginia have recently shown us, the theory has serious flaws.
There are many factors that go into the construction of legislative districts, some of which are necessarily at odds with one another. Since the 1840s, Congressional districts have in general been single-member and geographically contiguous. The same typically applies at the state level. There are also Continue reading
Freedom and opportunity are on the horizon with a new crop of principled, capable and positive conservatives.
by George Landrith
In the past few weeks and the next couple weeks, we will see most of the expected entrants into the GOP presidential sweepstakes make their plans official. The GOP bench is deep with a number of highly credible and well qualified potential nominees. Part of this deep bench is the result of the conservatives doing well in a majority of the non-presidential and state elections during President Barack Obama’s time in office. The GOP has gained 70 seats in Congress and 910 state legislators around the nation since Barack Obama took office.
If you’re a conservative, there is a lot more good news on the horizon. That deep bench of well-qualified and highly credible candidates is revealing itself in congressional elections around the nation. Speaking with campaign experts around the nation, one thing is clear — the GOP has a bumper crop of great conservative candidates.
I can’t write about each of them, but perhaps I can pick one that caught my eye and shows real promise. In Florida’s 18th Congressional District, an established name is retiring from the House of Representatives to pursue the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio. Rick Kozell has announced his candidacy for the open congressional seat in the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach area.
Here’s what I like about Rick Kozell — he’s an optimistic, principled conservative with a winning vision for the future. He reminds me of a young Ronald Reagan. The press will have a hard time casting him as the stereotypical angry conservative. Kozell is affable, young, smart, and articulate. His smile is natural and his energy and enthusiasm are obvious. Continue reading
Politics, with its ambition for boundless expansion into the lives of individuals and societies, is a human activity that overwhelmingly attracts narcissists of all types from the most intelligent to the completely idiotic. The difference between these two opposites resides in their mentality and modus operandi. While the intelligent politician strives to build support for his ideas through rational persuasion, the idiot relies on the coercive apparatus of the state to enforce his or her policies that in the greatest number of cases are unrealistic and even destructive. In reality, the idiot is a person with an exclusive and thus extremely narrow-minded ideology that prevents him or her from seeing reality. Thus, when reality threatens ideology, such a person is predisposed to destroy reality, because it poses a mortal danger to his or her ideology. In this manner, the idiot condemns himself or herself to live in a vacuum of lies that, in turn, keeps him or her from acting rationally. Continue reading
Hello, my name is Elbert Lee Guillory, and I’m the senator for the twenty-fourth district right here in beautiful Louisiana. Recently I made what many are referring to as a ‘bold decision’ to switch my party affiliation to the Republican Party. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I became a Republican, and also to explain why I don’t think it was a bold decision at all. It is the right decision — not only for me — but for all my brothers and sisters in the black community.
You see, in recent history the Democrat Party has created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people. Somehow it’s been forgotten that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist movement with one simple creed: that slavery is a violation of the rights of man.
Frederick Douglass called Republicans the ‘Party of freedom and progress,’ and the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law. Continue reading
“How can I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name.”
So says John Proctor in The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch Trials or something. I’ve been acting in a community theater production of the 1953 classic, and it has prompted some thoughts on names, which I will transmute into a proposal for congressional reform before I’m done. Continue reading
How they were changed to obscure the truth
Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom. Continue reading
Ronald Reagan coined the phrase, “Peace through strength,” but it was not a new idea and it had not been an historically partisan concept. It dates back to George Washington who said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” Washington and Reagan understood that peace is achieved through strength and conversely that weakness invites attack. This was once a universally accepted truth among American leaders. Current events prove, it should again become American policy regardless of party.
We live in a dangerous world. Kim Jung-un is threatening military invasions and nuclear attacks. We’ve recently learned that the North Koreans are much closer to being able to put a nuclear warhead on a missile than was previously believed. China, already a nuclear power, is rapidly developing a large navy and stealth aircraft. Russia has been sending its military aircraft into American airspace on provocative test missions. Continue reading
With Lady Margaret Thatcher’s recent passing, tributes and praise for her leadership are flowing freely from former allies and adversaries alike. This is entirely fitting as she was not only the first and only female Prime Minister of the U.K., but she reclaimed a declining economy and helped defeat communism. Lady Thatcher was an effective leader, a principled and skilled politician, and she strengthened the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States. Lady Thatcher was one of the world’s most influential and greatest post-World War II leaders.
A resolution honoring Lady Thatcher has been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. A resolution was also supposed to pass in the Senate earlier this week. However, well placed sources on Capitol Hill report that Senate Democrats have placed a hold on the resolution honoring Lady Thatcher, according to Katherine Rosario at HeritageAction.com. Continue reading
My last column on the Electoral College prompted a number of thoughtful responses, so I would like to deal with those, and then make some general points in (qualified) support of the Electoral College itself.
One reader produced polling results demonstrating that support for the elimination of the EC and its replacement with a direct popular election of the president runs between 70 and 80 percent in every state in the country.
With opposition like that, it is quite astonishing that the EC can survive. Surely it must have some things going for it. I shall try to explain what those are as I go along. Continue reading
With the sequester deadline looming, there has been a marked uptick in the hyperbole emanating from Washington. Little wonder, a Pew Research poll says that only about one in four is paying close attention to the sequester.
This must be disconcerting to the White House because it has been full-court pressing the issue — suddenly releasing criminals from prison, falsely claiming that teachers are being pink-slipped, holding campaign style events with President Barack Obama personally issuing overblown and false warnings that firemen and policemen and teachers will be pink-slipped, that air traffic will be at greater risk, that waiting times at airports will increase and that meat will not be inspected and may be tainted. The White House even announced that it won’t deploy an aircraft carrier to a hotspot because of sequester budget constraints. Continue reading
Playing the crisis card won’t work forever for President Barack Obama. At some point, the people will expect their leader to lead.
And the president hasn’t yet demonstrated the will to do so. Instead, he answers monumental moments such as the upcoming sequestration deadline with brinksmanship and blame-gaming.
For now, the approach is working. A Pew/USA Today poll last week found decisively more voters blame Continue reading