The Trumpeteers’ New Emmanuel Goldstein

Friday, November 20, AD 2015

Trying to keep Trump supporter logic straight is a harrowing ordeal. When confronted with the reality of Trump’s many, many, many (did I say many?) deviations from conservative orthodoxy, Trumps fans respond with an “argument” that employs “GOPe” “Jeb Bush” and “RINO” in some form. The irony of calling any other candidate a Republican in Name Only while supporting the one candidate who is – based on his actual voting and ideological history – quite literally a Republican in Name Only is often lost on these individuals.

Throughout the campaign the big bad for most Trump supporters was Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush was held up as the Establishment darling, and as such the symbol of all that was wrong with the GOP (e). This is perhaps the one time the Trump supporters were largely right. For reasons that defy explanation the GOP Establishment, such as it is, has propped up Jeb Bush. Despite being arguably the absolute worse type of nominee the party could hope for to run against Hillary, the big donors flocked to him. As such, any attempt to criticize Trump has been met with accusations that one must therefore support Jeb Bush. Again, this ignored the fact that at one time 15 (now 12) other candidates were in the race, and the combined polling support for those other candidates has hovered around 60-70 percent, which would seem to indicate to anyone with either a sense of logic or ability to do math that Republicans had other choices in the primary.

Now that Jeb’s star has faded he has been replaced with a new Emmanuel Goldstein. It’s not Ben Carson. Though Trump has personally attacked Carson (and quite maliciously), the real subject of his supporters’ vitriol is Marco Rubio. Just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and never Eurasia, evidently the real enemy has been Marco Rubio all along.

You can see it in comments sections of right-leaning blogs all the time. Marco Rubio is the clear GOPe darling (not Jeb Bush – it’s never been Jeb Bush), and the man to be feared. Now as Bush fades in the polls it’s quite possible that that hefty six percent or so of the electorate currently supporting Jeb will swing Marco’s way, and that indeed the big bad Establishment might see Rubio as their new savior. But the almost delusional antipathy to Rubio is only starting to peak, as can be seen in this bizarre rant where Ace of Spades lays the blame of Donald Trump’s inability to answer a question in a coherent manner at the blame of Rubio’s followers. Yeah, it’s the GOPe that rendered Trump incapable of clearly and convincingly saying no to a reporter who asked if we should just round up all of the Muslims in the USA and force them to register in some kind of database.

Sadly this is all too representative of the basic gist of Trump support, which is entirely grounded in some kind of hate towards the “other”: other candidates, other cultures, other ways of communicating that are more sophisticated than grunting. It also highlights how the Trump phenomenon is built on a foundation of sand. Even though Jeb Bush never reached particularly high in the polls, we were repeatedly told that if you didn’t hop aboard Team Trump then we were cruising towards a Bush coronation. Now Marco Rubio is the new scarecrow and symbol of all things to be feared.

And now that Ted Cruz is climbing higher in the polls, undoubtedly we will soon come to learn that the true Establishment darling all along has been the man that seems to be the most despised figure among this same so-called Establishment. In fact one Trump supporter has already assured me that “[m]any of us had Cruz pegged as a stalking horse before Trump even announced.” Scooby and Shaggy will soon unmask Ted Cruz only to see Mitt Romney in disguise, I suppose.  We’re not going to want the GOPe to get their man, they’ll say, and there’s no one that the GOPe loves more than Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has always been their dream candidate, and never Marco Rubio. Or Bush. Or Romney.

And so it goes.

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32 Responses to The Trumpeteers’ New Emmanuel Goldstein

  • “Despite being arguably the absolute worse type of nominee the party could hope for to run against Hillary…”

    Except for Romney.

  • My choice is Ted Cruz. Next would be Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee. If the GOP insiders put up another RINO/Chamber of Commerce/country club loser like McCain and Rollo Romney, I will depart for the bush of Alaska and go off the grid.
    .
    I’m reading a new book on Bosworth/Richard III. I’m beginning to think about the Bushes as the dynasts of York and the Clintons as Tudors.

  • You must have been reading “The Last Refuge” (formerly “The Conservative Treehouse”). That site has turned into a headcase collecting pool.

    While we’re at it, discriminating Republicans have every reason to be antagonistic to Rubio, who is simply inadequate on several distinct axes (breadth and length of experience, integrity, the immigration issue, and, perhaps, general intelligence) and actually would be the Chamber-of-Commerce lobbyist / Republican congressional caucus leadership choice in lieu of Bush or Kasich.

    This campaign has been a minor tragedy (or a hideous farce). You had four adequate candidates drawn from the GOP’s bench of governors and three of them have withdrawn and the fourth is in the undercard debates. You also had Rick Santorum, who is abnormally principled for a pol and has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi as a campaigner which has allowed him to exceed expectations throughout his career. Instead, we’re stuck with three people who’ve never held elected office (of whom one is a complete wildcard and one has no background as an executive), a Bush scion, Gov. Asshole of Ohio, the South Florida Ken Doll, and a superlatively intelligent lawyer who also has no background as an executive. If most GOP voters want to locate their enemy, they can look in the bloody mirror.

  • Been a Conservative Republican all of my political life.Worked for Barry G. as a teenager as my first campaign. Worked for Bill Buckley on both of his mayoral campaigns and worked to get his brother Jim elected to the US Senate . But this bunch of potentials … feh . except for Trump. The only one with ANYTHING exciting to say. The rest not so much, As for Jeb, too pastrami on white bread with mayo.

  • except for Trump. The only one with ANYTHING exciting to say.

    Anyone can get on the stump and say spectacularly stupid thins. That is not a particularly good reason to vote for said individual, particularly when said individual holds or has held positions that make Hillary herself look like Goldwater.

  • Yes Art, it is disappointing that the three best candidates are out, though I still like Cruz enough (and to a lesser extent Rubio) not to feel complete despair. If Trump somehow gets the nomination, though, suddenly Australia ain’t looking so bad a place to live.

  • One more thing since Art mentioned him: Rick Santorum. Yes, I also still like him very much, though sadly I do not think he is going anywhere. Anyway, when you look at his actual record over the years it is evident that his is the most hard-lined position of all the candidates on immigration. Unlike Trump who blusters but who still seems to basically favor amnesty through the front door instead of the back, Santorum has long held a very tough line against both legal and illegal immigration. Yet the Trumpkins dismiss him despite saying that immigration is the only issue that matters, indicating to me that they are thoroughly unserious and simply looking for someone who will satisfy their id by saying outrageous things.

  • Trump is the only candidate the establishment doesn’t want. The establishment which consists of Big Business, Big Media and Big Government really don’t care who gets elected, Democrat and Republican, as long as they can be controlled. Donald Trump is their greatest fear because he can’t be controlled. That’s why I favor Trump.

  • Trump is the only candidate the establishment doesn’t want

    Yeah, they’re obviously nuts about Carson and Cruz.

    After four months I have yet to read one coherent rationale from a single Trump supporter that indicates why anyone should want to vote for this man other than “GRRRRR ESTABLISHMENT!!!!” I am not exaggerating. Even the Ron Paul supporters, despite their heated rhetoric and obsessive behavior, had principled attachments to Paul and could articulate substantive ideological reasons for voting for Ron Paul.

    Trump is an empty vessel who blusters on the stump, but whose stated positions conflict with the idea that he is some kind of rebel who will protect American values. It’s a sad spectacle, and I can only pray that the consistent 70% of the GOP electorate that continues to reject Trump can finally unite behind a single candidate.

  • There isn’t anyway I’d vote for Cruz. I’d be afraid he would cater in the long run to the people coming across the border. Carson, no way! He’s anti-gun, has been sucking up to Al Sharpton, and is a member of the 7th Day Adventist cult. There’s no way a former cult member like myself will vote to put another Anti-Christian in the White House. Trump, regardless of any faults he has, isn’t afraid to speak out on the immigration crisis, like the other wimp candidates.

  • There isn’t anyway I’d vote for Cruz. I’d be afraid he would cater in the long run to the people coming across the border.

    Based on what? Your fevered imagination? Meanwhile Mr. Never Will Bend has already indicated this his plan includes readmitting the people he deports after they go through the right channels. The guy with all that blustering rhetoric is openly confessing to a front-door version of amnesty.

    Whatever. I realize that confronting the Trump cultists with logic and facts is a fruitless endeavor. So continue to comment away, I’m done trying to respond.

  • Look, I completely understand why Trump took off the way he did and am even sympathetic to some of the reasons. What saddens me is the continued denial by his supporters of who he truly is.

  • Paul Zummo

    Thanks, I like Trump right now because he is ‘out there’ stirring things up There will come a point when we need to settle down and get serious. Right now Trump is a great catalyst to get controversial narratives going, which, if he wasn’t, this wouldn’t happen. So, to me, Trump is my interim candidate. After all the fun, I will probably vote for Marco.

  • Understood, and I apologize to you and Stephen if I was a bit too harsh in my comments.

    Fascinating that you feel you would ultimately vote for Rubio, as that’s not necessarily the fallback for too many Trump supporters, especially considering the immigration issue.

  • Question: Did so-called evangelicals sit out 2012 and hand his second term to Obama?
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    “If most GOP voters want to locate their enemy, they can look in the bloody mirror.”
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    I love you, man. I held my nose and voted for McCain and Romney, and for 40 years every GOP on every level. Now here this. I will not do it again. The GOP establishment puts up another such loser who can’t articulate why Hillary is utterly incompetent and dishonest, and they can go the way of the dinosaurs.
    .

    First, I am independent, but GOP candidates generally/minimally were perceived as preferable to the Dem idiot. No more.
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    Second, to see my enemy, I look at pictures of Obama, Hillary, Kerry, McCain, Romney, Rubio, Kasich, Bush, Christie – because insiders, the Second Amendment and amnesty.
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    Thanks, I’ll check out that website.
    .

    Re: Trump. I “get” all your qualms, but the Dem, GOP and DC elites prove far worse. Trump’s meager qualifiers are that he’s an outsider and he’s a self-made billionaire/goal setter/achiever. I’m old enough to remember Ike. He could have gone GOP or Dem. Ike’s only qualification was that he had been CINC, Supreme Allied Commander, over the ETO and an outsider.
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    Spare me. I’ve prepared for the GOP establishment to have its way; a Hillary regime; and the zombie apocalypse.

  • Cruz an Establishment darling? That level of dissonant doublethink might cause the universe to implode.
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    There will come a point when we need to settle down and get serious.
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    Hopefully that point comes before it’s down to Trump v. Clinton. Trump is the most authentic phony since Holly Golightly. No doubt the Establishment will be shocked, (shocked!) at how amenable to their control he turns out to be.

  • Trump is not a conservative but rather a very expensive empty suit. Of all choices, he would be Hillary’s own best hope. Trump appeals to our nearly ubiquitous frustration with Obama’s insouciant response to a host of grave problems confronting the country, many of which are of his own doing or lack thereof. I am old enough to clearly remember Harry Truman’s walking press conferences, vaguely recall a few fireside chats between naps and cast a first Presidential vote for Barry Goldwater. So it is not without some sense of history and considered judgment that I think I’ll settle my hopes on Ted Cruz as the nearest to true conservative in the race. How about a campaign slogan suggestion but slightly altered from 1964? Solicitousness in the Defense of Liberty is no vice. And Insouciance in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue.

  • In Trump’s defense, he’s a man of considerable accomplishment, though done in a way that’s aesthetically unappealing. Trump’s business skills might be better preparation than would otherwise be the case because real estate development is so intertwined with local politics, especially in New York. Ronald Reagan’s career suggests that time as a union official can be satisfactory preparation for negotiating with Congress.

    One other utility Trump has: he gets away with it. One irritating thing about the Capitol Hill GOP is the degree to which they’ve absorbed the media narrative and the artificial sensibilities which attend that narrative – hence their treatment of Todd Akin, which just sprayed blood on the water. It’s of a piece with their alienation from, and contempt for, most of their electorate. Trump does not play along offering canned apologies. The rest of the Republican candidates need to learn from that and emulate that with their own modes of expression.

    You want to blame someone for the Trump phenomenon, his name is Addison Mitchell McConnell, our waste-of-space Senate majority leader. More than any other single individual, he’s made the federal Republican Party into a worthless entity which can accomplish only one thing: sluicing bits of graft to favored constituencies. One thing I like about Ted Cruz: he despises McConnell and was willing to say so on the floor of the Senate. Of course, the congressional Republican caucus unloads John Boehner, who was less of a problem, and replaces him with Paul Ryan, open borders aficionado, fitness fanatic and Butch Patrick lookalike. It’s all just too stupid.

  • I look for three things in a candidate: experience, ideology, and character. Trump is zero for three, or at best, two foul balls and a clean strike three.

    In terms of experience, I want to see at least 8 years, ideally, in top government positions – you can transfer in a few years of business experience, but only a few. Cruz and Rubio are a little light for my taste, but since the most experienced candidates have all dropped out, I’m ok with either of them. I don’t prioritize executive experience over legislative or, say, being a state’s AG. I don’t understand the argument for doing so. I’ve been known to count running an Olympics as decent experience, although it wasn’t my ideal.

    In terms of ideology, I’m not voting for a pro-choicer, a supporter of big government social programs, or an indiscriminate tax-raiser. Trump happens to have reversed himself on the first one, presumably for political convenience, but he still seems to support something bigger than Obamacare, and would raise taxes some while raising spending a lot. Even if I believed him on immigration, he’s talking Perot-type nonsense about how to go about doing it. The Constitution exists – we don’t need another president who pretends it doesn’t.

    I’d forgive a little inexperience and the occasional wrong position, though, if I believed that the candidate was a good person. I see nothing in Trump’s character that makes me believe he has a moral center. For years, I’ve used him as an example of spiritual defect. In other words, of all the people alive today, he was my go-to example of someone who displayed the moral characteristics of an animal. I see no higher, human moral function in him.

  • What bothers me most about Trump is the way in which he always says exactly what his supporters want to hear, and promises far more than he can possibly deliver. I’ve seen the same thing happen with two successful IL candidates for governor – Rod Blagojevich and now Bruce Rauner, who is in many ways a low-wattage version of Trump – and I could not bring myself to vote for either. I do not demand perfection from any candidate – we ‘re electing a president, not a savior – and I could live with any of the other GOP candidates being POTUS, but if the choice comes down to Trump vs. Hillary, I’m probably not going to vote at all.

  • Elaine – that’s my plan as well. I would somewhat prefer Clinton to Trump, but I wouldn’t vote for her. Other than Trump, I’d gladly cast my vote for any of the Republicans.

  • I don’t prioritize executive experience over legislative or, say, being a state’s AG. I don’t understand the argument for doing so.

    Ted Cruz was never the attorney-general of Texas. He was the solicitor-general. The solicitor-general is an appointed official responsible for a portion of the appellate practice of the attorney-general’s office. The solicitor-general employs about 20 attorneys and some support staff. They do one thing: prepare cases for appeal and argue them. Ted Cruz has supervisory experience and brains. He’s never been an executive.

    I cannot figure why you fancy that squatting in a legislature is equivalent to work as an executive given that the candidates are competing for an executive position. That makes no sense. I’d refer you to John Dean’s memoirs of the Nixon Administration or Ron Nessen’s of the Ford Administration or Richard Nathan’s work on ‘the administrative presidency’ if you want a sense of what it looks like when career legislators are learning by doing. The making of them sausages is not pretty. You might just consider aspects of the modus operandi of BO.

  • I look for three things in a candidate: experience, ideology, and character. Trump is zero for three, or at best, two foul balls and a clean strike three.

    If you’re willing to tolerate Hildebeast, Trump’s a piece of cake.

  • Art – You’re right, Solicitor General. My mistake. I wouldn’t say that executive and legislative experience are equivalent, but they’re both governmental. A general, ambassador, judge, departmental secretary, senator, congressman of significance…as long as it’s high-level, it demonstrates the ability to function in government, and provides an understanding of it.

    In experience, Hillary outweighs Donald. In ideology, I’ve seen very little difference except over the past year. In character, Hillary has at least stayed in a marriage. I would rather have a somewhat knowledgeable dishonest liberal as president than an ignorant one.

  • “In experience, Hillary outweighs Donald” – Please provide a list of positive achievements by HRH Hillary. .
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    She is a psychopathic liar, and really not too smart (like all liberals). Tear off the “beer goggles” pinky. B. Franklin, “Admiration is the daughter od ignorance.”
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    Trump shows strength. She’s the anti-feminist. Hillary stood by her serial sex-abusing/rapist husband based on the promise to someday be president. Hillary shows pathological ambition with no real-world props.

  • The empty suit the otherwise highly successful Trump is his having only recently garbed himself in “Conservative” clothing. It doesn’t fit well on the body of his political past. Hillary is a political quick change artist but no matter the cut of her political pant suit on any given day, beneath it all, she wears the skin of “an early Twentieth-Century Progressive”, as she herself affirms. I would never vote for one, nor would I stay home and cast a non-vote for one.

  • By empty suit, I mean the conservative clothing he has so recently donned. I just don’t think he is conservative to the bone. He does express the frustration most of us endure with the feckless current President, and that has set him apart from the crowd.

  • T. Shaw – Accuse me of anything other than admiring Hillary Clinton. She’s awful. In any normal year, she’d be the worst possible choice. To say that Trump is worse than she is isn’t meant as a compliment to her.

  • Electing Hillary would just be like changing engineers on the down-bound train to destruction.

  • In experience, Hillary outweighs Donald. I

    Experience of what? Of buckraking on a brobgingnagian scale? Adventures in futures and options trading? Maintaining a skeezy law practice? Seven undistinguished years in Congress? As for her years as Secretary of State, there was a prima facie case she was attempting to thwart FoI requests and congressional subpoenas. She lied through her teeth about Benghazi, as did the President. She was a dependent of handlers like Huma Abedin who could not even commission an accurate translation of the word “Reset:.

  • Reset in Russian is Сброс. Gee Whiz! That took me less than one minute.

    Russian

    Сброс

  • T. Shaw and Art – You’re making some fine points against Hillary supporters, who on this site number somewhere between “there aren’t any” and “you’ve got to be kidding”. Let’s toss the question back at you: describe for me a time when Donald Trump has taken a moral stance that cost him something. He’s 18 years older than I am. There must have been occasions for him to draw a line, based on principles, when doing so would have required personal sacrifice. Give me one.

Will the Real Pharisees Please Stand Up?

Wednesday, October 28, AD 2015

It’s always nice when you are set to write on a topic but find yourself with a lack of time to discover that somebody else has already covered the issue. So, thank you C.C. Pecknold for doing the heavy lifting so that I don’t have to. Writing about the troublesome paragraphs of the final report of the synod on the family, Pecknold observes:

Jesuits, in fact, have a reputation for just this kind of casuistry that is so apparent in the ambiguous paragraphs. All signs point to Pope Francis’s interpreting them in the way progressives hope. But I’m on record as being a hopeful conservative with regard to this pope, often reading him against the liberal narrative rather than with it. I am obedient to the Office of Saint Peter, and I love this pope. I pray for him as I pray for my own father. And I trust that the Holy Spirit will guard and protect the pope insofar as God uses him as an instrument of the Church’s unity, as a guardian of the deposit of faith, and as our chief evangelist. But as Saint Paul reminds us, our obedience must be rational (Rom. 12.1–2). And thus far rational obedience impels me to ask the Holy Father questions.

What sort of legalism does the pope have in mind? When the pope condemns the Pharisees, does he realize that they were the ones who were casuistical and loosely legalist in allowing for divorce? Does he know that Christ responded to the Pharisees’ legalism with a radical gospel challenge that renewed the creation of man in grace, and the indissolubility of marriage? Does he see that Kasper’s proposal is itself at one with the Pharisees? Does he really think conservatives are teachers of the law rather than of virtue and truth? Does he really think that progressives wanting to accommodate the Church to liberal values, or comply with secular mores, are the vital source of newness for the Church?

Even if Pecknold’s hopefulness with regards to the Pontiff is a tad naive, the observation about Phariseeism is spot on. Heterodox, dissenting Catholics are the quickest to use the term “Pharisee,” mainly because that’s about the only argument their poor brains can muster. When applied to the issue of civilly divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion, this label is horribly misapplied. Jesus was highly critical of the Pharisees not merely because they were legalistic, but because their legalism in essence became their religion, and they missed the forest for the trees in their approach to faith. If Catholics were in the habit of suggesting that people could not receive Communion if their shirts were not buttoned up to at least the penultimate button, that would be a more apt description of Phariseeism. Insisting that we adhere to the strict words of Jesus quoted in the Gospels with respect to Catholic couples cohabitating in a state of sin is most certainly not a form of Phariseeism. The true Pharisees will be the ones who use the language of the final synod report to permit couples living in this state of sin to receive the Eucharist absent true repentance. Get ready to see just how many camels they will be trying to fit through the eye of the needle.

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10 Responses to Will the Real Pharisees Please Stand Up?

  • I spent the past several decades working at correcting liberal (whatever the client wants) interpretations of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in entities’ financial reports. The other side consistently cited sentences in the over-written accounting literature to support the nefarious acts. I see that here.
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    O, by the way, your byline insults Pharisees.

  • Very good point made by Peckford that it was the Pharisees who were the defenders of divorce and it was Jesus who issued the clear statement of marriage indissolubility.

    Pope Francis is pretty good at innuendo and name calling of conservatives. He should rewind a few of his comments and listen ever so little more intently. That’s right, Frankie, that’s you being nasty.

    Nice pope, in the judgment of a lot of people. Including myself, much of the time. But he’s only human, with his own peculiar blind spots.

  • As we all know, the Pharisees were tainted because they pushed man-made law over God’s law. The chastisement from the pope appeared to be clearly aimed at those who adhere to and love the words of God, and His truth as expressed in His Church’s well formed doctrine.
    To conflate the two–(one good one bad ) and chastise only the good, is at best confusion, at worse, a misunderstanding of God’s Church, or even worst, poorly thought out actions of a good shepherd.
    Pray hard for our Pope, that the Holy Spirit will help him to speak with clarity about God’s truth faith. May it thrive under his care.

  • Good post, Paul Z. It is ironic that the Pharisees whom the Pope decries were the ones who supported the position that he currently maintains. Is an Argentinian Marxist Peronist capable of perceiving irony?
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    I have alluded to some of this here at the TAC forum, but not the details (which will go left unsaid). A few years into sobriety 3 decades ago I changed sponsors, and went from one who insisted on Mass and Confession to a weak-kneed liberal progressive because his mesage of mercy seemed so nice and tolerant and non-divisive. That was some 20+ years ago.I then fell in love and married an atheist via a civil instead of religious cermony, having put my faith on the back burner. My sponsor said I was breaking free of my religious straight-jacket. He should have told me to remain chaste. This woman and I had two children. Then in 2005 I had a nervous breakdown of sorts (that’s what happens to alcoholics who don’t go to meetings and don’t stay active in church, but remain dry – they go nuts). So I returned to what had worked in the beginning – my 12 step program, and Mass and Confession. I started to recover again. Two years later this woman, seeing my return to the faith, demanded a divorce. She left me, taking the children with her. It was worse than heroin withdrawals, and believe me that I know all about heroin withdrawals. Of course the first marriage wasn’t valid, and was null. But that ain’t the point. Rather, by having left the Church in apostasy for someone beautiful to the eyes, I had wrecked my life. Yes, late in life I was able to get really married “again” or rather for the first time. But I have no recourse to my children whom I fathered in a null and void relationship. I love and terribly miss my darling little daughter (well, she is a teenager now) and my handsome son. But what I did has resulted in my estrangement from them (it’s a very long story that I won’t explain here), and almost resulted in my loss of sobriety (though I have often wondered if I was just dry during all those years and not really sober).
    .
    So here’s my lesson to everybody: do what 2000 years of Church teaching and the Bible say to do even if it is freaking hard as stone to do, because the alternative is orders of magnitude harder and worse, and the feeling of guilt over the children does not leave.
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    As far as I am concerned, Cardinal Kasper and Archbishop Cupich and all their kind can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Their freaking theology has almost killed me and left me without my kids.

  • That’s a timely reminder that too often “mercy” is an exercise in self-congratulation and pity without compassion on the part of the merciful(think of “kind” Xerxes in 300) that you’ve got there Paul.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • I recall a discussion I had with a priest back in February, in which i called Cdl. Kasper a heretic, to which he responded that we must be careful how we label people (without disagreeing with me)

    I am completely justified in what I said, because last month Cdl. Sarah said exactly the same thing. 🙂

  • Mr. Primavera, I could not agree with you more. Kasper, Marx, Wuerl, Cupich, Danneels, Maradiaga and the rest of them nauseate me.

    Most of the Church hierarchy refuses to teach about the evil of sin and the need for repentance. The Catholic bishops of the US and Canada, among other places, refuse to excommunicate Catholic politicians who support abortion. They refuse to certify that Catholci theologians teach real Catholic theology in so-called Catholic colleges and universities in their dioceses.

    it is not entirely the work of the bishops, but……places such as Quebec, Ireland, Guatemala and honduras (with Brazil not far behind) have seen a meltdown of the Church. These formerly Catholic strongholds have grown indifferent or hostile to the Church.

    This papacy is a disaster. Heretics such as Kasper, who should have been sent to a clostered monastery by John Paul II, travel the world seeking to destroy Catholic doctrine for the sake of continued easy living at the expense of the German taxpayers. Cupich is a buffoon who has no business being a bishop is the Archbishop and soon to be Cardinal of Chicago. The train wreck that is the FFI, the demotion of Cardinal Burke, the petty insults….I have no respect for the current Pope. None. His worldview is pathetic, that of a whining loser, which is to be expected coming from a country with such abundant resources and yet such dysfunction among its citizens.

    Oh, now Pope Francis knows who his “enemies” are – Burke, the African bishops and the Polish Episcopal Conference.

    Next year is another World Youth Day, this time in Krakow, the hometown of Karol Wojtyla, the home of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, St. Maximillian Kolbe and the resting place (Wawel Cathedral) of numerous Polish heroes and saints. The Pope’s words about dialouge with Islam will ring hollow in the resting place of Jan III Sobieski. The Pope’s words about Communists will be found irritating, if not sickening, in the resting place of Josef Pilsudski and the native land of Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko (the Servant of God has cousins in the Pittsburgh area).

    Maybe the trip to Poland will force the Holy Father to open his eyes and ears to what it really means to be Catholic. Given his words and deeds so far in this pontificate, he has little if anything to teach Poland.

  • T. Shaw, I labor as an accountant.

    In my first professional job was in an office for a company that owned four retail stores that sold expensive designer brand clothes. They did not pay their vendors, their withholding taxes and sometimes even their utilities. The CFO, who screamed at and insulted everybody, collected a check (not a paycheck) each week as a consultant. I quit when I found out that the company owed a combination of back taxes, interest and penalties of $150K.

    My second professional job was at a company in Our Nation’s Capital that had a CEO who flew around the world in the Concorde. One of his officer buddies had a $10K chandelier in his office and bought a watch for a sales award. He wore the watch until it was time to give it away. Every time he went on a business trip there were invoices from country club pro shops. The controller treated the senior auditor like the proverbial red headed step child.

    I took a buyout and left.

    My sons are NOT going to be accountants. The work is tedious, the pay stinks and the responsibility for everything always rests on the poor schmuck who puts together the financial statements, which isn’t management.

  • I’ve been wondering lately whether, as in the political death of our nation, we get the leaders we deserve, if not seek….if we got a Pope and hierarchy we deserve, if we got a president we deserve. After all, most, or at least I, don’t speak about these matters until the full frontal assault takes place. Obama is not a cause, he’s a symptom; Pope Francis is not a cause, he’s a symptom…..

  • Let me go with the thought that first occurs to me. The son the father loves, he chastises. I think God loves the United States and he certainly loves His Church. Therefore, we are rightly chastised. It gives me hope, that I too am chastised with various stripes in my old age. Thank you Paul, for telling us a bit of your own journey. We all bear our own burden but few are we who so willingly share it.

Of Pundits and Voters

Thursday, October 15, AD 2015

I did not watch the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday. There are two primary reasons for this: I am not a masochist, and the New York Mets were playing in the National League Division Series.* Either one of those reasons would have been sufficient to avoid this debacle, and the two in combination  made it a slam dunk decision.

*One may be tempted to sneer that the fact that I am a Mets fan negates my denial of being a masochist, to which I reply . . . Ummm, I’ll get back to you when I have a good retort.

The almost unanimous verdict among pundits all along the political spectrum was that Hillary Clinton was the winner, and it was not particularly close. Clinton was a giant among midgets dwarves little people Democrats. For two shining hours she even seemed almost, dare it be said, human? Perhaps her crack team of engineers, scientists, data programmers, and other smart people finally managed to work together to develop a chip that imparted something close to a personality. She was in command of the issues, managed to approximate the sound of laughter when appropriate without creeping everyone out, and avoided shrieking at decibels that would have had all neighborhood dogs howling in agony. This miracle of modern technology, working in conjunction with the pathetic opposition she faced*, enabled Clinton to get away with the most brutal assault since Chase Utley was allowed to break the existing rules of baseball in order to break a defenseless Ruben Tejada’s legs.

*By way of comparison, imagine a Republican debate in which Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and John Kasich all had to skip, and we were left with Donald Trump, Jed Bush, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. That is essentially what the Democratic field has been reduced to. 

So we had every pundit alive tripping over himself (or herself, or xerself, or ximself, or whatever pronoun you’re comfortable with) to declare Hillary the winner. So why is it that every focus group and online poll known to man indicated that Bernie Sanders won, and it wasn’t particularly close? I’ll be the first to admit that online polls are as useful as Joe Torre – just ask President Ron Paul – but almost every sample of actual real live voters who may theoretically vote in the Democrat primary, assuming of course evil Rethuglicans don’t deny them their right by forcing them to show personal identification at the polling place, indicates that Sanders was the real winner. What gives?

This is where I’m supposed to snarkily dismiss the punditocracy of being out of touch establishment shills who are merely zealously working overtime to ensure that Madame Hillary is coronated with minimal effort, and that most of them have their heads shoved so far up their collective posteriors that they have completely lost touch with the common man. And I suppose I’m supposed to make some crack about cocktail parties, and maybe another something or other about shills and the establishment, yada yada.

Well that’s partially right. But let me offer up a slightly less cynical take, or at least one that is cynical in the other direction. The problem with pundits, and I guess I’ll include yours truly in that category, is that we judge these things by completely different criteria than the people these debates are meant to persuade. We’re largely looking for substantive answers delivered in a convincing style. We’re looking for a certain adeptness at thinking on one’s feet, hopefully packaged in a way that is folksy without being condescending.

Now is that what the undecided voter is looking for? Do you think said undecided voter, who is probably that person you wind up in line behind at McDonald’s who spends ten minutes trying to decipher the oh-so-complicated menu before settling on the Big Mac, is carefully scrutinizing the pitch at which a candidate’s prepackaged lies responses are delivered? Is the type of voter who is reasonably persuaded that it is actually possible to deliver on the magical list of free stuff the Democrats have been promising all night such a reasoned, informed individual that he will deduct points from Bernie Sanders from sounding like an escapee from Bellevue? When Sanders guffaws on stage and says “G-damn” during a presidential debate, do you think that voter is clutching his pearls and tut-tutting the his lack of social etiquette?

I have some bad news for the pundits, and frankly for most of the American public for that matter. There’s really no way to put this delicately, so I’m just going to say it: these debates are principally aimed at the dumbest segment of the American electorate. Oh sure there are at least  still some reasonably educated people who may not have settled on a candidate yet, so the undecided segment of the audience for a primary debate might be a little bit better informed than that of a general election one. By and large, though, it is not unfair to wager that most of people who haven’t made up their minds and who are actually trying to gauge their vote on these “debates” are not the sorts of people who as zealously and closely follow politics as the people writing about the debates. Which is to say that the pundit interpretation of what happened on stage during the debate is worth almost nothing if one actually wants to know who really won the debate.

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30 Responses to Of Pundits and Voters

  • Does the dumbest segment of the electorate even watch debates? What’s the overlap between the idiocracy and the mediacracy anyways?

  • Probably a better (and more charitable) way for me to put it would have been that of those who are watching and undecided, they are likely to be the least politically engaged.

  • That is essentially correct.

    I glanced at the GOP debates (morbid curiosity, really) and didn’t watch the Dem debate.

    I remain interested in Webb, Cruz, Carson, and Jindal and the debates are only tangentially related to that choice. (I had been a Walker supporter but that didn’t work out.)

  • I’d schedule a root canal in order to not watch a dem debate.
    .
    They somehow should bottle the Dem debate and use it as the cure for insomnia.
    .
    There is only about 4% of the electorate up for grabs. Hillary, Biden, or Sanders could go on live TV and push a hundred little puppy dogs through a wood chipper and 48% (47% government dependents and 1% rich libs) of voters would still vote for the demagogue. Sanders is a socialist lunatic. Biden is a clown. Hillary is a psychopathic liar, which wouldn’t be a disqualifier, except like Obama, everything she ever tried to do came to worse than naught.

  • Demon-craps are murderers of unborn babies, selling their organs to the highest bidder, and sanctifiers of sterile sexual perversion. They as evil as their National Socialist forebearers. Therefore, in the interests of preventing overstressing my heart in which are installed too many arterial stents, I refused to watch or listen to the debate of Demon-crap politicians. It is a sin to hate, and I am a sinner. 🙁
    .
    PS, T Shaw is correct again.

  • Probably a better (and more charitable) way for me to put it would have been that of those who are watching and undecided, they are likely to be the least politically engaged.

    Not true. The least politically engaged to not vote. The marginally engaged only vote during presidential contests. People who will reliably cast a ballot in a general election amount to about 37% of the eligible population and those who appear for presidential primary elections amount to about 25% of the whole when you’ve got competitive contests in both parties. Those are the people who read newspapers a generation ago (though half of them do not remember much of what they read).

    People who appear at Mickey D’s for breakfast know what they want.

    I’m not seeing any conventional polls conducted on the question (which, in any case, are not reliable any more). If the Sanders aficionados in my family are any guide, Sanders’ appeal is that he’s basically straight up. The good thing about the Sanders campaign is that its an indication that there are people in the Democratic Party fed up with the criminal element therein, at least the gross manifestation of it in the Clintons. I’d be pleased if there were Democrats fed up with the Wisconsin deep state and everyone in the chain of command from Barack Obama to Lois Lerner, but we’ve yet to see that. Also, Sanders is a manifestation of the Democratic Party id, but he’s a manifestation of the less ugly aspect of that id. The really gruesome characters run from Dan Savage to the Black Lives Matter grifters.

  • Anyone think Bernie Sanders sounds a lot like George Steinbrenner chewing out George Costanza on Seinfeld?

  • My guess is that debates, like opinion polls, are about generating chatter for the chatterati to chatter about.

  • Winners in the debate?

    Here’s my humble take.
    J. Christopher Stevens
    Sean Smith
    Tyrone Woods
    Glen Doherty.

    They lost their lives for God’s sake.
    They we’re ripped apart.
    They had zero help.
    They we’re abandoned.

    The Democratic debate? To hell with them.
    May the democrats debate the levels of hell they will call home when they die. May Hillary have the lowest.

  • The Democrat Party has never been a bunch of angels, but the depths that they have fallen to is past nauseating.

    I have not watched any political debates for years. From what I have read about them, the moderators are usually selected to favor a certain point of view or candidate. As for the Democrats, the 1960s moonbat Left and their successors has taken them over completely.

  • “My guess is that debates, like opinion polls, are about generating chatter for the chatterati to chatter about.”

    These debates are all about pushing the party establishment and liberals (but I repeat myself) agendas on the populace–as well as lifting up the establishment candidates and tearing down the candidates whom the establishment cannot control.

  • I did not watch the debate, either, but for a much different, more Charitable reason: it’s not my Party, so it’s not my place to mess with their internal politics.

  • Didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t watch it. The Democrat party is all about corruption and corrupting. It is the party of the devil: murderous, salacious, mendacious, larcenous, etc.
    The leading candidate should be in jail and the runner-up institutionalized. And any Catholic who votes for them should be excommunicated. Are you getting my drift Alfy?

  • T. Shaw is correct. I have asked Hillary supporters what it would take before they would finally say enough. Their response, silence. I truly believe you could release a video showing her roasting and eating a small child and the spin machine would start humming and every pundit would once again do their best impression of a Brooklyn cop, “Nothing to see here, move along.”

  • Fr.of seven.

    It’s demonic.
    The admiration for the bride of Lucifer.
    They are the zombies that walk and vote.
    Add to this the allurement of “voting in the first female pres.”
    Cult move.
    Sickening.
    Perverse.
    Hill…Hellery.

  • For a classic piece of demagoguery, check out Hillary’s “La Hillary Estoy Contigo” Spanish poster. She sheds forty years and morphs into Evita Peron. Good Grief! Next she’ll sing.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/15/448968801/new-clinton-spanish-posters-hillary-or-evita?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20151015&utm_campaign=npr_email_a_friend&utm_term=storyshare

    The link is only for those in robust good health.

  • Fascinating to see the left up in arms as they squabble about the left media raising the hand of … meanwhile the social crowd feels disenfranchised by the same media they usually are hugging, given their social groups feel the Bern KO’d H.

  • Here is a short story which I hope Paul W. P. will enjoy. About twenty years ago, an old friend and I were sitting on the porch and our conversation turned to the “Clintons”. I said, that did not hate the Clintons but merely found them to be despicable, which I considered a malice-free evaluation. To which my friend added, “And a fine Jesuitical distinction”. 😉

  • Hillary as Evita – Pretty funny!
    Here’s the original from the 1990s : http://40.media.tumblr.com/01ad23aefc65714996c4ee71e2fb56fa/tumblr_n1vk37fCrg1shiodwo1_500.jpg
    Why do I keep thinking of the “Picture of Dorian Gray”? Maybe cuz she’s sold her soul for the Planned Parenthood, Benghazi lies, etc, etc,etc.

  • Hillary as Evita – Pretty funny!

    Maybe funny, but the analogy is strange. Eva Peron was a bastard child who grew up in poverty in the countryside around Buenos Aires. Hillary Rodham grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, well-to-do as the daughter of a (nasty and disagreeable) self-made man. Eva Peron had a junior grade charisma that was crucial to the construction of the Peron machine. Hillary has been, if anything, an impediment to her husband’s career and has leeched off it. What she did do for him was act as the primary earner in the family for 12 years, bear a prop child in the middle of a difficult re-election campaign, and, of course, launder the bribes.

  • Even though Argentina is a silly country at the ends of the Earth, Evita Peron is an enduring icon, rather like Marilyn Monroe. Diana, Princess of Wales, to take one example, is not. Hillary is not and will never be an icon.

  • Whenever I see a picture of Hilary smiling, she looks like the Joker. When she’s unhappy, she looks like Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy.

  • Has anyone seriously considered that Hillary could be possessed by the devil. Sure giveaway: her disembodied cackle.

  • Michael Dowd asks if anyone has seriously considered that Hillary might be possessed by the devil? Hell YES, considered and daily confirmation given to us via media outlets.
    Listening to her lie through her ugly teeth is like watching the young Linda Blair rotate her head 360° and spew pea-soup eighteen feet.
    Is Hillary possessed?
    The evil one has taken ownership and resides gleefully in her soul.

  • Art Deco, Well said. Their backgrounds aren’t the same except for being female and former First Ladies and that’s why the poster is humorous and shameless at the same time. Knowing that she is polarizing and unlikable in many quarters, Hillary is reinventing herself continuously with new hairstyles, plastic surgery, wardrobe and mannerisms to become an icon. I’d guess that she is watching old newsreels of Evita to copy her style of public speaking. One is either born with charisma or not. My favorite is the change in accent depending on which section of the country she’s in. The good ole girl I’m just one of you all is my favorite. If Hillary is elected president she’ll have more in common with Isabela Peron, Juan Peron’s 3rd wife. My hope is that there is true justice and Hillary will be tried based on her personal email account. With no VPN she was as much giving away secrets.

  • I cannot understand the absence of suitable outrage over such blatant disregard for the “Loose Lips Sink Ships” caveat. So few have served but don’t they at least watch old war movies? And More???????

  • Hilary is talentless, charisma-less, charm-less, irritating, screeching, annoying, a liar (but I repeat myself) who, besides being elected in New York State as a liberal, has accomplished nothing of note.

    Except for the feminist Democrat base, nobody likes her.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this post and all of the comments. Made me forget for a moment how horrible our situation in this gulag really is. I hope and pray to write this well.

  • I am glad Hillary Clinton was caught stealing the White House china and made to put it back.

What Version of the Bible Does John Kasich Own?

Tuesday, October 6, AD 2015

Some time ago I ranked the Republican candidates for the White House in order of my own personal preference. At the time I ranked Ohio governor John Kasich in the middle of the pack. I think I was way too generous.

“Look at Medicaid expansion! Do you know how many people are yelling at me? I go to events where people yell at me. You know what I tell em? I mean, God bless em, I’m telling them a little bit better than this, there’s a book, it’s got a new part and an old part,  they put it together. It’s a remarkable book. If you don’t have one, I’ll buy you one, and it talks about how we treat the poor. Sometimes you just have to lead.”

Video at the link.

Kasich echoes an oft-repeated trope of left-wing Christians in claiming that those who oppose expanding the size and scope of the government are somehow not living up to biblical teachings. I’ve read different translations of the Bible – RSV, NRSV, Douay-Rheims – all in their entirety, and somehow missed the passage in which Jesus says, “Truly, Truly, I say to you that whoever grumbles when the government takes money from thy pocket and gives it to someone else surely will face the fires of Gehenna.” I mean there’s a whole lot in the Bible about personal charity and individual responsibility for taking care of the widow and the orphan, but I gotta say there’s nothing in there about government programs and the need to redistribute wealth.

Even if we concede that as a matter of some notion of community justice the state is responsible for providing some minimal sustenance to the least privileged among us, that does not preclude some kind of debate as to the means of providing said sustenance. What the hyprocrites who cry “Cafeteria Catholic!” at conservatives who oppose certain economic measures miss is that there is plenty of room for legitimate debate about the type of programs that we should establish to help the poor. Blindly accepting that any government program is ipso facto good and worthy of expansion is at a minimum foolish, and certainly does not justify this type of arrogant and condescending dismissal of fellow believers.

Surely there are libertarian-leaning folks, especially among the Ayn Rand acolytes of the modern era, who truly don’t indicate any concern for the poor whatsoever. Conservatives and libertarians alike can be at times dismissive of the genuine hardships that people face, and I earnestly pray that my own political opinions are informed by an honest interpretation of biblical and magisterial injunctions. Kasich’s attitude implies that only one path is correct in the field of economics. Well John, welcome to the land of disregarded candidates. Enjoy your time with George, Jim, Lindsey and the rest.

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25 Responses to What Version of the Bible Does John Kasich Own?

  • He’s the current lead in John Weaver’s latest bit of anti-conservative performance art. Last time it was Huntsman, with the same sharp-elbowed cluelessness. You’d think the candidates would wise up a bit, but Weaver always finds another desperate crash-test dummy with which to work out his issues.

  • Kasich would fall over dead I suspect if he actually read some of the Bible passages regarding charity:

    [6] And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us. [7] For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us: for we were not disorderly among you; [8] Neither did we eat any man’ s bread for nothing, but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. [9] Not as if we had not power: but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. [10] For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

    [11] For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling. [12] Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread. [13] But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing. [14] And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed: [15] Yet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

    2 Thessalonians 2-15

    There will always be people who can’t work through no fault of their own and I am not opposed to the government helping them. However, someone would have to be blind and deaf not to recognize that there are far too many people living lives courtesy of Uncle Sucker that take away their self respect and willingness to work. The greatest harm of the welfare state is not the money it costs but the pride it takes away.

  • Probably more than a few years back Marvin Olasky wrote a book entitled the Tragedy of American Compassion in which he posits that government has undermined the authentic charity and good works of the citizenry through their associations, churches, etc. The charity of our forefathers, he maintained, was far more efficient and comprehensive than the rot caused by a never ending cycle of government dependency Indeed, it is our heritage as Catholics to build for the sake of the kingdom hospital, schools, and orphanages, and to feed and clothe the needy in order to promote the material welfare of all mankind. Today, the USCCB is nothing more than an shill for more government spending and programs. We, the Church included, have yielded to the charlatan political rulers the role of the giver of all good. Government compunction is not charity. Salvific charity, our Catholic heritage, is prayer, and the giving of treasure and self…..not the taking from others to satisfy an emotive need to be benevolent, and yet far from charitable. During the Reagan years the bishops conference fought hard against tax reductions claiming that by doing so us commoners wouldn’t give as much to charity in order to obtain tax deductions. It was, and remains, a darkly cynical view of freedom and of us, the parishioners in the pews. What happened instead was that charitable giving increased when the tax burden was lessened. The call for government coercion to take from some and give to others is not a roadmap to eternal salvation. Rather, it robs all of us of our dignity…..both the one from whom the government steals, and the one to whom the government gives. Kasich masks his ignorance with nothing more than sanctimonious drivel.

  • I wonder how close he is to the combined thinking of the members of the USCCB who managed to push Stupak into allowing Obamacare to become reality.
    There’s that Pius XI’s problem he has with Subsidiarity being the government’s job.
    And we all know Christ demanded that Caesar solve the world’s economic problems…

  • The corporal works/Christian Charity consist of freely giving your money,talent and time. It’s not confiscating other people’s money. Social justice don’t count as Christian Charity. It’s Ali Baba/Robin Hood stuff, at best. At worst, it foments class envy/hate and supports abortion, gay privileges, etc.
    .
    cthenfly25, You’re correct. I pay so much in Federal, state, local income taxes and property taxes and my descendants’ economic chances are so bleak, I refuse to donate to a charity outside my parish.
    .
    Even worse than being a faux socialist, Kasich is almost a bad as that eunuch Boehner in the “I’m about to burst into tears” department.

  • Excellent post. The Gospel ain’t social justice from Caesar’s hands. It’s repentance and conversion.

  • Kasich is a lapsed Catholic, from Stowe Township (McKees Rocks), near Pittsburgh. He did a good job in the House in the 1990s. Ohio was a mess when he was elected Governor (Kasich went to Ohio State after graduating from Sto-Rox and never returned – having been in Stowe & McKees Rocks I don’t blame him) but he has gone soft in the conservative department.

  • However, someone would have to be blind and deaf not to recognize that there are far too many people living lives courtesy of Uncle Sucker that take away their self respect and willingness to work. The greatest harm of the welfare state is not the money it costs but the pride it takes away.

    I think the TANF rolls comprehend 4 million people, about a third of the AFDC caseload in 1996. The Section 8 census is not any larger. That amounts to less than 2% of the population, and some of the Section 8 caseload is old or disabled. SNAP is witlessly oversubscribed, comprehending a share of the population half-again as large as it did in 1976, but the benefit per household amounts to a mean of about $4,000 per annum. No one’s livin’ large on that. The trouble you get with Medicaid is that means-test thresholds encourage people to restrict their work effort to maintain their eligibility. These others have that problem as well, but more serious foundational ones. Means-testing can be quite troublesome. A much larger problem has been the progressive relaxation of standards of ‘disability’ incorporated into the Social Security Disability and SSI programs. A discussion of SSDI is here

    http://publicpolicy.wharton.upenn.edu/live/files/156-a

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  • Voinovich. Boehner. Kasich.
    ***
    Good grief. What an insufferably smug bunch of crybabies Ohio has gifted to the national polity over the years. The Buckeye State’s version of the GOP makes me ashamed to live in Ohio.

  • Jay, Don’t move to Connecticut, where I’m certain Dante neglected to mention its special place in Hades for our many “Catholic” progressives.

  • Aww, Kasich has a version of the Bible many Catholic bishops themselves rely upon; the one with the passage about rendering the poor unto Caesar. It seems to be a popular version yet I cannot find it in print anywhere. Strange.

  • Oh, and how could I have forgotten Rob “Love Wins” Portman?

  • I recently had an interesting discussion with an older gentlemen who was sharing the story of a friend of his who managed to get her four children through college while working as a waitress. He was expressing dismay that because of her low income through the years her SS benefit paid out only $800 a month. He felt that the government should double the benefit. I asked him why her four college educated children with good jobs (his words) were not each sending their mother $200 bucks a month in gratitude for her tireless efforts? The gentleman looked at me, shook his head and walked away.

    I guess it makes sense to some people to have the four children each pay $300-400 per month in SS taxes versus just helping your mother.

  • Oh, and how could I have forgotten Rob “Love Wins” Portman?
    ==
    He is not Catholic. He’s a perfectly banal haut bourgeois type, as is, no doubt, his wife.

  • Ken.
    Great story and point.

    A couple of Bastiat quote’s; ” the government offers to cure all the ills of mankind. It promises to restore commerce, make agriculture prosperous, expand industry,encourage Arts and Letters, wipeout poverty, ect..all that is needed is to create some new government agencies and to pay a few more bureaucrats.”

    ” in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, but everyone wants as much bread and as little sweat as possible.”

    “Let a merchant begin to sell his good on the principle of brotherly love, and I do not give him even a month before his children will be reduced to beggary.”

  • “He is not Catholic. He’s a perfectly banal haut bourgeois type, as is, no doubt, his wife.”
    ***
    My comment was about Ohio Republicans, not Catholics.

  • Pretty petty attack on Kasich. Given his mission as gov of OH and the fact that these funds were available from federal + medicaid is an established far more efficient program vs new Obamacare.

    Says “KASICH: Yeah, well, you know very well, Laura, that if i don’t bring Ohio money back they are not going to put it in a piggy bank. And I think that it’s critical that they are able to help people to help themselves get them to work. Now, we promised the mentally ill when we took them out of the big institutions that they would get help. Where are they now? We have ten thousand in our prisons, many in the jails and many on the streets. Conservatism means that you help people so they can help themselves and that they can enter into the economic strength of our country. Now you have to separate that from the fact that the government was designing the program to take over our whole healthcare system in the back rooms of. Capitol Hill. I don’t support, but there is a big distinction between Medicaid and our ability to bring our money back to fix our problems as opposed to the a government takeover of the healthcare system. I think it’s not fair to draw a distinction between the two.”

  • The virtue of charity is dealt with under the principle of separation of church and state. “Render unto Caesar…” The virtue of charity is is dealt with through the person’s sovereign conscience over his charity and his duty. The virtue of charity demands that the neighbor’s life be sustained to the neighbor in need. Atheism denies the human conscience. Government policy to extort one person’s private property and render the owner’s private property to another for the benefit of votes is extortion, the imposition of atheism and the violation of the principle of separation of church and state. That Obama thinks that we are slaves to the state is troubling enough with out losing our liberty.

  • “Let a merchant begin to sell his good on the principle of brotherly love, and I do not give him even a month before his children will be reduced to beggary.”
    Jesus drove the merchants from the temple because they refused to sell their goods on the principle of brotherly love. Brotherly love is a two way street. If a merchant is reduced to beggary, he hasn’t been loved by his customers in a brotherly fashion.

  • “Pretty petty attack on Kasich. Given his mission as gov of OH and the fact that these funds were available from federal + medicaid is an established far more efficient program vs new Obamacare. “
    ***
    Kasich engaged in some fairly underhanded tactics to bypass the will of the legislature on Medicaid expansion. But I guess some people are just fine with him acting like Obama in that regard.
    ***
    And the “attack on Kasich” is not so much for his dirty dealing to expand Medicaid, but for his resorting to his faith and to the Bible to justify his actions, while implying that his critics will have to explain themselves for their opposition to Medicaid expansion on Judgment Day.

  • Consider the Gleaning Laws (Lev. xix. 9, 10, Deut. xxiv. 20, 21) and the Tithe of the third year (Deut xiv, 29), which most commentators agree are part of the civil law of the Jewish commonwealth and not mere moral precepts.

  • Mary De Voe.
    “Brotherly love is a two way street.”
    True.
    Welfare state is a highway without limitations.
    May loves pathway be open to all.

  • Well said.

    It is important to remember that the Devil apes true Solidarity by making it compulsory.

    Almsgiving is correctly administered by the baptized. It ought in every case to be the hand of Jesus Christ which the poor man observes providing his assistance, so that the hand which assists him may always be the hand which blesses his efforts to provide for himself and to live a moral life.

    The social lesson taught by the administration of almsgiving through the government — which, because of the either-or choice whereby taxation “crowds out” tithing, is always over and against that provided by the Church — is always a straightforward assertion that man lives by bread alone.

    And this, of course, undermines the social capital which preserves a society. God’s Laws are for the benefit of man, and we can’t live in violation of them for very long without finding them coming back to bite us on the arse, after the fashion of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.

    So, for the preservation of the society long-term, the social order should shove the poor and needy firmly towards the Church and make the Church’s provision for them as exclusive as possible. There are, of course, ham-handed ways of achieving such an end which would produce even worse results than the current welfare-state system. But it is entirely unnecessary to do it in a ham-handed way. And a well-executed version of this vision would produce great benefits in our society and culture.

My Irony Meter Has Exploded

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2015

After reading these two items, it might be irreparably destroyed.

Item the first:

A Montgomery County man has filed a unique class action lawsuit in the wake of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal.

Christopher Russell, who is listed in court files only as a county resident, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt Sept. 11 claiming that the site fraudulently represented its female users as actual women, but in fact most were automated bots designed to entice male users to spend money.

Russell spent $100 on the site to purchase credits that allowed him to message other users who he believed were real women, according to the complaint, but they may have actually been bots or workers paid by the site. The site is set up to allow married men and women to secretly coordinate affairs.

 

So you might say he is filing suit because a party with which he entered into a contract did not live up to the terms of said contract. Uh huh.

Item the second has to do with First Thing’s excommunication of Maureen Mullarkey from their blog. For those who missed the sordid affair, here is RR Reno’s post on the matter. For point of reference, here is Maureen’s blog, republished at One Peter Five. You can discern for yourselves if the post in question merited banishment.

One person who is not satisfied with First Thing’s actions: Mark Shea.

Mr. Reno:  Though I applaud your decision to give Maureen Mullarkey’s pope-hating blog the well-deserved ax, I think it is important to note that the level of sheer malice and bat@#$% [edited by PZ] crazy in the comboxes announcing he ouster at First Things is, like the popularity of Donald Trump among the wreckage of what was once conservatism, an indictment of the catechesis that conservatives have been getting from their manufacturers of thought and opinion over the last decade.

First Things–like the editors of National Review and the talking hairdos at FOX who have spent all summer trying to figure out how to team the Trumpkin Frankenstein base–have nobody to blame but themselves for the creation of that demographic. That Mullarkeys and similar lunatics have been given a forum and treated as voices to be taken seriously at all in conservative media is what has helped foster the subculture that is now roaring and frothing in that combox, as well as banging at the doors ofNational Review like zombies assaulting a shopping mall.  The sheer atavistic nuttiness on display among the Francis-haters in that First Things combox and elsewhere is the fruit of an Americanized fake gospel that FT and other conservative media has worked hard to promote.

Yes, in a post in which Shea describes others as bat@#$% crazy, lunatics, and zombies, and on a blog that is not exactly known for its decorum and lack of virulence, Mark Shea thinks that FT and its ilk are only to blame for sparking the development of an atmosphere that encourages the nuttiness that he claims is on display in the comments section of its blog.

Self-awareness, thy name is not Mark Shea.

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8 Responses to My Irony Meter Has Exploded

  • Mark confuses the real world with his blog. Unlike his blog, in the real world ideas he does not like actually get to be heard and debated on their merits. As for First Things, it is not even a pale shadow of what it once was under Father Neuhaus.

  • Shea is beneath contempt. First Things is another Patheos. I will stick with TAC, One Peter Five and Rotate Caeli.

  • Meter repair shops must be run by angels; and when some children (not referencing M.M. who surely has a relationship with objectivity and civility) use their spoons to pound on their tables, they may or may not learn what a mess they wear.

  • Seems to me Mark Shea has selected the wrong target. The right target is the Catholic Church itself, which, over the last 50 years, has failed to teach and preach the Catholic faith with the result that most Catholics (cafeteria variety) have become de facto Protestants including, evidently, Mark Shea himself. Mark unknowingly, having evolved into a Protestant, finds real Catholics and their teachings abhorrent as has always been the case. Wake up Mark, you are living in the land of OZ.

  • Sorry, but I have to ask-how is it that Josh Duggar was the only guy who scored on Ashley Madison?

  • PZ: You got off easy. I suffered second and third degree burns on my right hand when my bull shit detector ring exploded.

  • Yes, in a post in which Shea describes others as bat@#$% crazy, lunatics, and zombies, and on a blog that is not exactly known for its decorum and lack of virulence, Mark Shea thinks that FT and its ilk are only to blame for sparking the development of an atmosphere that encourages the nuttiness that he claims is on display in the comments section of its blog.

    Well of course. Shea’s constructed and molded his combox to such an echo chamber he assumes everyone else has to. That some might believe in diversity of ideas (even bad ideas) and allowing speech so it can be argued is completely unbelievable to one who hasn’t heard a disagreeing though in over five years now.

  • Best to ignore the ignorant and despicable Mark Shea.

    As to First Things – Goodbye.

    RReno can’t even hold a candle to Maureen’s intellect, passion and artistry. I suspect jealousy. Maureen still has the Federalist and her own blog, so she won’t be missed. She survived LGBT’s persecution and will survive FT like the hero she is will always be.

The Lamest Defense of Planned Parenthood Ever

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2015

Have you ever gotten to the last line of an editorial where the author’s biographical information is posted and just shuddered? That happened to me today as I read this lame attack on Congress by David S. Cohen, who is somehow a law professor at Drexel in Philadelphia. Cohen argues that the House bill which would strip Planned Parenthood of funding violates the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder. No, really, check this out:

The first day of teaching constitutional law, I inevitably find myself asking the question: “Does anyone know what a bill of attainder is?”

When one reads the rest of the article, one wonders if Professor Cohen know what a bill of attainder is.

A bill of attainder is a law that inflicts punishment upon a particular individual without a judicial trial. In other words, a bill of attainder is, as the Supreme Court has termed it, a “trial by legislature” rather than by court.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have just read the one factually correct line in the entire article.

Though no one is talking about it, this most recent dust-up over federal funding for Planned Parenthood is very clearly an example of an unconstitutional bill of attainder: Congress is singling out Planned Parenthood and punishing the organization for allegedly improper and illegal actions.

So just having factually and accurately defined a bill of attainder, Professor (shudder) Cohen now stretches the meaning beyond all recognition to imply that the attempt to not fund a private organization is the same thing as Congress punishing a person for treason without trial.

I have a high opinion of the readers of this particular blog. Based on the comments most of you have displayed a good grasp of logic and basic reading comprehension. Sadly, Professor (weeps) Cohen does not have such a high grasp of logic and reasoning. It takes quite a feat of mental gymnastics to categorize a Congressional attempt to not fund an organization as a bill of attainder. Planned Parenthood is not being “punished.” Cecile Richards (unfortunately) is not about to face either jail time or the gallows. The organization that she runs, which still manages to rake in millions of dollars from clients and from donors, might – like thousands of other similar organizations – have to live without receiving grants from the federal government. Somehow I don’t think that when James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, and the other men who gathered together in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 crafted the language in the Constitution about bills of attainder that this is what they had on their minds.

More fundamentally, Congress can make spending decisions based on whatever criteria it deems appropriate. Planned Parenthood is not entitled to federal money, and thus is not being deprived of essential liberty in the way that a person found guilty without trial would be. Therefore the linkage here is incredibly dubious, at best.

Professor (sobs uncontrollably) Cohen continues:

First, removing Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, over half a billion dollars that help it provide cancer screenings, gynecological care, contraceptive counseling, and more, is a clear instance of punishment. (emphasis mine)

Hmmmm, something seems to be missing from this list. Whatever could that “more” be?

Professor (what is wrong with this country) Cohen really gives the way over the course of his next two sentences:

The Republican-controlled House voted to remove the funding based on deceptive videos from the Center for Medical Progress that purport to show that Planned Parenthood sells aborted fetal body parts and alters abortion procedures to facilitate those sales.

Putting aside the fact that the videos show nothing of the sort,

So Cohen is going to go with the LIE that the videos are in any way deceptive, and then he is going to wishcast away all the parts of the video do indeed show that Planned Parenthood is engaging in all of the practices it has been accused of. I don’t think we really need to read any more of Professor (don’t send your kids to law school) Cohen constitutional “analysis.” He has just outed himself as a silly partisan hack who will bend constitutional law to mean what he wants it to mean.

Sleep well Americans – this is the man who gets to teach our next generation of lawyers about constitutional law. Clearly they are in excellent hands.

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7 Responses to The Lamest Defense of Planned Parenthood Ever

  • “So just having factually and accurately defined a bill of attainder, Professor (shudder) Cohen now stretches the meaning beyond all recognition.”
    As C.S. Lewis reminded us, Satan uses a pint of poison in a clear lake to accomplish his deceit.

  • What a stretch of the imagination and outright absurdities.

    It fits however. The desperate know no bounds to twist truth’s and wordsmith their lies as long as they reach their goal.

    This one phrase; …”a clear instance of punishment,” in context to the nation’s leading provider of killing humans, is incredible.
    The punishment for being inconvenient is death.

    Watch out. This is the future golden-boy of the compassionate liberal inteligencia.

  • “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution,….” (and I think we all know the rest of Pres. Cleveland’s veto)
    ,
    Start there, “Professor” Cohen; and after you get that figured out, we’ll talk.

  • I would love to have this bozo opposing me in court if this is a fair sample of his legal scholarship.

  • As a liberal (and pro choice) friend of mine said on Facebook, the implicit assumption of this article is that once a group receives federal monies, it is entitled to those funds forever. Even he views that as preposterous.

  • Inside the Supreme Court Building, the Living Constitution sits, like Crom in his moutain, and laughs. I can think of four Justices who might just buy this lame argument if they were entertained enough.
    .
    Maybe five, depending on which Anthony Kennedy shows up on any given day.

  • Perhaps Mr. Cohen studied under that Constitutional Law professor from Chicago currently residing in the White House.

“And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating.”

Wednesday, August 19, AD 2015

The latest Center for Medical Progress video is up.

Content warning at the video.

From the CMP link:

O’Donnell describes the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘I want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.

 

. . . The video also features recordings of Dr. Ben Van Handel, the Executive Director of Novogenix Laboratories, LLC, and also of Perrin Larton, Procurement Manager of Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR). Novogenix is the company that has harvested fetal organs from abortions done by Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, in Los Angeles, while ABR is the oldest fetal tissue procurement company and works with Planned Parenthood in San Diego and other clinics around the country. Van Handel admits, “There are times when after the procedure is done that the heart actually is still beating,” and Larton describes abortions she has seen where “the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups, it just fell out.

Pure, unadulterated evil.

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23 Responses to “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating.”

  • “I don’t know what to think”

    I do. Michelangelo did too. He showed a touch without blasphemy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistine_Chapel_ceiling#/media/File:Hands_of_God_and_Adam.jpg

  • Unbelievable, that a human being in the joyful process of being born is referred to as an “it.”

    The moral breakdown is in no small part found in the reality that we have no idea what it really means to be created by a perfect, all knowing, all loving, God, Who out of love decided to create from His being each one of us as precious and unique persons in his own image.
    Not fully realizing what that means is the basis for mankind’s self-centered moral confusion.

  • Behold the fruit of the “enlightenment.”

    Butchers. Savages. Heathens. Degenerates. Reprobates. Perverts. No words are adequate to describe what we have become.

    But that, after all, is “progress.”

  • We cannot just say this is awful and go along with our comfortable life. At the very least, knowing what we do, we must pray and hopefully take a stand. There is a nationwide protest this Saturday, Aug. 22nd: http://protestpp.com/

    Take part in your closest 40 Days for Life: http://www.40dayforlife.com

    Do not just expect someone else to take a stand. We all have a responsibility to do so.

  • DonL: “Unbelievable, that a human being in the joyful process of being born is referred to as an “it.”
    The rejection of God, the human soul with sovereign personhood and “who is” as a person, a sovereign person, who constitutes the nation by his very existence, and atheism imposed by the state.
    There is a word to describe what is being done to other persons: cannibalism.

  • I’ve been around some pretty tough nuts, and pretty tough situations in my life – death is no stranger to me – I have seen many dead people, and I don’t shrink from difficult scenes or confronting situations.
    But I really struggled to watch this clip through – the anger welled up in me at those blasphemous butchers in unison with the tears that flowed freely for those poor innocent helpless babies being so callously dealt with.
    Thank God that He will find a place for them closest to His heart, and I pray that the butchers will find Truth and repentance.

  • “Pure unadulterated evil!” Well said. Let me add, the Democratic party? The mainstream media? If not actual Nazi’s, then quislings. Not just traitors to their country, but to the human race. This must end. Never forget applies.

  • Thanks Magdalene.

    Over two hundred cities across the nation.
    Check out the list; www.http://protestpp.com

    Take your emotion and Rosary to the sidewalk in front of one of death-camps and PRAY.

    Please, Humanity is counting on You.

    This Saturday, the Queenship of Mary, August 22nd.

  • How many Catholic priests and bishops support the Demoncratic party? A majority?

  • This post goes well the later post on Blessed Bartolo Longo. These people need prayers.

  • This is so horrific. And there are people out there who think it’s fake. I can’t wrap my brain around the complete disconnect.

  • Shawn Marshall.

    My guess is that it’s proportional to the larger numbers of (c) atholics who voted to keep the most unsympathetic President of the plight of the unborn, in the White House. Jeanna Jenson survived a saline abortion. She has given hundreds of talk’s across the country. I met her in person.
    She told us when she confronted Senator Obama about his terrible view that he sided with regarding babies surviving abortions, the then Senator smiled at Jeanna and said; ” You should never of been born,”. Nice guy huh?

    For Obama and other supporter’s of death on demand; (this hymn.). What so ever you do to the least of my ppeeople…that you do unto me…

    Pray Pray Pray.

  • ” You should never of been born,”. Obama: god of who gets to live and who gets to die. The Great Liar incarnate.

  • Amen Mary De Voe!
    He will eat those words for eternity unless a miracle conversion melts the satanic heart he’s cultivated.

    You would love Jenna Jenson.
    Have you heard her speak?
    BTW, my spelling of her name may be incorrect.
    She was at a Right to Life meeting years ago.

  • Gianna Jessen is the correct spelling of this incredible woman.

  • Just received an email that provides direct communication to DC reps.
    From Americans United for Life:

    https://secure3.convio.net/aulact/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=927

  • Patricia.

    Thank you.
    In Michigan we sent similar letters, unfortunately the battle was lost. The needed votes fell short.

    We will continue to fight.

    Senator Stabenow sent her cookie cutter response as a reply to my letter. Woman’s health ect.

    How healthy is being a tiny woman being torn apart literally? For those words from the Senator are meaningless to million’s of murdered women.

    Thanks for the DC link.
    I’m sending it.

  • Philip,
    I don’t know – there’s such a political correctness barrier in communication (as if the atrocity is not obvious) that their duty as representatives is lost to those represented.
    Modern form of the dark ages is very dark.

  • Agreed Patricia… Modern form of the dark ages is very dark…well said.

  • Philip: I have heard Gianna Jessen, a long time ago. Divine Providence sends her.

  • Going from memory here, she said the assistant that saved her life fled the building with Gianna in her arms, the Doctor was preparing to kill her outside the womb. The assistant finally realized her role, after how many death’s she assisted in.

    Thanks be to God her Angel came in human form at that moment.

  • Total Rally count; 290.
    290 demonstrations will take place in front of Worse than Murder Inc. tomorrow morning on the feast of the Queenship of Mary our Mother.

    She will be victorious!

    In the end Her Immaculate Heart will Triumph.

    See you on the sidewalk.

  • Hundreds of times a day at Planned Parenthood and other temples of abortion a miracle of transmogrification occurs: a broken up tissue mass or clump of cells becomes human body parts for sale.

Ranking the Field

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2015

Now that we’re somewhat officially underway in the presidential campaign season, I thought I’d rundown my current rankings of the GOP field. This is a rough estimate of how I personally rank them. This has nothing to do with how I deem their chances at winning the nomination or the presidency in general, though there will be some mention of that in the discussion.

15 – 17: Jim Gilmore, George Pataki, Lindsay Graham. Just call them the 3 G’s. Their presence in this race just baffles. Gilmore is officially registering as an asterisk in the polls, the other two are barely above that.

14. Rand Paul: Ron Paul lite is living up to his name. He presents a more palatable version of his father, but in doing so he has failed to sway those who didn’t support his dad, and at the same time he has alienated a good chunk of his father’s base.

13. Donald Trump: I’ve just about had my say on the Donald. Yes, we get it Trump supporters: you’re angry. Many of us are upset and frustrated with the Republican party’s leadership as well. We’ve just discovered more effective outlets for our frustration.

12. Ben Carson: If there has been one benefit to the Trump candidacy, it is that Carson appears credible by comparison. Carson is clearly the more thoughtful of the two male outsider candidates, and I would love for him to come to his senses and make a bid for the Senate in Maryland where I think he would have a pretty decent shot at winning. But one speech does not a president make, and this is not Carson’s time.

11. Mike Huckabee: You know there must be a lot of chaffe for Huckabee to be this high up the list. Huckabee is the big government conservative that foolish “conservatarians” convinced themselves that Rick Santorum is. He is an eloquent speaker and always does well in debates, but that is not the measure of presidential timbre.

10. Chris Christie: If Donald Trump were a governor, he’d be Chris Christie. While Christie’s off the cuff bloviations might have come off as refreshing and maybe even a little fun at first, now they just seem like the pathetic utterances of an ineffective governor. I would be somewhat surprised if Christie makes it to primary season before withdrawing from the race.

9. Carly Fiorina: Fiorina has charmed her way up the polls, and indeed she has proven to be an effective communicator. Where Trump is all show, she adds substance to style and has been one of the most effective champions of conservative ideas in the race. But before getting too excited about Fiorina, be forewarned. First of all, there’s the little matter of her complete lack of political experience. Even if you view that as a plus and not a negative, and point to her stewardship as CEO of Hewlett Packard, well I wouldn’t exactly rush to put that feather in her cap. (We’ll call her record mixed, and leave it at that.) On social issues her language is wishy-washy, and in general she’s somewhat of a blank slate. She has promise, but there are better candidates with stronger track records.

8. Jeb Bush: You were probably expecting him much lower on the list, but I do not have the same antipathy towards Jeb as others do. His record as governor of Florida was generally strong, and all in all I always thought he would have made a more effective president than his brother. That being said, he should absolutely not be the nominee. Aside from his (at the very least) muddled positions on immigration and Common Core, Bush is the absolute worst person to run against Hillary Clinton. His nomination would certainly negate the dynastic factor. What’s more, at least the person that Hillary is tied to is (sad as it is) actually popular with the electorate. And while Hillary Clinton is a charismatic dud, Jeb is not exactly a dynamo himself. More substantively, we are now almost a full decade removed from his term of office. I’m not the first to observe that he simply does not feel the connections to the issues that matter with the electorate that he might have once possessed. On top of all that, he’s a clumsy speaker who has made a number of unforced errors that hardly seems befitting the Establishment darling.

7. John Kasich: Well, Newt Gingrich made a pretty strong bid in 2012, so why not have another member of the 90s conservative revolution give it a shot? Unlike Gingrich then and Bush now, Kasich actually currently holds elective office, and won re-election in 2014 fairly easily. A conservative governor of a desperately needed swing state? Sounds like a sure winner to me. Unfortunately Kasich has decided to go the Bush route in seemingly taking delight in poking his base in the eye. And while he has a fairly strong conservative record, his support for Medicaid expansion is what particularly galls, especially in the way he framed it as a religious issue. Echoing the likes of Archbishop Cupich he said”“Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.” I didn’t realize entry into the kingdom of heaven would be based on my support of giving other people’s money to the poor. That soundbite is also odd considering more recent comments about faith and politics. Really, John? There’s only one social issue of importance now?

6. Marco Rubio: If he hadn’t initially supported the Gang of Eight deal on amnesty he’d be the front-runner. Alas he did, and so here we are. Unlike others I am willing to forgive a single transgression when a person’s record is otherwise solid, and Rubio’s record is very good. If anything gives me pause it is his somewhat aggressive approach towards foreign policy. He is almost at the polar opposite end of Rand Paul, and frankly I find both extremes troubling. It’s for this, and not his transgression on amnesty, that Rubio remains outside of the top tier.

Tie 4: Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum: If either man had been a governor he’d be the runaway leader for me. Alas, they’ll just have to make do with their sparkling ideological records. I was proud to support Santorum in 2012. Though I preferred Perry, Santorum was a strong second choice and, well, let’s not re-fight those battles. As with Rubio, my main concern is with Santorum’s dare I say neoconnish outlook on foreign affairs. Santorum is much more likely than Cruz to support military involvement, and as such Cruz might have the edge over Santorum. Both men are absolutely solid on both economic and social issues. Santorum gets pegged as a big government conservative, but this is completely unfair based on his track record. Santorum does have a bit of a protectionist streak in him, so once again Cruz comes out slightly ahead when it comes to trade. In terms of their overall chances, I’m sad to say that I don’t see Santorum making much of a run, though he did surprise last time out. Cruz, on the other hand, could potentially win a chunk of the anti-Establishment vote from the Trump supporters as real elections draw near. Along with Walker and Bush, I’d peg him as one of the front-runners (assuming the Trump boomlet does in fact die out, which I’m less certain of now).

Tie 1: Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry: And here is where I shake my head over the current state of the campaign. Let’s be frank: none of these men are perfect. Walker has been somewhat wishy-washy on immigration. Jindal’s budget record in Louisiana has been disappointing (although Leon Wolf makes a persuasive case that Jindal’s budget record is quite commendable). Perry continually makes missteps in debates and in his overall campaign strategy. One of our faults as Americans in these campaigns is looking for some perfect candidate who will absolutely embody everything we hold dear, and who will, in a single term, make America a land flowing with milk and honey, where rainbows will dash across the sky every day. And so we nitpick our politicians, looking for the slightest flaws. Then when we grow frustrated we lash out at everyone. So Ted Cruz and Scott Walker becomes no better than John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. They’re all equally bad, or so we delude ourselves.

So here we are. Three solid conservative governors with good to great records, including one man who won statewide elections three times in four years in a swing state and in the face of intense opposition. Rick Perry won three terms on his own and oversaw one of the few solidly functioning economies in the state. Bobby Jindal has worked to restore some sense of political trust in a state that has been wrecked by both political and natural disasters. Again, their records are not perfect, but I would take it in my home state.

And where are they? Two of them had to sit at the equivalent of the kiddies table during the debates two weeks ago, with Jindal also registering as an asterisk in the polling, and the other remains mired in a kind of political limbo – doing better than most but not as well as he should. All the while a boorish lout who is literally a Republican in Name Only laps the field and a man nine years removed from effective governance is the darling of the establishment class.

Perhaps Walker and the rest deserve some of the blame for their failure to catch on in the polling. And it’s still too early to get quite panicked, especially when history shows that candidates have a tendency to rise from the ashes as soon as you are about to count them out. We’ll see how this all plays out, I suppose.

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44 Responses to Ranking the Field

  • When you have this much executive experience, there’s no reason to consider a legislator unless all of your executives have a history of failures or advocate humbug. Six of your candidates fail to make the grade on that basis alone, Messrs. Graham and Rubio add a belt to their braces by being dead wrong on a non-negotiable issue. Rubio added insult to injury by getting snookered by upChuck Schumer’s staff and then engaging in a public campaign of assiduous lying. He’s better at politicking in legislative bodies than is John Kerry, but he gives off the same odor: someone who went into politics because he had insufficient aptitude for law practice. With one or two exceptions, he’s the worst of the lot and I cannot figure why anyone rates him as satisfactory. I do wish Mr. Cruz would set his sights on a useful project like knocking-off the useless Capitol Hill fixture currently occupying the post of Senate Majority Leader.

    As for Dr. Carson, same problem as Cruz. A highly intelligent and skilled man with something to say, but lacking a history as a line administrator.

    As for George Pataki, what’s his angle? He’s useless on every issue because he has no principles whatsoever. If his time in public life had any point, it was enjoying the laughs with Al d’Amato after putting another one over on all of us.

    I’ve never noticed the Bush clan was one to jab any component of the Republican base. You’ve confounded the Bushes with Jon Huntsman, the odd candidate to run for President in the last 35 years banking on the momentum to be had from talking like a condescending twit. John Kasich is using Huntsman’s playbook, who must have figured it worked for Michael Dukakis. Eject.

    As for Gov. Christie, students of his judicial appointments in New Jersey say they’re terrible. He’s an ambitious man out of the legal establishment and such a man simply will not take any of the first steps necessary to discipline the courts or offer them any resistance at all. It’s a reasonable wager that only George Pataki among them would sell us all down the river more readily. And, as Rosanne Rosannadanna used to say, “You sound like a real attractive guy. You belong in New Jersey”.

    As for Mrs. Fiorina, not sure. Clayton Cramer, a person of almost unfailing good sense, worked at Hewlett-Packard during her tenure. You could not get a kind word out of him about her, I’m sure.

    Which leaves you with Messrs. Walker, Jindal, Perry, and Huckabee, who might do themselves and everyone else a favor by issuing a white paper on immigration policy that delineates goals and means with adequate precision What’s so depressing about all this Trump mess (aside from the fanaticism of some of his admirers) is that he eats their lunch and none of them tries to take his issue away. That strongly suggests they’re quite divorced from the concerns of their constituency, or that they’re in hoc to troublesome donor interests, or that they’re stupefied by the matrix they are in. It’s all the same questions you have about Boehner and McConnell: is there anybody home there, or do they just despise us?

    On a final point: in nearly 40 years of reading newspapers and magazines, I’ve never seen anyone offer a sketch of what is meant by ‘small government conservatism’ brass tacks, that did not veer into a minimally relevant historical discussion, or into some romantic discussion of the powers of philanthropy, or into vulgarities which might have embarrassed Ayn Rand. It’s a shtick, and people trading in it ought to give it some flesh or retire it.

  • Which leaves you with Messrs. Walker, Jindal, Perry, and Huckabee, who might do themselves and everyone else a favor by issuing a white paper on immigration policy that delineates goals and means with adequate precision

    Indeed. They’ve let Trump have all the attention on this issue, and so I do think they can blame themselves for their failure to catch on. That’s why, detestable as Trump is and as silly as his supporters are, it’s not exactly difficult to discern why he is so popular.

    As for George Pataki, what’s his angle?

    Art, I suspect George Pataki doesn’t even know the answer to that question.

  • Art, I suspect George Pataki doesn’t even know the answer to that question.

    Maybe its all the result of a dare that d’Amato or Guy Molinari or Ray McGrath came up with over a liquid poker game (after one of them had pinched the ass of d’Amato’s tart for the night).

  • The GOP has earned a large dose of constructive destruction. I don’t care. We voted in GOP Congressional majorities and the squid GOP leadership defied the voice of the voters. I’m preparing for the worst. I will not vote GOP if it puts up a moderate, like Bush.
    .

    I recently heard on radio that polled majority of Americans want harsher treatment on illegal immigration/invasion than “extremist” Trump’s ideas.
    .

    The elites (liberal and GOP) running the emerging American serfdom cannot defy the laws of reality. A nation can have a welfare state or open borders, but not both.
    .

    The castrati/Chamber of Commerce/crony capitalist/big government GOP and FOXNews are all-in for illegal immigration. If they manage to put up another loser, liberal-sympathizer (McCain and Romney) Hillary will get to, as her first official act, pardon herself, and the GOP imbeciles in Congress will do nothing.
    .

  • Wow, how delightful to see how like-minded we are on this! I’m totally for Perry. Then Walker. But then I’d say Cruz. But only because I don’t know much about Jindal. Now I’ll go back and read it all. Perry 2016! https://rickperry.org/about

  • Cruz for me. He believes in God and the Constitution passionately. I fear the Perry is not wrapped too tight. Jindal, Carson or Walker I could vote for happily. Check out this link for good ratings info: https://www.conservativereview.com/2016-Presidential-Candidates.

  • Interesting post. Interesting comments.

  • I live in Texas, Perry is as establishment RINO as they come. He will not do jack squat about our open borders, as he proved for 12 years as governor. He was more interested in protecting his buddies’ business interests, than doing what was best for the state of Texas. If it weren’t for fracking, I doubt the economy of Texas would have been so strong under him. Ted Cruz is a much better choice.

  • Also, I forgot to mention that Perry tried to mandate the HPV vaccine for all 11 and 12 year old girls in Texas back in 2007. He then backtracked when the outrage among conservatives threatened his political career.

  • For the record, Cruz DOES have executive experience, although not as a governor. His experience in running the office of Solicitor General in Texas — where he was by all accounts extremely successful — should count in his favor.

  • And I will under no circumstances vote for either Bush or Trump if they win the nomination. Not that my vote will matter because they are the two candidates who can’t win a general election for President.

  • Not that my vote will matter because they are the two candidates who can’t win a general election for President.

    Indeed.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2015/08/18/brutal-jeb-bush-sinks-to-3557-favorable-rating-among-registered-voters-in-new-cnn-poll/

  • I live in Texas, Perry is as establishment RINO as they come.

    “RINO” is a nonsense term which should be retired unless you’re talking about some mercenary hustler like Nicolle Wallace.

    For the record, Cruz DOES have executive experience, although not as a governor. His experience in running the office of Solicitor General in Texas

    The position of Solicitor-General of Texas is a component of the Attorney-General’s office. The Solicitor-General’s office employs fewer than 20 attorneys.

  • they are the two candidates who can’t win a general election for President.

    Depends on circumstances. Not prudent to make any categorical statements at this point.

  • Also, I forgot to mention that Perry tried to mandate the HPV vaccine for all 11 and 12 year old girls in Texas back in 2007. He then backtracked when the outrage among conservatives threatened his political career.

    I think he has not thought some things through and is susceptible to people around him with certain hobby horses and interests. In that case, IIRC, it was his wife who was promoting that.

  • An observation from the fringes of civilization from a group of islands in the deep south pacific.
    Ted Cruz is my man, and there are many Kiwi conservatives, mostly secular non-religious types – who think Ted is great.
    He says he will speak for Truth, and so far has done so, even to the extent of calling out Mitch McConnell. He is highly articulate , and IMO speaks brilliantly off the cuff. In a Youtube clip I saw him give speaking time to a couple of hecklers at a rally he was giving, and then disposed of their arguments easily, but did it respectfully.
    It will be interesting to see how the attack merchants of the US media try to get to him to destroy him – I think he will handle them in spades.

  • “RINO” is a nonsense term which should be retired unless you’re talking about some mercenary hustler like Nicolle Wallace.

    Generally agree, but it is an apt description for one person in this race: Donald Trump.

  • “An observation from the fringes of civilization from a group of islands in the deep south pacific.”

    Naw! Texas is the fringe of civilization! (When Robert E. Lee and his wife were contemplating a move he told his wife that it was not to the ends of the Earth. Then he smiled, recalling his service in Texas and said, “Now Texas, Texas was the ends of the Earth!)

    Completely agree with you Don. Cruz is great, one sign of which is the raw hatred the mention of his name arouses on leftist boards.

    (To soothe Texans:

    “Of all the Civil War fighting units, few obtained loftier status than the Texas Brigade. Under the command of General John Bell Hood, the brigade gained prominence after breaking the Union line at the Battle of Gaines Mill; a feat that helped force the Army of the Potomac from the outskirts of Richmond. At Second Manassas, the brigade’s vicious flank attack almost led to the destruction of the Union’s Army of Virginia. One moment at the Battle of the Wilderness would propel them into legend.
    On the morning of May 6, 1864, a powerful Union attack, under General Winfield Scott Hancock, threatened to shatter General A.P. Hill’s 3rd Corps. “We are driving them sir,” Hancock told a fellow officer. “Tell General Meade we are driving them most beautifully.” General Robert E. Lee was in a quandary; his troops were falling back in disorder and he desperately needed to reestablish his line. From out of the smoke, General James Longstreet’s 1st Corps arrived after a forty mile march with no food for twenty four hours. They quickly began to rebuild a defensive front to hold off a blue tidal wave. At the Widow Catherine Tapp’s farmhouse, the Texas Brigade (3 Texas Regiments and 1 Arkansas Regiment), under the command of General John Gregg, filed passed an overly excited Robert E. Lee. “Who are you my boys?” he asked. “Texas boys!” they replied. Lee waved his hat in the air and yelled, “Hurrah for Texas! Texans always move them!” Gregg proudly announced, “Attention Texans. The eyes of General Lee are upon you. Forward!!!!” To Gregg’s astonishment, Lee was also going forward. He wanted to lead the charge. “Lee to the rear!” the Texans yelled. “Go back General Lee go back. We won’t go forward until you turn back.” A sergeant grabbed the bridle of Lee’s horse “Traveler” and directed him back toward the Widow Tapp’s farmhouse. Other hands grabbed the reins and moved Lee back.
    The 800 man brigade opened a thunderous volley on Hancock’s ranks, stopping them in their tracks. Two thirds of the Texas Brigade became casualties. The dead were gathered and buried en masse under a scrap of wood. Its simple carved heading consisted of only two words, “Texas Dead.” The legend, however, was not buried with them.”)

    http://warriorsofthelonestar.blogspot.com/2011/01/lees-texans-at-wilderness.html

  • “Depends on circumstances. Not prudent to make any categorical statements at this point.”

    I think it’s particularly prudent at this time, because neither Bush nor Trump should be the nominee. The sooner people reach that conclusion, the sooner we can get to the more serious candidates.

    Nevertheless, I wouldn’t vote for Bush or Trump regardless of their respective abilities to win.

  • “I think he has not thought some things through and is susceptible to people around him with certain hobby horses and interests. In that case, IIRC, it was his wife who was promoting that.”

    So:
    1. Perry doesn’t think things through
    2. Is influenced by his buddies (as I said earlier)
    3. Possibly has a progressive wife that influences his decisions

    Yea, great president material there.

  • I supported Mr. Jindal during his first run for governor and again on his second run when he first won the seat. He really let me and many others down once he got in office and showed his true colors. He talks the talk but does not walk the walk. He has a really good propaganda team behind him and he takes credit where credit is definitely not due. He is a very smart man, a good family man, and we assume a good Catholic. If he would have done what he said he was going to do when he first ran I would be his biggest supporter but he fell into the good old boy network of Louisiana. And he has been a non resident governor for the past year as he has been everywhere but here.

  • So:

    Strange as it may seem to you, politicians are generalists. Some of them are better at applying general principles to discrete policy question than are others. There are going to be a raft of questions which land on their desk they have no very strong opinions about, and it’s a reasonable wager this was one for Gov. Perry.

  • He really let me and many others down once he got in office and showed his true colors. He talks the talk but does not walk the walk. He has a really good propaganda team behind him and he takes credit where credit is definitely not due.

    Well, thanks for clearing that up.

  • I think it’s particularly prudent at this time, because neither Bush nor Trump should be the nominee.

    That’s pretty irrelevant to the question of whether either one could prevail in a general election. and, FWIW, Real Clear Politics has Trump within striking distance of Hildebeast and Bush leading her. Does not mean much at this point, but it conflicts with your thesis.

  • I don’t think it’s irrelevant at all. Bush and Trump are wasting our time, and sucking up all the oxygen from serious candidates who would have a better shot at beating Hillary. Ironically, this time, it is the more conservative candidates who I believe to have a better shot than do the candidates like Bush and Trump who are less conservative.
    ***
    I think Bush and Trump are unelectable and should get out of the way. And I don’t believe it’s too early to make that determination at all. (It’s certainly never too early for the establishment to pull out the “electabiliity” card.)

  • But one speech does not a president make,
    .
    Yeah? What about the guy in the oval office? Sure, he’s not presidential. But he is President. And didn’t Reagan’s political career start with a speech?
    .
    Kidding aside, I agree that one speech does not make a president. But it can be the first step on the road to the oval office.

  • And didn’t Reagan’s political career start with a speech?

    It did not. He was involved avocationally with this committee and that committee in Hollywood ca. 1946 and then served 6 years as president of the Screen Actors Guild (1947-52; 1960-61). He actually testified in front of a congressional committee in 1947. One reason bruited about concerning why Jane Wyman sued him for divorce was that she was irked, bored, and impatient with what he did with his free time and his table talk about it.

  • I don’t disagree that all of that was excellent prepatory schooling for a political career. But nobody approached him about running for public office until after his speech on behalf of Goldwater in ’64.

  • To me the only thing that matters is the Bill Buckley formula: , “Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.” Who would that be now for me: Marco Rubio, and John Kasich,

  • Two cents coming in; Scott Walker will climb up in the polls. The Madison libs we’re no match for this fearless conservative. I like his moxie and he can lead. He isn’t perfect, but who is?

  • Don Mc- wonderful retelling of the may 6 Texans ‘encouraging’ Gen R.E. Lee to the rear- that’s in the Gainsemills meeting you say – its a great painting……i think approaching the Texas Brigade in ferocity and stamina is the 1st mississippi, Jacksons foot calvary, who had a similar incident with RE Lee as you know under Gen’ Harris on May 12 in the spotsylvania theater… there may even be a 3rd ‘Lee to the rear’ incident under the great Gen’l Gordon at spotsylvania. Corps commanders were sometimes slow in ‘coming up’ as Lee would say ….. Hood’s texans being a fine example of a brigade in front on point of Old Pete’s Corps. what courage these men had. It is good to remember reading about what these men did for their beliefs against an invader. and the respect they had for their Commander -in- chief marse Rob’t.

  • Scott Walker is and has been my top choice for a while. He seems to me to be the one who currently best fits the “Buckley formula”. He’s conservative and CLEARLY electable, having been elected 3 times in 4 years in a “blue” state.
    ***
    That said, and giving due acknowledgment to Art Deco’s statement about it being too early to make definitive statements regarding electability, I think there’s a very good chance that “who’s electable?” could actually move significantly rightward in this election depending on how things play out.
    ***
    It might be that, over the next several months, Ted Cruz could emerge as “the most conservative candidate who is electable.”
    ***
    We certainly shouldn’t be setting our sights so low that we’d settle for John Kasich (and I voted for him twice for Governor of Ohio).

  • But nobody approached him about running for public office until after his speech on behalf of Goldwater in ’64.

    He was well and gainfully employed in film and, after that, in television and public relations. His career was gradually winding down, he was developing his own critique of the prevailing political economy and culture (in its dynamic aspect as well as its static aspect), made some connections during the Goldwater campaign, and discovered during his first term of office that he had natural talent as an administrator.

  • Well and gainfully employed? Career winding down? developing his own critique of the prevailing political economy and culture?
    .
    You just described Ben Carson, didn’t you? Maybe he has a natural talent for administration as well. Of course, it would be better to discover that talent at the state level.

  • You just described Ben Carson, didn’t you?

    No. Carson’s actually retired. When Mr. Reagan was the age Dr. Carson is now, he was completing his second term as Governor of California. I’m not sure what the evolution of Dr. Carson’s views has been, but it’s a matter of public record that Ronald Reagan in 1947 was a mainline northern Democrat and union official. His work with labor groups and Hollywood committees fighting Communist influence in the picture business surprised Olivia de Havilland (who was active in the same circles), as he had a reputation as a red haze denizen.

  • “We certainly shouldn’t be setting our sights so low that we’d settle for John Kasich (and I voted for him twice for Governor of Ohio).”

    Yes. From his goofy rhetoric of late, Kasich is one solid collision with a doorjamb away from sounding like Ted Kennedy.

  • “Also, I forgot to mention that Perry tried to mandate the HPV vaccine for all 11 and 12 year old girls in Texas back in 2007. He then backtracked when the outrage among conservatives threatened his political career.

    I think he has not thought some things through and is susceptible to people around him with certain hobby horses and interests. In that case, IIRC, it was his wife who was promoting that.”

    ————————–

    Uh. One of Perry’s big time political donors was going to profit financially off of the girls in the state of TX being given that inoculation.

  • “The position of Solicitor-General of Texas is a component of the Attorney-General’s office. The Solicitor-General’s office employs fewer than 20 attorneys.”

    It is still executive experience.

  • It is still executive experience.
    ==
    No, it is supervisory experience. The office will not have more than three echelons and the supervisor deals with everyone face to face. Also, the Solicitor-General’s office does one thing, and that is to argue appeals.

  • Uh. One of Perry’s big time political donors was going to profit financially off of the girls in the state of TX being given that inoculation.

    By that standard, any decision made about public policy is tainted if it could be shown that some company operated by a campaign contributor could benefit, no matter what the decision maker knew or did not know about the donor’s interest and no matter what the bidding process was.

  • Keep on keeping on.
    .
    What’s the attraction for executive experience? Obama did not have any. And, everything Hillary ran turned to poo-poo.
    .
    It is not too early to begin the process of accepting the unacceptable: President Hillary.

  • “It’s not early to begin the process of accepting the unacceptable. President Hillary.”

    Mr. T Shaw.
    Thanks a bunch.
    My morning meal just resurfaced and I’m all out of breath mints.
    Please refrain from using foul language.

  • What’s the attraction for executive experience? Obama did not have any. And, everything Hillary ran turned to poo-poo.

    That’s more an argument that one can get elected without executive experience, not that one would be a particularly good president without it.

    It is not too early to begin the process of accepting the unacceptable: President Hillary.

    I don’t know why folks have this sense of inevitability with her. She’s starting to lose people within her own party, her negatives are climbing and outweigh her general approval, she has none of her husband’s political skills and that’s evident for all to see, and she is even starting to barely eek out Donald Trump in the polls. Unless the Republicans suffer a collective bout of dementia and nominate Jeb Bush (and even then it’s still 50/50) I have a hard time seeing how she is elected president, assuming she’s even her own party’s nominee.

  • “It is not too early to begin the process of accepting the unacceptable…”
    .
    D & C steamrollers aimed at unpaved paths.
    No voter ID.
    Software, not paper.
    Media hyperactivity.
    Muckraking.
    Can’t watch civilization disintegrate for – what?
    .
    But, The Donald has a steamroller, too.

Requiem for a Shill

Thursday, August 6, AD 2015

Today is a momentous day for political theater as later tonight millions of Americans will tune in for a big tv event. I’m of course talking about the final Daily Show featuring Jon Stewart.

There are several commentaries exploring what a fantastic fraud Stewart was. This one is a few years old, but here’s Jim Treacher exposing Stewart’s two-faced nature.

Stewart has been playing this game for years, most notably back in 2004 when he comment-trolled my future boss, called him a dick*, and said he’s ruining America. Then, he responded to the ensuing discussion with, “You guys do know I’m on Comedy Central, right?” Stewart wants you to take his political opinions seriously, but then when you try to engage his argument, he draws back and says, “Whoa, I’m just a comedian!” Yes, you can be a comedian and yes, you can be a pundit. You can even be both over the course of the same conversation. But Stewart plays the two roles against each other to deflect criticism, and it’s dishonest.

Call it Clown Nose On, Clown Nose Off.

Bill McMorriss calls him the left’s Donald Trump. He delves into how Stewart ceased being an honest broker, pulling his punches when it came to Democrats. He also highlights Stewart’s simplistic and dull “humor.”

When Stewart first rushed onto the scene of renegade, devil-may-care truth-telling, the zeitgeist of the day demanded howling lamentations of soundbite politics. Stewart is the chief pioneer of soundbite humor, the news of the day broken into out-of-context eight-second clips followed by three to five minutes of the host making funny faces and sighing loudly as each one plays.

It’s the comedic equivalent of saying “ugh,” of Popsicle-stick one-liners, only less original. It was built for our SEO-fueled, clickbait-laden age. Stewart may despise the “Watch Jon Stewart DEMOLISH Idaho’s Infamous Homophobic, Bigoted, Sexist, Cis-Gendered Republican County Dog Catcher” headlines that accompany each one of his segments, but those headlines have been routine for nearly a decade and the show has never deviated from its formula.

Then there’s the matter of his dishonest editing.

That’s exactly what Stewart did to former Libertarian presidential nominee Wayne Allen Root when it aired a segment of him bashing the Internal Revenue Service for profiling Tea Party groups while seemingly defending racial profiling that he’d spent his career condemning.

“When the interviewer asked the 3 guests for their opinion of me…all 3 said something nice. The director said, ‘Cut. C’mon guys. This is supposed to be funny. Please say something funny or negative about Wayne. Like ‘rich white guy’ or ‘Fox News guy.’ And then they turned the camera back on…and each guest said something negative about me,” Root said in an email to Reason.

Here’s John Daniel Davidson, also writing in the Federalist.

This is no small thing. Stewart has managed to convince large numbers of Americans, especially Millennials, that he is a real-life newsman and can be trusted as a news source, but also, paradoxically, that he’s just a comedian making jokes about the absurd political news of the day. In a recent survey, self-identifying liberals said they trusted “The Daily Show” more than Fox News and CNN. Among moderates, he’s more trusted than MSNBC.

. . . The purpose of the show is to entertain, sure, but the purpose of the entertainment is to discredit political opponents of the Left. More or less the same is true of liberal “explanatory journalism” outfits like Vox and Politifact, which exist largely to provide Left-leaning readers with liberal talking points on the issues of the day. As Kevin Williamson pointed out last year, Jon Stewart and Ezra Klein are cut from the same cloth: “For the Left, the maker of comedy and the maker of graphs perform the same function. It does not matter who does the ‘destroying,’ so long as it gets done.”

And here’s a video at Reason TV: Five Reasons Jon Stewart is Full of (well, you know.)

I will not shed a tear for Stewart’s departure. He has done more to damage political discourse than anyone else in this country. Young hipster leftists have been reduced to snarky brats who have no ability to truly analyze or even honestly assess their opponent’s political views. I am no stranger to snark or sarcasm, but these are essentially the only arrows in their quiver. Stewart may have been as much a reflection of this pose as an inspiration, but either way we’re better off without this shill on air four nights a week.

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6 Responses to Requiem for a Shill

  • I thought you were talking about the World of Warcraft expansion announcement at 6pm LA time tonight….
    Of course, I also thought that the lamentation of his style was decrying Sony Entertainment Online for a moment. 😉
    ****
    Heck, I trust him more than MSNBC– at least he’s likely to leave enough after selective editing for you to find out what actually happened…and it probably did happen, wasn’t made up out of wholecloth.
    I think the guy is missing that the “trust” isn’t a matter of “he’ll tell the truth,” it’s “he’ll be consistent.” Millennials and whatever you call the folks ten years older than us (“everyone under 40”) expect to be lied to– passively if not actively, by a very large swath of folks.
    It makes us very vulnerable to the “hidden knowledge” style thing that Steward does, where 90% of his humor depends on it being an ‘in joke”– on you sharing his assumptions. If you don’t share them, it’s easy to see what he’s implying, it’s just not “funny.” (Some folks don’t find being nasty funny even if it DOES agree with their assumptions, but we’re freaks.)

  • And to think Comedy Central is where most younger people get their “news” from.

  • The funniest thing to happen in the 21st century is Bruce Jenner. Lenny Bruce would’ve had a field with this topic. Jon Stewart? Crickets.

  • Some here ignore professional sports. I ignore popular culture and Stewart is a part of that. I never watched the program. I read enough about Stewart that I would not spend a minute of my life watching him. He seems like a Bill Maher wannabe and one Bill Maher is too many.

  • Jon is now freed up to make his presidential run!

  • Ah, crap! First impression on reading line: “Sweet! One of them useless POS’s is receiving justice in Hell.”

CMP’s Latest Video

Tuesday, July 28, AD 2015

The third in their on-going series looking into Worse Than Murder Inc’s selling of aborted baby body parts.

Extreme content warning for this video, showing the dissection of an aborted child. It also features an interview with a lab tech who used to work for a company that procured body parts from Planned Parenthood.

May God have mercy on us all.

On a related note, here is Brit Hume’s fantastic commentary about these videos.

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4 Responses to CMP’s Latest Video

The “Truth Teller” Speaks His Mind

Sunday, July 19, AD 2015

By now everyone reading this blog has either heard or read of Donald Trump’s incomprehensibly silly remarks about John McCain. As a reminder, here is what he said:

“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” The comments clearly shocked the crowd at the summit, some of whom reacted with boos and shouts of condemnation.

Here is where I am contractually obligated to note that I am no fan of McCain, and that one’s war record doesn’t justify political actions four decades later. But this is also a man who voluntarily stayed in prison in place of another soldier, and who endured mental and physical anguish that the soft bellied anonmyi who occupy the internet like a plague couldn’t begin to dream of. What’s more, in attacking McCain, Trump managed to insult all prisoners of war.

Tangentially, I’ll note that the continued defense of every idiotic thing that comes out of this man’s mouth is starting to feel vaguely familiar. The last two election cycles we had to endure Ron Paul supporters flocking to every thread where even the slightest criticism of Doctor Paul was made. The same phenomenon is at work in this cycle with Trump, who at this point could call the Virgin Mary a dirty little whore and he’d have legions of supporters cheering on his “bravery” and “just telling it like he sees it” and “Yeah, well, Jeb Bush, GOPe, establishment shill, GAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!”

At any rate, it’s telling that this comment made all the news when it’s not even the dumbest thing he said during this talk. Here’s Captain Truth Teller on the Eucharist:

“When we go in church and I drink the little wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and I eat the little cracker — I guess that’s a form of asking forgiveness,” Mr. Trump said.

The “little wine” and the “little cracker.” Yes, this is how Donald Trump references the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now it must be mentioned that the thrice-married Donald is a Presbyterian, and so he’s possibly just revealing the truth about how certain Protestants view the Eucharist. Having been to a few of their services I could see how the average person could view what they serve as a little wine and crackers. That being said, perhaps a few more people might appreciate Trump for the circus sideshow freak that truly is.

 

 

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31 Responses to The “Truth Teller” Speaks His Mind

  • I have e-spoken with some people who assure me they know other Vietnam POWs who claim McCain did dishonorable things there.
    Me, I stand here and go… “He can’t raise his arms, he didn’t get an early out, really not seeing what “favors” he could’ve gotten that resulted him him coming home crippled.”

    I’ve got a crazy uncle. He was a made-for-TV Vietnam vet before he went to Vietnam. I could– and, in person, would– explain in detail some of his shortcomings, number depending on how many folks are at the reunion.

    But I wouldn’t insult his military service; that’s dishonorable. For the same reason I ignore anybody who insults my quite mild military service, I wouldn’t insult it– it’s stupid.

  • I suspect that the brouhaha going on against Trump from most all of the Washington establishment is not because he misspoke (lacking the political cunning and deceit required to get to the top) His valid point was poorly stated as usual.

    McCain aside, the takedown attempt–the Palinization of Trump by his own party is not because he told something wrong, but because he’s speaking much of the truth that the GOP and the left (a possible redundancy) cannot let afford to become the message.

  • that the GOP and the left (a possible redundancy)
    ==
    Granted McConnell and Boehner are hopelessly ineffectual, and, with Priebus, cat’s paws of donors. They’re also in the business of gaming their own caucus. That having been said, remarks such as this are silly.

  • Oh please Don. I’m so tired of hearing about how this egotistical lout is a truth teller. He’s a carnival barker telling people what they want to hear. The man has absolutely no track record of espousing conservative ideas, and even his sudden “this goes to eleven” turn on immigration is of recent vintage.

    It’s funny that you should mention Palin because there is a similarity between them, and it’s that their most ardent supporters are incapable of ever accepting the fact that they may have done or said something wrong. Now Palin was often attacked unfairly and without merit, so that is where the comparison ends.

  • that their most ardent supporters are incapable of ever accepting the fact that they may have done or said something wrong. Now Palin was often attacked unfairly and without merit,

    About the only legitimate complaint I’ve ever seen in print about Gov. Palin was that there were cost over-runs on a public works project she engineered while Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Some of her ‘more ardent supporters’ might be more amenable to criticism of the Governor if any of it was something other than people in verbalizing occupations displaying their class prejudices (or partisan Democrats displaying their ambient hostility to anyone not a partisan Democrat or deriving from benighted subcultures).

  • Art Deco…” That having been said, remarks such as this are silly. (that the GOP and the left (a possible redundancy?)

    I assume you refer to the remark in parenthesis. If so, in regard to both party’s open war on “social conservatives” (read as Christians) I reiterate the redundancy remark.

  • This time this crazy will not succumb to the GOP prevarication that I’d be “cutting off my nose to spite my face” if I vote third party. They never come through, even if they win.
    .

    One, John McCain needs to apologize to 15,000 Arizonans that he called “crazies” for showing up at a Trump event.
    .

    Two, paraphrasing a real hero, Patton, “Nobody ever won a war by getting shot down and being tortured as a POW.” McCain’s service fits the definition of immensely virtuous victim. Job not Sgt. York comes to mind.
    .

    Three, in the US losing the Vietnam War pilots were made POW’s. Grunts were shot in the head or tortured and staked out for the rest of the troops to see. Grunts were, and are, expendable.
    .

    Four, Trump says much that many of us crazies want to hear.
    .

    Five, Although I agree with PZ’s comment above, I want Trump to run as an independent. Then, we crazies will give the (castrati, Chamber of Commerce, country club, big-government) GOP much needed creative destruction.

    .
    Finally (at last), it seems as if the fix is in. It will be Bush, Inc. vs. Clinton, Inc. I’ll very happily go deer hunting.

  • If so, in regard to both party’s open war on “social conservatives” (read as Christians) I reiterate the redundancy remark.

    There is no ‘open war’. The closest you’ve seen to ‘open war’ on social conservatives was the Huntsman campaign and the headquarters idiots piling on Todd Akin. How’d that work out for them?

  • . I don’t support Trump, but I’m not wild about McCain either. Many Ex-GI’s and POW’s believe he was a Vietcong collaborator while he was at the Hanoi Hilton. If Te Donald wanted to slam McCain, he could have mentioned what these former soldiers thought of him. But instead, he makes a dumb-ass remark like this one. No vote for you man!

  • Many Ex-GI’s and POW’s believe he was a Vietcong collaborator while he was at the Hanoi Hilton. If Te Donald wanted to slam McCain,

    I see ‘many ex-GI’s’ is now a synonym for “Ron Unz”,

  • Social cons? Trump is a social progressive! “Evolving” on gay marriage, and pro-abortion until a few months ago (conveniently, and with a story much less convincing than Reagan’s or even Romney’s, with, oh yeah, the fact that it generates a few months before a run!) What is going on!

    He is practically a Communist, only guy seeking nom. who ever advocated a one time total net worth tax on America’s wealthiest, or employed Occupy rhetoric during the protests. He was a Hilary and Pelosi supporter and major donor pretty recently too.

    He should be the Ron Paul and Tea Party and Social Warrior and quasi-Libertarianism crowds’ least favorite candidate!

    Heck, besides “immigrant bad,” he supported limited path to citizenship like, < two years ago.. A border security hawk with a limited path to citizenship? You know of whom that reminds me? LITERALLY every other GOP candidate! Except he's changed! You know who else stopped with the pro-path position? Jeb Bush! Less clearly a Dem than Donald, you should be far less skeptical of his flipflop!
    Except Carrot-top is loud and says stupid things he knows will sell books and increase ratings, which you associate with bravery. You must also think Bruce Jenner is brave. Different people laugh at them, but they both get laughed at, all the way to the bank. How brave!

  • And on the McCain thing, imagine Obama said it. Maybe in some open mic gaffe. Try to have the same reaction you would have to that. Try (I know it’s very hard) to be consistent.

  • And on the McCain thing, imagine Obama said it. Maybe in some open mic gaffe. Try to have the same reaction you would have to that. Try (I know it’s very hard) to be consistent.

    Well said Clay. Evidently it is now a conservative value to degrade POWs.

  • Evidently it is now a conservative value to degrade POWs.

    I suspect it’s just the usual crackpots doing what comes naturally (sponsored by Ron Unz, natch). One of Unz more recent escapades was to publish an article claiming a cabal at Harvard was rigging admissions procedures and giving mulligans to Jewish applicants. The claim was taken apart by a private citizen living in Chicago assisted by a sociologist and a statistician. Unz reaction was to call the woman in Chicago ‘mentally ill’, the sociologist ‘dim’, and accuse the statistician of scamming around. George Soros and Trump are not the only capable businessmen polluting political discourse.

  • Have you ever thought that maybe the Marxist left loves the edification of Donald Trump as a way of imprinting on the America populace how non-credible the Republican Party is according tother portrayal? I do NOT say that the Republican Party is non-credible. Rather, I say that by popularizing Donald Trump in the media, the party is made to seem that way. I think this is all a game and Donald Trump’s ego and hubris are well fed in the process.

  • Not to defend him form his other comments, but for Protestant services, he is right. It is nothing but a cracker and wine (or juice) because they do not have a valid priesthood, and therefore cannot properly confect the Eucharist.

  • My point is it’s not just their [Protestants] view of how they reference “the body and blood of our Lord.” When referring to their own services, it in fact is NOT the body and blood of our Lord. So his reference is correct. If he said that about Catholic (and Orthodox) services, then yes, you have a point.

  • “Social cons? Trump is a social progressive!”

    We now I am confused. Why would they Palinize him? He fits in perfectly with the elitists running the GOP. Big money man and socially progressive…..hmmmm.

  • I’m so tired of hearing about how this egotistical lout is a truth teller. He’s a carnival barker telling people what they want to hear.

    They’re not mutually exclusive.
    I think he’s about as sincere as a guy looking for a one night stand, but that doesn’t mean the sky isn’t blue if he says it is….
    ******
    We now I am confused. Why would they Palinize him?

    Not the same “them,” other than some overlap with those who are only “conservative” because the “liberals” are so extreme.

  • Art Deco: until you brought up his name, I never heard of this Rom Unz. My information on McCain came from a Viet Vet, who as far as I know, had no connection with Unz.

  • I wish Trump would go away but I love this take by Steyn:

    http://www.steynonline.com/7059/the-superbowl-of-superholes

    Take home quote for me “Personally, I’d like it if Calvin Coolidge were on the ticket, or indeed the Marquess of Salisbury. But they’ve decided to sit out Campaign 2016, so one must take what one can get. And a citizenry that votes for an asshole is less deluded than one that votes for a messiah.”

  • My information on McCain came from a Viet Vet, who as far as I know,

    ‘Information’? He has been a public figure for 33 years and twice a candidate for President. There would be a three-digit population of people who could testify from personal knowledge as to things he did do and did not do while in prison in VietNam. It’s not as if there is not embarrassing dirt on McCain out there (marital infidelity, serial mishaps while a Navy pilot, horrid outbursts of temper in Congress, and a wretched academic record at Annapolis). Yet, somehow, all the reporters and Democratic Party oppo researchers missed this one. I follow a rule: when someone tells you they have inside dope in circumstances such as this, the odds are they’re deluded or lying. YMMV.

  • The most vital question facing the Republic is not whether John McCain is a war hero.
    .

    I’m a vet. I knew a number of heroes, including pilots who provided close air support at 200 feet. One PFC Paul P. was on sick call for a serious illness but volunteered to go on a helicopter assault to try to save an overrun company. He was killed and his body sent to his parents in burned up pieces. Paul was a hero. That shot up company was pulled out. Many men died. We lost the war, which still hurts.
    .
    The POW’s were given heros’ welcomes. Grunts were flown out of Saigon and dropped at the airport, discharge papers in hand. They were lucky if they weren’t spat upon. I was not accosted.
    .
    One cannot carry on the fight while locked up in a POW camp.
    .

    Whether you are or are not a veteran, try to resist insulting people.

  • Trump has no chance of getting the nomination. His value at this time is to channel the frustration of the majority of conservative voters about the lack of leadership and failed promises of the Republican elites in Washington and elsewhere. He ultimate value is to prove to the other conservative candidates that there is value it being willing to step outside the politically correct, Beltway media narrative and tell the truth and in doing so exposing the weakness of several other candidates. Trump is certainly an imperfect instrument but he has done an important service.

  • He ultimate value is to prove to the other conservative candidates that there is value it being willing to step outside the politically correct,

    Hope that works. Biggest problem any Republican will face will be the animated cadavers who ‘lead’ the congressional caucuses.

  • We need electoral freedom, like that have in the UK and other parliamentary systems in Europe. We don’t have true party choices in this nation. We are left with the Big Two; how is that an improvement from the Soviets, who only permitted one party?

    As a Navy vet, Trump was a coward who didn’t bother to serve his nation. McCain did. Point blank.

  • As a Navy vet, Trump was a coward who didn’t bother to serve his nation. McCain did. Point blank.

    The enlistment and induction rates published in contemporaneous editions of the Statistical Abstracts indicate that about 45% of the male population born during the years running from 1939 through 1954 had military service of some sort. Somewhat less than 15% of the men in those age cohorts were deployed to the theatre. (IIRC, somewhat fewer than half of these had postings which put them in harm’s way at some point). The notion that it was bog standard for a man born in 1946 to have put in time carrying a rifle in VietNam is just wrong; only a modest minority did so.

    About a quarter of those in those cohorts were disqualified when they reported for an induction physical, about half of these categorically, and about half contingently. Another 30% or so did not serve for a variety of reasons. A minority had student deferments for a time (and recall that only about 20% of the men in those cohorts ever earned a bachelor’s degree) while others had married and had dependent children by the time their draft board took an interest in them; some others were excused on occupational grounds. About 7% spent all their service time in the Guard or Reserves. Another 25% were in the service on active duty but deployed elsewhere. Roughly a quarter of those deployed in theatre were not in VietNam itself and some of those who were were in desk jobs in Da Nang the whole time.

    In Trump’s case, he was awarded a student deferment in 1964, something quite common at the time. The Washington Post fancies ‘the VietNam war was heating up’ and there was some sort of gamesmanship involved in acquiring this deferment. Neither was true. It was normal during the post-war period up to that point for bourgeois youths to do their military service after college and Selective Service policy was to put at the head of the line for induction the oldest among the eligible who had yet to serve. American deployments in the spring of 1964 consisted of about 20,000 ‘military advisers’ attached to South Vietnamese units. Pres. Johnson did not send American troops into VietNam en masse until March of 1965, when Trump was in his 2d semester, and as late as the end of 1965 total deployment (185,000) did not amount to more than 10% of a male age cohort of the era. Trump did not drop out and enlist. At the time, enlistment was commonly in lieu of waiting for conscription. Aspirant professional military and war time volunteers were a small sliver of the male population of the era (as can be inferred from re-enlistment rates). Trump eventually reported for a physical when his student deferment expired and was classified I-Y for some minor podiatric problems. The military can be oddly exacting about this. My grandfather was put on non-combat duty during World War I for flat feet; Hubert Humphrey was deferred for a hernia; I knew a man who was deferred in 1969 due to eczema on his feet; Rush Limbaugh was deferred around the same time for a pilonidal cyst; you could be deferred for being fat. The I-Y classification sent him to the back of the queue for a time and before he could be examined again the draft lottery was instituted. His lottery number was so high (356) he was never going to be called.

    Trump’s history with the Selective Service incorporated no scheming that anyone knows of; he did about what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it and provided the services the military demanded of him (none, as it happened). He violated no laws and engaged in no evasive maneuvers. He availed himself of no dispensations which were not available to a seven or eight digit population of men of age during those years. None of this is impressive but none of it is dishonorable in and of itself either; nor is it indicative of any more cowardice than you’d find in Joe Average. (We would like our leaders to be better than that, of course).

  • Art, your reply is charitable and reasoned. Here goes.
    .
    If Trump were a coward he wouldn’t espouse unpopular positions that raise the hatred of both the GOP eunuchs and the tyrannical left; and brought him a $100 million (Mexican drug cartel boss) price on his head. The man was able to tunnel and motorcycle out of a max. security prison, I wouldn’t want to be Trump’s life insurance agent.
    .

    I don’t care about men that call “cowards” other men for not volunteering to be expendable. That’s right: expendable. The infantry is the walking dead. The Navy not so much. So, Trump didn’t waste some of the best years of his life assisting in the first lost war in US History. Thank you, Bill and Hillary.
    .

  • Trump’s candidacy enjoys a certain freedom to say outrageous things (true or not) because he does not seriously intend to win the nomination. His run is about one thing – publicity. He needs to be controversial so he can market his next gig – I’m guessing some sort of “reality” talk show.

  • cmatt: Truth. But, I’d pay big bucks to see The Donald debate HRH Hillary. The GOP castrati not so much.

  • Ben in RI- who cares if there’s a choice when it doesn’t actually mean much?

    I’d much rather have two big parties where the power plays and trading happens inside of the party, rather than where I get to pick the person that’s running who most fits my goals…and then he’s got to do power plays with the far side of the spectrum to form a functional government.
    Our system isn’t perfect, but it at least sets up antagonism between the two sides; systems have a big problem where the various parties have to consider “am I going to need to ally with these guys at some point, or risk not having power?”
    Less dangerous if it’s individuals who are making that choice, and they can be rewarded on a grander scale.
    Trump’s a blow-hard– but he’s doing the equivalent of a niche political party without even having to be elected.

The Long Con

Tuesday, July 14, AD 2015

I just had a rather refreshing weekend. Why, you may ask? Not once did I go on Facebook, and though I perused some of my favorite blogs, I stayed out of the comments section  (except for this blog, naturally). It’s amazing what a little internet hiatus can do for the spirit.

The comments sections of conservative blogs in particular have been sources of frustration. So while I enjoyed parts of Kevin Williamson’s post about “Whinos’ on National Review Online (even if it’s a bit overdone), I knew enough not to get sucked into the comments, because it would have only filled me with despair.

When Donald Trump initially announced his candidacy I reacted like a good number of conservatives: I rolled my eyes and just tried to pretend that he wasn’t there. Then a funny thing happened. The more that conservative pundits criticized the Donald, the more popular he became. Soon Trump caught fire, and is probably the most discussed candidate in the race.

This should have been predictable. I noticed this trend during the 2012 campaign as well. The more it seems that a certain candidate is bashed in the press, the more a certain section of the conservative movement flocks to that person. It’s almost as though every time a Kevin Williamson or Jonah Goldberg pens a column bashing Donald Trump, the larger his support grows.

Of course there’s more to Trump’s popularity than mere spite. He tells it like it. Or so I’ve been told repeatedly by erstwhile conservatives who are sick and tired of the establishment (maaaaaan). Somehow modern day conservatives have morphed into hippies, stuck on an endless loop railing against the establishment, and Donald Trump represents that counter-culture.

And the thing is, as Ace so aptly observes, Trump’s ascendancy can be laid at the feet of many of the people who loathe him so much. The fecklessness of the Republican party has turned off a great many conservatives. The grassroots feels – with complete justification – that the party has abandoned them. Handed majorities in the House and Senate, it seems that the GOP leadership is afraid to do anything with their majorities. Understandably their options are limited with Barack Obama in the White House, but Boehner, McConnell have folded without even trying to take on the administration.

On the specific issue of immigration, many on the right feel that the party leadership is more apt to side with the Democrats than with their grassroots. Along comes Trump, “telling it like it is,” confronting the media head on. He’s not politically correct, and he doesn’t apologize. He says outrageous things and he doesn’t back down. He is effectively the young conservative id given voice.

Here’s the problem. The same conservatives who have been smitten by the Trump are those that regularly bash the GOP – again rightly – for making noise but failing to follow through on its promises. So what have they done? They’ve gotten behind a demagogic con man who not too long ago was criticizing Mitt Romney for being too harsh on the issue of illegal immigration, who has voiced support for single payer health care, who once backed partial birth abortion, and who has given money to Hillary Clinton and voiced general approval for her and the current incumbent of the White House. Jay Caruso is right when he says that Trump’s “truth telling” persona is a myth. And yet a large segment of the conservative base will continue to insist that Trump is a “truth teller,” while bashing Jonah Goldberg and others who are writing things that they know will upset their readership.

Just last week I was informed by one of these fearless Trumpaholics that he could never support Ted Cruz – a man he agrees with “99 percent of the time” – because of his initial support for Trade Promotion Authority. Nevermind that TPA was something that conservatives have traditionally championed, and nevermind the fact that Ted Cruz backed off his support. Oh no. You see Ted Cruz had demonstrated impurity. So who’s the fallback? A man who, if given a dose of sodium pentothal before being asked his political views, would register to the left of Jeb Bush (and Lindsay Graham and George Pataki, for that matter) on the political spectrum.*

And that, ultimately, is why I have grown more frustrated. I get Trump’s emotional appeal, but beyond that it is sickening to watch events unfold as they are. Once again conservatives purists are going to hand the nomination to the very person that they claim to despise. Why? Because they will pick off, one by one, candidates that express an impure thought, or who are less vocal in supporting the things they support than they’d like. So eminently qualified candidates with a proven conservative track record will be cast aside for some demagogue who says the right things but who is as genuine as a three dollar bill. And in the end the very man they’re all trying to avoid being the nominee will be the man who gets the nod.

The funny thing is that often Trump supporters imply that any criticism of Trump is a sign that you want Jeb Bush to win, as though there aren’t 15 other choices in this race, some of them even good choices. Yet they are doing as much to guarantee that Jeb is the ultimate nominee. Which is why it’s going to be amusing a year from now when all of them rail against the evil establishment that has given them GOP nominee Jeb Bush, when it is they who will have done more to make that nightmare a reality.

Of course Donald Trump will eventually flame out. He’ll say something wrong, as someone with no convictions is wont to do. So he’ll lose ground in the polls to someone else who can bloviate and act like he is a champion come to rescue the masses.

Chris Christie can hardly wait.

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42 Responses to The Long Con

  • My dream ticket is Walker-Fiorina.

  • The big question is who do the Independents respond to, what do the Independents want in a President, etc. My guess is that Independents like status quo and a milquetoast candidate. Jeb yes. Donald No. Other ideas?

  • I won’t try to speak for anyone but me here:

    I perceive that it is simultaneously true that there is no real difference between the parties and that Democrats and Republicans see the world very differently.

    Boehner, McConnel, Pelosi, and Obama are, in essence, members of a single Establishment which is focused on milking America for everything she is worth. They really do “despise” those not in their socio-economic group, in the truest sense of the term.

    Losing elections means very little to that group. That’s why Walker, Cruz, Carson, and Trump are so troublesome; they actually intend to win; more importantly, they refuse to play by Establishment rules.

    What I hear you saying is that there is no “Establishment” to hate but that is not my view. Their narrow purpose is to feather,the nests of those in their group, either by patronage, legislating, or directly acting on behalf of those they favor.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood though.

  • Walker–Fiorina works for me as well. I also think Governor Perry deserves a hearing. Cruz is a wicked smart guy who ought to stay in the Senate until he can run for Governor. Rubio isn’t a smart as Cruz, and, from what I can tell, seems to be running mostly out of an ambition to stamp that “Historical First X President Card. I really like Dr. Carson, but, for better or worse, political outsiders are inevitably tripped up. I think the guy who might very well have the best vision of where the country needs to go is Rick Santorum, but then I’m a fan of his book.

    The rest of the Republican field is a non-starter for me.
    .

  • The problem isn’t purists vs. pragmatists, per se, it’s the New Elite vs. the left behinds, to use David Lebedoff’s formulation, or if you prefer, Angelo Codevilla’s gentry class vs. country class.

  • What I hear you saying is that there is no “Establishment” to hate but that is not my view.

    Oh that’s definitely not my view, and perhaps that isn’t clear in my post. My point was more that conservatives tend to overuse the term (much like neocon and RINO and even tea partier have been overused), and that the failure to nominate conservatives is at least partially to be blamed on conservatives themselves, particularly in 2012. That said, I basically agree with your assessment, and even conceded that the party establishment has only themselves to blame for the rise of Trump.

  • The problem isn’t purists vs. pragmatists, per se

    When I use the term purist I’m talking about people like those referenced in my post – those who will disqualify candidates based on one mistake, perceived or no. If there’s a purity-pragmatist scale, I’m likely way on the purity side myself.

    FWIW, I’m fine with either of the Texans in this race, Walker, Jindal, Santorum, and Rubio. I don’t dislike Bush as much as others, but think he would be one of the most disastrous choices for a general election. Even those I dislike more – Paul and Huckabee, for example – likely would fare better in a general election than Bush.

  • A dream ticket? good – I need a little fun today
    I like Cruz. a lot. When I got to meet him last month I told him that I hope he appoints these other good republican candidates to significant posts. What a great team they could be.
    /
    Rick Santorum would be a great Secretary of State. Jindal would be my choice for VP.
    Carly Fiorina would be great for Office of Management/Budget.
    I think Lindsay Graham could be Sec. of Defense.
    Department of Commerce – Perry.
    Dept of Justice- Newt G.
    Labor- Scott Walker.
    Homeland Security- Rudy Giuliani.
    Marco Rubio- United Nations Ambassador
    M Romney – -Council Economic Advisors
    oh – kitchen cabinet TAC commentors

  • The only conviction that Donald Trump has ever had outside of making money is that his planet sized ego needs to be continually stroked. He would be in favor of cannibalism if that would win him applause. He is as much a conservative as I am a communist.

    My personal choice is Ted Cruz although I could live with Walker, Jindal or Rick Perry. Carly Fiona is a fighter and I could imagine her as Veep this time out.

    Rick Santorum is a truly interesting candidate, but I do not see him doing much next year.

    I have increasingly negative feelings about Bush although they do not come near my antipathy to Graham, Pataki and the Huckster. Rubio waved the flag of surrender so swiftly on gay marriage after the Supreme Court decision that he is dead to me.

  • Thanks for the clarification, PZ.

    Of the candidates available, I’ll take Cruz or Walker. After that, Perry or Fiorina. Then we get to those I don’t want at all: Bush and Rubio.

  • but Boehner, McConnell have folded without even trying to take on the administration.

    Men without chests both of them. Robert Stacy McCain had this to say:

    “Karl Rove cares about exactly one thing: “When do I get paid?”

    That’s the real bottom line. Whereas the Democrat Party is run by people who actually share the same beliefs as the people who vote for the Democrat Party, the GOP is run by people who do not remotely give a fuck about GOP voters. Karl Rove hates Republican voters. All elite GOP operatives share a profound disdain for the party’s grassroots electoral base. Mitch McConnell? Isn’t it obvious how much he is ashamed of the people in Kentucky who elected him to the Senate?

    The GOP is the Party of Money, and the guys who pay big money to control the Republican Party hire people like Karl Rove whose only concern is how to get paid more money. As a result, there is a very short-sighted concern with the day-to-day poll numbers and more or less trivial “message” items, so that there is no larger vision, no deeper interest in the problems affecting the lives of the American people, ”

    I wish Ted Cruz would ax this presidential campaign and set his sights to lining up support to depose the superfluous Capitol Hill lifer who is the current Senate majority leader.

  • I think you’re asking for trouble if you put another career legislator in the presidency. Have Mr. Cruz return to Texas and run something big, not the 20 – lawyer Texas Solicitor-General’s office. And a new career in sales for Mr. Rubio.

  • Oh that’s definitely not my view, and perhaps that isn’t clear in my post. My point was more that conservatives tend to overuse the term (much like neocon and RINO and even tea partier have been overused), and that the failure to nominate conservatives is at least partially to be blamed on conservatives themselves, particularly in 2012. [….] When I use the term purist I’m talking about people like those referenced in my post – those who will disqualify candidates based on one mistake, perceived or no. If there’s a purity-pragmatist scale, I’m likely way on the purity side myself.
    .
    My guess is those people are being encouraged to do so. Thus Conservative Republicans for a Conservative Republic PAV runs adds against conservatives who aren’t perfect. If you were able to track the money back, you’d find out CR4aCR-PAC.org is two multi-millionaire friends of Jeb. Last cycle, they were friends of Mitt. Alternatively, it’s all Soros money.
    .

    That said, I basically agree with your assessment, and even conceded that the party establishment has only themselves to blame for the rise of Trump.

    .
    What makes you think they aren’t responsible for his rise in the first place? By that I mean, I think he’s there to suck all the oxygen out of the room, thus keeping support for a viable alternative to Jeb from coalescing in the first place.
    .
    Either that, or he’s just farcical enough to play the part of H. Ross Perot to this repeat of the 1992 campaign.
    .
    (No disrespect intended in rearraning your sentences, by the way)

  • “The GOP is the Party of Money”

    The same can be said of the Democrats. The primary difference, it seems to me, is the the GOP Party of Money just wants to be left alone to make more Money, while the Democrat Party of Money, wants to use that money to remake Society.

  • Of course there’s more to Trump’s popularity than mere spite.

    Yep, that’s something that rotten chestnuts has actually been talking about lately.

    You think it’s bad now? Severian gives it 3 election cycles. I’ll bet that within 2 we’ll have a candidate that will make you miss Trump.

    (if anything I’m about to vote for Biden because I’m not sure any candidate can fix anything so may as well let it burn and get a laugh in the process)

  • I’m an independent and am highly conservative, fiscally and morally. I don’t think I ever voted for a democrat since I started in 1972.
    .
    Channeling Yogi Berra, “It ain’t outrageous if it’s true.”
    .
    Hillary has the liberal triple crown: corrupt, ignorant, incompetent. She is the feminists’ anti-ideal. Her sole “asset” is her position in the Clinton political cartel which accrues to her because she didn’t pump and dump Bubba after he ran her ego through the muck and mire with umphty-umph extra-marital affairs. Speaking of which: Bubba does it to “get back” (by sexually abusing their girlfriends) at the high school alpha males that gave him more than 1,000 wedgies. That qualifies one as a great democrat politician.
    .
    I will not vote for another Bush. Trump is correct. Not only are they murdering, raping, and stealing they are bankrupting health/hospital systems, school districts, and whole cities and states. Jeb will bring in 50,000,000 new latinos (who do not want to be Americans) and will turn America into a third world hell hole.

    Scott Walker and Fiorina would be my picks. Never happen. GOP is run by two groups: the Chamber of Commerce that wants more millions of cheap workers and callow castrati such as Boehner, Graham, McConnell et al.
    .
    It appears the two clichés so much hate the grass roots that they secretly applauded the IRS shut-down of conservative free speech.

    Remain calm and resist. If possible emigrate to a red state.

  • What makes you think they aren’t responsible for his rise in the first place? By that I mean, I think he’s there to suck all the oxygen out of the room, thus keeping support for a viable alternative to Jeb from coalescing in the first place.

    The thought crossed my mind, but I think the Establishment fears that Trump’s rhetoric will make the party look bad, so no, I don’t think their behind his candidacy. Plus it’s possible such a strategy would backfire – either Trump somehow wins the nomination or, more likely, he changes the focus of the debate so much that when he eventually flames out, a candidate like Cruz fills the void.

  • It is way too early to know who will be the GOP nominee. Having said that, Trump, Santorum, Fiona, Rubio, Graham, Pataki and Huckabee have no chance. Let’s be honest about it

    PZ has some excellent points. I read some of the comments on the Hot Air blog and it’s full of people who hate Walker or Cruz or Rubio or someone else because each one is not a “true” conservative.
    Look, Dubya burned us. “Compassionate conservatism” was Big Government and increased deficits. Dubya’s failures led us to Reid, Pelosi and Obumbler controlling the government and the mess we have today.

    Romney – The Weathervane – was a terrible candidate. I went out and voted for him, but, geez, the economy and the foreign policy disasters should have sunk Obumbler.

    There is a lot of noise coming from various political hacks that the 2016 election is over. Don’t believe it. Obumbler was the first Democrat to get 50%+ of the popular vote since Carter in 1976. The 2000 election was screwed up by the media telling everyone Gore won Florida when he never led, causing an untold number of GOP voters to stay home.

    Hilary is a terrible candidate. She has the leftist media cheering for her and that’s about it.

  • I think the Establishment fears that Trump’s rhetoric will make the party look bad, so no, I don’t think their behind his candidacy. Plus it’s possible such a strategy would backfire – either Trump somehow wins the nomination or, more likely, he changes the focus of the debate so much that when he eventually flames out, a candidate like Cruz fills the void.

    .
    Good points. On the other hand, since the Establishment is in agreement with the cultural and political left about open borders and amnesty (albeit for different reasons), they tend to think the party already looks bad, so maybe Trump is a wedge meant to discredit opposition to open borders, amnesty and cultural pluralism. (How do you say “we are all Quebec now” in Spanish anyways?) You’ll notice that Jeb et. al. aren’t in any rush to disagree with HIllary when she says that Trump is only saying what the rest of the Republican field privately believes. Finally, if Trump is a stalking horse, for the Establishment, he’ll find a way to make sure he doesn’t end up the nominee. Not sure when he gets out of it if he’s a stalking horse for Hillary.
    .
    Anyway, I think you’re spot on that the Republican Party’s biggest problem is that too many Republicans would rather lose with their guy, than win with a guy not of their choosing. That’s not to say that it’s not a legitimate problem, however. This fight’s been going on since 2006 and has yet to be resolved.
    .
    Which is why Nate Winchesters idea of voting for Biden makes a lot of sense to me. If the Republicans are going to blow themselves up yet again, dangerous as he is, he’s the least dangerous (viable) Democrat.

  • Trump, Santorum, Fiona, Rubio, Graham, Pataki and Huckabee have no chance

    Agreed except for Rubio. Like him or not he will probably be a serious contender. The funny thing about Santroum is that by all rights he should be the presumptive nominee. Usually the runner-up gets the nomination the next time.

  • Trump, Santorum, Fiona, Rubio, Graham, Pataki and Huckabee have no chance

    Predictions are generally a waste of time at this point (we did not nominate Rudolph Giuliani in 2008 and Gerald Ford was not re-elected in a landslide in 1976. At least make yours plausible. The political parties have never nominated anyone who remotely resembles Trump and Pataki (who seems to have entered politics for the enjoyment of putting one over on people) would also be a novelty. A Fiorina candidacy would have roughly two or three precedents: Wendell Willkie, Ross Perot, and Steve Forbes. Huckabee has experience with the process and a long tenure in an executive position and both Huckabee and Rubio have a population of supporters similar at this point to that of Scott Walker. Unless you fancy no one can win the nomination other than Jeb Bush, certain sorts of declarative statements are particularly foolish.

  • It’s not going to matter much unless Senate Republicans have the stones to eliminate the filibuster, which McConnell and other drones like Richard Burr do not.

  • The funny thing about Santroum is that by all rights he should be the presumptive nominee. Usually the runner-up gets the nomination the next time.

    And do we conclude anything from that? (Assuming that there’s anything to conclude)

  • And do we conclude anything from that? (Assuming that there’s anything to conclude)

    That (1) there’s a deadweight bloc in the GOP electorate who vote for whoever was the runner up last time; failing that, they look to the runner up the penultimate time; failing that, they vote for a 1st degree relation of a Republican president. (2) The deadweight bloc amounts to about a third of the GOP electorate. (3) it’s chock-a-block with the terminally banal, who react very negatively to anyone who is ‘divisive’, i.e. holds to a viewpoint contrary to polls. Hence, (4) the deadweight bloc would never vote for Pat Buchanan or Rick Santorum.
    ==
    We benefit if they cannot settle on a candidate instead of working their usual magic in the nominating process.

  • Art, you are full of it.

    I’m from Western Pennsylvania. Santorum has no base here. He has been thoroughly trashed here because he lives in Leesburg, Virginia and has done so since he was in the Senate – a seat he lost almost ten years ago.

    Huckabee has his base and it isn’t enough to get him nominated. Fiona ran Hewlett Packard. That makes her a businesswoman, not a politician.

    Pataki? Graham? Please!

    Using the “f” bomb on a Catholic themed blog makes you come off like a teenager trying to act tough.

    To everyone else, good night.

  • Using the “f” bomb on a Catholic themed blog makes you come off like a teenager trying to act tough.
    ==
    Those little bits of punctuation are called ‘quotation marks’ and I even identified the source for you. The rest of your remarks amount to an irritable mental gesture.

  • Let’s play nice gentlemen. In future let’s try not to use the f-bomb even in quotes. We have a fair number of homeschoolers who use this site for a resource. Considering my choice of language on occasion, I need to keep that fact better in mind myself.

  • In America, the GOP is dead. Conservatism is on life support. Not what I want, but is my assessment of things are.
    .
    Rick Santorum is good on moral issues, but he’s too much of a big government politician. He fits the Boromir profile. “The ring can do great things if only the right person has possession of it.” Sure Rick.
    .
    Fiorina… great speaker. Awesome attack dog against Hillary. Cons: Doesn’t have a conservative history. Also, the HP/Compaq transition years, while necessary, will drag her campaign down.
    .
    Cruz. One of my top picks. Can intelligently make arguments, although has softened a little lately. Cons: Hated by GOP. Perceived or will be perceived as argumentative, i.e. sounding liking a barking chihuahua.
    .
    Perry… The only candidate with a massive record of success, 14 years as Texas governor. Completed Texas’ transition from Democrat state to Republican. He needs to prove he can speak on a large stage regardless of the “Ooops” moment, which Obama does periodically and Biden does daily. He’s the closest to a Boy Scout in the line up, but races these days require more Tonya Harding and less Mr. Smith. Thus the appeal of Mr. Trump.
    .
    Carson.. Smart. Accomplished. Honest. Sincere. That his list of cons in the new America unfortunately. Some of his positions have been fine tuned. It all makes him more polished. President? Hmm. Doubtful. VP, sure.
    .
    None of this means anything in the end. It will take at least 4 terms of the most conservative president to rollback Obama’s mess. Why so many terms when one man, Obama, took only 2 terms? It takes more effort to create than destroy. To build America back up to where it was will take more effort than it took Obama to destroy it.
    .
    Lastly, I recommend keeping eye on the candidates using Conservative Review’s report card. Pretty good work they do.
    https://www.conservativereview.com/2016-presidential-candidates

  • “In America, the GOP is dead. Conservatism is on life support.”

    Actually the last time the GOP was stronger, the President was Calvin Coolidge. On the state level Conservatism is thriving.

  • yes it will require a good sequence of Presidents! … Like Coolodge was able to build on the policies of “a return to normalcy”

  • At the state level, Republicanism is thriving. Conservatism is doing okay. There are cracks, e.g. Obamacare buy-in, narcotic normalization, homosexual behavior normalization, capitulating to Confederate flag distraction, etc. (These are sins of commission. I consider sins of omission wrong too.) What helps conservatism at the state level is the politicians are working more closely to reality than the Feds, especially budgetary realities.

  • Speaking of sins of omission, the convention of the states should be scheduled right now given the dire situation of the U.S. If conservatism is thriving in the states, the convention would already be scheduled and an agenda being worked on.

  • “What helps conservatism at the state level is the politicians are working more closely to reality than the Feds, especially budgetary realities.”

    Reality always wins in the long run.

  • I like Ted Cruz’z optimism when he is talking with people. Optimistic and practical– I certainly don’t like to read the characterization of a chihuahua. He gains ground when he actually meets with people- just like R Santorum did.

  • I certainly don’t like to read the characterization of a chihuahua.”
    Just telling you how the libs will play it. They are ruthless. GOP and conservatives are timid or unconvincing.
    .
    We already had a taste of it when he filibustered. “He’s just talking to himself in the chamber. Nobody is listening.” The minions will eat up the caricature. They have no problem calling conservative blacks “Uncle Tom” or “Black Face.” Calling Ted Cruz a loud chihuahua, all bark and no bite (lack of accomplishments) will be a small leap. I can see the lib editorial cartoons now.
    .
    Play hard ball and be convincing or go home. That’s why Trump is high in polls. The only other option is to be convincing and inspirational. That was Reagan’s success, but it’s much harder to do in a society that finds inspiration in redefinition of a millenia old tradition and sex changes.

  • Speaking of sins of omission, the convention of the states should be scheduled right now given the dire situation of the U.S. If conservatism is thriving in the states, the convention would already be scheduled and an agenda being worked on.
    ==
    The utility of such a convention would be if it were to replicate that in 1787: i.e. dispense with amendments and produce a reconstituted blueprint with the stipulation that it goes into effect in those states which ratify it.

    The difficulty you have is that the opposition has asserted a franchise to re-write the rules at its whimsy while we are bound by procedures which require supermajorities. You either take the gloves off and make them live by a transliteration of their rules or you’re stuck with losing. In effect, the constitution we have has been subject to slow-motion abrogation and replaced with a prog-trash wishlist. Another problem we have is that somewhere between half and 3/4 of the general public regards this with cud-chewing indifference. A third problem is that those aghast by the turn of events we face tend to be addled by legal antiquarianism and historical caricature.

  • Kyle you and I certainly agree on the ruthlessness of the opposition and how they try to “own” the language and the visuals of today. And Trump knows how to combat them on that! Sarah Palin does too… she wrote an op-ed on Breitbart- a message to Congress. Not because she is running for President but because she has voice and a heart.
    .
    Something in our favor in this battle is that they think we conservatives are not as smart as they are. Their machinations are going to wear thin very soon as people – regular man-on-the -street people- get fed up.

  • Art,
    The difficulty you have is that the opposition has asserted a franchise to re-write the rules at its whimsy while we are bound by procedures which require supermajorities. You either take the gloves off
    That is what should be done, which shouldn’t be a problem since Republican state representation exceeds Democrats.
    .
    Another problem we have is that somewhere between half and 3/4 of the general public regards this with cud-chewing indifference.
    Public interest is a challenge between tangible and intangible differences. The public reacts to 5 senses issues. This explains a lot of the lib success. A man will raise more objection to witnessing a bicycle being stolen off his lawn than his U.S. government personnel data file, aka bits and bytes, stolen by the Chinese.
    .
    A third problem is that those aghast by the turn of events we face tend to be addled by legal antiquarianism and historical caricature.
    Indeed. The Constitution and its procedures… nice ideas past their prime. A republic requires an educated and moral people. Losing on both counts.

  • The Constitution and its procedures… nice ideas past their prime.

    How about, an adaptation of colonial institutions which has certain defects made particularly manifest in our time. You can look at how institutions function (or fail to) and explore what it might take to build functional institutions or you can give people inane homilies to the effect that ‘the Founders intended’ they not function and, by the way, the Congress only has the authority to designate post roads and not build them. William Voegli, take it away.

Thoughts on Laudato Si

Monday, June 29, AD 2015

Earlier last week I quipped that the original title of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical was Industrial Society and Its Future. For those who didn’t get the reference, it is the title of the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto. Now I wrote this with tongue firmly planted in cheek, although I am evidently not the only person who made this connection. Though the Pontiff iterates that he is not opposed to technological progress per se, the impression he leaves is that he is not particularly fond of modern society and the advances of the great inventions of the 20th and 21st century.

In this he’s not entirely alone. Who hasn’t complained about the ways people bury themselves in their phones, failing to interact with those around them? But he goes far beyond such laments and rails against many of the aspects of modern life. What’s more aggravating is the way that he ignores how most of these advances have improved rather than hampered the lives of the poor. More unfortunately, this is a relatively minor failing of the encyclical compared to its other shortcomings.

The overarching defense of the encyclical is that it isn’t just about climate change. The Pope was really aiming his pen in large part at secularist environmentalists and trying to persuade them to encounter the entirety of the Gospel. After all, the Pope definitively defends Church teaching on abortion and family life, pointing out the hypocrisy of greenies who seemingly value plant life over human life.

This is true to an extent. It is not merely a climate change encyclical, and the Pope made an attempt to provide a holistic approach to ecology. As Yuval Levin puts it:

The Pope is trying to hijack the standing and authority (in the eyes of global elites and others) of a left-wing or radical environmentalist agenda to advance a deeply traditional Catholic vision of the human good and to get it a hearing by dressing it up as enlightened ecology.

Sadly the Pope utterly failed in this attempt, and that leads me to my fundamental criticism. The encyclical is a rather bifurcated document. The Pope generally relies on secularist language in attempt to talk, as it were, to the whole world. Then the Pope scatters in theological references. At no point, though, does he integrate the theological and the secular. What we’re left with is an encyclical that simultaneously treats the secular audience too softly and too hard. Too softly in that he is reluctant to boldly preach the Gospel message to them to convince them of the right approach to acting more ethically, and yet too hard because where he does attempt to defend traditional Church teaching, he does so in an abrupt, unconvincing manner. Calling out the hypocrisy of supporting environmental reform while also defending abortion rights is all well and good, but the Pope fails to elaborate on this. He doesn’t substantively rely on the rich teachings of the Church that date back two thousand years. He just makes a declarative statement that this attitude is incongruous and then moves on.

That this approach is doomed to failure is witnessed in the very first comment to the post linked at the beginning of this post.

If the pope wants to fight climate change he could start by allowing contraception.

Clearly the parts of this encyclical that we’re supposed to have cheered on didn’t reach this person.

Now it will be said that the Pope is not at fault because either the media under-reported these aspects of the encyclical or the audience simply rejected it. Sorry, but more than after two years into his Pontificate if he’s unaware of how his words will be used, then the Pope is not a particularly wise man. Furthermore, if he’s going to make a moral case against abortion and birth control, he has to try a little bit harder than he did on these pages. Considering how repetitive and long-winded the rest of the encyclical is, he surely could have edited down elsewhere to make room for more detailed apologetics on these issues. He did not, though, and he is primarily responsibile for this failure to connect.

And that’s a core issue with this Pope’s style: it’s one that is necessarily going to sway the people he’s trying to sway. Just as he is doomed to fail to convince the secularists, his method of dealing with economics is just as awkward and off-putting. He presents a rather black and white worldview with the ever put upon poor on one side, and a group of Snidely Whiplash-like cartoon capitalists on the other, twirling their mustaches and cooking up schemes to make the poor even poorer. Actually, there might be a third group: uncaring bumpkins sitting in their air conditioned homes with the eyes locked onto their mobile devices.

What’s funny about this rather strawman-laden document (which incidentally reads as though sections were written by the blogger formerly known as Morning’s Minion) is that he chides the ivory tower intellectuals who don’t really interact with the real world, and who form opinions without truly understanding what people are going through on a day-to-day basis. Now it’s true that perhaps Americans and others in the west can’t relate to some of the abysmal conditions existing in other parts of the world, and thus we might tend to ignore or shrug off as exaggerated some of the Pope’s lamentations. At the same time, the Pope himself has lived in his own sort of bubble. Having lived his entire life in an economic basket case he can’t totally be faulted for criticizing the current economic system. Yet these experiences have perhaps inoculated him from forming a more accurate picture of the world and how economic and technological progress has vastly improved the lot of much of humanity. Thus he has formed a rather simplistic view of capitalism. Sadly, this leads to a simplistic, meandering, and ultimately worthless document.

Coda: I wrote this blog and had it set to post last Friday, but then the Supreme Court decision came down and decided to hold off. Part of me thought of completely deleting the post because it seemed other issues were more pressing. Ultimately that’s why I decided to publish this: it’s even more evidence of the Pope’s bad judgment. With all that is happening in the world, this is what he chooses to write a long-winded encyclical about? This is what he’s throwing the full p.r. machine of the Vatican into? I’m not normally one for suggesting that Pope can’t write about certain subjects due to the severity of other issues. Metaphorically speaking Popes ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. And the Pope can’t drop everything for American political events. But it’s not just America that is being impacted by these cultural shifts.

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9 Responses to Thoughts on Laudato Si

  • . Th Supreme Court ruled today that the EPA cannot order industries to reduce emissions while giving no attention to costs being exorbitant to the industry. It was close …5 to 4. Utilities were vindicated in their complaint. The ruling could be eventually overturned by a world government envisioned by several Popes. But since Islam has a major and eternal stake in fossil fuel, I think they would prevent such a world government by simply witholding assent from Indonesia to the Sudan.

  • Excellent post, PZ.

  • “…while giving no attention to costs being exorbitant to the industry….

    I wish that they had also considered costs when they stuck the American people with Obamacare (Thanks in no small part to the bishops pushing Stupak to stop blocking the neck of the funnel in his committee)

  • Good analysis PZ. There is something perfidious about thie letter. It begins with several falsehoods, misuses scriptural citations, calls for dialogue while demeaning those who disagree with the hoax, and reads just as you describe. Papal apologists demand that we surrender reason and listen to their frequent nonsensical exculpatories. I read the encyclical’s references to actual Church doctrine differently. I believe that the intent of the letter is to raise the ecological “crisis” to the level of Christian persecution and abortion by lacing this poison with doctrinal nods. The Vatican has aligned itself with people possessed by hate filled ideology to advance the actual agenda of this letter. It’s a simple principle, so I thought, that you cannot do good by cooperation with evil, by stating as a premise a lie about science, by deprecating those who disagree.

  • I think the Pope is very limited, and I suspect that some may have gently tried to foster insight, but that’s the thing about being a person with limitations. Few such are aware of them. That’s why I continue to hope that the ultimate impact of this Papacy will be limited. Mere celebrities never make lasting changes. That’s what separates great men from celebrities.

  • Thanks PZ. Good summary. Thankfully Laudauto Si has not been mentioned at the parish I attend. Writing this controversial and socialist document was a bad move and will only further diminish his credibility which, when all is considered, is not such a bad thing.

  • Good post PZ!

  • Joe, care to explain how critiquing a Pope’s non-infallible views on science, government policy and the environment has anything to do with being a Cafeteria Catholic? When a Pope condemns abortion he is citing a moral teaching that goes back to the time of Christ, and he has the full strength of his office behind him. When he ventures his opinion on the best means to preserve the environment he is asserting his own personal opinion, of no greater intrinsic merit than my opinion or yours.

  • Sorry Donald, I pegged Joe’s comment as spam as no doubt he’s a drive-by troll. For those who didn’t see it, he made some comment about cafeteria Catholicism. Yawn.

The Rise of Rex Mottram Catholicism

Thursday, June 18, AD 2015

If you have not read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited – well, what’s wrong with you? You should really go read it. Like right now. I’ll be here when you get back.

Now that you’ve returned, let’s talk about the character of Rex Mottram. Rex, of course, is Julia Flyte’s fiance. He is a non-practicing Protestant, and he goes through the process of becoming a Catholic. Since the book is set in the 1920s, and thus pre-Vatican II, Rex is not subjected to RCIA. Instead, Rex meets with the Flyte family’s priest, Father Mowbray. Father Mowbray relates the following exchange:

“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'”

This, along with Rex’s unquestioning acceptance of Cordelia Flyte’s description of Catholic doctrine are among the funniest aspects of the book. What this scene does is expose one of the silliest anti-Catholic prejudices, namely, that Catholics are expected to uncritically and unblinkingly accept every word uttered or written by a Pope as unequivocal truth. This makes hash out of the doctrine of infallibility, which this very educated audience understands applies only to ex cathedra statements regarding faith and morals.

This stereotype of Catholics has fueled anti-Catholicism here, to the point that Catholic politicians have had to fend off charges that they are, in essence, tools of the Vatican. Yet today we see a rise in the number of faithful Catholics who seem intent on giving credence to the stereotype.

I’m not the first blogger to note the rise of the “Rex Mottram Catholic.” In fact I’m not the first person today to observe the phenomenon.

An example of the genre is provided by a former TAC blogger who now writes, naturally, for Patheos. This is hardly the most egregious example of the type, but it is a handy showcase. Larry D of Acts of the Apostasy has a strawmen caricature-inspired satire of what not to expect from the (now released) Papal Encyclical. He then writes:

Bottom line? The encyclical will be Catholic, and will espouse and expand on Catholic teaching. Faithful Catholics needn’t get their biodegradable knickers in a twist over Laudato Sii. Those who are…well, they have an agenda to push. Will there be some things in the encyclical that might make us a bit uncomfortable? Sure, I fully expect it – because being a Catholic sometimes makes you a bit uncomfortable. Comes with the territory. Let the Right and the Left yammer about it – ignore them. Online at least – read the thing and be able to discuss it cogently and coherently with flesh and blood folks, like family members and coworkers.

Let’s unpack this a bit. He first accuses anyone who might be bothered by the encyclical as “having an agenda” to push, as though there could be no legitimate quarrel with anything the Pope writes. Further observe that Larry has pre-judged the criticism before it has even been offered. That’s right – before the encyclical had even been released and anyone knew officially what was in the document he determined that anyone who made a fuss had an agenda to push. So he’s criticizing the criticism, that hadn’t occurred yet, of a document that hadn’t even been released.We’re through the looking glass here people.

He then continues in a vein that is typical of the Rex Mottram Catholic: the Pope ain’t gonna say anything that is contradictory to Church teaching, so why the fuss? In other words, as long as the Pope doesn’t say anything heretical – and ipso facto he cannot – then why even raise a fuss?

There are several problems with the line of thinking, and we’ve been over some of them in excruciating detail. I won’t address the potential problems with this specific encyclical because I haven’t read it. Generally, though, this sort of thinking both excessively elevates the Pope and diminishes him. It elevates him because it places large swathes of what he says and writes outside the bounds of legitimate criticism. It diminishes him by reducing him to nothing more than a vessel of speaking truisms about the faith. If the Pope is merely echoing basic tenets of the faith such as that we are meant to be stewards of creation and have grave responsibilities towards it, then so what? Why bother with a 200 page encyclical? He could have pretty much said the same thing in a 10-minute homily. Obviously, though, the Pope’s intention is to do much more with this. He is hoping to shape debate and push Catholics (and others) towards a certain course of action. Well if that’s the case, don’t we have the duty to take a step back and make sure that what the Pope is saying has merit to it?

You can see this attitude in the comments. When one commenter dared imply that the Pope’s opinion about the scientific data was not sacrosanct, someone replied, “Why do you place your understanding above the Pope’s in determining what is, and what is not, ‘supported by scientific data’?”

This brings us back to the Rex Mottram quote. The Pope has no special charism to interpret scientific data. If he sees a few clouds in the sky and predicts rain, it’s not disobedient for me to pull up my Droid, open the Accuweather app, and inform him that there is a zero percent chance of precipitation.

One last note. Another talking point that has been and will be repeated is that conservative Catholics who ignore, dispute, criticize, etc. this encyclical are no different than liberal Catholics who did the same to previous documents, especially Humanae Vitae. Anyone who does so would be guilty of Cafeteria Catholicism just the same.

I would concede that there is a danger that too many Catholics will raise up the “prudential judgment” banner too reflexively. I’ll also concede that Larry D, for instance, has a point in noting that sometimes being a Catholic makes you uncomfortable. Our disposition as Catholics should be that hen we read this or anything written by the Holy Father that we put our prejudices aside, and not mentally check out whenever he says something that might contradict something we believe.

What I will vehemently dispute is that any criticism of this or any document is just the same as the reaction to Humanae Vitae. People did not just object to certain facets of the encyclical. Rather, dissidents objected to the very core teaching of Church that Pope Paul VI was promulgating. Now, if Catholics object to the idea of being stewards of creation, then yeah, they’re hypocritical cafeteria-style Catholics. If we reject the fundamental idea of caring for the poor, that’s dissidence. I suspect, however, that there won’t be much of that style of reaction.

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32 Responses to The Rise of Rex Mottram Catholicism

  • Good grief. I suppose resistance truly is futile.

  • And this is JUST. RICH.

    “Catholic climate change expert Anthony Annett”
    ***
    LOL! Seriously?

  • Absolutely. Those who disagreed on Humana Vitae disagreed with basic Catholic doctrine. That man is causing climate change is not a doctrinal matter. It is the opinion, in this case, of a left wing ideologue who, following the rather mysterious resignation of a more traditionalist pope, attained the Chair of St. Peter, and is using his pulpit to impose his views on the Church and attack those who disagree. Papal infallibility does not extend to matters of science.

  • I’ve been using “Mottramism” in place of “ultramontanism” since before the synod last year. It’s more evocative than the latter term, requires no less explanation, and more accurately captures the phenomenon we see at places like Patheos and Catholic Answers under this papacy. I think the term was coined by Rod Dreher in an article a few years ago, and semi-prominent journalists like Michael Brendan Dougherty and Matthew Schmitz have been deploying it on Twitter with regularity.

  • How does one say excellent article in a million different languages?

    It is amazing how dogmatic the dogma haters can be, isn’t it.

  • Rod Dreher: Dante vs. the Mottramists:
    .

    I’ve seen on my Facebook feed and elsewhere in the past few days that some faithful Catholics are denouncing critics of the Synod as “divisive” and “wounding the Body of Christ” by their complaints. It is certainly possible that one’s protest is only destructive, and therefore wrong. But I get the idea that there are more than a few people who, perhaps out of fear, adopt an essentially Mottramist stance toward the bishops and the Pope, when what is needed is a full-throated defense of the Truth. Mottramism, a subset of clericalism, is one of the reasons the sexual abuse scandal metastasized within the Body of Christ. Outside of the saints, you will find no more faithful Catholic of the High Middle Ages than Dante Alighieri, and it is precisely because of his Catholic faith that he stood up, in verse, to the clerics that traduced it. He understood that the Church is not merely the institution, and that the deposit of faith belongs to all Catholics, not just the priestly class.

  • While I’m spamming your comments section, can I say that I find few things more triggering than the ceaseless, frantic cries of Calm down! Don’t panic! Nothing to see here! Move along! from the Mottramist contingent? Every time someone expresses even a moderate level of concern at the goings-on at the Vatican, they leap straight into tone-police mode, adopting the weary condescension of the only adult in a room full of distraught children.
    .
    Liz Scalia (“Momma Bear of the New Homophiles”) seems to have been born to play this role, but it’s also a favorite of Thomas McDonald, Fr. Longenecker, Simcha Fisher, and apparently Larry D. (Meanwhile, Mark Shea can be heard just offstage as he strives valiantly to calm people’s nerves by shrieking at them hysterically.)

  • Indeed Murray. There is a bit of a disconnect as it relates to the release of this encyclical where we are simultaneously told not to freak out before reading it while at the same time being assured there will be nothing in there to freak out about. Well, how do you know that before having read it?

    My educated guess is that my faith will not be impaired after having read the encyclical. I’m doing this crazy thing where I withhold all judgment, pro, con, or indifferent, until later. Crazy I know.

    Perhaps we need to create a tee-shirt, “Keep calm and Mottram on.”

  • Good post Donald. Let me add an observation to this part”

    “Further observe that Larry has pre-judged the criticism before it has even been offered. That’s right – before the encyclical had even been released and anyone knew officially what was in the document he determined that anyone who made a fuss had an agenda to push. So he’s criticizing the criticism, that hadn’t occurred yet, of a document that hadn’t even been released.We’re through the looking glass here people.”

    The Pope and his Vatican cooperators have been doing this for weeks in advance of the publication of the encyclical. We have been peremptorily dressed down by Vatican officials regarding any opposition to this 200 page letter. It tells me that some in the Vatican know full well that they are promoting an agenda.

  • “Good post Donald.”
    ***
    Don has had some great posts today, but this one was done by PZ.

  • Good post PZ

  • “Catholic climate change expert Anthony Annett”
    ***
    LOL! Seriously?”

    Our old buddy Morning’s Minion, tireless hack for pro-abort Democrats, is now a climate change expert? That is rich!

  • But it’s the fact that Larry cites him as a “Catholic … expert” on ANY topic that indicates how truly has the world turned upside down.

  • I thought Morning’s Minion was an economist. How does that make him an expert in climate science?

    But here from an interview with Annett:

    “So decarbonization is actually pro-life. But many so-called pro-lifers try to oppose decarbonization by hiding behind the unborn and casting aspersions at the whole sustainable development agenda. This is shameful.There are, of course, plenty of people who support family planning measures as a way to reduce poverty in places like Africa. And indeed, a declining family size is a standard feature of the development path, and is tied to rising educational and occupational opportunities for girls and women. The Church has no problem with this, and of course strongly endorses female education. Even more, the Church has no real issue with the idea of planning families for economic reasons – just as long as it’s not by artificial means.”

    So decarbonization is pro-life. And thus so are smaller families. The Pope’s “don’t breed like rabbits” makes more sense.

  • Strawman caricature followed by an opinion that contradicts Church teaching.

    Yep, that’s our Morning’s Minion for ya.

  • “But it’s the fact that Larry cites him as a “Catholic … expert” on ANY topic that indicates how truly has the world turned upside down.”

    Yep, especially since the cited interview is a classic Minion rant:

    “Hence you have pretty much every Republican running for the hills when climate change is mentioned, because their funding spends on obstruction. I have been told that if you get these people in private, they will admit that anthropogenic climate change is a hugely important issue. But they can’t say that in public. Aside from the political level, you can also see a tidal wave of propaganda coming from monied interests, especially through outlets like Fox News and talk radio, outlets that really appeal to the worst instincts in people. So the first issue is the degeneration of American politics and political discourse.

    The second issue is related, and it is the dominant strain of libertarianism in America. Again, the U.S. is unique in this sense. What you get is a self-centered individualism and an entitlement mentality – I have the right to do whatever I want, and the government better stay away. It’s an ideology of hooliganism, the very opposite of the common good based on harmonious social order. And the same monied interests spend an inordinate amount of money propping up “free market” think tanks (and a heavy dose of fossil fuel funding closes the circle). Americans call this “conservative”, but it is in fact the antithesis of conservatism. This is where basic economic logic runs smack into rigid ideology. Economics say that carbon is underpriced, because the market price fails to account for social cost. We have an externality, so the solution is to put a price on carbon (and there a number of ways to do this). But the ideologues will say “no way”, as this is government instruction in the sacred space of the market.

    And yes, I’m choosing these words carefully, because it is quasi-theological. That brings me to the third point: the influence of a peculiar American theology, especially the horrible idea of American exceptionalism, which is so rooted in this country. Honestly, what could be less Christian than the idea that God favors some nations over others? The implication is that America is under God’s protection, ordained for prosperity and greatness, to be achieved by using the resources given by God. So don’t worry about climate change, God is in control. (But I wonder: if God won’t let carbon emissions destroy the earth, is it also “safe” to start a nuclear war? Best not go there!). It’s derivative Calvinism, and dangerous Calvinism at that. Add to this the bizarre eschatology, whereby most evangelicals seem to think we are living in the end times. Well, if the world is ending, then we should party on, and the best highs come from the fumes of fossil fuels…”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/cosmostheinlost/2015/06/16/previewing-laudato-si-anthony-annett-on-integral-ecology/

    That a political shill for the Democrats and the loony Left is taken seriously at the Vatican tells you all you need to know about the powers that be at the Vatican these days.

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  • Honestly, what could be less Christian than the idea that God favors some nations over others? ”

    Of course there is “His chosen people” and there’s “the apostle He loved” and then……

  • Honestly, what could be less Christian than the idea that God favors some nations over others?

    So the old testament is no longer Christian? Or is that another sign of how the Catholics’ bible is different?

  • The only thing that is unchristian is to presume that God favors one’s own country in every particular. To assume that God favors nothing about one’s country is also unchristian, a variant of the sin of despair. The sins of presumption and despair are mirror images on one another.

  • “Honestly, what could be less Christian than the idea that God favors some nations over others? ”

    Perhaps it is more like chance favors the prepared. That is, that certain countries have defended basic rights such as private property and had limited government. Thus, economic flourishing could occur. But that might fly in the face of those who see progress of one coming only at the expense of another. Thus the line in the Encyclical about “winners and losers.”

  • “The sins of presumption and despair are mirror images on one another.”

    Great observation Tom D. Pride and hope seem to belong in that “equation” somewhere.

  • We have received a 200 page document about the climate supposedly written by a Catholic cleric who has rarely been outside of Buenos Aires his entire life and never studied meterology in his life. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • B-b-but he has a degree in Chemistry! That makes him a scientist, no?

  • Comment of the week PF! Take ‘er away Sam!

  • [C]an I say that I find few things more triggering than the ceaseless, frantic cries of Calm down! Don’t panic! Nothing to see here! Move along! from the Mottramist contingent? Every time someone expresses even a moderate level of concern at the goings-on at the Vatican, they leap straight into tone-police mode[.]

    Doing a Chip Diller impression is not how to go about keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs.

  • This passage of St. Paul is copied from a wdtprs blog post which speaks to Ernst Schreiber’s apt description of the leaping group.
    .
    St. Pauls Epistle reading, common for doctors, was striking today:

    Lesson from the secons letter of St Paul the Apostle to Timotheus
    2 Tim. 4:1-8
    Beloved: I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead by His coming and by His kingdom, preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables. But be watchful in all things, bear with tribulation patiently, work as a preacher of the Gospel, fulfill your ministry. Be sober.

  • The closer we get to the pope’s visit here in the US, the more often I find myself responding to comments on social media to explain that the pope nor anyone else at the Vatican has the authority to dictate political views to Catholics. And climate change is PURELY political from every aspect at which it is looked. The only concrete response I have received as of yet to my comments re: this encyclical is from one faithful Catholic who liked my comment on my Facebook page. The Protestants don’t dare address it. I also add at the end of my comments on the encyclical that I wish that the pope would focus his energies on lost souls.

    The liberal MSM is eating this stuff up. I heard today,for the first time in reality, what I knew would be coming out of the mouths of the MSM at some point. A liberal female member of the MSM stated that the pope would be visiting the US specifically to address the US Congress & the UN about the need to address man made climate change & the damage it was causing the poor of the world.

    What a joke. Without the use of fossil fuels–how many billions of poor people would be starving on our planet every day??

  • Another talking point that has been and will be repeated is that conservative Catholics who ignore, dispute, criticize, etc. this encyclical are no different than liberal Catholics who did the same to previous documents, especially Humanae Vitae. Anyone who does so would be guilty of Cafeteria Catholicism just the same.

    In the (unlikely) event that happens to me, I intend to stand tall, proud and defiant as I play my Seamless Garment Baby! Card.
    .
    Take that, Yu-Gi-Oh!

  • Tough love is real love.

Various & Sundry, 5/11/15

Monday, May 11, AD 2015

– The Republican field is filled with conservative candidates who have a wide-range of executive and legislative experience, and who generally speak eloquently and articulately on the issues.

Then there’s Ben Carson.

Carson, in his first speech in the state as a candidate, was asked by a voter about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the federal mandate that fuel refiners blend a certain volume of ethanol and biodiesel into their gasoline and diesel supplies.

“I don’t particularly like the idea of government subsidies for anything because it interferes with the natural free market,” Carson said, according to The Des Moines Register.

Not bad. Subsidies in general are detrimental. If he’d only stopped there. But sadly, he didn’t.

Therefore, I would probably be in favor of taking that $4 billion a year we spend on oil subsidies and using that in new fueling stations” for 30 percent ethanol blends, he added.

For a candidate whose main selling point is he made a good speech one time, he sure sticks his foot in his mouth quite often.

– Speaking of bad candidates in a good field, Mike Huckabee doesn’t seem too concerned about his snake oil salesmanship gone awry.

– I am linking to Think Progress, and not to mock them. Why? Because even they thought Mark Halperin’s interview with Ted Cruz was cringe-worthy.

Late last month, Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin conducted a cringe-worthy interview with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). The interview meandered from questions about how Cruz plans to appeal to Latino voters to what appeared to be a series of requests that Cruz, who is Cuban American, prove that he is really, truly, authentically Cuban. By the end of the interview, when Halperin asks Cruz to say a few words “en Español,” one can’t help but think that Cruz had unwittingly wandered into a minstrel show, with Halperin demanding that Cruz perform for an audience.

Though Halperin begins the interview by raising a legitimate topic — a speech Cruz gave to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce — his conversation with Cruz quickly goes off the rails. “Your last name is Cruz and you’re from Texas,” Halperin asks Cruz. “Just based on that, should you have appeal to Hispanic voters?”

Halperin’s suggestion that Hispanic voters may base their vote solely on the ethnicity of a particular candidate is actually a relative high point of the interview. The next question begins with Halperin telling Cruz that “people are really interested in you and your identity,” before Halperin asks whether Cruz listed himself as “Hispanic” when he applied to college and law school. Over the course of the next five minutes, Halperin demands that Cruz identify his “favorite Cuban food” and his “favorite “Cuban singer.”

Looking forward to Halperin’s interview with Bobby Jindal where he dares the Louisiana Governor to prepare “some of that curry stuff” on live television.

– Londonites riot over the UK election results. Someone might take away a barely noticeable portion of their government cheese. Can’t have that.

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15 Responses to Various & Sundry, 5/11/15

  • Re Huckabee:
    ==
    1. Do we have the transcript of the ‘infomercial’ or no? And if not, how do we adjudicate between Huckabee’s contention that he was hawking a booklet of diet and exercise advice to which these herbal supplements were appended and Hot Air‘s contention that he was hawking herbal supplements as a cure for diabetes?
    ==
    2. Why is Hot Air’s contention about ‘cures for cancer’ unsourced?
    ==
    3. Why does a search for “Doc Huckabee’s Magic Linament” turn up precisely one reference, a post on Hot Air?
    ==
    4. Why does he link to an article by a man named Fournier that reads like the sort of journalistic piece which gets published because libel laws are weak?
    ==
    I do not know the truth of these matters, but this has the odour of ‘toss stuff at him and see if something sticks”.

  • “I don’t particularly like the idea of government subsidies for anything because it interferes with the natural free market,” Carson said, according to The Des Moines Register.
    Not bad. Subsidies in general are detrimental. If he’d only stopped there. But sadly, he didn’t.
    “Therefore, I would probably be in favor of taking that $4 billion a year we spend on oil subsidies and using that in new fueling stations” for 30 percent ethanol blends, he added.

    .
    That’s not a half-bad answer,
    .
    if you want to win Iowa.
    .
    Joke of the Day
    .
    Book of the Day
    .

    Fr. Peter Mitchell’s book The Coup at Catholic University: The 1968 Revolution in American Catholic Education, recently published by Ignatius Press, is a detailed studied of revolutionary events that took place in the late Sixties at Catholic University of America. The revolution was led by Fr. Charles Curran, professor of Theology at CUA, who with more than 500 theologians signed a “Statement of Dissent” declaring that Catholics were not bound in conscience to follow the Church’s teaching in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.
    .
    The battle at Catholic University was focused on the nature, purpose, and limits of academic freedom. Curran and other dissenting theologians insisted they should be free to teach as they wished, without direction or oversight from the authority of the bishops. The bishops, in turn, said that the American tradition of religious freedom guaranteed the right of religiously-affiliated schools to require professors to teach in accord with the authority of their church. Fr. Mitchell used never-before published material from the personal papers of the key players to tell the inside story of the conflict at CUA; his account begins with the 1967 faculty-led strike in support of Curran.

    .
    Not a fan of Huckabee, myself. Partly because he paroled a man who later went on to murder a police officer, but mostly because he played the stalking horse for McCain in ’08.

  • Not a fan of Huckabee, myself. Partly because he paroled a man who later went on to murder a police officer, but mostly because

    The man he paroled had been convicted of robbery and been given an indeterminate sentence with a maximum of 108 years; Huckabee commuted the sentence, reducing it by 60%. If you fancy people should be kept in prison for life for robbery, you really should explain that to us.

    he played the stalking horse for McCain in ’08.
    ==
    And your evidence for that is what? Which other candidates do you fancy were shills? Fred Thompson?

  • I think Huckabee ought to explain why he didn’t leave it to the parole board. Career criminals ought to be locked up

    My evidence is the way Huckabee ran his campaign. He went after Romney and he didn’t go after McCain. At least not that I can recall. Also, he stayed in past the point where he had a reasonable expectation of winning either the nomination or enough delegates to influence the convention. Sure, that’s his right. But I have the right to write him off of my list of supportable candidates for it.
    .
    And then there was the whole just askin’ questions thing.

  • Art Deco wrote, “If you fancy people should be kept in prison for life for robbery, you really should explain that to us.”
    The crime for which an offender is convicted is only one factor in determining sentence and, often, the least significant. In cases of alcohol or drug dependency, treatment programmes in secure residential units may be enough to prevent further offending; some offenders with severe personality disorders should be detained in the State Hospital and only released, as an act of compassion, when age or sickness means they no longer pose a threat to the public. Obviously, most cases fall between the two extremes.
    I recall one very experienced Sheriff (the Sheriff is a judge in Scotland) telling me that he attached more importance to an offender’s employment history and family circumstances than to his criminal record and I am sure that is right.

  • The crime for which an offender is convicted is only one factor in determining sentence and, often, the least significant.

    Perhaps in the idiot-world of British jurisprudence; we’re not so far gone over here and are less far gone than was the case forty years ago. Judges who confuse punishment ands social work are a danger. C.S. Lewis addressed this question in That Hideous Strength.
    ==

  • I think Huckabee ought to explain why he didn’t leave it to the parole board.

    Who are appointees, not election officials. The utility of delegation is that you husband your time and attention. It’s practical, not moral or ethical.

    Career criminals ought to be locked up

    Can you define that term with a specificity necessary for the administration of justice? Was the offender in question a ‘career criminal’ or merely an offender? The man in question was 17 years old at the time of his sentencing.

  • My evidence is the way Huckabee ran his campaign. He went after Romney and he didn’t go after McCain.

    That’s not what is meant by ‘evidence’.

  • He had eight felony convictions by the time that Huckabee granted his clemency application.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Clemmons

    It is hard to predict the future and I do not fault the Huckster for guessing wrong. If he had been an attorney with a criminal law background he would have realized that judges giving a teenager 108 years is highly unusual. That means either the judges erred or they recognized a very dangerous criminal when they saw one.

  • http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/a-path-to-murder-the-story-of-maurice-clemmons/

    He was convicted of a robbery, a burglary, a common assault, and weapons possession committed during his 17th and 18th year. He committed a string of disciplinary infractions during his 1st years in prison.
    ==
    What’s not been mentioned here is that he was returned to prison in 2001 and not released on parole until 2004. The murders took place nine years after he was granted clemency.

  • In 1990, Clemmons, then 18, was sentenced in Arkansas to 60 years in prison for burglary and theft of property, according to a news account in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Newspaper stories describe a series of disturbing incidents involving Clemmons while he was being tried in Arkansas on various charges.

    When Clemmons received the 60-year sentence, he was already serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft of property and possessing a handgun on school property. Records from Clemmons’ sentencing described him as 5-foot-7 and 108 pounds. The crimes were committed when he was 17.

    Clemmons served 11 years before being released.

    He almost immediately violated parole with yet another robbery.
    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/maurice-clemmons-man-wanted-for-questioning-has-troubling-criminal-history/

    That is not just “robbery” by any stretch of the imagination– they mentioned that he was a habitual criminal. He was also so obviously insane that a Washington judge ordered him to get a mental evaluation, and our judiciary is horrible about that.

  • Foxfier, you’re confounding his 1989 conviction with a mess of later charges, most of them in Washington state.
    ==
    The commutation of his sentence in 2000 (a cut in its length by 60%) made possible his parole. That’s not a parole decision itself and the article in the Times makes no reference to any gubernatorial intervention in his 2004 parole. Also, his release on bail in 2009 by Washington State authorities had nothing to do with any decision-maker in Arkansas.

    There are roughly 650 multi-victim homicides a year in the U.S. You’re not going to anticipate a convict released from a burglary/robbery rap is going to do that because there simply are not many of these in a year in an ordinary size jurisdiction. Multi-victim homicides with more than three victims are exceedingly unusual and the number bounces around two-dozen a year in this country. Killing four cops is exceedingly rare.

  • No, Art, I am not; you mischaracterized the series of trials in Arkansas as “his 1989 conviction” and claimed he was in jail for “robbery,” and apparently are ignorant of the fact that the reason we know about the ones from when he was 17 is because he was so consistently violent that he was charged as an adult.
    He attempted to attack people during his trials multiple times, and at one point hit his own mother with a lock he was attempting to hit an officer with.

    What he was in jail for before Huckabee decided to show some cheap mercy:
    http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2009/11/30/maurice-clemmons-record-update
    * Sentenced to 5 years for robbery in Pulaski County, Aug. 3, 1989.

    * Sentenced to 8 years for burglary, theft and probation revocation in Pulaski County, Sept. 9, 1989

    * Sentenced to an indeterminate amount for aggravated robbery and theft in Pulaski County, Nov. 15, 1989

    * Sentenced to 20 years each for burglary and theft of property in Pulaski County, Feb. 23, 1990.

    * Sentenced to 6 years for firearm possession in Pulaski County, Nov. 19, 1990.

    Tyler said some sentences were concurrent and some consecutive. But the total effect of all these sentences was a sentence of 108 years.

    The commutation to *exactly* what was needed to parole him that day was done over the objections of his victims, and the guy was so obviously insane that– as I stated– even a Washington State judge noticed. The last crime he was hit for was when he broke into a state patrolman’s home and stole thousands of dollars worth of stuff– and his gun.
    A guy whose first crime was getting caught with a pistol, at school, which he openly stated he intended to use on people.
    Who did at least one brute force robbery where he pretended to have a gun, although he only beat the woman over the head to steal her purse when she called his bluff.
    Who repeatedly and stupidly threatened or attempted physical violence against those who weren’t giving him what he wanted.
    .
    He was supposed to be in jail.
    He had a long record of violence.
    You don’t have to go “he will go slaughter four cops who actually care enough about doing their job properly that they meet for coffee before their shift starts to figure out effective tactics for the day” to figure out he was a violent career criminal who’d thrown away every prior chance he’d been given and even responded with greater violence.

  • Art Deco asks, “Career criminals ought to be locked up

    Can you define that term with a specificity necessary for the administration of justice? Was the offender in question a ‘career criminal’ or merely an offender?”
    I believe so. In Scotland, a repute that a party is a common thief, that is, gets his livelihood or supplements it by thieving, is an aggravation of theft. In other words, that he is known as a thief, as someone else is known as a joiner or a plumber. The traditional formula is “and you are habit and repute a thief” and juries do not find this a difficult concept to grasp.

Various & Sundry, 5/6/15

Wednesday, May 6, AD 2015

– There were a lot of good articles written in the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, but David French’s may have been the best of the lot.

For decades, the Left has ruled America’s great cities, presiding over often-unaccountable police departments, denying access to affordable housing, and dramatically increasing the state’s intrusion into citizens’ lives. In fact, the Left’s diverse urban centers are at the heart of the so-called coalition of the ascendant that will allegedly guarantee liberal domination for years to come. Yet now one part of that coalition is throwing rocks and burning cars, and another part of that coalition is locking shields and wielding pepper spray. And a third segment — the urban intellectual elite — can’t decide whether to justify or condemn the riots. It’s blue versus blue in America’s cities. Their one-party rule has failed.

Incidentally French has become my second favorite National Review writer after Kevin Williamson.

– Speaking of Williamson, here he is in the aftermath of the terror attack in Garland.

And speaking of the shooting, we’ve had another round of the “I support free spech, but . . . ” game. Here’s Ace shooting down that silliness, including a link to Megyn Kelly’s takedown of Bill O’Reilly ignorantly spouting (an occurrence as common as Bill O’Reilly drawing breath).

– Here’s a good refutation of the lament that Congress just doesn’t work in a bipartisan fashion anymore. Well, maybe it shouldn’t.

– Here’s another David French article (it’s been awhile since V&S entries). I had a similar evolution as French, though I got there much sooner. The supporters of gay marriage had as much to do with me changing my mind (to opposition) as anything else.

– Maybe General Jack D. Ripper was onto something after all.

– Speaking of ill-founded health conspiracy thinking, Chipotle’s GMO ban is both a toothless bit of pr tomfoolery as well as a silly ploy based on scientific illiteracy.

But what are the health risks from eating genetically modified food?

There aren’t any. Twenty-five years worth of scientific studies have shown no evidence of harm from the use of GM crops. A recent report from the European Union found that “the main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky [to consume] than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.” These findings are backed by the American Medical Association, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the World Health Organization — along with other respected scientific research based organizations worldwide. Nevertheless, popular resistance to the product continues to grow. As a result of this, all of the countries in the EU and dozens of other countries worldwide restrict or ban the production and sale of genetically modified foods.

Millennials aren’t having babies. Nothing to worry about though. Nosirree.

– The folks at Protein World might be my heroes.

Someone seems not to have ever seen the Naked Gun.

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18 Responses to Various & Sundry, 5/6/15

  • “Their one-party rule has failed.”

    Ending in violence, bloodshed and bankruptcy as one party rule usually does. Democrat dominance in major urban areas, dependent on the votes of Blacks and Hispanics in poor areas to fuel a spoils system of which they see little, has been a case study in how bad government can get in a democracy. If Democrats wonder why the Republicans control a majority of states now, the major urban centers in those states usually amply demonstrate what happens when Democrats are placed in charge of anything. Obama gave the nation a taste of what this type of rule feels like on a national level in 2008-2010, and hence the reaction that has produced a stronger Republican party nationally than at any time since 1932.

  • I had a similar evolution as French, though I got there much sooner. The supporters of gay marriage had as much to do with me changing my mind (to opposition) as anything else.

    It’s what Rod Dreher calls the law of Merited Impossibility but of course don’t you dare try warning gays et al of any possibility of a backlash. I mean that’s what Orson Scott Card did and look at everyone’s view of him now.

    (I also recommend this dreher article)

    Obama gave the nation a taste of what this type of rule feels like on a national level in 2008-2010, and hence the reaction that has produced a stronger Republican party nationally than at any time since 1932.

    Like Jonah Goldberg said: Liberals always over-promise and under-deliver. It may be painful to watch and have to suffer through, but if we just wait long enough, people will re-learn the lesson.

  • Millennials aren’t having babies. Nothing to worry about though. Nosirree.

    I think a lot of the drop is from illegals leaving (the hospital our eldest was born at had a major problem with obviously married women from Mexico giving birth and walking out without paying, claiming to be unmarried and usually with a stolen identity) but of course my generation aren’t having kids.

    I was a freak for not going to college, especially since I’m above average intelligence. Anybody who could graduate was supposed to go to college, and expected to be on hormonal birth control, and not get married until they have a “good job.”

    A lot of those classmates and relatives who finally are getting married are finding that they can’t get pregnant. (Gee, high bills, high stress, long work hours if you’re able to find a job or two, the medical solutions are all the same dang hammer….)

    Some sub-groups are. We’ve got four, hopefully, this June. There’s at least a dozen small children at our parish. Lots of pregnant-and-toddler folks on base, too.

  • “We’ve got four, hopefully, this June.”

    When our three were young life around McClarey Manor could get pretty wild. Best time of our lives for my bride and me.

  • A lot of those classmates and relatives who finally are getting married are finding that they can’t get pregnant. (Gee, high bills, high stress, long work hours if you’re able to find a job or two, the medical solutions are all the same dang hammer….)

    Yeah, the reactions to the suggestion of “maybe it would be better to get married first, raise kids, and THEN do education/career” are… interesting to say the least. No matter how much you point out over and over again that it’s the best scheme in regards to certain facts or even that having to raise children will teach a person more valuable life & job skills than anything you could learn in the classroom.

    Reminds me of the discussion I recently had on another blog where someone was all “there ain’t no difference between hetero and homo couples, why would kids shows distinguish?” and I pointed out, “Uh… because one of those two is the one producing and having the most of the target audience?”

    Always funny to see Leftists talk about how much they love science and we need to just focus on things based on what the science says… right up until you remind them of actual science.

  • – Millennials aren’t having babies. Nothing to worry about though. Nosirree.

    The World Bank’s measure of total fertility rate for the United States is currently (measured as of 2012) 1.88 (v. 2.12 in 2007). It’s been depressed in recent years (likely due to the economy). It’s not the lowest it has ever been and could readily recover within a decade.

  • The problem is not that Congress does not work ‘in a bipartisan fashion’. Bipartisanship is too likely to be an insider conspiracy against the public interest. The problem is that Congress accomplishes nothing at all other than fellating crony constituencies. A large part of the reason for that is stupid parliamentary rules, which Mitch McConnell et al lack the cojones to replace.

  • The problem with French’s assessment, is that the left does not rule ‘America’s great cities’. The left rules core city municipalities. With the demise of municipal annexation in the northern United States, metropolitan settlements came largely to be found outside the limits of the core city. I suspect if you looked closely, you’d discover that suburban governments are modally cat’s paws of the local real estate interests.
    ==
    If you’re going to heal the slums, you need good policy (which the inner city political class is commonly dead set against, and nowhere more pig-headedly than Baltimore City) and the tax base to implement it. Metropolitan federation, wherein county government is replaced and you have a division of labor between municipalities and metropolis, would be a means to certain ends. Fat chance getting that past suburban politicians (or suburban electorates). They’ll make use of Stanley Kurtz’ uncharacteristically poor treatment of the issue if needs be.

  • Here’s Ace shooting down that silliness, including a link to Megyn Kelly’s takedown of Bill O’Reilly ignorantly spouting (an occurrence as common as Bill O’Reilly drawing breath).

    Reading that ace link I see:
    “O’Reilly is a pretty thoughtless man, given to the sort of rantings of the Lunchbucket Philosopher, basing his philosophy not on Judeo-Christian teachings, as he never tired of cliche-ing, but on his visceral gut reactions.

    Do I like this? Do I not like this? Does this bother me in my gut? ”

    Hmmm…. gee that sounds a LOT like someone else… someone Catholic like Bill… but who isn’t here obviously. 😉

  • Thanks Paul Zummo for the links regarding the GMO debate. My wife, Mary, is a well meaning co-op employee at our local health food store.
    The link has given me some good food for thought and I look forward to investigating the data further. Dinner table debates ya-know!

    Tomato season coming up.
    I’ve saved some coin for the organic version…take care Paul. 🙂

  • “We’ve got four, hopefully, this June.”
    Congratulations!

  • If you eat seedless grapes, you eat GMO. Fine and Dandy with me.
    .
    Here’s an interesting site:
    http://discover.monsanto.com/conversation/

  • “Their one-party rule has failed.”
    Ending in violence, bloodshed and bankruptcy as one party rule usually does. Democrat dominance in major urban areas, dependent on the votes of Blacks and Hispanics in poor areas to fuel a spoils system of which they see little, has been a case study in how bad government can get in a democracy.

    .
    I see neither of you belong to the Inner Party.
    .
    Tsk TskInnocent as the Proles

  • All food is genetically modified. We’ve been modifying plant and animal genes since the neolithic.

  • Rereading Donald’s comment, I may have been too quick to exlucude him from the Party. I first took him to be writing about unintended consequences, as it were.

  • Foxfier, Congrats to you and your husband on Number Four. Wishing you a speedy and safe delivery.

  • Anzlyne.

    I checked out your link to Q & A on Monsanto’s site. As you said, it’s interesting. The misinformation campaign is strong, documentaries painting a completely different picture.

    Thank you for the link.

5 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/27/15

  • Just as Franklin foresaw, by the way:
    .
    “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

  • Chick-fil-A banishment….

    The comments are spot on. It’s tolerance as defined by the intolerant.

    This suicidal culture is calling down Gods wrath. The “Year of Mercy” will be followed by Years of Devine Justice.
    Preparedness is essential.

    Sin IS NEVER TOLERATED. Correction for this culture is eminent.

  • That young man at the right of this column, being arrested and handcuffed got $30,000 for his illegal prosecution and unwarranted arrest.
    Melissa Cakes needs the money to prosecute for false persecution, criminal slander and disenfranchisement by the state of civil rights. Melissa loved her neighbor as herself…straight. This is all that is required to be considered under freedom of religion. and “free exercise thereof” and conscientious objection. Unfortunately, our courts are degenerated into partisanship. Our constitutional posterity, included in our Preamble by our founding fathers are to be handed our founding principles based on truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me God. Without God, atheism imposed by the culture, man has little but the gulag right here in River City.

  • It does not have much to do with formal institutions, but with culture.

    1.One is the corruption of the legal profession, which is now nearly worthless in certain loci for the protection of people outside a charmed circle. Read Scott Lively’s account of contending with Oregon judges a generation ago. The place has been a latrine for some time.

    2. The other has to do with bourgeois culture. The only people among my parents’ contemporaries who would have thought that these characters merited $135,000 for their trouble would have been ambulance chasers hoping for a contingency fee. The only one’s who would have thought it a criminal act to raise funds for your legal defense would have been no one day before yesterday.

    3. Something the psychiatrist GJM van den Aardweg said for some time in his public writings: the sense of yourself as an injured party is an architectural feature of the homosexual person and quite insensitive to the reality of past or present personal circumstances. We might add a hypothesis concerning a corollary: that the severity of one’s pathology in this circumstance is strongly correlated with one’s propensity to lawfare and ‘activism’. In short, public discourse about the homosexual condition is dominated by the most obstreperous and disoriented among them.

    4. The implicit and sometimes explicit asperity of the larger society kept this pathology in check. Now characters in the legal profession and the tech industry (not to mention the academy and the clergy) are throwing rubbing alcohol on an open flame. This will not end well.

  • 1. I gather from the SGA vote at Johns Hopkins that 2/3 of Johns Hopkins parents failed to impress on their children the desirability of not being a preening nitwit. So much for the skills of the professional-managerial bourgeoisie.

    2. The political class in Baltimore has, in the face of New York’s successes, failed to accomplish one bloody thing in the last 20 years. The people who run for office are ticket-punchers on a good day and the electorate therein is satisfied with that. I used to live in Baltimore and have a residual affection for the place. It has a great many assets which are idle because of stupidity on the part of the city’s politicians and public workers.