Lots of commentary out there about what happened in the elections, most of it rubbish. However, one of the better short pieces is by John Podhoretz, one of the more vehement Never-Trumpers:
The nation’s cultural and political elite has been handed its walking papers by the American electorate.
What just happened is the most momentous shift in American political and cultural life in our time. There’s no way to digest the meaning of Donald Trump being on the verge of victory. Understanding it is the work of a generation.
Of course, we’re seeing desperate and pathetic efforts to declare the results illegitimate. For example, Paul Krugman of the New York Times said last night that Hillary Clinton’s loss was due to conscious efforts to suppress the African-American vote.
That idea is beyond preposterous and intellectually deranged. What we saw was a national wave that turned blue states red, not a case in which voter ID laws and efforts to restrict early voting changed the balance of a state or two.
We saw the populaces of America’s rural counties and exurbs — places Donald Trump visited and said had been neglected and forgotten and mistreated by America’s leaders — rise up practically in unison and vote for someone who said he would be the vehicle of their anger and the tribune of their restoration. Continue reading
Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.
President Ronald Reagan, letter to Lance Corporal Joe Hickey, September 23, 1983
On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:
“Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”
The Marines wasted no time in demonstrating that their specialty would be amphibious assault. Under Captain Samuel Nicholas, 210 Marines seized the port of Nassau in the West Indies on March 3-4, 1776, capturing badly needed supplies. Nicholas would command the Marines throughout the Revolutionary War and is regarded as the first Commandant of the Marine Corps. Under Nicholas, ironically a Quaker, the Marines established the traditions of valor, resourcefulness and daring that have ever been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps. Continue reading
Ah, Stephen Colbert on election night. He bemoans the fact that Americans are so obsessed with politics. Let that sink in. Colbert made his career by playing a caricature of a right wing television blowhard to the delight of his left-wing audience. It is the liberalism that he has championed throughout his career that has permeated society with noxious attempts to enforce ideological conformity. One can imagine the different tune he would have been singing if Clinton had trounced Trump. If an unexamined life is a tragedy, “funny man” Colbert’s life is a grim tale indeed.
The Vatican begins the process of adjusting to the reality of President Trump:
After Donald Trump pulled off what was for many a surprising victory in the United States election, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin offered his prayers that the new president-elect would promote peace in a world torn by conflict.
“First of all, we take note with respect the will of the American people in this exercise of democracy which they tell me was characterized by a large turnout. Then we congratulate the new president, so that his government can be truly fruitful,” Cardinal Parolin told Vatican Radio Nov. 19.
He also assured of his prayers, “so that the Lord illuminate him and sustain him in the service of his homeland, naturally, but also of the peace and wellbeing of the world.”
“I believe that today it is needed for everyone to work to change the global situation, which is a situation of serious laceration and grave conflict.”
Cardinal Parolin spoke at the inauguration of academic year of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
The poll, published by CNN, shows 23 percent of Americans who voted this election season identified themselves as Catholic, while 27 percent said they were Protestant, 24 percent “Other Christian,” 15 percent “No Religion,” and three percent “Jewish.” Of the Catholics who voted, 52 percent voted for Trump and 45 percent voted for Clinton. Continue reading
For the might of the gentile,
Unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow
In the glance of the Lord.
Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib
If I have learned anything over this wildest of Presidential campaigns it is not to underestimate Donald J. Trump, or rather I should say President Elect Donald J. Trump. With all of his manifest flaws, he has triumphed in a pursuit of the Presidency that I at first thought was a bad publicity stunt. After he took the nomination I grudgingly concluded that in this odd year, against a status quo candidate like Hillary Clinton, he would win. However, his achievement should not be underestimated. Against a biased, and proud of its bias, media, against the entertainment industry, against big business and big unions, with a divided party, and spending much less money than his adversary, he won. To be sure Hillary Clinton had her problems, but she also had the Clinton political machine behind her and a media intent on covering for her as much as possible, with a corrupt establishment fully in her corner. Trump’s defeat of all that power arrayed against him is unbelievable, and a tribute to him and his hard core supporters. I have predicted that Trump will be a bad President. May that prediction be mistaken. May we all join in this prayer for him and for us that is adapted from George Washington’s letter to the States of June 8, 1783:
Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that thou wilt incline the hearts of citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa reviews the recent attempts to act as the mediator between the Venezuelan regime and the opposition:
ROME, November 7, 2016 – Mysteries of Vatican information. “L’Osservatore Romano” is rightly appreciated for the extensive coverage that it provides every day of events around the world. But in order to know that Pope Francis on the evening of October 24 met at Santa Marta with the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, its readers had to wait until November 3, and learn it from the pope’s own words, spoken during the return flight from Sweden to Rome and reported on the last page of the newspaper.
“L’Osservatore” – as also the official bulletin of the Holy See – also kept a complete silence on the Vatican’s role in opening discussions between the Maduro regime and the opposition, begun right after the unexpected meeting between the pope and the Venezuelan president.
In effect, since October 24 “L’Osservatore Romano” has published highly detailed reports every day on events in Venezuela. But without a single line on what has been making the most news, namely the direct efforts in Venezuelan affairs by the pope and the Holy See, with his emissaries on the ground.
So let’s reconstruct this story. Starting with what led up to it.
A first attempt at dialogue between the government and opposition, with the presence at the dialogue table table of the nuncio in Venezuela, Aldo Giordano, dates back to April of 2014, and also back then Pope Francis put himself forward to support it, in particular with a message addressed to President Maduro, to the members of the government, to the representatives of the opposition and to the members of the Union of South American Nations, initialed UNASUR:
The attempt fizzled at the outset and there was no effect, in September of that same 2014, from a second appeal of the pope, read by nuncio Giordano during an interreligious meeting for peace organized in Caracas by the national council of the laity of Venezuela:
It took two years for a flame to be reignited, while Venezuela plunged into an ever more devastating crisis.
On July 25, 2016, the secretary general of UNASUR, former Colombian president Ernesto Samper Pizano, wrote a letter to the pope also in the name of three other ex-presidents: José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, Martín Torrijos of Panama, and Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic.
In the letter, the four ask that the Holy See become part of the group of “facilitadores” of the dialogue between government and opposition in Venezuela.
The response to the letter came not from Pope Francis but from his secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who knows Venezuela well, having been nuncio there from 2009 to 2013.
In his response of August 12, Parolin declares the willingness of the Holy See, on the condition that it be the interested parties, government and opposition, that issue the invitation and show themselves “receptive to accepting the eventual suggestions”:
> Texto de la carta del card. P. Parolin al secretario de UNASUR
Among the bishops of Venezuela, however, many are skeptical. “A government that does not provide food and medicine for its citizens and refuses to allow religious and social organizations to work to alleviate the suffering of the population lacks the moral authority to invoke dialogue and peace,” Cumaná archbishop Diego Padrón Sanchez, president of the episcopal conference, said last July.
And even more critical toward the Maduro regime is the archbishop of Mérida, Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo. Whom Pope Francis included on October 9 among the next new cardinals.
On the evening of October 24, a coup de theatre. Maduro makes a stop in Rome on his way back from a trip to oil producing states in the Middle East, and is received at Santa Marta by Pope Francis.
The meeting is private, and there are no official photos or statements from it.But the Venezuelan presidency and various press offices – including Vatican Radio and the quasi-Vatican blog “Il Sismografo” – publicize it with the images of the previous audience with Maduro in 2013, this one indeed perfectly official and conducted in the Apostolic Palace, as if to authenticate a new “blessing” of the pope on his guest.
In Venezuela, among the critics of the regime, the first reactions were therefore of dismay, increased by the arrival in Caracas on October 25 of an envoy from the pope in the person of the nuncio to Argentina, Emil Paul Tscherrig, with the mandate of beginning a dialogue precisely when “the country is at its last gasp” and the “deadlock” between Maduro and the opposition is at its acme, as stated by a headline in “L’Osservatore Romano.”
Newly created cardinal Baltazar Porras says that he has not been informed of the arrival of an envoy from the Holy See. While the nuncio in Caracas, Giordano, is silent, apparently superseded by his colleague in from Buenos Aires at the mandate of the pope.
Tscherrig instead speaks and acts. He meets separately with representatives of the government and of the opposition, although with the refusal of a part of the latter, and announces for October 30 a first round of discussions on the island of Margarita.
The tension reaches its peak on Friday, October 28, with the country paralyzed by a general strike and even “on the brink of the abyss,” again as in a headline in “L’Osservatore Romano.”
But then, little by little, some pieces fall into place. Tscherrig exits the stage and in his place there comes from Rome the “true” emissary of the pope, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli (see photo), former president of the disbanded pontifical council for social communications, but above all a diplomat of long international experience, from China to South America.
Celli arrives in Caracas with a letter in hand “en nombre del Papa Francisco,” addressed to all the sides in the dispute: Continue reading
You’re a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint… With a little common sense you could have made a statesman.
Cardinal Wosely to Sir Thomas More, A Man for all Seasons
(A repost from 2010. It seemed very appropriate today.)
In this political season I was curious as to which saint was the patron saint of politicians. Much to my shock I learned that on October 26, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saint Thomas More as patron saint of politicians and statesman. It was an inspired choice, but I think the average politician might find Saint Thomas More difficult to emulate.
1. As far as I can tell, Saint Thomas More always told the truth. Most politicians seem to regard lying as a job requirement or a job perk.
2. Saint Thomas More was noted by contemporaries for not taking bribes. Such honesty was just as rare among politicians then as it is now.
3. As Cardinal Wolsey, unforgettably portrayed by Orson Welles, noted in A Man for All Seasons, Saint Thomas always viewed issues of public policy with a “moral squint”. Most politicians would view this as a severe handicap.
4. Saint Thomas gave up the highest office in England over a matter of principle. I am afraid the average politician’s reaction to this would be, “You have got to be kidding”.
5. Most politicians when viewing the movie “A Man for All Seasons” would probably think that Richard Rich is the hero of the film. Continue reading
As usual, TAC will have an open thread for election night. In regard to the presidential contest, most of the polls show Clinton with a three to four point advantage. However, two of the most accurate polls from 2012, the Los Angeles Times Daybreak Poll and IDB, show Trump ahead by three and two points respectively. Additionally, while national polls were placing Clinton ahead yesterday, most electoral college projections showed Trump’s position improving, with him nipping at Clinton’s heels. This really does not make much sense, but that is par for this skunk-fest of an election. My hypothesis is that the polls have been off because of an inability of most them to accurately gauge Trump’s support. We shall all find out soon enough.
Things to watch for tonight: If Trump takes Florida and Ohio he will likely need just one or two blue states to win, assuming that Iowa and the Romney states from 2012 fall to him. There will be likely a titanic contest in the upper Midwest tonight over Michigan, Wisconsin and, perhaps, Minnesota. The Dems also seem worried about Pennsylvania. If Trump flips one of these states, than he can likely start calling himself Mr. President. New Hampshire and Maine 2 could be absolutely critical if the contest is close and Trump does not flip one of the states in the Upper Midwest or the Keystone State. In such a scenario, assuming that Trump takes Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, they set him up to win if he takes Nevada or Colorado. Additionally, keep your eyes on Oregon. If there is one state I think might shockingly flip from blue to red, in defiance of all the polls, it would be that one.
In regard to the Senate, it could be a nail biter to see which party controls it. In the House the GOP is expected to hold, but the margin in the House could be critical over the next two years.
It promises to be an exciting election night if not an edifying one! As always, put your comments in the comboxes.
All times are Central Standard Time
6:30 AM-Just got back from voting. One of the perks of living in a small town is little waiting in order to vote. It seemed to me as if the polls were less busy than in 2012 and 2008.
5:05 PM-First polls close in an hour. Lots of exit poll chatter that I won’t bore you with due to my conviction that exit polls tend to be unreliable.
6:00 PM- Vermont called for Clinton. Indiana and Kentucky called for Trump. Too close to call: Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia and South Carolina being too close to call is not good news for Trump.
6:30 PM-West Virginia called for Trump. North Carolina and Ohio too close to call. Republican Senator Portman of Ohio has won re-election.
6: 45 PM-Go here to see the latest vote tallies for states whose polls have closed.
6:50 PM-South Carolina called for Trump.
7:00 PM-Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee called for Trump. Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Massachusetts called for Clinton. Democrat pickup in Illinois in the Senate where Tammy Duckworth unseats Mark Kirk.
7:07 PM-Rhode Island called for Clinton.
7:15 PM-Marco Rubio has won re-election to the Senate from Florida.
7:25 PM-Young beats Bayh for the Senate seat in Indiana. An important victory in the Republican attempt to retain control of the Senate.
7:30 PM-Alabama called for Trump.
7:35 PM-The Republicans will retain control of the House.
7:50 PM -One can never be sure about anything when it comes to Presidential elections in Florida, but it looks like Trump is going to have a narrow win.
8:00 PM-New York is called for Clinton. Donald Trump sweeps the states of the Great Plains and Texas.
8:05 PM-Arkansas called for Trump.
8:22 PM-Connecticut called for Clinton.
8:40 PM-New Mexico called for Clinton and Louisiana is called for Trump.
8:57 PM-Virginia called for Clinton.
9:00 PM-Montana called for Trump.
9:10 PM-Burr, the Republican Senator in North Carolina has won re-election. Likely that the Republicans will retain control of the Senate.
9:25 PM-Ohio called for Trump. Colorado called for Clinton.
9:30 PM-Florida called for Trump.
9:45 PM-The New York Times now projects that Trump has a 92% chance of winning the Presidency. Right on cue North Carolina is called for Trump.
9:50 PM-Republican Senator Ron Johnson has won re-election in Wisconsin. Grand! One of my favorite conservative senators!
10:00 PM-California, Washington and Hawaii called for Clinton. Idaho called for Trump.
10:10 PM-Utah called for Trump.
10:25 PM-Oregon called for Clinton.
10:30 PM-Wisconsin called for Trump. That is the blue state he needed. Iowa called for Trump. I’m calling it. Trump is going to be the 45th President of these United States. In the year of Brexit and the Cubs, the improbable was probable. The ladies have been waiting to sing this song in celebration of the defeat of Hillary Clinton:
10:40 PM-Georgia is called for Trump.
11:24 PM-Nevada called for Clinton.
11:40 PM-My bride’s reaction to the election results:
12:07 AM-Maine called for Clinton, but not Maine 2 with its one electoral vote.
12:25 PM-Roy Blunt, Republican Senator from Missouri has won re-election.
12:27 PM-Pat Toomey has won re-election in Pennsylvania. Hurrah! It is certain that the Republicans have retained control of the Senate.
12:50 PM-Pennsylvania is called for Trump. Trump will have at least 290 electoral votes, and quite possibly he will end up north of 300.
With that, I will be turning in. Much analysis tomorrow and in the days to come. The Democrats had a very bad night, and the Republicans find themselves in control of the Congress and the Presidency, although admittedly Trump makes an odd sort of Republican. I will end this night’s blog coverage with this observation that I have made on other election nights:
After the 2008 elections many on the Left, giddy with victory, predicted that in future the Republican party would be only a rump party of the South, doomed to wander in the political wilderness for 40 years. Typical of this commentary was a piece written by frequent commenter Morning’s Minion:
For look at what the Republican party has become in recent years: a rump party of the south and the plains, mired in an anachronistic culture that has little resonance with the modern world and with the younger generation.
Of course this commentary betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of American political history. In that history there are no final victories and no final defeats. The great issue in contention since the days of the Federalists and the Republicans, the role of government in the lives of a free people, has remained with us no matter what names the two parties call themselves. When a party dies, the Whig party for instance, a new party steps forward to carry on the fight. The parties themselves shift and change, but the large issues involved tend, at bottom, to remain the same. Kipling wrote long ago:
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
That is sound advice in American politics, no matter if an election is good for your party or bad for your party.
Pope Francis is wasting no time in installing one of his new red hats into a position of power:
(RNS) Pope Francis had already delivered the Catholic Church’s version of an October surprise when he included Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin in the batch of new cardinals he announced last month — promising a red hat to the leader of a relatively small Midwestern diocese of 230,000 Catholics that had never before had a cardinal, nor would ever expect one.
Then on Monday (Nov. 7) the pontiff doubled down with a November stunner as the Vatican announced that Francis was moving Tobin to head the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey. He replaces Archbishop John Myers, who is resigning at age 75.
In a statement released early Monday after the Vatican announcement was official, Tobin, 64, compared these last few weeks to an earthquake, saying the news on Oct. 9 that he would become a cardinal was his “first jolt” and the phone call on Oct. 22 informing him that he would be going to Newark was a “second tremor.
Never before has a cardinal been moved from one diocese to another, and church observers across the board also expressed shock at the unprecedented transfer, which seemed to signal a new stage in Francis’ effort to revamp a U.S. church that had become increasingly conservative under the pontiff’s two predecessors.
Not only is Newark a much bigger archdiocese than Indianapolis, with some 1.2 million Catholics, but it’s never had a cardinal and, like Indianapolis, never expected to get one.
That’s mainly because a cardinal perched across the Hudson River from Manhattan would have been seen as a rival to the archbishop of New York, a post currently occupied by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Continue reading
One of my favorite actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood is Claude Rains. Throughout his career he brought vibrant intelligence and a world weary cynicism to his roles. From his screen personae, it might be assumed that Rains was an English aristocrat educated at elite English “public” schools. Actually he was London Cockney, and had a very pronounced Cockney accent and a speech impediment as he was growing up. He served gallantly in World War I in the British Army in the London Scottish Regiment, rising from private to captain, and being blinded in one eye as a result of a gas attack.
He quickly achieved post war success in England as an actor. He began acting in American films and became an American citizen in 1939. His first big hit was the title role in The Invisible Man in 1933. He went on to achieve stardom with unforgettable roles, such as Prince John in Robin Hood (1938), Senator Joseph Paine in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and, doubtless the role he is most known for, Captain Renault in Casablanca (1942):
In 1946 Rains appeared in probably the most unusual role in his career as Satan in Angel On My Shoulder. The plot involves Satan’s attempt to use a deceased gangster, Eddie Kagle, played by Paul Muni, to discredit a living judge the gangster resembles. The film is filled with bon mots by Rains, including him asking “What in my domain is that?” in reference to a ruckus caused by Eddie Kagle after he arrives in Hell. The film has a rather profound sequence where Satan, or “Nick” as he is referred to in the film, expresses his exasperation with God for taking such concern over mortals. He cannot understand why he loves them. I suspect that is the case with the real Devil, and that the love of God is a complete mystery to him. As CS Lewis noted in his The Screwtape Letters: Continue reading
Pope Francis, in a 55 minute rant to a Vatican sponsored meeting of Third Word left wing pressure groups, attacked capitalism:
He denounced yet again “the globalizing ideological colonialism” that seeks to impose solutions that “do not respect the identity of the peoples” or their cultures.
He called on the popular movements to work “at the local and universal” levels and praised them for looking beyond the problems and creatively seeking solutions that give dignity to people, also through creating work. “I accompany you,” he assured them.
Francis told them that all the social teaching of the church and the magisterium of his predecessors “rebels against the idol that is money, which rules instead of serves, tyrannizes and terrorizes humanity.”
But he said, “no tyranny sustains itself without exploiting our fears,” and thus “every tyranny is terroristic.” Moreover, when this terror “which is sown in the peripheries by massacres, looting, oppression and injustice, and explodes in the center with different forms of violence, even with hateful and vile attacks, those citizens that still retain some rights are tempted by the false security of physical or social walls,” which “close in some and exclude others.”
Fear “is fed and manipulated,” Francis stated. It gives good dividends to “the merchants of arms and of death,” but “it weakens us, it destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, it anesthetizes us against the suffering of others and makes us cruel.”
He urged those who have such fear to pray for courage and said “mercy is the best antidote against fear” and “is much more effective than walls, that barbed wire fences, than alarms and arms, and it is free. It is the gift of God.”
He called on the members of these movements worldwide “to build bridges between peoples, bridges that allow us to knock down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.”
He praised the popular movements for the countless different initiatives—such as cooperatives, recycling, restoring failed factories and so on—by which they succeed in overcoming “the atrophy of the socio-economic system that is unemployment” and help provide labor, housing and land for people. Continue reading
FBI Director James Comey delivers a November surprise:
Dear Messrs. Chairmen:
I write to supplement my October 28, 2016 letter that notified you the FBI would be taking additional investigative steps with respect to former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.
I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.
James B. Comey
Impact? Hard to say. We are right on top of the election and normally a big event in an election needs a few days to seep into the public consciousness. Most people will probably hear about it tomorrow, and the number of people who haven’t made up their minds by this time how they are going to vote, if they are going to vote, is probably small. It is probably marginally good news for Clinton, but I doubt if will have much influence due to the lateness of this revelation and the fact that most people have probably reached a decision on Clinton, one way or another. Whoever is elected, Comey needs to go. Having Prince Hamlet as FBI Director is bad for the country.
Of course the real reason that the Democrats fight voter id laws is not to protect the voting rights of minorities, but to ensure that the vote fraud that the Democrat party traditionally has relied upon to win close elections continues.