Those Closest to Trump

Last week, I gave an overview of some of Trump’s picks for his cabinet, both the solid ones and ones I consider questionable. I omitted a few (hard to cover them all), but I should mention in passing the choice of Rick Perry for energy secretary (very good) and Elaine Chao for the Department of Transportation.

There are mixed reviews on Chao: she served as secretary of labor previously, where some said she did very well, but there is criticism that choosing the wife of Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not exactly a prime example for the drain-the-swamp battle cry.

Many Trump supporters have high hopes for what he will accomplish, for sure:

That would be nice, but I’ll wait to see what kind of results we get.

Some of the jobs closest to Trump don’t require Senate confirmation. They tell you the most about who Trump trusts.

First on that list would be Stephen Bannon, formerly of the Breitbart website. All kinds of opinions have been offered about Bannon. My view of him is somewhere in between those who view him as the devil incarnate and those who see him as the policy savior.

With the lofty title of chief strategist, Bannon will apparently be responsible for guiding Trump in his decisions on what policies to push for and how to get the job done. Bannon is hard-driving, which can be good for such a position, but he also can alienate people very quickly.

My first acquaintance with Bannon was positive. He was one the writers/producers of a video that I use in my course on Ronald Reagan and modern American conservatism.

That video, In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed, details Reagan’s decades-long fight against communism and the strategy he used to take down the Soviet Union. It is a powerful video, one that offers a clear corrective to the liberal interpretation of events that led to the Soviet downfall.

The quality of the video is outstanding, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has not yet seen it.

Bannon’s latest position at Breitbart, though, gives me pause. I don’t accept the cry of “racist” that some would level at him. I am concerned, though, that he allowed that site to be a provocative place where the so-called “alt-right” felt comfortable. I want nothing to do with them, as they are far too close to neo-nazism for me.

Bannon is no racist or Nazi, but when you play footsie with those who are, you tarnish yourself. Just so you know, I used to be a contributor to Breitbart’s Big Government site, so I have no axe to grind here. During the election, though, I stopped reading anything from Breitbart, as I saw it devolve into a Trump propaganda mouthpiece, willing to smear other candidates in its devotion to Trump.

I’m definitely wait-and-see with Bannon.

Another controversial appointment is former general Mike Flynn to serve as Trump’s national security advisor. I’ve watched Flynn being interviewed on news programs, and again, I’m a little torn.

Flynn’s positive is that he understands the Islamist threat. His negatives are that he is potentially too emotional, too open to conspiracy theories (like his boss), and perhaps far too friendly to Russia, which I continue to see as a threat to our national security, not an ally.

As with all of Trump’s questionable choices, I simply hope and pray for the best.

Finally, there is the very first decision on personnel that Trump made: installing Reince Priebus as his chief of staff. That decision was probably wise, as Trump needs someone who can work well with the Republican party overall.

Priebus, as chair of the Republican National Committee over the past years, has shown himself to be someone who can navigate the perils of politics. I’ve not always been a big fan of his, especially when he seemed to jump on Trump’s train much too soon and shut down any opposition to Trump at the national convention.

Yet if Trump is to succeed working with the party he so recently joined, he needs someone like Priebus to act as a guide.

I believe I’ve covered most of the key players in the upcoming Trump presidency. I hope the good ones can have a positive influence on him and his policies; I hope the questionable ones are either denied confirmation or will not detract too much from what this administration needs to be to reverse the political course of the nation.

Let me add this, though: reversing the political course is not enough; it’s the spiritual/moral foundation that is in need of the greatest repair, and that will never come through politics. Christian influence on the culture remains the top priority.

Race, Sherrod, and Victimhood

Racial issues ought to be receding in America. Yet they have once again intruded onto the national consciousness. It all started [at least the latest round] when the NAACP passed a resolution calling on the Tea Party to excise the racists in their midst. No real evidence was presented that racism was a major problem within the movement, but that apparently was beside the point. I commented on this in my July 14 post, if you want to review it.

Let’s be honest: the NAACP’s only reason for existing is to fight racial discrimination. If it isn’t a big threat, its reason for being is called into question. Consequently, it is necessary to manufacture a racial divide to maintain relevance as an organization. Sad, but true.

Obama was supposed to be the harbinger of racial healing; he was going to usher in a post-racial society. That was before he accused the Cambridge police of acting foolishly [without real evidence] in regard to his friend Louis Gates. That was before his Justice Department decided to drop the case against the New Black Panthers and accusations that the department was not going to enforce any laws for white defendants in racial cases.

So, at this point we have the Obama administration and the NAACP making race an issue.

Then, in response to what the NAACP had done with its resolution, Andrew Breitbart, who is the brainchild for the Big Government site and many others, broadcast a video of a Dept. of Agriculture employee named Shirley Sherrod apparently showing her racism toward whites. Sensitive now to the charge of racial politics, the administration immediately fired her. When the full tape was eventually seen, it showed that she was trying to say she had gotten beyond race as the determining factor in life. Then they fell all over themselves to hire her back.

In either case, no one did much checking. Getting all the facts didn’t seem to be a priority.

Was Breitbart wrong to do what he did? Many are jumping on him for releasing a partial video, yet he says the point was made no matter how the video ended—the audience [an NAACP crowd] liked her comments about not wanting to help a white farmer. He says that reveals the attitude of the organization, which was his main point.

Meanwhile, Sherrod has become somewhat of a celebrity. Yet it is obvious she is not really a heroine. Her Marxist approach to policy is highlighted in the video, and it appears she not really over her focus on race. She is now calling for the Big Government site to be shut down by the government. So there is no longer a First Amendment?

She’s also accusing Fox News of wanting to push blacks back into segregation days. On what basis is she making this accusation? As one commentator has noted,

Despite Glenn Beck being one of the very first people to stand up for Sherrod; despite the Obama administration dismissing Sherrod before Fox ran the footage; despite Bill O’Reilly being the first cable news host to show the FULL video to reveal its context; and despite Fox’s Bret Baier inviting Sherrod to appear on the network a number of times, she has declined and instead given exclusive interviews to the likes of Media Matters and MSNBC–groups who are seizing this opportunity to attack Fox News. 

Media Matters calls the “Sherrod smear” a “wake up call” not to trust Fox.  Sherrod’s so cozy with the far-Left, she granted the propagandists an exclusive interview to play up the “victim” card against Fox and Breitbart, all the while ignoring the people who actually fired her.

Sherrod was not treated properly by the administration, and she should not have lost her job for the reason cited. Yet, as the facts above show, she was not the victim of a Fox agenda to roll back civil rights. No one bothered to get the facts straight when she was fired. Now she doesn’t care to get the facts straight regarding how Fox handled her story.

If this is the path she has chosen to take, she doesn’t deserve anyone’s sympathy.

Demonizing Dissent

Remember the scene a couple of weeks ago as the Democratic House leadership left one of the House office buildings to walk outside to the Capitol? Speaker Pelosi was carrying a rather huge gavel.

They were in an exultant mood—healthcare was about to pass. This march was obviously intended to go straight through the crowd of protestors who were begging Congress not to pass the bill.

It was during this march that an alleged incident occurred. Accusations later were lodged against the protestors for using racial slurs against African American congressmen. The accusations received eager coverage in the media. Suddenly the “Tea Partiers” were racist degenerates, not concerned citizens trying to stop their nation’s slide into financial ruin.

Fighting back, one conservative leader, Andrew Breitbart, has offered to pay the United Negro College Fund $100,000 for any video proving the allegations of racist language being used that day. Video cameras were everywhere. Breitbart is still waiting for the smoking gun video that proves the accusations are true.

A game is being played here.

With a little help from their media  friends, the Democrats hope to smear honest protest with the dreaded label of racism. They don’t have to look far to find those helpful media people. They’re already well trained and prepared to stereotype.

Honest reporting is a rarity.

And what of that “march”? Why did it even occur? Representatives never do that. They always use the underground tunnels that take them directly from their offices to the Capitol. They knew the grounds were filled with protestors. Could this have been a deliberate attempt to create controversy? It has become obvious they don’t really know what to do with those who are involved with the Tea Party movement. They’re not sure how to counteract their appeal. So why not brand them racists?

It’s an underhanded and deceptive strategy. But they’re practically beside themselves trying to figure out what to do.

On April 15—tax day—tea parties will be held all across America. I plan to attend one—my first.

And I am not a racist.