Unity?

Unity. That’s what it’s all about, right? All of us who are sickened at the thought of a Hillary presidency have to board the Trump train for the sake of unity. And if people like me, who oppose Trump for president, don’t hop on board, we are the problem and will be blamed for a Trump loss in November.

As I’ve said countless times, and will repeat again, any Trump loss in November will be due to Donald Trump himself and those who mindlessly followed him into his own personal fever swamp.

Evidence? It abounds.

Let’s look at what has occurred since the Republican convention.

Donald Trump Addresses GOP Lincoln Day Event In MichiganFirst, Trump refuses to let go of any comment by anyone that is the least bit critical of him, and continues to fire back regardless of the consequences. In politics, you take the heat and go on. Trump will not do so; instead, he creates bigger issues because he is so thin-skinned.

He continues to criticize Ted Cruz and won’t back off on the stupid accusation that Cruz’s father is somehow implicated in the JFK assassination.

He takes umbrage at a Muslim father speaking at the Democrat convention criticizing him. Keep in mind this was the Democrat convention. Of course they will line up speakers to criticize him.

In this case, though, the parents lost their son in Iraq. Now, whatever the truth is about the father—even if he should happen to be someone who ultimately favors Sharia law, or whatever—Trump’s reaction was again supremely stupid. You simply don’t rant against parents who lost their son in service to the country. From what I’ve read, the son lost his life when he ordered his fellow soldiers to stay back while he investigated; he died doing so, putting his fellows first.

That kind of decision needs to be respected, no matter who the parents are. Trump turning it into a “cause” only cheapens Trump. He somehow can’t see that.

A whole slew of stupidity manifested itself yesterday. Trump tells a woman to remove her crying baby from his rally after first trying to say he loves babies. I’ve watched the video without any editing. He came across as a fool and someone who really, despite what he claims, doesn’t like babies.

A veteran gave Trump his Purple Heart. Trump jokes that he always wanted one but didn’t expect to receive it this way. Just a joke, right? Watch the video, please. He again comes across as “this is all about me, not thee.” He doesn’t honor the man who gave it to him; he turns the focus on himself—as always—because in Trump World, all that matters is Donald Trump.

Then, because Paul Ryan and John McCain criticize him for his comments over the Muslim parents’ dead son, he now says he doesn’t endorse them for reelection.

Some of my readers may respond with joy over that because of dislike of both Ryan and McCain. But regardless of what you think of those men, isn’t Trump supposed to be unifying the party now? What does he do instead? He creates greater division. This is so bad that even Reince Priebus is upset. It takes a lot to get him upset with Trump.

Mike Pence has had to do more damage control than any VP candidate in history. I would feel sorry for him except for the fact that he signed up for this voluntarily. Did he understand what he was getting himself into?

Fireman Pence

How bad is it getting? I watched Fox News’s The Five last night, a show that reflexively defends Trump no matter what. Except for last night. Only Eric Bolling was willing to find an excuse for Trump’s antics. The others, especially Dana Perino, were critical. Perino practically said Trump was stupid and she seemed to be fed up with trying to defend him. She says she can offer no more advice on what he should do because he obviously won’t listen to anyone. Her disgust with Trump was all over her face.

Reports coming from inside the Trump campaign paint a picture of an organization almost in chaos, with people beside themselves trying to rein him in unsuccessfully.

I am more and more convinced that Trump’s supersized ego—one that has been allowed to grow throughout his life without any serious barriers—has made him a very disturbed man, both mentally and emotionally.

Beyond that, I’m not even sure he has the brain power to think clearly and rationally. He is stuck in his middle school vocabulary, with constant repetition of words and phrases (great, terrific, terrible, nasty, loser, etc., etc.) and has the emotional stability that goes along with boys at that level of maturation.

Trump's Brain

Am I aghast at the thought of a Hillary Clinton reign of error and terror? Absolutely. The trouble is that I’m equally aghast at the thought of a Trump ascendancy.

I’m in the minority in conservative circles right now. I’m apparently in the minority in evangelical circles also. That’s okay. I’ve been in this position before. My goal remains the same: speak the truth as God gives me the light to see the truth; emerge from this fiasco with my integrity intact.

Pray for our nation.

The Trump Factor

Donald TrumpYes, I must write about Donald Trump. He’s become such a controversial figure that I have no choice. One wing of Republicans seem to view him as the straight-talking savior they’ve been waiting for, while a broad swath of Republicans deem him the out-of-control candidate that is going to ruin everything. Which group is closer to the truth?

I hoped Trump would not jump into the presidential race. When he took the plunge, I didn’t anticipate he would do so well in the polls. So it’s crucial to know Trump’s character and where he stands on issues, both past and present.

He created a stir with the announcement of his candidacy when he attacked the government’s policies (or lack thereof) on illegal immigration. Most of the country agrees with the anger he expressed over that issue. Critics pointed, though, to his choice of words when speaking of Mexico; they said he was painting a broad brush and stereotyping.

This past weekend, new controversy ensued when, at a forum in Iowa that included most of the Republican candidates, he commented that John McCain was not all that much of a hero for suffering torture during the Vietnam War. He said he preferred people who didn’t get captured, thereby seeming to denigrate not only McCain for having been captured, but all prisoners of war.

Got My Vote

The furor over this has been high-pitched, and may I say, rightly so. One doesn’t have to particularly appreciate McCain’s record as a senator to feel this was a low blow at someone who did suffer significantly during that war. He didn’t choose to be a prisoner of war; he didn’t become one because he was a “loser,” which was the impression Trump gave.

Trump is hitting a nerve with some Republicans who are angry with Obama and fed up with the lackluster performance of a Republican party that controls the Congress and could be setting a stronger agenda. Trump is their outlet.

To jump on the Trump bandwagon is a big blunder for Republicans.

Let’s start with what he really believes. Talk about evolving—he is the champion in that sphere.

His history of political donations leans heavily Democrat, even to the support of Hillary Clinton. He is on record as favoring Obamacare and would like to see America go further and adopt the Canadian universal healthcare system.

On the illegal immigration issue, where he is making a huge splash today, back in 2012, he criticized Romney for being too harsh with his “self-deportation” comments.

He’s always been a supporter of abortion “rights” and is, we are told, “evolving” on the same-sex marriage issue.

The controversy over the McCain comment overshadowed another one he made at that same Iowa forum: he said he had never asked God for forgiveness for anything. According to those who reported on the aftermath of his time on stage there, that was the comment that created the most stir in the audience, as many, for the first time, realized he has no concept of what it means to be a Christian.

When I look at Donald Trump, I see a man who is in love with himself more than anything else. He is self-centered to the max, akin to Barack Obama’s constant usage of the words “I,” “my,” and “me” in all his speeches.

Trump seems to think he deserves to be president because he has made a lot of money (to which he refers constantly) and is super-smart.

For all these reasons, I cannot support the Trump candidacy, and I think Republicans in general, and Christians specifically, who do support him are either ignorant of his true character and beliefs or are letting their anger over what is occurring in our nation influence their vote.

Some seek to portray the Trump candidacy as a split between true conservatives (his supporters) and the Republican wishy-washy establishment that fears he will take away their authority.

Combover

That’s not an accurate assessment. Those who understand Biblical truths and a conservative philosophy of government should be the first to avoid a Trump candidacy.

And all those “establishment” Republicans? They have a point. Trump, when asked directly, refused to rule out a third-party candidacy if he should not win the Republican nomination.

I can say with some assurance that he will not win the Republican nomination. If he then follows through with a third-party candidacy, what will be the result?

Welcome to the Hillary Clinton presidency.

That, by itself, should be enough to shake his supporters out of their dream world. He could be the instrument for ushering in a new nightmare.

It was a strong third-party candidacy—Ross Perot back in 1992—that gave us Bill Clinton. Isn’t it time to learn something from history?

The Obamacare Poison

To get the pulse of our mainstream media, all you have to do is compare the coverage of Ted Cruz’s all-night speech to the Senate objecting to the funding of Obamacare with that of Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s stalling speech in favor of unlimited abortion. Davis was treated as some kind of hero, and the favorable coverage has catapulted her into the race for Texas governor. Cruz, on the other hand, was largely depicted as a looney extremist. Never mind that Cruz’s position on Obamacare is in line with all the polls and that Davis’s views on abortion are in the minority—the Leftward, progressive media has its own agenda.

Readers of this daily commentary know I was not completely on board with Cruz’s tactic, but I am glad he highlighted throughout his long speech the dangers and absurdities of the Obamacare law. If nothing else, he raised a banner, a standard, if you will, for people to rally around. Now, will his Republican colleagues follow suit, or will they do what they often do, which is to raise their own flag of a different character?

You Lose

John McCain already has done so. He says we have to respect the results of the election. Well, I respect it in the sense that I have to live with the reality that Barack Obama is still in the White House and the Senate remains in Democrat hands. But that doesn’t mean principles should be surrendered. One must continue to fight for what is right. Unfortunately, senators like McCain have become little more than tools of the opposing party. Some have commented he ought to go ahead and change his political affiliation and make it official.

Of course, the big fear of Republicans is that there will be a government shutdown and they will be blamed. First, essential services never shut down. They need to make sure the public grasps that fact. Second, yes, they will be blamed if they communicate as ineffectively as they are wont to do; but if they can for once devise an excellent strategy for getting out the truth, they should be able to convince enough of the public that it’s Democrats who refuse to go forward with full funding of the government, minus Obamacare. Republicans in the House already have passed a bill that provides funding for everything else. The sticking point is Obamacare. Let’s be honest: what would a government shutdown really look like?

If Govt Shuts Down

Yes, but Obamacare is the law, its proponents argue. True. But if that’s really the case, how can Obama autonomously delay implementation of certain aspects, as he has done on more than one occasion? How can he legitimately provide exemptions to the law that don’t exist in the law? You can’t have it both ways. At least, if Congress is the one defunding or delaying the implementation, it has the right to do so, since it’s the lawmaking body. The president has no authority to do what he has done with what is supposedly the law of the land. I’m not impressed by arguments that ignore that double standard.

The closer we get to Obamacare’s full implementation, the ills of the law become more evident:

Obamacare Kicks In

And if it’s really all that beneficial, why are the ones who made it a law so reluctant to be part of it?

Totally Safe

Republicans need to do all they can to delay the spread of this poison into the general population. If they are smart, they can take steps now that may ultimately dismantle it. It’s so bad it might fall of its own weight, but we cannot depend on that. Action is imperative.

Republicans Doing It Again?

The Illinois primary is now in the books as a Romney win. This was a significant state; if Santorum had won it, he would have made a major stride toward his goal of reversing the delegate math. As it is, Santorum’s path to the nomination has become virtually . . . well, I was going to say “impossible,” but I don’t want to go quite that far. Nevertheless, the odds are now more against it than a week ago, even if he pulls out Louisiana later this week.

The media, aided by the Romney campaign, played up a comment by Santorum that made it appear he didn’t care about the unemployment rate. We all know how easy it is to pull a phrase out of an entire explanation and twist the intent. That’s what the Romney team did in this case. Santorum’s full statement was “My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It’s something more foundational that’s going on.”

Romney should know how a statement can be taken out of context. Remember when he said he wasn’t concerned about the very poor, and the firestorm that created for a while? Well, I knew he meant that the very poor were already being taken care of by current policies, and that he wanted to help everyone. I didn’t criticize him for that. Neither should he and his team have taken a cheap shot at Santorum for his unemployment rate comment. It’s typical campaign dishonesty.

What did Santorum mean? His concern is more broad-based. He sees the overall trend in American society—the destruction of the traditional family, the loss of Judeo-Christian morality, the war for religious liberty, the over-extension of government power, etc.—and realizes these are the root causes of our economic woes. He also has made it clear that if Republicans hang their election hopes on bad economic numbers only, that they will be vulnerable if those numbers change for the better. It’s the difference between being principle-oriented vs. doing whatever is expedient to win a single election cycle.

I will always side with those who understand and promote the basic principles that serve as salt and light for a nation.

What Republicans are now poised to do, by choosing Romney, is to reenact the debacle of former nominees such as Bob Dole and John McCain. I’m also hearing the same refrain as I heard in 2008 when Huckabee continued the race against McCain when it seemed as if he couldn’t win. We were told he needed to withdraw so the party could coalesce around the inevitable nominee. Forgive me, but I still believe Huckabee would have been the better candidate. McCain’s campaign was dreadful; the only spark he ever got was when he added Palin to the ticket.

If Romney does pull this off, the only way he’ll gain any conservative enthusiasm for his campaign is if he makes a very solid and wise choice for his vice president. If he opts for another middle-of-the-roader, he will find it difficult to get the grassroots support he will need. There will still be a lot of us who will vote for him, but only because another Obama term is unthinkable. But that’s not the same as heartfelt support for the nominee.

I do believe Romney can defeat Obama, but then I worry that we will have Obama-light. Sometimes when you win in the short term, you lose overall. Will he really overturn Obamacare? Will he make good choices for the Supreme Court? I could go on. These remain large questions in my mind.

Palin's America by Heart

I bought Sarah Palin’s new book, American By Heart, just before Christmas, knowing I would have time to read it before my new semester began. George Bush’s book took priority, since it was longer, so I didn’t finish Palin’s book until last weekend—an appropriate time to complete it as it coincided with the shooting in Tucson and all the accusations against Palin. The image presented by the far Left, that she is vitriolic [last week’s favorite word, later followed by “civility”] and uses rhetoric that spurs people on to violence, cannot be sustained in light of what Palin herself writes. I wonder if any of those who hate her have taken the time to read what she actually has written?

Unlike her earlier autobiography, which naturally concentrated on her upbringing, her family, and her experiences as the vice-presidential candidate, this new book provides the opportunity for her to express what she really believes about government, the place of America in the world, and the significance of religious roots for the health of our society. It allows her to construct a framework, or worldview, within which to understand her positions on the issues that confront us all, whether in culture or in politics.

Palin also makes extensive use of quotes from a panoply of conservative thinkers and politicians from Alexis de Tocqueville to Calvin Coolidge to one of her favorites and mine, Ronald Reagan. I was also gratified that she recognized the value of Whittaker Chambers in our history.

Yet she doesn’t confine herself to conservatives, pulling excerpts from speeches by John F. Kennedy and others not of her political stripe—even from Barack Obama himself.

Here’s a quick rundown of the emphases of the book:

Chapter one, “We the People,” stresses the significance of the nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. God-given rights, as posited in the Declaration, and fidelity to the limits of government’s power, as delineated in the Constitution, are cornerstones of liberty.

She turns in chapter two to an appreciation of those who serve in the military, contrasting that appreciation with the disdain shown by Hollywood toward the armed forces, where a reflexive anti-Americanism often surfaces. She also quotes freely from John McCain’s account of his time as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Her respect for McCain’s service is genuine.

From the military, Palin segues into an examination of the concept of American exceptionalism. Is American exceptional? In what sense? Here is where she draws on the writings of Tocqueville to highlight what an eighteenth-century Frenchman saw when he visited this country. America is not perfect, she is clear to note, but it is exceptional in many ways. The problem is that some national leaders no longer believe in that exceptionalism.

Family, parenting, and the pro-life message come next. Here’s where Chambers enters the picture as she relates his account of how meditating on the intricate design of his daughter’s ear led him to think of a Creator.

Her chapter on Mama Grizzlies contains her concept of feminism, a feminism that empowers women but doesn’t degrade men or try to erase the distinctions between the sexes. That leads into a discussion of the value of hard work, which she contrasts with the self-esteem culture that seems to dominate our society today.

In the final three chapters, Palin focuses on the importance of religious belief for all of life and the nation. Without being preachy, she nevertheless traces how religious beliefs have been the foundation for our society from the beginning. Never, though, does she imply that government should step in and force religion on anyone. In fact, she quotes former attorney general John Ashcroft saying, “It’s against my religion to impose my religion on others.”

Palin’s conclusion is entitled “Commonsense Constitutional Conservatism,” and if she does decide to run for the presidency, I believe this will be her slogan.

Do I have any criticisms of the book? Well, I don’t share her belief that 12-Step programs are part of a religious revival. In fact, I believe they do a disservice by calling something a disease that is actually a sin. I also think she could have cut back a little on some of the quotes. Of course, that comes from my academic milieu, where you don’t want to overdo the quotations. Yet those are quibbles when compared with the positive message she shares and the agreement I have with the other 99% of the book.

For those who believe Sarah Palin is a danger to America, that she is a purveyor of hatred, I challenge them to read this book. They won’t agree with her but they might see a different person than the stereotype they have adopted. If they really believe in civility, they will take this first step and not fall into a stereotype of their own:

Is that really how they wish to be perceived?

The Week in Review

Let’s review the political highlights from last week. Economic advisor Larry Summers announced he is leaving the administration, making him at least the third high-level economic advisor to seek greener pastures. Of course everyone who leaves says they would be doing so regardless of the current economic situation, which remains a quagmire. Are they actually running away from what they have created?

But not to worry—there are still great minds the president can lean on for economic advice:

The one with the mouse ears might not be too bad; he seems to be doing well here in Florida.

The Republicans came out with their Pledge to America, which is already being trashed by President Obama. Cutting spending? Lowering taxes? How ridiculous. Giving people back their own money and being responsible for a balanced budget are just old-fashioned ways of approaching an economy. Even when the Republicans offer a plan, Democrats continue to repeat the mantra that they are the party of “no.” It never was a very credible complaint; even less so now.

In an effort to undermine the possible next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, the New York Times printed an accusation that he had an affair. As of today, there doesn’t seem to be any corroboration of this accusation. It’s reminiscent of the same accusation aimed at John McCain during the 2008 campaign. It went nowhere because there was nothing to take anywhere.

Ah, the joys of journalistic integrity.

Finally, comedian Stephen Colbert appeared on Capitol Hill to testify before a congressional subcommittee. I must admit I was rather harsh on this appearance in an earlier post. Given the nature of the Congress, I will now step back from my previous comments. In fact, I think Mr. Colbert was right at home.

I can hardly wait to see what this week will bring.