Archive for the ‘ Politics & Government ’ Category

Trump in the Gutter

This past week, the Trump campaign, and the candidate himself, hit new lows morally. It all began with an anti-Trump Super Pac running an ad (I understand it was primarily on Facebook) with a revealing photo of his current wife, asking voters if this is really what they want in a First Lady.

Let’s be clear about one thing: Trump has never minded showing off his various wives in any manner of dress or undress. This photo was already out there in public as part of one of her modeling poses. Yet he feigns outrage over it and immediately accuses Cruz of being responsible for the ad. In a tweet, he also then promised to come after Cruz’s wife with some revelation from her past.

Cruz repudiated the ad that very day (despite what some would have you believe) and informed the press—some of whom still don’t get it—that the Super Pac behind it has no connections with his campaign.

Trump then upped the ante by tweeting again. The Tweeter-in-Chief juxtaposed two pictures, one of his wife in a glamor shot, and the other of Heidi Cruz in a not-so-flattering pose (one wonders if that one was photoshopped), declaring that the pictures themselves should resolve any outstanding issues, as if outward beauty is the standard for everything.


Then the coup de grace: a National Enquirer story about Ted Cruz’s five mistresses. Really? Two of the women named have already pronounced the story false, one of whom is Trump’s chief spokeswoman. Cruz has called the story “garbage,” and those who know Cruz well say this would be entirely out of character for him.

Trump, for his part, denies any advance knowledge of that story. He may be telling the truth this time because he wants plausible deniability. You see, the editor of the Enquirer is a personal friend and that rag has officially endorsed Trump for president.

Let me ask this in all seriousness: would you want the National Enquirer endorsing you for anything?

The timing is highly suspicious anyway. Other news organizations have been investigating this rumor for months and have found nothing to substantiate it. That’s why they never reported it. Leave that to the National Enquirer, the source of all the news that’s fit to print (sarcasm alert!).

Yesterday I came across an article written by a woman who used to work on the communications end of the Trump campaign. It was quite an eye-opening inside look at how the campaign developed. She says Trump never really expected to win, and is as surprised as anyone else at his quick rise to the top. Now, she says, ego has taken over.

She also now says that she no longer can support Trump because she saw that he has no real answers for anything. I could have told her that. For those interested in her whole story, go here for the full treatment. It’s a good read.

I cannot support Donald Trump on any count, whether we’re talking about his personal character or his supposed political convictions that change according to what he thinks will help him win:

Former Self

More than ever, I am NeverTrump.

Obama’s Terrorism Legacy

President Obama’s South-of-the-Border tour continues. After going to a baseball game with Raul Castro and having his picture taken in front of a building honoring brutal executioner Che Guevara, and after saying that the only real difference between capitalism and communism is that you simply have to choose what you think will “work” for you, he tripped on down to Argentina.

There his most newsworthy event was being filmed dancing the tango. Along the way, he commented on the Brussels terrorist attack—sort of. Part of his astute commentary is that the attack, which was highly successful, only showed that we are winning and ISIS is losing.


Cartoonists were quick to pick up on the tango theme and weave it into our president’s apparent lack of understanding of the terror threat:

Cut In

Dance While Burning

Ignore It

It’s normally at this point in a presidency when the lame duck becomes very concerned for his legacy. No problem. Obama’s is clear, when it comes to his terrorism policy:

My Legacy

Of course, he hasn’t accomplished this alone. The entire Western world has followed the path of least resistance, grounded as it is in a false philosophy of peaceful coexistence with those whose only goal is to kill and destroy:

Suicide Vest

We have become a foolish people. The terror attacks will not abate. They will be coming with even more force and regularity. Will we now choose the path of wisdom in dealing with an enemy?

That “Historic” Cuba Visit

Che & FidelCuba underwent a communist revolution in 1959, spearheaded by Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and Che Guevara. At the time, many didn’t realize the ideology behind the revolution and saw it only as the rightful deposing of a dictator who had ruled for many years.

It didn’t take long for the truth to come to light. Those who disagreed with the drift of this new government were either executed or became political prisoners. Cuba became an outpost from which the Soviet Union could operate in the western hemisphere.

An attempt to overthrow the Castro government, the Bay of Pigs, was a disaster, largely due to indecision by President Kennedy. A year later, we discovered that the Soviets were building missile bases on the island with the intent of aiming nuclear missiles at most of mainland America. This Cuban Missile Crisis, which included a naval blockade of Cuba and the eventual removal of those missiles, again showed the Castro regime’s true colors.

Although the Soviet Union is no more, the ideology and practices of the Cuban government have not changed after all these years despite our economic boycott of the island. Cubans live the lives of those in all Third-World nations.

So what does President Obama do? He decides to normalize relations with a government that has never changed its ideology or practices. Then he becomes the first American president to visit since Calvin Coolidge back in the 1920s.

That would be fine if he had negotiated some real changes in that regime, but all continues as before. We are now to become good friends with those who still throw political opponents in prison and who execute those who are considered dangerous to the revolution.


Just prior to Obama’s plane touching down in Havana, peaceful protesters were arrested. People have no voice even today. Nothing has changed.

Cuban Prison

Neither has Obama sought to show any support for those who suffer for their opposition to tyranny. But he did go to a baseball game. He celebrates while others languish:


Then there was this photo:


That’s the image of Che Guevara in the background, the arm of Castro in those early days who had no problem personally overseeing the torture and execution of political opponents.

Say Che

College students think it’s cool to wear Che t-shirts. I wonder how many of them really know who he was? Obama knows. He doesn’t care. In fact, he seemed quite at home in Cuba. Could it be because he views that government as more in line with his ideology? For Obama, America is always the problem.

I like the suggestion I heard while he was making his “historic” visit: if he likes it so much, why not encourage him to stay until January 20, 2017? That might be a great benefit to the nation he supposedly leads.

As for t-shirts, how about this one, which makes the point rather well?

Communism T-Shirt

Arizona & Utah: Significance?

Ted Cruz 4I had to go to bed last night before any results came in from the Utah caucuses. I awoke this morning to an incomplete accounting of those results, but Cruz has won in a blowout, currently at 69% of the vote, while Trump came in slightly behind Kasich at only 14%. Cruz gets all 40 Utah delegates.

Arizona went for Trump, but once again, despite all the talk of a race being “over,” he was unable to break the 50% mark, getting about 47%. Kasich, in what is supposedly a three-man race (if you really think he’s still in it), came in fourth, behind early votes for Rubio.

Early voting is the big culprit this year. Cruz lost Louisiana only because so many voted early, later regretting their support for Trump after his debate-stage antics. If you recall, Cruz won the vote in Louisiana among those who waited for the actual day of the primary.

Trump probably would have won Arizona anyway, but once more the early voting, I believe, was a factor in the spread of victory, with Cruz coming in a distant second at 24%. Most of Rubio’s voters would have switched to Cruz without that early-voting process.

The other factor that has worked against Cruz is the stubbornness of candidates who refuse to leave the race when it is obvious they can’t win. Rubio staying in as long as he did led to Cruz losing two states he probably would have won—North Carolina and Missouri. Kasich’s woebegone campaign took enough votes in Illinois that Cruz fell short there as well.

I continue to believe that if this had been a true two-man race from South Carolina on, the delegate count now would be extremely tight between Trump and Cruz.

The Cruz campaign is looking to a win in Wisconsin next. It’s time—no, past time—for Governor Scott Walker to come out publicly on Cruz’s side. His support could be crucial for a Cruz victory.

So how is the media going to play last night’s results? Look for an increasing theme that touts Trump’s eventual nomination, focusing on Arizona primarily. Cruz’s Utah triumph, far more smashing than anything Trump has won, will be largely ignored as an anomaly.

No, this is not over, despite what the media will tell you. The upcoming primaries are still crucial as to how this all will play out.

Establishment: What Does It Mean?

The media keeps throwing around the word “establishment.” In the almost-immortal words of The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

What is the Republican establishment, and once we have identified it, does it really hate Donald Trump?

The problem is that the Republican party is particularly divided right now, and analysts keep insisting on confusing different groups who have different concerns.

Divided Elephant

They insist the “establishment” is trying to deny Trump the nomination. By that, they mean the power brokers in the party, the leadership of the Congress, and the donors. Perhaps they are trying to dump Trump, but I’m not entirely convinced. I think they are all too ready to be won over to his side simply because they are beginning to believe his Trumped-up claims of being a winner.

Yet those same analysts seem to lump into the establishment people like me. I fit into their predetermined classification of establishment because I’ve always gone along with whoever was chosen as the nominee, no matter how disappointed I’ve been with the picks.

But I’m not that easily categorized. You see, I will never be bought off like the established establishment might be. My concerns for the Republican party are secondary. Instead, I vote primarily for who most closely corresponds with the principles I believe in.

And if the Republican party crowns a nominee that undermines those principles, I will be AWOL.

So there are two different groups within the Republican party that are concerned about a Trump nomination. The first seeks power and influence above all, and if convinced Trump will allow that power to continue, no problem.

The second, to which I belong, says that if that power will corrupt constitutional principles, it would be immoral to lend support to anyone who will advance that corruption.

So, please, mainstream media, don’t lump me in with the first group. I am motivated differently. My concerns are not identical with those more devoted to party than principle.

As I’ve been saying in previous blogs and will reiterate here, I identify as a Christian principled constitutional conservative. That is who I am, and that identity will determine my vote.

Why I Am NeverTrump: An Apologetic

Increasingly, I’ve had people ask me, both in person and in writing (via Facebook, primarily), what I will do if faced with a decision between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the general election. That question deserves a sober answer, and I will do my best today to achieve that. What I say won’t convince everyone, but it will be an honest response.

In the manner of good writing, as I teach my students, I begin with my thesis: I will never vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in a general election.

That stance will obviously raise genuine concerns and objections. I know, because I have raised the same concerns in the past. Let me provide that background and then do my best to explain my current position.

As a historian, I show my classes how a divided party and/or support for a third-party candidacy leads to someone else winning who might not have done so normally.

In previous elections, often saddled with a nominee I did not prefer, I would dutifully vote for that person anyway because the alternative was unthinkable. That’s why I voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

I’ve always maintained, though, that if I could see no difference between the candidates, and if the Republican candidate was going to destroy the basic principles in which I believe, that I would have to consider other options.

That’s where I am today.

I’ve often said, when speaking to Republican groups, that I am first and foremost a Christian, secondly a constitutionalist, and then a Republican, and I will remain a Republican as long as my Christian constitutional beliefs are fairly represented by the party and its leaders. With Donald Trump as the presidential nominee, I believe my views would no longer be an essential ingredient of Republican politics and policies.

I look at Hillary Clinton—for whom I could never vote, not only because of who she is but because of what her party stands for—and Donald Trump, and I see so little difference in the potential for disaster that I cannot, with a clear conscience before God, vote for either one.

Hillary vs. Trump

The greatest objection is, of course, that it would be far more damaging to the country if a Clinton once again occupied the Oval Office. Surely, we are told, Trump can’t be nearly as bad as that.

I certainly have sympathy for that objection, and the prospect of a Hillary presidency sends chills down my Christian principled constitutionalist conservative spine. But after months of watching Trump’s antics, listening to his words (the same ones over and over), and reading his ongoing Twitter Tirade, I have concluded that he not only is just as awful as Hillary, but potentially more disastrous for the country.

I have written a litany of my concerns in other posts. I would recommend you go to my February 22 and March 14 posts (see the calendar on the sidebar for easy access), but I can summarize here:

  • Trump’s personal character is abominable, both in the past and now. He is both immoral and amoral, depending on the circumstance, and has no concept of repentance and the need for God’s forgiveness for his many sins. Instead, he is an arrogant braggart of the worst variety.
  • His past support for anti-Christian and anti-conservative policies and politicians is more the mark of the inner man than any current protestations of “conversion” to constitutional and conservative principles. He is basically unprincipled.
  • He displays an unfettered bitterness toward anyone who questions him seriously (e.g., Megyn Kelly) and carries on a juvenile stream of consciousness on Twitter wholly unbecoming of a presidential candidate.
  • He exemplifies the stereotype of the con artist who thinks he can sell to anyone, and unfortunately, with far too many of the electorate, he is proving his point.
  • He thinks he is smarter than anyone else. When asked with whom he consults on foreign policy, his response was (and I quote): “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things. . . . But my primary consultant is myself and I have, you know, a good instinct for this stuff.” I kid you not.

Meeting with Advisors

Those are only the outlines of my issues with Trump. As I said, for more specifics, go to those other posts.

Further, I believe a Trump candidacy will destroy what remains of principle in the Republican party. Both Hillary and Trump will be bad for the nation, but only Trump can take down the party with him. When both parties are then corrupted, we may be facing our own American Armageddon.

I do not answer to any person for my vote. I answer to God only. If I cannot, in good conscience, justify voting for Donald Trump, I would be unfaithful to God if I proceeded to do so anyway. I could not live with that.

There is talk of the rise of another party to counter the Republicans should the inexcusable occur and Trump becomes the nominee. The only time in American history when that worked was when the Whig party, divided over the issue of slavery, bit the dust. Out of the ashes, another party emerged: it was called Republican.

If the current version of the Republican party fractures itself in the same manner as the Whigs did in the early 1850s, there is the possibility that a new party could rise up to take its place, but that is just speculation for now. I’m not yet ready to sign on for a new party; I would prefer that Republicans come to their senses instead.

This campaign season is not over. There still is a chance that Trump can be derailed on his way to party domination. No, the answer is not John Kasich.

Aced It

He lives in the fantasy that everyone will turn to him in a contested convention. That will not happen. Even most Republicans are a little tired of him:


Our only hope is Ted Cruz, who is a strong Christian, who stands on principle, who believes in and defends the Constitution wholeheartedly, and who truly understands the conservative philosophy of government and life.

We’re told he cannot win enough delegates prior to the convention. That may be true. But if he wins enough to keep Trump from the magic 1237 number, the convention can then decide between the two, and it is still possible that principle will prevail and the Republican party won’t commit suicide.

By the way, when people say to me that not voting for Trump in a general election will guarantee a Clinton presidency, and that I will be to blame for that, my response is this:

No, your support of Trump in the primaries is what caused a Clinton presidency. You chose to jump on board a train that was destined to crash and burn. I am not to blame for that. Rather, you put me in a position where I could not conscientiously vote for a man who is uncategorically unfit for the office of the presidency. Before God, I could do no other than withdraw my support.

I come to this conclusion with a heavy heart, but we are not yet at the point of despair, or at least we shouldn’t be. The primary season looms before us still. Many states will make their choice between now and the convention. If we can avoid a Trump nomination, a Republican presidency, with a man who may be the best nominee the party has put before the voters since Ronald Reagan, is yet within reach.

Lewis: The “Higher” Temptation

Reflections on the Psalms 2Reading C. S. Lewis’s Reflections on the Psalms for the first time, I came away with some “reflections” that surely should make us stop and think for a while. For instance, when commenting on what some might call the intemperate language toward enemies found in some of the psalms, Lewis notes that it is probably because the Jews took right and wrong more seriously than others.

He did see, however, a danger in having this heightened sense of right and wrong, if someone were to let that go out of control. Here’s how he put it:

Ir seems that there is a general rule in the moral universe which may be formulated “The higher, the more in danger.” The “average sensual man” who is sometimes unfaithful to his wife, sometimes tipsy, always a little selfish, now and then (within the law) a trifle sharp in his deals, is certainly, by ordinary standards, a “lower” type than the man whose soul is filled with some great Cause, to which he will subordinate his appetites, his fortune, and even his safety.

Now, there is nothing wrong with having one’s soul filled with God’s Cause, but Lewis offers a warning, even to those of us who are striving to ensure God’s ways are the standard in our society. He goes on:

But it is out of the second man that something really fiendish can be made; an Inquisitor, a Member of the Committee of Public Safety. It is great men, potential saints, not little men, who become merciless fanatics. Those who are readiest to die for a cause may easily become those who are readiest to kill for it.

I don’t believe I would ever be tempted to kill for what God has put in my soul—that would be at odds with the love of God in my heart—but it is a temptation to strike out verbally against those whom I see destroying what God wants to do.

Lewis continues with another example from his own profession:

C. S. Lewis 13One sees the same principle at work in a field (comparatively) so unimportant as literary criticism; the most brutal work, the most rankling hatred of all other critics and of nearly all authors, may come from the most honest and disinterested critic, the man who cares most passionately and selflessly about literature.

Write a book sometime, and you will know what Lewis means. He concludes with this:

The higher the stakes, the greater the temptation to lose your temper over the game. We must not over-value the relative harmlessness of the little, sensual, frivolous people. They are not above, but below, some temptations.

Another application. I speak and write on political and governmental issues, and I share my views with vigor. There is always the temptation, as one deeply involved with the study of history and government, to lash out at those who have no idea what is going on and who, I believe, are leading us down a path to destruction.

I may be absolutely correct in my analysis (as indeed I think I am), but there is the temptation at all times to go beyond a proper critique and to lose the spirit of the Lord in my communications. I’m constantly drawn back to how God wants me to communicate His truths.

I appreciate Lewis’s insight here, and his caution. May we all take his words to heart.