Friday, July 22, 2016

It's Party Unity Time

Strangely enough, some commeters on this blog have been seriously offended by the behavior of Ted Cruz. They have even taken serious exception to my remarks about same.

And it is hardly limited to blog commenters. In many of the important precincts of the conservative media, people are crying foul. They are accusing Ted Cruz of having breached decorum… God forbid!

Some believe in ideas, so they are supporting a candidate whose relationship with them is dubious at best. Others ignore the role that character plays in the American presidency because they hold, not without reason, that no one has worse character than Hillary Clinton.

Presidents are human beings. They influence the nation in the example they set. Recall the example set by Bill Clinton. They stand as figures the people of the nation will emulate. If you want to make America great again—a highly worthy goal—you should exemplify greatness. Not because you have declared yourself great, but because your achievements speak for themselves. Greatness is not a branding exercise. Humility still is and has been a very good sign of greatness. 

Anyway, for now the Trump-Cruz brouhaha continues, because DT just said that he would not accept a Cruz endorsement, even if it was eventually offered. He even doubled down on his suggestion that Cruz’s father had something to do with the Kennedy assassination. Some suggest that it’s a way to create party unity. Time will tell.

In the meantime, for those who want to rise up and defend the Donald, they might like to take a gander at these remarks by Jonah Goldberg in National Review. They will surely get the juices flowing:

This is part of the corruption of Trump. He called Ted Cruz a liar every day and in every way for months (it used to be considered a breach in decorum to straight up call an opponent a liar, never mind use it as a nickname). The insults against his wife, the cavalier birtherism, the disgusting JFK-assassination theories about his dad: These things are known. And yet the big conversation of the day is Ted Cruz’s un-sportsmanlike behavior? For real? But forget Cruz for a moment. For over a year, Trump has degraded politics in some of the most vile ways. His respect for the Republican party as the home of conservatism is on par with Napoleon’s respect for churches when he converted them into stables.

But that’s okay because he’s Trump. He’s a “winner.” And now that he’s the nominee, the Smart Set and the Mob is telling me that Cruz is the outrageous violator of norms and good manners. Let’s all look down our noses at the sore loser everybody, as we bend the knee and make every apology possible for the sorest, most ungracious winner in American history. When I watch Trump’s kitchen cabinet of yes men rise from their “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” prostrations just long enough to talk about Cruz’s self-interestedness, I have to laugh. Where’s your shinebox, Governor Christie?


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I'm not offended by the behavior of Ted Cruz, I'm disgusted with it. The man has shown who he is. Now I'd like to move on and defeat Hillary. I'll negate Jonah Goldberg's vote.

The Republican candidate will be on offense for a change, and isn't going to base his campaign on an apology for being a Republican. I find that refreshing. If that is somehow vile, sore or ungracious, I can live with that.

If you look at the exit polls and demographics, it is clear that the Republican voters knew who they were voting for, and why. Maybe the Republican establishment and conservative intelligentsia should be out here commiserating with us cattle to find out where we are on things. Then maybe they'd understand what we believe is at stake. If we don't matter, then let's dispense with elections and take whatever the cognitive elite wish to offer, complete with "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

Methinks too many chattering persons hath been in Washington, D.C. for too long.

Ares Olympus said...

Of course the call for "party unity" is 100% about pure unadulterated desire for power and fear of losing power. It's the mark of all dictatorships most of all, and apparently anyone who considers winning more important than integrity.

And its also what most disgusts me about partisan politics - the ideal that everything on your side is righteous, and everything on the rivals side is corrupt.

But the strange thing is Ted Cruz gains power BECAUSE of party unity, because Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell would prefer to gain ALL the votes for any action from his own party, rather than reach across the aisle for compromise to the moderates of the opposing party.

So perhaps the days of Green Eggs and Ham are nearly over, and whomever becomes president in 2017, and whomever leads the House and Senate in 2016, someone will have the good sense to see as much good sense in the rival party's center than their own party's extremes.

No, I know its a hopeless hope, but stranger things have happened, and perhaps a Donald Trump presidency is what it'll take for true bipartisanship to be rediscovered.

Can Trump really be the power broker who can fix our country's divide? It does seem unlikely given Trump's reactive and distractive nature that seems to be better at campaigning than understanding how government actually works. And his acceptance speech was practically dictatorial in his promises of all the problems that will instantly disappear under his Midas Touch.

At least we can be sure Hillary will NOT be the great uniter, as she'll be demonized from day one, just like Obama, and anything Republicans were for yesterday, they'll be against tomorrow, if Hillary promotes it today, and we'll continue two steps back, one step forward negotiating tactics by the loyal opposition.

On the other hand, we can consider Hillary is smarter than Obama in some regards, and she's less likely to believe like Obama did, that simply offering a good compromise as a starting bid is an effective tactic to getting to the middle.

Lindsay Harold said...

It's really ironic that so many people claim to want an outsider who doesn't give in to political pressure, then when Cruz takes principled stands against party leadership, they criticize him for not toeing the party line.

It's so backwards that so many people claim to want someone to make a difference in Washington and stop the Democrats and not back down, but when Cruz stood up and even shut down the government to stop the Democrats bankrupting the country, they criticized him and said he was doing it for attention.

It's crazy that people say they want an end to Washington business as usual that screws the people in favor of lobbyists and special interest groups, but when Cruz dares to point out the problem and call for change, they yell at him for getting in the way of progress as usual.

It's insane that so many people claim the media is corrupt and can't be trusted, but then swallow every lie and half-truth the media invents about Cruz.

It's almost like people don't actually want the change they say they want. If they did, they'd be embracing the one man actually doing things differently and standing on conservative principles.

As for his RNC speech, a number of people have been claiming that Cruz should have stayed away if he couldn't endorse Trump. They claim his speech was just showboating for attention and a Presidential run in 2020. I beg to differ.

Cruz was there to try to make a difference in the party and guide it back to its foundation. Having embraced Trump, the GOP is dangerously close to repudiating conservative principles altogether in favor of nationalism and populism and empty us vs. them slogans. Cruz' speech was a much-needed call to remember the principles on which we stand.

We must realize that it doesn't matter if we beat the other side unless we actually hold on to freedom. A Republican is only as good as the principles he holds to, and if we lose those principles, we will be no better than those we oppose. Cruz was standing in the gap for conservatism and freedom at a time when they are highly threatened and in danger of being forgotten. He should be thanked for that.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Lindsay. Very well said....

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Lindsay Harold @July 23, 2016 at 7:19 AM:

A well-reasoned counter. I probably can’t match your thoughtfulness and brevity, but I’ll do my best to offer my own personal testimony on this:

I never asked for an outsider. I wanted the GOP to resolve this from within. In order to do that, they had to realize who pays the bills: we, the citizenry. The Republican establishment actors chose again and again to ignore the will of the voters who gave them what they said they needed to stop Obama and his ilk. I believe this is because they are more aligned with the centralization of power in Washington, D.C. than they are with the wants and desires the people have for the freedom you describe. Voter choice in the 2016 primary season -- in both parties, I may add -- has shown us that bill has come due, and it's an effort to halt more of the same, as delivered by the same robots parroting the same nonsense.

I'm not criticizing Cruz for not toeing the party line. I don't care whether who Cruz endorses or supports. In the privacy of his voting booth on Election Day, he could fill in Mickey Mouse for all I care. Both Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz ran as outsiders, which is the irony in all this. Lindsay, the position you have taken is that Senator Cruz has high principles, and we need these now more than ever. I think the highest principle for a man who claims (endlessly) to have high principles is to be his word. But what does it mean in ACTION? That's what we're buying with a candidate -- not just words, but is this person to be trusted to take future action that aligns with our interests?

What I do object to are the obvious GOPe tactics to destroy Trump's candidacy, an advantage Cruz was happy to enjoy early-on in this nomination contest. The first action to expose Trump was what I believe was a planted question at the August 2015 debate requiring all the candidates to make a public commitment to support/endorse the GOP's eventual nominee. This "question," asked by Bret Baier of FoxNews, was expressly intended for Mr. Trump, and designed to expose him as a charlatan. It failed, as have all other successive attempts by the de facto GOP establishment officials, politicians, media, intellectuals, etc. Trump said he would not make the pledge, and later resolved the matter with party officials. Cruz did make the pledge, as did Gov. Kasich, Sen. Graham and Ms. Fiorina. What have they chosen to do now that the nomination is settled, and the Republican Party has a nominee?

Now Ted Cruz gets a podium at the GOP convention, which he used to demonstrate that he's not going to honor his pledge (read: be his word) because of the higher importance of his own personal honor, which was never offered as a qualifier when Baier originally posed the laser-guided, heat-seeking question. So now, the consequences become clear, and politicians are uniquely adept at realizing "unintended consequences." What we now know is that Cruz's personal honor, philosophical "principles" and political ambitions are more important than the danger to the country embodied in Hillary Clinton's candidacy -- a threat Cruz endlessly testified to, in his own words, throughout the campaign. Pardon me if I find that reasoning convenient in seeking your vote, while scheming, shallow, disgraceful once he now knows he's not going to get it. In this violation of his word, Cruz showed who he really is, separated from that which he so desperately wanted.

Continued below...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Continued from above...

On top of that, Cruz has no street cred with anyone in the party because he burned all his bridges making a name for himself. That is NOT a talented, principled politician. That's someone who will say anything to get what they want. It's all about Ted Cruz. And Ted Cruz showed it Wednesday night, when he willfully demonstrated his word -- his pledge, chosen freely -- means nothing. To have these vaunted principles, but not honor a pledge, mortally compromises his credibility in my eyes, as it does with Kasich, Graham and Fiorina. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. This is what I'm disgusted with: one standard for the political class, and another for the private citizen. Ted Cruz is not going to get a pass from me because he's a useful, principled politician, while Citizen Trump was to be held to his word from August. No way.

So yes, I do criticize Cruz for his choice, and it's not "backwards," it's straight up. When he can't honor a clear pledge he made on national television, I do question his sincerity with his government shutdown. I do re-evaluate those efforts and conclude it was a publicity stunt. He's a first-term Senator... how else was he going to get attention and on the map?

I'm not going to be a principled slave. Ted Cruz had no chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Zero. He had lots of good barbs for his Republican opponents, but in the general election he would've listened to his consultants and staff and played by the old Republican playbook: respectable, reasonable and intelligent. They would've told him he'd have to back off on Hillary because she's a woman. And he would've, in pursuit of the prize. And he would've lost. In a landslide. True, no one can see the future, but I've been on this ride before. I don't like how it ends.

As for Trump, I think a quote offered yesterday by comment #21 from Anonymous captures my sentiments about "nationalism and populism" perfectly: "[Trump] is unashamedly proud of his country, and has made it clear that when it comes to foreign policy and trade, he intends to put its interests first. He is pro-life, and supports police and the military. He supports Israel, and Israel’s right to defend itself. He does not buy into currently popular (and in some circles mandatory) issues like global warming and multiculturalism." I'm cool with that.

I believe we must beat Hillary Clinton if we are to maintain our freedom. The sad reality, as I see it, is that our freedom is determined by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court was intended to be the weakest of the three institutions ordained by the Constitution, and it is now a receptacle of power for nine unelected people who make decrees based on their personal whims rather than the fiber and spirit of the Constitution. That is dangerous.

Furthermore, I think we all need to consider who has voted for Trump, and the reasons they have voted for him. They voted for him because they are fed up, and voting through the normal institutional channels run by institutional actors hasn't worked. The base of Trump's support are freedom-loving people. Trump isn't going to become some "Hitler" with an army of brownshirts behind him. I find most of the people who support him are not believing in him, they are believing in his message for our country. It's not a cult of personality as much as it is dispatching the messenger to set things right again. If Trump governs like some looney liberal or a vacant demagogue, do you have any doubt he will be seriously challenged in 2020? I do not. The steam behind Trump's candidacy has nothing to do with Trump, and everything to do with the anxiety and concern freedom-loving people have for the country they love. It's much, much bigger than Donald Trump.

Continued below...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Continued from above...

So once again, I do not like Donald Trump too much. I like a good chunk of his core message, but not so much how he delivers it. I don't adore him. He's no savior of the Republic. That said, we must be alert to what we face: we are up against people who will do anything to win. I think we need a candidate who will counter with that same commitment. Trump likes to do deals, he likes to make things work within the constraints of the environment. He's not going to be a dictator, and if he starts to become one he can be successfully impeached in a way that Obama or Hillary never could be.

What I want to be freed from are people who think they are better than me, and use the institutional levers of government to impose a reckless idealism onto my life. I do not believe Trump will continue on that trajectory. Indeed, I believe he is our best hope against it, because Washington, D.C. is hopelessly corrupt and self-dealing.

I hope you don't think me an idiot, a dope, a rogue, etc. I am none of those things. I am an American Catholic Christian who loves this country. I have graduate education under my belt, am an independent entrepreneur and enjoy an upper-middle class income. I don't really enjoy watching the NFL, and do not watch WWF/UFC. So Google may have me fit into a certain profile, but I am the same summary of contradictions everyone else is. You and I would probably have great conversations together, full of ideas, creativity, joy, laughter, etc. But I cannot apologize for liking the Republican pick. Nothing else was workable. I can endure some low-brow Trumpism in the near-term in order to get things back on track, focusing on what matters, which is rather earthy anyway. Why? Because I believe our nation is slowly being destroyed by a nihilist, cosmopolitan, cognitive elite. It has to be stopped. Believe it or not, I actually wanted a Trump vs. Sanders contest, because I wanted the results to show me once and for all what kind of country I live in. But Hillary will suffice.

Please consider these points, which I offer respectfully, as I always appreciate your insight and perspective, as I do Stuart's.

Now I'm going to go enjoy my weekend! ;-)

Dennis said...


Well stated. There is not much I can add.

When one considers the attributes and characteristics we try to emulate and expect from the people we chose to represent us the Republican party elites have done much to demonstrate a lack. Not withstanding that the democrat party does not even try.
The Republican party has created this situation by its failure to listen to the people who elected them. This is why NO one who is part of the establishment could win an election even agains't Sanders and was destined to lose in a landslide to Hillary.
One sees the very characteristics that created this problem in the establishment's response to Trump and anyone who might dare to challenge them. Some of them were not called "The Beltway Boys" for nothing.
I think it was Bill Buckley who said something like this, "Despondency and despair are a Sin." I believe there is a quotation from the Bible that says much the same thing. The despondency and despair exhibited by a significant number of people are well founded because of the attack on the foundations of this country and the things that they hold dear. This seemed not to bother the establishment both republican and democrat. Now that it has come back to give them grief they are suffering it themselves. It is about time they got past that and looked to see what is really at stake in this election.
Lord knows I would rather have someone other than Trump, but I cannot think of a Republican that has not already disqualified them selves except for Dr Carson who maybe far to nice a person for the job.
Much like you I have a great deal of respect for Stuart and Lindsey as people, but we disagree like intelligent people should in the areas/marketplace of ideas. IAC, it would seem we have much in common including academic accomplishments and a sincere love of this country and its exceptionalism.