The presidential election is a mess. Often, the election rhetoric is full of charges of false conservatism and allegations that non-Trump supporters are Hillary supporters. At times, it must rely on fatally flawed logic. Trump’s supporters, lacking substantive (and consistent) merits to praise, must rely on assumption, distraction, and name-calling. Alternating between anger, fear, and a complete lack of self-preservation, the GOP has backed Trump.
Somewhere, there may be a political ledger with the balances of each camp, I think a more intriguing investigation is who owes who support, or their votes. The want of loyalty by Trump supporters for their man grows tedious – but why should that be? They would claim conservatives owe our votes to the Republican candidate. Critical thought and principles, need not attach to the equation.
What has happened to the simple action of heading to the ballot box, and pulling the lever for the Republican? When did this cease to be a viable reaction for voters? Was Trump in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was there actually a tipping point – a spot where voters dug their heels in, and said, “No – you move”?
We should reflect over the past ten years to gain perspective leading up to this moment. We could go further back, and use Bob Dole’s candidacy as a starting point, but I’ll start with John Boehner. Boehner, seeing his support erode in the House, sought to punish detractors. He removed “non-loyal” conservatives from House Committees where they could force fiscal responsibility. Representatives Tim Huelskamp, Justin Amash, and David Schweikert lost their committee positions. Conservatives raged, and said the GOP would pay.
GOP stalwarts like John McCain and Mitch McConnell often fought with conservatives. McCain called Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, “Wacko birds”. Mitch McConnell ran against a Tea Party candidate, and Trump donated to McConnell. And again, conservatives railed, and said the GOP would pay.
Donald Trump used friends in media, like the National Enquirer, to smear primary opponents. Unfounded rumors, ties to assassination, and marital infidelities were all used to tarnish opponents’ reputations. Those actions, echoed by his supporters, will only hinder promising candidates in future elections. Given an opportunity to walk back those claims, Trump refused, and said the Enquirer, “does have credibility“. And conservatives, knowing what kind of effect this would have in the future with those candidates targeted, knew an apology was due.
The GOP’s past actions, along with their steadfast support of Trump, has irritated conservatives. The final straw was Trump’s claim that, he doesn’t need conservative votes. And it was then, the conservatives finally realized they had a belief in common with Trump. And they had something that they would grant him.
Now, there is a history of the GOP taking conservatives for granted, and the GOP has spent as much political capital as they dare. Spending most, if not all of it, on big government types and otherwise non viable candidates. This election was finally where conservatives said, “No more”. Having spent, borrowed, begged, and promised – the GOP finds its base turning them away.
The idiom goes, “It’s easy to find a stick to beat a dog”, and the GOP and their recent leftward wandering candidates have no problem with sticks. But, they neglected to notice that the dog they beat isn’t chained – and it can simply walk away. And conservatives have.
An exodus from the GOP has boosted libertarian numbers, as conservatives now find more common ground with them. The conservatives perhaps see an ability to work together and build something with libertarians, where the GOP only needs their conservatives every four years. This leper-treatment by the GOP has no blame to lie at any place other than at their own feet.
For its taking, and never giving, its continual leftward march, and for its rejection of principles and critical thought. It is becoming clear that the GOP does not think it needs its conservatives, and having waged war against them, they may find it exceedingly hard to recover them. The GOP owes much to its conservatives -but to now demand their votes while Donald Trump as the titular head of the party? It is a loan too far. And conservatives should consider the debts already owed to them as unrecoverable.
Obama just completed his 2014 State of the Union address, and the speech was full of things that he would like to do, and like to see, but the plans showed little appreciation for the actual behavior of markets or economics. It was a wish-list, as was last year’s SOTU address. The lame duck president was flat, and seemed to lack his usual flair. He mentioned his great accomplishments: lowest unemployment in five years, more oil production, and that he helped to cut the deficit by 1/2.
The economy and small business
The president talked of a “breakthrough year for America,” and attempted to frame Congress as the sticking point for changing regulations and tax breaks. The president wants tax loopholes closed (apparently, because they are only available to certain people and not everyone who takes advantage of them – the exact reason was left unclear). The president points to the growing economy, and cites the levels of the burgeoning Dow Jones, on the heels of months and months of quantitative easing. He also calls on Congress to undo cuts enacted last year, which affect things like education.
The issues with business and the economy, were contradicting activities. The president wants minimum wage raised, and he called on state governors to do it. Obama told them not to wait on Congress to act — this allows him to paint Congress as lazy or uncaring about the plight of minimum wage workers, as they move toward 2014 elections, while at the same time allowing state governors in tight races to pick up support.
Increasing the minimum wage would somehow lead to more money for consumers to spend, but Obama never mentioned the effect on the employers. While calling for businesses to pay their employees more, he neglected to mention the oncoming, but currently delayed, employer mandate for Obamacare. He also called on energy to continue to become cleaner, and mentions that may force families to make difficult choices.
President Obama says his energy policy is working – never mind that there is a propane shortage, coal and power producers are complaining, and gasoline is much higher than when he first took office. He calls on Congress to end tax cuts on fossil fuel companies (saying that they “don’t need them”). Carbon output is down in the U.S. more than in any other country (but he does not mention why – perhaps his regulations on the coal industry or the recession?)
He calls on Joe Biden and Congress to act to fund new job training programs. There are jobs that cannot find workers, and he wants to train these new workers. Starting new apprenticeships and increasing on-the-job training are the main ways he wants to fill these jobs. Again, he accused Congress of acting callously, and he called on them to restore unemployment benefits to the unemployed workers who have previously exhausted the 99 weeks of benefits.
Further, Obama stated that he does not resent people who make more than others, but was no where close to saying that they have earned it, or that they should not have to pay more in taxes to fund his domestic policy wishlist. Along with not resenting others’ salaries, he says he wants women to earn just as much as men do, and he restates the fallacious claim that they earn $0.77 for every $1.00 that a man earns – despite the fact his own staff underpaid women. “When women succeed, America succeeds, ” he tells us.
Surprisingly, he did mention Obamacare, but called it by its legislative name, “The Affordable Care Act,” perhaps because of its massive unpopularity. He told mothers to get their children to sign up, and for children to get their parents signed up, in what was the most disturbing and desperate part of the speech. He tells us that over nine million Americans have already signed up for the ACA, and he illustrated how it worked for a single patient who needed emergency surgery (although he neglected to share her deductible or how much her final bill was). Obama challenged Republicans to come up with a plan of their own, leaving a door open to have his own signature program finally buried and forgotten.
All in all, this year’s State of the Union address was incredibly similar to last year’s address. Obama issued the same promises, he engaged in the same rhetoric, and the same fundamental misunderstanding of the economy and labor market was evident, too. We are five years into the Obama presidency, and tonight, he illustrated that he still has not learned much. For his promise for a “year of action,” he has some major inertia to overcome.
According to the hackneyed narrative, the Republicans are the party of “no”. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is where brilliant liberal ideas go to fester, and writhe, to a sad death, either through inaction or being ignored. For example, the president drafts a budget, and sends it to the House, and then it is never heard about again – falling into a sort of legislative Bermuda Triangle.
The main problems with this entire narrative (which I hope the reader have already identified) are at least twofold: one, the president’s budget is a mere guideline – a wishlist of where he would like to see money spent (and the House is under no obligation to be his rubber stamp), and two, it is actually the Senate where bills have frequently been abandoned, and left to collect dust.
The rest of my gripe with the hypocrisy and two-facedness of the left is located here, on
Free Radical Network
After listening to a group of friends discussing tactics and tendencies of the left, and making my way through a psychology book, I think I have come to some enlightening tendencies and rationales why the left, and politicians in general, behave as they do.
While many of us who are conservatives or libertarians easily repeat the tired axiom that the left “just wants control” or that they “want to run everything, because they think they know better”, it seems like that is the end of the statement. We roll our eyes, or shake our heads, or take another belt of the strongest liquor that is within arms’ reach. However, a statement made is not a reason understood, or is it a mind stoked.
The rationale behind that axiom seems to be the implication that the leftists just want control for control’s sake. Put more succinctly, they want power so they can do whatever they like. In some cases, that is true, but I think I have found the real reason so many liberals, and many Republicans too, now, seem to want power.
It is simply that they lack self-control. The lack of personal self-control forces them to seek another way to exert control, and they see government “service” as a viable substitute. And when you add to that, government’s coercive force – you have a situation made in heaven for someone who has to exert control somehow.
That pairing – a lack of personal control and the ability to use governmental force – and it is little surprise to see the sorts of news stories that we do see frequently. Along with the lack of self-control, as if that were not bad enough, the media frequently gives the failing politicians a complete pass. So, it creates a politician who cannot adequately run themselves, but who benefit from a complete exemption from any results of when their new exercises of governmental power fail miserably.
We see this in any number of politicians who ardently fight for legislation that curbs rights and expands government, and who then have had to deal with numerous scandals and other ethical failings. The examples are all too common, including people like: Jon Corzine (ethical concerns during his tenure as New Jersey governor and a loss of $1.2 billion while he was CEO at MF Global) , Anthony Weiner (possible anger and interpersonal issues, as well as a well-publicized sexting scandal), and any number of other legislators or cabinet members revealed as tax-dodgers (Timothy Geithner, Jack Abramoff, Ted Stevens, and Charles Rangel [who, ironically, helped write parts of the tax code]) or found guilty of other corruption charges (James Traficant and William J. Jefferson). If it were not for the scandalous nature of the most egregious failings, the media would happily and continuously lay cover for the politicians.
When caught failing at their public roles, we frequently then see the politicians attempt to exert control over reality itself – telling us “that really didn’t happen”, or that we cannot understand the forces that they are under that lead to their actions. Another popular tactic is to invent a scapegoat – “someone else did it”, as Weiner did with his Twitter scandal. He blamed hacking until it was so obvious that no one believed that lie.
It is about psychology.
Sun Tzu famously told people in “The Art of War”, “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” Those who would be change-makers have so much ammunition given to them by the current, stale, time-to-go politicians, but they blanch too easily when confronted by the same politicians. When the people who would fight for the betterment of the country started to shrink back and disappear, I do not know, but the time of a pat on the back and a wink, are over. Now that you know the litmus test to apply to politicians (“Are they loose cannons in their personal lives? Yes? Then vote for anybody else.”) Use it.
We have seen the missteps and the successes of the Obama administration. We have seen the worst, seemingly having each “accomplishment” being worse and worse than the previous one. The country is now subject to a namesake piece of legislation, in Obamacare, and we have seen Obama’s revolving door of big-government, tax-and-spend Keynesians spin like a dynamo.
We have seen the confident Obama boast that, “We won” when talking about his party, and their misreading of elections results. Most recently, the country has seen the administration’s misunderstanding of the Middle East, and their finger-pointing ability when they sought to make the Benghazi fiasco go away. We were witness to a massive fall in the president’s support among his former voters too (although it was not enough to overcome the lack of support for Mitt Romney among conservatives).
So, how does all this make Obama a hero of the right?
Read the rest, along with my explanation on how the right should take advantage of the left’s frequent missteps and failures, here: Conservative Daily News “Obama, The Gift That Keeps Giving”
In what will surely leave a sour taste in many conservatives’ mouths for some time, Speaker John Boehner has removed several conservative Republicans from leadership positions in the House of Representatives. The story, revealed on December 4th, made mention of a secret list of guidelines and criteria for reappointing Republicans to their chairs. Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp acknowledged the revelation and existence of this secret list on Tuesday.
So far, the House leadership (Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy) have been mum about the list, its origins, and why it was necessarily to determine which Republicans are no longer welcomed as leaders of committees. Those leaders attempted to explain the removals were merely normal, procedural, actions. Other angered Republicans expressed their disillusionment with the ridiculous nature of the secrecy and privileged nature of knowledge of the chair removals: Representative Jim Jordan (OH) said this kind of behavior was not good for the party; and Senator Jim DeMint (SC) went so far as to say conservatives “Lost the battle in Washington for now”. The conservative, Club for Growth is calling for the release of the list of criteria used by Boehner to replace the chairs.
Jeb Hensarling, who is the incoming chair of the House Financial Services Committee, claimed ignorance of the entire mess. He just happens to move into a newly opened spot, and knows nothing about the vacated position? Even if Hensarling did have an inkling of a political payback, he is now wise to the game, and he is keeping his mouth tightly closed.
It is interesting that a number of blogs and news sources actually refer to the fiasco, as a purging of conservatives from leadership positions in Washington. I find parallels to 20th century leaders. Feeling threatened, those same leaders – even though their supporters were successful, and showed themselves as loyal adherents of the party orthodoxy – were eliminated as chairmen from leadership positions. Minimizing or eliminating any threats to any top dog (in this case, top-dog Boehner) will occur.
The rise of the Tea Party, and the re-ascendancy of conservative values, have worried the progressives in the United States, and now we see how much the Republican establishment is uneasy too. While a nameless Congressional aide confirms that the removals from the chairs were payback, what does it say about a Republican leadership who would rather snipe and in-fight, than take on progressives in the White House and Senate? It seems like familiarity really does breed contempt. Apparently Boehner would rather stock committees with his sycophants and yes-men, than appoint responsibly spending conservatives, voted into the House by their constituents, to chairs of fiscal committees.
The years of conservative criticism that Boehner was nothing more than an ineffective, establishment shill, seem to finally have the evidence anyone would ever require to confirm their belief. Boehner’s frequent crying episodes, and his tough-guy-only-to-cave-to-Democrat-demands acts have grown very thin. Boehner has done little, if anything, to curb Obama’s runaway debts and deficits, or to counter progressives’ deceitful claims about Republicans, or even hold the Senate responsible for tabling so much that the House has passed and sent to the body. Boehner’s media presence is lacking, his laid back nature is contrary to what is needed right now, and his frequent bouts of one-sided “compromise” are antithetical to conservatives’ belief that there is one way to conduct politics: competently, fiscally responsibly, and at the direction of their constituents, not special interests.
How do you deal with a politician like John Boehner? Do you call his Congressional office, and leave a strongly-worded message? Do you scowl and swear whenever you see Boehner’s mug on the television screen? Do you buy an overly-tanned voodoo doll and some stick pins? Of course not. You hit him where he has shown he has soft spots. You make him worry about the people that he has shown he fears. Conservatives must take every opportunity to hold his feet not only to the fire, but in the fire. It is clear that Boehner may need to be primaried to send a message to him. If so, do it, and get him to debate, to explain his frequent collapses to the Democrats and his wishy-washy support of fiscal responsibility. Whatever it takes, Boehner ought to be run out of town on a rail.