What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

On Trump

Donald J. Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency fills us with a mixture of bewilderment and dread. The Trump “phenomenon” appears calculated to discredit conservatism, to make a laughingstock of the party whose leadership he would seek, and to implicate American democracy in the low-rent spectacle of the reality TV star. When Trump boasts of the imperviousness of his supporters to any argument or evidence, he serves only to undermine respect for democracy as such. Trump’s supporters, meanwhile, take it as a point of pride that they are willing to ignore any fact that cuts against their vision of the man as the great tonic to all that ails us. Trump represents the final triumph of celebrity over substance in American politics.

The Left’s open embrace of lying as a legitimate alternative to persuasion seems to have found its corollary in Trumpism, which can be reduced roughly to the belief that “real” conservatism can find its strength in the abandonment of reason and, with it, whatever remains of the standards of uprightness in public behavior. It is a concession to the idea that the politics of a free society are but a stage for ever-more-evocative performance art by professional charlatans, who are expected to be by turns ridiculous and vicious. In Trump’s public persona, outlandish statements and a firm refusal to admit fault ally themselves with a thuggish resort to highly personal invective in the face of scrutiny. If he were a literary archetype, we might call him the Silly Brute. This is not the stuff of a proper conservative standard-bearer.

Of course, Mr. Trump stands little chance to win the general election, so his nomination would also represent the triumph of spite over sound political judgment. A further explication of our rejection of Donald Trump follows.

Update: Comments are back open, with the firm emphasis that anti-Semitism is despicable and will not be tolerated. Nor will profanity, including a certain fashionable Twitter insult.

Donald Trump is not a Conservative

Given Donald Trump’s lifetime of support for left-wing positions on every issue from abortion to guns to socialized medicine, his sudden conversion not only to conservative views, but to the whole smorgasbord of conservative views most palatable to Republican primary voters, should be viewed with more than mild skepticism.

Such a sudden reversal of conviction on matters of national politics is, it must be admitted, possible—barely. However, claims of such a transformation will require some credible demonstration to convince the reasonable observer, particularly under such politically opportune circumstances. Trump has never made the explanatory case for his own conversion, beyond the aforementioned occasional, extravagant effusions of right-wing spleen on some topic of the hour. (It is worth pointing out that these outbursts, which so excite his supporters, suspiciously resemble a liberal millionaire’s crude caricature of what a right-wing Republican might sound like, if he ever were to meet one.)

It should be noted that conservatives love a good conversion story. If Donald Trump has had his encounter on the Road to Damascus, he could recount it for us, along with an explanation for the process by which it happened, who his primary influences were, and so forth. We suspect that no such story is forthcoming because Trump himself knows it would not contain the ring of truth (see: his clumsy and ineffectual references to Scripture). Similarly, his personal bearing and the manner in which he comports himself is not consistent with a man who has been humbled by the sudden realization that he has been wrong on practically every subject of consequence for his entire adult life.

On the contrary, Trump remains an egomaniacal self-promoter whose rhetorical stock in trade is a distasteful stew of boorish insults and braggadocio. He is to all appearances wholly unacquainted with the sense of gratitude and self-restraint which together form the ethical underpinnings of a conservative view of human affairs. Neither of these are virtues Donald Trump has exhibited before or since his supposed conversion to an appreciation of the Eternal Things. Even if he had the words, he hasn’t got the tune.

As a matter of practical policy, meanwhile, Trump has been willing to cave in to whatever political expediency demanded, contrary to the breathtakingly counter-factual claim that he is an enemy of “establishment” cronyism. In point of fact, the sudden onrush of support he has received from the GOP powers that be (and if former Sen. Bob Dole does not represent the GOP old guard, then who does?) has been greeted with an infuriating lack of interest on the part of his defenders. That this support has been explicitly targeted at Trump’s principal rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, in an undisguised effort to preserve the arrangements that have served the ensconced interests of the GOP leadership class for decades, is the simplest and most obvious evidence that he is neither reliably conservative nor particularly attached to any governing principle that might extend beyond his own immediate self-interest.

Donald Trump is Bad for Conservatism

Setting aside the question of whether he really comprehends conservatism or whether he has become a conservative in any durable way, Donald Trump’s ascendancy would be disastrous both for conservatism’s self-understanding and for its image in the wider society. As has been emphasized already, Trump’s bombast and vulgarity serve to confirm in the minds of many a false and scandalous impression of conservative “thought” as neither particularly thoughtful nor even minimally decent. And if conservatism does not stand for the maintenance of standards, what then is it for?

The usual liberal calumny against conservatives is that they are paranoid, unenlightened, and driven to misanthropic bile by their primitive ids. The insistence by conservatives that people must accept the tragic element of the created order, which manifests itself in the hard truths and paradoxes of human nature, make it all too easy for the liberal opinion-maker or politician to slander social conservatism as driven by malice. Trump's reckless appeals to populism and nativism make that task yet easier. It cements in many otherwise receptive minds the caricature of conservatism as weird, dangerous, and conducive to violent passions.

Moreover, identification with a cretinous opportunist does damage to the probity of otherwise honest and sensible people. Taking after their hero, Trump’s supporters are not only permissive of his many offenses against decency, but often conspicuously nasty and combative whenever any presentation of the facts about Mr. Trump is made. This stubborn anti-intellectualism has become such a characteristic of the Trump enthusiast that the candidate himself has lately insulted them to their faces, boasting that he could literally shoot someone on the street without losing a single vote. (Yes, a viable candidate for President of the United States now speaks this way without consequence.)

With characteristically fascistic flourish, he contrasted this insuperable loyalty with the “softness” of those who would support Sens. Cruz and Rubio. To all appearances, he was precisely right, inasmuch as his supporters have come to take this insouciance to reality as a point of pride, and none appear to have objected to his characterization. One is reminded of the notorious Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor, in his final campaign for public office in that blighted country, whose campaign slogan ran, “He killed my ma. He killed my pa. I’ll vote for him.” This sort of willful blindness portends the terminal corrosion of our civic norms. In the dark happenstance of a Trump presidency, it portends the identification of conservatism with the secular authoritarian’s will to power.

Fortunately, that outcome seems unlikely--another fact in which Trump’s fans show no obvious interest.

Trump Will Not Win the White House

One contemporary aphorism has it that while conservatives are talking philosophy, liberals talk strategy. We judge that, given the passionate support for Donald Trump with a plurality of Republican primary voters, many Americans who describe themselves as conservatives have lost any interest in both. The inescapable truth is that Trump stands little to no chance of becoming our next president, at least if we are to take the world as we find it, rather than projecting the attitudes of a bare plurality of Republican voters in Iowa onto the whole of the voting public.

In spite of the grandiose promises of the Trump partisans that their man is poised to “get things done” that haven’t been possible under any previous Republican administration, the hard facts are that Trump is under water with the general electorate. How far beneath the waves is he? Far enough to rank dead last among Republican contenders in the crucially important favorability/unfavorability metric, worse even than the poster child for Tea Party electoral disaster, Christine O’Donnell. His numbers are worse than former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s, whose campaign has become synonymous with pointless futility.

These unfavorability numbers are not the consequence of a lack of name recognition. There is no sense in which the American electorate just doesn’t know Donald Trump well enough to have formed an opinion about him. He has received wall-to-wall coverage for months, practically free of charge, and people do not like him, do not like what he says, do not like what they think he stands for. That means that his odds of dramatically changing the public’s impression of him are low. He is, in fact, one of the only Republicans in the race who has polled worse than Hillary head-to-head from the very beginning of his campaign. All of this while the press has not yet turned its Medusa’s glare on him as the Republican nominee, treating him instead as an entertaining curiosity.

Besides these practical problems, Trump’s florid promises to mount a “deportation force” and other similar claims are more or less impossible from either a legal or political standpoint, assuming a man as thin-skinned as he would be willing to endure the kind of criticism he would receive just for trying. As big a leap of faith as is required to buy the philosophical case for Donald Trump, the political case is more or less non-existent.

Our recommendation

Given the many preceding claims against Donald Trump, and in anticipation of the question of whom else we would commend, we would urge any reader to give his full consideration to Sen. Ted Cruz, as both the strongest non-Trump candidate in the polls, and the most conservative candidate in the race. People of good faith can disagree, of course, on Sen. Cruz’s tactics during his freshman term or to what extent his ambition outraces his judgment. However, there can be little doubt that among active members of the U.S. Congress, he is among the most forthrightly conservative. His attachment to principle has often come at high cost, and he is famously unpopular with the leadership of his party precisely on the grounds that he cannot easily be corralled into unprincipled compromises.

With the Iowa caucuses only a week away, we are at once dismayed at the necessity of such an editorial as this one and heartened by the unanimity in which it is offered.

Comments (236)

Agreed Trump is all you say. But are conservatives any better?. They inflame people against Govt, against liberalism and then they go and make deals with the same liberals, they go and expand the same Govt.
Here is Rod Dreher today

The *#@^& Republicans on Capitol Hill won’t speak up about how they might protect religious liberty in the face of advancing gay rights because they don’t understand the issue, because they’re terrified of being called bigots, and because they’re gutless in the face of Big Business. I don’t know if Trump cares about the issue, but I know that if he could be persuaded that it was important, he wouldn’t give a rat’s rear end what The New York Times or the Business Roundtable had to say, he would do it. He would come into office owing the GOP nothing. This is bad how?

Conservatism failed to conserve anything worth conserving. Can this be disputed? The so-called conservatism turned to be a fraud perpetuated on the people that supported it (including the editors of this blog, I assume).
I would myself support Cruz but I can understand Trumpkins.

BI,

Rod is simply mistaken if he believes that Trump will be capable of coming into office while owing the GOP nothing. He was poised to lose Iowa before promising to INCREASE the indefensible ethanol subsidies. GOP strategists have been explicit that they know Trump will be completely at sea if he wins the nomination and is forced to mount a real general election campaign. They are backing him now precisely because he needs them to have any hope of winning in November. In short, Dreher appears not to read the news. Moreover, I haven't heard Trump speak up on very much of substance--how he will dismantle the egregious AFFA program at HUD, how he plans to shrink the size of government, how he will champion religious liberty. Given all of that, his complaint about the GOP leadership is pretty frivolous in so far as he means to connect it with Trump.

Fraudulent "conservative" politicians are obviously the root of many problems, but everybody already knows that and an endorsement of Trump (which I know you didn't mean to make) is like fighting fire with gasoline. It becomes tiresome listening to his defenders cite all the sins of Republican Party accommodationists like Boehner, as though that's any kind of reason to support Donald Trump. Long-standing GOP fecklessness is only interesting as an hypothesis for how the Trump hysteria got rolling, but it's not an original or insightful one at this late stage.

The Trumpkins have an apocalyptic perspective. Dreher again:

I am fond of the word “apocalypse,” which in common usage means “the end of the world,” but etymologically means “an unmasking.” For the Republican Party, Donald Trump is an apocalypse in both senses of the term.

Verily, one would have to have a heart of stone not to take pleasure in this apocalypse.

He knows that
The problem is that, as every philosophical conservative knows, you have to be very suspicious of tearing a thing down, because you don’t know what’s going to take its place.

43 years of the argument Vote Republican as to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices as to overturn Roe vs Wade. And reality? partial birth abortion and sale of baby parts.
All these sorts of thing plus the conservative propaganda itself-anti-govt, anti-liberal in the apocalyptic terms-Democrats want to enslave you, death panels etc etc feeds into the apocalyptic mood.

I know that if [Trump] could be persuaded that it was important, he wouldn’t give a rat’s rear end what The New York Times or the Business Roundtable had to say

And if he could be persuaded that abortion "rights" were important, he wouldn't give a rat's rear end what Glenn Beck or the Pope had to say. And if he could be persuaded that gay "marriage" was important, he wouldn't give a rat's rear end what Sweet Cakes by Melissa has to say. And...

Well, you get the point, I hope. Trump's intellectual and moral elasticity, combined with his complete disregard for anyone else's opinions, make it possible that he would fight for pretty much anything, or nothing.

43 years of the argument Vote Republican as to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices as to overturn Roe vs Wade. And reality? partial birth abortion and sale of baby parts.

People are fond of saying that things couldn't possibly get worse. Of course they can get worse.

The Democrats are also having their own convulsions. Sanders could be their nominee and then I suppose even the most die-hard old-style conservative would support Trump.So, it can not be flatly asserted that Trump will not win White House.

It's important to note that we shouldn't participate in evil. Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil, and we may not do that. If Ted Cruz weren't out there, I'd probably be forced to cast a protest vote again.

That said, here on planet Earth, there is no indication that Trump is the lesser of any particular evil.

No, the most die-hard old-style conservative will not support Trump just because Bernie takes the Democratic nomination. Some fools will; many will not.

Jake,
Politics IS choosing of the lesser evil (provided it is not intrinsically evil). So a conservative ought to sit out Trump vs Sanders?
Or hope for Bloomberg to run as third party?

I think "the Editors" vastly underestimate the disdain that many conservative voters have for business-as-usual Republicanism. How many? We'll see. I lost my faith in the Republicans way back when their "Revolution" turned out to be a bad punchline in search of a joke. And I (finally) lost my faith in "Conservatism" when baby Bush slipped us that date rape pill called the Patriot Act. The Liberals not only act as though they're in an honest to goodness take-no-prisoners war, they act like they're in it to win. Period. The Republicans? Meh. I really don't care. Maybe Trump is exactly what they need in order to wake up and clean house. But my gut feeling is they've already lost a war that they never bothered to take seriously. Ten million soon-to-be pardoned illegals (aka future Democrats) will see to that.

Of course, Mr. Trump stands little chance to win the general election, so his nomination would also represent the triumph of spite over sound political judgment. A further explication of our rejection of Donald Trump follows.

"Of course." Bull#$%^. The scary thing about Trump is precisely that he is the candidate most likely to make an absolute fool of Sanders or Clinton. He is Clinton's worst nightmare. Why? Because if he wins the nomination, he will go after her for every rotten, dirty thing she's done. He will launch his own investigation of her on all counts. He will hire PIs to get the FBI agents drunk and leak the full monty on what would have gone to a grand jury if there is no indictment. He will go after Bill Clinton over the Jeffrey Epstein case and find every underage girl that was in their presence and put them on TV.

Trump also aligns himself with about 75% of the public on trade and immigration. His (seeming) full-throated embrace of restricted immigration, border security and an America first economic policy is actually pulling a large chunk of the black and native born Hispanic vote with it. Why? Blacks are sick to death of losing jobs to illegals and say that maybe this Trump guy will actually kick out the illegals so they don't have to compete with them.

Alternatives? Only Cruz. Rubio is just not that good, Paul can't break 1%, Kasich? Who the heck cares about him? Christie? Despite being Trump light, he can't break 10%. Bush? The guy's body language makes his brother look like an outlaw biker alpha male.

It's important to note that we shouldn't participate in evil. Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil

All candidates want something that is at least morally dubious. That's why the only truly principled people who espouse this point are the people who refuse to vote at all.

I think "the Editors" vastly underestimate the disdain that many conservative voters have for business-as-usual Republicanism.

Consider that the editors repeatedly acknowledge his popularity with a certain segment of the Republican primary base, I don't think that's so.

And again, "the base is sick of liberal Republicans" is not an argument for the likes of Donald Trump. It's what you might call the genetic argument for his candidacy, i.e., if we can somehow explain this irrational embrace of Trump, then we have arrived at some kind of justification for it. Not so.

Mike, the first half of your case for Trump's electability relies purely on "He's going to do this, he's going to do that, he's going to do everything we all wish he would do" sort of speculation that is rampant in defenses of him. If he wins the nomination, we'll see whether that's true (which I doubt--he could be doing those things now, as he is with Cruz, but he's not), and we'll see whether it improves on his abysmal electoral prospects. I seriously doubt it, given his unreliability on almost anything else.

His supposed "alignment" with 75% of the public on immigration has included an incredibly predictable walk-back in subsequent interviews to the "illegal bad/legal good" position of practically every other Republican, which doesn't actually align with what most people want. He also happens to be very vulnerable on the issue himself, considering allegations of using illegal labor in the past, combined with the fact that his more outlandish statements on immigration have been johnny-come-lately primary talk that he would be almost certain to jettison the instant he saw it to his benefit to do so.

As for trade, he doesn't set himself apart from Romney in having promised to rain hellfire down on "cheaters" like the Chinese. The odds this will help him in the general seem low, and given that the two big signature positions you describe have still resulted in the utterly horrible favorability numbers cited in the OP, it would seem that these are not the decisive factors with the general public that you take them to be--even assuming he didn't reduce his shouting on those topics to a mumble, which is as likely as not, considering his complete lack of philosophical center beyond "What benefits The Donald this afternoon."

Mike, the first half of your case for Trump's electability relies purely on "He's going to do this, he's going to do that, he's going to do everything we all wish he would do" sort of speculation that is rampant in defenses of him.

I think you would be shocked to see how well Trump would do against Sanders or Clinton. Women of my generation are largely unaware of Bill Clinton's sex scandals apart from the Lewinsky one. Whenever they get told about the others and how Hillary went to bat for him, the reaction is universally negative toward the Clintons aside from leftist ideologues. Trump has already warned the Clintons in public that if they go War on Women with him, he'll go scorched Earth on Bill's track record and Hillary's habit of defending him. Plus there is the Jeffrey Epstein connection and Hillary was recorded, after getting a pedophile acquitted, about how she had denied his victim her due.

In an ordinary year, I wouldn't think much of Trump's electability. However, Hillary Clinton has more skeletons in her closet than a large Polish unmarked grave and Sanders is, well, absolutely insane. Sanders will get annihilated by any Republican that tries the moment moderates hear "why fly to Sweden when you can pay the same level of taxes here!"

Trump actually strike's me as the Republican Party's answer to Obama. That's why I don't support him, I just recognize that the case for his electability is much stronger than you seem to think.

Trump actually strike's me as the Republican Party's answer to Obama. That's why I don't support him, I just recognize that the case for his electability is much stronger than you seem to think.

The question of "what will happen if" is always going to be the weakest part of an editorial like this one, so I take it as read that you have your reasons for thinking Trump can reverse his numbers in the general. Maybe it's somehow the case that "this year is different." We don't agree, but it's the kind of thing that only time and experience will settle.

More importantly, we seem to be in agreement that his nomination would not be the best thing for conservatives and that, as the OP states, Obamaism seems to have found its Republican corollary in Trumpism.

I'm struck by the fact that those excusing the Trump popularity will talk about how fed up voters on the right are with the Republican party, while not seeming to realize that if (God forbid) Trump were to win the Republican nomination, it would be _precisely_ the kind of "Must vote for the Republican no matter what" politics they supposedly deplore that would be his only hope and would be vigorously urged against those hesitant about voting for him in the general. If his supporters are so much against that attitude (that we must support whoever the Republican candidate is, no matter what) and consider that it has caused so much harm in the past, there will be no consistent way for them to use it to whip others into line if he wins the nomination! I presume the inconsistency won't bother them and that they will use whatever "argument" comes to hand without troubling about the matter. Much like the person they admire.

Right on, Lydia. It's amazing watching them oscillate between "Fight the man" rhetoric and "How dare you criticise the Republican front-runner." It may be that was the the most surprising reaction come out of the National Review kerfluffle--how many Fox news personalities laid into them with open hostility because they have some supposed obligation to back whoever leads in the polls as a Republican. Does anybody think they would take the same attitude were Ted Cruz to take the lead in the polls? Gretchen Carlson was intolerable in her aggressively scolding interview of Jonah Goldberg (which was also suffused with a particularly ugly bout of PC outrage at his use of the phrase "like a little girl").

I've even had someone tell me in the last week that Cruz is a member of "the establishment," which only serves to bolster the argument that that word, as it is being used by Trump fans, is devoid of content. Any argument to hand, as you said.

Ugh, so many typos to correct. Somebody keep me away from this laptop.

I think the vulnerability in the editors' prediction (not in the substance of their criticism of Trump, with which I cannot disagree), is they seem to overestimate the seriousness of the voting population. As Pat Buchanan correctly pointed out, we are an un-serious people. A quick glance at the nominees of either party over the past several decades proves that in spades. Trump, above all else, is a consummate salesman. He has the great salesman's knack of knowing what his audience wants to hear and when. His positions will change with the expedience of the moment, and he will simply ignore or laugh off charges of inconsistency and hypocrisy. He is not afraid (for better or ill) to use any means necessary to win. Like him or not, believe he is just what we need or an impending disaster, he is entertaining. And above all else, the American populace wants to be entertained.

Bedarz:

Politics IS choosing of the lesser evil (provided it is not intrinsically evil).

No. You're unfortunately committing the fallacy of using an idiomatic expression as if it were literally true. Do not choose evil.

So a conservative ought to sit out Trump vs Sanders?

I think it's good to make one's voice heard, and if you don't vote, then they can't tell the difference between disgust and mere apathy. I would vote for a third-party candidate aligned with the right wing. The last time I did so, it was for the Constitution Party candidate.

Mike T:

All candidates want something that is at least morally dubious. That's why the only truly principled people who espouse this point are the people who refuse to vote at all.

If you make a principled judgment not to vote, I respect that. I'm not convinced that a vote for, say, Ted Cruz would be participation in something evil. If you are, I'd be interested to know why.

Even though I live in New Jersey, and my vote won't have an outcome on the election results, I think it's important that I cast my vote correctly because it's still a message. If New Jersey had an election where 50% went for Bernie Sanders, 25% went for Trump, and 25% went for Cruz, that's a far different outcome than 66% Sanders and 33% Trump (identical, except all of the non-Trump voters stayed home) -- even though Sanders would carry New Jersey either way.

Lydia's last is a good point. I hadn't thought of that.

Matt C:

I think the vulnerability in the editors' prediction (not in the substance of their criticism of Trump, with which I cannot disagree), is they seem to overestimate the seriousness of the voting population.

The prediction (I assume by that you mean that Trump won't get elected) is the least important part of the editorial. I don't particularly disagree about the lack of seriousness of the voting population. The mere fact that we have to publish something of this nature proves that point.

The Grand Jury process is a joke. It is basically a CYA for the prosecutor, who gets to tailor everything the Grand Jury sees, and decides what it is they see. The judge picks a commissioner who then picks who he wants on the grand jury. Cronyism at its worst.

If you make a principled judgment not to vote, I respect that. I'm not convinced that a vote for, say, Ted Cruz would be participation in something evil. If you are, I'd be interested to know why.

I don't think it is a vote for evil, but then I don't think a vote for Trump is evil either because I just don't think that Trump is that bad on balance. Frankly, I don't think Obama is as bad as, say, a vote for Hillary Clinton.

We can look at it in one of two ways. If you believe that a stated intention to do something evil once in office is sufficient to be participation in evil, then you can probably find something evil in every candidate. On the other hands, you can go on the balance of their proposals at which rate most of the candidates this cycle are not that bad.

I'm building a yooge classy wall around my brain cells so Trump's proposals can't infiltrate. Some, I assume, are good proposals but why take the chance when most of them are toxic?

Let's put this to bed: A vote for either Obama or Hillary would be participation in evil. Yes, that's clearly just an opinion of mine, but it's a true one.

Your original statement was, "That's why the only truly principled people who espouse this point are the people who refuse to vote at all."

But that's only true if the "truly principled people" believe that voting for either A or B would involve participation in evil. If the choice were between Obama and Hillary, a truly principled person would not vote for either.

On the other hand, if a truly principled person believed that voting for A would be participation in evil, and voting for B would not, then clearly he "espouse this point" without "refus[ing] to vote at all."

This part of the discussion should be cleaned up by using properly defined terms, such as "material cooperation with evil". I'm not in a position to do so at the moment.

In case some people haven't seen this, here is Trump writing in his 2000 book The America We Deserve:

I support a woman’s right to choose, but I am uncomfortable with the procedures. When Tim Russert asked me on Meet the Press if I would ban partial-birth abortion, my pro-choice instincts led me to say no. After the show, I consulted two doctors I respect and, upon learning more about this procedure, I have concluded that I would support a ban.

And his op-ed from last weekend on his pro-life stance:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/donald-trump-op-ed-my-vision-for-a-culture-of-life/article/2581271

Not being an American, I have no desire to tell Americans who they should vote for in their upcoming choice of temporary elected substitute for the monarch their forefathers rejected. I would like to point out, however, that demonstrating that a candidate is not a conservative is not the same thing as demonstrating that conservatives should not support him, which is more or less the argument I was going for in my recent reflections on National Review's ant-Trump stance: http://thronealtarliberty.blogspot.ca/2016/01/a-question-of-style-and-substance.html

Paul J Cella:

God bless Sen. Ben Sasse

Yes, what on earth would conservatives do without "one of the brightest and most serious, practical yet idealistic men" who himself resorts to a childish taunt (ie. "He has a yuuuge fear of M.Kelly")?

And how terrible for Trump to respond in kind!

Mr. Neal, leaving your particular criticisms of National Review aside, what evidence do we have that Trump will be more inclined against base opportunism, on the questions of immigration and the character of the nation, than he has been on any other major political issue? What evidence do we have that Trump has ever given serious thought to anything beyond his own interests and desires?

Consider this: Andrew E. digs up evidence that might possibly defend Trump against the charge of base opportunism on abortion, except that it ends up demonstrating, by his own admission, that Donald Trump at 54 years old, getting ready to run for president, did not know what partial-birth abortion is. Think about that. Trump was toying with a run for president 16 years ago. He would be running to replace a man (Bill Clinton) whose biggest skirmish on abortion, with the GOP Congress, was over -- the demonic practice of partial-birth abortion! Trump took a position on a major issue without even the most basic knowledge, and then, when tripped up at an inopportune time, presented his own culpable ignorance, and "pro-choice instincts" as a defense for the slip-up. (I love his "I consulted with respected doctors" evasion: in 2000, as a 22-year-old knucklehead college student, I knew what a partial-birth abortion is, without any consultation with any doctor; Trump, middle-aged businessman and potential candidate for president, couldn't be bothered to know.)

So spare me the concealed premise that Trump will actually continue this bombastic truth-telling that "has enraged the feminists, open borders liberals, anti-racists, and all the other more-enlightened-than-thou, politically correct, killjoys who are the bane of post-modern existence." He's likely to drop the whole thing like a bad habit the moment it becomes impediment to his gaining executive office, which it undoubtedly will be, in a general election conducted before an electorate that twice elected Barack Obama.

Whatever details of fact, policy, philosophy he remains culpably ignorant of, he's not ignorant of his own supporters' bizarre loyalty to him as a personality and a celebrity, which seems perfectly invulnerable to fact or philosophy.

GJ -- c'mon man. Did you not see that Sasse went to great lengths to present Trump with a host of substantive policy and philosophical questions, frankly more eloquent and grounded that Twitter deserves? Since Trump spends inordinate amounts of time initiating Twitter feud, we can be sure he saw the Senator's eminently sensible queries but couldn't be bothered to address them.

I didn't have to go digging for that. It's in the one book (prior to his most recent) Trump wrote that dealt with politics and not business. You can see a list of the issues and positions therein here:

http://www.ontheissues.org/America_We_Deserve.htm

Of all those line-items I count basically three changes in position: pro-choice to pro-life, ban on assault weapons to no ban, and single payer to private health care while keeping and saving Medicare and Medicaid. Now, his position on private health care is different from every other Republican and conservative in that he understands you have to end the monopolies of the insurers, drug companies and the medical providers to make private health care work.

Notably he is consistent on the two issues he puts front and center: immigration and trade.

Paul J Cella:

That Trump ignored the earlier points is completely irrelevant to my point. Is being ignored on Twitter justification for such a childish taunt, (ie."He has a yuuuge fear of M.Kelly")?

Sasse initiated the playground insult, so that article attacking Trump for responding in kind and portraying Trump as the one who started childish exchange while beatifying Sasse is dishonest in the extreme. But of course, the narrative must be maintained: Trump is always the aggressor in such brawls, so let's ignore the fact that the hallowed Sasse* started it this time.

*one of the brightest and most serious, practical yet idealistic men in the United States Senate

Hahaha. Yeah, poor, sadsack Trump. Rough life. He's always unjustly accused of being "the aggressor" on Twitter.

In truth, the Redstate article, far from "attacking Trump for responding in kind," or "portraying Trump as the one who started," settled instead for amusing mockery of Trump for getting his hat handed to him on his own preferred polemical ground.

Trump can give it, but he sure can't take it. Not unlike the current occupant of the office he (possibly seriously or possibly not) aspires to gain.

Andrew E:

Conservatives always want liberals to reject their pernicious beliefs. But when this one did change his mind on some issues, it's a flip-flop because 'we know who he really is'.

Hahaha. Yeah, poor, sadsack Trump. Rough life. He's always unjustly accused of being "the aggressor" on Twitter.

Yes, after the silly red herring 'but but but Trump ignored Sesse', here comes this misrepresentation of what I actually said: I didn't say that Trump is always unjustly accused of being the aggressor.


In truth, the Redstate article, far from "attacking Trump for responding in kind," or "portraying Trump as the one who started," settled instead for amusing mockery of Trump for getting his hat handed to him on his own preferred polemical ground.

At this point I'm going to leave it to the reader to read the article and draw their own conclusions why Sesse is hallowed in the Red State article while Trump is denigrated for responding on the same level ("Trump, being Trump, responded to one of the brightest and most serious, practical yet idealistic men in the United States Senate with playground insults").


Trump can give it, but he sure can't take it. Not unlike the current occupant of the office he (possibly seriously or possibly not) aspires to gain.

Given that Trump has knowingly stated positions that incurred much ire from people all over the political spectrum, it seems much more reasonable to draw the inference that not only can he actually take fire, he invites it.

Mr. Cella,

The only evidence that someone seeking public office is anything other than a self-seeking opportunist would be a long record of public service in which the man in question has demonstrated consistent adherence to his stated principles. With Donald Trump, a significant portion of his support is due to the fact that he has no such record to examine for consistency or a lack thereof. On the issues on which he has been campaigning, there is perceived to have been a decades long complete and total betrayal of the United States and her people by Washington insiders of both parties and therefore, for someone to successfully challenge this betrayal he needs to be an "outsider."

I like the way James Kalb put it in his article for the November 2015 issue of Chronicles. After explaining that "the people would very much like to have a champion willing to make their cause his own" who "doesn't have to be particularly noble, thoughtful, or good; he just has to put a few of their more obvious points forward in a way that can't be ignored", Kalb goes on to explain:

For the effort to make headway against the stories our rulers force-feed us, it has to be outside the script of our public life, but immediately comprehensible to a public educated by pop culture. And it has to be pushed forward by someone who can't be shut up, and somehow occupies a bully pulpit that can't be taken away from him. Basically, that means the champion has to be Donald Trump.

Of course. You stand with NRO and Fox News and not with the newfound nationalism that has swept the land.

Conservatism has failed, conservatives have done nothing but lose to liberals over and over again. Conservatism is not the answer. Nationalism is.

Conservatism was garbage ever since that two-face Buckley wrested the organic movement of the America Firsters and the Christian Front and other populist movements and turned it into an ultracapitalist, globalist, and chicken-hawk movement.

Any truly conservative movement or right-wing movement in general has either been "purged" or effectively neutered by your type, whether the anti-Communist John Birchers or the paleoconservatives, while the Left has done nothing but amass victory after victory.

The tide has turned against both the Left and their controlled opposition. A large portion of the Republican base has chosen Trump. The right-leaning Union democrats have chosen Trump. Non-voters are deciding to vote for Trump. Trump has created a new political community, he has already changed the political and social landscape (regarding PC) and he is not president yet. What have you losers ever done? What have you done except whine about paleoconservatives and nationalists and how Israel needs more help? I remember, not too long ago, Lydia referring to nationalists and paleocons as kooky.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of America has this "kooky" notion that America and American lives belong to Americans alone. They're sick of foreign wars, being sucked dry by Wall Street and the banks, and social degeneracy.

This is Sam Francis's Middle American Revolution unfolding before your eyes. You have two choices: Join the Trumpenkrieg or get run over. Trump will win. And he will make America great again.

"This stubborn anti-intellectualism has become such a characteristic of the Trump enthusiast that the candidate himself has lately insulted them to their faces, boasting that he could literally shoot someone on the street without losing a single vote. (Yes, a viable candidate for President of the United States now speaks this way without consequence.)"

LOL. Look at the typical conservative prisswad behavior.

Ever heard of Vice President Aaron Burr who did kill a man in duel? (an actual man, Alexander Hamilton)

Or how Thomas Jefferson called John Adams a hermaphrodite? Ever heard the "vulgar, shocking" language of General George Patton?

This is why you lose. Because no one wants to be nagged by a bunch of effeminate gutless schoolmarms, they want to be led by men. You can't lead. Your movement is now irrelevant. We have trusted you guys and we had hoped that may be milquetoast "conservatism" like that of Dubya or NRO would have saved this country. It didn't and the left made us into fools, doubly so for ever thinking that you would stop them.

What is your vision for this country? Who would be your ideal president? Do you even have a vision or are you nothing more than just fanatic believers in yesterday's liberalism?

CJ, Trump most certainly did not ignore Sasse, since he invariably reacts at any high-profile criticism on Twitter, and has been for years. What he did is wait for the kind of sniping he excels at, and then, as I say, got his hat handed to him in a Twitter scrape.

Being a hot-headed, occasionally vulgar Twitter controvserialist is wholly incidental to our critique of Trump; plenty of his targets have deserved what they got; and that's what the disreputable medium is best for, anyway. But if I may take you to be a Trump supporter, there really is some marvelous irony in your taking umbrage at Sasse for "childish insults." I thought you guys liked that stuff.

CJ, Trump most certainly did not ignore Sasse
You say that now, but you (and the Red State author) were making much of Trump ignoring Sasse in the beginning over questions about his stances and personal life.

and that's what the disreputable medium is best for, anyway.

Indeed; blessed be Sasse for excelling at disreputable discourse on that disreputable medium.

But if I may take you to be a Trump supporter, there really is some marvelous irony in your taking umbrage at Sasse for "childish insults." I thought you guys liked that stuff.

You may do as you like, though it is not often wise to assume that if I'm not one of You I must be one of Them.

I"m not a Trump supporter; I'm not even a 'murican. I just enjoy all the entertainment from minds being blown across the US political spectrum, eg. 'Trump is undermining democracy!!!' when democracy has always been (at best) a theatrical popularity contest.

Ajax, are you seriously offering Aaron Burr as some kind of admirable political example? And are you seriously comparing Donald Trump to Gen. Patton as a leader of men? This is precisely the kind of corrosion of the capacity to make intelligent distinctions that Trump seems to induce in his more excitable supporters.

Like GJ, you also appear to be under the mistaken impression that our editorial asserted the principle that salty language and a quick resort to insult are themselves disqualifiers from high office. In fact nothing of the sort was argued.

Alright, GJ, so you're no Trump supporter, but you took great offense at Sasse getting the better of him on Twitter. And you enjoy the entertainment, but Sasse's "yuuuge" and fat fingers jabs got you all riled up. What's going on here?

The ones who are really riled up are "The Editors", as can be easily seen in their post above ("bewildered", "dread", "dismayed") and their subsequent comments about how Trump really really really mustn't, can't, and shouldn't win. I'd suggest dealing with your own emotions instead of projecting them.

Meanwhile I'm just pointing out a couple of inconsistencies and enjoying the resulting flailing. So if you must, do carry on.

You said nothing until I posted a link showing a real conservative getting the better of Trump -- on Twitter no less. Since we made no argument against mocking clowns on Twitter, the inconsistency has yet to be demonstrated. And I remain skeptical as to the grounds upon which you object to Sasse's Twitter challenges directed at Trump. The impropriety of taunts and potshots would hardly seem to qualify, unless a prior enthusiasm has induced you to overlook the superabundance of the same from Trump.

"Ajax, are you seriously offering Aaron Burr as some kind of admirable political example? And are you seriously comparing Donald Trump to Gen. Patton as a leader of men? This is precisely the kind of corrosion of the capacity to make intelligent distinctions that Trump seems to induce in his more excitable supporters."

Don't pretend that you wouldn't be scandalized by Patton's language and views. He was a vulgar anti-semite who believed that WWII was a mistake. Oops. It looks like you find yourself in the same place as the liberal: no real men you can look up to and admire.

As for Aaron Burr, he was involved in the Revolutionary War. Aaron Burr is a far more admirable political example than your type of "conservative" ever was, since he had the guts to fight with his own hands unlike that coward Bush.

And what about Thomas Jefferson? Is it okay to call people "hermaprodites"? I mean I think it is, but I don't know about you, you're a "principled conservative" after all.

"Like GJ, you also appear to be under the mistaken impression that our editorial asserted the principle that salty language and a quick resort to insult are themselves disqualifiers from high office. In fact nothing of the sort was argued."

My point is that the prissy behavior you've demonstrated is part of the reason why you've never won. This nationalist backlash was bound to have come, just look at Europe. And the reality is that you're afraid. Afraid of your coming irrelevance and afraid that the national collective has figured how much of a fraud you all are.

Hey Cella, no one cares about your definition of a "real" conservative. The moment you Buckleyites purged the paleoconservatives, they completely lost their right to call themselves "real" conservatives.

Oddly enough, the paleocons i.e. real cons actually support Trump. Maybe Lydia should go over to Chronicles and schoolmarm them like she tried to over at the Orthosphere.

Who is Sasse and where is this tweet?

Paul:

You said nothing until I posted a link showing a real conservative getting the better of Trump -- on Twitter no less. Since we made no argument against mocking clowns on Twitter, the inconsistency has yet to be demonstrated.

Correction: I said nothing until you invoked God to bless Sasse for bettering Trump at playground exchanges, after pontificating nonsense about "the stuff of a proper conservative standard-bearer". The inconsistency here is plain.

Ajax:

Look for the irreverent invocation of God (ie. search for "God bless").

I have not read every word and comma of the Sasse Twitter exchange, and maybe I missed it, but I saw nothing remotely like the disgusting behavior of Trump. Really. Nothing. Even the bit about the length of his fingers is extremely mild compared to the completely disqualifying behavior of a Trump. The majority of it was filled with darned good questions. A man asks another man if he's repented of his affairs with married women? To my mind, that's spot on. But it's typical of the Trumpkins that they lack all sense of perspective when it comes to identifying brutish behavior.

I cannot really better the comment that just went up on Facebook from Jonah Goldberg: "The slightest insult to the Donald arouses outrage and dismay from his digital court sycophants, but when he behaves like a boorish and childish lout, all praise and honor is due!" Or, to quote again the main post:

Trump’s bombast and vulgarity serve to confirm in the minds of many a false and scandalous impression of conservative “thought” as neither particularly thoughtful nor even minimally decent. And if conservatism does not stand for the maintenance of standards, what then is it for?

It is truly sad to see the idea of standards of behavior derided as womanish. On the contrary, real men know how to control themselves and how to hold themselves to high standards of behavior. Little boys often do not, and they have to be socialized into adult behavior by real men, preferably their fathers. That anyone who thinks of himself as a "conservative" does not understand this is a sad comment indeed on the state of our country.

It looks like you find yourself in the same place as the liberal: no real men you can look up to and admire.

Considering that a large cross-section of my neighbors' dogs would be more statesmanlike than Mr. Trump, I imagine that despite our criticism of him we could _manage_ with great effort to find a few real men in the course of world history to whom to look up to. Starting with, I dunno, several of our fathers and grandfathers.

"I cannot really better the comment that just went up on Facebook from Jonah Goldberg: "The slightest insult to the Donald arouses outrage and dismay from his digital court sycophants, but when he behaves like a boorish and childish lout, all praise and honor is due!" Or, to quote again the main post:"

Lol, Lydia, you're really bolstering your case by promoting the spergings and musings of real life Comic Book Guy. Goldberg is a case study in nepotism, a mediocre writer who got his job because of who his mommy is not on what he can do. It's hilarious how you use the words of a 45 year old man-child to bolster your argument against the Don.

"It is truly sad to see the idea of standards of behavior derided as womanish. On the contrary, real men know how to control themselves and how to hold themselves to high standards of behavior. Little boys often do not, and they have to be socialized into adult behavior by real men, preferably their fathers. That anyone who thinks of himself as a "conservative" does not understand this is a sad comment indeed on the state of our country."

Nagging about standards of behavior is quite womanish and those "conservatives" you look up to like Chesterton, Patton, or Jefferson wouldn't give two damns about what a busybody ninny would think about their words.

You want to talk about the state of the country? Why don't you talk about the influx of rapefugees, illegal alien wage-diluters, elite arrogance, political correctness struggle sessions, our dismal foreign policy, the way Wall Street and the banks have suck the American working man dry.

You don't care about any of that and Trump has done more for the American cause than "conservatives" have ever done in the last 40 years.

Also, once again, if you are not a paleoconservative, you have no right to call yourself a conservative. Movement conservatism is a loser's movement because it purged all of the vitalistic right-wing elements from it's body and has refused to stand up for the American and to the treacherous Left. And any pretensions of being more philosophical than the Left is a joke. Neocons are nothing more than shallow materialists, if you want real conservative philosophy, you're more likely to find it in Chronicles than in NRO, First Things (that traitor Neuhaus got kicked out of Chronicles for whining about nativism), and AmConMag.

And as for the contention that Trump is not popular, that is a joke. Radical Right, Old Left, and Syncreticist Groups have traditionally been very popular throughout the world. Golden Dawn, the UKIP, and the National Front are doing well and are poised for a takeover in their respective countries.

The reality is that NRO, WSJ, and Faux News "conservatives" are the laughing stock of the country. No one cares about your cocktail parties or your bowties. We want a real, fighting Americanist movement. We want nationalism, we want to fight for a powerful America, for our people and our country. The days of despair and misery are now over and the time for hope and triumph are now upon us. We will crush our enemies, internal and external, and the entire world shall quake with fear as America takes her rightful place in the world.

Make America Great Again, America Forever!

"Considering that a large cross-section of my neighbors' dogs would be more statesmanlike than Mr. Trump, I imagine that despite our criticism of him we could _manage_ with great effort to find a few real men in the course of world history to whom to look up to. Starting with, I dunno, several of our fathers and grandfathers."

If by statesmanlike you mean a lapdog for special interests like most "conservatives", then yes, I'll bet they would be more statesmanlike.

These same dogs who sniff rears and eat garbage might have too much dignity though to be statesmanlike, however, according to your definition of statesmanship. I would rather vote for a dog that eats garbage before a neocon that spews it and I'd rather vote for an American version of Putin or Assad over a dog.

Speaking of Putin, look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFrZfluKDrc

Would "conservatives" have the guts to whip a subversive Cultural Marxist movement like that Cossack did? Only a true nationalistic patriot would, like Trump or Putin.

Hey, Cella, you said something about how Trump's language doesn't disqualify him from office? Well look at what Lydia said: "Even the bit about the length of his fingers is extremely mild compared to the completely disqualifying behavior of a Trump"

Unfortunately, according Lydia, Trump has truly been a naughty, naughty boy and this disqualifies him from to take power. Why can't he been a good boy like Jeb or Rubio?

Lydia, I don't know if you've met real men who didn't kowtow to your petulant demands, but men, have always been vulgar amongst themselves, just walk into a locker room and you'll see. And public vulgarity has been a part of American politics since the Jefferson-Adams feud: http://www.edmondsun.com/opinion/when-politics-were-truly-ugly-jefferson-vs-adams/article_65f96c02-71ee-52e3-97bb-0af7a8aaf3a8.html

Politics is a struggle for power and you should be happy that a bunch of disgruntled Americans are just keeping it verbal.

Of course when women came into the public sphere and decided that they too should pontificate on national issues/join men's clubs/join the boardroom the tone had to change because women couldn't be "one of the guys". And that's fine, nothing wrong with showing some civility amongst women and children.

But the time for civility is over. It's time for survival and all of those luxuries don't matter anymore.

Ajax,

At first I thought maybe you were just a disgruntled paleocon that wandered into the wrong blog; now I'm wondering if you aren't just a brilliant troll who wants to get a rise off of all of us?

Either way, you are silly and incoherent and your performance here is tiresome.

Run along now.

When the neocon can't address your points, he censors you.

Just answer this question: What exactly is so wrong with Trump actually tackling the issues that have disgruntled Americans? From my perspective it looks like you don't want change or to fight off the enemies of the nation.

This is not a performance, I am a paleoconservative-leaning nationalist.

Just read this article by Tucker Carlson and tell me that his begrudgingly analysis of Trump is wrong: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/donald-trump-is-shocking-vulgar-and-right-213572

Do these issues that Trump has made front and center on the national stage not issues that concern Americans? Or do you think they don't matter?

"Either way, you are silly and incoherent"

Let me give you a point by point so you don't get confused, it's so obvious that you don't know what you are speaking about.

1. Neocons are not conservatives, they're just liberals masquerading as rightists.
2. The conservative movement has failed time and time again to stop every cultural war onslaught by the Left
3. The conservative movement has not cared to protect the borders or watch who comes into the country
4. The conservative movement has ended up supporting deviance (NRO and gay marriage)
5. The conservative movement has promoted economic policies that have hurt America and Americans
6. The conservative movement has promoted a disastrous foreign policy.

Ergo, nationalism is the only answer. Conservatism would have worked if the paleocons i.e. actual conservatives had been front and center, but that's definitely not the case.

If you still think that is incoherent, than obviously you are just annoyed that Trump supporters actually defend their candidate better than you can insult him.

Say what you want about Trump, atleast he's not a hypocrite.

Can you outline your vision of America? Do you have a vision whatsoever?

Ajax,

All right, I'll play nice.

Point by point, here is my response:

(1) You assert this as fact, without any analysis. I maintain the best definition of the neocons is the one given by Irving Kristol, who is often credited with developing the term: "a (former) liberal mugged by reality." Whether or not neocon ideas have been good or bad for the overall conservative movement is a subject for another day.

(2) Looking over the past 100-150 years, one could certainly make that case if you point to certain social indicators. On the other hand, I would credit the conservative movement with helping to win the Cold War and discredit communism -- although Bernie's current popularity might at least be a bit of rain on my parade.

(3) Agreed; there is certainly a split within the movement over immigration and borders. I can't speak for everyone at W4, although most of us fall on the 'hawkish' side of the immigration debate. But, as it has been said time and time again, just because Donald Trump speaks frankly now about this subject is no reason to believe he won't deal with his 'friends' in Congress to eventually come to some sort of agreement on amnesty for illegals that you and I would consider a betrayal. Why Trump fans refuse to see this is beyond me.

(4) Please. Even NRO, which is not synonymous with the conservative movement, printed one (maybe two) articles in defense of so-called "gay marriage." Their official editorial position remains opposed. The broader movement is opposed and will continue to work to overturn the latest deviant turn to madness of some Americans.

(5) Here we will just have to agree to disagree if you are referring to free trade. I agree with you about immigration and believe a more restrictive immigration policy will help low-wage Americans; I just don't think protectionist trade policies or some sort of industrial policy such as Trump promotes will do much of anything to bring back low-wage manufacturing jobs to the American heartland.

(6) Again, we'll have to agree to disagree, although I'm certainly open to reading your arguments. I do think we should have avoiding nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq and installed some sort of strong-man in each country. This is obviously a much bigger discussion and I do sympathize with those who argue it is time to pull-back from some of America's commitments around the world and focus our energies on our own people and more narrow issues of self defense.

My vision for America? Well, besides bringing people to Christ and praying for conversion and repentance, this is not a bad start:

https://www.tedcruz.org/about/

1. A pithy remark is not a definition. Neoconservatism has no connection to the historic American right and is a movement that combines libertarian economics with a chickenhawk foreign policy and downplays nationalism and social conservatism.

2. Communism died from it's own internal contradictions, Reagan or "conservatism" had nothing to do with it. The only groups that actually did fight Communism were Traditional Conservatives like the Tsarists and Falangists or Fascists like the Third Reich or the Italian Social Republic. Don't flatter yourself into thinking that writing op-eds or telling Gorbachev to tear down a wall is the same thing as fighting on the ground.

3. One the other hand, why would you think that he would?

4. So what is Kat Timpf and S.E. Cupp still doing there? Why were Derb and Steyn kicked out? Steyn was kicked out for his opposition to the gay crap. NRO actually also wrote an article in defense of a pro-pedophile screed by Salon/Slate. There is a line you must draw in the line at some point and NRO has crossed it. They have no right to say who or what is conservative.

5. Fine, let's agree to disagree.

6. First off, why would we need to put a strong man in Iraq? There already was a strong man in Iraq, his name was Saddam Hussein. He protected Christians and his death lead to ISIS. We had no reason to go into Iraq. Americans are done fighting wars that are not in American interests. It's not our position.

As for Ted Cruz, he told a group of Middle Eastern Christians during a conference about the threat of ISIS that if they didn't stand with Israel he wouldn't stand with him. Why would I want someone who puts Israel above his co-religionists and who might put Israel over his compatriots?

America First should not be a controversial statement to a conservative and Christendom First should not be a controversial statement for a Christian.

As for Trump being unpopular, one thing you can't deny is that his poll ratings are higher than all other Republican candidates. To say that he's less popular that Malley sounds ridiculous and if true only means that all other Republicans are much, much unpopular.

Ajax,

Well, we certainly have our disagreements but a civilized debate is much preferable to bombastic statements in defense of Trump! Once more into the breach:

(1) As a matter of history, it is now just a fact that the neocons are part of the American conservative experience. You don't have to like it (and obviously you don't) but to say that they have "no connection to the historic American right" is kind of silly given that they have become the historic American right! Sure, they don't have any connection to Robert Taft and Calvin Coolidge (a very underrated President!) and other pre-WWII figures, but post war they helped shape the conservative movement, whether you like it or not. Indeed, they were particularly important in moving domestic policy to the right, which is something that typically gets pushed down the memory hole when talking about them (e.g. Podhoretz's great piece "My Negro Problem - And Ours", the journal "The Public Interest", etc.) Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz were both interested in and promoted socially conservative ideas -- they saw moral as important to a well-functioning polity.

(2) Again, we'll have to agree to disagree to some extent, although you are certainly right that given time, communism cannot provide material or spiritual solutions for the people who adopt its murderous ideology. As for those who were responsible for fighting commies, I'd like to think all those idealistic Americans (even, heaven forbid!) liberals who fought in Korea, Vietnam, and other small wars around the world were indeed "fighting on the ground." I'd also like to think that the battle for hearts and minds wasn't totally a waste -- if you read what actual Soviet dissidents say about living behind the Iron Curtain they were certainly happy to receive spiritual support from anti-communist crusaders on our side who acknowledged their struggle and preached the truth about communist lies. The truth does matter in the long run, in addition to guns and tanks. It turns out that Stalin's quip about the Pope ('how many divisions does he have') turned out to be foolish, given John Paul the Great's actual influence on the Polish people's ability to fight for their freedom.

(3) Because he's used foreign workers:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/1/donald-trump-companies-sought-to-import-1100-immig/

and illegals on various construction projects:

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2015/07/08/hey-trump-tower-was-built-on-the-backs-of-illegal-immigrants/

[There is more -- Google is your friend.]

But, hey, Donald is all about the American worker and cares deeply about low-wage labor. How do you know? He keeps telling us!!!

(4) Fair point. Just how big of a tent to keep when running a diverse conservative magazine of idea is an interesting question. Certainly, if I was in charge of "National Review" I would never let an article run in defense of so-called "same-sex marriage." On the other hand, would I fire every single writer who was a libertarian and thought "gay marriage" was O.K.? Probably not, but I think the writers would need to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

The defense of the bizarre Salon article was awkward, to say the least, but it was not a defense of pedophilia -- it was instead a strange defense of the 'right' to be open about the condition. Again, I suspect we are on the same page on this issue -- as an editor I would have killed any defense of the article and taken the writer to the proverbial woodshed for trying to defend the creep in the first place. But in context, it was only out of some misguided sense of trying to help.

As for Derbyshire, you should know why he was asked not to submit any more articles -- his infamous piece about the Trayvon Martin affair (let's not get into that piece in this comment thread.) Steyn is more intriguing -- he has just hinted that they parted ways over the Michael Mann lawsuit but there might be other issues involved (you can go to his website and find the recent column discussing this issue.)

(6) Some of us thought Saddam was a threat to Middle-East peace and for all the reasons listed in Public Law 107-243, it made sense to remove Saddam from power:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ243/pdf/PLAW-107publ243.pdf

Again, that's fine if you don't agree with those reasons -- I respect that. Plenty of smart conservatives thought the Iraq War was a mistake.

Regarding Ted Cruz and his comments to those Middle-Eastern Christians -- Ted has been outspoken in his defense of persecuted Christians in the Middle-East. That doesn't mean that if he goes to an event and reads anti-Semitic statements from Arabic Christians (and yes, plenty of them are Jew haters) he can't speak out about their crazed views on Israel (and great ally of the U.S.) and on the Jews. Antisemitism is not a Christian value and is not a conservative value.

Right now Trump is the only candidate that has never beat Hillary in a head to head match up in national polls. I'd be the first to admit that can change, but his national negative favorability is very high and it is hard to move that number once voters have made up their minds about you:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

AND

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/trump_favorableunfavorable-5493.html

Ajax appears to be in the very common category of commenter who perfectly happy to run his mouth without doing any homework at all. So we get another instance of the tiresome Angry Commenter Who Doesn't Know We Opposed the 2003 Iraq War.

I find it somewhat doubtful, in that light, that he really knows anything about neoconservatism at all, much less the general political relationship of this blog to it. I feel confident that I have read quite a bit more paleoconservative literature than he has neoconservative literature. Thus I regard Jeff's gentlemanly efforts as unlikely to achieve success in settling this agitated commenter down.

Now then. This is precisely the kind of obscenity that tends to follow from a compound of ignorance and bluster:

2. Communism died from it's own internal contradictions, Reagan or "conservatism" had nothing to do with it. The only groups that actually did fight Communism were Traditional Conservatives like the Tsarists and Falangists or Fascists like the Third Reich or the Italian Social Republic. Don't flatter yourself into thinking that writing op-eds or telling Gorbachev to tear down a wall is the same thing as fighting on the ground.

A man says he wants a politics that will fight for Americans and make us great again, and he says American should avoid foreign entanglements; and then he belittles Reagan by way of praising Fascists. How many wars did Fascists launch? Reagan, though victorious over the Communists -- how many wars did he launch? And if the Fascists were so great, how can you admire the men like Patton who rolled them up?

The oily incoherence is fatter and more piggish than Trump's fingers.

This is may be pearls before swine, Jeff.

"Arabic Christians (and yes, plenty of them are Jew haters)"

Most Christians outside of America are Jew-haters. Most Christians in America hated Jews as well in the past. The Early Church Fathers hated Jews. GK Chesterton whom you get your blog name from was a staunch anti-semite alongside Hillaire Belloc. Philosemitism is not a Christian mandate and might actually be anti-Christian. Regardless, the needs of Christians are still more important than that of Jews or Muslims. Do you realize how it seems like Ted Cruz cares more about Jews than Christians since he was willing to let them die for not supporting his heretical Evangelical beliefs in Jewish moral spotlessness?

1. Well, if I said that liberals were changing the face of Christianity by promoting gay marriage and female headship you would say that wasn't Christianity. The same goes for the historic American Right. Neoconservatism is not the traditional American right wing of Coughlin, Ford, Lindbergh, the Christian Front, the America First Committee, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, Jackson and the the like.

You can not deny that the neoconservatives have always been seen as usurpers and are still seen that way by the remnants of the Old Right as well as the New Right/Alt Right.

2. Yes, of course, I wouldn't want to downplay the struggles and pain of those American boys who were lied to (Gulf of Tonkin incident) and treated like garbage by society when they returned. At the same time, that was Korea/Vietnam. Korea and Vietnam were not our problem and unlike the Bolshevik Movements in Russia, Germany and Spain which illicited violent reaction from the patriots of those nations, were not fought on our soil. There were Marxists and other subversive enemies in our country and instead of fighting them at home like the Russians, Germans, and Spanish we decided to fight communists in Asia who had no effect on our lives either way. Liberals like the homosexual Gore Vidal were more inline with the historic Right position than Buckley ever was. If only American right wingers had given Cultural Marxist wreckers the same treatment that P***y Riot got at the hands of the Cossack, but unfortunately Buckley had wrested the movement away from the American cossacks.

3. Fair enough, but he's still the only one to actually say anything about it. A man can have a change of heart and I don't see this with any of the other Republicans.

4. There is no justification for defending pedophilia. The rights of a nation to keep it's progeny unmolested and undamaged outweighs even the right to life of a sexual deviant. NRO should know this. The GOP defense of Bruce Jenner for being good on taxes also comes up when talking about this.

If you are not conserving anything, why call yourself conservative? NRO is not conserving and preserving Western morals. Same thing with Fox News and it's choice of using a Muslima anchor baby and a Latina anchor baby to try to stump the Trump, that is an implicit promotion of illegal immigration and Islamic immigration. If they really cared they would have a veteran of the current wars in Eurasia, an out of work factory worker, and a stay at home Christian mother who is appalled by the moral direction of the country.

This sort of "conservative" has spent too much time trying to appeal to the donor class than the base. Trump doesn't need donors, he doesn't need money or power, that's why he's appealing to the American.

I disagree with the firings of Derb and Steyn because they were both right. That's all I'll say about that.

6. Well look at the situation now. Do you see what the removal of Hussein has done? Seeing what you see know, can you really still support that decision? The paleoconservatives were the only members of the Right who were against that war, smart guys like Fleming and Buchanan.

On top of that, we never had a reason to attack him. Saddam was never a threat to America and was the protector of our Christian brethren just like Assad.

"Ajax appears to be in the very common category of commenter who perfectly happy to run his mouth without doing any homework at all. So we get another instance of the tiresome Angry Commenter Who Doesn't Know We Opposed the 2003 Iraq War."

I was unaware of that. Well props, it's a good thing you took the isolationist stance.

"I find it somewhat doubtful, in that light, that he really knows anything about neoconservatism at all, much less the general political relationship of this blog to it. I feel confident that I have read quite a bit more paleoconservative literature than he has neoconservative literature. Thus I regard Jeff's gentlemanly efforts as unlikely to achieve success in settling this agitated commenter down."

You may be right about me and neocon "lit" but I am certain I've read more paleoconservative literature than you have.

Now then. This is precisely the kind of obscenity that tends to follow from a compound of ignorance and bluster:

"A man says he wants a politics that will fight for Americans and make us great again, and he says American should avoid foreign entanglements; and then he belittles Reagan by way of praising Fascists. How many wars did Fascists launch? Reagan, though victorious over the Communists -- how many wars did he launch? And if the Fascists were so great, how can you admire the men like Patton who rolled them up?"

Shows how little you know. Patton was a fighter but towards the end of the war he had regrets for what he did to the Germans and he was vehemently anti-semitic. So, tell me, how do you admire Patton or Chesterton or any American or Christian before 1950? It seems like you are projecting upon me what you yourself feel. I have no cognitive dissonance, unlike you.

Reagan also started the whole amnesty thing. Thanks Reagan!!

Btw, Cella, did you just refer to the Falangists and Tsarists as "fascists"? Please tell me you know the difference between fascism and traditional conservatism.

Ajax will no longer be joining us. I'm sure he earned enormous sympathy for his preferred candidate with such gems of historical analysis, Christian charity, and powers of persuasion as this:

Most Christians outside of America are Jew-haters. Most Christians in America hated Jews as well in the past. The Early Church Fathers hated Jews. GK Chesterton whom you get your blog name from was a staunch anti-semite alongside Hillaire Belloc.
With the Iowa caucuses only a week away, we are at once dismayed at the necessity of such an editorial as this one and heartened by the unanimity in which it is offered.

I find that unanimity heartening as well. Join hands with National Review, ladies and gentlemen, and utter your denouncements in unison. Scream it loud, scream it proud. Make this your line in the sand: it's either Trump, or you!

See you after the caucuses.

Paul,

Well I tried :-)

Also, don't you love the cognitive dissonance on display with his answer to my (3):

"Fair enough, but he's still the only one to actually say anything about it."

What?!

As if almost every other candidate hasn't been falling over themselves to reassure the base that they are serious about doing something regarding the illegal immigration problem!

As I said, I tried.

Well, Trump is riding the nationalist wave in the West. Consider what just happened in Sweden of all places. It's just getting started.

As if almost every other candidate hasn't been falling over themselves to reassure the base that they are serious about doing something regarding the illegal immigration problem!

Trump is, so far, the most forthright of them. The base wants to see the illegals rounded up and sent out in droves. Either it's done peacefully now or in 10 years it will be accomplished with mass murder all across the West. If there's any justice, the activists and elites who are currently shrieking for tolerance and diversity will all be subjected to Soviety-style brutality for their activism and policies that is leading us down this dark road.

Put another way. We know Jeb Bush isn't serious because his heart is aligned with the illegals. Like Perry, he thinks the base needs to "have a heart." We know Rubio is a liar because he's had a chance to demonstrate his commitment and he tried to sell us out for blanket amnesty. Now he plays the hawk on immigration law and order. Sorry, not credible. Again, total steaming pile of bovine excrement until he has the courage to say he was utterly wrong, sincerely plead for forgiveness and ask for a second chance.

After Trump, the only real hawk is Cruz.

Mike,

Really, sometimes you drive me crazy! I think you've been hanging out over at Vox's place too much:

"If there's any justice, the activists and elites who are currently shrieking for tolerance and diversity will all be subjected to Soviety-style brutality for their activism and policies that is leading us down this dark road."

Once again, let me state for the record (and I think my fellow bloggers will back me up on this), "Soviet-style brutality" is not justice appropriate for civilized nations and is certainly not justice appropriate for a Christian nation!!! Please, Mike, get a hold of yourself. We've gone back and forth on this subject before -- whatever else my fellow American liberals are, (i.e. people who think homosexuality is O.K., who value "diversity" and more immigration, etc.) they are my political enemy and nothing else -- I do not wish any harm on them. I wish conversion and repentance first and foremost. If not that, then I hope to best their arguments and defeat them politically until they fade into the history books as irrelevant to the ultimate success of our country.

Mike T., bag it with the blood lust already. What's amazing is the way that you, Mike T., will put comments like that in our comments threads and then have the gall to get offended and imply that you have been misrepresented if it is ever so much as suggested that you and your preferred type of so-called "conservative" have a yen for violence and dark harm to those with whom you disagree politically. It has happened before and, I suppose if you keep hanging around here, it will happen again. The Internet is forever, and that type of comment is right out there, unless one of us chooses to delete it (which I'm not going to do in this particular case). And please spare us with the tu quoques about how many _more_ threats, more credible threats, worse threats, harm wishes, etc., etc., come from the left, which is where you always run next when someone points out what has just come out of your keyboard. Yah, we _know_ that. But we refuse to stoop to that level. Because, as it happens, we actually _do_ have a positive vision for what America should be. And hint: It doesn't include "Soviet-style brutality." Sheesh.

Either it's done peacefully now or in 10 years it will be accomplished with mass murder all across the West. If there's any justice, the activists and elites who are currently shrieking for tolerance and diversity will all be subjected to Soviety-style brutality for their activism and policies that is leading us down this dark road.

These people with whom we "merely disagree" are taking us down a path that will quite possibly end in a Holocaust of some sort. If that should happen because they are successful in defeating the sensible nationalists who want to merely deport the illegals and migrants, then they are guilty of creating the political grounds for mass murder. I freely admit that Soviet-style brutality was wrong of me to wish upon them, but if they get their way, I will not apologize for demanding a national case against them. Being deluded does not mitigate the real harm your policies do to real people. When 200 Swedish men are willing to carry out a violent attack more befitting Pakistan than Scandinavia, it's time to start taking the problem very seriously. Not many people in the US do, and they will be shocked if and when the result is a tragedy not seen in a few generations.

Ideas have consequences, and if your ideas result in mass murder then there is blood on your hands.

I wish conversion and repentance first and foremost. If not that, then I hope to best their arguments and defeat them politically until they fade into the history books as irrelevant to the ultimate success of our country.

I wish that too, I also wish them to be severely punished if they get their way and tragedy for a lot of people ensues. I would love to be wrong in my predictions because that would mean a happy ending for most people.

Now, back on topic (Trump), the real question is what happens if he's elected and pulls an Obama wherein he basically betrays everything that initially swept him in on a mandate. I think that will be a very serious blow to the legitimacy of our democratic system in the eyes of a lot of people.

My suspicion is that we will end up finding that Trump will do one of two things. Either he will enforce with great gusto the immigration laws and do a number of things that are borderline tyrannical like using civil asset forfeiture to pay for the wall (that is how Mexico can be "forced to pay for it") or he'll renege on almost everything. If the latter, God help us.

My fear is the latter because a lot of people are drafting him as the messiah of the right and putting an almost faith-filled fervor in him to fix their country. I just don't see God blessing that, so I'm hoping that if he wins he's at least so proud of himself that if elected he'll not want to tarnish his reputation by being known as a typical, lying politician.

Alright, Mike. Glad you settled down.

My disinclination to fervent prediction arises from an immediate memory of bewilderment at the paths history has trod. Should I board a suped-up Delorean and burst in on my self, circa January 2015, one year ago, and tell him Trump will likely win the nomination and -- Great Scott! -- you've got to do something about it! -- should all come to pass, assuredly my 2015 self would not believe . . . me.

The one virtue of Trump is that he has bravely said a lot of things that need saying. But for all the reasons laid out above, this virtue is manifestly outweighed by the vices. And again, have you seen Cruz react to prissy climate change activists, tangle some gay marriage trickster into knots? The man does not exactly quail from verbal confrontation.

Jeffrey S. wrote:

As if almost every other candidate hasn't been falling over themselves to reassure the base that they are serious about doing something regarding the illegal immigration problem!

It is important, however, to ask the question of what exactly constitutes "doing something regarding the illegal immigration problem". Amnesty, after all, is technically "doing something regarding the illegal immigration problem". Trump supporters, with whom I would concur on this, would say that it is the wrong thing to do about it. I can think of many Christians who think that it is the right and Christian thing to do about it, because it seems the compassionate and merciful thing to do, provided one does not think long and hard about whether compassion and mercy to one group of people (illegal aliens) might in these circumstances constitute a withholding of compassion and mercy to another group of people (one's countrymen) or worse an outright betrayal of the latter. Amnesty, however merciful or compassionate we may think it to be, invites further illegal immigration and makes the problem worse.

The Republican Party has a long track record of accusing the Democrats of promoting amnesty only to turn around and vote for it themselves. Perhaps Trump might, as has been suggested here, backtrack and betray his supporters on these issues, but that any other candidate would do so is, if not certain, the next thing to it.

At any rate, the value of the Trump campaign to many, including those such as myself watching the campaign from the outside with a certain degree of sympathy, is the way it has been breaking down all the barriers that the left has erected over the course of the last several decades to any open and honest discussion of immigration, ethnicity and that entire family of issues.

but that any other candidate would do so [pass an amnesty] is, if not certain, the next thing to it.

I think that's a wild exaggeration, in the category of Needing Doc and a Delorean predict it. Meanwhile, in recent history, Cruz has actually defied Republican leadership on many things, sometimes in the teeth of severe pressure. He drove all liberals and half the GOP (but I repeat myself) to distraction back in 2013. By implication he embarrassed all the Establishment figures who predicted doom in 2014 after his antics in 2013. He was one of the few that actually went to Washington with a real notion of gumming up the works and not giving a rip what people said. You know, Opposition.

It's bizarre to me that sane men suggest that Trump would be a more reliable obstacle to the DC status quo than Cruz.

the way it has been breaking down all the barriers that the left has erected over the course of the last several decades to any open and honest discussion of immigration, ethnicity and that entire family of issues.

To me our public conversation seems more stultified and embittered than ever.

My disinclination to fervent prediction arises from an immediate memory of bewilderment at the paths history has trod. Should I board a suped-up Delorean and burst in on my self, circa January 2015, one year ago, and tell him Trump will likely win the nomination and -- Great Scott! -- you've got to do something about it! -- should all come to pass, assuredly my 2015 self would not believe . . . me.

I guess that's just one area where we're different. If I could do the same, my 2015 self would not have been surprised because I'm watching certain particular patterns like the way people are viewing government and some other things. Congress has something like a 9% approval rating. You could probably find about that many Americans that approve of North Korea.

Another thing about Trump that should really bother us is that the public has increasingly come to view corruption as just what the government is and does. Look at how Clinton is being treated over the email scandal. Any analyst that moves SAP materials to a non-classified device would be indicted so damn fast their head would spin like a helicopter. The public looks at things like this, all the way to countless videos of public officials (particularly police) breaking the law with impunity and actually respect a man who says he buys them and uses them. That makes no sense until you consider that "at least he's honest" and think that if the government is already that corrupt, maybe he knows how to make people get in line.

The very fact that only two of the candidates there seem to be sufficiently hawkish to not bend to the RNC and the US Chamber of Commerce itself speaks volumes about the abysmal state of our politics. I don't know how anyone can even support Rubio at this point if they care at all about the issue. If you believe he's not an immigration dove after seeing what he did when he had a chance to actually legislate a solution as a member of the "Gang of 8," then you are probably too stupid to be allowed to vote.

'bag it with the bloodlust'

Apparently, even harsh language can't be used to fight 'the 10th Crusade'.

Tell me Lydia, how do you fight 'the 10th Crusade'? With a takedown on Twitter? Yeah, that'll show them!

Apparently, even harsh language can't be used to fight 'the 10th Crusade'.

Haven't you heard, Slider? The 10th Crusade will be against the REAL threats to Christianity - Christians who use coarse language and who aren't sufficiently gracious enough with liberals and atheists.

Slider,

Why single out Lydia? I was the first one to criticize Mike T for his inappropriate language, language that wasn't "harsh" but that was calling for "Soviet-style brutality" against our enemies?! The day Christians stoop to such evil is a sad day in Christendom -- there are times when we need to fight evil with more than words, but our political enemies, who have not committed any violent crimes against anyone and who remain our fellow citizens (and neighbors, and in some cases relatives) are never the appropriate targets of violence.

The fact that some Christians (I'm assuming you are a believer Slider) have a hard time figuring our basic Christian ethics worries me.

but our political enemies, who have not committed any violent crimes against anyone

Of course not! Why, they just fine you into oblivion or jail you for refusing to service a same-sex wedding, strive to get you fired from your job, keep you from being hired owing to your political and religious views, shut down your organizations, try to take your guns away, control your schools, force you to send your children to schools that teach their preferred politics, and turn a blind eye to death threats and harassment aimed at you. All this and more.

All quite tolerable, and others have had it worse. Goodness gracious, to think some people think that there should be firm punishment for that kind of things? The mere threat of such is unthinkable.

Neither Slider nor Crude has read this whole thread, since it has been repeatedly stated that nothing in the OP or anything since then, even comes close to saying that salty language, or a gruff demeanor, or a hard-headed rhetorical posture vis-a-vis opponents, disqualifies a man from high office.

Again we get the petulants who won't do their homework.

I have to say that these stories about illegal immigrants and visa immigrants working for Trump, which I've heard before, are not very convincing of anything. Trump has literally worked hundreds of projects over his career and over three decades ago some contractor he hired for a job in turn hired some illegal Poles to clear a couple blocks. My hair is not exactly standing on end. Maybe there are a handful of other stories like this out there but I don't think it's meaningful. Trump has always had a reputation of getting along with his workers and blue collar workers generally.

I've seen these stories about Trump hiring temporary visa workers for his resorts. Most of these come from Europe. So Trump wants to hire some young, pretty Euro women who have manners, good posture, hospitality skills and exotic accents to create a certain atmosphere for his wealthy customers. I really don't have a problem with that.

Trump has talked about at his rallies that he doesn't want his deportation program to adversely affect local economies and suggested that some seasonal work visas could be used to bring people back in after deportation where they are needed. It may take a few years for various American industries to transition towards hiring Americans rather than immigrants and seasonal visas can be used in the meantime.

I think Trump's popularity more than any other factor, and there are probably several, is that he gives so many different people hope for the first time in a long time.

Here is just one example, this is from a rally in Beaumont, TX last November. At this particular rally he brought up to the stage some people who've had family members killed by illegal immigrants and are still waiting for justice. No other candidate running would be able to do this and be credible. The relevant part, where each guest comes to the microphone to tell their story, starts at the 10:00 minute mark:

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/11/14/8000-attend-donald-trump-rally-in-beaumont-texas-video/comment-page-1/

Money quote, in broken voice: "I want to thank you Mr. Trump for everything you're doing. And, you're our only hope. We love you. We love you."


As far as Trump's rhetoric or tweets, some of it is cringeworthy but one thing I think Ajax is right about is that politics have been feminized over the decades by the participation of women and we've forgotten how nasty politics has been in the past. Politics is a kind of war, real power is at stake. The Left has understood this forever. See these articles by John Nolte at Breitbart, who was not a Trump supporter for the longest time but may be coming around:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/01/29/total-war-trump-goes-after-psycho-manchester-union-leader/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/27/why-we-lose-fox-ridicules-frontrunner-gop-candidates-side-with-fox/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/01/28/why-we-lose-john-mccain-blasts-trump-for-destruction-of-the-press/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/01/22/why-we-lose-national-review-launches-victorian-era-attack-on-donald-trump/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/11/why-we-lose-gop-candidates-condemn-trumps-bill-clinton-attacks/

I would say that the one thing about Trump that still bothers me is his enthusiastic desire to bring back water boarding if necessary. Though I'm fairly certain he doesn't consider water boarding torture as I didn't for a long time. It's not an obvious conclusion to reach (like electrocution, breaking bones, prolonged solitary confinement) and it takes time and consideration to get there as I can attest to. So I still have hope there. But at least he's not talking about carpet bombing the middle east like Cruz.

Neither Slider nor Crude has read this whole thread, since it has been repeatedly stated that nothing in the OP or anything since then, even comes close to saying that salty language, or a gruff demeanor, or a hard-headed rhetorical posture vis-a-vis opponents, disqualifies a man from high office.

And apparently Paul J Cella isn't reading the actual exchanges being responded to, since I'm expressly questioning this idea that our opponents are guilty of nothing more than mere political disagreement, as well as the tut-tutting of conservatives. In fact, let's pull out this gem from the OP:

As has been emphasized already, Trump’s bombast and vulgarity serve to confirm in the minds of many a false and scandalous impression of conservative “thought” as neither particularly thoughtful nor even minimally decent. And if conservatism does not stand for the maintenance of standards, what then is it for?

Behold, the heart of conservatism: maintaining standards of decency, condemning bombast and vulgarity, particularly that which would make conservative thought seem scandalous. Scandalous to who, one is forced to ask, considering Trump is the hands-down most popular GOP candidate right now, among GOP voters themselves?

Really, Paul. On the charge of petulance: physician, heal thyself.

our political enemies, who have not committed any violent crimes against anyone
So partial birth abortion is not a violent crime? To split families is not violence against family? To legalize mercy-killing is not violence against elderly and retarded?

I have a couple comments apparently sitting in moderation from earlier today. Was it the links I included?

Jeffrey S,
To propagandize in favor of abortion is exactly the same as inciting murderous hatred against Jews. To call pregnancy a disease is precisely calling Jews pestilence.
So you would be a favor of extending the same courtesy to Nazis, were they your compatriots, as you would to leaders of liberal thought?
Now, the same leaders are moving towards a policy of confiscating children of religious believers. Would you be still extending courtesy to them?

The Trump phenomenon is the evidence that dissident Right has spread over mainstream right. I still recall the unfeigned joy and glee that greeted Romney's defeat at alt-right sites. Now even famously mild Dreher has caught the fever and feels that the infamy must be crushed. So, over the Right, emotion rules (perhaps rightly) and not the reason.

'who have not committed any violent crimes'

Excuse me? I thought '10th Crusade' refers to Liberalism AND Jihadism? Liberals may have been non-violent for the most part but certainly not Muslims. And I would make a distinction between those who predict violence against Muslims and those advocating it. I and others are worried that if Europeans don't do the civilized thing and deport Muslims then there WILL be violence (I can be a good Christian but I can't control other people). Or they'll just surrender. Remember the Weimar Republic gave rise to Nazism.

Andrew E. -- your comment is posted. Multiple links will trigger it.

Crude says little about Trump, but gives us this spyhole into incoherence:

"Christians who use coarse language and who aren't sufficiently gracious enough with liberals and atheists"

gets converted into

"I'm expressly questioning this idea that our opponents are guilty of nothing more than mere political disagreement, as well as the tut-tutting of conservatives"

Fat fingers and incoherent arguments.

On another topic, those who think Cruz is anything but the typical Washington politician needs to do more research. Fortunately, the blogger Sundance has done yoeman's work on this. See this important post outlining how Cruz sided with the GOP Establishment (ie. Mitch McConnell) for the 2014 mid-term cycle in order to gain blessing for a future Presidential run. Those ambitions! Cruz was complicit in the election fraud in the Mississippi Senate race that year and then goes around saying how disgusting it was that the DC Establishment could do such a thing. This post also demonstrates why having Glenn Beck as your primary endorsement is not a good thing.

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/01/27/heres-why-ted-cruz-has-already-lost-iowa-glenn-beck-lying-version/

Another thing is Cruz has been going around saying he worked to stop the amnesty of 2014. But the bill passed the Senate because of Cruz and the open borders crowd were happy to take citizenship off the table if that guaranteed passage for legal status becuase they knew that after a few years momentum would build for a new bill that would grant citizenship to these same people. What stopped the amnesty was Eric Cantor getting primaried by Dave Brat two days before final passage was scheduled. Cruz knows this but he doesn't say so.

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/12/17/just-how-close-was-the-2014-amnesty-vote-heres-the-back-story/


Has there been any discussion here of Cruz's status as a natural born citizen? There is a real question here. And lots of unanswered questions. See here for example:

http://www.trumpstrategy.com/2016/01/17-unanswered-questions-about-teds.html

Paul, thanks. Just re-submitted another comment I tried posting earlier today with a few links. This one having more to do with Cruz.

Paul, sniffing with disdain at his blow not landing, delicately tries for another slap:

"Christians who use coarse language and who aren't sufficiently gracious enough with liberals and atheists"

gets converted into

"I'm expressly questioning this idea that our opponents are guilty of nothing more than mere political disagreement, as well as the tut-tutting of conservatives"

Since you clearly need spoonfeeding, Cella, I'll spell things out for you: I criticized the idea that our political opponents are guilty of mere political disagreement, as well as 'The Editors' tut-tutting of conservatives who dare speak in ways that liberals will find objectionable. Shall I quote the OP again?

As has been emphasized already, Trump’s bombast and vulgarity serve to confirm in the minds of many a false and scandalous impression of conservative “thought” as neither particularly thoughtful nor even minimally decent. And if conservatism does not stand for the maintenance of standards, what then is it for?

No fat fingers here, Paul. It's the thickness of your head which is the culprit, sorry to say.

But, it is now February 1st. Let's see how the coming weeks go in the primaries, eh? It may reveal that the would-be leaders of the Tenth Crusade have been unceremoniously demoted.

who remain our fellow citizens (and neighbors, and in some cases relatives)
Bible never make idol out of neighborliness. Very harsh treatment was meted out to Hebrews that strayed out to interact with local girls or engage in local customs. . The total defeat and collapse of social conservatism is no mystery given this attitude of never offending against neighborliness. When does this tolerance turn into condoning and conniving at the evil perpetrated by the same neighbors?

Bombast and vacuous posturing are at par for most Republican candidates. It goes with the territory For instance famously mild Jeb Bush says (quoted at NRO):

This election is not about our pedigree, this is an election about people that are really hurting. We need a leader that will fix things and have a proven record to do it. And we need someone who will take on Hillary Clinton in November. Someone who has a proven record, who has been tested, who is totally transparent.

Is this not fascistic leader-worship?

And not to mention world war-inducing posturing of the Republican candidates- Rubio, Carly, Huckabee, reflected in the calls to total war by the editors themselves. But the Republican voters no longer want any of this.

It turns out the GOP wasn’t simply out of touch with its voters; the party had no idea who its voters were or what they believed. For decades, party leaders and intellectuals imagined that most Republicans were broadly libertarian on economics and basically neoconservative on foreign policy. That may sound absurd now, after Trump has attacked nearly the entire Republican catechism (he savaged the Iraq War and hedge fund managers in the same debate) and been greatly rewarded for it, but that was the assumption the GOP brain trust operated under.
Tucker Carlson.

Well, Crude, looking at your comments (ctrl-F) I see the first one a taunt of exiguous substance, with one reference to National Review, pure non sequitur; and a second one of bitter sarcasm characterizing the W4 editorial as arguing that "use of coarse language" and insufficient grace "with liberals and atheists," disqualifies a man from high office.

My read of your cluelessness stands.

It's worth adding to the comments policy reminder that contentless personal insult is also against our comments policy and is merely wasting bandwidth. While the worst of the spamming attempts in this thread, containing the material referred to in the update to the main post, have been deleted (so some commentators may wonder to what or whom that warning is referring), what we're seeing from others who are still in the thread is mere repetitive insult which adds nothing to the discussion.

What appears to have kicked off this little spate of accusations of "over-neighborliness" and "not wanting to say anything that offends liberals" is the exchange, above, with Mike T., in the course of which he himself (to his credit) admitted that it was wrong of him to wish "Soviet-style brutality" upon leftists.

Anyone who does not know the difference between merely being sharp or harsh in language or saying things that liberals will find objectionable, and wishing that one's political enemies would be subject to "Soviet-style brutality" is not qualified to participate in a constitutional Republic.

And anyone who does not know the difference between Trump's ignorant, caddish bombast and manly toughness, and who even admires him for his behavior, is not mature enough to participate in civilization.

Lydia,

Amen to your 9:27 AM comment.

I do want to respond to one comment made by Bedarz, address to me: "To propagandize in favor of abortion is exactly the same as inciting murderous hatred against Jews." First, it is not "exactly the same" -- there are a variety of reasons why distinctions need to be made. But for the sake of argument, let's say there are some similarities -- a group of people (the unborn) are being singled out for murder. The proper response in a constitutional republic is to convince our fellow citizens that they are misguided to single these people out, that they deserve legal protection and are just as innocent as...let's say a Jew in Nazi Germany, and someday attitudes and hearts will change so that laws will change and someone who performs an abortion will be tried for murder by the judicial process and justice will be done. That's how we deal with the problem of abortion in America in 2016 and in the future.

Immigration is the most important issue in this election.

Trump is, and has been for the past 6 months and longer, way ahead of all the other candidates on that issue. It's not even close. It's as if he's calling for us to man the lifeboats while the rest are arguing about how to arrange the deck chairs --only now thanks to Trump, they're calling for deck chair patterns that are more lifeboat drill accessible.

Trade is a close second; same story.

Really it boils down to nationalism vs. globalism, and in there it's is one nationalist (Trump) vs. the rest, globalists all, in both parties.

Your case against Trump, like others I've seen (and believe me I've looked) --that he hasn't been making these conservative arguments long enough, or that he can't be trusted and might just set himself up as Caesar or something, or that can't win, is irrelevant.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.

If being a conservative for a long time mattered, we would have elected Pat Buchanan for two terms at some point in the last quarter century.

If he can't be trusted to do what he says, or is dangerous to the Republic, there is always impeachment. He'd have won by fraud, which sounds close enough to a high crime and misdemeanor for me. Again, what's the alternative? Elect someone who is not on record calling for dramatic measures on immigration and trade? How is that better?

Is the argument really, 'let's be careful and vote for someone who refuses to promise to do the right things, instead of the one guy who does, just so we don't get hoodwinked and have to recall that promising guy or hold him to his promises'? If so, then it sounds like main stream conservatism has 'internalized the commands of its oppressors.'

Where is your courage?

If he doesn't come through we could yank him. What's the problem? 'He's lying about promising to help us so let's elect the guy who won't even bother to promise to help us?' Is that it? Makes no sense. At least with the former, we would have a sort of actionable moral claim to being ripped off. With the latter we won't even have that.

Cruz will just say, in his lawyerly way, I never promised that. And he would be right.

Your argument against boils down to: he's a fraud.

My argument for is: he's the only one promising to do enough about the most important issues. I imagine someone probably thought Churchill was a fraud too, but if it's between a Churchill whose promises you doubt, and a Chamberlain who won't even dare to promise --and the fight is existentially necessary, then....

Is the argument really, 'let's be careful and vote for someone who refuses to promise to do the right things, instead of the one guy who does, just so we don't get hoodwinked and have to recall that promising guy or hold him to his promises'?

Uh, no, the argument inter alia is, "Let's not even think of supporting for high office a man who is manifestly unqualified in multiple, crucial ways."

I don't agree that "Immigration is the most important issue in this election" or that "Trade is a close second." I strongly agree with Trump on the first and strongly disagree with him on the second. American manufacturing is doing just fine right now, even in the teeth of industrial policy and capital manipulation all over the world, and our own idiot policies at home. Especially when one reflects that the energy industry is a large portion of manufacturing base, it's fair to say that capital production of manufactured goods has preserved our country against enormous economic decline these past five or so years. American oil and gas is still flowing, despite Saudi manipulation, Russian adventurism, and homegrown climate change imbecility. Tariffs and protectionism are a sure way to hamstring one of the few highlights of the American economy since Obama took office.

I strongly agree with Trump on the first

And I can't resist adding that the very notion of agreeing with Trump has to be qualified to, "agreeing with the words that have been coming out of Trump's mouth lately." As the man has, in my opinion, no integrity whatsoever, there is no reason to believe that what he says about immigration or any other policy issue is really his considered opinion about what is best in that policy area. I have said for a while that it is a great shame that the notion of, for example, stopping Muslim immigration should ever have been apparently endorsed by Trump, because it is an idea that deserves a better advocate (read, a sincere advocate with actual thoughts and actual concern for the common good) and a better hearing.

Lydia, I'm going to disagree slightly. I do give Trump credit for making immigration in general, and especially Muslim immigration a major campaign issue. He has moved the whole conversation a couple degrees to the right. His aggressive treatment of, e. g., Jorge Ramos and his defiance of the media storm that greeted his proposal to end Muslim immigration were worthy patriotic achievements, whatever sincerity or lack there of triggered them.

That said, I share your skepticism of how genuine his views are, and regard him as much more likely to capitulate to the DC status quo than, say, Senator Cruz. Or even Rubio for that matter.

The only good thing that _might_ come out of Trump's candidacy, if there are any who have ears to hear, is that it is possible to take positions (such as ending Muslim immigration) that are overwhelmingly unpopular with the left and not only retaining but even garnering support among the Republican base not only in spite of, but because of, those positions. Whether any particular position is a wise or unwise one, of course, depends upon the particulars, but if there are politicians watching they should heed the lesson. It obviously could be well applied to social issues such as abortion, homosexuality, transexuality, women in combat, etc.

Christopher,

You say, "I imagine someone probably thought Churchill was a fraud too"; well, I highly doubt it (plenty of people disagreed with Churchill's ideas, but practically no one doubted his sincerity) but when it comes to Trump, we have actual evidence that he's a fraud:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430584/donald-trump-2016-iowan-man-accuses-trump-swindling

Not to mention his long track record to saying whatever he needs to say to keep customers and politicians he relies on happy...

What astonishes me is that anyone, anyone, could fail to see that it is precisely *because* one has a positive vision of America that one must oppose a man like Trump, who is utterly at odds with any constructive, positive vision. It is when one has a positive vision that one insists upon voting for leaders for high office who are, at a minimum, honorable men whom other honorable men can admire. No, perfection is not required, either in personal matters or in policy matters. But there has to be *something* there that is not merely negative--something good, classy, admirable, wise, honest, courageous, etc. Demanding such qualifications in potential leadership is an automatic concomitant of having a healthy, positive patriotism and vision of one's own country.

If immigration and trade aren't the top two issues, then what are the top issues? (Pardon me for asking. It's not an entirely rhetorical question; I wasn't able to use the search feature and I haven't popped over to read this site in a while, so I don't really have an idea what you consider most important.)

I'd put abortion and religious liberty above those two; and, while immigration is a part of it, the Jihad is hardly a challenge that is confined to immigration policy. So I'd put that ahead of immigration and trade. Honestly, for me trade is way down the list. It's not so much foreign tariffs and currency manipulation as our own stupid policies that harm our manufacturing. In other words, even with trading partners who are less than fair or honest, American products and especially American capital goods do just fine on the market, were it not for our own stupidity.

So Trump should stop blaming foreigners and start blaming bad liberal policies -- environmental, regulatory, union-friendly, etc.

Yes, even as far as economic policy is concerned, domestic free market reforms would do a lot more for job creation and economic health than the restriction of trade. Though I'm by no means a free trade absolutist (I'd be happy to see us consider restricting trade with China, for a whole variety of reasons), I don't tend to think that restricted trade is particularly helpful to America. So even from that perspective, there are far more important issues for helping Americans economically than trade.

Yet another example of why men like Trump are ascendant. (A bunch of migrants violently assaulted two elderly men for having the temerity to stand up for a young woman). The government was quick to use its monopoly on the use of lawful force to bring the situation to a just resolution:

'The man's attacker fell back in his four-seater. There were four asylum seekers now involved, staring at us and two other older gentlemen angrily. 'There were about 10-15 people beside and behind me. The situation was brought under control. When the train reached the station I called the police. They said there was nothing they could do.' The incident is the latest violent coming together of asylum seekers and Germans to have come to light in recent weeks.

Or rather, the same police that have been helping suppress the reports of rampant criminality didn't do a damn thing.

The status quo has rendered itself illegitimate in the eyes of millions on both sides of the Atlantic. First, it'll be men like Cruz and Trump. Then if the SJWs are successful in thwarting their lawful tactics, it will be men more like Mussolini and Hitler that take charge. This garbage will end one way or another. It will end either in a mass deportation or a Holocaust.

What astonishes me is that anyone, anyone, could fail to see that it is precisely *because* one has a positive vision of America that one must oppose a man like Trump, who is utterly at odds with any constructive, positive vision.

If America's demographics continue to get redone by the globalists and those fitting a certain "twitter insult," then your positive vision will be just utopian dreaming. Mexico has two leading parties and both of them are members of the Socialist International. We are rapidly importing a reliable, committed left-wing electorate. But that's not all. We're adding 1M "legal" immigrants a year as well. The melting pot is gone. Welcome to the beef stew.

Like Europe, we are reaching a point where not even religious liberty matters first. If our demographics change permanently, then so does the very nature of American culture. Our culture is simply not resilient in the face of a mass importation of millions upon millions of immigrants. No culture is. That path has reliably resulting in the dissolution of societies like ours in the past. That's why as bad as he is, Trump is better than most of the other candidates. A questionable immigration hawk is superior to a proven dove.

So Trump should stop blaming foreigners and start blaming bad liberal policies -- environmental, regulatory, union-friendly, etc.

Who do you think are taking the majority of new jobs, Paul?

your positive vision will be just utopian dreaming.

Which says not one single thing to support the contention that I or anyone else should vote for a hollow man like the Donald. Nothing whatsoever.

Alastair Roberts's article is worth reading. We who oppose Trump should be as charitable as we can be with most of his supporters, who are a significant part of the base of support that we must appeal to to politically defeat secular liberalism and Islam.

http://mereorthodoxy.com/donald-trump-evangelicals-working-class/

If the choice is Clinton vs Trump, then you should consider voting for Trump because she is probably the single worst candidate to ever run for the Presidency since the founding of the republic.

Jeffrey S,

The proper response in a constitutional republic is to convince our fellow citizens that they are misguided to single these people out, that they deserve legal protection

Was this how slavery was eliminated in the United States?
When you have legalized abortion (particularly by judicial usurpation), you do not have a constitutional republic any longer. We have been living in a state of permanent revolution for the past century, not in a constitutional republic.

' not one single thing to support the contention that I or anyone else should vote for a hollow man like the Donald.'

Poor Lydia, trying in vain to find a virgin in a brothel. Where is this dream candidate of yours? Cruz? Forget it. I actually like the guy but if you think the Obama birthers are a pain, you haven't seen anything yet! Even if there is a consensus among constitutional scholars, you think that will stop the Left? Cruz will wear an anchor through the whole campaign and if, by some miracle, he wins, no one will let him do anything in office.

Your whole argument is premised on the opinion that immigration is not the top issue. Well, Trumpers think it is. In which case, Christopher said exactly what needs to said. Immigration changes culture, culture is going to determine everything from abortion to economic policy to what have you. And yet you rely on some vague notion that he's unqualified. He has executive experience in the business world. How many candidates remaining has better qualifications than that?

if we can somehow explain this irrational embrace of Trump, then we have arrived at some kind of justification for it. Not so.
I think the vulnerability in the editors' prediction (not in the substance of their criticism of Trump, with which I cannot disagree), is they seem to overestimate the seriousness of the voting population.

Well, perhaps not. I just had this conversation with my brother-in-law: He was talking for some time to a rabid Trumpkin, one who appealed to the glories of a Trump in office for a long while, and who then ended up admonishing him with "at least we don't want that idiot billionaire who fires people on reality TV." This man seriously bifurcated the candidate "Trump" from the TV star "Trump', making one Trump into 2 people. Somehow. It proved impossible to enlighten him with the truth. That's the insanity we are dealing with in Trumpkins.

Many of the Trumpkin popular front seem to be taken with the fact that the man can say what he thinks without being mealy-mouthed or apologetic. But what they are admiring, in reality, is a man who can't think what he thinks in words larger than 4 letters. A man need not be mealy-mouthed, pliant, or limp-wristed in order to speak well. He can choose to speak forthrightly, to speak harshly about things that are evil, to be direct and forceful, and still manage to avoid four-letter words non-stop. An intelligent man can denigrate his opponent's so-called character without being vulgar, he can oppose lies without resorting to his own lies and worse (what's worse? not credible lies).

And above all else, the American populace wants to be entertained.

A man worthy of high office can take the time to think out how he is going to grab the attention of those with short attention spans without resorting to obscenity and pandering to their basest instincts of foulness. We could forgive his insults if he could manage to carry them off with some intelligence instead of mere crassness. Inventive invective is FUN, once you get into it. If you have a brain, anyway. Less fun for those who are unable to manage it.

They're sick of foreign wars, being sucked dry by Wall Street and the banks, and social degeneracy.

Interestingly, the people sick of being sucked dry by Wall Street and the banks are prepared to hand it over to a man raised in Manhattan, a man who routinely does Big Banking to "create" the funding for a new casino-hotel, etc. And are eager to be led out of social degeneracy by a man who boasts of repeated adultery, who thinks of casinos as "productive". And has this to say about avoiding foreign wars:

“Take back the oil. Once you go over and take back that oil, they have nothing. You bomb the hell out of them [ISIS], and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil, they have nothing left.”

He continued: “I would hit them so hard. I would find you a proper general, I would find the Patton or MacArthur. I would hit them so hard your head would spin.”

So, yes, taking the temperature of the American public who are sick of foreign wars, Wall Street, big banking, and social degeneracy, we can be sure they will elect a war-monger, Big Banking tycoon social degenerate. Good going, there.

The editors err in applying concepts of normal politics in a situation of possibly abnormal politics. From NRO today:

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both capitalized on a shared anxiety among a plurality of voters at both ends of the political spectrum: that American politics as presently constituted is illegitimate, that the people pulling the levers of power, whether in the committee rooms of Congress or the boardrooms of Goldman Sachs, have no legitimate claim to that power — because they have acted immorally in the dispensation of it.
On the right, moderate, working-class voters, mainly white, feel that a professional class has used the esoteric financial and monetary devices at its disposal to undermine blue-collar workers, and connived to ensure that representatives in government abet its schemes, usually by jiggering the rules to import cheap, foreign labor.

So, if the analysis is correct, the working people of the Right have rejected financial capitalism. This rejection is even more clearer on the Left and constitutes Sanders' support. I myself welcome this trend and even if neither Trump nor Sanders makes it to White House this time, this trend can only grow.

Tony,
Perhaps, people are tired of meaningless wars and not of wars as such. They might think that wars must be fought for national interest and fought to win.

Jeffrey S,

The proper response in a constitutional republic is to convince our fellow citizens

And meanwhile all the Jews have been killed.
That's how we deal with the problem of abortion in America in 2016 and in the future.

Correction: this is how we have refused to deal with the problem of abortion in America.

Let's not make an idol of the republic. It is merely a means to certain ends. It is also self-contradictory to the ideals of the republic as understood by the Founders.
1) 2nd Amendment is understood by the conservatives as a safeguard against a tyrannical govt. Indeed, this is understood as the very purpose for which 2nd Amendment was crafted. Evidently, the Founders did not lack belief in more muscular way of persuasion that is provided by the 2nd Amendment.
2) The very republic would not exist if the Founders thought that they must always continue to convince others. At one point, their patience was exhausted.

About voting or not voting for the lesser evil. I have read somewhere that the recently passed federal budget fully funds Planned Parenthood. This budget is passed by a House that is controlled by the Republicans. Now, if this be true, how could a pro-lifer that avoids voting for any evil vote for any Republican?

The pro-lifer is forced into the position held by Zippy--he must not vote at all.

Immigration is the most important issue in this election.

Trump is, and has been for the past 6 months and longer, way ahead of all the other candidates on that issue.

Christopher, immigration is not the most important issue. It is, admittedly, one of the more URGENT issues (at least part of it is). Some problems need to be dealt with near term, others long term. The security aspect of immigration is the truly urgent part of the immigration problem, and it is important, but not THE most important. Overall, what's most important right now is to turn the direction, the trending, of the national ethos away from the encroaching evils - mostly moral evils - that have us beleaguered on so many sides, i.e. a turn TO the virtues that are intrinsically necessary for a healthy polity. Without such a turn, there is simply no hope for America as an ongoing concern, no matter how much is done about immigration. Unfortunately, Trump does not appear to be even aware of what constitutes the core of that. He appears to be completely unaware that virtue in the citizenry is even more important than guns.

In any case, little that Trump claims he would DO about immigration is credible, because he simply has no plausible prospect of turning general ideas into actual facts on the ground through negotiations that necessarily involve Congress. I suppose that if Ted Cruz were the Senate majority leader, Trump could get a harsh immigration policy through the Senate, but then it would be Cruz, not Trump, that does it. And Cruz won't be the majority leader if Trump wins the nomination.

Trade is a close second; same story.

Really it boils down to nationalism vs. globalism, and in there it's is one nationalist (Trump) vs. the rest, globalists all, in both parties.

Trade and the economy is an important part of the nation's good, and any good president must attend to that. On this issue, Trump is far less wrong than any of the out-of-the-closet liberals, the Dems vying for the nomination. But he is less than sound on what is actually GOOD in terms of commerce and trade. His programme of operations over Trump, Inc. shows that: his 1980's leveraged buyouts to the point of bankruptcy (in 1990) is the model of finance capitalism, not of any healthy commercial system. A man who, with complete control of a billion-dollar empire, can think of nothing better to do with his money than to build a casino, shows his contempt of the real virtues of commerce.

If he can't be trusted to do what he says, or is dangerous to the Republic, there is always impeachment. He'd have won by fraud, which sounds close enough to a high crime and misdemeanor for me.

The notion that should we decide we needed it, we would succeed in a national recall by impeachment, of a politician who "can't be trusted to do what he says", died in the chambers of Congress with Bill Clinton in the docket. It is nothing but naive to propose this as the proper model of how to handle a man of whom we have no rational basis for trust BEFORE his election - to vote for him and then SEE if he is trustworthy. Trump has spent decades in the spotlight of public attention, and never has he been known to be trustworthy about things unconnected to his own financial interest. Ask his wives (and children - by 3 different wives) about his trustworthiness.

Tony, Perhaps, people are tired of meaningless wars and not of wars as such. They might think that wars must be fought for national interest and fought to win.

Bedarz, are you implying that bombing and invading ISIS would be an appropriate war "for national interest"? That's what the quote from Trump proposes. After Iraq? What would be the definition of "national interest" - something like "a war that we win", maybe?

Given your views on wars of conquest, I suppose that the answer is yes, as long as we win it. Not sure, given the Middle East and its 4000 year history of troubles, why anyone thinks we can "win" there over ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and all the STATE sponsors of evil in the region.

In any case, Trump gives us no particular reason to think that he has any principled concept of "wars of national interest" to keep us out of the rest. He runs by the seat of his pants on this, not on principle. That would be OK in someone who HAS principles, and virtues, so that we could trust his instincts. He isn't that man.

Tony,

You are flat out wrong:

In any case, little that Trump claims he would DO about immigration is credible, because he simply has no plausible prospect of turning general ideas into actual facts on the ground through negotiations that necessarily involve Congress. I suppose that if Ted Cruz were the Senate majority leader, Trump could get a harsh immigration policy through the Senate, but then it would be Cruz, not Trump, that does it. And Cruz won't be the majority leader if Trump wins the nomination.

Under existing law, Trump would have sweeping powers to reform immigration without consulting Congress. Several generations ago, Congress passed laws that effectively give the executive branch rather extreme discretionary power to determine who can come and who can stay. If the President merely decides that your group is "not good for America" and you aren't citizens, out you go. That's how much power Congress put in the President's hands to deal with groups like Communists in the past.

Sure, he might need to work with Congress on the particulars of certain funding deals, but Trump could activate the National Guard and deploy the Army without their consent. It's a domestic deployment, so as long as he has the governors' support, the Army can help detain people on the Southern border. No Republican in Congress or on the border wants to be known as "that guy" who stood in Trump's way on doing such things in the name of "civil rights" or some other nonsense. It'll at worst come down to a budget fight.

As for the security angle being the primary importance, that's relative. As I said above, the demographics matter just as much. In fact everything you say about virtue is impacted by immigration. Importing millions of Mexicans is importing millions of future Bernie Sanders voters because that is how Mexico's politics look.

Christopher McCartney, you may find this article interesting. I don't know if its analysis is true, but I hope it is.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/why-trump-lost-iowa/article/2000872#.VrCuoYpKVFx.twitter

In any event, the question of how to talk to someone who is a Trumpkin is a difficult question of rhetoric. I tend to think attempting to reason with them, as did the NRO symposium, is legitimate. It assumes that they are capable of being swayed by reason, and it would be more insulting to assume that they are not. But of course one should not grant that it is _reasonable_ for them to support Trump if one thinks this is importantly false.

1) 2nd Amendment is understood by the conservatives as a safeguard against a tyrannical govt. Indeed, this is understood as the very purpose for which 2nd Amendment was crafted. Evidently, the Founders did not lack belief in more muscular way of persuasion that is provided by the 2nd Amendment. 2) The very republic would not exist if the Founders thought that they must always continue to convince others. At one point, their patience was exhausted.
Was this how slavery was eliminated in the United States?

Bedarz, you show here your ignorance of what it means to be a polity. And of history.

Abortion is, indeed, a social evil of similar degree and scale as slavery. And yet, the Founders, rather than tackling slavery head on, kicked the can down the road 20 years in the hopes that the NEXT generation could solve it without war - see Article 5 of the Constitution. Rather than make war on the slave states, nay, rather than simply refusing to quibble on slavery and thereby jettisoning any possibility of getting the agreement of the slave states to join, the non-slave states made an important compromise that brought the slave states in: we won't make law on this for 20 years. And for another 20 years AFTER than 20-year compromise, the still-living Founders had no successful solutions to offer yet rejected the offer of civil war to settle it.

While force - even civil war - must be an option on the table for certain situations, nobody who fails to grasp the true meaning of a polity (even of borders) will rightly identify the sorts of cases where we ought to resort to force in the face of the government. The evils of civil war are very great indeed. The Founders saw that in their own front yards. They did NOT think it right to broach those evils in order to attack slavery, as evil as some realized slavery to be.

Bedarz urges the notion of conservatives fighting the government over clear social evils like abortion, but he has NO satisfactory concept of a polity or the common good to which the polity is ordered and for which the government has the care. What Jeff is saying is that SHORT of civil war, the proper fight of conservatives is a "fight" (metaphorical) to move the laws in the right direction, not insurrection and direct violence, and that civil war is not reasonable in these circumstances because the evils attendant thereon are even more evil than the evils of abortion. Bedarz doesn't want to argue about the latter, but simply assumes that good people should not tolerate abortions. This is not the venue to hash out all the principles that underlie the polity and sort out what is tolerable from what is intolerable, I am merely pointing out the assumption in his comments.

So, if the analysis is correct, the working people of the Right have rejected financial capitalism.
'

Hmmm....

Trump eventually found himself in serious financial trouble. In 1990, due to excessive leveraging, The Trump Organization revealed that it was $5 billion in debt ($8.8 billion by some estimates), with $1 billion personally guaranteed by Trump himself. The survival of the company was made possible only by a bailout pact agreed upon in August of that same year by some 70 banks, allowing Trump to defer on nearly $1 billion in debt, as well as to take out second and third mortgages on almost all of his properties. If it were not for the collective effort of all banks and parties involved in that 1990 deal, Trump’s business would have gone bankrupt and failed. [Alternet]

I think we can take it read that the analysis is NOT correct. Trumpkins do not in practice reject finance capitalism. Some few of them, the 0.1% of them that understand capitalism a little, may be uncomfortable with the idea of finance capitalism, but that's about it.

Abortion is, indeed, a social evil of similar degree and scale as slavery.

Abortion is significantly more evil than American chattel slavery. On balance in the scope of historic practices, our flavor of slavery doesn't even probably make the top 10 in terms of evils within the concept of slavery and its practice.

You are flat out wrong:
In any case, little that Trump claims he would DO about immigration is credible,

Well, what I can credit and what you can credit may be different. I will admit that any president has considerable power to deal with aspects of immigration. But many of those powers are held in check by the power of the purse - the Congress - so they are held in concert with others. Sure, calling out the national guard can work - if you get the governors on board - for a while, but it won't work as a long-term solution.

As I said above, the demographics matter just as much. In fact everything you say about virtue is impacted by immigration. Importing millions of Mexicans is importing millions of future Bernie Sanders voters because that is how Mexico's politics look.

Demographics do matter to some extent, but you won't solve the damage to our national ethos by getting rid of current immigrants (legal or not), given how many are now citizens already. In any case, I agree with you that immigration in an integrated issue with the virtuous character of our citizenry (or lack thereof), and disregard for the law is certainly implicated in the degeneracy of our republic. I am fine with attacking the immigration problem - including a freeze on new immigrants of all kinds if that is what it takes to solve the problems - alongside of steps to address more core concerns. The degeneracy of the existing citizenry, i.e. 85% of the people here, has to be a concern too.

The issue I think you, Lydia and Paul are downplaying with immigration is that at our levels of immigration (1M legal + God knows how many illegal), the very character of America will change irrespective of virtue. Diversity is not our strength; diversity is historically a weakness that results in balkanization.

I don't think anyone is downplaying immigration. There is an absolutely massive non sequitur between "Immigration is an incredibly important issue" or even some of the stronger statements made on this thread and "Vote Trump." The Trump candidacy _should_ be a joke among conservatives or even those who think they are conservatives, no matter _what_ issue you think is important.

What if they're _all_ jokes but only Trump is _our_ joke on the Kingmakers instead of vice versa?

“Our immigration policy has been anti-American, decade after decade, and the voters need to know that 2016 might be our last chance to elect a president who can reduce this tide of illegals crossing our borders,” Schlafly writes in a column set to run tomorrow, an exclusive copy of which was given to Breitbart News.

...

"Phyllis Schlalfy has previously expressed her support for Donald Trump’s candidacy. Schlafly told Breitbart News that Trump “is the only hope to defeat the Kingmakers.”

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/02/01/phyllis-schlafly-2016-america-wont-get-another-chance/

No, they are not all jokes in the sense in which I mean that word. Seriously, you chaps need to get a sense of perspective. This candidate is a no-candidate. He should not even be on the radar. I won't repeat the main post, but he's nothing but a blowhard, a fraud, a bully, an ignoramus, a cad, etc. You can disagree with other Republican candidates, think you don't fully trust them, think they have bad ideas, or whatever, but if you sincerely believe that somehow the ludicrousness of their candidacy for high office in this nation is on a par with the ludicrousness of Trump's candidacy, then you lack all judgement in this area. I realize that isn't a tactful thing to say, but hey, you Trump supporters supposedly like plain speaking, right?

There is an absolutely massive non sequitur between "Immigration is an incredibly important issue" or even some of the stronger statements made on this thread and "Vote Trump."

If you think that Trump might be a liberal mugged by reality, then it is not a non sequitor. You aren't even considering the possibility that Trump might actually be genuinely angry about the issue and intent on doing something about it. The fact is that the only two candidates who are likely to drop an f bomb in the left's direction and order a full scale enforcement of the law are Cruz and Trump at this point. They're the only two that have shown that they really, truly, don't care what the left thinks of them and how it'll play out in the polls.

Immigration is the most important issue facing the West at this moment. It's the only issue that cuts across the economy and social issues at the same time because it impacts everything from our unemployment rate, to who we are as a nation (literally in the sense that at these levels it is actually diluting American culture).

Trump is ludicrous, but what is more ludicrous is how we keep handing the RNC victories and they stab us in the back the way Boehner, McConnell and Ryan have done time and again. It is we who are ludicrous. We keep voting for the same sons of b#$%^es and expect them to not play patsy or traitor.

FFS, Lydia, Ryan expanded the H2 visa program in a time of massive unemployment. You wonder why people will get behind a ludicrous man, well it's because the serious men are like a tragic joke being played on the electorate.

So Phyllis Schlafly, who basically single-handedly stopped the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70's, lacks all judgment in this area?

What's your record on stopping leftist movements?

Trump is ludicrous, but what is more ludicrous is how we keep handing the RNC victories and they stab us in the back the way Boehner, McConnell and Ryan have done time and again. It is we who are ludicrous. We keep voting for the same sons of b#$%^es and expect them to not play patsy or traitor.

Mike T., see my comment above about how exactly that sort of establishment-ism is what will be essential to a Trump candidacy in the general.

http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2016/01/on_trump.html#comment-304834

So Phyllis Schlafly, who basically single-handedly stopped the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70's, lacks all judgment in this area?

Christopher, I have been in the past a huge fan of Schlafly, but over the years (decades, really) that I have followed her, I have come to have *some* other reasons for questioning her judgement in any event. Not many, just clouds smaller than a man's hand. And yes, her endorsement of Trump is a huge disappointment to me and undermines my respect for her. I'm certainly not going to reconsider what my own eyes tell me on the basis of an argument from authority concerning Schlafly. She's lost her judgement, or she would not be so foolish as to be taken in by a Donald Trump.

Mike T., see my comment above about how exactly that sort of establishment-ism is what will be essential to a Trump candidacy in the general.

Your comment assumes that people are voting from a position of principle and giving the benefit of the doubt. I think most of these voters see any RNC-backed figure as a pathological liar who makes Trump look not bad by comparison. I can't even blame most of Trump's supporters. I would vote for Trump over the majority of the GOP establishment in a heart beat myself because they don't even have the incentive of "their good name" to not royally screw their voters.

Again, look at what Ryan did to get a budget passed. It was one of the most disgraceful betrayals of the right I have ever seen in my entire lifetime by a Republican, and one who had a popular mandate to stand his ground.

Your comment assumes that people are voting from a position of principle and giving the benefit of the doubt.

No, my comment doesn't assume that, though probably there are some people about whom that is true. My comment above merely points out that (and it's starting already), if God forbid Trump were to win the nomination the RNC will whip voters with _precisely_ the same "anything but a Democrat" and "you must vote for the Republican candidate" rhetoric that you say Trump's supporters are angry about. Exactly the same. And so will various of my friends who have been doing the same predictable thing every election because they _must_ vote for the Republican candidate and against the Democrat. And of course that's exactly the sort of abject partisan allegiance that supposedly the Donald is breaking with. There is no consistency at all here.

That partisan allegiance is being put to the service of a candidate they actually want, so I don't see how your criticism applies. It's just a tactic, a tool. If the Republicans were top-down an authentically conservative party, you wouldn't see most of these people complaining about that allegiance shaming tactic.

The fact is that the only two candidates who are likely to drop an f bomb in the left's direction and order a full scale enforcement of the law are Cruz and Trump at this point. They're the only two that have shown that they really, truly, don't care what the left thinks of them and how it'll play out in the polls.

So vote for Cruz.

So Phyllis Schlafly, who basically single-handedly stopped the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70's, lacks all judgment in this area?

Not a single word Schlafly says, in this article,

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/10/phyllis-schlafly-makes-the-case-for-president-trump/

makes a case for Trump over Cruz. Everything that is a positive for Trump is a positive for Cruz, except

Cruz is smarter;
Cruz isn't venal;
Cruz isn't crass merely for the sake of it;
Cruz isn't a bully;
Cruz isn't a cad.

I don't think Cruz is perfect, either, but compared to Trump, he is hands down better.

I have a question for Trumpers. If elected, he will be forced to put his entire empire into a blind trust, which will (or ought to) have but one firm directive: eliminate as quickly as possible all real estate / hotel holdings for almost ANYTHING else. Do you think Trump will accept this without fudging it (i.e. controlling the trust indirectly), and do you think he ought to?

That partisan allegiance is being put to the service of a candidate they actually want, so I don't see how your criticism applies.

Well, because supposedly one of the major reasons they want him is that he will shake up blind partisan allegiance, get people out of the habit of it, overturn the establishment, do things the GOP establishment doesn't want or won't do, etc., etc. Supposedly one of the reasons they like him is that blind partisan allegiance is bad, they are tired of it, and they want it to go away. If his candidacy actually depends crucially upon blind partisan allegiance, then this becomes an extremely dubious thesis.

In general there are countless weak links in any sort of _argument_ from the immigration issue to "Vote Trump." That this is the most important issue of all (it isn't), that he's sincere and determined in caring about it (highly unlikely), that it's so important that it "trumps" all the other harm of various kinds that his candidacy, much less his actually winning the presidency, would do (it isn't), that he's knowledgeable enough to have plans about it that could actually be put into effect (unlikely), and that these plans would address the problem itself effectively and justly (how do you spell "touchback"?). You would have to have _all_ of these in place to make this argument. And any remotely sensible person should see that it breaks down at multiple points.

The thing about the Trump candidacy is that, however hard people try to shove it into the procrustean bed of "purist-idealists vs. pragmatists," it won't fit. Trump's faults of character that make him a joke candidate--his ignorance, lack of self-control, insincerity, flip-flopping, megalomania, etc.--are obviously also strongly negatively relevant to any pragmatic argument for him as a candidate.

Since nobody has linked to the wizard yet, here's your glimpse at Trump's likely future.
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/donald-trump-comes-out-of-iowa-looking-like-pat-buchanan/

Sorry, there was a link in the original post but not in the comments. However, the new link delves into what the Iowa results probably mean for Trump.

So vote for Cruz.

I've said at least once that I plan to do that.

Trump's faults of character that make him a joke candidate--his ignorance, lack of self-control, insincerity, flip-flopping, megalomania, etc.--are obviously also strongly negatively relevant to any pragmatic argument for him as a candidate.

As opposed to the sober candidates who, unlike Trump, want to start shooting down Russian jets that are bombing the so-called Syrian moderates. A few "serious" candidates are willing to risk WWIII in defense of a non-existent faction in a civil war we helped create. So again, who is ridiculous? The egotistical blowhard who would rather play footsy with Russia or the men who'd risk WWIII over Syria?

If you think that the foreign policy proposals by those candidates are as disqualifying as Trump's many disqualifications, you are far wrong. Even if their foreign policy proposals are really, really foolish. For that matter, Trump would be a complete disaster in foreign policy out of a combo. of pathetic ignorance, boorishness, foolhardiness, and egomania.

Lydia,

Trump's answer on the nuclear triad ought to have disqualified him on foreign policy grounds all by itself.

It's also quite pointless for anybody to talk about what Trump does or does not intend in foreign policy, given that he'll say absolutely anything at any time given the exigencies of the moment. If he decided tomorrow that it would make his fans swoon to hear him talk about shooting down Russian jets or whatever else, he'd do it. That's part of the explanation for his appalling ignorance at this late stage: if he had spent any time really thinking about or developing an internally-consistent theory of national defense, he would have been forced to learn about things like nuclear weapons.

So it's endlessly frustrating to hear people talk about what kind of war he would and wouldn't fight. Trump himself has no idea what kind of war he would or wouldn't fight. He doesn't see himself as bound by any past statements or any general conviction on the part of the people who support him, so how could he?

And again we come back to a basic problem with Trump. He's much of what you said about his character, but we have candidates who have seriously thought about these things and still want to shoot down Russian jets. So if you don't go for Cruz, Paul or possibly Carson, you are left dealing with a candidate like Bush, Christie, Fiorina or Rubio who practically salivates at the thought of shooting down Russian jets in an area where we'd have no international justification (purely Syrian airspace).

This is a case where it is not better the devil you know. The devils we know have stated that they fully intend to risk WWIII in defense of a faction that even if it existed (the Syrian moderates), would not be able to govern Syria. That doesn't sound foolish, that sounds insane.

So it's endlessly frustrating to hear people talk about what kind of war he would and wouldn't fight. Trump himself has no idea what kind of war he would or wouldn't fight.

And that's still an improvement over a man who is certain in his mind that he'd risk WWIII over the Russians killing the very people we should be helping them kill.

So if you don't go for Cruz, Paul or possibly Carson, you are left dealing with a candidate like Bush, Christie, Fiorina or Rubio who practically salivates at the thought of shooting down Russian jets in an area where we'd have no international justification (purely Syrian airspace).

Pretty good reason to step away from Rubio, Fiorina, Christie, and Bush.

So it's endlessly frustrating to hear people talk about what kind of war he would and wouldn't fight. Trump himself has no idea what kind of war he would or wouldn't fight.

And that's still an improvement over a man who is certain in his mind that he'd risk WWIII over the Russians killing the very people we should be helping them kill.

Well, sure it is. It is better to wonder and worry that a man _might_ get us into one specific unjust and pointless war than to be sure (with others) that they WOULD get us into that war. It is better with respect to that one problem. But that isn't much of a "better", because (given Trump's character) we also have to worry about his getting us into a hundred other unjust and pointless war that present themselves, because some leader managed to punch his fly-off-the-handle button just right, or because he felt like he had to bluster and preen for cameras at just the wrong moment, or a dozen other horrible reasons.

I notice the Editors cherry-picking what they'll respond to. I guess they have no response to the mass rapes and the resultant retribution going on in Europe. Because that would make the case for Trump stronger. And forget about Cruz. Even Republicans think he's Canadian. I would love to have him as our Prime Minister, though.

Abortion is, indeed, a social evil of similar degree and scale as slavery.
Indeed? There is no indeed here. Abortion is a self-contradiction far more self-contradictory than slavery. As Mother Teresa said abortion is the biggest danger to world peace. The Catholic Church countenanced slavery and owned slaves as well but She never countenanced abortion. Bible has regulations concerning slavery but only fierce denunciation of Moloch-worship.

My ignorance as to the ends and ordering of polity is merely that I would not admit America's right to conquer savage tribes without conceding others' right to conquer America.

Is there anything more nauseating than constant sacrilegious invocation of God by Republican leaders?
One side of mouth it is God bless America, while the other side cries Aye! Aye! for Planned Parenthood.
Which God are they invoking for America?
Frank atheism would be far more decent.

Yes, "cherry picking what one will respond to" means "not responding to every sneering troll's every word in a really long thread, while judiciously making distinctions and banning only the worst trolls while leaving the mere snarkers, conversation with whom would obviously be pointless, to talk to themselves." That kind of cherry-picking.

Because obviously the editors ought to suspend all other life and respond to every comment on this thread and must have some invidious motive otherwise.

Tony,
Regarding slavery, you make my point. The Founders did NOT deal with it--they just postponed having to deal with it. As the Constitution and the ruling ideology of property rights supported slave-owners, there was no way to deal with it except war. They would not be persuaded.

You say as it is axiomatic that

the evils attendant thereon are even more evil than the evils of abortion

May I ask how you know this? Perhaps God is more offended by legalized abortion. Perhaps coexistence with liberals is sufficient to corrupt and sink whatever is left of social conservative life in America and it is best to separate before it is too late.

Well, sure it is. It is better to wonder and worry that a man _might_ get us into one specific unjust and pointless war than to be sure (with others) that they WOULD get us into that war. It is better with respect to that one problem. But that isn't much of a "better", because (given Trump's character) we also have to worry about his getting us into a hundred other unjust and pointless war that present themselves, because some leader managed to punch his fly-off-the-handle button just right, or because he felt like he had to bluster and preen for cameras at just the wrong moment, or a dozen other horrible reasons.

Or maybe you end up finding that Trump ends up running the federal government with the sobriety that he runs his own business, which is a very successful enterprise in a business that has a huge social angle to it. That's the problem with your argument. You just know that Trump is going to get us into all kinds of wars. Or maybe, Trump will actually take it a lot more seriously than Bush, Fiorina, Rubio and Christie.

See, here's another thing that bothers me about the hawks. They talk about how Obama has degraded the military substantially, and then talk about how they immediately plan to go toe-to-toe with Russia. Trump is a businessman. He doesn't talk like that because he knows that if your business is weak and dangerously close to overleveraged you don't go out looking for more high risk opportunities that require leverage.

It's possible that Trump will get us into all sorts of problems, but it's probable that several of the "serious candidates" will have our military taking tens of thousands of casualties if they have their way.

You say as it is axiomatic that
the evils attendant thereon are even more evil than the evils of abortion

May I ask how you know this?

I did not say this as axiomatic. It is a judgment call. What I reject is the notion that you, or anyone, should simply assume the opposite as if there is no possible room for disagreement among reasonable men.

As the Constitution and the ruling ideology of property rights supported slave-owners, there was no way to deal with it except war.

This is simply bunkum. It is true that it was not handled except with war. To say that, as of 1787 and for the next 70 years, "there was way to deal with it except war" is to say something that cannot be proven, and is likely wrong. There was NO way? With God's grace, there was no way? There was no POSSIBLE circumstance or change that could have eradicated slavery except by war? Let's see, the British managed it - including for its West Indies colonies - without war. I can imagine at least one way it might have been managed without war, that is not provably impossible.

The Constitution was written to allow slaves as property, and ALSO to allow for the possibility of the Constitution being CHANGED so that slaves were no longer property. This is implicit in the 20 years delay: no change for 20 years means, also "change after 20 years is allowable". The South agreed to such a condition. You can't prove that they would not countenance even the possibility of a change, they wrote it into the document.

Is there anything more nauseating than constant sacrilegious invocation of God by Republican leaders?

How about a pretense to care about God, and then advocate wars of conquest?

And forget about Cruz. Even Republicans think he's Canadian.

I haven't yet taken the time to look into the charge. Slider, it appears that this is the ONLY real problem you have with Cruz. Is this correct? So, if it turns out to be a non-issue, if there is a clear and decisive answer that shows Cruz is eligible for the presidency, you would be on board with him, yes?

I guess they have no response to the mass rapes and the resultant retribution going on in Europe. Because that would make the case for Trump stronger.

Slider, after the Paris massacre, we called for the resignation of Angela Merkel on account of her reckless and destructive migrant policy. So again you don't know what you're talking about.

Slider, after the Paris massacre, we called for the resignation of Angela Merkel on account of her reckless and destructive migrant policy. So again you don't know what you're talking about.

Merkel is fast approaching a point with her ear-plugging, sanctimonious embrace of the migrants in defiance of all facts on the ground for her people that a future government will have no problem putting her on trial for treason. What is she doing in the face of mass sex assaults? Suppressing crime reports, working with Facebook and others to censor the media and doubling down on sanctimonious calls for tolerance.

There is much information in this thread to think about and consider. I appreciate the effort.

Is there anything more nauseating than constant sacrilegious invocation of God by Republican leaders?

My vote goes to constant invocation of God by pro-abortion Democrats, but YMMV.

Paul, I am curious about a few things, so I hope you will engage with them.

I read your above discussion with Ajax and am aghast that you banned him for simply stating historical fact about the Christian attitude to Jews over the centuries. Surely nobody needs a safe space from historical facts. What he had stated was entirely true. The early church fathers warned over and over again about the Jews, and for Protestants, Martin Luther was certainly no friend to Jewish interests (I can provide quotes on this if you so require, but I am actually assuming you do know the history). The Catholic Church (i note that your banner headline reads 'Dispatches from the 10th Crusade) has a history of scathing statements on Jewry from no less than 90% of their popes, some as recent as the last century! You cannot really deny this without denying the history of Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) itself. Note that what I have said thus far does not contain any sentiments from me, but is simply an accurate account of Christian history, which extends back a heck of a lot further than the United States and the modern country of Israel. Let's be clear, the Jews deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, the gravest sin of all, and ultimately that which damns man beyond mere acts of evil. This is no reason to call for carpet bombing Israel any more than Saudi Arabia, but why many Americans basically deify the Jews is just bizarre, and their attitude would have been of great consternation to every priest present at the great Church Councils, especially those who seem more concerned for the welfare of Jews than say, the Coptic Christians of Egypt.

Furthermore, I am perturbed by your commitment to electoral politics. The Christian history is one of monarchy, not democracy. As we can see from the last 300 years, democracy has meant little for Christians beyond widespread execution in the French Revolution to their own persecution under 'secular' law. Is the Constitution a Christian document? Does it mention the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere? Does Ted Cruz believe it was 'divinely inspired' as Glenn Beck does (this is heresy). And what of its congress, its president, and its Supreme Court, who at every turn have acted against Christianity with the legalization of abortion, acknowledgement of sodomite unions, removal of Christian symbology from public areas, even now in some localities a ban on observant Christians from holding office.

Support for Trump from Reactionary Christians has been nothing to do with his policies, or the prospect of his presidency, because we have absolutely no faith in that institution. Don't worry, he hasn't fooled us. It has been the prospect of the forces he might unleash in the United States in terms of dialectics which could make a Christian rightist resurgence possible.

I'm sorry to have to inform you but 'Conservatism' is a joke, which has failed to conserve a single thing in its entire political history. The true Christian, in the face of the Modern World, is a Reactionary, and he doesn't vote, he prepares for war, not because he has sought out dragons or raised his sword but because whether he likes it or not, violence is coming to him and his household, whether by the scimitar of barbaric foreigners or the marshaled might of a government that is losing its grip.

{face palm}

Mark Citadel: In addition to spamming this thread with numerous other profanity-laced diatribes (which we have swiftly deleted), Ajax, in the comment to which you refer, presented Jew-hatred as an admirable virtue. Not, say, opposition to Jewish theology. Not skepticism of Jewish political influence. Not suspicion of Israeli motivations. Straight-up Jew-hatred. The quoted portion of his comment was a disgraceful calumny on Chesterton, Belloc, the Church Fathers, and, most broadly, "most Christians outside of America."

And that's the last I will have to say about this dirty, despicable business.

Is the Constitution a Christian document? Does it mention the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere?

Why, yes it does, in two places. But I'm not going to do your own homework for you.

I guess Mark Citadel is finding out that What's Wrong With the World is not a bastion of the "neo-reaction." If he didn't know that before, he must be new around here.

Right, so you are counting the date stamp which reads "done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven"

So essentially... AD. That really doesn't make it a Christian document, just a document which has been dated prior to the invention of CE and BCE.

Granted, I have not seen Ajax' other comments, so I do not know where he stands, but it seems not so unreasonable to state that Christian figures had very negative attitudes towards Jews, that would, in our Modern context be condemned as 'Jew-hatred' See St. John Chrysostom:

"The Jews frighten you as if you were little children, and you do not see it. Many wicked slaves show frightening and ridiculous masks to youngsters-the masks are not frightening by their nature, but they seem so to the children's simple minds-and in this way they stir up many a laugh. This is the way the Jews frighten the simpler-minded Christians with the bugbears and hobgoblins of their shrines. Yet how could their ridiculous and disgraceful synagogues frighten you? Are they not the shrines of men who have been rejected, dishonored, and condemned? Our churches are not like that; they are truly frightening and filled with fear. God's presence makes a place frightening because he has power over life and death. In our churches we hear countless homilies on eternal punishments, on rivers of fire, on the venomous worm, on bonds that cannot be burst, or exterior darkness. But the Jews neither know nor dream of these things. They live for their bellies, they gape for the things of this world, their condition is not better than that of pigs or goats because of their wanton ways and excessive gluttony. They know but one thing: to fill their bellies and be drunk, to get all cut and bruised, to be hurt and wounded while fighting for their favorite charioteers."

Or Martin Luther:

"Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self­glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them."

These kinds of remarks which are ubiquitous throughout Christian scholarship could definitely be classified as 'Jew-hatred' by Jews themselves, would you not say? What would the ADL say to an American pastor who preached these things? I mean, I would look at them and just say they are observations, but you can see why Ajax might consider them to be Jew-hatred.

Also, you haven't really addressed the fact that democracy has rewarded Christians little, and punished them much, so why on earth should they be party to such a system? There isn't even a Caesar to render unto, let alone a Christian one. The democrats have massacred the Caesars and countless innocents with their successive 'revolutions'.

Lydia - and that is perfectly fine. I am then just wondering why you are position yourself as defending "what remains of Christendom", while at the same time defending and fully participating in liberal democracies, the very things which arose in just as much virulent hostility to Christendom (that is nations explicitly governed under Christianity with a priestly authority and state church) as Islam did. Perhaps it would be better to say 'the West' or 'Liberal values' or the 'Constitution', otherwise you might confuse people. 'Christendom' is more to do with Maistre than Beck.

Mark,

The only really relevant thing to say about the Jews WRT Europe and Trump is that many of them should leave the West for Israel. A growing number of French Jews are doing just that, and I applaud them. Everyone wins from that. Israel experiences a population boom, France becomes more homogeneous and better able to focus its rising nationalism against the Muslims.

If I were Netanyahu, I would fly to a PEGIDA rally in Germany and declare Israel's full-throated support for European nationalist parties and declare that "as Israel is for the Jews, Germany is for the Germans."

Mark,

I have been to your blog and find it generally thoughtful and interesting. So please take what I say to heart: both Saint John Chrysostom and Martin Luther said things that were viciously anti-Semitic. They are NOT just "observations" -- they are ridiculous slanders. The fact that you can't acknowledge that simple historical fact does not speak well of your judgment.

As Paul said above, that doesn't mean we can't criticize the Jewish people or Israel or Jewish theology -- but it does mean that such criticism should be focused and smart. As I'm sure you know, the Church has learned some lessons from history and has explicitly condemned anti-Semitism in Nostra aetate and under Blessed Pope John Paul II, the church has even asked the Jews for forgiveness:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_16031998_shoah_en.html

Mike, I would agree. In fact, that has been my position from the start. Jews should be repatriated out of Occidental lands to their homeland, something they have proven to be able to defend with tenacity. I don't have any wish to harm them at all. What I really find perplexing about American Evangelicals in particular is a fetishistic obsession with the welfare of the Jews. They do actually care more about Jews and Israel than Christians being butchered for their faith in countries like Egypt and Syria. This is especially odd, as Jews typically have more negative attitudes to Christians than they do towards Muslims.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said that "Goyim have no place in the world - only to serve the People of Israel". Well, I don't wish to serve the people of Israel. I'm going to serve God instead.

Jeffrey S. - The Catholic Church has said many things, which have contradicted previous Papal decrees and attitudes, which is problematic, as they themselves could be nullified by future Popes. Alas, I am not Catholic so such things are only of historical interest to me.

You don't seem to realize that it is Paul who is implying that Christian figures in history have not engaged in what could be termed 'Jew-hatred'. They have, and that was why I pointed out the quotes of men who are greatly admired by Christians (well, at least Protestants admire Luther). I am acknowledging the historical fact, and agree we should use caution whenever we speak, but do you not think that Evangelical elements in the United States engage in a borderline heretical amount of philosemitism (and this included Ted Cruz) which sees the Jews as morally perfect and worthy of having Christian blood spilled in war for them. If Iran and Israel go to war, what business is it of Christians to want to die in such a conflict, where there are Christian communities in both countries?

So essentially... AD. That really doesn't make it a Christian document, just a document which has been dated prior to the invention of CE and BCE.

I never said it was a Christian document. I merely replied to your pedantic question with the appropriate pedantic answer. Some of the signers of the document were Christians, some were not. Those who were not, and who supported the aims of the American Revolution, would have been patent fools to insist on some point of Christian orthodoxy in that document.

As for this idea that democracy as such is anathema to Christianity, it's largely outside the scope of this Editorial. Do you suppose that by recommending strongly against Donald Trump we have thereby endorsed every detail of American electoral forms?

Speaking for myself, in very bald summary, I think democracy is the form of government best suited for the American people. It is neither inherently just nor inherently disreputable.

I emphatically reject the Jacobin principle, which Burke defined as "all government, not being a democracy, is a usurpation." I also take to heart Belloc's subversive point that Washington, DC, is a far more monarchical city than London, because of the concentration, not only of political power, but of cultural influence and social status, which was already visible to him in the 1930s. I also take to heart Chesterton's arguments to the effect that true monarchies are popular institutions, and that especially in the age of Merrie England, the king was the vindicator of the people against the oligarchs.

I see no convincing argument that forbids a faithful Christian from participation in the American political tradition, and many sound and sagacious arguments enjoining him to do so. If the Israelite exiles could takes orders from on High, that they are to "seek the welfare of the city into which I have sent you," we here in America, an exilic people in our own way, can as well.

do you not think that Evangelical elements in the United States engage in a borderline heretical amount of philosemitism (and this included Ted Cruz) which sees the Jews as morally perfect

Yeah, that must be it. I'm sure if you asked Ted Cruz he'd say he sees the Jews as morally perfect./sarc

Speaking for myself, I find your comments pretty far OT, Mark. We did not write an editorial against a morally bankrupt, fraudulent buffoon like Donald Trump for purposes of lengthening an already-long blog thread defending the legitimacy of constitutional republican democracy as such against the "neoreaction" or discussing just *how much* philosemitism is (in your view) allegedly "too much" in America. Or any other such...odd themes. (To put it nicely.)

This a fair and well-written response, but I would point to the history of the last 100 years and ask where has anything Christian been conserved? Has democracy returned the Bible to schoolhouses? Has democracy ended Roe V. Wade? Has democracy preserved marriage? I look for achievements and see only failures in the project of American Conservatism. So why put your faith in yet another politician to fix things? Should not we judge these things by their fruits?

Let me ask this another way.

How many more years must Conservatism fail to achieve any of the aims sought by Christians before you give up on it, and say that perhaps it is time to try a different approach? Does it have until 2050, or 2100, or further? And let us say that without a doubt, in ten years time, Conservatives will no longer oppose same-sex marriage. That seems very clear.

Lydia - Cruz is a close friend of Pastor John Hagee who said the following in an interview with the Houston Chronicle: "Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha'i, needs to believe in Jesus...but not Jews." This is indeed to imply the Jews do not need salvation for their sins. Almost every branch of Christianity outside of Evangelicism (even Protestant denominations) consider this to be heresy. Does Cruz believe this? I can't know for sure, but this is a large part of evangelical subculture. Do you believe that statement is true?

Actually, if anything it's usually the more high-falutin' non-evangelicals that believe that. See "New Perspectives on Paul" and N.T. Wright, for example. The vast majority of the most ardent pro-Israel fundamentalists and evangelicals think Jews need to be witnessed to and brought to believe on Jesus Christ as personal Savior so they don't go to hell. But I'm not going to deliver a discourse on varieties of dual covenant theory in Protestant theology and their relationship to varieties of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

Mark, most of your examples were accomplished by lawless court fiat, hardly well-designed to encourage me to despair of democracy. No democratic referendum ever voted the Bible out our of schools. That was the Supreme Court.

Even on the enormously popular "marriage equality" question, only a few state legislature actually rewrote their matrimonial laws to incorporate homosexuals. They waited for the Court to hand down the law. (A a few brave states, courageously, have added laws of opposition to this edict.)

If you say that the Court has eroded marriage democracy with its lawlessness, I agree with you. But you're not saying that.

Where you'll find in sound democratic literature the proposal that self-government means rule by nine elite judges I care not to speculate.

The Supreme Court is not even to blame, but rather the 14th amendment which was passed by radicals in the Republican Party to address gun bans by racist white southerners during Reconstruction. There's no end of irony that the only amendment they really cared to incorporate against the states was precisely the one that the judiciary invented one excuse after another as to why it received no protection.

If the radicals had had any real sense, they'd have just sent several hundred thousand military-grade weapons down South and into the hands of freed blacks with an implied threat that if Jim Crow keeps going, and blacks see fit to burn down the state capitol in retaliation, federal troops won't respond to requests for help.

to make a laughingstock of the party whose leadership he would seek

How can he make the GOP any more a laughingstock than it has already made of itself?

You want to talk about the state of the country? Why don't you talk about the influx of rapefugees, illegal alien wage-diluters, elite arrogance, political correctness struggle sessions, our dismal foreign policy, the way Wall Street and the banks have suck the American working man dry.

Ajax, is this the first post you have ever read on this site?

but I would point to the history of the last 100 years and ask where has anything Christian been conserved? Has democracy returned the Bible to schoolhouses? Has democracy ended Roe V. Wade? Has democracy preserved marriage? I look for achievements and see only failures in the project of American Conservatism.

Mark, you are looking at too small a scale. Think not of 50 or 100 years, but of 1000, or an age of the world.

In the year 300, Christians had endured persecution from Romans for 250 years, and under Diocletian it must have looked grim indeed. And yet 25 years later Christianity had a triumph that could not have been expected upon 250 years of defeats (as the world calls it).

In the year 730, the invaders from North Africa had spent decades extending Islamic rule over Spain and into France, with no end in sight. Until Charles Martel stopped them in 732, and then started the process of rolling back their gains, until they were finally pushed out of Spain in the late 1400s. Nobody could have foreseen, in 730, that the Muslims would be stopped, nor how long it would take to reverse the occupation of Spain. It was a process of centuries.

In the year 1000, hardly a scholar in the West for 500 years had remembered Aristotle's teachings of philosophical realism and ethical common sense. 200 years later, Scholasticism had recovered that Greek heritage, and set the stage for a recovery of the classic Greco-Roman thought.

In 1918, the atheist Communists took Russia, devoted to eradicating (among other things) the hold of a Christian faith in the next life. By 1980, it seemed a fact of life that Communism was and would remain in control of Russia permanently, but a decade later that hold crumbled - without a (direct) war to accomplish it.

The hopes of Christians who are in this world as pilgrims are not ultimately blighted at the prospect of decades or even centuries of things going wrong. That has happened before, and it will happen again. If dusk or even a night falls on the upright trying to make their city and country upright, it does not mean that they stop trying to make their city and country upright. And in this case, failing to convince the populace to resist barbarian influences in their own minds and hearts is not all that much worse (to the republic) than the loss of Rome to the barbarian hordes in the 400s.

For purposes of this blog site, "conservatism" is not primarily a political perspective, but a moral and spiritual and cultural one: to retain what is right and true of our Western Christian heritage, to resist its loss, and preserve it within some even if we are to lose the trappings of Western Christendom at large. Conservatism is not the offspring of the Buckleys or the Kristols of modern politics, much less the Bushes or (heaven forbid) the Trumps, but of an older and deeper tradition: that of the Irish monks preserving Western books, that of European bishops forming the first Christian universities, that of the Scholastics restoring and extending Western respect for the learning of their Greek and Roman forbears. Christendom is compatible both with democracy (such as the democratic Swiss cantons 200 years before Calvin, not so much the current radically individualistic liberal democracies) and with monarchy (especially constitutional monarchy), and with various mixed forms (as St. Thomas Aquinas says in "On Kingship"). It is not, then, by rejecting "democracy" as such that we are going to preserve what is right of Christendom, and set backs for 100 years are not adequate to prove we are in the wrong about what is good in our Christian heritage.

Cruz said the best statement about Trump that I have seen so far...

Tony,

advocate wars of conquest?

I am sorry if I do not realize I have ever advocated a war of conquest. War is a nasty thing and my inclinations are pacifistic.

But I am not embarrassed by the ancient right of conquest, the actual foundation of all polities, past and present just because I could not fit this fact in my rationalistic scheme.

I do not prefer to substitute, in place of the fact of conquest, a myth of heroic pioneer striking out into virgin territories, encumbered by wife and children, and disdainful of his neighbors.

I am sorry if I do not realize I have ever advocated a war of conquest..

Bedarz, you're freakishly oxymoronic. To repudiate the reality taking a people's land by war of conquest is morally suspect, which you have done repeatedly,, and to refer to the "ancient right of conquest, just is to advocate wars of conquest.

War is a nasty thing and my inclinations are pacifistic.

And yet you have berated us constantly, and Jeff above multiple times, for attempting to defeat abortion politically rather than by force. You are an oxymoron..

I do not prefer to substitute, in place of the fact of conquest, a myth of heroic pioneer striking out into virgin territories, encumbered by wife and children, and disdainful of his neighbors.

And quite bad at reading what others have written, too. You and your myths. Don't go imputing your myths upon others. And DON'T go kludging up this post with stuff that isn't germane to the Trump issue.

Tony,

It is a judgment call.

I never denied it. Indeed, it is precisely what I was arguing with Jeffrey S who insisted that in a constitutional republic. we must always try to persuade others. That is, for him, it is not a matter for judgment call.

We disagree on what the priorities should be.

But Mr. Cella and I, at least, agree that Trump deserves credit for moving the whole conversation some degrees to the right.

I'm not sure if I can include Lydia in that since her 12:59 comment only seems to credit him indirectly or in the passive voice, as if he is not a he but a meteorological condition.

Anyway, some call it 'shifting the Overton Window,' changing the range of topics that can be or are discussed. It's shifted our way. That shift is thanks to Trump. I would prefer he continue. Press the advance as it were. I'm not sure why one would want to halt that by denial or disqualification.


As bad as Trump would be, Clinton would be worse. The email situation, Libya, the ethics issues around the Clinton Foundation and all of the things she's helped Bill suppress show that she is significantly worse than Trump. Even Sanders is heads and shoulders above her as a candidate to people on the right because he at least seems to have integrity despite being the crazy Socialist uncle of the Senate.

Mike, I have never felt I could confidently predict which is worse: a completely self-aggrandizing. lying cynic, or a more-or-less well-meaning loon, (allowing that each has hold of the presidency). The cynic can be COUNTED on to warp and twist things to her benefit - but only so far as to her benefit, probably not altogether. The loon can be counted on to warp and twist many things because he is out of touch with reality, and you know ahead of time SOME of the things he is going to wreck, but how can you ever be sure just how much he is going to ruin? He is unpredictable in his lunacy.

Unless Rodham is somehow BOTH a dyed in the wool true believer in liberalism, AND a completely self-aggrandizing lying cynic (wow, what a combination that would be), we should expect her to not follow the left-weenies into their worst rabbit holes because that would interfere with feathering her own nest. Is she that rare combination? I don't think so - consider the innocent (and semi-innocent) women victims of Bill she is willing to throw under the bus.

Tony, I said EVEN IF constitutional scholars are in agreement, it doesn't matter. He'll never get off the ground because of the birthers. And besides, yes, it looks like I do have another reason to not be on board. He can't own up to what his minions did in sabotaging Carson's campaign. Even Karl Rove, who despises Trump, agrees Cruz stole the election. Looks like Trumps is not the only one without integrity.

As for Paul, for crying out loud, resignations are not going to stop the rapes and massacres. Deportations will. And if people like you don`t get your head out of the sand, the ultra-nationalists will just killed them. That`s why Trump matters. He`s moved the conversation so that deportation is actually thinkable. Did anybody else do that

And besides, yes, it looks like I do have another reason to not be on board. He can't own up to what his minions did in sabotaging Carson's campaign. Even Karl Rove, who despises Trump, agrees Cruz stole the election.

I agree that whoever did it was underhanded, and that Cruz should have owned up to that. He should have apologized.

But "stole the election"? That's pretty silly. There is very little likelihood that the Cruz campaign's ploy moved the chains more than 1 %. That would not have changed Cruz's, Trump's or Carson's relative positions.

First, anybody who has spent any time around politics knows that there are ALWAYS some irregularities. Always. Every single time. I watched it in grade school as my father ran the Conservative Party in our town, he was always having to deal with skullduggery here and there. I was at the a state party convention 3 years ago, and the same ploy that the Cruz campaign used was used there, by 2 different candidates: "X is pulling out & throwing his votes to Y". Trump is an idiot for saying they should re-do the vote, on that standard every election ever held needs to be re-done. Most of the people who actually go to caucus meetings know this, and they expect it and plan for it: check last-minute claims before you act on them. (And nobody thinks that the unusually high turnout of Republican voters - people who don't typically vote in the caucus - turned out _primarily_ for Carson. He had tanked in the polls throughout December and January.)

Secondly, Carson's final caucus numbers were not significantly lower than his polling numbers. On Jan 28, different polls put his numbers at 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Nobody put them over 10. There is no way that he lost a significant number of his votes due to this ploy.

The stupid thing, for Cruz, is that apologizing would NOT have hurt him. He didn't need this ploy to do well, it didn't help him all that much, and it just distracts from his running a campaign. Making a sincere apology would not have damaged him in any serious way. I can understand his off-the-cuff not wanting to have to take the blame for what was an insignificant "politics-as-usual" dirty trick, but on reflection he should have realized that accepting the blame and taking the high road NOW would have been a better response.

Tony, I said EVEN IF constitutional scholars are in agreement, it doesn't matter. He'll never get off the ground because of the birthers.

Well, Slider, I didn't say "constitutional scholars", I said if it was a "non-issue" and the truth was "clear and decisive".

So, if it turns out to be a non-issue, if there is a clear and decisive answer that shows Cruz is eligible for the presidency, you would be on board with him, yes?

I am sure there will be birthers that won't accept ANY amount of evidence, they just won't change their minds. And people who have made up their minds that Cruz is a demon merely hiding his horns won't vote for him regardless of the eligibility issue, who may latch onto "birth" as if that were some kind of deciding factor when it is just an excuse for them. But I was assuming there are others for whom "clear and decisive" evidence makes it a "non-issue." Is there any evidence to think that the number of "birthers" who will be resistant to clear and decisive evidence about Cruz - people who otherwise might possibly go for Cruz - greatly outnumber the number of birthers who wouldn't vote for Obama?

This "Cruz defrauded Carson" business is some of the silliest nonsense ever to dominate a news cycle.

Basically, this conspiracy theory asks us to believe that Carson was in the midst of a historic surge in Iowa, completely unnoticed by any polling outfit, which was cut short by some random Cruz staffer's tweet that posted a moment or two before the caucuses began. It asks us to believe that thousands of Carson voters (who in actuality skew older and know little or nothing about Twitter) were staring at their phones as they walked in, watching every Carson-related social media notice, saw this tweet, and abruptly changed their minds on which candidate to favor. This stuff is an insult to our intelligence.

It's not even clear that this was a dirty trick at all, rather than an overzealous staffer who misinterpreted some TV news chatter.

Hi Editors, I'd like to give Cruz my full consideration, but would any of you care to defend Cruz's tactics and/or ethics over his willingness to have the government shutdown (and subsequently default) lest Obamacare be funded? Is this tactic not extortion, as bad as Obamacare might be, would not a government default be worse and catastrophic for the US and the world? Thanks.

You need to amp up your concern troll game, MLCH.

May you please answer my question?

MLCH, singling out Cruz for government shutdowns is disingenuous because as one Senator he had no power to even do a filibuster to stop it anymore. If anything, Cruz should be applauded for forcing the issue because Obamacare is an out of control spending mandate on various levels of government and private employers. Therefore if you fear a default, that's precisely the sort of radical step that was needed because all of the "responsible" conduct by Cruz's opponents amounts to kicking the can down the road. Since kicking the can down the road with debt results in more debt and interest compounding, their conduct isn't responsible. It's precisely the sort of behavior that has a non-trivial percentage of Gen X and Millennials increasingly sympathetic to seizing SS and Medicare funds to pay down the debt instead of raising taxes.

MLCH,

On the off chance that you really don't understand how the federal government works, here is a good link to get you started:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianjacobsen/2013/10/01/government-shutdown-followed-by-default/#68602bde14ea

In other words, there was never any risk of a "default", period, end of story. Could it have been possible that the federal government wouldn't have made every payment to fund every (insane and wasteful and unconstitutional) program that it currently funds? Yes, that might have happened. But it wouldn't have missed a debt payment.

<PSA>

US government "default" - in the sense of incapacity to make a payment - on a "debt" contract denominated in US dollars is literally not possible even in principle as long as the USG exists at all, because fiat dollars are securities issued by USG (much as shares of Google stock are securities issued by Google).

It is possible that USG might decline to make a payment on a contract in which it owes US dollars. But it is not possible for it to be literally unable to make a payment on such a "debt".

</PSA>

To add to what Zippy said, with the USG itself owning most of its debt in a circuitous and obscure fashion and the majority of the rest being owed to non-USG stakeholders with a vested interest in working with the USG to keep things smooth, even if the government got close to a "default" it would have found plenty of parties willing to extend the period of time to resume payments.

That is to say, even if Zippy was wrong about the nature of dollars and USG with respect to a default, the political implications of a default would be such that everyone would plug their ears and pretend it didn't happen.

Much like how we continue to plug our ears and pretend that our major banks are still solvent, despite their asset sheets being a radioactive mess.

To answer MLCH directly: I have difficulty even discerning an urgent ethical issue at stake in the recent shutdown mud-wrestling. This is all under the heading of prudence.

Now, on the tactics, it is demonstrable that GOP fortunes did not suffer greatly in 2014, from memories of Cruz's failed shutdown in 2013. Those in his own party who hounded and belabored him with criticism, so far as I can judge, have more cause to examine their ethics and tactics than he does. For one, their predictions of dire political consequences were dead wrong. For another, the appropriations bills were awful and deserved to be stopped.

These feeble GOP politicians were so eager to capitulate on even the barest of fiscal retrenchment, and subsequently so blindly embittered against Cruz for his refusal to back McConnell, that I wonder at their political judgment far more than I do his.

Cruz made a dramatic and futile effort to derail horrible spending bills. For Congress to deploy the power of the purse to fetter, delay and obfuscate Executive aims, is the pretty much the farthest thing from "radical" one can imagine. It's happened in virtually every decade of the Republic's existence. Only a stupefying ignorance of American legislative or constitutional history can support the view that Cruz and his handful of allies (plus, of course, the sturdy Tea Party caucus in the House) undertook some appalling and unprecedented "hijacking" of the lawmaking process. They did what Congress can, has, and should do, when faced with a lawless Administration. Would that they could have done more.

would any of you care to defend Cruz's tactics and/or ethics over his willingness to have the government shutdown (and subsequently default)
'

And to clarify on a different tac, a shutdown has NOTHING to do with causing a default anyway. A shutdown of any sort means the government stops paying some employees, stops delivering some services, and stops spending that money. These actions would not in principle be the cause of a default. They can help prevent a default, or they can be neutral.

As to the actual shutdown: the federal government "shutdowns" typically shut down some agencies but not all (not the Army or Navy, not all of Homeland Security, not all of several other entities). Even in non-critical operations, there remain some employees that are "essential" and are required to keep working. The shut-down meant something like 20% of personnel did not report to work. In addition, it doesn't shut down all contracts, some long-term stuff remains in force.

The connection between a "default", i.e. a refusal to pay contractually obligated payments on debt instruments and other such contracts, and a shutdown is very tenuous indeed. A shutdown is usually going to be caused by a refusal to appropriate funds, but this is quite different from a failure to HAVE funds. The government can, for example, refuse to appropriate funds to pay its own employees, but still have the necessary funds to pay its contracts. This happened with at least some shutdowns: the government paid SS checks even though it had not appropriated funds to pay the employees who normally handle those checks.

But to speak more generally, a refusal of the government (or any entity) to SPEND DOWN the money it has for discretionary expenses, normally can only IMPROVE its capacity to meet its payment obligations and avoid a default - in the short term anyway. Not paying your money on discretionary stuff means it remains available to pay off the obligatory stuff. That's just second grade arithmetic - something even high government officials sometimes get right.

Trump can win easily, he would be going against a evil crook and a socialist. Perfect storm

It's painfully obvious that one's expertise in say, NT history, doesn't always translate to reliable insight on the geopolitical state of the American right. Or even one's prominence in the Republican Party for that matter.

Recently John Sununu (a very intelligent and involved member of the NH GOP--being the state's former governor) said he didn't know anyone personally who was going to vote for Trump in the NH prinary. Considering Trump won 35%, that is an astounding statement. No wonder the establishment cannot grasp the Trump phenomenon. They haven't had their jobs outsourced, their neighborhoods overran, or felt like aliens in the land of their birth.

But I get the same message from the editors--all of them with advanced degrees and removed from the traditional labor market. Even being mostly hawkish on immigration, they still don't fathom how truly central immigration and demographics are to all of politics--or how traditional America has been harmed by post-1965 open borders.

I keep reading in this piece that Trump isn't good for conservatives, but what about Americans? When is someone going to put our nation first?

I keep reading in this piece that Trump isn't good for conservatives, but what about Americans?

Not that, either. Not by a long, long, long chalk.

I don't know how much y'all have been following the email scandal, but based on what has been reported any contractor, serviceman or civil service member who did anything even remotely as bad would have been indicted so fast it would make their head spin. Trump has real problems, but Clinton will make us the Anglosphere's version of Argentina before her first term is over.

I keep reading in this piece that Trump isn't good for conservatives, but what about Americans? When is someone going to put our nation first?

Trump isn't good "for conservatives" largely for the simple reason that he isn't remotely like a conservative. Obviously, any conservative who loves the good of his country more than the good of his own group (that's a lot, given the tendencies of those conservatives who call themselves patriots) thinks that conservative standards are what's going to be good for the country, not just good for conservatives. So, it is almost virtually unthinkable for true conservatives to think the un-conservative Trump is going to be very good for the country.

As to particular issues, immigration certain rates up there. Even among mainstream GOP, though, they have other concerns that are also important, and in a normal media cycle would also be at or near the top of the agenda for a GOP president. Just for instance, immigration is hell on people trying to get bottom rung jobs, but that's only 1/12 of the labor force. Sending factory work overseas and closing a factory is even more hell on labor one and two levels up from the bottom, and that's a larger portion of the workforce at risk. You can't pretend that the semi-skilled or skilled laborer is mainly fighting off immigrants to keep a job. Most of the people who have a job (over 90% who want one) don't compete head to head with immigrants to keep those jobs, but they do worry about the job drying up and going away altogether. They want a stable and thriving economy, with good incentive for companies to hire here and produce here.

Frankly, without Trump being in the mix at the GOP, immigration WOULDN'T be such a flap as a voting issue, it is the unnatural news feeders that can't keep their pens and cameras off him that have created that phenomenon. Even so, immigration does not head the list in _polling_ as the most important issue, the economy / federal budget does.

Furthermore, you have misunderstood the editors' objections to Trump. It is not any disagreement with Trump's immigration stance that leads us to repudiate him. Indeed, on that one issue alone most of us tend to fall more in line with his position than otherwise. It is that he isn't credible on achieving any of his goals on immigration, or national security, or anything else, for that matter. It is that it isn't credible that he can restrain his ego when necessary to make good decisions, as he has indulged that ego for decades, doing so on national TV for a decade. Even people who like his politics can't stand his persona (see my comment Feb. 1, 10:37pm).

Trump voters who are out of step with the conservatives here include (a) those who are non-committal swing-voters who flip flop over voting Republican, (b) liberal Republicans who like his stance on certain important issues but are otherwise plain vanilla moderate social liberals, (c) those who are fed up with "ordinary" candidates (which includes who prove their worth in public office by, you know, being in public office), and are thus given try "something else" no matter how crazy, and would favor Trump even if his immigration stance were exactly like that of Ted Cruz. Actually, now that you mention it, it is almost exactly like that of Ted Cruz. (Except for the idiotic parts):

Trump 1, 2 and 3:

1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.

2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.

3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Cruz 1 2, and 3:

1. Secure the Border...Build a wall that works.

2. Restore the Rule of Law...nd President Obama’s illegal amnesty.

3. Reform Legal Immigration to Protect Americans ...Develop a citizenship program that better serves Americans. ...Halt any increases in legal immigration so long as American unemployment remains unacceptably high....Enforce the public-charge doctrine.

I'm good with the Cruz / Trump approach there.

GW, we agree that there are large numbers of Trump supporters in the GOP (and loosely associated). We deny that the reason is that Trump is the only one first concerned with the welfare of America and Americans. We particularly dispute that Trump will be good for Americans, (in part but only in part) because of where he differs from conservatives. It is, even more, where he differs from the man of high morals, prudence, political acumen, breadth of knowledge, humility, and ability to lead those he cannot just fire.

Just for instance, immigration is hell on people trying to get bottom rung jobs, but that's only 1/12 of the labor force. Sending factory work overseas and closing a factory is even more hell on labor one and two levels up from the bottom, and that's a larger portion of the workforce at risk. You can't pretend that the semi-skilled or skilled laborer is mainly fighting off immigrants to keep a job. Most of the people who have a job (over 90% who want one) don't compete head to head with immigrants to keep those jobs, but they do worry about the job drying up and going away altogether. They want a stable and thriving economy, with good incentive for companies to hire here and produce here.

Frankly, without Trump being in the mix at the GOP, immigration WOULDN'T be such a flap as a voting issue, it is the unnatural news feeders that can't keep their pens and cameras off him that have created that phenomenon. Even so, immigration does not head the list in _polling_ as the most important issue, the economy / federal budget does.

Immigration is actually bad for most Americans in one way or another now with respect to the economy. The H1, L1 and H2 visa systems provide an influx of local competition for everyone from the lowest rungs up to people making about $150k-$200k in certain job markets. Most Americans are leaning more and more toward the idea that illegal versus legal immigration is semantics as far as economic impact goes, and they're right.

Trump is tapping into a realization in the base that our economic policy is suicidal. We bring in huge numbers of foreign workers at a time when our own workers cannot find jobs. We tax the heck out of our businesses and drive them overseas. Trump is addressing both.

Like it or not, but immigration is factually the most important issue now as far as our continuity as a society goes. Not abortion, not gay marriage, etc. All of the social issues need to take a back seat in favor of a hawkish immigration posture because if America's demographics are fundamentally shifted, there won't be an America (except as a political system, not a nation) to even conserve.

The H1, L1 and H2 visa systems provide an influx of local competition for everyone from the lowest rungs up to people making about $150k-$200k in certain job markets.

There are some job markets where these directly affect wages and competition - one is in IT, I believe. However, there is a cap of 66K for H2 visa residents allowable at any time, H1 and L1 have had about 85k per year, for a maximum of about 6 years per. That gives you about 1 million in the US at a time. These are not trivial, but they are also not economy-destroying in and of themselves - not generally (there's more than 130M jobs, and over 30M of them require a bachelor's degree), though perhaps to certain industries.

In addition, the law for these visas explicitly say that the DOL is supposed to verify that there is a real shortage of trained people. One can doubt, under Obama, that anything of the sort is going on, but that damage is a function of Obama and not of the law itself. If we could get the law implemented properly, with DOL doing its job, and with appropriate security analysis before we let all sorts of people in, and if we could get rid of the aliens after their visas were up, the H and L visa aliens would be a fairly small part of the immigration problem. Still an issue, certainly, but much less urgent than other parts of the immigration problem.

Like it or not, but immigration is factually the most important issue now as far as our continuity as a society goes.

I accept that it's a matter of opinion, and your opinion is different from mine. My opinion is that it is high on the list but that there are other matters that are also grave and urgent. To insist on it as "factual" when its all a matter of degree and such is a bit silly. In any case, the Ted Cruz approach to immigration - if implemented in full - would restore the country in pretty close to about the same time period as the Trump approach if implemented in full. There's not much more than a nickel's worth of difference in terms of how fast they would turn the numbers around.

In addition, the law for these visas explicitly say that the DOL is supposed to verify that there is a real shortage of trained people.

The H1 visa system is notoriously broken to such an extent that it's a joke. For example, some of the biggest users of it are contracting firms like Wipro and Infosys whose entire job model is to send contractors to a company's site and replace their workers. Furthermore, in most computer-related fields there has been no surge in labor fees corresponding to a crunch on the supply side. When the oil industry couldn't find enough petroleum engineers, the price went up markedly. Our industry has a better solution: crush the wages with a combination of visas and strategic outsourcing abroad.

In any case, the Ted Cruz approach to immigration - if implemented in full - would restore the country in pretty close to about the same time period as the Trump approach if implemented in full.

I agree. The way I see it is that we might get something positive out of Trump if he beats Cruz. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio will sell us out. That's a guarantee. Bush is a known bleeding heart, amnesty type guy and Rubio couldn't wait to push amnesty when he joined the Gang of 8.

By the way, with respect to your 1/12 comment, my wife knows a number of people that were in the construction field in our area. They all say the same thing: native workers can't compete in construction that easily against the illegals and the firms that hire them. A native worker might want $20/hour; a Mexican will do it for $10 because so many of them around here are single men who don't mind living in squalor to save money (plus they don't have a family nearby and don't pay real taxes).

To insist on it as "factual" when its all a matter of degree and such is a bit silly.

It goes back to a very simple issue. If America stops being ethnically American, then what is there left to conserve? Large parts of California and some other states are increasingly not American in their ethnic composition. Just read some of Victor Davis Hanson's commentary on how the California of his childhood has been all but erased via immigration-related changes.

What this country needs is leaders who are willing to start abandoning the "proposition nation" concept in favor of a more blood and soil vision of American identity.

Tony,

Yet another way, corporate America goes after middle class wages. That behavior, by the way, is not supposed to be just a civil violation but a criminal violation of anti-trust law. Odds are terrible that even Cruz or Trump would order the DoJ to open a criminal investigation and possibly put Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Brin, Page, Schmidt, Cook, Dorsey and a few others in prison.

Well said Tony at 3:07.

I'm for Trump and I can say, basically, yeah, fair enough. I disagree but think you offer a good useful outline.

For what it's worth, I figure I am or prefer to to put myself in category (c), "fed up."

The thing is, for me, for us I figure, everything you say or allege about Trump's lack of credibility applies as much if not more so to Cruz.

Odds are terrible that even Cruz or Trump would order the DoJ to open a criminal investigation and possibly put Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Brin, Page, Schmidt, Cook, Dorsey and a few others in prison.

I don't know. Trump gave a very forceful interview to Breitbart last fall regarding the H1B visa scams.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/29/exclusive-donald-trump-rights-ship-on-immigration-demands-disney-rehire-workers-replaced-by-cheap-foreign-labor-calls-rubio-silicon-valleys-puppet/

He's talking openly about ending the monopolies in the health insurance and pharma industries. It's not a stretch at all to see him end the collusion in the tech industry either.

everything you say or allege about Trump's lack of credibility applies as much if not more so to Cruz.

Why? What evidential grounds do you have for questioning Cruz's credibility as a conservative?

Pardon me, but point of order: I believe I have clearly staked out the Trump-is-rubber, Cruz-is-glue position.

Seriously, I am not disqualifying Cruz.

But I am not buying your disqualification of Trump either.

But as you ask: Here is an outline:

1. I don't remember Cruz as that good on immigration. Is Mickey Kaus wrong? http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/21/cruz-is-in-it-for-cruz/.

2. I've got zero on him on Trade. Not his wheelhouse? Not a leader? Not enough charisma?

3. Maybe Trump is only more open to attack because there's more tape. He's been in the public eye longer, decades longer. Cruz is much younger. How does having less charisma and access and skill with the media --and crowds apparently, necessarily make Cruz _more_ credible?

4. Charismatic puffery in the right direction (we're gonna build a wall, it's gonna be great) better in a president than the sort of skills Cruz demonstrated in the Senate. Look at the Kaus link.

5. Does Cruz come off as a bit weasely (to borrow a word from that Kaus piece) to you? Bizarre?

6. Wife's position and loans/campaign funding?

Bonus. 1. Ann Coulter on Cruz in Vdare:

Even Ted Cruz still refuses to say he’d deport illegal aliens (unless they’re arrested for breaking some other law), build a wall (instead he talks about “border security,” which is code for: No Wall), or reduce legal immigration at all.

She links to a CNN story.

Even Ted Cruz still refuses to say he’d deport illegal aliens (unless they’re arrested for breaking some other law)

I don't know whether or not that is true, but it is a sentiment held by most Right Thinking People in the Republican establishment and "conservative media." It always comes down to a spineless unwillingness to stand up to leftists who paint pictures of jackbooted conservatives kicking in the door of a Mexican couple (who you know are fungible in all matters of integration with Irish, Italian and German immigrants) and ripping them out of their home they built on sweat and blood in a manner that has no small whiff of Nazism about it. The reality in much of the country is actually closer to a swarm of immigration agents busting up a house that is well over capacity with male workers (single, or family back home).

A wall is only a starting point. Ted Cruz has, I believe, promised to pursue the hiring of a few tens of thousands more border patrol agents. That too is a necessary and positive step. However, refusing to go after and deport illegals because they are illegals is just absolute bovine excrement as a policy both as a matter of selling out the working class and thumbing your nose at the rule of law.

If immigration law is to not be enforced there, then what possible moral justification is there for the feds to demand obedience to other laws of similar consequence? They don't even contemplate amnesty for people who pirate TV shows, but foreigners who try to elude our laws and live here sub rosa get a free pass because dangit, they haven't violated any other laws (wouldn't you LOVE to have that excuse in court? "Yonnah, I only broke this one serious law so cut me some slack")

Much as I'm opposed to mass immigration, and especially to illegal immigration, the level of abuse and corruption in the Border Patrol is quite appalling.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/border-patrol-the-green-monster-112220

Mike, wherefore the desertion of your skepticism of police abuse?

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that hiring a couple thousand more aspiring tyrants with guns and federal enforcement powers will solve this problem. And the idea of a "deportation force," organized in the image of Trump, fills me with dread and revulsion. They could turn into a kind of reality-show janissary corps.

In truth, the best policy toward illegals was articulated, to much derision, by Mitt Romney: self-deportation. Put pressure of the demand side of the labor market, adjust the incentives and enforce certain statutory penalties, and plenty of illegals will simply return home on their own.

So I guess my difference with Christopher lies in the importance I place on the immigration issue in the constellation of questions facing the Republic. It's important, alright, and I'll give Trump credit for forcing it into prominence in the campaign; but there are other questions of vital importance, too, on which he is an outright enemy of justice and sanity.

When it comes to trade, well, I doubt Christopher and I see eye to eye on the substance, much less the importance of the issue.

6. Wife's position and loans/campaign funding?

Here's one example of this: Cruz's single largest donor via one of his Super-PACs is billionaire Robert Mercer >> Robert Mercer is involved in ongoing litigation over the payment of taxes from his hedge fund in the amount of around $6 billion >> Cruz is pushing a tax plan that would eliminate the IRS. Coincidence? (Plus the plan contains a business tax that Cruz doesn't seem to understand works like a big VAT tax)

This is the kind of thing that people are just fed up with. They're sick of billionaire puppet masters. Many are saying better an eccentric, but transparent, billionaire standing front and center than a politician tied to super wealthy figures working in the shadows.

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/01/21/senator-ted-cruz-has-an-unstable-glenn-beck-problem-the-beck-barton-and-mercer-connections/

Andrew E. -- are you seriously implying that the arcane financial interests of a Cruz donor better explain his proposal to abolish the IRS than, say, the naked political harassment and abuse of conservatives in the past decade by corrupt tax enforcers?

Who knows what's going on in the shadows. That's the whole point.

I was pleasantly surprised by Trump's position on immigration and trade, but I was not planning on voting at all until he started talking about being in favor of Russia fighting ISIS. This was the first whiff of foreign policy sanity to come from a leading GOP presidential candidate in over a decade, and I really liked it. Perhaps I am being naive in trusting him to do any of what he says, but at least I don't know he's lying about immigration, as I do the others.

For a group that vehemently opposed the Iraq attack, you seem unjustifiably sanguine about Cruz's hawkishness. Abortion remains a very important issue for me, but I have come to believe that reintroducing the destructive foreign policy of the US to moral sanity is just as important, so Trump is the only remaining option for me. It requires some reading between the lines to justify this, but all things considered I'm voting for his platform. He could still lose me, for example if his talk about torture turns out to be more than bluster, but I can't support any of the other candidates.

Also, out of curiosity, what is the editor's position on the work of E. Michael Jones?

I forgot to mention the other benefits of Trump's success, which do not depend on his victory but could be furthered by it:
1. The naked emperor of political correctness getting its just deserts (in this, his crassness is an asset, and you [redacted] need to stop pretending to matter if it gives you the vapors)
2. The destruction of the Stupid Party, that something better might replace it

Mike, wherefore the desertion of your skepticism of police abuse?

It hasn't gone anywhere. Prince William County was so successful using constitutionally-sound means that Obama shut down the police/ICE cooperation because of it. The level of force the police have to bring is generally not substantial. In fact, as PWC showed something as simple as a blanket policy of running the citizenship and visa status of everyone under arrest is enough to scare many into leaving without even kicking in a few doors. Why? It meant that literally any run-in with the police in PWC could result in your deportation if you're an illegal. Even a traffic ticket, I believe.

It's not an either-or scenario. In fact, the ideal situation would be to allow the illegals to report themselves, gain temporary papers and establish a self-deportation schedule with ICE at this point. The understanding being that if they are not outside of our borders, with their belongings, within the 30-90 days of the schedule every possession will be subjected to civil forfeiture and every adult member of the family will be charged with a felony.

On a related note, Paul, stuff like this is why if I were tempted to stop being a Protestant, I'd probably go Orthodoxy at this point. I can't believe a man who says garbage like this speaks for anyone except the ghosts of Karl Marx.

Yeah, guys, just look at how sound Trump is on immigration:

http://www.redstate.com/leon_h_wolf/2016/02/18/clip-trump-flip-flopping-immigration-video/

I don't read Red State...ever.

Mike, I'm all for granting local law enforcement the option to check immigration status and detain on that basis.

Believe it or not, but Trump actually doesn't want to sound like a big meanie all the time. His bread and butter tactic to deflect hostile questions from reporters is to say 'it's great', 'I like that idea', and then he follows it up with 'we're deporting the illegals' and 'we're building the wall'. This is how he beats the leftist media at their own game.

It seems indubitable to me that he doesn't even know what the DREAM Act is. He thought the question related in some general way to "people who have a dream."

That's just it, Trump understands it better than anyone. The act was given the acronym DREAM by the left to disarm conservatives and dare us to say that these precious children from south of the border can't live out their dreams here in America because...racism. And responds by saying dreams are great, I love dreams, I want our kids to dream, our dreams should come first.

The left fights with rhetoric, not dialectic. Cruz tries to fight with dialectic, so he will lose. Trump is fighting the left on their turf and he is winning.

Which, if it were true (which it isn't), would give a whole new meaning to the phrase "Pyrrhic victory."