Since everyone else is weighing in on the issue of DACA, I figure I might as well, too.
First, although I am opposed to illegal immigration in general, I think this particular class (children raised in the US, although not born here or granted legal immigration status) merits special consideration. For the most part, these are people who didn’t choose to come to the United States. That decision was made for them while they were minors. When we’re talking about DACA, we’re talking about people who have been raised here and are American in every sense of the word – except legally. Moreover, there are at least 800,000 of them. There could be as many as 1.7 million.
Some have become high achievers in their chosen fields, some have served in the military with distinction, others are just ordinary folk, trying to find their way in this world. Yes, some are bad apples – as you can find in every demographic group. But it is a small minority, and they can be dealt with as any nation deals with crappy immigrants.
All that being said, I applaud President Trump’s decision to terminate the existing DACA program, and for one reason: our Constitution says immigration decisions are the responsibility of Congress, not the Executive. Before President Obama created the DACA program, he acknowledged (often) that any such executive action was unconstitutional. When he issued that executive order in June 2012, it was not his intention to make it a permanent fixture. The EO included a sunset period, since renewed twice. Obama had dual intentions; first, he wanted to try to force Congress to tackle immigration reform. Secondly (and cravenly), was his intent to shore up his support in the Latino community prior to the 2012 election. He failed on the first count, but succeeded on the second.
President Trump is, in large measure, copying the Obama administration’s playbook. By announcing that he is ending the program, but delaying enforcement for six months, he is attempting to force Congress to act and giving them a window of opportunity. At the same time, he is trying to reinforce his standing among his base by at least appearing tough on immigration.
So, are Trump’s chances of getting Congress to act any better than Obama’s were? First, there is the House leadership, which so far has demonstrated that it is extremely consistent in running from their own shadows. If they can be forced to address the issue, the chances of something happening are pretty good.
In fact, something could conceivably pass this week. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) has had HR 496 pending for nearly 8 months, and it specifically addresses the DACA situation. Had the leadership scheduled it for a vote in the Spring or Summer, this issue would already be behind us. But, again, leadership is afraid of doing anything that might possibly bring about a challenge from the right, even if they personally support it. (Where I come from, we call that cowardice – but whatever). However, Coffman has about had it with the cowards in his party and is filing a discharge petition to force a floor vote. He might just get it, too. As of this writing, he was only 3 votes shy of forcing Speaker Paul Ryan’s hand.
That would be half of the equation, because as we all learned on Schoolhouse Rock, a bill has to pass both houses of Congress before it can be sent to the President’s desk. There is a companion bill pending in the Senate, S128. Unfortunately, the Senate leadership is as afraid of their shadows as their House counterparts (see: Obamacare repeal). So how could the bill make it’s way to the floor if Mitch McConnell decides to go into a corner and cower? Believe it or not, this is where the filibuster can be useful. Any senator who supports passage can tie the Senate in knots until S128 is voted on. This is the perfect time to engage in such tactics, too. In case you’ve missed it, virtually every fiscal matter facing the country needs to be addressed over the next 3 1/2 weeks. Even losing a day to a filibuster would seriously crimp on Mitch’s ability to get out and fundraise.
So yes, there is a better than 50/50 chance something finally gets done. In fact, if Congress wanted put the President on the spot, they could pass the BRIDGE Act, as is, ignoring the White House’s request to include border wall funding. But again, I doubt that happens. Congressional leadership is too cowardly to even consider it..
Perhaps the most convincing argument coming from those who’ve decided to back up the truck to Donald Trump’s candidacy is the one regarding appointments to the Supreme Court. Even the most politically clueless individual realizes that Hillary Clinton will never nominate anyone with a conservative viewpoint. Hillary probably doesn’t even know any lawyers or professors who aren’t decidedly liberal. With one court vacancy already and the majority of the sitting Justices eligible for Social Security benefits, odds are the next President will have a once in a century opportunity to shape the Court. Certainly, nobody who cares about the Constitution can reasonably argue that a Clinton Presidency wouldn’t greatly imperil our system of government.
So the argument becomes we know what Hillary will do as regards SCOTUS, and that’s pack it with as many anti-gun, pro-abort, big government types as she can get past the Senate. Trump has at least made noises about nominating conservative justices. Who knows? He might actually keep his word on at least this subject and select people from the list he published a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll admit, that’s almost a compelling argument. Nobody of sound mind wants to see the Supreme Court packed with people who make Lenin look like James Madison. Of course, it relies on assuming that Trump will hold true to his word on this topic. And we know the old saying about assumptions… The question becomes, can we trust Trump to nominate, as he claims, a justice worthy of Antonin Scalia’s seat?
Well, no. In fact, I’m here to show that not only won’t he nominate a Scalia type to the court, but that his nominees would be every but as dangerous to the long-term health of the republic as Hillary’s. And I have two reasons I can say this with absolute, complete and total certainty.
First, one only need look at that list a little more closely. It’s a list of potential jurists that any high school junior could have put together in about 15 minutes by doing a Google search (and that’s assuming they were slow at copying and pasting). Of the eleven potential nominees, nine are politicians first, jurists second. None are considered an actual legal scholar, much less in the intellectual vein of Justice Scalia. Only three have taught law (one in an adjunct capacity only) and none taught the Constitution. Besides being intellectual lightweights, they all share two other things. The first is a trail of opinions justifying judicial activism. Their other common trait (one that frankly I applaud) is that all have struck down restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. Unfortunately, reading through their legal reasoning in doing so is at best, bewildering. Judge Sykes, for instance, is most famous for striking down Chicago’s attempt to outlaw gun ranges. (Well, in legal circles, anyway. She’s also famous for another reason). But in her opinion, she gave credence to the idea that prior restrictions on gun possession and ownership could and should be considered when adjudicating 2nd Amendment cases. In other words, had a prior legislature outlawed firing ranges and another court upheld that ban, she would have gone along with it. Or to put it more bluntly: she would place legal precedent ahead of the Constitution. That is about as far from Justice Scalia as one can get and not end up with someone named Ginsburg.
Perusing through the other nominees’ legal opinions reveals the same sort of bent. These are not legal conservatives. They may be social conservatives, but are willing to tear the Constitution to shreds in the name of their “conservatism.” Of course, that isn’t conservative at all. That’s the flip side of the same judicial coin that social liberals have been flipping for 70 years. It’s also the sort of person Trump has consistently been throughout his life. Which is to say, one with little regard for the law – and if the law gets in your way, either ignore it or change it. A politician willing to change the law willy-nilly is dangerous enough. A Supreme Court justice willing to ignore the Constitution in furtherance of a goal is inherently dangerous. In fact, we have one such “conservative” justice now occupying the Chief Justice’s seat, and it was his pursuit of maintaining the court’s “integrity” over the Consitutional principles it is supposed to be upholding that gave us Obamacare.
In this light, it isn’t surprising that actual Scalia-type legal scholars, who also happen to be social conservatives, are nowhere to be found in Trump’s thinking. Not one of Janice Rogers-Brown, Brett Kavanaugh or Paul Clement seems to even have been considered. I’m not even going to mention Mike Lee or Ted Cruz. We all know how Trump feels about Cruz, and putting Thomas Lee on the list seems like a sop towards Mike (they’re brothers). The point is, those are people who firmly believe in the Constitution’s delineation of powers, including restrictions on executive authority. If there’s one thing the Donald hates, it’s anyone telling him what he cannot do, especially a legal authority.
Which brings me to the second proof that Trump will not nominate a Scalia-type conservative. As you are probably aware, he is facing several lawsuits for his involvement with Trump University, about as scammy an operation as has ever operated in these United States. The one that is closest to being heard is in California, being presided over by US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Late last week, Trump launched into one of the most hateful diatribes against a sitting federal judge in US history. It was certainly a first for a presidential candidate. In terms of political assassination of a court, the only comparable thing that comes to mind was President Obama’s singling out the Supreme Court for not bending to his will during his 2010 State of the Union.
Stop to let that sink in for a moment: Donald Trump and Barack Obama have the same regard for courts that don’t do as they want.
Of course, Trump did his best to poison the well further. He decried Judge Curiel as Mexican (he’s actually from Indiana) in his inimitable “I’m-not-a-racist-but-I-am” wink & nod cattle call. Indeed, he pushed right up to the edge of facing contempt of court charges. That he hasn’t is an example of judicial restraint, a concept foreign to Judge Trump (as is restraint in anything). But more instructively, Trump’s willingness to harangue a sitting federal judge tells us what he expects from the judicial branch of the federal government: total compliance with Trump. Comply, or face my Brownshirts. In Curiel, however, Trump’s threats probably don’t have much currency. After all, he’s faced down Mexican drug cartels in his courtroom.
Besides sending a shudder up the spine of anyone who happens to think the separation of powers provided by the Constitution is a good idea that’s worked really well, this type of behavior also lays low one of the other arguments I’ve heard. Namely, that Trump would be constrained by the both the Constitution and the grinding bureaucracy of the federal system. Trump has already subverted the second half of that argument; watching the likes of Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio licking his boots proves that. Seeing what Trump expects of a justice, and the lengths he will go to exact compliance, makes the first invalid, as well.
Presidents give prime-time, televised speeches for one of two reasons: to reassure the nation during times of crisis, or to lay out major shifts in policy. After two major terror attacks in less than three weeks laid bare the futility of his foreign and military policy, Barack Obama needed to do both last night.
He failed miserably.
First, let me give praise where praise is due: the President finally admitted that the Ft. Hood shootings were an act of terrorism. It only took him 5 years to get around to admitting that. At that rate, he’ll admit that ISIS, Al-Qeada, Boko Haram, etc., are offshoots (at the very least) of Islam somewhere around 2025. Who knows? Perhaps one day he’ll even identify Wahibism and the Saudi government as the biggest sponsor of terrorism and religious warfare in history.
as mentioned, this was a prime-time speech, and the White House pulled out all the stops. Think of the Oval Office addresses you’ve heard in your lifetime. Think of Ronald Reagan, after the Challenger accident. Think George H. Bush, announcing the war to liberate Kuwait. Now compare that to last night’s performance.
First, there were the strange optics. I can’t fathom what message Obama was trying to visually convey. (Nobody else can, either). A podium, in front of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office? I know the Oval Office is actually a rather small workspace, but this is the first time I’ve seen it presented in a way that made it seem smaller than it actually is. And why one earth were the curtains open in the background?
The speech itself was incredibly tone deaf. The only way the President could have possibly reassured the nation was to announce a chnage in policy, a new strategy, for dealing with Islamic terrorism. Instead, we got a lecture: my policies are working, dummies. Maybe he thinks we haven’t been paying attention and didn’t already know that 70% of the airstrikes launched return without firing a shot. Maybe he didn’t understand that we see ISIS beheading unarmed civilians on YouTube daily. It could be that he thought we forgot about the “hashtag war” against Boko Haram. It might even be that he forgot he told us Al-Qeada is “on the run” again – right before they took over a hotel in Mali. After all, he also assured us that “ISIS is contained” (day before the Paris nightmare) and that “ISIS cannot strike in the US” (2 days before San Bernadino).
No, he told us his weak coalition, leading from behind, and being kind to Muslims is the key to winning. He doubled down on admitting refugees (albeit, recognizing that maybe his vetting process isn’t exactly vetting anything). And he once again demanded more gun control – although this time with a twist. Rather than just outright banning the Second Amendment, he suggests using a the no-fly list (universally recognized as a flawed program, rife with errors) to abridge those individuals Fifth Amendment rights and thereby nullify their Second Amendment rights. He actually had the nerve to ask “what possible objection” anyone could have to that suggestion. Talk about ideology over national interest – there was a perfect example, if ever he gave one.
Last night was much more than a confusing, flawed speech from a failed President. It might as well have been Obama’s farewell address. Barack Obama, the man who built a Presidency on rhetoric and pageantry more than any in recent memory – perhaps in American history – found the rhetoric leaving him when he needed it most, found the pageantry reduced to a confusing scene when he most needed to seem in charge. The saddest part of it is that we still have him in the White House for another 14 months. That’s 14 months the world will be left to deal with the Jihadists as best we can.
God help us.
Within 16 hours of my writing this, it seems certain the Grand Exalted Emperor of North America, Barack Hussein Obama, will have used his pen-and-phone strategy to effectively legalize some 5 million illegal immigrants. The hand wringing in the countryside is palpable. What do we do with this guy?
I propose the answer is actually simple. Ignore him. Much like the adolescent throwing temper tantrums because he doesn’t get his way, what we’re witnessing today from the Great One is a spoiled brat getting his comeuppance. And as any parent will you, the most effective way to deal with a brat is to ignore him. Don’t punish him. Don’t spank him. Just…ignore him. It is the absolute thing a self-centered, pompous ass cannot stand.
As to ignoring him, that’s far easier than one might think. His party has been relegated to a bunch of political back benchers, unable to advance an agenda and much less devote energy to defending a President many dislike. When he takes to the bully pulpit, his speeches are already met with a cross of derision and disbelief. The rest of the world looks upon Team Obama with, at best, patronizing disregard.
Obama isn’t completely toothless, of course. He can convince the Iranians to go ahead and build nukes, plunging what’s left of Mideast stability down the toilet. He can sic the machinery of government on his domestic enemies – something he’s already done with seeming glee. Worst of all, he can rely on his sycophants in the MSM to provide him with more face time than he deserves.
But still, when even the pols in your party are doing their best to already ignore you in the quest to coronate Hillary, you’re already borderline irrelevant. Oh, and checking back to the beginning: go ahead and announce you won’t deport those 5 million illegals. We already know the reality was you were never going to deport them anyway. The only person you’ve fooled is the guy starting back at you in the mirror.
Followers of this blog are certainly aware that I am neither a fan of the President nor his policies. But I’ve never joined the club of people who think Barack Obama is actively trying to undermine the United States. At least, not in the sense that he fully anticipates the policies he pursues will actually cause the downfall of American society, and that this is his reason for being. I had always assumed he was a just another overeducated liberal without enough common sense to know what the hell he was doing.
No longer. I am saying it as loud, as long and as often as I possibly can. Barack Hussein Obama-Soetero is UNAMERICAN and is actively seeking to DESTROY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
It isn’t any single Obama action that has led me to this conclusion. Rather, it is the totality of those actions – they way they inextricably link back to one result, a diminishing of the United States as an economic, military and diplomatic power. Over 5+ years in office, every single policy and action undertaken by the Obama administration has succeeded in one thing only, and that’s turning us into a shell of what we were just a few years ago.
He promised to unite us, yet he has driven a politics a of division – along class, racial, income, wealth, age, religious and regional lines, ensuring he leaves office with a nation more divided than any time since Reconstruction. And not unlike that time, it will take a generation or more to patch the chasms he’s torn in the fabric of American spirit.
He swore an oath to defend the Constitution, yet decries that very document’s limitations on his power while announcing his intention to undermine and usurp it whenever he can.
He swore an oath to defend the American people, yet has repeatedly tossed American lives aside as callously as you or I might discard a chewing gum wrapper. From Fast and Furious to Benghazi to veteran’s care, Americans continue to needlessly die on his watch. Often, he undertakes actions that ensure some of us will die – and often, those of us who’ve sworn their lives to protect their nation. He holds those persons – the military, law enforcement, etc – with personal disdain.
His diplomatic actions have left the Middle East in the thrall of the very extremists we are at war with. Whether Al-Queada in Libya, Iraq and Syria, Hamas in Israel, the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or the Mullahs in Iran, the promise lit by the spark of the Green Revolution was used by Obama to set that region aflame. Hhis other diplomatic “efforts” have resulted in a resurgent Russia threatening the 70 years of European peace and directly led to a new Sino-Russo entente, undoing the efforts of 40 years of American diplomacy. He accomplished this while working to isolate the USA from our traditional allies, while deferring (and on more than one occasion, embracing) to our enemies.
His economic policies have devastated the what was once the world’s preeminent economy, turning us into a basket case of runaway debt, devalued currency, over taxation, over regulation and negative growth. By the end of this year, China will supplant the US as the world’s largest economy, ending a 93 year run.
And just as the US was about to achieve energy independence, a goal of every President of every political stripe since the Nixon administration, this usurper comes along and unilaterally institutes new policies that will simultaneously accelerate our dependence on foreign energy, sap the economy further and aggravate our most important trading partner. If it weren’t aimed squarely at the American people, I would be envious of such a master stroke.
I once thought Obama simply a misguided fool, whose incompetence came shining through when competence is needed most. But no longer. Anyone who can be elected to the Presidency twice is neither fool nor idiot. Rather, they have to be shrewd, cunning and exceptionally intelligent.
Those are also the exact same traits required to pull off a level of treason this extreme.
I do not know why Obama hates the country of his birth to this degree. Perhaps it was upbringing in Indonesia. Maybe some of his parents’ extreme ideology is carried in his DNA. Maybe he spent too many hours listening to the anti-American screeds from Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. Whatever the roots, it doesn’t really matter. He is doing his utmost to unravel everything our parents and grandparents created. And with the help of radical friends in the media and the democratic party, he is succeeding.
After 18 months of foot dragging, hemming, hawing and general evasiveness, the Obama administration finds itself being dogged by the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and 4 security personnel in Benghazi, Libya.
After years of foot dragging, hemming, hawing and general evasiveness, the Obama administration finds itself being dogged by the avoidable deaths hundreds, perhaps thousands, of veterans at the hands of the Veteran’s Administration.
Two terrible scandals resulting from the tragic and untimely deaths of people who dedicated their lives to protecting the American people and advancing American principles worldwide. Two examples of a presidential administration shamefully allowing American heroes to needlessly die. Two crimes that have at their heart, one singular thought process.
The scandal in both instances is not the cover-up. These crimes are heinous in their own right. These crimes are nothing short of murder, and directly attributable to inaction when direct action would have prevented those deaths. The cover-ups began shortly afterwards, when the President and his underlings realized they screwed up. Covering up a crime is bad, but understandable in these cases. Either instance would certainly be an impeachable offense. Either instance would result in multiple life sentences in a federal penitentiary for everyone involved. The cover-our-asses mentality spawning the cover-ups is almost justifiable. Anyone thinking the attempts at covering up is the real scandal needs a reality check.
The real scandal is that real people died simply because the President didn’t want to dedicate the resources needed to prevent those deaths. In the case of Benghazi, the President had made a major policy speech just weeks before – a speech in which he announced to the world that al-Queada was “on the run.” Having to send in a real security team because we knew al-Queada planned to assault our consulate, in celebration of the September 11, 2001 attacks, would have blown the lid off that lie. Ordering a rescue mission would have likewise told the truth to the lie. It was politically expedient to let a few diplomats and a retired SEAL or two die than risk re-election. In the case of the VA, we now know team Obama was told of the delays in receiving care before they even assumed office. After 5 years, the wait times haven’t improved. The backlog of cases awaiting determination hasn’t decreased. Both have grown exponentially, while VA administrators dummied records to try and make it look like they were doing their jobs. This, despite hundreds of VA activists (including yours truly) pointing out the VA’s systemic failures over the years.
Most damning, though, is the attitude that this administration has demonstrated throughout. It as an attitude that permeates the liberal mind, never really acknowledged but evident for decades. That attitude is one of general callousness towards those Americans whose preference is to serve their nation, to risk their lives and their futures so that the country’s civilian population might prosper and grow at home. Whether towards the military or the diplomatic corps, the attitude is, “Why?” It is the same attitude that led the Flower Children to spit on returning veterans of Vietnam and their children to protest military funerals a generation later. It is the same attitude that led John Kerry to toss away his medals in a pique of fit. It is evident in Hillary Clinton’s virulent attacks on the men who fought in Vietnam. Perhaps most obviously, it is exemplified by Barack Obama’s snide remarks about people “bitterly clinging to guns and religion.” and announcing that the era of “American Exceptionalism” is over – the last comment leaving unsaid, but understood, that he never thought Americanism was an exceptional ideal to begin with.
In that context, the callous disregard for the lives of the men and women who believe in their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution is understandable. Reprehensible, but understandable – in much the same way we strive to understand how the great mass killers of history justified their murders. The narcissistic, me first at all costs attitudes that allow people of above average intellect to justify the deaths of others as merely inconvenient casualties of a great political game goes far beyond high crimes and misdemeanors, though. It should lead to hundreds of counts of first degree murder, and for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Shinseki, Eric Holder et al to be charged with anything less would be the greatest of all travesties.
Due us a favor, Mr. Obama and resign now. If you have any faith to your office and this nation (and not Indonesia, or Kenya, or some other God-foresaken rat hole), you’ll understand your inactions are tantamount to treason. As bad as Richard Nixon was, even he understood it was time to go.
It’s time to GO!
I recently got into a bit of a Facebook kerfluffle. The reason is, I re-posted the following statement from a fellow veteran:
“This is how I feel when a civilian thanks me for my service and protecting our “freedom”. I do my best not to go high and right as I kindly explain to them “You’re welcome, however no one in the military is protecting your freedom. If they were, they would have cleaned out Washington DC years ago. How many “terrorists” have limited, restricted or taken away your Constitutional rights? The military may at times temporarily provide for your safety and security, but they don’t do shit to protect your freedom… Get my point”
I realize this POV is probably more than a little unsettling to most of you, so allow me to explain why there are quite a few of vets who feel this way.
Let me start at the very beginning. Every person who enlists in any military service is required to take the following oath:
“I,<state your name>, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
The bit about defending the Constitution, and bearing true faith and allegiance to it, would certainly make it seem like the enlistee was fired up about defending our liberties and freedoms. And most are. Yes, during my tour of duty I met plenty of people who initially enlisted for a variety of reasons, and those weren’t always the most altruistic. But it becomes nearly impossible to survive basic training without believing you’re putting yourself through hell for a damned good cause.
But you’ll also notice that the enlistee also swears to take orders from the President and the officers the President appoints over the enlistee. That makes virtually every military order also a political order. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s worked out well for most of our history. After all, there are plenty of republics that devolved into military dictatorship precisely because the military was not under control of the political institutions, or became factionalized under different political elements. The Founders were well aware of the dangers a politically isolated military would pose to a republic, and ensuring the military remained subservient to the political machinery was another genius stroke they had.
But the downside to this arrangement is what we’ve experienced over the past 15 years or so. The military has always been used by US Presidents as a foreign policy political tool (what exactly do you think Teddy Roosevelt was referring to as the “Big Stick”?). Throughout our history, though, most Presidents have used military action to either (a) defend or evacuate American citizens abroad or (b) prosecute actions against declared enemies of the US, which would also make them enemies of the US Constitution. But beginning with the Presidency of George W. Bush, America’s military was tasked with a new role: prosecuting military actions against…well, they still aren’t sure, really.
The ambiguity came after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Prior to that date, terrorists were considered criminals, regardless of where they hailed from. Even those sponsored by foreign governments, such as the group that went around bombing German discos in the mid-80’s. The response was unerring, and consistent: hunt and prosecute the terrorists legally while holding the foreign government militarily responsible. After the 9/11 attacks, Bush made a tenuous argument that the government of Iraq was responsible and invaded. But rather than hunt down the remaining members of Al-Qaeda for legal prosecution, we also invaded Afghanistan, also on the tenuous precept that their lack of a stable government allowed the terrorists to establish a de facto government.
At the same, a series of civil liberty circumventing statutes were passed and signed into law: everything from the Patriot Act and “enhanced interrogations” to warrantless wiretapping and travel restrictions were enacted. These were political decisions, which have not had political consequences for the enactors. Indeed, President Obama has actually curtailed civil liberties even further and set the table for his successor to all but abolish the Bill of Rights, should he choose.
The military, being under the control of the body politic, has had virtually no choice but to snap to and salute as these abuses take place. Their only alternatives are to either raise concerns about the political situation or mutiny. The first option, historically, has never been met by the public with much sympathy. Not that there haven’t been quite a few courageous officers who’ve tried to question under what authority the President and Congress are deriving their extra-constitutional powers, but these men and women were quietly shown the door. These people understand the military is no longer defending the Constitution, but instead defending the political process that is allowing the Constitution to be shredded bit by bit.
As for a mutiny, that remains highly unlikely. The idea of armed soldiers marching on Capitol Hill and the White House remains unfathomable to not only most Americans but most of the Americans in uniform. Again, it would be bucking nearly 240 years of history and tradition. Of course, the Romans couldn’t imagine a military leader crossing the Rubicon with an armed legion – until they clamored for Julius Caesar to do just that.
I wonder: how close are we to an armored division crossing the Potomac?
There’s been much talking about how “unequal” things are for “ordinary” people. The President, and the President’s political party, started the kerfluffle during the 2012 elections. But recently, as the Affordable Care Act continues to prove it’s about anything but either affordability or health care and Mr. Obama’s foreign policy initiatives crater; as congressional democrats find themselves unable to find a positive message to coalesce around and as the economy continues it’s non-recovery recovery, the talk of “inequality” from both leftist politicians and the media has reached a new crescendo.
The left went agog with the election of Bill deBlasio in New York City, who campaigned on a theme of ending economic inequality in the nation’s largest city. Leftists, and their allies in the democrat party, believe that by highlighting the basic reality of capitalism they have a permanent winning issue. But other than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), no democrat has attempted to lend any sort of intellectual credence to the argument that rich people want the rest of us to be poor. Not even the leading leftist economists, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich included, have been able to demonstrate how that works, exactly. As for Mrs. Warren, the reality is that once you dive into her work, you soon discover that she is perhaps the most crass political animal to come out of her party since Bill Clinton. While she mouths the platitudes, she actually doesn’t have a single policy idea to “make capitalism fairer for the typical American.”
Anyway, we already know that Mrs. Warren is more a symptom than an exemplar of her party’s cynical politics. While they’ve all seemingly abandoned the DLC positions embraced by the Clinton administration, the reality is most haven’t . That includes Mrs Warren, Mr. Krugman and Mr. Reich. But there is a very large, core group of true believers who unabashedly embrace the culture of class warfare. If you’re one of those, feel free to stop trolling now. Nothing I’m about to write will change your closed minds; feel free to re-read Das Kapital and ignore such trivial matters as world history and human nature. But if you are one of those people who gets queasy about the type of all-out class warfare that the President and his minions, in seeking electoral glory are pushing us towards, I recommend you read on.
This is not the first time in either modern or ancient history that the “ordinary” people (which is to say, those without extravagant wealth) have felt that the current political and economic system failed to adequately represent their interests. The watchword over all of these movements is typically “equality.” Translated into today’s political parlance, “equality” as applied by the left means that each of us should have no more, nor no less, than anyone else: either in terms of net financial worth, political influence or social standing. This has been the aim of those hard-core leftists for well over a century. A very succinct statement of their goal is found in John Lennon’s Imagine:
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
The simple beauty of the position is, quite frankly, you need to be a heartless bastard to be against the idea of ending hunger, homelessness, hopelessness, and all the other downsides to the human existence.
This is the trap that libertarians and conservatives alike have fallen into: by allowing liberals and progressives to dictate that they (and their discredited systems) are for ending those inequities, we’ve become the faction that cheers them. Ironic, really – we’re the group that decries repression, yet in popular mythology we’re responsible for oppression. This isn’t our generation’s fault – the shift in public attitudes began late in the 19th century – but it is up to those of us alive now to begin the return to understanding the difference between equality and inequity.
The time has never been more critical than now for those who know the difference to remind the world that there is no way to guarantee equal outcomes without destroying society. The world imagined by Orwell in 1984, Huxley in Brave New World or Rand in The Fountainhead is closer than we realize. We understand that such an outcome will mean the beginning of a new Dark Age – similar to the one that encroached the Western world after the fall of the Roman Empire and lasted for a millenium. A new Dark Age might not last for untold centuries. Although science and technology would stagnate, the weapons left behind by our civilization have nearly unimaginable destructive power. Unchecked by a societal desire to learn and advance, those weapons will be left under the control of despots – leaders who will have both the will and the means to use them.
These are serious matters and engaging the public in a way that leads them to understand that liberty does not necessarily mean personal gain is the lynchpin to preventing the general collapse of society. The modern liberal probably does not realize the grave danger they, and their political and economic philosophy, pose to civilization. Most sincerely believe that not only are all men created equal, but that must necessarily also mean all men are entitled equally. I won’t go into the reasons we know this is a fallacious argument: that while we may be born with equal rights, we aren’t all born with the same drive, determination, talents and skills. Or that success is defined in different ways by different people (which, on its very face would make defining equality impossible).
Rather, let’s focus on how we win back the conversation. To do so, we need to understand why there is a sort of magnetic pull for the liberal argument of a guaranteed outcome. Why claptrap like Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and former SCOTUS Justice Stevens’ Six Amendments are heralded as the intellectual tomes of our age. And why Marx’s Das Kapital is still revered on campuses.
The answer lies in the fundamental fact that libertarians were not forceful enough in the days after September 11, 2001 – and the conservatives, always the stronger political force on the right acquiesced too readily to the neo-conservative ideology. It began what has become a nearly two decade long descent into the twin hells of restricted liberty at home and hopeless intervention overseas. And still today, there is strong pull on the right that insists on doubling down on those failed policies – the entire failed concept of government it represents. It is not truly conservative in nature; it is a belief that government can hold the solutions to our problems, if only properly applied. The philosophy espoused by these devotees gave us the bloated federal government and 12+ years of continuous warfare we live with today. The drain on the treasury, the reapplication of resources away from private investment and the crush of new regulations directly led to the financial collapse of 2008 and the lessening of American influence. In the six years since, the application of liberal political theory by the current administration has had the exact effect anyone with a quarter-brain predicted: continued economic decline and lack of economic security for most of countrymen.
This is where we need to make our case to restore the American Dream. To many of our fellows, the American Dream is dead. Many of our youth do not see an America where they an achieve based on skills or merit, but only one where the determining factors to economic or professional success are cronyism and discrimination. It is in this environment that otherwise insane arguments such as punitive taxation and retributory discernment gain credence. Equally concerning is that the same social powers now see the entire notion of personal responsibility as a quaint relic of past centuries. After all, they tell us, your failures aren’t your failures – they are the result of a system that’s rigged against you.
I read and hear politicians and scribes on both sides of the political aisle lamenting the pessimistic attitude that permeates our civil life. Yet they fail to understand that the reason for that attitude lies not with the ineffectiveness of their treasured government programs, but rather with the very existence of those programs. You can’t tell a man that he’s deserving of everything that everyone else has, regardless of his means to pay for those things, maintain those things or even comprehend the value of those things without being able to deliver on the promise. That’s where every redistributive model falls flat: it is impossible to give everyone everything. That is the great inequity of the liberal equality argument – it leads people to believe in something that is non-existent. It holds the ultimate societal good, as that which is unattainable.
The results of this drivel can already be seen and felt in our political discourse, in the palpable anger being stoked by the leftists. As our President and his party continue to pit the factions (rich vs. poor, black vs. white, welfare recipient vs. working) against one another, the nation becomes further fractured.
The conservative movement forged by the likes of Buckley and Goldwater reached its zenith with the election of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency in 1980. Do not believe the liberal rewrite of history that is taking place now. Reagan did not win by dividing the nation into rival factions, by demonizing certain groups or by scaring the pajamas off the American people (that happens to be the “progressive” playbook, as written by Lenin, fine-tuned by Alinsky and run to perfection by Obama). Reagan, rather, was an affirmative candidate and President. “Morning in America” wasn’t just a campaign theme, it was the way he governed and the way he presented the idea of America, not only to Americans but to the world. He could do that, because the conservative movement he led was not led by the neo-cons who later come to dominate the right, but one founded on the idea that in order for a man to succeed (however he might define success), in order for him to have the best chance at utilizing his God-given equality of opportunity, was the same idea that founded the nation in the beginning. The idea that not only Christian Conservatives but Libertarians could unite behind.
That is the same message that conservatives and libertarians need to unite behind now, if we are to save our country and the principles it was founded upon. That a man cannot be equal to another without opportunity, and that opportunity does not come from government. Opportunity comes from freedom, from liberty and from our Creator. We need to forcefully, continuously and repeatedly deliver that message. We must remind the American people and the world that men are not slaves to their government, the government is their slave. Many of us remember the famous line from Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Address, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” But perhaps more important to our present circumstance is this passage from the same speech:
“America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
Many of the same problems we faced at the dawn of the 1980’s we now face 35 years later, and for many of the same reasons. Let us dedicate ourselves now, my friends, as the conservatives a generation ago did. Let us be the shining beacon the the hill for both our Nation and the World.
Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama will implement the North American Repatriation Now Yield Act “as quickly as humanly, and humanely, possible.” Pressed for greater detail, Carney admitted that the administration wasn’t sure exactly what “details” might be involved, but assured the American people that the roll-out would be “at least as smooth as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
The North American Repatriation Now Yield Act (or NARNYA) provides for the return of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah and Nevada to Mexico, Alaska to Russia, and the Mississippi Watershed to France. A further provision requires the US armed forces to reopen hostilities with Spain, in order to permanently settle the long-standing dispute regarding Florida and Puerto Rico.
In a brief statement before boarding Marine One, President Obama reiterated that one of his primary goals is international cooperation on border disputes. “One of my administration’s crowning achievements has been in aiding oppressed peoples around the world reclaim territory wrongfully taken over the centuries,” a beaming President said. “Whether it’s the Bedouin in North Africa, the Russians in Crimea and Georgia, the Palestinians on the West Bank or the Mexicans in Denver, all native people have the right to self-determination, not American determination. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m running a bit late for my tee time at Doral.”
Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who will lose his seat once Nevada is repatriated, expressed relief at the President’s swift reaction. “I have been a tireless advocate of ending forced deportation. This move means that Mexican nationals living in the affected territories will no longer have to fear that knock on the door at 3am.” Likewise, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) thinks “this is a tremendous step, a step of great vision, from a truly remarkable President.”
As expected, Republicans were blindsided by the move. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) could not be found for comment, although he was seen in the hall shaking hands with the Rev. Al Sharpton shortly before the announcement. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opined, “NARNYA? I don’t recall voting on children’s closet story. Does it mean John McCain has to come out of the closet now?” To which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi replied, “Perhaps you should have read it before you voted on it.”