2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Featured Article • GOPe • Great America • Republicans

Confessions of a Recovering Neoconservative

The realignment of the political Right has prompted a public confessional of sorts, a raw acknowledgement that millions of us were led astray by Republiican leaders we trusted, we voted for, and we defended during times of war. We only have ourselves to blame, of course, because we did it with our eyes wide open. But the Trump era is forcing many Republicans to reexamine what we once believed and reassess what actually is true.

In a fiery speech earlier this month at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C., Fox News host Tucker Carlson talked about purging his “mental attic” to dust off the ideas that he had accepted as legitimate over past few decades.

“The Trump election was so shocking . . . that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say ‘wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?’” Carlson said. “Just look around . . . who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? A lot of the people we’ve been told are good guys are not. Some of them are the worst guys. I’ll let you figure out who.”

Carlson didn’t need to name names because the conservatives in the room, I assume, envisioned pretty much the same collection of bad guys—and they aren’t on the Left.

For the most part, the list would include Republican villains such as Bill Kristol, Carlson’s former boss at the now-defunct Weekly Standard, and a number of other conservative commentators still clinging to the mantras that afford them their sinecures; Bush family members and certain administration officials; former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and the late John McCain; former Republican congressional leaders such as ex-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; and an assortment of well-heeled donors.

They populate most of the Beltway clique of once-influential thought and political leaders who controlled the Republican Party for more than two decades and whose collective incompetence, arrogance, and intellectual torpor resulted in their ouster in the form of Donald Trump’s election on November 8, 2016.

In fact, Carlson’s Trump-inspired epiphany echoed my own internal thoughts during much of the conference—thoughts I’ve had consistently over the past three years—but in my head have been far more harsh than Carlson’s public musings. Others shared similar reflections about both the people and the policies they once were loyal to. As I’ve purged my own mental attic of alleged truisms and political heroes since November 2016, here is what I often think:

You idiot. How dumb could you be? How could you have been duped by these frauds for so long?

Like millions of Republicans, especially those of us who once considered ourselves to be neoconservatives before watching the public meltdown of our one-time heroes into a molten pool of pathetic and sniveling NeverTrump Republicans, the presidency of Donald Trump has forced me to reckon with my own political stupidity and gullibility. Not only was my faith placed in the hands of self-serving and fundamentally dishonest people, I now realize that in trusting them, I unwittingly defended misguided policies that have wreaked havoc on large swaths of the country.

When I first started out in politics in the early 1990s, a few years after I graduated from college, Kristol and his fellow neoconservative headmasters were my political idols. I was “squishy,” as Kristol once put it, on immigration and nodded my head in agreement with those who argued non-Americans would do the work that Americans wouldn’t. After all, who else would happily staff our restaurants and stock our grocery stores and fertilize our lawns while keeping the costs cheap? It’s a win-win for everyone!

Free trade opened up new markets for American goods around the world, there could be no downside. American companies owed us nothing, and if they decided to move jobs and resources and tax dollars to a more hospitable country, welp, that’s laissez-faire economics, folks! If you got hooked on drugs or stuck in a low-wage job or trapped in a decaying industrial town, that was your own damn fault. You should have been more ambitious, anyway.

Nation-building in the Middle East at the expense of American soldiers from the Midwest was the only way to defend our sovereignty and secure our future. Of course U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in any country. Of course the war would end quickly. No, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney would never mislead us about weapons of mass destruction.

That, and more, was my political mindset for more than two decades. I defended broad policies bolstered by platitudes and endorsed by my “Conservative Betters” without taking a moment to consider the long-term consequences or measure their outcomes. Why quibble about the details when you have all of “The Smart People” on your side? I mean, Bill Kristol was on TV!

In the end, being a neoconservative meant having no skin in the game. You could push for war in other countries because it wasn’t your child who would be deployed. You could argue in favor of “free trade” because your company wasn’t relocating overseas. You could support unfettered immigration because foreigners weren’t taking your job and probably wouldn’t compete with your children when the time came. You could ignore the influx of illegal drugs or the shuttering of manufacturing plants or rising white illegitimacy rates because none of it was happening in your suburb or the tony enclave of your city.

It didn’t matter if none of it really worked in practice as long as it worked in theory.

Meanwhile, those policies that sounded so good in theory from my comfortable environs were hammering Middle America. Simmering rage about the consequences of illegal immigration went unnoticed. Drug abuse soared as illicit narcotics and prescription painkillers, unrestrained by government action or political attention, flooded blighted communities. Unfair trade agreements robbed farmers and steelworkers and small business owners of profit. Still, neoconservatives clung to their vaunted yet vague “principles” as they sneered and looked the other way.

And that’s how we got Trump, as they say.

Now, thanks to Trump’s ascendance, we know why neoconservatives ignored the plight of their less fortunate countrymen: They hold them in contempt. Neocon NeverTrumpers have ridiculed Trump supporters as unsophisticated, racist rubes incapable of independent thought who blindly following the lead of their Bad Orange Master. Kristol said in 2017 that white, working-class Americans were “decadent, lazy, [and] spoiled.” He even accused Carlson, his one-time protégé, of being a white nationalist.

As they pivot away from positions they once claimed to hold, vanquished neoconservatives offer nothing in the way of “conservative” alternatives to Trumpism, just the same stale mantras about free trade and virtuous illegal immigration and the “free market.” Those leaders who once insisted America wage any number of wars securing borders in foreign lands and sold to us as protecting the “national interest” now rage about the sinister roots of Trump-afflicted “nationalism” and complain about those who insist we secure our own borders.

I’m not the only recovering neoconservative with regrets. Norman Podhoretz, one of the original architects of neoconservatism, also has second thoughts about the last couple decades. He has reconsidered his previous adherence to once defining tropes about conservatism, particularly those about trade and immigration.

“The idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong . . . there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma,” Podhoretz admitted in an April 2019 interview, “And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration. What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate.”

That is one reason why the current transformation of the Republican Party will outlive Donald Trump. Yes, the figureheads have changed, but so too have the policy priorities and the views of many rank-and-file Republicans. As we look around at the smoldering debris left behind by a “conservatve” political class that has been inattentive—even hostile—to the basic well-being of so much of the American middle class which is and must be the heart and soul of American society and culture, we know that there is no turning back to the era of selective ignorance and deference to rarified political pedigree.

And the “bad guys” should never be allowed to regain a position of influence again.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Declaration of Independence • Harry Jaffa • Post

Nationalism Is Not Enough

President Trump’s furious admonition to four extreme leftist members of Congress to educate themselves in the miseries of their ancestral homelands was met with spiteful indignation. In the media version, innocent ingenues defended their honor and their rights against a predatory, racist president.

In truth this fight is about American nationalism or patriotism versus Third World nationalism or identity politics. In brief remarks at the recent conference on National Conservatism, I asserted that a key book for understanding the issue of identity politics is The Rediscovery of America: Essays by Harry V Jaffa on the New Birth of Politics, which I co-edited with Edward J. Erler. In the words of a recent, insightful book about the late Claremont Institute political philosopher, Steven Hayward argues that Jaffa’s conservative worldview might be summarized as “patriotism is not enough. 

But that necessary condition for successful politics—patriotism—requires in addition the sufficient condition for national greatness, the most interesting part of Jaffa’s thought, that America was founded as the best possible political order, as foreshadowed in the Declaration of Independence. As Erler puts it, “Jaffa never tired of repeating, the theology of the Declaration was one of reason and revelation.”

But Jaffa was not advocating blind worship of anything. The centrality of the inquisitiveness of both philosophy and religion as key elements of this sufficient condition are presented in a thoughtful review of Rediscovery of America by David Tucker, a Jaffa student and a colleague of mine at Ashland University’s Ashbrook Center. His argument about Jaffa both complements and clashes with Erler’s and mine and is, with David Bahr’s review, a welcome addition to figuring out both the major themes and subtleties of Jaffa’s teaching.

For Tucker, the question to ask about this extraordinary thinker is “Why did Harry Jaffa change his mind?” This is no splenetic academic food-fight. At stake is how we understand our patriotism and our nationalism, and our minds and hearts.

Here’s the problem: Jaffa’s earlier book on Lincoln, Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1959) was hailed by leading Civil War historians and political theorists as a dazzling achievement of scholarship and analysis. This was followed, over 40 years later, by the long-promised A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War, a book that was hailed by many scholars but with less enthusiasm than the first one. 

Tucker summarizes the gap between the two books: Jaffa’s earlier Lincoln “gave the nation a new birth of freedom by creatively interpreting the claim that all men are created equal as a noble, transcendent idea of justice . . . . Whereas Crisis presented Lincoln as overcoming Jefferson, New Birth presented Lincoln as Jefferson’s greatest student.” The “transcendent morality” and, in Lincoln’s words, “sacred principle” of the Declaration of Independence made free self-government possible. The great strength of Tucker’s review is his clear explanation of this change in Jaffa’s thinking. I will, however, emphasize certain points.

In Jaffa’s later view, Lincoln was not fighting Jefferson’s modernity—that is, his political reliance on low self-interest—but rather he was preserving the “noble, transcendent,” original understanding of Jefferson and the other founders.

Here I need to dissent from Tucker’s further characterization of our collection. Contrary to what Jaffa himself wrote, Tucker argues that his last book, Crisis of the Strauss Divided: Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West “provides his own explanation” of his change. This book of quirky and self-referential title emphasizes the theme of reason and revelation in the thought of his teacher Leo Strauss and Jaffa’s disputes with other students of Strauss. Along with his other two books it is indispensable for understanding Jaffa. In brief, Jaffa wanted to prevent the American Founding from being mischaracterized as an anticipation of radical modernity—Madison giving way to Rousseau, Franklin to Nietzsche, and so on. Whatever shortcomings some of their abstract arguments may have had, their superior prudence or political judgment makes them our heroes today.

Jaffa’s observation from the first essay in Rediscovery shows how he dealt with Tucker’s objection: “That the Founding, which Lincoln inherited, was dominated by an Aristotelian Locke—or a Lockean Aristotle—has been a conspicuous theme of my writing since 1987.”

Our book includes major Jaffa essays that focus on this “conspicuous theme.” The Declaration itself speaks of “‘Safety and happiness,’ the alpha and omega of political life in Aristotle’s Politics.” Happiness was not some happy hour of pleasure but the pursuit of virtue. The American founding, in essence, was Aristotelian, not Hobbesian or “modern.” Its aims were those of the classical best regime and, moreover, took into account the radical change brought about by Christianity.

Thus, “Law for an ancient city and for a modern state . . . must of necessity be very different. It must be very different as to the ways and means by which it is formed, yet altogether the same for the human ends it must serve.” The prevention of tyranny (and the preservation of freedom) required recognition of the change from the gods of the ancient city to Christian monotheism: “Each individual is a citizen, actual or potential, of the City of God, before being a citizen of his own particular country.”

Oddly, Tucker finds an anti-Jefferson spirit in even the cover of the book “which features the faces of Lincoln and Washington” but also, he neglects to mention, the beginning of the Declaration, which is central and foundational. Americans, after all, are right to embrace Jefferson’s Declaration while at the same time being more selective about some of his modern philosophical tendencies, on display in his Notes on the State of Virginia, subject of a careful exposition by Tucker.

Jaffa could argue, Tucker summarizes, that “America was the best regime because for the first time in western civilization a political order did equal justice to the ‘two irrefutable and irreducible principles of human life,’ reason and revelation,” philosophy and biblical religion. Tucker’s own description rings true: “When he wrote Crisis, he was under the spell of his great books education acquired with Strauss but had not studied politics enough . . . . Jaffa thus escaped the Strauss school, while others did not. This explains Jaffa’s criticism of mere book learning and his remark to [Harvey] Mansfield that he (Mansfield) had to attend to political thought not just the history of philosophy.” Here, Tucker refers to a previously unpublished exchange in 1996 between Jaffa and Harvard’s Harvey Mansfield, a 120-page section titled “The Decline and Fall of the American Idea: Reflections on the Failure of American Conservatism.”

This failure could be seen in the political trajectory of what initially appeared to be an affirmation of Jaffa’s early Crisis of the House Divided argument for equality in the civil rights revolution.

The Civil Rights Movement’s plea for equality of rights soon turned against its natural rights foundation. And it became clear that the feminism that appropriated the civil rights revolution overthrew the authority of the Declaration, in the following way: “if public opinion no longer held that gender (sic) differences were natural, then it could no longer hold that any distinctions were natural.” This also explains why “Jaffa stoutly resisted such arguments [e.g., “for the acceptance of homosexuality”], referring to homosexuals as sodomites.” Thus, he saw that a moral revolution he initially favored and advanced as an affirmation of “equality” actually rejected equality as the foundation for political legitimacy and instead came to undermine “the authority of both reason and revelation, eroding the ground of civic friendship.”

This realization explains why Jaffa came to treat old friends and benefactors as enemies. In New Birth of Freedom, the opponents are conservative thinkers and jurists, not only the liberal historian villains of Crisis of the House Divided. Tucker incisively explains:

Jaffa came to see that Strauss’s thinking was turning into a school. This meant that political philosophy, rediscovered by Strauss, might disappear again. To preserve both the country and political philosophy, Jaffa returned to the beginning, reinterpreting the founding to emphasize its Biblical but, he now argued, no less rational morality.

Jaffa’s great purposes were patriotic, philosophic, and pious—he wanted it all. He wanted to be a good human being, which meant he also had to be a good citizen in the best regime, even as its founder in speech. He was a true friend of America, offering it unity in the bonds of mutual affection for the highest purposes.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Post • Progressivism • The Left

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Get along? Apparently no—at least until after 2020. Two examples summarize why.

“We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” said U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), one-quarter of “the squad” sowing havoc among Democrats in the House. “ We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”

Of the Republican Party, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes said the other day: “It must be peacefully, nonviolently, politically destroyed with love, compassion and determination, but utterly confronted and destroyed. That is the only way to break the coalition apart… Not by prying off this or that interest. They are in too deep. They have shamed themselves too much. The heart of the thing must be ripped out. The darkness must be banished.”

In other words, the new progressive message is that we all must vote monolithically and predicated on our superficial appearance, religion, or sexual orientation. And the Trump base must be destroyed, though annihilated with “love” and “compassion.”

Love It—Or What Actually?
All are presently shocked that Donald Trump would dare suggest that if anyone did not like the United States, then perhaps he or she might, of their own volition, consider leaving the country.

Trump apparently was directing his ire exclusively at particular first-generation congresswomen and suggesting that their anti-American furor logically might lead such unhappy U.S. citizens to consider voluntary deportation.

Perhaps no politician should ever advise American citizens with whom he disagrees to leave the country. But Trump did not suggest mandatory departures—in the manner that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) had wanted Trump supporter and immigrant Sebastian Gorka deported.

Trump was not talking of some grand swap in the explicit fashion that NeverTrumpers have variously wished for the Trump Republican and/or white working-class base to be forcibly exported and replaced by Latin American border crossers.

So wrote Bret Stephens of the New York Times: “So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be—when ‘we’ had just come off the boat.”

Columnist Max Boot narrowed the theme somewhat by suggesting only Republican lawmakers and grandees should be deported and replaced. “If only we could keep the hard-working Latin American newcomers and deport the contemptible Republican cowards—that would truly enhance America’s greatness,” Boot wrote. That’s harsh. At least Chris Hayes only wishes to destroy the Trump base with love and compassion in his heart.

Trump himself post facto rebuked his rally supporters for chanting “send her back”—a likely reference to sending naturalized U.S. citizen and loud critic of America, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), back to Somalia.

But Trump’s larger point was exasperation that he was tired of being constantly smeared as a racist and fascist. He was especially piqued at U.S. congressional representatives and the Left at large, who transfer their current unhappiness with America back to its very founding and innate nature—and the accompanying monotonous baggage of name-changing, statue-toppling, and nonstop censuring and boycotting.

Certainly, then, it was logical that anyone who harbored such existential animus toward the United States might take Trump’s advice, end their current torment, and thus gladly and voluntarily free themselves from an oppressive land. After all, we are told migration in general is a fluid and good thing and that some 20 million entering America, even illegally, is a very good thing indeed.

Americans recently supported such anger at gross ingratitude when Southern California-residing Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise, a few years ago booed the American soccer team of the country they most desperately sought to enter and cheered the Mexican team, whose country they had done all they could to leave.

During the Proposition 187 frenzy in California, I never quite figured out why one of my students, here illegally from Mexico, waved the Mexican flag while participating in a ritual, free-speech area burning of the U.S. flag—all to showcase his anger at being exposed to deportation to Mexico. I suggested at the time he instead just carry a handwritten placard, “Please, I will do all I can from now on legally to stay in your wonderful country.”

Politically Correct Hatred
Ilhan Omar presents a most exasperating case because on the one hand she poses as an avatar of the successful immigrant, while on the other she neurotically whines that America has failed utterly to meet her expectations when she fled a Kenyan refugee camp to enter the United States.

Her fervent anti-Israelism is fueled by an equally despicable and loud anti-Semitism. And she rarely seems to acknowledge that a foreign country welcomed her in extremis, subsidized her upbringing and education, and, quite unlike her tribalist, racist, and anti-Semitic native Somalia, relegated matters of race, gender, class, and religion to insignificant status or indeed saw them as advantages to be rewarded in electing her to Congress.

Omar herself was so desperate to gain citizenship or legal residency for her apparently own British residing brother that she may well have concocted a fraudulent marriage him. If true, she may have committed several U.S. tax and immigration felonies. And that makes her ingratitude all the more unappealing—and her present apparent exemption from legitimate federal investigative scrutiny into her possibly serial illegal conduct all the more unbelievable.

So, the larger landscape of the new age of acrimony is not a sudden loss of manners, but rather a complete progressive meltdown at the election of Donald J. Trump.

Opposing Obama?
We now forget that half the country was quite upset by the 2008 election of Barack Obama, not because of his race, but out of concern that he had been the most partisan voting senator of the era in the entire U.S. Senate. 

Opponents were taken aback when he boasted, shortly before his victory, about fundamentally “transforming” the country. During the campaign he had urged his supporters to take a gun to a knife fight and to “get in their faces” (which targets did he signify by “their”?), as well as writing off the Pennsylvania working class as backward gun and bible clingers, and his own grandmother as a “typical white person” (what did he mean by “typical” and did it apply to 230 million Americans?). The idea of Obama as a healer was a myth and analogous to the fable of a Noble Peace Prize winning global activist.

Obama mocked charges that Trinity Unity Church of Christ of Chicago was fueled by racism, by swearing he could no more disown Rev. Jerimiah Wright—his anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-American personal pastor, whose kindergarten banal sermons on the “audacity of hope” became the inspiration for Obama’s second book—than the grandmother who raised and nurtured him.

What did Obama mean when he weighed in during the Trayvon Martin affair by remarking that Martin might have resembled the son he never had? Did he need to slander the police in the Skip Gates affair or demagogue the Ferguson melodrama?

What exactly were Obama’s own injunctions about knowing when to quit making lots of money, or to acknowledge that one does not build his own business, or to realize that it is not a time to profit ever to apply to his post-presidential, lucrative self—or was all that just transitory boilerplate demagoguery aimed at a particular class of which he had not quite yet joined?

Congressional Republicans and conservative media announced they wanted no part of Obama’s promised radical progressive “transformation,” especially his plan to nationalize health care. They nonstop promised that they would do their best to stop him.

Indeed, fringe groups at the time (including Donald J. Trump) had trafficked in crazed birther conspiracies. And the Tea Party’s reason to be in 2010 was to defeat and destroy the Obama Democratic congressional majority.

Obama in the heated climate of the times was certainly attacked as a liar for his false assurances about Obamacare, and as a dunce who thought there were 57 states, that corpsmen was pronounced with a hard “p,” and that Hawaii was in Asia—though no one sought to call in a Yale psychologist to ascertain whether his apparent puerile ignorance was proof of dementia.

Critics serially pounced on the fact that Obama’s signature “autobiography” or “memoir” was mostly mythographic fiction. They pointed out that his past modus operandi of winning a senate election in Illinois was to count on state employees and the toady media illegally leaking the confidential divorce records of his primary and general election opponents who otherwise might well have defeated the future president.

Obama’s minions were pilloried as Orwellian figures who monitored the communications of Associated Press reporters and James Rosen of Fox News, who jailed a minor videomaker to scapegoat him for the Benghazi mess, and who went after journalist critic Sharyl Attkisson. Obama likely knew that his own FBI and CIA were in violation of federal law in their zeal to ensure a Hillary Clinton continuum and the destruction of the Trump candidacy.

Republicans lost no time in blasting Obama CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as admitted liars who had perjured themselves while under oath before Congress. They had a field day castigating Susan Rice as a serial prevaricator on matters from Benghazi and the Bowe Bergdahl circus to weapons of mass destruction in Syria. And they tried to leverage Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and scandals at the IRS, EPA, National Security Agency, Department of Veterans Affairs, and General Services Administration for political advantage. After all, that is what American politics has at times always been—a rough and mean-spirited brawl to discredit your vulnerable enemies and thereby reacquire power by winning elections.

Yet there was never a sustained and collective Republican effort to enlist the media to remove Obama from office by means other than an election.

A Contact Sport
Republicans during the transformative Obama era were content to chalk up huge wins in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, to go to court in hopes of stopping Obama’s executive orders, to shut down the government if need be to stop excessive spending, to investigate scandals such as “Fast and Furious” and Benghazi, and to censure Attorney General Eric Holder.

But what they did not do was immediately declare Obama an illegitimate president or a president so foreign to their own liking that they forthwith sued in three states to overturn the election.

They did not stage a campaign to subvert the voting of the Electoral College, or introduce articles of impeachment right after his inauguration.

They did not sic the Bush Administration FBI, CIA, NSA, and Justice Department on Obama’s campaign, transition, and presidency, or unleash Hollywood celebrities to virtue signal their imaginative ways of decapitating, burning, stabbing, blowing up, shooting, and punching their own president.

Conservative politicians, bureaucrats, and activists did not invoke the ossified Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, or the 25thAmendment to remove immediately Obama from office as a traitor, crook, and a crazy.

In efforts to impeach, they did not turn loose a special counsel and over a dozen right-wing government lawyers for 22 months and $35 million worth of harassment, or obsess over their president’s long (and often checkered history), as they wheeled out each week of his presidency an assortment of stale crooks, terrorists, and racists from his past—such  unpleasant and indeed unhinged figures as Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Father Michael Pfleger—or go after the Obama children, all to force him from office.

When Obama essentially got caught on a hot microphone promising Russian President Medvedev that he would be flexible after his reelection on the implementation of long-planned Eastern European missile defense if Vladimir Putin would give him a little room, Republicans did not introduce articles of impeachment on grounds he was “colluding” with a foreign power by offering a quid pro quo to Russia to de facto interfere in a U.S. election: if Putin didn’t cause trouble for the Obama reelection effort, then Putin got rewarded by no worries over bothersome missiles in Eastern Europe. Even if conservative forbearance derived only from pragmatic lessons from their own past ill-fated impeachment of Bill Clinton, they still did not seek to impeach Obama.

I don’t remember the conservative movement labeling the majority of Americans who voted for Obama as deplorable people, as irredeemables, as the dregs of society, as Neanderthal clingers to their Bibles and guns, as typical black or brown or some such color people. Much less was there a “NeverObama” left-wing movement that repeatedly dreamed out loud of deporting the rival but hated hard-left Obama base and swapping them with illegal aliens. Mitt Romney did not go on a year-long crusade blaming dozens of things and people for his own poorly conducted 2012 presidential campaign and claiming he was “robbed.”

The Antecedents of Trump Hatred
Again, by all means his opponents can, if they so wish, ridicule, caricature, and blast Trump and hope he fails. But after trying for nearly three years to destroy the president and prematurely remove him by any means necessary before a scheduled election, please do not appeal to the better angels of our nature—while deploring the new “unpresidential” behavior of Donald J. Trump for lashing out at those who sought to reduce him to a common criminal, pervert, traitor, dunce, and Satanic figure.

Such invective was always characteristic of the new progressive agenda rather than specific to Donald J. Trump. After the 2008 dismantling of John McCain into a senile lecher and reducing Mitt Romney into a tax cheat, animal tormenter, high-school hazer, elevator owner, and enabler of an equestrian wife with MS, and after George W. Bush was reduced to Nazi thug worthy of death in progressive novels, op-eds and docudramas, Donald Trump sensed that half the country had had enough and he would return slur for slur—and so may the best brawler win.

After all, in 2019, this 243rd year of our illustrious nation, most Americans are not simply going to curl up in a fetal position, apologize for the greatest nation in the history of civilization, and say, “Ah, you’re right, Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib. It is an awful country after all—and always was.”

While one may always wish that the president and his critics tone down their venom and play by silk-stocking Republican Marquis of Queensberry rules, it is hard for half the country to feel much sympathy for the Left that sowed the wind and are reaping an ever growing whirlwind.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Big Media • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Identity Politics • Political Parties • Post • The Left

Of Tweets and Hysterics

Last weekend’s demented political theatrics have me enraged. I am livid this time not because leftists are calling for open borders or disarming law-abiding citizens. No, as has often happened over the past four years, I am furious more because of statements made by people who claim to be on my side. 

Sunday morning President Trump tweeted. He basically reworded the legendary 1960s-era bumper sticker: “America, Love it or Leave it.” Then a whole lot of people who claim to love America lost their teeny tiny minds. 

I am not speaking of The Bulwark “conservatives”—the people “conserving conservatism” by endorsing socialists. No, this hysteria enveloped even normally sane commentators and politicians. Conservatives who claim to support President Trump joined The Bulwark gang on their fainting couches and borrowed their pearls for clutching. “Well, I never!”

 All this drama was inspired because of statements that strike us normal Republicans not succumbing to the poisonous odors Beltway emanating from the atmosphere—you know, those of us out here in voter land—as simple, common sense. Not only was there nothing wrong with President Trump’s tweets, they were a brilliant tactical attack.

With a series of tweets that named no names, President Trump forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to own her radical wing. In very few words on a Sunday morning, Trump made an anti-Semite the face of the Democratic Party. Pelosi had two choices. She could stand up for the outright anti-American, anti-Semitic, spiteful squad, or she would be seen as agreeing with the dreaded Donald J. Trump. 

President Trump sprang a trap on Pelosi and was rewarded by the weaklings on his own side wailing like babies with wet diapers.

It astounds me that suddenly Nancy Pelosi is being portrayed as the moderate, and voice of reason in the Democratic party. Pelosi rose to power representing the radical San Francisco Left, hence the nickname “San Fran Nan.” Her election to House Minority Leader was seen as the Democrats moving as far left as possible. Once in power, she made it her life’s work to rid the party of the so-called Blue Dog Democrats. She sacrificed the party’s moderates to ram Obamacare through Congress. Yes for a time that cost her the Speaker’s gavel. But Pelosi plays the long game and plays it well.

Just last year, Democrats running for Congress ran ads insisting they would be nothing like Pelosi. The American people for no earthly reason bought their pretense of moderation. Once the Democrats had their majority back, that pretense went out the window 

Then, completely out of the blue, Pelosi found herself in conflict with freshmen members of Congress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her testy trio moved the Overton Window so far to the left that “San Fran Nan” is now supposedly a moderate. This, too, is only more of Pelosi’s long game. 

In reality, Pelosi has done nothing as the party’s radical base has grown ever more vocal. Ocasio-Cortez’s cry of racism suddenly makes Pelosi, who is as conniving as any Borgia, look like a poor old lady being called names by a mean girl Millennial. It’s been a brilliant plan. Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar make the rest of the Democrats look evenhanded. Meanwhile, the rest of the Democrats pay no price for their own party’s growing anti-Americanism.

President Trump saw through the Democrat’s kabuki theater. The president brilliantly figured out a way to tie Ocasio-Cortez and Omar to Pelosi’s tail. No more standing above the fray and pretending to be in control as the Democrats controlled us. Pelosi would have to condemn President Trump and therefore embrace the commie quad. President Trump has turned on the kitchen light and the America-hating cockroaches are scurrying. But so are those with weak stomachs who are supposed to be on America’s side.

No, the president was not wrong to tell Omar (without mentioning her by name) to go back to where she came from. He is only wrong for not deporting her for her violations of immigration law. Neither is it wrong to tell Rashida Tilab and Ocasio-Cortez to return to their parent’s points of origin if the United States is so very much to their disliking. No, the president is most certainly not wrong to tell people to love this country or get out. 

This is where a lot of conventional conservative commentators lose the thread. People often say that President Trump is playing 3D chess while everyone else is playing checkers. It is far more vicious than that. For decades, the Democrats have been playing the “Hunger Games”—no rules, no mercy. They have hit below the belt and gouged out eyes. Democrats have done whatever it takes to win. Meanwhile, Republicans and the conservative movement have kindly and gently requested if maybe just this one time perhaps the Democrats could obey the law. 

So now we are $22 trillion in debt, and states are bankrupting florists and bakers because they won’t involuntarily offer their moral support to notions they can’t in good conscience abide. That’s where the party of Emily Post has gotten us.

Here, at last, we have a president who is willing to fight the Democrats at their own game, eye gouge to eye gouge, face kick to face kick. It’s not pretty. But it is far better than letting the ignorant Ocasio-Cortez turn Pelosi Borgia into the voice of moderation.

And to all the alleged conservatives still hysterical about President Trump’s successful strategy: if you won’t fight for this country, at least get the hell out of the way of the man who does. 

Photo credit: TKTKT

American Conservatism • Conservatives • Harry Jaffa • Post

What Mona Charen Will Never Know

A few years ago while living at the homeless shelter and working next door at Jimmy John’s, I got an email from this development VP at my alma mater, Claremont McKenna College in California. She was swinging through Atlanta raising money and asked if I wanted to meet. I didn’t. Obviously. But she persisted, so I thought, “Why not? At least this will be amusing.” So we met.

At the end of a very unprofitable lunch (she paid for her sandwich, mine was comped by my manager) and after patiently sitting through my long story of struggle and hopeful redemption—“So yeah, at three months, I’m praying this time . . . recovery will stick”—she smiled at me and said, “You’re so Claremont.”

It was probably the kindest thing anyone had said to me in years. It brought me to tears hours later during my shift. That even as I worked a minimum-wage shift . . . at Jimmy John’s . . . at 38 . . . in suburban Atlanta . . . while living in a homeless shelter . . . with just three months distance from a crazy sad, 10-year battle over alcohol and meth . . . she could still see it. In me. The Claremont.

I see it in Jack Posobiec.

See, Claremont isn’t Stanford, and it’s definitely not Harvard or Yale. The school where the Claremont Institute’s founders studied in the 1970s was founded, ad hoc and jerry rigged, to give returning GI’s a solid education after World War II. And it succeeded. Wildly. But differently than the New England Gothic of the Ivy League. The men, then men and women, didn’t go there for pedigree. We came to Claremont because Claremont was the California Dream.

The hustle.

In the best way. A hustle that launched Goldwater and then Reagan. A hustle that built what became the modern Conservative movement. “So what if we smash religious freaks, the Orange County industrialist, and these Jewish intellectuals into one party?”

Harry Jaffa himself was a hustler. He, too, was widely scorned by the elites of his day—which is why he found himself at Claremont. And this is why his students had to start the Claremont Institute. In Claremont. They didn’t bitch and moan about who was being allowed in the building. They built their own and hoped it would be popular. It was a very good hustle. It was very Claremont.

Mona Charen doesn’t know Claremont. She’s not a hustler. She can’t see the value of the hustle. She doesn’t even know the history of the hustle that enabled her own career as a pundit. And what has Mona built? Where has she failed and tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed? A paint-by-the-numbers “conservative,” her career is respectable, well-received in the appropriate circles and utterly useless. Derivative. Of long ago hustles she can’t see. She can’t imagine. She has no idea.

But Jack does. Hustle. A lot. The guy is always in motion. Moving the ball forward in a dozen different ways. He writes, he performs, he talks to a lot of people, he moves around the country meeting even more people. He builds relationships and produces the content that Gen Z and Boomers want. He shifts opinion. He creates. He forges uncomfortable bridges with unconventional allies. He’s a traditionalist but not nostalgic. He does stuff beyond the endless talk-talk of yesterday’s Right. He doesn’t just look at the camera to opine on the way things ought to be.

His hustle doesn’t always pan out. But he doesn’t moan. He does not bitch. He’s excited because conservatism is exciting, not a brittle little tragedy. Which makes him the right here, right now of the Right. He’s the good guy.

And Jack is so Claremont.

America • American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Post • Republicans

Jilted Again! The NeverTrump-Left Alliance Crumbles

The political misfits known as NeverTrumpers are begging for allies ahead of next year’s presidential election—and, as usual, they aren’t looking to the Right.

This collection of failed magazine editors, Iraq War propagandists, washed-up columnists, Russian collusion pimps, and losing campaign consultants have dogged Donald Trump and his supporters for three years. While some anti-Trump “conservatives” who contributed to National Review’s infamous “Against Trump” issue in early 2016 have become supporters of the president, others cannot let go—but their obstinance is less about principle and more about grift: Acting as the useful conservative idiot for the Washington Post or MSNBC has breathed new life into once stale careers and burned reputations.

Despite making repeated threats and floating the names of several potential candidates, they have failed to produce a legitimate primary challenger to Trump. (Bill Kristol, the de facto head of NeverTrump Inc., last year claimed he was building a “war machine” to take on Trump in 2020, making this yet another war Kristol waged from the sidelines and lost.)

NeverTrumpers also failed to help Democrats run Trump out of the Oval Office, whether it was by promoting the egregious special counsel investigation into imaginary Russian collusion or supporting any and all empty calls for impeachment. They have not produced a detailed policy agenda to offer an alternative to Trumpism, only bromides about vague “principles.”

Now, armed with the same unjustified hubris and political fecklessness that turned once-influential conservatives into a punchline, NeverTrumpers are warning Democrats that they need to find some imaginary center so they can join forces to Dump Trump in 2020.

A slew of groveling NeverTrumpers have published columns proffering advice that no one asked for to people who don’t want it. And in the process, they’ve proved correct those of us who’ve been critical of the motives and alleged “principles” these high-minded has-beens claim to possess over deplorable Trumpkins.

Mona Charen, once a conservative stalwart, admitted in a July 9 column for Politico not only that she voted Democratic in 2018—subsequently empowering the likes of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the contemptible Ilham Omar (D-Minn.)—but that her vote is available again in 2020, with a few caveats.

After detailing the leftist impulses of nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, Charen coaches the cadre of would-be authoritarians: “Do what you think is right—propose legislation to fix Obamacare or spend more on basic research of climate change or whatever—but in the constitutional way,” Charen advised candidates who have demonstrated nothing but contempt and hostility toward the U.S. Constitution. “As a lifelong conservative, I think your policy ideas are ill-advised. But this cycle, other Trump-disgusted Republicans and I can contemplate voting Democrat.”

Claiming for the millionth time without evidence that Trump poses an “existential threat to the United States,” author Tom Nichols criticized the Democratic Party’s lurch to the Left. (Nichols voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has twice renounced his membership in the GOP.) Democrats should temper their socialist policy goals, Nichols argued in a July 1 column for USA Today, and focus only on Trump.

“But the key here is that I have just stated my only requirement for an opposition candidate: the ability to get to 270 electoral votes. This election is a referendum on Donald Trump, and nothing else should even come close as the central issue,” the allegedly “principled conservative” warned.

Nichols is really saying that voters should disregard the dangerous policies and hardline tactics of every single Democratic candidate to satisfy his vain need to oust Trump. The candidate’s leftist plans to  upend our political system and our economy don’t matter, only his or her ability to win 270 electoral votes and deny them to Donald Trump.

That, dear reader, is an actual existential threat to our country.

Over at The Bulwark, the refuge of Weekly Standard rejects and leftist billionaire shills, Sarah Longwell frets that a break-up between the Democrats and NeverTrumpers is imminent. But that didn’t stop her from writing a “can’t we try one more time?” letter to the field of Democratic presidential candidates who, like most recipients of a “can’t we try one more time?” letter, will likely pity then ignore the sad little plea from a spurned suitor.

“It seems to me that our differences are reconcilable,” Longwell suggests. “Because ultimately, NeverTrumpers and Democrats want the same thing. And like staying together for the kids, we should stay together for the country. We can fight over marginal tax rates later, after America has restored its basic political norms.”

How can this estranged pair stay together? They will, Longwell teases, if Democrats get behind an  allegedly moderate agenda of “access to abortion in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, action to address climate change, permanent status for DACA recipients, a pathway to citizenship for people who came to the U.S. illegally, modest reforms on guns, and universal access to healthcare,” rather than the Democrats’ more extreme version. This from the outlet that purports to be “conserving conservatism.”

Of course, pivoting on issues that once defined the Right in order to suck up to the Left has been an animating feature of NeverTrump. Many NeverTrumpers have reversed their previous views on climate change, gun control, and illegal immigration to please their new Trump-hating allies on the Left—Kristol admitted in 2017 that the Trump era was bringing out his “inner” socialist, feminist and liberal.”

Other NeverTrumpers including Megan McArdle, Bret Stephens, and David Brooks have made similar entreaties to Democrats.

But like the fat person who gives dietary advice, these political losers are being dismissed, even mocked, by the Left.

“Never Trump conservatives like David Brooks are an interesting intellectual curiosity and often worth reading for their critiques of the Republican Party. But as political advisers they’ve had their day,” wrote Jeet Heer in The Nation last month. “Democrats don’t need their votes.”

For three years, NeverTrumpers have refused to criticize Democrats for anything, with the possible exception of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation debacle. They’ve played the role of the dummy to their leftist puppet masters, aiming all political fire at the president, his administration and his supporters. When NeverTrump was saying on CNN and MSNBC and in the New York Times exactly what the Left wanted to hear, Democrats were eager listeners.

Now that NeverTrump is blasting Democrats for their unwinnable agenda of open borders, free healthcare for illegal immigrants, the Green New Deal, and college debt forgiveness, the Democrats have no interest in their opinions. NeverTrump has been used by the Left and they’ll face another political No Man’s Land in 2020.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

America • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Post • The Left

(Almost) Everybody Loves a Parade

President Trump’s July 4 “Salute to America” sounded perfectly normal to many Americans. After all, the legacy American people have served in the military, respect it as a protector of our freedoms, and agree that the planes, tanks, technology, and equipment that we spend a mountain of money on are inspiring and visually compelling.

But the national freakout surrounding the event, said as much about the state of the nation, as the event itself.

Someone named Ruth Ben Ghiat said on CNN, “Trump’s use of the military as props in his nationalistic show raises ethical questions.” For her, the presence of a few tanks and some military flyovers were akin to the old Soviet military parades on Red Square. Truth be told, even as a kid I always thought those parades looked pretty cool and wondered why we didn’t have some of our own. Maybe I have one of those “authoritarian personalities” Adorno warned us about.

While critics suggest a military parade is one step removed from fascism, was that true of Dwight Eisenhower, whose inauguration featured tanks and other military equipment? Is it true today of France and Mexico, which also have annual and spectacular military parades? Indeed, it was France’s Bastille Day parade that inspired Trump to call for one of our own. For a republican regime, the military must act as a guardian of national sovereignty and freedom, and thus honoring the military honors those things it protects, as well.

In the runup to the event, there was fear Trump would make a speech for low partisan purposes, but he instead celebrated the American land, the American character, and the American story. As usual, he received tons of free media from critics on the Right and Left, and, rather comically, the tanks that raised particular scorn were only set up for static displays. The flyovers were similar to those at airshows and sporting events. Trump won this round.

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right
The criticism from the Left was familiar and shopworn. They have said for decades that America’s self-concept as a heroic people, whose story is intertwined with justice, is a lie.

Nothing is allowed to be nonpartisan anymore. The things that used to unite us—our language, our songs, our flag, and our military—are all now objects of criticism. Unease with the military became a central organizing principle to the Left in the 1960s during the Vietnam War, where opposition to the draft and condemnation of alleged atrocities in Vietnam rendered the military a particular object of scorn.

This leftist hostility to a nonpartisan patriotism is why someone like Colin Kaepernick can recoil at the colonial flag of Betsy Ross. The historical America of our past cannot be honored, nor can the people who built it and trace their roots to it. For the Left, America is always and only becoming. It’s never an object of veneration, because its past is seen as a long list of crimes, and even now we are always unearthing new pockets of oppression, including made up categories like the struggles of “transgendered” people. To celebrate the country without qualification contradicts this thorough-going and demoralizing critique, which is the heart of the leftist program.

For the Right—or the neocon right at least—politics and the military are abstract, and the nation is only the embodiment of a creed. The people who embody it are irrelevant; indeed, the most recent newcomers are given even greater honor, as the nation is redefined as a “nation of immigrants.” For the neocons, the military is there to fight wars and conduct a “muscular foreign policy” to spread American values and protect other democracies. Thus, for them, it is more controversial to have our military guard America’s borders, even as they treat the military’s protection of borders in alien Iraq and Afghanistan as perfectly normal.

Just as the neocons love wars but don’t typically serve in the military, they also don’t want military parades because something like that might inspire nationalism. Nationalism is typically inward looking and defensive, rather than messianic and outward-looking. This is a threat to the neoconservatives’ desire to forge an American empire.

Americans, in fact, tend to be skeptical of these foreign wars compared to elites. They want a foreign policy that makes them safe, protects their prosperity, and keeps strange and hostile foreigners out. The nationalism of the neocons, by contrast, is that of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Empire astride the world in 1945, not the older and more tangible nationalism of the Founding or the nation’s first 125 years.

Our Independence Depends on Our Military Power
Trump’s patriotic nationalism is of the heart, and it focuses on the details. It’s the nationalism of a people and a land, not a mere disembodied creed. It shares much in common with our patriotic songs, which sing more of the “fruited plains,” “purple mountain majesties” and the “star spangled banner.” For most Americans, the military, far from being a mercenary force devoted to securing the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf, is the guarantor of our freedom and the safety of our people. Independence Day is a perfectly appropriate time to honor them and especially their fellow citizens who stand up to serve.

The historical knowledge of most of these critics ends the day before yesterday, stretching at most to 1939. They seem to have forgotten that the Declaration of Independence was authored in the midst of a War for Independence, where the ramshackle Contintental Army and the Minutemen took on the world’s preeminent military power. The new nation maintained its independence in the decades shortly thereafter through military power, whether against the Barbary Pirates, hostile Indians, or British and French harassment of our merchant fleet. Our independence and our military power are inseparable.

Trump’s proclamation of American greatness and American independence was admirable, but one could not hear it without detecting a hint of something tragic. The widespread criticism shows that the old America that honored the president regardless of party, celebrated its people and national character, and recognized the role of the military chiefly to guarantee our national independence, is no more.

We live in a divided country that cannot even allow a perfectly ordinary and healthy celebration of the nation, the people, and its protectors to pass without massive and outspoken objection. President Trump’s weakness, if any, is that he does not seem to realize that the old America is gone and cannot be restored simply by force of will and assertion. He must not forget that there are enemies within the gates, and this goes beyond the swamp and the “fake news” media. They must be crushed, and their power is ruining the possibility not only of making America great again, but of having a nation in any recognizable form.

This is the 11th hour. But it was a lovely parade and speech, all the same.

Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Conservatives • Donald Trump • Post • Republicans

The Cowardice of the College Republicans

One would think that in the age of a massively successful Republican president like Donald Trump, most conservative college organizations would be rushing to hitch their wagons to his rising star. But as it turns out, the ignorance and naivety of the Republican elite is not limited to members of Congress.

For the upcoming annual gathering of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), national chairman Chandler Thornton has laid out his vision for the organization’s upcoming conference in his debut op-ed at Fox News.

What exactly is Thornton’s big plan for College Republicans as the 2020 election rapidly approaches? Working to curb mass immigration? Speaking out against blatant Big Tech censorship of the Right? Opposing the Left’s ongoing push for the legalization of infanticide? Condemning the domestic terrorism of Antifa?

No. At this year’s CRNC conference—happening July 11-14—delegates will be voting on a symbolic resolution to condemn white nationalism, which Thornton claims is contributing to a “toxic problem” within the GOP.

It’s a viewpoint that could have just as easily appeared in the pages of the Huffington Post or Vox.

Thornton claims—with scant evidence—that “white supremacists have attempted to infiltrate student-led Republican groups at the campus level.” He offers a single, isolated example in the ousting of an unnamed chapter president at Washington State University sometime in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Because the actions of any one person clearly indicate a frightening broader trend, right?

Thornton follows up with an example that, on top of having nothing to do with College Republicans, should cause many eyes to roll: Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), whom he declares to be guilty of “making remarks widely perceived as racist.”

Beyond the fact that King did absolutely nothing wrong, note Thornton’s weasel-wording: “perceived as racist.”

In Thornton’s mind, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t actually say anything racist or offensive. If the media says you did, then you’re guilty. Damn the truth, the elites will signal their virtue one way or another. Even though such spineless establishment Republicans have left King out to dry over nothingburger comments, King has continued to show nothing but grace, class, tolerance, and understanding in the midst of the ongoing fallout over New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s truly disgusting remarks about the Holocaust.

Thornton also can’t resist digging up a real fossil of a non-argument: former Klansman David Duke, and his short-lived tenure in the Louisiana legislature and his quixotic 1991 run for governor. Never mind that Duke left office in 1992, and there has not been a single white nationalist in elected office in America since.

While Thornton focuses on figures from three decades ago, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has hinted at the possibility of meeting with the black nationalist and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan on the campaign trail. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has called Israel “evil” and explicitly has declared that America is “not going to be the country of white people.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2018 announced from the floor of the House of Representatives her intent to see white Americans replaced with people with “brown skin” that she believes are “the face of the future of our country.”

But in true RINO fashion, Thornton pens but a single sentence about how “Democrats have had to contend with anti-Semitism in their own ranks.” And instead of actually naming names, like Omar or Ocasio-Cortez, he instead simply references Farrakhan before moving right back to the terrible scourge of “white nationalists.”

Thornton then goes so far as to not-so-subtly imply that social media isn’t doing enough to deal with “white nationalists,” claiming that “Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other sites have given them pathways to create communities of like-minded individuals.” Never mind, of course, that these tech giants and others have falsely used the “white nationalist” label to ban thousands of perfectly ordinary right-wing users; Thornton’s implication is that these tech companies are still somehow complicit in a vast white nationalist conspiracy, and need to be doing even more to silence the Right.

Once again, this is not coming from Carlos Maza. This is the national leader of the College Republicans. The fact that this distinction needs to be made at all should tell you enough.

Thornton then shares with readers the text of his precious (and meaningless) resolution. After the first two lines wax empty, feel-good rhetoric about “’Murica,” the third line takes a hard left turn:

Whereas according to the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacist propaganda on college campuses is on the rise.

Yes, you read that right. A resolution before the College Republicans cites the Anti-Defamation League as an authority. The same ADL that declared a green cartoon frog to be a hate symbol. The same ADL that is right alongside that other far-left hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, in pushing the debunked conspiracy theory that right-wing and white supremacist terrorism is somehow on the rise in America.

But wait, there’s more!

Whereas according to FBI statistics, hate crimes nationwide increased over the last three years.

Once more, the details are lacking significantly here. Notice that there is no specification of what kinds of hate crimes are on the rise. (But I’m willing to bet it’s not in reference to the hundreds of hate crimes committed against Trump supporters.)

For the second time, the wording is extremely subtle, but very insidious. Note the time span given: “The last three years.” What exactly happened about three years ago? Is this resolution of the College Republicans actually peddling the ADL/SPLC lie that right-wing hate crimes spiked in the aftermath of President Trump’s victory, thereby making him somehow the catalyst for this imaginary epidemic of “far-right” hate? After all, it’s not like any other major American political event happened in 2016.

With the final line of the resolution, the cycle of utter cluelessness and surrender is complete:

Resolved, That the College Republican National Committee rejects and condemns White nationalism, White supremacy, and racism in any form, as hateful declarations of intolerance, which are inconsistent with the values of the College Republican National Committee, the Republican Party, and the founding principles of the United States.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) could not have written a more pointless resolution . . . except he already did. And just as in that case, the sheer amount of rhetorical ground that is surrendered in the making of this resolution is just plain sad.

This entire idiotic notion of a “rising” white nationalist threat in the Republican Party is more outdated than ever before. But with someone like Thornton leading the CRNC, it’s no wonder that the College Republicans have lost nearly all relevance in the Trump era. They have ceded all media focus and cultural effectiveness to more openly pro-Trump groups.

While President Trump has done a masterful job of reframing the conversation regarding racism on the Left, elitist figures in the GOP would rather turn back the clock by almost two years and continue debating on the Left’s terms. What’s next? A resolution calling to combat the “gender pay gap”? A resolution saying that the science on anthropogenic climate change is “settled”?

We all know how that famous phrase goes: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” The quickest way to combat this kind of piffle is simply to acknowledge that organizations like the CRNC—as long as they are under leadership like this—aren’t even our “friends” to begin with.

Photo Credit: Bill Boch/Getty Images

Conservatives • Democrats • First Amendment • Free Speech • Post • Republicans • The Culture • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

A ‘Green Book’ for Conservatives?

Last year, an Oscar-winning movie made known to many of us what the “Green Book” was—a guidebook listing accommodations for the African American traveler during the days of Jim Crow segregation. 

Today, I fear, we may need a “Green Book” for conservatives and Republicans. 

Stephanie Wilkinson, co-owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, who last year had kicked out a White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and family simply for their political affiliation, recently defended and promoted that practice in a Washington Post op-ed. She compared it to Cracker Barrel barring Grayson Fitts, who advocates “the arrest and execution of LGBTQ people.” Citing the cases last year where other prominent Republicans, Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller, and Mitch McConnell, were mobbed and driven out of restaurants, she wrote, “restaurants are now part of the soundstage for our ongoing national spectacle.” Amazingly, she complained that “the business involved inevitably comes under attack.” Those inclined to “scold owners and managers” and express dismay at the loss of a perceived “politics-free zone” should just get used to it. 

Wilkinson can deny that she approves of the next step—physical assault—by cheering the fact that there has been more support for Cracker Barrel’s actions than for those of the server who spit in the face of Eric Trump recently. Democrats like Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who criticized Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and her call for mob action—namely, forming “a crowd” and “push[ing] back” on all Trump Administration members at restaurants, gas stations, and department stores—can claim to be above the fray. In truth, however, mild statements of disapproval, are lost in the tsunami of actions against conservatives by businesses ranging from advertisers on the Tucker Carlson show, movie producers in Georgia, and censors on social media.

I take Stephanie Wilkinson’s exclusion policy personally, though. Lexington is the place of my overnight stays during my frequent drives to Atlanta.

As I decide where to have dinner, I have the uncomfortable thought: that there is a restaurant in Lexington where people with my political views are not welcome. The idea is so foreign to me. I spent several years supporting myself waiting on tables and tending bar in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, it was “no shoes, no shirt, no service,” or no service only for drunkenness, fighting, or nonpayment of a check. 

It is also troubling to me, given that I fled tyranny in the arms of my parents from Communist Yugoslavia. I grew up hearing their stories about political oppression. Imagine what it feels like to see things that resemble those stories in this country.

I have faced discrimination in academia. The “American dream” is to work your way up, right? I was “outed” as a conservative when the topic of my dissertation failed to advance the Marxist gender/race/class line contemporary English departments demand. As an adjunct instructor, I was expected to join in group conversations during the 2004 Democratic presidential primary speculating about who could beat the evil George W. Bush. My silence outed me. After I wrote columns, I was told that suddenly no more classes would be available for me to teach the following semester.

But back in 2004, it would never have occurred to me that such discrimination would occur outside of academia, that I could be legally discriminated against in restaurants.

It gives me little comfort that I am not easily recognizable like Sarah Sanders. Wilkinson has broadcast to the world that my kind are not welcome in her trendy establishment, a place that dare not refuse service to someone because of race. She feels righteous, claiming her actions are as justified as refusing service to someone who openly advocates murder. 

Would I feel comfortable in Wilkinson’s restaurant? What if a server overheard me expressing my political views? If I made a reservation, would staff Google my name? I might not get the boot, but would I have my food spit in, or worse? No doubt, other restaurant owners are taking note, and I wonder: how do other Lexington restaurateurs feel? Do they also not want my business? What about the hotel where I stay?

Where this will end? Will conservatives be excluded next from grocery stores and hotels (as Maxine Waters would have it)? Will we be forced to sleep in our cars when traveling? It is hard to imagine this happening, but we now have those who feel no shame in openly advocating it. The inconceivable has happened in my lifetime—in a “free country.”

The ironic thing is that I support the concept of farm-to-table restaurants. I am a regular customer of the organic farmers who come here on the village square in Clinton, New York. I am against tax-subsidized corporate farming—something started by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. I am opposed to it because it led to the near-starvation of many black farmers and tenant farmers who were excluded from Roosevelt’s New Deal subsidies. Yet, African Americans had to pay the higher taxes and inflated prices for these programs. It also bears repeating that it was a Democrat president, Woodrow Wilson, who imposed segregation in the federal workforce. His protégée, Franklin Roosevelt, continued the policies even as he wooed black voters with “relief” payments instead of jobs and denied black children afflicted with polio the opportunity to use his Warm Springs facility while his wife posed with them for campaign photo-ops.

Barack Obama took up FDR’s mantle and was even portrayed in a way that evoked his image on the cover of a prominent magazine. His proposed federal regulation of small farmers who sold at public markets was met with a letter of protest from a farmer who sold organic produce from his five acres at such markets throughout the Atlanta area where I was living. Under President Trump, businesses, including farm-to-table establishments, are thriving.

Breaking bread is a way for people to come together. Having a meal should not be a political act. Yet, liberals and the Democratic National Committee, beginning in 2015, encouraged “conversations” with family members over Thanksgiving dinner to point out how benighted they are to vote Republican. Now it’s OK to kick Republicans out of restaurants and your family gatherings.

Charles Murray, the author of Coming Apart, who is much vilified on our liberal campuses, could write an updated version of his book based on the new levels of exclusion that go beyond zip codes to businesses run by self-righteous, intolerant, well-to-do liberals. If we are “divided” as a nation as many say, it is not because of conservatives or what our president says. It is because of people like Wilkinson.

The Red Hen is off my places to patronize, no doubt to the pleasure of Stephanie Wilkinson. I am one person, without much financial clout.

So were the African Americans riding the buses in Montgomery, Alabama. The time has come for conservatives, and all Americans who value the freedom of association and policies of non-discrimination, to take a page out of the playbook of that boycott and others like it. This isn’t a fight that conservatives started, but it is one we must win. The branding, exclusion, and assaults must stop.

Photo credit: TKTKTKTK

America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Declaration of Independence • Donald Trump • Post • Progressivism • The Culture • The Left

They Don’t Hate Donald Trump—They Hate You

Fourth of July parades may be banned soon in America. 

Think I’m joking?

Do you remember after the “confederate statues” debate flared up again, President Trump asked a rather provocative question: “I wonder, it is George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” 

At the time, of course, the president was ridiculed for even uttering such a thing. 

Well, here we are, less than 24 months after he made that prediction and Thomas Jefferson is next. And this time it’s not just a statue. 

This week, just in time for our nation’s biggest national holiday, the politicians who are charged with running his hometown have decided that our third president, the man who penned one of the most important documents in human history, is now déclassé, a dead white pillar of the patriarchy who must be consigned to the “ash heap of history.” 

With just one naysayer, the city council of Jefferson’s hometown, Charlottesville, have decreed that from July 1, 2019 forth the holiday celebrating his birth is to be held no more. They have decreed that they will hold “Liberation and Freedom Day” instead as a rebuke to the former slaveowner who was a champion of Enlightenment values and the father of the University of Virginia. 

This is not a one-off. Nor is it just about history. It’s about the here and now. In fact, if you call yourself a patriot and love America, this is very much about you.

Deliberately in preparation for this year’s Independence Day celebrations, the New York Times posted a truly reprehensible “video essay” titled “Please Stop Telling Me America Is Great.” An admixture of out-and-out lies, distortions, and unbelievably cherry-picked statistics, the video ends with this admonition: “America may have once been the greatest, but today, America, we’re just OK.”

Just OK? Is that why fathers risk the lives of themselves and their 2-year-old daughters attempting to traverse the Rio Grande? 

Just OK? The nation that saw 620,000 of it’s own citizens die in its bloodiest war ever, a war to end slavery? 

Just OK? The nation whose GI’s stormed the beaches of Normandy and whose Marines took Iwo Jima in a global war that we did not start and in which we had aggressed no one? 

Just OK? The nation that stared down the deadliest ideology in human history, one that cost the lives of 100 million human souls until its embodiment, the Soviet Union collapsed? That nation is “just OK?” 

Name one other nation that meets just one similar criterion, let alone all of them. Just one.

Forget the rank perversion of the staff at the New York Times—to include all the editors and executive staff who had to clear such a piece of blatant anti-American propaganda—instead, just posit the simple question: if America isn’t “great,” then what is? 

Are the countries of Europe, which started both the first and the second world wars, which invented the concentration camps and then perfected genocide, which today are, for the most part, committing a slow collective suicide, politically and demographically—are they great?

Is Russia great for the New York Times, the nation whose leader “colluded” with our president despite all the evidence to the contrary? 

Or China, the actual dictatorship that still has labor camps today

How about Iran, the terrorist-sponsoring theocracy facilitated to the tune of $150 billion by our last self-loathing president and which threatens us daily? Is that nation great for the New York Times

What about Iran’s other sworn enemy, Israel? Can you imagine what the staffers who wrote and produced “Please Stop Telling Me America Is Great” would respond if asked whether Israel is “great?” Their responses would likely come straight out of the anti-Semitic talking points of Ilan Omar or Rashida Tlaib

The attack on historic statues, the attack on the memory of our Founding Fathers, the attack on our national holiday, isn’t just politics. It isn’t simply about hating the man who will be the focal point of today’s celebrations in Washington, D.C. This is about America and it’s about you, if you love America.

I know Donald Trump. I advised him on national security when he was one of 17 GOP candidates and then served as his strategist when he became president. 

My decision to do so was easy because within minutes of meeting him, I knew two things about the man: he was, and still is, not a politician, and he loves our country. And this is exactly why you were not meant to choose him. 

He is not part of the “elite” political class that had run our country into the ground over the preceding decades, and he did not believe that we should live in a borderless world where the writ of the United Nations is more important than what the American people want for our country. Nor did he subscribe to the establishment belief that America’s future was simply a future of “managed decline.” Donald Trump believed that America can be made great again, and it was in fact that simple belief, tuned into the MAGA campaign slogan that would propel our first non-general, non-politician into the White House. 

In the scant two-and-a-half years since his inauguration, on every field, from national security, to economics, to domestic policy, to our global standing, the 45th president has proven that not only are we a great nation but that we are again the greatest nation on the Earth. That is what the Left hates him. But they hated you first because you believed it too and you made his victory possible. 

Savor that thought today, as you celebrate our Republic and as the those who loathe America stew in their own bile. 

Happy Independence Day America.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Declaration of Independence • Donald Trump • Post • Progressivism • The Culture • The Left

They Don’t Hate Donald Trump—They Hate You

Fourth of July parades may be banned soon in America. 

Think I’m joking?

Do you remember after the “confederate statues” debate flared up again, President Trump asked a rather provocative question: “I wonder, it is George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” 

At the time, of course, the president was ridiculed for even uttering such a thing. 

Well, here we are, less than 24 months after he made that prediction and Thomas Jefferson is next. And this time it’s not just a statue. 

This week, just in time for our nation’s biggest national holiday, the politicians who are charged with running his hometown have decided that our third president, the man who penned one of the most important documents in human history, is now déclassé, a dead white pillar of the patriarchy who must be consigned to the “ash heap of history.” 

With just one naysayer, the city council of Jefferson’s hometown, Charlottesville, have decreed that from July 1, 2019 forth the holiday celebrating his birth is to be held no more. They have decreed that they will hold “Liberation and Freedom Day” instead as a rebuke to the former slaveowner who was a champion of Enlightenment values and the father of the University of Virginia. 

This is not a one-off. Nor is it just about history. It’s about the here and now. In fact, if you call yourself a patriot and love America, this is very much about you.

Deliberately in preparation for this year’s Independence Day celebrations, the New York Times posted a truly reprehensible “video essay” titled “Please Stop Telling Me America Is Great.” An admixture of out-and-out lies, distortions, and unbelievably cherry-picked statistics, the video ends with this admonition: “America may have once been the greatest, but today, America, we’re just OK.”

Just OK? Is that why fathers risk the lives of themselves and their 2-year-old daughters attempting to traverse the Rio Grande? 

Just OK? The nation that saw 620,000 of it’s own citizens die in its bloodiest war ever, a war to end slavery? 

Just OK? The nation whose GI’s stormed the beaches of Normandy and whose Marines took Iwo Jima in a global war that we did not start and in which we had aggressed no one? 

Just OK? The nation that stared down the deadliest ideology in human history, one that cost the lives of 100 million human souls until its embodiment, the Soviet Union collapsed? That nation is “just OK?” 

Name one other nation that meets just one similar criterion, let alone all of them. Just one.

Forget the rank perversion of the staff at the New York Times—to include all the editors and executive staff who had to clear such a piece of blatant anti-American propaganda—instead, just posit the simple question: if America isn’t “great,” then what is? 

Are the countries of Europe, which started both the first and the second world wars, which invented the concentration camps and then perfected genocide, which today are, for the most part, committing a slow collective suicide, politically and demographically—are they great?

Is Russia great for the New York Times, the nation whose leader “colluded” with our president despite all the evidence to the contrary? 

Or China, the actual dictatorship that still has labor camps today

How about Iran, the terrorist-sponsoring theocracy facilitated to the tune of $150 billion by our last self-loathing president and which threatens us daily? Is that nation great for the New York Times

What about Iran’s other sworn enemy, Israel? Can you imagine what the staffers who wrote and produced “Please Stop Telling Me America Is Great” would respond if asked whether Israel is “great?” Their responses would likely come straight out of the anti-Semitic talking points of Ilan Omar or Rashida Tlaib

The attack on historic statues, the attack on the memory of our Founding Fathers, the attack on our national holiday, isn’t just politics. It isn’t simply about hating the man who will be the focal point of today’s celebrations in Washington, D.C. This is about America and it’s about you, if you love America.

I know Donald Trump. I advised him on national security when he was one of 17 GOP candidates and then served as his strategist when he became president. 

My decision to do so was easy because within minutes of meeting him, I knew two things about the man: he was, and still is, not a politician, and he loves our country. And this is exactly why you were not meant to choose him. 

He is not part of the “elite” political class that had run our country into the ground over the preceding decades, and he did not believe that we should live in a borderless world where the writ of the United Nations is more important than what the American people want for our country. Nor did he subscribe to the establishment belief that America’s future was simply a future of “managed decline.” Donald Trump believed that America can be made great again, and it was in fact that simple belief, tuned into the MAGA campaign slogan that would propel our first non-general, non-politician into the White House. 

In the scant two-and-a-half years since his inauguration, on every field, from national security, to economics, to domestic policy, to our global standing, the 45th president has proven that not only are we a great nation but that we are again the greatest nation on the Earth. That is what the Left hates him. But they hated you first because you believed it too and you made his victory possible. 

Savor that thought today, as you celebrate our Republic and as the those who loathe America stew in their own bile. 

Happy Independence Day America.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

America • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Obama • Post

Is Common Sense Making a Comeback?

Did you notice that common sense was almost entirely missing from the two nights of the Democrats’ radicalism pageant last week?

In terms of common sense and nonsense, the clear winner of the pageant was Julian Castro. The former Obama housing secretary’s bold advocacy of government-funded abortions for transgender women—that is, for biological males incapable of bearing children—was the standout in two evenings of real doozies.

But even if Castro is not awarded the prize, the Democratic presidential nominee will be a person who has taken a bold public stand against common sense—and done so on national television.

Even Barack Obama did not do that. By the time he finally got around to funding the mullahs of Iran, it had become perfectly clear that he was making the American government the world’s most powerful sponsor of Islamic terrorism. By supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere, by using military force to throw Libya open to the Islamists, by returning jihadis quarantined in Guantanamo to the fight, and in countless other ways, he made his sympathies clear—but even he did not make them clear while he was campaigning for the nomination. He waited until he was re-elected when, as he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, he would have “more flexibility,” to go all in for the mullahs, among other things.

Do you believe that if Obama been open about what he was going to do for the Islamists, the media would have been able to disguise his anti-Americanism sufficiently for him to have secured the nomination? It seems to me not. If he had been boldly and brazenly outspoken about his sympathies, I reckon there would have been sufficient common sense among those who voted for Obama to have thrown the nomination to Hillary.

But how much have things changed in America? Obama successfully transformed the Democrats. Did he also succeed in fundamentally transforming America? Is America ready for the kind of policies and politics the Democrats put on display last week? In his brilliant article on common sense here at American GreatnessMark Bauerlein wrote:

The culture sphere gives progressive politicians and commentators the vocabulary for doing so [taking down common sense]. Go into a modern art exhibition and check the wall text. “Subvert,” “transgress,” “challenge,” and “question” are everywhere, and common sense is the target.

The taking down of common sense that was once restricted to the cultural sphere has taken over the party Obama transformed—and the Democrats evidently believe America is ready to elect one of these new, post-common sense Democrats to the Oval Office. The only question that remains for them is to decide which one to choose.

There are, however, stirrings in another direction. America did elect Donald Trump, and Trump did run as a “common sense conservative.” So, did America by electing Trump take a step in the direction of becoming once again the common sense nation it once was?

That raises the question of the meaning of the 2016 election. Was the election decided by the vote for common sense conservatism or by the vote against the brazen corruption of the Clintons? If the election was decided by voters recoiling from the nauseating corruption of the Clintons, then the true test of common sense may await us in 2020.

For a replay of common sense versus political corruption, the Democrats would probably need to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden. At this point, it seems that only Biden’s political corruption approaches the corruption of the Clintons, though, as with the Clintons, the media could be counted on to conduct a cover-up and distraction campaign to protect him.

Of course, Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are phonies. Should Trump prevail over one of them or over another candidate he manages to expose as a phony, the foes of common sense in politics and the media will perhaps insist that it was not their candidate’s defiance of common sense that decided the election. They can be expected to explain the loss by rallying around the narrative that their candidate was just not a good candidate, as they did with Hillary.

But two wins in a row for the foe of political correctness and the champion of common sense in the presidential sweepstakes certainly would be interesting. Perhaps common sense, brought to the edge of extinction in politics and the cultural sphere in America can make and is making a comeback.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Congress • Conservatives • GOPe • Post • Republicans • Technology

Mike Lee Backs Big Tech Crony Capitalism

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has long warned against the dangers of crony capitalism, which he defines as “an unholy union of big government, big business, and big special interests that twists public policy to benefit Washington insiders unfairly at the expense of everyone else.”

But last week, Lee spoke in favor of a dubious immigration bill, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which would give special privileges to Big Tech—no doubt the biggest beneficiaries of this “unholy union.”

The bill would scrap country caps on immigration visas and allow a few nationalities to take the lion’s share of visas. Lee said the bill was necessary to make the immigration system “fairer.”

“These per-country caps cause serious problems for American businesses and workers, and unfair hardship for immigrants stuck in the backlog,” Lee argued.

The businesses that have “serious problems” are tech giants, which rely heavily on foreign labor. Silicon Valley’s workforce is dominated by foreign workers. Sure enough, FWD.us—a lobbying group funded by executives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and other Silicon Valley monopolies—tweeted out Lee’s speech, adding “This legislation is vital.”

Seventy-one percent of tech workers in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area are foreigners. The Lee-sponsored bill would drive those numbers even higher as Big Tech would be allowed to recruit even more foreign workers.

Big Tech embodies crony capitalism. Tech giants receive billions of dollars in government subsidies and maintain powerful lobbying arms to protect their interests. This is one industry that should draw Lee’s ire. Instead, he is one of Big Tech’s biggest champions.

Lee claims the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would make the system fairer, but it would do no such thing. It would reserve nearly all of our green cards for just a few nationalities. According to one estimate, Indians would obtain at least 75 percent of all employment-based visas under Lee’s proposal.

More importantly, the bill is unfair to American workers who would like good jobs with good wages. The bill directs those good jobs to foreign workers who don’t require a fair wage. If passed, expect lobbyists from other industries and countries to demand they get more visas as well.

The good news, for the moment, is Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), another vocal critic of crony capitalism, blocked Lee’s bill. This may be a temporary hindrance, but it is reassuring that at least one critic of crony capitalism votes his principles.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act is only the latest example of the conservative senator’s preference for the industry’s interests. Over the past few months, Lee has opposed antitrust investigations against Big Tech. In a March op-ed, Lee argued “antitrust law” is not the answer to Big Tech’s problems. In early 2018, Lee debated Fox News host Tucker Carlson about what to do with Google. Tucker argued that the state would be justified in regulating Google. Lee dismissed Tucker’s concerns about Google’s censorship and said the state is the real problem. The senator said the right way to fight back against Google was to “use another search engine.”

Fortunately, new senators such as Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are willing to stand up to Silicon Valley’s agenda, though they haven’t spoken out against the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act yet.

Lee used to critique Google’s power and its ability to manipulate the market. But those days seem long gone when he promotes Big Tech’s immigration priorities on the Senate floor.

Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

America • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Post • the Presidency

Give Tucker Carlson the Nobel Peace Prize

After months of escalating tensions, Iran shot down an unmanned American military drone last week. In response, a retaliatory American airstrike had been planned. At the last moment, President Trump called it off, explaining in a series of tweets that it was unnecessary and disproportionate.

According to reports, he was influenced by severe criticism leveled against our Iran policy by Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. On his show early last week, Carlson called National Security Advisor John Bolton a “bureaucratic tapeworm” who seems to have learned nothing from America’s failed venture in Iraq. He also has privately advised the president against war with Iran as a mistake of policy and a serious impediment to reelection, according to numerous reports.

For this, Tucker Carlson deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, to be shared with every administration figure who quietly argued against escalation.

More important, President Trump deserves our respect and thanks for sticking to his guns and not being dragged into another war in the Middle East by the unwise “wise men” of Washington, particularly the out-of-step Bolton.

Drone Shootdown Last in a Series of Tense Moments
The destruction of the U.S. surveillance drone comes after several months of bad behavior blamed on Iran: sabotage, mining of ships, and several explosions on Japanese and Dutch merchant ships. These events have been accompanied by America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran and escalating rhetoric from the U.S. “national security community.”

In this complicated situation, some—including me—have speculated that the various provocations were “false flags” by others interested in fomenting a war between Iran and the United States. Such a war would be a real mistake.

We have options short of war with Iran. Our tensions with Iran appears to be deliberately enhanced by Bolton, among others, and a war with Iran—like the earlier war with Iraq—would be unpredictable, expensive, and falsely conflate our interests with those in the region who have a strong interest in seeing Iran brought to heel.

The Facts Surrounding the Drone Shootdown Are Murky
The downing of our drone is a wrong suffered by the United States, but only if it happened in a particular way. Violating another nation’s airspace is technically an act of war. It is we, rather than Iran, who would be guilty of escalation if this happened. Iran claims the drone entered its airspace, but the United States says the drone was in international airspace. The airspace in question only permits a very narrow corridor where a drone, or any other military aircraft, could transit the Straits of Hormuz without violating Iranian territory.

There is no way any layperson could know for sure where the drone was when it was shot down, but it’s not beyond belief it had drifted or been flown deliberately into Iranian airspace. After all, Iran had captured another U.S. drone in 2011, and the wreckage was recovered over Iranian soil.

Alternately, as President Trump said, the shootdown could have resulted from an Iranian general acting “loose and stupid.” Iran has released detailed maps of the incident that accord with its version of events. Notably, in a far-from-stupid act of restraint, Iran declined to attack an American P-8 surveillance plane that was also in the area and, according to them, also violated Iranian airspace.

Trump recognizes something of critical importance. Our country can stumble into a war. Others below him are in a position to make such a provocation happen, whether for ideological reasons, a quest for personal glory, or mere carelessness. And that there’s a time to fight and also a time to back down, just as in any other conflict.

Trump’s conciliatory rhetoric in the wake of this incident—and even the threatened and then “called off” strike—may be part of a broader information operation to deter and de-escalate things. The message is clear: America can attack and is on the brink of doing so, and thus everyone needs to cool it.

Of course, Iran’s attack on the drone, but not the manned P-8 reconnaissance plane, sends a similar reciprocal message.

Trump Is Trumping the Wishes of Certain Swamp-Dwellers
Trump, in spite of the caricature of him in the press, is in much the same position JFK was in during the Cuban Missile Crisis, resisting the call to escalate tensions from short-sighted national security professionals. The post-Vietnam Republican Party has often abdicated thinking seriously about national security, instead saying that we should “just leave it to the generals!” This is both unconstitutional and stupid.

Such an approach is unconstitutional because we have civilian control of the military through an elected President, and Congress is supposed to declare wars. Thus, there are two layers of political control over military action. The Constitution recognizes that not merely the military, but the whole nation goes to war, and that the people’s elected officials should control when and how that happens.

The “leave it to the generals” advice is stupid because it outsources nontechnical questions of policy to the military and the intelligence community. This abdication by elected officials treats questions of war and peace as some form of arcane knowledge inaccessible to voters and even the commander in chief.

But such questions are ones where common sense matters. The best sources are history books, where we learn the generals have frequently gotten it wrong. And since foreign policy is not chiefly a technical question, there is no uniformity of thought among the “generals”; being both soldiers as well as citizens, they have diverse opinions on such things.

Trump Rightly Listens to His Friends
Without a doubt, Iran is not a friendly country. Keeping Iran (as well as its Sunni enemies) from acquiring nuclear weapons is beneficial to the United States. We also have a general interest in maintaining open sea lanes.

But America also faces a fiscal crisis, an immediate threat from mass immigration, as well as a developing one with China. In other words, there are many problems and threats in the world, and we have to prioritize.

Getting involved in another Mideast war would distract from other strategic priorities, such as maintaining our wealth and independence, and it would divert resources from both more immediate and more important threats. And to what end? Making things easier for Israel and Saudi Arabia by siding with them against their theological and regional competitor?

There are also broader considerations of justice in this incident, which implicate our national interest in husbanding “soft power.” Such power depends partly on our reputation as a country devoted to peace and justice, a reputation severely damaged by the Iraq War.

Are we 100 percent sure this robot was not in Iranian airspace? And, even if we are, is it worth 150 or more Iranian dead? Would Iran, which believes it was defending its own airspace, not create future problems for us and others if we got this wrong? Would sitting on our rights regarding the loss of a mechanical robot not cultivate some good will among the Iranian people, who are notably more pro-American than the subjects of our Sunni allies?

Somehow things got reversed between 2003 and 2019. The Republicans, who were “all in” for the Iraq War, now are split, and the larger portion appear to be in the peace camp. Tucker Carlson has his finger on the pulse of nationalist wing of the party. He not only reflects its views, he also often shapes them. He has undergone an evolution similar to many on the Right, an evolution that grew not only from the Iraq disaster but the later inconclusive interventions in places like Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

This evolution within the American Right and among the American people generally led to the rejection of the old interventionist caucus, as exemplified by such figures as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham. Instead, the evolution of beliefs within the GOP led to the nomination and election of Trump under the mantra of “America First.” We realized these wars did us little good and that our safety could be secured more readily by more sensible immigration policies. This is a popular position and also a correct one.

At various critical junctures, Trump has shown he’s responsive to counsel from his allies on the right and willing to fight the good fight. Ann Coulter’s criticism was apparently critical during the shutdown battle. Trump stuck to the Syria pullout (more or less) and let go of Defense Secretary James Mattis after the latter’s refusal to implement the president’s order to declare victory and go home. And he stuck by Brett Kavanaugh during one of the nastiest nomination fights in living memory, even after fellow Republicans were counseling him to withdraw the nomination.

We also know how the swamp is resisting him and pushing the president in the wrong direction, just as it has manipulated past presidents, both openly and covertly, to continue with business as usual. Trump’s voters and their proxies—party officials, guys like Tucker Carlson, and the rest of the right-wing commentariat—need to remind Trump that we voted for him chiefly because of what he said he was going to do, including not getting involved in useless wars that do not meet the criterion of America First.

As he did this week in Iran, Trump energizes us when he keeps his promises. If he keeps doing this, he will do a service for the country and the voters who elected him. And they will reelect him for keeping the faith and keeping the peace.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

America • Conservatives • Defense of the West • Post

Clarity About Nationalism

In order to make arguments for nationalism, we have to define it.

The first definition in Merriam-Webster is “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” But in a second paragraph, it adds, “especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

Let’s be clear: If the second paragraph is the only definition of nationalism, nationalism is always a bad thing. Furthermore, I acknowledge that this definition is what some people have in mind when they call themselves nationalists.

At the same time, even anti-nationalists would have to acknowledge that if the first paragraph is the definition of “nationalism,” nationalism can often be a beautiful thing.

So, if we are to be honest, the answer to the question of whether nationalism is good or bad is “How do you define it?”

Dictionary.com offers seven definitions.

The first is “spirit or aspirations common to the whole nation.”

The second is “devotion and loyalty to one’s own country; patriotism.”

Only when we get to the third definition is the definition pejorative: “excessive patriotism; chauvinism.”

Therefore, a) based on the competing definitions of the term, b) assuming both definitions can be true and c) if intellectual honesty is to govern our discussion, we can reach only one conclusion: There is good nationalism and bad nationalism.

That—not “nationalism is always good” or “nationalism is always bad”—is the only accurate assessment.

Therefore, morally speaking, nationalism is no different from anything else in life.

There is moral violence (in self-defense, in defense of innocents, in defense of a society under unjust attack, etc.) and immoral violence (murder of innocents, wars of aggression, etc.).

There is moral sex (consensual sex between adults and, in the Judeo-Christian value system, within marriage) and immoral sex (such as rape, incest and with a child).

There is moral use of a gun (in self-defense, etc.) and immoral use of a gun (against an innocent, etc.).

Knives are used morally by chefs and surgeons and immorally by murderers, muggers and torturers.

Even love must be morally assessed according to context. Love is not always beautiful and moral. Germans’ love of Hitler, Chinese people’s love of Mao and Russians’ love of Stalin were evil.

Nationalism is beautiful when it involves commitment to an essentially decent nation and when it welcomes other people’s commitment to their nations. Nationalism is evil when it is used to celebrate an evil regime, when it celebrates a nation as inherently superior to all others and when it denigrates all other national commitments.

One should add that nationalism is evil when it celebrates race, but that is not nationalism; it is racism. Nationalism and racism may be conjoined, as German Nazism did. But they are not definitionally related. While some Americans have conjoined American nationalism with race (such as the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan and currently various fringe “white identity” movements), American nationalism, based as it is on the motto “e pluribus unum” (“out of many, one”), by definition includes Americans of all races and ethnicities. That is how conservatives define American nationalism. I have never met a conservative who defined American national identity as definitionally “white.”

Otherwise, nationalism—the celebration of one’s nation and one’s national identity—is almost always a beautiful thing.

The creation of nations was a major moral achievement. It got people to identify with something beyond their families and tribes, which always involved violent feuds and warfare. The creation of the nation is one of the main reasons the West developed morally and in many other ways ahead of other cultures.

And the lack of a unifying national identity is one of the two main reasons (the other being corruption) that much of Africa lags behind other regions. If Hutus and Tutsis would have identified first as Rwandans, one of the worst genocides in the contemporary world—the Hutu slaughter of nearly 1 million Tutsis in a little over three months in 1994—would likely never have happened. It was murder at a greater pace than the Nazi genocide of the Jews in the Holocaust—and without any modern machines of death. It was done one-on-one almost entirely using machetes.

Today, nationalism in Europe is increasing primarily because of the belief among many Europeans that the European Union is overbearing and because many Europeans do not believe that a “European” identity can offer anywhere near the comfort, emotional sustenance and communal ties a national identity offers.

Human beings need a descending order of commitments: first to oneself, then to one’s family, then to one’s community, then to one’s nation and then to humanity. It is neither possible nor praiseworthy to cry over a family killed in a car crash on the other side of the world as one would cry over the death of one’s own family or a family in one’s neighborhood or in one’s own country.

The great teaching of the Bible is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It does not say “Love all of humanity as yourself.” Love must begin with our neighbor. It should never end with our neighbor, but it must begin with him.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images


America • Conservatives • Europe • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Progressivism • The Left

It’s the Immigration, Stupid

Perhaps it is a lot to ask, but Democrats could learn a great deal from the recent Danish elections.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and the rest, have spent decades imploring anyone befitted with an ear canal to take heed and learn something from the Scandinavian countries that so besotted them.

In what certainly was a bucking of recent trends, the Danish social democrats stormed to first place and to power.

The denials, and the quite-obvious obfuscations spilling from mainstream media outlets perhaps said it all. Most claimed “climate change” was the key election issue. Oh, how we laughed!

In reality, social democracy has been dying across Europe. Its old voters, mainly what New York Times anthropologists term the “white working-class” are deserting the parties once founded to defend their interests. Quite simply, they don’t like the cosmopolitan stance on immigration. The deserters instead form behind so-called populists.

That is a word British establishment newspaper The Times, like the corporate leftist media in America, employs with an unfiltered contempt. “Populist” is a euphemism for racist, parochial, ill-educated . . . you get the picture.

So, when the Danish social democrats won the election last week, after stealing the hard-line (or perhaps sensible) immigration clothes of the apparent “far-right,” papers like The Times spun into laudanum-like delusion.

“Danes ditch populists as climate fears dominate election,” claimed The Times. Which, given the collapse of the Danish People’s Party, is kind of true. What The Times was loathe to mention was what actually won the election.

The Danish social democrats adopted, almost to the letter, the immigration policies of the populists. Enough of their old voters came home and pushed them into power. Indeed, the Danish People’s Party collapsed from 21 percent to a nudge over 8 percent.

No, it wasn’t the weather. Much to the chagrin of the New York Times, immigration is the central issue for most voters across Europe. Promising sensible, also known as “tough,” action on immigration is the keystone to any winning platform.

Denmark, long considered a bastion of progressive and liberal policies, has mainstreamed immigration restrictionism. Now all parties, save the far-left, are in agreement about driving down immigration rates, and insisting upon a tough integrationist approach.

Crucially, all agree that the sanctity of their social-democratic model hinges on the support of those paying rather high taxes to fund it. They even talk about community cohesion! Nobody serious shouts “racist!”

The social democrats may have disappointed some of their own voters. But they won. “Populist” policies, such as barring family reunification for partners under 24, seizing migrants’ valuables to help pay welfare claims, and doubling sentences for crimes committed in designated “ghettos,” turned out to be popular.

With what she called the new Danish Social Democratic Model, Mette Frederiksen, 41, should now become Denmark’s youngest-ever prime minister.

Many within the pages of progressive magazines decried the Danish Left’s apparent right turn. Seemingly uncomfortable with progressives winning elections, The Nation claimed the Danish social democrats had abandoned progressive values. By that, they mean progressive values since the mid-1990s. In other words, the same values that have skewered social democratic parties across Europe since that time.

By and large, the Danes combined moderate economics (or left in terms of the American Overton Window) with a hard and popular line on immigration. They won. Why is that so hard to understand?

The lesson here is flashing amber to anyone not entombed in a vat of glycerin. Most voters support sensible immigration policies. And they demand those arriving, for whatever reason they may have, embrace and adhere to the host culture and way of life.

This used to be common-sense in both America, and Great Britain. At least until the increasingly volatile self-loathing Left decided all borders are racist and asking new arrivals to respect and adopt host norms is tantamount to oppression.

Which is why the Democrats will learn nothing from Denmark. American Democrats have sauntered too far down the identity-politics rabbit hole to reemerge with any sensate awareness of the new politics.

They should do their homework. Yes, most Americans are in favor of legalizing the so-called DACA kids. But they also support a merit-based immigration system, E-Verify, a strong border deterrent (just don’t call it a wall). Sizeable numbers even support curtailing legal immigration.

Former Democrats find President Trump’s four-pillar immigration plan palatable. They voted for him. De facto open-borders might excite the virtue-signaling coastal cadres—those who largely are inured to its wage-killing and community-corroding effects, but the leaf-cruncher vote cannot replace the old Democratic base.

And they know that. Hence, their blithe encouragement of illegal immigration, and the eventual amnesty of 20 million illegal aliens—80 percent of whom will vote Democratic, ensuring a one-party state and the permanent politics of resentment.

But that masterplan crumbled when Hillary Clinton became the first female to lose a presidential election to Donald Trump. Americans like immigration. Just not the kind the Democrats are schlocking.

Which presents an opportunity for the generationally hapless GOP. Still lunching on the Reagan era, the Republican establishment and the bow-tied brigades at various “conservative” magazines perhaps aren’t keen to cater to the desires of their new voters.

That diaspora of ex-Democrats, socially conservative, economically moderate, doesn’t fit the desires of Republican donors, to whom winning elections matters little. They get paid regardless who sits in the White House.

But it is not 1980. Nor the year 2000. Voters aren’t too keen to accept the scraps of whatever the elites prefer.

The incoming Danish prime minister understands.

“For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalization, mass immigration and the free movement of labor is paid for by the lower classes,” she recently told The Guardian.

Of course, Americans aren’t European. The leftist economics of social democracy doesn’t play so well in the United States.

But research, (as I am belabored to point out almost every week!) shows a majority of Americans are socially conservative and economically moderate. A party with the nous to accept this reality would likely govern for a generation.

That party won’t be the Democrats as currently constituted. Neither will it be a Republican Party stuck in the past.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Ole Jensen/Getty Images

American Conservatism • Conservatives • GOPe • Post • Republicans • The Left

Conservatives, Re-Think Your Giving

The resurgence of the Right in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan was a sight to behold. The country had just been through a demoralizing period under Carter (no need to re-recite the record) and from those depths emerged opportunity for visionary ideas long espoused by Reagan, Jack Kemp, and others to finally get a true public hearing.

Complementing these men were conservative think tanks who believed in economic prosperity, personal liberty, and a strong national defense. They held glitzy conferences, began their own media entities, delivered sanguine speeches on the doctrine and developed mailing lists to cultivate and stay in contact with their followers and donors. In time, many millions flowed into their coffers from enthusiastic donors large and small.

Fast forward 30 years. By 2010, the country had elected Bill Clinton twice—in large part because of George H.W. Bush’s refusal to carry the Reagan torch—and then President Obama, which could largely be attributed to the wild spending, wandering presidency of George W. Bush. Digging further into the conservative movement as a whole, it had become clear that through the decades its think tanks had devolved into patterns of holding forums that patronized donors but which few paid attention to, writing white papers no one read, chasing five-minute TV appearances that made them feel like someone in Washington, jetting around to self-celebratory conferences at lavish resorts, and basically living high on the cause with little impact and no accountability.

In other words, they weren’t effective. And today they aren’t effective.

If they were effective, they would be attacked relentlessly by the Left and, given their timid posture, all but destroyed. Yet their presidents are regularly paid a salary of $1 million and up, excluding travel budget. They have annual gala dinners with popular cable news pundits to raise the overhead budget, five staffers keep cushy jobs, and the Left continues marching us toward socialism like we aren’t even there.

At a lunch recently, I said to a colleague that if 60 percent of the conservative think tanks in the country disbanded, no one would care. He replied without missing a beat: “No one would notice.”

Exacerbating this ever more glaring fact was the election of President Trump, who has shown the country that politicians and think tank figures who have postured for 30 years about moving mountains for the public on issues of high moment are, for the most part, inept subversives. They weren’t terribly needed and weren’t pioneers at all; they simply glommed on to the success of others who had vision and vigor.

After two recent congressional cycles of Republican consultants scamming donors for millions and conservative thinktanks demonstrating they could do nothing but talk about issues with no means or desire to enact them, Trump became the solution for exasperated donors and voters. This has reduced certain exposed entities to holding what amounts to hustler cruises to help stay afloat, with mutual admiration society “luminaries” no one cares about “starring.” Some, thankfully, have folded.

Compounding these issues are those who run the conservative grantmaking foundations. Some of the Right’s major funders have selected obedient gatekeepers who are maybe 32 years old and quietly can’t believe their own luck having stumbled into such a role. They travel to nice resorts and shake hands but their job is to keep their job. Nothing innovative that might intimidate or make them look bad ever gets upstairs.

Beyond this, there is a certain clique that decides who gets what grant money—even if the money was wasted by an entity the previous year. This is often because there are consultants who specialize in securing this money who have deep relationships with the grantors, and that ox cannot be gored. Is this effective or impacting? Does it help the movement or the goals of the funders? Nyet. But that doesn’t matter. And precious few people know this, especially funders. If some conservative donors knew where a lot of their money went in the think tank world, they would be storming D.C. with pitchforks.

Donors on the Right who came of age in the Reagan era—and future donors—should consider these points as they assess their annual giving, their wills, and the people and projects to whom they give their hard-earned dollars.

“Is my money funding a lawsuit against a corrupt union or 20 spa dates?”

“Are we really moving the ball here or talking as we are overrun by the only people who seem to know we are in a war?”

“Is simply being right on ideas enough anymore?” (No).

There is often a comfort as a funder in giving to what we have become familiar with over the years, especially those where we have fond memories. Case in point would be Reagan-era donors who give lavishly to their alma maters because those years were some of the best of their lives; they do this despite the fact that their old university stomping grounds are now Marxist factories that should be defunded completely.

Some of my friends have stopped giving significant dollars to the University of Southern California given the school’s leadership. It is long past time for conservative funders to do the same with its think tanks and start demanding action and results for their money. Either stop giving or redirect their funds to groups that are taking the fight to the enemy. If Republicans don’t win back the House and there is a moderate Senate after 2020, this will become even more obvious. By 2024, after Trump is gone, those 60 percent of think tanks will be on their way to extinction.

In this age of war and survival, they won’t be missed. Their shopworn appeals will go out to tired donors saying “Help us fight the liberals.” And the donors will finally, wisely respond, “You can’t. Get a job.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Conservatives • Law and Order • Post • Progressivism • The Constitution • The Courts • The Left

The Way Out of Our Judicial Impasse Is Through It

For more than half a century, as leftist judges have preempted or nullified our efforts to govern ourselves, conservatives have staked much on the appointment of judges who would follow the law rather than legislating or administering from the bench. And indeed, the number of such judges has been growing for a generation.

But since the 2016 election, it has become clear that merely appointing good judges cannot stop what the bad ones are doing, as leftist federal judges continue to strike down one after the other of the Trump Administration’s initiatives, as well as conservative state laws.

Even if a majority of the Supreme Court were to overrule every district court judge’s usurpation once an appropriate case reached it, leftist judges would still be a major brake on one side of American public life. Until conservatives somehow stop this judicial malpractice, all the work they do to elect whomever, to pass whatever laws, to appoint more good judges, is guaranteed to be undone by some bad judge putting his seal on some leftist group’s brief.

Nor can honest, nonactivist judges provide a counterweight on the other side of political conflict.  If conservative judges were the mirror image of leftist ones, there would be a cadre of them ready to invalidate the next leftist president’s every move, as well as every law and practice of California’s and other blue states’ governments. But there is not such a cohort in waiting.

A Tale of Two States
Red states over the past two years have been passing laws restricting abortion, while blue states have been passing laws expanding “abortion rights,” including measures that would allow killing babies outside the womb. The red state restrictions are practically null and void because leftist judges have pronounced them so. Because no judge has done the same, the blue state sanctions of infanticide stand.

There is a fundamental asymmetry between the Right’s view of law, and the Left’s. For conservatives, law is the Constitution as written, as are the laws lawfully passed under it, because these proceed from elections by the people. So are decisions by lawfully appointed judges.

For the Left, law is what meets theirs and their community’s best judgment.

The asymmetry between the Left’s legal culture and that of conservatives guarantees the permanent submission of the conservative side of American life. Conservatives respect the rulings of judges unless and until the Supreme Court invalidates them, and largely respect the Supreme Court’s rulings regardless of their content. They do so because of the link, however tenuous, these institutions have to the will of the people. Leftist judges—and not only judges—have the opposite of respect for the people. For them, the laws are what they say they are. Laws R Us!

Alternative Resolutions
If the conservative idea of American life is going to survive, it must either disable the Left from exercising tyranny through judges or match the Left’s attitude toward laws and judges—something is law only so long as we agree with it.

Disabling the Left’s judicial weapon is a merely political problem. Nothing in the Constitution gives any judge—including the Supreme Court itself—the power to invalidate any law or executive action, much less to set national policy. “Judicial review” grew from the fact that the Supreme Court (and derivatively other Article III judges) being a co-equal branch of government, may refuse to affirm any law which it finds to be in conflict with the Constitution.

But the existence of the inferior federal courts, their rules and jurisdictions are creatures of subordinate legislation, not the Constitution itself—as is the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction. Under the Constitution’s Article III, section 2, mere law can restrict a district court’s powers to the case at hand in its own district and eliminate its dictation of policy. Conservatives can and should restrict the courts to their proper role.

Taking matters into our own hands is the other alternative. Abraham Lincoln’s comments on the Dred Scott decision set a standard: while he did not dispute the court’s affirmation of Scott’s slavery, he refused to take its decision as a rule for any other case.

Defying the reach of a federal court ruling—even one of the Supreme Court’s, never mind that of a district court—is within everyone’s power. Alexander Hamilton had made that point in Federalist 78: the judiciary’s fundamental power is neither more nor less than the power to persuade. You may be otherwise persuaded. Hamilton is clear that there is no constitutional duty to obey the courts—certainly not on policy.

Andrew Jackson applied that principle even to the Supreme Court’s decision in the specific case of the Bank of the United States in 1832: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” There is no constitutional reason why any president, or governor, should forbear from carrying out a law or an executive decision just because a federal district judge’s opinion is that it violates some standard, The president or governor has his own opinion. In the final analysis, all depends on executive power, which, in turn, depends on popular support.

The Work of the People
Single district judges who have “struck down” so many of the initiatives on which President Trump was elected have framed the public issue: who rules? Were Trump to defy them, Jackson-style, his argument would be “the voters rule,” not these individuals’ discretion. Their only answer would be that their discretion is the rule of law. This is unconvincing.

Politically based defiance may also counter judges’ interference with democracy at the state level. In 1957, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce a court order pursuant to Brown v. Board, to admit black students to Little Rock Central High School. This outcome was foreordained. Neither side meant to shoot. The presidency’ prestige was at its height, wielded by World War II’s recent victor.

In today’s deeply divided country—as central institutions are widely discredited—no president, regardless of his opinion would send federal troops to enforce a court order against opposition. If, for example, any state law were to ban abortion, the Army would not shoot the state’s police, with the cameras rolling, to enable an abortion. Nor can we actually imagine the reverse.

The only way out of our political impasse is through it. Judges cannot unite us again as a people. That remains the work of the people and their elected representatives.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

American Conservatism • Conservatives • Post • Republicans • The Left

Sohrab Ahmari Is Right: Politics Is War

There are multiple levels to the David French-Sohrab Ahmari debate. One could discuss whether, as Ahmari implies, it is wise and just to seek control of the administrative state to restore moral order. Or one could discuss whether classical liberalism and Christianity are really so opposed as Ahmari suggests.

A simple take away from the debate is this distinction: Ahmari recognizes that politics is war. David French does not and, as Ahmari observes, the consequences of this blinkered understanding have put conservatism in a losing position for a long time.

At the end of his piece, Ahmari went to a place that makes liberals scream “theocrat!”:

Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values. They regulate compliance with an established order and orthodoxy. We should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral. To recognize that enmity is real is its own kind of moral duty.

A little harsh? Perhaps. Strategically, Catholic integralists could do with some Straussian discretion. But Ahmari’s message is one that the American Right should heed.

Sohrab’s Critics Miss the Point
One does not need to be a Catholic integralist, or even Catholic, or even Christian, to find Ahmari’s approach better than French’s. On the issue of drag queen story hour, French finds the “freedom of association” that underwrites such an event more palatable than its prohibition:

Does re-ordering the common good mean using the power of the state to prohibit that form of freedom of association? And if the state assumes for itself the power to stop such an event and perhaps fire the librarian who organized it, why does anyone think that the forces of Christian statism will continue to prevail and prevent, say, a radical member of a President Kamala Harris administration from wielding the same power against a public reading of The Screwtape Letters?

Ahmari offers no answers to these questions, French says. But he does. French summarily misses Ahmari’s point. How do you stop President Kamala Harris from instituting a “woke theocracy”? By fighting to make sure it never happens, that’s how.

The conservatism that Ahmari gestures towards says, “conservatives are already under attack. Start fighting.” David French-ism says, in effect, “Why try to win when you might lose? Better to make peace with drag queen story hour.”

David French-ism frets that reaching for the levers of power may backfire. You can’t just ban things that are immoral and bad for society. What if our opponents try to do the same thing?

There is no need to worry about some hypothetical persecution of Christians by a progressive administrative state—it’s already happening in dribs and drabs and lawsuits and edicts and legislation. What French and like-minded conservatives don’t seem to understand is that conservatives have enemies whether they like it or not, and meekly submitting to them is a recipe for certain defeat.

Conservatives have been losing, badly. Partly this is due to a lack of strategy, but more importantly it is from an inability to see that strategy is even necessary.

The Left understands that politics is war and acts accordingly. But classical liberals of David French’s type insist on winning “rationally” and “decently,” on winning over an immovable and vicious enemy in “debate.” One might attribute this to naïveté, or one can be more cynical and say that a wider kinship keeps classical liberals away from the battle.

Ahmari recognizes the Left is uncivil and, for all its vaunted tolerance, keenly illiberal. This much is obvious. But, Ahmari adds, “conservative liberals” actually support their own marginalization by tacitly sharing in the Left’s illiberal project.

Ahmari argues that liberalism cannibalizes moral order. Classical liberalism is just progressivism in slow motion; both, by maximizing individual autonomy, act as a social solvent. David French-ism, then, being only yesterday’s progressivism, has little recourse than hand-wringing about unfair treatment by an enemy that sees civility and decency as tools to enforce their values which, after all, are not so different anyway.

It’s Later Than You Think
French insists upon classical liberalism as the first principle of politics, declaring, there is no “political ‘emergency’ that justifies abandoning classical liberalism, and there will never be a temporal emergency that justifies rejecting the eternal truth.”

No political emergency? Not even a push to make infanticide the norm? I’m no theologian, but I would think bearing witness to the eternal truth means fighting to keep those who reject that truth out of power, not professing the eternal truth in an ever-shrinking “neutral” space.

French falls back on a defense of classical liberalism as the greatest means not only to preserve everyone’s rights, but to stop the corrosive advance of progressivism as well: “but the Valyrian steel that stops the cultural white walker is pluralism buttressed by classical liberalism, not a kind of Christian statism of undetermined nature, strength, power, or endurance.”

Is that so? How has that been working out so far?

Against Depoliticizing Politics
Not only does classical liberalism not prevent progressivism’s advance, it accelerates it.

While the Left seeks to enforce its values at any cost, French’s form of conservatism fights to maintain a “neutral” space that, by design, ensures that the Right will be squeezed out of the public square.

In David French-ism, it is more important that conservatives “preserve a space for all American voices” in the miraculous “marketplace of ideas” than that conservatives actually succeed.

The “marketplace” of ideas is an interesting term. Is morality mere merchandise, something to be sold to a persuaded public? What intellectual merit can late-term abortion possibly have?

Classical liberals insist on the higher value of preserving “neutral spaces” for everyone to market their ideological wares. But the public square is never really “neutral,” if only because its parameters are defined by liberalism and its values. Under liberalism, this group may win today, that group may win tomorrow. But liberalism will always win, and when it does, culture and tradition lose.

Perhaps this is why, as Ahmari writes, French-ism “depoliticizes” politics. Rather than advise that conservatives take political action, French-ism looks to the mysterious intervention of a deceptively neutral “culture” to solve political problems created by liberalism.

The basic commitments of liberalism are already baked into the hardware of our political operating system; what need then is there for political consciousness, or for that matter, political action?

When push comes to shove, David French conservatism refuses to see politics as a type of warfare, and therefore it has no strategy, because it shares the Left’s basic commitment to restless individualism.

Matters of “Decency”
French cites examples in which he persuaded leftist institutions to “turn back from repressive illiberalism and recommit to religious pluralism.” But there’s the rub: already, religion is consigned to the option of one among many. The true “religion” of “pluralism” is the liberalism in the interstices.

As Ahmari puts it, “Autonomy-maximizing liberalism is normative, in its own twisted way.” Looking beyond this, Ahmari seeks “to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good.”

Classical liberals reject this political realism as vulgar and a betrayal of higher principles of tolerance and pluralism. But this is no wonder: of course liberals define liberalism as the only decent worldview.

Liberals see any expression of intolerance or rectitude as uncouth and “theocratic.” But nobody is really against decency and civility. They are corollaries to the reigning ideology of any given historical time.

Today, it is more indecent to oppose abortion than to support it. This has been true of virtually every progressive advancement: each leftist victory in the culture war is defined by the elites as the new “decent” thing to believe.

The summum bonum of liberalism is the unbounded individual will. Working from this basis, classical liberals of French’s type, and similar figures in the wider fold of the center-right and so-called Intellectual Dark Web, draw a sharp line between “moral order,” from which they invariably shrink as some kind of theocracy, and “decency,” by which they mean tolerance.

Liberalism recoils in horror from talk of a “highest good,” let alone an ordered public. But what is decency without moral order?

The decency of liberalism is the right to be left alone by one’s neighbor, and vice versa, and not much more. All manner of evils are welcomed by liberalism’s project; the sole indecent thing is intolerance of some lifestyle or culture.

When push comes to shove, French-ism seeks the “decency” of tolerating the vulgar and evil over moral order, in the name of the individual will. Enforcing morality is authoritarian and therefore beyond the pale. Government should seek the common good, but it must be careful not to get too zealous about it. As French puts it:

While governments should of course seek the “common good,” they do not and should not have the brute coercive force to “re-order” the public square to achieve that good as they define it.

Well, what is the point of seeking the common good then?

Has it ever occurred to David that the state can just as well enforce classical liberalism at the end of a gun? In practice, this has been the project of the state in progressivism all along: to destroy traditions and unleash the individual from the shackles of culture.

Correcting Course
America has never been a Catholic empire, and those who envision such an end have their work cut out for them (to put it charitably). But surely there is some middle ground between complete individual freedom and a hypothetical Christian imperium. America has always hovered between the two, weaving liberalism and Christianity together.

But the West has gone so far in the direction of liberalism now that a Christian theocracy is hardly in the plotline of any course correction. One does not need to share the long-shot ambitions of Catholic integralists to find their concern for moral order more persuasive than the need to ensure that “drag queen story hour” is protected.

In the marginal sense that French thinks strategically, he warns that going down a path of scorched earth political warfare will alienate potential allies. This is no small consideration. Certainly, conservatives should do whatever possible to persuade like-minded people to join them.

But the enemy does not appear to be open to persuasion. French-ism’s concern about converting Americans to conservatism is worthless against its wider retreat from the battle.

This is especially so given French-ism’s criticism of “Trumpism” (for want of a better term). It is true that Trumpism, like Trump himself, is something of a mess. In its present state, it lacks cohesion. Its messenger is a polarizing figure without much in the way of a cogent ideology.

Perhaps Trump is not an effective coalition builder. If he has done one thing, though, it was this: he destroyed the old, comfortable consensus that wasn’t working, the consensus that French-ism defends.

French dings Ahmari for crediting Trump with instinctively understanding what has been missing from American conservatism and nudging things in that direction. But French-ism does not even attempt to move beyond the stale fusionist consensus.

If nothing else, Trumpism is a starting point, the inchoate first step towards a more capacious, stronger American conservatism. What makes Trump polarizing is not just his personality, but the ideas that Trump, however inarticulately, expresses.

Those ideas may be unpopular, and that is a problem to be solved by strategists and culture warriors. The answer is not to plead with the enemy for admission to the future.

French finds Trump’s outreach wanting. But before Trump, the American Right was barely fighting. Trump may not be a thinker, and he may not be a particularly effective brawler in the end, either. But Trump and Ahmari both get something that French does not: politics is war. French’s refusal or inability to see this summarizes the mentality of the dead weight on the American Right.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Post • Republicans

What David French Gets Wrong About David French

The dust-up between New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari and National Review author David French has offered an enlightening view into the chasm between Trump supporters and his detractors on the Right. For the past week, opinionists on both sides have weighed in on the broader and at times pedantic points of the dispute.

Here are some crib notes: Ahmari thoughtfully, and I think, accurately, argues that French is temperamentally and ideologically ill-equipped to effectively challenge the Left in this current scorched-earth climate of American politics and culture.

In what he defines as “David French-ism,” Ahmari essentially claims that French’s trust in traditional institutions, the good faith of the other side, and belief in neutral territory where everyone is respected not only is naïve but misguided to the extent of being destructive of the things conservatives believe are essential to a just society.

Further, French’s objections to fighting the Left’s winning rampage by deploying the same weapons they wield—power in the form of the law—is a prescription for continued defeat. French’s hollow tropes offer little in the way of a legitimate battle plan to ultimately prevail over the well-moneyed and vengeful interests who seek to irrevocably transform American society. Detailed policies or political tactics to mitigate the harmful outcomes of illegal immigration or Big Tech-imposed censorship or punitive trade deals are replaced with toothless platitudes. Ahmari mocks French’s cheesy bumper-sticker solutions:

How do we counter ideological mono-thought in universities, workplaces, and other institutions? Try promoting better work-life balance, says French. How do we promote the good of the family against the deracinating forces arrayed against it, some of them arising out of the free market (pornography) and others from the logic of maximal autonomy (no-fault divorce)? “We should reverse cultural messages that for too long have denigrated the fundamental place of marriage in public life.” Oh, OK.

Ahmari’s moniker for French—Pastor French—is wholly appropriate. In the Church of NeverTrump, of which French is a major prophet, the president is the devil incarnate; all preaching and proselytizing must be in service of warning the flock that the end times are here at the hands of the hedonistic and unholy Donald Trump.

French’s sermons, which play out in the pages of National Review, The Atlantic and Time magazine, as well as on MSNBC, are filled with fire and brimstone not necessarily for the Left (with the exception of abortion) but to condemn millions of allegedly wayward Americans who support a president French deems immoral and unfit to serve. His NeverTrump cred has earned French a star power he never had before 2016; he’s the latest darling of the left-wing media for his relentless Trump trolling. Business is so good that even French’s wife, Nancy, is getting in on the schtick.

French responded to his critic the next day in a piece for National Review Online titled, “What Sohrab Ahmari gets wrong.” Insisting he’s not a “milquetoast,” French proceeded to attempt to debunk Ahmari’s “misrepresentations” by citing his service as a U.S. Army judge advocate general in the Iraq War and his past court victories for maligned Christian college professors. (Commendable, of course, but hardly dispositive.)

But then French misrepresents himself in the piece. He portrays himself as “walking humbly,” careful “not [to] fan the flames” of political enmity—but French can be as vituperative, dishonest, and petty as anyone in the public square, especially if his target is Donald Trump, his family, or his supporters. The Mueller report, a political document based on an investigation into a fabricated crime, should “shock our conscience,” he wrote in April. “The lies are simply too much to bear. No Republican should tolerate such dishonesty.”

He often brags about his personal and professional achievements to both assert his moral authority and blunt any criticism of him. He occasionally injects his adopted black daughter into political battles, using anecdotal evidence to accuse Americans, particularly Trump supporters, of being racists. (As the mother of an adopted Asian daughter, I find this tactic offensive and out-of-bounds.)

French claimed that he did not promote the Russian election collusion hoax, as Ahmari stated in his piece. That is patently and provably false.

Time and again, French legitimized the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign for alleged collusion with the Kremlin, frequently cobbling together a disparate array of “contacts” and meetings as evidence to justify the probe. He downplayed the political origins of the Steele dossier. He repeatedly and willfully omits key details about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, overlooking the fact that the meeting with Don Jr. included Russian lobbyists who were working with Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson on behalf of a Russian tycoon at the time.

In March 2017, French detailed all the reasons Americans should be suspicious about collusion and even suggested that “we can never really know” whether the Russians helped elect Trump. French ridiculed the “Conspiracy Theory Right” for believing the collusion scheme was based on false premises manufactured by partisan bureaucrats in the Obama Administration to sabotage Trump. “Who needs [Russia Today] when you have got Sean Hannity?” French joked to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd in May 2018.

French outrageously demanded that Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who was exposing the real scandal, resign his post. “If Nunes steps down as chairman, he can quickly transition from part of the problem to part of the solution,” he wrote as Democrats seeded a bogus ethics charge against Nunes.

While he criticized the Nunes memo for failing to make the case (it did) on how the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, French defended a counter memo—now completely discredited—authored by Nunes’ nemesis, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) To date, French has not written or tweeted one critical word about Schiff, despite his egregious lies to the American public and to Congress about proof of Russian collusion.

For more than two years, French aided the Left in promoting the now disproven election collusion hoax in order to damage Donald Trump; to say otherwise is simply untrue. Further, now that Robert Mueller has found no evidence of collusion and Attorney General William Barr has pledged to investigate the corrupt origins of the Trump collusion probe, French has yet to own up to his mistakes and name-calling.

French also incorrectly states that he doesn’t “criticize my fellow believers” for electing and supporting Trump, that he only criticizes the movement’s “leaders.” But he has composed numerous articles and tweets that explicitly shame evangelicals for backing Trump.

“All too many fellow believers have torched their credibility and exposed immense hypocrisy through fear, faithlessness, and ambition,” he wrote in May 2018 in an open letter to evangelicals. “Soon enough, the ‘need’ to defend Trump will pass. He’ll be gone from the American scene. Then, you’ll stand in the wreckage of your own reputation and ask yourself, ‘Was it worth it?’ The answer will be as clear then as it should be clear now. It’s not, and it never was.”

But French’s victory lap on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh could represent his most twisted viewpoint. “We won the Kavanaugh fight, and we didn’t win by insulting or owning the libs but by appealing to classically liberal values such as cross-examination, hard evidence, and the presumption of innocence,” French wrote.

Apparently French believes the unemotional application of the law and not “punch-them-in-the-face populism” (his words) ultimately prevailed in Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

But phones didn’t light up in Senator Susan Collins’ office with people calling to demand that Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford be given something akin to a fair trial. The outrage across the country—even from non-Trump supporters—at the character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t rooted in the absence of standard legal procedures. No, the outcry was the result of a visceral reaction to one of the Left’s most contemptible crusades in recent memory, intended not only to torpedo a Supreme Court nomination but also to destroy his reputation, his livelihood, and his even family based on a collection of lies.

To his credit, French wrote extensively about the Kavanaugh travesty, doubting the veracity of Ford’s claims and defending his nomination. However, it’s unlikely his work helped sway the tough votes of Collins or other Republicans senators who confronted unhinged, even dangerous, protestors on Capitol Hill. It’s far more likely that the groundswell of support for Kavanaugh, buoyed by regular Americans who were disgusted and fearful at what was happening to a decent, innocent man, factored into that decision.

The ultimate, and costly, victory was not a win for due process. It was a rare victory for the Right against mob rule by unleashing the same level of anger and the same amount of public protest that the Left uses to intimidate detractors and get its way.

By his misguided interpretation of how the Right ultimately prevailed in the Kavanaugh fight, French proves Ahmari right.

Yes, facts and the law are important persuasive powers. So, too, are political tactics that involve exposing the venality of the other side, not giving them an inch, and not turning on your own side to score points with the Left.

Let’s say “French-ist” Republicans take over the GOP after Trump is gone. Is there any doubt that they would compromise with Democrats on some form of a Green New Deal? Or an expansion of government-paid health care? Or college loan forgiveness? Or higher tax rates on the wealthy? Or laws that impose quotas on private industry to force the hiring of more women, minorities or LGBT workers? Or the continued deplatforming of controversial figures on the Right? Or the requirement to teach a variety of destructive, anti-family, anti-Christian, anti-capitalist garbage in public schools?

Would “French-ist” Republicans have the stones to effectively challenge, and defeat, any of these proposals under a President Kamala Harris or a House Majority Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

That’s the central question—and I think Ahmari has the correct answer.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Culture Club/Getty Images