Tuesday, September 8, 2015

An Open Letter To Jonah Goldberg – RE: The GOP and Donald Trump


A few days ago I took the time to read your expressed concerns about the support you see for Donald Trump and the state of current conservative opinion.  Toward that end I have also noted additional media present a similar argument, and I took the time to consider.
goldberg headshot 

While we are of far lesser significance and influence, I hope you will consider this retort with the same level of consideration afforded toward your position.

The challenging aspect to your expressed opinion, and perhaps why there is a chasm between us, is you appear to stand in defense of a Washington DC conservatism that no longer exists.

I hope you will indulge these considerations and correct me where I’m wrong.

On December 23rd 2009 Harry Reid passed a version of Obamacare through forced vote at 1:30am.  

The Senators could not leave, and for the two weeks previous were kept in a prolonged legislative session barred returning to their home-state constituencies.  It was, by all measures and reality, a vicious display of forced ideological manipulation of the upper chamber.  I share this reminder only to set the stage for what was to follow.

Riddled with anxiety we watched the Machiavellian manipulations unfold, seemingly unable to stop the visible usurpation.   Desperate for a tool to stop the construct we found Scott Brown and rallied to deliver $7 million in funding, and a “Kennedy Seat” victory on January 19th 2010.

Unfortunately, the trickery of Majority Leader Harry Reid would not be deterred.  Upon legislative return he stripped a House Budgetary bill, and replaced it with the Democrat Senate version of Obamacare through a process of “reconciliation”. Thereby avoiding the 3/5ths vote rule (60) and instead using only a simple majority, 51 votes.

Angered, we rallied to the next election (November 2010) and handed the usurping Democrats the single largest electoral defeat in the prior 100 years.  The House returned to Republican control, and one-half of the needed Senate seats reversed.  Within the next two election cycles (’12 and ’14) we again removed the Democrats from control of the Senate.

Within each of those three elections we were told Repealing Obamacare would be job #1.  It was not an optional part of our representative agreement to do otherwise.

From your own writing:
[…]  If you want a really good sense of the damage Donald Trump is doing to conservatism, consider the fact that for the last five years no issue has united the Right more than opposition to Obamacare. Opposition to socialized medicine in general has been a core tenet of American conservatism from Day One. Yet, when Republicans were told that Donald Trump favors single-payer health care, support for single-payer health care jumped from 16 percent to 44 percent.  (link)
With control of the House and Senate did Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner use the same level of severity expressed by Harry Reid to put a repeal bill on the desk of Obama for veto?  Simply, NO.

Why not? According to you it’s the “core tenet of American conservatism”.

If for nothing but to accept and follow the will of the people.  Despite the probability of an Obama veto, this was not a matter of option.  While the method might have been “symbolic”, due to the almost guaranteed veto, it would have stood as a promise fulfilled.

Yet you speak of “core tenets” and question our “trust” of Donald Trump?
We are not blind to the maneuverings of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Tom Donohue.  We are fully aware the repeal vote did not take place because the U.S. CoC demanded the retention of Obamacare.

Leader McConnell followed the legislative priority of Tom Donohue as opposed to the will of the people.   This was again exemplified with the passage of TPPA, another Republican construct which insured the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal could pass the Senate with 51 votes instead of 3/5ths.

We are not blind to the reality that when McConnell chooses to change the required voting threshold he is apt to do so.  Not coincidentally, the TPP trade deal is another legislative priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Yet you question the “trustworthiness” of Donald Trump’s conservatism?

Another bill, the Iran “agreement”, reportedly and conveniently not considered a “treaty”, again we are not blind.  Nor are we blind to Republican Bob Corker’s amendment (Corker/Cardin Amendment) changing ratification to a 67-vote-threshold for denial, as opposed to a customary 67 vote threshold for passage.  A profound difference.

Yet you question the “ideological conservative principle” of Donald Trump?

Perhaps your emphasis is on the wrong syllable.  Perhaps you should be questioning the “ideological conservative principle” of Mitch McConnell, or Bob Corker; both of whom apparently working to deny the will of the electorate within the party they are supposed to represent.   Of course, this would force you to face some uncomfortable empirical realities.  I digress.

Another example – How “conservative” is Lisa Murkowski?  A senator who can lose her Republican primary bid, yet run as a write-in candidate, and return to the Senate with full seniority and committee responsibilities?

Did Reince Preibus, or a republican member of leadership meet the returning Murkowski and demand a Pledge of Allegiance to the principles within the Republican party?

Yet you question the “allegiances” of Donald Trump?

Perhaps within your purity testing you need to forget minority leader Mitch McConnell working to re-elect Senator Thad Cochran, fundraising on his behalf in the spring/summer of 2014, even after Cochran lost the first Mississippi primary?

Perhaps you forget the NRSC spending money on racist attack ads?  Perhaps you forget the GOP paying Democrats to vote in the second primary to defeat Republican Chris McDaniel.  The “R” in NRSC is “Republican”.

Perhaps you forget.  We do not.

Yet you question the “principle” of those who have had enough, and are willing to support candidate Donald Trump.

You describe yourself as filled with anxiety because such supporters do not pass some qualified “principle” test?  Tell that to the majority of Republicans who supported Chris McDaniel and found their own party actively working against them.

Principle?  You claim “character matters” as part of this consideration.  Where is the “character” in the fact-based exhibitions outlined above?

Remember Virginia 2012, 2013?  When the conservative principle-driven electorate changed the method of candidate selection to a convention and removed the party stranglehold on their “chosen candidates”.  Remember that?  We do.

What did McConnell, the RNC and the GOP do in response with Ken Cuccinelli, they actively spited him and removed funding from his campaign.   To teach us a lesson?  Well it worked, we learned that lesson.

Representative David Brat was part of that lesson learned and answer delivered. Donald Trump is part of that lesson learned and answer forthcoming – yet you speak of “character”.

You speak of being concerned about Donald Trump’s hinted tax proposals. Well, who cut the tax rates on lower margins by 50% thereby removing any tax liability from the bottom 20% wage earners? 

While simultaneously expanding the role of government dependency programs?

That would be the GOP (“Bush Tax Cuts”)

What? How dare you argue against tax cuts, you say.  The “Bush Tax Cuts” removed tax liability from the bottom 20 to 40% of income earners completely. Leaving the entirety of tax burden on the upper 60% wage earners. Currently, thanks to those cuts, 49% of tax filers pay ZERO federal income tax.

But long term it’s much worse. The “Bush Tax Cuts” were, in essence, created to stop the post 9/11/01 recession – and they contained a “sunset provision” which ended ten years later specifically because the tax cuts were unsustainable.

obama_delivers budget_ 

The expiration of the lower margin tax cuts then became an argument in the election cycle of 2012. 

And as usual, the GOP, McConnell and Boehner were insufferably inept during this process.
The GOP (2002) removed tax liability from the lower income levels, and President Obama then (2009) lowered the income threshold for economic subsidy (welfare, food stamps, ebt, medicaid, etc) this was brutally predictable.

This lower revenue higher spending approach means – lower tax revenues and increased pressure on the top tax rates (wage earners)  with the increased demand for tax spending created within the welfare programs.  Republicans focus on the “spending” without ever admitting they, not the Democrats, lowered rates and set themselves up to be played with the increased need for social program spending, simultaneously.

Is this reality/outcome not ultimately a “tax the rich” program?

As a consequence what’s the difference between the Republicans and Democrats on taxes?   All of a sudden Republicans are arguing to “broaden the tax base”.  Meaning, reverse the tax cuts they created on the lower income filers?  This is a conservative position now?  A need to “tax the poor”?  Nice of the Republicans to insure the Democrats have an atomic sledgehammer to use against them.

This is a winning strategy?  This is the “conservatism” you are defending because you are worried about Donald Trump’s principles, character or trustworthiness.

Here’s a list of those modern conservative “small(er) government” principles:

• Did the GOP secure the border with control of the White House and Congress? NO.

• Did the GOP balance the budget with control of the White House and Congress? NO.

• Who gave us the TSA? The GOP

• Who gave us the Patriot Act? The GOP

• Who expanded Medicare to include prescription drug coverage? The GOP

• Who created the precursor of “Common Core” in “Race To the Top”? The GOP

• Who played the race card in Mississippi to re-elect Thad Cochran? The GOP

• Who paid Democrats to vote in the Mississippi primary? The GOP

• Who refused to support Ken Cuccinnelli in Virginia? The GOP

• Who supported Charlie Crist? The GOP

• Who supported Arlen Spector? The GOP

• Who supported Bob Bennett? The GOP

• Who worked against Marco Rubio? The GOP

• Who worked against Rand Paul? The GOP

• Who worked against Ted Cruz? The GOP

• Who worked against Mike Lee? The GOP

• Who worked against Jim DeMint? The GOP

• Who worked against Ronald Reagan? The GOP

• Who said “I think we are going to crush [the Tea Party] everywhere.”? The GOP (McConnell)

McConnell and Boehner

And, you wonder why we’re frustrated, desperate for a person who can actually articulate some kind of push-back? Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are what the GOP give us? SERIOUSLY?
Which leads to the next of your GOP talking points. Where you opine on Fox:
“Politics is a game where you don’t get everything you want”
Fair enough. But considering we of questionable judgment have simply been demanding common sense, ie. fiscal discipline, a BUDGET would be nice.

The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!

That’s a strategy?

That’s the GOP strategy?  Essentially:  Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?


Don’t tell me it’s not, because if it wasn’t there’d be something else being done – there isn’t.

And don’t think we don’t know the 2009 “stimulus” became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year.  Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?

….And you’re worried about what Donald Trump might do?


Conservative Treehouse

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How Illegal Immigration Finally Turned Off the Public

by Victor Davis Hanson

Shot and chaser: Democrat activist Jorge Ramos of Univison badgers Donald Trump; is (temporarily) deported from presser by Trump’s security. (AP Photos/Charlie Neibergall)

 Why did the illegal-immigration issue launch Donald Trump’s campaign? Why did his recent tense press conference exchange with Univision’s Jorge Ramos please even some of Trump’s liberal critics? What is it about illegal immigration that has finally turned off so many Americans?

1. Race
Over the years immigration activists successfully deconstructed the complex issue of illegal immigration into a race and class morality tale of privileged whites picking on poor brown people. The operative buzzwords were “racism,” “nativism,” and “xenophobia.” That theme is now mostly bankrupt given that every great lie eventually falls from its own weight.

It was rarely the host, but more often the activists on behalf of the guests, who framed illegal immigration in racial terms. Activists foolishly fabricated the controversy as “we noble Latinos” against “you prejudiced non-Latinos.” They forgot apparently two obvious truths: one, thirty percent of Americans are not so-called white; and, two, most people resent ethnic chauvinism. Is an unemployed African-American sympathetic to the argument that someone has a birthright to illegally cross into the United States and find instant employment? Is a Punjabi-American, waiting patiently for his engineer cousin to get a green card, eager to be told the United States must make special concessions to the Latino lobby? Does a third-generation Mexican-American prefer that his neighborhood school and emergency room be flooded with indigent illegal Mexican nationals?

Sometime in the last five years, the public woke up and grasped that Latino elite activists were not so much interested in illegal immigration per se, but only to the degree that the issue affected other Latinos. Were 3,000 Chinese illegally entering California per day by ship on the Northern California coast, Latino activists and politicians would probably be the first to call for enforcement of federal immigration law.

It is difficult for the National Council of La Raza to attempt to airbrush away vocabulary like “anchor baby” and “illegal immigration,” while insisting that its own nomenclature “La Raza” has nothing to do with race. The public knows that La Raza means “The Race,” and that those who founded that organization chose that racially charged noun for the precise purpose of ethnic triumphalism — in the way that every infamous 20th-century Latinate racist demagogue from Mussolini to Franco found a use for Raza/Razza, a mostly taboo term in Mediterranean Europe today. In an age when the Washington Redskins earn a presidential rebuke, it is inconceivable that the chief illegal-immigration advocate is a federally subsidized group known as the National Council of La Raza. No other organization would dare use such a term. In the public mind illegal immigration has gone from the old narrative that racists were enforcing the law to keep out mostly brown people to a new generation of racists who are trying to subvert the law to bring in mostly brown people.

2. The Law
The old canard that without law there is nothing did not resonate with voters in connection with illegal immigration until the 21st century. As long as there were only one or two million illegal immigrants apparently the public turned a blind eye. No longer. Extremists took legal noncompliance to an entirely new level of Orwellian arrogance. Suddenly, as if by fiat, the illegal-immigration lobby banned the term “illegal alien” — as if they had never read a word of 1984 or Animal Farm. They dreamed up “sanctuary city,” a reactionary, neo-Confederate idea of legal nullification, whose logical trajectory is the implosion of the entire idea of federal laws constitutionally supreme to state and local statutes. They lied by insisting that entering the United States illegally was simply a minor misdemeanor, when most Americans knew such unlawful entry was the beginning, not the end, of negating the law — inaugurating years of fake IDs, false Social Security numbers, second and third identities, and deliberate filing of untruthful federal and state documents.

Then the myth arose that criminality among illegal aliens was in fact lower that found in the general population, as if it mattered not at all that a quarter of all federal prisoners were in the United States illegally, or that some states reported that more than a fourth of their felonies were attributable to illegal aliens, or that around 20,000 illegal aliens from south of the border were routinely incarcerated in California prisons alone. Completely lost in the back and forth was the old notion that an immigrant, legal or illegal, was supposed to be a guest, whose behavior should be the model, rather than defended as no worse than those whom he joined.

The public tired of the unfairness in the applicability of the law. How had it come to pass that illegal aliens were not subject to enforcement of federal laws in the manner that all citizens most surely were? All Americans file through passport control when flying home; they are met by stern uniformed bureaucrats who are not an especially forgiving bunch for missing or lost documents. How could it be that millions by virtue of their ethnic fides were not subject to the same scrutiny? And if one law were to be waived, why, the public wonders, not others equally inconvenient?

People finally tired of the postmodern notion that to stop endemic illegality we were supposed to change the language rather than the reality. Americans are not quite yet ready to be Soviet subjects who are to embrace Newspeak, and apparently resented the assumption that they were.

3. Mexico
Mexico itself has become quite unpopular. Accordingly to recent polls, never have Americans had more negative views of Mexico than during the era of Obama. Americans tired of being told that Mexico did not like the U.S., when the real truth was increasingly the opposite. It is not just the daily news of cartels, beheadings, and corruption that made Mexico unattractive, but the cynicism of the Mexican government itself.

Mexico and Central American nations receive $50 billion a year in remittances from their expatriate citizens in the United States. But if illegal aliens were impoverished and exploited as their home countries alleged, how could they transfer such monumental sums back home — and why would not their mother countries worry about the ensuing burdens placed upon their low-wage-earning citizens abroad?

Hypocrisy became synonymous with the idea of Mexico. Its constitution defines illegal immigration in racialist and chauvinist terms — barring those it finds unhealthy or an economic burden or even prone to upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” If American emulated Mexican law, almost all illegal aliens would face immediate deportation if not prison sentences. When Mexico deliberately has exported ten percent of its population and lectures the U.S. on their ensuing welfare, then the vocabulary of hypocrisy fails.

During the last two-decade influx of illegal aliens, a huge number was from the Mexican hinterlands, often indigenous peoples from Oaxaca or Chiapas who have long suffered racial discrimination inside Mexico. That Mexico for the first time champions their cause when they leave Mexican soil is the sort of racism of which Mexico habitually accuses the U.S. In some sick sense, Mexico has been ethnically cleansing its own country and then seeking moral cover for its human rights violations by slurring as racist the only refuge for its own unwanted who often were fleeing endemic racist attitudes.

4. Politics
The Obama-age progressive political narrative was that an old, too-white America was changing largely due to immigration and that this was a much-needed antidote to oppressive white privilege. Activists proudly pointed to California and New Mexico’s suddenly solidly blue politics and promised that Texas, Colorado and Nevada were soon to follow. In 2008 and 2012 the so-called “Latino vote” went nationally at about 70% for Democratic candidates. This was deemed a noble thing — but in a way 70% of the white vote not voting for a Democratic candidate would have been seen as proof of “racism” and “backlash.” Conservative cynics alleged a cruel cycle: welcome in millions of indigenous people driven from their racist homelands, offer them public assistance by virtue of the Democratic-sponsored welfare state, and teach them that only liberals care for their welfare while insisting that their families remember who were their patrons at the polls. Yet what was surreal about the charge was not Republican crassness in making it, but the shameless acknowledgment by Democrats that they were not only using illegal immigration as a political tool, but should be praised for doing so. They even warned that their success would doom Republicans unless the latter emulated their strategies!

5. Illegal Immigrants
The illegal-immigration movement only recently has sought to finesse its public relations. For a decade illegal immigration was oversold as an arrival of “dreamers,” various future brain surgeons and physicists whose innate talent could now be tapped if only the U.S. would wave the cruel legal details. But illegal aliens are not all dreamers any more than they are all criminals. They are what they are — good, bad, and neither: poor oppressed people who flee racist Third World governments in hopes of jobs and/or U.S. government support, with the further assumption that their illegality, lack of English, absence of education, and dearth of skills and capital will not only not matter, but earn them coveted victim status in the U.S. So far they have been proven prescient.

It is still common to find at immigration rallies thousands of Mexican flags, with far fewer — if any — American flags. Illegal aliens do not just root for visiting Mexican sports teams, but go the extra mile of booing the American opposition.

The message is incoherent: “I will salute the country that drove me out but less so the one that welcomed me in.” In fact, the entire narrative of illegal immigration has become unhinged. The vocabulary of protest is never aimed against the nation that forced them out, only against the one that most generously welcomed them in.

Nowhere is this disconnect more evident than in the university, where two antitheses are promulgated. Even as the various Chicano and Ethnic Studies departments indoctrinate students with the supposedly sinister history of the United States, they simultaneously champion the rights of the illegal aliens to enter, reside, and stay in the odious country they have just damned. The message makes little sense. Millions of Americans have finally caught on to the incoherence, and feel that ingratitude is among the worst of all sins.

It is alleged that Donald Trump is a demagogue who whips the ignorant up. Perhaps. But on matters of immigration he came late and often in antithesis to his own former positions. The truth is that the illegal-immigration lobby was its own worst enemy, its message couched in racism, illegality, untruth — and finally incoherence.  People are tired of being called racists by racial chauvinists, of being dubbed insensitive by unfeeling opportunists, and of being called politically naive by political manipulators.

If there were not a Donald Trump, he would likely have had to have been invented.

PJ Media