Monday, October 21, 2019

"How Can You Continue to Defend Trump?" Wife Asks.

I was lying in bed with the wife the other night – don’t stop reading this story I promise it’s G rated – and she rolls over and says to me, “How can you continue to defend Trump?”

What started the discussion, and prompted the question, was the Doral G7 controversy. I was defending Trump. Needless to say, my view of the controversy was more benign than hers. In a nutshell Trump genuinely thought that the Doral would be a great place for the summit, and he was floating a trial balloon.

Well, my immediate response to her question, “How can you continue to defend Trump?” was, well, I admit fairly glib and blunt, but it was basically this:

“He may be the biggest a**hole in the world, but if he cuts taxes, deregulates the economy, deports criminal illegal aliens, and appoints conservative judges I will vote for him.”

She didn’t seem to buy that argument and rolled back over. But as I laid there in the dark, watching the ceiling fan rotate, the thought crossed my mind. How can I defend Trump? How can I defend Trump?

Well, there are two aspects to consider. Trump the person and Trump the President. I realize that I will never meet him, work for, or with him, socialize with him, hang out with him. Go bowling with him. And that’s probably a good thing. So, I won’t really know if he is an a**hole or a really nice guy. Both are possible.

I am sure his wife thinks he is a great guy. His kids and grandkids think he is a great guy.

I remember my Father met Jerry Ford when Ford was in Congress. Dad liked him a lot, so I was shocked when I learned that Dad didn’t vote for him. I said Dad you said you liked him. Why didn’t you vote for him? My Fathers response: “Just because I like someone doesn’t mean that I will vote for them for President.”

Conversely, just because I personally dislike someone does not mean that I won’t vote for them.

Our politics have been personalized.


It seems every election year our superficial media asks the question, which presidential candidate would you rather have a beer with? And when I hear the question, I ask myself, who cares? You will never have a beer the President. But most people in the fake media think this is an important question.

I remember the 1992 Presidential campaign. Bill Clinton would bite his lip, squint his eyes and say, “I feel your pain.” People were impressed! They thought, just what we need, a President that feels our pain. In fact, Clinton could, on command, shed a politically necessary tear when hearing a heartbreaking story from a voter.

The voter would tell him that they were about to be evicted, or would lose their health insurance etc. Clinton hugged them, shook his head - showed he really cared.
He was likable. He created, with the liberal media’s assistance, the image that he cared, as if a caring is an important quality in a President.

Whether Trump is a “nice guy” or a raging “a**hole” is mostly a media image. Created both by the media and Trump. Trump could work on his public image if he wanted to, but he doesn’t seem to care. And in some ways that makes me like him more.

In the past when Presidents wanted to improve their image, they would bring in photographers, do glossy photo shoots with the family for Life Magazine. They would do an interview with Diane Sawyer or Barbara Walters. Take the dog for a walk on the White House lawn.

Remember President Kennedy. He had those nice photos taken of him, Jackie, John Jr. and Caroline in the White House. Beautiful pictures. Now, earlier that day he was probably having sex the intern, but you don’t need to know that. What a beautiful family! What a great guy!

Now, it is tougher for a Republican to get fluff coverage, but if he wanted to, Trump could improve his personal image. Take some pictures with Baron. Pictures of him taking a walk or reading to Baron. Holding Melania’s hand on the couch, with TV dinner trays in front of them as they are watching dancing with the stars. Show some pictures of himself in a casual shirt doing some yard work. Maybe, loading the dishwasher. Pictures of himself shooting pool with friends.

Could you imagine if he got a dog, say a black lab. He walks the dog on the White Lawn in front of the press. On cue the dog poops, Trump reaches into his pocket, pulls out an environmentally correct compostable bag. Picks up the poop. The video would go viral. I believe It would greatly soften his image.

But to everlasting great credit, Trump won’t do it. He’d tell his political advisors I not picking up a dog’s poop. Every politician in America would pick up a dogs poop for the camera. Trump won't.

So, for me what matters are issues. Tangible results. My 401 K is doing great because of Trump policies. The tax cut and deregulation has led to the lowest unemployment level in 50 years. He has even outdone Ronald Reagan when it comes to deregulation.

Trump has appointed 2 supreme court judges, and 150 lower court judges. Good men and women who will strictly interpret the constitution and not legislate from the bench.

He has re-negotiated NAFTA, which now languishes in the House. Nancy is probably not going to bring it up for a vote. It could interfere with an impeachment- Democrats have their priorities.

He threatened tariffs on Mexico to pressure them to do more to stop caravans of illegals from getting into our country. It seems to be working. Mexico is helping.

He is pushing our allies to contribute more to our common defense. Pushing to re-negotiate trade deals to become more advantageous to our businesses and workers. In others words advancing Americas interest.

Would I personally like Trump? Would I like to have a beer with him? Probably not. But will I vote for him? Yes.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Matt Lewis; My Favorite Never Trumper.

I will admit up front that I like the never Trumper Matt Lewis. Yes, that Matt Lewis, the mainstream media’s house conservative, or at least one of the more articulate ones. He is sometimes on CNN and writes for the Daily Beast.

The MSM believes one of the best ways to attack Trump is through Republican surrogates. They can claim "Hey we are balanced, we bring on Republicans", but of course only self identified Republicans who hate Trump. And those never Trump Republicans don’t mind being used. And who knows, Jake Tapper might be a great guy to work with. I hear people that work with him describe him as “intellectually honest”, but perhaps a bit of a virtue signaler.

Well, Lewis latest piece in the Daily Beast is so cynical, so deceitful, so banal, that I have to share it. The headline is priceless: “I am a conservative and Nancy Pelosi is right On Here.”

First red flag, if you have to state in the first sentence that you are a conservative, you probably are not. In fairness to him I will assume his editors wrote the title.

He doesn’t disclose in his piece that he is a never Trumper. Perhaps someone reading the column will think wow a Republican thinks Trump should be impeached! Next thing you know Bill Weld, or Bill Kristol, both of whom claim to be Republicans, will follow the Lewis lead and also claim that Trump should be impeached.

He starts off with this: “It feels awfully weird to be on the Democratic speaker’s side. But it feels weirder to be disappointed in people who have been my allies.”

What allies? He didn’t vote for Trump. Now he's disappointed that Republicans, allegedly "his once allies", don’t want to side with Nancy Pelosi and undo an election? Republicans don’t want to switch over to his CNN never Trump side?

He may feel disappointment, but no real conservative with any sense is going to join Nancy Pelosi in a coup against a conservative President. A tax cutting President. A de regulating President. A President that is appointing great conservative judges. A conservative President fighting to enforce our immigration laws.

Lewis claims that the administration “pressured” the Ukrainians into investigating Joe Biden. He also says such pressure constitutes an impeachable offense. He posts 3 links to back up the claim, but if you check those out, you’ll find that they don’t prove it at all.

As for the belief that pressuring a foreign government is an impeachable event, I would refer him to Article I, section 4 of the Constitution that says that a President can ONLY be removed for “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

If a President wants to find out what the previous administration did in another country, say the Ukraine, how can that be illegal, let alone impeachable?

Joe Biden is not President Trumps opponent. And any such “dirt”, a word Trump never used, would go to the Attorney General, not a campaign manager. Doesn't a President have an obligation to investigate whether a previous administration abused its power? Maybe it is wise to ignore the past administration and move on, but such a question is not impeachable.

Lewis then describes Nancy Pelosi as being "patient and pragmatic", regarding her handling of the impeachment matter. He ignores the fact that she admitted that she hadn’t read the transcript of the President’s call. And despite not reading it she claimed that Trump asked the Ukrainians for help in the 2020 election.

I read the transcript. The President never mentioned the upcoming 2020 election. Nancy claimed today that Trump did in, “other words.” I guess in words no one but her, and perhaps Lewis, can hear.

Half way through his column he makes a claim that Democrat members, in districts that Trump carried, are showing great “courage and integrity” by coming out for impeachment.

No, they are not showing courage or integrity. They are caving to their party’s leaders and donors. They have Potomac fever. They are telling their voters we don’t care about how you voted in the election. Trump is not a fellow Democrat, you failed to vote for Hillary, well, screw you we are getting rid of the guy.

Lewis then claims Pelosi is standing up for American values, and that the Democrats who support impeachment know it will probably fail in the senate. And that the knowledge of ultimate failure is “all the more a testament to their sacrifice”. Like the boys of the Alamo perhaps?

Lewis, seems touched by Pelosi’s use of the Ben Franklin line “a Republic if you can keep it.” This line was probably told to Elizabeth Powell. Powell was a friend of Washington and Franklin, but I digress.

Lewis is wrong. It's not the Democrats who are fighting for the Constitution. For to remove a Democratically elected President for purely political reasons is not something Ben Franklin would have supported.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Mike Thompson RIP

I was saddened to learn of the death of Mike Thompson. Mike passed away last night after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mike was the President of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, an invaluable resource for us Virginia conservatives.

I have known Mike for at least 20 years. All day I was thinking when did I first meet Mike. I don’t know exactly. It could have been at literally hundreds of campaign events, or campaign victory parties, or at a fundraiser. I guess sometimes in life you meet people that you just feel that have known forever. And that is how felt about Mike.

I do remember in the late 90’s I would go down to Wakefield for the Shad Planking, a mecca for anyone interested in Virginia politics. A bus would leave from the right to work building in Springfield and Mike would usually go with us. I do remember election night parties watching the returns with Mike. Asking what he thought about a race. I’d ask Mike something like with “65 percent of the vote in we are up by 5 points.” Have we got this?” But the answer was usual the same. “That depends has all of Fairfax county come in yet?”

Mike was a fixture in conservative politics in Virginia and at any event over the last 20 years you could almost expect, indeed, look forward to running into Mike. Over the years Mike did a few interviews on my blog. I posted a number of his columns. And I sought his advice on a number of projects I was working on. He was always very generous with his help and guidance.

Mike had a historian’s knowledge of the conservative movement. He was involved in the Reagan campaigns and knew, or so it seemed to me, every detail of both Reagan campaigns in 1976 and 1980.
I have read numerous books on Reagan and always thought maybe one day I could stump Mike on a Reagan trivia question. A couple years ago I read Lou Cannon’s book on Reagans time as Governor of California. As Governor, Reagan appointed a young LA lawyer, Phil Battaglia to be his Chief of Staff. Well, to make a long story short, Battaglia was let go.

So, I thought well I bet I can stump Mike on this. No way he is going to remember who was Governor Reagan’s first chief of staff. I saw Mike and asked do you remember who Governor Reagan picked. Without missing a beat Mike said, “I met Phil Battaglia…”

Well, I didn’t stump him, and alas I never will. RIP Mike.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The 22nd Amendment Was Not Anti-Roosevelt, It Was Pro-George Washington

There is a view, which I accept, that says conventional wisdom is usually wrong, if not overly simplistic. And as conventional wisdom is repeated and spread people tend to accept it uncritically as fact. It becomes as the left would say “settled science.” For example in the 20th century socialism was considered settled science. No need for any more debate.

In the world of political science there is the assertion that the 22nd amendment was ratified by angry Republicans as a rebuke to the memory of Franklin Roosevelt. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez took conventional wisdom one step further by claiming that it was ratified to prevent Franklin Roosevelt from being reelected. He died in 1945. The amendment wasn’t ratified until 1951.

The 22nd amendment limits the President to no more than two terms, or 10 years. There is a grandfather clause, so the amendment didn’t apply to the incumbent. Harry Truman was President therefore it didn’t apply to him. Conceivably he could have served 4 or more terms.

Rep. Cortez defenders admit that she may have got her facts wrong, excuse me misspoke, but they say essentially, she is correct. She was pointing out that Republicans were willing to change the Constitution for political gain, and that it was ratified as a “negative reaction to Roosevelt.”

In effect the 22nd amendment was perpetrated by mean Republicans motivated by hatred of Franklin Roosevelt.

Essentially that is the conventional wisdom that is taught in US history and government classes. I have heard this all my life. Is it true?

No.

Our first President George Washington set the standard. A standard that the American people wanted codified in the constitution.

After his second term Washington decided that was enough, and he retired to his farm in Alexandria. It was an historic move. He could have been king, or President for life, but he walked away from power. The American republic was established!

And for over 100 years no President ran for a 3rd term out of respect for the Washington standard. Well, a very ambitious man named Franklin Roosevelt tried to establish a new standard, perhaps just for himself, but in 1940 he ran for a third term.

There was nothing in the constitution that prevented a President from seeking a third term. Probably because no one thought such an amendment was needed. Washington set a standard that no one thought would be broken. Who would claim to need a single term more than Washington?

Now, maybe it was good that Roosevelt was President for 4 terms. My doubts aside the American people returned him to power for 4 terms.

On one hand the American people loved Roosevelt. They had great faith in him. But on the other hand, the evidence is clear. The American people like term limits, especially for their chief executives. For example, 38 states have some form of a term limit on their governor. So, the idea that they wanted a term limit on the President makes sense. A Governor and President both have executive power.

In Virginia our Governor can not serve consecutive terms. I assumed most Virginians opposed this limit. Well, to my surprise a few years ago I saw a poll that showed Virginians supported this limit and didn’t support repeal. By the way, Virginia ratified the amendment in 1948.

In 1947 the House and Senate approved the 22nd amendment, with some support from Democrat members of both Houses. They then sent it off to the states for ratification.

By 1951 41 states ratified the amendment. New York, Roosevelt’s home state, ratified the amendment in 1948.
Despite what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez may think amending the constitution is not an easy thing to do. It can’t be done on a straight party line vote.

As a presidential candidate Roosevelt never failed to carry New Jersey. Yet in 1947 the Garden state ratified the 22nd amendment. Were they making an anti-Roosevelt statement?

No.

The 22nd amendment was not anti-Roosevelt, as conventional wisdom suggests, and the left asserts, rather it was a return to the Washington standard of a two term maximum. Despite their affection and respect for the late President, they preferred a term limit on the nation’s chief executive.