Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Republican Party’s Anti-Establishment Establishment

Note: Sad to say, it is becoming increasingly impossible to talk about issues vital to the country without mentioning, if only in passing, leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, a media sponge far more absorbent than Connecticut’s  own U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal. Trumps supporters are enthusiastic, but some Republicans are riven with nagging doubts. I have tried in the Q & A format below to say some few things about current presidential nominees, both Republican and  Democratic, always  bearing in mind the useful advice offered by Connecticut’s own Mark Twain: “When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”
Q: Who are the Trump Supporters?

A: For the most part, they are people who are unattached, emotionally and ideologically, to either of the two major parties. The Obama administration has abandoned altogether what used to be called moderate, vital center Democrats. Some orphaned Democrats, put in Coventry by progressives, have crossed over to vote for Trump. Within the broad category of self-alienated Republicans, there are numerous sub-groups: disenchanted Republicans, people who have, in one way or another, been slighted by what they refer to, disdainfully, as the party establishment; also, party critics who command the Republican conservative airways -- Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, whose views are truly idiosyncratic, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others.

Q: You’ve said you are suspicious of the term “establishment Republicans.”

A: Yeah. It’s much too broad a category, a term that has little meaning. It’s like a color yellow that is also red and orange or a circle that is also square and triangular. If, as seems possible at this point, Donald Trump receives the Republican Party nomination as President and improbably goes on to defeat Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic Party nominee, he will become an “establishment” politician seconds after he places his hand on the Bible and swears to uphold the Constitution. If both Mario Rubio and John Boehner are establishment Republicans, in what sense is Rubio, wafted into office by the Tea Party, different than Boehner?

The Republican Party nomination extravaganza opened with seventeen candidates. Among them were five candidates who, broadly speaking, could be considered anti—establishment Republicans: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Carson, Fiorina and Trump were businesspersons who had no previous record in office. Cruz, Paul and Rubio were all, in varying degrees, thorns in the side of the Republican Party establishment. Among this group, only Cruz now is left to tell the tale.

Trump still is regarded by the discarded Republican Presidential contenders – perhaps even those who have endorsed him, such as Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Ben Carson – as a party interloper. Trump has switched parties at least five times in the course of his meandering, crony capitalist career. Asked a while back which party he had most in common with, he answered the Democratic Party, an honest answer since he had not at the time thrown his hat into any political ring. Many of his friends were, and continue to be, Eastern Seaboard liberals, not fertile or friendly ground for conservatives, which is why Barry Goldwater once said – If you lop-off California and New England, you’ve got a pretty good country. Trump answers the charge that he is temperamentally aligned with the Democratic Party by noting he is a businessman. Business before pleasure or politics; the successful businessman must be able to play both ends against the middle. One cannot expect party fidelity of a billionaire who has been bribed during his entire business life into supporting with his wallet both major political highway robbers.

Q: Well, that much is true. Most CEO’s of large companies give indifferently to both parties when approached for political contributions.

A: Yes. It’s one of the reasons many people dislike politically indifferent, deep pocket businessmen. They operate on an anti-national, international plain – men without countries. This is one of the reasons Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been so successful: He talks as if he’s secretly preparing a gulag for conspicuously opulent Wall Street billionaires. Sanders, it should be said, is also anti-nationalist, as is President Barack Obama. Socialism and its off-shoots, communism and fascism, reach across national borders. Lenin famously said he would get the rope with which to hang the capitalists from the capitalists, and relationships between fascists such as Benito Mussolini and crony capitalists were always warm and cordial, provided the capitalists understood the nature of fascism: “Everything in the state, nothing above the state, nothing outside the state” was Mussolini’s near perfect definition of fascism.

Q: Political Supermen.

A: Right. If a country is looking for a savior, you can be sure that country already has fallen into the iron grip of strongman politics. This is how Republics, always fragile political institutions, ultimately fail. The Roman Republic is replaced by Caesar Augustus and all the subsequent lesser Caesars. The French monarchy loses its head at the guillotine, only to be succeeded by Napoleon and ultimately a restored governing class . We flatter ourselves that we are somehow different. Ben Franklin, following the American Revolution, was not at all certain that the government formed by the Constitutional Convention would be long lived. To the woman who met him in the street and asked, after the Convention disbanded, “what have you given us?” Franklin, a student of the history of the rise and fall of Republics, replied “A Republic, madam – IF you can keep it.”

Q: Have we kept it?

A:  Democrats this year are offering up in Sanders an unrepentant socialist – this at a time when socialism has failed conspicuously everywhere in the world, most dramatically in Venezuela, where toilet paper is hard to come by -- and a former Secretary of State who is fully responsible for the murder of a U.S. Ambassador in Benghazi, where she and Obama were conducting a military munitions-running operation. The Democratic Party has harpooned former President George Bush countless times for taking down a dictator in Iraq, a country since abandoned by Obama, the liberator of Lybia. There is little difference between the operations in Iraq and Lybia – except that the Iraqi Spring was for a time successful. It failed when Obama, determined to keep a campaign pledge, decided to shut down Bush’s “war of choice” in Iraq and dedicate his time and energy to the “war of necessity” in Afghanistan, called for very good reasons the graveyard of Empires. Under the Obama/Clinton regime, the entire Middle East is on a war footing.

The influence peddled by the “lead from behind” President has been effectively checked by ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin of Russia with whom, Donald Trump says, he would be willing to do business. Our former friends in the Middle East, Iraq, Saudi Arabia Egypt and Turkey, a member of NATO, daggers dangling from their backs, now mistrust us, and our former enemies, Putin’s Russia and Iran, along with its proxy terrorists, have been emboldened – as has ISIS, which is now erecting a Caliphate in Northern Iraq and parts of Syria, while Obama plays kissy-face with the Castro brothers.

This is a failed foreign policy, and Mrs. Clinton is one of its prime movers. Obama numerous times has short-circuited constitutional obligations with the concurrence of a cowardly Congress, and in vilifying Republican who presume to question him, he has led his party from the  front. Behold the modern 21st century Democratic Party, teetering towards a failed European socialism, indifferent about its tradition friends, fondling its traditional enemies. For the first time in a quarter century, the Republican Party seemed fully prepared to offer the country a true conservative choice as President. It looks like they will have to settle for Trump. It’s difficult to avoid concluding that in passing from Washington to Obama, we have chucked overboard the ballast of our republican virtues.
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