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  • The Trump Phenomenon.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on December 27th, 2015 (All posts by )

    trump

    A good column in the NY Post today describes the elites horror at the Trump supporters.

    It was quite evident at Meet The Press this morning as the guests expressed suitable horror at Mr Trump’s progress toward the GOP nomination.

    Now, after months of whistling past the graveyard of Trump’s seemingly inexorable rise and assuring themselves that his candidacy will collapse as voters come to their senses, a CNN poll released Wednesday showing Trump now lapping the field has the GOP establishment in full meltdown mode. The survey shows Trump with nearly 40% of the primary vote, trailed by Ted Cruz at 18%, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio tied at 10%, and the also-rans (including great GOP hope Jeb Bush) limping along far behind.

    I am not a Trump supporter but I am intrigued at the steady progress he is making toward success. I have been a fan of Angelo Codevilla’s characterization of America’s Ruling Class.

    The recent collapse of Republican Congressional resistance to the left’s political agenda as noted in the surrender of Paul Ryan to the Democrats in the budget, has aggravated the Republican base and its frustration.

    Ryan went on Bill Bennett’s radio show on Tuesday to tell his side of the story, which involves the fact that he inherited from outgoing Speaker John Boehner an unfavorable budget framework, as well as some of the tradeoffs involved (especially defense spending). He also laid out the argument I’ve heard elsewhere, which is that he needed to “clear the decks” so that a real return to “regular order” budgeting next year will be possible. You may or may not be persuaded, but the contrast with Boehner is fairly plain, I think.

    In other words, perhaps the omnibus should be thought of as something like the Dunkirk evacuation. But if so, we still need our Churchill to explain it and chart the path forward in a compelling way. This requires the presidential field to step up.

    Dunkirk brought the British Expeditionary Force home almost intact, although minus their weapons. Ryan did the equivalent of surrender.

    Their panic was best articulated last week in The Daily Beast by GOP consultant Rick Wilson, who wrote that Trump supporters “put the entire conservative movement at risk of being hijacked and destroyed by a bellowing billionaire with poor impulse control and a profoundly superficial understanding of the world .?.?. walking, talking comments sections of the fever swamp sites.”

    Some might take that as a backhanded compliment. Can the GOP really be so out of touch with the legions of out-of-work Americans — many of whom don’t show up in the “official” unemployment rate because they’ve given up looking for work in the Obama economy? With the returning military vets frustrated with lawyer-driven, politically correct rules of engagement that have tied their hands in a fight against a mortal enemy? With those who, in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino massacres by Muslims, reasonably fear an influx of culturally alien “refugees” and “migrants” from the Middle East?

    The Daily Beast is not exactly the Republican voter and the “GOP Consultant” seems to be ignoring the possibility that his job prospects might be harmed by his contempt for the voters he is supposed to understand and convince.

    All my life, the Republican Party has been my political home. Helping it succeed has been my work for decades. It was never perfect, but families never are.

    Flawed, and given to wrong turns from time to time, we had good years and terrible years. We elected presidents, took back Congress after decades, lost it, and took it back again. Our leaders ranged from bad to extraordinary. But through it all, the GOP was the one party even vaguely amenable to limited-government conservatism, to at least some adherence to the Constitution over the social preferences of the moment, and to the constraints on government power that our Founding Fathers so cherished. It was nice while it lasted.

    Today the Republican Party has two choices before it: It can either reform itself, or fracture and surrender to the Troll Party.

    I think that states it succinctly. I remember a whole segment of the Republican Party that was horrified by the prospect of Ronald Reagan. Maybe Mr Wilson was one or maybe he is too young to remember. Wilson certainly finds an eager audience on the left.

    In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Wilson conceded that “Trump is still a very powerful force right now” because he appeals to part of the of the conservative base that Wilson said was activated by his “nativist” message. Wilson insisted that the donor class “can’t just sit back on the sidelines and say, ‘oh well, don’t worry, this will all work itself out.’”
    “They’re still going to have to go out and put a bullet in Donald Trump,” Wilson said. “And that’s a fact.”

    Who are Mr Wilson’s clients ? Well, he apparently worked for Rick Perry. There was a big success.

    Republican pollster Chris Wilson says he personally saw Cain sexually harass a woman at an Arlington, Va., restaurant in the late 1990s. At the time, Wilson was working for the National Restaurant Association, which Cain led.

    Wilson is one of three people connected to Perry’s presidential bid with ties to Cain at the trade group.

    Among those three is consultant Curt Anderson, whom Cain accused Wednesday of being the leak for a story in Politico.

    He doesn’t really sounds like my type of guy. I guess Herman Cain was another of those people who need “a bullet in the head.”

    In other words, has the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, ably embodied by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, forsaken even token opposition to the “progressive” ethos? Can it be true that everybody’s fondest wish for Campaign ’16 is the dynastic-restoration battle of Clinton vs. Bush?

    Jeb Bush seems to think so, suggesting recently that he might rethink the pledge he signed vowing to support the eventual Republican nominee. To which The Donald characteristically responded: Who cares? “He is a low-energy person, and he does not represent strength, power and stamina, which are qualities our country desperately needs.”

    So, JEB is “rethinking” his pledge to support the nominee. Does he prefer Hillary ? I wonder.

    In the movie business, there’s something called the “cheer moment,” when the long-suffering hero finally decks his tormentor with a satisfying right cross. What the Beltway Republicans fail to understand is that their conservative base — which gave them stunning congressional victories in 2010 and 2014 and has nothing to show for it — has been longing for precisely that moment since Reagan crushed Mondale 49-1 in 1984.

    The “Trumpkins” are sick of winning and having nothing to show for it, and their vengeance will be terrible. Maybe the Establishment should stop belittling them and listen instead.

    I am not a Trump voter yet and probably would prefer another candidate like Rubio or Cruz win the nomination. I was a Walker supporter until he dropped out. I would prefer a governor and my ideal candidate would be Mitch Daniels, who unfortunately is unavailable as his family is more important to him.

    Trump certainly is making the right enemies and that is a good sign. I’ll wait and see what happens.

     

    48 Responses to “The Trump Phenomenon.”

    1. djf Says:

      I think your preference for a governor is misguided. Obama has been a disaster because his policies are terrible, but – notwithstanding his oft-noted “lack of executive experience” – he has been devastatingly effective in pushing those policies down the country’s throat. We need a conservative president who is similarly grounded in his views (not just fed positions on issues he hasn’t thought about by his aides) and who has similar determination in moving a conservative agenda on a broad range of issues. I doubt this will be found among governors, who tend to be narrowly focused on fiscal issues (as Walker was – he was at sea discussing issues governors don’t deal with). Mitch Daniels may be excellent on fiscal issues, but he otherwise seems to be a garden-variety, politically correct Republican establishment type – a less hip version of Paul Ryan. Not terribly different from Chris Christie, except thinner and blander.

      The presidency is not really a management position. The managing is done by people a level or two down. It is an agenda-setting position. We need someone who can set and stick to a broad agenda to being to undo (to the extent this is even feasible anymore) the damage the Left has done to this country (not just on the fiscal issues Walker dealt with), not be distracted or intimidated, and push it through. Of the current presidential candidates, Cruz may best fit this description, though I don’t agree with all of his positions (particularly on taxes). Rubio, I fear, showed what he was made of when he foolishly made himself the poster boy for the bipartisan establishment’s Gang of Eight immigration fiasco.

    2. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Ryan went on Bill Bennett’s radio show on Tuesday to tell his side of the story, which involves the fact that he inherited from outgoing Speaker John Boehner an unfavorable budget framework

      There’s an old joke about politics where an incumbent is defeated and leaves a series of letters in his desk for the electee. The first letter is labeled, “Open at First Crisis”, and reads, ‘Blame your predecessor for the whole mess!”

      Each progresses through a series of crises and the notes are a series of classic political dodges. That last note is labelled, After Losing an Election”, and reads, “Make a series a letters, label the first, Open at First Crisis …”

      On a more serious note, I think Obama, via the NSA and other surveillance, has something on Speaker Ryan. There’s a point to the ‘Total Information Awareness’ plan, and protecting Americans from terrorists is way down the list. Near the top is gathering useful information that can be used to blackmail and gain leverage over your political opponents. There are very good reasons for keeping our security state focused outwards, otherwise we end in a totalitarian state, towards which we are creeping.

      Oh, and inspired by Cato, delenda est islamo* !

    3. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      The “Trumpkins” are sick of winning and having nothing to show for it, and their vengeance will be terrible. Maybe the Establishment should stop belittling them and listen instead.

      Amen to that.

      I’ve been leaning towards Cruz as well, now that Fioria is so far down the also-ran list she can’t be detected anymore. I think he’s more stable, more intelligent, and more grounded in law and history and the real world effects of bad government. But if it comes down to Trump versus Hillary, I will press the screen for Trump. I certainly understand and sympathize with the sTrumpets.

      DJF: I agree with you.

    4. Mike K Says:

      “I think Obama, via the NSA and other surveillance, has something on Speaker Ryan.”

      There has been speculation about the Chief Justice, too. Maybe his adoption is a problem.

      We are becoming a low trust society with the conspiracy theories typical of that culture.

    5. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      In other words, perhaps the omnibus should be thought of as something like the Dunkirk evacuation. But if so, we still need our Churchill to explain it and chart the path forward in a compelling way. This requires the presidential field to step up.

      The Whigs have no Churchill that could explain this. They have a surplus [a majority in fact] of Pierre Laval’s.

      In point of fact, the Whigs are pretty much doomed, and it is self-inflicted, if we have a democratic Republic.

      The Criminal Omnibus immediately after Conservatives gave the Whigs the majority in both Houses of Congress, was followed by open warfare by the WHIGe “leadership” on their own constituents.

      Renewed warfare and insults to the base when Donald Trump began his run. Demands that he pledge fealty to whatever lop-eared dud the party nominates [which he has] followed by Whig supported candidates, pundits, and donors saying that they would leave the Republicans if Trump won the nomination.

      Now we have the Paul “Dhimmikrati al-Spendi” Ryan surrender Omnibus.

      Then there is the matter of Rick Wilson, who called for the literal murder of Trump . . . . and is still apparently welcome in Whig circles.

      It is already expected that the Whigs will use Rule 40b at the convention to broker the nomination and bar both Cruz and Trump. Now, adding to that, threats of physical violence. If anything should happen to Trump, there is no way that the Whigs will not be blamed. And to be honest, given their lack of candor and honesty with their voters, they deserve the suspicion that they put a contract out.

      And there are darker suspicions out there. Everything that the Whigs have done since the polls closed in November 2014 has been as if they believe that they are immune from ever being accountable to voters again. As if there is not going to be an election in 2016, or that the outcomes are already determined.

      We have an Executive Branch run by a party that hates the Constitution, and a Legislative Branch run by a party that has contempt for it and the concept of consent of the governed. And which has a perfect record of not opposing the Left, its violations of the Constitution, and willingness to go along with anything if their own personal positions are ensured.

      Being the Potemkin Opposition in a One-Party State can be a profitable gig.

    6. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      To Mike K,

      Yes, we are becoming a low trust society. That is because, among other things, a department of the IRS was used to suppress political opposition to the President. The person directing this, Lois Lerner, was first defended by claiming a ridiculous coincidence, that 7 department computers ruined their disk drives in the same week.

      Then, a political friend of the President’s party investigated, and found nothing to be amiss beyond a few understandable errors. Eventually, Lerner was absolved, with her pension intact.

      That was an open crime, among others. Low trust is a direct consequence of seeing such crimes.

    7. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      The US was born as a constitutional republic. The Constitution would limit the federal government. States had their own constitutions.

      A constitutional republic relies on the wisdom of an overwhelming majority of all people and political parties. They must understand that throwing out restrictions when in power will lead to being oppressed to the same degree when out of power.

      Politicians are not that wise. The result of throwing out limits is the reign of Obama. He has openly ruled regardless of the Constitution. He has only limited his actions in areas and to the extent that the public still believes in government restraint. GWBush also exceeded limits when it suited him, but not with the same enthusiasm.

      Franklyn Roosevelt threw out the limits of the Constitution in 1942 when the Supreme Court in Wickard v. Filburn interpreted the commerce clause of the Constitution to give complete and detailed power to FedGov to regulate all economic activity in the US which could possibly, by any stretch of imagination, affect other states or FedGov programs. I don’t accept that this was a natural or independent decision of the Supreme Court.

      The recent decision of the Supreme Court about ObamaCare again demonstrates tyranny. The Supreme Court ruled that FedGov could have its way. ObamaCare was a tax when it needed to be a tax, and was a regulation when need be. The Supreme Court supplied the required reasoning which was beyond the arguments of FedGov and I think beyond its ability.

      The Republican Party has shown that it is merely a weak marketing position for the Ruling Party. It appeals to a productive segment of voters and diminishes their desire for rebellion. The Democrat Party is the majority marketing position, offering hope to the people who are jobless and hopeless, mostly because of the anti-business policies of Socialism and Marxism. This is a geat scam if you can join it and suppress your gag reflex.

      Many people, and I hope most of them, see the network of laws and regulations as politically driven. Politically correct, but not rational. They see “the law” as a diversion for political suppression. The law applies if you are not connected, and is routinely ignored if you are connected. Why isn’t Hillary Clinton in jail?

      The rise of Trump is independent of law and conformity. His broad statements lack nuance, and that is a plus. Many people, and I hope most, are sick of being ruled arbitrarily by nuance and complexity. “The law seems to say one thing, but really (if you have gone to our schools and have our power) it means something like the opposite.”

      I liked the rule of law. It was great while it lasted, even in tatters. But, the law has failed to constrain a voracious government which wants to take everything and direct everything in the name of progress. This, while sending our President, his wife, and children, separately, on dream vacations paid for by the peasants. This, while our President can’t make sense without a teleprompter keeping his words consistent with reality.

      This reminds me of the life of French King Louis IV. I hope any revolution will occur with much less pain and bloodshed than at that time.

    8. TangoMan Says:

      What have Conservatives conserved in the last 50 years?

      They didn’t conserve the people – America is more multicultural and putting aside the mandatory professions of how people simply love multiculturalism, we see from behavior in the job, relationship and residential markets, that people actually prefer to live in, work in, and socialize withing more homogeneous communities. People are not making a beeline to live in a cluster of Somali-Americans so that they can enjoy diversity, rather they’re desperately searching out the block on which Wally and Beaver live.

      They didn’t conserve small government. A Legal Immigrant from Africa or Mexico gets Affirmative Action in school, qualifies for minority business loans, gets preferences for diversity quotas in the labor market, gets preferences for jobs with federal contractors who are mandated to have a diverse workforce, the government is now intent on using Affirmatively Fair Housing in order to put Section 8 housing into neighborhoods which are not diverse in order to bring the glory of diversity to those who’ve thought they’ve escaped the diversity. I’d say that a majority of government bloat arises from dealing with the fall-out arising from needing to manage diversity in society – welfare, ObamaCare (a wealth transfer from white America to minority America), school spending, etc.

      They didn’t conserve jobs. Programmers at Disney get fired so that Indians can be hired in their place. This is fantastic for the Capital Class, they eke out some labor savings, but multiply across the entire economy and you’re gutting economic stability and class mobility.

      They didn’t conserve marriage. They didn’t conserve family. The list goes on, what exactly have the conservatives in the Republican Party conserved in America? Low capital gains taxes for the elite. That’s about all I see.

      A big tent party is supposed to work by all factions under the tent compromising so that they all get something they want and give up something they want but what I’ve seen is the elite Capital Class getting most everything they want and all other factions having to do their duty and sacrifice their interests entirely all in the name of party unity. Trump’s rise speaks to the other factions being tired of getting nothing. They don’t want to make a single concession to Islam in their lives or their community. They don’t want to Hispanicize America – if they want the flavor of Mexico, they can vacation in Mexico. They want solid, high sense of interconnection in their communities and work places, they don’t want to be isolated social widgets unmoored from all institutions other than government and their present paycheck. They don’t want to see the freakshow of men pretending to be women and being given the right to shower with women in a gym in order to safeguard the “rights” of the man at the expense of the rights of ALL of the women.

      Trump’s rise speaks to a fundamental fracture that has long existed in the Republican Party – one faction was being served at the expense of all the other factions. Many of those silenced factions maintain a view of the type of America that they want to pass onto their children and that America is not the America they see being created by the Democrats and elite Republicans. This disconnect is made plain as the elite Republicans constantly speak out about broadening the appeal of the RP to Hispanics. This appeal flies in the face of a multi-decade trend which has resulted in the RP gaining about 1% of the white electorate vote every 4 year election cycle since the 60s. The RP is doing nothing in particular to attract the white vote, the white vote is migrating over by default due to the policies of the Democrats which, essentially, treat whites as people to be tax-farmed, much like humans were used as batteries in the the Matrix movies. The only way to win over Hispanic voters is to offer them racial bribes like the Democrats do, but to do so would alienate white voters who are overwhelmingly supportive of gutting programs like AA and hiring quotas and minority small business loans, etc. They want a merit-driven America not an equal outcome society which comes at their expense.

      So, the elite plan for the RP trajectory was never feasible and Trump comes along and gives voice to the ignored factions. There are two choices moving forward – the RP becomes a coalition which is focused on the middle class and lessens its focus on serving the interests of the Capital Class at the expense of everyone else’s interests or it grabs back control and keeps on the trajectory of serving the Capital Class and never again gets enough voters to back it. The Ryan betrayal is a perfect example of the problem – the voters elected Republicans to massive majorities in Congress, in statehouses and in governorships and got nothing out of the deal except for allowing oil companies to export their crude. Yippee. Those voters aren’t going to back the RP if there’s nothing in it for them. Trump speaks to issues that matter to these people even if these issues are silenced and dismissed by the elites.

    9. East Anglian Says:

      We are becoming a low trust society with the conspiracy theories typical of that culture.

      True. The reason you have become a low trust society is due to greater diversity. The USA was a high trust society so long as the descendants of the original Anglo-Saxon and north European settlers were the vast majority and were thus able to dictate the culture and mores of the US. Non-Anglos and others happily assimilated to the country’s values when they were a small relatively powerless minority but not once they started to form a significant proportion of the population. There is no political solution to this problem that does not involve mass repatriations and I’m afraid that is extremely unlikely in the “proposition nation” called the USA. I do though expect to live to see it happening in numerous European countries during my life time (I’m 43). Unfortunately I don’t think it will happen in any Anglo-Saxon nations as we appear to be too far gone to even understand what is happening to us. Of course, predicting the future has made a mug of many a man, so one should not give up hope. Who knows how our presently complacent societies will react to the atrocities that lay ahead of us.

    10. TangoMan Says:

      Andrew,

      The Republican Party has shown that it is merely a weak marketing position for the Ruling Party. It appeals to a productive segment of voters and diminishes their desire for rebellion.

      A nation isn’t simply an economic entity, rather it’s a community. Republicans don’t want to touch the community aspect at all but look at the various factions who are entirely focused on community – the pro-life people, the religious people, the marriage people, the morals people, the back to basics in schooling people, the small government people who prefer decentralization and local governance to centralization and federalizing everything. None of these groups care about capital gains taxes, low rates for the top income class, free trade agreements, capital mobility, etc.

      The productive sector has tended to support the Republicans, I contend, mainly to thwart the Democrats, not because the productive sector is motivated entirely by economic interests. This mismatch of motivations has benefited the financial class. What happens if we, in a though experiment, remove the threat of Democratic devilry from the equation and politics is allowed to realign to two new parties? Will the productive voters still support the present-day policies of the Republicans? Absent the need to block the Democrat’s idiocy, the focus will shift to social issues of how people want to live in their community and society.

      The Democrat Party is the majority marketing position, offering hope to the people who are jobless and hopeless, mostly because of the anti-business policies of Socialism and Marxism.

      Your analysis comes at a downstream point and misses the big picture. People are jobless because there are too many people in the labor market with respect to the number of jobs available. Sure, some of this arises because of gov’t policies which raise the cost of hiring workers beyond the point where they contribute value to the enterprise, but the principal cause here is immigration flooding the labor market with 1 million new legal immigrants per year, year after year, in addition to the flow of vias workers and illegals.

      All of those people now have to be taken care of, hence they vote for welfare supported by the Democrats, and thus the path the US is following shifts even more socialistic. Deport 20 million illegals, completely cut off all legal immigration until such time as labor shortages develop, and people who are working, seeing their wages increase due to labor scarcity, and you’ll see the appeal of socialism decreasing. The best antidote to socialism is a well-paying job.

    11. Mike K Says:

      “The Supreme Court ruled that FedGov could have its way. ObamaCare was a tax when it needed to be a tax, and was a regulation when need be.”

      This has been an argument that the Obama people have something on Roberts,

      East Anglian, I was just in Britain with some friends I have know for years. The husband suggested we walk round their small city in southeast England and commented that “If you see a brown face, it is probably a doctor in the NHS hospital. We did spend a day walking around and did not see a brown face. This is very interesting to me and seems to be a self segregation going on.

      I have a left wing son (A trial lawyer) who ridicules Orange County where he grew up and which is a very safe place to live. Some jokingly refer to the “Orange Curtain” which protects us from Los Angeles and its barrios. He lives in the Bay Area near Oakland, a violent city with a huge black underclass surrounded by a thin rim of white expensive real estate. His wife was talking to her sister-in-law, my other son’s wife, about their two small daughters and her concern about their safety and what they will do as school age approaches. It would be ironic, but of course I will never mention it, if they moved back behind the Orange Curtain to have a safe place for their children.

      It is not all white here. I have two black families as neighbors and my grandson’s little league teams had a black coach last year. This year his coaches were Hispanic. I am pretty sure that everyone around here desires the same middle class life and has very little interest in “diversity” as it is known in colleges.

    12. TangoMan Says:

      I have a left wing son (A trial lawyer) who ridicules Orange County

      Revealed preference vs. expressed preference. Public lie vs. Private Truth. As a lefty you son belongs to a tribe and his tribe has social customs which focus on diversity. In order to enhance social reputation in a tribe one must be seen to be defending the ethos of the tribe. For liberals, that means talking a good game about how they love diversity but all reasonable liberals exempt themselves from really having to live true to their philosophy, merely speaking the correct hosannas is sufficient to remain in good social standing. A telling example of this was seen in the documentary “Waiting for Superman” where the director was bloviating about how wonderful diversity was and as he drove by HIS LOCAL public school he lamented about how he felt sad that he couldn’t send his own kids there because it was too violent and the educational standards were too low, so he sent his kids to a wealthy, almost entirely white private school. What, you expect him to sacrifice his own kids to his political ideology, no sirree, only other people’s kids must be sacrificed so that he can feel good about his political positions.

    13. Mike K Says:

      “so he sent his kids to a wealthy, almost entirely white private school.”

      Exactly. And Catholic schools still exist in Chicago that offer better education to black kids but the white leftist politicians are not interested in supporting them so they close one by one.

    14. TangoMan Says:

      Mike K.

      Thanks for that link to the Spectator article. That was a good article.

    15. East Anglian Says:

      I have a left wing son (A trial lawyer) who ridicules Orange County where he grew up and which is a very safe place to live. Some jokingly refer to the “Orange Curtain” which protects us from Los Angeles and its barrios.

      Back in 1981 when we had a holiday in southern California we stayed in Anaheim, Orange County. When we travelled north to visit some Hollywood studio (probably Universal) my dad left the highway at the wrong exit and we ended up in an area where my parents felt like we had targets on our rented car. I could be wrong but I think it ended with us running a red light to avoid a possible incident before getting back on the highway. Later that night we were back in Anaheim where my parents had no problem with my brother and I going out on our own without much concern. It was as if Anaheim and LA were different worlds – something my not-so-worldly but non-PC parents sensed intuitively. I guess it is still that way. Back then that seemed weird to us as everywhere in England felt safe, recognisable and part of the same country. Not anymore. Visiting family a few weeks ago entering London gave me the same feeling I had in childhood when going to France and Holland. I felt like I was leaving my own country for some place with different people and rules. The ruling class of every Western country thinks such growing alienation is a sign of progress. It’s as if they think exotic cuisine will make up for loss of sense of place. I don’t think this is going to end well.

    16. Mike K Says:

      ” It’s as if they think exotic cuisine will make up for loss of sense of place. ”

      I gave a talk at the medical school at U of Birmingham a few years ago. My daughter was with me and, after my talk, the head of the department that had invited me asked us to dinner at a Bangladeshi restaurant. My daughter, who was into multiculturalism at the time, loved the menu but then, as we returned to our hotel further south, she had me stop every few miles to vomit. The diversity folks are not always reliable on food preparation and preservation.

      Reuel Marc Gerecht has an important article in this weeks’ Weekly Standard.

      In 2011, when the revolt against Assad’s tyranny started, no one in the West predicted it would produce the greatest threat to transatlantic bonds since World War II. Or that an American president, the most eagerly welcomed in Europe since John F. Kennedy, would be so nonchalant about Europe’s Muslim problems. He is condign punishment for Europeans who took America for granted. The European left got what it said it wanted: a president who viewed himself as a “global citizen,” averse to the wars that undergirded American hegemony and the liberal world order. President Obama radiates almost no warmth towards Europe and little interest. The president’s awkward “pivot to Asia” was not just an attempt to run from the troubles of the Greater Middle East; it was also an attempt to distance the United States from Europe and scale down the the costs and responsibilities of the transatlantic partnership.

      It’s worth reading. We are in for it.

    17. Bill Brandt Says:

      “The “Trumpkins” are sick of winning and having nothing to show for it, and their vengeance will be terrible. Maybe the Establishment should stop belittling them and listen instead.”

      To me that explains the Trump phenomenon in a nutshell. He is the antithesis of “PC” and his years on TV has taught him how to manipulate the press.

      I heard something interesting on TV the other night – one political consultant saying that while the press has a love-hate relationship with Trump he is getting much of the coverage because he is “making the news” – he is, in effect, sucking much of the press-oxygen from the other candidates. His lead becomes a self-forefilling prophesy.

      I believe that the huge political field is working to Trump’s advantage – with such a lead with the balance to be spread among what- 10-12 other candidates? – it is a tactical strength…

      Among the candidates I can think of something wrong about all of them – I lean towards Rubio but his work with Charles Schumer?

      Come on.

      Cruz has alienated his party in the Senate and like them or not you still have to work with them. You can disagree without being disagreeable.

      Djf – I would argue that a successful governor is a strong plus although as it weas pointed out to me here some time ago we have had some very successful Presidents without that background – Lincoln for one. But I would think having the ability to work with the Legislative branch would be a big plus.

      Even to get Obamacare though it took arm-twisting by Harry Reid and promises to produce a Republican turncoat – Arlen Spector – to break that 60 vote logjam. Most of the damage Obama has done his been through executive orders and fiat – easily reversed by a conservative President.

      I can think of a lot of reasons why I would regret voting for Trump – with a Trump Presidency – but wouldn’t mind seeing him in in place of Hillary.

    18. djf Says:

      Bill Brandt – This is something I think reasonable people can disagree about, but I don’t find your points in favor of governors as potential presidents persuasive. As to ability to work with a legislature, Congress is a completely different animal from state legislatures, as George W. Bush found out. He thought his relative success in working with Democrats in the Texas legislature meant he would be a smashing success with Congress. Apparently not. I think experience as a member of the Congressional leadership (such as Lyndon Johnson had) is better preparation for working with Congress as president than being a governor. (Yes, LBJ was a disaster as president in some respects, but that was not because he couldn’t work with Congress – he was a master at that, whether for good or ill.) Yes, Obama let Reid and Pelosi do most of the work putting together Obamacare and guiding it through, but he made the choice to make enacting a law like this his top priority. That was not a choice the Democrats in Congress would have made on their own – they were too risk averse. And I do not think the policies Obama has put in place through his executive orders, or through regulatory action, will be so easily reversed. For example, nobody I’ve read on the subject thinks it will be easy to reverse his executive amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    19. Bill Brandt Says:

      Djf – the legislatures between Texas and the US Congress weren’t so different by design, there was just more toxicity to the relationship Democratic Congressmen had with Bush. Add to that the resentment they had over the defeat of Gore, and you had a toxic relationship.

      And truth be told with the seemingly impotent Republican Congress we worked so hard to get, I am wondering if the days of the Imperial Presidency are upon us and Congress is not much of a counterbalance. The House controls the spending and no budget can get past them that they haven’t passed, or so I am told ;-)

      You are right about Johnson as a master tactician – he knew how to twist arms when he was Senate Majority Leader. Just watched an interesting program on the day of Kennedy’s assassination on Netflix – showed a lot of new footage – and interviewed people I had never seen before (like the guy who drove Oswald to work – and he (Oswald) had a long box – with Oswald telling him it was curtain rods)

      I was thinking how much our history changed that day when Johnson was sworn in on Air Force One.

      As far as Obama’s governing by Executive Order, all it takes is another signature countermanding that from another President. If we can find one.

      My problem is that I keep looking for another Reagan and I don’t see one on the horizon. Reagan had demonstrable conservative principles, but he was also willing to compromise with Tip O’Neal and get a lot of his agenda through. He didn’t need to legislate by Executive Order.

    20. dearieme Says:

      “an American president, the most eagerly welcomed in Europe since John F. Kennedy”: that sounds to me to be another example of post hoc revisionism about JFK. Like “Camelot”.

    21. djf Says:

      Bill Brandt, you are vastly exaggerating the ease of undoing what Obama has done. In the case of the illegal immigrants, the Supreme Court will probably hold the beneficiaries of Obama’s decree as now having a vested right to live and work here that cannot be “arbitrarily” taken away. In the case of his energy regulations, industry is not going to return to its previous, more market-oriented way of doing business based on a Republican having won one presidential election. As to the difference between state legislatures and Congress, you are pointing to exactly what I had in mind: the polarization is always much greater in Congress, and any Republican president (probably even a squish like Kasich) is going to have a toxic relationship with the Democrats. That’s just the way the Democrats in Congress are: they see it as their job to fight to the death even the slightest resistance to their agenda. There are no more “moderate” Democrats. Any Republican president would have the same problems Bush had.

      Jimmy Carter was a reasonably successful governor but was a failure as president (although I think conservatives tend to exaggerate how bad he was – I would gladly exchange Obama for the Carter of 1977-80).

      We are not getting another Reagan. Further, if Reagan were around today and eligible for another term as president, there is no reason to believe he would be the right man for these times. As good as he was in many respects, his failures (such as in dealing with immigration and Iran) seem more relevant to the challenges we now face.

    22. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

      Trump is a perfect example of the angry man. To many (surprisingly many) people he is a tough,smart,experienced business man. In reality he is a moderately successful developer of golf courses and condos. He is actually a very weak personality obsessed with image and approval. This guy will be easily outmaneuvered by really hard men like Putin or the Ayatollahs. Put him toe to toe with a tough debater and his mugging and whining will not be enough.

    23. djf Says:

      I agree with DirtyJobsGuy. Trump will be a pushover in dealing with our foreign enemies. He is not that different from Obama: a man obsessed with appearances and making deals for the sake of appearance. The difference, I suppose, is that Obama intends to weaken the US, while Trump would do whatever he does without any thought to the consequences for the country. Not that Hillary would be any better than either of them.

      Also, Trump does not appear to be serious about any of the policy pronouncements that get the establishment so upset. For example, he says he wants to deport all illegal aliens, and then says that, after going to the huge expense of deporting them, he wants to bring back all of the “really good ones,” which turns out to mean any of them without a felony conviction. Just brilliant.

    24. vxxc2014 Says:

      Trump is our weapon.

      That’s all.

      If he fails we get another.

      We’ve tasted leadership and it’s addictive, let us taste victory and it will be crack.

    25. TangoMan Says:

      after going to the huge expense of deporting them, he wants to bring back all of the “really good ones,” which turns out to mean any of them without a felony conviction. Just brilliant.

      Who is the brilliant person, the one who analytically parses all statements from political candidates in order to determine whether there is a coherence to a vision or the politician who understands a.) it is better to offer contrition than to be denied permission, b.) it is more difficult to undo what has been done than to stop what is yet to be done, and c.) it is wiser to force your opponent to debate the merits of an unpopular position?

      Whether Trump will have the stones to deport 20 million people is a good question, I hope he does. Taking his statements though, he deports them all with the promise that he will bring back the good ones. OK, all 20 million are now out of the US, now Americans are filling the open jobs, employers are having to increase pay in order to attract Americans into these jobs, disability and other welfare use is declining, most of America is happy that the infiltrators have been deported. Now it’s time for Trump to bring back the good ones. Ooops, he says, the labor market can’t absorb these people right now, so he’s going to delay implementing that importation. He’s bought himself leeway and that seems like a pretty brilliant turn of events to me.

      On his statement, as viewed from the present, he guts his opponents. He says that after they’re deported he will reimport the good ones. What, you want to defend reimporting the bad ones? Go ahead, make your case why after we’ve deported the welfare deadbeats, the drunk drivers, the rapists, the child molesters, why you want to bring back the bad ones, I’m all ears. Again, seems fairly brilliant to me.

      Trump has burned off a lot of reputational good will for his Trump brand in the business world. If he doesn’t win the election, he returns to business and is severely damaged. This signals to me that the man has some convictions on the matters where controversy erupts – these are all or nothing tactics and the safer path to electoral success while keeping his reputation preserved is to be more moderate in his pronouncements so as to not offend anyone but he’s not done that. So, of all of the candidates, Trump offers the best, the most conservative, vision. All candidates lie and all candidates veer from fulfilling their promises, but with Trump we come closest to a candidate who could do right for America because he’s the only candidate to offer sound vision. Better to back a guy who says the right things and might not follow through than to back a guy who says the wrong things and will never do the right things.

      If any President is going to deport 20 million infiltrators and stop Muslims from immigrating, it would be Trump. There is no other choice on the table. Let’s hope that he follows through, and to paraphrase Star Wars, “he’s our only hope.”

    26. TangoMan Says:

      This guy will be easily outmaneuvered by really hard men like Putin or the Ayatollahs. Put him toe to toe with a tough debater and his mugging and whining will not be enough.

      How do you win a debate? Here are America’s college debate champions.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmO-ziHU_D8

      They change topic and bring up racial justice shit. That’s they’re tactic. Put aside the weird speech patterns for a moment – the debate judges have criteria by which they judge and that speech tactic plays to what the judges are looking for. Same with changing the topic.

      Back to the question. How does one win a political debate? By answering all of the loaded questions put forth by a biased moderator panel or by winning the favor of the electorate?

      Secondly, why doesn’t America have a beeline from winning college debate championships to winning elected office? Wouldn’t the best debates be the best governors and best presidents? It seems that the candidates with the best vision and best sales pitch are the most successful at winning office because this is what the “debate judges” are looking for.

    27. East Anglian Says:

      if Reagan were around today and eligible for another term as president, there is no reason to believe he would be the right man for these times.

      True. He also wouldn’t get elected today due to the demographic changes of the past few decades.

    28. Mike K Says:

      I think Reagan would be OK today. First, we have a similar situation to 1979. Second, his skills are similar but superior to Trump.

      A big difference would be that tax cuts are less important. Cutting back the administrative state is more important right now.

      Reagan tried to fix the illegal immigration probe with amnesty but the other politicians double crossed him. That was no surprise as the Congress was in the hands of the Democrats.

      What is truly unforgivable is that Hastert and the GOP did nothing to fix the growing problem of financial risk when Bush was president. He actually had some people try and they were thwarted by Frank and Maxine Waters.

      I wrote this in 2009.

      My explanation of the mortgage crisis is here and I think it stands up pretty well today. I wrote it in 2008.

    29. djf Says:

      I disagree with you about Reagan, Mike K. Amnesty doesn’t “fix” an illegal immigration problem, it just reclassifies the existing illegals as legal, thereby defining the existing problem out of existence, while doing nothing to stop future illegal immigration – on the contrary, it encourages more of the same. The Reagan administration was persuaded by the Chamber of Commerce types not to couple the amnesty with enforcement. At the time of the ’86 immigration law, I think the GOP still had the Senate, and the Democrats were then divided on immigration – much of their labor constituency was against illegal immigration (this remained the case into the 90s). If Reagan and the GOP had wanted to stop the inundation, they could have found Democratic support to do it. They instead did what their donors told them to do.

      Reagan was also at sea in dealing with Iran (his administration, like every administration since, was always looking for ways to reach out to the “moderates” in the regime, resulting in the Iran-Contra scandal), with Islamic terrorism (remember Beirut?), and he did nothing to address the entitlement problem.

      I acknowledge Reagan (for whom I cast my first vote) did what was needed in dealing with the Soviet Union (an adversary he understood), in backing up Volcker’s anti-inflation policy at the Fed, and in reinvigorating the economy through tax reductions (which were needed then, not now). He was, however, a flawed president, like all the others (except, I suppose, Washington and Lincoln). I see no indication that, if he were still with us, he would have any insight into the problems facing us now. The existing Republican establishment – the establishment that, along with the Democrats, is responsible for the mortgage crisis (as you rightly point out) and the ongoing immigration disaster – is his legacy.

      I realize that criticizing Reagan is not popular among most of center-right Americans (which is what I consider myself), but I really think the fixation some of us have on Reagan is a distraction.

    30. Mike K Says:

      ” while doing nothing to stop future illegal immigration”

      That was the bargain he made and which never happened.

      1. required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status;
      2. made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly;
      3. legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants, and;
      4. legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.

      Those are the provisions of the original act. It was amended and I don’t argue that Reagan knew all that was in it.

      The real change in US immigration,law was in 1965 and written by Ted Kennedy.

      By the way, Reagan did not have a working GOP majority Senate after 1982. The GOP lost one seat in 1982 and two more in 1984 in spite of Reagan’s landslide.

      The Iran-Contra thing began with the kidnap and torture of William Buckley CIA station chief in Lebanon by Hezbollah. The CIA was trying very hard to get him back and may have pushed Reagan who was sympathetic to US officers.

      I think Reagan had better skills than you give him credit for. I wish we had him now.Trump is a poor substitute for all his media skills.

    31. djf Says:

      Again, Mike, that the GOP only narrowly controlled the Senate in 1986 (it maintained a 53-54 seat majority from 1981 to the end of 1986) does not change the fact that the Democrats were not all in favor of open borders 30 years ago. A coalition for enforcement could have been formed up until about halfway through the Clinton administration (remember Barbara Jordan?). The sad fact is that the Republican leadership, under Reagan and after him, was never interested in seriously reducing illegal immigration. The enforcement features of the ’86 act were never carried out in a serious way. I know of nothing to indicate that Reagan – who was basically a libertarian, not a conservative – was interested in doing anything other than serving corporate interests (and his own ideological inclinations) while placating his pro-enforcement base with empty P.R. The same approach the GOP establishment has taken ever since.

      Yes, the 1965 Act was a disaster, but uncontrolled illegal immigration since then has multiplied the disaster.

      I understand Reagan’s concern for the hostages, but I don’t think that changes the fact that he was a failure in dealing in Iran, just as all of his successors have been.

    32. Mike K Says:

      “The enforcement features of the ’86 act were never carried out in a serious way.”

      That was my point. I don’t think anyone realized what a bad idea open borders would be. There was a lot of employer pressure on some of the provisions of the act. I suspect that Reagan signed it in the anticipation that enforcement would follow but he was wrong, not in the grip of “corporate masters” as so many conspiracy theories seem to allege; on both sides of the aisle, by the way.

      Reagan was far more libertarian than Dole, for example, who wrecked the Reagan Senate hopes by delaying the tax cut until 1982 when it was too late to help with the election.

      That is a pretty low bar as Dole was the last of the “Root Canal Republicans” who Gingrich accused of being “Tax collectors for the welfare state.”

      The Democrat majority in the House was responsible for the spending that Reagan is often blamed for. He was far more interested in rebuilding the military than balancing the budget. That’s true but that was the crucial part of his plan.

      I agree he failed with Iran but the Israelis got him into that particular fix and Ollie North made it worse with his “clever” plan to fund the Contras. Of course, the Democrats were traitors to support the Sandanistas, especially Dodd.

    33. djf Says:

      How were the Israelis responsible for Reagan’s failures with Iran? The Israelis have always regarded Iran as their worst enemy since the Shah was overthrown. Incidentally, Israel did us all a favor when they destroyed Saddam’s nuclear plant and Osirek, for which they were duly castigated by the geniuses in the Reagan administration and the rest of the world. The attack looked much better in retrospect when we had to evict Saddam from Kuwait.

      Who put Ollie North in the Reagan administration? For that matter, who put Sandra Day-O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court? Reagan was specifically warned by his staff that the latter was not a conservative, but Reagan appointed him anyway because his staff had vetted only 3 potential appointees to force him to pick their heartthrob Bork. That worked out well.

      I did not blame Reagan for the excessive discretionary spending during his administration. What I do hold him responsible for (like every other president since) is failing to address the entitlement disaster that has been known to be approaching since the 80s.

      The failure to implement the enforcement provisions of the ’86 immigration act was a failure of the executive branch. Which makes it a failure of the presidents who headed that branch, beginning with Reagan. Illegal immigration was already a hot political issue in the 80s – that’s why the ’86 act was passed, to make the public think that the government was addressing the problem.

    34. Jonathan Says:

      Simpson-Mazzoli, the ’86 immigration law, was a disaster. It encouraged future illegal immigration because it included an amnesty. It was also a civil-liberties debacle, one that we are still living with, because it conscripted employers into enforcing federal law, and forced job applicants to prove their citizenship in order to work. As it was passed during an economic boon its most immediate effect was probably to benefit unions by restricting labor competition. I never liked Simpson after that, since I thought him demagogic and intellectually dishonest in promoting this bill that affected his own state minimally.

    35. Grurray Says:

      “How were the Israelis responsible for Reagan’s failures with Iran? The Israelis have always regarded Iran as their worst enemy since the Shah was overthrown. Incidentally, Israel did us all a favor when they destroyed Saddam’s nuclear plant and Osirek”

      You just answered your own question, and also highlighted Israel’s strategy during that time.
      Iran and Iraq were fighting a fierce war against each other at the time. Asked which country he wanted to win, Menachem Begin supposedly said, “we wish both sides the best of luck.”

    36. djf Says:

      Sorry, Grurray, I still don’t see how the Israelis are responsible for Reagan’s mistakes with Iran, or for that matter, any of the myriad foreign policy mistakes the US has made under presidents of both parties.

      I’m not sure what specific error by Reagan is being blamed on Israel. In general, however, I would say that the Israelis are in business for themselves, as the US should be in business for itself. If the big boys and girls running US foreign policy continually shoot their own country in the foot, it is their own fault, not the fault of the Israelis.

      Hoping that both sides would be damaged in the Iran-Iraq made sense for the US, as well as Israel. I think Kissinger said it was a shame that both sides could not lose in that war. Probably we should take the same attitude toward the ongoing war in Syria, in which there are no good guys (except for the Kurds).

      It has nothing to do with Reagan, of course, but the US did not invade Iraq in 2003 at the behest of Israel. The Israelis always saw Iran as the main problem. When Bush decided to prioritize getting rid of Saddam, however, the Israelis (both right and left), as good allies, gave him rhetorical support.

    37. Grurray Says:

      You don’t see how the Israelis were responsible for any failure of the Reagan Administration because they were not responsible.

      Israel does what it must to ensure its security and safety. The failure occurred when we thought we could apply similar methods to circumvent domestic political interference. It was a bush league move, and it was Oliver North’s fault.

      If you insist on pointing out a specific failure of Reagan’s then you should mention Beirut. Getting militarily involved was a mistake from the start, and the sparks around the whole mess eventually grew into the conflagration that almost engulfed his second term.

    38. Mike K Says:

      The role of Israel in Iran-Contra is discussed in this rather Israeli-phobic post.

      “And it was clear to me after my conversations with people on high that indeed we had agreed that the Israelis could transship to Iran some American-origin military equipment. Now this was not a covert operation in the classic sense, for which probably you could get a legal justification for it. As it stood, I believe it was the initiative of a few people [who] gave the Israelis the go-ahead. The net result was a violation of American law.”

      The reason that the Israeli weapons shipments violated U.S. law was that no formal notification had been given to Congress about the transshipment of U.S. military equipment as required by the Arms Export Control Act.

      Some of that post is a bit tendentious and I am not confident of its reliability but Israel was selling missiles to Iran and the US supplied missiles to refill the Israeli stocks, as I understand it.

    39. Mike K Says:

      “pointing out a specific failure of Reagan’s then you should mention Beirut”

      We walked into that one but so did the French.

      The Marines were put in an untenable position if the Hezbollah militia wanted to create an incident. Even worse was the fact that the Marine guards at the barracks were not equipped with loaded rifles and could not stop the truck bomb even thought they had enough warning.

      The two young guys in Afghanistan, whose photo I can’t find right now, stood their ground shooting at the truck bomb until it blew them up. They stopped it from getting through the barriers.

      I attended a session on the medical aspects of that attack. The hospital ship was waiting offshore for casualties but none came. They were all dead.

      Reagan was following the Eisenhower model but times had changed.

    40. djf Says:

      Mike, yes, now I recall that Israel had that involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. But it was doing that to accommodate the US, its patron. Israel had no interest in arming the Contras. And Israel is a foreign country, it has no concern with whether the US executive branch is following US law. As for arming Iran, it may be that Israel found it temporarily in its interest to help Iran against Iraq. At other points in the war, the US provided surreptitious support to Iraq. Not morally edifying, but this is the way countries act in the real world.

      I agree that Beirut was a disaster. And it was purely the result of American naivete and incompetence.

    41. Grurray Says:

      The Eisenhower model was itself contradictory and a bit incoherent. Two years before that, Ike prevented Britain and France from attacking Nasser over the Suez Canal. Then in 1957, Dulles turned around and attempted a coup in Syria (if only they didn’t screw that one up and it had worked, oh well).

      The next year a coup in Iraq put the Baathists in power there. We thought Nasser was behind it, but he actually didn’t like the Baathists and was already planning to put them down in Syria. Nonetheless, it forced Ike’s hand to send Marines into Lebanon to try to counter the newly formed Egpyt-Syria Union.

      All this ping ponging led Nasser to once tell Miles Copeland, the CIA’s guy in Cairo, that “the genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing.”

    42. djf Says:

      “[T]he genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing.”

      Some things never change.

    43. Mike K Says:

      “Israel had no interest in arming the Contras.”

      They had nothing to do with the Contras. Actually, the Saudis were supporting them at our request,

      The Israelis had their own reasons for helping the Iranians, probably to wound Saddam a bit more.

      “Ike prevented Britain and France from attacking Nasser over the Suez Canal. ”

      That was a terrible mistake of Dulles. Ike had just about subcontracted US foreign policy to him and he later told a British diplomat, according to a story I read somewhere, “Why did you let us do that ?” It was supposed to be on his deathbed. It was involved in the Aswan Dam controversy but I don’t recall how.

    44. djf Says:

      The Eisenhower administration thought they were going to turn Nasser’s Egypt into a postcolonial bulwark against Communism in the Middle East. Hence, the US support for Nasser in the Suez conflict. Then Nasser showed his gratitude by giving us the shaft and becoming a client of the Soviets, which Egypt remained until Sadat switched back to our side after the ’73 war. American cluelessness about the Middle East is a constant.

    45. Mike K Says:

      “American cluelessness about the Middle East is a constant.”

      I wouldn’t necessarily condemn only the US. The French have had a delusion that they would become the friend of the Muslims, hence their immigration problems.

      The British have had a problem with “Arabists” in their foreign service who adopt the Arabs’ POV out of admiration for the stoicism of the Bedouin, as they see it. The Bedouin probably sees only poverty.

      The wealth that we see as Arab life is very recent. Churchill and the British Navy chose oil over coal and the British and Americans discovered and exploited oil found in Arabia, totally without the participation of the Arabs. Much the same is true of Iran.

    46. djf Says:

      The French once saw themselves as the protectors of the Arab Christians, particularly those in Lebanon. I don’t think their one-sided love affair with the Muslims began until after DeGaulle turned against Israel around the time of the ’67 war.

      The British have had a long tradition of “Arabism,” dating back to World War I. The US State Department has also been historically partial to the Arabs, often in opposition to the more pro-Israel tendencies of the presidents (before Obama, that is) and Congress. These Arabists were originally influenced by romanticism about the “Orient,” a la Lawrence of Arabia, as well as by oil interests. Ironically, these old-boy-network traditions have found new life with the current progressive/multicultural vogue for hating Israel, not judging nonwestern cultures, and promoting supposedly “moderate” versions of Islamism.

      The Bedouin are a small minority of Arabs today, and are culturally distinct from other Arabs (for example, until recently, the Bedouin in Israel were much friendlier to the Israeli government than settled Palestinian Arabs). My understanding is that Arabs who live in towns or on farms have always looked down on the Bedouin, who are the Arab world’s equivalent of backwoods hillbillies.

    47. djf Says:

      As to the French, also remember that they fought a bloody colonial war against the Arabs in Algeria in the 50s. France was also Israel’s main military supplier in the 50s. So French Arabism does not go back as far as British Arabism and American Arabism.

    48. tomw Says:

      Donald Trump is the ‘poke in the eye’ to the Republican Establishment. That in itself is enough to endear him to the ‘bitter clingers’ and so on.
      It appears from a non-participating observer that the RNC has made it a practice to turn on their supporters after elections. Such behavior is seen explicitly with respect to the “Tea Party”, ignoring their somewhat limited success in electing their candidates.
      Perfidy from the party will not be warmly received, and I’d bet their contributions from members has dropped significantly.
      You can fool some of the people all of the time.
      You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
      Lessons to follow. Maybe.

      The majority of voters has spoken if their disdain for Obama and his policies with the 2014 Congressional election. It is just that Obama figures a ‘win is a win’, and has proceeded as if he won in a landslide, and the Republican Party has responded with ‘either they are a flash in the pan that can be ignored’ or ‘the big dollar contributors’ will produce the votes we need for future success. Well, that is not the case if the voters stay home, or, becoming unemployed due to the economic forces the R party has unleashed, become successful converts to the D Party, where at least they will be fed.
      Votes matter, and those who are too stupid to realize that deserve their failure. A big, fat raspberry to Rinse and Mitch, and one for Boehner and Ryan, too.
      They cannot throw wrenches into all of the Congressional primaries. There just isn’t enough elite money.
      tom