National Review Takes a Risk and Conservatives Rejoice (Whether They Know it Now or Not)

Late yesterday evening, The National Review, that outlet of conservatism founded by one of the giants of the ideology, William F. Buckley, stood athwart history and yelled “Stop!”

At Donald Trump.

Gathering a respectable cadre of conservative voices — from the hinterlands of the once proud Tea Party to the deep middle of the establishment — these writers and thinkers banded together to offer a few paragraphs each on the danger of Trump as a charlatan, or a know-nothing, or a bully, or a creep, or simply a blowhard.

Rather than try to deconstruct what they said and find a cohesive theme beyond simply that Trump is no conservative and to allow him to top the ticket would be disastrous for the GOP and likely hand Hillary the presidency, I’ll simply encourage you to take the time to read each opinion and think about it.

For me, the issue regarding Trump is a very simple one. He has no principles. He is the consummate businessman and is therefore willing to negotiate his core beliefs to close the deal. Perhaps some may see this as a quality they admire. But the truth is that is exactly what we’ve had in office these last eight years and we are worse off for it. And it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump — a man who has given a great deal of lip-service and financial support to those who have ascended on the progressive left — should resemble them.

Bankruptcy for Puerto Rico Will Reward Big Government Spending

At some point, politicians discovered they could spend taxpayer money to buy votes, and spending has been out of control ever since. This has been true under governments run by both Democrats and Republicans, including on the island-based Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, they elected their own government and have a non-voting Resident Commissioner representing them in Congress. Citizens of Puerto Rico are natural-born U.S. citizens.

After years of their government spending irresponsibly and failing to balance the budget, and running corrupt and inefficient state-run enterprises, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico finds itself deeply in debt, more than all 50 U.S. States, and defaulting. The Commonwealth recently defaulted on more than $37 million in bond payments, and Puerto Rico’s bonds are trading at “junk bond” rates because of concerns about default. After years of borrowing, the Commonwealth has amassed $70 billion of debt.

NYT Laments America Doesn’t Love Obama Enough

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Writing recently in the New York Times, Timothy Egan praises the “accomplishments” of the Obama administration, and laments that Obama has not been an effective cheerleader for his “successes”, and berates the American people for their inability to see Obama’s brilliance, mainly because “Much of the country is now more openly intolerant, quick to hate and nasty…a home for xenophobes, defeatists and alarmists.”

Get that? The same people who once voted for Obama, cheered for Obama, gave money to Obama, praised his election as “historic” and “transformational”, are now racists and hate-mongers because they expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that Obama’s record has fallen far, far short of his rhetoric.

How Might the Supreme Court Rule on Obama’s Executive Amnesty?

The Supreme Court agreed this morning to take the case of Texas and 25 other states who sued the federal government over the Obama administration’s unilateral executive action to limit deportations of certain illegal immigrants. The program was halted by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in November over the costs to the states resulting from the program, not its inherent (un)constitutionality.

Obama authorized the DAPA program after Congress rejected a similar legislative proposal to defer deportations for children brought here by their parents…and those parents themselves. That separation of powers argument is the main problem with the program, as I’ve argued before.

Although it’s not explicit in the Constitution, the intent of the separation of powers was for Congress to write federal policy and the President to enact it. The President doesn’t get to write his own policy if Congress refuses to do as he wishes. This Supreme Court decision may end up ruling on that very broad issue, or it could rule on the merits of the DAPA program.

Which Candidates are Rising After South Carolina Debate?

Everyone has their opinion of the new ladscape after last night’s GOP debate in Charleston. Is Trump still dominant? Did he and Ted Cruz break up? How much will the “New York values” moment hurt the Texas Senator? Will Marco’s new found passion ignite a fire for him in the hearts of voters? Did he expose Cruz as a master flip-flopper and cynical politician? Is Jeb actually the adult on the stage pulling the puppet strings (I’ll be honest: that last one seems plausible to me)? Just why in the world weren’t Fiorina and Paul — despite being low in the polls, which is the metric for qualification — on that main stage (although Paul’s boycott of the undercard debate led to a boost in attention for him on social media, a situation better for him as an also-ran as anything else would be)?

Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has a quick roundup that covers the bases beyond the usual “Yeah, but who won?!” claptrap. She seems to have drawn a similar conclusion to just about every other wise pundit who keeps a weather eye on these things: the field has narrowed to 3 — Trump, Cruz, Rubio. (Although her piece has some other interesting points and is worth the read in full).

I’ll add only three things…

Should Conservatives Support Hillary if Trump Wins? No…There is Another.

Along with most of the Republican party, I’ve become dismayed of late at Donald Trump’s continued (or resurgent?) polling success. Especially in light of most pollsters recent switch to likely caucus-goers and likely voters in early primary states, our collective wishcasting about Trump’s inevitable demise appears to have been just that.

With less than three weeks to the Iowa caucuses and the end of the republic (exaggeration?), many conservatives are already moving on to the truly apocalyptic general election scenario of Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. Mainstream conservative activists and pundits like Ben Howe appear to have already lept from the bridge and decided to support Hillary in the increasingly inevitable scenario where Trump is the nominee.

Mob Killing, Wave of Sexual Assaults Prove Fears of “Refugees” Justified

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Obama mocked conservative Republicans and the tens of millions of average Americans concerned about importing waves of Muslim men from the Middle East, with no way to vet them properly. He accused us of being scared of women and children.

Yet two episodes in recent months highlight that we were and are right to be concerned, and Obama is a fool for ignoring these concerns.

One was the story of Farkhunda Malikzada, an Afghan woman falsely accused of burning a Quran at an Islamic shrine, and subsequently dragged into the street by an angry mob and kicked, punched, beaten with sticks, pummeled with heavy rocks, run over by a car, dragged through the streets, and set on fire (after being soaked with fuel because her body was so wet with blood it would not catch fire).

As it turns out, the accusation against her was made by a man selling amulets to illiterate, superstitious women hoping it would help them get pregnant. She accused him of fraud and of dishonoring the Quran, and in retaliation he accused her of burning a Quran. At that accusation, the mob began to form.

Dogs, Vomit, Andrew Jackson, and Donald J. Trump

Originally published at The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons. ~ Ed.

 

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Gee, the hair looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Like the dog returning to its vomit, America’s returned to its dangerous flirtation with populism. How’d Andrew Jackson work out for America? Sure, Jackson threw a totally bitchin’ inaugural party, but his style of populism was a dangerous, embarrassing blot on American history, not least of which because he was the founder of the modern Democratic Party.

A Reaganesque Recipe to Reinvigorate China’s Economy?

This was originally published at International Liberty. ~ Ed.

 

The long-term trend in China is positive. Economic reforms beginning in the late 1970s have helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty.

And thanks to decades of strong growth, living standards for ordinary Chinese citizens are far higher than they used to be. There’s still quite a way to go before China catches up to western nations, but the numbers keep improving.

That being said, China’s economy has hit a speed bump. The stock market’s recent performance has been less than impressive and economic growth has faltered.

Is this the beginning of the end of the Chinese miracle?

If you asked me about six months ago, I would have expressed pessimism. The government was intervening in financial markets to prop up prices, and that was after several years of failed Keynesian-style spending programs that were supposed to “stimulate” growth.

But maybe my gloom was premature.

What Happens When Two Historically Unpopular Candidates Face Off?

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The presidential election of 2016 is considered by many to be the most important election in our lifetimes. I consider that sentiment nothing more than a cliche. We literally hear it every 4 years, and sometimes in between. Technically every election is the most important one yet.

But this election is the rare open contest with no incumbent, either directly or by succession (VP running after serving 8 years). The last one was just 8 years ago, but before that you have to go all the way back to 1952 to find an election without a sitting president or vice president running.

In all that time there has not been an election that could come down to two equally unpopular candidates. We won’t know for at least a month or two when primary votes are officially cast who each party’s nominee will be, but both current frontrunners are historically disliked.

Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating right now is bad and getting worse. It started dropping the moment she left office as President Obama’s first Secretary of State, and it’s been underwater nearly a year.

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As pollster Adrian Gray has shown, such poor favorability ratings even this far out from the election are usually correlated with general election losses, at least since 1992.

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