Friday, July 24, 2015

Forget the loudmouth with the weird hair; We have a principled conservative with the heart of a warrior

The thrust of right-leaning analysis of Trump's continued high numbers has been that, to a swath of the post-American public to which ideological consistency is not as importance as pit bull attitude, Trump represents the only non-Dem candidate with a real fighting spirit. Rush Limbaugh and Eric Erickson have posited thusly, but I think the clearest analysis of it comes from Matthew Continetti at the the Washington Free Beacon:

Two decades ago, in the spring of 1996, Newsweek magazine described a group of voters it called the “radical middle.” Formerly known as the Silent Majority, then the Reagan Democrats, these voters had supported Ross Perot in 1992, and were hoping the Texas billionaire would run again. Voters in the radical middle, Newsweek wrote, “see the traditional political system itself as the country’s chief problem.”
The radical middle is attracted to populists, outsiders, businessmen such as Perot and Lee Iacocca who have never held office, and to anyone, according to Newsweek, who is the “tribune of anti-insider discontent.” Newt Gingrich rallied the radical middle in 1994—year of the Angry White Male—but his Republican Revolution sputtered to a halt after the government shut down over Medicare in 1995. Once more the radical middle had become estranged from the GOP. “If Perot gets in the race,” a Dole aide told Newsweek, “it will guarantee Clinton’s reelection.”
Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a presidential campaign in which the Republican Party, having lost its hold on the radical middle, is terrified of the electoral consequences. The supporters of Reagan and Perot, of Gingrich and Pat Buchanan, have found another aging billionaire in whom to place their fears and anxieties, their nostalgia and love of country, their disgust with the political and cultural elite, their trepidation at what our nation is becoming.
A brash showboat and celebrity, self-promoter and controversialist, silly and mocking, a caricature of a caricature, Donald Trump is no one’s idea of a serious presidential candidate. Which is exactly why the radical middle finds him refreshing. Not an iota of him is politically correct, he plays by no rules of comity or civility, he genuflects to no party or institution, he is unafraid of and antagonistic toward the media, and he challenges the conventional wisdom of both parties, which holds that there is no real cost to illegal immigration and to trade with China.
This radical middle actually finds his inconsistency appealing:

That Trump is not a conservative, nor by any means a mainstream Republican, is not a minus but a plus to the radical middle. These voters are culturally right but economically left; they depend on the New Deal and parts of the Great Society, are estranged from the fiscal and monetary agendas of The Economist and Wall Street Journal. What they lack in free market bona fides they make up for in their romantic fantasy of the patriotic tycoon or general, the fixer, the Can Do Man who will cut the baloney and Get Things Done. On social questions their views tend toward the moderate side—Perot was no social conservative, either. What unites them is opposition to elites in government, finance, culture, journalism; their search for a vehicle—whether it’s a political party or an outspoken publicity maven—that will displace the managers and technocrats and restore the America of old.
And there are some slightly to the right of this radical middle, who have indeed thought through the basic Judeo-Christian, economic and foreign-policy principles championed by conservatives who have been momentarily intoxicated by the Trump Kool-Aid, and it's somewhat understandable, given the utter uselessness or worse of supposed "GOP leaders", such as John Boehner:

 Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is throwing cold water on several House Republicans' efforts to immediately defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the group's undercover video controversy.

Boehner said Thursday that he will not yet commit to blocking funding for Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion-rights group produced two videos that attempt to portray the group as illegally profiting from fetal tissue donation. 
"Facts first," Boehner said when asked twice about Planned Parenthood funding during his Thursday news conference.

Boehner's remarks, which come several days after he ordered a congressional probe into the videos, put him at odds with the 80 House Republicans who have backed a new bill from Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) that would immediately block Planned Parenthood's funding for one year while the government investigates. A similar bill has been introduced in the upper chamber by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.).
Black's spokesman said Wednesday that her legislation had been received favorably by House leadership and hoped to see a vote "as soon as possible." 
Or Mitch McConnell:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is clearing the way to restart the Export-Import Bank, an expired corporate-welfare agency he has voted against, as part of the highway bill in the Senate this week.
Conservatives say McConnell's actions show he never really opposed the agency — that deep down, McConnell takes the K Street position rather than the free-market stance. McConnell's office contends that pragmatic politics are more complicated than that, and that keeping Ex-Im dead is beyond the majority leader's power.
In the labyrinthine world of Senate procedure, it's hard to get a clear picture of what's going on, but this much is clear:
1) There are more than 60 votes in the Senate to restart Ex-Im,
2) McConnell, nevertheless, has the power to keep Ex-Im dead by blocking a vote.
Here's the background:
In late May, McConnell, in order to get enough votes to pass Trade Promotion Authority, cut a deal on the floor of the Senate with a group of Boeing-state senators, led by Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington. McConnell had pledged to allow an Ex-Im vote "on an amendable vehicle in June," his office told me then.
Something like that happened June 10. Sen. Kelly Ayotte got a vote on an Ex-Im amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment passed, but for procedural reasons, supporters then withdrew it. Ex-Im's charter then expired on June 30, and the agency is currently in liquidation. 
This last onset of Reasonable Gentleman Syndrome was too much for the magnificent Ted Cruz, who let loose on the Senate floor today with this barrage:

In the speech, Cruz says—calling him out personally—McConnell lied to the entire Republican conference. Cruz’s speech stemmed from how McConnell—despite telling the entire GOP conference there was no such secret deal with the Democrats during the Obamatrade process to later bring up Ex-Im reauthorization—actually did cut a deal with Democrats, specifically 
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
“Today is a sad day for this institution,” Cruz said on the floor.
The Senate operates based on trust. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, these 100 Senators have to be able to trust that when a Senator sys something, he or she will do it. Even if we disagree on substance, that we don’t lie to each other. What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing.
Cruz then proceeded to expose comments McConnell made to Republican senators in a private lunch, showing that McConnell lied to his entire conference. The comments Cruz talks about were around the time of the first Obamatrade votes in the Senate, when McConnell told Republicans—something that has since been proven to be untrue—that there was no deal with Democrats to vote on Ex-Im later in exchange for the necessary votes to pass Obamatrade.
Cruz voted for Obamatrade’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) the first go-around in the Senate based on McConnell’s word—and he famously turned against the fast-track trade authority later.
“I want to describe the context of two preceding discussions. A number of weeks ago when this Senate was considering Trade Promotion Authority, a group of Senators gathered on this floor and blocked TPA for many minutes because they were pressing for the Export-Import Bank,” Cruz said.
They huddled on this floor and negotiated a deal in front of C-SPAN, in front of the world. Then when they had their deal, TPA had the votes to pass. Shortly thereafter, we had a Senate Republican lunch where I stood up and I asked the Majority Leader very directly what was the deal that was just on TPA and was there a deal for the Export-Import Bank. It was a direct question. I asked the Majority Leader in front of all the Republican senators. The Majority Leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask such a question, and the Majority Leader looked at me and said there is no deal.
Cruz noted that McConnell made the promise that “there is no deal” three times in public and then again in a private discussion with him and 
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
“There is no deal. Like St. Peter, he repeated it three times,” Cruz said.
He said the only thing I told the proponents of the Export-Import Bank is like any other Senator in this body, they could offer any amendment they liked on any amendable vehicle, but I gave them nothing. There is no deal. He was emphatic. And he was repeated. Following that Republican discussion, Sen. Mike Lee and I approached the Majority Leader afterwards in which he emphasized again there is no deal, I will do nothing, I oppose the Export-Import Bank. All I said is they can offer an amendment like any Senator can to any bill. Madam President, I went back to my office and I sat and had a long discussion with my staff.
In those discussions, Cruz said his staff told him that McConnell was lying to him. But he couldn’t believe right off the bat that the Senate GOP majority leader would lie like that to his face or to the faces of all other GOP senators.
This towering champion of liberty, decency and American revival wasn't done, not by a long shot. Went on to excoriate the "GOP leadership" for its non-action on including an amendment in the Iran Review Act insisting that Iran recognize Israel's right to exist, on repealing Freedom-Hater-care, and its cave on Cromnibus.

We don't need to give one second of our attention to a charlatan who is on record as supporting single-payer health care and the "right" to choose to exterminate fetal Americans.

Right before our eyes, we have an absolutely consistent conservative who thunders the truth and who takes the war for America's soul not only to the enemy on the other side of the aisle but to the Vichy-style sellouts to whom we've been entrusting our fates.

Ted went there today, and it was about time.

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