Is There A Lesson In Trump’s Win?

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Well, the election’s over, and now we know who’s the clear and indisputable loser: Clinton, and the country dodged a major bullet.

But I’m more interested in considering what dynamic was in play that propelled a candidate like Trump to win the GOP nomination at all, and ultimately the election.

For about twenty-five years, since the administration of Papa Bush, the Establishment GOP has continually drifted leftward, all the while trying subtly to redefine “conservatism” while claiming to support the traditional principles represented by the official party planks (or positions). This manifests itself each election season when the candidates on the stump promise to aggressively fight for those principles, but once elected fail to follow through on those campaign promises, instead offering tepid resistance to Dem/socialist programs, and half-hearted efforts to further a conservative agenda, when they’re not offering their own “progressive” programs, such as Bush 2’s “No Child Left Behind”, Scrips for Seniors, and amnesty for illegal aliens; McCain’s amnesty support and lack of Second Amendment support; the despised Common Core; as well as other examples.

This is also illustrated by considering their presidential candidates post-Bush 1: Dole, Bush 2, McCain, and Romney. Not one of them is a bona fide conservative. It’s also underscored by their congressional leadership: Boehner (until recently) in the House and McConnell in the Senate.

Predictably, as this drift has become more and more obvious, the traditional “base” of the GOP has become ever more disenchanted and disaffected. We saw this manifest itself with the rise of the Tea Party, a phenomenon to which the Establishment GOP reacted badly,2008-tea-party_004 with scorn and disdain instead of contemplating it as a symptom of organic and systemic problems. The Establishment elites simply knew better; the Tea Party was a disorganized bunch of uneducated yahoos who didn’t know what was good for them; and they could be minimized and ignored with impunity. All the while the percentage of the electorate registered as Republicans continued to fall while the percentage registered as Independent continued to rise in virtually direct proportion, a crystal clear bellwether to anyone actually paying attention.

Unfortunately for the Establishment GOP, they weren’t paying attention.

And this time around, the pressure in the boiler had built up so much that it exploded. One man put himself forward as the anti-everything: anti-Establishment GOP; anti-liberal; anti-illegal alien; anti-mainstream media; anti-gun control; anti-Big Government… all those hot-button issues that the “uneducated yahoos” the Establishment GOP so despised found so important. Further, he didn’t talk down to those “yahoos”. He COURTED them! He catered to them. He spoke THEIR language!

And how did the Establishment GOP react to that? By trying to rally around and promote more of their same, tired old offerings: Jebbie!!! and Kasich, “moderate” drones. What about the actual conservatives in the race, Cruz and Rubio? Well the Establishment hated them almost as much as Trump, and didn’t have any qualms about making that clear.

So when the dust finally settled, and Trump was the official nominee, did the party regulars and the rest of the Establishment GOP rally around their candidate and do all they could to help him succeed? Far from it. In acts of astonishing perfidy, not only did they abandon supporting him, but many of them – yes, I’m looking at you, Bushes – actually made a point of supporting his opponent, the despicable Clinton, an act of betrayal that will be long remembered.

That perfidy actually goes to the heart of the problem: that the Establishment GOP, at least at the national level, suffers from an elitism – “Beltway-itis” – that’s made them blind to the reality of what they need to do to regain and maintain their viability as a truly k-street“national” party. They inherently disdain the Joe Sixpacks that make up their natural base. They apparently prefer acceptance at K Street social functions over getting down in the mud with the people they absolutely need if they want to succeed.

Trump was the natural result of that disease. He was the revolt the GOP has long had coming, and to which it was willfully blind. And his success, and ultimate election to the office of President, IN SPITE of the Establishment GOP, should make them step back and take a long and hard look at how they want to approach the political arena as the country moves into the future.

The question now is: will they actually learn something from this?

 

©Brian Baker 2016

 

(Also published today in  The Signal)

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“Clueless” Was A Very Funny Movie. In A Political Party… Not So Much

The following is an exchange of emails I’ve had recently with my US Congressman, Howard “Buck” McKeon.

This is the text of the opening salvo, which I sent to him via email through his website on January 14th:

buck“Well, Buck, I got your email a couple of weeks ago saying how you and your fellow Republicans had managed to cut a deal with Commissar Obama to avert the fabled ‘fiscal cliff’, and that you’d voted for it.

“Sadly, that deal didn’t include one penny of spending cuts that I can see, just some vague promise of maybe doing something about it somewhere down the road… maybe. In other words, you Republicans got snookered, plain and simple. You guys clearly don’t even know how to negotiate, let alone stand firm for any of the principles you CLAIM to represent.

“Now I’m reading in the news that Dear Leader is taking the position that spending cuts aren’t even on the table in the upcoming battle over raising the debt ceiling. And I have to tell you, if I were in his shoes with his goals, I’d be doing the exact same thing. Because from his point of view, he’s not facing any meaningful opposition at all. After all, the only thing you guys seem to know how to do is give up.

“So, what’s going to happen this time, Buck? You guys going to finally grow a spine – and maybe some balls – and actually stand firm for something? Or are you simply going to make a lot of noise just before you hoist up the white flag again? Isn’t that flag getting a little tattered by now?

“This is exactly why four years ago I gave up my GOP membership of almost forty years and re-registered as ‘Decline To State’, which as you know is this state’s equivalent of Independent. Because I’m a CONSERVATIVE first, and any party affiliation comes a distant second. And quite frankly, it’s reached the point where I see little correlation between traditional American conservatism and your political party anymore. Nor any appetite or ability for waging the requisite battle for principles.”

To which he responded with the following emailed letter (forgive the format errors in the letter, which occurred when I removed my mailing address for obvious reasons):

January 22, 2013Mr. Brian R. Baker

Dear Mr. Baker:

Thank you for contacting me in regard to   federal spending and the debt limit. It is a privilege to serve you in Congress   and I value your input.

First of all, as we begin this new   session of Congress, our government must work together to fix America’s   addiction to spending. I do not believe that the President should have sole   authority over raising the debt ceiling. This is a function and   responsibility of the legislative branch.

As we continue down this uncertain road,   we must keep in mind that raising taxes can only get us so far. We must   seriously address the out of control spending that is driving our debt. Already   in just the first two months of this fiscal year, we saw an increase of $57   billion in the federal deficit compared to this time last fiscal year.   Washington clearly has a spending problem that no increase in revenue could   possibly keep pace with. Unless we make serious institutional reforms to our   spending problem, we will never get our fiscal house in order.

As the 113th Congress begins, I can   assure you that I will continue fighting to get our nation’s serious spending   problem under control and get our nation’s economy back on track. I can also   assure you that I am working closely with the Speaker to come to a deal with   the President and the Senate that protects our troops and national security   from the devastating sequestration cuts.

For more information on my work in   Congress, please sign up for my E-newsletter and text message updates and visit   my Web site www.mckeon.house.gov.   You can also interact with me on Facebook, YouTube   and Twitter.   Thank you again for contacting me; please feel free to continue to inform me   of your views on issues important to you.

Sincerely, Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Member of Congress

And here’s my response, sent today:

“Buck, thanks for your response letter, but I have to tell you that I’m very disappointed in what you wrote.

“I expressed some very specific issues and concerns, particularly about how you Republicans have become weak-kneed (to put it kindly), an opinion that seems to have been recently reflected at your own Williamsburg retreat when Bobby Jindal said – accurately – that you have become ‘the stupid party’. Yet you respond to me with boilerplate and standard-issue talking points that are NOWHERE backed up with any action that I can see.

“YOU VOTED FOR THE DEBT CEILING INCREASE! So where’s all this action on ‘out of control spending’ you wrote about, when you guys caved in without getting one single concession in return? Talk is cheap, Buck, and actions speak a whole lot louder than words. And now, apparently, you guys are ready to do it once again, with another three month extension, kicking the can down the road and simply bending over for the Commissar.

“You state that you ‘… will continue fighting to get our nation’s serious spending problem under control…’. Well, at exactly WHAT point do you guys plan on starting to put up that fight, if ever?

“Pathetic, Buck. Simply pathetic.

“I’ll be posting this exchange on my blogs so all of my readers can enjoy the spectacle of another wimpy GOP political hack twisting in the wind, talking tough while cowering in the corner. All hat, no cattle. Talking the talk, with no idea how to walk the walk.

“Here are the links:
https://theviewfromtheisland.wordpress.com/
http://viewfromtheisland.blogtownhall.com/

“I hope you enjoy reading about yourself.

“Brian Baker”

sighThis perfectly illustrates the problem with the GOP. In its perpetual stupidity and uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the drones who run it refuse to learn the very simple lesson of history – that real conservatism sells – and keep nominating candidates who aren’t in the least “Reaganesque” or conservative. Dole? Bush? McAmnesty? Romney? You kidding me?

The “country” isn’t electing Obama and other socialists. Conservatives aren’t voting at ALL, in huge numbers, because there isn’t anyone worth showing up at the polls for. It’s THAT simple.

Run a REAL Reagan conservative and see what happens. Can anyone say “landslide”?

Instead we now have Boehner and McConnell and a bunch of other wimpy, weak-kneed, spineless jellyfish so afraid of their own shadows that they give away the store at every opportunity. And my own congressman, McKeon, seems to fit right into that mold.

Where is a GOPer who will stand up and tell it like it is? Who will actually FIGHT for their principles, without worrying about what the NY Times and Washington Post have to say about them?

I see a VERY few. Rand Paul’s been sounding good (not wacky like his dad). Jindal. A few others.

The rest of the Establishment GOP hacks? A bunch of hot air generators who fold like laundered sheets when it actually counts.

© Brian Baker 2013