16 March 2016

Republican Civil War: The Establishment Embarrasses Itself

Stephen Kershnar
The Republican Civil War
Dunkirk-Fredonia Observer
March 13, 2016

The civil war in the Republican Party has begun. The establishment declared war on Donald Trump and would be at war with Ted Cruz if they didn’t fear a two-front war.

The civil war is over different visions of the country. The Republican establishment either support the status quo or think it not worth fighting over. House speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, and other “moderate” Republicans have chosen to rubber stamp Obamacare, amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, skyrocketing debt, race preferences and quotas, and an accelerating expansion of spending and taxes.

They believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a worthwhile expenditure of American blood and treasure ($2 trillion and 50,000 casualties) and promise more of the same. They even signed off on Obama’s recent foreign policy debacles, such as the blatantly unconstitutional war in Libya, continued involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, and treaty with Iran.

They couldn’t even defund minor but symbolically important crony capitalist programs, such as the Export-Import Bank, or Planned Parenthood. Their contempt for civil liberties as seen in their backing of the Patriot Act, inactivity on the recent attempt to muscle Apple into being an arm of the FBI, and an FBI director who wants to eliminate (end-to-end) encryption. Leaving aside their rhetoric, they stand for the status quo or, perhaps, the gradual expansion of the welfare state, erosion of civil liberties, and an interventionist foreign policy.

On the other side, there are two Republican insurgencies. Presidential candidate Donald Trump stands for a nationalist agenda. He favors an end to amnesty and to immigrants who as a group increase the risk of terrorism and who would be an economic drain as well as diminish American unity. He favors various protectionist measures in trade and mild isolationism in foreign policy, the latter seen in his bold criticism of the Iraq war. Similar to the establishment Republicans, he shows no interest in cutting back the entitlement policies (social security, Medicare, and Medicaid) that are driving the debt to dangerous levels. His policies do not focus on freedom or the Constitution. His foreign policy aims to promote Americans’ interest rather than some Wilsonian ideal (using the U.S. military to force other nations into being democracies).

Candidate Ted Cruz (my preference) is a liberty freak who alone takes the Constitution seriously and thinks that the government needs to be sharply pared back. He can be expected to push hard for cutting spending and taxes and protecting civil liberties against government intrusion. If Trump were not terrifying the establishment, it would train its guns on Cruz.

Establishment Republicans are embarrassing themselves. Mitt Romney gave a ragtag collection of charges against Trump, specifically that he made fun of another candidate’s looks, attributed a reporter’s question to her menstrual cycle, used vulgarity, bragged about his marital affairs, mocked John McCain, scapegoated Muslims and Mexican immigrants, changed his position on the Klu Klux Klan, did not release his tax returns, and so on. Romney compared Trump negatively to the “giants” who have been presidents. Only five Congressional Republicans and two governors have endorsed Trump.

Romney unleashed holy hell on Trump, yet he has had next to nothing to say about the clearly unconstitutional Obamacare and the even more obviously illegal ways in which the various mandates and rules have been delayed or eliminated. He has been similarly silent on Obama’s repeatedly telling lies to pass Obamacare, blatantly unconstitutional attempt to amnesty millions of illegal aliens, illegal Libyan war, and so on. Attacking Obama would have required he put his reputation on the line, so, of course, he ran and hid, but when given a chance to stab Trump in the back to an adoring press, he jumped at the chance.

His comparison of Trump to presidential giants is what passes for wisdom in the ruling class. Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon repeatedly showed themselves to be terrible presidents and despicable people. Other terrible presidents, but perhaps less despicable people, included such all-stars as Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama. John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were also despicable people, although not terrible presidents. Trump might be a bad president, but he would most likely do a better job the above failures (with the possible exceptions of Kennedy and Clinton) and unquestionably he is a better person than bottom dwellers such as Wilson, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton. Romney’s sense of giants is ignorant and silly.  

What reasonable moral code would suggest that Romney should sit scared and quiet in the corner when Obama and company tell blatant lies to pass Obamacare and institute grossly unconstitutional amnesties and wars, but spring into furious action because Trump said something mean or vulgar. Even Romney’s personal attacks lack proportion. It is more likely than not that Bill Clinton raped and assaulted multiple women (for example, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey). Hillary Clinton took payoffs in Arkansas, headed a pay-for-play foundation, and is uncontroversially guilty of violating the law on handling American secrets when in the state department. What kind of man worries more about vulgar speech than celebrating these sleazebag criminals?

Romney’s defamatory comments about Trump on immigration depend on people not remembering his stalwart opposition to illegal aliens. As Ann Coulter and others have pointed out, as a governor and presidential candidate, Romney supported a fence on the border, E-verify to ensure that employees are legal, and allowing state police to arrest illegal aliens. He also opposed in-state tuition, driver’s licenses, and amnesty. Trump’s plans go further, but in essence build on a Romney-like approach.

When the establishment decided to give Obama everything he wanted on the budget, foreign wars, civil liberties, race preferences, and Constitution, it chose its comfort and ruling class amity over fulfilling promises it made again and again to the conservatives and libertarians who voted them into office. Once in office, they have repeatedly shown these groups the back of the hand and are those facing a well-deserved revolt. Trump and Cruz are just messengers.   

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