Entries in Donald Trump (23)

Friday
Nov162018

Blue what? The only NJ Dem legislator elected to Congress was endorsed by the NRA!

There’s a lot to be said for not having a record. 

For a start, you can lie about who you are and what you will do when you get elected.  You can even target your lies to different audiences – like pretending you have a war record and appealing to suburban voters with your anti-tax broadcast advertising, while using your grassroots to find and target liberals with a message especially for them.  That’s how the Democrats did it. 

Republicans… they did it ass backwards.  They invested millions to tell their grassroots to go to hell and then broadcast an explicitly liberal message to those cultural leftists who hate the word “Republican” the most.  And they did it in the midst of the most divisive national election since 2010 – on par with 1994.  They invested even more millions in turning out the very people who loath them – all the while doing their utmost to convince their base that they think of them the same way they think of dog excrement.  See, in this way you lose everybody! 

New Jersey Republicans desperately needed a unified message to take to war in 2018.  After Donald Trump and the GOP leadership in Congress screwed them by passing a tax package that arguably raised property taxes in the state with the worst property tax problem in the nation – somebody should have got everyone in a room to figure out a message.  Hey, it’s a small state so if you don’t want to come off like a cacophony, you’d better all be singing the same tune.

Instead, half argued that screwing with the state’s property tax deduction was a net positive, half said it was a net negative – and the Democrats, they just loved it!  For once, they got to be the party defending the beleaguered property taxpayers of New Jersey.  What passes for the media in New Jersey backed them up on it.  And more importantly, so did the instincts of the average property taxpayer.  Donald Trump or no Donald Trump, when it comes to trusting the promises politicians make about property taxes, they don’t.  Period.  Somebody should have remembered that.

After handing the property tax issue to the Democrats – the issue that has consistently tested as the top concern of New Jersey voters for at least the last decade – it is amazing the NJGOP did as well as it did on November 6th.  A large part of the electorate already hated Donald Trump (and therefore, the Republican brand) and wanted to show it – but by miscalculation, the remainder were granted permission to hate the GOP too… over property taxes!  Gagged and gagged again.

But it wouldn’t have worked so well if the Democrats hadn’t been such clean slates.  Just think of it.  All those Democrats in the Legislature with all those perfect liberal voting records… and the only guy who is acceptable to the electorate to move up and go to Congress is the state’s most conservative Democrat legislator… the one who is endorsed by the NRA.  The one who voted against same-sex marriage.  Heck, Jeff Van Drew is more Pro-Life than many Republicans and has opposed both RGGI and increasing the minimum wage!  But he moved up, and all the rest stayed behind. 

Meanwhile, DC residents Andy Kim and Tom Malinowski simply move into the state, take out six month leases on rental properties, run and win.  And the silly fools who spent years as Democrat committee members, in local governments, running for Freeholder and then for Assembly… they just suck ass.  You can’t get elected because your liberal records won’t let you.

Where did Mikie Sherrill come from?  The “Navy pilot – Prosecutor – Mom” fell out of the sky and landed in Congress.  In the new politics of congressional elections, she’s one of the Houyhnhnm.  Back in the trenches, the time-serving yahoos can only snort and envy her advancement. 

Yesterday, Rutgers put out a new poll showing that – once again – taxes top the state’s issues grid (with a sizeable number volunteering “property” taxes as their big concern).  The Eagleton poll noted that people are generally happy with the state’s economy and, as it is part of a generally buoyant national economy, that shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it does appear Democrat Governor Murphy is taking more credit than the state Republican leaders.  One “research professor” drew attention to “a new phenomenon” of voters not having quite formed an opinion of Phil Murphy, after nearly a year in office.  It’s like they don’t know him and it’s taking some time. (Maybe they will now… after yesterday’s snow job?)

A phenomenon is it?  Why is anyone surprised, given the state of political news coverage in New Jersey?  Just ask anyone on press row… oh, that’s right, it’s not there anymore.  If it’s a national election like we just had, the coverage will be driven by national outlets.  If not… good luck.  And that is something our campaign gurus are going to need to consider when planning what used to be called “earned media” campaigns. 

Meanwhile, back at madness central, a couple of juvenile delinquent Democrat Assemblywomen invited “pro-death penalty for American military members” activist Jane Fonda to place a feather in her patouee and lead a conga line from the Speaker’s office to the Governor’s den.  Not a word yet from Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill about the appropriateness of Fonda’s appearance – or from Andy Kim or Tom Malinowski, for that matter.  But hey Assemblywomen, keep it up.  If that’s the fashion, keep it up and you’ll soon find yourself in… Congress?  NOT!

Wednesday
Aug292018

Did someone dump in Alan Steinberg’s brain and neglect to flush it?

Over the past year or so, we have been watching Alan Steinberg’s irretrievable slide into the dark waters of a wannabe fellow-traveler.   With today’s column – the one attacking Republican Bob Hugin and praising the Democrats’ nomination of a 1960’s era socialist as that party’s face in Florida – Steinberg has finally hit crush depth. 

We are genuinely concerned for Alan, a one-time devotee of Her Bluebloodedness Christie Todd Whitman, and recall how slavishly Steinberg attempted to defend her disastrous policies – fiscally ruinous – for which every taxpayer in New Jersey continues to suffer.  In recognition of such devotion, the Whitmanites kept Steinberg in patronage heaven. 

But with the advent of Donald Trump, something went terribly wrong with Alan.  He’s in touch with too much of the old crowd, most of whom switched party in the Year of Our Lord 2008, when Heaven sent down the anointed one to dwell amongst and lead us.  We hate to remind Alan that when the folks who voted for He Who Must Be Obeyed got through all the smoke and bullshit only to realize that they were still living in their mother’s basement, without a job (but in plenty of debt) – these same folks voted for a newer, coarser savior… The Donald.  

The Bluebloods, who Steinberg seems so intent on virtue-signaling to, never got over their rejection by the vast working and middle classes who make up most of America’s voters.  They are not concerned by people like Andrew Gillum, who they long ago sponsored, co-opted, and turned into salon pets.  Corporate America has been pouring money into the Left for generations, with the understanding that when the Left does get power, it leaves them alone and is focused instead on the average American taxpayer. 

That’s the great culpability of the 1960’s era New Left – bourgeois academics who found that it was easier to take the rich man’s money and make war on the working class… to compound a philosophy of “identity” that would split the mighty working class into white and black, male and female, gay and straight, urban and rural… to allow it to endlessly battle itself.  And in the time since, economic inequality has grown to the point where, if you believe the Washington Post, the richest 1 percent own more wealth than at any time in the last 50 years.  If you believe the New York Times, the richest one percent hold more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.  That’s what the New Left’s identity bullshit and the fracturing of the working class has got us… vast economic inequality. 

As for the race between Republican Bob Hugin and the incumbent Democrat, Senator Bob Menendez, is Steinberg serious? 

Yes, we do remember that Menendez was once the pet of Governor Tom Kean and that a great many of the most vulgarly rich, formerly Republican, Bluebloods still carry a torch for “that nice young man” from Hudson County.  The trouble is, that “nice young man” grew up to be a corpulent bowl of putrid corruption – and he’s not from Hudson County anymore, he’s from Washington, DC. 

Hey, maybe it’s not all his fault, that place will do it to you, but after the shit he’s pulled, he owns it.  You can’t help your rich buddy import women into the United States and still expect to be called a civilized human being.  It’s a crime against nature.  And that’s before we examine the policies pursued by Bob Menendez… like wanting to waste money on a border wall with Canada (yep, like in South Park) or never meeting a war that he didn’t want to send some blue-collar kids to fight.  Hey, did this guy ever serve himself?  Does that make him a chicken hawk?

So piss on Alan Steinberg’s prognosticating… it’s all just aid and comfort for a very bad guy who has a lot of old-fashioned, formerly Republican, majorly blueblood friends.  And Alan, get hold of yourself, you don’t need those bluebloods’ approval to feel relevant.  Screw them.  Resist.

Monday
Aug202018

Liberals were once skeptical of the security services… how did they come to worship J. Edgar Hoover?

What passes for “liberals” today are busy tweeting and blogging and posting about how “patriotic” they are for supporting the unelected security services (CIA, FBI, NSA, TSA, et al) and how the elected President of the United States must be “resisted” because he is a “traitor” who “colluded” with “Russia” – a country they apparently liked a whole lot better when it went by the name “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”.   

Where “reds under the bed” and “the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming”, were once said to be the province of the “looney right”, today they are on the lips of that increasingly histrionic class of liberals who once did the mocking.  Things have been turned on their head since 2008, when the “second coming” arrived on promises of a new day and a fresh look but who, once in office, ruthlessly consolidated executive power to the point of prosecuting whistleblowers under the Espionage Act – as spies and “enemies of the state”. 

But things didn’t get really nuts until the 2016 election of Donald Trump, who the Left seems ready to do a deal with Communist China to get rid of.  Talk about taking the concept of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” too far… these people think a bullet through the brain is a recommended cure for toothache.  

Not long ago, liberals had a more graded view of the world, the American government, and the security services.  Their art showed it.  Take this scene from Oliver Stone’s film “Nixon” – one that couldn’t or wouldn’t be made today…

Monday
Jul092018

Ralph Nader’s speech to conservatives re. crony capitalism

The American Conservative (TAC) is the publication that predicted the fall of the Bush dynasty and the rise of Donald Trump.  They wrote about the populist shift in GOP politics when most Washington-based journalists were confidently predicting that Paul Ryan was the next big thing.

The American Conservative recently held its 2nd annual conference on crony capitalism, "Cronyism in Action: Government's Cozy Ties to Big Tech & Big War." Ralph Nader gave a special address on the Military Industrial Complex entitled, "Eisenhower's Warning: Prophetic and Presently Understated."  You can watch it here:

The conference began with opening remarks by the Hon. C. Boyden Gray, former ambassador to the European Union, and a board member of The American Conservative The first panel, on the military-industrial-congressional complex, featured journalist and TAC contributing editor Mark Perry as moderator, POLITICO reporter and defense editor Bryan Bender, investigative journalist and TAC contributor Gareth Porter, Mandy Smithburger, director of the Project on Government Oversight, and Caroline Dorminey, a defense policy analyst at the Cato Institute. You can watch a video of the first panel here:

The second panel debated the role of cronyism in the technology industry and featured TAC executive editor Lewis McCrary as moderator, writer and Open Markets Institute fellow Matt Stoller, Washington Examiner commentary editor

Tim Carney, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance Stacy Mitchell, and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation founder and president Robert D. Atkinson. You can watch a video of the second panel here:

For more information or to subscribe to The American Conservative, please contact John Burtka, at… jburtka@theamericanconservative.com

Tuesday
Jul032018

New Jersey GOP: Don’t be afraid to be Republicans.

By Rubashov

A weekend before the NJGOP held its Leadership Summit in Atlantic City, New Jersey, two contributors to this website attended a gathering of conservative academics and writers and journalists, hosted by an organization founded by the late William F. Buckley Jr.  The 500 present where in Philadelphia to enjoy a nice dinner and listen to a lecture by a writer named Rod Dreher.

Rod Dreher is the senior editor of the national magazine and website, The American Conservative.  This is the publication that predicted the fall of the Bush dynasty and the rise of Donald Trump.  They wrote about the populist shift in GOP politics when most Washington-based journalists were confidently predicting that Paul Ryan was the next big thing.

Dreher wrote a book last year that set the academic world talking.  It was debated in all those places that thoughtful Republicans go to figure out what the world is, and how they – and what they believe – fit into it.  Conservative journalists and think tanks debated the vision Dreher presented – and the book was a popular success, a “New York Times Bestseller”, in fact.

The book is called The Benedict Option (A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation).  It calls for Christian conservatives to reassess their relationships with the outside world – with institutions like the Republican Party and corporate America. 

Once upon a time, conservatives gave their votes to “pro-business” corporatists and in exchange received their “protection” on policies impacting traditional values.  The battle over same-sex marriage ended all that, exposing the business community as cheerleaders for the materialistic “sex and shopping” culture that sustains their short-term profits.  

In response to this and other betrayals, Dreher suggests that believers prepare themselves for a hard time, for a period not unlike that suffered by eastern Christianity during the Communist occupation of their nations and cultures.  The idea is to hold oneself apart, become stronger in belief and in practice, and build new institutions outside the hubbub and the madness.

David Brooks of the New York Times wrote that The Benedict Option was the most important and discussed book in a decade.  Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention, called the book prophetic and something every Christian should read.  Many have.  And they are starting to look at things differently, and beginning to reassess.

It's not only conservative Christians who are recoiling from a betrayal by the Establishment of which they once thought themselves a part.  Working class Americans of all ethnicities, creeds, and genders have given up on a Democratic Party obsessed with global capitalism and a Labor movement that threw them over for an immigration agenda that bloats the gray economy and threatens their jobs.  In his book, The Unwinding, An Inner History of the New America (2013), George Packer extended this loss of connection and idea of betrayal to the broader American middle class.  Meanwhile, libertarians are aghast at the growing regulatory police state and endless “war” economy.  While the election of Donald Trump has left many old-time, business-centric Republicans wondering who is who and what is what. 

Since Rod Dreher's lecture, there have been two regional meetings to discuss the practical implications of The Benedict Option on a state by state, party by party basis.  In each case, an individual reassessment is being made.  One political party organization that appears disconnected to its natural electorate is the Republican Party in New Jersey.  Indeed, it is such to the point of it being said not to possess an electorate at all, but rather a collection of voters who still notionally respond to the word “Republican”.

In arriving at this assessment, the discussion focused on what is a political party and how does it devolve the further it gets from its center.  In other words, everyone knows what it means to be a Republican and this reflects the generalizations held about the party nationally or globally.  But the further away you get from the center the greater the opportunity is for that message or "brand" to be corrupted, and its meaning lost. 

So what is the Republican Party – once we get down to the state level or county level – in a place like New Jersey?

(1) Is it the sum of the beliefs and aspirations of its members, as expressed every four years in a party platform?

(2) Or is it the network of profitable business interests of those who occupy leadership positions within the party?

This isn't a gibe at the leadership of the New Jersey GOP but rather a basic philosophical question.  Those engaged in this discussion are strongly influenced by Edmund Burke, who wrote:  "The principles of true politics are those of morality enlarged."

Burke considered politics to be a branch of ethics.  This separated him from Machiavelli and the modern political tradition which holds that "power" is supreme.

In light of this, the question above is posed.

So, will the NJGOP be guided by morality and ethics – and a written set of principles – or will it merely be a vehicle for men seeking power and the financial opportunities that flow from it?

Once upon a time, a certain Assemblyman – as Chairman of the NJGOP – came in for some very rough criticism because he would not formally endorse (or allow the Republican State Committee to endorse) the platform of the Republican National Committee, which had been debated and democratically approved in the summer of 2008.  

He was criticized for the part he played in leaving the New Jersey Republican Party without a set of written principles, but after he was removed as State Chairman by Governor Chris Christie, there was a new platform, adopted in the summer of 2012, debated and democratically approved as was the one before.  Sure enough, the NJGOP didn't adopt it either.  A new chairman, installed by Governor Christie, ignored the new set of party principles as had been the old.

And now there's been another platform, debated and voted on in the summer of 2016, by delegates from all across America.  And it too, has suffered the same fate as the others.  It has not been endorsed by the NJGOP – leaving the Republican Party in New Jersey without a set principles, a road map by which to judge its success or failure. 

Why?  Any poll will show you that most registered Republicans in New Jersey uniformly support the platform of the Republican Party.  So what makes it so difficult for the members of the New Jersey Republican State Committee to simply say, yes, we are Republicans and we support the democratically approved principles of our party as set down in the Republican Party Platform of 2016?

Well, in most cases, those state committee members are selected by Republican County chairmen in counties that have what is called a "party line".  This is s thumb on the scale at elections that enables a county machine to note who the "official" candidates of the party are. 

It is a system not unlike that practiced in less democratic nations and is thoroughly disreputable.  If New Jersey was a third world country organizing its first elections and it proposed such a thing, the United Nations would be bound to declare those elections rigged and undemocratic.  But New Jersey is part of the West and was established before the founding of the U.N.  So the political parties here are fortunate in that they do not fall under the scrutiny of international law. 

Most New Jersey Republicans are unaware that their state and local party organizations do not operate under a set of principles – or indeed any moral or ethical guide at all.  99 percent have no idea that the national Republican Party platform isn't used as a guide when recruiting potential Republican nominees for public office.

You see, most registered Republicans in New Jersey assume that there is one long chain of command leading from the White House of Donald Trump all the way down to the county committee level.  Republican voters believe that when the county party says that so and so is the "official" party candidate, they are hearing the word of the Republican National Committee.

Of course, this is not true.  That’s why there is so much confusion when state and local Republican leaders in New Jersey fail to match the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC.  There is no direct line from the White House to the office of the local party boss.  And without a set of principles – a written standard by which to judge good from bad, success from failure – local party organizations are left with nothing but the will and wishes of a controlling party boss or cadre.

The employment and economic interests of many state and local Republican leaders tends to complicate things further.  Many county chairmen function as lobbyists or hold business connections and loyalties that are very much at variance with those principles of the Republican Party and the aspirations of ordinary Republicans.  This leads some party organizations to operate as for-profit mutual benefit societies or in some cases, sole proprietorships.  While some operate as entrepreneurs, others are more like placemen – granted patronage jobs or vendors contracts or some gift of status with which to do business. 

This is a surprise to many ordinary Republican voters in New Jersey, who still believe that their local party stands for the Republican platform.  In reality, when they vote Republican, they are not voting for who they think they are, but rather they are voting for the candidates put forward by what could be described as  independent operators, with agendas often at odds with the Republican Party platform. 

A review of the candidacies put forward by New Jersey Republicans in the last decade clearly shows that the Republican Party platform plays no role in the selection process.  What that means for average Republican voters is that instead of being a members of a party of ideas, of values, of right and wrong -- they are merely facilitators of what are often independent operators, who at times conduct themselves in ways that are more along the lines of an entrepreneur than an ideologue. 

A person’s vote is a very valuable thing.  Voters generally don’t treat it so, but it is.

Recently, Princeton University concluded a study that confirmed what many already feared – America is not a democracy.  How can we be?  Our precious votes are artificially funneled into two silos: Democratic or Republican.  If you want to look past those two, the media, academic, legal, and political powers of the Establishment won’t provide you with much.  “Pick one,” they tell us. 

We pledge our collective votes to one of two political parties with the understanding that we are going to get something in return.  That even if they try and fail, at the very least, they are going to stay somewhat true to what they say they are.  After all, we are voting for a national “brand” and we expect the candidates we vote for to reflect that.  We do not want to buy a new Ford only to learn that in New Jersey, a “Ford” is an aging Datsun.

If average voters think they are voting for a national Ford but instead get a local Datsun, then there really isn’t anything in it for the average Republican voter.  All they are doing is giving away their collective votes so that some local boss can harvest them to use to make money.  They think they are voting for people who believe in the platform of the Republican Party – of that thing they read about every four years and that largely reflects their values.  But it turns out to be just an illusion.  Someone has captured the Republican "brand" and monetized it. 

So voters turn-off, tune-out, and fail to turn-out to vote.

Voters are told how important it is to vote… by the guys who get jobs and contracts and status by monetizing other people’s collective votes. As for the average voter… maybe he or she loses a day’s wages by getting hauled up for jury duty (a delightful by-product of registering to vote).

And if you question how a new Ford is really an old Datsun… well then they call you names.  The true-believer is told he or she is some kind of freak for believing in the party platform.  What is wrong with you for thinking it was on-the-level?  Why would you ever believe that we actually believed in what we said we believed in?  Are you some kind of arsehole?

At the NJGOP Leadership Summit in Atlantic City, it was evident that very few could articulate what the Republican Party stood for.  The talk was all about the new technology available to communicate a message, rather than what that message is.  People who get paid to win campaigns in New Jersey were there to explain tactics and polling but not how to define and sell what we are burdened with… that word “Republican.”

The leadership of the NJGOP is now faced with the task of reconnecting a party with its voters.  To convince the one percent who profit from politics – and who control the levers of power – to allow a space for the 99 percent who simply want to vote for people they believe represent the values and principles of the Republican Party.

This will require patience and understanding – and will be made more difficult by the attitudes of some who use polling to determine political positions, rather than as a means to test arguments with which to convince.  The Democrats are in a position of hegemony because they invited in their true believers, gave them a seat at the table, and reaped financial benefits and grassroots activism by doing so.  They refused to follow public opinion. Choosing instead to make it

The career of Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein should be studied by every aspiring Republican activist.  At the start of his long march, when confronted with disheartening and frankly abysmal polling data, he did not jettison his principles, he shifted the conversation.  He used polling – not as a revelation to tell him what to believe – but as a tool for convincing others.

Remember that no more than 1 percent of those who vote are there to make money off the system.  99 percent show up to vote because they believe Republican means Republican principles and ideas and policies and the platform.  They are not in on the deal.  They get no cut.  So let's build institutions that these people can trust and that – more importantly – earn their trust.

So... which will it be?  A party based on ethics and morality – with a set of principles by which to judge its success or failure?  Or every man for himself, the pursuit of power, the worship of greed?  It is a time for choosing. 

The Republican Party in New Jersey can choose to open itself up to ideas and nail its colors to the mast and say "this is who we are and this is what we stand for!"  Ideas have brought the national Republican Party far – so why are they resisted in New Jersey?  Instead of avoiding issues, embrace them, use them, figure out ways in which to explain them and do so artfully to win the debate. 

For New Jersey Republicans, it is time to remember who you are.