Views on the News

Views on the News*

February 10, 2018


In God We Trust; the Flag; and the National Anthem.  When elected Democrats sat unmoved during the State of the Union address as the president embraced these defining symbols of our nation, I was shocked, embarrassed and somewhat frightened.  I was shocked because it showed that their true feelings were politics over patriotism.  We can have differences of political opinions, but there should be no differences of our love for our country, and what it has allowed all of us to become.  Most of us are not divided on patriotism.  I was embarrassed because it sends the wrong signal to the rest of the world.  When we openly display our political differences in the way Democrats did, the rest of the world applauds.  They want us to become weak, and they want us to fail due to political differences, because many nations are envious of our success, our strength and our resolve to remain the greatest nation in the world.  I was somewhat frightened because if these partisan divides and attitudes are defining us, then we are on a long road to destruction.  The good news is that we are not being defined by such empty reactions during the SOTU address.  It just means that we all have to work harder to tell people the truth, and show them the truth.  Results that positively impact our lives reveal the truth!  Anti-Americanism is not defensible; More government is not defensible; More dependency on government is not defensible; and Identity politics is a long-term losing strategy, and negativity and divisiveness do not unite people.  Whenever we have almost become our own destroyer from within, the people put the “United” back into the United States of America.  The will of the people is stronger than the will of politics.  The USA is winning on multiple fronts because we have a president who believes in winning for the American people.  When the people win, America wins, and as the president has said many times, America first does not mean America alone.  The people of this country will not abandon its patriotism.

(“Democrats are defending the indefensible” by Herman Cain dated February 5, 2018 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/democrats-are-defending-the-indefensible )

While some politically literate liberals might understand how rapidly the Democrats have moved leftward, I suspect that most run-of-the-mill activist Democrats don’t really see it.  They see the Republican party as having moved farther and farther away from them.  The farther the Democrats drift, the more “extreme” they think the Republican position is.  Progressives, not conservatives, tend to be the aggressors in the culture war.  Gay marriage is the best example.  Twenty years ago, the standard conservative position on gay marriage was that gay marriage isn’t a thing.  That was the same position conservatives (and nearly everyone else) had had for a couple thousand years.  Liberals, and the culture, moved wildly to the left on the issue, and Republicans stood still.  From the perspective of progressives and the media, it was the GOP that became more extreme simply because it didn’t want to get dragged along.  The sexual-liberationist Left in the 1960s and 1970s wanted to destroy the institution of marriage, not rope gays into it by arguing that marriage is such a vital institution.  Twenty-five years ago, the stereotypical gay character in popular culture was flouncy and flamboyant, but now he’s a harried dad trying to install a car seat.  This model holds for feminism, civil rights, and lots of other things.  Conservatives have moved the GOP rightward on law and economics since the 1960s, while liberals for the most part stayed locked-in to New Deal and Great Society thinking.  Both sides called the other “extremists,” but it was the Right that did most of the moving, and eventually the Democrat party moved with it.  Bill Clinton did indeed move his party to the right both rhetorically and on many issues, and the early Republican freak-out response to that had more to do with the rage that overtakes partisans when their opponents agree with them and, in the process, take away their favorite issues.  The problem with one party veering too far to the right (say, Goldwater in ’64) or the left (McGovern in ’72) is that when one party moves very far in one direction, so does the other party.  That’s because in a two-party system, elections tend to be won by whichever party captures the center.  If party A moves leftward, abandoning the center square, it leaves it open for party B to take it.  Thus both parties move leftward and the political “center” moves with it.  There are exceptions stemming from special circumstances, but as a rule of thumb, this dynamic has a lot of explanatory value.  This rule of thumb should be drilled into the brain pan of every sentient conservative. Under George W. Bush, conservatives got too invested in running interference for the GOP.  Part of it stemmed from the perceived need to rally around a wartime president.  Part of it stemmed from disgust with how Democrats treated a wartime president.  To some extent, this sort of thing always happens to some people who are invested in politics.  The point of the conservative movement, however, was never simply to make the GOP more conservative, it was to move the center of gravity in American politics in a conservative direction.  One of the first steps in that project was to gain intellectual influence or control over one of the two parties.  A lot of people make all sorts of clever remarks about how Buckleyite conservatism is insufficient to the times.  Buckley wanted to establish a platform that illuminated a fixed point in space, by which people could judge who was moving and in what direction.  The larger point is that conservatism is supposed to be rooted in certain truths, even when the rest of society thinks those truths are lies.  That is why conservatism is realism: It takes into account the permanence of sin, the crooked timber of humanity, and the inevitable contradictions and trade-offs that are inherent to living in this imperfect world.  Truth isn’t something you vote on.  You can vote to treat a falsehood as a truth, and everyone can act like it’s the truth, but that doesn’t mean it is.  The only things that can topple a perceived truth are reason, science, or God, because the first two are the means of discovering what exists outside our own perceptions and God can do any darn thing He wants.  Being rooted doesn’t require opposing all change.  How any movement dedicated to the free market could be accused of unyielding fixity has always been a mystery.  Rooted things can grow and change, but they remain attached to the soil all the same.  Rootedness does, however, require skepticism about new ideas, untested by time.  Conservatives believe in progress, but we don’t poll the mob for what constitutes progress, nor do we reflexively defer to whatever definition of progress is fashionable these days, on the partisan left or the partisan right.  The truly progressive man, the one who cares about his fellow men and women, doesn’t merely turn around and live out his life in isolation, as part of the remnant; He yells “Stop!” and makes an argument for why everyone else should turn around with him.  

(“The Space Between Us” by Jonah Goldberg dated February 2, 2018 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/g-file/456069/conservatives-political-center-gravity-space-between-us )

Americans will now have to let the disturbing contents of the "memo" sink in, followed by the realization that appropriate actions need to be taken.  In the most cutting of ironies, the political creatures that then-candidate Donald Trump promised to expose and expel have handed the 45th President all the evidence needed to commence draining their Washington D.C. swamp.  Over the last eight years, the American people had to endure one Obama-era scandal after another knowing full well that there would be no accountability, no remedy, and no justice for the crimes against the country.  Hopefully, that has all changed for several reasons.  First, President Trump was the main target of this outrageous overstepping of power, and second, the memo points to the out-of-control and lawless nature of the Obama administration.  Before the release of the memo, members of the GOP privy to its contents stated that the scandal made Watergate look like a parking ticket.  Exposed for every American to see, thanks to the chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, is the unsettling fact that the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton paid Fusion GPS for a wholly fabricated dossier.  The dossier was created to produce damaging, albeit fraudulent, political ammunition to destroy Donald Trump.  That same knowingly fake dossier was used by the Obama administration to fraudulently secure a FISA warrant for what then became an illegitimate and unconstitutional surveillance of a United States citizen.  The recently released memo helps tip the original nefarious deed forward causing it to crash into the next nefarious deed creating a crumbling house of cards.  The culmination of this shows a pile of criminal activities that gave birth to a monumental lie that the corrupt, leftist media was all too happy to run with for over a year.  With the same zeal, the disgraceful media elevated the falsified narrative of Russian-Trump collusion to minimize the contents of the newly released memo... To bolster the lie and hide the truth.  Nevertheless, the memo opens a Pandora's Box and sets in motion future investigations.  The American people have witnessed President Obama repeatedly plead ignorance to the steady torrent of crimes against the nation emanating out of his administration, but those denials are now shown to be without credibility.  Had it not been for the unimaginable results of the most unusual election in modern times, there would be no memo, and the nauseating heap of misdeeds of an illicit administration bent on destroying the Constitution would have been hidden away forever.

(“The post-memo reality for America” by Rick Hayes dated February 3, 2018 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/the_postmemo_reality_for_america.html )

The media, in its frenzy to normalize left-wing political espionage, says simultaneously of the Nunes memo: there is nothing to see in it, but don’t look.  The doggedness of Nunes, his refusal to let a politicized FBI and Justice Department stonewall his committee, has thrown considerable light on the real scandal of 2016: not that Trump colluded with the Russians to win but that the Obama administration colluded with Hillary to defeat him.  One government most certainly did meddle in the election – ours!  In desperate denial mode, the media will talk about everything but the fact that the United States government was spying on one campaign by using opposition research from the other, all while hoodwinking FISA court judges and leaking to the press about its politicized investigation.  The more that the probe is put under the microscope, the more outrageous it appears, with Hillary partisans and Trump haters figuring into it at every crucial turn.  Hillary didn’t need a campaign headquarters in Brooklyn; she already had one in Washington, D.C. John Brennan, auditioning to be her CIA director, laid the groundwork for the Trump-Russia probe by hyping bogus intelligence; Trump hater Peter Strzok formally opened the probe at the FBI just weeks after whitewashing Hillary’s mishandling of emails; the slop of Christopher Steele, Hillary’s opposition researcher, served as the basis for spying on all of Carter Page’s communications with the Trump campaign, while the spouse of a Justice Department official involved in the probe shoveled more of the slop to her husband.  Like Watergate, the probe was not only amateurish and paranoid but fruitless.  The media, that stalwart defender of civil liberties, has adopted a comically cavalier view of Carter Page’s violated ones.  The investigation into him was close enough for government work, we’re told.  Besides, it serves him right for talking to Russians. Imagine the media adopting such a breezy view of police misconduct cases in which a minority turns out to be innocent.  Obama’s FBI broke the rules and still didn’t get its man.  To hear the media praise the FBI for that is like listening to a sports announcer praise a basketball player for fouling his way into the key and then missing the dunk.  The FBI, not wanting anyone to see a replay of its foul and botched partisan play, wants the media to blame the ref, so we have an endless trashing of Nunes as “partisan” by partisans.  We see denials of political espionage from participants in it. Take CNN’s breathless coverage of John McCain’s view of the propriety of the Steele dossier without ever mentioning his role in hawking it.  NBC giving Brennan a platform to play dumb about the dossier without asking him about his meetings with Harry Reid.  Notice that the media always accords Adam Schiff solitary interviews, ensuring that his lawyerly constructions go without challenge.  Steele says he didn’t know he was working for Hillary, which is not exactly an endorsement of his surveillance skills.  We learn from Senator Grassley that Steele obtained some of his dirt from Hillaryworld, completing the picture of the FISA warrant as the product of a partisan echo chamber  where corroboration consisted of Steele quoting himself and his paymaster’s friends.  Only a media biased enough to participate in such a farce would tell its viewers to avert their gaze from it.

(“Hillary’s Attempt to Steele the Election” by George Neumayr dated February 7, 2018 published by The American Spectator at https://spectator.org/hillarys-attempt-to-steele-the-election/ )

President Trump gave a notably unifying State of the Union address that didn’t back down an inch from his controversial nationalism.  It’s a step toward fulfilling the political promise of his style of nationalism that could appeal much more broadly than to Trump’s intensely devoted base.  It’s an American tradition that runs through Alexander Hamilton, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.  True American nationalism should be grounded in our common citizenship, champion popular sovereignty and exult in our history, culture and ideals.  Nationalism is the substantive political expression of the positive emotion we call patriotism.  Irving Kristol wrote in the 1980s, “Patriotism springs from love of the nation’s past; nationalism arises out of hope for the nation’s future, distinctive greatness.”  There are only a few things that human beings will give their lives to protect: their family, their faith and their country among them.  Nationalism had always been part of conservatism’s appeal, although contemporary Republicans lost touch with it under the influence of tendencies that became more important in recent decades: libertarianism, humanitarian universalism and the cosmopolitanism of a globe-trotting business elite.  The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence is the announcement of the arrival of a nation-state, assuming a “separate and equal station” in the world.  From the very beginning, America had a prickly pride, a belief in its own greatness and mission, a hatred of foreign interference and an abiding belief that it should be self-governing.  American nationalism has had different and competing permutations down through the centuries, but there is no need to invent a nationalist tradition in this country; it need only be rediscovered and renovated.  This is the larger intellectual challenge for Trumpism.  In sheer political terms, Trump began to set out a palatable nationalism in the State of the Union.  Immigration is such a flashpoint in the Trump era because it’s the domestic policy issue that most directly involves the clash of worldviews between cosmopolitanism and nationalism.  The cosmopolitans believe that the test of our immigration policy ought to be whether it is good for the immigrants coming here; the nationalists believe that the test ought to be whether it is good for the national interest and people already here.  He ended by hailing people from all walks of life, saying, “above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation, belong to them.”  If he resolved to routinely live up to that sentiment, he would do himself, and our political culture, immeasurable good.  In political terms, it isn’t Trump the alleged tool of the Russians or Trump the budding dictator whom Democrats have to fear most; it’s Trump the nationalist unifier.

(“Trump’s nationalism is a serious play to unify America” by Rich Lawry dated February 1, 2018 published by New York Post at https://nypost.com/2018/02/01/trumps-nationalism-is-a-serious-play-for-to-unify-america-paul-sperry/ )


There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·  Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY