A CONVERSATION WITH PAT BUCHANAN

at Buchanan’s latest book, The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority (Crown, 400 pages, $28), chronicles the political resurrection of Richard Nixon after he suffered defeats in the presidential election of 1960 and California gubernatorial election of 1962. It’s a fantastic read, giving an insider’s look at the Nixon’s character and the nation’s politics during the turbulent mid-to-late 1960s.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Mr. Buchanan and ask him about the book, Richard Nixon, and the making of a president.

Ryan Girdusky: How did Richard Nixon, despite losing in 1960, put together a coalition for his 1968 comeback? And who was the New Majority?

Pat Buchanan: It was the political marriage of the Goldwater conservatives, Middle Americans, the Nixonian center of the party, different county chairmen, and regular Republicans. Them and the Goldwater movement were the first components we put together to block out Romney and Rockefeller.

The key thing that happened between 1960 and 1968, in 1960 Nixon had gone up to Rockefeller’s apartment, but by ’68 the center of gravity had shifted and the Goldwater movement had the power to nominate but not elect. If you had Nixon and Goldwater together you could dominate the nomination, but then to elect you had to get Democrats because Republicans were outnumbered almost two-to-one.

My approach was the Northern Catholics, who were moving [politically] because the Democrats no longer had Kennedy on the top of the ticket. And then you had the Southern Protestants, but our problem was Wallace took a lot of their votes—he won seven states. Some of them left Wallace and they were going right across us and going to Humphrey.”

RG: Now how did you push to win the union vote? Because Nixon won a majority of them in ’72.

PB: Well, in ’72 is when we completed the New Majority. In ’72 Wallace ran in the Democratic primaries that year so he wasn’t running in the general, which was fine with us. One thing Nixon did that was very gracious was when Wallace was shot, Nixon was the first person to visit him in the hospital.

So it didn’t come together in ’68 and we almost lost because Northern Catholics, many of them were in unions and went back to Humphrey. He was well-liked and liberal, but not the extreme left wing. But afterwards Nixon went for the Northern ethnic Catholics who rejected the counterculture.

RG: Yeah, I understand that. My grandfather, a union Italian Catholic Democrat, said the first Republican he ever voted for was Nixon.

PB: Well, let me tell you this: Nixon once said, ‘The Italians’ time is coming.’ We were hoping for an Italian Supreme Court justice—that’s why when I was working in Reagan’s White House and I’d been pushing for it, when the word came to us that Reagan was going to appoint a new Supreme Court justice and it was this man named Antonin Scalia, I yelled ‘Yes!’

RG: That Scalia guy seems to have worked out in the end.

PB: He did work out considering how many didn’t work out. That was one of our failures: we had four appointments. Of course Rehnquist was one of the great jurist of the twentieth century and he was a good guy too.

RG: You detail in your book how Eisenhower was considering dropping Nixon from the ticket. Did that create distrust or did Nixon dislike Eisenhower?

PB: Nixon revered Eisenhower… but everyone who was close to Nixon at the time of the fund scandal thought that he was very wounded by the whole ordeal.

RG: The loss of the House and the Senate during the Eisenhower years and during the Goldwater election—did seeing those losses help inspire Nixon to rebuild the party??

PB: I think after Goldwater’s loss, Goldwater was very grateful to Nixon for all the work he did for him and knew it wasn’t for selfish reasons. And despite losing he was still admired as a hero and martyr for conservatives. Clearly, Nixon could see the development in the South; he went to that South Carolina event in ’66 and the idea that the Catholics were moving was something I convinced him of. I wrote him this huge memo about how the Catholics fell off by ten points without Jack Kennedy on the ticket in the midterm, and they were natural Republicans.

Nixon knew they were with us morally and culturally, and Nixon/Agnew became the rejection of the counterculture of the 1960s. One of the big events that cemented it was Nixon’s ’69 Silent Majority speech and then Agnew taking on the networks. That was my baby and it worked.

RG: But when Nixon became president in ’68, becoming the first president since Zachary Taylor to have both Houses of Congress against him, did he have any leeway with the Congress? Did he have the same executive push as Lyndon Johnson?

PB: Oh, no. When Reagan became president he had the Senate and enough Blue Dogs to move legislation. What Nixon had was a Congress that was so hostile to him—one time Nixon asked Congress to vote for an anti-ballistic missile system so he could negotiate with the Soviets who were building ballistic missiles around Moscow. So he went to the Senate and asked them for this vote and all he could get was a tie. They alerted the vice president that he would have to vote, so Nixon looked at Agnew and said, ‘You know how to vote on this one?’ And Agnew said, ‘Mr. President, let’s talk about that family assistance program you’re in favor of.’

RG: You joined Nixon in 1965. When did Nixon start campaigning for Republicans in the midterms?

PB: In that fall of ’66. Nixon had his six-week campaign for Republicans in the House. He said Republicans would win forty seats and they won forty-seven.

RG: Now despite all the press that said Nixon was finished after 1962, did any of them give him credit for the victories in 1966?

PB: Some did, yeah. Some papers looked at who he endorsed and saw that an enormous number of them won. He didn’t make that cover of Time magazine that had the six Republicans of the future. Nixon didn’t make that cover.

RG: Is the lesson of Nixon relevant?

PB: I often think the lesson of Nixon is relevant today, and the trouble is America is a changed country. There is still Nixon’s Silent Majority, but their numbers have shrunken. You see that in response to this illegal immigrant invasion. Those people are still there but their numbers have diminished. A lot of the younger folks have grown up in the revolution of the ’60s. They’ve absorbed and internalized the sexual revolution and the ’60s ideas of acid, amnesty, and abortion. They’re in favor of pot, amnesty, and half the country is in favor of same-sex marriage and abortion. That’s tremendous change in the country.

RG: But that same approach Nixon took of looking at crime and social decay and the need for social cohesion, could a Republican look for an issue like that which unites a majority of the country?

PB: Well, you know, look at Prop 8 in California. Seventy percent of black folks voted in favor of Prop 8 to ban same-sex marriage, and then McCain got 5 percent of them.

RG: So could the lesson of Nixon be relevant?

PB: If you energize cultural traditionalists and social conservatives, you could energize them, but their numbers aren’t there anymore.

 

Published in The American Spectator

Build a Christian State in the Middle East

Last week, Christians found themselves on the road to extinction in Mosul after ISIS captured the city.  For the first time in sixteen hundred years, no Church bells rang on Sunday. It is not an anomaly, in the Syrian city of Raqqa Sunni warriors convey a simple message, “convert to Islam or face the sword.”

The genocide of Christians from Pakistan to Morocco has become endemic; the faith and its adherents face annihilation.  Western powers, which actively fought for the creation of the state of Israel, freeing the people of Iraq and Libya, as well as arming insurgents in Syria, now have three options: choose a side in the sectarian wars, none of which are friendly to Christians; do nothing allowing the ethnic cleansing of Christians, or give arms and aid to a Christian state.  With few good options left for the Christians, they must fight to develop a Christian state and the West should aid them.

Even before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians suffered mass persecution across the Middle East.  Secular dictators like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and Bashar al-Assad in Syria provided protection against the Islamists.  Once Hussein and Mubarak fell and Assad became embroiled a civil war, Christians became open targets.

850,000 Iraqi Christians have fled Iraq since 2003, nearly 100,000 in Egypt according to 2011 numbers, and 450,000 have left Syria.

Those who remain live under constant terror: beheadings, suicide bombings, kidnappings, and shootings. Countries like Lebanon with a large Christian population have seen a rise in threats by Islamists including Al-Qaeda.

With increasing sectarian violence, Middle Eastern Christians have few friends.  Rather than taking sides in another civil or sectarian war that causes blowback, the West needs to advocate for a Christian state in the Middle East.

A Christian state would not only provide protection for the estimated fifteen million Middle Eastern Christians but would also provide an area of stability in Middle East and very likely a loyal ally to the United States and Israel.

As tribal conflicts are splitting nations and peoples apart, the West can mobilize Christian to secede into their own states or city-states.  No matter the outcome, it’s hard to see Christians welcomed in most areas of a post Arab Spring Middle East.

Rather than arming Islamist militants, the Western nations can find a location with a heavy Christian population in a war torn country; Libya or Iraq for example and arm Christians, demand representation in the United Nations, and offer an alliance and protection to the state.  Whether that means organizing large Christian areas into a state like Israel where multiple different tribes of Christians live together, or creating a few city-states and small Christian fiefdoms that have the backing of the Western military powers.

The new nation wouldn’t need an oil-based economy.  When Lebanon was a Christian majority country, it enjoyed economic prosperity; Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East.

And as a Christian nation in the Middle East, surrounded by aggressive neighbors, the nation will have to work with Western governments for trade, protection, and investment.  Giving the West and Israel a much-needed ally in the hostile region.

A Christian state has been tried at various times in the past: during the Lebanese Civil War, the Maronites in Lebanon created an enclave in East Beirut, Mount Lebanon, and Beka’a known as “Petit Liban” from 1980 until 1983.   A political split in 1983 followed by the invasion from Syria in 1990, and withdrawing of Israeli troops from the security zone in 2000 ended any and all ambitions of the state being fully formed.

Similarly in Northern Iraq, Assyrians were able to capitalize on Saddam’s defeat from the Kuwait invasion.  After the invasion, Western powers made the Kurdish region semi-autonomous, allowing Assyrian Christians to establish local militias and integrate into Kurdish institutions, even electing legislative members to the assembly.  After the fall of Saddam though, those Christians have lost all gains previously made.

American and European allies can create another opportunity in this time of crisis. And with their backing a pro-Western, Christian nation with a laissez-faire economy- the same the Christians set up in Lebanon- is possible. Middle Eastern Christians could seize on the opportunity with America and the West’s support.  There seems to be no other choice, it’s a do-or-die situation.

America’s Toxic Culture Of Fame

Just one week after the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wedding, Harvey Levin, founder of TMZ, launched his new reality show “Famous in 12.” The show chronicles the life of the Artiagas, a small-town family with a manager mother and three daughters, whose goal is to become as famous as the Kardashian family — famous for being famous — in just twelve weeks.

From the start of the show, Levin tells the girls not to count on being talented to guide them to instant celebrity. Certainly, talent is not required to join the ranks of Paris Hilton, the Kardashian family, Snooki, the magcon boys, or any of the real housewives.

Who needs talent when you can just have fame? For the Artiagas, fame has become their life purpose and meaning; fame is the solution to their beige lives.

They are not alone. The millennial generation has millions like them, young women who dream more about having the career of Paris Hilton rather than Hillary Clinton. And if fame is the millennial solution — is that a problem?

The dream of fame and fortune is not unique to millennials. Baby Boomers wanted to be the next Joan Baez or Sandra Dee, Generation X wanted to be Farrah Fawceit or Fiona Apple; but back then there was a connection to art, talent, and abilities that would eventually lead to fame. For many millenials, fame is both the starting point and the ultimate goal

The hope of instant celebrity spread far and wide into our cultural fabric, not just in the entertainment business. In politics, there are those who dream of being the next talking head; wheeling seven-figure radio, book, or talk-show deals, or influencing an army of millions, a desire fueled by the capricious way people become famous on the Internet today. Suey Park, the Asian-American activist who created the hashtag #CancelColbert after he made a culturally insensitive joke. After the hashtag caught on, Park revealed in a Salon.com interview that this “is not a reform, this is a revolution” where she and her army of twitter followers were out to fight “whiteness”.

Throughout the interview, Park never managed to create a clear argument as how she intended to fight whiteness. By her actions though it’s clear she means to do it one tweet at a time, she followed #CancelColbert with #NotYourAsianSideKick and recently attacked the #YesAllWomen hashtag because it had been coopted by white feminists. Whatever the case, she intends to grow her twitter army – twenty-five thousand strong and counting — promoting herself as the Rachel Maddow of the new Millennial anti-’whiteness’ revolution one tweet at a time, from her comfortable home. Her revolution does not involve any kind of meaningful work.

The generational desire for notoriety and fame has a dark side, when wedded to instability and mental illness. Take into account recent young men, plagued with the longing to be famous: Elliot Rogers, Aaron Rey Ybarra, Robert Hawkins, and Adam Lanza.

The mentally ill are not isolated from the broader culture — if anything, they’re more susceptible to it.

If a generation of the fame-obsessed is the condition, the disease could be a rootless upbringing. Millennials are the most uprooted generation in history. Our generation is more mobile than any that came before, generally with no particular affection for place and little-to-no sense of family and roots.

The generation before us traded family, place, and faith for keeping up with the Joneses. Now their children’s generation looks for meaning in sex tapes, parties, reality shows, paparazzi pictures, and fortune. Experiencing a generational failure to launch, life is no more than a drawn-out high school drama: measuring self-worth by guest lists, social media, and publicity. You’re nobody until somebody tweets about you.

It’s perhaps the reason that Millennials are less bound to a political party, organized religion, less likely to trust other people, or consider themselves as patriotic and environmentalist. Baby Boomers may have thought that a suburban, multi-cultural, transient, society that replaces apple pie with Applebees is ideal, but so far it has only further decimated America’s social capital.

Some may think that a society based upon individual tastes has more benefits than a consumer-based society; no two people need to watch the same program, listen to the same music, or ever communicate with each other if their interests don’t collide. Why have a society based upon high civic engagement and social capital when you can have a society where everyone can hook up on Tinder? Instead of being famous in a small town, you can be famous on Vine, Twitter, and Youtube.

Regardless of the numerous cautionary tales of how fame can destroy lives — and countless examples of people destroying their lives to become famous — there is always someone admiring Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber, Teresa Giudice, Kate Gosselin, Macaulay Culkin, Amanda Bynes, Corey Haim, and Charlie Sheen.

At the end of the last episode of “Famous in 12,” two of the sisters have an argument and one yells, “Who are you? Why are you here?” to which the other sister responds, “I’m just trying to figure out who I am, just like you?”

It’s a human condition, to seek love, meaning, and find out who we are. It’s a generational ambition to be loved by millions, at all cost; even if it means being known by the world and losing yourself. Why be yourself when you can be Kim Kardashian?

 

Published at DailyCaller.com

How the Tea Party Got 2014 Wrong

The North Carolina Republican primaries were a big day for the Tea Party. The movement had not one, but two candidates campaigning to take on Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in November. Greg Brannon and Mark Harris had millions of dollars spent on their respective campaigns, yet it was obvious early on that this would be another case of the conservative vote being split. It’s become very typical in Republican primary politics.

Without a unified front, the establishment will always win. The time has come for conservatives to cut their losses and work on races where one candidate can overcome a weaker establishment choice.

In another North Carolina primary the Tea Party missed its chance. Frank Roche is an America-first, small-government candidate who challenged pro-amnesty, establishment Republican Renee Ellmers. Ellmers is a unique member of Congress for whom amnesty is not enough and those who don’t support “comprehensive immigration reform” are “ignorant.” Having more than a million dollars in resources, including more than $200,000 from Mark Zuckerberg, Ellmers won the primary with 58.8 percent of the vote.

The Tea Party groups did nothing to support Roche who raised just under $25,000. Even with such limited funds he did far better than anyone expected, winning over 40 percent of the vote without airing a single television ad. His loss was a larger defeat for the conservative movement than that of Brannon or Harris.

Media outlets from the Daily Beast to the Hill are reporting that Republicans have nothing to fear by supporting amnesty for illegal aliens. Why? Because Roche’s defeat proves the country is ready for “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Had conservative PACs, Tea Party groups, or anyone else with money gotten involved and spent even a quarter of what was spent on Ellmers, there is a very good chance Roche would have won.

Instead the Tea Party missed out on that golden opportunity because they were investing millions of dollars challenging Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John Boehner, and Pete Sessions, and getting involved in conservative civil wars in Georgia and North Carolina.

The only chance the Tea Party has at taking down an incumbent senator for this cycle is Chris McDaniel’s challenge to Thad Cochran. And that too may be an uphill climb, as Mississippi, while very conservative, also has establishment-oriented politics.

Trying to take on the Senate minority leader, who has the backing of fellow Kentuckians and Tea Party darlings Rand Paul and Thomas Massie, instead of challenging easily beatable establishment candidates such as Ellmers is a mistake.

Incumbent senators like McConnell have become the Tea Party’s Moby Dick, and the movement is losing legitimacy with every primary loss.

The Tea Party’s focus should have been defending good conservative incumbents, like Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Walter Jones; coalescing around one conservative in open seats, including T.W. Shannon for the Senate in Oklahoma; defeating weak incumbents who are attempting to give Democrats 12 million new voters such as Ellmers and Lindsey Graham; and lastly and most importantly, beating Democrats in November.

Big symbolic fish like McConnell and Boehner may be great for fundraising ploys and getting activists excited, but they’re not good for the movement when they result in defeats. If the Tea Party wants to prove that the rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated, they should be spending more time beating Mark Zuckerberg-approved Republicans and less in civil wars that they can’t win.

Published in The American Spectator

The Unsinkable Walter Jones

If there is a man who represents independence from the political establishment it’s North Carolina’s Walter Jones.  A man of principle, Rep. Jones isn’t afraid to buck his own party on issues like foreign policy, extending unemployment insurance, and financial reform.  He’s gone so far as voting against John Boehner for speaker, opting instead for David Walker, Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of Labor; as well as stating that Lyndon Johnson’s probably rotting hell now because of the Vietnam War and he better make room for Dick Cheney.”

His anti-war sentiments made him a hero to the liberty movement and a close ally of former Congressman Ron Paul.  His voting record against big spending doesn’t just date back to the Tea Party as does some more famous colleagues, Jones was a conservative even when Republicans were in power, voting against Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind.

Yesterday, the ten-term incumbent just defeated Taylor Griffin, his most serious primary opponent of his career.  Taylor, a former Bush administration official backed by both the Tea Party darling Sarah Palin and K Street lobbyists, they attacked Jones primarily on his anti-war positions.  Groups like Emergency Committee for Israel and the Ending Spending Fund Super PAC poured more than $1 million into the Republican primary.

More than a million dollars was spent trying to defeat a good conservative, whose opinion on war coincides with the American public. Jones stood strong against a war with Syria, intervention in Libya, and more money and American lives wasted in the occupation of Afghanistan.  Jones has been on the winning side of all these issues; Washington’s candidate was on the losing side, the big government side, and the pro-war side.

It’s doubtful that this will be Jones’ last primary challenge, and it’s very possible that many more groups will spend millions trying to defeat the good congressman because they know they can’t buy him off.  He’s faced a less serious primary challenge in 2008.

Of course Jones doesn’t care about most of that, he said many years ago, “I didn’t come up here to seek power or to get a chairmanship.  I want to do what I think my Lord wants me to do.”

The establishment be damned, may Jones do the Lord’s work for many years to come.

Black Republicans could make a comeback in 2014

African-American Republicans had a tremendous resurgence in 2010, 32 ran for the House of Representatives; two won — Former Congressman Allen West and Senator Tim Scott. 2014 could be an opportunity for new African-American legislators to make further inroads.

Since the appointment of Tim Scott to the Senate and the failed re-election of Congressman West, the House has been without African-American Republicans. At least five nominees are hoping to fill that vacancy.

The most promising nominee is Mia Love, who looks to all but certain to win the congressional seat of her 2012 opponent, the retiring Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah. Love, the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, lost her 2012 bid by less than 800 votes out of more than a quarter-of-a-million cast. The seat is overwhelmingly Republican, R+14 according to the Cook Political Report. Without the popular incumbent Democrat, it is a guaranteed pick up for Mrs. Love and will make her the first female African-American Republican elected to the U.S. House in history.

Another candidate is Will Hurd, running in Texas’ massive southwestern 23rd district against one-term Democrat Pete Gallego. Hurd failed to win an outright victory against former Congressman Canseco by .06 percent in the primary. If he wins the May 27th runoff, he will be the party’s nominee in a swing district. Currently rated as R+3, the district supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and Barack Obama in 2008. The former undercover CIA officer would be running in a majority Hispanic district, but one that sometimes votes Republican.

Some other black Republican House candidates are Niger Innis, running in Nevada’s 4th; former NFL linebacker Garry Cobb in New Jersey’s 1st; and Micah Edmond in Virginia’s 8th who have tougher races, running in very competitive primaries and much more Democratic districts.

If any of these nominees are successful in gaining seats in the House, it will be the first time since 1881 that Republicans had African-American representatives in both chambers.

In the Senate, T.W. Shannon, the former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives is making a bid for the open seat being vacated by Senator Tom Coburn. He is in the midst of a primary fight as the conservative movement-backed candidate against the establishment’s Rep. James Lankford. Shannon has the endorsement of nearly every single member of the Oklahoma statehouse, Sarah Palin, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, Erick Erickson, and Sen. Mike Lee. Currently, he’s polling closely behind Lankford, but the race is likely to go to a runoff in August.

Growing the base of identifiable black figures in the GOP is important to the party as a whole outside these individual races. Despite the failure of President Obama’s policies to alleviate unemployment in the African-American community, President Obama could count on more than 90 percent of their vote in the 2008 and 2012 election. The African-American vote is the Democrats’ firewall and Republicans must break it up.

The GOP has a unique advantage; Democrats have put the priorities of illegal immigrants and teachers unions ahead of the interest of the African-American community, even when their interests clash. Democrats treat black voters like mistresses: they don’t work for their vote, their interests, or their future. If Republicans can show up and offer them something else, other than open-ended rhetoric on the free market, they may be able to make some traction.

Losing an entire population by 9-to-1 is devastating to the national party and although no one is claiming that the GOP can win over a majority of black voters, it needs to stop losing them in such sweeping landslides. Some state-level candidates have done very well with African-Americans in the past: Chris Christie — 21 percent, Michael Steele – 25 percent, Arnold Schwarzenegger — 27 percent, George Voinovich — 32 percent, Dino Rossi – 37 percent, Jodi Rell — 40 percent, Mike Huckabee — 48 percent.

Younger African-American men have already showing signs that they are willing to give the GOP a chance, 19 percent voted for Mitt Romney over the President Obama in 2012. Now the party has to do the work to expand those numbers and give them a permanent home in the party of Lincoln.

Prominent African-American conservatives including Princella Smith, Ken Blackwell, and Anita MonCrief have created the Black Conservative Fund a PAC dedicated to electing black candidates, providing the financial backing that many have lacked in the past.

With more prominent elected Black Republicans, a fresh policy agenda addressing real needs on education and jobs, and as Chris Christie put it “just showing up,” could help to win over new voters. Republicans can no longer just play defense if they want to regain control of the White House in 2016, they’re going to have to start playing by a new rulebook.

Ryan James Girdusky is a writer and consultant based out of New York City.  You can read more of his work at RyanGirdusky.com or follow him on twitter @RyJamesG.
Published in the Daily Caller

Jeb Bush: Soft on Crime in the name of Love

Jeb Bush, in what he viewed as a heroic act, sided with the liberal media, the major unions, big business, and the majority of the Democrat Party and stated that illegal immigration is a crime on the books but is really just “an act of love.”

The full quote is:

“Someone comes to this country because they couldn’t come legally, they come this country because their families, a dad who loved their children was were worried that their children didn’t have food on the table.  And wanted to make sure their family was intact and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family”

Based upon Jeb’s constant stuttering and inability to finish a full thought without starting a new one — a Bush family trait — this comment seems not to have been prepared. It’s very likely what the former Florida Governor actually believes.

It’s compassionate conservatism 2.0, rather than just expanding the federal bureaucracy to help the disenfranchised poor, Jeb would go one step further and actually negate criminal activity for tens-of-millions of people in the name of compassion. These people are, after all, natural Constitution-loving, law-and-order Republicans in the making.

But if you’re going to start excusing crimes, why should Bush stop with illegal aliens? There are a lot of crimes that are misdemeanors that one could are argue are done in the name of love.

Like shoplifting. In Texas, shoplifting is broken down into three different classes as a misdemeanor, the most severe being Class-A, where a criminal steals from $500 to $1,500 in property.

But what if a criminal was stealing food for his family? Or clothes? Or school supplies? What if they were just stealing property to give away as Christmas gifts to the disenfranchised? Could all of this be forgiven under the Presidency of Jeb Bush?

There are myriad different laws across the country that are misdemeanors; could someone be forgiven if acting against the law with the correct intent? In New York, misdemeanors include assault in the third degree and inciting a riot – maybe if Al Sharpton felt like inciting another riot, Jeb Bush would let him off since it was in the name of social justice.

After all, according to the philosophy of Jeb Bush, someone, such as an illegal immigrant who commits a crime by breaking into the United States, is not likely to go on and commit any other future crimes.

Jeb’s statements were not only idiotic — that blanket amnesty of crimes would not result in more crimes (See Reagan’s amnesty in 1986). They also go against the Republican Party’s ideology and politics in favor of being soft on crime.

Republicans have done remarkably well running tough-on-crime campaigns; Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent-Governor Pat Brown in the 1966 election for California Governor. Richard Nixon won the Presidency in 1968 after Republicans had suffered defeats in seven of the previous nine elections; Nixon’s tough on crime policies would help create the new majority, the Republican coalition that would deliver victories in six of the next nine elections. Rudy Guiliani won two elections for Mayor of New York City — against a six-to-one Democrat advantage — primarily due to his policy on crime.

Jeb Bush is very conscious of his image problem, he’s a Bush and he’s a Republican, but if blanket amnesty and soft-on-crime-policy is Jeb’s way of making the new Bush and the new Republican, it’s going to be met with the same results as Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Originally published in DailyCaller.com

BILL DE BLASIO WINS THE LOTTERY

There’s a familiar story of a man who has nothing, wins the lotto, and lives the same lavish lifestyle that he once criticized rich people for. Then, in just a few short years, he’s back in poverty, with only memories of good times.

Bill de Blasio won the lottery: a weak Republican opponent in an overwhelmingly liberal city that hadn’t elected a Democrat mayor in two decades. There was fatigue over the Bloomberg and Giuliani years. Most New Yorkers couldn’t fathom a time when Times Square was littered with prostitutes, the Lower East Side with AIDS-infected heroin addicts, and Brooklyn with race riots.

De Blasio’s moderate Democrat opponents were seen as being too close to Bloomberg, and his more liberal opponents were mired in scandal: John Liu for his shady fundraising and Anthony Weiner for (insert your own joke here).

And so the people’s mayor was elected to right the injustices cast by evil Republicans over the last 20 years. Income inequality, police brutality, and Justin Bieber’s career would all be things of the past.

It appears, however, that his words were in vain.

Within weeks of his inauguration, de Blaiso gave a get-out-of-jail-free-card to his friend Bishop Orlando Findlayter. He was a member of de Blasio’s transition team who was stopped and arrested by police for two open warrants. One phone call from the mayor and Findlayter was spared a night in prison.

Several weeks ago, leaving a photo-op in Queens, the mayor’s driver recklessly sped through side streets and blew past stop signs, even as de Blasio was pressing to lower the city speed limit to 25 mph.

On March 2, it was reported by the New York Post that the mayor hadn’t registered his $1.1 million rental property in Brooklyn, three months after that same paper first pointed it out.

When asked by the press about these incidents, the mayor was evasive. He doesn’t believe that if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. It’s not easy being the people’s mayor, suffering the fate of the voiceless 99 percent.

Cronyism aside, de Blasio has not shown he’s prepared to tackle the job of New York City’s most powerful leader.

As of February 28, de Blasio still has to appoint heads of more than a dozen city offices and agencies — Buildings, Cultural Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Corrections, Parks, and Finance, just to name a few.

The mayor also hasn’t been able to deal with the old-as-time issue of snow. This is New York, not Atlanta where a dusting can prompt dozens of car accidents. New Yorkers are used to snow; nonetheless this year brought a lot of severe weather. States of emergency were declared at least three times. The mayor placed warnings to stay off the roads, except if you attended or taught at public schools.

Despite hazardous conditions, the public schools remained open, to the ire of parents, teachers, and students. New York’s own Al Roker tweeted, “I knew this am @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio forecast: 1 term.”

Roker is not known for his politics, and although he apologized for saying one term, he didn’t apologize for the criticism. It’s what many New Yorkers were thinking.

School Chancellor Carmen Farina stated that schools had to remain open because many New York City students depended on public schools for a hot lunch. Farina said that many schools experienced more than 60 percent attendance.

It does not surprise this writer that many parents look at public schools as a babysitting program for their children. That’s a reality of the day and age we live in. The troubling aspect is that the school chancellor looked at this with a sense of pride. In blistering conditions, when only three-fifths of the student body could attend school, the city babysitting agency must stay open to feed the hungry.

What do these children do on the weekends? Or over the summer? Or on the newly declared city holidays for Islamic holy days?

Governor Cuomo also slapped down the mayor in his push to tax the rich in order to mandate universal pre-K. This was just another setback for de Blasio’s political agenda.

Since de Blasio has become New York City’s mayor, the rich are planning to flee, homicide is on the rise, and the chancellor of our public schools has made it clear that the number one priority is to chaperone children.

This is fate of the soon-to-be-former safest big city in America, where hipsters and the Walt Disney Company were once safe to frolic.

 

Published in The American Spectator 

Liberty Republicans grow up

It’s often said that growing up involves making peace with your elders. The time spent from adolescence to adulthood is paved with the brutal realities of coming to terms with the establishment. Similar events occur for a political movement, populist uprisings must either accomplish their goals quickly, or seize power and become part of the establishment, or fade away.

The liberty movement, comparable to the tea party but with greater emphasis on a modest foreign policy, sound currency, and civil liberties is certainly making that leap from adolescent troublemaker to being a grown up. As Senator Mike Lee has said, “it has taken us some time to move from our ‘Boston moment’ to our ‘Philadelphia moment’.” In other words, from a protest movement to a party that can govern.

While Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee have already started to make that transition as elected statesmen, several other candidates who ran and lost their first time around are making a new attempt with a more tempered tone.

Possibly the most promising of these candidates is Clint Didier, a two time Super Bowl-winning football player turned U.S. Senate candidate in 2010. He was endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul and Governor Sarah Palin and was the favorite of both the liberty movement and the tea party. Unfortunately, he was in a primary battle against a popular establishment state-senator Dino Rossi. Rossi had run for Governor twice before, coming up short by 119 votes out of more than 2.7 million cast, one of the closest elections in American history.

Didier lost in 2010, but beat the establishment candidate in several eastern counties in Washington State. He became the party’s nominee for statewide office in 2012 in an unsuccessful bid for Commissioner of Public Land.

This time around, he is running for Congress in Washington’s 4th district, currently represented by Doc Hastings, who is retiring. Didier won the congressional district in his 2012 general election. He has high name recognition and can easily draw support from the party as their former general election nominee for a statewide office as well as from the grassroots. It also helps that the 4th district is a safe Republican seat, so his fight will be in the primary.

Another former statewide candidate is Debra Medina. Mrs. Medina made headlines in 2010 as a nurse who jumped in the race for Texas Governor running on the issue of property tax reform. Her high polling from the grassroots propelled her to the debates with Governor Perry and Senator Hutchinson. After a gaffe on the Glenn Beck show her rise to the governor’s mansion was stunted, and she received a respectable 19 percent against the sitting governor and Senator.

Mrs. Medina is now in a race for Texas Comptroller. She is the only candidate in the race who has run for statewide office before and claims that she still has a connection with the 275,000+ voters who cast their ballot for her in 2010. Which gives a strong advantages to her other opponents, two of whom are in the state legislature. And she’s got a good case; Medina now has a double-digit lead on her opponents, 39 percent to 26, 24, and 11 percent respectively.

Voter turnout will be smaller than her previous run for governor, as is the case most of the time for down-ballot races. While she has not been the favorite amongst many in the establishment, support from her 2010 base could promote her into a runoff if no primary candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote.

Even though she has been lagging in fundraising and endorsements, grassroots and high name ID is Medina’s hail mary pass for a victory this cycle. Also benefiting her this election cycle: she’s been free of any gaffes or Glenn Beck interviews.

Also running for statewide office is Curtis Coleman, a businessman who founded Safe Food Corporation; he retired from it in 2009 and ran for U.S. Senate in Arkansas in 2010. He flew under the radar, coming in fifth in the Republican primary and receiving a paltry 5 percent of the vote.

In February he announced his bid for the vacant Governor’s mansion. Even though there have been no primary polls, Coleman has begun to build a strong coalition, receiving the endorsements of Congressman Ron Paul, several elected state representatives and local politicians, Tea Party organizations, as well as Christian ministers and business leaders.

This broad coalition may prove affective as he campaigns on the issues of economic development, states’ rights, and social conservative family policies. Certainly if nothing else, having endorsements from such a wide range of people makes his bid legitimate.

That is, after all, what all populist movements look for in the end, for their ideas and candidates to become mainstream. It can be a painful process to get there, involving two or three Christine O’Donnells before you get a Rand Paul or Mike Lee. But, if the liberty movement is going to survive outside think tanks and college campuses, it is essential.

 

Originally Published in the DailyCaller.com

NEW YORK: RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING

In the wake of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statement that “extreme conservatives” have no place in New York State because “that’s not what New York is about,” Mayor Bill De Blasio quickly agreed.

But Cuomo and de Blasio are not only proving their own prejudice, but also their ignorance of history. New York State and New York City have been home to some of the most extreme, misfit, rebellious, groundbreaking, status quo-shaking right-wingers in American history.

Libertarianism owes as much to New York City as it does to the rugged individualism that came out of the West. Ayn Rand, the mother of objectivism, moved to New York City in 1926. She wrote both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in New York. She lived here and died here.

Another notable New York libertarian is the father of Austrian economics Ludwig Von Mises. It was in New York that he wrote his landmark work Human Action. Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman, two other economists whose opinions and theories totally reject the tax-and-borrow policies of Cuomo and de Blasio, are products of New York.

Dorothy Day, another New Yorker, famous for her works of charity and her organization, The Catholic Worker, was profoundly opposed to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and was vehemently pro-life. Likewise, Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women’s suffrage, deplored abortion and has a pro-life PAC in her name. Anthony called New York State home for more than half a century.

Outside politics, many conservatives who influenced our culture came from New York. Johnny Ramone was the father of American punk rock music, creating the Ramones from his hometown in Queens, New York, and going on to influence an entire genre of music. Ramone was also a staunch conservative, citing Ronald Reagan as “the greatest president of my lifetime.”

Other pop-culture icons who are conservative and native New Yorkers include daytime TV queen Susan Lucci, comedian Adam Sandler, and actor Sylvester Stallone.

Conservative opinion writers and pundits like Jonah Goldberg, Michael Savage, Peggy Noonan, Samuel Huntington, Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, and Bill Kauffman all trace their origins to the Empire State.

Nonetheless, if the governor and mayor do not want us, maybe conservatives and libertarians who are considered too extreme should leave.

If conservatives who voted for a right-wing candidate for president—Romney, Gary Johnson, or Virgil Goode—left the state, they would number 2,544,026 strong, resulting in New York losing four more congressional districts. If they were to move to the states that border New York—New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts—those would all become Republican states. Conservatives are plentiful enough in New York that we could turn the liberal Northeast red.

If conservatives left the state, they would take with them some of the largest donors to charity and culture. Central Park’s famous Wollman Rink would not be in operation if it were not for Donald Trump who built it in three months, after the city had failed to open it in nearly three years.

The Koch brothers, who are vilified by liberals on MSNBC, are some of the largest donors to the arts, education, and medical research in New York City. They gave $100 million to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, $30 million to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, $25 million for the Hospital for Special Surgery, $20 million to the American Museum of Natural History, $65 million for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and $100 million to the Lincoln Center. They’ve given millions more to the New York City Ballet and New York City Opera, though the exact amounts aren’t public information.

So despite the fact that the mayor and governor might wish we were gone, we are New York—from the farms and towns of Upstate and Western New York to the affluent neighborhoods of the Upper East Side and all the various ethnic enclaves of the five boroughs.

This writer’s family came to New York more than 150 years ago. As a born-and-raised New Yorker my beliefs and philosophy do not negate my sense of place and heritage. To quote Muley Graves from The Grapes of Wrath, “That’s what make it ours, being born on it, and working on it, and dying on it.”

Published in The American Spectator