Thursday, May 12, 2016

What Trump Could Do To Earn My Vote

Based on things he's said, I don't think he wants to earn it. But just on the off-chance, here's the checklist:

  • Show some reverence for the Constitution. Trump thus far has indicated a desire to govern by executive action and bullying rather than by a restoration of Constitutional order. This would have to change.
  • Talk about freedom. This is what Conservatism is about. It's not about lowering taxes, except insofar as that helps reduce the size of government. It's not about a particular policy here or there. It's about the government not getting in my grill. For example, has Trump ever spoken about the regulatory state? Not to my knowledge.
  • Be consistent. It doesn't work to announce a tax plan one day and then reverse course a week later.
  • Demonstrate that you're a safe choice. We're contemplating giving Trump the nuclear launch codes and executive control over the Treasury Department. We need to be confident he won't drop a nuke on North Korea just because he and Melania got into a tiff over breakfast, or that he won't actually just print money to clear our sovereign debt (he does know this would result in massive inflation... uh, right?).
  • Earn our trust. Most importantly, we have to believe you'll actually do the things you say you'll do.

It's that last point that's the biggest problem. How can he earn trust at this point? He's backtracked, lied, done dirty deals, reneged, etc., all his life. He's never held political office and has no political record to point to. So even if he aces the rest of the points, I'm not sure how he checks off the last one, because I don't know if there's any way to overcome three decades of double-dealing with six months of words.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In Which I Cathartically Point Fingers

Trump Is the GOP's Fault

For years and years, the GOP has disappointed certain members of the base. First it was Bush 41 and "no new taxes", then George W. Bush and "compassionate conservatism". Then in the Obama era we nominated in John McCain a man many saw as a RINO and then in Mitt Romney a man who had championed a version of Obamacare when governor of Massachusetts. Anger built. The Tea Party was supposedly a response to that anger, and had some potential to change things. But Tea Party candidates were either defeated or, if elected, quickly co-opted into the dreaded establishment (whisper the word). Elements of the base grew increasingly disenchanted with Politics As Usual.

Enter Trump. No conservative. No angel. Not merely not politically correct but deliberately offensive. But he promised to overturn the apple cart, end squishy RINO-ism for good, and he found enough support running on that platform to win the GOP nomination.

Trump Is the Democrats' Fault

For years and years, Democrats have (usually unfairly) slandered GOP candidates for being racist, anti-woman, anti-working-class, etc. These attacks come as regularly as the sun rises in the east. You can set your watch by them.

Enter Trump. He actually is all those things. But the Left's boy who cried wolf routine has sapped the strength of their attacks, clearing the way for his ascendancy.

Trump Is the Modern World's Fault

For years and years, the world has been defining decency down. It was a minor scandal that Ronald Reagan had once divorced (he is still the only U.S. President ever to have done so). The public has generally punished politicians who attacked too vehemently, went after their opponents' families, or generally behaved in a way too different from what we usually view as public decorum. But in a world of internet trolls, sex tapes, and reality television, we seem to have become hardened to them.

Enter Trump. There was a time not that long ago when Trump's behavior would have kept him out of business altogether, not to speak of politics. Trump has divorced twice, and openly bragged of seducing other men's wives. Kennedy (and others) may have practiced seduction, but at least he had the decency to keep it a secret. Many of Trump's obvious negatives are thus blunted.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ace of Spades Nails It


...[T]his is what I most resist in leftist politics -- not the minimum wage per se, but the notion that the government can and should dictate to people what arrangements they make in private employment. Not free birth control per se, but the repulsive idea tha the government will force people to buy birth control for others -- even if that is against their own private covenants with the Lord God.

About seven months ago I noticed, and said on the blog: Trump never talks about limiting the power of government, or freedom. Never. He's Government Action Man-- the government can do and do and do for "the people."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Friend of mine asked my wife the other day: Is Mr. Athwart History still annoyed by Donald Trump? I haven't been posting too much recently, so allow me to reply to that question here.

No, he doesn't annoy me. Annoyance is an emotion I feel when swarmed by gnats while trying to enjoy a sunset. The word for my feelings about Trump is "detest". He is a detestable person, and wholly unsuitable to the Presidency. His entire life history is of screwing over the little guy, reneging on deals, cheating both in business and his personal life. It should go without saying that we don't want this man to be President. His supporters want someone who will fight as dirty as the Democrats do. Fine: he will, I have every confidence. But to what end? Only his own, I fear.

Between the time I started writing this post and now, Trump has won the Indiana primary and become the presumptive nominee. As a conservative and nominal Republican, that creates a problem for me. I will never vote for Trump. I cannot imagine voting for Hillary or Bernie (although if it proved necessary to stop Trump... I might). That leaves me with only two options: either skip the Presidential vote entirely, or vote third-party. Luckily I have six months to figure this out.

Friday, February 5, 2016

What Iowa Means for Sanders

Liberals feel obligated to vote for Hillary, for a variety of reasons. Chief among them are her perceived electability advantage over Sanders, the fact that she's a woman, and her length of service in politics. But in their heart of hearts most of them would prefer to vote for Sanders. The longer Sanders sticks around and remains viable, the more they'll listen to their hearts. Everyone seems to think Sanders can't win, but no one thought Obama could, either.

Of course, Sanders isn't a hip, young, fresh-faced newcomer either.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Liberals for Trump

Listening to a group of liberals discussing the Iowa caucuses yesterday at lunch, the conversation went something like this:

Man, that Trump guy is nuts.

Yeah, good thing he lost the Iowa caucus. He's the loser now! Hahaha!

Sure, but I don't know if he'd be so bad. He just wants to be President as a feather in his cap. No one thinks he'd really do what he says he'll do.

True, true. He wouldn't be so bad. Now that Cruz guy, he really scares me.

Whew! You aren't kidding.

Hopefully we can put paid to any notion that Trump is a conservative at this point.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Who's the Real Pragmatist Now?

One of the complaints conservatives level at Obama is that he acts like a (liberal) ideologue, but says he's merely a pragmatist.

It occurs to me that the problem with Trump is just the reverse: he acts like a pragmatist, with no particular values, but says he's a conservative (ideologue).