The Upside to the Chaos at 1600

An unnoticed reason for cheerfulness is that in one, if only one, particular, Trump is something the nation did not know it needed — a feeble president whose manner can cure the nation’s excessive fixation with the presidency.

Source: Donald Trump’s Diminishing of the Presidency Is Good | National Review

Are we reaching the point in America where we are grasping for straws in our desperate search for something positive to take from our current predicament? Or is this the opening that will shift Congress from its interminable focus on intramural rivalries and on re-asserting the role of the Hill in the governance of the nation?

It can only be the latter if the leaders in the House and Senate realize that there is more at stake here than partisan one-upsmanship. The Russia sanctions bill was a good start. Let’s make it a trend.

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Clean-up time

Not saying goodbye. Oh, well.
Not saying goodbye. Oh, well.

I’m not a Democrat, but from my vantage point about a biscuit to the right of the American centerline, it seems that DNC could use a Frank Slade flamethrower. Something akin to what Bill Clinton did in November and December of 1992. With the support of a group of Democrats who recognized that the New Deal Democratic Party was of declining relevance, Clinton helped rescue the party from over a decade in the political wilderness.

What the Dems need right now is someone who understands that the country has been re-aligned. The Clinton Coalition is no longer the answer. It is time for a new coalition to emerge, one that can champion the middle class and the aspirations of the working class without succumbing to a reliance on stale policy nostrums.

Perhaps that change is beginning. Nothing, however, could signal the opposite intention more forcefully than the retention of Nancy Pelosi as minority leader in the House for the 115th Congress. In both style and substance she is a testament to a bygone era, and lacks the finesse or credibility to build coalitions across the aisle. She is, indeed, the largest stumbling block to a bipartisan Capitol Hill counterbalance to a Trump White House.

As such, I would wager that if Trump White House manages to make it through his first year without laying waste to the nation (or the world,) wise Democrats will find a way to either tame or neutralize Pelosi, or get rid of her completely.

When this Election was Lost

Hillary Clinton is going to take a lot of Hell for losing the election. Many of her supporters will be tempted to blame the loss on Bernie Sanders for undermining her. Or on the FBI. Or on the Russians.

The truth is, she lost the election because the Democratic Party had become ossified around a coalition of educated urban progressives and special interests that had nothing to do with what the majority of America cared about.

Until Democrats and Progressives understand that by abandoning the South, abandoning Labor, and talking smack about a place they call “Flyover Country” they tossed this election long before Hillary declared, they are doomed to repeat their mistake.

We were all warned. The Tea Party in 2010 was the a shot across the bow that should have altered our reality. But the Left – and, too often, this blog – continued to behave toward this giant electoral rump like it was an aberration rather than a harbinger.

After last night, we all need to do some very real soul searching. The nation has voted on what we believe is important. And they told us we were wrong.

We can either decide that the nation has gone crazy, or we can probe the very real possibility that too many of us have lost touch with the throbbing heart of the nation.

The End of the Old Parties, and the Birth of the New

For the past year, we have been talking about how this election year is going to tear the Republican Party into pieces. It was time, and many of you looked on in fascination as Donald Trump swung the wrecking ball that brought the rotting edifice down.

But if there is one thing clear after election night, it is that the Democratic Party has collapsed. The result was an embarrassment to a political establishment that curried favor with coastal urban progressives, forgetting its roots in labor and the working class. The Clinton Alignment, which saved the Democratic Party from ignominy in the early 1990s, is no longer able to sustain the party of Wilson and FDR.

But there is more to this than either the Democrats or the GOP.

For the first time since 1856, we have the opportunity to build one or more political parties utterly separate from the current two party organizations. We can build 21st Century political parties constructed around the things we all care about.

And we’d better do that soon. Because the alternative is chaos, and the empowerment of leaders who serve themselves, not the people.

 

Is Trump a Neo-Nazi?

I had a good friend send me this article today that draws a direct line between Trump’s messaging on immigration and the rhetoric of the most notorious neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites. After reading it he asked me:

Could the candidate truly be neo Nazi and not know it? That would confirm the power of delusion and clinical megalomania… But do we really believe he’s actually unhinged?

My response was essentially this:

Without doubt, there is sufficient semblance between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, tactics, and mannerisms and those of the Adolf Hitler to trouble anyone familiar with the German elections of 1933. But pegging Trump as a neo-Nazi seems to be going a bit far. Several analysts, many even more disenchanted with Mr. Trump than I, have explained in detail why Trump is neither a fascist nor an American Schicklgruber. Instead, they say, we should see Trump as an American Marie Le Pen or Frauke Petry rather than old Adolf: they are shrill, they play to a small yet fanatical audience, and lack a Dr. Goebbels to help them.

So these nationalists are not yet a Nazi-like threat – not yet, anyway, if polling is any indication. Fourteen days before the US election it seems that the only thing that could change that anytime soon would be election fraud on an unprecedented scale.

Still, the right-wing populists are accelerants for the thuggish undercurrents that too often surface when nominally civilized societies are wracked by change. For Europe and America, Islamism is today what communism was for much of the 20th century: a force threatening to upend the social order and political institutions upon which the West is rooted. Hunting’s clash of civilizations is upon us, but it is playing out in our cities rather than across remote global geopolitical fault-lines.

That issue is real, and it terrifies people. The right is riding that fear, and addressing it in the most rodent-level manner possible. But the blame is shared. The populism of the right is abetted by the haplessness of the Left. Liberal admonishments to tolerate Islam and sympathize with the refugees are no substitute for policies that could address the real security challenges accompanying a wave of migration from West Asia or the integration of groups who live according to rules that challenge the precepts of liberal democracy.

Until the left – and in America, I mean the full spectrum from Hillary to Bernie – acknowledges the threat of Islamism to free societies even as they underscore that Islamism is not Islam, you’ll have people voting for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world who are smart enough to know better but too scared to care.

And if the left does not, and if the right continues to cleave to white supremacy and xenophobia as guiding principles, then it will fall to those of us at the center to craft a wiser path to the future.

Jeff Immelt and Bernie Sanders

Sanders says that he is upset about GE’s operations abroad — as though a company that has customers in more than 180 countries should have no presence in any of them. He never mentions that we are one of the United States’ prime exporters, annually selling in excess of $20 billion worth of American-made goods to the world. Nor does he mention that our sales around the world support our manufacturing base here at home, along with the thousands of U.S. companies in our supply chain. You want to cause big problems for our suppliers — many of whom are small and medium-size businesses — and their workers? The surest way would be to pull out of those countries and lose those customers.

Source: GE CEO: Bernie Sanders says we’re ‘destroying the moral fabric’ of America. He’s wrong. – The Washington Post

While the op-ed in the Washington Post is an obvious creation of some deft public relations folks, I applaud Mr. Immelt for engaging in the debate.

At the same time, Mr. Immelt should not be disingenuous. He must grant that he has been among the most determined in his efforts to draw subsidies and assistance from the government, and that this puts him – and his company – in the crosshairs of a growing bipartisan movement to put an end to government subsidy and commercial favoritism.

The rest of us must grant that, as a company, GE has done the good things that Mr. Immelt enumerates, most notably employing lots of Americans, building new factories in the USA, making stuff that extends human life, cutting greenhouse emissions, making transportation more efficient, and exporting $20 billion of American products each year, all in the face of competition from places like China where the government coffers are wide open to local companies seeking to squash GE and firms like it.

Thus GE’s challenge is not the Senator from Vermont. It is to accept that it is operating in a new era, one in which it must face and defeat global competitors without the aid of subsidies from the American people.

Our greatest challenge is not GE – we can end corporate welfare with unity, determination, and the stroke of a pen, as we must and as we will. Our real challenge is going to be facing the onslaught of companies from places like China, companies who service a dream of a planet humbled and answerable to Beijing.

Susan Sarandon would take Trump over Clinton

If Bernie Sanders fails to get the Democratic nomination, Susan Sarandon isn’t sure she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton. She even said Monday that Trump could be the better option.

Source: Susan Sarandon: Trump Might Be Better for America Than Hillary Clinton – The Daily Beast

I have always believed that when you point a finger at the other guy to blame him, you point three fingers right back at yourself. Thus, as a conservative, I have aimed a disproportionate share of my criticism in this forum at the Right in an effort to provoke reflection, self-awareness, and change that will make us once again the source of practical, intelligent governance and progress.

There has been no greater barrier to governance in the past eight years than ideology. It so happens that ideologically-based obstruction has been a greater factor on the Right during a Democratic administration.

But this election cycle should make clear to every thinking individual on both sides of the political spectrum that the Right has no monopoly on obstructive orthodoxy. Case in point: Susan Sarandon. To suggest that “Trump might be a better option