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The Left’s Newfound Love of States’ Rights

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every Constitutional conservative knows there’s no such thing as “states’ rights.”  Only people have rights. Governments have powers. People have the right to grant government powers. Governments have no power to assume powers not granted by the people. Anyone who says “states’ rights” needs a basic course in political philosophy.

For years, a few conservatives mistakenly defended “states’ rights” when they meant to say “federalism.” When conservatives made this error, the left jumped all over them. But the left denounced federalism, too. The left traditionally wanted all power centralized in Washington or in the United Nations. Conservatives, on the other hand, traditionally wanted to cede only the minimum power necessary for the government to fulfill its limited duties of protecting our freedom, enforcing contracts, and delivering the mail.

So I was shocked to hear leftist Democrat Bill Richardson cite states rights as the moral and legal justification for sanctuary cities. Here’s the clip from Fox News. It’s about 3:30 mark:

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a>

Sanctuary cities are cities that openly violate federal immigration laws, protecting even illegal alien rapists and murders from deportation and prosecution. These cities get billions of tax dollars in grants every year, and they use some of this money to break the law. Mayors and boards of aldermen in these cities are criminals who should be prosecuted as accessories to rape and murder. And, yes, I would happily deal with the social consequences of throwing Rahm Emanuel or Bill DeBlasio in a federal penitentiary.  It’s where they belong.

But how does one wrap his mind around the idea of leftists embracing “states rights?” And, by implication, federalism? The left hates federalism. Until it doesn’t.

The good news is that Bill Richardson and his friends have proven that we were right all along. America works best when the states and the people wield more power than the federal government. Without regard for immigration law, I ask my leftist readers to admit that distributed power is the best defense against federal overreach. But we only recognize the benefits of federalism when Washington’s in the hands of people we don’t like.

What makes Bill Richardson and his open-borders warriors wrong is this: the same Constitution that creates federalism grants immigration powers to the federal government alone. We ceded that power to Washington in 1790 when Rhode Island finally ratified the Constitution.

Let’s accept, once and for all, that federalism rocks. And let’s stop saying “states’ rights.”

Donna Brazile’s Corrupt Silent Partner

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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Since its revelation in WikiLeaks two weeks ago, Donna Brazile has been justly excoriated for cheating on behalf of Hillary Clinton by passing along a debate question.

However, an important aspect to this story has been overlooked. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Yes, Donna Brazile sent a critically beneficial piece of information – but Hillary Clinton accepted it.

Mrs. Clinton accepted it (stealing), used it (cheating), and said nothing (lying). Then, when that moment came, she delivered her perfectly prepared answer to an eager audience in the midst of a hotly contested primary election debate (rigging).

An honest candidate would have immediately refused Ms. Brazile’s illicit offering; perhaps quietly, but certainly firmly.

An honest candidate could have even grandstanded on stage at the debate and said, “Mr. Martin, I cannot in good conscience answer your question, because somehow, I was made aware that you would be asking me that, and so I have an unfair advantage.”

Heck, an honest candidate could have even shared the question with her opponent prior to the debate in order even the playing field.

But none of those things happened.

Two weeks ago, when the revelation of Donna Brazile’s betrayal of democratic principles first came to light, instead of confessing to her wrongdoing and resigning with at least a shred of dignity, she blamed the Russians. It was hard to watch.

And by the way, what did her employers do? Neither the Democratic Party nor CNN did anything. They stood silent – which speaks volumes to their character and trustworthiness.

Today, WikiLeaks fulfilled their promise with the publication of a second wave of Donna Brazile’s corruption in sneaking debate questions to Team Hillary. CNN did what they should have done then, and severed all ties. But the Democrat Party hasn’t (as of this writing).

The friend and allies of Team Hillary – aka the Media – will want to make this story all about “The Dishonesty of Donna Brazile.” But understand that is a distraction.

The villain of this story isn’t Donna Brazile, the sidekick wannabe who offered stolen information. It is Hillary Clinton, the corrupt candidate who repeatedly took the illicit offering, used it, and said nothing.

The bottom line is that once again, Hillary Clinton is empirically proven to be a patently dishonest person who steals, cheats, lies, and rigs. And there is nothing – not a damn thing – that indicates her behavior will change any time soon. Why should it? Up until now, her corruption has consistently been lavishly rewarded by the corporate and political elitists in power.

Americans have had a bellyful of this elitist corruption. On November 8, we will begin in earnest to #DrainTheSwamp.

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Why does Ted Cruz’s Speech Bother Me So Much?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’m trying to put my finger on exactly why I found Ted Cruz’s remarks Wednesday night so incredibly distasteful.

The Pledge thing is a goodly part of it.

Simply put, the parties to the Pledge Ted Cruz signed were only Ted Cruz and the RNC (by extension, you can probably include the delegates and voters, too).

The Pledge promised support, including data, from the RNC in exchange for Ted Cruz’s endorsement of the eventual nominee.

However, the Pledge that Ted Cruz signed with the RNC did not include Donald Trump. Trump’s signature is nowhere on the Pledge Ted Cruz signed. Therefore, the suggestions that somehow Trump can change the terms of the Pledge is ridiculous (and a little embarrassing, frankly).

So yeah, as a matter of fact, Ted Cruz broke that Pledge and in doing so broke his word. A word he has repeatedly claimed was a sacred trust.

That’s no good, but that’s not why I’m so bugged.

Then there’s the boorishness of his actions. Someone else said it best, when she described Ted Cruz’s speech akin to being invited to be the best man at your ex-girlfriend’s wedding, and then when it was time to toast the couple, instead implore the ex to run away with you!

Torturing the metaphor even further: this morning, the debacle continued when the rebuked Cruz kicked over their chocolate fountain, slapped the groom, insulted the bride, and was finally booted out by the rest of the wedding party.

Really bad, right? But no.  That’s not the thing, either.

Maybe it’s the squandered opportunity.

Donald Trump gave Ted Cruz free reign to do the right thing and follow through with his commitments to the Republican Party, its delegates, and voters. Trump’s people reviewed Cruz’s remarks and did not demand they be reworked. Instead, Trump left it up all up to Cruz.

Donald Trump provided Ted Cruz prime-time air to say anything he wished, without restriction, and with it, all the rope he could possibly ever need to pull himself out of the hole he was standing at the bottom of, as well as use to pull together the Republican Party.

Instead, Ted Cruz used that premium time, that golden opportunity, in a room rooting loudly for him, to deliver a speech that was all-too-typical of today’s political class: a too-cute-by-half, snidely performed speech designed to serve no one except Ted Cruz.

But believe it or not, that’s not what bothers me so very, very much, either.

No. What bothers me is far more odious, more destructive, and more revealing of the brutal ambition animating the junior senator from Texas.

What really got to me was that he did all of these things on the back of a little girl who just lost her Dad in the cold-blooded police shootings in Dallas.

He traded on her grief, going out of his way to create connections between them both.

Just five paragraphs in, he said:

“Just two weeks ago a nine-year-old girl named Caroline was living a carefree Texas summer. Swimming in the pool, playing with friends, doing all the things a happy child might do. Like most children, she relied upon the love that she received from her mom, Heidi, and her dad, a police sergeant named Michael Smith.”

As I watched Ted Cruz speak, that queasy uh-oh feeling suddenly wracked me.  You know the one: that intense, looming dread that sends slippery ribbons of nausea that somehow extend to the bottom of your feet.

He’s lost me. Perhaps forever:

“… Caroline gave him a hug and a kiss as he left for work, but as they parted her dad asked her something he hadn’t asked before. ‘What if this is the last time you ever kiss or hug me?'”

I physically cringed when he said:

As I thought about what I wanted to say tonight, Michael Smith’s story weighed on my heart. Maybe that’s because his daughter Caroline is about the same age as my eldest daughter, and happens to share the same name. Maybe it’s because I saw a video of that dear, sweet child choking back sobs as she remembered her Daddy’s last question to her.

Good. Lord.

After several minutes of freedom-liberty-constitution pabulum, he called back to poor Caroline:

“We’re fighting not for one particular candidate, or one campaign, but because each of wants to be able to tell our kids and grandkids, our own Caroline’s, that we did our best for their future and our country.”

Followed by a reference to her Dad:

“Sergeant Michael Smith stood up to protect our freedom. So do the soldiers, and sailors, and airmen, and Marines everyday fighting radical Islamic terrorism.”

And the gut-wrenching finale:

“And it is over that I hope will bring comfort to a grieving nine- year-old girl in Dallas, and God willing, propel her to move forward, and dream, and soar, and make her daddy proud. We must make the most of our moments, to fight for freedom, to protect our God-given rights, even if those with whom we don’t agree so that when we are old and grey, and when our work is done, and when we give those we love one final kiss goodbye we will be able to say freedom matters and I was part of something beautiful.”

What a ghoul.

Ted Cruz used this defenseless little girl and the horrific murder of her father as his personal human shields to shame people away from criticizing him for breaking his word and using valuable, prime-time air for his own, too-cute-by-half, non-endorsement of the Republican Presidential nominee, and to promote his own, exclusive interests.

That’s what bothered me.

I’m not sure what’s in store for Mr. Cruz.  Hell, I’m not sure I care very much at the moment (or if I ever will).

But I’m fairly certain that whatever positions he may hold in his lifetime, a real chance to earn the nomination to the Presidency of the United States will never be among them.


Christina Botteri is a founder of the original National Chicago Tea Party and the newest Hennessy’s View contributor.
Transcript source: http://time.com/4416396/republican-convention-ted-cruz-donald-trump-endorsement-speech-transcript-video/

How Conservatives Abandoned Principles Over Trump

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about “principles” lately. Ted Cruz’s entire campaign centered “conservative principles” and being a “principled conservative.”

Lately, though, most of that “principles” talk is about how Donald Trump has caused good conservatives to abandon their principles.

Maybe that’s true. In fact, I’m starting to believe it.

The one principle that many conservatives have abandoned and encouraged others to abandon: keeping your word.

The lead advocate for abandoning this principle of keeping one’s word is Jonah Goldberg of National Review and the American Enterprise Institute.

Every Republican candidate for president signed an oath to support the party’s nominee. An oath. The oath-signing ceremony was a knee-jerk reaction to Donald Trump’s insistence that he might not support the nominee. Isn’t it ironic that the oath meant to keep Trump from running as an independent now morally obligates all of his opponents to support him? And all 17 Republican candidates  signed the oath which reads:

I (name) affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

Sure, the oath is not legally binding. But another principle that many conservatives admire is the principle of doing what’s right, not just what’s legal. That promise was not made to Donald Trump; it was made to the Republican Party and to the people. While the oath is not legally binding, it is morally binding.

I thought conservatives believed in moral principles.

Now, Jonah Goldberg and other conservatives want the Republican candidates to break their oaths. Goldberg seems to believe that it’s okay to abandon a lower principle to defend a higher principle. That’s probably true. But I think Jonah and many other conservatives operate from a disordered list of principles.

In my thinking, principles of personal conduct rank far above principles of political philosophy.

Principles of Government

When people talk about “conservative principles,” they’re usually talking about principles of government or political philosophy. “That which governs least governs best,” is a conservative principle of governance.

Those principles of government, while important, provide almost no information on how men and women like you and me should behave. The only information about personal behavior is in how we instruct our governments. Because we live in a democratic republic, it’s our job to cajole the government to govern least.

In all other ways, principles of government cover how other people should behave, not us. That’s a pretty low set of principles.

Principles of Personal Conduct

On the other end of the spectrum are principles of personal conduct. These are the highest principles, not the lowest. Politicians who lack principles of personal conduct cannot be trusted with limited government. We teach children to keep their word long before we teach them principles of government. That’s telling, is it not?

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”

— Seneca

Yet, now we’re told to break our written vows to promote a philosophy of government? The great philosophers would be appalled. From Aristotle to Epicurus to Seneca and beyond, the great philosophers taught us that men must govern themselves before attempting to govern others.

“it is more important for you to keep the resolutions you have already made than to go on and make noble ones.”

— Seneca

These principles of personal conduct, then, are clearly superior to principles of government. Yet Jonah Goldberg encourages men like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to break their pledges. He exalts men like Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham for violating the contracts they signed. And Goldberg ridicules men who keep their word, like Rick Perry.

Jonah Goldberg’s list of principles is highly disordered.

I’ll leave you with this: For two years I’ve heard from friends that we can trust Ted Cruz to keep his word because he’s never broken his promises. Cruz’s PACs were called “Keeping the Promise.” Yet, if Ted Cruz fails to endorse Donald Trump, his honesty streak will end. What have we gained if we promote our philosophy of government by abandoning our philosophy of personal conduct?

I predict Trump will win in a landslide.


Update: Some commenters on Twitter seem to believe Cruz is free to break his pledge because of Trump’s behavior after Cruz signed it. But Ted Cruz disagrees with that thinking. He told reporters in March (via Salon):

 “It’s a shocking concept to members of the media,” he said, “that an elected official actually does what he says, [but] at the outset of this campaign, I committed [to] support[ing] the Republican nominee, and I honor my word.”

Cruz did allow one exception: “If he were to go out on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, I would not be willing to support Donald Trump,” Cruz said. As far as I know, Trump hasn’t shot anybody on Fifth Avenue.

Print Edition of Fight to Evolve Now Available on Amazon. Rush!

Reading Time: 1 minutes

Most of my readers asked for a print edition of my new book, Fight to Evolve: The Government’s Secret War on NTX.

Great news! Your book is waiting for you on Amazon. It’s just $17.99, and you’ll be happy to know that I don’t get a penny from the sales. All proceeds go to the Coalition for Safer Drinking and its fight to reduce alcohol’s negative effects on health.

If you, like me, prefer electronic books, you can get the Kindle version of Fight to Evolve for just $3.99 today, too.

If you know someone who drinks and you worry about their health, be a friend and buy a copy of Fight to Evolve for them, too. Two hardbound copies are about the same price as on bottle of good vodka. And you might save a life.

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The Conversion Odyssey

Reading Time: 4 minutes

John Dos Passos has a mesmerizing name.

The “John” doesn’t fit the “Dos Passos,” does it? Shouldn’t be Juan Dos Passos?

But John Dos Passos was one of the Four Horsemen of American literature in the first half of the 20th century. And all four horsemen were Nomads, according to generational historians Howe and Strauss.

The Nomads Wander Left to Right

I’m a Nomad, too. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Dos Passos. We’re all Nomads. According to Howe and Strauss:

Nomad generations are born during a spiritual awakening, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas when youth-fired attacks break out against the established institutional order. Nomads grow up as underprotected children during this awakening, come of age as alienated young adults in a post-awakening world, mellow into pragmatic midlife leaders during a historical crisis, and age into tough post-crisis elders. By virtue of this location in history, such generations tend to be remembered for their rising-adult years of hell-raising and for their midlife years of hands-on, get-it-done leadership. Their principle endowments are often in the domain of liberty, survival, and honor. Their best-known historical leaders include Nathaniel Bacon, William Stoughton, George Washington, John Adams, Ulysses Grant, Grover Cleveland, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower. These have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists—taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one. (Example among today’s living generations: Generation X.)

Yeah, that’s exactly who I want to be. (Not sure I always live up to the rep, though.) Eric Greitens is a Nomad, too. So was Whittaker Chambers. Same for Max Eastman and James Burnham.

I realized last night during a call with a friend (even if they don’t want me calling them my friend anymore) that I’ve failed to inform my readers about guys like Dos Passos, Chambers, Eastman, and Burnham. These guys were commies back in the 30s (some into the 40s), but they ended up writing for or editing The National Review–ya know, Bill Buckley’s conservative magazine.

I realize that some of my latter-day conservative friends no longer consider Buckley a conservative. Some consider National Review a “squish” rag. But back in 1954, Buckley was about the only game in town. I wasn’t around then, but I’ve read a fair amount about the times, and Buckley was the Ted Cruz of his day. Heck, Buckley probably spoke more Spanish than Cruz–English was Buckley’s second language. (He taught Spanish at Yale as an undergrad.) Buckley was the guy who said “I’d rather be ruled by the first 500 people in the Boston telephone book than by the faculty of Harvard College,” or something like that. Buckley got what we’re about. And he paved the road we drive on.

What Buckley understood better than many modern day conservatives is the value of converts. He hired them.

Hug a Convert Today

Converts give legitimacy and street cred to our movement. They infuse the right with vigor and energy. After a time, after they’ve learned the formulaic prayers, they keep us true to our cause. Lex orandi lex credendi.

Converts keep us our eyes on the prize. They’re not weighted down with theory. They know the theory is just a path to the prize.

Our prize is a prosperous and peaceful nation where people are free to pursue their dreams and enjoy the rewards or suffer the consequences of their choices. We know that people left to their own devices will live better lives than people dependent on others for their keep.

Sometimes cradle conservatives (like me) forget those ends. We’re so well schooled in the theory that we think the theory is the objective. It’s not. The theory is nonsense compared to the end. The only time we need to worry about theory is when people forget the end–not when they forget the theory.

Converts remind us that the theory is important, but it’s not a goal. The goal is free, educated people who own their own lives.

Some of my friends seem not to like converts. 

Maybe converts present a threat to them. Maybe my cradle conservative friends are famous for the intention of their theory and don’t want to be measured by their results. That’s human nature.

But we need converts. Mostly because conversion never stops. People who start moving left to right or right to left tend to keep moving. Here are two examples:

David Horowitz really converted from Marxism to conservatism in 1974 when the Black Panthers allegedly murdered his friend Betty. But he didn’t recognize his conversion for some time. And, at first, he was just a sort of middle-of-the-road, disaffected liberal. But he kept moving right and ended up one of the most militant anti-leftists alive. (Read his book Radical Son for more.)

John Dos Passos started questioning his communist leanings in 1934, but in 1936 he still went to Spain working for the Comintern (Soviet spy ministry) to make a propaganda film for the Spanish communists. It was there that his friend José Robles was murdered by the communist party for not being communist enough. Dos Passos told his friend Ernest Hemingway, “The question I keep putting to myself is what’s the use of fighting a war for civil liberties, if you destroy civil liberties in the process?” Hemingway shoots back, “Civil liberties, shit. Are you with us or are you against us?” At that point, Dos Passos knew he was no longer a fellow-traveller, but he wasn’t sure what he was. By the 1950s, he was editing National Review for William F. Buckley.

Which Brings Us to Eric Greitens

As far as I know, the leftists in Greitens’ life didn’t assassinate a friend of his. So his break is less dramatic and harder to pinpoint, like Reagan’s. (Does anyone know when exactly Reagan became a conservative?) Without that moment-in-time experience, people have difficulty knowing when they left the left (or the right). Their roads to Damascus have no sign that reads “you are leaving your old ideology.”

Asking Eric Greitens “when did you become a conservative” is like asking a child “when did you become a virgin?”

The question is not a quest for truth, but an accusation. And it’s an accusation that keeps conservatism mired in the bogs of political margins. It’s a question asked by people who fear the truth more than they seek it.

Embrace the converts or die as a movement. It’s as simple as that.

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The headline is a play on the oft-chanted slogan from OWS protests. Please, no “it’s not a democracy” emails.

That’s a threat.

A couple years ago on a Saturday night, I wrote about 2,000 words on the meaning of “democracy” and “republic.” I never posted it out of pity for you. I’m telling you, there’s a lot of Montesquieu in it, so if you don’t like superfluous vowels, don’t make me post it now.

The journalism world, and some Democrats in Congress, are feigning concern over the “chaos” of the Republican caucus. I’ve seen where Democratic Congressmen have described the search for a speaker as an “embarrassment.”

Good God, people, sober up. We just abandoned Syria after erasing our own red line because Putin showed up shirtless on horseback brandishing an AK-47 and drinking Schlitz from a 25 ounce (one ounce free) can. And you’re embarrassed that Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name?

This is how a republic resolves disputes. We don’t shoot each other, save for a few precincts in north and south St. Louis. Instead we try to form coalitions to support a candidate acceptable to varying factions of the majority party. It’s not perfect, but it’s how things are supposed to work.

The Worst Case Scenario

Suppose the Republicans were unable to choose a new speaker before the end of Congress CXIV. What’s the worst that could happen?

John Boehner doesn’t retire.

That’s the worst possible outcome.

Santa doesn’t shoot himself. Obama doesn’t get a third term. Hillary doesn’t strip on live TV. We just get stuck with another year and a half of Speaker Boehner.

The Best Case Scenario

What if we get a new speaker? The new speaker, mathematically speaking, would have to be acceptable to the House Freedom Caucus. That person may not be your first choice or mine, but someone the Freedom Caucus could live with is someone I could live with.

So mellow the harsh, America. Nothing is as bad as you think it will be when you’re thinking about it. The House will have its speaker just as the dog will have its day. And the sun will rise and the Cubs will find a way to blow it.

Everything will be okay.

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Results of the Cabinet Matching Game

Reading Time: 1 minutes

A couple weeks ago, I published a simple game for political nerds. Assuming the next president must build a cabinet from current candidates for the Republican nomination for president, how would you assign candidates to cabinet positions.

This was meant to be a fun exercise for people who spend too much time thinking about politics. Like the leaders-eat-last poll, this required hide, often dissatisfying choices. As a result, only six people completed the exercise which took up to a half hour.

Here’s the cabinet you put together, using only the top position for candidate:

  • Carly Fiorina: Secretary of Commerce
  • Ben Carson: Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Jeb Bush: (4-way tie) Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of State, Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Energy
  • Ted Cruz: Attorney General
  • Rand Paul: Secretary of Treasury
  • Marco Rubio: Secretary of Energy
  • Scott Walker: Secretary of Labor
  • Chris Christie: Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • Mike Huckabee: Secretary of Agriculture
  • Donald Trump: Secretary of Treasury
  • John Kasich: Secretary of Interior
  • George Pataki: Secretary of Trasnportation
  • Jim Gilmore: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Bobby Jindal: Secretary of Education
  • Lindsey Graham: Secretary of Defense
  • Rick Perry: Secretary of Homeland Security

You might also be interested in the results of my poll on Leaders Eat Last.

Complete results available here.