How to Neuter a Crossing Guard

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This is for my conservative friends who are celebrating the healthcare bill’s demise. You’ll want to read it all.

Let’s begin with a little story about a crossing guard.

Imagine you are standing at a dangerous intersection now. Cars whizzing by nonstop in all 4 directions. You feel powerless and frustrated. There are no structural safeguards, no physical barriers, to keep us from getting hit. There is a crossing guard, though.

This crossing guard can get us safely through the intersection if the drivers respect his authority and power. Only if they stop when he raises his hand. That’s all he’s got.

Those drivers take cues from each other. When they see other drivers stop, they stop, too. But when they see one driver run through the crossing guard’s stop sign, they all feel more emboldened to do the same.

Pretty soon, the crossing guard is just another poor slob standing on the side of the road with the rest of us. And none of us can get where we want to go.

In a moment, I’ll talk about the healthcare bill. But, first, I want to talk about breathing.

You Think Like You Breathe

Notice your breath for a moment. Are you breathing fast and shallow or slow and deep? Breathing is so important. Breathing affects our hormones and hormones affect our thinking. We can change our thinking by changing our breathing, and we can change breathing by changing our thinking.

Slow deep breaths cause the body to produce less cortisol. Fast, shallow breathing produces more cortisol. Cortisol causes weight gain, hardening of the arteries, and defensive thinking. The part of the brain where memories and strategy rest, the hippocampus, shuts down when cortisol levels rise. We react to the immediate stimuli without using our most valuable and effective knowledge. We become like animals snared in a trap.

That cortisol hormone does a good job of keeping us alive when we’re in extreme danger. But it does a huge disservice when we’re not under physical attack. In real danger, we don’t want to think deep thoughts. We want to hide, overpower our attacker, or run away.

Now that you’re aware of your breathing, you realize you’re not in physical danger. A tweet can’t really endanger you personally, can it?

The big enemy we all oppose here is big government. And we all know the bill Ryan crafted in the dark did little in that regard. So there was good reason to oppose that bill.

But there is also something larger at play here, and if you breathe slow and deep, you might feel better about a lot of things today.

Actions Have Consequences We Sometimes Don’t Consider

Remember how you felt on November 9? And remember how you felt on January 20. Remember seeing all those violent protesters in Washington and other places? Which team were you on then? Maybe you didn’t say anything, but you were probably on Trump’s team. You were probably a little proud and amazed that he did it. Despite all the doubts and all the MSM 98% certainty that Hillary Clinton would choose Antonin Scalia’s replacement, you were happy to be on the winning team.

You might find yourself breathing even deeper now just thinking about that winning day. We tend to take a deep breath when we win.

That inauguration day was less than 70 days ago, so the memory is still fresh in your mind. Then, you probably expected all kinds of great things. With a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President, we could do a lot to realize our dreams of smaller government and a growing economy. Who doesn’t want to make America great again?

And then some Congress people reverted to their old ways. Bills written by lobbyists. But that’s not the worst thing that could happen.

Now imagine this: imagine if Neil Gorsuch gets rejected by the Senate. Imagine one or two squishy Republican Senators like Susan Collins deciding Trump doesn’t have the political power anymore to hold her vote. Imagine if Mitch McConnell decides, after that healthcare vote, that it’s too risky to use the nuclear option on Gorsuch. There’s no going back from that option, really. The next Democrat president will have it, too, just as Trump’s cabinet benefits from the Democrats’ nuclear option.

Many people are saying the health care bill’s failure has greatly reduced Trump’s power. He might already be a lame duck, along with this Congress.

If you’re breathing faster and shallower now, just pay attention to your breathing. You will start to breathe slower and deeper in a moment. And that’s important because you don’t want a lot of cortisol clogging your arteries and shutting down your hippocampus.

Consequences We Might Own

Blocking the healthcare bill was a high stakes gamble. It took a lot of courage to fight against a president in his first 100 days. I can’t remember a newly inaugurated president getting hit so hard so early in his administration. Reagan suffered a few setbacks, but nothing like this.

It’s very likely now that Obamacare will live forever. At least as long as you and I are alive. It’s also possible that there will be no tax reform. Do you think 8 Democrats are so afraid of the White House that they’ll break with their party to vote for cloture on a tax reform package now?  How do you see that happening?

It’s also possible that Gorsuch will be rejected, either because some squishy Republicans bail or because McConnell loses the nerve to change the filibuster rule. That means those Obama and Clinton judges in the appellate courts will decide the law until Trump finds a Supreme Court candidate so “moderate” that 8 Democrats will support them.  How do you think such a justice would rule on abortion, on gun control, and on immigration?

And if this Congress and this Republican president do nothing major between now and 2018, how do you expect voters to keep this Congress in power? Trump won because he recognized that many people think America is in bad shape and going in the wrong direction. They expected Trump and Congress to change the direction of the country. If nothing gets done, won’t they try something new? Remember, most voters are not like you and me. Most voters don’t care about our principles. And in-fighting among Republicans only makes them care less about those principles. To the average American voter, we all sound strange and abstract. To the average voter, we care more about academic theories than we do about their lives. You can probably remember hearing this from people yourself if you think about it.

How’s your breath going? Just take a deep breath and feel your stomach swell out. You’ll want access to your memories soon.

Our Crossing Guard and Our Accountability

Now, remember that crossing guard? The Freedom Caucus and some conservative think tanks drove the first car through the stop sign. If the other drivers—McConnell, Collins, Schumer—see there’s no consequence to ignoring the crossing guard, we’ll all fail to get where we’re going.

Maybe we don’t like the way the crossing guard distributes the stopping and going. Maybe we don’t like the hand signals he uses. But, until Friday, he was at least trying to get a few of us to the other side. He was trying to get some of us a little closer to our destinations safely.

Maybe that crossing guard will get some of his power back. Because principles without power are just platitudes. I hope so. I know of all the great things the Heritage Foundation and the Freedom Caucus have done. But neither Heritage nor the Freedom Caucus can stop that traffic without a strong, respected crossing guard.

You, like me, believe in accountability. And you, like me, recognize that accountability begins with ourselves. When we choose a direction, we must accept the consequences of our choice. Conservatives may have laid the foundation for Democrats retaking Congress in 2018. If that happens, the Freedom Caucus, Heritage, and Club for Growth own at least 40 percent of the blame.

I now return you to your natural breathing.

How to Tell a Lie

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You had to laugh. Claire McCaskill jumped on Twitter to announce she’d never met the Russian ambassador to the US. Before that, she jumped on Twitter to brag about being so damned important and vital that the Russian ambassador sought her oracle-like guidance.

After people mocked and scorned her silly lie, Claire McCaskill made up more lies to cover the first lie. You know, like a liar.

Senator McCaskill believes Jeff Sessions should resign for not telling a lie. Which is consistent in a perverted McCaskil sort of way.

I call on Senator McCaskill to resign. I also call on Jack Dorsey to shadow ban @clairecmc.

If you want Claire McCaskill to resign, click the box below.

Thanks for your help. I smell an open Dem Senate seat.

Oh, I almost forgot.

If you’re going to lie on Twitter, delete the tweets that expose your lie BEFORE tweeting the lie. It’s just good lying.

The Left’s Newfound Love of States’ Rights

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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

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donna brazile and hillary clinton

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.

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

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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

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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.