Sexual harassment brings down Bill O’Reilly

512px-Bill_O'Reilly_at_the_World_Affairs_Council_of_Philadelphia_(cropped)Fox News sacrificed its top-rated program by firing Bill O’Reilly for multiple charges of sexual harassment.  The same charge earlier brought down the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes.

Other conservatives have recently been brought down by sex scandals, including the governor of Alabama.  Here in Oklahoma, a state legislator was ousted for sexual harassment after doing things like making his executive assistant go with him to strip clubs.

What can explain such behavior?  I know, original sin.  But surely simple decency, good manners, and common sense–the first use of the law–can restrain at least the most grotesque external expression of our inner lusts.  What these men were accused of doing is certainly not “conservative” behavior.  And it hurts the credibility of conservatives everywhere.

Photo, Bill O’Reilly at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.jpg: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia derivative work: Karppinen [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons [Read more…]

Trump vs. his own supporters?

House_Freedom_Caucus_logoThe plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare that was shot down on Friday was complicated politically.  Nearly all Republicans wanted the “repeal” part, just as nearly all Democrats opposed it.  The hangup was on the “replace” part.  Conservative Republicans, by and large, opposed the proposed replacement as little more than “Obamacare lite,” retaining the huge government role in healthcare that they oppose in the current law.  So it isn’t completely fair to say that Republicans who wouldn’t vote for the replacement were refusing to repeal Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act was a creation of Speaker Paul Ryan and other “establishment” Republicans who accept a somewhat more activist role for government.

Here is the irony:  Virtually all of the “Freedom Caucus” Republican congressmen who were responsible for defeating the bill were Trump supporters during the presidential campaign!  Ryan and the other authors of the proposed health care plan not so much!

Yet President Trump allied himself with his former opponents, throwing the full force of his office behind their bill, and now vilifies the lawmakers who otherwise are on his side! [Read more…]

The end of Reaganism?

384px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Reagan_1981At the Conservative Political Action Conference, attendees swooned over President Trump.  They applauded him even when he advocated policies that used to be anathema to conservatives:  paid family leave; economic protectionism; a big public works program.

Rich Lowry, marveling, concluded that President Trump, with his brand of nationalistic conservatism, has triumphed over small-government conservatism.  That is to say, the ideology of Ronald Reagan is no longer dominant among conservatives.

If Reaganism is over, Lowry says, the Reaganites themselves are largely to blame.  They repeated the same mantras–lower taxes, supply side economics, cutting government–even as American voters moved on to other concerns, such as wage stagnation and (I would add) immigration.

At CPAC, Trump advisor Steve Bannon said that nationalism is what unites conservatives, with small government conservatives being one strain of the larger movement.

What do you think of Bannon’s analysis?  Rich Lowry’s?  Is Reaganism dead?  Or just beaten down for the time being?

Or has Trump, in fact, rebuilt the Reagan coalition of business interests, Christian conservatives, and disaffected blue-collar Democrats?

[Read more…]

Trumpism as the new punk rock

Sex_Pistols_in_Paradiso_-_Johnny_Rotten_&_Steve_JonesA young former-buttoned-down conservative at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) said that he has moved to the alt.right because it feels like “the new punk rock.”  Scott Galupo of The Week discussed this with Daniel Wattenberg, a former punk rocker, now a respectable editor.

Wattenberg disassociated punks with the alt.right, but he did see a connection to the Donald Trump phenomenon.  He said, “I have to say, it does feel similar in a lot of ways, psychologically and emotionally,”

Wattenberg says that Trump and his supporters are to traditional conservatives as the punks were to the hippies.  Trump and his supporters are to professional politicians as punk music was to progressive rock.  Also, both Trumpism and punks are “transgressive” in defying political correctness.

Wattenberg and Galupo unpack those observations and more  after the jump.
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The fall of the gay right-winger

Milo_Yiannopoulos,_Journalist,_Broadcaster_and_Entrepreneur-1441_(8961808556)_croppedConservatives used to have moral qualms about homosexuality, but Milo Yiannopoulos had become a right wing celebrity.  A strong supporter of Donald Trump and defender of the alt.right, Yiannopoulos enflamed college campuses with politically-incorrect mockery of feminists, leftists, and speech codes.

The militantly gay Yiannapoulos was an editor for Breitbart News and was invited to give a keynote address at CPAC, the big conference and pep rally for conservative activists.

But a tape turned up in which Yiannapoulos defended sex between adult men and 13-year-old “boys.”  He later insisted that he was opposed to pedophilia, but in the tape he defines pedophilia as sex with young children.  He considers sex with adolescents who have reached puberty as fair game.  (The law doesn’t consider it that way.)

So CPAC cancelled his appearance, his publisher cancelled a book deal, and he has resigned from Breitbart.

[Read more…]

Flipping on Assange

342px-Julian_Assange_August_2014Not long ago, conservatives condemned Wikileaks leaker Julian Assange.  After all, Assange exposed U.S. intelligence operations, possibly endangering the lives of CIA agents.  Donald Trump even said he deserved the death penalty.  But now, after Assange released e-mails embarrassing to Hillary Clinton in support of Trump, some of those same conservatives are all for him.  In fact, they believe him over the CIA!

Conversely, liberals used to praise Assange for revealing the sinister secrets of the militaristic, imperialistic CIA.  Today, now that Assange is supporting Trump and the CIA is saying the Russians were responsible for the e-mail hacks (something Assange denies), the left is vilifying Assange and praising the CIA!

Do you see some inconsistency here?  Michael Gerson does.  After the jump, read his accusations of unprincipled tribalism.  On the other hand, there are civil libertarians on both the right and the left that can make a case for Assange and his exposure of government secrets.

What do you think of Assange now? [Read more…]