On Trump, the Constitution, and how he’s like Obama

Rich Lowry has a great column on Donald Trump’s disregard for the Constitution.  Also how he is like Obama in being willing to use “executive” power in defiance of Constitutional limits.  There was a time, Lowry writes, when conservatives and tea party activists were all about upholding the Constitution.  Now, many of those folks are supporting Donald Trump and his “post-Constitutional” policies. [Read more…]

We all think we’re losing

Among the more interesting findings in the recent Pew study of attitudes towards government is this:  Most people think their side is losing.

This is true across demographic, racial, and ethnic lines.  Liberals think they are losing to the Conservatives, and Conservatives think they are losing to the Liberals.  (Democrats are more confident than Republicans, but still, a majority of both parties feel this way.)

I wonder if this applies to other factions, such as those in churches.  I also wonder what this means. [Read more…]

Democrats surging to the left–as is the country?

Democrats in Congress voted against the wishes of their own President in in opposing the free trade bill, which has advanced thanks only to Republicans.  Meanwhile, the socialist Bernie Sanders has all but caught up with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and Iowa, attracting some of the biggest crowds of any candidate so far.

Political columnist Dana Milbank says that President Obama and Hillary Clinton may be “on the wrong side of history” (an old Marxist line often used by the president, the assumption being that “history” is inexorably headed to the socialist utopia).

Mr. Milbank also says that the country itself is trending to the left, out of revulsion for conservatives.  Do you think that is true?  Or would a far-left Democratic platform–assuming Mrs. Clinton goes there to fend off her primary challengers–would be the best hope for a Republican victory? [Read more…]

Ideological sorting

In the course of a column on a recent Medicare bill, Michael Gerson observes that in the not-too-distant-past there were liberal Republicans (in the northeast) and conservative Democrats (in the past).  Back then, lawmakers could form coalitions with kindred spirits across the aisle to pass legislation.  But now both parties have undergone “ideological sorting,” so that Democrats are virtually all liberal and Republicans are virtually all conservative.  Thus, votes are along party lines, and the only hope of advancing an agenda is to win a big enough majority to steamroll the other party.  This is why, he says, our politics is so polarizing and it is so difficult to get legislation passed.

Read what Mr. Gerson says after the jump and consider the questions I raise. [Read more…]

Everybody’s a populist

Just about everybody in politics is claiming to be a “populist” these days–leftwinger Elizabeth Warren, rightwinger Ted Cruz, establishment icon Hillary Clinton, the Christian right’s Mike Huckabee, Occupy Wallstreeters, Tea Partiers, and on and on.

Rutgers history professor David Greenberg points out that the term once had a very specific meaning, relating to the farmer/labor coalition against the railroads and bankers in the late 19th century,  as led by William Jennings Bryan.  The ideology combined a type of socialist economics (nationalize the railroads!) with respect for “ordinary” Americans (a man of the people! champion of the common man!).  Today liberals are seizing upon the economic part (while comprising the cultural elite that the old populists scorned), while conservatives are seizing upon the ordinary American part (a demographic that today tends not to like socialism).

But this reminds us that the left owes a big debt to William Jennings Bryan, today often mocked for his creationism at the Scopes Monkey Trial.  And that there was a time when evangelical Christians were often leftists. [Read more…]

The conservatives’ choice?

Three thousand conservative activists held a convention known as CPAC and were wooed by  prospective Republican presidential candidates.  In the final straw poll, Rand Paul won, for the third year in a row, with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker coming in a close second.

Jeb Bush came in fifth, despite busing in supporters to drown out the boos.  For all of his big money, he is doing poorly in the polls.  Walker, though, seems to be surging in popularity.  But CPAC showed that conservatives are tilting libertarian, not just in picking Paul.  Delegates also wanted to legalize marijuana and were opposed to new military ventures.

Who would you pick?  Do you think conservatives will rally around a standard bearer, and, if so, who?  Will their candidate get nominated?  How about elected?

[Read more…]


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