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Dan Phillips



Articles by Dan Phillips

Perhaps Globalists Shouldn’t be Questioning Other People’s Patriotism

July 24, 2017

Because I try to keep up with the ongoing RussiaGate ruse, I follow on Twitter many of the major peddlers of this nonsense. Many of them casually toss around accusations of disloyalty by Trump and his supporters and, as I noted in my last article, even treason. They frequently invoke country, the flag, the Constitution, etc. and suggest that Trump cares nothing about any of these and is instead a pawn of Vladimir Putin. Of course this is all absurd on its face.
First of all, authentic liberals, of which there appear to be very few remaining, should see the peril of this line of argument. Anyone who disagrees with a certain political position is automatically disloyal and either a willing accomplice or a dupe of the enemy. It is also highly ironic that the nation that supposedly commands

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Russia is not Our Enemy

July 17, 2017

The Twitterverse and the rest of social media are abuzz with hysteria about Russia in light of the recent revelations regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian national who claimed to be in possession of some incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. Words frequently used by the anti-Trump Russian conspiracy mongers to describe Russia include “enemy,” “hostile,” “adversary,” etc. There is just one problem with this. It is not an accurate characterization of Russia or our relationship with her.
For the record, the U.S. currently has no declared enemies. Not one. The fact that we are at war in one country and are aiding one side in a civil war in another yet have no declared enemies should give one pause, but that is for a separate essay. The U.S has (way too many) countries

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What is Really Going On with the Comey Show Trial?

June 9, 2017

Recently fired FBI Director James Comey failed to land the knockout blow in his live testimony today before the Senate Intelligence Committee that liberals and anti-Trump "conservatives" were hoping for, but his testimony and the nonstop coverage of it illustrate what is really going on here.
Since the day Trump was elected, the Deep State has been engaged in a blatant soft coup attempt with the enthusiastic assistance of the lickspittle mainstream media and a combination of willful shills and useful idiots on social media. (They were after him well before he won the election, but at that point it would not have technically been a coup attempt.) 
This is the issue, not Trump’s faults and failures, whatever they may be, whether you like it or not. I see too many people and outlets whose

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It’s Time for a Rant about this Trump/Russia Foolishness!

May 12, 2017

Every now and then a situation calls for a good rant. This Russia/Trump nonsense is one of them, so here goes.
Here is what really bugs the heck out of me about the Russia/Trump narrative being pushed by the liberal “mainstream” media and the legion of hysterical anti-Trumpers, both liberal and “conservative” Never Trumpers, on social media. If the situation was reversed, and Hillary had won and Republicans and Trump supporters were claiming that Russia stole the election for Hillary, their claims would not be taken at all seriously by the media or this chorus of newly minted Red Baiters that is currently hyperventilating about Russia. Those pushing the theory would be derided and mocked as sore loser conspiracy theorists and told to get over it and move on. Their allegations and

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Donald Trump’s Syria Problem

April 21, 2017

Donald Trump responded to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by lobbing some missiles at the Syrian air base from which the gas attack was allegedly launched. Some have described it as a fireworks display intended more as a message than a serious military strike, but that fireworks display was quickly rivaled by the fireworks that erupted on social media among Trump supporters following the strike. Opinions were decidedly mixed between those who enthusiastically supported the strike and those who saw it as a betrayal of Trump’s promise for a more America first foreign policy with very little middle ground in between.
Many of Trump’s more “regular” Republican supporters saw the strike as evidence that a “new sheriff is in town.” In their minds Trump demonstrated with the airstrike that he will not be pushed around unlike President Obama who they perceived as “weak” on foreign policy. On the other hand, many of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters were extremely disappointed with Trump’s decision and were not shy about saying so. For example, Anne Coulter, who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Trump, expressed her dismay in no uncertain terms. Paul Joseph Watson of InfoWars announced that he was now off the Trump Train.

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Trump’s Agenda is as American as Apple Pie

March 20, 2017

This recent article at The American Conservative is worth commenting on. It compares Donald Trump to Teddy Roosevelt, and suggests that Roosevelt is the President to whom Trump is best likened. Both Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt are complicated and nuanced figures, even by presidential standards, and that makes direct comparisons between the two difficult, but at a broad level at least, the comparison is apt. Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt have a similar core issue cluster, not necessarily because of any peculiarities of Roosevelt’s agenda, but because Roosevelt represents typical early 20th century Republicanism.
The author of the article, Stephen Beale, makes the following point:
"It is tempting to see Trump’s nationalism as a foreign import that is of a recent vintage, but the reality is that his ideology—good, bad, ugly, or some combination of all three—is more deeply rooted in the American experience than many would care to admit."
Mr. Beale is correct. The above point is one I, as a conservative who boarded the Trump Train early, have been making all along. There is nothing foreign or particularly novel about Trump’s basic agenda cluster. Candidate Trump expressed positions that would have been broadly held by Republicans prior to World War II.
People who were baffled by where Trump was coming from policy wise, like much of the Conservative Inc.

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Middlebury College Thought Police Shout Down Charles Murray

March 4, 2017

In what is an increasingly common scenario, PC hysterics at Middlebury College recently managed to shout down a conservative speaker who had been duly invited to speak on campus. This time it wasn’t even the deliberately provocative Milo Yiannopoulos whose presence recently incited a riot at Berkeley. It was the staid and gentlemanly Charles Murray, whose major thoughtcrime seems to have been writing a book that contained wrongthink twenty years ago. Murray is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and was invited to Middlebury to address a student group affiliated with AEI.
Besides affirming the absurdity of what passes for the left these days on many college campuses, there is an important object lesson to be learned here. Charles Murray was very outspoken in his opposition to Donald Trump during the campaign, a fact which caused a great deal of consternation among many of Murray’s usual fans who expected more sympathy for Trump from him. They saw Murray as someone who should personally understand the irrational and dangerous nature of the rightthink enforcers and felt Murray’s opposition to Trump, which was more about demeanor and decorum than policy, was amplifying the narrative of the enemy.
While I don’t doubt that some of Murray’s concerns about Trump were sincere, I still thought I detected some posturing on his part.

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Conservatism Has a Globalism Problem

February 26, 2017

Donald Trump’s success in the GOP primary and general election has highlighted an emerging political dynamic that has long been bubbling under the surface but lacked the prominent spokesman necessary to fundamentally change the conversation. This emerging dynamic is nationalism vs. globalism, and it is not just a phenomenon confined to Trump’s America. It is reflected in the Brexit vote and the resonance of nationalist politicians in Europe like France’s Jen-Marie Le Pen. Trump’s success is part of a broader uprising in the Western World against our global elite masters.
This emerging dynamic clearly caught the defenders of the reigning paradigm, both left and right, off guard, and they have struggled with how to respond. I recently asked whether CPAC (which is currently underway in the nation’s capital), as a representative of orthodox movement conservatism, was prepared to grapple with this new reality. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who picked up on this tension. David Cowen discusses it here in an article at The American Conservative. Even Ryan Lizza of the liberal Ney Yorker picked up on the conflict, which is saying a lot since liberals notoriously lack nuance when it comes to understanding distinctions on the right.
The subject was discussed in a CPAC panel that included Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

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Will CPAC Adapt to Trumpism?

February 22, 2017

The Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC, starts this week. For those who are unfamiliar with CPAC, it is an annual event that takes place in Washington, DC that brings together conservative activists with conservative elected officials, leaders, journalists and celebrities. It is likely the largest and most prominent event of its kind within the conservative universe.
The event is sponsored by the American Conservative Union (ACU), a venerable conservative organization. The ACU, as would be expected for a long established movement conservative institution, generally represents orthodox “three-legs-of-the-stool” type conservatism – fiscally conservative, socially conservative and hawkish on foreign policy.
The crowd at CPAC, however, trends young relative to the average GOP voter and movement conservative leadership. This has sometimes been a source of discord in the past as young conservatives’ priorities often differ from the priorities of the older generation. This has been very evident at the last several CPACs due to the rise of the “liberty” movement that coalesced around the presidential campaigns of Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 and Rand Paul in 2016. Since a straw poll takes place at CPAC during presidential election cycles, candidates sometimes go to great lengths to get their people to CPAC to vote in the straw poll.

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But What About My True Conservatism?

January 31, 2017

Once you get past all the noise on both sides, Donald Trump is clearly a different kind of Republican and he succeeded in the Republican primary and with swing voters in Flyover Country precisely because he isn’t a typical Republican. Too what degree Trump has fundamentally changed the GOP in his image remains to be seen, but Trump has clearly moved the party in a more economic populist direction. The party has become more overtly a party of the working class that better reflects its actual voting base.
With such a significant transformation, some resistance is to be expected. There remain many holdouts who still support the previous more ideological “conservative” version of the party. These are the people who groused that Trump’s inaugural speech didn’t say enough about high-minded issues like freedom, limited government, the Constitution, spending cuts, tax cuts, the debt, values, etc. etc. You know, the whole laundry list that Republican candidates have traditionally paid lip service to every election cycle and then returned to Washington or their various state capitols and resumed business as usual.

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Trump’s Cabinet of Peers

January 24, 2017

When Trump first started naming his cabinet picks, there was a lot of noise from both sides complaining about some of his choices. The liberal mainstream media, who clearly don’t like Trump, was obviously trying to cause dissension in the ranks of Trump supporters by declaring certain of his nominees a betrayal of his campaign promises and his base (Puzder, Mnuchin, Priebus). This was transparently disingenuous. Do they really expect me to believe that they wouldn’t be perfectly happy for Trump to betray his base? Simultaneously, and contradictorily, they attempted to outrage Trump’s enemies by declaring others of his picks as outside the pale (Bannon, Tillerson) and confirmation of their worst fears about Trump. So which was I supposed to believe, that Trump is actually a phony and a tool of the Establishment or that he is a rogue actor who is appointing fellow rogues in an all-out effort to subvert all that is good and true? It really can’t be both.
At the same time some Trump supporters and conservative Trump critics were quick to voice their displeasure at some of Trump’s picks, especially Labor Secretary select Andrew Puzder who has supported liberal immigration policies in the past, Treasury Secretary select Steven Mnuchin who was formerly in the employ of the hated Goldman Sachs and Chief of Staff select Reince Priebus of the distrusted RNC.

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Hollywood Liberals, Would You Please Shut Up!

January 9, 2017

"Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and Mixed Martial Arts, which are not the arts,” ~ Meryl Streep
Is this supposed to be a bad thing? Please, please don’t throw me into that briar patch.
Look, I love movies and TV probably more than most. Movies and certain TV series are a favorite pastime of mine, but I would gladly give them up and watch nothing but sports or read a book in exchange for getting rid of all these liberal Hollywood blowhards and the nefarious influence they and the bilge they produce have on our culture. A generation of young men raised on a steady diet of football and mixed martial arts instead of the PC indoctrination masquerading as entertainment that Hollywood deliberately pumps out might be just what this country needs.
As you have probably heard by now, Meryl Streep, a notorious Hollywood liberal even by Hollywood standards, used the occasion of her acceptance of a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes to give a finger wagging lecture to Middle America, a decreasing percentage of whom watch awards shows anyway at least partially because of nonsense like this.

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Trump Plus Russia Equals Double the Crazy

December 19, 2016

Donald Trump makes some otherwise reasonable people crazy. Russia and Putin make some otherwise reasonable people crazy. Combine the two and for some people it’s double the crazy.
Ever since the fakenews story about the alleged Russian “hack” of our election broke, certain commentators have totally gone off the deep end. The combination of their antipathy for Trump and their antipathy for Russia and Putin is apparently too much for them to handle and has driven them to madness as demonstrated by their Twitter feeds and other ravings.  
Take for example former independent NeverTrump Presidential candidate Evan McMullin. His entire campaign was based on grandstanding about alleged conservative “values” and “principles” and PC preening that could compete with the best efforts of Salon and Slate. Unfortunately, he overlooked that fundamental conservative value and principle of not turning our country permanently Blue through immigration, likely because it conflicted with the latter PC preening. McMullin’s conservatism by incantation was never taken seriously outside the ideologically brain addled confines of the movement conservative bubble, but this fakenews Russian ‘hacking” business has turned him into even more of an unserious sideshow, which is no mean feat. Read his Twitter feed.

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Elite Anti-Trump Hysteria is an Act

December 15, 2016

Recently, my news feed and social media feed have been inundated with story after story about Russia “hacking” the election, the Electoral College going rogue and blocking Trump reaching the requisite 270, “briefing” the Electoral College on the Russian “hack,” holding a new election, etc. If the roles were reversed, the Russian allegation would be denounced as a wild conspiracy theory and those promoting Electoral College sabotage would be accused of hostility to democracy and outright subversion.  
This is all so farfetched and outside the norm for the usually meticulously “serious” and “respectable” voices of the elite consensus that it’s surreal. These same mouthpieces normally tell us that such outlandish tales and schemes are solely the purview of the fringes and mark those who promote them as people/outlets/sources etc. that are not to be taken seriously. In the current climate, the MSM comes off as hysterical and fanatical, and Infowars comes off as rational and sober minded.
For example, here we have a Harvard Law Professor, normally a dependable source of “serious” opinion, offering free legal advice to potential Electoral College defectors and seemingly acting as if this is a serious and desirable possibility. Yeah, whatever Buddy.

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So What Was That About Trump Being a Hillary Plant?

November 17, 2016

In light of Donald Trump’s victory, I hope we can finally put to rest an argument that I, as a Trump supporter, have had to deal with repeatedly during the course of the campaign. If you are one of the conservatives who espoused the conspiracy theory that Trump was really a Hillary plant put forward to deliberately take a dive for her, perhaps you should never offer commentary on any political issue ever again. His victory exposes that theory as the absurdity that it always was.
I am careful not to either reflexively reject or accept conspiracy theories. I try to keep an open mind and examine the evidence. The first test of a conspiracy theory or any other sort of alternative explanation is whether it is superficially plausible. That a cabal of elites attempt to influence and manipulate affairs in a manner that enriches them is superficially plausible. That the world is secretly ruled by lizard people who operate from a hollow spaceship moon is not. While the “Trump is a Democrat plant” theory is not quite spaceship moon level implausible, it never did come close to passing the initial smell test.
Some die-hard defenders of this theory have latched onto the fact that there are some Wikileak emails that indicate the Democrats preferred Trump to be the Republican nominee because they considered him vulnerable.

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Trump Supporters – It’s not Time to Panic

November 14, 2016

My social media feed is erupting with Trump supporters already panicking that Donald Trump is selling us out. The appointment of Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff seems to be of particular concern to many. My advice to my fellow Trump supporters is to take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Remember that the MSM is deliberately trying to sow discord among us and harm the Trump Administration before it even begins. Don’t take the bait. At least give this all some time to work itself out before you hit the panic button.
I know we supported Trump because he was the anti-Establishment candidate, and it would be emotionally satisfying if he came in and just started cleaning house and installing our guys, but you have to remember that you also ultimately have to get things done. The problem with electing a novice, and I’m not criticizing us for doing so, is that he can’t surround himself only with other novices and expect to be effective. There is a fine line to walk between allowing yourself to be co-opted and surrounding yourself with enough people who understand the system to get things done. Let’s wait and see how well Trump walks this line. Right now, it’s way too early to tell.
I’m not a fan of Reince Priebus, and I don’t entirely trust him.

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The TAC Presidential Symposium – It’s a Muddled Mess

November 8, 2016

I recently wrote an article suggesting that The American Conservative (TAC) magazine, for better or worse the closest thing to a policy journal paleoconservatism has, should be more visibly on board the Trump Train. I realize that TAC is a non-profit and is not able to officially endorse a candidate. What I had in mind was that the magazine and its stable of writers should make it clearer that Trump is actually running on and advancing, to a greater or lesser degree, our cluster of issues – immigration restriction, rejection of free trade ideology and a more restrained America first foreign policy. National Review (NR) is also a non-profit, but it is abundantly clear that its editorial position is anti-Trump. (Some have suggested that their anti-Trump issue violated their non-profit status.)
Trump is certainly not without his flaws, both personal and policy wise, and I don’t really expect TAC to be as pro-Trump as NR is anti-Trump, but the entirety of the mainstream media and much of the mainstream conservative press have been openly and vehemently anti-Trump, so I don’t believe it is asking too much for an outlet that is generally on his side on the issues to stick up for the guy against this hysterical onslaught.

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It’s Past Time for TAC to Get on Board the Trump Train

November 3, 2016

Rare recently published this article by Daniel McCarthy, Editor of The American Conservative (TAC) magazine. It is a thoughtful defense of a vote for Trump that I largely agree with. I will not say I’m completely surprised. I could have seen McCarthy going either way. I will say that I am pleased.
Some background is in order for those who may not be familiar with the intricate details of certain intra-right dynamics. TAC began as a project of Pat Buchanan, Taki Theodoracopulos and Scott McConnell. It was an effort to create a credible magazine that reflected Buchananism or paleoconservatism, especially on foreign policy, that would serve as a counter balance to the typical mainstream and neoconservative party line from such magazines as National Review and the Weekly Standard. Since the time of its founding, former Buchananites and paleocons have maintained something of a love hate relationship with the magazine.
It is fair to say that the magazine was never the bastion of orthodox paleoism, a more politically and policy oriented version of Chronicles for example, that many who saw Buchanan’s name attached to it hoped it was going to be, but Buchanan and Taki eventually left the magazine, and it has arguably drifted since that time in ways that are hard to precisely characterize. I’ll avoid details for the sake of brevity.

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Pro-Trump, Anti-Trump and the Meta-Narrative

October 25, 2016

"As in Jephthah’s day, at stake in the upcoming presidential election is the life or death of a nation.  Is Trump America’s Jephthah?  Only if, by the providence of Almighty God, He moves the hearts and minds of the American people to reject America’s political elite who would choose global hegemony to an independent American republic.” ~ Herb Titus
The above quote is from an article by Herb Titus asking “Is Trump America’s Jephthah?” Titus does not endorse Donald Trump in so many words, but I think the article can be fairly read as an endorsement. If you are not wonkishly familiar with the outer edges of the right-wingosphere, you might not recognize the significance of this. Your first reaction might be, “Who is Herb Titus?”
Herb Titus is a lawyer who is probably best known in “regular” conservative circles as the founding Dean of the Regent University (“Pat Robertson’s college”) College of Law. For the purposes of this discussion, however, the significance is that Herb Titus was the Constitution Party (CP) Vice Presidential nominee in 1996 and was the runner up for the CP Presidential nomination in 2000 behind Howard Phillips. Of interest, some people might dispute this characterization, but he arguably ran as the more doctrinaire and less accommodating candidate in 2000.
Clearly, Herb Titus is no shrinking violet conservative.

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Rod Dreher Has Officially Jumped the Shark

October 17, 2016

The American Conservative blogger Rod Dreher has never been entirely my cup of tea. His posts are frequently too overwrought, and they come off as, for lack of a better word, prissy. (I tried hard to come up with another word to describe them that wasn’t so loaded, but I couldn’t think of one that wasn’t equally or more loaded.) However, since Dreher is an outside the mainstream conservative, I have often found myself defending him against attacks from mainstream conservatives, especially back in the days when conservatives were still debating the Iraq War. Often his critics just didn’t get where he was coming from since he isn’t a typical cookie cutter movement conservative. I have always considered “Crunchy Conservatism,” a concept which Dreher is primarily responsible for popularizing, as sort of paleoconservatism light. I’ll punch left within our little sphere when I think it is justified, but I’ll also defend my fellow paleosphere dwellers from attacks from mainstream cons when necessary, much like they say about siblings.
That said, this recent post from Dreher along with several other recent posts are over the top and beg for a response. The time to punch left within our sphere is here. Rockford Institute President Tom Piatak has already responded at the Chronicles Magazine website. The linked post is a textbook example of typical Dreher pearl clutching.

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Some Thoughts on the Ted Cruz Endorsement of Donald Trump

September 24, 2016

Sen. Ted Cruz has belatedly endorsed Donald Trump. Cruz was in a no win situation, but it was a no win situation of his own making. If he didn’t plan to endorse Trump in Cleveland, he should have declined the offer to speak at the Convention. A refusal to endorse from afar, such as with Gov. John Kasich, is less visible than a refusal to endorse during a prime time Convention speaking slot. His speech in Cleveland made Cruz persona non grata with a large portion of the Republican base, but also made him a hero to a relatively small but hard core group of NeverTrumpers. Now that he has decided to endorse Trump, he may salvage some credibility with the portion of the base that was angry at him for not endorsing Trump in the first place, but he may also alienate some NeverTrumpers who will see this as a betrayal of principle. My hunch is that Cruz weighed the potential gain vs. the potential risk, and decided the potential gain was greater.
But even if Cruz is able to satisfy some of the Republicans who are angry at him, he is still in a worse position than he was pre-Convention, because the question inevitably arises, “If he is endorsing Trump now, why didn’t he just do so in Cleveland?” None of the essential facts have changed. Cruz comes off looking both petulant and chastened which is not a good look.

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So What You’re Saying Is … Pat Buchanan Was Right all Along

September 17, 2016

A recent Claremont Review of Books article by the obviously pseudonymous Publius Decius Mus, “The Flight 93 Election,” has created quite a stir in the conservative universe. The article is a vigorous defense of Trump and Trumpism, and has been touted widely by Trump supporters. Rush Limbaugh read it aloud on his radio program. It has even inspired its own hashtag, #IAmDecius, but it has also generated a very vociferous reaction from anti-Trumpers. This National Review article by Jonah Goldberg contains links to several of the critical responses.
Decius is one of the minds behind the now defunct Journal of American Greatness, which is significant because it was a vehicle for self-identified Straussians of the West Coast variety. This distinction may only be meaningful to pointy-headed conservatives who are familiar with the intricacies of the intra-conservative battles of recent decades and to do justice to its significance at the philosophical level would require more elaboration than a short op-ed allows. Suffice it to say for now that West Coast Straussians have historically been on the side of the anti-Trump critics of the article. What follows is a brief reaction to the political significance of what is going on here. I’ll leave the philosophical nitty-gritty for later.

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Conservative Anti-Trumpers Want It Both Ways

September 8, 2016

In my frequent battles with anti-Trumpers, I have noted two distinct lines of argument. One is that Donald Trump is really just a big government liberal whose policies are barely distinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s. The other is that Trump is so far outside the mainstream that Hillary is closer to traditional Republican thought. The remarkable thing about these competing arguments is that they are often made by the same people or outlets. Well, which is it? Is Trump a typical big government liberal, or is he radically outside the mainstream? I suspect that many rank and file NeverTrumpers believe the former, but the leadership fears the latter.
One of my frequent online foils, a self-described libertarian Republican, recently argued that Hillary is closer to traditional Republicanism (capital R) than is Trump. I agreed with him. The elites of both parties are basically status quo globalist neoliberals – pro-international trade agreements and the existing global economic order, pro-immigration and internationalist/interventionist on foreign policy. They argue around the edges, but they don’t fundamentally challenge the reigning bipartisan elite consensus. Trump is not a globalist neoliberal.

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The Tin Ear of Free Trade Advocates

August 24, 2016

As an unabashed supporter of Donald Trump and a conservative who has long been of the paleo-populist persuasion, I frequently find myself engaged in online debates with “regular” conservatives, and one of our most common and contentious topics is the virtues of free trade. One of my frequent foils on the matter recently directed me to this op-ed by radio talk show host and senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, Ross Kaminsky. It is tellingly entitled “Trashing Free Trade Isn’t Economics – It’s Pandering.”
Not surprisingly, I did not find the article to be the slam dunk logical defense of free trade that my intellectual sparring partner thought it was. I saw the article as an excellent illustration of why the purist case for free trade has trouble gaining traction outside the echo chamber of the already convinced, much to the chagrin of all the supposed experts and other purveyors of the conventional wisdom.
First of all, a word about terminology. The term “pandering” suggests insincerely telling voters what they want to hear. Accusing Hillary Clinton of pandering on trade is entirely justified. Hillary is a long time neoliberal who vocally supported NAFTA in the early 90’s and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) until she found herself in a difficult primary battle with anti-TPP Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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If It’s Really About Conservative Purity Then Endorse Darrell Castle or Shut Up

August 15, 2016

Anti-Trump “conservatives” act as if they are the only group of people who have ever faced having a nominee of their party that they don’t like and don’t believe represents their party well, but I’ve got news for them. They aren’t. A lot of conservatives weren’t satisfied with Romney, McCain, Bush II, Dole, Bush I, etc. Guess what, Bernie supporters aren’t happy with Hillary and many leftists before weren’t happy with Kerry, etc. either, but the level of vitriol and the pathological inability to let it go and move on among the NeverTrumpers is unprecedented. (I’ll only use the quotes around conservative once for the sake of ease and appearance, but I do not concede that every group calling itself conservative actually is when that term is properly understood and applied.)
I find a few things about the anti-Trump hysteria among some conservative regulars very revealing. First, how many of these conservatives also refused in the name of conservative purity to back the squishy moderates Romney and McCain after they won the Republican nomination? Very few I suspect. Props to those who did. Heck, many NeverTrumpers laughably view Romney as the potential savior of conservatism and the Republican Party. I could stop this essay at that little factoid and would have sufficiently demonstrated the intellectual unseriousness of NeverTrump, but I’ll proceed anyway.

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Evan McMullin? NeverTrump Still Doesn’t Get It

August 10, 2016

We have long been promised that if the convention coup plot failed, as everyone who knows anything about the process knew it would, and Donald Trump emerged as the Republican nominee, that the NeverTrump bitter-enders planned to put forth an independent challenger to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to represent self-proclaimed “real conservatism” and/or “real Republicanism.” After some teasing by author Brad Thor that never materialized, NeverTrump has found its candidate. It is … drum roll please … wait for it … Republican House functionary Evan McMullin.
I didn’t think it was possible for NeverTrump to field a more underwhelming candidate than David French, but they have managed to do it. At least die-hard NeverTrumpers and Trump supporters had heard of French due to his incessant Trump bashing at National Review, but not even wonky political obsessives have heard of this guy.
I have long said that NeverTrumpers were astoundingly clueless and didn’t understand the dynamic of this campaign or how the paradigm has likely (hopefully) been forever changed by it. They ran in the primary and continue to run a campaign about who is the most pristine “conservative” as defined by highly flawed movement “conservative” standards, but that’s not the campaign many Republican primary voters were responding to.

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Pick a Side Peggy

August 8, 2016

“I end with a new word, at least new to me. A friend called it to my attention. It speaks of the moment we’re in. It is “kakistocracy,” from the Greek. It means government by the worst    persons, by the least qualified or most unprincipled. We’re on our way there, aren’t we?” ~ Peggy Noonan
I’ve never been a big fan of Peggy Noonan’s writing style. It strikes me as overly earnest and sappy, and because of this it often comes off as insincere and affected. As anyone who has read my stuff knows, I’m more into angry fist shaking rants. But the lady can obviously write well, and compared to some of her colleagues in the punditocracy, especially at the Wall Street Journal, she does at times seem to demonstrate that she gets it.
Noonan often articulates the frustrations of the struggling middle class in a way that many other pundits do not, and a lot of Wall Street Journal types would do well to take note. But just when you’re ready to declare that Noonan gets it and is on our side, she’ll fire off some hang-wringing piece that reaffirms her place among the above us all punditocracy.
Noonan is clearly conflicted. She can’t decide if she’s down with the people and fighting the Man, or more interested in signaling her sophistication to fellow pundits and the usual readership of the Wall Street Journal. Pick a side Peggy.

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The Reform Party’s Branding Problem and Election 2016

August 2, 2016

Recently I wrote an article regarding Darcy Richardson’s candidacy for the Reform Party nomination. Well a funny thing happened at the Reform Party Convention last weekend. Instead of picking a nominee, they postpone the decision until 8 Aug. It is probably not wise to criticize the decision makers in the party who you wish to influence, but this strikes me as an unwise move. It comes off as amateurish.
That said, this development gives me another week to make the case for my (virtual) friend and fellow third party news blogger, Darcy Richardson. There were five people initially seeking the nomination. Rumor has it that the choice has come down to Darcy Richardson and Rocky de la Fuente.  I believe the Reform Party delegates would be wise to choose Mr. Richardson to represent their party in November, and I’ll touch on the merits of both gentlemen below, but first, I believe some basic Reform Party history is in order.
Again, I hesitate to say much about the history of the Reform Party while touting a candidate who quite literally wrote a book on the Reform Party, but some history is important to my point. The Reform Party as currently constituted has a branding problem. It lacks an identity beyond being the party that Ross Perot created.

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Sanders’ Supporters Should Consider Darcy Richardson

July 29, 2016

I recently became aware that Darcy G. Richardson is seeking the Presidential nomination of the Reform Party. The Reform Party is holding its national convention starting today, 29 July through 31 July in Bohemia, New York. While I have never met Darcy personally, I consider him a virtual friend. We are both long time contributors to the third party news website Independent Political Report (IPR) as well as frequent commenters.
Darcy has written several books on the subject of third parties, including his most recent book which was, appropriately, a history of the Reform Party. While I don’t doubt that Darcy does extensive research on his subjects, you get the sense that he could write the definitive history of some obscure third party subject off the top of his head. The man is a walking encyclopedia of third party minutia, and as anyone who has ever been involved with the third party scene knows, there is a lot of minutia.
While Darcy is clearly a man of the left, and we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of subjects, I consider Darcy an honest old school liberal, the kind who actually cares about the economic well-being of the working class.

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A Court Party No More

July 23, 2016

In early 2015, well before Donald Trump was a blip on the radar screen, a friend asked me to contribute an article to a Constitution Party newsletter, so I happily obliged. The article was entitled “Needed: a Real Country Party,” but because of the nature of the venue it was never made available for wide public viewing. I am currently working on an update of that article because I believe it helps explain why Donald Trump and Trumpism have succeeded beyond the wildest dreams (or nightmares) of the political and pundit class.
Because of the momentous nature of the Trump nomination and the resonance of his acceptance speech with much of the Republican base, I wanted to respond to the moment and briefly explain my thesis while I work on updating the larger article.
America is not a two party system (at the national level) by design. In fact, the Framers were very leery of parties, but despite their leeriness, almost from the start two party politics became the rule and has remained so, with few exceptions, until today. While the Framers didn’t intend a two party system, our general system of first past the goal post winner take all, as opposed to the proportional representation of parliamentary systems, for example, lends itself to the formation of two broad coalition parties.

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