Republican National Convention Roundup

If we can’t make the case to the American people that voting for our party’s nominee is consistent with voting your conscience, is consistent with defending freedom and being faithful to the Constitution, then we are not going to win, and we don’t deserve to win. — Ted Cruz

As balloons fell after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accepted his party nomination last night, the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want' rang through the arena.

I am uncharacteristically left speechless after the sad, sad events in Cleveland this past week. As Matt Walsh said, “not my circus, not my elephants,” but it’s still hard not to cry a little cry over the final bullet in the head of the Republican party. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye to all that social/fiscal conservatism… stuff, I guess. I mean, minor details really. Not like we’re gutting the soul of the party or anything. Move along folks.

The only bright spot, of course, was Ted Cruz’s perfect balance of principle and savvy, reminding us of what Republicanism used to stand for and reminding us that far more hangs in the balance this election than the presidency. One of the most devastating potential consequences of Trump’s nomination is that discouraged Never Trumpers will not mobilize to keep Congress in the red, as dozens of seats are up for grabs. Cruz’s reminder to vote our consciences “up and down the ballot” was not just a subtle dig at Trump. It was a useful word of advice to real conservatives that there are still worthy senators and representatives out there who need their vote. By the way, I’ve seen a number of people condescendingly wag their fingers at Cruz for “breaking his pledge” by not explicitly endorsing Trump. (And how interesting that even Trump’s own supporters know good and well that “vote your conscience” doesn’t mean their guy.) What a lot of sanctimonious hoo-ha. I won’t even try to respond to all that better than the man himself.

But anyway, I thought about writing a little eulogy, until I read around and realized it’s all been said more eloquently than I can match. So, I refer my gentle readers to the following gems of wisdom. Take up and read:

Jonah Goldberg chooses Ted, ’nuff said

Maggie Gallagher on where the Republican party is going from here (spoiler, it’s leftward ho!)

Ben Shapiro adding his thoughts

Matt Walsh on what true conservative unity should look like (and why uniting around Trump isn’t it)

David French on how we lost the Republic in Republicanism

Why I’m Not Excited About Austin Petersen

As the numbing reality has set in that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, many conservatives are frantically casting about for a third choice. Google searches for libertarian party candidates have sky-rocketed, and one name in particular has been generating a lot of buzz: Austin Petersen. Like other libertarian candidates, Petersen had about zero name recognition a month ago. Now, none other than Glenn Beck has officially endorsed him (after having campaigned hard for Ted Cruz).

Historically, libertarian candidates haven’t excited social conservatives, and with good reason: The libertarian party platform is officially liberal on core issues such as abortion and marriage. Indeed, Gary Johnson, the last libertarian candidate, “supports a woman’s right to choose up to the point of viability” (translation: believes it should be legal to murder babies). So how is Petersen different? The answer is that he’s pro-life. Well, at least, more pro-life than the average libertarian.

That’s an important caveat, one that can be lost in the headlines.

Continue reading “Why I’m Not Excited About Austin Petersen”

This Election is Not About Beating Hillary Clinton

Despite the fact that Donald Trump is poised to sweep his home state of New York and plausibly several other New England states in its wake, the surge of Texas senator Ted Cruz has given actual conservatives reason to be cautiously optimistic. His well-oiled delegate collection machine has been cleaning Trump’s clock in recent non-primary states like Colorado and North Dakota. Furthermore, if Trump fails to clinch the nomination outright, Cruz’s team has loaded The Donald’s delegate slate with double agents who will turn on him in a contested convention once they are unbound. That Cruz, he has a very good brain. Meanwhile, Trump’s response has been the usual: Trumpertantrums and more Trumpertantrums.

Riding this wave of hope, some are daring to wonder out loud if Cruz might pull off not only the Republican nomination, but a general election victory as well. With an increasingly unpopular Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee, the Democrat party could be in for an upset. Is it possible? Could Cruz usher in a new golden age of conservatism?

As usual, in typical Puddleglum fashion, I feel compelled to throw a wet blanket on things and remind everyone that most recent polls still show Hillary beating Cruz, sometimes outside the margin of error. Moreover, this is not a bad reflection of the country’s electoral and demographic makeup, which is becoming bluer by the year. That’s just a fact. And the liberal media is already projecting their image of Cruz to the public: a creepy, crazy guy with a weird face that nobody likes. The nastiness will only intensify if he becomes the nominee. And, sad but true, it will sway far more people than any policy position.

But it doesn’t matter, because this election is not about beating Hillary Clinton. It never was.

Continue reading “This Election is Not About Beating Hillary Clinton”

If The 2016 Election Was a Season of American Idol…

AI and Election collage

Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where instead of running for president, our 2016 contenders had competed in American Idol instead. (While meanwhile, in another parallel universe, TV personalities were running for president. Oh wait, that’s our universe, never mind.) What might the contest look like? I decided to draw on my vast knowledge of American Idol’s last few seasons and imagine it for you. Here is how I picture most of the candidates who ran this year as American Idol contestants. I say “most,” because I couldn’t think of something clever for everyone. Sorry, George Pataki, whoever you were.

Continue reading “If The 2016 Election Was a Season of American Idol…”

No, Trump is Not Better Than Hillary or Bernie

This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep! Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus… They’re mine! I own ’em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em. — Lonesome Rhodes, A Face in the Crowd

The final Republican debate will be airing on FOX tonight, but Donald Trump has taken his ball and gone home, citing moderator Megyn Kelly as the reason why. As per his usual practice of boldly, graciously engaging with his detractors, he has done so only after trying to browbeat FOX into removing Kelly instead. That is, if you believe FOX’s own press report, which I do, partly because it’s not the first time Trump has reportedly engaged in these kind of backstage intimidation tactics. While he was at it, why didn’t he just make Miss Kelly an offer she couldn’t refuse? I say this as somebody who’s not even a big fan of Kelly myself. But she does not deserve this kind of treatment from a man who can only be described as a boor, a coward and a bully.

If Republican America cannot wake up to this fact now, then I fear they never will. But what I am about to say must be said, and it must be said loud and clear, even to those who do not support Trump now but would doggedly vote for him in the general, because “at least he’s better than Hillary or Bernie.” So hear me now: No. He. Is. Not.

Continue reading “No, Trump is Not Better Than Hillary or Bernie”

GOP Candidates, First Impressions

Republican Elephant Boxing

I caught bits and pieces of the FOX News-hosted GOP debates last night and wanted to share a few first impressions, as well as additional information about the candidates that might be helpful. I don’t know enough about every candidate to give comments on all of them (and frankly, it’s too early for me to do that much research!) But for now, these are my thoughts. FOX has also put up some choice clips that I will embed in case you missed the debate or need a replay. Those of you who are resolutely trying not to get caught up in the hype, feel free to resist the “Click for more” urge and come back in a year. (But really, you know you want to click. Come on now.)

Continue reading “GOP Candidates, First Impressions”

When the Republican Party Leaves Me

In case you didn’t notice this week, some cowardly women and a few cowardly men in the Republican party conspired to kill a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Of course, it would have barely alighted on our Dear Leader’s desk before being vetoed, but it’s the thought that would have counted.

I hope you’re watching the slow but steady decay of the Republican party very closely, my dear conservative readers. Don’t be like the frog in the pot. Recognize that the party you’ve loyally stood behind for lo these many years simply doesn’t care as much about things like life and marriage as you do anymore. The marriage issue bears special attention. (Don’t be too shocked if come 2016, the Republicans’ anointed candidate refuses to take a stand on the definition of marriage at all.) But this week’s decision shows they can’t even get their act together when it comes to babies being killed. Campaign strategists are pressing, on both issues, and they are pressing in a leftward direction.

You cannot allow yourself to be endlessly shanghaied into voting for the lesser of two evils. You cannot hold your nose at the ballot box forever. You need to let yourself smell the rot that’s setting in.

You have a right to vote, it’s true. You also have a right not to.

New “Christian” Movie Waffles on Homosexuality

If you’ve seen Unbroken in theaters, you might have caught a preview for a new movie billing itself as a “Christian” production. The trailer’s soundtrack is current CCM, and the Dove Foundation has already rated it glowingly. So it’s safe to say that this product is being pushed in fairly mainstream evangelical circles. This isn’t Steve Taylor’s pet project. It’s the kind of thing for which your local Christian morning show might give away tickets when it gets a wider release. People are coming out of early screenings all smiles, saying what a “great message” the movie has and how much it moved them.

Indeed, judging by the trailer, it looks like the script, story and acting alone should bring a lump to any film-lover’s throat.

Okay, in case your stomach wasn’t strong enough to venture clicking on the trailer, I’ll provide a brief recap: In an unspecified hamlet of white American suburbia, one earnest teen heartthrob dares to raise his voice against the tirades of an Oppressive White Male political candidate, who’s running on a platform of “fighting” lies, corruption, and sexual immorality. I’m not sure what’s supposed to be wrong with that, but anyway, our hero hears it as a message of “hate,” and he decides to Do Something about it. That Something turns out to be running for Congress against Mr. Oppressive White Male, at the age of 17 (I gather this legal sticking-point is somehow resolved in the plot). The stage is set for a showdown between the two sides, where Millenial Teen Heartthrob can be spotted mouthing such profundities as “We cannot choose hate! We have to choose each other!”

Hang on, I need to go ransack my closet for some insulin. BRB.

Continue reading “New “Christian” Movie Waffles on Homosexuality”

Opposition Should Be Made of Sterner Stuff

I think we could learn a few things about appropriate, forceful, needed criticism from this guy. Folks, this is not the time to play nice. This is the time to play hardball. See also the video below, which was actually recorded before President Obama’s latest tantrum. (Yes, Dear Leader has been quite busy paying people to make sure nobody can park at the privately owned Mt. Vernon site, paying people to stop World War II veterans from visiting the World War II memorial, paying people to cordon off and monitor a large swatch of the Florida Bay, and on and on the pettiness goes. Because they just don’t have the money to… oh wait, never mind. But remember boys and girls, this is all the House of Representatives’ fault!) This was Bill Whittle’s take on Obama’s last circus act, the sequester, words which could just as well be spoken today.

This is the most petty, malicious, mean-spirited, cowardly and hateful thing that this petty, malicious, mean-spirited, cowardly and hateful President has done. He’s deliberately inflicting as much pain on the American people as he can possibly muster so he can accelerate our way into bankruptcy. He’s doing his best to make it hurt…

I thought of the part where Whittle speaks of the children whose tours to the White House were canceled, “who so desperately wanted to see the House in which they mistakenly believed lived a great, good and powerful man…” when I saw this video some months back:

This video simply angers and saddens me. It angers and saddens me to see how this poor little boy is being used—as a symbol, as a token, as an innocent mouthpiece for an evil empire which even now is laying the groundwork for destroying his future, and his children’s future. I am deeply angry when I think of the lies he has been fed and taught to repeat—how the President is a wonderful man, a harbinger of hope, Emmanuel, God with us.

But by all means, if you want to go on saying that everybody just needs to get into a big ole group hug and sing “We Are the World” a few times, so that all their “differences” can disappear in a pink cloud of sweetness and light, be my guest.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look for a few hundred millstones.

George Zimmerman, Justice and the Church

George Zimmerman--I Am a Man

Last year I thought about saying something about the Trayvon Martin case. But then I thought it would be best to wait. The media was generating so much more heat than light, and besides, racial tension is one of those issues one is always reluctant to talk about if one’s opinion strays from the popular narrative. Now that an official verdict has been handed down from our justice system, and George Zimmerman has been declared not guilty, I would like to address some of the appallingly irresponsible reactions I am seeing from the leaders of the evangelical community in the wake of this decision. I don’t mind saying that I am equal parts disheartened, angered, yet depressingly un-surprised to see how thoughtlessly they have, collectively, abandoned George Zimmerman. And I am not the only one.

Let’s begin with this fact, which precisely zero evangelical “voices” have acknowledged: This is a case that should never even have gone to trial. Continue reading “George Zimmerman, Justice and the Church”