The Battlefield, September 23, 2016: For Trump, At Last, But With Reservations, Caveats And Much Grumbling

Earlier this week Erick Erickson posted a much-discussed column at The Resurgent, re-examining his principled opposition to Donald Trump in light of evidence he might be improving as a candidate. That followed another noted conservative commentator, Victor Davis Hanson, who wrote an eloquent acceptance of Trump as the Republican nominee and least bad option.

For Erickson, the re-examination didn’t produce fruit – at least not in the sense of changing his perspective and resulting in his support of the GOP nominee.

I’ve taken a similar journey in recent weeks, and while I come to many of the same conclusions as Erickson has about the likely damage Trump would do to the Republican brand and the conservative movement I don’t reach the same outcome.

For me, when Trump made it his project to personally destroy Ted Cruz, the only one of 17 presidential candidates willing to stake himself to conservative principles come what may, it was the end of any perceived value he could have as a president. Trump’s personal attacks on Cruz, perpetrated as they were by the loathsome Roger Stone through the pages of the National Enquirer with a patently false charge of marital infidelity, his characterization of Cruz’ wife as ugly and insane and his implication that Cruz’ father had something to do with the John F. Kennedy assassination were unacceptable. His myriad stupidities on policy render him without worth as an instrument of improvement. His repeated dabbling in birtherism and Cindy Sheehan-style Iraq War revisionism make one wonder what he’s under the influence of. And his incessant flirtations with Vladimir Putin are beyond the pale.

I loathe the idea of supporting this man. I find him disgusting on nearly every level.

There are some Republicans, mostly among the Beltway cognoscenti, who translate this disgust into a turning of coats and support of Hillary Clinton. This I would never do. For whatever disgust I might have at Trump is nothing, nothing compared to the revulsion Clinton inspires. She is the embodiment of everything I despise about the Democrat Party. She has no discernible talent or expertise – watch hilarity ensue when one of her supporters is asked to name an accomplishment of hers! She is palpably unfriendly in public settings, which in and of itself is not disqualifying but when added to her frequent slips of the mask showing actual hatred and disdain for wide swaths of the American people – “basket of deplorables,” “vast right-wing conspiracy” – is telling. On policy, what punitive leftism she doesn’t offer from the heart she’ll certainly bring out as pandering to the worst elements of the Democrat Party’s base.

And the lies and corruption. Never in American history has the country contemplated electing someone so palpably corrupt, so brazenly criminal, as this woman. The dishonesty is so thorough where she is concerned, America can’t even get a straight answer from her campaign as to her health. Reporters are asking her to submit to an independent neurological examination, and her refusal is telling.

When in 1991 Louisianans were presented with a Hobson’s choice between David Duke and Edwin Edwards in the gubernatorial runoff, I refused to vote for either. I abstained, and voted in the down-ballot races. In this race I considered doing something akin to that. I flirted with supporting Gary Johnson, who I truly believe had an opportunity to be a dark horse in a race between two unsupportable cretins. Alas, Johnson is himself an unsupportable cretin. He’s shown that to be the case repeatedly, and even having given him the benefit of the doubt I’ve come to the conclusion that with him there is no doubt. Had David French, a military veteran and a constitutional attorney, as well as a writer of impeccable quality, opted to run I would have been happy to support him – not because I think he would have had much opportunity to win but because he would have been a worthy bearer of the conservative ideological standard and someone I’d be comfortable going down to defeat with.

This Evan McMullin, who is running as an independent “Never Trump” candidate, hasn’t done a lot for me. Erickson has a post at his site this morning touting McMullin. Ideologically I would probably choose him, but from what I gather he’s on the ballot in only a few states. I don’t take him seriously as a result. There are other fringe candidates running; like with McMullin my skepticism of them isn’t ideological so much as it comes from what look like weak resumes. Regardless of whether I agree with you, if you don’t qualify for the job I’m not going to be willing to hire you.

Thus I can’t take any of the third-party options seriously. I’m left with Hillary and Trump. And I’m disgusted with the choice.

So I will make the best of it. I will hold my nose and support this vain, insincere, vengeful, bombastic fool of a candidate in the desperate hope he won’t be as awful a president as I suspect.

But I learned a lesson in the eight years George W. Bush spent turning himself into the Jimmy Carter of the Republican Party, which is that I will never offer blind loyalty to a politician again just because he might share a party affiliation with me. That’s gone, and rightfully so. And in the case of Trump no forgetfulness no forgiveness will be had. I might be stuck with this lemon of a candidate, but I don’t have to like it. When Trump says and does things that are stupid, I will loudly castigate him for it – while expressing sympathy to his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who has done a superhuman job in making him as presentable as possible of late, for the difficulty of her task. When Trump panders to the left or threatens to put his leftist daughter’s social fantasies down as Republican policy, I will not be silent. The days of accepting prescription drug benefits or Harriet Meiers or amnesty for illegals simply because they come marked with an “R” on them are done.

And I will not allow my conservatism to be redirected by Trumpism. If he perverts the Right in this country into some sort of armband nationalism, it won’t be with my acceptance. I’ll gladly walk and join a third party actively seeking to destroy what Trump makes of the GOP.

That bloodletting within the Republican Party is deserved, and it’s coming. Should Trump lose, it’s coming the day after the election. I’m ready for it. I’ve been anxious for it since Trump incited his goon delegates at the Republican convention to boo Cruz for the sin of asking people to vote their conscience in November.

But after watching the daily antics of Hillary, and viewing the rancid feast of lies and criminality prepared by her camp, my conclusion is that the most important service I can do for my country as a voter is to put the corrupt Clinton syndicate out of American politics. She must not occupy the White House, regardless of what benefit to conservatism might be had as a silver lining. Clinton as president brings a cadre of the worst people the political class has to offer – Sid Blumenthal, John Podesta, David Brock, Huma Abedin – into the West Wing. Their failure is assured, and it’s impossible to imagine her presidency as anything but utterly destructive to the Democrats in state, local and congressional races for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t offset the cataclysmic damage a regime as corrupt as she offers will do to the country. Nothing like the Clinton Foundation and its brazen influence-peddling and shameless sale of American policy to the world’s worst people can be allowed atop the executive branch.

Hillary is a disaster for the country. Better to have Trump and, if necessary, impeach him than to allow her to turn America into a banana republic. Hell, electing Trump and then impeaching him gets both of these losers out of American politics, and that represents the best outcome I can foresee.

I’ll give the orange buffoon an opportunity – but not even enough rope to hang himself. I keep that rope and I’ll happily do the hanging.

 

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – These are as predictable as snow in a Colorado winter

“Scott was convicted in April 2004 of a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon charge in Mecklenburg County. Other charges stemming from that date were dismissed: felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and misdemeanors assault on a child under 12, assault on a female and communicating threats.

“In April 2015 in Gaston County Court, Scott was found guilty of driving while intoxicated.

“In 1992, Scott was charged in Charleston County, S.C., with ​several different crimes on different dates, including carrying ​a concealed weapon​ (not a gun), simple assault and contributing to ​the delinquency of a minor. ​He pleaded guilty to ​all charges.

“Scott also was charged with aggravated assault in 1992​ and assault with intent to kill in 1995. Both charges were reduced, but the disposition of the case​s​ is unclear.”

and…

“According to Bexar County, Texas, records, Scott was sentenced in March 2005 to 15 months in a state jail for evading arrest. In July of that year, records show, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on a conviction of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman said Scott completed his sentence and was released from prison in 2011.”

If you want to know why he came out of that truck with a gun in his hand and didn’t want to set it down, this is why.

But sure, burn down the city of Charlotte. Viciously attack white people in parking garages. And then let’s hear talk of “racism” and “bigotry” among those who live superior lives to those plundering Wal-Marts and tractor trailers.

 

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – I hated the Tsarnaevs. I wanted to shoot the mother myself. And Seddique Mateen belongs in Guantanamo Bay, or at least back in Aghanistan.

But Mohammad Ramani? He seems all right to me.

“Two years ago I go to the F.B.I. because my son was doing really bad, O.K.?” he said. “But they check almost two months, they say, ‘He’s O.K., he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist.’ I say O.K.”

He added: “Now they say he is a terrorist. I say O.K.”

Ahmad Ramani was obviously a terror risk and he should have been surveilled, if not set up in a sting operation by the FBI before he could build and plant those bombs. Were the Obama administration serious about counterterrorism, this would have been done in practically every one of the recent domestic terrorism cases. Ian Tuttle, at National Review on Wednesday, illuminated the sad continuous pattern we’re trapped in

But his whole life is that way. Unassimilated immigrant from the Middle East who loathes his adopted country and embraces a succoring narrative of American imperialism? Check. Multiple trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years (including a long stay in a Taliban stronghold)? Check. Radical personality transformation in the wake of those trips? Check. Violent toward his family and friends? Check. Spouse who coincidentally leaves the country just prior to her husband’s attack? Check. How obvious a terrorist was Ahmad Ramadi? His own father reported him to the FBI two years ago (though he later withdrew the report). In other words, everything about Ahmad Rahami points to his being a terrorist. If you could purchase a generic-brand, off-the-shelf terrorist, Ahmad Rahami’s what you would get.

But here’s the thing: He’s like all the others. Terrorists are regularly violent toward people with whom they’re close. Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, abused his first wife. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, half of the duo that bombed the Boston Marathon, beat his girlfriend. They’re openly anti-American. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, was known to colleagues for having alarming opinions, and had “Soldier of Allah” on his business card. They’re usually known by family members to sympathize with terrorists. Tsarnaev and his mother chatted about jihad on the phone, and she wrote text messages (to a third party, apparently) about how he was ready to die for Islam. The father of Syed Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, told an Italian newspaper that his son “shared [ISIS leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi’s ideology, and supported the creation of the Islamic State.” (A representative from the Council on American-Islamic Relations later said Farook was “on medication” and “doesn’t recall saying that.”) And if you need still more connections, they’re not hard to find. Anwar al-Awlaki, the influential American-born cleric killed in an American drone strike in 2011, was praised by Rahami, was a source of inspiration to Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez (the Chattanooga shooter), and was a personal friend to Hasan.

In Europe, the population is beginning to descend into vigilantism against Muslim immigrants because they’ve completely lost faith in the ability or desire of political leadership to deal with a metastasizing Islamist threat. If the federal government continues standing by while the Ramanis of the world percolate and does nothing until they begin their rampages, that vigilantism will come here.

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – How about a Today’s Last Thing? To close out this marathon of a Battlefield, we offer a brand-spanking new music video.

You may not be familiar with the band Empire of the Sun, but you most likely would remember their song Walking On A Dream from a Honda Civic commercial featuring it earlier this year. They’re Australians, and they’ve yet to truly break out on the American music scene, but some of their work is quite good.

The newest single, High And Low, is pretty catchy. And the video going with it is strikingly beautiful.

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