Donald Trump’s Inexcusable Loyalists Deserve To Be Betrayed As He Chooses His Cabinet

donald-trump-loyalists-rudy-giuliani-newt-gingrich-sarah-palin

Donald Trump loyalists betrayed conservatism by supporting the president-elect during the campaign; if they are now betrayed by Trump and frozen out of his administration it will be sweet justice

As Donald Trump’s cabinet takes shape, some of those who sacrificed the most reputationally and ideologically to get on board the Trump train are angry that the president-elect is giving consideration to other people who refused to campaign with him, even those who may not have voted for him.

Sarah Palin (who, to be fair, didn’t have much of a reputation to sacrifice) has now belatedly rediscovered her commitment to small government after apparently finding out that there will be no place for her in the Trump administration. In response to this slight, Palin took to the newspapers accusing Donald Trump of promoting “crony capitalism” for offering incentives to business to keep production in the United States.

That’s not quite what she was saying a month ago when she was praising and supporting Trump, and it is slightly jarring to see her pivot effortlessly back to Tea Party talking points having previously embraced Trump so strongly.

But nothing has made the Trump loyalists as angry as the gnawing possibility that Donald Trump might pick Mitt Romney to be his Secretary of State over his dedicated henchman Rudy Giuliani, one of the only people to publicly defend Trump after the leaked ‘p*ssygate’ recordings made the news. Why should Rudy be overlooked, the thinking goes, when he did everything for Trump while Mitt Romney looked on distastefully from the sidelines?

The Trump loyalists deserve absolutely no sympathy in this regard – though Jonah Goldberg does an excellent job of summarising their predicament in this week’s G-file:

Consider the following thought experiment. A very rich guy makes you an offer: “If you eat this bowl of sh**, I will grant you a wish.” You think about it for a minute or two, and then you grab a wooden spoon and start to dig in, when the rich guy says, “Hold on. You’ve got to do it publicly.”

Well, you figure, “What’s the difference? Once I get my wish it will be worth it.” So, you head on over to a television studio with your plastic bib and your spoon, and you tuck into the steaming bowl like Mikey in the old Life cereal commercials.

Then the rich guy says, “Sorry, one more thing: I can only give you a coupon for your wish. But, I promise to honor it once I get the job of genie. Just keep eating.”

What to do? You’ve already acquired a reputation for coprophagia and no one else is offering wish-coupons, so you stick it out. Besides, you’re not alone. A bunch of other folks have been promised similar coupons and you’ve formed a tightknit group. You spend a lot of time talking about how smart you are for agreeing to this arrangement. You fantasize about what you’ll do with your wishes and how sorry the naysayers will be.

Then, the rich guy gets the job of genie. Woo-hoo!

Naturally, you want to redeem your coupon. But all of a sudden, the rich guy starts playing coy. He’s honoring the coupon for some people, but not you. That would be fine — one coupon at a time and all. But then you learn that the genie-elect is giving out coupons to people who didn’t partake of the fecal feast. Uh oh.

And then you see news reports that the big man is not only giving out wishes to people who never earned a coupon, but he’s considering granting a wish to the foremost guy who criticized the big man and tried to keep him from being able to grant wishes at all!

Okay, this getting belabored. But you get the point. If Trump remains the loyalist, Gingrich, Huckabee et al. have golden tickets. The last thing they want is Willie Wonka Trump letting just anybody into the chocolate factory.

This blog finds it very hard to generate sympathy for those big-name American conservatives who so comprehensively sold out their own ideology and their own party to Donald Trump.

If the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin now find themselves betrayed and left out of the Trump administration they helped to inflict on America, it is still nothing compared to the betrayal of conservatism that they committed by throwing the principles of freedom and small government out the window to worship at the feet of a thin-skinned, constitutionally illiterate big government authoritarian.

May their time in the wilderness be long and full of regrets.

 

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On Booty Calls and Morning Croissants

The BBC reports that French president Francois Hollande has been accused by a French magazine of having an affair with a 41-year-old actress, Julie Gayet. The article reveals:

The magazine’s print edition came out on Friday and shows pictures it claims support the rumours that the 59-year-old president routinely spends the night with Ms Gayet at a flat not far from the Elysee Palace.

The pictures show the pair arriving separately. Mr Hollande, wearing a helmet, is on a motorbike driven by a chauffeur.

The magazine claims the president’s bodyguard arrives the following morning to deliver croissants.

I like the detail of the morning croissants. Even if one is sneaking out of the Elysee Palace late at night to get some action, one still needs a decent continental breakfast so as to appear statesmanlike again the next morning.

Just as with the fictional American President Grant in the US drama “Scandal”, skulking around the capital city in the dark with limited protection, exposing oneself (and the  secure, uninterupted governance of one’s nation) to any risk of kidnapping, physical harm, blackmailing or worse in the pursuit of a booty call, is probably not behaviour that voters would wish to see in a serving head of state. Transgressions which take place before taking office, honestly explained, atoned for and forgiven by the electorate, are one thing. Actively committing further such acts whilst in office is another matter entirely.

The BBC article reports that though Hollande is making noises about potential legal action against the magazine Closer, he does not deny the specific allegations of the affair.

Although, if ever proven true, this would represent a severe lapse in acceptable personal standards of behaviour, and of presidential decorum on the part of Hollande, the solitary refreshing fact (if that term may be used) in the sordid allegation is that Francois Hollande does not continually preach to his people about the sanctity of traditional marriage in the way that some politicians in the UK, but particularly America, insist on doing.

In contrast to the likes of Newt Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani, both adulterers with serial failed marriages to their names, the French president does not devote his every waking hour to fretting about the potential impact of allowing gay people to wed on the institution of holy matrimony.

And for not adding his voice to the hypocritical cacophony of self-righteous moral preaching, we still owe Francois Hollande our thanks.

You don't want to know why Rudy Giuliani is smiling.
You don’t want to know why Rudy Giuliani is smiling.

 

It’s baa-aaaack. On CNN’s “Crossfire”.

CNN’s formerly famous show, “Crossfire” (or “I’m gonna kick your ass”, as Jon Stewart called it), is to be relaunched on September 16th this year.

Reports Politico:

CNN has announced that its highly anticipated debate show “Crossfire” will relaunch on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

“Crossfire… will resemble the show’s original format with passionate conversation and focus on topical events of the day,” the network announced in a press release. “The daily, 30-minute program will feature two hosts and guests each night, discussing a range of issues from all sides of the political and cultural spectrum. In addition to the weekday show, the Crossfire co-hosts will appear across the network’s programming.”

So continues the revamp of CNN as it seeks to find its own niche between the partisan rivalries of MSNBC and Fox News.

Unfortunately, the hosts of the show include Newt Gingrich (the philandering Pilsbury doughboy) and a slew of ex-Obama administration alumni. Based on the line-up, I don’t think we can expect very much.

What was it Jon Stewart once said?

 

Ah yes, that’s it.

“Stop. Stop stop stop. Stop hurting America.”

Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann And The Muslim Brotherhood

Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich

For some inexplicable reason, Politico invited former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to write a 2,500 word piece in support of Michele Bachmann’s witch hunts against federal workers whom she capriciously determines to have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and as a consequence represent an apparent threat to the national security of the United States.

I should let it go, I know I should. Or I could do a point-by-point rebuttal.

Here we go, from the top:

The recent assault on the National Security Five is only the most recent example of the fear our elites have about discussing and understanding radical Islamists.

Newt Gingrich, there is absolutely no way that you can define “elites” without including yourself in the group. You were one of the most powerful politicians in the country, you spent years in Washington, you were a presidential candidate and you had a $250,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s. You are in no way a man of the people, get over yourself.

When an orchestrated assault is launched on the right to ask questions in an effort to stop members of Congress from even inquiring about a topic — you know the fix is in. The intensity of the attack on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as well as Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia is a reminder of how desperate our elites are to avoid this discussion.

Oh yes, it is the plucky brave witch-hunting Republican congressional members who are being intimidated and bullied here. Right. And again, quit it with the “elite” talk. You are our “elites” as much as anyone else.

Given all the painful things we learn about people every day and the surprises that shock even the experts (the head of the FBI anti-spy effort was a Russian spy, for example), you have to wonder why people would aggressively assert we shouldn’t ask about national security concerns.

Ah yes, let’s create a straw man argument so that we can knock it down and look clever. I don’t think that any one of the many people who condemned Bachmann’s baseless attack on Huma Abedin’s loyalty or patriotism think that we should not be concerned about national security – they just think that you need something approaching tangible evidence, or at least reasonable suspicion, before you smear someone’s character and good name.

We have replaced tough mindedness about national security with a refusal to think seriously and substituted political correctness and a “solid” assurance that people must be OK because they are “nice” and “hard working” for the systematic, intense investigations of the past.

Again, where is this coming from? Who said this? Is Newt Gingrich now just inventing fictitious people in his mind and giving them strange, subversive and cowardly views so that he has someone to argue with? Is he that bored now that his presidential aspirations have imploded in on themselves under the weight of their own moralising pomposity?

The underlying driving force behind this desperate desire to stop unpleasant questions is the elite’s fear that an honest discussion of radical Islamism will spin out of control. They fear if Americans fully understood how serious radical Islamists are, they would demand a more confrontational strategy.

Okay, so if we did have the American intelligence services do a more detailed check on Abedin and any other dark-skinned or oddly-named people that make certain Republicans uncomfortable (beyond the ones that have undoubtedly already taken place before they were allowed to assume jobs such as chief aide to the Secretary of State), one of two things happens. 1 – everyone is exonerated, and the time and effort was spent in vain, or 2 – someone does have a skeleton in their closet, and they do harbour some kind of anti-American or pro-Islamist beliefs or connections. In the unlikely event of scenario 2, what do we do? And how do we guard against others infiltrating the US government in future? Do an extra background check on anyone with a non-western surname, or anyone who went to school with someone who turned out to be crazy? Invite Michele Bachmann to use her divining rod to determine whether they are “true patriots” or not? Exactly what is the “more confrontational strategy” that you are talking about in this context, Newt?

A young John F. Kennedy wrote “Why England Slept” to try to understand how the leadership of a nation could ignore, repress and reject warnings about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. A future JFK may write “Why Washington Slept” to explain our current period. The case of the National Security Five would be a good chapter on the desperation of the elites to avoid reality and their determination to smother any wake-up call, which might make them come to grips with Blair’s warning.

Don’t even go there, Gingrich. Don’t compare the Bachmann 5 (National Security 5 is far too generous) to John F. Kennedy. Or, indirectly, to Winston Churchill, who anticipated the dangers of Nazi Germany and was initially ridiculed for warning others.

The case of the Pakistani-American car bomber has yet another lesson for those willing to learn it. At his sentencing, Faisal Shahzad asserted, “If I’m given 1,000 lives, I will sacrifice them all for the life of Allah.” He had apparently planned to build another car bomb in the next two weeks. The Pakistan Taliban had given him $15,000 and five days of explosive training just months after he became a U.S. citizen.

As Fox News reported: “The judge cut him off at one point to ask him if he had sworn allegiance to the United States when he became a citizen last year. ‘I did swear’ Shahzad answered, ‘but I did not mean it.’”

So we can’t trust the word of any Muslim because of the actions of this individual? If that is not what you are saying, what are you saying?

This long war with radical Islamists is a very different struggle. There are many nuances and long-term developments. Much of the struggle involves ideas and language alien to most American leaders and unknown even to most of the State or Defense Department professionals.

So the right or wrong adviser can be enormously powerful. Getting the right advice can be everything.

Therefore, whose advice we rely on becomes central to national security. Asking who the advisers are, what their prejudices are and what advice they give is a legitimate — indeed, essential — part of any serious national security system.

Again, where do you draw the line? Michele Bachmann’s family hold Swiss Citizenship. Should we be concerned that she may be tempted to use her position to influence US government policy in favour of Switzerland? And what should be the trigger for this investigation that Bachmann and the Bachmann 5 clearly want to see take place? Is it automatically given to every Muslim? Every Arab? How about Christian Arabs? Everyone born overseas?

[There then follows a long passage about Israel’s exclusion from an international conference on terrorism – which I happily concede was the height of foolish counterproductivity, since Israel has more experience than most in dealing with terrorism, and their exclusion rendered the conference about as valid and legitimate as the UN’s committee on human rights – but which has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand]

[There then follows an even longer passage criticising the Obama administration for failing to refer to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, another sideshow that has nothing to do with his primary argument. Newt Gingrich was clearly stretched to find 2500 words in support of Michele Bachmann]

Another example of these legitimate questions, consider the strange case of Louay Safi.

Safi ran the Islamic Society of North America (an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas financing case) and who was himself an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami Al-Arian terrorism case (involving Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist org). As Andy McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor in terrorism cases, explained, “So what happens? Pentagon hires him as expert to teach Islam to our troops before they deploy from Fort Hood! And now, of course, he is the leader of the [Muslim] Brotherhoods’ government-in-waiting for Syria. You just can’t make this stuff up!”

Isn’t it appropriate to ask: Who were the Muslim chaplains approved by this extremist? How did he get chosen to be in such a key position? What system of checking for extremism broke down so badly, or is so biased, that it allowed members and allies of radical Islamist organizations to play key roles in the U.S. government?

Yes! Yes, it is very appropriate! By all means! We should definitely do that, and learn the lessons from it, and ensure that vetting is stricter in future if indeed this is the case. But again, where do we stop? Assuming that radical Islam is the greatest national security threat facing America and that some kind of targetted vetting process is indeed necessary, what do we do to counter the second and third greatest national security threats, whatever they may be? What if one of the threats turns out to be anti-government militiamen, or Alaskan separatists? Do we also start getting concerned about any federal worker or member of Congress who has links, however many degrees of separation away, from such people? Are they also likely to seek to subvert US policy in secret, nefarious ways?

The Muslim Brotherhood is a serious worldwide organization dedicated to a future most Americans would find appalling. Seeking to understand its reach and its impact on the U.S. government is a legitimate, indeed essential, part of our national security process.

The National Security Five were doing their duty in asking difficult questions designed to make America safer. Their critics represent the kind of willful blindness that increasingly puts America at risk.

Fine. I don’t know a single critic of the Bachmann 5 who would disagree that the Muslim Brotherhood harbours values that are very much contrary to those of America, and that they seek to spread these values around the world, possibly through violent means. That is not the issue. The issue is whether we are going to be cowed by our fear of these people into doing something very un-American, and investigating US citizens and federal workers to establish ties to the Muslim Brotherhood based on nothing more than speculation, links of blood or friendship (as opposed to actions), or the fevered imaginations of Michele Bachmann.

If we do not want a book to describe “Why Washington Slept,” we will have to encourage elected officials to follow the advice of a later Kennedy book and exhibit “Profiles in Courage.”

Bachmann, Franks, Gohmert, Rooney and Westmoreland are showing a lot more courage than the defenders of timidity, complicity and passivity.

Please. There’s no courage on display here, just post September 11th scaredness and confusion and timidity, and a defensive lashing out at “the other” people by a group of some conservatives who are frightened of the world in which they find themselves, and who should know better.

The Bachmann 5 called out individuals by name and said that there were serious questions and concerns about their fidelity to the United States, and that consequently they should be investigated to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest in play. When pressed, they doubled down on their position. So I think we all have a right to know how this proposed new modern day Un-American Activities committee would work in the minds of Bachmann, her acolytes and her new cheerleader, Newt Gingrich.

Jowly, Pompous Moron Needs To Shut Up

From the Burns & Haberman blog on Politico today:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/03/newt-why-does-obama-behave-the-way-that-people-would-118463.html

Asked about polls suggesting many in the public continue to think Obama is a Muslim, Gingrich said in Louisiana that he takes Obama “at his word” that he believes in Christianity.

Then he launched into a riff on how Obama’s policies are excessively sensitive to non-Christian, non-Jewish faiths, suggesting it could raise doubts for some about where the president’s impulses come from.

“Why does the president behave the way that people would think that [he’s Muslim]?” Gingrich said. “You have to ask, why would they believe that? It’s not cause they’re stupid. It’s because they watch the kind of things I just described to you.”

Yes. This is one of those delightful two-step moves performed so effortlessly by so many shameless people in today’s Republican Party, whereby they cosy up to the foaming-at-the-mouth racists on the far right, and then walk it back just enough to be acceptable. So Gingrich doesn’t agree with the huge trunk of his party’s base who believes that Obama is a Muslim (not, for heaven’s sake, would there be anything wrong with that even if he was, but that’s a whole separate blog post). No, he doesn’t agree with them, but they aren’t stupid (actually, yes they are), Obama must be doing something to make all of these sensible, level-headed, god-fearing Americans believe that he is a Muslim. Y’know, other than being black.

Jowly, pompous moron needs to shut up for awhile.

That is all.