The Republican Party, the political party of commerce (and of jobs!), has two aspiring candidates for the presidential nomination who are drawn from the business community, one, who evokes unwarranted snoozes, the other, who rather astonishingly evokes derision. I am speaking of Carly Fiorina late of Hewlett-Packard and Donald Trump the billionaire developer. Those who offer their expert appraisals of these two candidates are retired politicians, political advisors, and pundits. In other words, these appraisals are coming from those who have left the field of political combat for whatever reason, or those who have never stood for election yet whose assessment of candidates are taken very seriously by journalists who, incidentally, have themselves never stood for election. Political commentary is unusual. It is as though the leading culinary critics in the country were all vegetarians, or at least fruitarians.
The Current Crisis
What did I tell you a couple of weeks ago? In fact, what have I been suggesting for months? Hillary is going to have a very tough time winning her party’s nomination. Since we have been appraising her looming presence on the campaign trail a growing list of scandals have been revealed. They have surprised even me, though, truth to tell, any seasoned Clinton watcher has seen their precursors reaching all the way back to her Arkansas days. Lying, secreting evidence from investigators, funny money (and lots of it), campaign contributions from shady characters (some foreign, some felons), and being asleep at the switch during Benghazi. I suppose her Benghazi contretemps was an evolutionary breakthrough for Hillary, but then she had never been secretary of state before.
For a generation—perhaps longer—the liberals have been segregating Americans into smaller and smaller groups. Then they claim to be each group’s unique champion. First they fragmentize America. Then they step forward and represent themselves as fragmented America’s noblest defenders.
Last week Hillary Clinton identified yet another of these fragmentized groups, and she promised to take up their cause in time for the 2016 election. Her cause is the voter who oversleeps, particularly the voter who oversleeps on Election Day. Hillary is coming to the aid of these drowsy voters by demanding at least a 20-day period for them to vote. Even a chronic oversleeper ought to be able to awaken at least one morning in 20. Hillary assures us that the 20-day period will include evenings and weekends and perhaps mood music. Possibly the Federal Election Commission will throw in an alarm clock and a cup of coffee. Voting rights advocates claim that as many as one-third of our fellow citizens suffer from this disability.
Are American voters still suckers for identity politics? Have they not learned that character matters more to leadership than some random physical trait, say: race, color, or creed? Did Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s race help him win World War II? Did Ronald Reagan’s creed help him win the Cold War? What was his creed?
Before he passed away recently John M. Templeton, the distinguished physician and philanthropist, questioned: “Should we tolerate a public educational system with its entrenched self-interest which virtually every inner-city parent knows is destroying any hope or possibility of their children achieving meaningful opportunity in a 21st Century economy?” A growing number of parents say no. Now critics of the public school system are coming forward with alternatives to it and many of them are parents, often parents of disadvantaged students, usually parents that fear for the fate of their children in schools in the inner city.
Last week Prince Charles, in all likelihood the next monarch of Great Britain, suffered a defeat. For ten years he and his aides have resisted a concerted effort to make public certain letters written by him and sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair and several of his ministers. The British newspaper, the Guardian, had sought the letters—27 written in 2004 and 2005—under a Freedom of Information Act inquiry. Now Britain’s Supreme Court has ordered that the letters be released to the public. So this is one the royals lost and the anti-monarchists at the Guardian won. Yet, asking as purely a cisatlantic spectator, I cannot for the life of me discern why the Guardian sought these letters in the first place; or, for that matter, why Prince Charles objected to making them public.
In this land of capitalist chaos there is something quaint about Bernard Sanders, the senator from Vermont, running for the Democratic presidential nomination as a Socialist. He is not running as a liberal or a progressive, or even a vegetarian, but as a Socialist! Apparently he envisages the federal government as being populated by a very professional bureaucracy, utterly removed from politics, its members all waiting orders from the incoming government, whether their president be an out-and-out capitalist or even a very abstemious Socialist. There the federal bureaucracy stands, waiting to do its president’s bidding!
Of course, recently we have learned from the scandals at the IRS and the VA that Washington’s bureaucracy is more likely composed of venal money-grubbers and Democratic Party hacks, but Senator Sanders can view them as a saintly corps if he wants. That does not mean that he will be playing a minor role in this election cycle. He will. His role is just not going to be that of the Democratic presidential nominee.
It turns out that 17 years ago Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was lucky that, at the end of his long pursuit of President Bill Clinton, he could fasten upon a DNA sample left by the president on Monica Lewinsky’s dress to prove that Clinton was lying when he said “I did not have sexual relations with woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Otherwise Starr might still be pursuing the wily ex-president.
Does it strike you as an indication of a political party’s robust vitality that in a country of more than 300 million people that party has just one likely nominee for president? Notwithstanding the fact that she has at her disposal nearly a billion dollars, she is 67 years old, and she stands accused of committing at least one felony. What country are we talking about, the old USSR? No, we are talking about the contemporary U.S. of A.
Notwithstanding what the Marxist whim wham artists have been telling the youths of our country for over a generation, there has been little sign of a true aristocracy in America. For a very short period of time something like an aristocracy appeared during the era when the Robber Barons plied their arts, but it did not last. They built their palaces and raised their empires among the steel mills, the transcontinental railroads, the oil fields, and so forth, but then they declined, submerged in the hustle and bustle of the market place. Their monuments remain as various museums and libraries and even universities, for instance, Vanderbilt University, but for the most part American aristocracy is gone. Allons-y, Messrs. Vanderbilt, Morgan, Carnegie and the rest, but thanks for the museums, the libraries, and the increasingly irrelevant universities.