A personal note: On Thursday morning, I had the opportunity to interview Delaney Henderson, a remarkable and courageous young woman who recently made national headlines with an open letter to the still-anonymous Stanford rape victim. The letter was informed by Delaney having suffered through a similar experience when she was 16 years old. It was one of the most moving conversations I’ve had in my career in radio and I hope you will listen and share. The link is here.
Last night, I was pondering the American presidents of my adult lifetime; the first presidential election in which I was eligible to vote was in 1988, when I cast my ballot for George H.W. Bush who, like so many Republicans, proceeded to let me down.
Following Bush the Elder, we had two terms of Bill Clinton, two terms of George W. Bush, and two remarkably harmful terms of President Barack Hussein Obama. And now, unless Donald Trump can start appealing to more than just white men, we face at least four years of President Hillary Rodham Clinton, a prospect so simultaneously frightening and dreary that I can barely type the words.
To win his victories, Bill Clinton defeated the incumbent George H.W. Bush in 1992 and then the sacrificial lamb of Senator Bob Dole in 1996. Barack Obama beat John McCain and Mitt Romney. And Hillary Clinton, if she is to win, must defeat Donald Trump.
While Trump is something of a special case, these matchups share a feature which says much about the two major political parties and, sadly, about the American electorate: Democrats nominate people who are known to be of low moral character, Republicans nominate honorable but uninspiring opposition (again, with the exception of Trump who doesn’t strike me as honorable but nevertheless inspires many), and the American people go with the candidate they’d never hire to work at their own companies.
Bill Clinton was widely known to be a philanderer, including post-election coverage of the still-controversial “Troopergate” stories published in The American Spectator in 1993. The Washington Post, sympathetic as ever to the sleazy Clinton, lays out a list of some of his sexual contacts with both voluntary participants and involuntary victims. In 2007, writing for Vanity Fair, Marjorie Williams offered the ugly case against “feminists” who supported Clinton, rationalizing away his victims as they never would if the offender were a Republican.
Nevertheless, with George H.W. Bush having violated his “read my lips…no new taxes” pledge, the American people elected a man they wouldn’t leave alone with their wives or daughters. Or was that just part of his “charm”? And they voted for him again in 1996 when Kansas Senator Bob Dole, WWII veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart (with oak leaf cluster), running with the more interesting and inspiring Jack Kemp, was on the losing end of a 379-159 electoral college vote shellacking. Character mattered not a whit to the American public.
In 2008, a politically inexperienced radical leftist named Barack Obama was known to have associated with domestic terrorists and raging haters of America and mobbed-up Chicago Democratic Party moneymen. His inspiration was a truly evil man named Saul Alinsky, whose book Rules for Radicals was dedicated in part to “the very first radical,” Lucifer. Here’s a typical line from Alinsky: “In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt.”
It’s not so much that Alinsky’s tactics are wrong-headed; rather they are Machiavellian to the extreme and perhaps effective in “community organizing.” But the idea that the American people would want as president a man who would be guided by the advice to “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” should at least cause us to remember the maxim that people get the government they deserve.
Barack Obama has been a perfect Alinskyite, right down to talking about Republicans as “enemies,” right down to inviting Paul Ryan to a speech for the sole purpose of then attacking him in public, right down to knowingly violating the law (admissions of guilt are available in text and video forms) and daring anybody to stop him; fortunately a federal judge in Texas did just that even though four so-called justices of the Supreme Court would have allowed his obviously illegal acts.
Obama’s foreign policy failings are also legion, but the point is not his record while in the White House. The point is that his behavior was utterly predictable given his history, his friendships and associations, and his voting record in the Illinois State Senate — so frequently voting “present” rather than taking a position and voting against a bill to guarantee medical care to a baby born alive following a failed abortion, a vote even that this pro-choice columnist finds utterly reprehensible and mystifying, despite Obama’s ridiculous attempts at explanation. This is, and always has been, a man without judgment or a moral compass. He remains, as he always was, nothing more than a radical community organizer.
And yet the Democratic Party nominated him and the American people elected him twice, beating two honorable but uninspiring candidates, Arizona Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain and businessman and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Again, there is precious little consideration of character by too many voters generally and, Q.E.D. given their nominations, by the majority of the Democratic Party.
Which brings us to 2016, in which the Democratic Party will soon consummate the nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton, herself infatuated with Saul Alinsky, and who, unsurprisingly given her connection to Alinsky and her marriage of political convenience to Slick Willy, would be the most thoroughly corrupt, self-dealing, incompetent person to occupy the Oval Office in modern, or perhaps all, American history.
Mrs. Clinton has brazenly lied to the American public about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, including lying to the families of the fallen. She has brazenly lied about the use of her illegal private e-mail server when serving as Secretary of State. She has, through the Clinton Slush Fund Foundation, taken tens of millions of dollars in “charitable” donations from foreign countries while serving in the office most important to carrying out those nation’s wishes within our foreign policy establishment. That’s big-time larceny for a woman who started out much smaller, pilfering merely tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of items when leaving the White House.
She simply cannot be trusted and is, by any reasonable measure, disqualified from holding political office, much less the office of the presidency. Yet here we are, with recent polls showing her expanding a lead among voters against the reckless and often feckless Donald Trump, the Republican who, as I’ve long argued, is least likely to be able to beat the most beatable Democratic nominee of my lifetime (or at least since Michael Dukakis) and certainly the one who most deserves to be beaten.
During my adult years, the two Democrats who have won the presidency — along with the Democrat who seems likely to win it in November — have, respectively, sullied the political process and polluted the White House with tawdry extramarital sex, anti-constitutional arrogance and law-breaking in furtherance of economic incompetence, political radicalism, and intentional weakening of the United States’ position as the world’s sole superpower, and shocking corruption matched by utter failure to achieve anything other than emboldening our foreign enemies and competitors.
It is one thing to regret the unexpected and perhaps unpredictable failure of an otherwise honorable president, such as with George H.W. Bush. It is another thing entirely when a plurality of the country aligns with a political party which routinely nominates for the highest office in the land candidates whose fundamental characters are so conspicuously flawed. And it is an indictment of both the Republican Party and the American electorate that those candidates, as radical and criminal and reprehensible as they are, nevertheless defeat Republicans with ease.