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Feet of Clay

June 22, 2018

Russell Kirk once observed that Sen. Bob Taft (R-OH), the conservative who enacted the Taft-Hartley right to work legislation and ran for the GOP nomination for President against Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, did not have feet of clay. For some reason that observation stuck with me as I observed the many missteps of our current President.

Looking for this phrase at Wikipedia, I found that “Feet of Clay” refers to “a hidden weak point that could cause the downfall of someone who appears strong or invincible.”

That phrase barely encompasses the “hidden weak point” of President Donald Trump since the list of his known moral infractions are so great that one wonders how he was elected President of the United States. That which we know about his womanizing is something that many members of Congress know from firsthand experience and he is forgiven.

What concerns us is what we don’t know about Trump’s business dealings, and especially allegations of his consorting with Russian prostitutes. During the former Soviet Union, foreign policy specialists were advised to move their beds away from the walls of their hotel rooms. There was a high incidence of cancer affecting many who were not careful and were radiated by the KGB.

Needless to say, hotel rooms were monitored sometimes with video cameras and some speculate that Putin has the tapes of Trump cavorting with Russian women. That would explain the absence of a foreign policy directed at Russia’s attempt to return Ukraine to Russia, threats to the Baltic States and Putin’s desire to minimize Poland’s preparations for a Russian military attack.

But, what is more worrisome are Trump’s business activities while President. He has not disclosed his tax returns and we know that the Trump organization is active in building out the Trump real estate empire in many parts of the world. The likelihood that all this will come out before the 2020 Presidential election is very high. Some has already been exposed. Trump’s management of his not-for-profit foundation recalls the violation of  regulations governing for-profit education companies. “Trump University” was grossly mismanaged and that carelessness reveals a pattern of disregard for regulations. We suspect that Trump’s reading difficulties are responsible. If he can’t read, he can’t study the regulations. Much of Trump’s alleged “lying” may be due to ignorance.

Unfortunately, if Trump goes down, as surely he will, so will what’s left of the GOP and the reputation of “conservatism” will be sullied. Rebuilding a Party already compromised by the internationalism of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, G. H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, will take as long as it took to grow a conservative community of Americans when led by Russell Kirk, Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Since leaders of that caliber do not exist at present, it may take fifty to seventy-five years to find and develop that leadership. During that time, what’s left of individual freedom and freedom of enterprise in the United States will be extinguished. If there is a less gloomy view of our future as Americans, I’m open to hearing about it.

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