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Women in Politics

January 26, 2019

Politicians will tell you that running against a female candidate is most difficult. Many of the new members of Congress that defeated incumbent Republicans (see Districts VA 2 and VA 7) were women.

I had contacted Cong. Scott Taylor representing VA 2 because I live in that Congressional District and we need a new post office building. The current building was leased in 1960 and is in disrepair. It doesn’t even have a “drive through” to deposit outgoing letters. Also, I had worked for New York Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and knew well the emphasis he placed on constituent requests. So determined to serve New York , he was derided by critics who called him “Senator Pothole.”

It was clear that Scott Taylor was playing an “inside Washington” game and assumed that the many military veterans and active military in his district would respond to his advertising. Cong. Taylor was featured in military fatigues holding an automatic rifle.

Scott Taylor lost to a female 20 year Navy veteran, Elaine Luria, who achieved the rank of Commander operating nuclear reactors as an engineer.

In the case of VA 7, Richmond, Virginia, I tried to interest Cong. Dave Brat in taking an interest in higher education issues. He served on the House Education Committee and had an earned Ph.D. in Economics and taught for 20 years on the Faculty at Randolph Macon College. I organized a group of conservative scholars to brief him on ways to lower the high cost of a college education. But, he was indifferent.

Cong. Brat was defeated by a woman candidate, Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer.

Most men will think that revealing that a female opponent or competitor was a nude model is a good way to win. NOT if you intentionally want to offend every woman in your vicinity. When it was revealed that Gloria Steinem had been a Playboy bunny, her following grew. The New York Post, owned by News Corp, published nude photos of Melania Trump, indicating the direction that News Corp would take as Rupert Murdoch turned over management to his two sons.

News Corp, I predict, will pay a high price for that.

Trump the Entrepreneur

January 26, 2019

Ghost-writer, Tony Schwartz, retained by Donald Trump to write Art of the Deal appeared on MSNBC this morning and observed that though Trump’s skills as an entrepreneur are his hallmark, in fact he was a failure as an entrepreneur.

Deal after deal that Donald Trump attempted–failed.

What Schwartz doesn’t realize is that almost all entrepreneurs fail at many ventures. Only a very few succeed on the first try.  For all the others, it takes time, financing and spirit to try, yet fail, and pursue new ventures.

Trump’s colossal Atlantic City casino venture failed, but according to one of his casino managers, that casino was a terrific sucess. Only Trump’s poor management skills destroyed that venture.

And, then, there is the small example of Trump’s last venture, his campaign for the Office of President of the United States–HE WON.

Donald Trump’s problem is that he is not a successful administrator, not that he is a bad entrepreneur.

Arrogance Reigns

January 25, 2019

Roger Stone’s public performance upon leaving Federal Court in Ft. Lauderdale today was a study in arrogance. Stone hopes to beat the charges in Court and in the court of public opinion. Stone prepared for this moment by goading Robert Mueller to overreact.

Apparently Mueller has been reading the laudatory news reports about his role as special counsel and is not aware of a growing feeling that the Justice Department, Federal prosecutors and the FBI are out of control. The FBI, especially, has a checkered history going back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover collected “dirt” on everyone who might challenge him and was feared by everyone in public life who had sinned, drank too much, lied or committed adultery.

That pretty much covers everyone above room temperature among our political class and, it appears, that tradition was continued into the present day.

Unfortunately, our attorney classes are unaware of that change in public opinion and Robert Mueller’s dawn raid on the home of Roger Stone was evidence of that. Stone is a public personality who can’t walk down the street without being interviewed. Indeed, at 6:00 AM this morning, CNN had staked out Stone’s home on a hunch.

Not only are our attorneys oblivious to a growing public hatred of them, but this report on media executives who attended a sit-down with President-elect Trump indicates that media executives, too, are unaware of how hated they have become. At this meeting held in Trump Tower shortly after the election, President-elect Trump spent twenty minutes telling these top executives that they were liars and dishonest!  Among those who were offended were MSNBC president Phil Griffin, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt and others.

Gee, is this arrogance contagious?

 

 

Needed: A New Republican Party

January 23, 2019

The controversy concerning shutting down the U.S. government has generated interest in running for the Office of the President–against the current occupant–by a large and growing list of Democrats and some Republicans. Those aspirants reveal that no unifying principle exists in either the Democrat or Republican Parties.

For Republicans, none seem motivated by concern that the growth of the centralized state has gone too far. If that was their unifying principle, an argument would be made for shutting down at least one agency in exchange for reopening government operations. Senate Republicans support the President’s call for a border Wall because he is President and head of the GOP, nothing more.

Eventually, one of them will call for formation of a National Conservative Party, so we can expect two GOPs in the near future.

On the Democrat side, gender, abortion rights and civil rights advocates make up one part of the Democrats. Neoconservatives that left the Democrat Party when George McGovern may form another, essentially Democrat, Neoconservative Party. After all, Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz need something to do besides opine at MSNBC.  Really important “Players,” like Joe Biden, however, will appeal to traditional Democrats, Labor Unions, Teachers and Government employees.  Add the Green Party and that makes at least four Democrat-style Parties,

I believe that we are entering a European style, multi-Party system, in which at least five Parties compete for national office.

 

Our Next “War President”

January 21, 2019

Given President Trump’s colossal lack of knowledge concerning foreign and national security policy, and the absence of a “Comeback Kid” in Congress, our principal foreign enemies–the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Iran–have been emboldened.

But for the economic slowdown in the PRC which will challenge President Xi Jinping’s system of totalitarian internal controls, the PRC’s long term goal for recovery of Taiwan will take second place to further development of “islands” in the South China Sea.

Putin’s Russia will move to recover the Ukraine and pick up former Soviet satellites as vassals of a new Russian Empire.

Iran will grow its Navy and challenge shipping in the Persian Gulf and continue support of Islamic terrorists in Syria.

All these developments will unfold in the next two years and fall onto the plate of the next President of the United States. Despite the gender advocacy of Sen. Gillibrand and Harris, the American electorate will understand that we require a “War President.”

We haven’t had many. FDR and Harry Truman facilitated, but did not deter, war. President Carter gave in to the Mullahs who usurped power in Iran and President George W. Bush expanded beyond Afghanistan into Iraq.

We now require a knowledgeable President, willing to use military forces to counter enemy actions, but also a master of strategy to deter those acts. That eliminates Senators Gillibrand and Harris and points toward three known aspirants (Romney, Rubio and Biden), some with recent military experience who are little known and complete outsiders like New England Patriot Quarterback, Tom Brady, or any actor a bit younger than George C. Scott who is a convincing detective or General.

No Dwight Eisenhower is around to be tapped to hold the fort, and none of the many Generals and Admirals that President Trump first recruited for domestic service have distinguished themselves. For that reason, as a progression of aspirants to the Office of the President of the United States announce their intentions, we have to ask, which will be a good “War President”?

Looking for a “Comeback Kid”

January 20, 2019

Very few successful men and women achieve success without experiencing failure. They are successful because they had the will and spirit to make a comeback. Even Steve Jobs failed, most dramatically when he was kicked out of Apple by the marketing expert he hired to run his company.

In my own career, I can count at least three failures–twice by being fired and a third time when my company was forced to close. That first “failure” occurred when, in the third year as a college teacher, my teaching contract was not renewed. I found another teaching position and parlayed that into a presidential appointment, only to be fired again. It took about nineteen years to recoup and I began to build the first Internet university dedicated to principled, conservative, scholarship.

That effort collapsed three years ago and I’m now working on my fourth comeback! I know many others who never make a comeback. They take a hit, and never overcome that experience. All the ones I know who were defeated were very bright, educated, professionals, but they just never recovered.

That may be explained by the experience of entrepreneurs. Very few entrepreneurs “make it” with their first venture. Sometimes it may take four or five attempts before an entrepreneur finds the one venture that works. I think I may have engaged in three or four ventures before discovering that the Internet could be utilized to found an entire university at low cost.

I have been thinking about that when I see the hesitancy of Republican members of Congress to criticize President Donald Trump on the many issues that will destroy the Republican Party.

The President’s program of tariffs, his inattention to budget deficits, his lack of concern about our inability to sustain Entitlement programs, his failure to staff his administration by filling the many Presidential appointments at his command, his inattention to the advice of professionals who have mastered the intricacies of foreign and national security policy. And the meetings with other heads of state that he pursues without adequate preparation.

All those failures add up to a future, total, collapse of the GOP, conflict with foreign adversaries that may lead to war, the likely Impeachment of the President and a long succession of bad legislation and controversial Presidencies, a possible civil war and military intervention.

Early this morning I raised this issue at a post in my daily blog.

I argue that there are few politicians who are willing to risk loss of office and even fewer who have the will and spirit to make a comeback after paying the price of defeat in the next election for criticizing President Trump.

Friends and critics decry the passivity of Congressional Republicans in the face of this President’s inadequacies desipte they clearly assure the destruction of the GOP.

If we can explain their failure to speak up, we may remove the mystery that surrounds our understanding of why some can make a comeback, and others do not.

 

Courage to Criticize President Trump

January 20, 2019

“The British were learning..that their desire for peace does not insure peace. ….A price would have to be paid for those somnolent years and squandered opportunities. The price would be war.”–James C. Humes, Churchill (1980)

 It is clear beyond doubt that President Donald Trump has no understanding of foreign policy and a very unclear understanding of national security. He appears incapable of learning or building a professional staff that does understand. The President’s foreign policy is reduced to personal meetings with heads of state without taking the steps to staff his meetings with professionals who meet with their opposite professionals prior to meetings with the President.

President Trump believes that foreign relations start with meetings between himself and other heads of state. They come prepared knowing what they want to achieve and President Trump “wings it.” Friends and critics of the President ask members of the Republican Party in the Senate and House why they don’t speak up.

That they are silent explains why Donald Trump is President and they are not. Leadership requires two types of politicians: those who do not fear loss of power and those who lose power, but recover.

There are, perhaps, two or three members of the House and Senate who do not fear losing their positions, if they speak up, and perhaps of those two or three, two have the will to seek and achieve recovery.

Perhaps they will act to overcome what time has been squandered before this President’s stupidity leads to war. The time to speak up is before the next meetings between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.