Trump’s One-Two Punch

Trump won in 2016 running on a strong “America First” platform.  A major component of America First-ism is prioritizing the interests and the well-being of American citizens first—before the interests and well-being of foreign-born workers and immigrants, legal or otherwise.  The appeal and the concept aren’t difficult to understand:  a government should, chiefly, operate in the interest of its citizens before anyone else.  We can discuss the best immigration policies as a nation, but those policies should always place American citizens at the forefront.

It’s such a simple and pure political philosophy, it’s a wonder it comes under such fire.  But such is the world of globalists—who want cheap labor and sacrificial offerings to Efficiency—and progressives—who think anyone who is white and cares about having a job is a racist.  Take out the mercenaries (the former group) and the insane (the latter group) and you have reasonable people, those folks that might quibble around the edges of America First doctrine, but can’t disagree with its fundamental premises.

Trump has been better than most of his predecessors on immigration, though his waffling and equivocating—likely the product of Jared Kushner’s influence—have soured his some of his earliest supporters.  His turn on Jeff Sessions and the former Attorney General’s ultimate defeat in the Alabama Republican primary this summer seemed to many Trumpists to be a betrayal of immigration patriotism.  Sessions was, indeed, the leading voice in the United States government, pre-Trump, in denouncing open borders and unlimited immigration.  With Sessions leaving the national scene, immigration patriots and restrictionists have reason to worry.

That said, it bears remembering that Trump won the presidency campaigning on building a wall, prioritizing Americans over foreign workers, and keeping American industries at home.  No one in meaningful national politics (other than Jeff Sessions and Pat Buchanan) was beating that drum prior to Trump.  Trump tapped into a deep well of resentment over the Obama administration’s decade of putting middle-class Americans last, and several decades of neglect and open scorn from national politicians.

I also don’t expect Trump to reverse the postwar consensus overnight, or to get the whole loaf all at once.  I think Trump’s basic instincts are to put Americans first, while weighing the complexities of various interest groups and economic factors.

But Trump is at his best when he cuts the Gordian Knot and drives to the heart of the issues.  If Americans are losing jobs to foreign visa holders, well, make those visas less valuable.  He’s done that with an executive order barring H1B visa holders from working in federal government jobs, and barring the government from using contractors who use H1B visa holders.

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The Tuck for President

The 2020 election is looming, and while Trump is struggling at the moment, I am praying that he can pull out another victory and another four-year term.  The stakes are high:  a Trump victory, at minimum, allows us to forestall a progressive Armageddon for another four years; it also undermines both the Never Trumpers (who can no longer write off Trump’s 2016 victory as a “fluke”) and the ultra-progressives.  I don’t think the modern Democrat Party has much of a moderate wing left, but that small, dying minority might be able to convince the Party that going full-on progressive is a bad move.

A Trump defeat, however, would be catastrophic.  Z Man wrote Tuesday that a “Democratic sweep” would essentially mean the end of elections in America—at least, the end of meaningful national ones:

More important, there is no electoral option either. The Democrat party is actively cheering on this lunacy. Joe Biden is running an extortion campaign, where a vote for him means an end to the violence and Covid lock downs. How realistic is that when his party is cheering for the mayhem, promising to take it to a new level after they win the final election. It is not hyperbole to say that a Democrat sweep in November means the end of elections. What would be the point?

Trump’s defeat would also embolden the Jonah Goldberg/David French neocons of Conservatism, Inc., who are essentially abstract ideologues offering token resistance to the Left.  There’s a reason the joke “The Conservative Case for [Progressive Goal Here]” exists, because National Review tends to put up tortured, weak resistance to the progressive fad of the moment, before finally caving and accepting the latest lunacy as a “bedrock conservative principle.”  What conservative site goes around pitching “magic mushrooms” as conservative—and has done so repeatedly?  The conservative publication of record possesses the quality and depth of a college newspaper.

Regardless, Trump’s defeat would mean not just Biden’s marionette presidency, in which ultra-progressive handlers pull the strings; it would also mean a return to boring, ineffectual, tired, defeated neoconservatism.  National conservatism, social conservatism, traditionalism, populism—these movements and others, which have enjoyed a renewal since 2015, would wither on the vine—or see themselves pruned from “respectable” Beltway “conservatism.”  That would only hasten the victory of progressivism in the absence of any real opposition.

But there is hope.  2020 looms large, but 2024 is is not that far away.  On the Right, there is a good bit of speculation about who will fill Trump’s shoes.  VDare offers one compelling optionTucker Carlson.

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Populism Wins

A major lesson of the 2016 election was that the neoliberal consensus of the prior thirty years was not the panacea its advocates claimed.  Trump’s candidacy was premised on the notion that the national government should work for the interests of the nation’s people, not on behalf of globalist concerns and aloof cosmopolitan elites.  Government could be reformed to strengthen the nation, rather than operating as the piggy bank for and protector of internationalists.

It’s interesting to reflect how entrenched the assumptions of neoliberalism were prior to 2015-2016.  When Trump began his historic campaign, virtually no one on the Right was talking about tariffs, other than Pat Buchanan (and a long essay on the necessity of a trade war with China that Oren Cass wrote for National Review in 2014).  The outsourcing of jobs overseas was assumed to be a short-term sacrifice that would result in more efficiency (ergo, lower prices on consumer goods) and more skilled jobs here.  We were a “nation of immigrants,” so we’d better throw the doors wide open.

With Trump’s election, a long-dormant populist wing reemerged, consisting both of conservative Republicans and disgruntled Democrats.  Tariffs became an important foreign and domestic policy tool.  A trade war with China soon began, and the United States renegotiated the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada.  Manufacturing jobs began returning to the United States, and immigration laws began to be enforced (so long as those Hawaiian judges didn’t get in the way).  The economy, rather than contracting as the free trade hardliners warned, grew exponentially, and even now is recovering at a remarkable clip after The Age of The Virus temporarily sidelined it.

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TBT^4: Happy Birthday, America!

It’s a bit late to commemorate Independence Day (and I did it already on Saturday), but it’s #MAGAWeek2020 (read installments here, here, and here), and it seemed fitting to dedicate this edition of TBT to America’s Birthday.

I’m reblogging a reblog of a reblog from the old site.  Last year’s post was “TBT^2,” or “TBT Squared.”   Well, to be mathematically consistent, I had to square that square, which I think makes it “TBT^4,” or “TBT to the power of four.”  I sure hope I’m right.  Regardless, next year will be “TBT^16,” and so on.

I like the layer of commentary, like my piddling blog posts are Talmudic commentaries on other rabbinical commentaries (or, since I’m Christian, Biblical commentaries on other Biblical commentaries of the Bible).  It’s interesting seeing how what’s changed over the years in this throwback posts.

For example, last Independence Day I had my first SubscribeStar subscriber.  That was fun!  I was also in New Jersey—one of the nicer trips I’ve taken.  This year, it was a Southern Fourth, with lots of barbecue and hash.

On a more somber note, America has seen better days—but also far worse.  I have to remind myself of that latter point, as it’s easy to get black-pilled and give into despair.  It’s a commentary on the softness of my own life that today’s ructions—piddling when compared to conflicts of the past—seem insurmountable.

But even if America is on the rocks in some areas, God is still in control.  We’re still the greatest country in the world, despite what the BLM and AntiFa ingrates think.  To be quite frank, if they hate America so much, they’re welcome to move.

With that, here are past Independence Day posts:

“TBT^2: Happy Birthday, America!” (2019)

It’s Independence Day in the United States!  God Bless America!

I hope everyone has been enjoying #MAGAWeek2019.  Remember, you can read those full entries only on SubscribeStar with a $1/mo. or higher subscription.  Your subscription also includes exclusive access to new content every Saturday, as well as other goodies from time to time.

I’m happy to announce, too, that I have my first subscriber.  You, too, can support my work for just $1 a month (or more).  That’s the price of a large pizza if you paid for it over the course of an entire year—you can’t beat that!

In case you’ve missed them, so far #MAGAWeek2019 has commemorated our second President, John Adams; our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton; and our national cuisine, fast food.  You can also check out all of #MAGAWeek2018’s entries.

This Fourth of July I’m in New Jersey, and spent a great day yesterday at Coney Island in New York City.  Despite not liking rollercoasters, I rode the historic The Cyclone, which was first constructed in 1927.  I also visited the New York Aquarium, and tried a cheese dog at the original Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand, the one that will host America’s favorite hot dog-eating contest today.  It was all quite touristy, but very fun.

To commemorate the Fourth of July, I’m reheating last year’s TBT feature, itself a reblogging of a classic Fourth of July post from 2016.

Enjoy your independence, and God Bless America!

–TPP

“TBT: Happy Birthday, America!”  (2018)

Two years ago, I dedicated my Fourth of July post to analyzing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  In the spirit of MAGA Week 2018—and to preserve the TPP TBT tradition—I’m re-posting that classic post today.

A major theme of the blog posts from that summer was the idea of America as a nation, an idea I still find endlessly compelling.  The election of President Trump in November 2016 has reinvigorated public debates about the nature of American nationalism, as well as revived, at least partially, a spirit of unabashed patriotism.

As a child, I took it for granted that America was a special place.  When I learned American history as a child, I learned the heroic tales of our Founders.  While revisionist historians certainly have been correct in pointing out the faults of some of these men, I believe it is entirely appropriate to teach children—who are incapable of understanding such nuance—a positive, patriotic view of American history.  We shouldn’t lie to them, but there’s nothing wrong with educating them that, despite its flaws, America is pretty great.

“Happy Birthday, America!” (2016)

Today the United States of America celebrates 240 years of liberty.  240 years ago, Americans boldly banded together to create the greatest nation ever brought forth on this earth.

They did so at the height of their mother country’s dominance.  Great Britain emerged from the French and Indian War in 1763 as the preeminent global power.  Americans had fought in the war, which was international in scope but fought primarily in British North America.  After Britain’s stunning, come-from-behind victory, Americans never felt prouder to be English.

Thirteen short years later, Americans made the unprecedented move to declare their independence.  Then, only twenty years after the Treaty of Paris of 1763 that ended the French and Indian War, another Treaty of Paris (1783) officially ended the American Revolution, extending formal diplomatic recognition to the young United States.  The rapidity of this world-historic shift reflects the deep respect for liberty and the rule of law that beat in the breasts of Americans throughout the original thirteen colonies.

America is founded on ideas, spelled out in the Declaration of Independence and given institutional form and legal protection by the Constitution.  Values–not specific ethnicity–would come to form a new, distinctly American nationalism, one that has created enduring freedom.

***

Rather than rehash these ideas, however, I’d instead like to treat you to the greatest political speech ever given in the English language.  It’s all the more remarkable because it continues to inspire even when read silently.  I’m writing, of course, about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Here is the transcript (Source:  http://www.gettysburg.com/bog/address.htm):
“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.“Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.“We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth. “

 ***
The Gettysburg Address is elegant in its simplicity.  At less than 300 words, it was a remarkably short speech for the time (political and commemorative speeches often ran to two or three hours).  Yet its power is undiminished all these years later.  President Lincoln was only wrong about one thing:  the claim that the “world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here” has proven untrue.
I will likely write a deeper analysis of the Address in November to commemorate its delivery; in the meantime, I ask you to read and reread the speech, and to reflect on its timeless truths.
God Bless America!
–TPP
To read different versions of the Gettysburg Address–there are several versions extant–check out this excellent page from Abraham Lincoln Online:  http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm.

#MAGAWeek2020: The Tuck

This week is #MAGAWeek2020, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Running through this Friday, 10 July 2020, this year’s #MAGAWeek2020 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

Read my two-part biography of Theodore Roosevelt (with your $1 a month subscription!) here and here.

I dedicated the first two days of #MAGAWeek2020 discussing America’s manliest president, Theodore Roosevelt (Part I, Part II).  TR’s influence on the nation and the office of the presidency reverberate to the present, both for good and ill, but his impact is substantial.  One of his most vocal modern apologists—and a man with immense public influence—is the Uncuckable One:  Tucker Carlson.

There are a number of influential figures on the Right that surely have contributed to the greatness of the United States—Milo, Gavin McInnes, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, etc.—through their reporting and commentary.  All have done real yeoman’s work, at great personal and professional risk, to advance conservatism, specifically America First nationalism.  Tucker Carlson, however, is able to reach an audience—and present America First ideas to that audience—so large, his influence scuttles congressional bills.

Even more importantly, it seems GEOTUS Donaldus Magnus himself listens to The Tuck.  More significant still, Carlson never backs down and never apologizes for his positions, instead defending his views with sharpness and tact—and a charmingly boyish laugh.

To read the rest of today’s #MAGAWeek2020 post, head to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1 a month or more!

TBT: The Human Toll of Globalization

One of the more interesting developments in conservatism since Trump’s rise in 2015-2016 has been a reevaluation of our basic economic policy.  Much of the ideas debated originated, in our modern political era, with Pat Buchanan.  For decades, the assumption among conservatism was that economic efficiency was the highest good, as it lowered costs and eliminated or reduced government overreach.

That was a reasonable set of assumptions when our nation shared a common culture, and when the United States dominated global markets hegemonically.  But the goal of reducing the size of government morphed pathologically into the mad worship of Efficiency above all else.  We sold out social capital—stable families, cohesive communities, robust civil society—for quick cash.

That’s the gist of Z-Man’s post today, “Middle-Man Conservatism.”  Tucker Carlson has similarly touched upon the woeful consequences of worshiping Efficiency-for-its-own-sake.  Sure, Americans possess a pioneering spirit—we’ll move to the oil fields in North Dakota if we have to do so—but we’re still motivated by the same things other humans are:  family, community, belonging.  Gutting our communities to save fifty bucks on a washing machine is a ludicrous trade-off.

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TBT: Best SOTU Ever

Trump delivered an amazing State of the Union address Tuesday night—the best I have ever heard in my own lifetime, as well as the most entertaining.  That incredible, lively address—a celebration of America and her greatness—was followed Wednesday by Trump’s acquittal in the Senate on both of the flagrant, fallacious impeachment charges.  President Trump and the American people are riding high.

Before Tuesday night’s address, I thought the 2019 SOTU was the “Best SOTU Ever.”  Now it’s fallen to a respectable second place slot—perfect for this week’s TBT feature:

I was wrong, as were most conservative (and some progressive) commentators:  President Trump was right to hold out for a real State of the Union Address, rather than reviving the Jeffersonian tradition of the written address.

The president’s State of the Union speech was a tour de force:  he spoke eloquently of America’s role in advancing civil and human rights; the sanctity of human life, born and unborn; the economic development of the United States in the last two years; and the crisis at the border.

It was an address that was optimistic and accurate.  Unlike most SOTU addresses, which tend to be tedious attempts to inflate small bits of good news beyond all reasonable proportions, Trump’s 2019 address described, in detail, just how great America is, and how far we’ve come in two short years.

It’s little wonder Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wanted to cancel the speech:  how do Democrats respond to that?  The first part of the speech was full of positive economic news, news that can’t be ignored or denied.  The president detailed explosive wage and job growth, including the lowest unemployment rates for black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans in history.

Beyond the economic good news—and the vow that the United States will never be a socialist country—it was a fun speech (well, it was a bit long, and dragged a smidge, but not much).  Even Democrats started getting up and dancing around at one point!  Congress sang “Happy Birthday” to a Holocaust survivor.  President Trump cut some jokes, and was clearly having a blast.  As any performer knows, if you’re having fun on stage, the people in the audience will have fun, too.

If you missed the speech, go to YouTube, shut the office door, and fire that baby up while you file TPS reports.  You won’t regret it.

TBT: Tucker Carlson’s Diagnosis

This week’s TBT looks back to a piece I wrote in January 2019 that summarized a segment Tucker Carlson did on his wildly popular show.  That segment really shaped my thinking on some economic and social issues (although other commentators and writers were already influencing my thinking in that direction).

Earlier this week, I wrote a piece about another Tucker segment that applied these concerns into a political platform, of sorts, one that moves beyond economic growth to real improvement for people’s lives.

This blog post was a bit shorter, so I’ll allow it to speak for itself.  It’s definitely worth watching the linked video in the piece, as it is the segment the post covers.

Here is January 2019’s “Tucker Carlson’s Diagnosis“:

recent monologue from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program is blowing up the right-wing blogosphere, and understandably so.  Carlson has been a vocal critic of the neoliberal deification of economic efficiency at all costs.  I used to be a member of this cult, until the candidacy of Donald Trump (and lived experience) knocked the idealistic scales from my eyes.

Normally, it bugs me when people send me video clips to watch.  If they’re cutesy videos of the variety that drive clicks—think cats playing piano, or Goth versions of Christmas songs—I usually ignore them, no matter how hyped they are.  That’s not some virtue on my part; I just don’t want to take the time to watch them, especially on a cell phone (a pet peeve:  someone making me watch a video on their cell phone; I will refuse).

That said, I’m indulging in some hypocrisy:  you must watch this video as soon as you’re able.

For those of you that don’t want to take the time, here are some highlights:

  • Elites care only about maximizing economic efficiency, regardless of the human costs to individuals, families, and communities
  • That lust for efficiency drives income inequality, particularly benefiting the technology sector/Silicon Valley
  • “We are ruled by mercenaries, who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule”—a key idea; I’ve read a similar analysis from controversial blogger Z-Man, in which he argues that leaders in a democracy are, inherently, renters rather than owners, and therefore are heavily tempted towards asset-stripping while in office, rather than building and maintaining a nation:  http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=15929
  • Because of the hollowing out of American manufacturing and declining wages (again, due in part to the quest for efficiency), men struggle to find employment or to improve their wages
    • Because of that, rural parts of the country are dominated increasingly by healthcare and education, female-dominated fields
    • While better wages for women is fine, Carlson claims that—whether or not they should—women are less likely to marry men who earn less than them, therefore

These are just some of the most interesting insights, but Carlson sums up in fifteen minutes what would take a legion of hack bloggers like me hours or weeks to explain.

Again, I urge you to watch this video:  https://video.foxnews.com/v/5985464569001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clips

Tucker Carlson’s Platform for Victory in 2020

Tucker Carlson is the gift that keeps on giving.  In a segment from last week, the populist-friendly television host offered up a winning strategy for President Trump—and a warning.

In essence:  while economic numbers are very good, many of Trump’s base of supporters—the working and middle classes—are still struggling, or at least perceive that they are.  In a longer piece from Joel Kotkin (also on Carlson’s Daily Caller website), the author argues that the tensions between the Trumpian lower classes and the ascendant upper class is akin to the friction between the French Third Estate (the commoners) and the First and Second Estates (the aristocracy and the clergy) just prior to the French Revolution.

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