Making Sense of It All (4)

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The Architects of a Conservative Political Debacle

How We Got Here (2)

The Conservative Right

The primary source of confusion within the conservative movement has been just what to conserve.  The inability of conservative politicians to answer this question within the bounds of successful politics created deep antipathy between themselves and those whom they presume to represent.  The consequent disgust and distrust has risen over the years to the point that conservative politicians sometimes appear to have disowned their voters, and the voters have disassociated themselves from the politicians.  That this was allowed to happen is one of the greatest feats of political madness in my living memory.

Where to start?  Were this a less contemporary meditation I’d go way back to 1990 when President George H. W. Bush broke his solemn promise of “read my lips: no new taxes!”  Rather I’ll begin with his son, President George W. Bush.  Mr. Bush ran for President in 2000 on the slogan of “compassionate conservatism.”  It was only after his election that we found out that “compassionate” meant:

  • Signing into law the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill that substantially diminished the freedom most necessary for a healthy republic, that being political speech
  • Prosecuted a war in Iraq that a majority of citizens came to believe was an utter failure
  • Continued the increase in governmental spending that was in indifferentiable from that of a progressive leftist
  • Enthusiastic support for a “comprehensive immigration bill” that was supported by the business community and the Republican donor class but that was anathema to a majority of citizens
  • Refused to defend himself, his administration or his philosophy from vile assaults by the political opposition
  • Standing idly by, or even encouraging (i.e., easy loans to bolster home ownership) government policies that caused the 2008 financial crisis.

When Mr. Bush left office in 2009 he had managed to utterly discredit the conservative political philosophy, thus paving the way for a disasterous experiment in progressive leftist rule.

jillgreenbergatlanticcovIn 2008 a demoralized Republican Party managed to nominate for President the man least able to challenge the ideology and policies of the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama.  That man was Senator John McCain.  Here we had a man who had sought to gain favor with the Mainstream Media as a “maverick” by gleefully and sometimes savagely attacking more conservative members of his own party.  He was a champion of  “bi-partsianship,” which in practice meant caving to the progressive left on core issues such as freedom of speech and illegal immigration.  Finally, he was one of the most “hawkish” national politicians at a time of extreme war-wariness in the nation.  None of this created much enthusiasm in the Republican base or in the general population.

And, just as with George W. Bush before him, his bi-partsianship counted for less than nothing when confronting the Democratic machine.  All of his former “friends” in the Mainstream Media turned on him once the candidates were in place.  He could not draw credible, clear distinctions with the ideology or policies of the most leftist Presidential candidate in American history because he didn’t appear to have a philosophy other than pragmatism.  He wasn’t trusted in judgement, temperament or philosophy by a large portion of the Republican base.

Perhaps no-one could have beaten Senator Obama.  However a political party picking the candidate least likely to, when his deficiencies were clearly apparent, can only be judged as terrible political malpractice.  And so, after the 2008 election Barack Obama was President and the Democrats held large majorities in both the House and Senate.

The Republican Party had utterly failed to earn the respect of its opponents and the trust of those whom it presumed to represent.  The only term that approaches the truth is “utter political debacle.”




Debacle Bonus Material: Trifecta Edition

  1. Win: The Bush family utterly confuses and discredits political Conservatism over three teams in the Presidency.
  2. Place: In 2008 the Republican Party nominates for President the man, John McCain, who is least able to oppose the Progressive Leftism of Barack Obama on principle, and, who is disliked and distrusted by a large segment of the GOP base.
  3. Show:
quote-obamacare-modeled-almost-precisely-on-romneycare-is-wrong-it-was-bad-medicine-it-s-bad-mitt-romney-141-32-87

The Republican Party completes an unheard of “political debacle trifecta” by, in 2012, nominating the man least able to effectively criticize ObamaCare for President – Mitt Romney.

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Making Sense of It All (3)

The Shortest WayHow We Got to Here (1)

Setting aside our ideological leanings and personal preferences, can we all agree that “here” is legitimately described as a nation suffering a schizophrenic nervous breakdown?  Need I describe the behavior of our elected political leaders, the media, our clergy, professors, bureaucrats, lawyers, business leaders, celebrities, etc., in detail to support this point?  If I do than you must have just recently awoken from a decade long coma.  If you think that one of the sides is behaving reasonably then you are so far down some ideological rabbit hole that there is no hope of reaching you.

I am not here pretending to be some wondrously moderate soul who stands above the fray tisk-tisking at all those foolish others.  No, I am way down there in the fray, driven by my own set of ideological leanings and personal preferences.  However, if we believe that there is something called the truth which exists beyond leaning and preference, then we must acknowledge the sad, pathetic state into which we have led this nation.

Any nation will be riven by powerful opposing forces.  The issue is wether those forces can be accommodated within the bounds of civilized politics or will burst forth into chaos, violence and disaster.  At this point it could go either way.

Although both the progressive left and conservative right appear to be suffering from schizophrenia, the underlying reasons differ considerably.  Therefore, in the following posts I will discuss these specific cases within this context.

 

Making Sense of It All (2)

chasmA Deep and Dangerous Divide

Anyone paying attention to politics knew that there was a growing divide between “Left” and “Right” long before the emergence of Donald Trump.  However, by his winning of the Presidency in an unexpected and stunning upset, it became apparent that another fundamental divide had occurred: between those who consider themselves to be the “ruling class” (Republican and Democrat) and those whom they presume to rule.

Prior to President Trump, although Democrat and Republican politicians were separated by differing world-views, they were apparently united by their membership in a “ruling class.”  Within this elite bubble there were shared assumptions about the boundaries of public discourse and policy positions.  Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 6.53.35 AMThus, when then President George W. Bush supported comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, his administration was participating in a bi-partsian initiative.

The bill’s sole sponsor in the Senate was Majority Leader Harry Reid, though it was crafted in large part as a result of efforts by Senators Kennedy, McCain and Kyl, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, and input from President George W. Bush, who strongly supported the bill.

Both parties were surprised by the vehemence of public opposition, leading to eventual failure of the bill.  In fact, the public opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” was so broad and deep that President Obama, even with Democratic control of both Houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010, was unable to deliver a bill.

Looking back, “comprehensive immigration reform” was the last hurrah for bipartisan government in the United States.  However, it was only bipartisan in the sense that the “ruling class” had all agreed that their solution was the best that could be achieved for the country.  In real democratic bipartisanship the national leaders convince their respective constituencies that the solution is the best that can be achieved for the country.  In this leadership task they utterly failed.  Consequently, the the voting public simply refused to fall into line.

This watershed event should have been a wakeup call to our bubble-bound elite.  But, so convinced were they of their positional permanence that they thoughtlessly wrote the whole thing off as a strange political outlier.  It turns out that they were deeply mistaken.

Other observers, however, recognized this situation for what is was — a fundamental breach between a country’s citizens and their elected officials.  By their refusal to acknowledge concerns of the citizenry about illegal immigration as legitimate, the bipartisan elite had created a huge political vacuum.  In a democratic republic someone was bound to eventually fill that vacuum.  The only questions were by whom and when.

iBooks Publish Announcement

For those of you living in the Windows and/or Android worlds, you can download the PDF version from my blog site here.

Christ and CorneliusChrist and Cornelius

I have published an eBook on iBooks.

Christ and Cornelius: The Biblical Case Against Christian Pacifism

Is Jesus Christ a pacifist?  Many Christians believe this to be the case.  However, unless this position can withstand careful Biblical scrutiny it cannot be considered true.  I have subjected this claim to that very standard in this book, and, have found it to be unsupported.  Along the way important issues regarding Biblical interpretation, the person and purpose of Jesus Christ, the application of King David’s life to our own times, the first Gentile convert to Christianity and Western Civilization’s crisis, among others, are discussed.

Making Sense of It All (1)

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How hard could it possibly be?

Introduction

The past thirty months have been revealing and clarifying.

image-20161110-26340-16q3pjoOn June 16, 2015 a celebrity businessman descended the escalator in his self-named building to declare himself a candidate for the Presidency.  His name is Donald Trump, and, aside from my shock at the crudity of his language concerning illegal immigrants, I barely took notice.  After all, he was just one more candidate for the Republican nomination, and, so I believed, was just in it for the free publicity.

A little more than thirteen months later, in July 2016, the Republican Party officially nominated Donald Trump as their candidate for the U.S. Presidency.  Four months later, in November 2016 Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency.  And, for the thirteen months since his election we have witnessed a political firestorm that has melted the facades of our society, revealing disturbing and surprising information.

In this series of blogs I will attempt to “make sense of it all.”

Taking Stock at Three Years (4)

World-Wide Readership

Although the vast majority of visitors live in the United States, I’m pleased to know that people from all over the world have also visited.  The following figure shows the country of origin for my 2017 visitors.

2017-Visits-WorldIn previous years I had visitors from other countries as well:

  • In 2015 I had visitors from the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland.
  • In 2016 I had a visitors from Norway, Puerto Rico and Ireland.

This post concludes my past-three-year review.  I’m currently thinking about my focus for 2018.  Thank you to all who have visited and I hope that some light has been cast on our current predicament and possible ways out.

 

 

Taking Stock at Three Years (3)

Visitors and Views

The blog’s views and visitor data has varied significantly from year to year as the following figure shows.  Since it excludes December 2017, comparison between this and previous years is not completely fair.  However, since December (along with January) is generally a low-traffic month, errors will be reasonably small.

TRS-Years-Data

Note that:

In the next post I will discuss the geographic distribution of this blog’s readership.

Taking-Stock at Three Years (2)

CR_Plat_16The “Next-Sixteen” Posts

This “next-sixteen” post follows the “top-ten” post.  Note that I have included the “top-ten” in the following list due to numbering limitations in the WordPress editing application (i.e., you cannot start a list at an arbitrary number).

Recall that this list is based on those visits that used the address of a specific post (50% of total views) rather than general site access.  See the previous post for commentary on the “top-ten.”

  1. 8.4%   The PCUSA’s Continuous Decline
  2. 7.2%   HONORING CHRIST IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS
  3. 5.3%   Jesus Christ Avatar
  4. 4.1%   The Language of Suffering (LoS): Introduction
  5. 3.3%   The PCUSA and Israel (Part 4)
  6. 2.7%   LoS: Exposition – Genesis 1:1, 27-31
  7. 2.4%   The PCUSA and Israel (Part 2)
  8. 2.3%   “The Strange Persistence of Guilt
  9. 2.2%   Gnosticism Reimagined? (Part 6b)
  10. 2.0%   Confession of Belhar Questions Already Answered! (Part 1)
  11. 1.9%   LoS: SUFFERING IN GOD’S WORD
    • March 4, 2015
    • This post focused on the concept of human suffering as addressed throughout the Bible.  It also introduced the idea that the Bible’s teaching on suffering connects the words of Scripture to our own deepest experiences, thus illuminating “unexplored possibilities for the experience of suffering.”
  12. 1.9%   Postmodern Christianity: A Primer
    • December 3, 2014
    • This post introduced readers to the concept of “Postmodern Christianity.”  It drew from HONORING CHRIST IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS (see #2 most popular post above).  My goal was to provide a concise, accessible summary that would create context for the discussion in following posts.
  13. 1.9%   Taking Stock at the 100th Post
    • June 22, 2015
    • The 100th post seemed to be an appropriate milestone at which to review and discuss what I had learned in the previous 99.  This is a long post that attempts to summarize many issues/trends and then draw conclusions.  One key focus area is on the “PCUSA elite’s presumption of having a ‘prophetic voice’ by mimicking whatever is trending in radical secular Progressivism, with a thin veneer of faux Christian theologizing as their only contribution.”  Thus, this post is a precursor to the more recent series on Mainline Christianity and Progressive Politics.
  14. 1.6%   LoS: Exposition – Genesis 2:1-17
    • March 10, 2015
    • This post is dominated by the Scripture passage covering God’s act of creation. My added commentary is brief.  Once again, I’m uncertain as to why it is so popular, but thankful that readers have found significant value.
  15. 1.6%   Presbytery of Chicago: Amending Marriage (1 of 2)
    • January 9, 2015
    • Here I take to task the appalling Rationale supporting same-gender marriage by the Presbytery of Chicago.  I stated my primary criticism in the first sentence: “My initial response to this Rationale was a mix of shock and disbelief. Here we had a document arguing for the fundamental redefinition of a millennia long institution of Judeo-Christian civilization that hadn’t even scratched the surface of the related Biblical and theological issues.”  In this and the following post I provide detailed support for this position.  My guess is that most of the views originated in the Chicagoland region.
  16. 1.6%   The PCUSA and Israel (Part 3)
    • May 6, 2015
    • This post sets up the informational context for the conclusion drawn in the fourth post on this topic (see the above #5 most popular post).  In particular, I showed that the 80%+ of General Assembly Commissioners supported the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)” movement.
  17. 1.5%   Confession of Belhar Questions Already Answered! (Part 2)
    • April 22, 2015
    • This post followed the #10 most popular Part 1 in this series.  Here I pointed out the direct and specific ways that officers of our Presbytery and Synod participated in the cruel assault on those who sought to uphold religious freedom.  My conclusion was: “I now have good reason to believe that the Confession of Belhar will be used to oppose the exercise of religious conscience within the context of same-gender marriage, at a bare minimum.”
  18. 1.5%   The PCUSA and Israel (Part 1)
    • May 2, 2015
    • Note that all four posts on the PCUSA and Israel made the top-twenty, with two in the top-ten.  This result suggests that there is intense interest in this topic.  My goal was to explain why the PCUSA’s anti-Israel policies border on wickedness.  The post concluded: “You thus might think that a Christian denomination would not do anything to undermine a nation under this threat.  For, to reduce the morale, economic vitality or defenses of such a nation is unavoidably to advance the goals of those who actively wish to exterminate it.”
  19. 1.2%   Comments on the 222nd General Assembly (2 of 3)
  20. 1.1%   Presbytery of the Cascades: Amending Marriage (1 of 2)
    • January 19, 2015
    • This post examined the Presbytery’s claim that “the teachings of Jesus call for radical inclusion of all people and that the actions of Jesus, passed down in Scripture, showed unconditional love and equality for all people.”   My position was that Jesus’ actions were “sometimes dominated by ‘unconditional love and equality for all people.’ At other times they were dominated by a fierce judgment and anger against the stubborn sinfulness of people or situations.”  I also pointed out that “baldly assert conclusions about Jesus and the Scriptures without the slightest supporting references or passages” are hallmarks of these Rationales.
  21. 1.0%   The Progressive Pyramid of “Moral Authority” (1)
    • January 2, 2017
    • This post introduced the concept of a “Progressive Pyramid of Moral Authority” within context of current events and Progressive actions.
  22. 1.0%   What’s Going On in the PCUSA (Part 4)
    • May 19, 2015
    • This post commented on debate in the Presbytery of Chicago on the Confession of Belhar.  My closing point was: “the PCUSA elite refuse to accept a negative outcome.  Rather than showing respect for the views of the majority, they have made it clear that there will be no peace until the denomination has submitted to their demands.  Once they have won, we are all supposed to respect the decision of a majority that has been created by driving out of those in opposition.  Should those of us in opposition who remain accede to this demand, or, should we continue to fight?”
  23. 0.8%   A Brief Excursion into PCUSA Heresy
    • May 16, 2016
    • I here discuss the presence of one Rev. John Shuck, a PCUSA pastor in good standing who is an aggressive atheist.
  24. 0.8%   A Continued Excursion into PCUSA Heresy
    • June 6, 2016
    • In this post I point out and discuss that the 222nd (2016) General Assembly was hosted by the Presbytery (Presbytery of the Cascades) that is home to the above discussed Rev. John Shuck, a PCUSA pastor in good standing who is an aggressive atheist.  My comment was: “Certainly the fact that they accepted an aggressive atheist as a pastor for one of their churches didn’t count against them.  It was probably a plus, given the PCUSA’s love of inclusiveness for heretics.”
  25. 0.8%   God’s Acts of Providence (56)
    • December 10, 2016
    • This post discussed “the hard road from revulsion to embrace” for the doctrine of predestination.
  26. 0.8%   LoS: Blessed are the Persecuted – Closing Thoughts
    • September 14, 2015
    • This is the concluding post on “Blessed are the Persecuted” section of the Language of Suffering.  “Christ is here announcing a radical reinterpretation of suffering – if it is experienced because of allegiance to Him. Rather than being endured, it should be received with rejoicing as a seal of authenticity upon our faith. Even more, suffering on earth for the sake of Christ builds up eternal treasure in heaven.”

Additional data and analysis of this blog’s three year milestone will follow.