Where Does a Patriot Turn in 2016?

 

The Democratic Party’s national convention is attempting to lay claim to the patriot mantle. Yet the party is not quite there. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was heckled with chants of “no more war.” The Code Pink wing lost the nomination this year, but it won the platform, and may yet win it all in the next cycle.

President Obama seeded his own speech with patriotic grace notes and, while he recoils from Trump, his horror at Trump’s style seemingly blinds him to their similarities. On substance, they are more alike than not. This shouldn’t be shocking, considering that Trump has been a Democrat for most of his life. What is stunning is the degree to which so many patriots, whose eyes water at the flag and the anthem, imagine that Trump is a patriot in the same mold.

Obama reproached the Republican nominee for wanting to “turn away from the rest of the world.” But that’s Obama’s view too. He’s happier to be a follower than a world leader, never more gratified than when the U.S. is more modest. When asked why he failed to give even rhetorical/moral support to the millions of Iranians in the streets during the abortive “Green Revolution,” his administration explained that the U.S. was tainted by its history, and any expression from us would have backfired.

His refusal to help the suffering people of Syria – failing even to provide a safe haven for refugees, which has had radiating consequences for Europe’s stability and security — was grounded in the same perspective, that American power was blundering when it was not downright imperialistic. When he did intervene, as in Afghanistan, it was feckless. In Libya, he played second fiddle to European powers, which seems more morally acceptable to progressives.

Trump thunders that “We don’t win anymore” (he’s referring to trade, which is completely wrong) and bristled (rightly in this instance) at the humiliation of our sailors at the hands of the Iranians in January. But, like Obama on steroids, he takes a dim view of America’s moral standing.

When he was questioned about his warm endorsements of Vladimir Putin and reminded that Putin has killed quite a few critics, Trump shrugged “We do a lot of killing in this country too.” That’s an extraordinary calumny, implying not the indisputable fact that we have too many violent deaths in America, but that, like Russia, our government engages in targeted assassinations of political opponents. Here, Trump leaves Obama behind altogether.

Asked about the attempted coup in Turkey, Trump’s tropism toward tyrants was manifest. He praised Erdoğan’s success in thwarting the coup, and when asked about Erdoğan’s crackdown on thousands of journalists, educators, judges, civil servants, and others, Trump was unmoved. “I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems.” He mentioned Ferguson, and Baltimore, and police being killed, and offered this: “When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”

Trump misses the most crucial fact about Turkey: The thwarted coup may have empowered Erdoğan to take one of the world’s most advanced Muslim nations, a NATO ally, down the path of Iran. But also consider his view of America. Is that how a patriot thinks? We lack the moral standing to criticize other nations on human rights?

Trump has famously praised Saddam Hussein (“At least he killed terrorists” – no, the opposite), China’s communist bosses who mowed down protesters in Tiananmen Square (“They put it down with strength”), and even Kim Jong-un, (“You got to give him credit. He wiped out the uncle. He wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn’t play games.”)

But Trump has reserved his greatest affection for Vladimir Putin. Yes, George W. Bush praised Putin (once), but he wised up. Yes, Obama attempted to “reset” relations (less explicable) but he was forced to backtrack when Putin snatched Crimea, reintroduced Russia’s military directly into Syria, and made proxy war on Ukraine.

Trump is on notice about all of that and much more. It is common knowledge (which is not to say Trump knows it) that Putin’s opponents tend to die by poison and other methods beloved of the KGB; that state controlled Russian media ceaselessly incite America hatred, that Russian internet trolls seek to destabilize democratic governments in Europe and quite likely here; that Putin sides with Iran, Syria’s Assad (a genocidal dictator), and Hezbollah, and that Putin, having strangled civil society and freedom in Russia, seeks to recapture the lost glory of the Soviet empire. Yet Trump bats his eyes at Putin like a schoolgirl with a crush.

Part of Trump’s appeal is chauvinism — a strutting sort of nationalist appeal (unsupported by anything approaching policy ideas). It’s more than odd then that his followers are unshaken by his willingness to be Putin’s poodle.

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  1. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Another article missing truth but hatred of Trump and  intellectual blindness does that.

    Trump will have himself surrounded by patriots( as in people who know who a commie is) and Clinton will be surrounded by liars, criminals, and radical leftists.

    Obama and Trump are similar because they are narcissists: but make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted   to mold it like clay.

    • #1
  2. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    • #2
  3. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    There is no place for a Patriot to turn if he or she wants to elect a solid Patriot.  The primary system in this country we love just puked up a couple of really bad candidates, and one of them is going to end up in the Oval Office.

    The only thing a patriot can do is ascertain which of the candidates is worse and vote to stop that candidate.  There is some disagreement around Ricochet as to who that candidate is.

    • #3
  4. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Mona Charen: It’s more than odd then that his followers are unshaken by his willingness to be Putin’s poodle.

    Maybe his followers just know that Clinton has already been bought of by the Russians.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html?_r=0

    • #4
  5. Jocher Inactive
    Jocher
    @Jocher

    Trump will have himself surrounded by patriots( as in people who know who a commie is) and Clinton will be surrounded by liars, criminals, and radical leftists.

    Like Manafort?

    • #5
  6. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Mona Charen: It’s more than odd then that his followers are unshaken by his willingness to be Putin’s poodle.

    As a likely Trump voter (not a “follower”) I am not unshaken by this.  I just hope that @docjay is right, and that Trump would have a hard time building up his staff with Putin poodles.

    • #6
  7. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Accidental double post

    • #7
  8. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    DocJay:Another article missing truth but hatred of Trump and intellectual blindness does that.

    Trump will have himself surrounded by patriots( as in people who know who a commie is) and Clinton will be surrounded by liars, criminals, and radical leftists.

    Obama and Trump are similar because they are narcissists: but make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted to mold it like clay.

    And you know what Donald Trump loves how?

    • #8
  9. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    I agree with every word Mona, and think you said it well.  Though I wonder why you bothered?  Nothing new here.  Nothing whatsoever.  Do we really need yet another post triggering yet another boring, repetitive and tense conversation about the character of the Orange One?

    • #9
  10. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    DocJay: make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted to mold it like clay.

    I see no real evidence that Trump actually loves America.

    Anyone who cloaks themselves in veterans for their own self-interest, while resisting making the tiny donation he promised them and belittling genuine war heroes, does their country a deep injustice. From what I have seen so far, I can only conclude that Trump has no more patriotism for America than Hillary; but rather, as an entertainment professional, he’s better at feigning it than she is.

    But there’s a weasel way out of this dilemma: does it really matter? Do the bigger patriots actually make better political leaders? After all, it’s hard to think of men who have given more for their country than John McCain, Bob Dole, or George HW Bush. Heck, Jimmy Carter arguably was willing to sacrifice more for his country during WWII than Ronald Reagan.

    So while none of us can look into Clinton’s or Trump’s heart on this matter, it doesn’t particularly matter either way.

    • #10
  11. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    BastiatJunior: I just hope that @docjay is right

    Oops, I should clarify.  I agree with @docjay‘s remarks about staffing, not the “hatred” and “intellectual blindness” part.

    Sorry, Doc.

    • #11
  12. MSJL Thatcher
    MSJL
    @MSJL

    DocJay:Another article missing truth but hatred of Trump and intellectual blindness does that.

    Unbound adoration has the same impact.

    Trump will have himself surrounded by patriots( as in people who know who a commie is) and Clinton will be surrounded by liars, criminals, and radical leftists.

    Based on the fact that no one in the campaign seems capable of controlling what comes out of Trump’s mouth or preventing him from saying one stupid or unsettling thing after another, I see no evidence that he has to this point surrounded himself with anything other than hacks, yes men, and sycophants.  There might be guys like Kudlow who are sane and trying to steer him, but I see them having little effect.

    Obama and Trump are similar because they are narcissists: but make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted to mold it like clay.

    I’m going to echo other comments that I just don’t see Trump demonstrating any greater patriotism or love of country.  His concept of government seems alien to the American democratic tradition.  Given his comments that he doesn’t think the US should speak out about Russian conduct or the Turkish crackdown, he seems to have a near-identical view of American history and is as likely and as willing to go on an apology tour as Barry does.

    So far the man has demonstrated a painful ignorance of any policy matter, the Constitution, military or diplomatic relations.  What makes anything think he’s got clear thinking on matters of patriotism and our history and traditions?

    • #12
  13. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Starting 1/20/17 it will be Trump or Clinton. It won’t be Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein, or the Magical Mystery Man folks are still yearning to see spring full-blown from the brow of Bill Kristol. Staying home won’t change that either.

    I’m rolling the dice for Trump

    • #13
  14. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Mendel:

    DocJay: make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted to mold it like clay.

    I see no real evidence that Trump actually loves America.

    Before the predictable rebuttal comes, let me say unequivocally that I see no evidence whatsoever of Hillary’s patriotism, either. The Benghazi hearings made that more than clear.

    As I’ve said before, patriotism seems to be one (of many) emotions that Hillary seems constitutionally incapable of. It’s hard to imagine her having affection for her own cat, let alone something as amorphous as her home country.

    And no matter what we think of Donald himself, there’s no doubt that his supporters themselves love this country much more than 90% of Clinton supporters.

    • #14
  15. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    “Today’s broken record is brought to you by National Review and our fine sponsors!”

    • #15
  16. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Mendel:

    DocJay: make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted to mold it like clay.

    I see no real evidence that Trump actually loves America.

    Anyone who cloaks themselves in veterans for their own self-interest, while resisting making the tiny donation he promised them and belittling genuine war heroes, does their country a deep injustice. From what I have seen so far, I can only conclude that Trump has no more patriotism for America than Hillary; but rather, as an entertainment professional, he’s better at feigning it than she is.

    But there’s a weasel way out of this dilemma: does it really matter? Do the bigger patriots actually make better political leaders? After all, it’s hard to think of men who have given more for their country than John McCain, Bob Dole, or George HW Bush. Heck, Jimmy Carter arguably was willing to sacrifice more for his country during WWII than Ronald Reagan.

    So while none of us can look into Clinton’s or Trump’s heart on this matter, it doesn’t particularly matter either way.

    Well,  being surrounded by patriots does make a difference when the narcissist seeks approval from those around him and those around him will love the country.   Clinton is an Alinsky America hater so it’s impossible to be as bad as her, truly impossible.

    • #16
  17. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    MSJL:

    DocJay:Another article missing truth but hatred of Trump and intellectual blindness does that.

    Unbound adoration has the same impact.

    Maybe, just maybe, we should delay describing each other’s motives in terms like this until we become mind readers.

    • #17
  18. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Mendel:

    Mendel:

    DocJay: make no mistake, one loves the country my family has served and the other sees himself as utterly apart from the country and attempted to mold it like clay.

    I see no real evidence that Trump actually loves America.

    Before the predictable rebuttal comes, let me say unequivocally that I see no evidence whatsoever of Hillary’s patriotism, either. The Benghazi hearings made that more than clear.

    As I’ve said before, patriotism seems to be one (of many) emotions that Hillary seems constitutionally incapable of. It’s hard to imagine her having affection for her own cat, let alone something as amorphous as her home country.

    And no matter what we think of Donald himself, there’s no doubt that his supporters themselves love this country much more than 90% of Clinton supporters.

    Oops, my predictable rebuttal came.

    • #18
  19. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Is there any way the RNC could retract Trump’s nomination? Suppose Trump did something really, really unacceptable to the beltway quislings – maybe say he was going to cancel the trillion dollar F-35 boondoggle or something similar. Snark aside, I think there must be something so bizarre or outrageous that Trump might say that would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If that day comes and it looks like we will lose with 35% of the popular vote is there some remedy for our country? I can’t say our party anymore since I resigned.

    • #19
  20. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Where does a patriot turn in 2016? Apparently to Hillary Clinton.

    Disgusting.

    • #20
  21. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    Is “patriot” just one more word with different meanings to different people?  Like “conservative”?

    • #21
  22. MSJL Thatcher
    MSJL
    @MSJL

    Petty Boozswha:Is there any way the RNC could retract Trump’s nomination? Suppose Trump did something really, really unacceptable to the beltway quislings – maybe say he was going to cancel the trillion dollar F-35 boondoggle or something similar. Snark aside, I think there must be something so bizarre or outrageous that Trump might say that would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If that day comes and it looks like we will lose with 35% of the popular vote is there some remedy for our country? I can’t say our party anymore since I resigned.

    Shoot someone on 5th Avenue?

    The interesting thing about Trump is that I feel very confident in saying he is probably immune to the risk of an October Surprise scandal.  At the same time, I think he is so sui generis that I am getting more confident that down ticket Republicans will be able to distance themselves from him if they desire.

    I think GOP office holders are going to be in the strongest position (if anyone) and I think they need to find a way to exercise some leverage over him fast.  If the key argument that Clinton is going to make that Trump is too unstable, then the risk to Trump may be the noisy withdrawal of an endorsement or two.  I’m not sure who that might be at this point.

    • #22
  23. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Mona Charen: It’s more than odd then that his followers are unshaken by his willingness to be Putin’s poodle.

    I’m officially offended by this unsubstantiated attack on my character.  Who are the champions of ridiculing those who dare to disagree with them?  It sure isn’t patriotic, principled veterans of foreign wars like me, it is the cursed amoral Democrat progressives.

    I won’t flag this tripe, as I want as many as possible to witness this conflation of literary skill and blindness.  Please know that there is very little mystery about the labels “patriot”, “conservative”, and “followers”.  Yikes.

    I knew a poodle ma’am, and you’re no poodle.

    • #23
  24. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    MSJL:The interesting thing about Trump is that I feel very confident in saying he is probably immune to the risk of an October Surprise scandal. At the same time, I think he is so sui generis that I am getting more confident that down ticket Republicans will be able to distance themselves from him if they desire.

    I think GOP office holders are going to be in the strongest position (if anyone) and I think they need to find a way to exercise some leverage over him fast. If the key argument that Clinton is going to make that Trump is too unstable, then the risk to Trump may be the noisy withdrawal of an endorsement or two. I’m not sure who that might be at this point.

    I hope you’re right but I’m more pessimistic about the future now than I have ever been in my life. Paul Ryan may feel he is in the fight of his life [as Scott Walker has pointed out] with his primary challenge and can’t risk antagonizing Trumpkins right now. Maybe he will develop a backbone later. Still the question was sincere – suppose a candidate has a stroke or some similar disability? Can the RNC exercise some moral agency if the need becomes too great?

    • #24
  25. MSJL Thatcher
    MSJL
    @MSJL

    Petty Boozswha:

    MSJL:

    I hope you’re right but I’m more pessimistic about the future now than I have ever been in my life. Paul Ryan may feel he is in the fight of his life [as Scott Walker has pointed out] with his primary challenge and can’t risk antagonizing Trumpkins right now. Maybe he will develop a backbone later. Still the question was sincere – suppose a candidate has a stroke or some similar disability? Can the RNC exercise some moral agency if the need becomes too great?

    There are rules about that, and here they are from the current version of the Rules of Republican Party on the party website:

    ***

    Rule No. 9

    Vacancies in Nominations

    (a) The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.

    (b) In voting under this rule, the Republican National Committee members representing any state shall be entitled to cast the same number of votes as said state was entitled to cast at the national convention. (c) In the event that the members of the Republican National Committee from any state shall not be in agreement in the casting of votes hereunder, the votes of such state shall be divided equally, including fractional votes, among the members of the Republican National Committee present or voting by proxy.

    (d) No candidate shall be chosen to fill any such vacancy except upon receiving a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the election.

    ***

    I imagine that if Trump were to have a heart attack, stroke, etc. that would leave him incapable to running or holding office, that the RNC would make the decision themselves.  Given the time constraints, they would have to.  If the proposal was to remove Trump because of his conduct, then I cannot imagine that happening without reconvening the convention.  For all the bile poured on the “establishment” this year, they followed their rules and went with the candidate who got the most delegates.  They will not replace him “for cause” without the support of the grassroots and delegates.

    • #25
  26. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    This piece is two or three months past its sell-by.  I understand, even empathize, with blue city Republicans who are mortified by our nominee.  But it’s time to get off the fainting couch and look beyond your precious self-regard.

    We are not electing a president, unfortunately.  We are electing a hyperpowered executive branch.  The Supreme Court candidates of a Trump Administration will be clearly superior (and there may be three of them).  Trump will probably delegate the choices for the circuit and district courts to Sessions; not my favorite but would you prefer Schumer’s?

    Corporate and small business taxation and regulation, 2nd Amendment rights, immigration/refugee reform, energy exploration, education reform, law enforcement:  Do you really prefer a Democratic cabinet?

    Even where Trump plays lip service on social issues, that’s it:  lip service.  Do you prefer the Clinton Justice Department on steroids hounding the country over every newfangled racial, sexual and gender fantasy?

    I’d suggest some people really need to get over their heroic conception of themselves.

    And wargaming in Estonia and Turkey is just a middlebrow diversion from an admittedly unpleasant choice for many of us.

    • #26
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    By the way, Nationalism is not always a bad thing. When did “America for Americans” turn into a bad thing?

    • #27
  28. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Trinity Waters:

    Mona Charen: It’s more than odd then that his followers are unshaken by his willingness to be Putin’s poodle.

    I’m officially offended by this unsubstantiated attack on my character. Who are the champions of ridiculing those who dare to disagree with them? It sure isn’t patriotic, principled veterans of foreign wars like me, it is the cursed amoral Democrat progressives.

    I won’t flag this tripe, as I want as many as possible to witness this conflation of literary skill and blindness. Please know that there is very little mystery about the labels “patriot”, “conservative”, and “followers”. Yikes.

    I knew a poodle ma’am, and you’re no poodle.

    If you vote for Trump, Mona thinks you are racist. Clear as glass.

    • #28
  29. MSJL Thatcher
    MSJL
    @MSJL

    Quake Voter:I’d suggest some people really need to get over their heroic conception of themselves.

    I am firmly anti-Trump/NeverTrump.  I don’t have a heroic conception of myself.  I served under someone who was very much like Trump and it was the utter misery of everyone involved.  I do not trust him or believe anything he says, and he will not suddenly become sober, disciplined, focused, knowledgeable, respectful, or consistent by magic on January 20, 2017.

    What was it that we used to say about Bill Clinton in the 1990s:  How can we rely on a man to govern the country who cannot govern himself?

    Everything you claim he is going to do versus Clinton has as much grounding as believing in the Easter Bunny.  The minute Republicans in Congress stand in his way he will march right over to his old pal Chuck Schumer and cut a deal.  Every time during the primary campaign he was asked about how he would accomplish this-or-that hard objective, he just replied it was up for negotiation.

    Is there anything I can do about the choices involved?  No.  Unfortunately our third parties are being their usual train-wreck gadfly selves and don’t seem capable of skewing the results of the Electoral College (wouldn’t that be an interesting thing if neither Clinton nor Trump got 270?).

    I’m a patriot, I love my country, I served my country, and I will be in anguish over the next four years regardless of who gets elected.  At this point all I can expect is that both Clinton and Trump will work hard to damage our country (certainly in different ways but probably to equal effect) and we’ll spend the next decades struggling to clean up after them.  I would love to be wrong about a President Trump, but I just don’t see it.  I know that personality from experience and it leaves nothing but wreckage in its wake.

    I will also point out that during the primary season people like me were dismissed by Trump supporters as GOPe, being captured by the “establishment” and suffering from Stockholm syndrome, and told I was irrelevant because wave after wave of new voters would enter the ranks of the Republican Party and carry Trump to victory.  That being the case, why is it that my vote for Darrell Castle and the Constitution Party should be a loss to the inevitable Trump victory?

    I’m probably wrong about this and someone will find the quote I missed from his acceptance speech, but I don’t ever recall Trump asking me for his vote.  Not a single time.  He just presumed that because the alternative is Hillary AND THE END OF THE WORLD! that my vote naturally follows to whoever the GOP nominates.

    I don’t mind voting for the lesser of two evils.  I just can’t tell which one – or either one – is worse.

    • #29
  30. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Bryan G. Stephens: If you vote for Trump, Mona thinks you are racist. Clear as glass.

    I don’t think that’s fair. Mona and I think Trump is so manifestly unfit to be President by temperament and character that he is more dangerous to the country than Hillary. I have never disparaged those that think the Supreme Court or other considerations make Trump worth the risk, and I don’t think Mona has either.

    • #30

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