Where Has THIS Trump Been?

The political world is all atwitter following Donald Trump’s statement last Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina that, “believe it or not,” he regrets having said “the wrong thing” in the past, “particularly where it may have caused personal pain,” a list which might include Heidi Cruz, Megyn Kelly, and Ghazala Khan.

I was less astonished than most, however, because I noticed a substantial and important change in Mr. Trump’s campaigning more than week earlier. Although I mentioned it during my radio show, it seemed to go mostly unnoticed in the broader media, perhaps because of justifiable initial skepticism.

In Abingdon, Virginia on Wednesday, August 10, Donald Trump gave nearly an hour of remarks in a tone entirely different from what he had offered in public before. No yelling, no venomous rasping in the back of his throat, and, although he was as strong as ever in his positions on issues (several of which, most particularly trade and NAFTA, I strongly disagree with him on), the seething anger and divisiveness which had characterized so much of his campaign to date was simply gone.

It was the first Trump speech I could watch, again putting aside my policy disagreements with him, without his tone and shouting and demeanor and sheer disagreeableness making my teeth itch. Until then, he had been almost as hard to listen to as Hillary is, and that’s saying something.


Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:


My son's freedom

Over Independence Day weekend, my 8-year-old son and I visited my sister’s lake house in eastern Tennessee. Among their toys is a Sea-Doo, a fancy version of what we used to call a jet ski, and truly one of the most thrilling rides you’ll ever have. Jasper and I went out on it together, him sitting in front of me, “driving” the machine at ludicrous speed, clear warm water spraying us in the face as we tried, with some success, to catch air by hitting the wakes of boats passing near us.

After a particularly aggressive bit of maneuvering, nearly wrenching me off the machine, Jasper paused, threw his hands in the air, and, in as joyful an expression as I’ve ever heard from him, yelled, “Freedom!”

It was a beautiful moment, and my son’s single word really captured the essence of it. At that instant, we weren’t just having fun; we felt free.

On July 4, as I pondered that moment, I struggled to imagine my children ever truly knowing freedom. Sure, the United States is more free than most nations, but it is less free than it should be and less with each passing year. Americans careen from one power-accumulating government to another — not solely at the federal level — while busybody nanny-state apparatchiks prioritize feelings over freedom and institute a bland conformity that saps individuality, creativity and the very joy that Jasper and I experienced at 50 miles per hour on Norris Lake.

Please read the rest of my op-ed for the Denver Post here:

Comey crushes common sense, but can Trump take advantage?

As I watch FBI Director James Comey respond to members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, even as I attempt to correct for my fear and loathing of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the “nothing to see here” approach of the Democratic members of the committee is shocking. Or at least it would be shocking if it were not for the fact that the woman they are compelled to defend is a corrupt self-dealing mendacious reprobate who makes each of them look competent, trustworthy, and sagacious by comparison.

In nearly every case where a Republican asked Director Comey whether Hillary Clinton violated a statute regarding the care and handling of classified information, the answer was yes. When asked whether Clinton’s private e-mail server violated State Department policy, the answer was yes (based on Comey’s reading of State’s IG report, not his own investigation). When asked whether someone in her position should have known better, the answer was yes.

It is clear that approximately every public statement Clinton made about her use of a private email server was a lie (but Comey confined his legal conclusions to Hillary’s private statements made to the FBI last weekend).

Director Comey, formerly the Deputy Attorney General of the United States in the George W. Bush administration, reiterated that a government employee who treated classified information the way that Clinton did would likely face disciplinary actions such as loss of security clearance and termination of employment. Indeed, late on Thursday the State Department announced that it is reopening the investigation into the mishandling of classified information by Clinton and her closest aides. Those aides, particularly Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, though no longer government employees, may face sanctions and their ability to get security clearances in a potential Clinton administration is now very much in doubt.

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

Romney results bode poorly for Trump

For one primary reason, Mitt Romney was, in the 2012 presidential election, the worst possible choice out of the several most credible Republican hopefuls to challenge President Barack Obama’s re-election: Obamacare should have been the defining issue of that campaign but Romney was singularly unable to prosecute the case against a government takeover of the health insurance system because he, thanks to the creation of “Romneycare” in Massachusetts when he was the Bay State’s governor, was perceived as the “grandfather of Obamacare.”

A similar problem may play out for Republicans in 2016.

Please read the rest of my article for The American Spectator here:

What Unity?

Shortly after Tuesday night's Indiana political earthquake which left Donald Trump as the near-certain Republican presidential nominee, Trump thanked Ted Cruz for dropping out of the race because "we want to bring unity to the Republican Party."

Twelve hours later, I received a call to my radio show from a man named Increase, an African-American born in the West African country of Cameroon and now a U.S. citizen.

Increase expressed profound appreciation for the founding principles of this nation, for the Constitution, for conservatism and for the Republican Party — and then proceeded to explain that because of what the United States means to him, and what the GOP should stand for, he cannot vote for Trump to be president....


Please read the entirety of my column for the Denver Post here:

The Drudge Distraction (or why Trump is so angry about Colorado)

“Fury as Colorado has no primary or caucus!” shrieked a scandalized Drudge Report on Monday morning. That would be news to the roughly 60,000 Republicans who caucused across the state on March 1, many of whom attended Saturday’s GOP State Assembly.

Matt Drudge was channeling the phony indignation of his chosen candidate as Donald Trump spent the evening on Twitter and the morning on Fox News complaining that Colorado’s delegate selection process was “a crooked deal.” (If it strikes you as odd that a “news” site has an obvious bias toward a particular candidate, you might not be alone.)

The real crooked deal, and perhaps the reason that Trump and friends are so frenzied in waving around the shiny object of faux corruption, is Donald Trump’s so-called charity: According to an analysis by the Washington Post released Sunday night, 2,900 of the 4,844 reported charitable contributions by Mr. Trump from 2009 through 2014 were free rounds of golf at his golf courses. Others were such things as “175 free hotel stays, 165 free meals and 11 gift certificates to spas.”

Higher-valued “charity” included conservation easements granted on property he owned — likely to have been conditions of receiving permits for land development. According to thePost, not a single item of charity in the “93-page document compiled by the Trump campaign” is a “cash gift from Trump himself.”

At the risk of playing into Mr. Trump’s distraction from the faux-charity bombshell, let’s return to the Centennial State:

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Extortion Won’t Finance Trump’s Wall

On Tuesday, in an unsuccessful last ditch effort to revive his flagging hopes in the Wisconsin primary election, Donald Trump posted to his website a plan to “compel Mexico to pay for the wall.”

The heart of the plan is to threaten to amend federal regulations so that the Department of the Treasury can demand compliance by money wiring services with the Patriot Act’s “know your customer” banking regulations.

Illegal aliens who use these services would not be able to provide documentation that meets the standards required by the regulations and would therefore be unable to remit money to their families in Mexico, an amount estimated by the World Bank at about $24 billion in 2014.

You might think that the plan represents a level of cleverness beyond what we’ve seen from the Trump camp before. But lest you think that The Donald has suddenly had a fresh new idea, a proposal for “remittance status verification” was actually brought to the U.S. Senate, in slightly different form as S.79, in January 2015 by Senator David Vitter (D-LA).

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:


Electability is not a four-letter word

If the average of recent polls showing Donald Trump losing to Hillary Clinton by more than 11 percentage points is correct, you’d have to go back to Ulysses Grant’s 1872 thumping of Horace Greeley to find such a landslide.

Even recent elections that we think of as utter domination (1980 – Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter by 9.7%, 1988 – George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis by 7.7%, 1996 – Bill Clinton over Bob Dole by 8.5%, 2008 – Barack Obama over John McCain by 7.3%) pale in comparison to Trump’s looming loss to Clinton.

Perhaps the comparison to 1872 is particularly apt as Grant, running for re-election, carried a whiff of corruption and scandal (which turned into outright stench a few years later) but won an overwhelming victory against a famous but unappealing challenger who ran, literally, as a Liberal Republican. In 2016, we face the spectacle of an utterly corrupt, national-security-risking, professionally incompetent Alinsky-loving rape-defending shakedown artist and liar trouncing the current front-runner of the FGOP (Formerly Grand Old Party) who has a lifetime full of holding liberal policy positions.

From time to time, “conservatives” tell me that my consideration of electability — who has the best chance of winning the general election — is misplaced and I should focus more on principle. Then when I do (as I always do anyway), and write that, for example, I can’t support John McCain, they tell me that the most important thing is beating the Democrat and I should vote for any candidate, no matter how flawed, who has an “R” after his name. They can’t have it both ways.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Fifty Seconds

Fifty seconds. A little more than one second per dead body. That’s what President Barack Obama spent opening his Tuesday morning press conference from Havana, Cuba, reacting to the death of at least 30 human beings and injuries to at least 230 more in two coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Fifty seconds.

I suppose you’ve got to keep on schedule when there’s a baseball game to get to, right?

The “move along, folks” attitude following another Islam-perpetrated catastrophe perfectly befits this president, the same man who on November 5, 2009, gave a “shout-out” and spoke about “an extremely productive (Tribal Nations) conference” for nearly two minutes before addressing that morning’s massacre of American servicemen and women by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Three Cheers for Free Trade

Donald Trump and his fellow liberals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are lambasting free trade as the scourge of the American working man. How odd it is that an economic activity so beneficial to almost every American, indeed to the vast majority of the human race, suffers such attacks with only half-hearted defenses raised by politicians who should know better and economists who do know better.

I stipulate: in trade, as in any economic endeavor, there are losers in the short run. Capitalism is, after all, fundamentally a system of creative destruction. But if there is any area of agreement among economists of all political stripes — a group among whom finding agreement is exceptionally difficult given their unique decision-making anatomy — it is that free trade provides large net benefits to the societies that engage in it, even if other nations do not lower trade barriers to the same degree.

Furthermore, the benefits of trade accrue in large measure to the lower economic echelons of society in an extension of Schumpeter’s profound observation that “the capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort.”

Allow me to offer a few quotes (emphasis added) from one prominent economist, at the time a professor at an elite university, who was lamenting the poor understanding of international trade in the United States:

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

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