BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Conservative

Talking Iran Deal, #Iransom and the War of Ideas with Buck Sexton

Check out my latest radio hit with friend and former colleague Buck Sexton on Iran, #Iransom, the War of Ideas and a whole lot more:

Image: Tehran 1993: An Iranian woman stands in front of a mural depicting Khomeini. (Armineh Johannes/Sygma/Corbis)

PJ Media: Does the GOP Establishment Think Ted Cruz Is a RINO in Conservative Sheep’s Clothing?

In my latest post at PJ Media, I argue that the GOP Establishment’s argument that Ted Cruz is “slick,” narcissistic and ambitious is disingenuous.

First, even if we were to accept that Ted Cruz had such traits, does any candidate for the presidency not have them in some measure?

Second, so what? Is the Establishment afraid that Senator Cruz is pulling a fast one and seeking to dupe GOP voters into believing he is a conservative so he can govern as a moderate?

Here’s a taste:

Conservatives aren’t as stark raving mad as the media loves to claim — painting them as enraged yahoos clinging to guns and religion as a means of marginalizing them — but rather, conservatives are supremely disappointed by a party that rewards its support with betrayal time and time again. It would be the definition of insanity for grassroots voters to continue doing the same thing over and over again at the ballot box, pulling the lever for the generic Republican candidate and expecting a different outcome.

Which again brings us to Ted Cruz and the slights of his Republican adversaries. Every person running for president need be somewhat ”slick,” if slick means an ability to garner wide enough political support to be considered a serious competitor for the presidency.

Every person running for president need be somewhat egotistical, if not narcissistic, to have the confidence and belief that he should be commander-in-chief of the greatest nation in the world’s history.

Certainly, every person running for president need be ambitious enough to do what is necessary to rise through the ranks of power, and surely it must have been his or her aim to rise to the Oval Office for a number of years. Or did Bill Clinton just store away a picture with John F. Kennedy so he would have a fun souvenir for his grandkids?

Given that this is the reality of politics, does the D.C. Republican political class honestly believe that Marco Rubio does not share these traits? How about Jeb Bush? Or Chris Christie?

While it may be that Cruz personally grates on the GOP establishment because he challenges them and won’t play ball, perhaps its key concern is that it feels that his conservatism is out of the mainstream, thus making him unelectable in a general election. If so, the establishment should make that case to the GOP primary voters — at this writing it should be noted, Cruz falls within the margin of error or betteragainst presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a general election.

Read the whole thing here.

Featured Image Credit: Doug Mills.

Winning the War Before a Shot is Fired: How the GOP Establishment Stacked the Deck for 2016

FiveThirtyEight recently published an excellent analysis illustrating how the GOP Establishment machinery has set the rules of the GOP presidential primary process such that more conservative candidates are put at a distinct disadvantage from day one.

The RNC-dictated primary scheme uses dilutive proportionality versus winner-takes-all rules, and lopsided delegate allocation in moderate versus conservative states to in effect give disproportionate sway to more moderate candidates and/or delegates.

I write about this scheme in a new piece over at Newsmax.

Here is a taste:

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The Massive Tower that Donald Trump is Building in Jeb Bush’s Head

On Monday 10/26, I sat in as a guest again on Newsmax TV’s “The Daily Wrap.”

During the episode, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues including the travesty that is the IRS scandal and the lack of recourse for its victims, staggering new numbers about the perilous state of our economy as reflected in the percentage of Americans making under $30,000 per year, Donald Trump’s recent attack on Ben Carson, and Trump’s persistent needling of Jeb Bush and the massive Trump tower he is currently constructing in Bush’s head.

You can watch the show in full, along with some particularly pertinent clips below.

Full Episode

The Massive Trump Tower that “The Donald” is Constructing in Jeb Bush’s Head

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The Painful Lessons of Thad’s Triumph: The Implications of Cochran’s Win are Far More Consequential Than Those of Cantor’s Loss

Thad Cochran’s triumph over Chris McDaniel in Tuesday’s run-off election in Mississippi was perhaps the most demoralizing of all the primary losses of conservative upstarts versus establishment incumbents this election cycle — both in the closeness of the race and the legal but dubious way in which it was determined by Democrats.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., addresses supporters and volunteers at his runoff election victory party Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at the Mississippi Children's Museum in Jackson, Miss. Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, in a primary runoff for the GOP nomination for senate. (Image Source: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., addresses supporters and volunteers at his runoff election victory party Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at the Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson, Miss. Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, in a primary runoff for the GOP nomination for senate. (Image Source: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Unfortunately, I fear that the lessons of Cochran’s victory are far more consequential than those of Dave Brat’s remarkable win over now ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia.

The overarching lessons that conservatives should take away from what happened in Mississippi are threefold:

  • Never ever underestimate the power of the GOP establishment, and the number of chits that a politician who has held a seat for 36 years can call in. During such time, Cochran accumulated an infinite amount of political capital that he cashed in on Tuesday, earned by raising millions of dollars and campaigning for colleagues over the years, while loading up bill after bill with pork.
  • The first rule of politics is “win.” Those who comprise the establishment will do everything legally possible to retain power. Such politicians will take advantage of voting rules, parliamentary procedures and any other loopholes they can to gain an edge. In elections, when it comes to below-the-belt tactics, these folks will use people one or two or three degrees removed from them do their bidding so as to maintain plausible deniability and a veneer of dignity. This would explain, for example, the horrifically offensive, anonymously produced campaign literature that reportedly went out in the heavily black, heavily Democratic voting precincts that carried Thad Cochran to victory. For those who are ideologically pure, who do not have a similar party machine and who disavow such unsavory tactics to win, electoral success is made that much harder. They will keep their souls, and others will win elections, to the detriment of the country.

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

An interview with Paul Kengor, Reagan biographer and author of 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative

In connection with the release of his new book, “11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative,” reviewed here, we interviewed Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College, Reagan biographer, and author of numerous books including the 2012 title ”The Communist” (published under our Mercury Ink imprint) and “God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life.”

Our correspondence with Professor Kengor comes in light of a renewed focus on Russia given the goings-on in the Ukraine, years of economic stagnation and hostile in-fighting between conservatives and Establishment Republicans, among other similarities with the era in which Reagan rose to the White House.

Below we cover these timely issues and more. The interview, conducted via email, has been slightly edited for formatting. And again, be sure to check out our review and cheat sheet if you missed them too.

Give us your elevator pitch for why TheBlaze audience should read another book on Reagan. 

Kengor: Because this is a book on Reagan that’s crucial and timely and well worth their time—and it’s short. They will sincerely find great benefit in this one. I mean that.

We constantly hear Republicans of all stripes make the claim “I’m a Reagan conservative,” or, when asked which Republican they most identify with, they point to Reagan. But in fact, many to most are not Reagan conservatives at all. Many of them are liberal/progressive Republicans. So, what is a “Reagan conservative?”

I’m someone who has studied Reagan enough (some say more than anyone) that I felt I could and should and must take up the task of answering that question, especially during this battle within the GOP between genuine conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn and what Reagan would have called the “Rockefeller Republican” types. There are far more Reagan conservatives coming out of the Tea Party than from the so-called Establishment.

Thus, with the 2014 mid-terms coming up, and the crucial 2016 presidential nomination coming as well, this project to define what a Reagan conservative is struck me as imperative. I should add, too, that Reagan was such a model conservative, really the prototype, that this book defines not just Reagan conservatism but conservatism generally.

When I spoke on this book at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara last week, the executive director of the group, Andrew Coffin, said that this book is a kind of manifesto on conservatism.

So, I ask readers of The Blaze: What could be more needed right now as we engage in this battle for 2016? I think a short book carefully explaining Reagan conservatism and conservatism generally is one they should read.

Besides, because it’s a short book, it’s also very inexpensive—only something like $13 on Amazon. You can’t beat that. It’s cheap and quick but an enlightening read. You’ll benefit from this and will want to buy it for your friends, including your liberal friends.

Read more at TheBlaze…

 

Ira Stoll on JFK Part I: Tax cuts, tough on military, tough on communists, attacked by left-wingers

In a wide-ranging interview with Blaze Books in connection with his newest title, JFK, Conservative, Ira Stoll provided his insights on JFK’s political ideology, religiosity, foreign policy views and a whole host of other topics. Below is Part I of our interview, conducted via email. The interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

What inspired you to write this book?

Stoll: I grew up in Massachusetts and went to Harvard, and so it was hard to avoid the Kennedys. When the JFK Presidential Library opened in Boston, I went with my parents, with my high school, with my Boy Scout troop. As I got older, I heard my conservative friends dismissing all Kennedys as a bunch of drinkers and philanderers, and I heard my liberal friends admiring JFK for what I thought were the wrong reasons. So I wrote this book to set both the conservatives and the liberals straight and to restore an accurate picture of Kennedy.

Why should skeptical conservatives read this book?

Stoll: This book is the antidote to the false story put out by liberal Kennedy historians and journalists after the president’s death that Kennedy was a liberal. If you want to understand tax cuts and economic growth and peace through strength, you’ve got to understand Kennedy. Even if you think you don’t like JFK, you should buy and read this book — it may well change your mind. It explains why President Ronald Reagan talked about Kennedy as his inspiration for his tax cuts and military buildup. The only way to correct the distortions put out by the liberal historians in their bestselling JFK books — distortions I point out in my book — is to make this book a bestseller.

Read more at TheBlaze…

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