Why Republicans should not fear cutting spending

Leaked details of President Donald Trump’s 2018 fiscal year spending plan indicate proposals for the “most extreme domestic spending cuts the country has ever seen,” according to POLITICO including a proposed discretionary spending cap would bring spending back to 2001 levels. 

Generally spending cut advocates, Republicans largely see the spending cut proposals as too extreme. POLITICO reports that “GOP legislators have reacted with fury, speaking directly to Mulvaney in recent days.” 

Perhaps we can concede that the proposed spending cuts are a bit extreme. It seems a tad reckless to jolt largely unchecked government growth back to 2001. However, Republicans should not fear radical spending cut proposals. 

Will the public react poorly to extreme budget cuts that impact most domestic departments and programs? Of course. Taking away money that Americans have grown accustomed too is rarely, if ever, praised. Naturally, GOP officials fear backlash in the voting booth, but that should not impede radical initiative and action to curtail government spending.

Election prospects could shift before 2018, but Trump will likely weigh down the GOP’s election efforts. Because Trump will be a negative force on Republicans, they must curtail government growth while they have the chance. Voters will not be pleased with the GOP regardless in 2018, so Republicans must at minimum offer bold leadership to the electorate.

Unfortunately, as history highlights, GOP officials will likely run and hide from tough decisions and display a passive restraint from enacting broad conservative policy. But cutting spending will allow Republicans to showcase their commitment to governing and enacting long-championed conservative policy. It’s imperative for America’s present and future prospect that Republican officials commit to spending cuts.

America’s future demands bold leadership to attempt to seize control of growing government debt and deficits, and bold leadership requires a certain streak of fearlessness in the face of extreme pressure. What does the GOP have to lose?

Republicans have a choice to make: Bold leadership or passive restraint? Choose wisely.

Unfortunate Joy in Trump’s Failure

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Since firing former FBI Director James Comey on May 9, President Donald Trump has been saddled by scandal and leaks. The recent 5 P.M. news dumps revealed he compromised extremely classified information to Russia, may have tried to influence Comey to drop investigation into Michael Flynn, and told Russia he fired “nut job” Comey to ease pressure from FBI investigations. His aides repeatedly leak internal strife highlighting a portrait of a man many believe is mentally unfit and unstable to act as a competent Commander-in-Chief. While the substance of each leak may be true, too many American parade an unfortunate joy in Trump’s failure.

Both Democrats and Republicans on social media wait for new Trump scandals like an eight-year old waits for the ice cream truck. The tone of some reporters appears to delight in Trump’s shortcomings while some activists outright pray for his forced removal from office. Because each Russian headline seemingly proves their belief that Trump colluded with Moscow, progressives and conservatives alike gleefully parade the president’s potential criminality as a wonderful source of validation. Each accusation of Trump’s mental instability confirms his detractors’ conviction that he’s unfit to lead the United States. Overall, many members of the Left and Right take great joy in seeing the president validate their assumptions of his failures as a man and as a president. It’s quite unfortunate, really.

For all the joy many Trump critics on the Left and Right take in his failure, they refuse to acknowledge his successes, few as they be. Far too often Trump critics completely disregard his success because it doesn’t fit a narrative of failure and incompetence. Why? Well, it isn’t fun to commend a man who defies expectations.

As a pronounced critic of Trump, I believe many of his policy goals and behavior is ultimately misguided for the nation. Frankly, I believe he will continue to fail as president. However, I certainly take no joy in watching the most powerful man in the world stumble and falter on the biggest stage. I may mock his insecurities and his hypocrisy and critique his superficial policy, but every day I hope and pray he proves me wrong and guides America on the right track.

Although I believe Trump acts as a negative force on America, he is not the end of the world. America has survived bad presidents before and it can survive President Trump. Unfortunately, too many wish Trump was the end of the world in order to advance a narrative of failure or a goal of forceful removal of Trump.

Should Americans display blind loyalty to the president? Absolutely not. Trump has serious flaws and shortcomings that must be checked by all Americans. Conversely, should Americans display a unique joy in Trump’s failures? Again, absolutely not. Trump’s failures are America’s failures, and all Americans should pray for his consistent success.

The unfortunate joy gleaned from Trump’s failure fractures the culture of America. Now more than ever, Americans must unite in their hope and expectation of U.S. leadership and success. Critique Trump when he warrants criticism. Commend Trump when he warrants compliment. More importantly, however, take joy in Trump’s success and do not delight in delight in his failure.

Disturbing Observations from the Trump Report

The Trump Report that dropped last night raised many disturbing observations.

It’s disturbing we’re even continuing and expanding a conversation regarding potential extreme and perhaps successful foreign interference into American government in and beyond an election.

It’s disturbing that in the face of wild allegations our President-elect’s erratic and unpredictable behavior could allow Americans to pause and believe perhaps the report isn’t too outlandish and perhaps it’s even true.

It’s disturbing that a media outlet could so brazenly ignore journalistic integrity and publish unverified claims in the belief that American citizens can figure it out. Truly “We Report, You Decide.” And truly reckless and irresponsible. Which brings up one important observation. 

What’s most disturbing, perhaps, is certain folks’ ability to fully accept or fully refute every word of the Trump report without verification. Simply because they hate Trump, many Americans reveled in potential treasonous behavior from the PEOTUS. And conversely, simply because they love Trump, many Americans lost their mind refuting the report entirely as fake news, rushing to defend their champion without fail. 

The extreme and vile disgust so many hold for opposing political views and alliances poses a greater threat to the nation and our democracy than potential Russian interference or Trumpism. Unfortunately, many Americans hate the other side more so than they love America as displayed upon the explosive reports release last night. Frankly, it’s a shame. Divided, we will fall.

Any destruction of America will occur from the inside out, and the seeds are being planted.

Stop the Madness

In the early morning of June 12, a man opened fire in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. He reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS before the attack, and ultimately killed 50 people and wounded over 50 more: The worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.

Surely America will put aside its differences to unite together as countrymen against a common opponent, radical Islam? Surely after an attack involving a radical Muslim who pledged allegiance to ISIS that directly targeted gay men, America would not argue about a damn machine? Surely.

No. Before the bodies turned cold, Americans from all sides began peddling various agendas, but the main agenda debated on social media was gun control. It was vile. Back and forth all day, gun control and gun rights activists spewed contemptuous hate for each side. The animosity and disdain was palpable through the screen. It was grotesque. When does the madness stop?

Too often we use tragedy as opportunity to advance our political agendas, especially to frame a winner or loser in issue debates. Exemplified today, for instance, America generally tries to make gun control a black and white, binary issue with either an absolute right or absolute wrong answer, a winner or a loser. It’s not.

Gun control has layers and complexities that all sides need to quit ignoring. Are guns dangerous? Absolutely, when used improperly. But when do we confront the reality that there is a violent culture that glorifies, incentivizes, and encourages pulling the trigger?

Would gun control have stopped this attack? Honestly, possibly, and gun rights groups need to be willing to admit that. But when do gun control groups ask themselves whether or not the assailant would have just bombed the bar? Or when do they ask themselves if the scope of the attack would have been lessened if the bar patrons were armed?

I’ll wait. Clearly, gun debates are far from binary.

If we’re going to politicize tragedy for our own political interest, at least attempt to respect and recognize the complexity of an underlying issue surrounding said tragedy. Perhaps if we understood this concept, we wouldn’t argue and hate everyone on social media in the days following attack which only makes the problem worse.

The Orlando attack provided a unique mix of agendas and optics that set America up for a horrible, vile day. Perhaps that was an end goal for the terrorist. We generally tore each other apart, and that may ultimately do greater damage to our nation. Divided we fall, or so I’ve heard.

When do we begin to recognize the complexity of issues to reduce our contempt? When do we end the madness of political competition and opportunism regardless of the event or tragedy? When do we come together as Americans again for once?

Not soon enough.

Your Party Means Nothing, Mr. Rubio

As criticism rolls in over Donald Trump’s attacks on the judge presiding over the Trump U fraud case, Marco Rubio took the time to remind America that he warned us about “con man” Trump. Unfortunately, Rubio will still vote for Trump in November, citing “I gave my word that I would support the nominee.”

Interesting, coming from a man whose gave his word to Never Trump until times got difficult. Party loyalty oath is such a tired excuse.

If Mr. Rubio felt that the prospect of Trump warranted a strong warning to the electorate, shouldn’t country loyalty take over? Is it more important to appease the GOP or take a stand for the country? Who knew Jeb! would end up the principled and most resolute man of the bunch? (Credit to Ted Cruz for also seemingly standing firm against Trump.)

Rubio says we face difficult choices, yet takes the easy way out, surrendering to the myth that there are only two options for presidency and hiding behind an oath. Perhaps he forgot that America offers limitless choices.

More often than not, over 50 percent of GOP primary voters cast a ballot against Trump. Former candidates cannot act like they’re powerless and can’t influence an independent candidacy.

It’s simply lazy and frustrating to see Trump’s endorsers surrender to the idea that party matters before country when their influence could still positively shape the race.

I voted for Mr. Rubio. I probably would again. He may not give me an opportunity to, however. America needs bold leaders, who aren’t afraid to stand on principle against a man they warned us about––not party loyalists.

You gave your word, Senator? The United States appreciates it. Your party means nothing.

When Americans suffer from Trump’s trade wars or Hillary Clinton dangerous foreign policy, at least Rubio and others kept their oath to a party when a 3rd option was available.

Less French, More Sasse

Up in the sky. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a trial balloon?

According to a report from Bloomberg, Never Trump voters finally found their man. Drum roll, please: Constitutional lawyer, writer, and veteran David French. I’m sorry, what?

I’ve long advocated that for any third party to have a shot it must be bold. Mitt Romney’s image as the D.C. establishment and failed candidate weren’t going to cut it in 2016, especially not against the personality and names involved. But potentially trotting out a near complete unknown perhaps jumps the bold shark, right?

French seems like a wonderfully decent man, owning a deep depth of knowledge on foreign affairs and the Constitution. However, do Bill Kristol and other “Renegades” honestly believe enough conservatives will jump ship to join the French Revolution that features no government or executive experience and not much more than thoughts on paper? Will French even earn the opportunity to showcase his superior grasp of the world? The general sentiment of 2016 seems to be the rise of the outsider, yet the presumptive Democratic nominee has been the consulate insider for decades and the Republican nominee attempted to run a business his entire adult life. Even in 2016, experience still matters. 2016 turned political wisdom on its head, but an unknown candidate still likely cannot. The optics of the French trial balloon don’t look good either, only making the uphill battle steeper.

Right now we need a little more than French, but obviously cannot touch Romney. Where are the principled conservatives with enough experience combined with enough distance from Washington?

If a third party alternative wants to rise to legitimately challenge Trump and Clinton, the best option remains Sen. Ben Sasse. I understand Sasse probably won’t run because he wants to maintain time for family and serve the constituents that voted for him. I honestly commend him for it. But if an alternate to Trump and Clinton wants to be taken seriously and have a legitimate shot at winning, Sasse is the only option. The Nebraska Senator provides the fantastic wit necessary to directly take on and fluster Trump as well as the conservative ideals and values necessary to defeat both Clinton and Trump. Sasse has the experience of a Senator but also the perceived distance from D.C. Who else realistically does?

Would I vote for French over Trump and Clinton? Of course. But the United States needs a little Sasse.

 

 

Waste of Time: Drafting a Never Trump Option

According to a report in the Washington Post, leaders of the “Never Trump” movement are in overdrive to attempt to draft a third party candidate to derail Donald Trump. The report names the top two recruits: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Gov. John Kasich from Ohio. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has even reached out to the two men according to the report.

While I am fully on board with a third party alternative to Donald Trump, any recruitment effort to draft a candidate wastes everyone’s time. Hand picking a candidate will only alienate voters, and drafting a run-of-the-mill Republican will not generate enough support from Bernie Sanders voters.

Now I understand the leaders of the Never Trump movement might want one of their guys to run. There’s a certain trust factor and comfort supporting a Republican senator of governor as compared to a Libertarian candidate. But drafting a candidate only appears like more Washington games against the people. Supporting a candidate already in the race–whether it’s the Libertarian candidate or another–shows humility and a turn away from the status quo. It frankly just looks better than drafting a candidate.

Now is not the time to wait out for your guy, but rather throw support and money behind a candidate committed to liberty, the Constitution, and sound economic policy such as Austin Petersen.

Odds are the leaders of Never Trump do not agree with Petersen on foreign policy, parts of immigration, and some social issues. The time for purity tests from them is over. Petersen represents the only candidate committed to liberty, and he is clearly the only candidate remaining with an economic policy that won’t cripple America but instead grow her economy. Petersen may not be Never Trump’s first choice, but he’s their best choice.

Imagine if the leaders of Never Trump threw their support behind Petersen ten days ago and put as much energy into introducing him to the American electorate as they did attempting a futile recruiting effort for Sasse or Kasich. Petersen’s outreach could have expanded exponentially and increased in viability. Instead, he remains unknown to large parts of the electorate while the Never Trump leaders look silly and desperate.

Don’t waste your time, Never Trump. Don’t play games. Petersen may not be your guy, but he offers our best shot. He won’t alienate voters who distrust Washington. He represents our best bet to potentially swing some support from Bernie voters. You can work with Petersen and trust him, differences aside.

Never Trump recruitment is destined to fail, whether a candidate is drafted or not. Stand for liberty, for the Constitution, and for sound economics with Austin Petersen, and drop the games. Choose wisely.