Malkin: Bumps in the Road: Trump vs. MB Obama
Some perspective is in order.
The resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn has the anti-Trump media declaring the new administration a “mess,” in “turmoil” and thrown into “chaos.”
Funny, these same Chicken Littles barely shrugged their shoulders during the turmoil-laden first 100 days of Barack Obama’s first term. Some perspective is in order.
Remember the withdrawal of Obama’s pick for National Intelligence Council chairman, Charles Freeman, in March 2009? Obama had tapped the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia for the sensitive post despite abundant conflicts of interests. Freeman had served for four years on the board of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, a company owned by the Chinese communist government. The state-owned firm has invested in Sudan and Iran. Freeman also led the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington, D.C.-based group funded by the Saudi government. And he chaired Projects International, a consulting firm that had worked with foreign companies and governments.
Obama knew all that and looked the other way at Freeman’s role as a de facto lobbyist for Saudi royalty. Even worse, he ignored Freeman’s Jew-bashing and tyrant-coddling record with a Blame America axe to grind. Freeman carped that our country exhibited “an ugly mood of chauvinism” after the 9/11 attacks and condemned his fellow countrymen for connecting the dots of Islam and Saudi-funded jihad: “Before Americans call on others to examine themselves,” he fumed with Jeremiah Wright-style bombast, “we should examine ourselves.”
In fine form, Freeman inveighed against the “Israel Lobby” in his resignation letter.
The screed said less about Freeman than it did about the Obama administration’s AWOL vetting system. Where were the watchdogs to guard against terror-friendly conspiracy-minded kooks slipping into sensitive intelligence positions?
The Freeman withdrawal came after a series of Obama nominee withdrawals that the amnesia-suffering Beltway media has now conveniently forgotten in its haste to declare Trump’s transition the worst disaster ever.
By this time in Obama’s first term, former Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson had withdrawn as Commerce Secretary nominee after both liberals and conservatives protested his long record of corruption and incompetence. His political horse-trading with private businesses — campaign donations for infrastructure projects, patronage jobs and board appointments — was so notorious it had earned him the moniker “Dollar Bill.”
At the time Obama tapped him to lead the Commerce Department, Richardson was the subject of a high-profile probe and ongoing grand jury investigation into whether he traded New Mexico government contracts for campaign contributions. The White House transition team knew about the pay-to-play scandal involving a California company, CDR Financial Products. They knew that the FBI and federal prosecutors had launched a probe of CDR’s activities in New Mexico in the summer of 2008. They knew CDR was tied to a doomed bond deal in Alabama, which threatened to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. They knew CDR had raked in nearly $1.5 million in fees from a New Mexico state financial agency after donating more than $100,000 to Richardson’s efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and to pay for expenses at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
It took 33 days before Team Obama threw Richardson and his ethical baggage off the bus.
Richardson’s replacement, former GOP Sen. Judd Gregg, accepted and then quickly withdrew after disagreements over Obama’s massive federal stimulus proposal and Democrats’ politicization of the Census.
Another Beltway barnacle, former Democratic South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, was also forced to withdraw from his nomination as Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary amid a storm of ethical scandal, conflicts of interest, and tax avoidance. That was compounded by Treasury Secretary Geithner’s admission of “tax goofs” involving his failure to pay $43,000 in federal self-employment taxes for four separate years (until, that is, he was tapped for his Obama post). At least five other Treasury staff picks withdrew before the Obama administration had reached the 100-day mark over tax problems, conflicts of interest, bad judgment and records of lax oversight of industry.
By the end of his first 100 days, Obama had set a turnover record for an incoming cabinet with four major withdrawals. And by the hallowed 100-day mark, Obama had announced less than half of the total Senate-confirmed Cabinet department positions he needed to fill, with only 10 approved — even though the Democrats had an overwhelming majority in the Senate at the time.
Yes, there will be significant bumps in the road and some tough lumps to take as President Trump builds his team. But a dishonest media and preening political establishment pretending there’s something “unprecedented” about such stumbles only discredit themselves.
Finch: America: Creed vs. Culture
We must always stay grounded and remember our history and roots as free Englishmen and the inheritors of their tradition of liberty.
The debate is raging in conservative circles on whether America is a nation based on creed or culture, or as some put it, one based on blood and soil. It is a debate that has raged for decades, one that many conservatives thought was won and over. But as Donald Trump, and the movement behind him, have done with so many assumptions, is to turn the conservative “movement” on its head. All the “intellectuals” are all in a lather.
In fact, America is both a creedal nation as well as a blood and soil nation. It is the merging of these two that gives America is uniqueness. But, what needs to be made clear is that America was not founded as a creedal nation, indeed, the entire concept is absurd. America became, in part, a creedal nation, fully enshrined as one in the 20th Century, but the beginnings of our transfiguration into one was ushered in by Abraham Lincoln’s “New Birth of Freedom.” But that was 80 years after the Founding. One can claim that the seeds of our creedal nation were sewn in the words of Thomas Jefferson into the Declaration, but one is suffering delusion if they think that is what the Founders were intending.
To make any claim of blood and soil or that we are a nation based on a people and culture, one runs the inevitable risk of being called a racist. It is a real shame of our political correct culture is that this slander is no longer one parlayed exclusively by the left, but also by many on the right, as seen in the #NeverTrump movement. But here goes. America was founded by Englishmen. The Founders, almost all Englishmen, were disgruntled, angry, freedom-loving patriots, jealous of their liberty who would risk a revolution and war against their king to secure their rights as Englishmen. They were inheritors of the rights carried forward since before Magna Carta.
They spoke English, they were almost exclusively Protestant (201 of the 204 Founders) and were carriers of a tradition of self-rule and a cultural heritage that traced itself back to the 5th century and beyond, when the Angles and Saxons left what is now Germany and invaded Britannia. Their rule over Britain would be relatively short, but their dominance of language, customs, culture and ideas of government and society would form what would become England. That is the culture that would become America, indeed, America put that “culture” into hyperdrive in what would become the most powerful nation the world has ever seen.
Yes, we have the kernel of a creed written into the Declaration of Independence, one that Lincoln so brilliantly brought forth in the darkest days of the Republic’s existence. Indeed, his brilliance, in an act of near-desperation, saved this nation from permanent division. But we didn’t form a country solely on an “idea.” We formed a country to be free Englishmen, free of tyranny. In fact, the Founders were fearful of any ideology, or, shall we say, creed. The idea of an ideological revolution would be anathema to Adams, Madison, Mason, Henry etc. The French Revolution was a true creedal Revolution, in fact, so was the Russian Revolution.
The many others, the non-Englishmen that were here already here, or would come later, would become part of America, not just because they believed in a “creed.” They became American because they adopted the culture, the language, the mannerisms and the ways of the English Founders. They became Americans, or really, they became Englishmen. All Americans have become “Anglicized,” in every sense that that term applies culturally.
We are a people with a soil, we are a nation that has its roots in a specific people and culture, even if we are not all members of that “tribe” ethnically, we have all adapted to that “tribe.” Yes, our roots come from the Germanic people that crossed the North Sea in the 5th century A.D. That is indisputable. This, however, is not a sign of any kind of Germanic superiority. Indeed, the Germanic tribes that stayed behind and eventually become part of modern-day Germany have very little in common with the tribes that formed what is today England. They become Continental and Europeanized, if you will. They are not the heirs to the Anglo-Saxon tradition.
Further, though we are all heirs of Western Civilization, that means many different things and the offshoots are dramatically different. We share things in common, but the differences are striking. So, as there is no monolithic Western Civilization, there is also no basis for the claims of white nationalist of a unified “white” culture. This is just idiocy. An American of African descent with roots in this nation for over 300 years is more of an heir to the Anglo-Saxon tradition than, not just a Bulgarian, but indeed someone from today’s Hamburg, Germany.
America is incredibly unique. Yes, we have a creed. But we are not just a nation built on an idea of “All men are created Equal.” We were founded by a very distinct culture and people, with a language and religion unique in itself. The brilliance of America is the enabling of other peoples, other races, religions and cultures to metastasize into that dominant culture. But adapt and join they did. They had to. By making a false claim of being solely a creedal nation, disregarding the cultural roots of our Republic, we detach ourselves from who we are, we become an ideology, nothing more. As John Quincy Adams said, we go forth in search of monsters to destroy, indeed, we become what our Founders most feared. Ideologues have caused untold misery and death in this world. We must always stay grounded and remember our history and roots as free Englishmen and the inheritors of their tradition of liberty.
Michael Finch is the president of the Horowitz Freedom Center. He has been published widely in a number of journals and is a frequent speaker. He just released his first book of poetry, Finding Home.