2016 Election, News, Trump

It’s Time to Choose

I am a mess.

I am a terrible father, a crappy husband (ask my ex-wives), and a difficult employee. I do a lot of things poorly. Most things, in fact. Especially the things I “have” to do. Authority irritates me.

While I’m terrible at following plans, I write a week’s worth of blogs on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The pattern keeps me sane. Or semi-sane. I supplement those when events warrant. Which isn’t very often.

And I’m irritated when it is.

I’m more irritated when I have to blog about being wrong. Or admitting I  pre-judged something. So I’m writing now with a lot of irritation coursing through my Irish veins, along with some whiskey. (Excuse the typos.)

An email received tonight threw me for a loop.

Phyllis Schlafly has been one of my heroes since . . . I can remember. I disagree with Mrs. Schlafly on exactly one issue, which will remain between us. Like William F. Buckley, Phyllis is a conservative touchstone to whom we can turn with confidence that she will point us in the right direction.

As someone who’s doubted Donald Trump’s conservative bonafides, I was shocked to read this:

Phyllis Schlafly, an icon of the conservative movement who has been active for half a century, is warning the nation: Donald Trump is the last hope for America.

Donald Trump donated lots of money to the Clintons. He said nice things about Barack Obama. He promoted socialized medicine. He built his real estate business with crony capitalism. And Phyllis Schlafly is endorsing him?

I can’t question Mrs. Schlafly’s judgment. So I have to ponder the message.

Trump is the “last hope for America.”

Last hope. Last hope. Last hope.

The phrase ricochets around my brain like a ping pong ball shot into a Pringles can. “Last hope.”

How screwed are we? 

My first real political moment was 1974 when Nixon resigned. Nixon was a rotten president who used the power of his office to destroy political opponents, take America off the gold standard, back out of Bretton Woods, and impose wage and price controls. The anti-conservative.

Yet Richard Nixon campaigned for Barry Goldwater at least as enthusiastically as Ronald Reagan did. As Patrick J. Buchanan recently wrote (and PJ was there):

Nixon pivoted swiftly to repair the damage, offered to introduce Goldwater to the convention, did so in a brilliant speech, then campaigned harder for Mr. Conservative than did Barry himself.

As a Gen X conservative, I like to throw Nixon under the bus. But Nixon and I had a remarkable correspondence in the late 1980s. The Dickster even sent me an autographed copy of In The Arena. He wasn’t all bad.

The true story of Nixon comes to mind as I read Mrs. Schlafly’s interview. I’m reminded of the other hero of Goldwater’s campaign: Ronald Reagan.

Most Americans were shocked to learn Reagan was a Republican in 1964. The insiders knew it, but the general population did not. Reagan was a lifelong union man and a Roosevelt fan. And a Hollywood actor. 

Even Republican insiders wondered whether Reagan’s Goldwater speech was sincere or theatrics. (I heard from a woman who was at the 1976 convention in Kansas City that Reagan lost the delegate fight to Gerald Ford because people doubted his party allegiance. He’d been a Democrat for so long.)

After four years of Jimmy Carter’s ineptitude, conservatives from three factions took a gamble. The foreign policy hawks, the fiscal conservatives, and the moral majority said, “Reagan is close enough.” The three factions pointed their spears at the Democrats, united behind Reagan, won 49-state landslides, defeated the Soviet Union, ended the Cold War, reduced the influence of government, and proved that one man could handle the job of Leader of the Free World.

Tonight we face another seminal moment in history. For all intents and purposes, the Republican primary is down to two men: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz is the Robert Taft of 2015. Cruz’s ideology is pure. He makes Reagan look like a squish. Cruz is brilliant. He sold our philosophy to the Supreme Court nine times. (Ted Olsen envies Cruz.)

If I alone chose the next president, I would choose Ted Cruz. 

But I don’t choose alone. I choose along with 320 million other Americans. I hope they choose Cruz–in their homes, in their congressional districts, in their states.

The Republican primary system is messy and difficult to measure. In some states, a primary winner gets all the state’s delegates. In other states, delegates are apportioned according to the relative distribution of votes. And in some states, like Missouri, delegates are awarded by US Congressional district results. If Ted Cruz wins the primary in MO CD2, he gets MO CD2’s delegates.

The point is, Bill Hennessy doesn’t choose the GOP nominee for president.  So I have to deal with the reality of politics.

And the reality is that Donald Trump connects with more voters than anyone alive right now. He does. Arguing otherwise is just stupid.

I have a lot of problems with Trump, not the least of which is that my wife and at least one of my sons hate him. Even writing this post risks a week  of sleeping on the couch. But I type on. I type on.

Phyllis Schlafly speaks for many millions of Americans when she says:

“He [Trump] does look like he’s the last hope [for America],” Schlafly said. “We don’t hear anybody saying what he’s saying. In fact, most of the people who ought to be lining up with him are attacking him. They’re probably jealous of the amount of press coverage he gets. But the reason he gets so much press coverage is the grassroots are fed up with people who are running things, and they do want a change. They do want people to stand up for America. It really resonates when he says he wants to ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/12/top-conservative-trump-is-last-hope-for-america/#5jojHqHHV1p6D1l2.99

I hate to think America is down to its last hope. I have two boys in the US Navy. I want them standing as guardians of freedom, not as warriors in a last battle for a dying republic. So this is personal.

I’m not quite ready to declare my allegiance to Donald Trump. I am totally prepared to declare my alienation from the Republican establishment. And if Trump is the only man who can destroy that tumor on American greatness, I will become a Trump man.

If Trump’s good enough for Phyllis Schlafly, well, maybe Trump is good enough for me.

I think we should reflect on the Reagan of 1976.

In America, there’s always a second chance.

Unless we’re down to our last hope. 

Choose wisely, voters. Choose wisely.



Author: William Hennessy

Co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Persuasive design expertLatest book: Turning On Trump: An Evolution (2016)Author of The Conservative Manifest (1993), Zen Conservatism (2009), Weaving the Roots (2011), and Fight to Evolve (2016)I believe every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work as the only path to human flourishing.

8 Comments on “It’s Time to Choose

  1. Donald Trump is saying the right things now regarding making America “Great” again. It starts with controlling those people coming into the country. He wants to put a moratorium on Muslims coming into the country, because there is no way to vet them. I say halt all immigration. He wants to secure the border and strengthen the military. He call for deportation of all illegals in this country. The primary responsibility of the president and the federal government is to protect the people from an invasion. This overrun of illegals and Muslims is an invasion. With that said, Trump has a liberal history, which makes him questionable as to his reason for running. That is why I am supporting Ted Cruz for president. Cruz is eligible to run for president and he is the best candidate running.However, I would be willing to take a chance on Trump over Killary, because she is an EVIL, CORRUPT, LYING BITCH, who along with her rapist husband, Bill, should be in jail.

  2. Bill,

    How do you rationalize Greitens as an OK convert and Trump as not OK?

    Ted Cruz maybe the best of the establishment litter but he is establishment! You know . . . part of the team that’s been screwing us for years. (That would be anyone currently in Washington.)

    Time to step out of the box. Right on Phyllis.

    PS: The Missouri Republican Party couldn’t organize a pissing contest in s brewery!

    1. Doug,

      I don’t rationalize Greitens as OK and Trump not OK. In fact, most people think this post was pretty pro-Trump.

      I would point out a couple differences between the two.

      First, Eric Greitens spent most of his adult life helping other people at significant cost to himself. I know that Donald Trump contributes to charitable causes, but the lion’s share of Trump’s work directly benefits him and indirectly others. It’s really the reverse with Eric.

      Second, I’ve met Eric Greitens a few times. I’ve never met Donald. So what? Well, you learn things looking someone in the eye.

      I have to repeat, though, that my support of Greitens requires a huge leap of faith. I know that. I take it because I also know Missouri politics is so corrupt and broken that fixing the corruption is more important than anything else. And to fix the corruption, the candidate must be an outsider and he must beat Koster.

      For all their qualities, no other Republican candidate for governor has avoided the state’s GOP mafia except Greitens.

      I’ll have more to say on Trump tomorrow. I’m very glad that you and others are thinking about these races seriously. We all have some very important choices to make in the coming days.

  3. Not every Democrat loves the idea of Hillary Clinton as President, but the vast majority of the Democrats and Democrat dissenters will vote for her. Many Republicans and conservatives are not for Trump. But, if he is the nominee, the Republicans, the conservatives (and other voters) that ‘sit it out’ will be the people who hand the Presidency to the Democrats for the next EIGHT years. Think carefully about the ‘purity of your vote’ vs the real world of who will control the vast power of the Executive Branch of government.

  4. Trump is not the last best hope for America. Ted Cruz is. There is no doubt in my mind that if The Donald is the Republican nominee, two things will happen. One, Hillary will win a landslide victory. Two, the Republican party is dead. We can not and should not support Trump for president. He is no more conservative than Hillary. In fact, I believe he is a Hillary plant and is in the race to ensure Hillary’s victory. I have always respected Phyllis Schlafly. That is until I read she was endorsing Trump. Since then I have lost all respect for Phyllis.

    1. Thanks, Ellen. It sounds like you really don’t like Donald Trump. I can understand that. I’m working on a post about that for Tuesday afternoon. I’d love to see your thoughts on it.

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