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Fri Dec 18, 2015, 02:32 PM

Mutant Conservatives vs The Future

Earlier this week, I picked up my daughter after her last final test at college. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet my children’s friends, and as this was my youngest child’s first semester at college, I’m just getting to know her circle of buddies. As they are, as a group, dedicated to attending every class, completing every assignment, and earning top grades, these were not the type of students that I associated with, back when I was a young college student. What impresses me the most is that in their “spare” time, they are all volunteers in social programs in the community -- investing time with both children and the elderly -- and also actively involved in organizing for the Democratic Party on campus (and coordinating efforts with like-minded college students state-wide).

(Note: I was actively involved in “radical” politics at her age. These frequently did not allow me the time required to attend classes. However, I recall one of the times when I was in a sociology class, the professor told the class that, “We have a celebrity here today.” I was as curious as anyone what he was talking about. He noted that the FBI was on campus that day, attempting to stop a student fund-raiser for the legal defense of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. He then asked if I would mind sharing how I had become associated with the case.)

On the ride home, we discussed her plans for upcoming semesters. When she returns in January, she will be spending half of the semester at Cornell, which I think is pretty darned cool. And after that, she’ll be doing a year in Ireland. As a parent, it’s great to see my children both being and doing better than I was at their ages.

She mentioned that she had been speaking with friends from back when she was in high school. These included some from her own school, and others she had become friends with in various conferences, etc. All of these young ladies share a very deep concern for the future of this country. They are particularly concerned with two republican presidential candidate -- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz -- and their supporters. One of them that I had met had spent the summer working for the Hillary Clinton campaign (she had e-mailed me a number of photos of herself with Ms. Clinton!), but who now supports Bernie Sanders, is currently in Europe, where she is studying “environmental politics.” She told my daughter that, if either Trump or Cruz were to win next November’s election, she plans to move to Europe.

My daughter asked me if Trump or Cruz did win, would I seriously consider moving to Ireland? This both surprised and upset me. The United States is supposed to be the country that people want to come to, not to flee from. But, for some of the brightest college students, the idea of leaving this country has become a serious consideration. My daughter reminded me of how, a few years back, Rubin had talked to us about re-locating to Canada: in part, to allow us to work closer together; in part, because as he said to us, people around the globe recognized that the empire was crumbling from within, and thus posed serious dangers to the civilized world. My daughter had been paying attention, even as a child.

She said that she and her friends could understand Trump’s appeal to a select group of citizens: he offered shallow, emotional bumper-sticker solutions to “stupid” people. They recognize that the Trump supporters are motivated by feelings that their security was at risk, that they had little to no control over their lives, and they wanted a comic book savior. But they couldn’t identify Cruz’s appeal: he appeared to be supported by people who favor a constitutional government. That would seem to suggest that they were more intelligent and insightful than the Trump supporters. Yet, she and her friends saw Cruz as a vile, repulsive specimen -- “greasy,” and not to be trusted. What did I think of him, she asked?

I said that I was confident that the more they learned about him, the more it would confirm their first impressions. I think that Cruz is intelligent, and has studied the Constitution and constitutional law. This combination explains his appeal to those who seek a constitutional justification for their prejudices and hatreds of “others” -- as opposed to the Trump crowd, who need no excuses to seek to destroy that which they fear.

Yet, Cruz’s “insights” on the Constitution should not be mistaken for true respect for it. Indeed, in 2000, Cruz was central in organizing the Bush-Cheney legal team -- and played a major role in preparing the Bush v Gore case for the US Supreme Court. Indeed, it was Cruz who recruited John Roberts to their team for that case. Far from being devoted to constitutional rule, I said, this shows that Cruz would exploit the political nature of the USSC to advance his own agenda -- including when his agenda went against the expressed will of the American people and the rule of law.

She asked how I would sum up Cruz’s agenda? Was he, for example, a neoconservative? I asked her if she and her friends thought he was a neoconservative? In some ways, she said, but not in others. I agreed. Sometimes, people do not fall within this type of identity. In my opinion, I said, Cruz was a mutant: partly neoconservative, partly pale conservative. And fully dangerous. He would shut the federal government down, in a bratty attempt to advance his agenda.

The only positive thing I could tell her about Cruz was that, in the Bush-Cheney administration, he had been moved between positions, as an associate deputy attorney general, to the US FTC, and as a “roving” advisor to the president …..because no one could stand working with him. I noted that Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove all found his personality toxic: he was such an arrogant, obnoxious, flaming asshole that they eventually pushed him out.

Ireland, my daughter told me, was sounding more and more appealing.

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Reply Mutant Conservatives vs The Future (Original post)
H2O Man Dec 2015 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Dec 2015 #1
H2O Man Dec 2015 #2
Liberal_in_LA Dec 2015 #3
H2O Man Dec 2015 #4

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2015, 02:36 PM

1. An excellent post, as always, my dear H20 Man.

I really can't add anything to what you've said.

Well, except to say:


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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 18, 2015, 02:38 PM

2. Thanks, Buddy!

I appreciate it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2015, 04:48 PM

3. Kick


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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 18, 2015, 04:51 PM

4. Thanks, Liberal in LA!

I was hoping that more members of the community would read (and respond) to this OP. While I am admittedly subjective, I think it has meaning and perhaps even value.

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