Mike Kueber's Blog

November 3, 2016

My presidential vote

Filed under: People,Politics,Uncategorized — Mike Kueber @ 3:41 am
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As I was standing in line to vote today at the Shavano Park City Hall, I noticed that most people in line were reading from their phone, so I decided to join them.  I subscribe to the NY Times and one of the first items to pop up was conservative columnist Ross Douthat’s column titled, “An election is not a suicide mission.”

During the 30-minute wait, I read the column.  Like the Times’s other conservative columnist, David Brooks, Ross Douthat can’t abide Trump, so I guessed correctly what the column was going to say.   He concludes as follows:

  • I agree with them that grave evils will follow from electing Hillary Clinton. But the Trump alternative is like a feckless war of choice in the service of some just-seeming end, with a commanding general who likes war crimes. It’s a ticket on a widening gyre, promising political catastrophe and moral corruption both, no matter what ideals seem to justify it.
  • It is a hard thing to accept that some elections should be lost, especially in a country as divided over basic moral premises as our own. But just as the pro-life movement ultimately won real gains — in lives saved, laws altered, abortion rates reduced — by accepting the legitimacy of the republic even as it deplored the killing of the unborn, so today’s conservatism has far more to gain from the defeat of Donald Trump, and the chance to oppose Clintonian progressivism unencumbered by his authoritarianism, bigotry, misogyny and incompetence, than it does from answering the progressive drift toward Caesarism with a populist Elagabalus.
  • Not because it is guaranteed long-term victory in that scenario or any other. But because the deepest conservative insight is that justice depends on order as much as order depends on justice. So when Loki or the Joker or some still-darker Person promises the righting of some grave wrong, the defeat of your hated enemies, if you will only take a chance on chaos and misrule, the wise and courageous response is to tell them to go to hell.

Douthat’s rationale reflected why I had already decided I would not vote for Donald Trump.  Although he is more conservative than Hillary Clinton, his character is so seriously flawed that a Trump presidency is too risky.  With President Clinton, conservatives can continue to work the democratic process in favor of our policies, and hope that Mitt Romney was engaged in hyperbole when he warned about the tipping point when government moochers become a majority in America.

But I am unwilling to vote for Hillary Clinton, either, not only because of her progressive policies, but also because of her flawed character.  If forced to appoint Trump or Hillary as president, I would appoint Hillary.  But as a protest against both of the two leading candidates, I decided to vote for independent conservative Evan McMullin.  According to the leading election prognosticators, McMullan has a 20% chance of winning Utah, and if a win in Utah prevents either Clinton or Trump from securing an electoral majority, the US House will decide the election, and McMullan would be an excellent compromise President.

And in any event, if Hillary can’t defeat Trump without the vote of true conservatives like me, heaven help us.

 

 

 

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March 25, 2011

Donald Trump – foreign-policy savant?

Filed under: Economics,Issues,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:45 pm
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Every morning I wake up to my bedside radio, which starts playing Y100 at 5am.  At 5:30, my favorite DJs on Y100 – Jesse and Shotgun – start interjecting their folksy wisdom.  Earlier this week, Shotgun declared that he was supporting Donald Trump for president.  His support was based on Trump’s astute observation that America was being taken advantage of again.  This time it was Arab League that was taking advantage of us by getting us to shoot million dollar rockets and missiles at Gadhafi.  Trump’s man-in-the-street, Perot-esque wisdom was that we should be charging the Arab League for the missiles, and Shotgun thought that was typically brilliant.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged negatively about a Trump candidacy, and yesterday I blogged that partisan politics should end “at the water’s edge.”   The belief in America that partisan politics should end at the water’s edge provides me with another reason to oppose Trump’s candidacy – i.e., he is a foreign-affairs (and monetary-policy) dilettante whose campaign would try to sell populist foreign-policy positions to American voters who know less about the subject than him.  As I said before, American voters might look to a person like Trump in desperate times; fortunately we are not there yet.

March 8, 2011

Donald Trump for president – are you serious?

Filed under: Economics,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 3:28 am
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My conservative friend in San Antonio surprised me a few weeks ago when he said he was supporting Donald Trump for president.  I was surprised because, although my friend occasionally takes extreme positions, those positions are usually based on a groundswell in the talk-radio community and I was not aware of talk radio coalescing behind Trump.  But today, I was listening to Neil Cavuto on Fox TV, and he reported on a poll that listed Trump as the presidential favorite, closely followed by Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.  Maybe there is something going on.

Upon taking a closer look at the poll, however, I was able to learn that the FOX reporting was extremely misleading.    The poll was conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, and the people polled were regular Americans, but not necessarily Republican voters or even any voters.  Furthermore, the polled people were asked if they had a favorable impression of Trump, Romney, Pawlenty, and Speaker Boehner.  Fox did not report the results for Boehner, probably because they wanted to present the results as a straw poll on the presidency.  The percentage that viewed these persons favorable was Trump–26%, Romney–25%, Boehner–20%, and Pawlenty–10%.  The fact that the poll was also a test of name-recognition was reflected in the percentage of respondents who had no opinion: Trump–5%, Romney–20%, Boehner–37%, and Pawlenty–61%.

Furthermore, there was a question in the poll asked of likely voters in the Republican primary, and that question didn’t even include Trump.  The preferred candidate of these voters was Huckabee–39%, Romney–38%, Palin–26%, Gingrich–21%, Paul–12%, Pawlenty–11%, Santorum–6%, Daniels–5%, Huntsman–3%, and Barbour–3%.

Although the reporting on the poll was misleading, it does reveal that Trump could be a formidable candidate because of his high profile.  With that in mind, I decided to examine whether he would be able to withstand the scrutiny of a presidential campaign.

In his interview with Neil Cavuto, Trump focused on the rising price of gas, and his position was that the price was a result of OPEC greed and that the problem could be solved easily by an executive with the backbone to stand up to those evil people.  That position is quite similar to the position he took a couple of months ago with respect to China when he announced his possible presidential candidacy.  Trump appears to believe that all of America’s problems can be solved by simply telling people who are taking advantage of us that we’re not going to take it anymore.

A Trump candidacy would be reminiscent of the Perot candidacy in 1992, with them both having a track record of business success in a maverick, outspoken sort of way, but we know how Perot’s candidacy turned out.  Furthermore, Trump would be burdened with his reputation for glitz and an extravagant lifestyle, including divorces, an extra-marital affair, and a business bankruptcy.

Regarding Trump’s political positions, Wikipedia lists the following:

  • Pro-life
  • Anti-gun control
  • Repeal of ObamaCare
  • Anti-foreign aid
  • Anti-trade with China
  • Disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan

Another factor – Trump has a record of giving money promiscuously to politicians of all stripes, including Bush-43, McClain, Giuliani, Gingrich, Hillary, Daschle, Kerry, Kennedy, Biden, Emanuel, and Rangel.

In desperate times, Americans might consider an extreme candidate such as Perot or Trump.  These are not such times.

January 20, 2011

Donald Trump for president

I’ve never thought much of Donald Trump.  Although he has been a great success in real-estate development, he comes across as a narcissistic, flamboyant, celebrity hound.  Before his reality TV show, The Apprentice, launched into 2003, he was mostly famous for being famous – like the Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton of his generation.  You can imagine my surprise at hearing from several reliable sources in the past two weeks suggest that Trump will be a credible candidate for president in 2012.

Who are these sources – how about conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, gadfly talk show host Don Imus, and libertarian Kevin Brown.  Why are they enamored of Trump?  They agree with his thesis that America is getting taken to the cleaners by China’s currency manipulation. 

The prospect of a trade war gets Trump’s engine revving: 

  • When you have billions in dollars in deficits with a country, those are the trade wars I like. You don’t have to do business with China. You don’t have to do business with other countries.”

That’s the kind of talk that scares a conservative free-trader like me.

The talk about Trump’s candidacy took off on November 18, 2010 during an interview by George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.  Trump told Stephanopoulos that he was seriously considering running for president because the country needed him and no one else seemed to have the backbone needed to stand up to China.  Trump said that he would make his decision by June and, if he decided to run, he would probably run as a Republican and would be willing to spend up to $200 million of his own money.

Upon further reflection, I suspect my sources who are currently supporting the idea of a Trump candidacy are being flippant.  The presidency is a serious job for serious men, and although Trump is a billionaire, his is primarily a huckster and unqualified to be president.  Further, Americans may be willing to consider a one-issue candidate if that one issue is national debt, but I haven’t detected any groundswell of deep-seated animosity in America toward China. 

My sentiments match those more colorfully articulated by National Review’s Johan Goldberg a few days after the GMA interview:

  • Every four years it seems that Trump pretends to be running for president. He obviously loves the free media. Indeed, his presidential ‘feelers’ usually coincide with a new book, or new line of ties, or new TV extravaganza. He’s notrunning for president. He’s got a cargo hold of baggage. More important, most of the time he talks about politics he’s a buffoon. This morning’s interview amounted to the shady New York developer school of foreign policy.  His take on the Korean crisis: We should leverage the Korean crisis to screw the South Koreans on trade.  I will say, however, it would be fun to see a televised cabinet meeting where the president says to his Treasury secretary: ‘Unemployment is high, your projections were wrong, you’ve embarrassed me. You’re fired.””