Saturday, April 02, 2016


My previous op-ed generated quite a few comments, 16 as of this moment. Of those, 10 came from one reader. The others were brief, focused on the person who generated the 10.

The comment thread got started when the major contributor asked with an incredulous tone, “How can you compare Trump with Hitler?”

The best response I can now offer is the short one. “It was easy because it was valid.”

He also called me a “sore loser” because my candidate, Marco Rubio, lost the primary in his home state to Donald Trump.

He was wrong. I’ve never really gotten too lathered up about losing. I learned a lot about defeat in my pre- teenage years, especially whenever I lost a game of stickball to my older brother, which was well over 50% of the time. I also grew up as a Boston Red Sox Fan, which amounted to earning a masters’ degree in the art of losing. I voted for George McGovern who won a paltry 17 electoral votes in ‘72. Here in Emporia, I’ve pleaded with and cajoled our local leaders about economic development and tax issues, mostly to no avail. Statistically, I think I’ve won one battle and lost at least four. I’m currently getting revved up for the coming battle over the 24th Avenue project and the developers who are trying to sell our leaders what I believe to be a bill of goods. If the developers win, I’ll move on to the next issue.

My critic was right about one thing, however. I was/am a Marco Rubio supporter. Like the rest of Senator Rubio’s supporters, I was disappointed when he lost Florida and dropped out of the presidential race.

But, that’s the nature of politics. You sometimes bask in the glow of victory; you sometimes lick your wounds. Win or lose; the best course is to be gracious.

I think Marco Rubio was as gracious in defeat as he could be. About the only thing he’s said about Donald Trump since Florida is “I believe Donald Trump as our nominee is going to shatter and fracture the Republican Party and the conservative movement. I think it’s already having that function.”

I agree with Senator Rubio. So, where does that leave me? Am I now a man without a dog in this political hunt?

I know this much. I will not vote for Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee. I will not vote for Ted Cruz. John Kasich? Possibly, but he’s got the proverbial snowball’s chances in hell of being nominated. Hillary or Bernie? No!

That about does it, other than sitting the election, writing someone in, or finding a third party candidate to support.

While some Republican friends understand my point about John Kasich, they often ask me why I couldn’t support Ted Cruz if he were the nominee. My reasons are philosophical. Ted Cruz is not a conservative as I have come to understand and embrace conservatism (his strategy to carpet bomb ISIS, for example). As I see it, Ted Cruz is more an ideologue than a Conservative. There’s not an ounce of compromise in his political soul (his solution for illegal immigration is more strident than Donald Trump’s, for example). I find that very troubling.

The reason I supported Marco Rubio was that I believe he is what is commonly termed a “classic” or “movement” conservative, which has been defined by Conservapedia on-line as “seeking to help others, and the nation, by explaining, advocating and defending the logical and beneficial conservative approach. A movement conservative is not primarily seeking political gain for him or herself, but advocates the insights and values of conservatism for the benefit of others.”

Marco Rubio was cut from the same political cloth as a man like Jack Kemp, who was recently described by the National review’s Rich Lowry as follows:  Kemp believed “the purpose of politics is not to defeat your opponent as much as it is to provide superior leadership and better ideas.’ He wanted the GOP to be a ‘natural home of African-Americans.’ He favored openhandedness on immigration. He cared deeply about the plight of the urban poor, and about what he called ‘the right to rise.’ In foreign policy, he was a friend of freedom and stalwart advocate of human rights.”

I believe Marco Rubio embodied the best of movement conservatism. Unfortunately, in the end his willingness to compromise (the Gang of Eight bill on immigration, for example), his solutions for eliminating poverty, his sensible approach to defeating ISIS, and the angry mood of the nation did him in.

But, that’s alright. Good, solid conservatives like Jack Kemp, Bill Buckley, or James Madison still would have been proud of him.

Marco Rubio’s been defeated politically, but, the conservative principles he represented will outlive the sting of the defeat. Of that, I have no doubt!

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