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  • Finally, Dems and GOP Agree: Craziness Rules the GOP

    • Posted on Mar 13, 2016
    This morning's Courier column--craziness rules the GOP--not just Trump, who seems the very definition of crazy, but Republican ideas, which are just as crazy.  

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    It’s kumbaya time for GOP and Democratic Party leaders, united in one deep and ongoing agreement: Donald Trump must never become President.  

     As Republican Senator Lindsay Graham put it, “My party has gone bat---- crazy.”  
    Thank you, Senator Graham, for saying what some of us have been thinking now for months.  Not enough bad can be said about Donald Trump as a candidate, but his own party keeps trying: Phony, con artist, bully, misogynist—from Mitt and Marco and Ted—virtually in unison with Democrats.  Finally, they agree. 

     If only GOP leaders could apply the same sound judgment to their own ideas.  Instead they insist they will support the party’s candidate even if it’s Trump.  Logicians they are not.  

     Consider four other just-as-crazy GOP positions:  
    (1) “Originalism”
    (2) Defunding Planned Parenthood 
    (3) Repealing and Replacing Obamacare with “something better”  
    (4) Not even hearing SCOTUS nominees   
    These GOP ideas deserve no better than Trump. 

    One at a time: 

    Originalism.  Basically, “originalists” insist that founding documents need to be read and applied as the founders intended, not what later interpreters “read into” them.  It’s called a “principle of interpretation.”  

     Get that—principle of interpretation.  Interpretation is what we humans do, day in and out, in order to survive and thrive. That means we inevitably filter everything through our own consciousness.   

    Originalists use this principle to impose conservative ideology onto founding documents, pretending that the founding fathers intended it just as current conservatives now see it, as “originalists.”  However, they’re interpreting.  

     Meaning is co-created; it doesn’t somehow magically exist in a document to be discovered like gold nuggets.  “Reading into” any document, old or new, is necessary and unavoidable.  That’s why we teach literature basically as interpretation.  That’s why we hire lawyers to read contracts.     

     To pretend otherwise is, well, crazy.   

     Defunding Planned Parenthood arises out of the oft-repeated lie that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue, which is illegal, and mostly performs abortion, another lie.  Anyone can look these facts up, or visit any Planned Parenthood clinic. 

    Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, leading the charge, keeps repeating these distortions. Indeed, Ted Cruz tried to shut down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood.  Off-the-charts crazy.   

     Repealing Obamacare.  As Lindsay Graham noted last Sunday on “Meet the Press,” trying to defund a plan that was passed by a President whose name was on the bill was impossible.  Nevertheless, GOP time-wasters voted on it roughly sixty times. No wonder voters are furious.  

     Even crazier, Republicans had nothing workable to replace it. 

     The major bat-guano GOP crazy item amounts to an abdication of constitutional responsibility.   President Obama still serves for eleven months, and no other President has been denied his legal obligation this long to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. 

     It would be one thing to hear and question a nominee—that’s expected.  Reject him/her if you must. But to utterly deny a hearing?  

    That’s crazy, and our own Chuck Grassley deserves national scorn for lack of judgment and party-line toadying.

     So, serious agreement between the GOP and Dems about Donald Trump deserves celebration. Aside from the GOP’s bat---- crazy other positions, it’s a start.   




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  • Trump for President

    • Posted on Mar 05, 2016
    Wrote this for the Courier, published on August 2nd.  Given current developments, it seems more relevant now than in August, when Trump was just a mote in Mitt Romney's eye.   By the way, it's satire, just in case that's not clear.   

    Universal agreement is as rare as humility these days, but lately seems to have emerged from pundits and politicians alike.   All agree: Trump had better not serve as our 45th President. 

     No Air Force Trump/One.  No White House with “TRUMP” emblazoned above it in 20-foot neon letters.   No parade of Trump-ettes as First Ladies.   

     Even the GOP hierarchy, not known for its rational and level-headed candidates, agrees that their party would commit suicide by nominating him. 

     He’s never held office, he has no real political allies, he doesn’t seem to know how to delegate, his power stems from wealth, not respect, they cluck.   

     Picky, picky, picky.  

     Come on, people.   Trump would make a great American President.  

     Why?  Let me count the ways: 
    (1) He’s the loudest candidate ever.  His speeches amount to bellowing,

    He's a typical American, let’s face it.  Or rather, stereotypical. 

     Travelers in every country I’ve visited, and I’ve visited plenty, comment on how Americans raise noise levels.  I’ve noticed it myself. 

     Enter around a quiet bistro in Paris, a sedate pub in London, a street corner in Munich, and if there’s a group of people shouting, laughing, hollering, and goofing off—who will they be?  Invariably, Americans, minor versions of Donald Trump. 

     We’re the world’s noisiest people, and Trump’s the loudest of all.  We deserve a President who’s more like us than we are.  Though this horrifies the rest of the world, so be it.  

    (2) He shoots from the hip, or in his case, the lip.  Again, that’s America at its core:  shoot first, ask questions later.  

     The cowboy mentality is the most beloved and most common image of America we project, from the Marlboro man to Billy the Kid to Jesse James—outlaws and rogues all, and folk heroes to boot.  All action, no reflection.   

     They’re cousins to gangsters, another American type who provoke the world’s envy and anxiety—an unbeatable combination when it comes to grabbing headlines.  That’s where Trump usually resides.   

     A gangster cowboy President.  Yeeehaah.  

    (3) He’s richer than Croesus, the ancient billionaire Greek king who was eventually burned alive. 

     Never mind, that won’t happen to President Trump.  Americans admire wealth, they seek it, they consider themselves millionaires-in-waiting.  

     They’re sure that really smart people who work hard get rich. The richer they get, the
    smarter and more hard-working they must be.  Hence, they love Trump, and a Trump presidency would represent American wealth-worshippers perfectly.   

     How much is Trump worth?  Depends on who’s counting.  Trump says at least ten billion, whereas real accountants say fewer than three billion.  That’s still real wealth, no matter who’s counting.   

    (4) He answers to no one, thanks to his billions.    As his campaign proves, he can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to whomever he wants, and not worry about going broke or to jail.  Billionaires live in an ego bubble where everyone tells them what they want to hear.  Those who question him get bullied off his stage, immediately, with
    name-calling and semi-false assertions spoken as full truth.    

     We’d have a true bully-pulpit President.  With nothing but BS coming out.   

    (5) Finally, and the best reason:  Full-bore, all-out pride.  Donald Trump, without doubt, is probably the proudest Presidential candidate in history.  He trumpets his wealth, his accomplishments, his intelligence, his certainty that he’s right.   

     What a relief and contrast he presents to Obama, the diffident consensus-seeker. 
    That alone will make him attractive to Obama haters, deceived though they may be,  

     Of course some will object that pride means hubris, and that’s the deadliest of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Pooh-pooh. 

     Pride is what made America exceptional, and Trump’s pride will infuse America with a powerful national ego, a new insistence that we’re the best, the most, the richest, the smartest, the utter center of the universe.  A total fantasy, but still attractive to Trump-lovers.   

    If the GOP actually nominates this blowhard phony,  he’d likely win based on pride alone.   

    President Trump would then make America grate again.  
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