BETTER RED THAN DEAD?

Here is a distillation of the quixotic anti-Trump, Hillary-by-default campaign being conducted by the puritanical wing of the Republican Party – people like the libertarian think tanks and the editorial writers at The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and National Review:

If Trump wins, his ideas will take over the Republican Party, which would be unfortunate.   The best hope of the Republican Party is to combine and distill the best of the ideas of the various factions of the Republican Party.  Granted, four years under Clinton would be awful, and the Supreme Court would be lost to the Left for a generation.  But if republicans are ever to succeed in ending America’s failed experiment with central planning, they need to shift their focus from values (social issues) to principles (economics, national defense) and to undoing the damage inflicted by Obama’s evisceration of Congress, his attacks against the Rule of Law.

To those of us who do not see harakiri as a viable political strategy, it appears that the anti-Trumpists would rather be right than (help elect a flawed republican) be president.

There is some merit to their argument, though it might not have been raised by so many republican leaders if Trump had run a better campaign and his poll numbers had been stronger.  But why would these leaders still be raising it, unless they are dreaming that Trump will abdicate his nominee status and make way for  . . . Mike Pence? Ted Cruz?  Apparently the party leaders are throwing-in the towel on 2016 because they are confident the party will reclaim the White House with a better nominee in 2020.  But is it realistic to imagine that Clinton could be defeated in 2020 by a Republican party that had achieved unity on the critical ideas and picked a less-vulgar nominee?  Could the country pick up the pieces after four more years of our converting into a centrally-planned socialist model, eviscerating Congress, turning the Supreme Court into a kangaroo court, and completing the swap of Israel for Iran as our principal Middle Eastern ally?  Could four years of Trump make Republicans’ task in 2020 more difficult than it would be after four years of Clinton?

Rather than “I would rather be right than president,” the better motto for the behavior of the anti-Trump snobs might be that 1950s standby, “better red than dead,” which meant, better to surrender to the Russian commies (the “reds”) than die in a nasty  battle to resist them.  Update for 2016:  better to accept a corrupt socialist than fight to elect a vulgar capitalist.

Civilization is, by latest calculations, at least 20,000 years old, and it took a gestation period of 18,750 of those years for it to beget the world’s first sizable, liberal, democratic republic based upon individual freedoms and free markets:  the United States.  If you understand what Obama has done to this republic, and if you pay attention to what Mrs. Clinton is promising, you must realize that America’s 240-year-old miracle may be approaching its expiration-date.  Let’s not kid ourselves about republicans taking action in 2020 to turn themselves back into a capitalist nation. The socialist genie is never put back into the bottle; never has been, never will be.   (And please do not suggest that it has been, by Russia or China.) American capitalism is at the precipice of one- and-done.

 

 

The Wall Street Journal Throws In The Towel

This is regarding Bret Stephens’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal issue of August 8, 2016, nominally about Sean Hannity.  Here is  Mr. Stephens’s dream scenario:  “the only hope for a conservative restoration is a blowout Hillary Clinton victory, held in check by a Republican majority in Congress.” Mr. Stephens is apparently hoping that the vulgar Mr. Trump loses, that the Republicans nonetheless end up in control of Congress (not just the House, Congress!), and four years later America awakens from its deep slumber and finally elects a true, conservative, genteel grammarian as our President.  One will spare Mr. Stephens a Trumpian response and settle for this:  the odds on the Stephens dream-scenario are awfully long.  Moreover, Mr. Obama has already schooled us on the irrelevancy of a Republican Congress when it is up against a chief executive run wild.

If Mr. Stephens imagines that there will be a viable nation left, after 4 years of a more-corrupt version of the Obama regime and the filling of one or more Supreme Court vacancies with Ruth Ginsburg clones, he is having a tantrum, not an epiphany.  Every day it becomes more clear that he, along with most of his colleagues at the Journal, would rather the Republican candidate be right than President.  William Buckley and Ronald Reagan would be laughing.  Every day it also becomes more clear that the Democrats’ control of the press, the entertainment industry, the academy, and all other conventional means of communication with voters, is so complete, and their use of it so cleverly manipulative, that it is hard to believe any other Republican candidate would have had a chance.  If Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Kasich, Christie, and the rest of the field wilted in the course of merely trying to defeat Trump, how would any of them have had a better chance of beating both the media and the Clintons?

 

THE USGA BLOWS IT AGAIN

Just when we were starting to forget the incompetence of the USGA in causing the Dustin Johnson fiasco at the men’s U.S. Open, the blue-blazer boys provided an unforgettable reminder of it, by ruining the women’s U.S. Open.  As in the men’s Open, the USGA took way too long to make the call on an alleged rules-violation, and then compounded their error by botching the timing of the notifications to the players.

The infraction in the women’s Open, a grounding of her club in a bunker by Anna Nordqvist (for which the penalty is 2 strokes), occurred during the three-hole playoff, midway through the second of the three playoff holes (#17).  But the USGA did not make its decision on the penalty until later.  The players were not notified of the infraction until each had hit her second shot on the third playoff hole (the par-5 18th).   Sounds innocent enough, fair and equal, but the timing of the notifications had a decidedly unfair and unequal impact upon the players.

The timing meant that the penalized player, Ms. Nordqvist, who has sufficient length to have reached the 18th green in two, had to play her second shot, had to make her critical strategic decision – to go for broke or lay-up – before she knew the pertinent facts, before she knew that reaching the green in two had become the only possible way for her to avoid defeat.  She elected to lay-up, which would have been a prudent strategy had she not sustained the penalty but certainly would not have been her strategy had she been aware of having been penalized.  By laying-up, Ms. Nordqvist was unwittingly forfeiting her only opportunity to overcome the deficit that had resulted from the penalty. On the other hand, her opponent, Ms. Lang, had neither the ball position nor the power to try to reach the green in two, so her ignorance of the real score did not affect her decision to lay-up on her second shot.  In fact, Ms. Lang, by being told of the penalty before having to play her third shot, was allowed to forget about pin-seeking and hit a super-safe approach shot that would allow her to win with even a bogey.  In effect, the USGA handed the tournament to Ms. Nordqvist.

Clearly, the USGA botched the whole thing.  Had they made a prompt decision, the players could have re-set their strategies much earlier, perhaps as early as the middle of the second playoff hole, taking into account the penalty.  But even if it had been impossible to make the call that early, they still owed it to the players (especially Ms. Nordqvist) to make the call at a good time, one that minimized any prejudice based upon the length of the delay.  In other words, make the call before the tee shots on 18, or make it after the tee shots but before the second shots, or wait until both players were done with the three holes.  The single worst way to notify the players was to announce the call at a time when the announcement would harm one player while helping the other.  In their clumsiness, the USGA gave an unfair advantage to Ms. Lang, tainting her accomplishment.

Is there any reason why Major League Baseball and NFL Football are able to review the videos and make the call within no more than a few minutes, while pro golf takes forever?  Granted, some golf violations are not spotted until later, but why not a mandated time limit on reviews, even a limit on the time within which an infraction can be called?  Football and baseball have wisely decided that it is more important to maintain the pace of play and keep everyone up-to-date on controversial calls, than it is that the calls always be perfect.  Somehow, they find the money to deploy enough officials and sufficient technology to minimize their mistakes.  Would that golf were as well-run as baseball and football.

DID TRUMP REALLY OPPOSE THE REAGAN TAX REFORM ACT?

Reconsidering one’s decision to vote for Donald Trump.  Had just read that Trump was opposed to the 1986 Tax Reform Act, one of the cornerstones of the Reagan economic-revival.  Immediate thought:  If Trump does not understand that tax reform is one of the most important components of conservative economic policy (along with conservative fiscal and monetary policies and intelligent reductions in the regulatory burden on the private sector), then why should he run?  How easily could you distinguish his economic policies from those of the first Native American running for Vice-President?  Especially given Trump’s hostility to free trade, his perceived preference for international protectionism.

So, searched for the source of the alleged Trump/TRA comments.  Turns out it goes back to Trump’s pique over what the TRA did to the real estate industry, which took a bigger hit from that legislation than did any other business-sector.  He lost a lot of money, as did many other real estate people, such those who marketed tax sheltered real-estate investments.  But it was reported in the 7/28/15 online edition of Forbes Magazine, that “Donald Trump did not like the tax reform Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1986. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, he called it ‘one of the worst ideas in recent history.’”

If you read the entire Forbes piece and the entire Trump op-ed, you realize that the Trump op-ed, written in 1999, focused on the aspects of the 1986 Act that affected real estate, not on the many, many other provisions of that act.  Turns out Trump was not opposed to tax reform, he just didn’t like being targeted by the TRA, which he thought was harder on real estate than on other commercial sectors.  When commentators describe Trump as being opposed to the TRA, giving the impression that he opposed tax reform in general, they are being misleading.  He was understandably piqued over his losses but did not indicate a generalized opposition to the essence of the TRA, which was to cut tax rates, cut tax deductions and credits, and simplify the tax code in general.

Trump is in fact fully on-board with the kinds of reforms embodied in the 1986 TRA, as is revealed by his published tax-reform proposal, at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/tax-reform ,and by the comments of Steve Moore, one of Trump’s key economic advisors, in an interview published on June 1, 2016 in Conservative Review – https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/05/the-man-behind-the-curtain-the-economist-to-the-candidates

It is interesting to note that Moore also suggests that he is doing his best to convert Trump into a free-trader.  In choosing advisors like Steve Moore and Larry Kudlow, Trump is making a pretty solid statement that when it comes to fleshing-out the principles and specifics of his intended policies on economics, including fiscal policy and monetary policy, he will follow a decidedly conservative path.

Must say, the whole experience of tracking this down was enlightening.  With friends like the supposedly conservative Forbes, who needs leftist enemies?

IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?

Gotta love the “apology” tendered on Monday by the U. S. Golf Association:  “Upon reflection, we regret the distraction caused by our decision to wait until the end of the round to decide on the ruling. “  In other words, they are not apologizing for their actions, they are regretting the consequences.  They are not sorry for what they did, they are sorry that some are too stupid to grasp the brilliance of it.  Sorry you were injured by our running over you with our car.

Imagine a pro football game where one team, trailing by 5 points in the third quarter, completes a long pass for the go-ahead touchdown, but then the referee declares that the catch might not have been a catch, and that he will not make his final decision until he has had a post-game interview with the receiver, in which he will ask the receiver to indicate his opinion on whether he had possession before going out of bounds.

Imagine a baseball game, 5th inning, 2 outs, runners on first and third, the runner on first tries to steal second, the catcher’s throw is late and wide and bounces into the outfield, and the runner scores.  But the umpire declares that the batter interfered with the catcher’s attempt to make the throw.  Close call, no indication of intentional cheating by the catcher.  Result:  batter is out, run does not count, inning over.  Totally a judgment call.  But the batter’s team protests the call, and the umpire says, You know, that one was a pretty-close call, pretty ambiguous, so let’s just go ahead and finish the game and after the game is over I will have a talk with the catcher and then we will make a final decision.

Now imagine the same problem in a golf tournament:  half-way through the round, a player consults with an official over whether the player has violated a Rule of Golf and incurred a one-stroke penalty.  Well, if you saw Sunday’s US Open telecast, you do not have to imagine it.  The official declined to make a ruling on the spot, and we never got to learn the final scores until after everyone had finished playing and the USGA had had a chance to consult with the player.  A total fiasco, and the best the USGA can do is to announce that the player actually did violate the rule and to express regret over the consequences of its actions.

What is Golf to do?  Simple.   Hire enough referees to be able to post at least two on every hole.  (The additional cost could probably be covered by about one 30-second GoDaddy commercial.)  The referee’s job would be to spot infractions of the Rules of Golf, to answer the players’ questions about the Rules, and to resolve disputes about whether an infraction has occurred.  Just like a football referee or a baseball umpire, a golf referee would be the one and only, final authority on infractions.  On the spot, live, in real time, using all readily-available evidence, like TV replays and advice from the people running the event.  The ref has one minute to make the call. Period.  If the ref blows the call, too bad – there would be no more recourse than there is in other sports.  The ref’s job is not to be perfect, it is to know the rules, make an honest effort to apply them, and to do it in a timely fashion.  Perfection is impossible and is not required.  Mistakes occur, people get over it, life goes on.  But no one, in any sport, should be called upon to play out a game while not knowing what the score is.