Republican Elites Failed The Full Disclosure Test

Donald A. Collins | 5 March 2016
Church and State

Peggy Noonan’s Saturday, March 3, 2016 WSJ column, “The Republican Party Is Shattering” tells wonderful truths about why Trump is leading. Her final paragraphs are brilliant:

We had a low-information elite.

This column has been pretty devoted the past nine months to everything that gave rise to this moment, to Mr. Trump. His supporters disrespect the system—fair enough, it’s earned disrespect. They see Washington dysfunction and want to break through it—fair enough. In a world of thugs, they say, he will be our thug. Politics is a freak show? He’s our freak. They know they’re lowering standards by giving the top political job in America to a man who never held office. But they feel Washington lowered all standards first. They hate political correctness—there is no one in the country the past quarter-century who has not been embarrassed or humiliated for using the wrong word or concept or having the wrong thought—and see his rudeness as proof he hates PC too.

‘He can think outside the box.’ Can he ever.

He is a one-man wrecking crew of all political comportment, and a carrier of that virus. Yet his appeal is not only his outrageousness.

He is a divider of the Republican Party and yet an enlarger of the tent. His candidacy is contributing to record turnouts in primary after primary, and surely bringing in Democrats and independents. But it should concern his supporters that his brain appears to be a grab bag of impulses, and although he has many views and opinions he doesn’t seem to know anything about public policy or the way the White House or the government actually works.

He is unpredictable, which his supporters see as an advantage. But in a harrowing, hair-trigger world it matters that the leaders of other nations be able to calculate with some reasonable certainty what another leader would do under a given set of circumstances.

‘He goes with his gut.’ Yes. But George W. Bush was a gut player too, and it wasn’t pretty when his gut began to fail.

The GOP elite is about to spend a lot of money and hire a lot of talent, quickly, to try to kill Trump off the next two weeks. There will be speeches, ads—an onslaught. It will no doubt do Mr. Trump some damage, but not much.

It will prove to Trump supporters that what they think is true—their guy is the only one who will stand up to the establishment, so naturally the establishment is trying to kill him. And Trump supporters don’t seem to have that many illusions about various aspects of his essential character. One of them told me he’s ‘a junkyard dog.’

They think his character is equal to the moment.

Yes, good stuff. However, it sadly fails the full disclosure test. An avid practicing Roman Catholic, Noonan omits essentials in why the GOP elites failed to keep the party on track.

Let me remind her about what Barry Goldwater, known in his time as Mr. Conservative said. In 1994 he told the Los Angeles Times, “A lot of so-called conservatives don’t know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right.”

Previously, when Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1981, some Religious Right leaders suspected she might be too moderate on abortion and other social concerns. Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell told the news media that “every good Christian should be concerned.” Replied Goldwater, “Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell’s ass.”

That same year Senator Goldwater complained at length that:

There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism’.

(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

The five-term U.S. senator from Arizona was equally unimpressed with TV preacher Pat Robertson. When Robertson sought the GOP nomination for president in 1988, Goldwater wasn’t about to say amen. “I believe in separation of church and state,” observed Goldwater. “Now, he doesn’t believe that … I just don’t think he should be running.”

A few years later he told The Advocate, “I don’t have any respect for the Religious Right. There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics. That goes for Falwell, Robertson and all the rest of these political preachers. They are a detriment to the country.”

Goldwater, an Episcopalian, had theological differences with greedy TV preachers. “I look at these religious television shows,” he said, “and they are raising big money on God. One million, three million, five million—they brag about it. I don’t believe in that. It’s not a very religious thing to do.”

But Goldwater was also deeply worried about the Religious Right’s long-term impact on his beloved GOP. “If they succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet,” he told U.S. News & World Report in 1994, “they could do us in.” In an interview with The Post that same year, Goldwater observed, “When you say ‘radical right’ today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”

Have you listened to Cruz or Rubio—Kasich is a Catholic by the way—call for total religious obedience—claiming totally wrongly that we are a “Christian Nation” when our Founders were almost all deists (e.g. denying a revealed religion, free thinkers).

Of course the original Trump card was about immigration and both the Republicans and Democrats, each for their own selfish purposes have been open border advocates. The former for more cheap labor, the latter for more voters they view as religious and ethnic supporters.

Then, thanks to its Catholic and Evangelical bases it has become the Compulsory Pregnancy Party by its continuous attacks on Planned Parenthood. Full disclosure: I served on the National Board of PPFA for 6 years and helped found Ipas, which offers early abortion services to millions of women around the world. Republican policies that advocate unsafe medical situations for women standout frighteningly in the Party’s Platforum.

Anyway, Folks, here we are. Elitists from both parties running the show. Noonan, a distinguished journalist really nailed the Trump phenomenon, but in failing to mention how adding 100 million aliens to our population has affected our working and Middle Class, she failed the full disclosure test.

I am not a happy voter to see the GOP going down the tubes. I believe that the balance of power of our two party system has proved our bulwark against the kind of overt stupidity that humanity is capable of. But this year will certainly be seminal in its negativism for our former Republic.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00MA40TVE
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