Month: November 2016

Stand with Sessions … because he’d stand with you

Senator Jeff Sessions is a good man who would be a great U.S. Attorney General, but I didn’t reach that conclusion by only examining his years on the judiciary committee, or his tenure as Alabama’s attorney general, or his record as a federal prosecutor. Those are all stellar qualifications, but I have the added benefit of remembering the time he helped a troubled family – one without wealth, connections, or experience – successfully navigate the justice system, with firmness yet with compassion. I was only in the fifth grade in 1985 when one of my brothers was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for smuggling cocaine from Alabama to Michigan, but I remember nearly everything about the ordeal. I remember how it transformed my brother from a carefree, often reckless kid into a panicked and desperate man. He saw a once bright future collapse into the darkness of a prison cell because of a stupid, irreversible mistake. I remember how it wrecked my father, both emotionally and financially. His son was locked up 1,000 miles away with all sorts of violent criminals, and all he could do was listen to his frightened voice on the telephone. Those long distance charges sometimes reached $1,000 a month, nearly my father’s take-home pay from the fire department at the time. I remember listening to my mother speak, often plead, with an endless cast of characters from our justice system: local police detectives, state and federal agents, my brother’s public defenders, multiple…

Trump’s political appointments are more consequential than most think

Republicans have been rightfully jubilant since last week’s victory, but the next few months will likely determine whether President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will govern from the right, from the center, or from somewhere out in left field. That’s because long after the arena speeches are delivered and the proposals are written, it’ll fall to the 2.6-plus million members of the executive branch to actually implement Trump’s vision – from the macro, like understanding how his election should alter their organization’s overall approach to governing; to the micro, like whether they should proceed with controversial initiatives that began under his predecessor. Nearly all of those federal employees are highly professional patriots who are well versed in handling the changes that come with presidential transitions, but it’s naive to believe that one man in the West Wing – even one who isn’t shy about using his pen and his phone – can effectively guide the government in a new direction all by himself. Thankfully, the president-elect won’t be. Helping him will be 4,000 political appointees ranging from the headline-grabbing cabinet secretaries to the little known worker bees toiling within their departments and agencies, ensuring changes are made and new policies are pursued. The most senior appointees will be chosen in the next couple of weeks, with the bulk being named within the first six months of his administration, hopefully. That may sound like a small army of loyalists ready to help the president steer the ship of state, but it’s actually only…

Jeff Sessions should back a “general amnesty” for #NeverTrumpers

Senator Jeff Sessions is in a unique political position. He is the most respected, influential, and likeable elected official within the conservative movement – a movement that just saw many of its lifelong members declare that they’d never vote for President-elect Donald Trump or who eventually did so but rather reluctantly. He is also the most respected, influential, and likeable elected official within Trump’s inner circle, having been the first significant politician to endorse his unlikely candidacy and the only senator who did so during the primary season. Sessions is beloved by us all, and that’s why there’s no man better positioned – or with a better disposition – than our state’s junior senator to unite the two camps, or as Trump put it early Wednesday morning, to help “bind the wounds of division,” particularly within the Republican Party and especially within the conservative movement. We’ve endured a bloody civil war within the party for more than a year. Lifelong political compatriots have fought hard against each other. Many friendships were heavily bruised, and some may have been irretrievably lost. And now, in imitation of the wisdom shown at Appomattox Court House, a “general amnesty” needs to be granted to all combatants, especially the conservatives with whom we’ve built this movement, this party, and our future. Trump’s poignant and humble victory speech set the tone. “I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” the president-elect said, adding that, “those who have chosen not to…

Conservatives cannot afford to sit this election out

Conservatives can begin the reconstruction phase of our embattled political movement next Wednesday morning, but right now the “Shining City on a Hill,” as Ronald Reagan once described our nation, is illuminated for all the wrong reasons. It’s on fire. The insatiable flames of unchecked government growth are burning straight through the materials that built our shining city and made it the greatest in history – individual liberty, free markets, and traditional values to name only a few. Hillary Clinton’s answer to this five-alarm disaster is to flood its streets with gasoline by increasing the government’s size and cost, expanding its control over the individual and the markets, and eroding or erasing the values that have made our land so different than the rest of the world. While this catastrophe unfolds before our eyes, conservatives must ask themselves this question next Tuesday: are you going to help her ... or are you going to help stop her? To those of you who cannot stomach voting for Trump, I completely understand your reservation. Many conservatives within the ranks of our movement have been early, frequent, and aggressive critics of Donald Trump, both the man and his ideas (or lack thereof). I’m very proud to have been part of that faction, although I stopped just short of declaring #NeverTrump. I have have repeatedly written that he isn’t a conservative, and that all past and present evidence indicates that he’s an unprincipled reactionary. Yet he does seem to hold at least a few…