Month: December 2016

Calling the balls and strikes on Trump’s appointments (Part Two)

Republicans have been loudly cheering President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, and there has certainly been much to cheer about: we have several solid conservatives, some true warriors, and a couple of promising regulation-busters. But before we get carried away by the prospect of having our government run by people other than the likes of John Kerry and Eric Holder, we should be mindful of one of the conservative movement’s most easily overlooked principles: doubt. As was explained in my last column, even though Trump has a couple of homeruns (vice president, attorney general), and a few hits (secretaries of education; commerce, defense, and health and human services), we’ve had talented cabinets before. The last Republican administration was led by accomplished outsiders and experienced governors, but it eventually evolved into a creature of the establishment. Limited government? It grew by an entire department. Free markets? It bailed out reckless banks, poorly-run car companies, and dabbled in Keynesianism. School choice? It allowed Sen. Ted Kennedy to write its education reform bill. The list goes on. So, yes, I have doubts, and they grew after Trump struck out with his treasury and transportation picks. While much of the lineup still looks good, conservatives must keep the pressure on the president-elect’s administration to follow-through. That said, picking up where I left off last week, Trump’s next announcement was the selection of Dr. Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs. I like Dr. Carson, but sometimes he leaves me wondering about…

Calling the balls and strikes on Trump’s appointments (Part One)

One of the conservative movement’s primary concerns about President-elect Donald Trump is that he doesn’t seem to be guided by a clear, definable political philosophy. Some of the things he says are truly conservative, while others seem aligned with big government liberalism. “At this point, who cares?” he once remarked after conservatives questioned his adherence to our principles. Now, at this point, everyone should care, because this is when philosophy becomes policy, and the devil is always in the details. Personnel is policy, as the saying goes, so who Trump appoints to his cabinet is currently our only indicator of how he’ll actually govern. So how’s he doing? Calling the balls and strikes from a conservative standpoint, it’s really a mixed bag. Starting from the earliest to the most recent picks, we must begin with any president’s first presidential decision – his choice for running mate. Vice President-elect Mike Pence is a conservative’s conservative with a stellar reputation within the movement and a rock-solid record. He wasn’t even on many short lists of potential picks because most thought he was too conservative for Trump’s taste. The result: Home run. Next comes Trump’s choice for U.S. Attorney General – our own Sen. Jeff Sessions. My admiration for the man is well documented, but so is his record on law and order. Trump couldn’t have chosen better. Another home run. Trump then nominated Betsy DeVos for education secretary. She’s an advocate for school choice and charter schools, but has also been closely…

Has Samford University become a ‘safe space’ for communists?

"Communism" isn't usually associated with Samford University. In fact, the data-crunching company Niche recently ranked it as the 18th most conservative college in America, and number one in our state. So you can imagine my surprise after seeing several headlines accusing Samford of going red. "Samford University becomes a safe space for communists," read a Nov. 29 article in the Washington Examiner. A day later the Daily Caller declared "College blocks student group for being too anti-communist." Closer to home the conservative website Yellowhammer carried a post titled "Samford University official says anti-communist statement is 'inflammatory.'" Seriously? Well, sort of. After making sure they weren't confusing Samford with Stanford – which actually does have safe spaces – I checked the original sources and here's what I learned: A group of Samford students, led by senior Karalee Geis, recently began the process of establishing a chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), the conservative group founded by William F. Buckley during the early years of the Cold War. Its founding document, known as the Sharon Statement because it was written at Buckley's home in Sharon, Connecticut in 1961, succinctly explains the group's beliefs about liberty. [enhanced link] The rather noncontroversial statement ends with a shot at the appeasers of the day by declaring, "... the forces of international communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties," and that "the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace." Thankfully one of our future presidents agreed.…