Wednesday, 4/13/16

  1. Trump’s Bogus Charity
  2. Playing by the Rules
  3. Liberal hypocrisy on North Carolina
  4. Amoris Laetitia again

1

One version of these [Jerry Fallwell, Jr.] remarks – as repeated on Fox News – can be found at the end of aWashington Post essay – “Missing from Trump’s list of charitable giving: His own personal cash” – that is creating quite a bit of buzz.

“His limousine broke down one time, a couple stopped and helped him. He paid off their mortgage a few days later. These are all things that you never hear about Donald Trump,” Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, said on Fox News’s “Hannity” in January. …

In a telephone interview, Falwell, who has endorsed Trump, was asked: Did you ever ask Trump if that story was true?

“I never did,” Falwell said. “But, Trey, didn’t you search that on Google?”

“I didn’t,” his son Trey said. “But somebody did.”

“It was in some publication in 1995,” the elder Falwell concluded. “But I forget which publication.”

This is, in the Post piece, offered as another example of a popular American folk legend – the tale of the “Grateful Millionaire.”

The overall point of the Washington Post essay is that Donald Trump is not charitably generous by any reasonable measure. His boast of $102 million of charitable giving is mostly bogus, including things like conservation easements — the sort of thing rich people do to get a deduction while enhancing the value of their own adjacent enclaves by buffering it.

2

If someone decides to run for President, is it too much to ask that he or his campaign managers understand the nominating rules?

Oddly, that’s what I was thinking before I opened this Wall Street Journal “Review & Outlook.” Granted, I was thinking of it more in terms of getting into a game, knowing that the rules are complex, and then claiming that you should win because you’ve whipped up more crowd support with your antics.

Mr. Cruz cleaned up in Colorado because his campaign was paying attention to the process. Whatever one thinks of the Texan’s appeal as a candidate, his campaign is organized and focused on winning the required 1,237 delegate majority.

Cruz absolutely understands the process. Reptilian calculation is his strong suit.

The larger point is that none of this is undemocratic or dishonest. A political party exists to nominate candidates to run for election with the goal of winning. Political parties are private entities independent of government and can set up the nominating process any way they want. Candidates are obliged to follow party rules, not vice versa.

This principle has been legally endorsed by no less than the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2008 opinion by the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, as our friends at the New York Sun reminded us on Monday. A reform-minded judge, Margarita Lopez-Torres, sued after she was denied a Democratic nomination to run for the New York Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia rejected her claim for a unanimous Court, writing inNew York State Board of Elections v. Lopez Torres that, “A political party has a First Amendment right to limit its membership as it wishes, and to choose a candidate-selection process that will in its view produce the nominee who best represents its political platform.” He added that “party conventions, with their attendant ‘smoke-filled rooms’ and domination by party leaders, have long been an accepted manner of selecting party candidates.”

All of this is worth keeping in mind if the GOP does find itself at the first contested convention since 1976. It’s democracy at work, and the candidates who want to be President should spend more timing learning the rules and less kvetching on TV.

It is bitterly disappointing to see Pat Buchanan write as if he doesn’t know the rules, and even give tacit endorsement to violence (“On his deathbed, [Andrew] Jackson confided that among the great regrets of his life was that he did not shoot Henry Clay.”)

Coda: Before I published, Trump upped the ante. As the New York Times put it:

With Senator Ted Cruz gaining ground, Donald J. Trump and his allies are trying to compensate for organizational deficiencies by framing the Republican primary process as corrupt.

The Times story is here.

3

Ryan Anderson calls out liberals on their hypocrisy in matters of religious freedom. The whole thing is good, but let me distill:

  1. Citizens United antidemocratic and bad; Corporate boycotts of conservative states that don’t do liberal corporate bidding, democratic and good.
  2. Bruce Springsteen invokes his conscience to deprive NC of his artistry: good. Barronelle Stutzman invokes her conscience to deprive her friend of her artistry, expressed in floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding: bad, with “conscience” covering for bigotry.
  3. Andrew Cuomo, far blunter and creepier than his slick father Mario, suspends relations with North Carolina while cultivating relations with Cuba.

Summation:

The left knows it can’t win on the merits in the debate about religious freedom and bathroom privacy. These bills enjoy strong public support — that’s why elected representatives are voting to pass them. And it’s why corporate elites have to target governors to veto them.

4

I’m not saying everything Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia … is perfect but I think it is needed because it recognizes that many people, especially the people of my generation, have lost the truth in regards to sexuality and God and marriage to the degree that it reduces our culpability in sin. Is it a sin if no one has any idea that it is a sin?

 

(A 24-year-old female reader of Rod Dreher’s blog) Well, yes, it is a sin even if you don’t know it is, but there is that mitigating factor to consider. This, by the way, articulates something that I was thinking but did not take the time to try to articulate.

Then Dreher himself chimes in with a glorious echo of something I have articulated often, in geospace if not cyberspace:

“Chastity” is not total abstinence from sex, as many people wrongly believe. Rather, it is the right use of the sexual instinct.

And, I would add, “the right use of the sexual instinct” runs deeper than “don’t do that thing cuz you’re not married” and “okay, you can do that thing now, cuz you are.”

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.