Trump's 'New York values'
By Mark Alexander
Republicans convened January 14th for a sixth debate, and it is clear that the leading candidates are now Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
The most trumped-up moment of the debate was when Senator Cruz was asked by moderator and New York City-dweller Maria Bartiromo to explain his assertion that Donald Trump "embodies New York values."
Of course, Cruz was referencing Trump's own words from an interview with the late Tim Russert, who asked Trump about his liberal positions on gun control, partial-birth abortion, homosexual marriage and other issues.
Trump told Russert that his values are different than those in other parts of the nation: "I've lived in New York City and Manhattan all my life so my views are different than if I lived in Iowa. ... There is some different attitude in different parts of the country. You know, I was raised in New York and I grew up and worked and everything else in New York City."
Responding to Bartiromo, Cruz said, "I think most people know exactly what 'New York values' are. There are many wonderful working men and women in the state of New York, but everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal..."
Cruz was right about most Americans knowing what he meant, and Trump's only escape from his own words about his New York values was to shamelessly invoke perhaps the most catastrophic moment in our nation's history.
When Bartiromo asked Trump to respond, he played the 9/11 card: "[Ted] insulted a lot of people. When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. ... Thousands of people killed. ... We rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made."
Of course, Cruz's assertion had nothing to do with 9/11, and Trump's response — invoking that Islamist attack and all its death and destruction — is both typical and disgraceful. Trump sidestepped the subject of his own words regarding liberal New York values and instead raised as a political shield the murder of 2,606 people, including 72 police officers and 343 firefighters. Democrats likewise do this with the victims of mass murders.
Predictably, no one among Trump's fawning Leftmedia entourage has called him out on this cynical sleight-of-hand. And it's no small irony that this crass political ploy reinforces Cruz's reference to Trump's "New York values."
Rush Limbaugh conceded that many people thought the exchange was "a big Trump slam-dunk win," but he argued, "Trump is essentially making Cruz's point."
Since the debate, Trump has referred to 9/11 at every campaign stop. It's instructive to note, though, that a review of the pittance of donations from his $8 billion purse reveals not a single record of support for any of the foundations set up to assist the families of 9/11 victims.
Moreover, if general elections represent "New York values," then what does the election of Trump's gun-grabbing billionaire buddy Michael Bloomberg, and his hard-left successor Bill de Blasio, say about those values? In the 2012 presidential election, more than 81% of New York City voters supported Barack Obama.
Propagating that 9/11 diversion, Trump and other New York elitists demanded that Cruz apologize.
Cruz, a champion debater at Princeton before completing his law degree at Harvard, responded accordingly:
It would appear that the few conservatives still in New York concur with Cruz. After the debate, the influential Metropolitan Republican Club held a star poll and Cruz narrowly beat the hometown favorite.
(Of course, what also distinguishes Trump's "values" from those of Ted Cruz is that Trump was born into wealth, privilege and elitism. Cruz comes from a heartland family of trials and very modest means.)
Notably, in his debate rebuttal to Cruz, Trump also said, "Conservatives actually do come out of Manhattan, including William F. Buckley."
Anyone who knows anything about Buckley (the godfather of modern conservatism who helped The Patriot Post launch online 20 years ago) fully understands that "Trump is an affront to William F. Buckley's legacy." That was the lead in last week's National Review, the magazine Buckley founded in 1955.
Of course Trump is an affront to Buckley's conservative legacy, as well as to every steadfast advocate of Liberty today — at least those of us who can see through the Trump façade.
George Will writes of Trump supporters, "Many are no doubt lightly attached to the political process, preferring entertainment to affiliation. They relish in their candidate's vituperation and share his aversion to facts."
My analysis of Trump's followers is less strident.
As I wrote last year in "The Trump Card — Ace of Anger Affirmation," it is clear that "Trump's support reflects very little about his qualifications, but a lot about his message and how dissatisfied millions of disenfranchised conservatives are with Republican 'leadership.' Grassroots Americans are rightly outraged."
In her endorsement of Trump Tuesday, Sarah Palin focused on this outrage: "Enough is enough. ... We are mad and we've been had." (If you're a "mad" Trump supporter now, get ready to be "had" like you've never been had if he is the Republican nominee.)
Limbaugh offered an assessment similar to my own regarding Trump's angry supporters: "I think those who are with Trump [are not] with him because they think he's conservative."
Unfortunately, I think some do believe Trump is a conservative. However, he is at best, a card-carrying patron of the deservedly maligned "establishment Republican cartel" in Washington, which is why it's lining up behind him.
Trump is now personally assailing Cruz, claiming, "[Y]ou know, everybody hates Ted [Cruz]. It's a very tough thing. They all hate him for a lot of reasons, but they all hate him."
Ironically, Trump is referring to the fact that his fellow "establishment Republicans" in Washington don't like Cruz. And his assertion is amusing given that Trump reflexively calls almost everybody "very stupid" in every stump speech.
Not only did Trump steal Ronald Reagan's campaign slogan, "Let's Make America Great Again," but in attempting cloak his own deep and demonstrable Democrat roots, Trump is now comparing himself to Reagan: "If you look at Ronald Reagan — and he was a Democrat with a very liberal bent, and he became a Republican with a somewhat conservative — I wouldn't say very — but he was a conservative Republican."
Despite his penchant for incomplete truncated sentences, Trump's comparison is patently absurd, except for one point. Ronald Reagan was a "Democrat" much in the way Donald Trump is a "Republican," in name only. Reagan did not have a "very liberal bent," and clearly he was conservative.
As Reagan said famously about his party affiliation change, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me."
But today, Trump embraces many of the statist Democratic Party policies Reagan rejected. Trump is a shallow and narcissistic showman, far more aligned with Democrats than the Party of Reagan. The great tragedy of a prospective Trump presidency would be that, after working tirelessly to gain not only Republican majorities in Congress but substantial conservative representation, those conservatives might be faced with the ultimate RINO in the executive branch.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.