The Tomunist Resurgence

The Tomunist* Resurgence (*Haberkornite splinter group)

*Author’s Note* Well… it may not be an actual ‘resurgence’ in the strictest only definition of the word. We never really ‘surged’ to begin with. So, perhaps we are seeing simply a ‘surgence’? And, by we, I of course mean only me – the sole Tomunist still ever living. But, then again, in true Marxist fashion (Groucho, not Karl), I refuse to be a member of any club that would have me as its member, so I suppose that brings the total card-carrying number of Tomunists in existence to zero. So, the title is not as fitting as it could be. Oh well. I will just say that I have no control over the titles of my pieces and that some random editor slaps those on before the publication goes to print screen (?)

*Author’s Note 2* This is a particularly long one…so feel free to take it in pieces

Dear confused reader,

By the above, it seems plain (I hope) that the following post will be, well, a mess. Sloppy and incoherent (in tone, execution, and certainly in grammar). However, if you have read any of my posts (Hi Loving Family!), you are certainly aware that such is the nature of them.

So, let me at least explain the extremely (even for me) haphazardness of the following word salad.

You see, I tend to get an idea of something I would like to write about and then start it with an appropriate amount of gusto. But, it never gets finished. And by the time I get back to it…either it feels like old news or I have changed my mind about the direction I was going and am too lazy to try and make it work.

So, I decided to try and combine my last 4-5 attempts at saying…something. Which makes perfect sense since each singular piece goes in a million different directions. So why not combine all of them and create an even bigger jumble? (Asked no one ever). [And while you are at it…why not populate your attempt at rational discourse with popular phrases, memes, and devices that are just out of date?]

Here was my first attempt (in its entirety)

“An Open Letter to Anti-Trump Leftists

Since no one reads my stuff, I figured I would spit out a little more.

I want to address an emerging trend…

Increasingly, there is no “middle ground” in contemporary politics. That is mainly the fault of everybody (convenient generalization, no?). What I mean is… we are a fickle bunch of folks. As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the defining traits of Americans is that we tend to be restless and enjoy changing our collective mind with regularity.

There was a time when we *said* we wanted Bipartisan efforts in the leading of our country…even though we were in the process of  growing increasingly partisan in the past several decades. Well, now the pretense has completely faded away and Bipartisan is a dirty word. There is no middle ground. There are only extremes.

Donald Trump is either the best thing to ever happen to this country….or the absolute worst.

If you supported Trump in the election, you tend to continue to support him regardless of the merits of what he is currently saying or doing (though…for the record… he has not had a chance to do much yet, so judgement one way or the other should probably be reserved, anyway).

If you were anti-Trump in the election, you seem to have completely mangled the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. You started with  both denial and depression at the same time…then went to anger and have decided to stay there. (You left out Bargaining, and Acceptance is apparently out of the question for you). Yoda’s words, take to heart, you should…Hmmmm? “Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suffering!”

But, please let me clue in the anti-Trump folks out there….Trump did not win *in spite* of the way you are acting now….he won BECAUSE of the way you are acting now.

Middle America, “fly-over country”, The Rust Belt, etc… They (rightly or wrongly) saw Trump as speaking up for them. So, when you attack Trump, they take it as an attack on them. They see you as coastal elites (wherever you live, truly… elitism has more to do with your attitudes than it does with where you live).

And this is all simply “cultural pushback” from the in-your-face-ism of the Obama years. You Leftists way overplayed your hand. So now you are dealing with the consequences of your abject condescension towards folks who did not and do not believe as you do.

Because of this you have no credibility to criticize President Trump. You told us that John McCain was crazy and senile and dangerous for the country…and now we have a President with a stated fondness for nukes.

You told us that Mitt Romney (!!) was an awful, despicable human being who was greedy and would further destroy our economy…and now we have a President whose character rivals Bill Clinton and who is itching to start a Trade War which WILL ACTUALLY destroy our economy.

Thanks, Leftists!

The problem, as I said, is that you have no credibility to legitimately criticize anything Trump does. Whatever you say will (sometimes rightly, sometimes unfairly) be seen as the same type of ignorant hyperbole that you have been spewing for years against anyone who dared to disagree with you.

Further complicating things is that those of us who actually do have the credibility to criticize the President are – quite literally – stuck in the middle. We will be called sycophants by you Leftists if we point out a good decision or action that the Administration makes. AND Trump’s supporters will lump us in with you whining folks on the Left if we dare speak out against any bad ideas that come out of the Administration.

I could not support Trump in the Primaries…and I did not vote for him in the general election. But that doesn’t mean that everything he says and does over the next 4 to 8 years (as a side note, I believe he already rolled out his potential re-election slogan: “Keep America Great”. Chutzpah, moxie, and narcissism  are strong with this one) is automatically a “bad thing”.

Keep some perspective.

Realize that there is more than one valid way to approach our problems. We tried to fix everything with hyper-Leftism over the past 8 years…and quite frankly, it was a colossal failure. Now it is time to try some new approaches. Trump’s will be a mixture of Nationalism and Populism with a few Conservative ideas skating around the edges.

I am wary of the Nationalism and Populism… but am excited to see *some* Conservative ideas actually put into action.

My prediction has been that Trump’s tenure will be a mixed bag. But if he continues to be willing to take a big picture look at governing (for example, at a press conference today, he mentioned that he would allow Secretary of Defense Mattis to overrule him about using torture – even though Trump personally thinks it works) we could actually see some improvements in this country.

I guess, overall, my point to the Leftists (or even to people who don’t consider themselves to be Left Wing) out there who are intent on decrying everything that Trump says or does is simple… “Stop being ridiculous”.

If that is harsh, I apologize…but you folks need a little tough love.

He wasn’t my choice, but he is the President. (see this great article which made some good points about the failings of the phrase “My President”…)

If he actually does something harmful, I will say so.

If he does something good, I will say so.

Won’t you join me in a more reasonable approach to civics?”

Besides desiring to be a little less harsh in tone, I think I still generally agree with that one…and could have posted it (after toning down the ineffective snark), I suppose… but simply neglected to. Instead, I found and posted a (better written) article that was saying the same sorts of things  – about the fact that we should simply speak up for the good things that come from this administration and speak out against the bad things.

And, speaking of bad things… how about that hackneyed Immigration/Refugee Executive Order.

Here was my attempt to comment on that disaster about a week after it was released (again, unedited from my first crack at it)…

“President Trump (like Candidate Trump, like Reality Star Trump, like B(m?)illionaire Playboy Trump) is nothing if not divisive.

And so, for the past week we have been told that his Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees is either the single most evil thing anyone who has ever lived has done OR it is absolutely necessary and if you don’t agree than you hate America…and puppies!

We are left with little rational middle ground.

As with most things, the truth does lie somewhere in the middle, and…yes… maybe it is a little bit of both (and of course, neither at the same time).

I highly urge you to head to National Review or The Federalist and read the many reasonable takes on this EO. Look for David French and Dan McLaughlin in particular. And also REALLY check out what Lyman Stone wrote at The Federalist. I would provide links…but I don’t want to give you a fish. Take the pole and go fish for yourselves… you will thank me later.

I will borrow the closing paragraph from Lyman Stone’s piece (called “Here’s What Trump’s Immigration Order Says And How It Needs To Be Fixed”, seriously…go look it up and read it right now!) to give you a taste of some excellent analysis:

“Keeping Americans safe must always be the first priority for any president. But while that desire for safety is understandable, it does not excuse an executive order that is simply not well thought out. We need our leaders to be wise, not just aggressive, in tackling our national challenges. This EO can be fixed, it should be fixed, it is not even that hard to fix, if the administration truly wants to keep Americans safe and display to the world the strength of the American way.”

Mr. Stone goes piece by piece through the actual EO and explains the problems or virtues of each section (and what should be done to fix the problems).

One of the biggest issues with the EO has been that the actual text has not always matched what was happening “on the ground”.

That is a result of this thing being hastily written and then rolled out before it had any kind of internal legal (or just plain common sense) review. This was a huge misstep for President Trump’s administration and it cannot be understated how bad this makes them look.

I tend to read the insider baseball stuff on the inner workings of politics (so you don’t have to) and the scuttlebutt is that this EO and its failed roll out have the fingerprints of Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller all over it. These guys are Trump’s main political advisors. Think Karl Rove and Valerie Jarrett on Nationalist steroids. Bannon is basically all of the old Leftist caricatures of Karl Rove…but actually for real. And Miller appears to be a young Bannon flunky.

Two, there always are… a Master and an Apprentice.

But, seriously, Bannon’s ideology is nothing less than dangerous because of the power he now has.

If one has any legitimate complaint about President Trump it would be that he is listening to and elevating Steve Bannon.

George W. Bush famously banned Karl Rove from National Security Council Meetings because he (rightly) believed that Politics and political concerns had no place in matters of national security.

In defiance of decency and right-thinking, President Trump has actually appointed Bannon to the NSC. So it is possible we will see more national security missteps, on par with the recent EO kerfluffle, in the future.

No doubt there is an ideological battle going on within the White House right now. It should be stated that this is apparently exactly the way Trump likes it. His preferred management style is to have two or more opposing forces battle to the death in order to gain his approval. (Figuratively, of course, though…I do get the feeling Trump would be quite at home in a box seat at the Roman Colosseum).

We saw this play out in the Primaries and the Campaign…as Trump set Cory Lewandowski and Paul Manafort against each other and let them duke it out until Cory was forced out. And then, Bannon came in and pushed out Manafort

Right now the battle for Trump’s political soul is being waged by Bannon/Miller and Reince Priebus/Mike Pence

Reince Priebus and other more reasonable voices appear to be losing this battle at the moment.

In any case… the point is that this EO was just a bad deal all around.

There is no virtue in defending it simply because its stated purpose is to “keep American’s safe”.

If it doesn’t actually do that, it really doesn’t make sense to keep defending it.

And on the other hand… though it is not particularly wise or just (or even remotely competent), it is perfectly legal and Constitutional. It could stand to be a little more reasonable… but it is not the.worst.thing.ever.

So… everyone vociferously defending it as written and rolled-out: Stop.

AND: everyone crying about as some unspeakable evil: Stop.

Both of youse need to chill a little.

The Federal Government has the authority (and DUTY!) to control our borders…which means, they can set the policies as to who comes in and out. In modern times, this authority is kind of muddled between the Executive and Legislative branches…but that is an argument for another day.

The problem is that this particular EO seems to be ignorant of our current policies/situations (and the rushed roll out caused so many unforced errors that it has made the administration look highly incompetent)

Bottom line… it is a crappy execution of a reasonable (and right) idea.

The EO needs to be fixed.

But, let’s be reasonable about it.”

Again, I think I still mainly agree with this one. I just waited too long to publish it and felt like it was a day late and a dollar short (though, I suppose it is now weeks late and a few hundred dollars short).

There is still a lot of fighting going on about this one. But Lyman Stone’s take still (to me) appears to be the best.

And now…lastly… this is my latest effort (again, in draft form). This is one I want to develop fully… but couldn’t decide if it was worth trying to finish is one (overly) long piece (like the monster you are currently reading skimming ignoring) or try to break it up into multiple posts and treat it like an ongoing series.

I will put the first bit here and ask for some feedback…

““ Trump is not…/Trump is…”

I fully agree with the assessment that the information and analysis we are currently receiving about what is happening in this country is almost worthless.

As someone has said, it is as though we are being told two different stories by two different unreliable narrators.  Those two being the Trump Administration and certain sites like Breitbart on one side and Democratic politicians and the vast majority of the rest of the media on the other side.

Perhaps the best thing we can do in our current situation is to take a step back, check our emotions as well as our own biases, and use our better judgment.

This isn’t easy, of course. Basically, we prefer to latch on to any meme or video or article which supports our own point of view. (Guilty as charged…though, I tend to avoid memes and videos – for the reason I will further explore below: they are unreliable, even if ostensibly “true”).

But, we ignore the inconsistencies in our own arguments and refuse to even acknowledge the good arguments coming from the other direction (which, even if they don’t refute our position, should still force us to thoroughly examine and perhaps even reconsider pieces of our own logic and rationale).

For all the flack Kellyanne Conway received for making the statements about “alternative facts”… the truth is that such things do exist. And as several articles have pointed out (even ones from a more Leftist standpoint): alternative facts are not the same thing as lies.

You see, when we say “facts” as it relates to political argument (I was going to say “discussion”, but, sadly, no one seems to have the courage to discuss these things any more without getting angry, condescending, and spiteful) we are generally referring to figures and statistics.

The problem is that while yes – on their own – these figures, statistics, and facts might be true – they are most often strung together in a way that can be misleading. They leave out the “alternative facts” which – while also true – do not support the point that a particular meme or Facebook video is trying to make.

The other thing I see most often in these (mostly online) arguments is a tendency of folks to simply draw the wrong conclusions because they have bought into one narrative over the other and apparently feel obligated to stick to that set of biases no matter the cost to their own sanity or credibility.

It is on that front that I wanted to start a discussion (truly, not an argument) about clarifying some things and looking at all the facts (alternative ones included!) to try and push past the incorrect assumptions that are flying out there.

So, I decided to approach that project in the simplest way I could come up with: Contrasting what President Trump and his administration ARE NOT with some general observations about what they ARE.

Here is the first example… I will list an IS NOT followed by an IS and follow-up with (hopefully) brief elaborations.

Trump IS NOT a conservative.

Trump IS an unusual hybrid of Nationalist, Corporatist, and Populist – all at the same time.

Your mileage may vary as to the definition of conservatism. But, there are many different “strains” of conservatism and Trump doesn’t seem to consistently hold to any of them. I prefer to look at conservatism as a worldview and temperament rather than a rigid set of particular political beliefs. And, certainly, Trump is no Burke. But, even if your conservatism hews closer to what I would call Modern American Political Conservatism (MAPC), you will have trouble identifying Trump as such.

MAPC would generally follow the 3-legged stool model: Social Conservatism, Fiscal Conservatism, and National Security Conservatism.

We can quickly tackle each one to prove Trump seems to be a completely different political animal.

Social Conservatism: To his credit, Trump appears to have truly been converted into an advocate for the Pro-Life cause. His administration as a whole also appears to be geared towards promoting Life for unborn children. This is, of course, a good thing (for everyone…but it is a welcome change to Pro-Life folks from the cold, calculated, and nearly methodical efforts to kill as many babies as possible that the previous administration was awash in). **And I note here that this may sound harsh and full of bias, but while mere politics is not ultimately important, Life is always worth fighting for…and fighting hard!**

However, Trump is very (VERY) supportive of LGBT arguments. (Which makes it so ridiculous for people from that community to be protesting Trump. He is a stated friend of your cause). He has specifically said he will leave in place a certain Obama EO which is troubling to religious social conservatives.  The EO basically has the effect potentially barring religious organizations from contracting with the federal government if they hold to their religious beliefs about sexuality and gender. (Not in so many words… but that is the clear effect).

Trump’s “comfortableness” with the LGBT community is not borne out of some activist element in his heart. It is simply of a piece with his general ethos regarding human sexuality. Remember, this is a man who once said that sleeping around was like his “personal Vietnam” implying that he felt lucky and brave to have never contracted a venereal disease.

Suffice it to say, the man seems to be a bit of a libertine when it comes to sexual issues. So, it is not so much that he is a champion of special rights for LGBT folks…but more that he simply doesn’t care about those issues and takes a kind of hyper-libertarian approach to them. (Which, after the Obama years and all the developments in that area, basically amounts to tacit support of the new status quo).

President Trump is not especially concerned with socially conservative issues (apart from the very important one of supporting Life). Because of this, he can’t really be termed a social conservative.

Fiscal Conservatism President Trump is most certainly not a fiscal conservative. And to my knowledge he never even claimed to be one. The President seems to believe in governmental intervention in the marketplace. He wants to be able to pick and choose winners in certain industries (which makes him more of a Corporatist). And his instinct runs towards economic protectionism and this weird kind of neo-mercantilism, so Fiscal Conservative is not a label which can be applied to him.

Federal incentives are already questionable to a fiscal conservative…but President Trump drops all pretense and goes whole hog for actual subsidies and government intervention.”

And, the idea is to go on a little further on Fiscal Issues and try to describe President Trump’s proclivities towards a kind of protectionist/ “economic nationalist” (Bannon’s term) set of view points.

Then of course to round it out with the President’s all-over-the-map National Security positions. (No easy task trying to figure out where the guy stands on things like this).

Then, after the discussion about Conservatism versus whatever it is that our President believes, future installments could delve into other IS NOT/ BUT IS topics (in an effort to better the national conversation)

So… if you waded through all of that… what say you?

2 thoughts on “The Tomunist Resurgence

  1. Tom, I wish you had a bigger platform so your thoughts could be heard by more people. You continue to amaze me in the way you capture both sides of am issue and acknowledge that, indeed we live in a world with two sides to virtually every issue. I wish some of your recommendations could be heard and implemented by both sides of our national issues. Such as, listening to the other side and not just discounting what is said because “they” said it. So many good ideas are missed because people are just not listening and thinking at the same time. I think of the Poem called “Desiderata” that speaks of a wisdom that we all need to hear again. Good job, thanks for the insight. Dave


    1. Thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement. This has always seemed to be my niche in political discussions. If I tone down the snarkiness, I used to be able to get both sides talking. Things have polarized even further since those old days (circa the ancient year of 2007)…But, maybe there is still hope. I will try and encourage folks to discuss these things with dignity and respect…whether they listen to me or not is out of my hands…But at least, I will have tried. ☺


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s