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Dufus Goes to . . . South Carolina

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Carson Nails Domestic Situation –

Carson said running for president was not on his bucket list, but due to pressure from would-be constituents, he prayed, “If You really want me to do this, You have to open the doors, and I’ll walk through them.” Carson said the doors opened, and so he’s walking through them.

He attacked political correctness. “Secular progressives have beaten down the people who have common sense, who are the vast majority of Americans.” The progressives “don’t care whether you agree with them so long as you sit down and shut up.” But Carson said, “It’s time to stand up and shout out.”

Carson told of living in “dire poverty” after his parents divorced. He had to move in with relatives. He said detractors lodge, “Carson grew up in poverty. He probably benefited from some government programs, and now he wants to withdraw all the programs, and that’s hypocritical.” Carson said that was a “blatant lie” from people who “want to drive wedges.” He did not want to remove safety nets from those who honestly needed them. He wanted to offer “a ladder of opportunity so that people can climb out of dependency and become part of America.”

Detractors “try to paint conservatives as heartless and uncaring people, but I’ll tell you who’s heartless and uncaring are the people who pat everybody on their head and say, ‘There, there, you poor little thing. I’m gonna take care of all your needs and give you food stamps and housing subsidies and healthcare.’ And it makes them dependent on other people. That is not compassion. What it is is taking advantage of people and making them subject to you, and this is what we’ve got to change.”

In over thirty states, people get better pecuniary compensation from welfare than work, now. In the old days, people would work for the dignity, skills training, and relationship-building, even if the wages weren’t all that good, but now a “Why work?” attitude proliferates.

“If I were in charge right now of America, and I wanted to destroy it, I tell you what I would do,” said Carson. He then told of getting identity-politics groups to rise up in hatred against each other, running up the national debt, offering people all kinds of freebies and getting them dependent on welfare. Then, he would destroy the military, demoralize workers and veterans, let the infrastructure rot, defund research programs, . . . “Now, any resemblance to what’s going on now I’m sure is coincidental,” said he.

To cure the ills, Carson said he would not replace the 10,000 (of 4.1 million) federal employees who retire each year. “All 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies have fat, so I would call in the director of each one of them and say, ‘I want you to cut your budget by 2-3 percent or resign, whichever is easier for you – And cut it in a way the American people won’t feel it.’”

Cruz Cites Record –

Cruz gave a brief rundown of his priorities, and then paid tribute to the recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a Lion of the Law who loved the Constitution and freedom. Since the next president would nominate and appoint Scalia’s replacement, Cruz said two branches of the federal government, and the “very Bill of Rights,” now hung in the balance.

While serving as solicitor general in Texas, Cruz took a number of cases before the US Supreme Court that won with a narrow 5-4 vote. On behalf of a coalition of states, he worked to defend the federal ban on partial birth abortion. “We’re one liberal justice away from the Supreme Court striking down every meaningful restriction put on abortion over the last forty years.” It was not too much a stretch to foresee abortion legalized “unlimited, on-demand, until the moment of delivery, with taxpayer funding and no parental notification.”

In Heller v. the District of Columbia, he defended the Second Amendment before the US Supreme Court. The case was won 5-4, but Cruz cautioned the dissenting justices “didn’t say some gun control laws are occasionally permissible.” They said the Second Amendment, “does not protect any individual right whatsoever, merely a ‘collective right of the militia,’ which is essentially fancy lawyer talk for a non-existent right.” Had there been one more liberal justice, they would have “written the Second Amendment out of the Constitution. It would mean that the government could ban firearms and not a single person here would have any individual right to challenge that illegal ruling in court.”

Another case he argued, by a 5-4 vote allowed Texas to keep a monument to the Ten Commandments on the capitol grounds. “We’re one liberal justice away from the court mandating that Ten Commandment monuments be torn down in courthouses and city halls and public parks all over this country.”

Cruz kept it simple and didn’t brag about authoring 70 US Supreme Court briefs and presenting 43 oral arguments while in the post. However, the biggest case, he said, was Medellin v. Texas. Two little girls were killed after “unspeakable” abuse by a gang of what would now be called undocumented persons. In an ugly turn of events, the litigation led to the GW Bush administration supporting the claim that fifty-one illegals already serving time for similar murders be set free for failure to notify them of opportunities for legal aid from the Mexican consulate. “It was a strange position of Texas to argue against the United States when the president was a Texan, a Republican, a former governor of the state, and a friend,” he said. In the end, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that, “the United Nations and World Court have no authority whatsoever over the US justice system.”

Cruz said Democrats consistently nominate “left-wing, knee-jerk” justices, but “some of the worst judicial activists” had been Republican appointments. He named a few including the author of Roe v. Wade. He explained, “Too many Republicans don’t value the Constitution enough to spend political capital and confirm a real conservative. [They’ll claim] some other legislative priority, and so they’ll go with a stealth candidate, someone who’s never said or done anything, and has no paper trail.” Then, he said, “If you’ve lived 50 years of your life and you’ve never said or written anything to demonstrate you’re a conservative? Y’ain’t. And if by some miracle you are, maybe the Supreme Court of the United States is not the best place to find out.”

Both candidates referred voters to their web sites for more information on their tax plans. They also shared complaints about the current state of the military. Cruz, however went into details about building a strong defense to deter war, conducting decimating, targeted strikes as necessary. Unlike recent presidents, he recognized the president’s title of commander-in-chief Constitutionally applies only to the military. As such, he said he would have the back of all those engaged in combat and their loved ones.

The Biggest Takeaway –

Limbaugh, Gohmert, and Levin all cut with invective assaults on truth and liberty. They agreed with Carson that the time to shake off the shackles of political correctness is overdue. Kibbe said socialism was the worst of drugs infiltrating America and poisoning young minds. Limbaugh rattled off a litany of condemnations against creeping socialism, after which he added, “This is not hyperbole.” Levin’s comments were the fiercest. For example, he said he could give the State of the Union in three seconds and said the unprintable. Some took punk shots. People on- and off-stage would occasionally take to barking and/or coughing fits.

All presenters assumed those present understood economics. Free markets are principled markets. People should not be punished for their hard work, but they should have something to enjoy for it. Taxes and regulation punish innovation and productivity, and lavish welfare programs encourage loafing, which does nothing to find cures for cancer or even lower the price of comfortable furniture, for example.

The greatest takeaway, though, was that liberty is love. A leader who would protect liberty is the one who loves his people enough to let them succeed in their own ways, toward their own goals, and on their own schedules. If a leader loves his people, he will set them free. The law exists to keep one’s freedom off another’s body. Put together under limited government, America has prospered more than any nation in history.

Yet freedom fighters are always demonized by those whose power is threatened and their sycophants. As Carson said, they are beaten into submitting to the PC jargon that makes them apologists. Any form of government can look good on paper, but what the Founders tried to leave was protections against powermongers getting too much of what they wanted.

Other systems rule by force. National dictators are not known for their love and tolerance, but for imposed uniformity and erasure of personality. The common thread in horror flicks is loss of personal control.

Many participants came dressed for the occasion. A number wore Gadsden T-shirts. One wore a Gadsden scarf and a tricorn hat, which he oft held aloft as he cheered. An elderly Latino had rolled his Cruz sign into a megaphone through which he frequently shouted, “Cruz!” The most amazing sight, though, was all the distinguished and shriveled, silver-haired seniors smiling with contentment and hope in their eyes.

Offstage –

Entering South Carolina, the Master of the Green Triangle, a name disparagingly given to candidates who plant signs illegally on DOT property, was clearly Donald Trump. Jeb Bush took a far and away second. Some folks had shoe-polished Cruz messages on their cars, and three large Cruz signs were spotted on private property.

The Cruz bus stopped at Mutt’s BBQ in Easley, and so did Dufus’ driver. The place was so packed, several people had to stand outside. Through a front window, Dufus spied an open door in the back, and was allowed to walk over AV wires where techies were standing on baby boosters and other rigs of makeshift restaurant gear to get a better view. From the back, the speakers were observable on cell phones held aloft by TV babies.

Cruz shared his now-familiar promises for EXACTLY what he will do his first and second day in office. He would “repeal every word of Obamacare,” rescind all other illegal and un-Constitutional actions taken by the current executive, instruct the DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood and prosecute where appropriate, direct the DOJ and IRS to cease persecution for the exercise of religious liberty, and cancel the Iran arms deal.

Most memorable were Cruz’ kind words for Mike Lee (R-UT), who stayed with him during the Obamacare filibuster to pose long questions whenever Cruz’ voice began to fail. Cruz told how he and Lee, as a habit, would read the Constitution and the Bible together. After a canned speech, Cruz opened the floor for questions “to answer or dodge.” Most of the questions were rather routine and predictable, but one youngster, who appeared to have a touch of antagonism, asked what he planned to do about “illegal fracking.” Cruz didn’t know what he was talking about and after some back and forth determined he was talking about any fracking. Unintimidated, Cruz told the youth what he knew he didn’t want to hear: Fracking has been going on for years, and when it comes to energy independence, he was in favor of “all of the above.”

Unlike candidates who perform with standard gestures for the masses, Cruz was clearly present, aware of individual people in the audience, responding to them and interacting meaningfully. Even the Invisible Dufus knew her presence had been acknowledged more than once. After the event, Cruz hung around to exchange a few sentences and take photos with everybody in line; which is to say hundreds.

Carson was the only candidate Dufus caught in the convention’s media room. His bearing was familiar, kind, and gentle, like a sweet little grandpa. He stood as he does on TV, with his hands folded and his eyes closed, occasionally raising his eyebrows. Opening comments concerned welcoming a chance to define himself rather than being defined and focusing on policies instead of personalities.

Reporters asked him to weigh in on some of the hot-button issues of the day, like the pope’s calling into question the Christianity of wall-builders. At least three times, he indicated he “was not one who jumps into the fray.” As for Obama going to Cuba, he started, “He’s certainly welcome to go to Cuba,” and finished saying that is not what he would do or support. On the subject of reaching across the aisle, he said, “Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I’d like to hear an explanation.”

Hannity was a showboat and a ham on stage, throwing his microphone in the air and swiftly snatching it before dashing out and impersonating Hillary Clinton. But backstage, he stood up well to adversarial fishing expeditions. He fielded questions for a long time. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” he said of campaign shenanigans. He made it clear that Fox News does not tell him what to say. He is a news analyst and he speaks his views, but he was not going to endorse anybody because he needed to keep the door open for all candidates so his viewers and listeners can make up their own minds. He stood his ground as a registered Constitutionalist and practicing Christian. He didn’t speak like a political Christian, but as a humble sinner who knew his Bible and loved his Lord. He, too, was very good at interacting with people on an individual basis, disarming adversity, effortlessly making antagonism bow to unwavering truth. Most impressive was the clarity and intelligence in his eyes.

Where’s Waldo?

The day after the event, media reports were still conflicted over what happened to Rubio, and they were largely contradicting on-the-ground information. Malkin had told the crowd after the show that Rubio tried, but couldn’t make it. The show was delayed because Malkin herself, like Dufus, had gotten hung up in traffic. Media reports said Rubio had tried until five minutes before his presentation to work out a conflict. But before the event started, the staffer who was letting members of the press know when this or that person would be making themselves available had shared that nobody from the Rubio entourage would be appearing.

Some reports said Rubio was turned away because the audience was clearly Cruzed. It seemed half the people had Cruz signs, and they cheered like crazy whenever he appeared on ads run between speakers. CR staffers denied the event was Cruzed, despite glowing praise from a number of key speakers. They said they had comped 500 tickets to the Rubio campaign. Both Rubio and Gowdy, who endorsed him, were scheduled, with bios, in the printed programs, but neither made it to the show. Some outlets alleged a third person from the Rubio camp also skipped out, but no third dude had ever been scheduled. Invitations had been extended to all six remaining Republican candidates.

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