Day: January 8, 2016

What if the worst happens?

By MICHAEL GERSON   What if the worst happens? The worst does not mean the nomination of Ted Cruz, in spite of justified fears of political disaster. Cruz is an ideologue with a message perfectly tuned for a relatively small minority of the electorate. Uniquely in American politics, he has made his reputation by being roundly hated by his colleagues —apparently a prerequisite for a certain kind of anti-establishment conservative, but unpromising for an image makeover at his convention. Cruz’s nomination would represent the victory of the hard right—religious right and tea party factions—within the Republican coalition. After he loses, the ideological struggles within the GOP would go on. No, the worst outcome for the party would be the nomination of Donald Trump. It is impossible to predict where the political contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton would end up. Clinton has manifestly poor political skills and Trump possesses a serious talent for the low blow. But Trump’s nomination would not be the temporary victory of one of the GOP’s ideological factions. It would involve the replacement of the humane ideal at the center of the party and its history. If Trump were the nominee, the GOP would cease to be. Whatever your view of Republican politicians, the aspiration, the self-conception, of the party was set by Abraham Lincoln: human dignity, honored by human freedom and undergirded by certain moral...

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Is war the only response to N. Korea?

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is just about as entertaining as our nation’s lineup of presidential candidates. Several of these guys on the American stump want to go to war as soon as they’re in the White House and that’s what Kim’s saying, too.  Does this mean that if one of our “hawks” is elected that we’ll be at war with North Korea early next year? Stand by for details in 2017. The war torch was lit again by Kim on New Year’s day when he announced he is again ready for war. That is, he’s ready for war if provoked by “invasive” outsiders. While our presidential contenders are foretelling war as their first order of business, Kim’s been at his war blustering since 2011 when he took over after his ruthless papa, Kim Il Jung, passed.  He has all along wanted to increase “in every way the political and military might” of his small nation. The other day, his raves and rants went on for a 30-minute televised broadcast. Kim has made many war threats.  In fact, just last October, in a speech marking the 70-year founding of the ruling Workers’ Party, Kim said he was prepared if necessary to wage war against the U.S. That’d be some war, perhaps lasting an even shorter time than the U.S. war when U.S. forces kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Depending, of course, on whether conventional or non-conventional might is used, it’d be predictably short. It would, nevertheless,...

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