SURRENDERING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT? — PART 1

In our day we are sadly caught in a trap generations the making.  That’s one reason on Saturday we nominated the Republican Party’s Establishment candidate.

Ed Gillespie, a former advisor to Mitt Romney and chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been selected by the GOP to be their candidate for the Senate race in Virginia.

Mr. Gillespie will face off against Senator Mark Warner, an incumbent Democrat and former governor who is serving his first term in Congress.

“He’s got the resources and I think he’s got some name recognition,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

Mr. Gillespie is an “establishment choice” with a “broad base” of support, the kind of candidate the GOP seems to have been favoring in the most recent primaries, Mr. Tobias said.  (continued here)

So why is Ed Gillespie a bad choice for the Republican Party? As an attendee of the convention, I could tell I was in the right place. I always find plenty of people who share my political views at a Republican convention. Yet these folks knowingly chose The Establishment’s candidate. Why?

The Sin of Partiality

What do I mean by The Establishment? That is something I wrote about in this series: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CHALLENGE THE ESTABLISHMENT — PART 1. So I won’t try to define the expression, “The Establishment,” again.

Why did the folks at a Republican convention vote for the Establishment’s candidate? There are a number of reasons.  In this post, we will consider the moral issue. In the following verse the Apostle James speaks to the sin of partially.

James 2:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Sin of Partiality

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.

I suppose I some will read the passage above and call me an arrogant Bible thumper, but the passage above is not just about me, you, or even Gillespie. That passage condemns humanity’s ignorance and stupidity.

Think about what James is saying. He does not call being rich evil. He just observes men too often become rich and powerful by doing evil things. Nonetheless, because of their “success,” James observes that even the victims of the rich honor the rich. Therefore, James condemns our tendency to judge others by surface appearances.

Have Americans always “honored” the rich? Imagine Abraham Lincoln. We consider Honest Abe one of our greatest presidents. Could Lincoln be elected today (see The Net Worth Of The American Presidents: Washington To Obama). Was Lincoln an effective fund raiser? Would any honest man be an effective fundraiser? To be effective, what promises does an “effective” fundraiser have to make? What do we think of the deals our politicians have been making lately? Congress is popular, right?

Posts To Come

  • Are The Rich Robbing America?
  • Do Establishment Republicans Keep Their Promises?

 

 

20 thoughts on “SURRENDERING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT? — PART 1

  1. Great point. Hadn’t thought about partiality from a spiritual perspective. We get what we deserve in politics. It’s a business. Until we have a Revolutionary Season to unseat enough incumbents to restore the Constitution we’re going to have the guys who work their way up the GOP business ladder.

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    1. Thanks.
      I wish I could claim some profound insight, but it just came together. I attend a Bible study group that is going through the Epistle of James. When I read that passage, and I heard what various people had said both for and against Gillespie’s nomination, this post just came together.

      I enjoyed meeting you in Roanoke. Hopefully, the next time we meet we will have more time to chat.

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  2. Hi Tom,

    I have to agree with you. This truly is a trap that we have gradually dug for ourselves. It seems like many times, the only thing that matters in politics is winning. The morality of a candidate, their view on the issues or even their lifestyle really has become insignificant compared to their capability of winning for their respective party. As long as they can win… he’s our man!

    It is a sad state of affairs in which we live. In my own opinion, this is due to the whole “political party mindset”. If there were no political parties, there would be a greater desire to vote based upon a person’s credentials and views. Once in office, they would have a tendency to be only concerned about the people as a whole instead of always doing what is best “for the party”. We seen the results of the political party mindset and sadly, I see no end in sight..

    Lord bless you Tom. Thanks for consistently pointing out issues that need to be examined!

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    1. I do agree that part of our nation’s political problems come from the “political party mindset”. When some of the convention speakers, like the Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, insisted that we should put being a Republican ahead of being a Conservative or being with the Tea Party movement, I thought that stupidly self-serving.

      George Washington had no use for political parties, but they seem to be a necessary part of a republic. Unfortunately, the two parties we have right now have contrived to prevent the formation of a viable third party. That is whenever we vote for a third party, the two major parties have fixed things so we feel like we are throwing our vote away. Moreover, the incumbents have fixed matters such that the major parties have little control over them. And both these things are largely the result of primary elections.

      Again, I appreciate your support and blessings. In reality saving souls is more important than what I do. I just point out some sinful political behavior. You help people do something about it. You help those who want to to read and understand God’s Word.

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  3. On Lincoln, just some thoughts being someone that has grown in the shadow of Springfield and the lore of Lincoln, I can attest that the manipulation was still present in Lincoln’s day. I’m sure you all know that William H. Seward for all practical purposes was the “establishment” pick for sometime;however, the party decided on Lincoln because they knew they had the votes to ensure their party obtain the White House and figured they could simply play puppet master on their party puppet Lincoln who was suppose to be nothing more than a backwoods hick. As one should note Lincoln lost the Senate seat of IL twice. However Lincoln was not the push over that they figured him for, and the rest is history.

    So the question that remains in a party system is our only hope being that the parties’ plans end up blowing up in their face ?

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    1. It may be correct that some folks in the Republican Party thought Lincoln would be more controllable than Seward, Phadde2, but I think the larger problem for Seward was lingering concern that his “irrepressible conflict” phrase would hurt his electability in the general election. Seward was certainly the front-runner, but, by not getting over the nomination threshold in the early balloting, his support began to erode. Lincoln had shrewdly positioned himself to be a second choice who had broad support as a second choice. The front-runners like Seward and Chase tended to have supporters who were very partisan for their candidates, and who, consequently, wouldn’t deviate to the other guy when early pledges dried up. So Lincoln could emerge in that context. It also helped a bit that the Convention was in Chicago. I think Seward might have carried the day if the Convention had been held in New York.

      Who knows, really? These are just speculations on my part. To the extent that people thought Lincoln was controllable, they sure misjudged him, didn’t they. This happened time and time again around Lincoln. Seward’s later remark that Lincoln was “master of us all” is extremely significant, given Seward’s many gifts and not so small self-regard.

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      1. Thanks for the reply scout, what I was trying to illustrate here was the history connected to the lore, as the lore is rampant in these parts. Team of Rivals explains the voting at the Chicago convention masterfully and also what led up to it. I remember Kearns focusing on the “higher law” speech a lot being perspective tipping point for Seward.

        At any rate my question still stands, if we want to get around the party politics, would it be just from electing someone that either party thought would tow the party line but decided not so much ?

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        1. You never know how people are going to react once they attain office. The process of obtaining the office seems to me to me more and more divorced from what is required once someone has the office. To an extent this has always been the case, including in Lincoln’s day, but I feel like now the electioneering element and the governance element are even more segregated than ever before.

          You may be on to something that what is needed is a guy who, while realizing that he has to play the game to get elected, is completely ready to jettison the partisan posturing once in office and lead the people to sensible solutions that protect our heritage (apologies if that is an unfair paraphrase of your point – but I think I hear you saying something like that).

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        2. phadde2 – Do you really believe the end justifies the means? I think not, but that is certainly what scout’s interpretation of your “question” suggests.

          Consider. What is “partisan posturing?” Isn’t that an expression that people usually use in a very self-serving manner? To a Democrat, isn’t a Republican’s opposition to abortion, opposition to tax increases, and support for 2nd amendment rights “partisan posturing?” Don’t Democrats — and many Republicans — typically campaign as more Conservative than they actually happen to be and then drop the “partisan posturing” until the next election cycle? Do you really think that ethical? Then what makes you think it would be more ethical to campaign as an advocate for big government programs and then jettison that advocacy as mere “partisan posturing?”

          One other thing. Do you have any idea what scout means by this phrase: lead the people to sensible solutions that protect our heritage? Given how he had just guided you to the edge of an intellectual cliff, it may be unwise to assume you do.

          Anyway, for the sake of clarification, you may wish to express your opinion in this matter in your own words.

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        3. As far as I was concerned Scout and I were agreeing upon the means not the ends. I would surmise as well as
          Scout would as most likely that our ends are and away.

          Lincoln was not the puppet that those who had selected thought him to be so that he was able to utilize his skills as a superior statesmen to bridge the gap between rivals and accomplish his goals for this nation. Whether you agree with his agenda is another topic altogether. The only thing I believed Scout and I were discussing so far as I was concerned was methodology.

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        4. Even in Scout’s prose of partisan posturing actually labels all partisans therefore I was merely take.n him at his simple word, not believe he had any vindictive ulterior motive other than discussing the methods of Lincoln’s administration in light of those who run for office today.

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        5. Partisan posturing to myself is refraining from having civil conversation that could possibly lead to compromise. I agree that all should hold to principles but too many times people won’t even discuss matter that even allow them to get close to the foundation of their said principles.

          I’m regards to ethics and pretending to be big business to gain campaign favors and then turning. I grant you that you are a good Christian and so far as I can see an honest man, but in regards to ethics in with this situation how would that being any different than a spy during a war? Samuel Culper was extremely valuable pretending to be a Tory for the patriot cause but his principles were not defined by the honor code shaming spies.

          Again my points were merely to raise questions about methodology of politics.

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  4. When I read A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman, I found out quite a bit about William H. Seward. I think Foreman would probably agree with much of your assessment. Seward, she thought, did expect to play the puppet master. However, Foreman also observed that Lincoln won the nomination in spite of The Establishment’s and Seward’s desires.

    I don’t think the American public of our time is anywhere near as politically astute as Americans were in the years before the Civil War. Relative to us, those people had stronger characters, better understood what they believed, and were much more willing to fight for each others rights. In addition, they had relatively stronger state and local governments and a much more decentralized news media. Therefore, pre-Civil War Americans were not as easily deceived or manipulated.

    So what is our hope? To answer your question, I think it best to quote someone who was wiser than I will ever be.

    When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils, but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil. — (The Spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu)

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  5. Many things are truly wonderful today, but our nation’s politics is not one of them.
    Not any more.

    No, Lincoln couldn’t get elected today. But he’s in much the same boat as business owners who couldn’t start their businesses now. Or a prospective college student who wants to work their way through school, debt free. Neither are likely to happen.
    Too much regulation, too expensive, and all relative to the rules and expenses in place NOW. Even grading on a curve, the barriers are too high to get into the “game”.

    We have allowed the winners to set up higher walls to protect the “players” who are already in, and punish those who dare venture forward regardless.
    It’s not impossible, mind you. Lincoln COULD, possibly, make it. But he couldn’t do it the way he did before. Same with students and school.

    They’re each much, much harder than even 30 years ago. And I genuinely fear what 30 additional years will bring.

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    1. Without the experience of those previous decades, few find it possible to fully appreciate the stifling effect of our government. If nothing else, we remember when DC did not regulate the myriad things it does now. Who would have thought government would regulate the type of light bulb we can buy, how much water our toilet can flush at one time, or how we can finance a political campaign?

      And what do all those rules, regulations, and laws with all their accompanying fines, penalties, and prison terms do? It is as you say. They create barriers too high for an ordinary citizen to surmount and to get into the “game.” And that “unintended consequence” looks suspiciously like just exactly what was intended.

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  6. Never mind those above replies Tom, I wrote them on my phone at work and they lack any sort of coherency and are simply ramblings of thought. Here is my reply fully though out.

    The issue at hand is creating civil conversation without having to tiptoe around the ideal of political correctness with the scare of being labeled something by merely attempting to discuss matters. One shouldn’t have to worry about these things. My questions and comments are only motivated by raising certain questions and points to further the discussion. I am not advocating for any sort of consequentialism, what I am advocating for is being able to discuss the means as to finding solutions that seem to bog down real action through our government. I reject the notion of questioning my ethics based on recognizing the historical methods by which Lincoln operating and asking whether by design, chance, or luck does something similar have to happen to enact actually unity within the citizenry and government. Partisan posturing is nothing more than attempting to hang a fellow conservative for breaking “ranks” by merely agreeing on the points of said not what may or may not be implied.

    I suppose you’re of the opinion that it isn’t ethical to fool Big Business to gain campaign favors, and then actually serve your constituents, fair enough Tom. Like I said above you seem to be a fair and honest chap but with strict moral principle. However, I mentioned above such a Samuel Culper, Abraham Woodhull, pretending to be a Tory to serve the cause of the patriots; he provided intelligence for Washington’s army when spying was seen to be less than honorable. Did he not serve a purpose? Was he not useful? Does war then justify this type of action? If so, aren’t we in a bit of ideological warfare that you’re even implying that Scout is attempting to apply on myself?

    Scout and my conversation was one that merely served as a discussion of methodology in regards to politics. There’s a certain “ritual” that has been adopted to play the game so to speak to be relevant and electable; discussing how to play the game should not produce critiques on any persons ethics and principles as even you alluded to by mentioning, “Do you really believe the end justifies the means? I think not” You certainly know through writings and comments of my own that I do not prescribe any sort of consequentialism, it is merely mistaken for what is a principle of mine and that is pragmatism. We must search for what is practical, reasonable, and pragmatic; which I do believe is that ordained by constitutional government.

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  7. Well, I actually really only wished to discuss Abraham Lincoln and his methods on becoming and operating as President but after you comments Tom, I guess I have so much more to say.

    Overall Tom, this is what I am trying to avoid; a disunion of America. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-political-split-outgrows-voting-booth

    My ethics and my principles are also intertwined with “Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!” So what you may preserve to be myself wading out into the intellectual land mines of Scout, or the cliff as you put it. I am attempting to converse civilly about the methods of politics in a bipartisan fashion out of the want and need of an “United” States of America, my friend. Is Scout attempting mine myself? Perhaps, but extending the hand of friendship and unity even in civil disagreement of what partisans believe but hoping in agreement that one can unite truly unite partisans is worth the risk. Scout may have manipulative attentions as you pointed to but simply as he was vague I will simply just take him at his word rather than speculation, as it is already apparent through his comments on your blog, and my own that him and I are of two different belief systems.

    I am simply looking for ways of Peace.

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