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Thursday, January 17, 2019

What To Do About Steve King?

Friends, the Republican Party and the conservative movement face a dilemma in dealing with outspoken "nationalists" like Steve King and Donald Trump.  Sometimes their rhetoric is widely condemned as "racist".  That's par for the course, and often these allegations are trumped up nonsense, but sometimes Republicans have to disassociate themselves from obviously offensive views.  The latest case is that of Steve King and his comments to the New York Times. (Note to self: NEVER, EVER talk to the New York Times.)  In my latest article, you'll find my take on how Republicans and conservatives should and shouldn't respond.

Stripping Rep. Steve King of His Committee Assignments is a Mistake

Iowa Congressman Steve King has been widely and rightly condemned for his recent remark questioning the offensiveness of “white supremacy”, “white nationalism”, and “Western Civilization”. From the context of his statement, and based on his strong denials, we can interpolate that King is not a white supremacist, nor did he intend to express support for white supremacism, but his wording in the fateful New York Times interview was nonetheless careless and, well, offensive. 
The GOP is right, therefore, to distance itself from this sort of racist rhetoric – rhetoric that frankly flourishes on the Left, where it invariably involves the demonization of white people and attracts little media interest. The hypocrisy of Democrats and liberals notwithstanding, the Republican Party is a party that believes in equality under the law, human rights, respect, and non-racialism. Indeed, one of the chief problems with King's statement was the fact that he grouped “white supremacy” and “Western Civilization” together. As an instructor in Western Civilization classes and as the author of a Western Civilization textbook, I know as well as anyone that Western Civ is not defined by white domination and racism; on the contrary, the true legacy of the West is our increasing acceptance of the dignity and rights of all people, regardless of race and other factors. King apparently needs to be reminded of this, and so the GOP should do its best to enlighten him.

Had Republicans in Congress merely lent their support to the motion to rebuke Rep. King for his offensive comments, they would have been in the right. Had the Republican National Committee or the Iowa Republican Party decided to expel King, that too would have been a legitimate, if extreme, course of action, consistent with the freedom of speech and freedom of association which Republicans have a right to exercise.

Unfortunately, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who leads Republicans in the House of Representatives, decided to take a different approach. He stripped Steve King of his committee assignments – specifically, his positions on the House Judiciary Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Small Business Committee. I strongly disagree with this decision, just as I strongly disagree with King's wrongheaded interpretation of Western values.

Late in 2018, House Republicans decided to deny two re-elected Republican members of Congress any committee assignments. These Congressmen were Chris Collins of New York and Duncan Hunter of California. The reason was that both men are under indictment for serious crimes. Now Kevin McCarthy has apparently decided to expand the list of reasons why a Republican Congressman can be kicked out of all committees. Steve King is to suffer the same fate – not because he committed a crime, not because he is accused of committing a crime, but simply because he said something that many people deem to be offensive. 

This is a terrible precedent to set for the obvious reason: who shall decide in future which remarks are sufficiently offensive to merit similar punishment? McCarthy has set House Republicans on a slippery slope. Undoubtedly there will be more calls – mainly from the Left – to strip more Republicans, and perhaps eventually most or even all of them, of their committee assignments, or even to expel them from Congress, because of statements that certain people find objectionable. We must not forget that, for many leftists, every Republican and every Trump supporter is presumed to be a racist. McCarthy's policy is thus not sustainable, and nor is it right, for two key reasons.

First, no American should be punished simply for stating his views, no matter how offensive they may be. The growing view, especially in academia, that offensive speech is something that must be suppressed, and that voices outside the (left-leaning) mainstream should be silenced, is not one to which Republicans should subscribe. Moreover, if they choose to placate the advocates of intolerance in one case, they will find that the demands for further concessions will be unending. One day, Republicans and conservatives could find themselves kneeling like supplicants at the high altar of political correctness, as Democrats already do, and that would be a tragedy and a national disgrace.

The second and even more important reason why Rep. King's committee assignments should be restored is that service on such committees is a vital function of Congressional representatives. Whether you like Steve King or not, the people of northwestern Iowa elected and re-elected him to the United States Congress. They did so because they wanted him to represent them, not only in votes on the floor of the House, but in Congressional committees, where many of the most important decisions are made about the future of our country. Arguably, therefore, stripping King of his committee assignments punishes his constituents, who are guilty of no offense whatsoever, more effectively than it punishes King himself. This is a travesty and an abrogation of the basic principles of American democracy. Simply put, Steve King may or may not be a Republican in good standing, but he is a United States Congressman, and he should receive all the powers and perquisites attached to that high office.

Let us hope that Minority Leader McCarthy will reconsider his penchant for shunning those members of his caucus who embarrass the GOP. There are other, better ways to reproach and discipline a member of Congress than by expelling him or her from all committees. 

When the House Republicans come to their senses, they should offer Reps. Collins, Hunter, and King committee assignments consonant with their experience and interests. After all, the democratic rights of the people who elected these representatives in the first place are on the line.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Radio Free Waddy is Back on the Air...Bringing Hope to Millions

Friends, our great leader is hard at work -- battling Congressional Democrats, fighting for trade fairness, and even ordering from Mickey D's in legendary fashion -- and now that I'm back in town, Brian O'Neil and I have been able to discourse on all the latest developments.  This week's Newsmaker interview focuses on the fraught politics of Brexit, the Democratic Party's flirtation with socialism and its cynical appeals to class warfare, and the ongoing media/FBI/Congressional/deep state inquisition against President Trump.  We also cover the denouement of the Cold War. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Neverending Shutdown?

Friends, I'm back from my travels, and I can report one thing for sure: it's warmer in the Caribbean than it is in Western New York.  Arguably, though, this is old news, so let's move on to current events...

The shutdown grinds on.  This isn't a big surprise, because the Democrats seem determined to prevent President Trump from scoring a political victory on the Wall.  In the short term, it appears that more Americans blame Trump for the shutdown than blame Congressional Democrats -- hardly shocking, given the media's anti-Trump hysterics.  Support for the Wall is up, however, and Trump shows no sign of cracking.  Good! 

You may have heard that some conservatives are urging President Trump to declare an emergency at the border, and appropriate funds for wall construction based on his emergency powers.  That would invite a lawsuit, naturally, but since everything Trump does or says incurs the wrath of leftist lawyers, the idea has merit and should be strongly considered.  Would a future Democratic President potentially misuse his own emergency powers?  You bet!  But he/she will do that anyway, so in my view Trump should do whatever it takes to build the Wall.  The ideal, of course, is a legislative solution.  We needn't give up on Plan A, therefore, at least not yet.

Below you'll find a Washington insider's perspective on how the shutdown may make streamlining government and firing useless bureaucrats somewhat easier.  His arguments are persuasive.  Assuming Trump's poll numbers hold reasonably firm -- and so far the movement has been slight -- there may be some very good (unanticipated) reasons to keep the shutdown going.  I say: stay the course, Mr. President!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Bon Voyage -- To Me!

Friends, next week I'll be on a fact-finding mission to the Caribbean, so I'll be mighty scarce.  My hope is that the Democrats won't impeach and remove President Trump in my absence -- although they're awfully pro-active and motivated, so we can't be 100% sure.  I'll chance it, though.  Stay strong, stay skeptical, and I look forward to more great conversations upon my triumphant return...

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Democrats: Sore Losers

Friends, my latest article focuses on the growing tendency among Democrats to reject the integrity of the democratic process.  The logical corollary is that Democrats and liberals increasingly reject the outcome of any election that they lose -- and they accuse Republicans of "cheating".  We've only seen the beginnings of this strategy, I fear.  The race for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020, and the presidential race itself, will be replete with accusations of "voter suppression", "foreign meddling", "collusion", and general cheating, if my hunch is right.  It could get ugly, folks!  Gird yourselves.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show with me and Brian O'Neil is a humdinger!  We cover the biggest political story of 2018...and the likely top stories of 2019.  Get a sneak peek while you can!  In addition, Brian and I have an extensive discussion of the dynamics of the Cold War, in light of our country's recent decision to leave the battlefield in Syria.

In other news, here's some great reporting on how we got here, and by "here" I mean to a place where there is a special prosecutor investigating non-existent Trump-Russia collusion, and half the country thinks the President of the United States is a traitor.  Spoiler alert: it ain't Trump's fault!

Lastly, here's more detail on the sexual harassment allegations swirling around the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign.  Sounds to me like recruiting feminists to any presidential campaign is a recipe for disaster!  Even Bernie isn't safe from their ravages, for heaven's sake.  Then again, maybe the real message in all this is far simpler: the New York Times just doesn't care for Bernie Sanders.  That wouldn't come as a shock.  The Times undoubtedly wants an electable moderate to become the Democratic candidate in 2020.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

1 + 1 = Racism!!!

Friends, as you are doubtless aware, "racism" isn't what it used to be.  Today's snowflakes are capable of discovering racism and other "isms" in the most unlikely places.  Take this article, for example.  It's about the drive to re-conceptualize mathematics in South Africa (and elsewhere) to make it less...Eurocentric and phallocentric.  The basic thrust of the proposed changes is to make social justice propaganda an integral part of mathematics education.  Great idea, right?  And this is just the beginning!

And here's a very intriguing analysis of the genesis of American anger.  Where does our modern sense of self-righteousness, and our contempt for opposing views, come from?  This article provides some perceptive answers.  It's written with a leftist bias (of course), but it acknowledges that anger flourishes, and is actively cultivated, on the Left and on the right.  Are YOU angry?  If the answer is yes, then that's not necessarily bad, but you should be aware that there are many ruthless people out there who WANT you to be angry, and who intend to profit from it.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Let's Make a the Border?

Friends, today I bring you a few articles of note.  The first is more confirmation that China's economy is hurting, and it's President Trump who is delivering some of the pain via our ongoing trade war.  This is good news -- the more the Chinese leadership sees its economy as vulnerable, the more they will be disposed to make concessions and meet US negotiators halfway.  My biggest fear is a fig-leaf agreement that allows the US and China to declare victory, but leaves our unhealthy and unbalanced trading relationship essentially untouched.

In other news, there are strange rumblings from the Bernie Sanders camp about alleged sexual harassment during his 2016 presidential campaign.  The upshot of it is that #MeToo elements are trying to prospectively assert control over the dynamics that prevail in the Sanders campaign going into 2020.  What transpired in 2016?  Who knows.  But look for more self-inflicted wounds on the Left as the presidential primary season gets underway.  Every Democrat will be playing the race card, the gender card, and any other card that they can get their hands on.  The results could be ugly in the extreme.

Lastly, check out this intriguing proposal from Lindsey Graham about how to resolve the government shutdown and get President Trump the $5 billion he needs to build the southern border wall.  Graham suggests that DACA protections for some young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children could be enshrined in the law, in return for wall funding.  It's an elegant solution, especially as all sides agree that DACA recipients should be given some path to legal status, and, theoretically at least, all sides agree that we need a secure border.  A compromise ought to be possible -- but as I've observed before this debate isn't really about the border at all.  I suspect many Democrats would happily betray DACA "kids" if it meant harming Trump.  To put it simply, the main reason Democrats don't want a "wall" is because Trump does.  That's how childish our politics have become.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Syrian Dilemma

Friends, my latest article examines the question of whether President Trump is right to withdraw U.S. ground forces from eastern Syria. Read on to learn the official WaddyIsRight position on this important issue...

Good Riddance, Syrian Civil War!

The media and the political establishment's excoriation of President Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the battlefield of eastern Syria has been blistering, as per usual, but in fact our exit from the Syrian Civil War is well-timed and sensible. President Trump is to be praised for bucking the conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C. to save the American people, and more importantly American servicemen, from this bloody quagmire.

It pays to recollect how we became involved in Syria in the first place. In 2011, in the midst of the chaotic but hopeful “Arab Spring”, a number of global and regional powers, including the United States, decided that now was the perfect time to destabilize the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Accordingly, the Obama administration encouraged a popular rebellion, while denying the rebels the means to succeed in their revolt. The result was a strategic and human nightmare. A civil conflict raged that wrecked the Syrian economy, obliterated cities, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and turned millions into desperate refugees. True, Assad is no angel, but the sufferings of the Syrian people since a host of outsiders, including the sage experts in the Obama administration, decided to “rescue” them have far outstripped any indignities that the Assad family could devise.

What was worse was the fact that the Syrian Civil War quickly devolved into senseless and disorganized violence, as the forces “rebelling” against the Assad regime became a many-headed hydra of terrorists, fundamentalists, and crooks. True, some Syrians fought for democracy and freedom, but the conflict also became saturated with a wide assortment of villains, and with foreign actors, including Russians, Iranians, and Turks, who wished to exploit the opportunity to expand their influence. 

Worst of all, Sunni extremists in eastern Syria coalesced into a new movement that became known as the Islamic State. ISIS inflicted ironfisted repression, including slavery and torture, on a vast scale, while gruesome executions became the group's calling card. Amazingly, in 2014 ISIS decided to export Muslim theocracy and savage violence to neighboring Iraq (and duly conquered large swaths of that failed state), all while fostering a new wave of terrorist violence in the West. ISIS even became active in Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines, Palestine, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as it metastasized into an evil empire of limitless ambition and sadism.

And this was when the United States finally said “Enough!” Under President Obama, U.S. forces were deployed to Iraq to help government forces there stem the ISIS advance. A bombing campaign was waged against ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria, and American special forces began to worm their way into the eastern provinces of Syria to assist the mostly Kurdish forces who were fighting the Islamic State war machine. As the first important victories against ISIS were won, the U.S. commitment to the anti-ISIS crusade mushroomed, especially in 2017 under America's new President Donald Trump: bases and airfields in eastern Syria were built, and billions of dollars were invested in the conflict. Meanwhile, Russian, Turkish, and Iranian forces awkwardly shared the battlefield with American soldiers. All were united in a temporary, tacit, and very uneasy alliance against the ravages of the Islamic State.

The good news is that America's intervention in eastern Syria was an unqualified success, in terms of advancing the goals that brought us to Syria in the first place: we came, after all, not to oust Bashar al-Assad from power, or to found a new American empire, but to strangle and if possible destroy the Islamic State. It worked. ISIS has lost 99% of its territory, and it has been reduced to the status of a bit player in the Syrian Civil War, no longer able to threaten the integrity of Syria or Iraq, no longer able to project power throughout the Middle East or onto the streets of Western capitals, and no longer able to terrorize the long-suffering people of its eastern Syrian heartland. ISIS is not gone, but it is defeated, and American troops are no longer required to shepherd it to its inevitable demise.

President Trump is right: under the circumstances, Americans should be celebrating the collapse of ISIS, as well as the victorious return of American forces. Instead, the hawkish establishment in Washington, D.C. is carping about lost opportunities and potential strategic advantages ceded to our putative enemies in Russia and Iran. 

The truth is that we have “ceded” nothing but a dusty expanse that was never ours to command in the first place. The Syrian Civil War will grind on, and Russians, Turks, and Iranians will fall in it, to no great purpose, especially now that the eventual outcome is a foregone conclusion: the Assad family will remain in charge in the vast majority of Syria.

So why is the U.S. foreign and defense policy establishment so outraged by our withdrawal from Syria? What could Americans possibly hope to gain by persisting in an occupation of eastern Syria? Yes, local Kurds and Sunni Arabs might find our reign there more benevolent than that of Assad, or Russia, or Turkey, or Iran. Eastern Syria is not a dependent territory of the United States, however, and we have no right to decide the fate of its people, especially considering that the legitimate government of Syria doesn't want us on its turf. 

Moreover, every second that Americans remain on a battlefield teeming with Russians, Turks, and Iranians, the chances increase that a new and wider conflict will be sparked involving several of these great powers. Do we really want to risk war with Russia, for instance, and the potential nuclear horrors this would involve, simply because we have grown attached to some worthless real estate in eastern Syria? I should hope not. 

The only other viable argument against President Trump's withdrawal plan – that further U.S. action is required to finish off ISIS – ignores the fact that other regional threats have long since overtaken the Islamic State on America's strategic radar. We cannot – we should not – physically occupy every piece of ground on which a terrorist movement or proto-state might someday take root, or re-root itself. That would be a recipe for the over-extension of American military power, and it would invite a terrible backlash from outraged locals. 
The time has come, therefore, to let others have the “glory” of chasing the last ISIS fighters out of their miserable holes, while the United States refocuses on other priorities, including a host of domestic challenges and the consolidation of Western-friendly regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. There the prospects for something resembling democracy and/or stability, while not particularly bright, are at least brighter than they ever were in eastern Syria.

I therefore congratulate President Trump on his wise and bold course of action in the Syrian conflict and in the battle against ISIS. It is never easy to deny the hawks in Washington their pound of flesh, but in this case American interests are well-served by doing so. 

Simply put, ISIS is now Syria's problem (and Russia's, and Turkey's, and Iran's). We, the American people, having done our part (and more!), wish them all Godspeed in finishing the noble work of obliterating the stain on humanity that is and was the so-called Islamic State. The sooner Syria and the world can move on, the better.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

And here's the American Greatness version, as featured on RealClearPolitics! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Democracy Denied: Brexit Saboteurs

Friends, my latest Newsmaker interview with Brian O'Neil is a barnburner!  (That's right: we set fire to an actual barn...)  We hash over the prospects for a no-deal Brexit...and for the betrayal of British democracy via a new "referendum" to reverse the vote in June 2016 to leave the EU.  In addition, Brian and I talk about: the politics and economics of the government shutdown, Trump-Russia fatigue, the question of whether the House will ultimately impeach President Trump, the progress achieved by Trump despite massive opposition, whether the tables can be turned on the leftist Dems pursuing Trump, Rand Paul and his support for American withdrawal from Syria, and waste in the foreign aid budget.  Don't miss it!