Monday, August 1, 2016

From Convention Bounce to Air Ball

From Convention Bounce to Air Ball
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 1, 2016

I have been a Republican since before I was old enough to vote. I volunteered for Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980 and was privileged enough to cast my first presidential ballot for him in 1984, to ensure economic prosperity would continue in our “shining city upon a hill.” (John Winthrop)

George W. Bush was the right man at the right time dealing with the horrors of September 11, 2001 with strength and aplomb, but the continuing spiral downward of weak-kneed candidates and an ever increasingly politically correct nation we are subjected to, has given us Donald Trump.

For all his bluster, bravado, and boastfulness, Trump has been a breath of fresh air, has no problem making the voters aware of Hillary Clinton’s peccadilloes, but make no mistake, he is not a conservative. I am now a Constitutional Conservative, because the Republican Party has lost its way and is practically a mirror image of the Democrat Party. But I have reminded so many, it is vital to play the cards we are dealt and not kvetch about the cards we were not dealt.

Donald Trump was not my first choice among the cavalcade of GOP candidates. In fact he ranked down around 13th, just above Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and New York Governor George Pataki. I had hoped with all hope the GOP standard bearer would be Ambassador John Bolton, and I told him as much last January when I met him in Des Moines, at the Iowa Freedom Fest. Sadly, his candidacy did not come to fruition, and I turned to Texas Governor Rick Perry who was out almost as fast as he was in. Throughout the remainder of the primary season I fervently supported Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

While I agree with what Cruz said at the Republican convention, he did himself a great disservice, not Trump. His lack of an endorsement only united the GOP in its animus of Cruz, which could come back to haunt him in 2018 when he seeks reelection to the Senate or in 2020 should he make another White House run.

Donald Trump’s biggest foe is not Ted Cruz. It’s not Hillary Clinton. It’s not even the decidedly biased media. No; Donald Trump’s biggest foe is Donald Trump. All Clinton need do is run commercials of Trump’s own words in his own voice about women, Mexicans, Muslims, and his latest faux pas, his current war of words with the parents of a killed in action Muslim soldier.

Captain Humayun Khan, who served in the United States Army, was killed in action in 2004 by a homicide bomber in Baghdad, Iraq. Ironically, the American soldier, who was Muslim, was killed by another Muslim – a radical Islamist terrorist, the likes of which have been at war with not just the United States, but the whole of Western Civilization for centuries – yes, centuries – dating back to the Barbary Pirates. The fact remains that Captain Khan was killed wearing the uniform of the United States Army.

For whatever the reasons, personal, political, religious, Khan’s parents appeared at the Democratic National Convention and his father, Khizr Khan, spoke, emotionally, and justifiably so, about the ultimate sacrifice made by his son. That alone tugged at the heartstrings of the rank and file in attendance at the DNC.

However, the elder Khan, born in Pakistan, studied law, moved to the United States in 1980 and became a citizen in 1986, took his grief to another level and lectured Trump.
“Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” said Khan in a very powerful moment to the thunderous applause of the convention hall.

Trump being Trump, hit back in a manner unbefitting a presidential candidate. The Jekyll and Hyde candidate – one day he appears presidential, the next he’s shooting from the hip, where he is not always hip when he shoots. Trump described the sacrifices he has made in the form of creating thousands of jobs; tens of thousands of jobs. Job creation is not a sacrifice, Mr. Trump. It is an investment in your own company – something I would hope you would do as a successful businessman. Trump did not serve in the armed forces. His children have not served in the armed forces. Trump did not lose a child to war – thank G-d. His comparison was an insult to the Khan family, and demonstrably obtuse.

Trump then doubled down by making an unnecessary and insensitive comment about Captain Khan’s mother Ghazala, who remained silent while on stage with her husband during the DNC. Trump suggested she wasn’t permitted to speak. When she did speak out, it was through her grief that she penned a column appearing in The Washington Post. She said she was afraid she would lose her composure if she spoke at the DNC and that her husband represented them both. My condolences go out to the Khans, Gold Star parents, on the loss of their soldier son.

Now, to be fair to Trump, he later said “Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe.” Too little, too late. The criticisms were front and center – page one, top of the fold, as we say in the newspaper business. His backtracking is akin to the newspaper printing the correction or retraction on page 800 – nobody sees it or gets the full story.

The flipside of the Khans is Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, the Foreign Service officer who was murdered in Benghazi, under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s irresponsible watch, spoke at the RNC.

“I blame Hillary Clinton for my son’s death at Benghazi,” said a tearful Smith during the RNC, to a non-prime time audience, not televised by the major networks. There is an important point here – that the media is complicit in its attempts to shine positive rays of light on Clinton, while calling Trump’s speech and the RNC as a whole, “dark.”

In fact, not only was Patricia Smith not applauded by the media, she was condemned by Chris Matthews of MSNBC that Smith ruined the night and should not have brought up Benghazi. Talk about being in the tank for Hillary; but then that was MSNBC in its quintessential form. Adding insult to Smith’s injury, was Hillary Clinton telling the media,  that Mrs. Smith lied when claiming Clinton told Smith her son’s death was the result of a video, which has been categorically proven to be false.

Clinton lies and the media swears to it. Trump will get no relief from the media, and it is not their jobs to give him any. But it is also not their jobs to be in the tank for Clinton, and they are deep into it.

What Trump needs to do, if he is to have any chance of victory come November 8, is focus on the economy, repealing Obamacare, making strong conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, painting the picture of Hillary Clinton as the ultra-liberal, anti-Israel, pro-abortion on demand, anti-gun, insider, opportunist, and serial liar that she is, has been for decades, and will continue to be for years to come. Trump must take the high road and stop engaging in fruitless pissing matches that continue to deflect attention from what is important and make him look like a petulant third grader.

Mr. Trump, your only response to the Khan family should have been to express condolences to them on the loss of their son. Perhaps ask to meet with them privately without the cameras rolling – don’t be the opportunist everyone knows Hillary to be. The sacrifice of the Khan family is what the voters will remember in November, along with your pettiness.

I never considered voting for Hillary Clinton – her crimes, her indiscretions, her lies, her anti-Israel, abortion on demand without restriction stances are abhorrent to me. I keep reminding people that we are not voting for Miss Congeniality, so some of Trump’s caustic demeanor should be dismissed. We are voting for a leader who will stand up to our enemies, not take foreign money with one hand and wag the finger of condemnation at those very countries with the other, not take Wall Street money at private fundraisers then condemn Wall Street publicly.

Mr. Trump, you have not shied away from expressing your thoughts, but not every thought that enters your head need be uttered. Part of your problem Mr. Trump is that you are surrounded by fawning sycophantic yes-men telling you your flatulence smells like homemade apple pie and that your burps sound like Mozart. You need someone to tell you what you need to know with no fear of hearing you say, “You’re fired.” Please give me a call.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.


  1. Excellent essay! You have covered just about everything needed to be covered.
    I would tell Mr. Trump to concentrate on national security first, economy second. Americans are afraid of terror attacks which can occur anywhere in the United States. They are also concerned with the attacks on law enforcers who are there to protect the citizenry from criminal elements. He must revamp the immigration laws in order to screen all applicants with a stringent vetting process. Lots to do ahead.

  2. Excellent, well put. Mike Pence isn't doing the job of keeping Donald from shooting himself in the foot. He needs Newt!

  3. Excellent and on point commentary..