And My Candidate Is... Marco Rubio

I've explained why I think Donald Trump would be a catastrophe.

I've explained why I think Ted Cruz would be a mistake.

I do not fancy myself important enough to issue "endorsements" (or to have it noticed if I did), but a reader did ask me, "Then WHO????" I've decided to answer by way of a personal * endorsement anyway.

*This is a personal endorsement, and should not be confused as an official view of either of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with which I am affiliated. 

I endorse Senator Marco Rubio.

His bona fides as a conservative leader are beyond impressive.

Despite his youthful appearance, his political leadership experience exceeds that of his rivals.

He is easily the most articulate promoter of conservative principles we've seen in thirty years.

And, if nominated, he will be elected.

I say all this knowing full well the usual criticisms of Senator Rubio. I find none of them compelling.

Marco is the "Establishment" guy. If so, I'd like to join this "establishment." We should pinch ourselves if, at long last, the imagined backroom cigar-smoking cabal has given us a Marco Rubio instead of a John McCain or Mitt Romney. Yet, for all that, it isn't really true: Marco is a person who openly defied the so-called "Establishment" when they told him not to run for U.S. Senate. He's done it again by running for President alongside his friend and mentor, Jeb Bush.

Marco worked with Chuck Schumer on the "Gang of 8" immigration bill. Yes, and he didn't support the final product. Next question.

Marco is for "amnesty." Marco Rubio supports the legalization (not necessarily citizenship) of law-abiding illegal immigrants who meet a number of qualifications. I believe this to be to his credit. The easiest thing for Senator Rubio to do after the Gang of 8 debacle was to stick his finger in the air, assess which way the conservative winds were blowing, and renounce his support for any kind of legalization. That's exactly what Senator Cruz has recently done, to my dismay ("I do not intend to support legalization."). But Marco Rubio has consistently and straightforwardly told us that, while strongly in favor of border security, he is against a mass deportation of law-abiding people and that they must be brought out of the shadows to become legal participants in our society. This is not only a humane position, it is the rational position.

I have watched Senator Rubio in many different contexts: long-form speeches, 30-second cable interview soundbites, debates, stump speeches, Q&A sessions, etc. I have come to the conclusion that he cannot be stumped. He is never at a loss for words. And the answers that roll off of his tongue are typically brilliant. His only embarrassing moment ever captured on camera was taking a drink of water in the middle of speaking on national television. His knowledge of public policy is encyclopedic. His awareness of foreign policy challenges is simply unmatched. He is a once-in-a-generation political talent. A prodigy.

Too many conservative politicians, including Senator Cruz, play exclusively to the "base." Marco can throw red meat, but he has the all-too-unique ability to communicate and persuade people on the outside. He does not just preach to the choir; he makes the choir loft bigger.

We live in a celebrity saturated culture. Marco Rubio is approachable, gracious, good-natured, likable, and (yes) handsome. It is not to our credit that so much rides on "image" in our political process, but it is reality. And the truth is that with Marco Rubio we have the best of two worlds: A prime-time-ready, culturally savvy person whose conservative convictions are marrow-deep. 

The age-old Democrat playbook fails at every turn against Senator Rubio as the nominee. He is not old, white, angry, rich, or privileged. He is young, Cuban, joyful, of modest means and humble beginnings. For his age and station in life, he is unusually earnest about his faith and his family, as well as protecting your faith and your family. He exudes gratefulness for the opportunities he's been given, and his decision to campaign on the themes of freedom and opportunity is a winning general election message.

Given the full political package Senator Marco Rubio offers, I believe Republicans shouldn't look any further. I wholeheartedly endorse him, and urge primary voters to give him your support.

Why Nominating Donald J. Trump Would Be a Catastrophe

The subject of my last post was why I believe nominating Ted Cruz is a mistake. In a nutshell, Cruz has a more limited upside than others when it comes to getting enough votes in a general election. I don't doubt the sincerity of his conservatism, and think he would be a solid President, but my gut tells me that he loses to the massive Democrat General Election Voting Machine. It sometimes amazes me how quickly some people forget that in 2012 Barack Obama was deeply unpopular. For months the polls showed Obama winning against Romney only by including 12-15% more Democrats than Republicans in their voting turnout models. Many believed, including me, that such a turnout model was ludicrous.

It wasn't. In midst of terrible economic conditions, horrible approval ratings, widespread disillusionment on their own side, the Democrats simply produced the votes. It was almost as if they waved a magic wand and 65 million+ votes materialized. * If you're banking on anything less this November, you're being very foolish.

* Some of it was "magic," undoubtedly, in the form of fraudulent/paid for votes, but probably not enough to sway the election on its own.

Now, the time has come to explain why I believe nominating Donald J. Trump is not just a mistake in calculation, but an utter catastrophe. 

Many have sounded this alarm already. I cannot improve on National Review's editorial, "Against Trump." It is a tour de force of reason, facts, and prose. I've seen lots of gnashing of teeth against them for issuing such a dogmatic salvo, but not a single argument for why they are wrong. That's because they aren't wrong. Their case is irrefutable. They have the measure of the man.

Additionally, if you'd like a little more background before you read my thoughts below, you really need to read Matt Labash's essay on Trump over at the Weekly Standard. It tells you all you really need to know. Much of it forms the basis of why I can claim without hesitation: Donald Trump is a man without a compass of any kind. Not moral, not ideological, and not political. No, that isn't quite right. He does have a compass, but its needle doesn't point to anything resembling true north; it points at himself. If you think Barack Obama is the Narcissist-in-Chief, if you tire of the words "I," "me," and "my" coming from the lips of a U.S. President, you haven't seen anything yet. Just take a gander at how Donald Trump thinks and talks about himself, his riches, his business deals, his sexual prowess with a great multitude of women, his long list of enemies, and more. This is not a good man, by any moral measure.

I don't think enough people are willing to say that. In fact, almost nobody is willing to say that. But I am a Christian theologian, one dedicated to "public" theology. So let me say this theological truth publicly: Donald Trump is not an upright man. If character and integrity matters to you, and it should, then Trump should be nowhere near your list of possible candidates.

If you doubt me on this, if you think I'm way out on a limb, if you think that sort of judgment is beyond the pale, I simply challenge you to pick up a Bible and read the book of Proverbs from cover to cover. It won't take you that long. You will find hundreds of wise aphorisms taking the form of "The wise man does X... the fool does X." You will find very few of those formulations, if any, wherein Donald Trump sits on the wisdom side of the equation. This man is, in the biblical sense of the word, a fool.

Let me get this out of the way. We need not actually fear a Trump presidency. It won't happen. The Democrat General Election Voting Machine will destroy Donald Trump. It will not even be close. And this is not just because I believe he has as much chance of reproducing Mitt Romney's 60+ million votes (and still fall short!) as I do of making contact on a fastball from Clayton Kershaw. It is because, after over a year of grotesque "in-kind" campaign contributions from the mainstream media in the form of 24/7 wall-to-wall Trump coverage (with the intent of getting this guy nominated), watch what happens next.

Do you think a narcissist, wheeling-and-dealing businessman like Donald Trump has a few skeletons in his closet? No. He's got warehouses. Do you think a blowhard like Donald Trump may have said a few unsavory things that could be used against him in campaign ads? Um, you think? By the time Election Day 2016 arrives, this will be nothing more than a coronation of the Democrat candidate. You can count on that.

Catastrophe Number One: Nominate Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will be your next President.

Catastrophe Number Two: Evangelical Christians have often been too enamored with politics, to be sure. There have been a lot excesses, a lot of putting our hope and trust in Princes. Nevertheless, in our insistence upon character and integrity we have been a preservative moral salt and effective moral leaven to our political process. We force politicians to pay real tribute to the great moral issues of the day: human dignity, the right to life, freedom of conscience. Collectively seeking to make Donald Trump the GOP nominee, we will become (as Jesus himself puts it) morally worthless. "To be trampled upon by men." If we get what we want, a strong-armed leader who promises near godlike powers to "get things done," we just might find ourselves and our freedoms literally "trampled upon." 

It is a pathetic sight. Donald Trump, mightily trying to speak "Christianese" at Liberty University with hilarious, forehead-smacking results, succeeds in bringing the likes of Jerry Falwell, Jr., Sarah Palin, and many others into his fold.  

Christians in America are a very cheap date for Donald. But it'll be very costly for us in the end.