Trigger Warning Warning

Have you heard about “trigger warnings,” the latest thought control lunacy that has found its way onto college campuses? I weep for our children as they try to navigate the insanity in our society fronting as being protective of their interests.

Trigger warnings are disclaimers that are attached to literature or other content to alert students to potentially traumatic subject matter the literature may contain. The most common types of warnings to date have reportedly involved rape, sexual abuse and mental illness.

Until recently, the warnings were mostly on feminist-oriented Internet message boards and blogs, but now they’ve gravitated to some of our universities, many of which never found a kooky idea they didn’t embrace.

In addition to expanding their jurisdictional scope, they have also increased in their range of forbidden topics. In many venues, trigger warnings now apply to all kinds of isms — “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,” as exemplified by an Oberlin College document concerning triggers.

What is the rationale for warning readers that they might encounter these isms in the flagged literature? Well, according to the Oberlin document, “a trigger is something that recalls a traumatic event to an individual. Reactions to triggers can take many different forms; individuals may feel any range of emotion during and after a trigger. Experiencing a trigger will almost always disrupt a student’s learning and may make some students feel unsafe in (the) classroom.”

Are we to assume that every piece of writing that in some way touches on the subject of racism, for example, will produce an adverse reaction for any reader who has ever experienced any type of racism at any level? Will all writings that describe or depict some form of sexism or perceived sexism spark a traumatic memory for those who have ever been slighted by this ism?

So what if literature causes readers to feel emotions? Isn’t that one of its purposes? Even if certain writings evoke certain negative emotions, does it necessarily follow that they “will almost always disrupt a student’s learning and may make some students feel unsafe in (the) classroom”?

Isn’t it just as likely that emotions spawned by some of these isms will enhance a student’s learning? Don’t people sometimes learn how not to behave by pointing to examples, real or fictional, of unacceptable behavior? Abraham Lincoln, according to legend, thought Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” did a great deal to educate people to the horrors of slavery and racism. (Even if it’s apocryphal, you get the point.)

But even if writings that contain “trigger content” don’t necessarily yield positive consequences, do you believe that they almost always disrupt a student’s learning or make some students feel unsafe? Are you serious?

How will a student’s learning be disrupted by literature that contains such content? Are students really that fragile?

Apparently so, according to some of their fellow students. Recently, student leaders at the University of California, Santa Barbara passed a resolution urging officials to institute mandatory trigger warnings on class syllabuses. Professors who present “content that may trigger the onset of symptoms of” post-traumatic stress disorder would be required to issue advance alerts and allow students to skip those classes.

Yes, skipping classes. That’s the answer. That sure won’t disrupt the students’ learning, now will it?

Like so much of liberalism, this entire trend is insultingly patronizing. It assumes students and whomever else such alerts will be given to are incapable of handling stress, potentially unsettling information or any adverse circumstances whatever. Isn’t college supposed to help prepare students for life, as well as impart academic information? How can you prepare a student for life when you shelter him from adversity?

Do some of today’s young liberals want cradle-to-grave security to encompass emotional security now, as well as financial dependence on government? What gives these intermeddling types the idea that no one can function in society without their perpetual micromanaging superintendence?

Beyond their apparently low opinion of their fellow human beings, it seems that those behind this warning craze are, like their fellow liberals, just too preoccupied with expanding classes of victimhood, emphasizing groups in society rather than individuals (another sign of their relatively low opinion of human beings) and pitting these various groups against one another.

Why do they want to keep throwing isms in our face? Why do they want to always create new ones? It’s obvious that they want to see men and women, blacks and whites, straights and gays, etc., in a permanently adversarial state. I don’t think most people want to view the world that way.

Personally, I would appreciate it if these troublemakers would lighten up and accept that most of us don’t harbor the hostility they must have themselves and want to project onto us. People have enough trouble without officious malcontents trying to forever stir up more.

You all have too much time on your hands. Please get back to your schoolwork and start treating your fellow students with respect — rather than as emotional invalids, for there is a far better chance you are maladjusted than they are.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


Scenario for a Republican Nightmare in the 2016 Elections

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up as another close race, like the last four. From 2000 to 2012, both major parties’ nominees received between 45 and 53 percent of the vote.

Historically, that’s a narrow range, not seen since 1880-1892. It suggests something close to parity between two highly competitive parties.

Polls for the 2016 race, however, suggest strikingly different results. One would be a nightmare for Republicans. The other would be a nightmare for Democrats.

This column looks at the Republicans’ nightmare (a later column will examine the Democrats’ nightmare). In this scenario, the Democratic nominee is, as widely expected, Hillary Clinton.

The assumption is that she encounters no significant turbulence in winning the nomination — a plausible extrapolation from current polling, which shows her miles ahead of any other Democrat.

Straight-line extrapolations from current general election polling also look very good for her.

Against various possible Republican opponents — in alphabetical order, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan — Clinton is averaging between 50 and 52 percent in the averages of recent polls, while the Republicans are averaging between 38 and 42 percent.

Due allowance should be made for the fact that none of these Republicans is well known nationally. It’s reasonable to expect that a Republican nominee will run better if he puts on a competent campaign.

But Clinton is doing something in these polls that Democratic House candidates and, to a lesser extent, Democratic Senate candidates are having a hard time doing: running ahead of President Obama’s job approval rating.

That rating currently stands at 44 percent, well below Clinton’s 51 percent average in national polls.

Clinton runs ahead of Obama though she too must be considered a supporter of the unpopular Obamacare. His current negative ratings on foreign policy don’t seem to hurt her, perhaps because he was getting positive ratings on that during his first term, when she was secretary of State.

It seems that Clinton’s standing reflects less current judgments on Obama and more on rosy retrospective ratings of the presidency of Bill Clinton. Voters may not be eager for a third Obama term, but might like a third Clinton term.

When you look at the relatively small number of statewide 2016 polls, you find that Clinton runs ahead of Republicans by double digits in the three electoral-vote-rich states of Florida (29 electoral votes), Ohio (18) and Pennsylvania (20), each of which voted only narrowly for Obama in 2012.

One reason for this might be that she is running stronger among older voters, since these states have relatively large elderly populations. These numbers suggest Clinton might carry these states by wider margins.

That would be a nightmare for Republicans if voters continue, as they have increasingly in recent elections, to vote straight tickets. That’s because Republicans currently hold 17 House seats in Florida, 12 in Ohio and 13 in Pennsylvania.

Many of those Republicans might be in jeopardy if Clinton should turn out to lead down-ballot Democrats to victory. Democrats currently need to net only 17 seats for a House majority.

In addition, it seems likely that Clinton would run stronger than Obama in the Jacksonian belt stretching from West Virginia southwest to Bill Clinton’s native Arkansas. That could also put in jeopardy some House seats that look pretty safe right now.

Then there are the Senate contests. The 2016 lineup, with many incumbents elected in the heavily Republican year of 2010, has many plausible targets for Democrats. Even if Republicans win a Senate majority this year, they could lose it in 2016.

You don’t have to agree with Democratic analyst Brent Budowsky’s suggestion that Hillary Clinton could win 45 states (Bill Clinton never won more than 32) to see the potential: a Democratic president, Democratic Senate and Democratic House.

Republicans’ hopes of repealing and replacing Obamacare would be permanently dashed. The left wing of the Democratic Party could push farther than it has dared under Obama.

None of this is inevitable, of course. Hillary Clinton could get roughed up in the primaries and her record as secretary of State could be more a liability than an asset. The Republican nominee could easily run better than Republicans run now. Events could change attitudes.

I think this scenario is unlikely. But it’s one plausible extrapolation from current polling.

Michael Barone, senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, (, where this article first appeared, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



The Rushmore Report: A Day to Remember

Bob Valleau - The Rushmore ReportSeven-year-old Brian is excited. His daddy is home from a land Brian can barely pronounce. The last time he saw his dad was a year ago when he hugged him goodbye at the airport. It was a hug that seemed to last forever. Then, Brian watched his dad, donned in an Army battledress, board a plane that would take him far away. Now, that plane has returned.

Brian grips his mother’s hand as they walk to the gated fence, eagerly anticipating their reunion. He glances up and sees tears streaming down his mother’s face. She can’t be sad, he thinks. They must be tears of joy.

Suddenly, Brian turns his attention toward the big transport plane that opens its back end with a loud swoosh before extending its ramp to the ground. He expects his dad to bound down the ramp and run into their welcoming arms. But something isn’t right. As the afternoon sun beams brighter, Brian squints to see better. Then he spots them: six soldiers, dressed in their best uniforms, holding onto the side of a long wooden box that is draped in a United States flag. Slowly — and with precision — they descend the ramp with the box between them.

“Brian,” said Brian’s mom as she kneels before him, “There is something I need to tell you.”

Dear God: Help us, every day, to remember all of those who gave their lives for freedom. May we honor them by praying for their family and friends. We are ever so grateful for their devotion to duty, their call to courage and their ultimate sacrifice.

2014 by Bob Valleau.
Bob has over 30 years of writing experience for the Christian market. He was once named Christian Writer of the Year (San Antonio, Texas) by the American Christian Writers Association. He is the author of, “Mystic Dreams and Dusty Roads” and “Black Mesa Magic.”
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The Rushmore Report: The Land of Opportunity

Zig Ziglar - The Rushmore Report

For many years, I’ve been waving the flag, extolling the virtues of the opportunities America has to offer. Stories are legendary about people who start with nothing and end up being ultra-successful, not only financially but in the positions they occupy as independent businesspeople or corporate executives, as well as being successful at home in their personal and family lives.

Surely one of the better success stories is that of Michael Quinlan, who at one time was a $2-an-hour mailroom clerk. Before retiring in 2002, he was the CEO of McDonalds for 23 years. In 1998, he was under the microscope when McDonalds did not made the progress it had anticipated, despite the fact that 1997 sales were over $36 billion and its net income was over $1.6 billion. There are even some who speculate that if he couldn’t improve performance in the next year or two, he would either retire or “get the boot,” because his job is on the line.

To this, Quinlan responded that his job was always on the line, but it didn’t seem to bother him because he was in the process of making changes, as all successful people must do.

Two major points: Quinlan had an inauspicious start, but at age 43 was made CEO of a multibillion-dollar corporation. He’s a solid family man with two sons and grandchildren. He shoots bogey golf and enjoys deep-sea fishing. In short, he’s a man who is able to enjoy a balanced life style.

Message: It doesn’t make any difference where you start … it’s where you go that counts. When you get there, you’ll have something to smile about.

To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at Subscribe to Zig Ziglar’s free email newsletter through


The Rushmore Report: Energy’s Role in the Path to Peace

Ben Carson - The Rushmore Report

While the media have been focused on the missing Malaysian aircraft, massive alterations of the world’s geopolitical terrain are underway simultaneously.

The annexation of Crimea by Russia should not have been a surprise for anyone who suspects that President Vladimir Putin is trying to re-establish a powerful Soviet-style empire. When he aggressively attacked Georgia in 2008 after both Georgia and Ukraine failed to obtain NATO admission at the Bucharest Summit, we should have realized that his goals were not limited to one territory. I suspect he is now calculating an excuse to occupy the easiest regions of Ukraine first and then the whole country over time.

The United States encouraged Ukraine to give up its nuclear arsenal and to de-emphasize its military complex, but in its moment of dire need for tangible support, will we have the courage and fortitude to help stop Russian aggression, which ultimately could lead to another Cold War or worse?

Many probably have forgotten the worldwide turmoil created during the Cold War, which ended a quarter-century ago. Allowing conditions to mature that might re-create another dominant world power hostile toward the United States could easily reinforce those radical elements who wish to see the demise of this nation. One of the ways we permit such conditions to arise is through our fiscal irresponsibility, which substantially weakens us because the borrower is subservient to the lender. Can we be objective in our treatment of nations, no matter what their actions, if we owe them great sums of money?

Ronald Reagan facilitated the demise of the Soviet Union without firing a single shot. He enacted policies that resulted in a financial meltdown that ended the brutal Soviet reign. The recent precipitous fall of the Russian stock market cannot go unnoticed by Putin, and more financial pressure applied immediately could give pause to his grandiose schemes. We could freeze Russian financial assets, downgrade trade associations or rapidly establish energy production policies to free the European Union from the Russian energy stranglehold.

EU energy freedom would require the quick establishment of a rational energy development platform that does not cater to far-left environmentalists. Many advocates of common sense are also concerned about the environment, but are reasonable enough to realize that rather than using Environmental Protection Agency regulations to stifle abundant energy production, we can use the EPA in conjunction with the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to produce and export a vast amount of clean energy. This could significantly improve our bargaining position throughout the world.

Whether we are experiencing global warming or a coming ice age, which was predicted in the 1970s, we as responsible human beings must be concerned about our surroundings and what we will pass on to future generations. However, to use climate change as an excuse not to develop our God-given resources makes little sense. Expanding our wealth of energy resources, as well as encouraging the development of new renewable energy sources, would provide an enormous economic lift with obvious benefits, but it also would bolster our role as a formidable player in the struggle for world leadership.

The rapidly changing geopolitical scene cannot successfully be managed by leading from behind. We need to put aside partisan ideological bickering and use our collective knowledge and wisdom to thwart the redevelopment of a powerful and dangerous rival for global influence. Perception is reality, and it is crucial that we not be seen as timid and waffling during the opening moves of this strategic chess match.

Our allies must know that we have their backs when they get into difficult situations, and our support must be pronounced and immediate. If we call upon independent nations such as Ukraine to abandon their most potent weapons of defense and then only lend tepid support when their independence is threatened, we would be foolish to believe that others in the world are not observing our behavior. Consistent reliability and strong support in these matters will lead to strong support when we call upon our allies to join us in employing economic leverage against rogues who threaten world peace.

Americans should be supportive and encouraging of our leaders during times of international crisis, but let’s hope they are listening to voices from all major parties about the ramifications of each option available to us in this fight. Let’s further hope that they can see the big picture and understand the importance of using all of our resources, including natural energy, to achieve our objectives. Developing our natural energy resources, controlling our national debt, consistently supporting our allies and aggressively opposing our foes without playing politics will help improve our status in the world and make peace more likely. The stakes are too high to simply be reactive. We must act if we are to lead.

Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University. To find out more about Ben Carson and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit



The Rushmore Report: Why Didn’t Jesus Trust People?


“Because Jesus knew some people were mean,” says Torie, age 7.

If you’ve ever watched any old Western movies, you know that some people enjoy being mean. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Early in his ministry, Jesus performed miracles in Jerusalem. The Bible says: “Many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23b-25).

Some people try to parse the word “believe” in this text to mean the people didn’t really believe at all. It was some kind of head belief and not a true heart belief. The Gospel of John knows nothing of this kind of nonsense. People either believe in Jesus or don’t believe in him.

This kind of parsing usually comes from the naive notion that the moment one believes in Jesus as savior, all of life is instantly transformed. Jesus should be able to trust those who believe in him, right?


“Even if people believe in Jesus, their mind, will and emotions still might not be changed until they renew their minds with the Bible,” says Katherine, 9.

It’s true that life’s biggest problem instantly disappears at the moment of conversion. All Christians will be raised from the dead to share in Christ’s victory over death. But the remainder of life is waiting for renewing-of-mind transformation.

The Bible is God’s handbook for renewing minds. It presents a worldview where God replaces us as the center of the universe. That takes some rethinking of how we view ourselves, people and the world in which we live.

The Apostle Paul wrote this: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

A seminary student once approached the academic dean with a philosophical conundrum. He said that the library at the secular university he attended had a tight security system to prevent students from stealing books. Yet most professors taught that people were basically good. The seminary library had no security system, yet the seminary doctrinal statement taught that people were created in God’s image but fallen in the sense that they inherited Adam’s original sin.

The security system at the secular university tells the real story of how school administrators viewed their students. Policymakers didn’t trust them. They knew that books would disappear without a security system. I suppose seminary administrators hoped that ministerial students had been transformed enough in their walk with Christ to resist the temptation to steal library books.

“Jesus was afraid that if people knew about the miracles he did, some people would get angry and kill him before God’s timing,” says Emma, 10.

Jesus knew the difference between new believers and seasoned disciples. He wasn’t about to trust new believers with things that could interrupt God’s timetable for him.

Think about this: Before Jesus left this world, he commissioned his disciples to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower them for this worldwide task.

Memorize this truth: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Ask this question: Can God trust you to spread the good news?

Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



The Rushmore Report: Racial Rhetoric Inflames Rather Than Unites

David Limbaugh - The Rushmore Report

I am at a loss to understand what constructive purpose first lady Michelle Obama (and Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others) hopes to achieve by constantly talking about the race issue.

Last Friday, Michelle Obama chose to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling — in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional — by reminding graduating high-school seniors in Topeka, Kansas, that racism is still alive and well in America today.

Mrs. Obama said: “No matter what you do, the point is to never be afraid to talk about … the issue of race, because even today, we still struggle to do that. … This issue is so sensitive. It’s so complicated, so bound up with a painful history.”

To whom was she directing her comments? There are no doubt plenty of white people who won’t touch the race issue with a 10-foot poll, because they fear that anything they say might be twisted and lead to the accusation that they are racially insensitive or racist. But I doubt that too many minorities are afraid to talk about racism for fear of reprisals of any kind.

In fact, people can’t even raise legitimate questions about Barack Obama’s racialist comments in his books or the overt racism of his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright without having the questions turned around on them as some sort of evidence of their own racism.

Barack Obama has frequently invoked the race issue, in rallying supporters to vote for him on the basis of race and in his racially contoured comments in the Henry Gates and Trayvon Martin cases, to name two. Attorney General Eric Holder, with Obama’s full blessing, on one occasion scolded the country for being afraid to talk about race and, on another, suggested that people were attacking him as a way to get at President Obama, because they are both African-Americans.

Mrs. Obama also said, “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin, or they’re made to feel unwelcome because of where they come from, or they’re bullied because of who they love.” I don’t know how much bullying of homosexuals is still going on, but I do know there’s a lot of bullying of people who don’t share the liberal view on same-sex marriage, and I don’t hear Mrs. Obama speaking up on their behalf.

I honestly hope fewer innocent people each day are being stopped on the streets because of the color of their skin, but I also hope that fewer innocent people are being ambushed and savagely knocked out on the streets without provocation and solely because of the color of their skin. Again, I don’t hear Michelle Obama decrying such incidents and advocating bringing those responsible to justice.

Mrs. Obama lamented that Brown v. Board of Education is still being “decided every single day” and that all schools aren’t equal because of their “crumbling classrooms and less experienced teachers.” Perhaps not, but it sure isn’t for lack of federal taxpayer money being allocated toward public education.

If Michelle Obama is truly worried about black children being trapped in inner-city schools, then why won’t she and her husband support promising solutions involving school choice and vouchers? If they were less beholden to labor groups and to the politics of race and dependency, then maybe they would push real answers rather than inflammatory rhetoric that stirs up people against one another and does nothing to solve problems in education.

Undeniably, some racism persists in all directions, but constant liberal hectoring is not the way to eliminate it. Instead of forever reminding us of past wrongs and encouraging us to harbor resentment, why can’t liberals urge all of us to move past those things, love one another and live in harmony?

But they simply won’t do that. Though it’s doubtlessly controversial to say this, we probably won’t see Democrats stop stoking the race issue as long as they can hold on to the support of some 90 percent of the black vote, in great part because they disgracefully imply that conservatives and Republicans are racist.

From the bottom of my heart, I believe that conservative policies are far likelier to lift up all people, including minorities, than liberal policies and that many liberal policies perpetuating dependency on government are devastating to minority communities.

Rather than obsess about race, Mrs. Obama, why can’t we quit using it to embitter people and hold them back and begin talking about solutions that can work toward restoring the American dream for all people? Instead of rhetoric calculated to keep our attention focused on the pigment of our skin, why can’t we begin promoting Christian principles that teach us that we are all equal in God’s eyes because we were made in his image and strive to move toward a genuinely colorblind society?

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


The Rushmore Report: Doctors Must Serve Patients, Not Society

Scott Rasmussen - The Rushmore Report

When we go to the doctor, most of us expect to receive the best possible advice on whatever ails us.

Unfortunately, some medical groups see that as a quaintly archaic notion. Associations are recommending that the doctors should consider more than the patient they are treating. According to The New York Times, these groups want doctors to shift “from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent.”

The Times quoted the chairman of a task force at the American Society of Clinical Oncology as saying, “We understand that we doctors should be and are stewards of the larger society as well as of the patient in our examination room.”

It is hard to imagine a scarier concept. A patient should always be the doctor’s top concern.

Take a moment and think about what it might mean to be “stewards of the larger society.” Sooner or later doctors — acting as stewards of the larger society — will be encouraged to let some people die so others can live. Talk about a prescription for corruption!

When doctors are urged to start making such choices, the only thing we can be sure of is that doctors, members of Congress and their friends will always be protected.

It’s frightening to believe that any self-selected elite could rationally believe it’s qualified to act as “stewards of the larger society.”

Rather than self-appointed elites making health care decisions for the rest of us, we need to empower patients to take charge of their own health. Give people the ability to monitor their own vital signs on a daily basis, and most will quickly learn to lead a healthier life. Give people the ability to choose their own insurance coverage, and they’ll quickly find a plan that suits their needs.

Most of all, though, give people the assurance that their doctor is working for them and not “society at large.” If consumers can’t trust the information doctors give them, there is no way they can make rational decisions.

Some elitists scoff at the notion that most Americans can understand the choices before them on health care issues. They need to read Megan McArdle’s fantastic new book, “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success.” Through countless examples, she makes the case that experimentation and pragmatism always leads to better solutions than a carefully designed plan put together by the so-called experts.

Along the way, McArdle offers an assessment of the 2008 financial crisis that is different from what both liberals and conservatives believe. “The financial crisis happened for the stupidest reason imaginable — no one thought that housing prices would fall as much as they did.”

In other words, the collapse came because all the “experts” made assumptions that sounded reasonable but weren’t prepared for what really happened.

That was disastrous enough with the financial crisis. It’s chilling to consider what might happen if the nation’s doctors began acting as “stewards of the larger society” and make the same mistakes.

To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit



The Rushmore Report: The Revolt of the Wingers in British and American Politics

Michael Barone - The Rushmore Report

In recent times, British and American politics have often flowed in parallel currents.

Margaret Thatcher’s election as prime minister in 1979 was followed by Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980. As Charles Moore notes in his biography of Thatcher, the two worked together, albeit with some friction, reversing the tide of statism at home and ending the Soviet empire abroad.

They seemed to establish British Conservatives and American Republicans as their nation’s natural ruling parties.

In time, Democrats and Labour responded. Bill Clinton’s “New Democrat” politics prevailed in 1992, and Tony Blair’s New Labourites, adapting Clinton’s strategy, won the first of three big national landslides in 1997.

But after any party is in power for an extended period, its wingers start to get restive — rightwing Republicans and Conservatives, leftwing Democrats and Labourites.

They complain that their leaders failed to enact needed changes and betrayed core beliefs. They take their party’s past electoral success for granted and push for a return to ideological purity.

An internal rebellion in the Conservative party overthrew Thatcher in December 1990, and the hatreds it inspired festered for years.

Thatcher’s successor, John Major, did win another term in May 1992. But he was hectored by Thatcherite true believers more obdurate than Thatcher had been in office. This intraparty civil war raged through three electoral defeats and only subsided after David Cameron was elected party leader in 2005.

In America, anti-tax conservatives rebelled at George H.W. Bush’s acceptance of tax increases in 1990, and Reagan speechwriter Pat Buchanan launched a quixotic challenge of Bush in the 1992 primaries.

That, plus Ross Perot’s independent candidacy, led to Bush’s loss to Clinton that November. Rightwing frustration promptly found targets in the Clinton tax increases and Hillary Clinton’s health care plan, and Newt Gingrich’s Republicans captured the House in 1994.

Then Bill Clinton’s successful negotiations with Gingrich caused discontent on the Democratic left. It supported Clinton on impeachment but gave 2.9 million votes to Ralph Nader in 2000, which helped defeat Al Gore.

George W. Bush’s bipartisan achievements on education and Medicare and continued spending increases caused distress on the Republican right. It found a voice after he left office in the Tea Party movement, whose anger was directed at “establishment” Republicans as well as at President Obama.

Republican primary voters chose provocative candidates, some of whom lost winnable seats. Only now do primary voters seem to be simmering down and trying to pick general election winners.

Blair’s victories came with diminishing percentages and turnout. On the left, there was increasing rage at Blair’s support of the Iraq war, and today Blair is virtually a non-person, unmentioned if not reviled, in the party he led. No one follows his example.

After Labour’s defeat in 2010, the party rejected as leader the Blairite David Milliband in favor of his brother Ed Milliband, who more faithfully represented the views of their Marxist intellectual father.

Milliband — “Red Ed” to the Conservative press — has led his party sharply to the left, backing higher taxes on high earners, a mansion tax on big properties and a freeze on energy prices. He’s even considering renationalizing the railroads though privatization has been widely accepted.

At the behest of the teacher unions, Labour opposes Education Minister Michael Gove’s “free schools” (similar to American charter schools), despite their success with disadvantaged students. The latest Labour TV ad depicts Conservatives as snobbish “toffs” — old-fashioned class warfare.

Milliband’s critics say his strategy is to nail down 35 percent of the vote — quite possibly enough to win in a nation with competitive minor parties and parliamentary district boundaries that heavily handicap Conservatives.

An obvious question: Why is Milliband’s Labour party abandoning a governing strategy so successful under Tony Blair? Another question: Why would American Democrats such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren abandon a strategy so successful under Bill Clinton?

One answer is that they’re acting out of genuine conviction. Another is that circumstances have changed.

Blair and Clinton adapted after their party suffered multiple serious defeats. Today’s Labour and Democratic leftists act out of frustration with how their parties have governed.

Party politics tends to attract people of strong beliefs, left and right. Until they get whacked repeatedly by defeat, they’ll try to advance them as far as they think they can.

Michael Barone, senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, (, where this article first appeared, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



The Rushmore Report: “TGIM”

Mark Denison - The Rushmore ReportThe young monk was sent off to a monastery for three years, to prove his devotion to God. He was put in isolation, spending all his time with the Lord. At the end of each year, he was allowed to come out and say two words. After the first year, the monk said, “Bed hard.” After year two, his two words were, “Food bad.” Then, at the end of his third year, the monk came out to speak once more. “I quit,” he announced. His supervisor responded, “That doesn’t surprise me! All you’ve done for three years is complain about your job!” Do you complain about your job? The four words spoken most happily in the workplace are “Thank God it’s Friday!” Until you can substitute an “M” for the “F,” you will never be happy in the workplace.

How do we bridge our faith and the workplace? I would argue that Sunday is no good unless it affects Monday. I know churches that brag about how many people they cram into their buildings on Sundays. They are using the wrong scorecard. Have you ever judged the success of a saltshaker by how much salt is in the shaker? What matters is how much salt gets out of the shaker. In most churches we are using the wrong scorecard.

I went to an Astros game last year (cruel punishment, I know). I was fortunate enough to be at the game they won. When the Astros scored the winning run in the ninth inning, all 3,287 fans stood and cheered. But when they announced the attendance, no one cheered. At church, we cheer for a big attendance, whether we score any runs or not. Have you ever cheered for your football team because they had a nice huddle? They don’t score as long as they are in the huddle. In fact, they can get a penalty for having too many people in the huddle. It’s okay to huddle. We should do that every Sunday. But on Monday, we break the huddle and enter the workplace. That is where we score points.

God cares about your work just as much as he cares about your worship. Have you heard the little nursery rhyme about Mary? “Mary had a little lamb; it would have been a sheep. But it joined the local Baptist church and died of lack of sleep.” Life is about balance. The same God who created you for worship created you for work. When it comes to work, it is all about one thing: attitude. If you have a positive attitude (always a choice), you will enjoy your work and do well. But if you are like the monk, you will never be happy. You determine your attitude, then your attitude determines you.

On Sunday, we are “Sitting on the Premises” so that on Monday we may be “Standing on the Promises.” Keep going to church on Sundays. But until what you do on Sunday affects what you do on Monday, not enough happened on Sunday. I pray that every saltshaker in the country will be full on Sunday. But the workplace matters just as much. May your vocation become your vacation. And this Monday morning, say these four magical words: “Thank God it’s Monday!”

Mark Denison's Book "The Daily Walk"Dr. Mark Denison is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Conroe, Texas. He also serves as Chaplain for the Houston Rockets and is Board Chair at Houston Baptist University. His daily radio devotions are broadcast by K-STAR and his daily newspaper columns are found in the Conroe Daily Register. He has written for several publications, and his new book, The Daily Walk, is now available through and