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The Snowden Affair
Andrew Jackson’s Lead Widens in GOP Primary

Since he first arrived in the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz has tried to straddle various wings of the Republican Party—libertarian and law-and-order, pro-immigration and Trump-lite, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian—making sure to leave himself wiggle-room by hedging his statements and declining to align himself too closely with any realistic GOP policy initiatives. But as the primary race intensifies and Cruz’s fortunes start to rise, he is moving quickly to redefine himself as more Jacksonian. The latest, and perhaps clearest, example to date is the Texas Senator’s nearly 180-degree turn on Edward Snowden and his exposure of classified documents. The Weekly Standard notes that the Texas Senator, who once praised Snowden, has changed his tune:

Texas senator Ted Cruz now says Edward Snowden is a “traitor” who should be “tried for treason,” Cruz told the New York Times in a statement his current view on the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked the details of a classified surveillance program.

“It is now clear that Snowden is a traitor, and he should be tried for treason,” he said, according to the Times.

That’s a shift from Cruz’s position in 2013 after Snowden went public about the NSA’s program. Asked in June 2013 if Snowden was a traitor or a patriot, Cruz declined to answer, [saying instead]:

… “If it is the case that the federal government is seizing millions of personal records about law-abiding citizens, and if it is the case that there are minimal restrictions on accessing or reviewing those records, then I think Mr. Snowden has done a considerable public service by bringing it to light.”

Cruz’s shift partly reflects the ways the world has changed in the last two years—the Iran deal, the rise of ISIS, and terrorist attacks at home and abroad have pushed the GOP’s more passive, Jeffersonian wing into near-irrelevance. (Sen. Rand Paul, one of Edward Snowden’s biggest boosters, won’t even be on the debate stage tonight). It also partly reflects the internal dynamics of the GOP race: Cruz is positioning himself to appeal to voters currently backing Trump, who has dominated with his hyper-Jacksonian campaign of ultra-nationalism, “winning,” and personal toughness, unconstrained by constitutional limits.

To be sure, Cruz has also made sure to differentiate himself from more establishment positions as well, attacking Sen. Rubio for what he says is an excessively interventionist posture abroad. Jacksonians and Jeffersonians share a suspicion of foreign entanglements, but Jacksonians are more willing to deal out overwhelming force when threatened, and more willing to give the state whatever power it needs to find and destroy America’s enemies. In that sense, Cruz’s newfound hostility toward Edward Snowden (along with some of his statements on ISIS, like “carpet bombing them into oblivion”) encapsulates his transition to the party’s Jacksonian wing.

Security-first Jacksonians are on the rise in the GOP, and libertarian Jeffersonians are in steep decline. Meanwhile, the Hamiltonian establishment hasn’t figured out a way to align the Hamiltonian agenda with Jacksonian values and interests. That’s one reason immigration is such a potent wedge issue: It divides globally-oriented Hamiltonians and nationalist Jacksonians, even as security issues drive them together. For an establishment candidate to beat out Cruz and Trump for the nomination, he will need to find a way to bridge this deep and growing divide.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Differently phrased, Cruz is completely amoral and trims his sails according to the prevailing wind. A certain amount of expediency is needed to get elected, but Cruz appears to have no strong convictions. I thought (hoped) that we were done with “triangulation”.

    • f1b0nacc1

      As long as triangulation works, we won’t be done with it.
      Principles are very expensive, and apparently don’t get you much in the way of support. I would prefer a man of integrity that supports my ideas (God help us all!), elections have consequences and I will settle for someone who can ensure that I won’t see another Democrat in the White House. If that core competency is met, we can talk about principles.

      • Andrew Allison

        A typically thoughtful response. But I question whether principles are really as expensive as amorality (I’m thinking Reagan vs Clinton (either one) here). They may or may not prove expensive to the candidate, but what about the Nation? And, although my political leanings are more-or-less aligned with yours, I think I’d rather see a principled member of the Democratic Party (about which there’s nothing democratic) President than an unprincipled Republican.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I don’t entirely disagree with you, but I believe that there are limits. The choice isn’t between an unprincipled Republican and an upright virtuous Democrat (if such a thing still exists, I have my doubts), it is between a Republican of compromised integrity (whether you favor Trump, Cruz, or the others), and a dangerously amoral criminal such as Hillary or an unhinged twit like Sanders. As much as I despise some of the GOP candidates (Christie comes immediately to mind, as well as Bush), either of them would be far preferable to what is on offer from the left.

          Elections have consequences, and after 8 years of the last mistake (and believe me, I have no love for McCain) I am not sure that the country can survive the consequences of another election like that one. I would prefer a principled Republican, or better still a libertarian(ish) candidate to what is on offer….but as the Russians like to say “Better is the enemy of good enough” In this case ‘good enough’ is ‘Not Hillary or Bernie’

          • Andrew Allison

            I couldn’t agree more, but that’s not what I was talking about. If offered the choice between an unprincipled Republican and an unprincipled Democrat, I’d probably have to abstain (again, sigh). At least with Trump, what you see is what you get. I’d rather see a principled(ish) libertarian [grin].

          • f1b0nacc1

            I abstained in 2008, won’t make that mistake again…
            I must concede that Trump made enormous strides last night in portraying himself as ‘acceptable’. I was reluctantly reconciling myself to hold my nose this November, perhaps it will be less painful than I thought?

          • Andrew Allison

            I’d vote for him. Or, should the GOP Establishment come to its senses (unlikely based on current form), Rand Paul.

          • f1b0nacc1

            If he (Trump) were running against Hillary or Bernie….yes, I would hold my nose and vote for him. I am more comfortable with Cruz (an acquired taste, I know) because I see him as someone who is more legitimately conservative, and seems genuinely anxious to destroy much of the existing Washington establishment (granted, more out of pique than any other reason, but still…). If the Rand Paul of a year ago was around, I would be enthused…I wonder whatever happened to that guy….

          • Andrew Allison

            How can you tell what Cruz is? He can’t be trusted. Paul’s problem is that he’s a Libertarian, which is anathema to the political Establishment.
            I think what’s going to happen is that the GOP Establishment will find a way to deny Trump the nomination and he will run as an independent, thereby (unless Sanders is the Democratic Party candidate) costing the GOP the presidency, something which it will richly deserve: Trump is clearly the popular choice, but the will of the people doesn’t matter to either party’s Establishment.

          • f1b0nacc1

            NONE of them can be trusted…Paul ran away from a good chunk of his libertarian ideas the moment he decided that he actually had a chance to be president, and the records for Rubio, Bush, and yes, Cruz are similar. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing…purer than thou can be tedious as well as fundamentally unserious in the real world of governing. I am not likely to see the sort of political leader that I would favor 100% (and the rest of the country should probably give thanks for that!), so I compromise, and vote for the ones that I believe will govern best. Part of that is acknowledging that many of them lie through their teeth (best quote about Nixon = “If he ever catches himself telling the truth, he throws a lie in, just to keep in practice”), part of that is identifying their interests and beliefs, and assuming that they will ultimately pursue them.
            And anyway, can you imagine a President Bernie who actually tried to implement his silliness?
            Trump will not run as a third party candidate, though he will keep everyone guessing as long as possible. He cannot win as an independent (he is canny enough to realize this), and losing would be a disgrace his outsized ego could not handle. He wants the attention, the adulation, and the ego-gratification that comes from being the center of attention…the winner. As long as he is ‘denied’ the nomination by the GOP, he is a victim and he can be ‘robbed’…if he runs and loses, he is a loser…
            Now, mind you if the GOP establishment pushes Trump aside for say, Bush or Christie, they will pay for it in a different way…lousy turnout, which might be enough to rob them of a victory. I don’t believe that the GOP leadership has enough influence at this point to get away with it….perhaps not even the courage to try it. We shall see….

          • Andrew Allison

            “…if he runs and loses, he is a loser…” Not if he beats the Republican.

          • John Johnson

            f1b0nacc1,
            Here is what happened to Rand Paul. Rand was born in 1963. Rand did not live through the Cuban missile crisis in which Castro let Krushchev put 138 nuclear warheads in Cuba. Rand did not truly understand the gravity of the situation and the resulting punishments: Kennedy was assassinated, Krushchev was placed under house arrest until his death, and Castro got to live in a Carribean paradise. When Fearless (Brainless, Moralless) Leader Obama re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba WHILE the Castro brothers were still alive and still in charge, Obama stole US moral victory from the jaws of defeat. When Paul said that it was a good thing for the US to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, Paul lost my vote, permanently! I voted first in 1968 in VietNam while in the Marines. I voted for Nixon and a straight Republican ticket. I have voted in every election since and always Republican straight ticket. Ifff Rand Paul or Jeb Bush were to get nominated, I would not vote this November. I want Ronald Reagan back, but that can’t happen. Reagan had been a Democrat, but became a Republican. When smart-*ss Sam Donaldson tried to pin Reagan down by asking, “Mr. President, You used to be a Democrat. Why did you leave the Democratic Party?”, Reagan responded, “I didn’t. They left me.” Everyone knew exactly what Reagan meant, the Democratic party had moved to the Left during Reagan’s life. Reagan saw this and became a Republican, a conservative man like the just-Left-of-center, middle-of-the-road Democrats USED to be. Now we have Trump, who might just be another Reagan with rough edges. Trump has said he would bring jobs back from China (OK by me), build a border fence with Mexico, and Mexico’s financing (OK by me), stop Muslim/Islamic immigration to the US (OK by me).
            Hillary for Prison 2016.
            Vote Trump.

          • Boritz

            Correction from an editor at National Review: “So-called establishment GOP” Jonah Goldberg, L.A. Times

    • Jim__L

      To be fair, one can simultaneously believe that some public discussion of the limits we should impose on the NSA can be a Good Thing, while heading off to Russia with hard drives full of American secrets unrelated to said leak is a Very Bad Thing.

      • Andrew Allison

        Sadly, I must disagree. First, there would have been no public discussion absent Snowden; second, I’ve seen no evidence that there’s unrelated leakage; and finally, it’s Cruz’s position not Snowden’s impact which has, expediently, changed. We need a person of principal at the helm. Hillary is clearly disqualified, and it’s not clear that there’s anybody better qualified on those grounds than Trump.

        • Jim__L

          Are we talking about the same guy? If it wasn’t Snowden, who was the one who ended up in a Moscow airport looking for asylum, with hard drives full of American secrets, after being feted by the media around the world for his NSA revelations?

          • jeffmagic

            So you are defending the illegal spying on all Americans by criminals in the government? Do you care nothing about the Constitution?

          • Jim__L

            Third time — I simultaneously want limits on organizations like the NSA, and think that leaking America’s national security information is a really, really bad idea.

            I also think that Snowden can have provided some value to a public debate about the NSA, while simultaneously committing treason if the hard drives he had in his possession when he went to Moscow had sensitive information on them. That would be crossing the line, plain and simple.

          • jeffmagic

            Ok, so how about the NSA tries him in a secret court, the same way they get permission to spy on all Americans? Would justice then be served? Do you think the criminals running these secret courts (Constitution?) or the other criminals that use this mechanism to violate the 4th Amendment should face zero justice? Why only Snowden?

        • MarkRCrawford

          Trump? Principled? Seriously? Have you any idea how many times Donald has flip flopped on issues. He makes the rest of the folks on the stage seem positively bedrock in their positions. A little research on your part might be in order.

          • Andrew Allison

            I didn’t suggest that Trump was principled, just that he might be the least unprincipled of the candidates.

          • GS

            The absence of any [other] principles is a principle, too.

          • Chris706

            And you obviously don’t get Trump. He is more of a pragmatist than an ideologue. He says what he needs to say, when he needs to say it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that is what he truly believes.

            The one thing you can believe is that he likes to win. Winning no longer means amassing a fortune to him. He’s been there, done that. It will be about doing things that work for the country and make it a winner again. Then Trump will be the hero. A yuge win.

            And here is why that makes him a conservative. Only conservative policies actually work, and he is smart enough to know that.

      • Andrew Allison

        Is there any actual evidence, as opposed to the self-serving breast-beating on the part of the intelligence community and its enablers that anything other than the surveillance was disclosed? There is, on the other hand, lots of evidence, most recently from San Bernardino, that the massive intrusion into the private lives of US citizens has had little benefit.

        • Jim__L

          AA, the only time you ever hear about counterintelligence is when it fails. That’s exactly as it should be — has to be. And even then, you don’t get all the details of the failure. That’s exactly as it should be — has to be.

          This is one of the reasons Hillary and her other loose-lipped cronies are so tough to nail to the wall.

          • Andrew Allison

            We’re not discussing counter-intelligence but whether Snowden leaked anything other than surveillance information.

          • HenryC

            He leaked a lot of capabilities and information that would lead to informants for the CIA.

          • Andrew Allison

            Says who? I don’t mean to be difficult, but I don’t recall seeing any actual evidence.

          • Jim__L

            AA… presenting that evidence publicly would compound the problem.

            At some level we have to have something like the FISA court, watching the watchers.

          • Andrew Allison

            You are using the intelligence community’s excuse. The would be no security issue associated with saying that something specific happened (or didn’t) due to Snowden’s release of information. Instead, all we get is “we can’t tell you anything because it would compromise national security”.
            FICA is not watching the watchers: it has denied less than 0.03% of applications. Furthermore, much of the surveillance is warrantless, see http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/19/fisa-court-oversight-process-secrecy.

          • Jim__L

            If he did, no one would be sitting there saying exactly what it is he leaked. That would make the leak worse. That would be violating the “confirm” part of the old “cannot confirm or deny” line.

            However, it’s not a big stretch to conclude that anyone who runs to the Russians with US government hard drives in his possession has done something he shouldn’t. At best it could be part of some elaborate ruse to hand misinformation to the Russians, but unless Snowden is in on it, Snowden is guilty as sin. Either way he should expect to get this sort of public treatment from presidential candidates like Cruz.

            That said, we can also say that it’s good for Cruz to discuss what the NRO should and shouldn’t be able to do… although it would be best if he spoke more in terms of principles than specific programs.

        • Insidious Pall

          That’s an absurd argument. It’s like saying since it rained today, there is no sun. Because San Bernardino occurred, is not proof that expanded tools for law enforcement don’t work. “Lots of evidence?” That’s ridiculous. You can’t ask for proof that something caused an event that didn’t happen.

          • Andrew Allison

            I can, and do, ask for proof that an event that didn’t happen was prevented by the surveillance state. Please try and address the issue, namely (this is a recording) is there any evidence that Snowden leaked anything else?

          • Insidious Pall

            I don’t care about Snowden. If surveillance uncovers a plot, do you think they will go public and say look what we did? If so, I think I understand the problem.

          • Andrew Allison

            If you would be so kind as to read from the top (or even the comment to which you replied) you will observe that, despite the best efforts of apologists for the blatantly illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of US citizens such as yourself to change the subject, the subject is whether Snowden revealed anything else. There is a quaint concept known as innocent until proven guilty. All I’m asking for is evidence.

        • Ken moss

          Wouldn’t you want to see ALL the couples emails, tweets, phone connections, and to whom sent during the course of the last 18 months or so. AND RIGHT AWAY ! Think that might be helpful huh?

          • Andrew Allison

            I hope that you are pointing out that the haystack is, demonstrably, waaaay to big to find any needles.

    • matimal

      So, President Jackson was “completely amoral” too?

      • Andrew Allison

        I don’t know, and don’t care. I do care about whether the next president will be.

      • Jim__L

        Well, considering the fact that he would challenge (unwilling) people to duels because they outbid him at public land auctions, then proceed to kill them, I’d say that Old Hickory wasn’t entirely Christian in his tendencies.

        • matimal

          Jackson was hardly alone in his actions. That was the way that many men of his time and place acted. He was just better at it.

          • Jim__L

            True enough, but my point stands.

          • matimal

            Do you want to be judged by a set of values and social practices that don’t yet exist and that only come to exist because many other sets of values and practices didn’t succeed instead?

          • Jim__L

            As I understand it, Christian values and social practices existed in the early 1800s. They’re still here today and spreading over more of the world, in fact, even if they’re declining among demographics that are collapsing.

          • matimal

            You’re wrong. ALL identities and values change over time. There is no permanence. You aren’t some how “more true to the values of the past” than others, because you don’t even know what those values where or how they were expressed. We are all condemned to live in the here and now. No one has a special access to the past.

          • Jim__L

            Things that are written down are far more permanent. That’s the advantage of writing them down.

            People who read and know the things that were written down have a special access to the past.

            Sorry for being pedantic, but your point of view is just nonsense.

          • matimal

            Things that aren’t written down are far more powerful. That’s the advantage of not writing then down. People who actually live and make the world we live in have known that it is what is NOT written that explains much about how the world works. I’m not sorry for restating the obvious, but your point of view is childlike.

          • Jim__L

            I think you’d be surprised what ends up getting written down. The past is an open book to those who actually read.

          • matimal

            You could not be more wrong. The past is never truly knowable because people CAN’T record their consciousness. Time travel is impossible. That’s why historians exist.

          • Jim__L

            OK, now this discussion is just getting weird.

          • matimal

            It certainly is weird to suggest that we can actually travel in time and know the past as we know our own experiences in the present or that anything created by humans is unchanging. We know the past through what those in the past have left behind. Most people never leave a meaningful record of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. How could their lives be an “open book?”

          • Jim__L

            Diaries. Journals. Letters. Records of scandals and triumphs. Popular literature and formal legalisms.

            It’s really not as hard as you make it out to be.

          • matimal

            Do you write a diary, letters, or journals? Are you mentioned in records of scandals or triumphs, popular literature, or court records? Will you be part of history? How will people in the future know your motivations, identity, and interests/ If we know everything, what on earth do historians do all day? Then why aren’t historians ‘done,’ since we now know every action, thought, feeling, word, expression, smell, sight, sound, etc. ever experienced?

          • Jim__L

            What we’re talking about here are commonly held mores. Outliers don’t really matter… so long as they remain outliers, instead of shattering the system to make them fit. Which is kind of my point.

          • matimal

            “Commonly held mores” have changed throughout time. What were the “commonly held mores” of 18th century Virginia, for example?

          • Jim__L

            Largely Christian, with a significant dollop of apologism and fatalism regarding slavery. Have a look at the letters, diaries, laws, etc, from the time. They exist, it’s not that hard to find them.

          • matimal

            I’ve been dishonest. I’m an historian and have decades of experience in the primary sources of 19th century American history. I know that most human thoughts and actions are NOT recorded and that finding the views of most people from the distant past is difficult, not easy. They DON’T exist. We can’t travel in time. We CAN”T have a complete final and official history of anything. The existing letters, diaries, laws, and other published materials from 19th century America, for example, were created by a small minority of the inhabitants of 19th century America. What we do have suggests great change through the century in popular views. You just have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Jim__L

            “What we do have suggests great change through the century in popular views.”

            This line invalidates a great deal of the rest of your argument. The past is knowable enough to be sketched out in broad strokes, particularly with the benefit of hindsight.

            I would definitely agree with you that the 19th century was characterized by a huge amount of change — not least, technological — and at some point we became “modern” in that time period. But while the trends can be tough to pin down, they are not in any way “unknowable”.

            If you really think so, haven’t you wasted decades of your life?

          • matimal

            ..and ALL other historians as well, right? What caused the U.S. Civil War and what were it’s lasting effects? When did the idea of race emerge and why? I could go on……

          • Jim__L

            Well, I’ve got a history degree myself, although I make my living with my engineering degree instead. That gives you some idea of my take on history’s practicality.

            Could you clarify something… are you arguing history is knowable or not?

            The belligerents in the Civil War helpfully *wrote down* what they were fighting for, so yes, that’s knowable. Is there any reason to believe that was not largely trustworthy? The lasting effects can be seen by looking at what people say about the Civil War, and how documents (governing ones, but also more personal ones) changed before and after the war. Again, knowable.

            In some ways the discussion is still ongoing, with the modern political discourse taking a second look at State’s Rights from a point of view of weighing the benefits of centralization vs. subsidiarity.

            As for the development of a concept of “race”, that’s probably not knowable, as it seems to be pre-historic — in the earliest writings we have (Herodotus, the Old Testament, etc) it seems to be a well-established concept. Prehistory is not as knowable, I’ll give you that straight away. But again, that just emphasizes the distinction between knowable (written down) and not knowable (pre-writing).

            All this still supports my statement that good old Andy Jackson was not entirely Christian in his shooting people for bidding against him in land auctions. (Again, knowable, or we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.)

          • matimal

            So, you always unquestioningly and completely take people at their word. You don’t believe in ulterior or divided motives. If something isn’t written down it doesn’t exist. That view WOULD make the study of the past little more than a task of archival organization. It would be ridiculous as philosophy of human society. ALL historical discussions are necessarily forever “ongoing.” There is no official, permanent, and unquestionable history, not outside of authoritarian regimes anyway.
            For the emergence of race I’d recommend Many Thousands Gone by Ira Berlin. Good luck….

          • matimal

            So, you always unquestioningly and completely take people at their word. You don’t believe in ulterior or divided motives. If something isn’t written down it doesn’t exist. That view WOULD make the study of the past little more than a task of archival organization. It would be ridiculous as philosophy of human society. ALL historical discussions are necessarily forever “ongoing.” There is no official, permanent, and unquestionable history, not outside of authoritarian regimes anyway.
            For the emergence of race I’d recommend Many Thousands Gone by Ira Berlin. Good luck..

          • Jim__L

            Did my last post not include questions?

          • matimal

            You asked two questions and one was rhetorical. The past is never truly knowable. We are necessarily dependent on what those in the past left for us to examine. If the past were truly knowable, historians would be ‘done’ at some point and could all get ‘real’ jobs like you. The Civil War necessarily looks different from 2016 than from 1950. For example, historians in the mid-20th century agreed that the Civil War was a political struggle and not a social or cultural one while most see it as a cultural and economic one today. The fact that you can marshal evidence to disagree with this view, proves my point.

          • Jim__L

            Neither question was rhetorical. Both were meant to provide openings for discussion — if you don’t think that the stated war aims of either side were honest, feel free to jump in with evidence. That’s what makes discussion fun and rewarding. =)

            There are a whole lot of reasons and differing priorities on any subject for any group of people, which is why history (or sociology) are so complicated. But generalizations are possible — knowable. Reading is very helpful — efficacious, even. In the case of Civil War aims (or the Declaration of Independence, say), documentation is handy because they are declarations of principles meant to unify a group for the exertions of war. As such, they’re pretty credible and allow us to generalize and to know.

            We may see more dimensions in hindsight, but again, it’s knowable — which is why history is a valuable passtime.

          • matimal

            Everything that everyone has ever written must be questioned. Nothing can be presumed “trustworthy.” Knowable means a complete working model of something. Generalizations are not working models. Most of human experience occurs outside “documentation.” History isn’t a pastime. People get paid for it. There are libraries filled with books that can help you to understand the Civil War that go far beyond the memorization of the grand proclamations of the participants. You don’t need me for that.

          • Jim__L

            There is a vast gulf between the statements “Everything that everyone has ever written must be questioned” and “nothing that anyone has ever written can be considered true” — or even “Nothing can be presumed trustworthy”.

            Look, maybe it’s just the engineering talking, but there is objective truth, you can describe it pretty well a lot of the time, and it’s willful ignorance masquerading as wisdom (frequently in the service of some political ideology) to claim otherwise.

            When you’re dealing with complex nonlinear systems (or worse, systems of nonlinear systems) there really are a variety of aspects of the truth, but that doesn’t invalidate the existence of knowable truth and accurate generality.

            I mean, it’s fascinating to read Lincoln’s letters from his Whig days trying to preserve his belief in Texas’ inalienable right to secede from Mexico, while still opposing US intervention and war with Mexico. Considering his later position on secession and military intervention, it’s highly ironic. (Almost as ironic as Neil Armstrong regretting that his job involved “too much travel”.) This may confuse the motives of Lincoln’s later actions, but it does not render them totally impossible to explain or for his motives to be “unknowable”… because he kept on writing things down, so that we can know today what was going on.

          • matimal

            There is an objective truth, but this fact is not necessarily that important because we can’t know it. Historians DO generally see themselves as working toward understanding what actually happened, but at the same time, they accept that there can’t ever be an historical theory of everything as there is in Physics, for example. That’s why history isn’t physics and physics isn’t history. If you limit yourself to taking at face value only those things that have been written down and managed to survive and then to be included in formal collections of such writings, you are dismissing most of human experience. No wonder you left history for engineering..you can’t accept the basic premises by which historians study the human experience.

          • Jim__L

            You really have wasted decades of your life.

          • matimal

            Tell me all about the objective truth of all things. I want to learn as much as I can from you.

          • Jim__L

            Either the airplane stays up or it doesn’t. Either Voyager’s swing-by maneuvers send it on the Grand Tour of the solar system or they don’t. That’s objective truth.

            A few dozen men get together in early July 1776 to tell the world why they’re splitting off politically from Britain. That’s objective truth, too.

            In mid-December 1791, delegates from the states get together to tell the Federal Government about inalienable rights that it must respect, in order for those delegates to agree that the Federal Government can exist. That they did so — that’s objective truth, too.

            It’s just *not* *that* *hard*.

          • matimal
          • Jim__L

            First link is 404. Second link (at least in the Introduction) doesn’t actually seem to challenge the idea that the Declaration of Independence is reliable; rather, it deals with the fact that the Revolution was instrumental in creating a whole nation of people whose expectation of human relationships was in accord with the principles of the Founders.

            Any given 100 words I write is obviously not “the whole truth”. But if you’re going to say that those words aren’t truth at all, you should probably cite references that actually contradict them.

          • matimal

            The first is a new work by Kathleen Duval. She’s an historian At university of north Carolina that I’ve met a conferences. The second is a classic work by Gordon Wood. Just because they don’t challenge your view, doesn’t mean they agree with it. They may simply not think the things you identify are important. There is a difference between “the truth, “the whole truth,” and “nothing but the truth.” Duval’s work argues that there were many who were NOT part of the creation of an American nation, for example. I’m here to remind you of the limits and nature of historical knowledge, not to lead you in an uncredited independent study. You’ll have to do that for yourself.

    • akulkis

      This is why we are all sick of professional politicians….and lawyers.. and 80% of those in federal elected office are BOTH professional politicians AND lawyers.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I call myself a Jacksonian Libertarian in order to separate my Libertarian Politics from the Pacifist Pussies like Rand Paul. I see the American Global Trading System as we American’s personal property, and I support the death and destruction of any nation or culture that threatens that property. The American Global Trading System is responsible for 20% of America’s GDP, as well as being the vehicle for our long term strategy of civilizing the world by showing the rest of mankind the superiority of American Culture and Ideals by defeating them in the free market. As such, the Jeffersonians that seek to retreat from the world into isolation, are utterly failing to protect America’s economic interests, property, and future peace and prosperity.

    • Jim__L

      I’m not sure I quite agree with the “death and destruction of any nation or culture that threatens that property” part of this comment. Our foreign policy establishment should be competent enough to protect that without resorting to death and destruction. That said…

      I do think that death and destruction are appropriate to those threatening American lives, and ISIS certainly does that, and the rest is spot-on.

      • Evangelical2

        The only nation that needs to be destroyed is the fake-Christian racist south.

        • HenryC

          I have lived in both the south and the north. The north is significantly more racist.

          • Insanitea

            Segregated proms?

          • Dale Fayda

            I grew up in NYC. We had race riots in junior high. Massive race rumbles in high school. In my neighborhood, the mob burned down a house that a Hispanic couple recently bought. The only Jewish pogrom in US history took place in NYC – the Crown Heights riots. The profoundly racist Nation of Islam operates in large numbers in NYC to this day, openly preaching anti-white hatred in the streets.

            I can go on.

          • wheezer

            Bingo. Spending the 1st 30 yrs of my ife in NJ and the last 28 in FL, I agree.

    • RichardU

      I’m sorry to inform you, but multiple articles lately have explained you are not allowed to choose Trump if your preferred candidate fails. See, Trump only has 35% of the GOP primary vote. And that means 65% are going to vote against him. So he is going to lose as soon as the field narrows, because none of those 65% supporting someone else will switch to Trump.

      Don’t feel bad about this though. Jeb! has an exclamation mark.

      • Raycheetah

        “[N]one of those 65% supporting someone else will switch to Trump.”

        That’s a powerful assumption to make, and sounds a great deal like wishful thinking. =^[.]^=

      • Jim__L

        None of those 65% would vote for Trump if their preferred candidate loses? I’m not sure that’s true.

        I’m even less sure that after the consequences of the last two elections, Republicans (and many centrists who feel Americans are not being well served by our current policies) would be any less determined to see Hillary lose.

      • Boritz

        And no last name because it is a negative.

    • Andrew Allison

      There is no more libertarian candidate than Paul, and your characterization of him is not supported by the facts. Furthermore, to declaim that the global trading system belongs to the USA is ridiculous coming from a proponent of competition. Your assertion of the superiority of USA culture and ideals is vitiated by our standing among OECD nations in the measurement of your choice. Finally, what choice did “the home of the brave and the land of the free” offer Snowden?

  • jeburke

    Methinks TAI is beating the Jeffersonian-Jacksonian-Hamiltonian meme to death. We’ve had a lot of history sincd 1840. Isn’t there room for Lincolnian, Rooseveltian, etc.?

    • rheddles

      No. They are just variations on the original theme as better explicated by David Hackett Fischer. It’s all cultural

    • Sebastian Cremmington

      Lincoln essentially had the same position on slavery as Jackson and the major Jacksonians alive in 1861 refused to pledge allegiance to the CSA and opposed secession. Lincoln also accepted Manifest Destiny as president after opposing Polk (Jacksonian) as a Congressman.

  • http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.com/ Dan King

    I think my post offers a clearer model for the Trump/Cruz phenomenon: http://trotskyschildren.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-demise-of-democratic-party.html

    • f1b0nacc1

      I am a big fan of your blog, and while I don’t share your dislike of Cruz (not my favorite guy either, but I just don’t get the visceral hatred that some seem to have of him) you make some excellent points.

      • Andrew Allison

        Hmmm. Are you sure he’s not an Anthony doppelganger? I found the linked post just as pretentious and impenetrable.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Really? I have been reading his blog for over a year now, and have found it anything but pretentious and impenetrable. I don’t agree with everything he says by any means, but he typically makes interesting argument, and avoids jargon for its own sake. Different strokes and all that, I suppose…. If you haven’t read much of the site, give it another try…he has some interesting points to make.

          Regarding Cruz, I don’t think you hate him…I get your distrust comment. Some other commenters, however, just boil over with inchoate loathing….

          • Andrew Allison

            Thanks, I will. And yes, the hatefulness of some commentators says more about them than their target.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I will be interested in hearing what you think. Not everything in the blog is brilliant (is anything?), but it is reasonably thoughtful and informative. I only wish he posted more often.

          • Andrew Allison

            Anybody who sees Cruz for what he is can’t be all bad [grin]. But he’s dreadfully wordy. There do seem to be a lot of presumably pretty smart people who think that the State and Local government debt bomb is going to explode violently.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Well, *I* am dreadfully wordy….so I suppose like finds like…

            Regarding the debt bomb, I suspect the ending will be very ugly. A lot of people have been promised that math doesn’t apply to them, and they are going to be extremely angry when they find out that this isn’t so.

    • qet

      I don’t find your categorizations persuasive as a general matter. As far as Trump v Cruz, I think their opposition is overdetermined by dint of the desire of so many pundits, bloggers, journalists and others to make themselves heard on the matter. I don’t see them as bearers of any particular ideas or as exemplars of any identifiable political formations. Trump is succeeding because his intuition detected a historically-particular wave of popular sentiment and he is riding that wave, guided by instinct, not intellect and employing his charisma to greatest advantage. Trump is Howard Beale shouting “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!” Cruz, on the other hand, is certainly a familiar type: the exceedingly ambitious career politician. That type is necessarily ruthless and his challenge is to disguise that part of himself (like Bill Clinton did so effectively). Cruz is, as a typical politician, holding his finger up in the wind to sense its changing directions and he is trying to maneuver into positions that shift somewhat over the course of a long campaign. Dog bites man; nothing new under the sun here. Trump is a wild-card along the lines of Ross Perot and so even hardened career pols face some strategic and tactical uncertainty when confronting such a phenomenon.

  • stella blue

    Edward Snowden exposed the lies of the US government. He is a hero. When asked about Snowden, Rand Paul said if you want to put Snowden in jail he should share a cell with James Clapper.

  • RCPreader

    Neither Trump nor Jacksonianism are characterized by “ultra-nationalism” or being “unconstrained by constitutional limits.” (It is Progressivism that is traditionally unconstrained by constitutional limits.) Spare us the hyperbole.

    Why is it that pundits who don’t like Trump can’t just say, “I don’t like Trump, and here’s why”? Instead they engage in a passive-aggressive game of not taking him head-on, but tossing off distorted characterizations of him and hoping they’ll subtly shift voters’ views. (A game routinely played by the left/MSM with Republicans and conservatives of all sorts.) And then such people wonder why GOP voters become more and more disgusted with the establishment.

  • dogged

    Clearly,Ted Cruz is now the counterpoint to Donald Trump just as Trump is the counterpoint to Barack Obama. But never forget that the media seems very much to “like” The Donald: And why does the media like him so much? Certainly not in the sycophantic, tingly way they adored Barack Obama?
    Fearing the alternatives (Cruz or Rubio), they would love to enable The Donald all the way to the nomination….and then crucify him easily on the road to HRH Hillary.

    • Andrew Allison

      Oh, come now! The media hates The Donald as much, if not more than the major party Establishments. Essentially all of the commentary is negative, the MSM being too stupid to realize that, as Rudolph Valentino famously said, “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right”. Rephrased, every time they dump on Trump, his numbers go up.

      • Angel Martin

        Trump is actually more astute then that. What he is doing is to package his core messaging in his ‘outrageous” statements.

        When he makes one of his statements, the media goes wild and give him wall-to-wall coverage because they want to “expose” him.

        Then the media goes to all of Trump’s political opponents for the ritual denunciations, again repeating his “outrageous” statements.

        Then the media runs back to Trump, repeats his “outrageous” statements again demands an apology and retraction (again repeating Trump’s messaging).

        Trump refuses, and in fact doubles down, which starts the “outrage” cycle all over again.

  • HenryC

    Snowden clearly is a traitor. If he had surrendered to be prosecuted, I would regard him as a hero. As it is, Cruz is right. Like many others I thought his original actions justified. However, his continuing actions clearly mark him on the traitor side. I am fairly sure Cruz has a similar judgement, and it is not just a get me votes change.

  • GalTEAn

    OR he has not really changed his position at all – The rest of that 2013 quote is ““If Mr. Snowden has violated the laws of this country, there are consequences to violating laws and that is something he has publicly stated he understands and I think the law needs to be enforced,” Cruz said.”
    It is at least as likely the in this context Cruz was not diluting the point of massive government abuse of Americans and leaving for another day his feelings about Snowden’s actions.

  • Montana Pioneer

    “…Trump, who has dominated with his hyper-Jacksonian campaign of ultra-nationalism…”

    “ULTRA” nationalism? Seems that nationalism has become so ULTRA politically incorrect that ANY nationalism at all is deemed ULTRA nationalism. Saw one writer even refer to a Trump video as “racist” because it supported America, just kids singing to a George M Cohan tune. We probably need some nationalism for a change, with all the anti-Americanism the left forces upon us in academia, the media, and in politics. The left so despises America, that any mention at all of what a great country we have is considered, well, whatever stupid name they put on it. —i.e.: ultra nationalism.

    • Insanitea

      One can be a nationalist without calling Mexicans rapists or banning Muslims.

      • Chris706

        You can run on unlimited illegal immigration, including Muslim terrorists, if you like. In fact, I recommend it. Have fun!

  • John Morris

    Interesting that this hatchet job on Cruz is written by an anonymous author who can’t even think outside of Democrat bounds. Jefferson, Jackson are (or were) the fault lines of the Democratic Party.

    As for Snowden, why can’t he be both? I’d say his initial revelations were very helpful to the public dialog and a good thing. His later revealing of secrets of intelligence gathering abroad (i.e. the legitimate intelligence gathering function of the NSA) were treason straight up. As for delivering a hard drive filled with our secrets to Putin, there are no words. So he should be captured back at pretty much any cost, tried and then while on the gallows hang a Medal of Freedom around his neck before pulling the lever.

  • Ken moss

    What Bull we listen and project against reality not project on great dead white MEN.

  • MarkRCrawford

    The author denigrates Jackson without a smidgen of understanding or expression of the prevailing circumstances of the times. A typical pitfall of the shallow thinker.

  • jeffmagic

    Anybody who says Snowden is a traitor has no respect for the Constitution and is unfit to rule.

  • Chris Weiss

    Cruz is a evangelical Christian who believes in the imminent Second Coming of Christ, wants to carpet bomb Islamic civilians & threatens war with Iran (an Islamic country who’s major crime is it’s armed opposition to Zionist apartheid).
    Cruz wants a Crusade. History does not record the Indian Fighter Jackson as being on some sort of religious crusade, or being desirous of biblical armageddon.

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