October 21, 2019

Save the Country or Save Face?

How’s this for a movie plot? A terrorist has threatened to detonate a nuclear bomb in New York City. All the intelligence services in the country know who the terrorist is, and they also believe that he has a nuclear weapon at his disposal. However, no one knows where he is and when he will strike.

There is still one hope. A former CIA agent has hundreds of contacts around the world, and he has demonstrated in the past an uncanny ability to find terrorists who do not want to be found.

But there is a problem: Before he was fired, Agent Hugh McKillrey was hated by most of his colleagues. He was brash, outspoken, and highly critical of anyone who showed the slightest sign of incompetence or cowardice. Even his superiors were not immune from his verbal assaults. In the halls at Langley, his nickname was “Jack Bauer,” but it wasn’t an epithet meant to be a compliment.

At a meeting at the White House with all the security bigwigs, the President asks if there is any progress in finding the terrorist. All the heads around the table look down. The President hears a few mumbled phrases: “doing all we can,” “looking under every rock,” “working around the clock,” “trying to connect the dots.”

Exasperated, the President asks, “What about McKillrey? Has anyone contacted him?”

The CIA director replies, “No, Mr. President. And we are not going to contact him. There is no way on earth that I am going to get down on my knees and beg that SOB to help us. Not going to happen.”

The President stares at the man and then says, “So, let me see if I understand this. We are facing an imminent nuclear attack on New York City, and you don’t want to ask a highly successful former agent for help. Your task is to save eight million lives, and all you are worrying about is saving face. You’re fired.”

The premise here should be obvious. When the United States is facing a serious crisis, then one must sacrifice his own desires for the good of the nation.

Which brings us to Donald Trump. There are two groups of Republicans who fear the possibility that Trump could win the nomination for the presidency. One one side, we have “The Establishment” (aka “Ruling Elite,” “Donor Class”). As members of Congress, major donors, and those who make good money working for the government, they enjoy the trappings of power, do not believe in conservative values, and see the average citizen as a dolt. On the other side, we have “True Conservatives.” Composed mostly of middle-class citizens, they love the Constitution and this nation but see American values being destroyed by the Left with the complicity of The Establishment.

What both sides agree on is that, should Trump win the Republican nomination for president, he will not only be an embarrassment to the country, but he will also lose to Hillary in a landslide. To prevent this, both sides have launched a series of vicious written and verbal assaults, hoping to derail the Trump candidacy.

But, for the most part, these attacks have proved fruitless. Trump continues to win primaries and delegates. His supporters are extremely loyal, and each attack simply strengthens their resolve.

So, what to do? The apparent plan is to hope that Trump fails to get the 1237 delegates needed to secure the nomination by the time the Republican Convention begins in Cleveland. Should this happen, then the convention becomes “open,” which means that after the first round of votes, the delegates are no longer committed to Trump (or anyone else) and can vote for whomever they please. The Establishment would then hope to garner enough support for one their “chosen” candidates, perhaps Kasich or even Romney.

Yet there may be an easier path to stop Trump. The Establishment and the True Conservatives could all unite behind the man who is currently running second to Trump, Ted Cruz. At first blush, this would seem an easy choice. After all, Cruz is a senator and has none of the character and policy baggage that Trump has. A huge backing of Cruz might tip the balance and give him the delegates needed to win on the first ballot or become the consensus pick should the convention go open. A no-brainer, right? Wrong.

The Establishment hates Ted Cruz. Since Cruz was elected to the Senate, he has been a thorn in the side of his colleagues. They look at his failed attempts to stop the Obama agenda as mere grandstanding. His calling Senate Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor certainly did not endear him to anyone, either. It may be telling that, as this article is being written, only two senators have endorsed him. Two out of ninety-nine is not a great average.

So, we are back to the movie plot. If Trump is as much of a danger to the Republic as The Establishment and many True Conservatives claim, and Cruz has a chance to stop him, then it would behoove these people to swallow their pride, openly endorse Cruz, and work to make him the nominee. If, however, their priority is to save face, then they will get either Trump as the nominee or a divisive open convention. It’s time to put up or shut up.

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Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

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Written by Thomas Addis
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