Hamilton — The GOP debate: Madison versus Wilson
When viewed from the Olympian heights of the newspaper opinion columnist, it seemed a shame that Carly Fiorina was relegated to what President Obama might call, “the Junior Varsity,” the second tier composed of seven GOP presidential hopefuls who did not make the top 10 in the first GOP debate of the campaign season. Upon reflection, however, Carly Fiorina was not subjected to the bombast of Donald Trump who consumed an inordinate amount of time at the expense of his colleagues in the all-male, “varsity” debate.
On the more level playing field of the “junior varsity” debate, Carly Fiorina displayed the knowledge and communications skills that will surely elevate her to the GOP varsity. Going into the debate, this observer felt the Republicans would be wise to oppose whoever leads the Democrat slate with a Rubio/Fiorina GOP ticket. But, based on the formidable forensic skills displayed by Carly Fiorina, the GOP might be better advised to have a Fiorina/Rubio ticket.
There seems to be something of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in Carly Fiorina. Ergo: Fiorina is likely someone to shake up what Sen. Ted Cruz calls: “the Washington Cartel.” As for Donald Trump’s threat to run as a third-party candidate, recall it was Teddy Roosevelt’s third-party run to regain the presidency that elected the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, to the White House and launched the Progressive Era.
Today, we are witnessing a contest between opposing interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. On the one hand, the true Republicans (not the RINOs), hold to the view of James Madison that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights exist to limit the power of the national government so that the people living in the individual States might enjoy all the liberties and freedoms proclaimed so beautifully in the Declaration of Independence.
On the other hand, the Progressives (AKA, the Democrats), cling to the view of President Woodrow Wilson that the national government exists to do whatever the president alone thinks is good for the nation. Essentially, a contest between government from the bottom up versus government from the top down. You pick.
This brings us now to the seemingly improbable (and probably temporary) rise of Donald Trump who has tapped into the root-canal-deep pain of the Madisonians who worked to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and worked to gain control of the U.S. Senate in 2014 and yet the Congress they elected, in their view, continues to do the bidding of President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. While the Madisonians are angry enough to listen (at least, for now) to the self-serving vitriol of Donald Trump, the Wilsonians are deliriously happy with all that President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid have gotten done since January of 2009.
While this conflict disturbs many people, it is simply the messy and often raucous process of representative democracy at work in what was designed to be a market place of ideas. Assuming that Political Correctness is not allowed to stifle the market place of ideas, the presidential election of 2016 has the potential to decide the Madison versus Wilson debate for decades to come.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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