Donald Trump: A candidate is defined by the company he keeps

Donald Trump is defined by the company he keeps. And by the company he doesn't keep.

Donald Trump - Ted Cruz CNN Debate Screen Shot.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 5, 2016 – It’s often said that a man is known by the company he keeps. Certainly, had Barack Obama’s associates been scrutinized more energetically, American voters might have paused for a thoughtful moment before continuing their headlong and ultimately ill-informed rush to elect the first black to the nation’s highest office.

Little was made of Obama’s early and formative associations with such American luminaries and patriots as the founder of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, Father Michael Pfleger, former domestic terrorists Bill Ayers, former minister Jeremiah (“G— D—- America!”) Wright and the “Reverend” Al Sharpton. Only now have many Americans figured out the consequences that stemmed from a lack of political and mass media vetting of the Democrats’ then little-known presidential candidate.

Fast forward eight years later. As the latest “Trump controversy” swirls around us, we would do well to apply the rigor to this situation that was missing in 2008 when Barack Obama got a pass.

Who are Donald Trump’s friends, advisors and associates?

Donald Trump has gained the endorsement of Ben Carson. Here is a Christian who speaks often of the Bible and of his faith. Here’s a man who eschewed “politics as usual” and has refused to speak ill of other candidates. (He did, however, defend himself when attacked, a trait he holds oddly in common with his man, Trump.)

Trump is known to take economic counsel from television commentator Larry Kudlow. Kudlow has served as the associate director for Economics and Planning at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under the Reagan administration, as chief economist at Bear Stearns Companies Inc. and as economic editor at National Review online. He wrote the 1997 book, “American Abundance, The New Economic and Moral Prosperity.”

The candidate has also sought the counsel of Newt Gingrich, Washington lion and author of numerous books on American history. A co-author and architect of the “Contract with America,” Gingrich was a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional election. In 1995, Time named him “Man of the Year” for “his role in ending the four-decades-long Democratic majority in the House.”

As speaker of the House and working closely across the aisle with President Bill Clinton and others, he led the House to enact a landmark welfare reform measure and was instrumental in the passage of a capital gains tax cut in 1997 and, in 1998 pushed through the first balanced Federal budget since 1969.

But besides inspecting those a person keeps company with, it’s also instructive to take a look at those who give him a wide berth. In this regard, Trump has a veritable pantheon of worthy opponents. Inhabitants of “flyover country,” who for many years have watched these players in action, now see them arrayed against Trump.

There’s the mainstream media, always a favorite target among conservatives. Since the rise of social media and alternative political reporting, that formerly august bunch of propagandists has been falling to the bottom of the charts in the all-important trustworthiness category. Drip by drip and story by story, we’ve watched as they’ve increasingly stacked the reportorial deck against the defense of individual liberties.

These barons of the government-media complex have also relentlessly policed our language to outlaw certain words and phrases, never mind the First Amendment. Self-important “journalists” have further eroded our liberties by preaching the virtues of holding government-sanctioned politically correct views on illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, states’ rights and partial birth abortion, to name a few.

Most recently, their near-slavish reporting on the president’s visit to Cuba made little mention of that country’s long record on civil rights abuses or of the many people who are still languishing there in political prisons for opposing the long-lived Marxist dictatorship of Fidel Castro.

Similarly, over many years, Hollywood stars and other media darlings’ visits to Cuba have received gushingly positive coverage. One might ask today’s college students and others who proudly wear their Che Guevara tee shirts, “Have you ever heard of the Bill of Rights?”

The next group with whom Trump has had a problem, particularly lately, is the so-called Government of the People party, the GOP. These Establishment suits, the same ones who saw fit to run the hapless Mitt Romney and John McCain as their presidential nominees in 2008 and 2012 respectively, now would block the one candidate they are unable to control, Donald Trump. They can’t buy him or influence him. Their current plans now appear to have coalesced into a concerted effort to thwart his nomination at this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Hillary Clinton is another Establishment darling we can mark down as not being in the Trump camp. Although candidate Trump has barely laid a glove on her and her disastrously failed record so far, you can count on it if he does turn out to be the 2016 Republican nominee. Hillary and her fat cat and Democrat sponsors know all too well the catastrophe that awaits them should this upstart make it all the way to the final innings.

The electorate would do well to watch and listen to candidates for what they do and not just for what they say. While covering the outrageous and determinedly non-politically correct comments of Candidate Trump is great fun and helps to sell lucrative TV ad space, there’s a lot more to know besides “optics” when weighing whether to elevate one person or another to the highest position in America, if not the world.

We must look deeper than colorful visuals and soundbites. We must look into an individual’s character. Who are his friends? Who are his enemies? What sort of family does he have? Does he keep his word? Is he honest in what he says? And, digging a bit deeper, we also should also take a close look at candidates’ friends and enemies.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is an ancient proverb. It suggests that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common enemy. In the case of Candidate Trump, who has just lost the Wisconsin primary decisively against Ted Cruz, that axiom might now be in play.

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