Benjamin Franklin's Prophecy about Those Who Seek To Be President

Journal Federal Cons LogoOn June 2, 1787, PA delegate James Wilson read a paper written by the elder statesman of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin, which made a case against paying the chief executive a salary. While Franklin thought the executive should be reimbursed for expenses incurred while serving, he did not believe a salary would bring out the best candidates. In fact, he was direct about the kind of people who would seek an office promising power and money.

And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation: for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Franklin’s prophecy seems remarkably accurate regarding the present occupant of the White House. Franklin is correct that some who oppose Trump now do so because of similar motives. However, Trump hasn’t needed much of their help to “distress” his administration and render himself “odious to the people.”
The president’s salary isn’t high enough now to compete with private sector work but in our day the payoff comes in other ways. Trump’s position has already benefited his family and charges of kleptocracy are not far fetched. Former presidents (e.g., Clinton) have used their influence and position to tally up millions in speeches. One crisis of the last election was that so many people didn’t want to vote for either candidate. I hope we have a better choice next time around.

Anti-Defamation League Condemns Ben Carson's Statements About a Muslim Running for President

This morning the Jewish Anti-Defamation League issued a condemnation of Donald Trumps inaction and Ben Carson’s actions. Sunday on Meet the Press, Carson said he could not accept a Muslim president. This morning, his spokesman Armstrong Williams categorized Muslims as believing in killing Jews and gays. The ADL posted:

ADL Troubled by Comments of GOP Hopefuls, Including Ben Carson, Suggesting a Muslim Should Not Be President

New York, NY, September 21, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply troubled by recent remarks by presidential candidates suggesting that being a Muslim is incompatible with serving as president of the United States. The League called on all presidential candidates to avoid stereotyping American Muslims during the campaign.

Speaking on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson stated that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”  This troubling remark came on the heels of Donald Trump failing to stand up to an anti-Muslim bigot at a campaign rally.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Donald Trump’s failure to stand up to an anti-Muslim bigot at a campaign rally who questioned whether President Obama was a Muslim, as well as the various troubling comments by the candidates about a Muslim’s fitness to serve as president, are deeply troubling. Dr. Ben Carson’s statement that a Muslim American should not serve as president is deeply offensive, un-American and contrary to the Constitution. There is no religious litmus test for candidates seeking political office, and that includes the highest office in the land.

The U.S. Constitution makes clear that any American citizen can run for president provided that he or she is a natural born citizen, age 35 or older, and resided for at least 14 years within the U.S. Indeed, Article VI of the Constitution states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Dr. Carson’s statement directly contradicts the Constitution and the values embodied in it. In America, personal characteristics — whether race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion – should have no bearing on person’s ability to serve. Rather, fitness to serve should be based on the individual’s merit: intellect, ethics, experience and achievements.

As the campaign season advances, we urge all presidential candidates to avoid innuendo and stereotyping of all sorts, including against people based on their faith, particularly American Muslims and, instead, to confront all forms of prejudice and bigotry. Remarks suggesting that all Muslims follow extremist interpretations of Islam have no basis in fact and fuel bigotry.  Whether directed against Jews, Muslims or others, such baseless comments breed hate and have no place in a presidential campaign or in public discourse.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, ADL takes no position on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for office.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Ben Carson's Muslim President Comments and the 1788 Debate in North Carolina Over Ratification of the Constitution

So Ben Carson said he wouldn’t support a Muslim for President and Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution. Watch:

Then he said he might vote for a Muslim for Congress.
This was such an easy question that I am surprised Carson botched it up.  Even if you personally would not vote for a Muslim, the Constitution prohibits a religious test so it doesn’t matter what Ben Carson’s opinion is. All I can figure is he wanted to bounce with anti-Muslim sentiment.
The issue of a Muslim (Mahometan) president came up during the North Carolina Debates over ratification of the Constitution in 1788 (to read it all keep clicking the next image). The defenders of the Constitution indicated that religious liberty would not prevent a Muslim from running. Being elected however, is another matter, and according to one delegate would require a major change in public sentiment.
Speaker James Iredell, appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington in 1790, answered worries that a pagan or Mahometan might gain office:

But it is objected that the people of America may, perhaps, choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices. But how is it possible to exclude any set of men, without taking away that principle of religious freedom which we ourselves so warmly contend for? This is the foundation on which persecution has been raised in every part of the world. The people in power were always right, and every body else wrong. If you admit the least difference, the door to persecution is opened. Nor would it answer the purpose, for the worst part of the excluded sects would comply with the test, and the best men only be kept out of our counsels. But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own. It would be happy for mankind if religion was permitted to take its own course, and maintain itself by the excellence of its own doctrines. The divine Author of our religion never wished for its support by worldly authority. Has he not said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it? It made much greater progress for itself, than when supported by the greatest authority upon earth.

He added later:

It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans, pagans, &c., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President, or other high office, but in one of two cases. First, if the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves. Another case is, if any persons of such descriptions should, notwithstanding their religion, acquire the confidence and esteem of the people of America by their good conduct and practice of virtue, they may be chosen. I leave it to gentlemen’s candor to judge what probability there is of the people’s choosing men of different sentiments from themselves.

Iredell saw that the Constitution does not require Christianity to be the national religion. A president of a non-majority religion might be elected if voters become less Christian or because an individual of a minority religion displays trustworthy character.
In any case, Iredell made it clear that Christianity ought not depend on the support of Constitution or any other worldly authority.
Carson’s later came out and said he didn’t oppose a Muslim running for office if the candidate rejected Sharia law.
The next question to ask Carson is if the Constitution is flawed since it forbids a religious test.

Donald Trump for President?

March Madness is here.

And I don’t mean NCAA basketball.

GOP suits are in Iowa testing the waters for a run at the nomination. The most entertaining aspect has to be the potential for Donald Trump to enter the fray. Although Trump was not there, he sent a water tester along to find out what Iowa is.

Michael Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel to Trump’s company, met with Iowa Republicans.

“We do understand that Iowa is the first stop if anyone is interested in the presidential election. Certainly … we are very anxious to learn about Iowa and be able to report back to Mr. Trump when he hopefully decides to run in June,” Cohen said.

Always good to do due diligence prior to a big purchase.

If Trump gets the nomination, I think he should choose his VP like he runs his reality show The Apprentice; call it Vice-President Apprentice. Put Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrinch on a team and Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and Mike Huckabee on another team. Trump could fire someone after each challenge and end up with his Veep. Watching the board room antics would be must see TV.

Nov. 5 New York Times Front Page Leaked

Well, I can’t actually verify this but it might look something like this.
NYT
Here is a little better view of it.
I might be done for the night; I am not sure I can watch this. FOX just called VA at 10:41pm for Obama. Virginia.
Jedi mind tricks.
Some GOP people I talk to hope for buyer’s remorse and a resurgence in the mid-term elections in 2010. As a historical parallel, Bill Clinton, in 1992, met immediate problems with his health care initiatives; one wonders if Obama’s pledge to make the Freedom of Choice Act his first legislative priority could be a parallel. There are any number of liberal proposals that Obama would do well to wait to move on if he wants to avoid what happened during the first Clinton term. The Contract with America came along in 1994 and helped revitalize the GOP.

Obama says faith-based is okay if it isn't entirely based in faith

I am not sure my headline captures it but it is close. In this New York Times article, Barack Obama is shown Zanesville, OH (near my old stomping grounds) promoting a kind of faith based initiative. After all the reading, I think the issue at odds is whether faith-based groups should be able to take Federal money if they can discriminate in hiring by only hiring people who support the faith on which the group is based. John McCain and most conservatives say such groups should be able to participate if they can control the hiring and Obama says no, groups cannot exclude people of other or no faith from working in their organizations.
I think Obama is very smart. He is courting Evangelicals by speaking an Evangelical dialect. Many rank and file Evangelicals would not support his bottom line positions but his public ideological opponents of late are attacking him without lifting up the alternative in corresponding positive tones. Until Evangelicals begin to promote McCain instead of merely attack Obama, the Illinois Senator is going to scoop up interest and possibly support among moderate Evangelicals where McCain could be strong. Mr Obama is seizing the opportunity.