James McDonald, Another “New Calvinist” Bully, Leaves

I never really liked James McDonald from the get-go. It wasn’t that his preaching was “bad”–the few times I heard him preach, he was decent–it was that so many others were so high on him that they thought I was out of touch for not being on their bandwagon.

But at the 2013 Act Like Men conference in Indianapolis, something about his demeanor just wasn’t right. There was something about his presentation that screamed of heavyhandedness. He wasn’t “loud”; he just seemed like someone trying to be all tough, as though that somehow made him worthy of being up there.

(Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll also preached at that conference. Chandler was excellent; Driscoll was good–say what you want about his leadership style–but McDonald did not strike me as a credible pastor. Like I said, it wasn’t that he was teaching anything erroneous; he simply did not come off with pastoral gravitas.)

TWW has this piece on his “resignation”. And, for all my issues with Deb and Dee, I can’t say I disagree with their assessment of McDonald.

It really seems to me that some of these high-profile conservative preachers–Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, McDonald, Mahaney–are falling for the same dynamic that defined the televangelist disasters: a combination of (a) heavyhanded leadership with no accountability, (b) a love of money, and (c) along the lines of (a) and (b), a sense of entitlement.

I’ve long-observed the ministry in America as a corporate ladder. You go to college or Bible School, then on to seminary to get the MDiv (and perhaps even a doctoral degree). In ministry, you may start out as a children’s minister, a music minister, a youth minister, or even work interim pastoral roles (also called “pulpit supply”). Of course you get married, because singles generally have very limited opportunities in the ministry.

When you get out of school, you start out at a small or medium-sized church. If you have good speaking and social skills, and manage not to piss off the wrong people, then you go places.

Even better, if you are innovative, then you can start your own church. You might have the charisma to attract a small following, and then–through word of mouth–others start coming to your church. People are attracted to charisma: a pastor who can operate like a CEO projects “E.F. Hutton”-level gravitas, and we all know what happens when E.F. Hutton talks…

But here’s the problem: charisma is not character!

I’m going to say it again: charisma is not character!

Guys like Driscoll, Tchividjian, McDonald, Mahaney, and even Chantry, have strong charisma. They have the qualities that you expect in Alpha Males, at least with respect to the Church: no matter which church they are in, they are going to be sought out as leaders.

But were any of these guys ever vetted for character? And if so, to what extent? Many denominations will place great emphasis on sound doctrine, and rightly so.

But what about character? What about leadership style? What about financial expectations? And yes, what about sexual baggage?

(Yes, the latter is fair game. If you’re a would-be overseer, it is fair to expect that you are not perverted: you are not into porn, or sexually-attracted to the same sex or to children. It is also fair to expect that you are not the type of person who supports leaders who are, and that, if accusations surfaced, you are predisposed to transparency and reporting to the proper authorities.)

If no one in McDonald’s–or Driscoll’s–inner circle had the presence of mind to notice a problem, then shame on them. And if they did, and refused to confront them–then they were derelict in their duties.

Ultimately, your sin will find you out. As I often put it, you will never outrun your character: that will always catch up with you.

And if you are a bully, you will find that, once a church wakes up, you might be in for a rude awakening.

 

Is America Heading for Civil War?

I hope the answer is no. I hope David French of National Review is correct in his assessment. OTOH, I do not share his optimism.

If the two sides each had a “live and let live” mentality and didn’t mind the “Red” and “Blue” regions breaking up, this would have a peaceable resolution.

Having said that, I don’t see the Totalitarian Left–which dominates the Deep State–tolerating any breakup. Governor Moonbeam is going to want “Red” America to bail out California. And as businesses bail from Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and New England, those regions are not going to be thrilled at the prospect of funding their socialist scams without the support of the “Red” states.

Nor do I see a Beltway apparatus being amenable to an amicable split. They’ll fight it, and probably with real artillery.

I don’t like the prospect of war. I have blogged against that on these pages: Christians, as far as it depends on them, cannot afford to pick that fight with government.

People who want that war have not thought this through.

(1) The day you so much as aim a firearm–or any other piece of weaponry–at a government agent, your life as you know it is over. That means your family–from your children to your relatives–will not be safe. If you’re lucky, you will be in hiding for the rest of your life.

(2) Go ahead and gush about 1776, and how we kicked King George’s ass. That is not the general outcome of these wars. That our Revolution produced the most free and prosperous nation in world history is no guarantee that any such revolt will provide a similar outcome. More often than not, a civil war generally ends poorly.

What David French has provided is a best-case scenario, and I hope he is correct.

The cynic in me says we are heading for Civil War II. And it will make the first one look benign.

I say that because there are simply too many trigger-happy morons on each side.

Southern Baptist Convention Continues Decline

I generally do not cheer at reports like this one. After all, there are a lot of good people in the Southern Baptist Convention–particularly missionaries both here and abroad–who will suffer as a result of the decline of the SBC.

At the same time, given the institutional coverup of sexual abuse scandals in their churches, I cannot say that I have any desire to see the SBC prosper.

And don’t start the, “SBC churches are autonomous, so the convention is limited in what they can do” line. Puhleeeze.

The same convention that has booted churches for endorsing homosexuality cannot take action against churches who cover for predatory ministers?

(If you try to shovel the “Baptist Churches are autonomous” argument over here, I will cyber-waterboard you without mercy.)

The current SBC President, Steve Gaines, would know of such coverups: he was directly involved in one at Bellvue Baptist Church where he was pastor. One of his ministers was known to have abused his son; Gaines sat on that knowledge. As far as I am concerned, he is no different from Ted Haggard. That the SBC has made him their President is a global disgrace.

Amy Smith of Watch Keep was well-connected at Prestonwood Baptist Church, a prominent hub of the conservative theology that has defined the Southern Baptist world for the last 35 years. Her father was a deacon there.

When she blew the lid on a whitewash of a sexual abuse scandal at Prestonwood, she became persona non grata in her own family. You can read about it here.

And sadly, the leadership of the SBC has shown no desire to get to the bottom of this problem. They have passed resolutions, even called for commissions to investigate the problem of sexual abusers in their ranks, but provided zero teeth to them.

I am not surprised that there are sexual abusers in the Church. They flock to the church (that’s where the children are) for the same reason that the robber hits the bank (that’s where the money is).

And as I’ve often said, the sexual predator is not the creepy-looking pervert; in fact, they are affable, charismatic, popular, well-respected, often married and with children of their own. Christians expect evil people to look evil; in fact it’s the other way around: just as Satan appears as an “angel in white”, the most vile people often look good and respectable.

Israel’s first king–Saul–was the best-looking man in the kingdom. He looked like he would make a good king, but–due to his lack of regard for God’s ways–he nearly led Israel to destruction.

Baptists, like the Israelites of old, have a long track record of picking leaders who, like Saul, look good and respectable, but who are evil and vile.

Even worse, when the extent of their depravity becomes known, churches are more prone to resort to CYA than to do the right thing and contact the authorities. As bad as the predators are, the Church compounds this by an order of magnitude by (a) not reporting accusations to authorities, (b) allowing the offender to resign and move, (c) disregarding, or making light of, the impact of the abuses on the victims, or, worse, (d) attacking the victims and/or those who blow the whistle on the coverups.

The SBC has a sordid history of doing exactly that. And it reflects a body whose leaders are fixated on their own self-interests rather than those of the Father.

Until they reverse course, I will root for their demise.

TWW’s Reflections on Driscoll at Mars Hill

I am writing with respect to Dee’s post here.

First, a little of my background.

While I joined an Acts 29 church in 2008, I was never a Driscoll fanboi. At the time, I only knew a little about Driscoll, and had no idea he was behind Acts 29. Where I lived, that was one of the few decent churches, and some of my friends went there. They seemed pretty solid theologically, and were relatively laid-back in their style.

After we got engaged, MrsLarijani watched many Driscoll sermons online. She was trying to get a feel for Acts 29. She liked most of what she saw.

As for me, I’m not high on the celebrity preacher circuit and never have been. I like John Piper and Tim Keller, for example; at the same time I do not fawn on their every word either. I do not listen to their sermons regularly, although I have read a few of their books.

Fast-forward about 10 years.

Driscoll is long gone from Mars Hill. Mars Hill is itself long gone.

Having read a share of Driscoll’s work, I have reached some conclusions about him:

(1) I do not classify Driscoll as a NeoCal, at least not in theological terms. I am not sure that he’s really that “Reformed” in his theological leanings. Mohler? Definitely. Mahaney? You bet. Chandler? Most certainly. Piper? Yes. Keller? Maybe. (He’s PCA Presbyterian, so he’s more of an old-school Calvinist.)

But Driscoll? The only thing “NeoCal” about him is his approach to church discipline, and even in his case that might be a stretch: he wasn’t working according to any particular NeoCal playbook; his case was simply what happens when leaders are accountable to no one. Many of his elders were poorly-trained and had no idea how to apply Scripture properly.

(This was the same dynamic that forced Matt Chandler to apologize to a woman who was wrongly disciplined for seeking to end a marriage to a husband caught downloading child porn.)

(2) While I am not in agreement with some of Driscoll’s interpretation of Esther and The Song of Solomon–I do not think Esther was a slut but was rather in a lose-lose situation–I cannot say that his hermeneutical approach was bad. In the sermons I’ve watched, his preaching was good. One year, I attended an Act Like Men conference in Indianapolis, and Driscoll was one of the speakers. Nothing he said was controversial at all.

(3) Driscoll’s failings were not theological, but rather a failure to apply his stated theology to himself. This is a danger with every leader: when leaders–particularly ones that attract large followings–are not accountable (i.e., the rules don’t apply to them), you have all the ingredients for disaster.

(4) Driscoll’s record on sex is mixed. While he is too libertine by my standards, that’s not my issue with him. He seemed, however, to devote way too much time to the subject. Was this due to an obsession on his part? Was this due to so many folks at Mars Hill being mired in the hypersex culture of online porn, fetishes, and assorted perversions? I don’t know, as I cannot answer for Driscoll. But yes, it did seem that he had a fixation on the matter.

(5) Did he plagiarize? I dunno. He definitely did not do the best job in the world footnoting. That would have, at the very least, earned him the loss of a letter grade in an academic setting. His biggest sin in that area, however, is not the alleged plagiarism but rather the use of deceptive tactics to market his books.

(6) Is Driscoll a misogynist? I dunno. That terms gets thrown around any time someone makes tough statements about women. There was a period in his life during which he had marital problems. During that time, he said some things that were overly harsh about the opposite sex. Is that misogyny or just a season in which his attitude was bad? He should have refrained from preaching about women during that time, or taken a sabbatical. But, from what I’ve read and what I’ve heard from him, I would not categorize him as a misogynist.

Ultimately, Driscoll had to go. It isn’t that his theology wasn’t up to snuff, nor is this about incendiary e-mails he sent under pseudonyms 17 years ago.

In Driscoll’s case, it is about a pattern of conduct that reflects (a) a lack of maturity that is unbecoming of a minister of the Gospel, (b) dubious judgment, evidenced by his crashing a John MacArthur event, (c) heavyhanded leadership tactics–including abusive practices–that are incongruent with the Biblical criteria for would-be church leaders, and (d) potential financial malfeasance.

I would suggest that, unless and until he can show that he has resolved those issues, he has no business in the ministry.

Nothing to See Here

Ever since Hillary Clinton went down in flames, the leftard brigade has been gaslighting you into thinking that this was all because “Russia hacked the election”, or “Trump colluded with Russia to undermine Hillary.”

But remember, folks, as Vox Day often points out: Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) always project.

(The Democrats actually have a long, storied history of colluding with Russia, as they actively sought the help of then-Russian Premier Yuri Andropov to undermine President Reagan during the 1984 election cycle. And THAT was during the height of the Cold War.)

In point of fact, a DNC staffer, who was murdered last year just steps away from his home in Washington D.C., was a key source for WikiLeaks.

The murder of Seth Rich is very likely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Davey Blackburn and the Murder of Amanda Blackburn

FWIW, I initially suspected that Davey Blackburn, youth pastor of Resonate Church in Indianapolis, murdered his wife, Amanda Blackburn. He was at the gym, she was shot, he returned to find a dead wife, yeah…I was cynical. I have seen that scenario before, and usually the husband is guilty.

But according to the evidence we have on record, that is not the case: Amanda Blackburn, and her unborn child, were killed by two thugs who were on a violent spree that left at least one other person dead.

On that front, unless someone has some really high bombshell evidence that destroys the state’s case, Davey Blackburn is innocent of murder.

To that issue, I think Amy Smith of Watch Keep, whose blog I enjoy reading, is reaching way too hard.

OTOH, she is absolutely correct in pointing out Blackburn’s subsequent actions, which border on downright creepy. Check out the links for yourself.

I realize we all have our ways of coping with tragedy, and I don’t want to take anything away from Blackburn. What he experienced is one Hell of a loss. But from what I am seeing of his preaching before his wife’s murder, I must admit that I see a cause for concern.

Amy Smith is right: this certainly looks like “grooming.” And his actions after the fact do not resonate with me as being consistent with a man who is grieving over the loss of his wife.

If MrsLarijani were killed in such a way, let’s just say the bad guys had better hope the cops caught them before Pilgrim and I did. I would not be calling my wife’s death “serendipitous”, and I sure as Hell would not be writing books or doing speaking engagements. In fact, I would be focused on raising Abigail, getting business done at the office, and busting my ass for my next endurance event. I would NOT be granting interviews, that’s for damn sure.

Blackburn’s actions tend to raise no small number of red flags. He’s innocent of murder, but there is something totally off-kilter in his case.

I would not want him within 50 feet of a pulpit. And if I had kids who were youth age, I would not want them in his class.

More Trouble for John Smyth (and probably P.J.)

I wish I could say I was surprised at this latest set of allegations about John Smyth. (HT: Brent Detwiler)

To me, the larger issue here is not so much John, who is mostly a non-factor today, but rather his son P.J.

While P.J. cannot be held guilty for the sins of his father, he does owe the larger Body an accounting of what he knew, when he knew it, and what his role–if any–was in these “camps”.

To date, his denial–and clarification–has raised more questions than answers.

The nature of the allegations against his father are damning; if one percent of those are true, then he deserves to be hanged, drawn and quartered. If the allegations are true, then John Smyth is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

But P.J. has some things for which he needs to answer, as they are pertinent not only to John’s victims, but also the operations at Covenant Life Church.

(a) What was P.J.’s role in his father’s camps?

(b) To what extent was he aware of the abuses?

(c) Which abuses did he personally witness?

(d) Did he participate in any abuses?

(e) If so, at what age was he involved?

(f) If he was involved in abuses, did he ever break off his involvement?

(g) If the answer to (f) is yes, when?

(h) How many allegations of abuse came his way?

(i) What did he do with those allegations?

The answers to these questions are important, because the men, women, and children of Covenant Life Church have a right to know what kind of man is leading them. Does he consent to such abuses? What would he do TODAY if an allegation of abuse came his way? What culture does he foster among his fellow elders and deacons and small group leaders regarding such conduct?

As for you, P.J.:

I don’t give a crap about your theology.

I don’t give a crap how many books you have published.

I don’t give a crap how many butts you get in the pews on Sunday.

I don’t give a crap how many conferences at which you get invited to speak.

That you subscribe to a conservative theology makes it all the more incumbent that you provide substantive, honest answers about your past. This is because, in that past, you were an integral part of what was ostensibly a Christian ministry.

Your father’s sins are not your sins; you are, however, responsible for what YOU did.

And you have not been forthcoming about your roles.

I’ve said it before: what you saw and did as a child–or even as a teen–is one thing: I do not hold children and teens to the same level of responsibility that I would hold an adult.

But what you have seen and done in adulthood, that is something for which you owe the Body an answer.

Vox Day Hits Grand Slam: “Engineering Is The Acid Test of Science”

A little over ten years ago–hard to believe it was that long ago–Vox Day threw a Molotov Cocktail on the New Atheist elitists in The Irrational Atheist (TIA). It was groundbreaking in that, while not being a book about apologetics, there are plenty of such resources out there written by others, Vox took a completely outside-the-box approach: he put the truth claims of Dennett, Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins to the test.

It was an unfair fight: Vox destroyed the High Church Atheist cabal. Most importantly, Vox provided a blueprint for how to critically assess Atheists.

Tangential to the debates over Atheism is a fundamental debate over what constitutes science. Vox partially addressed this in TIA in the course of his takedown of Dawkins & Co.

Of particular concern over the past century has been the “peer review” paradigm, cited by scientists as an appeal to their authority, a claim that their proclamations–because they are “peer reviewed”–can be trusted as science. Vox, of course, has rightly called this “peer review” appeal to account, particularly when reproducible, experimental data is lacking.

Examples in this debate include hot-button issues: anthropogenic global warning and macroevolution (i.e. the theory of evolution by natural selection). In both instances, we have mathematical models that neither jibe with historical data nor serve as reliable predictive models, even as “scientific consensus” embraces them as if they are Holy Writ.

(To be fair: Vox is no Young Earth Fundamentalist. He does, however, express a healthy skepticism of the claims of those in the pro-evolution scientific community, as they don’t stack up with the data.)

In his latest salvo, Vox provides a tangible example-from the world of exercise, of which, as a weightlifter and martial artist, he has a strong grasp–of how to test the claims of science, something recognized by strength expert Mark Rippetoe.

One thing that many people, both scientists and uncredentialed laymen fail to understand is that science is not, fundamentally, about knowledge. It primarily concerns understanding. What Rippetoe is saying here is that in the field of exercise science, men like him know what works and what doesn’t. The paucity of “truly useful information” to which he refers is the deeper scientific understanding required to further improve upon what is already known.

The primary utility of science is not being able to say that something works, much less to make something work, but rather, to explain why it works. Or, conversely, to explain why something should work if the theory is put into application. This, of course, is why it is so easy for non-scientists to detect scientific fraud; when the theory is put into application and it fails, this is fairly strong evidence that the theory, i.e. the science, is incorrect.

Engineering is the acid test of science.

That last quote is gold: that is because engineering is the application of science. If the pronouncements of science are true, then, in general, engineers in relevant fields ought to be able to take it to the bank and produce new technologies. Understanding radiation is impressive; using that understanding to produce weapons or provide electricity to homes, or perform medical diagnoses or treat disease, is a serious BFD.

In the world of exercise, you have a very large, real-life swath of people willing to test the strength of a hypothesis. Currently, the endurance community is fighting hard to break the 2-hour barrier in the marathon. Any science that advances that cause is welcome, and there are athletes ready to test it.

Clinton Can’t Handle The Truth

Note: This post is reflecting on the recent account, from two MSM journalists, of the dynamics of the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign.

Ivan Lendl was one of the greatest tennis players of the 1980s. When he finally got the Grand Slam monkey off his back by coming back from two sets down to beat John McEnroe in the 1984 French Open final, he became near-invincible. When the smoke cleared, he had captured three French Opens, three U.S. Opens, and an Australian Open. His high water mark was the 1985 U.S. Open, when he not only beat John McEnroe, he routed John McEnroe in straight sets.

But he never won Wimbledon. He came close twice, losing to Boris Becker and Pat Cash in the finals. But for all his hard work and effort, he simply had no chance against opponents who were strong on grass.

One year, Ivan Lendl devoted his entire efforts to preparing for Wimbledon.

John McEnroe, when asked about that, responded plainly: Lendl will never win Wimbledon. The reason: Lendl, for all his talent on hard surfaces and clay, simply lacks the natural feel for grass-court play.

Hillary Clinton is the Ivan Lendl of national politics. A two-term Senator and former Secretary of State, she–at least on paper–is a formidable force in politics. She won election to the Senate twice, and, on many levels, has been invincible. Her shady past has no effect on her electability.

But just as Wimbledon is a completely different tournament compared to the other majors, the Presidency is a different beast compared to a Senatorial seat and a cabinet post.

In 2008, as then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) showed early promise in the polls against then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in the Presidential race, I remarked to a liberal friend of mine who was a Clinton enthusiast: HILLARY WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT.

I predicted that Obama would win the nomination, and would be near-invincible if the Republicans nominated McCain or Giuliani.

My reason: Hillary simply is not a likeable person. The moment she stands up, she pisses off half the people in the room coming out of the gate.

Obama, irrespective of what you think of his politics, is, by most accounts, a likeable fellow who can connect with people.

Irrespective of her merits–and she was clearly more qualified to be President than Obama was–she stood less than a snowball’s chance in Hell of beating Obama.

Hillary would lose the nomination to Obama, but would go on to take the post of Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

Fast-forward to 2016…

On the surface, Donald Trump should have been very beatable in 2016. But gaffes that would have sunk ANYONE else barely stuck to Trump.

Indeed, Trump was quite the juggernaut.

His record of adultery, his record with Trump University, his past liberal positions on key social issues, his attacks on Megyn Kelly and others, his attacks on the Gold Star family. All of these things would have made any other Republican candidate irrelevant.

Except for Trump.

One commentator summed up Trump’s base: “they are voting with their middle fingers.”

I know some of the Kool-Aid drinkers. Not only were they very energized, NOTHING was going to chance their minds about Trump. I am not among them, but I have friends who were/are.

When Trump said he could shoot someone in the middle of New York and still get elected, he was correct. I told a radio personality in Louisville that Trump could grill babies alive and his base was not going to go anywhere.

(I’m not saying I like that–I don’t–but don’t shoot me for observing the truth.)

His debate performances with Hillary–while not bad for a political novice–showed a man who wasn’t as prepared as his opponent. This would have sunk any other Republican nominee. In this era of television, debate performances are critical: they are often the difference between victory and defeat. Nixon, Ford, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bush, Dole, and McCain each lost elections in no small part due to their being outperformed in televised debates.

(Of course, we now know why Hillary was as prepared as she was: she received the questions in advance. But that’s a different discussion.)

Then, about a month before the election, explosive audiotape surfaced, with Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pu$$y”.

Any other candidate would have been finished.

At the time, I initially figured Trump was done. I figured that, with the Billy Bush tapes, Trump had effectively handed the election to Hillary.

I knew a fair number of conservative Christian women who were going to vote third party or stay home. Trump lost them. Pu$$ygate was too much for them.

But Trump stood his ground. In his ensuing debate with Hillary, he took off the gloves. He did not back down.

And when a porn actress accused Trump of propositioning her–and others started accusing him of grabbing them by the well, you know–a lot of folks, myself included, started wondering if all of these accusations were quite convenient. After all, Trump had been a public figure for well over 30 years.

At that point, I figured Trump had a chance.

My reason? The same reason I figured Hillary had no chance against Obama.

HILLARY JUST PLAIN SUCKED.

Forget about Pay to play.

Forget about Benghazi.

Forget about her private email server.

Forget about her mishandling classified information.

Forget about her promising to put coal miners out of work.

Forget about her dismissing Trump supporters as “deplorables”, calling them “irredeemable”.

Forget about her receiving the debate questions in advance.

Forget about her attempt to hijack the health care system when her husband was President.

Forget about her covering for her husband’s sexual assaults.

Never mind that you or I would be in jail for half the stuff she did.

Never mind Trump’s baggage.

My reason that Trump had a chance: HILLARY HAS NO ABILITY TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.

(This, by the way, is also why Ted Cruz will never be President. He is intelligent, and can answer hard questions without “filler words”, giving well-reasoned answers that convey a deep understanding of the issues. But HE CANNOT CONNECT WITH PEOPLE. And Hillary doesn’t even rise to the level of Ted Cruz on that front.)

Her husband–Bill–can connect with people. He can tell you to go to Hell, and you would be looking forward to the trip. He could piss on your back and you would think you’re getting a nice, hot shower.

But Hillary is simply not a likeable person. If she had to pass Dale Carnegie to get a college degree, she would have never made it out of Wellesley College.

Sure, she was a two-term Senator from New York. But that seat did not require for her to appeal to 50 states. Her political machine bought off all the right people in New York.

But to win nationally–to be elected President–you have to connect with a wide swath of voters: middle class, blue collar, suburban folks, people with center-right values.

YOU HAVE TO BE LIKEABLE, or, at least, more likeable than your opponent!

Carter circa 1976 was likeable.

Reagan was likeable.

Bush was more likeable than Dukakis, who could not bring himself to want the death penalty, even if the criminal had raped and murdered his daughter.

Bill Clinton was more likeable than Bush, who stared at his watch during a debate.

Bill Clinton was more likeable than Dole, who came off as aloof and heartless.

Bush II was more likeable than Gore, who talked down to Americans.

Bush II was more likeable than Kerry, the Massachusetts liberal who, like Gore, talked down to Americans.

Obama was likeable, as Hillary talked like an arrogant policy wonk.

Obama was more likeable than McCain, who came off as angry.

Romney was a nice guy, but seemed more plastic than an American Express card.

Bill Clinton had raised concerns with Hillary’s campaign that she was not connecting with workers.

Bill was right, but it did not matter. Just as no amount of work was going to get Ivan Lendl a Wimbledon title, no amount of campaign stops were going to convince voters that she was anything other than what she was all along: a wonkish scold with a propensity for lying.

Hillary, on her best day, is a phony. All other days, she is Nurse Ratched and Cruella de Vil, all in one.

No amount of reinvention was, or is, going to change that. That is why, if the election were held today, she would still lose.

Hillary’s only hope for victory rested in the hope that Trump could do enough to lose the race. Hillary was not going to attract new voters.

Other than the 30% of her supporters for whom abortion is a sacrament, Hillary had no strong base to whom she could appeal.

Trump, love him or hate him, has a certain charm. Within his companies, his employees–including the women–are very loyal to him.

Even his ex-wives–the ones he cheated on–still like him.

This is why Hillary’s team knew she was in trouble when Trump won Florida.

It wasn’t that Hillary couldn’t have won without Florida; in fact, mathematically she only needed to carry one swing state and not lose the typical bellwether states that Democrats typically carry in Presidential elections.

Her problem with Florida is that, in the runup to the election, she was polling well in Florida. And if she was was polling well in Florida, only to lose on election day, the chances were high that the same dynamic would play out in other swing states, like Ohio and North Carolina.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what happened: Trump took Florida, North Carolina, AND Ohio.

While Hillary took Virginia–the swing state she needed–she was vulnerable in other states that she did not figure were a problem.

Unfortunately for her, the same dynamic that produced a Trump win in Florida had put Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa in play. These were states that Hillary had counted on to win.

Trump routed Hillary in Iowa. It wasn’t even close. She lost a state that had not gone Republican since Bush I.

Topiing it off, Trump won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These states had not gone Republican in nearly 30 years.

Hillary failed to secure the voters in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Madison, and Des Moines who would have been able to deliver Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa to her. Some of that is due to those cities being in fundamental decline.

But make no mistake: she lost those states for one reason: SHE SUCKED.

No amount of Soros money, no amount of focus groups, no amount of campaign stops to dying cities like Detroit would have helped her.

James Comey didn’t lose that election for her.

The Russians didn’t lose the election for her.

Anthony Weiner did not lose the election for her.

Huma Abedin did not lose the election for her.

The NRA did not lose the election for her.

Hillary Clinton lost because she is Hillary Clinton.

If Hillary Clinton runs again, she will lose.

She will lose because she is Hillary Clinton.

Bicycling Magazine Omits Facts

In their recent piece about the deaths of two Zombie Zone cyclists, Bicycling magazine left out important facts regarding one of the cases.

In May 2015, Hinkel was at mile 99 of the region’s premier event, the Horsey Hundred Century, when a pickup truck crossed the centerline and hit him head-on. Witnesses called 911 immediately. The driver, 29-year-old Odilon Paz-Salvador, who had a history of substance abuse and was allegedly drunk at the time, continued three miles down the road until police pulled him over at a mobile home park—as Hinkel lay bleeding on the truck’s bed cover. Emergency responders found Hinkel there and rushed him to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Here are the rest of the facts:

(a) Paz-Salvador is an illegal immigrant.

(b) Paz-Salvador had at least three prior aggravated DUIs, one of which had his blood alcohol level at 0.3.

(c) Paz-Salvador’s deportation orders had been sitting in bureaucratic Hell for more than a year.

(d) Paz-Salvador was not “allegedly” drunk: he was bombed off his arse. He confessed to smoking marijuana and had beer in his truck.

(e) After hitting Hinkel head-on, Paz-Salvador was fleeing the police.

That he was even in the United States, let alone allowed to walk the streets or–worse–drive on them, is a travesty.

Like Hinkel, I rode Horsey Hundred 2015. My group was finishing when he got hit; we were three miles ahead of him. (We started long before he did; elite riders like Hinkel often start later whereas groups like mine–who are intentionally slow–start earlier.)

Hinkel was very likely enjoying the last couple miles of what was a long but pleasant ride. He no doubt had enjoyed a root beer float and other goodies at the Bethel Church rest stop, which was the final rest stop before the finish. The hardest parts of the ride were over, and, at mile 99, it was relatively flat the rest of the way. He had one more turn to make, then he’d be riding into Georgetown college where he would finish, check in and get credit for the Kentucky Century Challenge, and then knock down some nice food.

That all went to crap when Paz-Salvador showed up, struck Hinkel head-on at a high rate of speed, and then tried to flee the police with Hinkel–badly wounded–in the bed of his truck.