Columns & Editorials

Mr. Paris Dennard

Paris Dennard is a  is a longtime GOP political commentator, writer, consultant and strategist with over a decade of private and public sector experience on all levels of politics and public relations.

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Columns and Editorials

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Deja Vu All Over Again: A Fractured America Triggers Memories Of 1968

By Jeff Robbins

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has given us another gift, entitled "An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s." Engrossing as always, beautifully written as always, it is several stories simultaneously, but at its core that of her late husband, presidential counselor, renowned speechwriter and activist Richard Goodwin. Goodwin began the 1960s as a junior aide to presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and ended it as an influential strategist in the movement to end American involvement in Vietnam. "The story of his public life," Kearns Goodwin writes, "is the story of a young man's love affair with America — not the geographic bounds of the country, but the constellation of democratic values that lay behind its founding."

The book is also timely, as we are increasingly called to remember 1968, spurred by questions about whether the fractures within the Democratic Party will hand the White House back to a GOP able to portray Democrats as the party of chaos, crazy and Columbia University. At a minimum, there are superficial similarities between recent college demonstrations over Israel's war with Hamas and the anti-war protests of 1968.

There are also differences. The Vietnam protests were against American troops dying in an offensive war against a defenseless Vietnamese population that was not waging war on anyone. By 1968 they constituted a mass movement whose size befit its moral high ground.

Presently, the anti-Israel protests on certain American campuses are much smaller, confined in numbers from a few dozen to a few hundred, organized in some measure by off-campus operators. Polling suggests that Americans are unsympathetic to the demonstrators, who chant slogans supportive of a genocidal jihadist group that gleefully slaughtered 1,200 innocents dancing at a peace festival or sleeping in their beds, and which pledges to repeat the slaughter endlessly until their goal of ethnic cleansing is complete. This is not exactly the cause that Dick Goodwin and millions more were drawn to in 1968.

The demonstrators themselves have repulsed most Americans, if not certain faculty members who seek their approbation. "Death to America!" "Go Back to Poland!" and "We Don't Want No Zionists Here!" aren't slogans very much like those that inspired mass demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Whether the anti-Israel encampments will have more lasting impact than the now forgotten 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement is unclear.

But there's plenty about 1968 to reflect upon as we approach an election that will determine whether the America we know crashes and burns, or survives. Donald Trump makes Richard Nixon look like Abe Lincoln, but the hard left seems perfectly willing to torch the country in service of its demands. There's little doubt that the violence during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the left's refusal to support Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey enabled Nixon to cast Democrats as the party of the untethered and thereby narrowly win the election. President Joe Biden faces comparable jeopardy, already trailing in the polls behind a presumptive Republican nominee who is patently unstable if not fundamentally impaired, four times criminally indicted and certifiably fraudulent — and that's just for starters.

Nevertheless, Hamas' remarkable constituency in the Democrats' far left can be counted upon to torch America's future, just as Hamas has torched Palestinians' future. After all, it was the Bernie Bros who made Trump president in 2016. This summer's Democratic convention, again in Chicago, threatens to be a political bloodbath, generated by those who either don't seem to grasp that they are lining up behind an ISIS-equivalent or don't care. There will be chants that border on the lunatic and scenes of chaos, and this may well turn the Oval Office over to a one-man wrecking ball.

Biden, a good man and a successful president, finds himself battered by extremists on either side of him: MAGA on the right and "From the River to the Sea" on the left. Navigating between the crazies will be a tall task. And the country's future hinges on his ability to pull it off.

Jeff Robbins, a former assistant United States attorney and United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, was chief counsel for the minority of the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. An attorney specializing in the First Amendment, he is a longtime columnist for the Boston Herald, writing on politics, national security, human rights and the Mideast.


Op-Ed: A Third Party Is the Coward's Way Out

By: Mona Charen

During the all-too-brief one-on-one contest between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, there was a good deal of analysis declaring it the last stand of the Reaganite vision for the GOP versus the MAGA takeover. That was the wishiest of wishful thinking — and not just because such large segments of the current Republican Party delight in Trump. It's also because the Reaganite wing has made such a poor showing for itself.

It's generous to call the desiccated exoskeleton of Reaganism a "wing" at all, and frankly, the use of the term "Reaganism" is not really accurate anyway. What people mean when they use the term is traditional Republicanism, which includes belief in free enterprise, smaller government, freer trade, respect for the Constitution, dedication to American world leadership and social conservatism, among other ideals. Republicans who continue to adhere to those principles embraced Haley as the last man (as it were) standing.

One reason there weren't more traditional Republicans was on display in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. The world might look very different if traditional Republicans had been willing to stand firm for their values when they came under assault from an ignorant, cruel demagogue. So I was briefly optimistic when I saw that an honest-to-goodness Reaganite, John Lehman, who served as secretary of the Navy under Reagan, had weighed in. The headline was promising: "Reagan Would Never Vote for Trump." But after that bold beginning, the subhead was deflating: "He also didn't care much for Biden. Like me, he'd be looking for a strong third-party candidate to support."

Let's unpack that subhead. Reagan may not have "cared much" for Biden in the 1980s; most conservatives didn't. But we cannot say how Reagan would view the 2024 Biden; many former Republicans like me consider him the more conservative choice in the most important respects, i.e., respect for the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution. As Lehman itemizes in his piece, Trump's departure from conservative ideals — or just plain American ideals — are "horrifying," including his "naked admiration of our enemies," "praise for Hezbollah," contempt for allies, and incessant denigration of America as a "third world country" and a "laughingstock."

One might suppose that given all of that and so much more, Lehman would counsel that Trump's reelection would be a disaster and, accordingly, that he would vote for Biden. But no, Lehman makes a feeble accusation in the final paragraph that Biden has "turned his platform over to socialist Bernie Sanders" and accordingly, Lehman will vote for the No Labels candidate.

That's rubbish. Biden has done no such thing. Lehman, like so many who should know better, is failing to take responsibility for the decision we must all make. His longing for purity is overwhelming his judgment. If Trump is reelected, none of the things he worked for as Navy secretary is safe.

Anything that erodes the anti-Trump coalition makes it more likely that Trump will prevail. So those who vow to write in a non-Trump Republican, or who, like Lehman, will vote for the No Labels candidate, are increasing the chances that a man who promises to pardon the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, imprison his critics and become an ally of Russia, will be elected.

The No Labels candidacy is cotton candy. Though advertised as providing a "unity ticket" that will provide "common sense" solutions for America's problems, the reality is that No Labels has no chance of winning 270 electoral college votes. Last year, they predicted that they would achieve ballot access in 32 states by now. Instead, they have access in only 16 states. Oh, and No Labels might as well be called No Candidate. Like dominoes, one possible candidate after another has turned down their offer to run: Jon Huntsman, Joe Manchin, Larry Hogan, Kyrsten Sinema, Nikki Haley, Ken Buck, Brian Kemp and, just this week, Geoff Duncan.

As William Galston, a founder of No Labels who broke with the group last year, has explained, there are more moderate voters in the Democratic Party than in the GOP. Accordingly, No Labels will attract more Democrats than Republicans.

No Labels claims that it is only interested in fielding a ticket that can win outright and has no desire to serve as a spoiler. But polling shows that even a nationally known figure like Haley would only claim 9% of the vote in a four-way race that also contained Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Their projections also presume that a No Labels candidate would carry states that Biden won by double-digit margins in 2020.

No Labels is playing a dangerous game. Some believe it has forfeited the benefit of the doubt and is a full-fledged stalking horse for Trump. It wouldn't be so dangerous were it not for feckless lightweights like John Lehman.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her new book, "Hard Right: The GOP's Drift Toward Extremism," is available now.


Op-Ed: Can Congress Ban TikTok?

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

When James Madison set about to draft the Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution — he was articulating what lawyers and philosophers and judges call "negative rights." A positive right grants a privilege, like a driver's license. A negative right restrains the government from interfering with a preexisting right. In order to emphasize his view that the freedom of speech preexisted the government, Madison insisted that the word "the" precede "freedom of speech" in the First Amendment.

If the freedom of speech preceded the government, where did it come from?

Speech is a natural right; it comes from our humanity. The framers of the Constitution and the ratifiers of the Bill of Rights understood and recognized this. Congress doesn't grant the freedom of speech; rather it is prohibited absolutely from interfering with it. In the years following the ratification of the 14th Amendment, the courts began applying the restrictions in the First Amendment to the states and their municipalities and subdivisions.

Today, the First Amendment bars all government — federal, state and local — and all branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — from interfering with the freedom of speech.

You'd never know this listening to Congress today. The same Congress that can't balance a budget or count the number of foreign military bases the feds own, that thinks it can right any wrong and tax any event, that has borrowed over $34 trillion and not paid back any of it; the same Congress now wants to give the President of the United States — whomever might occupy that office — the lawful power to suppress websites he thinks are spying on their users or permitting foreign governments to influence what folks see on the sites. All this is an effort to ban the popular website for young folks called TikTok and force its owners to sell its assets.

Here is the backstory.

Throughout American history, we have suffered from mass fears. In the 1790s, it was fear of the French and of Native Americans. In the 1860s, it was fear of African Americans and fear of Confederates. In the 1900s, it was fear of anarchists, Nazis and Communists. In the first quarter of the present century, the government has whipped up fear of terrorists, Russians, Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin and now the Chinese.

In his dystopian novel, "1984," George Orwell analyzed the totalitarian mind and recognized the need that totalitarians have for fear and hatred. They know that when folks are afraid, they will bargain away the reality of liberty for the illusion of safety. Without fear and hatred, totalitarians have fewer tools for control of the population.

What is the government's problem with TikTok? The feds want to use fear and hatred of the Chinese government in order to regulate the sources of data and information that Americans can consult. They have projected upon the government of China the very same unlawful and unconstitutional assaults on natural rights that the feds themselves perpetrate upon us.

Thus, in order to gain control over the American public, the deep state — the parts of the government that do not change, no matter which political party is in power — and its friends in Congress have advanced the myth that the Chinese government, which commands the loyalty of the owners of TikTok, might use the site to pass along misinformation or to spy on its users. The key word here is "might," as the intelligence officials who testified to Congress on this were unable to produce any solid evidence — just fear — that the Chinese government is doing this.

You can't make this up.

Remember the bumper stickers from the 1970s: "Don't steal. The government hates competition!" I thought of that line when analyzing this. Why? Because the federal government itself spies on every American who uses a computer or mobile device. The federal government itself captures every keystroke touched on every device in the U.S. The federal government itself captures all data transmitted into, out of and within the U.S. on fiber-optic cables. And the federal government itself told the Supreme Court earlier this week that it needs to be able to influence what data is available on websites in order to combat misinformation.

The federal government basically told the court that it — and not individual persons — should decide what we can read and from what sources. What the federal government did not reveal is its rapacious desire to control the free market in ideas.

Now back to the First Amendment.

The principal value underlying the freedom of speech is free will. We all have free will to think as we wish, to say what we think, to read what we want, to publish what we say. And we can do all this with perfect freedom. We don't need a government permission slip. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to guarantee this freedom by keeping the government out of the business of speech — totally and completely. This is the law of the land in modern Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Were this not the law, then the government could suppress the speech it hates and fears and support the speech of its patrons. And then the values that underly the First Amendment would be degraded and negated. The government has no moral or constitutional authority to spy on us or to influence our thoughts. Period.

Does the government work for us or do we work for the government? Have we consented to a nullification of free speech in deference to whomever might be living in the White House? Why do we repose the Constitution into the hands of those who subvert it?



OP-Ed: If you don't want to blame Joe

By Rodney Ross

If you do not want to blame Joe Biden for the higher gas prices by using the Ukraine as an excuse, or inflation, or the supply chain disruption when ships remained off the coast of shores but not allowed to dock, or the failure of the COVID vaccine that never prevented the spread of COVID, or the out of control housing crises, or the overwhelming influx of migrants illegally crossing the border, or the obliteration of your 401k retirement savings, that’s fine. But when the call to vote for president Biden came, there was an expectation that things were going to be different. After all, the person running for president addressed every American who was Black. “If you don’t vote for me, you ain’t black.’’ We did our part. We successfully removed the arrogance of Trump and replaced it with the promise of change. Things did change. The calendar now reads 2023 instead of 2021 or 2022. If we look in our toilets however, it’s the same you know what. In fact the smell is worse because the fan broke and without a job, employment, livable wages, and foreign countries holding our supply hostage, the smell is magnified. The smell of reality stinks and we can thank the last 2 years for reminding us how little value the African-American community is. By the time 2022 concluded, more lives were lost at the hands of law enforcement but the media’s attention has been on the war in Ukraine. Buildings destroyed during a war have more of a priority than the tragedies that take place right here in our communities across our country.

It does not matter what state you go in. Whether it’s the deeply populated urban cities to our rural communities, African-Americans are hurting. And since Biden and Harris can’t be just one group’s president, it is safe to say that if we are hurting, then America is hurting—because “we” are hurting. Unless of course, you do not consider us Americans and we are somehow packaged into the same category of “the dreamers.”

If you voted for Biden and Harris you should be mad. Running off of the fumes of the Obama administration and the orchestrated character assassination of the prior president who seemed to be inept at shaking the White supremacy stigma, this was supposed to be so different, and to date, it hasn’t. Are our schools better funded? Are there better lending practices? Can we even qualify for aloan?How are our small businesses doing? Last checked many of them folded because of unfair lockdown practices that allowed Dot Com businesses to thrive. Big companies and local governments abused and absorbed much of the stimulus money that never made it to our communities and there was no accountability. Instead, more IRS agents were hired to make sure the government takes every cent imaginable from your gains. Is this the win we asked for in 2020?

Letter to the Editor

Vernon Jordan, Prominent Lawyer also Pioneer in Voter Rights, Dies

I salute and honor Vernon Jordan, a prominent lawyer who was also a pioneer in ensuring the 1965 Voters Rights legislation was fully realized in the South and sparked my political journey. As a young lawyer he served as the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP) in Atlanta, Georgia during the years 1966-1970; sponsored voter education projects and encouraged Blacks to run for various offices through the South, including Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

In North Carolina, VEP-sponsored projects educated voters about their rights under the 1965 Voter Rights Act and encouraged Blacks to volunteer to run for various offices. In 1968, I ran for Congress and Dr. Reginald Hawkins ran for Governor. I knew it was unlikely that I would win; I lost royally. The primary goal, however, was to increase registration - which we did significantly.

Many earlier political successes in the South were supported and nurtured by Vernon Jordan of the Voter Education Project, for which we are grateful.

Eva Clayton

Former Congresswoman 1992-2003

Letter To The Editor


The recent action taken by the Quaker Oats family of products to change the name of Aunt Jemima to the Pearl Milling Company (which in 1888 developed self-rising flour), was a supposed bid to redress complaints of racism from the perceived belittling name for their best pancake mix taking it away from its legacy of good home cooking.   The face of Aunt Jemima was originally depicted by Nancy Green, a member of my grandfather’s Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois.  Green, a woman of class, was not a mammy per se but one born into slavery yet found to be a servant of G-d’s word.  In a bid for cultural whatever, “nilism’ is a description for removing all vestige of truth in search of political correctness by which Black History has been distorted with facts thought a disgrace haphazardly removed rather than allow such to exist on its own truth.  read more...

Letter To The Editor


I have a protestation that revels repulsion to think that our intelligence should be, is, insulted by the notion that the truth of systemic-racism, is not a beast, and a monster, is a bold faced lie. To go forth to say that this should not be taught because it will be an agent to instill a poor self image or promote the disease of poor self-esteem is preposterous

Firstly, born, reared, nurtured, supported, and revalidated that I came to this earth to live in the residence of this world as an equal to every other human being. I have the years of longevity to say that I’ve been fortunate enough to live those evidences in the County of Wake, in N.C. read more...