Author Archives: Larry Horist

Welcome to OnTheStarboard. I’m one of those “civic activists” — some say a public policy expert (I guess because I have appeared on lots of talk shows.) Obviously, I lean right. I enjoy lecturing on college campuses, including Harvard’s Kennedy School and Northwestern University. I head the Public Policy Caususes, a public interest group. My writings have appeared frequently as guest columns and letters to the editor. OnTheStarboard operates as an information resource for the press, policy wonks and just about anyone who cares about America. OntheStarboard hangs in cyber space like a ripe apple to be plucked by anyone willing to reach for delicious tid bits of politics, public policy and current events. I am never predictable. For some reason the Good Lord gave me a mind that looks at the world a bit differently. My views are mostly conservative, but don’t expect lock step synchronism with the so-called right wing. Hope you enjoy.

My Opinion on Donald Trump as published in the Washington Times – April 4, 2016

After a lifetime following politics, Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate from either party that I consider dangerously unsuitable for the presidency.  I express that in the guest opinion in the Washington Times reprinted below.

The Washington Times

Sunday. April 4, 2016


Trump unfit for presidency

It is unlikely that Donald Trump will ever be president. Because of a flawed primary process, a news media that is hooked on style over substance and a relatively small band of irrationally angry voters, Mr. Trump has been made to look like a winner. In fact, most Republican primary voters oppose him. His percentage of likely Republican general-election voters is even smaller and his share of all general-elections voters makes him a marginal candidate. Most telling are the two-thirds of voters who have an extremely have a negative opinion of him.

Mr. Trump has two qualities that disqualify him from the presidency; his vacuous and vulgar show-business antics and a narcissistic/megalomaniacal mentality. He is a one-man improv show, making things up as he goes along. Aside from his slogans, there is no common thread from one performance to another. His followers remind me of the fans of an actor who played a doctor on TV. The man said his fans, when they met him, often asked him for medical advice. Apparently, like Mr. Trump’s fans, they were unable to distinguish reality from theater.


Megalomania is a serious mental illness. It is variously defined as an obsession with power, especially when it comes to dominating others; a lust for power; and conceit and delusion about one’s own power. Mr. Trump is the poster boy for the disease. This observation is not new. Back in 2000, conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. said, “Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection.”

What makes Mr. Trump particularly dangerous is that his state of mind is combined with a shocking ignorance of issues and the constitutional role of the presidency. Never before in American history has a person of Mr. Trump’s self-absorbed, authoritarian mindset come so close to the Oval Office. Every freedom-loving American should hope and pray he does not succeed.


Boca Raton, Fla.


Here is my take on Rubio in Florida as published in the Sun Sentinel.

I just discovered that the Sun Sentinel had published my earlier letter.  I still think Rubio need to consider exiting, I am sorry to say.

Florida Sun Sentinel

Letters to the Editor

Friday, March 4, 2016

 Rubio may have tough choice ahead

I have been in the Marco Rubio camp even before he announced for president. I preferred him when there were 16 other choices.

If Rubio is still in the race on March 15, I will give him my vote as the only person with a chance of preventing Donald Trump from securing the Florida delegates. I would urge Ted Cruz and John Kasich supporters to do the same. If Trump takes Florida, it is not only Rubio who loses, but Cruz and Kasich will also be out of the running.

There is another option. If Rubio’s internal polls showing him losing to Trump by more than 5 percentage points, and he will then know his fate, he should do what is best for America, withdraw and throw his support to Cruz as the only candidate who can possibly sidetrack the Trump nomination.

It is also to Rubio’s long-term advantage. If he were to make such a sacrifice for the sake of the nation, he will have a bright future. He will be one of those political profiles in courage. If he stays against all odds for the sake of some irrational egocentric glimmer of hope, he will have done a great disservice to himself and the nation, and placed his political future in grave doubt.

It pains me to admit that my candidate may no longer be viable, but we are presented with a world as it is, not as we wish it to be.

Larry Horist, Boca Raton

Copyright © 2016, Sun Sentinel


My Take on Donald Trump from the Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post
Letters to the Editor
Monday, February 8, 2016

Trump conservative claim is laughable

 As a person who has been in the conservative movement for 50 years, I am taken aback by the number of self-proclaimed conservatives who support Donald Trump. Trump seems to create a persona that responds only to a desire to garner attention.
Trump has no philosophic rudder, other than his belief that wealth makes him smarter than anyone else. His attacks on good and honorable people who disagree with him are dangerous characteristics.

 He thinks it is OK for the government to seize private property for the advantage of developers. He would turn over the health system to the government. He has President Barack’s Obama’s tendency to place his will over the restraints of the Constitution.

 Trump claims to be an evangelical. It is a claim that is laughable, in view of his history of hedonistic lifestyle. When originally asked, Trump could not name a verse in the Bible. When later asked, he expressed it as “two Corinthians” instead of “second Corinthians” — a mis-statement no evangelical would make.

 There is a reason the overwhelming majority of longstanding conservative leaders stand in opposition to Trump. He is not one of us.


My Letter on school unions from the Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida Sun Sentinel

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, December 29,  2015

 Unions impede great educational outcomes

In a Dec. 28 letter a writer suggested that there would be no public schools if it were not for the education unions. In fact, this nation had a much better public school system for almost 200 years without the dominance of school unions.

What the unions have done is protect and defend failed schools and incompetent teachers. They have become among the largest and most powerful lobbyists in Washington and the state capitals. They wield enormous political influence through the billion-dollar pension funds they control and the millions of dollars they dole out in campaign contributions. It is no coincidence that their greatest political influence is with the big city Democratic machines where the worst education in America takes place.

School unions are bulwarks against programs that would allow parents to direct taxpayer financial aid to the schools of their choice — giving students access to better education. Such choice programs are widely acclaimed at the college level where unions do not exist. They are called Pell Grants and student loans.


Certainly, most public schools do a good job, and the vast majority of teachers are both competent and dedicated. This is not the result of the unions. The failed schools serving disproportionately minority students, however, is the result of education union policies and politics.


Larry Horist, Boca Raton

My take on Obama’s failed policies from the Washington Times

People on all sides are now recognizing just how badly President Obama is failing this nation.  He seems incapable of getting away from his belief that America is better surrendering world leadership.

The Washington Times

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


U.S. less safe under Obama

 In response to the bombing of Syria, the Islamic State has downed a Russian airliner, created a night of horror in Paris and suffered a failed attempt in Germany. Can the United States be far behind? These are not failures in surveillance or security. These are failures of policy. More directly, they are the failures of liberal policy and the false value of political correctness. America is less safe today because of President Obama and the radical left he represents. Mr. Obama is a president who refuses to identify the enemy and take action. He withdrew American leadership from the Middle East and enabled the creation of an Islamic State caliphate in the ensuing vacuum. His policy of ‘leading from behind’ is euphemistically a policy of surrender.

Under liberal mythology, our borders do not need to be protected and acts of jihad are redefined as workplace violence. Unimposed red lines, empty threats of ‘bringing the perpetrators to justice’ and victory laps without victory are standard responses to the obvious growth of Islamic terrorism.

We now live under a president who by any definition aids and abets the enemy he refuses to recognize. He returns their combatants to the field of battle even as the war rages. His misguided proportionality is seen in the trade of five high-level Islamic terrorists for a soldier who deserted his country and caused the deaths of fellow military men.

We must see Mr. Obama for what he is: the first un-American president in policy and values. His sympathies too often seem to be with the enemy — and therein lies the problem.

LARRY HORIST, Boca Raton, Fla.

My take on the media handling of the debates as published in the Florida Sun-Sentinel

Florida Sun Sentinel

Letters to the Editor

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Campaign coverage couldn’t be any worse

    The press is doing a great disservice to the political process — and it is against both parties. Not long ago, the Huffington Post was rightfully criticized for announcing that its entertainment reporters would cover   Donald Trump. That was an egregious breach of journalistic ethics.

In reality, virtually all the media covers the presidential campaign as entertainment. They have placed ratings above any semblance of fairness. On the Republican side, they give Trump the vast majority of air time. On the Democratic side, they cover Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as if they are the only candidates.

Then there are the debates. I am aghast at the formats. The same favored Republican and Democratic front runners are featured in the debate promotions and pre-debate programs — videos of Trump, Clinton and Sanders and barely a listing of the others. There is no equal-time provision, meaning Clinton got almost four times the air time as did   Lincoln Chaffee. The same was true of Trump.

Rather than position the candidates on stage by lottery, they give the temporary front runner the most prominent position. In the case of the GOP, they demeaned one-third of the candidates by relegating them to what became popularly known as “the kiddie pool.”

The biggest shock is that the political parties and candidates would have agreed to these ground rules.

Larry Horist, Boca Raton

Here is my take on the Confederate Flag issue in Florida as published in the Palm Beach Post on October 14, 2015

Sometimes we oversimplify issues.  I am very much in favor of removing the Confederate battle flag from places of honor, but that does not mean we should erase history.

Palm Beach Post

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Let seal depict all of state’s history

A committee of the Florida Senate recently voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the array of flags depicted on the chamber’s official seal (“Panel: Drop Confederate flag in seal,” Friday). The emblem correctly displays the five national flags that have flown over the Sunshine State: Spanish, French, English, Confederate and U.S.

As a proponent of removing the Confederate banner from official places where the flag is “honored,” I think we go too far in trying to erase history. If it were only the U.S. flag and the Confederate flag, I would wholeheartedly support its removal. It is, however, an accurate display of history.

Even the days of slavery in Florida are a fact, not a political statement. This action is nothing more than surrendering history to contemporary politics. It would make more sense to remove all but the U.S. flag, since slavery existed during Spanish, French and British governance as well.

I can understand the Democratic Party wanting to eradicate memories of its unique role in this nation’s days of racial bigotry and inhumanity. But I tend to believe that remembering the true history helps prevent it from being repeated.


Here is my take on the lastest in the gay marriage controversey as published in the Palm Beach Post on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Palm Beach Post

Letters to the Editor

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Most don’t care about gay marriage

Is disobeying the law an act of nobility or criminality? Seems to depend on the issue. As a nation, we disobeyed the Prohibition law, and some routinely violate speed limits. The Southern Democratic Party spent more than 100 years disobeying federal laws, constitutional amendments and U.S. Supreme Court decisions to maintain segregation and white supremacy.

In fact, our much-touted “rule of law” is trumped by the rule of politics. This suggests that U.S. Supreme Court decisions are as influenced by zeitgeist as much as by strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Disobeying even unpopular laws can result in arrests, fines and/or incarceration. County Clerk Kim Davis of Kentucky was jailed for not obeying the Supreme Court’s ruling that all laws that prohibit gay marriages are unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.

It does not require a pro-active law to grant a constitutional right, as some supporters of Davis suggest.

While the 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage) is controversial, and constitutional scholars can be found on both sides, opposition is vociferous but not widespread. There are very small percentages of people who vigorously support, or vigorously oppose, gay marriage. Most Americans simply do not give a hoot one way or the other. That translates to acceptance.

One clerk in all of America standing in protest may be newsworthy but is still irrelevant. Gay marriage is no longer an issue worthy of public debate.


I am sad over what we are leaving our kids, and here is my view from the Florida Sun Sentinel.

Palm Beach Post

Letters to the Editor

Monday, August 10, 2015


Past generations cheated millennials

I pity the so-called “millennials” and the yet unnamed future generations. They’ve been had.

It is well established that they will not have the high-quality lifestyle of their parents and grandparents — largely because we have consumed their future productivity. For generations to come, they will be paying off the lifestyle luxuries we crafted for ourselves but could not pay for.

So we borrowed their future earnings to cover our desires.

It is yet to be determined just how bad we have damaged their future and their present. For example, we already hurt them by providing student loans that will eat into their incomes for decades.

We have increased the cost of education while diminishing its value. It is fair to ask why the cost of college has risen so much faster than inflation. The answer is simple: Students are not the primary beneficiaries of the money.

It is the colleges’ administrations and faculties that gain the greatest benefit. Schools simply increased their tuitions and fees to grab as much money as possible. Students are the conduit to pass money from the public treasury to the schools.

It is time we start providing for the millennials’ future instead of consuming it.


Here is my take on the Iran deal as published in the Washington Times

The Washington Times

Letters to the Editor

Thursday, August 7, 2015

 Iran deal worse than deal with Hitler

In his recent speech defending the Iran deal, President Obama gave it his best but came up short (“Obama: Critics of Iran nuclear deal ‘selling a fantasy,'” Web, Aug. 5). Using speculation as fact, propping up straw-man arguments, engaging in highly partisan rhetoric and simply misrepresenting history, Mr. Obama failed to reach even the threshold of credibility.

His deal is a bad one because the very premise of negotiations was ill-conceived. In focusing only on a nuclear bomb, the president preemptively surrendered critical conditions for international harmony, including the return of the hostages, cessation of international terrorism and recognition of the right of Israel to exist.

In his desperation to get a legacy deal, Mr. Obama even retreated from his minimal stated requirements of ‘anywhere, anytime’ inspections, delayed sanction relief and the maintenance of the arms embargo.

The idea of making a deal only over acquisition of the atomic bomb was a huge mistake. Nuclear bombs are useless as first-strike weapons. The mullahs understand that a unilateral attack with an nuclear weapon would result in their annihilation.

Even if the deal is defeated, the Obama administration’s unconditional negotiations have done irreparable harm to the safety and stability of the world by upending the sanctions that were having an effect, dismantling the international anti-Iran coalition and further isolating Israel.

Though comparisons have been made, the Iran deal is far worse than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s accord with Hitler. That deal would have worked if Hitler had adhered to it. The deal with Iran is a disaster even if Iran does not violate it.

With this victory over the West, Iran has every incentive to double down on its jihad against those they consider infidels. ‘Death to Israel and America’ is still the war cry.


Boca Raton, Fla.