This week has been a vindication for much-maligned Trump supporters. Not only did the president have the best week of his administration, an internecine feud erupted within the “NeverTrump” tribe.
First, the great week. The president fulfilled a key campaign promise with his signing this morning of the tax reform bill that also eliminated Obamacare’s individual mandate and opened up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. He reprioritized our national security interests with his National Security Statement issued Monday And finally, who can’t be proud of the the announcement that the United States would finally be “taking names” of our foes at the United Nations? There is palpable satisfaction among Trump voters and even reluctant supporters.
Though ultimately less important, on one level, the “NeverTrump” infighting may be even more delicious than the solid week of accomplishments. Before the primary elections, an influential and vocal group of conservatives loosely banded together to oppose Trump’s candidacy; this included the editors of National Review and The Weekly Standard, conservative columnists for the Washington Post and New York Times, authors such as Tom Nichols, and the presidential ticket of independents Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn. But since Trump won (and subsequently amassed a record any legitimate conservative would have hailed had it come from a different Republican) a growing rift has developed between the various factions in NeverTrumpland. On one side are influencers who gradually, if begrudgingly, acknowledge Trump is governing in a way far more palatable to their “principled conservatism” than they expected. While they still bemoan his temperament and approach, they commend his achievements.
On the other side are opportunists who have become traitors to the “conservative” cause they once championed as they shrewdly trade their integrity for air time on MSNBC or CNN to rant about the president. (I have written about them here and here.) They have publicly speculated—or hoped, to put it more accurately—that Trump would not survive the first year of his presidency, and encouraged his staff and Congressional Republicans to abandon the Trump Titanic before the Mueller iceberg took it down. Their message has become inchoate and unhinged, and decidedly not conservative.
The widening rift between the two camps turned into a chasm this week. On Monday, National Review Online published a column by its editor, Charles C. W. Cooke, denouncing the hyperbole and hypocrisy of Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s allegedly conservative blogger. Cooke, not exactly a fan of President Trump, compared Rubin to Trump’s most “unprincipled acolytes” who demand blind loyalty to the MAGA cause: “Rubin has become precisely what she dislikes in others: a monomaniac and a bore, whose visceral dislike of her opponents has prompted her to drop the keys to her conscience into a well.”
Cooke identifies several issues on which Rubin has flip-flopped since Trump was elected, including the Paris Climate Accord, Obama’s Iran deal, the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, and gun control. To illustrate her reversals, Cooke cited Rubin’s own words and columns. (Cooke also linked to my recent article about Rubin.) Cooke calls her byline “tragically misleading,” noting “she is not in fact writing from a ‘conservative perspective,’ but as just one more voice among a host of Trump-obsessed zealots who add nothing to our discourse. In so doing, she does conservatism a sincere disservice.”
It was a fair but unvarnished profile of a once-credible conservative who has lost any shred of integrity since November 2016. But it didn’t take long for others in her camp to rise to Rubin’s defense.
The next day, David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and diehard NeverTrumper, posted a retort to Cooke in The Atlantic. It was the verbal version of a junk drawer, an odd mix of throwaway lines and anecdotes that did nothing to refute Cooke’s central argument about Rubin’s doublespeak.
Frum calls Cooke’s column a “savagely personal attack” on Rubin—it wasn’t—and misrepresents Cooke’s view of Trump, falsely accusing Cooke of “speaking fiercely of Donald Trump before the election, [but] has since mostly avoided the uncongenial subject.” (I invite Frum to listen to any one of NRO’s “The Editors” weekly podcasts to hear Cooke’s often harsh opinion about Donald Trump.)
Frum then weirdly writes: “Conservatism is what conservatives think, say, and do. As conservatives change—as much through the harsh fact of death and birth as by the fluctuations of opinion—so does what it means to be a conservative.” It is fine to acknowledge that conservatism may take a different shape based on the prevailing political climate (though Frum and his crew seemed to have had quite a hard time doing that in 2016), but it does not mean you abandon key principles—less intrusive federal government, a non-punitive tax code, strong national defense, a compassionate but not graft-ridden social safety net—just because your candidate lost and you are embarrassed.
To try and make sense of the reaction to Rubin from those who wish to remain on the honest right, even if they aren’t full-throated Trump supporters, Frum then calls Rubin a member of the “embattled center-right” who is joined by other brave, anti-Trump mouthpieces such as Max Boot, Mona Charen, Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz, Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn, Tom Nichols, and Joe Scarborough. (Yes, he refers to Scarborough as center-right.)
Indeed, that very crew also jumped to Rubin’s defense and heaped praise on Frum for his chivalric missive on her behalf:
They may never not be Never Trumps, perhaps they can lighten up. At the very least counter the lies of the liberals.
Time to total’y erase the Obama mess and clean up the Whitehouse and the Nations Capital
Yep. He just gave his family, himself, and his corporations MASSIVE and PERMANENT tax cuts, and his followers, most of whom will receive chicken feed that runs out after 7 years, have applauded him for doing so. This was the GOP’s Really Big Score.
@Greg: We have never seen tax cuts extended because of coming elections, that and it couldnt be done permenently with a simple majority. You can look that up.
At this point even getting them out of my purse a little while is welcome, I am just not the jealous type.
I know he got 2 scoops fricken grow up!
@Greg: ____ . Had a thought, but not worth the carbon to breathe/(type) out a response.
@Greg: Like the left’s continuous claims that Obama’s joke of a recovery was a boom, that 1.2% growth, low labor participation and part time, low paying jobs are the “new normal” despite reality being in full view, so will the reality effects of tax reform overwhelm the liberal lies, all of which are designed to prevent another Republican landslide.
Once again, my support for Trump was solely and entirely for the purpose of keeping the greatest criminal and liar, Hillary, out of the White House and away from the Supreme Court. I never imagined Trump would be a successful and effective, even despite massive opposition from all sides. Trump’s opposition cannot stand the fact that he is not a commodity to be purchased, like most other politicians, and he is dangerous to their existence.
Trump instead of Hillary in the White House has saved the Republic. If Trump is successful, our country could reach an economic level that would greatly reduce poverty and strengthen our efforts to defeat and eliminate Islamic terrorism plaguing the world. Hillary offered no such hope or opportunity.
Whatever one thinks about Trump or how they grade his accomplishments, all that needs to be put into the perspective of what the alternative was; that alternative was ruin, a continuation of the erosion of our rights and freedoms Obama provided with a liberal dose of corruption and graft.
Trump thanks federal employees with $143.5 billion in retirement cuts
Don’t worry, they’ll eventually get around to Social Security checks. They’ll just leave that for later, when they’ve effectively neutralized any possibility of a politically cohesive response. Anyway, we’ve got our tax cuts—set to phase out just after the next presidential election, unless you’re one of the favored class who benefit from permanent cuts.
Concerning tax cuts, let’s ignore the fact that U.S. tariffs are taxes on American consumers, and retaliatory tariffs imposed by the countries Trump is targeting primarily hit American workers. Prices are rising. The rate of inflation hit a 6-year high of 2.3 percent last month. Think you’ll break even?
At least Trump put North Korea in its place. Except for this curious development:
Satellite images show North Korea upgrading nuclear facility The photo ops with Kim Jong-un were nice, though.
The administration also put Iran in its place, although how things are better now than with the Nuclear Agreement constraints is a bit hard to figure. Remember, if anything unfortunate happens it’s Obama’s fault.
Speaking of which, 9 million Americans will soon lose their health insurance. Republicans have pretty much guaranteed that ACA premiums will skyrocket next year, with many more insurers dropping out of the marketplace entirely. They’ve at last administered an accumulation of fatal wounds to the program. This is also all Obama’s fault. However, republicans have got that thing of their own which will cover everybody, and be cheaper and better, so don’t worry.
PS: Global warming is a real thing.
Thanks them for what? Being lazy, inefficient and entitled?
Did the Republicans guarantee they would go up EVERY year since Obamacare was passed, sometimes by 100%? No, Obamacare did that. Obama and the Democrats wrecked health care and insurance and it will be painful to fix it. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
@Deplorable Me, #8:
Over 31.1 percent of all civilian federal workers are military service veterans, but the right’s “Thank you for your service” mantra has never really been anything more that empty words, has it? In fact, they resent the hell out of dedicated and often highly-trained federal employees, who quietly serve the nation for decades after taking their oath of office.
Presumably you’re aware of such an oath. No doubt you also took one, swearing to faithfully perform your duties and to defend the Constitution when you hired on to do whatever you did.
Premiums for most people had already been going up every year for years. 100 percent increases over a year are a typical distortion of the truth. Cherry-picked examples serving as “proof” are by no means typical. Next year, however, we’re going to see some serious trouble, owing to what republicans have done and failed to do. The idiots you elected have seriously and deliberately damaged the ACA, while coming up with diddly squat in the way of any replacement. They’ve had years to do so. The lying bastards proclaimed they already had something ready to roll out.
I don’t support “thank you for your service” with a federal job that allows ANYONE to sit at a computer and watch porn, or simply do nothing. With their union shields, federal workers have become comfortable with poor service and the government’s answer is to add more federal workers who quickly become acclimated to the mode.
But, since you are so sensitive to federal workers being maligned, I am sure you CONDEMN in the strongest possible terms Durbin calling ALL of ICE “incompetent”, simply because, unlike under Obama, they are now allowed to do their job, which they have superbly.
No, it isn’t. It is a statement of fact. Sure, premiums went up about 10% a year before Obamacare but since that disaster has gone up 30% to 150% and more. Obamacare was based on lies and anything that defends it is a lie.