Well, if this is the conservative movement now, I guess you’re going to have to count me out.
No, I’m not making some mad dash to the center. No, I’m not hoping to be the first alternate to Steve Schmidt on Morning Joe, nor am I vying to become my generation’s Kevin Phillips. I will never be a HillaryCon. And I have no plan to earn “strange new respect” from the Georgetown cocktail-party set I’m always hearing about but never meeting. But even if I have no desire to “grow” in my beliefs, I have no intention to shrink, either.
The late Bill Rusher, longtime publisher of National Review, often counseled young writers to remember, “Politicians will always disappoint you.” As I’ve often said around here, this isn’t because politicians are evil. It’s because politicians are politicians. Their interests too often lie in votes, not in principles. That’s why the conservative movement has always recognized that victory lies not simply in electing conservative politicians, but in shaping a conservative electorate that lines up the incentives so that politicians define their self-interest in a conservative way.
But if it’s true that politicians can disappoint, I think one has to say that the people can, too.
And when I say “the people” I don’t mean “those people.” I mean my people. I mean many of you, Dear Readers. Normally, when conservatives talk about how the public can be wrong, we mean that public. You know the one. The “low-information voters” Rush Limbaugh is always talking about. The folks we laughed at when Jay Leno interviewed them on the street. But we don’t just mean the unwashed and the ill-informed. We sometimes mean Jews, blacks, college kids, Lena Dunham fans, and countless other partisan slices of the electorate who reflexively vote on strict party lines for emotional or irrational reasons. We laugh at liberals who let know-nothing celebrities do their thinking for them.
Well, many of the same people we laughed at are now laughing at us because we are going ga-ga over our own celebrity.
BEHOLD THE TRUMPEN PROLETARIAT
Yes, I know that there are plenty of decent and honorable people who support Trump. For instance, my friend John Nolte over at Breitbart is one. He constantly celebrates Trump because Trump has all the right enemies and defies the conventional rules governing politics and media:
#GOPSmartSet-ters confused by Trump's appeal need to spend some time in the Real World.
You can't help the cause being this out-of-touch.
— John Ocasio-Rodham Nolte (@NolteNC) August 28, 2015
Why Trump resonates. https://t.co/IGgZq6RXdS
— John Ocasio-Rodham Nolte (@NolteNC) August 27, 2015
Trump goes right over the heads of the media to talk to the people.
He uses the media like his chew toy.
And it's glorious.
— John Ocasio-Rodham Nolte (@NolteNC) August 26, 2015
I've waited 30 years to see the media get treated like Trump just treated that piece of garbage @jorgeramosnews.
Oh. Hell. Yes.
— John Ocasio-Rodham Nolte (@NolteNC) August 25, 2015
But this is not an argument for Trump as a serious presidential candidate. It is really no argument at all. It is catharsis masquerading as principle, venting and resentment pretending to be some kind of higher argument. Every principle used to defend Trump is subjective, graded on a curve. Trump is like a cat trained to piss in a human toilet. It’s amazing! It’s remarkable! Yes, yes, it is: for a cat. But we don’t judge humans by the same standard.
THE TEMPTING OF CONSERVATISM
I’ve written many times how the phrase “power corrupts” has been misunderstood. Lord Acton’s original point wasn’t that power corrupts those who wield power, it was that it corrupts those who admire it. In a letter to a historian friend who was too forgiving of the Reformation-era popes, Acton wrote:
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
Popularity — which in democracy is a very important kind of power — works the same way. We routinely forgive the rich and famous for sins we would condemn our neighbors for. Trump’s popularity apparently trumps all standards we would apply not just to our neighbors, but to our leaders. A small example of what I am talking about can be found in Ted Cruz’s vow not to criticize other Republicans — if by “Republicans” you mean “Donald Trump.” I have a lot of respect for Cruz, but this doesn’t pass the laugh test. The Texan has been lambasting the entire Republican party for his entire time in office. Some of his critiques are valid, of course. But he has shown not an iota of reluctance to criticize fellow Republicans when it’s in his interest. Cruz isn’t criticizing Donald Trump because, as a smart politician, he wants to woo Trump’s followers when/if Trump eventually falters. Similarly, I’m constantly hearing from Trump fans that it’s “disrespectful” for me to criticize the Republican front-runner — as if these fans would refrain from criticizing Jeb or Rubio or Kasich if they were in the lead.
THE BONFIRE OF PRINCIPLES
If I sound dismayed, it’s only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because “Trump fights!”
How many Republicans have been deemed unfit for the Oval Office because of comparatively minor character flaws or ideological shortcomings? Rick Perry in 2012 saw his candidacy implode when he couldn’t remember the third item on his checklist of agencies he’d close down. Well, even in that “oops” moment, Rick Perry comes off as Lincolnesque compared with Donald Trump.
Proof that saying Jonah can’t buy pants on his own led to Trump living rent-free from that day on in Jonah’s head.
PS, even if Jonah were the final arbiter of conservative ”purity,” purism doe not win election.
Who of the 17 does Jonah find pure enough?
He won’t say.
Here’s the thing; we need to defeat the liberals. After that, conservatives need to enact conservative policies. However, power needs to be consolidated in order to be able to be maintained. The left wing media is going to oppose every move and promote opposition and, of course, the liberals in government will do what they do best; obstruct and lie.
But another 4 or 8 years of moving more and more to the left will inflict irreparable damage to the country. Whomever can prevent that is welcome.
From the complete article:
And this differs from every other candidate, in the history of the presidency, how?
Well, I guess that as an ideologically impure Conservative, I’ll just have to support another.
Dummies will be happy to know that, as such, I will respect their wishes and no longer refer to myself as a “Conservative.”
There! You have successfully chastised me for walking away from the Republican Reservation. Happy now?
I am a Libertarian.
No, Bill, that’s putting the cart before the horse.
Yes, you need to defeat the liberals. But they have a strong and growing alliance of interest groups that the GOP has and continues to try very hard to alienate: Hispanics, women, gays, Blacks, and a whole lot of educated white men who DON’T live in the Bible Belt. You need SOME of them to vote for the Republican candidate, and to get them, you NEED to advocate policies that make sense. Without policies that make sense, you’re never going to win the White House, no matter how lousy the Democratic candidate happens to be.
Saying that you stand for repealing ObamaCare without saying precisely what you plan to replace it with doesn’t cut it. Wanting to fill the nation’s top political job opening with someone who ISN’T a politician doesn’t cut it.
To win, your ideas have to be better than the other guy’s, and Trump’s aren’t. He doesn’t even know what his ideas ARE. He’s just a clown whose greatest claim to fame is his fading “Apprentice” TV show.
And if you think your problems would all go away if you elect the “Don,” think again. Who do you think is going to be able to control him? Ivana? Reince?
Trump is a loose cannon, just like his mouth, and you have no way of knowing when either is going to explode in your face.
Yeah, Trump likes single-payer healthcare, and you thought ObamaCare was your biggest problem???
@George Wells: #5
“Hispanics, women, gays, Blacks, and a whole lot of educated white men who DON’T live in the Bible Belt.”
It’s funny that you should mention that.. Trump seems to be polling higher with all of those groups than just about any other Republican candidate.
As for your “whole lot of educated white men who DON’T live in the Bible Belt.” shtick, well, I don’t know why you threw that in, but it makes you sound like a bigot.
Bless your heart.
Maybe you should try visiting the Bible Belt some time. It’s easier than you would think- our roads are actually paved for easy driving!
We even have gen-yoo-wine college perfessers down here in redneck land!
Not to mention a thriving aerospace industry, the most modern industrial plants, high-tech design schools, excellent universities, etc.
There are multiple reasons for modern industries to choose to locate here, not just the climate.
I guess that one of the reasons that it is so easy for you northerners to play the upsnoot game is that here, we generally judge the worth of something by results, not by pedigree or intentions.
Your ivy league education and Brahman relatives don’t count for much down here. It’s what you accomplish that matters.
Which is one reason that Trump is so popular.
Sorry Peter, but I live in Virginia – less than a hundred miles from Richmond, the capital of Jefferson Davis’ Confederacy – and with Jerry Falwell’s LIBERTY UNIVERSITY & Co. in Lynchburg (Oh so sadly Jerry passed away in 2007) and with Pat Robertson – with his Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) and his Regent University – right here in Virginia Beach, I am officially smack-dab in the HEART (if not at the geographic center) of the “Bible Belt.”
Where I happen to live has no bearing on my ability to discern right from wrong. At one time or another, Trump has taken both sides on most major issues, leaving absolutely no way to predict what he, as president, would do about any of them. Yet currently, Republicans are forgiving his inept answers on foreign policy and his ambiguous positions on domestic issues simply because his television persona appeals to them. That’s WRONG.
I certainly don’t support HRC, and I seriously doubt that she will be the Democratic Party’s nominee, but at least if the Democrats nominate her, they will KNOW that they are nominating a lying, pandering opportunist who clearly is past any intellectual capacity to actually govern a nation. Trump never HAD that capacity. Nominating HIM for the presidency would be a GRAVE mistake for the GOP and electing him would be a GRAVE mistake for the country.
“Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.”
SHOCK POLL: Trump Receives 25% of Black Vote – Enough to Ensure a GOP Landslide
Blacks today make up 22% of the Democratic vote.
If Democrats lost 25% of the black vote they would lose Virginia, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.
I saw a 5 minute video yesterday of minorities all for Trump.
It was really good.
I’ll look for it.
You get Trump, you’re going to WISH you had ObamaCare.
Go for it!
@George Wells: You don’t get it and, I suspect, being as liberal as you are, you never will. Alienate Hispanics? How, by enforcing immigration laws, respecting those who follow the laws and looking out for citizens? Alienate gays? How, by NOT granting them some sort of elevated, super-citizenry with self-generated “rights”, privileges and protections? Alienating women by NOT pretending that treating them like any other person is a “war on women”?
The Republicans alienate blacks? Really? How, by not using them as political props, keep them in poverty and incite them to violence in order to maintain political power? The downfall of the Republicans is having to react to the political games played by the Democrats and trying to stay ahead of the popularity game, which is impossible as long as the media is playing for the other team. Their only hope at maintaining power is to take power and enact policy that will help the economy (and thus the people) and begin the reconstruction of our foreign policy and national security; provide benefits so strong that the media cannot demean it. That is the chance and should be the goal.
“(The GOP’s) only hope at maintaining power is to take power…”
And how do you expect to accomplish THAT? With a COUP?
You don’t TAKE power, you earn it. You get ELECTED to office. And that doesn’t happen if you don’t tell the electorate what you plan to do if they DO vote for you. Not platitudes that everyone can see through. Not bogus pablum like “Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.” You don’t tell the party that hates ObamaCare (and that is the party that you NEED first and foremost to win in the first place) that you support single-payer healthcare. You don’t spout off erroneous nonsense on both foreign and domestic policy issues.
That’s what I “get.”
What I don’t get is what YOU actually stand for, beside “taking” power away from Democrats. The GOP tried that platform, and it didn’t work, IN SPITE OF OBAMA ALREADY PROVING DURING HIS FIRST TERM WHAT A POOR LEADER HE IS!
What does the GOP currently stand for, besides de-constructing ObamaCare? Besides resisting any and all Obama initiatives, even if they are initiatives previously championed by Republicans?
The current slew of would-be Republican contenders for the presidency include a number of good options, but they are not succeeding in getting their messages out to the voters because Trump has sucked all of the air out of the room. His camera-friendly antics keep the media focused on him, and the REAL Republican message – whatever it is – has gotten lost. If Trump wins the nomination, it will never be found, and come November, 2016, the voters still won’t know why they should vote Republican.
No, I get it.
Part of the Republican Party has a pathological defect.
It is TRYING to lose.
Go up and read the headline editorial again.
Your gripe – if you have a real one – is with that author, not me.
I want the GOP to nominate a VIABLE candidate, and Trump isn’t that.
@George Wells: The Republicans are going to have to take power away from the Democrats because the democrats are NOT going to give it up willingly. This is why they (the Democrats) employ so many illicit means to hold onto power. Supporting 3rd party campaigns, voter fraud and lies on a massive scale are all tools in their tool boxes and it takes a truly flawless Republican campaign to defeat such forces. Add to that a media with openly liberal sympathies that will only report what it wants to report and you have a fierce battle. It’s not just about the better candidate; that much has been proven repeatedly over the past 8 years.
“The Republicans are going to have to take power away from the Democrats”
Are you referring to electoral processes or violent revolution?
@George Wells: Are you simply trying to be stupid or what?
No, Bill, I’m not trying to be stupid. But thanks for interjecting an insult, as that helps clarify your purpose here.
I asked you for clarification because the words you chose to use – “The Republicans are going to have to take power away from the Democrats” – leaves open to interpretation exactly how you suggest they accomplish that goal. You used the same construction twice, which would seem to indicate some significance to your decision NOT to mention the electoral process. I wanted you to clarify that, that’s all. If you prefer not to, it leaves me and any other reader wondering exactly what you meant by making your suggestion sound like a parent grabbing something away from a child. That might be what you wanted to convey, but such a power grab wouldn’t involve an election, would it? Stop being so cute (or stupid) with your diction and simply explain what you meant.
@George Wells: I have explained it…. Twice…. apparently to no avail. You are more interested in pursuing some fanatical apperition than even attempt to understand points made. Hell, you don’t even understand the meaning of the word, “marriage”… how am I going to convey to you the significance of the struggle ahead?
” I have explained it…. Twice”
No, you didn’t EXPLAIN it twice. You twice said that Republicans were going to have to “take power away from Democrats and THEN enact policies etc., etc..
My question was “How are you going to do that?” and you can’t or won’t answer THAT question. For whatever silly reason you have, you prefer to word your “must take power” as if you are suggesting an insurrection, and when I ask if that’s what you really mean, you ignore it.
I guess you have your reasons for that. Greg is a better adversary than I am (better thinker, better writer) and you have no respect for what I bring to the table. Whatever…
Yeah, I understand the points you make, I just don’t agree with all of them. Do you think that you are right all of the time and that I am wrong all of the time? If you do, it pretty much proves that you are nothing but a bigot.
The “struggle ahead” is always there. In the past, when grace, compassion and compromise were more than just archaic words in the dictionary, the anticipated “struggle ahead” didn’t evoke hyperbolic announcements of “taking power away.” It was accepted that both sides had different perspectives on what was best for the country. Now you are parroting the notion that the other side is illegitimate. Obama is a criminal, Obama wasn’t qualified to run in the first place, the Supreme Court that rarely decides against you is suddenly illegitimate because it concludes that gays deserve the same rights everyone else has, and liberals have to have their power taken away from them because “they don’t understand.”
Do you resort to such preposterous hyperbole because Republican attempts to logically debate the issues have failed to make a difference? Take Trump (the real topic of this thread, not liberal stupidity) and his suggestion that we “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.” Is that a logical suggestion? Is there a CHANCE of that happening? NO! It’s just one example among many of a clown painting a verbal cartoon – a fanciful bit of nonsense that easily rolls off the tongue, delights the mindless and otherwise goes exactly nowhere. You “like” this guy? You “like” his idea about one-payer healthcare? You think he’d make a good president? Or are you simply willing to put Donald Duck in the White House to keep another Clinton out of it?
I doubt that HRC is going to be the Democrat’s nominee, because she’s a TERRIBLE candidate. None of the other Democratic contenders are any better. The GOP has a few really qualified candidates who would make good presidents, but Trump isn’t one of them. Instead of wasting your time chasing windmills with this wingnut with the excuse that the “struggle ahead” is “significant” (it always is), you should be finding ways to elect a GOOD president… Not an apprentice.
@George Wells: When someone makes a statement like, “President Obama takes office on January 20”, what comes to mind? Him storming the White House with automatic weapons? Really?
Trump panders to pure smash-mouth emotionalism. His actual political history has no core principles of consistency. Nor does he offer any real policy plans. Just speaks in generalities and offers rainbows and unicorns.
He appeals to the “angry-as-hell-pick-up-my-ball-and-go-home-all-or-nothing-throw-out-the-RINOs-and-shrink-the-party-conservative-party-purist”-types.
And to non-serious voters looking for nothing more than popcorn and entertainment.
That about sums it up, although I’m wondering why it was needed.
Trump also appeals to the “fed up with the Washington Establishment ‘business-as-usual,’ crony-capitalist elites” voters. Many of whom are conservatives or Republicans, but many whom are also from all over the political map, including moderates, independents third party, libertarians, Democrats, naturalized citizens, active duty military and veterans, Blacks, Hispanics, elderly, “millennials,’ etc…
You are of course free to sneer at and discount these voters as you will, but doing so will not change their support of Trump. Such tactics have instead resulted in growing support for “the Donald.” He is also the only candidate who has consistently been talking about the real issues that most of the voters have really been concerned about: The illegal immigration flood, joblessness, out of control deficit spending, deep concern over the dismal futures awaiting their children and the loss of the American Dream. Concerns that the leaderships of both parties have completely ignored in order to pursue their own political agenda. If Trump is gaining these disenfranchised Americans interest and rubbing the establishment politician’s noses in it, both parties have only themselves to blame.
Sure he’s an insufferable loud-mouth, but so is Obama, and so have been many other politicians, going as far back as the founding fathers.
So what? Where are the concrete in-depth policy plans of the other candidates beyond speeches, talking points, and campaign website advertising? Trump has released the base of his immigration plan, created with the help and guidance of Sessions, which has received the admiration of even some Democrat leaning immigration experts. Trump does have a proven record of surrounding himself with people who know what their doing, (rather than the tried and failed Washington establishment habit of putting big-money campaign contributors and crony friends into important positions that they either are wholly incompetent at, or want to pursue their personal political agenda.)
Is he a narcissistic jack ass? Sure. most if not all the other candidates are as well. Is he a conservative? I would say he’s considerably more conservative than the current Republican party leadership and most of the other candidates. Is his campaign making a mockery or circus of the race for the presidency? Perhaps, but the presidential election became a mockery and circus far before Trump came on the scene.
Frankly at this point, I don’t think he would be any worse than most of the other administrations we’ve had since Reagan.
“Nor does he offer any real policy plans. Just speaks in generalities and offers rainbows and unicorns.”
Even if that were true, at least it would be the rainbows and unicorns that so many citizens want.
The other candidates are offering only the rainbows and unicorns that they want us to have.
Trumps detractors will never acknowledge Trump’s real strength:
He LISTENS to us.
Okay, he might only be telling us what we want to hear, but he’s the only one who’s even doing that much!
Exactly. People tend to get tired of voting for people who lie to their face to get elected, patronize you, ignore your concerns, and once in office betray those promises they made to those who voted for them.
The arrogant and aloof Republican party leadership did this to themselves. They set the stage for Trump. All they had to do is look at the polls about what Americans were mostly concerned about, and address those issues. Instead, they listened to the advice of establishment twits like Carl Rove and their progressive cronies in the US Chamber. When after years of lies and abuse, someone finally shows up and supports your concerns, you tend to be more forgiving of their little quirks, because they are the only leader who appears to have your back.
I suggest all Flopping Aces Republicans read the entire well-written article.
Jonah Goldberg and the Anti-Trump Bourgeoisie