#NeverTrumpers and the Drive for Irrelevancy

As crazy as National Review has gotten over the past few months, I’ll still occasionally follow a link to it to see the current grim state of Acela Corridor conservatism. This week, Jonah Goldberg doesn’t disappoint, staking out a position as the last Japanese soldier hold out on a remote island in the DC suburbs, living out his version of never give up, never surrender.

I honestly believe that a President Trump would do enormous, perhaps fatal, damage to the conservative movement as we know it. I also believe that without the conservative movement, this country is toast. But I further believe that Hillary Clinton would do obvious and enormous damage to the country. That’s why I’m not voting for either of them. That’s why this election sucks. But I don’t write in the voting booth. I don’t get paid to offer my opinions at the ballot box. And I don’t work for the G-d damn GOP.

It’s a snooty drawing room politics.  If Goldberg believes that the country is toast without the conservative movement (an arguable point I concede) then prepare the toast.  Why Romney, McCain, Dole or Bush(s) didn’t do fatal damage to the conservative movement is never explained, although I could argue that each of those Republican Presidents and candidate wannabes collectively did enough damage to the conservative movement that by the time you get to Trump, the collective knife wounds were already enough to put the patient into a medically induced coma.  Trump didn’t do anything.  He just grabbed the mic while no one was using it.

The idea that a President Trump would kill the conservative movement is, as I’ve argued elsewhere; ludicrous.  Political position-wise, Trump is a moderate Republican in the Romney mode.  How Trump kills conservatism, while Romney, the author of Romneycare, who wouldn’t criticize Obamacare, didn’t; is left unexplained.  And it will always be left unexplained since it upends the argument that Trump poses some particular danger to conservatism that the Republican Party didn’t already inflict on it.

What Goldberg and the other #NeverTrumpers don’t get is that William F. Buckley’s dictum, to support the most electable conservative candidate, is a sliding scale, not a scientific constant.  Demographics, the media, and academia have all worked their magic each and every election cycle to make conservatism in general more and more irrelevant.  Sadly the reaction of Goldberg and the #NeverTrump movement is to double down on that irrelevancy.

Goldberg and the other #NeverTrump survivors are perfectly happy to lose elections as long as the ideology remains intact.  But the ideology never remains intact.  What is conservatism now, which apparently means unlimited trade and unlimited borders, has no relation to the conservatism of most of the 20th Century.  When did mass immigration of Muslims become a conservative issue? But that appears to be Paul Ryan’s major sticking point with Trump.  We are heading towards a vanishing point where “Conservatism,” as Goldberg and others define it, becomes a rarified ideology like Libertarianism, which has no mass support, and no hope of changing actual real politics.  It’s like politics as Fantasy Football; fun to play maybe, but no relation to actual football and totally irrelevant to what’s happening on the field.

 

Advertisements

George Will Endorses Hillary?

In one of the most bizarre opinion column’s I’ve seen from a noted conservative in a long time, conservative columnist and commentator George Will comes out of the closet to give a de facto endorsement of Hillary Clinton.  Speaking of Donald Trump,

“Were he to be nominated, conservatives would have two tasks. One would be to help him lose 50 states — condign punishment for his comprehensive disdain for conservative essentials, including the manners and grace that should lubricate the nation’s civic life. Second, conservatives can try to save from the anti-Trump undertow as many senators, representatives, governors and state legislators as possible.”

I cannot in my lifetime recall any prominent opinion columnist disavowing their party’s presumptive nominee that way.  This is certainly not the George Will I thought I knew, and I’ve read his columns for a long time; decades, and watched him on television nearly as long.  He was my favorite part of the roundtable of the ABC Sunday morning show This Week, back when it was called This Week with David Brinkley.  He always had some clever previously prepared quip to dominate the discussions when called on.  It was always appreciated to see an erudite and intellectual defender of the right on TV back in the days when it was fairly rare to see that on television.

And then he lost his damn mind.

Will has claimed that this election will be the first without a conservative running as the Republican nominee.  I’m not sure if most conservatives will agree with that.  I don’t recall most conservatives claiming Mitt Romney as one of their own in 2012.  If anything, he was considered a RINO that conservatives grudgingly supported because he seemed competent and was better than the alternative.  I find that hard to accept on its face.  Does Will really think Romney was a conservative?  But this time, Will thinks the alternative is actually better.

Position by position, Trump has been pretty similar to your average RINO. There isn’t a lot of difference between his platform and what Romney ran on. He’s not that interested in social issues, God, and not that interested in trying (or actually just saying and doing the opposite) to cut the government to the bone. Trump is everything that the GOP establishment has said it wanted for years, but then when they actually get it, they run for the hills.  Why is that?

I think both Will’s and the GOP establishment’s problem with Trump isn’t about actual political positions, it’s about style.  Trump is a loudmouth, a bit vulgar, and has a rapper’s taste in gold trim.  In short, Trump is a Prole with a billionaire’s wallet.  And if there is one thing working class Prole Republicans have learned this past year is how much they are held in contempt by the Republican Party.  This is less about political positions and more about who you would want at your cocktail party.  But it just shows not only how shallow Will and his fellow GOPe are, but how dumb.  The smartest guys in the room are not so smart.  Between Glenn Beck threatening suicide and Bill Kristol threatening to start his own Neo Con third party, you guys are not wowing me with sparkling intelligence.

As Will concludes,

“If Clinton gives her party its first 12 consecutive White House years since 1945, Republicans can help Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, or someone else who has honorably recoiled from Trump, confine her to a single term.”

No George, as I’ve written extensively, there is no wiping away after each election and everyone starts from zero to make their case to the electorate.  We’re tribal now you’ve just helped sabotage your own tribe.  My advice is to stay with the Democrats now that you’ve crossed over.  A sad end to a brilliant career, but hey, you’ve earned it.