In with the new 5

The times they are a-changing.

A new sort of politics is arising: populist, passionate, inconsistent, pragmatic, loud, muscular, energetic, boastful –  and gloriously capitalist.

It’s case is put in exclamations rather than arguments. Policy statements abrupt as a tweet.

Donald Trump invented it, heralds it, personifies it.

The conservative National Review got a bunch of conservatives – some of them greatly and justly respected as thinkers of the Right – to explain that Trump doesn’t belong with them.

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They’re right. He doesn’t.

But it is they who must catch up.

Mark Steyn puts it this way:

I’ve received a ton of emails today asking me what I make of the National Review hit. I used to contribute to NR, and I generally make it a rule not to comment on publications for which I once wrote. … Nevertheless, notwithstanding some contributors I admire, the whole feels like a rather obvious trolling exercise. …

I don’t think Trump supporters care that he’s not a fully paid-up member in good standing of “the conservative movement” – in part because, as they see it, the conservative movement barely moves anything.

If you want the gist of NR’s argument, here it is:

I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan…

A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance…

My old boss, Ronald Reagan, once said…

Ronald Reagan was famous for…

When Reagan first ran for governor of California…

Reagan showed respect for…

Reagan kept the Eleventh Commandment…

Far cry from Ronald Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone” line…

Trump is Dan Quayle, and everyone and his auntie are Lloyd Bentsen (see here): “I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan, I filled in Ronald Reagan’s subscription-renewal form for National Review. And you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.”

You have to be over 50 to have voted for Reagan, and a supposed “movement” can’t dine out on one guy forever, can it? What else you got?

Well, there are two references to Bush, both of them following the words “Reagan and”. But no mention of Dole, one psephological citation of Romney, and one passing sneer at McCain as a “cynical charlatan” – and that’s it for the last three decades of presidential candidates approved by National Review, at least to the extent that they never ran entire issues trashing them.

Will the more or less official disdain of “the conservative movement” make any difference to Trump’s supporters? Matt Welch in Reason:

Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment.

I’d put that contrast slightly differently. The movement conservatives at National Review make a pretty nice living out of “ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth”. The voters can’t afford that luxury: They live in a world where, in large part due to the incompetence of the national Republican Party post-Reagan, Democrat ideas are in the ascendant. And they feel that this is maybe the last chance to change that.

Go back to that line “When Reagan first ran for governor of California…” Gosh, those were the days, weren’t they? But Reagan couldn’t get elected Governor of California now, could he? Because the Golden State has been demographically transformed. …

The past is another country, and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans gave it away. Reagan’s California no longer exists. And, if America as a whole takes on the demographics of California, then “the conservative movement” will no longer exist. That’s why, for many voters, re-asserting America’s borders is the first, necessary condition for anything else – and it took Trump to put that on the table.

Dr. Brad Lyles writes at Canada Free Press:

It is discouraging to find the National Review, home to a profundity of prominent pundits, attacking the frontrunner, Donald Trump, on the very eve of the first primary contest. “Conservatives against Trump?” Really? …

Conservatives against Trump misses the point entirely. None of us regular guy and gal Conservatives out here in flyover-land … are encumbered by the ridiculous ages-old insistence upon purity in Conservative candidates.

Most people in the real world understand life is composed of incessant demands we make “trade-off” decisions. Traditionally, the only political class denying the reality of trade-offs has been the Left. It is certainly no longer helpful, if ever it was, for our Conservative literati to parse candidates’ strict allegiance to Conservative doctrine (and I write this as a life-long staunch Conservative).

How can National Review be so wrong? How can so many Conservative luminaries be so wrong?

It is easy. They can adopt the timeworn requirement that a Republican candidate, especially one who self-identifies as a Conservative, be a purist Conservative. In the current circumstance, however, the literati actually do possess the option of a purist Conservative, Ted Cruz. For the first time in history (well, aside from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan), Conservative purists can realistically expect to run a purist Conservative candidate.

And it is true Ted Cruz is a proven Constitutional Conservative, his dedication to the cause attested to by his education, training, practice, office, and nearly every single word he’s ever uttered.

But now (or at least since June 16, 2015), a quasi-Conservative has entered stage left, pirouetting far beyond every other diva on the stage and stealing the limelight every single damned day since.

How can this be? How has Trump been able to polarize the debate so deliciously — among Conservatives? Easy answer: The self-immolating wing of the Conservative Movement, including the bright lights at National Review, again, insist upon purity.

Is this prudent? In particular, does Ted Cruz’ Conservative purity predict he will/would be superior to Trump as President? Reflexively, we Conservatives would answer, “of course”.

Life doesn’t always work that way, however. We are constrained by trade-offs not of our own choosing. For example, Cruz will endeavor to reinstate Constitutional principles. But, striving against the hydra of the Administrative State and the Crony-Capitalist Establishment, Cruz will likely make no more headway than even Ronald Reagan when merely trying to close the infant Department of Education.

Furthermore, Cruz’s legal/Constitutional expertise just simply is no match for Trump’s likely success in his emblematic asymmetric approach to diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military endeavors. Moreover, Trump’s personal history of success in most every endeavor, cannot be underestimated as a boon to the Presidency.

There is one more spectacular element which makes Trump likely to be a natural-born comprehensively successful President — and for Constitutionalists as well. He has declared himself, and then doubled down, on his intention to destroy radical Islam — declaring the need for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country — how incendiary! And he declared to “build a wall”,  and shut down illegal immigration. Whoa! And he not only survived the media conflagration following both pronouncements, he destroyed the media in the process.

These two issues, illegal immigration and radical Islam, are the two pivotal issues of our time, the “existential” issues that are truly existential. If we do not prevail in these two arenas, we will prevail in none.

But wait … the citizen can also win a guy who  emphasized the necessity of a “huge” military (and huge support of Vets). But there’s more. … The citizen can also win draconian tax cuts, slashed regulations, with the jobs and prosperity inevitably to follow (Ex. Presidents Harding, JFK, and Reagan). …

In particular, Trump has accomplished what no politician, ever, has accomplished. He owns the media. He defeats the media and gets his message out no matter the forum and in every forum.

In fact, some would argue the media and its sibling Political Correctness Movement are the true“existential” threats facing this country. Both facilitate nearly all dangerous things we contend with. Trump’s conquest of these malign forces, as President, may be the most pivotal accomplishment of any President in history. Imagine four more years of this tour de force! Fabulous!

Trump can bring us successes on the political battlefield — and for Conservatives — unmatched even by Ronald Reagan. And it will be fun! National Review and its peerless contributors should be ashamed of their lackluster vision.

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Posted under Capitalism, government, immigration, Islam, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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This post has 5 comments.

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  • Robert Kantor

    Bob K

    Here are some of the reasons why Trump has so much popular support:

    Forty years ago whites in California and the Southwest lived among people who looked like them, spoke their language, and shared their cultural values. Now millions feel like strangers in their own country, surrounded as they are by Mexicans and Central Americans, most of whom are here illegally. The Democratic Party applauds this enormous demographic change because it wants new voters; the Chamber of Commerce types because they want cheap labor. If these whites complain, they are called racists.

    The chattering classes keep telling us that the Hispanics are taking jobs that white people won’t do, implying laziness on the parts of whites. Yet talk to any contractor and he will tell you that he’d go out of business if he didn’t hire illegals, who have driven down blue collar wages.

    When the children of the Hispanic illegals are ready for college, they become the beneficiaries of affirmative action (AKA diversity, AKA preferential treatment). Working class whites are the most underrepresented group in colleges and universities in this country. If these whites complain, they are called racists.

    During the time of the New Deal/Fair Deal, working class whites—farmers, coal miners, factory workers (the heroes of leftist folk songs and propaganda—formed the backbone of the Democratic Party. Now, in the words of the Democratic President, they are bitter people who cling to their guns and religion and distrust those who do not look like them. In other words they are ignorant racists. And if they are put out of work to “save the planet,” that’s too bad; they should learn to adjust.

    Turning to TV, which is run almost entirely by white liberals, we see the following: White men, particularly married white men, are depicted as bumbling fools, If a white man and a black man are in a commercial and one is acting like a jerk, it is always the white man. Almost every commercial features at least one black person, even in situations where blacks are seldom found. If a man in the street interview is presented, there almost always is at least one black interviewed. In TV dramas blacks are grossly overrepresented as doctors, judges, and computer whizzes and grossly underrepresented as criminals. The villain is almost invariably a wealthy white man. If one talks about this openly and forcefully, the charge of racism will be leveled.

    Liberals in general are eager to believe that working class or conservative whites are violence-prone and seem terribly disappointed whenever a mass killer turns out to be a demented apolitical person or a Muslim head- hacker. Muslims, in particular, have become the latest protected class.

    In liberal circles, the word “white man” is now a term of derision and contempt—the Oscars are run by elderly white men; the Republican Party is the party of elderly white men; white privilege is holding down blacks and Hispanics, etc.

    If truth be told, I think the proper expression should really be “black privilege.” No other group has the power to create such upheaval and demand and receive such solicitous treatment in the media. No other group appears to be immune to serious criticism.

    Although interracial crime is overwhelmingly black on white, I doubt that a single talking head on TV can name a single white victim of a black murderer since the OJ case or, for that matter, a single black victim of a black-on-black gang killing. Yet everyone knows about the saintly Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, who have probably received more sympathetic TV coverage than all the other criminal thugs in the history of this country.

    The history of the United States is taught in our colleges and universities as one long litany of horrors inflicted by white people on “people of color.” Simple patriotism is sneered at.

    Given all this why should anyone be surprised that Trump has successfully tapped into a mother lode of anger and resentment?

    • Thank you, Bob K, for this much needed analysis.

      Real racist discrimination is abominable, but it is only mocked by empty accusations of “racism”.

      I am infinitely grateful to the white patriarchy, for every good thing about our civilization, from anesthesia to anti-racism.

  • Steyn is astute as usual. Thanks for bring that to people’s attention.

    I read most of the NR critiques of Trump (at least those that are posted online) and while I’m not a Trump fan I found the criticism petty and besides the point. One small example: one author dismissed Trump’s proposal to deport all 11 million illegals as unrealistic. He misses the point. Trump an initial bargaining position. That’s what a consummate deal maker does. You don’t go into a bargaining session by expressing your expectations of the final deal. If that’s your starting bid you get nothing. He’s asking for everything … and he’s driving a hard deal. People laugh at his claim to make Mexico pay for the wall but, as your authors above point out, Trump has made the media pay for his publicity despite that they loathe the man. He’s getting the last laugh. And I’m loving it.

    My worry about Trump is a lack of history of putting forth free market principles and explaining how they are going to work for us. He seems more of a case-study pragmatist rather than having a firm principled approach. Without firm principles they’ll roll right over you in Washington.

    • I think you are right in all you say, Jason P.

      Trump: “Gentlemen, these are my principles and if you don’t like them, I’ve got others.”

      He’s a force, not an explanation. Boisterous, busy, boastful. He scatters terse insults and extravagant insincere praises.

      Words will never hurt him. He doesn’t give a damn.

      But if he builds a wall … If he destroys ISIS … If he bans Muslim immigration …

      Let the force be with us.

  • liz

    What a case of “torn between the two”. On the one hand, I wanted Cruz to have the success that Trump has, and I resent Trump for barging into the race and stealing his thunder. On the other hand, I know Trump’s the only one that could have done it so spectacularly, and beaten the media at their own game.
    I look at Trumps background and voting record – all over the map – and his stand on several issues, and begin to doubt his sincerity. Then I look at his declarations on illegal immigration and Muslims and think, YES! This is worth all the negatives. Because it is most certainly true that “if we do not prevail in these two arenas, we will prevail in none.”