by Jeffery Rendall
It should come as no surprise to observers of American politics that nearly two years after Donald Trump was formally nominated as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate – and a year and a half after he assumed the office – his “conservative” #NeverTrump adversaries are still after him. These spoiled, pampered and snobby pseudo-Republicans won’t let bygones be bygones and acknowledge the plethora of positive things Trump brought the GOP and the conservative cause since taking center stage in the White House on January 20, 2017.
Simply put, Trump (thus far) has been the most refreshing political surprise of a half-century. Perhaps starting with his choice of full-spectrum principled conservative Mike Pence as his running mate (and future vice president), Trump’s made one good decision after another, usually tilting the political balance towards the right side of the scale.
Still there are those refusing to give Trump his due; these malcontents snipe at his flanks, mostly by decrying his past personal history, his current behavior and his fondness for punching back at critics via Twitter or his always entertaining but never conventional press appearances.
Despite this, few in the nebulous #NeverTrump contingent have come flat out and suggested the antidote to the loutish Trump and his populist/conservative agenda (backed by the “deplorables”) is to vote for the minority party Democrats this November. Pointy-headed bespectacled intellectual George Will recently broke the mold, however, crossing the threshold into insanity – and likely earning himself permanent banishment from respectable conservative social circles.
In an op-ed entitled “Vote against the GOP this November,” Will wrote at The Washington Post, “The principle: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them…
“In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, ‘But the judges, the judges!’ the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.”
Granted Will wrote this before Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last week, but “judges, judges, judges!” has just taken on a whole new relevance and depending on the confirmation schedule for the new nominee (whoever it is), it could dominate the fall senate campaigns.
Full disclosure – I stopped reading Will’s columns long ago, figuring the (at one-time) fairly reliable commentator lost it during the 2016 Republican Party primary race. Will’s pomposity over the resulting intra-party turmoil quickly grew old as it became evident he’d thrown in with the party blue bloods in opposing the wave of change engulfing the Grand Old Party. Trump won because a majority of Republican voters was sick of leaders making promises they never kept.
People took Trump at his word that he would “Make America Great Again” and they admired his over-the-top style in doing so. Many egos were bruised in the latter part of the primary campaign and a healthy number considered joining the ranks of #NeverTrump rather than support a man who’d offended just about everyone (including a sizable contingent of his own backers) on the way to winning the nomination.
Theories abounded as to why Trump was doing it – running for president that is. It was theorized he wanted to inflate his personal fortune even further; some speculated he selfishly desired to parlay his certain-to-lose campaign into his own TV network; others suggested he sought to get back at his enemies in the GOP by turning the party into a freak show to satiate his own ego. Still others surmised Trump would win the nomination and pull some ridiculous stunt to hand the presidency over to “friend of the family” Hillary Clinton.
Everyone was wrong! None of it came true. Trump hired non-establishment figures to run his campaign (Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway), did it his way and ended up soundly defeating Crooked Hillary in the Electoral College. The looks of absolute astonishment on the faces of Washington establishment elites have barely dissipated; Trump’s Democrat opponents attack him relentlessly and his GOP ruling class foes battle him every step of the way, throwing roadblock after roadblock in his path.
Still Trump moves forward and he’s done a heck of a lot of good despite his lack of experience at home and abroad in the political realm.
For Will to ignore this reality and call for Democrats to takeover Congress just to thwart Trump is plain nuts. The GOP’s feckless congressional leadership is already serving as a de facto check on the populist president’s agenda. A good argument could be advanced that if you truly don’t like Trump the best way to stop him is to send more RINOs stampeding towards DC.
Besides, Democrats are so awful these days we can’t even contemplate throwing them a vote.
Brandon J. Weichert wrote at The American Spectator, “We all know a majority of the Republicans in Congress never supported the president — even after he became the nominee. We also know that, since taking office, the Republicans in Congress have done everything in their power to stymie the most controversial bits of the president’s plans for the country. Everything other than tax cuts and wars has been sidelined…
“Fact is, the Republican Party on the Hill is terrible. Its members lie about what they are capable of, in order to avoid the hard task of implementing the president’s policies. Elected Republicans do not oppose the president because they necessarily disagree with him. The GOP in Congress opposes Trump because they personally dislike him, and because the president’s middle-class-friendly policies threaten the interests of the GOP’s corporate donors…
“[T]he Democrats would be far worse than the current crop of clowns controlling Congress. If given any real power in 2018, the Democrats will impeach the president, regardless of whether he’s done anything illegal or not. Over the next few election cycles, then, the trick going forward will be for GOP voters to primary all of the proverbial dead weight in the Republican Party — without empowering Democrats.”
While I heartily agree with Weichert’s final point I would suggest purging the “proverbial dead weight” from the Republican Party (without empowering Democrats) has been the main objective for conservatives for much of the past half century. Since the beginning of the conservative movement, liberty-loving small government advocates have sought to wrest control of the GOP from its moderate/liberal establishment, a collection of individuals who couldn’t give a lick about the desires of voters.
The ruling class is precisely who Trump battles these days, though it’s not evident from following the mainstream media. By comparison Democrats are mere fleas on the elephant’s rump; as revealed by the recent non-issue hubbub over family separation at the U.S. border (and their willingness to shut down the government over amnesty for illegal aliens earlier this year) the minority party is all about “resistance” to the MAGA agenda due to their intense hatred of the president and what he represents.
Seeing as they unanimously oppose practically everything Trump introduces, choosing a Democrat truly is a vote against Trump. Therefore, Weichert is correct – and Will is wrong –even considering pulling the lever for a Democrat is a mistake. Hopefully Republicans learned their lesson last December when the party establishment failed to support Roy Moore in Alabama, which resulted in liberal Doug Jones filling Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old seat.
Jones subsequently became the newest lockstep Chuck Schumer bootlicker and loyal member of the anti-Trump contingent. As the recent vote over the budget rescission bill demonstrated, one or two conservative GOP senators can mean the difference between getting what we want and ending up with nothing.
Moore won the Alabama Republican primary fair and square, of course. Mitch McConnell took the grassroots’ slight personally and wouldn’t publicly back the former state Chief Justice in the general election, even if it meant losing a sure vote in the upper chamber. Now whenever McConnell complains about not having enough Republicans to push Trump’s agenda, he’s full of (it).
Any old Republican won’t do, either. Mitt Romney proved it last week. W. James Antle III reported in the Washington Examiner, “Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney captured his party’s nomination for Senate in Utah on Tuesday…
“Romney has positioned himself as a counterweight to Trump in a state where Mormon voters have been slow to warm to the president. He recently said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a frequent Trump critic and the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, would be a model for his service.
“At the same time, Romney has toned down his criticism of Trump compared to the 2016 campaign, when he emerged as a leading ‘Never Trump’ figure. Some anti-Trump conservatives hoped Romney would launch an independent or third-party presidential campaign, but he remained on the sidelines aside from speaking out against both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.”
Antle further reported Romney intends to oppose Trump whenever he feels the urge, such as with the president’s zero-tolerance stance on illegal immigration. Blah, blah, blah… Romney’s just reverting back to the same wishy-washy flip-flopping nothingness that failed to inspire the masses to work for his campaign to defeat Obama in 2012.
It’s also curious how Romney now claims he plans to emulate John McCain in the senate (assuming Mitt wins easily in Utah in November) considering the obvious past enmity between the two establishmentarians. Amazing as it sounds many considered Romney the “conservative” alternative to McCain in 2008 despite the former Massachusetts governor’s horrible record and discernible lack of principled foundation.
There was no love lost between Romney and McCain at the time just as it took Ted Cruz months to formally endorse Trump two years ago. The pressures of a presidential campaign will do strange things to a person – but there’s still no excuse for someone like George Will begging people to vote Democrat to spite the current president.
Longtime conservative R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. wrote at his The American Spectator, “I have, through the years, speculated that George suffers from what I call ‘writer’s hysteria,’ wherein the patient temporarily ‘loses control of his literary tools and of his mind.’ This happens to George increasingly. He suffered it during the 2016 election when he left the Republican Party and doubtless was surprised that others did not follow. Then last weekend he ordered his readers to follow him en masse to wherever he plans to go.
“Bill Kristol is undoubtedly with him and of course David Frum(p)…
“My colleague Dan Flynn writing in Spectator A.M. on Monday pithily summed up why serious conservatives, and most Independents, will vote for Donald Trump’s Republicans in the fall: ‘Trump cut taxes, appoints good judges, presides over a golden age of deregulation, shows far more restraint with regard to the military adventurism embraced by recent Republicans, and takes a strong stand against the invasion at the Southern border. Why should Republicans vote against him?’”
Tyrrell concluded his piece by saying George Will is “down and almost out.” Well put.
The jury’s still out on who will vote for whom in this year’s elections, but one thing’s for sure: George Will and the #NeverTrumpers won’t have much say in it. President Trump’s approval numbers are inching up slowly and Americans aren’t dumb — the Democrats present no realistic alternative.