NRO Standing Athwart Trumpism

 

NR-Against-TrumpNational Review, the venerable conservative institution founded by William F. Buckley, has just released an unprecedented special issue titled “Against Trump.”

Editor Rich Lowry reached out to a wide variety of conservative writers to register their disagreement with the GOP frontrunner. Authors include Thomas Sowell, William Kristol, Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson, and of course NR’s editors who prefaced the issue with a blistering editorial:

Donald Trump leads the polls nationally and in most states in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. There are understandable reasons for his eminence, and he has shown impressive gut-level skill as a campaigner. But he is not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries. Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.

Trump’s political opinions have wobbled all over the lot. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV star has supported abortion, gun control, single-payer health care à la Canada, and punitive taxes on the wealthy. (He and Bernie Sanders have shared more than funky outer-borough accents.) Since declaring his candidacy he has taken a more conservative line, yet there are great gaping holes in it…

Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism. Trump nevertheless offers a valuable warning for the Republican party. If responsible men irresponsibly ignore an issue as important as immigration, it will be taken up by the reckless. If they cannot explain their Beltway maneuvers — worse, if their maneuvering is indefensible — they will be rejected by their own voters. If they cannot advance a compelling working-class agenda, the legitimate anxieties and discontents of blue-collar voters will be exploited by demagogues. We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but that doesn’t make the mogul any less flawed a vessel for them.

What do you think, Ricochetti? Will this issue make self-described conservatives think twice about supporting Trump, or will it only fuel their contempt for inside-the-Beltway thinking?

There are 172 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Herbert Inactive
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: What do you think, Ricochetti? Will this issue make self-described conservatives think twice about supporting Trump, or will it only fuel their contempt for inside-the-Beltway thinking?

    I’m sure it will help the Donald in the polls.   It’s never been about conservatism with trumpkins, it’s about message sending….

    • #1
  2. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:What do you think, Ricochetti? Will this issue make self-described conservatives think twice about supporting Trump, or will it only fuel their contempt for inside-the-Beltway thinking?

    Does NR really represent “Inside-the-Beltway,” though? Because apparently inside-the-Beltway it’s “Anyone but Cruz.” Even if that means supporting Trump.

    • #2
  3. Herbert Inactive
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    DrewInWisconsin: Because apparently inside-the-Beltway it’s “Anyone but Cruz.” Even if that means supporting Trump.

    Now this might start to negatively affect Trumps poll numbers….  becoming the establishment candidate.

    • #3
  4. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    The section you quoted puts it about as well as I’ve seen.  It’s balanced in admitting the reason Trump’s support hasn’t faded as expected without descending into personal attacks and mockery of his supporters.  For anyone willing to take a reasoned look at Trump, it should be persuasive.  For those who are caught up in a cult of personality, it will fall on deaf ears.

    • #4
  5. San Joaquin Sam Inactive
    San Joaquin Sam
    @SanJoaquinSam

    National Review didn’t bother to endorse Reagan in 1980.

    “We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but…”

    But instead they should support Jeb Bush.

    So brave of them to stand athwart an outsider.  I’m attracted to the Trump candidacy in one respect simply due to it’s detractors.  That Trump has the likes of Rich Lowry and the rest of Conservatism, Inc. in a tizzy all but cements my vote.

    • #5
  6. LilyBart Inactive
    LilyBart
    @LilyBart

    I  regularly read NRO.  The site has a diversity of opinion, but, for the most part, they have been critical of the pro-amnesty republicans.  I have appreciated their stance on this.

    • #6
  7. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    If they succeed in tearing him down, they better have a winning candidate as a replacement.  Because bringing down their own front runner and then losing is the sort of thing people will remember four years from now.

    • #7
  8. LilyBart Inactive
    LilyBart
    @LilyBart

    San Joaquin Sam:National Review didn’t bother to endorse Reagan in 1980.

    “We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but…”

    But instead they should support Jeb Bush.

    So brave of them to stand athwart an outsider. I’m attracted to the Trump candidacy in one respect simply due to it’s detractors. That Trump has the likes of Rich Lowry and the rest of Conservatism, Inc. in a tizzy all but cements my vote.

    I understand your anger .  I’m angry at the republican party too (incandescently angry).   But Trump is very new to all the positions he is current espousing.  Its possible that he’s had a recent, major political conversion, but probably more likely he’s just saying what it takes to win.   (He likes to win, as he points out)

    I have a queasy feeling that we’re going to all be sorry when Trump moves back toward the left.

    I know people want to punish the republicans for all the betrayal, but you need to make sure you’re not doing more damage to yourselves and your families first.   What do they say about revenge:  Before you go out to seek revenge, you dig two graves.

    • #8
  9. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    I’d wager that were you to ask any person who has attended a Trump rally the last time they read anything in National Review you would receive a blank stare.

    I don’t know who actually wrote the editorial; it reads like it was prepared in committee.  Perhaps they thought it clever to compare Trump to both Andrew and Jesse Jackson, but it’s overall tone is less one of reasoned persuasion and more of sputtering (“infested,” “Daddy-O,” “grotesque”) exasperation.  With all the heated prose, this conclusion rings hollow: “We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but that doesn’t make the mogul any less flawed a vessel for them.”

    • #9
  10. John Davey Member
    John Davey
    @JohnDavey

    “Ronald Reagan was a Democrat too…”

    Ronald Reagan became a Republican in 1962, was elected Governor four years later, and finally President eighteen years later in 1980. In between, he traveled expansively and expanded on his conservative ideals.

    Donald Trump supported Barack Obama in 2008.

    He’s Elmer Gantry, but his religion is his ego  – it’s what he believes in. Donald Trump is not the GOP’s front runner. He’s Donald Trump Inc’s front runner.

    As has been noted, the people who would be swayed by NRO’s arguments already stand against Trump. It looks like 26% of the primary electorate cannot, or will not consider anything other than Trump – a cult of personality.

    If Trump or Clinton win, the end result will be the same – conservatism loses.

    • #10
  11. San Joaquin Sam Inactive
    San Joaquin Sam
    @SanJoaquinSam

    LilyBart: I know people want to punish the republicans for all the betrayal, but you need to make sure you’re not doing more damage to yourselves and your families first.

    Hehe, yes if it weren’t for the brave and altruistic Republican party me and my family would be left to the mercy of the advancing barbarians.

    • #11
  12. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    San Joaquin Sam:National Review didn’t bother to endorse Reagan in 1980.

    “We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but…”

    But instead they should support Jeb Bush.

    So brave of them to stand athwart an outsider. I’m attracted to the Trump candidacy in one respect simply due to it’s detractors. That Trump has the likes of Rich Lowry and the rest of Conservatism, Inc. in a tizzy all but cements my vote.

    I’m not sure what you read, but the name Jeb Bush does not appear anywhere in the piece.

    • #12
  13. Dad Dog Member
    Dad Dog
    @DadDog

    Trump reminds me of Mussolini.

    If I recall correctly, that didn’t turn out too well . . . though the trains ran on time.

    • #13
  14. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    The feckless, tone death Republicans in Congress are responsible for the anger outside the beltway that gave birth to Trump.  Unfortunately, that anger has morphed into some sort of irrational, emotional movement.  National Review is now trending on Twitter because of this article.

    I did not like the early criticism of Trump.  I felt he should have a chance to campaign and win or lose on his own merits.  Trump has had a chance to be himself and now he has validated his critics fears.  The Trump campaign is more of a revolution than a political campaign.  His followers hate and attack anything and anyone who criticize him.  Even life-long followers of Rush (so they claim) state they are done with him because he criticized Trump.  They are too emotional to be accepting of anyone else.

    I think the country will never be the same after this election.   Trump hasn’t done the damage.  His blind followers are the guilty ones.  If he is the nominee, he will be far better than a communist or the unindicted felon on the Democrat side.  But what has he promised?  No specifics at all, just that he will make deals.  Heck, isn’t that why we are mad with the current leadership in Congress?

    • #14
  15. San Joaquin Sam Inactive
    San Joaquin Sam
    @SanJoaquinSam

    EHerring: I think the country will never be the same after this election.

    Really, this is the election that would make the populace irredeemable in your eyes?

    • #15
  16. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Bring back John O’Sullivan.

    • #16
  17. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    The second quoted paragraph is a fair summary.

    Perhaps the magazine will sway a few. I expect Sowell will put forth an air-tight argument, inviting for its disciplined avoidance of mockery… before Goldberg and Williamson break that spell with their usual open disdain. I read an article by an unfamiliar author on NRO this morning that threw Trump supporters a bone by calmly underlining the need of voters to feel adequately represented, explaining why “populism” has ground to stand on. If the full team at NRO argued with similar patience and charity, it will have an effect.

    The irony is (as I’ve argued from the beginning) that the rampant antagonism of voters who agreed even with a particular statement of Trump’s, let alone Trump’s candidacy and campaign, is what made Trump the political icon he has become. To this day, NRO contributors sneer at the notion of an establishment, not even granting it the respect of a reasonable error; and so begin any attempt at reconciliation from a distance.

    • #17
  18. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Everyone keeps going on about Trump’s previous positions in favor of lefty policies. But how strong were those convictions at the time? Could they have simply been like any other celebrity echoing safe,  familiar talking points? Perhaps Trump’s previous positions were a mile wide and an inch deep. Now that he is really getting into politics on the GOP side, maybe studying the issues may make him into a conservative. Don’t we always say that our side wins when it’s about the ideas? Don’t we accept converts from the left?

    Why does the political class not understand that the rank and file want something different after being lied to by the GOP for years? Does anyone remember McCain saying ‘build the danged fence’ at election time? He was clearly lying when he said it. What about all the pre-election promises to defund PP and executive amnesty? Fully funded now. The GOP governs like losers in the minority party. The GOP lies brazenly to the voters then the GOP mouthpieces throw up their hands and say “its the best they could do”. Then they wonder why people want somebody from outside the corrupt lying two-party one-party system.

    • #18
  19. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Metalheaddoc: Everyone keeps going on about Trump’s previous positions in favor of lefty policies. But how strong were those convictions at the time? Could they have simply been like any other celebrity echoing safe, familiar talking points? Perhaps Trump’s previous positions were a mile wide and an inch deep. Now that he is really getting into politics on the GOP side, maybe studying the issues may make him into a conservative. Don’t we always say that our side wins when it’s about the ideas? Don’t we accept converts from the left?

    Why are we supposed to accept that Trump has learned his lesson, but when someone suggests that, say, Marco Rubio might have honestly seen the light he gets laughed at and called an Establishment shill?

    The double standard is appalling. The ones who bristle at Trump’s past positions being brought up against him are the same ones eager to throw any elected official into the Pit of Despair with no hope of ever being forgiven for far smaller deviations.

    • #19
  20. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    EHerring: National Review is now trending on Twitter because of this article.

    Jack Fowler is furiously engaging with anyone right now…right off the deep end.

    • #20
  21. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Umbra Fractus:

    Why are we supposed to accept that Trump has learned his lesson, but when someone suggests that, say, Marco Rubio might have honestly seen the light he gets laughed at and called an Establishment shill?

    Maybe because  Trump was moving from ignorant to conservative and Rubio was moving from pro-amnesty to sorta-against? Rubio was already in the political arena and should have known better than to support Gang of 8 amnesty. Rubio is perceived as having gotten rolled by Schumer, et al. I am not anti-Rubio. I like him. But he looks every bit the opportunist that Trump is. Trump may have been stupid and ignorant, but Rubio can’t hide behind that excuse. Rubio was just plain wrong on amnesty and is trying to backtrack. I am willing to accept that Rubio might have changed his mind for real.

    • #21
  22. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    As one commenter has already pointed out, logical, fact-based arguments by conservatives about why Donald Trump would be disastrous for the country are to be dismissed and ignored and only solidify his support for the man.

    When reason and rational discourse from bonafide and principled conservatives are met with derision then aren’t we beyond trying to reason with Trump supporters like this either here on Ricochet or elsewhere? Where does that leave us?

    Many Trump supporters are seemingly content that Trump is pushing for a single-payer health care system because they believe him when he says that he will cut a deal with existing hospitals because as we all know that has been the key, the missing piece to the whole health care puzzle. Don’t bother pushing for expanding private insurer competition across state lines – Donald will just do a fantastic deal with hospitals. And who pays for it all? Why that vague thing called the government.

    Trump’s push for single-payer socialized health care has largely gone unchallenged (though referenced in one of the NRO essays in their “Against Trump” issue) and it’s nowhere to be found on Trump’s campaign website because further undermining and destroying what’s left of private insurance market and a major portion of the economy apparently isn’t that big of a deal – and not worth bothering to discuss.

    And those of us who have been advocating (for years, in some cases for decades) for smaller government and creating economic policy that eliminates the scope of regulation and excessive taxation so the economy could rebound and flourish and create new wealth and opportunity are supposed to roll over and play dead when Trump pushes for an even more massive socialist solution than Obama, Pelosi and Reid could have gotten away with? Really? Don’t count on it.

    I don’t know if it’s possible anymore to appeal to the better angels of Trump supporters’ natures. I’m willing to concede that gutless and unprincipled Republicans in Congress are partly to blame for the Trump phenomenon. As other Ricochet members know, I’ve certainly railed against them often before Trump ever appeared on the political scene. I already know why much of the electorate is angry. I don’t need to be told again.

    But nominating an unprincipled, vulgar, lazy and quite ignorant narcissist who conjures up the worst demons of people’s natures is not the answer. It is a path to disaster for the country. Unfortunately it is a path that enough of the equally unprincipled or loose principled electorate may push us all down and ironically they may be the first to be hurt by their decision to elevate this kind of man to the presidency.

    We’re in strange territory now. Fasten your seatbelts. It only gets more intense going forward.

    • #22
  23. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Brian Watt: But nominating an unprincipled, vulgar, lazy and quite ignorant narcissist who conjures up the worst demons of people’s natures is not the answer. It is a path to disaster for the country.

    Heck, we’ve had two Presidential terms of that so far.

    But I agree about the “disaster” part. It’s just that we’re already living it.

    • #23
  24. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Brian Watt: But nominating an unprincipled, vulgar, lazy and quite ignorant narcissist who conjures up the worst demons of people’s natures is not the answer. It is a path to disaster for the country.

    Heck, we’ve had two Presidential terms of that so far.

    But I agree about the “disaster” part. It’s just that we’re already living it.

    You’re about to live it more intensely if Trump is elected.

    • #24
  25. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Brian Watt:

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Brian Watt: But nominating an unprincipled, vulgar, lazy and quite ignorant narcissist who conjures up the worst demons of people’s natures is not the answer. It is a path to disaster for the country.

    Heck, we’ve had two Presidential terms of that so far.

    But I agree about the “disaster” part. It’s just that we’re already living it.

    You’re about to live it more intensely if Trump is elected.

    At least it will be more interesting. The current narcissist-in-chief has a sycophantic media all lining up to kiss his ass, which is nauseating and boring. At least President Trump is more likely to savage the media in the process. It will be fun to watch how many members of the media will convert to Trump throne sniffers just to have access to power that seems to be their lifeblood.

    • #25
  26. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Metalheaddoc:

    Brian Watt:

    DrewInWisconsin:

    Brian Watt: But nominating an unprincipled, vulgar, lazy and quite ignorant narcissist who conjures up the worst demons of people’s natures is not the answer. It is a path to disaster for the country.

    Heck, we’ve had two Presidential terms of that so far.

    But I agree about the “disaster” part. It’s just that we’re already living it.

    You’re about to live it more intensely if Trump is elected.

    At least it will be more interesting. The current narcissist-in-chief has a sycophantic media all lining up to kiss his ass, which is nauseating and boring. At least President Trump is more likely to savage the media in the process. It will be fun to watch how many members of the media will convert to Trump throne sniffers just to have access to power that seems to be their lifeblood.

    Never underestimate the masochism of the media. That said, it’s a spectacle I’d rather not have to witness for the next four+ years even as it’s certainly just a minor sidelight to more important matters like the fiscal insolvency of the nation and national security and global threats of which Trump has admitted and/or shown he is quite ignorant of.

    • #26
  27. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Who honestly thinks that anyone who reads NRO actually supports Trump? Trump supporters don’t read political journals. Plus his supporters are like dogs. They don’t respond to the words he uses but rather his tone. Argument is a waste of time.

    • #27
  28. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Perhaps this is just another sign of the end of the old Reagan Coalition, which is sundering itself everyday, and will be replaced with something else, maybe multiple something elses. Trump is attracting a lot of those so-called Reagan Democrats that have since walked away. The Wall Streeters and Libertarians and SoCons all seem to be going their separate ways and making new alliances.

    Quoting a certain Russian submarine captain in literature… “A little revolution now and then is a healthy thing, is it not?”

    • #28
  29. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Are they going to do another special issue next week, “Against Cruz”?  They don’t like him any better than Trump.

    • #29
  30. San Joaquin Sam Inactive
    San Joaquin Sam
    @SanJoaquinSam

    Brian Watt:

    You’re about to live it more intensely if Trump is elected.

    How?

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.