For the Establishment

 

shutterstock_111340814“Burn it down.” That’s the slogan of faux conservatives who now rejoice that the Republican Party is being smashed by a slick, howlingly transparent grifter. The urge to destroy has a kind of pornographic appeal to a certain personality – but it’s a shock to find it so widespread.

The Republican Party is choosing an odd time to commit suicide. Obama’s two victories were painful setbacks, but in the Obama era the Democrats lost 13 US Senate seats, 69 House seats, 910 legislative seats, 11 governorships, and 30 legislative chambers. All that stood between Republicans and real reform at the federal level was the White House – and the Democrats were sleepwalking toward nominating the least popular major player in American politics.

Republicans have managed to find someone who is even less acceptable. One-third to 40 percent of Republican primary participants are embracing a figure who not only loses the general election but who introduces an element of fascism to American politics, and thus demoralizes the Republican majority while delegitimizing the party in the eyes of others. It is Trump’s unique contribution to wed authoritarianism — threatening the First Amendment, promising war crimes, admiring dictators, encouraging mob violence, fomenting racial and ethnic strife — with Sandersesque leftism on entitlements, abortion, and a 9/11 truther foreign policy.

And what sin has brought down this despoiler upon the Republican Party? Why are so many self-styled conservatives complacent about his success? Failure to stop Obamacare? Please. That was never possible with Obama in office. It would have been possible, in fact it was probable, that it would have been replaced if Republicans held majorities in Congress and got an agreeable executive. Now? No. Failure to get control of the border? Illegal immigration from Mexico has slowed to a trickle and, in fact, more Mexicans are now leaving than coming. Failure to defund the Export-Import Bank? Yes, crony capitalism is disgraceful, but the irony of those who are offended by such things sidling up to Trump – who boasts of buying influence – is rich.

As Edmund Burke observed about the extremists of his day: “He that sets his home on fire because his fingers are frostbitten can never be a fit instructor in the method of providing our habitations with a cheerful and salutary warmth.”

Here are a few words of praise for the Republicans. The Republican Party has become more reform-minded and more conservative over the past 30 years. The Arlen Specters and Bob Packwoods are pretty much gone. In their places are dynamic, smart, and articulate leaders like Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, Cory Gardner, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Ted Cruz, Suzanna Martinez, and Marco Rubio. The party has become more conservative and more ethnically diverse.

Between 2008 and 2014, when Republicans were the minority in the Senate, they blocked cap and trade, the “public option” in Obamacare, and card check. Republicans declined to give President Obama universal pre-K, the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” expanded unemployment benefits, a higher federal minimum wage, varieties of gun control, mandatory paid sick leave, a tax on multinational corporations, higher taxes on individuals, and more. They passed bills authorizing the Keystone pipeline (which was vetoed) and trade promotion authority (the one issue Obama is not wrong about). They endorsed entitlement reform.

The American system is slow and balky by design. It requires maturity and patience to achieve your political goals. Democrats have been remarkably strategic, returning again and again to cherished objectives, whereas Republicans have told themselves that leadership treachery rather than Madisonian architecture accounts for their frustration.

Those who encouraged the “burn it down” mania and who popularized the narrative that a malign Republican “establishment” was responsible for the state of the nation may be many things but they are not conservative. Conservatives respect institutions and traditions. They understand that process is ultimately more important than policy outcomes because it guarantees legitimacy and political stability. Laws can be repealed. That is why Obama’s worst offenses were not Dodd/Frank, the stimulus bill, or Obamacare, as bad as those were. His worst offenses were against Constitutional constraints. He governed by executive fiat and got away with it, thus undermining the rule of law.

A plurality of Republicans seems to have accepted and adopted contempt for the Constitution. They will reap the whirlwind and look back longingly at the Republican “establishment.”

There are 197 comments.

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

    So, when are you going to endorse Cruz?

    • #1
  2. mask Inactive
    mask
    @mask

    I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    But it’s good to know that next time the GOP puts up a candidate I’m not fond of (McCain/Romney) I’ll feel free to just ignore all the “Establishment GOP” supporters telling me we need to stick together and just not vote or go third party.

    • #2
  3. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Say what you will about practicality, morality or economics – there is nothing more conservative in the immigration argument than the demand that all illegal aliens go home (cf. F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, Chapter 6, “Planning and the Rule of Law”).

    • #3
  4. mask Inactive
    mask
    @mask

    The American system is slow and balky by design. It requires maturity and patience to achieve your political goals. Democrats have been remarkably strategic, returning again and again to cherished objectives, whereas Republicans have told themselves that leadership treachery rather than Madisonian architecture accounts for their frustration.

    Leadership treachery is a big deal.   When running for election they didn’t tout the Madisonian architecture that would prevent them from doing all of the things they promised to do.  Maybe GOP voters are too stupid to realize they were being lied to.  I’ll have to see if I can find the Mona Charen editorial informing GOP voters that they were being lied to by leadership during elections but these “nothing happened because divided power” articles only seem to crop after after the election.

    Also, they could do a bunch of things they never accomplished.

    They never returned to regular order with budgeting.

    They never forced Obama to veto all sorts of popular bills (and forced Democrats to make unpopular votes along the way).

    They surrendered completely in the weeks after the 2014 election even before the new Senate had been formed.

    And then there’s all the times (Iran deal, etc) where the GOP staged “Failure Theater” to try to make it appear they couldn’t stop things.

    Things they did accomplish that even the Democrats didn’t want: Re-instate the EXIM bank and H1B visa expansion.  So, it looks like GOP leadership can deliver to some constituents.

    • #4
  5. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    mask: I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    How could it be us?  When the people who refuse to support Rubio because of a disagreement over one policy issue are considered to be “principled”?  But those of us who refuse to support a guy who cannot in any way be considered a conservative, we are destroying the party?  You have it backward, my friend.

    • #5
  6. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    I’m plagiarizing a prior commenter by saying the best thing you could do to prevent Trump from being the nominee is to take a vacation for a couple of months.

    • #6
  7. mask Inactive
    mask
    @mask

    Spin:

    mask: I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    How could it be us? When the people who refuse to support Rubio because of a disagreement over one policy issue are considered to be “principled”? But those of us who refuse to support a guy who cannot in any way be considered a conservative, we are destroying the party? You have it backward, my friend.

    Strictly speaking if the GOP implodes with Trump as the nominee it will be because of a large conservative exodus.  One may feel justified in doing so and perhaps are even right to do so but one cannot change the fact that you are abandoning the party because it’s nominee is unacceptable.

    I’m enjoying watching a lot of people who usually argue that you’ve got to vote for the GOP because GOP Candidate X is much better than Democrat Candidate Y take the Burn It Down approach that it’s better to destroy the party rather than let it continue on as a failed and hollowed out institution.

    • #7
  8. mask Inactive
    mask
    @mask

    To be clear I’m not going to vote for Trump or the Democrat (I may reconsider this position but that’s my opinion right now).

    I’m just not telling myself that if this caused the GOP to fail and fracture that it’s not “my fault”.

    You can’t pull the “look at what you made me do!” argument when YOU are LEAVING the party.

    • #8
  9. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Michael Stopa:Say what you will about practicality, morality or economics – there is nothing more conservative in the immigration argument than the demand that all illegal aliens go home (cf. F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, Chapter 6, “Planning and the Rule of Law”).

    Yes, and there’s much more overlap with conservatism than that in Trump’s positions.

    Fascism is getting thrown around all too easily nowadays.

    • #9
  10. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    The Republican Party committed suicide, nobody smashed it. Now everyone at the wake is an expert. Where was all this fight and vigor when America trusted Republicans with power. Where was this fury while Candy Crowley and Barack Obama pushed Mitt Romney around like a shopping cart 4 years ago?

    If the Republican Party is so precious why didn’t its partisans stand for something and fight for it? Those unwilling to fight for a party or team do not deserve one.

    Good riddance.

    • #10
  11. Nyadnar17 Inactive
    Nyadnar17
    @Nyadnar17

    mask:To be clear I’m not going to vote for Trump or the Democrat (I may reconsider this position but that’s my opinion right now).

    I’m just not telling myself that if this caused the GOP to fail and fracture that it’s not “my fault”.

    You can’t pull the “look at what you made me do!” argument when YOU are LEAVING the party.

    If the party goes left and I stay where I am, how is that me leaving the party?

    • #11
  12. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Like Mask said above, the GOP made a bunch of promises they couldn’t keep, but they made them anyway. Which is called lying. They made another bunch of promises they could do, but didn’t. Which is called lying or incompetence.

    Illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle, but not because the border is controlled, but because the economics favor it. The door is wiiiiiiiide open for the next wave when the economy perks up or Mexico’s crashes or when the next batch of terrorists want to enter the US or for the next wave of kids carrying unfamiliar diseases into the US. The fact that immigration has slowed is not a victory for the pro-amnesty GOP nor an indictment of Trump’s position.

    • #12
  13. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Mona Charen: Illegal immigration from Mexico has slowed to a trickle and, in fact, more Mexicans are now leaving than coming.

    The only sane reaction to reading that statement is to do the exact opposite of what the author requests, even if that author is a self-appointed arbiter of who is a faux conservative.

    • #13
  14. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Metalheaddoc:Like Mask said above, the GOP made a bunch of promises they couldn’t keep, but they made them anyway. Which is called lying. They made another bunch of promises they could do, but didn’t. Which is called lying or incompetence.

    [….]

    My bumper sticker to describe the Republican leadership has been: timid, incompetent, and beholden. Not everyone fits all of those criticisms, but there’s plenty to go around and no one gets off clean.

    • #14
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Where is this infamous data about more Mexicans leaving? My friends in the boat squadrons of the Texas State Troopers have to work 21 days straight trying to save Texas from drug traffickers and helping with illegal immigrant detention. In all those 21 days on duty nobody ever needs assistance going South. Please show up with some facts.

    • #15
  16. mask Inactive
    mask
    @mask

    Nyadnar17:

    mask:To be clear I’m not going to vote for Trump or the Democrat (I may reconsider this position but that’s my opinion right now).

    I’m just not telling myself that if this caused the GOP to fail and fracture that it’s not “my fault”.

    You can’t pull the “look at what you made me do!” argument when YOU are LEAVING the party.

    If the party goes left and I stay where I am, how is that me leaving the party?

    Political parties don’t change their ideological orientation?

    But whatever – if you want to look at it as the party leaving you then go ahead.  Either way you’re saying that the party is no longer useful to you.

    In years past when your sentiment was raised pundits like Mona Charen would chide us for not considering the reality of the trade off and to have a realistic expectation of politics.  But apparently that doesn’t apply anymore when it should.  Because Trump is going to pick better SCOTUS nominees than Hillary.  Trump is going to be more malleable to those in the GOP than without.  I’ve not really seen (doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist) a strong argument that we’re better off with Hillary than Trump – all I’ve heard are purity arguments.

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

    The Establican’s last pout.

    • #17
  18. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:The Republican Party committed suicide, nobody smashed it. Now everyone at the wake is an expert. Where was all this fight and vigor when America trusted Republicans with power. Where was this fury while Candy Crowley and Barack Obama pushed Mitt Romney around like a shopping cart 4 years ago?

    If the Republican Party is so precious why didn’t its partisans stand for something and fight for it? Those unwilling to fight for a party or team do not deserve one.

    Good riddance.

    This kind of talk requires willfully ignoring the things the Republicans did manage to prevent and the structure of our government. Its one thing to argue that it wasn’t enough – I might even agree with you, but its not even remotely true that they stood for nothing and accomplished nothing.

    • #18
  19. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:Where is this infamous data about more Mexicans leaving? My friends in the boat squadrons of the Texas State Troopers have to work 21 days straight trying to save Texas from drug traffickers and helping with illegal immigrant detention. In all those 21 days on duty nobody ever needs assistance going South. Please show up with some facts.

    Here: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/20/what-we-know-about-illegal-immigration-from-mexico/

    • #19
  20. mask Inactive
    mask
    @mask

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:The Republican Party committed suicide, nobody smashed it. Now everyone at the wake is an expert. Where was all this fight and vigor when America trusted Republicans with power. Where was this fury while Candy Crowley and Barack Obama pushed Mitt Romney around like a shopping cart 4 years ago?

    If the Republican Party is so precious why didn’t its partisans stand for something and fight for it? Those unwilling to fight for a party or team do not deserve one.

    Good riddance.

    This kind of talk requires willfully ignoring the things the Republicans did manage to prevent and the structure of our government. Its one thing to argue that it wasn’t enough – I might even agree with you, but its not even remotely true that they stood for nothing and accomplished nothing.

    I don’t see how Trump is going to change the dynamic of the GOP standing athwart history shouting stop.

    • #20
  21. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Mike LaRoche:The Establican’s last pout.

    All while alleged “conservatives” like you cheer on the death of conservatism. Hey Mike, still waiting for something of substance from ya, mate.

    • #21
  22. Hoyacon Inactive
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    mask:I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    But it’s good to know that next time the GOP puts up a candidate I’m not fond of (McCain/Romney) I’ll feel free to just ignore all the “Establishment GOP” supporters telling me we need to stick together and just not vote or go third party.

    A degree of coming apart already happened in 2012 because Romney was too “elite.”  I’ll grant you that, by and large, the truly conservative base stuck with him, but a goodly number of people generally considered to be Trump supporters today (the whole “blue collar” thing) did not, and stayed home.  Turnabout.

    • #22
  23. Hoyacon Inactive
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    katievs:So, when are you going to endorse Cruz?

    If I just “like” this, you won’t know that I laughed out loud.

    • #23
  24. Dustoff Inactive
    Dustoff
    @Dustoff

    Marie Antoinette also found it shocking how wide spread was the outrage of “certain personalities”. Historically speaking, Marie A. has to be the icon of out of touch. Fortunately for us, instead of Cake, we have this messy, inefficient but effective process for righting the ship. But shock? At this point?

    • #24
  25. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    katievs:So, when are you going to endorse Cruz?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but on her podcast I believe Mona said she doesn’t endorse during the primary.

    • #25
  26. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    mask:I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    But it’s good to know that next time the GOP puts up a candidate I’m not fond of (McCain/Romney) I’ll feel free to just ignore all the “Establishment GOP” supporters telling me we need to stick together and just not vote or go third party.

    It really depends on who that nominee is.  Some Republicans thought there was no real difference between Obama and McCain, or no difference between Obama and Romney.  I thought that was an odd thing to think, but they’re entitled to their opinion.  In this case, I really don’t have a strong preference between Hillary and Trump.  I’m not real sure which is worse, an authoritarian or a crook.

    • #26
  27. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Hoyacon:

    mask:I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    But it’s good to know that next time the GOP puts up a candidate I’m not fond of (McCain/Romney) I’ll feel free to just ignore all the “Establishment GOP” supporters telling me we need to stick together and just not vote or go third party.

    A degree of coming apart already happened in 2012 because Romney was too “elite.” I’ll grant you that, by and large, the truly conservative base stuck with him, but a goodly number of people generally considered to be Trump supporters today (the whole “blue collar” thing) did not, and stayed home. Turnabout.

    “Elite” was only part of Romney’s problem and only part of the cause of the ABR movement. He was also questionably conservative with a few flip flopped positions that appeared convenient. For me, the most important factors in opposing him were 1) he was going to be impotent on the biggest issue of the election – Obamacare, and 2) he wasn’t particularly likable or able to build connections especially with people aimed for by nominating a moderate like him – he alienated both conservatives and the non-Republican moderates.

    I voted for him anyway.

    • #27
  28. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Mon
    Between 2008 and 2014, when Republicans were the minority in the Senate, they blocked cap and trade, the “public option” in Obamacare, and card check. Republicans declined to give President Obama universal pre-K, the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” expanded unemployment benefits, a higher federal minimum wage, varieties of gun control, mandatory paid sick leave, a tax on multinational corporations, higher taxes on individuals, and more. They passed bills authorizing the Keystone pipeline (which was vetoed) and trade promotion authority (the one issue Obama is not wrong about). They endorsed entitlement reform.

    Laws can be repealed. That is why Obama’s worst offenses were not Dodd/Frank, the stimulus bill, or Obamacare, as bad as those were. His worst offenses were against Constitutional constraints. He governed by executive fiat and got away with it, thus undermining the rule of law.

    A couple of comments:

    1. Trumpsters back the only Rep candidate that supported the stimulus and would have supported Obamacare and the public option.
    2. The failure by the R’s in Congress to better oppose his lawless rule by fiat is a big factor in the Trump phenomena. He committed many impeachable offenses, but the 1st black Prez was not going to be impeached. And, their attempts to rein in Obama thru the power of the purse were weaker than they could’ve been, although I think they would’ve lost those battles.
    • #28
  29. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Ed G.:

    Hoyacon:

    mask:I’m not a Trump fan but I find it at an odd argument that those refusing to vote for the GOP nominee if it’s Trump aren’t the ones destroying the party.

    But it’s good to know that next time the GOP puts up a candidate I’m not fond of (McCain/Romney) I’ll feel free to just ignore all the “Establishment GOP” supporters telling me we need to stick together and just not vote or go third party.

    A degree of coming apart already happened in 2012 because Romney was too “elite.” I’ll grant you that, by and large, the truly conservative base stuck with him, but a goodly number of people generally considered to be Trump supporters today (the whole “blue collar” thing) did not, and stayed home. Turnabout.

    “Elite” was only part of Romney’s problem and only part of the cause of the ABR movement. He was also questionably conservative with a few flip flopped positions that appeared convenient. For me, the most important factors in opposing him were 1) he was going to be impotent on the biggest issue of the election – Obamacare, and 2) he wasn’t particularly likable or able to build connections especially with people aimed for by nominating a moderate like him – he alienated both conservatives and the non-Republican moderates.

    I voted for him anyway.

    If this is the diagnosis it doesn’t explain why people are jumping to an even richer, more corrupt, more elitist and less conservative standard bearer this time.

    • #29
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie, Obama wasn’t able to pass any substantive new legislation, correct. Everything that was in place including the ACA and planned parenthood are fully funded and Republicans managed to resurrect Ex-Im bank.

    I never expected Republicans to repeal anything meaningful or pass conservative legislation absent the White House.

    We did expect them not to fund Obama’s extra constitutional agenda.

    I know Obama could’ve vetoed the appropriations he didn’t like and put part of the gov’t on vacation, but we were told that would be the death of the Republican Party.

    Well, here we are with a substantial author from NR proclaiming the death of the party. Too bad we didn’t die making a stand.

    • #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.