Trump or #NeverTrump? Haley Barbour and Charles Murray Disagree

 

On the podcast today, Rob and I interviewed two genuinely brilliant men. Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, has dedicated the better part of his life to the Republican Party. He helped transform the South into a central component — perhaps the central component — of the GOP base, then served in the Reagan administration (where he and I became fast friends), and then as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Charles Murray has written half a dozen books, including two of the most important works the conservative movement has ever produced. His 1984 masterpiece, Losing Ground, detailed the case that the expansion of welfare did more harm than good to the very people it was intended to help; twenty-eight years later, Coming Apart chronicled in heartbreaking detail the growing gulf between a prosperous new class and those beset by wage stagnation and dissolving families.

Although Haley and Charles joined us at different points in the podcast, Rob and I asked each man the same question: If Donald Trump were to capture the Republican nomination, should we vote for him or support an independent candidate instead? Rather than paraphrase, I’ll let each explain, in his own words, how he answers the most important question conservatives may face this year.

Here’s Barbour:

And here’s Murray:

Two patriots, two fine, deeply-informed minds—and two utterly opposed answers.

Over to you, Ricochet.

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  1. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Charles Murray has it right.

    • #1
  2. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    “Hillary won’t be as bad as Obama”

    Oh, I have to question his judgment right there. Seriously? The more leftist-committed member of the Clinton duo won’t be as bad as Obama? I don’t care how badly you hate Donald Trump. That’s just foolish.

    • #2
  3. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    I love his books, but Charles Murray never ran for any office.

    Haley Barbour has major cojones. This governor was never discussed during Katrina because he just fixed the disaster in So. Mississippi quietly and quickly without a grand show.

    He’s my type of guy and I’ll take his advice on any damn thing he cares to pontificate.

    • #3
  4. Jeff Petraska Member
    Jeff Petraska
    @JeffPetraska

    I’m with Haley Barbour on this, without a doubt.  The GOP candidate may not be to my liking, but I know without a doubt that the Democratic Party is the antithesis of almost everything I hold dear.  I will not throw away the Senate and the Supreme Court, very possibly for the remainder of my lifetime, over my dislike of one man.

    • #4
  5. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Salvatore Padula:Charles Murray has it right.

    This is what I figured would be the case before I even listened.

    • #5
  6. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I think Charles Murray has it wrong. A Democrat never owns their mistakes. Which mistake has Obama owned? As long as we have media functioning as the Democrat Party house band there will never be accountability on the left.

    Will the the Republicans own Trump’s mis-steaks? Of course. Republicans own everything negative according to the media, some of which is deserved.

    I respect Murray’s resistance to Trump, but if he is the problem I fail to see how Hillary is the answer.

    • #6
  7. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Mike H:

    Salvatore Padula:Charles Murray has it right.

    This is what I figured would be the case before I even listened.

    Yes, but it was so delicious, wasn’t it?

    Also, I thought Barbour made about the strongest version of the pro-vote-for-Trump-if-he’s-he nominee argument, but I’m just not convinced. As Murray says, we’ll own all of Trump’s mistakes and it’ll likely take the conservative movement down with it.

    • #7
  8. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Hillary’s email scandal puts the lie to Murray’s appraisal.  She’s off-the-charts bad.  And if the claims about her selling State Department decisions for donations to the Clinton Foundation are true?  That may well be the worst scandal since Benedict Arnold.

    New York Times: “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal

    • #8
  9. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Just like your Wilson/Gingrich responses their divide is a microcosm of us.

    BTW I saw and briefly met Gov. Wilson a couple weeks back at Reagan Library. He certainly didn’t hide his utter disdain for the current admin. Wonder if will change his mind about this election if and when Trump officially becomes the nominee.

    • #9
  10. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Mike H:

    Salvatore Padula:Charles Murray has it right.

    This is what I figured would be the case before I even listened.

    Yes, but it was so delicious, wasn’t it?

    Also, I thought Barbour made about the strongest version of the pro-vote-for-Trump-if-he’s-he nominee argument, but I’m just not convinced. As Murray says, we’ll own all of Trump’s mistakes and it’ll likely take the conservative movement down with it.

    I think we have to bifurcate conservative and Republican.

    Conservatism can’t be killed by one person. It can die from neglect from self professed practitioners, but one person’s buffoonery can’t kill an ideology.

    A political party? That is different.

    • #10
  11. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I am not a podcast guy so didn’t listen to the entire episode. Was there any talk of how to support Cruz or it was mostly about Trump?

    • #11
  12. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: …As Murray says, we’ll own all of Trump’s mistakes and it’ll likely take the conservative movement down with it.

    Republican =/ Conservative!

    We need to make that perfectly clear as we hold our noses and pull the lever for him.  He’s less bad than Hillary—that’s it, and that’s what his appeal is to Conservatives.

    There, that’s not so hard, right?

    • #12
  13. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    BrentB67:I am not a podcast guy so didn’t listen to the entire episode. Was there any talk of how to support Cruz or it was mostly about Trump?

    Not really.  There was a little discussion about what might happen if Trump doesn’t win the first vote at the convention, but that’s speculation.

    • #13
  14. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    BrentB67: A Democrat never owns their mistakes. Which mistake has Obama owned?

    What?  Obama has never made a mistake!  Those wascally Wepublicans just keep getting in his way.

    ;-)

    • #14
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Tuck:

    BrentB67:I am not a podcast guy so didn’t listen to the entire episode. Was there any talk of how to support Cruz or it was mostly about Trump?

    Not really. There was a little discussion about what might happen if Trump doesn’t win the first vote at the convention, but that’s speculation.

    So no discussion about endorsements and how to help him win the remaining states?

    • #15
  16. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Brent: “I think we have to bifurcate conservative and Republican.

    Conservatism can’t be killed by one person. It can die from neglect from self professed practitioners, but one person’s buffoonery can’t kill an ideology.

    A political party? That is different.”

    But bifurcation is exactly what Trump has achieved. The absolute best case scenario for the GOP should Trump be the nominee is that it will be electorally successful, but not conservative. I agree that conservatism cannot be killed by one person. It will be killed by the many people who share Barbour’s view that party is more important than principle.

    • #16
  17. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    BrentB67:I think Charles Murray has it wrong. A Democrat never owns their mistakes. Which mistake has Obama owned? As long as we have media functioning as the Democrat Party house band there will never be accountability on the left.

    This cannot be repeated enough. The media only points out Democrat “mistakes” if they judge the person isn’t Democrat enough.

    When I heard Murray say that Clinton would be much better on foreign policy than Obama, the very first thing that popped into my head was Christopher Buckley’s assurances that Obama had a “first class temperament”.

    • #17
  18. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    BrentB67:I am not a podcast guy so didn’t listen to the entire episode. Was there any talk of how to support Cruz or it was mostly about Trump?

    With the guests it was all Trump and the state of the Republican race.

    • #18
  19. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    BrentB67:

    So no discussion about endorsements and how to help him win the remaining states?

    Not that I can recall.  Barbour was of the opinion that Trump’s it, most likely.

    • #19
  20. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Salvatore Padula: It will be killed by the many people who share Barbour’s view that party is more important than principle.

    There’s that principle thing again.  How is electing Hillary Clinton a demonstration of any Conservative principles?

    • #20
  21. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Salvatore Padula:Brent: “I think we have to bifurcate conservative and Republican.

    Conservatism can’t be killed by one person. It can die from neglect from self professed practitioners, but one person’s buffoonery can’t kill an ideology.

    A political party? That is different.”

    But bifurcation is exactly what Trump has achieved. The absolute best case scenario for the GOP should Trump be the nominee is that it will be electorally successful, but not conservative. I agree that conservatism cannot be killed by one person. It will be killed by the many people who share Barbour’s view that party is more important than principle.

    I think conservatism is mostly a meaningless term now from all the years of shifting sands and neglect.

    Of course you make a good point about Barbour’s position. I am just not sure I understand the alternative beyond a Cruz long shot and Hillary.

    • #21
  22. Skarv Inactive
    Skarv
    @Skarv

    How many threads on the same theme can we have at Ricochet?

    • #22
  23. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    David Sussman:

    BrentB67:I am not a podcast guy so didn’t listen to the entire episode. Was there any talk of how to support Cruz or it was mostly about Trump?

    With the guests it was all Trump and the state of the Republican race.

    I think there was some serious gravitas on that podcast.

    If all they can talk about is Trump rather than the 2 remaining alternatives then they, and the rest of the Republicans deserve Trump.

    • #23
  24. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    David Sussman:

    Just like your Wilson/Gingrich responses their divide is a microcosm of us.

    BTW I saw and briefly met Gov. Wilson a couple weeks back at Reagan Library. He certainly didn’t hide his utter disdain for the current admin. Wonder if will change his mind about this election if and when Trump officially becomes the nominee.

    Those were certainly  the good old days! I respectfully wonder if Wilson has any clue how his country and particularly his state has digressed from sense and sensibility and what it may take to get both back on an even keel. Any feedback from him during your brief interlude? (I always loved the guy.)

    • #24
  25. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Tuck- I will not under any circumstance support a man who will destroy what I hold dear.

    • #25
  26. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    BrentB67:

    Salvatore Padula:Brent: “I think we have to biwpconservative and Republican.

    Conservatism can’t be killed by one person. It can die from neglect from self professed practitioners, but one person’s buffoonery can’t kill an ideology.

    A political party? That is different.”

    But bifurcation is exactly what Trump has achieved. The absolute best case scenario for the GOP should Trump be the nominee is that it will be electorally successful, but not conservative. I agree that conservatism cannot be killed by one person. It will be killed by the many people who share Barbour’s view that party is more important than principle.

    I think conservatism is mostly a meaningless term now from all the years of shifting sands and neglect.

    Of course you make a good point about Barbour’s position. I am just not sure I understand the alternative beyond a Cruz long shot and Hillary.

    That moment you wake up from an afternoon nap and have no idea what time it is, even if its day or night.

    Still waiting to get bearings.

    • #26
  27. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    BrentB67: …If all they can talk about is Trump rather than the 2 remaining alternatives then they, and the rest of the Republicans deserve Trump.

    You can worry about what you wish was, or you can worry about what is.

    I and Barbour, are worried about what is.  Trump being the leading if not decisive candidate going into the convention is what is.  There’s little that can be done about that, so why talk about it?

    Oh, Lindsay Graham just endorsed Ted Cruz, and apparently things are a little nippy down in Hell.

    • #27
  28. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Salvatore Padula:Tuck- I will not under any circumstance support a man who will destroy what I hold dear.

    Trump may finish the job, but the destruction of what you hold dear has been going on for some time.

    I confess I find the end of days fatalism associated with Trump amusing. The Republicans have killed off Constitutionally limited government and now think the world is going to end because Trump mean end up in charge of the machine they’ve built in DC.

    Seems a little late for the concern.

    • #28
  29. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Brent: “Of course you make a good point about Barbour’s position. I am just not sure I understand the alternative beyond a Cruz long shot and Hillary.”

    The point is that if we’re going to lose, and I think Trump is just as much a loss as Hillary, I don’t want to contribute to it.

    • #29
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Tuck:

    BrentB67: …If all they can talk about is Trump rather than the 2 remaining alternatives then they, and the rest of the Republicans deserve Trump.

    You can worry about what you wish was, or you can worry about what is.

    I and Barbour, are worried about what is. Trump being the leading if not decisive candidate going into the convention is what is. There’s little that can be done about that, so why talk about it?

    There is an awful lot of primary voting between here and Cleveland.

    Oh, Lindsay Graham just endorsed Ted Cruz, and apparently things are a little nippy down in Hell.

    No kidding.

    • #30
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