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. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    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.

    Here’s what I don’t get: 4 years ago, Pat Caddell went around announcing (including on the Ricochet podcast) that he was going to spearhead a “draft Hillary” campaign to knock Obama out of office, since Obama was such an obvious failure.

    At the time, the unanimous reaction on the right was “of course we don’t like Hillary, but she’d be orders of magnitude better than Obama.”

    Now that Obama can’t be elected anymore and Hillary is a strong contender, suddenly Hillary is obviously worse than Obama?

    • #61
  2. Tyler Boliver Inactive
    Tyler Boliver
    @Marlowe

    If we must, it’s time to bring back the Hamilton Rule.

    Cdy2tOYUkAAZ8Tj

    • #62
  3. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Tyler wins.

    • #63
  4. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Mendel:

    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.

    Here’s what I don’t get: 4 years ago, Pat Caddell went around announcing (including on the Ricochet podcast) that he was going to spearhead a “draft Hillary” campaign to knock Obama out of office, since Obama was such an obvious failure.

    At the time, the unanimous reaction on the right was “of course we don’t like Hillary, but she’d be orders of magnitude better than Obama.”

    Now that Obama can’t be elected anymore and Hillary is a strong contender, suddenly Hillary is obviously worse than Obama?

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I have absolutely no idea which would be worse in the abstract.

    But a Clinton presidency will be worse to live through than the Obama presidency (in which, despite it all, by historical measures most of us still had it pretty good), because we will reap all that he has sown, in full measure, with a president thoroughly prepared to make it worse.

    • #64
  5. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Leigh:

    Mendel:

    But a Clinton presidency will be worse to live through than the Obama presidency (in which, despite it all, by historical measures most of us still had it pretty good), because we will reap all that he has sown, in full measure, with a president thoroughly prepared to make it worse.

    Of course, if the difficulty of the next 4-8 years will be recovering from Obama’s damage, I also don’t see how a trade war that makes consumer goods more expensive while curtailing our exports helps us out much either.

    • #65
  6. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Salvatore Padula: The nominee was never going to be Jeb. What Trum has done is deprive the Republican Party of its best opportunity in a generation to have a real debate between alternative visions of conservatism: Cruz v. Rubio.

    We’ll never know. The choice was never a conservative President. That’s a pipe dream. It wasn’t Cruz vs Rubio either (on immigration Rubio = Obama = permanent minority status for the GOP.) The plan was always a brokered convention. Nobody would have hit Cleveland with 1237. Bush had the party pros behind him; If he were still in, his money men wouldn’t be with Cruz, and Lindsey Graham & Co. would still be trying to do Cruz in.

    Last September Bruce Bartlett wrote that if Trump can peel some of the black vote away from Clinton in swing states, he could win big.

    A recent Survey USA poll has Trump polling at 25% among black voters.

    From Politico:

    The head of the Service Employees International Union is worried about what Donald Trump is stirring up in her 2.1 million members, because she thinks he can win.

    The choice is between conservatives being an almost powerless rump faction in minority wing of the UniParty (which is what Bush and the 14 stalking horses were supposed to ensure) and conservatives being part of a party undergoing a huge shakeup but which is the party of the President of the USA.

    Not “party loyalty over all.” Not “business as usual” either.

    • #66
  7. Tyler Boliver Inactive
    Tyler Boliver
    @Marlowe

    Mendel:

    Of course, if the difficulty of the next 4-8 years will be recovering from Obama’s damage, I also don’t see how a trade war that makes consumer goods more expensive while curtailing our exports helps us out much either.

    That’s because it won’t help. Yet if Trump is in office, the GOP and by extension the conservative movement will have to defend it, and will have no way to challenge it. Trump and his outright stupidity will be placed around our neck the way Herbert Hoover was placed around the neck of the GOP after 1932. #NeverTrump.

    At least Herbert Hoover wasn’t a scumbag.

    • #67
  8. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    I’m going to wait and see who gets the nomination before I consider abandoning all hope. Nearly every conventional wisdom prediction about presidential elections since the Great Depression has been proved false.

    Personally, I’m not persuaded Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat’s nominee. There’s lots of time to be delighted between now and Labor Day.

    Pessimism is native to conservatism. Despair is a sin. I already have a full dance card for my next confession.

    • #68
  9. Bucky Boz Member
    Bucky Boz
    @

    Peter Robinson: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:

    Audio Player

    https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Barbour-Clip-296.mp3

    01:14

    00:15

    02:50

    Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.

    And here’s Murray:

    Audio Player

    https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Murray-Clip-296.mp3

    01:09

    00:00

    01:37

    Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.

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

    Over to you, Ricochet.

    Charles Murray is absolutely correct.  The GOP can recover better as the opposition to Hillary than as the party of Trump.  Oh, and Trump is a fascist.

    • #69
  10. Samizdat Inactive
    Samizdat
    @Samizdat

    Mendel:

    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.

    Here’s what I don’t get: 4 years ago, Pat Caddell went around announcing (including on the Ricochet podcast) that he was going to spearhead a “draft Hillary” campaign to knock Obama out of office, since Obama was such an obvious failure.

    At the time, the unanimous reaction on the right was “of course we don’t like Hillary, but she’d be orders of magnitude better than Obama.”

    Now that Obama can’t be elected anymore and Hillary is a strong contender, suddenly Hillary is obviously worse than Obama?

    The argument seems to be that she lied about Benghazi and her email server. However, if we put such a high value on honesty, we mustn’t forget that Trump has already lied about his opposition to the Iraq war, the BBB rating of his university, and probably a billion other things (hence his refusal to release his tax returns).

    • #70
  11. Baker Member
    Baker
    @Baker

    Haven’t listened yet and only read a few comments…but as if there was any doubt which way Haley Barbour would really go.

    I don’t know enough about where they were when he took over, what his real policies were but….

    Mississippi ranks 49th in Overall Health, according to United Health Foundation…http://www.americashealthrankings.org/MS

    51st in the nation for education according to Education Week…http://msbusiness.com/2014/01/report-ranks-state-schools-performance-51st-nation/

    Last in building ‘new economy’ http://www.clarionledger.com/story/money/business/2014/06/19/study-ranks-mississippi-last-building-new-economy/11032065/ (and has ranked last every year since they started measuring in 1999, except a 49th in 2007)

    It’s also the fattest state for the 10th year running…http://calorielab.com/news/2015/10/31/fattest-states-2015/

    Maybe he was great. Maybe they would’ve finished even further last without Barbour’s bold leadership. But personally, I don’t think he’s got a real great record to point to.

    Normally I shrug off any mention of someone being tagged with the ‘establishment’ label but in Barbour’s case it might fit. I do feel like he did a great job with Katrina but “one of Washington’s all-time mega-lobbyists” is not who I personally want to mold “conservative” policy after.

    Of course an “all-time mega lobbyist” would be okay with Trump.

    • #71
  12. Baker Member
    Baker
    @Baker

    Baker: Of course an “all-time mega lobbyist” would be okay with Trump.

    Forgot the link for that one in case anyone is wondering: http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-now/2011/02/barbour-im-a-lobbyist-033321

    But again, nothing wrong with lobbying. Lobbying is how citizens talk to the government. But come on…

    • #72
  13. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

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

    Hear, Hear.

    • #73
  14. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    If Trump and Hillary were not associated with parties, and were both running as independents, I think I’d likely vote for Trump.  Trump has said some awful things, like about Tiananmen Square, but his bad acts are qualitatively less evil than the terrible crimes Hillary has apparently committed.  If Trump were running as a Democrat, and I was forced to vote for a Democrat, he’d be my first choice.  Hillary is a gangster in a party that is already basically a protection racket.  She doesn’t make it any worse.  Trump could possibly make the Democratic Party better, if he was running as a Democrat.

    What gives me pause is, I feel like Hillary is a computer virus that makes my computer inoperative, but I can still get it working again if I take it to Geek Squad.  I feel like Trump, when he runs as a Republican, is actually destroying the back up systems on my computer, so that even if I take my computer to Geek Squad, my data will not be recoverable.  Hillary doesn’t make the Democrats worse than they already are, but Trump makes the Republicans much worse than they could be.

    • #74
  15. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    The fact that this is a close call for anyone who calls themselves conservative and cares about the principles that Reagan stood for is shameful. It tells you how broken the conservative movement already is. It’s obviously moved far into the racket stage that all causes eventually progress toward.

    The patient is dead. Trump is a vulture swooping in to claim the body. Time to blow it up, there is no reviving the body. A new vessel is needed for the conservative movement, the soulless, unprincipled brand of politics that Trump represents cannot be accommodated by conservatism.

    • #75
  16. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Trump is certainly not the savior of the GOP!  He is rather the wake-up call.  Murray actually thinks that Hillary is somehow on the same level as our candidate?  That her positions bear parsing in comparison?  What a goof he is.  Haley is the voice of wisdom.

    • #76
  17. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Steve C.:I’m going to wait and see who gets the nomination before I consider abandoning all hope. Nearly every conventional wisdom prediction about presidential elections since the Great Depression has been proved false.

    .

    I agree.  I think it’s about a 50/50 split between Trump and Cruz for the nomination at this point.  If Rubio’s delegates are added to Cruz’s, they are almost tied.  If Cruz ends up with more delegates than Trump, they can replay Trump’s quote that the one with the most delegates should get the nomination.

    • #77
  18. Karen Inactive
    Karen
    @Karen

    Haley Barbour is everything wrong with our political system. He is one of the most successful lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and has lined his own pockets and those of his clients while screwing over voters and helping to erode what’s left of conservatism in the process. He has spent good bit of his career convincing politicians to cash in their principles for political gain. He does not act in the best interest of America or its future. If you seek causes as to why the GOP has imploded, look no further than the likes of Haley Barbour.

    • #78
  19. Bucky Boz Member
    Bucky Boz
    @

    Karen :Haley Barbour is everything wrong with our political system. He is one of the most successful lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and has lined his own pockets and those of his clients while screwing over voters and helping to erode what’s left of conservatism in the process. He has spent good bit of his career convincing politicians to cash in their principles for political gain. He does not act in the best interest of America or its future. If you seek causes as to why the GOP has imploded, look no further than the likes of Haley Barbour.

    He’s also a coward for saying we have to support Donald Trump.  Enjoy your fascism and ignorance Haley, I thought you were smarter than that.  Party before principles I guess.

    • #79
  20. Bucky Boz Member
    Bucky Boz
    @

    Tom Riehl:Trump is certainly not the savior of the GOP! He is rather the wake-up call. Murray actually thinks that Hillary is somehow on the same level as our candidate? That her positions bear parsing in comparison? What a goof he is. Haley is the voice of wisdom.

    What is a major difference between Hillary and Trump?  Both want amnesty.  Both want to raise taxes.  Both don’t understand the constitution.  Both oppose freedom.  Both are sympathetic to universal healthcare.  Both are pro-choice.  Both don’t care about the seoncd amendment.  Both have disasterous foreign policy ideas.  Only Trump wants to shut down Mosques and ban Muslim entry to the country.  Only Trump has never worked in any capacity for the govenrment in a leadership position.   Hillary is better than Trump politically and substantively.  Trump is more in favor of state power than Hillary on some issues, and equivalent in all others.  Trump would be a disaster and destroy conservative GOP policy positions for at least a decade, if not two.

    • #80
  21. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Karen :Haley Barbour is everything wrong with our political system. He is one of the most successful lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and has lined his own pockets and those of his clients while screwing over voters and helping to erode what’s left of conservatism in the process. He has spent good bit of his career convincing politicians to cash in their principles for political gain. He does not act in the best interest of America or its future. If you seek causes as to why the GOP has imploded, look no further than the likes of Haley Barbour.

    Thank you.   It needed to be said.

    • #81
  22. Baker Member
    Baker
    @Baker

    Lily Bart:

    Karen :Haley Barbour is everything wrong with our political system. He is one of the most successful lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and has lined his own pockets and those of his clients while screwing over voters and helping to erode what’s left of conservatism in the process. He has spent good bit of his career convincing politicians to cash in their principles for political gain. He does not act in the best interest of America or its future. If you seek causes as to why the GOP has imploded, look no further than the likes of Haley Barbour.

    Thank you. It needed to be said.

    It doesn’t impact the way I view him at all. Peter is still wonderful but if he didn’t have any of those thoughts, it’s a great representation of how the bubble sucks you in. You don’t even know you’re in it.

    • #82
  23. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Lily Bart:

    Karen :Haley Barbour is everything wrong with our political system. He is one of the most successful lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and has lined his own pockets and those of his clients while screwing over voters and helping to erode what’s left of conservatism in the process. He has spent good bit of his career convincing politicians to cash in their principles for political gain. He does not act in the best interest of America or its future. If you seek causes as to why the GOP has imploded, look no further than the likes of Haley Barbour.

    Thank you. It needed to be said.

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the whole establishment versus anti-establishment thing.  Trump is the “anti-establishment” candidate, yet Barbour, who is far more an establishment Republican then Murray, can reconcile with voting for Trump while Murray cannot.

    I’ve always been skeptical about the criticism of the “RINO establishment,” but if the establishment Republicans, people like Barbour and Paul Ryan,  end up supporting Trump over Cruz, that will prove to me that the bad things I hear about them are true.

    • #83
  24. BenMSYS Member
    BenMSYS
    @BenMSYS

    I don’t agree with Donald Trump on a variety of issues. But rather than go through the litany of principles I’d have to violate to vote for him, let me highlight one.

    He has tripled down on his policy of murdering innocent children. To be clear, this is not a reconsideration of how we evaluate the possibility of collateral death when considering military targets. He proposes killing children as a means to achieve a goal.

    I will never be on that side. He will never have my vote.

    • #84
  25. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Ontheleftcoast:

    Last September Bruce Bartlett wrote that if Trump can peel some of the black vote away from Clinton in swing states, he could win big.

    Bartlett is mentally unhinged as his Twitter feed makes clear. I’d care about his analysis if I thought calling people “wanker” was the hallmark of a great intellect (which many Trump supporters probably do).

    • #85
  26. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Douglas: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”.

    Compared to McCain, I think Buckley had a point.

    • #86
  27. WellOfStyx Inactive
    WellOfStyx
    @WellOfStyx

    Going with Murray on this, but I am in a deeply red state (North Dakota) where voting conscience is all but certain not to have any deleterious consequences.

    • #87
  28. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Cat III: Bartlett is mentally unhinged as his Twitter feed makes clear.

    Thanks. I’m not on Twitter.

    As the poll I linked to says, Trump seems to be at about 25% now in that demographic. It’ll be an epic battle to get there and keep it in the pivotal states… and it’ll be interesting to see who the people are holding Trumps markers if the black votes proves to be the margin for Trump.

    • #88
  29. Al Kennedy Inactive
    Al Kennedy
    @AlKennedy

    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?

    It didn’t, but the Commentary podcast did..

    • #89
  30. dukenaltum Inactive
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    Cat III: Bartlett is mentally unhinged as his Twitter feed makes clear. I’d care about his analysis if I thought calling people “wanker” was the hallmark of a great intellect (which many Trump supporters probably do).

    Bartlett might or might not be mentally unhinged but his viewpoint is frequently bizarre, self contradictory and yet firmly on the Left for nearly a decade.   He has some personal demon that has so embittered him to the point of endless vituperation while creating the illusion of being a Reagan Conservative.   I suspect Bush derangement syndrome.

    • #90
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