Contributor Post Created with Sketch. For James and Other Homeless Conservatives

 

I just finished listening to the most recent Ricochet podcast, which was enjoyable as always, though I was cringing through the part where Peter Robinson explained how advocates for truth and integrity are not “useful,” while political power is. (That’s been a popular position throughout history, Peter, but there are some drawbacks.) That section was not what moved me to post, however.

I was moved by the final segment, where James Lileks meditates on how people with serious objections to Donald Trump should comport ourselves in this new era of politics. Republican politics continues descending into the realm of the crude and vicious. I was joking with a friend yesterday that the GOP could nominate a serial killer for office, and the first thing we’d hear would be, “Hey, he’s only killed 11 people. Do you know how many die at Planned Parenthood every day?”

Like James and many others, I’ve had some difficulty figuring out where to land through all of this. It’s healthy for me to hear from a guy like Erick Erickson because it reminds me that my own recent travails are basically a gnat-level annoyance compared to what some people suffer. I’ve only ever received death threats online, and none ever seemed serious enough to keep me up at night. No armed guards, no kids being tormented at school, no near-death experiences. Life is good!

Still, on my own scale, I’ve certainly felt some pressure. I’m just a small-time freelancer, but as of two years ago, I had a pretty solid thing going, good enough at least that I could stop adjunct teaching and still cover my kids’ school tuition. Across the Year of Trump, a lot of the relevant relationships were strained, my checks got smaller, and I started scrambling to open some new connections. (Freelancing isn’t that lucrative, but as a work-at-home mother of four, there are limitations to the sort of work I can consider. Writing really was a very practical way to make some money, beyond just being fun.)

I hoped after the election that things might get a little easier. Ha! Post-election was much worse. Also, in a funny twist of fate, my university scaled back its philosophy requirement around the same time. That means that I probably couldn’t return to adjunct teaching even if I wanted to. (I don’t.)

Naturally, I realized that I could smooth the way considerably just by finding some way to get on Team Trump. That really is (and always has been) the crux of the matter: Can you offer fealty to the man? It’s not about the Republicans as a group, nor conservative principles, nor feeling adequate sympathy for the white working class. Steve Bannon threatens to turn the party inside out, and my social media feed says, “Cool, this should be interesting.” Ben Sasse comes out swinging against Roy Moore, and people go running for their pitchforks. It appears that we will tolerate almost any amount of turpitude from people who can plausibly be cast as Trumpian allies. Prominent Trump opponents are widely viewed as traitors.

In some ways, it’s pretty simple. The Republicans are a Trumpian people now. If you want to be accepted in the group, you must find some way to signal, “I guess that’s okay with me.”

It’s not. At least in my own case, reconciling broader commitments with membership in the Trumpian Party is not (as Peter suggested) the harder and stonier path. It is an impossible path. I definitely won’t insist that that’s true for everyone, though I will say that the effort to square that circle has caused remarkably little angst for many people I know. Maybe it’s possible to be a principled Trumpian of some sort. But I can’t do it, and I’ve watched a whole lot of people try with (shall we say) very limited success.

I never dramatically left the party, a la Jay Nordlinger or George Will. For one thing, I don’t flatter myself that people are on the edge of their seats wondering which way Rachel Lu is going to jump. Also though, there was really no decision-point. One day I just realized I was referring to the Republicans as “they,” not “we,” and that seemed to reflect reality. Maybe it will be my party again in the future, but it isn’t now.

On a professional level, I’ve started thinking of this as the writer’s equivalent to a market crash or a round of outsourcing. No matter what you do for money, there are always destabilizing events that can throw a wrench in your plans. You let the dust settle, and you rebuild. So I’m rebuilding. It’s a work in progress, but things feel manageable again. I’m earning more than I was eight months ago. My desk is covered with projects again. Five minutes ago, I got a favorable reply from a magazine editor on a pitch that I sent. The kids’ tuition is paid for this year.

Politically though, I don’t see myself as homeless. I’m not just a shivering waif, peeking through the windows after vacating the house. I’m still part of something; it’s just not the Republican Party. I’m a conservative.

I view conservatism as a thing that is separable from the GOP. That can give us a place to stand when electoral politics takes an unwelcome turn, and while I can’t confidently predict that conservatism has a rosy future in America, I still think it could. Populism is volatile; ideas are far more enduring. They can spring from the ashes at surprising times. Political conservatism is not transcendent, and I can’t guarantee that it will withstand absolutely any assault. (I do believe that’s true of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.) Still, it’s much sturdier than any particular electoral cycle.

Neal Freeman once said in a column that there are two ways a person can go as a pundit. You can be a movement man, or you can be a party man. Maybe that’s deceptively simple, but there’s still a lot of truth to it. Bill Buckley (clearly a movement man) was on the outs with the party many times. He didn’t even like Dwight Eisenhower, one of the most popular Republican presidents of the 20th century. Buckley’s confidence was rooted in a broader set of conservative commitments, but also in a belief that the American public was persuadable. The effort of making one’s case was always worth it, even if you appeared to be on the dwindling, snowball-in-hell team. In my view, that was a healthy way to think. Bill Kristol has a similar paradigm, I believe.

That’s why I do think it’s still useful to have movement conservatives whose wagons are not fully hitched to the party. Whether or not one shares my view of Trump, I think any reasonable person ought to admit the possibility that this most recent experiment with populism could end pretty disastrously. Some of my Trump-enthused friends clearly do fear that, which is one reason why they continue to harangue me about getting on board so we can make this work. I find that amusing. If things are so touch-and-go that I’m a potential difference-maker, your cause is desperate indeed.

I don’t think the country as a whole is in such desperate straits as that. And if the party does crash and burn in the next few years, non-Trumpian conservatives might become a helpful resource. This isn’t just about preserving reputations (though that could certainly be relevant at some point). It’s about having some people whose patterns of thought aren’t too closely linked to electoral churn. There’s a certain freedom that you find after bottoming out on the party. You can turn your mind to other possibilities that aren’t politically possible today but maybe someday. Who knows when that day might come?

We’re not homeless, James. We’ve just found ourselves in the more-sparsely-occupied wing of the conservative house. Over the long run, though, this might turn out to be the sturdier choice.

There are 371 comments.

  1. Profile Photo Member

    Moderator Note:

    Off-topic.

    “Sixth woman claims former President George HW Bush groped her while she was taking a photo when she was just 16 in 2003.”

    Feel free to be consistent, People Of A Certain Moniker.

    • #1
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu

    BD1 (View Comment):
    “Sixth woman claims former President George HW Bush groped her while she was taking a photo when she was just 16 in 2003.”

    Feel free to be consistent, People Of A Certain Moniker.

    OK. I won’t vote for him.

    Actually I never have! (I was in middle school the last time he ran for office.)

    • #2
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:31 AM PST
    • 17 likes
  3. Done Contributor

    BD1 (View Comment):
    “Sixth woman claims former President George HW Bush groped her while she was taking a photo when she was just 16 in 2003.”

    Feel free to be consistent, People Of A Certain Moniker.

    And the non-sequitur of the day award goes to…

    • #3
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:31 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  4. Henry Racette Contributor

    Agreed, without reservations.

    I would add that those who are, as you are (and I am), movement conservatives would do well to focus on both spreading conservative ideas and preserving, as much as is practicable, comity within the conservative ranks during these divisive times.

    For me, that means not sniping, not piling on the anti-Trump train. I think the President is more than adequately criticized. To avoid adding my own criticism, I focus on things he’s done well, and do my best to ignore his personal and stylistic deficiencies. (Were the press ever to strike a more balanced tone, I’d probably increase my own criticism; I don’t expect that to be necessary.)

    Conservatism is larger than Trump and will survive and outlast him. And it is easier, I’m convinced, to sway people from the vast apolitical middle to the right, toward conservatism, than it is to sway anyone toward such a problematic figure as the current president — easier, and vastly more productive.

    Good post. Thank you.

    • #4
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:32 AM PST
    • 24 likes
  5. Painter Jean Member

    Amen, sister. I agree with you whole-heartedly. I too still think of myself as a conservative, but am I a Republican as currently manifested? No.

    • #5
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:38 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Mark Camp Member

    Nice article, thanks. You expressed exactly what I think on these problems.

    • #6
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:40 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Patrick McClure Coolidge

    “I’m earning more than I was eight months ago. My desk is covered with projects again. Five minutes ago, I got a favorable reply from a magazine editor on a pitch that I sent. The kids’ tuition is paid for this year.”

    So the economy is doing better? I’m not saying you need to shout “Hail Trump” because of a better economy, the seating of constitutional originalist judges and the beginning of a rollback of the regulatory/administrative state. I do hope you will not let your dislike of the President’s personality distract from conservative gains that can be made with him. Yes, I too want Roy Moore to resign the Republican nomination for the Senate. I am glad I do not have to vote in Alabama. I will not say there is no way I’d vote for Moore, because I believe in the need to keep the Senate out of Democrat hands, I believe in the presumption of innocence and I believe that a person can overcome base desires they may once have indulged.

    EDIT- This is not to say your post wasn’t a good read. It was, and it is a great illustration of the confusion being felt in both the conservative movement and the Republican party. Where do we draw the line that, if we step over it, betrays our principals? For each of us that line is in a different place.

    • #7
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:48 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  8. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    BD1 (View Comment):
    “Sixth woman claims former President George HW Bush groped her while she was taking a photo when she was just 16 in 2003.”

    Feel free to be consistent, People Of A Certain Moniker.

    Therefore, what?

    Let me concede the narrative for a moment: Bush inappropriately touched girls while taking pictures with them.

    Aside from the fact that it seems absurd on its face, (that an elderly gentleman would do this while being photographed) in what way does this justify Roy Moore’s far creepier and more disturbing activities?

    Let’s not forget that the same Pitchfork Brigade who was up in arms about Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner is now in the curious position of justifying the behavior of a pervert for nakedly political reasons.

    • #8
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:51 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  9. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu

    I don’t actually write very much about Trump anymore. Immediately after the election I had this idea that I would do what David French, Ben Shapiro et al were doing: calling balls and strikes, and committing myself to being fair. I gave that idea up pretty quickly because there was a difficulty. Given the particular connections I had, it was much easier to publish/earn money insofar as I was willing to say nice things about Trump. Since I needed money, it was almost impossible to leave that out of my calculations. This weird brew of financial and political factors was messing with my mind, and if I didn’t trust my own objectivity, I couldn’t see why readers should.

    To put the point another way: Serving as “umpire” in such a fraught moment requires a larger and more established platform than I have. I’m sure not going to lard on the praise if I’m moderately confident that the same outlets would shy away from publishing my criticisms. So for now, I mostly just write about other things (perhaps obliquely political, but not directly rendering judgments of Trump).

    • #9
    • November 13, 2017, at 10:56 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There are two ways of looking at politics: As an extension of war or as a noble game played by ladies and gentlemen in a noble way.

    The age of Trump is has come about because the Democratic Party took up the former and abandoned any pretense of the former. People watched the Democrats elevate the Clintons and defend them ferociously even as it became apparent that he was a sexual predator and she was a money grubbing power hungry crook.

    Then came the “stolen” election of 2000. Despite independent recounts they tried to delegitimize the Bush 43 presidency from the start. But 9/11 stopped all that. What we are witnessing now we may have gotten back then if not for bin Laden’s act of war. Still, by the end of his term we were treated to the intellectual left and their accusations of “BusHitler” and his “war crimes.”

    We were treated to the suspension of John McCain’s beloved maverick status, the ugly and at times downright misogynistic attacks on Sarah Palin, the accusations that Mitt Romney engaged in cruelty against both women and animals. When the Majority Leader of the US Senate lied on the floor about Romney’s taxes and then chuckled about afterwards because “it worked” the accumulated bitterness in the mouth was unbearable.

    Our unbiased, guardians of the truth, AKA the Fouth Estate proved themselves to be a PR extension of the DNC. When Obama lied they praised him for doing it with style.

    Meanwhile, the GOP sat there and took it up the rear. No lie was too outrageous to defend. And we let people like Scooter Libby twist in the wind for something he didn’t really do.

    Yeah, Lileks hates the “He fights!” argument. But maybe the party should have shown some fight before the exasperated electorate turned to someone like Trump. But there is no internal reflection, no acknowledgement of their own fecklessness, only the whiny voices of superiority. “I am so much better than you because I chose to surrender the country honorably rather than to fight on the terms dictated by the enemy.” But now they have fight, but fight directed towards Trump. And they have convinced themselves that they will be rewarded for it by the sleazy Democrats they’ve allied themselves with. Good luck with that. The crocodile may eat you last but you will still get devoured in the end.

    • #10
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:01 AM PST
    • 46 likes
  11. Profile Photo Member

    Moderator Note:

    Redacted portion even more off-topic than before.

    [Redacted.]

    David French on Roy Moore “Evangelicals, Where is Your Faith”: “……and faces heavily sourced and claims of corroborated claims of sexual misconduct with minors.”

    People, how can you countenance the continued presence of GHWB in the GOP, just because he is no longer running for office? How can you call yourselves Christians? Oh, shame, shame.

    • #11
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:05 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  12. Gary Robbins Reagan

    A brilliant post.

    • #12
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:19 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Profile Photo Member

    @rachellu.

    I view conservatism as a thing that is separable from the GOP.

    I would hope so: https://ricochet.com/458738/disposition-and-ideology/

    • #13
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:31 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well, there hasn’t been much ground made between the GOP leaning factions in what now, two years or more? While I sympathize with many of your criticisms of Trump can you tell us other names of GOP lawmakers that you feel the need to leave over. I’m guessing Judge Moore. McCain? Murkowski? Collins? Graham? Hatch? Bush?

    Is it the “Populism”? (Trade? Immigration? Racial & Sex Quotas? Guns?) Is it just Trump and Moore? Speaking as a Cruz supporter I share your ‘cringe’ at many of his antics & behaviors but when evaluating his performance where he alone is responsible: agencies, judicial nominations, regulations, foreign affairs – I am still pleasantly surprised. Are you more pleased with the GOP’s House & Senate performance or Trump’s? Do you want to leave due to their performance?

    This hasn’t gone down easy for many but the GOP has been serving up crap sandwiches for quite some time before PDT came along.

    • #14
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:43 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  15. The Reticulator Member

    Could somebody please check what the CoC says about comments that are off topic?

    • #15
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:46 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. Burr Inactive

    Personality problems are not principled conservatism. Style isn’t ideological. That fact that I wish Donald Trump was a little less combative and less representative of social media cultural norms, does not give me pause in supporting him because by policy position he is the most conservative president since Silent Cal. Bush 41 and Bush 43 played by the rules set up to ensure left’s domination of our country. Bush 43 after giving the state of the union in the latter part of his presidency did a photo op with Senator Russ Fiengold and warmly embraced him. Fiengold consistently attacked Bush 43 as the worst and compared him to Nazis. They are all apart of the same club, government grows the regulatory state grows. Republicans are the Charlie Brown and Democrats are Lucy. Opposing a man for temperament is not political principled it is just social choice. Never Trumpers should ask the question if Trump didn’t them in 2016 why do you think your support is so important now. Object if you must to his mannerisms but understand in a nation of 300+ million people nobody cares all that much. Milton Friedman once said the key to politics is getting the wrong man to do the right thing. Donald Trump is assuming every policy position save for protectionism that I could ever ask for. Ask the question what if the Trump accomplishes every policy goal and you oppose him because of style and you are proven wrong. I think the true divide is not whether you believe the country is in in a civil war or not. Associating with Allies who are imperfect doesn’t mean you sacrifice your principles. Stalin was an ally in WWII and I don’t see how supporting Trump in the war to save america makes anywhere near the same level compromise we needed to win that war. Playing the role of Switzerland waiting for the outcome of war and hoping for the best isn’t useful. Dennis Prager is a good example of a proponent of the civil war thesis.

    • #16
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:47 AM PST
    • 17 likes
  17. Larry3435 Member

    I’m not a movement conservative. I suppose I could call myself a movement libertarian of the classical liberal variety, but I’m afraid there aren’t enough of us to form a “movement.” I was Never Trump before the election, but now I’m just a garden variety Republican who is pleased with many of the things Trump has done (or tried to do), and who cringes at many of the things he says. In this, I think I am very similar to many other Republicans on (oddly enough) both sides of the Trump schism.

    Which brings me to my point. There seems to be a small but vocal minority on each side of the schism that wants to get hysterical about any evidence, no matter how slight, that someone else is on the other side. I see people who actually do understand that Trump is not the Messiah and does not walk on water, but who nevertheless become apoplectic at any criticism of Trump. And they make it personal. Conversely, I see people who know full well that Trump is not the anti-Christ and not the bringer of Armageddon, but who still get outraged at anyone who says a nice word about him.

    Fortunately, as I said, I think these are minority positions. Most of us will watch and wait, hope for Trump’s success, and recognize both the good and the bad in his Presidency. That is how it should be. That is what the hysterics on either side should not be able to override. Let it be so.

    By the way, Rachel, in his most recent podcast Jonah Goldberg was lamenting exactly the competing pressures that you mention, between saying what you truly believe and making a living as a commentator in the world of Trump schism. That’s a sticky one. Good luck navigating that.

    • #17
    • November 13, 2017, at 11:53 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  18. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    Is it okay to just be completely lost?

    I agree with everything about movement conservatism. The GOP had wonderful principles as Obama had a supermajority and rammed everything down our throat. But they couldn’t stop it, and they didn’t get enough to overturn it and we still don’t have enough to repeal it. Republicans just won an impossible election by getting a voter base we’ve never had and got the most conservative cabinet for which one could ever hope. I feel like I could never feel relief nor enjoy it because I had a certain sect telling me that I can’t expect much, because this was the election we needed to lose with dignity so I could get a man of better character who would hopefully be able to derail Clinton in 2020 (they’re serious, they think someone would be able to unseat a historic Presidency), or maybe I could get a Senate and House who could get everything vetoed.

    Principles aren’t going to get the working class of the midwest employed, and they certainly aren’t going to reward the GOP if Trump doesn’t come through. If we lose Alabama, the narrative about being in disarray is never going to stop, and people really don’t understand that everyone wants to vote for the winner. People making some grand theory of “damage” being done by Trump to “the brand” don’t get that this new demographic will leave the GOP not out of any rejection, but by pure “they did nothing, let’s see what the other guys can do” if we don’t provide jobs. I know this undervalues the critical thought of crowds, but people don’t vote out of high mindedness, they mostly vote out of self-interest. They saw Trump as someone who could help them, and if the GOP doesn’t help him, they’re not coming back.

    I am absolutely baffled that there was no urgency on the part of the GOP who had no plan, and didn’t exactly seem to be in a hurry to come up with one with which they could all get on the same page. As if this is a gift they asked for just to seem cool and then they played with it once and decided they didn’t like it.

    I’m apoplectic over the opportunity squandered.

    • #18
    • November 13, 2017, at 12:02 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  19. Trinity Waters Inactive

    This club of “conservatives” seems to be getting smaller. VDH thinks it may dwindle to obscurity.

    • #19
    • November 13, 2017, at 12:11 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  20. DocJay Inactive

    Most people I know who voted for Trump dislike Trump, I’m not sure these calls to get on the train are quite so linear and frequent as the OP suggests.

    As far as the GOP I’ll quote Sir Robin, “perhaps we could confuse it if we ran away some more”.

    • #20
    • November 13, 2017, at 12:15 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  21. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu

    I didn’t want to make this all about Trump’s merits and demerits, but since people (understandably) keep coming back to that, I’ll just clarify this much. I think Trump is appalling. He’s completely unfit to govern this country. That unfitness has real consequences, among them: eroding civic norms, alienating the majority of Americans (especially young ones) from the party in a serious way, leaving the party divided and without credible leadership (which makes it hard to pass legislation), turning right-wing media into an horrifying caricature of itself. Those are bad consequences which nevertheless represent a comparatively good-case scenario given the level of unfitness of our executive. Things could easily be worse, and perhaps will before we’re done.

    Trump doesn’t care about governance, or policy, or ideas, which for the time being has been a boon to many people, who find themselves in positions where they can do things (especially appointing judges and slashing regulations) that I mostly like. Trump generally doesn’t understand what they’re doing, or try much to help them, but his election did nevertheless enable some decent people to do some decent things. Is that a pretty good silver lining? Sure. Do I think some of those people may have made the right decision in agreeing to work for him? Again, sure.

    But I’m not a policy wonk in Washington. My connection to this has been through right-wing media, most of which to my mind has largely become an insane nativist fun-house. In that world, it matters a lot whether you will give some concrete sign that you stand behind the president. A view like I sketched above clearly doesn’t cut it in many/most eyes.

    So there we are. As I’ve said above, I haven’t *forsworn* the party, and I’m still doing some work for right-leaning outlets, but my experience suggests that current “party insider” norms require one at least to get to “Donald Trump is at least an acceptable, tolerably conservative president.” I… can’t say that.

    • #21
    • November 13, 2017, at 12:23 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  22. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):
    This club of “conservatives” seems to be getting smaller. VDH thinks it may dwindle to obscurity.

    Ha! I’m sure he does.

    • #22
    • November 13, 2017, at 12:24 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rachel Lu (View Comment):
    …..

    Trump doesn’t care about governance, or policy, or ideas, which for the time being has been a boon to many people, who find themselves in positions where they can do things (especially appointing judges and slashing regulations) that I mostly like. Trump generally doesn’t understand what they’re doing, or try much to help them, but his election did nevertheless enable some decent people to do some decent things.

    ……

    This is part of the problem. You have no idea – none – what President Trump cares about or what he understands. Neither do I. However, I’m willing to give him some credit. He put out a clear campaign message of mostly conservative ideas (despite the insane worries about authoritarianism and complete opposition to the free market and all the rest) and he’s been trying to make those largely conservative things happen. As far as what he knows: he knew enough to beat the deepest bench of Republicans evah and then the most ruthless and shrewd political duo evah in the Clintons. He knew enough to appoint pretty good people with some solid conservative bona fides.

    • #23
    • November 13, 2017, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  24. Dad Dog Member

    Rachel Lu: We’re not homeless, James. We’ve just found ourselves in the more-sparsely-occupied wing of the conservative house. Over the long run, though, this might turn out to be the sturdier choice.

    I agree. Essentially, the political/ideological analogue and application of Matthew 7:24-25.

    • #24
    • November 13, 2017, at 1:16 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Dad Dog (View Comment):

    Rachel Lu: We’re not homeless, James. We’ve just found ourselves in the more-sparsely-occupied wing of the conservative house. Over the long run, though, this might turn out to be the sturdier choice.

    I agree. Essentially, the political/ideological analogue and application of Matthew 7:24-25.

    I agree entirely. Matthew 7:24-25:

    “24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207:24-25

    • #25
    • November 13, 2017, at 1:21 PM PST
    • Like
  26. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Dad Dog (View Comment):

    Rachel Lu: We’re not homeless, James. We’ve just found ourselves in the more-sparsely-occupied wing of the conservative house. Over the long run, though, this might turn out to be the sturdier choice.

    I agree. Essentially, the political/ideological analogue and application of Matthew 7:24-25.

    I agree entirely. Matthew 7:24-25:

    “24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207:24-25

    Ah yes, building a house on rock might make a good foundation. Personally, I always thought building on rock to be more trouble than it’s worth, as long as you don’t build on sand or swamp or fault line.

    Then there is Luke 8 cautioning against rock: “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7“Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8“Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

    • #26
    • November 13, 2017, at 1:32 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  27. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rachel Lu (View Comment):
    I think Trump is appalling. He’s completely unfit to govern this country. That unfitness has real consequences, among them: eroding civic norms, alienating the majority of Americans (especially young ones) from the party in a serious way, leaving the party divided and without credible leadership (which makes it hard to pass legislation), turning right-wing media into an horrifying caricature of itself.

    Chris Hayes on MSNBC and Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic have been talking and writing lately for the Democrats to come to terms with the damage the Clintons did by defending Bubba and his transgressions. This is, of course, as brave as taking on FDR for internment camps. Bravery would have been taking that stance, say, 18 months ago.

    There is no sign that the Democrats are willing to engage in bravery in the future, either. Look at the leadership across the aisle. Who among those people do you expect to treat you well once you have fragged the President? Schumer? Pelosi? Hoyer? Tom Perez and Keith Ellison? These Democrats are not Sam Nunn, Tip O’Neill or even Jimmy Carter.

    Generals not only study the strength of the opposing army and the lay of the land, they also study the opposing leadership. Don’t tell me about his strengths, tell me about his weaknesses. Our major weakness is treating this like a game of golf at the country club. They’re using your morality as a weakness point.

    As for Trump “eroding civic norms,” again, that went out the window with Willie Horton, Nina Burliegh’s knee pads and the rise of everyone and everything is racist until the “fundamental transformation” of America is complete.

    What is alienating Americans from each other? Trump’s tweets or the left insisting that you and I are fundamentally – and irredeemably – evil? Not wrong but evil. You’re going to change that by agreeing with them? By undercutting the President? You really think they will reward you for that? You want to ignore the current situation for some nostalgic ideal of how things worked 35 years ago under the Gipper?

    • #27
    • November 13, 2017, at 1:48 PM PST
    • 17 likes
  28. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    EJHill (View Comment):
    There are two ways of looking at politics: As an extension of war or as a noble game played by ladies and gentlemen in a noble way.

    “I’d rather lose than dirty my spotless white gloves, peasant.

    “Burn every village! Use all the gas! Execute every last prisoner! Don’t you know this is war!?

    I’d posit that both of these are heard far more often than said.

    Perhaps we should all get our hearing checked.

    • #28
    • November 13, 2017, at 2:09 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  29. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @tommeyer You can continue to believe that this is 1983 and both the Democratic Party and the electorate are the same ones that opposed Reagan and re-elected him in a landslide but it’s not.

    Churchill and Roosevelt made a deal with a man that was responsible for 100 million dead. You’re squeamish about mean tweets.

    • #29
    • November 13, 2017, at 2:19 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  30. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Rachel Lu (View Comment):
    I think Trump is appalling. He’s completely unfit to govern this country. That unfitness has real consequences, among them: eroding civic norms, alienating the majority of Americans (especially young ones) from the party in a serious way, leaving the party divided and without credible leadership (which makes it hard to pass legislation), turning right-wing media into an horrifying caricature of itself.

    Chris Hayes on MSNBC and Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic have been talking and writing lately for the Democrats to come to terms with the damage the Clintons did by defending Bubba and his transgressions. This is, of course, as brave as taking on FDR for internment camps. Bravery would have been taking that stance, say, 18 months ago.

    There is no sign that the Democrats are willing to engage in bravery in the future, either. Look at the leadership across the aisle. Who among those people do you expect to treat you well once you have fragged the President? Schumer? Pelosi? Hoyer? Tom Perez and Keith Ellison? These Democrats are not Sam Nunn, Tip O’Neill or even Jimmy Carter.

    Generals not only study the strength of the opposing army and the lay of the land, they also study the opposing leadership. Don’t tell me about his strengths, tell me about his weaknesses. Our major weakness is treating this like a game of golf at the country club. They’re using your morality as a weakness point.

    As for Trump “eroding civic norms,” again, that went out the window with Willie Horton, Nina Burliegh’s knee pads and the rise of everyone and everything is racist until the “fundamental transformation” of America is complete.

    What is alienating Americans from each other? Trump’s tweets or the left insisting that you and I are fundamentally – and irredeemably – evil? Not wrong but evil. You’re going to change that by agreeing with them? By undercutting the President? You really think they will reward you for that? You want to ignore the current situation for some nostalgic ideal of how things worked 35 years ago under the Gipper?

    Trump is appalling and unfit for office. If a relative or friend exhibited his level of boorishness in an ordinary social situation, I would be mortified. If one of my children as a graduating high school senior showed his level of ignorance about government, I would be deeply depressed. If the president of my neighborhood book club showed his illiberal tendencies, I would want her removed from the position.

    He’s the President of the United States.

    We don’t always have to go on and on about it, but I refuse to pretend like that’s all okay. Even to thwart the evil evil Democrats.

    But, while we’re on that topic, I do think Prager, VDH, the Greatness people etc are fairly hysterical in their Chicken Little projections. Obviously it doesn’t follow that the sins of progressives are trivial.

    • #30
    • November 13, 2017, at 2:21 PM PST
    • 7 likes