Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conservatism: An Abstract Philosophy or a Mode of Governance?

 

There is no question that the rise of Donald Trump has created a schism on the right. I’ve certainly had my run-ins with folks here on Ricochet, most notably @garyrobbins and @georgetownsend. While I vehemently disagree with these gentlemen on a lot of things, arguing with them has had its benefits, namely that they have pushed me to constantly refine, redefine and clarify my beliefs.

In a recent lengthy back-and-forth they provided me with this question on the state of things in the post-Reagan era: Is Conservatism just an abstract utopian philosophy, the inverse of theoretical Communism, or is it an actual and practical mode of governing?

If it is an abstraction, this explains the Progressive Lite ways of the national GOP. They can give lip service to the ideal (especially when raising funds and campaigning) while still governing in opposition to those ideals simply because they are impractical.

Many here, including the aforementioned gentlemen, insist that Conservatism is indistinguishable, even 30 years after the fact, from Reaganism. Is it? Or has that been abandoned?

I have constantly issued the call to examine whether American conservatives are indeed committed to fulfilling Reagan’s dream. To this end, I spent time rereading President Reagan’s re-election platform. As in all political manifestos there are a lot of vague “we encourage this” and “we urge that” and a lot of “we embrace the idea of” platitudes that are not easily translated into specific political action. I have identified a list of 32 concrete actions that the Reagan Administration told Americans they wanted to accomplish in regards to domestic policy in a second term. (By all means, please read the document and see what I may have missed.)

The third item on this list, the line-item veto, was accomplished yet struck down by the Supreme Court. It was asserted by the Court that it would be permissible if pursued through the amendment process.

Are these still goals of Conservatives or are they obsolete? And if they are obsolete what does it mean to call oneself a Reaganite in the 21st Century?

I fear that Conservatism has become nothing more than catchphrases, things said religiously by rote instead of through critical thinking. What does it mean to say “Government shouldn’t pick winners and losers” without acknowledging that even policies advocated by Conservatives do just that? And how do you change things so that it no longer happens?

What does it mean to say, “Never blame your troubles on someone else?” Does that suppose that all government action, whether from the left or right, is benign? (I’d say that’s just demonstrably wrong.) And isn’t pointing to specific policy far different than the Left’s ethereal bogeymen of racism, sexism, ageism, and a plethora of “phobias?”

If Conservatism is no longer a mode of governance but merely a theory, something that can only be accomplished in an ideal world then we need to re-exam it and ourselves, especially if the governing class is playing a giant game of bait-and-switch with the electorate. If we are to go forward Conservatism can’t be a mile wide and an inch deep.

There are 152 comments.

  1. Stina Member

    No trading with nationalized, subsidized, or protected foreign industries.

    Wow. I don’t get this disconnect – isn’t this Trump’s and his voter’s biggest issue with “free trade”? Yet we are suddenly traitors to Reaganist conservatism because of it.

    • #1
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:15 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. MarciN Member

    @ejhill A truly great post. Republicans and conservatives need to have this conversation.

    • #2
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:22 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    For my part, Conservatism has always been about limiting government. It’s more about governing the governors, than it is about governing the people. It’s about having as many laws as are absolutely necessary, but as few as is absolutely possible. It’s not just an abstract philosophy, but it should have at its heart some governing principles. Most notably those of liberty, the rule of law (not of men), and equal protection under that law. But it should very much be an operating theory that plays out in the policies and processes employed by our ostensibly conservative leaders.

    I’ve learned that many who call themselves conservative don’t see it that way. They don’t care about limiting government, too much, but they do care about having government regulate the right things. And the ability of the government to regulate those right things is nearly unlimited in their minds.

    I’m not sure what everything on Reagan’s list means, but I can tell you I agree with all that I do understand. I think it would be smart for us Conservatives to look back to Reagan and his ideals and try to bring some of that forward. Not just in terms of policy proposals, but in terms of the national conversation, too. So often Conservatism is about defending the left flank, instead of attacking the right. 

    As far as Trump goes, I’m not sure anyone really voted for him because they thought he was going to advance the cause of conservatism. I think he has done that, if not out of an adherence to conservative principles, then out of something, and I’ll take it. But the real draw is that he simply fights back against the machine. Some of us don’t like it when the monkeys throw poo. But thems the breaks.

    • #3
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:28 PM PST
    • 20 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Excellent post! What conclusions should we draw about the number of items that were never accomplished? Reagan’s fault? Republicans’ fault? Democrats? I’m afraid I (and probably lots of others) have become cynical about our lawmakers and their ability to get anything done that sounds remotely Conservative. And I don’t know where that leaves us.

    • #4
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:28 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Excellent post! What conclusions should we draw about the number of items that were never accomplished? Reagan’s fault? Republicans’ fault? Democrats? I’m afraid I (and probably lots of others) have become cynical about our lawmakers and their ability to get anything done that sounds remotely Conservative. And I don’t know where that leaves us.

    Somewhere between the list of Conservative stuff we want to get done, and the progressive stuff the left want to get done, lies the stuff we can actually get done. The problem, I think, is that our Republican lawmakers have lived so long in that middle area that they forgot they should always be applying pressure to the right. They think that moderate ground is where things should be, just because that is where they are.

    • #5
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:31 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin: As far as Trump goes, I’m not sure anyone really voted for him because they thought he was going to advance the cause of conservatism.

    I think it’s relatively safe to say that SCOTUS nominations were very high on the list of nose-holding Trump voters.

     

    • #6
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:33 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  7. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin: For my part, Conservatism has always been about limiting government.

    What permanent, concrete action have professed Conservatives implemented to accomplish this, specifically where they have controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue?

    • #7
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:39 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  8. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It strikes me that the core sentiment of American conservatism is that we should not use the vehicle of government to coerce our fellow citizens into conferring some advantage upon ourselves. But of course this sentiment runs contrary to our self-interest and indeed human nature, and is especially difficult to enforce in a system that uses secret, anonymous voting.

    So nobody will ever be a “true conservative” because everyone will place their own self-interest above that of their fellow citizens at the ballot box at some point. In other words, we’re all sinners, and the question of whether conservative rule is still possible is like asking why nobody today can act as holy as Jesus did.

    Unfortunately, it’s also left us in a world in which all we do is accuse each other of being insufficiently conservative. It’s like an adulterer and a thief together in the confession booth each trying to convince the priest that the other is the worse sinner.

    • #8
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:01 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  9. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Spin: For my part, Conservatism has always been about limiting government.

    What permanent, concrete action have professed Conservatives implemented to accomplish this, specifically where they have controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue?

    Nothing. Even the gains of the Reagan era are largely undone.

    • #9
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:10 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Spin: For my part, Conservatism has always been about limiting government.

    What permanent, concrete action have professed Conservatives implemented to accomplish this, specifically where they have controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue?

    I was listening to the great Chuck Swindoll this morning. He was paraphrasing someone else, and I can’t remember the name. He said all great societies follow this cycle:

    Bondage -> Spiritual Awakening -> Liberty -> Prosperity -> Apathy -> Dependency -> Bondage

    I think that we have seen some micro-cycles of that process in America, with the Reagan era being a small cycle from apathy, back to awakening, through liberty and prosperity, back to apathy. We may be at the start of another one now. The point is, like Reagan said, freedom is just a generation away from being lost. As Conservatism makes gains in terms of political wins, it needs to build off those and get more wins. But we sort of say “Our work is done…” That is to say, that seems to be what we did in the 80s. I don’t feel like we’ve had much material movement in the “right” direction since.

     

    • #10
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:17 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  11. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mendel (View Comment):
    Unfortunately, it’s also left us in a world in which all we do is accuse each other of being insufficiently conservative.

    Exactly right. Or we say “Well if that’s what it means to be conservative, then I’m something else.” I feel like we’ve lost our soul. And not because of Trump. Because in the end we want things to be just exactly the way we want them, and not a jot to the left or right.

    • #11
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Bishop Wash, Blk X-man/Wh pilot Member

    I was surprised by the elimination of the Department of Energy line in your list. I thought that Reagan had wanted to eliminate the Department of Education. Sadly, government programs rarely go away. The reports about the Trump administration and regulations are encouraging though.

    • #12
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:33 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  13. Judge Mental Member

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    The reports about the Trump administration and regulations are encouraging though.

    Not permanent though. The first time the Dems are back in the White House they’ll all go right back into place.

    • #13
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:37 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    EJHill:

    In a recent lengthy back-and-forth they provided me with this question on the state of things in the post-Reagan era: Is Conservatism just an abstract utopian philosophy, the inverse of theoretical Communism or is it an actual and practical mode of governing?

    If it is an abstraction,

    Not all abstractions are utopian, nor need one abstraction be the mere inverse of another.

    Abstractions are useful — indeed, they’re necessary for perceiving reality, though they may go unacknowledged as such. Elaborating on that would be a digression into neuroscience, so, rather than go there, I’ll use an analogy:

    I had a knack for writing music as a kid. Enough of a knack, my parents said, that I “didn’t need” music theory. For what could music theory do but either waste time teaching me what I already knew, or spoil my natural knack with a bunch of froofy rules? Well, I believed my parents till I didn’t, and eventually did take some music theory. And hot dog! Even a little theory made writing much easier! It’s quite true that the abstractions of music theory aren’t there to be slavishly adhered to — they’re there to make the music sound good, because that’s what really matters. But it’s also true that music theory, by imposing abstract rules about what sounds good, touches on an external reality — there really are patterns in what makes music sound good.

    Putting together a theory of good governance means articulating abstractions about good governance that clarify what good governance is really like. The abstractions are there to help with the practical business of governing. For example, in answer to your question:

    EJHill: What does it mean to say “Government shouldn’t pick winners and losers” without acknowledging that even policies advocated by Conservatives do just that? And how do you change things so that it no longer happens?

    The Institute for Justice (IJ) is managing to change a few things in my hometown so that government is less involved in picking winners and losers. To name one specialty, IJ litigates on behalf of those interested in striking down excessive barriers to employment, such as needless licenses and permits, and has had some success in doing so. IJ relies on applying those lofty theories of freedom to real-life cases in order to win. An outfit like IJ couldn’t function without abstraction, even though its goal is to make a real-world difference.

    __________________________
    Disclaimer 1: I don’t know if IJ practices “Reaganism”, and I don’t particularly care. I was too young to know what “Reaganism” really was, anyhow.
    Disclaimer 2: It’s possible my parents were quite clever in discouraging me from taking music theory for as long as they did, in that they were subtly steering me away from trying to make music my career, steering which succeeded.

    • #14
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:47 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  15. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: Not all abstractions are utopian, nor need one abstraction be the mere inverse of another.

    It’s apples and oranges. No one asks you to choose between theories of music or ask you for the right to govern your choice of music over a four year period. Nor is there a possibility of someone pulling a bait-and-switch on you. It’s not like you asked for classical training and being forced to learn jazz.

    • #15
    • January 30, 2019, at 2:55 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “There is no question that the rise of Donald Trump has created a schism on the right.”

    Or exposed it. Maybe even ripped the clothes off it and grabbed…

    I believe now that conservatism has devolved into a charade. Of course they believe in it, but it’s become a parlor game. There are certainly activists but they are almost exclusively single-issue oriented. 

    The strain of conservatism that standing exposed and naked is the one that depended most on appearance. That is, they liked their representatives wholesome and admirable, they want the national conversation to be about high-minded things, they place much importance into leading by example, and articulating conservative ideas so as to convince Americans of the simple superiority of conservative thought.

    As long as this charade was in operation, they weren’t especially demanding of policy progress.

    After Reagan was Bush, who wasn’t much of a conservative and actually someone whose agenda was internationalist. His son, our next Republican President certainly talked conservative talk and satisfied appearances, but was sidetracked by two difficult wars, and spent all his political capital defending those wars. During those 8 years, few if any conservative ideas or policies were advanced.

    When the Tea Party movement arose, the political class was threatened. They were being required to produce results, and these pols had settled into the easy life. The failure of that movement was a good indicator of how entrenched Republicans were going through the motions. 

    Of course, they had the luxury of running against a much more dastardly group, so conservatives were held captive. As Democrats moved farther left , Republicans needed only to be sufficiently to their right, say the right things and keep their noses clean.

    In the meantime a whole cottage industry of internationalism grew within the GOP. With 12 years of Bush Presidents over-engagement in the Middle East and all the political attention focused on these issues, the conservative movement began to absorb internationalism as part of its identity. John McCain was the 2008 nominee.

    As the culture slipped into utter debauchery, conservatives craved leaders who would reflect their values, providing for their sensibilities at least some compensation, however token, against the horrific hedonism. Mitt Romney 2012 comes to mind.

    The religious right focused on issues like abortion and gay marriage, which while important, were political losers unfortunately. These were political hills that were untenable. It’s not that they didn’t deserve to be fought, but more needed to be done to bring in ordinary voters. So a ‘conservative’ politician just needed to check these boxes, mumble something about lower taxes and he’d get votes. 

    Then there’s all the greed and corruption. Speaker Denny Hastert was almost certainly being blackmailed either actively or passively. Boehner is now shilling for weed, and who knows what Ryan will be doing in the next years. But all these men were moral ( well, sorta) and checked the right boxes. 

    And Trump is not ‘conservative’ ??? M’kay….

    • #16
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:01 PM PST
    • 19 likes
  17. Mark Camp Member

    EJHill: Is Conservatism just an abstract utopian philosophy?

    Let’s break this down into its implicit questions.

    “Is Conservatism a utopian philosophy?”

    No, exactly the opposite. Conservatism categorically rejects utopian philosophies, like the dominant philosophy in the US today, progressivism. (Conservatism is the only thing that is blocking utopian philosophy from sweeping America into the dustbin of history.)

    In my view, any patriotic American who thinks that Conservatism is a utopian philosophy needs to learn more about it.

    Is Conservatism an abstract philosophy?

    All philosophies, including that of the Trump core, are abstract by definition.

    Even the central philosophy of the Trump core of supporters, that ideas have no consequences, is itself an idea.

    And unfortunately, it is a self-contradictory philosophy in that this particular abstract philosophy has profound consequences in America today.

    Here is one. The very fact that progressivist philosophy has overtaken the American philosophy of individual freedom is one of those consequences.

    Here is another. The fact that the progressivist philosophy continues to advance is a consequence of it: a consequence of the fact that a critical fraction of those who love America and want her to survive, and could join the cause of her defense, are fanatically dedicated to the idea that ideas don’t matter:

    • that any thing that happens can possibly contradict universal principles, including the principles of logic
    • that any political goal can be advanced by pretending to reject abstract thinking.

    The problem with this philosophy is that it is impossible to reject abstract thinking. There is no other kind of thinking.

     

    • #17
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:03 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Front Seat Cat Member

    It would be good for conservative in politics and elsewhere, especially in the upcoming election, to redefine this list and update it – there’s too much time spent defending against the radical left. We have to outshine, redefine and stand for the principles that contrast with the failed policies of the opponent.

    • #18
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:08 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mark Camp: Conservatism categorically rejects utopian philosophies, like the dominant philosophy in the US today, progressivism.

    Let me rephrase that a bit. Does it’s implementation rely on a more utopian world? In other words is a philosophy of rugged individualism and self responsibility, free markets and minimal government compatible with human frailties?

    • #19
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:16 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Let me rephrase that a bit. Does it’s implementation rely on a more utopian world? In other words is a philosophy of rugged individualism and self responsibility, free markets and minimal government compatible with human frailties?

    I don’t think assessing whether it’s easy or hard to implement is the guideline. People have to decide, especially those who choose to represent us, whether they are willing to hold those values and fight for them or not. If the people continue to lean progressive, we conservatives may be obsolete.

    • #20
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:20 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Stina Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Let me rephrase that a bit. Does it’s implementation rely on a more utopian world? In other words is a philosophy of rugged individualism and self responsibility, free markets and minimal government compatible with human frailties?

    I don’t think assessing whether it’s easy or hard to implement is the guideline. People have to decide, especially those who choose to represent us, whether they are willing to hold those values and fight for them or not. If the people continue to lean progressive, we conservatives may be obsolete.

    The philosophy isn’t that important to the average voter. It is important to politiphiles and policy makers. The average voter, though, needs something tangible. The problem with our conservative candidates is that they can all recite the philosophy to some degree, but when it comes to application, it can’t be communicated or implemented effectively.

    • #21
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:35 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  22. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @franco – Can’t add anything or put enough “likes” on that comment/history/observation. 

    Mic drop!

    • #22
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:36 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. Mark Camp Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Does it’s implementation rely on a more utopian world?

    The American Revolution was a practical, real-world implementation of Conservative philosophy. It wouldn’t have happened if it had relied on conditions in the world that couldn’t exist. They could exist, they did exist, and it happened.

    The practical, real-world implementation of Progessivist philosophy began in America at around the turn of the 20th century. It has gradually advanced from that time until now, with some setbacks and some great leaps forward. The advances are marked visibly by the elections of the Progressivist philosopher-ruler Wilson, the New Deal administration of Hoover/Roosevelt, the Great Society/War on Poverty president Johnson, and the ex-Community Organizer president Obama.

    The implementation of a resurgence of American principles depends only upon people ceasing to believe in the principle that America needs to be destroyed before the utopian age can begin.

    (Ordinary working Americans believe in progressivism, in practice, without knowing that they believe it…thinking incorrectly that they have no abstract theoretical philosophy, no ideology, while unknowingly working to advance that philosophy.) 

    If they can be educated to believe one idea they can be educated to believe in a different one.

    • #23
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:36 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  24. Jim Beck Member

    Evening E.J.,

    In an article by Julie Kelly at American Greatness,

    https://amgreatness.com/2019/01/28/against-trump-three-years-later/

    she notes that our pundits often pick the wrong targets and pick targets that do not expose them to risks, for example the kids from Covington Catholic. One wonders why our “conservative writers” weren’t so emotionally outraged about the corruption of the FBI or the failures of our Republican leaders. Glenn Reynolds has often said that our current ruling class is the worst ever, this may be true, however maybe the problem with conservatism is that while one can say what government policies might be conservative, defining the actions of a conservative leader is more difficult. In Reagan’s first Inaugural Address, he said, “It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed”. So what does a conservative leader do about social security or Medicare, which retiree will stop accepting his social security checks after nine or less years when all of the money he put in has been paid out? So the first thing a conservative leader when discussing social security must do is to change the thinking of our fellow citizens, so that they refuse to spend their children’s money on themselves. So a conservative leader is not conserving but trying to rebuild beliefs which have been lost and rebuild a vocabulary which has been lost, this is hard, maybe impossibly hard. It is hard to imagine this type of leadership, where a leader has such a dependent citizenry. So for conservative thought to cease to be a “parlor game” as Franco said then it has to help direct our leaders and citizens to the type of actions that will return us to a population with increased personal and civic responsiblies. Lastly, if conservatism is not active, or does not fight with all tools available to save our society then it is worthless.

    Your question E.J., what should conservatism look like or do in these times, is a difficult and essential question, thanks.

    • #24
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:50 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  25. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mark Camp: If they can be educated to believe one idea they can be educated to believe in a different one.

    To educate it means a more aggressive approach to participating in the culture, something most conservative politicos don’t have the stomach for. You can’t change the culture of a nation if you’re scared of Big Bird’s shadow.

    • #25
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:00 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  26. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One’s framing of pragmatism is measured by one’s expectations. Many divisions on Ricochet are due to wildly different estimates of what is politically possible. Other divisions are caused by different expectations regarding what the President will or will not do. Then there are considerations of what alternatives are available. 

    Fewer divisions regard core beliefs. Trump fans, Trump haters, and everyone between here on Ricochet want limited, local government… or at least something closer to it than the status quo.

    • #26
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Mark Camp: Conservatism categorically rejects utopian philosophies, like the dominant philosophy in the US today, progressivism.

    Let me rephrase that a bit. Does it’s implementation rely on a more utopian world? In other words is a philosophy of rugged individualism and self responsibility, free markets and minimal government compatible with human frailties?

    I think it requires some shared value system in any specific society to function beyond a sort of wild wild west implementation. The world does have to be utopian. But society does have to generally have a shared sense of what is right and wrong. And by that I mean things like stealing and killing and that sort of thing. Not what shows on TV are immoral, nor who you should be sleeping with, etc. 

    • #27
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:15 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Saint Augustine Member

    Can it be a philosophy and a mode of governance at the same time?

    Could it be an abstract philosophy that’s not utopian?

    Could it be a practical philosophy?

    Can a philosophy be both abstract and practical?

    • #28
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:16 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  29. Saint Augustine Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Spin: As far as Trump goes, I’m not sure anyone really voted for him because they thought he was going to advance the cause of conservatism.

    I think it’s relatively safe to say that SCOTUS nominations were very high on the list of nose-holding Trump voters.

    And some deregulation. Not only as an economic matter, Smith’s economic arguments still being very solid ones, but also a legal matter, many of us having problems with administrative law.

    • #29
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:17 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. LibertyDefender Member

    EJHill: There is no question that the rise of Donald Trump has created a schism on the right. I’ve certainly had my run-ins with folks here on Ricochet, most notably @garyrobbins and @georgetownsend. While I vehemently disagree with these gentlemen on a lot of things, arguing with them has had its benefits, namely that they have pushed me to constantly refine, redefine and clarify my beliefs.

    And yet the entire NeverTrump movement, including Gary and George, haven’t refined or clarified their beliefs at all. “Orange Man Bad” means the same vague moral preening, virtue signaling, substance-lacking complaint it has always meant. And it’s not just the shmoes here in the grass roots: even Charles C.W. Cooke, the editor of National Review Online, has failed repeatedly to explain why he believes that Donald J. Trump is “wholly unfit for office.” He has gone so far as to confess that he also believes Hillary Clinton is “wholly unfit for office,” but for different reasons that he also doesn’t explicate.

    Thus EJ, while I appreciate the navel gazing, I’m going to continue to focus on my search for methods to make NeverTrumpers realize that as self-described conservatives they are necessarily part of the Republican Party team. Therefore, they are poor team players when they talk down the elected leader of the team – it’s demoralizing. I’d bench the smug [I don’t know what]s if I didn’t need their votes.

    I recently saw one (maybe more) of these self-satisfied NeverTrumpers argue that the 40 seats lost by Republican Congressmen in the 2016 midterms was proof that “Orange Man Bad for Republican Party.” Hey NeverTrumper – d’ya think that maybe talking down the Republican Party figurehead nonstop might have played a role in Republican Party election outcomes?

    Luddites.

    Donald Trump is a much more formidable opponent of the administrative state than Reagan ever was. Trump has already appointed two rock-solid Constitutionalist lifers to the Supreme Court, something Reagan did not do. Trump is a far more pragmatic conservative President than has existed in any of our lifetimes.

    • #30
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:24 PM PST
    • 11 likes