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For those whose main concerns are centered around Liberty and the Constitution, the GOP is to be used but never trusted. That has been true for a long time now and has been soaking in to the grass roots at least for a decade while the party’s political class moved deeper into a comfortable denial. Now it is fully visible to all who will see. That political class (and those who imagine themselves to be among them) have always preferred optics over substance as long as they could claim a share of the power.
The “leadership” of the GOP has been tone-deaf to the sense of betrayal they cultivated among those they have taken advantage of for so long. Those “grass roots” deplorables have looked to the GOP as the only vehicle to turn the tide of growing anti-constitutional authoritarianism and centralization for decades now, rejecting calls for a third party. Third party platforms are risky at best and the GOP kept promising, secure that there was nowhere else to turn. They promised but never really intended to rock that boat very much.
The political class I will refer here is that of the GOP and no other party. But they share so many qualities! Their loyalties are much more to their “class” than those who vote for them.
One great evidence of their delusion is the notion of “Trumpism”. Sorry folks, there is no Trumpism any more than there was Reaganism. There are only the principles which those simple grass roots peons want to see reflected in the governance which controls so much of their lives. There is only Americanism.
What the political class of both parties, the media and corporatists have never grasp was that there has been no “cult of personality” for the last five years. There has just been a flawed personality that was trusted because it spoke directly to their concerns, didn’t apologize for them or their needs and would take a fundamental problem head on. Manners were not an issue. They had gotten little from the decorum of their betters.
I will not go back past Reagan but certainly could. In truth, Reagan was held back as much by the Senate Republicans as he was by the Democrats. When the Reagan terms were over, the party’s political class was more than ready for a return to business as usual and to having one of their own leading a ticket, regardless of its success. Those peons didn’t get the third Reagan term they expected. That was the first deliberate move on the GOP’s part to avoid becoming the dominate party. They returned to the comfort they had known before leaving for a while the battle to defend the Founding.
There seemed to be a brief ray of hope when the “Contract with America” sent a wave of Republicans to the Congress in what the media chose to see as a “temper tantrum”. It didn’t take long before those fresh new recruits were one by one and two by two swallowed up by the establishment of the party and watered down to its standard.
The next real chance came with the Tea Party. And it was a good one. It was everything that a grass roots movement is supposed to be. There was no real single leader, just a wave of every-day citizens with similar concerns that cut across all lines of class, party and race. The threat of ObamaCare was an early concern but the real beginnings were rooted in the spending and disappointments of the Bush II administration.
If the Tea Party had been embraced by the GOP, it could well have been game over for the Dems. But they were seen more as a resource to mined by the party’s political class who certainly didn’t want these unwashed near the leadership. They were corralled and put in their place and finally ignored. They did come through for the GOP. They managed to bring the Congress into the fold. But then, after McConnell and Ryan rode their votes to seats of power in their respective houses, they were purposely discarded.
All of the basic issues and concerns of those simple citizens have been either slow walked or just plain ignored by the one party they felt they had to rely on. Those citizens were given presidential candidates that they had little faith in, and were proven right.
Over the years, they have seen the boldness of Reagan watered down, even trashed, with nonsense like “kinder, gentler conservatism”, “compassionate conservatism”, and having to “abandon the free market to save the free market”. Under a Republican president they have seen entitlements expanded, a bloated education bill written mostly by Ted Kennedy remove even more local control to DC, and foreign wars with little definition and no end in sight. They saw a real chance to rid themselves of ObamaCare delivered by President Trump deliberately killed by Republican senators.
It has not gone unnoticed that the McConnell reign in the Senate has not strengthened the conservative hand. His moves to gain dictatorial control of the Senate Reelection Committee have yielded a series of establishment types with little appeal to party base. The more conservative possibilities, the ones less likely to be in Mitch’s pocket, have been denied funds. At least three of the losses this November can be assigned directly to the quality of candidates, all McConnellites.
Beyond concerns of personality, the first criticism of Trump can be federal spending. I would point to the Senate and the “leadership” there as a major roadblock to any serious effort to limit that. Drunken sailors and even semi-sober Democrats are little match to Mitch when it comes to spreading around government-funded plunder.
The failure to have a great initial leap in the Trump agenda can in part be marked up to the president’s lack of deep political connection and some early appointments. But the bulk of that credit can go to Ryan’s and McConnell’s lack of effort in that direction during the first two years when they sat over the two congressional houses. As unlettered as we commoners are, the signs were easy to read. The establishment simply was not on board with the base.
Mitch is more than ready to have things settle down between us and China. His in-laws do handle much of their shipping, you know. It is time, in the mind of the inner party types, to return to a more sensible spreading of the wealth among those who have made politics a career and not a service.
What is still missed by the party elite is that they lost the trust of that critical base long ago. The last five years have not been about Donald Trump at all. It has been about the frustration felt by the core of so-called middle-class Americans. It has been about their distrust of the political class.
Reflect back on the long line of candidates presented to us by the GOP in 2016. The field was large because there was a sense among the opportunists that the Obama disaster created a good chance. I have not bothered to do a recount of how many we started with, maybe as many as 17. It really isn’t important. The establishment quickly moved from one favorite to another as each failed to have the support. In review, there were only three among them that I would trust with much of anything having to do with the principles of an agenda. One is in the Senate. Another is serving in the cabinet. And the third is president.
In the end, the nomination came down to two who both were thorns in the side of the establishment, each in their own way. They were the only ones with real principled support. They were each headed the same way, toward much the same things. They certainly did have different ways. It should have been clear that the same old business as usual simply had played out.
This outsider president may have certainly rubbed the establishment the wrong way. But so did Cruz. And they still do. Make no mistake, the establishment of the party want Cruz put in “his place” as much as they do Trump. But mostly they want those rowdy voters who expect actual principled action on the part of the party elite to return to their appointed place as well.
What we have seen the last five years has hardly been a “Trump Movement”. The “movement” was there waiting for someone who could be trusted to really mean what they said and then honestly, intently go about backing it up. It had been 30 years since that could be said.
Most everything that can be said about Trump, I can agree with on some level. But he can be trusted to stay on task with determination and courage. He keeps his word. If you will indulge me this, he reminds me of a few old horse and cow traders who were still around in my early youth. They might oversell a critter some and make you do what you had to in order to protect yourself in a deal. But my grandfather knew them completely. There were a couple that you might not like much, but you trusted. You had to be damn exact in your words because they were always dealing but those words would be honored. They might not sit at the sales among the moneyed, oil-rich landowners who couldn’t ride their own horses but they knew all the hands who worked the back pens.
Now the shabby opportunists are racing to join with the media and Dems in the bloodlust to label Trump and kick him one more time going out the door. The ones in the House will indulge an impeachment vote that will only damage the intent and purpose given by the Constitution. But they do not raise their voices to the House rule changes made by the Speaker which greatly reduce the ability of conservatives to affect legislation. Liz Cheney may even be able to turn her virtue-signaling into a minority leadership but it will just another affirmation of the uselessness of the party to its base.
The open and despotic attack on free speech for the last few days is not as important to the political class as getting in as many punches as possible on Trump. But he is only one of the real targets. Those voters are also targeted. They always have been. And now they know it for sure. An open return to the McConnell/Ryan/McCain/Romney/Bush party of compliance will signal that the GOP political class (and those who imagine themselves to be a part of it) have no intention of being of use to their base.
I am still not a third-party guy, quite yet. But the survival of the Constitution as written and its vision rest with the grassroots, not the GOP. I have always believed with Reagan that the answer is to take over the GOP, not leave it. But it still has an elite element that not only refuses to listen, it does not even notice. I don’t believe that the answer is to leave the GOP to them either.
There are at least 70 million who just don’t trust the GOP. And they know they have never really been able to. The way forward (I really hate that term) rests with the reaction to those 70 million.
Those 70 million will not be led by those of the Old Guard. I am not insightful enough to know if it will be Trump or someone with a slightly different twist to the same path. That other leader might well be a little better mannered or spoken but they will have to have the trust established on the non-apologetic principled challenge to the political class and their ways. Even if a little smoother, their language will be direct and honest pointing a way back to the last four years when regulations were cut by a quarter, religious liberty was given a priority, the world was made safer by our presence and determined policy, a biased media was met head-on, illegal immigration crossings were reduced by 70%, the American people across the board saw a real increase of around $4,000 annually, prosperity reached every level of society, and no wars were started.
The GOP has always claimed these as their goals. Perhaps soon they will really mean it. At least 70 million are watching. But I doubt they will be waiting much longer.Published in