Quotes of the day

posted at 8:01 pm on January 22, 2016 by Allahpundit

Late Thursday night, National Review, the storied conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, published an issue denouncing Donald Trump

The Republican National Committee reacted swiftly — immediately revoking the permission it had given National Review to host a Republican presidential debate next month. “Tonight, a top official with the RNC called me to say that National Review was being disinvited,” the magazine’s publisher wrote online. “The reason: Our ‘Against Trump’ editorial.”

That soft flapping sound you hear is the Grand Old Party waving the flag of surrender to Trump. Party elites — what’s left of the now-derided “establishment” — are acquiescing to the once inconceivable: that a xenophobic and bigoted showman is now the face of the Republican Party and of American conservatism.

***

According to Heilemann, that effort does more to help Trump than to hurt him.

“First of all, I’d say about the National Review, there’s nothing the National Review could do more to help Donald Trump than to put out an issue like this,” Heilemann said. “I mean, it’s like an in-kind campaign contribution for the establishment to attack Trump. It helps him with his people. It’s where Trump wants to be. It reinforces his message.”

***

“I don’t think this is going to dent Trump’s real support,” D’Souza said Friday on “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

“What it will do probably is ostracize Trump a little bit more within the intellectual ranks of the Republican Party, but those intellectual ranks are a small part of the overall strength of the party.”…

“We have a mystery, which is here you have a Republican Party and by and large its activists are conservative. How is it possible that a man who betrays the fundamental principles of conservatism is leading in the polls?” D’Souza said.

“Ultimately the problem would not seem to be with Trump, it would seem to be with the Republicans who support Trump. So the National Review in a sense is being a little weak in not attacking them because they’d be attacking their own constituency, their own readers.”

***

CHARLES HURT: I don’t really see how it is going to be that effective, because most of the people out there supporting Donald Trump so jubilantly right now, are not reading the National Review or the Wall Street Journal editorial page, or any of these other publications that are held in such high regard around here.

But I have to say, I get that they’re making these arguments, it is good, I applaud that, but my goodness, when you look at the policies, many of which came from conservatives for years out of Washington. Why didn’t they have any outrage over that?

Where was this unified conservative outrage over the bank bailout in 2008? Where is the unified conservative outrage over launching a trillion-plus dollar war paid for with nothing but debt, where is the outrage over Republican politicians who come along and supported amnesty?

***

The only message coming out of this National Review issue today is that A BUNCH OF FAMOUS CONSERVATIVES PILED ON DONALD TRUMP…

It’s all one big Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!

And how is that effective in a year where being an outsider is sexier than Sophia Loren in a lace teddy?…

National Review isn’t hurting Trump, like a Keystone Cop, National Review is stepping directly into his well-honed anti-establishment narrative.

Before you attempt to bury Donald Trump, maybe you should try and learn a thing or two from him.

***

The editorial and several symposium contributors were clear that voters have good reason to be outraged at the serial betrayals by the Republican political class, even if Trump is the wrong vessel for that outrage. But a few of the contributors have helped perpetrate those betrayals – they’re part of the reason that Trump resonates with so many voters, and I’m loath to take their advice on dealing with the problem they helped create.

Tom Sowell, Ed Meese, Andy McCarthy – criticism of Trump from men like this carries real weight. But – to pick one counter example – Russell Moore? He’s one of the leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a Soros front group pushing for Obama’s immigration agenda. He’s written that “our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called ‘illegal immigrant.’” He’s tweeted that a border wall is a “golden calf.” He exemplifies the yawning gap between elites and the public that fuels Trump’s rise.

In short, Dr. Moore is one of the many Dr. Frankensteins who created Donald Trump. Rather than calling on us to turn away from his creation, Moore might do better to retire from public life and devote himself to quiet good works.

***

Whatever you think of Trump personally, his supporters are pushing for three big things:

A return to traditional GOP law and order practices when it comes to illegal immigration.
A return to a more traditional GOP foreign policy that would put the national interest ahead of globalism.
A return to a more traditional GOP trade policy that would analyze trade deals from the perspective of the country as a whole and not blindly support any deal — even one negotiated by President Obama…

By refusing to make room for these ideas within conservatism, NR risks creating the impression that the revolution brought about by George W. Bush — in particular, his belief in open borders, his effort to create a permanent U.S. military mission in the Middle East, and his notion that trade can never be regulated, no matter how unfair — is now a permanent part of conservatism that can never be questioned. They are also inviting those who disagree with Bush on those points to leave conservatism and start seeking their allies elsewhere.

This is an absolute disaster for conservatism. It is obvious by now that Bushism — however well-intentioned it may appear on paper — does not work for the average American.

***

There’s one thing this dispute symbolizes, aside from the ongoing (and long-running) battle for the soul of the modern Republican Party. And that is this: Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment. Donald Trump—and more importantly, his supporters, who go all but unmentioned here (Ben Domenech is an exception)—illustrate that that gap is, well, yuuge.

Yes, Trump is nobody’s conservative, but it’s not at all clear that many voters really care about such things. His rise is a rebuke to the stories that political commentators have long told themselves, and to the mores they have long shared even while otherwise disagreeing ideologically with one another. You can despise Donald Trump (and oh Lord I do), and appreciate National Review’s efforts here, while simultaneously wondering whether his forcible removal of a certain journalistic mask might also have some benefit.

***

The problem here is that the authenticity of Trump’s conservatism or the orthodoxy of his ideological commitments isn’t really in dispute.

Trump isn’t an orthodox conservative, but he’s also not a fake conservative. He’s someone who is speaking to the Republican Party rank and file and telling them that orthodox conservative politics has failed and that what’s needed instead is a new form of conservative populism focused more explicitly on American nationalism and white Christians’ ethnic and sectarian grievances.

And here’s where the editorial falls flat.

It doesn’t argue that some other candidate is going to do a better job of addressing white working-class concerns about their relative decline in the 21st-century United States of America. Nor does it argue that the GOP has some other path to victory that doesn’t involve increasing its appeal to Trump’s grievance constituency.

***

Trump is not a movement conservative, and people who are have good reason to doubt that he would stick with their principles if (and when) they became inconvenient. But Trump’s ability to commandeer the presidential race is no more an accident than Palin’s brief but torrid rise to the heights of right-wing idolatry. Modern American conservatism is inherently vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.

One reason for this is that, whereas liberalism tries to apply the conclusions of science and academia to public policy, conservatism rejects those conclusions in favor of an a priori belief that more government is always wrong. One contributor, the not notably hinged commentator Glenn Beck, assails Trump for supporting the stimulus, the auto bailouts, and the bank bailouts — three measures that most economists believe helped prevent a much deeper recession. Movement conservatism rejects the conclusions of wide swaths of economists, social scientists, the entire field of climate science … of course it is liable to attract anti-intellectual candidates.

A second problem is that conservative doctrine is unpopular with the public as well. The majority may often support generalized anti-government sentiment, but it does not follow those generalities through to their specific implications. During George W. Bush’s first term, the proposition that Medicare ought to add prescription-drug coverage drew the support of 90 percent of the public. Conservatives did not believe this — some of them grudgingly accepted the Bush administration’s political need to cater to popular sentiment, while others castigated Bush as a traitor to conservatism for doing so…

This is the rub with Trump. Conservatives fear him not because he is an ignorant demagogue, but because he’s not their ignorant demagogue.

***

I did notice, though, as I read through the pieces that I felt far less charitable than most of the writers towards Trump’s supporters—perhaps the most sensitive constituency to ever appear in American politics.

Trumpism is an ideology that judges all things on how they interact with Donald Trump. As a result, it is completely disconnected from any cogent philosophy or moral worldview. And though Trump’s fans characterize anyone who notes that the word clouds springing from the candidate’s mouth are nothing more than incoherent platitude-infused puffs of gibberish as snobby, monocle-wearing, America-hating elite, all I’m saying is that if you’re shopping around for a dictator, you can do a lot better than Donald Trump.

American politics has become a giant appeal to the base emotions of envy and anger—depending on what party you happen to be in. And Republican primary voters are about to bring every liberal fantasy about their regressive, anti-intellectualism, to vivid life. There are many rational people on the right who either justify or are sympathetic to this movement for understandable reasons: They’re sick of corruption. Sick of the frauds and the failed promises. Sick of the abuses of the other party. Republicans want their own Obama…

The ugly reality of the right-wing electorate might be that a majority (this includes the Trumpkins, rent-seeking donor class, those who rarely pay attention, etc.) doesn’t give one whit about Buckley-ite conservatism anymore. The other day, Rush Limbaugh pondered whether “nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal.” Maybe. But if it has, America is going to need another party. Maybe two.

***

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Comments

Take your medicine, Establishment.

Be thankful for revolutions without bloodshed.

The Manifesto will be the butt of jokes for many months…

mjbrooks3 on January 23, 2016 at 9:35 AM

Whatever you think of Trump personally, his supporters are pushing for three big things:

A return to traditional GOP law and order practices when it comes to illegal immigration.
A return to a more traditional GOP foreign policy that would put the national interest ahead of globalism.
A return to a more traditional GOP trade policy that would analyze trade deals from the perspective of the country as a whole and not blindly support any deal — even one negotiated by President Obama…

By refusing to make room for these ideas within conservatism, NR risks creating the impression that the revolution brought about by George W. Bush — in particular, his belief in open borders, his effort to create a permanent U.S. military mission in the Middle East, and his notion that trade can never be regulated, no matter how unfair — is now a permanent part of conservatism that can never be questioned. They are also inviting those who disagree with Bush on those points to leave conservatism and start seeking their allies elsewhere.

I’ve never heard of this site before, but this might be THE single best description of the situation I’ve seen, as of yet.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 9:43 AM

It’s so funny, Cruz fans on one hand complain that Trump won’t be able to get anything done because the establishment hates him, i.e. won’t be able to build the wall or anything, and then the moment he says he can work with them, suddenly he’s not conservative enough. The goalposts are shifting so rapidly the field must be made of quicksand.

fossten on January 23, 2016 at 8:39 AM

No wall will be built with or without Congressional cooperation. No wall will be built and paid for by Mexico. No 45% tariff will be levied on China.
All illegal aliens will not be deported. The Chamber of Commerce members will still benefit from low wage foreign workers. Presidential executive power abuse will continue and expand. SC nominations will be an unpleasant surprise. Gun registration efforts will continue. Crony capitalism will come into full bloom. Chuck Schumer will replace Mitch McConnell.

butch on January 23, 2016 at 9:44 AM

It’s so funny, Cruz fans on one hand complain that Trump won’t be able to get anything done because the establishment hates him, i.e. won’t be able to build the wall or anything, and then the moment he says he can work with them, suddenly he’s not conservative enough. The goalposts are shifting so rapidly the field must be made of quicksand.

fossten on January 23, 2016 at 8:39 AM

I’m not sure Cruz is the issue here, as you’ve pointed out, Trump is likely to win the nomination and will annihilate the establishment. Yet Trump says he will work with the establishment. How can you simultaneously work with that, which you seek to destroy?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 9:48 AM

butch on January 23, 2016 at 9:44 AM

OR

Trump will follow through on the course that’s already been started with Palin and assemble a group of highly-qualified, mostly Conservative individuals to address the issues our nation is facing.

And this may be what the CoC sponsored GOPe fears the most and why they’re sucking up to Trump now.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 9:50 AM

Tom Sowell, Ed Meese, Andy McCarthy – criticism of Trump from men like this carries real weight. But – to pick one counter example – Russell Moore? He’s one of the leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a Soros front group pushing for Obama’s immigration agenda. He’s written that “our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called ‘illegal immigrant.’”

Proof that Glenn Beck and “conservatives” have gone Smerconish

Brock Robamney on January 23, 2016 at 9:52 AM

OR

Trump will follow through on the course that’s already been started with Palin and assemble a group of highly-qualified, mostly Conservative individuals to address the issues our nation is facing.

And this may be what the CoC sponsored GOPe fears the most and why they’re sucking up to Trump now.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 9:50 AM

So the establishment is genuflecting for fear of being destroyed?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat

Who are the “Republicans”? I think we know that now.

Here’s the headline, capture it before it is scrubbed

Key West Reader on January 23, 2016 at 7:00 AM

This is crazy. The “Republicans” are going after their front runners. I dunno. This doesn’t seem, in any way, sane.

Fallon on January 23, 2016 at 9:56 AM

How can you simultaneously work with that, which you seek to destroy?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 9:48 AM

You say “please.”

Fallon on January 23, 2016 at 9:58 AM

So the establishment is genuflecting for fear of being destroyed?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Perhaps.

I don’t think they are acting the way they are because they support Donald Trump. They would rather have someone from inside politics.

There are a couple of reasons that could explain their behavior, and genuflecting because they don’t want the deck stacked against them if Trump is elected could easily be one of those reasons.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:02 AM

How can you simultaneously work with that, which you seek to destroy?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 9:48 AM

You say “please.”

Fallon on January 23, 2016 at 9:58 AM

So you hang the destroy thing over their heads as an incentive to cooperate with regard to all the progress the government needs to make in getting things done and doing the important work of government?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 10:03 AM

So the establishment is genuflecting for fear of being destroyed?

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Heh. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

butch on January 23, 2016 at 10:04 AM

Perhaps.

I don’t think they are acting the way they are because they support Donald Trump. They would rather have someone from inside politics.

There are a couple of reasons that could explain their behavior, and genuflecting because they don’t want the deck stacked against them if Trump is elected could easily be one of those reasons.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:02 AM

I’m sure it is. And also, the establishment doesn’t need to be destroyed or changed as long as it goes along with Trump’s agenda, whether it’s from fear of being cut out or by making sweet deals with a Trump administration that benefits the establishment, as long as the important work of government gets done.

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 10:08 AM

I’ve never heard of this site before, but this might be THE single best description of the situation I’ve seen, as of yet.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 9:43 AM

Agreed.

Laura Ingraham (who wrote that) nailed it. I have fumbled around with the same arguments, but never put it together like that. Good stuff…

William Eaton on January 23, 2016 at 10:08 AM

William Eaton on January 23, 2016 at 10:08 AM

It is good stuff!

A lot of Trump supporters are traditionalists, and Ingraham’s description helps to clarify why they are drawn to Trump as a potential candidate.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:15 AM

This is crazy. The “Republicans” are going after their front runners. I dunno. This doesn’t seem, in any way, sane.

Fallon on January 23, 2016 at 9:56 AM

you don’t think it’s sane that lifelong conservatives have a problem with this?

everdiso on January 23, 2016 at 10:16 AM

Heh. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

butch on January 23, 2016 at 10:04 AM

“So many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 10:17 AM

“So many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Speaks volumes to how little confidence people have for politicians in general in the US.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:22 AM

It is good stuff!

A lot of Trump supporters are traditionalists, and Ingraham’s description helps to clarify why they are drawn to Trump as a potential candidate.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:15 AM

The truth is, the GOPe and the Elitist22 could care less about Trump supporters motivations. All they care about is money, which they get more of if a Democrat is in power. Rush says this on a daily basis, and the crowd chooses to ignore it. They want business as usual, they know the game will go on with a President Hillary, and they are ok with it. Otherwise, why would the Elitist22 ally themselves with George Soros

Brock Robamney on January 23, 2016 at 10:42 AM

So many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Speaks volumes to how little confidence people have for politicians in general in the US.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:22 AM

There are very few with the kind of ambition it takes to seek the presidency who aren’t “glib egomaniac(s)” as defined by Dr. Sowell. Certainly none running this cycle.

I’d point out that with the world in the shape its in, economically and politically, there are only two types who would seek the office of the presidency. Someone with that kind of drive and confidence in their own abilities, confident that they could run the federal government and represent the interest of this nation as a chief executive and make those necessary decisions and direct their administration to implement them, or someone who felt, like Obama, that they could safely float in the framework of the administration and defer those decision and real leadership to their administration and their national party inner circle, allowing them to make the decisions and drive policy in their stead.

The nation has endured the type of president who floats in the framework of the administration, follows the direction of the party inner circle, appointing unqualified individuals to key cabinet positions in deferring to the directives of the party inner circle, for some time. That dearth of leadership in the executive branch has cost this nation dearly in blood and treasure, mortgaged our children’s future, and presided over the steady erosion of the rule of law and national sovereignty.

It’s time to elect a leader.

thatsafactjack on January 23, 2016 at 11:01 AM

The nation has endured the type of president who floats in the framework of the administration, follows the direction of the party inner circle, appointing unqualified individuals to key cabinet positions in deferring to the directives of the party inner circle, for some time. That dearth of leadership in the executive branch has cost this nation dearly in blood and treasure, mortgaged our children’s future, and presided over the steady erosion of the rule of law and national sovereignty.

It’s time to elect a leader.

thatsafactjack on January 23, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Yep, and that would be the perfect description of Cruz and Rubio in the White House.

We are in desperate trouble.

ebrown2 on January 23, 2016 at 11:18 AM

thatsafactjack on January 23, 2016 at 11:01 AM

John Kasich fits your criteria. Plus, he’s the Prince of Light.

butch on January 23, 2016 at 11:19 AM

The GOP establishment fears Cruz. They can work with Trump. So, when does this Burn It Down thingy take effect?

butch on January 23, 2016 at 11:26 AM

The editors laid out interesting and reasonable expectations and then bashed the front runner for failing to meet them but failed to say whom they thought did-not helpful at all. Erik Erickson attempted to, but they also don’t meet the requirements. Mostly disagree with candidate Rubio on his list. Rubio continues the canard of law abiding illegal immigrants…by definition they can’t be law abiding since they broke our nation’s laws to be here. Further, how do we expect them to follow other laws when they are rewarded (in-state tuition rates, health care, broad support, etc) for breaking our laws? And, how do we know immigration is their intention vice just taking a well paying (compared to their home) job from an American and sending the money home? Bush, Rubio, some of the authors, and the democrats seem to put illegal immigrants ahead of American citizens…similar with refugees from the region and belief set that produces most of the terrorists & supported them over citizens concerns for reasonable screenings. I don’t know if Trump will stick with his positions, but he’s among the very few who even addresses putting American citizens first and stemming the invasion of illegal aliens.

WhyNot on January 23, 2016 at 11:35 AM

Have to agree with Trump on this issue. States generally do not do a good job of maintaining and keeping public lands updated for public use. I have seen too much influence from local power interests to have public lands used for their own selfish interests. State wild life depts. are generally underfunded and do not have the resources as fed. agencies. I cannot see Yellowstone being controlled by the state. I could see the nuts in Ca. closing Yosemite Natl. Park to all activity. I could see some states selling the parks to private developers. No, Trump is exactly correct.

they lie on January 23, 2016 at 11:37 AM

I’ve never heard of this site before, but this might be THE single best description of the situation I’ve seen, as of yet.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 9:43 AM

Agreed.

Laura Ingraham (who wrote that) nailed it. I have fumbled around with the same arguments, but never put it together like that. Good stuff…

William Eaton on January 23, 2016 at 10:08 AM

Agree with William Eaton…thanks Lineholder for sharing Laura Ingraham’s article!

WhyNot on January 23, 2016 at 11:49 AM

Otherwise you’re nothing but a nattering nabob of negativity.

fossten on January 23, 2016 at 8:23 AM

Spiro, is that you?

bobthm3 on January 23, 2016 at 11:52 AM

By refusing to make room for these ideas within conservatism, NR risks creating the impression that the revolution brought about by George W. Bush — in particular, his belief in open borders, his effort to create a permanent U.S. military mission in the Middle East, and his notion that trade can never be regulated, no matter how unfair — is now a permanent part of conservatism that can never be questioned.

Devastatingly accurate.

Cleombrotus on January 23, 2016 at 1:56 PM

butch on January 23, 2016 at 11:19 AM

We all see the world through our own lens, butch, and I anticipated that some would seek to read into my statement what they chose.

Partisanship clouds the vision even of those who are ordinarily more perceptive, as does the smoke from the many burning bridges.

thatsafactjack on January 23, 2016 at 2:19 PM

The writers at National Review are a most odd curiosity. They think they are the Republican party’s and the nation’s savior. They even believe the party and the nation can’t do without them; has a passion for their guidance; moves in accordance with their ideology and predictions, yes,they think they will watch over the party and the nation and keep them out of trouble. They scurry about all important like and pontificate and screech dire warnings and think the party and the nation cares what they think or do, or even listens, like an ant thinking he can steer an elephant or like Aesop’s fly on the chariot wheel bragging: “Oh what a dust I raise!”

VorDaj on January 23, 2016 at 4:25 AM

Quite right. Journalists are spectators in the political game so what they think has limited bearing on what happens on the field.

NR is hardly a kingmaker. What this will do is spawn a new news cycle, but all their fine words will change very little. Which is the point: the magazine isn’t running a candidate or a campaign (are they?). Not good for their journalistic integrity (!).

virgo on January 23, 2016 at 8:35 PM

Assume Trump gets the GOP nomination. You have the following choices:

1. Not Vote
2. Vote for the Socialist candidate aka the Democrat
3. Vote for a third party candidate
4. Vote for Trump

Outcomes:

1. You have removed yourself from the discussion and not cancelled a vote for the socialist.
2. You are a communist/socialist/libtard so STFU.
3. You have wasted your vote on a candidate with no chance of being elected.

These serve to continue the the last eight years of Obozo hell and quite possibly bring us down to the next level of it a la Dante.

4. You vote to turn this ship of state around 180°.

National Review can give Trump a bj.

Bubba Redneck on January 23, 2016 at 11:51 PM

“So many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

WordsMatter on January 23, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Speaks volumes to how little confidence people have for politicians in general in the US.

lineholder on January 23, 2016 at 10:22 AM

A healthy distrust of politicians is a strength.
Look at the Obozobots.
Might as well put them in brown shirts and teach them how to goose step.

Bubba Redneck on January 23, 2016 at 11:54 PM