Conservative magazine National Review marketed a special issue today devoted to the destruction of Donald Trump’s campaign to win the Republican nomination for president. The issue’s cover features ornate, three dimensional appearance, gold lettering in relief that proclaims “Against Trump”. The lettering sits on a royal purple background underneath a cluster of golden leaves and blooms. The magazine amassed the cogitations of 22 conservative purists who denounced Trump as a faux conservative who would destroy conservatism, the Republican Party, and these United States.
The issue “hit” news stands today and was previewed yesterday by news outlets like CNN and Fox News. One source described National Review’s circulation as limited and has having fallen since 2010.
As volcanoes vomit lava, so the editors and the contributors enlisted to pen essays for the magazine spewed sulfur from their bellies at Trump and anyone who supports his candidacy.
During an interview Friday morning with Martha MacCallum on Fox News’s America’s Newsroom, conservative L. Brent Bozell called Trump a “shameless self-promoter and huckster.”
The Editors described Trump as “a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot on behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.”
Mona Charen lists a litany of sins that cry to conservative heaven for vengeance and asks “whether [Trump’s] recent impersonation of a conservative is just another role he’s playing.”
Their answer to the question of who should be the Republican nominee for president is, by and large, Ted Cruz; yes, that Ted Cruz, the gargoyle of gridlock that his Republican colleagues hate.
Within the criticisms one can detect hypocrisy, snobbery, and a destitution of pragmatism.
As a voter, I don’t care about strict ideology. I tend to be conservative, socially and fiscally, but I want policies that will achieve efficiency, profitability, and strength. I am not against all social programs. I want to take home as much of my check as I can, but I can support some programs if they achieve a civic benefit and am willing to be taxed for them. And I understand that there are many Americans who disagree with me, so I cannot in good conscience say my ideology always owns the answer for every challenge. Compromise is necessary, not as an evil, but as a good, a give and take that makes allowances for everyone and achieves vital goals. The last seven years we have seen what a failure to compromise reaps: virtually nothing. The gridlock that Cruz and these conservative purists stand for will keep us chained, enslaved to polarity.
American government should work for Americans and their benefit. “Free trade”, which benefits a few investors and robs Americans of jobs, isn’t free. It costs workers tons. It costs them their livelihoods, their ability to feed and shelter their wives and kids, their self-esteem, and the respect of those who don’t suffer as they do. They are our neighbors, our fellow citizens, not objects on a philosophical landscape. Yet greed stylized as a “principle” insists that investors make a few cents more on a share of stock in a year, even if it means several hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of their fellow citizens lose their $30- or $40,000 a year livelihood!
No “conservative principle” nor “liberal principle” should dictate how a president or congressman governs, but rather a constitutional pragmatism. The Constitution does not call for the employment and application of “conservative principles” or “liberal principles”. It calls for the formation of a more perfect Union, the establishment of Justice, the insurance of domestic Tranquility, provision for the common defense, the promotion of the general Welfare, and the securing of the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our Posterity. The government should make these their goals to accomplish, honoring and promoting the rights of the people, collectively and individually, along the way.
Because they enjoy the right to speak and write freely, the Sanhedrin of conservative purity may say what it wants. We do not have to give it permission to define conservatism for us nor to accept any of the principles upon which it insists for good government.
When it makes claims, however, the soundness of those claims should pass muster with our Reason. Let’s examine a few bits.
Bozell claims Trump is a shameless self-promoter and huckster. One fails to see how that designation does not apply to any candidate in the race for the presidency. Each and every one of them is promoting themselves. They always spotlight what they have done or said that achieved good or constancy while turning the lights off on the bad or inconstancy they achieved. Their self-promotion includes the derogation of those who are running against them. They aggressively sell themselves and do so by ridiculing their opponents, all hyperbolically.
Bozell’s claim has little more than its colorful wording.
Similarly, the Editors’ claim that Trump is trampling underfoot conservatism and its works with a crude, heedless populism belies the fact that the people who comprise that populism are thoroughly disgusted with the political establishment and the ideological purists who haunt it. Actually, it is the conservative and the liberal ideologues, stuck in a perpetual tug of war based on their ideas instead of the people, who have given birth to the populism the National Review finds so threatening. Ideology in Washington has bred inefficiency because of its tolerance for polarity and its intolerance for compromise, despite the fact that statistics show the country split into thirds.
From what I can see on the web, the percentage of Americans who identify as conservatives runs between 35 and 40%. The percentage of Americans who identify as moderates runs about 35%. The percentage of Americans who identify as liberals runs between 20 and 25%. Presumably, those left over do not identify with any ideology.
Those are generalities. People likely shift their ideological identification based on the issue presented to them, and their concerns are likely pragmatic. How many governing conservatives decry welfare but want states to offer businesses incentives to relocate there, a form of corporate welfare, and a slap in the face to businesses already there? Don’t “right-to-work” laws diminish the free market by crippling a worker’s ability to compete? Aren’t workers a part of the supply and demand equation? How many conservatives are fiscally so but socially not and stand with the pro-abortionists, even though faith and science declare that life begins at conception and the Declaration lists the order of predominance as “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”?
Liberal ideologues are no better, and while many have led the fight to prevent “legislating morality”, they engage in it themselves, crafting “hate” laws and compelling people to pay for other peoples’ insurance and thrusting gay marriage on a nation through endless nagging and condemnation. It’s laughable until it becomes murderous: Hillary boasts of her defense of women, yet her support for the legalized murder of the unborn has exterminated the lives of millions of women!
Where were conservative purists when illegal aliens began crossing the border to satisfy their needs and the greed of Big Agriculture for cheap, sometimes slave, labor? Now they want to expel the illegals and offer no pathway to citizenship, after winking and looking the other way for decades!?
I suppose somewhere sometime a conservative columnist or two may have raised the issue over illegal immigration in what they wrote, but what did conservative purists do?
Nothing! If only they had made as big a stink back then as they are now about Trump! It’s easy to denounce another. Why don’t you denounce yourselves for your failures, conservative purists!?
The answer is simple: Everyone compromises. You can throw ideological purity out the window like dirty water or three-days old coffee. That’s where it belongs, just like the condemnation of Trump!
It’s time to be constitutional. It’s time to be pragmatic. It’s time to get things done. Let Trump’s desire to win, his respect for the common citizen, his ability to negotiate, and his efficiency, productivity, and profitability work for us and our country.
The “purists” have had their chances the last seven years and failed miserably. Let them sit in their plush leather chairs on thickly carpeted floors behind closed doors to sip cognac, puff on cigars, and fume about the lack of ideological purity amid the smoky wisps.
Keep them there!