The headline question has been a subtext of the political debate since President Trump was elected four years ago. A number of one-time conservative icons answered in the negative – people such as former editor of The Standard Bill Kristol, George Will, National Review’s Jay Nordlinger, broadcaster Charlie Sykes and former White House advisor Kellyanne Conway hubby George Conway.
There is also that group of Republican establishmentarians who can go from right to left and back – like a metronome set on prestissimo. They claim to have once been principled conservatives, but their ideology at any moment is based on pragmatic personal advantage. This includes such characters as MSNBC favorites Susan Del Percio, Steve Schmidt, former Republican National Chairman Michael Steele and former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough.
Virtually all of the aforementioned individuals are endorsing the most radical left-wing policies in response to the election of Trump. Nordlinger and Sykes had a history with Bill Kristol at The Standard. Some of these Washington-based establishmentarians combined forces in “The Lincoln Project” – a false flag assemblage of Trump-hating former Republicans that includes Del Percio, Steele, Conway and others.
The attack of the apostates has intensified in these closing days of the campaign. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” recently featured several of these self-proclaimed conservatives – Including Del Percio, Nordlinger and Sykes – in a segment devoted to the future of conservatism. It is their contention that Trump has not only hijacked the Republican Party, but also the conservative movement. With unmitigated arrogance, these folks claim that they are the defenders of conservative principles while those of us still voting for Trump are members of a cult devoid of political philosophy.
Nordlinger advanced a more libertarian theory. He claims to be holding true to conservative principles even as he unofficially supports the election of the radical left agenda of former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris.
In an escape from logic, Nordlinger suggests that he is opposing the alleged cult-of-personality surrendering to Trump. He claims it is better to stick to principles than win an election. “if you lose, you lose,” he says. In his addled thinking, losing is winning?
OF course, if you are only willing to support a perceived perfect candidate, you will never win an election. And in the absence of perfection, you pledge your troth to the enemy of your ideals, you will have advanced the cause you purport to abhor.
In terms of ideology, it is usually a choice between the better and the lessor of candidates. The choice between Trump and Biden is not a happy one for me – just as the choice between Trump and Clinton was not. But they are easy choices because it pits mostly conservative policies against extreme progressive authoritarian policies.
They claim that conservatives like me – who will always support the MOST conservative candidate even if imperfect – are not true conservatives. In their most vicious attacks, we are deplorables. That makes no sense whatsoever. For all his faults, Trump has put two conservative justices on the Supreme Court – and a likely third in the near future. That would never have happened if all conservatives thought like these folks. And Trump is likely to get another one or two in a second term. Biden, on the other hand, would wipe out the conservative gains.
Trump has accomplished and advanced a number of longstanding conservative policies that establishment Republicans failed to achieve – such as deregulation, lower taxes, smaller federal bureaucracy, school choice, stronger military, legal immigration and much more on the conservative wish list.
Del Percio said that we should not just be fighting against Democrats and left-wingers — but rather to show that conservative ideas are different than the left. And to get people to vote for those ideas. Hmmmm. Isn’t that called “fighting against Democrats and left-wingers?” These folks are NOT fighting for conservative ideals. They are completely capitulating to the left and endorsing some of the most radical anti-conservative policies to come down the pike since … since … uh … ever.
These folks all use President Reagan as a reference point for good conservative governance. For sure, he was a much nicer person and a much better communicator. I love Reagan, but thanks to Democrat-controlled Congresses, he implemented fewer conservative policies than Trump.
The guests on “Morning Joe” were selected because they claim to represent traditional Republican and conservative values. Joe, himself, still claims to be a conservative. I would believe that right after they convince me that Hitler was an Orthodox Jew. They have no claim to be the guardians of conservative values when they endorse, support and promote those who represent the very antithesis of those values.
I have labored in the fields of conservatism for more than 50 years. The vast majority of my conservative friends and colleagues are sticking with Trump – even if they see it as a Hobson’s Choice.
In those early days, I was privileged to work with people like Ed Feulner, who went on to make the Heritage Foundation the most influential conservative think-tank in America; the late Paul Weyrich, who founded the Free Congress Foundation and was a co-founder of Heritage and American Legislative Exchange Council; and Dave Keene, who made CPAC the most powerful conservative action organization in America. These are people who maintained the highest conservative principles even as they advanced them with an appreciation of pragmatic politics. They might agree with Nordlinger that if you lose, you lose. It is just that they refused to accept loss as a high calling.
So why this handful of apostates we see given platforms on the anti-Trump alleged news programs? I can only assume that it is because they are not conservatives first. They are not Republicans first. They are Washington establishmentarians, who gain their power, prestige and profit by patronizing and fraternizing with fellow establishmentarians – regardless of political party or philosophy – and who are part of an entrenched ruling-class that has governed from the nation’s capital for generations.
Supporting the other side is not called principle by any measure. It is called selling out. And what better place for the sellouts to express their malignant opinions than on a television show named after the archbishop of apostasy, “Morning” Joe Scarborough.
So, to answer the headline question. Damn right we can … and we should … and we will.
So, there ‘tis.