I am but a humble messenger. It’s the millions of Trump supporters who are robustly delivering the message contained in the title of this article to the conservative elites.
But give credit where credit is due: The elites aren’t giving up. The National Review’s recent cover, “AGAINST TRUMP,” made that crystal clear. But it also made clear their exasperation in trying to keep Republican sheep from escaping their shut-up-and-do-what-you’re-told conservative prison — i.e., conservative as defined by the elites.
No less than twenty-two “prominent conservative leaders” endorsed the National Review’s tacky, juvenile attack on Trump. Most of the names on the list are unknown to the general public, but I feel obliged to comment briefly on just a few that are worth mentioning.
Glenn Beck. No one since the late Harry Browne made such an impact on my thinking as Glenn Beck did in the first year or so of his days at Fox News. I still believe Beck’s meteoric rise to fame is unparalleled in the history of television. I also still believe that he’s the most talented human being ever to appear on a TV screen.
So I take no joy in now seeing him as a pathetic, lost soul desperately trying to find a pathway to get his face back on the tube. He found out the hard way that while the number of people on the Internet dwarfs the number of viewers for even a highly rated television show, the Internet doesn’t have the same impact as TV — not even close.
I’ve been through all this Beck stuff in previous articles, so I won’t go into it in any detail here, except to say once again that I believe he is, like many alcoholics, driven to self-destruction. When he was on top of the world at Fox News, he projected an invincible image. Then, it seemed as though he became bored with his success and started losing his egomaniacal mind.
Beck still claims to be a libertarian (not a conservative, which makes it rather ironic that National Review chose to group him in with twenty-one “true conservatives”), but his words and actions have convinced me that the only ideology he really believes in is Beckism. As a result, what he thinks of Donald Trump is of no interest to millions of his ex-followers, let alone those who have always detested him — particularly (and, again, ironically) Republicans.
Brent Bozell. Bozell has done a lot of good for the cause of freedom, no question about it. But, like his late uncle, William F. Buckley, Jr., he’s a classic example of Republican snobbery, being abrasively dismissive of anyone he suspects of not embracing “conservative” orthodoxy. Like most establishment guys, he’s lived his whole life in such a cloistered little world that, for all his smarts, he doesn’t understand what everyday folks are thinking.
William Kristol. Ditto Bill Kristol, who is one of the most pompous, supercilious Republicans on the planet. Kristol has never met a liberal he didn’t like. His opinions mean nothing to the average voter, particularly anti-establishment voters. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has statuettes of Mitt Romney and Mush McCain on his bedroom dresser.
Cal Thomas. Thomas’s major contribution to the Republican brand of conservativism came in February 2013 when he publicly admonished Dr. Ben Carson, saying that the good doctor should apologize to Barack Obama for telling the truth about his destructive policies at the National Prayer Breakfast. His statement was a real jaw-dropper, and one that I believe helped catapult Carson into national fame and made him beloved by conservatives and libertarians alike.
Dana Loesch and Thomas Sowell. The two people on the National Review list about whom I cannot speak negatively are Dana Loesch and Thomas Sowell. Both are reasonable people and long-time freedom fighters whose opinions I highly respect.
Dana Loesch’s criticisms of Trump are both reasonable and understandable. She gets it — believe me, she gets it. It’s just that she respectfully disagrees with the people who believe Trump is the right choice for conservatives. Fair enough. No mudslinging involved.
As to Thomas Sowell, he is hands-down the greatest libertarian/conservative icon alive, and I agree with him when he says, “No doubt much of the stampede of Republican voters toward Mr. Trump is based on their disgust with the Republican establishment. It is easy to understand why there would be pent-up resentments among Republican voters. But are elections held for the purpose of venting emotions?”
As with Dana Loesch, I have no problem with Sowell’s evenhanded comments. But I would answer his rhetorical question by saying yes, elections are very much about venting emotions — actually, they are the best way to vent emotions.
Also, what Sowell — and Republicans of much lesser intellect than him — don’t get is that self-anointed conservatives hate Trump because he doesn’t pass their ideological purity test for conservativism. And what further gnaws away at them is that Trump doesn’t give a damn — and neither do his supporters.
For crying out loud, the so-called Republican establishment touted ultra-liberal Mush McCain as a conservative. But when given his chance to prove them right, he sheepishly refused to touch issues such as Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, Obama’s place of birth, his sealed college records, and the fact that he sported the most liberal voting record in the Senate.
The Republican establishment also believed that weak-kneed Mitt Romney was a staunch conservative, but when it came time to fight for conservative principles, he wet his pants and gave Barack Obama a pass on virtually everything. He wouldn’t even press him on his weakest area, Benghazi, which now, four years later, is an even bigger issue than it was in 2012.
The establishment guys also believe that statists like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul (Santa Claus) Ryan, Orrin Hatch, and Jeb Bush are conservatives, not to mention RINO-in-the-making Marco Rubio. With conservatives like these, who needs liberals? They do everything liberals do — and, in many ways, much better.
Where were all these “true conservatives” when the Republican-controlled House refused to defund Obamacare, even though most of its Republican members promised to do so if voters would just pull the lever for them? Or illegal immigration? Or not raising the debt ceiling again? Or the big-bank and GM bailouts? Or defunding Planned Parenthood?
Alert the media: This election is not about think-tank ideology! That’s right, it’s not an ideological purity test. People are angry, and they don’t want to be lectured about the importance of proving one’s conservative credentials — as defined by self-anointed conservative purists.
This election is about fumigating Washington. Think of Trump as an exterminator, not an ideologue. The ideological stuff makes for great debates within the walls of The Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation, but outside those walls the nation is in flames.
The National Review has every right to express its opinions and disseminate them far and wide. No problem with that. But no one should allow the twenty-two people listed on the cover of the National Review — or anyone else, for that matter — to decide for him or her who qualifies as a true conservative and who doesn’t. These guys wouldn’t know pure conservativism if it hit them in the face.
The takeaway message is this: Whether it’s conservatism or any other kind of belief — especially in the area of moral standards — never allow anyone else to decide what your definitions should be. Use your free will, your awareness, and your power of reason to construct your own belief system.
Then, put a “Keep Out” sign on your forebrain and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated into going along with someone else’s idea of right and wrong — especially when it comes to intellectuals and establishment types.