Countenancing Trump: a betrayal of conservatism? No


Ted CruzLet’s get one thing straight: my guy in the race is Ted Cruz. Let’s get another thing straight. I am a political conservative, through and through; a seal-the-borders, free market loving, union-hating, liberty-protecting, ordered-liberty, Constitution-venerating man. I believe America was (and just might be again) the greatest nation the world has ever seen or will ever see. I believe the Republic is in grave danger, and that if a Democrat or an Establishment Republican wins the presidency in 2016, then we will have descended too far down the slippery slope of government tyranny to ever recover.

I believe Edmund Burke was the most brilliant rubber-meets-the-road practical scholar that ever lived. I believe United States Constitution, fashioned by Burke’s disciple James Madison, is an enduring masterpiece, balancing the need to govern and defend the nation, while protecting a free people and their liberty from its own government. It was very effective in staving off the forces of tyranny for 220 years.

Question my conservative credentials all you want. Read my body of work, what you can find here, and at RedState before it went the way of the dodo bird. Among much else to measure me by, you’ll see my guys were Fred Thompson in 2008, and Rick Perry in 2012.

The question: Trump? Really? Trump????!?!?

I believe half of the 16-or-so declared candidates have no business running and should be punched in the face for doing so and cluttering up my field. A couple of the remainder (Bush and Kasich) are, like Fox News, wholly owned puppets of the GOP Establishment. I would kiss a Democrat on the lips before voting for either of them in the primary or the general election.

The remainder? A small handful of first-rate conservatives who are articulate, magnetic, and proven: Cruz, Cruz, Cruz, Cruz, Jindal, and marginally Rubio and Paul; articulate businesswoman Fiorina; an intriguing outsider in Carson; and bombastic billionaire Donald Trump.

A well-placed conservative political operative who I greatly respect put this question to us around the campfire at the Unified Patriots ranch — and if you’re thinking of the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles, you’re not far off the mark. The question (paraphrased):

Since, for the first time in ages, we have several super-high quality conservative candidates. How can a genuine movement conservative seriously contemplate supporting the bombastic, self-absorbed, gimmicky, caustic, and demonstrably non-conservative Donald Trump for president?

My answer: I might. I very well might.

Jim (we Unified Patriots ranch hands often call each other by first name), a good bit of this will be just repeating things already articulated by my UP brethren and sisters, but here are my thoughts on the phenomenon of The Donald, and why I find myself pleased by what I see, and grudgingly admitting to myself that if he won the nomination and the presidency, I would be quite optimistic about the whole turn of events.

And I think this is a given: if he were to be the GOP nominee, he would obliterate any Democrat I see on or near the playing field. Neither the Former First Shrew nor Witless Joe Biden would have a chance. This, without the GOP Establishment, K Street, Wall Street, Big Corporate, and the US Chamber of Commerce cabal lifting a finger or a dollar to help, and in fact probably doing their best to defeat him.

What we have been fighting for
For starters, let’s talk about what we (movement conservatives, patriots, America-lovers, Christians) have been looking for, and not finding, basically since Reagan, not just in a President or candidate, but in leaders in Congress too:

What we want most is what we have can’t seem to ever get. What we clamor for the most, is somebody who:

  • is a conservative down to the core, with conservative INSTINCTS. Not just reciting the platitudes, but having a love for country, for virtue, and for what made America great.
  • is willing to stand up and fight. Fight the media and the Democrats. Don’t take any crap from them, and hit them hard in return for their vile attacks.
  • is able and willing to make forceful, articulate, persuasive, humorous, gentle arguments for our views. Never apologize for being conservative and Constitutionalist.
  • will keep those promises, and govern the way he/she campaigns.
  • will stop, STOP, STOP!!!!!!!! what the damned Democrats are doing to this Republic.
  • will, and I repeat, because this is both the greatest need, and the thing we have the least of: tell the media, early and often, to go pound sand.

What we’ve gotten so far
In the years since about 2007, when most of us were starting to get active at some of the early and primitive right-wing websites, we’ve had a handful of potentials who could in some way address what we needed: Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and a few others. Starting in 2010, the Tea Party/Conservative movement sent veritable armies of Republicans to Congress who promised to stop Obamacare, stop judicial appointments of radicals, stop the spending explosion, get debt under control, stop regulatory overreach, and so on and so on. All but a fairly short handful of those went to DC and did none of that – either just cynically lied to get elected, or got summarily devoured by the GOP Establishment. At this point, I make no distinction between cowards and enemies. These people were elected by us to do a job. Now they are our enemies.

The fighters, the truth-tellers, the ones who went to Washington and MEANT IT, these have been our heroes, and we love them with a ferocity that knows no limits. But you can probably count their names on two hands.

The Obamanistas scaled up from poor governance and big spending to actively destroying the fabric of our Republic. The Republicans have not only acquiesced but abetted. All this against both the the Constitution but the plainly expressed will of the governed.

It’s no longer just conservatives who are frustrated and angry. Now the entire country is starting to comprehend that the wheels are falling off of the culture, the economy, our standing in the world, and the simple basic fabric of law and order. Everybody can see we are headed to hell in a handbasket, Except apparently for the GOPe quislings. The commie media works tirelessly to put the best face on it (and the worst face on conservatives), but their act wears thin.

So candidates Cruz, Jindal, the erstwhile Walker and Perry, and to some extent Rubio and Paul, are carrying the banner. They are believable and credible banner-carriers. Cruz especially shows himself to be articulate, agile, and resilient against the hack media. These are worthy guys, and in my opinion both Cruz and Rubio have a legitimate shot at winning the nomination, even now after Trump has seemingly taken charge in the race.

Trump “goes there”
trump-eagleSo, if I may, that’s the backdrop. And into this, Trump has parachuted in, and quite unexpectedly to anybody, caught fire. Trump is not a movement conservative, and some of the things we hold dear, he has not the slightest interest in. He has a history of supporting leftists, and he’s pretty loose with his mouth about taxing “the rich.” He’s gimmicky. But still…

He is utterly unfazed by media criticism. Add to that, he gets gigged for being very personally disrespectful and disdainful of certain public figures. But have you noticed exactly who he is disrespectful to? It’s not Joe and Suzy Public. It’s media clowns like Megyn Kelly, whose contribution to the election cycle I cannot distinguish from that of Brian Williams. These people richly deserve a comeuppance. Their whining and swooning from “the vapors” over Trump’s criticisms are impressive but I don’t think the public is sympathetic to them at all. Trump bags on Huma Weiner. He bags on people who are considered “untouchable.” Why are they untouchable? Because they are media and Democrats. He tilts at these towers, these citadels of Dem-Media power, where they have succeeded for generations in convincing Repubs they could not “go there.”

Trump Goes There.

On another front, his instincts about the economy are certainly not conservative, but I think they end up in the same place. Regulation = bad. Government-run anything = bad. Democrat-proposed anything = bad. Trump is not conservative, but he is practical. And conservatism is practical. I think upon pondering, that many conservatives can see how much overlap there would be between Trumpism and conservatism. You have this guy, brash, bold, and fearless, and he is interested in demolishing the huge regulatory state. Dude, I’m for it, purely on the basis of “the Democrats and Statists did it, and he wants to put an end to it.”

I simply cannot believe he has caught fire like he has. That’s just crazy. But I think the root of it is that he has gleefully attacked the media, defied the status quo, and has no interest in coloring inside the lines and saying “yes massah” to the media bullies, just because that is what a Republican must do.

It’s somewhat intriguing that The Donald seems to have support from many fronts that we don’t consider allies or fellow travelers. I don’t think I have settled in my mind what I think of that.

So Jim, this is not really a coherent essay. It’s just a summary of how I think we got here, and why I’m at least interested in Trump and don’t view potential support for him as a sellout to my conservative principles.

He fights. He has no fear of the Democrats or the Media.

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E Pluribus Unum
The weapons had evolved, but our orders remained the same: Hunt them down and kill them off, one by one. A most successful campaign. Perhaps too successful. For those like me, a Death Dealer, this signaled the end of an era. Like the weapons of the previous century, we, too, would become obsolete.

Pity, because I lived for it.
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The weapons had evolved, but our orders remained the same: Hunt them down and kill them off, one by one. A most successful campaign. Perhaps too successful. For those like me, a Death Dealer, this signaled the end of an era. Like the weapons of the previous century, we, too, would become obsolete. Pity, because I lived for it.

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October 17, 2015 6:35 am

Preach it brother! would there be a Trump if the GOP were a conservative OPPOSITION Party? no there wouldn’t be!

October 17, 2015 10:44 am

You have captured it. The intersection of enterprise, patriotism and conservatism is a point called “freedom”, and millions of Americans are yearning to be “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we’re going to be free at last!”

October 17, 2015 4:52 pm

I really don’t care that Trump isn’t a conservative. I want someone who can get the job done right with a minimal amount of time and expense. Face it, there’s no once else in the R field who can even come close to him. Yea he’s brash. So what. That’s what we need. Someone who can think on their feet without putting their foot in their mouth. (Biden) We’ve seen Union peeps, Latinos and blacks get giddy over Trump. Something not seen with other R candidates. I’ll go on record saying I hope he gets the nomination. And yes, I… Read more »


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October 18, 2015 12:29 pm

This post really makes the conservative case for Trump. Politics is a directional business, and Trump’s willingness to take on and BEAT the governing establishment classes will produce a badly needed change of course for America. That makes ideological purity and bona fides less important.

October 19, 2015 6:46 am

Great analysis EPU. The core conservatism of America has always been citizen-conservatism, and which ran America well into the 20th century when Big government liberalism was still trying to find basement windows to sneak into out homes. Intellectual conservatism, as once practiced by Buckley et al, and now pipsqueaks like Jonah, EE, and Diaper gang, was always a garnishment to that original citizen tap root. Each generation has distanced itself from the tap root, so that now the GOP establishment doesn’t want to dirty its hands with them (70% of the country) nor sadly, now, the neo- intellectuals of the… Read more »

Lady Penguin
October 19, 2015 10:34 am

Professor Jacobson’s (Legal Insurrection) article: My concluding sentence in a comment in the post: “There are many of us who pretty much rather see a Martian in the WH at this point than a Democrat or Establishment GOP person.” I’m fairly certain that we’re on the same page, EPU, regarding our conservatism. Probably can’t get much more “conservative” than the way I think which is often considered “old-fashioned.” But both my husband and I find Trump refreshing and every time he blasts the malignant media, the Establishment GOP, and the Democrats…we feel hopeful once again. All we’ve had is… Read more »