Category Archive 'Conservatism'
09 Sep 2017

Woke Conservatives

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Kurt Schlichter says conservatives are now woke and recognize that a lot of Republicans have a standard operating procedure of double-crossing us.

“Oh, George W. Bush was a true conservative!” Good guy, yes, but he brought us two unwon wars (only one of necessity) and “compassionate conservatism.” Of course, “compassion” always means that normal people get another rock in their ruck. Then there was John McCain, who lied to our faces on Obamacare’s repeal so more Senate hacks wouldn’t have to go on record doing so. And last, and arguably least, there’s Mitt Romney, Mr. Thank-You-Candy-May-I-Have-Another, who never misses a chance to virtue signal for the benefit of the same people who said he gave someone cancer. Oh, and their bright idea for 2016? Jeb! He was an act of love upon us normals all right.

See, we’re done. We’re woke and feeling about you hacks just like you feel about us. Think about that. The clock is ticking. Look at Jeff Flake. At this point, I don’t even care if his opponent, somewhere down the road, will have to deny being a witch. In fact, his primary opponent could get up at the first debate in a sweatshirt reading “PROUD HOGWARTS GRAD,” wave a wand, announce without irony that “The sorting hat assigned me to Hufflepuff!” and I’d still send her money. Because even if she was crazy (and she’s not – she seems like a very nice lady who actually believes in conservative stuff ), she would still be a million times better than that back-stabbing, braying doofus she’s running against. Heck, she’s already crushing the Arizona squish into utter squishiness in the polls – think of what she could do with some spells.

The GOP establishment will never learn, partly from denial and partly because a lot of its members are kind of dumb. For example, that smarmy dope Paul Ryan, when he isn’t trying to make sure foreigners are treated better than Americans, is still pushing the moronic “You could do your taxes on a postcard!” hack cliché when, of course, everyone knows that all those extra pages are filled with the deductions that make people who work pay less. I’ll toss my taxes to my accountant and keep my home mortgage, charitable, and state tax deductions instead of losing them so big GOP donors can pocket some more dough – thanks though, Passive Paul! Postcard taxes – sheesh, 1996 called and it wants its total defeat back.

Look normals, we’re in for the long haul here – hopefully not one that ends violently for our divided country, which it absolutely could. Those are the stakes, and that is why we can’t just walk away from this game. We can’t hide and wait it out. We either get in there and win or we lose everything. Step One was getting woke. Step Two was electing Trump. Step Three is regulating the Republicans. Slowly and surely, we’re going to need to purge these punks from our team.

RTWT

The Establishment GOP elected George W. Bush who threw away our political advantage and elected Obama. The Establishment GOP nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney who couldn’t beat Obama. We have them the White House and both houses of Congress and they still wouldn’t kill Obamacare.

What choice do we have? We have to go with the Alt-Right over them.

22 Oct 2016

The 2016 Crisis in Conservatism in Perspective

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Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr.

Matthew Continetti, in a must-read essay, reviews the often-fraught relationship between mainstream intellectual Movement Conservatism and its populist New Right allies.

Republicans have walked this tightrope for decades. When the party has integrated the issues, goals, and tactics of the New Right into its campaigns, it has been remarkably successful. Think 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1994, 2010, and 2014. But there also have been signs, on the presidential level most clearly, that the alliance with populism is bringing diminishing returns. The GOP is on the brink of losing the popular vote in six out of seven presidential elections despite its current nominee running precisely the type of campaign the New Right has wanted to see for years. And this election is likely to return to office a Republican House majority that is more anti-Establishment, more hostile to compromise, more suspicious of institutions and elites than the one we have today.

This is the crisis of the conservative intellectual. After years of aligning with, trying to explain, sympathizing with the causes, and occasionally ignoring the worst aspects of populism, he finds that populism has exiled him from his political home. He finds the détente between conservatism and populism abrogated. His models—Buckley, Burnham, Will, Charles Murray, Yuval Levin—are forgotten, attacked, or ignored by a large part of the conservative infrastructure they helped to build. He finds the prospect of a reform conservatism that adds to our strengths while ameliorating our weaknesses to be remarkably dim. …

From the Panama Canal to the Tea Party, from Phyllis Schlafly to Sarah Palin, the conservative intellectual has viewed the New Right as a sometimes annoying but ultimately worthy friend. New Right activists supplied the institutions, dollars and votes that helped the conservative intellectual reform tax, crime, welfare, and legal policy. But that is no longer the case. Donald Trump was the vehicle by which the New Right went from one part of the conservative coalition to the dominant ideological tendency of the Grand Old Party. …

Trump deploys New Right symbols and tropes. His antagonism toward the Eastern establishment is obvious. …

Immigration, which emerged as a social issue at the turn of the twenty-first century, was key to Trump’s success. So was his role as outsider, independent critic of the rigged system, scold of elites, avatar of reaction. The apocalyptic predictions, the dichotomy between makers and takers, even the idea of seizing Arab territory and “taking the oil” comes straight from Bill Rusher’s 1975 Making of the New Majority Party. The relentless hostility toward the media, both liberal and heterodox conservative, the accusation that it, the government, and the financial sector is engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Hillary Clinton, the denigration of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the appeal to supporters of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, the charge that the “global power structure” has “stripped” manufacturing towns “bare and raided the wealth for themselves”—this is adversarianism in its purest, most conspiratorial, most totalistic form.

The attacks on National Review, on George Will, on conservatives with elite educations, on conservatives granted legitimacy by mainstream institutions is a replay of the New Right rhetoric of the 1970s. Names have been added to the list of Republicans in Name Only, of false, cuckolded conservatives, but the battle lines are the same. On the one hand are the effete intellectuals based on the East Coast, shuttling up and down the Acela corridor, removed from the suffering of the average American, ignorant of the social issues, amenable to social engineering, fat and happy on a diet of foundation grants, magazine sinecures, think tank projects, speaking engagements. On the other are the blue-collar radio and television hosts with million-dollar contracts, the speechwriter for Wall Street banks who uses a pseudonym to cast aspersions on the feckless conservative elite, the billionaire-supported populist website that attacks renegade Jews, the bloggers and commenters and trolls estranged from power, from influence, from notoriety, from relevance, fueled by resentment, lured by the specter of conspiracy, extrapolating terrifying and chiliastic scenarios from negative but solvable trends.

It is the same discourse, the same methods, the same antinomianism, the same reaction to demographic change and liberal overreach that we encountered in the 1970s. The difference is that Donald Trump is so noxious, so unhinged, so extremist in his rejection of democratic norms and political convention and basic manners that he has untethered the New Right politics he embodies from the descendants of William F. Buckley Jr.

The triumph of populism has left conservatism marooned, confused, uncertain, depressed, anxious, searching for a tradition, for a program, for viability. We might have to return to the beginning to understand where we have ended up.

Read the whole thing.

05 Oct 2016

The East Coast-West Coast Schism in Conservatism

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harryjaffaallanbloom1
Harry Jaffa — Allan Bloom

Jeet Heer has an interesting article, in the New Republic, on the coastal divide between Straussians.

Charles Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, wrote in the spring issue of the journal that America may be facing “the Weimar problem”: “Has the national culture, popular and elite, deteriorated so much that the virtues necessary to sustain republican government are no longer viable? America is not there yet, although when 40% of children are born out of wedlock it is not too early to wonder.” It’s no accident that this question is raised in an essay making case that Donald Trump isn’t as terrible as mainstream conservatives like William Kristol fear he is. If you live in the Weimar Republic, Kesler implicitly argues, a figure like Trump could come as a relief.

A similar mood of crisis was voiced by Angelo Codevilla, a retired professor of international relations, in a recent online essay for the Review. Codevilla argues that regime change of a terrible kind has already occurred, with the American elite destroying what was great about the country. By this account, America needs a new revolution. Codevilla supports Trump but fears that he’s not up to the task of revolutionary change required:

    In fact, the United States of America was great because of a whole bunch of things that now are gone. Yes, the ruling class led the way in personal corruption, cheating on tests, lowering of professional standards, abandoning churches and synagogues for the Playboy Philosophy and lifestyle, disregarding law, basing economic life on gaming the administrative state, basing politics on conflicting identities, and much more. But much of the rest of the country followed. What would it take to make America great again—or indeed to make any of the changes that Trump’s voters demand? Replacing the current ruling class would be only the beginning.

Kesler and Codevilla are West Coast Straussians, one of two rival factions of intellectuals who revere Leo Strauss, the German-born political philosopher who died in 1973. Whereas East Coast Straussians have been heavily oriented towards establishment Republicans like George W. Bush, and thus tend to be #NeverTrump—Kristol’s Weekly Standard has been sharply anti-Trump and Paul Wolfowitz has said he might vote for Hillary Clinton—there’s considerable support for Trump among West Coast Straussians. They justify their support of Trump by saying that America is in such deep trouble it needs regime change. To borrow a Trumpian phrase: “What do you have to lose?”

In these West Coast Straussians we see the emergence, for the first time since the Southern secessionists of the 1850s, of a group of conservative American intellectuals who advocate overthrowing the existing political order. Under Bush, Americans saw what Straussian ideas of regime change could do abroad. Under Trump, we might see the same urge for regime change applied to America itself. …

After Leo Strauss died in 1973, his followers divided into two factions, creating the infamous “Crisis of the Strauss Divided.” And the best way to understand the divide between West Coast and East Coast Straussians is through the quarrel between Harry Jaffa and Allan Bloom, who were the respective heads of the rival schools. …

The disputes between Jaffa’s West Coast Straussianism and Bloom’s East Coast Straussianism can be discussed along philosophic lines: Is America, as Jaffa believes, grounded in ancient philosophy or was the American founding, as Bloom would have it, built on the low but solid ground of early modern philosophers like Hobbes and Locke? Does the survival of America depend on the virtue of the people, as West Coast Straussians believe, or in the maintenance of constitutional norms, as East Coast Straussians believe? But the dispute can also more easily be understood in terms of the familiar social divide in the Republican Party. West Coast Straussians are the grassroots activists, grounded in social conservatism and ultra-nationalist in foreign policy. Sociologically, East Coast Straussians are more aligned with the party elite, and tend to be found in Washington think tanks and serving as career bureaucrats.

Read the whole thing.

I’m not a Straussian myself, but the nomination of Donald Trump has certainly similarly divided me from a long-time blogging kindred spirit who, coincidentally perhaps, lives on the West Coast, and many others.

I’d say, “If you live in the Weimar Republic,” you had better be pretty damned careful about allying with the ignorant and resentful mob to put into power a demagogic populist and narcissistic strongman determined to supplant previous legitimate sources of leadership and authority and contemptuous of traditional ethics as well as of constraint on the basis of theory and ideas. They elected somebody of the sort in 1932 in the real Weimar Republic, and the results were not pretty.

20 Sep 2016

The Conservative Dilemma

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dancingglacierpoint

Escapism is laudable, perhaps the only truly honorable course for humane men — but only for them. Those who remain in the world, if they will not surrender on its terms, must maneuver within its terms. That is what conservatives must decide: how much to give up in order to survive at all: how much to give up in order not to give up the basic principles. And, of course, that results in a dance along a precipice. Many will drop over, and always, the cliff dancers will hear the screaming curses of those who fall, or be numbed by the sullen silence of those, nobler souls perhaps, who will not join the dance.

–Whittaker Chambers, Odyssey of a Friend, p.83.

22 Jul 2016

GOP Nominates a Liberal Democrat This Year

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TrumpUgly3

Ben Shapiro has some choice words about what the Republican Party has done.

The irony of Donald Trump’s nomination for president of the United States is that the same establishment that he supposedly opposes has been praying for a candidate of his ilk for decades: a social leftist, a secular materialist, a big government activist. In other words, the establishment has drooled about nominating a Democrat for years.

They finally did it.

Trump’s new Republican Party has nothing to do with the Constitution or conservatism – he mentioned the Constitution one time this week, conservatism zero times, freedom one time, liberty zero times, the unborn zero times, God zero times, and himself some 83 times. As he said, America is broken and “I alone can fix it.”

Trump promises to fix your problems; Hillary promises to fix your problems. Freedom means fixing your own damn problems. It’s their job to get government out of your way.

Or at least that used to be the conservative line.

No longer, in Trumpservative America.

Read the whole thing.

20 May 2016

The Losing Fight With Entropy

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At Ricochet, the King Prawn is simultaneously pessimistic and consolatory.

Even by the time of the formal creation of the governmental structure employed in this nation we had already started on a long downward slope, pulled inevitably through decline and toward destruction by the great weight of human nature. This trend should come as no surprise to conservatives because we have studied history. We know that from the pinnacle of our founding everything else would be downhill. At the close of the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin said:

    In these Sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

The cry for socialism and despotism has been long coming, but not unforeseen. The problem for Franklin wasn’t that we had created an inadequate government but rather we would become an inadequate people. He was right. He looked to the past and saw what had gone before, then looking to the future he foretold what would be the fate of this nation.

While arguing in favor of our new form of government even its most ardent supporters feared the havoc which would be wreaked by those entrusted with power. As James Madison stated it in Federalist 51:

    But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. [emphasis mine]

We could imagine the founders would be shocked if they saw the state of our nation and our people today, but I doubt they would find it so surprising that we proved them wholly correct. Government is a reflection of human nature, and the government we have (and are about to get) reflects perfectly the character of those who inhabit this nation and make up a majority of the votes cast. We elected a despot with his pen and his phone because we’ve become incapable of electing any other kind of leader. In a few short months we’ll elect another, only this time our choices are limited to an even more corrupt and criminal politician or a conman who promises to be an even more effective despot than the last. Neither candidate sees as the problem the concentration of power in one branch or one person. They believe the only flaw is the concentration of power in the wrong person.

I said in the beginning that conservatism acts as merely an anchor. Some may see the nation foundering on the rocks of human nature and believe that conservatism has failed. It has not. In any other time or place the crash would have come sooner, the destruction more violently, the catastrophe more severe. We’ve done the job well, and we will continue to do what we can until the whole thing comes apart, or until the chain breaks and we lie useless on the bottom as the nation sails unhindered across the seas of time to its inevitable end.

Read the whole thing.

19 May 2016

Why Trump Cannot Be Identified Ideologically

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TrumpPolicyShifts

19 May 2016

Reminding Trump Supporters: Trump Is Not a Conservative

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TrumpWry

Gerard van der Leun yesterday reached down into a comment thread at to pull out this pearl of wisdom from artfldgr:

Remind me again where Trump, at least currently, is not a conservative?

Taxes, check.
Deficit, check.
Immigration, check.
Sanctuary cities, check.
Strong defense, check.
Supreme Court, check.
Veterans, check.
Common core, check.
Iran deal, check.
Israel, check.
Healthcare, check.
Pro-life, check….
Oh, yes, Planned Parenthood.

Taxes ? Healthcare? Trump is on the record on both sides on nearly all of these issues but, although he does talk about reducing some taxes on businesses and lowering the top tax rate, he has also been promising to raise taxes on the wealthy, and he has, more decisively than on any other issue than the Wall, come out for single-payer Universal Health Care. “I’m going to take care of everybody. … The government’s gonna pay for it.” (Breitbart)

Immigration? Well, Trump plans to build that ridiculous and symbolically-atrocious Wall, and I believe he would probably do that, but he also (unrealistically) has promised to deport 12 million people. The vision of weeping women and crying children being herded at bayonet-point to deportation cattle cars probably does please some of the Alt-Right Nativist crowd, but artfldgr is overlooking the fact that Trump has also, in the course of making those promises, repeatedly also promised that “the good ones,” i.e. the illegal immigrants lacking criminal records, would be allowed to return on “an expedited basis.” (Hot Air)

Pro-Life? Planned Parenthood? Well, the old, pre-presidential candidate Donald Trump was a basically religion-free, high-living playboy, who was, as of 1999, “very pro-choice” and probably a donor to Planned Parenthood. (On the Issues) What with running for the GOP nomination and all that The Donald “has evolved.” But he hasn’t evolved so much that he did not have five different positions on abortion in three days.

The argument that Trumpshirts most commonly employ in demanding that more discriminating conservatives should fall in line and start supporting Trump has to do with the alleged superiority of his Supreme Court appointments to Hillary’s, and just yesterday Trump released a list. That list was a good list, but… did that list really mean anything?

Ilya Somin, this morning, responded, pointing out that you just cannot trust Donald Trump about those appointments, any more than you can trust him on anything else:

I see little cause for rejoicing. That’s because there is little reason to believe that Trump will actually stick to the list. A list released as an obvious campaign ploy is a far less compelling indication of Trump’s intentions than his many years of commitment to using the power of government to censor his critics, and trampling on constitutional property rights. Just last week, he threatened to use the IRS to harass the owner of the Washington Post if that paper continues to cover him in ways he dislikes. Unlike on many other questions, on these two Trump has been remarkably consistent since long before he ran for president. Trump also plans to undermine the Constitution in numerous other ways.

When he discovers that most, if not all, the people on the list would be at odds with his longstanding commitments, a President Trump could decide to nominate other jurists, who are more in line with his own longstanding preferences. And he could easily find any number of excuses for deviating from the list.

Longstanding commitments count for more as an indication of Trump’s (or any candidate’s) real intentions than campaign ploys. Moreover, as co-blogger Orin Kerr points out, Trump admits that the list is not a true commitment but merely one that he plans to use as a “guide” because it is “representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value.” A “plan” to use the list as a “guide” is not the same thing as a commitment to choose only people whose names appear on the list.

In sum, we should not be fooled. Trump’s list is not a true commitment, and it does not outweigh a consistent record of opposing important constitutional rights and limitations on government power. There is still every reason for principled advocates of limited government to continue to oppose Trump.

Strong Defense? Under Trump, it’ll be Yuge. It’ll be the greatest, the absolutely best Defense. Trump will have a wonderful Defense. After all, he was sent as a teenager to military school, and he has the equivalent of combat experience, he has assured us:

Draft-dodger Donald Trump once said that the danger he faced from getting sexually transmitted diseases was his own “personal Vietnam.”

In a 1997 interview with shock jock Howard Stern, Trump talked about how he had been “lucky” not to have contracted diseases when he was sleeping around.

“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era,” Trump said in a video that resurfaced Tuesday on Buzzfeed, “It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

Some may be uneasy, of course, entrusting Defense decisions to a guy who doesn’t actually know what the nuclear triad is.

Israel? Well, Trump has doubtless promised to be a friend to Israel. (He certainly is not going to offend Jewish voters in New York City.) But… Trump has also associated himself with Isolationism, and invoked the (thoroughly discredited) pre-WWII America First movement. There obviously a certain large quantity of historical illiteracy at work here, but that kind of talk was quite adequate to alarm a large number of US allies (Reuters) including Israel (Haaretz).

Basically, when you come right down to it, Trump has been on both sides of most issues. Trump has only the dimmest understanding of policy issues. Trump is poorly educated, not well-informed, and un-intellectual by temperament. Trump is unprincipled. He values fame, money, and success, and he is indifferent to ideology and ideas. Trump is very, very obviously extremely selfish and the crassest kind of pragmatist. He isn’t conservative, because he isn’t anything in the political ideology department. He is just for Trump. If he slipped into office, Donald Trump would have a great time. He’d bang more White House interns than Bill Clinton ever did, possibly occasionally on live television. He would feather his own nest, and he’d do things for people in a position to assist him or the Trump Empire.

He would probably forget everything on artfldgr’s list the morning after the Inauguration, and when it came time to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, he’d be about as likely to name his sister, former Apprentice Omarosa, Judge Judy, or Kim Kardashian as anybody on the list some right-wing expert drafted for him to release yesterday. By then, Trump will have forgotten all about that list and lost the original copy. He will have completely different fish to fry, and he will no longer need your vote. Once he no longer needs you, the Art of the Deal says you are irrelevant.

16 May 2016

Does Academia Discriminate Against Conservatives?

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WilliamHSimon
William H. Simon, Columbia Law

Nicholas Kristof recently editorialized on liberal arrogance and the general absence of conservative opinion in Academia:

We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives.

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us. ..

I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.

“Much of the ‘conservative’ worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,” said Carmi.

“The truth has a liberal slant,” wrote Michelle.

“Why stop there?” asked Steven. “How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?” …

To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

If anybody doubted that Kristof had a point, this particular letter-to-the-editor in response from a snotty self-complacent Columbia Law professor provides excellent confirmatory evidence. All you under-educated and wealthy out there take heed!

To the Editor: Nicholas Kristof exaggerates the problem of liberal bias in the academy. It is not the job of the university to represent all the views held in the surrounding society. The commitment to critical inquiry requires it to disfavor some views based on religious dogma, social convention or superstition. The goal of a community of mutual respect requires it to disfavor others, including those that are explicitly racist, misogynist or homophobic. Such views can be expressed in the university, but it is not a cause for concern that academics do not espouse them in their teaching and research. Much of the disparity between views in the academy and in the Republican Party is attributable to their varying social bases. Academics tend to be educated and middle class. The current Republican Party is constituted disproportionately of the undereducated and the wealthy.

That education leads people to different views is neither surprising nor, on its face, disturbing. And if it is a problem that the views of rich people are underrepresented in the academy, they have had little trouble making up for this disadvantage in the media and the political system.

WILLIAM H. SIMON

Stanford, Calif.

The writer is a professor at Columbia Law School.

05 Mar 2016

When You Listen to Trump, You’re Hearing Roy Cohn Talking

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McCarthy&Cohn

So, where did Donald Trump learn his distinctive and bizarre political style of crude, unlimited aggression? Who taught Donald to how to throw his opponents off their stride by confusing them by breaking all the rules?

Olivia Nuzzi says that The Donald learned how to win by being a complete ******* from the master, flamboyant attorney and anti-communist attack dog (who exposed commies with Joe McCarthy and sent Ethel Rosenberg to the chair) the Left’s all-time ultimate bête noire Roy Cohn.

Donald Trump’s brash and bullying style was learned at the heel of Roy Cohn, one of America’s most infamous lawyers.

They met at Le Club, a private disco on the Upper East Side frequented by Jackie Kennedy, Al Pacino, and Diana Ross, according to Trump: The Saga of America’s Most Powerful Real Estate Baron. Donald Trump, the young developer, quickly amassing a fortune in New York real estate and Roy Cohn, America’s most loathed yet socially successful defense attorney who had vaulted to infamy in the 1950s while serving as legal counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The friendship they forged would provide the foundation for Trump’s eventual presidential campaign. And in hindsight, it serves as a tool for understanding Donald Trump the Candidate, whose bumper sticker-averse declarations—undocumented Mexican immigrants are “criminals” and “rapists”; Senator John McCain is “not a war hero”—have both led him to the top of the Republican primary polls and mistakenly convinced many that he is a puzzle unworthy of solving. It may appear that way, but Trump isn’t just spouting off insults like a malfunctioning sprinkler system—he’s mimicking what he learned some 40 years ago.

A longtime friend of Trump’s who was introduced to the candidate by Cohn told me it’s a shame that Cohn’s not alive to see the chaos his protégé has wrought.

“He would have just loved what’s going on right now,” the friend said. “Roy liked upsetting the establishment.”

Read the whole thing.

Well, what do you know? Maybe Donald Trump really does have a certain kind of conservative roots, after all.

28 Feb 2016

Trump Not Only Is Not Conservative, You Can Tell What He Thinks of Us From His Impersonation of a Conservative

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TrumpDealmaker

Like Ace, I originally found Trump’s candidacy amusing, and I smiled with pleasure at just how much he would annoy the liberals and the sell-out professional GOP pols, but watching Trump in action, seeing his shameless mendacity, his infantile self-entitlement and narcissism, listening to his endlessly-repeated boasts and vacuous policy proposals has, in the end, scared the Bejesus out of me.

Trump is a vulgarian and a low-grade moron. Electing him actually could be worse than Obama, and that’s really saying something.

My problem with Trump is that he is a dealmaker trying to make a sale. Right now he’s trying to make a deal with conservatives — so this is the very most conservative we’ll ever see him.

If he gets the nomination, he now starts working on making the second part of the deal with the other party in the negotiations, the general public.

So this is the most conservative we’ll ever see Trump — this is the absolute most conservative he’ll ever be — and he’s not conservative at all, except, possibly, on immigration. He combines liberal policy impulses with frankly authoritarian or even fascist ones, which he thinks are “what conservatives want,” because, frankly, he conceives of us as ugly-minded, stupid dummies who get off on this shit.

That’s why he didn’t put the “Ban Muslims” line in a more palatable, persuasive form, like “Reduce immigration from Muslim-majority countries or countries with a terrorism problem to a level where we can vet each individual applicant.”

No, he put it in the most bigoted, ugly way he could think of, because that’s about his level, and because, also, that’s what he thinks “conservatives” are.

Even on issues like that, where I would like him to move the Overton Window so we can begin discussing a rational reduction of such immigration until this Jihadist Madness passes from history, I find he doesn’t move it at all, because he makes the issue much more toxic and alienating than it needs to be.

What does Trump actually know about conservatives? He seems to only know five things, which he repeats in such crude ways it’s preposterously insulting. Apparently we “love Jesus,” so he says he does too. He knows we love guns, so he’s so in love with the Second Amendment he wants to make out with it.

Does he ever explain the underpinnings of his belief in the Second Amendment, such that you get the impression if he’s challenged on it, he can break out chapter and verse on the amendment like Reagan would have and remained resolute in his position?

He senses we don’t like Mexicans or Muslims very much, so he wants to ban rapists and terrorists.

He knows we love babies and hate abortions, so he’s reversed himself from being “very, very pro-choice” and even supporting partial birth abortion to being so against abortion you couldn’t believe it. (But he’ll keep on funding Planned Parenthood because they’re a wonderful organization.)

He knows we love the military, so he proclaims himself, seriously, the most “militaristic” guy you’ve ever met. Then sometimes he talks about “bombing the shit” out of people to appease the hawks, and other times about a Ron Paul style isolationism, to appease his substantial Paulite wing.

Which is true? Who the fuck knows. I’m certain on this point he’s not lying, because I don’t think he knows what the fuck he thinks either.

23 Jan 2016

National Review Was Not Wrong

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Just because Trump is a populist does not mean that he is in any sense meaningfully conservative.

21 Dec 2015

Morning Laughfest: The (So-Called) American Conservative on the Triumphs of Obama’s Foreign Policy

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PatBuchanan
Pat Buchanan

The erudite Paul Rahe’s mind boggled when he read, in the September issue of American Conservative, a piece by Alfred W. McCoy, titled “The Quiet Grand Strategy of Barack Obama.” According to Mr. McCoy, the current president is a patriot and a far-seeing statesman:

In ways that have eluded Washington pundits and policymakers, President Barack Obama is deploying a subtle geopolitical strategy that, if successful, might give Washington a fighting chance to extend its global hegemony deep into the 21st century. After six years of silent, sometimes secret preparations, the Obama White House has recently unveiled some bold diplomatic initiatives whose sum is nothing less than a tri-continental strategy to check Beijing’s rise. As these moves unfold, Obama is revealing himself as one of those rare grandmasters who appear every generation or two with an ability to go beyond mere foreign policy and play that ruthless global game called geopolitics. …

But let’s give credit where it’s due. Without proclaiming a presumptuously labeled policy such as “triangulation,” “the Nixon Doctrine,” or even a “freedom agenda,” Obama has moved step-by-step to repair the damage caused by a plethora of Washington foreign policy debacles, old and new, and then maneuvered deftly to rebuild America’s fading global influence.

So what is this ridiculous hallucinatory liberal tripe doing in a journal of supposedly conservative opinion? Commenter Douglas (sixth comment down) nails it, and nails “The (So-Called) American Conservative” good and proper.

First off, there’s often little conservative about The American Conservative. No branch or tradition of conservatism is extolled there. It’s not conservative by old Tory standards, it’s not conservative by the standards of the old American Right, and it’s not conservative by the standards of the modern American Right. It’s “conservative” by the standards of people that argue progressivism is really a form of conservatism, and that Barack Obama is the most conservative president in generations. Mainly because he dislikes Israel as much as writers at AmCon do. The only virtues of the place anymore are admonishments to mind our own business and to be distrustful of the GOP.

While I’m sympathetic to much that Pat Buchanan argues, when he created that magazine, he surrounded himself with a bunch of nonsense-peddlers. They occasionally have the excellent article, but mostly are swamped by the nonsense these days.

So, the assertion in the article… that Obama is some kind of uber-wise, next level grandmaster at 3D chess really isn’t surprising. It’s right in keeping with the kind of stuff AmCon prints lately. The key to understanding most positions AmCon writers will take is “if it screws Israel, praise it, if it helps Israel, damn it”.

03 Oct 2015

Rara Avis: the Conservative at Harvard

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HarvardConservatives

The Crimson strokes its chin and wonders if diversity in politics should, or even could, be established at Harvard.

[T]hat conservatives come in small numbers at Harvard comes as no shock. For years, The Crimson’s freshman survey has found that liberals may outnumber conservatives in incoming classes by as much as five to one—65.1 percent of the 1,184 respondents to this fall’s Class of 2019 survey, for example, identify as somewhat liberal or very liberal, compared to just 12.2 percent who identify as somewhat conservative or very conservative. Last year, among survey respondents from the graduating College Class of 2015, former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton had a higher favorability rating than Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker—combined. A surveyed senior was almost 10 times more likely to have a favorable view of Bernie Sanders than Ted Cruz.

And the liberal bent—to put it mildly—is not limited to the student body. A Crimson data analysis last year found that nearly 84 percent of campaign contributions from a group of 614 University faculty, instructors, and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees. In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, that number was closer to 96 percent. …

“Diversity? Political? Two words [that] can be put in the same sentence?” concludes freshman Sapna V. Rampersaud ’19, a registered Republican.

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