Jonah Goldberg Replies to The Conservative Treehouse on Trump
Jonah posts a long rebuttal to The Conservative Treehouse’s criticism of his criticism of Trump. The parts that jump out at me:
First, Jonah makes the case that he is a real conservative.
The biggest criticism — in terms of quantity, not quality — is that I am a RINO squish faker fraud no-goodnik lib sucking at the teat of the establishment blah blah and blah…
National Review — and yours truly — were on the “anti-GOP” side of a great many of the examples on Sundance’s list…
I am to the right of Trump on nearly every issue I can think of…
But, I’m falling for the trap. None of this matters! Even if I were a RINO-squish-lickspittle of the D.C. establishment, even if every denunciation of the “Washington cartel” is exactly right and fair, that is not a defense of Donald Trump…
It is not a trap or a trick. What Jonah just did is try to couch himself as a conservative using the old method of classification. What he has missed is that there is a new way people are trying to sort the world into conservative and not conservative. People used to listen to what candidates and talking heads said. But the leadership has proven so untrustworthy that many are now seeking whatever candidate they feel the Establishment most reviles. Trump is a commentary on corruption and contempt for the Establishment, and the increasing desire of the populace to lash out at it. Given what a disaster every Establishment candidate has been, it is actually as intelligent a strategy to advance conservatism as any other failed strategy used in the past – especially listening to talking heads and candidates.
Using this new method, a lot of people are beginning to see Goldberg as a faux conservative within that Establishment, in part because of the case he makes against Trump here:
I don’t think Trump is a conservative. I don’t think he’s a very serious person. I don’t think he’s a man of particularly good character. I don’t think he can be trusted to do the things he promises. Etc. If all that hurts your feelings, I’m sorry. But there’s no need to make up imaginary motives. The reason I’m writing such things is that I believe them — and that’s my job.
Those attacks on Trump could all be true to some degree, but they are even more apropos if applied to nearly everyone else in the race – especially anybody who the Establishment has supported ardently in the past. Goldberg is a bright guy – unless he is purposely blinding himself he has to know this.
Jeb, Lindsey, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee are the standout scumbags, and they are also THE Establishment candidates. We are also aware that to the Establishment traitors, guys like Carson, Walker, Rubio, and Kasich would also be acceptable, if not ideal. Even Cruz or Paul would be welcomed by the Establishment compared to Trump, and the Establishment isn’t particularly fond of either of them. Also of note is that Cruz and Trump seem to be, if not on the same page, reading from the same book. That gives at least the appearance of a rebel alliance.
All of that ignores that all the other candidates save Cruz will not even touch the subjects Donald has effortlessly harnessed and promoted. Are we to believe that Jeb would be more conservative than Donald when he not only won’t say the things Donald says, he castigates Donald for saying them? If Donald isn’t conservative, what does it say about the field that he is not only the only one saying what conservatives believe, he is being chastised relentlessly by most of the field for it?
We know how things would end sans Donald. The Establishment would dangle Cruz, and then stick us with a pansy Establishment candidate who would rhetorically backstab us through the entire election cycle. We would dutifully vote for their candidate, who would lose, and the GOPe would then line up to help the liberals destroy America with leftist policy at an even faster rate than the GOP Establishment would have, had they won.
Do you see now why people are in-grouping against Jonah and couching him as an enemy? Jonah is focused on Trump, everyone else is looking at what a bunch of thieves and scoundrels everyone else is – and how Jonah is trying to help the scoundrels attack a guy who is the only one speaking of the ideas we believe in.
Increasingly, conservatives are realizing that they have no ideological alignment with the main forces moving the Republican party. Even worse, it increasingly looks as if those who are in control actually hold the base and its ideals in contempt, and view the base as an obstacle to be overcome on their way to implementing whatever policy objectives they desire. The perception of those who want a more rightward tack is that if we didn’t continually fight the Establishment leaders, the leaders would probably go even farther leftward than they are presently, and they would end up indistinguishable from the Democrats.
That type of perception can only last so long before people begin to see the Establishment as the primary enemy they face, since it seems the Establishment is the enemy they are continually fighting against.
When is the last time a conservative fight occured, and conservatives thought that Boehner, or McConnell, or the GOPe would lead the fight and do everything possible to advance conservatism? When did any conservative ever feel that they could take one moment off from putting pressure on the leadership to do what should have been the leadership’s objective from the beginning? Why can’t we trust the very leaders of our movement, and take a moment off ourselves? The answer is they are an enemy exploiting us, not leaders representing us.
Which brings us to the end of Goldberg’s piece:
A polite Trump supporter offered I think the best explanation of what’s really going on in this disagreement. Here’s the deal on Trump.
There are those of us prepared to give him benefit of the doubt (e.g. me), and those who are not (you).
That’s exactly right. It’s not, as Nolte and so many others suggest, that my cluelessness stems from my inability to see his appeal. It’s that I can see through it. Or at least I think I can. What I am truly clueless about is how so many other people can’t.
The fact is that people are willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt – and that is something they will not give to any professional politician associated with the Republican Establishment any more. We are tired of being screwed, and moreover we realize the Establishment is so embedded that our only option is the Sampson option. My question to Jonah would be, why are you giving Jeb, Lindsey, Kasich, Rubio, Huckabee, Carson, and everyone else the benefit of the doubt, if you won’t give it to Trump?
If Trump is conservative at this point is beside the point. We don’t care. This has little to do with him. Our enemy, the enemy of conservatism – the Republican Establishment – hates him. That is reason enough to thrust him upon them. That he will have to view them as an enemy as well, and try to wreck havoc upon them during his term is icing on the cake.
Given Romney, McCain, and GW Bush, we could hardly do worse harm to conservatism than we have done previously following the Establishment’s lead.
Apocalypse cometh™ and we’re looking forward to it.