If you had hoped that the November elections would bring an end to the tiresome machinations of the NeverTrump conservative movement, those hopes have thus far not come to pass. Some conservative sites, like Red State, have practically turned into political outlets indistinguishable from the Huffington Post in their anti-Trump fervor. And “conservative” writers who ply their trade at newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times…well, they can always be counted on for some of the most elitist, out-of-touch commentary in American politics.
It is from one of those writers – Michael Gerson of the Post – that we get today’s headline. In a column this week, Gerson wondered what “real” conservatives could do in the age of Trump.
“Trump has been ruled by compulsions, obsessions and vindictiveness, expressed nearly daily on Twitter,” Gerson complains. “He has demonstrated an egotism that borders on solipsism. His political skills as president have been close to nonexistent. His White House is divided, incompetent and chaotic, and key administration jobs remain unfilled. His legislative agenda has gone nowhere. He has told constant, childish, refuted, uncorrected lies, and demanded and habituated deception among his underlings. He has humiliated and undercut his staff while requiring and rewarding flattery. He has promoted self-serving conspiracy theories. He has displayed pathetic, even frightening, ignorance on policy matters foreign and domestic. He has inflicted his ethically challenged associates on the nation. He is dead to the poetry of language and to the nobility of the political enterprise, viewing politics as conquest rather than as service.”
Oh, is that all? Apparently Gerson, like so many of his likeminded colleagues, would prefer it if we had Hillary Clinton in the White House. Far more important, in their eyes, to uphold the imaginary “dignity” of American politics than to actually fight back against the destructive policies of the Democratic Party. These jokers think that it’s more important to be seen and noticed as a “true conservative” than it is to stand up and fight for what’s right. And if supporting a Republican who doesn’t touch all the bases prescribed by William F. Buckley is the alternative, they would rather sit in the peanut gallery and throw mild barbs at the Democratic leadership. At least then, their reputations at the finest country clubs in D.C. would be kept intact.
Gerson goes on to nervously contemplate the options for conservatives who can’t bring themselves to support the president. Should they form a third party and go from there? Run against Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries? Show the GOP the error of their ways by simply supporting the Democrat running against Trump?
Well…how about dropping your hardened, nonsensical, academic opposition and simply allow things to be as they are? How about recognizing that it’s okay to have a Republican president who doesn’t fit your bill as a “true” conservative? How about taking some solace in the fact that, for four years at least, we’ve been able to put the brakes on our national head-first slide into democratic socialism?
We don’t need or expect “true” conservatives to give Trump a pass on every single thing, nor do we want them to suddenly support things they would have never supported in the past. But it’s time for NeverTrumpers to be realistic about the situation as it stands, and appreciate – at the very least – that we have a president who won’t sell the country out to every Islamic country and ludicrous social justice theory in the world.
Or, sit there and pout for the next three and a half years. Whatever makes you feel good.