Tags: Donald Trump | Hillary Clinton | John McCain | conservatives | government

Trump: Unworthy Champion of His Cause

By Thursday, 16 June 2016 12:19 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Way back in the pre–Trump mists of time, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry began his presidential comeback at the Gridiron Dinner where he described his 2012 campaign thusly, “The weakest Republican field in history — and they kicked my butt.”

Three and a half years later William Voegeli, senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books, points out, “Against a field of 16 contenders that George Will called the most talented since 1980, Trump beat them all.”

So what does that say about Trump and the Republican Party?

Plenty, according to a panel sponsored by the Claremont Institute that contained Voegeli, Claremont ROB editor Charles Kesler, Boston College professor Martha Bayles, New York GOP Senate Candidate Wendy Stone Long and the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Peter Wehner.

I’ve always found it remarkable that a man who talks as much as Trump still remains largely inarticulate. His pronouncements require more interpretation than that of the Oracle at Delphi and the interpretations vary in intensity and favorability.

Kesler feels the anti-Trump position boils down to two alternatives. One “he’s a buffoon, a clown, an over–active third grader off his Ritalin, who is by temperament and experience unfit to be president.”

The alternate is “he’s a monster, racist and tyrant in waiting.”

Kesler’s wry judgment is “the two arguments are, however, in some tension.”

Like me, Kesler finds the second argument far-fetched. (You can read my reassurance regarding Trumpismo here.) “There are not many similarities between 'Mein Kampf' and 'The Art of the Deal,'” Kesler explains. “Trump thinks the government is run by idiots, not by Jews. I don’t think his admiration of Putin implies an eagerness to adopt Putin’s methods.”

Voegeli sees the entire Trump phenomenon as less a triumph of reality TV — although that doesn’t hurt — but more as “revealing a skepticism on part of the voters toward entire Republican governing philosophy of ‘limited government.’"

He points out “since 1994 Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency for 12 years, [before Obama] and never once during that time did the party ever zero out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“If the low–hanging fruit in Washington is always higher than the tallest Republican ladder, then something is fundamentally wrong. If the conservative high priests don't take limited government seriously, why should the voters?"

Which is putting it mildly. GOP leadership in Washington is obsessed with an insider game of “proving it can govern” when the focus should be on delivering results to the base that elected them.

Wehner’s contribution to the panel was recycling "#NeverTrump" talking points.

Other than a lot of eye–rolling, head shaking and smirking while the other panelists were speaking, Wehner’s main contribution to the discussion was the implicit RINO belief the party needs a better class of voter. Possibly one that shops at Sak’s rather than Walmart.

Bayles was noticeably more negative than either Kesler or Voegeli, but she appeared to agree with a point I’ve made that illegal immigration is the election’s defining issue, “Trump is a reaction to the utter evasiveness of the elites on immigration and jobs going overseas.”

Here’s hoping Long has a place in the Trump administration, since her chances of beating the despicable Chuck Schumer are infinitesimal. Her summary is “2016, if nothing else, is the year of the outsider.”

Although I must say Donald Trump is the expression of the outsider like Jeffrey Dahmer is the expression of the omnivore.

The question before voters is how would Trump govern? That’s what gives Kesler cause for concern. “Trump is worrisome not because he's an incipient Hitler, but because he's an amateur.”

It’s his view a Trump candidacy has three facets. His “singular opposition to political correctness, which is important because the PC Left increasingly wants to govern the country the way they run universities.”

A Trump defeat “opens the possibility for Republican intellectuals to reconnect with the middle and working class.”

And finally the issue that pits the Left against independents, Republicans and conservatives, “Trump says he's pro–America. Hillary Clinton's America is a long history of cruelty and oppression that may be relieved in the future by atonement. While Trump, for all his sins and foibles is for the America that is today.”

Trump certainly wasn’t my first choice as nominee, or second for that matter, but I can accept him because he’s not a preening, arrogant Washington insider like John McCain who never missed an opportunity to put his thumb in the eye of Christian conservatives.

Voegeli comes very close to my thinking now with his observation; “It has often been the case in American history that a worthy cause has an unworthy champion.”

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.


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I’ve always found it remarkable that a man who talks as much as Trump still remains largely inarticulate. His pronouncements require more interpretation than that of the Oracle at Delphi. The interpretations vary in intensity and favorability.
conservatives, government
Thursday, 16 June 2016 12:19 PM
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