Today, I cam across an article written by David French titled “Don’t Let The Left Define Conservative Opposition To Trump”.
Whenever a conservative criticizes Donald Trump — or even attacks the GOP for enabling his rise — some on the left will respond, “Well, if you really opposed him, you’d oppose his agenda.” Just ask Republican senator Jeff Flake.
In promoting his new book, Conscience of a Conservative, Flake yesterday published an excerpt from it in Politico. It’s a worthwhile read. He attacks the Republican party for entering into a “Faustian bargain,” going along with the “very bumpy ride” of a Trump administration to “achieve some long-held policy goals,” and argues that policy victories won at the expense of principles and “institutions conducive to freedom” will ultimately prove to be “Pyrrhic.” His meaning is clear: Pursue conservative goals, but do so while respecting democratic values, maintaining public integrity, and preserving constitutional structures.
The response was swift, and made clear that a number of folks on the left aren’t content for conservatives to merely oppose Trump. For Flake to be truly credible, his critics seemed to assert, he would have to . . . cease being a conservative.
First, we conservatives must understand that everything that happens in this administration will be tied directly to Trump, and unless we can undertake the difficult task of forging and maintaining an independent identity, even our longest-held and most cherished beliefs will be defined as part and parcel of “Trumpism.” Lower taxes? Defunding Planned Parenthood? Border security? Originalist judges? These are positions that Trump adopted for his campaign, but they mean no more to him than the next change of clothes. For conservatives, however, they reflect core principles and ideals that existed long before Trump and will exist long after...
The second truth that’s emerging — on both the #Resistance left and the angry populist right — is that there are now two fronts in the culture war. There’s the classic Left/Right split — the battle of pro-life versus pro-choice, say, or of single-payer versus market-based health-care reforms…
(Bold emphasis mine)
First, what primarily National Review refers to a culture war is ideas that bank on policy failures resulting in unpopularity and feeds Democrats hate Republicans and Republicans hate Democrats. For these observers, the fact some Sanders’ supporters crossed the aisle to protest Clinton’s nomination in a similar fashion; these observers cannot fathom Republicans voting against the Republican nominee.
For example, the fact Kasich’s principle support only support him as Governor that staved off recall election attempt shortly after re-election was revived by Kasich’s entry into the 2016 primary for the Presidency resulting in the threat of a general election recall election if Kasich was nominated or picked Vice President. This dynamic is bracketed under culture war given neither Democrats or Republicans in Ohio have a stranglehold on election outcomes.
Second, Progressive Democrats have already defined conservatives under the basis of social conservative values as ‘outdated, racist, sexist, xenophobic, and etc’ before Trump entered the fray targeting Republicans. What the author and his National Review colleagues omit, elected-appointed Republican officials have already been performing backroom negotiations that in case of point renders any assertion of those Republicans being conservative or possessing conservative values by National Review standards null and void.
The third aspect comes further on in the article broken into ‘sections’
As a practical matter, this means conservatives should do their best to advance conservative goals while at the same time loudly and unequivocally condemning this administration’s absurd excesses.
This falls under elected-appointed Republicans backroom negotiations have already violated; it also falls under Republicans are attempting to utilize the Trump Presidency to pass very unpopular legislation while attempting to keep their distance of Trump’s proposals. This is a political ideology maneuver for political expediency, and this ties into the complaints of Trump’s inability or unwillingness to attempt promoting ACA reform-tweaks advertised as ACA repeal-replace.
No one should be more angry at Trump’s tweets than conservatives.
Social Conservative Value. As I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t have Twitter, so I only see them when outlets utilize them in articles or posts.
Why exactly should I give a flying hoot about tweets? They aren’t policy structures-catalysts, and policy structures and catalysts are what matters.
No one should be more concerned about Trump’s conduct toward Russia than conservatives.
This amounts to ‘arrogance’ given it’s rather routine for foreign powers to attempt meddling in elections, and everyone knows and everyone knows everyone knows what truly matters here is it’s an Act of War that requires a follow through of a Declaration of War when called out.
Which are people more concerned with? Foreign Nations conducting tactical espionage or calling out an Act of War that requires a follow through of a declaration of war. For all purposes, Trump calling Putin out on election meddling placed Putin on notice of an impending war, which is incredibly stupid.
And, yes, no one should be more alarmed by White House chaos than conservatives.
As a general rule of thumb, if Trump approved of ‘yes men’, the White House wouldn’t be in chaos, but Republicans’ leadership wanted to ensure their interests could influence the Presidency by a factor of 5 to 1. Any chance Trump would be anything but a wrecking ball went out the window at that point.
On one side are those like Ben Sasse and many of my National Review colleagues — men and women with unquestioned commitment to conservative principles who don’t believe you should sacrifice virtue, honesty, or integrity
This goes back to the statistics central to the premise of ‘culture war’ of Democrats hate Republicans and Republicans hate Democrats, which is where ‘unquestioned commitment’ comes into play. When your policy structures and catalysts don’t match, it’s the fastest way particularly for me to lose my vote regardless of political affiliation.
Frankly, I think Democrats should disclose Republican backdoor negotiation requirements in full, so Republican’s base factions can see exactly how ‘honest, virtuous, and integrity they have. I seriously doubt very many Republicans up for re-election in 2018 would survive such transparency.