How has President Trump changed conservatism?
Now, conservatives love to tell you why they think what they think, and it’s usually a means of persuading people to accept it and join it. So now it’s up for grabs largely because the Trump campaign fractured conservatism into many different splinters. And many people who thought that they were the modern-day leaders of conservatism, in fact found themselves in a new category called Never Trumpers. They were the group of people that thought no matter what, Trump should not win.
Even if it meant the implosion and the end of the Republican Party, even if it meant we go back to zero — we go back to the Dark Ages and rebuild from nothing — that would be better than having Trump win. And many of those people are still there. And they are still active in what I call the academic or intellectual side of conservatism. Many people think that I am what conservatism is, and I don’t say that with ego in any stretch. I’m just telling you that I realize how some people look at me. I’ve always thought of myself as a conservative, philosophically, and that’s the way I try to live my life.My take would be harsher.
Those are the Professional Conservatives.
Conservatives won without them in 2016, and will win without them again in 2020.
Limbaugh got a good zing at some of them: "We’ve got writer conservatives. We’ve got Fox News and book-deal conservatives. [Interruption] What is a Fox News…? Oh, that is a young conservative who wants a Fox News gig and a book deal, and that’s cool. If the young conservative gets that, then it’s a success. But in terms of actually moving things along? No, no, no. It’s a Fox News gig and a book deal. There’s all kinds of people in the conservative movement."
So What Is Conservatism in the Age of Trump (harumph, harumph)?
The same thing it was in the Age of Obama.
Conservatism does not change. CPAC does. Back in 2009 it mattered, because it was all we had left. Limbaugh made a rare public appearance to be the keynote speaker. On a Saturday afternoon, he kicked Fox News ratings into weekday prime-time. We hungered for it. He spoke without notes for 90 minutes -- more than an hour longer than planned.
"Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don’t see groups. We don’t see victims. We don’t see people we want to exploit. What we see — what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don’t think that person doesn’t have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government."
Does that not describe Donald Trump?
"We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness."
Does that not describe Donald Trump?
"We don’t want to tell anybody how to live. That’s up to you. If you want to make the best of yourself, feel free. If you want to ruin your life, we’ll try to stop it, but it’s a waste. We look over the country as it is today, we see so much waste, human potential that’s been destroyed by 50 years of a welfare state. By a failed war on poverty."
Does that not describe Donald Trump?
Now Limbaugh has been a conservative longer than I have been and you can read the whole speech -- listen to it to. I am not going to cut-and-paste the whole thing and call it a day.
But what I do offer readers is what attracted me to conservatism are its belief in the virtues of Man, and of the United States.
There is no doubt that both have sinned, are sinning, and will sin again. We are only human. But instilled in each one of us is the supernatural power to go beyond our mortal pettiness and reach out to the hand of God to do extraordinary things.
The history of this nation is so full of good deeds that I can hardly catalog them all.
But the one that sticks out most is the Berlin airlift. The Soviets had cut off Berlin from being re-supplied. America began flying supplies in around the clock in a remarkable (although at times tragic; there were air crashes and people did die) show of obstinate, Americans flew 200,000 sorties carrying 500,000 tons of supplies to keep that city alive for 11 months until the Soviets re-opened the city to Westerners again.
We flew coal into Berlin. Coal! Who does that? Well, they needed coal, so we flew it in.
Limbaugh talked of federalism, of letting state and local officials decide matters, and getting the government out of your life.
From Limbaugh in 2009: "We want the country to succeed, and for the country to succeed, its people — its individuals — must succeed. Everyone among us must be pursuing his ambition or her desire, whatever, with excellence. Trying to be the best they can be. Not told, as they are told by the Democrat Party: You really can’t do that, you don’t have what it takes, besides you’re a minority or you’re a woman and there are too many people that want to discriminate against you. You can’t get anywhere. You need to depend on us.
"Well. Take a look, someone has to say this — I am thrilled for the opportunity to say it in my first national address to the nation — and I’m going to touch on this in more detail in a moment, but this is just to get you thinking — take a look at all the constituency groups that for 50 years have been depending on the Democrat Party to improve their lives. And you tell me if you find any. They’re still complaining, still griping about the same problems. Their problems don’t get fixed by government. And those lives have been poisoned. Those lives have been cut short by false promises, from government representatives who said don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of you. Just vote for us."
And last summer, Trump said the same thing: it wasn't working in the inner cities. He asked peopleto vote for him. "What the hell do you have to lose?"
In 2009, we had only a talk radio jock with a mic.
In 2017, we have the White House.
It is still us against the world, but we have now shown the world we can beat them.
Conservatism has not changed, but the world changed -- because conservatives made it change on 8 NOVEMBER 16.
What has changed is the phonies are outed. Trump may not always say the conservative thing, but he always acts that way.
Judge a man more by how he acts, and less by what he says.
Kindle is now taking orders. The Kindle version appears on March 1.
"Trump the Establishment" is already available in paperback.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. It is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Create Space.
Autographed copies are available by writing me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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