Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, August 29, 2015


I remember driving back to Connecticut when Gerald Ford died and a stream of pundits lauding his decision to pardon Nixon, despite the cost.  I remember distinctly thinking: WTF?  I suppose all manner of sins are erased in death.

Jimmy Carter displayed incomprehensible grace when discussing his cancer diagnosis last week.  I suppose it helps that he's 90, but it was still a remarkable display of poise and dignity.  Soon, sadly, we will likely be eulogizing Carter.

Rick Pearlstein - the preeminent historian of modern conservatism and thus modern politics - has jumped the gun a little here.  You should read it.  And weep.

Carter was right about so much, he was so much ahead of his time in his thinking - about energy, about democracy as Pearlstein writes, about poverty.  Being ahead of his time mattered little when he came up against the looming tidal wave of movement conservatism that systematically destroyed perhaps Carter's best ideas. As William F. Buckley himself said, "A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so..."

And so conservatives from Carter's time until today have stood athwart the progress of humanity, yelling stop.

Carter's electoral sand energy reforms?  Stop!

Reagan's arm control agreements? Stop!

Bush's fiscal reforms?  Stop!

Clinton's health care reform?  Stop!

Dubya's immigration reform?  Stop!

Obama's health care and immigration reforms?  Stop!

In this context, how can Donald Trump - an id-fueled and ego-driven articulation of "STOP!" - be defeated?  Some have noted that he tops out at 30-35% of the GOP electorate.  But as he gains more and more steam, won't he draw more and more of those who just want things to stop?

Isn't he the perfect GOP candidate for 2016?

No comments: