January 5th, 2018

Never-Trumpers never-Trumping

Commenter “DNW” writes:

My guess is that most of the rage [at Trump] is not really at his uncouthness, or the many abrasive personality traits he is said to have, but more, or equally, a chagrin and alarm over what he actually is showing signs of being able to accomplish.

Sensitive conservatives like crony capitalism, they made peace with ObamaCare just as they have with every other ultra vires bureaucratic, legislative or government act that transforms free citizens into social resources.

They don’t want the bonds slackened. They like having you in the traces and tugging at the load.

And when you die, leave the keys to the house under the door mat.

What DNW is expressing here is a very popular thought on the right, particularly among Trump supporters. It predated Trump, though, and is not limited to Trump supporters. It reaches its peak in those who I used to call the “let it burn” crowd, who are the ones who claim that there is no difference whatsoever between the two parties except window dressing.

But I disagree, and have been disagreeing for quite some time. Oh, I don’t deny that there are some politicians in the GOP “establishment” who fit that description. But I don’t believe there are anywhere near the number that the burn-it-down crowd alleges, or even the number that DNW seems to think exist.

I don’t buy the idea that most anti-Trump conservatives don’t really want the conservative agenda, or at least most of the conservative agenda. I think their main objections to Trump now are twofold.

The first is still stylistic, somewhat like what was felt by the Kennedy people who hated successor Johnson because he was uncouth. It didn’t matter that Johnson enacted all that civil rights legislation or the Great Society agenda. For such people, style and class meant and means a lot, and Johnson’s (and Trump’s) lack of it fills them with actual revulsion. Trump may be rich and the son of a rich man, but he’s not a smooth classy intellectual (and that’s an understatement). Theirs is a gut reaction to him, and it’s powerful.

Their second objection to Trump is that, if they were to praise him in any important way, it would necessitate admitting that they were wrong about something. Very wrong. That is very difficult for most people, and they are no exception. Au contraire.

It’s even harder for people who are known for being smart and successful and insightful and clever to say, “Hmmm, you know what? I was wrong; this guy isn’t as bad as I thought, and he’s doing some things that I like.” Some Never-Trumpers have managed to make that switch and some haven’t. But I don’t conclude that the ones who haven’t are really uninterested in the conservative agenda to which they profess devotion. They may not even realize it themselves, but their devotion to a certain style of being in the world, and to not having to change their minds in such a public way, just happens to be greater.

46 Responses to “Never-Trumpers never-Trumping”

  1. Griffin Says:

    There seem to be various levels of Never Trumpers. You have Jennifer Rubin who now opposes countless things she vehemently supported a year ago solely because Trump now supports them also. That type of person is unserious and should be discounted completely. Then you have the Bret Stephens type who also has a little of the Rubin but also admits that he supports numerous Trump accomplishments while also inexplicably wishing Clinton was president. Truly bizarre thinking. Then there is the Bill Krystol type who I think is mostly the style type dissenter as the commenter mentioned. The ‘I’m so smart and such a sophisticated thinker’ type of conservative.

    All of these types have some crossover and are probably all under the umbrella of your second point of being unable to admit being wrong so they are so invested in perpetuating their own reality.

  2. Tom Says:

    It sounds as if DNW is talking about the conservative agenda in the same sense you are. But in referencing the “burn it down”, “there is no difference” crowd you might be using the word in a different sense than they are. For them (to some extent me) the *big* issue that overrides all else is the attack on the Republic, not any specific conservative policy item. The concern is that if the rule of law is not reintroduced, if the Court is lost, if the Administrative State is not reigned in, then representative government will be lost in practice and any policy victories we might have in the short term will be transient. I do *not* see much evidence of any fighting spirit in this regard in GOPe. In fact, the only evidence I have seen is McConnell’s resilience in the Garland nomination (and I concede it comes from the least likely player). There is some modest push back against the DOJ/FBI, but would we really be having that if it were not for the Special Counsel investigation?

  3. Ann Says:

    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

    North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!

    1:49 PM – Jan 3, 2018

    Is being appalled by that really just a matter of disliking his “style”?

  4. Gary D. G. Says:

    It would take too much time and space to detail all the personalities “appalled” when the alpha male roars: “m\

  5. Dave Says:

    what is so appalling about that tweet?

    If Kim Jong un would unleash his nuclear weapons for a reason as trivial as the president making a funny tweet insulting him the fat dictator then he could potentially unleash the weapons for infinite other reasons just as trivial such as him catching herpes from a prostitute imported from china at any second, he would be a ticking time bomb ready to blow up any second in your theory then worrying about whether he will blow up rage nuclear war against the world because of that tweet seems silly and meaningless.

    If Kim Jong un wouldn’t unleash his nuclear weapons for that silly tweet because Trump has saw through him as a bluffing chicken who is basically good at nothing but using his own people and the safety of the region as bargain chips for his protection racket scheme then what is the harm with debasing this murderous lowlife with humiliation like Charles Chaplin made fun of hitler in the great dictator?

    That tweet could potentially be silly but pretending to be appalled by the tweet and the potential that it would tick off Kim and cause ww3 that wouldn’t have otherwise happened as a tactic to put a negative spin on the president for whatever political reasons is even sillier because the tweet bears no consequence on whether Kim will strike or not.

  6. Griffin Says:

    Many thumbs up to Dave’s last paragraph in his 3:39 comment.

    Perfectly encapsulates the faux outrage of so many people.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann:

    Being appalled by that is partly a question of disliking his style.

    The rest of it is a question of not getting how the mind of someone like Kim Jong-un works. As Dave wrote, if that’s all it takes to get Kim to fire off some nuclear warheads, then just about anything would have done it. Bullying sometimes works with bullies, however. At any rate, what we’ve tried already hasn’t worked.

    My gut reaction to that particular tweet of Trump’s—a man whose style I don’t like and with whom I’m not simpatico—is not to be appalled. It’s a bit frightening to try something different, but Kim is very frightening anyway, and my gut feeling is that it might actually improve the situation. Calling out a bully doesn’t seem to be a bad thing to me, even if a bully does it.

  8. Gary D. G. Says:

    It would take too much time and space to detail all the personalities (male and female) “appalled” when the alpha male roars, “Mine is bigger than yours.”
    Prior to the election, my major concern was a photo of him with his arm around “The Reverend.” That image of him, I’m glad to say, has gone up in flames and he governs as wisely conservative as any of us on the right could have hoped for.
    I think the problem that all of the Liberals (Socialist-Progressives) and many Conservatives have is that his strongly-provoking intemperate words do not match his long-term well-considered actions.

  9. Dave Says:

    What is appalling is the left who has been trying to influencing politics with their comedies for as long as I can remember selling the idea to the world that humors can change the world suddenly change their minds and believe a little humorous silliness against a trash dictator could ruin the world, then why are they constantly making fun of trump on their platforms with bi-polar has beens like Alec Baldwin? Trump, the man they deemed as more dangerous than Kim jong un, the reincarnation of hitler (who ironically is also a Zionist with Jewish grandchildren but who cares about facts right?) why ain’t they worry about insulting him would tick him off to the point of pressing the nuclear button?

  10. Paul in Boston Says:

    I remember Bush Chimpy MacHitler too well to care one bit about the hurt feelings from Trump’s “intemperate” tweetings.

  11. n.n Says:

    He was a social liberal in a socially liberal place, but he repented and sinned no more, maybe, probably.

    Sensitive conservatives like crony capitalism

    Not conservative. At least not by American standards. Not capitalism. Monopolies and practices are a feature of Marxism and its derivative ideologies: communism, socialism, fascism. Go left, young man.

  12. Ann Says:

    It’s appalling because it comes across as jocular bravado. About nuclear devastation. About a horrible death for many thousands of people.

  13. AesopFan Says:

    “Their second objection to Trump is that, if they were to praise him in any important way, it would necessitate admitting that they were wrong about something. Very wrong. That is very difficult for most people, and they are no objection. Au contraire.”

    * * *
    Exception? Spell-checker is not your friend 😉
    However, if you continue the thought “they are no objection …to the rest of us praising Trump when deserved, and criticizing when not.”

  14. mikeski Says:

    So while it might look to many observers as two crazy leaders heading for a nuclear showdown, to me it looks like two colorful characters who probably have a weird kind of respect for each other. Let me put it another way. Which of these two situations carries a greater risk of accidental nuclear war?

    1. Two nuclear foes who have no communication and are trying to interpret the actions of the other.
    2. Two nuclear foes trash-talking each other (with humor) in front of the world

    I’ll take option two every time.

  15. AesopFan Says:

    Dave Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 3:52 pm
    What is appalling is the left… why ain’t they worry about insulting him would tick him off to the point of pressing the nuclear button?
    * *
    “If the Left didn’t have double-standards etc.” and what Paul says below Dave.
    I accept that a lot of people have Ann’s reaction and are quite sincere (“It’s appalling because it comes across as jocular bravado. About nuclear devastation. About a horrible death for many thousands of people.”) but it conjures up images of the pearl-clutching syndrome the Left always uses against the Right, when any perusal of modern culture and history demonstrates their own use of the same, um, “jocularity” anent their own actions.

    That reaction falls into Neo’s “class 1” about tone and style and elitism, and I agree with her that sometimes you have to fight bullies with bullies (or at least with people willing to call out bullies, although they may not themselves be the bullying type; “Ender’s Game” is now a classic of that personality trait.)

  16. Kyndyll G Says:

    What’s appalling is that this is how NK has acted for decades. North Korea is a backward rat hole still fighting a war that’s been over for everyone else for 65 years, that threatens nuclear annihilation to others on a routine basis.

    What’s only slightly less appalling is that the rest of the world has let it get to the point where significant chunks of the planet are at risk of attack from a paranoid, nuclear-capable, third-world despot. Appeasement works so well!

    Trump’s tweet is way down the list of appalling things compared to those two items.

  17. Griffin Says:

    Aesopfan,

    There is some internet axiom I’ve seen somewhere that states that the best rule to remember is that ‘the left doesn’t actually believe any of the things they say’ which is obviously an exaggeration but makes sense on some level.

    I mean think of Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio and their environmental doom yet then compare with their lifestyles which completely contradict said values.

    And with Trump think of all the hysterical rantings about him being the next Hitler and the concentration camps he has planned and numerous other dire warnings yet these same people show no tangible concern in their real lives. If they actually believe this stuff shouldn’t they be taking real personal action?

  18. Julie near Chicago Says:

    This particular “tweet” — much as commenters above would like to write it off as merely “twitting” — also falls perfectly within the category of Bull-baiting.

    The question is, how will the “bull” in question, the odious Kim, react?

    Pres. Trump is apparently betting that:

    (a) Kim will not take the bait, on the theory that he is nowhere near so outright nuts as to attack the U.S. directly; and

    (b) that the Home Folks, we Americans, will be further enchanted by his chutzpah. So refreshing after the two Bushes.

    This last is perfectly in line with his personal theatrical, showmanship shtick.

    In any case, there clearly is a case of “Chicken!” going on between the two of them. (Earlier Kims played it too, of course, and I daresay the U.S. responses were all they could have wished for.)

  19. Dave Says:

    Another way to look at it is to ask the question why Kim Jong Un only has the nerve to insult Trump and America but not Putin or Xi, perhaps it is because they are allies or NK depends on the welfare from Russia/China to survive. However, the better reason is that there is basically no repercussion for insulting America since America is constitutional country we are not going to go though all the legal hurdles to invade a country just for the reason of being insulted. However, you can get into serious troubles insulting Putin or Xi as they have authority to unleash the country’s complete nuclear arsenal against someone just for payback of a personal insult. Bullies like Kim Jong un are only afraid of bigger bullies with bigger sticks, treating bully like Kim with respect and appeasement like Obama will only buy him time to expand his nuclear arsenals to cause more trouble and ask more for return, there will be no end to it.

  20. DNW Says:

    Those with a memory for inconsequential detail and who in addition read the primary threads in which I commented, might recall that I was a Cruz supporter and openly derided Trump’s persona.

    I was not a Trump supporter, and said I would rest content if he merely kept Hillary out and managed a couple good court picks before being impeached. He has vastly exceeded my best expectations.

    I did go so far as to be a Never Hillary commenter, and someone who, once the primaries were over, recommended that a leap into possibly shallow Trump waters was still preferable to a half gainer off the cliff straight onto the Hillary rocks.

    It may be true that Trump’s style turns off some conservatives, but I have a hard time believing that those who have recoiled from numerous chances to spike ObamaCare forbore merely because of Trump’s obnoxiousness and vainglory.

    Hand wringing, “preserve-social-comity-at-any-price” (especially by rolling over and playing dead) conservatives, are not principled conservatives qua classical liberals, at all.

    They are a peculiar kind of “social-ist”. Like Hobbes for instance: those who see one nation or society, not as a political fact or practical contingency conditioned on the maintenance of particular distributive rights and privileges; but rather as some kind of categorical imperative of the tribe …emanating from the deep recesses of … well, just who the hell knows where. Some notion of “we” which transcends explicable categories, tastes, or preferred lifeways, I guess.

    “Better Red than dead”, or even anyone unhappy. Because as we have heard here before from other commenters, you can always get your freedom back later. And if not you, then your grandchildren. And if not them, then someone else somewhere sometime.

    An improving manufacturing sector, middle America back to work, the rule of law on the way to being reestablished, mean little to nothing to these kinds of self-serving trimmers and manipulators.

    It’s not so bad, living life at the let and by the leave of the Lois Lerners of the world, they think.

    Especially if you can finagle an exemption for yourself, as the kind usually manages to do.

  21. Irene Says:

    @Ann
    “It’s appalling because it comes across as jocular bravado. About nuclear devastation. About a horrible death for many thousands of people.”

    Millions of people have already died horrible, horrible deaths in North Korea. I wish the world had been appalled by that.

    A tweet that takes the p*ss out of an arrogant dictator and puts him in his place should be applauded. Enough with all the decades-long diplomatic bull$hit that always seemed to me more about our secy’s of state posturing for their own places in history than anything to do with the reality of NK and the US dealing with it. Were you appalled by Madelaine Albright’s nuclear tango with the North Koreans that started this entire nuclear shebang? THAT was appalling.

  22. Gringo Says:

    The first is still stylistic, somewhat like what was felt by the Kennedy people who hated successor Johnson because he was uncouth. It didn’t matter that Johnson enacted all that civil rights legislation or the Great Society agenda.

    The irony here is that out of the public eye, many of the Kennedys were rather uncouth themselves. Jackie was not much like her in-laws. What happens in Hyannisport stays in Hyannisport. At least until some people talk.

    Which reminds me of the story my uncle told me of seeing RFK and LBJ in a limo in front of Grand Central Station. The body language my uncle saw indicated that neither of the two thought well of the other.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    “Those who have recoiled from numerous chances to spike ObamaCare” and “forebore” are NOT the people I’m talking about, except when I say, “Oh, I don’t deny that there are some politicians in the GOP ‘establishment’ who fit that description.”

    Actually, there are far fewer of that sort than most people who criticize them think. For example, do you recall why the vote to repeal Obamacare in 2017 failed? The first reason was the difficulty and complexity of doing it in a way that is acceptable to the American people at this point. I discussed that here. The less-conservative GOP members of Congress want a less-conservative bill than the conservatives do (which makes sense), but that doesn’t mean that any of them wanted Obamacare in the first place, and none of them voted for it. They did their best to stop it at the time, but they didn’t have the votes although it was unanimous on their end.

    And if they’re so in love with the status quo re Obamacare, why on earth did they repeal the mandate in the tax bill? They didn’t have to do it, and yet they did it. You might say it’s so they could get re-elected, but the vast majority of the GOP members of the Senate are not up for re-election And the House had already passed a version of a repeal bill earlier; it had been the Senate where everything had been repeatedly blocked.

    If you want to refresh your memory on exactly how all the different repeal efforts have gone over the years, please take a look here. I especially call your attention to the history of the efforts made by the present Congress—the one in which the GOP controls both houses—and what has happened:

    On January 12, 2017, the Senate voted 51 to 48 to pass an FY2017 budget resolution, S.Con.Res. 3, that contained language allowing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act through the budget reconciliation process, which disallows a filibuster in the Senate. In spite of efforts during the vote-a-rama (a proceeding in which each amendment was considered and voted upon for about 10 minutes each until all 160 were completed) that continued into the early hours of the morning, Democrats could not prevent “the GOP from following through on its repeal plans.”…

    On March 6, 2017, House Republicans announced their replacement for the ACA, the American Health Care Act. The bill was withdrawn on March 24, 2017 after it was certain that the House would fail to garner enough votes to pass it. The result was in-fighting within the Republican Party [over the details of the bill, which had been highly criticized].

    On May 4, 2017, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (and thereby repeal most of the Affordable Care Act) by a narrow margin of 217 to 213, sending the bill to the Senate for deliberation. The Senate indicated they would write their own version of the bill, instead of voting on the House version. On June 22, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 was unveiled.

    On July 25, 2017, the United States Senate voted to proceed to debate on the American Health Care Act. The Senate voted 50-50, largely along party lines with the Republicans for and the Democrats against proceeding, requiring Vice President Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska crossed the aisle to vote against the motion.

    On July 27, 2017, the Health Care Freedom Act, also known as the “skinny repeal”, was introduced. This bill was defeated 49–51, with Republican senators Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lisa Murkowski voting against it along with all the Democrats and Independents.

    On September 13, 2017, an amendment to the American Health Care Act, commonly known as Graham-Cassidy, was submitted. The bill was sponsored by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, with Bill Cassidy of Louisiana as a co-sponsor. A spokesman for the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that a vote was planned to occur before September 30th, which was the deadline to pass bills under budget reconciliation. Rand Paul and John McCain indicated that they would vote against the bill. Ultimately, McConnell announced on September 26th that the Senate would not vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill.

    If they didn’t want to repeal and replace Obamacare, why did they pass the resolution saying it could be done through reconciliation? They didn’t have to do that.

    As you can see, the only people who voted against the final couple of repeal bills in the Senate were Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lisa Murkowski in one version, and Rand Paul and McCain in another version. Paul is Paul, and the rest are bona fide RINOs. But to say that this means the GOP members of Congress as a whole didn’t want it is to say something for which there is no evidence. Collins, McCain, and Murkowski have a long long history of this sort of behavior, and it is NOT done at the beck and call of the GOP. Collins, McCain, and Murkowski fit my description of “some politicians in the GOP ‘establishment’ who don’t really want a repeal.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    AesopFan:

    I’ll fix that. Thanks!

  25. parker Says:

    Like DNW I was a Cruz supporter who worked as a volunteer for his campaign. I was highly suspicious of Trump and his sometimes outrageous words. So far, I like many of his actions as POTUS.

    Tweeting insults to the murderous fat boy is not even a blip on my radar screen. In fact, as noted by others, the idea that Kim Jung Un will begin lobbing ICBMs because of a tweet is preposterous.

  26. artemptydgr Says:

    The black unemployment rate of 6.8 percent in December was the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking it in 1972, a year in which the rate ranged from 11.2 percent to 9.4 percent. In the 45 years the data has been tracked, the unemployment rate for black or African-American workers aged 16 years and older has never fallen below 7 percent.

  27. artemptydgr Says:

    Is being appalled by that really just a matter of disliking his “style”?

    Yes

    Once you start you may end up appalled that a woman shows her ankle, goes to school, doesn’t wear a bustle, etc. Or many other things women rendered appalling in the past

  28. Harry the Extremist Says:

    parker: “Tweeting insults to the murderous fat boy is not even a blip on my radar screen. In fact, as noted by others, the idea that Kim Jung Un will begin lobbing ICBMs because of a tweet is preposterous.”

    Not unless you take into account this guy also has had childless on-going twitter arguments with people like Rosie O”Donnel, then, in that context, it makes you look petty and unstable. Whatever this guy does that’s good gets undermined by his own lack of judgement on who and how he strikes at people. You cant just shrug that off.

  29. Billiam Says:

    I was a #NeverTrump. I supported Castle. Trump won, so, #NeverTrump became obsolete. After watching what he’s gotten done, as well as the Lefty/Estab-rino cryingfest, I’ll vote for him next time around. He’s done some decent stuff. Sure, I wish he’d put the damn phone down and stay the hell off Twitter. He’s growing on me because he fights. No matter that it’s sometimes juvenile and foolish, he fights back. He doesn’t roll over and curl into the fetal position like so many of the castrati in the GOP. That alone earns him my vote.

  30. parker Says:

    Harry,

    I never said djt could not be petty. He is petty and as thin skinned as bho. I think we both can agree that exchanging insults with the likes of Rosie is not only petty but also counter productive. Getting under the skin of fat boy is imo a different issue.

  31. AesopFan Says:

    Griffin Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 4:47 pm
    Aesopfan,

    There is some internet axiom I’ve seen somewhere that states that the best rule to remember is that ‘the left doesn’t actually believe any of the things they say’ which is obviously an exaggeration but makes sense on some level.
    * * *
    This may be a riff on a maxim I’ve seen attributed to Jonah Goldberg, who may have borrowed it from Jonathan Haidt (Google was not a big help with this one). Roughly remembered,
    “The agenda of the Left is never about the agenda; it is always about power.”

  32. AesopFan Says:

    Irene Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 5:08 pm
    * * *
    There are always people more appalled at the prospect of large numbers of deaths than at the actuality, generally depending on their own power base and ideology.
    (Death is always appalling in the first person…)

    BTW, I don’t think Ann is one of these; some people just don’t want anything to happen to anybody, but that is seldom an option in political maneuvering.
    A study of history will show that almost every decision taken results in someone dying, only the groups differ at the ends of the fork in the road.

  33. AesopFan Says:

    Dave Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 4:51 pm
    Another way to look at it is to ask the question why Kim Jong Un only has the nerve to insult Trump and America but not Putin or Xi, …
    * *
    It’s akin to the reason the Left only insults Jews and Christians, and not Muslims.

  34. The Other Chuck Says:

    Neo pointed out several versions of Never Trumpers and how they have either partially accepted him despite his uncouth style or still totally reject him. I’m one of the Never Trumpers who has come to admire him, although it takes a lot of compartmentalization.

    1. I discount almost anything he says. I know that like the supreme salesman he is, a lie is not a lie if it achieves his goal, and an insult is not an insult if it knocks out an opponent, nor is a logical fallacy an error if it works to confuse your enemy.

    2. I refuse to believe that what appears to be a confused, erratic man with the beginnings of senile dementia, is the same man whose tactical genius won out over a field of 17 polished politicians and a Democrat with billions in campaign cash.

    3. In short, I ignore the criticism, tune out the man’s persona, and focus entirely on his conservative judicial appointments, his roll back of thousands of regulations, his very brave embrace of Israel, and his drive to strengthen the economy and bring back jobs.

    This doesn’t mean I take back anything I said about him, his character, or his lack of business ethics. It does mean that I’ve come to accept that hidden somewhere deep inside is a man of rare ability with a late found drive to save a floundering America. I hope he succeeds.

  35. Griffin Says:

    Aesopfan,

    Just remembered where I saw it. It was a commenter at Ann Althouse called Fen.

    It’s Fen’s Law.

  36. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    “If they didn’t want to repeal and replace Obamacare, why did they pass the resolution saying it could be done through reconciliation? They didn’t have to do that.”

    Two words; plausible deniability. Any Republican Congressman from a deep red state needs plausible deniability if they are going to vote against popular positions and still have a hope of reelection. Look to Sen. Jeff Flake for confirmation…

    Every Congressman knows the degree of risk involved when considering an unpopular vote. Sometimes, voting for something they personally oppose is the safest strategy.

    That’s not to say there isn’t a spectrum of opinion in the GOP. But when a pattern emerges of intransigence to actions they’ve promised to support to voters, the reason is covert, dishonest opposition.

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Obviously if you think the whole thing’s a charade and everyone’s in on it, nothing they could do (short of torturing John McCain till he votes “yes”) could convince you. But I think your argument doesn’t make sense, because if they hadn’t done the reconciliation thing they could have just said sorry, we can’t repeal Obamacare because we don’t have the votes to invoke cloture and the Democrats stopped us, and next election you just have to elect more Republicans so we’ll finally have a big enough majority for cloture and repeal.

    They had no need to go for reconciliation if their aim was to gain plausible deniability; they had plausible deniability without it.

  38. AesopFan Says:

    American Greatness had a good post on NeverTrumping that fits into this discussion, with good arguments preceding the conclusion excerpted here.

    https://amgreatness.com/2018/01/03/abandoning-the-nevertrump-ship/

    “Although a hardened group of radical NeverTrumpers remains, most former fellow-travelers have moderated their stances and are at least willing to consider Trump on his merits. From R.R. Reno to Mollie Hemingway, former or more moderate critics of Trump are now undertaking important work in helping to smash the ruling class oligarchy.

    As Trump’s successes continue to pile up in the New Year, the remaining few passengers on the sinking NeverTrump ship should ask themselves an important question: Does their hatred of one man matter more than the good of their country?”

    Of course, one might argue that they will just end up substituting a different ruling class oligarchy for the current one (and even then it will include some of the same people wearing different masks), but it won’t be the Clinton Oligarchy, and the maskers may have to pretend at some points that they aren’t a leftist oligarchy either.

    Better half a loaf than none at all.

  39. FOAF Says:

    “It’s appalling because it comes across as jocular bravado. About nuclear devastation. About a horrible death for many thousands of people.”

    I am far more appalled by the fact that we have seen this (NK nukes) coming for nearly TWENTY-FIVE YEARS and let it happen. People were talking about this early in the *Clinton* administration. This wasn’t a bolt out of the blue like 9/11.
    That is three administrations, both parties, with all the wise, knowledgeable, refined, dignified foreign policy experts who should have stopped this long ago and they failed BIG-TIME.

    The most fundamental justification for the existence of *any* government is to protect its citizens from external attack. The wise guys, I mean wise men did not do their job and that is why we got Trump.

    And here is another thing that dovetails with one of Trump’s other issues. A lot of people say that the road to stopping NK goes through China. That makes a lot of sense, right? Is it possible that the reason the previous administrations did not take this tack is that they didn’t want to upset the trade applecart with China? Just a thought.

  40. texexec Says:

    I don’t especially like Trump’s style. But I can’t think of a thing he’s actually done as President that I disagree with.

  41. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    “Obviously if you think the whole thing’s a charade and everyone’s in on it, nothing they could do (short of torturing John McCain till he votes “yes”) could convince you.”

    My prior comment, “That’s not to say there isn’t a spectrum of opinion in the GOP.” was meant to indicate that I do not “think the whole thing’s a charade and everyone’s in on it”. Please forgive my lack of clarity.

    “But I think your argument doesn’t make sense, because if they hadn’t done the reconciliation thing they could have just said sorry, we can’t repeal Obamacare because we don’t have the votes to invoke cloture and the Democrats stopped us, and next election you just have to elect more Republicans so we’ll finally have a big enough majority for cloture and repeal.”

    Certainly they could have done that and had they, they had to know they would have faced the question as to why they had not employed the reconciliation tactic, just as the democrats had previously done.

    McConnell had previously tried staying on ‘the high road’ and the democrats made a fool of him. Many on the right, roundly criticized him for it once the democrats went to the nuclear option.

    To imagine that if Republicans now refrained from pushing through legislation, that when possible, the democrats would not return to the nuclear option is a logically indefensible assertion.

    So plausible deniability required doing just enough that they can’t be seen as not supporting favored reforms on the right.

    Knowing that they can count on Republican senators Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lisa Murkowski to vote against anything democrats are really opposed to allows RINOs to vote for legislation they actually oppose. It’s politics ‘201’.

  42. Fractal Rabbit Says:

    Ann, bless your heart. And I don’t mean that in the backhanded, passive aggressive Southern way either.

    You sound like a good person and a wonderful neighbor. You probably want to be left alone to do your thing, take care of your loved ones, watch your kids succeed. You don’t want to see anyone get hurt or killed.

    Live and let live.

    I get that.

    But the people President Trump fights, they don’t want to live and let live. The Progressive Left of our country, and the Pan-national Progressives of the U.N., don’t want to live and let live. Kim Jong Un doesn’t want to live and let live.

    You are either with them or against them. You either drink the grape Flavor-aid and pour the syringe of poisoned drink down your children’s’ throats or the Fellow Travelers will shoot you. And that’s for the lucky ones.

    The Progressive Left of 21st Century American culture and politics (almost inseparable) are not the Democrats and Liberals of even 20 years ago. They definitely aren’t like our host Neo before her political change.

    They are not decent people, nor even well-meaning bad people: they are would be mass murderers. The United States of America has come to a crossroads; ‘Antifa’ Blackshirts and the blue haired throngs of nattering Third Wave feminists, LGBTQWTF shock troops and all their collaborating support staff would ship you off on a one-way boxcar ride to a warm Zyklon-B shower if they thought for a moment they could get away with it.

    And those are just some of your countrymen. Some foreigners, like Kim Jong Un, would settle for incineration.

    Yet, you are appalled by Trumps tweets, even as he uses the Press and Pundits’ mass freak-outs and hand-wringing and the “I-Just-Can’t-Even-ing” to wonderful, distracting effect.

    While the Oh-So-Civilized purveyors of your Doom get the vapors over the latest Tweet Barrage, President Trump and his people are building a pile of skulls (A figure of speech, I swear…)of Trump’s enemies and, likely, your enemies.

    Ann, learn to see the big picture; anything that drives the Progressive Left to distraction this consistently and effectively is cover. And Trump, be he misunderstood genius or just a cunning survivor (I believe the latter, myself) is fighting for the country we love more than the last 4 presidents ever did.

    I was a Ted Cruz man, right up until election day, when I realized it was Trump or Hillary; and that was really no choice at all. Since then, he’s made me rethink everything.

    I don’t believe he’s good man. But the time when good men could fix our problems in a civil, classy fashion, well, those days are long gone, if they were ever really here to begin with. Trump’s not a good man, but he’s the man we need right now. He’s a selfish, self-interested man of ruthless cunning, fighting for his and our country.

  43. TommyJay Says:

    Neo says, “why on earth did they repeal the mandate in the tax bill?”

    My understanding is that the individual mandate and penalty is intact and was not repealed. The only thing that was repealed was the dollar figure of the penalty. It is now zero. And I think I read that the subsequent tax returns will still have a line item for the zero dollar penalty. The most anti-constitutional, freedom robbing provision in U.S. history is still there waiting for a power change in D.C. Thank you Chief Justice Roberts.

    The reason for this, of course, is reconciliation. Reconciliation allows for fiscal number changes, but not structural changes to current law. Or is that a ruse? If they already voted for a resolution in favor of allowing a full repeal of Obamacare under reconciliation, why not just invoke it and truly repeal the mandate/penalty? Then again, it was a TAX bill. Sigh. Either too complex or too duplicitous.

    I completely agree with Gregory B. Legislators routinely vote the opposite of the way they would have, if they had no clue of the outcome. It’s all about posturing. And trotting out that pig of cloture and filibustering was getting extremely old. Better put some lip stick on it.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    Tommyjay:

    If the penalty is zero that effectively removes it de facto. But every source I’ve looked at says it was repealed.

  45. AesopFan Says:

    Griffin Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 11:20 pm
    Aesopfan,

    Just remembered where I saw it. It was a commenter at Ann Althouse called Fen.

    It’s Fen’s Law.
    * * *
    I had never heard of it, and Google didn’t ever find the original comment or post, but I did find several references over the years. Thanks for something new to add to my “quotes” file.
    “The Left doesn’t really believe in the things they lecture the rest of us about.”

  46. Tim Turner Says:

    I would agree with Neo’s conclusion. I don’t like Trump, and I doubt I ever will. His personality is distasteful, and I don’t trust him on policy, even when he gets it right. I don’t read him as a man of principle, but a man of opportunism. I’m still waiting for him to do That One Thing that totally betrays freedom.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>






Monthly Archives



Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge