Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
From http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=377650 used with permission
We have previously noted the demise of The Weekly Standard: Neo-conservative, Bill Kristol, was so consumed by hatred for President Trump that he wound up destroying the magazine he started, The Weekly Standard — the website still exists, but there are no new articles; older articles are archived by the Washington Examiner — by making it all-#NeverTrump, all the time, alienating his readership, many of whom supported President Trump. Started in 1995 by Mr Kristol in competition with National Review and The New Republic, it was finally shut down in 2018.
Needing an outlet other than Twitter in which to spread his message, Mr Kristol and his allies began The Bulwark. Wikipedia describes it as:
an American conservative news and opinion website founded by conservative commentators Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol. A news aggregator at first with Benjamin Parker as editor (he is currently senior editor), it was revamped into a news and opinion site with “the core digital staff of The Weekly Standard.” Like the Standard, The Bulwark has been described as neoconservative.
The Weekly Standard was a print magazine, while TheBulwark is only a website, and has much lower expenses.
Following the end of publication of The Weekly Standard in December 2018, editor-in-chief Charlie Sykes said “the murder of the Standard made it urgently necessary to create a home for rational, principled, fact-based center-right voices who were not cowed by Trumpism.” The site was created in December 2018 as a news aggregator as a project of the Defending Democracy Together Institute, a 501(c)(3) conservative advocacy group led in part by Weekly Standard co-founder William Kristol, who was a prominent voice pushing for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Several former editors and writers of The Weekly Standard soon joined the staff and within weeks of launch began publishing original news and opinion pieces. CNN reported in January 2019 that approximately $1 million had already been raised for the site, which was said to be adequate to keep the site running for one year but that additional funding was being sought.
Thus, the opinions expressed by Sarah Longwell, Executive director of Republicans for the Rule of Law, who is also listed on the masthead as the Publisher of The Bulwark are hardly a surprise:
Sarah Longwell is the publisher of The Bulwark. She is a partner at a communications firm in Washington, D.C., and a founding director of Defending Democracy Together and the Defending Democracy Together Institute. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.
She lives in Washington, DC. That, in itself, tells you much about the author, and her disconnect from that great part of America that does not lie along the Acela corridor. From The Atlantic:
The senator is best positioned to pry the Republican Party from President Trump’s hands.
Sarah Longwell | Executive director of Republicans for the Rule of Law | October 23, 2019 | 6:00 AM EDT
Donald Trump has never feared another elected Republican. Over the course of five years, he has bullied and insulted, mocked and complained about nearly every GOP officeholder past and present, including George W. Bush and Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeff Flake. He knew that the Republicans who dared to stand up to him couldn’t hurt him (Bob Corker), and that the Republicans who could have hurt him wouldn’t dare stand up to him (Paul Ryan).
All of which has led Trump to believe that there is no possible danger of the Republican Party being pried from his grasp. But Trump may at last need to rethink that calculus.
Mitt Romney’s attempt to excise Trump from his party started early. In March 2016, he became the only former Republican presidential nominee to take a public position against Trump’s candidacy. This act of resistance didn’t work, however, because while Romney had moral authority, he had no real power.
Given that two former Republican presidents, the two George Bushes, publicly opposed Mr Trump, the elder supposedly voting for Hillary Clinton and the younger reported not to have cast a ballot in the presidential race, it would seem that Mrs Longwell should have done her homework a bit better.
That situation changed this year, when Romney again became an elected official. On January 1, 2019, the newly minted Senator Romney announced his arrival in Washington with an op-ed in The Washington Post titled, “The President Shapes the Public Character of the Nation. Trump’s Character Falls Short.”
After having softened his criticism of the president and even tacitly accepting his endorsement during his Senate campaign in Utah, Romney wrote:
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.
One would have hoped that Mrs Longwell would have had the honesty to note that Mr Romney gladly accepted Mr Trump’s invitation to interview for the position of Secretary of State, obsequiously genuflecting at the then-President-elect’s feet in hope of securing that august position, but, Alas! she did not. She did note that Mr Romney was an early opponent of Mr Trump’s candidacy.
Mrs Longwell’s theme is that Senator Romney is positioning himself to what, exactly?
Now it looks like Romney was playing the long game, waiting for a moment when there might be leverage for him not simply to annoy Trump, but to be in the jury box rendering a verdict on his presidency.
She noted that Senator Romney is relatively invulnerable: his term will not be up for election again until 2024, and he might not be interested in re-election, given that he would be 77 years old at the time. That makes the Utah carpetbagger senator the Republican with the least to lose by leading a Republican revolt in the Senate to remove President Trump from office. Former Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), she noted, said that, if they could vote privately, there would be 35 Republican senators who would vote to remove the President.
But, of course, they don’t get to vote privately, and, according to the most recent Gallup Poll (October 1 – October 13), President Trump has an 87% job approval rating among Republicans. Where, exactly, will Mr Romney find nineteen other Republican senators who would vote to remove Mr Trump?
This is where Mrs Longwell fails. A creature of Washington, working among like-minded neo-conservatives like Mr Kristol and Max Boot,¹ it is simply outside her paradigm to comprehend that there are millions, millions! of Republicans across the country who support President Trump personally and would vote against any Republican in Congress who votes to impeach or remove him from office.
The #NeverTrumpers seem to have a personal disconnect. It seems as though Mr Kristol — to judge by his voluminous tweets — believes that if Republican voters across the fruited plain could just be made to see what kind of person Donald Trump is, they would turn against him in droves. That attitude ignores a basic truth: Republican voters knew exactly who Mr Trump was when they cast their ballots for him, know exactly what kind of man he is today, and still support him, still have every intention of voting for him 12½ months from now.
Let’s face it: Mr Trump is an [insert slang term for the rectum here], and everybody knows it. But it seems that Republicans and conservatives want an [insert slang term for the rectum here] as President, at least when contrasted with former Republican Presidents who shied away from too many fights against the Democrats. We may not like Mr Trump’s personal foibles, his callous disregard for the truth, his thrice-married womanizing, and his seeming inability to work with even the people in his administration, but we do like most of his policies.
And in the end, that’s what really matters. That Mr Trump might be an obnoxious human being doesn’t mean much to me, because I have never met the man, and the odds that I ever will are vanishingly small. His character and personal life have absolutely nothing to do with me.
But his policies affect every American. His continual lowering of admission of refugee targets, his increased enforcement of our immigration laws, his getting taxes cut, his (too slow) withdrawal of American troops from Middle Eastern quagmires, his cancelling of so many of President Obama’s executive orders, his banning of ‘transgender’ people from the armed services, his pro-business, and pro-American business policies, his support for the American energy industry, his appointment of conservative judges, and his resistance to the cockamamie agenda of the homosexual and transgender groups, these are the things which are of real importance to most Americans outside of the blue-state east coast corridor.
If some form of ‘Green New Deal’ is passed, people like Mr Kristol won’t be terribly bothered; he is a millionaire, and if his electricity bill goes up $35 a month, he won’t even notice. It’s the people who work in the factories and on the farms, the ones to whom a $35 increase in their electric bills means $35 less that they have to spend on something they really want, who will care. President Trump will (probably) resist any such legislation, while all of the Democrats are proposing their own versions of such.
The #NeverTrumpers among The Bulwark would have had a few bad things to say about the President’s policies, if the President were shudder! Hillary Clinton, but not that many. They might have criticized the clumsiness of her foreign policies, but not its goals. They’d have mostly applauded her promised increases in the number of refugees admitted into this country, with perhaps, only perhaps, some slight criticism of her leaving our southern border open to a wave of illegal immigrants. They’d have been silent, at best, if not openly supportive of her moves to normalize transgenderism, and said nary a cross word about her judicial picks. They’d have supported her desire for higher rather than lower taxes.² And they’d have approved her continued executive findings that it was not the right time to move our embassy from tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The neo-conservatives have accomplished two things: they have proven that their brand of conservatism is not conservative at all, and they have demonstrated for us all that they simply do not understand the people in their own country. The House of Representatives may impeach President Trump, because the Democrats do not need a single Republican vote to do so, but it would require the votes of twenty Republicans in the Senate to remove him from office. Perhaps if Mr Romney had run a better campaign himself in 2012, he’d be President today, instead of being so consumed with hatred for the man who proved himself to be a better candidate, and a bigger man.
¹ – We have previously noted Mr Boot’s own words, here and here, in which he noted that he was “pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-abortion rights, pro-immigration,” “think(s) that climate change is a major threat that we need to address” and is very worried about his white and male privilege. His views fit within conservatism on only a few things. His ‘neo-conservatism’ isn’t very conservative at all.
² – Full disclosure: I stated that I would support tax cuts only after spending cuts had been made.
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