I kinda, sorta agree with (((Noah Rothman))) that conservatism has conserved more things than most of us realize and hasn’t been given enough credit:
“What has conservatism conserved?
This is a question asked with earnest impatience by many of Donald Trump’s enthusiastic supporters. It is raised by both the archaic white nationalist who views racism as transgressive enough to constitute a youthful rebellion, and by burgeoning opinion writers who fancy themselves a respectable sort. It is whispered by patriots who fear for the future of the republic they love and by sycophants for whom the Constitution itself is a barrier to the enlightened despotism they believe would remedy America’s ills.
Trump has made no secret of his antipathy toward conservatism and the politicians who speak in its name. The Republican nominee is now in open warfare with one of the GOP’s most popular figures, House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling him “a man who doesn’t know how to win.” Trump supporters will nod their heads to this assertion. That view is dogma on the anti-establishmentarian right. This pique led to the nomination of an unqualified presidential nominee who will badly lose a winnable race for the White House. Now, out of spite, those same people who sacrificed the presidency are contemplating the sacrifice of the GOP’s majorities. Because they’ve convinced themselves that Republicans like Ryan don’t “know how to win,” they believe they’re not forfeiting much. They’re dead wrong. …”
Let’s go through the list:
1.) Communism – The #TruCons were totally against Soviet communism during the Cold War. It is a stretch though to say they defeated communism. Anyway, I don’t disagree that #TruCons were strongly opposed to communism and that they wanted to conserve American capitalism and classical liberalism.
I’m just saying that defeating communism is something Corporate America wanted and thus there was no reason for #TruCons to take an opposing position. They are water carriers for the neo-liberal globalist oligarchy. Why would they be opposed to fighting communism which kept American corporations out of large swathes of the world?
2.) American welfare programs – Rothman is referring here to the welfare reform bill that passed Congress under Bill Clinton. Again, I agree that the #TruCons were opposed to welfare for poor and working class people. Why would they be opposed to welfare reform? Corporate America has always been against welfare for anyone except itself. Classical liberals (i.e., conservatives) ordinarily glorify the “free-market.”
Wall Street and the Big Banks went on welfare in 2008. That was fine enough though. George W. Bush was told by all of his donors and establishment buddies that he had to set aside his “free-market principles” for a minute and sign off on a $700 billion dollar welfare check to save wealthy investors during the Crash of 2008. To make a very long story short, the #TruCons won a very small battle in the war against the welfare state in the 1990s, which is already rapidly being dismantled, but lost the larger war.
3.) The Triumph of Free Trade – I will concede that one too. Corporate America strongly supports globalization and pushes very hard for new free-trade agreements. That’s why the #TruCons (and Hillary, and Obama) were for it.
4.) Revitalization of First Amendment Freedoms – What are these big victories? Political correctness is stronger than ever before. #TruCons, who are a bunch of weak-kneed cowards, are less willing to stand up to Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) than ever before.
5.) Right-To-Work Laws – Once again, Corporate America is for right-to-work laws, which is why the Bush-Ryan-Kasich wing is for right-to-work laws.
6.) Disempowering Teachers Union – Generally speaking, fighting unions is something conservatives (i.e., classical liberals) have always supported. Corporate America supports it. Thus, there is no reason not to move forward on that agenda item.
7.) Criminal Justice Reform – This is another pet cause of the Paul Ryan wing of the Republican Party. Letting hardened criminals out of prison will signal to the media that they are “one of the good ones.” George W. Bush’s support for AIDs in Africa legislation is another example.
8.) DREAM Act – This is a complicated issue and we need to take a more nuanced view to see what is going on. Granted, there has always been SOME resistance in the GOP to the DREAM Act, but that is because there are rival factions within the party.
The populist wing centered on talk radio was strongly against the DREAM ACT. At the same time, the Paul Ryan-John McCain wing was strongly for it – after losing the 2012 election, Paul Ryan was working with Luis Gutierrez on amnesty within the week. The DREAM Act has been batted around since 2001 and for 15 years now it has pitted populists against establishment Republicans.
9.) Gun Control – The biggest victory for the #TruCons here seems to be the end of the Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004. It required no action on their part.
10.) Citizens United and McCutcheon Decisions – Both of these decisions unleashed a tsunami of big money into politics and amplified the power of the donor class. Corporate America was for it so naturally the #TruCons were for it, too.
11.) Affirmative Action – The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the legality of affirmative action. What’s the victory?
12.) Obamacare – There has been a lot of grandstanding and failure theater in Congress on this issue. Corporate America hates Obamacare so the #TruCons have a free hand to oppose it and repeal it if they ever get the chance to do so.
13.) EPA – Once again, Corporate America dislikes burdensome regulations, which is why there has been movement on this side of the “conservative agenda.”
14.) Federal Spending – The National Debt still sets a new record every day, right?
Some issues which are not mentioned:
15.) Taxes – The relatively low tax rate on top income earners we have had since Ronald Reagan was president has been conserved, right?
16.) Deregulation – Large swathes of the American economy have been deregulated since the 1970s and 1980s. Neo-liberal globalists in both parties have worked together on these changes like deregulating Wall Street. These favors for Corporate America have been conserved.
17.) Endless Wars To Promote Democracy – Using force (Iraq and Libya) and subterfuge (Ukraine and Georgia) to aggressively spread liberal capitalist democracy all over the world has been successfully conserved.
What are we to make of this?
We should grant to the conservatives that some things (low taxes, fighting communism, free-trade, deregulation, endless wars, etc.) have been successfully conserved. There are even a few things where we might even agree with the conservatives (gun control) that have been conserved. Also, there is room for debate on many of these questions (healthcare, welfare reform, taxes) where reasonable people might agree and disagree.
Yes, but there is a clear pattern here. The pattern is that the things which have been conserved, or where there has been a real attempt to use political power “conserve” this or that item, are something that what calls itself “the governing wing,” or the Paul Ryan-John McCain-John Kasich wing, or the establishment wing, or the Chamber of Commerce wing, or the globalist wing (whatever you want to call it), WANTED!
Conservatives will fight for low taxes, free-trade, deregulation, more foreign wars, etc. They will fight for those things because “the governing wing” wants them to do so. “The governing wing” has a very different attitude though when it comes to other aspects of the “conservative agenda” which are popular with the majority of Republican voters. They will, for example, stick their nose up in the air, wave their hands, and sanctimoniously say, “that’s not who we are” when it comes to suspending Muslim immigration.
Look, “the governing” wing sees the world like this: the overwhelming majority of Republican voters are there to provide them with the votes necessary to pass THEIR GLOBALIST AGENDA. It is THEIR PARTY. It belongs to the 10 percent to 25 percent of Republicans who support Paul Ryan and John Kasich.
The Republican Party is THEIR COUNTRY CLUB. You’re welcome at the country club, but you ARE NOT WELCOME to select its leaders or set the policy agenda. Do you not realize that voting for Trump and defeating “the governing wing” in the primary jeopardized the SOUL of the whole organization? Have you not noticed that they have been blowing the whistle and screaming OUT OF BOUNDS with their #NeverTrump campaign for 6 months now?
You’ve left “the governing wing” with no other choice in this election but to formally endorse Hillary Clinton, push this #NeverTrump campaign, and vote for the Democrats. That’s the only way conservatism can be saved from you!
Note: The old man in the pink shirt in the video below has always reminded me of George Will.