(h/t Alert reader "Richard")
From today's Bloomberg View:
Conservatives' Message: Character Doesn't MatterBy Ramesh PonnuruOnce upon a time, we called it “the character issue.” It was a major part of the conservative attack on Bill Clinton in the 1990s: He was a draft-dodging adulterer and therefore unworthy of the office of the presidency.Most conservatives are making a different judgment about Donald Trump. He too avoided the draft, and he has even bragged about affairs with married women. But conservatives are supporting him....
The second concerns our culture. Trump’s success in the presidential race so far reflects a cultural rot: It would once have been impossible for someone like him to win the nomination. But it also deepens that rot. If we elevate a man we know to be cruel, impulsive, insecure, vain and dishonest to the most powerful position in our country, that choice helps to define our own character and shape our expectations for one another...
Which is kinda weird considering that Mr. Ponnuru's 2013 assessment of the state of his Republican party was that it was dooming itself by continuing to put forward dull establishment candidates who would not speak to the real motivating fears and passions of the actual Republican base:
Republicans Lose Way by Misreading Bush History: Ramesh Ponnuru...That mythology influences the Republican presidential primaries, too. It’s why they have, to an unusual extent, showcased unpopular ideas that have no chance of going anywhere, such as abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency. It is part of the reason for the resistance to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney: Conservatives fear he would be a big-government Republican, like Bush, and lead the party again to ruin.
Meanwhile, the real mistakes of the Bush years keep being made. Republicans had nothing to say about wage stagnation then and are saying nothing about it now. The real cost of Republicans’ fixation on ideological purity is that it distracts them from their real problems, and the nation’s.
Well congratulations, Mr. Ponnuru, you got your wish!
You got a candidate who doesn't give a shit about orthodoxy, but instead speaks directly to the lizard-brain rage and fear that motivates your party's base. He offers them the protection of walls, and the property of trade wars and they cheer him on. He tells them that he will restore the middle class by the sheer force of his awesome will, and thanks to 20 year of Fox lobotomizing, they're plenty stupid enough to believe him. He offers them scapegoats galore, both here and abroad, to blame for their every ache and pain, and tells the base that he will drive them out or destroy them once and for all, and they love him for it.
You got your wish, Mr. Ponnuru, so what are you bitching about?
The problem, Mr. Ponnuru, is that while you have been richly rewarded for spinning you little stories and tinkering together your precious Conservative theories, you never bothered to look under the hood and see who was actually down there, at the base of your party, powering the whole enterprise. You never bothered to leave your ivory tower and listen to what that mob of bigots and imbeciles was really saying, and there for had no idea what you were really wishing for and no capacity to recognize it now that it is leering back at you from the head of your party.
So it is no real surprise that Mr. Ponnuru has strapped on the Seven League Boots and taken a mighty leap right over the two decades between the Age of Clinton and the 2016 presidential election. Because it was during this period when it became painfully clear to anyone who was not an idiot or a fraud or a co-conspirator that Conservatives simply do not have principles.
They have a skull full of Frank Luntz-tested, Fox-approved, bumper stickers which are swapped out depending on which party --
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter." -- Republican Vice President Dick Cheney"The real question about the Bush tax cuts, then, is not, Can we afford them? The real question is, Why are they so small?" -- David Brooks
-- happens to be in the White House (typical teabagger rally during the reign of the Kenyan Usurper):
And what exactly was Mr. Ponnuru up to during this long, post-Clinton/pre-Trump interregnum about which so many Conservatives remain so conspicuously silent?
Funny you should ask!
When Mr. Ponnuru wasn't busy hacking out columns for The National Review, he was very energetically flogging his Regnery press best-seller, "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life".
And now he makes a living writes columns for Bloomberg decrying the coarsening of our public dialogue, the lowering of Conservative standards and the "cultural rot" that has made it possible for a vulgar, lying demagogue like Donald Trump the win the Republican nomination in a landslide.
Funny old world.