If #NeverTrump is real, we who believe that both the Republican and Democratic presumptive nominees are maggot-filled bloated death carcasses for conservative values must face reality. Reality means we have to acknowledge the one-way-ticket nature of the task, and do it anyway.
Buchanan quoted Priebus:
“It’s a suicide mission,” said the Republican Party Chairman.
Reince Priebus was commenting on a Washington Post story about Mitt Romney and William Kristol’s plot to recruit a third-party conservative candidate to sink Donald Trump.
Indeed, the quote conjures the image of Denethor flinging himself onto his son Faramir’s death pyre after exclaiming “Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king!” But Denethor had lost all hope against the hordes of Mordor. We, however, will live to fight again, though perhaps under a different banner.
First in our reality checklist is this fact: #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary are not mutually exclusive, and in fact can and do exist in the same political river. Yes, Hillary will be an absolute nightmare for conservatives, and for American interests. As a triumvirate presidency (a topic for another post), including co-President Bill and co-President Barack, the failed policies of the America-hating left will continue to be foisted on us for another four years.
So we are #NeverHillary. But we are also #NeverTrump, because the Golden Combover’s dog whistles will do more to dismantle American liberty than perhaps any liberal big-government nanny-stater could ever hope for.
In a conversation today, I was asked why I’m so hard over against Trump by someone who isn’t really a Trump supporter, but wanted to understand why–if he would potentially be ineffective–I think he’s so dangerous. I wrote about this notion before of comparing Trump’s ascendance to the end of the Roman Republic and the rise of Julius Caesar. Julius was the populist, last elected leader of the republic, but he made the way for the first real emperor, Augustus.
Trump’s pure, undiluted populism, untainted by actual conservative values (which sinks Buchanan’s parallels to Goldwater), combined with his expertise in persuasion and manipulation, will usher in a new class of leaders. Instead of politicians, we will have more of this kind of huckster rising up to take a turn at the helm.
America’s polity used to have counterweights and guardrails of a sort to keep our republic from careening into despotism. It was in fact the Founders’ greatest fear and they took great care to create high hurdles to prevent it. In the end, it’s our society’s guardrails that gave us the ultimate protection: Belief in Biblical morality, a sense of conscience and shame, a sense of fighting for right versus self-worship. In the last 50 years, those guardrails have eroded to the point where they’re simply faded yellow lines with no cultural power or relevance.
In 1992, Peggy Noonan warned that American society had lost its sense of shame, and along with it, had closed its heart. “Message to society: What you applaud, you encourage. And: Watch out what you celebrate.” We now celebrate every excursion from Biblical norms as shackles being broken from prudish values into a new personal freedom. But in doing so, we have removed the heart, the shame, the conscience, and the guardrails that protected our society from plunging into the darkness below.
Donald Trump represents an attempt to turn back time to a place where we had the guardrails through the sheer force of his will. But the guardrails are gone. He himself does not possess the humility, character, or sense of shame to restore them; indeed Trump joins in the celebration when the guardrails are dismantled and snickers at those who lament over them.
Supporting Trump adds the GOP’s voice to the celebration of the destruction of our own culture. So we are #NeverTrump. But who will take on the suicide mission?
Buchanan recommends–even dares–Mitt Romney to fling himself into the funeral pyre, calling it a Kamikaze mission.
If Romney believes that Trump is an unacceptable nominee and would be an intolerable president, and that Republicans have a moral obligation to prevent this, why does Romney not man up and take on the assignment himself?
Now, admittedly, Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, where Romney attended, does not have a long tradition of producing suicide bombers. Yet, Romney is asking others to undertake a mission that will kill their careers and make them pariahs in their party, but will not do it himself.
I would love to see Mitt Romney run as a third party candidate. He has little to lose, having shot his entire ammunition belt in 2012. When I voted for Romney in 2012, I held my nose to do it, but only for a few missed breaths. I actually thought a Romney White House would be a decent-acting administration, carrying the GOP banner well, if somewhat awkwardly for conservatives.
In 2016, I’d actually get excited about a Romney run in the general election. That in itself really says a lot. Buchanan compared a Romney #NeverTrump run to John Anderson’s doomed candidacy in 1980 against Reagan. There’s no comparison (either between Reagan and Trump or between Anderson and Romney). I’d even say that bringing up Reagan in defense of Trump should be handled like a violation of Godwin’s Law. He who does it automatically loses an argument based on reducio ad Reagan. Trump is as much like Reagan as Tupac was like Sinatra.
A #NeverTrump third party run is more like Ross Perot in 1992. Perot was a cross between Trump and Ron Paul, but he was the real thing versus a Macy’s Thanksgiving parade inflatable of himself. I voted for Perot in ’92. Now I pine for Perot, who threw himself on the funeral pyre in protest of the “read my lips” betrayal. But in doing so, he revived the GOP, opened the way for Gingrich’s Contract with America, and the biggest economic boon to the country since WWII.
With Trump, we’ll get Woodrow Wilson. With Hillary, we’ll get pre-WWII Franklin Roosevelt. But if we can stand for #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary through a Romney bid, and cause Trump to potentially lose all 50 states, we can clear the way for a new GOP, or whatever comes after.
If we don’t, I fear we won’t have anything come after.