Editor’s Note: Here’s a roundup of neocohen tears. All of these pundits are either confirmed Jews or known to have Jewish ancestry. Enjoy!
“It is a testament to the combination of spinelessness on the part of party elders, complicity from the conservative media complex, and excessive cleverness by Republican presidential campaigns that we are today assigning fault for Donald Trump’s rise even before the first votes are cast. The pervasive waft of resignation pollutes the air around the hollowed out carcass that we occasionally refer to as the Republican “establishment,” for want of a more descriptive term. Rather than resist the hijacking of conservatism with any unity or conviction, Republicans are busily casting about for someone to blame. There is plenty of responsibility go around, but it is not Republicans’ alone. …”
“Since the rise of Trump was so unexpected, it’s unfair to blame conservative thought leaders for failing to write about this problem prior to the start of the election campaign. Nevertheless, the last days before the Iowa caucus is way too late to start a meaningful conversation about the danger of a non-ideological, non-conservative populist seizing control of the Republican Party. …
A Trump victory will, as NR right states, mark the capture of the GOP by a non-conservative candidate whose positions and beliefs are so far removed from the sort constitutional conservatism that springs from the beliefs of Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan, as to represent a turning point in American political history…”
“Trump represents not only an existential threat to the Republican Party and conservatism, but to the Constitution and our Republic. If that is insufficient grounds to warrant National Review from taking a stand then what is? …”
“The ugly reality of the right-wing electorate might be that a majority (this includes the Trumpkins, rent-seeking donor class, those who rarely pay attention, etc.) doesn’t give one whit about Buckley-ite conservatism anymore. The other day, Rush Limbaugh pondered whether “nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal.” Maybe. But if it has, America is going to need another party. Maybe two. …”
“Vulgarian and climber, braggart and charlatan, he tends to be portrayed as pretty harmless in the big scheme of things, someone who does limited damage to the republic as a whole—though of course he can impoverish individuals and damage communities that get in his way. …”
“The way things are going in the presidential race, I’m going to write in Paul D. Ryan. …
Trump is nativist, xenophobic, misogynist, undignified, insulting and profane. Admittedly, he’s giving voice to the anger of working-class white voters who feel they are losing out in the modern economy and think establishment politicians have done nothing for them.
But his solutions — to the extent he has any beyond “I’m a billionaire. Trust me.” — are to expel 11 million illegal immigrants, renounce trade agreements our allies expect us to live up to and enact a tax plan that will widen income inequality and balloon the national debt …
Ryan is a statement. He means to pass a policy agenda, to make the GOP “not the opposition party, but the proposition party.” Admittedly, the agenda exists only in outline, but it’s pretty clear it would involve tax reform, free trade and deregulation; replacing Obamacare with a market-based health plan, and waging a conservative war on poverty.
Like Jack Kemp, Ryan is a genuine compassionate conservative. He didn’t have to denounce Trump’s Muslim-exclusion plan, but he did. He wants poverty programs to be, as Kemp used to say, “a trampoline, not a trap.” He says that immigration reform is a growth strategy. He’s already proved he can pass a bipartisan budget, a highway bill and education reform.
I wish Ryan had run this year. If enough of us write him in, maybe he will next time.”
“Instead of shoring up these institutions, many voters are inclined to make everything worse. Plagued by the anxiety of impotence many voters are drawn to leaders who pretend that our problems could be solved by defeating some villain. Donald Trump says stupid elites are the problem. Ted Cruz says it’s the Washington cartel. Bernie Sanders says it’s Wall Street.
The fact is, for all the problems we may have with Wall Street or Washington, our biggest problems are systemic — the disruptions caused by technological progress and globalization, mass migration, family breakdown and so on. There’s no all-controlling Wizard of Oz to slay. …”
“Whether sincerely or simply in an effort to cater to the lowest common denominator in the GOP, too many of its presidential candidates, most especially Donald Trump and Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Ky.), share in the moral indifference and strategic delusion that other countries can work it out, that regional players (whether in regard to Ukraine or to Syria) have more at stake than the United States (which is the guarantor of the nation state system and security for the Free World) and that there is an antiseptic, easy solution (no ground troops, no military investment) to what ails us. These anti-internationalists also mistake words for action, as if bellicosity and meaningless phrases (“carpet bomb,”neocon,” “America First,” etc.) take the place of a coherent policy and reasoned arguments. There are several defenses made by respected conservatives for this sort of foreign policy that require a response. …
Third, if the Trump phenomenon has taught Republicans anything, it is that bad ideas (xenophobia, protectionism) and habits (vulgarity, appeals to fear, non-fact-based arguments) that are not confronted become normalized and rooted in the body politic. Conservatives have always railed against a post-modernist mind-set that treats facts as ephemeral and history as a flexible record to be manipulated for desired ends. They therefore should stand firmly against blatant misrepresentations (e.g., Moammar Gaddafi was our friend, dictators were islands of stability, the United States “created” al-Qaeda, the National Security Agency program entails listening in on Americans’ phone calls), not slough them off as mere campaign piffle.”
“Trump wouldn’t make America great again – he’d make Trump great again, and by his lights, America would follow. So long as Trump temporarily attacks the right enemies, enough conservatives might follow him. But that doesn’t make him trustworthy. …”
“A shortage of such skepticism is how we ended up with the problems Trump so bluntly laments. Repeating that mistake is no way to solve these problems. To address them, we need to begin by rejecting what Trump stands for, as much as what he stands against. …”
“I’m open to the complaint that our self-interest has driven us to become too invested in an ideology that too few voters subscribe to. But if that’s the case, the remedy isn’t to abandon all principle and just join the mob. I’d rather go down with my ship, thank you very much.”
“Donald Trump continues to upend traditional politics. Few if any pollsters or professional political analysts could have predicted that a man repeatedly caught lying outright, disparaging women, making menstruation jokes that even sixth graders in a locker room wouldn’t find funny, making racist remarks about Mexicans, casting doubt on his competitor’s citizenship, or committing any number of other outrages, would now be leading the field of a major political party. …”
“When a con man swindles you, you can sue—as many embittered former Trump associates who thought themselves ill used have done. When you elect a con man, there’s no recourse.”
“And forget trying to determine whether he’s a conservative. Given that, at the suggestion of Bill Clinton, he has like a tapeworm invaded the schismatically weakened body of the Republican party, it’s a pointless question, because, like Allah in Islamic theology, he is whatever he pleases to be at the moment, the only principle being the triumph of his will.”
“Trump’s defenders insist that his flashy, shameless, non-conservative style will help win support for his views, which are, they say, substantively conservative. But where, exactly, do we find the conservative substance? His much-heralded hard line on immigration discards pragmatic reform policies favored by the two most popular conservatives of the last half century, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Building a yuuuuge wall along the southern border hardly qualifies as a “cautiously moderate” approach, nor would uprooting 11 million current residents (and, presumably, millions more of their American-citizen children and spouses) in the greatest forced migration in human history.”
“Moreover, Trump’s proposal would assure the enmity of all Muslims, including those whose support we need if we are to prevail. …”
“In any integrated personality, the id is supposed to be balanced by an ego and a superego—by a sense of self that gravitates toward behaving in a mature and responsible way when it comes to serious matters, and, failing that, has a sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies. Trump is an unbalanced force. He is the politicized American id. Should his election results match his polls, he would be, unquestionably, the worst thing to happen to the American common culture in my lifetime.”
“We are already seeing the disturbing normalization of policies and arguments that recently seemed unacceptable, even unsayable. Trump proposes the forced expulsion of 11 million people, or a ban on Muslim immigration, and there are a few days of outrage from responsible Republican leaders. But the proposals still lie on the table, eventually seeming regular and acceptable.
But they are not acceptable. They are not normal. They are extreme, and obscene and immoral. The Republican nominee — for the sake of his party and his conscience — must draw these boundaries clearly.”
“If [Trump] becomes the nominee, a lot of people who otherwise would unite under that tent may not, because when you run a campaign of personal attacks, an Alinskyite campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, you turn people off …”
The tribe has spoken: Donald Trump, you are not good for the Jews!