The GOP Establishment is based on one fundamental axiom: the establishment is always right, especially when they’re wrong.
Their candidates never lose; the American voter simply fails to recognize that they’re right. Jeb Bush didn’t lose the nomination; a demagogue rallied a violent base that Bush was too principled to go after. Mitt Romney didn’t lose the election; an extended primary crippled him before he had a chance to win.
Even when, after 2012 they performed an oxymoronic self-autopsy, their conclusion was “We were not wrong, we were just ineffective in explaining how we were right.” While this may placate them internally, the only way to keep this sociopathy going publically is to point out, not just that they’re right, but that everyone else is wrong.
Assigning blame and pointing fingers is the amphetamine of modern politics and the Establishment indulges to no end. They wasted no time in blaming Barry Goldwater in his landslide loss in 1964 for being “too conservative” and blaming Ronald Reagan for costing Gerald Ford the election by challenging him in 1976. They were already blaming Reagan in 1980 for being too conservative, too old, too populist before the Gipper turned it around to win, much to the dismay of the establishment and the Big Government Republican crowd.
Indeed, in a slim new book by another neocon, Yuval Levin, he advocates for “getting over Reagan” but not getting over Bush. Of course, Levin worked for Bush. He even outrageously claims the accomplishments of the 1980’s are just “they say” as a means of undermining their credibility or legitimacy. He claims Reaganites are “blinded by nostalgia” for Reagan’s many successes, but curiously, remains silent on the many failures of the Bushies.
The fact remains that at the end of the 1980’s, the GOP had a coherent governing philosophy and indeed, more young Americans identified with the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party. The winning ideology of Reagan’s GOP was centered on freedom for the individual and not a celebration of big institutions. In spite of all this success, it violated the prime directive; the establishment had to be right. To that end, Reaganism was thrown over the side for the advent of Bushism, Big Government Republicanism and the Wilsonian doctrine of intervention and nation building.
So how’s that working out?
Nation building is good business for defense contractors, their paid advocates, the publications of the neocon establishment, and their lobbyists, but one is hard pressed to come up with what the rest of America gains. One is hard pressed to understand how the arguments of the Wall Street Journal to rob billions of dollars from Middle America to pay off dirty and corrupt Wall Street bankers and brokers help anybody but corrupt and dirty Wall Street bankers and brokers and their corrupt lobbyists and sycophants in Washington.
The long march down began with George Bush’s “kinder and gentler” and “New World Order,” antithetical to American conservatism. Conservatism experienced a renaissance with Newt Gingrich’s inspired landslide win in 1994 but again, Republicanism’s slide backwards with the election of George W. Bush in 2000 and the rise of Bushism 41, Rovism and Kristolism.
This fall, win or lose, DC will be frantically searching for the man responsible for Trump. While the honest and objective will see it as a direct result of a populist grassroots rejection of corrupt Republican insiderism, of long winded and short thinking GOP talking heads on cable television, of an unregulated consultant industry which prizes witticism over winning for the right reason, of a political party which has become the second big party in America, of a direction rejection of the establishment, don’t worry. The establishment will still be right.
The Weekly Standard, ground zero for “never wrong” neoconservative Big Government Republicanism, is soon hosting a swank rooftop party at one of Washington exclusive hotels, to celebrate its 1,000th subsidized issue. Given the disaster of nearly everything the magazine has advocated over the years, including near-endless war and near-endless government, not to mention the rejection of winning Reagan conservatism, the embrace of losing Big Government Bushism, one wonders if it should be a wake instead.
One can’t be blamed for being tempted to imagine how many problems of the world would be solved by a chalkboard and a lecture on American conservatism 101 rather than casting canapés before some swinish guests and middling writers.
One can’t be blamed for imagining the good that would be done if some in attendance at the Weekly Standard hoity-toity party worked on putting on a roof, rather than putting on a rooftop party.
It is not too much to understand that neither a person nor a political party can house two competing personalities or philosophies for long, although for some it is a difficult concept.
Of one fact there can be no doubt; the collapse of coherent American conservatism came with the rise of neoconservatism and Big Government Republicanism. The many and manifest systemic problems of the GOP are their fault. Period. The party and the movement are going through a nervous breakdown, thanks to the neocons. Whatever problems are being caused by Donald Trump, they pale when compared to those created by these former Trotskyites.
The GOP had tried and failed to house Reaganism and Bushism. One side will have to prevail, but it may take years again to bring the neocons and Bushies to heel and made to act as our toadies once again.
It’s time to ask of the Big Government neocons, when have you ever been right about anything?