Cruz and Trump, the GOP’s Scylla and Charybdis

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, speaks with fellow Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during a rally opposing the Iran nuclear deal outside the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Like much of the GOP establishment, the editors of National Review are terrified. The peasants out in the provinces have gotten a mite unruly, it would seem, led astray from their God-anointed leaders by that crass Pied Piper of Populism named Donald Trump. Something must be done.

And so they have done something. Something YYUUUGGE, at least in their minds.

Summoning the conservative intellectual elite to their cause — men of wisdom and moderation such as Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson and the ever-prescient William Kristol — they have published an entire special edition devoted solely to exposing Trump’s failings, hoping that their dramatic gesture will bring their party to its senses.

national-review-against-trump

And boy, once they pull their switchblades out, they really know how to gut a guy.

Ben Domenech, for example, complains that Trump “advocates … a rejection of our Madisonian inheritance.” Steven Hayward, a Pepperdine professor, informs us that Trump’s “facially worthy challenge to political correctness is not a sufficient governing platform.” Kristol quotes the Federalist Papers, hoping to inspire “that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom.” John Podhoretz rips Trump as “the apotheosis of … the American id.”

I’m sure those “votaries of freedom” in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere will find all of that extremely illuminating and convincing. I can almost feel the momentum begin to shift, can’t you?

Meanwhile, however, other segments of the GOP establishment are reaching a very different conclusion. Whatever the failings of The Donald, they are coming to the conclusion that “the American Mussolini,” as they call him in National Review, is at least preferable to The Smirk.

As The Washington Post reports:

“The Republican establishment — once seen as the force that would destroy Donald Trump’s outsider candidacy — is now learning to live with it, with some elected and unelected leaders saying they see an upside to Trump as the nominee.

In the past few days, Trump has received unlikely public praise from GOP luminaries who said they would prefer him to his main rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.”

It’s quite a dilemma. Unlike the theorists at National Review, these are more practical types with more practical concerns. Yes, they fear Trump, but they despise Cruz. They know for a fact that having Cruz as the party’s nominee would be disastrous, while they merely suspect the same might be true of Trump. Trump, unlike the inflexible Cruz, is at least someone they can try to deal with. And if Trump does win, they sure want to be on his side. The sound that you hear is the bandwagon beginning to roll.

At FiveThirtyEight, prognosticator Nate Silver takes note of that phenomenon and believes it to be significant. He has been pretty dismissive of Trump’s chances to this point, believing as did many that the GOP establishment would somehow find a way to torpedo his campaign.

However, if the establishment decides that it fears Cruz even more, Silver writes, “I’m now much less skeptical of Trump’s chances of becoming the nominee.”

And how have we come to this sad state of affairs, in which GOP leaders find themselves forced to choose between Scylla and Charybdis, between the two candidates they fear and despise the most? I turn now to the man who ought to know, Rush Limbaugh. He too believes that it’s foolish to believe that modern American conservatism is built on high-flown talk of Madisonian theory or notions of constitutional purity. No, it’s much more basic.

“… the Republican establishment does not understand that what really animates its own base is an opposition to the Democrat Party; what animates and informs its own base is a vehement opposition to liberalism and the American left,” Limbaugh explains.  “What motivates us is opposition, strident opposition to the left and the Democrat Party.”

That’s exactly right. Limbaugh knows it, and Trump and Cruz know it as well. What the base wants — pretty much all they want — is strident, vehement opposition to Obama, Hillary, the Democrats and the cultural left. Nothing. Else. Matters. We’ve seen that in Washington for the last seven years, whenever a Republican even attempted to compromise or negotiate. And we’re seeing it now on the campaign trail. Whoever gives voice to that sentiment most effectively, that’s who the base will support.

This didn’t happen by accident. The party base is that way because that’s the way party leaders have constructed it.  They created a movement that is defined solely by what and who it is against, not by what it is for. It was easy, it was simple.

And it was oh so easy to hijack.

 

Reader Comments 0

2042 comments
barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Pundit prognostication penchant probably parallels political

predictability.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Why Bernie won't be - and shouldn't be - president  ... 


Hmmmmm...

breckenridge
breckenridge

The University of Missouri communications professor caught on video scuffling with a journalist during a November campus demonstration was charged with third-degree assault Monday morning, the Columbia city prosecutor’s office confirmed to FoxNews.com.


The video, which was quickly posted to YouTube, showed Click confronting videographer Mark Schierbecker during a campus protest on Nov. 9 and apparently trying to block him from shooting video on a public quad. At one point, Schierbecker asks to speak with Click, who promptly tells him to leave.

That's really pathetic. And, considering the source, not to be confused with a real news story.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Is Trump going to nuke Iran? He has such a long to-do list, I seem to have forgotten.

ByteMe
ByteMe

God revealed herself to me this weekend.


Trump said he'd hit on that.

breckenridge
breckenridge

 I would not however vote for a Muslim as their religion and law are too intertwined and I would not trust the person to keep them separated in decisions and policy.

Ditto for Southern Baptist. Kill ''em all and let God sort 'em out.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@breckenridge Oooh, that's just setting up an equivalency they won't acknowledge.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@ByteMe @breckenridge 

That's what we learned last night from TD about Muslims, only he's going to let Allah sort them out.

Thank God he's not a bigot.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@breckenridge Or consistent.


You know, it's just easier to dog his every posting by pointing out that he's a troll.  Eventually he figures out that he has something better to do.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@breckenridge So are the people who think garlands and trees with lights are "Christian".

breckenridge
breckenridge

@ByteMe @breckenridge 

Although he could have just as easily said God as Allah.  Because those that think the two are separate entities? They're pagans.

breckenridge
breckenridge

French car maker Peugeot is due to sign an agreement creating a 50-50 joint venture with auto maker Iran Khodro to transfer technology to build cars in Iran, according to a person familiar with the matter, one of a host of deals expected after broad economic sanctions were lifted in return for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Well congratulations to Iran on becoming a responsible citizen of the world.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Looks like Bookman's finally ready to dump on the Bernie Sanders campaign. If he can just get the post posted.

goat diddler
goat diddler

Looks like you already discount what jay will have to say...

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Where's Jay Bookman's Bernie Sanders post? It's showing in the side bar already, but not posted.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Donnie_Pinko 404: Page Not Found

We are terribly sorry, but the URL you typed no longer exists. It might have been moved or deleted.

Gmare
Gmare

Good Morning all. Everybody here probably knows about this but just in case: I had a robo call a few minutes ago. The voice said it was from the IRS. NOT. It is a scam.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Gmare My son happened on a fake site that turned his browser into a "BSOD" message with a support 800-number to call to get it fixed.  Also a scam.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@Gmare


The IRS doesn't make phone calls, they communicate through the USPS.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

I would vote a Jew, but his/her politics would have to be close to mine.


Bloomberg would lose not because he is a Jew but because of his politics, especially gun control.


I would not however vote for a Muslim as their religion and law are too intertwined and I would not trust the person to keep them separated in decisions and policy.

Peachs
Peachs

In my mind a vote for Trump is a vote for an atheist.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@honested Can a "true conservative" (tm) in his world be an atheist?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Peachs No room in Trump's faith for anyone but Trump.  God places a distant second.

honested
honested

@ByteMe @Peachs 

But if chump considers himself to be a deity, doesn't that prevent him from being atheist?

Gmare
Gmare

When I told my mom - MANY years ago, that my OBGYN was named Marvin Klein, she asked if he was Jewish. I not only didn't know but it never occurred to me to me to ask. Having nothing to do with being Jewish, it turned out that his daughter became Barbi Benton. Anybody remember her? :)

Peachs
Peachs

Watching ABC yesterday and the Republican lady was saying the polls, in the early primaries, had no reality in one breath then telling us what America wanted in the next breath using polls taken by some conservative think tank as her proof. 

Peachs
Peachs

This is the year the voters show these "pundits" they are over paid clueless hangerons looking for copy to pay their self important pay checks.  I had thought O had done it with the FOX meltdown last election but this one is for the books.  If someone took the time to tape their expect observations of what is going on and then see how far those observations got these people they would be out of a job. 

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

@Peachs 

Bill Clinton's campaign named them appropriately.

Talking Heads...

Peachs
Peachs

@barkingfrog @Peachs and they have these ear pieces telling them what to say in case they get off course and say something smart.