Bill Kristol’s Big Plan To Stop Donald Trump Looks To Be As Successful As Every Previous #NeverTrump Scheme

bill-kristol-clown

Weekly Standard columnist Bill Kristol, a diehard #NeverTrump’er if ever there was one, shocked the world with his answer to Donald Trump – a National Review pundit known by literally dozens of other people outside of his immediate family and friend, as the new standard-bearer against the rise of Trump. This latest dead-on-arrival salvo, from the folks who brought you the brokered convention, delegate stealing, candidates conspiring, and other assorted “nothing burgers,” is the most #NeverTrump-ian of all the #NeverTrump schemes – simultaneously bloviated and beclowning. As such it required much build-up about how this time “it’s serious” or “a game changer.”

News of this potential third-party candidate (forget the fact that he is too late to run in many states and unlikely to get enough signatures to make the ballot in states he could still run in) have the diehard #NeverTrump crew positively tingling.

Leon Wolf at BlueRedState:

I don’t have a duty or obligation of any kind to vote for a candidate who might win. The only duty I have – to myself or anyone else – is to vote for the candidate who is most deserving of my vote. Hell, by the time election day of 2008 rolled around, McCain had no chance, and we all voted for him, didn’t we?

A rousing endorsement indeed! OK, so that’s not really a “tingling” endorsement. Maybe Erick Erickson can do better:

Trump’s supporters remind me relentlessly that I tried to stop Trump in the primaries and failed and therefore no one listens to me and I have no ability to affect the election. Their collective freak out over David French now suggests they really do think those of us who might support David French can affect the election.

Erickson epic failure to influence an audience (Republican primary voters) as the bulwark of #NeverTrump-ism portends even less relevance going forward as part of (how to say this without LOL’ing) at #FrenchRevolution. Even in the echosphere of Erickson’s Twitter universe there is no “freak out.” There is only mocking and soon memes.

Matt Lewis at Roll Call at least recognizes the French’s constiuency is literally confined to the pundit class:

As of today, I’m more famous than David French…

Don’t get me wrong, if he gets on the ballot, I’ll vote for David French. But I suspect we could hold his nominating convention in a decent-sized phone booth. Or, better yet, we could just meet in the break room of The Weekly Standard or National Review, since that will constitute much of his constituency. (And besides, good luck finding a phone booth these days!)

Trump is the Republican nominee – he beat 17 other candidates and collected more votes than any candidate in GOP primary history. You can vote for him or against him, but an alternative candidate “elected” by the GOPe pundit class is every bit as tone-deaf as the campaign against him in the primaries – maybe more so.

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  • Retired military

    Yes “-an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.”

    I never heard of French. I understand he is an NRO writer. And if I never heard of him what do you think about the “average voter”? I admit I am not a political guru but I consider myself to be more knowledgeable than the average joe sixpack as far as politiics go.
    If French runs my prediction is he will get less than 1 % of the vote. Bill Kristol is going the full Glen Beck and Mitt Romney and making a fool out of himself.

    The GOPe intellectuals just cant seem to stop doing the circular firing squad routine.

    • And where was this impressive character during the 17-man scramble for the nomination?

      (crickets…)

      I really think they can’t stand the thought they’re not as important and relevant as they used to be… and never will again. It’s like an aging diva insisting she can play youthful roles.

      • Retired military

        But but they know what is best for us. Just ask them.

        • Do’t have to ask – they’ll tell you at every possible opportunity.

  • pennywit

    If these individuals really want to stop Trump, their best bet is to vote for Hillary, raise money for her, and convince their friends to vote for Hillary.

    • Which they’ll probably do anyway – while saying all along they’re ‘conservative’.

      • pennywit

        There’s also a chunk of liberals (mainly Bernie supporters) who’re planning to vote Trump because they can’t stand Clinton.

        • I’ll take that as a reason. Neither can I.

          • pennywit

            I’m likely to vote Hillary for a similar reason. I don’t care for HIllary, but Donald Trump wigs me out.

            TBH, of all the (likely) nominees, I’d most like to see Gary Johnson in the White House. Yes, the Libertarians are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative, light on the authoritarianism” stance is probably closer to my views than Hillary’s or the Donald’s.

          • As I’ve said elsewhere, if all you really know about Trump’s politics is what the media is reporting, it’s worth taking a closer look.

            When you get beyond the hyperventilation and hyperbole of the media, he’s not all that bad. (Which is damning with faint praise, but… (Shrug.))

          • Scalia

            Ok, I’m going to bite on this one. If you’re fiscally conservative, what keeps you from regularly voting Republican? Contrary to what the Left would have us believe, gays, blacks and women are not being persecuted, and even if socially liberal people believe that far more needs to be done by way of civil rights, wouldn’t getting our fiscal house in order take precedence? I mean, this isn’t Iran where gays are hung and thrown off buildings and women are stoned to death. I can see where you might choke on Trump, but what about other races?

          • pennywit

            Certainly.

            First off, my congressional district for the past twenty years (my entire adult life) has been gerrymandered so that the Democratic incumbent will win. This was done in part to preserve Republican seats elsewhere in the state.

            The Republicans know they won’t win the district, so they usually run either a straw candidate who isn’t really qualified for office or an earnest young candidate who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell and gets no support from the party organization. These candidates alternate between right-wingers (who really don’t reflect the District’s left-leaning zeitgeist) or moderate Republicans who don’t pick up any traction.

            At the state legislative level, I’ve occasionally voted for Republicans, depending on my impression of the candidate. At the governor’s level, our state Republican Party has occasionally put up decent candidates (and sometimes I’ve voted for them) and sometimes candidates that I choke on.

            Senate has been a mixed bag. I really liked one of my former Republican senators. He was the epitome of a Southern gentleman. But he retired from office.

            More generally, my biggest beef with the Republicans right now is that they seem more interested in trying to notch short-term, meaningless “victories” (i.e., the debt ceiling showdown, voting to repeal Obamacare, and other symbolic efforts) rather than actually doing things. To my eye, the current Congress has been particularly reprehensible in this regard — more interested in denying victories to Obama then in trying to work with him on actual bipartisan legislation.

            The last eight to twelve years have also seen the evangelical conservatives take a paramount position within the Republican Party — and I disagree with this group on nearly every issue.

            I will say that looking back, I wish I had voted for Mitt Romney in the last race. Obama’s foreign policy has just been plain bad, and the president seems ignorant of basic negotiation strategy (i.e., never say what your limits are when the other side can hear you).

            Now, in terms of federal spending, I’m fiscally conservative in that I’d like to see spending generally reduced and the deficit and debt brought under control. But I honestly think that to do that, we have to couple spending cuts with tax increases. (Of course, I am in the “please tax somebody other than me” camp, but if my taxes go up to stabllize the national debt, I can probably stomach it).

            Unfortunately, the Republicans have spent the last several cycles almost fanatically devoted to tax cuts, at the expense of nearly everything else. I don’t consider this stance sustainable.

          • Scalia

            I upticked your reply because you definitely put some thought into it and presented your case competently. That said, it’s still a little fuzzy to me. You occasionally vote Republican, but that means you generally vote Democrat. You disagree with evangelical Christians and don’t like congressional GOPers being obstructionist, but what has that got to do with your stated fiscal conservatism? If you’re a fiscal conservative who likes an occasional tax hike, what makes you different from the GOPe? Why would you vote for a party that shows far less restraint than most Republicans (unless, of course, you’re arguing that Democrats are fiscally conservative)?

          • pennywit

            I think obstructionism is one of my biggest quarrels with the current GOP. On any issue — taxes, deficit reduction, and so forth — I prefer getting half a loaf, and maybe fighting again later, over taking a “my way or the highway” approach. The former position yields incremental gains. The latter yields bad blood, no gains, and if you picked the wrong fight, it might leave you with a worse deal than you might have gotten if you’d compromised in the first place.

            (True story: Friend of a friend tried to divorce his wife. His first settlement offer was a pretty damn generous one, offering the wife more than she could have gotten at court if she was willing to sign the papers and let both of them walk away. Wife refused the offer, so husband decided that if she was going to fight hard, he’d fight hard, too. She did get the house in the end … right before the real estate market tanked and left her underwater).

            Today’s GOP, from where I sit, rewards obstructionism over productivity.

          • The beginning of Fiscal Conservatism is not compromise, it’s saying “No” and meaning it.

    • jim_m

      They don’t think Hillary can win, which is why you hear calls for Trump to be assassinated already.

    • Nope.

  • Commander_Chico

    Not even hiding what this is about.

    June 1, 2016

    • jim_m

      Idiot. Hillary is just as big an anti-semite as 0bama. Almost as big a one as you.

      • Commander_Chico

        As long as you vote Trump, don’t care what you say . . America First, brother!

        • jim_m

          America first means standing up for our allies and against our enemies. You seem to miss that point.

          • Commander_Chico

            Ok right. When do they stand up for us?

          • jim_m

            Oh, you’re right. Our NATO allies have never stood up or helped us in any way. How could I have ever been so silly.

          • Thank you and if Kristol thinks he can do squat – he’s a fool like ROMNEY. WASTE OF TIME.

          • Commander_Chico

            Thanks! It’s a shame we have to pay for these deadbeats!

      • That would require effort.

  • Hank_M

    Matt Lewis is correct – the anti-Trump pro-French constituency is indeed confined to the pundit class and as Erickson whines, no one is listening to them any more. So they throw a tantrum and no one cares.

    Their high minded super principled conservatism has gotten us what?
    It’s gotten them all high paying jobs, TV exposure and invites to the right parties.
    Their so-called base has gotten the shaft and unfortunately for them, the base finally woke up
    and didn’t follow “directions”.

    Screw the pundits.

    • “Their high minded super principled conservatism has gotten us what?
      It’s gotten them all high paying jobs, TV exposure and invites to the right parties.”

      That’s the important thing, after all – right? WHY would they want to risk that?

  • jim_m

    This is now the establishment vs the rest of the country. Hillary will get the Dem nomination and will be the establishment candidate. GOPe figures are choosing to support Hillary as the establishment candidate by looking at ways, not to win, but to spoil the election for Trump.

    They would rather lose and protect their establishment gravy train.

    • Hank_M

      Agreed. But the establishment is going to have to rely on the worst candidate in modern history to pull this off. Although I’m still thinking the dems are going to put Biden/Warren on the ticket this fall.

    • Commander_Chico

      Looks more and more like Hillary will be gone. How are they doing to deny Bernie and hand it to Biden and Warren?

      • Retired military

        Do you honestly think that Billary will go quietly? She will not drop out even if they find a video tape of her shooting vince Foster. Aint gonna happen. No matter what.

        • Commander_Chico

          She will have no choice.

  • Paul Hooson

    I respect Bill Kristol for being a fellow Jew deeply concerned for the safety and security of tiny Israel in a dangerous Mideast. However, his plans to back a conservative intellectual much like himself will only fall short in a national campaign as a third party. But, compared to the stone age, stone cold, ignorance coming from Donald Trump, any good conservative intellectual will at least do good for the country by elevating the intelligence level of discussion of the issues. That at least will do some good.

  • Retired military

    Dont know where I saw it but it bears repeating.

    Isnt it interesting that Kristol is all in for stopping Trump but says nothing about stopping Hillary? Tells us the GOP intellectuals’ mindset.

  • Scalia

    The Democrats are more pragmatic than Republicans?? From healthcare to firearms, to the environment, to abortion, to restrooms, Obama and the Democrats have shown themselves to be anything but pragmatic (recall the budget as just one of many examples).

    You’re spot on about Congress resisting and caving, but if you’re fiscally conservative, it doesn’t make sense that you’d support a party which is wide-open-throttle to spend the $500B. Yes, you can join us in getting angry at the GOPe’s surrender, but that doesn’t mean you join the other side. That’s like getting upset at Klopper for surrendering Tobruk but then financing the Nazis’ victory parade afterwards.

    • pennywit

      Honestly? I thought ACA was a sterling example of pragmatism. Ask virtually any liberal what the best healthcare system would be, and he’ll answer, “single payer.” The ACA’s system is most assuredly not single payer … but it was the system that could get enough votes to pass that particular Congress.

      • Scalia

        Democrat votes. Not one Republican voted for it, so his “pragamatism” extended to Democrats.

        • pennywit

          At the time, he didn’t need Republican votes.

          And the ACA aftermath highlights where I really diverge with the Republicans on legislative temperament. For the last six years, I’ve seen a lot of symbolic votes on repealing Obamacare (which they knew Obama would never sign), but no effort to negotiate with the president some framework to replace or modify Obamacare.

          • Scalia

            Well, if he didn’t need GOP votes, then you can’t offer that as an example of his pragmatism.

          • pennywit

            It does, actually. A lot of those Democratic votes were hard to come by, given that they came from purple districts.

          • Scalia

            No, it doesn’t; not in the context of our discussion.

          • jim_m

            You are arguing like a radical leftist.

            I propose that you are indeed a radical lefty and you are simply posing and claiming to be a conservative.

            It is thoroughly unconvincing.

          • pennywit

            I’m sorry, jim_m, I don’t recall asking for your opinion. I’m having a thoroughly enjoyable discussion with Scalia.

          • jim_m

            I’m sorry dimwit, I don’t recall needing your permission to call you a posing asshole.

          • pennywit

            Jim, most of what I see from you is personal insults. If you have something productive to say, I’m happy to talk with you. But if you have nothing worthwhile to contribute, I’m not really interested in dealing with you

          • jim_m

            Fine. I will still make my comments, including the ones I make about you pointing out that you are most likely a fraud.

            You sure as hell aren’t any sot of fiscal conservative.

          • WHO’S THE BUSTER

            I think Pennywit said he “was” a conservative and no longer considers himself one and he has presented generally liberal opinions on here for some time. I don’t know how this adds up to him “posing” as a conservative.

          • Scalia

            He said several times in this thread that he’s a fiscal conservative.

          • WHO’S THE BUSTER

            I was assuming that Jim’s comments were aimed at him describing himself as an overall “conservative” at one time in his life; if I am wrong I apologize for my mistake if the reference was only addressing his claims of being fiscally conservative.

            I suppose my real opposition lies with the fact that I enjoyed the back and forth between you and pennywit and out of nowhere pennywit is labeled a “dimwit” and “posing asshole”.

            Why?

          • jim_m

            Dimwit – pennywit Play on words? Get it dipshit? Sheesh!

            And I in fact did specify “fiscal conservative” in more than one comment. If you bothered to actually read my comments you would have noticed that. Unfortunately, you were too busy playing gotcha to bother doing that.

          • Scalia

            We all repeated “fiscal conservative” several times, so I don’t know how you missed that.

            You’ve been on these boards long enough to know that Jim is quite capable of speaking for himself, so it’s a little curious that you’re asking me for the reason behind his conduct. If you want to know why he’s doing something, just ask him.

            For me, my interaction with pennywit has been limited, but enjoyable. I’m hesitant at this point to call him a “poser,” but I am comfortable saying that after reading his explanations, I cannot see the logical connection between his stated fiscal conservatism and his general support for Democrats. I assume that further dialog will flesh out his views on the subject. So, I reserve opinion pending submission of pertinent facts.

            I see that Jim has replied to you. Your serve.

          • jim_m

            He prefaced this thread by say that he was(currently) a fiscal conservative, which is why Scalia has engaged him as he has. I am simply pointing out that he professes to be a sort of conservative while not actually espousing any conservative beliefs. It’s BS.

      • jim_m

        The left said explicitly that the point of 0bamacare was to so wreck the insurance system that forcing a single payer would be the only remedy.

      • Actually, it couldn’t, which is why it was passed under budget reconcilliation rules of order. Even so, the Democrats literally bribed their own caucus (Louisiana Purchase, etc.) to pass it without any Republican votes.

    • pennywit

      And by the way, as far as what I “can” or “cannot” do, I don’t need your permission — or anybody else — for my politics. I. Owe. You. Nothing.

      • Scalia

        I didn’t use “can” like I was granting you permission for anything. I used that to actually agree with you that this is part of the frustration we have with the GOPe. It just doesn’t make sense that you’d agree with their effort to get “half the loaf” but you’d for for the other camp who would take all of it away.

        • pennywit

          Got it.

          From my perspective, the Democrats seem more willing to go to half-loaf than the Republicans are. When you factor in social issues, I end up tipping more to the Democrats than the Republicans. And back in 1992, I did, in fact, campaign for George H. W. Bush’s re-election.

          • Scalia

            Well, there we differ. I don’t see Democrats as anything close to bipartisan. They are always pulling to the left and getting upset at Republicans for not going halfway. “We want to spend 10B for X.” The GOP says we should spend any of that due to budgetary concerns, so the Dems say, “How about 5B?” The GOP says, “Nope.” So, critics say they’re not cooperating. Dems want gay marriage. The GOP says, what about civil unions or domestic partnerships? The Dems accuse them of being homophobic on par with ISIS or the Taliban and turned cartwheels when the SCOTUS ruled their way. Their definition of pragmatism is cooperation with the Left.

          • pennywit

            Actually $5B can be an OK compromise, and it’s a place to start working.

            And I think your description of the gay-marriage debate is inaccurate. After Democrats starting making gains on the issue, state legislatures began (as quickly as they can) amending state constitutions to outlaw recognition of same-sex marriage or anything same-sex that looked like marriage.

          • Scalia

            I’d like to see some examples. States were adamant that such unions were not legally considered marriages, but that did not mean that there wasn’t support for civil unions or domestic partnerships.

            And the 5B isn’t a place to start when you’re being pulled deeper into a financial hole. Isn’t it great to set the terms of the debate? We can propose anything we want and accuse the other side of being obstructionist. There comes a time when you have to reply with a firm no, especially when you’re the majority party. Sometimes doing nothing, especially for Congress, is a great thing.

          • pennywit

            Wikipedia has your examples:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_constitutional_amendments_banning_same-sex_unions_by_type#Former_constitutional_amendment_bans_same-sex_marriage.2C_civil_unions.2C_and_any_marriage-like_contract_between_unmarried_persons

            I happen to disagree on a do-nothing Congress. One of the big problems there is that if you gridlock Congress, whether on budget or other issues, then another entity (typically the executive branch) is going to move in and take that power. Arthur Schlesinger documented this rather wonderfully in The Imperial Presidency. When Congress is either supine or inactive, the president arrogates more power to himself.

          • Scalia

            “Inactive,” is a relative term. You’re not inactive when you are preventing somebody from doing further damage to your house. The fact that you have no remodeling plans at the moment does not mean that you’re not doing anything.

          • pennywit

            *Shrug* I suppose it depends on what you define as “further damage.” I have not been impressed with Republican plans thus far, but Paul Ryan and President Trump might surprise me.

          • Scalia

            Adding to our deficit and making our country more socialistic would constitute “damage” in my dictionary. 🙂

          • jim_m

            Obviously, you are not a fiscal conservative (cough, cough) like dimwit here. If you were you would be advocating Keynesian spending plans, socialized medicine and other socialist policies like he does.

          • Scalia

            I must say I don’t understand his general support of Democrats while professing fiscal conservatism. I’m probably more frustrated with Congress than he is, but I’ll never vote for a Democrat even if I were as liberal as he on social issues. As I said, gays, women and blacks are not being persecuted, and abortion has been “constitutional” since ’73. Given that, I’m gonna vote for the tax and spend party because I think they’re more pragmatic? Doesn’t compute here.

          • jim_m

            Hence my postulating that he is nothing more than a lefty poser, claiming to be a conservative while presenting a twisted caricature of conservative positions.

          • pennywit

            Actually, I think we’ve both gotten sidetracked a bit here. My original comment was this:

            Yes, the Libertarians are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative, light on the authoritarianism” stance is probably closer to my views than Hillary’s or the Donald’s.

            Thing is, Scalia, I think you and I look at the world, and we’ve reached vastly different conclusions about a host of issues, from civil rights to social issues to fiscal issues.

            If you don’t mind, I’m going to dip a little bit into personal history.

            Politically, I’ve always been somewhere close to the center. From about the early to mid 1990s, I tended to think of myself as a Republican or a conservative. On the political scales at the time, I would have rated as center, perhaps a little bit to the right. And given that my community trended pretty darn liberal (see: gerrymandered congressional district, above), I was more conservative than much of my community.

            My political stances have varied a little bit over the years, but I’ve stayed more or less the same, and I cared (and do still care) about social issues, fiscal issues, the whole gamut. My observation is that over time, the Republican Party in general moved farther toward the right wing, while the Democratic Party has more or less remained a center-left party (although the Democrats’ coalition is about to break wide open. The far-left voters are just as fed up with the Democratic establishment as the far-right voters are fed up with the Republican establishment).

            I think I really, finally moved away from voting Republican during the Bush 43 administration. I thought that both Bush’s tax cut and his decision to invade Iraq were irresponsible.

            I’m also going to say that I strongly disagree the evangelical wing of the Republican Party. I am somewhere between agnostic and atheist on the faith scale, and (unsurprisingly) I fundamentally disagree with evangelical conservatives on a number of issues. I found it harder and harder to justify voting for somebody who forms a coalition with them.

            At the end of the day, Scalia, if you disagree with me, that’s OK. People of good conscience can disagree on issues, as long as those people are respectful and recognize each others’ underlying humanity and good intentions.

            And by the way, if you and I were colleagues in the legislature, I would certainly oppose you on issues where we are both obdurate … but I would like to think that we could collaborate on issues where we find points of agreement, or at least where we find one of us indifferent. And when the fourth-graders come from your district to tour, I’ll tell them you’re the finest legislator I’ve ever worked with, and that you do a really great job representing your district.

          • Scalia

            I don’t mind disagreement, and I don’t want our boards to be echo chambers. I welcome your views, and I appreciate a good debate. Your rationale here doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but then again, liberalism doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either. 🙂

          • pennywit

            *Shrug*. incidentally, the last few years have seen some research on conservative and liberals vs. biology. Apparently, there are different brain structures in conservatives and liberals, which may explain why the two sides seem to differ in fundamental ways. I’m not sure of the research’s efficacy (I mean, we believed in physiognomy, once upon a time), but it’s funny to think about.

            *Sigh*. Ah, well, I’m not sure I understand conservatives all the tme … and I really can’t understand Detroit Lions fans …

          • Scalia
          • pennywit

            See? Don’t understand it.

          • pennywit

            Did the Republican Congress do anything about the proliferation of Kardashians?

          • I think that’d come under state control, as ‘Wildlife Management’.

            We could, perhaps, trap and sterilize them, then release them into the wild again. That’s the long term plan – but when dealing with infestations like that you can either go open season hunting on them in the short term or sterilize for the long. And there’s too many bleeding hearts that’d be going “Oh, but they’re sooo CUTE! How can you even THINK of shooting something so CUTE!”.

            They don’t see the devastation to the ecology that comes from too many Kardashians in an area…

          • pennywit

            Incidentally, a do-nothing Congress these days is especially dangerous. Over the last century or so, Congress has yielded a LOT of power to the executive branch, particularly agencies. The non-delegation doctrine died a LONG time ago, so unless Congress strongly asserts its perquisites, the executive can run rampant. Oh, and by the way … getting back those powers delegated to the executive branch? That’ll take acts of Congress, signed by the president. And I don’t think very many presidents will sign those bills.

          • pennywit

            Two other things on the “civil unions” item while I’m thinking about it.

            When they tried to nullify civil unions, some of the anti-gay marriage amendments also risked disturbing some agreements that single people had enacted with their partners in lieu of marriage — regardless of their sex. There was actually a big to-do about it in Virginia.

            As for why the gay community was hostile to civil unions, there were a couple reasons. The gay community consider the gay-rights movement their equivalent to the movement for racial equality. To them, a civil union was something that was “separate” from marriage, “but equal” to it. That verbiage has extremely negative connotations when you’re talking about civil rights.

          • Scalia

            I understand their objection–as illogical as it was and is. “Gay marriage” is as ridiculous as self-identification with regard to sex. It’s turning language and law on its head in order to satisfy somebody’s misguided notion of civil rights.

            Civil unions and domestic partnerships were designed to address the property distribution complaints of liberals (even though one could legally achieve the same thing by other means), and the personal liberty to call any living arrangement a “marriage” had been in place for a very long time. There was thus no practical reason to push gay “marriage.” The only legal argument–that defining marriage as a heterosexual union–violated due process and equal protection belly-flops badly (as Roberts & Scalia demonstrated), but we’re straying again from the topic.