The Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol has been making a name for himself lately, but not for a good reason. Kristol, it appears, is an anti-Republican Republican. Instead of acknowledging what rank-and-file Republicans want in a GOP presidential candidate, Kristol is, in the words of PJMedia columnist David P. Goldman, throwing a tantrum.
Goldman writes, “Kristol makes the mistake of thinking that he still matters. The neo-conservatives enforced party discipline in the media and foundations they control with the same inquisitorial zeal that the Left applies to the persecution of conservatives at American universities. They crushed dissent ruthlessly, and declared anathema upon anyone who questioned them. Now the American people have vomited them out.”
Upon being “vomited out” by the American people, one would do well to be introspective. The Federalist columnist Mollie Hemingway writes, “We can certainly overanalyze the Trump phenomenon. While he has his supporters, it’s also true that most Republicans opposed him. But he won. What does that mean? And if, when blaming people, you don’t look inward even a little bit, you’re almost certainly part of the problem.”
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan has this message for Kristol and other neocons who are trapped in their Beltway bubble:
“Those who oppose Mr. Trump should do it seriously and with respect for his supporters. If he is not conservative, make your case and explain what conservatism is. No one at this point needs your snotty potshots or your supposedly withering one-liners. I confess I have lost patience with many of those declaring they cannot in good conscience support him, not because reasons of conscience are not crucial—they are, and if they apply they should be declared. But some making these declarations managed in good conscience, indeed with the highest degree of self-regard, to back the immigration proposals of George W. Bush that contributed so much to the crisis that produced Mr. Trump. They invented Sarah Palin. They managed to support the global attitudes and structures that left the working class jobless. They dreamed up the Iraq war.
Sometimes I think their consciences are really not so delicate.
As for the political consultants who insult Mr. Trump so vigorously, they are the ones who did most to invent him. What do they ever do in good conscience?”
National Review editor-at-large John O’Sullivan describes just how out of touch that Beltway-bubble neocons have been in regards to the thinking of the GOP base:
“Rod Dreher made exactly this point as early as January when, disagreeing with NR’s “Against Trump” special issue, he noticed that on visits to his family and in talks with neighbors, they agreed with statements by Trump that he felt were not only absurd but also plainly anti-conservative. Yet they believed themselves to be conservatives in good standing and regarded their own views (and Trump’s) as well within the canon.
Moreover, they were conservatives in good standing — just not conservatives who met the particular criteria of conservatism required by, well, by people like me who think, argue, and write about these things all the time. And until “policy wonks” were suddenly confronted with the fact that street conservatives differed from them quite seriously on entitlements, immigration, and much else, we were perfectly happy to assume their support or, if we noticed these differences, to believe that they would come around when we explained things carefully.
It turns out, however, that they not only had different views but that they rooted these views in a different set of moral values that were both morally decent and broadly conservative. They were astonished to find themselves denounced by us as betraying or abandoning conservatism.”
Bloomberg View columnist Clive Crook has a similar response to the disconnect between the Beltway elites and the GOP base:
“As Trump kept on winning, the stunned incomprehension of Republican leaders and thinkers was especially eloquent. Evidently, they lacked the faintest notion of what many of their own supporters actually think. In one way, you can sympathize: In no sense is Trump a conservative, and he might just as well be a Democrat as a Republican. Many of his policy ideas, such as they are, put him to the left of Hillary Clinton. So what were those Republican voters thinking? Consider what’s spent on polling, focus groups, and market research – had nobody thought to ask? Apparently, the party’s leaders neither knew nor cared.”
The actual leaders of the GOP – the people who ran for public office and won – have been coalescing around Donald Trump ever since it became obvious that he would be the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee. They have done so out of respect for the GOP voters who chose Trump over other GOP candidates.
Such respect for the GOP voters isn’t coming from Bill Kristol, who keeps promoting the idea of a third-party candidate running against Trump. Speaking on Fox News, Dr. Ben Carson had this to say about Kristol’s idea: “A quarter of a century ago, another Clinton was running for the White House, and it was the entrance of a third-party candidate, Ross Perot, that made it possible for him to win. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the same thing happened this time?”
Dr. Carson has a point. Ross Perot helped Bill Clinton to win the Presidency back in 1992. History would repeat itself if Bill Kristol were to get his way with a third-party candidate. What could be more anti-Republican than that?