Monday, February 12, 2018
The Trump catharsis has shown that about 10 percent of the Republican Party, the NeverTrumpers, was largely apolitical. That is, former cornerstone positions of deregulation and tax reform, oil and gas production, charter schools, deterrent foreign policy, restoring friendship with Israel and moving the embassy to Jerusalem were apparently always secondary to the more important criterion of offering a mild, sober and judicious frown to progressivism, through discerning losers like George H.W. Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.
Such a Republican elite was so embedded within American establishment institutions as to be both immune from the economic stagnation of an Obama neo-socialist revolution (remember income inequality soared under Obama) and in no real need of a Reagan revolution or Trump’s often messy radical push-back against progressivism.
Its creed was not really, as advertised, the ethics of “losing nobly is better than winning ugly,” but rather the snobbery of “losing a cultural image is worse than winning a political agenda.” Put more bluntly, it is better to put up with a socialist with a “perfectly creased pant” than a prairie-fire conservative in rumpled Walmart slacks.
There's some truth to what VDH says. But I don't buy the anti-trade stuff. And plenty of Americans really won't do the jobs that immigrants do. But agricultural labor programs were no doubt as corrupt as he suggests. But . . . hiring somebody for a spell doesn't mean you become obligated to take care of them for the rest of their lives, as in Japan or perhaps Sweden. That would just increase labor costs and lead to higher unemployment, contract labor and black market labor. VDH is right about the cultural stuff, however. There are plenty of Republicans who can't stand the Trumpers because their ties (when they wear them) are too short. They must at an absolute minimum come midway across your belt buckle, and that's, as it were, stretching it.