Politics & Policy

The Corner

On Cooke-Frum-Rubin

A few thoughts about David Frum’s recent production: He dwells on the notion that Charles C. W. Cooke’s criticism of Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post is “personal”—“savagely personal,” even—but it seems to me that criticizing what has been said and written by someone in the saying-and-writing business is entirely fair. Inevitable, in fact. I do not think that criticizing a writer’s writing is “personal” in any meaningful sense. 

As to Frum’s broader argument—that Trump has deformed the conservative movement and that the desire among certain right-leaning activists for position and income has contributed to that—he is of course correct. The contrepreneurs have long been with us and presumably always will be. So long as there’s a living to be made sucking up to power and flattering angry mobs, someone will courageously put on a blue suit and take up the task. And that will be enough to keep Sean Hannity from having to get a real-estate license. 

“Conservatism can’t survive Donald Trump intact” his headline says, which seems to me old news. A great deal of damage already has been done, and there’s surely more to come. But there is a vicious cycle at work, too: Trump has an agency all his own, but the outrage merchants of Fox News and talk radio were on the lookout for their Trump before Trump came along. Trump fulfills a narrative necessity: There must always be betrayal. You cannot sell what they are selling without it. If the Democrats are in power, then they are betraying the country; if the Republicans are in power, then the “establishment” is betraying the country, “the country” here meaning the 0.8 percent of Americans who watch Tucker Carlson’s show on any given evening. 

(That isn’t to mock Tucker Carlson; he’s a gifted man, but relatively few people watch cable news for the same reason that far fewer people read National Review than US Weekly.)

But whatever course the rage monkeys pursue, there are still going to be those of us who believe in limited government, the rule of law, free markets, property rights, democratic norms, free speech and a free press, cultural traditionalism, and a capable national defense. Charles Cooke, David Frum, and Jennifer Rubin presumably will remain prominent among them. If we end up moving down to No. 3 under Webster’s definitions of “conservatism,” then so be it. The facts are the facts and reality is reality, whatever “reality” President Trump and his admirers inhabit. Of course I wish there were more people reading NR and fewer hoisting their torches and pitchforks in the digital mob of the moment, but ours is, always has been, and likely always will be a minority inclination.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Broward’s Cowards

It is impossible to imagine circumstances under which Broward County sheriff Scott Israel could attempt to perform his duties with the confidence of the public. He should resign immediately, and if, as he promises, he refuses to go quietly, then he should be shown the door by the people he professes to ... Read More
Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

CNN’s Shameful Town Hall

CNN recently hosted an anti-gun town hall featuring a number of grieving children and parents from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who aimed their ire at the National Rifle Association, politicians peripherally associated with the NRA, and anyone who didn’t say exactly what they wanted to hear. ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More