Politics & Policy

The Corner

The Objection to ‘Feeding the Republican Pipeline With New Officeholders’

Tucked deep in a story in the Washington Post about Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie’s fundraising:

Susan Kristol of McLean donated to the past two Republican gubernatorial nominees but said the party’s embrace of Trump inspired her to cut a $200 check for Northam.

“I’m very disappointed in the Republican Party in general and its inability to stand up to Donald Trump’s behavior and message,” said Kristol, who is married to Bill Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard and a fierce Trump critic. “I don’t think we should keep feeding the Republican pipeline with new officeholders if all they are going to do is toe the line and agree with every one of [Trump’s] policies.”

It’s a free country, and Susan Kristol can donate to the candidates she likes. But it’s worth observing that the idea that Ed Gillespie is some sort of Trump clone or yes-man is pretty laughable. She’s forgetting that Corey Stewart’s entire argument in the primary was that Gillespie was insufficiently loyal to Trump: he never attended a Trump rally in 2016, he condemned Trump’s “Access Hollywood” comments, and refused to endorse him after the primary for being unwilling to support Trump. When Gillespie contrasts his position with Democrat Ralph Northam’s, he’s careful to characterize it as one of pragmatic prioritization against stubborn partisanship: “I want to lead Virginia. Ralph Northam wants to lead the resistance… I seek to serve my fellow Virginians, and I will work with the administration — you’re darn right I will.” If a position like that is enough to get you donating to the Democratic candidate… well, you may feel really at home in today’s Democratic party.

Secondly, if your litmus test for whether or not to support a Republican candidate is how often each one stands up to Trump’s behavior, message and policies… you’re going to end up supporting very, very few Republicans. Most Republicans vote in line with the administration, not out of obedience or because they have succumbed to a cult of personality, but because the Trump agenda and the traditional Republican agenda still overlap quite a bit. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake votes in line with the administration’s position about 91 percent of the time. Traditional Republicans may not like Trump’s rhetoric, style, impulsive behavior, temperament, Twitter use, populism, opposition to free trade, quasi-isolationist instincts, warm feelings towards Russia… where was I going with this? Ah, yes — that is still an administration that supports tax cuts, traditionalist judges, a stronger military, less regulation, school choice, and at least gives lip service to spending cuts.

You can ask a Republican candidate to make opposing a Republican president his life’s mission. But the vast majority of the time, you’re going to be disappointed by the answer.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More