The Corner

Politics & Policy

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

PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More
Film & TV

Joker: An Honest Treatment of Madness

When I saw that the New York Times and The New Yorker had run columns berating the new Joker movie, criticizing it not simply on cinematic grounds but instead insisting that the film amounted to a clandestine defense of “whiteness” in an attempt to buttress the electoral aim of “Republicans” — this is a ... Read More

The Democrats’ Disastrous CNN LGBT Town Hall

A few days after Donald Trump committed the worst foreign-policy blunder of his presidency by betraying America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, former vice president Joe Biden, the elder statesman and co-frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, was on a national stage talking to CNN’s primetime ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
Film & TV

The Breaking Bad Movie

I considered staying up until midnight last night to watch Netflix's two-hour Breaking Bad movie El Camino as soon as it went up, but I'm glad I didn't. It's fine, it's worth watching if you're a fan of the series (otherwise it'll mean nothing to you). But it doesn't answer any particularly compelling questions. ... Read More