The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Mega-Question

On his Group, John McLaughlin used to ask the “mega-question”: the big question. I have one for you — but I’ll need to set it up first.

There are conservatives who are anti-Trump. There are conservatives who are pro-Trump. And there are conservatives who “call balls and strikes.” They are the Good Umpire.

“This one’s a little outside. That one caught the corner.” The Gorsuch nomination? A Max Scherzer fastball, smoked right down the middle, untouchable by the batter.

It is comfortable to be the Good Umpire. You get to say, “I’m not an anti-Trump hysteric, like Kristol or Nordlinger. Nor am I reflexively pro-Trump, like certain of our ‘talk’ guys. I’m just callin’ balls and strikes here.”

That’s fine as far as it goes, but it misses the moral dimension, as I keep saying. It misses the moral dimension of a presidency, which ultimately proves of greatest importance.

Okay, my mega-question: Will there come a time when the ball-and-strikers say, “Enough”? Will there come a time when they feel that conservatism must be disassociated from Trump and Trumpism, for the sake of “hygiene,” as WFB used to say? What if Trump taints conservatism long-term? Has he done so already?

Not long ago, Nancy Pelosi made an interesting statement. “I’m worth the trouble,” she said. In other words, her strengths in fundraising and other areas outweighed the problems this San Francisco Democrat occasionally causes her party.

Is Trump worth the trouble? Are we indefinitely to lie back and think of Gorsuch?

Another question — a related mega-question: Will the Republican party go ahead and renominate Trump for 2020? And if so, will a Reagan-style politician offer an alternative: an alternative to Donald Trump vs. Elizabeth Warren, or whatever it will be?

Last week, a Frenchman put something interesting to me: Is there someone in America who can pull a Macron? That is, is there someone who can defy the two major parties, capture the imagination of the country, and be elected president?

Probably not. But stranger things have happened, as in 2016, one could argue. (And could a Reaganite Macron live in Nebraska?)

The time to think about these questions is now, and the time to answer them is soon.