The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

The Post-Election Twist on #NeverTrump

Making the click-through worthwhile: wondering just what counts as “Never Trump” anymore; Roy Moore urges everyone else to always obey the law; New Hampshire lays out the flaws of Boston; and we have a special request.

What Counts as #NeverTrump These Days?

Conrad Black: “The Never Trumpers seem to have retreated, more or less in unison, to the last trench before they throw down their arms and run backwards for their lives: They are now invoking the 25th Amendment. This indicates that they realize the impeachment movement has failed.”

Actually, impeachment efforts are not all that related to the thinking and actions of those who describe themselves as “Never-Trump.” Impeachment is extremely unlikely as long as Republicans control the House, but extremely likely if Democrats win the House in 2018. Whether the Senate would vote to remove Trump from office will also likely depend upon the partisan makeup of the chamber; it is worth remembering that removal from office requires a two-thirds majority. Barring some sort of smoking-gun evidence, like videotape of Trump and Putin evilly cackling as they coordinate plans to destroy the country, it is unlikely that many Republican senators will ever vote to remove a Republican president.

Jonah asks where all these Never-Trumpers calling for invocation of the 25th Amendment are. The only source mentioned by Black is “The New Yorker magazine, still feverish with Obama deprivation” which is . . .  not really “Never Trump,” at least as the term was traditionally defined.

You can find discussions of the 25th Amendment in Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, Vogue, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, and so on. So if these traditional lefty media sources and voices count as “Never Trump,” it’s fair to ask . . .  what is “Never Trump” anymore?

Evan McMullin? I didn’t realize that when I voted for him, I was helping pass the “Evan McMullin-Eternal-Presence-in-Media-as-a-Trump-Critic-Who-Never-Sounds-All-That-Conservative Act.” Unsurprisingly, McMullin’s entire Twitter feed since the election has been relentless criticism of Trump, a general credulity of claims of election collusion with Russia, and denunciation of GOP leaders for being insufficiently opposed to Trump. When McMullin appears on television, do you ever hear him arguing for a larger defense budget, tax cuts, originalist judges, or any other conservative priority? Maybe he’s done so and I just haven’t seen it, but it seems like McMullin’s message is, 24-7, “Trump is always wrong and he has to go.” I mean, if I wanted that, I could have voted for Hillary Clinton.

It’s a free country, and McMullin can argue for any priorities he likes, but if that’s going to be his message all the time, I don’t think he’s really representative of conservatives as a whole anymore. Insisting Trump is always wrong is as silly as insisting that Trump is always right. Broken clocks are right twice a day, blind squirrels find acorns, and even Sean Hannity can express dismay over a Trump tweet once in a great while.

There’s a lot for conservatives to like in the new administration: The sudden reduction in illegal immigration, the accelerating defeats of ISIS on the battlefield, the rollback of various regulations, a punitive strike on Syria for chemical weapons use, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinding Obama rules that undermined due process, Nikki Haley kicking tail and taking names at the United Nations, big changes underway at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and, of course, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and many fine judges in the lower circuits. If you have a 401(k), you’ve probably felt good for most of 2017. We might get tax cuts.

But these accomplishments come at the cost of a president who generates his own daily distraction; who constantly responds to what’s said on cable television; who lashes out at his own cabinet; who is impatient and ill-informed about how his own government works; who is so unfocused he sometimes contradicts himself within a matter of hours; who is apparently unwilling to study the details of policy; and who sometimes throws a bone to the worst of America, as when he insisted “fine people” were among the Charlottesville protesters.

We Must Obey the Law, Moore or Less

Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, discussing NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem:

“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” he said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”

He added that it’s a matter of the “the rule of law.”

“If they didn’t have it in there, it would just be tradition. But this is law,” he said. “If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?

He is correct in the sense that U.S. code does mention appropriate actions during the national anthem:

During a rendition of the national anthem –

(1) When the flag is displayed –

(A) Individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;

(B) Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and

(C) All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and

(2) When the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

Of course, anyone who’s been to a ball game knows this law is not really enforced. Thankfully, people are generally respectful, but there’s never been a consequence for those who are sitting, talking, wandering in from getting hot dogs and nachos, etcetera.

If a law is not enforced and does not carry a penalty for disobedience . . . is it really a law?

Moore asks, “If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?” I don’t know, maybe a court order to remove a monument depicting the Ten Commandments? Maybe a Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage? Is Roy Moore really the right guy to make the argument that citizens must always obey the law, even when they believe a law is unjust?

New Hampshire: Hey, Amazon, You Know Boston Stinks, Right?

Kind of funny: When the state of New Hampshire wanted to convince Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to locate his new facility there, they trashed nearby Boston like an enraged Yankees fan:

‐ “Choose Boston and next year when you leave your tiny $4,000-a-month apartment only to sit in two hours of traffic trying to make your way to an overburdened airport, you’ll be wishing you were in New Hampshire.”

I’ve enjoyed my visits to Boston, but no doubt there are some other criticisms worth mentioning.

This is a touchdown, former directors of NFL officiating say so, and the call just happened to go wrong to benefit the team that benefited from the “Tuck Rule,” and get disciplined for Spy-gate and get disciplined for Deflate-gate.

Boston readers, we tease because we love. If you feel a need for equal time, here’s my recent assessment of why living in the D.C. area stinks.

ADDENDA: We at National Review are asking for money. I know, it stinks. You hate being asked and we hate asking, but it is a reality of running a political magazine. If it makes it any easier, we’re being clear about what we’re seeking to fund: a tech guy for our growing stable of podcasts, new video software, a new revenue officer, and expanding our intern program. Give if you can.

Editor’s Note: This article orginally identified Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as Robert Gorsuch.