Is there anything more laughable than all the former members of the George W. Bush brain trust torching conservatives for getting behind Donald Trump? The tiresome complaint is that conservatives are tossing overboard their "core principles" when they support the fairly elected presumptive Republican nominee.
I won't mention names, but here is the latest offensive rant of one longtime Bush aide who wrote in — where else — that bastion of conservative thought, The Washington Post:
? "Loyalty to party is causing many to abandon their ideals. Conservatism is not misogyny. Conservatism is not nativism and protectionism. Conservatism is not religious bigotry and conspiracy theories. Conservatism is not anti-intellectual and anti-science. For the sake of partisanship — for a mess of pottage — some conservatives are surrendering their identity.?"
This from the Bushies who supported an administration that shoved down our throats the biggest expansion in Medicare in decades and the No Child Left Behind buildup of the Department of Education; spent money at twice the pace of Bill Clinton?; wrote Hank Paulson and the Treasury Department a $700 billion blank check to bail out financial companies; sent American troops into Afghanistan for the Wilsonian purpose of "nation building," with no apparent result; and passed the worst energy bill in American history — a bill that regulates every electrical appliance in your home, from the light bulbs you put in your bedroom to the energy efficiency of your refrigerator.
Trump supporters have to listen to holier-than-thou sermons from these people? ?Really? This is like Snoop Dogg lecturing someone about smut on the radio.
What frightens the "NeverTrump" group is that the rise of Trump is not just a rejection of Obama but also a repudiation of the brand of unprincipled "conservatism" that marked the Bush years. Conservatism is supposed to be about free markets and limited government.
Of course, the unforgivable sin of the Bush administration was the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which bailed out banks. We unconstitutionally handed out hundreds of billions of dollars to losers who made egregiously bad financial decisions. This only laid the groundwork for the Obama "stimulus" debacle. At the very time we needed to embrace free-market principles, the Bush team lit a match to them. The Bushies even made crazy justifications — like "We have to abandon the free market to save it."
Not only have the Team Bush folks never apologized for this apostasy; many of them still cling to the ridiculous belief that they did the right thing. ? Rather than bashing Trump, these folks might want to tell conservatives, "We're sorry."
I've never been a Bush basher, and I like George W. Bush personally very much. ?And sure, Donald Trump is no saint, and he does indeed stray from conservative principles. But he has proposed the biggest tax cut since Reagan; he wants to repeal ObamaCare; he has proposed hundreds of billions of spending cuts; he wants a pro-America energy policy; and he has launched the most successful counter assault against political correctness in American history.
It is also true that Trump voters are challenging many of the worn-out orthodoxies of the party. No, America should not be the policeman of the world. Yes, we are going to insist that Europe pay the cost of defending itself. No, we don't think the federal government has done anything to advance educational outcomes in America. No, we don't want to let terrorists into the country simply because political correctness says we have to.
You can disagree with the priorities or even the values of Trump voters. But to call them misogynists, bigots, anti-intellectuals and anti-science? Shameful. What's next: calling Trump voters fascists? No wonder members of the grass roots thumb their noses at the GOP's intellectual leadership. They're just returning the favor.
What is worse is that these "NeverTrump" Republicans are the only hope of the Clinton campaign. The Washington Post will joyously run these kinds of attacks against Trump from the right every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The only way the left can retain power is if the GOP is a house divided. The anti-Trump camp is enabling Clinton — and if they're as smart as they think they are, why don't they get this?
Stephen Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, economics contributor to FreedomWorks and author of "Who's the Fairest of Them All?" To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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