By Frank Miele
Conservatives, take note. An important new essay has been published which is a direct descendant of the “Flight 93 Election” essay by Michael Anton.
Anton’s essay, published under a pseudonym in September 2016, accurately diagnosed the state of the nation for conservatives as “charge the cockpit or you die.” The metaphor came from the brave heroes of 9/11 who realized that their plane was being commanded by suicidal terrorists. Likewise, if conservatives did not support Donald Trump against the Hillary-Clinton-led Democrat Party, they would watch the republic perish. Anton challenged “Conservatism Inc.” — the think-tank, cocktail-party, talking-head conservatism represented by Bill Kristol and David French — to stop fighting “the good fight” and start engaging in hand-to-hand combat before it was too late.
Alas, the establishment Republicans never got the message. Suffering from some weird political “Stockholm syndrome,” they actually put their trust in Hillary Clinton to lead them out of the wilderness. Then when that failed, they joined forces with the liberal elites in Washington and New York to fall upon President Trump with their daggers bared and to kill the brute before he uncouthly gave us conservatives judges, closed the border, repealed regulations and saved the economy. In other words, they went insane.
Now, Greg Jones, who goes by the disruptive name of “the Drunk Republican,” has written the obituary for the failed Republican movement under the title of “The Downfall of Conservatism Inc.: How Donald J. Trump made me rethink my Republican heroes.” It is a good read, but more importantly it tells my story and the story of many others as well.
He starts out by reminding us how Sept. 11, 2001, “changed a lot of things for a lot of people.” I know it did for me. I’ve often told the story of how up until that time I had been a pragmatic Democrat, but that on the day the jets hit the World Trade Center, I thanked God that George Bush was president instead of Al Gore, even though I had voted for Gore. Watching Democrats turn against America in the months following 9/11 just solidified by newfound support for the Republican Party.
For Jones, the change was from being politically uninformed to becoming an avid consumer of conservative thought:
“[When] the planes hit the towers … my obsession with politics began. Watching such carnage must have made me instinctively hawkish. I instantly gravitated toward conservatives like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Every morning began, without exception, with a visit to the Drudge Report.
“And over time, I naturally came to admire many of the icons of modern conservatism. I read National Review and The Weekly Standard, the essays of Ayn Rand, and countless history books. My growing familiarity with the conservative “intelligentsia” exposed me to the political points view ostracized by overwhelmingly liberal professors during graduate school.
“Satisfied with my ideological home, the Bill Kristols and Jonah Goldbergs of the world became my heroes—I would have gladly taken a bullet for Mitt Romney.”
But then came the same awakening that had hit Michael Anton in the fall of 2016 — Donald Trump was fighting for conservative values, and establishment Republicans were fighting against him. There was a disconnect somewhere that just didn’t make sense. For Jones, even though he was wary of Trump, he decided to accept the will of the voters and support the firebrand candidate.
“Sadly, my establishment heroes saw things differently. They began doing their best to copy the tactics and lies of the DNC. Of course, they couldn’t do it officially or on behalf of the Republican Party, but they didn’t have to. The loyalties they had cultivated in Americans like me gave them enough power to sabotage Donald Trump’s campaign.
“Or so they thought.
“The establishment conservative leadership began to openly lend their support to candidates like Evan McMullin, a clown with a penchant for retweeting far-left celebrities. Even worse, conservative stalwarts like Colin Powell pledged their support for Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
At that point, Jones joined with the millions of others in the Republican Party who became “the Trump base,” the MAGA community that recognized along with Michael Anton that this is a do-or-die battle, and that the Democrats were using live ammunition. He also watched in horror as “establishment conservatives launched an all-out insurgency” against Trump.
“Unable to tolerate being associated with President Trump and popular nationalism, they fled institutions of conservative thought like Fox News. The Democratic media, all too happy to receive them, made room for them on countless cable news panels on opposition outlets such as CNN and MSNBC. Longtime enemies found armistice and unity in a common objective: subverting President Trump and the threat he posed to their continued relevance.
“Of course, establishment conservatives had to make ideological compromises for the sake of their new alliances. Policies they once heralded, at least intellectually, became part of President Trump’s populist platform. Policing the border and cutting taxes became Trumpist—not conservative—policies, and symbolized authoritarian overreach.” …
What had happened to my heroes?
I understand their objection to Trump’s style—three years ago, I myself was put off by it—but style is nothing when measured against substance. Here was a president advancing their agenda—our agenda—didn’t that mean something?”
I don’t know whether the “Drunk Republican” will be able get through to the haughty establishment Republicans who dismiss the Deplorables as a bloody nuisance, but if he’s only preaching to the choir, it is a helluva good sermon, and one worth reading for yourself. Check it out at Human Events.
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Frank Miele has spent four decades in the news business and now offers conservative commentary to counter the left-wing bias in the national media. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, you can help support my work by visiting my Amazon storefront to purchase one of my books such as “Why We Needed Trump” or “The Media Matrix.” You will also find must-read books by other conservative authors and great deals on pro-Trump gear and paraphernalia. I also encourage you to help by subscribing to Heartland Diary on YouTube by clicking here to get the latest News Conservatives Can Use. I need 1,000 subscribers to be able to get YouTube to pay me. Remember to check out my column on Mondays at Real Clear Politics.