Stories about
Ramesh Ponnuru


Ramesh Ponnuru (/rəˈmɛʃ pəˈnʊəruː/; born August 16, 1974) is an American conservative political pundit and journalist. He is a senior editor for National Review magazine, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and a contributing editor to the domestic policy journal National Affairs.

New York Post

Published  1 week ago

If media wants to challenge the context and politics of Republican arguments, that’s their prerogative. There are plenty of legitimately misleading statements worthy of fact-checkers’ attention. Yet, with a veneer of impartiality, fact-checkers often engage in a uniquely dishonest style of partisanship. And State of Union coverage gave us an abundance of examples of how they do it:

Hyper-precision fact-checking that creates the impression that a Republican is misleading the public: For this, take Politico’s insinuation that Donald Trump was lying to the public about abuse of women at the border. During the State of the Union, Trump claimed: “one in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.” This contention is only “partly true,” according to Politico, because a “2017 report by Doctors Without Borders” found that only 31 percent of female migrants and 17 percent of male migrants said they had been actually abused while traveling through Mexico.

Whether Doctors Without Borders’ scary statistic is accurate or not, is one thing. Trump, however, was being called out for asserting that “one in every three” illegal immigrants has been abused attempting to cross the border rather than “33.333 percent of women” — probably a rounding error in the poll. It is almost surely the case that every past president and every politician has used “one-third” or “one-half” rather than a specific fraction, and walked away without being fact-checked.

Fact-checking subjective political assertions: The New York Times provided a masterclass in bad faith fact-checking by taking political contentions offered by the president and subjecting them to a supposed impartial test of accuracy. In his speech, Trump called the illegal border crossing “an urgent national crisis.” The New York Times says “this is false.” Why? Because illegal border crossings have been declining for two decades, they say. Customs and Border Protection agents, they go on to explain, had arrested around 50,000 people trying to illegally cross the southwestern border each of the last three months, which was only half of the arrests they had made in comparable months in the mid-2000s.

Even if those numbers are correct, there is no way to fact-check urgency. After all, a lessening crisis doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a pressing one. We’ve seen a steep decline in gun violence over the past 30 years. Would The New York Times ever “fact-check” a Democrat who argued that gun violence was an “urgent crisis” of public safety? Of course not. But this fluctuating standard allows journalists to “fact-check” any subjective political contention they desire.

If I claim that socialism is the greatest threat to American freedom and prosperity, I may well be right. I may have a lot of historical and economic evidence to back up my assertion. You can argue that I’m wrong. You can lay out statistics that attempt to prove me wrong. You can call me crazy. But you can’t produce an unbiased “fact-check” establishing that my opinion is conclusively false. You’re just writing an op-ed piece.

Partisan talking point masquerading as a fact check: “FACT CHECK: President Trump praised the record number of women in Congress, but that’s almost entirely because of Democrats, not Trump’s party,” NPR tweeted, correcting the record on a statement that the president never made.

Here’s what Trump said: “And exactly one century after Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before. That’s great. Very great. And congratulations. That’s great.”

You can’t produce an unbiased “fact-check” establishing that my opinion is conclusively false. You’re just writing an op-ed piece.

Trump was offering his rundown on the state of the union, not the Republican Party. It’s true that presidents take credit for all the good things that happen under their watch. Trump is no exception. In this rare case, however, Trump didn’t even take credit for electing the female politicians. In fact, he congratulated them after they broke out into cheers over his comment. Some people have argued that NPR’s piece was providing context to the president’s comment. Perhaps. Still, their nitpicking created the impression that somehow Trump had misled the public. He did not.

Fact-checking meant to obscure actual facts: The Washington Post’s fact-checking page offered a number of egregious examples of outright misinformation. In one of them, reporter Meg Kelly claimed that, “Abortion legislation in New York wouldn’t do what Trump said.” There are a number of words in her post intimating that Trump lied about the New York and Virginia late-term abortion bills, but none of her words debunk Trump’s core contention. Ramesh Ponnuru has a good rundown here.

Here’s what Trump said: “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.”

As I’ve noted before, the biggest clue that you’re about to read a deceptive fact check on the abortion issue is an author mentioning that “only” few abortions of viable babies take place. “Indeed,” Kelly writes, “only 1.3 percent of abortions — or about 8,500 a year — take place at or after 21 weeks, according to 2014 data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Guttmacher Institute.” This number, as Ponnuru points out, is almost surely low. Whatever the case, Trump never claimed “most” abortions were post-20 weeks. Whether 8,500 or 15,000, thousands of viable babies are being aborted. No fact-checker would ever point out that only .0001 percent of legal gun owners commit crimes when talking about more firearm restrictions (and, yes, that’s an approximation).

And yes, the president used a bit of rhetorical flourish to say that babies can be “ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth” because, actually, they can be poisoned or dismembered in the mother’s womb moments before birth. Both the Virginia bill, which was tabled, and the New York law allow, just as Trump says (in his blunt language), for the termination of infants who survive the abortion procedure. Absolutely nothing in The Post’s “fact check” debunks the president’s contention that in New York, and elsewhere, abortion on demand until crowning (and after) is now legal as long as the woman and a doctor decide that the baby is stressful in some way to the mother. How often it happens is up for debate. What the bill says is inarguable.

Fact-checking a truthful statement by demanding that Trump highlight information that has absolutely nothing to do with his contention: An astute reader points out this PBS fact-check of a Trump tweet from a couple of weeks ago. I’ve noticed this genre, as well. In it, the president points out that a reputable Marist/NPR/PBS Poll had shown that his approval rating among Latinos had risen to 50 percent, an increase of 19 percent over a year’s time. After confirming that, yes, Trump had been precise in his assertion regarding their poll, PBS spends around 700 words taking Trump to task for failing to highlight other negative information in the poll. Will this be a new standard for all politicians?

The state of American fact-checking is dreadfully misleading. There’s no reason for conservatives to give its authors the deference they seek.

David Harsanyi is a Senior Editor at The Federalist. He is the author of the new book, “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi

The Federalist

Published  2 weeks ago

The fact-checker’s self-declared standing as impartial arbiter of political truths is as deceptive as the average ‘fact check’ he writes.

American Greatness

Published  3 weeks ago

Post by @theamgreatness.

NewsBusters

Published  3 weeks ago

There were crickets in large swaths of the liberal media on Wednesday as the left’s attempt to advance late-term abortion measures took an even more gruesome turn as pediatric neurologist and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) articulated on WTOP-FM support for infanticide if parents decide with physicians to not provide care to a delivered child if deemed unviable.

Just as the broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC did earlier in the evening, a NewsBusters analysis found that liberal cable networks CNN and MSNBC ignored Northam’s comments during their primetime programming. For this analysis, CNN and MSNBC shows from 7:00 p.m. Eastern to midnight Eastern were examined.

In contrast, a look at the Fox News Channel programs in that span (The Story, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, The Ingraham Angle, and Fox News @ Night) yielded 67 minutes and 23 seconds of coverage on Northam’s comments, unsuccessful attempts by Virginia Democrats to pass a late-term abortion bill, and how New York was able to push through such a law last week.

Within those numbers, Fox News @ Night had the most coverage with 17 minutes and 32 seconds. Tucker Carlson Tonight was 61 seconds back at 16 minutes and 31 seconds.

Despite what FNC critics may try to argue, three pro-abortion officials were present on to defend the proposals (plus soundbites from both Northam and Virginia Democratic Delegate Kathy Tran), including Planned Parenthood’s Erica Sackin in Fox News @ Night’s A-block debating Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance.

Instead of covering this, CNN and MSNBC covered topics that included (but were not limited to) rehashing tweets from over 12 hours earlier in which the President knocked his intelligence chiefs, the Mueller team catching Russians using non-public information to try and discredit the probe, and attempting to bludgeon former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz from considering an independent presidential bid.

Northam and his supporters have tried to explain themselves in statements and tweets that attacked conservatives, Republicans, pro-lifers, and anyone who’s criticized them as — wait for it — sexist.

Further, a few friendly media outlets like the Associated Press, NBCWashington.com, and The Washington Post have begun crafting defenses that are likely to arise if CNN or MSNBC shows discover it on Thursday.

And predictably, those and subsequent takes have and will revolve around describing pro-lifers as overplaying their hand, pouncing, or seizing on the comments from both Northam and Tran.

Abortion supporters may try to defend the notion of expanding abortions up until the day of birth or, as we’ve seen, after they’ve left the womb, but the damage has been done.

Here’s what National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in response to the notion that late-term abortions are rare:

A 2013 study of abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy indicated that “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” (The number of such abortions has been estimated at around 12,000 a year. For a sense of scale, that’s more than the annual number of gun homicides in our country.) The legislation Northam backs does not limit late-term abortions to such circumstances, either.

Lord, have mercy.

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National Review

Published  1 month ago

No longer is the debate over Christianity in the public square. It is over Christians in the public square.

Kamala Harris is set to announce her candidacy for president sometime around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. What sort of chief executive would she be? Well, here’s your first clue: On December 5, Harris posed a series of written questions to Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee for district court in Nebraska. The third question reads as follows:

Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as “a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.” Mr. Anderson went on to say that “abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.” Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?

Harris wasn’t finished. Follow-ups included “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?” and “Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights?”

Buescher, a Nebraska native and graduate of the Georgetown Law Center, replied that he joined the Knights when he was 18 years old; that his involvement includes charitable work; and that his job as a judge is to apply the law regardless of his personal convictions. Strong answers. That he had to offer them is a disgrace.

What Kamala Harris is suggesting is that membership in a 2-million-strong, 136-year-old Catholic social organization disqualifies an individual from the federal bench. She was joined in this line of questioning by Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. The even worse news is that plenty of Senate Democrats agree with them. They’ve adopted a strategy of interrogating President Trump’s judicial nominees about Catholic beliefs and associations. It began in September 2017 when Dianne Feinstein told Amy Coney Barrett, now confirmed to the Seventh Circuit, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.”

My concern is the anti-Catholic sentiment manifest in the Democratic party. Last March, Feinstein demanded to know if Michael Scudder, now confirmed to the Seventh Circuit, worked with his parish “to establish a residential crisis-pregnancy center.” Last May, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked Peter J. Phipps, now confirmed as a district-court judge, about the Knights. Last October, Feinstein, Harris, and three other Democrats wanted to know about the relationship between Fourth Circuit nominee Allison Jones Rushing and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit that supports religious liberty. Last November, Feinstein asked Third Circuit nominee Paul Matey, “If confirmed, will you recuse yourself from all cases in which the Knights of Columbus have taken a position?”

Nor is it only Catholics who are subject to this religious test. The Democrats are ecumenical: Baptists and Episcopalians are also under scrutiny. In June 2017, Bernie Sanders clashed with Russell Vought, now acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, over a blog post Vought had written regarding Islam that several Muslim groups considered Islamophobic. “I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith,” Vought said. By the end of the exchange, Sanders said, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.” Vought is an elder in his church, married, and has two daughters.

The following month, in questions to Trevor McFadden, now confirmed to D.C. district court, Whitehouse singled out McFadden’s church, Falls Church Anglican, for its opposition to same-sex marriage. Whitehouse asked if McFadden agreed with statements made by his pastor. “It would be improper for me to state my personal opinions,” McFadden responded in writing. “If I am confirmed as a judge, I will faithfully apply the applicable Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit precedents, including Obergefell v. Hodges.” That wasn’t enough for Whitehouse. What he was after was confession, repudiation, and repentance.

Commenting on the back-and-forth between Whitehouse and McFadden, Ramesh Ponnuru observed, “To see what’s wrong with this line of questioning, it might be helpful for liberals to flip this scenario.” What if a religious progressive were up for a nomination, and a Republican senator asked if his church’s position in favor of same-sex marriage or abortion rights or transgender accommodations would affect his decisions? Wouldn’t the Left be outraged? Probably yes, given the selectivity with which partisans apply standards of constitutional and moral probity these days. Then again, I wonder whether Democrats would actually protest all that much, since for them ideological tests matter far more than religious ones.

Let’s contemplate another hypothetical: What if a Republican suggested that a judge’s identity skewed his legal reasoning? Guess what, Democrats accused President Trump of doing exactly that during the 2016 campaign — and they were furious. Now they are equally angry that the president has the temerity to nominate individuals connected to — I can hardly write the words, they are so scandalous — crisis-pregnancy centers, legal nonprofits, and bake sales. How awful.

So committed are these Senate Democrats to the doctrines of social liberalism that they are prepared to ignore the plain text of Article Six, Section Three, of the Constitution: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States.” Or is this another part of America’s founding document that “evolving standards of decency” compel us to shunt aside?

More than religious freedom is under attack in the controversy over the Knights. So is the freedom of association. In the midst of a social crisis that involves drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, depression, and loneliness, progressive Democrats seek to delegitimize the very organizations that promote community, connection, charity, and meaning.

When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America, he was struck not only by the religiosity of our people. He also noticed their penchant for association. Here was true diversity, a genuine pluralism of belief and practice. The “new liberalism” that is said to be ascendant in the Democratic party undermines these twin pillars of American exceptionalism — religion and civil society —to advance the (quite brittle) cultural consensus that reigns in the megalopolis.

No longer is the debate over Christianity in the public square. It is over Christians in the public square. And this is an argument in which people of every faith have a stake in the outcome.

This article was originally published on the Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Published  1 month ago

Kamala Harris is set to announce her candidacy for president sometime around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. What sort of chief executive would she be? Well, here's your first clue: On December 5, Harris posed a series of written questions to Brian Buescher, President Trump's nominee for District Court in Nebraska. The third question reads as follows:

Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as ‘a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.' Mr. Anderson went on to say that ‘abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.' Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman's right to choose when you joined the organization?

Harris wasn't finished. Follow-ups included "Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?" and "Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women's reproductive rights?"

Buescher, a Nebraska native and graduate of the Georgetown Law Center, replied that he joined the Knights when he was 18 years old; that his involvement includes charitable work; and that his job as a judge is to apply the law regardless of his personal convictions. Strong answers. That he had to offer them is a disgrace.

What Kamala Harris is suggesting is that membership in a 2 million-strong, 136-year-old Catholic social organization disqualifies an individual from the federal bench. She was joined in this line of questioning by Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. The even worse news is that plenty of Senate Democrats agree with them. They've adopted a strategy of interrogating President Trump's judicial nominees about Catholic beliefs and associations. It began in September 2017 when Dianne Feinstein told Amy Coney Barrett, now confirmed to the Seventh Circuit, "The dogma lives loudly within you, and that's a concern."

My concern is the anti-Catholic sentiment manifest in the Democratic Party. Last March, Feinstein demanded to know if Michael Scudder, now confirmed to the Seventh Circuit, worked with his parish "to establish a residential crisis pregnancy center." Last May, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked Peter J. Phipps, now confirmed as a district court judge, about the Knights. Last October, Feinstein, Harris, and three other Democrats wanted to know about the relationship between Fourth Circuit nominee Allison Jones Rushing and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit that supports religious liberty. Last November, Feinstein asked Third Circuit nominee Paul Matey, "If confirmed, will you recuse yourself from all cases in which the Knights of Columbus have taken a position?"

Nor is it only Catholics who are subject to this religious test. The Democrats are ecumenical: Baptists and Episcopalians are also under scrutiny. In June 2017, Bernie Sanders clashed with Russell Vought, now acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, over a blog post Vought had written regarding Islam that several Muslim groups considered Islamophobic. "I'm a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith," Vought said. By the end of the exchange, Sanders said, "I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about." Vought is an elder in his church, married, and has two daughters.

The following month, in questions to Trevor McFadden, now confirmed to D.C. district court, Whitehouse singled out McFadden's church, Falls Church Anglican, for its opposition to same-sex marriage. Whitehouse asked if McFadden agreed with statements made by his pastor. "It would be improper for me to state my personal opinions," McFadden responded in writing. "If I am confirmed as a judge, I will faithfully apply the applicable Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit precedents, including Obergefell v. Hodges." That wasn't enough for Whitehouse. What he was after was confession, repudiation, and repentance.

Commenting on the back-and-forth between Whitehouse and McFadden, Ramesh Ponnuru observed, "To see what's wrong with this line of questioning, it might be helpful for liberals to flip this scenario." What if a religious progressive were up for a nomination, and a Republican senator asked if his church's position in favor of same-sex marriage or abortion rights or transgender accommodations would affect his decisions? Wouldn't the left be outraged? Probably yes, given the selectivity with which partisans apply standards of constitutional and moral probity these days. Then again, I wonder whether Democrats would actually protest all that much, since for them ideological tests matter far more than religious ones.

Let's contemplate another hypothetical: What if a Republican suggested that a judge's identity skewed his legal reasoning? Guess what, Democrats accused President Trump of doing exactly that during the 2016 campaign—and they were furious. Now they are equally angry that the president has the temerity to nominate individuals connected to—I can hardly write the words, they are so scandalous—crisis pregnancy centers, legal nonprofits, and bake sales. How awful.

So committed are these Senate Democrats to the doctrines of social liberalism that they are prepared to ignore the plain text of Article Six, Section Three, of the Constitution: "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States." Or is this another part of America's founding document that "evolving standards of decency" compel us to shunt aside?

More than religious freedom is under attack in the controversy over the Knights. So is the freedom of association. In the midst of a social crisis that involves drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, depression, and loneliness, progressive Democrats seek to delegitimize the very organizations that promote community, connection, charity, and meaning.

When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America, he was struck not only by the religiosity of our people. He also noticed their penchant for association. Here was true diversity, a genuine pluralism of belief and practice. The ‘new liberalism‘ that is said to be ascendant in the Democratic Party undermines these twin pillars of American exceptionalism—religion and civil society—to advance the (quite brittle) cultural consensus that reigns in the megalopolis.

No longer is the debate over Christianity in the public square. It is over Christians in the public square. And this is an argument in which people of every faith have a stake in the outcome.

The American Spectator

Published  7 months ago

With the installation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and a yet-to-be-named reliable replacement for the unreliable Anthony Kennedy, Donald Trump will have confirmed himself as the most consequential conservative president of the modern era (or a close second to Reagan if you’re nostalgic). This will be complete vindication for Trump supporters, which means it’s really the end for the so-called Never Trump conservatives. Of course, there have been so many humiliating defeats for that crowd that we are spoiled for choice. What was your favorite blunder, or blown prediction, which marked their ignominious end?

For some, it must have been in March when Bill Kristol, longtime editor of the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard, showed up in New Hampshire telling people he would run against President Trump in 2020. Or in April when the conservative website RedState was taken over and purged of writers who were “insufficiently supportive” of the president. Some go back to October 2017 when a Twitter spat broke out between Stephen Hayes and Brit Hume of Fox News over the Weekly Standard’s anti-Trump editorials. With the death last week of Charles Krauthammer, the revered neocon commentator and prominent Trump skeptic, the eclipse of the neocon intellectuals is complete.

One thing’s for sure: it wasn’t really a war so much as a rout. The Never Trump intellectual crowd has no momentum and no popular following these days. Consider the trajectory of their would-be leader Kristol, who appears to be indulging in a personal fantasy by putting himself forward as a candidate, as his rapport with GOP voters includes trying to run Evan McMullin in Utah to throw the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton. When that stunt failed, Kristol personally insulted the pro-Trump writer Michael Anton for his influential essay “The Flight 93 election.” Then Kristol’s commentator gig with Fox was not renewed, and he was soon accusing Tucker Carlson of “ethno-nationalism” and “racism.” Overshadowing all of these breaks was Kristol’s personal history of being the conservative’s answer to Bob Shrum, a political “pro” who was always very wrong about politics.

Of course, Kristol was not alone in his contempt for Trump — he was only the most vocal and unhinged. Alongside him were other conservatives like Jennifer Rubin and George Will and Michael Gerson at the Washington Post; Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal; David Brooks and Ross Douthat at the New York Times; Jonah Goldberg and David French at National Review; Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg; and Erick Erickson at RedState. A number of others, people like David Frum and Ana Navarro, committed political seppuku early and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, the careers of most of these people have been curtailed dramatically.

What happened? If these intellectuals were so influential in the conservative movement, then why has their apostasy garnered so little attention? A Ramesh Ponnuru editorial in Bloomberg blurted out this truth: “In 2016 we found out that conservative elites didn’t speak for Republican voters.” This split between the party’s base and its donor class (as well as the donor-funded intellectuals) was years in the making, but it became obvious once Trump became the nominee. Then the truth became obvious and damning: the Never Trumpers represented no one but themselves.

Looking back, it now seems self-evident that conservative pundits were preposterously out of touch. (Who isn’t amused by the poindexter pretentiousness of George Will’s bow-ties or the pseudo-scholarly piffle of Jonah Goldberg’s byline as “the inaugural holder of the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty?”). These intellectuals barely noticed the opioid crisis running through small town America; or the base’s anger regarding illegal immigration; and they were adamantly opposed to any restriction of free trade while working class frustrations mounted over NAFTA and its ilk. (This explains why J. D. Vance and his book Hillbilly Elegy was Washington’s must-read book of 2017: it provided a portrait of rural America that the political class could digest without condescending to visit such places or talk to such voters.) It turns out that conservative intellectuals, living inside the “Acela Corridor” and funded exclusively by think tanks and foundations, are poor barometers of Republican voter concerns.

This myopia has several causes. The first is a kind of cultural “capture” that occurs when conservatives live in blue districts and big cities too long. They become, in other words, clueless (RINOS). The second reason is more obvious: many of these people are paid to be openly hostile to Trump’s agenda. The free trade absolutists at AEI and Cato are on salary to oppose any protectionist trade policies. Likewise, hawkish interventionists such as Max Boot knew they had no professional future once Trump’s isolationist instincts became policy.

There is also a low-testosterone, dilettantish strain of conservatism that has overdeveloped in the “mainstream” media to create such sterile hybrids as Michael Gerson and George Will and David Brooks. Nothing sunk these so-called wise men lower in the estimation of their fellow conservatives than their blithe indifference to the Clintons’ gangsterism. While Trump threw wild verbal haymakers at Hillary at campaign rallies, these intellectuals were basically on TV announcing they would be accommodationists for the Clinton Machine’s inevitable victory. Trump’s base was fighting a war; these guys were sipping tea. The contrast in styles of conservatism was stark: it was the pugnacious billionaire against the stuffy wimps.

The greatest disconnect is religious and cultural: the Republican Party is overwhelmingly Caucasian and Christian and traditional on social issues, while its pundits skew Jewish and agnostic and libertarian. Krauthammer wanted to have it both ways, which is not unlike the hedging that Brooks and Goldberg have displayed. George Will went so far as to say: “I’m an atheist. An agnostic is someone who is not sure. I’m pretty sure. I see no evidence of God.” Meanwhile, Gerson is a liberal Episcopalian who took to the pages of the Atlantic to attack evangelicals for supporting Trump. In sum, the conservative intellectuals didn’t understand the base’s concerns about religious liberty because they hardly cared for religion — which should have disqualified them long ago.

The curious uniformity of the Never Trump crowd extends beyond them being heretics who claim to be spokesmen for the Christian base. On every important issue of the election, it was hard to find one of them who could even articulate Trump’s position, let alone support it. Tucker Carlson was one of the few to see this stupidity early and he registered his dissent well in a break-out essay:

Conservative voters are being scolded for supporting a candidate they consider conservative because it would be bad for conservatism? And by the way, the people doing the scolding? They’re the ones who’ve been advocating for open borders, and nation-building in countries whose populations hate us, and trade deals that eliminated jobs while enriching their donors, all while implicitly mocking the base for its worries about abortion and gay marriage and the pace of demographic change. Now they’re telling their voters to shut up and obey, and if they don’t, they’re liberal.

The sad truth was that the Never Trumpers were not safeguarding the ideas of conservatism so much as themselves. Carlson nailed the heart of the matter: “If Trump is leading a populist movement, many of his Republican critics have joined an elitist one. Deriding Trump is an act of class solidarity, visible evidence of refinement and proof that you live nowhere near a Wal-Mart.” That is why the continuing success of the Trump Presidency has been met with escalating anger and vituperation from the Never Trumpers — the news cycle is a daily reminder that they were wrong about everything. Can you be wrong about everything and still be part of the elite?

That is a question being asked in front of many mirrors inside many Washington mansions today. Many people mistook their policy positions for principles, and Trump has made them look foolish. What do they stand for now? What does it mean to be conservative if you’re not clear about what you’re conserving? Credit David Brooks, of all people, with waving the white flag first this April, and with some humility when he admitted that “Part of the problem is that anti-Trumpism has a tendency to be insufferably condescending.” Brooks then basically summarized the great failure of the Never Trumpers as “an epic attempt to offend 40 percent of our fellow citizens by reducing them to psychological inferiors.”

Meanwhile his former comrade, George Will, was not for surrender or appeasement. He had finally found an enemy to relish: his fellow conservatives. One measure of Will’s self-exile was the indifference his most recent column elicited, though it urged Republicans to vote against the GOP at the midterms “for their own good.” Was anyone still listening? It was Will who sagely warned the world mere days before the election: “Until the Republican Party gets right with minorities in this country, it’s never going to win another presidential election.” Not content with that spectacular blunder, Will had doubled down with attacks on Billy Graham and Vice President Mike Pence. The symbolism of such stunts, at least, was clear. As a model conservative, Will stands alone in his own estimation. And what could be more conservative than voting for liberal Democrats?

In that sense, Will’s latest column was merely the fitting coda to a long career of effete snobbery — one that had led him to “leave the party” before it won the White House and march off into the wilderness. (Someday, his columns from the Trump years will be collected and they should be titled: “An Apotheosis of Narcissism.”) He would take his tea and his bow-tie elsewhere. The headmaster of the stuffy wimps would not take part in the victory of the counter-punchers. At last, like so many of his fellow Never Trumpers, he was a pundit without a party and, ultimately, without an audience.

Emerald Robinson is the chief White House correspondent for One America News Network.

twitchy.com

Published  2 years ago

"You can't buy the sort of entertainment we're getting out of Richmond today. At least not legally."

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