Huston: Hating Trump Is not a Public Policy Position

November 29, 2017

Yuval Levin is a serious guy who has written widely and intelligently on subjects of interest to conservatives. He is also a Never Trumper who plumbs the depths of his imagination to come up with new reasons why Donald Trump is a disaster for the country and an affront to right-thinking conservatives.

Writing in the latest issue of National Review, whose audience now consists primarily of Never Trump diehards and nostalgic seniors who have yet to figure out that Bill Buckley is no longer editing the magazine, Levin makes this remarkable statement:

“The appointment of judges . . . is the one arena where Republicans can point to real achievements so far. Beyond that, little has been accomplished in ten months, and it is frankly hard to say just what the president actually aims to achieve except for being on everyone’s mind all the time.”

What planet does this guy live on? I suggest he ask a Progressive think-tanker whether from a progressive point of view the Trump Administration has accomplished anything materially harmful to the progressive agenda. Ask, for example, a top dog of the environmental movement how the anti-coal, clean air agenda of the Obama administration or its proposed every puddle is part of the “waters of the United States” policy are faring at the EPA. Inquire about the fate of net neutrality at the FCC or the election rules adopted by the National Labor Relations Board to tilt organizing elections in the favor of organized labor. The Republican Congress hasn’t accomplished much, but it did nullify a number of Obama administration regulations that were promulgated as he headed out the door and which would have further crippled the economy if they had gone into effect.

In short, this most erratic, disorganized, undisciplined and limelight-seeking president of ours has struck mighty blows against the Administrative State over the course of the past 10 months, and those who claim to be concerned about restoring the constitutional order (as Mr. Levin certainly does) ought to be giving credit where credit is due. Somehow this president has managed — perhaps in spite of himself (although I think not) — to advance the traditional conservative agenda in ways that were unfathomable to George W. Bush and his Big Government Conservatives.

The Never Trump gang has lost what little credibility it had coming out of the election in no small part as a result of its insistence on playing “let’s pretend” with respect to the achievements of the Trump administration. They want to pretend that nothing good is being done for the country because they hate Donald Trump and they don’t want him to succeed. If hating Donald Trump requires that they ignore policies, programs and appointments that they advocated during the eight years that Barrack Obama held sway in Washington, then that is a small price to pay to feed their hatred and pander to their diminishing audience.

Conservatism, Inc. is increasingly irrelevant to the real world of American politics. If your objective is to become a sacrificial ideological remnant, it may make sense to pit yourself simultaneously against your natural constituency and the reality of the situation. It does not, however, make sense if your objectives are to convince your opponents and to be a player with influence on the formation of public policy. Making sense, however, has never been a big priority for the high priests at National Review in the post-Buckley era.

— Tom Charles Huston



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