I can’t be the only one growing weary of churlish expressions of snobbery and rejection of the supposed rubes who support Donald Trump and Ted Cruz . — which, per a national survey released by Quinnipiac on Tuesday, constitutes 52 percent of the GOP electorate — out of the East Coast “intelligentsia” on the conservative side.
The best and latest example of this establishmentarian prattle comes to us from Bret Stephens, who on Tuesday mounted his customary perch at the Wall Street Journal to deliver a torrent of abuse upon that 52 percent.
Per Stephens, the GOP, and “fellow conservatives” within it who make up that 52 percent, ought to just embrace President Hillary Clinton now since they refuse to support “reasonable” and “electable” Republican candidates not named Trump or Cruz.
“Let’s move straight to that first Tuesday in November, when we grimly pull the lever for the candidate who has passed all the Conservative Purity Tests (CPTs), meaning we’ve upheld the honor of our politically hopeless cause,” he says. “Let’s stop pretending we want to be governed by someone we agree with much of the time, when we can have the easy and total satisfaction of a president we can loathe and revile all the time.”
And then a bit more…
Let’s do this because it’s what we want. Maybe secretly, maybe unconsciously, but desperately. We want four—and probably eight—more years of cable-news neuralgia. We want to drive ourselves to work as Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham scratch our ideological itches until they bleed a little. We want the refiner’s fire that is our righteous indignation at a country we claim no longer to recognize—ruled by impostors and overrun by foreigners.
Stephens goes on to reference the real reason for his howling and screaming — namely, the week-long attack in the conservative media on Cruz and in Marco Rubio’s service which claimed Cruz was a liar for denying his support of legalization for illegal aliens. In the last GOP debate, Rubio . attempted to deflect the indictment by Cruz of his position as part of the Gang of Eight seeking to impose amnesty for illegals on the American people by accusing the Texas Senator of being for it. Cruz denied he’d ever been for legalization and said he had no intention of ever supporting it — clarifying later that he wasn’t hedging by stating his intention and making it clear he would not support legalization in the future.
But Cruz had said otherwise in 2013 when attempting to kill the Gang of Eight bill through a poison-pill amendment that gave the pro-amnesty crowd their legalization but permanently denied a path to citizenship for illegals. In selling that amendment Cruz pushed all the correct rhetorical buttons, paying servitude to the correctness of the pro-amnesty crowd’s position… and methodically smoked out the fact that for the Democrats who provided the majority of support for Gang of Eight the aim of the entire effort was to make some 12 million — or more! — Democrat bloc voters. Policy be damned, this was an attack on the electorate. And when that became clear, not only did Republican support for “comprehensive immigration reform” demanded by the party’s muckety-mucks as a condition for its survival post-2012 dissipate, but Rubio dissipated along with it.
After a week to vet the accusations about Cruz’s efforts to kill the Gang of Eight bill, complete with the assurances by noted conservative Senators Mike Lee . and Jeff Sessions . that Cruz never wavered from an anti-amnesty position, the public found them wanting. By the weekend a YouGov poll saw Cruz hit 40 percent in Iowa, and he had drawn to within 28-24 in the Quinnipiac national survey referenced above. Rubio trailed badly in both.
And now, that Rubio’s long-predicted ascension into the GOP’s top tier to rival Trump and Cruz and surpass the fading Ben Carson has apparently stalled (he seems to be losing ground to Chris Christie — Chris Christie! — in New Hampshire, and is behind both Trump and Cruz in his home state of Florida), the East Coast crowd who is now without a candidate as Jeb Bush is nearly finished wasting their donations to him despairs.
So it’s time to lash out at the voters. Along comes Stephens, and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, who fulminates over the possibility of forming a new political party in the event the Trump-Cruz Axis should produce a GOP nominee.
The whole thing is so discouragingly tawdry and obscene.
What would Stephens have Republican voters do? Continue supporting bad Establishment candidates taking their cues from a string of failed nominees like Bob Dole and Mitt Romney? Disregard the massive blade embedded in their backs with the Obamnibus budget bill Ryan produced and stabbed them with?
He writes this screed now?
Donald Trump is unacceptable, why? Because he isn’t articulate in suggesting that we not take any more Tashfeen Maliks into the country?
Trump practices Politics For Dummies. Everybody knows that. So what? He gets support because he expresses sentiments a sizable chunk of the country, if not an actual majority — black, white, Hispanic or otherwise — agrees with. If somebody else was expressing them more clearly, they’d be ahead. If somebody else was turning those sentiments into realistic policy, they’d be winning. Cruz is doing some of that, and he’s gaining on Trump. The rest of the GOP candidates are busy trashing Trump personally and quacking about how unfit he is for office. Look how well they’re polling. Jeb Bush, the failed champion of the GOP establishment, is at four percent, and his whole campaign consists of a loud whine about Trump now.
And the American people, and not just the stupid rednecks and trailer-trash the Elite think the Trump supporters are, are desperate to find somebody who will actually state the American position. They’re so tired of political correctness and lies and counterproductive policies forced down their throats by the Mitch McConnells and Paul Ryans they’re told they have to support or else the world will end that they can’t stand it anymore.
Along comes Trump to capitalize on that massive hole in the market, and the Elite immediately has a conniption.
Let’s repeat that none of this is an attempt to actually debate the merits of what Trump says. Bret Stephens wrote 853 words, and not once did he address the substance of Trump’s statements — or even those of Cruz. He just made accusations of bigotry and low intelligence on the part of their supporters, as though only a bigot or a simpleton could agree with the basic sentiment behind Trump’s call, as an example, for a moratorium on Muslim immigration until better vetting can be done.
Let me tell Bret Stephens and the Republican intelligentsia something — there is no such thing as Islamophobia.
I’m not saying all Muslims are bad people, or even that most of them are.
But America has had a long-running bad experience with sharia Islam, and it is not bigotry or stupidity by any means to have an aversion to any more of it. How many times do we have to go through Chattanooga or San Bernardino, followed by CAIR coming out and lecturing the American people about “backlash,” before this sinks in?
Let’s not forget that America’s experience with sharia Islam isn’t confined to San Bernardino or Chattanooga, or Boston or Little Rock. Lots of Americans, surely including some Bret Stephens knows, have friends and family who returned from tours of duty as servicemen or contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan or elsewhere in the Middle East and tell disgusting stories of Islamic culture in its host countries. The media and the elites don’t spend time talking about the ubiquitous Afghan child-rape culture or the bloody Day of Ashura, but you can bet the American people are fully aware of those stories. And they are repulsed by them.
Non-elite Americans, the kind who are sympathetic to a Trump candidacy, are completely justified in rejecting one more Muslim immigrant amid the current unpleasantness. Maybe that isn’t good policy, and maybe it’s not politically correct to say it. But it is justified.
And if Bret Stephens thinks Donald Trump is a bad person for what he said about Muslim immigration, then he had damn well better explain it.
And he had better explain it on the merits — because what he and the rest of the Smart Set are doing is directly alienating the majority of the Republican electorate. He’s producing precisely that which he warns against.
Oh — and one more thing for Mr. Stephens. The Quinnipiac poll has Ted Cruz tied at 44 in a head-to-head with Hillary Clinton. He can drop his Cheerleader For Defeat routine; candidates who offer smart populism not directed at the GOP’s donor elite might actually do better than the usual losers our intellectual and monetary betters force on us.