Trump-Cruz 2016 - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Trump-Cruz 2016

It’s time to unite.

Trump-Cruz in 2016.

Yet here is the headline from the New York Times.

Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat

The story reads in part:

WASHINGTON — With Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz battling for the Republican nomination, two powerful factions of their party are now clashing over the question: Which man is more dangerous?

Conservative intellectuals have become convinced that Mr. Trump, with his message of nationalist-infused populism, poses a dire threat to conservatism, and plan to issue a manifesto on Friday to try to stop him.

Meanwhile, the cadre of Republican lobbyists, operatives and elected officials based in Washington are much more unnerved by Mr. Cruz, a go-it-alone, hard-right crusader who campaigns against the political establishment and could curtail their influence and access, building his own Republican machine to essentially replace them.

The division illuminates much about modern Republicanism and the surprising bedfellows brought about when an emerging political force begins to imperil entrenched power.

Got that? Wait — there’s more. Like this:

The Republicans who dominate the right-leaning magazines, journals and political groups can live with Mr. Cruz, believing that his nomination would leave the party divided, but manageably so, extending a longstanding intramural debate over pragmatism versus purity that has been waged since the days of Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller. They say Mr. Trump, on the other hand, poses the most serious peril to the conservative movement since the 1950s-era John Birch Society.

Say again? “The Republicans who dominate the right-leaning magazines, journals and political groups can live with Mr. Cruz….” 

Speaking for myself — I can more than “live with” Ted Cruz. In fact, if Donald Trump wins this nomination, I believe Ted Cruz should be to Trump as George H.W. Bush was to Reagan or Lyndon Johnson was to John F. Kennedy — the runner-up whose base of support is so big and critical to victory that the second spot on the ticket is a political necessity. I’m a supporter — and proudly so — of Donald Trump. And call me crazy, but I believe what the Times describes as a “conservative manifesto” isn’t. And I say this with the greatest of respect to the signers, many of who are friends and are the real deal as conservatives.

But what is really revealing in this Times piece is how many “conservatives” can’t seem to live with either Trump or Cruz. It causes me all kinds of uncomfortableness to know some of my friends — and whether I know them or not they are all friends — have signed on to this manifesto. Which to me says that when the dust settles in this battle of giants, it is more than time for a Trump-Cruz ticket. Why? As unbelievable as it may seem, that New York Times article spells out the answer in as close to black and white as a subject like this will ever get.

The Times cites this “manifesto” that is about to materialize from “conservative intellectuals” as saying that Donald Trump “poses a dire threat to conservatism.”

Stop right there. Wow. Really? One can only ask: Who exactly has been part of the real “dire threat to conservatism”? Not everybody on that list — but yes, sadly, some.

One of the prime movers in this manifesto, according to the Times, is National Review. Which is, yes indeed, questioning Trump’s conservative credentials. Gee. Remember back there in the mists of 2011? When my friends at NR were headlining “Romney’s the One”? That would be the Mitt Romney who was the father of Romneycare — the Godfather of Obamacare? Among other things this piece by Ramesh Ponnuru said:

We all know the knocks on Romney. His health-care plan in Massachusetts was Obamacare in one state. He’s a flip-flopper. Inauthentic. His conservative detractors say he’s the establishment/moderate candidate — or worse. 

And? Ponnuru then says he had a conversation with a family member and expressed his support for Romney. To which said family member quickly — and I would suggest perceptively — replied: “I didn’t know you were a Democrat.”

Bingo. Be that as it may, Ponnuru and NR were all out for the decidedly non-conservative Romney, with Ponnuru going out of his way later on to be part of the so-called “Reformicons” — so-called “reform conservatives” who, to all appearances, were nothing more than the latest incarnation of what Ronald Reagan once disdained as “fraternal order” Republicans.

I raise this point not out of pleasure. I love National Review — really. As mentioned, some of my friends are on this list. But as the Times is reporting, the magazine is about to go public with a manifesto that says Donald Trump “poses a dire threat to conservatism”? OK. Got it. Then the obvious question: Where, pray tell, were some (not all, but some) of these manifesto writers when the magazine was pushing an “inauthentic flip-flopper” who was the Godfather of Obamacare? Answer — just from my personal perspective? They fled the field. Went over the side. Worse, they even falsely portrayed Newt Gingrich as an anti-Reaganite, something I personally knew to be flat out false because — hello? — I was there when some of the Gingrich critics were still working their way through junior high school.

Look. Let’s get down to basics here. There in the Times story is this:

Peter Wehner, a longtime conservative writer, said: “He’s not a conservative, he’s an angry populist. It would be dangerous if the party or movement hands control over to him.’’

Dangerous? Let me blunt. Mr. Wehner — I’m sure a lovely guy — was part and parcel of the Bush 43 administration which left the GOP in shambles at its departure precisely because the Bush administration was run on “not a conservative” principles. George W. was and is the loveliest of guys. In the aftermath of 9/11 Bush will eventually be recalled as a great president. But alas Bush and his White House staff were enticed by the anti-conservative siren songs that if only conservatives were somehow more “compassionate” — meaning spending more money on Big Government like liberals — all would be well. It was, not to wax Trumpian in bluntness, BS.

Ex-Bush 43 aide Matt Latimer wrote of writing a speech for George W. to deliver to CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — in Latimer’s book Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor. The account goes this way:

I started that speech by talking about the origins of CPAC and the conservative movement. I was in the Oval Office one day and the President said to me, “What’s all this movement stuff you have in here?”

I said, “Well, Mr. President, it’s the whole Buckley/Goldwater/Reagan tradition.”

He said, “Take all that stuff out. I mean, that movement’s over. I know it’s arrogant for me to say, but I redefined the Republican Party.”

What he meant was that when he talked about compassionate conservatism in 2000, a lot of conservatives like me thought that’s just a nice gimmick that sounds nice to people. But, he actually meant it. It didn’t mean he was a bad person and it didn’t even necessarily mean he was a bad President in a lot of respects. But, he wasn’t a traditional conservative and people need to know that.

Got that? There is President Bush 43 himself saying of the Buckley/Goldwater/Reagan tradition per his speechwriter: “…that movement’s over. I know it’s arrogant for me to say, but I redefined the Republican Party.”

And so he did. And it was an unmitigated disaster for the Republican Party and the entire conservative movement.

It is no surprise ex-Bush 43 aides like Peter Wehner, Karl Rove, and Michael Gerson (all of them vehement Trump critics) are well out there playing up in their own non-subtle fashion that “the whole Buckley/Goldwater/Reagan tradition” is dead as a doornail. 

But no matter how these Bushies try to re-arrange history, the very hard fact is that the result of the Bush political doctrine for the GOP that these guys had a hand in fashioning was politically an unmitigated disaster. Just as Ronald Reagan had said when he pegged this nonsense as “fraternal order” Republicanism. The Bushes father and son, good and decent people both, came close to wrecking the Republican Party. Utterly eviscerating it. Bush 41 bequeathed America Bill and Hillary Clinton. Bush 43 — advised by the likes of Mr. Wehner, Michael Gerson, and Karl Rove — bequeathed America Barack Obama. Way to go. And these people think Donald Trump would be a disaster for the GOP? Really? Oh please.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the Times draws in Bob Dole, a wonderful American hero turned GOP Establishment icon — who lost, in the finest of GOP Establishment styles, a perfectly winnable presidential election by doing the moderate “me-too” dance. Dole, in fact, is a Jeb Bush supporter, but of course.

Last night there was, yes indeed, NR’s Rich Romney — oops, sorry, that would be Rich Lowry — professing his love for limited government. Like, apparently, Romneycare-cum-Obamacare? 

Oh please. Please, please, please.

The destruction of conservatism? 

Let’s see what emerges here from this “manifesto” to be issued by what the Times describes as “conservative intellectuals.” But make no mistake. When something like this emerges from the adjunct of Romney headquarters? More than a grain of salt should be at hand.

It’s time to start moving forward. To a Trump-Cruz ticket. 

Doubtless… and respectfully… to be continued.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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