I'm a movement conservative - specifically, one with "reformicon" leanings - and like most movement conservatives, I think Trump would be a disastrous candidate for the GOP. He's sound and fury signifying nothing -- a populist rabble-rouser whose policy prescriptions are literally absurd and whose campaign events often rival Obama's 2008 campaign when it comes to sheer creepiness.
Seriously: What the hell is this?
But it would be beyond foolish for those of us who actually care about the future of conservatism to ignore the few things Trump gets very right. That's why the following two posts are today's "posts of the week":
First, go and read Notes on a Phenomenon, in which Mark Steyn describes a Trump event held on Bernie's turf in Vermont. Apparently, Trump doesn't use a teleprompter and doesn't recycle the same boring, focus-group-tested stump speech. Instead, he says whatever pops into his head at any particular moment.
"One minute he's talking about the Iran deal, the next he detours into how Macy's stock is in the toilet since they dumped Trump ties. But in a strange way it all hangs together: It's both a political speech, and a simultaneous running commentary on his own campaign."This explains why Trump often sounds like a crazed nutbar -- but in this media-saturated, celebrity-focused culture, it also works. Writes Steyn:
"I've seen no end of really mediocre shows at the Flynn in the last quarter-century, and I would have to account this the best night's entertainment I've had there with the exception of the great jazz singer Dianne Reeves a few years back. He's way funnier than half the stand-up acts I've seen at the Juste pour rires comedy festival a couple of hours north in Montreal. And I can guarantee that he was funnier than any of the guys trying their hand at Trump Improv night at the Vermont Comedy Club a couple of blocks away. He has a natural comic timing."This, of course, does not mean Trump is qualified to occupy the nation's highest office. It does, however, reveal a queer sort of authenticity that more serious candidates should try to adapt to their own needs -- without the lunatic demands for mass deportations and a border wall. First suggestion? Get rid of the damned consultants and actually listen to the people!
Meanwhile, TRUTH, a blog post written by the inimitable Sarah Hoyt, hits upon something else that drives Trump's allure. The money quote:
"Maybe Trump will turn out (somehow) to be a pragmatic ruler, but make no mistake, he will be a RULER, not a leader, because he has no concept of limits or of individual rights. His concept is of socialism, only more national. But people here are so tired of being told that the United States is the worst thing ever, when they see it isn’t, that they are willing to accept even an outright socialist, if he’ll just assure them they’re not going crazy and they’re not evil for loving their country."Yep. As Sarah observes elsewhere in the same post, the West's cultural aristoi have been pissing down our backs and telling us it's raining for quite some time, and it is totally and utterly sane to hate them for it and to look for someone - anyone - who's willing to tell the truth about who we are as a civilization and, more importantly, defend us from peoples and ideologies that wish us ill. If no one of intellectual heft takes the stage to fill this role? Trump is mild compared to the threats waiting in the wings. If we keep stomping on every sincere doubt regarding immigration and our national security, we will get our own Front National -- and it won't be pretty.
To the GOP: Wake up and pay attention! Your survival may depend on it.