Well, if this is the conservative movement now, I guess you’re going to have to count me out.
No, I’m not making some mad dash to the center. No, I’m not hoping to be the first alternate to Steve Schmidt on Morning Joe, nor am I vying to become my generation’s Kevin Phillips. I will never be a HillaryCon. And I have no plan to earn “strange new respect” from the Georgetown cocktail-party set I’m always hearing about but never meeting. But even if I have no desire to “grow” in my beliefs, I have no intention to shrink, either.
[. . .]
. . . We routinely forgive the rich and famous for sins we would condemn our neighbors for. Trump’s popularity apparently trumps all standards we would apply not just to our neighbors, but to our leaders. A small example of what I am talking about can be found in Ted Cruz’s vow not to criticize other Republicans — if by “Republicans” you mean “Donald Trump.” I have a lot of respect for Cruz, but this doesn’t pass the laugh test. The Texan has been lambasting the entire Republican party for his entire time in office. Some of his critiques are valid, of course. But he has shown not an iota of reluctance to criticize fellow Republicans when it’s in his interest. Cruz isn’t criticizing Donald Trump because, as a smart politician, he wants to woo Trump’s followers when/if Trump eventually falters. Similarly, I’m constantly hearing from Trump fans that it’s “disrespectful” for me to criticize the Republican front-runner — as if these fans would refrain from criticizing Jeb or Rubio or Kasich if they were in the lead.
If I sound dismayed, it’s only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because “Trump fights!”
[. . .]
In his embarrassing interview with Hugh Hewitt Thursday night, Trump revealed he knows less than most halfway-decent D.C. interns about foreign policy. Twitter lit up with responses about how it doesn’t matter and how it was a gotcha interview. They think that Trump’s claim that he’ll just go find a Douglas MacArthur to fix the problem is brilliant. Well, I’m all in favor of finding a Douglas MacArthur, but if you don’t know anything about foreign policy, the interview process will be a complete disaster. Yes, Reagan delegated. But he knew enough to know to whom to delegate.
[. . .]
Karl Marx coined the term lumpenproletariat to describe working-class people who could never relinquish their class consciousness and embrace the idea of a classless socialist society. Hence, they were useless to the revolutionary cause. I’m no Marxist, so I don’t buy the idea that anybody — never mind a whole class of people — are beyond persuasion. But I am tempted to believe that Donald Trump’s biggest fans are not to be relied upon in the conservative cause. I have hope they will come to their senses. But it’s possible they won’t. And if the conservative movement and the Republican party allow themselves to be corrupted by this flim-flammery, then so be it. My job will be harder, my career will suffer, and I’ll be ideologically homeless (though hardly alone). That’s not so scary. Conservatism began in the wilderness and maybe, like the Hebrews, it would return from it stronger and ready to rule. But I’m not leaving without a fight. If my side loses that fight, all I ask is you stop calling the Trumpian cargo cult “conservative” and maybe stop the movement long enough for me to get off.
—Jonah Goldberg. These are my sentiments exactly.