The GOP establishment no bargain either
By Joel Kotkin
Perhaps nothing has been more ironic than the canonization of respectable, moderate-seeming Republicans. People like Mitt Romney and the Bush family, once castigated as practitioners of unmitigated greed or even Hitlerian fascists, have suddenly become laudable in the mainstream media.
In this environment, even the perhaps rightly named Jeff Flake, whose popularity in his state was a rousing 18 percent, or Tennessee’s Bob Corker, now get praise from Democrats largely because they revile Donald Trump. But the much commented fall of what Slate calls “principled conservatism” reflects not more than the malicious work of Trump but largely the fundamental failure of the established right.
What doomed the GOP establishment?
The first disaster for the establishment GOP came with the embrace of the interventionist dogma of neo-conservatism, infuriating both the McGovernite left and traditional Republicans. The GOP has identified itself both with the endless Afghanistan imbroglio and consistently unpopular war in Iraq.
America lost many of its young people, and billions in treasure, to fulfill the neo-con crusade. The electorate was not enthusiastic, one reason they voted for an inexperienced Barack Obama and against a genuine war hero in John McCain.
The right half of the country generally favors a strong military but wants soldiers to defend the homeland, not engage in an ideological struggle. Defeat the Soviet Union without a major war, as Reagan could claim, or kill Bin Laden, as Obama accomplished, or annihilate much of ISIS, as Trump has done, seems a winning approach. Spending endless billions on corrupt governments who cannot even control much of their populace, not so much.
The real issue: Class
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a charter member of the NeverTrumpers, once told me that while income and other tax cuts are the mother’s milk of donor class, most Republicans, particularly in states like Nebraska, don’t make enough money to fret […]