The Weekly Standard published an editorial calling for resistance to the Trump presidency by members of the Republican Party.
The Standard’s editor-at-large is, of course, notorious NeverTrumper Bill Kristol, and the editorial caused a recent Twitterspat, with Kristol and Standard editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes on one side and other Republicans like Brit Hume and Liz Cheney on the other. In the end, it seemed to have left the NeverTrumpers out in the cold.
In the final paragraph of The Weekly Standard’s piece, the editors claimed that resistance to the Trump administration would be in the best interest of the country and therefore more elected Republicans and conservatives must speak up in disapproval of the sitting Republican president. But the standard of Republican governance given was that of Reagan, Lincoln, and … Teddy Roosevelt?
Readers of this magazine won’t be surprised to find that we think going along to get along is not in the interest of Republicans, conservatives, or the country. Corker and Flake spoke up, but they’re retiring from the Senate. What’s wanted is for those with something more at stake to step up. Robert Frost famously described a liberal as someone unwilling to take his own side in a fight. Will that be what is said of conservatives and Republicans? That they stood on the sidelines and watched as the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan was destroyed?
Hold the phone. Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive, not a conservative, the first to inject a New Nationalism into the Republican Party, a wishlist of progressive ideas for the nation. When progressivism was rejected by the Republican Party, Roosevelt broke from the party and ran as a candidate of the Bull Moose Party, which of course allowed a true constitution destroyer named Woodrow Wilson to gain the presidency. This marked the beginning of the progressive era, which we are fighting to this day. Who wants to live the last hundred years of progressivism over again? Not I.
Teddy Roosevelt argued that only a very powerful federal government could guarantee social justice. He was for a National Health Service, he was for Social Security before FDR was, he wanted a death tax, he wanted a federal income tax, and he pushed for the direct elections of senators. The truth is, Teddy was a progressive’s progressive who championed constitution-destroying policies under the banner of the Republican Party. Where conservatives of today are defending the free market and corporations, Roosevelt wanted them controlled by big government. He’s the poster-boy for Big Government Republicans.
Progressivism’s premise is that the constitution is outdated and wrongheaded. Those were not the positions of Reagan and Lincoln. But Roosevelt championed that premise.
That’s what the Weekly Standard wants preserved?
Obama and Hillary describe themselves as progressives. That’s why it’s not shocking to hear that some in the Republican Party voted for Hillary and defend her to this day. But conservatism is the opposite of progressivism. There is no excuse for anybody calling themselves “conservatives” to defend Theodore Roosevelt.
If the Republican Party had not been corrupted by the injection of progressive destroyers at the turn of the 20th century, we wouldn’t have this much tumult now. If progressivism is the new standard, then just about any ideology under the sun would be welcome in the Republican Party — except, we are told to believe, Trump’s.
It seems to me that Trump is more of a populist, at a time when it’s not really certain what is popular, except perhaps the opposite of what the Republicans in congressional leadership end up doing.
Trump offered conservative solutions during his campaign and has followed through on those he could accomplish on his own.
After Obama, it just so happens that a lot of popular things consist of reversing damn near everything that destroyer did. To resist that, as the NeverTrumpers propose doing, is to adhere to the progressive policies of the Obama era and, truly, inherit the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt. Perhaps they’d prefer to be called Teddy Roosevelt Republicans; it might be unpopular to be called Obama Republicans. But the ends are the same.
If Teddy Roosevelt had been elected last year instead of Trump, Kristol and the boys would be excoriating conservatives today for not “going along to get along.”
In the end, it comes down to common sense. If it sometimes seems that conservatives are happy with something Trump did, it is usually because he used good old-fashioned common sense that uses experience to form good policy, which is one of many descriptors of conservatism.
Common sense is certainly a welcome corrective to the progressive era. It would be better advice for the Weekly Standard editors to push the presidency in a conservative direction, but then, as we can clearly see, conservatism is not where their allegiance lies.
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Jen Kuznicki is a contributor to Conservative Review, a blue-collar wife and mom, a political writer, humorist, and conservative activist, a seamstress by trade, and compelled to write. Follow her on Twitter @JenKuznicki.