This campaign season has come full circle. The closing argument of the GOP frontrunner, the man who has garnered so much support under the guise of being the anti-establishment candidate, has now exhibited the palest of pale pastel characteristics of the very establishment the voters hate.
One of the more insightful questions asked at last night’s town hall in Milwaukee was directed at Trump by a man who wanted to know the top three functions of government. Trump initially answered, “security, security, security,” but then struggled to name other core functions. He then settled on health care and education. This is a man running for president who, if he secures the GOP nomination, will debate Hillary Clinton in the fall over the fundamental role of the federal government. It appears there won’t be much of a debate.
Speaking like a typical establishment Republican who is too diffident in his own views to correctly define the role of government and how it helps the average person, Trump continued to defend federally controlled healthcare.
COOPER: So in terms of federal government role, you’re saying security, but you also say health care and education should be provided by the federal government?
TRUMP: Well, those are two of the things. Yes, sure. I mean, there are obviously many things, housing, providing great neighborhoods…
For good measure, he tossed in housing! Free housing, great neighborhoods! Bernie Sanders all the way!
When CNN host Anderson Cooper questioned him further about his support for these traditionally Democrat views, he explained that of course the states should control education (thereby contradicting himself again within 10 seconds):
COOPER: Aren’t you against the federal government’s involvement in education? don’t you want it to devolve to states?
TRUMP: I want it to go to state, yes. Absolutely. I want – right now…
But then when Cooper followed up again…
COOPER: So that’s not part of what the federal government’s…
TRUMP: The federal government, but the concept of the country is the concept that we have to have education within the country, and we have to get rid of common core and it should be brought to the state level.
And what about health care?
TRUMP: The government can lead it, but it should be privately done. It should be privately done. So that health care – in my opinion, we should probably have – we have to have private health care. We don’t have competition in health care.
The problem that we have in our country is we don’t have competition. It’s made because the politicians – by the way, I’m self-funding. I am self-funding. So the health care companies aren’t taking care of me. But they’re taking care of everyone else.
So he believes health care should be “led” by the federal government but “done” by the private sector…but hates Obamacare? Umm…Obamacare is exactly that – led by the federal government but still officially “done” by private companies. I’m still waiting three weeks to get my spring allergy medication approved by the referral mandates for a nasal spray my ‘pay more, get less plan’ will barely cover. This is what happens when the federal government leads the way on health care.
Oh, and by the way, he’s self-funding his campaign, except for the $7 million he raised online but refused to acknowledge to Anderson Cooper.
This comes on the heels of his comments criticizing Scott Walker for cutting spending instead of raising taxes. Yes, another tax and spend politician; that is really new, refreshing, and oh, did I mention, establishment!
Friends, this is not funny anymore. This is a man who literally has no principles on a single issue and seems to know nothing about any of the major problems ailing our nation. Even when he starts to talk tough on national security he contradicts himself with his honest broker stuff on the Palestinian terrorists and has praised the U.N. for years. He sounds good on immigration (swallowing the bad stuff he said before seeking our votes), but then echoes McCain’s talking points on jobs Americans won’t do, praises Rubio for cutting the deal with Schumer, and just last night talked about the need for seasonal guest workers for dairy farmers in Wisconsin – even though cows are not seasonal.
And by the way, the real answer to that gentleman’s question about the core function of government should have been….to secure the blessings of liberty and prevent both domestic and foreign enemies from infringing upon those liberties. For example, the tyranny imposed by states on religious liberty, the court system, or civil unrest. Sadly, liberty is the one word never mentioned in this man’s stump speech. And when religious liberty was brought up at the final Fox News debate, Trump said, “I have nothing to say.”
Trump went on to extol the virtues of deal making last night, echoing his sentiments at an earlier campaign rally where he criticized Cruz for opposing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He compares his plans to Reagan working with Tip O’ Neill, but being that he has no anchor in principles from which to commence any negotiations, he doesn’t realize that the modern Democrat Party is nothing like Tip O’ Neill. Also, how can you make deals if you change or contradict your views within the same sentence or don’t even realize when you are publicly championing the other side’s starting point for negotiations?
Anyone looking to this man for a nominee with a morsel of conservatism or authentic anti-establishment direction has sadly landed on a charlatan who embodies the epitome of what is wrong with tepid republicanism. Strip away the gratuitous boorishness and when it comes to real issues there is nothing but political correctness, uncertainty, and vacillation. Thus we are left with all of the vices of a non-politically correct candidate and none of the virtues.
A previous version of this article erroneously stated that the question asked of Trump was from a woman.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.