On display in the current National Review magazine with wringing hands are 22 conservatives desperately disparaging a Donald Trump nomination for the presidency. An action that perhaps comes too late to thwart the masses they have in part created.
From the days of anti-government rhetoric during the Reagan administration came people like Grover Norquist who instilled a fierce hatred for what he considered big government, vowing that he would work to shrink it to a size that could be drowned in a bath tub.
Ignoring that the biggest recipient of government largess was the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of, conservatives sought to regain their lost glory days by disparaging the social welfare programs of FDR, Truman and JFK, hoping to entice weary, white working families to climb on board their trickle down train to prosperity. A train to nowhere we would eventually find out before realizing that the great post WW II middle class of the 1950’s and ’60‘s were losing their jobs to foreign labor markets, all while corporations moved abroad to avoid taxes and the higher livable wages that Americans had come to expect. This downward slide continues today.
The bumper sticker claims that bemoaned regulation was intended I suppose to curtail expanded federal expenditures but they were instead carried over by an unsophisticated lot to despise anything that reduced their payroll earnings as a tax, even when it contributed to social safety nets that many of them and their families benefitted from.
Emerson’s warning about moderation in all things was tossed aside for rampant reversals in policy by Reagan-era conservatives. As people climbed on board with even meaner renditions of perceived government excesses, the hyperbole was ignored by many of the same people who now bemoan the Trump Frankenstein they have fostered.
The Tea Party would likely never have come to fruition had John McCain won the presidency in 2008 yet many of the policies they railed against would have been furthered at an even faster pace under a Republican administration that would continue to advantage the wealthy by acceding to corporate desires that eliminated job benefits and staved off wage increases even as wealth accumulated to fewer and fewer people.
It should come as no surprise then when one of the 22 conservative critics, Michael Medved, notes that “Trump is the living, breathing, bellowing personification of all the nasty characteristics Democrats routinely ascribe to Republicans.” The fact that voters within conservatism, albeit on the extreme fringe, have chosen Trump is testimony to the fact that they have been long exploited by the powers within conservatism. Failure by the GOP leadership to tamper the excesses of the Ted Nugent crowd and the Cliven Bundy vigilantism is now costing them to meet their expectations to gain full control of government at all levels
And though I take some delight in their misfire to eradicate their political foes I am also anguished by the fact that we all suffer now from the hands of people who are steeped in the past, with no real desire to help shape a future controlled by forces apparently beyond their comprehension. There is no going back to from where we came and with only hindsight to guide them we are sure to be led to the precipice of near extinction.