Friday, March 31, 2017

Conservative 'Purism' Doesn't Threaten The Movement. Trump Purism Does

On Tuesday, Dennis Prager – a man I consider a good friend and political mentor -- penned a column in which he derided conservative “purists” for killing President Trump’s American Health Care Act. As one of the people in favor of killing that misbegotten piece of legislation, which re-enshrined the central principles of Obamacare while exacerbating the private health insurance death spiral, created a new entitlement program, and was wildly unpopular to boot (17 percent approval rating), I feel compelled to respond to Dennis’ piece in the spirit of respectful debate. I don’t believe it required purity to oppose the bill – only political common sense and a cost-benefit analysis. The Republican Party was unanimous in its dedication to repealing Obamacare; that political promise bought them complete control of the federal government. This bill broke that promise.
But Dennis’ main argument is that conservative purity makes the perfect the enemy of the good. Dennis writes, “what we have here is another conservative example of purism and principle damaging another major opportunity to do good.”
Dennis then returns to the old Never Trump vs. pro-Trump argument, stating that purism risked making Hillary president. He says that there were “no valid reasons” to oppose Trump in the general election, and says that Trump’s policies have validated him “beyond my wildest dreams.”
Dennis doesn’t acknowledge the basic argument of the Never Trump conservatives or those who agonized over whether to support him – not that Trump wouldn’t do some conservative things, but that he would inevitably soul-suck the conservative movement to the point where they would celebrate bad policy and blame actual conservatives for failing to go along with the program. It wasn’t that Never Trumpers and doubtful Trumpers were purists – I voted for both John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom I opposed ardently in the Republican primaries. It was that Never Trumpers and even many who agonized over Trump were afraid that conservatives would become Trump purists – people who considered Trump the be-all, end-all of conservatism, the last best hope of humanity, the root and branch of the movement. We were afraid that Trump’s obvious discomfort with conservatism would eventually convert conservatives themselves from their philosophy in order to assuage their cognitive dissonance. Trump purism, in short, would corrupt conservatism.
The Freedom Caucus went a long way toward assuaging those fears, though: they showed that many Trump supporters would not stand for bad policy with Trump’s name on it. Remember, the Freedom Caucus is dominated not by Never Trumpers, but by people who campaigned openly and diligently for Trump, from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) to Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX). They stood tall for conservatism, keeping their unspoken pledge to stand for conservatism above Trumpism.
But then Dennis says that these people are the problem, reinvigorating our fears once more.
Dennis seems to suggest that anyone with any significant criticisms of Trump thus far is a purist....
Read the rest from Ben Shapiro HERE.

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