Conservative Tongue Piercers


From Bret Stephens:

Dear fellow conservatives:

Let us now pledge to elect Hillary Clinton as the 45th president of the United States.

Let’s skip the petty dramas of primaries and caucuses, the debate histrionics, the sour spectacle of the convention in Cleveland. Let’s fast-forward past that sinking October feeling when we belatedly realize we’re going to lose—and lose badly.

Let’s move straight to that first Tuesday in November, when we grimly pull the lever for the candidate who has passed all the Conservative Purity Tests (CPTs), meaning we’ve upheld the honor of our politically hopeless cause. Let’s stop pretending we want to be governed by someone we agree with much of the time, when we can have the easy and total satisfaction of a president we can loathe and revile all the time.

Let’s do this because it’s what we want. Maybe secretly, maybe unconsciously, but desperately. We want four—and probably eight—more years of cable-news neuralgia. We want to drive ourselves to work as Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham scratch our ideological itches until they bleed a little. We want the refiner’s fire that is our righteous indignation at a country we claim no longer to recognize—ruled by impostors and overrun by foreigners.

We also want to turn the Republican Party into a gated community. So much nicer that way. If the lesson of Mitt Romney’s predictable loss in 2012 was that it’s bad politics to tell America’s fastest-growing ethnic group that some of their relatives should self-deport, or to castigate 47% of the country as a bunch of moochers—well, so what? Abraham Lincoln once said “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” What. Ever. Now the party of Lincoln has as its front-runner an insult machine whose political business is to tell Mexicans, Muslims, physically impaired journalists, astute Jewish negotiators and others who cross his sullen gaze that he has no use for them or their political correctness.

And while we’re building a wall around our party, let’s also take the opportunity to throw out a few impostors in our midst. Like that hack, George Will. Or John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Jeb Bush and every other Republican In Name Only. Or Marco Rubio, who didn’t chicken out on immigration reform quite as quickly or convincingly as Ted Cruz did. Or the Republican “Establishment” and “elite”—like the editorial board of this newspaper—who want to flood the country with cheap foreign labor so they can enrich their Wall Street pals.

All of them must be humbled, re-educated or thrown out, like old-time cadres with suspected bourgeois tendencies. How else will real Americans get a hearing and find their voice? What’s a lost election cycle or two when the soul of movement conservatism is at stake?

As for what the soul of that movement is supposed to be, we can figure that out later. Donald Trump is a candidate of impulses, not ideas. (If you can hire people to write your books you can also hire them to do your thinking.) This doesn’t seem to have perturbed his supporters in the slightest. Mr. Cruz is happy to be on any side of an issue so long as he can paint himself as a “real Republican”—the implicit goal here being the automatic excommunication of anyone who disagrees with him. Naturally, he’s rising.

What we won’t accept, however, is a standard-bearer whose convictions or personality might conceivably appeal to those wavering voters who usually decide elections in this country. Of all the reasons to dislike Mr. Rubio, surely the greatest is that he’s the only Republican who consistently outpolls Mrs. Clinton in general election matchups.

Didn’t we already mention that our subliminal goal is to lose this election?

Of course we’ll tell ourselves that the polls don’t matter, that a congenital liar like Mrs. Clinton can’t possibly win, that all we have to do is turn out the hidden Republican base that supposedly didn’t show up to the polls for Mitt Romney. We’ll convince ourselves, too, that those voting blocs we’ve spent the past decade alienating—not just Hispanics, or Asian-Americans or gays and lesbians, but also moderates turned off by loudmouth vulgarians, oleaginous debate champs or ostentatiously pious Christians—don’t matter either.

Deep down, though, we know the political math doesn’t add up for us. We just don’t care. Because we’ve turned even the appearance of moderation, or the amenability to compromise, into a four-letter word. Oh, did we mention House Speaker Paul Ryan is another sell-out?

Years ago, the late columnist Michael Kelly wrote of American liberalism that it was “an ideology of self-styled saints, a philosophy of determined perversity. Its animating impulse is to marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company. And to make itself as unattractive to as many people as possible: If it were a person, it would pierce its tongue.”

On current trend, this will soon better describe American conservatism, which is going the way of the Democratic Party circa 1972. So let’s skip the non-suspense of next year’s campaign cycle, gird ourselves for a McGovern-style debacle, and elect Hillary Rodham Clinton now.

Merry Christmas!

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