Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper – by Brett Stephens – NYT

Brett Stephens gets an attaboy!

“Tax cuts. Deregulation. More for the military; less for the United Nations. The Islamic State crushed in its heartland. Assad hit with cruise missiles. Troops to Afghanistan. Arms for Ukraine. A tougher approach to North Korea. Jerusalem recognized as Israel’s capital. The Iran deal decertified. Title IX kangaroo courts on campus condemned. Yes to Keystone. No to Paris. Wall Street roaring and consumer confidence high.And, of course, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. What, for a conservative, is there to dislike about this policy record as the Trump administration rounds out its first year in office?That’s the question I keep hearing from old friends on the right who voted with misgiving for Donald Trump last year and now find reasons to like him. I admit it gives me pause. I agree with every one of the policy decisions mentioned above. But I still wish Hillary Clinton were president.”

via Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper – The New York Times

I quibble with some of the items on his list. He doesn’t seem to know much about Iran. He doesn’t understand why we got a fair and important treaty with them. And as one commenter wrote, he is a neanderthal on climate change. But the arc of his reasoning is vital and important.

Here are a few comments I recommended:


VA 15 hours ago

“But character does count, and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily.”

This hits the nail on the head. It has never been, nor will it ever be, about politics and policy with President Trump. In the sense that he is a politician who transcends politics, he is now a transcendent figure. A man who was born into inherited wealth and power with no sense of self-awareness or empathy. The fact remains that before he won the election, his legacy would have been a trail of destruction and burned bridges—bankruptcies, divorces, lawsuits, and stiffed contractors—and a tv show. He has no real friends or business partners who will vouch for him or his character and he has zero record of serious charitable giving.

You wouldn’t be thrilled if he was coaching your son’s little league team or if your daughter brought a younger version of his current cariicature of himself home for thanksgiving dinner to meet the family.

No one comes out better for having entered a relationship with Donald Trump. No one. And yet here we are.


San Francisco 5 hours ago

Simply stated, this administration isn’t about conservatism – it’s a nascent dictatorship, as Mr. Stephens so aptly describes.

NYT Pick

William Trainor

Rock Hall,MD 7 hours ago

I am intrigued by your litany of accomplishments for the conservatives. Tax cuts and deregulation are obvious and perhaps actually the central hypothesis of conservatism, but the military strong arm stuff is conservative? Jerusalem as capital is a weird conservative agenda, more of a public relations prank for holding evangelical votes? Iran and North Korean diplomacy is on the wrong side of history unless we want to repeat Iraq. Climate denial is kind of neanderthal thinking, like denying a round world. Come on admit it the way to conservative heaven is to keep everyone in the dim while taxes and regulations rig the system for businesses. If that is what its all about, Trump is a genius. He had the angry worried about white lives matter while he samples their wallets. Buy enough polemics, the issue we face is culture. What is the culture of our country? We strive for better lives, love our neighbors, help the helpless and like to think we are the good guys. Oh, we aren’t always that idealistic and when progressives get all pure and purge their best for being rude, some people think that is the culture war and hate liberals. In order to keep America great, we have to stop listening to the demagogues and get back to the legitimate political discussions where one could discuss for 3 hours and finally say “you have a point there”; “so do you, lets get a beer”.

NYT Pick

John Dixon

Kansas City 13 hours ago

My parents raised us to be like them – to believe in Senator Moynahan’s version of liberalism. Yet they understood – and respected – the Senator’s version of conservatism, and raised us to do so, too. It wasn’t hard, because close at hand, we had examples of those on the other side that we respected; both of my parents had siblings with opposing views – and they raised our cousins with the same respect for the ideology of others.

All of our parents are gone now. Regardless of their ideology, all of them would be appalled by what is now occurring in the country they served and loved. And the surviving cousins? Almost all are now liberal Democrats.

For decades, Republicans have sought to gain power through whatever means necessary – first by hijacking “family values” as an election strategy instead of a political goal, and then consolidating that power incrementally through equally shady means. The end result is the election of this President. If my extended family is any indicator, it may also mean the coming end of the Republican party.


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