Friday, July 22, 2016

Ross Douthat on Cruz on Trump

Another member of the (defeated) conservative intelligentsia weighs in on Ted Cruz. This time, it’s Ross Douthat, currently an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, a man who no one has ever accused of leaning left.

In a blog post Douthat makes an interesting point about the future, about which none of us knows anything, and personal integrity. Since everyone seems to be convinced that they know what the future holds for Ted Cruz—nothing good—take this opportunity to repeat a point I made yesterday. The future is uncertain. You do not know what it will bring.

Before quoting the offending passage, I will include a trigger warning for those who have turned thuggish in their adoration of Trump.

Douthat wrote yesterday:

Cruz made a version of this mistake early in the primary campaign, with his ever-so-calculated embrace of Trump. But last night he chose the better way. You don’t know what tomorrow holds — so do the right thing today. You don’t know what strategy will play well four years hence — so stand up for your own integrity, your cause’s principles and your family’s honor. The future is unwritten — but you can make sure that when the history of the present year is written, your place won’t be with those timid and temporizing souls who surrendered both their party and their dignity to Donald Trump.

That’s what Cruz earned himself last night: not a better chance at the presidency, but a profile in political courage that will be remembered no matter what happens to his political ambitions henceforth. And it’s yet another irony of this most ironic year that it would be the most overtly Machiavellian of Republican politicians who would keep his honor, and pass a test that so many politicians of more conspicuous high-mindedness have failed.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Stuart, who is it that you are suggesting "adores" Donald Trump, much less being "thuggish" about it? Let's get it out there. Name names, because the insinuation from these two most recent posts seems to be that your description of adoration and thuggery is intended for some commenters on this blog. If your view is that I am one such adoring thug, I should like to know. It will not offend (nor trigger) me, but instead bring needed clarity.

Anonymous said...

David Brooks doesn't like Trump much either.

Calls him the Dark Knight.


Anonymous said...

Dianna West has it right

Anonymous said...


You can't vote for Clinton so you will vote Trump.

Ares Olympus said...

Anonymous at 7:14 PM: Stuart, You can't vote for Clinton so you will vote Trump.

Hey we're back to the "who's yo daddy?" arguments!

And now we're back to square one of what integity means. Anyone who admires Cruz for refusing to endorse Trump should also stand tall in the voting booth and refuse to vote for Trump.

Normally I'd say a New York vote for a republican would be meaningless, but in the right environment, a native New Yorker Trump actually has some theoretical chance of winning, although you'd almost imagine we'd need another 9/11 event to let Trump's "I'll make you safe" rhetoric seem plausible.

But if NY is 99.999% chance going to Clinton, Stuart can safely vote for Trump just as a protest against Clinton. But there's still the question of integrity, and votes matter and a 23% Trump landslide lose is more humiliating than another 47%-49% lose for the republicans.

If the republican primary voters "picked wrong", November is a chance for that point to be made. If McCain and Romney's relatively small loses are compared to a Trump landslide loss, that'll be a wake up call to those who think running a government should be the job of the person with the biggest mouth.

I'd say Libertarian Gary Johnson is a perfectly good protest vote, someone you'll be sure won't win, but will at least stand for basic competence and curiosity about what facts are when your ego gets out of the way.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Who are you going to vote for, Ares?

Dennis said...

There is a reality that we either face or devolve into thinking that a protest vote actually does anything important. All it really does is elect the person who would do the most damage, isn't what one would say is a conservative or even the one one is protesting.
The reality is that we have two less than optimum choices and a couple of others who don't have a chance in H@#$ of being elected. I for one do not want Hillary near making choices for the Supreme Court. It is that simple. I rather enjoy being a free person with all the rights that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were mean to re-inforce. The limits were and are meant to limit the government. Your principles are not worth a DAMN if they allow Hillary to affect the next 20 to 40 years. The question is when are principles not principles? Blindly adhering to a dogma without considering the ramification is the essence of being your own worst enemy.

IAC, Ares is going to vote for the people he is working for. The honest thing would be for him to admit it and stop dissembling.

For your edification: This is one of the best take downs by a Black Trump supporter of a CNN reporter. I especially liked when the CNN reporter was asked about the New Black Panthers as he was running away. And here he thought he was going to shame this Black Trump supporter.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis, I am with you 100%... it's a both-and. The temptation is the either-or, and the seeming clarity and tidiness of that mindset.

It's great to have principles, but we also have to be pragmatic.

It's great to have philosophy, but philosophy didn't build a bridge to get us across the river and save time (my apologies to the ferry operators).

Our system was designed to have a two-party system in order to prevent the empowerment of micro-factions like they have in the parliamentary democracies that feature these clumsy coalition governments (Israel especially). Sure, those coalition governments approximate the will of the people at the last election, but then so do the results of our two-party system. It's not perfect, but it's the best we have.

I share your concern about remaining a free person as the Framers envisioned. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recent comments made our fate clear when she showed who she was behind the curtain marked "blind justice." There is no such thing as blind justice -- based on standards of interpretation -- in today's liberal Supreme Court jurisprudence. It is nakedly political. Read their opinions... they don't even try to cover it up. Ginsburg led the charge of using foreign legal precedent to support her interpretations of our Constitution! Perhaps it always had been political, in the machinations of the Justice's chambers, but we could claim our innocence and believe in some ideal. No more. Even the New York Times was upset with Ginsburg for lifting the convenient veil of blind justice and exposed the mechanism of deceit and their chief instrument of power. So now everything is at stake. If it stands to reason that the government can make you buy a product for your own good, your freedom is in the process of erosion, and ObamaCare is the first droplet down the slope, sculpting the new landscape of what it means to be an American citizen. Next comes guns. Then comes your write to contribute financially to the candidate of your choice. And on it goes...

Liberals/Lefties want more, more, more... it's NEVER enough. My goodness, listen to what Hillary and Bernie have been saying as she tries to keep up with his magical gift-giving, and watch it reach its apogee at the Democrat convention and metastasize as we stumble toward November. They sound as though they've been out of power for 30 years! Obama has accomplished a lot, but it's never, ever enough, is it? It never will be. Despite all that, America still sucks... I mean it really, really, really, really sucks. These Democrats think man can resolve all this social conflict without sacrifice... sacrifice, they say, is somehow someone else's responsibility or duty.

What does the government do well? How will things go if it does more? When will it ever be enough? We're tilting at windmills. We'd better recognize our own human limits and constraints before we blindly cede the the government the power to resolve the unresolvable human condition.

Stop the madness. The fringe parties haven't a chance. If you end up voting your constricted "conscience" and end up losing your freedom, you get to be a principled slave. How quaint. Back to man's true state in nature... the Greenies will love it.

Anonymous said...


"He is unashamedly proud of his country, and has made it clear that when it comes to foreign policy and trade, he intends to put its interests first. He is pro-life, and supports police and the military. He supports Israel, and Israel’s right to defend itself. He does not buy into currently popular (and in some circles mandatory) issues like global warming and multiculturalism."

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Anonymous @July 23, 2016 at 8:21 AM:

Keep that quote coming. I love it! It's clarifying.

And let's use this "_____phobia" trend to our advantage. After all, American Lives Matter.

The most entertaining element of the Trump phenomenon continues to be watching so many respectable, reasonable, intelligent people come unhinged. Again, it's clarifying.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis @July 23, 2016 at 6:11 AM:

Thanks for that link to the video with the CNN reporter. Of course he says "I'm just doing my job." That's right, your job is to ask questions, not give answers. Especially when you give an answer in the form of a question. The CNN reporter should be on Jeopardy!

So let's take it from the top: Do Black Panthers support Obama?

Anonymous said...

Cruz is just the most oddball character. He looks like the type who would memorize all of PRINCESS BRIDE.

He's Dork-and-Windy.

Malcolm said...

Woah – Robert Mercer Excoriates Ted Cruz For His Non Endorsement Convention Speech…

Ares Olympus said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said... Who are you going to vote for, Ares?

I'm most like going to vote for Hillary. And I'll vote for Hillary because she CAN win, and her supporters (and fraudsters in the case of the apparent California primary theft), believe in her, and so I'll give her a chance to prove herself, and I'll let her supporters take responsibility for the consequences.

So you can consider my vote as non-disapproval, even if I'd overall prefer the Clintons stay out of the White House, I trust basic competence and understanding of government that makes things work. I don't really think she's a progressive in any meaningful sense, and she's a military hawk as well who can work with neocon goals.

So for myself, my "I'm with her" is safely a anti-Trump vote. It means I will have done my part to stop Trump, however small a part since one vote is statistically meaningless.

If Hillary looks like she's got Minnesota in the bag, I'd consider a third party candidate, perhaps Jill Stein, in the same tradition as a Ralph Nader vote.

I see Michael Moore is predicting a Trump win, and doing his best to make sure we all take Trump's chances seriously.
...And there is no doubt in my mind that if people could vote from their couch at home on their X-box or PlayStation, Hillary would win in a landslide.

But that is not how it works in America. People have to leave the house and get in line to vote. And if they live in poor, Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, they not only have a longer line to wait in, everything is being done to literally stop them from casting a ballot. So in most elections it’s hard to get even 50% to turn out to vote.
From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room.
Coming back to the hotel after appearing on Bill Maher’s Republican Convention special this week on HBO, a man stopped me. “Mike,” he said, “we have to vote for Trump. We HAVE to shake things up.” That was it. That was enough for him. To “shake things up.” President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.

If the American people think a clown as president is better than a serious person as president, Trump can win. And however fake our economy is now, we'll just be moving one more step down into fantasy land with stream-of-consciousness reality Trump. And we know where fantasy ALWAYS ends - some new senseless war, because that's the only thing serious enough to keep people in line as things get worse.

Trump's acceptance speech was the most horrendous thing I've ever heard. Yes, we have problems, so many problems, and only Trump can fix those problems. It doesn't matter if Trump believes his Magical thinking, since he's certainly not willing to do any actual work to achieve them, win or lose.

It only matters whether his voters think things can't get worse by doing even stupider things than we've done so far.

Anonymous said...

Ares Olympus ,

Your filled with hate. You've lost your objectivity.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @July 23, 2016 at 8:20 PM:

"I'm most like going to vote for Hillary."

wow. I never would've guessed. What an, er, surprise.

So you are going to vote for the liar, fraud and thief with no actual accomplishments of her own because she reflects your values, outlook and way of life.

It's all perfect, Ares. It's all perfect. I'll be sure to check in with you next time I need some thoughtful, reflective and rational advice for how I should vote. I'm sure your counsel has deeply impacted Stuart.

In the meantime, it's time for you to make yourself great again and get back to writing your blog. It needs you. And we need you to get back to writing somewhere else.

Dennis said...

One would have to be in the Arms of Morpheus or high on some drug to be surprised by Ares predilections.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: So you are going to vote for the liar, fraud and thief with no actual accomplishments of her own because she reflects your values, outlook and way of life.

No, that's not my assessment, but I respect your right to demean her. I can see how it makes it easier for you to be unhappy. Myself, I've never met her, but my governor Mark Dayton was in the Senate with her, and he admired her, and both Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobachar respect her. So I'll defer to them, and let them be wrong.

And sure, I'd prefer to advocate for a true progressive, Bernie Sanders, but I'm sure you'd be just as dismissive of him as well as an evil socialist who wants to redistribute wealth. And in truth, I have no trust that a $15/hour minimum wage makes any sense outside of high-cost of living regions.

And meanwhile the republicans are calling on a Democratic issue - to reinstate Glass-Steagall to separate ordinary banks from investment banks, so we're not on the hook for tens of trillions of dollar in bailouts in the next economic crisis.

So there must be something we can agree upon, somewhere!?

Trump might have great potential, and I'm open to closing down unfair global trade, and making america great again, by restoring our industrial base that allowed our parents and grandparents generation to raise families without a college education.

But Trump is promise so many instant fixes, it's hard to imagine how he can do it all, not without claiming dictatorial power. How else?

Of course we can say the Federal Reserve currently has near dictatorial power, and their cheap debt is what's helping keep our fake economic recovery going. It would be very interesting if Trump Stood up to Yellen and said "You're fired!" And then said it is no longer the mandate for the Federal Reserve to keep inflation and unemployment low. It all does seem very complicated, but make Ron Paul could help with some ideas.

If we have to end cheap debt sooner or later, and we know ending cheap debt will cause all markets to crash to 1/4 of their current values, and maybe recover to 1/2 their values in 10-20 years, and all those pensions and retirees will find themselves unable to afford their retirement communities.

Anyway. the consequences of experimenting on ending our addictions to cheap debt are vast and unknown, but we have to do it someday. Why not have a clown president take the responsibility for it?

I keep wondering if Minnesota can Minnexit secede to Canada, but I wonder how you divide up an 18 trillion dollar national debt? And I wonder how you divide up an empty social security "trust fund"? There's lots of open questions no one can answer.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @July 24, 2016 at 11:00 AM:

"... I respect your right to demean her."

Thank God, I have been spared your digital wrath. Now, how might I be demeaning her? It's all out there. She lies about the inspiration for Benghazi; she's committed fraud in her statements about her email server; and she's a thief in using her position as Secretary of State, having the full faith and power of the United States to enrich the Clinton Foundation. Collateral damage I your view, no doubt. Or, as I recall you previously saying, an unfortunate accident.

Here's Ares Olympus:

"I'm making $1,700 a month on the Internet. Ask me how you can write blog comments on behalf of the Democrat Party on blogs, even though you've abandoned your own blog. It's awesome!!!"

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, I've LOVE to support a party besides the Democrats. The republicans simply have nothing to offer. And I don't mean "free stuff", I mean "Let's make government work" sort of offerings.

The republican plan seems to be (1) Demonize government (2) Make government as ineffective as possible. (3) Repeat step 1 based on success in step 2.