The following are excerpts from a column written by Bret Stephens — described as “the quintessential ‘conservative’ columnist” at the New York Times. In the first part of the column, he makes his “conservative” position clear as he lists some of the actions under the current administration and indicates his approval, Even so, it’s apparent he has some misgivings about the administration leader.
The entire column is worth a full reading … I just picked out the points that resonated with me. The column is titled, “Why I’m Still a Never Trumper.”
Conservatives used to believe in their truth. Want to “solve” poverty? All the welfare dollars in the world won’t help if two-parent families aren’t intact. Want to foster democracy abroad? It’s going to be rough going if too many voters reject the foundational concept of minority rights.
And want to preserve your own republican institutions? Then pay attention to the character of your leaders, the culture of governance and the political health of the public. It matters a lot more than lowering the top marginal income tax rate by a couple of percentage points.
This is the fatal mistake of conservatives who’ve decided the best way to deal with Trump’s personality — the lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name-calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness — is to pretend it doesn’t matter. “Character Doesn’t Count” has become a de facto GOP motto. “Virtue Doesn’t Matter” might be another.
But character does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily.
Trump is empowering a conservative political culture that celebrates everything that patriotic Americans should fear: the cult of strength, open disdain for truthfulness, violent contempt for the Fourth Estate, hostility toward high culture and other types of “elitism,” a penchant for conspiracy theories and most dangerously, white-identity politics.
For those of us who are discouraged, angry, fed-up, even fearful of the current political climate, it’s somewhat encouraging that even those within the Republican culture are beginning to see things as they really are.
Of course the core question is … are they going to do anything about it?