Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author, and he has written a (to use a phrase from the piece) “jolly good” article about columnist George Will and the intramural GOP debate over Donald Trump. You have to read it all to truly enjoy it. Anyone who has alternately liked George Will’s commentary and been extremely frustrated with it (as I have) — will particularly find pleasure in Lord’s post.
Lord writes: “With all due respect, it appears Mr. Will has been caught up in a hissy fit over the Trump style.”
Will goes on in this column to say this of Trump:
He is an affront to anyone devoted to the project William F. Buckley began six decades ago with the founding in 1955 of National Review — making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable. Buckley’s legacy is being betrayed by invertebrate conservatives now saying that although Trump “goes too far,” he has “tapped into something,” and therefore …
Therefore what? This stance — if a semi-grovel can be dignified as a stance — is a recipe for deserved disaster…
Conservatives who flinch from forthrightly marginalizing Trump mistakenly fear alienating a substantial Republican cohort. But the assumption that today’s Trumpites are Republicans is unsubstantiated and implausible.
Say again, Will says: “But the assumption that today’s Trumpites are Republicans is unsubstantiated and implausible.”
It is worth recalling here that once upon a time George Will was as down on Ronald Reagan as he is now on Donald Trump – and has been in the past on Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In a November 12, 1974 column appearing in the Washington Post on a potential 1976 challenge by Reagan to incumbent Establishment GOP President Gerald Ford, (titled “Ronald Reagan, the GOP and ’76”), Will wrote of Reagan:
But Reagan is 63 and looks it. His hair is still remarkably free of gray. But around the mouth and neck he looks like an old man. He’s never demonstrated substantial national appeal, his hard core support today consists primarily of the kamikaze conservatives who thought the 1964 Goldwater campaign was jolly fun. And there’s a reason to doubt that Reagan is well suited to appeal to the electorate that just produced a Democratic landslide. If a Reagan third party would just lead the ‘Nixon was lynched’ crowd away from the Republican Party and into outer darkness where there is a wailing and gnashing of teeth, it might be at worst a mixed course for the Republican Party. It would cost the party some support, but it would make the party seem cleansed.
Four years later, Will’s first and second choices for the 1980 GOP nomination were Tennessee Senator Howard Baker and George H. W. Bush, neither seen by conservatives of the day as “devoted to the project William F. Buckley began six decades ago with the founding in 1955 of National Review — making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable.”
I love it.
Read this fun and entertaining article here.
Image credit: Wikipedia commons/Scott Ableman.