Well, if I'm disappointed, you can imagine how actual Republicans think about it -- and by that I don't mean a majority of Republican voters, I mean Republican operatives who got #NeverTrump tattoos and whose media perches are now under threat. Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal seems to have suffered a brain injury. He's tut-tutting Trump's adoption of "America First" as if seven years of boob-bait articles about Obama's "apology tours" hadn't crossed his field of vision without raising so much as a Bretpeep. Oh, and get this:
Did Mr. Trump know anything about the history of the America First Committee before he seized on the phrase?...
With Mr. Trump it’s hard to say: He has a way of blurring the line between ignorance and provocation, using one as an alibi when he’s accused of the other. Is he Rodney Dangerfield, the lovable American everyman pleading for a bit of respect? Or is he Lenny Bruce, poking his middle finger in the eye of respectable opinion?I guess in this reading Rodney Dangerfield is the muse of ignorance and Bruce the muse of provocation, though I can't imagine how his editors let him speak better of Bruce than Dangerfield. Oh, but the follow-up makes it:
Whichever way, the conclusion isn’t flattering.No wonder he's got it in for comedians -- in the depths of his seriousness the guy's a laugh riot.
UPDATE. Ted Cruz has dropped out, and the #NeverTrump gumps have gone gaga. National Review's primary Jesus fresh David French weeps, as is such people's wont, over the "culture" that kept Trump prominent even while French was furiously writing nasty columns about him. If only we could do something about that damned culture! one imagines French seething -- though his own writing suggests that culture, as understood by normal human beings rather than culture-war dumbbells, had nothing to do with it:
The great tragedy of Trump’s Republican establishment is that — unlike mainstream media outlets that are built from the ground up to chase ratings — these “conservative” institutions and individuals were allegedly built around principles. Yes, they wanted eyeballs and page-views, but until this presidential race, many of them took great pride in their ability to attract an audience through the force of their ideas and the strength of their convictions. Indeed, these individuals and institutions used to pride themselves on policing the conservative movement, on calling out the “RINOs” and moderates in our midst.And who are these "tragic" figures who once stirred the masses with the "force of their ideas and the strength of their convictions" -- like Burke, like Buckley? According to French, they are "Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Drudge, multiple Fox News personalities, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and... Rush Limbaugh."
I'd say part of the problem, at least, is that conservatives have been scoring tragedy on the curve.
Oh, for lagniappe let me mention that French also denounces (now that it hasn't worked for him) "furious rhetoric" because it's "polarizing." You can search my archives for evidence of French's moderation, but spare yourself and just take in this item about French denouncing Griswold v. Connecticut -- yes, the landmark 1965 birth control decision -- as a tribute to "the awesome power of the sexual revolution over law and logic." In short, French is nuts, and now he's standing in front of the Trump mob screaming I'M NOT NUTS, YOU'RE NUTS! Notwithstanding that this is the fall of the Republic, you have to admit it's damn funny.
Anyway, all hail Donald Trump -- Republican standard-bearer! It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.