To the Editor:
NOAH C. ROTHMAN’S article on present-day conservativism is yet another Never Trump screed (“How to Be a Conservative in the Age of Trump,” June). This is in keeping with a theme that has come to permeate much of Commentary. Get over it: The Republican voters have spoken, and Donald Trump is president.
Those of you who are oh so committed to raising your pinkies while you sip your afternoon tea are exactly what we voted against. You led us to RINOs, political impotence, compromise to the point of surrender, and reaching across the aisle via submission.
Beyond the schadenfreude, what the rest of relish is the knowledge that your continuing harangues consolidate the patriotic base of the Republican Party. You still do not understand that it is not Trump we voted for.
Noah C. Rothman writes:
I HARDLY THINK my essay merits being called a “screed,” much less a “Never Trump” one, as Martin Ingall writes. The piece explicitly defines the areas in which conservatives can work with the president in the hopes of persuading him to adopt traditionally conservative ideas. If Mr. Ingall’s objection is to those ideas, I am not surprised that he’d resent the premise.
I must state that I do not write on behalf of any political party at all. That said, when it comes to so-called RINOs, Congress barely holds a candle to a White House composed of senior officials and a president with only a tenuous connection to the Republican Party.
Mr. Ingall has it backward. I am arguing against submission—that is, submission to the demands of a mob and to the desire to bait and irritate one’s political adversaries. That kind of submission is an intoxicant; it yields only the fleeting and illusory feeling of achievement. The GOP has not demonstrated much acumen as the nation’s governing party, but that observation cannot be divorced from the fact that the party is operating without normal presidential leadership.
More often than they must be comfortable with, Republicans in Congress are compelled to distance themselves from Trump. Among other things, they’ve been thrust into conducting four committee-level investigations into Trump’s campaign. This is not on the GOP agenda. It has been forced upon Republican lawmakers. But the 2016 election is over; no one is obliged to sit back and endure whatever suboptimal conditions 2017 visits upon us because they are haunted by Hillary Clinton’s ghost. That is the very definition of surrender.