Here’s your shocker for the day:
The neoconservatives are lying.
Now before I tell you how I figured that out — apart from the fact that their lips are moving — I need to begin by parrying any manifestations of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
I do not support or endorse Donald Trump, who is not a libertarian and who appears to have no clear philosophy of any kind. He would no doubt do countless things that I would deplore.
Just like all the other candidates, in other words.
My point is not to cheer for him. My point is that the neocons’ stated reasons for opposing him so hysterically don’t add up.
(1) Max Boot worries that Trump will rule like a “strongman.” Right — quite unlike the restrained, humble executors of the law whom Max has endorsed over the years. In fact, Max has spent his career calling for a strong executive. Now he’s worried about a “strongman.” I’d say that horse has already left the stable, Max. You might want to look in the mirror to figure out how that happened.
Theodore Roosevelt, whom Max and his neocon buddies love, issued a whopping 1,006 executive orders (when his immediate predecessors had issued a handful) and treated Congress contemptuously. He said that he, after all, was the unique representative of the American people, so it was his job to implement their will, regardless of what any other body had to say about it.
We can only imagine their response if Trump had said such a thing. In fact, Trump says that executive orders are terrible and that the president should govern by consensus.
Now maybe he doesn’t mean that, and maybe he’d use executive orders anyway. But what if he’d said what their hero Teddy said?
Remember the last time Max, or any neocon, or anyone in the GOP establishment, warned us that Teddy wasn’t a good role model?
(2) Trump is boorish. Oh, sure. Too bad we can’t have more refined candidates like John McCain, who sing, “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”
(3) Trump betrays conservative values. This supposedly disqualifies him. To the contrary, hasn’t it been the role of the GOP nominee to betray conservative values?
In 1996, Bill Kristol — who’s just so overcome with concern about the betrayal of conservative values, remember — enthusiastically endorsed Colin Powell for president.
(4) And by the way, just what are these “conservative values”? The leftist project of bringing democracy to faraway lands — the exact opposite of what Edmund Burke (who knew a little something about conservatism) would have recommended? Creating Medicare Part D? No Child Left Behind? Auto bailouts? Bank bailouts? Keynesian stimulus?
Had George W. Bush been eligible for a third term, would the same people who demand Trump debase himself in sackcloth and ashes for his betrayals of conservatism have done anything remotely similar to Bush?
Sure, we’d get the wringing of hands and the occasional anguished newspaper column, but then we’d get the stern lecture that if we don’t vote for Bush, civilization comes to an end.
See what I mean? Something is fishy here.
The alleged reasons for disliking Trump do not match the neocons’ actions. Therefore, they are not the real reasons.
Know what I think the real reasons are?
(a) They don’t trust him on foreign policy. He makes fun of their interventions and says the world would be much better off, and we’d be a lot richer if none of it had been done.
Now it’s true, here as elsewhere, that Trump is not consistent. He’s now calling for ground troops against ISIS, for instance. But his primary message is: we have too many problems at home to be traipsing around the world destroying countries. This is not music to a neocon ear.
(b) They can’t control him. He isn’t owned by anyone. He can’t be bought. The neocons, along with the GOP establishment they pretend to oppose, are control freaks. They can’t deal with someone who may be independent of them.
If you want to oppose Trump, knock yourself out. But at least, be honest about it. The neocons have repeatedly endorsed candidates whose deviations from orthodoxy are much more severe than Trump’s. So they’re lying.