February 12, 2011

Trump Conservatives versus Ron Paul Conservatives

Donald Trump  made a surprise speech at the 2011 CPAC conference, coming out in a sense, as a conservative.  The response was boisterous, on both sides as you can see:

Now Trump provoked some of the outburst by claiming Ron Paul could not get elected.  Donald Trump calls it as he sees it and in this case it was no different.  Vigorous internal debate is the sign of a healthy political party.  Democrats who are so often lock step in their opinions (health care, outside of the CYA votes, is a great example), don't display that healthy sense of thoughtful process.   It indicates a lack of robust critical thinking on issues and is flagrantly on display when talking points hit the mainstream media with the same level of individual thought as grains of rice.

Reagan's 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" deserves some thought here. Vigorous debate is good, and as an American it is certainly your right to boo.  It is certainly Donald Trump's right to call Ron Paul unelectable.  That doesn't make any of it smart.  What has the clip accomplished?  It's offered the mainstream media ammunition against Paul as unelectable and against Trump as mean-spirited.  While Trump prefaced the comment with the point that he thinks Paul is a good guy, that will be selectively edited out should Trump manage to become a serious contender.

There's also consideration to be given to Donald Trump's gutsiness and saying it like it is.  But Trump could be setting himself up to be Barry Goldwatered.  Barry Goldwater was soundly defeated in 1964 in a defeat that was precipitated by criticisms from liberal Republicans.  Those liberal Republican elites still exist today and they are certainly at odds with the conservative Republican electorate of today.  No matter who the candidate might be for the GOP they are most certainly not going to be a liberal Republican (neither Paul nor Trump would not fit their ideal). The nominee will face attacks from those more liberal elites within the GOP and then within the mainstream media.

It's worth noting that Reagan was less adherent to that 11th commandment during and after the North Carolina primary in 1976 when he finally was able to mount a credible challenge to Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination. It's also worth noting that society is not as civil as it was back in 1976.  It would seem we are faced with a choice.  We can change with the times or we can try to change the times.

I don't have a resolution to that quandary.  I suspect the answer or is an individual one we must each answer for ourselves.  So what is the take away from the contentious CPAC speech?  The only conclusion that I can draw at this time is that I buried the headline:  Donald Trump is a conservative.

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