RUSH: I’ll tell you something that is out there, and I had this piece yesterday here, and I only referenced it. I didn’t get into it in detail. Michael Lind was at one time, he was a research aide for William F. Buckley Jr., and it was back in the day when the conservative movement was fascinated in who Buckley would anoint as the next him, the successor, as the de facto intellectual lead of the conservative movement, of the Reagan, Goldwater, Buckley brand of conservatism. Not that there are a whole bunch of brands, but there are now. I mean, you have some conservatives who are part of the “Reagan era is over” crowd. Michael Lind was that guy.
Henry Kissinger thought that Michael Lind was an intellectual powerhouse, was perfectly suited to taking the baton, and then they found out they were wrong, that he was not — I forget what happened. I forget the specific event, but he wrote a series of things or said a couple things, I don’t know what, but eventually he disappointed them and they — well, for lack of a better word, not abandoned, but they withdrew their claim that he was. He’d convinced them, and they had fallen for it. But he’s still out there. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just not the conservative they thought he was. I don’t know him, I’ve never talked to him, never met him. I only know all of this by virtue of memory. And I may have some of it wrong.
But he wrote an article last week for the Politico magazine, and he says that essentially what’s going on on the Republican side of things is the gradual erosion of Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan conservatism. And without reading the whole piece here, his point is that it really never has been that big. It’s never been that dominant, it never has been the dominant force in the Republican Party. It’s been a powerful force that others in the party had to respect and welcome because it was a sizable number of votes, but it’s never been the intellectual definition of the Republican Party.
And in this piece Lind said that the growing populist discontent, i.e., the support for Trump, is bringing about the gradual replacement of Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan conservatism by something more like European national populist movements like the National Front in France. He then said that conservative ideas never were all that popular, claiming that movement conservatism, as well as neoconservatism — that would be the internationalist guys — Libertarianism, the religious right, they appear to have been so many barnacles hitching free rides on the whale of the Jacksonian populist electorate.
So if I can translate that, his point is that Buckley-Goldwater-Reagan conservatism — the neocons, libertarians, the Moral Majority, the Christian right — they’ve all been separate enclaves that were like barnacles attaching themselves to the whale that was either a populist movement or the Republican Party, and they’ve been hitching a free ride. Wherever the Republican Party went, they went. They were not leading the Republican Party. They were traveling along with it and always at odds with it to one degree or another.
Now, it was in the early nineties this guy was Buckley’s research assistant, and he’s the executive editor of the National Interest, and he soured on conservatism, which he says he came to view as excessively solicitous of evangelicals, the militia movement, and the mega-rich. In other words, he was embarrassed to be a conservative because of who he saw glomming onto the movement. The militia movement? The militia movement? The militia movement? Who do we associate the militia movement with? Certainly not… Didn’t the militia movement pop up with…? Wasn’t that part of Perot era? I mean, Clinton’s out there blaming me for the Oklahoma City bombing.
“Oh, no, no! We don’t mean Limbaugh. We mean Michigan militia!”
He says, “[T]he best explanation of Trump’s surprising success is that the constituency he has mobilized has existed for decades…” It’s not new! These people have been out there “for decades, but the right champion never came along. … Like his fans, Trump is indifferent to the issues of sexual orientation that animate the declining religious right… Trump’s platform combines positions that are shared by many populists but are anathema to movement conservatives — a defense of Social Security, a guarantee of universal health care, economic nationalist trade policies.”
He says that there’s been a whole cadre of people that don’t care about social issues, a whole cadre of conservatives who want to wash their hands of all that, but they’ve never had the right guy come along. And Trump’s the guy. Trump comes along… They don’t mind Social Security, these people. They want government-run health care. “Hostility to both illegal immigration and high levels of legal immigration, a position which free-market conservatives had fought to marginalize, has moved very quickly from heresy to orthodoxy in the GOP.”
So I think we have some sour grapes here, and it’s yet another attack on conservatism, primarily the Buckley-Goldwater-Reagan conservatism. In this case, the success of Trump is being used by some people, and this is… Folks, it’s not just happening to the Republican Party. The Trump success is providing ammunition for enemies of anything not liberal. The conservative movement, conservatism, libertarianism, you name it.
Trump’s success is being used by people like Lind and other leftist and mainstream media writers to marginalize the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and say, “See? It’s never been what they say it is. It is never been big. It’s always been small with a bunch of kooks, and Trump’s come along and as marginalized these people and he’s easily split them away. So you conservatives and you Republicans thinking that you’re big and dominant? You never have been a factor. It just took Trump to show you.”
But all of that is full of it.
That’s what they’re scared of. That’s what they want Trump to be doing. If all that were true, you wouldn’t have Rubio and Cruz and others. I know. Look, Rubio is a shame. That Gang of Eight? If he hadn’t made that misstep… But he did, so we can’t play the game of “if.” That’s opened him up to all sorts of allegations that he’s not really a conservative, might have been playing games with people.
But, anyway, there’s an all-out assault now on all of this, and Trump’s success is the vehicle for it, and that’s why the Republican Party is making a huge mistake by joining it. The Republican Party’s making the biggest mistake of their life by joining in with this crowd.
RUSH: No, no. My only point is there’s an all-out assault on conservatism going on here. And the left and the right, the Democrats and the Republicans, are taking the occasion of the Trump phenomenon, whatever you want to call it, to mount this attack. And the Republican Party is committing suicide by joining it, is my only point. And I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me on that, but do not doubt me on this. Because the left wants to wipe out everybody that disagrees. Not just the conservative movement.
They want to neuter the Republican Party. They pretty much already have. And they would love to close the deal. But they, too, are scared of Trump.