Postscript to a Dumpster Fire

Sometimes the gulf between narrative and reality on the Right is astounding. (My final Trump rant. Hopefully.) 

This Self-Evident newsletter is going to be a therapeutic exercise. This isn’t going to be a well-thought-out essay or a trip into history, theology, or political theory. This is a stream of consciousness diatribe where I’m going to get my frustrations out of my system once and for all.  

This isn’t an in your face hit piece or a spike the ball article. I’m not even really hopeful it will change anyone’s mind. I’m just unloading some serious crap and sending this out to the universe, so I can let it all go. 

If you can’t handle it, please don’t read it.  

You were warned. 

Postscript to a Dumpster Fire 

Thaddeus R. Winker, a consistent and valued contributor over at The Liberty Hawk, penned an extremely nuanced and well-considered article last week about the Trump presidency. It doesn’t shy away from where he feels Donald Trump got in his own way, but he attempts to be very generous in giving credit where credit is due. 

But after four years of asinine defense of Donald Trump from all the powers that be on the Right, and especially after seeing even the fair and balanced approach of Thaddeus R. Winker lambasted as Commy filth by the ever Trump enamored cheer section, I will not be so kind in my final postscript to the dumpster fire that was the Trump presidency. 

There's been this argument for the last four years that all conservatism did was lose until Donald Trump showed up on the scene to fight. Because “he fights,” Trump has earned an undying adulation from a segment of Americans that is perhaps only paralleled in American history by the fawning loyalty Confederate soldiers held for Robert E. Lee.  

The praise heaped upon Donald Trump by far too many segments of the Right, even after a complete electoral disaster for him and his captive party, does, in fact, remind me of a pivotal scene from the movie Gettysburg. In the wake of the complete disaster that was Pickett’s Charge, General Lee admonishes Pickett to rally his division. Pickett, his jovial, arrogant style shattered at the slaughter he had led his men into, replied simply, “General, I have no division.”  

Yet, despite this complete and utter defeat, the soldiers gathered around General Lee, apologizing to him for failing him in the field of battle and asking to be sent back at the Union lines. Lee, to his credit, understood it was him who had failed his soldiers and correctly ordered a withdrawal. 

What Lee saw and what Pickett saw in the disastrous ending to the Battle of Gettysburg is what Republican leaders are failing to see, or at least are unwilling to admit aloud, and what far too many rank-and-file Republicans are oblivious to in the midst of the counter-factual propaganda being heaped upon them. They lost.

And not just the Presidency.  When Donald Trump took office, the Republican Party had both Houses of Congress, the Presidency, a majority of state legislatures, and a majority of governorships. As the Trump era has come crashing down in ruin just four years after it began, not only has the Republican Party lost everything it had built towards before Trump descended that golden escalator, but Joe Biden is signing executive orders and picking right back up where Obama left off, as if Trump essentially never happened.

Obamacare's still kicking, DACA just got a shot in the arm, the government's funding abortions again, there's little to no immigration reform that took place, and Biden's first term in office is going to be the third Obama term that Hillary's would have been four years ago. All of this without any restoration of checks and balances that might have precluded the presidency from being used at the whim of the Democratic Party. 

But despite all of this, the disc jockey “gatekeepers” are still calling Donald Trump the greatest president in history and saying he accomplished more than any other president "like never before." It’s as if Pickett, instead of being dumbstruck at the devastation, stood there smiling while his men died around him and nodded at General Lee, who was already retreating back to Mar-a-Lago, I mean Virginia, and shouting, “Once more into the breach! We’ll whip these Yankees, yet!”  

It’s insanity. Pure insanity. 

Compare all of this to the Reagan era, which ended with a rejuvenated America that many around the world were calling a "Hyperpower" and a globe that had been literally transformed. The economy was booming, and the Democrats hadn’t had a president elected to two consecutive terms since Roosevelt. Bill Clinton had to run so far to the center to squeak out a win in a three-way contest, he'd be run out of the Democratic Party on a rail today. 

Reagan left conservatism rooted in the hearts of a majority of Americans. The Republican Party was ascendant politically, and the American Republic was firmly on a hopeful and optimistic path.  

Conservatives, do you feel ascendant right now? Do you feel hopeful for the future? Do you feel like the country is on the right track and that the stage has been set for another American century? 

Sure, folks will blame the Left, blame the media, and blame the "RINOs" for getting in Trump's way. But it's not like Reagan had a cake-walk. Reagan was hated by the media too, he had a lot of people in the GOP who didn't want to play ball, he had Democrats who constantly thought he was going to start WW3, and he had the Soviet Union to deal with for heaven's sake!  

Did Reagan make excuses? Did he blame everyone else but himself? Did he lock himself up in his bedroom every night and tweet about how unfair it all was? No. He took responsibility. He placed trust and faith in the American people. He made a case to them and won them over to his vision. He got re-elected by 49 states. He left a legacy that shifted the very center of gravity in American politics to the benefit of conservative ideals. He helped end the threat of Russian Communism. He lowered the highest personal tax rate from 70% to 28% (Tell Donald “the most historic tax cuts in history” Trump to stick a 42% decrease in his pipe and smoke it). 

And what is Trump’s legacy?  

Is the Republic secure? Do you rest easy knowing that your children and your grandchildren will receive it healthy and intact? Are the Democrats shifting to the center to compensate for the openness of Americans to a conservative vision? Are the socialists like Bernie Sanders and AOC relegated to the fringes of serious conversation?  

No. Instead, the conservative movement is swimming in a sea of victimhood and self-pity, looking upon every new piece of bad news as another harbinger of “the end of the republic.” The Democrats managed to obtain a fifty-fifty split in the Senate, and now everyone’s convinced the government’s coming for our guns, free speech is in the gutter, the electoral college is out the window, the Supreme Court’s gonna get packed, the borders are being busted wide open, religion is under assault, corporate America’s out to get us, and on and on and on. 

Is this winning? Is this seriously what winning is supposed to look like? Is this what the conservative movement was supposed to get tired of by believing that Donald Trump “alone can fix it”? Am I seriously to believe that after one term of the “greatest President in history” that Joe Biden just gets to step in and pick up right where Obama left off while conservatives go in the corner and cry about how unfair it all is and mourn the end the Republic as we know it? Is this chicken little bit that everyone’s doing supposed to be what fighting and winning look like?

At some point, you guys have got to wake up and realize you’ve been had. Donald Trump wasn’t fighting for you. His enablers weren’t giving it to you straight. Republican officeholders weren’t telling you the inconvenient truths they knew all too well. Every single one of them has failed you because they told you the lies you wanted to hear. 

So here’s the truth:  

Donald Trump is who he has always been, a fake and a phony who talks tough but never grew out of his gold-encrusted diapers. He never cared about you, he never cared about America, and he sure as hell never had a plan for making America great again. He never even had a clue what American greatness even looks like.  

Everything good that has come from the Trump presidency came because selfless patriots were willing to take the abuse of working under a petty diva in order to keep the system working. And, as, one by one, each patriot was run out of his presence and smeared by Trump and his enablers as swamp creatures, the bulwark that hid the truth of who Trump was fell away, little by little, until no one was left to stand between Trump and his irresponsible use of the power he’d been given.  

He spent the entire campaign cycle attacking the credibility of our election system, and sure enough, when he had lost, he engaged in the most cynical and, frankly, evil political crusade in American history. He so convinced his most loyal followers that state officials were liars, state politicians were liars, state courts were liars, and that every honest person with a voice who can tell the difference between fact and fiction were liars, to the point that his most crazed and unhinged followers gathered in the streets of DC and assaulted the citadel of our Republic like a bunch of anarchists. 

Donald Trump is a cartoon character. He’s turned conservatives into cartoon characters. And if conservatives don’t wake up fast and take stock of reality, they’re going to be remembered for all time as willing stooges to one of the most un-American characters in our history, and the values and principles of conservatism, which I care deeply about, will be forever linked to what can only be called a complete and utter dumpster fire.

ICYMI

Thaddeus R. Winker offers his final assessment of the Trump presidency and stakes out his defense of the Senate filibuster.

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-Justin