Excuse me if I’m repeating myself, but I hold to my position that it isn’t just important to win the 2016 election, but the next eight elections, as well. That’s right, 32 years minimum, and Ted Cruz is exactly the sort of man who has the vision to plan that far ahead. And Donald Trump is exactly the sort of man who can plow the row the first term in order to allow that generational change to happen.
The gift of foresight is why I place Ted Cruz atop my list of conservatives in the presidential derby, but Trump’s cunning, resilience and executive ability is why I believe only he can plow the row and lay the foundations for that longer reign of conservatism, for it must sit well with the ordinary people of the United States. After all, they, not the political class, will have to bear the cross reform will have in store for us. And Trump has special gifts in keeping the people in the loop. Moreover, the People possess a kind of cultural conservatism modern beard-stroking conservatives seem to have lost touch with, but which defined American freedom from the very beginning. Conservatism is not the church in Rome but the churches of the parish. And it is in the parish that Trump shines.
Sadly, too many conservatives cannot see the rough road that lies ahead, not to mention the fleece-class of the GOP Establishment. Even Ronald Reagan came up short on the “vision-thing” when he passed the torch to the congenial GHW Bush, as a reward for his loyalty, thus snuffing it all out. This can’t be allowed to happen again. Once you go out and lock arms with the people, never, never let go of that embrace. Only the people can sustain a revolution.
I think Ted Cruz understands this. America cannot survive a one-and-done presidency. Restoring America requires four or five consecutive two-term presidents, all on the same page, all imbued with the same understanding of the Constitution and the proper role of the federal government and the Presidency found in its blueprint…all with a living memory of the cynical and indifferent bureaucratic carnage that had preceded it. Each successor must be armed with the vision and plans to undo eighty years of the page-by-page dismembering of that Constitutional blueprint by the Left. In the coming years, they should all be run into the sea, or demoted to bussing tables at university cafeterias.
But first we have be able to sink the pilings of this new foundation deep into the earth. And we need someone who knows how to use a pile-driver.
The good news is we have an historical model to work from, the first 36 years of our Republic, once called the Classic Age, the first five presidents, 1789-1825. What joined them all was 1) their shared memory and participation in the Great War for Independence, 2) the Constitution itself, and finally, 3) even as they immediately fell into two competing political parties. a shared understanding that certain things about the Constitution and its central purpose, decentralized self-governance by the People, were not politically negotiable. The new Democratic Party changed all that in 1828.
We all know about George Washington’s role at the front end, but less about James Monroe at the back end. He was only 21 when he was wounded at the Battle of Trenton, and 29 as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Yet be became president at 58. I mention Monroe here because he proves the “liberty DNA” can survive a full generation, after 40 plus years. But he also leaves us wondering how that DNA can be effectively passed onto a second generation, for it was stopped dead in its tracks when he left office in 1825. It was like someone slammed the door shut. That’s something Ted Cruz and his successors will have to consider.
So, in this formulation how do I come up with Donald Trump as the leader of the pack? Simple.
If we are to replicate the process of the Classic Era, we need to start off with a man who is well known and respected by all the people (hint: the Founders did not have national followings), and recognized for his personal accomplishments, his victories, if you will, and his leadership. In 1787 that man was George Washington, the non-intellectual in the Founder’s assemblage. Today that man is Donald Trump.
You heard me right. In 2016 we need to elect a two-fer, and because George Washington went first, so should Donald Trump go first, for the same reason, plowing the row for those who will follow.
Yes, I know comparing Donald Trump with George Washington is a big, big, big stretch. His many puddinhead scoffers at NRO, Fox, RedState and Right Scoop, to name a few – the Commentariat I call them, are already in paroxysms of anger about his success. But as a Mexican patriot once said, “They have no eyes.”
In ways easier for adult conservatives with their hands on the pulse of America’s cultural conservatism outside the Beltway to understand, Trump and Washington are very similar.
This is because George Washington also was not an intellectual. But he was a household name. Everyone knew who General Washington was. Men from every colony served under him. And he was a practical man, with the experience in the ways of the practical world. He saw America not in terms of the natural rights of man, but in expansion, clearing land, building communities and being able to govern them directly. He saw America unfolding as an enterprise, not an ideal.
Washington knew instinctively what his job was to be; to endear and unite the people to the new Republic, not the political class, to give the new nation gravitas, and plow the row for those who would follow. He did that job masterfully…well enough that just 25 years later, 1812, America was able to withstand invasion; militarily, institutionally and culturally. We had become one people, tested, in just 25 years.
People who say Trump is not a conservative are using a pocket ruler when they need a yardstick. His conservatism is the American dream, and American exceptionalism, American enterprise, things at which he excels in understanding and every American hopes to achieve. This is why “the common people hear him gladly.” If you ask a bishop to explain that verse from Mark 12:37, he will explain it differently than a parish priest, and therein lies the difference between Donald Trump’s conservatism and Beltway ‘conservatives’.
Washington became president by acclamation. There was no organized opposition waiting for him. No such honeymoon awaits Trump who faces at least two camps. The only alliance he can forge to pull that off is with the one group neither the Left nor the GOP establishment (and lamentably a sizable number of “intellectual” conservatives) considers relevant, and this is the American citizenry.
So far he has smashed to smithereens the Left’s principal warrior, the Media, and if he stays with it, perhaps can even slap the fear right out of the mouth of their greatest weapon, social media…without ever saying anything particularly conservative…unless you consider defending the borders conservative.
The Founders of 1787 did not have the type of organized bomb-throwing opposition this next generation of conservatives can expect to meet. In the manner by which Donald Trump has neutralized the power of the chattering classes, already causing a vast transfer (restoration) of power to right-thinking politicians, there should be no question as to who is most able to enlist the full support of the American people and to plow the rows for Cruz & Company for years to come.
Of course, Trump never wrote a book on the Rules of Civility, but I have asked Richard Brookhiser to send him a copy. His demagoguery-schtick (Rush Limbaugh calls it “negotiation”) is a pip, but his listeners eat it up, in part because he always seems to piss the right people off. Besides, he is proved largely right every time.
Donald Trump is slowly stripping the Left, the media, and generally the Commentariat, of their vanity and self-respect, and who hasn’t waited years to see that? Though almost never mentioning Obama by name, Obama has become a shade of his former self simply because all the things that Trump says seems to stick to him. Every Trump triumph results in an Obama failure.
In every respect except two, Ted Cruz is the better man than Donald Trump, instinct and experience. If they can share the same vision for America next year, we have something.