This should have been Ted Cruz’s moment — and it still could be, depending on turnout. But it’s disappointing that a supposed anti-establishment backlash has given us popularity for a man who just told us that a little Establishment never hurt anyone:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday the Republican establishment is “warming up” to his candidacy as he ramped up his attacks against his chief rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“I think they’re warming up. I want to be honest, I have received so many phone calls from people that you would call establishment, from people — generally speaking … conservatives, Republicans — that want to come onto our team,” Trump told reporters in Las Vegas before an appearance at the Outdoor Sportsman Awards.
. . . .
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday there’s nothing wrong with a little deal-making to get things done.
“You know what? There’s a point at which: Let’s get to be a little establishment,” Trump told about 1,500 people at a rally at the Las Vegas South Point Resort and Casino. “We’ve got to get things done folks, OK? Believe me, don’t worry. We’re going to make such great deals.”
Of course, this willingness to accommodate Mr. Trump is driven in part by the fact that few among the Republican professional class believe he would win a general election. In their minds, it would be better to effectively rent the party to Mr. Trump for four months this fall, through the general election, than risk turning it over to Mr. Cruz for at least four years, as either the president or the next-in-line leader for the 2020 nomination.
And, even if Mr. Trump somehow found his way into the White House, the longtime Washington hands envision him operating as a pragmatist, leaving their power unchecked.
“We can live with Trump,” said Richard F. Hohlt, a veteran lobbyist, reflecting his colleagues’ sentiment at a Republican National Committee meeting last week in Charleston, S.C. “Do they all love Trump? No. But there’s a feeling that he is not going to layer over the party or install his own person. Whereas Cruz will have his own people there.”
None of this will matter to the Trumpers. In one breath they will tell you that we need to blow up the system because of the damned Establishment, and that’s why we need Trump. Seeing this, they’ll say in the next breath that of course Trump needs to make deals with the Establishment! It’s just that he will make great deals!
By the way, National Review came out last night with an issue devoted to opposing Donald Trump: Conservatives Against Trump. (I’m glad I got my own rant out yesterday morning; even if nobody noticed it, I still feel more like a leader than a follower. If I had published it today I would feel like a sheep.) Here’s from Charles C.W. Cooke’s entry, and I agree wholeheartedly:
Trump has shown no interest in limiting government, in reforming entitlements, or in the Constitution. He floats the idea of massive new taxes on imported goods and threatens to retaliate against companies that do too much manufacturing overseas for his taste. His obsession is with “winning,” regardless of the means — a spirit that is anathema to the ordered liberty that conservatives hold dear and that depends for its preservation on limits on government power.
He’s not telling us anything we didn’t know, and neither did I yesterday. We’re laying down a marker. Trump fans are not persuadable with reason. As Allahpundit has written:
Few of us are under the illusion that we’re persuading anyone. You write because your conscience nudges you to do it, not because you think anyone in Iowa’s going to say “eureka.”
Many comparisons between Trump and Cruz on conservative issues are noted here. None of that matters to the Trumpers, of course.
For its anti-Trump piece, National Review has been disinvited from its scheduled participation in the next Republican debate. This is as it should be; moderators with an explicit agenda are not allowed unless it’s leftist moderators. Nevertheless, I salute the folks at National Review for letting their voice be heard.