Today I started the day with the great John Oakley on Toronto's AM640. He began with a soundbite of Donald Trump, meandering around wherever it was, after which we tried to pin down his appeal. Noting the differences between the US and the more fluid party systems of Canada (and pretty much everywhere else), I said that the permanently frozen institutionalized nature of the party system in America had led to a kind of "two-party one-party state". The problem with that is that it works fine for Democrats: When you say "Washington is broken" to liberals, they must wonder what you're on about - they get Obamacare, illegal-immigration amnesty, same-sex marriage, the EPA regulating every aspect of life... What's not to like?
But the two-party one-party state doesn't work so well for conservatives - even with big, historic Republican victories. In my interview with John, I described Republicans as a party of seat-warmers - until the pendulum swings and the Dems come roaring back. When the left wins, they're in power; when the right wins, they're in office, and that's all. A substantial portion of the base gets that, and is sick of it. They feel like they're losing their country, and they want more than a party that promises merely to lose it a little more slowly.
We'll post the audio of my appearance with John as soon as we can [UPDATE! It's here! Scroll down the page and enjoy the listen]. Meanwhile, I've had a ton of mail objecting to my "support" of Donald Trump which we'll try to run some of it in the days ahead. But, for the record, I'm not "supporting" him. As I said to John, the Republican nominating process has failed in the last two cycles, and thus, five months before any actual votes are cast, watching someone disrupt a racket that can use all the disruption it can get is hugely enjoyable. I mean, he's touched the third, fourth, fifth and every other live rail in American politics, insulting Hispanics, veterans, menstruating women - and the more juice that shoots through him the stronger he gets. He's discarded every convention of American politics, which, given that it's the conventions of American politics that have made us the brokest nation in history, is something to be cheered. He's the richest guy in the race, but he's not spending a dime - because while the single-digit candidates kiss up to the big donors and blow through a fortune on the usual tedious "I was born the son of a mailman" ads - Trump is sucking up all the airtime between commercial breaks for free. He's making a mockery of the consultant class, and what's not to enjoy about that? For as long as it lasts.
But the most substantial critique of Trump is that he's "not a conservative". For example, reader Michael Happold writes:
Given that Trump is a Progressive pretending to be a Conservative, just like Jeb Bush and his brother before him,
Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell, what makes you think that he will appoint truly Conservative
justices? Let me remind you that our only recent Conservative President, Reagan, was the one who appointed Kennedy, who is far more Conservative than anyone Trump would appoint.
Trump was for amnesty before he was against it, for abortion before he was against it, for a wealth tax before he was against it, for a single payer system before he, well, what the hell did he say during the debate? That it works in Scotland??? Any other Republican says this and you would verbally crucify him, and rightly so. The health care system in Great Britain (why did Trump pick a non-country in Scotland?) is an abysmal failure, as you well know.
What is it with you, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin and your love for Trump? Normally you are clear-headed people, but Trump comes along and screeches something about most Mexicans being rapists and you swoon. Is the Left right about you?
I at least have some hope that Kennedy will, for example, reign in racial preferences. No Trump appointee will.
I wish you luck in your battle against the vile Dr. Mann and wish you a speedy recovery from your Trump delusion.
As Michael sees it, every single leading Republican of the last quarter-century has merely been "pretending to be a conservative" - which kind of makes my point. In that case, what difference does one more pretender make?
Well, Michael's problem is that Trump won't appoint "truly conservative justices". And by "truly conservative justices" he means Anthony Kennedy, who in the space of 48 hours constitutionalized Obamacare and gave us the first federally mandated marriage law in US history. That's not a very high bar to meet - and Trump could probably meet it if you filled the lobby of Trump Tower with 200 random judges and gave him a blindfold and a pin.
But here's the larger issue: there's nothing "conservative" about mortgaging your liberties to an omnipotent co-regency of lawyers. Americans got rid of a king who encroached far less on their liberties than Anthony Kennedy. What's the point of throwing off one bloke in an ermined robe for nine in basic black?
The final fallback argument for the Republican Party - okay, we got nothin' in 2010, and nothin' in 2014, but at least this time round we'll get maybe two or three terrific Supreme Court justices - is risible in its desperation and entirely implausible given the GOP appointments of the last 40 years. And believe me, when Kennedy was appointed, there were a lot more sane judges to pick from. Now it's wall-to-wall social justices. What "conservatives" need to do is rein in the Supremacist Court - which is nothing America's founders would recognize.
As for Trump on the issues, yes, he's all over the place. On abortion, he now wants to end the "bad" Planned Parenthood while continuing to fund the "good" Planned Parenthood. As I said the other day, this is as ridiculous as saying you want to punish the "bad" Major Hasan who stood on the table and opened fire but celebrate the heartwarming diversity of the "good" Major Hasan who provided all that wonderful counseling to American soldiers. Planned Parenthood should receive no public funding: That's the minimum Republicans are entitled to ask of their presidential candidates.
On the Middle East, Trump apparently wants to seize all the oil fields for America. You go, girl! But I'll believe it when I see it...
On health care, he thinks the system in Canada and Scotland is working "incredibly well". (As for picking a "non-country", in fairness to Trump there is a separate Scottish, English, Northern Irish and even Welsh NHS - although I'd be surprised if he was arguing that Scotland's was the best of the four.)
That's ridiculous. But what is the reality of the health-care debate in 2015? Most western nations have a genuinely public health system alongside a genuinely private health system. The unique genius of Obamacare is that it has abolished (in the sense of affordable insurance and market prices) private health care without instituting a public system. It's a neither-of-the-above system, and ruinously expensive. Whatever replaces it - if anything ever does - is probably going to have to be, to some degree or another, both-of-the-above. Trump's apostasy on this is less relevant than it would have been eight years ago.
As to amnesty, I'm with Ann Coulter on this. Trump surged because his view of the border contained a raw, visceral, recognizable truth that those Americans in non-gated communities live with every day. The integrity of a nation's borders and the privilege of its citizenship is certainly a "truly conservative" principle. More practically for this election, it may be the one on which all the others depend. That's to say, if America as a whole undergoes the demographic transformation California has undergone in the past 40 years, no "true conservative" will be elected to Washington ever again. In that sense, being conservative on immigration is more pressing than being conservative on, say, Common Core or taking federal money for Medicare or anything else.
Maybe Trump will change his mind about that, too. Maybe he'll need more Mexicans to work in all those Planned Parenthood clinics he's planning to fund, or to secure all those Arabian oil fields he'll be seizing circa February 2017. Or maybe he'll just say something else off the top of his head. But for now he's the guy talking about the critical issue in less dishonest terms than anybody else, and he's a lot more fun than George Pataki so why not let him run around a while longer?
And, as Ann Coulter says to the other candidates, if you don't like Trump, steal his issue. Argue him off the stage. Take him down with the mighty firepower of your superior intellect and your sturdy rock-ribbed conservative principles. Miss Coulter has often damned establishment Republicans as "girly-boys" , but even she must be bemused by grown "men" so desperate to be rid of Trump that they stampede for Megyn Kelly's Tampax as the only weapon to hand.
UPDATE! Here's my interview with John Oakley. Click below to listen:
If you're wondering about the new book of mine that John mentioned, it's this one:
"A Disgrace to the Profession":
The World's Scientists - In Their Own Words - On
Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick
And Their Damage To Science
Hope you like the catchy title. It will be available in eBook and paperback from Amazon and the usual outlets in a couple of weeks, but for the moment it's exclusively available, personally autographed, to SteynOnline readers. Just click here.
~Tomorrow I'll be joining Hugh Hewitt on the radio, live across America at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.