Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Three Conservative Commentators Breaking Out of Conventional Wisdom

3/16/2016—What America needs is candor from its political class. It’s getting that and more from Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat and David Brooks. It’s more candor than you hear from anyone on the left.

David Brooks is the least surprising. He has always been a little unusual. He wrote a column last week in which he insisted that the Republican Party not turn to Ted Cruz in order to stop Donald Trump. It’s Not Too Late on March 8, 2016. The point of this column was a real effort to reorient the Republican Party: “If the G.O.P. is going to survive as a decent and viable national party, it can’t cling to the fading orthodoxy Cruz represents. But it can’t shift to ugly Trumpian nationalism, either. It has to find a third alternative: limited but energetic use of government to expand mobility and widen openness and opportunity. That is what Kasich, Rubio, Paul Ryan and others are stumbling toward.” The strategy he recommended foundered in Florida.

Douthat also pointed to a brokered convention, but one with a much clearer notion of how that happens. He called on the Party elite to reject Trump at the Convention and live with the consequences. The Party Still Decides on March 12, 2016: “Denying [Trump] the nomination would indeed be an ugly exercise, one that would weaken or crush the party’s general election chances, and leave the G.O.P. with a long hard climb back up to unity and health.

But if that exercise is painful, it’s also the correct path to choose. A man so transparently unfit for office should not be placed before the American people as a candidate for president under any kind of imprimatur save his own. And there is no point in even having a party apparatus, no point in all those chairmen and state conventions and delegate rosters, if they cannot be mobilized to prevent 35 percent of the Republican primary electorate from imposing a Trump nomination on the party.”

Then there is Krauthammer, who characterized Bernie Sanders’ description of his Judaism as an indictment of American Judaism. Bernie Sanders, on March 11. Sanders responded to a question about his Jewish identity by referring to the importance to him of the holocaust. Krauthammer was not criticizing him—“I credit him with sincerity and authenticity.” But he felt that victimhood could not be a proper basis for Judaism. For Krauthammer, rabbinic practice, which is the orthodox approach, and tikkun olam, prophetic repair of the world, are both valid as authentic Judaism. But not just the holocaust.

A very honest, very difficult column to write.

The political right had a much better week than you thought.

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