The alt-right and the Trumpist “Right”–not the same thing–have in common a skeptical view of the effectiveness of the Rest of the Right. To the alt-right the Rest of the Right consists of “cuckservatives”. To the Trumpist “Right” (in quotes because it is not really right-wing in any conventional sense) they are sinecurists.
This is Michael Anton, writing as Decius:
Conservatives spend at least several hundred million dollars a year on think-tanks, magazines, conferences, fellowships, and such, complaining about this, that, the other, and everything. And yet these same conservatives are, at root, keepers of the status quo. Oh, sure, they want some things to change. They want their pet ideas adopted—tax deductions for having more babies and the like. Many of them are even good ideas. But are any of them truly fundamental? Do they get to the heart of our problems? . . . The whole enterprise of Conservatism, Inc., reeks of failure. Its sole recent and ongoing success is its own self-preservation. . . .If you’re among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you’ve accepted—perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably—your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics.
Anton would change that power equation, and supported the election of Trump to that end. Trump was elected. And?
To paraphrase Ed Koch, how’s he doin’?
Let’s not take sides on the wisdom of his actions here. Let’s just ask if he is doing things and moving in the promised direction. To judge from the press he is failing. Other accounts suggest he is succeeding. Here’s Roger Kimball in American Greatness:
The Keystone pipeline. The enforcement of the country’s immigration laws. The Executive Order reorganizing, and trimming, the Executive Branch. The attack on the regulatory overreach that has stifled business and hampered freedom. The proposed budget, which zeroes out such dinosaurs as the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. The shake up of the Department of Education with Betsy DeVos—and look for lots more there soon. The advent of a United States Ambassador with backbone as our representative to the UN. The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. And on and on. The media keeps telling us how chaotic and disorganized the Trump administration is. Don’t look now, but the most impressive Cabinet in decades has been acting with astonishing speed to keep the promises Trump made on the campaign trail.
So what is it? Success or failure? To paraphrase Robert Towne:
GITTES I said the truth!
EVELYN — he’s a failure —
Gittes slaps her again.
EVELYN (continuing) — he’s a success.
Gittes slaps her again.
EVELYN (continuing) — a failure.
He hits her again.
EVELYN (continuing) A failure, a success —
He belts her finally, knocking her into a cheap Chinese vase which shatters and she collapses on the sofa, sobbing.
GITTES I said I want the truth.
EVELYN (almost screaming it) He’s a failure and a success! . . .understand, or is it too tough for you?
As my parents said to me often: we’ll see.
But it could be that we will see a kind of reversal of fortune. Perhaps the new script will call for the left (or what passes for the left–don’t get me started) to be the new Washington Generals, easing gracelessly into a spot where they must accept changes as long as they are able to describe them as failures.