the New Cruelty is the Trumpian successor to the New Deal and Great Society... And, indeed, Lewandowski seems especially vile in an era in which vileness increasingly appears to be a career path. But was his insensitive gibe off-message? Or was it simply a cruder version of the New Cruelty that has displaced whatever was left of “compassionate conservativism”?.. Trump rode to the presidency by embracing broad, crudely designed policies—from the proposed ban on all Muslims to mass deportations of all illegals—that ineluctably lead to a zero-tolerance policy that demands the arrest of all illegal border-crossers, even those with infants or children... his supporters enthusiastically cheered polices that treat large populations as an undifferentiated mass, regardless of individual circumstances. These policies do not treat individuals based on the “content of their character,” or their merit, or the exigencies of their circumstances, but on their religion, nationality, and immigration status... the president has cultivated a studied insensitivity, treating empathy as a sign of weakness or fecklessness... The distinctive rhetoric of Trumpism isn’t merely the use of insult and invective against political opponents; it is also the brutal willingness to degrade and demonize others as “animals” and “rapists” while unsubtly comparing them to the sort of vermin who will “infest” the country... swaggering callousness became a hallmark of Trumpism, with harshness masquerading as toughness and cruelty as a sign of strength... Ironically, conservatives used to lead the charge against zero-tolerance policies, because they produce foolish, knee-jerk, bureaucratic responses that lack common sense and result in absurd outcomes... It was in the name of zero tolerance that a kindergartner was once suspended for bringing a dinosaur-shaped squirt gun to school and it was zero tolerance that led school boards to such excesses as expelling a high school student for having a single tablet of Advil in her purse... What’s important to recognize is that the children were not collateral damage of Trump’s policy: They were the entire point... Removing them from their parents was designed to be shocking because their trauma was intended as a deterrent... the pitiless separation of young children from their mothers was supposed to send a chilling message to anyone foolish enough to seek asylum here... More important, it was supposed to project strength, or at least the bully’s imitation of strength... Perhaps more than any other trait, it is this that motivates Trump: his need to appear strong and his fear of looking weak... He is just another of the menagerie of misfit toys, in the likeness of Steve Bannon, who feed off Trump’s sundry insecurities. They do not shape or influence those anxieties, they simply minister to them, encouraging the president in his use of spite to substitute for real strength... Fred Hiatt described the New Cruelty as the ultimate victory of Bannonism:
Truculent, anti-immigrant nationalism; disdain for the “deep state”; disparaging democratic allies while celebrating dictators: These are now the pillars of President Trump’s rule. In his administration’s policy, foreign and domestic, and in the compliant Republican Party, Bannonism is ascendant.
.. Bannonism is now indistinguishable from Trumpism.
while it’s tempting to see Bannon’s fall as an inflection point, the reality is that his departure does nothing to change the fundamental nature of this presidency, which continues to be shaped by Donald Trump’s hollow core, erratic character and impulsivity….
As malign an influence as Bannon was, it seems naïve to now expect a more modulated or moderate Trump. Instead, we can expect Trump to attempt to insulate himself against Bannonite attacks by throwing out even more red meat for his base, and escalating the culture wars that Bannon has done so much to foment.
.. Bannon may have helped write the ill-fated travel ban, but it was Trump who denounced “Mexican rapists,” and Trump who called for a Muslim ban. It was Trump, not Bannon, who rose from reality TV stardom to political prominence and power by spreading birther conspiracy theories.
.. It was Trump, not Bannon, who retweeted white supremacists and refused to distance himself from white nationalists during the campaign; Trump, not Bannon, who attacked a Mexican-American judge, demeaned women and mocked a disabled reporter... Divorcing Bannon doesn’t fix what is wrong with this presidency. The cancer at the heart of this White House isn’t the staff. It’s the man in the Oval Office and he is not changing.
Why Trump Is So Angry at His Homeland Security Secretary
Trump has been complaining about her ever since she became head of D.H.S., in December. He didn’t like that she had once served in the Bush Administration, or that Fox News personalities such as Ann Coulter and Lou Dobbs considered her an “open-borders zealot.”
.. illegal border crossings declined, but they began rising last year—as many analysts expected they would, owing to continued violence in Central America.
.. Part of Nielsen’s job also involved talking the President down when he floated his own ideas for curbing immigration, many of which he picked up from Fox News. This didn’t endear her to the President, either.
.. two of her most prominent backers from the Bush Administration—Michael Chertoff, a former head of D.H.S., and Frances Townsend, a former homeland-security adviser at the White House—were part of the “Never Trump” movement.
.. Since John Kelly was a retired four-star general who, at the time, enjoyed good standing with the President, disgruntled immigration hard-liners were reluctant to criticize him; they directed their frustration toward Nielsen, instead.
.. The irony is that, since becoming the D.H.S. Secretary, Nielsen has shown herself to be both an extremely tough-minded enforcer of Trump’s immigration agenda and an enthusiastic spokesperson for his Administration.
.. “You can’t be seen as the lapdog of the White House,” one of them said. “That makes the department into a political football.”
.. Nielsen’s embrace of the President’s rhetoric on immigration had politicized the department’s broader mission.
.. While Trump was questioning Nielsen’s place in his Administration this winter and spring, she was forced to try to prove her loyalty.
.. Earlier this month, D.H.S. and the Justice Department announced a new “zero tolerance” policy at the border, vowing to prosecute all unauthorized border crossers, including asylum seekers, for entering the country illegally. One outgrowth of the policy is that parents and their children will be separated once they’re taken into custody. The Administration initially justified its stance by insisting that breaking up families would act as a deterrent, to scare away other families that might try to cross the border
.. “You have to ask yourself,why is she doing what’s she’s doing?” the official told me. “It’s not because she really wants to do it. It’s all posture.”
.. The border wall was another source of contention. Republicans in Congress skimped on funding it in the omnibus bill earlier this year. “That was an insult to the President,” the official said. “And a lot of that is on Nielsen. It was up to her to convince Congress to fund all this.”
.. there is “a cabal of anti-immigration people sprinkled throughout the government. A lot of them used to work for Jeff Sessions, and they all talked.” This group disliked Nielsen, but she survived, in part, because she has had the support of John Kelly.
.. There are additional similarities in how Kelly and Nielsen have handled confrontations with Trump.
.. Kelly, too, has reportedly threatened to resign at times when he couldn’t corral the President.
.. Nielsen does have some leverage. It will be difficult, if not almost impossible, to find a replacement for her—someone who can both appease the President and get confirmed by the Senate.
.. “The Administration can’t get rid of Nielsen. She doesn’t even have a deputy right now to fill in for her if she leaves.”
The Never Trump Delusion
The Left is still looking for scapegoats for his 2016 victory, and the coterie of critics on the right — loosely referred to as Never Trump — often sound like they are in denial.
.. A serious primary challenge is not in the offing. For that to change, it would probably take a smoking-gun revelation in the Mueller probe or some other jaw-dropping scandal, plus a significant political betrayal. And if Trump crashes and burns, it is doubtful the 2020 nomination would be worth having. This means that Trump’s welfare is inextricably caught up with the party’s... Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have been the potent figure he was in the late 1970s if he hadn’t pounded away at the premier populist-nationalism issue of the time, resistance to giving up the Panama Canal: “We bought it. We built it. We paid for it. It’s ours.”
We can argue about what role populism and nationalism should have in conservative politics, but that they have a place, and always have, is undeniable.
.. Trump is not seriously engaged enough to drive this himself, while congressional Republicans lack interest in immigration restriction and oppose Trump on trade. But make no mistake: On immigration and China trade, Trump is closer to the national Republican consensus than his conservative detractors... By all means, criticize him when he’s wrong. But don’t pretend that he’s just going away, or that he’s a wild outlier in the contemporary GOP.
Democrats Don’t Want to Be Conor Lamb
“For all of you who think that the Democrats have found a new way to win here by having these cookie cutter white guys run as quasi-moderate liberal conservatives, moderate Democrat conservatives, that isn’t gonna fly party-wide. The leftist radicals that run this party are not gonna let these guys get away with this ’cause they’re not gonna let their liberalism be watered down.”
.. The left is doctrinaire. The left is in your face. The left is not into deceit and compromise the way this guy’s talking about.” Well, from The Politico, the headline: “Democrats’ Civil War Flares After Lamb’s Upset Win.” Do I need to go any further? The headline alone establishes my point yesterday.
.. “Conservative Democrats argue the party needs to embrace his centrist message in other battleground races.” Liberals in the party say BS. “Conor Lamb’s triumph in Trump country is being heralded by conservative Democrats –” There’s no such thing by the way. Not really.
A conservative Democrat is not a Democrat or he’s a liar. There is no such thing as a conservative De.
.. Joe Manchin, they’re not conservative Democrats. There’s no such thing as a conservative Democrat.
In fact, you know what the role of the Never Trumpers is? What do you think the role of David Brooks and David Frum and all these other clowns, the Mona Charens, what do you think their role really is? What do they do? They go on TV and they are heralded as what? Conservatives. Intellectual conservatives. Smart conservatives, right? These are the educated, these are the non-Klan member conservatives, right? These are the mainstream think tank intellectual leading conservative.
.. And what do they do? They don’t just bash Trump. They bash other conservatives. The reason why they’re on PBS and the reason why Mona got her Washington Post Style section story after CPAC, the purpose they serve is that they go on mass media as conservatives criticizing conservative policy, criticizing other conservatives. And that gives it even more credibility than when the left does it.
Never Trumpers are not embarrassed to be conservatives except when Trump’s name enters the discussion. Then they become embarrassed to be conservatives, and then they embark on a strategy designed to keep whatever stench they think attaches to Trump off of them. It is not to advance conservatism. And that’s the problem most people have with the Never Trumpers on the conservative side. They’re not really trying to advance conservatism because Trump’s doing that, and they still disagree with it, and they’re trying to undermine it.
.. One or two of them that are pro-life and gun. That does not make you a conservative. How do they vote on Big Government? How do they vote on spending? How do they vote on all of these traditional things? How they vote on abortion?
.. I guarantee you that when the pedal meets the road, when the rubber meets the road, pedal hits the metal, these people are voting Democrat.
.. This guy is telling the Democrats, stop this radical leftist dumb stuff and let’s go sound like Trump, let’s go sound like moderates, let’s go sound like conservatives, and that’s how we win.
.. Radical, leftist, extremist socialism is going to be what defines this party, as far as they are concerned.