A former Republican candidate for president and current political pontiff, Mitt Romney, recently took to the pulpit here in Aspen to pontificate at one of those sacred Aspen shows where stale old people recite stale old ideas, as pontiffs do, while the congregation obediently genuflects.
Romney’s particular idea was that as an upstart unapproved by anyone except the people, Donald Trump might destroy the Grand Old Party that is run by the Romney-approved regulars of the Republican establishment.
Other Republican establishmentarians are also tsk-tsking. George Will says Trump has driven him out of the party. Bill Kristol is recruiting someone to run on a third-party ticket. The Bush dynasty has withheld its endorsement.
To them I say: Spare me your sermonizing.
It is you, Republican establishmentarians, who have destroyed the Republican Party. You sold out two generations ago and you’ve been on, or under, the politically correct bandwagon ever since.
The end result is that the Republican brand is lousy. Liberals don’t like the brand because it pretends to stand for conservatism, while conservatives don’t like it because it really doesn’t.
In Trump, the people hope for a different kind of conservative. Whether it is Islamic terrorism, illegal immigration, the Clintons’ tag-team abuse of women, the Supreme Court’s rewriting of the Constitution or the persecution of Catholic nuns, Trump calls it the way he sees it without regard for whether he offends the establishment. He calls a spade a spade.
True, his mouth outpaces his mind to the point that sometimes he also calls a six of hearts or a three of diamonds a spade. He’s not a polished politician, he often shoots from the hip in a profane sort of way, his business career is unsavory and he’s not a gentleman.
All of that makes Trump worse than Hillary Clinton, say the Dems who paused last week in their attacks on him to celebrate the FBI report that Hillary’s treatment of national security was merely “extremely careless.”
That the Dems bash Trump for being crude in his personality while toasting Hillary for being “extremely careless” with national security is no surprise. It just means that Hillary is a Dem and Trump is not.
But the conspicuous exhibition of sanctimony by Romney, Will and Kristol means something deeper. It means that Trump also is not an establishment Republican. That’s why they hate him, and that’s why the people don’t.
Long ago, these effete establishmentarians learned to stay on the social scene A-list by cross-dressing their conservatism in a costume of pseudo-intellectualism. Their tone is not so much, “Here’s what I have to say” as it is, “Just saying.”
And before they’re even done saying it, Kristol and Will hastily distract us with their wonderment, as if we care, about the art and science of baseball, a game they never played.
But conservatism isn’t complicated and does not require a baseball statistician. Conservatism is about individual liberty. Through individual liberty, we achieve a free and just society.
Like liberals, conservatives believe that government is necessary. But unlike liberals, conservatives recognize that every bit of power given to government is another bit of power taken away from — and used against — the people. Conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best.
Conservatism has nothing to do with baseball.
It’s common for the Dems to be split — between the environmentalists and the unions, between the lower classes and the Wall Street barons, between racial minorities and race-baiters who capitalize on them, between the educational-industrial complex and the students it exploits, between those who think Hillary is a good liar and those who think she’s a bad one, and so on.
The only thing that unites Dems is their tireless but tedious whining that life is unfair because somewhere, sometime, someone got a better deal.
But it’s unusual for the Republicans to be split this way. It’s news. For conservatives, it’s good news.
I’m glad someone has grabbed a pitchfork and rallied the people to save conservatism from the anesthetizing Republican establishment baseball sages. Trump was not my choice to be that someone, but he beat my guy fair and square.
Trump is no Thomas Jefferson. But with the help of the people and their pitchforks he just might refresh the tree of liberty with the blood of establishment tyrants. He’ll call a spade a spade.
With a little luck, before he gets to the White House he might also learn the six of hearts and three of diamonds.
Published July 10 in the Aspen Times at http://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/22869512-113/beaton-trump-is-destroying-the-gop-and-thats