I take no joy in naming this month’s useless conservative. I take great delight in exposing Joe Scarborough for the establishment lapdog he has been for quite some time. I find joy in pointing out that Kathleen Parker only poses as a conservative to steal a spot on the editorial pages. But this one saddens me.
Jonah Goldberg is brilliant. He is sharp and witty. The National Review writer and syndicated columnist is the author of Liberal Fascism and The Tyranny of Cliches. He does not throw barbs and one-liners at his readers – he uses history, culture and ideology to drive home points both timely and timeless. But, sadly, since Election Day 2016 (actually, well before), this Never-Trumper has fired his considerable arsenal of intellectual ammunition at one target – President Trump. Meanwhile, the left has ruined the NFL, late-night TV, the Boy Scouts, gender distinctions, etc. They have committed real acts of political violence. They have declared, in the event that they regain power, their support for universal health care and free college tuition. The last two Democrat presidential candidates have declared war on the coal industry.
Most conservatives are leery of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. And Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, campus radicals, ANTIFA, etc. Goldberg, on the other hand, would rather keep a condescending eye on you, if you support the president and his agenda. Consider this title of a recent column; “Trump and His Supporters Care About Wins, Not Ideology.” While a lunatic congresswoman in a sequin cowboy hat is trying to gain political traction (i.e., “rock star” status) over a fallen soldier, Goldberg deems Trump more infamous, opining that, “Trump is the talent, not the head of state.” This column lambasts the president as a showman, a mere reality star, an empty suit, etc.
Yes, Goldberg takes the occasional swipe at the left, but the brunt of his force is aimed at Trump and his supporters. He has yet to call Trump voters racists, but he dances awfully near that charge, denouncing his nationalism and populist leanings. Numerous columns have examined the history and meaning of the alt-right. Here is a notable excerpt: “I was arguing with some of my fellow conservatives about the insanity of finding any common cause whatsoever with the so-called alt-right.The issue wasn’t that every avowed nationalist who claimed membership in the alt-right was a Nazi or Klansman. It was that the alt-right was open to Nazis and Klansmen.”
Honestly, the alt-right is a group that most Trump voters know little – and care even less – about. But in public debate, the alt-right IS the Trump base. The psychology of Trump and his supporters obsesses Goldberg. A recent column recalls the now-disdained (on both sides of the aisle) John Birch Society, comparing Trump to a group that hasn’t mattered in decades. If only Goldberg were equally obsessed with the psychology of leftists.
Jonah Goldberg strikes all the predictable poses of an Inside-the-Beltway prude. Trump and his entourage are garish and tacky and clearly strike a nerve. Check out this column title: “Vulgarity is the Starter Pistol in the Race to the Bottom.” Recent column space that could have examined collusion between Russia and Clinton/Obama instead ridicules that most lethal threat to individual liberty. Chuck Schumer? Nancy Pelosi? Actually, Steve Bannon. Yes, a recent column entitled, “This Rainmaker Only Dances In Cloudbursts” demolishes -in razor-sharp detail – the idea that Bannon is a strategist or thinker of any consequence. Whew, I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that myth has been exposed.
Jonah Goldberg is a brilliant champion of limited, Constitutional government, thus he should realize that Donald Trump’s bluster and vulgarity are not his enemy. We’ve had it with being gentlemen. America needs a street fighter. Donald Trump does not seek the fundamental transformation of the United States. He does not hold up France and Sweden as models for America’s future, nor does he apologize for America’s greatness. President Trump is far from perfect, both as a man and as a leader. But while not ideal, Mr. Goldberg, he is not your enemy.
My local paper reads like a propaganda sheet for the anti-Trump left. Readers are cheated when the rare conservative voices resemble MSNBC commentators. Mr. Goldberg, the problem is not that you can’t deliver, but that you don’t. For that, you are October’s Useless Conservative of the Month.