By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Stay with me on this one. It’s important.
You can’t turn on a “conservative” talk radio program in 2015 without hearing a full-out assault on so-called “establishment” Republicanism, Save Jerseyans. McConnell, Boehner, Ryan, Rubio… even arch-conservative Trey Gowdy on the rare occasion that he bucks the mob’s will.
And when I say “mob” I’m not referring to a bunch of gangsters hanging out at a North Jersey pork store. I’m talking about the “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions” addressed by James Madison in Federalist #10. You’ve probably noticed the change if you’ve been listening to guys like Rush Limbaugh for as long as I have (I’m a confirmed ‘Rush Baby’ who, as a tween, learned a decent amount of what I know about conservatism from listening to my father’s Rush 24/7 account). At some point in the 2000s, these programs – and a crush of new ones brought about by the advent of new media and social media – stopped focusing on teaching conservatism and drilled down, instead, on administering conservative purity tests.
It’s a business, folks, and just like any business these programs, sites and pacs comprising the new conservative establishment are trying to sell a product. Unfortunately for the movement, the product isn’t conservatism anymore. They’re pushing a vitriolic strand of populism which would’ve made iconic modern conservatives like William F. Buckley cringe. Accusing Paul Ryan of “selling out” or turning “traitor to the republic” generates more cable news attention, sells more radio ads, and improves the harvest from e-mail money bombs in a way that sober discussions of tax code and entitlement reform never could.
Al Sharpton would be out of work if the last racist, real or imagined, died tomorrow. The same could be said for the RINO hunters if their favorite prey ever went extinct.
Enter Donald Trump, the natural conclusion of this two-decades old devolution.
The man’s public positions and affiliations immediately prior to running for president (and some which he still holds) make Mitt Romney look like the bastard love child of Milton Friedman and Barry Goldwater by comparison but, when pressed on the Donald’s lean-left orientation and the hypocrisy of the selectively-applied RINO lavel, those who lap up every word Mark Levin sells and recycle it on social media will tell you he’s not a RINO like Romney because “he doesn’t need the money” and “at least he’s willing to fight.”
Since when does wealth divorce one from ambition? And fight for whom or what exactly?
Barack Obama sure believes in (and fights for) what he believes to all of our detriment. So does Bernie Sanders. Is conviction alone a reason to support either when those convictions are seriously suspect?
Perhaps the relationship between wealth and power explains why Trump loves Vladimir Putin so damn much. They’re practically clones (though I would bet on Putin in an arm wrestling contest). Overcompensating males with authoritarian tendencies and brutish instincts. Trump recently doubled-down on his affinity for Russia’s ex-KGB dictator on ABC, dismissing well-documented human rights abuses including violence against journalists as unproven allegations.
“I’m saying when you say a man has killed reporters, I’d like you to prove it,” Trump argued. “And I’m saying it would be a terrible thing if it were true. But I have never seen any information or any proof that he killed reporters.” Not content with defending murder, he continued, “our country does plenty of killing.” Wow! And he naturally refused to clarify his claim with specifics and changed the subject to Hillary Clinton. Classic Trump.
Limbaugh? Levin? Coulter? Etc.? Silence, something you’d never see had the exact same outrageous slander against America – and defense of an evil tyrant – been uttered by an evil “RINO” like Jeb Bush or a liberal Democrat Hilldawg.
The only criticism I’ve heard came when El Rushbo chastised Trump for using “establishment” talking points on Ted Cruz, another darling of the purity for profit industry. Got it?
They’re not invested in victory or conservatism, folks. They’re entertainers. It’s a business. A cynical one, and the “Trump vs. the World” process story simply sells more tickets to the show than the truth. I take no pleasure in saying this as a guy who, as I mentioned above, grew up on talk radio.
I’m not telling you to stop listening. I’m not even telling you whom to support (you know where I stand). The problem, if anything, is that too many people don’t have a balanced news diet. I AM telling you to open your eyes and ears and come to terms with the motivations behind what you’re consuming every day.