I’m rather fond of The American Conservative — there is much that I admire about what I consider real conservatism as opposed to the proto-fascism that passes itself off as conservatism in this country. Just the same, I think they are mostly wrong. But I feel like I can have a conversation with this kind of conservative. Or at least until I read Scott McConnell’s Vox article, I Voted for Trump. After the Syria Strikes, I’m Second-Guessing My Choice. Maybe it says something that this ridiculous article didn’t run in The American Conservative.
McConnell drags us through the history of his thinking, as if anyone cares. That’s knock number one. But eventually, he lands at the “neoconservatism is bad” position. He’s an “America first” guy. Well, that’s pathetic anyway. I’m not for keeping America out of foreign wars because I care so much about America. I’m for staying home because it’s good for the world. So there’s knock number two against McConnell: he believes the myth that we have the biggest empire in the history of world because we’re just such nice guys. I understand that my uneducated 84-year-old father falls for this. But the co-founding editor of The American Conservative? Geez.
Scott McConnell’s Greatest Sin
But those were nothing compared to what he really wants to talk about, “When Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2016 [Close! -FM], I found myself surprised by how bold and, often, how cogent his foreign policy perspectives seemed.” Oh yeah. He said: let’s not get into wars; it’s stupid. I agree. But that’s hardly the result of deep thinking. And McConnell admits that.
Here is a presidential candidate who isn’t even smart enough to be an anti-intellectual. Trump makes Pat Buchanan look like Noam Chomsky. But Scott McConnell was willing to roll the dice! Why not?! How could he have known that once newly elected presidents get to town, all the institutional pressure is brought to bear. “You don’t want another 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, do you?!” Oh, I just had a thought: Scott McConnell could have known that by watching literally every president during either of our lifetimes.
McConnell also claims, “Hillary Clinton would likely seek confrontations everywhere.” Really?! I don’t think anyone imagined her getting us into a nuclear war (give him time). I don’t think anyone imaged her making tensions with North Korea worse. Sure, from my perspective, Clinton is a hawk. I know that because she’s been a politician for a long time and so I know what she stands for. But the co-founding editor of The American Conservative picked his president in the same way that a high school boy picks his girlfriend: he knew nothing of Trump, so therefore, he must be great!
McConnell Voted for Trump Because He Would Have Voted for Any Republican
But I’ll tell you what really went on. McConnell is a conservative in the regular American sense of the word. Sure: on international issues, he’s more liberal. But all the toxic waste that is the conservative mind is there in McConnell’s mind. His cerebral cortex might have told him that he was voting for a non-interventionist president. But the drums were beating in his lower brain: tribe, tribe, tribe!
It’s not even 100 days into Trump’s administration and Scott McConnell is already “second-guessing” his choice. Has he not noticed that Trump has got the little good press of his presidency for bombing Syria? Imagine what 4 or 8 years will bring.
I really don’t care that McConnell voted for Trump. Like almost all conservatives I’m sure he would vote for a little yellow dog if it had a “(R)” after its name. But why can’t he shut up? Nothing Trump has done has been a surprise to me. And it shouldn’t have been a surprise for McConnell. All his Vox article does is give him the ultimately get out of jail free card. If Trump turns out to be what Trump will turn out to be, McConnell will claim that early on he said Trump was no good. And should fairies descend on Earth and make Trump a non-interventionist, then McConnell can say, “Well, I just said I was concerned.”
Here’s my note to McConnell and all Trump voters: I blame you for everything and nothing you say will change that because nothing Trump does is surprising. McConnell is in a particularly bad place in this regard, because he doesn’t have the excuse of being an idiot.