The cuckier writers at National Review are apparently obsessed with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a potential Republican presidential candidate. It’s almost as if they acknowledge that a charismatic celebrity with massive name recognition is a political boon, they just don’t like the guy that had the guts to pull it off.
The publication ran a cover story about The Rock—by noodle-wristed particularist and moral scold David French—back in 2017, and Jim Geraghty wrote glowingly about him in 11 January 2019’s “Morning Jolt” newsletter. The occasion for Geraghty’s blurb was an interview in which The Rock gave a “full-throated defense of freedom of speech”; however, Johnson now says the entire interview was fabricated.
I don’t have anything against The Rock. He makes movies that people enjoy and is personable. That said, I know precious little about his politics (everyone’s favorite source, Wikipedia, isn’t much help). The NR guys seem to think he’s a “natural conservative” (not a direct quotation), and we all know how that works out.
This plumping for The Rock may very well be part of Conservatism, Inc.’s tendency to declare progressive ideas actually conservative, something The Z-Man discusses in his various podcasts (unfortunately, I can’t find a specific example quickly on his blog, though I’ve heard him make this point in numerous podcasts). As conservatives, I don’t think we can really trust anyone who isn’t explicitly conservative.
Granted, Trump isn’t so much conservative as he is anti-Leftist, but his instincts are fundamentally conservative; his Supreme Court and federal judge nominees are constitutionalists; and he’s surrounded himself with solid conservatives. Trump possesses a gut-level conservatism, the kind that is more practical than philosophical.
Maybe The Rock has that, too—Trump certainly surprised us—but I don’t get the fascination with him here in 2019. Of course, I was dead-wrong about Trump back in 2015, so what do I know? If he runs as a Republican in 2024, I’ll hear him out. Despite my purist ravings, I’ll take a flawed, uncertain Republican over a Democrat 9999 out of 10,000 times.