More Never Trump Treachery

In the Culture Wars, the Right struggles with a commitment to principles, decorum, and intellectual honesty.  In every area of life, those qualities are virtues, but in the battle against the progressive Left, those virtues quickly become liabilities.

Nowhere is this handicapping more apparent than on the “Never Trump” Right.  In some cases—think neocon loons Max Boot and Bill Kristol—these figures are not even properly part of the “Right.”  In other cases, they’re effete elites—like George Will—who comprise the “loyal opposition” to the dominant Leftist paradigm.

In still others, the Never Trumpers are overly-literal ideologues who can’t accept anything but 100% ideological purity.  These are the Libertarians or “libertarian Republicans” that love 99% of what Trump has accomplished as president, but can’t abide tariffs or border control.  They point to Trump’s seemingly “authoritarian” rhetoric as evidence that the freedom-loving real estate mogul is not-so-secretly an American Mussolini.

Such is the case with Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, the self-styled “libertarian Republican,” who announced on Twitter that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses (without identifying what those offenses may be).

There are also rumors that Amash might run for president in 2020 as a Libertarian.  Given his tenuous but significant popularity in Michigan, he could siphon away enough votes from President Trump to cost him a crucial State and its electoral votes.

And herein rests the problem with so-called “libertarians” like Amash:  they’re willing to sacrifice the good—in Trump’s case, the overwhelmingly great—for the perfect.  “I can’t have Milton Friedman for President, so I’ll make sure the depraved socialists take office.”

Further, Amash has spent his entire career in politics, with the exception of one year working for his father’s company.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely doesn’t fit with the Randian Übermensch ideal of spergy libertarianism.  Libertarianism works great if you’re shielded completely from the vagaries of the real-world job market.

The most generous interpretation is that Amash sincerely believes that the president’s reactions to the Mueller probe constitute what he calls “impeachable conduct” (never mind that the Constitution doesn’t identify “conduct” as worthy of impeachment, just “high crimes and misdemeanors”).  I can accept that Amash has applied his ideology so rigidly—and his distaste for real political brawlers so completely—that he believes the president should be impeached.

On the other hand, given his utter lack of real-world experience, it could be that Amash is attempting to make a name for himself after he leaves Congress (or gets voted out).  There are a number of Never Trumpers who, I’m convinced, are biding their time.  Should Trump lose in 2020—or when he leaves office in 2025—they look forward to resuming their place atop the political ruling class, getting back to their ineffectual, noodle-wristed “opposition” to official, state-sanctioned Leftism.

Regardless, the Right has no room in its ranks for such traitors (the Great One, Mark Levin, characterized Amash as a “Benedict Arnold against the Constitution“).  Fortunately, Michigan State Representative Jim Lower has announced a primary challenge to Amash.  Here’s hoping Lower lowers Amash a peg or two.

Distrust in National Media

Longtime readers know that I’m a big fan of Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day feature on Ballotpedia.  These pithy daily posts give a snapshot of the nation’s mood, occasionally with some historical content or relevant tidbits tossed in for good measure.

This week, Rasmussen highlighted two poll figures regarding Americans’ distrust of national news media.  On May 1, Rasmussen reported that only 38% of Americans consider national political news accurate and reliable.  On May 2, he reported that 66% of voters believe national political reporters often get the story wrong.

These figures will come as no surprise to conservatives, who have long distrusted the mainstream media, or “MSM” (Rush Limbaugh calls them the “drive-bys,” for their tendency to spew disinformation before fleeing the scene, then burying corrections or mea culpas on the back pages or in thirty-second sound bites).  The “Great One,” Mark Levin, ran through just a handful of the most recent media hoaxes on his radio program one night this week, and it’s astonishing how frequently the media is either wrong (as in the “hands up, don’t shoot” Michael Brown myth) or outright mendacious.

Indeed, CNN essentially traded its reputation as the “centrist” news network to indulge in anti-Trump hysteria, trumpeting every crumb of the Mueller investigation as manna from impeachment heaven.  The results speak for themselves:  its credibility is utterly in tatters.

The very same media decries President Trump’s attacks on “fake news”—itself a clever appropriation of a slur the MSM attempted to apply to Trump—as an assault on the First Amendment.  Such concerns are hysterically overwrought.  President Trump has done nothing to curtail press freedom; he’s merely had the temerity to call out bad reporting.  The First Amendment is not a magical talisman that protects media outlets from criticism, even from elected officials.

Indeed, that same amendment protects the president’s right to denounce media outlets.  Unless and until he uses the power of the government to silence the media—and he won’t—President Trump is entirely justified in labeling bad, inaccurate, or outright false reporting as “fake news.”

The real danger is that ostensibly objective journalism is anything but.  If anything, opinion programming on the major television and cable news networks is more authentic and reliable, as it doesn’t seek to hide the hosts’ views behind a smokescreen of presumed neutrality.  When biases are stated outright and upfront, it allows viewers to assess a host’s claims in that light.

Of course, increasingly we can’t even agree on the facts, or we’re not allowed to express certain facts aloud.  That’s the real threat to free speech, not President Trump blasting CNN for negative coverage.