A supporter holds up a sign for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Boca Raton, Fla., Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Despite all we’ve seen in the past two years, too many on the Right still fail to apply the same standards to their side that they do to their opponents.
This is unsurprising, but it should never be tolerated.
I’m of the mindset that we should clean our own political house first and foremost. Addressing that which is closest to you, and seeking to improve it, is of the utmost importance. But apparently, this is wildly unpopular.
According to a fair number of conservatives, “owning the liberals!” is the highest calling. It does not matter who represents our side or what the tone and messaging happen to be at present. As long as those on the Left remain speechless, exasperated, and our intellectual inferiors, our job is done.
Can we really say that we’ve bested our political rivals if we gloss over behavior that we would never tolerate from someone in the Democratic party? Can we truly say that we stand on the moral high ground when we change the landscape to fit the person instead of recognizing who they are, admonishing their faults, and expecting a contrite attitude?
No, we cannot.
Even now, leaders in the GOP will contend that the only factor worth considering is whether or not a certain politician will win an election. Winning has overtaken everything else and propels the attitudes and actions of our leaders and pundits. However, winning well should be our goal. This means selecting candidates for their experience and also their commitment to rock-solid conservative principles. We need more boring but accomplished ones, like Governor Scott Walker, and fewer real-estate-mogul-turned-reality-stars who shock and awe a parched electorate into starry-eyed submission.
But since the GOP is famously self-destructive, they choose the latter. (Will they ever learn?)
With President Trump came truckloads of baggage. It speaks to the adult character of a man who has been in the spotlight for decades and hasn’t quite grown up. And it goes much further, and is much more serious, than that.
Currently, the Stormy Daniels squall rages on thanks in part to a talkative Rudy Giuliani who appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Wednesday evening. On the show, the former New York City mayor shared a previously unknown tidbit: Donald Trump had repaid his attorney, Michael Cohen, the sum of $130,000. This was the amount used to silence porn star Stormy Daniels, another notch in Trump’s well-used belt, before the election. Whether this was in violation of campaign finance law remains to be seen.
What is clear is that the Trump camp lied about both his encounter with Daniels and the hush money to cover his misdeeds.
Naturally, as has happened countless times, the Trump faithful took to the social media streets to breathlessly defend their “pure” man. (Somehow, President Trump is a 4-d chess player along with being completely unaware of the behind-the-scenes dealings that clean up his rather messy personal problems. Sure.)
In the midst of the chaos, National Review writer, David French, offered a scathing observation to the Evangelicals for Trump crowd.
Dear Trump evangelicals. It looks like Trump has now been caught lying to you about paying off a porn star to silence reports about an affair shortly after his son was born. He had an affair. He paid hush money. He lied about it. Let that sink in. Is that your man?
— David French (@DavidAFrench) May 3, 2018
You could feel the usual suspects shake with rage, aghast at the very mention of their man’s depravity. Deplorable individuals like Dinesh D’Souza even offered King David as a comparable character.
Your biblical namesake David slept with Bathsheba & had her husband killed on the front. Didn’t God nevertheless make David His man? https://t.co/C0WddhuVJa
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) May 3, 2018
Nevermind the fact that King David was a “man after God’s own heart” his entire life. Nevermind the fact that King David sought actual forgiveness from God. Trump has done neither of those things. He even said as much, about his lack of needing God and disinterest in forgiveness, on the campaign trail.
“Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions.
‘I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” he said. ‘I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.’ “
Back to French. He is, as usual, absolutely right. Trump’s past (even the not too distant one) is despicable. And yes, this is their man. The Trump Evangelicals and Trump Agnostics alike simply do not care about his behavior or his lying. Trump himself knows that. THAT’S HOW HE WON.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
They chuckle at the hilarity of it all, but deep down they know that nothing will shake their devotion to the guy who replaced Obama. They like political points, not principles.
If you called out Bill Clinton for his behavior and outright lying in the 1990s (and earlier), and don’t bat an eye at this president? Then congratulations, American conservative. You are a hypocrite. A Democrat with a closet full of indiscretions will certainly cause you to spew forth vocal condemnation, but a Republican? Well, either it doesn’t matter because he’s a winner, or his poor, supposedly penitent soul is really like some legitimately remorseful Biblical leader of centuries past.
Give me a break. Your double standards are leaking everywhere.
I am fully aware that making these statements places me squarely in the minority while men and women of the more cultish variety, who should know better, castigate me for them. I am aware that my tone and firmness of speech pushes away voters who only care about winning. It doesn’t surprise me that their responses include frustration at the content and accusations of me being a “Never Trumper”, though, as my writing shows, I praise the president of the United States when appropriate.
It’s no matter; I’m used to their tribalism.
While the principles of conservatism haven’t changed, several of its players are certainly tarnishing the cause. Chief of all is the rampant hypocrisy among leaders and devotees alike. However, this truth remains dismissed by those who are most diseased.
They prefer to forget the sickness in their own camp, discard the uncomfortable, but necessary, cure, refuse to improve, and spend their time looking toward adversaries, hoping political fatalities occur there first.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.