Saturday, May 21, 2016

Harping, Carping, and Barking: Hooey, baby

Jonah Goldberg, back from a National Review Cruise on the Danube:
NR Cruises are special things. They are filled with friends of National Review, often lifelong friends. No one who hates the magazine plunks down that much hard-earned money to spend a week drinking, eating, and touring with its writers and editors (and other passengers who are fans of the magazine). As a result, nearly all disagreements are like family disagreements.
It's so cute how he feels the need to explain why there weren't any passengers who hate NR. Strictly speaking, I suppose it would be more correct to say nobody on board hates NR except the staff, who don't have to pay, and the undercover reporters from Harper's, which if nobody has ever done that before I'd like to say I'm totally available for the next cruise, if they'd spot me a wardrobe. Just kidding!

It's going to be aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam, taking seven days to circumnavigate the island of Cuba, mostly at a safe distance from its Communism-tainted territorial waters—

—looks scary close to Punta del Este, though!

And the celebrity guests, while sadly not including Senator Rubio or Senator Cruz, will literally run the gamut of conservative thinking from West, Allen to West, Bing.

In this month's Danube cruise, of which little trace is left online (oddly enough, the page from which you could book a "select accommodation" from around $4,000 to $14,000 for the week is still there), naturally, the family disagreements revolved around you-know-who, who doth bestride their narrow world like a you-know-what:
There were some true Trumpers and anti-Trumpers, but there were many more people who simply think supporting Trump is making the best of a bad situation. I understand that position and I have sympathy for it. Indeed, despite the harping, carping, and barking claims from bullying party hacks and Twitter pests, the truth is I really don’t have much of a problem with normal Republican voters who feel they have to make a choice between two less-than-perfect-options.
Thus Jonah turns out to have a solution to the awful problem NR created for itself with their diehard #NeverTrumpist stance a few weeks ago: normal people, the weak and frail average cruise passenger, may indeed feel free to vote for Trump if they want, as a concession to their humanity. It's only the priesthood as it were that must not vote for him, because they have a higher responsibility:
As Rich Lowry explained on the boat, we have a sense of custodial obligation to the conservative movement. The dilemma for us isn’t simply, “What should I do with my vote?” it’s, “What should we say and write?” That’s why in 1960 we didn’t endorse Kennedy or Nixon, because neither candidate met the bar we set for a conservative candidate.
(Though in fact he's got that completely wrong, according to his own testimony from 2011; it was in the primary, not the general election, that they didn't endorse in 1960 between Nixon and Goldwater, for the Republican nomination. Because, pace Jonah, or maybe this is Lowry's fault, the question was not about who met the conservative bar but Old Mr. Buckley's dictum that NR should endorse the farthest-right candidate who had a chance, and they couldn't come to an agreement as to whether Goldwater had a chance or not. They had no trouble endorsing Nixon in 1968, though he had hardly become more conservative in the interval, as he began presenting himself as an accommodator with Communism and sort-of supporter of national health systems and guaranteed incomes; but they wouldn't endorse him in 1972 after the wage-price controls, opting instead for the hopeless candidacy of Senator John Ashbrook, and in the 1980 primary they refused to endorse St. Ronald of Reagan (!), we are told, because Old Mr. Buckley thought he was too old, but couldn't go with that liberal G.H.W. Bush either. The suggestion that the old National Review would have hesitated to choose between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960, however, is insane: Jonah has been drinking his own Kool-Aid and thinks that since liberals are the real fascists, JFK was a real conservative—he cut taxes!—only Nixon was a real conservative too, so both of them weren't quite real enough. But in Mr. Buckley's day it was Realpolitik; custodial obligation my ass.)

But the ploy itself is pretty brilliant, as a way of climbing down from #NeverTrump absolutism to acquiescence: When we said we could never under any circumstances support that vile Donald creature, we meant it; but that didn't mean you couldn't support him, little hobbits. You're just not part of the priesthood. Not voting for Trump is a special duty, like celibacy—didn't St. Paul say "It is better to vote Trump than to burn"?

The family disagreements on board the ship must have been fairly intense, however, because he devotes the rest of his post to taxonomizing them, without naming the names of all the custodial-obligation movement priests who have disappointed him. They include the "benighted" who actually believe Trump could be an OK president, the "alt-righters" Douthat was touting a couple of weeks ago (slice off the anti-Semitism like cheese rind, and the rest goes down smoothly); "false priests", "fake moderates", the "establishment of whores", and the "resigned", with a special circle of hell reserved for poor Rick Perry, just because
He took a strong, principled stand against Trump early on, likening him to a “cancer” on the GOP. He said that a Trumpified Republican party would lead to “perdition.” It didn’t work out well for him. Now that it’s Trump’s party, he says he wants to help this cancer “any way I can,” including being considered for his running mate.
Poor Jonah, you don't realize you're already basically there yourself, with the voting recommendations you just made to the common folk.

There's another Danube cruise coming up in June, if you book in a hurry, a FreedomCruise with the National Rifle Association and featuring Newt & Callista Gingrich, Wayne LaPierre, Edwin Meese, III, and LtCol Oliver L. North, USMC (Ret.) And beyond National Review to the white-voter heartland, don't miss the chance to go on the ContraKrugman cruise in October, from Galveston to Honduras and Quintana Roo, where Texas talk radio personalities Tom Wood and Bob Murphy will offer "informative events and extensive interaction with our Tom and Bob, numerous social events; dining with fellow libertarian cruisers; and a wonderful sense of sharing and camaraderie" with the other folks whose opposition to Paul Krugman is so intense that they're willing to shell out $1,781 to $4,654 to express it in a safe environment.

AMA Golf-Ahoy Danube Cruise,  an alternative to those painful family disagreements.

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