The bright line in American policy divides the utopians who believe that America’s mission is to bringfree markets and liberal democracies to the benighted, backward nations of the world, and realists like Trump.
Senator McCain threw his support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the expectation that it would become a vehicle for Muslim democracy; Donald Trump proposed to insulate America from the problems of the Muslim world.
McCain and Bush are Mainline Protestants, which is to say Wilsonian missionaries. Mitt Romney is the Mormon variety of the same thing.The Never-Trump neoconservatives, like Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz and the late Charles Krauthammer, played Sancho Panza to Bush’s Don Quixote.
Trump rose to the top in the Republican primaries when he proposed to freeze immigration from some Muslim-majority countries, a stark declaration that America’s safety is what matters, not the fate of nations on the other side of the world.
More than anything else that Trump did, the travel ban horrified the Establishment, but it won the support of 60% of American voters. Trump declared in effect that the United States would rather insulate itself from problems in Muslim-majority nations than fix them. American interests would come first.
Trump inherited a host of problems from the failed Establishment consensus. The greatest of these was the rise of China, which invested in advanced weaponry while the United States spent nearly $6 trillion on its end-of-history illusion.
[. . .]
Trump’s style has been obstreperous and sometimes rowdy, and he eschews the air of regal noblesse oblige that some of his predecessors brought to the Oval Office. But the hatred he elicits from the Establishment has nothing to do with style, or indeed, with any of his shortcomings: Trump is hated because the American people elected him to bury the Establishment. Last weekend the Establishment obliged by conducting burial services for itself.
That's right, especially the concluding paragraph. But we ought to distinguish between the Establishment Left's and the Establishment Right's response to Trump, the true political maverick. As I said the other day:
The Left's blind rage against Trump is not primarily because of the man and his personal style, but because of his threat to their agenda. If Trump had Hillary's ideas and policies, and Hillary Trump's, the Left would have overlooked Trump's personal behavior and supported him in the same way that they overlooked the bad behavior of Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. They would have dismissed the Access Hollywood tape as locker-room talk in the same way they dismissed Bill Clinton's much worse sexually predatory actions as peccadilloes belonging to his personal life.
The Never-Trumpers, on the other hand, hate Trump primarily because of the man he is, and not primarily because of his ideas and policies. They hate him because he is a crude and obnoxious outsider, an interloper, who crashed their party and threatened to upset their cozy world.
Proof of this is that Trump's solid conservative accomplishments mollify the bow-tie brigade not one bit. Their hatred and mindless opposition is in no way reduced by the Gorsuch confirmation, the Kavanaugh nomination, the movement of the U. S. embassy to Israel, the surging stock market, the low unemployment numbers, the defense of religious liberty, and so on down the list.