10 things that have out-lived their usefulness in 2016
by Steve Deace
The list of things this election has exposed as over-played and played out is both long and undistinguished. Making the selection of the worst of our worst no easy task. Which criteria to use?
How about the things most in the way of having a real conservative movement, a real conservative political party, and real opposition to the Left’s agenda? So with that criteria in mind, here’s a list of the top 10 things we should forcibly strap to the next rocket headed straight for the sun.
10. Being so defensive about being a conservative that we elevate literally any celebrity/minority, who claims to like us, to instant hero status
I’ve got nothing against trying to make conservativism’s packaging more contemporary, but can we please stop with the pathetic desperation? Such as taking immature kids like C.J. Pearson — who in the span of one election cycle schizophrenically goes from supporting Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) to Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (F, 17%) to Donald Trump — and elevating them because they’re young and non-white. We look like the jock-sniffing water boy, who tries too hard to get the cool kids to notice him.
Pro-tip: Self-parody doesn’t give you street cred, but it does give our opponents in pop culture more ammo to stereotype us.
9. Pepe the Frog and David Duke
I’ve been all over the country for the conservative movement the past few years, and I had no idea what the Alt-Right or Pepe the (racist) Frog was until 2016. Sadly, though, the GOP nominee and his family have helped give rise to these knuckle-draggers with more than a few hat tips on social media. And who in the Sam Hill told David Duke he had permission to crawl out from under whatever rot-infested rock he’s been hiding? Sometimes it’s like we write the Democrats’ commercials for them.
8. Ann Coulter
She is the very essence of the brazen opportunist too much of our movement is now known for. When social conservatives are cool, she’ll write books called “Demonic” and star in anti-Darwinism documentaries produced by the late D. James Kennedy. But then when Donald Trump is chic, she’s suddenly a nationalist ranting about those “F-ing Jews” on Twitter, and she doesn’t care if Trump does abortions in the White House provided he walls off the border. Four years ago, she was a Mitt Romney groupie, too, but now she can’t stand him and his “Mexican” dad. Sensing a trend here?
7. Roger Ailes
It turns out he was the phantom menace really pulling the strings of the conservative movement all along through his lofty perch at Fox News, in between using his position of power to prey on women, several allege. Ailes built Fox into the Holy Grail of conservative media but then polluted it with his peccadilloes and candidate preferences.
Who can forget Fox’s week-long fawning over Marco Rubio’s, C, Fla. (C, 74%) greatest third-place finish ever in Iowa? Or carrying Trump across the finish line to the nomination by spreading the lie Ted Cruz was stealing elections? And there’s a lot more where that came from — years’ worth, in fact. All orchestrated by Ailes, the Palpatine-esque Svengali. When your movement allows such immoral men to call its shots, your movement is broken.
6. ‘Christian leaders’ who are really just political party shills
These blind guides are as responsible for the sorry state of our movement as anyone else, for they’re supposed to be the plumbline. Instead, they held the line on nothing, and their only real moral absolute was “Be the GOP nominee, and we’ll twist the Word of God into every pretzel imaginable for you.” They once oversaw perhaps the largest and most feared voting bloc on the Right, but their desire for a seat at the table — instead of cultural transformation — cost them all their political leverage. Now white churchgoers in the GOP are even worse off than black churchgoers in the Democrat Party. At least they get a bunch of “free” stuff. All we get are more crappy judicial appointments. Ten years from now, when all the Bible-believing Christians are all in jail, we’ll still be told “vote Republican for good judges.”
5. Allowing the media to pick your nominee
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Republican Party nominated the old white guy with the most moderate-to-liberal ideology, who also had the highest name ID. Then once the general election began, we’re frustrated conservatism is nowhere to be found in the campaign we’re about to lose. This happens because too many of our people don’t do their own homework, but let the media that hate us choose our nominees. Self-government begins with self.
4. Selective moral outrage that can be easily exposed as hypocrisy like never before thanks to the Internet
To paraphrase the great prophet Bob Seger, “The Internet never forgets.” It’s been astounding to see some otherwise smart, political hacks just say things that contradict what they said in the past, thus creating their own mockery memes. Just look at the recent controversy over Trump’s X-rated comments about grabbing women by the genitals. So many people on the Right used all the same language to defend Trump they were mocking from the Left during the Lewinsky matter. Meanwhile, suddenly many moral relativists and post-modernists on the Left rediscovered their inner puritan. Feckless hypocrisy is no way to go through life, son.
3. Cults of personality
Too much of our movement is driven by allegiance to personalities and not the values we’re supposed to be conserving. Frankly, much of the conservative movement has devolved into Team Edward versus Team Jacob. And that’s the case whether it’s media personalities, platforms, or candidates. That’s why we’re much more fixated on comparing everything with the Reagan era than we are contending for the values that launched the Reagan Revolution in the first place.
2. The lesser of two evils
This has devolved to the point many of our elections are now the evils of two lessers. We are so driven by fear of what we oppose that we have very few standard-bearers capable or willing to advance what we’re actually for. The political arm of our movement is not driven by advancing conservatism, but by opposing liberals and the media (but I repeat myself). That might be great click bait and sell a lot of books, but it doesn’t advance one iota of constitutionally worthy public policy.
1. Both major political parties
Any regard for the Constitution and the founding vision of the country was jettisoned from the Democratic Party long ago, and now it’s on the endangered species list at the Republican Party as well. As the political paradigm currently stands, conservativism stands no chance regardless of who wins, which means we must change the paradigm. Either conservatives deploy a go-for-broke, hostile takeover of the GOP similar to what the progressives did to the Democrats, thus making it unthinkable to defy the party platform. Or we must start a third party. Seat at the table, coalition-building within the GOP has been a colossal failure, unless you count all the bank accounts for faux leaders it’s fattened. Meanwhile, what’s left of our constitutional republic is about to be tossed unto the ash heap of history.
Steve Deace is syndicated each weeknight by the Salem Radio Network, and is also the author of the new book A Nefarious Plot.
Originally published at www.conservativereview.com.