December 16, 2017


Why Republicans Are Depressed : A culture of victimization? (NOAH ROTHMAN, DEC. 15, 2017, Commentary)

Reasonable conservatives who take the Trump presidency as a whole have observed that there is a lot to like about this administration. On the domestic front, the Trump White House has either allowed hundreds of onerous regulations to expire or it has never implemented them in the first place. In concert with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the administration has aggressively confirmed conservative judges to federal judicial appointments. The administration is dismantling Obama-era abuses, ranging from the deconstruction of ObamaCare to the abandonment of Orwellian Title IX tribunals on American campuses. And Donald Trump's foreign policy is a laudable one, mostly because the president abandoned his populist blustering about the supposed costs of maintaining America's alliances and free-trade obligations.

It isn't just the "Never Trump" right that has avoided introspective rumination on these particulars. The pro-Trump media world seems utterly bored by them. Unremarkably, the pro-Trump media landscape has devoted its attention to Donald Trump's chief concern: real or imagined slights to his ego.

Average conservative voters have spent 2017 observing the arbiters of discourse on the right focus on the alleged wiring of Trump Tower by pro-Obama forces in the "deep state." They've bristled at the impunity with which Trump administration officials were supposedly "unmasked" by Obama officials like Susan Rice to achieve political ends. They've marveled at the injustice of allowing untold millions of illegal immigrants to steal the popular vote from Trump in 2016. They've been consumed with the nefarious conspiracy by Democrats, the press, foreign officials, and political consultants to misuse intelligence products to shackle the president. The FBI, the Department of Justice, the CIA; all are in on the plot to undermine the Trump presidency from within. Establishment Republicans who have criticized Trump for threatening his Department of Justice or failing to condemn white nationalism with proper zeal are eager to see the president fail.

Trump officials administer these agencies that are supposedly engineering these egregious violations of the public trust, and these agencies are overseen by GOP-dominated congressional committees. Why would any Republican be moved to vote for more Republicans if these are the results? These intractable obstacles in the way of Trump render their vote meaningless. A conservative might be tempted to wallow in despair.

Of course, one could argue that Donald Trump cannot simultaneously be a successful president and be the victim of a remorseless campaign of sabotage orchestrated by Maoist insurgents weaving silently in and out of the bureaucracy. It's also not illogical to suggest that a competent president can overcome a bureaucratic culture arrayed in opposition to Republican policy objectives; it has been done before. For whatever reason, though, these arguments do not energize the pro-Trump conservative commentariat. After all, being buffeted by events beyond your control is, in a way, comforting. There is a perverse kind of freedom in lacking agency.

Posted by at December 16, 2017 1:09 PM