Check out this anti-Trump screed by Michael Gerson in today’s Washington Post. Gerson writes:
Trump has been ruled by compulsions, obsessions and vindictiveness, expressed nearly daily on Twitter. He has demonstrated an egotism that borders on solipsism. His political skills as president have been close to nonexistent. His White House is divided, incompetent and chaotic, and key administration jobs remain unfilled. His legislative agenda has gone nowhere. He has told constant, childish, refuted, uncorrected lies, and demanded and habituated deception among his underlings. He has humiliated and undercut his staff while requiring and rewarding flattery. He has promoted self-serving conspiracy theories. He has displayed pathetic, even frightening, ignorance on policy matters foreign and domestic. He has inflicted his ethically challenged associates on the nation. He is dead to the poetry of language and to the nobility of the political enterprise, viewing politics as conquest rather than as service.
That’s not all:
Trump has made consistent appeals to prejudice based on religion and ethnicity, and associated the Republican Party with bias. He has stoked tribal hostilities. He has carelessly fractured our national unity. He has attempted to undermine respect for any institution that opposes or limits him — be it the responsible press, the courts or the intelligence community. He has invited criminal investigation through his secrecy and carelessness. He has publicly attempted to intimidate law enforcement. He has systematically alarmed our allies and given comfort to authoritarians. He promised to emancipate the world from American moral leadership — and has kept that pledge.
Some of these charges are both true and important. But did you notice what is missing from Gerson’s list?
Disagreement with a single policy decision made by Trump.
The second half of Gerson’s column consists of hand-wringing about what Republicans and conservatives should do in response to the Trump malignancy, as he views it. Should we create a conservative third party? Should we back impeachment? Should we “primary” Trump in 2020? Should we support the Democrat that year?
Or should we try to “outlast” Trump — “closing the shutters and waiting for the hurricane to pass, while rooting for the success of a strong bench of rising 40-something leaders (Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse).”
In the absence of more than a few major policy disagreements with Trump, I think the answer to the question of what Republicans and conservatives should do is obvious: Support President Trump.
Not uncritically. Not come hell or high water. Not (if I can help it) with bad arguments. But support the president.
We should not create a third party. We should not, on the facts we know or the facts that seem likely to emerge, back impeachment. Rather, we should push back strongly against such talk.
We should not support a primary challenge to Trump unless his policies veer to the left or it becomes apparent that he can’t be reelected. We absolutely should not support his opponent in 2020.
As things stand now, these are not close calls.
Gerson says “individuals and parties have long-term interests that are served by integrity, honor and sanity.” There is nothing dishonest, dishonorable, or insane about supporting a president who, in most cases, is making decisions one views as good for the country. Integrity and honor are only disserved if, in supporting him, we argue dishonestly — intellectually or factually.
Some Trump supporters may be doing so, but most of the dishonesty I see is coming from the Trump-hating left.