12 January 2016

"Who would wear the jackboot most vigorously"

It's interesting to note that the two leading Republican candidates (with Cruz clearly ranking as the most admired) are also the most vicious and callous. This is from a recent NY Times op-ed by David Brooks:

Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace in which there is no room for compassion, for moderation, for anything but dismantling and counterattack. And that is what he offers. Cruz’s programmatic agenda, to the extent that it exists in his speeches, is to destroy things: destroy the I.R.S., crush the “jackals” of the E.P.A., end funding for Planned Parenthood, reverse Obama’s executive orders, make the desert glow in Syria, destroy the Iran nuclear accord. Some of these positions I agree with, but the lack of any positive emphasis, any hint of reform conservatism, any aid for the working class, or even any humane gesture toward cooperation is striking. Ted Cruz is a champion college debater where success is determined by garnering points either defending or challenging a proposition. Ted Cruz didn’t come up with this hard, combative and gladiatorial campaign approach in isolation. He’s always demonstrated a tendency to bend his position — whether immigration or trade — to what suits him politically. This approach works because in the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodges court decision on same-sex marriage, many evangelicals feel they are being turned into pariahs in their own nation. Cruz exploits and exaggerates that fear. But he reacts to Obergefell in exactly the alienating and combative manner that is destined to further marginalize evangelicals, that is guaranteed to bring out fear-driven reactions and not the movement’s highest ideals. The best conservatism balances support for free markets with a Judeo-Christian spirit of charity, compassion and solidarity. Cruz replaces this spirit with Spartan belligerence. He sows bitterness, influences his followers to lose all sense of proportion and teaches them to answer hate with hate. This Trump-Cruz conservatism looks more like tribal, blood and soil European conservatism than the pluralistic American kind. Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace in which there is no room for compassion, for moderation, for anything but dismantling and counterattack. And that is what he offers.

No comments: