"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, March 18, 2016

Transparently Awful

Photo: Twilight Wasteland by Julia DeBarri
I empathize with Steve's ambivalence about the idea of a constitutional convention. On our ossified two-party system, I'm in a mugwumping mood myself lately. Except for life and judging, I'd pox 'em all. Even conservative intellectuals seem resistant to acknowledge that those who aren't making a living off fighting permanent political wars have a right to object to continue paying for them with their votes for another cycle of empty promises. Pundits lament that not only wishy-washy independents and the un- and under-educated but responsible conservatives – the ones who ought to know better – are breaking Trumpward; yet the same pundits proceed to give their best impression of a pretzel by, having berated revolving-door cronyism and bureaucratic inertia and autopilot budgets (er, I mean, "continuing resolutions") and rent-seeking and professional officeholders for the past generation, now carefully explain that a political "establishment" is just the silly talk one could only expect from a reality-star-gazing dopey-voter class.

I don't buy it. Many good people balk at getting just another shipment of the same old elixir, and don't care for the hucksters insisting you don't know how to read the label and no wonder you're voting for a reality-tv star. That's a false choice. You can be both anti-anti-Trump and anti-Trump.

But on the Court and the Constitution, the left and Democrats are dishonest and intellectually bankrupt. No getting around that. And it's hard to justify throwing votes away with those hanging in the balance. Politically, my calculus these days is whether it's worth keeping the GOP around just for the Court's sake and to try to win a lasting victory against abortion. But I worry the GOPe [GOPe = Republican establishment--Ed.] knows this is why people like me stick around, and that should they ever accomplish these big things, they could no longer justify their existence. Similar to the “milker bills” then-majority-leader Harry Reid used in 2006, threatening to hike taxes on hedge funds before Sen. Schumer sat down to dinner with top hedge fund managers. The industry tripled its lobbying and campaign spending in 2008. Rational voters will suspect current majority-leader McConnell might be doing the same on abortion: "nothing-doing on ending abortion just now; maybe you should consider increasing your contributions."

This is my trouble: I hate Trump for all the usual reasons except for the reason that he's "destroying the party." Perfect is the enemy of the good and all, but on the key issue where I've held the GOP is good – life – the cowardly surrender on Planned Parenthood sent me reeling. To his credit, though, McConnell is playing it right on the Court: no hearings, no votes. But frankly, the corruption and ineptitude is so great that if they fold on that, I have to ask what's left to make it worth keeping the band together.

The answer, I fear, is that the GOP is the only thing keeping the burn-it-all-down Trumpoids at bay, and that in this environment, the alternative could only be worse. This is the same reason I give why a constitutional convention would be terrible: yes, our Constitution is made unintelligible under modern living-constitution jurisprudence, but a dying star still outshines the brightest lightbulb. The alternative might be more transparent, but more transparently awful. Just like Trump himself.

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Tim Kowal is an attorney, an adjunct professor at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, a director of the Orange County Federalist Society, and a commissioner on the OC Human Relations Commission. Follow Tim on Twitter at @timkowal.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

You can be both anti-anti-Trump and anti-Trump.

You buried your lede. ;-)