George Will Endorses Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House but Does Anyone Care?

Conservative columnist and pundit George Will, is interviewed in this office in the Georgetown section of Washington on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Conservative columnist and pundit George Will, is interviewed in this office in the Georgetown section of Washington on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


If there was ever a sign that the coalition that Reagan assembled in 1980 is completely and irreversibly ruptured it came this week. Earlier in the week, longtime Republican check-casher operative Steve Schmidt withdrew from the Republican party calling the idea of enforcing immigration laws immoral. Yesterday, George Will, long a fixture in Beltway conservative circles, went one step further. He actually endorsed Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House:

The principle: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them.

Ryan and many other Republicans have become the president’s poodles, not because James Madison’s system has failed but because today’s abject careerists have failed to be worthy of it. As explained in Federalist 51: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” Congressional Republicans (congressional Democrats are equally supine toward Democratic presidents) have no higher ambition than to placate this president. By leaving dormant the powers inherent in their institution, they vitiate the Constitution’s vital principle: the separation of powers.

In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, “But the judges, the judges!” the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.

If you’ve followed Never Trump commentary for the past year, and sadly I really had no choice, you know that the unifying force there is not principles or political philosophy or the faux-religious outrage, it is simply a visceral dislike of Trump. I don’t have a problem with visceral dislikes of people, but don’t try to piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Don’t tell me you oppose Trump on principle when it is obvious that is simply not the case.

George Will joins people like Steve Schmidt and Tom Nichols in taking the position that they’d rather see progressives win than to be personally offended by Trump’s success.

There were two interesting threads on this on Twitter. One is probably more of interest to Never Trump people who aren’t interested in going full metal progressive just to be able to say I’m a righteous man. The second is a very insightful threat by former RedState contributor Dan McLaughlin.

This is a point I’ll return to in a future post, but the raw classism in this shows the degree to which movement conservatism has stopped being something that can be embraced by working class voters and has been turned into a political circle jerk for would-be pundits who think they are better than most everyone else…in other words, the flip side to the wet-behind-the-ears douches writing at Mother Jones, The New Republic, or Vox whom we’ve mocked for years.

Well, if you call “strange new respect” nothing, sure.

For that matter, show me the Never Trump argument that does the same.

And they won’t be for a simple reason that the British didn’t welcome Benedict Arnold. For the same reason that Genghis Khan executed the men who betrayed his arch enemy and delivered him to Genghis Khan (there is a lesson there for how we should treat the remaining Never Trump faction in the future). In the words of Julius Caesar, “I love treason but hate a traitor.”

Dan McLaughlin offers up why cutting off your nose to spite your face is not a great political strategy.

This is the real point. The only representatives that are going to survive a real bloodbath are those in districts carried by Trump by large margins. The “moderates” and, in some cases conservatives, who are winning fairly narrow victories are going to be wiped out as Democrats vote against them and Trump supporters don’t turn out to vote.

Here is where I think Dan gets it wrong. Of course a large number of Never Trump people are going to vote Democrat because, again, their opposition is not really anchored in anything but personal animosity towards the guy. And if they think electing a Democrat House will hurt Trump they will jump on it in a minute.

I would even go a step further. With a Democrat House, Trump is in very real danger that a bill of impeachment will be voted on. The trial in the Senate will go nowhere but the asterisk will always be by his name. How do you think Trump will react to that possibility? By continuing his current policies or by making an accommodation with the Democrats on judges and appointments?

The real problem with Will’s idea is that a minority party is powerless to do even the things that you like. If you don’t like the way the GOP is acting, the real question is do you think the Democrats will act more to your liking?

In the end, I don’t suspect that very many people will listen to Will because not very many people listen to Will. And those that do listen to him, for the most part, aren’t going to act to put a Democrat in charge of the House.

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