According to the New York Times, 10 moderates, 15 conservatives and eight other Republicans would have voted against the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. So, then, 15 or so conservatives made it impossible to pass the bill favored by nearly every other Republican and President Donald Trump. If that is the case, what we have here is another conservative example of purism and principle ruining another major opportunity to do good.
The first purist conservative example were the Never-Trumpers, who believed it was better for Hillary Clinton to be elected president and for the left to have four more years of presidential power than for Trump to win.
There were valid reasons to wonder whether Trump was a conservative and valid reasons to oppose him in the primaries. There were no valid reasons to oppose him in the general election. I said all these things then and have thus far been validated beyond my wildest dreams.
In terms of policy, Trump is a conservative dream. From appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court; to approving the Keystone XL pipeline; to weakening the fanatical, hysterical and tyrannical Environmental Protection Agency; to appointing an ambassador to the United Nations who has moral contempt for that immoral institution; to backing Israel; to seeking to reduce economy-choking regulations on business – all of which are essentially everything conservatives would wish for in a president. Donald Trump is almost too good to be true.
But he’s still not good enough for those conservatives who remain Never-Trumpers or the members of the House Freedom Caucus, at least with regard to the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare he worked so hard to have passed.
It is quite possible that I and most other conservatives who supported the bill agree with just about every criticism of the bill that House conservatives made. But just as the question in the general election wasn’t whether candidate Trump was our ideal, the question now wasn’t whether the bill was our ideal. The question during the election was: What will happen if the Democrats and the left win the presidency again? And the question now is: What will happen if the Republicans don’t pass a bill favored by all but about 30 Republican congressmen and, most importantly, by President Trump?
But purists don’t ask such questions. They live in a somewhat different world than the rest of us who actually agree with them on everything because we don’t ask what is ideologically pure and true to our principles. We ask: What is closest to our ideology and our principles?
Or, to put it another way, we have one larger principle than even the conservative principles we share with the purists: defeating the left because that is the No. 1 priority of those who cherish Western civilization and regard America as the last best hope for humanity.
The conservative Never-Trumpers and conservatives who voted for Trump had everything in common except for that overriding principle. Conservatives who voted for Trump believed that defeating the left is the overriding moral good of our time. We are certain that the left (not the traditional liberals) is destroying Western civilization. The external enemy of Western civilization is Islamists (the tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims who wish to see the world governed by Shariah), and the internal enemy of the West is the left. What the left has done to universities and Western culture at the universities is a perfect example.
Passing even a tepid first bill to begin the process of dismantling the crushing burden of Obamacare would have been an important first step in weakening the left, not only by beginning to repeal Obamacare but also by strengthening the Trump presidency and the president’s ability to go forward with tax reform and other parts of his conservative agenda. The president is now damaged, and the Republican Party looks ludicrous – what other word can one use to describe the party that has voted more than 60 times in seven years to repeal Obamacare and can’t pass a bill to repeal or replace it when it is given the House, the Senate and the presidency?
Make no mistake, ye of pure heart: This may well be the last time in your lifetimes that Republicans control both houses of Congress and have a conservative president. And understand that time is not on our side; there are congressional elections in a year and nine months.
Providence or luck made it possible to have a conservative president. Act accordingly.
And perhaps consider inscribing on the walls of your House and Senate offices a motto as relevant as In God We Trust – “The Best Is the Enemy of the Better.”