Who’s the Con: Trump or . . . Ann Coulter?

By | 2017-09-27T09:15:57+00:00 September 27th, 2017|
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As long ago as April 2011, I argued Donald Trump would stand a good chance of winning if he decided to make a serious run for the White House. My “excitement over the prospects of a Trump presidency” was “mounting” back then. Yet from that time and throughout Trump’s 2016 campaign, I have been at pains to remind readers that they could expect only so much from a President Trump. We all know—because we heard it ad nauseam during the Republican presidential primaries— the man had never been a traditional conservative or libertarian. He was never going to make “all of your wildest dreams come true.”

It isn’t just that Trump had spent most of his adult life contributing the bulk of his political donations to Democrats.

It isn’t just that he had never lifted a finger to decelerate the culture’s movement to the Left, much less to advance any recognizably conservative cause.

It isn’t just that he derided such principled men of the Right as Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

Another reason I specified for qualifying conservative support for Trump is his background as a businessman, and a Big Businessman at that. Republicans have long held—mistakenly—that success in business can translate to success in politics. In reality, the more successful the businessman in today’s highly regulated, crony-capitalist economy, the more likely he is a political failure—or, at least failure as judged by the liberty-lover’s benchmarks of success.

None of this is to suggest that conservatives didn’t have good reasons for supporting Trump. But legitimate, realistic reasons for supporting him shouldn’t be confused with reasons that were and remain illegitimate and unrealistic.

While Trump’s rhetoric on some key questions was music to the ears of millions of conservatives, anyone who pays close attention to American politics knows talk is cheap.

And as NeverTrumpers were only too happy to point out, Trump had no record that would suggest that he had any intention of doing all that he claimed he wanted to do. Besides, those who are even remotely familiar with federalism, the Constitution, and gridlock know all too well that the president is neither king nor God. As powerful as the president has become, his powers are not unlimited.

So Trump’s pledge to deport illegal immigrants and build a wall was never, in itself, reason enough to back him. Nor was the fact that Trump was preferable to Hillary Clinton. Similarly, the likelihood that he would appoint “conservative” Supreme Court Justices was also a gamble and not, by itself, a reason to move any fence sitter.

Trump, as I argued more than once, deserved support not because of what he promised to do in the future, but because of the single most important thing he had already achieved as a candidate and seemed likely to  continue achieving as president (whether he planned on doing so or not):

The Donald blew the lid off of the whole government-academia-media-entertainment (GAME) complex. He assumed the role of a human bomb that detonated right in the heart of the regime, a party making space for itself within a party.

Trump, in short, revealed the underground ocean of corruption in which The Big GAME is saturated. As a result, American politics will never be quite the same.

Trump was a “disruptive force” in the 2016 election and many of us voted, not necessarily for the man himself so much as for “the Trump Process,” as the paleo-libertarian author Ilana Mercer characterizes it.

Evidently, Ann Coulter was not among our number. The woman who as recently as last summer published In Trump We Trust now says that she voted for “a loser” and, along with some of her hard-Left counterparts, has even gone so far as to call for Trump’s impeachment.

Such a dramatic turn of events provokes one to wonder: How could a seasoned and presumably savvy political analyst like Coulter be genuinely disappointed or surprised by Trump’s performance, given he is only eight months into his presidency?

More to the point: How could any experienced pundit have gotten as enthusiastic as Coulter did over Trump?

Unlike those of us who supported a “process,” Coulter apparently thought that she had found a messiah. To hear her tell it now, she pinned her hopes for national salvation on a Big Business, Big Government, liberal-Democrat from New York.

What else should the impartial observer make of Ann’s metamorphosis from enraptured Trump cheerleader to betrayed, vengeful Trump critic?

While basking in the attention that the leftist press has showered on Ann since she expressed outrage over Trump’s DACA-centered meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Coulter insisted to The Daily Beast that she had not been conned by her man. But if she hadn’t—if she always recognized Trump for who and what he is—then one would think that she wouldn’t be so surprised or outraged now.

And maybe she isn’t really shocked at all.

Coulter’s about-face on Trump does not reflect well on her. If she is genuinely surprised that Trump has eight months into his presidency failed to make good on his promises, then she is incorrigibly naïve and incompetent in her field. Twitter memes notwithstanding, the vast majority of American patriots voted for a mere mortal politician, not a political savior or “God Emperor.”

If on the other hand, Coulter is only now feigning shock and outrage, then she is showing herself to be a fake, a cynical opportunist.

Those who followed Ann’s advice and placed their trust in Trump may need to recalibrate when it comes to their president.

They may also need to rethink things if they’ve ever placed their trust in Ann Coulter.  

About the Author:

Jack Kerwick
Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. His work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications, and he recently authored, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front. Kerwick has been teaching philosophy for nearly 17 years at a variety of institutions, from Baylor to Temple, Penn State University, the College of New Jersey and elsewhere. His next book, Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism is pending publication. He is currently an instructor of philosophy at Rowan College at Burlington County.