The NeverTrumper's Lament

The Sensible Commentary you can expect to read in months to come

© 2016 Gage Skidmore, used under a Creative Commons license

June 30:
As a conservative with a conscience, readers, I have to say it: now that Joe Biden has beaten Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, I feel for the first time since the glory days of Paul Tsongas in 1992 that I can vote for a Democrat. Thank God the party said no to socialism, which I could never endorse, and said yes to moderation, which I think we can all endorse. (Sorry, kids, when you get old and sensible like me, you’ll see what a favor your elders have done you — not to mention your future wife and children, who will be glad you didn’t foolishly trade your pension for a pogrom; I know it seems inconceivable that you could ever have either, but just you wait.) Joe Biden will bring decency, sanity, and decency to the Democratic Party, and his victory in November will purge the Republican Party of the awful influence of the vulgar Trump and make me proud once more to be a Republican — a Republican who, for the moment, is voting Democratic!

July 16: Joe Biden’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination had the crowd roaring, and their enthusiasm suggests a great victory in November. But as a conservative with a conscience, I have to admit some notes rang false. It was wonderful to hear an old-fashioned pol with a manly voice and distinguished, neatly-combed white hair celebrate the classic American virtues of decency, sanity, and decency — what a change from the past four years! But there were times when Biden, out of an understandable and characteristic generosity toward the Sanders contingent, came dangerously close to endorsing the kind of far-left policies I thought the party had turned away from. It’s one thing to praise Social Security, but to promise “never” to cut it? That’s the kind of absolutist rhetoric we’ve come to expect from the Bernie Bros, not the decency and sanity that brought conservatives of conscience like me aboard the campaign. And here’s hoping that when Biden gets out of the fancy blue metropolis of Milwaukee and starts pressing the flesh out in the real America, where people drink their IPAs out of a can and take their lattes with milk from a cow like God intended, he’ll be able to look those simple folks in the eye and tell them he’ll never let some government bureaucrat take away the private health insurance plans that have been in their families for generations. Finally, I understand why Democratic creative-class types acted impressed with the clarity and eloquence of Biden’s speech, but can I just say I preferred the rough-hewn, honest stammering and double-talk Biden exhibited in the early day of his campaign; Lord knows I’m not a Trump fan, but having Biden speak in complete, sometimes even complex sentences struck me as spiking the football and, dare I say it, elitist. Americans don’t like to be talked down to!

August 9: There are just under three months left in the campaign — time for Joe Biden to make a decision: Will he continue to make the same mistakes Hillary Clinton made, pandering to Colin Kaepernick-type radicals like Donna Brazile and Rep. John Lewis, or will he pledge to be President of all the people? His speech in the elitist blue city of Atlanta, where he talked to a howling, reverse-racist mob about “black pride” and “reducing the number of people of color in prison,” made me question his commitment to sanity, decency and sanity. Perhaps Biden, a born politico, thought Trump’s unfortunate slip of the tongue last week, when he called his campaign spokespeople Diamond and Silk “mammies,” was too good an opportunity to waste. But Trump apologized for that — or at least said “stupid people got mad so maybe it wasn’t so great,” which for him counts as an apology — and to be fair, for a man of his age a reference to Gone With The Wind has less to do with racism than with the old Hollywood of Ronald Reagan, whom we all loved so much. This was Biden’s turn to show a little class, and he muffed it. I understand Joe is an old pro, comfortable with bare-knuckle tactics, but if he can’t get past that kind of politics, maybe this conservative of conscience will have to admit that she misjudged him. Don’t disappoint us, Joe!

September 12: The contrast could not have been more stark, nor more of a disappointment. Donald Trump — of all people! — showed proper respect for the sacred, solemn Thee Eleventh of September: first, by decreeing it be called “Thee Eleventh of September” rather than the more informal 9/11; then, by announcing a bombing raid on the West Bank “so we never have another Eleventy Thee Whatever,” as he impishly put it, and by hugging and kissing several flags. (This flag-fondling has become a thing, my younger friends have told me — the way a new generation shows its patriotism.) Yet when the great moment came, Joe Biden just mouthed tired platitudes about duty and honor and then asked for a “moment of silence” — a bizarrely ecumenical gesture that did not acknowledge the epochal struggle between Christianity and Radical Islam represented by Thee Eleventh of September. Compare that with Trump bringing out Paula White to speak in tongues! Sometimes I wonder how the old pro Biden forgot so much about retail politics; the rumor I hear is that he’s senile.

(To be continued.)