Matt Bai’s Yahoo! columns are usually worth one’s time, however annoying they often are with their unexamined assumptions.
Bill Kristol, son of neoconservative godfather Irving Kristol interviewed here, doesn’t seem to distinguish between conservatism and neoconservatism, and the problems only go downhill from there. There haven’t been any visible conservatives in charge in the Republican Party since Reagan left office in 1989. In the meantime, the neocons (1) lost the universities and the intellectual world more broadly to political correctness, largely because of their sheer terror of being called racists. Now, engineers are being fired from their jobs in corporations like Google for questioning radical feminist dogma about why they can’t seem to recruit more women engineers; (2) neocons have contributed (they aren’t the only villains here) to the decline of the U.S. middle class with the “internationalism” Kristol praises (i.e., open borders, pseudo free trade deals such as NAFTA, etc.) as corporations were always more than willing to ship good paying jobs to foreign countries for cheap labor, a process that has continued no matter which party controlled the White House; (3) greatly worsened the situation in the Middle East with the Iraq War, surely the worst U.S. foreign policy blunder of our lifetimes which guys like Kristol supported (interestingly, this disaster was also backed by mainstream center-left liberals like Thomas L. Friedman); and (4) by not paying attention to the reckless and sometimes criminal policies dominating Wall Street, contributed massively to the financial meltdown of 2008.
In short, on every front we examine, the Establishment elites blew it!
That is why Donald Trump rose to the top in the 2016 primaries including over corporate favorites like Jeb Bush, and since Hillary Clinton was widely regarded as part of that same Establishment, with the arrogance of someone who wouldn’t even campaign in states filled with “deplorables,” that is why Trump defeated her and became president. In addition, whatever one thinks of the Electoral College, it spells out the rules by which elections are conducted in the United States, which were originally written to prevent elite-dominated enclaves like Washington, D.C. and New York City from dominating the entire political system. So in that since, the system worked.
The Establishment elites made this bed (Trumpism), however little they like lying in it. Establishment Republicans sure aren’t going to undo their blunders by trying to nominate someone like Nikki Haley who wouldn’t have a prayer in the event that the Democratic Party comes up with a real candidate in 2020, however unlikely that is.
One thing I left out. Neocons from the start have been on the bandwagon trying to inflame tensions with Russia, whether through the allegation, so far unproven, that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to win the election, or through equally unproven allegations of Russian aggression (e.g., against Ukraine) in their part of the world. What do they want? War with Russia? Or just maintaining and managing a chronic level of distracting distrust, while their corporate masters in the global banking networks continue consolidating their wealth and power?