WHY I AM A CONSERVATIVE LEFTIST
BY Daniel Oppenheimer
[The May/June issue of The American Conservative featured Jonathan Bronitsky’s review of Daniel Oppenheimer’s new book Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century. This article is the first in an exchange between Bronitsky, Oppenheimer, and Samuel Goldman. Be sure not to miss Bronitsky’s“Who Are the Ex-Conservatives?” and Goldman’s “The End of Political Conversions?”]
Thus a colloquia among Oppenheimer, Broditisky and Goldman encapsulating the essence of TAC. That is three characters who are in no way conservative themselves sharing their deep thoughts about a movement alien to them. Isn't this TAC in a nutshell?
Almost from the beginning, TAC found itself a sort of tiki bar for those shut out of the harsh sun of corporate and neocon political dominance. It's all about losers resentment. And like all losers, TAC wants to be on top. That is why TAC also hates paleo-conservatism. How can they ever have influence if they also adhere to traditional, national conservatism?
TAC has been trying and failing to make itself into a sort of movement for years now. I suggest that this is a fools errand given that they are a haven for resentful particularists. Normal citizens demand parties and movements with clear, plausible goals and messages. TAC's editorialists and writers are incapable of delivering anything like this. All they have uncommon is that they can't get on FOX.
In their long exile from actual politics, they posture as the thoughtful, reasonable conservatism Americans really wanted. This has been their pose for so long they know no other. They will never succeed because they are driven by their own need for otherness.
Trump's primary triumph must be deeply galling considering that he borrowed so heavily from the hated Paleo's playbook. I wonder how they propose to proceed in a political climate where their allies are liberals and Neocon's? Perhaps some of them might revel in the "Strange new respect" references that might come their way. Then again, the Neocon's are much better poised for this role. Some Neocons, like Kagan have already defected to Hillary.
They will survive in the short term. As the headline suggests they will endure as the home of those who see conservatism as a topic to be picked over rather than a cause. I suspect TAC will simply fade away at some point due to lack of plausibility and a lack of academic and journalistic hacks willing to write for it.
Or perhaps some conservative Daddy Warbucks will pick up the tab and TAC will become a journal of some sort of Trumpism. If Trump wins, he and his cohorts will need an outlet of their own. That would be the ultimate justice for the TAC humbugs.
NOTE: A thoughtful friend brings up the point that Trump has no defined political philosophy. So, let me make this clear re the Daddy Warbucks option. I do think that Trump has a core set of impulses. If he becomes President, some vehicle for his thinking and that of those advising him would be necessary. His movement would not be the first to have to make itself up on the forge of events as it went along.