Dear Republican Politicians – Stop Virtue Signaling and Govern

I’m not sure which came first – the Dixie Chicks “Poor Us” documentary titled “Shut up and Sing” or Laura Ingraham’s book with the same title (both came out in 2006).  I suspect Laura (whom I had heard use it frequently) created the term and the Dixie Chicks appropriated it, but who knows.  The idea is that entertainers should do what they do best – perform – and not pontificate on political issues they know little about to ruin their entertainment for many fans.

I wish Republican politicians would shut up and govern/legislate.

I am so tired of congresscritters and Never Trumpers lecturing President Trump to make certain that people know how virtuous and moral they are, without a thought to how these words impede the implementation of conservative policies.

Democrats almost always have message discipline, and recognize how their preening for the press can have negative consequences for their legislative agenda.  They do not eat their own the way Republicans do.

We get it.  Trump is an inexperienced blowhard with a loose Twitter finger.  He’s the quintessential New York real estate developer whose every other word is puffery.

But if you put your fingers in your ears and hum, you see him doing things that “conservative Republicans” have talked about for years but have never done.  He has a real opportunity to make positive changes we have been promised for decades without result.  Yet if Republican politicians and pundits keep hammering him for every stupid thing he does or says, the agenda we want to see unfold will be stalled until, perhaps, Trump just gives up and goes along like a normal DC politician.

I believe in large part this is the goal of the Republican elite (both the politician and pundit classes).  President Trump is dangerous to their nexus of power, and their understanding of how things are done (which, I’m sure only coincidentally, keeps them in power, influence and money).  He’s Oh! so shocking to elites in Georgetown and Manhattan drawing rooms, who just two years ago invited him to their parties and laughed with him because he was so outspoken and outrageous.

You can disapprove of things the president says and does without sandbagging him if only you keep long-term goals in mind.

However, Trump critics are so into their faux outrage and virtue signaling (“Look at me!  Don’t confuse me with those ignorant Trump supporters!  I will pass judgement on every Tweet!”) that they never appear to consider the political consequences of their self-righteousness.  Many simply want him to fail because they find him personally distasteful, or he threatens their comfy world, or both.  Others compulsively (and reflexively) rush to the podium to show the world they are far better than this lout, heedless of what the consequences are to the Republic.

No president in history has been a perfect person; most hid their imperfections from the public (often with the help of a supportive press).  Trump and his team are no worse than any prior inhabitants of the White House, but his loose lips and braggadocio put his imperfections out there for all to see.  President Obama and the Clintons are smooth operators, but are much more flawed as moral individuals than Trump.  They are simply more adept at politics and hiding their true thoughts and feelings.

This is the real scandal as far as Democrats are concerned with the Wikileaks reveal of email.  The emails pulled aside the curtain of how Democrat elites really think (as the Sony email leaks did for the movie biz elites who are forever lecturing us on tolerance).  No one argued (after initial weak protestations) that the emails were false; the irony of the Russian investigation is that the Democrat elites are outraged and believe it unfair that people could see how they really talk among themselves.

Trump appears incapable hiding his beliefs or feelings, no matter how mercurial they are. The scandal is that he is not adroit at hiding what he really feels.  Honesty has no place in DC politics.

What is more important – showing your distaste for the president, or getting tax reform passed?  What is better for the country’s future – publicly registering your disagreement with every slip or dumb thing the president says, or healthcare reform?  What is better for posterity (our children and our children’s children) – showing that you are a greater moral and civil exemplar than Trump, or rolling back the administrative state and restoring ordered liberty?

But he’s so unpresidential!  No, he is reshaping what is “presidential,” just as his predecessors in the last 40 years have done. When he is gone, after disrupting the system, we may have a return to more traditional presidents, but hopefully they will preside over a leaner, less intrusive government.

What is more presidential than talking about – and then trying to implement – programs that defend the American way of life as it was understood for 200 years?  What is more presidential than taking serious security and national defense?  What is more presidential than forthrightly defending Western Civilization, of which the US represents the culmination to date?  What is more presidential than reassuring our traditional allies in no uncertain terms that we will be there beside them with a muscular defense?  What is more presidential than telling European allies that we will aggressively work to ease the stranglehold Russia has over energy?  What is more presidential, as framed by the Founders, than trying to roll back the behemoth of regulatory tyranny that has grown under Republican and Democrat administrations?  What is more presidential than appointing judges and justices who do not view the Constitution and Bill of Rights as mere suggestions from a long-dead age?

I prefer this mistake-making buffoon to a silky-smooth Obama who inflamed racial tension, created a Chicago-style machine in the DC deep state and turned the federal agencies into political pawns through which he reached tyrannically into every American life. I cannot fathom why supposed conservatives seemingly pine for the Obama regime (after endlessly making fun of those who worshipped at the alter of his sharply-creased pants) who weakened the US in influence and power across the globe, thus endangering us at home.

All of the politicians and pundits who lament that Trump should think before he tweets then go on to attack him without considering the consequences (i.e., they write and speak without thinking).  Trump is actually getting things done that career politicians have been promising for 30 years and failing to deliver. Yet he is soooo uncouth, we must protest him at every turn.  Because morality and refinement.

The outrage from all corners drowns out any effort to point out the good things that are happening.

Conservatives tout their support for diversity of ideas rather than superficial things like race and national origin.  But when Trump comes along, suddenly his different way of speaking, tweeting and acting is beyond the pale.  So much for diversity, conservative style.  I guess the tent is not that large after all.

Republican politicians and pundits chortle over how Democrats do not understand that Hillary Clinton lost because she failed to connect with real folks outside coastal urban areas. Then, they attack Trump repeatedly from their high horses, demonstrating their own lack of understanding of Trump supporters.  They express disdain for those ignorant masses who defend Trump in the face of his self-inflicted wounds that elites must stridently denounce.  It reminds me of lines from a favorite movie, White Christmas (1954).  Danny Kaye says to Bing Crosby, “Alright.  They didn’t go to college; they didn’t go to Smith.”  Bing responds, “Go to Smith?  She couldn’t even spell it.”

I don’t expect better from intellectually moribund publicity hounds like Senator John McCain (and his Mini Me, Lindsey Graham, always just a step behind in the rush to the cameras).

However, I have been disappointed with folks that I have respected and read for years, such as the many great conservative minds over at National Review.  Sadly, about the only one there who seems to get it is Victor Davis Hanson.  No one can question his academic and intellectual bona fides, but he is also a working farmer with close ties to the people who work the land.  It is hard to imagine the two worlds he traverses from his Selma, CA farm to the halls of the Hoover Institution at Stanford.  Perhaps it is also Dr. Hanson’s classicist background that allows him to take a longer view than his colleagues. Intimately understanding the rise and fall of great civilizations gives him a better perspective.

Andrew Klavan of The Daily Wire is another lonely voice of sanity, of getting what “the folks” (as Bill O’Reilly used to say) understand but which is unfathomable to Republican elites. And the amazing Greg Gutfeld frequently shows similar insight (of course, his beliefs are heavily influenced by the antics of small animals and Inuit pop culture).

A poll that undoubtedly surprised the Washington Post 100 days into Trump’s presidency showed that not only would he win again, but he would probably win the popular vote.  The Post found that 96% of Trump voters would vote for him again, while only 85% of Hillary voters would vote for her again.

How can this be? Considering the incessant barrage of negativity and character assassination from the media, the Democrats (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MSM), and Republicans, why would these people still vote for Trump?  It’s not for lack of trying to alienate them by both “loyal opposition” and “allies.”

Many would do it again because they voted against Hillary. Many would do it because they are Russian stooges (“Nyet! Nyet!”).  Sorry, I thought I was a journalist for a moment.

But I believe most would vote again for Trump precisely because he’s the same person revealed during his candidacy and now presidency.  While President Trump may be slightly more nuanced than candidate Trump, people got what they voted for.  Why would they change their minds?  And it is this very consistency that flies in the face of politics as usual that makes Trump supporters – from the rabid to the temperate (like me) – remain behind him.  There was no “elect this man to see what’s in him” (to paraphrase one of our  “master legislators“).  People aren’t turned off by Trump’s Tourette’s Tweets because this was what they voted for, rather than a politician who makes insincere promises the people know won’t be kept.

Trump voters knew who they were voting for, so are not shocked by him now; they got what they expected and voted for.  No wonder they are not turned away by Trump being Trump.

Republicans – get over your posturing and oh-so-sophisticated outrage. President Trump is what he is.  While I cringe every few days myself, I never lose sight of why Trump was elected and the great things he has done so far.  I doubt that Scott Walker, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz (my candidates in order) could have done as much as Trump has done because they are politicians. They know what you can’t do as presidentTrump doesn’t have that indoctrination, so he has the opportunity to achieve the goals conservatives and Republicans (I could Venn diagram that for you) have espoused for decades.

There is no genteel way to drain the swamp. There is no gracious way to roll back the administrative state.  There is no way to prioritize budget issues irrespective of provincial pork in a subtle manner .

Trump’s manifestly evident flaws are features, not bugs.

The Republican elites don’t understand this, but Trump voters do.  They are tired of decades (centuries?) of being told things can’t be done after the candidate promised change.  Real estate developer Trump is used to being told things cannot be done, but his ego causes him to say, “Figure out a way.  My mouth has written a check I intend to honor.”

Republican legislators need to understand what the Democrats know and practice – the accomplishment of goals is what matters in government, not posturing for immediate recognition and praise. Democrats have for decades gotten away with the most outlandish and egregious behavior, in part because of their protection from MSM scrutiny, but in part because of their audacity (of hope?) and chutzpah that allows them to ignore principled attacks.  Their actions are always in service to their goals.  Republicans wander aimlessly like puppies seeking a friendly word or pat on the head, while mouthing platitudes of how tough they are.

Donald Trump cares what others think and say about him, but he cares more for his own opinion of himself. He will counterattack or ignore his detractors, secure in his vision.

So far, his vision has been promoting conservative goals even though he is not an ideological conservative (Justice Neil Gorsuch anyone?  Scott PruitGeneral James Mattis?).  Trump voters, in their lack of Beltway sophistication, see signs of fulfilling campaign promises and this keeps their support no matter their reservations.

What Republicans don’t support the temporary travel ban that 60% of Americans support?  The renewed relations with Israel and unwavering support for other allies like Poland betrayed by the last president?  The outspoken support of law enforcement and the military?  The actions to cut federal regulations?

If President Trump achieves nothing beyond today, I will consider his presidency a success because he has, in his outrageous way, pierced the veil of network news and (hopefully) reduced their hold over Republican politicians. He has also thrown over the dumpster of political correctness.  You must drain the festering wound before it can heal.

Republican politicians and pundits have long noted and complained about the bias in all media, and the dangers of political correctness to free speech. Trump has not just complained but has exploded these issues so that regular people across America have felt the lifting of the oppression they have been weighed down with for decades.

Republican politicians (and pundits) need to pull their heads out of the illusion of propriety that only serves to preserve the status quo of corruption and stalemate. They need to spend less time showing how educated, refined, and sensitive they are and start keeping their eyes on the goals they have, until now, just paid lip service to.

Republicans – shut up and govern.